F Simple and Serene Living 09 10
Friday, July 12, 2019


Am I a strange person? (Don't answer that) For some reason I am not crazy about blueberries unless they are wild or are baked into something. 

It may be that I was spoiled when I was a teenager and had fresh picked wild blueberries. Even the blueberries that I get at the farm market don't seem to measure up, but I know how healthy they are and that I need to include them in my diet. 

Also, I am trying to limit my carbs and sugar intake so I've been looking for a recipe for gluten free muffins that don't have processed sugar. 

When I was shopping at Aldi the other day I picked up a bag of stevia, which I thought I would use in some recipes. 

The problem is that when I was researching it online I found some information that said if you have ragweed allergies then you will probably react to stevia. Well shoot, I guess the stevia plant and ragweed are kissin' cousins or something. 

So I decided to look for a recipe that uses honey. I know I can consume that with no problems, and I'll probably try a little of the stevia in some tea to see if it gives me a headache. 

I came across this recipe  for Gluten Free Blueberry muffins and as I had all of the ingredients I decided to give it a try yesterday. All I can say is yum. It said it would make six muffins, but my muffin tin is on the small size so I got ten muffins out of it. (Okay, I know there are only eight there, but a girl has to eat)

I historically or maybe hysterically have balked at the price of almond flour, but I found a bag at Aldi and it really wasn't too expensive. 

The great thing beside the fact that they are delicious is they are healthy and are made with just seven ingredients. 

I am sending you over to Veggie Balance where I found the recipe. Just don't get lost there looking at all the other recipes. If you do call out my name because I'm going to be looking around there too. We can find our way out together and maybe we can snag a gluten free peanut butter cookie on the way out. SIGH!!!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Well, I think I am going to have to just give up on the tomatoes. Apparently people have been stealing tomatoes and management has sent out letters, but I still lost one this past weekend. Also I now have a squirrel who is stealing from me. I can tell the difference because the squirrel eats half the tomato and leaves the rest on the ground. 

The netting has not helped so I am going to try and not stress out about it. 

Next year I will probably eliminate the tomatoes. On the bright side I am getting some very nice cucumbers and eggplants and my green peppers are coming on. My spaghetti squash plants are crazy with blooms, but no sign of any squash yet. 

This year is a learning experience for me and I am having fun with it. Tonight I am going to make some eggplant parmigiana. I stopped by the grocery after water aerobics this morning to pick up a couple of the ingredients that I didn't have on hand. 

This little guy isn't quite ready yet.

I'll let you know how it turns out. It is from the same cookbook as my eggplant tomato casserole, but this will be the first time I have cooked the parmigiana. 

I've added a third day of water aerobics each week and have added weights to give myself a better workout.  I really like the classes, and although I haven't lost any weight I feel like I am getting in better shape. 

Tessa's birthday was so much fun on Saturday. We had pizza and cake. Gluten free for me and my two daughters and regular for Tessa and Sidney. I came home after dinner while they went to the drive in movies. Movies make me fall asleep. 

Sidney was doing her best to keep Tess upright.

I think Tessa was very happy with her day. She got the roller skates that she wanted and made a point to recognize that I got her something that was on her Amazon wish list. WHEW!!! It's nice when you actually do something right. 

Monday I went thrifting. I am starting to get back into selling and am selling directly on Instagram as well as in my Etsy shop

Things are changing and I am trying to keep up with all of the changes. Teaching an old dog new tricks isn't always easy though. It takes us a little longer to go with the flow.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019


Today is Tessa's birthday. I can't believe that she is already seven. The time has really flown by.

I'm so excited to be here to spend her birthday with her today. The last time I was able to be here was for her first birthday. My mom and I drove down from Kentucky for the celebration. It was the only time my mom was able to come to Georgia with me and see my daughter's home. 

I'm going to go over this afternoon for some play time with her and then I will stay for dinner and cake. 

She of course is very excited. 

I'm back to reading more. I had really slowed down on my reading for a few months because the stress I was under was leaving me unable to concentrate. It seemed much easier to stream TV and movies. 

I love going to the library. I believe that the advent of free lending libraries was one of the greatest things ever. I have been borrowing books since I was a little girl who could walk down to the book mobile and pick out my own books. 

I just finished reading the latest book in the Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs Series. 

From the book jacket:

Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade), investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a page-turning tale of love and war, terror and survival.

When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.
As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.

I was definitely not disappointed. If you love strong female characters and British mysteries you will love this series.

I have a large stack of books to choose from for my next read. It's a tough decision, but I can't wait to get started.

That will have to wait until tonight. After all I have an important party to go to.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Last night my two daughters and my oldest granddaughter, Sidney, came over and had dinner with me. 

Sidney brought me a housewarming gift. It's a sweet little philodendron. She knew just what I would like. 

As I was planning to cook my eggplant tomato casserole I thought about how nice it would be to share it with them. For so many years I wasn't able to cook for them, but now that I am finally nearby I can have that family time I looked so forward to.

Since my son in law and grandson are camping out west, and Tessa is with her other grandparents while she goes to day camp, I thought it would be the perfect time for a girl's visit.

It was a simple dinner of casserole and fresh green beans with tomatoes and onions, and as I sat and snapped the green beans I thought back to sitting on the porch with my grandmother snapping beans and chatting. 

My mom was in the kitchen baking a cake for the strawberry shortcake my father would later concoct, and I can still remember the cadence of my grandmother's southern drawl as a backdrop to the sound of the snapping beans.

My grandparents and parents are all gone now and the home I grew up in burned down several years ago, but the memories will always be there. 

After dinner, last night, the four of us sat and talked about silly things we had done in the past. We were making new memories. Ones that I hope Sidney will carry with her. As we talked, I felt the past, the present, and the future all coming together in wonderful harmony. It's how life should be.

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Saturday, June 29, 2019


I think I may have a tomato thief. I thought it might be a bird or an animal, but now I am not so sure. Yesterday when I went out to check on my garden I noticed that once again my largest tomato was missing. It hadn't turned red yet, but I'm beginning to wonder it someone is having fried green tomatoes. 

As there is never any trace of the tomato and none of the other tomatoes are touched I am really having doubts that it is a deer or a squirrel. 

Apparently they have had some problems in past years with people taking veggies and have had to post signs not to take vegetables from the gardens.

On the upside I harvested another large cucumber and two nice size eggplants yesterday. The veggie man came yesterday and I was able to buy two large tomatoes from him for a dollar. What a deal. That made me feel not quite so bad about not having any tomatoes of my own.

I've ordered some netting to put around my tomato plants and I am hoping that will stop the pilfering. I'll let you know what happens. 

I'll be cooking up my special Eggplant Tomato Casserole today.
I've been making it for over 45 years and I've never had a complaint. It is the reason I planted eggplants.

My copy does not look this good. It is very well love, which means it is showing its age.

 Eggplant Tomato Casserole
from the original  "The Vegetarian Epicure Cookbook"

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lb.) 

1 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbs. melted low cal margarine (or butter)
ground pepper,

2 to 3 tbs. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. crushed oregano

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I'm making my own gluten free bread crumbs)
2 large tomatoes, sliced thin

2 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese,

eel and slice the eggplant. Put the slices in a pan with the salt and about an inch of boiling water. Cover tightly and cook about 10 minutes. Drain. Mash the eggplant and mix in the eggs, melted butter, pepper, onion, oregano and bread crumbs.
Butter a shallow 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover the bottom with half the tomato slices. Spoon in all of the eggplant mixture and spread evenly. Arrange the rest of the tomato slices on top. Mix together the cheeses and sprinkle over the top layer of tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of paprika and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019


It seems like it takes me so long to put all of the final touches on my new home when I move. I guess I am what my father would call persnickety. 

No matter how large or small my homes have been I have always wanted them to be somewhere that I love walking into and then feeling comfortable as I live there. 

This little apartment is no different and it often requires me to sit and look at a space to know exactly what I want to do. 

I have partially finished my bedroom, finished being a relative term as I know I will always be tweaking it. 

Today I thought I would share one corner of the space, as it is the most finished part of the room. 

I love when I walk into it and see this.

This room has wonderful light with its wonderful floor to ceiling window,

Over the bed I have hung an original oil painting along with four vintage butterfly prints.

I decided to use my brass lamps in here. I have had these lamps for about 40 years, but didn't use them in my last apartment. I'm happy to be using them again. 

I also continued the butterfly theme with the magazine holder. It's nice to have magazines by my bed for late night reading when I want some decor inspiration.

This old wicker chair is a wonderful place to sit and read or just gaze out of the window. My Betsy Wetsy doll that I got for Christmas 62 years ago sits there most of the time, but she doesn't begrudge me my time there too. 

I've draped one of my quilts over the back of the chair because I wanted a true cottage feel in this room.

I've simplified the shelf in this apartment with a plant, a plate, a christening gown, and a blue straw hat. 

Yes, my plants continue to multiply and I've got plans for the other wall in this room for more plant display. (I may need a twelve step program)

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Thursday, June 20, 2019


Imagine my surprise when I went out to my garden on Monday afternoon and found this beauty had been hiding under some leaves.

"Well hello beautiful cucumber", I said, while surreptitiously looking around to make sure no one saw me talking to a veg in my garden.  

After I cleared out those diseased leaves from my spaghetti squash plants, it decided it was time to make its presence known. 

I really wanted to put it on display in a place of prominence in my living room, but I figured that might defeat the purpose of the garden, and who knows if there will be any brothers or sisters for it this summer. 

So Tuesday it gave its life for a salad. 

Some spring greens were topped with cubes of cuke (try saying that fast ten times), fresh tomato, and a drizzle of organic salad dressing. 

It was a delicious dinner. 

Wednesday there was a repeat performance with the other half and some added avocado. 

Fresh summer food is the best. 

P.S. Full disclosure. A cucumber was harmed in the making of this blog post. SIGH!!
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Monday, June 17, 2019


I love having my little vegetable garden. I think any type of gardening is relaxing and good for your overall physical and mental well being. Apparently gardeners live longer.

I am learning a lot from the plot that I have this year. I don't think my spot gets a full six hours of sun each day and I think that is affecting its output. 

I am hoping that next year I can get a different spot that has more hours of sun or think about growing veggies that don't require as many hours of sun each day.

Oh look. One small eggplant.

There are five small tomatoes on my two tomato plants. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will actually get some tomatoes to eat. This past week I added some organic fertilizer so hopefully that will help.

The spaghetti squash went crazy and shot out shoots everywhere. Unfortunately the leaves got dusty mildew, which is apparently common on squash plants, so I cut off all of the affected leaves this morning. I'm hoping that will take care of the problem, but if it doesn't produce I will have to remove it from the garden.

The bell pepper plants are not producing yet. I was looking forward to peppers to add to my eggs in the morning, but that may not happen.

I have one small cucumber. Hooray, and my basil is doing really well. Have to look at the successes no matter how small. 

Well if I can keep the deer, fox, squirrels, and birds away then I may just get something to eat this summer. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2019


Yesterday was a perfect day for a walk. Although it was a little on the humid side, the temperature was seventy and it was overcast.

I have been looking for places near me that have hiking trails, and it is amazing how many there are in Atlanta. 

The problem is the distance of the hiking trails themselves and just how hilly they are.

I've been riding the exercise bike and doing water aerobics, but I haven't done a lot of walking lately. Also, hills are hard on my knees. 

I found a place just down the road from me that said it is easy on knees, not too long, and the path is wide and graveled over. Sounded perfect. 

I pass by the Marcus Autism Center regularly, but I had no idea that there was a hiking trail there. The entrance to the path is hidden at the back of the center, although there is access from a side street as well. It's a good place for people in that neighborhood to walk their dogs. 

I was really impressed with how well maintained it was, and although it isn't a long trail there are some side trails that were a bit too muddy for me to try today, I didn't want to risk sliding down a hill on my rear end. 

I actually parked on the wrong side of the center so that gave me an extra walk. It was a bit hilly, but just enough to give me more of a workout without bothering my knees. 

It was great to get outdoors for awhile. I really like the area I live in. Although it is in Atlanta and has all of the amenities of the city, it doesn't feel like city.

This morning is water aerobics and then this afternoon I am going to take my oldest and youngest grandchildren to the bookstore. It is one of their favorite places. 

I've started to sort through my mom's jewelry and will be selling some of it on Instagram soon. If you like vintage jewelry you might want to watch for it. 

It's good to be busy.

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Saturday, June 8, 2019


After a stretch of hot sunny days we are now having a period of rain. Early this morning I was woken up by the sound of thunder and the swoosh of rain against my bedroom window. Seemed like a good idea to snuggle back down for a few more hours of sleep. 

I love rainy, thundery days. It's a good time to catch up on things and to just settle in for some reading. The forecast is showing rain through Wednesday, so by that time I will definitely be ready to see the sun again. 

I have a feeling all of this rain will cause a lot of growth in my garden. It has already grown so much, but I am hoping that whatever is stealing tomatoes will stop. 

I thought maybe it was a crow after the first small tomato disappeared, because it left me a half of a Fiber One wrapping as a swap. I learned yesterday that we apparently have foxes and deer living in the woods beside me so not sure who the thief is. 

If it continues I'll have to get some netting to see if I can protect my precious tomatoes. I do hope that the woods next to my apartment building aren't destroyed by enterprising builders. It sure is nice to have wildlife in the city of Atlanta. 

My apartment is really coming together. I am pretty much finished with my living room and will start to show it this next week if I can get some decent photos. I may have to wait for a sunnier day. 

Think I'll put the kettle on for a cup of tea. Seems like the perfect day for it. 

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