Most Christmases I open at least one gift that I'm not quite sure how to react to. And naturally I have to open it in front of M's entire family. They have this little tradition where only one person at a time opens their gifts so that everyone else can 'ooh' and 'aah' and closely watch your face for reactions. Well, the 2008 Grand Prize Winner is my Garden Hopper. At first glance, this contraption looks like something my son used to ride on in his toddler years, minus the handle to pull it. (In fairness, it does have a hook where you can attach one.) It's even made by Step 2. Don't those people make toddler riding toys? But on closer inspection, I think this gift may turn out to be a big winner. It has a little seat for working in the garden - no small thing when you're middle-aged and have more and more trouble just bending over, much less squatting. And notice the cup holder on one end. I can have my beverage of choice within arm's reach. Plus there's a storage area under the seat for tools, although I plan to use it to hold snacks to go with my beverage. I still need to check the weight limit. That's the true test.
What was your 'most interesting' gift this Christmas?
My little garden is still going strong. The lettuces are still alive and providing greens for salads and the cauliflower plant actually has a small head. The basil is long gone but the dill is still alive. The collard and mustard green plants are fine as well. I guess that is the silver lining to a warm Christmas. The newest addition are radishes, whose deep pink is somehow very satisfying.
Don't obsess about the doll head. I know it's a little creepy, but I didn't have a real baby handy to test the fit and I had the urge today to come up with a wool cap for my soon-to-be new nephew. Tomorrow we leave for the soon-to-be new nephew's soon-to-be parents' house to celebrate Christmas and I want to have a little something for the new kid.
In any case, this is what I came up with and I sorta like it! Just the thing for a kid here in Austin. But Ft. Worth? Hmmm...
This is what I aspire to as a crocheter. This is one of the many beauties that can be found in the 'Museum of Useless Objects' over at Etsy. I've loved Sarah's crocheted felted creations for awhile now. Be sure and check out all her other great stuff.
DH gave me his 'I am extremely perplexed about what my wife is doing with her time' look when I showed him these things. I saw something similar somewhere and immediately thought, 'how cute! how feminine! And they look pretty easy to make and don't use much yarn.' They would probably make more sense if I lived where you actually need a coat in the winter. But I still think they would look cute peeking out from under a coat sleeve.
I was searching the web for the pickled onion rings recipe from the Cock of the Walk in Jackson, Mississippi, (and believe me, they are worth searching for) when I came across this recipe for Tomato Cobbler. Not two words I would normally put together, but it rang a bell. My father-in-law, who hails from the Magnolia State, once reminisced about having eaten tomato cobbler. I'm not sure any of us actually believed him at the time, but having found evidence of its existence I had to try it out. So here it is in all its glory. If you can get past my poor photography and even poorer presentation (no, I don't have a nicer casserole dish, and no, I do not have the patience to weave a lattice top out of pastry dough), it is actually quite good. I had DH sample it before telling him what it was and he gave it a thumbs up. The recipe is shown below in case you also feel the need to prove it for yourself. Of course, to be fair, anything with that much sugar and butter has got to good.
Deep Dish Tomato Cobbler
2 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 T vanilla
1/2 C butter
3/4 C water
pastry dough for an 8" pie
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Simmer all ingredients (except the dough) for 20 minutes.
Roll the dough thin, then cut in half. Cut one half into small squares about 1/2" wide.
Drop the small squares into the pan and simmer 5 more minutes.