Thursday, July 31, 2014

That's What Daddy-Os Do

One of the best new toys purchased this summer has been the pink fishing rod and reel (made by Shakespeare, so it's a real one.) It came with a practice casting plug on it instead of a hook. So Little Sister has worked and worked at casting and reeling in without fear of hooking herself. Or us. 

She has gone out several nights after supper to "fish" in the back yard. Last night I suggested she wait on Daddy-O in case she hung her line in a tree. That had happened a few times already. She told me that she was fine to go without him.

I told her to step away from the big pecan tree that's near the bottom of the steps. Then as she was walking out the door, she told me confidently, "Don't worry. If I hang it in the tree, Daddy-O will get it out. "Cause that's what Daddy-Os do." 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Apple A Day

 I am still working my way through the basket of apples that Daddy-O and Little Sister picked. I only have a couple of days left to use them before they thrown out in the field. This apple crisp is my most used apple recipe in the last 30 years. I have made it so many, many times. I usually think of it as a fall or winter dessert but these apples were ready to be picked in the heat of summer.

Many of the apples from our trees and tomatotes from the garden would not win any beauty contest, but if you have the patience to peel and cut around the spots, they are delicious. In fact, there is a huge marketing campaign by a large supermarket in France to sell ugly fruit and vegetables at much cheaper prices than their beautiful fruit and veggie siblings. The ugly fruit is normally thrown away, often as it's picked. Because we have been conditioned to want the perfect fruit. All that food thrown away while people are hungry. Or, they are struggling with their food budget. That's just sad.

The marketing campaign is called "Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables." You can google it to read about it. Or, for one short article that quickly explains the basics, click the link below. Take a couple of minutes to watch the video. These folks are geniuses!

This recipe is a healthier choice than apple pie. (Especially if you leave off the ice cream.) Not much sugar. Not much butter. And it has whole grains in the oatmeal. Next time I think I'll use white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose.


1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter

5 cups peeled & sliced apples
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients, except butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into other ingredients until mixture is crumbly. (This can be done ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake.)

Spray and 8-inch baking pan with PAM. Mix apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour into pan. Sprinkle topping mix over apples.

Bake in preheated oven, 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Can top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Berry Easy Dessert

We don't make too many desserts normally, but since we've had a full house all summer, I have made more sweets than usual. I made this dessert last week because I had everything—all 3 ingredients—on hand. Plus, I was curious to see if it worked. It did.

While giving Baby Girl her bottle one night, I watched the red-headed lady on TV selling her "dump cake cookbook." "It's only $10, BUT WAIT......" I think by the end of the infomercial, there was another cookbook and a frying pan thrown into the deal. I surely don't need another cookbook or a frying pan.

So the next day I googled dump cake recipes. I remembered the dump cake everyone made years ago that had cherries, crushed pineapple, dry cake mix and a stick of butter. It was good. But this was different. No butter. I used a recipe I found online, then I made it with what I had on hand.

This is not a fancy dessert, but it didn't last long around here. Might be a recipe to keep handy for those times when you forgot you promised to take dessert to the covered dish dinner. Or, maybe...SUPRISE!...guests are on the way to your house.


1 box yellow cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
2 (12 oz.) or 1(16-oz.) bag of frozen berries (I used blueberries. Mixed berries would be good, too.)
12 oz. Sprite, 7-Up, or ginger ale (that's 1-1/2 cups)

Spray a 9x13-inch pan with PAM. Pour frozen berries into bottom on pan. (I used a 12-oz bag, plus part of another bag that I wanted to use up. Just make sure there is enough fruit  to cover the bottom of the pan.)

Break up any big lumps of cake mix. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the berries. Slowly, pour the soda over the cake mix, trying to cover all of the cake mix. You might gently tilt the pan to make sure the soda covers all of the cake mix if you see dry spots. Any mix that doesn't have soda on top will still be powdery when baked. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown.

I know. I know. This is not going to win any healthy eating contest. I gave up drinking diet soda a year ago, but we do keep ginger ale on hand for tummy upsets. And while I don't use much cake mix, there is usually a box on my shelf for dessert emergencies. (Yes. There is such a thing as a "dessert emergency.") And the frozen berries.....well.....they were supposed to go into a smoothie. But that TV lady sold me on the idea, even if she didn't sell me the book!

I promise that Little Sister still thinks sliced apples are a good dessert, so we haven't ruined her completely.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Simply Scrumptious

Two weeks left with the little ones here at the farm. Two weeks left with cooking between the tiaras and baby bottles and Legos and baby bibs on the kitchen counter. I've looked for easy recipes all summer that can be quickly put together while Little Sister and Baby Girl nap in the afternoon. Cooking might be easier in a couple of weeks, but it surely will be empty here in the kitchen.

My friend Carol slipped this recipe to me at church yesterday as we were going into the sanctuary. It's exactly the kind of recipe I want need right now. I've eaten this at her house, but I had not made it before. When we had lunch with friends last week, one of the girls said they had made a triple batch of this for a family trip (lots of family) to the beach early in the summer. The more we talked about this recipe, the more I remembered how good it was.

It's a great dish when you need something that can be made in a hurry. There isn't much cooking or chopping or measuring. Amounts of veggies don't have to be precise. (The recipe she brought to me didn't have any measurements for the vegetables other than "1 can." But I can hear my daughter asking me what size can, how much corn, so I added that.) You just put it together and then pop it into the refrigerator to let the vegetables absorb the flavor of the marinade. And, it will keep for one to two weeks in the refrigerator—if it lasts that long! 

I am blessed with friends who are all terrific cooks. I love it when I get a recipe from any of them. I did ask if I could share this one here. And Carol gave her blessing. We hope you enjoy these veggies, too.


1 (15.5 oz.) can light red kidney beans
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans
1 (6.5 oz.) can mushroom stems & pieces
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts
1 (2 oz. ) jar diced pimento
frozen white corn (amount about equal to the kidney beans)
frozen green peas (amount about equal to the kidney beans)
1 bag frozen shelled edamame beans, cooking according to package directions
1 rib celery, finely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain and rinse canned vegetables. Cook and cool edamame beans. In a large bowl, mix drained beans, pimento, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. 
Combine oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When cool, pour over vegetables and refrigerate. Vegetables will keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Yes, you add the corn and peas frozen. No cooking. I did cut the slices of water chestnuts into smaller pieces. I'm sure if there is something that you don't like here, you can leave it out

I live near a small town. A tiny town. I wasn't surprised that our grocery store didn't have shelled edamame beans. (Now, if you want a package of chicken feet or ham hocks, our store's got you covered.) I was happy to find them in the shell, so I cooked those in the steamer bag and it only took a few minutes to pop them out of the hulls.

Daddy-O walked through as I was making the photos. And of course, he had to sample. The veggies had only been in the marinade for minutes. He ate a big spoonful and said, "Mmmm, this is tasty!" Imagine how much better it will be in several hours.

He is going to miss his little shadow all too soon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cook And Carry

A good friend had surgery yesterday. She's back home today and I promised that I would bring a meal. Because the temperatures have hovered around 90 degrees all week, I thought a salad supper (or lunch if I can get out the door early enough) would be appropriate. Plus, it's all easy to make and nearly everything was done last night. Mornings around here are pretty busy with Baby Girl and Little Sister.

I called to make sure they liked chicken salad. Hope they like it the way I make it. I don't use a recipe, but I'm writing down what I did this time—this is how I make it for sandwiches. (I make several different ways.) This is the way that Big Sister likes it. I made buckets of it while I was on my extended stay in the midwest. She took it to school for lunch; she ate it for after school snacks; she ate it before bedtime if she was still hungry. She was always hungry.


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (that's 1 package at my store)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt (I just give it a good shake)
1 large rib celery, diced fine
1 medium red apple, diced (I leave the peel on for color)
1/2—3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
sprinkle of salt
a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
enough Duke's mayonnaise (or other good quality mayo) to make it spreadable

Cook chicken in water with seasoning salt added until tender, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool in broth, until cool enough to handle. Chop chicken medium-fine. In a large bowl, add in celery, apple and cheese. Add in enough mayonnaise to make it spreadable. I start with 3 or 4 big tablespoons full and stir and then add more, one spoonful at a time, until I get the right amount. (Because chicken breasts and celery and apples are different sizes, it's hard to be precise with a mayo measurement.) Stir until well blended.

Here are the links to the meal we will deliver a little later today:

CHICKEN SALAD (recipe above)
BANANA NUT BREAD (for breakfast or a snack)
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (recipe on back of Nestle's Semi-Sweet chips bag)

I added a box of fancy crackers to enjoy with the chicken salad, if they don't make sandwiches. I hope they'll get a couple of meals from this delivery. Some of these recipes make enough that we also will have salad here. It's a win-win kind of cooking!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Morning Chores

Work on the farm starts early, before the day heats up. 
So early that Little Sister went out in her pajamas to help Daddy-O with his chores.

 First, they deadheaded the daisies.

Next they picked apples. 
We have a deal with the deer that wander through here at night. 
The deer get to eat all the apples that are low hanging. 
And Daddy-O gets to pick whatever is left up high.

Daddy-O and granddaughter worked a long time 
and picked all the apples they could reach.

Then Little Sister hitched a ride to the back yard in the wheelbarrow.

They brought me a basket full of apples. 
Red ones from one tree. Green apples from the other tree.

My own part in this venture was to use the apples.
First was an apple pie. 
I need to use the rest of them soon.
I'm kind of glad the deer ate half of the apples.

But tonight we enjoyed the pie. With ice cream.


6 cups thinly sliced apples (6-8 medium apples)
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pie crust for double crust (I used refrigerated pie crust)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one pie crust in an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against sides and bottom.

In a large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients. Spoon into pie crust, mounding slightly. Top with second crust. Wrap top crust edge under bottom crust edge, pressing to seal. Flute edge. Cut slits in top crust.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown Cover edge of pie crust with strips of foil after 15-20 minutes of baking to keep edges from over-browning. 

Cool for 2 to 3 hours before serving. 

Little Sister truly enjoyed the "fruits of her labor."

Baby Girl just wasn't interested in pie or apple picking at all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Find It Fast

We have a recipe index now!

If you haven't found the new index (see the red arrow?) already, I just wanted to let you know that all of the recipes I've posted on this blog over the last four years can now be easily found. I have been using this blog as my "recipe box" for quite some time and even I had trouble locating a recipe I wanted. I could remember posting it, but it would take some searching to find it.

Now, you can just click on the recipe tab at the top of the blog and find a list of all the recipe titles from this blog. The link will take you to the blog post with that recipe. You might find recipes from years ago that you may not have seen. 

I love that I can be in the grocery store and easily find a recipe to check ingredients while I'm shopping. I hope you will find it useful also. 

But I am not getting rid of my trusty old recipe box. Yet.
Maybe some of the recipes in the box will find their way to the blog at some point. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Patty Cake, Patty Cake

The couple of local restaurants we frequent probably wonder if we've moved. Or died. With a three-year-old and a three-month-old here all summer, it has been infinitely easier to cook supper than to go out to eat. Getting there is production in itself and then we need eat in a hurry, in hopes that we finish before the baby cries. 

I've cooked a lot of suppers in the last two months. A whole lot. But somehow I managed to forget about this one. When our two girls were growing up, this was one of the rare things they both loved. And in Mommy's household, it's the same way. It is one of the very favorite things she makes. Her husband says it tastes like the ones his grandmother used to make. That is high praise.

Daughter Jessica also makes the same recipe but says she figured out her friends liked it only if she said she was making "salmon cakes." The word "patty" seems to bother the city crowd. We are not that fancy on the farm. You can call them patties or cakes. They are delicious with either name!

It is easy to keep a can of salmon in the pantry for those days when you're out of nearly everything. Like I was today. When I spied the can of salmon, I let out a sigh of relief. I didn't have to make another trip to the store this afternoon. 


1 (14.75-oz.) can of pink salmon (my mother called it a "tall can")
1 egg
2/3 cup Bisquick
2 tablespoons of minced onion (optional)
cooking oil (canola, corn, or peanut, etc.)

Pour salmon and liquid into mixing bowl. Remove the round bones (and I like to remove most of the skin, too.) Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let sit a few minutes while oil in heating.

Heat about a 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet. Spoon salmon mixture into medium-hot oil and shape into patties. Let brown on one side, then carefully turn over and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Makes 8 salmon patties

We like this with mashed potatoes, English peas and cole slaw. Today I made cucumber salad instead of slaw since we have fresh cucumbers in our garden.

I knew Little Sister really loved this. She watched me take the platter full of salmon patties from the warming drawer and asked with a big smile on her face, eyes wide in anticipation, "Is that my plate?"

I will tell you that both of my daughters have discovered small cans of boneless, skinless salmon. It takes three cans to equal the "tall" can that I use. I don't particularly mind putting my hands into the salmon to remove the bones and such. But if that bothers you, you can buy the kind they do.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Love Sounds Like

A very tired Mommy had fallen asleep while getting Little Sister down for a nap. Little Sister was a little cranky this afternoon.

Baby Girl was not happy either. It was that kind of day. I rocked and bounced Baby Girl for a couple of hours. She was having tummy troubles and constantly wriggled and squirmed and then cried some more. She spit up a little on my shoulder. I rocked and patted some more. She was finding no comfort with me today. Then she spit up a lot, this time soaking my shirt and pants. I changed her bib. Changed her clothes. And she still couldn't get settled.

Daddy-O came in from a funeral and sat down to talk for a few minutes. Then I realized that I was a mess. I never got to change my own clothes. I was happy to let Mommy get a nap. That's what grandmothers do. But I was tired. I was damp and I was sticky. I told him, "I'm sorry. I smell bad."

He smiled and said, "That's what love smells like."

Then he said, "Here, let me have her for a while."

That's what love sounds like.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Supper's In The Oven

Getting supper on the table every night has been a challenge this summer. Cooking with an almost four-year-old's helping hands means it's hard to do anything quickly. So I am sticking with easy recipes. I looked through my own blog and found several recipes I had completely forgotten about. I was surprised at how many good recipes I have collected over the years. I need to go back through all of them.

Tonight I made fajitas--the easy way. There is a Mexican restaurant in town, but loading up a preschooler, a baby, and all the stuff a baby requires is work. It was easier to eat here. Maybe not as authentic, but delicious none the less!


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (cut against "the grain)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 (10-oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel Mild)
1 medium onion, cut into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.

In a small bowl (I used a custard cup) combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, orgegano and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Add the undrained tomatoes, peppers and onions to the dish. Stir to combine.

Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Stir about halfway through the cooking time.

We folded this up into whole wheat tortillas, with sour cream, lettuce, cheese and salsa. This time I used thin-sliced breasts. It works with regular or thin-sliced but I do think I liked the thinner ones best.

Our summer is beginning to wind down and we adding in a few extra activities before the children (big and little) head back home. Yesterday we went to the zoo. Little Sister said she loved the monkeys and the zebras best. Baby Girl mostly enjoyed her ride in the stroller. 

And Little Sister is taking swimming lessons, too. Her Aunt Jessica has just been certified as a SCUBA diver. Little Sister's challenge is learning to put her head underwater. Baby Girl's water activity is all in the baby bathtub. Big Sister called from camp this morning. She says it is so fabulous that she wants to stay forever! Now I know she will be glad to see everyone in another week, but I am happy that she is having such a good time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday Afternoon On The Farm

Sunday afternoons on the farm are usually a lazy time for us. Naps are nearly a requirement. (I took mine on the screened porch, under the ceiling fan.) But after the naps, Daddy-O offered to take Little Sister on a jeep ride. Through the bumpy pasture to check on farm equipment, on past the pond, and beside the fences to make sure there were no breaks, with a pause for the raccoon family that scampered to the woods just ahead of us. Then he asked her where she wanted to go. "To the creek!!!" was her instant reply.

So, to the creek he went—to the creek where Little Sister's great-great-grandfather waded many long years ago. To the same creek where that great-great-grandfather took his house full of young children to play. One of those boys was Little Sister's great-grandfather. And of course, Daddy-O also played here when he was growing up.

And then he brought our girls here to wade when they were small. So Little Sister is the 5th generation to spend a hot summer afternoon cooling off in this creek that runs through the farm. I can only imagine that those young boys got more than their feet wet!

Bare feet in the cold water and squishy sand. It was a true summer treat for Little Sister—but not nearly the treat that it was for Daddy-O to share this family tradition with his constant companion. 

And one more summer treat from this weekend was the peach cobbler that Mommy made. There were peach orchards are around us for years and we could pick our own, but then "progress" came and farming patterns changed. We now usually buy peaches at the grocery store. They still make a good cobbler. 

This is the recipe we've used for years. Just follow the directions exactly.


3-4 cups of sliced fresh peaches
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
¾ cup plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup milk
1 stick butter

Put 1 cup sugar on peaches.  Set aside.  Melt butter and pour into a 2-qt. baking dish.  Mix remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk. 
Pour batter into melted butter.  DO NOT STIR.
Spoon peaches over top of batter.  DO NOT STIR.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown.

Here...I put extra ice cream on yours. 

**For those of you who might wonder why I have so many photos of Little Sister and not the other granddaughters--Big Sister is spending a good portion of her summer at camp. And Baby Girl is just too little to wade in the creek! Little Sister (who turns four soon) is the perfect age for farm adventures.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Family Fun On The Fourth

My "week of the 4th" started with a few days at the beach with Little Sister and her family. She was so little the last time she went, she didn't remember seeing the ocean. So she was tremendously excited this trip. Baby Girl and I spent most of our time on the porch, rocking as we listened to the ocean.

But for our family, the main event for the 4th of July is time at the lake.

Little Sister had her first lessons in boating.

Then on the actual day—July 4th—we had 20 family members join us for lunch.

The food is always good but the company is even better.
This year we had 5 children under four which was loads of fun.

Remember this blueberry pie
The recipe was good enough for a repeat.

There was paddle ball, and juggling, and hammock swinging 
and dazzling fireworks on our own pier later on.

And there was time for paddling, too.
Sometimes a slow boat is better than the motor boat.

Little Sister did her paddling on dry land 
and had just as much fun as anyone.
They made lots stops on their "trip" to explore the yard 
and gather leaves and stones in buckets.
Little Sister is blessed with loads of imagination.

But Jessica gets the "best aunt" award for finally taking little one 
out on her first real kayak ride.

After lots of BBQ and hot dogs, it was time for a menu change. We've had this recipe stuck on the wall at the lake since 2007 (according to the date on the computer print out.) I knew I was saving it for a reason. This one pot dinner is one of the easiest meals to cook as well as one of the most delicious. It was the perfect meal for our last night at the lake. We've eaten this South Carolina dish many times, but it was the first time we cooked it ourselves.

LOW COUNTRY BOIL (also known as Frogmore Stew)

4 quarts cold water
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2-1/2 pounds small red potatoes
4 ears of corn, shucked, each cut into 4 pieces
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined, in the shell

In a large stockpot, combine water, Old Bay seasoning, the 1 tbsp of salt, celery, onion, garlic and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 10-20 minutes.

Add corn and sausage to the pot and simmer until corn is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. Taste broth and adjust seasonings with salt.

Strain and serve immediately. (Daddy-O cooked this in a pot with a basket that lifted out. Made the serving easy.)

It is traditionally served by pouring the food out on newspapers spread on a picnic table outside, but we opted for paper plates and LOTS of napkins on our porch. There are as many variations for this as there are cooks. You can search for the recipe by both names and check out some recipes from other folks.