Sunday, August 29, 2010

Apples, Apples, Apples!

My weekend in 4 easy steps!  So far I have made 25 jars of applesauce and the tree is only half empty.   Let me know if you'd like a pail or two of the little guys!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

He Passed!!

As you already know, our son-in-law Tyler is pursuing his dream of becoming a medical doctor.  After 2 years of university studies in Katowice, Poland, he has been in New York City doing his hospital clerkship.  The process of becoming a doctor includes several monumental tests that must be passed in order to proceed to the next step.  Early in August Tyler wrote an 8 hour long examination called the United States Medical Licensing Examination, step 2.  And this week he received the good news that he passed it!!!!!  He was also able to improve his mark since doing the previous test - way to go, Ty!!!!

We are rejoicing that God continues to provide, lead and open doors for (almost) Dr. Green and his family. The next step is writing the Canadian exam in September and then finding a placement for a 2 yr. long residency.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August in Pictures

More daily photo prompts from Heather!

Hands - picking berries

Stripes - in the field

Triangle - found in nature!

Protect - my favourite work gloves

Walking - I had to walk 3/4 of the way around 
a very irregularly shaped field to get to my machine

Book - my current read

Colorful - a beautiful, intricate appliqued quilt at the fair

Curved - crabapples headed for applesauce

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I've had these photos on my studio table for a long time and when the newest issue of Creating Keepsakes arrived last week, I found some inspiration to put together a layout!

The magazine showed several ways to make fair ribbon rosettes and I think this one looks perfect!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cooking Challenge #4

Best Ever Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting was the next item from the list of Top 25 that I tried.

The baked cake


Ready to taste!

Baking notes:
- I used 4 bananas to get 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana.  This was one more banana than most recipes use so if you have lots of bananas, this is a great way to use them.
- I scored some free bananas by being at the grocery store by 8:15  one morning!  That is not my normal hour for buying groceries but I had to be at the farm implement dealer's so I did both jobs in one trip to town.
- I put my batter into 2 pans, abour 9X9",  instead of one big one.  That way I was able to serve cake on 2 different occasions.  It worked great.
- This is the first recipe I have ever baked at 275 degrees F.  I was skeptical but it baked perfectly in 1 hour.
- And putting it straight into the freezer while still hot was a new idea too!  I just set the 2 pans onto a wooden cutting board as soon as they came out of the oven and then set the board inside the deep freeze.  The cake was definitely moist, even though the last one was served 5 days later.  I did refrigerate the iced cakes. 
- I love walnuts so the icing was perfect.  
- I'll definitely make this again!  It was easy to make, used common ingredients and was delicious.  It disappeared quickly when I served it to various neighbors who have dropped by for coffee the last 2 mornings :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

I spent a wonderful day with our son and daughter-in-law this weekend, visiting cool places and simply enjoying their company.  I am so blessed that they made time to spend with me.  We made great memories together!

And my list of things to thank Him for is long and rich today.

- safe travels

- grandchildren waking me up in the morning

- time together

- tea made by my son

- watching them in their home

- listening to their conversations

- seeing where they work

- amazement at what they know

- sensing how much they are valued in their workplaces

- being chauffeured around

- the country fair

- watching her greet old friends

- artists

- new products and vendors

- tiny pieces of color stitched together

- photography displays

- how much he loves her

- sun breaking through

- a reminder of my grandma and the special bond she had with her geese, who looked just like this one

- listening to them plan

- taste testing

- new ideas to think about

- people watching

- lunch on the deck

- that people take time to share their best efforts and products

- delicious pie

- community spirit

- wanderings with no timelines

- brightly coloured antique tractors and vehicles

- gorgeous countryside with vibrant colors

- watching her love on the pigs

- memories of many games watched in the hockey arena

- friends laughing and encouraging each other on the ice

- two sisters playing a new (to them) sport

- the wonderful parents who raised an amazing daughter, to share with us :)

- good food shared around the table

- a satisfying kind of exhausted at day's end

- thanks to the One who gives me such abundance, especially in relationships

holy experience

The Weekend

I've been busy with visiting, seeing new sites, browsing, driving, watching hockey, reading stories, playing outside, canning, eating and generally enjoying a fabulous weekend!  Details coming soon!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Numbers

10 days

113 loads

umpteen rain showers

nearly 3 inches of rain

1 stuck tractor

1 truck stuck twice

1 silo press buried in the mud

1 truck + 1 tractor pulling 1 silo press out

900 feet of plastic

2 broken chains

8 broken shear bolts

1 tire pumped up many times

14 meals from lunch kits

1 picnic in the field

600+ litres of fuel

2 tubes of grease

3 litres of oil

1 self-portrait!

Total = lots of feed for the winter + 1 tired mama + the job finished!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cooking Challenge #3

My next item from the Top 25 list is Grilled Chicken Breasts with  Barbecue Glaze.

Cooking notes:
- all the comments that I read said the longer this marinated, the better it was so I did mine overnight.    It was definitely flavourful and moist.  (Edited to add:  Just because Rhonda asked - the marinade was a combination of barbecue sauce, honey, mayonnaise, garlic and ginger.  The mayo was the unusual ingredient.)
- For only 2 people, I don't start our gas barbecue very often so I baked these in the oven for 45 minutes and then finished them on the countertop grill.  Next time I will do them on the barbecue!  The oven baking resulted in more of a poached product and the glaze didn't turn crispy and golden.  Putting them on the grill helped a bit but  they were probably a bit overdone.
- I would use chicken thighs next time because they don't get so dry if they are slightly overdone.
- The marinade was an interesting combination of ingredients but you don't get to taste it as a sauce, which is what I prefer.
- This was an okay recipe - no problems but I don't think I'd rush to make it again.  The life of a test kitchen cook!

Next up:  Best Ever Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

The dew is on the grass - the sun is shining - the apple trees are bending heavy - all is right with the world on this August morning.  And the counting of thanks continues -

- grass after the rain

- sun breaking through clouds

- breakthrough of sun after waking to rain

- newly mown lawn

- old friends and Sunday visits

- afternoons on the patio

- surprise visits from grandchildren

- hearing an important message in the Sunday sermon

- hugs from Meadow

- Blake's beautiful smile

- thoughts of our family who live away from us

- a bag full of garden goodness to share

- pail of crabapples, right off the tree

- quiet Monday mornings

- wise words from Ann

- abundance

- thinking of - and praying for - Christians in places that are different from mine

- receiving the name of a new sponsor child via Compassion International in the mail - and her name is Helena - oh, the miracles God sends!

- finishing a simple new bag, via Martha

- filling the bag with a few groceries

- blanching vegetables for the freezer

- pancakes for lunch :)

- canning supplies, like vinegar, on sale

- trusting that God knows me, cares for me and has me safe in His care

holy experience

August in Pictures

Heather invited me to participate in her photo challenge for this month so I've been focussed on the daily word prompts to capture August.

Hope - that it doesn't rain again

Collection - of raspberry jam

Hat - little boy who decided to wear a napkin hat

Imagination - they got it in their heads to crawl inside the cupboard!

Tied - my shoes, ready to use the brakes in the tractor

Warm - chai latte' in my favourite Polish mug

Thankful - to celebrate my parents' birthdays

Space - filled with clouds at sunset

Four - first tomatoes picked today

Creamy - Alfredo sauce

Once again, a big challenge for me to stretch my thinking each day!  Thanks, H!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Simple Woman #98

For Today . . .  August 13, 2010

Outside my window . . . it's a cold and gloomy day with a cloudy sky and intermittent showers.   We've had more than 20" of rain this summer and it's too much already!  Even the zucchini isn't growing and needs sunshine!

I am thankful . . .  for time to reflect and watch the birds circling overhead. 

And I also am thankful . . .  for memories of my grandparents and summer weeks spent at their farm.  

I am praying . . .   for good weather so crops can be taken off the fields.

I am thinking . . .   about how different it was for my grandfather to harvest his crops.  I wonder what he would say if he could come out to our fields today.

I am creating . . . 
  some sewing projects to gift away.  I'll show you soon :) 

I am celebrating . . .  the daily provision of all that I need from my heavenly Father.  

From the kitchen . . .  Oatmeal with Walnuts and Bananas for breakfast, grilled jalapeno cheese sandwich for lunch and barbecued chicken breasts with new potatoes and fresh green beans for supper. 

I am wearing . . .  black track pants, long sleeved blue shirt and an orange sweatshirt.  Definitely a layers day or else I'll have to turn the furnace on. 

I am reading . . .  John 16 - "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart !  I have overcome the world."

                             World Without End by Ken Follett - It's been sitting on my bedside table, just waiting for me so I've started it.  It's just as good as I remember Pillars of the Earth being!  I'm on page 111 but there are 1014 pages so it will be awhile but that's okay because it means that there is more to enjoy :)
                             MIghty Mount Kilimanjaro in the Geronimo Stilton series for kids - a student loaned me her copy after we chatted about our trip to Africa.  She wanted me to read this favourite book of hers and see if  the parts about the mountain were true.  Of course I'm glad to share reading anytime with students.   
I am hoping . . .  to get some raspberries picked after the rain dries a bit.  

I am hearing . . .  Michael W. Smith and his "A New Hallelujah" CD, specifically Prepare Ye The Way.

I am going . . .  to phone Melinda and Samuel in NYC - he should be up from his nap now.

Around the house and yard . . . long, wet grass, dripping peas, and raspberries all needing attention sometime soon.  

One of my favourite things . . . quiet afternoons spent by myself.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . more silage to cut, raspberry vinegar to make, more recipes to make from the challenge I've started  - maybe a banana cake next.  

A quote for today . . .  

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . . Naomi gave Bob some heritage zucchini seeds and they have gigantic blossoms!  The fruits are growing but a bit too slowly for me.  I'm looking forward to zucchini chocolate cake and zucchini relish!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cooking Challenge #2

If you are looking for a scrumptious, easy to make cookie recipe, here it is!!

Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious with a crusty edge and soft center!

Cooking notes:
- I made the dough in the morning and then chilled it, baking the cookies after supper.
- This is the first cookie recipe I've seen that calls for the baking sheets to be chilled too.  I imagine that it's to prevent the dough from getting soft.  I just popped the pan into the fridge to cool it down again, before putting another batch of cookies on it.
- Next time I would use 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon to roll the balls in.  I have lots of that mixture left over.
- Mine needed exactly 10 minutes to bake through.  Removing them at 9 minutes resulted in cookies that were slightly under baked and very soft.
- My yield was 5 dozen cookies.
- I'm adding these to my Christmas cookie repertoire - they are like cinnamon coated shortbread!

Next up: Grilled Chicken Breast with Barbecue Glaze (marinating now)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cooking Challenge #1

I like to cook and bake but lately I've been rather uninspired.  So today when my email inbox had a message from (formerly known as Recipezaar) about their top 25 summer menu ideas, I decided to use that list as my inspiration for some more interesting meals.  The amazing Rhonda is baking her way through Martha Stewart's Baking Cookbook (while being a mama to 3 little ones, a wife to a medical resident and running a photography business) so I decided I could certainly cook my way through this much shorter list.

Tonight for supper we had Better Than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce - and it was scrumptious!!

Cooking notes:
- I used 1 cup of coffee cream (18% fat) and 1 cup of whipping cream (35% fat) so this is not a low fat meal.  As I was cooking,  I felt rather like Pioneer Woman who has a love affair with butter and cream!
- The sauce was nicely simmering as I reached into the fridge for parmesan cheese - and came up empty handed.  There was a container of cottage cheese so I used that instead for a further reduction in the total fat content.
- I also substituted white cheddar for the mozzarella.
- I cooked fettucini this morning and just poured boiling water over it and let it sit for 2 minutes to rewarm it tonight before draining it and adding the sauce.
- My garden has an abundance of swiss chard so I lightly sauteed 6 chopped cups of it in a non-stick pan and added it to the sauce at serving time.  It added some color and more nutrition to the meal.
- I guess I kind of made the dish my own!  I decided to go with what I have in the cupboard and fridge as I work through this list of recipes, rather than specifically shopping.  I don't have a time line in mind but I do want to make every single one of them.

Next up - Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Today Bob came to the house with this -

and asked if I could make a new seat cover for the tractor!  I have no upholstery fabric or anything heavy like that in my stash so I decided to repurpose an old wool skirt, in black with a bit of red to match the tractor!  It took a fair bit of measuring, some pattern drafting and a little stitching and eventually I was able to create this.

My university clothing design professor would be impressed, I'm sure!!  And if not, I certainly am pleased with myself and the product I created.  We'll see how well it holds up to the wear and tear of farming.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

We had a few special events this weekend and now there's a busy week of farming ahead of us. It's a very good day to reflect on the fullness of my life.

- less of me and more of Him,  a huge reminder from Holly

- fragrant sweet peas given with a smile from my Dad

- birthdays - my Mom is 77 today and my Dad will be 78 tomorrow

- family gatherings

(one more family came just a few minutes later)

- seeing my nieces and nephews become amazing women and men

- water for my plants

- summer sun

- special birthday cakes

- good recipes (cake from Pioneer Woman and icing from Martha Stewart)

- leftovers for lunch

- a new tablecloth

- ripening tomatoes

- fresh crabapples, straight from the tree

- watching generations together

- summer lunches

- wide awake mornings

- crafting of birthday presents

- good food

- clear blue skies

- fresh-baked granola

- thoughts of the one who shared that recipe, especially as she waits for her new babe to arrive

- parades

- watching a brilliant lightning storm flash across the sky

- reminded of the One who creates such power and wonder

- productive days

- surprise supper served in the field 

- the feeling of peace that fills my soul tonight

holy experience