Archive for June, 2011





Dealing With Vandals

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011





Vandals 0 – Mailbox 10




I can just imagine…….Four burly young men crowded into the shiny, extended cab pickup – a gift from Mom and Dad to the driver. Across the lap of the young man closest to the open window stretches a three foot long metal bar. It is round and solid and heavy. All four men wrap fingers around tall, cold cans of beer nursing the drinks during conversation. Each has already put away a couple of cans prior to entering their joy wagon. A little tipsy, their idea of fun becomes more reckless by the minute.


The engine roars and the driver puts the big truck into gear, backs onto the main road and heads to a thoroughfare picked at random. Laughing and joking, these scoundrels size up the row of mailboxes dotting the long road and rev the engine. Mr. Window Seater pokes the metal pole out of the window and yells, “Charge!!!” The driver spins the tires of his truck and peels out in a burst of gasoline energy. “Clang!” goes the first mailbox as the side caves in from the force of the metal iron. “Ka-thud” goes the second as it is totally torn off its post, hitting the ground and rolling into the ditch. “Ka-Whap” goes the third mailbox as it is mashed flat and the door is torn off its hinges.


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And then they see the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ Company mail recepticle. It’s a little bit larger than the ones previously creamed – a perfectly shaped, white, metal object that appears to have never been touched by previous marauders and will surely ring with a glorious sound when smashed with a three foot metal rod. The mailbox’s pristine color and smooth shape is just begging to be attacked. Mr. Driver stops to drink in the picture and savor the moment. Foot on the gas pedal, he presses it all the way to the floor. Mr. Window Seater extends his body out of the window and aims for the mailbox.


The metal pole makes contact at 60 mph. But something is wrong. A shudder reverberates up the pole, into the hands and arms of the bearer and all the way down to his feet. His teeth rattle. His brain shakes. And he lets out a howl of pain. The metal instrument of destruction flies out of his hands and bounces across the landscape. All of the inhabitants of the truck look back in astonishment as their weapon disappears and the mailbox still stands, unscathed. Suddenly, their alcohol befuddled minds take on a slight sense of reality and they speed off into the distance, headed for home and an ice pack/aspirin for Mr. Window Seater.


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They always seem to hit it in the same place!



And the large, white mailbox stands resolute and firm, a tiny, imperceptible dent beside previous imperceptible dents, near the door, and a small chip and crack in the solid CONCRETE within. Mr. Window Seater is no match for Mr. Fix-It.


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You see, Mr. Fix-It took a larger metal mail box and put a smaller rubber mailbox inside, floating the smaller box on small blocks of wood to leave an equal amount of space around the rubber mailbox. He then mixed concrete and poured that around the perimeter of the rubber box, leaving almost a 1″ ring of concrete between the two boxes. When dried, he bolted his new concoction onto a braced wooden post that he had sunk into concrete as well. It’s heavy, but it’s tough!!


Happy Mailing!



MB
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Canning Peach Pie Filling

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011





Just Peachy!!



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There is just something about the smell and taste of peaches. The smell is great in potpourri. The smell and taste are awesome in iced tea and are especially good in our Peach Cordial and Peach Berry teas. Peaches just have a heady fragrance that even draws you to the grocery bins with an invisible wave that says, “You HAVE to have some peaches!”


We only have one peach tree. But more are going to be planted this fall. It is best to have at least two different kinds of trees – and we did – but one died. Oklahoma has many peach orchards, but the heat is brutal and it got our other tree.


Actually, one tree is plenty for one family, but as I said, two make for better fruit. I was very excited to see all the fruit on our tree this year. It got bigger and bigger and then one day we noticed little, clear sappy things oozing from tiny holes. Arrggghhh. Oriental Fruit Moths had had their way with my peaches!!! How depressing. These beautiful fruits look so pretty, but when sliced, brown tunnels weave through the ripe and juicy meat. So, next year, pheromone traps will be hanging from the tree like Christmas ornaments!


What fruit we did get has been incredible. It’s like eating peach candy and so I have been diligent at getting these precious peaches stashed away for future use. One thing I love to do is make pie filling. I use the same method as my Apple Pie Filling, but I adjust the syrup for peaches – a litle thinner. The following is the recipe that I use for peaches. To see how to make the syrup just click on the link for the Apple Pie Filling and directions and pictures are there.


Peach Pie Filling Syrup


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups corn starch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar per jar
  • Mix dry ingredients together in a large pot and slowly add water, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Bring to a boil while continually stirring and allow to boil until mixture thickens and becomes more transparent. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Stir.


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    Wash 6 – 8 pounds of peaches. In this case, I used more because I had to cut so much off of each peach due to those nasty Oriental Fruit Moths.


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    Peel peaches


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    I find the easiest way to slice peaches is to make cuts about 1/2″ apart, cutting at an angle toward the pit so that there is very little meat being pulled away from the pit. In the case of most of my peaches, I ended up cutting out chunks around the worm holes so this batch isn’t very pretty!! I slice my peaches into a bowl that has a cup of water mixed with a tsp of FruitFresh in it. I continually toss the peach slices as I cut to keep them coated with the citric acid mixture.


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    Pack the peaches into jars leaving a 1″ head space from the top of the jar. I’ll be rearranging peaches from the jar on the front right to distribute among other jars because it is too full. Add 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar to each jar of peaches.


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    Ladle syrup into jars leaving a 1″ head space of syrup. This prevents any from boiling out in the processing. I usually have around a quart of syrup left over and just use it for my next run or I can it and use it for fresh peaches in a pie.


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    Using a knife or canning spatula, run around the inside perimeter of the jars to release any air bubbles.


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    Wipe the rims of the jars with a wet cloth to remove any juices, oils or syrup which will keep a jar from sealing.


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    I like to place my lids in the water in a pan by alternating them rubber side up, rubber side down which helps to keep them from sticking together. The water is brought to just before a boil and then turned on low to keep the lids warm.


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    Using a canning wand or tongs, remove the lids from the water and place onto jars. Screw on the rings and adjust by tightening and then backing off just a smidge. Place in a water bath canner and fill with warm water to 1″ over the top of the jars. Bring to a full boil and boil for 20 minutes. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool. Listen for the “ping” pop that lets you know the jars are sealing.


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    These jars are ready to store. I will use one quart and one pint to make a pie, so this batch made enough for four pies! Just pour into your crust, top and bake at 400 degrees. Easy as…umm…peach pie!!


    Happy Canning!



    MB
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    WEEDS!!!

    Saturday, June 25th, 2011





    No More June Trips!




    I say this every year. I vow that I will go nowhere during gardening season. And then…invariably something comes up that requires travel and I come back to a garden disaster. Such was the case with this last business/pleasure trip of two weeks. Two weeks! Would you like to know what weeds do to a garden in two weeks when the gardeners are away?! They say, “Yay!!” and promptly make themselves at home. Mr. Fix-It and I have spent two nights in the strawberry bed trying to find our plants. The picture is of what we have accomplished so far and of what is left to do. See if you can find any strawberry plants in that jungle of grass! Mr. Fix-It very wisely soaks the ground and then we pull while wading in the mud. Makes for easier pulling. A mud pie fight may commence tonight!!


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    Happy Gardening??



    MB
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    Dilled Salmon

    Thursday, June 23rd, 2011





    Summer or Winter

    Salmon’s On The Menu!



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    I love wild Alaskan salmon. I understand that it is supposed to be really good for you with all those Omega fatty acids (why not Alpha fatty acids??) that are supposed to coat your heart and grease your brain, but I just like it because it tastes good.


    When I was a kid, my dad would go fishing with his buddies up in Maine for fresh water salmon and it was a treat indeed to watch my mom stuff one of the big fishes with dressing, truss it up like a corset and place it on the grill to slowly cook over charcoal. Oh my. Talk about heavenly. Topped with a cucumber sour cream sauce, that fish melted in your mouth like butter.


    So, I’ve had a love affair with salmon for a long time. It included lying on the floor, chin cupped in hands while riveted to the black and white tv, watching the Walt Disney hour explain how these trout-on-steroids swim upstream and jump over dams in a quest for a mate that would put E-Harmony to shame. I was always fascinated when the grizzly bear caught a wayward fish and carried it to shore flipping and flopping in the bear’s mouth.


    And so, speaking of putting salmon into the mouth, the following is my own recipe for baking salmon filets for a quick and pretty dinner. It doesn’t heat up your kitchen in summer because it doesn’t take long to bake the fish and it’s a hearty, warm meal in winter when Ol’ Man Winter is knocking at the door.


    Dilled Salmon

  • 4 (4 to 6 ozs) Salmon Fillets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp dried dill or 1 tblsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 heaping tblsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Printable Recipe



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    Mix mayo, thyme, garlic powder, salt, onion and dill in a bowl until well incorporated. I am using the Frontier Simply Organic spices at the website here. They are potent!!


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    When thoroughly mixed, take 1/3 cup of the mixture and place into another bowl and set aside.


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    Add 1/4 cup of white wine to the remaining mixture and cream well


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    Lightly pepper fillets. Place fillets on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet or into a greased glass baking dishand spoon wine mixture over cuts until all of it is used up. Bake in 350º oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the meat flake when lifted with a fork.


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    Serve with your favorite side dishes and top fillets with a dollop of the leftover mayo mixture. Yum!


    Happy Fishing!



    MB
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    Summer Treat

    Monday, June 20th, 2011





    Fathers Do Too Cook!!



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    My dad loves to cook


    Continuing on my journey, I’ve moved from the red clay of Georgia to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Oh my. How beautiful they are. It kinda gives the ol’ gut a wrench when I take in those cloud-covered peaks, old and worn, green and inviting. These are my old stomping grounds, but now I’m a ‘flatlander’. It’s ok, though. I don’t have to deal with this traffic out in the plains of Okie land!!!


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    Heavy cloud cover gives the Smoky Mountains their name

    I am staying in the mountain guest home of a wonderful family neighbor who has been so gracious to open their doors. I’ll be heading back to the Great Plains with pots of spearmint and pineapple sage from Brennan’s garden. I figure they will be great additions to homemade soaps.


    It is Father’s Day and I got to spend it with my dad (and Mom!). 850 miles is too much distance for sure, but I made it! Sunday worship at my folks’ church, a wonderful meal at a Japanese restaurant and an afternoon just sitting around and making memories completed the day. You see, my dad is all about making memories and when my family gets together we share those memories with lots of humor. My dad is an amazing cook and many of those memories have a backdrop of meals that he prepared.


    One of my memories is of Sunday summer nights, after “Training Union” and the Sunday night service at church, with the six of us – parents and four daughters – elbow-to-elbow around the table, munching on a fruit plate of watermelon, canaloupe, fresh cherries, oranges, peaches or nectarines, pineapple and grapes with maybe some cheeses and most definitely with orange or pineapple sherbert. That was supper! We thought it was wonderful. Dad and Mom worked side-by-side to put together a pretty arrangement of goodies for all of us. And so, tonight, when I caught my father, at 84, putting together a similar concoction for our Sunday night dinner, I decided to grab it in pictures, his hands still deftly slicing fruits in a labor of love.


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    Bananas, oranges, grapefruit and pineapple went into a bowl


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    Crunchy Red Delicious apples were added


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    Red grapes added more color


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    A dollop of smooth and creamy vanilla yogurt and a plate of Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut cookies (Mom’s version of my Georgia aunt’s ‘rock’ cookies) made for a healthy meal of fruits, whole grains, and protein. Yep. We know how to live! And memories have been made afresh.


    Oatmeal Cranberry Nut Cookies

    Oven: 375 degrees 10 – 15 minutes

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (may substitute 1/3 cup evaporated milk + 1 tsp vinegar)
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup slivered almonds or chopped English walnuts
  • 1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries like Craisins
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs and beat well for 2 minutes. Combine dry ingredients. Then alternate with sour cream and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla extract. Add raisins, oats and nuts and mix with spoon. Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven 10 minutes for soft cookies and 12 to 15 minutes for “rocks” if you like crunchy cookies. Remove from pan to cooling racks immediately.

    Happy Family Time!



    MB
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    Shrimp Etouffée

    Thursday, June 16th, 2011





    Hot Is Relative!






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    When I was in high school, my family spent a glorious week in New Orleans while my father spoke at an education convention there. We stayed in a beautiful, vintage home called the Lamothe House that was the traditional French style home surrounding a courtyard of gardens. I remember that the beds were also French with the tall, mahogany headboards spanning the wall to the ceiling and topped by an ornate mahogany half canopy. We felt pampered and awed by the opulence. That was in the early ’70′s and this gorgeous home is still a thriving bed and breakfast.


    Seeing the Preservation Hall jazz band with Billie and Dee Dee was a treat in an old, ramshackle building with wooden floors and folding chairs. Beignets at the Café Du Monde and meals at The Court of the Two Sisters, Antoine’s and several others that are no longer in business, started me on my love affair with French cuisine and all things Cajun. My favorite is Crawfish Bisque and that recipe will come later, but just for a quick summer meal, I thought I’d show how I make shrimp etouffée. I make a cajun seasoning mix that I store in a glass jar and use as needed. How hot you like your food determines how much cayenne pepper you use. I’m a weenie and Mr. Fix-It has had to swear off of hot food as the doctor has demanded, so cayenne is limited for us but it can be Katie-Bar-The-Door for you if you are brave. Hope you enjoy the recipes.


    Cajun Seasoning Mix

  • 9 Tblsp Garlic Powder
  • 9 Tblsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tblsp Salt
  • 3 Tblsp White Pepper
  • 3 Tblsp Black Pepper
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper according to taste
  • 6 Tblsp Thyme
  • 3 Tblsp Paprika
  • 3 Tblsp Oregano
  • Place all ingredients into a quart jar with a lid. Shake jar until all ingredients are well mixed. Store covered and use as any commercial seasoning.

    Shrimp Etouffée

  • 3 Tblsp real butter
  • 3 Tblsp flour
  • 1 lb large, shelled, raw shrimp
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 Tblsp Cajun seasoning above
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • black pepper to taste


  • Printable Version






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    Press or chop 5 cloves of garlic and set aside


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    In a large, deep skillet, melt butter and add flour to make a roue


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    Stir flour into butter until a smooth paste is created


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    Cook on high heat, continually stirring. The roue will go from a thick paste to a thinner mixture and be very bubbly.


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    Continue stirring and cooking until the color of the roue is a deep caramel color. It will smell slightly burned. Set off of heat.


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    In a second skillet, sauté onions, garlic, bell pepper and celery in 1 Tblsp olive oil. I am using dried peppers and celery here, but fresh is great.


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    When onions are clear and tender, place skillet with roue back onto heat. Add veggies and shrimp and stir.


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    Add 1 Tblsp Cajun seasoning from mixture in recipe above.


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    Add can of chicken broth


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    Add more black pepper to taste. We think that you can’t have too much black pepper! Simmer until liquid is reduced to a nice, thick gravy.


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    Serve Etouffée hot, over rice. Serves 4


    Happy Creole Cooking!



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    MB
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    Processing Onions for Long-term Storage

    Monday, June 13th, 2011





    The Tears I Shed




    I love onions. Such a mundane little vegetable – but it has such a pleasant shape and flavor, especially the Vidalia variety. Georgia has a right to be proud of that little onion. There is no onion sweeter and you can eat it like an apple – if you like onion flavored apples, I guess! Personally, I think the onion is a necessity in cooking because it makes all the difference in the world…well…second only to tons of garlic. I bet you’d love to have an up close and personal conversation with us at the OPC™ digs, eh?


    Onions are one of the simplest veggies to put in a garden. Cheap too! A bundle of onions costs around $1.50 to $4 and offers you anywhere from 50 to 100 sets. I usually put out two or three bundles. Row furrows are dug, fertilizer is sprinkled down the center of the furrows and then chopped in and covered to make a raised row. I plant my onions using a stick in one hand to make a hole and then dropping an onion set with the other hand. I then go back and pull the dirt up around each set using both hands (yes, I wear gardening gloves) which also straightens the onions to standing. In my neck of the woods, I have to plant them deeper than usual because our soil is a sandy loam and dries out really fast in our stiff winds. Once the onions are established, I pull the dirt away from them to expose the top of the bulb. Turning the soil between rows can be done by using a hoe, a mantis or a tiller or mulch can be used as well. This year, we had a dickens of a time keeping a really weird grass in check. Hand weeding around each bulb was a not fun necessity, but this has been an unusual year. The only other maintenance that we perform on our growing onions is pinching off any seed heads if they form and a side dress of 10/20/10 fertilizer every three weeks if there has been much rain. Otherwse, a series of soaker hoses does the trick.


    The nice thing about onions is that you can pick them at any stage of the game. Small onions are great for salads and garnish as ‘green onions’. Medium sized onions are wonderful to throw in with green beans or pintos or they can be left to expand to slicing size.


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    At the later stage of growth, onions have the soil pulled away from the bulb to allow the bulb free room to grow.


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    Eventually, the green tops start to fall over.


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    After the tops fall over, the onions are left for about two weeks before pulling.


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    Onions are easy to pull out of the ground.


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    We use 5 gallon buckets to gather our onions. Makes for easy carrying.


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    I wash my onions a few at a time in a big stainless tub/bowl or in another large bucket. After cutting off green tops no closer than 1 1/2″ from the bulb, I submerge the bulbs in water and use my hand to wash them back and forth.


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    I separate out sizes of bulbs and freeze the smallest ones for seasoning beans, etc. or cut them up for dehydrating. These I prepare, after washing, by removing the roots, the stem and the outer skin.


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    The medium to large ones are left whole to cure on racks for use as fresh onions. The roots and the stem will dry up and will be clipped. These onions will stay fresh until as long as November or December, stored in a cool dark place.


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    The largest are sliced and frozen on cookie sheets covered with wax paper and will be put into freezer bags. These will be used for homemade onion rings, for cooking on the grill and for use in casseroles.


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    Onions for dehydrating are chopped by hand because the food processor makes the pieces too small. The chopped onion is spead out on dehydrator racks. I start the process outside because the smell is overpowering and keeps you from crying. :-) After about 6 hours, I move the dehydrator inside.


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    After drying about 15 to 18 hours, depending on the moisture content, these onions are packaged into jars. Here, I have dried some of both our yellow and white onions. Storage for these dried onions is years. They are wonderful for using in soups and stews but you can also use them in chicken or tuna salad or for seasoning a cooking hamburger by putting a tablespoon or two into a bowl, covering with water and then placing into the frig overnight. You will have rehydrated onions to use like fresh! That is actually what some restaurants do.


    Happy Gardening!



    MB
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    And He Said It Was Good

    Thursday, June 9th, 2011





    God’s Artwork In Photos



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    Way back when I was in college – back when those guys with the triangle hats were signing our country’s documents – I was part of the ‘art scene’ on campus. Though I started out in mini-skirts and knee socks with clunky shoes topped with shiny buckles (ok – so it was the ’70′s; we just thought it was 1776), I quickly understood that there was a reason why art students ‘grunged out’. Good clothes didn’t last too long in a welding bay, a bronze and aluminum foundry, a painting or ceramic studio or a woodworking shop. Overalls and t-shirts became my wardrobe of choice and if I had donned a headband, beads and sandles, I would have fit the part perfectly. As it was, lowly overalls was as grunge as I was willing to stoop.


    My major was painting and my minor was sculpture and everywhere around me was color. I memorized color wheels, color schemes, color theory and color mixing and learned to use color in everything from a brush stroke to convincing the public to buy a soft drink, through commercial art. The study of light and color was fascinating.


    I honestly do not know how anyone who has studied the world around them, through the discipline of the visual arts, can doubt that there is an artist who is so much greater than they. To attempt to put something on canvas, one must take it down to its tiniest attribute and then build up to the whole. The sheer complexity of a blade of grass is incredible. It isn’t just a streak of green – it is a series of hundreds of greens, yellows, browns and even reds and blues, creeping through lights and darks and crevices and shadows. If a painter can reproduce that image onto a canvas, imagine the sculptor who created it for real!


    I’ve been playing with my camera and taking photos of some of those creations that show off God’s great palette of color, found in the fields and in our flower gardens. He understands the idea of complimentary color and monochromatic color because…oh yes…He made those too! And He created this land we call Oklahoma that is a mixture of hills and prairie that most Okies call “God’s Country”, where so many colorful florals can be found. I hope you enjoy the photos and that they give you a moment to just smile and relax.


    In The Pasture



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    In The Garden



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    Happy Flower Gardening!



    MB
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    Blueberry Season In Full Swing

    Sunday, June 5th, 2011





    Blueberry Streusel

    Crumb Cake



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    Several stages of ripening in our blueberry bed




    The blueberries are coming in with a bang this year. They are so big and juicy! Oklahoma’s gonna compete with Maine, I’d say!!


    When I was a girl, my family would go to Cadillac Mountain in Maine and pick wild blueberries to our heart’s content. Wild raspberries and strawberries could be found as well. There was just nothing like standing on that high mound of granite that was covered in short blueberry bushes, loaded with small, ripe berries. The book Blueberries For Sal was a favorite of ours.


    Now, I harvest Oklahoma blueberries – large, plump and sweet. The bushes are much larger than those of the Maine wild blueberries. The berries are wonderful for jelly, muffins, scones and coffee cake and today, I thought I’d share a yummy coffee cake recipe that we like. Canned blueberries work fine in this recipe too. Enjoy!


    Blueberry Streusel Crumb Cake



    For Cake:

  • 1 stick real butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon or orange zest
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose or heavily sifted pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries tossed with 2 tbsp sugar or ¾ cup canned blueberries
  • Confectioners Sugar


  • For the Streusel Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or heavily sifted pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped English Walnuts or pecans
  • Printable Recipe



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    Cream butter, sugar and eggs together


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    Add vanilla and either lemon or orange zest and mix


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    Add sour cream and mix in


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    Add flour that has been mixed with soda, salt and baking powder. Stir


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    Add fresh blueberries that have been tossed with sugar or use canned blueberries


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    Grease a 9” round or square pan with Crisco or other shortening. I use a paper towel to do this. I find that it covers more surface than a brush.


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    Flour the pan by shaking flour around the surface of the pan until all areas are covered. Shake out excess flour. In cookbooks, this is what is meant by “greasing and flouring “ your pan.


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    Meanwhile, melt stick of butter over medium heat and remove from heat


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    Add white and brown sugars and stir


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    Add cinnamon and stir until completely blended


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    Stir nuts into the batter


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    Add flour and stir until everything is totally incorporated. It will be crumbly and sticky.


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    Pour batter into baking pan and crumble topping over the surface of the batter


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    Crumble the topping all the way to the edge of the pan. Place in a 350º preheated oven and bake for 40 – 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife or a toothpick. It should come out clean.


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    Allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes and sprinkle with Confectioners sugar. Serve warm. Leftovers can be cut up and frozen.


    Happy Baking!



    MB
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    Murphy’s Law

    Thursday, June 2nd, 2011





    Murphy’s Law



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    They say that accidents come in three’s. I have no clue who “they” are, but I’m here to tell you that I have scientifically proven that “they” are absolutely correct. Yesterday, there were no accidents. Day before yesterday there were no accidents. But today – well that’s a whole ‘nother story. Yes, there were accidents and yes, there were three of them. Proof enough for me.


    It is with this knowledge that I try never to ask the question, “What else can happen?!” because I have found that as sure as one asks, one receives the answer. I realize now that understanding the first step on the journey down the road to acceptance and serenity, rather than that of anger and frustration, is embracing this equation: For every first mishap there will always be two proceeding mishaps. It’s going to happen, why fight it?


    On that note, this morning, I learned a valuable lesson along with proving this theory. Although the beautiful, tall and glistening pour bottles that house olive oils are pretty to look at, they are no match for a 5/8” thick ceramic tile floor. I found this out as my elbow inadvertently clipped my favorite bottle of oil standing next to the stove, sending it crashing to the floor. I believe the word, “explode” would be an appropriate description of what happened to that bottle. Glass was found tens of feet down the hallway, in an adjoining room and in the potted plant that I’m sure thought it was safe on its stand. But the glass was bad enough without all that oil. Do you realize how difficult it is to clean up glass that is surrounded by puddles of clear – and might I add, expensive – extra virgin olive oil? I gently gathered as much as I could with paper towels and then mopped with floor cleaner, as best I could. It was actually a pointless task in spreading the oil thinly into a larger area. I decided to let it dry and then I would tackle it again with grease-cutting Dawn.


    It was then that Mr. Fix-It came in to inform me of the second variable to my science experiment. “The well-house is flooded,” he said matter-of-factly. “It’s got about four inches of water in it. All of the fertilizer and lime is sitting in water.” I groaned. He had pulled some things out into the yard to let them dry in the heat of the day and I asked him what had happened. Now here, you have to give Mr. Fix-It credit for being a most honest man. He could have told me that wild vandals had come in the middle of the night and turned on the spigot. He could have told me that giant rats, desperate for water, had gnawed through a hose. But no, he ‘fessed up that when he was mowing last night, he had unhooked the hose that goes to the garden watering system without turning off the timer that turns on that watering system. The timer went off last night, as usual, but there was no hose so water just filled the well-house. Mr. Fix-It looked disgusted and I, the very wise woman that I am, knew to keep my mouth shut. He left for work with the cuffs of his pants a little damp, at which point, I returned to prepare for my day of work.


    As I wrote in a couple of posts ago, I am easily distracted. One would hope, however, that my brain could process these two simple disasters as having occurred simultaneously, such that my memory would be nudged as I entered the kitchen with the confident step of one on a mission. One confident step…that is. There was no second step since, as I took that first one, my foot glided effortlessly across the oily surface of the floor. Though I tried to use the other foot to stay balanced, it slid with equal ease and both feet flew into the air as my butt hit the tile unceremoniously. I hit my elbow too. Ouch. As I sat there in that larger, thinner layer of oil, I yelled out to no one in particular, ‘That’s it!!!” Of course, you know at that point I remembered the part about that road to the serenity of acceptance. Well, fine. I cleaned myself up and headed to the chiropractor!


    It is at this point where, despite the mishaps, I do well to practice that ‘attitude of gratitude’. And so, I am thankful that I didn’t break anything, I am thankful that I now have a sparkly clean, albeit well-oiled, kitchen floor and I’m thankful that the well-house is also spic-and-span. I am also sure that these three incidents will open the door for peer review from my fellow scientists. Look for my published experiment in the next issue of Science Monthly where I am sure the “theys” will certainly be happy with my irrefutable proof of their hypothesis.


    Happy Being Careful!



    MB
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