Rubber Boots or I Like To Laugh

As my farmhouse is over 100+ years, and there was no garbage pick up way back then, just below the top layer of ground lies century old trash: shards of crockery, glass bottles and farming implements. Everybody had a burn pile and a junk pile. They burned what they could, reused what they could, repurposed what they could. What couldn’t be burned, reused or repurposed was thrown on the rubbish heap. In the case of my farmhouse, that must have been an arms throw from the back door. Whenever there is a heavy rain, the stuff rises to the surface. Its best to wear a pair of thick soled shoes or rubber boots.

Last fall I had an odd shaped building torn down and hauled away. It was right next to the house. A tree had fallen on top of it many years ago and the previous owner never repaired it. The buzzards liked to roost in it each Spring. Nasty things! It was abandoned with decades of old, well, the afore mentioned. And every time it rains hard, more artifacts of the founding farm family come bubbling up from the rich, dark earth.

Tearing down the odd shaped building opened up the landscape. The view sweeps straight back to the old barn and pecan trees. This afternoon when I arrived home, clumps of yellow flag irises greeted me. I’ve never seen them blooming in the three years I’ve owned the property. I realize now that the junky building had obstructed my pleasure in noticing their bright yellow blooms.

I am the old farmhouse. My past is buried right under the surface and on occasion, it comes bubbling up. In other posts, I have mentioned that I come from a long line of strong women. They each had a good sense of humor, too. Thank God for laughter. It “doeth good like a medicine” says Proverbs.

So, as shards of my past came rising to the top this afternoon, I began a healing conversation with myself, spoken only in my head. I will not share it with you. It was a private conversation, after all. Where once certain things would have made me cry or made me angry, now I can just think of a quip and laugh. Laughter is that pair of rubber boots to wear while crossing the ground of the past to get to the bright, yellow flags of the present.

Just some thoughts.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Wisteria, daffodils and yellow flags

Where Are My Peeps? Woop! Woop!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Unt-uh. Not Christmas. I enjoy Christmas, but my favorite time of year is Spring. The earth wakes up. Everything stretches and gets moving.

A field trip to a garden center this morning filled the trunk: Fruit trees, hydrangeas, azaleas, a big pretty basket. I could get into trouble at a garden center, y’all. Man, could I!

On my way home, a couple of packages of Peeps hitched a ride and then jumped into my cup of evening coffee. One of these days, you’re going to try coffee and Peeps and you will wonder why you waited so long.

Recent happy emails from Harris Seeds and Wildseed Farms told that my flower seed orders are on their way. I cannot wait to play in the dirt. Visions of flower arrangements dance in my head. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Spring Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Supper Before Payday

Suppers before payday can be tricky to pull together, when money is tight and there’s a mish mash of ingredients on hand. That’s what I faced in preparing supper tonight. Time to think outside the box, so to speak.

Pound of ground meat, but no noodles of any kind. Hot dog buns, but no franks. Hmmmm…. ‘Cut the buns in half and make up little hamburger patties. Yeah, and top ’em with cheese’, I told myself. Little Cheeseburger Sliders with a side of Cottage Fries. Baking potatoes, cut length ways and tossed in Italian dressing, were started in s lightly oiled iron skillet, then finished under the broiler.

Simple supper, quick supper, frugal supper.

Supper Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Being Still

Just a pic of the old barn and filtering clouds with which the sun played tag. Work on the potager happened mid-day. Saved pieces of tongue and groove boards were screwed to the frame built last year; I never got it finished. Flowers and vegetables, spilled over the planters edges, in my mind. Circumstsnces outside my control kept me from finishing in 2019. Not one flower was planted. Last year was a rough twelve months. Praying 2020 will be easier.

I often prayed last year, “Lord, I just need something to be easy. Just one thing to be easy today. I am so tired of the struggle.”

Philippians 4:13 wrankled me- so over used. Is that wrong of me to think it so? Just being honest. Romans 8:28 often came to mind too. And some people don’t read that scripture through to the end. ‘Called according to His purpose’ it says. His purpose, not my own. Again it wrankled me.

So, this year- one month into it – I’m not announcing my intentions to anybody. My goal is to be still: Psalm 37:7. Waiting patiently, yes, but also working with my hands, while living my quiet life: 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Which brings me back to my potager project. It’s still not finished, it’s not perfect. Yet, there is such beauty in imperfect things. I’m not finished or perfect either, Lord knows!

Being still Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Orange Sticky Biscuit Bake

Here’s a recipe to use that granola I told y’all about last week: Orange Sticky Biscuit Bake.

What’s needed and what to do:

Preheat oven to 325°

In a 1 quart sauce pan reduce 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 pats of butter and 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Medium high heat. Swirl the pan every now and then. Don’t let it burn.This makes a nice simple syrup and is the star flavor for the sticky biscuits.

While the syrup is reducing, in a medium sized bowl mix 1 cup low-fat biscuit mix, 3 heaping tablespoons of Sweep-of-the-kitchen Granola, a nice dash of cinnamon and enough milk to incorporate all of the above – you want a stiff dough. About a 1/4 cup of milk, I guess. Just eyeball it.

Now, I baked the sticky biscuits in a small iron skillet, but any small casserole dish or cake pan would do. Spray the pan or dish with vegetable spray. Pour a small amount the orange syrup into the bottom of the pan. Drop the mixture into the center of the prepared pan, making one big biscuit. Pour more of the orange syrup, reserving a couple of spoonfuls on top of the biscuit. Place into the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The last 5 minutes of baking, pour the remaining orange syrup over the biscuit.

Cut into 4 to 6 servings. These are lightly sweet; nice with a morning beverage..

Biscuit Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Sweep-of-the-kitchen Granola

Left over Christmas baking ingredients were just sitting in the pantry: raisins, oatmeal, pecans, soy-free chocolate chips. So, to use them up I stirred up a big bowl of granola. Sweep-of-the-kitchen is a term describing a waste-not-want-not, money saving, frugal attitude. Use it all up.

Here’s what to do:

Preheat oven to 300°

In a big bowl combine 3 cups quick oats, about 1 cup pecans, about 1/2 cup raisins, about a 1/4 cup of each semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup light brown sugar and a pinch of salt. A couple of teaspoons of colorful sprinkles, if you have some. Microwave 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and pour over the oats and other ingredients. Give several generous stirs, to incorporate the oil with the other ingredients.

Spread evenly over a baking sheet with short sides, like a jelly roll pan, which has been covered with parchment paper. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check it halfway through to make sure it isn’t burning. Give it a slight stir with a spatula or big spoon. Continue baking. Cool, then scoop into an air tight container. Serve over yogurt, apple sauce, pear butter, ice cream.

Served two ways: On the left over Greek yogurt, on the the right over home canned pears. A light breakfast or snack or dessert.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Peppermint Meringues

Here’s a recipe to make, while taking to down the Christmas tree: Peppermint Meringue Cookies. Not sure that cookie is a true description,  because these are flourless. Maybe they are more like a candy. Make the peppermint meringues  and you decide what to call them.

Here’s what to do:

Preheat oven to 225°.

In a stainless steel mixing bowl begin beating 4 egg whites. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar. Keep beating. Crush up 3 candy canes, set aside. When the egg whites start to form high peaks, slowly add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. With the sugar incorporated, add a few sprinklings of the crushed candy canes. Okay, now the meringue is ready to drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon, drop heaping dollops 2 inches apart. Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes. Turn oven off, when they are finished baking and let the meringues stay in the oven to cool and dry out.

Blessings for a great 2020 from the Exile’s Kitchen.

The Old General

Christmas parties a plenty.  One down; three more to go. This week. Today is the “office party”. I offered pralines and a lemon meringue pie. If you want, you can find those recipes here at theexileskitchen.com. Just let your fingers do the scrolling.

I’m in town this morning. My stand mixer is at Flowers Proper and so is the newer hand held. Deep in one of Mama’s kitchen cabinets, under stored paper plates and plastic cutlery, was her old General Electric hand mixer.  She still works. She’s 60 years old, if she’s a day.

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Eight egg whites in a bowl,  pinch of salt, dash of cream of tartar, a splash of pure vanilla,sugar. Started the Old General up. The beaters were a little loose, but patience persevered and the meringue was glossy and beautiful.

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Lovely, sticky whiteness was spread over the homemade lemon curd, fluffed, patted and run under a low broiler to toast it up. Just a bit.

It’s raining. Storming is a more appropriate description. I hope I get this pretty pie to work in one piece. The old General Electric mixer has been put away, but this time within easy reach. Her cord wrapped around her handle, just as my mother has done countless times.

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Today is my mother’s birthday. There’s a 2-layer, white cake with lemon curd filling in the ice box (that’s  Southern for refrigerator). Happy Birthday, Mama.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.