Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Made by my favorite artist

Lemon Snaps

This is one of my family's favorite cookie recipes.  The recipe comes from Food to Live by: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman.  I usually double the recipe because we like to share.

Lemon Snaps

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
grated zest of one lemon

Cream butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Beat in egg and lemon extract.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, salt and lemon zest in a small bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Mix thoroughly until the dough is smooth.  Preheat oven to 375.  Roll dough between your palms to form 1 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake until set and lightly golden about 10-15 minutes.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

At The Fair

The fair was in town for the past week and a half.  I went out one Saturday with the family just to look around and of course, eat.

I always enjoy looking at the quilts and the photography but seeing art by my very favorite artists was really special.

People watching is a lot of fun.  There are plenty of friendly faces and then there are people that you never see in everyday around town life.

Pork-a-Bobs are a must!  These were fabulous.

You can't leave without a funnel cake.  All you need is a big vat of boiling oil and some dough.

The results are delicious.

None of us ride the rides but it fun to watch and listen to others.

Smokey Bacon and Cheddar Stuffed Eggs

Easter and Easter eggs will soon be here so I thought I would post my favorite egg recipe.  It comes from Robert St. John's cookbook Southern Seasons.  All the recipes that I have tried from this book have turned out great.  But this has to be one of my favorites.

8large hard cooked eggs, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chives, very thinly sliced, divided
3 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped very fine
2 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Halve eggs lengthwise.  Gently remove the yolks and place in a small mixing bowl.  Reserve the whites.

Using a fork, smash the yolks together with the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and half of the chives.  Once the mixture is smooth, fold in the bacon and cheese.  Fill each half of the egg whites with the yolk mixture and garnish each one with the remaining chives.  Cover and Refrigerate until ready to serve.  I like to garnish mine with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  It looks pretty and adds to the taste.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

This recipe comes from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.  I made it for the first time this week end and it was very good.  I made a few changes.  Potato soup is one of those things that is easily adaptable.

Start with 5 lbs of russet potatoes.

Wash, peel and chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes.  Put them in the crock pot and add enough water to cover them.  I used part chicken broth.

Cook on high for about 5 until the potatoes are cooked and falling apart.  Turn the cooker to low, add 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), 1 cup half and half and 1/2 cup sour cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for 20 more minutes.  The recipe didn't call for it but I blended mine smooth.  

Serve garnished with crumbled bacon, grated cheese and sliced green onions.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012


We had some friends over for supper tonight and I made gumbo.  I love gumbo but I don't make it very often.  When I do make it, I make lots of it so we will have plenty of leftovers and some to freeze also.  This is the recipe I use.  I do add about a pound of okra and I think next time I won't add so much oil.  I end up skimming alot off the top.  The recipe comes from

Perhaps the simplest of the gumbos, but a hearty one and a classic combination. If you can't find andouille, use a local smoked sausage or kielbasa or whatever smoked sausage you like. This one's easy to knock off quickly for a great evening's meal.

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large chicken (young hen preferred), cut into pieces
  • 2 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), tops only, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Filé powder to taste
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and brown quickly. Brown the sausage, pour off fat and reserve meats.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux-making skill), stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium, peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you're nervous about burning it.

Add the vegetables and stir quickly. This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.

Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed.

Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and heat for 5 minutes. Serve over rice in large shallow bowls. Accompany with lots of hot, crispy French bread.
YIELD: About 12 entrée sized servings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Co op

Tuesday is co op day.  This is our first year for our homeschool group to have a co op.  Our group started when son was in first grade.

When we first started homeshool, I really wanted to connect with other homeschoolers but the only group I could find in our area at that time was a co op.  It just seemed too much for kindergarten.  I thought maybe later.  When first grade came the co op was teaching ancient history and I wanted to teach American history.  The whole reason we homeschool is teach our children the way we want to teach them.

I met another mom and we started getting together with two other families.  All their boys were older than mine.  They let him play but he was always the little kid tagging along.  He didn't like that.  He always wanted to hang with the older guys. (I'm so proud of him now when I see him including the younger guys in football and other things at co op.)  The other mom and my husband got the idea to start another group. We didn't want to compete with the existing co op but we wanted a group where homeschoolers who didn't want that commitment could get together.  Wonderful Idea!

We started out meeting at night with a speaker for the parents once a month and someone to watch the kids.  It went well at first but started to slack off at the end.  It seemed like I was the only one who could line up a speaker and organize things.  It became my group. The next year we decided it would be better to meet in the day at the park.  We did that for years and it worked wonderfully.  We made great friends and some fun activities.

About 4 years ago another mom had the idea to meet at a church and have some fun but educational classes once a month.  That worked well too.  But last year the older kids let us know that if they were going to do classes, they wanted serious classes.  You can't do serious classes once a month so we went to a weekly co op.  The high school students are taking Biology, Communications and doing some Junior Achievement programs.  We also have a Chemistry Club.  It's only half a day.  The kids love it and they are learning.

I teach the communications class for the high schoolers.  We have been looking at ways to write persuasive speeches.  Today they read speeches they wrote on Why Homeschool is the Best Way to Learn.  They all did so good and I was so proud.  I also divided them up into teams had had them write a commercial for a product.  Next week we will start story telling and after that we will do some informal debate.  They can't wait for that.  They all want a chance to get a good argument going!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peppermint to the Rescue!

I have a really bad stuffy head today.  My head feels like a giant balloon and I can't breathe at all.  The internet said peppermint is good for that so I have been boiling peppermint and breathing the steam.  It helps for a short time.  At this point, I'll take any help I can get.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lesson Plans

Every week I sit down and make up our lesson plans for the week.  I look back over the past week to make sure everything is going well.  If it is, we move along.  If not, we stop and review.  I don't like to make lesson plans to far in advance because I hate changing them if something comes up.

I've tried several web sites for planning and keeping track of our school.  Homeschool Tracker worked well.  But it only works on PC and we are now Mac people.  All the others that I have tried are too labor intensive.  I want the system to work for me.  I don't want to work for the system.  So we went back to pen and paper.  I sit down at the dining room table and write out what their lessons are for each week.  We check them off as they are done and record any grades that need recording.  At the end of each year we start a new notebook.  Until someone can come up with a better way, that's how we are going to do it!

A Picture Just For Me!

I have a very talented daughter.  One of her many talents is drawing and today she drew a picture just for me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In the Garden

Bad Kitty!
It was a great day to be in the garden, sunny and cool.  I didn't get to do much because I had to be some where at 12:00.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can do more.  Usually, this time of year is not a good time to work in the garden but the weather has been so mild.  Highs have been in the 60's and 70's.

Right now I have snow peas, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots and green onions growing.  I planted some more carrots, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower today.   The lettuce and green onions are the only things ready to eat right now.  I love being able to go out in the garden and harvest a salad for lunch!

Broccoli Seeds

Broccoli Plant in the Garden

Peas Last Week
Peas This Week

Friday, January 27, 2012

So Far It's Been a Wonderful Day

Between work and Jury Duty, I have not had a day at home all week until today.  It was nice to get up and not have to worry about rushing off some where.  The kids both have colds so we took it easy but we still managed to be productive.  School work was done, including a history test, biology test and a lesson on geometry proofs.  I haven't done a geometry proof in 30 years and our Saxon math book doesn't really explain how it all works.  But I did find a good web site that explained the thought process behind it.

I also did some much needed house work, cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms and swept really good.  The kids are supposed to sweep every day but they miss a lot.  Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide make a good cleaner for the bathtub.  Just mix the two to make a paste a spread on the tub.  Wait 10 minutes and scrub.  It's not harsh like store bought cleaners and works very well.

Yay!! I Have a Blog!

My very own blog!  Of course, now that I spent over an hour trying to set everything up, I've forgotten what I wanted to write about.  But it will come back to me and I will be able to post things as they pop into my mind.  How cool is that!