Thursday, July 31, 2014

The first bloom....

We have all been waiting on this! It is such a pleasure to see one of these bloom!

The birds will really be happy now!

As I was walking around the yard, I also spied this:

Do you see the bumblebee on the basil blooms?  He was really happy, too!  I know he is glad that the basil this year is just blooming faster than I am able to clip off the blossoms!  

So - we've helped part of God's creation be happy this season!

Nice and cool morning temperatures of late put me in mind of autumn!  This is just the last day of July! I'm sure we have awhile to wait before autumn arrives for good!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Husband in the kitchen....

Happy Wednesday to you!  How is your week thus far?

We sometimes watch Martha Stewart on PBS on Sunday afternoon.  This past Sunday, she demonstrated a couple of things that caught The Husband's attention - corn stock and corn chowder. Since we had some corn that had been bought at the Farmer's Market, it seemed as though these two projects were just good sense.:-)

Here is the corn stock simmering away.  At this point, the ears of corn had been shucked, and the corn  cut off of the cobs.  Some of our homegrown onion was quartered, and water added just about to cover.  

Now, who would think this would create such an appetizing aroma?!?  It was amazing!

Using this stock, we proceeded to make Corn Potato Chowder.   Martha strained all hers to get out the solids.  We simply lifted them out.:-)  Then, the corn that had been cut off the cobs was added to the pot with the stock.  After that cooked about 15 minutes - or until the corn was tender - potatoes were added, along with a little more liquid - but not much!  

Within about 10-15 minutes, everything was ready!  Oh!  I forgot to make any mention of salt, pepper, or thyme!  We added all of those to the chowder to taste.  At the last minute, we added about 1/2 cup of half and half.

Here is the chowder, already served in the bowl for lunch.

This is my serving.  I added diced turkey bacon to mine, along with a garnish of snipped chives.  This was a great meal!  High fives to The Husband!:-)  This has become a new favorite!

China - Strawberries and Cream by Villeroy and Boch, now discontinued.  

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A new gadget....

Do you like to add new gadgets to help your work in the kitchen?  The Husband recently came home with one that we hoped would work for the task that needed to be completed.

It is a food chopper with two separate blades, one for smaller dice, and one for larger dice.  There is also the little fork that assists in cleaning out the blades when they are in use.

We needed it to help with these:

These are some of the onions from the garden.  They were not candidates for drying out for use through the coming fall and winter, so their fate was to be chopped and stored in the freezer.  

Here is that chopper in use, and here are the results of this effort.

Storing these in 1/2 cup portions will be very helpful!

The other onions are hanging on the rafters of the shed.  It was too dark there for me to get a good picture.  Perhaps it will work another day.

I hope you are having a good week thus far.  After the storms came through our area last night, we have some cooler temperatures, very unlike the usual temperatures for July.  

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Husband....

On Friday, The Husband went out on errands.  When he returned home, he brought these:

Aren't they beautiful?

This wasn't all he brought.  Look at these:

They are absolutely delicious!

City Girl wondered what was the occasion.:-)  Well, just a couple of days late, but they marked the anniversary of his proposal!  We didn't have a long engagement and will celebrate an anniversary next month.

I hope you have had a good week-end and that the beginning of a new week holds something special for you.

There were severe storms in our area last night, with tornado warnings all around.  Thankfully, we escaped anything of great damage, though there are reports a couple of tornadoes may have touched down in nearby areas.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014....

From the book Apples of Gold, compiled by Jo Petty, are these words:

                                      "He who sows courtesy reaps friendship,

                                       and he who plants kindness gathers love."

From the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar for 2014, the Mission Focus today is the Neighborhood Services Organization, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Blessings to you on this Sunday.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


How is your week-end starting?  I know some of you had some special plans.

After the past week, I am glad to say that this particular week-end is strangely unplanned!  This past week was full of appointments.

Monday, it was good to have a good report from that regular dental checkup.

Tuesday, retired teachers from my school - eight of us attending - met for lunch.  Somehow I have become the coordinator for these monthly events.:-)

Wednesday, it was off to the optometrist for that yearly exam.  Seems to be time for considering the next step for a cataract or two.

Thursday, it was time for our area retired teachers association meeting.  These meetings are held at a downtown location.

Friday evening was the date for the seniors of our church to have our once-yearly pot luck supper.  I've begun taking green salads to these events, and there were no leftovers to bring home last night!

So - I'm ready to have a week-end with nothing extra on schedule.

I send you my best wishes for a relaxing, stress-free week-end!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Is it Friday already?

Happy Friday to you!  Have you had a good week?  Do you have some exciting plans for the week-end?  It is upon us,  you know.

Last week-end was a busy time here with the UMW Mission u Event.  I have mentioned earlier that this was the book we studied.

There were four sections to the book, each one designed to help us look at our own spiritual journey.  The four topics were pray, listen, mentor, and transform.

While I spent time reading and studying this book, I have also had time to do some other reading.

This is a book of fiction, and it was the first one I've read by Anna Quindlen.  A piece of her writing was featured recently in an issue of Good Housekeeping, and I was motivated to try a novel.  I found this to be really enjoyable and would recommend it.

Another book I have read is this one

This is a memoir, also the first book I've read by this author.  It was also a writing in a Good Housekeeping issue that pointed me to her, and I am anxious to read her novels!

Reading has always been a favorite pasttime of mine, and I am happy to recommend these books to you!

I send along wishes for a happy Friday!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The garden in late July....

Well, perhaps it isn't really late July, but the last day of the month is only a week away!  So, here are a series of pictures taken just last evening. 

This "volunteered" from our compost that The Husband added to the garden.  We think it may be a variety of butternut squash.  Our neighbor gave  us some of his last season.

Maybe this is pumpkin?

Do you see that one lone watermelon?  No luck with them this season, for some reason.

There are still lots of green tomatoes.  The sweet potatoes are also visible in this picture.

One of several sunflowers just about ready to burst into bloom.  The birds will be happy.

We had some good rain yesterday afternoon, but are still behind in our average rainfall totals for this point in the year.  How about where you are?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Time to cook....

 When the garden is giving us summer's gifts, it is time to find ways to use the goodness.

These cherry tomatoes are, of course, tasty just as they are.  In fact, yesterday afternoon I was popping them into my mouth like candy.:-)  However, it is certainly great to have them for the following recipe, and not to have to buy them at the market.

4 Tablespoons reduced-sodium, fat-free chicen broth
2 tesaspoons minced garlic
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 pound uncooked capelliini, or spaghetti, cooked and kept warm
2 Tablespoons basil, fresh, minced
3 Tablespoons parsley, fresh, minced
1/4 cup semisolf goat cheese, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute 2 minutes.  Add cherry tomatoes and cook until just soft, about 1 minute.  Add remaining broth and heat through.
- Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and add tomato mixture, toss to combine.  Add herbs and goat cheese; toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Yields about 1 cup per serving, for a total of 4 servings.

This is a Weight Watchers recipe that came over the Internet several years ago, and I printed it out for our enjoyment - and - we have really enjoyed it, too! :-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A request....

A blogging friend, Beth, at Day by Day with Beth Marie, has received the word that she is no longer in remission.  I am requesting your thoughts and prayers for her as she once again faces treatment.

Thank you!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Last week....

....had several milestones.

....We recorded a record low temperature for Thursday morning!
....The church community garden donated 360 pounds of produce to food pantries in the area, bringing the total thus far in the season to 833 pounds!
....Our Holston Conference United Methodist Women held their Mission u Event at a church in a nearby town.  That meant I was able to stay home rather than pack my suitcase for a stay in a motel!
....Two of the studies were based on the books that were featured in the blog on Friday.  The other study was a repeat from last year on the Roma of Europe.
....The weather "caught us up" a bit on our rainfall total, which has been nearly seven inches below the average.  Now we are under five inches behind.
....So - as welcome as the rain was here, this is what it was like as I was going to Mission u on Saturday morning.

Are you able to see the wet road?

More of the same.

It was 8:30 on Saturday morning, yet these were conditions as we drove down the road where there were trees overhanging on both sides.

It was like driving at night for a short distance.

Even the soccer field shows evidence of the overnight rain.

No practices or games here on that day!

It was good to reach our destination and see this welcoming sign!  

This is only part of the week-end, so more will be featured in the next post.

I hope  you had a good week-end and are ready for a good week ahead.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014....

From Apples of Gold, compiled by Jo Petty, are these words:

                              "The best and most beautiful things in the world

                                  cannot be seen nor touched, but are felt in the heart."

The Mission Focus for today, as listed in the 2014 UMW Prayer Calendar, is the Wesley Education Center for Children and Families in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sending you special Sunday blessings!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

From this.... this!

Are you ready for a recipe for Zucchini Bread?  I'm sure you have your own favorite one you use.  This one comes from The Inn at Gray Gables Cookbook.  It is a favorite of mine.  I have markers all through the book for those oft-made recipes - and there are many of them!

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups grated zucchni
2 cups coarsely chopped nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or two 5x3-inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl beat the eggs.  Add the sugar and the oil, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the remaining ingredients except the nuts and blend well.  Fold in the nuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 1 hour.

I hope you have some good week-end plans!  Let me know what is going on with you!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, July 18, 2014

If it's Friday.... must be time for a book suggestion - or two!

These are two of the books that are being studied at United Methodist Women Mission u Events this summer.

I will be studying How Is It with Your Soul? during our Conference Mission u Event.  That will give me one more book for the Reading Program Spiritual Growth category!

I'm a bit behind in my blog-visiting.  Hopefully there will be a return to a good schedule for that in a few days.

Once more, I want to welcome new followers!  I never dreamed that I would reach 105!

We are having beautiful days with cooler temperatures this week!  Very unusual for the middle of July!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One of the beauties of summer....

For many of the special full moon events during this calendar year, we have had cloud cover and have been unable to see a good view of the moon.  That was not the case last Saturday night.

That first effort as the moon became visible.

With the close-up lens.

Thunder Moon is what it was called.  It was a couple of nights later before we heard any thunder, though.:-)

Were you able to catch a glimpse of the full moon this time?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July's pleasures....

July 16, 2014!  We still have half this month ahead of us.  Here are some things that are giving us pleasure during July.

We have enjoyed the first homegrown cantaloupe of the season this month!  It disappeared quickly, even before I was able to take a picture.  This one pictured is our third one, and they have been very tasty!

The Crepe Myrtle has finally begun to bloom!  This is the one in the back of the house.  The one in the front of the house is about to get there!  

The blueberries continue to ripen!  You can be sure these will be keeping me busy today!

We are currently receiving a very nice break from summer's heat and humidity!  I am loving it!

What are some things that have made your July special?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer's guests....

....were happy to have this for their enjoyment!

Assorted muffins!

Those blueberries have really been enjoyed, though there is one other project I have in mind.  That will be for another day and another post.:-)  I've featured the muffins on the blog before, but also on this plate are Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!  Yum!:-)

1/2 cup butter
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add dry ingredients.  Stir in mashed bananas, nuts, chocolate chips, and sour cream.  Divide into two greased loaf pans (8x4) and bake for 1 hour.  
I used part of the batter to make a dozen muffins and used the remaining batter for only one loaf pan. I really had to scurry to get a picture before the plate was emptied!

This recipe comes from a wonderful little book called Just Family Favorites - Holiday Recipes and More..  It is from a Christmas at Home series, so I suppose you could say we had "Christmas in July!":-) 

 Plate - designed by Susan Branch for Lenox "A Proper Tea"

I want to welcome new followers!  It is exciting to have 104 of you signed  up to come along!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer's heat.... with us again.  There is also the chance of some severe storms in our area later today. We are really behind in rainfall, and some good rain would be appreciated, though severe storms are not necessary.:-)

This was from the week of the Fourth of July.  The high temperature was expected to be 83 degrees on Friday, July 4.   

Not bad for the month of July!

These summer days have also provided an opportunity for this.

Oops!  How did it manage to turn sideways?!?

The Husband and I enjoyed this production presented by an amateur theater group in a nearby town.  It was the perfect choice for July 4!

Update:  Our Church Community garden has now donated 473 pounds of produce to food pantries in our area.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014....

The Mission Focus for today as listed in the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar for 2014 is the United Methodist Community Center, Youngstown, Ohio.

These words of Jesus, found in John 21:15-17. speak of His direction to Peter.  John 21:17b says, "Feed my sheep."  What does this mean for us?  Are we following this direction that Jesus gave to Peter? 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A treat anytime....

....not just for summer, though we have certainly enjoyed having this a part of our summer fun.

A yummy cheese board!

The Munchkins - and their parents, of course - have visited this summer a few times.  In fact, they have recently just returned home from a little time here without their parents.  That has been fun!

This cheese board is always a great hit with them!  They each have their favorite cheeses, and they love the fruit and nuts that accompany the cheese.

This is fairly simple to put together, and many of you would have your own method for something like this.  The beauty of it is that it can easily be tailor made for those who you will be serving.

What can be done with the leftover "bits and pieces?"  They really make some nice macaroni and cheese.:-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

There has been time....

....for doing some reading.

Have you heard of this one?

This book was suggested for reading prior to a book discussion planned for a later point in the summer.  I must say that I would not have chosen it on my own, nor would I be interested in adding it to my personal shelf or reading it again.  It is the fictional account of the destruction of forests for the personal gain of those who had the privilege of owning the land - plus the destruction of any who might stand in their way.

So - I have followed up that book by reading this one:

A more scholarly selection.

I have found this book to be more hopeful on the subject of the Age of Warming.   Adaptation among plants and animals is occurring. 

Finding Higher Ground is from the UMW Reading List for 2014, and is a bonus book.  That means it counts in two categories in the Reading Program - Social Action and Education for Mission - OR - two books in either category, so it has a double benefit.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This summer....

....has brought the loss of Maya Angelou.  Her presence and words of wisdom will be missed. 

In working the "Celebrity Cipher" feature of our newspaper this week, these quotes from Maya Angelou were featured.

            "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."

            "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

A very wise woman! 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Those summer days....

....have a few surprises for us!


....became part of this Berry Galette.....

.....and this very juicy Blueberry Pie!

Neighbors came for "Pie on the Patio" on the Fourth of July.  Of course, there was ice cream for a finishing touch.

The Berry Galette recipe comes from the most recent issue of Dash, the insert that appears in our newspaper on occasion.

Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 1/3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
1 heaping cup blueberries
1 large egg white
- Combine lemon juice with enough ice water to make 1/4 cup lemon water.  In bowl of a food processor, mix 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lemon zest until combined.  Add 1 stick butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with peas-sized bits.  Drizzle in lemon water and pulse until dough just comes together.
- Scrape dough onto a work surface, then press into a flat disk.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  In a large bowl, whisk remaining 2 Tablespoons flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and a pinch salt.  Add strawberries and blueberries and stir to thoroughly combine, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula.
- Place refrigerated dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll into a 12-inch round, then transfer to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Mound berry mixture in center leaving a 2-inch border.  Gently fold in crust, pleating edges to enclose.  Whisk egg white with 1 Tablespoon water, then brush egg mixture over crust and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. 
- Transfer baking sheet to oven, lower heat to 425 F degrees, and bake until crust is golden, 20-22 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

This was the first time that I have used the food processor for making dough, and it really worked out well!

Colander - Strawberries and Cream by Villeroy and Boch.

Before I leave you today, I want to mention my father who was born on this day in 1909.  He was a good man who worked hard throughout his life. 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More summer days....

....bring summer's rewards for hard work in the garden.

Green beans from our garden!

All blanched and ready for the freezer.

Update:  The Community Garden at our church has already donated 320 pounds of produce to local food pantries! 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer days....

....have been busy days!

Time for picnics....

....or alternate plans for eating indoors, just in case the weather doesn't cooperate....

Oops!  Where is that flatware?:-)

....enjoying summer's blossoms....

More to follow another day!

China - Wedgewood's Strawberry and Vine

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.