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Posts from ‘July, 2009’

Michigan


After we left Fostoria we headed up to Michigan to see our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and adorable grandson, Drew. We had a very enjoyable time with them and packed in quite a variety of activities. We celebrated my birthday with a special dinner that Megan prepared and by going out to the golf course where Jim works and watching a very nice fireworks display. Here are Jim and Drew before the fireworks began:

picture of Jim and Drew at Rackham

We attended church at Faith Baptist Church of Warren and enjoyed the teaching and preaching there and talking with people we have come to know on our previous visits to the area.

We also took a couple of day trips while we were there. One that we all really enjoyed was a visit to Cook's Dairy Farm in Ortonville, Michigan. We started off our visit by having a dish of their delicious ice cream. Rob and I tried the Cowpucchino and Megan and Drew had the Cow Pie flavor. Both were really quite tasty. After our treat we toured the farm and enjoyed seeing the cows, calves, and pigs. Drew is at a stage where he really likes animals, so this was a very exciting activity for him. (The rest of us enjoyed it too!) Here is Drew meeting one of the cows:

picture of Drew at dairy farm

Megan did a whole post about our trip to the dairy farm.

One afternoon we went to a local water park where we had fun watching Drew play in the fountains:

picture of Drew at water park

Another day we drove down to Bowling Green, Ohio to see Rob's mom again. Rob's sister, Deb, met us at the nursing home where we visited and had lunch and took some family pictures. Unfortunately it was very difficult to get all four generations looking the right direction at the same time! Here is one of our awkward family photos:

picture of Drew at nursing home

On the way back from Bowling Green we had to pass right by an IKEA store so we stopped by and did a little shopping and ate a nice supper of Swedish Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes. We always enjoy looking around in IKEA and even Drew had a nice time. He was fascinated with a little wooden stacking toy they had so he ended up with two of them -- one for at home and one for Poppi and Grandma's house.

picture of Ikea

picture of Stackingtoy

Megan enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, so we generally try some new things when we are up visiting. One thing we tried while we were up there were Gorditas. Here I'm rolling them out:

picture of Rolling gorditas

Here Megan is baking them on a griddle:

picture of Frying gorditas

Megan reads a number of cooking blogs and a woman had posted about making them from a recipe on the King Arthur Flour web-site. Just last week they featured this recipe on The Baker's Banter Blog in a step-by-step tutorial. These are really tasty and we ended making them twice during the week we were in MI and then once again while she and Drew were here visiting with us.

As I mentioned in an earlier post Megan and Drew accompanied us on the next leg of our trek and then came back to Greenville with us. In my next post I will chronicle our trip to Missouri.

Becka


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Pancakes


I'll interrupt the travelogue to tell you that Megan and Drew joined us on our trek through the Midwest and then came home with us! We were delighted at this turn of events. They stayed with us until Tuesday (yesterday) when they flew home.

I made pancakes Saturday morning for our breakfast since I know this is something Drew really enjoys. It also gave me a chance to try out the griddle on my new stove. It worked like a charm. Drew had plain pancakes, but the rest of us ate pancakes containing blueberries from the garden. Here are some pancakes on the griddle:

picture of Pancakes

Here's the recipe for the pancakes. It's a really good recipe from an old Farm Journal cookbook.

Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsps. melted butter or oil

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter or oil.

Combine the two mixtures by stirring just enough to moisten the flour. Do not over mix.

The batter may still be a bit lumpy. This is a thick batter. If you prefer a thinner batter you can add a bit more buttermilk, but in my humble opinion it makes perfect pancakes!

Bake on a lightly greased griddle (I grease it by holding a partially unwrapped stick of butter or margarine and running it over the hot griddle.) Dip batter by 1/4 cup measure. Turn when the bubbles on the top of the pancakes start to break and the top loses some of its shine. This amount will make enough for about four people with average appetites.

For the blueberry variation just drop a few berries on the pancakes while you are cooking the first side. You can also add chopped banana, nuts, well drained cherries, chocolate chips, etc.

Here's a picture of our little pancake eater:

picture of Drew eating pancakes


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Next stop, Fostoria


After leaving my aunts and cousin in Findlay, Ohio, Rob and I headed to the home of his sister, Deb, and brother-in-law, Dan. We spent a couple of days there, including July 3rd, which is Rob's mother's birthday.

picture of Deb and Dan

We always have fun with Deb and Dan and this trip was no exception. One evening we drove out to a couple of the local reservoirs which have hiking trails around them and strolled around the res being careful to avoid the geese which were protecting their goslings.

We also got to go next door and meet one of my faithful blog readers, Virginia.

picture of Virginia

Virginia is a delightful lady and we enjoyed a tour of her home and visiting with her. After she moved in her condo she had a woman paint a number of murals in various places which are really lovely.

Another evening we drove up to Sylvania, Ohio to visit Rob's nephew Jason and his wife Stacy and their three children Bella, Amelia, and Alec. Stacy prepared us a delicious dinner and we had a great time talking with them and playing with the children, who were very entertaining.

picture of Jason, Stacy, and Alec

picture of Bella and Amelia

Rob's mom lives in a nursing home in Bowling Green, Ohio. Here's a picture of her, Rob, and Deb.

picture of Rob, Mom, Deb

She spent the day of her birthday in Fostoria where Deb and Dan prepared her a special birthday dinner of Fish Cakes (similar to Salmon Patties) and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. They have a boat up on Lake Erie that they use for fishing. They are quite good at catching the fish and thus have an ample supply of Walleye and Perch in their freezer. Here's the recipe for the Fish Cakes:

Fish Cakes
1/2 lb. white fish, cooked
1 cup cooked wild rice
3 eggs
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup shredded white cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or parmesan
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 sleeve of saltine crackers
parsley
pepper

Cook the fish in a small amount of water about 5 minutes or until it flakes easily. (Deb added a bit of creole seasoning to the water when she cooked hers). Cool. In a large bowl combine the fish, mayonnaise, rice, onion, garlic, and cheese. Add eggs and mix with a fork. Add seasonings and crushed saltines. Form into cakes and fry in a small amount of oil in a skillet for 2-3 mins. per side. (I have found that it helps to form the mixture into a ball shape and place on waxed paper for about 30 mins. then place the ball into the hot oil in the skillet and flatten it with your spatula. This helps the pattie stick together.)

These were very tasty and I hope to try them sometime with Tilapia since neither Rob nor I are fishermen.

Stay tuned until next time when we continue our adventure of eating our way across the Midwest!

Next destination: Warren, MI


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Road Trip


We have been on a road trip for a couple weeks visiting family and friends. I decided I needed to take a few posts to tell about our travels. We left home and headed up Interstate 77 to visit my sister and brother-in-law and their son, Zack, in Ohio. Here's a picture of Zack and his girlfriend, Abi.

picture of Zack and Abi

We normally travel up I-75 on the other side of the state. We found I-77 to be much less heavily traveled and we had a very enjoyable drive up. We were entertained in the car by listening to a mystery on CD's from the library.

We arrived at the Campbell home in time for supper and spent an enjoyable evening and early morning the next day with them before they had to leave for work and we headed out on the next leg of our journey.

We drove across Ohio on route 30, which also was not at all congested. We headed to Findlay, Ohio to visit my Aunt Nana and Aunt Rose, who are my dad's sisters.

picture of Nana and Rose

We were very happy that my cousin, Diane, who lives and works in Brazil, was also there visiting. Aunt Nana provided a delicious lunch for us, and we had a pleasant time conversing and learning more about Diane's life and work in South America, where she has lived for over thirty years. Here is a picture of Diane and me.

picture of Diane Bechtel

In my next post I'll tell about our next destination. Stay tuned.

Becka


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A pressing situation


picture of Iron

I have to admit it — I like to iron. I sometimes put if off because it does take some effort to set up the ironing board and then gather everything together. But after I get everything set up and ready I tend to enjoy the task.

My mom enjoyed ironing. She even "took in ironing" for a time when I was a child to make a little extra money. I remember her spreading out the clothes on the kitchen table and then sprinkling them with water that she had in an old glass pop bottle with a sprinkler top. She would then put the clothes in a special plastic bag which closed with a zipper and store them in the refrigerator overnight. It was kind of fun to iron those cool clothes on a hot summer day.

My sister and I both started our ironing career with little toy irons and we each had our own little metal folding ironing board. Ironing with the electric iron was more difficult for me when I was a young girl since I am left-handed. The irons in those days had a hard protruding cord on the right side which got in the way if you tried to hold the iron in your left hand. As a result I learned to iron right-handed.

I think one thing that is enjoyable about ironing is seeing the garment improve in appearance right before your eyes. It can go from a wrinkled, tangled mess to a crisp new looking item in a manner of minutes. I also enjoy the smell of the spray starch and the lavender ironing water. I like to sleep on crisp, clean, scented pillow cases.

It helps when ironing to have a well padded ironing board and an iron with a large water tank so there is plenty of steam. I saw some beautiful patterned ironing board covers at TJ Maxx recently. I may have to look into purchasing one of those the next time I need a new cover.

I usually have some sort of sewing project going so I often catch up on my ironing while I have the ironing board up to press my latest creation.

I haven't always been as diligent about keeping up with my ironing. Years ago a sewing teacher showed our class how she always turned her garments inside out and pressed the seams flat each time she washed them to help keep them looking their best. I was also convicted after reading an article by a pastor's wife who mentioned that keeping her husband's clothes clean and well pressed was one way that she could help him in his ministry. I have found that careful laundering and pressing can help make older (or second-hand) clothing look nicer and last longer. It's also more comfortable to wear a smooth, wrinkle free garment.

I know a number of people who never iron--some noticeably so. Others are just careful about removing their clothing from the dryer and hanging or folding the clothes properly so they don't wrinkle.

How about you? Are you a frequent ironer?

Becka


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