Friday, May 29, 2009

Feathered Friends....and a frog too!

Okay, so I'm interrupting the last of Mushroom Mayhem with another non-fungi post!

But....I couldn't resist...I just had to show you some of the lovelies we've been seeing lately.

Here are some of the hummingbirds that have been flitting about. We've seen several females and males. I'd love to find their nesting area but hummingbirds have such teensy weensy nests, its hard to see them.

And here is one of the red headed woodpeckers that sits on our fence during his 'work break' on the dead tree which is four yards over...we have a pair that visit. I'm hoping that they are a nesting pair.

and the other one..I think!

and this little tree frog jumped off our ferns the other night while I was watering them...we have a TON of them this year which is a really good sign!

This one is quite fat! Most are sort of skinny.

Our yard has really taken off and in doing so, we are starting to attract all sorts of lovelies!
We've seen several toads, a few baby garter snakes (which totally freaked the neighbor out...) and loads of other gardeny types lurking about. I just love em! As for yard 'pests'....not seen as many of them since these guys have been hanging about!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

M is for mushroom soup!

We love La Madeleine's Cream of Mushroom soup.....all of us, even the KIDS. I can't get to La Maddy's very often so I started making my own soup.

I have the recipe below...but first, check out this gadget Dean got me AGES ago.
It is called the Nicer Dicer and he was SO taken in by the infomercial...SUCKA! Thank goodness he got it "on sale now only through this television offer!"

I do admit works really well on mushrooms so that is why I keep it fact, it is the ONLY thing I use it for.

Here is how you use it....put the clean mushie on top and slap the lid down...the diced mushies fall through into the cup in the bottom.

It makes SHORT work of a lot of mushrooms. Here is 3 packages of mushies done....took maybe 5 is that fast...
sorry for the furry photo....and NO, I hadn't had ANY margaritas.....

here is the soup when it is all done.....pretty good....but not like La Madeline's! Anyone have a copycat of THEIR cream of mushroom soup PLEASE send it my way!

Here is the recipe:


3 packages of 8 oz size mushrooms, chopped (I use a mixture. )
1 stick butter
2 minced shallots
1 tbls. flour
1 garlic clove, minced
4-5 cups of stock (beef or chicken)
1/2 tsp. Dried thyme
1 cup half & half (or cream)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup sherry(I use more)
1/2 tsp. cayenne

Melt butter over medium heat, add onions & cook 5 minutes.
Add garlic and mushrooms and cook 15 mintues
Add seasonings and stir 1 minute. Add sherry and stir 2 minutes. Add flour slowly to avoid lumps (I use a teensy sifter)
stirring well.
Add stock and cook for another 5-10 minutes to let flavors blend.
Remove from heat and blend in a blender.**
Taste to correct seasonings if needed. Stir.
Add half & half, by adding in a little at a time so it doesn't curdle.

If reheating, do not boil. Serve with warm bread and salad!

**I use a stick blender so I don’t have to remove from the pot.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Toadstool doorstops!

Look at these cute doorstops....just perfect for spring!
Or how about Christmas? Cute, huuh?!

Believe it or not, these little lovelies can be made by YOU. I contacted Hannah and she graciously allowed me to link back to her tutorial.

Here is the get started!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

basil for bruschetta

Yesterday was such a busy day!
Amongst other things, I had to harvest my basil already! I've already cut it back for some dinners a few times but it is growing SO FAST that it was getting leggy and trying to go to seed.

I whacked it down to the bottom of the trough..yikes!

I made a pound of my basil butter with what I harvested!
Then I started craving basil so I made some bruschetta topping.

It is so good I thought I'd share it with you. I don't really use a recipe but here are the basics:

2-3 really good ripe tomatoes
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
1 tsp minced garlic...use the jar stuff, fresh is TOO STRONG
1/2-1 tsp good salt. I use Maldon is the BEST.
3-4 tbls olive oil
2-3 tbls balsamic vinegar
*the amount of vinegar and oil you need really depends on how large your tomatoes are!
1 french baguette

Dice tomatoes and basil and put in small bowl (layer the basil leaves on top of each other for easier cutting)
Add garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil...I use more vinegar than oil, you'll need to taste it. The vinegar/oil should 'almost' cover the diced tomatoes.
Mix well.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave on COUNTER. Don't refrigerate tomatoes, it kills their flavor.
Leave on counter about an hour so the flavors will blend.

Cut baguette into thin rounds and toast, with or without olive oil sprinkled on them.
Usually it takes about 6-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

BTW, Don't ditch the leftovers, the tomato mixture is WONDERFUL on a salad or with leftover pasta. I do refrigerate leftovers so it won't go bad.

One more thing!
I made this another way too...more like a restaurant would serve:
Use just enough oil and vinegar to blend flavors.
Don't prebake the rounds.
Put topping on each round
Top with shredded parmesan
Bake until lightly browned

And the winner is........

Using for their random number generator....the winner of the mushroom pincushion is........


Thank you all for playing!

Jody, I'll touch base and verify your ship to information!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Christy's Fiesta package!

I was Christy's angel for the FIESTA! Hot Mama Apron Swap I hosted.
She got her goodies today and was very happy with them so now I can share what I made her.

I felt so bad that her partner flaked but she said she was glad! That made my day thank you very much!

Here is the apron....I used this fabric because she said she 'just loves color!'
Well, here is ALOT of color!

Here is a dish cloth I made for her. I had to use 'Fiesta' colors of course!
I haven't written down the pattern yet, when I do, I'll post it. I made it amugurumi style which makes it double sided so it will hold suds really well.

And here are the rest of the, beads, a cute bracelet with fun Fiesta colors that I couldn't resist amongst other things....

Happy FIESTA Christy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Toadstools ala brown paper bag........

In honor of Sherry's BROWN PAPER BAG SWAP, I bring you these:

Look at all those cute toadstools!

You won't believe this.......they are made from kid's lunch sacks....really! I made a couple the other day for fun....they turned out so cute! I found several blogs with variations on them but here is what started the frenzy (I think.)

The Spore Project

So if you want to join in on the fun, click on the link and read all about the project. Even if you don't make any, you'll want to read about the project!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Marvelous Mushroom keychain!

Check these little key chains out.....I made them the other day in no time at all!

What cute favors for a little girls spring party or for the mushroom lover in your life.
Or.... don't attach the key chain at all and put the little shroom in a little planter next to a teeny gnome!

Cute, huh!

The best part is that I made these with stuff I had laying around the house.

SERIOUSLY....Go raid your hubbies nuts and bolts in his toolbin....

I even found the doorknobs in a drawer. I had planned to use them YEARS ago and never did. They came in handy for this!

skinny nail like a 'brad'
small drawer pull....1&1/4 inch in diameter
teeny eyescrew to attach key chain
key chain (from your drawer, you know you've got one!)
needle nose pliers
bamboo skewer
tall cup
**paints, paintbrush and clearcoat**

****okay, so I didn't use all that stuff with the asterisks. I just used nail polish girls! HA!

First take your brad and make a teeny hole in the middle of the drawer pull, don't go in too deep. DON'T use a drill, the hole will be loose.
Remove the brad and put away.

Screw in the eye screw, use a tool if needed. Then remove it. You'll put it back in later.

See this hole on the bottom of the drawer pull? Insert the bamboo skewer in this hole when you start painting.

Paint the bottom first....

To paint the top, carefully flip right side up. The drawer pull should stay on the skewer without any trouble.

Paint side and upper cap of drawer pull. Let dry. Apply another coat if needed.

Paint the dots on the cap with a different color. Let dry

Spray with clear coat or poly and let dry.

Screw the eyescrew back in. It will be a little more snug now because of the paint :-)

Attach the key chain hardware. Use the pliers to close tightly.

And you are done!

What cute little keychains!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Free shroons.....

Okay...remember these cute lil pincushions I posted a tutorial on?

Well.....if you didn't get around to making your own, how about you try to WIN one?

Leave me a comment telling me which color pincushion you like best and I'll put your name in the basket once!
If you want your name in the basket twice, post about it on your own blog and let me know!

That's it! I'll draw names and post the lucky winner in the morning on the 23rd!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wild Mushroom Sugo

I love pasta and mushrooms so when I saw an episode of Michael Chiarello's show using both, I knew I'd be trying it.
True to form, his recipes are wonderful so if you are a mushroom lover, you will really enjoy this!

Mushroom Sugo recipe
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms, finely chopped (from about 3/4-pound mushrooms)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 cup tomato puree (from fresh or canned peeled tomato)
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

*Pasta or gnocchi


Heat a large saute pan over high heat. When hot, add oil, and then sprinkle in the mushrooms. Don't stir! Let the mushrooms sizzle and caramelize for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to release its fragrance. Add the rosemary and shallot and cook for about a minute. Cook briefly to release their fragrance, then add tomato and red wine and simmer until almost evaporated. Add the broth or water. Simmer until slightly reduced, 4 to 5 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Sprinkle with the parsley and keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the oricchette and drain well when done. Transfer to a large platter. Pour the warm sauce over the pasta. Grate Parmesan over the top and serve immediately.

*The original recipe calls for potato gnocchi which I didn't make...I used oricchette pasta instead and it was wonderful.

Here is the link to the original recipe on foodnetwork!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sequin mushroom ornament.

Time for a mushroom CRAFT! YEAH!!!!! I'm not the only one with a hankering for all things today is a great day to share someone else's craft! on:

Legend has it that mushrooms are a good luck symbol associated with the nature and beauty of the forest. Finding a mushroom is considered to be very lucky and to mean good fortune is at hand. Mushroom ornaments are displayed on Christmas trees in Germany in honor of the people's reverence for nature and in hope of good luck in the New Year.

My family lived in Germany for 3 years when I was a child and we brought this tradition home to the States. We ALL have mushrooms on our Christmas trees now!

Here is an adorable mushroom ornament you can make for your own tree this year!
You've GOTTA love this one!!!!!!!

Claire gave me permission to show you her little creation and link back to her tutorial...that way, you can all have some good luck too.

Click here for her has lots of pictures and a great supply list you can print out to get you started.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday's MushroomyToy Society drop!

With it being MUSHROOM MAYHEM I just HAD to create a lil something that would fit the theme.

I never know what I'm making until I make it. I just sort of cut stuff out and stuff it up and attach it........hmmm.....maybe I need a PLAN next time.

Either way, here he is.......little Mushroom dude.....sort now that he's done, I think he looks like a baby rattle. But he doesn't have a rattle in him so that would be depressing for baby. Plus, he has eyes...which a baby would yank off. (yes, they ARE saftey eyes but you know how tough babies are!) Nope, definitely NOT a rattle. that I look at him some more, he sorta looks like a chef.....cracks me up.....I bet he has a french accent. Doesn't he LOOK like he'd have a french accent?
I bet he'd say something like this.......
"Oui, je suis un champignon heureux !"

I hope whoever finds him, likes him! HA!

Bye lil mushroom dude/chef/rattle/thingie.....!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Bouquet

What mom doesn't like getting flowers for Mother's Day? I know I I thought I'd share my bouquet with you all....

.....don't worry though, I didn't pull a single vase for these beauties!

First of all, it was a glorious morning for a few morning glories!

and for the nasturtium too...

pretty oxalis poked their heads up...

and up...

and up!...

last year's lantana came back in full force...

a pretty visitor stopped by for a lunch...

before moving on to the bottle brushes for dessert...

Fairy roses...

Ballerina roses...

Red knock out...

and pink knock out too...

not to be outdone, the gardenias joined in....and they smell wonderful!

I hope your bouquet is as lovely as mine!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today I'm taking a station break from Mushroom Mayhem to introduce you to Smokey!

He is Curly Girl's latest. Smokey was created with colored pencil and marker!

Here is a close up of his eye and forelock.....his eye is so expressive!

I know I'm biased but I think she did a lovely job.
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