Back again from a quick trip to the Coast. We needed to do some work on the "beach" house. There were a few hours devoted to rest and for sitting on the deck and looking at the water. That is so relaxing, and we really needed that. Two of the grandkids went with us so we spent some quality time with them. Rather, we sat on the Boardwalk while they checked out the shops, rides and the boys! The Boardwalk is much nicer in the evening than in the heat of the day.
Another day, we were taking them to meet up with some friends at the beach and when husband Norm asked which beach, he was told the one by the inlet. He used to go to that beach, too, so he knew where it was. However when we got there they weren't there so we called the friends to see where on the beach they were. Guess what? They were by the inlet at Ocean City, Md.,, not the one at Rehoboth. So we headed south to go to that one. If you are familiar with that area, you know the distance (and the beach traffic) along U.S. 1. When we met up with them, Norm said we might as well stay, too, as going back to the house and then back to the beach would take up the rest of the day. They had beach time with their friends and we had a nice, leisurely lunch of fresh seafood and a walk along the Boardwalk. That one is much larger than the one at Rehoboth and brought back many memories for Norm. Then he treated them and their friends to a couple of hours of rides. It was really a nice change of pace and we actually felt we were on vacation, too.
It is around 500 miles over there, so it takes up most of a day each way. The traffic wasn't too bad, but we did meet up with some wild drivers, so Norm had to be on the alert all the time and that is as tiring as physical work. The only really bad ones were the ones on cellphones. Two nearly got us, and one was on a motorcycle. Can you imagine the stupidity of riding a motorcycle in heavy traffic and being on a cellphone? If Norm hadn't been very watchful and had fast reflexes, that rider wouldn't have had to worry about anything again!
I hope we can stay home for a while. The needed work just seems to multiply when I go away for a few days. The family is coming here for a reunion next Sunday and everything is still turned upside down. The repairs from the storm aren't completed (orders take time to get to this hilltop), not all the fallen trees have been carried away, and the house is in a terrible shape. Hopefully, the roof will be finished and the bathroom remodeling done. In a week, though? It will be a miracle. I think I will post a sign at the door saying if the dust is too deep, just grab a broom and clean it up! It is just family, so if they don't like it, tough. I do like things to be in proper order, but it just seems impossible this year. No one will know it a hundred years from now!
On top of everything else, my computers (both of them) have been playing silly games and making it nearly impossible to use them. I don't know what I did to anger them, but it must have bad. The tower won't turn on since the last storm and the laptop decided to eliminate the monitor. Thank goodness for a younger person who knows how to whip them into shape. I could handle the big, old mainframes, but these smaller ones don't seem to like me.
We are already into August - the month school starts. I hope you and our little ones are ready. Use the final weeks to do something special for all of you. We are always so busy once school starts that we don't even have time for ourselves. Finish putting up the bounty of summer and go to a fair or a picnic of some kind. Winter will be here before we know it. Then we will be wishing for some of this hot weather we are having now. We never seem to learn to be happy with what Mother Nature sends us. I am so glad Norm talked me into a very small garden this year. Now, I just have to get with it and get what I wanted to put up before frost comes and the fresh veggies are gone. Maybe that is a good plan - just fool around until I can't get any to freeze or can. It won't be too terrible to eat store-bought food this winter.
Take time to be glad for each day and be thankful. Get a grouch to smile and help someone. Remember our military, police and firefighters and keep them in your prayers.
Two cups vanilla wafer crumbs
One stick butter, melted
One (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
One-half cup fresh lemon juice
Two cups ripe fresh peaches
Two to four tablespoons sugar
One (9-oz.) carton frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
Make crust of vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9-inch pie pan and chill. Blend condensed milk and lemon juice until thick. Put ripe peaches and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour peaches into milk mixture and blend well. Fold in dessert topping and pile into crumb crust. Chill before serving.
Four large red potatoes
Two tablespoons butter or margarine
Two tablespoons all-purpose flour
One cup milk
One (8-oz.) carton sour cream
One-and-one-half cups Swiss cheese - divided
One-half cup sliced green onions
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon dried dill weed
Three cups diced cooked ham
One-fourth cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
One-fourth cup butter or margarine, melted
Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool slightly. Melt two tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, one cup of Swiss cheese, green onions, salt and dill weed. Set sauce aside. Peel potatoes and cut into slices. Layer one-third of slices into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Top potato slices with half of diced ham and half of reserved sauce. Repeat layers with remaining potato slices, ham, and sauce, ending with potato slices. Combine remaining one-cup Swiss cheese, breadcrumbs and one-fourth cup butter. Stir well. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over potato slices. Bake, uncovered, at 350-degrees for 30-35 minutes or until breadcrumb mixture is lightly browned and mixture is thoroughly heated through.
One-and-one-half cups all-purpose flour
One-and-one-half tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon baking powder
One-half teaspoon cinnamon
One-fourth cup vegetable shortening
One-fourth cup vegetable oil
Three-fourths cup sugar
One-fourth cup sour cream
One-half teaspoon vanilla
One cup zucchini, grated
Three-fourths cup mini chocolate chips
One-third cup finely chopped walnuts
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another large bowl, beat shortening, oil, sugar and egg on a low speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla, and then flour mixture. Beat for two minutes. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spread in a greased and floured 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Sprinkle nuts on top. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cut into bars to serve.
WATERMELON RIND PICKLES
Seven cups prepared watermelon rind
One-fourth cup pickling salt
Four cups water
Two cups sugar
One cup white vinegar
One tablespoon broken stick cinnamon
One-and-one-half teaspoons whole cloves
One-half lemon, sliced thin
Trim the green and pink from the watermelon rind. Cut the rind into one-inch cubes, and then measure seven cups cubes. Combine salt and water to make brine and soak cubes in it overnight. Be sure to cover cubes with brine - add more brine if needed. Drain. Rinse watermelon rind. Cover with cold water and cook until just tender. In a large stainless steel or enamel kettle, combine sugar, white vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and one-cup water. Simmer mixture for 10 minutes, then strain. Return syrup to kettle and add watermelon cubes and lemon slices. Simmer mixture until rind is clear. Immediately put rind, lemon slices and syrup into hot, sterilized jars, leaving one-fourth-inch headroom and seal.
* * *
Patty Christopher is a longtime food columnist for the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.