Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Nammie's Spare Bed

Uh-Oh, Nammie's spare bed
has turned into a "packing place" ...

What does a traveler pack for a Fall trip to Italy?
I'm trying out a few "ensembles" that will mix and match.

There are some for sure items and also a wee pile of maybes.

At least this is a start.
There may be many "edits" here before we actually go.

We are so excited to go and thankful
for good health and the privileges we are able to enjoy.

(Sorry about the dark pictures .... not much light coming in these days!)

Black and White is definitely a theme. 
Black crepe tunic, Lizette pants, and Sympli sleeveless top.

Sympli fringed tunic with super comfy Frank Lyman animal print jeggings.
Perfect for a fancy night or two on the cruise part of our trip
or to dress down with a pair of jeans.

A few "sunny" outfits for some warmer days and excursions.
Blue and white denim capris with sleeveless toppers.
Joe Fresh tops are my friends.

More Black and White separates to mix and match.
A colourful and light scarf, belt and my Tilly to add some style to these jeans.

Sympli Black and White "Go To 3/4 sleeve T's",
my must have denim midi length skirt (it always travels with me),
and an extra sleeveless Black tunic.

The little black dress (super comfy bamboo stretch), black leggings,
a denim vest, and some colourful accessories and scarves.
Dress it up or down.

Two jackets (Black Lululemon and Brown Columbia rain resistant jacket with hood).
Two warm long sleeved sweaters - for cool evenings.

6 T-shirts (4 of them sleeveless)
6 tunic tops
4 Capri pants (plus 1 pair of leggings)
4 pairs of pants
1 denim skirt
1 little black dress
1 denim vest plus 1 Sympli sweater vest
2 jackets plus 2 warm sweaters
Tilly Hat
3-4 scarves
1 black belt
12 pairs of underwear/jammies/swim suit and cover-up/a few foundation pieces
Eek - is this too much for 1 month or is it not enough?
Still deciding on the foot wear.

Extra "essentials" - Norwex wash cloths and towels, laundry detergents,
sink plug, Rick Steves braided clothes line, Tide stick, and electrical plug adapters.

I'm hoping that the farmer needs far less clothing and will have extra room
in his luggage - ha! I'm certain that he needs far less!!!!

We will be packing one checked bag and taking two small carry-on bags.
I think it's doable. Hmmmm. Especially if I wear some of the clothes 
on the plane - many layers?

Trying to figure out how to pack this cutie into my carry-on ...
Oh, how I shall miss this sweet little person.

Till next time - what are your favourites and essentials when packing for a long trip and do you lay them out on your spare bed before packing?

Also, praying for rain and clear air to breath for our dear friends in the West!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Oatmeal Cookies

There aren't any back to schoolers here anymore
or "yet"
but this crispy cooler weather and last long
weekend of the summer has me thinking about 
school lunches and cookies!

Here is one of my favourite recipes for Oatmeal Cookies.
Makes approx. 2 dozen

1/2 Cup butter - softened
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar - packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 Cup Flour - scant cup (not quite full)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Cups large flake oatmeal
2/3 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (pecans, cashews, macadamias, slivered almonds or walnuts) - optional

Cream the butter and sugars well. Add the egg and vanilla and 
beat till fluffy.
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
Fold this into the creamed butter sugar mixture adding the oatmeal, raisins, and
nuts at the end.
Roll into 1 inch balls and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes on parchment lined
cookie sheets.
Watch closely to not over bake! They are chewy and delicious when slightly under baked.

TIP: Something I learned on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog

Here's to a new school year, new beginnings and September 2017!

Till next time ...... Let there be cookies!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunshine and Pesto

Beauty morning for a walk!

After walk refuel ...

Peaches, Strawberries, Granola, with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and a splash of Maple Syrup!

The herb garden explosion with Basil needing attention.

Time to make Pesto!

Basil Pesto is easy to make and oh so good!
The recipe I used is one that was demonstrated to us in the beautiful
Cinque Terre region of Italy on our
first European adventure 11 years ago!

The recipe is simple:
80 Basil Leaves
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. Pine Nuts
2-3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - enough for consistency
*to keep Pesto bright and green, it is best to blanch the basil leaves
for 5-6 seconds in boiling water and then plunge into ice water
 before processing.

I made 4 batches which came to 2 Cups of Pesto.
I froze 3 jars and kept one fresh one in the fridge.

Now - is fresh made pasta on the menu sometime this week? Maybe!

Meanwhile, on the weekend, the sun shone warmly and the convertible
came out.
She loved Papa's Red Car with the top down!

Till next time ..... welcoming these sunny days of late summer!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Down the Country Concession

To better health and better energy!

Heading out the lane ...

Queen Anne's Lace everywhere!

The field corn is lush, green and very tall!

The Leis Home Farm lovingly restored by my SIL and BIL
The prettiest place on the road!

Our bean field looks amazing this year! Now we just need some good heat units for it to mature.

The garden lettuce has exploded - my favourite salad for lunch!

Not quite my momma's lettuce salad:

Mom's garden always had a row or two of lettuce and was served at almost every meal.
She kept it simple and delicious with some diced onion, minced borage leaf and 
a cream dressing.

I still love the cream dressing (approx. recipe):
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
several grinds of black pepper
1/4 Cup whipping cream
2-3 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 borage leaf - minced
1 or 2 slices of sweet onion - chopped

I piled on the extras today for lunch and it was so delicious:
1/2 tomato - chunked
1/3 yellow zucchini - chunked
2 Tbsp. Hemp seed sprinkled on top
several sprigs of dill - minced
2 celery sticks with celery leaves - chopped

I should be eating this for breakfast, lunch and dinner according to the abundance 
in my garden!

Till next time ...... intentions to keep the walking and salad munching as No. 1 and 2 priority! Will you join me?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Platz Therapy

I finally made some platz!
The peaches on the back porch were ripening rapidly and needed to be used.

Platz - Peach Platz (I love saying that)
was calling out to me and I've always wanted to try making this.

Of course, the only recipe I needed was Lovella's
and it is a winner!
This recipe was posted 9 years ago, even before I knew about the
I enjoyed reading the comments on this past post.

What a blessing they have been to me on so many levels!

Since my last post on July 13th - SO much has taken place.

Huge Amish Sale
Annual Family Picnic at the Freeman's Pond

A few days of camping with dear friends!

Sunsets at my favourite Lake Huron!

A new baby great niece was born - Maia Star (can't wait to meet her)

A new little neighbour was born - Jack (can't wait to meet him)

Vee, a favourite blogger friend has decided to stop blogging.
I understand her need to do this and sometimes it makes me think this might
be what I should consider as well?

And all the while ...... actually since mid-May
I've been fighting a very nasty virus that just keeps rearing it's ugly head
in different ways.
This includes intense congestion, constant coughing fits, pink eye,
loss of smell and taste senses, angry rashes, fever, low energy levels, and weakness.

In one way my wish to slow down the summer days has been fulfilled,
however, not in quite the way I had expected.
After two visits to the emergency dept. and several doctors appointments I 
feel like I'm finally seeing some improvement.

I am thankful to be feeling a bit better and am determined to regain my health.

Baking a peach platz today gave me some much needed "baking therapy"
and it feels good to once again be inspired to cook and enjoy eating.

Thank you Lovella for this tried and true recipe, one that I hope to make often!

In the meantime, our little love bug turned Two. 
We love her so much ... there are no words!

Papa's little love!

Till next time - August blessings to you all!

My August chalkboard message!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Slowing Summer Days

Here we are - mid July 2017!!!!
I have been intentionally trying to slow down these summer days.
How is that working for you ... you may ask!

It's been a busy two weeks, that's for certain and it seems to have 
gone a tad too quickly for that intentional slow down - sigh.

However, we packed it full and made some wonderful memories.
Our dear friends, Debi and Larry, came for their annual visit from Lexington, KY.
This marks the 33rd yearly visit.

A fun gift exchange is always part of the visit ...

Kentucky hats, bourbon, Ale8, etc.
along with these thoughtful gifts of essential oil, oil infusible necklace,
a beautiful hand made by Debi crocheted necklace - I love it!

This year I got busy and had fun making this "quilted by machine" bag (don't zoom in too close because my quilting is still very much at the beginner stage).

Egg Gathering Apron

Since Debi has some backyard chickens, I had to come up with a fun egg gathering apron for her!
This is made from one of the farmer's old jeans leg
(stains and all).

She was such a good sport and modelled the apron for us!

A selfie of our day trip to Tobermory, Ontario where we went on a glass bottom boat tour to the Flower Pot Islands.
Our friends Dave and Jan helped make this an excellent day.

Georgian Bay's Flower Pot Islands

In the meantime, the farmer had covered my red currant bushes with mesh to protect the berries from the hungry birds.
If I wasn't going to use them I really should unveil the bushes right!?
So today, I bravely headed out, slathered with insect repellent (the mosquitos are horrid this year),
and began picking those currants.

A bumper crop this year!

I had a strong feeling that the birds were watching me closely - eek!
I got a nice batch picked and then we unveiled the bushes to let nature take it's course.

I had Red Currant Jelly on my mind and this is the recipe I adapted:

12 Cups currants - including stems
(apparently it's best to cook them unstemmed to get all the natural pectin)
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Cup water
Sugar (1 1/2 Cups for each cup of liquid)
1 package (85 mL) liquid pectin

In a large pot, bring water, currants and rosemary sprigs to a boil
stirring and pressing the currants
with a wooden spoon till soft and juicy. This took about 20 minutes.
Strain this through a fine sieve gently pressing the pulp to drain all the liquid
into a large measuring cup.
Return the measured liquid to the pot and add sugar.
I had 4 cups liquid so added 6 cups of sugar.
Boil for 10-15 minutes.
Add liquid pectin and boil for another 30 seconds.
Ladle jelly into sterilized jars and seal.

Taste Notes - I'm not sure the pectin was necessary as red currants have lots of natural pectin. The jelly turned out a bit too jelled.
Next time I would put in another sprig or two of rosemary since the taste wasn't noticeable enough to my liking.

During the week, I also had a little helper love bug.
These are the days that I especially wish would slow down!!!

Till next time - how goes your summer so far?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cement Leaf Reveal

It rained almost every day since making these (posted in my most recent blog post)
but that was perfect cement curing conditions!

This is how they turned out:

Hosta and Rhubarb - cemented leaves flipped over with leaves still attached

One very large rhubarb leaf (compared to my size 7 flip flops). Most of actual leaf removed.

We tried some different methods (ruffled edge, flat edge and hosta leaves) - all in bowl shapes.

Even though I really like the deep veins of the rhubarb leaves,
I quite liked, and was surprised by the pretty hosta leaf design!

This one was made many years ago, naturally rain water filled (smile)
with some river rocks.

Till next time -  bring on the sunshine...