Happy Thanksgiving


Reflections on the 4th of July

While this  past weekend  was filled with a birthday party and visiting the family, Monday was a day to focus on Patriotic  explorations.

a patriotic door on the Morven house, former Governor's residence

First we took a drive to Princeton, to take part in the celebration at the Historic Morven house and museum and gardens.   A July 4th Jubilee Celebration was taking place on the grounds.    Volunteers
were milling about in period costumes.   You could run into “George Washington” and have a chat , and “Molly Pitcher”. There were display tents set up representing  Early Domestic arts including leaf print making, 18th century games, 18th century ice cream making, and spices of the same period- we used our olfactory sense to sample  mace, and other  unheard of spices in today’s times.

a patriotoc lecture on Molly Pitcher, and the lives of the women who "belonged to the army " during the American Revolution.

during the Jubilee, you sign the Declaration of Independence.

Everyone could hold a feather pen and “sign the Declaration of Independence; not the real one, of course.

Inside the Morven house, we  went to the second floor to explore the current exhibit called “the Stars and Stripes, Fabric of the American Spirit”  . This was from the Pearce collection of the American Parade Flags.   There was a time when our ancestors used to write on our American flag.  Here, you could trace the history of our national emblem from it’s  beginnings in 1777 into the twentieth century.

sample of American Parade flags

American Parade flags

The arrangement of the stars on the American flag was not defined for almost 100 years!

The first official Columbus day- 1892 marks the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

48 Star Red Cross Nurse Flag- carried in 1918 at the end of the World War I

patriotic American flags in the courtyard of Morven

Morven's brick backyard of the gardens

George Washington’s birthday in Virginia

If you’ve got a three-day week-end off, then Virginia is the place to visit.  You’ll find a list of events in celebration of George Washington’s birthday.

If you can’t make the trip to Virginia,  why don’t you  cook up some Hoe cakes  in your own kitchen , on an iron griddle for the best taste.

Recipes for “Hoe cakes” are at the bottom of this post.


General George will be greeting guest to his 297th birthday party this weekend at
the Mount Vernon Estate.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – George Washington’s hometown has never been short on celebrations honoring the birthday of its first president.

Hoecakes swimming in butter at Mount Vernon? Check.

A Massive parade in Old Town? Check.

The nation’s first president will be honored on the 279th anniversary of his birth with a parade in his hometown of Alexandria on Monday, February 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Old Town.

Photo by John Arundel <br />Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday Party for General Washington daily through the weekend<br />
Photo by John Arundel
Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday
Party for General Washington daily through
the weekend

The George Washington Birthday Parade, the largest and oldest in the country celebrating this Founding Father, will wind its way through the historic streets of Old Town where Washington lived, worshiped and conducted business.

Annually the parade includes thousands of participants including historical, community and youth groups, bands, horses and canines. Spectators line the brick sidewalks along the one-mile parade route.

Events throughout the weekend in Alexandria will celebrate Washington’s legacy with an historic reenactment at Fort Ward Park, the Birthnight Banquet & Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern, a 10-K race, the first ever one-mile race just before the parade, plus free admission to historic sites on parade day.

Historic Mount Vernon presents a Surprise Birthday Party for General Washington daily through the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday, February 19 and 20
Breakfast with George Washington at Historic Mount Vernon
9 a.m. to noon, while supplies last

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Included in regular admission

Celebrate George Washington’s birthday by joining the General for breakfast as he enjoys his favorite morning meal, “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey,” cooked over an open fire (while supplies last).

Pull up a hay bale and chat with the Father of Our Country about politics, farming, the Revolutionary War, and life in the 18th century.

Following the breakfast sampling, families can participate in a “Surprise Birthday Party” for General Washington that includes rousing birthday cheers and a serenade, patriotic music and more.

February 6 – 12
Third Annual Cherry Challenge
Throughout Alexandria
Alexandria restaurants are creating unique menu items featuring cherries in celebration of one of the most cherished legends surrounding George Washington. Each restaurant will develop its own cherry cocktail, appetizer, entrée, or dessert. Try them all and vote for your favorite. Winners are given special recognition at the George Washington Birthday Parade. Participating restaurants include Dishes of India, Fontaine Caffe and Creperie, Food Matters, Hank’s Oyster Bar, King Street Blues Old Town, Murphy’s Irish Pub, Pizzaiolo Café, Ramparts, Seagar’s Restaurant (Hilton Old Town), Shooter McGee’s, St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, Tempo and The Light Horse.

Recipe:   Hoe Cakes

Hoe cakes are similar to pancakes but prepared with cornmeal instead.

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • oil for frying

Put the tea kettle on to boil. In a large bowl combine the corn meal and salt. When the water boils, measure it in a metal or tempered-glass measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir it up. The cornmeal will swell up, absorbing the water, and making a very thick mash.

Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. You can use as little as two tablespoon of oil per panful, but it is a little easier to use 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil for each panful. Use your waistline and frying skill as the final judge. Now scoop up a little of the cornmeal mush (about 1/4-cup) and shape it into a patty. It will still be warm from the boiling water, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can let it cool down some more first if you like. Plop the patty into the hot fat, and get it to frying. Make some more, until you have a whole pan full. I usually cook about 4 or 5 at a time. When the underside is crispy brown, turn them and cook the other side. When both sides are crispy and brown, transfer them to a plate to keep warm, and start another batch. This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.

Originally, Native Americans cooked these on hot rocks in an open fire. They were commonly referred to as Ash Cakes. Later on, settlers from Europe adopted the recipe, cooking the cakes on the blades of their hoes in the fireplace. This is where they get the name, “Hoe Cakes”. Of all the recipes in my collection, this one is the oldest, the cheapest, and just about the tastiest of all. Serve Hoe Cakes with as a bread, or by themselves for breakfast with maple syrup or molasses. They also make a nice accompaniment to main meals, especially when fried in margarine. In the summertime, when you want a hot bread, but don’t want to heat up the oven, this is the best choice. They cook right on top of the stove, without heating up the entire house. Good for camping and back packing too.

Another favorite southern bread recipe are biscuits. My biscuit mix made from white flour makes it easy to bake up a batch of them for breakfast or dinner.


Paula Deen’s recipe for Hoe Cakes

HoecakesRecipe Courtesy of Paula Deen

These hoecakes have always been one of my signature dishes.

Servings: 16 hoecakes (give or take)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

Oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup buttermilk
2   eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended: Aunt Jemima’s)
1 cup self-rising flour


Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake (pancake).  Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Chef’s Note: Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Today is Armistice day,Veterans Day-Lest We Forget

” That is one thing that we have to take care of more than ourselves”. quoted from my Great Uncle Kenneth.

On Veterans Day, today, I’d like to remember my Great Uncle who served in the WW II during the 40’s in the 42nd Airborne division of the Army. They were shooting at the German planes.   These Military photos from the 1940’s portray what is was really like in those times.

Some of them have his handwriting on the back. There are photos of my Great Uncle’s  friends whose relatives I may never know,forever  preserved in their youth ,wearing in military gear.

My father was in the military, the navy on a PT boats  in the South Pacific.

my Great Uncle's hand writing home to his mother.

Great Uncle Kayo and his soldier buddies

“Just a few of us who had to crawl in deep mud under machine gun fire and dynamite blowing up around us .  My rifle was clean compared to others. ” That is one thing that we have to take care of more than ourselves.”

My uncles soldier buddies taking a break, ticking pillows & cot mattresses airing.

My Great Uncle K fought in Europe, in Germany with the 42nd Division Airborne, Rhineland (Rainbow).

My Great Uncle Butch fought in the South Pacific in the 1940″s.  On the converse, my  Great Uncle Tom completed his Basic Training at  Fort  Indian Gap, Pennsylvania and then traveled out west to work in the Copper mines; the Copper mines needed workers,as quoted by my mom, ” it was a choice, work in the mines or military.”

What is Veterans Day?
United States President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919 by saying, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

Veteran’s Day began as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That war, known at the time as the Great War, sparked an outpouring of still-remembered poems.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy 4th of July- Celebrate Independence Day!

We celebrate our independence on the 4th of July each year!

a title=”4th Of July Antique Postcard” href=”http://www.cardcow.com/146478/4th-july-holidays/”&gt;4th Of July Antique Postcard

Wishing You A Glorious 4th Of July Postcard

Cinco de Mayo is here- May 5, 2010

Feliz  Cinco  de Mayo

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I am featuring a recipe with the name from one of the states in Mexico, Veracruz.

Pork Chops Veracruz

6 servings

1/4 cup bacon fat

1 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

6 thick pork chops

2 teaspoons dry mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions

2 green peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into strips


1.  Heat the bacon fat and add the garlic.  Cook stirrring but do not brown.

2.  Smear the pork chops with the mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brown on both sides in the bacon fat and add the wine and orange juice.   Cook over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced.  Add the onion slices and green pepper.  Cover the pan.

3.  Continue cooking over low heat until the chops are tender, for one  to one and a half hours.  If desired add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot , with rice.


The New York Times International cookbook       by Craig Claiborne

Note:  I am so delighted with this cookbook.  I found it at a used booksale in town of Cranford, N.J.  a few years ago.  It’s my found treasure.

Cinco De Mayo History:

Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.  The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on  May 5, 1862.  The victory delayed the French advance on Mexico City.

In the United States, it is a date to celebrate the cultures and experiences of Americans with Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick’s day, Octoberfest and Chinese New Year are used to clebrate Irish, German and Chinese respectively.  Similarly, the Italian Americans  celebrate Columbus day.

Happy Valentine’s day and Lucky by Colbie Caillat

 Happy Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s sugar cookies











 (feat. Colbie Caillat)

Do you hear me,I’m talking to you

 Across the water across the deep blue ocean

 Under the open sky, oh my, baby I’m trying

 Boy I hear you in my dreams

I feel your whisper across the sea

 I keep you with me in my heart

 You make it easier when life gets hard

 I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend

 Lucky to have been where I have been

 Lucky to be coming home again

 Waiting for a love like this

 Every time we say goodbye I wish we had one more kiss

I’ll wait for you I promise you,I will

 I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

 Lucky to be coming home again

 Lucky we’re in love every way

 Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed

 Lucky to be coming home someday

And so I’m sailing through the sea

 To an island where we’ll meet

You’ll hear the music fill the air

 I’ll put a flower in your hair

Though the breezes through trees

Move so pretty you’re all I see

As the world keeps spinning round

You hold me right here right now

 I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

Lucky to be coming home again

 I’m lucky we’re in love every way

 Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed

 Lucky to be coming home someday

Happy New Year!

New Year Cards: Ivy

Hello and Happy New year!

On New Year’s eve, we went ballroom dancing; some of the dance steps were rumba, cha-cha, fox-trot, tango, and the waltz. When we danced the waltz, I would close my eyes and feel like gliding across the dance floor.

On New Year’s day, we drove to Philadelphia to watch the annual Mummer’s parade. We’ve been doing this the last 7 year or 8 years.

Translation for my Italian friends:

Ciao e Felice Anno Nuovo! Il ultimo dell’anno, siamo andati liscio; alcuni dei passi di ballo sono state Rumba, Cha-Cha, fox-trot, tango, e valzer. Quando si balla il valzer, vorrei chiudere il mio occhi e sentirsi come deltaplano attraverso la pista da ballo. Il Primo dell’anno, ci hanno spinto a Philadelphia a guardare la annuale “Mummer’s Parade.” Abbiamo iniziato a farlo l’ultimo sette o otto anni.

Joy to the World-Skywatch Friday

Joy to the World, birds in flight.

Joy to the World Lyrics

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Joy to the World Lyrics
Christmas Carol Lyrics

♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪…And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪… “”Copy and paste .

Ruby Tuesday- 4th of July Celebration

Patriotic little girl smiles!

Patriotic little girl smiles!

Boom, Boom
Boom, Boom

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