Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hummus and Veggie Focaccia Sandwich





We are definitely "re-nesting" here as we plan on welcoming our very first grandbaby and our new daughter-in-love into the Pearson family.. and simple dinners are a MUST!

I know the hummus and veggie focaccia sandwich is a far cry from burgers, steaks and hot dogs or whatever your typical Summer fare might be, but maybe it would be a nice dinner this week as you are sifting through which Summer project to start on first!!  And if you are enjoying fresh tomatoes from your garden or from a generous neighbor...this sandwich will be just dandy!

Don't feel intimidated by the homemade focaccia bread.  It is super duper easy to make or purchased is also GREAT!


Hummus and Veggie Focaccia Sandwich
Lisa Pearson

Hummus

Green pepper slices

Red pepper slices

Orange pepper slices

Red leaf lettuce leaves

Fresh garden tomatoes...YUMMY!

Rings of thinly sliced red onions

Thinly sliced Swiss cheese

Focaccia bread





                                                           Focaccia Bread    


Ingredients:

2 cups warm water

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

3 cups bread flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. sea salt

olive oil

rosemary to taste

Herbes de Provence to taste

salt to taste


Directions:

*In a measuring cup, add yeast to warm water.

*In a large mixing bowl, mix flour and salt. Add yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon
until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth.


*Cover dough and let rise for 1 hour.


*Pour dough onto Silpat or greased baking sheet.


*Spread out with oiled hands and dimple using your knuckles.


*Brush with olive oil and add chopped rosemary, Herbes de Provence and salt if you like.  Maybe you have a favorite spice you would like to try.  Garlic is also a winner!


*Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

*This may also be made on a well-oiled baking pan for crispier bread.

Sandwich assembly:

Cut focaccia into squares and then slice into half.  This will give you a top and a bottom.

*Spread hummus onto each half.

*Layer on green, red and orange peppers, red leaf lettuce, fresh garden tomato slices, red onion slices and whatever else strikes your fancy.



Enjoy with grapes, berries, pear slices and sparkling apple juice...and don't forget the KETTLE CHIPS!!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Iona's Tribute


Not much pulls at my heart-strings than seeing the relationships between the younger generations and the older generations. 
It is almost as though for a bit of time...two very different worlds meet and the ones who are blessed enough to have each other for any amount of time...be it years or minutes...seem to glean treasures untold!!

Over the years, I have been touched by my Twinsie who has such a tender heart toward the elderly.  She has taught me more than she will ever know...especially when it came to her dear friend, Iona.

I must admit there were times I caught myself rolling my eyes as she would describe the plans she had for Iona for the day.  There were certainly times I felt like she should just stay home and take a nap while her baby napped as opposed to having tea with her friend. There were moments when I thought that maybe she was giving too much and needed to slow down in the "taking care of department".  BUT, was I ever wrong. 

The friendship grew and became a blessing neither would be willing to give up on...not for a second.  What an incredible gift they shared as Iona so willingly shared her life with that of a young momma and her baby.

Iona is now celebrating LIFE in heaven as my sweet sissy misses her daily.

I say, if you are needing a new friend...pray about it.  Maybe a lonely, gramma lady is praying for a new friend who will include her in the life of her younger family.  What a lovely thought for them to be sought after and needed.  After all...friendships that are unexpected are the ones I believe are gifts sent from GOD.  Do you know how I know?  They are tenderly gift wrapped by the hands of the maker of the universe.  A very unique gift indeed! 

This is her reflection:

"As Landen and I sit down to write this letter to you, we are awed at the deep imprint of friendship you have left on our lives.

I'll never forget the day we first met. We had just moved out to Scappoose and were your new neighbors at the duplex. I was eight months pregnant with Landen, and feeling overwhelmed with life. You immediately took me under your wing, and endeared yourself to me.
We started out with daily early morning walks around the block that by the end of summer had turned into two hour “walk-a-thons”. 
We laughed, shared stories, talked about childhoods, exchanged recipes, and you never failed in helping me prepare for the arrival of Landen.

We always enjoyed you retelling the story of your first glimpse of Landen. He was on his blanket, and as soon as he heard your voice, he moved his head to look at you, and your eyes met. That was all it took. From that moment on, you two shared a bond! We still took our daily walks, no matter the weather. You reassured me that it really was okay to take Landen out into the cold and rain. Oh, what a a sight we must have been as we walked the streets in our  mix-matched sweatshirts, coats, sweatpants, and a baby in the stroller with garbage bags over the bottom part of his blankets to keep him from getting soaked!!

As Landen grew, you would come get him and take him next door to your house so I could nap, and then you would feed him most evenings while I was getting dinner ready. You spoiled us!

At the age of 18 months, I started in the care giving of my grandma, and that was another adventure which you shared in. You became a friend to grandma, and were always available to help in any way you could. She too loved you!!

One day when Landen was talking about how many grandmas he had, I was trying to explain that you weren't his “ real” grandma.  After hearing my explanation, Landen looked up at me and emphatically proclaimed  “ But Mommy, Nona is my real grandma! ”. That was the end... in his mind and heart, you were his grandma. End of discussion. Never again was it a matter of question... you were his!!

At the very essence of this letter, it is our desire to express the gratitude our family has towards you, and the legacy with which you graced us in the sixteen years we knew you.  In everything you did and said, it was in the true gift of time and unconditional friendship that you gifted us.

Never were you too busy to encourage, listen, and invest in our lives. We each felt that when we were with you, time stopped, and we were given your undivided attention.


We love you Nona, and are thankful for you and the time God granted to us to be a part of your life."

Laura Stroh

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings


Hymns.  They reach down to the deepest part of your soul.  No matter how many years it has been since you have listened to them, it seems a mere impossibility to forget the strong words of Truth and Faith.
I think every hymn is my favorite...but there are those that are my favorite.favorite!

How very easy it is to feel lost in this world...keeping track of wrongs, having lack of purpose and direction, busyness and a sense that the good days are forever gone and have regretfully been replaced with the bad days.  This is so far from the what God has for us!



When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged,
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done.

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Are you ever burdened
With a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy
You are called to bear?
Count your many blessings,
Ev'ry doubt will fly
And you will be singing
As the days go by.

When you look at others
With their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised
You His wealth untold
Count your many blessings,
Money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict,
Whether great or small
Do not be discouraged,
God is over all
Count your many blessings,
Angels will attend
Help and comfort give you
To your journey's end.

Words by:  Johnson Oatman, Jr.

I hope this encourages you today!!
If it is hard for you to list your blessings...maybe you can take a short walk around the block and talk to Jesus and ask Him to bring blessings to your mind as you hum a hymn of old.

This picture is a hint as to what is going on in our little family.  There is much more to come.

Photo Credit:  Jessica Lyons Photography

Monday, September 9, 2013

The BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwiches...EVER!!!


Do you love it when you have company drop in for dinner? We love it. There is no time to have things just so. No pressure to impress...especially if it is one of your besties!

A few weeks ago, I invited my friend Carolyn to join us for dinner. I had made French onion soup...it took 3 hours to carmelize the onions {YEP, RIDICULOUS!} and when I invited her to drop in...I was so excited she didn't have dinner plans.

She brought over a plate of THE BEST GRILLED CHEESE sandwiches EVER. They were devoured. Let's just put it this way, I don't think anyone cared about the soup, and I am never {I MEAN NEVER!} making a soup that takes that long to make again. You would be better off spending a few minutes whipping up these yummy sandwiches, and the kiddies LOVED them. Gone forever are the days of a slice of cheese and butter on bread in our HOME!



Yummy Pimento, Grilled Cheese (Surprisingly Kids love these too!)

Carolyn



5 cups cheese (mix of sharp and medium cheddar) Any cheddar will do, but I love Tillamook medium white cheddar and sharp.*

1 small jar pimentos

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods Light) add more if you want in to be more gooey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste

{I added 1 pressed clove of garlic}

Garlic Sourdough Bread (I like Franz/Seattle International Garlic Sourdough** sliced rounds/they sell a regular sourdough also, but the garlic really makes the sandwich complete!) The pieces of bread are big so you can cut in half and they look very rustic and yummy and the cheese oozes out a bit. A nice way to get oohs and ahhs!

5) Trader Joes Olive Oil Spray (Way easy, and you don't need butter because the sandwiches are rich) I use this for all my grilled sandwiches. It’s a mild tasting olive oil.



This should made six sandwiches depending on your bread size and how thick you spread on your mixture. I was able to make six large sandwiches.



This is so simple...I saw the recipe in Bon Appetite and modified it a tiny bit.

●I just tossed all the ingredients other then the bread & Oil in a bowl and mix a few times till the cheese and mayonnaise are blended decently. There's no perfection necessary in this. You can add more mayonnaise if you need it to hold everything together. You can also add a little mustard if you want it a bit tangy..but don't add too much without tasting first (I add about a tablespoon which I like, but my kids prefer it without)

(A hint if you leave the mixture at room temperature for just a bit it grills much better)

●Sample the mixed product several times (you really don't have to do this...but it's so good and my excuse is I have to make sure I put enough salt in)

●Get ready to grill ....when I grill my sandwiches, I grill the insides of the bread for just about 45 seconds before spreading on the cheese concoction. (You don't even need to use butter or oil.) That way, the inside isn't mushy. This works especially well if you are transporting sandwiches for a soup and sandwich night at a dear friend's house like I was.

●After you have assembled all the sandwiches, you are ready to grill.

●Spray the tops of two sandwiches lightly with olive oil, put them oil side down in the pan.

(One of the tricks to a good grilled cheese is patience and a pan that's nice and hot, say med high, but not too hot.)

●While they are cooking oil side down, spray the top. Flip over when they are nicely grilled and brown and cook the other side.

●Move sandwiches to a serving platter and cover to keep warm.***

●Repeat till you are done.

● I do mine two at a time because they are quite large and they fit nicely in my pan.

(You can also do this on an outdoor grill just make sure your flame isn't too hot or they will burn quickly!)



*Note...If you can spring for some black label Tillamook sharp...so good!!!

**They sell this at the Franz Bread store for under $2.00…a great deal and it freezes great. I love to have on hand for those nights when I can’t make it to the store

***These transport really well...I had a ten min drive and the sandwiches stayed warm under the foil. (They are good cold too!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Italian Market Salad

 
 
 
As our backyard is slowly showing signs of Autumn, I have been filling our weekly menu with the last of Summer fare...lots of garden veggies, berries, and pasta salads!
 
Italian Market Salad
{Thank you, Kirby!!}
 
4 oz. uncooked bowtie pasta
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
6 cups spinach, 1 large bunch
1 cup Gorgonzola
1/2 of a small red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
 
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
 
Cook pasta according to package directions.
 
 
 
Drain and rinse with cold water.
 
 
 
Add a bit of olive oil.
Mix with greens, tomatoes and cheese and onion.
Toss with olive oil, vinegar and garlic.
Salt and pepper if desired.
Top with pine nuts.
 
 
If you are taking this on a picnic, pack the dressing in a canning jar and drizzle over the salad before serving, and then top with pine nuts!!!
 
 
 
THIS.THAT&THE OTHER:
 
 
lots of cookie baking, more than usual.  :}
 
 
look who loves to go on field trips!!  Our little birthday girl...13 years old...she always
sits in the driver's seat even if we are "gone' for 2 minutes.
 


 
 
 
fun in the peach orchard with my family
 
 
one of my sweet nieces.  I am BLESSED with three!!!
 
 
 
what little girls do before going home to can peaches
 
 
 
 
God's beautiful handiwork
 
 
 
 
anniversary hydrangeas {23 years}
 
 
it's always a good idea to have a messy project going on outside, too.  As if the peach mess inside wasn't bad enough!!
 
 
 
 
 
"She watches over the ways of her household."
Proverbs 31:27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

{Selah Sunday} BEDTIME STORIES


 
 
{A Selah Sunday}  BEDTIME STORIES

Oh goodness…I have less than three hours to get this posted before it is officially Mundane Monday {laundry day}!!

For those of you who are young mommas, this may seem a bit silly, maybe even a bit ridiculous considering we are at the end of Summer and you are running on coffee, sugar and energy drinks… but reading bedtime stories to our babes was always a favorite for Scott and I.  We were exhausted from full days, but clean smelling babes, clean sheets and active little ones who would  s l o w l y start to wind down {or NOT!!!} was such a tender time.

It was the last sliver of teaching and nurturing until early the next morning, or in our case…until barefoot chubby feet touched the floor and quietly tiptoed down the hall into our bedroom.

Oh how I miss those years…even the teenagers rolling in right at curfew or a few minutes thereafter, only to have them come sit on our bed and chat…or pray before bed…cramming in a few teachable/nurturing moments.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to help my mother.in.love care for the sweetest little four year old!!  And yes, it has been the bedtime routine.  MY FAVORITE!!!!

Once this little one had been bathed, jammied-up, teeth brushed and hair brushed, it was time for bedtime stories.

I let her choose a few books, but on one of our last night’s together, I picked out the book.

It is an old 1964 edition of Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories.  It smells old, but the pictures are bright and cheery and boast stories of an old era when life was simple and less complicated…but what I am drawn to is the truths that are timeless. 

I opened up to a page and she was excited about the picture of a daddy hugging his little boy so I decided that would be a good story to read since she already was drawn to the endearing illustration.

It was titled:  “How Much Love”

A daddy had been trying to find out how much his little boy really loved him.  The little boy would answer him by saying things like “heaps and heaps”, “lots and lots” and “bushels and bushels”.

The daddy would always tease him saying that wasn’t enough until the little boy, Francis would throw his arms around his daddy’s neck, hugging him and saying that THAT ought to answer his question properly.

As time went by, the daddy seemed to have forgotten the fun they were having as he began reading.  Francis called for him as he wanted to show him something, but the daddy was too busy by now.  Francis insisted that it was something VERY special.  Francis had an important question.  Finally, hesitant, the daddy put down his book and asked the little boy what he wanted to show him.

Francis had a map of the United States spread out and was trying to figure out how far they had driven the last year when they had “driven all  over”.  The daddy replied “That BIG red one.”

Francis inquired as to how long it was.  They discussed the mileage.  Then Francis wanted to know about all of the other lines…the other red lines and the black lines.  Francis was still curious where all the lines led to and how far they reached.  In desperation to answer his little boy’s questions he guessed that it may be over thousands and thousands of miles…maybe even millions and millions and millions of miles long!!

Francis answered, “Well then, Daddy, that’s how much I love you.  All that and even more!”

 

It dawned on the daddy that all that time, little Francis had been trying to find a way of telling his Daddy exactly how much he loved him!!

 

“As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.  Like a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.  Psalm 103:11-13

 

As I closed the book before we prayed, she sat up with a sparkle in her eye and stretched her little arms out as far as she could and said, “I know how much Jesus loves me…HUMONGOUS!!!”

This little four-year old understood.

 

We prayed and I sang her to sleep and as she dozed off to dreamland…I couldn’t help but thank God for giving me time to teach and nurture this little one even if it was a few moments in the light of eternity.

So, even if you are at the end of your rope, exhausted and weary from long summer days…I hope that you will enjoy the moments of teaching and nurturing.  And once you have fallen into bed…and those little feet come wandering down the hallway into your bedroom, thank God for the privilege of teaching your children the "humongousness" of God’s love for them!!  Knowing full well that a pot of coffee, donuts and energy drinks are mere hours away!
 
 
 
What Bedtime looked like 21 years ago!!!...
 
 

 
 
...and NO, it didn't work!  :}

Monday, August 12, 2013

Key Lime Whippers



From the archives...



Dishes have always been something I love. I could find an excuse to buy new dishes...but really no need to add to the basics I already have. If you purchase a few fun colored dishes and keep your main dishes, serving pieces, platters and trays to plain old white or clear glass...you are set. I know it is tempting to buy the new shade of green, the polka dotted pink and white bowls, the lobster platter with all the detail etc...but if you are short on storage and trying to stay on budget...the dishes that are multi-functional will make a huge difference!

After gutting our home a couple of years ago...I promised I was going to keep things streamlined and SIMPLE. With the exception of the cake plate closet...we have done great and it feels so light and clean in our home. It is shocking at how quickly an un-cluttered home can be tidied up!

One thing that has helped in keeping my dishes {and clutter} to a minimum is having them serve more than one purpose. I think my favorites are the TEA LIGHT holders from IKEA. I use them for everything, and the best part is that they take up very little room...but can be used for oh.so.much! I think I paid less than $3 for eight. All I know is they definitely qualify as a frugal find.

Here are a few ideas:

mini milk glasses



juice glasses

butter dishes for nice dinners

condiment bowls

sour cream and salsa containers for individual plates

brown sugar and raisin condiment bowls on a plate with a big bowl of hot oatmeal

olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic oil for dipping crusty bread

chocolate fondue appetizers

mini trifle

mini strawberry shortcakes

ice cream bowl

sauces

and the list goes on and on and on!


These little, itty bitty cuties are the perfect size cheesecakes...especially when you are still stuffed from Buffalo Chicken Nachos and black bean soup.


Key lime whippers are fast to whip up. I timed it. It took three minutes...yep and three ingredients. Yep.YEP!





Key Lime Whippers

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

1  6-oz. can frozen limeade concentrate {NOT thawed}  Look for the kind without high frustose corn syrup!!!

1 cup heavy cream

graham cracker crumbs

1 lime for garnish if you would like

Directions:

*Whisk the condensed milk, limeade and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl with a whisk attachment.

*Beat until fluffy and a bit stiff.

*Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight

*Before serving, place a few graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each tea light holder.

*Top with creamy filling, garnish with a slice of lime and if you want it really ADORABLE...top it with a squirt or two or three of whipped cream.

I made several without the graham cracker bottoms and I think I liked them even better...so...whatever floats your boat!

Stunning and simple for a summer evening dessert.

It is just as yummy as a no bake cheesecake! {to clear up some confusion...these are cheesecakes, not drinks...}