I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Boneless Pork Chop Bake

I've been cooking for 50 years. I'm so tired of all the recipes I've made again and again that I need to find new ones. Now that I am retired, I have the time to research recipes, and every once in a while I find a winner. The one that follows is easy to make and delicious. I think you could use any kind of meat.

Boneless pork chops are baked with a flavorful sauce, delicious with rice or potatoes.

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a pie plate or wide, shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Lightly dredge chops in flour mixture. In a heavy skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Brown chops on both sides; transfer to a shallow baking dish. In the same skillet, sauté chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, and chopped celery until onion is tender; add mushrooms and continue cooking until onion lightly browns; add remaining 1/4 cup of flour, blending in well. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened. Taste and season to taste; add lemon juice. Pour sauce over chops in baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Serves 4 to 6.

Hello, Fall

Cool evenings = fun with friends 


Coral Flower Carpet rose opening

New plants in the window boxes

Carding Mill 

Carding Mill up close


Late volunteer tomato nestled in the leeks

Pepper plants that are still going strong

Zepherine Drouhin that I gave up on a couple months ago, has put on 3 feet of growth in the last few weeks.  I think it must have been too hot for her without an established root system to grow well this summer.

Pansies and gentian violet 

All pink Pinky Winkies

Pyracantha berries are cheerfully orange!



This poor blog is probably going to be quieter (at least from me) over the next several months.  Summer is ending and once I get a few cool weather annuals in I think I'll be happy to say goodbye to gardening maintenance for a few months.  I had a pretty large landscaping project planned for this fall but I think there is just not enough time to do it justice right now and honestly, I am not up to it.  It will have to wait until spring.

I did put in some fall veggies including broccoli, leeks, chard, spinach, bok choi and I think it is finally cool enough to go ahead with some lettuce seed.  We've still been getting lots of peppers off the plants and our beans are finally finishing up.  The kids are out there daily snapping them off the vines and crunching away on them as they run around and play.  Ella is especially looking forward to fresh spinach and broccoli!

We are fully back in the swing of homeschooling again and all our activities are up and running now too.  I've got a pretty hectic schedule due to our choice to participate in a myriad of activities for the kids.   The killer is swim team practice four nights per week!  I haven't even had a chance to sit down with either of those shirt patterns and cut out pieces and get to work.  However,  I helped my daughter and one of her friend make doll pillows with a (simple) pattern we found in Sewing School, so a little sewing has happened around here even if I wasn't the one doing much of the stitching!

All this is to say that my crockpot has been pressed into service and so far I've made one recipe that is really worth blogging about.  I am not one to follow a recipe.  I'll find something that looks good and easy to make I'll see if I have what I need on hand.  If not, I change the recipe to work with what I've got.   I used the Apple and Onion Beef Pot Roast recipe from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook as my inspiration.

Apple and Onion Beef Pot Roast 

3 lbs. boneless beef roast

2 apples, cored and sliced 

1 onion sliced

2 Tbls. of soy sauce

2 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup of water

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tsp. sea salt

Directions:  Brown the roast in a pan before putting into crockpot.   Mix salt and chopped garlic into the water and sauces.  Pour over roast.  Layer on apple and onion slices on top.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  

I served this with mashed potatoes - yum!  


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