A week for preparation-

Next Monday is Labor day. 

I’m planning on spending it with family on Chincoteague Island, VA.

Sadly, Jordan has started back to school and can’t get away from work- so he won’t be there- but Willow and Luke and Aidan and Frank and Cynthia and I- a week of sun and beach and family.

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Chincoteague 2009 (Luke) 490

I’ve been waiting for a chance to actually go to the beach while in Chincoteague all year.  So this is it- finally- Yay!

But first- laundry and baking and sorting through all the stuff I want to take- and finishing up Willow’s birthday present (we will be celebrating her birthday down there this year!) – and shopping and packing and gathering and getting the herbs  that I’m taking to plant at the house- all of that busy work.

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And then we’re off to spend a week back here-Chincoteague 2009 (Luke) 043

in Chincoteague.

Psalm 117- Praise and Applause !

Psalm 117

1 Praise the LORD, all you nations;
       extol him, all you peoples.

2 For great is his love toward us,
       and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
       Praise the LORD.


Psalm 117

Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people!
   His love has taken over our lives;
God’s faithful ways are eternal.


Sometimes short and sweet is just right.

Like this psalm today.

Praise God, everybody!

Merry and memorable moments from the Children’s Botanical Garden- Cleveland ,Ohio

It was a beautiful day yesterday.

Deep blue skies…

friendly sunshine..

quiet breezes.

Delighted smiles,

wooden tables and chairs,

immobile ponies and frogs,

underground fountains,

and one very happy boy.

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Small houses and hidden enclosures, stone walls and sandboxes-

and big red pumps that small boys can work-

Altogether an enchanting August afternoon.

Ethical Vegetables

Yesterday, my sister and I were shopping at a bulk food store.

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I needed some yeast and some spelt flour ( and some sliced almonds and surprisingly, some chocolate covered pretzels- turns out I  needed all of these items!)  After we got to the store a truck pulled up next to us LOADED down with beautiful FRESH veggies!

A distinguished looking older  man got out of the truck and addressed us and a group of ladies standing in front of the store eating ice cream cones with their children. “Ladies, I have some fresh produce from my garden, if you are interested. “

Being always interested, we went over to look at a lovely array of vegetables and several large watermelons. 

“How much for the zucchini ?”  the lady asked.

” However much you think it is worth.” he replied.

She backed away slightly- this in not an answer that she could deal comfortably with.  Then she started talking nervously while she started selecting from the baskets and boxes, piling up a mound of vegetables that would have cost at least $20 in my experienced farmer’s market opinion. 

” So, how much for this?”  She asked again.

“How much do you want to pay?”

“I don’t know… how much do you want?”

He smiled and had pity on her.  “How about $4?  Do you think it is worth $4?”

She reached into her purse, pulled out the bills and whisked her pile into bags-calling to her children who were sticky by now with ice cream dripping down their arms and faces-” Come on.  Help me get this into the car!”

Cynthia and I had been picking out our vegetables while they transacted their business (although the lady had taken ALL of the available courgettes and I was a little miffed at her) .  We had a small watermelon, 2 eggplants, a package of lima beans and 4 jalapeno peppers,veg and flout 001a tomato and 2 onions.

“Well, Ladies, is there anything else I can help you get?”

“No thank you- your vegetables are truly lovely.”

” I supply a local college and this is what is left over after they took what they want.  Sure you can’t use any more of those peppers?”

Smiling, we gave him $10 dollars and went into the bulk store to pick up my flour and other necessities.

He was sitting on a lawn chair next to his truck when we came back out.

“Have a nice day ladies!” he called out to us.

We turned and asked what college he grew his vegetables for.  He named a college in a nearby city and said that he had been a professor there and after retiring he had taken up gardening and loved it. 

I asked what he had taught and he smiled and said, “Ethics.  Business and otherwise.  But no one ever paid much attention to what I said or taught.”

We got into the car and drove off.  I was thinking, ethics.  The man taught ethics and then gave people an opportunity to pay what they thought things were worth.

It was like an episode of ” What would you do?”  with John Quinones.  A small experiment into human nature- when offered the opportunity of a huge bargain or a fair price- what avenue do you take? Do you pay the least possible or give what the market value is currently?  Do you do the right thing or take advantage?

And what is the right thing in this situation and in these times?

It should have been a simple trip into the country, but I was suddenly looking very seriously at myself and wondering.  I think we gave a fair price.  It was not a GOOD price- he certainly could have asked for more and I would have paid it.

I came away thinking about equity- about how often we look for an edge over others and hope for a chance to get a good deal.  My children have educate me into the concept of fair trade globally, I try to buy locally and organically when I can afford it, and I have cut down on using paper and plastic bags by using a cloth bag- these are not concepts I learned at my mother’s knee – but at my children’s requests and reminders.  But was does that mean when someone says – “Pay what you think it is worth.”  I think it is worth more than I could afford!

I am blown away by the hard work and dedication it takes to bring a garden to harvest and then load it up and sell it at a stand.  I worked for my neighbours down the road to help in their stand for a season, when my friend developed cancer. I truly appreciate the labor and beauty of the vegetables.

And so we paid our $10.  Not an unreasonable offering.  He was satisfied.  We were happy.  It was within the realm of the ethical that I got tripped up, later.  


.Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality — that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, justice, virtue, etc.

from Wikipedia– also


Post-structuralism and postmodernism argue that the world is relational; therefore, ethics must study the complex situation of actions. A simple alignment of idea of right and particular act is not possible. There will always be a remainder that is part of the ethical issue that cannot be taken into account in a relational world. Such theorists find narrative to be a helpful tool for understanding ethics because narrative is always about particular life stories in all their lived complexity rather than consist of a the assignment of an idea or norm to an action.


Really- all I wanted was a fresh watermelon.

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Sourdough Braid-for Celia

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I added far less flour to this loaf, so it was a little sticky to work with.

I sprinkled semolina flour on my work surface after I had the strands rolled out and it coated the bottoms of each portion as I braided. 

Good luck – and try using more flour as you work the dough.


I spent the weekend baking.

I made some sourdough bread and braided it.

(but no picture.:( )

I made MORE bacon/peanut butter cookies and added a design so that they looked really pretty-

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I like the way they look in the mason cookie jar!

And I made the bacon toffee/brittle but added some mixed nuts and cooled it on a black marble slab.  That looks very good and tastes, well, interesting and good.

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And then I made salsa verde with tomatillos –

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and used it to season pork enchiladas.

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Shredded pork enchiladas and cheese and onion enchiladas.

Here are a couple of recipes if you are interested.

Salsa Verde

10 medium sized tomatillas, peeled and washed.

1/2 chopped onion

2 jalapeno peppers,seeded, roasted, peeled, chopped

1 small bunch cilantro

2 TBS lime juice

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper

Broil the tomatillos, cut in half and the peppers until browned under the broiler.

Put all ingredients in processor for just a few turns, until everything is uniform in size and mixed, but not smooth.

Use with enchiladas or with corn chips as a dip.


Brown enchilada sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 TBS all purpose flour

1 teaspoon each of cumin, garlic and oregano

2 TBS chili powder

2 cups chicken broth, or water

Heat oil in cast iron skillet (or heavy bottom pan), add flour and stir for about 3 minutes on medium heat, making a roux.  Stir until lightly browned and add spices, stirring constantly so they don’t clump or burn. Add broth or water slowly, stirring until your paste becomes a sauce and cook over low heat until it comes to a slow boil.  Boil, stirring until some of the liquid evaporates and you have a luscious gravy.

Pour a little in the bottom of your enchilada pan, roll up your cheese and green onions or shredded pork or chicken with a little salsa verde into warm corn tortillas and place next to each other, rolled end down.  Pour sauce over top and bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes – until heated through and bubbly- sprinkle cheese on top and broil for another couple of minutes and YUM- Enchiladas!

psalm 71- My hope is in You, Lord, for all of my days.

Psalm 71

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
       let me never be put to shame.

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
       turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my rock of refuge,
       to which I can always go;
       give the command to save me,
       for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
       from the grasp of evil and cruel men.

5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
       my confidence since my youth.

6 From birth I have relied on you;
       you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
       I will ever praise you.

7 I have become like a portent to many,
       but you are my strong refuge.

8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
       declaring your splendor all day long.

9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
       do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

10 For my enemies speak against me;
       those who wait to kill me conspire together.

11 They say, "God has forsaken him;
       pursue him and seize him,
       for no one will rescue him."

12 Be not far from me, O God;
       come quickly, O my God, to help me.

13 May my accusers perish in shame;
       may those who want to harm me
       be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 But as for me, I will always have hope;
       I will praise you more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
       of your salvation all day long,
       though I know not its measure.

16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
       I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
       and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

18 Even when I am old and gray,
       do not forsake me, O God,
       till I declare your power to the next generation,
       your might to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
       you who have done great things.
       Who, O God, is like you?

20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
       you will restore my life again;
       from the depths of the earth
       you will again bring me up.

21 You will increase my honor
       and comfort me once again.

22 I will praise you with the harp
       for your faithfulness, O my God;
       I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
       O Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips will shout for joy
       when I sing praise to you—
       I, whom you have redeemed.

24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
       all day long,
       for those who wanted to harm me
       have been put to shame and confusion.

Psalm 71 is the longest psalm I have posted.  And it encompasses the longest period of time within it for an individual- from verse 6, where he is delivered  from his mother’s womb to verse18, "…when I am old and gray", – a lifetime of trust and hope.

It is a good thing to stop and look backward and forward and see that God is always at work.  The questions that trouble us when we are at our weakest point can be answered by the life long experience of walking, waiting on and trusting in the Lord. 
Verse 20 asks the question, "Who, O God, is like you?"

And that question brings with it a wealth of other voices.

We can hear the voices of Israel at the feast of the Passover, asking this question- and in the following verses we see a testimony to God’s salvation through the Exodus- we ask the question in unison and receive the answer of His faithful redemption.

This is a timely psalm- it leads us in the progression through time- vv 8, 15,and 24 all have the phrase " all day long".  The psalmist looks his life and sees that God in continuously  at work, vv 3,6, and 14 – God is always there to save, to be relied upon and to give hope- ALWAYS.

I have heard and read that this psalm is one for the aged- to contemplate in one’s old age- but I think it is a psalm about hope in real life terms.  Not as a fragile promise in the future.  Hope is a long and patient waiting in spite of delay and disappointment.

My hope is in you, Lord, for all of my days.

Chocolate cupcakes with hazelnut frosting-recipe

I probably should have just said, "NUTELLA", anyone?

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We have a recipe in our family for crazy cake.  Crazy because it doesn’t use any eggs, I think.  It is a moist, dense chocolate cake that goes well for cupcakes, because it doesn’t crumble or leave half of the cake behind in the paper.


2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2sugar

4 1/2 TBS cocoa

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

9 TBS. vegetable oil

1 1/2 TBS vinegar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups water

Mix dry ingredients together with whisk= this uses the most basic of ingredients plain flour, granulated sugar, baking cocoa, white vinegar, etc.  If you have fancier ingredients and want to use them- go ahead- the cake will turn out great whatever you substitute.

Add wet ingredients and stir until batter is relatively smooth.

This will make a 9×13 inch cake or 24 cupcakes or 1- 8 inch double layer cake .

Grease pan of choice and bake at 350 degrees F for about30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and/or cake bounces back a tiny bit when poked- however you check doneness in cakes.

The icing is a basic buttercream with Nutella as  main ingredient.

1 stick butter,soft

3 cups icing sugar (10x)

1/2 cup nuttela

2 TBS milk, cream or half and half

Beat butter until smooth, add sugar one cup at a time, add milk until you get  a creamy  and easy spreading texture, then add nutella and beat until it is completely incorporated.

nutella cupcakes 003 Cool cakes, then spread a thin layer of nutella on top of each.( you could eliminate this step, but why?  If you decided to make these it is because you love nutella and this is just another opportunity to add it and perhaps to lick your fingers!)

Put icing in pastry/icing bag and add large star tip.

nutella cupcakes 004 Ice cupcakes starting at outer edge and work your way around to the center- flourish the tip at the top to end with a star.

nutella cupcakes 005 Add roasted chopped hazelnuts or not- you already have the nutella- right!?

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Between recipes- knitting around the edges…

knitted 002 I am taking a small break from cooking-

not really- I am taking a small break from writing about cooking.

I’ve been cooking/baking by day and knitting by night.

Knitting within my small capacity to understand directions.

I think my disability comes from my inability to count.

I could never do counted cross stitch because I would get lost and muddle about the cloth- making random crosses here and there- looking more like chicken scratches than anything else.  The same is true for knitting a pattern- I certainly start well, but then I lose count.

Then I lose patience.

Then I lose heart.

And I stop.

But, I did manage to knit an entire pair of socks.


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And I can knit a hat and scarf-

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And I knitted a purse, which I felted and now need to knit the handle and embellish the purse with wool.

I knit a lot like I bake- following a form but fitting it to my style and interests and tastes.

I am a woman of small and humble talents.  But sometimes that is enough to make one contented.   And armed with a camera and a small way with words and access to the internet , those talents almost look impressive.

Before I dazzle you anymore with my many accomplishments, I am going to stop- mainly because I’ve run out of pictures.  ( I have rarely run out of words.)

I’ll be back tomorrow with more recipes to share.

Oatmeal and Babies

oatmeal!!! 002 My son and daughter in law are expecting another son in October.

I love being a grandmother- it is one joy after another- without most of the hard work and decisions that come into play as a parent.

I am here to engage in play and enjoyment.  I get to receive lots of hugs and kisses and happy to see you smiles.  And I have the distinct joy of spending time in the lives of my children and the next generation just through babysitting and skyping.

And I have Allyson’s foster children to love as well.  Aiden is headed to becoming her son.  And now, she has another foster baby to love.  And that means I get to hold the baby and enjoy.  And believe me- I AM enjoying!

oatmeal!!! 003 So is Cynthia!

So, I am getting in some serious practice for October!

And now onto the oatmeal portion of this post.

I like oatmeal.

As a cereal, certainly, but even more as an ingredient.

Today I made oatmeal cookies and granola.

They both turned out great- and not a slice of bacon in the recipes!

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Here’s the approximate recipe for the granola.


6-8 cups of  old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup pecans

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup cashews

1 cup walnuts

1cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup coconut

1 pinch sea salt

1 cup honey

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250 F degrees.

Stir together dry ingredients.

Stir together wet ingredients.

Stir together ALL ingredients, place in oven and stir every 30 minutes for about oatmeal!!! 008oatmeal!!! 009

2 1/2 hours or until golden brown.

Take out of oven and continue to stir until cooled down.

Place in air tight container.

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I ended up with about 5 1/2 quarts of granola.

You can use your favorite nuts in this mix-  add a little more of this – a little less of that and make the kind of granola you like the best.  I like mine really nutty and not too sweet.