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.