This Day

“One life on this earth is all we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and beautifully as we can.”
— Frederick Buechner  (born 1926 NYC, American writer and theologian)

Love this thought.  And carrying it further, this one life is made of single days.  Like today.  I only get this one once.  So I’m starting it with this in mind, to live it fully and beautifully.”

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  — Psalm 118:24

P.S.  photo from our Wisconsin travels last summer

Farmer Egg & Potato Breakfast


Good morning Breakfast Buddies– We have a group at church called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I obviously do not fall into that category!!  But lucky for me, there is also a older mentor mom at each table.  So I get to hang out with all those fun moms and their adorable kids on Tuesdays.

We start off each get-together with breakfast (a highlight for us all)– and last week I brought along these eggs and potatoes all baked up together.  Delicious!  And happily, you throw it all together the night before and in the morning, just pop it into the oven!

FARMER EGG & POTATO BREAKFAST
6 cups frozen hash browns*
1  1/2 cup grated cheddar
2 cups ham, cut to small bits
1/2 cup green onion, sliced (about 4)
8 eggs
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Make this ahead the night before you want to cook it up for breakfast.

Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread the hash browns on the bottom of the dish.  Then layer on the cheddar, ham and green onion.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they are blended.  Then whisk in the milk, salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish.

Cover it with foil and set it into the fridge overnight.  The next morning, let the dish sit out for 30 minutes and then take off the foil and bake up the whole thing at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes.  Enjoy!

*Use the shredded hash browns, not the chunky kind!

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Hello all–  Wonderful time with friends last night– went to dinner at IL Amerikano for dinner, sort of Mexicanish-American food.  I took full advantage of their spiced French fries with cilantro ranch dressing!!  And then we all headed back to our house for this berry cobbler– warmed in the oven with a plop of vanilla ice cream — accompanied by good conversation.  The best kind of Saturday night!


MIXED BERRY COBBLER

Berries:
6 cups mixed berries
(I used blueberries, blackberries & strawberries)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt

Biscuits:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tab. cornmeal
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup buttermilk*
6 tab. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla


In a large mixing bowl stir together the berries, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Nestle the berries into a 9″ square (or deep round) baking dish.  Pop them in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While they are baking, make the cobbler (biscuits) to set on top.  Mix together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla.  Mix it up to make a stiff dough.

Drop the the dough by spoonfuls onto the hot berries and turn up the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the cobbler is golden.  Serve it warm with ice cream.  Perfect!

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, pour a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to 1/3 with milk.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.

My Notebook

Hi friends– If you’ve been reading here for a while you know Larry and I are going through some difficult life circumstances (that I really can’t spell out here).  It’s going to go on for a while and while I would never say, “Yes let’s do this again!!,”  it’s been a blessed time in many ways for us.

When friends and family started to come around and encourage us, I started to keep a notebook– words of love and strength from friends, from the Bible, texts and notes and things I read…  One friend texted me every morning for weeks last summer with fortifying thoughts and I wrote those all in the notebook.  Plus I listed over 50 people who told us they were praying with us.

All these notes are a joy and a picture of of God’s care for us. I love reading over the pages.  Here’s a few things from the notebook:

“In order to realize the worth of an anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.”  –Corrie Ten Boom

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  — I Peter 4:7

“Everybody has stuff– No one gets a stuff free life”  — my friend Betty Key

“A season of suffering is small price to pay for a clear view of God.”  — Max Lucado

“Love you guys and so sorry you have to go through his, but we are praying something good comes of it”  — text from Joanne

“Nothing escapes the hand of God, especially when it involves his beloved, you.  xo”  — text from Debbie

“Some advice from “Finding Nemo,” –Just keep swimming!”  —  text from Jenon

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  — Zephaniah 3:17

“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.  Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”  — Psalm 86:3-4

“I lie awake at night thinking of you, of how much you have helped me, and how I rejoice through the night, beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.”  –Psalm 63:6-7

There’s more in the notebook, but I just wanted to say what a help and strength all words have been.  So thankful.

 

French Chocolate Cake and a Good Book!


Bonjour!  Just finished reading On Rue Tatin, Susan Loomis’ story of her family’s move to a town in Normandy, where they renovated a 12th century Convent to make their home and immersed themselves in the luxury of French cooking.  The book is studded with recipes.  Here is her favorite chocolate cake!  It’s sort of a cross between a brownie and a chocolate souffle!

FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE
(Originally known as “Gateau au Chocolate de Mamie Jacqueline”)

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (a rounded cup full)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
pinch salt
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
powdered sugar for garnish

Melt the chocolate in a large microwave proof mixing bowl– about 90 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  If the chocolate still has lumps, microwave it 10 seconds more and stir again.  Then immediately stir in the butter so it will melt with the warm chocolate.

When that is all blended, whisk in 1 cup of sugar (minus 1 tablespoon of sugar saved for later).  Next mix in the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of  salt until it is all combined.

Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into the bowl with the chocolate mixture and the whites into another clean mixing bowl.  Stir in the egg yolks.  And then whisk the eggs white along with the tablespoon of sugar and pinch of salt– until the egg whites are glossy and soft peaks form.  (The whisk attachment on my hand mixer worked well, took a little over 4 minutes)

Fold he egg whites into the chocolate cake batter until it is thoroughly blended and then spoon it into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake it up at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch and  sharp knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool to lukewarm and then shift powdered sugar over the top of the cake.  So good warm with a bit of ice cream!

Susan Loomis sort of has my dream life– She moved to Paris as a young woman and attended La Varenne École de Cuisine, a cooking school for Americans.  She found friends and small shops with tempting foods all over the city.  Later when she returned home she met, loved and married a sculptor, Michael Loomis and eventually the two found their way back to France where they purchased an ancient convent building in Louviers, a charming town in Normandy.  It took a long a grueling renovation to make the place a home for them and their small son.  But through the years they encountered a large circle of people, from the surly priest next door to warm shop keepers, farmers at the market, the florist sisters across the street and many others who became close friends. I was totally charmed by the book, wanted to write to Susan and ask if I could drop in and stay for the summer!  If you like glorious food, beautiful countryside, and wandering cobbled streets, I think you’d like this book as much as I have.

P.S. Each chapter includes recipes from the author, including a version of this cake!

Balsamic Apricot Rosemary Chicken

 

Hi everyone– Here’s a recipe that’s so quick and delicious I’m happy to pass it on to you.  You can get it into the oven in about 5 minutes!  I put on some brown & wild rice mix to simmer after the chicken was in and then sat and read a book!  Best way to fix dinner.

BALSAMIC APRICOT ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 bone in chicken thighs
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tab. balsamic vinegar
1 tab. rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and place them bone side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (If you like the skin, leave it on!)  In a small bowl stir together the apricot jam, vinegar, minced rosemary and salt.  Spoon it over the chicken thighs and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Spoon the extra juices over the chicken as you set it on the serving plate.  (If you use a meat thermometer, internal temperature of 165 degrees)

Ready and delicious!

Home with Kids In SF

Hello there– Just home from a kid-filled week in San Francisco– Lots of quiet days breaking out the crayons and building blocks and library books.  I’m grateful to have sweet days with the 4 grand-kids up there.

My big occupation was keeping company with Little Lois while her Mom went to work– Here we are around the house.

     

One day Uncle Aaron picked us up for a morning with the cousins– Mae, Eero & baby Otto.
      

There was a park day out with friends.
     

And a morning inspection of the house remodel -almost done!!

     

It was a fine full week– love seeing how those grand-kids are growing and changing!  Thanks thanks Ani & Brian– and Aaron too.  It’s always the best to be together.