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.
So, for me summer begins when Aunt Gayle’s day lily blooms. When does summer start for you?
(Note: here’s the link to the back story to my favorite garden plant. Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily )
The Sunday Before Christmas
The 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
Christmas Trees I Have Known
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.
So good with a cup of afternoon coffee.
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.
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.
Baby blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
The single Jenny Lind bed had been my Aunt Irma’s when she was a little girl. Loaned to my mother for my use, it was the bed that I slept in from the time I climbed out of the baby bed, till I got married and left my mother’s home. When my mother moved to Mississippi nineteen years ago, my aunt said that I could have the bed. I was thrilled. Family heirloom. All three of my sons have used the bed as their own, during their growing up years.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I- we- had emptied the storage units I had been renting for so long. I couldnt wait to set up the Jenny Lind bed in my room.
I have been gathering furnishings for a few months. The area rug came from Wayfair. The gray bedspread was bought at the store with the big “W” on it. Amazon was where I found the pretty curtains. The pinwheel patterned quilt is one I made myself many years ago. The colors match nicely and I was pleasantly surprised. I guess we all gravitate to certain colors our whole lives. Soft blue and white have shown up over and over in my life.
The pine floors were refinished a year ago. See the contrast from these new pictures to the top one? They had actually been painted to look like mahogany. And whatever your opinion may be about maintaining a true Craftsman vibe to a farmhouse as old as mine and keeping the floors dark, I love the lighter, more natural pine color.
Miss Marigold and I walked the property this afternoon. A visit to the barn first. I love the ancient barn; wouldn’t trade it for anything! You step back in time when you step into its shadows. We also surveyed the perimeter of my big field, picking up trash thrown out by passersby. I was happy to see that the daffodils I planted a year ago have begun to stretch from the sleepy ground. Can Spring be close? We can hope.
Worship this morning. Homemaking at noon. Being a landowner this afternoon.
Blessings from the Exiles Kitchen.
Nottaway Plantation held its second annual wine walk a couple of weeks ago. I fell in love with this white castle when I was a young girl in 1980. It had been restored and opened to the public for tours. My parents and I took a road trip and we were some of the first visitors through their renovated doors.
So, when I saw on social media that Nottaway was having a wine walk, I wanted to go. Problem was I know nothing about wine and didn’t want to go alone. Enter my birthday sister Trina. When I asked if she would go, she was all in. And even though the home was serving heavy hor dourves, we made it fun, by bringing our own: Plain and Barbecue Vienna Sausage. You know, real foodie minds have tried to answer the question for years: Which wine to serve with Vienna Sausage?
Eight stations for wine tastes were set up in the beautiful home. We test tasted sips of different wines and only the sommelier at table five gave us legit suggestions as to which wines would go better with Vienna Sausage. There was a sparkling Brut Rose from J Vineyards that was just lovely to sip. Another I liked was an inexpensive Charles Smith called Kung Fu Girl Riesling. So, to answer the question of which to serve with your chicken meat sticks, go with a sparkling white wine or rose.
This past weekend, we had an early Thanksgiving at my farmhouse. This year is the only time that all three of my sons will be in their twenties, so to commemorate that milestone, pictures were taken. Out to the big barn we all went.
Team Player became a brotherhood catch phrase many years ago. The three were playing football with their Uncle and my oldest scored. My middle son kind of pouted and their Uncle said he needed to be a team player. The youngest eagerly announced that he could be a team player. He was no more than 5 at the time, hand caught up in his sweaty t-shirt, exposing his belly, he asserted: “I team player! I team player!”
The three brothers have been just that: team players. We nicknamed them Adam, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright. They have always had each other’s backs. They are fun to be with. I hope that you have the same blessing with your children.
And speaking of children! I have two more grandbabies on the way!
Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exiles Kitchen.
I’ve learned a lot the last few years. Day to day stuff. Sure. Managing life on my own. Well, not completely alone. The One who will never leave me nor forsake me walks with me, or rather, I Him. I try to.
Strength, deep down, surfaced after age fifty. I come from a long line of strong women. I am fortunate to have such great examples of feminine fortitude.
My father was a mechanical engineer and could build anything. He was more than just creative; he was more than just talented. Smart and brilliant.
Now, I know I’m not as smart as my father was, but I can see the potential in ordinary, or worn out, or throw-away things. During this last year of renovating my farmhouse, I have often reminded myself that I am George L. Ellison’s daughter.
Equally so, I have recalled the courage and resilience of my mother Madoline when we lost my father in 1981. My mother’s full name is Berenice Madoline. She was named for one of her aunts, who was named for a character in a book her father was reading at the time of his daughter’s birth. Berenice is Greek, meaning ‘to bear’. Her name also means ‘victory’. Both describe my Mama. She had to bear much, to finish rearing her family by herself. I never heard her complain or play the poor widow. Deep down, her strength surfaced. God Bless Her! What a lady! She never lost her femininity.
Several people have told me that they couldn’t do what I have done. My reply? “You could if you had to.” Who knows? You would probably surprise yourself.
I have been painting kitchen cabinets the last few weeks. Have I ever done that before? Nope. YouTube is great for finding out how. Sand and prime. Sand and paint. Sand and paint again. And again, if need be. The sandpaper represents the rough times in my recent past. Without the sanding, the coats of satin wouldn’t be smoothe or durable. The sanding makes it beautiful.
My father taught me to figure things out. Mama taught me to be beautifully fearless.
Miss you, Daddy. Love you, Mama.
Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
I have a wedding shower to help with in the morning and I signed up to bring muffins. Here’s the recipe:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
1/2 cup Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter
1 stick Land of Lakes butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
Big dash cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons homemade jelly (your choice, I used my mayhaw)
4 tablespoons of Bisquick
What to do:
In a big bowl, mix first 4 ingredients till creamy. Then add the 1 1/2 cups Bisquick and cinnamon. Pour in milk and gently incorporate. Your muffin batter will be light and fluffy. Next, fill your muffin cups with batter, a little less than half way. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the jelly and remainder Bisquick. This is your muffin filling. The baking mix stabilizes the jelly, so it won’t burn or bake out of your muffins. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of filling into the center of each peanut butter muffin cup. Top with the rest of the peanut butter mixture.
Silicone muffin cups are a great thing to use instead of traditional paper. Your muffins will pop right out. Bake in a 350° preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the tops puff up and are golden brown. Yield about 15 medium sized muffins.
Best wishes to the happy couple.
Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.