Monday, December 27, 2010

Best F'ing Christmas evah!!!

Fun, Family and Friends (thanks to M,J, M, D, C, J, B, P and P)

Flaming candles and Fancy gifts

Fine Food, Full tummies (aka Fat) :-( (thanks to me and D’s cookies)

Fascinating stories (thanks to P)

Fantastic musical toast (thanks to the other P)

Frosty,Foaming beer and Fine, Fruity wine.

Plenty of Foolishness to go around.

We’re so, so Fortunate to have such Fine Family and Friends!!!

Fondly, Elenka and Birdman (my Fav!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all....

....and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Painting....

Deering Oaks Bridge in the spring.  Tempera Paint.
Deering Oaks is a park in Portland, Maine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

My last recipe from Thanksgiving is presented here. Mr. Downeastdoingstuff claims he doesn't like artichokes, but he seemed to have no problem wolfing it down pre-turkey. The artichoke hearts are pulverized essentially, so no one is the wiser. I, myself, thought it was excellent. I liked the addition of the pepper jack cheese for that extra bite.

Here ya go.....


1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Heat the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 5 minutes and squeeze dry.
I REPEAT: SQUEEZE THE EVER LOVIN' CRAP OUT OF IT OR ELSE YOU WILL BE SORRY! Devote a clean dish towel to the job and dry the sucker.
Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop in a food processor.
Combine all the ingredients except the jack cheese in a large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the jack cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a chafing dish and keep warm over a low flame. (OR NOT)
Serve with bagel chips.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Emergency dessert......

There are times when basic instincts take over. Survival of the fittest.
I often find myself in a situation that takes drastic measures, or at least creative measures, or......well, I do what I can.
Such is the emergency dessert. In between holidays, it's slim picking around here in the dessert department. So here is the solution, in my mind anyway. It does the trick.

One container of chocolate syrup that has been in the fridge since summer.

One container of whipped cream. LIGHT whipped cream. I hear it contains no calories as opposed to it's heavier brother, HEAVY whipped cream.

Carefully pour the chocolate syrup into a teaspoon. I don't use a tablespoon because that would be pigging out, tempting though it is.

Squirt out a healthy dollop of the light whipped cream. Deposit into mouth.

Do it again.

Yum. Emergency solved.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Outside my window pane.....

Could it be? Oh, it be.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I was just sitting here, fooling around on my laptop, with my jacket still on, because Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, aka Birdman, was making a fire in the woodstove, and it wasn't balmy enough in the kitchen to de-jacket.

I suddenly feel my phone vibrate in the pocket of my jacket and reach in to retreive it.

But my phone wasn't in my pocket.

It was out on the hutch cabinet 6 feet away.

And it wasn't ringing.

Or vibrating.

What do you make of that??

(keep it clean.....)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2nd pie recipe.....

Now, this might look like a Pecan Pie to untrained eyes, but, oh no, it's not just a Pecan Pie....
it's a Pumpkin Pie that's underneath a Pecan Pie AND it's oh so yummy. What a good combination!!

Pecan/Pumpkin Pie....the ultimate in Alliteration

Pumpkin Filling

2 c cooked pumpkin purée
 (I used one can.)
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar

2 T sugar

1 extra-large egg, beaten well

1 T heavy cream

1 T butter

1 T vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

1/4 t cinnamon

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of nutmeg
Pecan Syrup

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c maple syrup (darker is better here)

2 extra-large eggs

1 1/2 T butter, melted

2 t vanilla

1 pinch salt

1 pinch cinnamon

3/4 c pecan pieces
Pumpkin Filling

Combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl; set aside.
Pecan Syrup
Combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl; set aside.


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Using my Butter Pie Crust (I didn’t use this crust, I used my old standby made with Crisco and flour.) recipe, prepare a 10″ pie plate with an uncooked crust (I use my 9 1/2″ Pyrex deep-dish plate).
Spoon the filling into the pan, spreading evenly to distribute. Gently pour the pecan syrup on top. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool and serve.


Butter really does make the best pie crusts. The secret is keeping the dough cold and working it as little as possible.
Makes one 8” – 10” double crust pie.

2 1/2 c flour
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 c (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, grated
1/4 – 1/2 c ice water (fill a cup with water & add a few ice cubes; the colder the water the better)

Grate butter into food processor bowl. Add flour, sugar, and salt; blend in processor, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. 1/4 c water. Using on/off turns, blend just until moist clumps form, adding more water by 1/2 tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour. If you can, chill the piecrust after rolling out and before baking.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Thanksgiving Apple Pie recipe I promised....

This is the recipe I follow except I add dried cranberries to the apple mix, I use lots more apples and I add some chopped nuts to the topping. I also leave out the chopped butter to put on top of the apples. I could never figure out why all recipes ask for that. Seems like a waste of good butter and, ahem, calories. (But you know Paula Deen and her butter!)
This is an excellent apple pie recipe. ( I actually use a little less applesauce...I'm always afraid it will be too runny. Or I add a little more flour. I don't know, it might be perfect just the way it is.)

Crunch Top Apple Pie

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
55 min
6 to 8 servings


Dough and Filling:

  • Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade, frozen, or refrigerated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Images of a great day....

Some recipes to follow.....
Love to everyone there.

Update...just to be clear, that wasn't at my house. I did make the appetizer and the pies, for which I have recipes. The rest is attributable to the lovely D.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Painting.....

A tempera painting commissioned by a colleague. A gift for his brother.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Abstract Sculptures......

My 7th graders just finished an Abstract Sculpture unit. Here are some images showing their work.

Pretty good, I think!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get me the tissues......

I just watched a very depressing movie.....The Lovely Bones. It’s about a 14 year old girl that gets murdered and she tells the story about it as she is watching her family try to deal with the fact that she is missing and presumed dead. They never find the body, which was deposited in an old safe and dumped in the nearest sinkhole. 

So I switched to America’s Next Top Model. This show is about several anorexic woman traipsing around trying to be America’s Next Top Model aka The Lovely Bones. 

This did not improve my mood while I’m sitting on the couch just having devoured 3 huge slices of sour dough bread slathered with a mountain of margarine. This was my dessert following a previous dessert which consisted of two cookies left over from the wedding. My days of applying for America’s Next Top Model are now officially over before they started. I might have Lovely Bones, but you can’t see any sign of them.

So I switch to Man Vs Food. If you’ve never seen this show it’s time you should. Watching a man consume massive amounts of food at one sitting makes you feel like you are Jenny Craig’s dietian. Makes you feel like, heck, I am in total control of what I eat. Where's that Top Model application?

Right now he’s eating a cheeseburger(s) that is 12 inches high. (They had to put a skewer in it to keep it from keeling over.) 

If he can eat it under 20 minutes, he doesn’t have to pay the $20 for the foot tall burger. What a way to save a buck.

Finally, flipping around the channels with the world's worst designed remote control, (thank you Time Warner) I find Biography. Now I’m OK. I'm really OK. It’s about ABBA.

Mamma Mia.

How many times have you watched Mamma Mia? 
Me? I can't count that high.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Wedding D and V.....

Congratulations to my sweet nephew and his beautiful bride. May your lives be filled with joy and love.

Hey, Birdman! Why didn't we have car like this to pick us up after our wedding? huh?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Truth be told.....

So I'm walking down the hall at school to get a cup of tea.
Behind me are two 11 year old boys, talking and walking.
The shorter one says, " My mom says my sister can't date until she is 39 years old."
The taller one says, "39 years old! You're kidding!"
Short one: "Nope. That's what she told her."
Tall one: "Wow. (pause) Wow. Is that the same for you too?"
Short one: "Nah. I started dating last year....."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back to the trip.....

Brief synopsis.....A two day mini holiday....many miles away. Up at the crack of dawn on a bazillion miles to Bar Harbor, Maine. Stay overnight in Prospect Harbor, Maine which is another hour drive in the opposite direction of our home.

Sunday morning......nice breakfast at the Inn with a lovely couple celebrating their first anniversary. Pack up and begin the trek home from our utterly delightful Downeast sojourn.

So where do we end up??

Every hear of Lubec? (Looooooo-BEC) Check out the fine print on the sign. See the word 'Easternmost'?  Ayuh. It's true. The 'Easternmost', 'Westernmost', 'Northernmost' or 'Southernmost' of anything can't be all that good, can it?

Mr. Downeastdoing stuff: (after checking out of the Inn) "Well, what do you want to do now?"

Me: "I don't know, what do you want to do?"

Mr. D: "Well, it's your birthday trip, what do YOU want to do?"

Me: "Well, we can go to Boothbay Harbor on the way home and walk around town a bit."
(translation: go shopping.)

Mr. D: "I don't like Boothbay Harbor, I've been there before."

(Note: He's been to Bar Harbor before, too, but that didn't stop him from going back.)

By now we have driven north out of the Schoodic Peninsula and are approaching Route One.

Mr. D sees a sign.....'MACHIAS 45 miles'

Mr. D: "Oh, look, it's only 45 more miles to MACHIAS! Let's go there!"

Me: groan

Mr. D: "I'd like to go to MACHIAS and since we're so close, why don't we go there?"

Me: "But we've been to MACHIAS before and there is nothing there!" (No offense Machiasites)

Mr. D: "Oh come on, you know I've been asking to go there."

(Yes, he has said a couple of times in the last few weeks that we should drive up there some weekend for whatever God knows what reason. Doing some quick Math in my head I decide that driving the 45 miles today is better than taking an entire other weekend and driving up there for whatever God knows what reason.)

Me: Stupid Me: "Okay"

So off we go.  45 miles more AWAY from home. (Did I mention that we were a bazillion miles from home already?)

Upon arrival in MACHIAS we see that it's only 28 miles more to LUBEC!!  So guess what?

Anyway, the rest is history, so you might as well enjoy some photos of the Easternmost point in the world.

The bridge to Canada. Thank God we didn't have our passports or we might have ended up in the tundra.

Lighthouse in Canada. 
By the way, (I'm so excited about this...) THAT is a REAL eagle on the peak of that little shed. Not a fake actually moved and later flew away. I never saw one that close!

OK, folks, now get ready for this. THIS is the Main Street in Lubec. Not many Main Streets that the photographer can stand out in the middle of the road, like, forever, and snap this photo.
Many store fronts seem vacant. (Really called Water Street)

End of the world aka end of Main Street. (aka Water Street)

The only open place we could find. Went in for a cup of coffee. The proprietor was sooooo nice, made a fresh pot of coffee for Mr. D AND decaf for me. 

A view from one of the windows in the cafe.

Wild blueberry fields.....

BACK in MACHIAS. (again...) Had to stop at the famous Helen's Restaurant for Helen's famous blueberry pie, supposedly the best in the world!

It WAS very good.

Then the old trustworthy Mapquest told us to drive 20-25 miles NORTH from MACHIAS (we were supposed to be heading south...) to get onto the 'Airline' (Route 9) to "destination Bangor, Maine. No clock, no pools, no pets....ain't got no cigarettes".... and then south on the Maine Turnpike, finally heading in the direction of home. 

It was a wonderful weekend that the blueberry pie managed to salvage. It really was.

Thanks, Birdman.

Friday, October 29, 2010


How do you know when you need to have your head examined??

When you go to the first ever in Maine Trader Joe's Grand Opening. That's when.

My frozen food I attempted to purchase, thawed and cooked itself before I was able to check out.

Sooo, my question to you.....Do you like Trader Joe's?

What do you like there?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Road trip......Part Two.....

About an hour away from Bar Harbor and Acadia Park on Mt. Desert Island, is another section of Acadia that is across the water from Bar Harbor and down another peninsula. It's called Schoodic.

This area is far removed from the hustle and bustle of Mt. Desert Island. It's like night and day.

The Park loop is quiet and inviting. We arrived at our Bed and Breakfast, checked in and headed to the Park to see the setting sun do it's thing on the area's beauty.

This is the Bed and Breakfast that we stayed in in Prospect Harbor called Elsa's. It was a lovely, warm and inviting homestead directly across from the harbor.

The view across the street from the Inn. (Notice the light house in the distance.)

A corner of the living room.

The dining room.

The view from our upstairs bedroom. We had our own private entrance from the front porch.

We ate dinner in Winter Harbor. They have their own Village Doctor! 

...and a 5 and 10!

Photo of my husband, Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, aka Birdman (on his blog.) This is the position I see him in most of the time when we are out and about. Heck, even at home he takes many photos of our surroundings!

Down the street was this massive guy. I actually EAT that brand sardines! I didn't think they actually came from somewhere. (yes, I like and about 2 other people)

More to come......