Saturday evening Dick and I attended a community theater performance in Pequot Lakes (Minnesota), which is 17 miles north of Brainerd. The musical comedy was called A Don't Hug Me County Fair "where the Bunyan County Fair is the biggest thing that's happened since the winter carnival snowplow parade. Bunyan Bar owners Gunner and Clara Johnson are pumped for the County Fair Fishing Contest and the Miss Walleye Queen competition. Bernice, the pretty waitress, sees a chance to win Miss Walleye Queen and aspires to have her face carved in butter at the State Fair. The trouble begins when Clara decides she also wants to be Miss Walleye Queen and when Gunner's estranged twin sister, Trigger, shows up on the same quest things get ugly". The performance was so small-town... so Minnesotan. The show runs yet tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at the Pequot Lakes High School Theater. Tickets, which are available at the door, are $12 adults, $10 seniors (60 and older), and $8 youth.
Annually, at the Minnesota State Fair, the Midwest Dairy Association crowns a "Princess Kay of the Milky Way" selected from contestants from counties throughout the state. Since 1965, scupltures of the winning Princess Kay and other finalists have been carved, one per day, as fair goers watch from outside a glass-walled walk-in refrigerator. Each finalist sits motionless over a span of 6-8 hours while a sculptor carves their likeness from a 90 pound block of butter. (Source: midwestdairy.com.)
Kristy Mussman 2008 Princess Kay of the Milky Way
There is nothing quite like opening your mailbox to discover a handwritten letter from someone. Before even tearing open the envelope, it's the stamp that sends a message. So when my trip to the post office today produced these "king and queen of hearts" stamps, I got excited. Stamps that excite me are too few and far between.
Look what grew from tiny seeds imbedded in my plantable calendar pages! They are such beautiful wildflowers that I researched online to learn that they are "plains coreopsis".
The following two photos that I found on www.wildflowerinformation.org helped me identify the flower. I found it quickly by typing "yellow" in the color category. Info is also sorted by common name, botanical name, height, No. American growing region, USDA zone, sun or shade preference, type (annual or perennial), soil preference, and moisture needs. The web site has wonderful photos and info about each plant, as well as a link to a site where the seeds may be purchased.
I enclosed my flowers in tomato cages because they are so tall that they were beginning to get a little too floppy. If you grew a larger patch of them, I think they would help support each other.
My friend, Connie, shared this pancake recipe with me a couple days ago. I have already made it twice since then. One time using the original recipe and the second time with Connie's adaptations. Both ways produced equally light and tasty pancakes. Blueberries add a wonderful natural sweetness.
Oat Cornmeal Pancakes
Cut quantities in half if serving 2 people.
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour.)
1/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal run through flour grinder or food processor or use packaged oat flour (Connie used 2/3 cup oatmeal instead.)
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal (Connie used 2 tbsp.)
1/3 cup unbleached white flour (I used Gold ‘n White Flour.)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 tbsp butter, melted (I used olive oil.)
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together. Add wet to dry stirring until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
On Saturday, June 20th, while Dick attended the "Back to the Fifties" vintage car event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, I drove over to the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis. This colorful skirt beckoned me into a clothing vendor's booth set up at the farthest corner from the market's street entrance. The Minneapolis business owned by two young women named Molly and Sarah is named "Sassy"... how appropo for this "salsa skirt" with naturally-ruffled bands of knit fabric at the skirt's lower edge and one side longer than the other. Their handmade clothing is "made from hand-dyed organic cotton and recycled materials". Their goods can be purchased from their online shop as well as Saturdays May 9th - October 17, 2009 at the weekly Mill City Farmers Market. I just know this would look absolutely adorable on my little granddaughter who turns 1 on Sunday, July 12. I mailed it off today.
I must say... this year's 4th of July goes down as my most memorable. Our decision to attend Garrison Keillor's 35th anniversary live Prairie Home Companion broadcast in Avon, Minnesota this past Saturday was an unbelievable experience! Dick and I, accompanied by my sister Rita and her husband Jerry, arrived at Lake Wobegon Park at noon to set our lawn chairs in place then we hit the Lake Wobegon bike trail to ride 6 miles to Albany then back to Avon to eat our picnic lunch while we waited for the 4:45 p.m. performance to begin. Take a look at this photo so you can see how close we were to the stage... 4th row back to be exact. I did not zoom in to take this photo. It is exactly what we saw from where we sat. (Actually if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll get a more accurate idea of our vantage point.) To fully appreciate our proximity to the outdoor stage, you must realize that there were thousands in attendance and the crowds stretched a very very long way behind us.
As a tribute to the celebration of our country's Independence Day, patriot songs, poems, and stories were interspersed throughout the performance. At one point a breeze caused a stack of papers laying on the podium to scatter to the stage floor. Their sequence now in disarray, a visibly shaken and flustered stage hand attempted to rapidly restore their order. The live nature of the show did not afford them the luxury of retaping or "taking five" to reestablish a prior point in time. How did Mr. Keillor react to the unscripted situation? He calmly picked up a few papers and began to gently fan the face of a World War II veteran, that was sharing his life story, to cool him on a hot early July evening. Having been a guest at another of his Prairie Home Companion broadcasts a couple years ago at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, my observation is that this easy-going manner is his trademark. His slow paced, but deliberate, rambling storytelling style has a magically calming effect on his listeners.
Don't ya just love Garrison Keillor's casual attire right down to his trademark red socks and sneakers?
The "fine folks of Avon" apparently didn't envision the huge turnout for this event, so the Beebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie & Powdermilk Biscuit-Strawberry Shortcake was sold out well before the crowds had satisfied their craving to sample the enticing desserts. In fact, the last piece of rhubarb pie was sold to the person standing directly in front of Rita and I in the long... very long, but rapidly moving, line we stood in to purchase one! Despite, or because of, not being able to try them, it peaked my curiosity to research powdermilk biscuits. Are they biscuits made with dry milk powder? Buttermilk powder? Are they just a figment of Mr. Keillor's wild imagination?
Thank you, Garrison Keillor, for sharing your talents and entertaining us on this 4th of July 2009 as you have done so eloquently for the past 35 years. You have provided a snippet in time to be remembered for years to come and have set a standard to aim towards... a simple slower-paced Lake Wobegon lifestyle and attitude, even if just for a moment each day, to slow our breath and absorb our surroundings and appreciate the people who are part of our lives.
Saturday, July 4, 2009 Today’s mileage: 12-mile bike ride on the Lake Wobegon Trail from Avon to Albany and back to Avon Total Mileage for July: 16 miles Bible reading? No.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Today’s mileage: 12-mile bike ride on the Lake Wobegon Trail from Avon to Albany and back to Avon
Total Mileage for July: 16 miles
Bible reading? No.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Today’s mileage: 0
Total Mileage for July: 16 miles (same as yesterday)
Bible reading? Yes.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Today’s mileage: 4-mile bike ride from home to the Crow Wing Co. Airport and the County Garage and back home
Total Mileage for July: 20 miles
Bible reading? Yes.
Tonight I packed a picnic lunch for Dick and I to take along to Avon (Minnesota) for Garrison Keillor's 35th anniversary performance at Lake Wobegon Park tomorrow. We're going to set our lawn chairs in place to mark our spot then hit the bike trail until the 4:45 live radio broadcast draws near. I made these bars to pack along with our sandwiches, boiled eggs, and fresh fruit and veggies. They are surprisingly extremely light considering the ingredients and they have one very strange ingredient... a can of navy beans! The beans, which are pureed in a food processor, are invisible to sight and taste but add a wonderfully smooth texture, bind the mixture together, and add a whopping amount of protein and fiber. The bars' ingredients include 4 out of 12 of the most potent micronutrient-rich foods recommended by Dana Jacobi in her 12 Best Foods Cookbook including beans, oats, walnuts, and chocolate. (She recommends black beans, but I think navy, kidney, pinto, etc. all fall into the nutrient-rich category).
Ultimate Energy Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour.)
2 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp raw wheat germ, 2 tbsp raw sunnies, 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (my additions)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ 1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
15-oz can organic white kidney beans or navy beans, rinsed and drained (or black, pinto, aduki, etc... you decide)
¼ cup Earth Balance (a non-hydrogenated buttery spread made from an oil blend) I subbed ¼ cup prune purée (one 2.5 ounce jar baby food prunes works wonderfully.) 1 cup packed brown sugar or Sucanat I subbed ¼ cup maple syrup + ¼ cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips (I omitted, but try a 70% dark chocolate bar finely chopped?)
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
¼- ½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup *coconut (My sister, Rita, thought some coconut would be a tasty addition... and it is.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Place oats in a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse flour. Transfer ground oats into a mixing bowl. Add flour, flax, wheat germ, sunnies, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk until combined. Put beans into food processor and pulse until puréed. Add prune purée, maple syrup, honey, egg, and vanilla and pulse until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Pour bean mixture into oat mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add chocolate chips, raisins/cranberries, and nuts. Stir until just blended. Spread the batter into a 9- by 13-inch pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. (To assure ease of removal, I lined the pan with unbleached parchment paper lightly oiling underneath and on top. Oiling the pan before laying the paper down keeps it in place when spreading the batter.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden around the edges. Cool in the pan. (I spread strawberry rhubarb preserves on top.) Cut into 15 squares or halve the bars to make 30. *Organic unsweetened coconut with no sulfites or preservatives is a good choice.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Today’s mileage: 0
Total Mileage for July: 4 miles (same as yesterday)
Bible reading? Yes.
Last week, Dick and I had this conversation: Dick: "It's the 4th of July next weekend." Adrienne: "Oh no, it's not." Dick: "Yes, it is." Adrienne: "No, it's not. Today's June 16th. It's 2 1/2 weeks away." A calendar ended our disagreement abruptly. It was the 26th of June. The next weekend was the 4th of July. Where had June gone?? The summer... the year... life is slipping by. As songs often do, one spoke to me... "Just Go" by Lionel Richie featuring hip hop and R&B singer Akon. You absolutely must listen to it. It has such a happy lively beat and the message... listen to the message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j3zZj5wZWI
Dick and I both fill our days with so many things that keep us busy from morning 'til nighttime. Lionel Richie's "Just Go" lyrics reminded me that we need to "Drop everything and just go." If I am too busy to go off on little adventures then that prevents Dick from experiencing memory-making moments, as well. Truth be told, he needs prying away, too, since he is as goal/task oriented as I am. Lionel's message is repeated throughout the song. "I know you like to get away, go away, far away to a place where there's just us two. Got a busy day everyday but not today cause I'm here to take that stress from you." This summer, I have planned more outings for us than I have in the past. I haven't let my business or home responsiblities slide, but some things that don't really matter can wait or be deleted from my to-do list because the truth is... they really don't matter. So, my next adventure is participating in an event on the 4th of July in the town of Avon, which is near St. Cloud, Minnesota. Garrison Keillor is celebrating his 35th year doing the Prairie Home Companion Radio Show by performing a live show starting at 4:45 p.m. at Lake Wobegon Park in Avon on July 4, 2009. His web site, where you can find additional info, states that the live broadcast is free and open to the public. You just need to bring your own lawn chairs. I would expect that it will be a popular event, so it would be prudent to arrive as early as possible. Mr. Keillor states on his web site that "The fine folks of Avon will have some food and ice cold beverages on sale at the park including: Ice Cream Cones, Sloppy Joes, Brats, Hot Dogs, Burgers, Taco-in-a-bag, Walleye Sandwiches, and for dessert there will be Beebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie & Powdermilk Biscuit-Strawberry Shortcake." Sounds like a small-town, Lake Wobegon sort of fun time to me. We're going to "drop everything and just go".
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Today's mileage: 2-mile walk
Total mileage for July: 4 miles
Bible reading? Yes
Most mornings Dick and I have a bowl of oatmeal topped with a variety of fresh fruit, ground flax and nuts and seeds like walnuts and raw sunnies. My oatmeal supply was nearly depleted, so I decided to try a buckwheat oatbran pancake recipe. It is a vegan recipe because it has no eggs and uses orange juice instead of milk. What a treat they turned out to be... so light and fluffy, not what you'd imagine buckwheat pancakes to be! I sprinkled a few blueberries on top after pouring the batter onto the griddle and served them with chokecherry syrup made by Brambleberry Farm in Pequot Lakes (Minnesota) that I purchased at our local farmers market. You'll be eating breakfast as quickly as the time it takes to cook old-fashioned oatmeal.
The recipe came from my 12 Best Foods Cookbook by Dana Jacobi. The cookbook "identifies 12 of the most potent micronutrient-rich foods including broccoli, black beans, tomatoes, salmon, soy, sweet potatoes, oats, onions, blueberries, walnuts, spinach, and chocolate that can help protect you against major disease and provides over 200 recipes starring these ingredients".
Buckwheat Oat Bran Pancakes
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup oat bran
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup defrosted orange juice concentrate ¾ cup orange juice (I didn’t have any frozen o.j., so I substituted reg. o.j. I increased the amount because the batter was way too dry. ¾ cup is just perfect.)
2 tbsp walnut oil or canola oil
Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk orange juice and oil together then add to dry ingredients mixing just until blended. Don’t overmix. Pour scant ¼ cup batter on oiled heated skillet spreading it into 5” rounds. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top, if desired. When top is covered with small bubbles and dry around the edges, flip pancakes and cook on other side until brown. Serve immediately or keep pancakes in a 200° oven while making the remainder of the batch.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Today's mileage: 2-mile walk
Total mileage for July: 2 miles
Bible reading? yes