" " " " Singing With Birds: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Way to His Heart!

Homemade bread + peanut butter + jam=LOVE!

Two of my my guy's favorite tweets!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/3 cup oil
5 eggs 1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 (3-ounce) packages vanilla pudding mix, regular or instant)
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix oil, eggs, and pumpkin in mixing bowl and beat well. Sift together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix till blended. Stir in pudding mix and nuts. Pour into greased large loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Makes 3 loaves.

After the LOVE is shared at home, wrap some up for a birthday remembrance (as shown here) or for a neighbor gift!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Birds of a Feather....

Out mother's window in California, she watches a family of Hawks.
A charming Utah resident we viewed on our trip home from California.
Early in December a Downey Woodpecker visited our garden on the west-side of our home. He enjoyed pecking our tree...fast, fast,fast! He was busy and beautiful.
Another Woodpecker, a Red-Shafted Flicker "hung out" in our tree one morning. I loved his spotted feathers and beautiful red on his face in our snowy tree.
He was good-sized and enjoyed our peaceful garden. It's my favorite place too!
Daily we enjoy a variety of pretty birds, large flocks, or darling pairs, that visit our feeder. It's such fun to watch them along with the squirrels...look for them later!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Take A Load Off

I admire people who consistently wake and work-outside in eastern Idaho's frigid, ice and snow. For a couple of years I was a hit and miss walker in the winters at our local university's indoor track. In 2003 I discovered Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds series. For me, it's a great way to work out each day. When it's warm I enjoy climbing the hills in my neighborhood, but for now, this is a way to meet my goal. This new "belly fat" work-out has a walk clock and moves along well at a 4 to 5 mph pace. I also like the 5 mile DVD. If you are beyond beginner try jogging instead of walking with Leslie. It works for me; helps to control blood-sugar and boost my metabolic rate. Leslie's DVDs are available on-line and at most discount stores for about $10.00 each.
If like me, you need a no excuses walk each day this is my favorite fit. I don't have to worry about falling and breaking my neck, territorial dogs, or wild moose, (yes, on occasion in my neck of the woods), I just have to DO IT before I go to bed each day!
What works for you? I'd love your suggestions and ideas!

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Soaring Sentiments

Service is the virtue that has distinguished the great of all times and which they will be remembered by. It places a mark of nobility upon its disciples. It is the dividing line which separates the two great groups of the world–those who lift and those who lean, those who contribute and those who only consume. How much better it is to give than to receive. Service in any form is comely and beautiful. To give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self-confidence and awaken hope in the heart of others, in short–to love them and to show it –is to render the most precious service.”
Bryant S. Hinckley

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Three Boys Salsa

Our friends frequently visited a local Mexican restaurant that had great chips and salsa. One night they dipped a chip and came up with a chunk of chewed gum. Horrified, they told the manager that if he would share his salsa recipe, they'd call it a draw. I'm sure it was all in good fun cause they are very kind people. Still, in our family the legend continues! I've tweaked it some and come up with something that my boys take down by the gallon!

My Three Boys Salsa @singingwithbirds.com

It's a snap to put together ... 

My Three Boys Salsa @singingwithbirds
This is all it takes and it doubles and triples better than you can imagine. 

Put it all in your food processor, I LOVE my Cusinart, or get out your blender. Pulse until it looks chunky or smooth it's all bueno!  Dip in a chip and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary and chill for an hour. 

My Three Boys Salsa
  • 1 (28 oz. can) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 (10 oz. cans) (Rotel brand) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 whole jalapeno chili, sliced thin
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, cut off tough stems
  • juice of 1 whole lime
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onions, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, lime juice and cilantro in your food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until you've reached the chunkiness you like. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let the flavors blend for an hour. This will keep for a week or two, but only if my boys aren't around!

Find somebody to Salsa with today...please!
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Friday, January 22, 2010

My Birdsong

Meet my inspiration! Mom serves to mentor me in so many good ways. She is a talented quilter and appliqued this beautiful 'Birdsong' quilt for herself. As she was working on it I admired it, bird lover to bird lover! I'm sure I swooned, actually.
Mom surprised me with one designed just for me, Christmas '06.
I so appreciate all the tiny little hand stitches and love sewn into it.
Birdsong pattern and order information:
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sweets For Tweets!

Toffee Cheesecake Squares

1 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
6 Tbs. brown sugar
6 Tbs. butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
24 fun-size Health Toffee Bars, coarsely chopped
10 fun size Heath Bars, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" baking pan very well.

In a medium-bowl, whisk together the flour, pecans and brown sugar. Stir in the butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are moistened and a crumbly dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.

In another medium-bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla until combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the coarsely-chopped candy. Pour into the baked crust. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the finely chopped candy over the top.

Cool completely. Cut into 48 to 64 squares depending on the size you would like to serve. Refrigerate until serving.

Note: You can use Butterfinger Bars for a Peanut Butter Crunch Bar

Tagan's Mini Pumpkin Cakes
with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting... delish!

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 12x18 inch pan (or a mini muffin pan). Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in nuts. Spread batter into prepared 12x18 inch pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (or 11 minutes for the mini muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Melt butter and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add honey.
Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, or it will collapse.
Spread immediately and store cake in refrigerator.
*Feel free to add 2-3 cups of powdered sugar if you want the icing stiffer to pipe on top of mini cakes.*
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