Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cousinpalooza & Other Wonderful Things!

Once a year we host a summertime celebration of our grandchildren. It's a day of fun and food and I have an absolute wonderful time hosting this event. Renting a bounce house... hanging out with kids... seeing them play games or climb trees or just be kids!

This year our crowd was made even more special with dear friends! That made the day a marvelous experience, and my wonderful niece-daughter (I claim part ownership of her) set up a FAIRY HOUSE creation experience in the garage. Let me add here that it poured all morning, the first major rainstorm in weeks, and there was no going outside in the thunder and the lightning, so the garage fairy house building was a huge success! God bless Mandy for taking charge of that (and not killing people, always a good thing!)

Grown-ups and kids created fairy houses to tuck around the farm gardens so that fall visitors will explore and find wee homes (and not-so-wee homes) tucked into places. We used tree stumps, flower pots, bark, branches, jewelry, rocks, polished stones, bits of moss and weeds, paints and a ton of acrylic caulk to fasten things in place because few glues work for exterior use!

Here are some fairy house pics!

And then there had to be cooking... and men gathered around the grill (which was just outside the garage in case of more rain) and people gathering and making things, and talking and laughing...

And kids, of course.

Beautiful kids!


Beanbag toss...

Candy! :)

And kid-friendly food including chicken nuggets and hot dogs and hamburgers and salads and veggies and a huge fruit bowl...

It was a great day. A marvelous day! And son Matt ended it with a few fireworks to enthrall those who made it to dark....

A perfect end to a beautiful day.

We have some far away grandkids who couldn't be with us, but we'll see them this fall and have fun with them... When the fledglings branch out to other parts of the country, we really, really love the few times we all get together. Especially if there's no funeral involved... and yet, funerals and weddings do have a way of pulling folks together.

Still working on the farm while finishing my first mystery for the Savannah Secrets series.... it will come out next May and it's just a delightful group of stories, set in old-world Savannah and points nearby! I am so honored to be part of this!

Until next week, where I'm going to talk about our pasta shop in town. Yes, our sleepy town has a pasta maker, and it's the most wonderful pasta....

But more about that next week! :)

Until then, have a great week as summer winds down to a cool and breezy September. And God bless you, every one!

More fairy houses!!!  This is a fairy condominium complex, created by Mandy!

And then young and not-so-young artists at work:

Multi-published inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is busily working on the farm during the day, books during the wee smalls, and looking forward to the busy fall season when all this hard work comes to fruition with beautiful displays of pumpkins and family fun! Find her on facebook, visit her website or follow her on Twitter which is the oddest thing there is, isn't it? It's soooo Twitter-fied!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

When the ingredients fail

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing about a recipe went right?

I had one of those days the other day, but the result was so delicious that I decided to share.

I was out walking Fenway and was craving tomatoes and cheese, but I needed something healthier that pizza (again!). I'd bought some zucchini and heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market, so I figured I'd cook them and some chicken breasts and serve it with pasta.

Except when I took out the zucchini, it had shriveled up to nothing.

And one of the tomatoes had turned totally black.

But the chicken was already cooking when I noticed this. (There goes the pizza excuse.)


I grabbed a bag of frozen green beans from the freezer and dumped them in the pan with a healthy helping of my favorite freeze-dried garlic.

Then I put on water for the angel hair pasta.

At the last minute, I chopped and added the other tomato - a tiny one so you'll note there's not much red).

I chopped the chicken and tossed that in as well. Somewhere along the line I'd added some olive oil.

Once I cooked the angel hair, I added some mozzarella and then poured the garlicky veggies on top.

It was delicious!

I may also have poured in way too many green beans for one person, so I had tons of leftovers.

The next night, I cooked some potatoes in garlic water, smashed them, slathered in butter, and poured the heated leftovers on top.

This was even better than with the pasta and cheese!

The moral of the story - if there has to be one - is, as my mother would say, necessity is the mother of invention - and sometimes it even tastes good!

Have you ever started out with one meal in mind and ended up with something totally different?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Celebrating with Lemon Bars

Today's the day!
Book four in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series releases today. 

A fresh start...and an old love reignited?

For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her--and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together?

So let's celebrate with one of my favorite desserts.

Lemon bars are a quintessential southern tradition. One problem I have with these tasty treats, though, is that sometimes they're too sweet. I prefer mine with a little more tang. And this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.Best of all, they're really quite easy to make. For years, I opted for a box kit but, really, this scratch-made version doesn't take much longer.

**FYI - refrigeration time is required, so plan accordingly**

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.

For the crust you will need:

  • 2 sticks of cold butter (I prefer unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients together, then cube butter before adding.

Cut butter into the flour, sugar, salt until crumbly, yet incorporated.

Then dump into foil-lined pan.

And press to cover bottom of pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

While that's baking, let's make the filling.

For the filling, you will need:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 5 lemons

Okay, so this is where homemade versus a box-kit might cost you a little more time, because you have to zest and juice the lemons.

First, you want to wash them. Yes, that means soap. Just be sure to rinse them well before drying.

Now I'd like to introduce you one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

This is called a microplane. You can use it for finely grating lots of things, like citrus peels, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. I used to just use the fine grate on my standard cheese grater, but I was over the moon when I found this in my stocking one Christmas. I can't tell you how much easier it makes things. And no more bloodied knuckles or chipped fingernails.

Simply drag the grate across the peel and it traps everything in this little channel. Then you simply tap what's there into the bowl. 

Once all you're lemons are zested...

Simply cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice, taking care to strain out any seeds. A task I usually just use my hands/fingers for.

Now, whisk together your flour, sugar and eggs until smooth.

Then add the lemon zest and juice...

And stir to incorporate.

Once your crust is done...

Pour the lemon mixture over the top.

Put it back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until just set.

Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

When ready to serve, lift foil from pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Cut into squares and serve.

So pretty. SO tasty. And that citrusy tang is perfect for summertime or a nice compliment after any rich meal.

As the title reveals, Reunited in the Rockies is a reunion romance. It's a story of broken hearts, broken promises and learning to trust in love again. Because true love, the way God intended it, never fails. It beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things and endureth all things. 

So grab you a lemon bar, pull up a chair and let's talk books. What are you reading? I'm currently reading The Soldier's Redemption by Lee Tobin McLain and I can't wait to read the final book in her Redemption Ranch series, The Nanny's Secret Baby. How's your TBR pile looking?

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