Saturday, May 4, 2013

Candied Violets, Robin's Nests, and Prom...

Hi, Everyone!
 
Not a very catchy title for a post, huh?
 
(I almost called it "Raining Violets" because it poured all day yesterday...)
 
But the odd combination pretty much sums up the last two days here ~ ;^)
 
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First, ever since I went to the empty lot (where Mrs. Howell's house once stood)

to take pictures last week, I've thought about candied violets...

It's been a Bucket List Item for quite a while now ~

just a minor one, though...

I haven't exactly had a burning desire to make them, I just thought about it

every spring when I would see drifts of them in bloom...

I must have watched Martha Stewart make them at some point.

So, I decided I would do it.

I looked up the directions, and went back

 to trespass again and pick some violets.

Of course, everyone in the old neighborhood

 had decided to mow since I was there...

and there just weren't any violets; not where there had been, anyway.

(Sad...I personally wouldn't mow until all the violets had finished blooming!)

It was also raining cats and dogs.

I was determined, though ~ (I had already bought ultra-fine sugar at Schnuck's...

you can't even get it in little ol' Sikeston.)

So, I started driving down all the alleys, and I did find a few violets

that the mowers had missed...

I probably looked like I was staking out people's houses, too...

But after a dozen or so stops, I finally got a nice little bunch, and I was pleased.

Drenched, but pleased!


 
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The ingredients are simple;

One egg white, whisked together with 1/3 cup of water...

and the Ultrafine Sugar....(which is REALLY fine!)

If you are concerned about salmonella, you can use meringue powder.

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The directions I found said to use a small paint brush to coat the leaves,

but that was so tedious....

(It also said to do this until you'd done a couple of dozen, or until you wanted

to scream ~ "whichever comes first" ...) ~

So after trying a couple this way, I just dunked the whole violet (holding it by the stem)

in the egg-white mixture, then used the brush to gently separate the petals.

Much better.

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The original directions also said to dredge the egg-white-coated violet

in the sugar, but that just resulted in a mishapen blossom...

What worked better for me was to put some of the sugar in a shaker

and sprinkle it on; much more uniform coverage,

and it didn't weigh the petals down.

The petals still are pretty heavily coated, just not "clumpy" this way.

(Note to self...empty the rest of that sugar before someone mistakes it for salt...:^)

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After dunking and sprinkling one at a time, I placed the violets on a piece of parchment

paper, and snipped off the stems.

The sugar is so fine that that it is immediately soaked through by the egg-white

mixture and will be wet, but about 10-15 minutes drying time in the oven remedies that ~

Just put the parchment paper on a cookie sheet ~

Set your oven on the lowest temperature with the door open slightly.

I'm sure the rain and the year-round humidity

 of Swamp-East Missouri wasn't helping!

After they've dried you can supposedly store them in an air-tight container...

I would think maybe the refrigerator would be a good idea, too ~

But where's the fun in that?

I had to take these in my bedroom and hide them so I would have

some left for cupcake decor today!

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Ta-da!

Pretty, and quaint, and kind of Victorian-looking, don't you think?

They tasted like...well ~

If you rolled up a little tiny ball of lettuce and dipped it in sugar and dried it,

that's pretty much what they taste like.

But it was fun.

(Jonathan couldn't wait to eat this cupcake!)

Another thing I can mark off my list.

;^)

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Robin's nests!

The top photo is right by the back door going out onto the patio,

on the support for my big wind chimes...

it's also where the birds kept bringing straw last year, and the wind kept

blowing it down into my little Fairy Garden in the big iron kettle,

so we put a rubber snake up there ~ problem solved ~ last year...

Evidently this Mama Robin isn't worried about a snake

that hasn't changed positions in a year's time...

I guess we need a new snake, but I don't have the heart to disturb her now...

I'll just have to pick straw off of the flowers in the kettle.

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The second photo is a nest that is just slightly above head-high for me ~ and I am 5' 1" ~

in one of our little willow trees...

The robin couple worked on this nest all last week...

I had been meaning to get a mirror to see if there were eggs

for the past couple of days, and I finally did this afternoon...


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Four!!

Aren't they beautiful?

I'll try to get a photo every day or so, but I'll be careful not to disturb the Mama Robin.



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~ And last but not least...Prom.

The last one.

Jonathan didn't have a "Pink Carnation and a pick-up truck",

but he did have a "PT Cruiser and a coral rose" ~

You can make that work with the melody.

Try it, if you haven't already ~ :^)

That's all for tonight!

I have to go practice my own "Empty-Nesting"...

Have a delightful Sunday!

Love,
 
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A last minute addition!
 
Jonathan just came by the house...
 
sans the girl with the coral rose...
 
Prom is over, and he is off to a bonfire with his buddies...
 
He got dressed for the dance at a friend's;
 
  (evidently the guys didn't want to wear their tuxes to the restaurant,
 
for fear of getting "something on them"...hmmm)
 
He stopped for just a minute to let me get a picture!
 
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Sharing the pretty "Robin's Egg Blue" with The Dedicated House's "Anything Blue Friday" ~ ♥ (Thank you, Kathryn, for featuring me!)

30 comments:

  1. Oh Anne, I enjoyed this post sooooo much! The violets came out just beautiful, and you cracked me up about how it tasted..

    I just love to watch birds, and what beautiful robin eggs they are.. I wonder, do you think you will be able to snap a photo of them when they enter the world?
    Thank you so much for sharing..
    You made my day!
    fondly,
    Penny

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  2. You make me smile so much. I would love to meet you, just to be able to watch you in action. You are amazing my friend, love you.

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  3. The violets look so pretty. Aren't you glad you finally made them? Love the bird eggs, this should be fun to watch.

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  4. Jonathon looks so handsome, love those blue eyes. Also love those beautiful blue eggs.

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  5. i love that you made the violets. they are so pretty. i have tons of them all over my gardens. i also have a nest right outside of my library window with four eggs and i am watching them closely!

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  6. I love violets. All of your photos are lovely!

    Jonathan looks so handsome in his tux!

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  7. Good morning Anne,

    Just read your message and came over.
    Jonathan is such a handsome young man! I just love his sweet smile..

    Yes, please keep us posted on the Robin eggs.. This should be exciting.
    blessings,
    Penny

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  8. You have a very handsome son....love the colour of his vest and tie:)

    We had a robins nest on the support for the back porch. I was sitting out there one morning and the robin came and sat on my shoulder. I don't know who was more shocked...me or the robin:) My son was sitting with me and he said that the look on my face was priceless....LOL

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  9. Dearest Anne....what a beautiful post!!!
    Your son is so very handsome, and I can tell he is just a sweetheart...how can he not be with a Mama like you! :))
    I hope he had a fantastic prom...

    Those violets are amazing...delicate and lovely...your cupcakes...beautiful! I have always wanted to try that as well...

    As for the robin's eggs...magical...
    Enjoy a splendid Sunday, dear friend!

    Much love,
    - Irina

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  10. What an entirely charming post! I enjoyed reading about your day and hope your Sunday is excellent too!

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  11. as an ole Missouri gal, I chuckled at "swamp east Missouri." I remember reading about candied violets in Country Living magazine back in the 80s-- I think they were dipped in lemon juice and then sprinkled with sugar. Something to try at least. (Loved the prom picture. Those were the days.)

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  12. The violets on the cupcake are lovely and your son is very handsome all dressed up! :)

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  13. Great post. Three posts actually. The sugared violets look amazing. I wonder how long they keep. I think of sugared flowers as wedding cake decorations. When I was a child I lived somewhere so cold that violets grew. Never again though. And to think that this is your weather becoming warmer!

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  14. This post is amazing! Those violets look so lovely! Your son is a handsome young man!

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  15. Congrats to your handsome son on Prom!

    I am amazed at the beautiful colour of those robin's eggs! Can't wait to see some chicks in there... I had to laugh at your comment about the snake that hadn't moved in a year - yup, those birds are smarter than we think!

    I have never eaten flowers; I have seen some as garnishes, but never actually eaten it. Your description of their flavor cracked me up!

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  16. Wow...the photo of the robin eggs is awesome! I love it! The eggs are so pretty!

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  17. I have wanted to make sugar violets for years. Lord knows I have tons of wild violets. Handsome boy. I hope he had a grand evening.

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  18. So many interesting in your blog. Thanks.
    I've noticed that you are very generous with tutorials on how to do things. I have always wanted to try and wondered how the violets tasted but I'll take your word for it.

    The mirror did the trick. Soon, you'll have 4 baby robins.

    Your young man is handsome.

    I've been showing your blog to my husband and also the fairy houses. He's quite impressed.

    Have a nice week.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  19. Your violets look absolutely precious on those cupcakes. What a perfect spring topper! The robins nest is amazing and it won't be long before you see little heads screaming for food!

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  20. Your son is so handsome! I love his smile ;o) Thank you for sharing about the violets! I'm glad you got some in the rain ;o) Beautiful bird nests! I love bird nests! Always looking for them ;o) Take care ;o)

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  21. how clever and cute those violets are!!

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  22. Anne, the violets are beautiful...how pretty they look in the mug. I love the photo. An interesting idea sugaring them. They look yummy and quite feminine on the cupcakes.

    The robin's eggs are so adorable. Perfect little things with miraculous life forming inside.

    Speaking of miraculous life...such a handsome young man! Can you believe one season of his life is coming to a close and a whole new one is beginning. Where does the time go. My son is 23, and it seems like only yesterday we cuddled and read stories together.

    Happy prom,
    Marianne xo

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  23. Dearest Anne - what a delightful post...first - although it was last with you...Jonathan is gorgeous...glad you caught him in his tux...robin's nest is something I would love to paint (so hopefully you will -lol)...and from one 5'1" lady to another it is amazing what we short gals can see if we put our minds to it...I like you just dunk those sweet violets in the egg white (I put mine in the freezer instead of the oven - so I will have to give it a try your way. Bless you for making me smile and laugh and feel sad about your empty nest!! Have a great week. xo xo Pixie

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  24. Oh my goodness...candied violets and the prettiest Robin's eggs ever ~ what a lovely post!
    Oh, and your son looks mighty nice for Prom!
    Hugs))

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  25. A handsome young man!


    The violets are gorgeous!

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  26. Hope he enjoyed the prom! Love your sweet violets!
    Kate

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  27. Your son looked pretty snazzy for his prom...he is a nice looking young man. You really could have a magazine of your own...but then you probably would not have time to blog....The violets turned out beautiful...I have not seen this technique before. Thank You for sharing and all the photo's are awesome.

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  28. I actually did follow a nest all the way myself a couple years ago (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2228733202293.131892.1366730937&type=3)

    It is pretty amazing, isn't it? :)

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  29. Oh, Anne so nice to see your son all suited up for Prom - he looks very handsome! I remember those days - now they are wearing tuxes for their weddings!

    Love the sugared violets! They look so pretty decorating your cupcakes!

    The robin eggs are such a beautiful color! I love this post - a true celebration of springtime! xoxo

    I hope you have a lovely Mother's Day! xx

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  30. Hello Anne,
    Look at that young Man! You should be a proud Momma! Happy Mothers Day!
    Loved your visit to my blog Too!You made my Day! Keep bringing the sunshine and dancing with the fairies<3

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I love your thoughts and comments, and I read each and every one! Sometimes life gets in the way, though, and it takes me a while to respond...Thank you for understanding! ♥...Time is precious, and the time you've taken here is truly appreciated!