Tag Archives: Yard sales

Serendipity?

12 Sep

Pear Upside Down Cake

Last Saturday it was my turn to bake the treat for the volunteers at the Ashland Rotary garden.  As I looked around the kitchen at the items that I had available, I saw the pears that I’d picked at the garden a few weeks earlier and noticed that they were ripe and ready to be used.  At first I thought I would find an apple cake recipe and just substitute the pears for apples but then I thought of this recipe from Fanny Farmer’s Baking Book (I found it on a website called “365 Days of Baking“. (Holy cow – that sure sounds familiar!  I need to get in touch with this woman because we have a lot in common!)

Back to last Saturday…  Once my cake was baked, I placed it in my car and began my drive out to the garden.  As I headed up the street I saw our friend Steve setting up a yard sale.  I pulled over (no screeching brakes I swear!) and noticed he was selling mostly toys that his grandson has outgrown.  Since my ‘kids’ are 19 and 23, I wasn’t in need of toys, so instead Steve and I started chatting.

He told me that he made a quiche recently but he wasn’t thrilled with the results and asked would I share my recipe with him.  I told him that I relied on a ratio for my quiche filling.  For the custard portion of a 9″ deep dish pie, I use 4 eggs, 2 cups of half and half (or whole milk if I am trying to lessen the caloric content) and then add 2 cups of grated cheese (usually cheddar or swiss).  Of course, you’ll still need to add some sautéed vegetables (and cooked sausage or bacon if you’re so inclined) but that’s about it.  Just about then the yard sale got busy.  I knew I had to get to the garden so I promised Steve I’d write the recipe down and get it to him later.

Spinach, Onion, and Pepper Quiche

Well, a few days later I still  had not written down the recipe, and I thought of how amazing Steve and Ellie are for adopting their grandson and putting all their time, love, and energy into raising him… and before you could say “Jiminy Cricket” I had a quiche in the oven for them.  A short while later I knocked on their door and handed Ellie the quiche still hot from the oven… with the promise that I would get the recipe to Steve soon.   Ellie thanked me and gave me a big hug and I was off.

The very next day I wanted to prepare fresh tomato sauce for the Baked Manicotti that I was making for guests that evening when I went into my pantry and found only one onion when I really needed two.  I began thinking of who might have an onion I could borrow when there was a knock at the door.   When I opened the door, there was Ellie handing me several paper bags filled with goodies from her garden… including 2 onions! 

The bounty from Ellie’s garden!

This sort of occurrence might fall under the heading of serendipity or luck, but I like to think that there is a grander scheme that we are all a part of and that sometimes – if we are lucky – we get to glimpse its magic.

Coincidence is the word we use when we can’t see the levers and pulleys.
-Emma Bull

Day 157: Ashland H2O Polo

10 Sep

My neighbor Ellen suggested that I bring a pie to the Army National Guard soldiers today. It seems that these soldiers planned on spending their day cleaning up the space where the Ashland Emergency Food Bank will soon be located. What a marvelous idea!

Since I was told that there would be more than 20 soldiers, I chose to bring them Marionberry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream instead of baking 3 or more pies. Unfortunately, when I got to the building, there was not a soldier in sight. Not to be deterred, I drove to the National Guard Armory where there were lots of cars in the parking lot.

Now, you can’t just walk into the armory. You need to call the phone number on the door and talk to someone in charge. That person answered my call and listened to my story; I won’t bore you with the details. When I was done, the soldier thanked me and told me that they had finished the cleanup early but were now involved in a training and could not stop for a break because they were behind (due to the time spent cleaning I surmised). He said several times, “We really appreciate this so much, Ma’am. Thank you for thinking of us.”

Sadly, I drove away and thought, “Now what?” Where does one find twenty or more deserving people all in the same place? I hadn’t driven 2 blocks before I remembered that the Ashland High School Water Polo team was having a giant yard sale a few blocks from where I was. In minutes I was at the sale. Quickly I found someone in charge and told her my story. I was then directed to Betty, the woman in charge of snacks. She showed me where I could set up and I brought the Marionberry filling, the cobbler biscuits, and the ice cream and started dishing servings of cobbler. Within moments word spread and a line of hot, hungry teenagers appeared, as well as a number of parents. Several folks wanted to thank the National Guard for making this treat possible, while several others watched me curiously. At least one person mentioned that they would be there again tomorrow! (Sale hours on Sunday are from 9-3 in the Lincoln School Parking lot on Siskiyou Boulevard).

Before long, my dessert offering was consumed. It was quite fun to bring a surprise treat to the folks that were working so hard on a sweltering hot day to raise money for their team. As I was leaving, I thought how things had worked out after all. And then one young man came up to me with a smile on his face and said, “You really made my day.” I ask you, does it get any better than this?

Day 102: Chocolate Cream Birthday Pie

17 Jul

Today as I was driving through town I thought of a friend who I had not seen in a while and wondered how he was. As I approached the street where I turn to go home I saw an amazing sign announcing a yard sale. If you know me at all, you know how much I love a good yard sale and decided, “If the sign is that nice, this sale must be amazing!”

In just a few minutes I was at the sale – which turned out to be at the house of the friend I’d been thinking about! I got out and looked around and we talked a bit and then he told me that his daughter just had had a birthday four days ago. “But I always make her birthday cake!” I thought to myself, and then I asked, “How about if I make her a birthday pie?” And that is how I came to make a Chocolate Cream Pie for Jacque’s birthday (a few days after the fact).

I took about two dozen of these “Newman’s Own” chocolate sandwich cookies and crushed them in my cuisinart and added three tablespoons of melted butter to the mix, pressed it all into a pie pan and baked it at 350 for 10 minutes. While the crust was baking, I made the chocolate pie filling. The most important ingredient? Good quality chocolate!

Lastly, I poured the cooled pudding into the crust and topped it off with sweetened whipped cream and more shaved chocolate. Totally decadent and fit for a queen (or a young lady who has just turned 13). Later I received a text with these words, “Pie has been devoured in ecstasy with moans of delight!” What a great message! I wish you a very Happy Birthday Jacque!

Day 44: Karen

21 May

Yesterday I got an email from my friend Karen telling me that she was going to have a yard sale on Saturday. If you know anything about me, you know that I love yard sales. I don’t know when this habit began, but I love to find something at a yard (or estate) sale and breathe new life into it by using it myself or by giving it to a friend.  I think reusing things is an honorable trait and by doing so we help to conserve resources and also reduce what we send to the landfill.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

A few years ago I met Karen at one of her yard sales.  She had a dress for sale that another woman got to before I had a chance.  As the woman considered the dress I watched and hoped and waited.  Luckily, the woman decided that the dress was not becoming to her and she set it down and I was able to take it home. It is one of my favorite dresses and I felt so fortunate to find it.

I’ve gone to a few of Karen’s sales over the years and in the course of that time we have become friends.  When I heard that she was having this latest sale I begged to be let in early with a bribe of scones.  Karen then welcomed me to view her sale a day early.  And since I know that she is very busy – and preparing to move to Portland – I asked if I could bring her a quiche.  It is a simple gesture to thank her for passing on many of her treasures to me.  I offer my sincerest thanks and I wish her the very best in this move and always.

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