We recently returned from a wonderful vacation in the Catskills in New York. We go there often, so it was like old home week for us. This one was special, though, as we had four generations of family together. The resort to which we go is a "full service" resort - one doesn't need to go anyplace else for anything. There are more activities than one can do in addition to nightly entertainment and great food at reasonable prices. The deer there are so tame they would come right up to the condo for cookies. One evening, a skunk walked by, but kept on walking, thank goodness. We also had a baby raccoon visit the patio, and the kids found a large snapping turtle traveling through the area. It was so relaxing, which we needed, but it is always good to get home.
One of our grandsons was house-sitter for us. He has a summer job and couldn't join us in New York, so he got the job of taking care of everything here. The dogs all know him so they were OK with him taking care of them. I think we missed them more than they missed us. He said he wasn't used to dogs sleeping with him or waking him up with doggy kisses.
I couldn't believe how much the few plants in the garden had grown. It was nice to come back to a garden in which the weeds had not taken over and to a yard neatly mowed, thanks to a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter who had returned a few days before us.
Have you noticed the days starting to get shorter already? It is strange to me that with the actual start of summer, it is the turning point for the length of day. Summer evenings should be long and comfortable with ample time to sit and watch the fireflies and not be starting to get shorter already. It is also unsettling to realize June is over and school starts in less than two months. Time flies when you're having fun - and even when you aren't. With the start of school, we will be seeing Christmas displays starting to be set up along with the Halloween and Thanksgiving ones. Help! Slow down, world! I am already getting catalogs for Christmas baking and crafts. By looking at the full shelves of idea books, I think I will bypass all new books this year, even cookbooks. That will greatly disturb me even though I cook less nowadays. I like to read them more than I like to cook these days.
My hobo cat is still on his road trip. He has been reported being seen around the barn and the edge of the woods, but I guess he isn't ready to come home. The woods are cool now while it is summer, but when it gets really cold later this year, he will wish for the warmth of the fireplace. The kittens Molly, the barn cat, had are still in hiding. They will be so wild. We will never make housecats of them. I would like to see them, though.
Isn't it nice to see homegrown veggies start to appear? I really don't think I will miss my large garden this year. The few berry bushes are starting to produce, which I like and Husband Norm just shakes his head. I think I will work on enlarging that part of the garden.
The West Virginia Fair near Mineral Springs is coming soon. That is always a great place to go - something for everyone. Fairs are lots of fun and this one is especially good. Take the little ones and get them cotton candy and all the hot dogs they want. Hot dogs actually taste good in that carnival atmosphere. Some people, like Norm, like them any day of the year but there are others, who think like me.
Now that I am back in the Mid-Ohio Valley, I guess I will have to get my nose to the grindstone and get some of the needed projects done. The Work Fairy doesn't seem to visit me so I guess I had better quit dreaming of work just disappearing and get the broom and mop busy. I have a room (the kids call it an attic) that needs clearing out. Norm has promised (threatened) to do it for me. I am the collector of things and he is the head of the garbage pick-up of trash, so you can imagine the discussions. Anyway, I do agree that it needs reducing but I don't tell him that. I have been banned from auctions until I clear a space to put anything I might buy.
With the Fourth this coming Wednesday, plan an outdoor grilled dinner and plenty of family time. The recipes today are some of our Fourth of July favorite foods. Watch the parades and the fireworks. Be sure to fly the flag on your porch to let everyone know you are thankful for those who help keep us free.
Six cups sliced zucchini
One-half cup sliced onion
One-fourth cup sliced celery
One-fourth cup water
One cup sour cream
One can Cream of Chicken soup
One-half cup butter, melted
One package chicken flavored Stove Top Stuffing Mix
Place zucchini, onion, celery and water in saucepan and cook until just tender. Add sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Mix. Combine melted butter and stuffing mix. In a greased two-quart casserole dish, place one-half of zucchini mixture, then half of stuffing mixture, then rest of zucchini and top with last half of stuffing mixture. Bake in 350-degree oven about 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
PEACH COBBLER CAKE
One-half cup all-purpose flour
One-fourth cup plus two tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
One-fourth teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-fourth cup unsalted butter or margarine
One-third cup sugar
One tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked
One-fourth teaspoon ground nutmeg
Six large fresh peaches, peeled and cut into one-half inch slices
Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice
One-fourth cup plus two tablespoons sour cream
One-fourth teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth cup unsalted butter or margarine
One-third cup sugar
One large egg
One-and-one-half teaspoon vanilla extract
Three-fourths cup flour
One-half teaspoon baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
Peach or vanilla ice cream
Combine one-half cup flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir well. Cut in one-fourth cup butter with pastry blender until topping mixture is crumbly. Cover and chill. In a large heavy saucepan, combine one-third cup sugar, tapioca and nutmeg and stir well. Stir in peaches and lemon juice. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, six to eight minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly. Spoon into a greased eight-inch square baking dish. Set aside and keep warm. Combine sour cream and soda in a small bowl. Stir well. Let stand at room temperature ten minutes. Beat one-fourth cup butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add one-third cup sugar, beating well. Add egg, beating well. Add sour cream mixture and vanilla, stirring until blended. Combine three-fourths cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Mix at low speed just until blended. Spoon batter over warm peach mixture. Sprinkle chilled topping mixture over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
PEACH ICE CREAM
Three cups peeled, mashed fresh peaches
Three-fourths cup sugar
Five cups milk
Two cups whipping cream
One (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
One (12-oz) can evaporated milk
One cup sugar
Three tablespoons vanilla extract
Combine peaches and three-fourths cup sugar in a large bowl and stir well. Add milk and remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour mixture into freezer container of a five-quart, hand-turned or electric freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and salt and let stand one hour before serving.
HONEY GLAZED CHICKEN
Three-and-one-half to four pound chicken, cut up or chicken pieces
One-half cup White Wine Worcestershire Sauce
Three tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse chicken well and pat dry. Place on a rack in a shallow baking pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce and honey. Coat chicken with the mixture and bake 35 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until chicken is golden and juices run clear.
MOM'S FOUR BEAN SALAD
One pound can green beans
One pound can wax beans
One pound can kidney beans
One pound can lima beans
One medium pepper, sliced
One medium sweet onion, sliced
One-half cup sugar
One-half teaspoon dry mustard
One teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons fresh parsley
One-half cup wine vinegar
Drain all beans well. Combine sugar, mustard, salt, parsley, tarragon and wine vinegar and mix until sugar is dissolved. Place beans in bowl and pour dressing over. Let set several hours or overnight for flavors to marry.
Contact Patty Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org