Friday, December 5, 2008


OK, this is for the ladies attending the "Works of Our Hands" crafting group...I received such grief for not posting enough on the blogs that I thought that I would take this opportunity to do a new posting. This one's for you ladies ;o

Pumpkin Bread w/ fresh Cranberries and Dark Chocolate Chips
This is the receipt on the back of the Ocean Spray bag...with a few tweaks from moi.

1 3/4 cup flour (I used a blend of = parts soft wheat, spelt, barley and oat groats)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. clove
3/4 cup sugar (I used Demerara)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup pure pumpkin (No, before you get all excited...I did not roast my own pumpkin, it was canned)
2 eggs (This should measure 1/2 cup of egg)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries or frozen, coarsely chopped (I did not chop them...did not read that far. Ooops.
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan (I had that small cake pan and not a loaf pan at the house)
Combine dry ingredients in a med. bowl (do not include sugar as a dry ingredient. It is indeed a liquifyer and should almost always be treated as a liquid). Save out a little of the dry ingredients to dust your pan with and to dust the berries and chips to make sure they do not sink to the bottom of the cake.
In a 4 cup measure (or bigger) measure out in this order oil, pumpkin, eggs, sugar. Use the oil to get an accurate & easy measure of pumpkin and eggs...just watch the level of the oil go up to the desired measurement. This way you only have 3 things to wash including the cake pan...well, 4 things if you include the utensil used to stir the cake. Stir wet ingredients into the dry, under mix a little, add the berries and chocolate chips and stir until JUST combined. Pour into greased and floured pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Using a toothpick or kabob skewer test for doneness. Let cake cool in the pan for just a little while...10 minutes would be ideal. I did not have that luxury 'cause I was running late and did not want to miss too much fun with the ladies.

For those who were not there, a good time was had by all. There were even 4 boys and a man in the house and we barely even knew it at all...Sorry Eric for the whole HP discussion. You are so good to be able to just shake off whatever I say. I am hoping that the ladies there will post to their own blogs the projects they were working on...especially when finished. Oh, and Jodi...You need not cast any stones my way on my lack of, what about your sorely neglected blog, Hmmmmm? Instead of "Run Forrest, Run!" it should be "Post Jodi, Post!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike

You know, when the Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter lines with Mars - well, today was such a day.
(Full Disclosure - I really do not believe such things but, it gets the message across - because, you all know what I mean) For the first time in a long time, I had the privilege to go Thrift shopping with my mother. We had arranged to lunch with a dear friend (Miss Jeanne) at her home. Her grandson was there and was a perfect opportunity for he and my boy to play together - they really get along so well. The boys played outside and we ladies talked and talked and talked. The kids were going to play in the pool - but - her grandson had a bad case of swimmers ear and we all thought it was best for them to stay out of the water. They still had a great time together catching bugs, exoskeletons and other creepy crawlies. They brought one grasshopper in for the bird and it got away - only for a moment and then they took it back outside and set it free(I think the grasshopper scared the poor bird or it was the boys laughing and carrying on).

We stopped off at the Goodwill and Mother found some things and I found some things and then --- we get to the books. She had just perused the cookbooks and scored " The Martha Stewart Cookbook - Collected Recipes for Everyday" and a book on how to make all sorts of things from shoe polish to baby lotion. Then, I get to the book section - she had left the book corner - I found "the" cook book : "The Vegetarian Epicure". Now, I showed this to my mom and said "This looks like a book we need, why in the world did you pass this one up???" She responded "I did not see it". I asked her if our dear friend - Miss Jeanne had donated this book because it was soooo her. (She is down sizing and will be moving back to Maine, so it would've been possible). Well, we decided to ask her when we got to her house.

We walked in - cookbook in hand - she is standing at the stove, concocting an ethereal cheese souffle from THIS SAME BOOK. Only, her book is missing it's cover and is bound together with silver electrical tape. This is a well worn and loved book. While she did not donate the book we purchased, we all had a good laugh that the same book we picked up and thought of her was indeed the one from which she was preparing our lunch. No wonder we are such good friends. Great minds do think alike.

Just to let y'all know what we had for lunch, here is the run down
For starters:
Tuscan Bread w/ Fresh Basil Pesto
Herbed Goat Cheese - Mother made it
Fresh Salsa & Chips - Made by Miss Jeanne
Peach Chutney - Made by Miss Jeanne

For lunch:
The a fore mentioned Ethereal Cheese Souffle
Nan's Mac & Cheese - this was no ordinary M&C - soo good
Cucumber Salad with Red Onions, Fresh Tomatoes and Avocados

For dessert:
Homemade Brownies - Made by Miss Jeanne
Blackberry Cobbler - Purchased from a bake sale -
we know how hard it is to make a living this way
Sweet Potato Pie - ditto
Fried Apple Pie - ditto

Oooohhh, does she ever know how to feed people.

We had such a great time.

I am almost finished with my post with receipts for the Ladies Luncheon. Be patient with me - we've been sick. Just have a few more reciepts left to enter. Maybe, I'll finish it tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A visit from Eneman

Full disclosure: This post was started last Tuesday - but, I've been busy. So, here it is.

We looked up in the sky - was it a bird, was it a plane??? It's Eneman!
Yesterday, we picked beans. Today, we gave the corn, mineral oil enemas. Yes, folks, you read that right - we gave the corn enemas. My dad says that it is an organic way of keeping bugs from invading your ears of corn. Well, I believe my dad to be a pretty sharp cookie - so the kids and I placed a few drops of mineral oil into the silks on each ear. I remember the first time we did this. I was probably 12 or 13 and some young men were helping us (yes, I had a crush on 2 of them) My dad was a sales man and one of his customers was CB Fleet, the douche and enema makers. I was horrified that I had to give the corn "Summer's Eve" enemas, while trying my best to impress these young, hunky guys. Public humiliation personified.

Gardening has become so much fun. When I was younger I hated gardening - you got hot, dirty and itchy. The bugs would bother you and I could NEVER get my grandmother out of the patch. She would continually say, "Oh, there's a good one. We can't leave that one behind." I used to get so irritated. Now, it is my children who are irritated with me as I repeat those same phrases that my Granny Bobo taught me.

I am so thankful for my heritage. For the love of God's creation, His word, His grace that have been lived out in front of me. How fortunate I have been to have the things of eternal meaning placed before me rather than the things of superficial meaning. I love the fact that Ann Sullivan did not give up on Helen Keller or that her parents decided to try one more thing before institutionalizing her. I love the fact that we were able to care for both of my grandmothers during there last years on this earth. I am glad that we have made sacrifices for our children in order to instruct them on the things eternal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Navy gets the gravy, but the Army gets the Beans

If you know that song, phrase and/or movie -
You have a great amount of culture under your belt.

We have a new phase of Livin' the Happy Life - BEANS. We have been blessed by a truly HUGE crop of green beans. Beautiful slim, green beans. We canned a whole slew of "Dilly Beans" and would love to can some jars of just plain ole green beans - but the gasket on the pressure canner is old and we are afraid to risk poisoning the whole family with some badly canned beans. So - we wait, blanch and freeze.
A fabulous time was had while picking bean yesterday. We sang, "Oh, where have you BEAN, Billy Boy, Billy Boy", should have sung "I've BEAN workin' on the Railroad", "It's BEAN a Long, Long Time", "It's not Easy BEAN Green". But, the real fun beangan (sorry, I can not help it) when we began to process the beans. We washed them and then took the tails off of them. I walked through where the kids were and my son had a bean dangling from his lips and in his best Edward G. Robinson voice says "So, you wanna know about the Hope Diamond, Ehhh?" He is so funny. Then, I walk through and see this---

What an imaginative kid. Pedro, put on his best serape and sombrero. I must say the kids really did have a good time pickin', singin' and prepin'.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thrifty Therapy

So, today I had to take our oldest dog, NanaDaisy, to the vet. She has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. We are having to leave her there overnight.
This constituted some Thrifting Therapy. Since there was no dog to be left in the car and no children tagging along, I skipped over to the Goodwill in Chatham. Now, this store has been through 3 address changes in the past 4 years. Bear with me for a little back ground. When we moved from Chatham to the farm, the Goodwill was located in a century old building on Main St. complete with uneven wood floors, tin ceiling tiles and that old musty smell that is so quaint with old buildings (if you don't have to live in them). They moved from this location to a strip mall type building - the former (very small and defunct) $ store. It did not take them long to realize this space was way too small for their store - SO - they moved into the HUGE (but, defunct) video store. Well, it does not have the same "feel" of the old building, but much nicer than the $ store. All that said, it seems that I do not find the "good stuff" at the new store like I usta at the old store on Main St. I guess there is a lot to say about nostalgia.
I only found 3 books of interest:

"The Complete Homesteading Book", is full of great tips on getting along with less (something I am attempting to do) It goes a little farther than I am prepared to go to at this time - but, I will not say, "never", just not now.

"Leaves of Gold", , An Anthology of PRAYERS, MEMORABLE PHRASES, INSPIRATIONAL VERSE AND PROSE" is an inspirational type book. Just like the one that my mother received as a high school graduation gift. It has quotes from the Bible, Charles Lamb, John Bunyan, Goethe, Hans Christian Anderson,Confucius, just to name a few. It's great. The book was copy written in 1948 - The book I purchased is the Tenth Printing, done in 1961.

"Beautiful Gardens in America" is obviously, about gardens. It has pictures and descriptions of different gardens through out the US, from "Mariemont" in Newport, RI to the remarkable gardens of Alaska. But, it was the inscription in the front cover that grabbed my heart and "spoke" to me.

To Alice XMAS - 1937

Since you are unable to visit the gardens -
"Beautiful" - I bring them to you. I wish
I could bring you the woods the flowers,
birdsong, even the Sylvan Brook -
And Spring.____

Love Uncle Oscar

Oh, how my mind began to race. Who is Alice and was this sweet Alice sick? Was she confined to her bed? Or just a broken leg?? Was she young or old?
Nevertheless, what a blessing to have someone love you so much to bring some gardens - beautiful - to you and then the wish to be able to bring things of pure joy to you and lay them at your feet. And, who is Uncle Oscar? Did he travel frequently? Did he look like Cary Grant or Danny Kaye?
See, this is why I love old things - they have a history, something significant tied to them. Thrifting Rocks!!!!

To Uncle Oscar and Alice - thank you for your love of beautiful gardens, for your love for each other. And to whom gave this little treasure up, I am eternally grateful. You have allowed my imagination to run wild with wonder. And I am even more thankful that I can go and see the "Gardens - Beautiful", the woods, the flowers. I am able to hear the birdsong, and to hear, see and wade in the sylvan brook and to fully experience Spring. We are able to live the happy life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Picture Perfect Day

This has been another beautiful day here in the country. The sun was warm, breezes soft, birds singing and mimosas in bloom - who could have asked for a more lovely day?

You see, there is a Mennonite family that has had the tradition of having there wedding photos taken here at my folks place. I do believe that the first couple that had their pictures taken here was in 1998, that couple now has 6 kids. Other brothers & sisters of both bride & groom have come here the day before their weddings. They have all seemed so young.

Did we look that young when we got married?
Were we so starry eyed?
So anxious??? :o}

It has been such a blessing to see these families grow. The young lady getting married tomorrow first came here to pick strawberries as a toddler. I even think that this family was here the day the farm house caught on fire (the first time). What a blessing they were, praying for the fire fighters and us. Now, she is all grown up and starting a life with her very soon to be husband. How excited they must be.

The bridesmaids dresses were all in the same blue hue as the type of this post. Each dress a different print, yet they all coordinated beautifully. The groom and groomsmen wore black suits and crisp white shirts. The candid shots of the guys are always the most fun. There is a sense of elegance with the candid shots of the young ladies. I do believe that my DD snagged a few ideas for when she will plan her own special day -- many, many years from now!!!

Frequently, I will give either a kitchen item or Christmas items as a gift, ie: cast iron frying pan and have it seasoned already and include recipes that can be made in the pan or some homemade ornaments for their first Christmas tree or Christmas cookie cutters.

What do you gift to happy couples just starting out?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake Recipe

Please read through the recipe all the way, so as to understand all of the steps completely.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake Recipe

1 cup Oatmeal
1 1/2 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour*
1/2 cup Cocoa
1 Tbs Vanilla**
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Sugar ***
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter - softened
2 Eggs (1/2 cup)

Line 16 muffin cups with paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir oatmeal into boiling water - but do not cook - set aside to cool and use as liquid in cake. Sift dry ingredients together, set aside. Cream together - butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Combine dry and creamed ingredients together ---Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate half way through for even baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8oz. packages of Cream Cheese - softened
2 sticks of butter - softened
Powdered sugar
Vanilla (Pure Please)
Pinch of salt

In large bowl (preferably a stand mixer) cream the cheese & butter together. Add however much sugar you wish - I think usually 3 cups is right - but each persons tastes are different - I do not like it too sweet (I'm sweet enough - Amy - stop laughing!!!!!!!) Add the sugar slowly & carefully - you do not want to wear this stuff. Add in the pinch of salt and vanilla. If your icing is a bit stiff just add a little water or milk (water is cheaper).

*I use a mixture of freshly milled Soft Wheat, Pearled Barley & Oat Groats with a ratio of 2/3 Soft wheat & 1/3 combined PB &OG. I have not tried this recipe with white flour or store bought wheat flour.
**I make my own vanilla and I have to use more--you may not need to use this much.
***I use Demerara Sugar - this is the juice of the sugar cane that has been extracted and steamed. Have not used white sugar or Sucanat in this recipe.