Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving prep for us begins in August. Why? We get our own turkeys every year and grow them nice and big for the big day. We have been doing this for several years now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It takes work especially getting it ready the weekend before but it’s worth it. We know exactly where our food was grown and what it was fed.

Now here is the hard part -

NickTurkeys

We see them every day. They seem to love seeing us. Is it just that we supply them with food and water? Maybe. But I get a bit attached to them in the few months we have them. I try my best to keep my distance because when the day comes it is very hard for me.

The great part of it all is I know where my meal came from on that special day. I know what it ate and I know it was treated humanly. I am thankful we are able to provide that for our son, so he appreciates where our food came from and that it doesn’t just appear at a grocery store.

I hope it is a lesson he will appreciate when he is older.

R

Book Review – The Art of Leaving

The Art of Leaving

 

The Art of Leaving by Anna Stothard is one of those books that it took me awhile to read. I liked it despite the slowness of the stories progression. Her writing style is wonderful and beautifully descriptive but the plot was lacking.

In this story we meet Eva, a romance novel editor and daughter of a pilot. As a child she moved from place to place never really putting down roots or developing relationships. When we meet Eva, she is in a relationship with Luke. She has never been with someone as long as she has been with Luke. He refuses to let her leave him despite her attempts. She loves the feeling of leaving someone much more than the thrill of the first kiss.

When Grace comes into the lives of Eva and Luke, Eva assumes she’s a random stranger who has taken a liking to her. What Grace does is make Eva realizes how little she really knows about Luke. She feels like she is living with a stranger and can no longer handle being in a relationship with him. Of course she does what she knows best and leaves, taking off to her parents home in Singapore. And that is the way the story ends.

The descriptions of places and events are beautifully written but I found that the story moved slowly and didn’t always hold my interest. I think more substance would have held my interest more than the descriptions of places and daydreams.

I give this book a 3 out of 5. It was a good book but not one I would necessarily have read if not for winning it on Goodreads.

Happy Reading.

R

 

Autumn Fun and Traditions

My second favorite season is here, autumn. There are so many things I love about this season, the only thing i don’t like – it’s followed by my least favorite season winter. Before the dreaded time of bare trees and snow, is a most beautiful time of the year. Fall can be warm at first and then turn cool. The trees turn amazing colors of red, oranges and yellows. There is nothing like it in the world. Autumn also has a lot of traditions here in the northeast. It is the season of fairs and apple picking, followed by pumpkins and Halloween. Everywhere you look there is pumpkin and apple flavored items – pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cider and one of my favorites cider donuts.

Every year, the last weekend in September, our town hosts an agricultural fair. We get excited to take a day and head over to check out all the animals. Plus, fair food!

Our first stop is always to the school building. The students create projects every year and we always look forward to seeing our sons.

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Our son Nick picks the second stop and he always wants to see the giant pumpkins first. This years winner was enormous at over 1400 pounds.

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Of course the animals are the best part of the fair -

 

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Baby cows are the cutest.

FairGrumpyOx

This ox seemed a little grumpy. He kept showing his teeth. Everyone was amused by him, but I don’t think he enjoyed us laughing at him.

FairCows

These two seemed to be chatting. They were making lots of noise at each other.

And to top off the day, Nick loves seeing the tractor pull.

FairTractorPull

And when its over, Nick begins his countdown for next years fair, it’s like Christmas for him.

Happy Fall!

R

First Day of School

The first day of school is always exciting. You can see how excited the kids are and can definitely feel it too. Nicholas gets this excited energy that leaves him feeling a little queasy for a bit. He is just like his Mom and Dad. Every year on the first day of school I would have so much nervous energy I would be sick to my stomach. I remember the worst year was first grade. My mother had to take me into the bathroom. Yes, I threw up on my first day of first grade. Of course, as soon as you get to class it all goes away.

This morning I was reminded of those first days of school. One of Nick’s classmates was so nervous she would not let go of her Mom. I could even see tears. I remember that she was in Nick’s class previously so I talked to her and had Nick say hi to her in hopes she would feel better. I’m not sure if it worked. I asked Nick at the end of the day and he said she was fine after awhile in their new classroom.

Here is my cute little man on his first day of second grade – I would have got more picture at school drop off if my camera had not decided to act up. Looks like it’s time for an upgrade.

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This is him last year and I can’t believe how much he has changed in one year.

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Happy First Day!

R

Recipes I Must Try

I have fallen into a rut lately when it comes to cooking. I seem to make the same things over and over. I am trying to break free and try some new recipes. A friend gave me a great black bean and corn salad recipe which was super easy to make and very yummy. I made it for a BBQ and served it with tortilla chips and it didn’t last long. I will be posting the recipe soon.

I often see recipes on my favorite blogs and sometimes print them out or bookmark it. Usually though I forget out about it and they never get made. It is my hope that by writing this it will give me the needed kick to start making them.

I am always looking for side dishes to go with my grilled meats. The Pioneer Woman makes some amazing food. This Mexican Macaroni Salad looks awesome.

Another great food blog is Pinch of Yum – can’t wait to try this yummy recipe - Sausage and Sweet Potato Zucchini Lasagna

And check out Simply Scratch as well, so many great recipes – including homemade sauces, dressings and spice mixtures. This Lemon Dijon Grilled Chicken sounds delicious and easy to make and who doesn’t like quick recipes.

Hope this helps you find some new recipes to try out. I am always looking and these are 3 of my favorite food blogs.

Happy Cooking.

R

 

 

Maple Mustard Salad Dressing

A friend of mine gave me this recipe after finding out we made our own maple syrup every winter. I would give her a real shout out but she is one of those rare people who does not have any social media accounts. I don’t think she even has a home email address.

This recipe is easy to throw together in a mason jar.

The ingredients -

1/4 cup course mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 maple syrup
1 tsp. any herb you would like
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

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Throw all the ingredients except for the oil in the mason jar.

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Slowly pour in the olive oil -

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Put the cap on the jar and shake well.

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Super yummy and super easy to make. I even used it as a marinade for chicken.

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Happy Cooking.

R

 

Favorite Things – Mason Jars

One of my favorite household items of all time is mason jars.

Pickles

Originally used for canning there are so many more ways of using them.

A few days ago I posted about mason jar salads – http://lifelovefoto.com/2014/07/21/mason-jar-salads/. You can make about any type of salad you want in these jars. I use the quart size for salads, it gives you plenty of room to stuff a lot of lettuce in there.

I also use them to make salad dressing. All you do is throw all the ingredients in and shake it up. I will be posting a yummy dressing recipe this week.

We also use them as many people do for our beverages. They are the perfect size for a cup. I use the pint size for drinks.

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Another way of using mason jars is as a vase. The size you use will depend on the flowers you have or the size of the centerpiece you want to make. In our house we only have the two sizes but they both work perfectly to hold flowers.

FlowerMason2Bl

Really you can store just about anything in these handy jars.

You can get them at just about any hardware type store and are also available on Amazon.

How do you use your mason jars?

R