Friday, June 27, 2008

Pecan Chicken Salad

If you're looking for an unusual and delicious chicken salad, try this one. I found the recipe in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette a few years back and it's been one of my favorites ever since. The recipe came from the California Table Grape Commission - the grapes give it just the right sweetness and the basil is a nice twist. It's even better after it's mixed together and chilled for a while in the fridge. It gives the flavors a chance come together.
Pecan Chicken Salad
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup (or less to taste) diced celery
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 T fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup (I use less) mayonnaise
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 T lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 2 hours.

Chicken Salad, originally uploaded by deanna23.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sour Cherry Harvest


It's been two, maybe three, years ago that my husband planted our orchard by the side of our house. A couple of apple trees, a peach tree, and two sour cherry trees. They are still tiny trees (you can see the trunk of our peach tree in the background of the above photo) and they are no taller than I am with my arms reaching up. We have gaurded them best we can from the deer that graze our property and this year, we noticed small peaches on the peach tree (which have since succumbed to worms) and cherries on (only) one of the cherry trees. Annie and I went out to pick the cherries yesterday and we got more than I thought we would. I pitted and froze those tiny cherries so that sometime I can make a mini cherry pie. Mark says sour-cherry pies are his all-time favorite which he remembers from his childhood. I can still remember my Grandma making the prettiest, brightest-red jam from Oregon sour cherries which we would spread on hearty toasted and buttered bread. Hopefully this little tree will continue to grow and produce even more cherries so our kids can have those memories too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bottoms Up to Fabulous Friends!


Mom, first let me thank you for teaching me how to sew. Now let me describe this day I had last week. Five of us girlfriends and 8 of our kids got together this week to complete the "cool bag" project. The weather was hot, the food was wonderful, the Miller Chill was cold and refreshing, the sky threatened rain, the kids jumped on trampolines, played in the kiddie pool, drew pictures on the sidewalk, and ate popsicles while us girls -fabrics, notions and sewing machines in hand- completed the coolest tote bags in one afternoon! We had so much fun! I am so lucky to have found this group of funny, interesting, creative, and fabulous friends! When we get together, I know I'm in for lots of laughs and a little therapeutic venting as we talk of the challenges and humors of being modern day moms and wives. A Big, Huge thanks to Megan for coming up with the great idea, and another Big, Huge thanks to Jen for making it a great success at her home. You guys are the greatest! Here's to more crafty adventures to come!

The Colors of Late Spring





In the past few weeks, I have been so busy in the garden I feel like I can barely keep up - definitely no time to blog!. Today alone, I weeded and mulched two large beds, planted 4 Geraniums and 20 Calendula plants, watered the most heat-wilted plants and the new green beans seedlings popping out of the ground. And that's only a small fraction of the things I need to do out there! It's hard work that I hope will pay off later. As I work to plant things that will be in full bloom by mid to late summer, I can really appreciate the plants that are in their prime right now, especially because they didn't require hardly anything from me to become what they are. They just do their thing - year after year! Peonies, chives, poppies and strawberries are my favorites this time of year - they'll come and go before we know it! The colors are so beautiful and the strawberries are delicious! Now I have to get back to the garden!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Clouds


Over the winter, I had the habit of staying up late (to blog and have some alone time) and then getting up with the kids. But since the weather has improved, I've started getting up before everyone and walking around the neighborhood circle. I have found that if I don't do something active first thing in the morning, I'll never do it. I just get swallowed up with all the other things to do throughout the day (lately putting in the vegetable seedlings - more on that at a later time!). Besides being aerobic exercise with some pretty good hills, it's also meditative. I don't take my ipod and I enjoy listening to the birds and taking in the sunrise and early morning happenings in nature. I use the time just to think or let my mind wander. This daily walk clears my head and lets me face the day much more refreshed. The other day, I noticed these cool clouds and had to take a picture. Maybe there are cool clouds all the time, but I know that many days I barely have the time to look up! Here's to looking up once in a while!

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