Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Gallery of English Bloopers, Oddities, etc.


Unexpected Insert:

My blog complete and ready-to-go, I was taking a peek at Facebook on Saturday morning (12/31/22) when I saw a video posted by my daughter which I absolutely had to add. Evidently, she and the girls were driving home last night when they spotted a bear walking toward their house (the one with all the Christmas lights.) She whipped out her phone and began to record. To see Susie's video, click here.


 Gallery of Bloopers, Oddities, etc.

For all the English-lovers out there - or those who enjoy a language-related joke - this week's blog is a compilation of some of the most spectacularly awful, or just plain weird, pics I've accumulated over the years since I began this blog in January 2011. I'll begin with a new one - not found on Facebook but sent to me by my son, who took the photo at a fast-food restaurant in a Connecticut suburb (which shall remain nameless).




Photographed by my son in Hartford, CT



When you drop the comma before "and," sometimes the results can be really misleading.




And lest you forget, a timely warning label for your child's clothing . . .

 If you didn't find any of the above amusing, see below . . .


Grace note:  To compose the above, I used less than half the Language-related pics I've saved. Guess we'll have to have another set of Bloopers & Oddities in the future.

~ * ~

 A quick plug for my contemporary novels, most written during my years of living on Florida's Gulf Coast. Three have international settings, with major scenes set on the Connecticut Coast, where I also lived for more than a quarter century.

Romantic Suspense:

Shadowed Paradise (Venice, FL)

Paradise Burning (Venice, FL)

Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart (CT to Spain to FL)

Orange Blossoms & Mayhem (FL to Peru to France, back to FL) 

Limbo Man (NYC, CT, Colorado, FL, Siberia & Iran)


The Art of Evil (Sarasota, FL)

Death by Marriage (Venice, FL)

Florida Wild (Orlando, FL)


~ *~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)



Sunday, December 18, 2022

BIG NEWS, Gallery & Garlic-Olive Bread Recipe



Cassidy & Proud Papa


Cassidy's "Big News"

On Friday,December 2, our extended family was summoned to an impromptu party at my daughter's house to "reveal news about one of the girls." (Since Cassidy had told me about her AFJROTC* application, I guessed this was the only thing big enough to drag everyone out on 90 minutes notice.) And yay, hurray, I was right. About 4:30 that afternoon her father got a call from Cassidy's colonel to say she was one of 300 in the whole U.S. to be chosen for an 8-week training program next summer, all expenses paid. At the end of the program she will have earned her private pilot's license! (To say we are thrilled is putting it mildly.) But Cassidy was at work and did not get home until around ten that night, as we all tried to keep our normal faces on and let her father break the news. 

*Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

Before clicking on the video link below, you should know that Cassidy's colonel gave her the "handle" "Ramen" because of her curly hair.

To see Cassidy's reaction and a close-up of the remarkable cake her father Mike and cousin Lionel made, on almost no notice, please  click here.



Warning:  this bread is a two-day process as it must chill overnight.  

3/4 cup warm water (105-115°)
1 package active dry yeast
½ cup milk
2 TBspn sugar
2 TBspn butter
1 tspn salt
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup grated Asiago cheese
4 cloves of garlic, minced

2½ cups all-purpose flour
Cooking spray or  olive oil
1 egg
2 tspn water 

Day 1:

Crumble or grate cheese, if necessary. Mince garlic. (This can be done up to 24-hr ahead & refrigerated until needed. Allow to come to room temperature before using.)

In a large bowl stir together the 3/4 cup water and the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter & salt. When milk mix is warm, add the cheeses & the garlic. Stir.
Stir in flour. (Dough will be sticky.) Lightly coat a medium bowl with cooking spray; transfer dough to greased bowl. Lightly coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray; cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Day 2: 

Using a dough scraper or spatula, carefully loosen dough from bowl and turn out onto a floured surface. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Grease a baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Gently shape dough into an oval loaf. Using a dough scraper or spatula if necessary, transfer bread to baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until nearly double in size (about 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 400°. In a small bowl whisk together egg and the 2 teaspoons of water; brush over loaf. Bake about 25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in loaf registers at least 200°. If necessary, cover with foil during last 5 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Remove from oven; cool on wire rack. 

Loaf may be frozen. 



 Our choir's annual Lessons & Carols was on Saturday, December 10. Below, chorus and orchestra & close-up of choir. I'm middle row, right, next to the lectern. Susie is the second person to my left.She did a great solo on "Sing Noel."


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, 

Happy Whatever Holiday You Celebrate

and and an Outstanding New Year!


Family photo taken at Central Florida Chorus Concert

Susie was singing in that concert too. (Would you believe she's the same person as muddy Susie seen sitting on a boulder on the cold coast of Kent, displaying her fossiling tools?)

~ *~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holiday Bread Recipes

Next Blog - Sunday, Dec. 18

Olive-Garlic Bread & Gallery

 ~ * ~

Below, Susie in the cold, rain and mud on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, UK, where a fellow fossil-enthusiast (met online) showed her where to find ammonites - after pussy-footing her way over ground strewn with boulders. (Like all enthusiasts, sometimes you have to be a little nuts.)

Fossiling in Folkestone
Find of the Day (Ammonite)

In the dire days of Winter 2021, Susie & I ventured out to a Gem & Mineral Show in Sanford (they were taking everyone's temperature at the door). And we shared the purchase of an ammonite that had been split down the middle and polished (never dreaming Susie would ever have the chance to find one in the wild). Alas, the light for my photo wasn't right to highlight the shining red streaks in the ammonite, but it truly is a spectacular shell. Below, my half of what we bought that day.



While Susie was in Europe, I broke my rule about not buying any more Recipe magazines. (I was tempted, as I so often am, by a magazine displayed at the checkout counter at Publix.) Sigh.

I made the Sausage Pesto Ring first, which is more of an entree than a side dish. It's not only tasty but it freezes well. I will get several meals out of it over the next few weeks. And then I did the Cranberry Buttermilk Bread. I ate two slices without stopping and quickly froze the rest, to be thawed as a new addition to our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. (Yes, it was that good.) So here they are. Enjoy!



 PREPARE AHEAD: Melt butter, rinse cranberries ahead of time & give them time to dry. [If using frozen cranberries, measure while still frozen. Thaw slightly & chop while still icy. Fold into batter as directed.] If you cannot find jars of tangerine or orange zest in the spice section of your store, you will need to grate your own before starting this recipe. (I have treasured jars of dried orange & lemon zest which I bought years ago and which still do their job.)

2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup sugar
2½ tspn baking powder
¼ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
6 TBspn butter, melted
1¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup roasted, salted pepitas (or pistachios)*
2 tspn tangerine or orange zest**
2 TBspn sugar

*I used pepita nuts & they added the perfect touch.

1.  Preheat oven to 375°. Grease bottom and ½" up sides of an 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk & melted butter. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cranberries, ½ cup of the pepitas & the zest.

3.   Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Coarsely chop remaining ¼ cup pepitas. In a small bowl combine chopped pepitas and 2 TBspn sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

4.  Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If necessary, to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil the last 5-10 minutes.) Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan & cool completely.

Grace note:  Yes, the bread froze well. I let it thaw overnight in the fridge, then on the counter in the kitchen for several hours before our Thanksgiving feast.




I have made a number of pull-apart breads over the years, but this one is definitely easier as you do not have to slice the biscuits into smaller pieces. Repeating what I said at the top, this can be an entree or a party snack. And like so many things made with Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits, it is really tasty.

5 TBspn butter, melted
2 16.3 oz pkg. refrigerated biscuits
    (16 biscuits total)
1/3 cup purchased basil pesto (or homemade)
1/3 cup cooked & crumbled bulk Italian sausage*
1¼ cups shredded Italian cheese blend (5 oz.)**
Fresh snipped basil or parsley
*I always used Jimmy Dean as it is pure.
**Because of my allergy to preservatives, I shred my own cheddar & add organic grated parmesan to the mix.
1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10-inch fluted tube pan (Bundt) with 3 oz. of butter. (*See Warning below.)
2.  Top each biscuit with 1 tsp pesto, 1 tsp sausage & 1 TBspn cheese. Stack four biscuits, press down gently. Turn stack on its side & place in pan. Repeat (4 at a time) to create a ring. Drizzle with remaining 2 TBspn melted butter.
3.  Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle bread with remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Cover with foil & bake about 5 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean, top is golden brown, and cheese is melted. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley. Serve warm. 

*WARNING. I found using butter to grease the pan was the LEAST acceptable of the various means I've tried for other pull-apart bread recipes. Strongly advise a heavy coating of cooking spray or lathering on Crisco. Fortunately, the ring still tastes good, even if comes out of the pan in chunks. But for company . . . ixnay on greasing with butter.

~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)