Sunday Thoughts ~ Autumn Unfolding

“ These extraordinary autumn days! A godlike beauty to the countryside that cannot be described, and very nearly cannot be experienced ~ it is so amazing. One walks or rides along in a veritable daze. Surely there is no season quite like this… ” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  Tomorrow is a special day, the first day of glorious autumn.  Such a dazzling season, isn’t it?  I believe at this time of year, we all anticipate cooler days and the magnificent beauty autumn holds.  So find your coffee or tea and come along for a short stroll through ‘autumn unfolding.’

 

“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.” ~ Sharon Kay Penman

“The oak leaves above were already gilded, autumn coming to the woods like a king in a legend, touching all the trees with brightness.  The rays coming through those leaves were gold on gold.” ~ Sarah Rees Brennan

“Autumn ~ that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness ~ that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” ~ Jane Austen

“Autumn evokes different feelings for everyone…As the energy of summer slows down, and frosty winter is getting closer, a beautiful autumn day is truly special.  Cool morning air, grass wet with dew, and those amazing warm golden colors spreading through the trees…” ~ Vicki Chicago~Marsh

“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it. It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.” ~ Ann Patchet

 

Dear friends, thanks so much for visiting and I hope you enjoyed the stroll.   

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day.

And…

“May you walk through the world and
know its beauty all the days of your life.”

Apache Blessing

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images: viatumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Table ~ Richard Olney and Frank Stitt

“Eating is not merely a material pleasure.  Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship.” ~ Elsa Schiaparelli

Good morning, dear friends.  Welcome to the first in the series of ‘At Table.’  I sincerely thank you for visiting and look forward to your comments.  For those who may be new to this blog or have not commented before, simply scroll down to the end of the post and you will see “Comments.”  Click on it and it will say, “Join the Conversation.”  Please do.  Remember, this series is about learning from each other.  I want to learn from you, hear your thoughts and stories, and I feel certain other readers do also.   

That said, I would like to begin with a little information about a great chef who had a profound and lasting influence on other chefs.  Additionally, he was a leader in the culinary movement which brought to life inspiring new gastronomy.  He introduced Americans to something different.  French food, made with excellent ingredients, which could be prepared at home.   Not convenience food, frozen or processed.  This great chef was, Richard Olney (1927~1999).  An American who pursued the French way.

Richard Olney Richard Olney ~  Photo from his book, “The French Menu Cookbook.” Published by, Penguin Random House, Canada, 1970.

 

 

“I like the atmosphere in which, whenever one sits down to a meal, however simple, it is conceived as an aesthetic experience…” ~ Richard Olney

 

Richard Olney was born and raised in  Marathon, Iowa.  He was educated at the University of Iowa and the Brooklyn Museum Art School, before leaving for France in his mid-20s to become a painter.  In France, Olney resided in Paris and Provence.  He is considered one of the most distinguished and influential food writers in recent history.   

In 1970, Olney published his first cookbook, “The French Menu Cookbook.”  And, in 1974,  he published “Simple French Food,” which included several of his own drawings.  These books brought him extremely high praise from professionals as well as amateurs.  This praise was not just about recipes, but about his philosophy of “At Table” ~ sharing good food, wine and a little beauty with family and friends.  Something he taught to many and which is part of his remarkable legacy.

 

 

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” ~ Cesar Chavez

While I will not go into the details of listing all the many publications for which Olney worked or list the eight books he authored, I will tell you a little about the deep influence he had on one man ~ Frank Stitt.  In 1978, for the entire month of May,  Stitt worked for Olney as his assistant.  Typing, editing manuscripts, and assisting Olney in any way he could with his demanding schedule of delivering manuscripts on time.  Stitt worked and resided at Olney’s home in Solliès-Toucas, France.  A small town in Provence near Toulon. This month, however, was not totally about work.  Much fine cooking was going on as well as forming a great friendship.   

It was during this month,  that Stitt learned the magic of ‘At Table.’  In an article written in “Food and Wine,” magazine (October 2018), Stitt said, “That month was one of the greatest highlights of my life.”  Stitt is the owner of four restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama.  One of which is the acclaimed Highlands Bar and Grill. Many guests who visit Stitt’s restaurants often remark about a certain magic and the beauty they so enjoy.  Always, Stitt explains to his guests what they are enjoying can be traced directly to what he learned during his special month in Provence while working for and learning from his friend and mentor, the late Richard Olney.

 

 

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” ~ Paul Prudhomme

I would like to share a favorite recipe of mine from Richard Onley’s cookbook ~ “Simple French Food.”  You will see this is not a complicated recipe.  It makes a lovely meal along with a salad and bread, followed by fruit and cheese for dessert.  And, of course, Olney would want you to serve it with wine. (See my notes at the end of this post.) 

Also, I thought you might enjoy the recipe for Frank Stitt’s Vinaigrette, to dress your salad.  This recipe is from “Food and Wine” magazine, October 2018. 

 

Zucchini  and Chard Gratin  ~ Serves 6

2 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated, salted in layers, and 15 minutes later, squeezed free of water.

2 medium onions, finely chopped and stewed gently in 2 Tbls. olive oil, until soft and yellowed – about 20 minutes.

1/2 cup long-grain rice, cooked for 15 minutes, rinsed beneath running water and well-drained.

2 pounds Swiss Chard, the green leafy parts.  Washed, drained, and shredded.

3 oz. of bacon slices (about 4 or 5 slices), chopped or sliced crosswise into 1/8 inch ribbons, not cooked.  Note:  I prefer this chopped.

3 large cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped. Note:  I mince the garlic.

1 large handful chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried.

3 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus a handful more for sprinkling over the surface

1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:  Because of the bulkiness of the uncooked, shredded chard, you will need a really large mixing bowl in which to mix the ingredients.  Combine everything, with the exception of the final handful of Parmesan and the olive oil.  Mix well with your hands, pack into a large oiled gratin dish, pressing the surface smooth with the palm of your hand, sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the surface, dribble over olive oil in a crisscross pattern, bake in a medium oven at 350 for about 1 hour, turning the heat up to 450 for the last 10 minutes or so to give the surface a rich gratin.

 

Frank’s Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp.  fruity red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. Spanish sherry vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey or apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced shallot

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, honey or apple cider vinegar, shallot, and thyme in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, let stand 15 minutes.  Whisk in oil and check the seasoning for salt and pepper.  

We had the pleasure of cooking with Chef Stitt in Serenbe- Part of their 'Southern Chef Series'...See Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega and Chez Fon Fon in Birmingham in the July/August 2013 Garden and Gun.

 

 

This post could have easily been considerably longer, as there are volumes more I would like to share about Olney and Stitt.  Such as what led Olney to the kitchen, how he and Stitt met, their amazing friendship, as well as Stitt’s long list of outstanding accomplishments.  However, the important take away is the significant contribution they both have made, not only in the culinary world but in helping us see the beauty and magic of being ~ ‘At Table.’  

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“Goodness, how much there is to learn about food!” ~ James Beard

 

 

So, dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and that you will try the recipes.  

   Do stay tuned there is so much more to come.  The next ‘At Table’ post will be October 16.

Wishing you happy times in the kitchen.  Enjoy, savor and relish the beauty.

 

 

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

 

 

Authors Notes:  Please understand I do not claim to be a Wine Connoisseur or a pairing expert, however, I will provide a suggestion to accompany this meal.  My first choice would be a roséWhispering Angel, or ‘Gerard Bertrand Languedoc ‘Cote des Roses’ Rose’.  Second choice ~ a white wine, Sauvignon Blanc.  We enjoy, ‘Josh’ Sauvignon Blanc.

Images: ~ Via Tumblr and Pinterest.  Unless otherwise stated, I do not claim ownership of these photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ September 15, 2019

“It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you drown in it.” ~ Diana Gabaldon

How to organize and schedule your life when your routine is changed.

 

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.” ~Leonora Carrington

geopsych: “ Irrational exuberance under the willows. ”

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” ~ Ram Dass

ijustwannaseeyouhappyandnaked: “ in the garden i see only your face from trees and blossoms i inhale only your fragrance 💖 ~ rumi ”

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” ~ Robert Lynd

michaelnordeman: “Birds photographed in my garden. ”

“Listen to silence. It has so much to say.”~ Rumi

“God is whispering in your heart, in the whole existence, just tune your ears.” ~ Amit Ray

 

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  Wishing you and yours a peaceful and beautiful day.

And, may your week ahead be filled with beauty, kind people and lovely moments.

Amour, 

Sandra

 

Images: viatumblr

 

‘At Table’ ~ An Introduction

“The French love of food is rooted in sharing good times and enjoying life, which is what makes it most inspiring.  It’s not the ultra-fancy food offered in posh restaurants but carefully combined ingredients proudly presented and slowly savored among friends.” ~ Janet Tamburro

Good morning, everyone.  In a previous post, ‘Late Summer Recipes,’ I mentioned there may be something new happening on the blog.  Today, I am excited to share, what I hope will become an inspiring new series ~ “At Table.”   So, I invite you to join me this morning as I give a little introduction and my vision of  ‘At Table.’

mymodernhouse: “From Home Decor Obsession ”

“La bonne cuisine est la base du véritable bonheur.” ~  “Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.” ~ Auguste Escoffier

For inexplicable reasons, as many of you know, I am drawn to all things, French.  Including food.  One reason for my attraction may well be I have great respect for the French people and their culture.    And, to me, their culinary culture is unsurpassed. 

During my many years of working outside our home, I can tell you I was not interested in time-consuming recipes and shunned away from anything I thought might be.  But, there was much I needed to learn.  Once I retired, there was time in my day to shop for ingredients, try different recipes, and learn new things.  Certainly, it wasn’t a surprise to find myself gravitating to French recipes.  WOW, I felt like I had been living under a rock.  Now understand, I am not talking about the food served in Michelin star-rated restaurants.  I am referring to the food prepared and served in French homes.  And while many of these recipes are a little time-consuming, many are not. My general thoughts about French cooking were totally flawed.  Thus began my in-depth reading and research, which has led to many years of practice and wonderful cooking.  And now to ‘At Table,’ which I sincerely hope you will enjoy.

A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” ~ Thomas Keller

Certainly, there are many outstanding culinary geniuses in America and in other parts of the world.  And, I could hear my Mississippi grandmother and mother’s loud whispers (you would, too) if I didn’t include the marvelous food of the American South, especially the Deep South.  Additionally, I must mention where I live in West Virginia is a very ethnic community.  We have a large Italian population as well as Greek.  So I will include recipes from both of these communities, recipes I have loved and prepared for years.  Thus, ‘At Table’ will not only be about cooking French food.  It will also be about food from America and other countries, and the customs and traditions which accompany the many wonderful recipes.  And, of course, I will pass along a bit of history about great chefs who have worked diligently, mastering their craft and their recipes while learning the lessons of ~ ‘At Table.’

Now, I am sure you are wondering, “What can this West Virginia girl, who has never been to France, possibly know about the country, the people, the customs, or the food?”  While I am fully aware there still remains much for me to learn, I plan to share what I have learned.  By doing so, I hope to inspire you to prepare something beautiful and tastes exquisite.  I want you to enjoy smiling faces as they taste your marvelous goodness and mostly, to enjoy the blessing of ‘At Table.’

image

“If an architect makes a mistake, he grows ivy to cover it. If a doctor makes a mistake, he covers it with soil. If a cook makes a mistake, he covers it with some sauce and says it is a new recipe.” ~ Paul Bocuse

Mastering a new skill is something I immensely enjoy, and I firmly believe you, my wonderful readers, do also.  While many of you I know are well-traveled and have been to many parts of this beautiful world, and perhaps many times, I thought it may be fun to be ‘At Table’ together. To cook recipes which may or may not be familiar to you and share the results of your efforts.  To hear your stories about certain recipes, perhaps from your travels or from a talented soul who prepared some lovely creation for you. To share with each other and to learn.  I promise not to share a recipe I have not perfected and know you can, too.  

French cooking and culinary customs are highly celebrated.  The entire process, from planning the menu to shopping for only the best ingredients, has a happy and welcoming nature at the very core.  One may wonder, “Why?”  The answer ~ it is the French lesson of, ‘At Table.’  Good food lovingly prepared, proudly presented and slowly savored among friends and family.

“This is what a family is all about ~ one another, sitting around the table at night.  And it’s very, very important, I think, for the kid to spend time not only around the table eating with their parents, but in the kitchen.” ~ Jacques Pepin

Mimi’s home in Saint-Yzans, originally a winemaking château, once housed a legendary restaurant. French Country Cooking chronicles Mimi’s efforts to carry on the tradition by opening an intimate pop-up restaurant. The table of Mimi Thorisson, author of several cookbooks and lives in Médoc, France.

Personally, I believe it is in the French DNA to gather their family, friends, and neighbors around the table for a meal.  Certainly, one would never find them eating at their desk or in front of a television.   You see, food is greatly respected in France.  Perhaps, this stems from extremely hard times endured through two World Wars.  But whatever the reason, the French respect not only the food but the person who grows and prepares the food.  They have a reverence for both.  Food is not just something to sustain their bodies.  “For me, the food I like to make is the food I can enjoy all the time anytime. It’s not too calculated or technical.” ~ Daniel Boulud

“If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.” ~ Fernand Point

 

There, my friends, you have it ~ the details of my new series.  For now, I plan to do a post on the third Wednesday of each month, beginning on Wednesday, September 18.  I hope you will join me and follow along on this little adventure into another realm of beauty and its deliciousness ~ ‘At Table.’

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Petite Copper Saucepan | Shop The Cook's Atelier | Beaune, France

 

“In all professions without doubt, but certainly in cooking one is a student all his life.” ~ Fernand Point

Bon Appétit,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ September 8, 2019

“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This week has been project garden. We’ve been busy shuffling shrubs, treating lawns and sawing down trees to make our garden ‘summer…

Good Sunday morning, my friends.  It is always so good to see you and I do hope you will enjoy your visit this morning.

We have seen some heartbreaking times these past few weeks, haven’t we?  From Hurrican Dorian, which brought such horrific devastation to the Bahamas, as well as significant flooding and damage all along the east coast.  Then there were the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio and the awful boat fire in California.  All, so very sad.  But as this blog is about beauty, goodness, and inspiration, I felt the opening quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (1749~1832) might serve as a nice way to begin our day.

“One exquisite picture…” Claude monet The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists 1897The Seine at Giverny, by Claude Monet

“One good poem”1 x SOLIDAGO Goldkind - 9cm Pot

 

“In The Days Of The Golden-Rod” ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

“Across the meadow in brooding shadow
I walk to drink of the autumn’s wine­
The charm of story, the artist’s glory,
To-day on these silvering hills is mine;
On height, in hollow, where’er I follow,
By mellow hillside and searing sod,
Its plumes uplifting, in light winds drifting,
I see the glimmer of golden-rod.

In this latest comer the vanished summer
Has left its sunshine the world to cheer,
And bids us remember in late September
What beauty mates with the passing year.
The days that are fleetest are still the sweetest,
And life is near to the heart of God,
And the peace of heaven to earth is given
In this wonderful time of the golden-rod.”

And… “hear a little song.”  ~ visit here

Louis Armstrong by ‪‎Art Kane‬, 1958 Louis Daniel Armstrong (1901~1971), see notes at the end of this post.

 

And now I will attempt to “say a few sensible words.”

As you will note, I did not post an image in sequence with the words of Goethe.  This was done intentionally, as I wanted to leave you with something beautiful to carry in your heart.  The music and lyrics of “What A Wonderful World.”  Because, in spite of all the many terrible tragedies, I still believe it is a “Wonderful World,” and I pray you do, too.   

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And…

Until we meet again, may the angels walk with you and watch over you.

 

Dahlia 'Blanc y Verde' is the most extraordinary white dahlia I've ever seen, sent to me to trial by a Dutch friend. It looks more like a mini globe artichoke than a dahlia, with green bracts right down the stem.

Thinking off all those who perished and those whose lives are forever changed due to recent tragedies.

 

Amour,

Sandra

Notes:  “What a Wonderful World” (1970 Spoken Introduction Version) along with Oliver Nelson’s Orchestra is a song written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1967. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world (Thiele as a producer and Weiss as a composer/performer). Armstrong’s recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was initially offered to Tony Bennett, who turned it down. Thereafter, it was offered to Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana.  (This information and the song is via YouTube.)
Images:  via Pinterest

Sunday Thoughts ~ September 1, 2019

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” ~ J.K. Rowling

“It was a morning of ground mist, yellow sunshine, and high rifts of blue, white-cloud-dappled sky. The leaves were still thick on the trees, but de-spangled gossamer threads hung on the bushes and the shrill little cries of unrest of the swallows skimming the green open park spaces of the park told of autumn and change.” ~Flora Thompson

my-place-of-recovery: “♡ ”

“This strangely still pause between summer and autumn, greenery and gold, and the heat and rising wind that is once again readying itself to rush it all away in a climactic symphony of colour and scent is ~ in my opinion, one of the best parts of living on Earth.” ~ Victoria Erickson 

“Ah, September!  You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul.” ~ Peggy Toney Horton

 

Dear friends, it is hard to believe today is September 1, as it seems as though we were just graciously visited by the brilliant yellow daffodils of spring.  However, in a few short days, we will welcome the glorious autumn.   I hope the autumn months will bring you and yours great joy.  May you be drenched from head to toe in the beauty of this magnificent season.  

And, as Elizabeth Lawrence reminds us…

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.”

Be sure you do!

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Summer Recipes

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living…” ~ Dione Lucas

Good morning, everyone.  As many of you know, I enjoy cooking.  However, during these late summer days, I am especially fond of preparing recipes which can be put together in the morning and pulled from the refrigerator when it is time to serve.  Doing so always makes me feel as though there was an elf in the kitchen.  So today, I am sending a few favorites.  

Zesty Marinated Shrimp makes a great appetizer or first course and is wonderful on top of a salad with the sauce as a vinaigrette.

The first is one of Mike’s all-time favorites, Marinated Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts.  He is always beyond happy when he knows this is on the menu.

Marinated Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup dry white wine ( I use a Pinot Grigio)

1 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 clove minced garlic

2 pounds medium/large shrimp, cooked, peeled, and tails removed

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts(not marinated), drained and halved

1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, wine, parsley, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and garlic – set aside.  In a large food-storage container, combine shrimp, artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, and onion.  Add marinade, cover the container tightly, and shake it, to coat shrimp and vegetables with the marinade.  Refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours, shaking occasionally.

Serve with nice crusty bread and your favorite rosé or white wine.

Note:  If you can find artichoke quarters, they are perfect and will save you time cutting.

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

Gazpacho is a cool and refreshing chilled soup and is a perfect addition to your next outdoor picnic.

This recipe was given to me by a neighbor way too many years ago.  It is wonderful for lunch and also for dinner when served with a salad and bread.  And it is quite refreshing when the temperatures are in the upper 90’s.

Gazpacho

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup peeled and chopped cucumber

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 can tomato soup undiluted

1 soup can of water

1 and 1/2 cups of regular V-8 juice

1 Tbls. red wine vinegar

1 Tbls. prepared Italian dressing

A good dash of garlic salt

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

4 dashes of hot sauce

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or pitcher, mix well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least all day.  Stir well and serve cold in bowls or mugs.

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” ~ Laurie Colwin

This salad is one I have prepared so many times, I no longer need to look at the recipe.  

A photo of a white serving bowl of blackbean salsa surrounded by tortill chips. The salsa is filled with chunks of green bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, black beans, corn, and red onion.

Mexican Salad

1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped

3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cups frozen corn, thawed 

 1/2 cup peeled cucumber, diced

 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced

small red onion, chopped

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

 2 tablespoons honey, or orange juice

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro (I use parsley)

Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Top with tomatoes, beans, pepper, corn kernels, radishes, cucumber, and avocado. Next, whisk lime juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, and cilantro in a small bowl to combine.  Pour dressing over the salad and toss.  I double the dressing.

Note:  This salad can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator, with the avocado and dressing left off until just before serving. 

“My love for ice cream emerged at an early age ~ and has never left.” ~ Ginger Rogers

While anytime is a good time for ice cream, sometimes it is overlooked as a dessert.  I think we often stress over a more time-consuming recipe when it isn’t necessary.  Ice cream is a lovely and easy dessert.  And is ever so scrumptious when topped with Ina Garten’s raspberry sauce.

A cup of vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries.

I began making this sauce several years ago to use as a topping for cheesecake (always Mike’s requested birthday cake).  But I also learned,  it turns a dish of vanilla ice cream into a marvelous indulgence.

Ina Garten’s Raspberry Sauce

1 half-pint package fresh raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur

Place the rinsed raspberries, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into blender and process until smooth. Chill.  If so desired, garnish ice cream with a sprig of fresh mint and a few fresh raspberries.

“Great cooking favors the prepared hands.” ~ Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin's polenta with mushroom ragout - Houston Chronicle

 

Dear friends, I hope you will try and enjoy these recipes.  Should you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

And for everyone who enjoys cooking, stay tuned, there just might be something new happening on the blog.

Know how much I appreciate your visit and I always enjoy hearing from you. 

Wishing you a wonderful day!

 

 

Bon appétit,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:  A reminder: On the home page of this blog there is a section titled recipe archive, where you will find all recipes previously posted.

Images: via Pinterest 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Country Wisdom

“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.” ~ Rick Riordan

porch sitting [via pinterest.com vintage black&whites]

Good Sunday morning, everyone.  Much has been written over the years in support of and about, ‘country wisdom.’  Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, country wisdom was freely dispensed to children by their elders.  It was not until I grew up, married, and left our beautiful hills, did I realize not everyone in the world had been so blessed.

This week I have been trying to arrange my volumes of collected words and thoughts into some semblance of order.  A time-consuming project because, of course, I have to read them all.  Anyway, in my sorting,  I came across a piece I want to share this morning.  I hope you will appreciate the insight and enjoy the humor.  Because both, are the summation of country wisdom.  

Advice from An Old Farmer ~ unknown


“Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don‘t interfere with ‘somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop ‘diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every ‘mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than ‘puttin’ it back in.

If you get to ‘thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try ‘orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.”

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

oldfarmhouse: ““Let the light shine” https://www.instagram.com/susanlicht ”

 

Wishing you and yours a lovely day, full of joy.

And…

May your week ahead be filled with kind people and happy moments.

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ The Little Things

“Joy comes to us in moments ~ ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” ~ Dr. Brene Brown 

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“It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder

“Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” ~ Unknown

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Magic is not necessarily a big thing. A delicious morning coffee with someone you care about, aware and grateful for that moment all the time it’s happening, is as wonder full as a rabbit out of a hat, if you’re willing to see it that way. Magic does not have to be in capitalized to be magical.” ~ Jonathan Carroll

. - https://weheartit.com/entry/263456698

“I shall take my morning tea with the birds and the trees and the bumbling bees.” ~ Freya Turrill

afaerytalelife: “ Coloured Water, by Grace Chi. ”

“In solitude, we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to details around us.” ~ Virginia Woolf

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn

by brittanyyork

 

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit this morning. 

May you find great joy in the ‘little things’ ~ today, and every day.

And…

May the angels walk beside you, wherever you roam.

 

“The Lord likes small things best, especially those done with love.” ~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Images: via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rays of Light

“…Every day I discover even more beautiful things. It is intoxicating me, and I want to paint it all – my head is bursting…” ~ Claude Monet

Good morning, dear friends and welcome to Maison De Jardin (The Garden House).  I am so happy to see you and I love your visits.  It is always wonderful to enjoy friends and hear their comments, even virtually. 

While unlike Claude Monet, artistic ability is not a talent I possess.  Therefore, I cannot paint the lovely things I see.  But, I can tell you the stunning array of beautiful things which constantly comes across my path certainly makes my head whirl.  So do come in, make yourself at home, and enjoy your coffee/tea while I share a few off these lovely things.  Perhaps a little inspiration?

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“May all those who enter as guests, leave as friends.” ~ unknown (I hope you will.)

“In the presence of Beauty, there is quiet contentedness.” ~ unknown

“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” ~ Claude Monet

I think it would be simply marvelous to be seated in a comfortable chair, appreciating the beauty of the fog, the ocean, and watching the artist at work.  “Quiet contentedness.

It was morning; through the high window, I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion. ~ Hermann Hesse

Isn’t it wonderful to greet the light of a new day?  Light is a true blessing ~ in many ways.   Perhaps, these thoughts stem from my childhood.  When I would go to bed at night, my mom would always open the curtains and say, “Honey, you want to make your wish upon the stars and you want the sun to greet you in the morning.”  Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the outside.  To me, it is wonderful to see the stars and greet the morning.   

The person who designed our old home must also have loved light, as she has many windows with the light always pouring in. This is a blessing, especially in the winter, as there are many gray days in North Central West Virginia.

lescoupsdecoeurdetara: “. ”

“Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.” ~ Lynda Resnickic

Beautiful windows are a pure delight for me.  To see the sunlight bouncing around a room makes me almost giddy.  And, what a lovely spot this is with nature as your companion.  A perfect place to enjoy, while reading a marvelous book, sipping a cup of tea, or giving serious thought to an untold novel which has been spinning around in your head for years.  By the way, mine is titled, “The Girl in The Blue Coat.”  And yours?  

“Live in rooms full of light.” ~ Cornelius Celsus

“I look out of this window and I think this is a cosmos, this is a huge creation, this is one small corner of it. The trees and birds and everything else and I’m part of it.” ~  Morris West

“Beauty is unobtrusive, subtle, nuanced.  It is only there for those with the eyes to see.” ~ unknown
Dappled light is also something quite special.  The beauty it creates is Heaven sent, simply for our enjoyment.   The dappled light, painted at random, on this wonderful old home only adds to her beauty. To enjoy a meal on her terrace would be a pure delight. 
When we notice the details of beauty, it makes our lives sweeter. And, by sharing our awareness of such details, we are are also able to enrich the lives of others.
Cherish sunsets, wild creatures, and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth.” ~  Stewart Udall

1lifeinspired: “♥ ”

Ah, to see sunlight on the water, dancing like glittering diamonds, is an exquisite sight.  It looks as though the beautiful swan is enjoying it too.

 

 

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before?  What if I knew I would never see it again?” ~ Rachel Carson

Capri & the Amalfi Coast Capri, along the Amalfi Coast of Italy. 

The light is magnificent and breathtaking.  Such amazing beauty certainly would open one’s eyes.

“A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant,” 1820

yellowrose543: “Had to share this @WeHeartIt ”

The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread.” ~  D. H. Lawrence

In such a lovely place, I would stand in awe of the beauty and wonder about all those who have enjoyed the same, years before me.  The light creates a bit of magic in this photo, along with the pretty hand-tied bouquet. 

“To love beauty is to see light.” ~ Victor Hugo

In closing, certainly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the most important light ~ the one ‘which shines from within.’  Each and every one of us is born with such light.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it seems as though this light has been snuffed out for too many souls on this earth.  

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Now more than ever,  I believe with a heavy hand, we must scatter beauty and its light to everyone and every place we roam.  And, in any way we can, put a light in places where we see darkness.  By doing so, we enhance humanity.  And, to keep our inner light burning brightly, we must feed it with wonderful inspiration.  Feed it with our dreams and the things which make our heart pound a little harder.  For each of us, certainly, these things will be different as well as the inspiration which feeds them.

For me, my dream is to see the Lavender Fields of France.  It is hard to explain, but in my heart, I know I am meant to see this part of our glorious world.  

So, dear friends, whatever your dream/dreams maybe, or the inspiration you desire, remember to,   “Drop your fears and pick up your dreams. The world needs dreamers like you. You are the light of a brighter world.”    Really, you are!

 

 

Wishing you a beautiful summer day.

 

And… 

 

May your day be filled with kind people and happy moments.

 

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:  Ending quote ~ Liam Tinker

Images:  via tumblr