Thursday, March 5, 2009

Almond Chocolate Coffee Frappe

This thick, delicious frappe (basically, a milk shake with ice cream, coffee and flavoring) can be made with leftover coffee—just make an extra batch of coffee in the morning and refrigerate until you're ready. Follow this recipe as is, or change the flavors using different kinds of ice cream or syrups. Or make it really low in calories and enjoy it the way they traditionally make it in Greece: cold coffee, milk, sweetener and crushed ice mixed in the blender.


* 1/4 cup black coffee (room temperature)
* 1/4 cup milk* (plus a little more, if needed, for smooth blending)
* 1 cup chocolate ice cream
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 cup crushed ice (or smallest cubes possible)
* 2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
* Cinnamon, for dusting


* *Milk options: whole milk, skim milk, soy milk, etc.
* 4 teaspoons of sugar or two packets of sugar substitute (to taste)
* Extra scoops of ice cream, for garnish
* Whipped cream, for topping

step 1Place black coffee, milk, ice cream, almond extract and crushed ice in blender jar. Add sugar or sugar substitute only if desired. (The taste is quite sweet without it!)

step 2
With blender lid securely closed, pulse blender until mixture is smooth. If blades get stuck, add a little more milk.

step 3
Pour 1 Tablespoon of chocolate syrup into the bottom of each glass. (This makes the drink look and taste even more delectable.)

step 4
Divide the coffee frappe between your glasses and dust with cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan


1 large eggplant
10-12 medium sized mushrooms (sliced)
pasta sauce (no added vegetables; plain)
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Italian bread crumbs
vegetable oil
3 eggs
salt (optional)

Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. Throw away both ends of eggplant; don't eat.

Beat the eggs together in a flat bowl (cereal bowl; salad plate). Use another bowl (same type) and fill about 1/4 inch with breadcrumbs.

Cover a slice of the eggplant, one at a time, with the egg and let excess drip off. Then lay the slice in the breadcrumbs, covering both sides. Repeat this process, adding more breadcrumbs as needed. If you fill the bowl with too many crumbs at on time, the crumbs will get sticky and chunky.

Add oil to a medium fry pan, but just enough to coat the bottom. Brown each slice; you can brown about 4-5 slices at a time. Don't overcook; just let them get crispy on the outside. Add oil as necessary; don't let the pan dry out or burn.

Transfer slices to a paper towel. Once all are browned, place a layer in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish (approx. 9-11 inch dish). Top with half of a jar of sauce. Add the sliced mushrooms and a couple hand fulls of cheese. Add another layer of eggplant and the rest of the sauce. Cover with foil and put in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes (oven temps vary). Add another couple hand fulls of cheese and bake uncovered for about 8-10 minutes

Creamy Italian Dressing

Creamy Italian Dressing
Makes one cup

1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon crushed dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, coarsely ground

Mix all ingredients and chill before serving.

A Spring Kitchen

A SPRING KITCHEN by Cait Johnson

Spring kitchens are airy, fresh places where we feel stimulated,
energized, alive with possibilities. The first step in making our
kitchens places of inspiration is old fashioned spring-cleaning.
Even those of us who loathe housecleaning as a tiresome, thankless,
repetitious, and endlessly boring chore can learn to enjoy the
process of marking our territory with magick.

By the end of winter, the world looks a bit scruffy and neglected.
Dead leaves and fallen branches litter the ground, along with
remnants of snow pocked with grime. Just as a gardener needs to
clear away the winter debris to make room for spring growth and
flowering, so it can be a good thing to clear away debris from our
kitchens. Make space in your life for fresh, good things to grow.
Take some time in early spring to decide on your kitchen essentials:
What is truly necessary for you? What could you do without? Give
away anything that doesn't serve you. When your kitchen is clean and
uncluttered, your spirit can breathe.

Once your kitchen is as clean as you feel like making it, you may
want to celebrate the stirring of new life with a few essential
springtime decorations. Flowering bulbs and bare tree branches can
both be placed in water and allowed to bloom. Teardrops of glass
hung in the window catch the light like melting icicles. Dark,
earthy, winter colours give way to the lighter, more airy ones of
spring--a pastel rag rug for the floor or a woven mat for the table
may refresh your spirit. Look for shades of mouth-watering yellow-
green, violet, rose, pale blue, silvery dove-gray, and a tender
yellow the colour of the emerging sun. These are the colours that
will help you to envision, to plan, to be inspired.

Spring is associated with air, and with thoughts, ideas, and words.
You could invoke the power of words in your kitchen by writing a few
important ones here and there. Use large letters if you want them to
be seen (in a border around the ceiling, perhaps), or hide tiny ones
in secret places. Get yourself some magnetic poetry for the fridge.
What are the words that you need in your life? Is there a special
quote that you could frame or incorporate into your kitchen?

By the Spring Equinox, the birds are returning and the world is
filled with wings, nests, and the heart-lifting sound of their
singing. One traditional and pleasant way to commemorate the birds'
return is to include a nest or two in your kitchen. You could buy
one (Spanish moss, twig, or wicker nests look very realistic), or you
could find a real one (as long as it isn't being lived in anymore),
or create your own.

Fill your nests with eggs. Traditionally, eggs have held a place of
special veneration as objects of power and magick. Egg-decorating is
an ancient way to honour this season. And you may want to tuck in a
feather or two, as well--these are especially meaningful if you've
found them yourself.

There are egg-shaped soaps available now that would be fun in a
nestlike soap dish on the sink (look for nice all-natural herbal egg-
soaps in specialty stores or gift catalogues). Or, to make your own,
try grating leftover bits of soap into a bowl, mix with a little
water, and shape small palmfuls into eggs by hand. If you throw in a
few leftover coffee grounds, your soap will have a wild-bird-egg's
speckled look and will also be a good deodorizer for oniony hands.
Whenever you wash with a bar of egg-soap, let the symbol remind you
of the incredible power to create that lies in your hands--and in
your heart, your spirit, your mind.

The first tender vegetables of the spring garden make a welcome
appearance now. The tiny carrots, cheery radishes, asparagus spears,
and the earliest new peas to sprout up in gardens may be found on
everything from teapots to vases to dinnerware to teatowels, which
let you invite their hopeful message inside as well. Or you could
paint or stencil that veggie of your choice somewhere special: inside
a cupboard door to cheer you whenever you open it, for instance.

By late spring, the world is strewn with flowers. Make a place on
your table for a vase spilling over with blooms, or find an O'Keeffe
print to brighten your wall. The sensual beauty of flowers has age-
old associations with love, sex, and pleasure, and late spring is
certainly the time for those. To invite the power of loving
sensuality into your kitchen, choose fabrics and accents in shades of
rose to remind you of your own sacred petals. Consider making a rose-
patterned pillow for your power place; then, every time you sit
there, you will be embowered by these rich symbols of the Goddess.

Herb Gardening for Beginners

Herb Gardening for Beginners:

Herbs are very easy to grow with a little sunshine, soil that drains well,
some watering, and a little fertilizer or compost. Herbs can be grown in
pots however the plants will always prefer to be in the ground where they
can spread out. Some plants will grow quite large, 4-6 feet, and in pots
they are really stunted and can get stressed which causes them to be very

For planting Herbs, you’ll need to allow approximately 1 to 4 feet in
diameter for each plant depending up on the plant. Here are some guidelines
for plant sizes:

*Rosemary, Sage, Mints, Oregano, Marjoram 3-4 feet
*Basils, Thyme, Tarragon, Savory 2 feet
*Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsley 1 foot
The main thing necessary to grow herbs is to put them in the right place.
Most will prefer full sun if you don't have regular summer temperatures
above 90 degrees. If you do have very warm summers then you might consider
planting in morning sun and afternoon shade or a place which receives
filtered light in summer (under a tree that allows some light through).
Check the area several times during the day to make sure that there will be
at least 4 hours of sun. i.e. 8-12, 12-4, 9-11 and 2-4 etc.

Next you need to prepare the soil. Digging with a large garden fork will
loosen up the soil that has been compacted over the years and allow water to
drain and the plants roots to reach down into the soil. This is the most
important step--shortcuts here will be disastrous to your plants. Adding
some compost to your soil, about an inch or so on top and then dig it into
the soil, will help with drainage problems and add fertilizer to the garden.

The final step is to plant healthy, strong plants and water them as they get
dry. Most herbs like to be watered as soon as the soil is dry to the touch a
couple of inches down into the soil. This will be different every week
because of temperatures and humidity so you must check them often and do not
over water. More watering is not better and can lead to diseases for your

For harvesting, you simply cut off about 1/3 of the branches when the plant
reaches at least 6-8" tall. Cut close to a leaf intersection and your plants
will regrow very quickly. Some plants such as parsley have new leaves
growing from the center and need to have the oldest branches removed leaving
the new growing point intact so the plant can regrow. This will be more
clear as you watch your plants grow.

Herb Gardening in Containers:

Herbs are much easier to grow than many houseplants. All you need is a
sunny, warm place and containers large enough for the plants you want to
grow. Sunny decks, patios, and other such areas are great for container
gardening and do not require the difficult digging that starting a garden
usually requires. However, if you are lucky enough to have a great location
for a garden and like to work outdoors, the plants will always prefer to be
in the ground. Some plants will grow quite large and do much better in the
ground for that reason alone. Container gardening requires diligent watering
and regular feeding, but it can be easy and fun. The main things you will
need are:

*Clay Pots (or plastic) 8" to 18" in diameter (it is a good idea to combine
several herbs together of the same watering requirements)
*Good Potting Soil (enough to fill your pots)
*Plant fertilizer (Organic or slow release Osmocote pellets recommended)
*Watering Can or Hose
For planting Herbs, you’ll need to allow at least 8" in diameter for each
plant. Later you may want to transplant to larger pots because they will
outgrow their pots over time. (Basils can grow to over 2 1/2 feet high.)

First prepare your potting soil by filling the container and adding plant
food according to the directions on the package for vegetables. I prefer
organic fertilizers or slow release Osmocote pellets which last a long time
and are less likely to overfeed. Moisten the potting soil by adding water
and mixing soil until it feels damp all the way through. Place the pot on a
saucer and you are ready to plant.

Next, dig holes large enough for each plant, turn the plant upside down, tap
the bottom, and gently pull the base of the stem until the plant comes out
of the container. Place the plant in the hole and fill around the edges
pressing gently. Water the plant immediately after planting and then water
them only when the soil gets dry to the touch. Over watering can be just as
bad as under watering for Herbs.

Plants should get at least 4 hours of sunshine per day (certain plants will
appreciate a bit of shade in the hot summer months, during the afternoon
hours). They can grow with less, but they will not grow as well. For
harvesting, you simply cut off about 1/3 of the branches when the plant
reaches at least 6-8" tall. Cut close to a leaf intersection and your plants
will regrow very quickly. Some plants such as parsley grow from the center
and need to have the oldest branches removed leaving the new growing point
intact so the plant can regrow.

The History of Aprons

I have my Grandmother's aprons and still use them!
The History of Aprons
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath,
because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and
used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for
removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even
for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks,
and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had
shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much
furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch,waved her apron,
and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace
that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know, and love, the story about Grandma's
aprons. Or it can be a good history lesson for those that have no idea how
apron played a part in our lives.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.
granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.

But Love!

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