Maryland friends, produce stand, landscapes, grocery store, my favorite recipes, etc. – October 2022

The weather today was really beautiful, it is sunny and in the 70’s and no rain which is great after having several cold, rainy days.

Vanessa and I took a trip through several surrounding cities today and it was so beautiful and peaceful driving past farms, lots of open land, and some really beautiful and unique houses. We stopped at a wonderful roadside market where there were so many different types of pumpkins, gourds, vegetables, and the way they arranged them was very creative. I never knew there were white sweet potatoes. I love apples but can’t eat them because they have too much fiber and would cause problems with my remaining intestines. There are lots of apple farms in the area and this is the time of year for them. I bought some different types of potatoes, some garlic, tomatoes, and a few other items.

We drove through some really beautiful countryside towns and passed lots of horse ranches, including Sagamore which is really large and has lots of interesting buildings. We saw several other ranches and stopped to take pictures of horses grazing, and some church buildings that were old and interesting, also the trees are starting to change color and the reds and oranges are so bright and vivid. In another few weeks there will be lots more color. That is a few things I miss from when I lived in New York state and northern New Jersey, seeing mountains and seasons changing. I don’t really miss the cold weather and having to drive in snow and ice and clean it off the cars. In Texas we really didn’t see change of seasons.

We also went to an amazing grocery store called Wegmans. It is almost like a few other groceries I have seen in other states, but it is my first time at Wegmans. We had lunch there and bought some groceries to have at home. They had foods of all types that I had never heard of before. Of course, either Vanessa or I always find something to buy while in line at the checkout counter. She bought some type of cashew mix the other day with raspberry and it was delicious. I bought Hi-Chew candy and Vanessa and Brian loved that and had never had it before so we are all learning about new things to eat.

I still can’t post pictures in the stories like I used to with them coming out in a row rather than vertical so I am just posting a link to an album of pictures for these places. Click here for today’s pictures of our adventures and the outdoor produce market.

It’s been lots of fun hanging out together and catching up on life. We have been doing lots of cooking and baking and I have been teaching and showing them how to make different foods like pasta, naan bread, cinnamon raisin bread, crackers, cookies, biscotti and a few other things. We passed interesting buildings on our travels in the area. Here is a collage of pictures I found interesting and of some foods we made.

There are lots of fields of corn, and feed corn, and other crops. As we passed a few there were some with brown flowers on top and Vanessa wanted to know what it was. It sort of looked like corn but we knew it wasn’t. I told her I think it’s sorghum which I saw when I was in Texas at Homestead Heritage in Waco. They grow it and harvest it around Labor Day and it’s sort of like sugar cane and the stalks get pressed and the liquid is cooked and becomes sorghum syrup. My friends at Homestead Heritage harvest, cook, and bottle it and I got to watch the process and taste the fresh cooked syrup and watch it change color and consistency. It’s sort of like molasses. You will see the picture of the sorghum in one of the albums of the links in this story. There are two albums, one is pictures from my camera and the other from my phone. I don’t know why but for some reason even when I click on add photos in Google photos it doesn’t add them to the existing album, so I created a new one. Seems that often the camera on the phone takes cleared pictures. The only thing is with the sun on the display on the phone I don’t always see what I am taking a picture of, I just guess and hope it’s a good picture.

While I was looking at pictures to post in this story I saw some I thought you might like to read. When I started out on my long travels in 2011 when I retired a friend gave me this guardian angel which is on the dash board of Molly my camper van since our first trip in 2011. I bought the stained glass pixie on the left at a craft show in Fort Lauderdale many years ago, and a few years ago when I was visiting my friend Clark in Texas he made me the pixie on the left. He does stained glass work and had a pattern book with pixies and he let me pick out the glass I wanted for this pixie.

I think I wrote in a previous story about the first quilt I made and that Vanessa has it on her guest room bed, so I posted some pictures of it in this album. I also took pictures of most of the different foods that we cooked, and Brian even helped me make biscotti the second time we made it. They love this biscotti. I have posted some of my favorite recipes in the album. Feel free to use and/or share them. The sour cream cookies and the cheesecake recipes are really old, as is the Wonderful Gooey Cake and a few others. I remember being about 4 or 5 (that would be about 1954 or 1955) and making those cookies with my mom. When it was cold outside we put the dough outside to chill, we lived in NY state when I was that young. When my mom died in 2017, I made several batches of the sour cream cookies for the memorial service. I love being creative decorating them with all types of sprinkles and toppings. Sometimes I mix in or top with a little Nutella or use toffee bits or Butterfinger pieces. Vanessa has a work thing she’s doing on Saturday until a little after 1:00 so maybe while she’s at work I may be making some chocolate, chocolate chip, cheesecake cupcakes to take on my trip we already ate all the ones we made the other day.

The cheesecake recipe I got when I was in my early 20’s. A guy I was dating made it to take to a party we were going to. It surprised me he could bake and it’s one of the easiest, best cheesecake recipes I have made and loved. I also sometimes put fruit topping on it when I eat it. The cake I call Jack’s Wonderful Gooey Cake is also good and it can be made using different instant puddings. I like using white chocolate pudding mix sometimes instead of chocolate. In fact, for my 50th birthday party I made a large sheet pan of this cake. Half I used instant chocolate pudding mix and the other half I used white chocolate pudding mix. I was at a party and loved this cake and was talking to my friend Jack and said I want to find out who made this cake and get the recipe. He said he made it. I said sure you did. If you knew Jack you would not have believed he made it either. I said, okay then what is the recipe and he told me knowing it by heart. That’s why I named it like I did. I have made this many times and always love it. I also sometimes freeze this and also the Texas Sheet Cake which is like eating fudge.

In April 2022, I had Molly repainted so she would look better and it would help her to stay in good shape. I bought her in Phoenix in November 2005, she had 25,000 miles, and on as I got into Maryland, she now has a little over 108,000. Even when I am home and not traveling I drive her every few weeks to keep her running in good condition. I had the front license plate that says Live Your Dreams made shortly after I bought her when I was on a trip to Tybee Island. They had a store that made airbrush things and I asked the artist to create something for me with this saying, and this is what he made.

Because their driveway and whole yard is on an incline and I have to be level for my fridge to work right, Brian helped me to get level. I thought I’d have to keep trying to get up on boards like I did before he got home from work. But, that wasn’t what happened. He has a hydraulic jack that he hand pumps and he just jacked up each corner of my vehicle we put boards under the tires until my levels which I have on every side of my vehicle showed it was level and that was it, very easy. But I can’t just drive off the boards the front one’s about 6 inches or so. So I can’t just back off it so we’re going to have to figure something out on Sunday I may have to park at the bottom of their driveway Works a little more level and then just not be plugged into electric for a while breathing overnight depending on when I leave. It’s been really nice being plugged into electric it makes it easy to make my smoothie in the morning, have to use my little space heater because it was cold several nights.

Some of the other pictures are ones I took as I drove, or was a passenger recently. A few days ago, before the several days of rain, there was a beautiful sunset. I love how God creates beautiful, colorful skies. These three pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other. Earlier that day on the tall metal tower we saw an American Eagle, we had to use binoculars to see it and then we saw it and the Red Tail Hawk both flying in the sky. Evidently, they both come often. The hawk was eating some sort of small animal, not sure what it was. We went to a feed store for dog food and they had several types of small animals besides cats and rabbits. There were hamsters, rats, and mice, and several others like small snakes, lizards, etc. Most of the mice had babies that looked newly born. I never saw any this young. It was really amazing how small they are and that they are pink and some had the beginnings of white fur.

I think I wrote in a previous story about how when Carol and I were driving towards Antietam we passed a pumpkin patch and stopped to take pictures and noticed right next to it was a corral with cows and as we were looking at them and saw the shed we noticed the sign that says Maternity Ward and started laughing. Another car stopped and the woman got out and also started taking pictures. We all thought it was very creative of the owner to put that sign up.

Pictures matching the above story and some of my favorite recipes are on this link.

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