Friday, May 31, 2019

A Tea Party Like Mindy's

Missy Tippens

Several weeks ago when Mindy shared photos of her tea party, I got inspired and made reservations. Today, my daughter, one of my friends and I got to go have a wonderful tea at the Ivy Tea House in Norcross, Georgia. We learned after we arrived that they've only been open for three months. They did a wonderful job!

I started off with some tasty iced peach tea. (It was over 90 degrees today!) Once my thirst was quenched, I had the passionfruit jasmine black tea in my own little pot.

If you're looking at the website menu, we had the Ivy Tea. It's an afternoon tea (not high tea). For our savory items, we had pimento cheese in phyllo cups, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches that were served in a delicious dill bread, and egg salad on toast rounds. I loved all of it so much!

Oops. Put some on our plates before taking the photo!

For our sweets, we had cream puffs with amazing pastry cream, lemon bars, fresh fruit, and scones with cream, lemon curd, and jam. We couldn't remember what type scones they were, but are pretty sure they had tea in them.

It was such a nice afternoon with the ladies! We'll definitely do it again sometime!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

This and That About Being Famous

That title isn't about me, darlings... I'm happy being plain old medium... But there's more about famous a little farther down.

Let's not talk about the rain.

Or the ongoing cold.

Cold, wet soil isn't user friendly for growing things, so if we talk about that, it's a sorry kind of conversation, my friends.  Or that Farmer Dave and I went out and bought him a new tractor with a brush hog, a six-foot tiller, major-league forks and a big bucket... what man wouldn't have fun with ALL THAT BIG-SIZED TONKA-STYLE STUFF????

One who's faced rain almost every single day since buying the tractor. And that brings us back to this: Timing is everything. :)

And how we should trust God's timing.

First, let's talk about James Holzhauer, the current Jeopardy phenom who's won over $2,000,000 dollars in 30 games...


Oh my stars, I can't help but root for him because he's making history.... No one has ever dominated the toughest game show of all like this guy has. Sure there have been great champions. Ken Jennings... Chuck... (Chuck was way back when you could only win FIVE DAYS....) Julia, Austin, etc...

But James is different. He's a gambler by profession, but also has nearly perfect command of the clicker that lets him answer and locks out the other players... and unlike most players, he's rarely wrong so he rarely loses money. It's quite the package.

It's fun to see "history" being made. I feel like that when I watch a baseball player like Mike Trout come to the big leagues... He's our current-day Babe Ruth. I felt like that with Derek Jeter, too... because he set the bar high for over twenty years on one team at one position... the rarity of the accomplishment made it sweeter.

And in football Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield are ushering in a new era of possible greatness as some of our favorite quarterbacks seek retirement...

And my grandson invited me to be in his Fantasy Football League this fall.... EEK! I have no idea what I'm doing and the sweet lad is very, very, very intense about football... although he plays baseball. But we won't sweat the details and I'm sure someone will take pity on me and tell me what to do. I hope.

We made the first pasta salad of the season!!!

And the first kittens of the season! Honey Bunny White Socks gave birth to two little orange female babies seven days ago.... And she's such a good mama. And notice how handy this box from Sam's Club was/is for kittenland????

And there's another kitty mama in the birthing unit for later this week...

There is something really wonderful about new life in the spring, isn't there?

Flowers.... leaves....


Flooded fields.

Grass that's six inches high and growing.

But things will dry out eventually. They always do. The rule with farming is that a dry year will scare you...

A wet year will starve you.

And we realize that we've got good jobs, so if the whole farm is a loss this year, we've got food. Shelter. Enough money to pay the bills...

While folks in the central U.S. are under water and have been for nearly two months and record-breaking number of storms and tornadoes are inundating them as if being flooded wasn't enough--

Trust me. Being flooded is enough, it's more than enough, so instead of whining about what's not perfect here, I'm going to be praying for those who are worse off...

And eating apple cake that my friend Catherine brought me.... I have eaten 1/2 of the loaf.



Not a thing, because the apple nut bread is absolutely delicious and a half-loaf probably looks really good on me...

(hides face.... guilt mounts.)

I figured out a long time ago that the Serenity Prayer is my guide... God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference...

There's a reason they use this particular prayer for 12-step programs... because it really does help.

Coffee's on, friends!

Multi-published, bestselling inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a very wet pumpkin farm in Western New York. She loves God... He's like the Best Ever.... and she loves her family, her friends, her country, and is often seen with coffee and/or chocolate. In this case, it seems apple cake has usurped chocolate momentarily. You can find her on the web, friend her on facebook at Ruth Logan Herne, follow her on Twitter (same name, go figure!) and/or email her at She loves chatting with folks and that includes you!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens....

I found myself humming that the other day, not because I was thinking of Maria, but because I had just bought crumb buns.

There is a connection here. Just please bear with me.

I bought the crumb buns from a bakery near work. I know they are not healthy (by any stretch of the imagination!), but I needed a guilty pleasure.

And that got me to thinking - what are some of the things we eat, that we know we shouldn't, but sometimes we just give in because life is short and we should be able to enjoy treats in moderation.

*Note that word moderation. It is not really a word in my working vocabulary.

Since the crumb buns made me hum about my favorite things, I started to think of a few others, and realized they all are favorites because of memories attached to them.

The crumb buns - well aside from just being delicious - remind me of my grandmother who loved them. They were a treat we often shared together - especially the summer my sister worked in a German bakery.

Honeysuckle - I saw this bush the other day and it brought back a funny memory. I had a new friend who moved in next door when I was in kindergarten. One day, we were playing before our class (kindergarten was half day back then and we had the afternoon class). Terry introduced me to the pleasure of sucking on honeysuckle flowers.

Ours were actually white, but I saw these in my neighborhood.

My mother did not find it a pleasure. She said we would be poisoned and made me drink a quart of milk and eat a loaf of bread - I guess to "dilute the poison."  I never see a honeysuckle bush that I don't think of this.

Is it an act of defiance that my favorite soap is Meyer's Honeysuckle?

Lilacs - Another mom story and another threat of poison. This time not from eating them, but because I cut some and put them in a milk glass on the breakfast table. She said I was g oing to poison the family.
Fast forward - my husband always bought them for me for Mother's Day - even though the first time he messed up and bought purple statice by mistake. It became a family joke.  This year, my daughter bought them for me in his stead.

This bush may not look like anything special, but they caught me by the nose. The scent was just heavenly!

And just because I love them - no reason - I saw this rose. Earlier in the day it was just at the point of perfection, but after hours in the hot sun, it had gone a little past bloom. That's okay. I can identify.

And since I started with roses and  kittens, here are two shots of my daughter's cuddly one.

Sorry, no photo of the crumb buns. I ate them before I took one.

So, what are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cupcake Craving

I blame Ruthy for this cupcake craving. Though, maybe instead of casting blame, I should thank her. You see, it was because of Ruthy I went to the Magnolia Market Silos and the Silos Baking Company where I walked away with a series of cupcakes sure to thrill my taste buds. 
The one that is conspicuously missing from this photo, though, is the strawberry cupcake. Because I was so fixated on sampling that particular one that I completely forgot to take any pictures until after I'd eaten it.

At any rate, I've been thinking about strawberry cupcakes ever since. One that actually had some strawberry flavor to it, like the one from the Silos, not some watered-down strawberry flavor. So I've been pondering and exploring recipes, some of which are rather involved. Except I wasn't in the mood for involved, I wanted easy. And I wanted that moist-yet-fluffy texture I get from box mixes. 

Finally, I knew what I wanted to do. So, armed with a Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme cake mix and a bottle of strawberry extract, I set to work.
I mixed the cake batter according to the recipe on the box then sampled it to see if it had that strawberry flavor I could actually taste. It did not. So I added a few drops of the strawberry extract. Still not right. I added some more for a grand total of about 12 drops and decided that was good. I might even increase it to 15 next time.

Bake the cupcakes/cake according to package directions. Actually, I usually set my timer for about 2 minutes less that the lowest time they suggest on the box. Why? Because I don't like dry cupcakes. If they're not done, I set the time for another 2 minutes and check them again. As soon as the tops bounce back when lightly tapped with your finger, they're ready.

Remove pans from oven, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack. If you're making it in cake form, follow the cooling directions on the box.

While the cupcakes are cooling, it's time to make my strawberry frosting. I started with my classic buttercream frosting recipe.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  •  2-3 teaspoons Strawberry extract (traditional uses 1 tsp vanilla extract)
Place the softened butter into a bowl and beat with mixer on medium speed until creamy. Turn mixer to low and add half of the confectioners sugar a little at a time, allowing to mix thoroughly. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix well before adding the rest of the sugar in increments. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, add 2 teaspoons strawberry extract and beat well. Sample to test strawberry flavor and add more, if desired. Tint frosting with small amount of red food coloring or gel paste, if you like. If frosting is to thick for spreading or piping, add additional tablespoon of milk. 

Frost completely cooled cupcakes with a  knife, or place frosting into a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. 
Did I achieve the desired results? 

Yes. The cupcakes were moist and fluffy and the strawberry flavor was perfect. And that made my taste buds very happy. 

Now it's your turn. What was the last thing you determined to recreate or improve upon at home?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more a

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

It's Memorial Day!

I hope you're having a wonderful day of family time, picnics, and fun to kick off summer!

Things are low key today at our house. It's a cool and rainy day, but we're still going to go up into the Hills. We want to scout out a new campground for an overnight trip next week.

So it's business as usual...except for this:

Memorial Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

WWI British Cemetery at Abbeville in France, 1918
public domain 
That poem was written May 3, 1915 by John McCrae. He was a Canadian, and a soldier first, and physician second. He had volunteered for service in the Second Boer War, and at the age of 41 volunteered again for duty in World War One. On May 2, 1915, during the second Battle of Ypres, his friend, Alexis Helmer, was killed in battle. Lieutenant Colonel McCrae wrote this poem for his funeral.

Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? So we never forget to remember.

So enjoy your picnics, rest, and family time. But don't forget to remember why we hold this day separate from all the rest...

Have a great holiday, a wonderful week, and I'll see you all next Monday!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Leftover Lunchmeat? Try This!

Missy Tippens

Since I shared college graduation photos last week, and planned to repeat an older post this week, I thought this one would be fun to share from 2015--written right after my daughter graduated from high school!

Missy, here. We had my daughter's graduation last week and a house full of family here to celebrate with us. What fun!! But when everyone left and all the dust cleared, I had a ton of thin sliced ham and turkey left over.

What to do?? My friend Lindi suggested making something like chipped beef and gravy. Voila! Great idea!

Melt 3 TBS of butter in the skillet.

Add 3 TBS flour. You can adjust the amount, just keep them equal. Stir and let bubble for a few minutes to "cook off" the flour taste. Let it brown if you want a brown gravy.

Yes, that's a Christmas spatula in May. LOL

Add the milk. I always eyeball this. Don't get too much, or it won't thicken enough. Season with salt and pepper.

While it simmered, I chopped the ham and turkey.

Add to the gravy until heated through.

Serve over biscuits or toast. YUM! Notice the paper plate? Yes, I'm all about practicality when I have 12 people here for the weekend! :)

Did any of you grow up eating chipped beef and gravy?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Welcome Spring with Ham & Asparagus Quiche

Real men do eat quiche.

I know this for a fact.

And real men eat omelets. Regardless of spelling. Omelette or Omelet.

But they don't have to eat either one, and I'm okay with that. It's not like a requirement, you know?

Hi, I'm Ruthy and I eat quiche. I first had quiche at a tearoom luncheon years ago in a quaint place called the Yellow Rose Cafe and it was a seafood quiche... and it was delicious.

I don't eat unmixed eggs. Ever. Not hard-boiled or fried or "dippy" or "dunky" eggs... or over hard, easy or any other way you have a yolk involved. But once you whip them up, I'm there! Except once at a writers' conference where the scrambled eggs were so uncooked I didn't even recognize them. There were little squares (clearly knifed with a back-and-forth pattern in the part of the pan that was cooked) and they were swimming.... literally.... in uncooked egg.

I eat raw cookie dough.
I eat Caesar salad.
I can make and eat French l'creme pastries and know that silkiness is raw egg, but it's mixed with other things and that makes me happy. Squares of slightly cooked scrambled egg floating in uncooked egg is gross.

But that's me.

And that brings us to quiche.

I love custard pies. Plain... buttermilk ... Coconut.... and flan! I love flan!

So omelets and quiche are two go-to faves only I rarely make them for just myself and Dave isn't a big fan. This week was different because after this very long, drawn-out winter, we're finally cutting the FIRST ASPARAGUS.

It's May 20th as I write, and we are often cutting ten days before this, but not this year. Way too much water, and far too cold. So this is exciting!
It's happy dancing time!

We had some leftover ham from the other day, some gorgeous Swiss Cheese with the tiny holes, that little bit softer than the norm.... and lightly steamed asparagus that I made last night... I cooked double so I'd have some for the quiche...

Right then I knew...


The recipe is simple... I'm using a crust but you can do a low-carb friendly quiche and just bake it in a lightly sprayed pie pan or tart pan and have crustless quiche, but I wanted traditional and I had a pie crust in the freezer... and I only keep them in the freezer for two or three months because I want them to taste good.... so I thawed and rolled out the pie crust, put it into a pan, crimped the edges... stuck a fork into it for holes... and then froze it for fifteen minutes while the oven heated up.

And then I pre-baked it for 7 minutes at 425 degrees.

 For the filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs
1/2 pound ham, cubed or chopped
1/2 pound lightly steamed asparagus
1/4 pound cheese (I used the Swiss with a gazillion little holes in it)

Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Add milk and cream and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Put ham into cooked crust. Top with cheese.

Pour in milk and egg mixture:

 Place on baking sheet for even baking and so if it puffs and/or drips, it's not all over your oven. This wasn't a problem in the pie pan, but tart pans are shallow...

ADJUSTED THIS FOR REALITY!!!! Bake at 375 for about thirty to thirty-five minutes or so... Sides and middle should be firm and lightly golden top. My first attempt followed the web directions for leaving the middle slightly loose.... Nope. Don't do that. Cook it thoroughly, top should be pale tan in color.

Cool for a few minutes before serving or cool completely and warm up to serve. Great plan-ahead dish!

And this can be frozen.... when ready to bake, bake without thawing.

Much better results that way!

So last weekend four little Jamisons came to stay at my house because Mom and Dad had a wedding to go to in Maine... and we had so much fun!  This is Lena making waffle mix and it is not easy to whisk/stir this batter...

She refused to give up. Such a funny kid!

And another grand-girlie, MacKenzie scored wonderfully at the New York State USA gymnastics championships on Saturday night... Such a hard-working girl and an amazing talent... And so much fun to watch.

And the boys?

THEY GOT MUDDY. It hasn't stopped raining here, and mud prevails and it was finally warm enough to play in the mud. And they did!!!

We have wind and sun today, hopefully we'll start drying out. That's the goal... I've begun planting pumpkins in trays... and we'll get ground worked up as soon as it dries out enough to be worked one last time... and it begins.

There's nothing like farm season... it always makes me think of Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven..."

Words to live by!

Multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country and she's really, really fond of chocolate, coffee and food and her dogs and her mini-donkeys and all things bright and beautiful... but she really loves little kids, medium kids and big kids.

You can find her website at, e-mail her at or friend her on facebook where she posts far too often... but with such pizzazz and fun that no one really minds.

Or so she tells herself!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Vegan Time

This is an odd week for me. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of losing my husband and today is my baby's 30th birthday. In honor of my daughter's birthday, I thought I would share this post I did a few years back. It's rather timely because I've been eating a lot of lentils and hummus as spring rolls around. It's a great, easy lunch.

Every year for Thanksgiving, the vegan girl and I dig into the recipe books looking for something new to share while the others eat turkey and ham.  This year, for Christmas, we didn't want the standard nut loaf. Instead we decided on a recipe she found for lentil balls.

To be precise, we made Lentil mushroom walnut balls with cranberry pear sauce. They come from the Oh She She Glows Cookbook and you can find her recipe and a wonderful picture tight here.

For anyone unfamiliar with this cookbook, it is amazing. We call it the cookbook that never fails.  We have yet to make a recipe that isn't just out of this world fabulous. (Although if you love to see recipe  fails, she does show a pretty epic pie explosion on the page with the lentil balls!)

Since you have her recipe, I'll just give our photos.

Disclaimer: we used pecans instead of walnuts.

My favorite part was the leftovers. That's where I got creative.

The first night I spread plain hummus on pita bread, added the smashed lentil balls and added some roasted red cabbage. That was delicious, but I was so busy eating, I forgot to take photos!

As I'm typing this, I'm eating defrosted lentil balls on pita with lemon rosemary hummus, beets, and beet greens. YUM!  (And sshhhhh - so very healthy!)

Two mini pitas spread with this luscious hummus.

Frozen lentil balls

These beet greens were so gorgeous in the January market!

I chiffonaded the leaves and boiled briefly.

 Added on the oven-roasted slices of beet and Voila!

Or, if you want to do an uncomplicated version - I cook lentils, mix them with hummus, and put them in pita with roasted sweet potatoes and beets. Delicious and healthy.

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