How to recognize a Nor’easter when you are from the Midwest

First, you can watch all the scary weather reports about flooding and dangerous driving conditions that may close the bridge that connects you to  your home in Ohio.

Second, you can go out to the Bay and watch the water rise.

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and rise even higher at high tide.

Third, you can go outside and get soaked whilst taking pictures of the rain on your rental and car.Cropper St. Chincoteague 029

Fourth, you can drive through flooded streets and cross over the old bridge in the pelting  rain and take pictures of the only way off of the island as you wait for the car ahead of you to slowly drive through about 10 inches of water.

Cropper St. Chincoteague 072 Cropper St. Chincoteague 074

Cropper St. Chincoteague 075 I have never seen the water this high.  It made the whole experience of driving off island into a white knuckle event.

And it rained and rained all of the way to Ohio.  The Pennsylvania Turnpike is not a nice place to be when it is raining hard and you are surrounded by trucks going down the side of a mountain.

There were lulls in the downpour. 

There were umbrellas and slickers.

There were deep puddles of water everywhere.

It wasn’t like being at the beach – it was like joining a club of adventurous people who like the rougher side of nature. 

And you wouldn’t believe how many people were in Chincoteague because this is their favorite time of year. 

We saw a different face of this little island town.

And we liked it.  Even during the nor’easter.

Floods and high water and they had a Chili and Chowder Festival today that was being held on Chincoteague Bay under tents.  It looked so festive with the striped tents and the multicolored bright umbrellas.  We were tempted to stay.

But we came home to spectacular Ohio sunset.

Harvesting Lemon Grass and feeding the starter…

lemon grass harvest 001 Would you believe that is the start of my list for today?

It also includes -Lunch at Dan’s Dogs with Ally and Cynthia for Ally’s birthday!

And- find sheets for beds.

There is also-make meatloaf and chili and old fashioned hamburg patties.

It goes on for at least 12 more odd items that need to be done and checked off.

Because tomorrow Cynthia and I are leaving for Chincoteague, VA.

We have some business to conduct and some people to see-

and some bread to bake.

Cryptic, no?

I’ll tell you more about it later.

It has been consuming much of my time and keeping me up late at night.

And this is just the end of the beginning- I think.

Anyway- I’m going to be busy for the rest of the week- so- I thought you might like to see my lemon grass harvest .

lemon grass harvest 002 lemon grass harvest 003 lemon grass harvest 004

You cut it at almost ground level- cutting only the thick stems at a diagonal.

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Watch out for that long grass- it can be lethal- or at least very sharp.

lemon grass harvest 009 It slices like a paper cut-with jagged edges!  Ouch!

lemon grass harvest 018 Cut off the stem from the grass- this is the part that is used in Thai recipes like this one.  Once cut, you need to keep it in water or it will dry up.  If you aren’t going to be using it for a while- I’d chop it up small and freezw with a couple of tsps of water in an ice cube tray.

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Now put the ends of the tall grass together and tie them tightly.

lemon grass harvest 011 And then you can braid them together.

This reminded me of something I did last year in Hawaii.Meredith's Hawaii 424

This is the shot where I finally pulled my tongue back in! LOL!

Back to lemon grass-

lemon grass harvest 015 Braiding and then weaving the ends

into a circle you can make the grass into a wreath.  (The fragrance of lemons

surrounds you as you braid and weave- it is almost intoxicating!)


Happy Day, Ally! 003 It makes a pretty birthday crown and sceptre for the birthday girl.  It is also quite nice nestled in your lingerie drawer, the light scent of lemons is quite pleasant.  Or you could drop it into Chicken with rice soup for a lemon”y”  flavor!

Pumpkin roll and sourdough 002 Diced up fine- lemongrass is a great addition to your Asian cuisine.  ( The lemongrass is in the lower right hand side of the picture above.)

I may find a convenient spot with wifi when in VA and post something from there- otherwise- see you on Sunday!

Recipe- Thai Chicken Soup

I just finished washing half of the dishes and while I’m waiting for them to air dry so I can put them away and finish the other half, I thought I’d come and post a recipe.

I’m not sure if I’ve given you this recipe before.  Even if I have, I can’t find it and so it might be lost in my in-between blog archives.  And this is such a great soup- comforting and smooth with just a little heat and lots of vegetables.I’m going to repost it because I think you should HAVE this recipe!

You can start off by making your own stock with a whole chicken, 3 slices of fresh ginger root, 1 stem of lemon grass, 2 large ribs of celery, 2 large carrots and a large onion- sautee the chicken in 2 TBS of olive oil, add veggies and 6 cups of water, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook down until chicken is done, and veggies are soft.  Then discard the veggies and tear the meat off of the bones.  Put broth in the refrigerator and cool.  When the fat congeals at the top of the pan, throw it away ( the fat, not the stock ) and add a couple of chicken bullion cubes for a richer flavor. 

Now you need to dice or chop up some more vegetables. 

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To make this soup look as good as it tastes, cut your vegetables in an uniform size and slice them on a slant.  Chop, slice and dice up the same vegetables you discarded and in the same amounts. 

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Add a potato sliced thin and small.  As you can see, I totally cheated and used a Thai Coconut Curry culinary broth.  This works well too and you can forget about making your own stock.

Either way, at this point you need to cutup 2 chicken breasts (if cooked- don’t add them until your vegetables are sauteed.)  if raw, sautee them in 3TBS of olive oil and season with about 1 1/2 tsps of curry powder.  Add vegetables and sautee all together for about 15 minutes.  Add broth and simmer another 30 minutes.

Chop up a small can of bamboo shoots, and partially cook some medium sized noodles to add to your soup.Pumpkin roll and sourdough 006

Pumpkin roll and sourdough 007 And then let the whole thing simmer for another 30-45 minutes.

 Pumpkin roll and sourdough 017 Now add the Lite Coconut Milk and simmer for at lest 10 minutes more. 

You can add the juice of 1/2 lemon if you like it a little more sour.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve with a good crusty bread and a green salad.

I really cannot tell you how very good this soup is – you have to taste it for yourself.   My d-i-l Willow first made it for me when they were still in college- and I’ve been making it ever since.  Try it-  you are going to love it!

Tonight’s Dinner Menu

It is 3:44 AM and my mind is set on BUZZ!

I couldn’t fall asleep.

There is too much going on in there.

So I decided to get up and put the menu down here.

Maybe then I won’t keep thinking about the ingredients.


Dinner menu for Sunday, October 11, 2009

– Thai Chicken Soup

-Sourdough French baguettes

-Orange Chicken with braised fennel and onions

-Basmati  rice

Broiled Angel food cake slices with chocolate syrup,

sliced strawberries and homemade granola

Rosebush in October 011

I’ll post some pictures and recipes later (after I make them!)

Until then, here’s a picture of my homemade granola.

Stretching VS Growing

We’ve all heard it, I think.

That encouraging statement from our spiritual family.

“Honey, God is just trying to stretch you with this ____________(fill in the blank).”

I have been guilty of saying it.

I’m sorry.

Because although stretching is important.  And sometimes it feels good to stretch when you haven’t moved lately.

BEING stretched is a different story.

That is torture- you know like on the rack?

I am a short woman.  I have short arms and legs- I’m built like a hobbit.

And my kitchen is built for an Amazon.  So I stretch all the time.

Getting stuff out of the cupboard, putting stuff into the cupboards, looking for stuff on the top shelf of anywhere is difficult and hurts.

I KNOW all about stretching- and when something is out of reach- stretching is not always the answer anyway. 


I went out to look at my rosebush in the rain this morning.

Rosebush in October 001 Pretty, isn’t it?

It’s not stretching out there.  It’s growing.

It’s mid October and still growing.

Rosebush in October 002 Rosebush in October 003 Rosebush in October 005

It is beautiful.  And when it does finally stop blooming and the leaves curl in the frost and cold.

It will still be growing.

Underground the roots will continue to grow-

going deeper-

becoming stronger-

preparing for additional growth in the Spring.

And isn’t growing what the Lord wants us to do anyway?

I’ve never seen a scripture that says, Stretch into grace.

Or to stretch out your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I understand the concept behind the statement.

I just don’t like it.

God is doing a work in me.

Ephesians 2:10 says we are his workmanship,

and that we are fitted to grow into a holy temple

so that the Holy Spirit can live within us.

I am committed to growing.


Not so much.

Because I want to end up looking like this in God’s hand-

Rosebush in October 008

(being stretched makes me think of plastic surgery- the skin stretched so tight that you can’t even smile.  I don’t want to look like Joan Rivers!)

May God grant me the tenacity of a rosebush.

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I have been feeling rather frail emotionally and spiritually.

And I know why.

I’m too busy.

I’m trying to keep up with the schedule of my life.

And my husband’s life.

And my children’s lives.

And attempting to conduct the business from the lives of other loved ones who have needs right now .

And in all that business, I am neglecting quiet time.

I’m wondering if I need an exorbitant amount of time to reflect.

Because without time to just sit and wonder,

and without time to just be in God’s presence,

I become frazzled.

I’m not even talking about the time I need for prayer and study and devotions.

I’m talking about being time.

Quietly, silently, consciously being myself before the Lord.

Like my rosebush that continues to send out flowers and bear fruit without fanfare or undue cultivation.

Continuing to consistently continue.

This is my prayer.


rosehips and Aiden 007 rosehips and Aiden 008

Some extra recipes…

Jill asked for the slow cooker applesauce recipe.

This is so easy, I’m ashamed to call it a recipe.

Basically, you peel, core, and slice the apples and put them in the slow cooker on high for about 1 hour.    Then turn your slow cooker to low and cook until you like the texture.

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 004

When the texture is the way you like it (smooth or a little apple lumpy),

you can taste and add sugar( depending on how sweet your apples are- 1/2 -3/4 cup will make it sweet) and cinnamon (1/2-  1 tsp. to your taste) or those red hot cinnamon hearts and it will end up with a little pink look to it.

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 020 

That’s it!

Yesterday I made seafood gumbo.

It was so good, my mouth is watering just writing about it.

There are a lot of great recipes on-line if you want to make your own batch.

This is the one I used.

But it was the first time I actually did all the work and completed a good roux.

And I finally figured out why my roux wasn’t that great before.

It takes patience.

and perseverance.

And I think they should show pictures.

So here is a pictorial journal of the many colors of Roux.

I KNOW roux means red in French.

But there’s red and then there’s red.


apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 009 Here is where I started.

1/3 cup bacon fat and a scant cup of flour.  I added the flour left over on my pastry board from making the pie.  Because I have a hard time wasting food.

Even flour.

The color is light beige.

Now stir, stir, stir !  Find a stool and sit down next to your stove, because the next 30 minutes or so is STIR.  This is harder than making Risotto- because that only takes about 22 minutes.

Are you still stirring?


apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 010

Look! It is turning to a light tan color!
And it has only been about 7 minutes!

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 012

Same color- better picture.

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 014

This is darker-raw sienna of roux.

Here I have been stirring for about 17 minutes.

You have to keep stirring or it will burn.

And then you wasted all the time you put into it-

and have to start over  again.

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 015

It is hard to tell the color here- but I have put in my 30 minutes and it sure looked mahogany red to me!

So I added my vegetables.

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 016 

And sauteed them in the roux.

The guy who gave the recipe said you could brown your flour in the oven and it is a lot easier.  I might go that route next time!

And now for some show off cookie time!

I’m not really SHOWING off- I’m just very pleased with how these turned out.


apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 011

I baked these gingerbread cookies yesterday.

And painted them with white and dark chocolate today!

Gingerbread ponies,apples and sea gulls!

Gingerbread ponies,apples, and gulls 001 Gingerbread ponies,apples, and gulls 002 Gingerbread ponies,apples, and gulls 003 Gingerbread ponies,apples, and gulls 004 Gingerbread ponies,apples, and gulls 005 Aren’t they cute!

Getting started-

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 002

Today it was pie and applesauce!

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 003 apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 005 apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 022

apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 004 apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 020 apples, pie, bread and gumbo- good eats! 021

Making the applesauce in the slow cooker was easy.

And the pie was delicious.  Alas it is all gone. (Who knew Jordan would eat the applesauce by the cupful!  Tomorrow, I’ll make more and maybe have some to freeze for later.)

I saw a recipe on Mennonite Girls can cook for Caramel Apple Cake with individual  bundt cakes that looks heavenly.  I’m going to try that one!

Got any more recipes that feature apples for me to try?

I’d really like a GOOD apple crisp- I have some recipes- but I’d like something spectacular.  If you have one you like, please share. 

She doesn’t care for Spiders OR pictures of herself.

Elizabeth ,Cynthia and Smithville 001

Yes, that would be Cynthia! 

I had her sit her for a photo op- and she didn’t want to. 

Can’t you just HEAR her complaints through her body language?

I take pictures of her because she is with me on my daily meanderings as often as not- but she isn’t very happy about it.  ( The photos- not the meanderings!  I hope!)

Anyway- I’ve known this a long time, but yesterday’s pictures are really proof.  She looks like she is just patiently enduring torture at my hands in most of these pictures.  So this is probably going to be the last you see of her here for a while!

Elizabeth ,Cynthia and Smithville 005

Torture in the gazebo outside of the Oak Cupboard.

Elizabeth ,Cynthia and Smithville 014

“Let me out of the picture” at the Post House.

Elizabeth looks pretty happy-  I really don’t hurt any one in my photographing of them.  I feel like I need to have a disclaimer- No one was injured or hurt in any way in the obtaining of these photographs.

Because – as you can tell in this last picture-

Elizabeth ,Cynthia and Smithville 015

Cynthia doesn’t really care to be in the photo!

On the Waterfront

Apples and Aidan! 025

Have I ever mentioned I’m an old classic movie buff?

I love the old black and whites especially.

Yesterday, we walked down to this pond at the apple orchard and checked out the swans.  They were a little ruffled to have us come up on them unaware and they are so ungainly and awkward out of water that I was almost embarrassed for them.

But it wasn’t until we went on our hay ride that I truly appreciated this pond.

Apples and Aidan! 084

I wish I was a better photographer- but this peach tree was planted on the far side of the pond in the above picture- and if you look carefully, you can see the broken branch laying on the ground. 

When we got closer and we could see the variety of the tree, I could almost hear Marlon Brando’s voice in my ear.

The name of the tree- CONTENDER!

” I could have been a contender!”