We have had a very busy weekend, but it was very enjoyable! The weather was good, warm, but good never the less.
On Saturday we went to a gathering/picnic that was about a 3 1/2 hours drive away. It was a long day, however we all had a good time. We met some old friends and some new ones. The trip was definitely well worth the time it took to get there.
Today we went to a family cook out. These are always a lot of fun. Hunter got to meet a bunch of family he has not seen for a while and some he has never met. For a boy who spends all his time with adults, he really got a change of pace today. Lots of kids, some a little older and some younger than himself. He was a little shy at first, but eventually warmed up and had a good romp.
He was able to play with the other kids on the swing set, a trampoline and in the pool. With all of these activities he really wore himself out. He was asleep before we drove more than a few blocks on the trip home, woke briefly when we got home and asked if he could just go to bed. So I laid him down in his bed, he grabbed his teddy bear and was off in dreamland……………I think he enjoyed himself very much.
Grilled Chicken with pineapple salsa
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice (this will be from a can of pineapple used in the salsa)
Place chicken in a zip lock bag, combine all marinade ingredients, pour over chicken, coating well. Marinate in refrigerator 4 hours.
1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained, reserving juice
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons cumin
Combine in a small bowl and refrigerate.
Heat grill to medium-high. Drain chicken. Pour marinade into a small sauce pan. Bring marinade to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
Grill chicken, covered, about 6 minutes. Brush with marinade. Turn and grill about 8 minutes, basting frequently. (check internal temp of chicken, it should be 165 degrees in the thickest part)
Serve with generous portions of salsa.
The warm breezes are laden with exotic and erotic fragrance of honeysuckle and wild rose. It perfumes the mornings filled with bird song, the sunlit afternoons and mingles with the scent of new mown hay in the evenings.
Our valley has been transformed from brown and bare to the glorious greens of spring and summer. Already the fireflies are lighting up the nights in the pasture and the hayfield. They perform a graceful waltz of light in the heavy darkness,beneath a sky filled with stars.
The mornings begin with the aromas of freshly brewed coffee, homemade bread and hickory smoked bacon. I watch as the sky turns from deep violet to brilliant pinks and reds. The sun finally peeks over the hill and glows briefly on the rapidly dissipating mist over the hayfield.
In the heat and haze of summer afternoons, the buzz of the cicadas in the oppressive air, are sometimes interrupted by the roll of distant thunder. The air is still, leaves wilt in the afternoon heat and the birds send out only half hearted song. Crickets hide in the shade of the pumpkin leaves, creaking out their symphonies.
I am looking forward to summer, as I do to the beginning of every changing season. In the few truly warm days we have had so far I am already sporting a tan from mowing.
I finally got started on our bedroom. One wall had wallpaper covered paneling, god awful wall paper. To me it always looked dirty, tiny little hearts and flowers on a dark beige back ground.
I lifted a corner of the wall paper and practically the whole walls worth of wall paper came right off to reveal……equally crappy paneling. This scenario was very reminiscent of last years twilight zone hall way incident. So now I am removing the paneling. It was at this point that Hunter wandered into the room from playing outside. He looked at what I was doing and announced that I had, “broken the bedroom”!
What I had uncovered was a regular wall hidden beneath icky paneling and worse wall paper. So now that the de-construction is finished, I will fill all the nail holes from the paneling (and a few other ugly spots) and sand down said repairs. Then move on to a coat of primer and finally paint the whole room. But first I have to take down the equally awful wall paper boarder from the rest of the room……I hate wall paper.
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
1/4 cup potato flakes
4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 package yeast
Warm the buttermilk, butter, honey and salt to 110 degrees. pour into large mixing bowl, add the yeast, mix well. Add the flour, gluten and soda. Mix and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl (turning dough to coat top) cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Knead down dough, shape into either 1 large or 2 smaller loaves, oil tops and let rise until double, about 35-40 minutes. Bake at 350 (325 for glass pan) about 35 minutes, or until tops are browned and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cool on rack, butter tops for a softer crust.
Can be made in breadmaker, just follow manufacturers recommendations. Makes one large or two smaller loaves.
Tip: I let my bread rise in a slightly warmed oven after I shape it into loaves, when done rising I just turn on the oven and bake. The action of having the bread in the oven as it comes up to temperature gives it that little push and sets the action of the yeast.
Things have been fairly quiet here at the gulch lately. But we have been having beautiful weather. I have been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the warm temperatures and playing with Hunter.
He has discovered the joys of being barefoot. This something he really hasn’t experienced before. At first he was rather unsure of walking in the grass without shoes or sandals, but he quickly discovered that he liked it! The grass in our yard is soft, very unlike what passes for grass in Florida. Plus we do not have fire ants, something you really had to watch out for there, something I remember from painful experience.
Hunter is already sporting a tan on his arms, legs and face. A true testament to the amount of time he spends outside. He is also proving to be a rough and tumble boy, and has the bruises and skinned knees to show for it. He will run full tilt around the yard and trip over a toy or his own feet. He has also discovered how much fun it is to dig in the dirt. At the end of the day I sometimes wonder if there is still a little boy hiding under all the dirt on him.
He is happy, healthy and has a wonderful appetite. I am sure that in part that is due to all the energy he expends when he is outdoors. He is always ready for another adventure and is always ready to help with any project we have to do. He has been helping me to keep the weeds away form the new plants I put in this year. Once I show him which is the weeds and which is the plant he has not pulled a plant out yet.
He likes to come with me when we check on the progress of the plants and tries to say the names of them. He does well with most of them, the lilacs, the hollyhocks and the honeysuckle. But he just can’t seem to say peony. For him it always comes out, panty. It never fails to make me smile, especially because he is so serious and sincere when he says it….”Grandma, your panty bushes are growing good.” I guess it is one of those things you just have to be there to experience.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
8 small potatoes, washed and cut in half
1-approx 3 lb roast (either beef or pork)
1 pound baby-cut carrots
1 16 oz jar of your favorite salsa
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coat the bottom of a 3 1/2 to 4 quart crock pot with the olive oil, place potatoes cut side down on the bottom. Coat the roast with the flour, place on the potatoes. Arrange the carrots around the roast. Pour the salsa over all. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
This simple recipe will give you a moist and flavorful roast with very little effort, but it will taste like you have worked on it all day. You would never guess that these few ingredients would result in a meal packed with so much mellow flavor. Serve it with some corn bread or corn muffins and enjoy!
Yesterday was Derby Day, the second one we have celebrated here at the gulch. We did not put on our finest, spend too much on a hat and go to Churchill Downs. But we had a great time anyway.
We went to the Keeneland race track in Lexington instead. All of the races were being shown there on over a thousand tv screens, and on the huge one that is on the other side of the grandstand. All of the seating was open and it only cost $3.00 to get in. Although there were lots of people there, it was not nearly the crowd that was at Churchill Downs.
While we were there we took Hunter on a pony ride. He had the biggest smile on his face while he was riding the pony, I think that made the whole day for him. He talked about it on the way home and kept saying he had fun while riding “his pony”.
We met Jeff2′s cousin and her family there. It was so nice to spend time with them and I think everyone had a good time. We chatted about which horse to bet on for each race and there was some good natured teasing when we didn’t agree on who we thought would win.
All in all it was a great day. Definitely a step out of the ordinary routine here at the gulch, but it was lots of fun. I am looking forward to Derby Day next year.