Saturday, October 22, 2011


Last year we did two postings on the pumpkins found in our area of Michigan.  If you missed them last year, they are great to view this year.  If you saw them last year, maybe this year they will give you ideas for your pumpkin time.




Peanut pumpkin looks like it has peanut shells on its skin.


This is a Lady Godiva pumpkin grown by one of the Holland Farmer's Market vendors.  It is called Lady Godiva as its seeds are hull-less or naked!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The winning Rocket Fish was the fish from Ray's.  Ray's is a great Grand Haven hamburger place that has managed to stay in business even though the town is over run with chain-restaurants. 

Ray's is a great place place for Lake Perch, hamburger, fries, and shakes. 


This fish is an interactive one.  A person puts their face in the hole to have their picture taken.  In the back is a fishing pole that a third person can use to make it look like they are catching the fish with their friend's face in it.  I must admit to a "Duh" moment when I was photographing the fish.  I wondered why they were called Rocket Fish.  In the Great Lakes, we have yellow-belly perch, Whitefish, Lake Trout, and a number of different types of salmon as well as other fish.  I'd never heard of a Rocket Fish.  Then----"DUH"----it hit me.  The fish were shaped like rockets!!    

Sunday, October 16, 2011


October is more than half gone and we still have not had a frost.  Jack Frost is no longer tapping on the window, he is pounding on the door.  Some weather reports predict snow on Thursday.  Time to finish putting food away for the winter.

I just learned a few years ago that tomatoes freeze beautifully and do not need to be blanched before freezing.  If you have the room in your freezer, you can put whole tomatoes in a freezer bag and just throw them into the freezer.  I never have room so I run them through the blender before putting them in bags in the freezer.  I then have fresh tomato flavor to put in my winter soups and other dishes.

I like to do some cherry-type tomatoes and some Roma tomatoes.  If you want seedless tomato puree, cut the Roma tomatoes in half then run your thumb under the seeded part to remove.  Being Dutch, I hate to waste all that tomato so I usually do not remove the seeds.

 Cherry-typed tomatoes rinsed and drained.

 Instead of a blender, you can use a food processor for small amounts of tomatoes.


Bagged up and ready to be frozen to enjoy this coming winter.

This is where I lament that fact that things just aren't made the way they use to be made!!!  In the 1960's I "purchased" an Oster blender with S&H Green Stamps.  Green Stamps were like the points you now get on your credit card except you had to lick all the stamps and paste them into books.  When you had enough books, you went to a redemption center, presented your books and took home your heart's desire.  All three of my children started out their lives sleeping in a crib from the S&H Green Stamp redemption center.

I used that blender constantly.  In the 1970's I was Earth Mother.  I made baby food, homemade peanut butter, crushed ice, made drinks, if it needed crushing, pureeing or blending, it went in my blender.  I would get that motor smokin'.  Finally a year ago it died during tomato season.  Tom and I went out an purchased another Oster because I had 50 years of service from the old one.  This year, a year later, during tomato season, the new blender's plastic housing split and is no longer usable.  It has been said before and I will say it again, "They just don't make things the way they used to make them."
Roma tomatoes rinsed and drained.

 To remove seeds, cut tomato in half.  Run your thumb under the seeded part to remove.

Tom's Vita-Mixer

I was going to go out and buy another blender when I remember Tom had brought, from his California home, a Vita-Mixer.  I found it in the basement and even found the instruction book in a file cabinet. I am not buying another blender.  I think this thing can do everything including launching a small dog into space.  You better be a good girl, little Izzy!

I'll be good, I promise, I promise!

Roma's ready for freezer.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Twelve year old Zach has an out of town football game tonight.  The family requested that I make the Too Lazy to Make Ham Roll-ups cheeseball.  This or the Polish Roses cheeseball, meat wrapped dill pickles, would also be great at the big game this weekend when MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY plays university of michigan.  If you missed these posts last year here at the links.



I was so busy feeding my face at our tailgate that I didn't get a picture until we had packed everything up.  The dip was superb.

A good time was had by all.  It was a tough fought football game which even with overtime ended in a tie.

Monday, October 10, 2011


When I think about myself, inside my mind, I don't feel much different than I have all my life.  I feel a little more knowledgeable due to my life experiences, but I am still shy, I still love to learn, gardening is still a passion,  I love to cook, books are my salvation from the trials of life, and hugs from my Mom and Dad would still be priceless.

For the last 31 years my faithful companion has been a pure black German Shepherd dog.  There was Amanda, The Katrinka, and Katrinka II.  We went everywhere together.  When I drove cross-country, I was never afraid because I had my "Big Girl" with me or as Matt said, I had "The Intimidator" with me.  A black German Shepherd was as much a part of my image or identity as the way I wear my hair or dress.

My beautiful black German Shepherd dog. 

When Tom's dog George was alive, Katrinka liked to take him for a ride.  Being a German Shepherd, she thought of  herself as the dominate dog and so she was the driver.

My loving co-pilot riding shot gun is greatly missed.

Those who follow this blog know that in February, 2 months before we lost Tom, my Katrinka died.  I want another German Shepherd with all my heart.  However, I can't handle a German Shepherd with the shape my knees are in at the moment.  If a new German Shepherd is in my life, it will have to be years down the line when my knees have recovered completely from my surgery in January. 

Two years ago, Tom and I, who are big dog people, said we would care for a dog that our son and family had purchased.  When our family brought their dog home, they were not sure the dog was as hypo-allergic as they hoped.  They were going to give the dog away even though the whole family loved her dearly.  In step Grandpa and Grandma saying we will care for the dog until you decide what's what.

Katrinka showing Izzy how to fight and guard.

Now instead of an Intimidator riding shot-gun with me, I have a fluffy white ball in passenger seat.  Izzy, Matt's family's dog, rides "shot-gun".  Izzy learned to guard from Katrinka.  She use to stand under Katrinka when Katrinka was barking at the door.  Izzy thinks she is intimidating because she does what Katrinka did while everyone else knows she is just a fuzzy ball of love.

My new image includes a fuzzy little dog instead of my black German Shepherd.

This weekend I joined my high school classmates for a party.  My inner-self expected a sock-hop held in the school gymnasium with parents for chaperons.  When I walked into the room, it was our 50 year reunion, all I saw were chaperons.  There were no kids in their full skirts or khakis dancing in their stocking feet so they wouldn't scratch the wooden floor of the gym.  

The wheel of time had spun.  Instead of teenagers with our life ahead of us, dancing to Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou" the room was filled with parents, grandparents, and retired people.    My classmates saw my image as a substantial grandparent supported by a cane instead of a drum-majorette in a short skirt kicking my legs in the air.   

No matter how many times I hear the words or I say the words, "Time Flies", I have trouble understanding how it can fly so fast. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


This photo shows the difference in size between leeks and green onions.

Leeks were not something I was acquainted with when I was younger.  They just were not available where I lived.  In researching my Dutch roots, I found this lovely recipe for a leek and Gouda cheese soup.  Tom and I made it last year for the blog.  We loved the soup and with the Fall weather coming the soup recipe is worth a repeat.

In the book, FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT by Mireille Guiliano, the author recommends a leek broth to drink before meals which she says is part of the French women's dietary habits that keep them from getting fat.  I will take 2 gallons of that broth, please.

This Dutch soup recipe contains pasta and cheese which could be left out if you just want a great broth to drink.  We found that eating soup before meals kept us from over eating during the meal.  On a cold day there is nothing better than a flavorful warm broth in a pretty pottery mug to warm your hands, body, and Soul.

My leeks for the soup pot.

Go to:  http://michigancottagecook.blogspot.com/2010/10/blog-post.html for the recipe for this wonderful leek soup.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Michigan's West Coast started rock and rollin' early this year.  It is usually November before the gale winds whip up Lake Michigan.  This week a weather monitoring buoy out in the Lake registered a 23 foot wave!!  This definitely was an opportunity for taking Lake pictures. However, my picture taking partner is no longer with us. Christy and I have finally looked inside his big blue bag that contains his camera as she would like to use the long range lens to take pictures of Erin marching in the band at football games.  We looked and touched; it was all Greek to us. I have searched the bag and the house for the instruction book. I have found booklets on a mosquito killer that went in the trash years ago, a popcorn maker, and other stuff that is no longer important in my life, but nothing on the camera!  Why does junk follow us everywhere sticking like glue while important things fall to the wayside like dirt off of the Peanut's character Pigpen?

My blog is really about recipes and I have some great ones in the works like Leon's Potato Salad, a Michigan classic.  However, Michigan is so beautiful in the Fall that I find pictures express my thoughts more than recipes but pictures can be so difficult to capture.  My camera is a little point and shot thing.  Yesterday I arrived at Tanner's Mighty Mite football game as the National Anthem was being played.  It was early on a sunny, cold morning.  The shadows were long streaks across the field and Tanner, 7 years old and in his football uniform, was standing at attention with his hand on his heart next to his coach.  In my hands I had Izzy on her leash, a blanket, the cane I need to walk, my car keys, and a bag with my purse, cow bell, air-horn, phone, and camera in it.  With Izzy pulling on her leash to get to Tanner, I dug around in the bag to find my camera to take a perfect All-American picture.  As I dug, the song ended, Tanner ran off to join his team, and all I had was a picture taken with my heart-----something difficult to share on my blog!!!!

As Izzy and I got settled in the stands the game started.  It was cold with a strong wind making it even colder.  The little players left on the sidelines were holding big quilts around their shoulders.  All you could see were feet in cleats, quilt, and the top of their helmets.  A great picture, but to add insult to injury, when I tried to take it the batteries in my camera were dead.  No problem.  I always carry spare batteries in my "31" bag from http://www.mythirtyone.com/thirty1baglady/.  I searched through my football bag and discovered the battery bag must be in my farmer's market basket. 

I tried to get a picture of the waves hitting the pier head.  Tom would not even have tried for this picture because he would not have let his camera get sand in it.  I stepped out of the car and felt like I was being sandpapered.  An hour later I still had sand in my back molar teeth.

 I tried for a picture at another area in the State Park where I could still get the car.  I opened the van door and thought that the door and I were going to pinwheel down the beach because the wind was so strong.  I am substantial, a much nicer way of saying large, as substantial can also mean significant and important.  However, I wasn't sure I was a match for the wind so I quickly snapped this "poor" picture while holding onto the door of the van so it wouldn't get ripped off by the wind, and headed home.  It is too early for such wild weather.