IN MRS.BUTTERFINGER’S KITCHEN …. BUTTERMILK BISCUITS AND SOUL

I warm my soul  in my kitchen.     Cooking replenishes my soul  when the events of the world leave me feeling sad,  exhausted and drained.    It is pleasure to  cook for my family and friends.    My kitchen is the heart and soul of our  home.    We prepare food because we must eat.   True.   When we bake  we  bring more to the table.   More of ourselves,  more soul.   We fill our home with the fragrance of baking.   Making luscious cakes, rich brownies, flaky pies we indulge our selves, and we indulge  those we love.

Our  grandchildren, Kate and Andrew,  indulge their family and friends  when they bake biscuits served with honey to accompany a roast chicken.  A lovely idea I have taken to heart.  Golden, crisp roast chicken served with mounds of delicate, flaky biscuits and sweet honey.  A delicious alternative to the ubiquitous bakery baguette.

I recommend you make these frequently.   Repetition will make you a better cook, and it is so very, very good for the soul.    It should take just twenty minutes or so from start to finish to make biscuits.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour,     1 tsp salt,     4 tsp baking powder,     1 tsp baking soda,      3/4 cup cold unsalted,     1 1/4 cups buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 450degrees F  Makes about 16 biscuits

Mix your dry ingredients then cut in the butter.  Use two knives, a pastry cutter or your food processor.   Don’t over process you want some tiny lumps of butter to remain.  This makes your biscuits flaky.

Dump the flour mixture into a large mixing bowl, and make a hole in the middle of the flour

.  Add the buttermilk and mix using the handle end of a wooden spoon.  This little trick stops you from over mixing your dough.  Mix just until  the flour mixture starts to come together.

Now( still in the bowl)  knead it lightly six or seven times gathering it into a large rough ball as you do this.   Do this quickly.    Have a light touch.

Put this rough mixture onto a lightly floured board and pat the dough to the thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet about one inch apart.   Gather the left over scraps together to form rough biscuits.  Don’t press or kneads these pieces, it will toughen them.   Bake 15 minutes.

Serve immediately!   Slather on butter and honey and indulge with your lovely roast chicken.

Chefs notes:  You can do some prep ahead of time.  Mix the flour mixture and butter and store  in the fridge until needed.  Then all you have to do is just add the buttermilk and bake.

 

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ICING ON THE CARROT CAKE . . . a cake for celebrating birthdays!

This is not your usual carrot cake recipe.   This is a carrot cake made sublimely rich with butter replacing the oil.   The results are a fine, firm crumb that holds and slices beautifully (so necessary in a layer cake). The cake is not complicated.  If you wish you can stir it  up in one bowl without using your mixer.     Refrigerated, the cake holds well so you can  enjoy nibbling cake over a couple of days (if it lasts that long).

And then there’s the frosting.  It is outrageously wonderful.  Rich, creamy, buttery and exquisitely flavoured and enriched with cream cheese.  It is the light as air volume that takes this cake creation over the top.   There is absolutely no doubt.  The frosting is sublime.  It’s uncomplicated and foolproof.  You simply beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until is fluffy and smooth.  Lavish the frosting  between the layers and on the top of the cake.  Don’t frost the side of the cake.

This is my special occasion cake.  The cake I make for family birthdays.    This summer my younger sister celebrated her 80th Birthday.  I baked the cake in my kitchen, then drove  two days to our home town in Northern Saskatchewan.  The cake kept perfectly in our travelling Koolatron (refrigerator).     This cake cut beautifully into twelve servings.   I like to gild the lily so we served the cake with a generous scoop of ice cream.

MRS.BUTTERFINGERS has this scrumptious recipe CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING.  Bon Appetit.

 

 

 

 

HOW TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF THE AGE YOU ARE. A DOZEN OR SO STYLING TIPS FOR THE MODERN WOMAN

At this time of our life, more than any other,  we should dare to do anything and do it with confidence and audacity.      We have the freedom to express ourselves in new and creative ways and attitudes.    As we age we start feeling invisible.    We are told – your hair is too long.    Gray hair should be cut very short.  Don’t wear  bright colours.    These years we wear so proudly belong to us.  Why shouldn’t you enjoy the  ritual of dressing.     The pleasure of fashion self expression.  The getting dressed for life in style and elegance.

Here’s the trick to looking  expensively dressed on a thrifty budget.

Wear all Black or all white.   Think  white trousers and a white sweater.

When ever possible buy natural fabrics.  Stock up on white and black 100% cotton T Shirts.  They go with everything.

Jewellery  – wear dainty or a bold gold,  or a  pearl necklace ,  but just one piece.

A great pair o sun glasses.  They hide a multitude of sins and protect your precious eyes.

Scarves – collect them in the colours you love and wear them with everything.

Belts – the finishing touch, look for reversible belts, more versatile.

Handbags – no logo or hard wear. When you find the perfect handbag treat it with respect. NEVER put it on the floor.    It unhygienic, adds wear to your handbag and increases your dry cleaning bills.

Dark jeans.  They’re always more flattering and smarter, no matter what cut you choose.  Don’t even think of wearing your smart, dark jeans with running shoes!   Dark jeans look fabulous with a white t-shirt and blazer.   Or top your jeans with a silk shirt for a great evening look. They give you the most bang for your fashion buck.

Wear fewer white shirts, try jewel colours instead.

Shoes.  This can be a little tricky but for dressing up  you need black  and skin-toned shoes.  Pointed toe shoes elongate your legs and we all want long legs.   For casual wear a classic loafer or ankle boots (no hard wear or embellishments).

It’s important to feel confident and relaxed about what you are wearing.  It’s you people are interest in, but it’s also fun to dress up a bit –   after all, when are you going to, if now now?

 

 

 

 

THE MODERN AGING OF WOMEN . . . DRESSING WITH STYLE

August 2019

French women have a saying “Vieillir un Privilége”  – To age is a privilege.    There is an art to aging well and dressing with style.    With advancing age great adventures begin.    Embrace them and be bold.  Be adventuresome.  Dazzle yourself and the world.    At this time of our lives dare to do anything you like and do it worth audacity.  This  ritual of dressing.  This dressing for life.  These years belong to you.  Life is short, make every moment count.

Less is less. More is not quite enough. Good taste is overrated.  Don’t wear beige.

Never, never live home without lipstick.

Determine what looks good on you and wear a variation every day.

To grow old is a privilege.  Flaunt a life well lived.  Do it with style.

And sex: never give up on it, in what ever shape or form.  It keeps the roses in your cheeks and the gleam in your eyes.

(Over six decades of being a fashion maven  has influenced my style of dressing.  I appreciate timeless, classic style. I  wear fashions I bought 45 years ago.   When in doubt I ask myself “what would Chanel wear”.   I dislike leggings.  They are simply tights with the feet cut off.  Tattoos.    Gray hair coloured with patches of pink or mauve.    They do  nothing for any women, but I defend to the end their right to their choices.)

NEVER SET SAIL IN A PEA-GREEN BOAT … A ROMANCE WITH AN UNHAPPY ENDING.

The silver scissors cut her hair so she could fly away.

The owl had found his own true love.

He said good bye to the pussy-cat

And gave her a ten pound note.

Invest it wisely, but not in bonds.

She left the pea-green boat in tears.

The Golden Maiden and the Two-Timing owl

Sailed away for year and a day.

The romance couldn’t last.

He never cut his nails.

(Greeting card on card-stock with images gleaned from old masters and other  secret sources.)

MYSTERY FLOWER IN THE WILD GARDEN . . . what is its name?

Bel’Occhio’s Wild Flower Garden

The mystery flower.   It flaunts its beauty and seduces the bees, then as the sun sets  tightly folds it blossoms and disappears.

It was the long talk with my friend, Oswald, gentleman rabbit,  that gave me the idea for this garden.  He is a master gardener and is responsible for all things growing.  He voiced his concern about the challenges facing bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Pesticides, climate change,  and the disappearances of their habitats in rural areas have drastically reduced their population.

We took a third of our vegetable garden and dedicated  it to wild flowers .   I thought I would  have some  dainty flowers growing wild and free in the breeze.   A few bees and butterflies, and the occasional hummingbird doing what they do best.    This outrageous, flamboyant display was a wonderful surprise and I am thrilled beyond belief.  It is my secret garden,  hidden from public viewing in the  quiet privacy of our vegetable garden.

Today I discovered  a brilliant, sapphire blue flower.  It took my breath away.   I searched my garden books but haven’t discovered its name.  I hope someone will know.

The mystery flower.

 

THE SECRET GARDEN OF BEES, BUTTERFLIES AND HUMMINGBIRDS

I have a wild flower garden.   It’s a secret garden.  A garden where bees, butterflies and hummingbirds quietly go about their business in calm privacy.  It is surrounded by hay fields.  Near by are ditches filled with water and grassy thickets and brambles.

This spring I took almost half of our vegetable garden and sowed it with wild flowers.    I filled it with annuals, biennials and perennials.   Bees are especially drawn to  blue, purple and yellow flowers.   

The bees love these single petal flowers.  They hum songs of happiness as they fly from blossom to blossom.  Occasionally makings forays into the vegetable garden for flavours or oregano and mint.  This is their secret magic world.  A garden of earthly delights for bees.

My wild flowers flaunt outrageous colors .  Waving gossamer petals to entice butterflies and hummingbirds to dine on their nectar .

I’ve added extra flower seeds to my wild flower mixture.  Lots of flamboyant poppies and delicious blue and pink bachelor buttons.  Their bright colours catch the attention of hummingbirds and butterflies.

The wild flower garden is rather like  Christmas.  Early in the morning, when the dew still sparkles on the cobwebs in the grass, I stroll out to the garden.  There’s always a new surprise for the contents of the wild flower mixture are not listed.  They are yours to discover one by one.  I never take flowers from the bee garden.  I don’t dead head.  It is their sanctuary.

I’ve close planted the flowers creating   a brilliant  kaleidoscope of colour.  The garden  is in full sun from morning to evening.    It is a garden of joy.    A small thing , this garden for bees, butterflies and hummingbird, but incredibly important to our environment.

It is estimated one out of every three bites of food we take is made possible by bees and other pollinating wild life.  Food and shelter for bees allows them to nest and increase their population in safety.

My secret bee garden.  Oswald, the master gardener would approve.  He understands the need for a rabbit proof fence.