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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strawberries and Cream Mold

3 (3 oz.) pkgs. strawberry Jello
3 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries in syrup
2 env. Knox gelatin
1 c. cold water
2 c. light cream
1 c. sugar
2 c. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the 3 boxes of Jello with the 3 cups of boiling water and let stand 15-20 minutes. Then add the partially defrosted strawberries. Stir until all the strawberries are evenly distributed. Place this in a Jello mold or a large Bundt pan will do, that you've sprayed with Pam. Cover and place in the fridge to set. In another bowl, dissolve the Knox gelatin in the cup of cold water. In a saucepan, scald the 2 cups of light cream with the 1 cup of sugar mixed in. Once scalded add this to the gelatin-water mixture. Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour this over the already chilled and set Jello. Return this to the fridge to set and chill all the way through. Unmold to serve. You could put fresh sliced strawberries in the hole in the center of the mold if you use the Bundt pan or a mold like it.

I made this dessert for the party. This and the Frittata are both in the St. Luke's Cookbook. There are still copies available. Go to link for more information:

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vegetable Frittata

1 large onion, thinly sliced (Vidalia is nice)
1-2 T. olive oil
2-3 medium potatoes, par boiled, cooled and sliced (Yukon Gold are good)
1 small tomato thinly sliced (I used a Compari tomato)
1/2 c. sliced carrots, precooked
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. Munster cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. ham, cut into strips (optional)
1/2 of a very small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 of a very small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced

salt, pepper, parsley, basil (fresh is nice), garlic powder, red pepper flakes
or whatever you like.
6 eggs, beaten.

Saute' the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Using a deep glass pie dish or such, layer the ingredients starting with some of the onion on the bottom and there should be some of each ingredient in more than one layer. Sprinkle each layer with the cheese and spices as you go. You'll probably get 2 layers. After one layer you can pour half the beaten eggs over it, then top it off with the rest. (You should have some cheese on the very top. Yes, eggs can go over it.)
Depending on what you are baking this in you may want to bake this on a cookie sheet with sides in case it runs over.You can vary the ingredients but try not to add too many vegetables that are going to produce a lot of water.

Bake: 350' for 30-40 minutes or until the chesse is lightly browned. Let it cool down and set a bit before serving. It reheats well. You can zap it in the microwave. It doesn't freeze well.
I made this for Barbara and Q's party and just made it today for a friend Anne and her daughter who stopped by for a little visit.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cornbread for a Crowd

I made this for the party and had made it before for a St. Luke's event. It's cheap**, easy, and makes a lot. It somewhat like the Boston Market Cornbread. More cakey - less corney.
Preheat the oven to 375'.
You'll need 2 Jiffy Cornbread Mixes and 2 Jiffy Yellow Cake Mixes.
Mix them all in a large bowl and add the eggs, milk and water as indicated on the packages. I used that Black & Decker Gizmo Twist Mixer (see HP Friday, May 02, 2008) with the one beater and it worked fine. It really is a handy little item!
Spray a large roasting pan* with Pam and dump all the batter into it. Start checking it around 20 minutes for doneness although it may need another 5 minutes or so. (Our old church kitchen electric wall ovens don't bake evenly and one was done before the other.)
I cut this up into little squares and stacked it up on a serving tray. I had doubled this recipe and there was very little left. (*When I get a chance to measure the roasting pan size. I'll post it.)
**Total for the 8 boxes of mixes: $5.68
Note: Around here everyone carries the cornbread mix but some of the other Jiffy items are harder to find. Use this search tool to find what stores in your area carry their items.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Buon Viaggio for Barbara & Q

Friday, July 25, 2008

Benjamin Zander

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

Watch this:

Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

Here's his website:
and you may also find this of interest from his website:

(Our thanks to HP reader Sheila H. for sending this along!)

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hummingbird Moth

I saw this yesterday in my garden and quickly ran into the house to grab my camera. I had seen one of these previously but never knew what it was. After some sleuthing on the Internet I found it. It looks to be a Clearwing Hummingbird moth.

For some bigger and even better images:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Girl Who Silenced The United Nations

Updated information on this young lady go to:

Thanks Don for passing this along.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time and Date

Here's just some of what you can find or do at this website:

Current local times around the world
Make a Personal World Clock
World Clock Meeting Planner-This utility should help you find a convenient time, so that no one has to be up during the middle of the night.
Time Zone Converter-Do time zone conversions between two cities. This time zone calculator takes into account daylight saving time (DST), local time zone and accepts dates in past or future.
Fixed Time World Clock-Have you planned a web cast, online chat, teleconference call or other event where users from all over the world might participate? The Fixed Time World Clock can help tell your users when this event will happen in their local time zone.

Create Custom Calendars for countries around the world
Calculate duration between two dates- This calculates the duration, counting the day count and the number of days, months and years between two dates.
What date is in x amount of days?
Countdown to any date

. . . . all this and much more are included at this website.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Missing Link

My old college friends, Coleen & Bobby, have a new dog Molly. She was a rescue from the pound and is black lab/cocker spaniel mix. They have been giving her this supplement in her food as suggested by a neighbor of theirs. They said her coat sparkles and glistens from it. The amount to be used varies with the weight of the dog and it is to be refrigerated after opening. I just started adding it to Maggie's food. Does anyone out there use it? You can leave a comment.

Oh, and they do have products for other pets. Check out their website and look at the special offers as there are rebates on some of the products.

Comments received:
"I have used this for years on a variety of dogs for a variety of reasons and found it to be quite helpful to what ailled them.Some were skin or coat problems due to nutritional assimilation problems others had allergies others we just didn't know. some were Jack Russel Terriers some were "Curbstone Setters" and "Back Bay Retrievers". I highly recommend The Missing Link."
D. Maddox from Georgia

"I have a friend who owns a pet store in Rye, NY she recommended it for my dog & it has improved her health. I have a black lab that is 14yrs old with Diabetes & arthritis. Anything to help her out I will do. Good luck! Hope you enjoy the product! It might be a little costly but worth it!"
A. Cundiff from West Orange, NJ

"We used this when we had our dog years ago and it really made a difference in his coat and dry skin - especially the "hot spots" (dry skin that dogs tend to scratch and bite at)." Deb

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Barbara and Q's New Place for the Next Year

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beijing Olympic Topiary Gardens

Hodgepodge reader, Dianne Z., sent along pictures to me of the stunning Beijing Olympic Topiary Gardens. I found this website that shows them and tells more about them. There is a youtube video at the end with sound.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Missing Money

For any of you that may have missed this the other night on TV, check it out. Play around with it, sometimes just putting in a last name and a state. Good luck!
I hope you all find something. We did! Don't know if it's anything significant yet. The forms have been filled out and submitted.

For this site - click on the state.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Second Stone Walkway

Here's a picture of the second walkway Paul put down. Still a little work left to do.
The garden is on the side of the house. The two pictures with the bunny were taken in the spring. The other was taken recently.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Plastic Bags

Here's a link that gives information and the stats about plastic bags.
It'll make you think twice about using them. Read it and send it along.

(Thanks Dave for sending this along.)


Friday, July 11, 2008

Stone Walkway


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Food Chart

Hodgepodge reader Linda sends along this Food Chart that was passed on to her.
I don't know its source.

Food Chart


Time Management

To go along with yesterday's cartoon, Hodgepodge reader Mary from Virginia sends along the link to Doctor Randy Pausch's, (the Carnegie-Mellon professor who is dying of pancreatic cancer) lecture on Time Management. He tells readers on his website that THIS LECTURE -- not the widely viewed "Last Lecture" -- is the one of which he is the most proud; it is also the lecture he had always personally hoped would be the one for which he would be most remembered. To view it go to:

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's All in the Organization . . .

cartoon from
Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

I've been receiving quite a few emails recently saying how much you like the variety of stuff on Hodgepodge. It's nice to hear from you guys. I'm always on the lookout for new things. Debbie

Monday, July 07, 2008

Buon Viaggio Wishes

Dear Barbara,
I wish with all my heart that I could be present in person at the Buon Viaggio potluck, but alas, that cannot be. Nonetheless, I offer the following as my contribution to the feast.

Sandra Berthene


Take four full measures of good wishes.
Add one large handful of good luck.
Stir together with as much good weather as the mixture will hold.
Add cinnamon and sugar to taste, plus a little vanilla, and stir again.
Stir in one large bag of Flight-Delay-Preventer (available from Heaven's Store)
Mix until light and fluffy (about two minutes).
Turn half of mixture into well-greased baking pan.
In a separate bowl, mix together big heaps of hugs and kisses; spread over mixture in pan.
Cover with rest of cake mixture.
Sprinkle the batter with sentimental tears.
Bake at whatever temperature seems right to you, for as long as it takes.
Allow cake to cool.
Spread cooled cake with Angel Blessing Icing (available from Heaven's Store)
Serves Barbara and Q for sure, with portions available for all who attend the party.

God's blessings on you both, plus Ben and Kitten.

How I would love to come to New York, be part of your celebration and meet other 'geraniums' alas 'down under' New Zealand is too far away.
But I will have to be content with a cyber party. If I was to come with my surname begining with Z it would be desert. This is what I would bring.

May your party be blessed, I look forward to the Italian e-mails.
Arohanui ( love ) Meryl

~~~~~ P A V L O V A ~~~~~ named in honour of the ballet dancer Anna Pavola.
4 tbs of boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
1 1/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt

Put all ingrediants together in a mixing bowl, beat at full speed for 10mins.
Put baking paper on a oven tray, dollop mixture on the tray and cook for 10mns at 150`C
lower temperature to 120`C and cook for another one hour.
Spread whipped cream on top and slices of kiwi fruit.
Then I would open a bottle of desert wine from the sun blessed Henderson Valley.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Boeing - Boeing

Last Sunday a bunch of us went in to see Mary McCormack in Boeing-Boeing on Broadway. Now you may wonder, "Why Mary?" You see Mary's not only a Jersey girl, but she got her start in acting right at St. Luke's. In her bio's you'll see it mentions her beginning her acting career at the age of 12 in Amahl and the Night Visitors, well that was at St. Luke's. She was also in To Whom It May Concern and Agnes of God, back when the church was doing some fine theatrical productions.
She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as the German stewardess, Gretchen, in this production. She was hysterically funny as was the whole show. Also pictured above is Bradley Whitford, that you may best know for his role as a presidential aide on "The West Wing".

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Upcoming Events Website

Here's a website to help you find Upcoming Events and Things to Do where ever you may be.

You could even find out where and when Fireworks are going to be in your area!

You can browse the events by these categories and click on the calendar date for the day you're interested in or plug in what you want in the "Search Events" area:
Performing/Visual Arts
Sports Other

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Buon Viaggio - Farewell Fete for Barbara & Q

Barbara has asked me to pass along this request to reach those of you that will be attending the Farewell get-together and she has come up with this idea to help answer the question of what to bring.
To all Geranium Farmers and friends of Barbara and Q! Suggested assignments for category of food offering for the pot luck supper appear below, organized by first letter of your last name. This scheme should help balance out the dishes so that we don't have all cupcakes or all pasta salads! For those bringing a family of four or more to the dinner, please consider bringing two dishes (if transportation is not a problem), and, if you are in a non-dessert category, your second dish could be dessert. Think garden, think Italy, think summer, think Geranium Farm or St. Luke's cookbooks! If you have no ideas or can't work within your category, contact Katherine Young at her email:

A Appetizer/snack food

B Appetizer/snack food

C Appetizer/snack food

D Appetizer/snack food

E Salad

F Salad

G Salad

H Salad

I Vegetable or fruit side dish or crudités

J Vegetable or fruit side dish or crudités

K Vegetable or fruit side dish or crudités

L Vegetable or fruit side dish or crudités

M Entree

N Entree

O Entree

P Entree

Q Entree

R Entree

S Entree

T Entree

U Entree

V Dessert

W Dessert

X Dessert

Y Dessert

Z Dessert

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

National Priorities Project

I came across this website and just thought I'd pass it along since I think we all wonder where our tax dollars go and this site helps you to see how they are, or could be spent.

"National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels."
Check out the "Quick Hits" section on the right side of the page to see:
NPP Database, Interactive Tax Chart, Trade Offs, Quick Reports, and The Cost of War

Note from the Website: "NPP does not in any manner endorse or oppose any candidates for public office. Use of the information gathered by NPP or links to NPP's website by other organizations does not imply NPP's endorsement of the views or actions of such organizations."

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