Of Flea Markets, Hedge Hogs and Kettle Corn

My parents were here last week.

It was an impromptu visit to fit in a little more adventuring in the gorgeous autumn weather.

Which we did – in grand style.

They were here long enough for my dad to work on my list of projects and have time for an epic fishing trip and my mom to play multiple games with the kids.

Then on Saturday we took them to the Rutledge Flea Market.

Sixty acres of treasures just waiting to be discovered!

Everything from junk to antiques, guns to tupperware, pot bellied pigs to hedge hogs.

Yes, hedge hogs.

hedge hog

Of course Buddy fell immediately in love and thought we needed one. Desperately.

At least until he held it and it sneezed – causing him to be poked and drawing blood in three places.

Since we didn’t really need a hundred dollar pin cushion, we left him there.

When everybody had found sufficient treasures, we bought a bag of fresh hot kettle corn and headed home on the scenic route.

Taking in the fall color, enjoying the warm weather, watching the combines at work and then stopping at several Amish stores.

Cheese curd samples, local pecans, fresh peanut butter, free ice cream.

We ate our way home, tired but happy.

Keeping Up With the Parents

Hey! I’m back! Did you miss me?! So what was I doing all last week that kept me from blogging?

Would you believe I was trying to keep up with my parents?

I’m not kidding.

Mom and Dad spent several days with us last week and I don’t think those two ever stop!

The big project of this trip was the stairwell.  When we replaced the plaster and lathe with drywall, it left an unsightly 1/2 inch gap between the existing stair trim and the wall.

stairwell before

The solution? Wainscoting.

I carefully stained and varnished every piece and Dad painstakingly fit them together just like a puzzle.

stair well afterI still need to stain and varnish the top rail – but it looks amazing!

When he finished the upstairs, he had enough to start the basement stairs.

Meanwhile Mom was on the sewing machine whipping up 2 skirts for me and teaching the girls how to make bow ties.

We still had time for a quick trip to town (which included a stop at the lumber yard!), several games of Bananagrams, revising my to-do list for Dagmar’s graduation party next month, and lots of party food sampling.

Whew!

There’s nothing as wonderful as a finished project – especially when it involved spending time with those you love!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Mocha Brownie Nut Torte

Coffee CakeHaving my parents visit over the weekend was the perfect excuse to try a new recipe.

And – of course – that recipe needed to be a rich, decadent, and chocolate dessert worthy of a Papa Jim and Nana Shirley visit!

Dagmar took this challenge on willingly. She pulled out all of her favorite cookbooks and spent an hour looking for the perfect recipe.

(I know it was an hour – because she confessed to doing this while listening to a business DVD for school. I’m thinking she probably didn’t get much out of that lesson!)

From all of those cookbooks, she narrowed it down to 3 different chocolate desserts, and then asked her siblings to help her choose. All three of them voted for number 3,  so of course, she made number 2! 🙂

Nobody complained when it was served though! It was just as rich and decadent as the picture promised – and the mocha cream on top was – as Dagmar put it, “One of the best spoonfuls I have ever put in my mouth, just saying…”

Yep. It was that good.

Mocha Brownie Nut Torte
(original recipe from The Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (we were out, so we substituted almonds)
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons powdered instant coffee

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan with foil, extending the foil beyond the sides. Grease the foil.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double broiler. Stirring till combined. Let cool 5 minutes.

Beat eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until foamy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and pecans.

Spread the mixture in the prepared cake pan and bake 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Remove the brownie from the pan using the aluminum foil. Discard the foil and place the brownie on a serving plate.

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl until well-blended.

Beat whipping cream and instant coffee until stiff. Gradually fold in the cream cheese mixture, blending well.

At this point you can spread the luscious coffee cream over the brownie and refrigerate it until serving time.

Or you can do what we did – serve the brownie naked and let each guest put either the coffee cream on top, or just plain whipped cream, or both!

Delicious!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday on Blessed With Grace.

 

Fun, Food and Family

My mom and dad are here! 🙂

You know what that means – lots of laughter, lots of food, and lots of projects!

Pedro and Dad were carrying in a door frame for the boys closet within 2 hours of his arrival yesterday. That frame now has a really cool vintage bead board door in it! He worked himself out of projects this afternoon which gave him time to enjoy some fishing with Buddy.

Today our morning began with the annoying sound of the Amish neighbor’s train whistle at 5:45 AM and ended with an archeological dig in the dishwasher to see why it wasn’t cleaning my dishes. (I’m just glad it wasn’t an autopsy!)

We hit 2 Amish stores, 2 garage sales, 2 grocery stores and 2 thrift stores.

We enjoyed a decadent mocha cream brownie, a spicy rich apple crisp, and a pan of super hot poppers.

We took walks, picked vegetables, and sang along with The Music Man.

And we laughed.

Trust me – grocery shopping is much more fun when Nana is pushing the cart! Who knew she felt so strongly about protecting my lettuce?! She even held it in her lap all the way home! You should have seen her jump when Dagmar pretended to put the ice cream on top of it!

Then there was the Amish woman who sideswiped us at the grocery store in her effort to get to the sale flour before we did. We stared in astonishment as she used her cart and ample back side to block us until she had all the flour she wanted.

When she had backed off a little, I slid in and grabbed 2 bags. I would have taken more – but I was more than a little scared of her!

Couldn’t you just see the headlines?!  “Local Woman Accosted by Amish Grandmother in the Baking Aisle of Neighborhood Grocery Store”.

I’m sure Dagmar, Angel Girl and Nana would have protected me with the bag of sale bananas! 🙂

And the fun’s not over yet! Tomorrow’s agenda includes 2 estate sales, another garage sale, a couple projects, and more time at the pond fishing.

Happy weekend everybody!