Friday, March 28, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

I have been making a lot of things with lemons lately.  I think this is because lemons are so bright and yellow and the citrus gives them such a nice tang.  It reminds me of Spring and maybe I am hoping it will encourage the weather to "Spring up" around here. 

It might be working.  It is currently raining, which is a big improvement over the snow we have been getting.


Lemon Meltaways

14 Tablespoons butter, softened  This is 2 sticks, minus 2 Tablespoons or 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons
1 3/4  cups powdered sugar, divided use
1 Tablespoon lemon zest  I needed 2 big lemons
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice  I used a little less than one lemon (do it after zesting)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

parchment paper


Preheat the oven to 350°.


Beat the softened butter with a stand mixer until creamy.  I use a Kitchen Aid.

Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  You will use the rest of the sugar after baking.  Scrape down the bowl from time to time.  This will take several minutes.


While the mixer is doing the work, place the flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together.  Set aside.


Add the lemon zest and juice to the butter mixture.  Stir until incorporated.  Add the flour a cup or so at a time until just blended.  You don't want to beat all the light and fluffy out of it.


If the dough is too sticky, you can cover it and chill for an hour or so.  It is still cold here, so I went right to scooping.  Use a small (1 inch) cookie scoop and place on parchment or Silpat silicone baking sheets.


Bake for 13 minutes. or until the edges just start to brown.  Cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 


Place 1 cup of the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and add a few of the warm cookies.  Toss gently until they are covered in sugar.  Set aside.


When the cookies are completely cooled, roll them in the sugar one more time.  You may use a bit more than one cup for this.  They may be a bit sticky and this gives an additional coating.  Store in  a covered container.


Serve with a cup of tea.  And a pretty cup and saucer.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Rhett set up scratching at the scratching post and howling like he wanted to start something.  I usually throw him outside when this happens.

But it was snowing.  Still, I opened the door to show him the weather and hopefully he would quit fussing.


Instead he walked out.  I waited at the door thinking he would turn around and come back in.


And waited.  Then I went back to coffee and the paper.  He was out for quite awhile, long enough for his tracks to start filling in,  but I couldn't see him.


What was he doing?  He must have been under the porch as he didn't have a lot of snow on him.


Even Ash wanted to know.

Not talking. 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is This Spring?

I never finished trimming the dead bushes after the winter killed them.  I went outside yesterday to spray my peach trees and look at the apples to see how they were coming along.  I noticed that some new growth was coming up in the dead growth of some plants.  Time to get trimming and raking.  Spring has sprung!


And this is what I woke up to.  Snow. Not massive amounts, but I am no longer planning on gardening today.  And maybe not tomorrow.


Oh, poo.  I'll be trimming in the dead of summer.  Not fond of this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

We like pork tenderloin.  In fact last night Lee mentioned that he prefers it to steak.  It is always tender and hard to ruin it.  I found a new recipe in the latest Parade magazine that was spotlighting citrus meal ideas.

This is an easy recipe, but you need to start it the day before, or at least 4 hours before cooking so it can absorb the flavors of the marinade.

Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, not the flavored kind.


Place all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into a gallon Ziploc bag.  Yes, you can put it right in the bag, but I worried I would spill it, so I did the bowl first.


Trim the fat and the white band called silverskin from the tenderloin.  Get a sharp knife under it, grasp the silverskin tightly and slide the knife along the underside.  You won't get it all on the first pass.  I don't know why the butcher can't do this, but they don't.


Place the tenderloin in the Ziploc bag and get out most of the air.  Seal it and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.  You may want to turn it over halfway through, so that it absorbs all the flavors equally.

Clean up is easy.  Seal the bag and toss.

Heat the oven to 450°.


Heat a cast iron, or other oven safe pan, over medium high heat with a bit of oil.  Sear the tenderloin on each side for about 2 minutes.  Place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes at 450°.  Remove the pan from the oven and let the tenderloin rest for 5 minutes.


Slice across the grain and serve.  We also had cole slaw and I made a bit of horseradish sauce.  We have leftovers for the next dinner, but only because we used a lot of will power...and I want an easy meal tonight.

I liked the soy and lime flavors and you could really taste them.  I did leave the tenderloin in the marinade for a whole day.  The horseradish kind of overpowered the flavors, so I didn't use much.  Delicious!

He Loves Me Not

At a very sad time in my life I adopted a dog from a local shelter.  I was working, but Lee was home most of the time.  In a matter of days, RJ was Lee's dog.  This was NOT Lee's idea.  It was all RJ.

If Lee leaves the room, RJ follows.  If Lee takes a shower and leaves the bathroom door open the dog waits on the bath mat.  If Lee goes outside the dog follows.  He follows the tractor when scraping snow or bush hogging in the hottest weather.


Sometimes Lee looks at me and jokingly whines, "He's following me."

We don't take him in the truck often, because he thinks he should sit in the passenger seat and so do I.  I win that argument.  He got car sick in the back seat once, so he mostly gets to stay home.

If we both leave, he sits by one of the windows that almost allows him to see down the driveway.  We got a camera and monitor so WE can now see approaching cars, but RJ hasn't figured out how to look at that.


So he presses his face against the window in the office.

Or the one in the bonus room.  And waits.


And waits.

I am obviously here for companionship.  I am taking the pictures, after all.  But I, who rescued him from the shelter, am obviously not good enough.  It is Lee he waits for.

How do we know this?  Because he leaves dog nose spots on the windows.


It's kind of sweet.  And kind of sad.  Most mostly disgusting.  Time for the Windex.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wedding Venue

We spent a few days last week visiting our daughter in Northern Virginia, sometimes known as NOVA.  Part of the time was spent looking at a few ideas for her future wedding.


The first place we went is called Zion Springs.  It is a Bed and Breakfast that is booked for the whole weekend. 


The four B&B rooms are for wedding participants for the weekend.   You have the use of the grounds, complete with tents, chairs and tables for the rehearsal, the wedding and reception.  It is a beautiful spot.  We could tell, even though it was currently sort of brown and dead.  Winter, you know. sigh  I used the photos from their website.


Next we went to the Barns at Hamilton Station.  It is a fairly new winery and they supply the grounds and the rooms for the reception.  It is also very pretty, but you get more time and more of an event, the whole weekend, after all, at Zion Springs.  These pictures were captured from their website.


No decision is made, but we stayed at The Barns for a wine tasting and a picnic meal.


They have music on Friday and Saturday so we stayed for some of that, too.  A good evening. 


And Happy Birthday, Tara!



Monday, March 17, 2014

Spoke Too Soon

Recently I was delighted with the warm weather.  I saw daffodils emerging from barren soil and decided that Spring had arrived.  Ooops.


I know official spring doesn't stat until later this week, but I was really looking forward to warmer weather.  Ooops.


Not Spring.  Not warmer.  Is it one last hurrah?  Let's hope so.


Because I am ready for Spring.  And some warmer weather.  Like tomorrow, maybe??

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Toy

I bought Lee a new toy.  When people drive up to see us, we are unable to see them.  If they don't walk to the front and ring the bell, we might not know they are here, unless the dog barks.


So I bought a camera to mount on the garage and facing the driveway.  This way we can see if the FedEx driver is here.  An alarm dings when it detects motion.  There is even a speaker so that he can tell us if he needs a signature.  It has a record function so we know if we have missed any visitors.

Pretty cool, right?

The only bad part is the fact that Lee now has a job to do.  It has to be mounted and wired into an outlet.  So instead of a gift, I gave him a job.  Happy Valentine's Day!  Yeah, I know.  Not very romantic.  But I gave him other gifts.  And they were romantic.  A car magazine subscription is so romantic!


Lee needed help.  I am an acknowledged electrical apprentice.  ("Lee, does this make me an electrical apprentice?"  "Sure."  See?  He acknowledged it.)  I ran the fish tape puller thingy down the hole Lee had cut, to the outside electrical box.  He attached the Romex wire and I pulled it up.  Then I went in the house and he did the rest.  Hey.  I'm the apprentice, NOT the electrician.



Now you can't sneak up on us any more.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Is It Wrong?

We got someone else's Southern Living magazine in our mailbox by mistake.  The picture on the cover showed a lemon lime pound cake.  It looks like we may get Spring after all and that sounds like a perfect Spring-type dessert, don't you think.

It came on Saturday.  And there is no mail pick up until Monday, so I accidentally glanced through it.


And then made some copies of a few recipes.  Ooops.


I put it back in the box on Monday, so it could be delivered down the street to the right address.

I didn't remove any pages or drip on it.

Is that wrong?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Has Come At Last

I stepped outside this morning.  The snow was gone.  When did that happen?  It was even almost kind of warm.  When did that happen?  The sky was even kind of blue.  At Last, I thought.

That made me think of the Etta James song.  And my brain substituted a few lyrics.  Sing it in your head to Ms. James.

At last
The spring has come along
My freezing days are over
And life is like a song

Oh yeah, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
The garden's growing clover  (or weeds, at any rate)


This morning when I saw you

Okay, now forget that terrible version and go back to the classic.


But LOOK.  Daffodils! 

The woods aren't looking spring like,


but I changed my clocks last night to spring forward and I am deciding it IS spring and it WILL be warm.


And when sweltering summer humidity comes I will wonder why I was in such an all fired hurry for spring to come

At Last.