Monday, August 25, 2014

Oma's Roadside Apple Pie




It seems as though summer should just be starting and here we are, once again, anticipating the beginning of a brand new school year.  OH.MY!!

                        With the start of a new school year come apples…lots and lots of apples and I can hardly wait to make apple pies, apple crisps, apple cake and some fresh applesauce.

                        Do you love stories?  I do.  Maybe it hearkens back to a childhood without television and video games, but I love stories, especially sweet little stories that challenge me to think about others.  So, here is a story to go along with Oma’s Roadside Apple Pie that I hope you will enjoy.


My momma, also known as “OMA” to her grandchildren, and poppa known as “OPA” were on their way home when they noticed a home with a large apple tree with fallen apples surrounding the tree at its base.  They decided to go knock on the door and ask if they could pick the apples off of the ground and, in return, would make the owners an apple pie!!  The gentleman who opened the door was so kind and told them he never did anything with them anyway and that they were welcome to gather as much as they wanted.  

They picked the apples and finished their drive home, happy as little larks.
I called my parents that evening and I was so taken in by her story as she was more excited to make the apple pie for this family than she was about the apples!

I was so challenged by her story and it got me to thinking about things.  How easy is it to think about doing things for others?  It is super easy.  BUT what are my actions?  Do I actually take the time to do some of those things I think about?  Not always. 
I realize there are seasons in life where doing for others is near impossible when everyday is a struggle to care for your own family...but sometimes it can be the smallest of things that can make the biggest difference!!  

Soooo, it may not be the bartering system you use or making an apple pie...but you could easily share extra produce from your garden, clippings of flowers from your yard, a handwritten note, leftovers for friends, or picking up a favorite candy bar from the grocery store...JUST BECAUSE!!


Oma's Roadside Apple Pie
makes a 9 inch apple pie

Prepared pastry dough for a double-crust pie

5 cups apples
splash of lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
butter
milk or cream
cinnamon sugar

Peel, core and slice apples.  {Thin slices are BEST!}
Fill a large bowl with cool salt water.
Place apples in water as you prepare the apples.  Drain thoroughly.
Splash with lemon juice.
Mix sugar and flour together and add drained apples.
Mix together well... making sure the apples are coated with the mixture.
Line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate with the pastry dough.
Fill with filling.
Top with top crust and crimp the top and bottom together.
Brush with milk or cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until pie is golden brown and bubbly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

A little tip:  I like to bake my pies on parchment lined baking sheets to avoid burnt sugar pie filling on the bottom of my oven!!




This.That.and The Other:



THE WEDDING!!  Here are a few pics for those who have asked.  Many more to come...LUCKY YOU!!  :}  This white chapel was just perfect...all the way down to the chapel bells they got to ring.






Thank You, Brenda for the pics.






Our happy little newlyweds.  Thank you, Nana!





"Back to school" organization is going on.  I feel like I am needing to re-nest now that both children are married and nesting on their own.  At this rate, we will have nothing left in our home!!  







Little Miss Adalynn fell asleep before our baking day started...isn't she the cutest little bug that ever was?  Her bubbly personality is starting to really starting to show.






The happy little momma and her girl.  






The last of the hydrangeas.  Have I mentioned white is my very favorite "color"??
There you have it...lots of blah.blah.blah!!


Happy Monday!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dad's Handkerchief



{written by Laura...my twinsie}

Don’t you just love it when out of the blue you are absolutely reminded of God’s undeniable blessings in your life? We all face difficult seasons in our lives when all we can do is trust God to be faithful, and yet our hearts are spilling over with pain and unanswered questions. There have been many such times in my, but I am truly grateful when God allows me a glimpse back into those times to show me the painful paths that He has lovingly paved with His protection and never-ending faithfulness.


Not long ago, I was going through my suitcases and bags. I had just pulled out some old brochures, a couple of shampoo bottles, and a stray sock. I was ready to put the bag back way when I realized I needed to clean out another inside pocket I had forgotten about. I reached down and found some old gum wrappers when I felt something stuffed way down in the corner. I pulled it out and was instantly taken back to a different time in my life. I had found one of my father’s handkerchief’s that he had given to me years ago. As I held that handkerchief, I was so moved with emotion, I had to sit down as the tears started flooding down my face. What I held in my hand was OH.SO.MUCH.MORE than a handkerchief!! It was what it represented that made it PRICELESS to me!!


I had been raised in Germany as a missionary kid, along with my twin sister and brother. We had been in German schools until fifth grade. After a year-long furlough in the States, our family had decided that my Lisa and I would attend boarding school instead of returning to the German schools. The day arrived for school to begin, and we had to say good bye to our parents and brother. Up until that time, it was me who would be the first to cry. This time it was Lisa. I am sure that my dad pulled out his hanky to wipe away Lisa’s tears as he reassured us of his love for us, and that we would talk soon.


GOD WAS GOOD and carried us through those difficult years of separation, and dad always had comforting words and strong hugs when we were going through difficult times. To be sure, if there were tears to be wiped, he would pull out his handkerchief to wipe way our tears.
The more I thought about that handkerchief, I tried to remember how I ended up with it!! Then, it dawned on me that it was when I was still in college. I had traveled back to Germany to visit my parents. My time there had come to an end, and we were once again saying the all too familiar good-byes. He once again reached up to wipe away the tears, and then most likely gave me the handkerchief to take along on that flight.


How thankful I am for my father that God has given to me. I am even more thankful for my Heavenly Father who loves me and cares for me as only a loving Father can.
At the point my father GAVE me that handkerchief, he was offering me a tangible object of his love for me. So, too, does our Heavenly Father gift us with tangible portions of His love. It can come in varying forms. It may come through the timely words of a loving friend, a sense of peace in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation, or in a passage of His written Word. 


God is creative in His unlimited touches of GRACE! Just as God knew that the perfect extension of my father’s love for me, was through a humble piece of woven cloth, God knows the measure and degree of tangible love that you need to touch your life. It may not be immediate, and it may not be in the shape of a handkerchief, but it definitely will present itself - often when you are least expecting it.
Thank you dad for your lifelong legacy of love, serving others, sacrifice, HUMOR, and TIME!! You are a continual reminder of God’s love for me and to SO MANY OTHERS.


Always love...

Laura

{written by me}

My dear poppa,

What a memorable day August 16th, 2014 will always be as we watched our youngest take his vows and start his life as a husband to his love, Allison.  There were so many emotions and memories throughout the day that I still can't quite take it all in.  There were programs to file, flower petals to dry, little bottles of bubbles to stash away along with AMERICAN flags.  There were photo booth photos to hang from the fridge and first dance songs to download. Burlap and lace to fold and to press, secret wedding cupcake recipes to print and Hershey's kisses to add to "Pearson wedding mementos"...but what I will cherish the most is the handkerchief you pulled from your pocket as you caught me crying at the table with my besties around me.  You don't miss a beat!  After 45 years, you are still kind and gentle and always there to cheer me up.

I had no idea you were even watching me until I saw you in line, reaching down into your pocket and pulling out your freshly-ironed white handkerchief as you stepped out of line and made your way over to me...to once again offer comfort, encouragement and understanding like only a father can!

I thank God that you set the bar high as a husband and as a father...and that you communicated the importance to seek out those qualities in the man I would one day marry. 
As I sit here, and look at my wrinkled, eye make-up stained hanky {from the layers of mascara that seeped through the waterproof stuff!!} I can't help but think back to the hanky Scott, too, gifted to his daughter on her wedding day...that he had bought years before she was even dating, knowing full well she would need it {for him!!} on her wedding day!!

It is quite possible that Caleb {years from now}might be in a line, sitting in a crowd, or dropping his own daughter off at school as he catches a glimpse of her with tear-filled eyes, be they happy or sad...and without even thinking, reach down into his pocket and pull out a hanky...but for now, I will always have my very.own hanky of yours to remind me of our children's wedding day and the love you have always demonstrated to me as your daughter...no matter how old I am!!  I love you. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Landen's Peach Cobbler


Several years ago, I dropped in on my twinsie. As we sipped on tea and chatted, my nephew offered to make a peach cobbler for our family. I was so very excited. I don't know of many pre-teen boys that would offer to do something so sweet for their Auntie! Anyway, needless to say, it was THE BEST peach cobbler I had EVER had. No kidding. It was devoured by my family that night. So, I asked him if he would send me the recipe so that I could share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family enjoyed it!

PEACH COBBLER {IN A BAG}
Adapted from Betty Crocker


PEACH MIXTURE:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch {I used Clear Jel and skipped the cooking part}
one 29 oz. can of peaches {I used four cups of fresh peaches…about 6 large}
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or pure almond extract

BREAD MIXTURE:

3 tbs. shortening
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 cup 2% milk


Heat oven to 400'. mix 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. stir in peaches and vanilla. cook stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. boil and stir 1 minute. pour into ungreased 8x8 square pan; keep peach mixture hot in the oven.

Cut shortening into flour and 1 tablespoon sugar until mixture resembles fine crumbs. stir in milk. drop dough by six spoonfuls onto hot peach mixture.
bake 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
I hope you all enjoy this!


MY VARIATIONS:

When I pick peaches, I like to pick enough to enjoy a few cobblers throughout the year, so I put all of the peach mixture ingredients into a Ziploc bag and label it with what I need to add for the topping and baking instructions. All you have to do is to REMEMBER to get it out of the freezer and whip up the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon and coarse sugar.

FAVORITE VARIATION: I HAD TO ADD THE 1/4 cup PEACH SCHNAPPS TO THE MIXTURE. NO WAY AROUND IT. It just puts it over the top!

SECOND FAVORITE VARIATION: Add 1/4 cup pure Orange Juice to Peach mixture. Seriously, just try it. You would not believe how it brings out the flavor of the peaches.

Now, every time I make a peach cobbler I remember the hospitality extended to our family through my nephew. It inspires me to want to share a freshly baked peach cobbler with someone I love!!  Another reason to teach your boys how to bake!!

Thank you, LANDEN! I LOVE YOU!

Who has nurtured you? Who can you think of who might need to be nurtured?

Ezekiel 34:26 "I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Crabby Melts


WHEW!! Can you believe we are into the month of August?  Where.oh.where. has this Summer gone?
In my book, Summer isn't Summer unless we have had at least one trip to the beach {which hasn't happened, yet!} to enjoy a really yummy seafood salad, soup or sandwich, saltwater taffy and ice cream.  Don't you think of trips to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard sound dreamy?  Just riding bikes through a little village and breathing in the ocean air?  
Although I could easily be talked into a beach vacation right about now, I wouldn't trade our Summer for the world.  It has been full of celebrations like baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversaries and our son's wedding to his love is right around the corner, now!  That means we have been blessed with a new grand baby girl and a new daughter-in-love in less than two months!!
Anyhoo, if you are craving a seashore kind of vacation with a cool evening breeze and a sunset that might take your breath away...and it isn't going to happen this year...maybe you could just whip up this sandwich and enjoy it as a late night dinner as you sit out in your very own backyard on a picnic blanket with twinkle lights and candles, fizzy drinks and a warm slice of fresh berry pie and ice cream???
What do you think??



Crabby Melts




1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

6 oz. can crab meat...{Bumble Bee fancy white crab meat}

1 small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 of one red pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

{PUB BUNS}



Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and mix well.  It should be really creamy.  Toast Pub Buns before putting the mix on top to avoid soggy melts.

Place desired amount of crab mix on top of lightly toasted PUB BUNS and bake at 350* until crabby melts are bubbly and lightly browned...about 10 to 15 minutes.
Enjoy with fresh veggies, fruit and fizzy drinks!
DON'T forget the fresh berry pie and ice cream



This and That
{Grammy's little flapper girl}


Photo credit:  Jessica Lyons Photography



The love birdies






How fast they grow up!!  My little boy is getting married!!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FAMILY...the Good, the Bad, and the Nasty


Whenever you open a book that starts with once upon a time…just know you are most likely setting yourself up for comparison and a short stint of believing that everybody else has life better than you and better than that of your family.

Oh how most of us wish that if someone were to look at our families behind closed doors that they, too, would be able to start an account of our family journey with Once upon a time…or do we?  Yes, it sounds good, but as I look back on the parenting years I must admit I would rather have REAL and all that comes along with that than FAKE.

I was reading in Galatians 6 today and if I were starting off now as a young momma, I think I would be tempted to paint the biggest wall in our living room with chalkboard paint and have my bff paint these words as a daily reminder: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 I would also try to make the time to keep a running list of things not to become weary in doing. 

If only we could remember to keep our eyes on the harvest and not at the never-ending-discipline, bad-attitudes that need adjusting, swallowing our pride and saying “I’m sorry”, not keeping score, and loving the sometimes hard-to-love etc. our families may look a bit more like a Disney story-line…but in most cases it is much easier said than done.

Our immediate family happened to be made up of 4 individuals.  We all happened to have very STRONG personalities…to say the least.  My hubby always referred to our personalities as very passionate…a nice word for STUBBORN…but God knows that it was a tough road in our family to fight for the things that mattered and to let other things go.
I sometimes wished I could have been THAT MOM that could have gently reminded my son that climbing a very tall tree at the age of three was not a good idea…but I distinctly remember screaming at him in disbelief that he would even think about it.  And THAT, somehow, was my hubby’s fault!!

There were the holidays where perfectionism seemed entirely more important than that of the reason we were celebrating.  {Spending days on homemade pie crusts and ironing tablecloths, cloth napkins and the late night trip to Oregon Craft and Floral to make homemade candles in tea cups was not worth being grumpy!!}  Again, everything looked good, but my heart was full of anxiety and I needed to keep my eyes on the harvest.  A well-set table and beautiful decorations had nothing to do with nurturing little hearts.  I am NOT over-spiritualizing this, and there is nothing wrong with clean children all.dressed up in holiday attire and an outsider likening your family to that of a NORMAN ROCKWELL painting, but having a bad attitude and compromising the unimportant for the sake of how thing look is not okay.
Gossiping about one family member to another family member is also not okay.  It can be done so very innocently but with huge consequences.  It is always best to go directly to the person than to bring the whole family into it.

I attended a tea one year and a certain somebody pulled my skirt down a bit as I was informed that it was too short to be wearing.  I immediately hiked it up further and let ____ know that until I had varicose veins I would be wearing short skirts!!  Me and my big mouth gossiped about it at home and painted the family member as an old-fashioned school marm.  So not fair to ____who was trying to protect me from what others might have to say about it.

It would be easy to write from now until 20 years from now giving story after story, family-feud after family feud, disagreement after disagreement, arguments won and lost, hurt feelings that needed attention…but I am not going to bore you or air our familiy’s dirty laundry, but I want to encourage you that family is worth fighting for.  It is worth it!! 

The lives that you have been entrusted with are worth taking the time to help shape and mold.  Every family is unique and special.  Families are to be a safe place where we all learn valuable life lessons.  Sometimes the easy way and sometimes the hard way.  Unlike t.v. sitcoms, conflicts and disagreements are not solved in 30 minutes.  Sometimes they can take years to take care of and sometimes they are not remedied, and that is where God’s grace comes in to look at things differently and to have compassion on hard situations…
Families are to be treasured and protected. Forgiveness should take the front seat and not the back seat.  Ask God for patience to take the place of impatience as you watch your children struggle with consequences.  Take in the times when your child demonstrates compassion to flea-infested baby squirrels even though you could have thought of a million and one other ways to have taught a life lesson.
And when bitterness is being harbored and home is tense and you feel like a string is about to break, call a “come to Jesus” meeting.  There is nothing worse than everybody knowing there is something wrong and nothing being done about it.  Jesus set the example in calling His disciples away and dealing with issues.  This should have been our PLAN A…but usually became PLAN B.  :}  And guess what?  This does not end when your children leave home.  I think it is important to keep the family a well-oiled machine that can function as a unit long after the bedrooms have been turned into craft/room/offices and guest rooms.
Now that we have chatted more about the bad and the nasty, let’s talk about the good…the very good…How refreshing it is to be able to look back on the past and see God’s hand even when we made mistakes.  Our children can know what compassion looks like.  They can feel the immediate relief that forgiveness has to offer.  The chores they dreaded as children provided a determination in sticking with it regardless of how many hours it took them to finish…and they assured you nobody else in their class had to spread barkdust all.Saturday.long.  The furniture that needed re-arranging to fit grammy’s wheelchair in the house for Thanksgiving took time away from the family-puzzle…but it will be taught to their children when they have to re-arrange their lives for us as we age.

ALL in ALL, I wish I could get up on our HOT roof top today and shout out “Don’t give up!!  Keep on Keeping on!!  It is worth its weight in GOLD!!  Reaping the harvest is worth the blood, sweat and tears that goes into the labor-intensive years of the growing and nurturing it takes to make and grow a family.


And when your children call you to inform you of their  “come to Jesus” meeting they happened to have that night, and they end with "but it was so good!!" you will be able to hang–up the phone and smile knowing that forgiveness and acceptance and unconditional love is on the horizon as yet another HARVEST draws near.
How good it is to be a family.

Do you need to call a family meeting?  Ask for forgiveness?  Love a family member unconditionally?  Do something special for a hurting member of your family?    

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yogurt Pancakes with Lemon Devonshire



With all of the berries we have here in the Northwest it seems a shame to only have breakfast in the morning! So, we had to have pancakes in the evening the other night. Was so easy and so good. Even a bowl of cereal with berries on top would have been just fine with me! That, or a banana/berry milkshake!

Yogurt Pancakes
Adapted from Ina Garten


Stir together:

3 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. sea salt

Whisk in:

1 cup plain ol’ yogurt

1½ cups PLUS 2 Tbsp. milk

4 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Zest from 1 small lemon

Directions:

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients

Stir until well mixed. Do not over mix!

Using about 1/4 cup measure, ladle onto griddle that is heated on medium heat.

Make sure the griddle is oiled.

Allow pancake to cook until small bubbles start popping up.

Flip pancake and let cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

Keep pancakes warm in a 200* oven. {Be sure to keep them toasty and covered!}

Serve pancakes with fresh blueberries and HEAPS and HEAPS o' CREAM!



Lemon Devonshire Cream:

½ cup heavy cream

8 oz. softened cream cheese {room temp}

1 tbsp. powdered sugar

½ cup sour cream {I like Daisy Brand...full fat!}

Zest of 1 small lemon

1 tsp. lemon oil, pure lemon extract or lemon curd to taste

Directions:

*Beat heavy cream until it is well-whipped {not butter!!!} and add the rest of the ingredients.
*Beat until all ingredients are incorporated.
*Keep chilled until ready to serve.


Do you ever enjoy breakfast for dinner? If so, what is your favorite thing to fix or pour?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scott's Grilled Fajita Taco Salad



I feel like we are in the middle of a heat wave and one can only live on salads and watermelon for so long.
This recipe is one of my hubby's most-requested recipes and if you make it...you will definitely know exactly why.

My hubby is still finding all kinds of ways to add flavor to old favorites without the pound of butter and cream while still maintaining great flavor to his meals.
Normally, the chicken was placed on tortilla shells, slathered with shredded cheese and serrano cream.
Now, the chicken is placed on a bed of dark, healthy, oh.so.good.for.you greens, topped with sliced chicken and lots of grilled veggies with serrano cream ~made with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Again, the firehouse recipes are relatively fast.  This one takes a bit more time...but can easily be prepped earlier on in the day and grilled in very little time!

ENJOY this packed-full-of-goodness-meal!


Grilled Fajita Taco Salad

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. liquid smoke

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and sliced

Juice of:  1 orange, 2 limes and 2 lemons

3 garlic cloves or less {we just love garlic!}

*Desired amount of greens like spinach, romaine, fancy greens etc.

Grilled Veggies:

1 red onion, sliced

2 red peppers, sliced

2 yellow peppers, sliced

*Place veggies in  ZIPLOC gallon bag with a tad bit of olive oil.  Keep chilled until ready to grill.



Directions:

*Place chicken in ZIPLOC gallon bag along with the liquid smoke, oil, salt, pepper, serrano, juices and garlic.  Let sit for at least 1 hr. and up to 24 hrs. in the fridge.



*Grill chicken on the bbq until juices run clear and it is fully cooked.  Remove from grill and place on a plate covered with tin foil.



*Once the chicken is cooked and "resting" under the tin foil, place the veggies in a veggie grill basket and let it char a bit.  stir it a couple of times and that is it.


{If you don't have a grill basket, just make sure the veggies are cut large enough so that they don't fall through the grates on the grill.}

*Prepare your salad beds and place sliced chicken, grilled veggies, avocado and serrano cream on top...or you can eat them on a tortilla shell...



Serrano Cream

3 Serrano peppers

1 large clove of garlic

½ tsp. sea salt

½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

*Seed, devein and cut peppers into small pieces.

*Combine all ingredients in blender until well blended.

*Chill until ready to use.