Monday, August 30, 2010

Vintage Cookbooks

I am not ashamed to admit that I adore reading cookbooks. My favorite reads are vintage cookbooks (pre-1970). The older, the better!

A wonderful woman from Bible study gifted me with our church's 1933 cookbook (the binding is hand stitched!). It has been wonderful reading material. As with many older cookbooks, I am amazed and shocked by some of the recipes, particularly in the "Salads" section. There is generally an abundance of recipes for congealed "salads" and this cookbook was no exception. Here is a recipe that we will not be trying chez nous:

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Salad (verbatim)
One can tomato soup, and very little water. Heat, add three Philadelphia cream cheese, stirring until dissolved. Dissolve four teaspoons gelatin in one-half soup can water, and add to soup. Cool and add: one cup mayonnaise, salt, sugar, paprika to taste, one-half cup chopped celery, one small onion chopped fine, one small can crushed pineapple, lemon juice to taste. After all are mixed together pour into molds or ring mold. Serve on lettuce with whipped cream and mayonnaise.


On another note, tomorrow is T's first day of school! We will be waking up at 7am for pancakes and sausage. (Coffee and oatmeal for me-thank you, Cafe Britt). So long, 9am wake ups...I'll see you next June.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bring on the Leaves

Fall is unquestionably my favorite season. There are so many things I look forward to:

The gorgeous colors; love the over abundance of trees in DG. Our church parsonage has a stunning example of full blown autumn splendor.

The smell of burning leaves...reminds me of raking huge piles at Grandma Fitzgerald's house.

The food! We eat more soups, stews, homemade breads...

Soccer games. Remind me of this when I am cocooned in my old purple sleeping bag in flurries and icy wind come November.

Friday Family game nights are fun after T's long week at school and E's work week. We may even splurge on Dan's pizza.

Walks to the library with C.

Start up for Women's Bible studies. Jeanine & I are leading the Tuesday group again. I am anxious to meet with these beautiful ladies again as we share our lives and learn Truth from God's Word.

The list is endless...

Off to finish my coffee and eat some of the zucchini bread we made last night. The longer it sits, the better it gets! We made "regular" zucchini bread and a new recipe from called Pineapple Zucchini bread.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Best. Husband. Ever.

So my husband is wonderful in countless ways and incredibly handsome to boot!

But today he scored major points with me by finding one of the best curbside amazing sewing machine!! There was an older Singer Merritt down the street from us with a sign and plastic bag attached. The bag contained the manual, extra feet, bobbins, etc. The sign read: "Sews Great but Doesn't Wind Bobbins".

Knowing that his wife is a woman who appreciates garbage "treasures", he picked it up.

And the former owner was does indeed wind bobbins. I had a grand time playing with my new machine tonight, marveling at the stitch options. I pretended not to notice E smirking at my glee. He has often said that the "perfect gift" for me would be a gift certificate to Salvation Army. He's probably right.

Once again, God showers His lavish love and provisions on us.

My helper doing his "clean up" duties. The old yellow stepstool has become his perch while I am cooking.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Toasted Walnut Pesto

One of my favorite things to make (and eat) is pesto. When I was studying at the Universite de Grenoble in France, we took a side trip to Italy. Our first stop was in Genoa where we had a lavish meal and I had my first taste of pesto. Wonderful stuff!

When I came home, the store bought brands were a sad substitute. Years later, I began growing my own basil and making pesto. I prefer pesto with traditional pine nuts, but toasted walnuts taste great, too.

Although I am precise with measurements when baking, I am one of those cooks who tosses in handfuls of ingredients and tastes to determine when a dish is finished. Use the best quality olive oil you can find. I like the flavor of toasted walnut oil; The Olive Tap sells it in downtown DG. It is a great buy and tastes amazing in homemade walnut raspberry vinaigrette.

Here are the ingredients I use with "loose" amounts:

2 cups fresh basil, washed

1/4-1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/4-1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (NO canned parm. allowed-EVER!)

2-3 cloves garlic

1/2-1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-2Tbs. toasted walnut oil (optional)

Copious amount of salt (French sea salt or kosher)

I place everything into the clear cilander that came with my hand blender. Blend all and taste. Add salt as you taste; thin with oil. Adjust seasoning keeping in mind that basil varies in its peppery flavor and the cheese greatly varies in saltiness.

Let stand a bit then toss with hot pasta. Shave or grate a litle of the cheese on the pasta.

Tonight we are eating it with farfalle and broiled heirloom tomatoes from the garden.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

God is Good, All the Time

Words cannot express the pure joy and thankfulness that are pouring from my heart. A few moments ago, I received a call from Enrique. My calm, gentle giant of a husband was so excited...he was actually talking faster than me (shocking, I know). Two weeks ago, he arrived at work to be told that he was terminated without cause due to "restructuring" of the company. We were stunned and crushed, but began praying for God's will.

Through some amazing circumstances, he was offered a job today. There are no coincidences in the timing. I have been journaling, noting all the places we have seen and felt God's presence this week. The list is looooonnnggg. Thank you to all who have been praying. You cannot put my Savior in a box, no way.

During the days that Enrique has been here at the house, he has been helping me with a project. The family room window is now graced with a beautiful cornice. He constructed it from 2 boards and I attached a wooden medallion and scrolls for a low relief effect. A quick wash of white paint and it looks wonderful. Cannot wait to stitch a garland magnolia leaves so that we can drape it over the cornice come Christmas. Maybe some mistletoe, too!

Apologies for the mediochre picture:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Chair is Done (Finally!)

Last night I finished the back cushion and covered buttons on the red toile chair.

In March, I had found this gem of a little chair at Salavtion Army. It was covered in a hideous faded floral fabric, but the lines of the wood were lovely and it was sturdy. In my mind, I envisioned it recovered with the vintage red toile I had purchased about 10 years ago in Virginia.
It is my first upholstery project and I am happy with the results. Youtube's instruction videos were a tremendous help!! The chair is darling and so comfortable. However, don't look too closely at some of the seams if you visit....
Here are a few before & after pictures:
Half the ruffle is finished, prior to tacking down:

We have had a roller coaster of emotions here this week, but have been leaning heavily on our Lord. He never disappoints, He never fails to answer a prayer for comfort and peace.
We are blessed and in love with Him!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


This summer I have had the blessing of connecting with some of the wonderful women from my church family. We have been meeting on Thursday nights for a book club, discussing Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity. There has been much crying, much heart-sharing and MUCH laughter. We passed around the communal Kleenex box tonight and cried with each other. I feel so honored that these wonderful women have opened up their hearts and that I have been able to marvel at the beautiful complexity of who they are, who they were, who they are becoming.
1 Peter 3:4 & 5 is a verse that often comes to mind after I have spent time in fellowship with women who love the Lord:
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past, who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful".
Thankful for the example of beautiful women that God has placed in my life. Especially the example of my mom, who serves so cheerfully and selflessly.