Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Ben, London

 There is no time...

...or at least, very little.

I am hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon soon. This is such a busy time of year with summer visitors, gardening, day-trips here and there, etc.

Just wanted to take a minute to greet my blogging friends. Those of you along the eastern seaboard, we're thinking of you and praying for your safety. I hope to catch up on your blogs SOON.

 The bigger picture.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire

Kilpeck Church and cemetery

Southwest of Hereford lies the village of Kilpeck, home to this 12th century church, (formerly within the Welsh kingdom of Ergyng.) There is so much to see in the Marches area of England, away from the big cities!

From 'Sacred Destinations' website:

'There has been a church on this site since the earliest days of Christianity. The village's name of Kilpeck is probably derived from kil Pedic, the "cell of St Pedic," who is otherwise unknown but was likely a local Celtic holy man. Records in the Book of Llandaff indicate that "Kilpeck church with all its lands around" was given to that diocese in 650 AD.

'Part of a previous Saxon church may survive in the remains of a buttress on the north wall of the present church. It has the characteristics of Saxon architecture, but remains a bit of a mystery since the Normans usually destroyed all trace of previous Saxon work.

'The Normans arrived in Kilpeck not long after the Conquest, and William the Conqueror gave Kilpeck to his kinsman William fitz Norman. This William built a timber castle at Kilpeck, which was later replaced with stone and extended but does not survive today.
William's son, Hugh de Kilpeck, was Keeper of the King's Forests, and it was he who founded Kilpeck's splendid Romanesque church in about 1140. The church was given to the Abbey of Gloucester in 1143.'  Read MORE at Sacred Destinations...

 This photo from

Altar inside the domed apse

 Baptismal Font

Laid hedge, adjacent to church

When you're traveling and taking hundreds of photos, it seems like you're getting way too many. It's not until you get back home, $1200 airfare away (current price), that you realize that there is no such thing as too many photos.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

British Bread Advert

Somebody sent me this as an e-mail forward and I thought it was so cool.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Favorite Blueberry Muffins Recipe

When our son from the Twin Cities comes out, I often make blueberry muffins, one of his favorites. I mean really, there's so little one can do for those old grown-up kids! This recipe is from my 'vintage' Betty Crocker Cookbook:

1969 General Mills, Minneapolis, MN

Favorite Blueberry Muffins Recipe:

Start with big and juicy, fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Use a cooking spray to grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Each 'cup' is the size of a normal cupcake. I guess what I'm saying is that these are medium-size, not huge and not tiny.

2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. salad oil
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
(2 c. fresh blueberries or 1 1/2 c. well-drained frozen-thawed blueberries). I like to use a hand chopper to chop up the fresh blueberries a bit. I don't care if the batter gets a bit blue. Blue is a nice color.

Beat egg, stir in milk and oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Batter should be a bit lumpy. 

Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups to the top. (I know, they say you should fill them only 2/3 full, but that's ridiculous. I like a nice, tall muffin, and it always works just fine when I fill them right to the top.)

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Take from oven and set muffin tin on cooling rack. Wait a few minutes, then carefully remove each muffin and set it on its side in the muffin tin to finish cooling - if you can wait that long to eat it.

DO put Real Wisconsin Butter on the muffin.
And it's okay with me if you only eat the tops. That's my favorite part too!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Eagle Has Landed

 Cute, sweet little neighbor boy and his chickens

I didn't get chickens this year, but our neighbors did. I still have the gift certificate to Murray McMurray Hatchery, so I'm contemplating the chicken project for next spring, but just haven't quite made the commitment. I like the idea of having our own eggs, but more than that, it appeals to me to have a 'lap chicken' like the Australorp. Unfortunately, I doubt the Australorp has the same appeal for Bridger. I think there are some new tricks you absolutely can't teach an old dog, and I suspect that 'leaving chickens alone' is one of them. I won't tie up my dog, not even for a lap chicken.

Chickens? Did you say chickens??

 The neighbor's cute chickens

 Great chicken tractor, made by cute neighbor boy's daddy

Hungry Eagle

What I saw sitting at the top of our pine tree, looking the direction of cute neighbor boy and his chickens (I heard the eagle first, making the strangest loud cries, then noticed him in our 80' pine tree).

 Not one, but TWO eagles were there!

What a beautiful creature!

Eagle photos taken by our daughter, Angela

The neighbor's chickens are soon to be moved to a coop and a chicken yard.
I hope that chicken yard also has a roof. The eagle looks determined.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Balsamic Chicken and Zucchini with Angel Hair - Recipe

I was very pleased to see five little zucchinis in my garden, and especially happy that overnight they hadn't grown to the size of fireplace logs. I had great plans for those first zucchinis, and they didn't disappoint me.

NOTE: This is a previously-scheduled blog post. I hope to get back to blogging and caught up on reading all of your blogs in the next week. Some of our family have been with us for the past week, so it's been pretty busy around here.

Balsamic Chicken and Zucchini with Angel Hair - Recipe

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large onion, sliced
1-2 red bell peppers (I used Carmens)
3-5 small, young zucchinis
Fresh mushrooms, or canned and drained
1 can black olives
1 small can green chili peppers
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Grated Parmesan cheese

Angel hair (Cook according to package directions while you're preparing the recipe below.) When done, drain angel hair and stir in a teaspoon or so of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute the chicken in a couple tablespoons of peanut or corn oil (it browns better than when I use olive oil). Remove chicken to a large plate.

In same large skillet, saute onions and peppers in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. You're ready to add the zucchini chunks when the onions and peppers have cooked down just a little.

Add 1 can drained mushrooms or fresh sliced mushrooms.
Add 1 can black olives, drained (You may need two. It depends on how many olives you're going to snitch before this project is done.)
Add 1 can green chilis.

Add about 3 T. (or more) Balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Stir in sauteed chicken.

Turn burner to low and cook until zucchini is just tender with a bit of crunch remaining.

Serve chicken/zucchini recipe over bed of angel hair pasta. This can be made gluten-free by simply using Tinkyada (gluten-free) pasta.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.

There's no such thing as too many olives!

This post is linked to: Making the World Cuter Mondays and Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and Making Monday Marvelous and Made from Scratch Tuesday and Delectable Tuesday and Anything Related Tuesday and Take a Look Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday  and Tasty Tuesday and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Wandering Wednesday and What's Cookin' Wednesday and We Did it Wednesday and Thrilling Thursday and Lisa's Gluten-Free Blog and Favorite Things Friday and I'm Lovin' it Friday and It's a Hodgepodge Friday  and Fat Camp Friday and Fun With Food Friday


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wisconsin Barn in July

Wisconsin barn under a beautiful summer sky

This is one of my favorite barns in the area. Of course I love the stone foundation, (remember my love of Yorkshire??), but I also like the deep red of this barn. There are many white barns in Wisconsin also, but there's just something about the deep red barn that, in my mind, is stereotypical of the Wisconsin family farm barn, probably because my grandpa's barn was red.

When I took the photo, I was so focused on getting the picture of the barn that I didn't notice if it was still in operation or not. When they're not, (in other words, if they don't contain those warm cow bodies) it's only a matter of time before our harsh Wisconsin winters and spring thaws cause their foundations to crack and heave. Then, inevitably, the barn caves in. It's sad to see how many barns in our area are disintegrating. Eventually they will only be a thing read about in coffee table books.


 'Cranberry Morning'
Natural, Handcrafted Vegan Soap

...and more! Check out all our handcrafted soaps at


and at

Our ETSY Store 

This post is linked to Barn Charm

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicken Tenders with Hot Mustard and Apricot Dipping Sauce Recipe

The mustard sauce for this recipe, tweaked slightly, was originally a marinade from Jenn's Food Journey, a blog which regularly gives me great ideas for dinner. Be sure to visit. She's always got something delicious on the grill!

But, rather than grill whole chicken breasts this time, I decided to make fried, breaded chicken tenders on top of the stove in a skillet. And I added some cayenne to the sauce to give it a little more kick.

Chicken Tenders with Hot Mustard and Apricot Dipping Sauce Recipe:

3 large, boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (no thicker) against the grain.
2/3 c. flour
garlic salt
coarse black pepper

1/4 c. corn oil (because it does a better job of browning the chicken)

Sauce recipe:
1/2 c. apricot preserves
2 T. Country Dijon mustard
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. cayenne

Place flour in a gallon Ziploc bag. A few at a time, toss chicken slices in flour. Heat oil in skillet. Move breaded chicken slices to skillet, as many at a time as will comfortably fit in skillet without crowding. Sprinkle garlic salt and black pepper on breaded chicken slices.  Fry about 4 minutes on each side with heat on high or med-high. DON'T walk away from hot oil.

I'm not certain how long I fried these on each side, because I was listening to an interesting radio show, but I wanted them to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I used a meat thermometer to test the inside: 168 degrees. Also, when I cut one open with a knife, it was no longer pink and watery. When they are cooked through and crispy, golden brown on both sides, move them to a warm plate and fry remaining chicken.

While chicken tenders are frying, mix up the sauce and place in a bowl.

This should serve 4 people, each person getting a little more than 3 large chicken tenders and a generous spoonful of sauce to dip them in.

These are amazingly delicious! And that sauce recipe is now part of my 'Favorites' folder!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Frenchy is Hosting a Giveaway of my Soaps!

Apple Peel Handcrafted Soap

Don't miss it! Frenchy is hosting a giveaway of my Soap'n'Such handcrafted soaps, beginning today. Check out the link above for all the details!




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