Grandmother’s Pantry – D

I opened Grandmother’s pantry and found…

Let’s see…what starts with D. My first thought is not a food but a cut — DICED.

It was after I browsed around in the cookbook index that I decided on delicious D’s for a menu.

Shall we begin with duck? How about adding a dill sauce? I’d like to wash it down with a Daiquiris please.

Actually, the photo below is probably the most common response and has a certain charm and versatility.

These DATES didn’t photograph as well as some other foods — but when added to their friends they tasted fine in cookies.

Stretching My Wings

The germ for the trip was planted years before. But I built in a delay.

Are you going to go overseas? My reply for years was — so much to see in the United States first — or a little more specific — I want to set foot in all 50 states first.

Well — the above stated delay no longer applied. Now I needed a destination — easy to decide — I want to go where they speak English. So what better place than England.

I’d taken a tour for my vacation in Hawaii and knew it was the best way for me to see as much as possible in a limited time.

All that remained were two things — save the money, and use my courage to actually sign up.

Trafalgar Square

First impressions — walking out of the Underground Station all of an hour or so after arriving in London. The largest city I’d actually visited prior to this was Chicago. I was awed most of the trip from airport to hotel.

Yes, it had rained. It was April in England. I came prepared with hooded windbreaker and umbrella. Grateful I’d poured over the tourist guidebooks from the library. The map purchased at a bookstore proved useful also — I found a direct route from hotel to one of the free museums.

The adventure started well.

Grandmother’s Pantry – C

What can we find on the shelf that begins with the letter “C”? Can we make a meal?

We have carrots and cucumbers in the fridge. Oh — I see grated coconut in the cupboard. Does the can of clam chowder count twice?

Yes, I’ve settled on a menu. I’ll make a meal of chili, crackers, and cheese — then wash it down with creme soda.

For today’s photo, I reached into the freezer (but this tasty food at various times can be found in a can, or in the produce drawer or garden fresh on the cob.

Yum! Sweet corn is a nice addition to lunch or dinner. I like mine with just a dab of butter.

April Journey

April calls me to venture out — out of the house, out of the city. It’s time to see new sights and do new things.

One year the destination was Chicago — actually, I’ve visited Chicago more than once in the spring.

Driving from St. Louis, you watch spring retreat. The trees are no longer in blossom. Is that ice on a farm pond. It’s like stepping back in time a few weeks.

However, the city offers many attractions which are excellent no matter the season. Spring breaks for my sons included adventures to enjoy museums and zoos. I’ve gotten a “high” view of things from the observation floor of the John Hancock building.

Twice I’ve attended a spring writing conference in the city. The days were full with workshops, meeting new people, and having new experiences.

My very first book signing — books, chocolate, and business cards.

This is a nice romance writers conference — I planned to attend in 2020 — but like so many events it was rescheduled and held virtual. Stuffed my brain listening to the workshops in my office.

Grandmother’s Pantry – B

I opened Grandmother’s pantry and found…

Oh, so many choices for the letter B. A person could make a meal with Bread & Butter, Beans, and Beer.

The day I was thinking about this entry and taking a few photos — the perfect subject was lying on the table.

Sweet, but not too sweet, the basic banana can be paired and eaten with other popular foods.

Some people put them on cereal (hot or cold), in a sandwich with peanut butter, or (my favorite) with ice cream. But when packing a lunch, or following a healthy diet, it’s a great peel and eat dessert or snack.

Have you eaten any B foods today? Brownie? Beef? Bacon?

Going South in the Spring

Spring Break! The phrase has come to mean crowds of young adults — plus some high school age teens — swarming to the beach in late March.

Actually, once my own children we “out of the nest” I’ve managed to take several memorable spring trips. It’s a great feeling to emerge from the gray skies and heavy clothing of winter into mild temperatures and interesting sights.

This is my favorite photo from a 2010, late-March trip to Alabama.

Three female college friends joined up with a group and spent several lovely days touring around Mobile Bay. The weather cooperated. Crowds were minimal. The day trips were interesting. The lectures taught me a few new things.

Like a vacation should — I returned refreshed and with an improved outlook on life. I’d like to think the experience and attitude rubbed off on my friends and co-workers.

Grandmother’s Pantry – A

When I was a child, we sometimes went on a Sunday afternoon drive with another family.

This was before seat belt use use required, and the number of children in the back seat of the full-sized sedan varied from three to four or perhaps five – dependent on size. As you can imagine, we needed entertainment. Often we played an alphabet and memory game called “Grandmother’s Trunk”.

In the next few months I’m going to modify it to “Grandmother’s Pantry” in an attempt to find a food – or ingredient – you would find in a good cook’s kitchen.

A is for….. let’s see, some of the choices would be: apricots, asparagus, allspice or anise seed to spice it up and ale to wash it down.

However, we’re starting conventional.

Red, shiny, and ready to eat — an apple starts our trip through the alphabet cupboard.

Crisp and fresh — cooked into sauce — or squeezed into juice — apples have a place at every table.

The Beginning

Authors do a lot of thinking before they put the first word on the page. A common prompt is “What if?” another is “Where?”

When starting the story that became my first published novel — I spent a lot of time figuring out “Where” and “Who” and “Why”

I wanted a peaceful place, tending on boring at first glance, but where turmoil is just below the surface.

So what’s a place that should be quiet and dull? How about a Christmas tree farm in January, when all the hub-bub of cutting and shipping and sales is done for the year and planting and sheering and summer work is months away. Should be an easy place for a city relative to mind a few animals and take a couple weeks to find mental balance.

However…this is a small town romance with a hint of suspense…so anything can happen.

A reunion and second chances are interrupted by gunshots.

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One Week

Spring! The season of hope for gardeners–and others.

Officially spring began close to a week ago. Depending on your location, the actual weather may vary. But even in the cooler parts of the United States, the date on the calendar turns lots of minds to thoughts of green trees – not pine and spruce – grass, kites, and life without jackets, hats, and boots each time you leave the house.

The colors and features in this puzzle almost shout “spring” to me. A mild spring day is ideal for a walk in the park. Or a carriage ride. Or an hour canoeing.

Spring is a season of new beginnings. Spring cleaning — not my favorite, but good to clean out old broken or unused items. New beginnings — a visit to the garden center is a must — even if the survival rate of any hanging basket I purchase is questionable. There’s a new puppy in our neighborhood. Painters and fencers are collecting clients.

Hope is in the air. Hope for little things — like a plant or a puppy. Hope for large things — like better health or stronger friendships.

What is one thing you hope for this spring?

Orchard Romance

When Mona Smith flees Minneapolis to evade a drug kingpin — she’s not looking for a husband — or a new life in rural Wisconsin.

Read this sweet, contemporary romance with a hint of suspense to find a modern day twist to a marriage of convenience.

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