Oh cheesecake, how thou dost tempt me!

We almost never have sweets in the house, but for the past couple of days I’ve noticed a slice of cheesecake in the refrigerator. You know, the type that is sold in the grocery store in a clear oyster-type container…. Well, I love cheesecake and I was trying to be polite and not eat it since I didn’t buy it and figured it wasn’t mine. So I didn’t eat the cheesecake, but every time I would open the refrigerator door, to grab a yogurt or an orange, or the sweet tea I would see the cheesecake just sitting there, with the delicious strawberry topping dripping down the sides, taunting me.

cheesecake (free clip art)
cheesecake (free clip art)

And I dutifully ignored it. After all, if I had bought that cheesecake and someone else had eaten it, I would not be happy at all! So I ignored it. For three agonizing, torturous days!

Well after all that deprivation and sacrifice, I found out last night that the cheesecake was bought for me! And somehow nobody ever got around to mentioning it! Well, let me tell you something – that cheesecake is not tempting me anymore! It was delicious!

If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen

Last September at the monthly country breakfast I had the chance to introduce my hubby to the President of the Community Center. I told her that I had asked the Elks Lodge if they would consider donating a ceiling fan or two to the Community Center’ kitchen. The Elks agreed that they would be glad to donate the money if the President of the Community Center requested the donation in a letter. She was surprised and pleased to hear about that! The kitchen in that place gets really hot! I suggested that perhaps we could find a local electrician that would donate his time to install the fans, and she said that she didn’t think that would be a problem.

We explained that the Elks would need a letter, and gave her the mailing address for the letter. She did write the letter, and mailed it to the Elks. The Elks approved the purchase, went to Home Depot and bought the ceiling fan. Now it seems that the Community Center has changed their minds about wanting the fan. Remembering how unbearably hot it got in the kitchen last summer I sure hope that they can come up with an alternative – I am heat intolerant and am not going to want to be in that kitchen for anything if it is always going to be that hot! I am the first one out of a hot kitchen!

Apple pie for breakfast

Bar Harbor town (free clip art)
Bar Harbor town (free clip art)
One of the things that I really enjoyed when I had the opportunity to stay at a Bed & Breakfast place in Bar Harbor was how sweetly the bedrooms were decorated. Fluffy down comforters beckoned from the king sized beds, and every bedroom had a working fireplace that burned real wood. Some of the bedrooms had their own private bathroom with a spa tub in it. (I’d consider that the honeymoon suite!) Most bedrooms had to share a bathroom with other guests. (I didn’t like that part nearly as much!)

Even better, when the hosts served breakfast in the mornings, we had the chance to eat some great food! The last time I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast we were served french toast with honey and apple pie. I’d never had apple pie for breakfast before! I liked that a LOT!

apple pie (free clip art)
apple pie (free clip art)

My favorite part of staying in a Bed & Breakfast, though, was the opportunity to visit with the other guests, and the hosts. If we had stayed in a regular chain hotel, we would not have even considered striking up a conversation with other guest there. I enjoyed asking the hosts about daily life there in Bar Harbor, and where they would eat supper if they were going to eat out. Finding out where the best “non-tourist” places to eat are; where you could actually get the feeling of the “real” town were a good way to make us feel less like intrusive gawkers, and more like welcome guests. And those local restaurants usually have the best food, at decent prices too. You’re not stuck with the rubber or frozen meals from a national franchise, or the hugely overpriced lobster dinners served down on the pier.

Microwave winter squash

winter squash free clip art
Winter squash (free clip art image)

One of the foods I really enjoy to eat is winter squash. Acorn squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash… all are similar in taste. One thing that I have never LIKED about the squash, however, was how difficult it can be to cook. So I was really glad when a cousin of mine told me that she microwaves them, and that it makes it really easy to do! So I decided to try it for myself, and really liked it. So that is how I do it now.

Wash the outside of the squash. Stab it with a big chef’s fork several times. Put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes on high. Turn it over and nuke it again for a couple of minutes. When it starts to feel soft, use oven mitts to take it out of the microwave and put it on a heat-resistant cutting board. Cut it in half lengthwise with a big sharp knife. Use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds and throw the seeds away. Scoop out the cooked “flesh” of the squash and put that in a big bowl. Add some butter and some brown sugar and mash it up with a potato masher or use a blender. I do this with butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash. All yummy to the max!

Ruritan pancake breakfast

Yesterday I was scheduled to help the monthly Ruritan club’s pancake breakfast. I had sent an email out to the other members of the group asking them what time they wanted me to show up, but yesterday my email was off-line all day so as far as I know their answer may still be bouncing around “out there” somewhere.

Knowing that the breakfast starts at 8am and ends at 11am, I decided to just show up about 6:45. When I got to the community center, only three other Ruritan members were there. Two of them were already cooking bacon and sausage, and one of them was putting plastic serving ware in pouches and putting the pouches in a basket. Being new to the Ruritans, I did not remember meeting two of the folks, so I introduced myself to them and then just started pulling out the things that I knew we were going to need. As I was pulling out the mixing bowls and measuring cups, spatulas and I was wondering exactly how much help I was going to be able to be, with the limitations of my half-useless thumbs I knew that it was going to be a challenge!

Not very long afterwards more people started to come in and the kitchen became a very busy place! I ended up helping to prepare the eggs and shuttled the cooked food from the kitchen out to the dining hall.

After a while my hubby and parents showed up to eat breakfast, and I took a break and sat down to eat breakfast with them. There was some really great lemon poppy-seed bread there today – I had two slices of that!

There were a few times when I got the chance to chat a bit with the other people that came to help, and I was glad to be feeling less like an outsider than in the past.

The breakfast crowd died down pretty quickly after 10am, and I stayed until noon to help clean up. I basically manned the sinks, washing up the dishes while everyone else cleared the tables and dried the dishes and put things away. I figured that since I didn’t know where anything was supposed to go it would be better if I just did the washing up. Everyone was really grateful that I did the dish-washing – they said that was the hardest job to do. (And now I’m a bit sorry that I DID wash the dishes, my hands really hurt a lot from forcing my thumbs to do all that work!)

When I was finished up I bid goodbye to the other ladies that were still there and headed out. I had made it half way across the parking lot when they opened the door and called out to me “Would you like to take some flowers home?”

They had a handful of the flowers that had been donated by the local nursery to the breakfast, and were holding them out towards me. “Sure, that’d be great!” I replied. I walked back to the door, took the flowers. “Thanks” I said, turned, and headed back to the car. “Thanks again” they called out, and I waved. It was a good feeling. Maybe I’ll actually start to make some friends in this town after all.