“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Day . . .

Guy Noir loves the fresh-falling snow! I couldn't resist making a little slide show of him walking around the yard investigating what might be under all that fluffy white stuff! I'm hoping this is my last post of snow until next winter. I am pretty much ready for it to be spring! Got to dash, I'm still trying to work on my "To Do" list and have been able to cross off a few things, but still more work needs to be done! ~~ Diane

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Have Promises to Keep . . .

Many of you may look at this and think it's way too late to be posting winter poems, well technically speaking, spring does not arrive for another few weeks.  Actually spring arrives on March 20 this year.  If you live in the northern climes as I do, then it may not feel or look like spring until mid or late April. This marking of time has got me thinking though. Thinking that I better get may act together! No more hiding under the covers and hibernating till spring arrives, I have much to do!

illustrated by Lois Maloy
After checking my never ending To Do List and realizing that I was not crossing anything off, but only adding things to it, I decided I needed to take a blog break to catch up.  I find that blogging, writing and reading other peoples blogs is much more enjoyable that say doing my shop inventory or getting our taxes organized! However since I can not put them off any longer I will be taking a couple of weeks off of posting to my blog.  I may still stop in and visit on other blogs, but as the poem says, 'I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep', so no guarantees!

Take care everyone! I will be back in March sometime.
~~ Diane ~~

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Winter Walk . . .

Come with me on a winter walk.  We start in my own backyard and travel through a
large naturalized park nearby.  ~ Diane

Nature is full of
full of the 
so that not a
escapes its
fashioning hand.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Linked with A Piece of Heaven

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Pink Valentine . . .

Sharing what I've found, a little pink and pretty, on this Valentine's Day week.

Source: etsy.com via CraveCute on Pinterest

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolat the Movie - A Valentine Treat

Still in the Valentine, chocolate treat mode here. Wanted to share this little sweet confection with you today. The movie 'Chocolat' has to be one of my favorites, especially this time of year. I actually tried renting it several years ago, when I couldn't locate it, I ordered it online.

It was the basis of my 'Chocolat' theme party and Girls Night In! We enjoyed plentiful chocolate and this decadent movie! I love everything about this movie, the setting, the actors, the theme and the music! Take a look at the trailer below.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is the sermon by the priest....

My Goodness…

“I’m not sure what the theme of my homily today ought to be. Do I want to speak of the miracle of our Lord’s divine transformation? Not really, no.

I don’t want to talk about His divinity. I’d rather talk about His humanity.

I mean, you know, how he lived his life here on Earth, His kindness, His tolerance.

Listen, here’s what I think. I think we can’t go around measuring our
goodness by what we don’t do. 
By what we deny ourselves what we resist
and who we exclude.

I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace
what we create and who we include.”

From the 2000 movie “Chocolat”, spoken by Pere Henri, the French Priest.

 Chocolate Martini Recipe
1 1/2 shots Chocolate Liqueur
1 1/2 shots creme de cacao
1/2 shot vodka
2 1/2 shots half-and-half

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour
into a chilled cocktail glass.

Enjoy with a little Johnny Depp on the side...

Has anyone else seen this movie and what was your favorite part?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Song for Sunday - Falling Slowly

Around this time of year, hearts and cupids are hovering all around and roses and chocolate are being purchased in the name of true love.  But don't we just really need a good love song to put us in the mood?

I have to admit that I have been in love with this guys voice since the moment I heard him over ten years ago.  He was singing with Charlotte Church on her special and I thought, who is this scrawny teenager with the enormous voice? I told my husband that this guy was going to be a huge star.  Well Du-aah! Obviously I was not alone in thinking this and now he is adored by millions around the world.  His music is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is mine and even though I have not seen him in concert in person, I have followed his career and purchased most of his albums. 

I remember talking to a friend a few years ago about his music, she mused that she wanted her daughter to marry him! Well her daughter may have a chance, she lives in NY now and I guess he's still available.  It's kind of sad that a guy that constantly sings love songs is still single. I feel bad for him!  Poor Josh, I hope he finds true love some day.

Here is how someone described Josh Groban's voice. I dare say, I can not disagree!

"He’s got a voice like an angel making love to 
another angel while eating an angel food cake!”*

A very humorous article titled Reasons Women Love Josh Groban

Don't mind me, I'm going to wander off and listen to my early Valentine's present from my husband, Josh Groban's new CD "All That Echos".  Have a lovely day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

We Love Double Chocolate . . .

Double Chocolate Butter Cake

We love chocolate! We love to get it, we love to give it! And remember, Valentine’s Day is one week from today.  During these somewhat gloomy winter days, what could be better than an easy and  delicious chocolate dessert to share with your loved ones?  Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to cover a bit of background on the history of chocolate.

Scientists have discovered that chocolate was invented at least 3,100 years ago in Central America and not as the sweet treat people now crave, but as a celebratory beer-like beverage and status symbol.  Unfortunately, chocolate languished as this sorry, bitter concoction from about 600 AD until 16th Century Europe when the Spanish began to add cane sugar and flavorings such as vanilla to their sweet cocoa beverages. From this point the French, Swiss, Irish, English and Americans all had a hand in creating the chocolates we know today. All I can say is, Thank You!

We’ve all heard that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. It contains an endorphin called phenylalanine, levels of which in the brain have been linked to falling in love. Chocolate has been used as a gift since the days of the Aztecs and Mayans and was used in marriage and fertility ceremonies.  Yes we Love Chocolate! It tastes good and it makes us feel good!

Now it is possible to find several brands of Organic and Free Trade Chocolate available. I always try and use as many organic ingredients in my recipes as possible. I find that the resulting product is tastier and healthier too.  If you would like to see some of my favorite organic products, visit my board on Pinterest.  So without further ado, here is the recipe.

    Double Chocolate Butter Cake

    2 cups sugar
    5 tablespoon cocoa powder
    1   egg, plus 2 eggs
    1   (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (neufchatel works well also)
    1   (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
    16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter, and stir until well blended. Pat mixture into prepared pan and set aside. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining 2 eggs, and the cocoa powder. Lower the speed of the mixer, and add the sugar. Continue beating until ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add the remaining 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened butter, and the vanilla, continuing to beat the mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Spread filling over cake mixture in pan.

    Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not over-bake the cake; the center should still be slightly soft when finished baking. Let cake partially cool before cutting into pieces.   Top with whipped cream or ice cream.  Sprinkle with cinnamon for a little spice.

In the top photo, I wanted a smaller version to serve on a dessert buffet, so I simply scooped out about a heaping tablespoon of the cake and rolled it into a ball. I placed them in muffin papers and set them aside until serving time.  When ready to serve, I popped them into the microwave for about 
15 seconds and then topped them with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon before
 placing on my serving table. 

The photo below is how we usually serve it...a big square, with lots of whipped cream! 

This is an especially good reward after shoveling snow!

Linked with The Charm of Home

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Nature Notes . . .

Image by Edith Holden from The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

The cold depths of our winter all too often bring depressingly low cloud cover like we have today. The sunlight struggles to break through and make up for all the energy lost during the long, dark nights. Today the sun is nowhere to be seen, the sky is a flat white, no clouds, no blue skies. The Roman mythology goddess of Spring, Flora herself appears to be locked in ice!

It's nice to know that she will eventually make her spring time appearance in April, even though that seems so far away. While I wait for her, my thoughts will be wandering and for the next week or so will be occupied with red hearts and chocolate candies. Thank goodness for Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Song for Sunday - Little Boxes

You know how sometimes a song pops into your head and you don't know why? Something triggers a memory and suddenly you are humming a tune.  That happened to me the other day. At first I was humming the tune and those of you around my age (no spring chicken) can relate to this, I couldn't quite remember the words or the name of the song.

Eventually after a few minutes of humming, words started to form and then I was a kid again singing this song. Some of the words still escaped my aging brain, so I did what everyone does these days. I looked it up on YouTube and sure enough here was my song from childhood.  Little did I know that it had been refreshed by a show called 'Weeds' which I had heard of but never watched. Most of you have probably heard of this song but I am including a link for more information about Malvina the song writer and a cute little treasury that I made of some darling little 'boxes' from some of my fellow Etsians.

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1962 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1990.

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Little Boxes on the Hillside..... an Etsy Treasury by CraveCute