Time Rolls On

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Here in Florida it is getting HOT! Trying to fit in every outdoor activity possible. We haven’t been getting too much rain lately so it has been go, go, go! Gardening, which right now is tons of watering, weeding, and mowing. Working horses, bike riding, kayaking. Summer is here and the heat can get oppressive! Starting to shift all outdoor activities to early morning or after dinner. The chickens are getting big, I guess they are around twelve weeks old now. Starting to let them out in the evenings when we are out in the yard. They are funny little critters each with their own distinct personality! We have one rooster and he is beautiful, and I think we have 4 hens, not sure about one!

Yesterday was such a great day! I had a visit with a wonderful friend, someone I haven’t seen in a very long time! Someone I grew up with! Her name is Charlene and I met her when I was two and she was six. She is from New York and participated in a program called Fresh Air Kids. Every year she would come and stay the summer with my family, in Connecticut. We had so much fun, she was like a big sister to me! Even when we moved to Florida, she came down for a few years. She was 16 the last summer she came to stay and I missed her dearly but time rolls on. We grew up, got jobs, got married, had kids of our own, got lost in our own lives. Funny how things change…or do they?

Yesterday she came to visit. Now mind you we haven’t seen each other in over 30 years, but it seemed just like old times so familiar, so much fun! Reminiscing about all the crazy stuff we did as kids! Pulling taffy with my Mom, riding horses, swimming, drinking out of hoses at the stables that smelled so bad you had to hold your nose! We were outside every day from dawn until dark!!! Wow, brought back such fond memories. She got to meet Jerry and Scott, had to take her on the tour of our little farm, and of course we cooked her dinner, went with chicken Parmesan as I wanted to spend time visiting, not cooking. Very satisfying. What a wonderful day. I sure hope to stay in touch a little better this time!

Tie dye

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Celebrations…celebrations are rituals we perform. They are important.  I think holidays are a  way of stopping and marking time, to remember, to reconnect, to reach out. I once worked for someone that didn’t want to observe holidays, it was strange to me. In the United States we are such a melting pot which is great on one hand because you can adopt all kinds of traditions from varying cultures. But on the other hand, our traditions are watered down with so many other influences, it’s hard to remember it’s not just another sales event. I like a reason to stop and do things maybe a little out of the ordinary. Almost all celebrations are centered around food, and one thing is for sure, that gives me reason to go over the top with cooking and baking!

This past weekend was no different. Jerry and Scott are back and so began a wild frenzy of shopping and prepping, cleaning and cooking. After a delicious breakfast of fresh picked blueberries and peaches, blueberry pancakes, eggs and sausages.  We started cooking at 9am we smoked ribs three ways, smoked a pork butt too. We grilled corn and made cole slaw and baked beans and fruit salad and banana cream pie.

It was a crazy strange group of friends and family, with all the regular drama and issues people bring together, I imagine it would look like a tie dyed shirt from afar. Energy and excitement, pain and despair, sickness and health, love and hate, old and new. The human condition, in a microcosm of a group all brought together to hopefully enjoy lovingly prepared food in our humble backyard! A reason to celebrate.

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Surprise!

We just celebrated Easter, what a cool weekend it turned out to be! We travel quite a bit with our jobs and my husband Jerry was in Ohio. Our daughter was in the process of moving to her new house and she was exhausted. Everyone just seemed too busy. I am a chef and I enjoy cooking but if no one is gonna be here to eat…it was just gonna be my friend Scott and I. I was actually trying to talk myself into taking the day off and going out to eat, I have never done this on a holiday but I thought it might be fun…well different anyway.

Easter peeps!

Easter peeps!

With all this spring fever going on around here I decided to get some chicks, thought it might take my mind off no Easter cooking, I got 5. They are so cute, little fuzzy egg shaped critters running around! I went out and got all their special food and equipment. I ordered a cute chicken coop that will be here Friday. I was always interested in having my own free range chickens and eggs. If you have never had a real fresh, free range egg for breakfast you don’t know what you are missing! They are so different from anything I have ever bought in a store, beautiful bright orange fluffy yolks that stand up tall in the pan and they are so tasty! And from what I understand they have more healthy nutrients in them too.  I got chickens that lay blue green eggs called Ameraucana. They should start laying around August, I can’t wait! So I was considering sitting around all weekend playing with the new babies!

Jerry told me he was sending me some package and to not worry about buying any food for Easter. Late Thursday night he called to ask if I had recieved the package yet and that it was supposed to have been delivered on the back porch. I said “No, no package had been delivered” I had been outside with the little peeps all afternoon, and he said, just go check, it should be on the porch. So I walk out and there he is!!! I was so surprised! I honestly had no idea! I was so happy to see him. Now it was on! We shopped and cleaned, and cooked and everyone came over for a wonderful Easter dinner. I made ham, roasted asparagus, baked beans, carrot salad, potato salad, and a cannoli cake. Everything turned out fine…good food, good company, and good laughs!

Who Will You Feed?

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” Mother Teresa

Cooking, baking, creating what a wonderful thing. Feeding people is such a basic human necessity. It is a rewarding feeling when you have been prepping and cooking all day long and finally, finally, everyone is seated and enjoying the meal you prepared. There is a quiet satisfaction in the hush that comes over a room when everyone is eating.

Who do you feed? Family? Friends? Clients? Pets? Do you feed yourself well?

When we are home we have a big dinner every Sunday night. It started out as a way to stay in touch and connect at least once a week with family. But it has grown into so much more. Always an open invitation, friends we haven’t seen in a while or neighbors sometimes stop by. If the weather is nice we sit outside and watch the hummingbirds or bats. Its an opportunity to slow down and connect with nature and loved ones. I greatly enjoy these times especially in todays hectic and very busy lives.

If, like me, you enjoy making delicious, healthy meals you might want to check out http://www.cookingmatters.org where you can share your knowledge and connect with a network of people who share your passion for healthy food and community.

We are getting ready to celebrate  Easter this Sunday. Who will you feed?

Look What I Found!

Treasure

This worn out little green appointment book is an amazing treasure to me! This is a cookbook of my Mom’s and, as you can see, it was handwritten in 1953 by her! There are literally dozens of recipes in here, mostly for baking. There are recipes for crumb cakes and butter creams. Tricks to poaching eggs. Doughnut recipes. Fillings and glazes and frostings! Cannoli recipes, Italian yellow cake, Swedish cakes, Magic cookies and so much more! These recipes were special enough to my mom for her to write them down. Such fond memories! I actually do remember her making many of them, I can’t wait to try my hand at it! I would love to go one by one through the entire book and try them all.

Last week a friend and I were having a lovely lunch and we started to discuss genealogy, now this is something my friend has researched quiet a bit. Some interesting thoughts were brought to light and this is something that has fairly recently occurred to me. It’s true! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Sometimes if you have an innate talent or a passion for something, if you look back in your family tree, even to people in your family that you never knew, you very often find there was someone in your family with the same passion.

This never dawned on me before, I always thought I was doing my own thing! I never even cooked while my Mom was alive, well not very much. I did a tiny bit of research on my own ancestry and found out my family has a long line of artists, actors, and chefs. How very interesting? I am an artist. I do perform with my horses. And I am a passionate chef! This is a subject I would love to dig further into. I have some very interesting characters in my family! My great grandmother Viola Sherlock and great grandfather Doc owned and ran the infamous Pepper Pot restaruant in Greenwich Village, NY. in the 1920’s. They cooked and created their own recipes and menus. But alas, this will have to be a story for another day!