Monthly Archives: August 2013

Garden Bounty

I love cooking in the late summer!

Every meal starts with a quick trip to the garden to see what’s ripe – and then my creative juices get started!

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Maybe we should start with spaghetti squash – tossed in butter and garlic and Parmesan cheese.

Or some fresh green beans steamed till just tender with a pat of butter melting on the top.

Or maybe a salad with some beautiful red ripe tomatoes and fresh basil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

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There’s even been a ripe watermelon or two – and one teeny tiny cantaloupe that ended up being one of the sweetest and best we’ve had all summer! Too bad there was only one.

Of course there will be poppers with our favorite Tam jalapenos.ย  And fresh sweet peppers to dip in homemade ranch dressing.

But everybody’s favorite is the king of the garden –

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Sweet corn.

Picked and cooked and on a plate steaming hot within an hour.

DSC_0399Then slathered with melted butter and salt and enjoyed.

In abundance.

An all you can eat corn buffet.

It’s late summer in Iowa.

And we’re eating good!

Jalapeno Cilantro Dip

DSC_0006 The peppers in the garden are coming at full speed ahead!

I have a jalapeno (or two) in my egg every morning, fresh salsa with a jalapeno (or two) at lunch and then in the evening – as many jalapeno poppers as I can get away from the children!

I think it’s safe to say that we’re a little obsessed with our Tam jalapenos!

So when I tried this recipe I found on Pinterest – it was love at first bite!

It was smooth and creamy – with a touch of heat at the very end. Perfection!

If you don’t like cilantro (you poor souls!) you could probably substitute parsley. I will say that even my non-cilantro eaters ate some and liked it!

And if the heat of the jalapenos is worrying you – just put fewer in and make sure you remove the seeds and the white (that’s where the heat lives.)

The original recipe calls for one packet of dry Ranch dressing mix – but I always make my own. I guesstimate I used about a heaping tablespoon or two.

Jalapeno Cilantro Dip

6-8 jalapenos (or less)
a handful of cilantro
1 packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise

Slice the jalapenos and remove the white and seeds. Puree the jalapenos and cilantro in a food processor until it looks like a paste.

Add the Ranch dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Mix until well combined.

Chill for an hour and serve – or eat it immediately because you just can’t wait!

This is fabulous on veggies, chips, or crackers, or even as a topper on chicken or a burger.

Enjoy!

Abundant Harvest

There is something very satisfying about harvesting your own food.

Especially when the harvest was years in the making.

Like these luscious peaches – which were just picked from our orchard.

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I could almost weep at the abundance.

We’ve had several years of discouragement.

Rainy years.

Dry years.

Years full of blight.

Years of trusting that someday these trees would bear fruit.

And this year – they did – in abundance.

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It was a harvest worth waiting for.

I see similarities to parenting.

You invest years in your children.

Planting seeds of character and righteousness.

Watering them with prayer.

Waiting for fruit.

There are years of drought when you feel that you are not heard.

There areย  years that are flooded with discouragement.

Then – finally – you see fruit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control.

And you weep in the abundance knowing that your labor was not in vain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 

Working for a Living

Just look at who got a job!

DSC_0317Yup. Our Pedro is the new stock boy at our favorite local grocery store!

He’s learning all sorts of new things – like how to “face” a shelf, how many kinds of hamburger helper there are, and to always, always treat the customer’s lettuce with care! (right Nana Shirley!)

He also gets to carry out groceries. The little old ladies love him!

Maybe it’s his cute smile, or his polite manners.

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But it’s probably his sideburns.

Dagmar likes to do her shopping when he’s on the floor. Of course she asks him to help her find obscure items and always makes him carry out her bags – even if all she got was an avocado. Because that’ s what sisters do.

But the thing I love best about his new job is that he’s learned how to sweep and mop a floor. He even volunteered to mop mine.

Yes. You read that correctly: he even volunteered to mop mine! Oh be still my heart!

And he did a great job! Although while he was sweeping he told me that my broom wasn’t very good – but don’t worry – they sell a very nice one with an attached dust pan.

I can find it in aisle 6, right next to the laundry detergent.

That’s my boy!

Paper Bag Popcorn

brown bag popcornI love popcorn. I mean, I really, really love popcorn.

I could eat it every day and sometimes do!

My favorite way to make it is on the stove in coconut oil with my vintage white mountain popcorn popper. Then I cover it in melted butter and popcorn salt and indulge.

Sometimes I even share. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But – let’s admit – this way of popping popcorn does leave a bit of a mess and is slightly caloric. ๐Ÿ™‚

While we love the ease of microwave popcorn – they are pretty expensive and I’ve heard some talk about unhealthy preservatives.

My solution? Brown bag popcorn.

I saw this on Pinterest and was skeptical – but trust me – it really works.

And it’s so simple!

Just take a brown, lunch size paper bag and pour 1/4 cup of popcorn in it. Fold over the end and put it in your microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Just listen carefully for the popcorn to stop popping.

Done.

I told you it was easy!

Of course my kids always pour their popcorn into a bowl and cover it with melted butter and salt And then they pass the bag on to the next kid in line – because one bag can pop multiple batches of popcorn.

I just bought 100 brown paper bags for less than $2.00. With several batches per bag – that sure beats the price of regular microwave popcorn! And there’s no popcorn popper to wash.

And that my friends is a winner!

Enjoy!