Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cherry Yum Yum. Possibly my favorite dessert.

My Aunt Margie used to make a dessert that I loved as a kid, and still love. She called it "Cherry Yum Yum" and it is so good. My Aunt is long gone now, but my mother still makes this every Christmas and I've made it a few times myself. It's not complicated but oh-so-good.  It can be made with blueberries instead of cherry filling, but I've always loved the cherry the best. Recipe below.

From this past Christmas, a serving of Cherry Yum Yum.

Here's my Aunt Margie's Cherry Yum Yum recipe. It needs a few hours to chill thoroughly so make sure to make it in plenty of time to chill, preferably even overnight.

Aunt Margie's Cherry Yum Yum

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks margarine (or butter), melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
1 large can crushed undrained pineapple (cooked & thickened with 3 T. cornstarch)
1 large pkg. cream cheese (8 oz)
12 oz. whipped topping

Combine cracker crumbs, 1/2 c sugar & margarine. 
Blend cream cheese & 1 cup sugar; fold in whipped topping. 
Spread half of graham cracker crumb mixture in bottom of 9 x 12 baking dish. 
Add half of cream cheese mixture. 
Spread on cherry pie filling and pineapple; add remaining cream cheese mixture. 
Top with remaining crumbs. 

Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Friday, September 14, 2012

(Super Easy) Corn & Black Bean Salad

I am all about easy cooking.  This one doesn't even require cooking come to think of it.  Going to a late afternoon cookout tomorrow and need a good and easy--and tasty--side dish to take.  Even I can't screw up this one.  Mix the following--listed below--ingredients together in a bowl and that's it.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Here's what you mix together:

can of corn, drained
can of black beans, drained
chopped small onion
chopped medium sized tomato
chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds and veins out)
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
and a little cilantro (if you like it) fresh or dried

The above picture doesn't do it justice.  It really is a pretty mixture of colors and textures, and a lot of great flavors that compliment one another.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baby birds today

(Double-click to get a bigger picture)

I discovered the cutest little baby birds tucked into a nest just off the front porch. I didn't want to get too close so the mom-bird wouldn't get nervous. She was constantly bringing food to the nest today. Check out the fuzzy heads--you can best see the fuzzy head on the bird on the right side.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A word about "Mother's Day"

I recently learned of "Mother's Day" origins and it now has an additional meaning to me. "Mother's Day" was originally conceived as a day to inspire people to work for peace. I don't think Hallmark has a card with those sentiments for your Mother, sadly.

It began with American abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe who was horrified by the death and destruction wrought by the Civil War in the U.S. In addition to helping bring about what she called "A Mother's Day for Peace," she is also know for penning the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"--which is an abolitionist song, by the way.

Howe wrote her "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870 and wished it to serve as a rallying point for women to oppose war, to promote peace, and encourage other women to take hold of their families' futures.

Howe, a pacifist, worked with widows and orphans during the Civil War, and witnessed first hand what war inevitably brings to innocents, forever disrupting their families' well-being.

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation / 1870

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience.
We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Ms. Howe presented her poem around the world, particularly focusing on the terrible aftermath of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Howe wanted Mother's Day to be a time when women would come together to mourn their losses to war, to urge more peaceful solutions to conflict, and to educate the world about how war ruins futures, lives, and families for years and years after a war has officially ended.

"The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 1, 2009

Piedmont Farm Tour - Day 2 Slideshow

On day 2 of the Piedmont Farm Tour last weekend, we visited Timberwood Organics, Fickle Creek Farm,Chapel Hill Creamery, Pickards Mountain Eco Institute and Four Leaf Farm:

If you'd like to see which farms are which, and some captions, you can see the Flickr set here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Slideshow of Piedmont Farm Tour - Day 1

I previously blogged about the Piedmont Farm Tour, which was held last weekend. I went both days, enjoyed myself thoroughly, and took some pictures. These farms sell flowers, produce, herbs, meat and eggs to our local farmers markets.

Below is the slideshow from the first day (last Saturday) and we visited several farms in northern Orange County: Maple Spring Gardens, Wild Hare Farms, Captain J.S. Pope Farm, Anatoth Community Garden, a farm not on the tour (a friend knew the farmers) and we saw llamas and alpacas there, and the last farm visited was Whitted Bowers Farm, a biodynamic farm.

Tomorrow I'll put up some pictures of the Day 2 of the Farm Tour.

If you'd like to see the captions of the pictures in the slideshow, detailing which farms the pictures are from just click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

City slicker raccoons

I live close in to city center in Durham. Nevertheless we get plenty wildlife encounters. Bunnies eat my lettuce in my tiny garden down to a nub. Squirrels try to make a home in my attic. A hoot owl makes haunting owl calls far up in the trees late at night. But the raccoons! They practically ring the doorbell and ask for leftovers. Here's a picture my neighbor snapped early one morning of some raccoons near my garbage can:

Cute, yes. But up to something no doubt.

Last week one was banging around trying to--I guess--lift the top of the tall green rolling trash can. That's what it sounded like anyway.

When I came home from work day before yesterday, I found out one had been on my front porch. There are the raccoon tracks, right there in the yellow pollen on my front porch:

A friend suggested maybe with all the pollen, he was looking for Benadryl. Perhaps.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hey, want to tour some local farms?

This upcoming Farm Tour definitely looks like something I'm going to participate in, and I'm surprised I didn't know about it before now. That's one big reason why I'm posting about it, to get the information out there in case you want to participate too.

If you've read books like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or The Omnivore's Dilemma, you might be more interested than ever in being acquainted with exactly where your food comes from. I am. And if you shop at your local Farmer's Market whenever you can, do you sometimes wonder what these farms look like, or how they operate? You should consider taking part in the 14th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour on the weekend of April 25 & 26th from 1pm to 6pm. A pdf map with lots of useful information can be found here.
This year’s Piedmont Farm Tour will bring together consumers, farmers, and producers in one of the largest farm tours in the country. It is a great time to go exploring in the North Carolina countryside. With over forty farms to choose from, you and your family can craft an exciting day visiting and learning about farming and agriculture.

If you’re looking for some animal action you can pet goats, hold chickens or rabbits and get up close to cows and sheep. Plant lovers can learn about growing flowers, vegetables, fruits, and berries. See how farmers manage their land with hoop houses, traveling chicken coops, irrigation systems, and greenhouses. Learn how prawns are saving farmland at Stagg Creek Farm, new to the tour this year.

There will be lots of opportunities to buy meat, eggs, poultry, and prawns, so bring a cooler. One button buys a carload of people two days of touring.

The above from Weaver Street Market.

You can buy the button for admission (for a carload of folks) referenced above here.

A list of participating farms at the pdf above or here.

Hope there's good weather that weekend. Sounds like a fun time to me.

Thanks to my pal Jack for letting me know about this tour.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On the big screen . . .

You may've noticed that I'm a bit of a movie fan, and I think sometimes it's a real treat to re-visit older movies on the big screen, at the theater, the way they were intended to be seen. In Durham we have the ability to take advantage of doing so at The Carolina Theater from time to time.

In fact, I did that with one of my favorites, The Princess Bride, when it was shown a couple of years ago for its 20th Anniversary.

A few more are coming up at The Carolina that you might want to see again on the big screen, with a box of popcorn and giant soda. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II will be showing in May for one week only (May 8 - 14).

If you've never seen those two, now's your chance to see them at the theater. How cool is that?

Also for Star Trek fans, Star Trek IV and Star Trek First Contact, will be shown 4 days only, April 20 - 23.

Details are here.

It's an offer you can't refuse. (Sorry . . . I couldn't help it.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cool color illusion.

Instructions: Look at the black dot in the picture below. Stare at the dot until the countdown ends, and the black and white picture should look like it’s in color . . . until you move your eyes!

I've loved these little optical illusions ever since I was a kid.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sliced Bread FAIL.

So, I haven't ever encountered this before. Regular, sliced loaf of bread from the grocery store. Open the bag to grab a couple slices to make a sandwich. No slices. Just one unsliced loaf. Times are hard, I tell ya.

Okay, not necessarily all that interesting. Mainly just odd. Wonder how many loaves went out the door that day before someone flipped the slicer machine to the 'on' position. D'oh!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ani DiFranco gives Red Letter performance at The Carolina

Tonight was the first time I'd seen Ani DiFranco live. She's one of my all-time favorite singer-songerwriters and I regularly listen to her music, never tiring of my favorite tunes. I missed her a couple of years ago when she was at The Carolina Theater and I'd been kicking myself ever since for not going.

Just like her music, she is high-energy and rambunctious on stage. And her loyal fans were there filling every seat, soaking it all up, knowing all the words, dancing in the aisles, screaming "we love you Ani!" between songs.

I especially enjoyed how when she's wailing on her guitar, she bobs and weaves around on the stage, like a fighter, using her body to punctuate a guitar riff, practically levitating on the stage with her energy. Often when she really punches a chord on her guitar, she lifts her left leg in the air as if she's kicking it out to us in the audience. If you're a fan and never have seen her live, try to catch her next time. You won't be disappointed.

She appeared tonight at The Carolina with only two other musicians, drummer Allison Miller and Todd Sickafoose on upright bass. Their sound was huge and beautiful.

The show was to promote her new CD Red Letter Year, a review here, and she, of course, played many songs from it and many of her older songs too, like Shameless, You Had Time, Both Hands, As Is.

The song I liked best that she played from her new CD was Present/Infant. I already have her new CD and I think I'll be listening to a lot more of it now that I've seen her perform the songs live.

Keep on keeping on, Ani. You're just getting better all the time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hike on Cabe Lands Access & Eno Quarry

We took advantage of the 80 degree day and hiked down to the old Eno Quarry. I'd never seen it before and it had always sounded intriguing to me, especially after I read this article in the Indy recently.

A little about the area is here.

As you enter, you can pick up a map and see a some items of interest on a covered bulletin board (click to make the pic larger):

Much of the trail is rooty and rocky, but my hiking partner did okay in her tennis shoes. There is a fair amount of uphill/downhill but nothing too strenuous. The trail is considered "moderate."

After a while, you'll get to the big scary warning sign about the Quarry:

Continue on down the trail and soon you'll hear frogs and crickets loudly singing. Water is close. The Quarry is close.

Right before the payoff of seeing the Quarry up close, you have to stone-step over a little creek. The stones looked mighty slippery to me and I was worried about slipping and falling and breaking my leg far down a trail, but I finally got over to the Quarry side (to the steps) safely and snapped a picture.

The Quarry was lovely. I was going to circumnavigate it because a trail does go around it according to the map, but I got my shot of the Quarry and headed back.

above, Eno Quarry 3.7.2009

Hiking out we saw some teenagers hiking in quite obviously going for a swim. I wondered about how cold the water must surely be since earlier this week the temps were 13 or so degrees a couple of nights.

A few other shots from the hike: