Thanksgiving… Thursday, Nov 24 2016 

I almost feel sorry for the nine or ten months of the year that fall on the calendar after December. My favorite seasons are autumn and winter. I think I have an affinity for autumn because not only does my birthday  month “fall” in there (haha), but also the birthdays of my husband and my only biological son. Not to mention the changing of the leaves, the brisk breezes, that particular scent of autumn that invokes a cozy feeling in my heart, memories of the gloaming in the days where the sun was starting toward its rest a little sooner than usual. I also love winter, because it usually brings a chance to slow down from the hustle of the year. The crisp whiteness of the snow reminds me that there is hope for new life…that the world is resting in a peace and calm that will yield to the rich promise of spring. And we celebrate the adoptions of our oldest son as well as the sibling group of three girls and a boy. It’s all mostly just joyous and busy around here from October through December as we reunite with distant family and with friends we don’t get to see often.

I absolutely adore the holiday season. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as it reminds us to live a life of gratitude. It certainly should not be relegated to one day, but it is a great reminder that we have been blessed beyond measure. I particularly enjoy my family gathering together to give thanks to the Lord for His faithful care of us, and for His generous provision. I have SO MUCH (!!!) to be thankful for, most of which cannot be measured by material wealth and possessions. I have good health, a family whom I love immensely, a church family that keeps me grounded and pointed toward living constantly as a disciple of Christ, and friends who continually bless me in ways they may not even realize.

I now have three children over 18 who still come, with significant others or friends in tow, on our annual tree excursion the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and who still try to find time to sit in on our Advent readings, fight over who gets to pull the wishbone or search for the Christmas pickle on our tree come December 25th. This year will be the second year we have a grandchild to enjoy – and spoil – at Christmas as well, and you can bet I will include each and every one of my children that I can get to indulge me in the Christmas morning stairway pajama picture. These little things — the things we have “always” done — are the traditions that melt and touch my heart. I hope each of you have taken time to cultivate ways to make memories with your loved ones that sustain you through the year!

I will be baking up a storm shortly, and I promise to try to post recipes and pictures when I can, in between all the busyness. God bless and love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Now — go play in your kitchen!!!

img_3562

Speedwell Forge Lake, Lititz PA

Love,

~Mary

Advertisements

Cooking Class for Sammy, coming soon! Wednesday, Nov 23 2016 

One of the things I love — LOVE!!! — about homeschooling is the ability to tailor the curriculum to each child. Not everyone learns in the same manner, so my kinesthetic learner is not going to excel if the lesson is geared toward my visual or auditory learner. Of course, it’s helpful when a student can learn via a combination – but as I said, every child is different. This year one of my main goals is to pull up some lessons as I revert back to my own memories of days languishing in the heat of a brick-and-mortar school that definitely didn’t provide air conditioning for anyone who didn’t work in the office!

Ah, I can still vividly recall the permeating scent of cafeteria food (gross!). One of the most favorite hallways to stroll through though – if you can even say such a thing about school – was the hall where home ec was taught. Yes, the smell of fabrics from sewing class and fresh wood shavings from wood shop were part of that. But the best smells came from the room where we had cooking class! I still remember when some boys in our class added salt in place of sugar for a simple pancake recipe! But cooking was – and is – such an important life skill that our school included it in the curricula. Unfortunately, I know of many schools where lack of funding prohibits things like a good art, music or home ec program, Not so in this school setting!!!

As we delve into lessons about various cultures around the world for history, I have brainstormed ways to make some of these lessons sink in a little more solidly with some of my children. The visual learner may well remember facts read from the pages of the book, but the kinesthetic learner needs just a bit more to really grasp the differences of time periods, cultures and such. So – on to culinary lessons!!! Sammy will be starting a more formal course this coming January that starts with the basics of making eggs and moves up through breads, meats, fruits and veggies and even includes lessons on meal planning. And if he wants more, well — thank goodness the boy has a mama who loves to play in her kitchen!!! So — if any of y’all have some ideas for (shhhh!) Christmas gifts for a new young chef, please let me know. Thanks much! Meanwhile, I will be busy with some great things I’m planning to make for Thanksgiving!

Go play in YOUR kitchen! Love,

~Mary

What I’ve Been Up To, Kinda Sorta… Wednesday, Aug 24 2016 

So…As always, it’s been busy. So busy that I never seem to have time to write. Seems to be the story of my life — which is fine. Busy can be a beautiful story, a fulfilling story…and a tired one too! I have spent years with young children, and now my “baby” is going to be twelve in a little over thirty days. I just can’t believe it — how did that happen!? A friend once told me “Don’t blink – they grow so fast!” She wasn’t kidding…

In the season of life I’ve been in for the past 16 going-on 17 years, there has been a lot of “stuff” going on in my kitchen…I have done everything from attempting pastries and candy-making, cake decorating, elaborate ethnic meals, plain ol’ standby meals, creative breakfasts, healthful eating. I have a plethora of cookbooks and I’m a fan of cooking magazines as well (if you don’t believe me, see my earlier post “Books versus Magazines…” http://wp.me/p32HQ0-6b). Needless to say, there is always something going on in the kitchen.

This month I am starting my bulk canning to take advantage of summer’s bounty and to gear up for winter. I am also attempting a few new things. So, here’s what I’ve been up to:

* Canned mojito mint simple syrup — so I can enjoy a real mojito all year long without having to wait until mint is flourishing again (as only mint can)…[Question: Is it pretentious to bring your own mint to a bar?? Don’t judge…]

If you’ve never canned anything before and want to learn, there are a few great sites I love. First, the Living Homegrown podcast is amazing! Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown’s blog and podcast, as well as the Co-Executive Producer and Canning Expert on the national PBS television series, “Growing A Greener World”. You can find her at (http://www.livinghomegrown.com/). The Ball company has been providing canning equipment and advice to home canners since its founding in 1880. You can find advice and recipes at their site: (http://www.ball.com/na). You will hear a LOT from new and seasoned canners alike about the USDA safety standards. You can access their Complete Guide to Home Canning files here: (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html). This is a treasure trove of information that will help you get started. Just a quick FYI about that — I live in Amish country, where some people put up food by methods no longer approved for food safety. If you are starting canning, I suggest you start by following the guidelines and learning the science behind them before you go rogue. Lastly, any cooperative extention office and/or website should also be able to give you assistance – and maybe even offer instruction. I got my start through Penn State’s local cooperative extention office. I am so appreciative for the tried and true canning methods that they teach.

* Canned crushed tomatoes with fresh romas from my own garden. I consider this quite an accomplishment. I usually stock up on crushed tomatoes when they’re on sale anyway, but we had a bountiful year growing these (first time ever too), so I am pleased to offer my family something entirely homemade – with the side benefit of knowing exactly what went into the canning jar.

* Canned seasoned tomato sauce. When I say we had romas, oh boy did we! I am still not close to finished picking them either. God is always good!

* Started kombucha. If you’ve never tried it, it is a fermented drink that you make with tea and a culture called a SCOBY. This is entirely uncharted territory for me by the way. A generous soul from our church offered a SCOBY and I was really blessed to accept. I’d heard about and tried bottled kombucha from the store, but I always feel that if I can make something, it’s better to try. That way you know exactly what you’re getting. And kombucha is great in that you can use the SCOBY again. And then grow it enough to share. I’m almost finished finally with my first batch. I don’t know if the cupboard I kept it in was too warm – we had quite a humid week when I started. But it smells and looks about what it should look like based on what I’ve tried. This website (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/category/kombucha/) offers some great information for beginners. The generous woman who offered the SCOBY offered this link for those of us trying it: (http://avivaromm.com/fermentationist?inf_contact_key=58b8ec11beca2a3d6c8da61e96c1b45477c928134406c8f23359394e1234f251). I haven’t had a chance to listen to this talk yet, but she raved about the speaker so I’m psyched to hear it!

* Began a sourdough starter from scratch. Yeah, you can buy them. But as I said – I believe in trying to make what I can. This is, like a SCOBY, one of those recyclable foods you can make and then use/give away. I have been anxious to try this, and so far it’s working. I used King Arthur organic flour just so it would be more healthful (read: non-GMO crap), but you can use what you have. I don’t always buy organic due to price, but I should. Some things that are happening in the food industry quite frankly scare me (okay, terrify!), so I’m still moving toward better choices for my family. And myself of course. I’m on Day 2 of this project. The recipe I have takes 5 days. It is pretty cool – I already have small bubbles and a slightly tangy smell to the starter, which is a good thing. So I’m on the right track with this too. (Yay me!)

I may not be as far ahead in my canning game as some people; but with the busy-ness of my season in life, I feel like I’m at least progressing. And any step forward is one step closer to success. It’s only when you cease to move ahead that you have failed.

If you’ve never tried any of these things – go play in your kitchen and take advantage of summer’s bounty!

~Mary

seasoned tomato sauce

Being authentic… Friday, Apr 22 2016 

It’s been a long while since I posted a blog of any kind, and that thought kind of depresses me. But more than that, it has made me stop and think about who I really am and what things are really important to me. It’s easy to get lost in living and doing and being for others. At times that can be a positive thing, when you’re reaching out in selflessness. The danger is when you begin to lose your inherent identity, when you stop doing the things you enjoy that nourish your spirit, body, soul and mind…

And I was kind of teetering on the brink of losing the things that I enjoy — stuff like writing, singing, taking photos of things that inspire me, playing in the kitchen, reading, observing, taking time to notice the details…None of those things consume me so much that I’m unavailable to offer my time to others. But those things are all things that make me me. And in my busyness I stopped taking time to enjoy any of them, pushing myself into other not necessarily better things.

Another issue is that I often let other people define who I am rather than just be myself. I let others choose my likes and dislikes more often than I’d care to admit, and so I begin to be seen by others as someone I am not. I don’t want to hurt feelings or offend, so often I hide behind a mask. I still have genuine concern for others – but my feelings are not revealed in full. My identity becomes lost in the effort to please others. There is nothing at all wrong with being tactful or politely pointing out that you do not identify with certain aspects of things…It is much better to be honest and allow others to see the reality of who you are and what you stand for.

And another downfall in being open is that sometimes when you try to be unselfish you end up being a doormat. Sometimes you even begin to neglect the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional care of yourself to the point that you can’t be anything useful to or for anyone else. Balance can be so difficult to achieve, but it is necessary to fill you up so that you can pour yourself out for the benefit others.

So I am going to attempt to be the extraordinary person I was created to be – the me that was knit together by the Creator and formed with His perfect plan. Anything less is not authentic, despite my good intentions…

Now if only I can remember that…

Asparagus Quiche Sunday, Sep 13 2015 

I know, I know…despite all my promises to catch up and keep up, things just never seem to go according to plan. Let’s just say that sometimes things are a “little” hectic…(understated!) At any rate, now that my best friend has moved on to a new job and has therefore vacated the kitchen he took over, well — here I am again. Not that I didn’t play while he was here – more on that another time! – but I often deferred to his skills and quite happily took time to follow other pursuits such as reading…mostly cookbooks. To come up with new ways to play in the kitchen. (Yeah, I am hopeless…)

So now that D has moved on and I no longer have a personal chef kind of catering to my hunger whims (drat!), I have had to start meal planning again. Which is great – if you have your calendar handy so you remember appointments and other things that you need to work around. There are many nights when activities prohibit me from spending quite as much time as I’d like in the kitchen because of chauffeur duties and now, after years of being home, work. So it’s important to have a sort of repertoire of quick and easy meals, aside from pasta, to throw together. Besides that, my oldest daughter got married just last week, and I’d been canning peach jam for wedding favors. Yeah – busy!

One of the things I like to make for a quick supper is quiche. My family likes it served with a salad and maybe some (homemade of course) applesauce on the side. I’ve followed some of the classic, standard recipes over the years, but I must confess that I often tend to get bored with the same ol’ same ol’. Not that I don’t appreciate a good Quiche Lorraine, but…!

So, if I haven’t said so before…My usual method is to follow a recipe exactly the first time or two, to see what it should look and taste like, and figure out how it’s ideally constructed. After that, I start to maybe get a little brave. Maybe.

A quiche is a great opportunity to take advantage of seasonal produce because it’s almost a blank canvas, transformed by the variety of cheeses and the myriad types of other ingredients you can throw in there. While I haven’t discovered a way to quite veganize it wholly to my liking (still searching for the perfect vegan cheese…<sigh>), I have made meatless quiches as well as gluten-free, so it is easily adjustable for most diets/eating styles. And you can also experiment with the crust – adding fresh herbs or spices or even go “naked” without one. It is also a great way to use leftover meats, veggies, fruit, and even a bit of grain, though I’ve not experimented with that as much…Crazy, right? But oh-so-frugal if you have the chance to use what’s on hand or at the very least seasonal.

Since asparagus was lovingly showcased at the local farmers’ market in the not-too-distant past, and since the spears I bought were still thin and tender even though spring is long gone, I decided that an asparagus quiche with an herbed crust might be a good way to go. So, here’s what I did…

041

FOR THE CRUST:

(If you opt to go “naked”, skip this step!)

I actually made my own from scratch, but you could use a pre-made crust if you’re pressed for time. This quiche fits into the bottom of a 9×13 pan, but you can use it for two 9″ or 10″ pie crusts instead. With our family size, the 9×13 works great and cuts into eight neat little squares, which I find easier for me. But neat little slices work just as well and are equally delish!

* I use a recipe that is close to the pie crust featured in Joy of Cooking, but you can use any standard crust recipe. I take 2 1/2 cups flour and sift with 1 1/4 tsp salt.

* Add 3/4 cup vegetable shortening that you have chilled and 3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter (sometimes if I forget I just use salted and decrease the salt above by 1/4 tsp, using only 1 tsp to sift in with the flour) and work those in with a pastry blender…

(Because one of my kids got out the actual blender when I was asking for help, I will note here that you do NOT use a regular blender – a pastry blender is its own kitchen tool, as pictured here on the left044. I’ve also heard it called a pastry cutter…terminology probably depends on your location). If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can easily use either your fingers, or a food processor. When the dough is worked together, it should be slightly crumbly, kind of like the consistency of cornmeal.

* This is where I vary my crust recipe from Joy of Cooking. (Their recipe uses 6 Tbsp ice water total.) I add 1 Tbsp ice cold water, then mix dough. I add another 1 Tbsp ice cold water and mix further. Then I add 2 Tbsp chilled vodka, usually from the freezer, and mix the dough until it comes together easily in a soft ball. I learned this trick years ago. The vodka seems to give the dough a very nice flaky finish when baked. I’ve done it this way for all my pies for years. If the dough won’t come together, add ice cold water 1 Tbsp at a time until it is smooth. Don’t add too much. The dough will be sticky and you will be disappointed with the results.

* At this stage, I may or may not add 2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs. I use whatever I have on hand, which is usually either cilantro or parsley, but sometimes I have chives, or even sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, just like in the Scarborough Fair song…).

* I then roll out the dough into a 9×13 size and place into a 9×13 pan coated lightly with cooking spray. If you use a buttery pie crust recipe, you can probably omit this step. Another note: I don’t pre-bake for this particular quiche, but if I’m using a recipe that has more egg/cream mix, I may for just a few minutes at 350*F so crust doesn’t get too soggy.

FOR THE QUICHE:

Now for the good stuff (not that pie crust isn’t good!!!)

* Trim rough ends from one bunch of asparagus and blanch, then cut into thirds (or smaller, if you’re not a fan of large pieces).

* Next, I beat 10-12 eggs in a 4 cup measuring cup until smooth, and add milk -or- heavy cream to the 3 cup mark.

* To assemble, I layer 6-8 slices of smoked Provolone cheese over the crust, then top with the asparagus. I then add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I usually like mozzarella, but any will work). Pour the egg mixture on top, and distribute evenly. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the egg mixture. Cut 1-2 Roma tomatoes into slices and arrange neatly on top, then season with a little sea salt and pepper. I often will sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over the whole quiche.

* Set quiche into 350*F oven and bake 20/25 minutes. My oven is fussy, so I start checking it at this point to see if the eggs look set. If they are a little loose in the middle that can be fine because they will still tend to cook after you remove the quiche from the oven. Some people like their eggs very “hard”, so I will leave the quiche in the oven a little longer, but be cautious that you don’t overbake the crust. If you’re using a clear/Pyrex 9×13 pan, you can see the crust through the bottom. Once you do this a time or two, you’ll know just what time you want to take it out of the oven so that it suits your tastes. I cool slightly before serving because I don’t care for my eggs when they are piping hot, though some people may. Use your judgment when determining how done you like your quiche. As I stated earlier, this is a great way to use various ingredients and it’s really not too fussy.

Well…that’s my version of asparagus quiche. I love experimenting when fresh produce is in season! You will too – so go play in your kitchen!!

Until next time (which will hopefully be this calendar year!),

~Mary

Books versus Magazines…What’s Your Preference? Thursday, Apr 17 2014 

Okay…When you look at these pictures you will realize that I am pretty much crazy…Just look for all the books. And the, ahem…magazines. All related to food in some capacity. Yeah…048047

049

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean — I may never ever be as organized as Heidi Swanson. [If you are not familiar with her, you need to read her amazing blog at http://www.101cookbooks.com] But here is a short synopsis — She discovered that she had a lot of cookbooks. So she resolved to attempt to stop buying more and actually try out the recipes. I admire that. I relate. I mean I seriously relate. I am addicted to the pursuit of a good book in general, but when it is a cookbook…well, I’m like an alcoholic at a liquor store…so much eye candy, not enough money. I mean, it is always my “intent” to use the cookbooks I have — at least before I make a new purchase. BUT. We all know about the road to the nether regions and how it’s paved with the good intentions of many…Such is my world.

I have a LOT — a LOT!!! — of cookbooks — see above pictures — and cooking magazines. I did not post the pictures of the other several bookshelves full because, well…you get the idea, right? I mean, you can see that I’m already way gone. I could fill up a room. You cannot possibly walk into my home and not discover that food is a passion of mine. I guess I am a hoarder. Of recipes. I mean — It’s almost an addiction. And (ironically to confess this on my own blog!) I really try to avoid my iPhone and the internet as recipe sources. Why? Because it’s so addictive. I mean, I don’t actually do that — I have recipes from every source imaginable at times. But I try to avoid the electronic versions when possible (which turns out is not always possible…). And the main reason? I guess you could call me old school…

I like the print version. I love the feel of the paper, the weight of a book, the colorful photos. I love jotting down notes. And saving those books. Heaven only knows what a field day someone will have one day trying to figure out what to do with my estate. I have developed relationships with my collection — I read and re-read them like they are friends, and find them even more interesting if they have stories before each recipe. And let me just add this little tidbit of (useless?) information…My collection of books is bad (as in overwhelming) as it is. But then there are the magazines.

I mean…I don’t have stacks and stacks that preclude me from passing through the halls or that fall over on people who try to sit at my table. But I guarantee my shelves are bulging…Those darn magazines — they are everywhere (!)…there are no rooms in my entire house (with the exception of the kids’ rooms, and even that is questionable once you dig through their personal messes) that does not have some kind of cooking magazine laying around carelessly. Or book waiting on some surface, usually bookmarked with a sticky note, or in a pinch a piece of paper. Mostly because I probably have left them there. I was most likely toying with the idea of experimenting with a new food, new technique or new recipe when someone called me away, at which point I set the darn thing down and promptly moved on.

Because (in case you missed it) — I. Have. Too. Many. Cookbooks. And. Magazines.

And I wish I could say that maybe it’s not all my fault. I mean — with magazines they’re published on a regular basis. So of course I have to keep current…And cookbooks keep me up to date on food trends. Right?? Am I overly attempting to justify? Probably…

So after all of this, my point is that I have a few questions for my readers – should you dare to answer.

* Do you prefer hard copy or electronic versions of recipes, magazines or cookbooks?

* What is your standard “go-to” recipe source?

Since I already answered the first question above, here’s the answer to the second…My standard “go to” book is (drumroll please…):

058The Joy of Cooking“. I may have talked about it before. This is my second copy. My middle daughter has my first one in her hope chest, with my bookmarked favs. The only bad thing about purchasing the updated version was trying to re-learn all those page numbers I had memorized! This is the kind of book I need to have a hard copy of. I need to take my time and look through the table of contents, browse each recipe, jot down notes on what I liked, what my family liked (or didn’t)…This is the kind of book that I will sit down with on a lazy Saturday morning before heading to the local farmers’ market, looking for inspiration. As I transition to healthier eating, I have collected many, many, many (!!!) other cookbooks – and magazines – that I enjoy. But this book is what rescued this housewife and enabled her to stop burning every meal, what gave her courage to keep cooking. And even experiment.

So break out your old standby, or find a new one, and go play in your kitchen!

Potato and Pepper Wrap Monday, Aug 12 2013 

Some of you might remember me — I’m the one who has shamefully neglected my wonderful blog for the last few months in favor of busy-ness, experimenting, life…with a little depression mixed in here and there. Even my husband remarked that he hasn’t seen a blog post come through on his e-mail — and here I wondered if he ever read anything I wrote! [Joking — he actually reads most things…]

Since we last got together, dear friend, I have been bombarded with stress, ER visits (for self and children), financial woes and other such happenings, to include church activities, spending time with all the “extras” (children who are not mine technically but who call me “Mom” anyway), getting together our school situations (some cyber, some homeschooled, and one still in public school) and in the last week actually canning produce. I even volunteered to sit at a stand for our cooperative extension office and also attended a food swap I wanted to tell you about! It’s just been…busy. Hectic. Crazy. At times I admit my life feels like its own recipe — and a disastrous one at that! But I am thankfully focusing on contentment in my circumstances, as much as is possible, and just plodding on day by day. But I guess, in the words of my fav chef of all time — and a few other close friends who are, strangely, also into food — “It is what it is.”

With the summer 2/3 of the way through already, I have to admit I have been much less creative in my kitchen…We have been having light meals, lots of leftovers, and of course the ole’ summer standby — hot dogs on the grill, boiled, charred, whatever. All courtesy of amazing summer sales that I can’t pass up, having to feed this brood of 6 children and friends often. Yesterday was middle son William’s 12th birthday and he originally asked for steak, but thoughtfully reconsidered and asked for hot dogs, corn and s’mores. I wish I could impress you with amazing pics of a gorgeous cake (it was too humid, so the grocery store got my business…don’t judge!) or even fun at the campfire in our yard (it got rained out almost immediately). Alas, no wonderful pics of any of that. I will seriously have to work at it…

Maybe you will recall that I have been trying to cut animal products out of my diet. Meat is not as difficult for me as dairy, though I did splurge a bit over our vacation week. But things are getting back to normal…So no hot dogs — at least not for me. I was forced to look around in the kitchen, which is probably a good thing. I was really low on some staples, really overwhelmed by some produce (think peaches, corn…stuff I’ve been canning that I’ll share with y’all later). I have to say — I love a happy accident! Instead of hot dogs for me, this is what I came up with after a not-so-quick glance in the pantry…

042

POTATO and PEPPER WRAPS:

What I did:

I sauteed three small new potatoes (a combination of red and yellow), which I diced, in a frying pan with about 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, seasoned to taste with salt, pepper and chipotle pepper powder, for about five minutes or until the potatoes were soft. [I usually don’t reach for the chipotle powder – I think I grabbed it on a whim after reading about how capsacin can help with colds, or with weight loss or something along those lines. In these potatoes, it really spices things up a bit and I’ll be experimenting with it again in the near future.] I added 1/4 of a large red bell pepper, diced, and sauteed another two to three minutes.

Meanwhile I warmed up two flour tortillas and filled them with several sliced cherry tomatoes from the garden and a small handful of grated sharp cheddar. Once the potato mixture was done (soft enough for my taste), I scooped some of it into each tortilla and rolled them up. Yum! I wish I had thought to add some spinach or something, but maybe that will happen in the future. I may even add some diced carrots to the saute, but it was really very filling and I was satisfied enough that I didn’t have to drool over the hot dogs.

I’m still here… Wednesday, May 1 2013 

Allergies, a cold, homeschool portfolios and the classic disease called “procrastination” may have kept me from blogging in the last how many (!!) days, but I have not disappeared completely. AND I have been and am still playing in my kitchen!

Stay tuned for a series on my adventures in canning, as I have recently scored some great deals at the local farmers’ market. And keep a lookout for posts on my ever continuing quest to eat healthy…an oxymoron because I just LOVE to bake! Well, all of that and more will be up-and-coming now that the kiddies are spending more time outdoors with the onset of the lovely spring weather. It gives me more time to perfect my recipes, try new things and review new cookbooks – as well as blog!

Thanks for sticking with me thus far. Hope you’re enjoying the weather where you are!

Blessings,
~Mary

And remember — It’s always fun to play in the kitchen!

A busy melancholy week… Thursday, Mar 7 2013 

I know I’ve been a bit quiet. I have an explanation — there was an unexpected death in my extended family this week.

It’s one of those kind of things that just unfortunately happens, usually with no warning, causing you to think about your own approaching mortality, and making you wonder if you’re doing enough, not doing enough, could be doing more, etc. You know how those thoughts roll — on and on like a broken record, driving you crazy. You cry, you reminisce, you put your energy into everything and nothing all at once…Yeah, death is quite the fiend…I hate the way he creeps in and steals, destroys, snatches someone with vigor and unapology.

This will probably be one of the few times I’ll wax religious, but I don’t know how people handle the thought of death without belief in God, without hope for a future reunion. It’s what kept me sane when I miscarried my two babies, or lost two beloved grandparents, or other family and friends…What do you have if you have no hope?? My personal belief is that I serve a living, loving, righteous and redeeming God who allows us the hope of eternal life. If you are curious, please leave a comment so I can message you. Otherwise, no personal attacks please. After all, I am grieving and trying to process…In my own way, this is part of how I cope.

So today, while I’m sitting at home with my children as the funeral is being held in another state, I am trying to think about several things…The memories I have of the person who has passed away, the memories I still have time to make for myself and my family and friends (God willing), and the things I cherish and enjoy about my own life now, such as it is.

Don’t wait to say the things that need to be said or spend the time that needs to be spent. Life is fragile and fleeting.

007

Potatoes Potatoes! Recipes wanted! Sunday, Feb 24 2013 

Well I asked for potatoes and I sure did get some! Hubby found 100lbs for $16! So please send your fav potatoes recipes and we will have a potato party!

Next Page »