A Song to Rest By

I can’t believe how much of my birthplace is gone. With fires still raging in Sonoma and surrounding counties, my prayers are endless and the fear and worry knocks constantly on my heart.

Imagine my surprise when a song–a song I’ve been hearing every day for weeks thanks to my children’s current obsession with this album–suddenly gave me pause, rest, and renewed hope.

Written to the traditional tune “Londonderry Air,” I give you “Londonderry Prayer” by David Huntsinger. I hope it brings you the same peace it brought to me.

May God give you in every storm a rainbow
in every tear, may He give you a smile
in every care, may he provide a promise
and may He walk beside you every mile.

May God give you, in every hurt a healing
in every sigh, may He give you a song
and may you dwell within the shadow of His wings,
and in that secret place find strength to carry on.

And when your journey leads you through the wilderness
may you find refuge in that weary land
may every valley lead you to a mountain top
and all your steps be steadied by His Hand.

May God give you in every hurt a healing
in every sigh, may He give you a song
and may you dwell within the shadow of His wings
and in that secret place find strength to carry on.

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My home county is facing fires.

My parents are safe in their little town so far (my grandmother and aunt evacuated to their house), but fire has engulphed a large portion of the area I grew up in.

A number of my family and friends were evacuated in the middle of the night, and as of now several have lost their homes. Neighborhoods I drove through daily, businesses I frequented, are gone. 

Support is coming in from neighboring areas, but my understanding is that the focus has mostly been on getting people out, not containment.

My prayers are with everyone in Sonoma County, and I ask for your prayers as well in the face of this disaster.

Book Plug

“This was to remain etched in her memory as one of the least dignified moments of her life. Given Rachel’s life, that was saying something.” (Collapsible)

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Collapsible is a new release by my friend Ruth and is full of quirky humor (I dubbed it a modern murder mystery version of Much Ado About Nothing). The writing is clean and engaging, and I grew very fond of the characters very quickly. I didn’t mean to read it in one sitting, but it proved too fun to put down.

If you’re looking for a fast, easy read, I suggest you check it out! The kindle version is currently on sale at Amazon. I understand the paperback will come out in another couple weeks.

The best part, there are two sequels coming out in the next year!

Easy Basic Scones

Adapted from my Joy of Cooking cookbook, this scone recipe only has four ingredients. Hard to go wrong with that!

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Scones

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1) Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.

2) Sift dry ingredients together.

3) Add cream and mix together until barely combined. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and handling it as little as possible, pat or roll into 3/4″ thick round.

4) Cut into 12 wedges, place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes, or until scones are golden. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Notes:

– I’ve substituted 1 cup of flour for pastry flour with success.

– To use as a base for strawberry shortcake or other dessert, add 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients for a sweeter scone.

Hints of Fall

There has been stuff going on!

Canning, I am done.

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We had special visitors the weekend of LK’s 9th birthday.

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LK is exceptionally proud that he now knows how to mow the lawn. He improves a little more each time.

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Family excursions are irregular right now, but recently we checked out Dworshak Dam, and that was pretty cool. (Post coming soon.)

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We had a week of cooler weather and rain, which meant cuddles and blankets.

And some yard cleanup.

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And baking.

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Shades of Sun

The Eclipse!

The eclipse in leaf shadows from the princess tree.

We were at 95% totality here, which was pretty cool. Literally, even. The temperature dropped considerably for the ten or so minutes surrounding the peak, and I felt like putting on a sweater (although I didn’t because it just felt wrong knowing we’d be back up in the 90s in minutes).

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I was neck deep in prepping plums that day, so I watched from the deck while I cut out pits and ran the food strainer. The eclipse kept me company, shining through the leaves in the maple and scattering images across the table and everything I had on it.

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The Squeaky Minion observing the eclipse.

Periodically I ambled down the steps to the driveway, where the kids took turns viewing with the box we made and the Minion welding helmet.

All in a all, a fun couple of hours!

 

Zuppa Toscana

One of the restaurants I miss is Olive Garden. I learned long ago that some things are worth the time and effort to recreate, like their signature soup.

I don’t remember where I originally found this recipe, but it has been in my little wooden recipe box for years.

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Zuppa Toscana (Yield: 6-8 servings)

1 (8 oz) pre-cooked sausage (smoked or hot), chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 red potatoes, chopped
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
(OR
a couple dashes of hot sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large pot, melt the butter and saute onions and garlic.
2) Add chicken broth, water, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3) Add remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through and kale is completely wilted and darker green, between 5-10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite bread product!

Notes:

Traditionally I think the soup uses a pork sausage, but I use turkey or chicken.

Reduce cooking time even more by pre-cooking the potatoes in the microwave or using leftover baked potatoes.

For times when I didn’t have sausage, I have cooked up to 1 pound of ground turkey instead with fine results.

If you like thicker soups, reduce the water by 1-2 cups.