Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chocolate Éclair Cake

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Some of you were interested in the following recipe, so here it is! As I said, it's our son, Andrew's, favorite cake for his birthday. Actually, it's very similar to a big cream puff, so it's more like a dessert than a cake.
I don't have a pretty pan that's large enough for it, so I bake it in this stainless steel roasting pan, which is a little bigger than the standard 13x9 size. It works fine, but doesn't look particularly attractive. I'll have to see about getting a prettier pan.
(Note to kids and husband: There's a future birthday gift suggestion, since you're always asking!)

I'm not sure my conversions are absolutely accurate, but they should be close.

BTW everyone, if you go to visit Olive (in the post below), don't forget to say hello. She loves to hear from you!

Chocolate Éclair Cake

1 cup of water
½ cup butter of margarine

Put water and butter in a medium saucepan, bring water to boil & simmer until butter melts. Remove from heat.

½ tsp. Salt
1 cup plain flour

Mix salt & flour & add all at once to water & butter mixture. Stir until dough forms a ball.

4 eggs

Add one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
Spread in a
greased jelly roll pan (15x10x1 inches) (38x25x2.5 cm) I think a 13x9 (33x23) pan would work if you don’t have the bigger one.

Bake at 400ºF (approx. 205C) for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and press flat (wait a minute or two so you don’t burn yourself).

2 packages of instant vanilla pudding.
2 ½ cups of milk
1 8oz (227 g)package of cream cheese, softened

With electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and add just a little milk at first (if you add too much at once you’ll end up with lumps of cream cheese). Keep adding milk gradually while beating. Then add the 2 puddings and beat until thick. Spread over crust.

1 8oz tub of Cool Whip

Spread on top of pudding mixture.

½ cup of chocolate chips
2 tbsp. Butter or margarine
1 cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar for the Aussies)

Melt choc chips with butter in the microwave or on the stove. Stir in confectioners sugar.
Drizzle over the Cool Whip.

Make at least 2 days ahead so crust can soften and flavors blend.
(I never make it ahead and it tastes wonderful anyway)


Monday, February 26, 2007

World's Oldest Blogger

Barnie and Olive
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I wanted to share a wonderful website I found during the weekend while browsing Eric Shackle's ebook. I have no recollection of how I found his website, but I'm glad I did. He has links to some very interesting stories.

The sweetly smiling lady in the above photo is Olive Riley, and at the ripe old age of 107, she holds the illustrious title of "The World's Oldest Blogger".
Standing by her side is her 85 year old son, Barnie.

Olive tells her stories to Mike, her blog helper. He's the one who decided it might be fun for her to have a blog. I think he had a great idea!

The beautiful photo above was obligingly sent to me by Mike when I asked him if I might borrow a photo to put on my blog.

Olive lives in sunny New South Wales, Australia, not too far from where I grew up.
Click here to visit Olive's blog called "The Life of Riley"
You'll enjoy meeting this lovely lady, I guarantee it!

Thanks Mike for introducing us to Olive.
She's an inspiration to us all!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sledding Fun!

School was out this week for winter vacation, and we had the pleasure of a two-day visit from our son, his wife, and our 2 little grandsons.

Andrew and "C "

The weather obligingly warmed up for two days, and we had perfect sledding conditions. The snow was just right...not too powdery, not too crusty.

We're lucky to have some great hills for sledding on our farm.

Grandpa to the rescue

Ross took the tractor down and carried us all back up in the bucket each time. Andrew pulled "K" up the hill in the sled a few times the day before, so the tractor was a welcome ride...

......and the boys loved it :) Posted by Picasa

Andrew and the boys

This toboggan doesn't get much use these days. Our kids used it, and my hubby and his siblings used it before them. It's been around a long time!

Down the hill!

.......and up again!

Down again!

That's our DIL on the sled, and "C" is on the toboggan in front of Andrew.Posted by Picasa

The boys had fun making snowballs, and had to bring them back to the house, hoping to put them in the freezer to save for the next time they came to the farm.

I think Andrew would've stayed a lot longer, but for the rest of us it was time to go back to the house for a snack and a rest!

And a bit of play time with the toys.

"C" wrote Jasmine a nice little letter.

She really loved having the boys here. She missed them after they'd gone home.....and walked around meowing. She really enjoyed having company, and especially children to play with.

On Wednesday night we had a nice pot roast, and for dessert I made Andrew's favorite, a chocolate éclair cake. You should all try this at least once in your lifetime. It's scrumptious! Perhaps I should post the recipe? Let me know if you'd like it. Posted by Picasa

It was a wonderful couple of days. Sunshine, fun, exercise, good food and family...who could ask for anything more?

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Yes, it's another birthday!

Our son, Andrew is 33 today.

This was his wedding day.

His sisters had to treat him nicely on this particular day! :)

He's a fun dad!

This was taken when they were expecting a little brother (or sister) for "C", just before "K" was born.

He and our DIL take the boys to lots of fun places

They're lucky boys..... have parents who love to spend time playing with them, reading to them, and showing them so many wonderful things in this world. Posted by Picasa

We're proud of the man you've become Andrew.

Have a wonderful birthday!

much love,

Mom and Dad


Friday, February 16, 2007

Blizzard, 2007

As most of you know, here in the Northeast we were hit with the big Valentine's Day blizzard, and we now have snow up to our ears! Well, not quite, but we have enough to last us for a good while. Our school was closed for 3 days! I don't remember that happening before during the 6 years I've worked there.

We've been pretty much house bound except for feeding the barn cats and birds, shoveling and plowing snow and feeding the furnace. Ross spent 3 hours outside on Thurday morning plowing out the driveways and around the buildings, and was back at it today. The winds were strong and frigid both yesterday and today, and filled up the plowed areas with snow again very quickly. Twice yesterday and again this morning we couldn't open the back door because so much snow had blown against it. Ross climbed into the garage through our little dutch door and went out that way to shovel the snow away from the door.

I froze my fingers taking a few photos each day.

We had the most snow on Wednesday and you can see what a gray day it was. The snow was powdery and didn't look like it was coming down very heavily, but it accumulated amazingly fast. It kept falling all through the night and eased off on Thursday morning. More light snow fell during that day and we had just a little more today.

The trusty furnace has kept us relatively warm, but the arctic winds blow in through every nook and cranny, so we've been wearing layers of clothing and sitting with blankets covering our laps, and Jasmine sharing herself between us. She makes a good lap warmer!

Jamine keeps an eye on the birds for a good part of each day.

Our flag was whipping in the wind and so were the bird feeders.

The birds came in droves to fill their tummies, trying to keep their energy level up enough to stay warm. I felt sorry for the poor little things.

There's Woody Woodpecker sitting on the line above the suet...taking a break.

The blue jays were at the feeders very early on Thursday, as they are every morning.Posted by Picasa

In the fall Ross puts wire mesh collars around our roses and half fills them with compost to help them survive the winter.

Looking out our back door on Thursday morning.

(Are you humming that old Creedence Clearwater Revival tune now....."doot, doot, doot, looking out my back door"?) I am :)

The sun shone brightly on the snow for most of the day. If the wind hadn't been so nasty it would've been quite a nice day, in spite of the cold temperatures.Posted by Picasa

I shoveled this path out more than once before the day was through.

The mourning doves were cleaning up all the seeds that the naughty jays threw on the ground.

After Ross climbed through the little door once again this morning to shovel the snow away from the back door, this is what the pile looked like. Goodness, that's a lot of snow!Posted by Picasa

You can see the roses are completely buried now. I'll prune the clematis in early spring.

There's the snowplow working this afternoon. The county workers have done a wonderful job clearing up all the snow. They sure have earned their pay this week!

You can see that the shone shone brightly again today.Posted by Picasa

We have some rather large piles of snow and high snowbanks.

That dark spot in the snow bank in the left foreground is our picnic table.

And last but not least, here are a couple of shots of the beautiful sunset we had this evening.

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I hope Apple hasn't been buried again by all this snow. She lives northwest of Syracuse where those record high depths have been recorded after all the lake effect snow that's been dumped on that area. The highest depths are further north than she is, but I know she's had more than her fair share! She calls her neck of the woods "Snowville" apt name! And they're still predicting a bit more snow for that area!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Edit: Several of you have left comments saying you couldn't see my pictures in this post and the wildflower post (I've now reloaded those pics too). I noticed when I looked in the "Edit Html" page that the "Blogger ID number", and some of the following bits of the picture code were gone from the missing pictures, so I reloaded those photos through the "Edit posts-Compose" page (I used Picasa the first time I posted them). Hopefully they won't disappear this time. Alice had these same problems recently. Has anyone else experienced similar frustrations, and if so, what solutions did you come up with? Please leave a comment if you have any advise on the subject!