Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodbye, July & Hello, August

The summer is slipping away, isn’t it? Soon it will be back-to-school time, fall soccer and football, then other fall and holiday activities. Those busy days getting kids ready for school are well behind me, but I find there are so many other things to do. I’m not wishing days away, but I do enjoy fall festivals, food and decorations. And love the cool, crisp weather.

But for now, let’s just look forward to August. We have a full month before Labor Day, so we should enjoy the relaxing, fun times before we all get very busy! I have so many projects  that I’d love to work on – some that need to be done, some just for fun – but for some reason I just don’t get around to them. Are you the same? I think there are just too many ideas floating around in my head.

Right now I’m drying basil in the dehydrator, and the house smells so good! The crop was terrific this year, and I need to do whatever I can with it before it goes to seed. I should probably make some pesto with it and put it in the freezer in ice cube trays. That fresh, fragrant concoction would be so great in the middle of winter in pasta sauces, salads or dips. Here’s a quick and easy recipe:


1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2  cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper, then stir in Parmesan cheese.

Notes: If freezing in ice cube trays, omit the Parmesan cheese. It can be added later when pesto is used. Also, additional oil may be needed to get the proper consistency. Feel free to adjust garlic and salt to your tastes!

I’ve seen recipes for pesto made with spinach – might have to give it a try!

P.S. I made this basil pesto today (Thursday), and made a few alterations to the recipe. It seemed a bit thick, so I drizzled in more olive oil, to make a total of about 1/3 cup in the recipe. I also added another garlic clove and omitted the Parmesan cheese since I may freeze it. And here it is.....

It took just a few minutes, and I used the Magic Bullet rather than the big blender. It worked just fine! Yum!
There are many unusual holidays listed for the month, and they are on my “Holidays” page. I will, of course, highlight some of them as they come along. Sometimes I might even add a corresponding recipe, story or quote. I was told the other day that I need to include some more stories, so I'm trying to lighten up a bit! Thanks for the advice, Sis!

A Cookbook Review:

Are you a cookbook collector? I've lost count of how many are on my shelves, but no matter how many there are I’ll take more! I read them just as if they were fiction, and sitting with a good cookbook is one of my favorite ways to relax. I started looking at my older ones and trying to find the oldest in my collection. There are several from the 1960s, and I actually found a couple from the 1950s.

One is The Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given, published in 1953. As you can tell from the photo, this book has been well-used. The outer spine is missing, and the pages are yellowed; however, no pages appear to be missing. The book belonged to my mother-in-law, and she gave it to me when moving out of her home several years ago. There are some personal notes and recipes written on several pages. I think she used it often!

This book contains both black-and-white and color photos. Recipe ingredients are in red print, with instructions black. It is full of basic information that would be perfect for the new cook but still applies to us who have cooked for years. We can all use a refresher course on the basics from time to time!

Some interesting sections include The Meal Planner’s Creed, The Food Shopper’s Creed and The Cook’s Creed, which includes “A well-prepared dish and an appetizing meal are a creative achievement; therefore – I shall derive happiness from work itself.” I think these would tend to illustrate the differences in our “jobs” from then to now. We’re all so busy with jobs, family activities and all we have to do that the sheer simplicity of that era seems far away.

This book is still available at Amazon starting at $5.95. You can go to http://www, for a direct link to Amazon. I’d recommend it as one to add to your collection.
Don't forget to get your FREE Christmas Cookies E-Book! It has 400 great recipes within 458 pages - and you can't beat the price! Simply email me at or go to for an instant download.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for the pesto recipe, Sharon! Pine nuts are kinda pricey, never thought to use walnuts instead. Perfect timing, I think I enough basil ready in my garden right now.

  2. You're welcome, Lisa! I still have lots of basil, even after dehydrating some yesterday, so I'll probably be making pesto today or tomorrow. Have fun making yours. Take care.