Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Each Spring brings a renewal of faith


I was sitting in our family room yesterday, admiring all the work I had accomplished on the deck the past few days, when I realized the tall trees were filling out with leaves on their branches.  I don't know how I'd missed it but they are the last to fill out every Spring, since it tends to arrive from the ground up.  

The property around our house certainly looks best in late Spring through Autumn when the forest wants to show off the finery.  By late Winter, I am done with the black, grey, and white landscape that is so beautiful in December.  My soul is dry.  My imagination is lacking.  It is winter and never Christmas, or so it seems.

Then Spring arrives every year and it is as if God is reminding us of the Resurrection all over again.  That which appeared dead was made alive.  The seed fell to the ground and died and then lived again.  The trees lost their leaves and looked long past their prime and then poof... they once again provide relief from the shade and beauty in their abundance.

I love the changing of seasons in the Midwest, even if they can drive me over the edge of frustration at times.  For instance, it has been so chilly here that our furnace has come on every evening.  There have been only a few pleasant days of true Spring.  Now the forecast is calling for 100 degree heat indexes by late week.  

Midwestern nature tends to tease me with Spring each year and then throws heat and humidity at me, just when I am enjoying some 70 degree days.  I guess it knows that I throw my little temper tantrum each year, stomp my feet and pout, threaten to move to San Diego, and then realize that is the price to pay sometimes for four completely unique seasons.  

As I daydream of what it will be like on the New Earth God has promised, I am thankful for the changes that come with Spring.  They are an annual reminder that God can and does make all things new and that He is still in control of the planet, no matter what the world around us says.

That is a reminder we all need now as it seems everything that can be shaken is being shaken.  We find our anchor in His Word and find that if we read and believe what He has said, then we can understand what is going on around us.  Until recently, I didn't understand why the book of Revelation states that those who read it will be blessed.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.  Revelation 1:3 ESV

However, it may be making more sense in the face of recent events.  It is like when you are putting together a complicated puzzle without the photo on the box.  It is almost impossible to know how the pieces fit together.  But when you have the photo to go by, then the puzzle may still take awhile to come together but you know what the final product will look like.

When I was a new Christian, I avoided the Book of Revelation like the proverbial plague.  I found it to be strange, confusing, and scary.  But over the years I had some very good Bible teachers that wove together the Old Testament prophets, the Gospels, the Letters, and then Revelation and it was no longer scary.  

While I know there is discussion and disagreement about the timing of various events... and I have been known to argue with myself over these very same verses... we can all agree that Jesus is coming again and there will be a day when all will be made new.

What the photo on the box is telling me is that we are close to His coming and while the events happening in the world today can be unsettling and even frightening, we can be assured that nothing is occurring that is surprising God.  He really does have the ultimate control and the plans of the evil one are kept within the boundaries of the Creator.

He is just as much our anchor in these days as He is when life is quiet and lacking uncertainty or turmoil.  I have found Him to be even more the anchor during these times when the winds of adversity and uncertainty are whipping through my news feed because I have more need of that anchor than when I am seeing calm waters all around.

Mentioned in my prayers every evening is our outdoor kitty, Mouse.  Recently I was thinking of what outdoor animals in the country face each day (and night) when I was reminded... I am certain by the Holy Spirit... that God says a sparrow does not fall without His knowledge. He understands my prayers for a kitty who lives on the porch... and provides peace that He sees me every moment, too.

My husband is more than a little melancholic and what is happening to our country has had him complaining even to the cats.  I like to remind him that it is not my fault and I didn't do it so do not complain to me.  What he is learning to do is when he sees the nation falling apart, he now states "Maranatha, Lord Jesus!".  (Yes, that was my suggestion.)

My friends, we need to keep our gaze at the picture on the box!  The Word of God tells us of the glorious events that are to come!  He understands because Jesus lived in a human body 2,000 years ago.  He knows what you are feeling when you are afraid of what you are facing, both the uncertainty of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow.  You are worth more than many sparrows!

How do I know?  Well, first of all we have the Book of the Bible and what He has promised there.  Second, we have the Book of Nature that is written by God and is constantly providing new lessons each season.  

The leaves that shed their shades of green and showed off their undergarments of lovely reds and rusts and golds and chartreuse before they fell to the ground are now bringing forth new leaves and new life as they do every year where I live.  Other friends are enjoying the coolness of Fall before nature goes to sleep for the Winter.

We do not wring our hands and wonder if God is still in control when it snows in April.  Although He does hear my annoyance at such an event.  But the same God who brings Spring after Winter and Fall after Summer and we don't even think about it... is the same God who is taking care of you and your family.

You were born into the Kingdom for such a time as this.  As hard as it is some days, you can face each day bravely when you remember the photo on the top of the box.  A New Heaven.  A New Earth.  Seeing God face to face.  Eternal life!

Maranatha, Lord Jesus.

Note:  In case there is confusion about the deck, we found out we do not have to tear it down this year.  Which was very good news!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - A busy week of headlines!

After a long stretch of unseasonably cold and wet weather, we finally were able to get out these past few days as I planted the container garden and my husband has been working on lawn and landscape improvements.  There is a chance of rain (again) most days next week so we are thankful for the sunshine we can get.  However, no more lows into the 30s at night.

Can you believe this last week?  Let's see, we had...

  • A major gas pipeline hacked and shut off.
  • A major bridge that goes across the Mississippi was shut down and barge traffic stopped for awhile.  Barges are now allowed to continue even though the bridge has a huge crack in it.
  • The news that a few events have come together to have a chicken shortage in some parts of the country.
  • An escalation of fighting in Israel with the possibility of a regional ground war looking like it will happen soon.
  • Flooding in Midwest farm land (the river was seven feet above flood stage in our area).
  • Even the mainstream media is recognizing that inflation looks like it may be reaching levels we have not seen since the Carter Administration.

That is on top of everything else that has happened, not the least of which was a world wide pandemic.  If there is anyone left who thinks a pantry lifestyle is silly, they are blind to what is happening around the world.  There are numerous reasons to believe supply lines are in jeopardy.

As I mentioned before, I hadn't planned to buy anything for the pantry this month since we are investing so much in the container garden and outdoor work but I ended up purchasing a few items again last week when they were available.

The grocery store had a limit of 2 packages each for confectioners sugar and brown sugar.  I am almost out of confectioners sugar for the first time in years so I bought two large packages (the limit was 2 no matter the size of the package).  Their regular white sugar had no limits.  

King Arthur bread flour had a limit of 2 packages so I bought one for right now.  I realized we were getting very low on paper plates so I bought a package of them and will probably buy another package next month.  Meijer had their brand of tissues on sale so I bought two boxes. 

As you can see, I'm using my little at a time way of stocking the pantry this month.  It took many years for it to sink in that it is far better to do a little in the way of stocking up than not to do anything because I cannot do everything!

I've been organizing shelves a little more, too.  Last Fall, I moved the flower pots and garden "stuff" from the garden shed (where there have been found big spiders and even a snake!) to a couple long shelves in the garage.  That helped immensely when getting everything ready to plant this week.

While I was pulling everything out last week, I found two small boxes of food items tucked away on the bottom shelf!  I didn't even remember they were there and unfortunately, everything was far past their Use By date (they were boxed and packaged food items).  What a waste!

It made me realize again the importance of keeping the pantry organized and to make certain not to tuck anything away where it usually is not kept "temporarily".  It's the same logic in purchasing a gift early for someone and then not remembering where you hid it!

Note to self:  Food items do not belong in with the garden stuff!

As far as cooking, I'm going to try a new method of frying chicken thighs this evening that I learned from Brenda Gantt.  I make really good fried chicken, most likely because I learned how from my Kentucky born mother (my daughter inherited the fried chicken gene, too!).  However, this method intrigued me so I have to try it.  I will link to it below.

While it was so cold and damp, I made a large batch of chicken stock and froze two quarts in the deep freeze and then finished the rest as chicken noodle soup for a few meals (I'm thankful my husband likes leftovers!).  I use the Essenhaus very thin dried noodles for soup and I crush the bag to break them up before adding any noodles to the soup.  This helps keep the carbs down and one bag of the noodles last for about three or four soup recipes.

I need to return to some outdoor work now but I thought I'd share one of my favorite gardening books.  You may have it on your shelves.  It is Sharon Lovejoy's delightful Trowel & Error.  I find such delight in picking up this small-ish book and just perusing it now and then.  It is full of her gardening knowledge as well as her beautiful illustrations.

It is perfect for weeks like this when my mind is on container gardening and not on all the "what ifs" going on in the world.  Take a breath, ask for wisdom, and if necessary... prepare the pantry a little at a time.

Mentioned in this week's blog post

Brenda Gantt's fried chicken video... here.

Trowel & Error by Sharon Lovejoy... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Basking in the lovely things of life

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope you have a blessed day and for my friends who did not give birth to children, I am certain there are many who consider you a warm and lovely motherly type.  Even if they have fur and paws.  It was not easy for me to become a mother, so I never take for granted my two children here and my first child who went to Heaven soon after his birth.

I love being a mother, even during the preschool years when one is always exhausted. I loved walking along the beach of Lake Michigan, hiking trails, dozens upon dozens of Saturday morning breakfasts at favorite restaurants, watching their Church programs, listening to my daughter's solos, and admiring my son's science skills.

Often in the midst of our conversations, unless we were dealing with misbehavior, our God given beautiful world was pointed out... whether it was a dandelion (which my husband does not consider beautiful), rock collections, or rows upon rows of colorful tulips during Tulip Time in Michigan.

We have chatted about the beauty of language and of books and of various films. One child homeschooled and the other child learned at home when out of school. We have shared a love for good food and beautifully set tables.  We have cooked together and baked together and tried to recreate favorite restaurant meals at home.

My children share a love of travel, which they inherited from their father.  Although I have been on the receiving end of images from Paris, Rome, England, Ireland, and other countries.  However, my favorite photo was of Benny the Bull who, I think, lives next to a rental cottage in the Lake District?

There were many good days in the midst of many not so good days but that is what makes up life.  Someday we will know Perfection but until then, there are times we have to look for the lovely and much like finding what is beautiful in a flower my husband sees as a dreadful weed... we have to look past the deep roots and appreciate the flower.

After a week of cool rain off and on, a thunderstorm rolled in and remained most of the night.  The rain continued so heavy this morning that our satellite TV has been flickering in and out.  I finished making chicken stock yesterday and part of it will become soup today, which will be good on such a raw, chilly day.  The rest of it will go to the deep freeze for another time.

On Friday evening, I was reclining on the Living Room sofa as sounds of a White Sox baseball game came from the Family Room.  The sunset was a lovely glow above the horizon through the window and the chandelier light over the dining table in that part of the house had been lowered with the dimmer switch.

I had been listening to music on YouTube with the Amazon Fire tablet and I noticed a recommendation from a jazz band I had never heard of before.  Probably because they were singing in French and I do not speak that language.  However, I had been listening to Bobby Darrin sing Beyond the Sea (one of my favorite songs) so I was curious about their French version.

As I listened, magic filled the room.  Narnia magic without the snow.  It was the most beautiful rendition of the song that I had ever heard.  I realized that I loved French jazz bands, at least this one.  Although based in Brooklyn, their lead singer moved to the States from Paris.  I shut my eyes and listened to more of their music that took me to another world.

I think all of us can use some Narnia magic in our lives after the past year. If a world wide pandemic taught us nothing else, we had to learn to be adaptable.  I have long written about filling our homes with thrifted Beauty but I never thought of French music.  God did.  He knew I'd like it, too.

As many of us make our way out of our homes and gently find our way back to the outside world, some of us are doing so with a bit of trepidation.  What will the future hold?  Well, I do not know that but I do know Who holds the future.  He has promised to be with us no matter what we have to go through.

I have learned that no matter how dark the world looks, there are many ways to keep our eyes on the lovely.  Most importantly, we need to ask for His wisdom and His discernment that comes from the Word of God.  Then we look toward that day when evil will be no more and only the lovely will remain.  

Mentioned in this Blog Post

La Mer (Beyond the Sea) by Tatiana Eva Marie and The Avalon Jazz Band... here.

A complete album of their music is on YouTube... here.

Image:  The scene from my deck many years ago. 

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Seasonal priorities and stocking the basics

I did not anticipate this week to be very busy but I ended up being away from home every day.  I don't remember who it was (perhaps Laine from Laine's Letters?) who used to write that she could not be gone all the time and have her house look good.  I can relate!  My kitchen floor right now is embarrassing but it will get cleaned early next week.

It has been unusually cool and rainy here, it feels more like March than May.  We need more dry days in a row so the farmers can get into the fields to finish planting. I do admire farmers (and gardeners!), it takes a lot of faith and patience to plant seeds and plan on a harvest with the crazy weather we have had recently.

I was away from home since it was time for stock up shopping and this time I shopped Aldi (with a quick stop by Kroger) one day and Meijer the next day.  It is so much easier that way.  I went to the nursery one day to purchase a flowering plant for the porch and my herbs.  Then on Friday morning, I decided to take my husband to his dental appointment since it was near the nursery so I could purchase a few more herbs before they sold out.

My container herb garden is easy to take care of and I enjoy being able to cook with them and make tea out of the two different mints (apple mint and Kentucky Colonel mint, which is a type of spearmint).  I am blessed to have a local nursery with a very large selection.

Since I had so many seasonal purchases to make this month, I didn't budget for the pantry at all.  However, Meijers had cans of Keystone ground beef back in stock.  So, two cans of ground beef went into the cart.  Right now, I don't have a lot of canned meat but I want to slowly build up a supply for an emergency.

They also had a few different kinds of liquid hand soap in a pump container on clearance for 30 cents and hand sanitizer for 45 cents each so quite a few of them went into the grocery cart.  I love buying on clearance. 

I've been asked how I prioritize what I put in the pantry given a small stock up budget and small space to store anything.  I've written before that during Y2k, I lived in a big house and had a bigger budget.  I had a separate room in the basement to stock up an emergency pantry and bought quite a variety of recommended food and products to stock it.

We did end up using some of the food because of a job loss early in 2000 but I learned a lot about what didn't work.  For one thing, instead of spending money on a variety of food suggested by websites, I should have kept it simple and stocked up on what we did eat regularly.  I also ended up not using much of the dehydrated food that I had purchased.

That is why I started calling the Saturday posts "deepening the pantry" because that is what works.  Just stock your pantry deeper with what you eat than you normally would.  By keeping it simple, it is easy to keep up with it, too.  I keep a couple flats of fruit and a couple flats of canned veggies.  They are mainly green beans and organic corn but I also have some canned potatoes, which aren't bad when fried. 

I have a couple cans of sweet potatoes, some cans of Bush's baked beans, and various soups.  These are all things we use regularly.  I have some peanut butter and jelly for quick sandwiches.  I try to keep at least two extra bottles or jars of condiments we use the most, usually purchased when there is a sale. 

When doing research for Y2k, I read a lot about Europe in WWII and every article said to always stock extra fat of some kind like olive oil, vegetable oil, ghee, lard, etc.  I have mentioned that my mother always saved bacon grease so, of course, I do.  I recently learned that Jewish women saved the chicken fat (called schmaltz) as they obviously did not eat bacon.  Even Jewish chefs still use schmaltz.

I expect what I have the most of is canned tomatoes, pizza sauce, and pasta.  I often make sauce for spaghetti by combining pizza sauce with a can of chopped tomatoes.  It is much less sweet that way.  Most people I know either can their own sauce if they have a garden or they purchase favorite brands of pasta sauce. 

I have a few different kinds of pasta and a couple bags of noodles for soup but I recently saw a recommendation for people with very limited storage space.  They suggested buying just various kinds of spaghetti (angel hair, regular spaghetti, thick spaghetti, etc.) because the boxes are all the same and make it very easy to store.  Pasta and pasta sauce are the easiest ways to have something for dinner put back.  Pasta has an extremely long shelf life when stored properly.

I really need to buy more coffee.  It is one of those items expected to rise in price, as are most imports.  So, if you are a fan of Kerrygold salted butter like I am (or unsalted), you may want to purchase some for the freezer.

Of course, the basis for any pantry needs to be items like flour.  I have bread flour and all purpose flour but if you can only have one, King Arthur all purpose flour has a high enough gluten number to make a good loaf of bread.  Sugar is not expensive right now but it is expected to raise in price.  Salt is a necessity and stores well.  Honey stores well, I prefer to buy it in smaller bottles since I purchase local raw honey and it will solidify.  

I will add here that one thing I learned to do long ago was to make certain I had some "party foods" put back as well as things like birthday candles, cupcake holders, etc. for special occasions.   That would include cake mixes, brownie mixes, cans of icing, etc. if you don't make your own from scratch.  

There is nothing like being able to put together a celebration in the midst of difficult times.  I have been there!!!  There are no food police (unless you are on the Great British Baking Show) that will turn you in for using mixes and such.  You may want to put back some items you cook with for holidays like canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and... while I keep cranberries in the freezer... I do have a couple cans of whole cranberry sauce.

I keep some dried milk as well as a few small shelf stable milk containers on hand. I have some dried eggs for an emergency, too.  However, since it is just two of us then I do not keep a lot of these items.  Remember that if stored well, nonfat dried milk has a very long shelf life.  Anything you have in an aseptic container has a much shorter shelf life.

For large families, it is simply keeping more of what you already eat, usually in larger cans and containers.  I still get surprised at how small the cans are these days.  Most larger families I know cook very much like I do using basic items to put together a meal.  So, of course, they would concentrate on stocking the basics.

One of the mistakes I made during Y2k was going by the lists online and purchasing things like canned beef stew and other prepared foods that we didn't normally eat.  I liked some items but was surprised that I didn't like canned beef stew and had bought quite a bit of it.  So, if you also usually cook from scratch, you will want to try one or two cans of any item you do not eat now to see if you like it.

As far as long term storage, I keep white and converted rice as well as dry beans.  However, I learned from Y2k to make certain I cook with what I am storing and to learn recipes that the family likes.  They wouldn't touch beans at that time but I have good recipes now beyond bean soup. 

Dried and freeze dried foods have come a long way in over twenty years and I now think having some in a long term storage situation is a good idea.  I have a few Mountain House dinner pouches set aside for an emergency but I have also used them when I needed something for dinner when I was home alone.

I know these days it can be difficult for some people to just keep food for a week on the shelves.  However, by just putting back a little at a time, then it is possible to have extra should there be an emergency such as COVID again or a weather related emergency.  We always had extra food on the shelves during winter in case of snow storms. 

I know this is a rambling post and once I hit Publish, I will think of multiple other things I could have added.  But one should only write and reread a blog post so many times and not until their eyes are crossed... as mine are quickly becoming.  Do have a good week!

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - For the love of rituals and traditions

"...For although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration.

It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God."

--Elisabeth Elliott

[I've been thinking of traditions and rituals this past week after baking the Kentucky Derby pie... once again.  It reminded me of a blog post I wrote long ago.  Some things have changed since then (sisters Sasha kitty and Stormi kitty were still alive) but much is the same.]  From 2007:

Spending time with the next generation (or the previous) always makes me think of all things called "Tradition" so I thought a wonderful subject to chat about today...actually two subjects that fit together nicely...would be Traditions and Rituals

Many of my favorite authors write a great deal about both subjects. I truly believe, as we look through the Word, God is very much a Person of both Traditions and Rituals.

I love all seasonal traditions...the first visit to the nursery to purchase annuals in the spring, visiting the farmers market every Saturday morning through the summer, attending the Feast of the Hunter's Moon every autumn and the corresponding aromas of cider and woodsmoke, noticing the first lights going up on the houses come Christmas...a full cycle of another year...a gift from God.

How rich in the Judeo-Christian culture are the rituals and traditions of the Church, many coming directly from the Old Testament where worship is embellished by that which is done the same way...each week...each Church calendar...each year. We've done it this way for... thousands of years...adjusted to fit the Incarnation of the One sent ...Yeushua...Messiah. 

How wonderful that in all we do, whether as a part of a great Body of Believers or in our own family...we can do it all to His honor and Glory...for even a drink of water given in His name is "a good thing".

I have long been a person who made certain we had plenty of family traditions. Food has been associated with many of our traditions like the Christmas Eve hors dourves dinner each year and the pastry and scrambled eggs we had before the early morning service at the Lutheran church my in-laws attended when we visited each Easter (to be followed by a delicious meal after church).

There was the choice of restaurant for each child's birthday (which was cheap when my son was little and McDonald's was always his preference); breakfast out on the first day of school for each child whether they were in the public schools, homeschooled, or in college and the first rhubarb pie of spring or apple pie in autumn...just to name a few.

My husband had to travel a great deal for his work so we had a tradition of ordering pizza the first night Dad was gone. When it was just my son and me left behind when we were living in Detroit, we walked to the local diner for breakfast each morning Dad left to catch his flight (which is why we were watching TV in that diner...on 9/11...with my husband in the air).

There are the rituals of daily life as in putting meals on the table...from the creative process when we are thinking..."What should the menu be this week to stretch the budget?", "Should I make a cake or cookies to serve along with watching the movie tonight?", "How can I get more veggies in our diet?".

Then there are the rituals involved in setting the table, serving the meals on pretty plates, as well as preparing the hot, sudsy water each plate and glass will go into before being washed and set in the drainer until it is time to put them away...for the next meal.

Each day brings its' own rituals such as a sunrise and a sunset...even if the hours vary from season to season. I have long known the very young need the security of daily rituals but I'm finding them more important again as I am getting older. There is great comfort in doing the same thing every day. 

Each morning I feed the cats if my husband hasn't already and then head straight for the coffeepot. I almost always turn on the local news to catch the weather report for the day. If the weather is nice, I will sit on the front porch for awhile to slowly wake up and on good days...get a quiet time in before the necessary activities of the day unfold.

Before I go to bed each night, I set out the two dishes for the kitties' food the next morning ...I prepare the coffee and set the timer on the coffee pot ...I get my favorite mug ready as well as my medication and insulin needle ...I check to make certain the doors are locked, the lights are turned off, and the cats are where they belong ...every night ...unless something else interrupts the regular cycle of very welcome guests.

There are even the little rituals associated with my Saturday evening tea time (which I've written about before). I usually brew a small pot of tea, place a couple of cookies on a plate, pick out a teacup from my collection, bring along the most recent book I'm reading, and spend the evening at my living room sofa enjoying a personal teatime...sometimes watching the British TV shows on our local PBS network...sometimes immersing myself in a great book.

My daughter is planning a new tradition for her family, that of a real Sunday afternoon teatime. I've loved the idea since reading Edith Schaeffer's books and the descriptions of their Sunday afternoon teas at L'Abri. It may not be large like the one at L'Abri but I'm certain her family will enjoy it very much.

I could spend a very long time writing about traditions and rituals...I'm certain I will return to the subjects again some day. However, for now I would love to hear what special rituals and/or traditions others incorporate into daily ...weekly ...monthly ...yearly living.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Vaccines, spring cleaning, and a recipe

We received our second Pfizer shot on Thursday.  All went well except the expected side effects with my arm hurting and the extreme fatigue we were warned about by the medical staff.  Otherwise, there were no unusual side effects.

I had to pray about getting the COVID vaccine since I don't even get a flu vaccine each year.  However, after talking to my primary physician, he assured me that even if I were to have side effects from the vaccine, getting COVID as a Type 1 diabetic would be far worse.  I could see his point.  

Before getting the vaccine on Thursday, I made certain to get some of the housework and projects finished so if needed, I could spend two or three days just recovering.  I've been chipping away at a lot of small indoor projects that make me feel like quite a bit was accomplished.

Since I have been able to purchase a few vintage cranberry glass serving pieces at Goodwill the past couple of years, I went through my other glass serving pieces and decided to send to charity those which were no longer needed.  Someone else will be glad to get them.

We did so much decluttering during the COVID shutdown that there isn't a lot to do for Spring cleaning.  Even then, it always surprises me how much can be sent to charity.  I think that comes when one has lived enough decades!  ;)

We still keep those things that we may not need now but would be very useful in emergency situations, like extra blankets and our sleeping bags (which need to be taken to the laundromat and washed!).  

I only made a couple pantry purchases earlier in the week.  There have been many reports that generic items may become even more difficult to get again in the future.  Generic drugs were almost impossible to find this time last year and have been hit and miss since then.

So, when I go to Meijers, I stop in their pharmacy section to see if they have my favorite Meijers brand of allergy medicine that is "similar to Benedryl" (only far less expensive!).  I particularly like the dye free formula as neon pink pills just look weird.  I did buy them when that was all they had last year.  Especially during Spring and Fall allergy seasons.

They have had them in stock and on sale so I bought a couple small boxes earlier in the month and two boxes this week. The dye free version only comes in the small boxes.  I have a couple boxes of their generic Ibuprofen bottles put back already.

This is the first Saturday in May.  Thus, it is time for the Kentucky Derby!  I have never been to the Derby, although I have enjoyed seeing photos of the women in their beautiful hats and the equally beautiful parties when I used to subscribe to Southern Living.  Not to mention, the stories about the horses and their journey to the Derby are enjoyable.

My mother is from very near Louisville so in a way it seems like home, even though I did not grow up in Kentucky.  One tip of the hat to my heritage is baking a Derby Pie on the day of the race.  I've had this recipe since my daughter was a baby, it was given to me by a good friend at the time.

The recipe has become quite well known since then but I will share it here.  I made it quickly this morning, even though I wasn't feeling the best.  Using a frozen crust I already had in the freezer made it very easy to make.  It doesn't require an electric mixer, I whip it up in my largest Pyrex bowl.

I'm told the original recipe from the Derby contains a shot of bourbon but my pie is always booze free and kid friendly.  ;)

Derby Pie

  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Cup sugar (white but I have also used brown sugar)
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 1 Stick butter - room temperature
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup flour

1 Unbaked pie shell 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together sugar, eggs, and butter.  Add vanilla.  Add flour and then the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.  Pour into 9" pie shell (a frozen shell works great for this pie).  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.  

I like this best at room temperature or even chilled a little but some people like it warm with ice cream.  This makes a great picnic dessert and it is even better the second day.  This pie is very rich so I serve smaller than average slices.  Enjoy!

Image:  Derby Pie photo from coffeeteabooksandme on Instagram.