Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
OMG! The edits to Wildcat are driving me insane! One little scene moved forward in the story, along with a slightly different emphasis on the relationship, has created a ripple effect that I may never get sorted out. I need a nice whopper to take my mind off it for a while.
This one should do the trick!
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I spotted this recipe on the Facebook sidebar, and being slightly skeptical, I whipped one up. Literally.
The original recipe called for margarine and 2% milk; I substituted butter and skim milk. I think it evens out.
And, yes, it does exactly what the recipe says it will do. Very easy, and it's pretty tasty, too!
Magic Crust Custard Pie
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Pour into a buttered 9 inch pie dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The flour sinks to the bottom to make the crust.
I'm blogging today on Casablanca Authors. Grab a hunk of...er...a piece of pie, and come on over!
Monday, May 28, 2012
Here's a great big Memorial Day THANK YOU to all of our nation's veterans, including my late father, who was a Korean War veteran. I have a picture of him in uniform around here somewhere, but this has always been my favorite photo.
And now, since today is a Monday, and I've worked all weekend...
I see absolutely no need to get these buns out of bed. Wake me up tomorrow.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
*sigh* Here we go again... Seems like every time I go somewhere for a week, I bring home a cold. This time, it could've come from Ireland, London, Chicago, Indianapolis, or any of the places anyone in those airports had been. Scary, isn't it?
Maybe I should just stay home and tend to my rhododendrons.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
You know what they say about finding happiness in your own back yard? Well, this is what I had waiting for me when I returned from Ireland. Granted, I took these pictures after Mikey mowed the grass and I'd given Peaches and Bugsy a bath, but you get the idea.
These hollyhocks grew about three feet while we were gone.
Peaches held the fort.
The beans and squash came up!
Bugsy survived several encounters with a nasty boxer.
The lilies bloomed.
This clematis came back from being cut back to the ground.
The blue clematis bloomed again.
And anything that wasn't green before, is green now.
Looks like spring has sprung!
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I ruthlessly stole this recipe from a site called "Simply Recipes" because I never did get any Beef and Guinness stew while I was in Ireland. This is more suited to the chilly weather in Ireland than it is for a warm, Indiana spring, but I may crank up the air conditioners and make it anyway.
Irish Beef Stew Recipe
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
- 1 cup of Guinness beer
- 1 cup of fine red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Method1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.
3 Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)
4 Search the woods until you find a hungry hunk to share it with!
Monday, May 21, 2012
I'm hoping we'll be home sometime this morning. I'm posting this on Saturday afternoon, long before the 9 hour flight from London to Chicago. We're spending Sunday night in Chicago, then heading back to Indianapolis on a 6:35 flight. I'm guessing I'll collapse in my bed and sleep for a couple of days.
In the meantime, here are some nice moons for you to enjoy!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
I went for a bit of a nature walk Saturday morning. First I went down to Golden's Cove, which wasn't very pretty at low tide.
These two plants were growing side by side. I'm thinking this one is broom, which has no thorns...
And this one is the gorse, which is very prickly.
Then I went on Golden's Walk, which is a little path through the woods that runs alongside the driveway to the hotel. Except for the sound of a lawnmower nearby and the fact that part of the path is gravel (some places were a bit muddy) you'd never know you were anywhere near civilization.
The Irish woods are more people-friendly than the woods back home. Although I've seen several plants I recognize--plantain, ferns, violets, and mullein--I have yet to see so much as a single sprig of poison ivy. I can't stray off the path back home in the spring and summer without long pants and boots.
These little yellow flowers are everywhere. No idea what they are, though. Buttercups, perhaps?
Scenes like these made me want to start checking for leprechauns, but I didn't see a one.
However, the kitchen sink has a shared tap, which makes me wonder why they've never made the switch on the other sinks. Hmm....
The toilets flush back instead of down, and the flush handle is longer and is located on the right, rather than the left.
They heat rooms with these, rather than a forced-air system.
And they have two kinds of outlets. One that takes flat prongs and has switches that turn each outlet on and off.
And another kind with no switches and round prongs.
Then there's the washer/dryer combo in our room--something I'd never seen before.
First, it washes your clothes, then you stop it, take the clothes out, let it dry out for a bit, and then put half of the clothes back in. It spins one way for a while, then stops and spins the other direction. Then you do that with the other half of the load. It takes FOREVER to get the clothes dry. I told Sam we'd just take the dirty clothes home and wash them there, otherwise, we'd be doing laundry 'til doomsday.
I can't say this makes me appreciate our high efficiency washer any more than I did, (I absolutely HATE the damn thing and want to go back to the old style with an agitator) but certainly makes me appreciate the dryer!
That afternoon, Mikey and I walked into Sneem for lunch at the Hungry Knight, where they claim to have the best fish & chips in Ireland. I can't vouch for the whole of Ireland, but the fish was very good!
We strolled through Sneem, which had been taken over by busloads of French and German tourists, then climbed down the steps beside the bridge to the river.
Mikey ventured out further than I did (I took this picture from the bridge),
but I was able to get a nice shot of the river from under the bridge.
We walked back to the hotel and down Golden's Path again. These flowers looked like wild roses, but they were something completely different. No idea what they are.
We walked on down to the cove...
...which looked much nicer at high tide. This is a view of the hotel from the dock.
And this is facing the other direction.
This is a little further down the shore. The ground got a bit boggy past the point where Mike is standing, so we didn't go any farther.
We went back and sat on the rocks (where I'm standing in the previous picture) at the water's edge watching the tide come in. Very peaceful.
And now for Sunday's hunk! I suppose he could be Irish...
LOL! If we could only see the outlet that lamp is plugged into, we'd know for sure!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
I felt like taking a nap while all these pictures were uploading. Very long day! We started at 9 and didn't get home until 7. I think I can still see well enough to blog...
The day began with a drive from Sneem through Kenmare toward Cork for our first stop at Blarney Castle.This is taken from the bridge over the small river that runs through the castle grounds.
The weather was chilly and rainy, which suited the castle very well. It looks like there's all kinds of stuff inside, but the floors are mostly gone, leaving only the spiral staircases to climb up to the top and the outer walls.
I thought this one of the guard tower turned out rather well--possibly because for once, I actually took the time to frame the shot.
But then, like everything else in Ireland, it's very difficult to take a bad picture of it.
Instead of writing a synopsis of what this says, I'm posting a picture of the sign. You KNOW how writers hate writing synopses. If you click on the picture, you should be able to read it.
The guard tower.
The view from the top.
The view of the poison garden. Believe it or not, they actually had some marijuana growing in a cage there--along with several other plants that I've grown in my garden, like foxglove, wormwood, and lupines.
And yes, I did kiss the Blarney Stone. I even have a picture and a certificate to prove it. Mike and I both kissed the stone, but Budley and Sam opted out. You have to lie down on your back and pull yourself out with the bars, kiss the stone, and then they drag you back out. The line to kiss the stone backs up all the way down the staircase to the entrance. If you weren't kissing the stone, the tour would've been a lot faster.
This is the kind of staircase you have to climb up to get to the top. Very steep, very narrow, and definitely not for those with bad knees or claustrophobia!
After touring the castle, we strolled around the grounds. This is a red cedar from America, about 100 years old.
Bluebells on the grounds of Blarney Castle.
Blarney House, which was clearly built in a later era than the castle. We were too late for a tour and didn't feel like waiting around in the rain for the next one, so we went to the Stable Yard Cafe for some hot tea and Irish coffee instead.
A trip to the restroom revealed the stable area, which only proved that horses of the 18th century were better housed than a lot of people!
After leaving the castled, we went down the street to the Blarney Castle Hotel Bar for lunch.
Then we took a drive to Midleton to the Jameson distillery. Budley is a Jameson fan, and this was the one place he wanted to be sure to visit.
This is the aqueduct and waterwheel system that provided power to the gristmill until 1975.
And this is the distilling tank, which is the largest in the world.
After the tour, they asked for volunteers. I volunteered, and we did a taste test between Johnny Walker Red, Jack Daniels, and Jameson. We all pretty much agreed that the Jameson was smoother. For volunteering, I received a certificate making me an official whiskey taster!
Not sure I'm truly qualified, particularly since I prefer Quervo Gold Tequila!
Okay, ladies. I'm sure you ALL qualify as official YD tasters. Here's one to test your palate. Is he Irish, or is he not?