Chicken with Pesto cooked in the slow cooker 'cause it's just too dang HOT!! it ever hot!!!  It is almost beyond belief that it can be this hot in Indiana in June?  The grass is burned up and brown along every roadside.  It it normal for it to get like this near the end of the summer but in June?

So, in my quest not to turn on the oven if I can keep from it I have stumbled upon the suggestion by  to use instead my trusty, low energy, low and slow crock pot for cooking today.

I love to use it I just don't have the habit.  But I am dusting it out today for supper tonight.  I also have defrosted a jar of the pesto I had frozen last week as the fresh basil is suffering enough in the gardens heat without me cutting any more for the tome being.  See  * "Fresh Pesto from the Garden Today" on 6/12/12 for the pesto recipe.

Ingredients for Chicken with Pesto:

6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinned, trimmed of fat
1/2 C. pesto *
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. instant tapioca

Hot cooked pasta of your choice cooked according to package directions.  (At serving time.)

Cut the thighs into serving size pieces.  Arrange the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Using a small bowl combine the pesto, pepper, garlic powder, and tapioca; pour over the chicken.

Place the lid on the cooker and cook on low 1-5 hours.  Serve the chicken and the sauce over the pasta.  Yield 4-6 servings.


Roasted Beets with Feta

Beets, liver, oysters, these are all things that people either love or hate it would seem.  I love them all but beets are tops!  This little recipe is easy and only takes a few simple ingredients.  It is also very doable to peel them after roasting as the outer skin just slips right off.

The sweetness of the roasted beets paired with the tart lemon juice and salty Feta is delicious.

Ingredients for Roasted Beets with Feta:

1 bunch fresh beets, washed well, and  tops trimmed
olive oil
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. Feta cheese
1-2 thinly sliced green onions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread the beets over a half sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  (I line the pan with foil then throw the whole mess away when done.)  Place the beets in the hot oven and roast until fork tender, about 40-50 minutes.    

Cool the beets and peel by slipping off the outer skin.  Cut the larger beets into quarters.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the beets and toss with the onions.  Top with crumbled Feta and serve.  This is delicious both warm and cold.  Serves 2-3.


White Chocolate Walnut Blondie with Maple Butter Glaze

Bar cookies are nice in hot weather as it is a much shorter bake time for one pan,
This sounded so good.  The delay is I hate to heat up the house by turning on the oven!! Supposed to be 107 here Thursday and 105 on Friday.  I finally decided if I was going to make them I better do it today!  Just the thought of the electricity drain the end of the week with every air conditioner in the tri-state area running full out !  In my lifetime I have never seen these temperatures.  I remember 103 a couple of times but not 107!!  Ekk.  We certainly don't want or need a "brown out" or worse in southern Indiana!

I saw this in a paperback by Ron Douglas called America's Most Wanted Recipes.  He had in his own words "copycat" versions of restaurant dishes.  This is my adaptation of one of these.  I just stirred this together by hand and popped it into the oven to bake.

Ingredients for Walnut Blondie:

1 c. sifted flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. soda
1/8 t. salt
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
1 C. packed brown sugar
5 1/3 t. butter melted
1 beaten egg
1 T. vanilla
1/2 C. white chocolate chips

Butter and flour 9" x 9" baking dish or equivalent and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the baking powder, soda, and salt to the sifted flour.  Sift again then add the nuts to the flour and combine well.  Set aside. 

Add the brown sugar and butter to a mixing bowl and combine well.  Add the beaten egg and stir.  Add the vanilla beating until blended.

Stir in the flour mixture beating well to combine.  Add  in the white chocolate chips.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Glaze ingredients:

2 T. soft butter
2 T. real maple syrup
3/4 C. powdered sugar + enough to reach desired consistency

Microwave the syrup and butter together in a glass measuring cup for 30 seconds and stir until melted and combined.  Add enough powdered sugar to reach preferred consistency.  I just wanted a drizzle across the top so I left it fairly loose.  Drizzle across the top of of the Blondie and let set a few minutes before cutting into bars.  Yield 9  bars.

Note:  The cookbook version of this topped the bar with ice cream and added a warm Carmel sauce over all which would also be quite good.  I made it as a cookie but it would be more of a dessert with ice cream and the sauce so it is versatile.


Birthday Cake, BBQ, Crunchy Chinese Salad, & Twice Baked Potatoes Top this Family Birthday Dinner

The recipe for this three layer red devils food cake is given as Brian's Red Devils Food Birthday Cake on 6/11/10.
What a busy day!  This is always the way when a special birthday rolls around.  Everything to be just perfect requires planning and coordination so I am not so tired by the time it gets here to enjoy the event!! As my late Father-in-law always told me, "Growing older is not for sissies!"

God Bless Brian for smoking the pork butt on Saturday as it makes things so much easier on Sunday!!  Not all the mess of that clean up and it is so much easier to pull the pork and cut out any fat or waste when the meat is cold.  The meat is also a lot moister if allowed to grow cold and reabsorb it's own juices.

Smoked, pulled, then slathered with sauce Boston Butt.
The previous post gives the way we prepared the pork.  I do always use Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce as half of the final sauce but in different ways.  I think it is too thick and too sweet but I love the flavor.  I mixed it 50/50 with the sauce Brian had me make as I thought it way too spicy for our crowd.  It worked out fine and there were lots of good comments plus there is only about a tablespoonful left!

These are easily made ahead and can even be frozen then baked.
The twice baked potatoes are always a hit and that recipe is given as a side dish to Roast Beef Au Jus Dinner on 5/31/10.

There is seldom any left when this cake is on the table.
To make Emily's birthday cake special I decided to use her favorite color and decorate her cake using fresh flowers.  It seemed quite the grown up girl kind of a thing to do.  A trip to our local Schnuck's Supermarket and beautiful miniature deep purple carnations looked to be just perfect.  After snipping them just below the bud I rinsed them and dried them.  Shortly thereafter they crowned the cake and showcased the candles. Emily seemed delighted!

The new "do again" hit of the meal was the Crunchy Chinese Salad.  My adaptation comes from a recipe I found on one day last week.  We make an Asian slaw a lot this time of year and this is similar.   What attracted me is the added crunch with more Ramon Noodles than usually called for and the peanut spiked dressing.  Plus, I have cabbages splitting in the garden from the heat and I can use this new twist as a new way to serve it up!

The crunch and the peanut flavored dressing sets this salad in a class of it's own.
Ingredients for Crunchy Chinese Salad:

2-3 pounds of Chinese Cabbage or green and red cabbage shredded
5-6 green onions with tops sliced
3 pkgs. Ramon noodles
1/2 C. butter
1/4 C. pine nuts or sliced almonds
1/4 C. sesame seeds


1/2 C. + 1 T. canola oil
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. rice vinegar
2 T. soy sauce

Note:  The benefit of using the  Nappa Cabbage (Chinese Cabbage) is that the leaves are very porous and soak up the dressing beautifully.  But it is quite flavorful with it's green cousin.

Remove the core from whichever cabbage you are using and shred it to you families liking.  Place this in a large bowl and mix in the sliced green onions then set aside in the refrigerator. (You may want to put this in a plastic bag for now until serving time.)

Place the three blocks of Ramon noodles in a large (gallon size or bigger) heavy plastic bag and pound them into small pieces using a rolling pin or smooth sided meat tenderiser.  Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add the broken noodles, nuts, and seeds then brown them lightly stirring constantly as not to burn.  Set them aside to cool. 

Using a small pan measure the oil, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce into it over medium-high heat.  Stir to melt everything together and bring to a full boil.  Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and cool fully.

When you are ready to serve toss the cabbage, green onions, the Ramon mixture, and dressing all together until well coated.  Serve immediately.  Yield 12-15 servings.  Enjoy.


Pulled Pork Tops the Requested Birthday Menu this Busy Weekend.

Pork Butt Lazily Slow Roasting in the Smoker.
Our Granddaughter turns 17 this weekend and she has requested this menu for her birthday dinner on Sunday.

Pulled Pork
Twice Baked Potatoes
Creamed Peas
Relish Tray with Homemade Ranch Dip

Triple Layer Red Devils Food Cake

I ordered a pork butt from my favorite butcher Randy Pearson and picked it up Friday afternoon.  He removed the bone, cut our some of the silver skin and fat,  sprinkled in a bit of seasoning and tied it all up for me.  I set it to brine overnight in the following mixture:

Brine Ingredients:

3 C. apple cider vinegar
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. Louisiana Hot Sauce
4 C. hot water

Dissolve all of the brine fixings in a large bowl and submerge the pork butt over night.  Cover well with plastic wrap.

Locally Grown Donut Peaches, Nectarines, and Peaches all from Engelbrecht's 4th at the Farmer's Mkt.
Saturday morning I am off to the Farmer's Market in Newburgh.

Next step is Brian is firing up the smoker and putting on the pork while I am gone!  he got it on at about 225 degrees at 10:15 AM.  At around 2:00 PM he took it off a few minutes and wrapped it in foil and returned it to the low slow heat.

I am making BBQ sauce, and here is the ingredients list:

8 Oz. tomato sauce
1/2 C. spicy honey mustard
1 C. ketchup
3/4 C. molasses
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/2 C. wine vinegar
1/2 C. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 C. butter
2 T. Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 T. paprika
1 T. Lowery's seasoned salt
11/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. Chili powder
1/4 t. black pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook at least 30 minutes.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.  THIS IS VERY SPICY.  Yield 1 quart.

The Birthday Cake
Meanwhile I baked the often requested three layer Red Devils Food Cake.  Posted under, "Brian's Red Devils Food Birthday Cake" on 8/14/10.

Tonight at 5 PM we took the pork off and moved it to the refrigerator.  Tomorrow I will pull it and add sauce.  It is so much easier and I think better when you handle it if it is cold. I will heat it back up in the oven in a covered casserole with sauce.

Tomorrow I will set the table, pull the all ready cleaned veggies together on a platter and make up a batch of fresh dip.  Then make the twice baked potatoes and it will be dinner for Emily.  Thinking of slicing a bowl of fresh peaches to go with the cake.  We will see how ripe they are tomorrow.  I wonder if a 17 year old girl would rather have some decorations on this cake?  Um?


Fried Cabbage, Easiest One Pot Meal, and Everyone Here Loves it!

This is an idea that evolved from one of those little cookbooks groups publish to raise money for their organizations.  It was called Cabbage Throw-All in 1978 and was from "Food Tales from Rolling Hills"  a Nursing Home facility raising money for their arts and crafts department.  They had a short paragraph directing you to fry whatever you have on hand vegetables with whatever you have on hand meats combined with cabbage and topped with prepared Ramen noodles.

What I have found most interesting is that when my kids were little and would not eat vegetables this they loved??  To this day if I make it everyone loves it and there are happy smiles all around.

1/2 head green cabbage shredded
1 large onion diced
3 carrots shredded
1 bunch green onions sliced
1/4 head of red cabbage shredded
3 boiled red potatoes with peels left on
1 pound smoked sausage sliced
3 T. oil or bacon drippings
Black pepper
Soy sauce

Heat oil in large flat bottomed pan and stir fry sausage and potatoes until browned.  Add the vegetables and stir fry 5-6 minutes until tender crisp.  Season to taste with soy sauce and black pepper.  I have never made the Ramen noodles but I am sure they would be great too.

NOTE:  This is just what I had on hand last night.  You can use any meat and any vegetables with cabbage for this.


Monster Bug in the Pole Bean Patch!! EEEKKKKK!

An invasion has occurred just less than 1 mile north of the Ohio River in my garden.  I had noticed earlier in the week a couple of enormous beetle like insects on the undersides of some of the upper leaves atop the trellis of pole beans.  At first I likened them to birds roosting as I saw them first thing in the morning and they disappeared soon thereafter? It puzzled me. 

At 8::00 this morning I stealthily slipped into the garden,  past the bees on the cucumber trellis and the pepper plants, to find them again!  I was armed with the camera a shoot a few less than noteworthy photos of them with the intent of using the photos to look online and identify the "buggers".

When I Google searched for "Southern Indiana Garden Pests" the most promising result I deemed was Purdue University's guide to identifying Home Owner's garden pests.  The first attempt was in the category for beans.  Not there.  I looked on every page they have for every plant type and every insect and was not able to find him.  AND IT IS NOT LIKE HE IS A LITTLE BUG?  He looks to be just under an an inch long and about 3/8 inch wide.  Perhaps I missed him or overlooked him,  but I saw nothing this size that looked like my new neighbor.

If you know what this is and how to dissuade him from eating my garden please advise.  I have emailed a photo to Purdue and asked for assistance but it is summer vacation there too?  Not sure anyone is there to help.

I do think maybe I have seen this insect before but not commonly in my garden.  At my age it could have been anyplace over a long span of time!  Thank you friends and readers!


It's name is Giant June Bug not,  it is a giant June bug!! I am using Sevin at his suggestion and hope it will solve this infestation.  Thanks go out to Pam and to Larry.


Sassy Water, A Lemonade, So Refreshing and Proported to be an Aid in Weight Loss

I came upon this several nights ago browsing Pinterest, (YES, I TOO AM HOOKED). The origin is  I cannot tell you the country or the language but it does say it is a refreshing lemonade and aids in weight loss in the caption in English.  It is quite lovely steeping in my refrigerator.

This morning after doing my out of doors chores I was hot, sweaty, and tired and thought to try this for the first time.  It was really different.  Hints of the mint, lemon, ginger, and cucumber were totally refreshing as I enjoyed the whole glass.  I think you were just supposed to drink some every day and that was that.


2 L.  ( 1 L. is about 95% of a quart)   So, I used a scant 1/2 gallon and called it close enough!
1 medium cucumber washed and sliced into rounds
1 lemon washed and sliced into rounds
10-12 fresh mint leaves washed
1 t. fresh grated ginger

Combine all of the above ingredients in a pitcher or jar and cover.  Steep in the refrigerator overnight then drink some each day.

Don't have a clue as to if this works for weight loss.  I just found it refreshing and attractive!


Starting Rosemary and Herb Cuttings Using Rooting Hormone

Tarragon, Sage, and Thyme are added to my "rooting" windows.
I get a bee in my bonnet every once in a while and go off on a tangent and thus it has been with propagating cuttings of herbs.  I imagine fragrant pots of herbs on the front steps, on my window sills and in my garden as well as in huge pots on the back patio.  I am addicted to their smell and love to snip them into all sorts of dishes these days.  I am rustling up a pot of corn chowder this evening and will grab chives and parsley to embellish with.

First thing this morning I went to the garden and tidied up a bit.  Made sure every climbing tentacle was wrapped and heading in the right direction!  Then the suckers were all pulled from the tomatoes and I had to force myself to stay out of the basil as it has an allure all it's own.

 Then it was snip, snip.  First the mint, (yes, I know it is terribly easy to start more but of well..)  then the rosemary, tarragon, and thyme.  I don't know if it will make roots but I dipped the tip of each stem from which I had stripped the bottom leaves into rooting hormone then into a small jar of water.

How lovely the house smells!  And  the jars of herbs in my 3 dinning room windows are very appealing to me anyway.  Who knows what anyone else might make of this?

More Rosemary and Basil.  
We should know how this project will fare in the next 2 weeks as the basil forms roots beautifully in that period  of time and that will be my measuring stick.  Until then.....

Oh yes, take a peek at the terrific roots in the close up of the basil jar!!  Great results on my third batch.  

Aunt Betty's Penny Pincher Fabric Softener

Do you remember Aunt Betty?  She is a lovely and fun Aunt to have.  Actually she is my husband's Dad's brother's second wife and we love her.  Both Uncle Gene and Betty were widowed and met, and fell,  and you know the rest of the story.  Gene is one of the luckiest men I have ever seen to have been married to two such WONDERFUL ladies!  She is now quite famous for having given us all "Aunt Betty's 1-2-3 Cake in a Mug."

Anyway I am fortunate enough to have her occasionally share tidbits, recipes, helpful hints, and so forth with me.  This one comes from one of her daughters who I hear is quite frugal, an admirable trait in these times especially!

I made this up yesterday and tried it today.  It is terrific.  I used Suave hair rinse and hot tap water and plain old white vinegar.  I expect it made a little over 3 quarts and I have under $2.00 in it.  Wow!

Here is the ingredient list and directions for Penny Pincher Fabric Softener:

6 C. very hot tap water
2 C. inexpensive hair conditioner
3 C. white vinegar

Combine the hot water and hair conditioner and whisk until the conditioner is dissolved.  Pour into a washed and rinsed 1 gallon plastic milk jug.  Add the vinegar and shake well.  Use about 2 T. softener with an extra large load in the rinse cycle.  Less for smaller loads.

It has occurred to me this is a wonderful way to use up amounts of leftover conditioner as well as that received as a gift that one might not want to use but not want to waste it either??  I also want to add that years ago when there were 5 of us living here I used to add 1 C. of white vinegar to my rinse cycle to cut down on the amount of lint in the dryers lint filter.  You would be amazed and the difference it makes. 

Happy days.  I love to save anywhere I can so I can splurge somewhere else.  If you try this I would love to know how it works for you. 


Fresh Peach Pie Season in Indiana

Fresh Peach Pie
I always think of my Grandma making this kind of pie for some reason?  Don't know why, but it is a REALLY GOOD pie.  Brian said he wanted on and since I have a bounty of fresh peaches this year I was happy to make it for him.  Our youngest son Joel was happy to see it on the counter waiting to cut.  Here is how I made it.

Prepare your favorite pie crust or one of mine, Cherry Pie and Crust, 7/710  or Pastry for three Pie Crusts, 2/12/12.

Prepare 6 C. fresh ripe peaches (peel, pit, and slice)
1 lemon juiced
4 T. flour
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 to 3/4 C. sugar (depends on sweetness of the fruit) + more for sprinkling
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.   Roll the bottom crust, draping into the pie plate but do not trim.  Set aside.

Squeeze the lemon into the bottom of a large bowl and toss the peaches well in the juice.  This will prevent the peaches from becoming dark.  Add the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  Stir together until well combined and spread into the waiting crust.  Dot the fruit with bits of the butter evenly.

Roll the top crust and either cut vents into a solid crust or cut into lattice.  Place the top crust and crimp the edges, then trim.  Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the fruit is seen to be bubbling.  Remove from the oven to cool.  Serve warm or cold, plain or topped with ice cream or whipped topping.  Serves 6-8.

Slicing Brownie Bar Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches for Dad's Day

Just cut the layers to size and serve them up to waiting smiles.
My husband and our children and Grandchildren all love ice cream and anything that has ice cream in or on it.  It only seems fitting that in this season of 90 degree days home made ice cream sandwiches would be fitting.  I had thought of doing this before using brownies but never quite got to it.  Several article's on ice cream treats caught my eye in Martha Stewart's Summer Special Edition of Everyday Food this past week while waiting for one of my Grandchildren at their Golf lesson.

Here is my adaptation of their recipe:

1 stick of melted butter + more to butter the pan
1 C. sugar
1 large eggs
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa
2 pints softened ice cream  ( oh my what flavors to choose?)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and butter a half sheet pan 12" x 15".   Line the pan with parchment paper and overlap 2 " on all sides.  Butter the paper.

Using a medium sized bowl whisk the cooled butter and sugar together then add the salt and eggs.  Add the flour and sugar and stir just until combined.

Spread evenly on the prepared pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes until done and starting to pull away from the pan.   Cool for 5 minutes.  Using paper overhang transfer onto cooling racks.  Cool completely.

Move the brownie to a work surface.  Cut in half crosswise.  Cover the pan with a large sheet of plastic wrap and place one cake half on it.  Spread with softened ice cream then invert the remaining brownie half upon it.  Wrap the large ice cream sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. 

At serving time unwrap and cut into 12 pieces.  To store, wrap each sandwich in plastic and return to the freezer for up to 1 week.  If you want to freeze for longer place the plastic wrapped sandwiches in a freezer storage bag and freeze marking with the date and contents.

This recipe will certainly make me "Brownie Points" with the family.
 ( My bad.)


Green Beans and Chicken Stir Fry

I never can find enough new and interesting ways to use green beans or blueberries.  This stir fry is a little different and really enjoyed by everyone I have made it for.  I always think of old friends,  or meals  shared, and gatherings when I make a dish and friends and family I may not have seen for a while.  My old boss and friend Natalie comes to mind when I make this one as she LOVED it!  So, where ever you are and whatever you are doing Nat, I am thinking of you today.


1 pound chicken breast or thighs sliced for stir fry (skin and bones removed)
1 pound fresh green beans washed, stemmed and broken
1 large sweet onion cut to your preference
3 T. cornstarch
3 T. soy sauce
1 t. garlic powder
1/2  t. black pepper
1 C. cool water
1 T. bead molasses (optional, for color)
2-3 T. vegetable oil or chili oil

4 C. prepared rice

Start the rice according to package directions.  Draw the water and add to a medium bowl.  Add the soy sauce and stir.  Add the cornstarch, spices, and bead molasses and mix well, then sit aside. Meanwhile heat wok or large flat bottomed pan and add oil.

Stir fry the chicken until no longer pink then add the green beans and onions and continue to cook.  When the vegetables are tender crisp I turn off the heat until the rice is done.  When the rice is ready turn the heat back up and quickly heat through.  Add the reserved sauce and bring to a boil stirring until thickened and clinging to the vegetables.  Spoon over hot rice and serve.  Yield 3-4 servings.  Pass additional Soy Sauce at the table.  This is also good over Chow Mein Noodles or any noodle your family enjoys.

Helpful Hint:  I almost always break, blanch, shock, and drain my green beans right away when I get them then store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them.  It makes the actual cooking go even quicker. 


Hawaiian Bread in the Bread Machine

This loaf is sweet and fragrant and has a lovely "chew" and texture.
I came across this recipe while perusing Suburbhomestead's Blog.  I was inspired to give it a whirl and made it my own!

Ingredients for Hawaiian Bread made in the Bread Machine and Baked in my oven:

1 C. Scalded 2 % or whole milk
1 large egg (from local farmer if possible)
2 T. butter
1/2 C. vanilla sugar ( just add a tiny drop of vanilla if you do not have this made up)
3/4 t. kosher salt
3 C. King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
4 t. Laura Brody's bread dough enhancer or powdered gluten
1 scant T. instant yeast

Add the ingredients as your bread machine maker suggests and set the machine on the dough cycle.

Upon completion of the cycle remove and shape to a loaf of your choosing. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F for at least 10 minutes.  I use a baking stone for round loaves so I put it into the oven when I set it to preheat.  When the loaf has been shaped I set it upon parchment paper spread across a  peel or cookie sheet.  Sprinkle the paper with a bit of corn meal or flour place the loaf then cover it for the rise of 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

After the dough has risen I slide the parchment from the peel onto the hot stone and bake for 35-40 minutes until done. (I like a deep dark crust.)  After removing from the oven brush the top with additional soft butter if desired.

Do not be afraid to open your bread machine and touch the dough.  Because of the variance in humidity and flour you may need to add as much as 1/2 cup additional flour.  The dough should not be sticky but soft like a baby's bottom.

Note:  This smells like heaven baking.  The lingering smell of the yeast and hint of the sweet vanilla, aha.

Tending the Garden Today or Playing in the Dirt with Doris

My morning routine for the past few weeks has been to get outside for chores early in the day before the sun beats down and the temperature shoots up!  Several times in recent days I have enjoyed the pleasure of my next door neighbor, Doris' company.  She and I are in the neighborhood of close to the same age and had struck up a friendship and bond over the course of our years as neighbors.

Calamities have risen on both sides of the fence and we have helped and comforted each other through it all.  Aren't good neighbors such a blessing!

Well anyway, she gets to tending her stuff and I mine and we visit and chat and enjoy each others tales of recent family goings on.....just like a sitcom of yesteryear.  We wave at the young Mothers as they load up their children and hurry off,  as memories of our days of being young Mothers flash through our minds.

A couple of days ago we blabbed and pulled weeds and blabbed some more.  It's a girl thing you know.  This morning we marveled at a tiny little cucumber nestled just above it's lovely yellow blossom!  We awed at two tennis ball sized green tomatoes.  Then we watched in horror as the beetles held an orgy on the pole beams,  literally!  An orgy!  We admired the shinning green heads of cabbage as big as grapefruits!

So I will share these lovely moments and a few garden shots with all of you today and encourage you to meet and greet and get to know your neighbors.  My most wonderful best friend of the last 30 years started as my neighbor across the street and we met chasing a dog.  So good neighbors are a great thing.  I wouldn't want to let  "neighboring"   become another lost tradition in these days of cyber living.


Dog Bath on the Patio, or a Dog's Tail.

YES, I am a Good Girl and I Got a BATH!
Yes, after thinking about this for a good week or so today I committed to giving Molly a bath.  The issue at hand has been if I wanted to do this as always by placing all 35 pounds of her in the bathtub.  Then having to clean up the mess from having done it that way.  Or, I have thought it warm enough to bathe her out of doors on the patio and keep her outside until her lovely long curls were dry.

I opted to adventure out back!  I thought that by assembling a large bucket of warm water plus two large (a couple of gallons each) watering cans of warm water and the back up of the hose if needed I could make this work.

Off I trudged.  Two of her favorite dog treats in one pocket, the camera in my other pocket, the leash looped across the back of my neck, and a watering can of warm water in each hand.  After delivering these out of doors I slipped back inside with Brian's big blue work pail and filled it with warm water from the Jacuzzi. Then grabbed the dog shampoo on the way back out of doors.  Lastly I slid the access panel shut so she cannot reenter the house until she is dry.

My plan was to loop the leash around the heavy wooden rocking chairs that stand on the patio then attach her to the business end as I sat down in the chair to further corral her.

Molly being the good girl she is, sat right down when asked to do so.  Then I gave her the first treat.....the Annie bar the door!!  When I "showered" her with warm water she was literally "fit to be tied."  The shock and awe quickly subsided as I stroked her and applied the suds.  Actually, I think she loved it as there was no further flutter from her.  More like a swoon!

Thus there we were in the sunlight as it filtered through the trees and a gentle breeze fluttered the leaves.  Molly was having a ball and enjoying every minute of this!  As I finished up scrubbing her down she didn't mind a bit when I showered her with first the remaining warm water from the bucket that that from the watering cans. 

YES, I know how to shake, shake, shake.
I quickly loosed her from the leash and the shaking commenced with great fervor! She looked back at me and I heard her swish as she dashed up the side steps and flew across the back yard like a streak!
She was having a ball as she dried and ran like the hunting dog she is.

All the while I am thinking this is the way to go!!  No dog hair in the tub drain.  No dog shaking off water through the house.  No splattered water and paw prints all over the bathroom.  Success is sweet.

And of course Molly is thinking all of the while, "I'm out of here."  And she was.

Top Posts ( I really got a kick out of this and hope you do too!)

Fruit Cream, a lovely salad.
It is so very interesting to me what takes off and gets the most attention from those of you who are so kind as to follow this little blog.  I go into the statistics and marvel at the things I never dreamed would be of interest.

One lesson I have learned is that I do not have a clue as to what to expect in the way of reaction.  Therefore I am very interested when readers, friends, and others ask for or make suggestions, and comments about things they would like to see explored or shared.  I welcome you to do so.

I decided to share this with you so I searched out this morning the top read posts ranging all over 900 and up to the hundreds of thousands of hits as it is such a diverse list of titles.  Some are regular blog posts (listed under Topics) and some are pages (found at the the top right on the first page of this blog).  In all there are 7 pages and posts that meet the criteria.

Chocolate Scratch Cake in a mug.
#1 Post is Aunt Betty's 1-2-3 Cake in a Mug

#2 Page is Helpful Hints for Scrubbing Bathtub and other.....

#3 Post is Fruit Cream, a lovely fruit salad

#4 Post is Chocolate Scratch Cake for One in a Mug

#5 Page is Easiest Stove Cleaning for Enamel Tops and.....

#6 Chocolate Chocolate Pudding Cake

#7 Page is Produce Codes Explained

This is not to say there are not tons more posts and pages of interest.   More interesting numbers are that there are 490 published posts, 488 published comments, and 234 followers.  The blog was first published on 4/19/10 so we are a little over 2 years old.

Chocolate Chocolate Pudding Cake.
So thank you all.  If you would like to look at any of these topics you can click directly onto the "PAGES" section in the top few inches at the top of the right hand column.  Or type the "BLOG" subject into the finder box in the lower portion of the right column.

Thank you my friends for making my days such fun with this.  I leave you now to go give Molly, our dog, her bath this fine sunny day.  Hummm.....sounds like an interesting if not comical upcoming post.