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*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

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?????


  1. Great news about the shower. Now we will have to pray that it isn't quite so long. ( a friend near me here was waiting to have a shower fitted by the local housing Ass. she waited and waited and on her 80th. birthday she called them and asked again when ? then she said well she knew there was a waiting list but she really would prefer to have it before she died !!) she got it three weeks later LOL.
    Sarah and JOhn manage dto get some wild strawberries and were groaingthem in teh cracks of the steps up home...wonder what has happened too them this year..
    Off to Bath soon as a surprise for Mary I am taking her to the Pump Room for breakfast...mighty change from our usual market cuppa....It is her birthday today and our Fav chinese has closed where I had thought of taking her tonight..
    Hope all goes ok with the knee injection.
    Love Sybil xx

  2. Your Tuesday seems to have been a great one all the way round and now it'll be an exciting Wednesday for you. It'll be nice having a dishwasher. I haven't had one in years due to it only being me here. There never are many dishes to do. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  3. good morning Marie, such a lovely post today, thankyou for visiting , I am praying that this shot in your knee will solve the trouble and that you will be pain free.Thats a very tasty dish you've made,, garry would love that, as long as it had lots of beef in it,, then he would probably say,, this would be better with potatoes,, men!Know that you are in my thoughts and in my prayers today, be brave,,

  4. oh I forgot to say,, i wrote about wild strawberries to day also!!We great minds think alike,,!!

  5. You seem so at peace and thats a good thing.:) I realize the shot maybe painful but if it helps... My sweetie has to have the shots in her knee as well (onset of early arthritis related to Lupus):(. I always try to do something fun just before it seems to relax her.I'll be prayin for you.

  6. I've never had wild strawberries Marie and I'm sad to say that the store-bought ones I've had lately have been way too tart for my taste. We grown wonderful ones in Arkansas but unless you are close to someone who grows them you don't get any as they are all shipped out of state. :( I sure hope you get that shower, and sooner than 18 months! blessings, marlene

  7. I've always wanted to try rhubarb!

  8. Oh Marie I cryed of joy when I heared about the shower. And glad you or should I say Todd got Your dishwhasher. As I'm from N.Y. state I've had all kinds of wild berries and apples est. And they were the beat. ((HUGS))

  9. Such great news about the shower, Marie--so happy for you! Just a pity you have to wait so very long though... but still, a step in the right direction! ;o) Hope all goes well with getting your shot today. Strawberry time...berry time,I just love it too! We have 4 raspberry bushes in the garden--pretty soon we'll have a glut of berries. Hoping to buy some strawberries this weekend. Mangoes too--want to try making a mango sorbet, like we ate at an Indian restaurant last weekend while away. We're sipping & savoring summer too... a few odd showers, but so far, so good! :o Hope to catch you for that chat tomorrow. Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU LOTS!! ((BIG HUGS))

  10. I surely enjoyed talking to you again. I always love hearing your sweet voice. I hope that your knee feels better than it did when I talked to you. I hope that you didn't displace the cortisone by walking so far on it right after the injection. I put your name on the temple prayer roll today.

    We fight the squirrels and the birds for our strawberries. Putting a net over them has helped somewhat.

    I am glad you are getting a new shower. I hope it will not take 18 months.
    I am sending you and Todd hugs as always. Love, Lura

  11. Love this post of summer thoughts and memories and the one about how different sights and smells bring back so many memories. I always remember waking up on a Saturday morning in the summer, hearing people out pushing their lawn mowers and the aroma of freshly cut grass. It always reminds me of the sweeter, simpler days of childhood.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!