My Mother would often find old sheet music at estate sales and bring it home for me to play on the piano. As a result, I have a stack of music that is great fun to look through. A few days ago, I was looking through the stack and ran across this piece, Where the Columbines Grow.
Little did I know back in those days that I would eventually settle in Colorado, now for 33.5 years. Columbines are one of my favorite flowers. While most of the Columbines are now gone from my garden, I can enjoy photos all year-long.
“Where the Columbines Grow” is one of the two official state songs of Colorado. It was written and composed by A.J. Fynn, and was adopted on May 8, 1915. In the early to mid-2000s, there was debate over replacing “Where the Columbines Grow” with John Denver‘s “Rocky Mountain High” or Merle Haggard‘s rare song “Colorado”. In 2007, the Colorado legislature named “Rocky Mountain High” as Colorado’s second official state song, paired with “Where the Columbines Grow”.
Fresh peaches are a summer treat! I have fond memories, as a kid, of biting into a fresh peach and have the juice run down my arms and all over my face. I was a sticky mess, but loving that peach!
Colorado peaches are some of the best and I’m lucky enough to live in the great state that produces them. To date, I’ve not seen Colorado peaches at the market but Costco has had wonderful peaches this summer. What better dessert to serve visiting family topped with vanilla ice cream! The recipe is from my tried and true Farm Journal Country Cookbook, 1972 a gift from the folks at Farm Journal many years ago when I worked in Agri-Marketing for an ad agency in St. Joe, MO. The cookbook has seen a lot of love and even though it’s spine is broken, it continues to support my love of good home-cooking!
Our Book Club potluck was coming up, featuring the book Proof of Heaven a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. Our potluck theme was ‘what would you have for your last meal?’ I tripled the recipe so I could have enough Cobbler for the Book Club and for visiting family. It was hit with both groups. It’s delicious (even if I do say so myself) and a wonderful summer treat.
FRESH PEACH COBBLER
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup water
4 cups sweetened sliced peeled peaches
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix cornstarch, brown sugar, and water. Add peaches and cook until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Add butter and lemon juice. Pour into a greased 8″ round or square baking dish.
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and egg. Beat until butter is smooth.
Drop spoonfuls of Batter Topping over hot peach mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon white sugar.
Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, in bowls, with vanilla ice cream.
There is nothing more annoying than pesky yellow jackets when you’re trying to eat outside in the summer. In Colorado, we are fortunate to not have many bugs allowing us to leave our doors open without much concern of flying insects invading our homes. Growing up in Iowa, it was a race to get inside and shut the door before the flies, mosquitos, June bugs, moths, etc. dive bombed toward the door.
For each of the 24 years we’ve lived in our home, the yellow jackets smell food/BBQ when we’re on the patio and the panic is on. The girls freeze, run and scream into the house, slamming the door. What a waste of perfect Colorado summer outdoor dining.
Each year I purchase every type of yellow jacket trap and bait without catching a single yellow jacket. GRRRRR!
This year, I decided to try a DIY yellowjacket trap made from a 1 liter soda bottle. After 10 minutes of creating this gem of a trap, I started watching the clock to see if it worked. I used bits of turkey to lure the protein-seeking pests into my lair. Tick, Tock! Tick, Tock! No luck.
A week later, 2 flies…that’s it. Now I’ve added sugar water and we’ll see what happens Tick, Tock!
I have a hunch that the secret is in the bait. If you have a special yellow jacket concoction that works for you, please share! In the meantime, I’m proud of my homemade trap.
DIY YELLOW JACKET TRAP
1 empty 1 liter soda bottle
Knife or scissors
Stapler and Staples
Paper Hole Punch
Hook, washer or anything that allows you to secure the twister wire to something you can use to hang the trap. (I used an old picture hanger that had a hole in the middle.)
Bait (bits of meat, or sugar water)
Pam or cooking oil
Cut the top off of the soda bottle. Put top of bottle, upside down into the bottom of the bottle, creating a funnel/entrance for the yellow jackets.
Staple the two pieces of bottle together.
Punch 3 holes equal distance apart in the top of the trap.
Cut 3 pieces of wire, about 10-12″ long. Lace a piece of wire into each of the three holes and twists the end around the bottom of the wire to secure to the bottle.
Bring the three wires together at the top and twist all together.
Spray PAM in top of trap to create a slippery entrance to the trap.
Bait the trap with bits of meat or sugar water.
Hang in your yard (away from where children and pets may be)
Peach Salsa was a new discovery a few years ago. We’re lucky to live in the great state of Colorado which produces some of the finest peaches in the world. I love salsa, but fresh peach salsa is my favorite. My family has grown very fond of it and we can’t wait to have the first peach salsa of the season.
Peach Salsa was served last year as one of the dishes at daughter Megan’s bridal shower and included in the favor of three of her favorite dips. Today we’ll savor it and enjoy the last few days of summer in Colorado.
2 cups diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
fresh lime juice
Mix all ingredients together. Fantastic with chips; also great with grilled fish or chicken.
I am NOT a curry fan but my pantry held a lonely butternut squash and I was in the mood for soup. Every ingredient was on hand, except for the curry powder. Pal, Maribeth, to the rescue.
This recipe came from the cookbook, Colorado Classique, by the Junior League of Denver. WOWZA, is it good! I was so excited to share the news of this great recipe that I called older daughter, Megan, to extol the virtues of this wonderful fall soup. This recipe will officially become one of my new traditions.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP
2 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons of butter
2 ½ cups diced butternut squash
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
Pinch of grated (or ground) nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Whipped cream or sour cream and chopped parsley for garnish
In a 3 quart saucepan, sauté onions in butter for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Add squash and apples and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add flour, curry powder and nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add chicken broth, milk, half-and-half (or cream), and orange zest and juice. Simmer slowly, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper and sugar. Serve hot topped with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of parsley.
This soup improves with time. Prepare a day or two in advance and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.