Recent Posts

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

London Bridge is Falling Down

You know that song. London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling down, My Fair Lady. Simple lyrics that I never thought would apply to my life- because what nursery rhyme is practical? But, my london bridge is falling down. Let me explain.

Mr. Radar's work has put the kibosh on our trip to England. Lots of bureaucracy. Too much work for Mr. Radar here in the states and elsewhere. Fortunately for Mr. Radar, he still gets to go to England as part of his regularly scheduled work travel. Sadly for Hilary Bee, I have to stay home. I'll still make smaller trips with him, and hopefully- though it will take longer, I will tackle my bucket list. Obviously, I am extremely disappointed by this decision, especially since it came just a month before our estimated leave date. It's not the best scenario, and it is hard to see the good in this misadventure. We rented out our house- and now our poor renter, is homeless. I am (hopefully temporarily!) jobless- but let's not talk about the "W" word- that's not what this blog is about.

I feel pretty lost. Lots of sacrifices were made. Unfortunately, our situation is not that different from many other military families out there who must pick-up shop every 3-4 years. Travel is Mr. Radar's albatross. We were hoping a change of station to England would alleviate much of his travel related stress. Even though we are not moving- or at least I'm not going anywhere- I have decided to continue with the blog. If there are even any readers out there, I hope you do not become too bored with my life at the bungalow. Hopefully I can get more content together and keep the blog going. Because I really like the blog.

End Scene. Next Act. More Cake.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sour Cherry Cobbler

Mr. Radar came home. I made him sour cherry cobbler. He declared it was "amazing" and "crazy addictive." He had thirds.

I thought it was very good- but not before I made some changes to the recipe. Because, really, what kind of cook would I be if I didn't alter the recipe? I simplified some of the steps and used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. Biscuits are ernest- no need for fancy flour. I'd rather save my fancy flour for a fancy application. There was an awful lot of sugar in this recipe, and it is my biggest pet peeve when bakers drown fruit in sugar. Sour cherries are by definition sour- but that is the character of the fruit. I wanted to maintain the character and not waste the precious beauties.

Sour Cherry Cobbler
Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts

Pre-heat oven to 375 and butter (or spray) a 3 Quart baking dish

4 cups sour cherries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup Muscovado Sugar or other minimally processed sugar crystals
3 tablespoons tapioca powder or cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk the dry ingredients. Add the cherries then the vanilla. Stir to combine and pour mixture into the prepared dish. Set aside.


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur is recommended by me)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (same advice as above!)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon buttermilk
1/2 cup half and half

Whisk all of the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the mixture until the butter is the size of peas. (I use a pastry cutter). Combine the buttermilk and half and half, reserving one tablespoon to top the biscuits. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients until the mixture just comes together. Place the mixture on a floured surface, and roll until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the biscuits using a square or circular biscuit form. Place the biscuits on top of the cherries and brush the remaining buttermilk on the biscuits. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and the cherries are bubbly.

Coming up next on the Bee's Bungalow:
I tackle SmittenKitchen's bread and butter pickles using these cucumbers from my own garden!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday's Supper: No-Cook Meals

It is hot, hot, HOT! I did not feel like turning on our stove to make dinner. I purchased a beautiful muskmelon at Tuken's Orchard & Market. Obviously, a melon isn't a meal, but throw on some prosciutto and you've got an easy meal. Forgive me for my lack of pictures, but this meal was devoured before my camera was out of the drawer.

This week, my plan is to use my oven and stove top minimally. I have a few meals up my sleeve, including:

Southwest Quinoa with black beans, avocado, and sweet bicolor corn (also from Tuken's)
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Panzanella
Artisan cheese plate with local berries and figs
Raspberry & Red Currant trifle
Eggplant Napoleons with balsamic reduction (using eggplants from my own garden!)
BLT (simply delicious!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Neatnik's Cleaning Routine

I'm a neat freak. I readily admit it. I take great pride in having a clean, neat home. In my teenage youth, I went through a messy phase. My rebellion was keeping a messy room because it greatly distressed my poor mother (coincidentally, also obsessively clean crazy. Hi mom!). I should have sprung for the traditional leather clad bad boy, but instead I lived with self torture. In college, the cleaning craze came back with a vengeance. My roommates from college (bless their souls!) put up with my constant cleaning, organizing, and generally frenetic behavior. When I met Mr. Radar, I thought I met a kindred, neat freak spirit. I was so wrong. Kindred spirit, yes. Love of my life, yes. Neatnik, no. Mr. Radar is akin to a mini tornado, leaving a trail of discarded items in his wake. He keeps his work area meticulous, and he always looks polished. But deep inside, there is a messy, mad scientist waiting to ruin my entire organization schema. Mr. Radar returns today, and it is my last opportunity to scrub, scrub, scrub!

I have a very extensive cleaning routine. Much of my cleaning knowledge was learned from my mother (see above!) I also read Martha Stewart Living (please don't judge me!) and learned a lot of great cleaning tips from there. Martha has an entire, 800 page book detailing her cleaning and home-keeping habits.

Martha's Homekeeping Handbook has been on my Amazon wishlist for about five years. Are you reading, Mr. Radar? Is it wrong that I want this book? It makes me feel so reassured.

I perform some cleaning tasks daily. I wipe down the kitchen and bathroom sinks every day. I also clean the kitchen countertops after every time I cook. I try to wipe down door handles every day. When I'm performing my weekly clean, I like to start the laundry and clean the kitchen top-to-bottom. Then I move on to the bathroom, where I scrub and sanitize everything. Then, I vacuum the rest of the house (I use a vacuum attachment to clean all of the molding, the ceiling fans, sofa, piano, etc) and mop the hardwood floors. I do some more laundry while that is drying, and then I make the bed, put away clothes et voila! Very clean house.

I have an army of products and home-made cleaners that I rely upon week after week. My favorite all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant is Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Solution. It's Earth Friendly and smells fabulous!

I like the Lemon Verbena scent and the Geranium scent. I always have an extra spray bottle on hand to dilute the extra strength cleanser with 1/4 cup of water. I am also very fond of Mrs. Meyer's surface scrub to clean my stainless steel sink and my bathtub.

The other miracle cleaner that I use for just about everything is white vinegar.

It cleans glass and countertops when mixed with water. 2 parts vinegar, 2 parts water. I frequently add Lavender essence to make the mixture smell more appealing. Many recipes will recommend adding a castile soap. I hate this. It is streaky, and from the research I have done, is not necessary. If you are really concerned about killing germs, add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and that will kill everything! White vinegar removes soap scum and lime build up. I soak rags in white vinegar and then wrap them around faucet heads. This gets rid of residue. I use 1 cup of vinegar and hot water to clean my hard wood floors and crown molding. I also use white vinegar to clean out my washing machine. I put about two cups of white vinegar in the washer and run it, empty.

What do you do to make your house spic and span? Any other home made cleaner recipes? I know Martha recommends a mixture of black tea, lemon juice, white vinegar and boiling water to clean floors. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I might this time around. I'll let you know how it goes. Martha has never steered me wrong.

Images from here and here and here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

UK Clothing Sizes

I am paranoid that I will find no clothes when I am in London. I want to have English clothes, so that I don't perpetually look like a tourist. I am convinced, though, that I am a giant American bound to have to go naked. I have recently discovered this is not true. After culling the websites of British retailers like Debenham's, Boden, and others- I have discovered that I am securely in the "regular" category. It's a bit different than being assigned a number in the US system (though admittedly, the numbers vary from shop to shop, and I have a variety of numbers living in my closet).

Being an ardent feminist, I must consider whether being branded "regular" is good or not? The other categories are "slim" and "curvy." The delightful Brits then qualify the system further, by asking if you are "tall" or "petite" and ask what shape you are (pear, hourglass, etc). Sure, American retailers often ask this to "aid" (more like trap) you in deciding what styles to choose. The Brits though seem to live by this slim-regular-curvy system. Is slim-regular- curvy better than the US small-medium-large mantra? Should one be proud to be regular? Or is regular lesser than say slim? Certainly the "curvy" designation is friendlier than Large/Xlarge, right? And just to be extra confusing, the numbers are all four off from the usual American numbers. Hmmm....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday Supper: Mr. Radar's Homecoming Meal

Mr. Radar will be coming home soon- and I thought I would treat him with a special menu just for him. On Thursday (yes, I know not a Sunday) I tested a few original recipes on good friends. I am still working out a few kinks, so I adjusted Mr. Radar's menu based on the changes I have made since Thursday. The heat wave we are experienced really inspired the menu. I like to serve simple, light food on really hot days. Remember those beets from the market? They were truly gorgeous and of exceptional quality. I served them chilled with a refreshing orange sauce. The sugar snap peas and arugula from the market also made an appearance. On Thursday, I made a simple no-sugar dessert of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Our friend Galen is diabetic- though any kind of Fool would be a cool treat on a hot day. I wanted to make Mr. Radar something special. So I froze those sour cherries for him. I will make a Sour Cherry Cobbler from the cookbook Rustic Fruit Desserts. I will make the cobbler in advance and serve with ice cream; the perfect summer dessert.


Chilled Beet Salad with Cardamom Scented Orange Supremes (pictured)

Snap Peas with an Orange Mint Gremolata

Lemon Herb Ravioli with a Pistachio Pesto

Sour Cherry Cobbler

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pictures from Mr. Radar's House Hunting Trip

Mr. Radar is in London on a house hunting trip, has sent me some pictures of Balham and Clapham South from his iPhone. Not the best quality, but it gives better detail into the housing stock than what I could find on the internet.

I'm so excited. The brick Victorians were exactly what we are looking for. You can't tell from the pictures, but Mr. Radar informs me that these pictures were taken on the edge of Clapham Common- the giant park.
Let's hear from Mr. Radar himself:
"I really like the area. There are a variety of small shops several coffee shops and the area is quite large. The area around the tube station is lively and the residential streets look clean and kept. There is a great mixture of families, students, etc. I think you will like this area."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In the Weeds

Hello readers! Don't mind the dust and blog construction. I've been playing around with the blog layout. I am hoping to have a permanent, professionally constructed layout soon.
Yesterday, I missed Tuesday's Tea. I feel compelled to tell you why. This delightful little weed is the reason why.

Yep, that would be poison ivy. I was weeding my garden in between rain storms, when I noticed weeds growing out of my clematis. Clematis is an ivy itself, so I just picked out the weeds growing into it. I looked at the leaves in my hand, realized it was poison ivy and promptly had a mini freak out. The whole vine touched my left arm, so I now have small welts from my elbow to my palm on the left hand and some itchy bumps on my right.

I know about using oatmeal, calamine lotion, and mint to help ease the pain. I turned to the magical interwebs to find other remedies. Remedies range from interesting to down right strange/dangerous:

*Stewed/Mashed Jewelweed is supposed to ease the itching. I could not find any jewelweed, so I cannot attest to this treatment.
*Welding Water or colloidal silver (I do not recommend this, I understand that it could kill you!!)
*Spray deodorant that contains aluminum on the rash (basically same logic as above; seemed scary to me and did not try it)
*Rubbing the affected area with alcohol to remove poison Ivy oil (tried it; it worked for about 2 seconds)
* Take a very hot shower (tried it, felt very painful, but stopped the itching for about three hours- but then it came back itchier than before)
* A combination of benedryl and the above remedies (took the benedryl; I feel sleepy but still itchy)
*Taking a bath with chlorine in it or going to a pool for a swim (no thanks!)
* Dish Soap
* Putting Kosher salt on the area (I'll try it if I get desperate).

What are your poison ivy remedies? Any advice?

Image from here

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday's Supper: Summer Zabaglione

This recipe isn't big or fancy, though it sounds it. I didn't eat a big supper today, as Mr. Radar is traveling. With no one to feed, I decided to make a simple dessert, ideal for a single person.

Zabaglione is a very simple egg custard, containing only three ingredients. Pour it over fruit and you have a simple, satisfying summer treat. Marsala wine is traditional; I prefer the taste of Vin Santo. It's sweeter and has a fruitier flavor.

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Vin Santo
1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on taste. I prefer less sugar, but the traditional ratio is 2-2-2.
Berries of your choice (I used the berries procured yesterday at the market).


Whisk the yolks, sugar, and Vin Santo in a glass bowl. (Yes, it must be a glass bowl). Place the glass bowl over a pot with 2 inches of simmering water. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Whisk vigorously until the mixture has doubled or tripled in volume. This takes 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook, or the egg yolks will scramble. You can chill this mixture, but I recommend eating it immediately. If you're feeling fancy, top the Zabaglione with toasted almond slices or pistachios. Mangia!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Market Marvels: 2nd Street Market finds!

Every Saturday, I go to the 2nd Street Market. I like to go early- as they say, the early bird gets the worm. I certainly hit the jackpot this morning! Let's have a look:

Great stuff, huh? It's no secret that I'm passionate about local produce. I'm downright tyrannical. I will often go to 3-4 different markets a week. Mr. Radar, being the ever patient husband, obliges me. This week, though, I found everything that I wanted at 2nd Street.
There were quite a few surprises this week, including these delightful tart cherries from Flying Mouse Farms of Yellow Springs:

This is Flying Mouse's first appearance at 2nd Street. What a splash! I love, love tart cherries. Other shoppers scoffed at the cherries, because they "take too much work." I think that most Ohioans do not have a thorough appreciation of the tart cherry. As a Michigander, I was thrilled. I had tears in my eyes, my mind filled with fond Michigan Memories.

These beauties are from Hungry Toad farms. Mike Malone is delightful, and his produce is top notch. I've frequented his stand for about four years. Mike's farm is being encroached upon by suburban sprawl. Mike's been farming organically for over 30 years, and is resolved to keep his farm and fight the sprawl. Keep fighting, Mike!

Arugula and snap peas from Ben and Emily Jackle of Mile Creek Farms Mr. Radar and I befriended Ben and Emily several years ago. We love to support their business. They have fantastic produce and flowers. I especially like their Arugula in my pesto!

Lastly, the pork lady of KJB Farm. I know, those are eggs. I'm devoted to these eggs; they are consistently fresh and delicious. I don't recall ever getting a bad egg from KJB.

If you, like me, love food, check out your local market. Daytonians, make sure to check out the offerings at 2nd Street today. It's good, local fun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

London Neighborhood Spotlight: Balham

We were told not to look South of the Thames. We were advised to look at the flashier neighborhoods near Mr. Radar's work, like Islington and Angel. Unfortunately, those flashier neighborhoods are competitive, expensive, and less flexible about dogs.

I rarely do what I'm told anyway, so I started looking in Southwest London, figuring it would be less expensive and less competitive. And of course, I have found a delightful neighborhood south of the Thames. Balham and Clapham are just south of the Thames, and full of delightful parks (five in a 1.5 mile radius!!!), Victorian mansions, and charming private gardens. Mr. Radar likes to work at home a lot- and having a larger space in a quieter neighborhood sounds nice to both of us.

The John Walter's House, Clapham Common

King George's Park

Charming Terrace House

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Bucket List

Who doesn't have a bucket list? I figure our move to London gives me a legitimate excuse to cross a few places off of my list. Here are the places I think we can accomplish during our time in London.

1. Dubrovnik & Greece- I'm hoping we might be able to go to Dubrovnik & Greece to celebrate our anniversary (maybe in 2012).

*image courtesy of Croatian National Tourist Board

2. Prague
3. Budapest
4. Spain-om nom nom (ham! tapas! sangria!)
5. Scotland- I especially want to ride the Jacobite steam train, aka The Hogwarts express! I hope we can take several weekend trips, but not too many to distract Mr. Radar from his mound of research.

*image from my favorite obsessive fan site, The Leaky Cauldron.

6. Ireland- Mr. Radar's parents are coming in July 2012, and the in-laws want to see Ireland. I think we might go on a cruise, which might be easier on the in-laws, who have never been overseas before.
7. Naples & the Amalfi Coast- In October, we are going to Naples (a work trip for Mr. Radar, more vacation for me!!)
8. British Coast- I would also like to take Buddy to the ocean. There are lots of pet friendly cottages along the coast, and I think it would be fun to take Buddy on a nice coastal vacation.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday's Supper: Lemon and Rhubarb Cake

This cake is sooo delicious. The first time I made it, I ate nearly half the cake in one day. I had to make a few changes to the recipe, so obviously, I ate more cake to perfect my adaptation! Dear readers, bake this deliciousness with caution. But do bake it! and share it with the people you love. They will thank you.

Hannah, at Honey & Jam made this cake, and I saw it on her blog. I had to try it- with a twist of my own. This is one of many rhubarb recipes I have tried and hacked recently. I think this one is truly the best. I made some changes, adding some vanilla to enhance the flavor of the rhubarb. I also wanted more rhubarb! There just weren't enough of the tart jewels in the original recipe for my taste.

Adapted from and Rustic Fruit Desserts by Schrieber and Richardson.

Luscious Cake

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I used 1 teaspoon of fiore di sicilia- use it if you have it!)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed and very thinly sliced (4 cups when sliced)

Creamy Lemon Frosting

2 cups confectioners sugar, more as needed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon melted butter


Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray a standard (10 cup) Bundt pan. In a bowl, mix the 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and sea salt together. Make sure there are no lumps and that the salt and baking powder are fully incorporated. Set aside. Using a stand mixer or beaters, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Incorporate the flour, alternating between flour and buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, just in case! This batter is very thick and stiff.

Toss the sliced rhubarb in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour until coated. Fold 3/4 of the rhubarb into the batter, leaving about 1 cup of rhubarb. Pour or spoon the batter into the bundt pan. Top the batter with the remaining rhubarb.

Bake for 30 minutes. Check the cake, turn it, and bake for another 20-30 minutes. The cake should be fully set, and spring back when you touch it. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Place a small saucepan on low heat. Add the confectioners sugar, lemon zest and juice, and melted butter. Whisk until incorporated. Pour over cake immediately and serve!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Big Purge

Things are at a stand still for right now. I've packed all of the boxes I can- but I continue to parse down unnecessary stuff. I've given away appliances, furniture (two huge 7 foot tall wardrobes!!), clothes, bags, and a childhood toys. Nothing pained me more than seeing our cats go to a new home.
Scout and Louise, our two lovebirds, have gone to live with Mr. Radar's parents for the next three years. We've visited them quite a few times since dropping them off in suburbia, and frankly, they don't seem to miss us at all!

Scout pictured above. Louise is elusive, and frankly a bit scared of the camera. There are no known photographs of the two of them together- so just revel in the cuteness that is scout. Photo creds to Mary in STL.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long day of Immigration details

There are so many intricacies to immigrating to a new country- even if it is temporary. Our visa process is progressing, though there are many more steps to complete.

Poor Buddy's European Union passport, otherwise known as the Pet Travel Scheme, is not going so well. Our vet has never processed an international pet passport and basically refused to help us. After 3 hours on the phone with USDA, I found the APHIS veterinarian in Ohio. I spent nearly an hour on hold just to talk to a representative for Ohio APHIS. After all that, she did not tell me anything that I didn't already know.

In short, Buddy will be very confused, but unharmed. We are assured that the microchipping and blood tests are harmless, and are considered routine veterinary processes. Buddy will stay with his grandparents for three months, but remain with us in England for the other 2 years and 6 months.

For anyone else going through this, your cat, dog or ferret needs:

A special ISO compliant microchip
A new Rabies shot, done after he/she is microchipped
THEN a TITER Rabies test. The test can only be processed at the Kansas State Rabies Laboratory.

IF there is enough antibodies in the pets system, she begins her six month wait to enter the UK. Pets could go to the UK after the above steps are completed, BUT they will sit in quarantine for up to 180 months.

Need a letter from the veterinarian
Need to take a special form (EU 998) to the USDA APHIS facility. The nearest one to Dayton is in Pickerington, OH near Columbus. Hopefully, they certify our paperwork.

Lastly, the pet needs to be treated for fleas and ticks 24-48 hours prior to departure.

THEN the pet has to go to a certified airport, using a certified route (non-stop to London via Gatwick or Heathrow only).

It's all worth it to have Buddy with us. He'll get to spend time with the British mutts, play in British fields, and maybe even chase a pheasant or two.