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Yes. I’m Still Here

Yes. I’m still here. I just can’t seem to get anything posted. Can’t seem to get anything cooked either. Ever have days like that? I’ve had “cook’s block.” That’s like writers block but it’s happening in the kitchen. But I’d better get myself together. Next week we will have the whole family together for the July 4th week. And I’m pretty sure they expect to eat. And expect me to cook—at least some of the meals. I know there will be help. But I need a plan. 

I know I need to stop using “we had a wedding…” as an excuse. But it did consume much of our thought and planning and doing for weeks and weeks and weeks. Then I think I just stopped. We planted nothing in the garden this year. But in God’s infinite grace, a few things came back anyway. We have no fresh tomatoes this year. But one cucumber vine appeared and that single vine is producing plenty of fresh cucumbers for us. 

The zinnias and sunflowers are in bloom. Those are the zinnias that were actually pulled up and that bed cleared at the end of last summer. But enough seeds had fallen into the ground that they grew again and bloomed one more time. And now they are blooming again for the third time. Leftover flowers. Stubborn flowers. Happy flowers. 

In the very weedy herb bed, I still have sage. LOTS of sage. There is plenty of lemon balm. And some leggy chives. I THINK there is a little dill growing. And I need fresh dill for one of the cucumber recipes. Thinking I will buy some…just in case the dill in the bed of weeds is really a look-alike weed. 

Family, if you are reading this, know that I am making a plan. A week of menus (that are totally flexible) and I’m printing out recipes and working on a grocery list right now. 

Where did I find inspiration to get going again? Right here on my own blog. This morning I looked through the recipe index. There are recipes there that I know we love because they are recipes I’ve made myself. (Bowties w/Tomatoes, Grapes & Feta anyone?) But I promise I had totally forgotten about them. It’s like someone hit the reset button on my brain and wiped out all previous data. But I’m ready to get going again.

Here’s what’s on this weekend’s cucumber agenda:

These pickles are a breeze to make. You can read the original post and the follow-up post for more tips. But I know they can be refrigerator ready in minutes. GoodnightGram uses this recipe and only pickles onions. That’s something to try if you don’t have cucumbers.


1 cup sugar 
1 cup white vinegar 
2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic 
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds 
1/2 teaspoon tumeric 
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin 
2-3/4 to 3 lbs pickling cucumbers, sliced

Mix everything except onion and cukes in a large microwave safe bowl. Stir in onions and cukes. Microwave 9 minutes on high, stopping to stir at 6 1/2 and at 4 minutes to go (as the microwave timer counts down.) 

Remove and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight before placing in jars. Store in fridge. NOTE: SPICES WILL STAIN A PLASTIC BOWL OR SPOON OR KITCHEN COUNTER!

Yield: 6 to 7 half pint jars 

Once you find the right size dish, this gets even easier. I used my postal scale to weigh cucumbers. I learned that three cucumbers from the garden weighed roughly one pound. So I sliced nine cucumbers and measured them—just about 8 cups. I used a 2-1/2 quart Corningware casserole for the cooking part. It looked like it was nearly too small when I added cucumbers and the onion (had to leave out a few cukes.) But as they cooked in the microwave, they started to cook down.

And we LOVED this cool, creamy salad. How did I forget ever making it? I will remedy that quickly. 


2-3 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/4 Vidalia onion (a sweet white onion,) thinly sliced 
1/3 cup sour cream
juice of half a lemon
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix remaining ingredients and stir until blended. Pour over cucumbers and stir to combine. Garnish with more dill and serve.

I didn’t measure a thing, but I’m giving you an actual “recipe” as a starting place. After I mixed mine, I tasted and adjusted the seasonings. Mine needed a little more salt and dill. Do it that way and you won’t have to go find the “recipe” when you want to make this.

And this one is classic. And it’s fast. Just a matter of slicing up a cucumber or two. And an onion. 


1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 slightly-rounded tablespoons sugar
sprinkle of salt 
cucumbers, peeled & thinly sliced
sweet onion, thinly sliced & separated into rings

Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumbers and onion. Place in refrigerator for an hour or longer before serving.

I like to use a glass bowl for this because of all the vinegar. Does that really make a difference? I don’t know but that’s how I do it. You can adjust the amount of sugar or vinegar to suit your family if you want it sweeter or less sweet, or not quite as tart. But these measurements are a good starting place.

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