The sun comes up - the sun goes down. Another day to be thankful for. Sometimes it takes some wondering, but there is always something good about every day and since it is a gift, we need to find the good part. The Evil One isn't going to get me down.
Both computers are still down, so my patience is being sorely tried. For three days I tried to get one to work and finally gave up and am using one at the office. So if things get a little mixed up, just blame it on an unfamiliar piece of equipment. We are all a "creature of habit" and sometimes need a little shaking up so we don't get too used to one thing. Grumble, grumble. I will not let it get me down. My PC is just a little too old and has finally asked to let it expire in peace. The laptop grew legs and dropped itself, I think, because it isn't letting me see what is going on inside it or letting me get help from another screen. As soon as possible, it goes to the shop. Minor problems in the story of life.
One very sad thing in that story is the death of our Jack Russell, Buddy. He was playing with his friend across the street and got too close to a car and went to Doggy Heaven. He had just gotten old enough to start to be very loving and not so wild as he was when he was younger. We all miss him, both the humans and the other animals. Rest in peace, Buddy.
Since our family reunion is this Sunday, I decided the carpet in the bathroom was completely unacceptable for anyone but us to see. Husband Norm said it would be so easy to put down tile, like I wanted, and would take only about half a day. Of course, we should know by now that anytime one does anything to an old house, one is in for unbelievable unwanted surprises. It is now in the third day of work. There is a new floor (the old one was rotted and a wonder someone hadn't fallen through). The old claw foot tub was heavy and hard to get out of the room and other fixtures were old and unusable after they were taken out. So, in effect, we completely remodeled the bathroom when we just wanted a better floor. I am at the office writing at this time, and I think I will take long enough to give everyone time to get the floor finished, the tub back in, the water turned back on, and so I can start to clean up all the dust and dirt that has covered everything in that room and the adjoining rooms. The roof isn't repaired yet and has a ladder holding the tarp over the missing slates. I hadn't planned to really kill myself getting everything spic and span, but I had hoped to have it better than it will be in the couple of days I have left. Next Monday, don't anyone call me, look for me, or expect any meals to appear on the table or clothes to get washed and back in the drawers. That will be my recovery day. I really am looking forward to seeing everyone, just sorry everything is still a mess, but a hundred years from now, no one will know the difference, (if I can keep it out of the secretary's book).
My daughter-in-law and granddaughter surprised me with a birthday dinner this past week. Decorated cake and all (my son cooked chicken on the grill) - all I did was sit and enjoy. They even cleaned the kitchen. What a wonderful gift from them all.
Next weekend is our community fair and the Washington county hog sale for the 4-H and FFA kids. It is the highlight of the year for those kids who have worked to raise the best hogs they can. You won't get any better pork anywhere and it helps the young folks. Also, it is great advertisement for your business. It really is a community gathering and a chance to visit with friends and neighbors. Don't forget the famous Noodles at the Grange booth.
Did you see the opening dates for the schools in our area? It is that time again. Start watching for the buses and the little ones. They get so excited when school starts that they sometimes forget to watch out for cars and some schools are starting earlier than others. Never, ever pass a school bus when it is stopped - watch out for those red lights that tell you a child is getting on or off the bus.
Plan something special for Labor Day. Maybe it will be cool enough to grill outside. This summer, our grill hasn't been used as much as planned due to the heat. The crockpot is much cooler so it has come out early in the year. BBQ tastes pretty good in it, too. Just add some liquid smoke flavoring.
Finish up your "putting up" and enjoy some "swing and shade tree" time before the cold weather surprises us. There are still summer things we can do. Help someone today and smile at everyone.
GRILLED PEACH CHICKEN
Two tablespoons cornstarch
Two tablespoons peach gelatin powder
One medium fresh peach, peeled and finely chopped
One-fourth teaspoon almond extract
Four boneless skinless chicken breast halves
In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the gelatin, peach and almond extract and mix well. Set aside one cup to use for serving the chicken. Grill the chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for three minutes on each side. Baste with some of the remaining peach sauce and continue grilling for 6-8 minutes or until meat juices run clear, basting and turning several times. Serve with the reserved peach sauce.
One (1.4 oz.) package instant fudge pudding mix
One-cup cold milk
One (9oz.) tub whipped topping, thawed
Whole fresh strawberries
In a mixing bowl, beat pudding mix and milk until blended, about two minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Serve with strawberries for dipping, or sliced on top.
NOTE: Use sugar-free pudding and fat-free milk and topping for a low-cal dessert.
Two pounds ground chuck
Two large onions, chopped
One-pound bacon, cut into small pieces
One (40-oz.) can pork and beans
Two (15-oz.) cans kidney beans
One (14-oz.) bottle hot catsup
Two (15-oz.) cans butter beans
One-cup brown sugar
One green pepper, chopped
Three tablespoons liquid smoke
Three tablespoons white vinegar
Garlic salt to taste
Salt and pepper
Brown beef and drain. Place in crockpot. Fry bacon and saute onion in bacon fat. Drain and add these to crockpot. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on medium heat for six hours.
ONION ZUCCHINI BREAD
Three cups all-purpose flour
Three-fourths cup chopped onion
One-fourth cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Four teaspoons baking powder
One-half teaspoon salt
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth cup vegetable oil
Two eggs, slightly beaten
Three-fourths cup finely shredded zucchini
In a bowl, combine flour, onion, two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, oil, egg and zucchini. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon into a 9-inch round baking pan that has been coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.
One tablespoon Dijon mustard
One-fourth cup water
Two tablespoons olive oil
One-fourth cup balsamic vinegar
One tablespoon minced fresh basil
One-half teaspoon pepper
Put all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Makes about two-thirds cup.
One cup cranberry juice
Two medium ripe bananas, sliced
Two cartons (8oz. each) raspberry yogurt
Few drops red food coloring - optional
Fresh raspberries, optional
In a blender, combine juice, bananas, yogurt, sugar and food coloring. Cover and blend at medium speed until smooth. Serve immediately with raspberries for garnish. Makes enough for four servings.
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Patty Christopher is a longtime food columnist for the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.