A Basket of Love

tomatoes and green peppers

It was cool this morning, and after a very hot summer I welcomed 58 ºF.

I picked all of the ripe tomatoes and the remaining green peppers and harvested the last sweet Spanish onions (the onions didn’t grow very large as I had started them from seeds). Hard to find this type of onion in the grocery — the flavor is everything! I had just enough to peel and dice for some salsa.

I blanched and seeded the tomatoes, chopped up the onions and peppers, and placed the vegetables in the crock pot. I poured in a cup of tomato juice, a pinch of crushed red pepper and about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning (I use Old El Paso). Gave it a quick stir, put the lid on, turned it on high, and went about doing something else.

Some of the chives in the herb garden had re-sprouted after the rain this past weekend, so I pruned them and brought them inside. I washed and minced the pungent hollow stems and placed them on paper towels. I looked in the fridge to see if I had a tub of soft margarine, and a bag of the shredded four cheeses — I always try to keep cheese and margarine in the dairy drawer.

Into the mixing bowl went the soft cheeses and the margarine, a quick whisk with the mixer on low, and then I folded in the chives. Blended everything together and put the herb/cheese butter in a pretty bowl with a lid and tucked it in the fridge. I then washed the bowl and the beaters, and made some cinnamon spread. Into the bowl I added about a cup of soft margarine, a pinch of brown sugar, and grated 1/2 cinnamon stick and 1 small whole nutmeg. Whipped everything until it was smooth and creamy. It smelled wonderful… the taste was wonderful as well. I spooned the cinnamon butter into another glass bowl and tucked it next to the herb butter. Three things done and it wasn’t even 10:00 A.M.

I baked some Bisquick muffins (recipe is on the box) to go in the basket. In the meantime I went to the supermarket and bought 2 huge baking potatoes and a bag of white tortilla chips. By then the salsa was almost done. When the vegetables were tender, I turned off the crock pot to allow the salsa to cool and mellow a little. I packed it in 1/2 pint jars and labeled it.

The basket: I lined it with two “country looking” blue bandannas (got them at the Dollar Tree). Into the basket, I placed the salsa, the butters, wrapped the muffins in foil, added the chips, potatoes, and a little bottle of sparkling water. I added a card and the offer to sit with my friend’s elderly mother any time she needed to get away for a few hours.

Off to visit. A lovely afternoon. We talked about clothes and winter, and just girl talk. I wore my “Don’t Assume I Cook” tee shirt for the visit. I wanted to leave her laughing when I left for home. I hope she and her mother enjoyed the basket of treats, made with love.

Blessed be, sweet ones.

~ Meadow Walker

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