There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Simple Woman's Day Book 25 August 2014


Outside my window...there isn't much sun but oh how glorious the temperatures! It is in the 60's and dryer than it has been for many a morning.  Today looks like a good day to hang my laundry on the line and bring that wonderful outdoor scent inside.

I am thankful for...my children and grandchildren.  Over the weekend I talked to all but one of my children and all of my grand babies!  Technology is the greatest thing next to sliced bread (though I rarely eat bread sliced or otherwise).

I am thinking...about all there is to do in the next two weeks before we fly out to Tacoma.  My granddaughter learned to count to 17 since that was the number of days until she got to be with grandma.  I feel the same anticipation about seeing her, Kaycie, and her parents.

From the kitchen...there will be salmon salad made with the leftovers from Friday on a bed of lettuce with steamed broccoli and tomato slices.  

I am reading...the Master and Commander series.  It is a challenge since I am not at all familiar with nautical language.  But the author writes a good tale and I have to say I am enjoying it far better than the movie...go figure!

I am hearing...insects chirping in the trees, the soft sound of the poplar leaves as they fall to the ground, and the skittering noise of a mockingbird as it runs back and forth in the lawn.

One of my favorite things...learning new things.  Yesterday we took a drive into Oconee County and visited the first presbyterian church built in Pickens Courthouse.  This church has been there since the 1790's and truly was built to stand the test of time.  But the most moving and touching part of the experience was the cemetery that was there. It was full of graves that were relocated when the Keowee dam project was built.  Most of the stones merely had a family name on them. Others simply said "15 graves of the .....family"  I felt compelled to say many prayers for these people who possibly remain unremembered.

A few plans for the rest of the week...complete all my wedding sewing, ship a package to Tacoma so I don't have to pack those items, clean a much neglected house, and get ready for my sister to come visit.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
This phone booth was in a museum that we visited on Saturday.  It is so indicative of a lot of memories and history that the younger generation will never experience.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dressing the girls for a wedding.



Savannah's dress for the wedding.


Kaycie's dress for the wedding.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

                                                         There is a place that calls to me
                                                    white sand, dappled shade and solitude.

                                                               This place is new to me
                                                                 a weekend discovery;
                                                     stumbled upon and known in an instant.

                                                                   Grace led me here
                                                         in answer to the cry of my heart.
                                                       A cry made in silence and intensity
                                                                  both inward groan
                                                                and outward scream.

                                                                  Though alone here
                                                                      never lonely.
                                                                  The silence wraps me,
                                                                    cradling my aches
                                                         and the yearnings of my empty heart.

                                                       The answers both elusive and at hand
                                                                    dwell in this spot.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Escape

There is nothing wrong with escape.  Taking time away from the usual, mundane, ordinary, is often necessary to help the soul and mind reset.  

Sometimes the only way to assimilate and evaluate the happenings of daily life is to step back, walk away, and get a better perspective.


Perspective helps the mind to realize that angle is everything.  Incidents and insults, delivered close up grow to mountainous proportions.

But when the soul and mind can step back, view the larger vista.  That is when truth is revealed and peace can be found.

Escaping, stepping back and letting peace wash over aids in being able to see the little surprises and blessings that are bestowed "just because."


It is the little "just becauses" that inspire a stop to pause. These little gifts are more than what is seen.  They are gifts that are heard and felt as well.

The Simple Woman's Day Book 18 August 2014


Outside my window...the rain is coming down in buckets! Every time that I have ever heard or used that phrase all I can picture is buckets falling from the sky and piling up on the ground.  The rain is piling up if not the buckets.

I am thinking...about family and how relationships change as your children grow older.

I am thankful for...the visit that we had with Ryan this past weekend.  It may seem stupid but I could sit and look at any of my children for hours on end. They don't have to be talking or doing anything profound. It is the fact of their existence that makes me so very happy.

From the kitchen....something will come forth. Right now I have no plan and no real desire to make one. 

I am reading...Father Alfred Delp's prison writings. I thought it appropriate since I too am incarcerated. 

I am hearing...the rain falling.  Even that is so different than back home that I can't help but notice the difference.  I recall when they put the steel roof on the farm house.  The first few times that it rained at night it sounded like rapid gunfire.  Now that I am gone I would happily settle for the sound of machine guns while I am sleeping.  The comfort of familiar sounds, smells, and sights cannot be over rated.

One of my favorite things...being in the woods.

A few plans for the rest of the week...survive.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
If it weren't for this man in my life this difficult situation would be unbearable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More zucchini goodness

I couldn't find my carrot zucchini muffin recipe but I did find this one which is just as good.

Carrot and Zucchini Bars

2 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1/4 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c shredded carrot
1 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla.  Don't worry about clumps of the brown sugar, those will dissolve.  Then fold in the carrot, zucchini, and walnuts.

In another bowl combine the flour, powder, ginger, and soda. Whisk to blend together.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased, 13x9x2inch baking pan.

Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  It is suggested that these be frosted but my guys like them bare and they are certainly moist enough without.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My one and only recipe

I am not a great cook nor am I a consistent one.  My way of cooking things is to throw a little of this and a little of that and see what comes of it.  That is not to say that I don't use recipes. I just don't ordinarily follow recipes.  I have two whole shelves of cookbooks (what was left over when I weeded out before moving here).  Most of them I use as a framework for doing my own thing.  There is however a recipe that I follow, to the letter, and never have I varied from it.  The first time that I made this sauce I knew that it was made in heaven and there was really nothing I could do to improve it.

Mario Batali's Sausage, basil and Sun-dried tomatoes

Makes 4 servings
1/4 c etra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 ounces sweet italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
6 sun-dried tomato halves, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 c dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
12 fresh basil leaves

In a 10-12 inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the sausage is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the fat from the pan, then stir in the tomato paste and wine and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cook your pasta (tastes best over homemade) and drain. Add to the pan with the tomatoes. return to the heat, toss in the basil and stir gently for about 30 seconds.  Serve immediately.

The bright fresh taste of the basil with the intense flavor of the tomatoes is truly a match made in heaven.

The Simple Woman's Day Book 11 August 2014


Outside my window...it is dark, gloomy and very misty. According to the weather people it isn't likely to improve any time soon.  While I am thrilled with the automatic watering of my gardens, the rain and damp shrink my world to the confines of this little house and that is not good. I was born to live in the great outdoors.

I am thinking...about the fact of my shrinking world.  How to remedy this situation. 

I am thankful for...a brother with a hot tub, nieces and nephews that are full of life, and a sister-in-law who is funny, lovely, and interesting.

From the kitchen...there will be some Mario Batali cooking going on today. This kind of weather always prompts the need for some good, hearty, and tasty Italian cooking.

I am reading...poetry. My mind and soul need some serious food.  Shakespeare's sonnets, a little bit of Shelley, and a lot of Donne are just the kind of diet that I have been craving.

I am hearing...the ice maker dumping its latest load of refreshing coldness, the whoosh and splash of rain falling against the window, and the general hum of a house becoming fully awake for another day.

One of my favorite things...open spaces, stately trees, and the sight of mountains rising up from the horizon.

A few plans for the rest of the week...carry on with the life that I am currently leading.  Friday is a holy day of obligation so I must find a way to attend mass.  That hour will be an oasis in the midst of the rest of my week.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
A happy moment on our abortive attempt to take a walk in the woods on Saturday.  My mother may not be able to remember her name but she still remembers that she hates the outdoors! So much for that trip.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lazy is as lazy does.

I really like to cook. I like to eat and since I don't appear as if I have ever missed a meal I think my affinity toward food shows.  But I enjoy sewing even more and since there aren't a lot of people to cook for in my current situation too much cooking can be a bad thing...so I sew.

That being said my husband and mother still have to eat and my conscience won't let me be too neglectful of that duty so there is a lot of lazy cooking going on around here some days.  One day a week I will plan and prep as much as I can for the week's meals.  A new favorite here is what I call egg cups.

I don't remember where I got this idea or even what the original is supposed to be like because I have made so many modifications.

Ingredients:
1 doz. eggs
milk
ham (this can be leftover from another meal or deli slices) or it can be cooked bacon, pepperoni, or shredded up cooked chicken.
cooked potatoes leftover (again this can be leftover mashed, boiled or baked)
cheese of your choice

Either grease or line with silicone baking cups 2-12 count muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350. In the bottom of the muffin cups place your meat, followed by the potatoes.  Beat the eggs and milk together until it is all uniform in color.  Pour egg and milk mixture over the meat and potatoes being careful not to over fill the cups.  Top with cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the egg is set and the cheese is melted. These are good both hot and cold.  I find I have a hard time keeping them around even now that my husband is the only one eating them.

This same idea can be done using crescent roll dough, tomato sauce, and cheese.  I line the cups with the dough, put sauce and the topping of choice in on top, and top with grated cheese.  Bake the same as for the egg cups.

Two easy make ahead meals or snacks that take only a few minutes but yield a great reward.