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Archive for March, 2010

Last weekend we visited a zoo.

I know, these institutions might not be perceived positively by some, but I assure you that the animals in this zoo receive very good care and loads of love.

And this is where we happened to find the cutest baby in the whole universe… a little baby orangutan.

It is him.

Being one year of age, his main activity throughout the day is to have as much fun as physically possible.

And in his case, that is A LOT…

It took him about half a second to get from the above position…

… to this.

Then a very special dramatic gesture ensued…

… followed immediately by rolling over and grabbing a piece of a nutshell (because nutshells are just so much fun!).

And of course, striking the cutest pose imaginable was a must.

You’ve won my heart baby orangutan.

If you had a Twitter account, I’d follow you right away.

Nevertheless, I have this strange feeling I’ll see you again very, very soon…

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Hello!

I am sending you my warmest greetings from the spoon… (Can you see me waving at you?)

Anyway, I’ve just finished crocheting this placemat.

More precisely, it is an Easter placemat (… and I only hope it resembles an egg).

And yes, there are two of them… because there are two of us who share the table.

My boyfriend grins slightly when I serve him food these days…

Nevertheless, I think he is slowly getting used to my colorful Spring ‘n Easter worshiping mania.

In case someone arrives to visit, they will have to dine like this too – no matter how hard they might fight, kick or scream – there’s just no way to escape my Easter placemats.

If you feel like it, you can make these cuties too.

I’ve prepared the pattern for you.

It’s quite easy and it will provide you with the sweet, precious time to relax and watch you favorite programs without feeling guilty for just sitting and staring at the TV screen (whoops… somebody has just revealed her huge secret… many Martha Stewart shows have been watched here recently).

This is the pattern:

Enjoy dear friends!

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Would you like to know what I’ve been doing for the past two hours?

Sitting in the kitchen and staring at the Mini Apple Pies I’ve just made.

I LOVE the way they look… so cute, adorable and so much fun to make.

And I haven’t even started talking about the way they taste – it’s left me speechless… up till now…

Just try making them – your family will love you and your kids will surely be awed and remember them for quite some time.

These are the ingredients:

And this is how the story goes:

1. Place the flour, sugar (2 tablespoons/30 grams) and salt in the bowl of your electric mixer.

Stir with a spoon until combined (don’t use the mixer yet… unless you want to disappear in white, dusty fog forever).

2. Add the butter (2 1/2 cups – 350 grams) and mix (now you have the permission to use the mixer) until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream until the dough holds together when pinched. If necessary, pour more water.

Mix for only about 30 seconds.

4. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour before using.

5. Meanwhile, we can prepare the filling…

Peel the apples (I am using Golden Delicious here), core them and cut them into teeny tiny dices.

Place the dices into a bowl.

6. Add the sugar (1/2 cup – 100 grams), lemon juice, salt (1/4 teaspoon), cornstarch (some of you may know this as corn flour) and the wonderful, fragrant, heavenly cinnamon.

(What would I just be without cinnamon…? Probably some purposeless creature. I am sorry for this purposeless note.)

7. Melt the butter (2 tablespoons/30 grams) in your microwave and add to the mixture.

8. Mix, mix, mix.

I am glad to inform you that now we’ve reached the apple filling perfection.

Please, be stronger than me and try not to feast on this heavenly mixture at this stage.

9. Preheat the oven to 356 F (180 C).

10. Grease your regular sized muffin tin with vegetable oil.

As you can see I am using a silicone muffin tin – this one doesn’t need much oil… if any.

11. For our mini pies we need the bottom crust and the top crust – the bottom circle being slightly wider than the top one.

Hence, I searched my house for two glasses – the bigger one measuring about 4 1/2 inch (11 cm) and the smaller one being about 3 1/2 inch (8,5 cm) in diameter.

These perfectly fitted the regular muffin cup – which should be about 2 1/2 inch (6,5 cm) in diameter.

Enough with numbers.

I dipped the glass in flour.

12. I removed the dough from the fridge and placed it on a lightly floured surface.

Using a rolling pin, I rolled it out to about 0.1-inch (3 mm) thickness.

Then I went on and cut out a circle from the dough.

13. Now press the circle gently into the muffin cup.

14. Fill the dough with the apple mixture so that it comes over the top of the pan.

15. This is the smaller glass being dipped in flour.

Using the smaller glass, cut out another circle and…

16.  … put it on top of your pie.

With your finger, press the edges down gently.

Then, using a fork, create some nice ornament.

Let your fantasy fly free and create any ornaments that come to your mind.

Here, I grabbed my bamboo chopstick and created another decoration.

At long last, my chopsticks found some use around here… I think they are happy now…

17. Using a sharp knife (which is exactly what I am NOT using here), make two slits in the centers of your cute pies to allow the steam to escape.

Continue doing this process until you’ve run out of the dough and apple filling.

18. Place in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

19. Once they are done take them out of the oven and let them sit for about 15 or 20 minutes so they get cool enough to handle.

Enjoy dear friends!

This recipe makes 11 pies.

(If you’d like to see more of my posts, click this.)


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Shower

I treated my plants to a little shower today.

I just thought they could really use losing the dust they’d gathered over the past months.

A huge sigh of relief – that’s what I heard from them immediately.

Spring does this to me… it makes me do things I don’t even think of during winter time.

Viva la primavera!

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Baskets Overload

I love baskets.

Luckily, we have a very special person in our family – my Grandaddy.

Not only is he the sweetest, most hardworking and helpful person, but he can also make such wonderful baskets as these.

This is a pot cover.

Isn’t it just wonderful?

I can perfectly imagine using these in the garden.

Gathering apples or nuts will be so great with them.

Just lovely.

My Grandaddy made 84 baskets this winter.

Yes, 84 baskets.

And he proclaimed that he’d had no time to be bored.

No wonder… hm… 84 baskets… he’s my hero.

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Delicious, delicious, delicious… there’s no better way to describe these lovely tarts.

Oh yes, there is – saying the word ‘delicious’ about a hundred times.

So good they are.

The crust is a little crunchy, beautifully tender and full of a wonderful thyme and buttery taste.

And the filling, oh the red cabbage filling… the taste of the cabbage combined with the thyme, cumin, the slight sweetness of sugar and the pleasant sourness of vinegar – this will all provide for your private and instant stairway to heaven.

Trust me – I’ve already had three.

These are the ingredients:

And this is how to make them:

1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt (1 tsp) and thyme (1 tsp).


2. Pour the flour mixture into the the bowl of your electric mixer.

Add the butter and beat until crumbs form (about 8 minutes).

3. Add the water (1/2 cup) and mix again.

4. Remove the mixture from the bowl and form a ball (if the dough is too tacky to work with you can use a little flour for your hands).

Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator to chill.

5. Heat the oil in a larger pot over medium heat.

6. Cut the onion into two halves….

Cut each half horizontally…

And slice.

7. Add the onion into the pot…

And cook until soft.

8. Slice the cabbage… (from now on I was trying my best not to show you my fingernails)…

9. Add the cabbage into the pot along with 3/4 cup water and reduce heat.

10. Add 2 tablespoons thyme, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon cumin.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Then uncover and cook until liquid is gone.

Stir the mixture every now and then so that it doesn’t burn.

11. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Form a log and cut it into 9 equal pieces.

12. Form a ball from each piece.

13. Place a ball onto a lightly floured surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 6-inch (15 cm) circle.

Place some filling in the center of the circle.

14. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling in a crimped pattern, leaving the center uncovered.

15. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the tarts onto the sheet.

16. Bake at 356 F (180 C) for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Yum!

Enjoy, dear friends…

This recipe was adapted from here.

If you’d like to see more of my posts, click THIS.


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Yesterday afternoon caught me wondering when the real spring was coming.

After the long, cold winter the weather is becoming slightly milder around here where I live, and the days are significantly longer then they were just a while ago.

Which leaves me feeling like dancing on clouds.

But I want more, I need more, that’s just not enough for me…

My curiousness became so unbearable it made me go outside and perform some serious investigation.

After certain difficulties involving wading through mud and things I’d rather left unspoken I found this…

A CLEAR EVIDENCE… see?

Please, feel free to express your gratitude in e-mails because this is some important research indeed.

Wonderful buds… they will soon be bursting with unbelievable amounts of life.

Of course, I will be posting the pictures of these trees in bloom as soon as it all happens.

Because there is nothing like a cherry tree dressed in white.

At least I think so…

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