Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Wednesday This and That . . .
We were picking the strawberries from our garden yesterday and I was reminded of picking wild strawberries when I was a girl. They used to grow along the railway tracks which ran along the back of the little two bedroom house we lived in for a time in Gimli, Manitoba.
They always appeared in the hot weather . . . when the air was filled with the humming of summer insects and the smell of the hot tar from the railway ties.
Small and not much bigger than a baby fingernail, they were so sweet and delicious. My mother would give us little bowls to collect them in. It seemed to take quite a while and really we wouldn't have many when we were each done. Only a few . . . but enough to eat at once . . . covered with a sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of cream.
I don't think anything on earth before or since has tasted so heavenly as those warm and tiny wild berries. Truth be told, we don't have many in our garden either. When we do manage to rescue some from the birds, we end up with a handful . . . just enough for Todd and I to enjoy together in a small bowl, sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with a bit of cream . . .
We think at the end of the summer, we are going to dig up the rhubarb and put it in another spot and add some more crowns to it and then next summer we will expand the strawberry bed and cover it with nets so that we can get a few more berries than we do now. I would love to be able to put in some raspberries as well. There is nothing like food you have grown yourself. It always tastes so much better. We picked a bunch of peas yesterday as well, which I am really going to enjoy today with our supper!
I had a positive day at the centre yesterday and they are recommending that I receive a walk in shower. Now a person has to come to our house and do an assessment here, which should happen in about 4 weeks time. There is then an 18 month waiting list for showers, but at least I know that it is looking good for us to have one put in. Getting through this first assessment was half the battle! I am going for the cortizone shot in my left knee this afternoon. Perhaps then for a few days I will be a bit like my old self. One can but hope! I am not as afraid of this one as I was the one last week, as now I know what to expect, but I am still not looking forward to it!
We are making the most of the lovely weather we are having this week. One thing that I have learned living over here is to grab the good weather and summer when you get it as you never know how long it will be with us! I know they have been having some stinking hot days down in the South East, which can be very hard to take, but up here in Chester . . . we are having quite liveably warm and comfortable days, which is very nice. I can live with that!
I found this sweet poem yesterday and wanted to share it with you:
Count your garden by the flowers,
Never by the leaves that fall.
Count your joys by golden hours,
Never when life's worries call.
Count your days by smiles, not tears,
And when birthdays come around,
Count your age by friends, not years,
And the gifts of love you've found.
I think when all is said and done . . . it is the small and simple things in life that bring us the most joy . . . things like wild strawberries, and warm days when we find them . . . tiny blessings from each day we are given . . . the feel of the warm sun on our faces . . . the touch of a friend's hand . . . a kind word spoken . . . birdsong . . . My days are filled with a mulitude of such simple blessings. I am so grateful for a heart that is able to seek and take these things in.
Here's a tasty casserole that is simple to make and that doesn't take a huge effort or a lot of time. It's also quite delicious! Even Todd doesn't mind the fact that it contains noodles. Perhaps I am slowly converting him into a noodle lover? Ummm . . . no. I don't think so . . . but I do think he's more or less reconciled himself to the fact that once in a while he just has to humour my pasta loving soul!!
*Beef Noodle Casserole*
A delicious Beef and Noodle casserole that is baked in 8 layers. You can use low fat ingredients and cut down on calories and fat. Because of the sour cream and cream cheese it doesn't freeze well, so I normally cut the recipe in half for us. It's also a great pot luck dish. Easy and quick to put together.
6 ounces dried egg noodles (3 cups)
1 pound ground beef
2 cups of tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 (10 ounce) package of chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed until dry
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Grease a 2-quart round or square glass baking dish; set aside. Cook the noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside. Cook the beef in a large skillet over medium high heat until brown. Drain off any accumulated fat. Stir in the tomato sauce, basil, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Beat together the sour cream and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed in a bowl, until smooth. Stir in the milk and onion. Layer half of the noodles (about 2 cups) in the prepared baking dish, half of the meat mixture (about 1 1/2 cups), half of the cream cheese mixture (about 1 cup), and all of the spinach. Top with the remaining meat mixture and noodles. Cover and chill remaining cream cheese mixture until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 5. Cover the casserole with a sheet of buttered foil. Bake in the heated oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and spread with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand for for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: Because there are only two of us I normally halve the recipe.
There's a delicious salad cooking in The English Kitchen today, an Avocado and Baby Gem Salad with a Warm Pancetta and Mustard Dressing!
PSSTT!!! My dishwasher arrives today!! Can you spell E-X-C-I-T-E-D?????