Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Unpretentious Flower

K.E.G's daisy.
"The rose has but a summer reign,
The daisy never dies"
- James Montgomery, The Daisy
Meet the unpretentious flower of a garden, the Daisy. When one glances at its sweet petals, one will view a bubbly, outgoing, and welcoming bloom. If you ran out of sugar and needed to use a neighbors' sugar, this is the flower you would ask.
The flower is seen as a symbol of childhood innocence, or represents friendship, simplicity, purity, and modesty in the Victorian era. The friendly plant is a favorite of K.E.G's and it thrives in Mother Judith's gardens. Before K.E.G and I were born, these were the first successful seed starts for Mother Judith ever. These plants have relocated to three different houses happily. They propagate quickly once started.
K.E.G says daisies give you exercise and bring joy. The perfect flower.


What happened here?

Nancy Jane

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Look Only a Mother Could Love

 Gardening is such a peaceful part of life. You can talk to the Lord, or give your little plants pep talks. It's so important to give each of your little babies some encouragement and adoration!
Of course there are ones I love to grow the most, such as pumpkins. They are my absolute favorite to grow. However, all my plants are my babies and I cheer for them all!
Perhaps I did not visit these enough? Perhaps they felt abandoned? Or, this is the way the Lord made them. Despite all this, I just love the way my cactus...I mean cucumbers look!
May I also add they were just delicious! Looks aren't everything!
Nancy Jane

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sweet Barbequed Cinnamon Carrots

Cinnamon and carrots, a healthy match made in heaven. The natural sugar content of the carrots blend perfectly with the cinnamon creating a delightfuly sweet dish! Meat eaters and bunnies alike will love this dish.
In early spring I planted these fun tri colored carrots. Since today was my last harvest of the crop I decided to make Sweet Barbequed Cinnamon Carrots.

  • Four cups of chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Foil 
Place chopped carrots in bowl, add olive oil and cinnamon. Mix together.
Place carrots in a foot length of foil. Wrap foil completely around carrots.

Place on Barbeque with burners set on medium-high. Barbeque for 20-25 minutes on top shelf, or until carrots are slightly soft.
Once barbequed, remove and enjoy! Serve hot or cold.

Serve in a cute mason jar, or on a platter. Eat alone or enjoy on top of steaks, chicken, and even hamburgers! It's also a fantastic addition to a leafy green salad. So incredibly healthy and tasty, it is sure to be a hit! 

Nancy Jane

Monday, May 26, 2014

June Gift Guide

Wow! June is quickly finding its way here! It's warming up for a nice Summer swim party!

K.E.G personally favors this month, due to it being her Birthday on the 16th...not saying that as a hint for presents.
Are you having problems finding ideas for June birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, and weddings? Here is a gift guide of items we highly recommend.
Elegant with a lovely silhouette, this apron will bring a classic style to the baker wearing it. It will dress up any attire as one is busy baking! It is hand sewn by JMG's Becki, you can find this apron on her Etsy account.
For the gardener in your life, give them these herb markers! The bright colors on the spoons make it easy to spot in a garden. We can also custom paint other plants if you so desire. Available on our Etsy account. 
June tea lovers will appreciate this tea press. It's made of stainless steel, and Pyrex glass. Holds up to 2 cups of water. When you purchase this press, free samples of tea are included. Bring joy to your tea friend and give them this!
"The Beatles, on watercolor paper by Kelly Renee. Art is sealed and cannot be smeared. Art does not come with mat or frame."
We think this is a fantastic piece of art, and a music enthusiast would be thrilled to find this in their gift bag!
This pan creates elegant shaped cookies, perfect for tea parties! That special baker would love to have this as an addition to their baking supplies.

Heading to a baby shower this month? Why not get the baby a unique and beautiful handmade gift? Another gift made by JMG Fabric and Crafts' Becki.
Hope this helps you out! Now go enjoy the sunshine!

The Grays

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ailing Pug & Peppermint Oil

Yes, she can look more pathetic.
Poe the Pug holds a special spot in our hearts.
We adore each of our dogs equally, however, Poe is a little unique.
Though she has wild dreams of being tough and rowdy...
She's really a wimp.
Our big farm dogs fight off trespassers and foes!
If we let Poe out, she'd be devoured in five minutes.
Thus the life of a city dog in the country.
Recently, Poe began having the classic pug breathing problem. In order to relieve her distress, we rubbed peppermint oil on her. It helped open up the sinuses and eased the breathing problems.
*Important! Before applying peppermint to you or your dog's skin, make sure to test your skin reaction to the oil!*
Just apply a few drops of oil to your hand, avoiding the dog's eyes, spread oil around face. You will notice your puppy breathing easier.

We apply this at every meal time. It really helps her out...although she still snores when she sleeps!

Nancy Jane

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pride & Crisp

Pride issues have been haunting me my entire life. I cannot make a crisp without thinking about the first delectable crisp I ever had at six years old. 
Blackberry Crisp
My parents took us water skiing to Bass Lake, someone in the party brought my first taste of an apple crisp. From the first bite I had visions of making the best crisp ever, I would be known for my crisps! I thought of the different fruits I could use...even watermelon (obviously a naive dream of a six year old).

Years later I never forgot that crisp. I still see it on the table with mom and dad unpacking and joking around. The gentle gentle breeze streaming through the cabin...I even remember one woman in the party strutting around in her new bikini for all to admire, the sounds of ski boats, but most of all I remember that crisp.

Since then, I have been on a quest for the best crisp recipe. I managed to find the best one ever in my early twenties...decades ago.

Gosh, over fifty years later. Here is the recipe, not world famous, but more importantly a loving tradition and frequent request from my beloved family. Use any fruit...except for watermelon!

Fruit Crisp
Preheat 350°. Place 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon in mixing bowl and blend together. Add 1/2 cup butter and mix. Arrange 4 cups prepared fruit in 2 quart baking dish. Spread oatmeal mixture on top of fruit. Bake for around 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold with milk, cream, or ice cream.

They crave it on a variety of fruits plum, peach, nectarine, berry and the favorite apple. So, the recipe that makes my family happy is developed. God has humbled and keeps on humbling my pride issues. Thank you Lord, Mom and Dad are in Heaven. And I have a delightful recipe that unifies my family in happy times and troubled times.

Poe wants to know what's cookin!

Mother Judith

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bring Out the Piccolos for this Berryific Jicama Salad

Berryific Jicama Salad is the essence of late spring turning into summer, fresh and full of wild flavors! The berries can be interchangeable, but I had 5lbs of blueberries to use up and a ton of blackberries from our patch. The berries were begging to be used.

  • 4 cups of Jicama, peeled and chopped (You can find it at your local grocery store)
  • 2 cups of Blackberries, whole
  • 1 cups of Blueberries, whole
Pour all ingredients in a large container, stir together. And it's that easy!

You can add to top of leafy salads, or eat alone. I've been eating it to help me get over a sugar fix. What's nice about the jicama is it absorbs the berry flavor without losing its spirit and crunch. The salad adds a brightness and extra nutrition to your meals, truly berryific!

Bring it to a Memorial day or 4th of July party to add naturally patriotic colors to the table. Its the John Philip Sousa of the salad world-I can just hear the Stars and Stripes Forever piccolo solo when I look at it.
On top of my leafy greens, and chicken. Delicious!
So colorful! So patriotic!
Nancy Jane

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Berry Picking.

Moxy and the blackberries.

There is something soothing about picking berries. Be it by yourself, listening to the birds chirp and the wind blow. With a dear friend, enjoying their fellowship. Or, with your puppy, watching her eat the berries from the branch you skipped over.

Blackberries are special around the Gray household. My dad and I enjoy finding little starters that popped in a random spot in the garden (Mother Judith is not fond of these berries disrupting her garden). Spending time out in our berry patch is our father/daughter time. Mending the berry fence, picking up branches, installing a watering system-hours are spent on our lovely little berry patch. It might not be perfect, but we do our best to help the little berries grow.

Our Heavenly Father has blessed us with gardens that bring families together. Simple joys that last a lifetime. I thank the Lord that He gives us treasures that create unity amongst our families, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Keep an eye on the little things in life, make a list of all the little things God has blessed you with.

"I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me."
Psalm 13:6
Nancy Jane

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fabulous Fig Walnut Bars

 Two ingredients; that's all you need for this recipe. Extremely healthy, and are great for solving sugar cravings, although sometimes I end up eating all the delicious bars...
The Lord has blessed us with naturally sugary treats!
What you need:
  • 15 dried figs (I found a giant bag at Costco for a relatively good price)
  • 1/2 cup unchopped walnuts
  • Blender
Step One: Place the figs on cutting board and cut off tips. Place in blender.

Dried figs are not that visually appealing...

Step Two: Turn on blender between 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds, depending on dryness of figs. Every fruit and machine is different, you will see it's ready when is clumps up into a ball.

Step Three: Add walnuts and blend for 10-20 seconds, or until walnuts are desired size.

Step Four: Take out wax paper. Place 1 heaping tablespoon on wax paper. Or another option is to stick it all on a piece of wax paper to make a cake. Either way works well.

Wrap paper around fig walnut mixture. Leave room for mixture expansion inside the paper. Be sure to watch out for fig walnut mixture trying to escape out of wax paper!

Take a rolling pin, and roll cake flat. Make sure to firmly press down to make the mixture pack tightly.
Open up, and viola! You've got a bar! You can wrap it back up in the wax paper, and easily store them all in a Ziploc. Makes about 7 bars, you can also cut them in half for trouble free eating.
All wrapped up!

Super easy! You can easily see how fabulous these bars are!

Nancy Jane

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cupcake Fun

We were presented with a fun challenge, create a cupcake wedding dress for a Bridal Shower!

Then I went crazy and made an Owl. I was really inspired by the entertaining project. 48 cupcakes later, here it is.


Now we find ourselves with 48 cupcakes we have to give away...anyone want a free cupcake?

Nancy Jane