happy birthday, America…and me


how does your garden grow?
how does your garden grow?

I’m a happy girl.  Summer has arrived, both officially and on the weather man’s forecast. Saturday hubby and I took the short walk to our neighborhood farmer’s market. It’s somewhat ironic since I’d been to my fave farm-stand only the day before, but hey! I picked up different things in both places. My “what we will be eating” list was long which equated to a heavy tote bag to lug home.  There could be worse problems, right?

Early summer sees the advent of two special events. Yeah, there’s that “minor” observance known as Fourth of July, where we have a bang-up time of barbecuing, playing baseball and eating apple pie with homemade ice cream, all while celebrating our great nation’s independence. Then … there is my birthday. I’ve always held onto the notion that the fireworks exploding in brilliant colors in the dark, inky sky are for me!  Come on, I bet all you other July birthday people think the same thing. 

being a proud American, I put my hand across my heart and sing along to our national anthem

Seriously, though, I’ve been preoccupied with what to fix for the blow-out light-every-grill-you-own fest that takes place at our kids’ place. It’s almost like the whole city shuts down and goes over to their house; well, maybe just the block, but it seems like the city. There will be every sort of meat to satisfy the most carnivorous caveman you know, along with heaps and piles of sides and salads.  That’s my part; being more herbivore than carnivore.

Skimming through a couple new cooking magazines and Pinterest “pins” I’ve got a few ideas cooking.

roasted potato-corn salad with avocado and basil

I once watched some sort of a reality show where people would pick out their parent, significant other or great auntie by their potato salad.  Mine never quite looks the same.  Each time the ubiquitous picnic food gets tweaked. However, one that is a repeat customer includes roasted corn, avocado and basil. Mayo, sour cream and Dijon mustard make up the dressing which is used with a light hand. I find that if you add the dressing to warm potatoes, it doesn’t take as much since it melts onto the spuds.

watermelon, salty feta, fresh mint and cracked black pepper

Cold, crisp watermelon is uber fine when eaten out-of-hand, dripping down the faces of the littles running around. There are plenty of salads and refreshing desserts that include this essential picnic food to choose from.  One that’s been turning up on our table is a simple take on melon with prosciutto and parmesan.

What you do:

  • Chunk watermelon in large bit-sized pieces
  • Top with crumbled feta cheese
  • Crack a generous amount of black pepper onto the melon and cheese
  • Sprinkle with tiny mint leaves or chiffonade larger leaves
tangy goat cheese cream with
tangy goat cheese cream with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries

Four or five years ago, I collected a recipe from The Oregonian for Goat Cheese Cream served with a berry compote. I’ve since adapted it to a seasonal sweet with fresh berries or stone fruit.

Goat Cheese Cream


  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 ounces fresh, soft goat cheese
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla


  • Pour milk into a large saucepan.  Heat over medium until it is steaming.
  • While it’s heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch in a separate bowl.
  • When milk is hot, gradually pour it into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
  • Pour mixture back into the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly until it boils and thickens.  This should only take a few minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and crumble in the goat cheese.  Let sit for a minute, then stir well until the mixture is smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla.  Let cool

To serve

Spoon cooled goat cheese cream into 6 small dessert cups or ramekins.  Top with fresh berries and mint sprigs.  Makes 6 servings.


Happy birthday, America!  Happy 4th of July, my friends –





12 thoughts on “happy birthday, America…and me

  1. Yummy sounding Missy. I wish I could dive into those photos right now, cause I’m starving even at this early hour.
    Getting to our Farmer’s Market is too complicated for me this year, so I haven’t been there. Getting to my mailbox is almost too complicated for that matter, and I haven’t been there for several days. I do have some beautiful cherry tomatoes beginning to ripen on my tomato “trees” here in the window though. Just a few that are turning a pretty shade of pink now, with loads more to come soon. If I only had the appetite needed to go with the food I keep cooking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angie, I’m so excited to hear that your window tomatoes are going to produce for you! It won’t be long and you’ll have more than you know what to do with. Happy Fourth of July!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy Fourth to you also Missy. My little green globes are now turning orange at a very fast rate, so I have a feeling I’ll be snacking on them this week. I’m sure hoping they taste as good as they look.


      2. Just a follow-up here Missy. I’ve now eaten 3 of my delicious tomatoes, orange, low acid, and sweet tasting little gems. More of them ripening as I write this. YUMMY!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I planted early Missy. Just wish I had several more vines of this variety. Can’t remember name now so I can’t buy more for later planting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sabine, I’m with you on eating salads all summer long. So glad you’re going to try the watermelon with feta. It’s really nice and refreshing too! Happy 4th of July to you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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