Jambalaya and Dirty rice

The days are getting shorter- and the rain keeps

coming down.  The nights are cool- sometimes down-right

nippy.  The rose bushes are still hard at work, putting out

little buds that may never bloom- there is a killing frost

on the way.

It’s time for Jambalaya- Spicy and warm- tummy filling-

sensory overloaded Jambalaya with ham and sausage and

plump white shrimp.


(I keep the shrimp separate because my husband doesn’t like it.)


1 ham bone with ham still on it.

1 pkg. shrimp (medium 31-40 pieces)

5 HOT sausage links- cut into smaller pieces ( Andouille or Chorizo- or even Hot Italian or Hungarian)

1 onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 green pepper,diced (or hot peppers if you can handle it!)

1/2 tsp dried thyme- ground

1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2-3 cloves garlic crushed

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

2 TBS chopped parsley

A couple of good shakes of Cajun spice seasoning

( or tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper)

3 or 4 TBS olive oil

2-3 TBS butter

Salt and Pepper to taste


Pour a few good slurps of olive oil in a large pan, add the butter and

heat until butter is melted, not browned.

Sautee up the shrimp with the crushed garlic- one layer at a time until the

shrimp are pink.  Using a slotted spoon, take out the shrimp and put in a bowl

to cool so that you can take off the shell later.  Leave behind the butter and

juices to sautee onion, green pepper and celery until soft, then add the ham

bone and sausages and simmer until sausages lose their pink and add the

diced tomatoes.  Then add the water, cover and let the whole mess simmer

for about 45 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.

Add spices and herbs, checking on the liquid so that the ham is surrounded by

sauce.  Leave to simmer another 20 to 30 minutes- then tear or slice off ham pieces

about the same size as sausage pieces.

Add cleaned shrimp for another 10 minutes of simmer time, and serve next to

or on top of pasta or rice- or next to some dirty rice.

Dirty rice is made up of :

rice, onions-red and white,sausage, ground beef,celery,green peppers,chopped giblets,

garlic,tabasco sauce,chicken broth,smoky paprika,cumin,parsley,cayenne pepper,and

anything else your palate desires!


Jambalaya- with shrimp- it’s good eating Spring- Summer-Winter-or FALL!

And it’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Add some good cornbread for dipping in the sauce- it’s comfort food all around!

A memory in marigolds…


My family owned a greenhouse from before the time I was born, so I always think

that I grew up in a greenhouse.  Actually, I grew up in the white house behind the

greenhouse- a ramshackle old house with seven bedrooms, one bath and very few

amenities- but filled with people large and small, loving and working together.

I was one of the “little girls”.  There were three of us- and we were considerably younger

than our older sibs.  In fact, as I was growing up, my older sister and brothers were the

“grown ups” in my life- and I learned at a young age to deal with many bosses.

But the marigolds in the picture above brought to mind one of those moments of

passage that come in our lives, taking us further from childhood and affording a view

of the possibilities that open as we can take life into our own hands and become independent.

I was still a child- not more than 10 years old- but my mother gave me a small packet of seeds

and a flat full of sterilized dirt.  She said it was mine.  I could plant it and take care of it and if

I wanted, could sell it and keep the money.

I don’t remember if she gave my sisters the same opportunity-or if she did, if they took her

up on it-BUT that flat of marigolds was so important to me that Spring.  I carefully gridded

the dirt and planted the seeds so that they would grow into a full flat.  Sparse or patchy flats

never sold well- so I placed the seeds 3/4 of an inch apart- using an old wooden ruler to measure

the distance.  I misted it to keep the seeds from shifting and placed it in the hot bed on the side of

the greenhouse to keep them warm while they germinated.  I planted them in mid-February to

give them plenty of time to flower before early Summer.  And I watched over them- keeping

them moist but well drained. 

They were dwarf French marigolds- the packet said they were named “Brownie” and I loved

the sturdy stems and leaves that grew and the brown and yellow flowers that emerged by

early May.  I dead headed them to keep them trim and healthy and didn’t allow any of the

blooms to go to seed.  I was so attuned to MY flat of flowers that I started to pay more

attention to the plants growing alongside them.  What had been a job before, became a joy!

I watered, weeded, dead headed, moved, filled packs with dirt, and just did my chores

with more patience and interest than I ever had before- because my marigolds were growing

out there, too!

And customers were looking at my marigolds.  Inquiring, “How much?” 

My mother turned to me and asked if I was ready to sell them yet.

“No, not yet.” I replied each time.

These were my marigolds.  My little “Brownies” and I wanted to keep them.

So- the flats all around them sold, and mine kept flourishing.  They became thick and

sturdy, covered with blossoms- making the other flats look poor in comparison- and still

I wanted to keep them.

Finally, we moved them to the back of the greenhouse.

I think my mom thought I was never going to sell them.

But she was pretty tricky, my mother.

And she took me and my sisters to Robert Hall’s – the clothing store up the street-

to look for bathing suits.  It was late May by this time, and the weather was getting hot.

My sisters picked suits within the budgeted amount, and the clerk rang them up and put

them in a bag.  But the suit I had my eye on was black and had four rows of black corded fringe

at the hips.  To my ten year old eyes, it was tres chic, and I wanted it.

It was also tres expensive` and about seven dollars over my mother’s budget.

I went over the other suits again, but after trying on that black number and shimmying those

rows of fringe by shaking my hips, they were all boring and ugly.

My mom said she would pay part of it, but I’d have to come up with the rest of the money.

I had no money.  Money was to be spent as soon as it touched my hand.

I was not a saving little girl- I was more of a free spirit.

My sister, Robin, was a saver- and she offered me the money- but ,”No”, said my mother,

“if Heidi wants it bad enough, she will find a way to pay for it herself.”

So – we went home.

My sisters had their swim suits.  I had nothing but a black fringed vision in my head.

Sometime during the following week, that flat of marigolds made it back to the

front of the greenhouse.  And the plants were gorgeous!  They were flowering and

full- and the flats around them, although perfectly nice, just didn’t come close in appeal.

I sold my flat of marigolds that week. 

A lady paid me a small fortune- $8 for the flat!

I paid the difference, got the suit- treated Robin and my mom to a mug of root beer at A+W,

and felt like an entrepreneur.

I wore that suit for the next two seasons of Summer.

Every time I wore it- I felt beautiful and smart.

And I have always appreciated the beauty and economy of flowering marigolds.


I came across these volunteer marigolds in my flower bed the

other day, and suddenly, I was a little girl again.

OH- the power of marigolds- and black fringed bathing suits!

Coriander and Orange glazed Pork chops- recipe


These were the highlight of my weekend.

I loved all the people I interacted with-loved the books I read-

enjoyed all the activities- BUT- these remain a shining moment in my


It is Autumn here in Ohio.  The recipes are a little heavier and more

nourishing for the body and soul.  The light and lovely dishes of summer

are yesterday and there are more soups and stews on the stove.

But these pork  chops would be good anytime of the year!

They are savory and sweet- satisfying, but not too heavy- they smell divine-

and they are not very expensive. 

Here’s the recipe-

4 nice loin chops

2-3 TBS ground coriander

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup orange marmalade, preferably home made

S + P, to taste


Heat oil in large cast iron skillet, add garlic and sautee until translucent.  Remove

from pan.  008

Rinse chops and dry with paper towels.  Dredge or sprinkle with ground coriander.

I ground my own coriander ( I always have lots of coriander- because my cilantro goes

to seed so quickly- I keep planting more which gives me LOTS of coriander!


I like it fresh ground and like to use my mortar and pestle! Smile


So after grinding it up, I used a fine sieve and sprinkled the coriander on top

of the chops.006

Add salt and pepper, and they are ready to put into the cast iron skillet.


Fry them up- browning both sides-


Then take them out and add the marmalade.  Deglaze the pan, stirring the

marmalade into the pan juices and put the chops back in and turn several

times while simmering the chops in the glaze.

Cook on stove top until chops are done and looking shiny with the glaze.



Then dish them up and scrape all the glaze on top of them and serve with a

side of rice pilaf and green vegetable and salad.

Add crusty rolls-011

And you have a wonderful dinner!


For Sweetest Day- I got a dozen red roses- sweet.


Yesterday I picked a bouquet from the garden-



I’ve been doing a lot of new recipes over the weekend.


Whipped cream piled high upon gingerbread-sweet!


Orange glazed pork chops – savory!


Red head,blue eyed babies getting ready to nap-sweet!



Dreamy eyed boy with pickle-savory- sweet- adorable!

I’m sorry- the whole thing broke down when I uploaded the

last picture. I love little boys- they are the sunshine of my life-

even the ones who have grown up and are daddies.


I’ll put up the pork chop recipe soon- they were totally

delicious- sweet and savory!

Fall baking…

When the temperature goes down, I am so happy to be baking.

I love to eat bread and baked goods anytime.

But heating up the kitchen in the fall and winter is just so smart-

and eating carbs seems to right when it is colder out.

SO- having said all of that-


I baked some very delicious seeded rye this last week.

My slashes were too deep and the sourdough was very

active and it kind of blew off the gluten cloak and bordered

on exposing itself- but it was (is- I have half a loaf left for

toasting!) delicious and hearty.

And I made an orange cream cheese pound cake for Allyson’s

birthday.  It was beautiful, inside and out- and so very toothsome!


I love the look of farm fresh eggs- the yolks are so yellow!

Here’s the recipe!


1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 c butter or shortening

1 2/3 c granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 TBSP baking powder

1 c milk

1/2 c chopped walnuts

2 TBSP grated orange peel

1/4 c orange juice


Combine cream cheese and shortening, creaming well.

Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.

Stir in walnuts and orange peel.

Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 3 inch loaf pans.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle orange juice or syrup over loaves. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling


They were a little plain- so I added a streusel topping-

1/2 cup flour

3 TBSP butter

1/2 cup sugar

Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour and sugar and sprinkle over

the batter and bake as above.



Making burger buns- recipe

 I made turkey burgers the other night.

They were great- but I didn’t have any good buns

in the freezer and I didn’t want to run out and buy

any- so I decided to make some.

I had about a cup of tempura batter that I had made up

the night before- and I’d used skim milk and an egg in the

batter, so I refrigerated it and decided to use it in the buns.

PLUS- my starter was really in need of being used.  I had neglected

it lately and was just starting to feed it up, but I had a LOT of starter

and didn’t want to throw it away so I decided to make sourdough

ham/turkey burger buns!


They really turned out delicious!

Here’s the recipe.

1 cup sourdough starter (recently fed 1 cup water/1 cup flour)

4 cups AP or plain flour

1 tsp rapid rise yeast

4 Tbs. melted butter

1/2 cup milk, scalded then cooled

small egg, beaten

1/2 cup HOT water

2 tsp salt ( I like a salty bread- you could cut this down if you don’t)

The milk and egg were the base of the tempura batter.  So if you have

some left over- feel free to use it in their place!Smile

I made a sponge with the starter, 1 cup flour and the milk.

I mixed it up and left it for a couple of hours.

It was bubbly when I came back, so I added everything else and mixed

it all up, oiled the bowl and left it to raise/rest for a bit.   About 10 minutes

later, I came back and folded it about 5 times, covered it and left it again-

this time for 20 minutes.  Then I folded it again for 5 or 6 times- it was smooth

and pliant- I placed it back in the bowl and let it raise for 45 minutes.

Then I shaped the dough into balls about the size of my fist, flattened them

down with the palm of my hand and using a bread press made slits across the tops.


I used parchment paper to bake on and sprinkled semolina flour on the paper before

placing the buns on top.

I let this raise for about 25 minutes ( suppertime was drawing near) and then baked in

a preheated oven 375 F for about 30 minutes.


They are so good.


And so were the turkey burgers!

Thick crust pizza- recipe


The beauty of pizza is that you can make it the way you like it.

The problem is that I haven’t found a way I DON’T like it, yet!

I’ve been making a lot of thin crust pizzas because all of that bread is just an extra load of

carbohydrates that I don’t really need.  But last night I made a thick crust or deep dish pizza

that was loaded with toppings.  Sausage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and three kinds

of cheese ( provolone,mozzarella, and parmesan) so I needed a thicker crust to stand up to

the weight of the toppings!  It was so very good.  I really like thick crusted pizza so much

and because it was so filling I only had one piece. 

So – goodbye thin crust – at least for a while.  I’m making my pizzas THICK!!!

Here’s my recipe for pizza dough- it is also the recipe for knotty Italian rolls.

5 cups bread flour
2 tsp sea salt( or less- I like the salty yeasty,EVOO flavor)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 F)
1 1/2 TBS yeast
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Proof yeast in half cup of water- you can add 1/2 tsp sugar to expedite this step.
In large bowl stir salt and 4 1/2 cups flour together and make a small well at the bottom of the bowl.

Add warm water, olive oil and stir the flour just enough to moisten it, then add the foamy yeast

and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon . You may need to add a little more liquid at this point-

the dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Dust surface of counter with remaining flour and dump dough out. Knead for at least 10 minutes

until dough is smooth and pliable. You may need to add a handful of flour – but not enough to dry out dough.

Smooth , pliable,and slightly sticky is the description of what you want at this point.

Then form a ball and place in bowl that has been oiled, cover with plastic and let raise at least an hour until double in size.

Now! Punch the dough down, knead gently for at least 5 minutes and let raise a second time until doubled again

(around 45 minutes) this second raise is what gives the dough that stretchy, yeasty, Italian flavor. Don’t skip it!
At the end of second raising, shape into desired bread or roll out (or toss) for pizza. Allow to raise about 1/2 hour

add toppings of your choice and bake at 350F until golden brown.


I’ve been roasting up my Roma tomatoes from the garden with garlic, basil , and olive oil- and I used that

in a paste form with a little Italian tomato sauce to use on the base of this pizza.  It added an extra dimension

to the flavor and a very nice texture to the sauce.  All in all- this is my best pizza, yet!

Driving toward Autumn…

Sometimes it seems a season changes in a day.

One day it is a wet and rainy end of the summer

pumpkins 001

And the next- the trees are turning and the

air smells like fall.

pumpkins 004

Plus there are pumpkins for sale at the side of the road.


There are pumpkins on wagons in the fields.


And pumpkins at produce stands at small markets.


The leaves are changing colors…


There are purple asters and goldenrod blooming in the fields and

the morning sunshine feels like late afternoon.



It is Autumn- and Halloween is on its way.



Just look at the huge spiders decorating this house.

To celebrate the season- I stay away from spiders-


I bake pumpkin pies!

Oh how the mighty have fallen- II Samuel 1:17-27

2 Samuel 1:17-27

The Message (MSG)

17-18 Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it’s even inscribed in The Book of Jashar.
19-21 Oh, oh, Gazelles of Israel, struck down on your hills,
the mighty warriors—fallen, fallen!
Don’t announce it in the city of Gath,
don’t post the news in the streets of Ashkelon.
Don’t give those coarse Philistine girls
one more excuse for a drunken party!
No more dew or rain for you, hills of Gilboa,
and not a drop from springs and wells,
For there the warriors’ shields were dragged through the mud,
Saul’s shield left there to rot.
22 Jonathan’s bow was bold—
the bigger they were the harder they fell.
Saul’s sword was fearless—
once out of the scabbard, nothing could stop it.
23 Saul and Jonathan—beloved, beautiful!
Together in life, together in death.
Swifter than plummeting eagles,
stronger than proud lions.
24-25 Women of Israel, weep for Saul.
He dressed you in finest cottons and silks,
spared no expense in making you elegant.
The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen
in the middle of the fight!
Jonathan—struck down on your hills!
26 O my dear brother Jonathan,
I’m crushed by your death.
Your friendship was a miracle-wonder,
love far exceeding anything I’ve known—
or ever hope to know.
27 The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen.
And the arms of war broken to bits.

Here we are back with David- and reading his psalm-

dedicated to King Saul and Jonathan – after their deaths

in battle.  This psalm or lament is not a part of the book of Psalms,

but it was well known in Israel by the king’s command.

By King David’s command.

Here again is the same psalm- this time from the NIV.

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

19 “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
How the mighty have fallen!

20 “Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
may no showers fall on your terraced fields.

For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

22 “From the blood of the slain,
from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and admired,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.

24 “Daughters of Israel,
weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

27 “How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished.

David, if you remember, was a man after God’s own heart.

And in looking at his life- through his poetry we can discern,

perhaps, those characteristics that made him such a man.

David speaks from his heart- out of genuine distress and sorrow,

and he laments the death of his enemy.  For wasn’t Saul intent upon

killing David?   He cries out for the death of his friend- for doesn’t he call

Jonathan his brother?  He sings a song of sadness and eulogy over

the loss of mighty warriors.

David is a man whose heart is loyal to friendship and honor.

He regrets the disrespect shown to the valor and kingship of Saul-

his voice is loud in defense- and  praise for the dead is his song.

In order to look at God from David’s perspective, first we must discover

that perspective.  David was trustworthy as a friend and loyal as a subject.

War is not glorified- death is not minimized- courage and strength are not overlooked.

David looks at the battlefield and cries out-

“How the mighty have fallen!”

Selah- pause a moment and think upon that.