Blue Atlas Cedar

The mystery tree has been identified…Thank you Dale at RAIL CITY GARDEN CENTER! 🙂


And to start the weekend off on a good note ~ here is a sweet video a friend sent me this morning! A big AWE factor in this one! 😀

Wednesday’s Ramblings ~ Books, Recipes, Tree I.D.

It’s a rambling post today…I’ve got books to share, recipes to pass along, and I’m in need of help with a tree identification!


First off…the tree. I can’t figure out what it is, but I want one for the front yard. I want to put it in the corner of the lot where we took out a kabillon junipers. With rock and Lavender and Russian Sage around it.

Anyone know what it is? Mountian Hemlock? A fir of some sort? Larch?



New books in the mail! YEAH! I got these for 50% off with free shipping in the book club I’m in.

Back to Basics ~ A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills edited by Abigail R. Gehring.

Was flipping through it this morning, can’t wait to take it home tonight and give it a good go through.

Next book is Sugar Sack Quilts by Glenna Hailey.

There is a great little history on feed sacks and lots of pictures of the different prints and labels. A few quilt patterns and a pattern for a cute sewing buddy.


Next are recipes that I tried last night…also from the All You magazine that I got the Cola Chocolate Cake recipe from.

Cola-Marinated Flank Steak ~

2 lb. beef flank steak (I used 1 pound)
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup coke cola
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped (I used 2)
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 TBSP hot sauce (I used Garlic Tabasco)
salt and pepper

Lightly score both sides of flank steak with a crisscross pattern. Place in a large ziplock bag.

In a medium bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, cola, onion, garlic, vinegar, oil and hot sauce, whisking well to combine. Reserve 1/2 cup and pour remaining marinade over steak. Seal bag and refrigerate for 2 hours. (NOTE: at this point I put the bag into the freezer as we had other plans for dinner the next two nights…just took it out that morning and put it into the frig to defrost)

Preheat broiler and place a rack 3 inches from heat source. Let steak and marinade sit at room temp for 15 minutes. Remove steak from bag, discard marinade. Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides and place on a broiler pan. Broil for 6 minutes, turn and brush with 1/2 cup of reserved marinade, broil for 6 minutes longer.

Let sit covered with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

NOTES: Marinade is pretty good for the flank steak. But I would never try it again with the broiler. This is definitely a BBQ recipe, me thinks.


I made Orzo with Spinach and Red Peppers to go along with the steak.

Salt and pepper
1 lb. orzo
2 TBSP olive oil (I used 1 TBSP)
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow)
1 clove garlic, chopped (silly…of course I used 3 cloves!)
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (I used 3 cheese blend…Asiago, Parmesan, Romano)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add orzo and bring back to boil, turn down heat and cook for about 7-10 minutes.

In large skillet put 1 TBSP olive oil over med-high heat and add onion and bell pepper. Cook until tender. Stir in garlic and cook about a minute longer. (I added spinach here)

Drain orzo and return to pot. Add remaining 1 TBSP olive oil (I passed this step…didn’t think it needed it) to orzo and stir. Stir in onion/pepper mixture and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Stir over medium-low heat until warmed through…sprinkle with cheese and serve.

This is a very good salad! But next time I make it I’m going to bypass the frozen spinach and use fresh…put it into a bit of olive oil and saute it with some garlic.

Chocolate Cola Cake with Cola Frosting

I found this recipe in the February 2009 All You ~ a magazine I got in one of my niece’s fundraisers.

Chocolate Cola Cake with Cola Frosting

In a pan, combine 12 TBSP Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and 2/3 Cup Coke Cola ~ cook over low heat and stir until butter is melted.

Whisk together 2 Cups Flour, 2 Cups Sugar, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and 1/4 tsp of Salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk 2 Large Eggs at room temp, 1/2 Cup Buttermilk at room temp, and 1-1/2 tsp Vanilla.

Once chocolate mixture has melted, stir in flour mixture and then the egg mixture…whisk together.

Pour cake batter into a 9×13 greased and floured baking pan (I used the PAM Baking Spray). Bake in a 350F oven for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes clean.

For the Cola Frosting ~

Cook 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa and 6 TBSP of Coke Cola in a small pan until all ingredients are melted and well combined.

Sift 2 Cups Powdered Sugar into a medium bowl.

Whisk chocolate mixture into sugar and add 1 tsp vanilla.

Once cake is out of oven ~ poke holes all over top of the hot cake with a fork (just don’t go VooDoo on the cake like I did…most of the frosting ending up inside the cake!) and pour warm frosting over cake.

Let cool in pan on a wire rack.


It’s a very tasty and moist cake!

For Today ~ 2 February 2009 ~ Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 2 Februaryy 2009

Outside My Window… Sunny! Light clouds…actually more jet contrails than clouds. Same ole construction workers…only this time they cut down all those Sycamore trees. 😦

I am thinking… Holy Toledo! It’s February already! I still want to garden! But we really need more snow and rain, or it’ll be a very bad fire season coming up.

I am thankful for… the Sparks Library.

From the kitchen… It was going to be marinated flank steak with Orzo spinach salad…but it may be just a take-n-bake Papa Murphy’s pizza. There is a Chocolate Coke Cake sitting on the butcherblock though. 🙂

I am wearing… blue jeans, tennies, maroon long sleeved cotton t-shirt.

I am creating… my garden plots…planning what to plant and what berry bushes to buy for out front.

I am going… to visit a few nurserys to check out prices on Blueberry and Elderberry bushes…and maybe Blackberries.

I am reading… gardening books…and just finished up reading two books on raising free-range chickens.

I am hoping… that we get more moisture in the weather.

I am hearing… the folks in the next office over, and the air system.

Around the house… whew wee…I was in a cleaning freenzy yesterday. The north facing enclosed porch is all cleaned (large yard garage bag full of junk), swept, vacuumed, mopped and DUSTED! I dusted…imagine that! Well actually…it was beyond dusting…I took hot soapy water to the place. I cleaned out back in an area where I was going to house 3 laying hens, but changed my mind after reading a few books.

One of my favorite things… playing in the dirt.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… more planning of the garden and try to set up a seed exchange.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you…

Found this in an email a friend sent with silly critters in it. Looks like one of the squirrels I fed in our work courtyard…before the grounds keeper found out what I was doing. 😦 I miss Abigal!


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