Saturday, February 28, 2015

Favorite Recipes: Strawberries & Cream Mini Muffins

We had just purchased some great looking strawberries at Sam's Club when Sarah sent Nigella Lawson's recipe for "Strawberries & Cream Mini Muffins." It was meant to be. Sarah said she wanted to contribute something mini as that's her thing for book club treats. We used her substitutions of applesauce and yogurt instead of oil and sour cream. Thanks for the recipe, Sarah. . .we really enjoyed these muffins!

Strawberries & Cream Mini Muffins

1 c. strawberries, slightly under-ripe, diced into quarter-inch pieces
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 c. vegetable oil (I usually sub 1/4 c. applesauce)
1/3 c. sour cream (I usually sub 1/3 c. plain yogurt)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 t. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line mini-muffin tins with mini baking cups.

Put diced strawberries in a bowl, spritz lemon juice on them and stir gently to combine.

In medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, sugar and baking powder. In a small bowl, beat together oil, sour cream, vanilla and egg. Pour over dry ingredients, stirring to combine with wooden spoon. Fold in strawberries. Spoon into mini-muffin tins. Bake 12 to 14 min or until done.

Place tin on wire rack and leave for 5 min. Take out muffins and continue cooling them in the paper cups on the wire rack. When muffins are completely cool, place the powdered sugar in a small sieve and dust the muffins.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Song That Made Chuck Smile Today

"Get Along Stray Dog" by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Favorite Recipes: Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms

In 1971 Chuck was discharged from the Army after being stationed in Germany. One of the things he brought back was a two volume set of "The Gourmet Cookbook." One of our favorite recipes from these cookbooks is Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms. We have made this recipe many times for many people and still love it. It's a great recipe. . .we hope you enjoy it.

Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms

1 pound tender beef (we used top sirloin)
Beef marinade (we used Allegro Original Marinade)
Approximately 2 T. olive oil for browning meat
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
2 cups white button  mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 T. butter, divided
1/3 cup sour cream
2 t. yellow prepared mustard
1/2 t. beef base
2 T. flour
2 cups beef broth
6 oz. medium noodles
Chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

Cut beef into narrow strips about 2 inches long and put into a ziplock bag with enough marinade to coat all surfaces. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours and drain before browning. If not using a marinade, generously salt and pepper the meat and let stand 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Brown the pieces of meat in small batches using olive oil and set aside. In a separate pan saute lightly the onion and mushrooms using 1T. butter and set aside.

Whisk sour cream, mustard and beef base together and set aside.

Make roux by blending 2T. butter with 2T. flour over low heat until the mixture bubbles and is smooth. Gradually whisk in 2 cups beef broth and cook the mixture until it begins to thicken. Boil it gently for 2 minutes and stir in the sour cream mixture, stirring constantly. Simmer very gently, without boiling. Add the meat, mushrooms, and onion to the sour cream sauce. Cover and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Serve the Stroganoff hot with noodles.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where Eagles Soar

Recently we took several trips in search of the American Bald Eagle.

 In Stella, Missouri, we had the largest number of eagle sightings.

 Sunrise in Stella, Missouri

An eagle at sunrise

A mature bald eagle in the center of the photo and an immature eagle in the upper left. 


We also drove the Northwest Arkansas Winter Bald Eagle Auto Tour which began in Gentry and ended in Maysville.

 Along the way we passed a drive-through safari near Gentry and saw prairie dogs . . .

. . .and ostriches!

Our final journey took us to Schell-Osage Conservation Area near Schell City, Missouri.

 An immature bald eagle

Interesting eagle facts:
-- An eagle's vision is 5 to 6 times sharper than a human's.
-- Eagles fly 20 to 40 miles per hour and can reach speeds of more than 100 miles per hour while diving.
-- One of the largest birds of prey in the world, bald eagles have a 6 1/2 to 8 ft. wing span and weigh 8 to 15 pounds.
-- The term "bald" refers to the Old English word "balde" -- meaning white -- rather than without feathers.
-- The distinctive white head and tail mark the adult bird that is at least 4 to 5 years old. Immature eagles plumage varies from solid, dark brown to mottled brown and white. Males and females are colored alike.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Crystal Bridges

Several weeks ago we headed to Bentonville, Arkansas, to visit the "State of the Art" exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

 Traveling over 100,000 miles throughout the United States and visiting over 1,000 artists, two curators from Crystal Bridges selected 103 artists to participate in this one-of-a-kind art exhibit. 
Here are a few of our favorites. . .

 Crocheted entrance to the exhibit, "It's You", by Jeila Gueramian from Brooklyn, NY

Our tour guide in front of "Fort Hood Hole" by Gina Phillips of New Orleans, LA. The artwork is comprised of fabric, thread, ink and paint. Her grandmother is depicted on the far right 
and enlarged below.

 "Forever, Almost" by Ghost of a Dream (Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom) from Brooklyn, NY. 
This piece is made entirely of lottery tickets.

 "Visionesses I" by Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun from Jacksonville Beach, FL. 
This artwork is made with handcut paper, cardboard and glue.

"Abstraction: Kiowa by Design" by Teri Greeves from Sante Fe, NM. 
Beads on canvas high-heeled sneakers.

 "Plastic Lila" by Sheila Gallagher from Boston, MA. This piece was made from plastic trash found on the street and then melted in a barbeque grill to make the individual panels. Then the panels were assembled into the finished piece.

 "Black Cow" is also by Sheila Gallapher. 
This painting is made completely with smoke from a candle.

 "Subhan' Allah: The Lord's Prayer" by Meg Hitchcock from Brooklyn, NY. She cuts single letters from holy books like the Bible and the Koran and then recombines them.

 "Through the Looking Glass" by Adam Belt of San Diego, CA. This structure mimics NASA's Webb Space Telescope and is made with a two-way mirror, mirror, wood and LED lights.

What a great exhibit and what a great museum!