Thursday, June 30, 2011

Picnic Pasta Salad

Forget about those boring store-bought pasta salads. Make your own fresh and flavorful tortellini salad, loaded with vegetables. This is the perfect summer recipe.
Ingredients

1 can artichoke hearts
1 package cheese tortellini
1 carrot, thinly sliced
Sprinkle of sunflower seeds (if desired)
Broccoli florets (or asparagus)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
3 green onions, or red, sliced thinly
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic
Salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
Basil
Pepper

Instructions
1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions.
2. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts and cut them into quarters.
3. Add the remaining salad makings (except the parmesan) and toss with the dressing. Give a generous sprinkling of Parmesan and refrigerate.

Designer Cupcake Papers

These paper cupcake cups are covered in pansies! All of the styles shown are from  fancyflours.com

This one has beautiful cut-out birds.

And this one is called 'Tiffany'...they would be lovely for a wedding or babyshower.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Airy & Flirty

Oh how I love the light airy feel of linen and gauze! Summer is a favorite time for these beauties. The shops are full of many selections, and what a fitting way to spend and afternoon at a picnic or just sipping iced tea on the front porch.




Monday, June 27, 2011

Silver Screen Beauties

Audrey Hepburn

Doris Day

Judy Garland



Marilyn Monroe

Rita Hayworth

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Feel More...Think Less


Whether you believe in intuition, prophetic dreams, and many other senses of awareness, I believe it is all guided for our benefit. Some of us can experience the sensation of a scent and feel moved to do something specific - a scent can be that of a departed loved one and it moves us to look somewhere for an item we thought had been misplaced and there it is. Some of us feel a touch on our skin and are instantly brought back to a moment where we remember a bit of information that is necessary. And some people see angels.
Personally, I have had more than several occurrences of being guided by something other than my own consciousness. I choose to label it as little as possible since I believe strongly that while I love words and language, I do think that we tend to box ourselves into specific belief systems based on words, on labels and judgments and that what we need to do is feel more and sometimes think less. Otherwise, we run the risk of forgetting that we are here - to experience human life and all that it offers us. Smiles... 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quick Family Recipes

Granola
Makes about 2 quarts
6 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup coconut
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/3 cup sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients except raisins. Stir in and coat thoroughly with:
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla
Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Add raisins or other dried fruit and bake 5 more minutes.

Macaroni Salad
Makes 6 servings
1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 tsp. salt
4 cups boiling water
1 can tuna fish
1 cup chopped vegetables (celery, green pepper, onion, cooked peas, carrots, etc.)
Salad dressing
Bring water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni. Boil until tender (10 minutes); do not overcook. Drain, rinse in cold water. and drain again. Chill. Mix with tuna fish and vegetables. Marinate with salad dressing to taste (approximately 1 cup).

Tuna and Noodle Casserole
Makes about 6 servings.
8 oz. noodles
1 can tuna fish
1 can condensed mushroom or chicken soup
2/3 cup milk (canned or reconstituted powdered milk)
1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
Cook noodles in 4 cups boiling water. Rinse and drain. Arrange noodles and tuna fish in layers in casserole. Combine soup and milk; pour over noodles and fish. Top with buttered crumbs and a dash of paprika. Bake at 375° about 25 minutes or until browned.

Baked Chicken and Spaghetti
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp. shortening or butter
1 can tomatoes
dash of pepper
2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups chicken, cooked, diced
10 oz. cooked & drained spaghetti
1/2 cup grated cheese
Saute onion in shortening or butter; add tomatoes, sugar, and pepper. Heat to boiling. Stir in chicken and spaghetti. Toss gently with fork. Pour into greased baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

For The Bath


ASPEN DREAMS BATH SALT

This scent is very woody, and is suited for soothing your muscles and relaxing in the tub. It is very masculine in scent, but women love it too. Try this after a long day at work, it makes you feel comfortable and content.

The ingredients are:
2 cups of Epsom salts (or a mixture epsom/sea)
2 tablespoons of baking soda
essential oils:
5 drops of rosewood
2 drops cedar wood
2 drops Chamomile
a nice jar with a tight fitting lid

To make the salts:
Mix the salts and baking soda in a bowl very well.
Mix oils in a small cup. Take them and pour them evenly over the salt.
Mix the two very well.
Let sit for over an hour before placing in a jar and sealing.
If you are going to color these use yellow and red to make a light brown.

BASIC BUBBLE BATH

Ingredients:
5 drops fragrant oil or essential oil (your
choice)
1 quart water
1 bar castille soap (grated or flaked)
1 1/2 ounces glycerin
Directions:
Mix all ingredients together. Store in a container. Pour in running water.

BATH COOKIES

2 cups finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbs. light oil
1 tsp. vitamin E oil
2 eggs
5-6 drops essential oil(your choice)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together all the ingredients. Take a teaspoon of the dough and roll it gently into a ball about 1" in diameter. Continue doing this with all the dough and place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. (You can decorate the cookies with clove buds, anise seeds, or dried citrus peel if you wish.) Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over bake. Allow the cookies to cool completely. To use, drop 1 or 2 cookies into a warm bath and allow to dissolve. Do not eat! Yield: 24 cookies, enough for 12+ baths.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Few Favorites

This is one of my favorite novels based in Maine, and where my youngest son got his name...Gabriel!
I love the photos and ideas from this wonderful book, it is full of beautiful colors and styles.

More Camp Recipes


Campfire Pork And Beans
8 Bacon slices, cut into pieces
1/2 cup Chopped onion
1/2 cup Chopped green bell pepper
53 oz Can pork and beans
1/4 cup Molasses
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Heat camp stove or get fire ready. Fry bacon until crisp then set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Saute onion and green pepper in drippings until tender. Combine beans, molasses and tabasco sauce in a 2 1/2 quart dutch oven. Hang over fire for about an hour with lid on, or cook on camp stove until hot. Top with bacon and heat through.

BAKED APPLES-- Cut the apples in quarters, remove seeds and place
on shiny side of a sheet of foil. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon,
raisins and dot with butter. Wrap tightly and place on coals for 10 to
15 minutes.

Campfire Stew
2 lbs. Hamburger
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can corn
8 oz Elbow macaroni
1/2 cup Chopped onions
1 cup Water
1/4 lb Longhorn cheddar cheese

Brown beef in dutch oven, kettle, or skillet. Drain. Stir in tomatoes, corn, macaroni, and water. Hang over fire or place on cook stove until done. Just
before serving add cheese.

Going Camping!


Camping is quintessential to experiencing the wonders of the state of Maine. You can listen to the loons call in the evening, and wake to the sunrise—there is simply no better way to be part of our rich history and natural beauty than camping in the North woods or on the serene coastline. My favorite spot has a cabin and electricity..it is ruffing it enough for me. But, you can take the camper and tents sometimes too, just for the fun of it. Meals can be fun and easy when camping, of course there are a lot of times it consists of fish, we are in Maine, lol, but you just make sure to have a variety of dishes to choose from when it comes to serving up the troops! Let's start with these:
Burgers In Foil
2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 large Green Bell Pepper, sliced
Minced Onion Flakes
1 Can Sliced White Potatoes, drained
Worchestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Aluminum Foil

Form 4 beef patties and place each in a square of aluminum foil.
Top with equal portions of sliced bell pepper and potatoes. Shake
on minced onion and worchestershire sauce on each patties. Salt
and pepper to taste. Seal foil, checking for leaks. Place on hot coals
for 10 to 15 minutes per side. These come out yummy and ready to
feed your hungry campers.

Camper's Buckwheat & Blueberry Pancakes
3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
3/4 cup Flour,All-Purpose
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Dried Whole Egg
1/2 cup Nonfat Dry Milk
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 cup fresh blueberrys
4 Tbsp. Margarine
1 1/2 cup Water
Mix all ingredients, except margarine, with water to make a creamy
batter. Melt margarine and add gradually to batter while stirring. Make
sure your camp stove or fire is hot enough, oil the pan, drop by quarter
cup full to cook.

I'll be posting more as the summer goes on! Enjoy and Happy Camping!

Love My Cookbooks

This is one of my favorite cookbooks, it has many wonderful and delicious recipes to choose from.
This is Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook! It is fun and nostalgic to flip through this little beauty!
The Campbell's Cookbook is one to have on hand for quick and easy dinners anyone can make. What are some of your favorite cookbooks? 



Making a Fairy House


Fairy Houses should look so natural they are almost hidden.

Find a quiet place away from roads or busy pathways. The base
of a tree or the side of a rock could be just right.

Close to the ground is usually best. Sometimes you may find a special
place in low branches of a tree or bush.

A triangle or teepee shape makes it easier to construct a
fairy house for first-time builders.

Use only natural materials to build a Fairy House: dry
grasses, leaves, sticks, bark, pebbles, pine cones, branches,
stones, acorns, feathers, seaweed, nuts. Acorn caps and small
shells make nice fairy dishes. Dried milkweed pods with fluffy
seeds make lovely soft fairy beds. A large shell filled with water
can become a fairy bathtub.

Use the materials you find in the space where you want to
build. A Fairy House at the beach will look different than the
one built in the backyard.

Make a path leading to the front door – to guide the fairies
into the house.

Be careful not to use or disturb any of nature’s materials that
are still living, especially flowers, ferns, mosses and lichen.

When done, ask the children to say a few words about their
creations. They can also write about their fairy house or draw
a picture about it.

Invite the children to visit their fairy Houses dressed as
fairies, butterflies or dragonflies.

Don’t forget the camera because there will be many
precious pictures to capture!

Give It A Try!


I love to go to the flea markets as often as I can, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to be the vendor? Why not give it a shot and jump on the flea market bandwagon? Here are some helpful tips to sell your wares:
What You Need:

  1. Merchandise
  2. Price guides
  3. Price tags and stickers
  4. Wrapping and packing materials
  5. Tables and display units
Flea markets are popular events where vendors sell their merchandise in one location. After the vendors set up their space, the browsing buyers bustle in. Hopefully in a buying mood, they move from vendor to vendor searching for the perfect deal or bargain.
Anything and everything is sold at flea markets. From big ticket items like antiques and guns to smaller items like electronics, crafts, memorabilia and junk; the sky’s the limit.
The Basics
  1. Flea markets are generally in full swing during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
  2. Some markets are open only on the weekends while others are open during the week.
  3. Flea markets hours of operation vary.
  4. Flea markets are held anywhere. Some are held indoors and others take place in barns, on the street or under tents.
  5. Many are free to the public while others require admission.
  6. Free parking is available at some markets.
If you are in a buying kind of mood, why not head over to a nearby flea market and pick up a great bargain? You never know what you may find! 

The Pantry


My food pantry is always stocked with the items my family uses most. I like to stock up on lots of dry goods and canned goods. Here is a list of items that we  keep on hand:

OATMEAL- SUGAR- FLOUR -CORNMEAL- SALT- PEPPER- BAKING SODA
BAKING POWDER- VANILLA- YEAST- SPICES- BROWN SUGAR- RAISINS
CAKE MIXES- ICING- PANCAKE MIX- SYRUP- CERALS- PEANUT BUTTER
ASST. NOODLES- RICE- INSTANT MILK- INSTANT POTATOES- COFFEE
BEANS- SOUP MIXS- KETCHUP- MUSTARD- MAYONNAISE- APPLESAUCE
CANNED SOUPS- VEGETABLES- CANNED MEATS- SPAGHETTI SAUCES

That is just the basics that I try to keep stocked. Of course you can take away or add items for your families tastes. I can make just about anything when I have these ingredients.

Very Useful Indeed


My grandmother taught all of us girls how to make medicinal herb mixtures when we were young. The have been very useful over the years, and I have passed them down to my girls.

ANGELICA - Dried leaves are used to make an infusion (tea) to improve energy, stimulate circulation and reduce flatulence. Has antibacterial and antifungal qualities.
BASIL, SWEET - Steep leaves in water for a few minutes to make a tea to help indigestion. Make a cold-oil infusion to massage sore muscles.
CALENDULA - Flowers make a healing mouthwash for the gums. Mix a cream using calendula petals and plantain leaves for healing of cuts.
CATNIP - Make a tea to to relieve colds and fevers. Also used to treat headaches and upset stomachs. Has mild sedative qualities.
CHAMOMILE - Use in a tea as a mild sleep aid or to aid digestion. Make a cream to treat dry, rough skin.
COMMON YARROW - Infused tea fights colds and fevers. Make a cream with its flower petals to use on cuts and burns.
CORIANDER - Chew leaves or infuse as a tea to relieve upset stomachs. Also used as a mild sedative.
FEVERFEW - Eat three to five leaves daily to reduce migraine headaches. Infuse as a tea to relieve muscle spasms or reduce fever. 
HOREHOUND - Make a tonic of chopped horehound leaves and honey to treat sore throats. A cold infusion will help relieve heartburn.
HYSSOP - Make a cream to treat bruises and burns. Infuse as tea to treat colds, flu, bronchitis and sore throats.
PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea Purpurea) - Drink a hot infusion to stimulate the immune system.
ST JOHN'S WORT - Infuse as tea to treat depression or as a mild sedative. Makes a cream to treat bruises and skin inflammation.
SUMMER SAVORY - Hot infusion is gargled to treat a sore throat. Also drink as a tea to treat diarrhea and indigestion.
THYME - Make a tea sweetened with honey to help relieve sore throats and coughs. Infuse to help with headaches.
VALERIAN - Roots used to relieve nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia and pain. Roots used in a cream to treat acne or skin rashes. 
. .

Making a Vegetable Platter


This is a staple at our BBQ's each and every year and it is easy for the kids to get involved too. Many vegetables like baby carrots, pea pods or cherry tomatoes actually come ready to serve; no chopping required! I chopped my broccoli into florets, my peppers into strips and my celery into stalks. Arrange your platter in an eye-pleasing manner, then use your favorite dip!

Classic Spanish Sangria


Ingredients
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1 1/2 cups rum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup orange juice

Directions
Have the fruit, rum, wine, and orange juice well chilled. Slice the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum and sugar. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours to develop the flavors.
When ready to serve, crush the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon and stir in the wine and orange juice. Adjust sweetness to taste. Serves 6

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Sons Trip to San Diego Museum






















I love History and ancient civilizations, so it is only fitting that my son sent me these wonderful pictures from his visit! This collection is from the Mayan Empire in South America showing hieroglyphic inscriptions on monuments. 

Simple Meals


You can certainly experiment and make your own masterpieces, this is just a basic starter. There are many combinations to choose from. We make sure to use lots of noodles and only one flavor packet (too much sodium), and add plenty of good veggies and meats for variety.  

Lo Mein Ramen
2 packages chicken or beef ramen noodles
3 cups water
1 pound chicken breast strips or beef tips
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1/2 cup broccoli , chopped
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
What to do:
In a skillet mix oil, soy sauce and 1of the seasoning packets. Add meat
and brown. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.
Add veggies to the meat and cook until tender. Add noodles and cook
on medium for five minutes, stirring constantly.

Basil Salad Dressing


Basil Salad Dressing Makes 2 ½ cups
This is my favorite salad dressing of all time. It is delicious on greens with fresh or
lightly steamed vegetables and leftover chicken or cottage cheese.
Serve with fresh baked bread.
1 cup olive oil
¾ cup herbal or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup packed, fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste - Mix in blender till smooth. Keeps in refrigerator for two weeks.

Pound Cake Extraordinaire

Ok, so it's just pound cake with cream cheese icing and coconut, but it tastes EXTRAORDINAIRE!! I just used a boxed cake and added the toppings which makes it quick and easy! The family loves it so that's all that matters. Smiles....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I preserved some strawberry jam in March, and will be adding more items to the pantry this season. I have been trying to fill the pantry with all the items we use and could use in case of an emergency or just to be prepared. With the way the economy is going, and how large my family is I need all the help I can get. I do enjoy canning and have been teaching the girls how to. I will be posting tips and such on preparedness and stocking up for a rainy day!

What Beauty

There's something very romantic about parasols and umbrellas...
(left and middle image from vintage life network, right image from edward steichen)

Here in Maine we are accustomed to rain, if only all the ladies had these stylish beauties! The flea markets this weekend were filled to the brim with antiques and vintage items, enough to make your mouth water! I for one can hardly wait until next weekend, oh the treasures to behold.

Life's Goodness


For me, cooking is an experience of sensuality, inhaling fresh scents, rubbing leaves between my fingers to bring out their natural oils, chopping onions and garlic with precision and stirring and guiding the ingredients with a sense of awareness and respect for each ingredient. It is a meditation of sorts.
Simple pleasures....it is my garden. For me, this is an experiment in patience, a tribute to my family, and a choice to continue to approach life in a simple manner. I am extravagant in some areas; my hair, my health and that of my children, and the books and food I consume are my vanities, places where I spare no expense because the reward of each is so immense.
I grow Roma tomato plants for sauce, and Beefsteak for salads, and I chronicle their growth just as I did my children. My garden is completed with leaf lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, and scallions. Have you ever pulled young scallions from the fresh earth, rinsed them in cool running water, then smelled their sweetness, and put them between fresh French bread slices with a smear of butter and a bit of cracked sea salt? Heaven bursting in your mouth, fresh and perfect like the sun, earth and water that nurtures us all.



Container Growing on the Patio

Here are some of the herbs and flowers we have been growing on the patio.
This is the Zucchini I pictured in an earlier post that was planted  in March indoors..it is getting very big!

4 Weeks Old


It looks like they found the way to the food!
Checking out one of the boxes. 
Well, the ladies are getting used to things outside now...Still have a lot of work to do on the coop, but it's coming along.

How Illuminating!


As a general inclination, I have made efforts toward cultivating an active meditation practice. The going is sometimes tough on the path toward enlightenment and at times, not so illuminating…yet there is light even in the dark. On the whole my values reflect a more holistic minded way of living, such as sustainable economy, living simply, do unto others… Like others out there, I am doing my best to make my small corner of this earth a more beautiful and nourishing place to call home. Smiles....

Oh How Sweet It Is


What I once thought was a scattered and disorganized approach to life, turns out to be the life of a great wanderer, and loving human being. That is what I am. I write, paint, grow things, cook, and love my family. I change my mind - often. I have learned to commit to changing my mind and that makes me happy.
The beauty in the ordinary has finally reached me. The past few years have convinced me that I have nothing else to prove, nothing to convince anyone of, and I can finally, truly, live the rest of this journey for myself, while taking care of the people and things I love.  Dues paid, regrets reconciled, and the true meaning of love embraced, I haven't a clue as to what comes next. I think I like that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Heritage

These beautiful babes are my Grandfather William and his twin brother Bowman from 1885. We all have the same traits as they do, generation after generation! Definitely strong stock in this family!
This little gem is of myself and my two older brothers in Ohio in 1964, I look like a little grump here....smiles!

Gardening Tips

Gardening for (Almost) Nothing
Whether you have a coffee can full of compost or a thousand acres of farmland to garden, you can grow at least some of your own food for much less than you'd pay for it. In some instances, you can for free.
Get a few plants, a little water and some gardening wisdom (the kind found at the local library or through a search engine on the Internet), and you can frugally grow everything from potatoes and carrots to artichokes and zucchini.
Be careful. It can be kind of scary to walk into a garden center and look at the price of bedding plants! Believe me, that's not a frugal plan. For the price of a few of those plants, it seems to be cheaper (and certainly easier) to just buy a few tomatoes and lettuce at the store.