A CUCUMBER FOR THE AGES

 

 

 

It’s been a hot fiery summer in our state and my garden is showing it. Everything seems to be thriving from good ole Mrs. Sun. Despite this, we all know a cleansing rain shower feeds the plants as well and makes a difference in growth. The last couple of days have been cooler with the anticipated showers soaking the patch.

 

 

 

 

In past summers,  I’ve noticed that the saving rain brings forth miracles. Let me explain before you think I’m crazy…after rain showers I wait a day to dry up my crop. I really don’t mind getting my gardening clothes damp by walking through or working in a wet patch, but have found that the day off brings unexpected surprises!After a day’s wait,  I have entered my squash patch to find numerous treasures ready to pick and ripe red tomatoes bursting for my picking. Just yesterday a miracle veggie hung on my new fence, vines trailing up the lattice. When I approached this amazing wonder, there was a jaw dropping cucumber for the ages. It’s definitely the longest and  most hearty one I’ve ever grown!

 

 

 

 

Tom and I couldn’t stop laughing at this miracle and chalked it up to the fertile soil and the splash of mother nature’s juice. While taking a picture for posterity ( because you never know if this gem will ever be matched), promising thoughts of our town’s special annual day popped up …wouldn’t it be hilarious to showcase the town’s potential longest cucumber on display at the town hall? People from every corner of its borders would relish in this wonder! Saturday is the big day, a day of celebration, a firemen’s auction and community dinner and playing band to wrap up the day and my 18 inch cuke could be a part of it! Haha.

 

 

With the cuke harvest in full swing, I dream of delicious creamy cucumber salad and scrumptious cuke sandwiches! Cuke sandwiches are simple and so easy to make! Once you taste one, you may just be addicted. Here’s a warning, though, it must be made with fresh grown cucumbers, preferably from a local garden.

 

 

Simply choose your favorite bread ( I like multi grain from the store’s bakery) and spread a thin layer of mayo on both sides. I love sliced onion and tomatoes and lay them down first. Follow with sliced cukes. Sprinkle with McCormick’s Salad Seasoning, which is a delicious spice combination of paprika, poppy seeds, celery seed, black pepper,sesame seed, Romano cheese, salt, sunflower oil and a few more things. Add salt and pepper and you’re ready to eat! It’s very tasty and adds some punch to your veggie sandwich!

 

 

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Yesterday’s picking, washed and drying

 

If anyone knows wonderful cucumbers recipes, please share! I’m bombarded with cukes! I would like to give away some but my veggie table isn’t working. People are not stopping so I need to find a different way to give them away!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

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Party Planning 🎉🎉🎉

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I love to make my own platters for parties, whether it’s a graduation party or cookout or birthday party. I know the basics of meat and cheese and vegetable platters from working in a deli for 12 years. I bend the rules a little and create different things every time. For instance when I made the fruit platters for two special young ladies who graduated last year ( one being my son’s special girlfriend and the other being a long time neighbor),  I decided to use the cantaloupe shell I was about to toss in the trash and realized  it would be unique to put blueberries in it. I also used a cookie cutter to make watermelon star shapes.

 

If you search your kitchen you may find acceptable trays, plates or platters to shocase your delicious foods. You can be creative as you want, which saves you money and is valuable to use what you have. Currently I am collecting different platters for special parties. The oval plastic platter above was a cheap find at wal- mart and is large enough for any large tray of goodies. The green rectangular tray belongs to a set from Old Temptations on QVC. It serves as a gorgeous tray for rolls, sandwiches, even fruit plates. I have a Christmas tray I use all year, because all you have to do is cover it with aluminum foil and a doiliy or two and you’re ready to fill.

 

 

 

 

 

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Two years ago we hosted a party for D’s graduation from high school. We invited about 50 people and they were coming and going for a few hours, making it very hectic. I was fortunate to have a nice neighbor who offered to help set up for the party, while we were at the graduation ceremony. I had prepped burger patties ahead and Tom worked the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs. We had salads, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, and chips. In the end Tom and I worked most of the party filling coolers and dealing with food. We hardly got to visit with everyone so I vowed to myself that this time will be different!

 

 

 

In three weeks B will be graduating from high school and that means the party planner in me comes to life! Time to jot down lists, look at sales, start picking up items like paper plates and plasticware. The crazy thing is that I get nervous about hosting dinners and parties but I make myself do it for my family and myself. Anything out of my comfort zone prods me to grow and so I embrace the difficulty I have with it and hope someday it will be easier.

 

 

Our plan for this party is altogether different. No grill…Actually I stole this clever idea from my sister at my nephew’s graduation party last year. Barb had platters of food and salads and it was less stress without the complication of working the grill. I plan on doing assorted salads, a meat and cheese platter, veggie platter, fingerroll platter, appetizers like seven layer dip, deviled eggs, and crockpot dishes.

 

 

My sister in law, Bev gave me a great idea of hiring teenagers to work at the party. They would help serve, fill food as needed, fill soda and water coolers, and clean up after. I’ve posted a help wanted sign at school but no one has responded. A few teachers have recommended certain people and I’ll approach them to see if they are interested. The luxury of paying this person would help me relax and enjoy all our company at my son’s grad party, a special time for our family.

 

 

Does anyone have party suggestions to share with me, regarding big crowds, food, clean up, or anything that would be useful for us?  Thank you kindly.

In a future post I’ll share my centerpieces I’m making from an idea on Pinterest.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

A Family Favorite: The Sandwich Maker

                Do you own a sandwich maker and use it frequently?

 

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Proctor Silex sandwich Maker

 

A couple of years ago my husband and I bought a little sandwich maker. The first one we owned was a waffle and sandwich maker. There were different plates you snapped in and it was convenient to wash. Now we own a Proctor Silex, a gift from a coworker.

 

 

We started out making grilled cheese sandwiches and evolved into making deluxe sandwiches with soft muenster cheese, baked ham, turkey or even hard salami nestled in bakery bread with tomatoes, avocado or onion slices.

 

I brought my maker to school to share with my coworker. We would have outside recess on frigid winter days and come in to have lunch. It was a comfort to cook our sandwiches as the delicious aroma filled our room and snaked down the hall. Teachers and students all loved the smell!

 

 

 

 

It’s a great lunch tool for making it delicious when you have company or warm and toasty when weather is frigid and unforgiving. Even though its perfect for winter, we cook sandwiches any time of the year, winter, spring, and even summer. My oldest son uses it when he comes home for lunch.

 

 

Sandwich suggestions

 

Turkey and cheese
Virginia baked ham with cheese
Hard salami with cheese
Roast beef
Bakery bread,must if, ciabatta, pumpernickel, rye, wheat

Veggies to try in your sandwich

Tomatoes (garden ones are the best)
Avocado slices
Onions
Cucumber slices
Green pepper slices

Cheeses to try

American cheese ( I buy mine from the local deli, if you buy the pre-packaged cheese it’s artificial)
Muenster cheese
Provolone
Cheddar
Havarti ( a very rich creamy cheese)
Swiss cheese

Meats to try

Baked ham
Roast turkey
Roast beef
Hard Salami
Corned beef

 

 

 

 

Start with your choice of bread.

Butter both sides. ( I don’t always do this, but it’s pretty flavorful) I used bakery wheat bread for this sandwich.
Line bread with cheese first, followed by meat slices, veggies in top. This particular sandwich had sliced red peppers.

Place in preheated sandwich maker. Cook 2-3 minutes, depending on how toasted you want it. This sandwich is a little puffy but once you place the lid down, it does cook

 

It’s hot when coming out, use a small spatula or knife to slide on to plate.

Unplug cooker, you are done.

 

 

 

Now enjoy that fabulous cooked sandwich!

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It cleans up nicely. Sometimes the plates click out to wash in the sink. The newest one I have you simply wash the inside plates without taking them out and then towel dry.

 

I suggest to unplug after use and keep on counter to cool off. Then put away in its storage place. I keep mine on a corner cabinet shelf in my kitchen, next to my crockpot.