For the Love of Brocanting


Yes, yes, my friends—this is Thumper who hopped out of the van and ran to the stop sign to check a fallen sign.  We were all hoping it said “Yard Sale” but alas, it did not!  Vanna captured this poignant photo on her iphone.  It is entitled, “Desperation 1”  Very aptly, I might add……………..



If They Have One, We Will Come!

(yard sale, that is)

Easy Bunny Cake



“An’ he’s all dressed up in a bow tie for Easter, too!” Jabberwocky happily noted.

When last I left you, you were standing in front of the freezer, having just placed two separate layer cakes inside and pondering what in the world I had in mind with this alleged bunny cake, weren’t you?


Oh.  I felt certain you would still be there, just waiting for further instructions, but……obviously if you are reading this, you must have taken a break from your watch and are in front of your computer or perhaps reading from your ‘smart’ phone.  Right?


Well, for goodness sakes, where ARE you then?  Surely not INSIDE the freezer?   Goodness!

Speaking of being inside a freezer, that reminds me that this morning I got outside of my own (house, not freezer) and had a delightful reunion with the Brocanting Brigade who, like me, are chomping at the bit to, uhhh, to brocant as it were.  Or as it weren’t.  But never mind, we did.  Brocant.  (Or is it ‘brocante’?  Dunno.)

In fact, it was noted by a few (and not just us, either—we do create interest as we many tumble out of the van at sales, or even at fast food restaurants, but that’s another story for another time) that we appear to be rather desperate for sales of which there were only a couple and they were not stellar.  Although Cupcake, who has been quite ill for a while, did manage to obtain an almost new, beautiful sweater!  (I do think brocanting can make anybody feel better and Cupcake agreed she was, indeed, better.)  Girlfriend was in fine form, a very good brocanter if ever I saw one, and we are so glad that Thumper has decided to come out from under the brush and back into the world—she, too has been under the weather.  (Thumper actually got out of said van to pick up a downed sign—just to be sure that it wasn’t a yard sale advertisement, and it wasn’t and we were all sorely disappointed, but I digress……) And Vanna??  Why Vanna had LEFT US!  (gasp) for Florida where the sun did not shine, either, almost the entire time she was gone.  But she is back, and we are almost complete–Alas, Sosew had other items to attend to, but we are hoping that she will soon be back into the fold, or at least into the van, with the rest of us as we venture out.  There is nothing so invigorating than a morning with girlfriends brocanting.  Or even just looking FOR brocant sales……….

Oh alright, that’s all I have to say about that.  For now.  I suppose you want to know how to make the bunny cake, don’t you?  Well, whether you do or not, I’m going to tell you…… on……….

First, get out of your freezer and bring your cakes with you.

You will need two round layer cakes, preferably frozen separately.

A sheet of paper (any kind to make a pattern for your cake) and a round cake pan (the size you used to bake your layer cakes in).

Frosting (I used a can of frosting with 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring mixed in)

Jelly beans, assorted; red food coloring, licorice (red or black, your choice)

Coconut (less than 1 regular sized package)

A cake board or a large plate on which to arrange your cake.

1.  Draw around your cake pan on a piece of paper to make a circle.


2.  Using the bottom of the cake pan, draw and then cut three pieces—two ears and one bow tie.  See photo:


3.  Lay the pattern pieces out on your cake board or plate.


“Hey!  That doesn’t look like a bunny to me!” commented Jabber.

4.  I discovered that this pattern was a bit too large for the cake, so adjust accordingly when laying the pattern on the cake to cut it out.  The cake is most easily handled when frozen, but you will need to cut a bit carefully.


Lay your cakes on the board and adjust to fit.

5.  Frost cakes.  I used a can of frosting into which I mixed 1 teaspoon of vanilla.


6.  To 1/4 cup of coconut, add a drop or two of red food coloring, mixing well.  This is the center of his ears.


image           image

7.  Gently cover the rest of the cake frosting with white coconut.


8.  I lightly ran a knife around the edge of the bow tie to define it.  Then, since I had some of this on hand,


I piped a bit around the bow tie edges—but I noted that it did not show up very well.


9.  Randomly press in jelly beans in the bow tie.


10.  Use jelly beans for eyes and nose, then cut licorice for whiskers and mouth.



*Note:  I found this pattern online, and you can as well, but I am unable to place a link to the source.  This is not my original idea, but it is a very easy one to replicate.  Have fun!

Bunny Cake**

**(NOTE:  The first posting of this indicated a Malware attack.  I am so sorry!  Evidently the link to the online pictures was a ‘bad’ link.  I sincerely hope that I did not involve anyone reading the blog with such!  My computer blocked access to this post previously.)

This year I wanted to make a bunny cake, so I searched on the internet for ideas for a simple design.  I ran across one and decided to make it.

Pretty simple—two round cakes, frosting, coconut, and some candy for the face and bowtie.  (I will show you the design in a later post when I actually decorate the cake.)

What I have discovered, however, is that the details of baking a layer cake are not included!  Again, everyone assumes that we know HOW to bake a cake and all the tricks of the trade so to speak.  After 50 years of baking cakes, I do think I FINALLY have some techniques mastered. 

Here is how I bake a cake:  (Preheat oven while you get these prepared)

1.  I used two round pans which I sprayed with cooking spray.


2.  Cut out wax paper circles to place in the bottom of the pans and strips of wax paper to go around the sides.  The cooking spray will hold these in place.


I cut slits all along the top of the strips of wax paper so these strips will lay flat against the sides of the pan.

3.  Lay the wax paper in the pan carefully.


4,  Lightly spray the wax paper-coated pans and then sprinkle with flour.  Turn upside down over sink and gently tap out excess flour.


5.  Next soak these insulated strips in water.  I do this in a bowl in the sink—warm water.  You want them saturated.  (I do not know what they are called, but I bought them at a baking supply store many years ago.)


6.  While the strips are soaking up the water, prepare your cake batter.  This time I used cake mix—just add oil, water and eggs.

image                image


7.  When the cake batter is ready to be poured, quickly take the insulated strips and wrap around the outer edge of the empty cake pans.  Secure.  Handle very carefully or the strips will fall off!

image  The strips come with long straight pins which one inserts through both layers of the strips to secure.

8.  Pour batter into the pans.

image  Try to pour equal amounts into each pan so that your layers will be even.

9.  Carefully transfer to preheated oven.   (I place one hand on the bottom of the cake pan, fingers spread wide apart to hold the strip in place as I transfer to the oven rack.)   Bake as directed.  Insert a toothpick in the center of each pan to ensure your cake is done.

10.  Cool 10 minutes, then invert and slip pan off of cake layer.






Remove the wax paper carefully from the cake.  You should now have two fairly level cake layers.  Let them cool completely, then I wrap in foil and freeze prior to decorating.  Freezing allows me to handle the cake layers easily.  They will thaw rather quickly, too.

Wash your cake pans, quickly place upside down in your still-hot/warm oven to dry.  They will not rust and by the time your oven is cool, the cake pans can be put away.  (By the way, I dry any all-metal kitchen utensil which may rust in this manner—strainers, graters, etc.)

Now, the fun part:  decorate your cake! 

Mine is still in the freezer, so after I decorate it, I will post a picture on this blog.


Easter Eggs



Everyone seems to have a favorite method of boiling eggs.  Recently I read one could actually bake them, shell on, in the oven!  I have not tried that method.

I don’t recall being taught how to boil eggs—isn’t that a joke of some sort as in, “She doesn’t know how to boil eggs!”  Well, that might have been me some 50 years ago, but now I am confident in my method.  (But I still don’t think anybody ever TAUGHT me how to boil eggs!………maybe one is just supposed to know how to do it, but I’ve found that isn’t so.)

This is the way I cook them:

Place clean eggs in a pan of water which covers the eggs.  Don’t overcrowd the eggs.  Add some salt (this seems to help prevent cracking while they are cooking, although alternatively I believe I’ve used a little white vinegar and that seems to work well too).  Place on a burner on medium to medium high heat and bring to a boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, I cover and remove from heat.  Let them stand for 15 to 20 minutes.  They don’t bounce around in the boiling water this way, but they will still cook.  Be patient!  Set the timer.

Gently remove each egg with a slotted spoon, one at a time, and place in iced water.  I do this with a bowl in the sink.  Keep adding cold iced water until they are covered.

If one is going to peel and eat immediately, wait about 2 minutes and then crack and peel the eggs.  These should peel very easily and the shell will come off in larger pieces.  If they do not, place back into the iced water for another minute or so.  Really, there is no hurry on this.

For Easter eggs (or if you wish to keep the shell on), remove the eggs after a few minutes (or more), and gently dry. 


Place back in an egg carton and into the refrigerator.

I seldom have a cracked egg, they seem to peel and be perfectly done in this manner.  When they are completely cold, I am able to slice them and make deviled eggs or use as I wish.  The yolks are always nicely done, but not overdone.

But today I colored the eggs for Easter.  It is best to do this while the eggs are a little cool, but not icy cold.  I actually prefer to use food coloring, which I have on hand—(the more color one uses in a cup of hot water with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, the deeper the color).

Here are my Easter eggs—colored with food coloring, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and very hot water,  placed eggs in a coffee cup to color, one by one. (True confessions:  it’s kind of fun to change the primary colors by mixing them, so that’s what I did to get purple, the different shades of green, orange and blues.)




Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwiches

“Who is this Monte Cristo and why are you making breakfast for him?” inquired Jabberwocky.

It’s the name of a breakfast/brunch/lunch sandwich.  Since it is snowing outside, I decided that I’d make them—seems like a hearty winter-weather type of breakfast.

Besides, I had some leftover sandwich meats, some leftover slices of cheese, and I had never made them before, but I do like them very much.  I’ve had them at restaurants.  This ‘recipe’ is called ‘make it up as you go along’……….

Here is how I made them:

1.  Assemble bread, meat (I had slices of turkey and ham, the traditional duo for this sandwich), cheese (I used a variety since that’s what I had.)

2.  Beat some eggs and a little cream/milk/half & half or whatever you prefer in a bowl.  To this you could add a teaspoon of a flavoring—vanilla, orange, maple, whatever suits your fancy.

image  This is the remainder of the egg mixture I dipped the sandwiches in………….you can cook this up, too—sort of like scrambled eggs.

3.  Carefully lay the assembled sandwiches, one by one, in the mixture, leave for about 30 seconds and then carefully turn the entire sandwich over to soak the other side.

4.  Heat some very mild olive oil and a little butter in a flat skillet on LOW HEAT and then lay the sandwiches in the pan.

5.  Keep the heat on LOW and when you see the cheese melting on the bottom layer, you may flip the sandwich over—see if it looks like it is toasty on the bottom.


here are the sandwiches just turned over……..

6.  When done, remove to a plate, cut into squares or wedges, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with melted jelly or jam of your choice—this morning we had hot pepper jelly.



Spring is in the air…………

“What?” said Jabberwocky—“Lady, you obviously haven’t looked outside……..”

Yes, did.  I lied about spring being in the air…….

Here around the Harpeth it is not spring—it’s winter.  Up in mid-state Illinois where Daughter and family went to visit Son and family for spring break, it isn’t spring either.

Go here to see some photos of their record snowfall!

And here are some photos of what it looks like here—it’s still snowing, but only lightly:


      image  image

image image



And the Bradford Pear Trees with leaves are in bloom……..

Time for Spring to do some Spring Cleaning, I’d say!! 

Rearranging furniture

The new framed bowl needed some furniture beneath it—so this is what I came up with:



These are things which I have had around the house for quite a while.  I just moved the desk, chair and plant with stand to enhance the framed bowl.

See previous post for better photos of the bowl in its frame.

What do you think?  Better?

Framed Artwork

This is the Turkish Bowl for which Bob K. made a frame.  He hung it on the wall yesterday afternoon.






The frame is hand made by Bob K.  We attached the bowl with ‘industrial strength’ Velcro to the board on the back and let it sit for a couple of days so it was secure.  The frame has glass in front so that even should the bowl come loose from the Velcro, it won’t fall out of the frame.

My son gave it to me for Christmas and I think it is quite spectacular in its frame.  Since it has some depth, we wanted to ensure it would not be accidentally bumped, so we placed it on a wall in the dining area, away from the ‘traffic’ of the room.








Points of Interest

“WHAT points of interest?Where have you been?” inquired Jabberwocky who I seldom, if ever, leave at home. 

Visual points of interest, Jabber.  I’m adding a few to the house. 

Last year I collected several old rolling pins—yard sales, a sale at a local antique mall, various places.  There was a very interesting display on Pinterest which caught my eye and I wanted to replicate it. 

The rolling pins sat in the laundry room, on the counter, for many months.  I had not figured out how to display them.  Until Bob, of course. 

“Until ‘Bob’?” asked Jabber.  “Is that an event or a celebration or somethin’?  How come I didn’t know about it?”

No, no—until Bob came to do some work here and I inquired if he might make something to display them.  Of course he did!

They make me happy and I’m really enjoying the display  in the kitchen.  Want to see?  Alright………


image  side view



The upper ones are larger than the lower ones—and so Bob graduated the sides ever so slightly.  They fit perfectly.  The little one at the top I just set there—I found two of them last weekend at a sale for 25 cents each.


I believe they are recipe card holders as one side is flat and the other has a slit to hold the recipe card.  Aren’t they cute?

On another, more elegant note, Bob made a beautiful display case for a beautiful bowl from my son last Christmas.  It is not yet up on a wall, but will be soon—here it is:



The case is black, with a black background and a beautiful edge.  The front has glass to protect the lovely bowl.  It will hang in the living room—and the colors are perfect.  I’m so pleased with the results!

Soon, I will be hanging my ‘art gallery’ in the hallway—still working on it!  I will show you the final results when it is finished.

It’s fun to have new ‘points of interest’ at home—have you changed anything on your walls lately?

Roasted Root Vegetables

This recipe is from Cupcake or Sosew—I know both of them have made it and said it was delicious.  It is!


Serves 12

1 1/4 lbs of parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 1/4 lbs of carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 3/4 pounds golden beets (I used regular beets—see the pretty red color?), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 1/4 lb celery root, peeled, quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (but I used Balsamic)

Preheat oven to 425.  In large bowl, toss the vegetables with the oil, honey and thyme, season with salt and pepper.  Divide between two large, sturdy rimmed cookie sheets lined with foil.  Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, shifting the pans once, until the vegetables are tender.

Remove foil and roast for 10 minutes longer, until glazed.  Return them to the bowl and stir in the vinegar then season with salt and pepper.  Serve right away.

(I did not cover with foil, and I used the Balsamic vinegar with the rest of the wet ingredients before baking–they came out great!  I also only cooked for 40 minutes total.)

Friend Sosew substituted turnips for the beets and said it was delicious, too.

This tastes almost like candy—and it is so pretty with the red beets.  While it takes a while to do all the chopping, it’s worth it.  What a great way to eat your veggies!

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