Wishing For Cooler Weather

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August drags on. My next statement is a given: it’s hot! Where I am not wishing for winter weather, cooler temps would be nice.

Inside is where I’ll be found today. In the kitchen, baking an apple cake. Digging around in the gadget drawer for something else the other day, I found the apple corer my former mother-in-law gave me a few years back. Seeing the  Pampered Chef gadget made me want apple cake. So, I’m spending Sunday afternoon in the kitchen.

The apple corer is a handy little thing to have: makes preparing apples for recipes a whole lot easier.

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Put the sharp tool on the blossom end of the apple and push straight down. A plunger inside the gadget makes dispensing the core easy. Simple, simple.

Cake’s in the oven and I think I better check it.  I wrote Miss Hudy’s Apple Cake last year. That’s the recipe I am using today. But I didn’t peel the apples like Mrs. Hudy says to do. No reason, really. I just didn’t feel like peeling apples today.

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Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

My Grandmother’s Scarf

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Randomness

Last week it rained. The week before that it rained.  And the week before that. It’s soggy. None of my family in the Baton Rouge area were personally affected, but they are helping with the clean up and tearing out. Brings back childhood memories- sad, scary ones. This flooding in Louisiana is worse than what we experienced in 1983. My heart goes out to my native city. Our church collected needed items last Monday. I gave what I could.

My youngest went back to school Saturday afternoon. All day he kept asking if I was going to miss him.

“I already do and you’re not even gone yet,” was my answer.

He threw open his big arms and said like he did when he was little: “Hug?”

I hugged. He packed. Getting into his truck, he hesitated, jingled the keys.

“You know, if you need anything, just call me.”

“I know I can,” was my answer. “Now get on up to school. Be careful on Spring Ridge Rd. Wear your seatbelt. Message me when you get there, please.”

“Yes, ma’am. Love you.”

“Love you, too.” One last, “Be careful.”

 

I drove to my 1902 farm house.

Primer, paint rollers, brushes and a radio were unloaded from the trunk of the car.  A box fan was positioned to blow into the parlor, windows raised. Big windows, wavy glass symmetrically placed in ten foot high walls.

I listened to the news. They gave reports about the flooding in Louisiana. Interviews of Baton Rouge residents, their distress and plight clear in their tired voices, had me teary eyed. Bad memories.

I rolled primer over antique green paint. The walls are tall, but as the green disappeared a brightness rose. A message from George meep-meeped from my phone. He had arrived at school and was lugging his stuff up to his dorm. As I text him back, movement in the front yard caught my attention. A doe and her spotted fawn cautiously picked their way through the overgrown front yard. Beautiful.

I changed the radio station and found a rebroadcast of the Prairie Home Companion. I laughed and primed.  When there was no more primer in the two gallon bucket, I washed out my roller and brush. The new well has water that comes out cold and sweet.

 

Sunday morning: prayers for Georgie at 7 a.m. Dressed for church, I rummaged through a drawer for something to tie back my unruly head of hair. I found one of my grandmother’s scarves. The red was a little darker than the pants I wore (reds are hard to match perfectly), but wearing it today brought back good memories of Grandma. Strong lady. Maker of chicken pie. Eyes the color of dark blue marbles and a bright intelligent smile.

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Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Orange Apple Muffins

Last night I had a play date with my grandson Brentlee. He’s nearly six months old and is thriving. Excuse a doting grandma, but he is beautiful.

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I can’t wait till he is old enough to join me in the Exile’s Kitchen, so I can share some tasty good things with him. Speaking of which, here’s one: Orange Apple Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups reduced fat Bisquick

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Gala Apple and 1 Pink Lady Apple (washed and chopped)

1 cup orange juice

1 egg

1/4  cup corn oil

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What to do:

Turn oven on to 375°. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add in the chopped apples. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, egg and corn oil. Add wet ingredients to the first. Spoon evenly into the muffin cups. Bake till the tops of the muffins are nice and brown.

Note: the orange juice makes this recipe light and fluffy and adds a hint of citrus taste to the traditional apple muffin.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Try These Two Together

Try these two easy recipes together for a cool summer time treat: Peanut Butter Frig Fudge and No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream. Both recipes have just a few ingredients and take minutes to mix up. These sweet treats are great by themselves, but combining them creates a cool desert your special people will love.

First- Peanut Butter Frig Fudge

Mix together in a medium bowl 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, 1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder, 1/4 cup honey and a splash of vanilla. Divide mixture into 24 mini muffin cups and chill in the frig till firm. Store in the frig till you are ready to eat or use in the next recipe. Each fudge round is 90 calories. Try them in the bottom of a cup of coffee. Yum!

Second- No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

In a mixer pour in a 16 ounce carton of heavy whipping cream. While that’s spinning around, in another bowl combine 1 can of fat free sweetened condensed milk,  a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla. When the cream is whipped, fold one cup into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Then add that back into the whipped cream, stirring lightly, till well combined. Pour into a bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer till firm. Serve over warm apple pie or a brownie or your choice, your choice.

Or wait 2 hours. The ice cream will be soft-served at this stage and the perfect time to add anything you’d like. Peaches, Oreos, oo! Cherry pie filling would be fantastic. But since I have given you the fudge recipe, let’s do that.

Microwave about 6 of the fudge cups in a little bowl, and break into pieces an additional 6 cups.  Sprinkle over the top of the semi-soft ice cream. Take a knife or spoon and swirl around and down through the vanilla ice cream cloud of easy goodness.! Cover again and return to the freezer till firm.

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Enjoy. Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Didn’t Find A Poke’mon

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Today I didn’t find a pocket monster, but I did find a pug- a really tiny one. Yesterday was a very long day. Up at 5 a.m. and at work by 6:15. Worked all day, went home to start preparing for my weekend plans, then made an unexpected trip to the ER with my youngest son. We got back home at 2:30 this morning. (Side bar: He will follow up with another doctor next week, but he is feeling a good bit better.)

Even though I was exhausted from our ER visit, my plans for today could not be changed. One hundred-fourteen year old farm houses do not demo themselves and a small army to do the work had already been assembled. So…

Let’s  just say that none of us needed an app on our phones to get any exercise today. I didn’t find any Pokémon characters, but I did find a coat of arms and an old family picture – not my family, of course, but someone’s.  More little toys were unearthed, including a no-eyed, yellow Care Bear and the tiny black and white pug dog. Close as I will ever get to finding a Jigglypuff or a Pikachu. Is that what they call them? 

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It’s good to work hard. Know why? Hard work makes quittin’ time that much sweeter. I’m gonna sleep like a rock tonight.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Reminded Myself

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Lying in bed this morning, the question nagged at me. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? The immediate answer was No. So, I got up and cooked breakfast for Mama and Georgie. Then I headed out to my project.

Just me and my broom and dust pan. Just me and my ladder. Pandora was programmed to my thumbprint settings. Creedence Clearwater Revival shared the sultry morning air with Phil Wickham, The Piano Guys and The Mavericks.

Never have been a fan of heights;  four feet off the floor and I get vertigo. But up the ladder I went.

As I jerked the curtains down, some fought me. They had been there for decades, after all. It was hot today, as July in Mississippi inevitably is. I was alone, with no help. Now, I’m not poor mouthing, just stating that I was working by myself. The early morning question spoke up again: have I bitten off more than I can chew? Can I do this?

My Daddy’s words came rushing in and with it a memory from my childhood. Math homework and Daddy was trying to get me to understand it.

“I’m just not good at math,” I had said, very frustrated.

Daddy wouldn’t have any of that defeatist attitude and he told me: “You are George Leo Ellison’s daughter. There is nothing you can’t do. You’ve just got to make up your mind to do it. Now, try again.”

So, I tried again and down came the curtains. Out went the wool area rugs. Hauling them outside, scripture came to mind. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

I reminded myself, that yes, I am George Leo Ellison’s daughter, but I am also the daughter of the Most High God. Hoohah!

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

 

Quick Dip for the Fourth

Happy Independence Day, Y’all.

If you need a quick side to take to the afternoon cook-out, here ya go: Quick Vegetable Dip

1 16 ounce carton  Light Sour Cream

1 envelope vegetable soup mix

Several dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce

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Mix all together in medium size bowl and then pour it back into the sour cream carton and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least two hours, so the flavors meld and the vegetables rehydrate. Serve immediately  in a pretty dishes with your favorite chips or crackers.

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Patriotic blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Thank You For Reading

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Hey, Y’all:

It’s the middle of the year and sweltering in SW  Mississippi. I hope it is cooler where you are. The heat index here will be 110!

I just thought I’d take a moment and thank all of you for reading my posts and recipes. It is humbling to think that my words might mean something to someone other than myself. Which brings me to my question: why do you read The Exile’s Kitchen? There is a follower(s) from Brazil and also from Taiwan. So, tell me, please, what appeals to you? Is it that you just like to cook? Or have you gone through a loss? Do the Scriptures give you comfort?

Feed back is much appreciated, especially from those of you living on the other side of the world from this little corner in the deep South.

(Funny side note: I was recently in New Milton,  England, on a mission trip helping with a softball clinic- among other things. I coached first base. During one of the games, the boy playing second question why I kept saying ‘y’all’.

” I didn’t know Americans said y’all,” the boy asked between pitches.

I began to explain, “Well, I’m from the South and instead of saying’ you guys’ or ‘all of you’, we shorten it to y’all.”

“You’re from the South?”

“Yes.”

“Where?” he wanted to know.

” I’m from Mississippi,” I replied.

He contemplated that for a few seconds, then asked  “Mississippi? Is that in Brazil?”

“No, darling,” I smiled my answer. “Not South America, but the southern part of the United States.”)

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Christ Church

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Just Being Neighborly

One hundred-fourteen years ago, the porches flanked the clap board house that sits in the curve of quiet country road. They still do actually and it took an hour to sweep away years of dried cowcumber, magnolia, camilia and azalea leaves yesterday. Western sun danced its way through the evergreens, across the ancient drive, to spotlight and flicker on the pine porch floor. Age showed through the layers of paint.

What color to paint the porch floor, once the house is washed down and repairs made? Pedestrian battleship grey? Nah… A bold white would be daring, but then keeping it clean would be a weekly must. Pale blue, with the beaded board ceilings also painted pale blue? I’ll let you know what I decide.

My neighbors stopped by today, while I was cleaning out a flower bed. I came home with fresh tomatoes and a Washington Parish watermelon. Woohoo! I promised to pass some pralines their way. It is said that “good fences make good neighbors”, well homemade treats help a lot too.

It was terribly hot today, so I quit on the flower bed and went to the sleeping porch to do some cleaning. I found a handful of marbles, three vintage Legos  and a key. A few 1950’s curtain panels were saved: I’ll launder them and make cushions for the new porch furniture. I’ll invite the neighbors over for coffee and to sit a spell, just being neighborly.

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West side porch a month ago
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Cleaned of old furniture, but not yet swept
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The back sleeping porch, filled with old furniture
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The sleeping porch today cleared of old furniture. The windows are original and after 114 years they still work!

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