Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Berry Bunnies

What’s a Mama to do when kids turn into adults, but she doesn’t?

I have three boys and three DILs, and when Easter loomed on the horizon, my thoughts went to Easter baskets. The last few years, the guys haven’t been too thrilled with their EB gifts. For some reason, yo-yos, Silly Putty and Slinkys just don’t put big smiles on most of their faces.

So this year I thought, what should I do? Hm. I know. A bunny.

So I rushed to T-Town and bought a nice white bunny with loooong ears.

You know how bunnies are. As expected, one bunny multiplied.

And multiplied.

Until there were six! Yay!

Just what I needed. Six bunnies for six kiddos.

 But they’re all sitting on empty boxes. I can’t give my kids empty boxes, can I? What to fill those boxes with?

Since it’s springtime, and I wanted somethng that wasn’t a candy egg, I decided on berries. But I couldn’t just put plain berries in the box. And since topping them with whiffed cream wasn’t an option–too messy–I had to think of something else.

  Strawberries. (My fav.)

Lots of berries.

 I could dip them in chocolate, put them in a paper muffin cup and set them in the boxes. But I’d read that you couldn’t make them too far ahead or the chocolate would sweat.

Imagine eating a sweaty chocolate. Ga-ross!

So I looked up Martha. You know Martha, don’t you? Martha Stewart–one of my all time housekeepping/cooking/organizing gurus.

She agreed. Make them just a little ahead of time and they’ll be “perfect.”

I rushed home from our Easter service at church and started melting chocolate in a homemade double boiler. Last time I tried to make a double boiler using a bowl, I broke the bowl, so I was careful not to put much water in my sauce pan. (For some reason, even Pyrex bowls don’t like boiling water on their undersides while cold things are on the oversides.)

 I used semi-sweet chocolate

and white chocolate.

When time was growing short and the white chocolate hadn’t hardened yet, I put them in the fridge for a few moments. That helped.

Just before the kids were due, I lined the boxes with wax paper and boxed them up.

 I put a few sparkles on this one. In the picture, it looks like freckles, but it was really pretty. 🙂

Bunny boxes filled with chocolate covered strawberries.

Of course, #1 Son complained he doesn’t like anything on his strawberries except sugar. I’ll remember that next year. It’s a whole lot easier!


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Countingdown Tension

The wedding is a week from today.

Each time I write week today, it comes out weed. Might be a glitch in my brain. Or maybe it’s countdown tension. Yeah, lazy, laid back me. Tense. Who knew?

Too much to do. Too little energy. LOL. See, I decided to cook the rehearsal dinner. Martha Stewart’s stuffed chicken breasts. Fifty of them. 😉 Thank God for sisters and great friends who give me help and advice.

I’m going to try to do the centerpieces with hydrangeas that Deb and I’ve grown. I love those big clusters of tiny blossoms!

This is from a couple of summers ago, but I have some just like it growing out there. Now if I can keep them from drying up and blowing away before next week, I’ll be a happy mama.

So the dinner is planned, I have the venue (the church!) and I have the best help in the world, which is an answer to prayer! Sister Debbie, who has been there and done that (she’s helped cater more than a few meals and cooks regularly for our entire family, and works in a flower shop) has volunteered to help.

Knowing that, I might even be able to sleep tonight!

Anyway, keep us in your prayers. More than anything, we want God’s blessing on the wedding and the marriage!

I blogged about Matt today at my writers’ group blog. Please come over, check out the photos and (please, please) say hi!


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Martha’s Spaghetti

A meat sauce on spaghetti. The sauce contains ...

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This is one of G-Man’s favorite dinners. If I add garlic bread and salad, the boy’s in heaven!

I call it Martha’s Spaghetti because I got the recipe from watching Martha Stewart, but I had to change it a little. First, she didn’t have meat in it (can you imagine?) and she did have cheese in it. 😦

So here’s Susan’s version of Martha’s Spaghetti.

2 T olive oil
3 or 4 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
1 T dried basil
1/4 pound hamburger
2 cans chopped tomatoes with spices (with green peppers and onions)
spaghetti–cooked al dente

Peel and slice three or four cloves of garlic and fry along with a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes in 2 tablespoons olive oil until golden. (Careful, garlic burns easily.) When the garlic is ready, crumble in 1/4 pound of hamburger meat and cook until all the pink is gone.

Next pour in two cans diced tomatoes with spices. Add 1 tablespoon dried basil. (If you rub it between your CLEAN hands as you put it in the pot, you’ll release the oils and flavor.)  Cook on medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

Drain cooked spaghetti noodles (al dente) and add to the meat sauce and stir together until the sauce starts to stick to the noodles. (This is where Martha puts in cheese. It makes the sauce thicken faster and stick to the noodles. We opt to live with thinner sauce and forego the cheese.)

That’s it–ready to chow down!

Next time: Smothered Snake.