Friday, July 30, 2010

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever!

I am going to jump in here with Julie's idea of 'recipe of the week', and add this salad for our selection this week. Tuesday night we hosted a barbecue at our house for our Bible Study Group. One lady brought a delicious macaroni salad. The title of the recipe was 'Mom's Best Macaroni Salad', and it really was the best I've ever had. She told me she got the recipe from '', so I borrowed the photo from them, and the recipe I printed off to keep for myself. Here it is, and it's worth the chopping work!
Mom's Best Macaroni Salad
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Servings: 16
16 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
4 carrots, shredded
1 large red onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped celery, chopped fine
2 cups mayonnaise
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the carrots, red onion, green pepper, red pepper and celery. Mix in the mayonnaise, condensed milk, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the macaroni, toss gently, then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. A good way to do this, is to make it up a day ahead of time, and stir occasionally to blend the flavors. The macaroni absorbs some of the liquid.
This salad has such a sweet, creamy taste and texture...yum. Try it out for your next potluck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's always nice to get a little something new. Last Christmas my daughter Joy gave me a sort-of purple metal star. At first I didn't know what I would do with it. This spring I found a nail already in the siding out back, so I hung it there and have appreciated it ever since. It fills in an empty spot so nicely, and adds some character to the bare siding. The color also contrasts really well with the yellow of our house. So, this summer I decided I needed one more star for our garden shed out back. It has a window on one side, but the front is definitely bland. This past week-end I tried out a new store I have been meaning to get to for a while now. It's called Real Deals and is a chain of stores across the U.S. I found myself a new star there, and brought it home, where the insurance man promptly hung it up on our shed.
Ah....much better!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comfort in the Familiar #2

Last Friday I drove to Camp Tadmor, about two hours from here, to pick up Kory and Kendall, my granddaughters. It is a beautiful drive over the Cascades, which I greatly enjoyed, but driving up the mountain on the gravel road to Tadmor brought back so many fond memories. I have been going to Tadmor since the summer I was first married, 39 years ago. At that time, I attended Women's camp along with alot of other Christian women from Oregon, my mother and sister-in-law, and other friends. I can still remember all the fun we had...making crafts, swimming and walking around the lake, listening and learning from great speakers and the good food. Eventually, I brought my first baby along that first summer after she was born, and then graduated to leaving the kids at home with Dad for the week-end. It was a wonderful way to get some quality time with God and with friends. He then would attend Men's camp in September, often with his Dad.
Over the years I have spent time at Tadmor with close friends, and have even had the privilege of bringing two of my grown daughters with me to enjoy Women's camp. They however, grew up going to kid's camp at Tadmor, and knew the camp well. All three of my daughters loved Tadmor, and have wonderful memories of the time spent. Julie however, spent the most time there, having served many summers on staff at Tadmor as a counselor, and she even brought her fiance Peter with her on her final summer there, so he could also have the 'Tadmor' experience. The insurance man and I have had dozens of good trips up to Tadmor, either going, getting our girls there, visiting Julie, or picking them up. The trip to Tadmor has been part and parcel of our lives for a long time.
Now time has moved on, and it is our granddaughter's turn to enjoy Camp Tadmor. Last Friday I went to pick up Kendall (left), Kory (middle) and their friend Whitney (right) from High School Camp. They had just finished a rousing finish to their week, and were in high spirits. (So was the staffer behind them, who used every conceivable trick to get in whatever photos I took...) I picked them up at the same forum space, which has changed little in 40 years. We walked down to the coffee shop (which has changed, as it used to be called the 'snack shop', and there were no mocha's or lattes!), and picked up the money they had left in credit there. The Tadmor cabins are mostly the same, but for the additions of a sort of tent-cabin, and tee pees and such for overflow. The dinning hall was just as usual with the new addition this summer of planters out front, filled with roses and blooming flowers. Some new lady must have taken control of that : )

We walked back up the same path we have been walking for all these years, and past the lake. The lake is the same, except for the addition of a long water slide, and the 'blob', a huge striped air-filled bag that the kids are catapulted onto and it skyrockets them upward before they crash back into the water...Kendall says it hurts! Also new is the ropes...for those not afraid of heights. It is rope climbing and swinging among the trees, and most of the kids love it.

Also new is the amount of luggage each girl is allowed to bring. We couldn't fit it all into our trunk, so each had a garbage bag filled with their pillow and sleeping bag on their laps on the way home. Do girls really need that many clothes?? How many pairs of jeans, really?

What hasn't changed is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is so plainly evidenced in every aspect of Tadmor. Fun and games there are in plenty, but each camper has always had and continues to have time and reason to hear the message, and to grow in their walk with God. Ah...the sweet memories. Thank you Lord, for comfort in the familiar, but especially in the familiarity of walking closely by your side, and growing in your example.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trusting and Not Fretting

I've been reading in the Proverbs lately. There's so much there to convict and instruct. This verse struck me particularly:
"The foolishness of a man twists his way,
And his heart frets against the Lord."
Proberbs 19:3
There are several things in my life, that I know are the will of God, that I am still fretting over. As soon as I read this, I was convicted, asked for forgiveness, and let go of the anxiety. I foolishly twist my own way instead of trusting that's the Lord's way will be straight.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Fabulous Flapjacks

When browsing through some breakfast recipes on another blog that were entries in a contest, I copy and pasted several of them to try. This is one of the ones I found there that I tried out this week. I have to admit to being a little surprised that they were as good as they were. I don't use pancake mix. I always make my pancakes from scratch. I usually use multiple grains and always buttermilk for the best pancakes. Since this recipe doesn't call for buttermilk and uses a couple of ingredients that are not what I typically use in pancakes, I wasn't sure. But I was interested to try them. I'm glad I did. As our family has grown, it has become a major production to put enough pancakes on the table for everyone. We have reduced how often we make them for this reason. This recipe makes it more accessible again for a fairly quick breakfast that's different than toast or cereal.
It's a mix! (I love things I can prepare ahead). Better for you than a mix from the store, but easier than the typical homemade pancakes. A great solution for me.

It's easy enough for my kids to add the wet ingredients and make these without my help.

They're a nice, substantial and filling pancake without being dry at all. And they have a special, unique taste with oats and cinnamon that is different than any other pancakes we've had. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, but I love them!
Fabulous Flapjacks
Mix: 2c all purpose flour 2c whole wheat flour 4 c quick cooking oats 1 c brown sugar, packed 1 c dry milk 3 T baking powder 2 T cinnamon 1 1/2 t salt 1/2 t cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Transfer to an air-tight container or plastic bag till ready to use.

To make them: (I have this written on the plastic bag I store the mix in so I can mix up a batch quickly!) 2 c. pancake mix 2 eggs, beaten 1/3 c. oil 1 c water (Optional: add strawberries, bananas, blueberries, walnuts, chocolate chips etc)

Blend wet ingredients (eggs, oil, water). Add mix and stir just until incorporated. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Heat large non-stick skillet or griddle. Lightly oil and pour 1/4 c batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on top of pancake. Turn and cook other side till golden.

These stick with you for awhile. We enjoy lathering them with Greek (or vanilla/plain) yogurt and adding a taste of maple syrup.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comfort in the Familiar

Yesterday when I harvested the second rhubarb plant, I brought some into the house to use. Today, I chopped it up and made rhubarb bread. I doubled my recipe so it made four loaves. I am bringing some sliced to church on Sunday for our refreshment time after the service, and the rest will be a treat for company over the week-end. It sure made the house smell good this afternoon.
The recipe I pulled out for the rhubarb bread was from a good friend of mine, back when our children were babies together. We made this bread when we were first married, and we have been enjoying it ever since. There is comfort in pulling out a favorite recipe, and doing a familiar task. This bread gets made most every year in our kitchen. I put on a new apron, and some old music from a by-gone era, and enjoyed my baking time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grandson Post

OK Sam, Will, Ben and Cal...this one's for you! I was out harvesting my big rhubarb plant this morning, and found this little guy happy as can be under the big wet leaves. He blends in really well to his surroundings don't you think? In actuality he was a silvery grey color with rust colored stripes along his cheeks. Can you boys tell me what kind he is? He wasn't too happy that I was taking his hiding place away, but he did stay still long enough to let me take his photo. Very obliging frog.

I have now pulled up all the stalks on my two large rhubarb plants, and taken them to a friend who is running a veggie stand not too far away. The first plant I pulled last week, and it is growing back quickly, and I expect is healthy for them. I took them for him to sell for his profit, but today he offered a large cantaloupe and a basket of blueberries in trade. I love barter!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Anniversary 4-wheeler trip

Last Saturday was our 39th anniversary. The insurance man and I chose to celebrate by going camping in our camp trailer. We headed off together on Friday afternoon to the Ochoco hills, about an hour's drive from home. We camped at a small Forest Service campground called 'Wildcat Campground' in a small canyon. Mill Creek runs through the canyon, and this year there is plenty of water in the creek. We sat under big pine trees and listened to the water gurgle and splash. We did some hiking, visited with friends who came up and joined us, and took a wonderful ride on our 4-wheeler. I rode along behind... and you can see I have a 'Taj-Mahal' kind of seat back there. We took a sometimes dirt, and sometimes gravel forest service road up the left side of the canyon. It wound back and forth through various ridges. The scenery was so beautiful and special I am going to make a stab at describing it to you.

A little stream was running along side the road, and was so pure and clear you could see every color of stone lining the bottom of it. There were various fir, cedar, and tall pine trees. The rain has been so heavy and late this year that the new growth on the trees was lush. The firs had branches that looked like a moss green velvet, while the new pine needles were soft and bright green. The sun sparkled in an inverted bowl of deepest blue, with no cloud from horizon to horizon. The smell of the sunlight on the forest floor of brown pine needles was just heady. An opaque half moon on the rise glowed in the eastern sky above the pine spires stretching up into the sky. On the left side of the road the hills and ridges rose above us. To our right, the land sloped away gently down. There were thick stands of trees, often broken by forest meadows of tall grass, interspersed with old fashioned pink rose bushes in full bloom and white daisies dotting the grass as far as I could see (this is no exaggeration, believe me). Sometimes the meadows also had large patches of wild lupine, in lavender and dark purple. Butterflies flitted on both sides of us, various varieties of black & white, yellow, orange and reddish brown. When we stopped there were no sounds except for bird calls, and once the harsh scream of a bird of prey. On our way we saw soft-eyed cows munching the meadow grass, plentiful deer that ran across our path and on up the hill, cottontail rabbits darting under the brush and a coyote. As we neared the top, we could see for miles and discovered ridge after ridge of soft blue-green forests and meadows fading out into a far valley below.

We were in a designated wilderness area, and the trip showed once again why we love living in Oregon. Both of us being native Oregonians, we are so blessed that God has planted us here in this amazing and diverse State. It was good to get out, relax and enjoy creation.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dinner and Recipe of the Week

A photograph of a recent dinner, including something new that I tried. Chicken Scallopini with 3 Cheeses, herbed pasta and steamed broccoli.
The chicken recipe was new. It was good but really SMOTHERED in cheese according to the recipe's amounts.
I thought I might try something else new and begin to post a recipe of the week. Since cooking is what I love and what I do a lot of, I thought maybe I'd do a regular post about it. We'll see what we think....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I just love roses, and all things with roses. Living here in Central Oregon has always been a challenge for me in gardening, because I can't grow the lovely tea roses I was used to in Seattle, and I especially miss the rosebuds just before they open. I got brave enough a few years ago to try some old-fashioned climbing roses, and wonder of wonders they thrived!
They are still not the double, full rose blooms of my younger days, but they are pretty with their deep red single petals, yellow centers and day-long life span. They are especially pretty this season, as about a hundred burst into bloom
all at once last week. I also love the fact that they climb up and cover the arbor the insurance man built for us.
I have another couple of bushes here at the bird bath, and I can see these through my front screen door and the birds drinking and bathing happily among the roses.
Yes, with a little perseverance, even roses will bloom in the High Desert.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Butterflies are back!

All creatures great and small, the good Lord God made them all.
This morning the insurance man and I took pieces of fresh-from-the-oven blueberry and pecan coffee cake out to the garden to eat breakfast. We sat in our new pergola, with our newly planted garden around us and watched the butterflies. It was rather warm already, so the birds were still, which left the butterflies flitting from flower to flower and over our heads and back again. There were several varieties, including the beautiful Monarchs. They are late this season, but they are back in style.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Old Bottles

"I Love Old Things, ones that were made to last, and have lasted. I love them because they bring me closer to the past from which I grew, and to those who made and used them. I love them because I admire ingenuity, skill, and design, and because I feel that it is right to cherish that which has been cherished by those who came before me." Harold Darling
Another great comfort to me are old things to cherish, enjoy and care for. Last year my in-laws were cleaning out their basement. They gave us a wonderful set of old bookshelves that came from an old doctors office in Burns where they live. They also gave us their collection of things acquired while scouting and hunting in the desert south of Burns over the years. These items were packed in boxes, and stored until yesterday. I got busy and started unrolling each newspaper wrapped item, and found that mostly the collection consisted of old jars and bottles.
After I finished unpacking them all on our ping pong table, the collection looked like the photo above. The largest one is a beautiful purple, and was originally a container to hold straws (at a soda fountain I guess). The smallest is a beautiful cobalt blue, with the tiniest little metal screw cap. They were made for a variety of purposes, and according to the 'labels' imprinted in the glass came from all across America and found their way to Harney County in SE Oregon.
They are all these gorgeous colors...of course the purple ones were clear glass originally...but have turned color in the sun. The whiskey flask in the back right, is the deepest royal purple and looks lovely held up to the light.

There were several old canning jars, and I just love old canning jars. One again is a beautiful shade of purple. There were about five pint sized canning jars, and I never knew they existed. They seem really small to hold much except maybe preserves. But they sure are cute! Two of the pints have their original glass lids and metal rings that hold them in place to seal. Two of them have ridges in their glass sides. Such beauty and originality, even when made for functionality.

The jars were closed in several ways, depending on their contents and use. Here are several glass lids or stoppers. The one on the left front is a deep deep green, but it didn't show up well in the photo.

Here are some metal screw caps that have survived the elements...

and even some corks that plugged up the long-necked bottles.
I am very thankful for the years that my in-laws spent digging in settlers 'garbage' pits, and all the beautiful glass that wasn't destroyed.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The comfort of flowers

Comfort #3 (in no particular order of relevance) for me today is flowers. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows how much I love flowers. All things floral are a great blessing and comfort to me. I live where it is difficult to grow blooming things, and yet have worked diligently to create a garden oasis here on the High Desert, with very modest success. Still, it is an oasis for me in so many ways. God has placed me here, and I have borrowed the maxim "bloom where you are planted". Along with cutting and enjoying the flowers my yard does yield, inside our home, I have a few really nice vases to put them in. Another blessing...inheriting older, beautiful belongings. The last of the items on my list to share of the things I inherited from my Mom's Aunt Minnie, were several vases. I always bring out the one above in spring, to enjoy the first blooms of the season.
This vase is taller and with a beautiful neutral cream color and classic shape is always a wonderful receptacle for my larger branches and flowers.

In winter I keep some dry or silk flowers in a vase on my dining room table. We have long winters here, and the price of fresh flowers keeps me using the same silk ones from year to year. But isn't it wonderful that they have perfected the art of imitating real flowers so well?

This is the same vase, but it's hard to see through the flowers and leaves. I can put quite a large bouquet in it, and the green color goes with most any flower color. I love to grow, pick and arrange flowers, leaves, branches, berries and stems according to what's available in the yard. I just wish they would last a little longer!
This year spring just didn't exist. We have not really left behind winter totally. Yesterday was only in the high 50's, and I had to turn on the heat in the house, as well as cover some of the garden from frost. This on July 2nd! Needless to say, my flowers and plants have not been up to even our usual standard. However, there is a lot of green out there due to the high amount of rain and drizzle, and even green is prized in our high desert environment. There are just enough flowers peeking through the green to satisfy my cravings, and I am thankful.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Morning by morning

Comfort #1
"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
...morning by morning new mercies I see." My chief comfort in life lies in reading my Bible.
Each morning (most mornings) I grab my coffee, find my Bible and my spot, and settle in for some reproof, correction and instruction, as well as communing time with God. Isn't that incredible? That I/we CAN commune with Almighty God, the creator and sustainer of the the world! In season and out, day by day, reading God's Holy Word comforts exceedingly. There are no adequate words to express gratitude for this most blessed of comforts, that God so lovingly provided for his children. So I just say, thank you God.