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Looking Back at May

The idiom 'April showers bring May flowers' certainly did come into play this past month here in the Delaware valley.  We were graced with some pretty spectacular blooms throughout the month, but it seems as if those April showers stuck around for a good part of it.  My only regret was not photographing those gorgeous azaleas I so wanted to capture for you.  Every time I wanted to photograph the flowers, it would be too dark & cloudy or it would be raining with no end in sight.  By the time we actually had some sunny days, the flowers were spent and no longer in their prime.  I, of course, was not happy.  There's always next year, right?  I know, I keep telling myself that.

Let's look back at May here on the blog because there was a lot I covered.  Rather than having a long introduction, let's jump right into it so that I can discuss a bit about each post.

Do you realize that there was a time in which I didn't care for peanut butter cookies?  It was around my college years when I gave up on them, but if you must know, I haven't the faintest idea as to why.  It just happened.  Lucky for me, I came across a good recipe one day and made a batch of these cookies, falling in love with them all over again.  Ever since then I've been making peanut butter cookies several times a year for my cookie jar and to share with friends and family.  No one has complained about them yet!

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookie is a must if you've never had one!  I got some nice emails and notes from people who made these cookies for their families.  Thank you for trying them and I'm glad you had success with the recipe!

I love these cookie cutters!  They have allowed me to make some wonderful cookies over the years and I couldn't be happier with them.  The summertime images are timeless, classic and quite beautiful.  It's up to you, the baker, to decorate and make one-of-a-kind cookies using these.  They are quite spectacular for a garden party, a child's birthday party or for that special someone who happens to like sunflowers and butterflies.  I'm glad this was a very popular post with some of you. 

Cities of the Week

I'm not providing a link to this because it speaks for itself.  Ever since I added a tracker on my blog, I've been absolutely fascinated with the number of readers and where they come from.  Originally I was only going to list 3 cities per week, but with the constant influx of readers from all over the world, I thought it would be nice to acknowledge more of you more often.  I currently have one dozen cities listed.  That will change on a weekly basis, so keep an eye out for your city!  

This is such an easy thing to make and an essential item to have on hand during the summer when we're all busy making ice cold drinks.  Adding regular granulated sugar to iced tea or lemonade is not the best way to sweeten that type of drink.  A few splashes of simple syrup is the easiest and quickest way to do so; you can even make your own sodas using this.  All you need is sugar, water and a pot.  Voila!  You can tailor the flavor of the syrup with fresh herbs, citrus peels or even certain spices (think cinnamon sticks or star anise).  Keep a jar of simple syrup in the refrigerator to enjoy your favorite cold beverage this summer.  You'll be glad you did!  

Can you imagine a summer without some lemonade?  I certainly can't.  It's one of those drinks steeped in tradition, whether we had some from a lemonade stand as a kid or from having some at the numerous cookouts & barbecues.  I love making a carafe of lemonade whenever I get the craving for a glass of it.  For me it's easy because I always have lemons on hand.  Although I've had lemonade made from powders (gasp!), concentrates and even the premade type found in gallon containers from the supermarket, nothing beats the flavor of freshly squeezed.  Treat yourself to some soon.  Lemonade is refreshing!

A pink lemonade is always welcomed on a hot day!

One word: delicious!  Again, very easy to make and enjoy when the weather gets warm, hibiscus iced tea is inimitable.  Whenever I take my trips out to California I scour the markets for bags of these dried flowers, because they're a bit difficult to come by in my area.  I decant the dried buds into a large apothecary jar and use them up as soon as I get a hankering for some of this invigorating drink.  Picking some fresh mint from the herb garden is a good way to embellish and enhance my glass.  This good thing is a must for all of you!  Make some this summer and enjoy it!

A flowering hibiscus plant is always nice to have around one's home.  Look for these at the nursery now and buy one.

I'm glad I was finally able to write about one of my favorite stores.  At one point I was shopping there so often that I became acquainted with the associates on a first name basis.  They used to scramble and clear away whenever they'd see me enter, because they knew that I preferred to be left to my shopping.  The Mauviel Copper is something I yearn for.  It's such expensive cookware and I know I'll probably never own any, but it's nice to dream! 

Among the best blooms of the season, rhododendrons are quite a sight to behold.  I love the various shades they come in because they are gorgeous.  Looking into these species rhododendrons up close is fun.  Their delicate petals and unique markings greatly enhance any landscape.  Go back to this story and have a look at what our neighborhood looked like a few weeks ago.  Nature is beautiful!

Champagne mangoes are my favorite variety of this scrumptious fruit.  When they go on sale at my local supermarket, I buy several to keep in the refrigerator.  Having some in the afternoon is always a good way to incorporate fruit and fiber into my diet.  I feel like I'm having dessert while doing my body some good.  The larger mangoes are good too, but it's the smaller ones that I look for.  If you must know, my cat Lion goes crazy whenever I cut up a mango.  I don't know what it is about it or him, but it's amazing to see the paw swiping & scratching just so that he can get a taste.  No joke.   

I was enjoying a millet muffin this morning with a cup of coffee.  These muffins always make me happy because they taste as good as they look.  The crunchy millet is delicious when toasted and the muffin batter itself is light and tender; a perfect muffin!  At home I always freeze a batch of these.  Pulling one out of the freezer and reheating it is a cinch to do in the wee hours of the morning.  Millet is readily available at the markets these days so look for it the next time you're shopping.  Keep your millet in the freezer so that it doesn't go rancid. 

Martha Stewart Living Television

I finally compiled some of my favorite television segments from the former Martha Stewart Living Television show.  I have the DVDs that were issued several years ago and I love going back to them every now and then, but personally, I would like to see more of these video clips released for us to enjoy so that we can revisit and relearn the basics from Martha.   You know, it's all in the details.  It's through this show that I became aware of Martha by Mail.  The various products that graced the sets of that studio were beautiful to see and I quickly became a collector as a result.  My passion for jadeite and yellowware originated from seeing select pieces used on the show; I've tried to do the same at my home.  Although some of things I've collected are considered collector's items, I make sure I use what I have and not let them collect dust.

I will keep a vigilant eye on YouTube for these videos and will add more as I come across them.  If you see any I haven't posted, bring them to my attention.  I hope you enjoy the videos just as much as I do. 

Oh my gosh, these are totally delish!  I made some this weekend and have yet to enjoy them.  They're sitting in my freezer awaiting my insatiable appetite soon.  Premade plain, without sprinkles, the chipwiches can keep for about a week or so if they're individually wrapped well.  Any embellishments can be added at the last minute.  You know, I think the cookies soften a bit if made ahead of time.  Either way, enjoy a fabulous chipwich the next time you want a special treat at your barbecue.  Everyone is going to want one.

I'm glad I reposted this blog entry, because I think it's important for all of us to be aware on how to use a basic fire extinguisher.  No one's life should ever be compromised.  Go through the post and acquaint yourself with the basics.

I hope everyone had a wonderful May.  Let's see what June has in store for us! 


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