About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Year of Firsts

One of the best things about having a young child at home is experiencing the "firsts" with them. 2011 was a year of "firsts" for my son.

First kill.

First sleepover. (I was being brave with all the boys in the house).

First time to build a chicken coop.

First lunch preparation.

First fish caught in the big, deep sea.

First time staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge.

First time eating a Zesto's chocolate-dipped ice cream cone.

First horseback riding lesson.

I wanted to share our year of firsts, hopefully to get you thinking about the "firsts" in your life this past year.

I am taking a "bloggie break" for the next 11 days to rest and catch up with family and friends. See you at the first of 2012!

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scared or Sleepy at Disney?

We traveled to Florida to go to Disney World last week. I psyched myself up to ride the rides with my son and husband - well, most of them. If it twirled me 'round and 'round or had a huge hill to free fall down, it was promptly marked off the list. "Everyone knows...." (do I sound like Phaedra on the Real Housewives of Atlanta??) Anyway, everyone knows motion sickness stalks The Country Belle like Miss Pitty Pat the kitty cat stalks a lizard in our backyard. But not everyone knows I am afraid of hills on roller coasters. I will turn and twist upside down and sideways, but please do not put me on a Thunder Road of a roller coaster.

Here I was on a coaster. Multiple choice: Am I about to... (A) hurl (B) sleep (C) pray.

C is the correct answer.

I think my son may be about to doze off. Show-off.

Have a happy day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mama's Five-Flavor Cake

I made an easy and great cake over Thanksgiving, which is actually a little early for me. I usually bake this cake over the Christmas holidays. It's one of "Mama's" recipes. She used to make it for a few customers each year who couldn't get enough. I love it because I'm not much of a baker and it starts with a cake mix but SO TASTES 100% HOMEMADE. I believe Sandra Lee calls that "semi-homemade."

Five-Flavor Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 sm. package (4 servings) instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup oil (I use canola)
5 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. each: vanilla, butter, rum, coconut, and lemon flavorings

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then spray bundt cake pan and spread pecans in the bottom of the pan.

Mix together dry ingredients - cake mix, instant pudding, and nutmeg.
Add the wet ingredients - oil, eggs, water and flavorings. Beat with a mixer for about 2 minutes on high speed.

Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake 45-50 minutes.
Meanwhile, about 10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven, prepare the glaze.

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. each: vanilla, butter, rum, coconut, and lemon flavorings

In a boiler on the stove top, combine all the above ingredients and boil for 3 minutes, constantly stirring. You need to stay by the pot and stir, because the ingredients will boil over in a skinny second.

Here's the finished glaze.

When the cake comes out of the oven, pour half of the glaze over it immediately. Let it sit in the pan 10 minutes.

Turn the cake onto a cake plate and drizzle the remaining glaze over the top.

The glaze puddles around the bottom. Delicious.

Let the cake cool completely before you cover it.

This cake is particularly good a day or two after you make it. It gives enough time for the glaze to fully penetrate the cake and make it extra moist.

It may not be the most beautiful cake in the world, but it is one of the most flavorful I've ever had.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gracias. Merci. Grazie. Thank you.

My son brought home a list of "thank you's" from his church-school class this past Sunday.

Gracias (Spanish)
Merci (French)
Grazie (Italian)
Asante (Swahili)
Anku (Dutch)
Obrigado (Portuguese)
Klitos (Finnish)
Salamat tagalog (Filipino)
Thank you.

On this Thanksgiving week (my favorite holiday, by the way - devoid of gifty commercialism or continuous parties just delicious food, fun, family and friends), I am thankful for:

A nice, sturdy, house with a non-leaky roof

Plenty of food

Every single family member under my roof and under other roofs

Good health

A church to call my own with lots of friends there

My friends who live in other states and just down the road

My cell phone to call all those in other states (and those just down the road)

A reliable car

Enough money for gas for that reliable car


A job

My husband's job

A Savior who gives me hope.

Don't think this is the full list. It's just the beginning. When I sit and write it all down, I realize I don't have one reason to complain. If something is not right, I need to sit and read this list and realize that enough is just as perfect as it can be this side of heaven.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011


We ought to value adaptability as one of the character traits we aspire to have. If you think about it, adaptability usually breeds joyfulness. Adaptability is about flexibility and making the most of every situation. If you're able to do that, then you're able to feel joy in the moment and in your circumstances.

My weekend was all about adaptability.

First, my son had to participate in a swim meet Saturday. I was determined I was going to be the parent who sat in the stands cheering on my son, while Mr. Country Belle participated as the requisite parent volunteer. I thought after homeschooling all week, working, cooking, and generally schlepping my son all around town, I deserved to sit on my tushy and just watch.

Then the meet organizer climbed the bleacher steps, looked at me with puppy dog eyes, and said, "I need ONE MORE timer [to time the swimmers' races].

So I stood at the side of the pool for three hours and timed races. Adaptability.

My next plan of action on Sunday was to once again sit on my tushy, read the newspaper, and generally surround myself with nature on the backyard deck. After all, it isn't often we get the 76 degree sunny day in November the weather forecaster predicted for Sunday afternoon.

Then we returned from church and I was all ready for the backyard. And then it started to drizzle. And then it turned into a drizzly, slushy mess. And the clouds never lifted and it was 15 degrees below the forecasted temperature.

So I watched "I Love Lucy" with my son and cleaned out an entire kitchen cabinet and reorganized it. Then I prepared my table with Thanksgiving linens and decorations. Then I wrote an article for a client. Adaptability.

It's something I have to work on, as I love my big, deep rut of a life. But I think I did pretty well this weekend.

Happy week,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Learning from a Child

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Well, admittedly, you can't teach THIS old dog new tricks. She's so old she sometimes doesn't even remember her OLD tricks. (Help! I've fallen and I can't get up.)

But you can teach ME new tricks (I refuse to call myself an old dog). I'll tell you what I mean: I am learning to read Latin.

I just love this homeschooling thing. I'm not teaching Latin (soooooo unqualified), but my son is taking an outside class with a retired minister. And I help my son study for quizzes. AND I KNOW ALL THE VOCABULARY HE KNOWS. Woo!_Hoo!

I don't know all the verb conjugations, but give me time. His brain is a lot younger than mine, but I will catch up. I have YEARS of good study habits on me.

My son also takes an outside art history class, something else I am totally unqualified to teach.

He gets excited about painting like Mary Cassatt.

And making "stained glass" like Louis Comfort Tiffany.

He just wasn't interested when I suggested I could teach him how to draw stick figures.

He also takes an outside Spanish class. I haven't learned much yet, but I do know the most important word in Spanish: the word for vacuum. I love telling him to use the "la aspiradora" in my Southern drawl.

I'm hoping all this brain exercise will decrease my chances of dementia in a few years. But after all, if I lose my mind, I'm sure it will be because of a myriad of other reasons.

Happy weekend! Keep learnin'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Beauty Products for Dry Skin

In my last post, The Short List of Beauty Products I Can't Live Without, I listed 3 of the products I use every day, without fail, on my dry skin. Here are the other 3 products I can't seem to do without:

#4 - No. 7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum - $19.95 at Target. It's an anti-wrinkle serum. Need I say more, ladies? And it adds a little moisture in the a.m. under makeup.

#5 - RE9 Night Repair Creme - $85 from arbonne.com. If you have dry skin, there's nothing like this night cream to ward away the dreaded flaky skin in the morning.

#6 - I like to follow my p.m. cleanser with RE9 Regenerating Toner, also from http://www.arbonne.com/. $35, and it won't dry out your skin when removing the last traces of makeup.

So there you have it. I'm not a frou-frou girl, but every woman ought to have a few weapons in her beauty arsenal.

'Till next time,

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Short List of Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

I don't consider myself a high-maintenance type of girl, but there are a handful of beauty products that I just simply can't do without. There are six of them to be exact. Some are slightly pricey but most are surprisingly affordable. Here are the first three beauty products that are a necessity for my dry and maturing (ahem) skin:

#1 - Aveeno Positively Radiant daily moisturizer - This little jewel can be found at most drugstores and even some nice grocery stores like Publix. For $15.99 (Publix price), it instantly (and I mean instantly) brightens dull morning skin because it contains soy. I once got a compliment from a guy friend that my skin looked radiant. Did you hear that ladies? A GUY noticed. The SPF 15 is a nice bonus.

#2 - Lacura Hydrating facial cleanser - This bad girl won't hardly touch your wallet at a budget-friendly $2.49 at Aldi. Great in the morning or evening, it is the perfect cleanser for very dry winter skin.

#3 - Olay Quench daily lotion (plus shimmer) - I have tried practically every lotion on the market - from the cheapest of the cheap to the mac-daddy expensive. This middle of the line product keeps my skin "ash" free in the winter and super soft. I really don't care what it costs. It's great and I refuse to switch. $7-$8 at most drugstore and grocery retailers.

I will round out the top six in the next post this week.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Favorite Bible Studies for Women

There are so many Bible Studies out there, and many are written and designed specifically for women. I'm listing a few that I really enjoyed and learned from. I am not including links because you can google the titles and authors and find them just about anywhere.

My all-time favorite Bible Study (so far) is "Daniel" by Beth Moore. I almost didn't enroll in this study at my local church. I thought, "I know all about Daniel and the lion's den. What else is there to learn from this short book of the Bible?" I couldn't have been more wrong. There is so much prophecy packed into this book, and I learned more about the Bible than I ever have in one class. I learned just as much about Revelation as Daniel in this fascinating study. It is a little pricey (if you try to buy the videos - which I highly recommend) - but many churches have it and may offer it or loan it out to members.

I also learned from:

"A Woman's Walk with God" by Sheila Cragg. She presents much good information about strengthening your spiritual life in times of trouble and in everyday living. Short reading passages are followed by fill-in-the-blank discussion questions that you can personalize. The study really made me think.

"A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place" by Beth Moore. See a pattern here? Her style of teaching jives with my way of receiving. I've tried the audiotapes with her studies, but the visual DVDs are really the way to go.

Do you have a favorite Bible Study? I'd really like to hear so I can check out some new ones.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Boys, Boys, Boys

Did you think this post was going to be about all the cute male species out in the world? Shame on you. You obviously haven't been reading my blog much. I'm very married and very in the country and very locked in the house homeschooling and working from a home office. I guess a better title post would be: Boys, Boys, Boys (Need to Read, Read, Read).

I do, however, have very personal experiences with the two males that live in my home. (I'll only discuss issues unrelated to body noises. If you have a boy or are married, I fear you know what I mean. Sorry.)

If it wasn't for all the animals in and around our house (all curiously female), I would be the only estrogen around.

What I have to say is that I have a heck of a time getting my boy (not the man of the house) to read. I bought him a bookmark with a built-in timer so he could set it to read 30 minutes per day as part of our homeschool lesson. If it weren't for that handy bookmark, I'd be wrangling with him over whether he read just 25 minutes or **horror of horrors** 31 minutes per day.

So how (ecstatically) happy I was to see this taking place ON A WEEKEND afternoon.
It's the comics, but it's the newspaper AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO SET THE READING TIMER. Maybe there's hope yet. I keep saying, "If you can read well, you can learn anything."

And yes, I know Anthony Bourdain is on in the background, but notice my beloved is looking at the paper and not the TV. Progress!

One helpful lesson my son is seeing is how TV producers take liberties with written material. For example, he has enjoyed for the last year watching the 1970s Little House on the Prairie TV series. He is currently reading his way through the 9-volume Little House set of books and often points out to me how the book differs from the TV portrayal. He seems to be realizing it's better to read to learn more details.

I like to read non-fiction and am reading a couple of books about boys now. I will share in a future post when I've made my way a little further through them.

In the meantime, happy hump day!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Deviled Chicken Wings

I promised I would share the recipe I used for Deviled Chicken Wings in my last post. It originally comes from Sheila Lukins' book, Celebrate! I, of course, always tweak my recipes somewhat to suit my family's taste. Every time I have made these wings, there are never any leftovers. A hit! (Refer to my last post about why I, sadly, do not have a photo of these wings).

Deviled Chicken Wings

5 lbs. chicken wings
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
coarse sea salt, to taste
1/2  tsp. paprika
1 small red onion, diced, OR 4 scallions, sliced, OR onion powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put wings in a bowl and toss with garlic. Melt butter and olive oil together and whisk in all other ingredients except red onion. Pour over the wings and toss well, coating them. Put the wings on a wire rack in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Lightly dust the cooked wings with extra paprika and red onion/scallions/onion powder (your choice). Eat right away! They are best hot from the oven.

PS. I added the wire rack in the baking process. When I tried them without it, the wings were soggy on the underside. With the rack, they are uniformly crispy.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Haven't Been to the Grocery Store in Two Weeks

When I get busy with schooling, work projects, and just plain runnin' around, I can't find one minute to go to the grocery store. Sound crazy? If you're a homeschooling or professional work-at-home-office mom like me, I bet you understand 100%.

That's why when I get a slow week, I stock the freezer with grocery store and Sam's Wholesale Club items to beat the "what is there to eat around here" blues. Plus, you know I have one of my freezers insanely stocked with venison, one of the healthiest meats around.

So up this week was:

Cubed venison steak
brown rice & gravy
Lima beans
biscuits ya'll

Deviled chicken wings
red potatoes with butter and chives
celery & ranch dressing

Corned beef brisket

My family was not even aware I had not visited the store. Thumbs up for smart provisioning.

I'll share the deviled chicken wings recipe in the next post. I so wanted to share a photo of them with you, but my husband eats too darned fast.

Happy day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy

There's been a lot of discussion out in marketplace the last couple of years about ways to get kids to eat healthy foods. Since I'm really into taking care of myself through eating right, taking vitamins and natural supplements, using homeopathic remedies, eating organic and growing some of my own produce, and lifting weights, it's an important topic for me, too.

But it seems all the talk centers around how to "trick" kids into eating healthy - you know, something crazy like putting white bean puree in their homemade cookies. I have two things to say about this: (1) Gross!, and (2) Tell me why it's acceptable to let your kids THINK you're giving them lots of cookies to eat (even if you're slipping them ye olde vegetables)? Aren't you in actuality sending them the message that junk is OK? Remember, they DON'T KNOW your good intentions, or they never would touch that cookie in the first place. Not even if you said "pretty please."

I admit I have grated a few carrots and added to my crockpot spaghetti sauce to sneak an extra veggie serving in on my oblivious son. But I also plop down a bowl of spinach salad with his supper and tell him he has to eat it all because "green vegetables are good for your body."

I think it is healthier to teach your child that a cookie is OK sometimes - even the ones with lots of sugar (don't they all have it?). At the same time, I think it's wise to teach them to balance that with a healthy vegetable or two. What a better way to really learn how to eat balanced meals to create the best mix of fuel for your body.

Otherwise, don't you feel a little like you're cheating them in the nutrition education department? That maybe they will grow up wondering why cookies worked so well for them as children but are not working so well now?

Happy (and healthy) eating,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Caring for an Aging Pet

I wrote many months ago (my, how time flies!) about how we love our old dog. But there's another side to pets that live a really long time. Since today is not only Halloween, but the last day of National Pet Wellness Month, I thought I'd let you take a peek into what it's like to care for an aging, large (90-pound) pet. It's something to consider when you're choosing that cute little puppy. Will you be able to handle a senior pet that may have mobility issues later on?

Experts* estimate about 25% of our country's pet population is comprised of aging pets, and pets' care requirements change as they go through the natural life cycle.

Molly is more than 16 years old, so she's definitely well into the senior category. There are services that we must spend money on now that we never had to before, just because of her advanced age. And I'm not even talking about veterinarian bills.

I have to pay a mobile groomer, who is strong, has a special table and special equipment to come bathe and trim her now. Because of arthritic back legs (very common in many breeds of large, older dogs and a result of her double hip surgery when she was a puppy), she is not able to stand for very long like she used to when I gave her an outside hose bath.

And she often falls when she tries to get up.
And falls again for no apparent reason when she is trying to go to her food bowl.

Then she just has to wait until someone comes along and picks her up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that large dogs who become stiff and partially immobile need someone to help them squat when they go to the bathroom. Not fun, but it has to be done (Thanks, my son).

As they get older, they may have to sleep somewhere else (rather than in your bedroom) overnight, as they often become incontinent (but of course this can happen with smaller pets, too). Molly has a special nighttime bed in the garage.

Expecting troubles during the aging process would never deter me from adopting a large breed dog, but it's something for every family to consider before making the decision.

Happy belated 16th birthday, Molly!

TCB and the whole gang

* American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take a Country Walk

While the mile-and-a-quarter road to my house is now paved and not the single lane dirt road it was when we first moved to the country, it is still a nice place to take a walk with my son.

I did just that this afternoon. I always learn all sorts of things.

I learn amazing events. As we shuffled along, he told me he saw three (!) bald eagles when he went fishing in the river behind our house last weekend.

I learned that HardiPlank makes an excellent fort impenetrable by airsoft "bullets."

(Ignore the photographer and her shadow. She is not too great.)

And that chickens lay their eggs one at a time. (I knew that, but I was glad he did, too.)

I'm not sure why half the things my son tells me on our walks work their way into the conversation, but because I find out about what he's thinking and doing, it's OK.

I find out about what his friend said and how nervous he may or may not feel about his upcoming swim meet. I find out about the weather forecast for the next five days (one of his obsessions). And sometimes he just says something surprising like, "I like being at home with you."

What can I tell you? My one piece of advice is to take a walk with your child when you can. You don't have to say a word. He'll do all the talking.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekday Thought: "Fishin'"

I know...you're smack dab in the midst of a work week. And even if you're a stay-at-home mom - well, I for one know YOU ARE SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF A WORK WEEK.

So here's a thought for sunny days (which we happen to have right now in South Carolina):

Sunday fishin'.

And here's another thought from my photo archives, and one I'm a little more partial to:

Chocolate-dipped vanilla ice cream cones. (Bet I made you want one).

Hey, it's still "Indian Summer."

Have a happy day.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mother I Wanted to Be

I said I was never getting married.


Then I said I was going to have a career and no children.

Double oops.

Then when I changed directions, I decided it was only going to be a little turn. I owned a company, and my new little one would come to work with me (with a nanny) every day until he was old enough to go to preschool. And then he would go to school and after-school care, and I would continue traveling and wooing clients for my PR agency.

So we tried the office thing and frankly, it was a little crazy for both of us. Then I handed him off dutifully for the next few months of his life to a nanny while I continued to run a business. I would show my new son what a powerful, independent woman could do, earning a living for her family and taking care of home life, too. That's the kind of mother I wanted to be.

But something happened to the career woman.

 I won't say she died.I'll just say she learned a little about what's important.

First, she sold her company.

Then she opened an office at home and scaled back her clients to only include those who did not make her travel anywhere away from her nice, country house. Then she told the nanny good-bye forever. And she wiped a little one's tail while juggling the phone on her shoulder and talking to the president of a company. Or a reporter. (Ssshhhh....don't tell anyone).

And although her days were the longest in history, she loved them.

So today, I am no longer the mother I wanted to be.

I am the mother I am.

I homeschool my son. I still work out of my home office, mostly writing for clients and magazine editors and doing a few PR jobs. I cook (and like it) and clean (and like it OK except for the toilets). I travel to swim practice and Cub Scouts and horseback lessons.

And I stay home Friday nights and watch "Harry and the Hendersons."

(He loved it).

And so do I (all of it).

Sure glad I didn't turn out like the mother I wanted to be.

**And happy anniversary, Mr. Country Belle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling an Only Child, Part 2

Three days ago, I talked about the socialization issue (or lack of an issue) in homeschooling an only child. There are other issues that lonely-only homeschool students might face that others do not.

For us, not having several students in the class can easily lead to boredom. If I'm not extra careful, we can fall into the rut of approaching history or math or reading the same old way. When that begins to happen, my son seems to just home in on getting subjects done as quickly as possible. And while this has always been an issue because he's a boy and all boys want to do is go outside and shoot a bow and arrow or build a fort, it becomes more of an issue if we start to slip into a school rut.

So, I've set up a daily schedule that mixes up the order of our classes each day so my son never remembers exactly what's coming. That helps to jar us out of any rut we may try to fall into. I also am trying to make sure we conduct every possible science experiment, work geography/mapping into history studies, and work in "breaks" in subjects. For example, my son is working through Saxon Math 5/4, but we will be taking a "holiday vacation" at the end of this year and move to Life of Fred: Fractions for however long it takes us to complete the book. He is looking forward to that.

We add in interaction with other students in three outside classes each week, and it is nice to see his face light up when he sees his homeschooling friends. Everything considered, my son loves homeschooling and declares he's done with public school. I am open to whatever life brings us and want to be flexible for whatever is best for him each year.

Hope you and your children are having a good school year, too.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Homeschooling an Only Child

Before I started homeschooling my son, I crazily erroneously thought it could be a lonely experience for my only child. Who is social. And who also lives in the country. Not surrounded by other boys.

I quickly learned that not only was he not lonely, but I had to turn down many opportunities of field trips and get-togethers and "recreation days" with our strong local homeschool network so we could actually get some book work done at home.

There are parties...
And parties...

And play dates at home...

And homeschool field days...
The "socialization" anxiety of homeschooling is simply an old school fallacy. There are so many of us homeschooling today, and we do such a great job of supporting one another that our kids are the better for it.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be Content

I was feeling a little down this past Saturday afternoon when I had to work in my office. I had an article due Monday, and it had to get done. I don't mind working (I love you, my clients), but it was nice and sunny and the rest of my family was outside.

Doing this.

(By the way, do you see how my front yard has become a 4-wheeling trail? The grass in the field doesn't even want to grow in some places anymore.)

Anyway.......then I realized how darn fortunate I am. I have a porch right off my office (from which I shot this photo), and I can step out there, feel the sunshine and see my baby, all while bringing home the grub. Woo-hoo for technology.

I love my job. (How's that for a change of perspective?!)

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4: 11b - 13, The Holy Bible, NIV

Love your job. Whether it's at home or around the globe. It's what God has for you in this season of life.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Fragrance in the Garden

The best smell in the garden this fall time of year comes from....

tea olive shrubs.

You wouldn't imagine an evergreen shrub with the most inconspicuous flowers could perfume the air all around it. I don't even have mine planted near my backyard patio. They are on the side of the house, but the smell wafts all the way over to my relaxing chair out back. In fact, the tea olive fragrance actually gets stronger if you move farther away from it. Stick your nose in the bush to try and take a whiff like you would treat a rosebush, and you won't get nearly the full aroma.

And you know what's so beautiful about them to me? They survived our HOT, DRY summer and the deer don't eat them. Woo-hoo for the country tea olive!

Plant one (or two or three) this fall or winter in your yard.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot Prosciutto Panini

My husband takes a sandwich every day to his office for lunch. So on Saturday afternoon, he is none too eager to eat a cold sandwich for the midday meal. And often we all need something a little heartier in the midst of our yard- or housecleaning day. So years ago I came across a panini recipe in "Cuisine at Home" magazine, which I have adapted for our family's Southern tastes. Did I say "adapted?" I meant "made easier" for the chef.

Hot Prosciutto Panini
Ingredient list for one sandwich:
thinly sliced prosciutto (available in your grocer's deli aisle)
Havarti cheese (ditto above)
one large egg
two slices of your favorite bread (I like to use whole wheat or multi-grain)
Dijon mustard
sprinkle of dried chives
splash of almond milk (or cow's milk, or nothing at all if you prefer)
Beat the egg with a splash of milk (optional) and a sprinkling of chives. Spray a small frying pan with non-stick olive oil spray and heat for a few seconds over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until done on the first side; flip and cook until done on the other side (a total of about one minute).

While the egg is cooking, assemble the other parts of the sandwich. Spread the Dijon mustard on both slices of bread and layer on two pieces of prosciutto on one side of the sandwich-to-be.

Add sliced Havarti and top with the cooked egg mixture.

Put the sandwich together, lightly butter both sides, and cook in the same small frying pan on each side until toasty brown.

Serve with fruit for a complete, hot lunch. Time to eat!
I hope you love it as much as we do.