Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A favorite flavour around here ~ we love lemon everything. Here's a toothsome recipe for Lemon Bread that we would like to share:

Lemon Bread
(with blueberries)

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel (set aside)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan (use butter); set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl combine the egg, milk, cooking oil, and the 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in the blueberries and lemon peel.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350* oven for 50 to 55 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Meanwhile, stir together the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon sugar. While bread is still in the pan, brush lemon-sugar mixture over the top of the loaf (with a pastry brush ~ or just a spoon if you don't have a brush). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; cool on the wire rack. (The recipe says to wrap and store overnight before serving...we didn't do that. We ate it piping hot! And it's really good with butter ~ not too sweet.)

~recipe revised from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book~

We went out and bought a citrus zester after we tried the recipe. It should come in handy. But a serrated knife will work in a pinch. Just scrape it across the peel at about a 90* angle.

You may notice there are no blueberries in the batter picture ~ my assistant and I added them at the last moment. A very happy improvisation.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Look who's come to town


Has come to town

With a yellow petticoat

And a pretty green gown

Yellow week

After a little "blogging break" (I needed a wee vacation), I thought I'd try a week of posts along the yellow theme; just the right colour for this sunny new season, wouldn't you say? Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's here!

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

~ Clive Staples Lewis

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In the kitchen

Miss Pea and I make a weekly trip to Trader Joe's while Miss Rae is in ballet class. It gives us a little alone time, and we restock our supply of milk and yogurt. And as Daddy likes to tease, we usually can't walk out of there without a plant. But their flowers are so cheap and they make us so happy! Here is our fix this week ~ lipstick pink Gerbera daisies:

And the chocolate chip cookies I've had a hankerin' for. Check out the pantry for the recipe.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves with dessert, here's what's for dinner:

Greenhouse Pasta and Cheese

(I don't use a recipe with this, just add stuff 'til it's right, the way Gram did. So I'm making some estimates here.)

I love all the many different pasta shapes; pretty much anything you like will work ~ macaroni, fusilli, penne like I used today...

Cook your pasta according to the package directions.

In another saucepan, melt about 4 tablespoons of butter and stir in about 4 tablespoons of flour. Make a roux (paste, another thing from Gram). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in about 4 cups of milk ~ we like whole. =) Then start adding your cheese. We use whatever cheese is hanging out in the fridge, so tonight it was some tangy Mexican queso and some shredded cheddar. Mr. Browning likes the sauce thinner, so maybe 2 cups of cheese altogether. Save some to sprinkle on the top when you pour the sauce over the pasta.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350* until it's bubbling and thickened and you just can't stand it any longer! Dig in!

I've heard of an infinite number of things to add like bacon, chives, bread crumbs...egg (if you're like our favorite president Reagan.) The possibilities are endless. Toss in whatever sounds good to you at the moment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheets for the nursery

I can't find flat sheets anywhere that will fit a crib or toddler bed, so I decided to make some myself. I chose two cotton prints and switched the colors for each sheet's ruffle.

Morgan's pink sheet with green ruffle:

Raegan's green sheet with pink ruffle:

These were fairly simple to make once I figured out how I wanted them to look. I cut out the main rectangle to fit the mattress with allowance for the hems and enough overhang on each side. I wanted to be able to tuck about six inches under the end of the mattress, and have a little extra at the top to turn the pretty ruffle over the blanket. I zipped up the hems, and gathered the ruffle which is sewn to the underside of the sheet. Shabby chic, yes?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I love how the leaves fold up at night. I don't see any with four leaves, but we hope you all have a blessed St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ducks love water

Are you afraid to wash your feather pillows and bedding? Well, fear no more, feathers were made for sudsing! Just think about those cuddly "fowl" creatures paddling about ponds and lakes, preening their beautiful plumage to make them buoyant. Feathers and down benefit greatly from occasional laundering, provided they are completely dried after their baths. Be sure to use a front~loading machine on the gentlest cycle. This is a big part of spring cleaning at the Greenhouse. You might want to throw a couple of clean tennis balls into the dryer with your pillows to fluff them up and prevent wet feathers from clumping together (nobody wants to snuggle up to moldy geese), although my Organic Housekeeping guru Ellen Sandbeck says, "There is conflicting information about drying down~filled items. Some sources suggest that putting clean tennis balls or canvas tennis shoes in the dryer helps fluff up the down; others say that the pounding of the tennis balls or tennies damages the down and reduces its useful life. I prefer to err on the side of caution and keep the tennis equipment out of the dryer."

If you're still unsure about dunking your stuff, at least plump up and air out your comforters and pillows regularly in the sun and breezes.

Feather bedding has a distinctive fragrance that everyone in my family just relishes! And natural materials are much kinder than synthetics to those who suffer from allergies. I'll take a snoot~full of goose over formaldehyde any day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Red envelopes

I found out about these websites from Blessed Femina and just wanted to encourage everyone to participate.




Friday, March 13, 2009

Referral Friday

An issue that is very close to my heart...I hope you all will visit my friend for her words of peace and encouragement, and to make yourselves heard for the precious little ones who can't speak for themselves.

"A person's a person, no matter how small." ~Dr. Suess

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Peanut butter cookies with a twist

I started mixing up a batch of peanut butter cookies a few days ago and then realized that I had plum run out of vanilla. I searched through my spice drawer and found some almond extract; would that work as a substitute? I took the risk and now this recipe is a weekly request. My husband (who doesn't expound normally) said that they are the best cookies he's ever eaten! My heart swells.

Go try them out!

Greenhouse Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter (do you like crunchy or creamy?)

1/2 cup sugar (go with the real stuff here, no faux)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg (guess which egg we used today)

drum roll, please...1/4 teaspoon almond extract (this stuff is strong!)

1 1/4 cup flour

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the sugars, soda, and the baking powder. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Stir in the flour. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; make cross~marks with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 7 minutes at 375*. A baking stone makes great cookies, if you have one!

~I revised a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An egg!

It's been such a busy day with ballet and choir practice, and appointments, and an emergency stair repair...here's just a quick glimpse at our first little offering of the season from Miss Lizzy. Such a lovely shade of bluish~green; I wish the picture showed it better! Never mind the snappy air and the snow lingering in the shady corners; spring must be close!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spendy chick

On our little half acre plot of earth in the suburbs we have two hens. They live in a dog kennel with a home-made coop inside, just big enough for a couple of nests and a roost. Their names are Crow (the Barred Rock) and Lizzy (short for Elizabeth, after the queen she resembles with her fabulous ruff; the Ameraucana). Several months ago Crow stopped laying eggs and became rather "puffy" making it hard for her to walk. Yesterday, she was so lethargic and droopy that I decided something needed to be done. But surely, no vet would see a chicken, right? Well, after calling several offices I found one who would gladly take on a new avian patient! Dr. Harris kindly examined Crow (commenting that she must be having an identity crisis) and after aspirating some of the fluid from her middle, concluded that she has congestive heart failure. Now you may be thinking, "Of course, the only solution would be to put her to sleep." But, after an eighty dollar bill for the office visit, Crow has a prescription for a diuretic and instructions to keep her warm. The good doctor says he sees a goose who has lived quite comfortably for five years now with the same diagnosis. Miss Crow is certainly an expensive pet now; we're hoping she'll start laying golden eggs from now on. Mr. Browning had some mixed feelings when I brought the bird home from her appointment and told him the prognosis. He kept shaking his head incredulously and exclaimed, "How am I supposed to keep a chicken warm?!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

A trip to the butcher

Mr. B had a gift card for Stewart's Meat Market from a couple of Christmases ago. Since it's such a long drive, we hadn't used it until this weekend. On Saturday we made a family outing of it, driving through the little snow flurries to a little shop in a little town...with a huge gathering of customers! Rae and Daddy went in to pick out what they wanted and returned with a quaint brown paper sack stuffed with good things, commenting, "That place is awesome!" On the way home we snacked on some very spicy jerky and landjaeger. It all looks so good, but my favorite is the crazy~fat bacon! Just look at the size of those slices. Yummm!

I know your mouth is watering right now!

Friday, March 6, 2009

"How To Be Handsome"

"Ladies who have ample leisure and who lead methodical lives take a plunge or sponge bath three times a week, and a vapor or sun bath every day. To facilitate this very beneficial practice a south or east apartment is desirable. The lady denudes herself, takes a seat near the window, and takes in the warm rays of the sun. The effect is both beneficial and delightful. If, however, she be of a restless disposition, she may dance, instead of basking, in the sunlight."

~The Everyday Cook-Book

Thank goodness dancing is permitted!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Extra innings

We had some surplus baseballs left over from the Moose party, and the girls love to pull them out and scatter them around the house. Miss Pea calls them "ball games". Funny, 'cause Miss Rae calls the stadium the same thing. =) Daddy is very proud of his little fans.

Souvenirs from our favorite Mariner.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Granny squares

I would never think to put all these colors together, but the result is really cheerful, isn't it? This afghan is from my granny Dottie. It's wool, so incredibly heavy ~ and warm! I don't know much of this blanket's history, but my grandma lives in Las Vegas, so I doubt she used it much. I gladly accepted this gift from her, as well as a beautiful set of heirloom silver (come back again soon for more on this).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peanut butter kisses

The girls and I were headed out the door to have a picnic on the grass, since it was such a spring-ish kind of day and we've been suffering from cabin fever of late. The kids were giddy with excitement at the promise of fresh air. I had my arms full of blanket, plates of sandwiches, juice cup, and baby; my pocket held the nostalgic glass Coke bottle. My husband is always admonishing me against carrying too much for one trip, but I'm stubborn and maybe lazy, too. Upon opening the front door, I hear an explosion and look around for the would-be assassin and find my floor littered with glass shards and fizzing brown pop. Well, Raegan played outside and Pea ate her sandwich in the highchair next to me as I cleaned up the mess. Broken glass really gives me the willies and I fretted my way through the long ordeal. But things started to get brighter as the little one at my elbow would gently pat my arm and offer me encouragement in the form of peanut butter kisses. So sweet!

And we did eventually get out to enjoy the sandbox...just before the boom of thunder announced the rain.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bringing the sea

...to my bathroom. I grew up by the bay, so I long for reminders of aquatic regions. These are all treasures I've picked up on visits to the beach, from the cold, misty Pacific down to warm, sunny Florida. The starfish dish was a wedding gift; the green glass is perfect for a room dedicated to water, don't you think? I've always dreamed of someday living on some lofty Celtic cliff overlooking the crashing waves below. Listen. Can you hear them? Can you feel the salty spray carried up by the breeze? Mmmmmm...