Fun Times At Curls!

~Barb is supposed to be a part-time, substitute, mail carrier, but during the summer she has to cover for people on vacation so she works A LOT! This means we don’t get a chance to get together a heck of a lot. The same thing happens from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Hurray! She was off on Wednesday so I went up and spent Tuesday and Wednesday night with her. We had a blast!

When I got up to her place Tuesday afternoon, we had a wonderful walk around looking at flowers, birds, butterflies, etc. Took pictures of butterflies and flowers. Some of the flower pictures have already been posted.

I brought up a surprise craft project for us to do and she had a surprise project too!

This is how we started Wednesday morning; tea, cherries, and birds! Beautiful, clear morning. The bevy of quail were having a grand time running all over. The mockingbirds were engorging themselves on Barb’s berries. I am so thankful that All She Wants To Do blogged about the Peterson Bird app sale. I’d been wanting it and $.99 was quite a deal. Whipped out the iPhone and turned on the app to check out several bird calls. It was so funny to hear the Gambel’s Quail call back when we played their audio. Tried to get the Kestrel to come back by for a visit and kept playing it’s call, alas, it was to no avail. Saw a new bird for my life list – a Canyon Wren. This beautiful song was floating down to us from the roof top right above, when we glanced up there was this small bird with a long beak. The Jimmy Durante of birds! It then flew to the rocks below putting on quite a show by climbing all over the rocks. Finally there was such a large ridicule of mockingbirds that all of the smaller birds were scared off.

After a few hours the sun was high, the birds were gone so we decided it was time for breakfast. Barb whipped up a special, delicious Breakfast Sandwich.

Barb’s Delicious Breakfast Sandwich

Whole Grain Bread – toasted
Cooked egg – break into hot pan, after the white is a bit solid, puncture the yolk so it spreads out and cooks.
Slice of cheese – Barb used American.
*Peach butter – Barb’s home-made

Toast the bread, top with the cheese slice, add cooked egg to the very top. Slather with Barb’s home-made Peach Butter! 😎 *You can still make the sandwich without peach butter.

I’ve been wanting to cover compositions books. That’s the project I brought up for us. This is the craft area, we pulled out Barb’s kitchen table. The table was set up so we could watch our British mysteries while working. Sent a pic to the hubs and he said it looked as if a bunch of Kindergarteners had taken up residence! We’ll have a separate blog for our altered composition books AND the crazy project Barb had us do. 😎 Staples has the graph paper composition books on sale now if you want to get one and try the instructions we’ll be posting.

Such a wonderful time! Blinked my eyes and it was Thursday time to go home. Barb had to head to work. Her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just Chick Time – no guys allowed! 😎

On My Way Back Home

– It rained while driving home from Montana through Idaho. But all was good. I spotted two Bald Eagles, about 30 miles before we got to Butte, MT for the Interstate change.

We were almost to the state line in to Idaho, when I told my husband we need to stop at the next rest stop. I didn’t realize it was the Lima, MT rest stop until we were there. And sure enough, the car just automatically drove to the sandwich shop. Man, I love those sandwiches!

As we are driving in Idaho, my husband says, “Look at those cows running.” I look over and see hundreds of buffalo running. It was so cool. It is hard to see them. They are the dark spot running from left to right near the top of the green.

We stayed over in Ogden, UT and headed out early the next day for Las Vegas. As we are driving, I am looking at cherry trees. Then I spot a sign “Cherries for Sale.”  We exited #242 for The Red Barn.  We bought fresh cherries and Cherry Concentrate Juice. It is a sour cherry juice I plan to use in my lemonade. It is a must stop if you are going through.

The best part of the trip was having and extra hour with the time change. I set the clock back and told my husband we had an extra hour, so we could stop at Zion National Park. My husband looked at me and laughed, “Smooth move.”

The red soil is called “Navajo Sandstsone.” It is found in Arizona, Utha, Nevada and Colorado. We camped at the southern end of Zion last year and since then it has become my favorite National Park. If you have a National Park Pass, this short trip through the park is great. If not, wait until you have time to visit the whole park.

As you leave Utah, you come into a small part of Arizona through the Virgin River Gorge. The drive is a fantastic view.

The Virgin River shaped this canyon. As you can see the river is flowing red. If you would like to see a video of the drive click here.

The drive from San Diego to Butte, MT on Interstate 15 have lots of cool things to see. This is just a small example from our trip to Montana and home. 🙂

The Week of the Scone

Ever since the tea at AubreyRose, I’ve been hooked on scones.  I just made my third batch! Scones originated in Scotland.  It is said that the name came from the Stone of Destiny, or Scone.  The Stone of Destiny, Scone, is an large oblong block of red sandstone which has been used for centuries as the place where Scottish kings were crowned.  This stone has significant importance to Scotland! When Scotland fell under the rule of England around 1200, the stone was taken as a spoils of war and moved to Westminster Abby.  There was a treaty in the 1300 signed by both sides in which the stone was to have been returned to Scotland.  Guess what? England didn’t return the stone.  On Christmas Day 1950, four Scottish students broke into Westminster Abby and stole the stone, accidentally breaking it in two during the process.  In 1951, the stone was in possession of the Church of Scotland, when English authorities found out they demanded its return.  Finally in 1996 during a large ceremony on the border between Scotland and England, the stone was handed back to Scotland.  It is on display in Edinburgh Castle.  Provisions were made that the stone would be borrowed by England for the coronation of royalty.  In 2008, The Stone of Destiny a full length movie was released with the advertising subtitle: A Heist 600 years In The Making. It is quite a brilliant movie, the hubs and I really enjoyed it.  We didn’t know any of this history.  Of course, while we watched the iPad was continually in use looking up facts. 😎 Both of us have lines from Scotland in our heritage; mine is Malcolm and hubs is Ewing.  I’m saying that’s the reason why we’re hooked on scones right now! 😎

The scones we eat are a quick bread.  The original scones were triangular-shaped made with oats and baked on a griddle.  Today there are many more varieties.  Most are made with flour and butter and shaped as triangles, rounds, diamonds, and squares.  And then, there are mine.  I’m too lazy to roll out the dough and cut so I roll a ball and squish.  So, I guess squished can also quality as a shape. Some scone recipes are cake-like and some are like rocks, I like the scones that are more biscuit textured. Enjoy!

A guest to my site writes the blog Lorna’s Tearoom Delights she says her site is about “Enjoying tea and tearooms around Scotland”. She has her first guidebook to “splendid” Scottish tearooms.  That is on my list for a visit to Scotland.  I really do have to see the ruins of the Malcolm castle which is said to be haunted!

Susan’s Cranberry-Walnut Scones

Ingredients:

1 egg
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 cup cranberries*
1/2 cup walnuts**
1/2 cup milk – might need a tad more

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together.  Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like small peas, or smaller.  Add the cranberries and walnuts, mix ingredients together very well.  In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg well.  Add the milk to the egg and whisk until foamy looking. Add the milk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir the mixture until the dry ingredients are moist, don’t over mix.  If too dry, add a bit more milk be careful not to add too much.  I use a parchment-lined cookie sheet to bake the scones on.  I like to flour my hands take about 1/8 cup of dough, roll into a ball and squish on the cookie sheet.  Cook at 425 F for 10 – 15 minutes until tops light brown.  I try to cut down on sugar, but for special occasions I add Turbinado sugar to the top. If you like prettier scones, roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter.

This is really a basic recipe for scones.  You can add any type of fruit, nuts, etc that you like. *I substitute blueberries, cherries, or any dried or fresh fruit I have on hand.  **I substitute pecans, slivered almonds, or macadamia nuts.

Serve warm with the lemon curd for a heavenly taste treat!

Susan’s Lemon Curd

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 T lemon zest – I zest the lemon before I squeeze
3.4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed and strained
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter – cold and cut into small pieces

Instructions:

Briskly whisk the 3 eggs together. Put into a saucepan.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.  Whisk together well.  Stirring constantly, cook on medium heat until mixture starts to boil, usually around 5 – 6 minutes.  Curd should be thick at this stage.  Turn off heat and briskly beat in the butter.  I think it’s best when served at room temperature.  If you don’t like the little chunks of lemon zest, then strain the mixture after cooking.

Excuse me now, I hear a scone and lemon curds calling my name.  Time to put the kettle on! 😎