Poetry in Motion

I love these photos of my daughter and her friend, taken right before their recital in June. My daughter loves to dance, practicing ballet, modern, lyrical and jazz. Lucky girls–in March, they’ll be performing on a cruise with their dance company.

Hope is the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul,

and sings in tune without words

and never stops at all.  Emily Dickinson

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Bay Laurel Knit Tunic

Bay Laurel Knit Tunic

Reasons I haven’t knit a sweater in years?

#1 The gorgeous, royal-blue, mohair sweater so hot to wear, it could serve as outerwear in Antarctica.

#2 The chunky, off-white, cable-knit sweater so large, I nicknamed it “The Horse Blanket.”

#3 The cute, turquoise, cotton top that stretched right off my shoulders.

#4-10. Not enough patience. Not enough time. Not sure of my skill set. Etc, etc, etc!

That’s why when I decided to knit something I could wear other than a scarf, mittens or a hat, I opted for a straightforward body shape. I still had to learn a bunch of new stitches, but this Bay Laurel Knit Tunic is my breakthrough!

The pattern has way too many steps to share in this post, so if you want to check  it out, click Ravelry. After setting up an account, you can search “Bay Laurel Tunic” and the pattern’s maker, Julie Turjoman, and you’ll find it.

Happy knitting, hon!

 

Lost Wallet and Good Advice

This has never happened to me before. Really!

My daughter and I were driving back to New Jersey from Massachusetts when Hubby called.

Hubby:  Did you lose your wallet?

Me: Uhh, I don’t think so…why?

Hubby:  I just got a call from a man who found your wallet.

Me:  Wait! What?! Where?!

Hubby: Apparently, he found your wallet at a rest stop. He took out your  library card and called the library thinking they might have your phone number, but the library is closed today. Then he located my business card and called me.

Me:  OMG! We stopped about a half hour ago, but my messenger bag was on my body the whole time! How could this have happened?

Daughter: You mean you’re driving without a license? Mom, Waze says your going over the speed limit. Slow down!

Hubby:  The man–his name is Fred and he’s 84 years old–said he’ll wait for you at a McDonald’s. Where are you?

Me:  That’s behind us and we’re headed to our friends’ in Connecticut. Oh no! What should I do?

Me to Daughter: Do you have any money? We’re need to fill up and get lunch.

Daughter: I didn’t bring my wallet.

Me:  UGH!

Daughter:  What? You’re doing all the driving.

Hubby: Okay, here’s what you can do. Stop at Fred’s house on your way back to New Jersey. He sounds nice…

Daughter:  Of course he’s nice. He’s returning the wallet.

Me to Daughter:  You don’t have any money? What snacks do we have?

Hubby:  It’s not too out of the way. Just don’t get pulled over between now and then!

We hadn’t seen our friends in awhile and felt bad thinking we’d walk in and say, “Hi! So great to see you and can we please borrow money?” Turns out we didn’t have to because a) we figured out we had enough gas to get to Fred’s house, and b) our friends, being so thoughtful, had picked up lunch for us. We ate, visited, and drove the speed limit to Fred’s house. We pulled up just as he did.

Me:  Fred, thanks so much for being a good samaritan! Can I give you a hug?

Fred:  Sure. Count your money. It’s all there.

Me:  That’s not necessary.

Fred:  Now, if you had had $250,000 dollars in there in small bills, I might have helped myself to some…

Me:  Can I offer you something as a reward?

Fred:  Please, don’t insult me, but I do have advice for you, same as I tell my daughter.

Me: Yes?

Fred:  Put your phone number in your wallet.

Me:  Good idea!

Fred:  And you’ve got too many cards in your wallet! You only need one, maybe two.

Me: But, I keep the old ones just in case…

Fred:  Trust me, get rid of them! Too many cards!

Thanks to Fred for finding and returning my wallet, and to my friend, Leigh, for surprising us with lunch. Good advice, Fred…I’m about to clean out my wallet!

P.S. Since Fred wouldn’t take a cash reward, I sent him a yummy Coffee Cake.

Grilled Chicken with Cola BBQ Sauce

Labor Day BBQ (or Anytime)

I’m forever on the lookout for new chicken recipes, and this one is easy and tasty! The summer edition of Morris/Essex Health & Life magazine featured a recipe for “Smoked Chicken Lollipops With Cola BBQ Sauce that sounded like a must-try. One problem–I don’t have a smoker– so I modified it and guess what, hon? It was a hit!

Happy grilling!

Ingredients

–4-6 boneless chicken cutlets

For the Wet Rub:

–1 Tablespoon paprika

–2 Tablespoons olive oil

–1/8 cup brown sugar

–1 Tablespoon garlic powder

–1 Tablespoon oregano

–1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cola BBQ Sauce:

–1/3 cup cola

–1/3 cup ketchup

–1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

–1 Tablespoon steak sauce

–1/3 teaspoon onion powder

–1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat grill to high heat or preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all of the wet rub ingredients in a bowl, then dip each chicken cutlet into the mixture to give it an even coating.
  3. Mix all of the Cola BBQ Sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn grill to medium heat and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes. Turn chicken to cook both sides. Or bake uncovered in oven for approximately 30 – 4o minutes. Chicken is cooked when an internal thermometer reads 160 degrees F and/or when meat inside is white.
  5. Serve chicken with Cola BBQ Sauce.

Yield: 4-6

Tip: If you have extra Cola BBQ Sauce, it can be refrigerated for a week. Next time you make chicken, just pour it on top of raw cutlets and bake.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

I bake Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins year-round, but decided to change it up with  this recipe from the website Serious Eats. The first time I made these Coffee Cake Muffins, I didn’t have sour cream so I substituted cream cheese. They were cake-like and yummy, but even more moist when I used sour cream on my second try. Funny how I found a new favorite recipe just in time to bake for a good samaritan. (story in next post)

Happy baking, hon!

Ingredients for the Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the Muffins:

  • 2 1/4 cups (about 11 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

1. Adjust oven middle position and preheat to 350°F. Line muffin tins with muffin liners or grease with cooking spray

2. Make the streusel: Combine flour, dark brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and using a fork or your fingers mash into a paste that resembles wet sand. Set aside.
3. For the Muffins: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until combined.
4. In a separate bowl mix together butter, oil, and sugar with an electric mixer until evenly incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between additions until mixture is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. Add sour cream and mix until just incorporated. Gently mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until mixture forms a thick batter.
5. Divide half the batter between the muffin cups, then top with half the streusel mixture. Cover the streusel with the remaining batter, then finish by topping the muffins with the remaining streusel.
6. Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove muffins from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

Yield:  Makes 12 muffins.

Flower Photography, Sunshine Petals

Sunflowers

Sharing more blooms. Sunshine Petals!

Cactus Flowers

Official State Flower of Maryland

Maryland designated black-eyed Susan as the official state floral emblem in 1918. All State Flowers

Black-eyed Susans are common in Maryland fields and roadsides, and the black and gold colors match the state bird, state insect, and even the state cat.

Black-eyed Susan Facts

The black-eyed Susan is a daisy-like wildflower with yellow petals and a dark brown center that grows in dry places. A member of the sunflower family and native to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, .

Black-eyed Susan plants reach 2 to 3 feet in height, blooming between May and August. The flower heads measure 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The scientific name for the black-eyed Susan is Rudbeckia hirta; “hirta” is Latin for “rough hairy” (as the prominent center of the flower is).

The root of the black-eyed Susan is used in traditional and folk remedies to treat colds.   State Symbols USA

Black-Eyed Susans

Mushrooms and Fairies

It must be all the rain, but I’ve seen more wild mushrooms in the past few weeks than I’ve seen, maybe, in my entire life! Wild mushrooms make me think of fairies, especially when they look like little umbrellas.

 

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. C.S. Lewis

Since I’m always drawn to children, I was curious where a bunch of little kids were running. They’d piled out of a car and were headed to the Fairy Trail.

Related Posts:  Fairy Furniture, Part 1, Fairy Furniture, Part 2, Fairy Trail Finale