Simple Living Sundays & Apple Pie

Nutmeg illustrates Simple Living Sundays.  She is the leader in our household.

Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week!  It’s one day of the week we make time to have serious reflection about our lives and those that we love. We get so busy during the week we only have time for quick passing thoughts of friends and loved ones.  Sunday is our day to make the time and follow-up with those thoughts by phone, email and hand-written notes.  It’s the time we reach out to those we care about and let them know we are thinking of them and find out what is going on in their lives because they are important to us.

It’s not a chore but an honor and a privilege to be a part of family and friends lives.

We also reflect what we did really well the previous week and what we hope to accomplish in the upcoming week.  Our family creates simple “lists”.  Seldom are everything on the lists completed.  Lists are our goals that we as individuals and as a family want to accomplish.  Without our lists there is mass confusion, congestion and nothing gets done.

Do you have a special day and place in your home that you reflect about your family and friends?  Do you have a journal/photo album to store your updated special reflections?  Memories are to be cherished and not lost in the sea of forgetfulness over time.

There have times in my life that someone did something very thoughtful and touching for me and I dropped the ball in telling them how very much I enjoyed and appreciated their actions.  Lists are my guide to staying in touch and sharing with them in a timely fashion.

Before the day is over and we all start rushing into Monday with our crazy schedules, is there someone you want to treat to a coffee or lunch, perhaps hand-deliver some gorgeous flowers from your garden, share a delicious (REAL) apple pie that you made, or to call or write?  Put them on the list and do it this week!  Our world is a much better place when we are taking care of each other.  It’s Simple Living.

150 Pounds of Tomatoes!

For the past few summers we have made day trips to Dillard, Georgia, to visit our old friends at Osage Farms.  It’s a scenic 1.5 hour drive.  The trip this summer was sad this because several shops and restaurants we have enjoyed along the way have closed their doors.  Thankfully, Osage Farms is doing very well!  People still love good food!

Osage Farms  sells mostly locally grown produce.  They refresh the bins during the day so you can be assured it is fresh from their farm.  It’s a very busy store and you often to have to wait for a parking space and then wait for someone to checkout so you can grab a buggy.  Sometimes you need two buggies!  You never know what produce they will have each day.  During the summer you can feed your family the nicest locally grown tomatoes, okra, beans, peas, potatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant and corn.  It’s a great time to buy in bulk and fill the freezer too!

Osage Farms opens in April/May when the strawberry fields are ready for harvest and close their operation around October 31. It is busy seven days a week during their open season.  The folks running the non-stop store must be exhausted every night!  But it’s really comforting to witness so many people shopping for fresh, locally grown food. Every visit feels more crowded than the previous one, but that’s okay.

This year we increased our tomato order to 150 pounds.  The day we were there they were $10 for a 25 pound box.  That’s .40/lb for bulk local grown tomatoes!  Prices will vary daily as does the selection which can be limited.  You never know what to expect.  But you won’t find peas from China or tired produce that has journeyed from the west coast or another country.

We have tucked lovely red tomatoes all over the house.  The delicious red gems are on the mantel, the baker’s racks and in bowls all over the house.  Beautiful bright red tomatoes make the house very cheerful. They will be a pleasant focal point for the next several weeks.  Maybe we need to start decorating our homes with colorful fresh produce?

We started processing the tomatoes for the freezer.  The flavor is outstanding.  It is worth the short drive from Atlanta and the time and effort to prepare nourishing real foods for our future winter enjoyment.

But for now, could we interest you in a juicy, fresh, locally grown red, ripe tomato sandwich?  It’s simple living and real food! If you enjoy this site please click here and become a Facebook fan of Real Food Simple Living.

Wild Blackberry Cobbler-More Than Just A Recipe

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Have you have one of those “food” experiences that triggered memories from your childhood? My family has always been engaged with food so there are many comforting childhood memories (and a couple not so great too-like my first taste of scallops in New Orleans-did not agree with me). Some of our family is no longer with us, but we remember them so lovingly with their incredible tasty recipes.  And in the world of fast food on every corner, REAL food memories are precious.

One of my great food memories was during my elementary school years. At the time we lived near Buffalo, New York, but we always returned home on summer vacations to visit with our Georgia relatives.  My parents are Georgia natives so there was lots of visiting to do in a short time and very, very good cooking and eating.  

One of the activities we always did on summer vacation was go blackberry pickin’.  My Aunt Edna made THE best blackberry cobbler this side of the Mississippi.  People always say that about their families-but my Aunt Edna’s was the VERY best!  Cousins, parents, brothers and sisters would pack into the car like sardines and we’d head down dirt roads with all the windows down.  There was non-stop chatter in the car-each talking over the other.  It was hot July and the south Georgia roads were bone dry and dusty.  The car would hit bottom as we plowed across small river streams but no one seemed to notice or care.  I was the quiet one and spent my time strategizing how we’d ever find our way home ‘way-back from middle of nothing’ since everyone was so distracted with their chattering.  We had to be a million miles away from anything.  Or so it seemed to me as a child. The relatives had been pickin’ here for generations.

The blackberry bushes were covered with thorns and you always got hung and scratched by the bushes. Note to self: wear long-sleeved clothing.  You had to watch out for chiggers and bees/wasp as you picked your berries. Today we would call that “multi-tasking”.  The goal: find the most loaded blackberry bushes so you can fill your gallon pail from one spot as quickly as possible.  We each had a responsibility to fill our pail before we could leave-it was the unspoken rule. It was what you had to do to eat Aunt Edna’s blackberry cobbler as a reward. 

Wild blackberries are REAL food.  They are petite berries and have tiny seeds (as do strawberries) and each one is packed with flavor. Store bought blackberries are “cultivated”- prickle-free and they are obscenely huge-and in my opinion, with a diluted flavor.  Each cultivated berry grows two or three times the size of a wild blackberry. Wild blackberries score high on the antioxidant scale as the seeds contain oils that are rich in omegas 3 and 6.  

Today we are enjoying Aunt Edna’s blackberry cobbler recipe.  My South Carolina cousin has lush wild blackberry bushes untouched by pesticide sprays on property that has been in her family for generations. She is the most wonderful, generous person in the world to do ALL the work picking the blackberries AND then sharing with our family!  If she has enough blackberries she makes blackberry jelly and shares some with us.  It is beyond awesome!  It’s a blessing to have such a generous cousin just around the corner! 

Our blackberry cobbler was accompanied by fresh homemade local honey ice cream and it is just divine.  To my special dear South Carolina cousin, “thanks for the memories”……

Vidalia Onions-Cook up something wonderful in the kitchen and invite your closest friends!!

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Spring is officially here! I found the first of the 2011 season Vidalia onions at Harry’s/Whole Foods on Friday!  Now I have several pounds and can’t wait to get cooking and share with friends!

Here’s some brief facts about Vidalia onions if you are new to the area: 

  • Vidalia Sweet Onions have a short harvest season-from Mid April to the middle June
  • The “official” Vidalia onion grows in a 20 county production area defined by the Georgia State Legislature
  • There are a limited number of growers that are certified to grow and sell Vidalia onions
  • The Vidalia onion was first grown in Vidalia, GA in 1930.
  • In 1990, the Vidalia onion was named Georgia’s official state vegetable

2011 Vidalia Onion Events/Celebrations for the Family: