Monday, September 27, 2010

To the Letter

Fifteen years ago this month, Kirk and I were introduced at a friend’s birthday party. So it was rather fitting that, while rooting around in some keepsake boxes, I found a whole passel of letters and keepsakes from when Kirk and I were in high school.

Lord have mercy, was I in love with that boy :) I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of handwritten notes, drafted during class in the back of spiral-bound notebooks and passed to each other once school was out and we could be reunited once more.

In a fit of nostalgia, I pulled out one of the letters, which waxed poetic with all of the passion and prose of a smitten 17-year-old girl, and read it aloud to him. As I am reading, I am smiling goofily at our sweet past, thinking it is just so great that we have these letters. The words of love and devotion, the tender feelings, it was enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye. When I finished, I looked to Kirk, waiting to hear what he would say about the young-and-in-love versions of ourselves.

“Wow,” he said, shaking his head. “You sure were wordy.”

Okay, so I suppose we can’t both be nostalgic. But regardless, it made me really happy that we grew up what seems like minutes before the whole computer era was really ushered in. Yes we were using computers to type reports, and I did have a cell phone for emergencies when I started driving, but there was no emailing or texting our friends. We actually picked up our landline phones or met up with one another to hang out.

My friend's and my "note-book" from high school

I’m thrilled that we have these little frozen pieces of time, written with pencil and paper and delivered by hand. I love that some of them have little drawings or handmade envelopes, and that you can read our moods based on the slant of our words or the number of lines under a particular phrase.

And the letters aren’t just from Kirk and me. I have an entire notebook filled with letters between my friend Jennifer and me, plus several from my friends Becky and Nicole. Colored pens and markers make for interesting reads, with a few written with our left hands to shake things up. No OMGs, or LOLs, or fancy emoticons.

Seeing my own handwriting, my own adolescent words all these years later is such a delight. I can just pictures us sitting in Health class, ignoring Mr. Simpson as we gush about our latest crushes or the last thing we argued with out parents about, all on tiny slips of paper passed to and fro.

We all know the familiar siren call of the new email ‘bing.’ No matter where I am in the house, that tiny little sound will reach my ears and I will last all of three seconds before I rush to my computer to see who it is. An agent? A publisher? My long lost cousin in Nigeria that will pay me a million dollars to help her get into the country if only I send her $10,000 now? Whoever it is, there is that instant gratification for both sending and receiving the email that is both satisfying and fleeting.

However, when I read old emails, I don’t feel nearly as much. My words seem so much more impersonal, the font so clinical, the intangible quality of the computer screen image so uninspiring.

But when a letter arrives? Oh, my, oh my. The thrill of seeing a hand lettered envelope, without any credit card offers or insurance promises plastered on the front, is truly one of the best feelings on earth. Someone not only thought about me, but put pen to paper, composed a note, placed it in an envelope, addressed and stamped it, and took it to the mailbox? In these times, that is quite a bit of dedication!

I read an article this summer in the newspaper highlighting a weeklong summer camp for kids that strictly prohibits cell phones, computers, iPods, and Gameboys. Everyday, the kids must write a letter home using paper, pencils, markers, glitter, and/or stickers. For some of the kids, it is the first hand written letter they have ever sent. How crazy is that? For me, no matter how advanced our technology, there is simply nothing like holding a letter in your hands, or tucking it away in a special place for the next time you want a hit of nostalgia.

Now, I am not a technology knocker. I believe that having email and the like have allowed us to communicate so much better than we ever have in history. No, I for one couldn’t live without all of my newfangled communication devices. Instead, I am simply praising the beauty of a dying art form in hopes that it will not be lost. Go to the store this week. Buy some pretty stationary, a special pen, and a book of stamps. Take some time to write an old friend, your grandmother, or even your spouse.

My husband did just that a few months ago. The day after he went out of town on a business trip, a card showed up in the mail with his handwriting on it. Confused (since it’s the first time it had happened in 9 years of marriage), I ripped open the envelope to find a sweet little card with a smile-inducing hand written note. I loved it so much, I still carry it with me everywhere I go in the side pocket of my purse.

Kirk's card to me :)

A simple gesture, costing only a little time and a few dollars, but one of the most heartwarming there is. Will you send someone a letter today? Who do you think will most appreciate the gesture, or be most surprised by it? When was the last time you received an unexpected note from someone?

I was thinking today that it was time to share more icing recipes. The groom's cake that I made for a friend's wedding last weekend featured a chocolate liquor laced peanut butter frosting that was quite popular. You can make this recipe with chocolate milk instead of liquor for a PG version ;)

Wakeboard binding Groom's cake with chocolate peanut butter icing

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing

1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)

1/3 cup shortening

1/4 cup Simply Jiff peanut butter (yes, the brand does matter in this case. Get the white-labeled 'Simply' Jiff jar)

4 cups powdered sugar (1 pound package)

2-4 Tbsp Godiva Chocolate Liquor or Horizon chocolate milk

Beat together the butter and shortening. Add peanut butter. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, adding the liquor/milk as needed. Use as much or as little liquid needed to reach desired consistency.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rediscovering Reading

I seem to have focused a lot on two passions, writing and baking, while not so much on the third, reading. Today, after the lovely book I just finished, I will remedy this oversight.

This book reminded me of why I love to read so much. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is told entirely through letters, set in post-WWII England. In terms of reading, it is not an era I have much interest in, nor a style which I would have thought I would like. But that just goes to show how good writing transcends just about anything.

Was the prose genius or the concept exceptionally high-minded? No, in fact it was opposite of those things. I think the reason the book spoke to me was because the letters seemed so real, so extraordinarily ordinary. The characters felt as real as my own friends and neighbors, with their endearing quirkiness and plainness of speaking. Their stories seemed simple and heartfelt, and it is hard to imagine that these people weren’t out there somewhere, tending their pigs or baking their clever pies.

It reminded me of the way I felt when I read Charlotte’s Web as a child. I wanted to go to that farm, wrap my arms around Wilber and blow Charlotte a kiss. I laughed and I cried and I stayed up late at night with a flashlight under the sheets to discover the fate of my farm animal friends.

In fourth grade I devoured The Root Cellar, my first taste of time travel and the Civil War, and wished that I, too, had a portal to another world, another time. Bridge to Terabithia captured my imagination and I couldn’t put the book down as a 5th grader, so much so that I happily re-read it for our 6th grade English assignment.

As a lifeguard in high school, I discovered romance novels on the rainy days that found me in the clubhouse of the apartment complex where I worked. The shelves were stocked with dozens of them, and before long, I found myself praying for rain.

Once I headed to college, I was thrilled that the local library was one of the best in the county. It was a glorious multi-story behemoth that had a romance section spanning row after row after row. I can still remember the smell of that place – the only place in Columbia, SC I ever yearn for.

When I started writing, I found that I was reading less and less. Not only did I feel like I no longer had time (if I had free time, I wasn’t writing enough), but I was afraid that the other author’s voice would intrude on mine. For nearly a year, I hardly read at all. Where once I would cozy up to a book for an hour or two before bed, instead I would write until the wee hours of the morning. I was sad about it, but felt like there was really nothing to be done about it.

About the time I went to Nationals, I had begun to feel like my energy and zest for writing had started to wane. I felt like the writing itself was no longer as fun, or inspired, or as forthcoming as it once had been. While at conference, I had the pleasure of going to a workshop held by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who in no uncertain terms told us we must read. It was wonderful – a big-time, best-selling author telling me I had to read.

I spoke with her after the workshop, and we had such a lovely conversation that the first book I got from the library when I got home was one of hers. And you know what? It was fabulous! I started working my way through my bag of books, reading a little every night, rediscovering the joy and excitement that I had been missing. Before long, I made a commitment to join the book club meetings I had sporadically attended.

Which brings me full circle on how I found The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – it is the book club read for next month. This book, combined with many others I have read in the intervening 2 months, have made me feel invigorated in my own writing once again. That long ago passion that began when I was a child has flared to life once more, and I want to be a better writer because of it.

So now I am challenging myself to write in a way that will stick with the reader as well as this most recent book has stuck with me. Just as athletes thrive on the challenge of fellow competitors, I hope that by continuing to read more and more great books, I will get better and better in my own writing. Who knows, maybe someday my books will keep someone up until the wee hours of the morning, wanting to find out what happens while at the same time not wanting it to end :)

So, tell me dear reader, what do you recommend I read next? Do you find solace in reading as I do? If you are a writer, do you still find time to read?

Though I don’t have any Potato Peel Pie recipes, I do have a rather delicious Sweet Potato Pie recipe – I hope you enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pie

2 cups sweet potato

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened

1/2 white sugar

1/3 brown sugar

½ cup evaporated milk

2 eggs

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 unbaked pie crust

Boil (40-50 min) or microwave (about 6 min) sweet potatoes in skin. Run under cold water and remove the skin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter and mix well with mixer. Stir in remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Memories of Mermaids

It occurred to me today that my grandmother’s birthday was a few weeks ago. No, not Nana, who is my mother’s mother, but Grandma Mary, my father’s mom. I don’t speak of her often, dear reader, for the simple reason that my memories of her are much more limited. She died when I was in 7th grade, but even before that, I rarely spent much time with her, as we didn’t often make the 2 day trek down to Atlanta.

She was very different from my mom’s parents, who were fairly close to the quintessential embodiment of indulgent grandparents. Grandma Mary was … well, just different. Abrupt, plain spoken, never one to give false compliments. You could trust her hugs and throaty laughs to be genuine. In honor of my Grandma Mary’s birthday, I have decided to share with you a vignette, an ethereal memory from my youth which in all honesty could be the trailing ends of two wispy memories knitted together. Among the fuzzy recollections I have of my father's mother, this post captures a few of the most vivid.

Grandma Mary had a particular fondness for flowered housedresses. Actually, I guess they would more appropriately be called muumuus, which was in keeping with her particular fondness for Hawaii. I can only remember one time that she was not dressed in one of the large, billowy gowns with a pair of slippers on her feet.

On this day, it was a hot, muggy day on the south side of Atlanta. The air was heavy and the house, though dark from the pulled blinds and abuzz with the sound of fans spinning, was nonetheless oppressive. I was alone with Grandma Mary, and truly I can’t recall where my siblings or parents were.

On this day, she was dressed in a short sleeve, button down top with a pair of long walking shorts. Her short, curly grey hair was topped by a green visor and sandals adorned her socked feet. A small bag rested over her shoulder, and she reached her hand out to me. “Let’s go, kiddo.”

Together we started down the hill, following the street as we walked along sidewalkless front yards. My hand, sweaty just like the rest of me, was tucked limply in her firm, dry grasp. She walked with purpose, as if she had a schedule to keep, and I soon discovered that she did. We arrived just moments before the great, lumbering city bus pulled up to the curb with an exhausted groan and swung its doors open with a hiss.

This was my fist experience with a bus. Only weeks away from kindergarten, the great yellow monstrosity that regularly swallowed up my siblings had yet to ingest me, and even that beast seemed friendly when compared to the boxy, dirty, low-riding MARTA bus that now impatiently awaited us.

Grandma Mary stepped forward and efficiently dragged my reluctant weigh behind her, paid our fare, and towed me towards the back where a few seats remained empty. I knew I shouldn’t look at the strangers we passed, but of their own will my wide eyes took in the various passengers we went by. My stomach churned at the unfamiliarity of the whole situation, and soon Grandma Mary was no longer dragging me; I was pressing myself against her earnestly.

At last we took our seats and the bus roared forward, the engine loud and smelly from our position in the back. I settled in, wedged between the window and Grandma Mary’s side. This spot felt safer than the exposed stretch of the aisle, and my heart began to slow its erratic flutter. Soon I was staring rapt at the passing scenery, engrossed with the wilds of downtown Atlanta that I had not experienced before.

“Pull the cord.”

Her rough voice snapped me back from my observations, and I looked at her in confusion. She smiled, her thin lips pressing together and spreading wide, and nodded towards the wire that ran along the ceiling. I looked at the apparatus, and then back to her timidly, afraid to do anything that might upset the beast.

“Go on,” she encouraged, not allowing my timidity to get the best of me. “You can do it.”

I stood gingerly on the cracked leather of the seat and grasped the headrest with one hand as I hesitantly reached up with the other. I wrapped my fingers around the thin cord, closed my eyes, and yanked.

Ding Ding! My eyes flew open at the sharp, unexpected sound and I dropped instantly to my knees, hiding behind the seat in front of me in fear of getting in trouble for raising a racket. Is this what happened when you push open an emergency-only door??

The bus started to slow and pulled off the road to the curb. Oh no! They were kicking us off! I looked to Grandma Mary in a panic, and she winked at me as she rose and took my quivering hand in hers. I blurted out “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I won’t do it again!”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about, silly girl. We’re here!” She chuckled gaily and pulled me towards the exit. My stomach picked itself off the floor and landed back where it belonged, and I smiled tentatively in response. I controlled the bus! I pulled its cord, and it stopped, powerless to deny me!

With a smug swagger I followed along besides her as she wended her way though the crowd. I am the master of the bus! The beast was putty in my hands. I was so absorbed in the excitement of the ride that it didn’t immediately register where we were when we stopped in front of a window and Grandma Mary pulled out her change purse and handed the woman a few balled up, wrinkly bills.

Suddenly I smelled the chemically euphoric smell that brought a whoop of delight to my lips. Chlorine!

She had brought me to a pool! Outings with Nana and Papa involved one of two places: a restaurant or a movie theater. Never, ever had they taken me to a pool! The single most glorious destination that my five-year-old brain could conjure, and Grandma Mary had brought me here! Not Andy, not Kara, not any one of my jumble of cousins that my dad’s nine brothers and sisters had provided; no, Grandma Mary had brought me!

Dressing in the locker room was a blur; I have no idea what it looked like or how long we were there. I can only remember my first glance at the shimmering, sparkling, glorious expanse of the biggest pool I had ever seen. There were black lanes waving gaily on the bottom of the pool, and neatly painted numbers at regular intervals along the curved lip of concrete at the water’s edge, and impossibly high diving boards beckoning to me with each resounding thwap that echoed across the surface when a swimmer jumped. There were children of all ages, and colors, and skill levels.

Excitement overwhelmed me, and before I could stop them my feet flew across the sidewalk, and then I was flying, and then I was weightless. The cool, refreshing water enveloped me, muffling sound and drowning my sweat. I twisted and turned, kicked my feet and thrust my arms in wide arcs until I broke the surface again.

I sucked the hot air into my starved lungs, laughing even as I panted, while I looked around on the pool deck for Grandma Mary. But I couldn’t see her. Fear sprang to my heart instantly, and I paddled in quick circles looking for her black bathing suit and grey mop of curls. Within seconds my pulse had increased and my breathing was coming in gasps. Where could she be??

Suddenly, the water beside me erupted skyward, and like Triton rising from the depths, a body emerged from the crystal liquid, white hands pushing back dark grey locks from blinking blue eyes. Grandma Mary! Just as I had moments ago, she laughed aloud as the water fell from her body and her lungs filled again.

I stared in awe at the woman besides me. Never before had I seen an old person swim. And like a fish she swam! My jaw unhinged and fell to my chest as I tried to wrap my head around the wonderful sight.

I couldn’t believe it, even as I started to giggle and swam along side her. Overweight and somewhat lumbering on land, she glided freely and beautifully through the water. Nobody else in the whole wide world had a grandmother that could swim. Nobody but me. I knew that I would be just like her when I grew up.

After hours of frolicking in the water, we eventually dried off, dressed and returned to the bus stop. This time I waited in front of her and eagerly boarded as soon as the departing passengers had cleared. The whole ride I squatted on the seat, ready to spring when the timing was right.

“Pull the cord, Erin.”

And I did. I controlled buses, and my grandmother was a mermaid.

Do you have any unexpected memories of your grandparents? What was a special moment or activity that you shared with them, that sticks with you even now?

The dessert I associate most strongly with my grandmother is none other than German Chocolate Cake. Interestingly enough, though I normally dislike coconut, I must say, it is pretty darn awesome in this recipe :) I will give you the same recipe that Grandma Mary used: the one on the back of the Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate box! Click Here for the recipe. I have also used the Duncan Hines box mix, and it does just fine since the magic is really in the frosting for this cake. Due to the consistency of the cake and frosting, I recommend making this cake in a 9x13 pan.

Coconut pecan Frosting (modified from this recipe):

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

1 and 1/2 cup coconut flakes

1 and 1/4 cups chopped pecans

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combined the condensed milk and butter. In a separate bowl, temper yolks by adding a small amount of the hot milk/butter mixture (about a 1/2 cup) slowly to yolks while whisking. (if you don’t temper eggs, you will end up with scrambled eggs!). Once combined, stir the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the milk and butter. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes until bubbly.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Cool to room temperature before spreading.

Note: This frosting is not generally suited to layer cakes, so I recommend making this in a 9x13 pan.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Simple Pleasures

This week, my parents came to visit us here in North Caroline for the first time in nearly 2 years. Giddy with excitement for their arrival, we cleaned, and planned, and gave the puppy a bath. I set up a tee time for Kirk and my dad, made a cake for the party we would attend on Friday, and checked into the local calendar of events. All was in order, and on Friday Kirk and I piled in the car and headed for the airport.

A lovely boat ride on Saturday afternoon

As soon as we saw them on the sidewalk with their two neatly packed carry-ons (yay!) in hand, our weekend officially began. We had a fantastic dinner on Friday, and a wonderful day on Saturday. Come Sunday morning, Kirk and Dad headed off for some target practice and a movie, and Mom and I weighed our options. What to do on a glorious Sunday afternoon?

Shopping, of course!

But, probably not the kind of shopping you are thinking of, dear reader. The wares that tempted Mom and me that day are of a slightly more earthy persuasion than can be found in the aisles of DSW or among the racks of Ann Taylor. We drove right past the posh and polished mall and went straight for … the Farmer’s Market!

Not the first pace you would take a visitor on a holiday weekend, I’d wager, but I could not imagine a more perfect place for us. Mom and I both share a love of food. And not just any old food (if you put a Twinkie in front of me, I would just as soon use it as a doorstop than eat it. Unless it is Armageddon, in which case it may come in handy as … yeah, still a doorstop). No, the food that calls to us is the fruit of the earth – literally. The food God intended for us to eat, grown from seeds sewn in the earth and harvested when the time is right.

Bursting with excitement, we pull into the parking lot and head for the long open building which houses the seasonal stands. At the very first stall, we are greeted with basket after basket of mountain grown apples. A symphony of greens and yellows and pinks and reds, each one more inviting than the last. MacIntosh and Granny Smiths, Jonagold and Red Delicious, they all looked crisp and fresh and totally delicious. We sampled our way along the row, until at last we arrived at the piece de la résistance: Honeycrisp!

For years Kirk and I traveled to the mountains over Labor Day to attend the Hendersonville Apple Festival for the sole purpose of bringing home our very own bag of Honeycrisps. Crisp and sweet and tangy and juicy all at once, there is no better apple in my book. Now, with the overflowing baskets of them teasing us, I can’t help but make my first purchase­—a large bag of honeycrips—followed immediately by our second. How can we pass up the opportunity to buy fresh-dug peanuts, still wet from the damp earth?

The vendor chats with us about the county they are grown in, and offers us a little Dixie cup of fresh apple cider. Despite having no sugar added, it tastes of the very nectar of the heavens, perfectly sweet and oh so refreshing. I look the other way as Mom snags another sample.

While drinking the cider we notice the bags of pecans, and I ask the vender if they are fresh. She grins, her eyes sparkling behind her glasses. She opens the nearest bag and holds it out to us. “Taste for yourself. They hardly get any fresher than this.”

We pop the nuts into our mouths, and without conscious thought my eyes flutter closed. So rich and moist and buttery, I can hardly believe they are the humble offerings of an unassuming gnarly tree so common in the south. My mom holds up a couple of bills. “We’ll take two, please.”

Our arms already overflowing, we duck out to the car to drop off our first load. When we return, we decide to start at one end and make our way to the other, waiting to make any more purchases until our return trip. Bypassing the apple and nut stand, we arrive at the next table on the row. Here, fresh herbs and spices are mixed to create one-of-a-kind flavorings, and there are dozens of samples to try. And try we did: herbs in oil, cream cheese or sour cream, fresh made salsas of every heat and flavor, coleslaw, dips, dressings, and soups. After so much yumminess, we break our own rule and immediately buy two packets of herb seasoning blend. Tucking them into our bags, we forge ahead.

Next we pass glorious bouquets of flowers, beautifully arranged in every color combination you could think of. I wanted so badly to choose one, but with a nice vase of flowers waiting at home, I couldn’t justify it, even with the ridiculously reasonable price of under $13. Beyond the flowers are the offerings of a German bakery, and we just barely force ourselves to pass up the fragrant breads and pastries.

As we stroll down the main corridor, we are almost overwhelmed with the vibrant colors and selections all around us. Eggplant in nearly every shape and size, from white to blushing to nearly midnight purple; peppers in yellow, red, green, and white; canary yellow squash; purple, white, and yellow onions; robust green beans, orange sweet potatoes still coated in dirt. The variety is endless and beautiful and incredibly enticing. The farmers answer our questions, from where things are grown to how best to eat them, friendly and eager to share their knowledge and the fruits of their labors.

We pass rows of fresh peaches, which sit plump in their baskets just waiting to be taken home and put into a cobbler. We taste a few and go weak in the knees, the flesh so sweet and juicy, I feel as though I could close my eyes and be in the orchard, pulling the fruit from the branches as the hot, heavy wind caresses my cheeks. We try to keep to the plan, willing ourselves to walk away, but we just can’t pass those peaches up. I ask the farmer, an old man looking to be in his seventies with his lovely wife at his side, to pick us out a good one. He grins and offers us a wink. “Young lady, they are all good. I should know, I planted ‘em, picked ‘em, and brought ‘em here to you.”

We choose two baskets, despite the fact my parents are leaving the next day and it will be up to Kirk and me to eat them all. How could we not? Perfect peaches only come along every so often, after all. Especially ones offered up by two honest, hard-working people who in and of themselves seem to be a precious slice of Americana.

We move on through the remaining booths, buying crisp Kale, plump tomatoes, bright shiny peppers, and even the last of the summer blueberries. We taste raw sweet corn, plums, cantaloupe, watermelon, and even a few slices of tomatoes. The food is bountiful, and gorgeous, and makes me feel closer to God and nature just looking at it. Our bags weighing heavy on our shoulders, we return once more for the car to deposit our second load of the day before heading off again, this time to the indoor market.

Inside, we are greeted by candy sellers, soap makers, wood carvers, and bakers. North Carolina wines fill one booth, ice cream another, and free-range eggs yet another. Fresh churned butter and heavy blocks of cheese are made from the milk of grass-fed, free range cows. Baked goods of every type imaginable fill display cases and many a passerby’s tummy.

After Mom and I choose several locally made soaps, each one smelling better than the last, we can deny ourselves no longer, and make our way over to the ice cream booth. I choose the triple berry – made with NC fruit and milk, and Mom goes for the chocolate. The cones are huge and dripping and utterly fantastic, and we plop down on a bench in the shade outside to enjoy them.

Around us, couples stroll, kids run by, and vendors sell their wares. The air is warm, the breeze is light, and the sunshine filters through the flitting leaves of the tree above us. We smile and chat as our ice cream disappears a little at a time. It's days like this that bring peace and contentment deep in my soul. Surrounded by wholesomeness, accompanied by not only my mother but my kindred spirit, it is hard to imagine a more perfect moment in time.

Have you visited your local farmer's market? Or do you go to the farm itself sometimes - perhaps to pick strawberries or pumpkins with your family? I really do think that feeling a connection to the food we eat is one of the great simple pleasures in life :)

And all those peaches we bought? They were put to very good use indeed :)

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Slightly modified from recipe found here

5 large peaches (or about 8 small ones), peeled, pitted and sliced thinly

3 Tbsp white sugar

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix together ingredients by hand and place in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

1 cup flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter

1/4 cup boiling or very hot water

Combine dry ingredients, then cut in butter using a pastry knife until mixture resembles course crumbs. Slowly stir in water until just combined. Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of the mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with course sugar and return to oven for 28 - 32 minutes, or until cobbler is golden.

Serve with ice cream while warm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And the winner is...

Jenn Stewart! Jenn, if you will e-mail me your mailing address to, I will get your cookies off to you ASAP! Also, be sure to let me know which book you would like of the ones pictured in the last post.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend. I know I did (along with my wonderful family who came to visit), and as a result I have decided to push this week's blog to Thursday. Everyone have a lovely week, and I will see you here on Thursday!