Yes, I Did

I added pumpkin spice, plus a splash of vanilla, to twist up a simple recipe of marshmallow treats. Pressed into a pie plate and covered in seasonal fall sprinkles. Cut into a wedge, it rested on an ivory Fire King plate. Three marshmallows were saved for my Pecan Praline cup of Community Coffee. Yes, I did. And so should you.

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Pumpkin Spice Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Psalm 16:5-6

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

The Pumpkin Patch at Flowers Proper

 

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Fall Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen at Flowers Proper.

Counting Cookies

I found myself counting, when making cookies this afternoon. Counting when I rolled the shortbread, after dusting them with powdered sugar, and again when room had to be made on the wire rack to cool. Twenty-four all three times. There was some dough saved and rolled into a log, then wrapped in parchment. It went into the freezer for easy cookie baking later in the holiday season.

Fall Shortbread today; modified a recipe I shared last year: August Cookie of the Month: Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Instead of chopped pecans and dried cranberries, I added some sprinkles shaped and colored like Fall Leaves.

I counted twenty-three cookies, when arranged in the vintage Louisa glass serving piece. How’d that happen? Had to taste test, don’tcha know? Powered sugar coated thumbs up! Perfect, if I do say so myself.

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The idea from Pinterest seemed promising, but I’m calling this a fail. Our little pumpkin patch fun takes place tomorrow afternoon. Hoping the activities that are planned will go off better.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

The Dawgs Suck

It’s pumpkin season, as I’m sure you know.  We have a little pumpkin patch of our own this Fall. My grandsons have been keeping a check on them and next weekend we will have a family cookout and raid on the pumpkin patch to carve jackolanterns.

I’ve never made pumpkin soup, heretofore, but as I have these little pumpkins, I thought I’d try it. I washed, seeded, chunked,  and coated 2 pumpkins with olive oil, before roasting in the oven. When tender and cooled, I took a spoon and scraped out the cooked pulp. I had about 3 1/2 cups, which I smoothed out with an immersion blender. In a big pot, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I sauteed 1 chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. I added the pumpkin pulp into the pot, added spices of salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutneg and pepper to taste. To this , I stirred in 4 cups of chicken stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. After it was through cooking, I stirred in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Another spin with the immersion blender to ensure it’s creaminess and the soup was ready for my bowl.

Along side my bowl of pumpkin soup, was a plate of mustard decorated corndogs. Why not? I’m a  Louisiana State University fan. Can’t grow up in Baton Rouge and not be. Today we play the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs call us Tigers corndogs. Yeah, really, why?  Both are agricultural schools. And the trek to MSU is way more rural than it is to LSU. Are the Tigers and their fans uncouth, is that what the Dawgs are trying to say? Oh, well.

My opinion of the Dawgs is rendered in mustard. 20191019_12523720191019_125347

Even the wildflowers gathered on my morning walk are rooting for the Tigers. Purple and gold, baby.

Tiger Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Soup’s On

Soup’s on! Finally.

I dug around in the pantry and freezer for homemade, hearty soup ingredients and dumped them into the Dutch oven for a comforting and nurturing bowl of love. How’s that for a run on sentence? Sausage cut into thin pieces, can of corn drained, a chopped onion, 1/2 cup frozen field peas, some dried red beans, a can of chicken broth, a small can of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 1/2 cups of water and seasoning to taste. Except salt; I’ll add that after the red beans have cooked down. It may not need it. We’ll see.

It is, at last, soup weather here in our part of the world. Yesterday in the muggy 80’s; today overcast 60’s. Looks and feels like October. Not rushing the seasons. Thankful we have them. Perfect weather or the same weather year round would be boring to me. We have mild winters usually, rather wet springs, long, hot summers, and serene autumns. The world is getting sleepy outside, wrapping its self in dying grasses and falling leaves. Pumpkins are ready to pick and the turnips needs to be planted.

Enjoy each grace from each season. And make yourself some soulful soup.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

 

Stop Rushing

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It’s Autumn, supposedly. The thermometer says it’s still August. The local big box stores and ads on social media say it’s Christmas.

We hurry too much. We miss too much. We need to stop rushing around and practice breathing in the simple beauty of the transitioning months. Homegrown flowers, little pumpkin, Mr. Irving’s Sketchbook harken to Autumn, even if the temps do not. Practice the pause.

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Autumn Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

September Saturday

What am I doing? Well, waiting on a guy to get out here to give an estimate for tearing down and hauling off a shed that’s falling in. I’m also waiting on a repair man for the satellite to be fixed. It’s college football season, after all.

And then, I’ve got canvas drop cloths spread out on the floor. Painting? No. Trying to figure out how to sew together a cover for the cars backseat. Marigold’s hair gets everywhere; you wouldn’t think a bloodhound would shed like she does, but oh, my goodness!

First, though, coffee and breakfast.

Traditions fill the counter top and old window sill. LaSolana pottery, Louisa Glass, Fire King pieces remind me of trips to Clinton, Louisisana each spring for a gigantic antiques fair. It was tradition to go that Easter weekend to the Felicianas, where my Grandmother had  roots. The church ladies of that town got together and served sweets, gumbo, and the best chicken salad sandwiches ever! The  LaSolana pottery sugar and creamers were found in the back of a farmhouse kitchen cabinet, when it was being demolished. Perfect for a small arrangement of fresh flowers. The Louisa glass is a compote dish I started collecting way back when ( attached to excursions to Clinton, LA). The Fire King mug is part of a set bought at an auction. And in that mug, another tradition: Community Coffee. Community Coffee is based out of my hometown of Baton Rouge. I didn’t start drinking coffee till a few years back. Making up for it, though.  Coffee Time

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Saturday Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Half-a☆☆Works

Scared of the lawn mower, the praying mantis crawled up my leg. A few stomps and it fell back to the freshly cut grass. I moved a lawn chair and got popped by a wasp. Bugs aside, cutting grass in August is brutal, especially with a mower that has a broken self-propelling thingy. I had one a couple of summers ago that worked beautifully, but a crackhead thought he needed it more than I did. The mower that replaced it has not been worth the money and keeps breaking down and I’m tired of taking it to get fixed, but can’t afford a really nice riding lawn mower, sooooo….. There’s a note written in black Sharpie for anyone coming for a free mower: half-a☆☆ works; not worth stealing. Dear Mr. Drug Head – A Vent To An Idiot

The back garden, near the old orchard is hilly and the wild hogs visit frequently- I fell. Right down on my tail. Sweat dripped into my eyes. A few more turns and I decided to go inside to cool off. And make cookies. Of course. Why not?

Sweep of the Kitchen Cookies

Ingredients:

That mushy banana that’s been on the kitchen counter all week

The last 2 tablespoons of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

A healthy generous squirt of local honey

A splash of vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

A couple of dashes of cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the next 4 ingredients. Dump into the banana and peanut butter mixture and stir till combine, but don’t overbeat. Stir in chocolate chips.

On insulated, parchment lined cookie sheets, drop three inches apart scoops of the cookie dough. I did 6 cookies per 2 cookie sheets; these cookies spread a little and I wanted them to have some room to bake up pretty. Bake for about 12 minutes, till the edges brown and the tops are golden. Makes about 18 nice, flavorful cakey cookies.

After cookie making and a light lunch, the garden hat and sunglasses were adorned again. I like cutting grass. It’s satisfying, seeing it all mown. Marigold likes to roll around in freshly cut grass. Maybe with this dog days of summer heat, the grass will slow down in growing and won’t need to be cut again for a while. My hand hurts from the wasp sting. Oh, well. A cookie and a Mayhaw Soda will make it feel better. Note To Self

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Summertime Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Somehow Carrots Were Put In My Refrigerator

The house was filled with company the week of July 4th. Different ones made multiple trips to the grocery store and somehow carrots were put in my refrigerator and then left. What to do with them? Too hot for a stew. Or a souffle’.

It is also pear season. One of my daughters-in-laws gifted me with fresh pears. For about a week, I canned pear preserves and pear butter.

In a simple muffin batter, the carrots and pears made a nice flavor combination.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped pear preserves

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk

An additional 1/2 cup white surgar with a generous dash of both cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in

1/4 stick of melted butter

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients. In another mixing bowl sift together the next seven ingredients. Alternating between the flour mixture and milk, add to the carrot and pear base.

Prepare muffin cups, big or small with vegetable spray. I used a mini muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until tops bounce bake, when tapped and golden in color.20190810_135958

Loosen with a knife, cool slightly.  Dip into the melted butter, then swirl around into the spiced sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Y’all Know How to Do This, Right?

Mancakes

I used to do this for the first day of school when my boys were growing up and also on their birthdays. Y’all know how to do  this, right? Basic pancake recipe poured  into a gingerbread man cookie cutter, set on top a Lodge cast iron griddle equals mancakes. (You can use any metal cookie cutter, by the way.) Coat both the griddle and cookie cutter with vegetable spray, before filling the cutter with batter. When the batter cooks up with bubbles, take a set of tongs and gentle pull the cookie cutter away. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side.

 

My great nephew visited all week and he enjoyed his plate of mancakes.

Later…

In the country, the garden needed tending. Miscellaneous items came together for a little girl scarecrow. She is guarding the late planted pumpkins.

 

Know-how Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Note To Self

Simple syrups; I’ve been trying out a few recipes. For Independence Day, I mixed up Mayhaw Sodas, using a simple syrup made with-you guessed it!- mayhaws. The taste is bright, sweet and tangy, like my favorite jelly.

I had a bag of lemons in the refrigerator and I needed to do something with them, before they ruined. I thought about a honey lemon simple syrup. The bag of lemons were halved and juiced. I reached and got one of my many measuring cups and poured the fresh lemon juice into it. Spooning out a few errant lemon seeds, something else floated around in the bottom of the cup. Eight whispy legs and a slight bulbous body of a daddy-long leg spider! Note to self: examine measuring cups before filling. Briefly I considered fishing out the sinister bug, but knew I would think about the floatsum every time I used the syrup, so down the kitchen drain went the juice and the spider.

Switch in plans. Two simple syrups. Two homemade sodas.

Honey Lemon Simple Syrup

Here’s what to do: In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup honey, 1 cup water and 1 cut lemon peel. Stir to combine and bring to a light simmer. Pluck out the lemon peel, with a pair of tongs and continue to simmer syrup for another 30 minutes. Let cool and pour into a jar, lid it up and keep it in the frig. Use it up in 2 weeks. You won’t have a problem doing this.

Next.

Mayhaw Simple Syrup 

Ready? Well, follow the above directions using 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup frozen mayhaw berries. If you don’t have mayhaws, use blueberries, cherries, blackberries. You get the idea. Again, when the syrup is combined and begins to reduce, remove the berries and simmer following the above.

Now, get out a set of pretty of glasses and mix up a refreshing summer soda. Into a 4 ounce glass pour 3 tablespoons of your simple syrup. Add 4 big ice cubes. Top off with club soda.  Give a vigorous stir with a long handled ice tea spoon.

So pleasantly different from store bought soda and pop. Inexpensive to make, you know exactly what is in it. Homemade all the way, baby!

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The Honey Lemon Simple Syrup is a deep amber and the Mayhaw Simple Syrup is a beautiful berry- go figure…

Simple Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Tongue In Cheek or We Shook the Family Tree and Another Yankee Fell Out

Tongue in cheek
Indulge me please.
My eldest is doing genealogy for both sides of his family.
Papaw (My father’s father) always said to not go digging around in the past; you never know what you might find. Horse thieves from Missiouri, perhaps… If only that were the case. Thieving horse stealers would be so preferable to what he has found out about my great-great-grandfather. The dirty Yankee! It pains me greatly to admit it. Damn Yankee! Multiple wives. A preacher to boot! Oh, oh, oh!! I am beside myself with this information. Now we know why he was never mentioned- no family story about him to pass down.
Horse thief/Yankee. Not equal in my estimation. Yankee is far worse.
What would my Daddy have thought? I wonder.
Thank God for my Southern Grandmothers. A praying group of women they have always been.
God bless the Southern Belles that the Yankee men fell for…. at least for a time, because they didn’t stay around long till they skedaddled back to their Yankee mothers.
And here I was calling my ex’s people traitors and opportunistic raccoons for siding with the North up in Tishomingo County during the Northern Aggression. Guarding Grant himself. I think. Maybe Sherman..? That’s still worse because they were Southern born and bred.
Oh, my identity, proudly Southern, has been smeared with Yankee blue on both my mother’s and now my father’s side. Oh, oh, oh.
So, all of this begs a question: what the heck am I? Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Live in Podunk Mississippi. Does your geographical position make you Southern? I do hope so.
I don’t like cold weather. Snow is a big No for me. My blood is too thin to live above the Mason Dixon Line.
I cringe when I hear children answer adults with a plain yes or nah. That should be “Yes, ma’am” or “No, ma’am”, thank you very much.
While in Washington, D.C. a few summers back, I toured some of the Smithsonian. Going through a metal detector, the young girls ahead of me ignored the security guard’s greeting to have a nice time touring the museum. He wanded my purse and also told me the same that he had told the girls. But I responded the way my very Southern Grandmother would have wanted, “Thank you, sir,” I answered. He stopped me. “Ma’am, ma’am. Where are you from?” he asked. “Mississippi,” I replied. “Ah, Mississippi,” the security guard said wistfully with a smile. He gently shook his finger at me and said again, “Well, you have nice time visiting D.C., ma’am.” He heard my Southern accent. He recognized my Southern manners.
In an antique shop in a suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, my accent opened the shop owner’s want for conversation and to find a thin thread of commonality between us. “Oh, you’re from the South, ” she said when she heard me say that I was just browsing. “Quite South,” I answered. “Quite South?” the shop owner repeated. “Yes, I am from Mississippi, by way of Baton Rouge.” “Oh, Baton Rouge! Are you Catholic, by any chance?” “Uh, no”, I replied. “I ask,” she said, “because I went to Catholic school and all the nuns were from Baton Rouge.” That thin thread connecting.
And I enjoy my cornbread and peas every New Year’s Day. I had a Northerner tell me one time that catfish was a bottom feeding trash fish. Might be, but next to hushpuppies and coleslaw I call that a mighty fine meal. Grits! Try ordering that in northern environs. If one could find it on a menu, you’d have to gain access to the kitchen to teach them how to prepare them. The joys of a ripe tomato between two pieces of lightly toasted bread with a slathering of mayonnaise. Did that last word have you confused? If it did you are probably a Yankee. ‘Cause y’all shortened that word to just mayo and now everybody calls it that. Being from Louisiana, and growing up in the Southern part of the state, the Cajun influence was deep. Mayonnaise was pronounced ‘my-nez’. It’s not your “nez”, it’s my “nez”. I know, I know. Wasn’t until I moved to Mississippi that I learned to pronounce it correctly. Mayo-naise. Ah, well.
No white shoes or clothing after Labor Day and never before Easter. And you don’t leave the house with wet hair or not brushed either. You go out the door as an example of your upbringing. You represent your family at all times.
All of the above makes me Southern, right? Can we not just rebury that Yankee? It was a difficult time. The War Between the States. He was young. She was younger. It was a border state. Emotions were high and off kilter. Poor little Susan. She didn’t know John would turn that Yankee coat and head back home right after the war was over.
I’m going to say I’m Southern. Claim it for my own.
P.S.
(I love you my Yankee friends. You’re down here. You must know a good thing when you see it.)
Thank you for reading.

Genealogy Blessings from the very Southern Exile’s Kitchen.

(this was first posted on my fb acct last year and has been edited)

Coffee Mug

20190710_063329Three places I love and in no particular order (that depends on the time of year and my current project needs): kitchenware stores, hardware stores and garden centers. Oh, just for continuity, let’s call them gardenware stores.

Way back in 1984/1985, I worked at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge. There was a kitchenwares store privately owned and outfitted with gadgets, table linens, serving pieces, chafing dishes, fondue pots, glassware, coffee makers. Across the back wall were bags of flavored coffee beans and a commercial grinder. Yes, you could request a special blend and they’d make a batch for you. I often spent my half-hour lunch break in that little store, just to smell the coffee.

At Christmastime in 1984, I went into that kitchenware haven and bought my mother a set of coffee mugs. Elephants tumbling together in a happy jumble artworked their sides. Up until about six months ago they had stayed in the back of the coffee mug cabinet. My mother liked the coffee mugs, but considered them too nice to use everyday. Nice things should be used everyday, especially cheerful coffee mugs when you need a pick-me-up to start your day.

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This morning’s coffee offering was Community French Vanilla and 2 Land-O-Lakes Mini Moos. Well, good morning!

A mug of Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

#CommunityCoffee

#LAND-O-LAKES

#BatonRouge

#Coffeemugs

 

June

 

 

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Going through a difficult time a few years back, I remember looking out an upper church window and seeing crepe myrtles in bloom. I thought, “How can it be June already?” Time had stood still, during that dark period. Wrapped up in my troubles, I lost track of the days. The frilly, periwinkle pink blooms snapped me into my then present.

Five Junes have come and gone. Crepe myrtles start to bloom now and last through August. With them come a reminder of getting through a tough transition and also the gift of a beautiful future.

Here are some pics from my evening stroll through Magnolia, Mississippi. The park in the old depot yard is serene and harkens to days gone by.  Enjoy your walk on the quiet streets of Small-town, USA. Try to hear the mockingbirds singing their various trills,  the cars passing on Hwy 51, children’s voices calling out in a game of chase outside the barber shop.

Blessings.

Daisies Take A Year

 

Last summer I planted Shata Daisy seeds around the base of my mailbox. Plants emerged from the ground and they were maintained, but no blooms. I didn’t despair, for I knew from experience in another life that perennial daisies take a year to mature and bloom. So, one plants the seeds and the payoff is 365 days later. Worth the wait.

Also worth the wait are birthdays of grandchildren. Born 21 days apart are Levi and Hazel. Sweet, Sweet.

Daisy and Birthday Blessings from theexileskitchen.

 

 

 

Summer Begins When…

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, when we honor our fallen service people. Thank you for your complete dedication and service. It is also the unofficial start of summer; school is out in this part of the world and picnic/cookout season has begun.

When does summer really commence? June 21 is the official beginning of the seasons changing from spring to summer. The weather has been quite warm and muggy here in Southwest Mississippi. But I don’t need a calendar or a thermometer to know that it is summer, or at least close to being summer: the day lilies are in bloom.

My favorite day lily is the one given to me by my Aunt Gayle. The winter of 2017 was harsh, with two unexpected snowfalls and then the following spring was very dry. Aunt Gayle’s day lily set only a few blooms and then they quickly dried up and fell off.

I was anxious about the plant living through this past winter, though the weather was mild. The pot it has been in for the last 4 years is cracked and 10 year-old day lily needs to be repotted. I have been hesitant to do it. I don’t want to do something that would kill it and my connection to a beloved aunt- my mother’s twin sister.

Then early in this month, Aunt Gayle’s day lily started putting up scapes. On each scape are multiple buds. The blooms are a wide and ruffled peachy pink. So pretty.

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May 2019

So, for me summer begins when Aunt Gayle’s day lily blooms. When does summer start for you?

Blessings.

(Note: here’s the link to the back story to my favorite garden plant. Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily  )

Mayhaws: A Superfood

If you’ve read theexileskitchen the last few years, you probably know that I am a fan of Mayhaws. I was thrilled to find the remains of an archord on the small piece of property I bought back in 2016 and really excited that it contained two Mayhaw trees. Each Spring when they begin budding and then setting fruit, I get super jazzed about the upcoming jelly making days. Mayhaw jelly is such a pretty pink, with a flavor of strawberry/apple.

Doing some research today, for other Mayhaw recipes, didn’t net much success. I did, however, find the nutritional information on this tiny red fruit.

hawthorninfo

You can Google Mayhaw facts for yourself; LSU Agricultural Department has great information on this fruit tree found in our  native Southern states.

After I have a years worth of jelly in the pantry, I will put up jars of juice for teas and Lemon/Mayhawade. For my supper beverage this evening, I mixed into my sweetened iced tea 2 tablespoons of mayhaw juice. It was a refreshing berry-tasting tea.

Sorry this video is sideways. I cant figure out how to edit it. Check local farmer’s markets for Mayhaws this time of year. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to snag this superfood.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

A Saturday Pastime




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This baby quilt was made by my sister-in-law for this little guy’s daddy 27 years ago.

 

 

First tee-ball game.

Baby brother.

A tour around a local favorite flea market: R and R Bargain Center.

Ice cream at KDJ’s Ol’Skool Ice Cream Parlor; the cherry on top.

And the #FlowersProper gardens are in full bloom this weekend.

 

 

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Blessings to your pastimes.

How Am I Just Now Hearing About Pie Week?

It’s already Thursday and I am despondent. You see, I’m just now hearing about Pie Week. Pie-Week. Let that sink in. Oh, the recipes that go swimming through my head. Sweet and savory. Lemon Meringue, Sweet Potato, Pecan (peh-cahn), Chicken Pie (not chicken and dumplings, but a rich meaty pie).

Pie, Pie, Pie, PIE!

Hand pies too.

There’s a store bought pecan pie in the frig, right now. But I had oral surgery yesterday and am on a soft foods only diet for the next few days. Sigh. Lip poked out.

Here’s a round-up of past recipes for some of my favorite pies:

Sounds Like A British Put Down

Lemon Meringue Pie

Grandma’s Chicken Pie – Kinda

It’s A Pecan, Not A PeeCan

Pie in Sky and not in the face blessings, from the Exile’s Kitchen.

McDonald’s Doesn’t Make This

McDonald’s doesn’t make an English muffin breakfast sandwich as good as this one. Here’s what ya do:

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I spritzed with olive oil cooking spray and salt-n-peppered the plate.
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Placed in the microwave and nuked for one minute ten seconds.
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It looked like this.
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Place cooked egg on an Old Bay’s English muffin, slather with a generous knifeful of homemade clotted cream and then
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an equally generous portion of homemade jelly. This is Mayhaw jelly, our favorite.
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Sorry, McD’s, this wins, and I didn’t have to drive to town to get it.

I Shook The Tree One More Time or I’m Your Huckleberry

Can This Really Be Considered Cooking or Dorm Room Fare

My Cup of Coffee Went to Heaven and Came Back For Me to Enjoy

Breakfast Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Birthday Solitude

It’s my birthday today so, I declared it a holiday and took the day off from work. Marigold was happy; she got an extra day in the country.

Walking around my property, netted a huge mixed bouquet of blooms. To the left of my farmhouse there are four rows of a camellia specimen garden. No two are exactly alike. I do not know their names and wish someone who could identify them would come and do so. The solid, medium-sized white ones are my favorite.

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The bulbs that we’re planted last October are all up and blooming. I was surprised to see that, down by the lower, ground-sweeping limbs, the Pride of Mobile azaleas are beginning to bud and bloom. 20190222_165222_resized

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This solid red camellia was high above my head and I could not get to it. I tried not to give it the fox’s perspective and call it sour grapes. The picture doesn’t do it justice. So, I left it for the bees and the birds to admire.

All the blooms were brought into the kitchen, trimmed and placed in an antique pedestal bowl.

 

 

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Spring Violets are in drifts all over the field, across from my farmhouse.
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I discovered more wild huckleberry plants, also in full bloom, under the canopy of oaks and magnolias.

 

In the remains of the old orchard, one of the Mayhaw trees was abuzz with honey bees. Come one jelly making season.

 

 

I’m an easy person to please. My nephew asked me, “You’re  not doing anything for your birthday?”

My answer: “Oh, yeah, baby. I’m enjoying the solitude.”

Just give me a sweet breeze through the trees,  lots of flowers to gather, the songs of birds and the sunshine. That’s all the birthday present I need.

My Birthday Blessings to you.

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Bacon On the Weekends

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Randomness

Have you heard that song called Love On The Weekends?  At least, that’s what I think it’s called. I don’t know who sings it.  And I’ll be up front with y’all, not a fan.

Anyway, while getting my breakfast ready this morning, that horrible tune popped into my head. Instead of “love”, I inserted the words Bacon on the weekends. Bacon on the weekends. My thyroid is screwed up again and I’ve been reading up on thyroid nutrition. Limit processed meats, sigh, including bacon. So, like the lovers in the song, I have to wait to the weekend for my  BACON! I’m right there with you Jim Gaffigan.

In the picture you will see marshmallows in my Pecan Praline Community Coffee. Yes, yes….. Don’t judge me. Try it, Mikey. You just might like it.

Also in the pic is a square of banana, chocolate chip breakfast cake. Sweetened with honey, lower in  refined sugar, but still tasty.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake:

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment and spritz with vegetable spray. Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mash up a very ripe banana. Add a 1/4 cup of honey, an egg and a big generous dash of cinnamon. Stir together. Then add 1 1/2 cups of biscuit mix. Before you stir it in, pour in a half cup of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. Stir till combined. Lastly add 1/2 cup of milk and a 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean; about 22 minutes. Cool slightly in pan then turn out onto a plate and cut into 16 squares.

Also in the the picture of my breakfast, is my coffee cup. My nephew sent it to me at Christmas and it has the names of my grandkids on it: Parker, Brentlee, Levi and Hazel Ray. They are so much fun and precious to me. Which brings me to my next bit of randomness.

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New York State and the Commonwealth of Virginia have legalized infanticide. God forgive us. We have become such a selfish and wicked nation. Again Crises Pregnancy Centers are located all over this country. Our local center is located at 406 Delaware Ave, McComb, MS 39648  601-684-3987.

Hug your children and grandchildren close.

Blessings.

That Week Between Christmas And New Year’s

So, what to do with that week between Christmas and New Year’s? Well, at Flowers Proper, the Christmas trees came down and the floor was swept clean of tinsel.

A walk around the gardens and a quick check on the bulbs planted in October netted a promise of Spring. The green tips are emerging from the dormant ground.20181228_201539

In the kitchen, fresh bread came out of the oven. Small round cake pans substituted for bread pans. Pretty, artisan round loaves, smeared with butter and mayhaw jelly.  Yum! And We’re almost out of mayhaw jelly. Sigh.20181228_163352

Since I don’t return to work till next week, no wake up alarms are wonderfully absent.

Should New Year’s resolutions be made? Why not rename them as goals? Dropping the holiday pounds, writing another chapter or two or ten,  finishing that project started months ago.  Making plans for a potager and greenhouse. Do remember: slow progress is still progress. Look back and reflect, but keep moving forward.

Happy New Year from the Exiles Kitchen.

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I Shook The Tree One More Time or I’m Your Huckleberry

The Sunday Before Christmas

20181223_173323The Sunday before Christmas and all through the kitchen, not a pot was I stirring, no spoon to be lickin.

The cookies in the pic are homemade slice-n-bake: white chocolate brown sugar, for reals, not fake.

Lightly salted pecans from the #CajunGrocer, by way of VA. This close to Christmas, easy supper is this way.

A hot cup of #CommunityCoffee to dip my cookie in, #Saints on the t.v., hoping for “the win”.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, my wish for y’all,

Is that your Christmas and New Year be the sweetest of all.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen

They’re Baaack or Why I Hate Planned Parenthood Part Four

After  a month of no Planned Parenthood (P.P.) adds on my blog site, once Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed, I thought the ads would not show up anymore. Oh me! They’re Baaack, just like bad horror flicks every October.

Now it’s the week of Thanksgiving and they’ve started showing up n theexileskitchen.com. Why, I wonder? Maybe the midterm runoff elections, where contested seats and governorships are up for grabs. And that’s just what P.P. does. They grab at women’s emotions, during their most vulnerable life decision and convinces them that what is inside of them doesn’t matter, it’s just a lump of tissue.

There is a disgusting ad for P.P. running around social media right now with a beautiful baby girl, looking adoringly into the camera. It says, “She deserves to be loved. She deserves to wanted. She deserves to be a choice.”

In essence, they are saying that she deserves to die. An innocent child, a helpless child. How sick is this ad?! What about the baby girl’s choices? What heartless human being (I use that term begrudgingly) would allow her precious baby girl to appear in an ad like that? They are sick. They are selfish. They are denented.

I Hate that organization!

Again, if you are in need of help due to an unplanned pregnancy, go to a faith based Crises Pregnancy Center. In McComb, MS it is located at 406 Delaware Ave. Their number is 601-684-3987.

 

My Mid-Life Crises

I think I am having a midlife crises. I have done something that I never thought I’d do. And I’m having a hard time feeling any remorse.

What have you done? you may be asking. Well, there are two Christmas trees already up in my farmhouse. Not yet decorated, but positioned and ready for ornaments.

In my past, never would anything remotely Christmas have gone up before Thanksgiving. I thought people who started decorating for Christmas as soon as their Halloween decor was jerked down were, well, just that: Jerks! I would look down my nose at them and shake my head.

Last year I was not in the mood for Christmas; not the commercial side of it. This year- half my shopping is finished, I’ve made the first batch of pralines, and Gesu Bambino just came out of my alto mouth, while I was unloading the dishwasher.

And now these Christmas trees -tinsel no less- one new, one vintage-have shown up in my farmhouse. I’ve heard of people going through a mid-life crises who will purchase out of character things: bass boat, motorcycle, sports car…new spouse, ahem!

For many years, only a real tree bought at a local tree farm adorned the little living room in another lifetime. That’s all there was room for; one tree. In my farmhouse, with nice big rooms, multiple trees can have a spot.

My youngest saw the trees today.

“Oh, brother!” he exclaimed. “You’ve become one of those people who rush Christmas.”

“No, they won’t be decorated till after Thanksgiving,” I defended my purchases and myself.

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Okay, so I did put a few bubble lights on the Shiny Brite tinsel tree from the mid-century. Please don’t judge. I’m having a Christmas mid-life crises.

October Cookie of the Month: Cookie Dough 101

October’s cookie of the month took a fantastic turn towards teaching, encouragement and fun.  A group of young ladies and their children assembled in the Exile’s Kitchen for Cookie Dough 101. The premise for the get together was to fill the freezer of each family represented with rolls of cookie dough, so Holiday preparations would be easier. To make things light and fun (as if these ladies and girls needed help doing so) we all wore froofroo aprons, with a prize of bakeware for the most June Cleaver-like apron.

20181027_112654 The little girls and boy held in there for the first batch of cookie dough making (August Cookie of the Month: Cranberry Pecan Shortbread), but then the front porch and sunshine and woods called them outside, so the mamas finished the other two recipes. The little girls didn’t want cranberries and pecans in their shortbread and opted for sprinkles. They named their creation: Funfetti Shortbread.

The second cookie dough was a Brown Sugar Cookie, which is good base for any add-in you may want.  The lone teenager of the class added Heath candy pieces and milk chocolate chips to her bowl, calling her mix up Heath Chocolate Bar Cookies.

The third cookie dough was a basic sugar cookie, rolled up in parchment paper and ready for slicing and baking later in the Holiday season.

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Cookie Dough Rolls

Some of the comments today:

“I never think to put on an apron, but I’m digging this.”

“Aprons are handy. They keep your outfit clean and you can dry dishes with it.”

“Is that just a ruffle on yours or pockets too?”

“Yes, pockets. For a recipe card or gathering eggs or holding my loaded pistol..!” Just kidding.

Plans have been made for more gathering in the Exile’s Kitchen for simple beginner classes.

Here’s the Brown Sugar Cookie recipe: cream together 1 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 cups of firmly packed brown sugar. Add 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon vanilla to butter and sugar. In another bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Then fold in your favorite add-in- chocolate chips, toffee pieces, nuts, whatever, it’s your cookie dough. Bob Ross would agree with me. It Started With A Happy Little Cloud

With a cookie scoop, drop onto parchment lined cookie sheet, two inches apart and bake  at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cookie and Froofroo Apron Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

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F.P.

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Saturday; the word has to be one of the most glorious ever thought up. Whether it’s watching collegiate football or catching up on weekly chores,  how would we make it without Saturday?

At my farmhouse I’ve done all of the above. I’m watching my LSU TIGERS take on Georgia right now. GEAUX TIGERS!

Earlier Miss Marigold and I went to the hardware store for vent hood pipe and aluminum tape. I had never put said vent pipe in said vent hood and I had a masked bandit get into my house. Yes, a raccoon! It got into the attic and then came through the ceiling into the cabinet with the vent hood. Of course when I got home Tuesday, I didn’t know it had been a raccoon that had riffled through my kitchen drawers and knocked over lamps. I called the sheriff’s office when I saw the blood on a wall in one of the bedrooms. The deputy was prompt in getting to my house and investigated around.

“I don’t see any brbrbrokkkkenenen winders,” he said. Yes, a pronounced stutter.

“Right,” I agreed. “And the doors were all locked. I don’t know how they got in. They knocked over the lamps on the sitting area.”

“Where’s the blood ma’am?”

I showed him. He looked around and shined his flashlight on the floor. Scat, as in wild animal poop.

“Ah, wewwell, I believe everything is oookkkkay. I ththink ya just got a cricricritter!”

So, anyway, I plugged the hole above the stove, but I don’t know how the masked bandit got into the attic. Maybe he won’t come back, since he somehow hurt himself riffling through my house.

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My house: Flowers Proper. F.P. for short. (Side note: if you’re ever watching the Weather Channel and a big storm is coming up through New Orleans to Hattiesburg, the Weather caster will start calling out areas along the storms path: listen and look at the map. They often call out, “Get ready Flowers, you’re about to be hit by this bad weather.” Flowers is basically my house, a few others, a big chicken farm  and a hunting camp. But dont tell the Weather Channel. I like hearing them announce my little spot on the map.)

I spent the rest of the day in my front garden. I bought 100 flower bulbs from American Meadows and they came in this week. The lady at the post office retrieved my package, when I handed her the notice that had been placed in my P.O.Box.  She asked, “Flowers Proper?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I love hearing the name of my home. I also love restoring the gardens. Ancient azaleas, sasanqua, and camelias remain, but very few old plantings from the neglected flower beds do. Just a few spider and day lilies. A couple of wild irises.

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I planted the box of daffodils and hyacinths from American Meadows. Miss Marigold sniffed at them as I planted them in a serpentine pattern at the base of the Pride of Mobile. It should make a pretty show around Easter next year. A prayer was sent heavenward that they will give joy to future visitors.

Saturday Blessings from Flowers Proper.

Evening Stroll

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The late afternoon shower made the air cooler, and thus, my evening walk more enjoyable. As always, the collection of differing architecture added drama to the days last bit of light. Magnolia, Mississippi is made for walking and snapping pictures. This is the undulating boardwalk of the old depot turned City Hall. If you are day tripping, stop and visit this pretty little town off I55.

An Hour And A Half From Everywhere

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Why I Hate Planned Parenthood Part Three

It’s my body. I can do with it whatever I want.

This is often scrawled on posters and thrown from the throats of protesters: the pro-choice people.

You do have the right to do to your body whatever you want. But you’re not harming yourself. You’re killing a vulnerable human being. A tiny one. An innocent one.

President Trump defunded Planned Patenthood on a national level in April 2018, leaving it up to individual states decide if they want to support abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood.

Now, for the last three weeks, the country has been flooded with pics and audio of congressional hearings on Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court. I won’t bore you with everything he was alleged to have done as a teenager.  Lord help us all, right, if we were judged by what we may or may not have done in the ’80s?

Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed, as of this Saturday.

As I said in an earlier post about why I hate Planned Parenthood, I know the ads for them on my site are a desperate plea. Here’s another: I beg you to not give anything to Planned Parenthood, not your support, not your time, not your money.  They kill babies.

That’s why I hate Planned Parenthood.

Why I Hate Planned Parenthood Part Two

Margaret Sanger was not only the founder of Planned Parenthood,  but also a racist. She believed the world needed to be purged of ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. In 1926 she spoke to the women of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. 

Read an informative article in americamagazine.org. Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. Why are we still celebrating her? written by John J. Coney

 

Why I Hate Planned Parenthood

WordPress, even though I have contacted their admiminstators about removing the Planned Parenthood ad from my blog site, continues to place it above my and sometimes below my posts.

So, get ready. Every time I see the ad is on my site theexileskitchen.com – a site I have paid for, btw- I am going to give a reason why I hate Planned Parenthood.

They kill babies. Human babies.

Planned Parenthood hides behind the guise of women’s health issues: pap smears,  mammograms,  birth control. I would be fine with the afore mentioned, if that’s all they provided. I wouldn’t mind my hard earned tax dollars going to help poor women get the medical care they needed. I stop at the killing of unborn children.

I know that the ads placed on my blog site are not random. Appointing another conservative judge to the U.S. Supreme Court is most likely the reason for the ramped up ads.

Health care, yes. Killing the unborn, no.

Certain Colors

What’s your favorite color? Mine used to be red. Since the kids’ school colors were American red, white, and blue, well I had a lot of clothes in all of those. Pink played a big part in my wardrobe, waybackwhen, before marriage and children.

Choosing paint colors for my farmhouse was daunting. I knew I didn’t want decorator beige.  Someone suggested white. I smiled and nodded; inwardly wrinkled my nose. Sure it goes with anything and everything, but boring? My, yes!

Opening up doorways and walls, made the living spaces flow into another.  The view goes from the front room all the way to the back sun porch. Choosing colors meant a scheme that would flow from room to room. But again, what color or colors to choose?

I thought of grey. Do you know how many greys there are? Hypothetical. You don’t need to try to answer. I looked at so many my eyes hurt. I decided to choose my colors by their names, words that spoke to me. Woodlawn Silverbrook/parlor/back bedroom; I graduated from Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge.

In the kitchen, dining room, living room Azure Snow graces the wall. The trim color everywhere is Snowcap White. So there- there is white- quite a bit actually.  Back in the kitchen, the granite countertops, a bargain from SandS Granite, are called Aspen. Azure Snow, Snowcap White, and Aspen all in the kitchen,  sounds cold, but it’s the warmest room in the house.

Blues have also shown up throughout my life and again in this old farmhouse. Journal Book colors the walls in the front bedroom and back sun porch. I’ve kept a journal my whole life. A legacy, I guess, for my sons when I’m gone. I should probably go through them and scratch out some entries…

Finds were unpacked back in January. They make me smile to see how well they fit into this new life.

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Colorful Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

September Cookie of the Month: Failure

Chocolate Shortbread… it seemed so promising. The Pinterest pictures looked so pretty. I followed the directions and the eggless dough tasted good, before baking. The recipe said to bake for 25 minutes. Well, that was just wrong. The edges came out too dark; burnt chocolate ain’t good. I’m trying to think of a way to save these.

I’ve cut the overbrowned edges off and cooled the shortbread on a wire wrack, still on the parchment. The pretty little marks, imprinted before baking all but disappeared when baked. Frowny face. Hmmmm. Still thinking.

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Okay, this is what I came up with, and it’s not great either, but here goes. I mixed up powdered sugar, butter, milk and a little cocoa, to make a sandwich cookie filling. It came out runny.

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Oh, well. I’ll try again another time. Community Coffee did help, a little.

Story of life. Even easy recipes can be screwed up. Things that should turn out perfectly sometimes don’t. Cut the burnt edges off, smile and smear some sugar on it. And try again. Nothing is really a failure, if you don’t give up.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

A September Saturday

 

 

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I started sewing around 11:00 a.m. and didn’t finish till the third quarter of the LSU/Auburn game. In my best impression of Coach O, “Gragragrowl, Go Tigahs!”

Two sets of dining room curtains, a tablecloth, a small curtain for the front door, a pair of curtains for the powder room, and a pillow sham for the bed in the front room. Whew! I had fun, though.

Blessings

Add On My Blog Site

I apologize if any of you have seen an add for Planned Parenthood on my blog site theexileskitchen.  I do not support that organization. Children are precious and, where they may come at inopportune times in our overly selfish lives, I would never condone getting ‘rid’  of a baby.

I had a miscarriage 22 years ago. The hospital bill came to me with the treatment listed as a dnc due to a spontaneous abortion. Yes, that is what happened, but the word abortion is so negatively charged, and rightly so, that it wounded me a second time.

I wanted every baby I was pregnant with. God gave me 3 sons here on earth. One child waits for me in heaven. And some day in God’s timimg, I will meet that beautiful child.

I am hurt and appalled that the Planned Parenthood ad was foisted onto my blog site. Again, I did not request it, nor do I ask you to contribute to them. I dont know who to talk to to have it removed. And I pray that you, the readers of theexileskitchen,  do not believe for one second that I approve of that organization.

There are Crisis Pregnancy Centers all over the country. If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, contact them, not Planned Parenthood.  In the Pike County area in Mississippi their phone number is 601-684-3987 and they are located at 406 Delaware Ave, McComb, MS 39648.

Matthew 19:14

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God, bless the children and forgive the wicked practice of killing the unborn.

August Cookie of the Month: Cranberry Pecan Shortbread

This recipe incorporates two of my favorites: dried cranberries and pecans. Shortbread has a minimal amount of ingredients. Easy. Great with hot or cold tea, afternoon coffee.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup of Land-O-Lakes butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 1/4 all-purpose flour

4 oz chopped dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans

A couple tablespoons of granulated sugar and powdered sugar in separate bowls

What to do:

Cream butter and powdered sugar till fluffy. A 1/4 cup at a time, add the flour; Mixer on low, so not to flour up your kitchen. Then add in the dried cranberries and pecans. This dough is stiff.

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Divide the shortbread into thirds, form  two logs, wrapped in parchment paper and label it. Placed in the freezer, it will be ready for gatherings this fall.

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Roll the last part of the shortbread into 1 inch balls and place an inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. With a little glass dipped in granulated sugar, flatten the shortbread.

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Bake in a preheated 325° degree oven for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Don’t over brown these cookies. Shortbread is light in color.

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Cool the shortbread slightly on the cookie sheet, then roll in the extra powdered sugar. Next, cool completely on a wired wrack.

These shortbread cookies are light and buttery. I can’t wait for afternoon coffee.

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Shortbread Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

My Cup of Coffee Went to Heaven and Came Back For Me to Enjoy

When I was in England a few years back, the ladies of the New Milton church we were helping that week served us cream and fresh berries one evening. One bite and I asked, “Okay, what’s in this?”

“Oh, that’s the clotted cream you’re tasting,” was their off handed answer.

Weird name, but Oh my gosh! Hard to describe, but Oh my gosh! Here’s the nutritional values for this gift from heaven.

https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/view/english-clotted-cream,569770/

A happy memory of that week in New Milton popped into mind a few months back and I have been researching recipes and trying them out.  I remember asking Julia, a lovely little lady from an afternoon spent at her dining table and back garden– y’all, Bill and Julia had a gorgeous garden, packed with flowers and vegetables.  I made the mistake of calling it a yard and they when they bristled at my very American gaff, I quickly corrected and said, “I mean garden!”— anyway, I asked Julia for a recipe on clotted cream and she just waved her little hand in a dismissive manner. “Just pour it in a dish and put it in the oven,” she answered.

And it is that simple. And it’s so dang good you’ll think that it can’t be that easy. Heavy whipping cream plus nothing. Kinda like salvation: Jesus plus nothing…

Here’s what I’ve learn to do:

Pour 2 cups heavy whipping cream into a shallow baking dish. Place in a 175° oven. Close the door and leave it alone for 12 hours. Don’t stir it, don’t jiggle it. Leave it alone. I usually put it in the oven a couple of hours before bed and when I get up the next morning it’s ready to come out. Cool to room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for another 12 hours. It’s worth the wait. The top layer will be deep golden and uderneath that is a creamy white layer. The cream solids seperate from the whey. Scrape the solids into a jar and put a lid on it. The liquid left in the bottom of the dish can be used in baking.

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This evening I poured it into my cup of coffee, sending it to heaven and back! People are putting all kinds of things in coffee these days, from butter to coconut oil so, why not clotted cream whey? Swirled it around, turning it a lovely cafe ole` color. The fat glistening on top.

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Simple summer supper was a cool one tonight: Vanilla Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, and a big scoop of clotted cream! If you’ve got a do-nothing weeknight, try out this clotted cream recipe.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Revisiting A Dorm Room Recipe

School starts next week, here in our part of the world. If you have a college student leaving soon, tuck this easy, penny pinching, portable recipe in their belongings. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know?

Can This Really Be Considered Cooking or Dorm Room Fare

Eggs, bacon, toast or an English muffin, salt and pepper make Easy Dorm Fare Omlettes. As most dorms allow microwaves and mini fridges, this recipe is a winner for your college student.

What to do:

Crack an egg into a saucer that’s been spritzed with vegetable spray. Season with salt and pepper and lightly whisk with a fork. Lay one piece of bacon on top of the egg. Place in microwave, cover and nuke for 2 1/2 minutes. Serve either on toast or an English muffin. A little jelly adds a touch of sweetness and is great with the savory flavors of egg and bacon.

Blessings to your college student from the Exile’s Kitchen.

20160103_075559 Vegetable spray will make the microwave omlette slide from saucer to toast so easy.20160103_080508Yum! Easy Dorm Fare Omlettes

 

Bright year blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen .

Peaches and Puttering Around

I went to the McComb Farmer’s Market Thursday, looking for bell peppers. Love stuffed peppers! Local honey and fresh peaches is what I came away with.

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Peach preserves? Peach cobbler? Peach pie filling? I decided I’d make peach butter.  For one pint, only three ingredients: 5 large, pitted peaches, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water. No need to peel your peaches.

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I had enough peaches to make about 6 pints. In an 8 quart pot, I simmered the peaches and water till tender.

 

 

 

Here’s a tip; vent the lid on your 8 quart pot or you will be cleaning up a big mess. Big stcky mess.

After the peaches were tender, I let it cool slightly and then pureed with an immersion blender. Bringing the  puree back to a simmer, I stirred in the sugar. Cooking at a gentle boil till the mixture thickened, I stirred it often to keep it from burning or sticking. When it was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without running off, I poured the peach butter into sterilized canning jars, sealed and process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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As you can see, I used different sized jars. It’s the end of canning season for me, so I filled what I had. It’s been a fun spring and summer, stocking the pantry.

Its taken two years of renovations to make my farmhouse livable and comfortable. Now, on Saturdays I can putter around.

I’ve told y’all before that I didn’t start drinking coffee till I was fifty. Late bloomer, I know. Coffee, however, has turned into a morning must. A well stocked drawer of coffee accoutrements-and, you know- “Coffee Time”. Plus, with coffee supplies arranged in a drawer, it frees up counter space.

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This drawer had held kitchen papers and freezer bags, but I cleared it out to just have coffee stuff. The adjacent drawer was the junk drawer- every appliance manual, miscellaneous hardware, twist ties- those got moved to the bottom drawer and kitchen papers were placed in that space. Neat and tidy, just don’t ever open the bottom drawer…

Let’s see… putter-putter. I’ve got homemade clotted cream setting up in the frig. Manna from heaven. Smear it on a biscuit and then top with peach butter. Oh, yes!

I picked lots of hot peppers and a few figs. Thinking about braving the heat and starting on sanding and painting a cabinet that will return to its original wall mount. I said I was thinking about starting.

Life is peachy, nowadays. (Oo, groan)

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

No Churn Berry Cake Ice Cream

 

No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream became Berry Cake 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.

My choice off add-ins this time was leftover berry cake from the 4th of July. A strawberry cake mix, baked up with a ribbon of blueberry pie filling in the middle. The cake was sliced and put in the freezer to be eaten later, but I thought adding it to this ice cream recipe would be a cool way to use remaining cake.

 

 

 

Enjoying the Summer season.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

The Grand Ole Flag

Happy Independence Day from #FlowersProper and theexileskitchen.com What are you cooking on the grill this July 4th? I think I’ll let the budding grill master Georgie plan the menu and do all the work.

I bought a new American flag and pole yesterday.  My father placed a deep vein of Patiotism in me and my brothers. He traveled all over the world on business trips and those travels made him love our country all the more.

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Is your flag flying? Well, go put it out. Proudly.

Patriotic Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Serendipity

It’s been busy in the Exile’s Kitchen.  Canning green beans, making pickle relish. Arranging buckets of fresh cut flowers. Two gallons of blueberries became two batches of pie filling. And there was some juice left over. From the blueberries. Hummmm. Wonder if I could make Blueberry Jelly, not jam, because I used all the berries to make pie filling?

Something didn’t work out just right, even with two boxes of pectin. I poured it into the jelly jars anyway and sealed them, and processed them. Jelly turned out to be syrup. Made me think of vacations taken as a child where IHOP and Waffle House were always a welcome sight to us weary travelers. What syrup to pick to drizzle over waffles..? Well, since my jelly didn’t set up, I can have homemade IHOP/Waffle House any day of the week without leaving the driveway.

That’s the definition of serendipity, my friends. Getting something equally good or better out of an unexpected turn of events. Wanted jelly, got syrup. I haven’t thought about my once marriage in a long time. Yesterday’s kitchen happenings brought these thoughts to mind. What I thought I wanted at the age of 20 turned out not to be what I got. What I have now I would not trade for anything. Serenity. Peace.

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Blueberry Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

June Cookie of the Month

File this one under super easy coffee dunker. And cheap? My yes! Made with flour tortillas, you can make many, many for pennies.

Cut four,  8 inch flour tortillas into six triangles each and place them in a single layer, on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly spritz tortillas with vegetable spray. Dust with cinnamon sugar snd bake till crisp in 350° oven. While they baked, I cut up a handful of Hershey Kisses into small chunks.. I had them on hand, but you could use regular chocolate morsels and skip the chopping. After the cinnamon tortillas have baked, sprinkle the chocolate on top of the hot triangles. The chocolate will melt slightly. I took a butter knife and smeared the kisses chunks around a little.

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This vase is my favorite, bought at a Virginia Beach farmer’s market years ago. The flowers I grew myself. Autumn Beauty sunflowers, mixed zinnias, and brilliant white cosmos. The cosmos is the front runner this year and the Viceroy of butterflies adore it, too,

 

So good with a cup of afternoon coffee.

 

 

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This week, I’ve also made two kinds of pickles: Bread and Butter and Spicy Dill. The slide show is of the first batch Bread and Butter. They remind me of my daddy’s sister, Aunt Louise. She was a fantastic cook and had a pantry full of homemade goodness, including Bread and Butter pickles. On a visit to her home in Homer, Louisiana way back in the late 80’s, Aunt Louise gifted me with a jar. They were so good! I guess I make pickles because, yes they’re tasty, but they connect me to fond memories of Aunt Louise.

Garden Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Jesus, I Love You

Since writing this post two years ago, I have sung Jesus, I love You one time during church service. And I cried through the last few lines. The song is on the schedule for this Sunday. I’m asking for prayer. Whether God is glorified through my singing straight through it technically correct or glorified through my tears may He indeed be glorified. 

Blessings for reading again.

It was after our choir had done the musical Somebody’s Praying You Through that our music minister told me he had picked out a new song for me to learn. It was called Jesus, I Love You: written by Norman Hutchins and performed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle  Choir.

I learned the song, concentrating on the notes and I, of course, learned the lyrics. The first time I sang it during worship I had no problem with it. But in choir practice a few weeks later, as we went over the song again, the words really got to me. I couldn’t sing it for sobbing. And when we would present the song for worship, I couldn’t get through it. I would get to a  certain point and then couldn’t finish it.

Joy of my salvation

Peace in my storm

Loving arms protect me

Shelter from harm

My strong tower

My dearest and best friend

I had no problem with these descriptions of Jesus. My hang up was with the line that proclaimed Jesus as my everything. People would ask me, “Amanda, what is it about the song that makes you cry?” I would tell them, “If I were to sit down and write a love letter to Jesus, it’s exactly what I would say.” But now, just being as real and honest as I can be, I knew deep down that wasn’t the truth. And God knew it, too.

You see,  there were parts of my life that I welcomed Jesus in willingly, invitingly. But then there were other areas in my life that I would wave Jesus away and say, “That’s okay. I don’t want to bother You. I can handle it.”

Until September of 2013, then I realized that I didn’t have it by myself and that I did need Jesus present and powerful in every part of my life.  During these last three years, He has been

there when I was lonely,

there in all my pain,

guiding my footsteps,

shelter from the rain.

And it was Him, He has made my life complete. 

He is to me my everything and that is why I sing. 

During the vamp of the song, the lyrics talk about not being ashamed to tell the world. Now that sounds a lot like evangelism. Evangelism, I thought up until this past year, was for other people. Well, in 2016 I have gone on two mission trips: one to Nashville, TN and the other to New Milton, England.

Was way out of my comfort zone, let me tell you. Half way over the Atlantic, the pilot throttled back on the engines. I punched the GPS on in the back of the headrest of the seat in front of me to see how much longer we had to fly. Oh, gee, only about another four hours. Um, Mr. Pilot, are we gonna make it to England? Hhhmmm? Please. Closer to God up in a plane, I guess. Prayers were flying around up there, I can assure you.

On English ground, I met many lovely people, all with hearts focused on God. I found myself opening up and telling my story, from my beginning salvation to my present walk. They responded with warmth, thanked me for my testimony,  and wished me the best. I’ll  always treasure my visit there.

Another adlib in the song praises Jesus with

How You set me free!

Isn’t that the truth?! I am free! As much as I loved my earlier life, I would not want to go back there. The only one I need to please is Him. Which if each of us would make that our priority, this dark world would be a whole lot brighter. Will I cry the next time I sing it? Well, we’ll all find out together. So,

Jesus, I love You. I couldn’t imagine if you were not there.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

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New Milton Testimony

I met Mr. Roache, a  bachelor gentleman, a few years back when he agreed to help my son’s Science Olympiad team with some of their building events. The man was brilliant at everything he touched: artist and  musician. He had been  born and raised in the New Orleans area and his family had owned and operated a hobby shop. He could tinker with anything and make it go.

Mr. Roache got the kids started on their projects and then invited us parents into his music room that chilly January afternoon. His music room was cluttered ( as was the entire house and overgrown property); a roll top desk strewn with photos he had taken, sheets of music here and there. I saw a violin, trumpet, guitar and maybe one other handheld instrument, but the grand piano took my attention. He sat down at the piano and played a few measures.  As he played, he directed our attention to a map of the world, that hung behind the paneled door.  Pins were stuck in nearly every country and continent.

“See those pins?” he asked us. “Each pin represents where I have danced with a beautiful woman.” And he softly smiled.

We politely asked questions about his life and he politely answered. He told of his childhood, his mother and daddy, his sisters. Growing up in Nawlins. The hobby shop. He said nothing negative-started to about one sister, but stopped himself and changed the subject. We all went back out onto the porch and checked the kids’ progress.

An artist, Mr. Roache took beautiful serene portraits. They hung at his back door and the faces followed you throughout the house and wrap around porch. He found value in everything; some would say he was a hoarder. But he would turn everyday household trash into pieces of art. Upcycling is what he called his creations.

I walked out into his yard. Even in the dead of winter it needed to be mowed, but looking back at the house, I saw the bigger picture. I couldn’t see it while in the house or up on the porch. Things  were grouped and had their own place. I bet he knew where each piece was and had it inventoried in his head.

His seemingly disordered  life was like pieces of a mosaic. Up close we can’t make out the image.  It’s not until we step back that we can truly see what’s there.

I have been in my own mosaic, if you will, these past few years. Really up close in the picture and too in it to see it. I have wanted to move the pieces around and figure out what my future is suppose to look like. But I am learning to let The Artist do  His work in me. His imagination is far greater than my own.  His creation in me more than I would have ever dreamed possible. Humbling. Blows me away.

Do I always like the way things are going in my life? No, but I have camped out at Jeremiah 29:11 for three years now. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and to give you a hope and a future.” Again, God’s plans and wants for me are so much better, sweeter, greater, more purposeful than anything I could come up with.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Burned the Cranberry Sauce Years Ago

20151121_124437I burned the cranberry sauce years ago and my youngest son has never let me forget it. And just for the record, it’s easy to make cranberry sauce from scratch. If you serve something that slides out of a tin can like a red tird, shame on you! Cranberry sauce should be lovingly spooned next to homemade cornbread dressing and homemade sweet potato casserole and homemade green bean casserole-never ever, ever sliced and chunked onto your Thanksgiving plate.

The year I burned the cranberry sauce, my mother had called to tell me to make sure I made it because Uncle Bobby never really liked cranberry sauce before he tasted mine. Probably because all he’d ever had was that congealed stuff from a can. Anyway, I had gotten quite busy that morning getting all my cooking done and I got distracted. Yep, burned the cranberry sauce to a dark sticky mess in my stainless steel pot

“You burned the cranberry sauce,” my youngest son announced. “No cranberry sauce next to my turkey? What about Uncle Bobby? He loves your cranberry sauce.”

I gave a disgusted sigh.

” I’m not going to the store for more berries on Thanksgiving. Don’t say anything about my burning it and maybe no one will notice that there’re no cranberries.”

When dinner was served and plates were fixed, we all sat down to eat. The inevitable happened. Uncle Bobby looked at his plate, looked at everyone else’s plate, looked up and down  the dinner table. He opened his mouth and took a breath.

Before Uncle Bobby could even ask,  “Mama burned the cranberry sauce, Uncle Bobby. So, there won’t be any this year.”

My own son ratted me out.

Here’s my recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch salt

pat of butter, optional

What to do:

Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar,  water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.

The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through  with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot.  If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.

Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Which is what I should have done the year I burned the cranberry sauce.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.