if not for him

I wouldn’t be here.  And I wouldn’t have experienced Angel Food Cake French Toast from Spyro’s this morning!  I intended to make breakfast rolls for Father’s Day, but yesterday’s migraine dictated else ways.  So we went out for brunch instead and then watched cake shows and baseball on TV.  Three of us split the french toast, garden frittata and Wyoming bacon (when bacon is thick and good, my dad calls it Wyoming bacon), otherwise we may not have been able to get out of our booth.  My dad played the organ the morning I was born and watches Christmas movies with me at any time of the year.  I like to watch birds, ballgames and eat brats with him.  Thanks, Dad, for reminding me today not to let emotions get in the way of joy.  Cheers to happy memories and all of the fathers who work so hard to provide a joyful future for their children.

what’s better than a porch

A porch swing.  What’s better than a porch swing?  Pie on a porch swing!  My sister came up to her in-laws’ this week and somehow through the magic of text messaging and family recipes they put together a lovely spontaneous cookout.  Not bad for the middle of a workweek!  She made some pies, her father-in-law did some grilling and we all ate well.  The cherry pie is a Southern Living recipe, and the peaches and cream pie is from Great Grandma Manges’ family cookbook.  The internet is pretty great for recipe finding, but family recipe cards and books are among my personal treasures.  Later I will have to say more about spaghetti squash and shrimp on the grill, but right now I’ll appreciate the coziness of a welcoming front porch.

one sunny day in june

Eleven years ago I had the privilege of standing up next to my sister as she married her best friend.  The least I could do to help celebrate the anniversary was make a cake.  The recipe was from Cooking Light magazine, originally called Luscious Lemonade Cake.  I mostly followed it and added extra lemon juice to perk up the frosting.  It turned out somewhere in-between a wedding cake and a lemon pound cake.  My nephew did the decorating (came up with his own words!), while my niece helped me pick strawberries to plop on top.  One of the many things I have learned from them over the years is to be generous together.  It was a joy to share in that day, and today it is a joy to be part of their family that has grown from two to four.  I hope to one day return the favor.

sunday night sweet biscuitscape

It just takes a few sweet potatoes (or one whopper sweet potato) and spoonful of cinnamon to transform a biscuit into a stand-alone sweet treat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of biscuits, but these are my new favorite.  I use this recipe from Paula Deen, a food mill as my sweet potato sieve, add 1 t cream of tartar and 2 T cinnamon.  My mom gave me these square biscuit cutters at Easter, and the little ones make adorable bite-sized biscuits!  Kind of like monkey bread, only less sticky and somewhat healthier.  And lucky for me, I found some gingerbread ale in my cupboard that accompanied nicely.

you are one nutty noodle

I have always appreciated the heartiness and speedy cooktime of the soba noodle and have been enjoying them in a new way (to me) since discovering this recipe.  I most like this dish chilled, with extra avocado and jalapeño.  The dressing is a simple reduction, easy to save and also works with ginger paste.  Now that the days are longer, it sure has been nice to come home and eat dinner in the daylight.

fried blueberry pies

Last summer my sister went to a teacher’s workshop in Shipshewana, IN.  She returned with homemade fudge, taffy, cheese curds, pecan brittle, and a story about a homemade fried blueberry pie.  A young Amish mother and her two boys kept a fried pie stand; the boys took the change while the mother served fresh fried pies!  It sounded so delicious that I didn’t forget about it, and since blueberries are in season I had to try it out myself.  I used my grandma’s pie shell recipe and a version of Betty Crocker’s blueberry pie filling with extra lemon juice.  The combination of late spring fruit and fried pastry really felt like summer was underway.  More versions must follow!