August 25, 2011

Tomato Sausage Pie

Hello all!

If any of you are overflowing with tomatoes from your garden or your neighbors keep giving you more and more tomatoes...this is an awesome recipe! I ate the entire pie myself over a period of 4 days. I had it for dinner the first night...fell in love...and then had 2 slices for lunch every day until it was gone! No one else in my house is into tomatoes, so it was my pleasure to eat the entire thing! Man that really makes me sound like a hog..that's a little embarrassing! LOL! Well, it's not like I ate the entire thing in one sitting! Ha Ha!

1 - 9 inch uncooked pie shell, 1/2 pound sausage, 1 c. chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1/2 c. light cream, 2 c. shredded mozzarella, about 3 tomatoes sliced.

Cook sausage in fry pan in small amount of olive oil. Chunk sausage into pieces. Add onion and garlic. Careful to not burn garlic.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 egg and 1/2 cup light cream. {I used half n half.} Stir into cooled sausage mixture.

Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella in bottom of uncooked pie pastry shell. Pour sausage and egg mixture on top of mozzarella.

Make a layer of sliced tomatoes covering the entire top of sausage/egg mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle top of pie with a bit of dried basil and oregano.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in 375 degree oven. Let stand 20 minutes before slicing.


August 21, 2011

Locust or Cicada?

Why do I love finding these ugly, little, lifeless, fragile skins of a bug?

I guess it's because it's reminds me of childhood when I thought they were the coolest thing ever!

I grew up calling them locust shells...but in doing some research, I've found that they actually belong to that of the cicada!

It is true that people often refer to cicadas as locusts. I've heard people say "Aren't they the same thing?"

Locusts are actually a member of the grasshopper family, and look very much like a grasshopper. They are quite destructive, swarming and eating their way through crops, sometimes causing such devastation that leads to famine and starvation.

On the other hand, cicadas aren't really destructive like locusts. Here's a little information about cicadas. They have a stout body, broad head and beautifully clear membrane wings. Their distinct large, shiny eyes bulge from the sides of their head.

I love the sound that cicadas make! The males vibrate their abdomen producing a buzzing, clicking sound. To me, it's a rather soothing, hypnotizing sound to fall asleep to on a hot summer night.

Here's an amazing fact...there are over 2,500 species of cicadas!! Holy cow!

I'm sure all of you have heard of the "17 year cicadas", living in their nymph stage, in the earth and then emerging in force. These are known as "periodical" cicadas, but they aren't destructive like locusts. Although, it is true that locusts can cause some damage to crops, shrubs or trees...but only by way of "scarring" left on tree branches while females lay their eggs deep in the branches.

The most common cicada that most of us are familiar with is the "dog day cicada" that reappears every year, mid-summer. They are what's known as "annual" cicadas. To me, it just wouldn't be summer without these little critters singing their songs in the trees. That sound is a key essential to summertime!

Do you find empty, shed cicada skins in your neck of the woods??

August 16, 2011

stick pencils and Shaker Woods

Show and Tell!
Just wanted to show off my new treasure
that I lah-uvvv! love}
These very rustic, naturey pencils.
When I write with them, I feel like a woodland gnome!

Wouldn't a woodland gnome write with a stick pencil?
I thinking yes!

Acquired these lovelies at a craft festival in the woods.
A craft festival to end all craft festivals!
Shaker Woods in Columbiana, Ohio.
The kind of festival where a man strolls the paths strumming on a bango.
Where hand-built miniature houses pose as stores where artists sell their creations.

Clog dancers tap, tap, tapping...and pound, pound, pounding on a wooden stage.
Smokey BBQ pork, roasting...scenting the air all around.
Artists dressed up, all old fashionedy-like.
Shade, glorious shade...under massive oaks...sunlight filtering through the leaves.
Freshly cut, fried potato chips, all salted up nicely.
Pottery, wooden dolls, hand carved spoons, natural soaps and herbs
Canned jellies, salsas, mustards, and butters.

I want to go again!

August 14, 2011

just for fun

oh, and eating chocolate!

August 8, 2011

Pennsylvania the beautiful !

What can I tell you about Pennsylvania?
How can I describe to you how beautiful it is?
How can I convey the feeling I get 
when earth meets rock 
rock meets water 
water meets sky?

How can I describe the feeling of cold air on your legs 
when it's seeping from a cave 
coming out from under a huge bolder.

Is it possible for me to convey 
the heat and humidity 
entrapped within the woods?
Can I relate to you 
the smell of moss 
earth and dried leaves 
that blanket the the floor of the forest? 

I wonder... 
if you close your eyes...
can you imagine what it feels like 
to touch the face of a bolder
that's been warmed by the morning sun?

If you close your eyes
can you see the golden sun
pushing through the tree tops
shimmering on the surface of the water?

How can I describe the sound of rushing water
 splashing against rocks
swooshing around boulders?

Is it possible to understand the awe and appreciation 
I feel in my heart
with all that's around me?

I was thinking 
I wish 
I could bring 
everyone I know
everyone I've met
all of my blog friends
to this very spot
to experience 
the great beauty
of this valley.

I wish 
you too 
could wash your face
in the cool fresh water
flowing down this magnificent river.

I wish you too 
could walk about 
on rocks of every size
to explore and investigate.

Our hike would begin and end
at this old covered bridge.

A beacon of hope
when your legs get weary.
A bless-ed sight
when your water bottle is empty.
You would know you made it
That you completed the 2 mile hike
A mile down
then across the river on a bridge
A mile back
And there it is.
The covered bridge 
welcoming you back to civilization
and your car
not that you want to leave the serenity 
of the woods!

Before heading back to our car
we could tour the old flour mill.
McConnell's Mill
that was powered by 
the natural force of water
using a paddle wheel
in the basement.

You could throw a line 
if you wish
catch a fish!
Ha Ha, that rhymes!

And as we drove away
past glorious
your mouth would fall open
and you'd have to get out of the car
and take a picture
so you could remember
just how beautiful
Pennsylvania is.

August 5, 2011

portabellas, cherry tomatoes and an egg

*low fat, low sodium, low calories
*rich in fiber, selenium, potassium and B vitamins
*one medium mushroom has more potassium than a banana or glass of orange juice

*high in Lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight against cancerous cell formation
*rich in vitamins C, A and K {vitamin K is good for bone health}
*vitamin A in the form of beta carotene great for eye health and preventing night blindness and macular degeneration
*high in potassium
*Lycopene is also connected with preventing heart disease
*high in fiber which is good for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar

*studies show eggs do not affect cholesterol levels in most people
*6 grams protein
*9 essential amino acids
*5 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat
*Lutein, found in yolk is good for eye health
*Choline found in yolk stimulates brain development and performance

***Free range chickens produce healthier eggs higher in vitamins, lower in fat and cholesterol due to plenty of exercise, a healthy diet of grass, leaves, berries, insects and worms, plenty of fresh water and fresh air and almost no stress.
The yolks of eggs from fee range chickens are a deep orange color compared to eggs laid by chickens confined to small cages that produce a pale yellow yolk. The healthy, orange yolk has 7 times more beta carotene than the pale yellow yolks that aren't free range

*monounsaturated fatty acid, a healthy dietary fat, but should be used in moderation

P.S. The egg in the photos above is from my free range chickens. We have six hens that produce the most beautiful, healthy and delicious eggs. If possible, consider raising hens for eggs for your family. It's easy, economical, and fun...not to mention the healthy fresh eggs you'll have year round!

August 3, 2011

Buttermilk Falls, Homewood PA

Last weekend, I took my children on a hike to Buttermilk Falls, located in Homewood, PA. I had expected to take photos and maybe dip our feet in the cool water. Well! I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that we could swim in a beautiful, natural swimming hole at the base of the falls.

Long ago, the area was a stone quarry.

The height of the falls is a whopping 35 feet.

We weren't aware of Buttermilk Falls and were happy to learn it was just 25 minutes from our home...approximately 11 miles away. What a beautiful, natural sanctuary! A place to get away, cool off from the 90 degree temps, get back to nature and restore our soul!

We went on a Saturday and the kids talked me into going back again on Sunday!


My favorite part was swimming towards the falling water, looking up and getting closer and's just an incredible perspective.

You'll notice, I swam in my clothes. We weren't prepared with bathing suits, although we did bring a couple of towels in case we got just a little wet. Of course, with my permission, my boys kicked off their socks and shoes and jumped right in. At first I sat on a big rock and watched, but soon I could not resist! I just had to go in. I knew the ride home would be uncomfortable...but I knew it would be well worth it!! I have to say, we all had a blast. It was the most incredible experience I've had in a long time!