Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mindful Monday: Making Time

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

I feel like I've had enough on my plate lately that I haven't had room for blogging.  But, I've also said many times here that I must make time to be thankful.  So, let's start the week out with another thankful list.

potential for change
sound advice
helpful input
handfuls of wild blackberries
cooler weather
the sound of treetops rustling in the breeze
the smell of a farm (ummm yeah, never thought I would be thankful for/miss that smell)
hills and valleys loaded with trees
vibrant bouquets at farmer's market
a friendly conversation
new books to read
time to play with a few recipes
a thoughtful phone call
abundant provision
a playful twinkle of the eye
learning life lessons
hopeful expectation
clear communication
feeling an inner peace or stillness
support in decision making
fun dishes
sharing recipes
fresh air and sunshine

Food for Thought: "Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't." -Steve Maraboli

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heat-Wave Wednesday

It turns out when you don't have air conditioning the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove or turn on the oven.  I mean, I want to, and I have plenty of recipes to test just piling up.  But seriously, with a near 100 degree heat index I just don't have it in me to add any more heat.

Instead I'm enjoying cold, juicy melon, massive fresh salads and frozen berries stirred into yogurt.  Cereal and peanut butter have been a little too forefront as well.  Anyway, all that to say that I have no recipe for you today.  Cookies on Friday are still questionable, we shall see.  Hmm, cookie dough itself doesn't require an oven, but even that doesn't sound too appealing in the heat.

From sweet, juicy peaches to thirst-quenching melons and insanely sweet cherry tomatoes, I'm definitely enjoying the pure simplicity of what's in season.  And I'm enjoying it so much I haven't given the camera chance to bat an eye before I gobble it up.  So there you have it, no recipe and no pictures. I just felt like saying hello.  So, ummm, hello.  Okay, that is all, carry on with your day.

Food for Thought: "If you really want to eat, keep climbing. The fruits are on the top of the tree. Stretch you hands and keep stretching them. Success is on the top, keep going." -Israelmore Ayivor

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Farmer's Market Friday: Fresh Finds

This week we're taking a break from our Flashback Friday series.  Fresh produce straight from the fields is not something to be messed with.  Of course I'm not saying you can't make something with it, it's just that I prefer my peas and green beans raw and crunchy.

Last Saturday was a perfect morning for a stroll around the Farmer's Market.  Music, color, abundance and fresh, beautiful food; it was all there.  I didn't bring my camera along, but here are a few of the things I brought home with me.

Sugar snap peas.  Sweet and crisp, these peas were delicious straight from hand to mouth.

Leaf lettuce.  Most of this turned into a strawberry salad with balsamic and black pepper.

Rhubarb. Okay, I take back that part about eating everything straight from the field.  While I can eat a bite or two of raw rhubarb, it's not exactly something you snack on.  A slice of rhubarb pie, however, may have qualified as a snack instead of dessert multiple times last week.

Free pectin mixes for making jam.  Ball was sponsoring a booth and giving out small packets of pectin and salsa kits.  Strawberry jam definitely happened this week.

Yum, I love fresh fruits and veggies!

Food for thought: "Reflect upon your present blessings- of which every man has many- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." -Charles Dickens 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Recipeless Wednesday: Strawberry Simplicity

One does not need a recipe for fresh picked strawberries.  They are simply perfect just as they are.  These berries were so sweet, juicy and delicate they instantly melted in my mouth.  Words can not describe their utter perfection.  

We picked 25 pounds of these red beauties, which we believe were the Jewel and Winona varieties.  A few pounds found their way to homemade jam, but most of the berries were eaten straight out of the box.  I ate a good 4 to 6 pounds myself.  In one day.  And yes, it was worth the stomach ache.  

I don't think I could eat 4-6 pounds of berries every day, but I could definitely go for a strawberry spinach salad drizzled with balsamic at least once a day.  Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are meant to mingle.  It may sound odd to you, but they improve each other, drawing out new flavors you don't want to miss.  (Though this particular batch of berries needed no improvement.)  

If I haven't inhaled all the strawberries straight up, then I also enjoy stirring them into lemon yogurt.  In my world strawberries straight out of the field are pure delight.  I may even pick a few more pounds this week, just because I can.  Yes, these berries are a gift that undoubtedly belong on this week's thankful list

Food for Thought: "If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable." -Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mindful Monday: Day to Day Perspective

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

I've been out in the fresh air and sunshine and away from the computer.  And you know what?  It feels great.  Anyway, I'm just dropping in for a quick thankful list.  Here goes:

open communication
farmer's market
bursts of color
a cool breeze
those little cotton seed things that float down from the trees
time with friends
thoughtful provision
going the extra mile
new insights and perspectives
lessons to learn
hope that doesn't disappoint
fresh air
dancing sunbeams
clouds of all shapes and sizes
open fields
cold water
matching socks
hand sanitizer inside an impressively clean outhouse
piano music
reading a magazine outside
soap that bubbles nicely
leaves rustling in the wind

Food for Thought: "You can not find peace by avoiding life." -Virginia Woolf

Friday, July 5, 2013

Flashback Friday: Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Flashback Friday: Revisiting a recipe from long ago

This recipe appeared twice in my great-grandmother's notebook.  On one page she called them "Cookies, Mamma's White" and on another they were called "Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies." If they were old-fashioned even in her day, what does that make them now?  Super-old-fashioned?  And when she called them Mamma's White Cookies does that mean this recipe was from my great-great-grandmother?

Let's just say a few other details have been lost as well.  Both times she left out the flour measurement and instructions. Again.  Yep, it's time for another round of guessing games and recipe testing.

I looked up multiple old-fashioned sour cream sugar cookie recipes.  Having old cookbooks comes in handy, but some of the recipes aren't any more detailed than my great-grandma's.  Once again I found drop cookies and cut-out cookies, so I split the recipe in half and tried it both ways.  The Betty Crocker Picture Cooky Book (which I showed you on our very first Flashback Friday) gave me a good starting point for the cut-out cookies.  I never would have picked an oven temperature of 425, but most of the recipes I found used surprisingly high temperatures.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Random Recipe Wednesday: Instant Frozen Yogurt

I bet you remember the frozen banana "soft-serve" craze of last summer.  I made countless batches of the creamy concoction, but this summer it's time for something new.  Instead of whirling up creamy frozen bananas, I decided to play with frozen grapes.  

Have you ever tried frozen grapes?  You should try frozen grapes.  They're a great snack in the summer heat.  Unlike other fruits they stay semi-soft even when frozen, kind of like bananas do.  With that same frozen-but-not-icy-or-rock-solid texture, I figured gapes could also be turned into a creamy frozen soft-serve.  Of course this had nothing to do with the 2 gallons of frozen grapes in our freezer (you'll never guess what was on sale a few weeks ago).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mindful Monday: A Slice of Daily Bread

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. -Psalm 34:8

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. -Proverbs 16:3

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. -Proverbs 4:23

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. -Matthew 5:6

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. -Psalm 90:14

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. -James 3:17

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith....let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:22-23

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:24-25

Food for Thought: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6