"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “kitchen

Transition 2: Weekly Photo Challenge

Sunday afternoon I was still thinking about how to best illustrate Transition in a single image. The “yarn to knitted hat” photo was well received. What else could I depict to show transition? 

Talking about it with my sister, she suggested the ice cube. 

I was hoping to get a lone droplet falling off but this one is about to drop.   

In my sisters kitchen, New York. 

Photographing ice reminded me of trying to photograph glass so it doesn’t look blah. 
 I like responding to the challenges and seeing how others interpret the same theme. 

One Potato, Two Possibilities 

A new pet? Or ready to be baked?

I’ve seen eyes in potatoes before  but this one stood out. 

Here’s Maura holding our little friend. 


 What does it look like to you?  

Happy Place: Weekly Photo Challenge

Krista Stevens at WordPress challenged bloggers this week with this prompt “Have you ever felt like the world was being a bit too rowdy? Where things and people were pushing in, crowding out your quiet thoughts — the ones that need time and space to surface?”     Yes, Krista, yes. 

My number one Happy Place cuddling a grandchild in my arms, getting them to smile or the growing up grandchildren sitting next to me on the couch, reading a book or playing a game.  Laughing with grandchildren is the best.

And there’s the knitting I go to-another happy place- a form of meditation, the repetition-  but this post shows my kitchen where I can ward off winter chills (or autumn chills) and feel all is right in the world.  (Even if it’s not.)

——————————–resposted from original December 2011———————-

First Day of Winter Still Life in My Kitchen

Friends joined me for tea, even though they weren’t in Pittsburgh.

You can see out the kitchen back door window to the back porch and garage, the bare trees.  The shortest day of light.  Winter officially here.

Two dear friends in KY sent a shipment of fancy English muffins and the Fed Ex man delivered them Wednesday afternoon.  It seemed a good time to split one, toast it and spread some butter (with my Grandmother’s silver butter knife) and spoon some apricot preserves.

Went to fire up the kettle to brew tea but I’d burned the kettle dry on Monday so boiled a pot of water to make the tea. Pulled out the camera on the phone to capture the scene

Oranges were on sale 10 for $2 today and lately they were almost a dollar apiece.

A faithful  blog reader in Virgina, C, (and  best friend of a my good friend J in Omaha) made me the little quilted mug mat last year and it was  J who gave me the lidded butter dish another year.  The Botanic Garden mug matches my mother’s cereal bowls.

I was home alone but in the presence of friends and family remembered.  Finding the joy of winter.  My neighbor called to report a vibrant rainbow spotting and perhaps I could photograph it.  i went outside and it was still raining and saw the colored arch across the street.  I photographed it but it didn’t make the cut for posting but i appreciate when people see something and I come to mind. There was thunder and lightning, too.

Yes, that is a stack of woven potholders on the left counter top.

It’s Official. Soup Season!

Time to ward off the chill. Make soup.

Today’s post a compendium of past blog posts featuring soup.  Photos will be familiar if you’ve followed since the blog started.



the rinds of cheese (see Soup Bones above) are key to this Minestrone.

From the BEST RECIPE COOKBOOK of by the editor’s of COOK’S ILLUSTRATED  Minestrone recipe

2 small leek washed thoroughly, white and light green sliced thin crosswise

2 medium carrots peeled and cut small dice

2 small onions peeled and small dice

2 medium celery stalks trimmed and cut small dice

1 medium russet potato peeled and medium dice

1 medium zucchini trimmed and medium dice

3 c stemmed spinach leaves cut in thin strips

1 can (28 oz)  whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained and chopped

1 Parmesan cheese rind about 5×2 inches

1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed, added last 5 minutes

ground black pepper

at end add 1/4 c basil pesto or 1 T rosemary mixed with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and extra- virgin olive oil

Bring vegetables tomatoes and 8 cups of water, cheese rind and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a big soup kettle or pot.

Reduce hear to medium low simmer uncovered, stir occasionally,until vegetables are tender but still hold their shape about an hour.

Add beans and cook just until heated through about 5 minutes.  Remove pot from heat.

Remove and discard cheese rind. Stir in pesto or Rosemary mixture if desired and adjust seasonings adding pepper or more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

If you want to add pasta be sure to cook separately, drain and put in soup bowl, then ladle soup over it so it doesn’t suck up all the broth.

Do you have a favorite soup you make when the weather changes? Maybe you are firing up a pot of chili or stew.

Do You Have Magnets on Your Fridge?


Maybe you have a stainless steel refrigerator or a fancy glass door- not sure where this practice originated. One time I photographed a fridge in a junkyard snd the door still had magnets stuck on it!

Some people collect them from places they visit. Send photos if you wish.  



Change: From Dough to Cookies

Change is this week’s photography challenge and Friday I posted my children as they are all grown up with families of their own.  I’ve looked at quite a few fellow bloggers posts and didn’t see this one yet but I might have missed it.  So many possibilities for posts illustrating change.  

I was baking some cookies, noticed the mixing bowl of dough, and I thought- change.

I went to the other room and got the real camera instead of the phone.

The light seemed nice in the kitchen.


cookie dough

Oatmeal Crisps from the Farm Journal Cookbook (1972 ed.)

 I cut the recipe in half and left out the coconut. You could add nuts and/or raisins.

My minor adjustments to the original recipe below.



1 C butter, room temp ( I happened to have Irish butter on hand)

1 C brown sugar

3/4 C white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 C flour

3 C Bob’s Red Mill Oats

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

dash of cinnamon and dash of ginger

Bake about 11 minutes @ 350


Thanks to Kristin Snow for the challenge this week. You have to check out her blog Snowmads

Excerpt from her blog is below.  You will be inspired for adventure after reading it.  

“Who are the Snowmads?

We’re Jason and Kristin Snow, a travel-addicted couple who walked away from cubicles and conventional lives two years ago to roam full-time, gaining valuable perspective on life and meeting new friends at every turn. We hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and collect experiences instead of things. Please feel free to share some travel tips right back at us whenever possible — we love hearing from you!”

Aunt Georgeann Brought Cupcakes from Regent Square

Four of the grandchildren are visiting for the weekend, along with their parents. Saturday night we had dinner and guests. Aunt Georgeann came to see how they’d grown. She arrived with a big pink box.


She knew there was almond, lemon, red velvet, and a carrot cake with the sliver of candied ginger, plus two chocolate with espresso frosting.  A dozen sweet cakes.We needed a key but came up with a solution.

She’d stopped off in Regent Square at Vanilla Pastry Studio Molly gave me this birthday gift of a  Rooster Harkerware piece just yesterday.

Aunt Georgeann cut them in half so the kids could decide what they wanted to eat. It was fun to try the different flavors. 


You can see everyone enjoyed the treat! 

I took one of the leftovers and put it on a cupcake stand Joanne gave me years ago.

Practicing my food photography.

 I wanted to show the big pink box!

One More Plum Torte Post

JJBegonias post of Marian Burros Plum Torte has inspired many to bake one.

My friend Roberta made a couple and gave me one she baked but unfortunately Steve and I ate it without thinking about photographing it,

I made one for my friend Josie’s parents and then her sister Carol made one and Josie sent me a photo of it on the phone. Looks like they paired it with a cup of coffee.  Mmmm.

Carol's plum Torte


Then here is the one I made



Happy Day or 1-2-3-4 Cake?

 If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you might remember the photos and recipes.On several occasions, I’ve posted our  “go to” birthday cake recipes.
 My sister got me the one Swan’s Down vintage cake pan in Omak, Washington when were visiting our brother one summer.
I did mail a birthday card to my sister.  (Unusual for me that it wasn’t belated)
In my family, we’d try to get it in the octave, as my mom would call it.  Enjoy your day!

Happy Day Cake Recipe-

For Birthdays it was the 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe or the Happy Day Cake recipe on the back of the Swan’s Down Cake Flour box, frosted with Penuche icing.  My mother would put the saucepan into a sink of cold water and then beat it by hand once it cooled. I can hear the ring of the metal loop at the end of the pan’s handle. And as I remember it she added a dash of vanilla extract.  My dad would pour milk over a slice and eat it with a spoon.   Cake and frosting recipes below photo.

Happy Birthday to my sister Mary who gave me the vintage pan

Happy Day Cake

2½ cups sifted cake flour

1½ cups sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir shortening to soften. Add flour mixture, ¾ cup of the milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is dampened, then beat two minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and remaining ¼ cup milk. Beat one minute longer. Pour into two 9-inch layer pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

This cake also may be baked in three 8-inch layer pans for 25 to 35 minutes, or in a 13- by 9-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes. Batter may be spooned into 36 medium paper baking cups in muffin pans, filling half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Penuche Frosting   Butter is Key


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, more or less
  • hot water, optional


In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water. Frosts top and sides of a 2-layer cake or a 13×9-inch cake.


p.s. Last year I mailed an actual cake but this year it will be virtual

and another connection was the post when my friend J sent me a cupcake tree to Ohio when I was visiting

After sharing the recipe with friends, I finally made it myself

My friend Joanne’s guest blog of the Nine Minute Pasta was well received. I’d read the article about the backstory for the Nine Minute Pasta recipe here The recipe was originally developed by Nora Singly .  You may have an abundance of tomatoes.  Here’s my report.

J mentioned a bit of gumminess at the end and threw in a 1/4 cup of wine. She said she’d make it again.

Since I’d sent the recipe out to many friends, (figuring I’d missed it when it went viral a few years ago so perhaps they’d missed it too), I decided to fire up the stove and make it myself. Plus, I had all those delicious cherry tomatoes from the East Liberty Farmers Market.  Steve brought up a linguine that had a 9 minutes cooking time on the box.  Yes, you do have to mind the pasta so it doesn’t become a solid block, separate the strands.  I used a knife.

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to let the covered pan sit for two additional minutes (with the burner off). Next time I’d add a few MORE cherry tomatoes.  The cutting them in half was the only time consuming part of the effort. I actually weighed the tomatoes to follow the recipe.  The fresh garlic from my brother in Okanogan WA and the fresh basil really added to the taste.  Going to try a brown rice pasta version and adjust cooking time and liquid if necessary. 




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