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Cherry Tomato Pesto Sauce

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We had two surprises in our garden this summer.  A big surprise was the appearance of volunteer cherry and pear tomato plants.  I haven’t planted tomatoes for 3 or 4 years and was delighted to see strong, vigorous plants growing.  A plant with little yellow pear tomatoes grew tall enough to bloom and produce right outside my kitchen window.

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Every day, my daughter picked a bowl of delicious, fresh tomatoes and I started looking for ways to use them other than in a salad.
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This tomato pasta sauce is delicious and worth trying if you still have cherry tomatoes hanging on in your garden.  It’s good enough that I’ll buy cherry tomatoes in the winter so we can have this sauce often.  The pesto portion was adapted from a recipe on Lidia’s Italy  and the sauce is one that I make often.

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CHERRY TOMATO PESTO SAUCE
Pesto:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
12 large fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp. salt
Grating of black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Sauce:
2 Tblsp. butter
2 Tblsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine (Charonnay)
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes

Grating of black pepper

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4 servings of hot, cooked pasta

To make pesto:
In a food processor, place tomatoes, basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper.  Process until everything is finely minced.
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Gradually add olive oil and process until mixture is smooth.

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Set aside

To make sauce:
In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil.  Add garlic and saute until lightly brown.  Add wine, lemon juice, pepper and ½ cup of halved tomatoes.  Stir in pesto and heat until mixture is piping hot.
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Serve immediately over cooked pasta.

Yield:  4 servings

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The second surprise was what grew up around a bird bath in the back yard.  My daughter thought she had picked up a packet of small marigolds to brighten up the bottom base of the bird bath, but the flowers kept growing until they extended well above it and  produced some gorgeous, huge orange and yellow flowers.

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Cranberry Squares

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I have a notation in my cookie binder that this recipe came from a publication called The Blue Ribbon Gazette which gathered prize-winning recipes from across the country.   I first made these cookies in September of 1993 to take along on a trip to Gettysburg.  It was the first of numerous visits to one of my favorite vacation sites.  “Nancy (my daughter) loved these – not too rich.  We had them one morning for breakfast in the motel in Gettysburg with a cup of coffee.”

CRANBERRY SQUARES
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
½ tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
9 inch ungreased baking pan

Cream sugar and butter, add egg.  Add flour, salt and vanilla.  Spread half of this mixture into a 9×9 ungreased pan.

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Spread berries over batter.

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Spread remaining half of batter over berries.  (Note:  Drop batter by dollops and spread with water-dampened fingertips).

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Sprinkle nuts on top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into nine squares.
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I marked these cookies “Excellent – tart”.  It is a thin bar with a buttery flavor, the tartness of the berries and crunch of walnuts.
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My daughter gave me a vintage cosmetic bag that she thought I might be able to use as an idea for bags I could make to use for cosmetics, small sewing items, little gifts, etc.

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The bag opened out into sections and looked fairly easy to duplicate.

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It’s basically multiple bags of the same size, lined and finished with a narrow facing.  One bag has a flap and serves as the base.  The remainder of the bags are stitched to each other to form an accordion-like feature.

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I made five bags of varying sizes and thought the idea worked out pretty well.  For one bag that I particularly liked, I made a matching small gift tote of the same fabrics and will be using the two pieces to hold an anniversary gift for my younger daughter in a couple of weeks.

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I’m thinking about expanding the pattern to make a larger three-section tote bag.  More on this later.

 

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This little guy is so new I don’t have a really good picture of him yet – this is a shot of him coming home from the hospital wearing a Cincinnati Bengals football jersey.  His parents are both avid fans.

Isaiah Ryan was born at 10:08 PM on September 29 – missed by less than 2 hours of being born on my 82nd birthday.

Joy Ginger Snaps

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One of my readers commented on a vintage recipe for molasses cookies (recipe here) and asked if I had a 1940s era recipe for ginger cookies.  As a wedding gift in 1952, I had received the 1952 edition of Joy of Cooking which was a later edition of the 1931 cookbook.  I think these cookies come from the 1930-1940 era.  They are easy to make and yield a big batch of spicy, old-fashioned cookies.

JOY GINGER SNAPS
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses (Grandma’s, sorghum)
1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
4 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

In a large mixer bowl, beat margarine and brown sugar together until well blended.  Add egg, molasses and vinegar – beat until smooth.

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In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.  Add to margarine/sugar mixture and beat just until flour is absorbed.

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Drop by measuring teaspoon full onto ungreased cookie sheets.

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Dip a small juice glass in granulated sugar …

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and flatten cookies to about ¼ inch thick.  Leave 2 inches space between cookies.
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Bake in preheated 375 degree  F oven for 7-½ minutes.  Remove cookies immediately to rack to cool.

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Will make 80 cookies 1-½ inches diameter.

For 2-½ inch diameter cookies, drop dough by measuring tablespoon full onto sheets and flatten with glass dipped in sugar.  Bake for about 8 minutes.

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Because of back problems the past two years, I haven’t been able to travel too far and my daughter and I have taken one day a week during the month of September for a “staycation” day in an area that doesn’t require too much driving.  We enjoyed our last day of this year’s staycation traveling about 1-1/2 hours to Springfield, Ohio.  We pass through the charming town of Yellow Springs and love to have lunch at Young’s plus a stop on the way back home for one of their renowned Bull Shakes made with cream from their own Jersey cows.

It’s about 30 minutes from Yellow Springs to a huge antique mall called “Heart of Ohio” with 650 dealers.  I found a treasure -a  handmade book rack that I would date to the 1940s with my favorite Scottie theme.  I imagine it was made from a kit and includes flaws like the very visible screws and holes drilled in the wrong place, but that made it more lovable to me.

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When we got in the car, my daughter handed me something she had bought as a remembrance of our trip.

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It’s Roseville and the chips (which I don’t mind) made it very affordable.  I love the little dog lapping up the spilled milk.

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On the way home, I was telling my daughter I had seen a small “Made in Japan” Dutch planter which I talked myself out of buying.  Later that evening, she came out with another package that she was going to save as a Christmas gift – the planter I wished I had picked up.

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This was a very successful day.

One week of our staycation we went to a favorite restaurant (Grand Finale in Glendale, Ohio) and our favorite local antique mall (Ohio Valley Antiques in Fairfield, Ohio).  We’re at these two places so often, I didn’t think about taking pictures.

Last week we visited an Adams County, Ohio, store.

The first week we stayed local with lunch at our favorite barbecue restaurant (Eli’s in the East End of Cincinnati) ….

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…Stopped off at Avoca Park in Terrace Park …

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…and did some antique store browsing in Milford, Ohio.

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I’m beginning to really love this staycation idea.

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I’ve made a few pieces that incorporate my TV-time embroidery panels.  I made another set of cushions for my vintage folding chair.  The nice thing about a folding chair is that it can also go outside very easily.  I just happened to have a blue granite ware coffee pot and skillet to accompany the cushions.
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One of the designs I used for embroidery on a table mat is an adaptation of a decorative painting pattern by Helan Barrick.  I used to love to paint her Amish boys and girls.  I adapted this one for fall.

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I used another vintage embroidery pattern to stitch a scarecrow with a crow on his shoulder.  I outlined the pattern in black embroidery floss and then used crayons to color the design.  After using the crayons, I placed a piece of white paper on top of the panel and pressed with a hot iron to set the colors.

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I made a quilt for my table mini-quilt rack with a 1930s-40s era pattern of a scarecrow and chubby birds.  I especially like the way the trees are worked in this piece.

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Now, it’s time to think about some small projects for the Halloween season.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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