In between raindrops this weekend I ventured outside to see if I could find signs of life in my garden. The primroses always come through. They bloom here several times a year.
Not exactly a flower, but the viburnum is looking colorful
The little snowdrops are about to bloom!
This sedum always reminds me of a flower during winter
This euphorbia's foliage reminds me of a flower too.
The hellebores seem slow this year, but they will be open soon!
The camellia still has a ways to go
I have other mini irises that are getting close to blooming, but I couldn't resist these at the grocery store! They make me smile when I leave for work in the morning.
The heather looks extra nice right about now
And doot do do dooooo (trumpet sound) : A crocus or two have popped up and are ready to bloom! Now if that doesn't give hope to the winter weary I don't know what will!
Hopefully the sun won't be crying for much longer - I think sunshine is predicted around here this week. Nevermind the 20s at night that go along with that!
I got a little nudge this weekend from a fellow blogger (Lynn at Happier Than a Pig in Mud) to throw out the Great Cooking Magazine Challenge again to get us all out of our winter doldrums. Lynn...the challenge is on. For all of you that have stacks of cooking magazines sitting around with all of those great recipes waiting to be tried this challenge is for you too!
I've done this before but this time I'm going to handle it a little different. I am giving you one week to gather those mags and start cooking. Show up back here in one week..next Sunday, February 6th and I will have a post up for you to share your reviews of the recipes you've tried. It doesn't matter how old the magazines are. Magazine clippings you've held on to are okay too. Just try something new!
I'll give you a little inspiration. I dug WAY back in my magazine archive for this recipe for Beef Paprika. It's from the October/November 2002 issue of Taste of Home! I had a chuck roast I wasn't sure what to do with and pulled a few older mags off the shelf and came on this one. We enjoyed it over rice with some cute little broccoletti (tastes like very tender broccoli) and a green salad. Great comfort food dish!
Serves 2 - easily doubled for a larger family
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper (my addition)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup water, divided
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Dash cayenne pepper (or my stand by Tony Chachere's seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- In a large saucepan, brown beef in oil on all sides. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Add 1/2 cup of water, ketchup, brown sugar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, mustard and cayenne; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours or until beef is tender. Combine flour and remaining water until smooth; gradually stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over noodles or rice. Yield: 2 servings.
I also tried a recipe out of the Penzey's Spices catalog. They always have great looking recipes and its hard for me to throw them out. But they have all of the same recipes online I discovered, so I threw a stack of them away this week. This Banana Blueberry cake from the Spring 2010 catalog is a winner. Its got a similar taste to banana bread, but a lighter texture and the blueberries are a nice touch. The original recipe called for an icing but I thought it was good with out it. I sprinkled some powdered sugar on for a little *something* extra.
Banana Blueberry Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed fine
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons milk, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan and set aside. In a roomy bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the batter and mix well. Stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the blueberries, if using. Pour into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Frost, if desired. Now its your turn!!! I'll be making something else for the challenge too. See you back Sunday :-)
I'm joining in for Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. Go check out all of the other great mosaics HERE.