#whattodowithallofthissquash

Early to the garden.

The sun climbed high. Sweat walked down the small of my back, as I worked. Red wing blackbirds trilled; a woodpecker beat a tattoo. The breeze whispered in the corn. Another mess of yellow squash was gathered. It was delightful.

Except for two things. And I know that talking about the weather is the worst thing in writing, but my goodness it’s dry in southwest Mississippi. If you who are reading this are a praying bunch, please lift up a prayer for rain in our part of the world. The corn may be whispering today, but it will soon be crying from a lack of water. Rain, we need rain.

The second thing that marred my mornings peace was the four-wheeler, riding teenager. Up and down the fence row he went. Loudness, covering my idyllic pastoral setting.  He tried to coax Marigold to ride with him, but she politely declined and stretched out on the shady porch instead.

The squash was taken to the kitchen, but wasn’t cooked up. I made a flower arrangement out of some, along with the first picked cosmos. The tips of the wisteria are on their second bloom. All were arranged on an antique platter. I call it Geese In the Flower Patch.

Saturday May 19, 2018. Nearly perfect.

A post shared by Amanda Ellison Anglin (@a.anglin) on

The day ended with a visit from my favorite fella- favorite for right now. His Mama goes to the hospital early on Monday to have his baby brother and then I’ll have two favorite fellas.

Saturday blessings from the Exiles Kitchen.

 

 

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Yesterday Was National Lost Sock Memorial Day

Yesterday was a little known holiday -not recognized by bank and post office closures- called National Lost Sock Memorial Day. I heard about it on Supertalk MS. I immediately found an emotional connection to all the mismatched or single socks in the world. I know just how they feel. NLSMD will forever rank up there with that other single awareness holiday: Valentines Day. Ugh!

With an adolescent bloodhound in the house, who has a thing for chewing on socks, the problem of matching them has become a daily chore. They may make it into the washer at the same time: might even make it into the dryer, but she stands at the dryer door, waiting for me to turn away for a second and off she goes with one to hide and chew on, till it’s no longer wearable. (Excuse the run on sentence.)

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This morning I once again found myself digging around for two socks that matched. I’ll admit that some mornings I just don’t care and put on whatever comes close.

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They’re both black, close enough.

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Now, these two at first glance looked like they matched. Same color and size , but the patterns aren’t alike. Oh, well. To celebrate NLSMD one is suppose to dispose of any single socks lying around or shoved to the back of the dresser drawer.  Again, feelings of single awareness collect, like lent from the dryer.

I’ve been divorced now for over two and a half years. Just beginning to think about dipping my toe into the dating pool. But my gosh, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that! How do you start? How do you go about it, in this day and age? It’s scary to think about.

However, I recently met a fella that I found myself thinking that I wouldn’t mind matching and folding his socks. Feeling, oh I don’t know, I hesitate to say domestic. My grandmother’s South Louisiana, East Feliciana accented voice is in my head right now. She would have described him thusly: he’s a tall drink uh wohtah, with a nice smile that reaches his eyes. I describe him as having a voice that I could crawl up in and stay all day; like a tree house built in the top of a big oak limb, looking out over a deep and slow moving river. Yep. He nerded out explaining something to me and I thought, man, please hush! I could cook for a man like that. Something good on all four burners and both ovens.

And we met on Valentine’s Day- ain’t that ironic?!

But he’s two counties away. This single sock is still that. Single. Lyle Lovett is coming to Thalia Mara in August, I would love to have a date to go. But as I said in the two paragraphs up, starting from scratch is paralyzing me.

NLSMD and Valentine’s Day are equal in my book.

P.S.

I will not throw out my single socks. My tomatoes need tying up and I will just repurpose the unmatched sock collection.

Blessings.

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

(I promise. This is the last time I write about mayhaws… This year. Simple recipe: 4 cups juice, 1 box Sure-Jell, 2 pat butter, 5 cups sugar)

 

Mayhaw season is coming to a close. Sigh. Yesterday I shook the tree one more time. I pruned it too. Due to years of neglect, branches have crisscrossed each other. Not a good thing. You want lateral branches on your fruit trees with room for air to get to each branch. The old mayhaw is also covered in lichen, which tells me the tree is in distress and needs to be fertilized. Even still,  the old gal produced lots of berries this year. I was able to make three batches of jelly in the last two weeks.

This final gathering was a little slim on mayhaws, but the huckleberries are making. So, I supplemented my pot with the tiny blueberry-like fruit. While picking huckleberries, my eldest son called me.

The conversation went something like this:

“Heeeey! Whatcha you doing?”

“I shook the mayhaw tree one last time, but I don’t think there’s enough to make another pot of jelly, so I’m picking huckleberries to add to them.” I told him.

“Huckleberries? Are you sure that’s what they are?” he questioned.

“Yes, son. I tasted a few last week, when I noticed them making and I haven’t gotten sick. No belly cramps. Not throwing up or running to the bathroom.”

“Oh, okay. Good deal.”

My sons; They have their mama’s back… always looking out for me.

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Mayhaw and huckleberry added together in the final pot of jelly. The color was deep red.

After jelly making, I cleaned house. The afternoon sun slid in through the parlor windows and warmed up the pine floors. It was such a peaceful afternoon. The birds sang all around me, as I repotted day lilies and roses on the side porch.

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We almost had a new grandbaby last night. My middle son’s wife was having some pretty intense contractions around 11 p.m. Off to the hospital they went, as I stayed with my sleeping #1 grandson. But the hospital sent her home. So, we’re just sitting on go. Anytime now. I think I’ll nickname my new grandson ‘Huckleberry’. 

“Who’s Mandy’s little Huckleberry?” I’ll ask.

“I’m your Huckleberry,” he’ll answer in a sweet toddler voice.

I wonder what his parents will have to say about that?

As I told my eldest, before the rain chased me back to the house and ended our phone call yesterday; I’m having fun. Life is fun again, full again. And there’s always room for more family and friends- at my table, in my house, and in my life!

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

 

 

 

Mayhaw Time

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Today was the first time I’ve made jelly in the Exile’s New Kitchen.  Mayhaw Jelly: such a sweet, rosey red. I taste tested with a wheat cracker.  Yum!

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Confession time…

I’ve got a thing for canning jars. I didn’t need any new jelly jars, but I saw these small, squatty, wide mouth made by Kerr and thought, ‘Oh, why not?’ Plus, a straight-sided, wide mouth jar will make it easier to scrape out every bit of Mayhaw jelly.

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Mayhaw Jelly, April 2018, from the Jam Pot at Flowers Proper.

My recipe for Mayhaw Jelly can be found from last year’s post And Then The Murders Began.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Punch Bowl

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Family punch bowl

In the 1960’s, my mother and her sisters were on a mission. The ESSO gas stations in Baton Rouge were giving away a punch cup with a fill up. After 24 full tanks of gas, the punch bowl and stand were free. Working together, Mama and my aunts pooled their punch cups and boom! The family now had a community punch bowl, which has been used for countless wedding and baby showers.

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The family punch bowl took center stage again this Sunday, for a baby shower honoring my two daughters-in-law. A new granddaughter and a new grandson are arriving in a few weeks.

Baby blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Cake Mix Cookies

I said back in December, when I unpacked my cookie jar collection, that I would do a cookie of the month. Well, here goes the first recipe four months late:

Cake Mix Cookies

1 yellow cake mix ($1 aisle

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (all I had on hand was flavored)

1/4 cup corn oil

8 Hershey’s Miniatures broken up into small pieces

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray muffin top pans with vegetable spray and set aside.

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In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients. Form dough into balls (about 1 inch or so) and place one in each muffin space.

 

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With a fork, make a crisscross pattern

Place in your preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

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Cool cookies in the pan for a couple of minutes, so they set up. These cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Cool completely on wire wracks and then place in your favorite cookie jar. This recipe makes 2 1/2 dozen.

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I filled the jar that my oldest granddaughter Parker will get when she grows up and gets her first kitchen. The big strawberry came from Jeanie’s Antiques that was once in Osyka, Mississippi.

Parker is having a baby sister in June. I have been sewing every spare minute I can scrape together. Wednesday evening my 32 year old Dial and Sew sewing machine bit the dust. A trip to the store with the W on it, netted me a new Singer. Wow! is all I can say. Such a difference. I love the new machine and won’t miss the old one.

The see through bobbin cover is great; no more sewing nothing, when you’ve run out of bobbin thread,  but didn’t know it. It also has many decorative and monograming stitches to play with. The price was around $200. I am very pleased with it.

Grandmotherly blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

 

Waffles and Sausage Kind of Night

I decided this morning that we would have breakfast for supper. Waffles and sausage patties. Still have a big bowl of fresh Louisiana strawberries. Cool Whip.

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To keep the waffles crisp, place in a 200° oven while you’re waffling…

What about you? Do you ever have breakfast for supper? And if so, what do you fix?

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Just like Waffle House, but I didn’t have to get back in the car after a long day at work.

Breakfast Supper blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen .

Good Friday and Holy Saturday

On Good Friday, my mother and I drove to Baton Rouge to continue a tradition begun decades ago. Backseat loaded with Easter lilies, we visited family grave sites in three different cemeteries.

First, my father’s grave in Resthaven.

George L. Ellison was the last of the good guys. Period.

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Roselawn is a very old cemetery near downtown Baton Rouge. The church bells in the neighborhood chimed on the hour and then rang out hymns, while we worked our way through the different plots. The baby’s grave first. Great Aunts and Uncles. Great Grandmother. Cousins. Finally my Grandmother’s.

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How I loved her! Such a strong lady.

We meandered our way back to Mississippi, but first went to Ponchatoula for fresh Louisiana strawberries. Yum!

I deposited Mama at her house, picked up Marigold and headed to the country. The shelves are finally finished in the media room/ parlor, so I dug out my library. It warmed up the space. The front facing books are by my favorite illustrator (award winning, btw).  He happens to be my brother Chris Ellison. King of the Stable by Melody Carlson features my middle son at age 6 years old. In M is for Mom by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle there is a painting of my mother and nephew picking flowers in her Magnolia, MS garden. This book would be a great gift for Mother’s Day. You can find all of the books illustrated by Chris Ellison on Amazon.

 

 

Holy Saturday brought lots of sunshine and my middle son. All of those seeds I’ve been wanting to plant were, finally.

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Twenty-one rows, 125 feet long. Makes me chuckle. Now. In June I might not be smiling. Yeah, I will. I have longed to play in the dirt and grow my own food. Someone said that at the end of the day you should smell like sunshine and dirt. It was wonderful.

This year this Exile will be cooking home grown goodness.

Blessings

Poll Please Help

I am practicing character development.  Will you give me some sexy male names? A name you’ve heard or from a book you’ve read, perhaps. Musicians, maybe. Race car drivers. Ray LaMontagne and Bobby Labonte come to mind; musician and racer respectfully. Their names are just fun to say.

Help, please.

Thanks in advance,

Amanda from the Exiles Kitchen.

I See Supper

At the Walthall County Co-op the other afternoon, I picked out more seed for my garden. Someone looked at the packages and said they saw a lot of hard work.

“Well, I see supper,” I replied.

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The seedlings of squash and peppers, started a few weeks ago, needed repotting. With them, I see squash casserole, zucchini bread, stuffed bell pepper, and jars of pepper jelly.

 

And finally, the big shelves in the palor/media room are finished and ready for books. I see big family gatherings happening in this room; game nights, football watching, reading bedtime stories.

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Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.