One more week and the year will be half over. Slow down, world. I can't keep up. Isn't it funny, and not "ha, ha" funny, that time seems to fly by faster and faster as one gets older and older. I keep remembering that each day is a gift and I enjoy it completely and don't want them to stop, but they could slow down a bit.
We have been on vacation, so this is written early. Getting ready to go someplace, with getting someone to care for all our animals, and getting in food for the housesitter, plus trying to get clothes, etc. ready to go, makes one tired before you even get into the car to go. I always forget something, but we go here in this country so I know I can find someone who still speaks English if I need to purchase something I have forgotten. It is such a family joke that I really don't try too hard to get everything packed. We are in contact by phone, too, so if I have forgotten any instructions, I can just call. I still take my passport, just in case I feel the need to really get away.
As I was getting last minute chores done, there was a terrible barking commotion on the patio. When I checked it, two of the dogs had completely dug up one end of the raised flower planter there. The other two were barking at the window, giving the two outside encouragement. A poor toad was cowering down in a corner where the dogs hadn't dug him up yet, so he had to be rescued and taken to the pasture where I hope he finds a place to hide before they find him again. I guess I didn't want to try to get that big poinsettia to bloom this Christmas after all, and it was growing so nicely that I thought that maybe this year would be my successful year. Best laid plans, etc..
We go to our favorite resort in the Catskills every year. Of course, two of the grandkids go, too. Great-grandson, Seth, was invited to go but he had a camping and water park weekend slated this year. This year, our youngest great-grandson, almost two-year old Braydon, will be going with his Grandma and Grandpa, too, for part of the time. I make certain his baby-sitter (Grandma) will go with us as he is too much for this old great-grandma to handle. (There are always blessings in this older age). We are planning a good time and anxious to introduce him to our friends in N.Y. that have heard so much about him. It is "old home week" as the same group of people comes at this time each year.
Timesharing isn't considered a good investment for most folks, but we enjoy ours. We probably wouldn't take our vacations if it wasn't already paid for, and we don't want to lose our money. The place we go, Villa Roma, is the most reasonable timeshare I know about, and we can trade it for anyplace in the world we want to go. Right now, we are very content to stay here in our own country. I have even lost my love of flying with all the kooks out there. I can handle my two feet on the ground better than in the air or on the water, thank you.
Villa Roma is in beautiful upstate New York, along the Pennsylvania border. It is only 80 miles from the city, although we haven't taken advantage of the day trip the resort offers to go there. We keep talking about going to see a show or something, but the resort is such a nice place to relax, and that is what we seem to need these days. Our most exciting side trips are to the racetrack at Monticello. The buffet there is fantastic and watching the horses isn't so bad, either. The villages around the resort are neat places in which to wander around and food in the local restaurants is extremely reasonable.
Right now, I am not even thinking about all the started projects that need to be finished as soon as we get home. The garden is always growing great - with weeds - and that will keep me busy for too many days. Don't tell husband Norm, but I am glad he talked me out of a big garden this year. It gives me more iced tea and swing time for reading and relaxing.
Have you settled on what you are doing to relax this summer? Don't put it off - everyone needs a change of pace and some time with the little ones. My list is too long to get to each year, but I do try to handle some on my bucket list. It does get revised often.
I hope the weather has been nice for you in the Valley this past week. I will know on Monday how it has treated us here. One year when we lived in Florida, we came home from a vacation in Las Vegas to find a tornado had hit our street two houses from ours, so one never knows. Be a Boy Scout - Be Prepared....
The recipes this week are old ones from my files. Baking bread is really relaxing and a great way to get rid of your frustrations as you knead the dough and hot breads make everyone happy and in a better mood. I have been on a "Lemon Pie" kick lately, but the one this week is from a great lady and wonderful cook I was privileged to call friend, Madeline Hathaway.
Enjoy this last week of June and get ready for a great Fourth of July.
SESAME CHEESE LOAVES
One cup milk
Two tablespoons softened butter
Two packages active dry yeast
One-and-one-half cups warm water
Two tablespoons sugar
Two tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
One-and-one-half teaspoons salt
One-fourth cup Mashed Potato granules
Two cups shredded cheddar cheese
Six to seven cups all-purpose flour
One egg, beaten
Sesame seed (or poppy seed)
Heat together milk and butter to scalding, then cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Add cooled milk, sugar, mustard and salt. Stir in potato granules, cheese and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead on floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and satiny. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until light and double in size - 45 to 60 minutes. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two loaves. Place in well-greased loaf pans. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise again until double in size - 30 to 45 minutes. Bake in preheated oven (375 degrees) for 45 to 50 minutes, until deep golden brown.
SPICY APPLE MUFFINS
One cup all-purpose flour
One-fourth cup Mashed Potato granules
Three tablespoons sugar, divided
One tablespoon baking powder
One-half teaspoon salt
One tart cooking apple, peeled and finely chopped
One egg, slightly beaten
One cup milk
One-fourth cup melted butter or margarine
One-fourth teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine flour, potato granules, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, salt and apple. Lightly beat together egg, milk, and butter. Add to floor mixture and stir just until moistened. Spoon into well-greased muffin pan cups (or use paper liners). Combine remaining1 tablespoon sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffins. Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
One baked pie shell
One and one-half cups sugar
Six tablespoons cornstarch
Two cups water
One-third cup lemon juice
Three eggs, separated
Three tablespoons butter
One-and-one-half teaspoons lemon extract
Two teaspoons vinegar
Mix sugar and cornstarch together in top of a double boiler. Add the 2 cups of water. Combine egg yolks with juice and beat. Add to the rest of mixture. Cook until thick over boiling water for 25 minutes (this does away with the starchy taste). Now add lemon extract, butter and vinegar and stir thoroughly. Pour into pie shell and cover with meringue and brown in hot oven.
To make the meringue, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until very fluffy. If any sugar is added, do it a little at a time as egg whites are beating. Seal the meringue to the sides of the hot pudding when you put it on the pie to brown. NOTE - use very little sugar in meringue.
Two cups all-purpose flour
Three-fourth cups sugar
Two teaspoons baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
One-half teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-half cup softened butter
One cup fresh blueberries
One cup chopped pecans - optional
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add egg, milk and butter and combine well. Fold in blueberries and nuts, if using. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan and spread out even. Add a streusel topping and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until it tests done on a wooden toothpick.
One-half cup sugar
One-half cup flour
One-half cup butter
Combine ingredients, cutting in with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter of coffeecake.
Patty Christopher is a longtime columnist for the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.