Peach Pecan Bread


Hey all– I just can’t resist picking over the piles of peaches and nectarines every time I hit the market.  It’s one of the best parts of August (compensation for the heat??!).  We’ve been eating them every day.

Here’s a little loaf I baked, for friends who came to brunch this week.  And I found it it’s even yummier toasted in the toaster oven the next day–sweet and peachy ad crunchy around the edges!

PEACH PECAN BREAD
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, cut to chunks
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 tab. whole milk or half & half

Peel and cut up the peaches.  Set aside.  Chop the pecans.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, milk, oil and eggs.  Then mix in the flour, salt and baking powder.  The batter will be a bit dry.  Then fold in the peaches and pecans until it is thoroughly blended.

Spoon the batter into a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan (or I used two smaller half size pans).  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread cool 20 minutes (or more) and the whisk together the powdered sugar and milk for the glaze, and drizzle it over the bread.  Slice & eat!!

Family Trek through the Sequoias!


Hi all– Just back from 5 days with family at Sequoia National Park.  Growing up, every summer, my Mom and Dad would stash 4 kids and piles of camping gear in the station wagon, and head up the interstate to Sequoia. So it was big fun to do it again with my Sis and some of our kids!!

We set out one morning to hike our way around bright and brilliant Crescent Meadow (an old favorite for me and my Sis, Lulu!)

      

     

Midway around the meadow, we found a quiet spot to stop for lunch and a chance to rest our hiking feet!  And then on we trekked…

      

We finally arrived at Tharpe’s Log– a fallen redwood tree that became the home to the first settler in that area, who raised sheep in the adjacent meadow.

     

It was a fine full day–and being immersed in such beauty filled my soul.  I was thanking God for the glorious views all around me.

      


Thanks bunches to Charlotte, Micah, Jodi, Maryann, Larry, Jobay, Laurel & John (and Ted & Lu!)  for being the best adventurous, intrepid hiking buddies.  Let’s do it again!!

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce


Hello there– We’ve been having record breaking heat here in southern California.  So it seems all we eat these days are salads and tacos!    Anything light and cool.

So when Jenna texted and said she wanted to come by and help with dinner, this was on the menu.  She is so much fun in the kitchen– and we had lots to talk about to catch up!

And– there’s lots of flavor in these little tacos– with the cilantro lime sauce and any toppings you have in the fridge. A perfect summer supper.

HONEY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
1 1/2 ponds boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tab. olive oil
3 tab. honey
1 tab. Dijon mustard
1 tab. ketchup
1 tab. lime juice
1 tab. McCormick Chipotle & roasted garlic seasoning
1 tab. apple cider vinegar
1 tab. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Cilantro Lime sauce:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. mayonaise
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 tab. lime juice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Extra Taco Ingredients:
street style small corn tortillas
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
grated cheese
salsa
cilantro
red onion
avocado
anything you like on your tacos!

Cut the chicken to small bite size bits.  Set aside.

In a container with a lid, mix together the oil, honey, mustard, ketchup lime juice, cider vinegar, cumin and salt.  Drop the bit of chicken into the mixture and stir until the chicken is thoroughly coated.  Then refrigerate the chicken 2 to 8 hours.

To make the Cilantro Lime Sauce, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt.  Cover and set it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat tab. of olive oil in a skillet,  When the skillet is hot lift the chicken from the marinade (use a slotted spoon so that the extra marinade is left in the container) and grill the chicken 3 to 4 minutes, stirring now and then until it is browned on all sides.

Serve the chicken with lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, salsa (all your favorite taco ingredients…) and the cilantro lime sauce.

Almond Nectarine Muffins


Good morning– Made these sweet muffins on a Saturday morning, when Paige dropped in for coffee and talk. She’s a darling young woman–we talked about work and plans and life’s ups and downs.  Amazing girl.

And the muffins were yummy warm from the oven– love baking with peaches/nectarines.  Seems like they are in season such a short time– they taste like summer!

ALMOND NECTARINE MUFFINS

Streusel:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tab. butter
1/4 cup almonds

Muffins:
1 medium nectarine
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tab. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. amaretto (or almond extract)*
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Make the streusel first.  Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender of two forks until it looks crumbly.  Stir in the almonds.  Set aside for now.

Cut the nectarine into small bits (no need to peel).  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, amaretto and sour cream.  Then mix in the four, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Finally stir in the cut up nectarine bits.

Spoon the batter into a muffin pan lined with muffin papers.  Makes 12.  Sprinkle the streusel over the muffins and pop them in to 375 degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes– until the are slightly browned and firm to the touch.  Wonderful hot from the oven with a little smear of butter!

Fresh Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad


Hello there– Do you have a summer favorite dish??  Laurel made this for us on our stay with them in Wisconsin and I’ve made it twice already since we’ve been home!  Tonight it was on the table for a cookout at our neighbor’s house– my new summer favorite!!

Sweet charred corn, creamy avocado, summer ripe tomatoes– flavored with just a hint of lime.  Perfect!

FRESH CORN AVOCADO & TOMATO SALAD

Salad:
3 ears of sweet corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lage avocado, peeled, pitted, chunked
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Dressing:
1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed, minced
zest & juice of 1 large lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil

Cut the corn kernels from the cob, slicing down the cob with a knife. Heat 3 tab. of olive oil in a skillet and drop in the corn for about 4 minutes, until some of the kernels are charred, stirring a couple times while it cooks. Take off the heat and cool the corn.

To make the dressing, carefully removed the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno, then mince it finely.  (I use a plastic bag on the hand holding the jalapeno, to prevent pepper burn!).

Put the jajapeno, lime zest & juice, salt, garlic and oil into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until the ingredients are well blended.

Add the cut cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and green onion to the cooled corn.  Mix in the dressing and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it up.

Two Books –Two Old Favorites

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Hey there– Have you put your feet up lately for a little summery reading??  Here’s a couple older books that I’ve gone back to this summer and thought you’d love them too.

 

Years ago vacationing in England, I saw the “84 Charing Cross Road” movie (starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins) and I’ve had that story on my mind every since.  The book contains a series of letters from a breezy quirky Brooklyn writer and a staid & proper employee of a traditional bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road, London, starting in 1949.  The long distance friendship grows over many years as books are ordered and gifts and stories are mailed back and forth across the Atlantic.  Short and heart warming, perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

The Hiding Place is an old favorite I read years ago, then promptly reread it again to my kids.  It’s the actual story of Corrie Ten Boom, who, along with her family, worked with the Dutch underground. During the WWII years hundreds of Jews were hidden in homes, such as the Ten Boom’s.  There are secret codes, late night arrivals, surreptitious radios, and the “Hiding Place” behind a secret wall at the top of the house.  Sadly, Corrie, her father and sister are discovered and the second half of the book tells the amazing stories of God’s care for them as they endure the Ravenbruk concentration camp.

 

P.S. Painting at the top is “Interior with a Woman” by Alexandru Ciucurencu

Orange Maple French Toast

Good morning all!!  Growing up my Dad had one specialty meal– his Sunday morning French toast.  He’d put on his Sunday morning music and cook away while Mom got 4 kids ready for church.

So here’s a recipe that’s so simple , it’s more of a tip than a recipe!  But it really kicks up the flavor or your Sunday morning French toast!  I think you’ll like it!

ORANGE MAPLE FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf French bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
3 tab. grated orange peel (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup maple syrup

Slice the French bread into 1 inch slices.  Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, grated orange peel and maple syrup.

Heat the griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (or use butter if you’re feeling indulgent!).  Dip both sides of each bread slice in the egg mixture and cook just about a minute on each side.

Store the cooked slices in a low oven until they are all cooked.  Serve with butter and more maple syrup!!  Delicious!