Saturday, November 14, 2020

La Madeleine Bakery's Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Such a nice cool weekend, we had our first fire last night! The leaves are turning colors now, I love mornings when the fog lays heavy on the lake. If I have to run into town you see a brave boat of late season fishermen on the cove. My Dad fished year round, it never got too cold for him to be on the lake ♥

I'm a happy camper, holing up in my "hollow tree" makes me feel like making a pot of soup! I've seen several versions of this one on Pinterest, it's a copycat of La Madeleine Bakery's Tomato Basil Soup. I actually combined two recipes, this one is delicious with a grilled cheese on sourdough!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

makes 6 servings
2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to your soup pot. Simmer until veges are tender, about an hour. 

Make a roux by melting butter in skillet and adding flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 3-4 minutes, then stir in several ladles of hot soup. Add back to soup pot and bring to boil to thicken soup. Add Parmesan cheese, evaporated milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve with slices of your favorite hot bread!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Love of the Land

Can't you just hear the swing creaking and the screen door slamming in this wonderful painting by Duane Bryers? A trip over to the farm this week brought back that familiar "Home Sweet Home" feeling. We were there to mow and spray weeds, a work day so there was no time for porch sitting or moon gazing but I have those memories tucked away and they will never fade!

Our Grandson went with us and mowed the yard, hard work for a 12 year old! Gavin has inherited a love of the land, not sure how that happens when you've been a city kid all your life! He begs to go with us and wants to help out with the work involved. I wonder if farm life may be in his future. It suited my Grandparents, they chose that lifestyle while Grandpa's brothers and sisters moved to California during those Depression years for better wages.

I've heard my Mother time and again tell about when her parents bought a wheat thresher to help them with the harvest. They took great pride in this piece of machinery that made their lives so much easier.

Until they were able to buy the thresher, hay rakes were used to harvest the wheat.... can you imagine?

This instruction manual was in the top of one of the closets, it didn't take me long to locate the pictures of the delivery day of this much anticipated machine!

 This had to be either the banker or the salesman... a suit and farm work don't exactly go together! Grandpa is in the background.

 Here Grandma and her cousin show how easy it is to operate this big rig!

Today's farmers face many challenges, costs for producing crops are astronomical with the price of corn and gasoline, not to mention farm equipment. When I look at these pictures, I am in awe of the strength my Grandparents must have had to run their farm. Really it was just the two of them, and somehow they managed. We've come a long way, American farmers feed the world. Quite an accomplishment!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Confederate Cemetery Fayetteville, Arkansas

One of the few posts my husband ever wrote on the blog, definitely one of my favorites! Memorial Day weekend is time off for most of us, we gather as families and many of us visit the cemeteries of our loved ones to decorate the graves. This cemetery is located just blocks from the historic Fayetteville downtown square and the day we visited we were the only ones there. It contains the remains of men who died in the service of the Confederacy in North Arkansas. Some of the soldiers buried here died from illness in disease ridden camps or from battle in one of the most violent and desperately contested fronts of the Civil War. Their graves once dotted the hills of Northwest Arkansas until 1878 when the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County established the beautiful cemetery. The bodies of fallen soldiers were exhumed and brought here for final burial.

These pictures and the poignant words of my husband tell why we can never forget these old cemeteries...

The trees seem to watch over these soldiers,  almost as if they stand at attention to salute those who rest beneath.  These ancient trees speak to me, I wonder if they speak to each other?

Do they encourage each other to be strong?  In the face of decades of tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms, droughts, floods, and everything else that nature has offered them, they don't give up.  I saw a very large depression in the ground with the remnants of a rotten stump.  Do the trees whisper to each other that one of them has fallen?  Does this increase their resolve to remain strong until the younger trees can grow to a size to shade the soldiers?

They remind me of a photo I saw of a 92 year old World War II veteran who had the opportunity to visit the new WWII memorial in Washington, DC.  He flew out on a Honor Flight from our airport wearing his old uniform.  My company helps sponsor these flights so that the few surviving WWII vets who are able to travel have the opportunity to see it.  In the picture he made a valiant effort to stand straight and salute.

The trees here are very much like this gentleman, proud to salute those resting there but too old to stand straight anymore.
I wonder if they will still be there next Memorial Day?  Will any finally fall when the next storm comes or will they make it another year, just waiting for the small ones to relieve them of guard duty?

The graves in the old Confederate Cemetery honor someone's father, husband, friend. Somewhere there are family members who've never seen this cemetery. They can't imagine the beauty and the peace that surrounds their loved one. I just wish they knew that he is honored by all who call themselves Americans.

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