Summer Recipes on Our Gravel Road

In August, most of our meals revolve around what comes in our weekly CSA share and what’s in season at the grocery store. Since many fruits and veggies are available for a very short time, I’ve been cooking family favorite recipes rather than trying new ones. That’s why today’s post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately.

1. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.To use up tomatoes, sweet peppers, and jalapenos we’ve been making double batches of this delicious summer salsa. This summer’s new twist has been to cut the corn off two ears of sweet corn, microwave it for a minute, and add it to the salsa. How can something good for a person be so sinfully good?

2.  Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.

Summer heat’s been great for the basil in my herb garden. I’ve lost count of how many batches of pesto we’ve made. We make non-dairy basil pesto, which is as tasty as the regular version.

3.  Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.Most of the pesto goes in the freezer to be used throughout the winter. But some of it gets added to pesto pasta, to which we add summer vegetables that need to be used: zucchini and grape tomatoes are two faves.

4. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.Peanut chicken stir fry is another summer favorite at our house because we can add whatever veggies are available. Our favorite is Joni’s Cashew Chicken, garnished with peanuts instead of cashews. You can find other stir fry recipes by typing “chicken stir fry” in the Gravel Road search box.

5. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.With peach season going strong, we’ve been eating a lot of peach pie for dessert. This morning I made two for supper with friends tonight. This fresh peach pie recipe can’t be beat.

So what’s cooking in your late summer kitchen? Leave a link to your favorite recipe in the comment box if you like.

When Your To Do List Doesn’t Get Too Done

What to do when the too do list doesn't get too done? The past week was an exercise in answering that question.Last week was one of those weeks. The kind where I looked at my goals on Sunday and thought, “Piece of cake. I can blaze through this list by Wednesday. Thursday at the latest. Just in time for company.”

Monday reinforced that forecast. I finished a week’s worth of Different Dream posts by noon and spent the afternoon revising See Jane Run! I didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped, though I worked steadily, but it was only Monday. Not to worry.

Tuesday was when I remembered what I’d forgotten to put on the week’s to do list:

  • The 10:30 AM Tuesday appointment to look at a property.
  • CSA pick up at 4:00 PM the same day.
  • A stop at the Heartland AEA to drop off worksheets for an upcoming Educator’s Guide to PTSD class before visiting Mom on Wednesday.
  • Wednesday grocery stops after visiting Mom at Costco, Baker’s Pantry, and possibly Trader Joe’s if Costco didn’t have their amazing dairy free chocolate chips in stock. (They didn’t.)
  • A Friday afternoon date at the State Fair with our son and a friend.
  • Saturday lunch with the fam at Hickory Park to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was last month but this was when we could all get together.

At which point the mystery novel became the top priority, with peach pie and muffin baking close behind (because food is always high on my list), and cleaning the bathroom in third place. Only because it was getting too fuzzy to be ignored.

The next four days went like this:

  • Wednesday morning at the AEA, followed by being trounced by Mom at Uno, and grocery shopping at Costco, Baker’s Pantry, and Trader Joe’s.
  • Thursday morning working on novel revisions and the afternoon getting ready for and enjoying company.
  • Friday morning novel revisions and a sweltering afternoon at the State Fair.
  • Saturday morning muffin-making, lunch at Hickory Park, and final mystery revisions in the afternoon. Yes, they are done. Happy Dance, Happy Dance, Happy Dance!
  • Peach pie making before church on Sunday, and the new week’s goals already plumped up and in place because last week’s to do list didn’t get too done.

The new to do list? It’s a cinch. Because other than Connection Group, CSA pick up, and a party on Saturday (for which I volunteered to make three pies), absolutely nothing is going on around here this week. Nothing at all.



Three Thoughts for Thursday

Peach pie season, sofa sleeper snafus, and the truth about barbecued beets in this week's three thoughts.

  1. The first fresh peach pie of the season was worth the wait. Thanks to our son-in-law for requesting it for his birthday dessert!
  2. Decorating tip: It’s a good idea to measure doorways and hallways before purchasing a sofa sleeper for an upstairs bedroom. Otherwise, your comfy arm chairs may be relegated to the bedroom so the sofa can take their place in the living room. Don’t ask how I know this.
  3. No matter how beautiful balsamic barbecued beets appear in the Pinterest picture, real beets will still taste like dirt.

What’s your birthday dessert request? Leave a comment.


3 Summertime Favorite Recipes


I’m on the road this week. I thought about testing and posting road kill recipes, but thought you might prefer a few recycled favorite summer favorites instead. Here are three of our faves that get frequently get pinned by Pinterest fans, too.

1.   Non-Dairy Basil Pestobasil pesto

2.   Fresh Peach Pie

fresh peach pie

3.  Fourth of July Grilled Shrimp with Greek Salad


So, are you salivating yet?

Peach Pie Heaven

Pardon the latest of this post, but I just got back from peach pie heaven. Though those of you who shudder at the thought of making 5 fresh peach pies before 10 AM, my peach pie heaven may be your peach pie hell.

But the opportunity to prepare dessert for a wedding rehearsal involving two families who have given generously to us made the time in the kitchen heavenly. While peeling peaches, I reflected upon the ways these families touched ours in the past:

  • During our son’s six years as a monk, the bride’s parents subscribed to the monastery newsletter and talked about what they read in it. That simple act of caring meant more to us than words can express.
  • The bride and her sister, who are a few years older than our daughter, let Anne borrow a formal for her senior prom. The kicky, funky dress turned out to be Anne’s all time favorite.
  • When Anne was in fourth grade, the groom volunteered to play George Burn’s to her Gracie Allen for a school performance project. The groom’s parents helped him memorize his lines.
  • The groom did the filming for Different Dream Parenting’s book trailer. Because he has a film degree, he’s been able to help with other audio-visual projects. And he never rolls his eyes when I ask questions with obvious (to the younger generation, anyway) answers.

Such simple things, I mused. But things our family couldn’t do without them.

We couldn’t enter into typical how-the-kids-are-doing conversations with friends unless they understood something about our son’s life.
We couldn’t afford a kicky, funky prom dress for Anne.
We couldn’t be our pint-sized Gracie Allen’s pint-sized straight man.
We couldn’t film professional quality video.

So when our small church group decided to host tonight’s wedding rehearsal dinner for our friends, I volunteered to make dessert.

Not just any dessert.
But fresh peach pie.
Not just 1 pie, but 5.
Enough to feed the whole crowd.

Why volunteer for what some people consider a hellish job?

Because I make a killer peach pie.
Because it’s peach season.
Because this is an opportunity to give back to those who have given to us.
Because being able to give back is a taste of heaven on earth.

How do I know this? Because, I realized, while pouring the last of the glaze over fresh-sliced peaches resting in the baked pastry shell, when God provides opportunities for his people to exercise the unique gifts he’s equipped them with, he’s giving them a foretaste of heaven on earth. And what does heaven taste like?

Heaven tastes serving people who freely served us.
It tastes like the celebration for two lovely, young people making a lifelong commitment.
It tastes like finally being able to give back.
Heaven tastes like fresh peach pie on a warm, summer night.


Top Ten Summer Foods

Summertime and the eating is tasty, thanks to the CSA bag of fruits and vegetables we pick up from Wilber’s Northside Market every Tuesday. In honor of summer’s good eatin’ here’s my top ten summer foods list:

10.   Grandma Josie’s Strawberry Shortcake

9.     Honey Mustard Pork Stir Fry

8.   Any meat marinated and grilled with teriyaki sauce

7.   Grilled pizza

6.   Any meat grilled with savory marinade

5.   Strawberry rhubarb pie

4.   Grilled turkey-pesto sandwiches

3.   Greek salad with grilled shrimp

2.   Fresh peach pie

1. BLTs and sweet corn

What would you add to the list of favorite summer foods? Leave a comment!