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Oct
28
2014

Music Memories & Blueberry French Toast Casserole from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJaneButters

Good morning all you happy people!

What is my mantra for today?? The weather is not going to kick my hiney.  The weather is not going to kick my hiney.  The weather is not going to kick my hiney! Why? Because I have much to do! If any of you suffer with fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease, even migraines, you know what a change in the barometric pressure can do to you.  It can be rough.  I had one doctor tell me: You just have to work through it.  If it had been another doctor or someone else, I might have been peeved but he meant it with the best of intentions.  And the look on his face let me know he was sympathetic and just trying to be encouraging.  And he’s right sometimes you just do have to work through it.  Right on through it – until you can’t.  So my best intentions are before me today.

MaryJane’s morning post over at Raising Jane brought back some sweet memories.  Music memories.  I was not blessed with a good singing voice.  Whatever the opposite of that is, is about my level of singing ability.  Oh, never fear, it hasn’t stopped me from singing.  It has made my little grandson ask me to STOP singing LOL. See, Sam’s maternal side of his family is talented.  SO talented.   Seriously, seriously talented.  Sing like birds, plays every instrument you would ever need to play. My first introduction to Jen’s (Sam’s mom) music was Sons of William band.  They are no longer together.  And, I for one, am still sad about that.  :( This was one of my favorites: Smile She’s now a member of Identity Crisis.  Check them out here: Meet Identity Crisis.  AND Zach (our oldest and Sam’s dad) is very musically inclined as well.  Loves music and plays guitar.  And preciously a piano virtuoso as you will see by photographic evidence later in this post. Yeah, I like to brag about my peeps – what??? are you new here ??? LOL

My earliest memory of listening to music voluntarily was from when I was about 3 years old.  My dad got paid on Friday (didn’t everyone  in 1962?) and when he got home on Friday afternoon while mom was cooking, he and I went to Sears to pick out two 45’s which likely cost less than a dollar with tax but when you made maybe $500 a month that was a pretty significant splurge on a weekly basis.  I spent most of my late afternoons in my room listening to “my music” and dancing like a maniac! Those are some of my earliest childhood memories.  Oh to have those records would be amazing.  But where they wound up I will never know.  8-tracks and cassettes and later, CDs, took their place long before I had sense enough to hang onto them.

Consequently, I love all sorts of music.  Really I do.  Now, I am not a big fan of ‘crying in my beer, my woman done me wrong, took everything but my dog, and my pickup truck’s got a flat’ country nor do I like violence in some rap music or when any music is derogatory towards a particular group, especially women.  But I listen to ALL kinds of music from Bach to Bennett, rock to rap, oldies to orchestra.  I love it all – or some of all of it :) I grew up listening to old country – Merle Haggard/George Jones kind of country.   My dad loved music and was a gifted self taught string player – guitar, fiddle, flat-top and a little banjo even. I was also allowed to pick my own tastes as well.  It started young.  My mom filled my early days with big band and swing music along with a heavy dose of classical.  Yep, on a turntable.  My first real musical liking was Beatles music.  And Elvis Presley.  Who, by the way, my Mom saw at the Louisiana Hayride and went “meh, he’s okay” LOL  You would have had to know my mom.  Not easily swayed by public opinion.  They both encouraged me to like music period. We watched American Bandstand and Lawrence Welk and listened to the Grand Ole Opry.  Later came Soul Train and Austin City Limits.  Long car trips, after we had an 8-track player were filled with Henry Mancini’s Country and Alice Cooper.  The deal was we traded off – Dad’s music, then mine, then Dad’s, then mine.  He knew all the words to Billion Dollar Babies and I gained a keen appreciation of orchestra music. We both benefited LOL.

Then Jerry came into my life and he loved music as much as I did and introduced me to Bad Company, BTO (our first concert together) and KISS.  A few years down the road we had Zach – Sam’s dad and the tradition continued:

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One of Zach’s first toys :)

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Here he has graduated to more serious music.  My friend Robbin was always so great to let him bang on her piano.  He was quite the singer as well ;)

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It wasn’t long though until he too found rock n roll – I do believe Joan Jett was singing to him here. And the tradition continues…

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Sam singing along (such a sweet little guy – can’t believe he’s 10 now!)

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Early signs of amazing rhythm – and demon eyes! LOL

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His favorite thing to do at my moms! He batted his eyes with every beat but wasn’t about to stop till EVERYONE clapped!

Wait…what were we talking about??? OHH YEAH!!! Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters!! And a recipe for today (and tomorrow).

The recipe I am sharing today is going to be a two day-er.  I am prepping it this evening but want to bring you along on the process so there will be no picture of the actual process and outcome until tomorrow.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

  • 3 cups day old 1″ baguette cubes (I am using gluten free sourdough)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (2 oz cut into 1″ cubes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries thawed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup maple syrup
    1. Generously butter an 8 x 8 clear glass baking dish. Or use and 9 x 13 and double the ingredients for 8 servings
    2. In a medium bowl, mix together baguette cubes, cream cheese cubes and blueberries; add to prepared baking dish
    3. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, milk and syrup.  Pour over bread mixture.  Using a spatula, press ingredients down into liquid.
    4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
    5. Remove Casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 350
    6. Remove plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 minutes or 45 for 9 x 13.  Remove foil and bake until top is golden and mixture is set in the center, about 15 minutes or 25 for doubled recipe.
    7. Serve topped with maple cream syrup (recipe below)

    Maple Cream Syrup

    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup cream

    In a small saucepan, combine syrup and cream.  Stir over medium heat until thickened, approximately 15 minutes.  Drizzle over French Toast Casserole.

    Until tomorrow here are the links to the previous recipes and post for Milk Cow Kitchen:

    Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

    Sweet Corn Casserole

    Scalloped Potatoes

    Four-Cheese Macaroni

    If you haven’t read the interview with MaryJane here’s your link to that: Meet MaryJane Butters

    maryjane.b

    You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:
    RaisingJane.org
    MaryJanesFarm.org
    HeritageJersey.org

    See all you happy people tomorrow!  Make this Tuesday! a good one!

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    Oct
    09
    2014

    Beautiful Autumn Day in Vermont

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    As promised, second installment of October 2013 Vermont vacation.

    These photos are of mine and Robbin’s trip to Bennington and Beyond :) We didn’t really have a plan when we started out that morning.  It was the only day we really did just say “Let’s just go. And see where the winds of this Autumn day take us.”  And wow was that the way to go!  It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast!  We even accidentally drove over the state line so we could say we went to New York that day as well.

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    Now that’s the kind of church I can get behind!  Separation of church and state! What a concept !! ;) (Read: sarcasm) I don’t do politics on my blog (yet) but it’s not because I don’t think about it or have opinions.  I have opinions in spades! Just suffice it to say I, for one, do not want to live in a theocracy.  You do your thing, I’ll do mine, MKay? LOL.  It is a beautiful building and still holds services.  I had a very emotional reaction to standing in the church dreaming of what it must have been like back in 1762 – to be one of the women who help establish a community.

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    If I were one of the family members I would beg the “head of the house” to request this box – Lucky Number 13!

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    And this would be my views of the church from my perch in Box 13.  Imagine it packed full and the whole place vibrating with the sound of voices singing to the heavens.

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    From the looks of the percussion instruments along with this amazing organ – they maybe quite the modern sounding congregation.

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    And as services ended we would stroll home along the fence row,

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    And into the cemetery to lay a flower or two on the graves of loved ones who most certainly had found their way there.

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    I love the look of the old headstones.  Such craftmanship.

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    And then THERE IT WAS! Robert Frost’s grave.  OH MY – did we not know it would be there??  Had we even thought of it?  I mean we talked about him at length when we were up at Bread Loaf looking around and wondering what it would be like to be part of a “writer’s colony” – how fabulous would that be?  I mean it would help to be writers of course but oh if the walls could talk!

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    This photo is quite possibly the favorite of all times. Lovely lighting.  Taken in my favorite place (besides home) in the world. My favorite month.  With my oldest and dearest girlfriend. And Autumn showing it’s truest colors.  Bliss I tell you. Pure Bliss.

    Before I bid you farewell for today I leave you with the promise of an other installment involving a photo essay of our tour of Robert Frost’s home and  the funniest story of the day. It was time to stop for lunch and we saw this little place along the road just outside Bennington.  It was like the old fashioned burger joint – only seating was in your car or at a few picnic tables.  They had quite a menu that even advertised a “veggie burger”.  Robbin, being vegan, asked the man taking orders what was in the veggie burger.  And I swear to you, he had to have his 100th birthday in his sights.  He looked at her for what seemed like much longer than it was and without changing his expression he says “vegetables”.  LOL we just died laughing.  So she was brave and ordered it, I had fried clams if you were wondering.

    See you all soon!  Hey, tell your friends about this blog.  Pretty please?  Thanks and have a wonderful October day!

    Oct
    02
    2012

    Yummy and green!

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    I will change the next one up a bit.  Really a bit too sweet for my taste.  Found the recipe here and did some changes in consideration of my food allergies.  I substituted the almond milk for coconut milk.  I think next time I will use just pineapple and not the juice.  And possibly hemp or rice milk so it is not quite so sweet.  AND happy to say my Ninja blender did a pretty good job on the kale. It didn’t completely puree the leaves but I am good with that. The minute I started drinking it all sorts of combinations ran through my head for savory versions as well.

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