Monday, April 30, 2018


Strawberry Pound Cake 
Serves 12 
Calories per slice: 330
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

The original recipe can be found here at allrecipes.

1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup milk
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Grease two loaf pans or 1 square baking dish.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color.

Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next.

Beat in vanilla extract and ground almonds with the last egg.

Pour flour alternately with milk, mixing until just incorporated.

Fold in strawberries and water; mixing just enough to evenly combine.

Pour the batter into prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Carefully run a paring knife between the cake and the edge of the pans, and allow cake to cool completely before removing from the pans.
Slice, serve and enjoy.  It was very yummy.

What did we think of this dish.  It's a keeper.  One thing I was surprised at is that there is no baking powder or baking soda added to the ingredients.  When I have made others they have always been part of the list and at first I thought that might have been left out by mistake.  However, as I am a corner-to-corner kind of a girl I followed the recipe and kept my fingers crossed.  While the poundcake didn't rise as much, the texture was still moist and tasted great. 

I would recommend reading the comments people have made at the allrecipes website.  Some have said that they would put all the batter in one loaf pan and cook it longer, maybe 10 minutes more but you would have to check depending on your own oven temperature.  Mine was done after 50 minutes.  I like the loaf shape but it would be fun to try a square pan next time, or a round one, whatever you have on hand.  Adjust the cooking times accordingly.

I skimped on the strawberries as I didn't have quite enough for a whole cup.  I thought I might even add more than a cup next time, maybe a cup-and-a-half.  
I think you could add any fruit to this.  I would definitely try blueberries, or raspberries for this recipe.

As I didn't have any strawberries left over to decorate the top of the cake, I used blueberries in place of them.

I had a few whole almonds left in a packet, and ground them using a blender.  You can also leave a few larger crumbles.  I would also add a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, just because I love the taste of almonds.

When removing the cake from the pans one of them stuck a little, even though I had loosened the sides as directed. I eased a spatula under the cake, which helped a lot.  Maybe I didn't grease the pan enough.

To serve I sprinkled icing sugar over the top of the cake.  I also have English Custard in the pantry.  Pouring it over the slices would make a nice dessert, though I liked it as is, sliced and popped on my plate.

A big thank you to my daughter-in-law for being my inspiration.  She is an excellent baker and sent over a packet of muffins the other day, which were delicious.  She has also done a lot of baking to give to family and friends.  This reminded me that I hadn't done any baking for quite a while and as I had strawberries in the fridge, there you go.  I made this Strawberry Pound Cake that I had in my collection, and have been wanting to try for a while.  

Well, apart from trying to expand this piece of cake by blowing it up with a bicycle pump, the only alternative was to find a pretty plate!  I just had a slice with a cup of tea and take my word for it, it was yummy.  Next time I will be putting all of the batter into a square baking pan.  It is just too tasty not to make again and both Gregg and I gave it a thumb's up.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


was in February (2018).  The day was gorgeous and we didn't need an overcoat.  We were lucky with the weather.  Here are a few photos from our trip.

Pretty skies all the way out there.

This is one of the first overlooks we stopped at.  It had a rocky outcrop and for the first time I saw a path that led down the hill and around the big boulders.

We always take at least one selfie on our mini road trips.

One thing that struck me was how much I loved those long, dry grasses.

The views are always breathtaking up there.

On our way home we stopped for an ice cream.  At this particular place there is no seating inside.  It is just a kiosk with an outside eating area, and a barn attached.  They make the ice cream on the premises.  Whenever we are out this way we never pass by, it is that good.  They must have some very happy cows there because their ice cream is the best we have tasted.  The sign was near the kiosk window.

It will be a couple of months before we get back to Skyline.  It is always fun to see it in a different season.

Have a great day everyone, and thank you for all the comments you leave. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


"I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird, or the rising of the sun on a misty morning.  There they are and they are beautiful."

~Pete Hamill~

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


The taller circular building in the photo above houses the Gettysburg Cyclorama.  I shared a few photos of this particular exhibit here.  It is a huge, ceiling to floor, circular painting by French artist Paul Philippoteaux, showing Pickett's Charge, during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863.  Truly hard to capture in photos and if you ever get out to Gettysburg, I high recommend you go see if for yourself.

There are props in the foreground to give it a more realistic feel.

There were four versions painted, and this one is the only original.  You can read the whole story at this link.  A painting full of history and I get the same feeling here as I do when I go to every war memorial I have ever been to.  It very much feels like a sacred place.

In the museum there are advertisements from the day.  The following photo shows a circular map of the Cyclorama.

The next advertisement is about the second version of the painting, completed in 1883, exhibitied in Boston 

We moved into another section of the building, and the rest of my photos were taken inside the museum.

A Union Soldier

It was very hard not to get the reflections from the glass, sorry about that.

A troop of African-American soldiers fighting for the North.

Sojourner Truth, who was the author of the quote below,  (c 1797-November 26th, 1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist.  

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.  She grew up speaking Dutch as her first language and helped recruit black troops for the Union Army.  In 2014 she was included in Smithsonian's magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time."  I read about her at this link.  It is an amazing story.

Sojourner truth c1870.jpg
(photo found online)

Gregg standing in front of a mural showing people from North and South.

There will be one last post from Gettysburg, when I can put it together, a shorter one.

Monday, April 23, 2018


I have made an almost identical recipe to this one using Old-Fashioned Oats, but this calls for Steel-Cut.  I generally buy a large bag of dried cranberries, to be used in a lot of recipes, including salads, but my favorite way at this point in time at least, is in a bowl of oatmeal.  

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cranberries

Total time: 6 hours and 15 minutes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time on low: 6 hours

Servings: 6

1 cup steel-cut oats
3-1/2 cups of water
1-1/2 cups of peeled and chopped apples
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Place the steel cut oats, water, apple, cranberries, brown sugar and vanilla extract into a slow cooker.  Stir to combine to dissolve the sugar.  

Put the cover on the crockpot,  set to "low" and cook for 6 hours.  

This was excellent.  The original recipe suggested cooking on low for 6 to 7 hours for firm oats, or 8 hours for a softer texture.  6 hours is how long it took for mine and it was fine.  If I go over the six, my oatmeal tends to start turning too brown around the edge and gets clumpy.  My suggestion is to read the instructions on the original recipe here.  Everyone’s crockpot is different, so you'll have to judge by how yours operates.

I usually double the ingredients.  I like to freeze in 1-cup portions, and then if we are in a hurry, I take it out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave for roughly 3 minute.  That is just a guideline as I know microwaves can vary in cooking times. 

This is one of my favorite breakfasts, and seems especially good when it is cold outside. It reminds me of when my mother sent us off to school, well fortified after eating a bowl of hot ‘porridge‘, on a rather chilly and foggy morning in the middle of winter.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

HAPPY .....

"Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty.  The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all living creatures."

Founder of Earth Day

The history of Earth Day can be found at this link.

And if you haven't seen Jane Goodall on Google yet, I have embedded her video at the end of my post.  If you can't view the video, you can see it here at YouTube.

I have long admired this lady.  Back in my single days we shared the same surname.  I have always had a great love of animals, and in my youth I wished dearly that Jane and I were related.  I asked my father if we were.  His answer was no, but perhaps you are kindred spirits.  That's my connection.

Happy Earth Day Everyone.  Trying to do my part in my own small way.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


2.01 p.m.  We haven't long returned from running a few errands.  At the supermarket we found the Gerbera Daisies.  It is the first time I have seen flowers on sale this year.  It did my heart good to see them, so pretty and colorful.  Though it started out chilly, by the time we left the sun was shining, and so was I at the sight of those pretty flowers.  

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair."
~Susan Polis Schutz~

Well, no I wasn't doing any dancing, maybe just a little in my head.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Several people were drawn to this sculpture and I waited my turn to take these photos.  He was America's 16th President.  

At this link you can read his story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


“Stories aren't just stories if they've been read through before, for once a cover has been opened they turn into something more. A fingerprint of everyone who's ever turned its pages, and a bookmark of the you you were when read at different ages. It's as though with each reread you leave a piece of you behind, a sliver of the past pressed for your future self to find. Until it's no longer the story that makes you pull it from the shelf, but the chance to reunite with younger versions of yourself.”

~Erin Hanson~

Monday, April 16, 2018


This is not a recipe for people who have a peanut allergy. 

I am not sure if you are still interested in the recipe posts, but these are ones I like to add so that they are readily available for the next time we make it.  It is always fun to tweak the ingredients to your own enjoyment and tastes.  

20-Minute Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl
6 to 8 servings

I found my recipe here at Life Made Simple.  Thank you Natalie for a wonderful meal.  Natalie suggested you might like to add cooked chicken or shrimp.  I used whatever I had in the pantry, and didn't want to go back up to the store.  It was a delicious, meatless meal.

Preparation time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

1 lb. spaghetti (we already had a packet of Thai Rice Noodles in the pantry, and cooked them following the package directions)
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha (I added a teaspoon but it still wasn't very hot, and will add 2 teapoons next time.  Other half also adds more at the table.)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons of honey
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green onion, minced and extra sliced thinly for garnishing
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (we changed this to Thai Basil as it is our favorite.  We tore the leaves off the stem and left them whole.)
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (Planters), chopped and whole.
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the spaghetti (or rice noodles) and cook until al dente.  

Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl combine the vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, peanut butter, honey, minced garlic and minced green onion.  Whisk vigorously until smooth.

Drain the noodles and return to the same large pot.  Add the sauce, red bell pepper, carrot, cilantro (or Thai basil), peanuts, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.  Toss until combined.  

Garnish with extra chopped peanuts and/or sliced green onions if you like.  Thai basil leaves also make a nice garnish.  It all depends on your own taste.

Delicious meal and one we will be adding to our list of favorites.  We found that because we had changed over to rice noodles, and the directions on the package called for draining thoroughly and rinsing them in cold water, that we needed to warm them back up again in the pan with the other ingredients.  We served up once they were heated through nicely.  Some might enjoy these cold and I am sure they taste very good.  At this point in time, we prefer our noodles heated.

There are leftovers for other meals and they only seem to get better the day after.

We still do the buddy system when cooking. I prepared all the ingredients so that they were ready to go when Gregg got home.  I didn't go any further because he enjoys cooking since retirement, and he finished the meal.  We were shocked when we realized that, as of June he will have been retired for five years.  

All that preparation and cooking time took longer for me.  I never seem to be able to get it all done in the time allotted, which is fine because I always enjoy the process.  I start early with all the veggie  and sauce prep, when my energy level is high, refrigerating where necessary, then when it comes to actually putting everything in the pan, it is very easy.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Whenever I find myself visiting museums, such as the one on our trip to Gettysburg, the old photos always interest me.  I look at the faces, the expressions, their costumes, jewelry, background if there is something more than just a photographer's plain backdrop, even the frames that hold them.  At each photo is a snippet of history.  (My dear Mother always said I was a curious child and always found me with my head in a book.)

"Rose Greenhow, Spy - Rose Greenhow was a well-to-do widow in Washington D.C., and a Confederate spy.  Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, once said that one of her secret messages won the Battle of First Manassas."

I found this intriguing and did some research when I got home.  Rose Greenhow was a widow and a very well connected socialite, who ardently supported the south.  She knew the likes of John C. Calhoun, seventh Vice President of the United States from 1825 to 1832, and James Buchanan who was the 15th president of the United States, from 1857 to 1861.  She used her connections to pass on key information at the start of the Civil War.  

In early 1861 she was given control of a pro-Southern spy network in Washington D.C.  The war began in April of 1861.  Jefferson Davis credited her with ensuring the South's victory at the First Battle of Bull Run in late July 1861.  

When the Government found out that information was being leaked, the trail led to her.  She was put under house arrest by Allan Pinkerton, a Scottish-American detective and spy, after finding incriminating evidence at her home.  Allan Pinkerton was well known for establishing the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

Rose was eventually sent to Old Capital Prison where her eight year old daughter, also called Rose, was allowed to stay with her.  The prison mainly housed political prisoners.  She was never subjected to a trial and eventually released from prison in the summer of 1863, when she was deported to the south.  President Jefferson Davis sent her as a courier to Europe, where she also gleaned sympathy for the Confederacy from many of the European aristocrats.  There were also strong commercial ties between Britain and the South.  She had audiences with Napolean III and Queen Victoria.

In 1864 Rose left for the Confederacy carrying dispatches.  (Her daughter stayed behind in Paris, where she had been attending the Sacret Hearts Convent.  Little Rose eventually returned to America in 1871, married a U.S. army officer, later divorced and returned to France.) 

Her mother sailed on a British blockade runner called the Condor, which ran aground off Wilmington, North Carolina.  Fearing imprisonment she took a rowing boat to shore.  A wave capsized the boat and Rose Greenhow drowned, weighted down with $2,000 of gold coins hung around her neck and also sown into her underclothes.  These were the royalties from a memoir "Imprisonment", which she had written while in Europe.  She was honored with a military funeral and on her gravestone read, "Mrs. Rose O'Neal Greenhow, A Bearer of Dispatches to the Confederate Government."
I found the above information here and here.  There is a lot more than shown in my post if you are interested.

The above photo I found online shows a photo of Rose and her daughter, Little Rose,  while in prison.  More of Little Rose's story can be found at this link.  I didn't find anything else about Little Rose.  My only hope is that she lived a happy life in her remaining years.

Friday, April 13, 2018


I am curious as to what interpretation you would come to after reading this poem.

“There is a fable in the forest
Whispered by the branches, as they blow.
A tale about the truth of leaving
Things that no longer help you grow.
For on the surface it looks simple,
Like you only need lace your boots,
But there is nothing quite as painful
As untangling your roots.
And proof is found in tree stumps
Of the price some pay to flee,
That they would cut their lives in half
To cut the time before they're free.
Yet from the little left behind
Life has been known to grow again,
For unless you take your roots
A part of you will still remain.”

~Erin Hanson~