Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pimento Cheese

For years
Pimento Cheese
was made.

The small cafe
made some a little different.
I inquired and it had chopped pecans, parsley and chives in it.

Just made a small portion
to check out the taste
as these items were on hand .

In the small blender
only pulse cheddar cheese slightly
so it is slightly chunky

1/2 small jar of pimento
2 tablespoons of Hellman's Mayo
chopped chives and parsley (from my garden)
add a few chopped pecans

(if I was using more of the ingredients would use the whole jar of pimento)

Good but not quite what I sampled on Wednesday's trip to the big city.

I do know that with this dry mouth that is a part of Sjogrens
there is not much I truly taste
In the past a tiny bit of hot sauce
or horse radish was added.

Might try this and will be tasty as an open faced sandwich
(lately only use one slice of bread)
or on crackers

I smile
because the image looks like a saucer of scrambled eggs.
Might be because of medication I am using
preparing for eye surgery on Monday.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Their Treasures

I sit and listen to their stories.
They take me by the arm to show me their rooms.
One is filled with her soccer trophies and closet has been rearranged.
The little one shows me her art work, one her very best friend made.
Her favorite stuffed animal that her papa gave her (grandfather).
She plays the piano for me and then quickly wants to show me her
clay creations.
They are good and I hold one and she asks if I want it?  I shake my head yes and
now it sits in my kitchen window.
Looks like a little heart in the center to me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Special Day But Pleased To Be Home

Early morning
quick breakfast
yogurt, banana, blueberries, strawberry, slice of peach and a sprinkling
of walnuts, flax seeds, 2 cups of green tea, special bread with cherry jam and a handful
of supplements.

Load car with camera, extra clothes, shoes, water, protein drink and bar.
Guess I am ready to head for the big city to be with my little girls.
Leaving very early and hope to miss heavy traffic.
Lunch at a special cafe which I like and there is not much out there I like in restaurant food.
Wonderful lemon artichoke soup, their chicken salad is the best I have ever tasted.  Has
pecans and cranberries in it and a little celery.  Their lemonade is prepared with a shaving of vanilla bean and seems to cut the tartness of the taste.   Hummingbird cake to die for.   I took my cooler with me and brought home soup and salad for this evening and also 1/2 a cake to put in freezer.
Especially since I do not bake much :)
I like to have  something sweet on hand if someone drops in and this will be good with tea.
My girls are growing up so fast and the youngest is missing some front teeth.
I was entertained with music and enjoyed this special day so very much.
They need to tell their mom that the clock is once again chiming that I gave to her years ago.
Think you just need to wind it......

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday and French Coconut Pie

A lot was accomplished yesterday.
Most of woods surrounding cottage were bush hogged.
and it looks beautiful.  Several small dead trees were pushed over
and as always I get excited about  rich woods dirt.  Creating no new gardens
but may put some in my small vegetable garden and area in flower garden where
wanter wants to stand when it is raining.

Helper put the lawn tractor in gear for me (torn muscle in right arm and doing this is
to difficult for me) and I cut for 2 hours.  Thoughts of trading this tractor with
very few hours on it for one that you start automatically by pushing a button.  Never thought
of this when it was purchased as for 50 years never a problem with starting one by putting
the blades in gear.  Just a thought as I really do not need to be on this tractor as often
as in the past.

Mosquito's are really bad at this time..  I had on jeans and a long sleeve shirt and could
still feel them trying to attack me.   The operator of the tractor had on a short
sleeve shirt and shorts and I shake my head.  My neighbor came riding by on her mower
and had on shorts and a tank top and she is my age :)  This one is overweight and has a pace maker
and the thought surfaces that I do not have this going on. 

Medication is repeatedly being put on two areas that may be poison ivy.   With left eye
having cataract surgery next Monday I cannot go on a dose pack at this time.
Most of the time I have to do this.  Very familiar with poison ivy and even though
I am careful it happens.   Maybe from Miss Callie as I pet her a lot and she loves
running in the woods.

Worker will have to return because it was too wet at the back of my property
to cut the high grass.

Contentment is my constant companion  when work and cleaning is in progress on this land.
  Love this property with a passion and so many thoughts go through
my mind of the future. When it was first purchased there was twice the amount that
I now tend too.  Two moves, some land sold and thoughts I would never return   But the acres I tend now are surrounded by the rest is as much as I can take care of.   Always wished there was someone that would love these woods like I do.  My children and grandchildren love to visit, eat, sit on porch and walk in the woods - but the city is where they work and like what it offers.

Inside at noon and after the cornbread was made for lunch I made a
French Coconut Pie.
For some reason kept craving coconut.

posted this recipe on 3/13/2012

I read what I write
and my thoughts are my life does not sound very interesting
but I could not be happier or at peace when I am outside with nature.
Just wish my body would keep up with my mind.

The answer to much at this moment is less grooming and acceptance of natures growth
and that I can no longer do what I have in the past years - also a little more help.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Corn Bread Recipe as Requested

I posted this a few years ago.
Will Again...

After my son was born and living in a subdivision in the city
a neighbor knocked on he door
with a plate of this corn bread and fresh green beans.

(Martha, I often wonder what happened to you since I moved away in a short while )

So good
and I have made this recipe for many years.

1 Cup of Plain Corn Meal
1 cup of buttermilk - now I usually do not have this on hand and take a cup of milk and add a
                                  1/2 tsp of vinegar to it and let it sit for 5 minutes.
1 egg beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
and if there are any bacon drippings on hand I will add a tbs - otherwise vegetable oil

Heat oven to 425 and grease well on sides and add about 2 tbsp oil in iron skillet medium size and place in oven

when skillet is hot - about 4 or 5 minutes
take out of oven                                                     WILL BE REAL HOT
and pour corn meal mixture into it                         DO NOT BURN YOURSELF :)

place back in oven and
bake until slightly brown on top
usually about 10 minutes 
and slice and serve from pan
or flip out and cut  ( iron skillets are so old and seasoned that everything flips out easily)
as it is usually browner on the bottom
If I am alone
usually just serve from pan

I also drop this batter from tablespoon
into hot oil on top of the stove
turn over

and make small corn cakes

I used half of this recipe in the same size iron skillet for me.
If you use the whole recipe then the corn bread is thicker
I like it thin and crispy...

Good Luck

Hope this makes sense
end of long day

I have cooked most of my recipes so long
it is difficult to share by writing about them...

Corn Bread For One

I use my regular recipe for cornbread
in the iron skillet I use for whole recipe
and use 1/2 the recipe.

Thin and crispy
so good....

This post is for my daughter Laurie in Tampa
could not send an image through Kodak :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Early Morning and Strawberry Pie

The last several days the grass surrounding this cottage has grown so high.
Lots of rain and sun made it unusually high.
But then on second thought guess this is the way it always is in the Spring
in another month when the heat sets in it will not grow as rapidly.
I keep having thought of snakes, poison ivy and soon ticks if they are not
out there already.

Boy who brings his big mower
told me it would be Monday before he could come and cut the grass.
How wonderful he came yesterday evening and as I sat on my front
porch in sun I smiled.
Everything looked the way I like it to look
Amazing  how 2 hours of cutting with a big mower and using a weed eater
can make me feel so good and relaxed.

I have tried to be content with  a  more natural look but guess I like some grooming
here by the woods.  Also my Woodhaven sign needed help. On  one side the nail had come out and
I had him fix that problem.   Was not comfortable standing on something, holding the
heavy board up and using a hammer.    Now in the past this would not have
phased me...

For years  would be cutting grass almost daily for a short while but at this time
cannot put the mower in gear and Sjogren's not as much energy has arrived.
My plan is when someone pulls down the long gravel drive I will have them put my mower
in gear and I can do a little less of something I enjoy - cutting grass and keeping some of
the paths in the woods clear..

45 degrees this early morning
a good time to put these  in the freezer.
Also never made strawberry bread yesterday
as I planned and will do it today.
Seems the day just got away from me
as I began to deadhead some plants
 hoe in garden and write several posts for the future.

Early morning pie
will be good
covered with whipped cream
Becky, thank you for these beautiful strawberries.
You are a good girl..

New over night blooms.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Strawberry Bread

An additional 8 quarts of fresh strawberries are arriving this afternoon.

Just decided to make strawberry bread with the quart sitting on kitchen counter.
This has not been done in several years and just looked up my old and faded recipe.
The book has a beginning in 1978.

On the page at the top a notation that my youngest who is Jamie won 4H  blue ribbon
at the local and county fair when she was in grade school for this recipe.

Recipe written on page

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sliced strawberries (fresh from my garden)
dash of vanilla
1 cup of nuts

350 for 1 hour or until done
3 small loaf pans or 2 larger

I remember well
this small patch of strawberries that I planted in the garden at the old farm house.
Everyone loved to eat them
but no one wanted to help me
pick them :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

They Do Not Realize

I remodeled an old farm house over 30 years ago, a brief stay in a condo which during building I changed the inside a lot and then built 4 homes over the last 15 years.
Looking back I realize now it fulfilled a lot of my creative nature.
I would plan the layout of the home and have all the
special furnishings in their place on a sketched plan.
Each sold quickly except the last city home and that
was because of the economy.

This journey began at a time when  my children were each on their own and
my youngest Jamie had started an exciting career at Vanderbilt University
in Nashville.
 I was living in my much loved spacious old farm house.  I kept having thoughts
of selling and when approached by someone wanting this home and it was not
even on the market
a new adventure opened up for me.
I began to create and move on and not look back
as each home was created with love.

Many a question "why do you move so much"
oh it really never bothered me (until the fatigue of this cottage
and long drive back and forth almost daily from city to country).
It was enjoyable to me and high energy would get me through the process.
Usually return was just my investment and very little profit
but it was done for my enjoyment and pleasure and also I liked it
better then being employed somewhere and suited me better with my
in charge personality.

Also the comment was made regularly that I needed to build homes
for individuals.  This never appealed to me as I built for myself but
always was willing to give many ideas and information  as their new
home was being built.

Remember after one home that my oldest daughter sent me a gift,
a card with my name and the words "Home and Garden Consultant"
then address and phone number.   This pleased me so very much.

Each home was named like this one that is known
as "Woodhaven"

What a pleasure it was to create a garden at each one.
When the homes sold that was always a plus and so many
comments about the flower gardens.

Very few of the flowers remain at these homes.
Many people do not realize the work involved in caring for plants.
In the past I would be in my garden almost daily, weather permitting.

Driving past the city home a few months ago
all the flowers were gone except the rose bushes
which were huge and magnificent.
Green lawn was now viewed....

I remember a phone call that told me if there were anymore flowers I wanted
to feel free to come and get them.   Looking over this garden and how each plant has multiplied
so glad that more were not moved from the city garden.

My youngest daughter has a number of plants that have been shared with her. 
Recently asked her if she wanted some more and her answer was quick
"I can hardly take care of what you have shared with me"  no more is wanted.

Images from city garden 3 years ago...

This was my garage
and I put a small covered porch on the side with a door going into the garage.  Did this at
several homes and a number of people have copied my idea :)
Looking back at these pictures,
I recognize many of the plants in this country garden
With each move a small piece would be taken and replanted
at the new creation.

In reality guess my gardens
are a garden of memories.

This image from another garden

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Everywhere I look
their is beauty,
 swarms of mosquito's
and more work then I can do.

Long sleeve blouse,
cap that has visor and something to cover the neck,
hopeful thoughts that I did not get bitten.

More rain due, grass and weeds a foot high.
Trees are heavy with huge leaves on branches and  need to be trimmed.
Emptied bird baths of standing water and gutters need to be cleaned.

I need some help
or really need to remember that my original
thoughts was simplicity and nature surrounding
this cottage as this was created.

I am reminded that I have been grooming too much.
But really want as someone pulls down the gravel drive
for them to view my dwelling.   At this rate of growth
I will be almost invisible.

Wheat beginning to turn slightly golden

Most Iris are laying on the earth
because they are so huge and wet from the rain
What I see with my eyes
is what I hoped for 3 years ago
as I planted this simple country garden.

I already know
the daylillies will be spectacular.

Planned on taking a break from the computer
but there is too much beauty
for me not to share.

Monday, May 20, 2013

To Good Not To Share

I love her recipes
and this is too good not to share.
My herbs are wonderful this Spring
and Thyme getting ready to use you....
good food matters: Fresh and simple tastes, recipes and stories from Chef Nancy Vienneau
May 19th, 2013

Grilled Lemon-Thyme Chicken Salad, and we’re headed for Rome

A cool, wet spring has made it positively lush in our little part of the world. Our backyard is a crazy jungle of vines, great leafed-out maples and catalpas, a plum tree dripping with the promise of a bountiful harvest. We’ve got knock-out roses living up to their name in a riot of red. Fragrant peony blossoms so huge they’ve tumbled over, spilling their petals onto the stone patio.
Perennial herbs, my kitchen delight—sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme—are all in profuse bloom too. In our garden, early crops of lettuces, spinach, arugula, scallions, and sugar snaps have taken hold.
It’s been a beautiful time of year, so alive, so fleeting, that I’ve stopped to soak up whenever I could–before summer’s heat sets in.
It hasn’t been as easy as other years; commitments of work, travel, family, community have had our household on the move. Trust me, this is not a complaint. It’s simply how this cycle in life is spinning right now.
I do have some exciting pieces of news to share.
This week, I am happy to report, I clicked “SEND” and my cookbook manuscript whooshed off to the publisher.
Another step, complete. I will keep you posted as the process continues to unfold.
Next week, Bill and I leave for Rome. Fourteen days on an adventure that has little construct! It is rather unlike our other trips, where we’ve had A Plan. This time, we are surrendering to the moment, and we’ll see where it takes us. In a city steeped in history, the arts, cuisine, we’ll have no shortage of things to explore and experience.
What we do know: We have American friends, living there since 2008, with whom we’ll be staying. So, we have a most hospitable base of operations.
And, I will meet Rachel–food writer extraordinaire, Roman resident of nine years, creator of racheleats, –”in real life” as I used say as a child. We’ve come to know each other through our respective blogs. Now, we get the chance to expand that friendship. The world is an amazing place, isn’t it?
Before I start packing for the Eternal City, I want to share a recipe that you might enjoy making for a picnic. In the States, Memorial Day is coming up–when many of us fire up the grill and indulge in those fleeting tastes of spring–and harbingers of summer.
The inspiration for this dish comes from Cooking Light, the food magazine devoted to healthy delicious eating. The folks at CL have invited me to be a part of their blogging community, and as our philosophies about food and health align, I am pleased to join.
The recipe uses ingredients of the season, many flourishing in my garden: sugar snaps, spinach, green garlic, and thyme.
The success of this dish relies on a wealth of fresh lemon juice and thyme leaves, which both marinate the chicken, and infuse the vinaigrette. Don’t skimp! It doesn’t take long for the lemon and herb to permeate the meat. It’s pretty easy to place the breasts into a ziplock bag, add the marinade, swish, seal, and refrigerate—for about an hour.
After a sear on the grill, that juicy chicken gets sliced, then tossed with baby spinach, yellow bell peppers and sugar snap peas. A pour of vinaigrette brings together simple vibrant tastes, appealing colors, and a harmony of textures. If you want to bulk it up a bit for a crowd, as I did for our Third Thursday Potluck, add some mezze penne–a smaller ridged pasta.
When I return from this adventure, I’m sure I’ll have some good food tales to tell. Stay tuned! If you have a Roman Tip to share—something you deem a “Can’t Miss”—art, food, culture, anything!–please let me know in the comments below.
adapted from Cooking Light
Marinade for Chicken:
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (3-4 large lemons, 6-8 small lemons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest from 1 large lemon
2 heaping tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts (6-8 pieces)
Other Salad Ingredients:
1 lb. sugar snap peas
1 lb. yellow and orange bell peppers
1 1/2 cups dry penne pasta
1 lb. baby spinach
Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove roasted garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place marinade ingredients into a bowl and whisk well. Place chicken breasts into a one gallon ziplock bag. Pour in marinade, swishing it around to coat all of the pieces.
Seal and refrigerate for one hour. Don’t marinate more than an hour—the acid in the lemon will “cook” the meat.
Prepare grill.
Remove chicken from the ziplock bag, discarding marinade.
When coals are ashen, place the chicken onto the grill. Cook approximately 7 minutes per side, or until done.
Cook penne pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain well. Place in large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Heat a large skillet. Add one tablespoon olive oil. Saute sugar snap peas, in batches, until bright green–about two minutes.
Place in large bowl with penne.
Saute julienned bell pepper strips until caramelized–or–if using baby sweet bells, place them in the skillet whole and let them char on all sides. Remove and cut into julienned strips when cool. Add strips to large bowl with penne and sugar snaps.
Slice chicken breasts into 1/4″ thick strips.
Make Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until emulsified, or place ingredients in a small bowl and use an immersion blender to mix.
Place spinach leaves in a large mixing bowl. Add penne, sugar snaps, sweet yellow bell pepper strips, and grilled chicken strips.
Pour lemon-thyme vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss well so that all of the salad elements are lightly coated with dressing.
Mound in a salad bowl. Garnish with lemon twists and fresh thyme, if desired.
Serves 10


Cooking Blogs


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Busy Young Lives

One is cruising outside of N.Y.   Hi, Jess and Mathew :)
One sold her first painting
Grandma thinks it is too cool for first day to swim in the month of May
One played a number of soccer games this weekend
Another one traveled back to Washington, DC after spending  a short time with mom and dad in Florida.
Another one on the lookout for a new experience in Nantucket.
Another one speaking at a church tonight about her trip to Africa.
Another one is taking a tour of the surrounding  area of her new condo and thinking of no car and riding a bike everywhere.
My son shared and image of yoga and meditation room in Thailand where he  will be soon teaching
several times a week.  How beautiful....
So many are on the ground because of rain and they are so large this year
A busy family and I smile as they share and memories surface of my busy life in the past
and now mom/grandma just trying to rest and get over Sjogren's fatigue.  A busy day yesterday of nonstop activity and then a quick stop for. special friend's  birthday celebration for her 90 year old husband. 
Thankful for several blogs that share their experience with this auto immune "whatever"
that attacks your body.   Not life threatening but sure affects your quality of life and when you have been accustomed to high energy and so much I want to do outside.   I want to weed the garden, walk on property, bake, need to prepare something to eat,  ride tractor in the woods and I am just sitting and meditating.....
One daughter tells me to obey my body and I tell her "but I have always been accutomed to listenting to the mind and following its direction when it was pertaining to work."
This practice  may be a thing of the past....

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Yesterday evening
I sat on the terrace
trying to capture an image of
the humming birds
I keep seeing at the feeders.
No luck
but many birds put on a show for me.
another beauty is blooming
and little garden for one is beginning to grow
and this is the perfect place
for practice on a pleasant morning
if it is not raining
and raining this morning :)

Friday, May 17, 2013


that puts a smile
on my face.

My youngest daughter
hugging her Snoopy
and now her daughter sleeps in this bed...

My cottage
and my children's homes
are filled with memories.

So many good ones..

If all of these old pieces of furniture
and photographs could talk
what stories they could tell...

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Fruit in this cottage
seems to be abundant

My dental hygienist for over 10 years stopped to visit yesterday
on the way to her family farm.  This farm is in the middle of
what is known for strawberries.  Some were brought to me on her
way home and I put in freezer.  Will add more next week.

Becky, thank you.  Looking forward to fillingl my freezer with sweet corn that
you promised in July.  Cooked in my old iron skillet - nothing could be better.

So this morning
first thing
a Mango, handful of cherries
which are abundant at our local grocery,
French toast topped with strawberries, banana, blue berries and a little maple syrup.

So good with 3 cups of green tea....