Treats for summer

What a grand and glorious way to start a summer season! Parades and picnics and cookouts, not to forget remembering our military and showing respect and love by decorating the resting places of family members who have passed on. Now, that can be a bittersweet moment in the weekend, but we have to remember the happy times and, even though we miss them, show our love by visiting where they are laid to rest. It is a reminder to always voice our love to our family while they can hear it. It is also a reminder to show our respect and thanks to those who dedicate their lives to protect us and help keep our country the way it was intended by our Founding Fathers.

We thanked our military, police and firefighters last weekend, but we need to remember the families, too. When a spouse kisses her military member as he/she gets on that plane to take them to dangerous areas, that spouse knows it might be the last time that person is alive to return that kiss. The kids go through that emotional strain, too. It is getting more and more like that for our first responders these days. Even in training for their jobs, there is the possibility of an accident. So, always let those persons know how you appreciate their devotion to their duty.

Did you fly the flag for the entire weekend? Ours has the number of stars for the time the house was built. That is one way to remember the past and those who lived here before us. This house on the hilltop was built the year West Virginia became a state, 1863, and that sort of connects me to my great-grandparents, who came from West Virginia.

This past week has been a busy one. Grandson Austin had two graduations – one for the Career Center and one for high school. He had to spend a day for orientation at the college to which he is going and it is in northwest Ohio, several hours’ drive away. His high school graduation is this Sunday, but the one for the career center was last Monday. Tuesday was to go to orientation, Wednesday was his sister’s eighth grade promotion and dance, and Saturday was a luncheon for my graduation class and the annual Alumni Banquet.

In the meantime, the laundry multiplied itself, all the flowerbeds and garden sprouted weeds, no one in the house knew how to fill or empty the dishwasher or the washer. The grandkids (the girls) were insisting that grandma was mean because she didn’t drop everything and run the Grandma Taxi as she was stressed out trying to meet the deadline for Sunday’s paper. The cats were ticked off because I had brought Molly and her five kittens into the house and into a cage and they responded the mean way cats have, so the entire house had to be deodorized, and more than once. The dogs constantly walked around letting me know that I hadn’t fed them at their appointed times. Husband Norm was very busy and, of course, wondered what time the next meal was to be. If I am still half-way same, or even here by the time you read this, it will be a miracle. Most of the activities were ones I enjoyed doing or watching, but I am whipped.

Welcome to June, the month of brides and many school graduations. With the weather so nice last week, I did break down a bought a few tomato, zucchini, pepper, cucumber and flower plants. Norm has given in to expanding some of the flowerbeds and even suggested getting the decorative blocks to surround them. With the mulch and some more rosebushes (and some hard work), the yard is shaping up. Of course, there two little trees that needed to be moved in early spring that didn’t get done, so I don’t know how they will do by fall. The peony and iris plants are really showing their stuff right now, and the roses are even starting to bloom. Norm did win that one. (I hate to lose.)

Lately, the local papers have been showing us some neat places to visit during these nice (lazy) days of summer. There is really a lot to see here, and if the tourist center is expecting so many visitors to our area, we really need to check it out for ourselves. That saves on that expensive gas, too. We tend to always look elsewhere when neat things are right in our own back yard.

The local farmers’ markets are starting to bring in fresh produce from our own area. It is better when it doesn’t have to be shipped into us. Buy local! As we all start to squeeze into our bathing suits, it is good to have fresh salad greens to help us get rid of some of that “winter fat”. Just remember to watch the salad dressing – it can sabotage you.

If your young ones still have a few days of school or an upcoming graduation, do enjoy it with them. This is a high point in any young person’s life. Take lots of pictures! Keep cool and give thanks for each day. God Bless!

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GRILLED HAM STEAK

One center ham steak, one-half inch thick (about one pound)

One tablespoon Dijon mustard

One tablespoon honey

One tablespoon apricot preserves

Cut outer edge of fat on ham diagonally at one-half inch intervals to prevent curling. Do not cut into ham. Mix mustard, honey, and preserves. Heat grill and grill ham uncovered four to six inches from medium-high heat for four minutes. Turn ham and brush with mustard mixture. Grill four minutes longer and turn. Brush with remaining mustard mixture. Grill about two minutes longer or until heated through.

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SOUR CREAM COLESLAW

One cup sour cream

Two tablespoons sugar

One teaspoon salt

One-half teaspoon pepper

Two tablespoons vinegar

One tablespoon mayonnaise

Six cups fine shredded fresh cabbage

Blend together all ingredients except cabbage. Pour mixture over cabbage and mix well. Let cool to blend flavors.

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CUCUMBER SALAD

Three or four cucumbers

One large or 2 small sweet onions

About one cup coarse salt

One cup (about) sour cream

One tablespoon ranch dressing mix

Peel cucumbers and slice very thin. A food processor is great for this. Slice onions very thin (food processor) and divide into rings. Put cucumber slices and onion slices into a glass bowl and salt fairly heavily. Let set 30 minutes to 1 hour. Squeeze out veggies and place in a colander. Rinse lightly to remove some of the salt and squeeze again. Place in another bowl and add sour cream and ranch mix. Mix thoroughly. Good as is, or even better over boiled or mashed potatoes.

This is a “throw together” recipe. I never measure anything in it.

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GRILLED LEMON CHICKEN

Two broilers, split into halves or quarters (2 to 3 pounds each)

One cup salad oil

One-half cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

One table salt

One teaspoon paprika

Two teaspoons crushed basil

Two teaspoons onion powder

One teaspoon leaf thyme, crushed

One clove garlic, crushed

Place split chicken in a shallow glass baking dish or a marinating container. Combine other ingredients and shake together to blend. Pour this marinade over chicken and cover tightly. Marinate in refrigerator for six or eight hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from refrigerator about one hour before grilling. Place on grill, skin side up, and cook about 20 or 25 minutes, brushing with reserved sauce. Turn chicken over and cook an additional 20 minutes. Check doneness with an insert thermometer – chicken should read 185 degrees.