Friday, June 28, 2013

Have You Ever Wondered?

(Today I have just a few thoughts I want to share: no recipe; no photos (o.k. maybe one photo)
This is just an in-betweener - on June 30th there will be a post
with many photos and recipes.  I just had some thoughts today
that I wanted to share.)

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  Do I make a difference?  I do - all the time. 
Besides all the things I love - photography, painting, cooking, etc.  
I wonder if I have made someones day better or worse.  Did I listen to them
when they were speaking?  What about that friend that needed a  meal?
 a prayer? a kind word?  Was I there for them? did I take the time?

I came across an old letter this morning that was thanking me for being there, for listening,
for being a friend.  I probably did not solve their
problem(s), but I did acknowledge that they mattered.

It is amazing that just that little act of being there and listening
could rock someones world.   I hope that I can always
be that kind of person to listen when someone has a 
burden; to make someone laugh, to be a friend.

So, if you ever wondered how you can help someone - 
just be there 
show them they are important

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and an amazing weekend!
Go out and rock someones world!
** side note -----
As of July 1st 'Google Reader' is closing its doors.  You can still connect and 
read my blog as well as other wonderful & amazing blogs by 
switching over to 'Bloglovin'.
Bloglovin is great - they are organized 
you can join and read all you favorite blog
just by typing in the name in the
search box - then hit 'follow'.
Everyone will be in one place.

Here it is - on June 30th
(along with a new post - photos & recipes)
I will replace my Join button with
Bloglovin -
Please come and join me there - 
Love to All

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Official - Summer is Here!


It's Official - it is now Summer!  I love the different seasons, but I do believe that summer is my favorite.  So to kick off the wonderful day I am going to share an old favorite - Pudding Pops.  This is one of my grandson's favorites when comes to visit Flash (that's me) and Papa Oz.  You know that Grandma always has the good stuff.

Pudding Pop Recipe
  1 package (3.9 oz.) Jello Instant Chocolate pudding mix 
  2 cups of milk
1. Put ingredients in a mixing bowl
2. Beat ingredients with a whisk for about 2 minutes 
    (until mixed and getting thick)
3. Pour mixture into Popsicle molds.  Insert the Popsicle stick.
4. Place in freezer for about 4 hours or until they are firm.
(Sailboat Popsicle molds from William-Sonoma)


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!!!!!!

To me a picture is worth a thousand words - so for this Father's Day these photographs are of the father's in my life.  They are each a blessing and the perfect example of a father.  My sons have learned from the best.   
 Bill Stephens, Sr (my husband's father)       Paul McClain, Jr. (my father)   

Papa Oz with grandson Vann Robinson
Papa Oz with grandson Julian Stephens

Bill with sons, Matthew, Joshua, & Philip

Joshua with son Vann
Matthew with son Julian
Me with my Dad

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let's Celebrate!

    Welcome to Hump Day!  You know - that day in the middle of the week; it's not the dreaded Monday and then there is only one more day until the precious weekend arrives (provided that your weekend starts around Friday at 5:00).

     As I was having quiet time this morning I felt that today (hump day) would be a good day to Celebrate - and what would I celebrate - one thing would be that I made it to Wednesday - but really I have so much more to celebrate.  And since I have an enormous list of things, rather than share them all I broke it down to my top 10, and of course, at the end there is a celebratory recipe for Strawberry Gelato.

Top 10 Reasons for Celebration:
  1. God is my Saviour
  2. My Wonderful Husband
  3. My 3 Wonderful & Amazing Sons
  4. My 3 Wonderful & Amazing Daughters (in-law)
  5. My Two Perfect & Handsome Grandsons - (yes, I'm prejudice)
  6. My Parents - I get to enjoy their company and spend precious time with them
  7. I am able to do the work I love
  8. I am able to do for others
  9. There is nothing I need
  10. I have wonderful friends

    One more thing before the party - (Gelato recipe).  I keep these encouraging words written on a 3x5 card and read them often.  The author to me is unknown, but I love the words:

    *Let me use disappointment as material for patience.
    *Let me use success as a material for thankfulness.     
    *Let me use trouble as a material for perseverance.    
    *Let me use danger as a material for courage.            
    *Let me use reproach as a material for long suffering
    *Let me use praise as a material for humility
    *Let me use pleasure as a  material for temperance
    *Let me use pain as a material for endurance. 

    And now:
    Strawberry Gelato
    (this recipe is very simple: 3 ingredients) 
    3 cups whole milk
    1 cup sugar
    3 cups fresh whole strawberries

    1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk to a boil.  Add the sugar and cook on low, stirring well, until sugar dissolves.  Remove and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
    2. Puree 3 cups strawberries, then mix with cream mixture and prepare in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
         Makes 6 servings

     Oh, and one more thing - this recipe came from my "Tastes of Italia" magazine.  This magazine is well worth the subscription.  Great recipes, wine suggestion, and articles that will make you long to travel to Italy.

    At the end of the this day I pray: that you had a chance to celebrate this day:  & that your heart is not and you are at peace.

    Thanks for Stopping Bye!

Monday, June 10, 2013

After All These Years

       When you've  been married to someone for 32 years you would think that you know that person.  And that is exactly what I thought about my husband, Bill.  That is until about a month ago.  He goes to the restaurant Trattoria/Alpine Bakery to pick up our take-out order.  While he is waiting they are handing out samples of snickerdoodles.  He comes home raving about these snickerdoodles and how it reminded him of the ones his mother use to make.  Then he tells me how much he loves these cookies - not necessarily the ones from Alpine but the snicker doodle cookie itself.

        Now I realize this is not earth shattering news to any particular person, but 1. all this time I thought the chocolate chip cookie was his favorite  2. I do not for the life of me remember Mom making snickerdoodles  3. And because of the name I thought it was something made with a snickers candy bar.  (And after a little research - come to find out there are no snickers candy bars in a snicker doodle.

        Well, after finding out about this beloved cookie I had to try to make them.  I was just hoping they would turn out as good as Mom's (and I still can't remember her making these cookies).  I found several recipes and put them together.  And want to warn you not that these cookies are simple, but they are very good, and very addictive.  Trust me you can't eat just one.  (You have been duly warned!)

   1/2 cup salted butter, softened
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    2 medium eggs
    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening , 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs.  Mix thoroughly
      with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined.  

  3. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into
      the shortening mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the 
      cinnamon-sugar.  Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  

  6. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, 
      rotating the cookie sheet halfway through.

  7.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooking.  Repeat with remaining dough balls. 
        Store in an airtight container.
 Make Your Life a Little Sweeter

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Can't Believe It's June

I really can't believe that it's June.  Not only is it June, but it's the 7th day of June.  Stop and let me get off of this roller coaster.  I'm not ready for this at all.  April and May were filled with so many wonderful things and now it seems like they were light years ago.  In April I had my birthday #55, attended a Food Photography workshop in Atlanta (a birthday gift), took a long weekend trip to West Palm Beach, and spent 5 days in Gulf Shores, Alabama at a Food Photography workshop as the sous chef for the head chef (it was great and I feel blessed that I could be apart of it).  Then May came along; there was Mother's Day, and 2 weeks later we had a small family reunion - we were all together except my oldest son was working out of town and could not get home (he was greatly missed); and I attended 2 very special weddings. 

Now June is here and it's time focus on my ever growing garden; and yes there will be canning, creating, cooking, photographing, and I must work on my art (printmaking and painting to be exact).  My strawberries have finished their cycle and with my pickings I made marmalade (recipe in this post); the next harvest will consist of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, & herbs.  This will be very exciting! Oh, thanks to my son, Matthew, and his instruction to use fish fertilizer on my plants - I will have cucumbers for the first time ever.

tomatoes and peppers
cucumbers taking over

 Here's to Family, the weekend, gardens, & marmalade!

Strawberry-Pineapple Marmalde
  1 medium-size fresh pineapple
  1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  2 1/4 cups chopped orange sections
  7 cups sugar
  1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled 
(hint: In the past I have used pectin to help with the jelling process & have not been successful.  This time I used a jelly thermometer and cooked to the correct temperature; it works perfectly.)

Remove leaves and stem end from pineapple.  Peel pineapple, and trim out eyes; remove core.  Chop pineapple, and measure 2 1/2 cups.

Combine pineapple, orange rind, chopped orange sections, and sugar in a large Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil; cook over medium-high heat about 15 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Add hulled strawberries, and continue to cook about 35 minutes (stirring frequently) or until mixture register 221 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat, and skim off foam.

Quickly pour marmalade into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space; cover jars at once with metal lids, and screw on bands.  Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes. Yield: 7 1/2-pints.

Thanks for Stopping Bye!

Happy Thanksgiving

  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Many Blessings and Love to All