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More Easy Fresh Eating by the Month

Stuffed Yellow Summer Squash

August
Harvest

Easy August Garden to Table Recipes

As previously promised, here is another recipe for you. August is a high yielding month for garden veggies. In fact, I only planted one squash plant this year. So far, I have picked about a dozen fruit. Obviously, our topic today is an easy recipe using squash. More to the point, yellow summer squash!

Jump to Recipe come back to read later

A Common summer crop

Squash
Yellow Summer Squash

veggie history trivia

Did you know how long yellow summer squash has been around? It is a garden staple for hundreds of years! Notably it was part Native American’s diets. Northeastern tribes of North America used squash as a staple. Yellow squash also served as protector for their other plants. You can learn more https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2011/11/from-the-victory-garden-american-history-told-through-squash.html. For instance, it’s spiky stems deterred animals from invading the space. Because of squash’s vine framework, it helped to retain shade, moisture, and soil.

Summer squash
Easy to grow

Today’s table value

Frequently, yellow squash’s potential is diminished. Its counterpart, zucchini seems to headline. You will find them often paired together. They make various vegetable medleys. But, both on their own offer value and versatility.

Aside from squash’s alterable composition, it has economic value. This is an important factor in planning menus for your family table. Obviously another plus for a place in your home garden. If you don’t have a garden, it is still an inexpensive purchase. Even during off season months, the price of summer squash remains very budget friendly.

Fresh
Economic

Fresh eating and easy

If you have a chance, take a look at my previous post on summer garden tomatoes. Click here, https://agramblog.com/2019/08/13/august-fresh-eating-recipes/ . It shows just one way to use your plentiful crops. As you know, summer squash is usually a high yielding crop. I suppose that’s why there are so many recipes for it. Lol, I never thought about it like that! Another reason for squash’s popularity is its easy maintenance. It doesn’t require a lot of space or care to grow. Give it sun and water, done! Furthermore, cooking it is as easy as can be!

My mother had a couple of recipes she made regularly. Often she paired both zucchini and yellow squash together. In particular, a stewed tomato and squash parmesan skillet. Another favorite was breaded and fried yellow squash. Truly, who doesn’t like anything fried? Of course, who can forget zucchini bread as a breakfast or dessert option. In this case, you can substitute yellow for zucchini squash. You will find summer squash in all phases of recipes. Including soups, pastas, casseroles, sides, and even desserts.

Fresh
Versatile

Different strokes for different folks

Of course not everyone likes vegetables. Especially summer squash can be challenging because of its mild flavor. A common preparation comes steamed or boiled. Under those circumstances, I understand why some dislike it. I still haven’t discovered a way my husband will tolerate it! However, my kids and grandchildren learned to eat it in small doses. You just have to find the right recipe combination!

Easy stuffed summer squash

Squash
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Stuffed Summer Squash

A bit of "Indian" inspired spices is the secret to this summer side or vegetarian main dish
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Squash
Author: admin

Equipment

  • Oven safe skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 Yellow Summer Squash cut in ½ lenghtwise
  • 1/2 Onion diced
  • 3 stalks Celery diced
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • Granulated Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Chicken Base dissolved in 1 cup water or 1 cup prepared chicken stock
  • ½ cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs additional crumbs maybe needed depending on consistency
  • ½ cup Milk

Instructions

  • Cut Summer Squash in ½ lengthwise
  • Steam squash in skillet for 5 mins or until slightly tender
    Squash
  • Scoop out seeds/pulp from squash into skillet and place shelled skin on cutting board
    squash
  • Sautee pulp with butter, diced celery and onions, and seasonings until translucent
    squash
  • Mash pulp mixture until combined
  • Add Chicken stock/base and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Stir in Bread Crumbs to form a pasty consistency (should be able to spoon stuffing into squash shells)
  • If too thick add milk or additional stock, if too thin add more breadcrumbs
  • Fill Squash shells with pulp stuffing mixture and sprinkle with bread crumbs
    squash
  • Bake at 350° for 30 mins covered
    Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes until bubbly and browned

In addition

There are additional high yield crops I am not able to elaborate on this month. These include pole beans, cucumbers, and bell peppers. August is almost over! Let’s look ahead to September. My fresh eating by the Month Picks will feature corn, peppers and more tomato recipes.

Let me know if you try my stuffed summer squash recipe. Leave a comment below. Perhaps you changed it up a bit? Share it with us. See you in September for more fresh eating by the month.

Easy Fresh Eating Recipes by the month

August Fresh Picks

Fresh

Like me you’re probably digging yourself out from under all  your garden vegetables.  This time of year they are growing faster than you can pick. Fresh veggies are great, no doubt! Tomatoes, summer squash, and green beans coming in bushels.  It leaves you wondering what do to do!

Fresh picks will add a “BAM!” to your summer recipes

Grape Tomatoes

Add summer’s natural sweetness of grape tomatoes to your chicken skewers. As you know, fresh picked grape tomatoes tastes just like candy! Easily a simple grilling favorite, skewers turn your ordinary main dish into extraordinary foods.

Summer skewers

  • Choice of protein (Chicken, beef, swordfish)
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cooked Rice or Pasta

Don’t forget to SOAK your wooden skewers for at least an hour before you prepare! If they do not have enough time to soak in the appropriate amount of water, you will end up with nothing but ash left.

Fresh

Once you have cut up your protein into approximately 1 inch cubes, you want to marinate it. You have a wide assortment of choices. To put it another way, are you in the mood for Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican, any other cuisine? In this case, I am choosing a Mediterranean marinade.  While your meat marinades, you can prep your vegetables. After picking your grape tomatoes from your garden, simply pluck the stem, wash in a colander with cold water, and drain. Meanwhile, cut chunks of onion into quarters. Next, seed and slice your sweet peppers in half. Voila! Your prep work is complete.

Mediterranean style marinade

Fresh
  • Lemon juice
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Olive Oil
  1. Assemble skewers by alternating protein and vegetables
  2. If using an outdoor grill, timing will depend on whether charcoal or gas style. Once fire is ready, place skewers on grill.
  3. Cook for 15 mins, turning once half way through
  4. At this time, Check for doneness

First thing to remember, is its all about the timing! Because skewers are such an easy fix, it is important to your sides to finish at the same time. As an illustration, I make my rice in the microwave. It takes a total of 30 mins to cook. Whereas for grilled medium rare beef could only take 7 to 8 mins tops to reach doneness of 135 degrees. However, chicken will require the longer time of up to 15 mins. For example, if your protein is chicken, it needs to be at 165 degrees.

Additional August Fresh Eating Recipes

To continue with recipe ideas for our August crops, I have a couple more to add. Another common high yield crop is Yellow Summer Squash. My recipe for stuffed summer squash is a unique side dish that can double as a meatless main. I’m going to let you in on the secret ingredient, are you ready for this? Its … okay, you’ll have to come back to find out! Until then, enjoy the beauty of the ordinary everyday <3

 

Review and Give Away Paint by Numbers Kit

This Post may include affIliate links… click here for discloSure policyhttps://agramblog.com/wpautoterms/terms-and-conditions/

https://agramblog.com/wpautoterms/privacy-policy/

Let’s review

Before I explain the review and give away, I want to back up. Earlier I wrote “Scrapbooking for the Unimaginative”. It began because of my personal search to create momentous ordinary moments. However I didn’t have a clue where to start. For that reason I am always looking for new crafts with simple instructions or patterns. Similarly to https://agramblog.com/2019/06/06/scrapbooking-for-the-unimaginative/ , my intent today is to share resources and tips with you. In my opinion http://www.winniespicks.com brings the beauty of the ordinary to us artistically challenged!

Because of a Facebook group I follow “Blogging Grandmothers”my follow up project just kind of fell in place. We are participating in a review and give away as a group. Each Blogging Grandmother was given choice of a no cost kit in order to provide an honest review of the product. Through http://www.winniespicks.com we are all trying our hand at a Paint by Numbers for adults kit! Not only do I experience a new craft, I get to give one of you the chance too!

Remember when

Together with the Hula Hoop, Paint by Number kits was as big a fad in fifties and sixties. Before today, a resurgence occurred in the family friendly kits during the 1990’s. It seems more vintage items are making a revival. Just look at come backs from Polaroid Cameras, Slinky, and others. Kind of makes you think! Why is it we return to items of the past? Beyond the fact that Babyboomers, as the largest population drive marketing. Generally, don’t you think we long for the simpler things in life?

Painting by Numbers proven to relieve stress and anxiety

Compared to today’s estimated $20 billion Americans will spend on hobbies this year, paint by numbers boomed at 1960’s $12 million. Originally, Dan Robbins designed a way to pattern a canvas with coordinated numbered paints from his own creations. He partnered with a company to produce it for the public. Craft Master and Robbins promoting the promise “Every man a Rembrandt!” Robbins wanted everyone able to experience art, despite critics’ reviews of the product.

Dan Robbins paint by Numbers received poor reviews from art critics

With this in mind, think back. Do you remember a deer drinking from a winter stream landscape take form as your brush filled in each number? Maybe your memories feature later versions of black velvet paint by Number kits? As a kid, I remember at least one Paint by Number Kit Christmas gift each year!

Unboxing Painting for the unimaginative

Dan Robbins’ vision to introduce the experience of art to everyone is alive again today. You see it Online, in Apps, and in stores. Like it’s cousin “Coloring for Adults”, Paint by Numbers for Adults provides a pastime reducing stress. Furthermore, it’s proven to improve cognitive and coordination abilities.

My “Unboxing” http://www.winniespicks.com

More importantly, we all need a way to unplug for awhile. With that in mind, each “Blogging Grandmothers” taking part will provide their own opinion. Coincidentally, we all ended up picking different “Picks”! The paint by Number for adults kits “Blogging Grandmothers”are reviewing come from https://www.winniespicks.com.

Painting Grandpa’s Nap review

Overall, I am pleased with my paint by Numbers Kit. Based on prices I observed while surfing online, Winnie’s Picks do cost a few dollars more than most. But I would say paint by Number kits as a whole, obviously are a relatively inexpensive hobby.

As indicated in my “unboxing” video everything needed comes included. I received four brushes of different tips. Obviously a canvas is the main component. Completing out the kit is a numbered color chart. Right from my ordering and shipping process the experience is easy. The kit’s packaging is ideal for traveling through the postal system. The cylinder tube packaging protects your canvas and secures the pains and brushes perfectly.

My review by the numbers

Per the phrase “Paint by Numbers for Adults” the Picks are not childish. In fact, any one of the kits will be a pleasing addition to your home decor. Since all kits are for enjoyment, the only thing to consider may be how elaborate you want to go with it. The website https://www.winniespicks.com displays a variety of “pics” to pick. On one hand, you have “picks” like mine that may take longer to complete. However, if that’s not for you. In which case, I would suggest one of the “Easy Kits”. These paintings have larger areas per color.

Although you can expect extensive details within the prints, they are not complicated. Even my thirteen year old granddaughter is putting her hand to it with me. In fact, she earned money selling kool-aid and lemonade last weekend that she is ordering her own kit! She wants a change from her coloring for adults coloring books.

I do have a few suggestions you may want to know.

  • The kit comes with a picture hanger rather than framed
  • the number 6 and number 9 paints don’t have distinguishing markers ie _6 vs 9 making it hard to tell which is which
  • Remember to stretch your canvas before starting (I have added a video below by Richard Robinson Studio)
  • keep a magnifying glass handy for tiny details

Final thoughts

So then to review my review, I give http://www.winniespicks.com Paint by Numbers for Adults 5 👍👍👍👍👍! As a mother of three herself, Winnie’s Picks, wanted to share her way of relaxing with others. It works👍. She set out to offer an outlet for those of us who are craft challenged. It works👍. Paint by Numbers for adults is a complete kit including tutorials available on the website. It works 👍. Considering www.winniespicks.com user friendly site for purchasing. It works 👍. Finally, she clinches it with her free shipping in 3 days! It works 👍.

Only Two Weeks

Review and Give A Way
#ad

The Give A Way

THE GIVEAWAY

• This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide age 18+
• Three winners will be chosen
• Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to be redeemed at Winnie’s Picks
• Starts on August 3, 2019 at 9:00 PM Central
• Ends on August 17, 2019 at 9:00 PM Central
• You may enter once per day
• Winners will be randomly selected using Giveaway Tools
• Winners will be notified via email
• Winners will have 24 hours to respond or new winners will be chosen
• This giveaway is void where prohibited
• No purchase necessary

Disclosure: This giveaway is not endorsed by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

WIN WIN

Before you leave, make sure you click on the Give A Way form below! 🎉🎉 Starting Saturday August 3rd you are able to enter one time each day during the TWO WEEK GIVE A WAY! 🎉🎉. Also, DON’T FORGET to visit the other BLOGGING GRANDMOTHERS for their reviews on http://www.winniespicks.com . In addition Winnie’s Picks is giving our readers $5 off! When you purchase your kit provide our unique discount code shown on Blogging Grandmothers image. For example, mine is (AGramBlog). There are 10 of us!

Recognize the beauty of the ordinary through Painting by Numbers 🤗 Good luck to all🍀

Quick go to snacks for your summer

Love this Quick Fourth of July Snack Find

Kid Friendly Snacks

Hot summer days, busy schedules, and traveling make quick go to meals and snacks essential. Of course, you want healthier options when making your choices! But, it’s alright to cross the line here and there. Recently, I came across “Veggie Straws” at our local Costco’s. Curiously cute idea celebrating “The Fourth of July”, I couldn’t resist buying them. I have served up the crunchy stars and striped snacks twice at family cookouts. I have to say “They were a bang!”

Stars and Stripes Veggie Straws were a Big Bang!

Like many of you, I’m sure, I am already hearing my grandchildren say “I’m bored!” But another daunting question on any ordinary summer day is… “What’s for snack?” Do you find yourself staring at the fridge? It’s like we’re waiting for the answer to jump out at us? Considering what is available, what they will or will not eat, and how feasible a snack is quite challenging.

Picky eater
My grandchildren taste buds differ from day to day.

your Yard holds healthy answers

Of course, fresh fruit or veggies are an option. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or berry baring bushes, it provides a quick snack. But it also answers our first summertime quandary! Send the kids out to the garden. Occupy the kids as well as feed them a healthy snack. For example, this year our small garden only contains cherry tomatoes, peppers, mint, parsley, and summer squash. While these crops aren’t particularly snack foods, we purposefully planted the cherry tomatoes for the kids to pick.

Fresh snacks available in your own backyard

Surprising momentous ordinary moments

Obviously, its not critical to have a garden. Cherry tomatoes come in a convenient box at your grocery too. However, consider planting potted plants to harvest. It is proven when introducing children to vegetables throughout the growth process, there is a higher success rate that they actually eat it. A previous Gram Blog post https://momentusordinarymoments.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/stop-forcing-your-finicky-eater-to-eat/explains ways to encourage eating comes with cooperative menu planning, collaborative cooking sessions, and experimentation with foods. Even in the city, potted plants provide kids the opportunity to experience fresh produce. As a child, I grew up in the city but weekend visits to the countryside with my grandmother and grandfather gave another dimension to my youth.

My grandmother’s garden with my mother

Similarly, my granddaughter often recalls days she spent in her great grandfather’s garden. As a toddler until our move north from Florida, she sat with her “Big Grampa” every day possible. Each time meant a trip to his garden gathering up cherry tomatoes. Then, they snacked on her sweet pickings together. When he passed away this past year, part of her ordinary everyday became momentous ordinary moments to her!

“Big Grampa’s” Florida garden Watermelon was a favorite afternoon snack

Additional grab and go snacks for little hands

Creating treats for road trips may take some thought, but don’t overthink it either. What types of foods did your parents or grandparents pack for a car ride? We went on spur of the moment day trips constantly. My mother bagged up sandwiches, poured coffee in thermoses, and threw in boxed snacks at a moment’s notice.

Amazingly when my mother handed back a box of animal crackers, I had no concept she answered two of my needs with just the one gesture. The cookies satisfied my snack attack craving and stimulated my imagination. Don’t lie, you’ve air-walked the camel cookie in an imaginary safari before biting off one hump! At the very least, matching the cookie animals to the box pictures kept me busy for a couple miles. Another quick favorite was simply “a box of sunshine”, Sunmaid raisins.

Packing a picnic
Road trip picnic

Overall you want your summer snacks easy and ready to go on the road. Snacks low in sugar and satisfying are best. Subsequently, limiting seat bouncing and poking incidents in the car! Off the top of my head I suggest grapes, trail mix, and perhaps peanut butter crackers. Obviously, summer wouldn’t be summer unless you save a spot for special treats. There’s nothing like juicy popsicles on lazy afternoons! Furthermore, always keep an open mind to snacks and more for an impromptu picnic option.

That was quick and easy

Given these points, I hope you are able to answer “I’m bored!” and “What’s for snack” quicker this summer. Request my “Travel Trail Mix” recipe. As a subscriber, you will receive an Email with a printable copy! Coming soon, my next post will help you pack a punch in your summer picnic. https://www.agramblog.com/2019/07/04/picnic-checklist- Join me in making momentous ordinary moments for your and your family.

Share the beauty of the ordinary because our everyday is our momentous moments.

Mothers’ Old School Homeschooling

My mothers old school home schooling

Mothers’ ordinary struggles are timeless

How many of you have memories of your mother telling you, “finish your dinner. Do you know how many children in *#*#* are starving?” It was one of my mother’s favorite go to’s! Mothers have been battling balky bambinos to eat their dinner since the beginning of motherhood. Just take a look at this 1970’s commercial for LIFE CEREAL https://youtu.be/CLQ0LZSnJFE

Coincidentally, my cousin sent me an Email the other day coining sentiments from most baby boomers’ childhood. After reading it, I felt inclined to approach finicky eaters once more. Previously posting on this subject, https://agramblog.com/in-the-kitchen/how-your-finicky-eaters-are-willing-to-experiment-with-foods/, I focused the conversation on convincing our children to eat with less conventional methods.

For instance, rather than saying, “You’re going to sit there until that spinach is all gone”, my finicky eaters post suggested more of a compromising situation. “Why don’t we try it this way?” Parents Magazine article advises five strategic tips on convincing your child to be more open minded. https://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/5-strategies-to-help-your-child-try-new-foods/

Mother’s tricks to trick you into eating

Mothers stop forcing your finicky eaters to eat?
“Oink, Oink…”

What was your mother’s go to trick for the dinner table troubles? For example in the movie, A CHRISTMAS STORY, the mother persuades her son to eat mashed potatoes and meatloaf by portraying a pig eating from the trough. “Oink, oink 🐷 yum, yum lol

Of course, I am not condoning or condemning her strategies. After all, we are all guilty of resorting to reciting “chug-a-chug, a chug-a chug-choo-choo” as we descend the spoon down into the mouth or sometimes the chin of our child.

So, What’s Mothers to do?

Honestly, I am still fighting the finicky eaters battle in our family. My children were brought up via the old school home schooling philosophy. The grandchildren are another story!

Consequently, dinner time at our house is served in two or more sittings. Depending on the menu, the adults’ plates contain the full course, a couple of the children sample some of the items, and the rest of the kids keep to their tried and true picks. Chicken nuggets, pizza bites, and hot dogs minus any sort of sides stand at the ready nightly.

Spread the love

Come on inside, share your own stories or comments on the subject of the extraordinary everyday moments of mothers and grandmothers convincing picky children to eat. Before you leave, make sure you leave me your contact info below to be on my quarterly newsletter and holiday Email correspondence lists. Until the next time, remember to recognize the beauty of the ordinary…

Scrapbooking for the Unimaginative

scrapbooking

Why is it some people possess artistic abilities while the rest of us wish we did? Do you admire your friend’s handiwork? I often wonder why craftiness evades me? Wish you could create something your children can pass on? Most recently, after watching my sister scrapbooking, it sparked my curiosity. Over the years she has done ceramics, crochet, embroidered, knitted, mastered macramé, and now successfully scrapbooking. Yeah, craftiness did not evade her! She’s even widened the scope of her paper crafting encompassing all-occasion cards too!

Recognizing your strengths

Right vs left brain skills

Left vs Right brain dominant in artistic creative abilities
Right brain vs Left brain theory by Roger W. Sperry

They say that people are usually right or left brain oriented. According to the theory, the right side of the brain contributes creative and artistic attributes. Excuse the pun, on the other hand, logic and reasoning come from the left side. Apparently right brain dominant types are capable of visualizing the whole picture breaking it down into details. Whereas, its a left brain thinker builds the details into a finished project.

We just have to recognize our strengths! Some of you may show stronger organization skills, while others stand out by their ability with numbers. Once you recognize your strengths, search out a craft fitting your unimaginative self.

imagination and vision to see a finished project
Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Whether this theory of Roger W. Sperry explains my unimaginable self or not, it does account for at least part of it. Are you all thumbs at crafts like me? Don’t give up! Even less crafty persons can enjoy a sense of accomplishment from a finished project.

Cognitive friendly crafts

As someone possessing stronger left brain characteristics, I may lack the ability to see the big picture. But I am able to build the big picture. My endless planning and list making maps a mind for details. Organizing those details provides a pattern allowing a finished product.

crafting and scrapbooking
Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay

An example of a craft executing good organizational skills could be scrapbooking! Personally, the only other crafts I have some success with are embroidery, latch hook, and plastic canvas. Each of these hobbies consist of very detailed patterns instructing me throughout the process. Other hobbies exhibiting the same skillsets include genealogy, collecting, and writing. However, not all hobbies are created equal!

what is a craft

Image by eommina from Pixabay

Everyone seems to assume grandmothers spend their time making things. Well, we all know what “assume” means…!” LOL! Surprise! Not all grandmothers cook, knit, or have a rocking chair.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary a craft is defined as “an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill.” However if we examine the meaning of the word “crafts”, it goes on to say “to make or produce with care, skill, or, ingenuity.” Standing on the premise of this last definition, I propose you are as much a crafter as the next person. Logically speaking if we are putting the thought and work into creating something, then we are producing it with care!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

So, Lets get crafty!

Similarly, weaknesses weave your creative path just as much as your strengths. Unfortunately, I am very uncoordinated. My fingers never work the way I want! So, I recognize crafts such as crocheting, knitting, and sewing fall to the bottom of feasible choices. I cannot forget to give credit where credit is due. There are varying amounts of vision and imagination involved in any artistic endeavor. But scrapbooking is a craft based on individualism and personality. It is just one genre which allows us unimaginative wanna be crafters an outlet.

Making memorable momentous moments

Today’s trending hobbies are taking off on social media. Everything from painting rocks to twirling strips of paper place a spot on a variety of sites. If adding a new pastime is on your to do list, take advantage of the tremendous amount of information out there.

How scrapbooking helps save your family history

One of my sister’s first scrapbooking layouts picturing our father

A gram blog focuses on recognizing the beauty of the everyday ordinary. Part of a grandmother’s life serves as a tie between past and future generations. https://agramblog.com/about-a-gram-blog/a-gram-blog/inside-a-grandmothers-life/ That being said, preserving your family history will make more sense passing it on in a detailed, organized, and story filled format. How better to do this than by erecting scrapbook albums holding your momentous ordinary moments?

Starting a Scrapbook

How do you start a scrapbook? Take pictures! No kidding, right? Today, we all take pictures constantly! The incorporation of cameras into our phones gives us more opportunity than ever to record momentous ordinary moments.

Next step, hard copy your pictures. It sounds silly instructing you to print your photos, but collecting snapshots in “the cloud” is cheaper, hassle-free, and takes up a lot less space. I am guilty of gigabytes worth of memories hanging in cyberspace. Get those digital pixels printed!

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Likewise, I am also guilty of leaving my existing photos in envelopes where they lay forgotten. Stacked piles of my children’s childhood lie hidden. Dig out those pics from your drawers, shoeboxes, and the like! Still use your drawers, envelopes, and shoeboxes but file those pictures into organized categories. Now, you are ready to enter the creative zone!

Scrapbooking resources

Scrapbooking supplies aiding your artistic styling

When you doubt your drawing abilities or your creative juices are dried up, don’t worry! Surprising effects can be accomplished with the right tools. As a beginning scrapbooker myself, I did a little research into resources available for us novices. Road Trip! For example, JoAnn’s Fabrics was my closest choice.

Scrapbook inspiration and ideas

After giving it some thought, I gathered quite a few scrapbooking resources. With a couple of keywords on Google, I sifted through the search results. First of all, I focused on general information. Secondly, I sorted over those strictly sales sites from ones offering tips and suggestions. From there, I funneled out my selections. http://www.scrapbooking.com, Pinterest, and http://scrapbooking.lovetoknow.com.

Pinterest

Obviously, a premier resource for potential crafters of almost any media is PINTEREST. This bulletin board style site arranges “pins” you save into organized collections. Once you start searching topics, PINTEREST will seem a bottomless pit of subject matter.

Because PINTEREST site formatting is based on imagery, it is particularly of interest to “creatives”. People post free printables ranging from different paper prints to layout sketches. You are sure to find ideas, inspiration, or directed to where there are instructions from PINTEREST.

youTube

For those of us visual style learners, YouTube videos are the answer. A viable source for scrapbook instructions, as well as any other type of video you can think up, YouTube is worth a visit.

Image by LwcyDesign from Pixabay

The basics

Equipment

Of course, paper is a definite requirement! But, what type of paper? Another obvious piece vital to my project is pictures. Should I print them or use a drug store photo service? Understanding the variety of adhesives, cutting utensils, and inks is also important. All these factors play a part in the integrity of your photographs’ preservation.

types of paper

You will find aisles of scrapbook paper at your favorite hobby/craft stores and online. Assorted varieties are available in acetate, cardstock, kraft/butcher paper, and patterned paper. I am only focusing on cardstock and patterned paper, since it is what I invested in so far. These come as individual sheets or bundled in themed pads.

A pad of patterned paper

Cardstock is paper constructed a little heavier than regular paper. It is colored on the outside with a white core. Cardstock holds its shape and stands up to weight and time. This makes it perfect for photo layouts. Patterned paper is specifically for scrapbooking. Designs may display on one or both sides. But it is lighter weight than card stock, so it works well for accentual highlights.

Scrapbook albums

My Travel Scrapbooking album purchased for $11 at JoAnne’s Fabrics

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, is it the scrapbook or paper? Logically, you should start with your album. I’ll tell you why. Aside from the aesthetic value, your album sets the style your scrapbook will take. For instance, the album I purchased cover shows vintage postcards stamped from all over the world. My scrapbook theme for this album is “travel”.

12×12 sized post bound album

While buying an album to hold my scrapbook pages, there are more options to ponder. What size scrapbook may determine the size paper you will need. Whether you use a 3-ring binder, D-ring, or post bound albums could also provide a factor for your to consider.

Once the type of scrapbook you want to construct is decided, then you can fine tune its design. I have heard “top-loading” plastic pages are a good choice to use. Do you desire a quick and simple format? Photo-sized pocket pages are a way to display your pictures fast. It is a smaller layout version that still allows freedom for personal touches.

Important factors to consider

When choosing your adhesives, inks, and papers you want to pick acid free, lightfast, and non-toxic. Scrapbooks and photo albums my parents put together now show their age. Yellowing tape, self-adhesive plastic sheets, and faded ink place the integrity of their memories in danger.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The next page in scrapbooking

So, have I inspired your crafty side? Are your creative juices perking to get started? Gather your photos and lets make memorable momentous ordinary moments to share for generations. Comment below your own ideas and suggestions on scrapbooking. If you are interested to follow along closer, subscribe to A GRAM BLOG.

Next time, we are stepping up our scrapbooking. For instance, learn along with me about different scissors, cutting systems, and punches. These pieces of equipment as well as simple embellishments are made with the unimaginative scrapbooker in mind!

Share the Love… The beauty of the ordinary is found in our extraordinary everyday

Making distant relationships work

Did you know 2.9% of all married couples live long distance relationships?  That comes to approximately 3.75 million couples!  This subject is of considerable interest to me because, I am one of the 2.9%.  It can be done!  In fact, my husband and I credit it to why we celebrated our 35th year anniversary back in June.👰🤵

 Our lives, seperated and shared, lent certain characteristics to our marriage.  While we each worked independently, we acted as one.  💑 As expected, there are extra tweeks to add with a long distance relationship.   Because this type of arrangement holds heightened challenges than a traditional marriage, obviously, emphasis upon the basic structure of any commitment such as trust, respect, and humility should exist.  Like other married couples, we traveled through the honeymoon phase, the seven year itch, and mid life crises.  Each addition to our family 🤰added more responsibility, less time, and more financial burden.  Life lessons like “love isn’t everything” didn’t limit us because we learned first and foremost to continue as best friends.

 Why would couples complicate their relationships by adding the challenge of distance?   The trend that truly takes the numbers to new heights, is the onslaught of Online dating!  There are obvious reasons distance becomes a factor, for instance military service and other career choices that mean commuting. It is not always something a couple stepped into knowingly💍, but out of adapting to uncontrollable circumstances.  The economy often causes chasing work in different locations. Apparently, it’s not as uncommon as you may think!

It wasn’t always as easy as it is now! Yes, practice has paid off but communication and logistics advancement play an important part.  Initially, my husband and I talked once a day during his absence.  ☎️ Of course, this was back in the prehistoric times of long distance landline plans 😂.  Mounting phone bills was not in the budget! One of the hidden factors for our household is double indemnity.   For instance, we finance two households. 🏠🏡 Double the rent, utilities, transportation, and food in a long distance relationship 💲!  Technology turned the tide on time in this case.  It changed the way we communicate.  The ability to text, Facetime, email, allows contact at any given time 24/7.  Even the way we handle our finances is different.  Instead of waiting for a check in the mail, with electronic funds transfers our funds are instantly available for either of us.  Seemingly an incidental occurrence, it plays a large role in our life.

 One area of consideration not discussed is the affect on children.  A television show once aired called, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”.  It was an animated series that featured a typical American family consisting of a father, mother, daughter, and son.  Each episode headlined a situation that transpired at some given point had to be revealed to the father when he arrived home from work.  Do not apply any special authority to one or the other parent.  Like everything else in your relationship, parenting needs to be shared!
 Top Communication Tips for Long Distance Couples

1. Text timely check ins including emoji hugs and kisses

2. Talk first thing in the morning and the last moment at night

3. Trade pics of current activities i.e. what your eating, the task your working on, etc

4. Take the time to video chat or FaceTime a couple times a week

5. Try to arrange visits around long weekends so travel time won’t apply too much

6. Create relaxing and simple activities during visits

7. Assign one partial day for personal business and errands together

8. Allow each other some privacy

9. Respect each other’s wishes

10. Touch each other simply by holding hands, hugs, passing caresses

Game Day Timeless Touchdown Treats

For all you grid iron followers, playoffs are in their final brackets. Certainly one of the biggest party days in our household, the NFL’s contest between the AFC and NFC conferences is right up there with Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving! No matter which pair up of teams you are routing, NE Patriots vs New Orleans Saints or Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Rams, you are gearing up for the biggest game of the year. The NFL’s “Super Bowl” sums up the best of the best teams.

This year’s Super Bowl marks its 53rd kickoff! Los Angeles, CA hosted Super Bowl I where the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off. Remarkably for its 1967 premiere, more fans, in fact 61,000 of them, viewed the game on television from home. Even more amazingly is that back in the day, when there were only THREE NETWORKS, the game aired on TWO of them!

Where will you be watching the game?

As one of the original Super Bowl teams, Kansas City Chiefs has a chance to battle Los Angeles Rams, the inaugural Super Bowl’s host city’s team. In contrast, 1967 our present day version of the Super Bowl will air on only ONE NETWORK. While CBS is this year’s chosen network, the game’s popularity has prompted multiple media to stream the contest live. Subsequently, whether you are at home, work, or anywhere else on Super Bowl LIII, you will be able to enjoy the game along with an estimated 112 million other viewers! On the other hand, Sunday February 3, 2019 Atlanta, Georgia’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the game to at least an expected 70,000 fans.

So no matter where you end up entertaining, kickoff your game day with a game plan that your guests will score highly! Will you want a buffet style spread? Are finger foods your preference? Even “tailgating ideas” have become very inventive, ranging from the typical to elaborate endeavors.

Easy host game plan

But, for me, I like simple and easy! That is to say, I want something I can prepare largely ahead of time and set out for all to enjoy. As a result, I am able to watch and join my guests with the game rather than trying to catch the replay of a great play!

So, we all want our top line up for our game table. You will be able to find a wide field of ideas to feed your guests with the best of the best snacks out there.  While the most popular item for recent Super Bowl, chicken wings weren’t a game player for the first Super Bowl. But, why not look back at the beginning of the biggest game’s history itself for ideas?

Easily reach your first down with these 10 vintage food ideas!

  • Cold cut Loaf
  • Italian Meatball Grinders
  • Hot dogs/Pigs in Blankets
  • Grilled kabobs
  • Grape jelly meatballs
  • Fruit Salad/Ambrosia
  • Mac and cheese
  • Baked Beans
  • Stuffed Eggs
  • Simple salad

Super Bowl Vintage Recipes

Game Table Winning Entrée Lineup

Game Scoring Cold Cut Stromboli/ serves 9 to 18

Certainly one of my favorites, this recipe is open for adaptation. That is to say, get creative with it!  Your key players for this recipe can be found in your freezer section.  Frozen ready to make bread loaves layout the field for your favorite fillings.  For example, throw in your favorite deli meats or cheeses, or make a play with pizza influenced fillings, and it’s your decision to serve it hot or cold. As a result, you end up scoring touchdown for game day or an easy everyday dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of 3 Rhodes Frozen bread loafs
  • 6×3 slices of Assortment of deli meats per loaf
  • 6×3 slices Choices of sliced cheese per loaf
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • Mustard or desired condiment

Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Roll dough into a 12×15 inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.

Remove wrap from dough and spread with mustard, avoiding 1-inch around all edges. Layer middle third of dough, vertically, with meat and cheese. Top with vegetable mixture. Fold one third of dough over fillings. Repeat with remaining side.

Place seam side down on a large sprayed baking sheet. Tuck ends under and cut some vents in the top using a sharp knife. Brush with egg and (optional) sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 25-30 minutes. NOTE: Servings will vary depending on stuffing choices and size of slices cut for serving.

Game Kicking Footlong Italian Meatball Grinders

Similarly, you maybe more familiar with its name as “sub” or “hoagie” because of your region. Here in New England, they are known as “grinders”! Unlike our previous form of game day sandwich, our grinders offer even more ease as hosts. For instance, picture a crockpot, frozen prepared meatballs, jarred tomato sauce, and bakery rolls. However, if you don’t mind putting in some time before the game, you can start off this way… <\p>


Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 3 lbs Hamburg
  • 1 1/2 lb Salt Pork
  • 3 cups Bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs Grated Parmesan
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper
  • Parsely
  • Oregano

Form into about 50 meatballs by rolling out a scoop of meat mixture in your handS. Fry out (render) salt pork. Remove salt pork scraps. Place meatballs into pan, cooking until browned on all sides. When well cooked, add tomato sauce (recipe below), and simmer 2 1/2 hours.

  • Tomato Sauce
  • 3 sm cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 cans Tomato Paste
  • 3 cups Water
  • 3 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Basil, Parsley, and Italian Seasonings
  • 1 Whole diced onion

Cook until thick. Combine with meatballs to simmer. Subsequently, this is where you can convert over to a crockpot setting up your table.

Now if you want a kicking appetizer rather than running with meatball sandwiches, there’s a simple play in our playbook for that too! Instead of using a marinara style sauce, a retro recipe from the Sixties is always a good offence for great taste. This “Blast” play is so easy with big results!

Spicy Grape Jelly Meatballs

A game day advantage for any host! Using your top player in your kitchen, the crockpot, these spicy grape jelly meatballs only need 3 ingredients.

  • Meatballs (recipe above)
  • sm jar Grape Jelly
  • 2 bottles Chili Sauce

If you need to switch it up a little, this is another versatile recipe. I use sliced Kielbasa, “Lil Smokey ” cocktail wieners, or even sliced hot dogs in place of the meatballs.

Pigs in Blankets

Icons to game day tables, pigs in blankets play big in the finger food category. Their ability to adjust to your guest list needs is a great ace in the hole. You can make regular sized hot dogs or substitute cocktail wieners for winning yields.

Tailgate Gameday Grilled Kabobs

If you are one of the thousands fortunate enough to go to the game, tailgating and grilling are certainly part of the experience. However, that does not mean for us at home we cannot serve up the same feel foods. Grilling and barbecuing became popular with 1960’s suburban families. Introduced during this time was the Shish Kebob. While fans of the first Super Bowls weren’t up to today’s tailgating standards, who’s to say grills weren’t geared up in backyards.

  • Chunks of chicken, beef, or shrimp
  • whole mushrooms
  • cut bell pepper
  • pearl onions

Soak wooden skewers in water at least 1 hour before using. Alternate meat chunks and veggie ingredients on skewers. Grill or for indoor option the oven will work.

Game Sideline Stars

Five Yard line Fruit Salad

Any referee won’t drop a flag with this dish. A side line sure to keep the play in motion is this fruit salad. Just huddle these ingredients together and its as easy as that!

  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 can Mandarine oranges (drained)
  • 1 can Pineapple (drained)
  • 1 cup Tiny Marshmallows
  • 1 cup Coconut
  • few Maraschino Cherries

Another sideline favorite, Macaroni and Cheese completes the pass! Again, there is a shortcut available in your grocery aisle and that’s fine. However, I am going to give you a recipe for a homemade style.

  • 1 lb box Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 Tbs Flour
  • 1 cup Cold Milk
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Start by cooking your macaroni and drain. Next, make your Rue. Melt butter in sauce pan and stir in the flour. Whisk until Rue becomes smooth and then add cold milk. Constantly stirring until boil and thickens. Add mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to season. Stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Combine Cheese Sauce with cooked macaroni into a baking dish. Additionally, at this time you can add an assortment of crumble toppings you choose. Like bacon, crushed cheese crackers, crushed nacho cheese chips, or just buttered bread crumbs to bring a game changing bite!

Boston Baked Beans Blitz

A New England Game day star, even if the Patriots aren’t playing, Boston Baked Beans are sure to bring a smile to your guests’ face. However, my mother’s recipe most likely would not make you smile. It is very time consuming! But if you’re willing to go for it, you would score big for points.

  • 1 bag dry Navy Beans
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 12 oz. Salt Pork
  • 5 cups Water
  • 1 Lg. Onion
  • 1 1/3 Tbs Dry Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper

After reading the traditional recipe process, you will understand why I call this Boston Baked Beans Blitz. Unlike, my mother’s time, I have the convenience of many acceptable canned beans at hand. By pairing my canned beans and some added coaching from her vintage ingredients, I am able to simplify it.

Of course the original recipe would bake in the oven for hours. To clarify, its six hours of cooking time. But preparation time is another thing that comes into play.

You see, you start out by having to pick over the bag of dry beans. There could be small stones or other foreign objects in the bag. Then you wash them in a colander. Because these are dry beans, you need to soak them overnight.

On the morning of game day, you place all but the beans and Salt Pork into a 6 qt. Dutch oven. Bring to boil dissolving the sugar. Sear your scored Salt Pork and place into your baking dish (An Aluminum Foil Pan, crockpot, Dutch oven, or beanpot). Add your beans and then pour your liquid over covering them at least 1/2 inch. If you need more liquid, add water. Bake 6 hours at 350 degrees.

Stuffed Eggs

No party, game day or any other get together isn’t complete without a version of deviled eggs. These are clubhouse seats worthy stuffed eggs!

  • 12 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup crabmeat
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs chopped green pepper
  • 1 Tbs French Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream

Cut eggs in half. Mash yokes and mix in remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into eggs. Chill.

Along side the eggs, a nice and simple salad of greens adds another element for your guests to choose.

To conclude our vintage style Super Bowl Game Day Table, there are several dessert items to finish your game plan. For example, hand held Whoopie pies, Magical Layer Bars, and Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. I hope you enjoy the game and the food!

Is your team one of the best of the best this year? Do you have favored team, if your team didn’t make it this time? Even being from New England, the Patriots don’t need another win yet. So, I think I’m leaning toward Kansas City, myself, since our team Green Bay Packers didn’t make the cut. Good Luck!

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Fluffernutter: a Sticky New England Staple On National Fluffernutter Day

Durkee-Mower Inc’s of Lynn MA recipe a long standing New England favorite

What is New England’s stake in its Sticky Staple The Fluffernutter Sandwich?

The Fluffernutter

In a society engaging in substituting sugary substances, unhealthy fats, and bleached flours it is obvious why a beloved noontime favorite

Recipe

is practically extinct. If you grew up in New England up until the 1990’s, you are familiar with the famous Fluffernutter Sandwich! Sitting here staring at my sandwich, fathoming its structure, it occurs to me that there is a solution to the question… “Is there a correct way to eat a Fluffernutter sandwich?” Of course, there is! Contemplating my course causes me to examine facts concerning my lunch.

Although, I can’t imagine a Baby Boomer who’s not at least tried a Fluffernutter, let’s look at it closer. If you do not already know, let me describe this controversial sandwich. A Fluffernutter, deemed the name during the 1960’s by the main ingredient manufacturer, is made up of simply peanut butter and Fluff. In an advertising campaign for their component of this sandwich trademarking their culinary creation, Durkee-Mower, Inc. of East Lynn, MA unknowingly initializes a regional icon! There is even a “National Fluffernutter Day” on October 8th each year!

pic of Durkee-Mower in Lynn MA from Boston Magazine.com article

How A Fluffernutter became a part of New England

They still produce the confection after almost 100 years. Fluffernutter components of Fluff and peanut butter are the quintessential combination of our era.  Comparative to that of PB&J, or peanut butter and chocolate. We all know what came of the candy bar that fell into the peanut butter jar, right 😉 Okay, maybe some of you are too young to remember that series of commercials. So, just in case you don’t, I’m referring to Resee’s Peanut Butter cup commercials. https://youtu.be/NjFzvlSaGNk?t=5    

Durkee-Mower’s instinctive business savvy recently settled a law suit instigated when William-Sonoma tried pairing the ingredients into a cookie of the same name.  “The Fluffernutter” is a registered trademark.  Now, Fluff is a state of marshmallows somewhere between a solid and a sticky liquid called a marshmallow cream.

How a Fluffernutter is Constructed

The creation of this sandwich requires two slices of white bread, yes, really, I said white bread! Particularly, Dreikorn’s or Sunbeam should be the brands of choice. Today, Dreikorn’s is defunct and White bread favorite growing up in New England exists only in vintage memorabilia and artifacts at the auction house. Then you spread a thin layer of peanut butter, any brand is fine but if you’re a New Englander, Teddie Bear Peanut Butter or Peter Pan is what you use.

Are you or your kids allergic to peanut butter? I’m

New England Company still producing quality peanut butter

thinking of the amount of stock shares for peanut butter over the last fifteen years plummeting from the number of kids not able to eat the once pantry go-to item. Next, you apply an apt amount of Fluff. It is hard to mention any specific quantity because of it’s consistency, so use your best judgement. In my opinion, the more the merrier! Did your mom make you PB&J or Fluffernutters? Do you watch your sugar intake and carbs? My guilty conscience is eating at me with each glob of delectable fluff!

Is There a Special Formula to Eat a Fluffernutter

Do you know how to eat a Fluffernutter? You must wonder why I should ask such a question. How to eat a Fluffernutter? It’s a sandwich! You just bite it, right? Nope! As particular as its ingredients, so is the manner in which you eat a Fluffernutter sandwich. There is a method to my madness, believe me.

When you first pick up your sandwich, you need to pay attention to your grip. As you know, white bread is soft, keep in mind, so are the peanut butter and Fluff. This makes your Fluffernutter extremely squishy! Secondly, Fluff is a sticky substance. How sticky is it? Well, reminisce roasting marshmallows around the campfire. Can you picture it? There you are with a stick in hand, marshmallow on the end. You’re pulling the

The Gooey inside of a roasted marshmallow substance the same as Fluff

marshmallow up, carefully capturing the gooey inside by the toasted top. Then, it happens… the toasted top pulls off and leaves the middle sticky, gooey, glob on the stick! Remember how sticky the glob is? Back to our sandwich! Soft, sticky, and squishy only begin the complexity of eating the Fluffernutter.

How to Hold a Fluffernutter

The way in which you hold your sandwich works hand in hand with taking the actual bites. You must achieve the adequate ratio of peanut butter to Fluff per bite. The importance of this step falls to the peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth versus the sweetness of the sugary Fluff.

Fulfilling a sweet tooth is a way of life in New England between our resources of maple syrup, molasses, and honey. However, there is such a thing as too much! To provide the necessary bite ratio of sweet versus sticky, you need to hold your Fluffernutter with the peanut butter layer side down. This way, you automatically bite enough Fluff to stop the bread and peanut butter from sticking to the roof of your mouth. Thus, at the same time, it coats the fluff with enough peanut butter cutting the sweetness!

Peanut butter layer on the bottom of your sandwich

That’s not the whole of it though! Now, we’ll discuss the direction your bite pattern. Ready? Your first bite should start at the top of the bread. Why? The upper crust of bread bakes faster than the bottom making it crustier and lighter. Therefore, the crust at the top of white bread is more fragile and doesn’t have the strength needed to support the weight of the Fluff. As you progress, the marshmallow cream squishes toward the middle and bottom of the bread. Ideally, the object here is to end with your last bite at the Fluffernutter’s bottom corner. This provides our solution to serving up a sticky New England staple with a proven course considering weight, squish ability, and optimal taste ratio right to the end of your sandwich!

Why Retro Childhood Eats are Meaningful

Every now and then, okay so more often than not, I fail to curb my desires. Yeah, not what you think! I’m talking taste buds and parts of the brain that produce euphoric feelings from food. One reason food serves as comfort comes from memories you associate with it. For example, the Fluffernutter is as popular in New England as its sister sandwich PB&J (peanut butter and jelly) sustaining kids lunches for years. Now, when a grown up eats a sampling of his childhood it naturally stimulates memories of a simpler and sweeter time in his life. Hmm, thus comfort food is formed!

Me eating a Fluffernutter depicts memories walking home from school to eat satisfying lunches with my mom, sweet summer days camping, and fulfilling road trips with no apparent destination except allowing my father to fish a roadside stream.

Dad’s Catch of the Day

Other types of foods I hold dear to my heart, or rather should I say my mouth? Corn meal and flour dredged trout pan fried with a side of baked beans or sliced potato home fries. A camping supper favorite, if my father had a good catch that day! Hot dogs, baked beans, and brown bread every Saturday night and during the

No Bake Jello based Woolworth’s version Cheesecake YUM! So light and airy, you could eat the whole thing!

summer added accompaniments of sliced beefsteak garden tomatoes and a spoonful of last season’s green tomato piccalilli. My mother’s beef stew brings warm memories each time I make a batch. Her Woolworth’s style Cheesecake recipe still :0 wows :0 most of us with its taste and nostalgia.

Share your favorite Fluffernutter story

A Gram Blog wants to know! What childhood foods walk you down memory lane? Is it TV Dinners in the foil trays? Mom’s meatloaf? Do you still make the foods that take you on this trip? Have you altered the recipes at all to accommodate a healthier, easier, or quicker version? Why is it one of your “comfort food” picks? Would you make a Fluffernutter sandwich for your grandchildren? Which ingredients could you use as substitutes to create a similar food and how would you name it?

Fast Food of the Fifties and Sixties LOL

Continue to follow upcoming posts for your answers! I for one am curious to see what you all share 😊 We will also be highlighting vintage recipes and why or why not they still appear on our tables. How to Make Grandmother’s Summer Recipes. Be sure to secure your personal copy of upcoming posts delivered directly by subscribing to A Gram Blog 😊

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A Small Town’s Biggest Thing is Gossip

Small town Neighbors help each other
Neighbors helping neighbors

Not too long ago, I answered a question asked on Quora.  For those of you not familiar with Quora, it is a social network “where you gain and share knowledge hoping to promote people to learn from each other.”  The subject of the question, “how do you deal with small town gossip?”, fell within my wheelhouse. My point of view about small town living shares with you a little insight I personally learned.

The idea of small town life appeals to me.  Norman Rockwell is my favorite artist. He and his art represent the epitome of small town life. Even he realized that gossip happens in small towns. His print of “Gossip” shows the humorous side of it but realistic. There is a nostalgic touch to everything I do, including watching old movies and preferring small town than city life. However, there is a downside to living in a small community. Namely everyone knows you, even if they may not know your name.

How gossip travels around town painting
Gossip by Norman Rockwell portrays the humorous epitome of small town life

Living in a town haunted by whispers of the past as well as its present for over eight years educated me on the subject of gossip. Today, Peyton Place is not as notorious a novel nowadays but back in the day, it certainly left its mark. Like myself, years earlier Grace Metalious resided in town with her husband.  Grace Metalious published one of mid-century America’s most controversial NY Times Best Sellers in 1956. As most authors, she wrote from her surroundings, background, and imagination.  The problem being her imagination was too close to reality.

She once stated “Even Tom Sawyer had a girlfriend, and to talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without glass.”

The town of Peyton Place was a fictional collaboration of several New Hampshire towns: Gilmanton, the town where she lived with her husband (school principal). The town resented the insinuated notoriety causing gossip for years of its own. Laconia, and the neighboring towns of Alton and Belmont completed her backdrop. The village of Gilmanton Ironworks is where in December 1946, a daughter had murdered her sexually abusive father (upon who the book is partly based). The murder was investigated by the Sheriff of Belknap County, Homer Crockett, and members of the New Hampshire State Police.

Cover jacket for novel Peyton Place

Gossip, a rumor or report of an intimate nature, as defined by Merriam-Webster.    Mainly the side effects of gossip can cause catastrophic and lasting scars.  My children arrived in town as “flatlanders”, a term usually a label for Boston area commuters who invade the quiet hills and woods of New Hampshire towns.  So, they didn’t quite fit into the clique of native townie children because they entered the K thru 8 grade school as

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

newcomers. They often received the butt end of criticism. Unfortunately, it traveled with them the entire time we lived there, except for my oldest.  He actually assimilated into a well liked transplant to the town.  Most often though you need to apply the old adage of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”.  If you don’t take things in stride, nothing but suffering becomes of it.

Haunted by Whispers of its past and present

Small towns aren’t all gossip but I’m not going to lie, you may stumble across some whispers around town.  Sometimes, a sense of humor is the best way to deal with so-called scandals sifting around town. In one case, the news of my pending separation from my husband offered a touch of irony during a rough patch of my marriage.  The news of it happening actually got back to me before it officially happened.  LOL! There are other things found in small towns that make living there worth the occasional whisper. News travels fast in small towns but keep in mind that it is not necessarily accurate!

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