Most of these summer mornings are for the memory books. So peaceful and beautiful. A hot cup of coffee or tea, enjoyed outside on the deck, is the perfect way to start a day. The full moon this past week is another joy. Even though I should get more sleep, I stay up for hours, just taking in the moonlight on the mown hay fields, the almost distant lights from the neighbors' houses, and the faint glow of Parkersburg and Marietta. I love living in the country and on a high hill. In the winter time when the trees are bare, we can even see several outdoor Christmas lights and the car lights from several miles away. Do enjoy this season.
Do you realize just four months from now will be Christmas Day? Start your preparations now so you can relax as you enjoy that season. If you do your retail Christmas shopping for gifts now, you can take advantage of the "back to school" sales. Of course, if the season isn't as lucrative as the stores hope, they will probably start "after Christmas" sales about Dec. 15th. Even though one can get some bargains by waiting to the last minute to shop, it can increase the stress that most of us feel when we are rushed and have a deadline to get a job done and not the time to do it. It is much nicer to be able to be with one's family baking cookies or playing games or listening to Christmas music than to be out fighting the traffic and the crowds in the stores.
Of course, if you have several children in school, just getting the paper supplies the schools say they need would stretch any family budget until thinking about buying ahead for Christmas is a distant dream. Remember the old days when all a child needed was a pencil and a tablet? Or even before that, when all work was done on the blackboard because the paper was rationed? And no one had a calculator or even knew what one was? When we learned to add and subtract and multiply and divide in our heads? These days, many cashiers have to rely on the cash register to tell them what change to give back to a customer. Even digital watches have taken the place of children learning how to tell time on a regular clock. The world has changed in the last 70-some years.
Next week is Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of summer, so time is flying by. Give that grill a workout and enjoy a relaxing weekend. If you are having a big family or neighborhood party, do as much of the preparation for it as possible this week, then enjoy the weekend.
Those big yellow things on the highway are school buses. Watch out for the little ones and NEVER, NEVER pass a bus when the lights are flashing. Every year we hear about a school bus accident where the driver behind the bus passes it and hits a child. Please, don't ever have that happen here in our valley. The kids get excited about school beginning and don't always look before they run across the road, so we all need to be watchful for them.
There isn't much left of my garden. Of course, there wasn't a whole lot with which to start. I am tired of it anyway. After checking the shelves in the cellar, I realize that there isn't a need for any great canning spree, thank goodness. I will do some Salsa, but that is it. The peaches have decided to all be ripe at the same time so guess they will get some attention. They are so easy to freeze and really not too much trouble to make into Peach Jam, so I MAY do some of each of those things. After that, it will be only what the spirit moves me to do. As my spirit is getting up in years, too, that may be very little. I have learned the trick - act a little "not with it" and no one expects you to do too much. Works like a charm.
The granddaughters have been busy with the horses since it has gotten cooler - and there are some "fun shows" at the fairs. It does keep them busy with something else instead of boyfriends. Of course, schoolwork will help with that, too. I enjoy watching them, but I am really not a "horsey" person. My horse to ride when I was young was one of our work horses, a Belgian that I rode bareback, so they are away ahead of me with this horse business. Right now, there are five horses in our pasture, not all ours. Sunshine, the young filly with which they helped, has gone to a new home amidst lots of tears and sad faces.
Molly's kittens have new homes, too, and seem quite content with that. They were so cute, but there is a definite limit to what needs to be here at the "Animal House". Even Butterscotch, the devil cat, seems content in his new home and I am happy he is there. So now, we are down to three dogs and four cats. For them, we have to hire a house sitter when we want to go away. It all really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I do love them in spite of it.
Of course, lots of things don't make too much sense to me - like the girls racing around the yard on the lawn mower (it is dark - and after 9 p.m.) and they think I am an old grouch because I told them to put it away. I guess I should have let them do it as they were having fun and here, in the country, that is something that sometimes is hard to come by.
Enjoy these last weeks of summer while we still have nice weather. Soon it will be crockpot and soup time. Finish your "putting up" of the summer produce and try making some jam or jelly you have not tried before. It can get to be additive. Get ready for a great Labor Day Weekend. The kids are back in school, so maybe you might have a free morning to just sit on the deck and enjoy a cup of coffee. Take care and God Bless.
Easy Apple Crisp
One cup sifted flour
One cup sugar (white or brown)
One teaspoon baking powder
One-half teaspoon salt
One-half teaspoon cinnamon
Five or six peeled apples
One-third cup melted butter
One-half teaspoon cinnamon
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add egg and mix until crumbly. Slice apples into a greased eight-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples. Pour melted butter over this. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Great warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with milk anytime, but appreciated as an after-school treat. (Apples - milk -good health foods. Right?.)
Quick And Easy Chicken Or Turkey Pot Pie
One cup chopped cooked chicken or turkey
One can condensed Cream of Chicken soup
One bag frozen mixed vegetables
One teaspoon chicken flavored bouillon
One-and-one-fourth cups biscuit mix
One-half cup milk
Combine soup, chicken or turkey, bouillon and vegetables in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Mix together biscuit mix, milk and egg. Pour over chicken (turkey) mixture. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.
NOTE: If you substitute canned vegetables for frozen, drain them well.
Easy Hash Brown Potato Casserole
Two cans condensed Cream of Potato soup
One cup sour cream
One-half teaspoon garlic salt
One (2-lb.) bag frozen hash brown potatoes
Two cups shredded Cheddar cheese
One-half cup Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream and garlic salt. Add potatoes and Cheddar cheese. Mix well. Pour into a sprayed (non-stick cooking spray) 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered in preheated 350-degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Four cups peach pulp
Four cups sugar
One whole orange, ground - rind and all
Cook slowly until thick. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Add a couple of peach pits to the marmalade as it cooks gives added flavor. Remove before putting marmalade into jars.
To make Spiced Peach Marmalade, add broken cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and a just few whole allspice - adjust amount according to how much you are making. It doesn't take much, so taste as you go. You can always add more but you can't take it out after it is in. I like quite a bit of spice but my neighbor likes just a little bit of spice.
Peach And Orange Pie
Eight cups pitted and sliced fresh peaches
One cup sugar
Three tablespoons minute tapioca
Two tablespoons orange zest
One tablespoon orange juice
Pastry for one unbaked crust pie
Combine ingredients and pour into pie shell. Top with the following:
One-third cup firmly packed brown sugar
One-third cup flour
Three tablespoons softened butter or margarine
One cup coarsely chopped pecans
Combine sugar, flour and butter, then stir in pecans. Top pie with this, then loosely cover with foil and bake 15 minutes in preheated 425-degree oven, then reduce heat to 400-degrees for 35-40 minutes more or until peaches are tender. Best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Creamy Peach Pie
Three cups sliced peaches
One-fourth cup flour
One-fourth teaspoon nutmeg
Three-fourths cup sugar
One-fourth teaspoon salt
One cup heavy cream
One unbaked deep-dish pie shell
Combine dry ingredients and toss with the peaches. Pour into unbaked pie shell, and then add cream to top of peaches. Bake at 400-degree preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until firm. Serve Cooled.
NOTE: For all peach recipes, a little almond extract, like one-half teaspoon, gives an added flavor.
Contact Patty Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org