Thursday, January 19, 2006

Button... Button... Who's Got the Button?

Theo is a self-proclaimed “Eccentric”. His full name, Theodore is pronounced THEE-a-dor. He proudly states, “It is of Greek origin, and its meaning is "God's gift.” - from Theodorus. “. He looked it up.

I recall nearly ten years ago seeing him turn the corner of the communal driveway of our little enclave. He was in his little brown Suburu. Ander, our friend, Ken and I were standing in front of the cottage we now live in. He was curious about these two new beings moving into the enclave. Once hearing of our intentions and desire to be part of the tiny community, he graciously welcomed us with great enthusiasm. He made such an amazing first impression, it inspired a short story. It was penned by Ken entitled, “Angel in a Suburu”.

Today, Theo generously gifted me with a bounty of buttons. I was thrilled to be a recipient of this glorious cache. It prompted squeals of wonder and joy with each discovery. There were delicate pieces made of “mother-of-pearl”, carved plastics and metal disks fashioned with embossed designs. The possibilities for their uses are endless. Many will result in the finishing touches of my nieces' doll clothes or the day gowns I plan to design for premature newborns. Others may just fall into the category of “object d'arte”.

A treasure trove . . .

A bevy of beauties . . .

A collection of closures . . .

Theo is a good neighbor. He’s become confidant, counselor and charismatic comrade. He willingly takes on the role of caregiver to our “girlie-girls” while we are out of town for more than a day. His lovely wife, Nancy, an epicurean and former restaurateur, often shares her coveted recipes with me. Here’s one I’ve added to my repertoire. By the way, Nancy collects birdhouses, therefore, apropo for the moment.

Hummingbird Cake

• 3 cups cake flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 2 cups chopped bananas
• 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
• 2 cups chopped pecans, divided

Combine dry ingredients; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup chopped pecans, and bananas. Spoon batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove and cool completely. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides. Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting

• 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1 (16 ounce) package confectioners sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until light and smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and blend well.


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