A Summer Breakfast

Good morning friends! Summer mornings are my favorite times to relax with a great cup of coffee! ( Soon our new deck will be done and I’ll be sitting out there with it, see a future post.) I’ve been using almond milk lately, the trick to optimum flavor is to add a bit extra. I found that lactose free milk still wasn’t agreeing with me as it’s dairy. Along with my cup of java I enjoy a fresh fruit cup of raspberries, blueberries, bananas, golden raisins and almonds. I never would have thought this would fill me up…but it does and not only that it’s fresh and delicious!

Other summer mornings I indulge in my peanut butter oatmeal cup, banana slices and Teddie natural peanut butter or gluten free toast with peanut butter.

While I eat in the still moments of morning, birds calls and chirps can be heard. The bright welcoming sun peeks in the windows…a new day has began! Thank God for this quiet start to a new day!

What is your favorite summer breakfast? Do you enjoy a cup of coffee first thing?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Putting up Cilantro & Cilantro Hummus

Cilantro is an interesting herb with a pungent wild scent that lingers on my fingers after picking. The woodsy green plant sports beautiful leaves and sprigs. I discovered cilantro a few years ago and have been growing it ever since. I love the taste added to different dishes especially salsa and hummus!

My favorite thing to do with it is to add it to salsa for a fresh taste. This year I stumbled upon a recipe for Cilantro Hummus on Pinterest and have made it twice now. It skips using Tahini but uses fresh garden Cilantro, chick peas, salt and pepper and olive oil. I love it with gluten free pretzels or spread on a veggie sandwich!

Yesterday I picked a bunch of Cilantro, washed it, dried it with paper towels and chopped it up fine. Next I put a bit in each ice cube tray, topped it off with olive oil and water so it would freeze quickly. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place in a marked freezer bag. When I wish to cook with the herb I simply need to get a cube out of the bag! It’s easy! I also do this with my Basil.

Here is my adapted version of the recipe I found on foodfaithfitness.com. Her recipe includes Jalapeno and Tom and I don’t eat it, it’s too spicy for us.

You will need for my version:

1- 15 oz can Chickpeas drained ( I buy Goya)

2-3 Tbsp. Cilantro finely chopped ( I have a Pampered Chef Garlic press…it’s great!)

2 cloves garlic peeled

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Water

Place everything in food processor or blender. Add Olive oil and water. Blend until smooth. Now you are done! I stored mine in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Serve with pita chips, pretzels, fresh veggie crudités or spread on a sandwich. Delicious!

Where Are the Corn Ears?

It’s early August and at this point of the summer I go out twice to my garden. First in the morning it’s weeding and hoeing work between rows in the fresh air. Next I haul the hose over and water it if it hasn’t rained recently. Later in the afternoon I saunter out in the bright sunshine with my new garden tray I bought at a flea market. With scissors in hand I walk the plot with intentions of finding veggies that are ready for picking. Lately we are getting deep green zucchini, cilantro, basil, lettuce ( it’s actually going by now), cucumbers, some spinach and green beans.

I’ve noticed our sweet corn is tall and seems to be crowning with tassels but there appears to be hardly any ears of corn! Why do you think this would happen, poor irrigation? Pollination problems? Anyway usually our corn is ready by late August so I’m predicting that’s not enough time for them to grow, right? Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m reminded that every year something doesn’t grow as planned and that forces me to become an investigator of sorts to solve the problem.

Yesterday I broke the news to my husband, the man whose total garden focus is corn. He went right out there inspecting the stalks and remains hopeful that some will grow, just later than usual. If we don’t yield corn I’ll stop by the local farmer’s market and stock up or the freezer. That will be a bummer so I pray that we have our own!

Has this ever happened to you before? Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance for your insight.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Italian Pasta Salad ( With Garden Veggies)

One day of picking. I’m so blessed!

This is a little pasta salad side dish that you can serve on a steamy summer night. I love the fact that you can incorporate fresh garden veggies! Enjoy!

½ box 4 oz. corkscrew pasta

½ bottle or so Italian dressing

Broccoli florets, handful

Chopped zucchini or summer squash

Chopped fresh basil

Handful chopped pepperconi peppers

Parmesan cheese to taste

Book Suggestions

Some oldies but goodies on my book shelf

For the last year I’ve abandoned reading fictional novels and started reading self help books. Now after reading Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I’m desiring a good fictional book to read for the summer. Sometimes I look at my local library as well as a revisit to my bookshelf for a book that was so good that I’d read it twice or more.

I recommend any book by Anita Shreve. I loved The Pilot’s Wife as well as The Weight of Water. Jodi Piccoult, an author who lives in my native state of New Hampshire, is one of my favorites as well. She’s written Nineteen Minutes, a novel every educator should read about school violence and bullying and who is at fault. Other of Piccoult’s titles include Plain Fear, a mystery of a dead baby set in Amish country, House Rules, a story about a teenaged boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is obsessed with solving crime scenes until he becomes a suspect himself.

Shared from Bibliolectors.tumblr.com

Years ago I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, an amazing story that I read in just a few hours. ( I loved the movie as well!) Fannie Flagg is the author, a writer with a poignant style of writing, who portrays the characters with such precision, I feel that I have met them in person! If you love that book you may enjoy Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.

My latest book wish list is tucked in my pocketbook and I’ll bring it to the local library on my next visit. It’s close enough to walk to on a clear sunny day. If they don’t have the book, the head Librarian Karla signs up for an inter library loan and obtains the book from another library.

Here’s my generated wish list:

Conviction by Denise Mina

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keene

The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro 

Don’t you just live these little Free Libraries? I found this one in my sister- in- law’s town of Northampton, Massachusetts.

What good summer books are you reading? Do you have any great suggestions for me to add to my list?

Happy Reading, friends!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😃

The Art of Stacked Wood

It’s hot and steamy July, a month when one usually doesn’t think of frigid New England winters. Yet soon enough it will be upon us and that’s my husband’s mindset. He knows how frigid and snowy it becomes here and his steadfast winter preparedness drives him to find wood.

Recently Tom bought wood from his friend Mike, cut from his land in our town. He’s been hauling in it, cutting it on the wood splitter and stacking it neatly. So far he has accumulated about three or four cords. We will probably need at least three or four more, enough to last about ten months. We primarily heat our house with our trusty wood stove besides the little kerosene monitor we have in the kitchen.

This is what Tom is expecting next year! Gotta have plenty of wood!

In the last few summers I enjoy going out and working with Tom. He cuts and I stack, which is an excellent work-out for me. Last summer I spotted a huge black and yellow snake living in the wood pile and since then I’m a bit jumpy and nervous about helping. We have far too many snakes on our property and they creep me out!

When we go on our summer country rides and back dirt roads I appreciate spotting stacked wood piles. It means someone else is planning ahead! It’s amazing to see who still burn wood here. With that said, I’ve heard that many have resorted to burning pellets. It may be convenient and maybe cheaper but you can’t stack bags nor admire their beauty in someone’s yard, right?

Forgive the picture quality, it was through a closed window. See what visited us the other morning? We were having our coffee in the living room and spotted a couple of does in our side yard. They’re so graceful and fun to watch this time of year! I feel beyond blessed to live with these beauties!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

The Challenges of Walking the Cat

Smokey getting used to the leash last summer.

When walking the cat you never yank on the leash

or ELSE!

When walking the cat you prepare

for a hissy fit or

a snotty hiss

if he doesn’t get his way!

When walking the cat be ready for skittish jumps

as loud raging motorcycles race by

When walking the cat hope that baby birds,

snakes or chipmunks aren’t within close range!

Be quiet and calm when walking the cat

Never run beside them

not sure why this threatens him but it does

Be ready for stops along the way for

the cat to rest in tall grass

Or in the sultry heat

of the greenhouse

( my cat adores the greenhouse)

When walking the cat

definitely have a sense of humor

because you never know what’s going to happen!

The safest thing to do

is to cuddle with your cat in the blankets!

Out precious Smokey❤️

On a side note we started walking our cat Smokey last year because he was obsessively licking off his fur in patches. We thought it was a skin condition but the vet thought he had anxiety. Maybe his stress was from not being able to go outside. Our daughter- in- law suggested taking him for walks on a leash, like she does for her cat Smokey Joe.

Over the years we lost two cats to coydogs and one was hit by a car by our driveway. We don’t want to go through that again and so our two kitties were always stay in cats. In March we lost our oldest cat Katy to kidney disease. Now poor Smokey is alone most days when we work. I imagine he sleeps most of the day. I have the summer off so I’m here to keep him company but even so, he’s a cat so he sleeps most of the morning. After lunch we walk around the yard, sometimes twice a day if he’s in a good mood and he behaves on the leash!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😽

An Easy 4th of July Dessert

Cream Horn Medallions

Thanks to my cousin Holly for bringing these yummy gems to our cousin reunion. I’m sharing her idea with you…they’re so easy and delicious!

You need:

Two or three packages cream horns

Strawberry slices

Blueberries

Cut up cream horns in 1- 1 1/2 inch medallions. Each one should have cream filling in it. Add a strawberry slice and a blueberry on top. It’s that easy but a delicious treat that I HAD to INDULGE in a few. It’s sweet with the filling but fresh and fruity too!

From Betsylife.com

Last year I made a blueberry pie to celebrate the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the prettiest I’ve made but I remember that Tom loved it and that’s what matters to me! How about attempting this beauty? Simply cut stars in the crust, revealing a deep pool of blue fruit! I’m going to bake this and will share later! Wish me luck!

What scrumptious holiday desserts are you making this year? We will be having my blueberry pie.

Tom and I aren’t doing much tomorrow, on the 4th of July…fishing, a cook- out for us two and fireworks later. Maybe someday again we will have big plans for the day but the last few years it’s quiet and that’s okay with us!

Happy Fourth of July my friends! Despite the negative media stories, I still love this land and our rich history! God Bless America.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

School’s Out for the Summer!🌞🌼

Hello blogging friends, it’s been a hectic few weeks with me finishing up school, attending a few events and squeezing in outside garden time. Every day I thought of a potential blog post but never quite got there. I apologize for such a hiatus but I guess I needed it for my sanity. Now I should have ample time for writing and snapping photos as our school is out for the summer!

The garden in its beginning stage

My primary summer focus is maintaining and harvesting our garden. Every morning I walk a few feet in the rich green grass damp with morning dew to our little plot. Dressed in old t-shirts and sweat or yoga pants, I carry a garden hoe and metal can for weeds. It’s my morning peaceful ritual, joining the variety of birds, an owl that lives in our woods, croaking frogs ( in our pond), deer and turkeys that all love this land as much as I do. Getting down in the dirt is my daily therapy where problems disintegrate and a strength and resolve grows within me.

To the left are my rows of sweet corn followed by Zucchini and Summer Squash

It’s been a tough start to our growing season as nights have been quite cool for weeks, plummeting to the 40’s and sometimes 30’s. In the last month it’s rained a lot but it is waning, transitioning into warm pleasant days now. I worry for my tomatoes I started by seed, as the leaves are purple and they look like frost may have harmed them. I’ve had to replant a row of carrots as well as oregano because the seeds didn’t sprout. Time will tell.

To the left you can barely see my cilantro, then my cucumbers and last is the green lettuce.

One of my things to do is mount the tripods for the cucumber plants for a trellis. It involves Tom’s help where he pounds the stakes in and I tie them together with strong string. That way the cukes will hang up on them instead of being on the ground for moles to nibble on.

As I wrap up this post I wish you pleasant growing weather as you garden in your back yard or in deck pots. I hope this finds you all well, wherever you are physically and emotionally. I look forward to spending the summer with you, updating you of what’s going on in my rural world and hearing your stories as well.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Our Greenhouse & Outside Work

Here we are in May in northern New Hampshire. The air still feels cool yet sometimes the temperature reaches 60 degrees! This afternoon the sun tickled our skin as Tom and I worked on placing the cover on the greenhouse. It took all our patience as we stretched the unforgiving plastic over the frame. As we pulled and tugged, ticks crept up our pants. I must have pulled off close to fifty throughout the day. I got to the point that my skin was crawling and I was itchy, thinking more were invading my space.

Yikes, ticks are a real problem here in spring to mid summer. They hitch a ride on humans, deer, fox, moose and most wildlife. We have them in our tall grass and they burrow under leaves in the flower gardens. I plan to buy some tick deterrent to spray on our clothes so they leaves us alone!

Already the inside of the greenhouse is warm and toasty. We placed our annual flowers in there until next weekend when I’ll make my window boxes. My started plants are in there as well. Some aren’t doing well as I started them too early and they didn’t get enough sun. I have tomatoes, cukes and squashes that will be okay to plant.

Today I’ll work out in my vegetable garden, finishing raking and cleaning up. I should’ve done it last fall but didn’t get to it. Next weekend Tom will add bags of sand and manure and till the plot. Soon after we will plant our garden for the year! I’m beyond excited for this as I wait all winter to tackle this loved hobby of mine!

As I close this post I wonder how you all are doing. Are you immersing yourself in gardening? Does your season start now or have you been at it for awhile? I wish you much happiness with gardening and hope your harvest is amazing!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌻