Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There IS a cure for the Summertime Blues....

Welcome Summer!  Today my sweet cousin surprised me with a summer party outside in her yard.  Look at all the cute things she had for us.  When I drove in, it felt like the pages of a cool magazine....
 Everywhere her yard is filled with beauty...  Such a breath of fresh air!
Just the cure if anyone is thinking of having the Summertime Blues! or especially if you are not!

Lake Effect

Today my dear friend suggested we meet at the lake for a visit, to talk about our Beth Moore James Bible study, and for prayer....  The weather was perfect...  God was so perfect, and we had a soul-soothing time.

She told me on the phone she was bringing us something to drink.  The icy orange surprise was absolutely fabulous!  She said it was even healthy!  I fell into the spell of kind of Dreamsicle slush ambrosia....  and look how cute! She made the whole thing into a party!

The healing words of the Bible study, cool lake air, and the acceptance and care of a friend were priceless!  She is a long-time friend, a lifelong angel sent as a gift from God....  When you can be yourself and still know someone loves you----  it is a gift.  I am blessed!  @@@@@@@@@@@@@--- you also know who you are!

Sunrise Punch recipe --  Pioneer Woman
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
Fill rest of blender with ice and blend! Yummy.

Getting the Horse Before the Cart

 More shots of another Saturday trip...  This beautiful team was "parked" outside a farm house where we bought a quart of fresh molasses..

 Home made bread...  and another cart with some festive pumpkins.

And finally, this  miniature pony and cart...  It was adorable.  I don't suppose Amish horses mind being in a picture.  I never take photographs of any of the people...  I have to stash those in my memory.

Here is a recipe for some wonderful Apple Butter.  My Aunt Hazel made this often, and I made it at home.  If we get to an orchard, this will be on my to-do list..  Right now, I would say it is "cart before the horse" as my gramma used to say.


6 lbs. apples
1-2 quarts sweet cider (Grandma used 2, I use 1 because I can cook a shorter time. Grandma thought longer was better)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Cook the apples in the cider and press through a food mill or sieve. (I just mashed with potato masher).   Mix in sugar and spices to taste. Pour pulp into a non-reactive pan (I use an old enameled roaster) and bake at 250, stirring every hour or so, until "thick enough". If I'm in a hurry, I start at 350, then turn it down after a couple of hours. I usually double or triple the amount, so mine takes a long time to cook down. This amount will still take several hours.
When it's "thick enough", pour into hot jars and Boiling water bath 10 minutes for half pints or pints, 15 minutes for quarts.  Seal.  If you want to skip the seal step, this will freeze or keep in the refrigerator for a long time.

Comfort Food

When the nights blow cold but the days are pretty, I love to use the slow cooker and spend time with other things...  This is a favorite....  reminds me of my mother's pressure cooker steaks from my childhood!


Slow Cooker Round Steak


  • 3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 pounds boneless round steak
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Place the potatoes, onion, and carrots in slow cooker. Cut steak into six pieces, then place the meat on top of vegetables. In a mixing bowl, combine the soup mix, soup, and water; pour over beef.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low for 7 to 10 hours.

Kitten, Kitten... Kat.....

My son sent me a quickly-snapped photo of my dear little cat, Sally...  She is a happy camper,snoozing away on his couch....  Is there anything more peaceful than watching a cat gently snoozing away an afternoon, a morning, an evening....????  Well, perhaps doing the snoozing, too...  That might be peaceful and fun...

However, it's Autumn...  who wants to sleep when it's so beautiful outside?  I have decided to finally bake the cookies featured on "The Good Witch" series, Harvest Moon cookies.

Here is the recipe.  Stay tuned for results...  Hey, it's an almond cookie dipped in chocolate.  I think it will be fine, huh?

Harvest Moon Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almond meal ( I ordered mine from Amazon)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F
Cream the butter and slowly add in the sugar.  Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and the almond meal.  Work in the flour gradually. Wrap the dough in wax paper or parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. These are delicate cookies, so don't handle them too much. Divide the dough into 2 batches, leaving one in the refrigerator. Divide the dough into small 1 teaspoon sized balls and place them on a cookie sheet and slightly flatten with the heel of your hand or a spatula. Bake until just slightly golden brown on the bottoms, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies and drizzle with white or dark chocolate or cover 1/2 of the cookie in chocolate. Serve with cocoa or chocolate milk for dunking.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Good morning...

I slip to the windows... Regular time, at six in the morning.  Intense mist, gray swirling fogs...  My world is swathed in delicious moisture as if long, lost lives have again found each other----the earth and the rains and cuddling in sweet harmony this morning.  A day off from school, so newly begun...

31 years ago Labor Day brought me a new baby....  My son will be 31 on Wednesday.  So will I...  Don't we sometimes feel we only began to learn when we started teaching our children just what life includes...

Hot Almond Joy Coffee on the porch with Mom and some Oatmeal bars...  I hear the birds, the sunrise...  and the chocolate chips calling my name.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1 cake mix yellow ... or try something spicy....
2 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 pkg. chocolate chips

that's it.   blend all but chips until crumbly.  press half in sprayed 9 x 13 pan.  sprinkle chips.  i could see some almonds or pecans here... or some raisins...  crumble and pat on the other half and bake 20-25 min.

cool...  if you are so inclined, and I wasn't...  drizzle with warm caramel.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Autumn Cheque....

Oh, today dawned with glorious Autumn in the air...  snappy, misty...  brown leaves!  Wait, it's only August...  We in the Midwest wait to learn exactly how Mother Nature plans to play with our seasons...  Each one seems on a fast past to enter and whoosh away in record time.  Our spring began in late February, summer well underway in April.  The old timers (Shut up,  I know I'm one of those now, but I refuse to believe it) prophesy a long, hard, cold winter snap coming early and staying late.

My young students believe in the Farmer's Almanac because it rarely misses a big snow.  I rely on my Family Curse Knees to forecast a Noreaster and a bad snap...

Clearly we are ready for a change.  My sweet little Air Force Wife recent graduate currently weathers a huge Typhoon in Okinawa, and a dear friend in Florida has gathered provisions in case Isaac comes her way.  We had a quarter in of rain on Saturday!  It felt like a deluge and everyone around us was simply in awe...  Water comes from the sky?  Who'd a thunk it?  How long we have waited....

Yesterday I tried a yummy chicken wrap for my family.  The marinade was amazing..  I want to make it again and use the chicken in stir fry or pannini.

Sweet and Savory Chicken Wraps
Adjust the amount made to fit the number of chicken breasts.  I cooked four, but I butterflied them, so it was more like 8.

1/2 c. oil
1/2 c.  soy sauce
1/3 c. peanut butter
3 T. steak seasoning like SeasonAll or any salt-pepper combination
2 -3 shakes hot sauce

I put all that in a big zip lock bag and then scrunched in my chicken breasts.  I let them marinate in this in the refrigerator about 90 minutes.

Julienne a red or yellow pepper and marinate in a mixture of half honey and half cider vinegar.

Grill chicken breasts and allow to rest ten minutes before slicing thin.

Assemble Wraps in following order:

Layer of Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 1/2 slices Provolone Cheese
Drained, marinated Vegetables
2-3 t. Chow mein vegetables from a can, drained

Roll up and slice in half.  Secure with a toothpick.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I am a Rock Star!

Tonight I created a yummy individual zucchini casserole.  First I  diced one zucchini and 2 medium farmer's market tomatoes.  I simmered those in 1 and 1/2 c, water, 1/2 stick butter, 1 t. pepper, 1 T. Italian seasoning, 1 t. minced garlic.  When the zucchini was tender, I added a pkg. of Stovetop Dressing mix.  I spooned it into the ramekins and topped with 2 oz. cheddar.  I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.....  It was really soothing to our jangled spirits. ----  Be impressed. It is absolutely all I accomplished all day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Gentle Fourth....

Shhh!  America is sleeping....  but quite rightly, now is the very day, hour, minute we must wake up and take back some control over what and who is dominating our sweet land.......

Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty!

 A slower look at the land we love...  Saturday's drive through Amish Country brought us some divine garden produce we are having today to celebrate Independence Day...
 Irony:  that vignettes so picturesque cannot be photographed with respect to these sweet individuals.... I don't take faces in my photos...

 Happy Fourth of July, wherever your road takes you....
Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs ---  A perfectly lovely choice.  Check out her blog for photos and comments here


  • 1-½ pound Ground Beef
  • ¾ cups Oats
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • _____
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)
  • Canola Oil
  • _____
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
  • 1 dash Tabasco


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.
Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.
Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pink, cool thoughts on a hot summer's day

Once upon a time.....  We had a little cake on a hot summery day...  The fresh, pink icing swirled just so....  Somewhere my gramma had found the little round sprinkles that barely stick on without rolling all over the gray, Formica-topped table...

Large spiraled bottles of Double-Cola, the off-brand of choice in our family, sat open, ready to pour on the ice cracked from aluminum trays.   Multicolor aluminum glasses would soon hold court over the party.  Our family spared the cola, just one precious half bottle per afternoon.... If any at all.

------ and then that happiest of little cake parties is gone, vanished......  Should I stand like that long ago little girl, clutch my heart, and cry the forsaken, left alone and lost sob of a scared child?  Probably not...

In place instead are other treats, other parties, other dear ones to share our lives....
Memories are gifts to help us, not debilitate with sorrow, nostalgia, regret....
Enjoy....  it's so short a ride.....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cool Cat Macaroons

Our family loves to play Spinner!  We play on Sundays and on Tuesday evenings if we get a chance.... Our tradition is to wait for dessert until the fives....  Today we had cinnamon sugar cookies and home baked macaroons.   Yum!

Easiest recipe ever:  Coconut Macaroons

2 1/2 c flaked coconut

1/3 flour

1/8 t. salt

2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk

1 t. vanilla extract

In small bowl mix ingredients in order given.  Batter will be very stiff.  Drop by Tablespoon on greased baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

I would love to have a helper like this!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Treats of Spring

Everywhere the Bradford Pears speak Spring...

You must try these 'Smore Mini Bites from Giada ---  with or without the spring bonfires!


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 4 large graham crackers, finely crushed
  • Special equipment: a 24-count mini-muffin pan, 24 mini-muffin cup liners, such as Betty Crocker mini-size baking cups


Cook's Note: Quinoa flour is available at health food stores.
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-count mini-muffin pan with paper liners.
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
Using a small cookie scoop, fill each paper liner with about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter. Push 3 mini marshmallows halfway down into the center of the batter. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs over the marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve.