Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pound Cake

When our daughters were small, one of my favorite things about being their mommy was reading books aloud while they snuggled up to me on the sofa. The Little House books were a family favorite. The books are full of wonderful stories about the beauty and harshness of early American frontier life. They are also chock full of lessons if one is inclined toward that sort of thing. That's how we found the Little House Cookbook, because we were looking for supplemental materials to go along with what we were already reading. The pound cake recipe on page 204 is by far my favorite recipe in the whole book. It's based on the following excerpt from Farmer Boy.

That day they made ice cream again, and ate the last cake. Alice said she knew how to make a pound cake. She said she'd make one, and then she was going to go sit in the parlor.
Almanzo thought that wouldn't be any fun....
That afternoon he came into the kitchen to see if the pound cake was done. Alice was taking it out of the oven. It smelled so good that he broke a little piece off the corner. Then Alice cut a slice to hide the broken place, and then they ate two more slices with the last of the ice cream.
Farmer Boy

Just reading that small bit of Farmer Boy makes me kinda wish I had some little ones to snuggle with on the sofa again. Those years sure were magical, though it's also fun watching our daughters mature into women. Our four grown daughters will be home for Thanksgiving tomorrow - all four! My heart and house will be full.

Pound Cake

1 lb butter (2 cups)
1 lb sugar (2 cups)
1 lb eggs (8 medium eggs)
1 lb flour (4 cups)
grated nutmeg

That's about all there is to it. Cream the butter. Add the sugar. Add eggs one by one. Add flour bit by bit but don't over blend. Mixture will be stiff.

Spoon batter into two bread pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from pan to cool.

The house smells so good when this is baking. It tastes so much better than anything you'd buy at the grocery store.  Sometimes I add a little rum or brandy to the batter (about a cup) but it's quite good without it. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just One More

Almost every Friday, Tilly gets super groomed so we can go visit folks at Methodist Hospital. She is such a good dog and for the most part loves getting groomed. (The only time she pulls away is when I get to her back paws. I think she's ticklish.) Even though it's exhausting to do all of her grooming myself, the pay off is totally worth it. It's amazing how just seeing a dog walk down a corridor affects people for the better.

The Methodist Hospital staff is great. Therapy dogs have been part of their program for years.  They always encourage us to see just one more patient. Just one more. I love it. So does Tilly. This might be the best volunteer job ever.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Peonies in a Glass Vase

As oft happens (with me), this is the second time I've painted this image, the first being on the art heart in the last post, which, incidentally, is not finished, yet. Per the norm, this one  might or might not be finished, yet, also. (Is that too many commas?) It takes me a while to "see" things that need to be tweaked....if they need tweaking at all. I suppose that sometimes I just need to live with the paintings before deciding if they are properly and completely all the way finished.

For the most part, Peonies in a Glass Vase was really fun to paint. The un-fun part was that the paint dried too quickly to easily manipulate before I had time to get to the whole of it on account of not having large enough chunks of time with which to work. This took hours and hours, too many to count, so I broke it up over several days. It's becoming more and more common for me to take several days working on things....maybe because I'm using larger canvases. (?) Consequently, some parts of this got painted over and over in order to keep blending the oil paints.

This painting is quite large, 29" x 32" give or take a quarter inch. Also, it's painted on wood, which was interesting, too, because the wood grain presented its own challenges with ridges and dips and such. Plus, even though I gessoed the wood (using gesso as a verb), the paint absorbed more into the wood than what usually happens when painting on linen.

Here's something I haven't thought about until this very second. Duh. How on earth am I going to wire this for hanging? Hmm....that could be a problem.