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Bushel of PeachesImagine you are watching a movie and the scene takes place in a small southwestern town, at the annual festival.  Local musicians are on stage:  young girls with violins and guitars, men trying their hand at singing to a recorded track, little girls in frilly dresses singing broadway tunes.   Politicians are out en force, with their signs and bumper stickers, manning booths.  There’s an auction going on, bushels of peaches going to the highest bidder.  Announcements are being made about the winners of the cook-off from earlier in the day.  People cool themselves with handheld political fans while they stand in line for homemade ice cream and fried pies.  Toby Keith plays over the sound system while signs are everywhere giving Jesus all the glory.  Dogs and babies are having a day out.  It’s hot and sunny.  Men wear cowboy hats; women stroll with umbrellas. 

And there you’d sit in the movie audience, thinking “Man, this is really over the top.”   And I would have to agree with you.  But on July 17, 2010, at the Stratford Peach Festival in Stratford, Oklahoma, it was all of that and more. 

And my friend Lise and I did just as we were supposed to do as visitors:   we strolled and looked at the vendors selling homemade food and crafts, bought snacks and eyed fresh produce.  I bought an apron that a nice lady had made.  Then we each got a peach fried pie, and ate while waiting in line for peach ice cream and peach iced tea, all the while commiserating with a stranger on how hot it was and how the line should be in the shade.  We mosied over to the pavilion to catch some talent and watch part of the peach auction.  Lise visited with another stranger about her daughter selling pies and snowcones in another Oklahoma town.   Little kids were dancing and some boys were fanning their dog to keep it cool.   We had to revisit a roasted nut stand so I could get cinnamon almonds to take home.   Then off we went to purchase our share of the delicious fresh peaches. 

Looking back, I would say it was just about as perfect as a small town festival could be.   It was one of those days when you feel lucky that you got to step into the scene and experience it — entertaining while you are there and nice to remember when you eat your warm peaches at home.   So, to you Okies, if you ever get a chance to go to the Stratford Peach Festival, I can recommend it.  Oh — and the peaches are good, too.

Fresh Watermelon for SaleBoys fan their dogGirls playing violinHomemade Peach Ice Cream

I just made this cake today (see pics in previous post) and it is ridiculously quick and easy.   If you are vegan or being careful with what you eat, you will love it.  It isn’t a typical cake flavor, not sickenly sweet like most cakes.  I would think of it as a sort of short bread cake, less sweet, but still delicious.  It has the consistency of cake and smells delectable while baking.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsps cider vinegar
1 Tbs vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F.   Prepare one round cake pan or pie plate by lightly oiling it and dusting with flour.

Mix the first five (dry) ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine the remaining (wet) ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and whisk in half the wet mixture.  Once that is well-combined, pour the remaining wet mixture in and stir until it is a batter.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes, being sure not to undercook.  Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake.  Cake is done when toothpick is clean.  This cake is gooey in the middle if not well baked (and not a good gooey).

Once removed from oven, let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then top with fruit of your choice.  I used strawberry halves and dusted the entire top with raw sugar.

This recipe is adapted from the Maple Syrup World website.

I just received my very first giveaway prize ever and wow!!   For a first-timer this is quite exciting.   I had entered a giveaway with The Kathleen Show for an amazing basket of organic food goodness from Nature’s Path Organics, never ever expecting to win one of five baskets.   But I did!   Today the fab gift arrived and it’s amazing!

As you can see the foods were packed on a gorgeous bamboo tray, and there was even a reusable shopping bag enclosed!  I’ve already tried the Blueberry Toaster Pastries and they were sooooo good.  I now have health bars, cereals, granolas, oatmeal and some great looking organic foods made for kids that I can ship to my grandson.   My breakfasts just became a lot more interesting.  

Thank you again (very much) to The Kathleen Show and to Nature’s Path Organics for such a delightful giveaway.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first time! 

 

Wow!  I can’t believe how busy I have been.  I’m working on a couple of other web projects and recipes and gardening — life just gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I cooked something new the other day: rice pasta.  This was the first time I had tried it;  I used the angel hair pasta and I like it!  It’s a bit tricky on the cooking time – my box said 5 to 7 minutes, and I went a bit longer, which made it too soft.  I cooked more later and stopped right at 8 minutes and it was just right.  The water turns opaque white, so don’t be alarmed.   The rice pasta doesn’t have the usual pasta flavors we are used to –  it doesn’t taste like a wheat noodle, maybe closer to the lack of flavor of a white flour pasta, but with it’s own rice flavor.  I like them — I’ll continue to buy them.  I’m still using up my farmer’s market veggie finds, too!  Here’s what I made:

Rice Pasta with Zucchini, Patty Squash & Kidney Beans

olive oil
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow patty squash
1/4 large white onion
1 clove garlic
cracked black pepper
1/2 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup organic pasta sauce
cinnamon
rice pasta – angel hair spaghetti
1/2 can kidney beans

Start your water boiling for the rice pasta.  Chop the onion and slice the squashes, then saute along with garlic and cracked pepper in olive oil until vegetables are browning slightly.  In the meantime, add pasta to water and cook the recommended time, rinse with cold water.  Return the pasta to the pan and add the kidney beans to it;  stir slightly to mix.   To the vegetable saute add 1/2 can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and a dash of cinnamon (or two).    Stir until heated through.  Put drained pasta with beans onto a plate and top with some of the cooked mixture.   It’s delicious! 

I always use organic ingredients, but the choice is yours. 

If you haven’t discovered glass storage containers yet, have a look at the small one in the photos below.  It measures about 3 x 4 x 4 inches and is so handy for storing canned foods when I only use a portion of the can’s contents.  These containers come in all sizes, but I have been using this small size every day to put stuff in my fridge. 

THIS PAST WEEKEND HAS BEEN busy and has spilled over into this new week, starting with a trip to the nearby Moore’s Farmers Market on Thursday.  My friend Marcie lives up there and she took me around to introduce me to some of her new farmer friends.  I had a great time!  I also came away with some good zucchini, other types of squash, and onions.   I love the freshness of the food just brought in from someone’s farm!    Two of the farmers gave me info on their farms, which are open to the public — I can’t wait to go visit.  An Oklahoma winery was also set up there, and I grabbed their info on the way out, for yet another field trip. 

After some quick planning, I managed to get my act together for planting some vegetables and herbs.  I had my beds all prepared, but no plants.   I made a quick run to the local Lowe’s and grabbed a thyme plant, rosemary plant, and organic seeds for two types of tomatoes, two types of lettuce, bell peppers, and basil (omg I love basil).   Yesterday I got the plants into the beds, and all of the seed into trays.  (Side note:  Lowe’s also has a couple of different organic soils.)   The lettuce seed is unplanted as of yet, since it is sown directly outdoors and just sprinkled with soil.  We had a gully washer today, and I didn’t want my little babies washed away.   I’ll likely spread the lettuce seed tomorrow.    Once I get the plants hardy enough to move outdoors, I want to fill in spaces with plants that attract bees and butterflies.  I’ve posted a lot of good gardening links for homemade bug sprays and other things on my facebook page. I hope you can have a look and “Like” the page.

I took Sunday to begin planning a good schedule for this blog, and I am working on some ideas for a couple of new blogs (can’t wait!)  Tomorrow will be one more day of planning, and then food shopping, before I get back into the full swing of things. 

Tonight I threw together this soup for dinner:

Lisa’s Farmer’s Market Soup

32 oz. organic vegetable broth

1 cup broccoli heads

1 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1/4 white onion, chopped

1 cup cooked whole grain brown rice

Cracked black pepper & thyme to taste

Cook the rice ahead and put aside (check package, can take 45 minutes to an hour).  Into a saucepan or skillet, pour broth and add all  vegetables.  Add pepper and thyme,  and bring to boil until carrots are softened.    Stir in the cooked rice and serve hot.

I’m going to be tough on myself from now until July 4 – no salt and no sugar — at all — ever.  

Eating only unprocessed foods, I think the salt part will be easy.  I just have to avoid shaking it onto anything.   The sugar part though . . . that involves giving up coffee.   So I supposed I should say I am giving up salt, sugar and coffee until July 4.    There is just something missing in my weight loss program.  This month I wanted to lose 10 lbs by July 1, and I’ve lost zero pounds.   I need an extra boost, since I’m already moderately exercising and I’m not eating anything that’s even close to being bad in any way. 

I’ll report back here after one week to let you know how it has gone.