What I Discovered In August

Meeting house at Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, KY
Meeting house at Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, KY

I discover new things.  I think.  I hope.  But, I don’t always remember the little interesting things that I pick up here and there.  Which means most months, it is time to share over at Emily’s and I realize I don’t have a list.  I do try to write things down as I go, but I usually forget, or think that I will remember later.  You know how that goes. Right?  So, I wanted to share this month and I did write a couple or three things down on the back of an envelope so that I would be able to wow you with my knowledge.  Whatever!

1.  I took a trip recently and on the way discovered a new to me restaurant in Lexington, KY.  Shakespeare and Company.  It was a great atmosphere and the food was wonderful.

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2.  I discovered a new vegetable that I had never heard of.  SALSIFY.  Truly.  Salsify is a root vegetable somewhat similar to a parsnip.  I had it served to me on a trip to Shaker Village.  It was in a cream based casserole that involved cheese and a crumb topping.  It was wonderful.  When the waitress was telling us the vegetables we would be served with our dinner I kept thinking she was talking about some kind of salsa dish.  She finally spelled it for me.  I googled it.  Here is a link to a Washington Post article that talks about Salsify as well as other obscure veggies.

3.  I discovered Salsify at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Lexington, KY where I went with a friend on a much needed girls getaway.  I think I may have been there once as a young girl with my family for a brief visit.  But that was so many years ago, that this was like going for the first time.  It’s only about an hour and a half from where I live.  While there, I learned a few things about Shaker history that I did not know before.  Like the fact that they wrote over 20,000 songs.  They also had “dance” moves in their songs, such as a sweeping motion when they sang about sweeping, which was a metaphor for keeping your heart clean.  Of course, the turning around for one of their most famous songs, Simple Gifts, was one of their “dance” moves as well.  They were known for shaking and moving, or as others call it “ecstatic dancing”,  thus they became known by the name “Shaker”.  If you want more history you can go here.

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Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, KY The far house in the picture is the East Family House where we stayed.

4.  Ok, this next thing I discovered is just a little creepy, but I just couldn’t not share.  Did you know that there is a Home For Wayward Baby Dolls.  I kid you not.  And even more astonishing, it is practically in my back door.  The next county over.  Deep in Rowan County, Kentucky.  While at aforementioned Shaker Village, I was reading a magazine called STORY, which is full of stories about Kentucky folks and what they are up to.  It seems they focus on the quirky or unusual stories.  In this particular issue there was a story about a couple in Rowan County that have quite the “display” of dolls, doll parts, mannequins etc., scattered around their farm. They even have doll heads on tobacco stakes.  Cecil and Bet Ison, the creators of this bizarre state of misshapen, wayward dolls, refer to it as “research”. Whatever. There is a Facebook page and a Flicker page, if you need to know more about these shenanigans. Or, you could check out this article written by a student of Folk Studies at Western Ky University.   Did I mention that this is really creepy?  My friend thinks this would be a good October trip.  I’ll keep you posted on the developments.  If I dare to venture into the land of wayward dolls.

waywardbabydolls
This picture came from the Facebook page of Home For Wayward Baby Dolls.

5. Finally,  I discovered that you can need a last minute dish to take to a family gathering and just start throwing things together and come up with a pretty good bean dip that everybody raves over (unless they were just being nice). This is my adaptation of similar recipes I’ve seen here and there.  Disclaimer: due to the use of processed cheese this is probably not the healthiest dish to eat.  I wouldn’t call it gourmet either.  But it was a big hit, so here you go.  Makes a great game day snack.

TERESA’S YUMMY BEAN DIP

INGREDIENTS: butter, refried beans, salsa, taco seasoning, velveeta cheese, mayo.

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, heavy pan, melt about 2T BUTTER on Med heat
Add 2 cans (approx 15 oz ea) REFRIED BEANS ( I used El Paso)
Add 1 Jar WHITE CORN / BEAN SALSA (I used the Sam’s/Great Value brand)
Add 1 packet TACO SEASONING (I used El Paso)
Mix to incorporate taco seasoning, then:
Add approx 1/2 box of VELVEETA CHEESE, cut into cubes. (You could do more cheese if you like it really cheesy and I loosely call this cheese )
Stir cheese into bean mixture, let melt, then:
Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of MAYO (I used our local store brand) (start with the smaller amount and then add more if you think it’s needed – shhh, this is my secret ingredient!)
Continue cooking on med to low heat until all cheese is melted, stir often to keep from sticking.
Serve with your favorite TORTILLA CHIPS and enjoy! Makes a great game day snack. Although I haven’t tried this, I’m sure it would probably work well in a crockpot too – just grease the crockpot with a little butter to prevent sticking.
My husband suggested that this would also be good with taco seasoned ground beef added – he’s probably right, so I may try this the next time I make it.

6. I guess this is technically the finally, but  I didn’t discover this in August, more like April-ish, and I felt the need to share the info with you now.  You may or may not remember that I shared back in March (#7) about how it’s ok to eat GMO foods.  I’m not sure I agree with that, and in the spirit of telling both sides of the story, I wanted to point you to a documentary that I found interesting.  It is called David Vs. Monsanto. It is well worth watching and gives you food for thought.

Ok, thanks for bearing with me as I share my August discoveries.  At least the one’s I remembered.  Please pop on over to Chatting at the Sky and read what other people discovered in August.

Discovering in Grace,

Teresa

 

Note:  All pictures used in this post were taken by me, with the exception of the baby dolls, it came from the Facebook page of Home for Wayward Baby Dolls.

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Favorite Healthy Snack (Three Ways) – 31:23

I love to snack.  I am a nibbler.  I love sweet.  I love salty.  I love crunchy.  I love creamy.  You get the point.  But, there is always a but, I need to eat healthy.  How does a snacky nibbler who loves sweet and creamy, salty and crunchy good stuff satisfy the urge to snack without sabotaging a healthy diet?

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I’ll tell you.  We call it Rocky’s Concoction.  We came up with it when he was diagnosed as a diabetic a few years ago.  He needed a snack that would not raise his blood sugar, so we combined some of his favorite elements.  I do mine a little differently, actually a couple of differently’s,  so you are going to get one snack, three ways. This is a way to get a little crunchy, creamy and sweet together with a little chocolate.  Did I forget to mention chocolate earlier?  Forgive me.  Chocolate is always necessary. Especially for snacky nibblers.

1.  Combine peanut butter (we use all natural), walnuts, almonds, and a few semi-sweet chocolate chips in a cup and stir.  You can also add in cheerios.  He doesn’t always include the almonds or the cheerios. He used to do a few unsalted pretzels, but they are basically flour laden, so we quit adding those.

2.  Combine walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins and cheerios in a cup.  Shake to combine and enjoy.  I don’t always do the cheerios and sometimes I leave out the raisins.  Even though raisins are natural, they do add a little extra sugar.

3.  Or, combine peanut butter, sliced banana, walnuts and the chocolate chips and warm in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds, stir, then enjoy.  Bananas too can add a little more sugar than you may want on a regular basis.  I think this may be my favorite version.

Note – combining in a cup, does not necessarily mean you should eat a cupful.  A little goes a long way.  The walnuts are filling – they are also a good source of fiber and omega 3 fats. I did not tell you how much of each item to include, that is up to your discretion based on nutrition labels and your dietary needs. As with any recipe, if you are diabetic or have other health issues, check with you doctor for approval if you’re not sure.

This may not be a 100% perfect snack, but it does satisfy a craving for something to munch while watching TV and the semi-sweet chocolate chips give a little indulgence.  We have jars on our counter for walnuts, chocolate chips and raisins, so they are always ready when a snack attack hits.

Don’t tell anybody, but I have been known to add marshmallows which I think makes them no longer on the healthy snack list. So be careful!

Nibbling in Grace,

Teresa (Sadie Grace)

The Weekend Toss

Happy Weekend.  Thought I’d toss a few things your way: 1. Recipe  2.  Randomness  3.  Reading Ideas

1.  What’s for dinner?  Baked Potato with Chili Beans and Cheddar Cheese and my new favorite salad – thought you might like to try the salad:

Teresa’s fresh greens, fruit, and nutty goodness salad with homemade dressing:       (I know – need a better name)

Salad Ingredients:  Green Leaf Lettuce, Boston Bibb Lettuce, Spinach, Strawberries, crushed pineapple, green pepper, cucumber and walnuts.

Dressing Ingredients: olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, maple syrup (the real stuff), pepper.

Directions for Salad: Chop, dice etc all the salad ingredients into whatever sizes you prefer.  Load your favorite salad bowl with the lettuce blend (you can use whatever lettuce you have if you don’t have the one’s I listed, although I would use something or a combo of something more green than iceberg).  Next, add remaining ingredients in amounts that look balanced to you.  I was making a salad for two more or less, so I tossed in a small to medium handful of the other items more or less and enough lettuce for two to three side salads.  Adjust according to the crowd you are feeding.

Directions for Dressing:  Again, I just eyeballed the amounts.  If you need to measure, I would do three to four parts vinegar to two parts olive oil and one part maple syrup (use the real if you have it, if not you could use honey.  Or, if you don’t need the sweet just leave it out – the pineapple adds a little sweet anyway) Pepper to taste.  Adjust levels until you get the flavor that seems right to you. Pour on dressing and toss. Note: The dressing will blend with the other ingredients once applied to the salad, and that will add to the flavor. Also, you could substitute apple cider vinegar if you don’t have balsamic.

I was out of some of my usual salad toppings and had eaten the strawberry, walnut and feta cheese with spinach salad before, so I just used what I had on hand, and did my own version.  I probably would have added some shredded cheddar if I hadn’t used it all on the baked potatoes. I think cheddar cheese pairs well with fruit.  Feta would also be enjoyable.

This is a fairly healthy salad and also addresses your sweet tooth, so you don’t crave dessert after the meal.  In fact the little bit that was left over  became my snack later instead of the chocolate candy bar calling my name from the pantry shelf.  Although I’ve heard chocolate can be good for you too!  Antioxidants and all.

I don’t have a picture to take of how beautiful it looked in the bowl because it was devoured gone before I thought to take one.  It met with Mr. Piano’s approval too, although I’m sure he enjoyed the loaded potato more, because as he says salad is a necessary evil need for us nutritionally.

2.  I do have a Random picture from the Little House taken before we officially moved in and crowded it all up with furniture from two residences (which is a story for another time). This room looks different now; I loved it when it was just a simple table and chair.  You will notice my drop cloth drapes to the right side of the picture.

Rocky's Final Piano Recital 087.2

3.  And finally, the reading.  Today I was reading in Philippians chapter two in preparation for tomorrows Sunday School class.  We will be discussing humility and how Christ is our example of a humble servant. humility-is-not-thinking-less-of-yourself-its-thinking-of-13

image.mere christianity

Friday and hopefully Sunday, I am reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. I started this book some time ago and was interrupted. I picked it back up this week to finish.  It is good, thought provoking reading.

I also recently enjoyed the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  It has a lovely spread of Edie Wadsworth’s new (rebuilt) lake home from over at life{in}grace.  Her story is truly remarkable; I believe, in addition to the BH&G article, you would love browsing around her blog.  Her about me page has links to several of her posts that will help you get to know her a little better. I found her a couple years ago via Nesting Place.  I may or may not have spent a lot of few hours stalking catching up on her blog posts recently.  She also lives in my beloved Tennessee which makes me a little jealous, until I remember that I am blessed, beyond measure, to live in My beloved Kentucky Home during this part of our journey.

So, there you have it, some ideas for your weekend in case you’re tired of that social media site where you normally hang out!  I do realize that your weekend is half over before I post, but it is daylight somewhere, maybe.

Weekending in Grace,

Sadie