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Monday, 31 March 2014

To a SOUTHERN BELLE : BIRTHDAY GREETINGS!

I hear a lot about you, Maybelle.  Like:

                                         you're really cute,

                                        but a bit of a demon.

You’re really lucky . . .  
 I mean . . . Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake !?!!

and you’re as lazy as I am.  J

You’ve got the “best stretch of all time”,

you’re pretty good at sharing your toys,

  
but not your food,

and you’re a real opportunist.


Maybelle, you sound like a lot of fun!

I sure do hope we meet some time, and I’ll be glad to share a treat with you.

They’re crunchy,
tasty,
 good to the very last crumb.



Wishing you a very happy 3rd birthday, Cuz!

Love, 
                   Vesper

***************

 Vesper’s DOGGIE BISCOTTI


        Based on Rebar Modernfoodcookbook by Audrey Alsterberg & Wanda Urbanowicz   

I checked and all of the following ingredients are good for dogs but if you can’t find some of them, just carry on without them  -- I’m sure your doggie won’t mind. 

1 cup unbleached flour
¾ cup oat flour
1 cup cracked wheat  
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup rye flour
½ cup wheat germ
¼ cup milk powder
1 tbsp kelp powder
2 tsp brewer’s yeast
        Combine all the dry ingredients above in a large bowl.

2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp peanut butter
½ cup hot water
1 cup water (or unsalted broth)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ carrot
1 egg
   
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Dissolve the honey & peanut butter in hot water in smaller bowl.
3.   Add the water or broth and the oil to the smaller bowl.
4.   Grate the carrot and add to the smaller bowl.
5.   Lightly beat the egg and add to the smaller bowl.
6.    Combine wet and dry ingredients.
7.   Form into 2 separate balls.  Shape these into long logs about 2 inches thick.
8.   Lightly grease a baking tray.
9.   Bake on tray for 1 hour.
10.                Cool logs a bit.  Then cut into slices one-half inch thick and place again on two greased baking trays.
11.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Then turn them over and bake another 30 minutes.  (If 350 is too hot in your oven, reduce heat to 325.)
Let cool completely before storing.  They should be completely dry and crunchy.    (Biscotti should be fully cooked so that they won’t go moldy when stored.)


P.S.  The old ones send their love, too!






   


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Remembering George


George is gone from this world but not from our hearts and memories.

Here’s one of Stuart's favorite memories:

Myself, Steve, Lorne, and Clayton were in the house driving everyone nuts. I was 8 so Steve and Lorne were about 10. George gave us a .22 rifle, a handful of moldy bullets, an axe and a shovel and told us to get lost. Well, hell, we were happier than a pig in mud. 


We scraped the bullets clean, loaded one shot at a time, had to pull the trigger 5 times to get a bang and repeated, we chopped down a couple trees, dug some holes and did not come back until dinner time. It was great. It was freedom. No adults were around so we knew we could not be stupid...and we were not stupid. These two events shaped my outlook on life and on raising kids. Such small events had such huge impacts on me. I firmly believe kids should be set free. Take a chance and let them explore. Again, thank you George. You are still alive in me and I will pass those gifts to my children...you have many lives left in this world to live.  
                  You were your own man and that is something few can say.


                                         Nobody could say it better than that, Stuart.  

                                                 Steven, Anastasia, Stuart

 More about George: 


Saturday, 22 March 2014

CHARLESTON WRAP-UP



I made so many notes of things to see in and around Charleston – much more than we had time for even though we had 5 nights there.  For instance, we missed the

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site:  663 acres:  500 Old Towne Rd:  $7.50:  17th cent costumed guides tend crops (indigo, rice, cotton) fire cannons & muskets.   Informal English gardens, Animal Forest . . .

and the

Cypress gardens:  52 Monks Corner:  24 miles north of Charleston:   163 acres:  flat-bottom boats, footpaths, alligators, woodpeckers, otters, owls etc., reptile center, aquarium, aviary, butterfly house:   $10,  Great in March

Never mind, we trucked, 
saw as much as we could take, and had a grand ol' time!
at the Charleston Museum

Rainbow Row:  these Georgian houses are
“a favorite subject of artists”

the Calhoun Mansion
 where they filmed that Patrick Swayze movie, “North and South"

irresistible fountains


including the "pineapple"


All this touring about required exceptional fuel:

raw oysters at the Amen Restaurant

Beef cheek tartare at the Two Boroughs Restaurant

And then, there was . . .

HUSK: the restaurant that gave Nicole and me our best evening meal:

 
Nicole had the most amazing pork ever!

 
  I had catfish on smoky grits  -- it was the first time I truly enjoyed grits.

Bryan’s chicken was nice, too; just not sensational.

That’s not everything we saw or did or ate, but I hope you’ve got the general idea . . .

Charleston’s a cool place for a family holiday!





Wednesday, 19 March 2014

MAGNOLIA PLANTATION TOUR . . . Charleston



There are several antebellum plantations one can tour just outside Charleston along the Ashley River Road.   We decided on the Magnolia Plantation because it was the only one with a petting zoo.


The tour, including transportation, cost $51.00 each, but was worth it.  Along with 2 other groups from our hotel, we were bused to a central spot where a few other people joined us, and then another 10 or 15 miles to the plantation.

First off, we walked the beautiful grounds around the house.

The red bloom on the swamp will turn green later in the year.

Don't touch the hanging moss -- it's full of chiggers.




Bridal parties can pay $300 to get married here . . . or they can come for pictures for free if the bride will scoot into a bush to put on and take off her wedding dress so that she isn’t seen at the entrance.

Then, we took the Nature Train for a 45 minute tour of the wildlife refuges of the plantation.  There were lots of alligators!


Next was a tour of the house – its most impressive feature for me was the incredibly wide balcony running all the way around.  However, the original plantation house was burned during the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as some Southerners prefer to term it).

Nicole and I actually skipped out on the house tour, and went into the small biblical garden.  The plantation owner was a minister who broke the law by setting up a school for his slaves. 

It was past time for lunch so we went for a tuna sandwich and beer. 

When Bryan finally caught up with us and put up his feet for a couple of minutes, Kepler and I offered bright green grass to the ponies.

From there, we went to the Petting Zoo.