Monday, August 31, 2015

Ratatouille

Summer is coming to a close.  Pretty soon the kids will be back at school. Lately, I have been reflecting on this summer and what we have done and not done. 

I had a bucket list of what I wanted to do with them and I have to say, we did nothing on the bucket list. I felt bad about this for several weeks but then I realized some really important things were going on.  You see, my parents moved from my childhood home to an apartment for Seniors.  This was pretty significant as my parents have been living at that home for 52 years. 

My parents are in their 80's.  They have needed to move.  Some circumstances in the Spring kind of forced their hand.  The kids spent a lot of time helping them out.  They each would go and stay at my Mom and Dad's for a day or more working hard, carrying boxes, moving things to the curb, helping my Mom donate unwanted items.  All that lifting.  The kids really eased the burden for my Mom.  Of course, it was a pretty huge task packing up a house that she has been in for so long.

Everything went really smooth.  My brother and sister in law came in from out of town to help out.  We moved the boxes from the house and movers came and moved the furniture.  The kids helped out so much.  They never complained, they just kept on working.

Even though we may not have hit the jackpot of bucket list excitement and fun.  We sure hit the jackpot of family time, responsibility to others, helping and honoring.  It just doesn't get any better.  I could not have been more thrilled with what I seen them do and how they behaved.  Well, except for a little fighting... I don't want to make it sound perfect or anything...

Here is one of my bucket list dishes for this summer.  I have made it before but I wanted to try different ways of making it until I found a fast and easy one.  Bingo.  I scored a great pot of ratatouille.

Ratatouille
Recipe slightly adapted from Emerill Lagasse.


1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
2 cups diced zucchini squash
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Vinegar

Sauté onions in olive oil for about five to ten minutes.  You want them lightly golden. Add garlic, cook one minute more.  Add in eggplant and thyme, cook for about seven minutes.  Add in bell peppers and squash and cook for five minutes.  Add tomatoes, basil and parsley and cook for five minutes.

Drizzle balsamic over top.  The balsamic really makes it all pop!  If you have balsamic reduction, by all means, use that.

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peach Salsa



It has been like a cannery around here.  Seriously.  Yesterday I canned another batch of peach barbecue sauce because we love it so much.  I put some in the fridge because my husband was like, "don't can it all- leave some out for now!"  I could not agree more.

I also canned this peach salsa.  I had canned it last year as well and it is nearly gone.  We discovered that we REALLY like it on rice.  Delicious.  Also, great on fish tacos! So I had to make this and yes, I doubled it because we like it that much.

The day before that I made some more of my dill relish that we blew through this past winter.  Here is a pic of my daughter turning the old fashioned grinder that I have.

Before I started canning all these I organized my canning shelf to get ready for the onslaught that is summer harvest.
 

Peach Salsa
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Yield 8 pints.

12 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches
1 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 cups chopped red onion
2 large jalapeño peppers*, finely chopped. (for a mild heat with a hint of burn, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños prior to chopping)
2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
1 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons liquid honey
4 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Scald the peaches for one minute and peel.  Measure after you have chopped them and pitted them. ( Just to give you a rough idea, I used a little over half a peck for a double recipe).

Place vinegar in the pot first then the peaches.  The vinegar will help the peaches from turning brown too fast. Add everything else to the pot. Once everything is in, bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 5-10 minutes).

Have ready previously prepared, washed and sterilized canning jars. Ladle the hot salsa mixture in, leaving a quarter inch head space. Wipe the jar rims and tighten the hot lids on to fingertip tightness.

Place the jars in a boiling water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.

After processing, remove jars from the canner with the jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool.

*I recommend chopping up your jalapeños one by one and adding them.  Check the heat.  It will give you some indication of how hot it will be, but of course it isn't going to be through and through  your salsa yet.  I love heat and my jalapeños were super big,  I took off the ribs and seeds and ended up using only two in the whole recipe.  Plenty hot.  Not to mention you will add cayenne too.  Keep in mind you do not have to add the cayenne if you don't want a lot of heat.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peach Barbeque Sauce II



Last winter we gobbled up all of the peach barbeque sauce that I canned two years ago.  This year I knew I had to can more and I did.  The recipe is here.  But I also wanted to try this recipe from Williams Sonoma.  The fact that it had a cup of Worcestershire Sauce was certainly intriguing.  Normally I would have doubled the recipe but I gave it a go with a single batch.  There was a bout a 1/4 cup leftover and it was gobbled up like "snap".

I am making it again today.  I had enough fully ripe peaches to do another single batch.  I think it may be a great present for Christmas and hostess gifts.  I think there may be a third batch in my near future.

This stuff is not too vinegary, ever so slightly sweet and flavored perfectly.  I can not get over how amazing this stuff is.  For the original recipe go here, to Williams Sonoma.  I changed it up just a bit and really went into a lot more detail.

First of all, I weighed the peaches after they were scalded, skinned and pitted.  I wanted to maximize this and the original recipe was not all together too clear on that point.
Peach Barbeque Sauce
Slightly adapted from Williams Sonoma 

4 pounds of peaches that have been scalded, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 large onion (about a cup and a 1/4)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (the first time I used a combination of regular brown sugar and a tablespoon of molasses)
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup Worscestershire Sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
2 tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste (about a 1/2 of a tablespoon each)

1. Scald peaches for about one minute, submerged in boiling water.  The skin will peel away easily. Slice and discard pit.  Weigh all the peaches. Pour lemon juice over top.
2.  Sauté onions in oil until translucent.  Add garlic.  Cook one minute more.

3. Add peaches to the onions.  Add in cider vinegar, bourbon, and sugar.  Simmer the mixture uncovered for 30 minutes.

4.  Let cool to blend or you can be like me and power through.  Just fill the blender 3/4 full, no more and place a towel over top, holding the lid down firmly with your hand.  This will keep the hot liquid inside and not jumping out at you and everything else.

5.  Add in the Worcestershire sauce, ginger, chili powder and tomato paste.  I add it all to the blender when I blend the last batch.

6.  Cook 10 minutes more, especially if you had let it cool previously.  A gentle simmer.

7.  Pour into clean canning jars, place lids on top and screw down with jar bands.  Turn tightly.  Place in canner.  Bring to a boil.  Keep simmer for 15 minutes to seal everything in.  You can use a make shift canner like me, using a deep pot with a towel on the bottom or a round cooling rack.  Of course I have a regular canner but I was too lazy to deal with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mrs. Wages Ketchup My Way


It would be a cliché to quote Frank Sinatra in his song, "I Did It My Way".  But I can't help but have that song rolling over and over again in my brain as I write this post. 

I don't say "my way" because I am thinking I am awesome.  I say "my way" so that next time when I go to can ketchup I know exactly what I did.

I don't know about you but I am often put off by the strong flavors of homemade ketchup.  Sometimes I like it, on certain things.  Like a burger, when it compliments the flavors.  There are time when I don't like it.  Like on French Fries, because for me, the ketchup should taste a certain way.

Finding the right ketchup, that tastes that certain way, without going to the store to buy it, is a bit of a challenge.  I think I have found a solution.  It might be temporary though.

Mrs. Wages are premixed "spice packs" that you can add to your canning process.  There are other things in the mix.  Since I try to stay away from packaged things as much as possible, and really that is a big part of why I can fruits and vegetables, I hate my reliance on it.  But it will do until I find the perfect combination of spices and such.

On the Mrs. Wages package it says, 6 pounds of tomatoes.  I used 7 and I did it a different way so I am going to rewrite the recipe like I did it.  Of course, you are still adding that package of Mrs. Wages.

Adding that pound with yield more ketchup.  But it will also tone down the spices into more of what I like about commercial ketchup.

Mrs. Wages Ketchup, My Way

7 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes (weighed after coring them)
1 cup white vinegar
1 6 ouncs can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Mrs. Wages Ketchup Mix

Start with pretty ripe Roma's.  You want them to be at their peak.  They will be sweeter and meatier.

Wash the tomatoes. Cut of bad spot and cores.  Squeeze them with your hand into the pot.  The package directions say to mash it with a tomato masher.  I am here to tell you friends, your hands are much faster and effective.  But do make sure they are clean first.

Start the flame on low just so nothing burns.  Turn to medium high after the tomatoes start to release more of their juices. Reduce to simmer and let cook at least for a half an hour. You want some of the liquids to evaporate.  This will yield a thicker ketchup.

Turn off the heat.  Place about 3 cups of the mixture into the blender.  I place a towel over the top because sometimes the hot liquid can rise and force the top open a little.  Let me tell you, that hurts.  I also start the blender on 'stir' to get things going and then I move it up to 'liquefy'. 
 

Pour the liquid through a strainer.  You will need to run a spoon around the bottom of the strainer.  You are basically forcing the small solids through.  You want these small solids.  Again, it will add to the thickness. Once you have forced as much through as possible, then you tap the strainer edge on the side of the pot you are straining into.  A couple times do this,  This will force the rest of the solids through. Pretty soon there will be a ball of tomato skin and seed bouncing in the strainer.  That is when you know You have forced as much of the mush tomato through as possible.  Discard those solids or better yet, compost them.

Now that you have cooked and strained as much of it through as possible, you can proceed with the recipe as it is written.

"Combine juice, tomato paste and vinegar into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir frequently.  Slowly add sugar and Ketchup Mix to hot juice until evenly dispersed.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Ketchup is ready." (Mrs. Wages Ketchup package directions).

The only thing I would add is that I used a whisk to mix in the Ketchup Mix.  It clumps very easy.  You could also take some of the hot liquid out and mix it with the powder in a separate container and then pour it back in. 

You can freeze it or can it.  If you can it.  You will need to process it for 40 minutes.  What does that mean? Process?  Bring a large pot of water, preferably a canner, to a boil.  Pour liquid into canning jars, place lids on top and screw down with a jar ring tightly.  Place hot jars into hot water.  Bring to a boil in the canner.  Once the water in the canner has reached boiling, Let boil for 40 minutes.  Remove with a jar remover and place on towel on counter to cool.  You want to make sure you hear that ping.  This lets you know it has properly sealed.  After 24 hours, push down on lids, if they spring back, they are not sealed.  They need to be refrigerated and used. To learn more about canning please consult a Ball Canning Book or go to this site and learn more about safe canning practices.

If you are anything like me, you will ask what is in this list of ingredients on the Mrs. Wages package.  Here yah go: salt, food starch, evaporated can sugar, beet powder, onion, natural flavor, xanthan gum,citric acid, paprika spice, garlic.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Baked Potato

I do not turn my oven on n the summer if the AC is on.  It's just counter intuitive to me.  We had some cooler days last week- low 70's, windows were open and a nice breeze was blowing.  I decided some baked potatoes would go nicely with the cube steak I had out for dinner.

I don't know what it is about baked potatoes in a restaurant.  They are always so good.  I can not seem to replicate them at home. Enter Alton Brown.  I am definitely a fan of his.  I decided to give his baked potato a try.

Best Home Baked Potato

6 baked potatoes
1/2 cup peanut oil
kosher salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Position rack in center of oven.
2.  Place baking sheet under the middle rack to catch drips.

3.  Wash and scrub potatoes.
4.  Prick with a fork in several spots all over the potatoe.
5.  Brush oil on potato.
6.  Sprinkle salt all over potato.
7.  Bake for at least 60 minutes but 90 minutes is even better.
8.  Prick potato with knife to see if it is ready.  It should penetrate the potato easily. Outside of potato should be darker in color as well.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Raspberry Jam


This jam is so easy.  All you have to do is do equal parts mashed raspberries and sugar.

But I have to be different.  Only cause I made a mistake.  You see you bring the raspberries to a boil for two minutes.  Then you add the sugar and bring to a boil for another two minutes.  But, eh, I was in a hurry and didn't read the directions again.

You see my daughter had to get to the ice cream place for an ice cream cone and nothing was going to get in her way.  Mom we goin'?  Mom, when are we going?  Mom, is it time to go?  Mom, Mom, Mom.  You can only take that so many times before you are like, lets go!!!!!!  I have also said , we are not going because you bugged me one too many times.  But not tonight because I wanted Oregon Blackberry Ice Cream.  And it is all about me, right?  Cough, cough.  Hardly, when you are a Mom, you take this oath that from this day forward, it is always about your children.  Basically, until you die.  And really, I wouldn't have it any other way.  But they do also have to realize that I have needs... But I digress.  This about food, right?  Right?  It's not about the joys of parenting.  Right?

So, anyway.  I changed the recipe. Because I have some Dutch Gel.  Because I can. I get Dutch Gel from the Mennonite store that I go to.  I wanted to remember what I did for next year.

Raspberry Jam

3 cups mashed raspberries (this was about 24 ounces)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (generous) Dutch Gel

Mash the raspberries.  Measure equal parts sugar and raspberries.  Heat in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  When it is a rolling boil that you can't stir down, start the timer and time for 2 minutes.  Add in Dutch Gel.  Again.  Bring to a boil that you can't stir down for 2 minutes.  Pour into jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space.  I use pints because we tend to use a lot of this kind of jelly and no sense wasting lids.

Place lids and rings on jars and turn upside down for ten minutes.  Place back in upright position.  They should seal at this point.  If they don't you can invert them again or give up and place in the refrigerator. If you don't feel comfortable with the upside down method, then process the jars for ten minutes.
 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BLUEBERRIES AND CREAM

I think I took 5000 pictures of this blueberry dessert.  It was so pretty.  I couldn't help myself.  First, I started taking pics with just the glass with the dessert inside.  Then I took pics with the silver platter underneath.  Then I put the demi tasse spoons in.  It just kept looking prettier and prettier.

But how did it taste you ask.  Well, imagine blueberries and cream.  It just does not get any better.
Does it? Well, my husband says just plain blueberries are phenomenal.  Don't you just hate people like that? Such purists. Ah, but don't be fooled.  He is not perfect when it comes to eating.  If he stares down a pizza, the pizza always wins!
How is it done?  Well, that my friends is the easy part.

BLUEBERRIES AND CREAM

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese or Greek Yogurt cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mashed blueberries
2-3 cups blueberries

Whip the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add in sugar and vanilla.  Combine.  Whip in mashed blueberries.  I dont know if this was a good decision or not.  I think it might be better without the mashed blueberries whipped in.  But I kind of liked how it was very blueberry-y tasting. Eh, either way.

Whip heavy cream until stiff peak form.  Spoon a third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and blend.  Add in the remainder or fold it in.

Sppon some of the cream mixture into a gladd dish.  Layer in blueberries.  Add more cream.  And then top with more blueberries.  Garnish with mint leaves.

Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tender Zucchini Noodles with Scrambled Eggs


Zucchini is like miracle food when it comes to 200 or less.  You can really eat a lot of zucchini without eating too many calories.  Love it.

The hardest part of this dish is chopping up the zucchini.  I used the mandolin to cut thin slices and then I cut those into small strips.  If you have one of those ribbon cutters, that will work perfectly.

Salt the zucchini liberally and let sit for fifteen minutes.  Rinse and squeeze gently before adding to the pan.


Tender Zucchini Noodles with Scrambled Eggs

This makes two servings. Calories in italics.
Calories per person is 217

2 medium to large zucchinis.  You should end up with about 6 cups of zucchini (before salting) (114)
1 teaspoon olive oil (40)
4 eggs scrambled (280)
season with garlic powder, salt and pepper

In a large, non stick fry pan heat olive oil.  Add gently squeezed zucchini. Cook over medium heat until the zucchini has wilted.  Move aside and cook eggs.  Or you can cook your eggs in another frying pan.

Divide zucchini and eggs between two serving plates.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rendering Tallow


This is was an adventure in cooking for me.

Some time ago I was reading a blog where a woman had rendered suet to make soap.  I thought to myself.  What a lot of work to make soap.  I wouldn't do that.  How would I have the time to do that?  I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Well, apparently, this thought went out into space and came back as a challenge for me to make it.

Recently, we bought a half of a cow.  When I ordered my cuts of meat the butcher asked me if I wanted suet.  I said yes.  Before I had made some English pudding and we really liked it.  I thought, what the heck, I will make some of that pudding.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Oh, the things I would discover as a result.

First of all, most people don't use fat from the cow.  Sadly.  Since this cow gave its life for us, I think we should use all the things we can use and not let things go to waste.  That really is a shame.  I can tell you I will be saving fat from now on.  In this post at the blog, Humblebee and Me, I discovered that morsel of truth and I could not agree with her more.

This site, Cooks Info, I found out more about suet. What it is used for, storage and literature and lore.

I also found out that tallow is great for skin.  I will be experimenting with this idea myself.  You can read all about this one bloggers experience with tallow yourself at Mommypotamus.  I will say that after all my cleaning and such my hands were a lot more soft.

There are two ways of making tallow.  The dry method and the wet method (at Applegarth Farms blog).  I used the dry method. I found this site, The Prairie Homestead and basically followed everything she said.

Here is what I learned.  Go farther than you think because I think I could have rendered more fat than I did. You will see in the picture below where I strained it.  It really could have been more golden.

Clean up is the hardest part about this whole process.  I used a bench scraper for my counter top.  This helped me get rid of a lot of grease before attempting to wash it off.   Regular soap and water wont work very well.  You will have to do it over and over again.  You can use vinegar or any product that "cuts grease".

RENDERING TALLOW 

Cut down suet.  Tearing away the sheath around the fat as much as possible and cutting out meat chunks left behind.
Place processed suet in crockpot.  Set heat to low. The more you break it down before the crockpot step, the faster it will melt.
Once it is cooked down, strain the liquid from the solids.  I did not use cheesecloth.  This strainer worked just fine.
 Pour the liquid into a lined baking dish.

Let cool and then cut into bars.
Wrap and freeze for long term storage.  I am not sure when I will get to making soap with the tallow so I am setting it aside in the freezer for now. I may just end up using it for cooking.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Yellow Cake

This is a good cake!  We had half of it as a cake.  The other half I made into cake balls.  I saw it on Craftsy. If you would like to take the Wilton Craftsy class- hop on over to Craftsy and sign up for this class, its free.  (Craftsy did not pay me to say that).
I am still working on getting a smooth cake pop but these turned out okay.  My kids certainly thought they were edible.
Yellow Cake

slightly adapted.

3 1/2 cups cake flour (11 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease two 8" round pans.

In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients- flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with
milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating 1 minute. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan and cool completely.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5:2 Lentil Toss


5:2 recipes can be very easy if you have things made up before hand. I had these lentils already cooked so this dish was a breeze to put together.  Obviously, you can use any kind of lentil.  I used black beluga lentils here. They hold their shape nicely after cooking.

Lentils are a very healthy addition to this dish.

Lentils are "a rich source of numerous essential nutrients, particularly dietary fiber and protein supplying 122% and 52% of the Daily Value (DV), respectively. Micro nutrients in high content include folate (120% DV), thiamin (76% DV), phosphorus (64% DV) and iron (58% DV) (table).

With 26% of total food content from protein (table), lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% versus 31%).

The low levels of readily digestible starch (5%), and high levels of slowly digested starch (30%), make lentils of potential value to people with diabetes. The remaining 65% of the starch is a resistant starch classified as RS1, as a high-content resistant starch, which is 32% amylose. A minimum of 10% in starch from lentils escapes digestion and absorption in the small intestine (therefore called "resistant starch"). Source Wikipedia, click here).

Lentil Toss
Calories are in parenthesis. 

1 cup fresh zucchini, diced (21)
1 small tomato diced (22)
1 cup lettuce torn into bite sized pieces (8)
1/2 cup lentils, cooked (115)
1 teaspoon olive oil (40)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
s and p, to taste

Toss this salad together and enjoy!
206 calories

Monday, August 3, 2015

Peach Barbeque Sauce

 
I made this barbecue sauce before and totally forgot to blog about it.  Over the winter I used it all.  It was a very delicious recipe.  I can tell you for sure that it is on the canning "to do" list to be sure.  Won't be long and peaches will be in full throttle and I will be canning this stuff to be sure! If you can, I highly recommend you do too.

Have you ever wondered about the spelling of barbeque, I mean barbecue?  You can read about it here, from The Grammarist.  I choose barbeque.  Deal!

By the way, the sauce does darken over time. If you make it and wonder why mine is darker- that's why.

Zesty Peach Barbeque Sauce
BALL Complete Book of Home Preserving 400 Delicious Recipes For Today; Robert Rose Publishers.
  • 6 cups finely chopped pitted peeled peaches (about 3 lb or 9 medium)
  • 1 cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (about 14 cloves)
  • 1-1/4 cups honey
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Ball® (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands 
  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens to the consistency of a thin commercial barbeque sauce, about 25 minutes.
  3. LADLE hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  4. PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Blues

 
I haven't been cooking or baking much lately.  We have been moving my parents into their new abode.  They are in their 80's and needed to downsize and be on one floor.  So my awesome brother and his awesome wife came up from TN and that is what we have been doing all week- moving them in. 

They have lived in that house for 52 years.  That is a LONG time.  I never knew any other place growing up.  Some people may find it sad, the move and the loss of that house.  I have not frankly. I am more of a "anywhere you hang your hat" kind of gal. The only time it hit me as sad was when we were sitting eating lunch at the table, on paper plates because nearly everything was gone from the kitchen, at that point.  My Mother said, "This is our last meal here at this table."  I got kind of teary eyed then.  All those memories locked up in a table. 

That table was where we gathered every day.  No matter what.  We always ate dinner together.  It was where I crafted. It was where we met to discuss pivotal life events. Its where we gathered with company.  Where we played board games and got silly.  Its where my parents piled a bunch of booze on the table when I was 16 and said, "so your curious about alcohol, go ahead, have at it. Under their watchful eye me and my friend set out to get drunk. (BTW, that was pretty much it for me by the way of alcohol in my teens.)  Other than wine on special occasions.  Everything happened around that table.

We managed some time to go and pick blueberries at our favorite spot.  We go pick at this place every year - for many years.  It started about 9 years ago.  I found the place when I lived in Lockport, NY.  I took my daughter there and at 3 she picked blueberries.  This made me incredibly happy.  My parents always taught me about good food.  Lots of stories around blueberries as a matter of fact.  I use to pick wild blueberries with my parents in the woods of Pennsylvania. They were very tasty blueberries.  My father use to pick blueberries when he was a kid in those same places during the 40's and sell them by the pint along the highway.  He would get paid 10 cents for those pints.  If they couldn't sell all of them, he and his brothers would sell them to a man called Scoblick.  He had some sort of processing center to can the blueberries.  He would pay them 8 cents.  So, obviously, they preferred to sell them along this highway where motorist were happy to pay them 10 cents for some fresh blueberries.

It was totally apropo that I found this blueberry craft beer for my dinner the other day.  It was delicious.  Kind of smacked a little of a wine cooler without all the sweetness of a wine cooler.  I loved it! 

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