Facets of Lucy

Looking at the various side of a life


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Summer Sangria

Need an Excuse to Entertain?

Relatives graciously invited us to drop by for a visit while we were in their town a few weeks ago.  The hostess offered me a glass of Peach Sangria.  We were late and it wasn’t quite as cold as it had been earler but it was delicious and looked, smelled and tasted like summer.  The memory of that Sangria stayed with me when I returned home.  Finally, I thought why not make some myself?  When the weekend rolled around, a few of our friends came by to visit and enjoy it with me.

When I set out to make the Sangria, I researched recipes online.  There are recipes with 20 ingredients, some that take hours to make and some with exotic ingredients that I’d not use again.  I finally settled on one that sounded good, had only a few ingredients and didn’t take long to prepare.  Then I made minor adjustments of my own.

I understand that usually Sangria is made in a big batch but that didn’t really suit how the evening flowed.  To make it for our group, I made the final touch “by the glass”.  I’ll put my  touches, such as they are, in parentheses, and you can decide for yourself.  We thought the results were peachy and fresh without being cloyingly sweet.

Peach Sangria

1 bottle white wine (something leaning towards the dry side)       Sangria

½ cup Peach Schnapps

¼ – ½ cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)

1 liter ginger ale (I substituted peach flavored sparkling water)

Peach slices

Mango slices

Mix the wine and the schnapps in a pitcher.  Add sugar and stir well.  Add peach and mango slices, stir gently.  Chill for an hour or two.  Before serving, add ginger ale.  (My changes:  I poured the wine/schnapps/sugar mixture into individual wine glasses, then added peach sparkling water to the glass.  I then added several frozen peach slices to each glass which acted as ice cubes.  The result wasn’t as sweet as what I’d tasted before which suited my taste buds.  I think it was a hit because, with each thank you note received, a request was made for the recipe.)

Try it and let me know what you think.  Happy summer!


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The Healthy One

The flu has hit my family like it has so many others. All of us have had flu shots, by the way.  My mother in a nursing home had it as did both of my parents-in-law. My youngest daughter, 19, came down with it first in our house.  She literally did not have the energy to move from her bed for a couple of days, had body aches like she’s never felt before along with fever and a racking cough that was the last symptom to finally disappear. Question: How do you know your young adult is truly ill? Answer: When they look at you on New Year’s Eve…when they have plans they’re excited about…and say that they just don’t feel up to it and crawl back to bed.  Luckily, she recovered a few days before she had to return to school.

Then, mid-week last week, my husband mentioned he felt funny.  On Thursday night, he came home complaining of a cough.  By Friday morning, he was down. Important fact to note:  he has worked at this same company for over 30 years and has never called in sick!  But this time, fever and, cough had  hit along with the aches. He called in to work to tell his boss, only to find out that the boss was out with the flu as well.  We’ve gone through the weekend now and he will miss work another day today.  His cough is worse than my daughter’s was; I think he may be looking at bronchitis in addition to the flu.  It’s so painful sounding that I cringe when he coughs.

I may be inviting the demons to strike me but I’m feeling very proud and lucky to not have gotten the flu; okay, I’ll say it, YET!  But I was visiting my mother when she had the flu , visited the in-laws while they had the flu, cared for my daughter and sleep with my husband and still don’t have it. By now, I should have shown symptoms.

Chicken Soup

For me, being the one with the chronic, degenerative illness, I’m enjoying being the well one for a change.  No, of course, I’m not happy any of my family got sick.  I certainly hope this flu season  ends soon with no more fatalities.  But I’ve welcomed the chance to care for my family, especially my husband who takes such good care of me. As the well one, I’ve taken his temperature.  As the well one, I’ve made a big pot of homemade chicken soup (recipe below), kept him drinking liquids, made sure he’s taking pain relievers and cough medicine on a timely basis and whatever else would help.  No small measure this, I kept the cat, a very vocal Maine Coon cat who believes it’s his responsibility to make sure we all get up each morning, out of the room when he’s sleeping.

A doctor said to me last year, “Except for the Parkinson’s, you’re very healthy”, a comment I consider similar to that famous line, “Except for that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” This time so far, I am the healthy one and am glad to have a chance to give back.

If you have the flu, too, feel better soon.

CHICKEN SOUP

6 cups of chicken stock
Small Onion
Carrots (4)
Celery
Cooked Chicken (2 cups)

Saute the vegetables, cleaned and sliced,  in a little butter until the onions are translucent.  Cut the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. Combine vegetables and chicken and add broth to all, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer on low for 30 minutes. This is just the basic version.  You can make your own stock, add other vegetables or beans, as well as whatever spices you desire.  I added white beans, extra vegetables and extra broth, fresh parsley snipped and a little thyme.


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The Lazy Cook’s Dinner: Shrimp Berry Salad

I am not a chef.  I don’t like watching cooking shows, couldn’t name anyone who has one.  But I cook because my family developed the habit of eating years ago and I can’t break them of it.  Sometimes, I go off the recipe trail and experiment.  Some outcomes are better than others and those I like to share.  We enjoyed an easy and delicious dinner the other night, Shrimp Berry Salad. Again, no real recipe but I share what I put in and how I assembled it below. It looks beautiful and tastes delicious. I hope you like it, but feel free to modify it as you go along.

Shrimp Berry Salad

Want to try it?  This is what I did.  To prepare:

  •  Rinse and clean your favorite combination of fresh in- season fruit. We used strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and dark sweet cherries.
  • You can use either fresh or frozen, cooked or raw shrimp.  Make sure they’re  rinsed and peeled. Put 3-4 shrimp on each wooden skewer.  Lightly baste with olive oil, then squeeze fresh lemon juice on each and lightly sprinkle lemon-pepper seasoning.  I grilled ours on our George Foreman Grill for about 4 minutes each, but you can also broil or grill outside.  Just make sure the shrimp are done and cooked through.
  • Rinse and prepare greens which are at least, in part, spinach (we used a spinach and field greens mix).

To serve the salad:

  • Add a small amount of vinaigrette salad dressing to the greens, either raspberry or balsalmic would be great.Place on each serving plate.  Because I think there is nothing that can’t be improved by adding pecans, sprinkle them atop the salad.
  • Top with generous portion of berry mix.
  • Serve shrimp skewers on top.  Enjoy!


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Summer Memories Part 2 – Fried Zucchini

In my last post, I shared a favorite summer memory and ended with a delicious family favorite dessert – Peach Cobbler.  After writing all that, I found I craved the other recipe I’d described, my Great Aunt Nell’s fried zucchini.  I don’t think she ever really had a recipe so as I made it last night, I measured what I usually just estimate.  I promise you’ll find fancier versions, versions with cheese and Italian flavors, and versions which are sticks; I was even served some that were cut like potato chips at a local restaurant.  But if you like zucchini, you ought to try this recipe.

ZucchiniFried Zucchini

Ingredients:


1 – 1 ½ lb zucchini

1 cup Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Heat vegetable oil  to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dip zucchini slices (cut in ½” wide circles) into beaten egg then into corn flake crumbs.

 Add zucchini slices to skillet. Turn over once and  fry until golden brown. Lay on paper towels to absorb oil.  Lightly salt to taste if desired.  Serves 4.

Fried Zucchini


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My Recipe for Summer Memories

My grandfather had a brother (my great-uncle) named Paul to whom  he was very close.   I became, over time, a good friend of my great uncle’s eldest granddaughter, Carrie.  Carrie would spend weeks in the summer at her grandparent’s “camp” on the river and I got to join her as her companion.  She was a little spoiled as the eldest and my grandfather would firmly tell me that I was to be helpful and a polite, good guest.

I loved that time at Uncle Paul and Aunt Nell’s camp.  The camp was a house located along a river with a path to the shallow part of the river where you could safely play, bathe or just cool off and another path that took you to the swimming hole with the rope you could use to swing out over it and – splash!!- drop in.  This was a right of passage for children who visited.

The absolute best part of the camp was this:  my aunt and uncle had purchased an old train caboose and had moved it to the camp grounds, not far from the house.  When Carrie and I moved in,  we were allowed to stay in the caboose.  This was such a thrill and we would sit in the cat-bird seats at the top and talk about the boys across the river, boys in general, family,life and anything else we could think of.  We slept in the two built-in bunks and in the morning dined by ourselves on the high gourmet breakfast choice of cinnamon Pop-Tarts and Hi-C punch.  I don’t have a picture of the actual caboose but this is an illustration:

What wonderful days they were and what happy memories were made!  And at the end of each day, a final treat, we were called to dinner.  My Aunt Nell was the best cook  I’d ever met.  Especially in the summer time, when food came from Uncle Paul’s garden and orchard.  In truth, I don’t remember any meats served although there must have been fried chicken as in any good southern kitchen.  But oh, what my aunt could do with vegetables.  I have never had fried zucchini to rival hers.  And for dessert, she would usually make a vanilla-based homemade ice cream to which would be added the fresh fruit my uncle brought from the orchard.  The very best for me was the peaches.  Homemade peach ice cream is heaven-sent.

I’ll post the “recipe” for the zucchini next time I make it so I can include some photos.  But to celebrate the fresh peach flavor of the ice cream  along with yet another family dessert tradition, I am sharing the recipe  for our Peach Cobbler.  Maybe you can use it for the 4th.

But before I do, I want to share that my cousin, Carrie, with whom I shared these wonderful memories was killed on my 22nd birthday by a drunk driver.  In her honor, I plead with you to drive sober, undistracted and alert.  When you’re behind the wheel, make it the most important thing you do.

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

2 – 2 1/2 cups of peaches, peeled and sliced

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Melt stick of margarine in baking dish while heating (watch to remove dish from oven as soon as butter melts.  Stir a little sugar (not the 1/2 cup above) into the peaches.  Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and sugar.  Add milk and vanilla into dry ingredients and mix.  Pour batter into baking dish with melted butter.  Add peaches and bake for 30 – 35 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove when done and let cool at least 10 minutes.

Delicious served warm, with ice cream.

Nutrition Information:

Probably high in fat
High in sugar.
But hey, its a once in  a while summer treat.