Thursday, December 31, 2015


Happy New Year!!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hermits filled with Raisins!
Are you looking for a homemade cookie to share during this Christmas season that is baked in one cookie pan???  A cookie that is easy to prepare & is ever so yummy???  Think raisins, molasses, ginger & cloves.  It's ingredients say Christmas!!!  Ah, Hermits!  At this time of year we see the commercially packaged brands sold in grocery stores.  Oh, forget purchasing a package!  Bake your own Hermits that are filled with Raisins!

Use your electric mixer, because the dough is stiff.  After making the dough, add the Raisins into the batter using a large spoon.  Then divide the dough into thirds.  Make a large log from each third of dough.  Place the logs in a cookie pan- one in the middle & the other 2 on each side.  Then, flatten each log.  Top each log of dough with the beaten reserved Egg Yolk.  The Egg Yolk gives the Hermits the glossy topping after baking. 

Top flattened logs with Egg wash before baking.
After baking cool for about 15 minutes.  Then, cut each log into slices on a diagonal.  I toss the end pieces, because they can become crispy after cooling. 

After cooled, cut in slices on a diagonal.
Store in an airtight container.  Quite often I place 4 Hermits in a freezer bag to defrost & enjoy in January.  It's quite the treat finding them on a cold snowy day!

  Oven:  375°F     Time:  23- 25 Minutes

3/4 Cup solid Crisco Shortening
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 Tablespoons Water
2 Eggs – (Reserve about 1 teaspoon for coating)
1 Cup Raisins
3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves 

  1.  Using mixer, beat Shortening, Sugar, Molasses & Water. Beat until creamy.
  2.  Reserve about 1 teaspoon of Egg with a little Yolk. Add Eggs & beat.
  3.  Now add Baking Soda, Spices & Flour. Flour is added 1/4 Cup at a time and mixed into batter.  Otherwise you will be peering through a white mist. :)
  4.  Fold in Raisins using big spoon or spatula.
  5.  Spray PAM on a large cookie pan.
  6.  Divide dough into three pieces. Make three logs of dough on cookie pan, flatten.  Leave about 1½ ” border on each end. Dough is very sticky.
  7.  Coat top with reserved Egg – use back of teaspoon to spread.
  8.  Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 23- 25 minutes (25 minutes in my gas oven).
  9.  Cool 15 minutes & cut into diagonals. I throw away end pieces- too hard after cooled.
  10.  Remove from cookie pan and store in a container after cooled. 
Hermits are just the best!  They are another fave family cookie!  Bake a batch this week to share with your family & friends.  They are just so good & taste oh so much better than the commercially packages brands.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies

Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies
It's time!!!  Time to bake a batch of Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!!!  Find your Nutmeg & Sour Cream along with colored sugars, your rolling pin, rolling mat & fave cookie cutters.         

These cookies are oh so yummy & light because Sour Cream is an ingredient.  It's the time of year with much to do & the "2 day steps" in making these cookies makes it ever so easy!   

On Day 1 the dough is prepared & refrigerated.  I wrap it in plastic wrap & also foil wrap before refrigerating.  Day 2 is baking day!  After baking & cooling, these yummy cookies can be packaged/ labelled/ placed in your freezer.  Now, that's an extra plus!  It's great to have delicious Christmas cookies just waiting in the freezer to share with your Christmas guests!

What cookie cutter will be used next???
These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are just the best!  Now, I also decorate a few hearts & bells with purple & green sprinkles.  It's a sweet reminder & memory of baking & including the hearts & the bells in my son's & daughter- in- law's Welcome Bags (for their wedding guests) using their wedding colors.  For their special occasion, 4 batches of batter was prepared/ refrigerated and then baked the next day.  The cookies were placed in my freezer, then defrosted when needed to package & place in the Welcome Bags for their overnight guests.

For the Welcome Bags!
***I use Unsalted Butter & Fat Free Sour Cream when making the dough.  If/ when these cookies are prepared with Margarine, the dough is sticky & difficult to roll out.  

One day this week my kitchen will have the great aroma of Nutmeg as the pans with these cookies will be baking!  Surprise your family & friends this year with the best tasting Sugar Cookie:  Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!  The recipe is below.  Have FuN decorating!!!     

Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies
Oven:  375°F
Yield:  About 5 dozen, depending on size

4 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (can be Fat Free)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Colored Sugars for Decorating
Cookie Cutters


Day 1-
  1. In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg. 
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time.
  5. Add in Vanilla and Sour Cream. Beat on Medium until well combined. Dough will be stiff
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap, wrap dough. 
  7. Place wrapped dough on aluminum foil and wrap well.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.  
Day 2-
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Unwrap dough and cut into four parts.
  3. On well floured surface, roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters. 
  4. Place cookies on pan/ sheet 1" apart. (Maybe 12 cookies to a sheet.)
  5. Sprinkle with colored sugars.
  6. Bake 10 - 11 Minutes. Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown.
  7.  Remove with spatula to wire cooling racks. 
  8. When cool, store in airtight containers.  
Oh yes, there's always sampling going on in my kitchen!  Hey, a taste test is an important part of baking cookies! 

Put Sour Cream on your grocery list & bake a batch of these Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!!!  Don't forget the sprinkles!!!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Festive Chicken Salad Platter

Festive Chicken Salad Platter
Cold Salad Platters are the best!  They taste especially good when it's the beginning of December in New England & you've enjoyed grilled Chicken the day before.  December could bring any surprising weather for us, but Saturday brought temps in the low 50°'s F & we enjoyed grilled chicken for dinner.  There were a few slices remaining- Yum!

At this time of year when the produce purchased in grocery stores is not as fresh or tasty as our local summer produce, a ripened Pear tastes so good!  One was in our fridge!     

It was perfect timing for a cold salad platter the next day!  It was just e-a-s-y!  Salad Greens served with chunks of grilled Chicken & also fresh Pear chunks.  A few unseasoned cooked Green Beans were added in.  Colorful Craisins,  yummy Pecans & a little Feta Cheese was sprinkled on top.  Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled over it.  This dressing has become our fave. 

What a yummy dinner salad!  It was made from "leftovers" & staples in my pantry & fridge!    
We may be enjoying these two entrees again this month.  If it's comfy outdoors to grill during the dinner hour, we surely will.

Balsamic Vinaigrette  

1/2 Cup Olive Oil for salads & marinades
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Dash Black Pepper

Optional:  1 Tablespoon Raspberry Jam or Jelly

***Salad Dressing Mixing/ Shaking Container

  1.   Place Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar in shaker container.
  2.   Add dash of Black Pepper.
  3.   Optional:  Add 1 Tablespoon Raspberry Jam or Jelly.
  4.   Place cover on container.
  5.   Shake, shake, shake & shake again. 
  6.   Drizzle over salad.
  7.   Enjoy!
Note:  If adding optional Jam or Jelly, shake container until Jam or Jelly is dissolved.

I store my Balsamic Vinaigrette in my fridge.  About 1/2 hour before using again, I place on my counter,  so it comes to room temperature.  Shake, shake, shake until blended together & enjoy again. 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

~Tasty Treats~

Tasty Treats
Are you baking a pie to enjoy tomorrow on Thanksgiving?  Do you have extra pie dough?  Use that extra dough!  Roll it out & bake a few Tasty Treats!  They are so yummy & filled with Craisins & Raisins!  Yum!

Tasty Treats

Time:  18- 20 Minutes            Oven:  350°F 

Extra Pie Dough
Brown Sugar
Ground Cloves

  1. Using a rolling pin roll out the extra pie dough.
  2. Sprinkle on top 2- 3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar.
  3. Then sprinkle on Raisins & Craisins.
  4. Find your Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ground Cloves.  Sprinkle on top.
  5. Then, starting from the opposite end, start rolling the pie dough towards you, by hand.
  6. You will have a log.
  7. Cut into about 1" slices.
  8. Place on a cookie sheet & bake for 18- 20 minutes in a 350°F oven.
  9. Cool on a rack.
  10. Enjoy!   
What a delicious treat!


Monday, November 23, 2015

~Cranberry Bread~

This book has my fave Cranberry Bread recipe!
Pieces of chopped fresh cranberries combined with the taste of orange!  Oh Yum!  This Cranberry Bread is still my fave recipe.  For a long time I've baked this treat for Thanksgiving Day.

Years ago my oldest son came home from elementary school with a recipe.  That was unusual!  I know that fractions can be taught to children while cooking, but he had not been cooking.  His school librarian had read a Thanksgiving story to his first grade class.  When she finished every student was given the recipe for the Cranberry Bread that was in the story.  We had cranberries in our fridge, the recipe looked good, so during that Thanksgiving break, he & I baked this yummy bread.

After that Thanksgiving Day the book was borrowed from our local library & the story was interesting! Years later, when I wanted to purchase it for our grandsons, I learned that it was no longer in print.  Then, a couple of years ago there was the book:  CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING by Wende & Harry Devlin.  Guess what???  Two copies have been purchased- one for the boys & one for me!  :)

On the back side of the book jacket the delicious recipe is printed.  When baking this yummy quick bread, I use Egg Whites, no Orange Peel & all Cranberries.

Below are my "for best results tips" for this yummy bread:
  • Wait at least 5 hours after it has cooled to slice & eat.
  • If baking two breads, double recipe and stagger the pans in the oven.
  • This bread Does Not Freeze Well.
  •  Use Fresh Cranberries, not frozen.

Cranberry Bread

                         adapted from CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING
                             by Wende & Harry Devlin

Oven:  350° F                 Time:  1 Hour & 10 Minutes

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Butter/Margarine, softened
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg) beaten
3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Package Fresh Cranberries (rinsed in cold water and chopped)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with PAM.
  3. Rinse Cranberries in cold water (using a colander).
  4.  Chop Cranberries coarsely.
  5.  Combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt and Baking Soda in large bowl. 
  6.  Cut in Butter/Margarine (with pastry blender or two knives) until mixture is crumbly.
  7.  Add Egg Whites (or Egg) and Orange Juice and stir until moist.
  8. Add chopped Cranberries to batter and stir in.
  9.  Spoon batter into loaf pan.
  10.  Bake at 350° F for 1 Hour and 10 Minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out   clean.
  11.  Cool on rack for 10 Minutes.
  12.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.
  13.  After cool, wrap in foil.
I hope you have a chance to bake this Cranberry Bread sometime before the end of 2015 if not now!  What a treasure to find in a children's book.  I'll be baking my bread tomorrow.  

 Thank you Wende & Harry Devlin, Mrs. Pratt & Chris for all playing a role in giving me this great recipe!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Bake a Butternut Squash Bread!

Butternut Squash Bread!
November & Butternut Squash go hand in hand!  I learned this a long time ago.  Growing up I didn't realize that on Thanksgiving Day so many families enjoyed this orange veggie served on their Thanksgiving Day Dinner table!  My family always did & we also had 2 large gardens.  This very tasty vegetable had its spot in one of the gardens.  That held true after my hubby & I were married.  Knowing that I wanted a garden, our kind generous landlord plowed up a section of his side yard so I'd have my veggie garden.  Nice!  The fertile Hampden County soil in Western MA was/ still is perfect to grow crops!  A surprise one August day was when a few cows from the local farm up the road walked down the hill, because they smelled & craved our (Silver Queen) corn.  They were shooed away without too much damage.

Cooked/ mashed Butternut Squash always found a place in our large freezer.  It's a given every year that a bag or 2 of this veggie will be used for Butternut Squash Bread!  What a moisty light dessert bread!  It's become a family fave.  Egg Whites & Olive Oil for baking & sauteing help create the light texture.  Butternut Squash Bread freezes very well after baking/ cooling, too.  This past weekend our younger son was "back home".  On his return trip packed in his suitcase was a Butternut Squash Bread that fit so well in a Ziploc Freezer container.

This weekend I'll be using this recipe again while preparing for Thanksgiving Day!  Have you baked one yet?

Butternut Squash Bread

Oven:  350°F      Time:  55 Minutes  

1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional, but delicious)
1  Cup Sugar

4 Egg Whites (= total of 2 Whole Eggs)
3/4 Cup Olive Oil for sauteing & baking
1 Cup Butternut Squash (cooked, mashed & cooled - defrosted if frozen)

  1.  Spray 1 large bread pan with PAM. 
  2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3.  Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  4.   In smaller bowl, beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5.   Mix in Olive Oil.
  6.   Add mashed Butternut Squash to Egg Whites/Olive Oil & stir.
  7.  Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  8.  Pour batter into bread pan.
  9.   Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in  middle of loaf.
  10.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 Minutes.
  11.  Then remove from pan & continue cooling.
  12.   Later, place on plate & cut into slices.
This is one yummy dessert bread to bake for Thanksgiving weekend!  The perfect time to bake it is now, while you're planning your menu.  Then, freeze the dessert.  You could use pumpkin, but the Butternut Squash- oh yum!  Your guests will enjoy this delicious treat!   


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!!!


Be Safe! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Bread

Apple Bread
Do you have a few apples in your fridge & want to bake a yummy dessert?  Yesterday, I did & I could not stop thinking about Apple Bread.  That's probably because each time I opened our fridge door the carton of O.J. caught my attention, too.  It's an ingredient in this yummy moisty "quick" bread.  It's name is very simple, but each bite of this dessert leads to another.  The flavors of Orange Juice, Cinnamon & Nutmeg just pop out along with the small chunks of apples.  Olive Oil for baking & sauteing & Egg Whites are an added plus for the light texture.

For so many years whenever I bake this family favorite, 2 breads make their way into my oven.  It does not take much time to cut the apples into small chunks for two breads.  One "quick" bread is to enjoy for the next few days and the other is cooled/ wrapped/ placed in the freezer.  If you're baking one of these tasty breads, then cut the recipe below in half.

Yes, you can use Whole Eggs in this recipe, but I like to bake these breads using Egg Whites.  Keep in mind:
1 Whole Egg = 2 Egg Whites when substituting.

Apple Bread
     Click here for Printable Recipe Card
Oven: 350°F    Time: 65 Minutes     **Makes Two Loaves

4 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 & ½ teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
2/3 Cup Olive Oil (for baking & sauteing)
2 Cups Orange Juice
4 Egg Whites
2 Cups finely chopped peeled Apples (5- 7 Apples depending on Apple size)
      Cortland or Empire Apples are my faves to use.
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2.  Add Olive Oil, Orange Juice & Egg Whites (slightly beaten) and stir.
  3.  Add chopped Apple and stir in.
  4.  Then, pour batter into greased pans.
  5.  Bake at 350°F for 65 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of loaf.
  6.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from pans and continue cooling on wire racks.
After these breads have cooled, I place one on a serving plate to cut into slices.  A few hours after baking, we always enjoy a slice.  Just cannot wait until the next day!  The second loaf of this moist orange flavored Apple Bread is wrapped in foil/ labelled & placed in the freezer.  This is a great dessert to have "on hand" over Thanksgiving weekend.  :)


Sunday, October 18, 2015

~Frost in the Air!~

Thump, pop, boing!  That's the sound of the acorns falling off of the Oak tree branches when the wind is blowing & they hit our roof.  If the acorns hit our gutters, there's a boing before bouncing on the ground.  Sometimes a double bounce.  They do have a kick to their step!  With the large quantity of acorns on the ground it's a sign that winter is not far away.  Well, they all need to be raked along with the leaves that will be falling before we start thinking about that word snow.
Acorns with & without their caps.
Our weathermen have been warning us that a frost is in our forecast tonight & again tomorrow night.    Woah!  Today was probably the last day to enjoy my New Guinea Impatiens that have added so much color on our deck.  Yes, those are 2 deer antlers attached to the shutters of our shed.  They were found in the grass over the years. 

2 Deer antlers on our shed.
This Fall we've been enjoying the Asters that continue to pop up every year.  Soon the stalks will be cut back & mulched.  In the Spring the new green shoots will sprout & we'll have another large crop next Fall.  

Colorful Asters
The Marigold & the Zinnia seeds have been collected/ dried & stored.  This week the leaves on our trees will change even more to beautiful shades of golds, oranges, reds & maroons.  We do enjoy the 4 seasons of New England.  Tonight it will be a little more chilly.   

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Fave Fall Foliage View

Puffy white clouds floated in the blue sky last Wednesday!  We were driving north on Rt. 116 toward the center of Amherst, MA.  My passenger side window was unrolled & I was waiting- ready.  Ready to see one of my fave Fall foliage views.  Suddenly there it was, so I snapped a photo!  Oranges, maroons, reds & yellows along with shades of green.  My childhood memory revisited!  Every autumn this is a spectacular sight!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Apple Crisp with Craisins/ Raisins

Apple Crisp with Craisins/ Raisins
Needs a small scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!
The month of September when we began to enjoy biting into crisp juicy locally grown apples has come & gone!  Yes, I've been cooking & baking, but not taking photos.  Two weekends ago we attended a beautiful family wedding "on the beach".  A drive east to the Cape (Cape Cod) to celebrate with family & friends.  It was a perfect day for the handsome groom & his beautiful wife.  Our young grandsons enjoyed getting their feet wet after the ceremony!  Amazing how great the sun felt on that warm Saturday afternoon.  Now, our weather has definitely gotten a bit chillier!               

Returning back home reminded me of the fresh apples & also desserts where the delicious fruit is the key ingredient.  Yum, yum, yum!  If I were to choose the 1 dessert that can be prepared quickly and my family always enjoys, it would be Apple Crisp!  Baked apple slices with a crunchy oat topping that has a hint of Nutmeg & Cinnamon- ahhhhh!  It's a dessert that is enjoyed by our family & friends, any time of year.  It can also be transported very easily when baked in a disposable baking dish.

Usually in the first Apple Crisp I bake every autumn McIntosh Apples are the star.  Now, that's because they are the first baking apple I can use.  As soon as the Cortland Apples hit the scene, those are my apples of choice.  As the seasons change, Empire Apples taste so good in this yummy dessert.

Have you baked this dessert?  While preparing it don't forget to add in a few Craisins & Raisins!

Apple Crisp with Craisins/ Raisins

Oven Temperature: 375°F
Time: 45 - 50 Minutes   

6 - 7 peeled sliced large apples - I use McIntosh, Cortland
       &/or Empire apples
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon softened Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Craisins
1/4 Cup Raisins

  1.   Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2.   Spray PAM in 8" x 8" glass baking pan/ dish.
  3.   Rinse apples under cold running water & dry.
  4.   Peel & slice apples.
  5.   Place peeled/ sliced apples in pan/ dish.
  6.   Add Craisins & Raisins and mix in. 
  7.   Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients together in small bowl.
  8.   Sprinkle over apples. 
  9.   Bake 45- 50 Minutes or until apples are tender
  10.   Serve warm or chilled with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.  
  11.   When cool, cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
This apple dessert is so good served warm or chilled.  We always enjoy topping it with a small scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream! 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

~Freezing Green Pepper Strips~

Green Peppers for my freezer.
(File Photo)
Do you purchase Green Peppers to use in recipes during the colder months?  Do you live in an area where these Peppers are sold at roadside stands at this time of year?  For me it's yes to both questions!  That's the reason I purchase about 12 locally grown Green Peppers to prep and freeze.  In the colder months when I'm cooking dinner it's easy to open our freezer door & take out a package of the Pepper strips.  There's no reason for me to purchase a commercially frozen bag of Pepper chunks or purchase the fresh imported vegetable from my grocery store.

Sunday was the day to move on my Pepper detail.  With not too much time involved my Green Pepper strips were in my freezer on Sunday afternoon.  I'm posting my instructions again this year, because I see that you, my readers, have been searching for it.  It's great to use the locally grown veggies during the colder months, too!

After placing the Pepper bags in my freezer I realized that I had not taken a photo. My search was on to find a File Photo.  :)        

Freezing Green Pepper Strips
  1. Rinse Peppers under cool running water.  Dry.
  2. Cut off tops.
  3. Discard seeds.
  4. Cut each Pepper in strips. 
  5. Place a handful of Pepper strips in a plastic sandwich bag.   (I do not use exact measurements.) I "eyeball" the amount I'd get from 1 whole Pepper for each bag.
  6. Close the sandwich bag and fold over. 
  7. Carefully, place all sandwich bags in a Ziploc Freezer Bag.
  8.  Seal, label and place in freezer.
When you want a Green Pepper while preparing dinner, it's so easy to reach into the freezer.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Harvesting Marigold Seeds

Saving Marigold Seeds
A year ago in May, I received the cutest little plant!  My 2 adorable little grandsons gave me a potted Marigold for Mother's Day.  Into our front garden it went.  Yes, it was given special treatment- watered every day with our sprinkler system, fertilized and boy did it flourish!  Last Autumn I saved some of the seeds from my very special beautiful Marigold plant.  

This past Spring the seeds were planted in a pot.  Somehow, a few seeds also found a home with the Zinnia seeds in our side garden.  How did that ever happen???  Then, we had a lot of rain.  Oops, not good for germinating seed! Well, one plant did grow in the pot & 3 other Marigolds were lookin' good with the Zinnia plants.  A little transplanting to the pot was in order.  Guess what???

Early this Summer- Marigolds growing from saved seeds!
I've been enjoying my healthy Marigolds from the boys all summer.  My pot has been filled with beautiful bright orange flowers & green buds that will open!   Now, it's time to harvest some of the seeds, so a 3rd generation of Marigolds will grow & flower next summer.  I am so onto this!  Now, I've saved a few of the dried blossoms to harvest my seeds for next year's plants!  Inside the dried blossom pods are next year's crop!

Seeds located in dried blossom's pod
Harvesting the seeds is easy!  Remove the dried pod from the plant outdoors.  Then, separate the seeds inside the dried pod from the dried flower & pod.  I store the seeds in an envelope to continue drying.  See top photo.  A few weeks later, label & seal the envelope.  This is my treasure for next year's beautiful orange colored Marigolds in our yard!  

If you've been enjoying Marigolds all summer, save some of the seeds, too!  Next spring after all danger of frost has left your area, plant the seeds outside.  They can also be planted inside in containers in early Spring, if possible.

I have plans for next year's gardens!!!  It's so cool to grow plants from seed, especially when you've harvested the seeds from the previous year's flowers!

Do you save seeds from flowers in your garden to grow the following year?  


Friday, September 4, 2015

Pan Seared Scallops

Pan Seared Scallops
(File Photo)
Yesterday was hot outside- a hot day in September!  Inside the A/C was keeping our home so comfy.  This heat did bring a change in dinner plans.  My plan was to use my oven & the Eggplant that were just waiting in my fridge.  Feeling the high humidity whenever I stepped outside did I ever change my plans.  While my hubby & I were volunteering delivering Meals on Wheels to senior citizens in town I kept thinking about those Eggplants in our fridge.  No heating the oven yesterday!  Grilling was my second choice.  The quick trip to our grocery store ended that thought with the display of the fillets of fish.  But, the large fresh Sea Scallops looked so good.  That was the answer to dinner.  Pan Seared Scallops with a microwaved "Baked" Potato & a fresh veggie salad.  Oh yum!  It was so good!  It also was quick to prepare!

Pan Seared Scallops always taste so good!  They are ready very quickly, too.  So quick that the veggies need to be in works before starting the pan searing.                  

Pan Seared Scallops
     2 Servings

2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (for sauteing & baking)
3/4 lb. Sea Scallops (can be about 10- 12 large ones) I request the larger Scallops.

3/4 Cup Flour
Sprinkle of Paprika (to taste)

  1. Combine Flour & Paprika in a Gallon sized Ziploc Bag or small bowl.
  2. Rinse Scallops in cold water by using another bowl & then drain.
  3. Place Scallops on plate lined with a paper towel.
  4. Then place Scallops in Flour mixture & coat.
  5. Add Olive Oil to a skillet or a saute pan. Turn heat to medium/high heat. (I use a non-stick pan.) Heat until hot but not quite smoking. Take pan off heat and add the Scallops to the pan. Place back on heat and cook Scallops for 3 minutes on the first side.
  6. Turn the Scallops over and continue to cook for 3 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and just cooked through.
  7. Remove one Scallop from pan, cut with a knife and see if done. If not, then saute all for another 30 seconds.
This is a quick & easy dinner!  It's also great to make for special occasions.  Today is so much cooler.  I do have Eggplant in my fridge! :)


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

~Visit Old Sturbridge Village!~

The short road trip to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA on Friday was great!  It was such a comfortable day to step back in time!  The sun was shining brightly & we walked around with our water bottles & sunglasses.

After leaving the crowded parking lot, we were welcomed in the Visitor Center.  This was a no admission charge visit- sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.  This also was the last Friday of FREE FUN FRIDAYS before so many school aged children began the new school year.  So many families learned about New England village life long ago!  We all left the 21st century Visitor Center and found ourselves in the village where every day life used different methods to get every day tasks done.  It was set in about the 1830's time period.  What a treat to learn American History by having FuN!

Our first stop was to watch & to listen to a lady explain how yarn was dyed.  Her yarn had already gone through the process of the sheep shearing & spinning.  She was dyeing it her color of choice- Yellow.  First, the yarn was "prepared".  There were many colors available to use during this time period & the colors came from objects in nature.  The objects were added to a "bath" of heated water.  The "prepared" yarn was then soaked for a certain period of time.  Goldenrod flowers were used to dye yarn the color Yellow.      
A Lady dyeing yarn the color Yellow using Goldenrod flowers!

In the Bank a portrait of George Washington hung proudly on the wall.  Then, from the Tin Shop we walked up the road to the Grist Mill where Rye & Corn were ground.  From there to the Blacksmith Shop.
The Blacksmith

After watching, listening & asking questions we visited the Cooper who was making a round container from wood. 

Then onto the Freeman Farmhouse to learn about making Cheeses.  In the summer the extra milk on the farm was used to make Cheeses.  Any Cheeses that the family does not use can be sold to the Knight Store.  At the store a store ledger is kept to record this sale as a Credit.  The family could purchase needed items at the store that they did not make themselves using this Credit.  They could also make a purchase by having a Debit on the family's account.  The Cheese (& Butter in cooler weather) could be sold by the store's owner in Boston.  Families living in the city would not be making Cheese.  The store owner would be purchasing items in Boston that were imported- like Tea & Spices to sell back to families in the village.       

A Lady making Cheese!
This lady's kitchen & tools in the Freeman Farmhouse were fascinating.  Notice the slices of Apples drying on a string below the ceiling.  Cloths drying above the fireplace.

Then onto visit the Shoemaker who was busily working on a shoe while sitting on his Cobbler's Bench. 

Shoemaker working on his "Cobbler's Bench"!

A Potter and a School Teacher then captured our attention.  Walking down the road we stopped at the Knight Store.  Inside a lady was inquiring about the price of a knitting needles container.  She wanted to store her knitting needles & knitting work safely.  The shopkeeper also told her that there was a need for knitted mittens, so if she was interested, a pair or two could be sold to the Knight Store.  In the store on the opposite wall there were many choices of objects to purchase on the shelves for the residents of Sturbridge Village.
So many objects to purchase!

A toothbrush with an ivory handle was in the locked case on a counter.  The lady shared with me that everyone in the family would use the same toothbrush.

There are so many fascinating areas to visit in Old Sturbridge Village.  We made our way to a few of them.  The Bake Shop makes yummy Oatmeal Cookies!  Many people were smiling while eating Chocolate Chip Cookies, too!

If you ever have the opportunity to go back in time to the 19th century, stop in to Old Sturbridge Village in Central MA.  I've given you only "a snapshot" here of rural American life in the Northeast around the 1830's.  This is a great place to visit!  In the Fall the Cider Mill will be working!

We Enjoyed!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Old Sturbridge Village- Free Fun Friday!

Do you live in Massachusetts or in a neighboring state? Are you traveling through MA tomorrow- August 28th? Are you thinking about a last minute adventure to do with your school age children & school has not started yet?  Visit Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA!  It's located off the Mass Pike, I-90.  

Tomorrow there is Free admission! It's a FREE FUN FRIDAY day (sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation) in this "New England Living History Museum".  Go back in time to the 1830's for a day.  Learn a bit more about history!

Free Fun Friday!
Tomorrow, August 28, 2015
Old Sturbridge Village
Sturbridge, Massachusetts 

Enjoy this Living History Museum!