Porch Party…Valentine’s Day Style and a GF Recipe

Every morning, my husband Rick and I start the day together on the front porch. Sunday morning at our Porch Party, I did a trial run for Valentine’s Day. I fluffed the red blankets in our rocking chairs, lit a red candle, poured our coffee in (almost) red mugs, and put out heart-shaped chocolate. I had a lovey-dovey question all ready for him.

(The blueberry muffins are gluten-free. Recipe at the bottom.)

“Let’s tell why we love each other,” I said.

He didn’t comment. Just petted Clyde, our yellow Lab.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go first. I love that you aren’t a whiner. You fixed the light in the well-house when it was 22 degrees outside without complaining. You’re honest. You’re funny. You’re a good father. I have lots more to say, but you go ahead. Name a few things you love about me.”

He rocked. Sipped his coffee. “All that stuff you said.”

“That doesn’t count. We’re opposites.”

“Help me out, Clyde. Why do we love her?”

I felt like Sally–doing all the talking.  Guess who was acting like Snoopy.

“Why do you love me?” I said.

“Lots of reasons.”

“Tell me one.”

“Well…you listen to people. You care.”

“Ohhh, that’s sweet. What else?”

He got quiet–finally said something. “Look in that tree. There’s a mourning dove.”


“Hear that? She’s calling her mate.”

“Maybe he’s calling her,” I said.

“Could be.”

“They belong together. Like us. That’s what you meant, wasn’t it?” 🙂

“Something like that.”

I smiled. His feelings are there all right. He just speaks in a different love language.

Readers, how about you? What’s your love language?

Incredible Gluten-free Bluberry Muffins and strawberry ones would be even more Valentine’s Day-ish!

(I found out I have Celiac five years ago.)

2 cups Pamela’s GF Pancake and Baking Mix  (There are other GF flours and flour mixtures.)

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted butter or veg oil

2/3 cup milk or yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt)

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and get pan ready.

2. Mix eggs, butter or oil, milk or yogurt, and sugar.

3. Add flour.

4. Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12-16 muffins.





What I’m Really Thankful For…and 2 GF Recipes

“What are you thankful for in our marriage?” I said at Saturday morning’s porch party.  I didn’t really expect an answer. I mean, what husband loves relationship questions, especially first thing in the morning? And this December, we celebrate our 34th anniversary–maybe too many years spent together to answer my question.

Rick rocked and drank his coffee. Stared toward the November trees.

“Camaraderie, I guess.”

“Really? Even though I don’t get into sports?”

“Yeah, we do life together.”

“I love that! Tonight will you cook with me? I have two new recipes, but they’re not your kind of food. Harvest Pumpkin Soup and Gluten Free Carrot Cake.”

“No problem. I’ll make some nachos too.”

We’ve started cooking together on the weekends–so much fun! Wish you could have seen him Saturday night. He was just like Snoopy fixing Thanksgiving dinner.

He grated a big pile of carrots (which is a labor of love!) and chopped pecans for the cake. That’s our pumpkin soup in the blender.

Here’s the cake before I frosted it with homemade cream cheese icing–which is simple to make. Who knew? Note the Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix, but I added special ingredients. 🙂

The finished dishes….

We couldn’t tell the cake was GF! I’m serious. And we ate every bite of our GF Harvest Pumpkin Soup.

All these years and I had no idea I was married to a pumpkin soup and carrot cake lovin’ man. 🙂

Recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Soup from Country Living Magazine, November 2012.

Recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake from Betty Crocker. (I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 5 years ago.)

I’m REALLY thankful for doing life together. And I’m REALLY thankful to connect with each one of you~~

What are you REALLY thankful for?

P.S. Have you ever made carrot cake? Sorta like marriage.  Some work required but so worth it!




True Love and Homemade Brunswick Stew

My husband Rick and I married 33 years ago. Young love was amazing, but mature love is  even better!

Every single day the man makes me laugh. I admire his perseverance. I love his free-spirited ways.

Like what happened one drizzly Sunday in February…

We went grocery shopping after church. Since I was diagnosed with Celiac, he’s been so sweet to help me eat gluten-free. Standing by the meat aisle at Publix he said, “Let’s make homemade Brunswick stew today.”

We’d never made homemade Brunswick stew. We didn’t have a recipe. No grocery list.

“Do you know how?”

“It can’t be all that hard.”

I smiled. That’s why I love him.

He tossed some pork chops in the buggy and picked out the rest of his spur-of-the-moment ingredients. All gluten-free, for me. 🙂

As soon as we got home, he chopped an onion and cut the meat into tiny pieces. Then he put everything in the crock pot and cooked it all day.

I’m telling you, my husband’s Brunswick stew was incredible–the stuff true love is made of.

Here’s the recipe. Of course, he didn’t measure, so I’m guessing. I don’t think you can go wrong with these yummy ingredients:

Four boneless pork chops cut into tiny pieces

Three boneless chicken breasts cut into tiny pieces

A pound of good steak cut into tiny pieces

2-28 ounce cans pureed tomatoes

About two cups or so of chicken stock (gluten-free if necessary)

One chopped onion

A package frozen silver queen corn

About a cup of barbecue sauce (we used Kraft, gluten-free)

About 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Salt and pepper

Texas Pete Sauce–as much or as little as you like.

While the stew simmered, I made popcorn as rain pelted on our tin roof.

Rick built a cozy fire and Thelma, our calico cat, curled up on my lap. Clyde, our yellow Lab, slept at our feet.

One of my all-time favorite Sunday afternoons!

A good marriage is like homemade Brunswick stew. Sweet, spicy, and full of love.

Anybody else make good homemade Brunswick stew? Share your recipe!