Loving Your People (& Pull Apart Apple Bread)


A little Grandma love for Jobay.

Hi all– I’m sure you have your people to love– the ones you stick with through thick & thin.  You know the ones I mean!  And I wrote about loving my people recently for a Women’s blog at church– Here it is:

LOVING YOUR PEOPLE

The Beatles famously sang it, “All we need is love!”

Blogger, Shannan Martin advises, “The way we spend our love is the way we spend our lives.”

Of course when our Lord Jesus was asked for the greatest commandment, he spelled it out, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” — Luke 10:27

And Francis Chan wrote, “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will every matter unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?”

OK, got it. Sounds good. I want to be that all out ever-loving kind of person. I’m asking myself how that works.

And I’m thinking there’re two components I need to have in place:

#1. I can’t really love people until I know them well, what they need, the things that make them feel loved. I need to pay attention to the people God has given me, be quick to listen, to truly know them.

#2. And actually, I’m not that naturally loving. So first, I need to wallow in God’s love, draw on his tender mercies, rest in his daily care. Sit with him. Ask for his help! Then I’ll have the wherewithal to go out and love my people…

Saw this on Instagram this week and wrote it on a little card to carry with me–

“Today’s order of business: Pay attention. Be captivated. Practice gratitude. Share something with someone in need of love.”

So I’m trying to dig in and love the people God has given me. Love them with a pot of soup. Love them with a phone call and a listening ear. Love them with a ride to the doctor or with help cleaning out a closet. Love them over tacos and long talks. Light candles and sing to them on their birthday. Pray for them. Cry with them. Hold them. Laugh with them. Love them deep and wide. Stay with them for the long haul.

I think this this way of all out loving won’t be easy. People have messy painful lives and love means joining them in that pain and mess. But isn’t that exactly what Jesus came and did?

“The way of Jesus is an invitation to be attentive to the people near us, to dig deep with each other and to stick around for the long haul. This is the abundant life. It’ll cost us, but it’s worth it. “ (Shannan Martin from her new book, The Ministry of Ordinary Places).

 

Here’s a few of the people that I love to love…

     
Extended family on vacation in Wisconsin, our Young Adults from church, and some of those Monday night ladies.

And thinking about the Monday night friends– here’s an Apple Bread we had together a few weeks ago:


PULL APART APPLE BREAD

Bread:
5 tab. butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 package rapid rise yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
3  1/2 cups flour

Filling:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups apples, peeled, cored & coarsely grated (about 3 apples)
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Glaze:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. whole milk or half & half (or use maple syrup!)

To make the bread, melt the 5 tab. butter in a large heat proof mixing bowl (about 30 seconds).  Then add in the 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar.  Warm the mixture a 10 to 20 seconds in the microwave until it is 120 to 130 degrees.

Stir the yeast into the warm mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Then stir in the eggs.  And finally, stir in the flour.  When it’s all blended work it with your hands to make a spongy ball.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set it in a warm place (away from drafts) to rise for 1 hour.

While that is rising, make the filling.  Melt the 1/2 cup butter in the microwave. Then stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar.  Peel, core and grate the apples. Mix the apples into the cinnamon mixture.   Chop the nuts.

When the dough has risen, knead it a few times and then set it out onto a center that has been dusted with flour.  Dust the top of the dough with flour as well. and roll it out with a rolling pin to about a 20″ square.

Spread the cinnamon apple mixture over the the dough from edge to edge.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts all over the top.

Cut the dough into 5 strips vertically and then 5 strips horizontally to make 25 little squares.  Stack 3 or 4 squares together and set them on their sides into a standard loaf pan* that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Repeat with the other squares stacking them loosely on their sides to fill the pan.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set it into a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the bread at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the bread cool a few minutes while you prepare the glaze.  Drizzle it over the bread.  Best served warm!!

*Sadly, I don’t have a standard loaf pan, so I used a 9″ springform pan in it’s place and it worked just fine.

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”  –Albert Ellis

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”  —I Corinthians 13:4-6
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One more favorite photo of people I truly love:

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Thanksgiving Around the Corner

Hi friends–  I afraid to say that I’ve been stewing a bit over Thanksgiving. For the first time in a few years, ALL our family will be together in Ojai for a Thanksgiving weekend (It warms my Mom-heart!!) and I think I’m letting the details of getting us all together overwhelm my heart and mind.   I need to back up and not lose sight of this time of Thankfulness…


Some Family together about this time last year.

So here I am– stopping to sit in quiet and thank God for a few things today:
1.  The maple trees turning in the backyard, beauty out my window.
2.  My people (especially Larry) who walk through these days with me.
3.  Food in the fridge and a fire in the fireplace.
4.  MOPS moms and young adults at church who keep me from feeling old.
5.  Our kids–scattered and settled and doing well.
6.  Grand-kids learning and blossoming– nothing dearer.
7.  My Monday ladies who listen and understand and pray with me.
8.  Books and music and mugs of tea in the quiet of our home.
9.  Our parents who know us well and keep us grounded.
10. A walk with God, who loves us more than we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3)

I’m sure you have your own list– Doesn’t it bring a calm to your soul to think through your blessings??

O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”  — William Shakespeare

 

And I wanted to send you one last pumpkin recipe (Thanksgiving breakfast??).  So quick and luscious!  Made these with two baking buddies– Jenna & Bekah.  Love those girls!!

PUMPKIN TWISTS
1 egg
2 tsp. water
2 sheets puff pastry (1 box), defrosted
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tab. coarse sugar

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. milk
1 tsp. vanilla (or maple syrup)z

In a small bowl whisk together the egg and water.  Set aside

Open out the puree pastry onto the counter.  With a rolling pin, roll both pieces into 12″ by 16″ rectangles.  Cut each piece in half to have 4 !2″x 8″ rectangles.

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Then spread the the pumpkin mixture to cover the 4 rectangles clear to the edges.

Starting at the long side, roll each rectangle into a long cylinder.

Then with a sharp knife cut clear through the cylinder, leaving a 1″ part at the top that is not cut.  Turn the two cut halves of the cylinder around so the pumpkin layers are showing.  Then braid the two stands together, so that the cut layers of pumpkin show on top.

Then twist the braid into a circle and carefully set the circle of pastry onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Repeat until you have 4 braided circles (so pretty!)

The brush the egg mixture onto to coast the tops of the pastries and sprinkle on the coarse sugar.

Pop them all into a 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the tops are crusty and golden.

While they are baking whisk  together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for the glaze.

When the pastries come out, let them cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle on the glaze.  Delicious warm from the oven!!

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Thanks Bekah & Jenna fo dropping in on a Saturday morning to bake and talk and eat.  Love you two!

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“What we’re really taking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday in November, when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”  –Erma Bombeck

 


Thankful  Heart Charts with the grand-girls 2016

And every Grandma needs a few easy tricks up her sleeve when the family gathers for Thanksgiving.
#1.  Thankful Heart Charts– Been making these every year since our boys were small.  Provide a cup full of markers and everyone draws tiny pictures of all they are thankful for (or contributes to a bigger chart to share with everyone).

#2.  Gratitude Basket –Last year Jodi had everyone write what they were thankful for on a slip of paper (keeping it a secret!) and then after dinner she pulled the slips from the basket and as she read them, we guessed who had written each one.  Some easy to guess, some hard, some hilarious.  So fun!

#3.  A to Z Thankfulness — Go around the circle and think of things to be thankful for, starting with the letters of the alphabet.

#4.  Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt– Give each grand-kid a brown paper bag with this list on the front– a turkey, a pretty rock, 3 leaves, something fuzzy, something smooth, a small pumpkin, something green, a stick, something you think is beautiful.  See what they come up with!!

     
Grand-girls in homemade turkey hats & standing by the welcome turkey at the front door.

 

“In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other’s homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings – for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms.”– Cynthia Rylant,  (a favorite children’s book author)

And finally, here’s a few of our favorite Thanksgiving books to share together after the turkeys eaten and there’s time to sit cozy on the couch.
      

    
Best Thanksgiving Books   (Link to theses books & more)

 


Finally as you sit down around the table for Thanksgiving ahead, I hope for you that your heart is happy and settled and full of gratitude for your blessings great and small.  Thanksgiving Blessings to you, dear Readers.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”  — Cicero

 

Two Grandmas in San Francisco


Two Grandma’s walk Lois to the park for a little sliding and climbing.

Hi all– This week the Grandma Team (that’s my Mom and me) trekked up to San Francisco to see the SF crop of grand-kids.  Mom met the “O” cousins for the first time– that’s little Otto and littler Oscar– her newest great grand-guys!!  It was the best!

It made me think of my dear pie making Grandma Rose, born in 1903. I’m her grand-girl, now grandma to 8 small people who will likely live until 2103– and will be probably be grandparents themselves.  It’s a chain of Grandmas over the centuries…


Crafty Kid Fun Halloween morning at the local community center.

And it made me think about grand-mothering.  It’s such a sweet vocation. I’ve heard a grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little bit best friend.  I really want to be that for those 8 kids who call me Grandma.

So I’m collecting ideas:
#1.  Create an Art Cupboard in a spare closet– so grand-kids can paint & glitter to their hearts content
#2.  Send secret code messages
#3.  Build a marble maze together
#4.  Make an erupting volcano with clay, vinegar & baking soda!!
#5.  Let everyone make their own small pizza for dinner
#6.  Teach your grands how to play rummy fo high stakes M&Ms
#7.  Have a two person book club– get into what they are reading!!
#8.  A Treasure Hunt with clues that send them around the house collecting ingredients for a banana split.
#9.  Make & paint popsicle stick picture frames & insert their photo
#10. Have a Scavenger Hunt at the library (a book with a mouse on the cover, a Dr. Seuss book…)
#11. Make Orange Soda floats on a hot day
#12. Keep an “Art Gallery” of grand-kid artwork
#13. Write letters to family members, stamp & mail them
#14. Create a Fairy Garden
#15. Take an umbrella walk when it rains
#16. Toast marshmallows in the fireplace
#17. Interview each other & video it on your phone
#18. Draw & discuss your family tree
#19. Write a short play & act it out for the parents
#20. Show them photos of when you (or their parent) were children
#21. Make crazy paper hats (with feathers? pom poms? fake flowers??…)
#22. Build a bird feeder
#23. Wrap each other in toilet paper to play mummies
#24. Draw a giant maze with sidewalk chalk
#25. Plant a vegetable garden
#26. Go to an art museum and sit and copy a painting
#27. Learn to play the recorder together
#28. Have a Brownie Bake-off!
#29. See who can build the tallest Lego tower
#30. My grand-girls favorite– take an evening flashlight hike around the block


Surprise attack hug from loveable Lois

“Grandmothers are moms with lots of frosting.”  –author unknown

“Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.” –Marcy DeMaree

“Grandmas don’t just say “that’s nice” — they reel back and roll their eyes and throw up their hands and smile. You get your money’s worth out of grandmas.” –author unknown

So here’s a few more pics of our week of grand-mothering.  Can’t wait to do it all over again…

      

      

    

“We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence, Grandmother was that person to me.” –Phyllis Theroux

“Grandmother — a wonderful mother with lots of practice.” –author unknown

“If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.” ~Italian Proverb


Lois helping out with the morning Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread– Make it over and over in the fall– Great toasted for breakfast!!
Here’s the recipe:


The Best Orange Cranberry Bread

‘If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.” ~Lois Wyse

Thanks Bunches Ani and Brian for taking us in and taking care of us so well.  And thanks Mom for being an intrepid travel buddy!!  It was the best having you there– rocking sweet Oscar and chatting away with Little Lois.  You truly are an amazing Mom and Grandma.

Books & Cookies!


Hey there– It’s reading weather around here– cooler, calling for mugs of tea and books on the couch.  I wonder if you’re in the middle of a good book these days.  What are you reading??!

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”
– Lena Dunham

If you’re a reader (and I think a lot of you are!), get read to be charmed by Anne Bogel’s new book, I’d Rather Be Reading, the Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. You’ll see yourself on these pages in chapters like Confess Your Literary Sins or Bookworm Problems (so funny!).
Here’s a quote from Anne:
“It took me thirty-five years to find my twin… We’re no bound by blood or formal ties. We’ve never shared a last name or an address or Thanksgiving dinner. Our twinness is confined to our reading lives: she’s that remarkable reader whose taste bears an astonishing resemblance to my own.”
The good news is that Anne also has a well curated book blog at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Check it out!!

I discovered Kate Morton this year and am starting to make my way though her engaging stories.  Mostly recently, The House at Riverton.  In this book, is the recounting of a 98 year old woman with the family who lived in the house and the tragic death that shaped their history.  It was written before Downton Abbey but feels very much the same in detail and characters (I wonder if Julian Fellowes read the book!).  The narrator tells the stories of Hannah and Emmeline, sisters, whom she served as a lady’s maid.  The story pulls you along right until the end when the mystery unfolds. Now I’m waiting for her newest book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter!

I have a special affinity for Fatiima MIrza’s book A Place for Us. Rafiq and Lyla are the parents of 3 grown children who were raised in their conservative Muslim family in the Bay Area.  When the oldest daughter marries, the prodigal son, Amar, returns to the family.  Different family members recount incidents in the the growing up years of the children with tenderness and sometimes sorrow.  I loved the parents hearts for their three children and the last section of the book, the father’s recounting of his interactions with his son, had tears streaming down my face.  Beautiful complicated characters and the beautiful telling of one family’s story.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain describes of the tumultuous love affair and marriage of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.  Mostly told from the point of view of Martha, third of Hemingway’s four wives.  She is a writer and journalist and strong personality who comes to love Hemingway when they are both war correspondents, in war torn Madrid, as Franco captures the country.  They made their home together in a writer’s get away in Cuba and travel and write around the world.  Fascinating picture of their relationship– and of course, it sent me to Wikipedia to see home much of the story was actual.  MacLain also wrote The Paris Wife, the telling of Hemingway’s first marriage, also a worthwhile book.

Last month’s book for our was Lit group was Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward.  This story was a difficult one, narrated by sturdy 13 year old Jojo and his drug using mother Leonie.  Living in southern Mississippi with Jojo’s grandparents, they set off on a road trip to collect Jojo’s father who is being released from prison.  The story is populated by Jojo’s younger sister, his steady grandfather, Pop, an ailing grandmother and a pair of ghosts from the past.  The book is at points disturbing and at others hopeful.  Not an easy book, but a worthwhile one.  Winner of the National Book Award.

I’ll end with a sweet story, Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce.  Emmeline is a young woman, living with her best friend Bunty, in war torn London during WWII.  She spends her nights at the phone bank for the Auxilary Fire Services, which responds to nightly bombings.  And by day, she is the assistant to crotchety Mrs. Bird, an advice columnist for a women’s magazine.  When Mrs. Bird discards letters from people who truly need help, Emmy can’t help responding to them.  It’s a story of deep loss and firm loyalties, of the courage of two young women.  I’m not sure why, but this book reminds me of a 1940’s Katherine Hepburn movie– girls with spunk!  Very enjoyable

   To read more book notes (all my books from the the last 3 years)–
Click on Booklist

 

 

And to go with a good afternoon read on the couch, it’s pretty essential to include a mug of hot tea and perhaps a plate of cookies.  Here’s a chewy chocolaty cookie that came out of our kitchen this week.  You might like them along with a good book…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup whole oats (uncooked!)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar to make a creamy paste.  Then beat in the egg, water and vanilla.  When that’s blended, mix in the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and oats.  And finally beat in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the batter by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or has a silpat mat).  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until they feel firm.  Let them cool a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before you lift them onto a cooking rack.  So chocolaty good!

*I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa

 

And here’s a couple other cookie recipes that could accompany your reading:


Chocolate Toffee Slice and Bake Cookies


Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies


Lemon Nut Shortbread Cookies

 

And to finish up– a few of my favorite pictures of people reading:
     
The Lady in the Polka Dot Pants by Rae Andrews
Self Portrait by Michelle Ranta


Little Girl and her bedtime books– Claire Fletcher


Daniel Gerhartz

   
Yuri Petrovic Kugach
Young Clergyman Reading by Martinus Rorbye


Henry Loved Eating all sorts of books!  Oliver Jeffers

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
– Henry David Thoreau

The brilliant painting at the top of the post is by Karen Cooper.  thanks.

Prayer and Pumpkin Bread


Hi all– Our four oldest grand-daughters spent a few days last summer for Grammy Camp.  Before dinner I leaned over to our five year old grand-girl and said, “Let’s hold hands so we can pray.”
She asked, “What’s pray??”
“Well,” I answered, “It’s when we talk to God.”
She turned to me surprised, “You can talk to God??!!”
“Sure, I talk to him in the mornings and pray for you, that you grow well and stay strong and smart…”   The other grand-girls chimed in, “Do you pray for us too?!”
It was a sweet moment– the chance to share that part of my faith with that little one I love so much.  I hope it stays with her.

Here’s the girls at Grammy Camp –taking off on an evening flashlight hike!

 

I truly want to be a fervent pray-er.  Coming to God with an open heart every day.  I’m not always as prayerful as I wish I were.  It’s been on my mind.

Martin Luther wrote, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

And a pastor, talking about prayer, compared it to his daily walks & talks with his wife.  Sometimes she is fascinating.  At times their walks are boring and she can even be annoying!  (I’m sure that goes both ways!)  But the cumulative affect of walking and talking day after day strengthens their bond, makes them closer.

And in the same way, prayer can be a struggle at times.  Some days I just say, “It’s me again praying, God, for the people on my heart and mind.”  But some days there is a worship and sweet communion with him that lifts my soul.  The bottom line is to keep showing up.  Drawing hope and strength from those times.

Just read Prayer, Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser, a Catholic priest.  Great worthwhile book.
He writes:
“If we pray faithfully every day, year in and year out, we can expect a little excitement, lots of boredom, and regular temptations to look at the clock.  But the bond and an intimacy will be going under the surface: a deep growing bond with our God.”

 

So I wanted to pass on a couple things that have helped me.

I hesitate to write about my little notebook.  I’m not the best model of faithful prayer.  But it’s helped me– and might encourage you in your prayers…

In the morning I sit down with my Bible and my little pink notebook and a mug of tea.  And then I:
#1. Write the date
#2. Read a bit of the Bible and write what it makes me think (the Psalms are a good place to start)
#3. List 3 or 4 things I am thankful for right now
#4. Write down all the friends & family I want to pray for
#5. List the things I want to get done in the day ahead

Then I sit and pray over all of what I’ve written in the book, praising God and asking for help.  Then I start my day.

The other help to me in prayer is praying with other people.  Jackie and Debbie come one morning a week to sit and talk and pray together.  And when my Monday night friends come in each week, we share things we are praying for and talk to God together.  They keep me praying…

That’s it.  Hopeful you find great comfort and strength and joy in prayer too.

 

One more thing!!  –Made this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread for my Monday night ladies this week.  Some people kick off fall with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but for me it’s this pumpkin bread–spicy and sweet and delicious warm from the oven.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1  1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Finally stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Spoon the batter into a standard loaf pan that has been sprayer with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  So good!

 

And here’s a few other favorite quick bread recipes:


Peach Pecan Bread


Orange Strawberry Bread


Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread

 

And one more thought:
Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.”  — George Herbert

So thankful we can talk to God, day and night.

Hello Autumn!!– and Pumpkin Baking


Hey there friends– It’s come!  Autumn has finally arrived.  Maple leaves are starting to cover the backyard and amazingly, we supposed to see rain tomorrow!! I wonder, are you one of those people who love autumn??  It just seems like a fresh new start after the hot lazy summer days. The best!

“Delicious Autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking successive autumns.”
— George Eloit

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I’m with Anne– So glad for Octobers!! Looking forward to the month ahead..

 

      

HOPES FOR OCTOBER
#1.  Pumpkin Cream Puffs– Let the pumpkin baking begin!!
#2.  Pull out my Halloween kid’s books to read with the Grand-girls
#3.  Mugs of hot Caramel Apple Cider
#4.  Hang the Fall Eucalyptus wreath on the front door
#5.  Take a brisk hike through Craig Park and the fall colors
#6.  Join in the Oktoberfest at the Rockwell’s
#7.   Make pots and pots of soup (Corn Chowder, Pozole, Chili)
#8.  Pull down all the cozy sweaters from the top of the closet
#9.  Evening fires in the fireplace & mugs of apple cinnamon tea
#10. Plant the Sweet Peas (for blooms in the spring)
#11. Just sit and watch the leaves drift down from the backyard Maples
#12. Cal Football & mugs of hard cider & a huge bowl of pop corn (Go Bears!)
#13. Harvest Party with my MOPS moms & their adorable kids!
#14. Have our friends in for Sunday Supper– pumpkin pancakes
#15. San Francisco with Mom to see her great grand-kids for Halloween.
#15. Make our Thankful Heart Chart to be ready for November 1st!

 

Started in on the list this week with those Pumpkin Cream Puffs– They look tricky to make, but cream puffs are so easy– and the way they puff up in the oven to be light and hollow is like magic!


LITTLE PUMPKIN CREAM PUFFS
Puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
pinch salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Garnish:
powdered sugar for dusting the tops

Set oven to 425 degrees.

In a saucepan bring the water, butter and salt to a rolling boil.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour until it forms a big glob.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together and then with a fork beat the eggs into the flour mixture until it’s a sticky smooth batter (no lumps! takes a few minutes)

Drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Leave about 2″ between each puff– they will grow!!  Pop them in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes until they are puffed and golden.  Let them cool completely, then slice each puff horizontally with a serrated knife.

To make the filling, beat the cream, powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer until it is a stiff cream.  then gently fold in the pumpkin.

Drop a spoonfuls of filling in the bottom half of each sliced puff and then set on the top half (it’s best to not fill the puffs way ahead– they could get soggy!).   Dust with powdered sugar through a sieve.  Makes about 20. Ready to eat!!

And to my way of thinking, there’s never too many pumpkin treats this month.  Here’s a few baking ideas:

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

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Pumpkin Bran Muffins

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Maple Pumpkin Granola

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Pumpkin Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

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So HAPPY AUTUMN!!  Hoping you enjoy all the coziness and brisk days.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
–Lauren Destefano

Summer’s End and Peach Tarts

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.   –Helen Hunt Jackson

There is a time in the last few days of summer when the ripeness of autumn fills the air.   –Rudolfo Anaya

 

Hey there– I’m wondering if autumn is rolling in where you are.  It’s just starting to come for us and I’m savoring the September warm (but not too hot!) days and summer fruit still in piles at the market.  This week I picked up a few peaches for tarts.

You can get these pretty tarts in the oven in about 10 minutes–so easy. They’re the perfect light ending that last summer meal.

PEACH TARTS ON PUFF PASTRY
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed*
2 large ripe peaches
4 oz. cream cheese
a few shakes of cinnamon
2- 4  tab. honey
serve with:  ice cream

Cut the puff pastry into 6 squares with a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife).  Lay the squares of pastry onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Divide the cream cheese into 6 parts and spread it over the pastry, leaving a 1/2 inch margin around the edges.

Slice the peaches thinly (leave on the skin) and layer them over the cream cheese. Dust the peaches lightly with cinnamon.

Pop them into a 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed around the edges and the peaches are tender.

Drizzle honey over the peach tarts and serve them warm with ice cream or whipped cream.  Enjoy!

 

And just want to say Good Bye Summer by collecting these memories all in one spot.  I’ll miss the golden days and good times with family & friends in these long and lzy summer days…

Kicked off summer with Grammy Camp— love reading and creating and laughing with those girls.

     

 

We began the 4th of July with a breakfast & beach walk along with dear friends.
     

 

Family came in fo the weekend to celebrate Nick & Alyssa’s beautiful wedding.


John & Laurel took us in for a great week in
Wisconsin— lots of boating, evening walks, good meals and time to talk…

     

 

The Monday night friends rounded up a few times for lunch over our summer break.  Love those beautiful faces.

 

A bunch of family met up rustic little cabins for 5 days of hiking, s’mores and campground meals at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Loved having the grand-girls at arm’s length and waking under those glorious trees!

     

 

And finally there were a couple trips up to San Francisco to dote on grand-kids and to welcome new grand-guy, Oscar into the world.

   

Ah Summer, going to miss those long bright days, times with out & about with people we love.  But the joys of Autumn are around the corner.

 “The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”

―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

 

And P.S.  — here’s a few more favorite peach recipes:
Avocado Chicken with
Chipotle Peach Salsa

 

Fresh Peach Cobbler

.

 

Peach Crostata

.

 

Peaches & Cream Tart

 

 

 

 

  

 

San Francisco Days and Roasted Tomatoes


One of my favorite houses in the neighborhood.


Out on a trek through the woods of Golden Gate Park with this mini hiker!  

Hey there friends– Back from 3 weeks in San Francisco with new baby Oscar and his dear family. Missing them all from here.

We made this new favorite roast tomato pasta for dinner one evening there, and liked it so much we did it again a couple days later when friends dropped to meet that Oscar!

It’s super simple and the tomatoes and garlic smell incredible roasting in the oven!

ROASTED TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. mini ravioli (or your favorite pasta)*
2 cups small cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

garnish: parmesan romano cheese, grated & sprig of marjoram or basil

In a large bowl, stir together the cherry tomatoes, red onion, chopped bell pepper, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then turn it all out onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.  Scrape all the extra oil out of the mixing bowl on to the tomatoes.

Pop the tomatoes into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are just starting to brown a bit.

While they are cooking, cook up your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and spread it on a pretty platter.  Spoon the tomatoes and all the juices on the baking sheet over the pasta.  Serve it hot with a sprinkle of parmesan.  So so good!

*I used mini ravioli from Trader Joe’s here, but fresh ravioli is the best!

Hi again–

Just wanted to drop in a few more photos of our SF days (bits I want to remember)– Baby snuggling, good talks, quiet meals together, plenty of playground time with an almost 2 year old.  So glad we could be there.

     
Brand new little Oscar, at the hospital and on his way home for the first time.

     
Lois lined up with kids waiting to get in the library for story time.  With Mom on the playground.  Lois & Grandma Duplo tower!

     
And one Sunday morning Larry and I went out on the town– Breakfast at my favorite ever bakery– B Patisserie.  A wonderful worshipful morning of church at Reality SF.  And then off to a cool new cafe for lunch– Theorita, specializing in pies like the baker’s grandma used to make (we split a piece of chocolate, pecan bourbon pie for dessert!)

So glad to have those days to watch our Oscar come into the big wide world– and see him blossom and grow in his new family.  Thanks Ani & Brian for everything!

.

P.S. Here’s a few other favorite simple pasta recipes:
Broccoli, Chicken & Bacon Pasta
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Saucy Tomato Chicken & Pasta
Creamy Lemon Chicken & Pasta

Ten Blogging Years


Hello Blog Friends– This August marks my tenth year of typing away on this blog.  Really it’s more of a scrapbook of recipes and thoughts I want to hang on to.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I would use this anniversary to close the site down.  Life is full. And there are so many things I want to give more time to–people we love and projects we never seem to get done!

But when I then I thought about now much I would miss it–especially keeping in touch with old and new blog friends (that means you– Lacey, Mollie, Kat, Marcia, Daisy, Suzanne, Lisa, Mary, Carol, Lilly, Cindy, Brigid, Vero, Ursula and Susie!!)

So I’m cutting back to once a week– less recipes, more of life and faith and family.  I think that will fit just fine.

And to mark the happy event of Ten Blogging Years, I thought I’d link to my favorite posts (just click on the blue letters to link through):

 

FAVORITE RECIPES — DISHES FO FAMILY & FRIENDS


Chocolate Cream Cake with Ganache Frosting


Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken


Books & Breakfast– A Morning with Friends


Beef Barley Soup


Swedish Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce


Bacon Ranch Potato Salad


Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Apricot Couscous


Overnight Orange Rolls

 

 

FAVORITE THOUGHTS ON LIFE AND FAITH:


True Home


Waiting


My Notebook


Rethinking Christmas


Enough


Aging Well

.

 

FAVORITE BLOG MEMORIES WITH THE FAMILY:


Christmas With the Crew 2015


Wonderful Woodsy Wisconsin Wedding Weekend


Good Times in Big Bear


Grammy Camp 2017


Cambria with Kids


Sweet Times in San Francisco


On Being A Mom

.

 

FAVORITE BOOK POSTS OVER THE YEARS:

     
     
Booklist Page (Notations of books I’ve read the last 3 years)


Five Favorite Children’s Books!


At Home in the World (& Other Travel Books)

  
Books For A Special Baby

 
  
30 Years of Books (Lit Group favorites)

      
Favorite Books (October 2009)

.

 

FAVORITE TRAVELS FROM HERE TO THERE:


Family Trek Through the Sequoias!


Beautiful Kyoto


Vancouver Days


Wet Market in Lijang China


Lunch in Paris


San Francisco with the Grand-Girls (or Fun in SF with kids!)


Wisconsin Part #2– Off to the North Woods!!

 

Whew! That’s a whole lot of posts.  It wasn’t easy narrowing down to very favorites!!  And if you, by chance, are still reading this overwrought posting– thank you!!  It’s been a joy to send out posts for the last ten years to dear people like you.  I remain thankful.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast


Hello there– I have to tell you that this is one of those dishes that tastes way better than it looks!!  It’s sort of a homely little mess sitting on the plate. Looking at the photos, I thought I should just scrap this post, but then it was so yummy, I just wanted to give you to be able to give it a try!!  Please trust me on this one.

The toasty bread coated with custardy pumpkin is pretty delicious, especially hot from the oven.  With maple syrup, perfect!

BAKED PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST
1 pound loaf French bread
6 eggs
2 cups cream or half & half
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cu brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup pecans (or more if you love pecans as much as I do!)

Garnish:  lots of maple syrup!

Cut the loaf of bread into bit sized chunks.  Put it into a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they are blended.  Then stir in the cream, sugar, pumpkin, salt, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Pour the mixture over the bread.

Cover the whole thing with foil and set it into the fridge overnight.  The next morning, take it out of the fridge an hour before you want to put it into the oven, to warm a bit.

While that is sitting, make the Crumb topping by mixing together the brown sugar, flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the pecans and sprinkle it over the pumpkin French toast just before you pop it into the oven.

Bake the French toast for the first 30 minutes still covered with the foil at 350 degrees.  Then remove the foil and bake for 20 or 30 minutes more until the top is golden and the pumpkin filling is all set.

Serve it up hot from the oven with along with a jug of maple syrup!  I think you’ll love it!

Chipotle Chicken with Avocado Peach Salsa


Hi all– I’m happy to say I’m tucked in here in San Francisco waiting with Ani & Brian & Lois or the new baby to arrive!  It could be any day now!  (You know I’ll let you know when he arrives!)

But back to chicken– here’s dinner a couple nights ago.  Spicy chicken, with bright salsa.  It’s peach sweet, avocado creamy and a little tart from the lime juice.  With a leafy green salad and a chunk of cornbread– a good end of summer dinner.

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN WITH AVOCADO PEACH SALSA

Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tab. flour
2 to 3 tab. Chipotle Garlic chili powder*
2 tab. olive oil

Salsa:
1 to 2 tab. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tab. red onion, chopped fine
pinch salt
1/4 tsp, freshly ground black pepper
1 tab. olive oil
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, cut to chunks
1 large peach, not peeled, pitted, cut to chunks

To cook the chicken, heat the olive oil in a medium high skillet.  Then cut the chicken breasts horizontally to make 4 thinner chicken filets.

Mix the flour and Chipotle chili powder together in a flat bowl and dredge the chicken in the mixture on both sides before dropping it into the hot oil.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the chicken is well browned and cooked through.

To make the salsa, mix the cilantro, lime juice, red onion, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then cut in the peach and avocado.  Mix it and spoon the salsa over the cooked chicken hot from the pan.  Enjoy!

*The flavored chili powder was McCormick brand– but any chili powder would be good.

 

Fruity Farro Salad with Honey Lime Dressing


HI all– I’m hoping summer is cooling down here– but we are still big on summer salads and with nectarines and strawberries beautiful and ripe these days, here was a recent supper.  A splash of farro and sprinkling of garbanzos gave it some heft and balanced out the sweet fruit and creamy avocado.  With the tart lime dressing and a chunk of walnut Levain bread– delicious!

FRUITY FARRO SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING

Salad:
1/2 cup farro
3 cups greens
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 nectarine, cut to small chunks
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 avocado, cut to small chunks
1/4 cup salted almonds, chopped

Dressing:
3 tab. olive oil
1  1/2 tab. lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. honey
salt & freshly grond pepper to taste

Cook the farro according to the directions on the package (mine simmered 10 minutes with 1 cup water and a pinch of salt).  Drain off any extra water.  Cool.

To make the dressing, put the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, salt and pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake briskly until it’s thoroughly combined.  (If you let it sit, the honey may sink to the bottom, so shake it again just before you pour it on the salad).

Layer the greens, cilantro, garbanzo beans, farro, nectarine, strawberries, avocado,, and almonds on a platter.  Pour on the dressing when you are ready to eat.  Enjoy!

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!!

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.

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!

Antipasto Spinach Pasta Salad


Hello all– What is the easiest, freshest, yummiest way to have friends in for dinner in the summer??  A big bunch of Bible study friends came couple weeks ago for a salad/dessert pot luck.  As they trickled in the door, brimming bowls of chicken salad and fresh fruit and Asian slaw… lined up in the kitchen.  Plus pies– beautiful pies!

We sat down with plates full and settled into easy conversation that you have with old friends.  Love a summer evening with these ladies.

And this was my salad contribution– so much flavor from the sun dried tomatoes and garlicky salami, played against chewy pasta and creamy fresh mozzarella.  I think it would be good on your summer able too.

ANTIPASTO SPINACH PASTA SALAD
8 oz. Cellentani pasta (or your favorite pasta)*
salt
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup cured olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls (or cubed)
4 oz. salami, cut to pieces
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup parmesan romano cheese, grated
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (mine was 11 minutes in boiling water).  Drain, rinse and cool the pasta to room temperature in a large bowl.

Add in the spinach, red, pepper, red onion, dried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, salami and garbanzo beans.

To make the dressing, put the olive oil, white balsamic, cheese and salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well until it’s all blended.  Pour over the salad and mix to coat all the ingredients with dressing.

Stick it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it up!

*I used Barilla Cellentani in the blue box– nice and chewing and soaks up the dressing.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Hi there– how’s your summer going??  We’re getting a big dose of summer here with our kids in Wisconsin!  Yesterday afternoon, John grilled steaks while Laurel made salads and I put this peach cobbler in the oven.  Dinner out on their back porch with the fireflies under the towering oak trees–just grand!

But even better– the next morning Laurel & I sat out on that back porch in the sunshine and had leftover peach cobbler for breakfast!  Good start to a good day with L & J!!

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

Peaches:
7 medium ripe peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

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

Peel and pit the peaches.  Cut them into nice bite size chunks.

In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, stir together the peaches, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of it all.

To make the biscuits, stir together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla until the batter is stiff.

Divide the dough into 8 blobs and drop them on top of the peaches.

Pop the whole thing into the oven at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are browned and the peaches are tender.  Add a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, substitute by putting a tablespoon of cider vinegar into the measuring cup and filling up to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a few minutes to thicken.

 

Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


Hello all– There isn’t a week that goes by at our house that we don’t have tacos, at least once. Are there other taco lovers out there??  We’re pretty much happy with anything we can wrap into a fresh tortilla!

So when the kids came to stay a couple weeks ago pulled out this new taco recipe. The pork is sort of carmelized and the pineapple sweet and bright.   A perfect summer lunch-  light, fruity and fresh.

PORK TACOS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA

Salsa:
1 cup cucumber, cut to small bits*
1 cup pineapple, cut to small bits
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt

Pork:
small street tortillas for serving
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 jalapeño chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  1/2 pound pork loin, chopped to smallish pieces
2 tsp soy sauce
4 tab. sugar
2 tab. water

To make the salsa, Mix together the cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and salt.  Set the bowl into the fridge to meld together while you cook the pork.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Drop in the chopped onion and jalapeño.  Cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes until the onion is all wilted.  Add the garlic and cook a minutes more.

Then add the pork to the skillet and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the the pork is lightly browned.  Add the soy sauce and stir.  Then sprinkle on the sugar and water and mix it in.  Then let the pork continue to cook 2 or 3 minutes more until it is golden and the liquid has evaporated.

Warm the tortillas and serve with the pork and salsa!