Recipe #1 -Dark Cherry Salsa

This is to go into the chilled melon soup.  I decided the soup would be great with a salsa mixed into a swirl of yogurt just before serving.

So I have to make the salsa first.


Allyson and baby and cheries 005 Salsa

Dark cherries are coming in season.

Serves 6 – from Cooking Light

dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped

lime juice

cherry preserves

red onion, minced

jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped

cilantro, chopped


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend.
  • Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours..

Can also be served with chips as an appetizer.

Allyson and baby and cheries 006

I finally fed it and then used it.

Allyson and baby and cheries 001 Sourdough starter= demanding!

Look how bad I’ve been.  Actually just busy and now down with a nasty head cold that generated a cough that shakes and rattles my head and hurts my chest.

But I HAVE neglected my starter something terrible.  So today I determined to use it and feed it and stick it back into the dark recesses of my refrigerator to work on digesting a new batch of flour.

I ended up with a delightful cottage loaf.  It is a little underbaked, but I’m going to freeze it and finish baking it later- I can’t eat a whole loaf of rye bread before it goes bad in this humid weather.

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It really is quite lovely!  It didn’t blow up or lean over or split it sides or anything.Strawberries and bread 008

And I made some white bread for Frank- he doesn’t like healthy full grain breads.

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So here is tomorrow’s toast for him.

Tomorrow I’m going to start on the recipes for the enemies presence feast.

Six courses to eat in front of one’s enemies-

Last week I took a look at Psalm 23, and the verse about preparing the table  before my enemies was translated to a six course meal in The Message.

I’ve been thinking about that all week.  What would a meal that God prepares for us to consume in the face of our enemies look like?  Would it be simple fare or a gourmet’s delight?  Would it be manna’ish with a poultry chaser or would it be all of my personal favorites?   Should I offer to share and somehow turn my enemy into my ally over a repast of heavenly food?  So many questions….

Given my strong penchant for making up menus, I decided to give it a go and then try to make up the feast of my imagination next week.

I’m pretty good at imagining- finding or making up the recipes is a little harder task!

Feast in the presence !


Chilled melon soup with accents of jalapeno and capers

Stuffed dates with cheese and pomegranates

Pickled grapes and olives

Green Salad with tangy ginger dressing

Crusty bread

Entree- Baked tilapia with macadamia and parmesan crust

                   Singing baked potato wedges

                   Grilled Summer squash

And something heavenly for dessert.  TBA later.

It all sounds good to me.

What do you think?  Any suggestions- or recipes to share?

Thinking about the beach…

The funny thing about going to Chincoteague in the Autumn, Winter and Spring is that I probably won’t be spending much time there in the summer.

And going in the other seasons is beautiful, but I need to go with someone who isn’t so difficult to talk into a couple of fun diversions rather than just WORK< WORK< WORK!   My dear husband is great for getting stuff done, but not much for going to the beach or even out for a seafood dinner.

So, when I was scanning Robin’s photos of her garden, I ran into some from Chincoteague and it started all kinds of memories of time spent there with her.

Robin and I always had a good time- no matter what we were doing.  Jobs became times of good fellowship, long car trips were spent in planning and speculating on what we could do in the future and marathon prayer sessions, and when we  got together to plan or organize an event, the brainstorming discussions  were exciting.  But when we were on vacation- everything just was easy.  Times and outings and adventures flowed.  No problems, no disagreements- just acceptance and compromise and good times.  Looking at these pictures brought back that special time in that special place- and I was looking at Chincoteague with new/old eyes.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the island rather than just the house.


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Assateague on the loop 011 Chincoteague 2009 (Luke) 016

The first two pictures were Robin’s – I didn’t scan in as many as I thought.

The last three are from last summer- before Meredith bought the house.

Just a little taste of the island this June 11, 2010.

Happy thoughts.

Taking advice from a dead woman-

mj's party 005

I went to a birthday party for my friend Mary Jo, today.

I wasn’t going to go.

I have social inhibitions and driving phobias.

Mostly I stay in comfortable and close proximity to my home.

Usually, I am driven, rather than driving.

Normally,  I would have come up with an excuse and stayed home.

But – I’ve been pondering on this all week, crafting good excuses, feigning illness, pretending I couldn’t afford it- and it finally came down to today .

And I kept hearing Robin’s voice in the back of my head.   Giving me advice.  Actually, giving me direction.


And then a dry low chuckle, ” Just go.  Mary Jo is your friend.  You should go and enjoy yourself.  What kind of a friend are you that you don’t want to go?  JUST GO!”

mj's party 001

So I went.

All the way there, I kept talking to her.

Whining, actually.

“I hate driving.  And it’s raining.  I love Mary Jo, but she wouldn’t have really missed me.  I could have baked her some bread and made her a card and taken it over to her house and that would have been fine.  I don’t like to do lunches. Well, I like lunches.  I just don’t like lunches with lots of people there.

And if this is such a good idea why didn’t you stick around and do it yourself?”

OK- I recognize that this is not rational.

But it is real.

Tomorrow will be the 12th anniversary of  the day Robin died and I’m still talking to her and taking her advice.

Because I did go, and I DID enjoy myself.  And I think I am a real friend.

Just a little crazy.

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Two recipes: Goodies galore for the guys!

I’ve been baking.

Aside from the sourdough starter that keeps on calling out my name every time I open the refrigerator ( see picture below)

Late May 001

– I have two men who keep looking for goodies for their lunches.  BUT as soon as I make the goodies, they devour them, so there are none left for their lunches. 


owl cardamom-cinnamon rolls 007

Conga bars or brookies or Chocolate -pecan bars- I don’t care what you call them- they taste really yummy and pack well for a lunch box dessert.

The ingredients:

2 2/3 cups flour -All purpose

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Sift these ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2/3 cup butter or margarine

1 lb. light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream the next 3 ingredients together until smooth.

3 eggs

Add, 1 egg at a time, alternatively with the dried ingredients, mixing well after each addition.

Then add 1 package of chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Dough will be quite stiff,  smooth out into a greased 13×9 inch pan and bake in a pre heated oven (350 degrees F) for 30 minutes.

When lightly browned, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting into bars. 

Don’t over bake these- they are so good when still a little tender inside!

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Cardamom-cinnamon Owls.

I’ve been all over the blogosphere getting this recipe.

I saw it first here on Celia’s blog, Fig jam and Lime Cordial.

She found it on Joanne’s blog, Zeb Bakes, and she got it from a book by Tessa Kiros, Floating Cloudberries.

ANYWAY- it was in European measurements, grams, ml, etc.- so I had to go to a measurement conversion site- and I’m just so VERY glad they turned out as wonderful as I had hoped!  Because they are delicious- and cute and I’m ever so happy I made them!

Do you see the owl eyes looking at you?

They look so good on a plate- but I took a couple of close ups as well.

owl cardamom-cinnamon rolls 017  owl cardamom-cinnamon rolls 018

The recipe I used ended up being approximate because I have no math skills anymore and the conversion chart kept giving me fractions that were hard to find a common denominator.

THEY taste really good- so I think I did alright.


1 FULL cup of milk, scalded

1/2 cup sugar

2 TBS instant yeast

1 lightly beaten egg

1 stick of butter- 4 oz

2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 lbs flour- about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups

Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl with a sturdy spoon.

Since you are using instant yeast, make sure the milk is still warm/hot so that the yeast will be activated.  Stir together until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and stays together in a lump, then flour your surface and dump dough onto counter and knead – adding flour as necessary- the dough should become silky and easy to work with within a couple of minutes.  Add flour if the dough is too sticky.  Knead for about 10 minutes.

Butter the bowl, form dough into a ball and place into the bowl after inverting it to butter the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and let raise until double.

Interestingly, this dough is a VERY slow raiser- there was some discussion on Celia’s blog about the addition of cardamom retarding the process.  I was glad I read this because otherwise it would have worried me that it took around 3 hours for the dough to raise sufficiently to roll out.  Wait the time the dough needs- you will know it is ready when it leaves an indention when you poke the dough.

Now- divide in half and roll the dough into a large rectangle.  Butter the surface with 2 1/2 TBS of soft butter and sprinkle with a sugar/cinnamon mixture.  If you love cinnamon- put it on thick- and you can decide how much sugar you want to add at this point. 

Roll up the dough from the long side so you have a long thin roll and cut it into triangles.  Go to Celia’s blog to see her instructions- she even drew a picture.

It’s on my blog roll on the side bar, or at the beginning of this recipe.

Allow to raise for 45 minutes, covered with plastic, while your oven preheats to 350 degrees F and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While they were still warm I coated them with a 10x/water glaze – just because I wanted them to photograph well- but Jordan said he really liked the glaze, so you may want to add it as well. 

Glaze= 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 or 2 TBSP of warm water mixed together.

Sometimes history repeats itself and rewards you with strawberries.

early June 003

Thirty four years ago, Frank and I had been married less than a year, we had just returned from living in Edmonton, Alberta and were putting our apartment together and enjoying the June sun in Akron, Ohio.

Robin called me and asked if I would babysit for her daughter, Allyson, in exchange for a basket of strawberries.

Now, whilst in Edmonton, I had missed ALL of my family.  I was homesick for reasonable weather conditions and for all the familiarity of home and loved ones-  BUT– I had really missed the time watching my sister’s baby girl grow up.

So, I didn’t even hesitate and said YES!!!

I would have done it for the pure joy of the baby- but the strawberries sounded like a great payment, as well.

Robin brought her over and put her into my arms. I held her for the next four hours ( if I put her down she looked around, saw her mother wasn’t there and started crying!) .  I was so happy to be back home, to have that precious baby entrusted to me for a little while, to be in the United States, with my sisters and brothers and mother close at hand.  I still remember how the world seemed to be a beautiful place.

Yesterday, I got a call from that baby, now almost 35 years old, asking if I would babysit for her foster baby, Nico, in exchange for a basket of strawberries.

Again- no hesitation whatsoever.


So, I got to hold and feed a two week old baby and feast on strawberries, afterward.

And – really- my world is a beautiful place.

early June 001

Hungry sheep and scary valleys? Psalm 23- revisioned.

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.                                                     

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


This is not a psalm I would normally use for a blog post study, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the character of God recently, and this psalm kept coming to my mind.  It is such a popular piece of scripture that I am running the risk of offending most of you by this analysis- so I’m asking you to forgive me in advance.

I have a tendency to look at the Bible as a whole, rather than as separate testaments, books and letters.  To me, the written word of God is like a giant photograph that one has to back away- far, far away from to see the whole picture.  I see the character of our Lord delineated in each story, His relationships are indicative of  His plans, His press releases through the prophets, small images of His true nature, and as we get to know His word better- we become aware of His true nature.

At first glance this psalm looks like a wish list for faithful believers.

And that is why we read it in our darkest hours, holding on to these statements of safety and reassurance.   I read it to to my loved ones as they lay dying.  I read it and clung to what I thought were promises made to me as a believer.

BUT- and this doesn’t negate the comfort but seems to me to underline it- I don’t think this is about promises of comfort at all.

In fact, I don’t think it is about us at all.

Read it again, this time from the Message.


Psalm 23 (The Message)

Psalm 23
A David Psalm

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
   You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
      you find me quiet pools to drink from.
   True to your word,
      you let me catch my breath
      and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through
      Death Valley,
   I’m not afraid
      when you walk at my side.
   Your trusty shepherd’s crook
      makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
      right in front of my enemies.
   You revive my drooping head;
      my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
      every day of my life.
   I’m back home in the house of God
      for the rest of my life.

This is about WHO God is.  Not about me.  Not even about David, except that David sees Who God is.  Clearly, he recognizes that God is in control.  He follows His lead, drinks from where He directs him and sleeps under His protection.  David is not a lamb, but he was a shepherd , and he knows a real Shepherd when he sees one.

Try taking the focus off of yourself.

Try looking at the relationship we have with the Almighty from His point of view.  Take a couple of steps back and look at the big picture.


I think this psalm is beautiful and comforting, but NOT just because it seems like it is full of safe places and good food! 

Look at the beauty of our Lord.