Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!


Dishwasher Poached Fish

 John says this post is suitable for Halloween because it’s scary.   (What, may I ask, is so scary about poached fish?)

 How do you poach a fish anyway?  

Well, you can catch it out of season, or without a fishing license.  (That could be scary if you consider the fine.) Or, as Julia Child and other food aficionados tell us, you can simply cook a legal fish in simmering savory liquid.

Like dishwater.

We did this about 10 years ago when the kids were little and our family caught a bunch of trout up in the Sierras. After we had fried and baked and barbecued fish, we came up with the idea of poaching some of our catch – in the dishwasher.  You know how that hot steam pours out when you open the dishwasher mid-cycle?  Steam hot enough to… poach a trout! 

 John was not a fan back then and he was not a fan a few days ago when we revisited the idea.  But he was a good sport and he had a “nice steak” as a side dish.

 He did try a bite of my poached fish and I had a bite of his steak.

 Dishwasher Poached Fish

1 or 2 pieces of fish.  This time I used whitefish fillets.

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 sliced jalapeños

1 lime, thinly sliced

Old BaySeasoning

Aluminum foil


Wash the fish and pat it dry.

Place it on a sheet of  aluminum foil

Drizzle with olive oil

Sprinkle with Old Bayand garlic

Arrange jalapeños and lime slices on top of fish

Fold foil closed to make a packet.  Fold several times to seal it well.

Place fold down on another sheet of foils and repeat the wrapping.

Place on dishwasher rack.

Run on the hot cycle for whatever setting is the equivalent of about half an hour.

Serve with a nice baked potato and vegetable…and possibly a steak for the chickens in the family.



Italian Bread

This is the bread I make every Tuesday to go with whatever soup I make for our Bible Study dinner.  Everyone loves it and it’s the easiest yeast bread in the world. 

I usually call it French Bread, out of habit, but it’s actually Italian.  I need to get in the habit of calling it that. My name is Paladini, for goodness’ sakes! – That’s Italian!)

But there’s not much difference between what is known as French Bread and Italian Bread. Traditional French bread is the baguette, a long loaf.  Traditional Italian bread is shaped into large rounds. Italian bread may have a little oil or sugar added.

Mangia, mangia!


Italian Bread


2 Tablespoon yeast

2 cup warm water

3 Tbsp olive oil (optional)

2 teaspoon salt

4-6 cups flour


2 tbsp cornmeal (optional)


Dissolve yeast in warm water

Stir in 3 cups flour

Add salt

Stir in some more four to make sticky dough

Turn out onto floured surface and knead flour in until the dough is not sticky

Continue to knead for about 5 minutes

Butter a cast iron skillet and sprinkle with a little corn meal (optional)

(*You can also just make the loaf into a flat-ish round, and bake it on a baking sheet)

Coat the loaf of dough with butter and place it into the skillet.

Allow it to rise an hour or two.

Punch it down.

Allow to ride again for an hour or two (until doubled)

Bake at 400° till brown and hollow-sounding when you tap it.

*As a time saving hint – you can make the dough and do not let it rise.  Butter it well and wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it. Then at some future busy day you can pull it out of the freezer in the morning, unwrap it and let it thaw and rise all day.  When you come home your loaf is ready for the oven.


Ironic Iconic Questions

The homepage of my e-mail had a story about an iconic picture of a couple kissing during the Vancouver Riots this summer. Their identities had been revealed! Stop the presses!

Iconic picture?

What in the world was so iconic about that picture?  Possibly just the fact that it brought to mind the truly iconic picture of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on V-J Day.  Or the picture of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kissing on the beach.

But kissing during theVancouver riots? Hardly iconic.

I got to share this soapbox with my sister, Monica, a few days ago; although she’s not quite as much of a grammar grouch as I am.  She keeps reminding me that we have a changing language and if our language didn’t change we’d still be speaking King James English.

But we agreed on this iconic pet peeve.

The word means “pertaining to, or having the characteristics of an icon.”  It’s representative of something. I get that. But once again, a really great word has been cheapened by overuse.

Maybe I’m too much of a literalist. And as long as we’re talking about icons… When I was in second grade I took my new doll to school and a couple of big girls from the fourth grade admired her.  “Oh she’s adorable!” they gushed.  I was troubled about that for days, literally for days – my little Catholic schoolgirl mind could not grasp how a doll could be adorable.

But now, half a century later I think that’s kind of an adorable memory. Dare I say it’s an iconic memory?

One morning not too long ago another picture on the computer caught my eye. It shows a beautiful woman strolling  along a street in Italy. She was being ogled by about 15 Italian men lounging nearby. It’s an amazing picture. The lights and shadows are perfect, and the photographer captured the decisive moment. I was completely caught up in it – the happy self-confidence of the young woman’s stride, and the varied expressions on each face. My mind filled with “stories” that picture could tell! But then I saw the word “iconic” and I just wanted to scream.

Iconic? Why????

I put the word “iconic” into my search engine and found iconic motorcycles, iconic desks, iconic songs, books, dresses, hairstyles. Every single thing in the world can not be iconic! 

I went into the bedroom where John was doing his morning stretches. I leaned against the doorway, “Say three words.”


“Just say any three words that come to your mind.” I urged him, “Nouns.”

My sweet husband just gave me one of those looks and shook his head and laughed, “Okay…uh, kickballs, clothespins and chainsaws.”

I returned to my computer.

There were no iconic chainsaws, although right away I found a “iconic scene” from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I couldn’t find an iconic clothespin, however there  is a so-called iconic sculpture of a clothespin  near the city hall in Philadelphia.

But there was no sign of iconic kickballs.  Hmmm, it’s probably just a matter of time.


Monica’s Refrigerator Soup

“Guess what I just did?”  Monica’s voice told me I would never guess, so I made a few elaborate stabs. …won the lottery?… got pregnant?…

“I made refrigerator soup,” she announced. (I think I would say she announced it gleefully.)

She said, “I came home for lunch, and I was trying to think of something that would be fast for dinner tonight. Dan and I both have bible study.  I was looking in the fridge and I saw some leftover spaghetti sauce.  And you know spaghetti sauce is the heart of refrigerator soup.”

Spaghetti sauce is the heart of Refrigerator Soup.” That cracked me up.  And it’s pretty true, although not absolutely necessary. 

I made refrigerator soup all through the kids’ childhood, when the refrigerator got too full of musgos.  Musgos are the things in little tupperware containers that “mus’ go” before they spoil.

Quite simply, you just make soup out of whatever is in the refrigerator!  Leftover spaghetti sauce, rice, pasta, any kind of veggies, the last few slices of Thanksgiving turkey diced up.  (Years ago my friend, Pat, was shocked to find a glob of turkey stuffing on her soup spoon one day, but she had to admit it was pretty tasty!)  Put whatever you have into some broth.  Maybe chop up an onion, and throw in a few spices…simmer… and Voilá!

To be honest though, I didn’t think Monica had been paying too much attention back in the day. She was a dutiful kitchen helper/cook when I asked her, but she seemed to have zero initiative or interest during those formative years.

(David, on the other hand, thrived on all things culinary.)

It gave John fits. “What’s she going to do when she gets married?” he worried.

I joked that she might marry someone like David, but that was no comfort.

So here she was calling me cross country to tell me she made Refrigerator Soup. One more example of the truth of Proverbs 22:6.  She explained that she had just put it together and she was calling to see if I had any ideas to add to what she had come up with.

I asked her to tell me her recipe and this is what she said.

About a cup of spaghetti sauce

About a cup of rice

A little bit of canned tomato soup

To this she added:

a can of beans

a package of frozen mixed vegetables

some dried onion flakes and some chili flakes.

She put it into the crock pot with a few cups of beef bouillon and had the setting on low.

I couldn’t think of a thing I’d have changed, except to be able to close the 3,000 miles between us and sit down and have dinner with them!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Oh my goodness – this one’s a winner! A really easy, and absolutely delicious chicken tortilla soup. I made it for our ladies’ bible study dinner last night, and everybody loved it!

The following recipe filled an 8-quart soup pot. That’s a lot of soup. Served with tortilla chips and bread, it fed 18 ladies and John.  And there is some left over. You can easily cut the following recipe in half, but be sure to make enough so there is some for lunch the next day.


8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed

4 tbsp. olive oil

10 garlic cloves, minced

2 large onions, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 Tbsp cumin seed

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced and snipped

2 cans olives

4 tablespoons bouillon paste

1 large #15 can of diced tomatoes

2 cans kidney beans

1 bag frozen corn


tortilla chips


Brown chicken in olive oil.

Add minced garlic and diced onions. Sauté till the onion is tender.

Add cumin and chili powder. Mix well. Cook for a few minutes.

Add tomatoes and bouillon.

Bring to a boil. Then lower to let it simmer for 20 minutes. Stir a few times.

Add olives along with the brine.

Add ½ cup of cilantro including the finely minced stems.

Add diced bell pepper.

Return to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add drained, rinsed kidney beans

Add frozen corn.

Add enough water to make 8 quarts. (*4 quarts if you are halving the recipe.)

Bring to a boil and simmer for an at least an hour.

Garnish with sour cream, green onion and the remaining snipped cilantro.

Serve with tortilla chips.


Family Reading – One More Chapter

Books are one of the main ingredients in The Paladini Potpie. Every one of us love to read. We all read all the time.

When the kids were little, we had family reading time almost every night. As soon as the dishes were done we would hurry into the living room and John would read out loud to us. 

I know it sounds like a corny scene from The Waltons…but to be honest, I don’t know.  We never watched The Waltons or even Little House on the Prairie because we didn’t have television.

We agreed with Groucho Marx, who said, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Corny though it may be, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything!

John would sit in his chair and one of the kids would bring our book over to him. John would surreptitiously flip the book upside down and begin to utter nonsense words in a sonorous reading voice.  The kids would scream with laughter and run across the room to snatch the book from him and turn it right-side-up. 

I wish I has a picture of it, but I wasn’t as camera-crazy then as I am now.  But it’s firmly locked in my memory since I think I witnessed the scene more than a hundred times over the years.

John read aloud and the rest of us listened. Sometimes the kids played with beads or we made those little woven potholders or knitted. Sometimes we just sat and listened.  They were golden hours.

One More Chapter, our family business has grown out of those years of reading together.  As we state on our web site:  “When it was time to put the book away, and put the children to bed, a chorus of “ONE MORE CHAPTER!” was their impassioned plea.  Every book lover has experienced that same dilemma – sleep or read? Oh well, maybe just One More Chapter!”

We started reading to Matthew when he was little, but it didn’t occur to us to keep track of the books we read until years later.  Some of the books in this list are repeats of those we read to Matthew when he was younger, and he enjoyed them just as much when he heard them the second time.


Paladini Family Book List – Beginning in 1990 –

Matthew was 12 and Monica was 4 and David was 2.

“Little House” Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (series of 8 books)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Chronicles of Narnia (series of 7 books)

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

(*The real book number 1 in the series)

Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

The Silver Chair by CS Lewis

The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis

The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis

The Last Battle by CS Lewis

Heidi by JoAnn Spyri

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

Dangerous Journey (children’s adaptation of Pilgrim’s Progress)

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Little Women by Luisa May Alcott

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Afield by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Avenged by Mary Norton

Elsie’s Holidays by Martha Finley

The Helen Keller Story by Catherine Owens Peare

Pilgrim’s Progress adaptation by James H Thomas

Elsie’s Girlhood by Martha Finley

Elsie’s Womanhood by Martha Finley

The Baronet’s Song by George MacDonald

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Pilgrim’s Progress in today’s English By John Bunyon (James H Thomas)

Passport to Life City (a modern pilgrim’s progress) by Sherwood Eliot Wirt

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (Repeat)

Prince Caspian by CS Lewis (Repeat)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis (Repeat)

The Silver Chair by CS Lewis (Repeat)

The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis (Repeat)

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

The Robe by Lloyd C Douglas 

The Magiacian’s Nephew by CS Lewis (Repeat)  

The Last Battle by CS Lewis (Repeat)

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

Elsie’s Motherhood by Martha Findley

The Yearling  by Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings

 A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis

The Year of the Dream by Jane Collier

The Dawn of a Tomorrow by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov

The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C Douglas

January 1998

Shane by Jack Warne

That Reminds Me of a Story by Gale D Erwin

George Muller by Basil Miller

Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards

An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Harvest by Chuck Smith

By the Great Horn Spoon!  by Sid Fleischman

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple  by Karen Cushman

God Happened to be in the Neighborhood by Ken Jones

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk by Carolyn Keene

Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (Repeat)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

January 1999

Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott

No Graven Images by Elisabeth Elliot

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Rip Van Winkle byWashingtonIrving

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

Little Goodie Two Shoes by Oliver Goldsmith

Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

The Cat of Bubastes by GA Henty

I Thought my Soul Would Rise and Fly Away  (DearAmerica)

Diary of a Freed Slave Girl (DearAmerica)

Across the Wide Prairie (DearAmerica)

The Winter of Red Snow (DearAmerica)

Titanic Girl (DearAmerica)

January 2000

Riders of the Silver Rim Brock and Bodie Thoene

With Lee In Virginia G.A. Henty

David Livingstone – Foe of Darkness Jeanette Eaton

Across Five Aprils – Irene Hunt

Journal of Sean Sullivan – (DearAmerica Series)

Joni – Joni Earekson Tada

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton Porter

January 2001

This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein







Books on tape we have listened to in the car as we did errands or went on vacation trips

Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates  by Mary Mapes Dodge

Left Behind Series books 1-4

Exodus by Leon Uris

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck

Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter

The Fellowship of the Ring JRR Tolkien

The Two Towers JRR Tolkien

Return of the King JRR Tolkien

One More Chapter sells used books online at   AbeBooks, Alibris,  Half Price Books, Barnes a& Noble, and Amazon.  We also sell from our own web site  We have thousands of titles for sale.

In another post I’ll tell you about our newest adventure: One More Chapter Publishing.


Miss Peggy Marries Clint Eastwood

Although Miss Peggy never married, she did have a wedding.  When she was almost 89 she was a guest at the beautiful outdoor wedding of Sandy’s daughter, Rachel.  Sitting at a table with Jennifer and me, she sighed with delight, “Isn’t this elegant?”

She said, “Isn’t it too bad you can’t have a lovely wedding like this without having to get married?”

“You want a wedding but not a husband, huh?”  Jennifer and I grinned at each other and an idea began to form. 

Peggy’s 89th birthday was coming up.  Why not give her a wedding for her birthday?  A surprise wedding!  She would have no idea.

Friends, driving girls and a few others quickly got into the spirit of the party, and the ideas flew!  We could have it in John and Jeannie Kennedy’s beautiful backyard garden.  Trina could do the flowers, I could make the wedding cake, and Sandy offered the decorations from Rachel’s wedding.

We’d tell Peggy we were going to the Kennedys’ house for an evening of games. She was pretty sharp so she might might guess  it was a birthday celebration, but she’d never think it was a wedding.

John and I picked Peggy up, and she told me later that she wondered why I suggested she wear a particular gauzy white blouse…

But then when she stepped out of our car to be greeted by Sandy and Jennifer, wearing tiaras and carrying flowers, she knew something was up!  She began to cackle with laughter.

The bridesmaids produced a veil and bouquet for the bride, and escorted her in the gate.

Heads turned and necks craned as Miss Peggy, still grinning with delighted surprise, was escorted down the aisle on the arm of Sandy’s husband, Roger – the honorary father of the bride. 

The processional music was the stirring, haunting notes of The Theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. And why not?  The handsome groom was none other than a life-sized cardboard stand-up figure of Clint Eastwood! 

Groomsmen John Kennedy and Tom Hindman stood ready to assist Clint in his nuptial endeavor.

My husband, John, mimicking the “Impressive Clergyman” from Princess Bride, stood before us.  “Mawage,” he intoned. “Mawage is wot bwings us togedda today.  Mawage, that Bwessed Awangement, dat  Dweam Wif-in a Dweam….And Wuv… Twue Wuv, will fowow you fowevva…So tweasure your wuv…

“Do you have the wing?” he asked, turning to Tom, the best man. 

“Not only the WING,” Tom replied, solemnly reaching into his jacket, “I have the whole chicken!”  He pulled out a rubber chicken and waved it in the air.

When the laughter had subsided, “The Impressive Clerygman” reverted to his real self, Peggy’s good friend, Pastor John, who proceeded with the fun and serious business of wedding vows.

“Peggy, will you take this High Plains Drifter for Good, For Bad, and for Ugly? Will you take him with a Fistful of Dollars, or A Few Dollars More?”

 “Um, where’s the money?” Peggy interrupted.

“Will you take him whether he Paints Your Wagon, or turns Every Which Way But Loose?”

 “Well, I guess I’ll have to!”

 “Peggy, we all love, honor and cherish you.” John continued, suddenly serious. “Do you promise to pray for us all?”      “I do.”

 “Do you promise to call upon us when you need help?”   “I do.”

 “And now, Peggy, we have a special song for you.”

Our then-16-year-old son, David, dressed in evening clothes, stepped forward, with microphone in hand. Gazing seriously at Peggy he began to croon The Paper Groom Song which I had written to the tune of I’m Gonna Buy a Paper Doll.

She’s gonna have a paper groom that she can call her own –  

A guy she can fold up and put away.

And he’ll be with her every night,

And he’ll never fuss or fight.

He’ll always let her talk and have her say. ♫♫♪…

He’ll be the most agreeable of fellows.

He won’t go stayin’ out late with the boys.

He’ll always be there to remind her that she is well loved,

And he’ll do it without making noise.♫♫♪…

She’s gonna have a paper groom that she can call her own –  

A man that she can stash behind the door.

She can look at him and laugh,

Then she can fold him up in half.

And he’ll never throw his socks down on the floor.♫♫♪…

He’ll smile at her and always seem to listen.

But though he won’t contribute much, it’s true,

She’ll have the fun of walkin’ down the aisle surrounded by

Her good friends sayin’ “Peggy, we love you!”…♫♫♪…

As the laughter once again died down, John stepped forward. “And now, Peggy, we’d like to pray for you.”  We all prayed as John prayed aloud and thanked the Lord for our dear friend, and the way her life so richly touched so many.

Then, smiling at the seated audience, John said “It is my pleasure to present to you the BIRTHDAY GIRL, Peggy Kilmer!”

We all applauded and blew bubbles as Peggy, grinning broadly, made her way back down the aisle.

While Peggy opened birthday gifts, including a specially prepared and very much edited wedding portrait (pictured below); we all enjoyed wedding cake and listened to background music of  The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and various big bands from the days of Peggy’s youth.

Sandy, Roger, John and I drove Peggy and Clint home that evening, and Clint happily stood in Peggy’s living room from that night until death did them part.

* This post is excerpted fromDriving Miss Peggy

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Pease Porridge Hot

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;

Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending time with my little grandson, Nathan.  I don’t know, but for some reason my mind seems to be drifting to nursery rhymes! A few days ago I talked about Peter Piper and today I’m going to talk about Pease Porridge.

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot, nine days old.

I don’t know if anyone would actually like it cold, but it the Elizabethan England it may have been kept simmering on the back of the fire for nine days. It was served and served again, and then replenished with additional water or peas or bits of other leftover food scraps.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Pease porridge…or pease pottage…or pease pudding…or split pea soup…whatever you want to call it, the ladies at my bible study last week loved it! 

And John has not stopped raving about it since I served it to him the following day…when it was one day old.

It’s so easy to make I’m almost embarrassed to call it a recipe, but here goes!

Paladini Pease Porridge

6 cups of dried split peas

12 cups of water

3 large onions (about 3 cups chopped)

½ cup crumbled bacon  (optional)

(Packaged cooked and crumbled bacon works great, but sometimes I use a few thick slices of ham or a ham hock. If you are using ham or a ham hock, put it in at the very beginning of the cooking process. This gives the meat plenty of time to get nice and tender.)

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring the water and 4 cups of peas to a boil in a very large soup pot.

Chop the onions and add them to the pot.

Return to a boil and simmer at a medium boil for about 2 hours, until the peas are getting tender and the consistency is fairly smooth.

Stir with a wooden spoon every 20 or 30 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot. 

Add the other 2 cups of dried peas and the crumbled bacon .

Lower the heat and continue to simmer on low for about 2 more hours, stirring from time to time.

Add water if necessary, however, the thing that makes this particular soup so good is the thickness.

Serve with crusty hot bread!

I don’t recommend that you leave it in the pot nine days, but you can certainly freeze the leftover soup and it will be as delicious as ever!


Driving Miss Peggy

 When Peggy was 85 her car broke down and she decided it was time to give up her driver’s license.  Our friend, Sandy quickly organized a small group of friends to be Peggy’s designated drivers – her driving girls

 Initially, there were four of us in the rotation, but as other women heard about the list they asked to be added.  I think there were about 10 of us in all.  Sandy made a monthly calendar and we took turns driving Peggy on errands, appointments, and sometimes just fun outings.   

 Those of us who knew her well would never have called Peggy a sweet little old lady.  She was salty and peppery. And wonderful. We enjoyed her keen sense of humor and quick wit. She came to our homes often for dinner and or to play games.  She was one the sharpest Balderdash players I have ever seen.

 She was adventurous and daring too.  When Monica got her pilot’s license, Peggy – at age 91 – was her first passenger!

Sometimes she became emotional and flustered as she tried to express her gratitude for having so many good friends.  We always assured her that the pleasure and the gain were mutual. She was a true and loyal friend.  While never pushy with advice, she was happy to share the wisdom her years had brought. And we gained from it. 

 It was after one of those conversations I got the idea of writing her stories in a book: Driving Miss Peggy

Remember the story of Driving Miss Daisy?  Miss Daisy fought so hard against giving up her driving.  What a huge difference between Miss Daisy and Miss Peggy, who embraced the new adventure of being driven around and nurturing friendships! 

With the book forming in my mind, it was even more fun to pick her brain and clarify details of the stories Peggy had told us over the years.  

 She had demurred at first, but then she got so excited about having a book about her life.  It was her idea that profits from the sale of the book would go to the Modesto Gospel Mission.

 I am awed now, as I think about the timing of the book. 

 Driving Miss Peggy was published in August 0f 2008.  We had a combination book release/birthday party for her, and Peggy was as vibrant and cute as ever!

 Then she passed away just two months later on October 16, 2008.

It was sudden and unexpected. Peggy was just not feeling very well one afternoon, so she was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Sandy and I spent the time with her in the emergency room as they took care of her and got ready to move her to a bed in the hospital.

 Our husbands joined us that evening; and even though Peggy was obviously not feeling well, she flirted and teased with both of them.

 After she was settled in her room she asked me if I could get her a copy of our book.  She wanted to sign one for the nurse she had talked with that day down in the emergency room.  I had a few copies in my car so she signed one and John and I dropped it off as we left the hospital that evening.  That still impresses John.  He’ll say, “The last thing she did was a giving thing.”

 The next morning when I got to the hospital Peggy was weak and unresponsive. I laid my head beside hers on the pillow and began to sing one of our favorite songs: “It is Well with My Soul”. 

 After a few minutes I realized that Peggy had just slipped away. Our 92 year old friend had gone to be with the Lord. Sandy and I sat out in the lobby staring at each other in numb disbelief.  Out hearts were so heavy, and we knew how much we’d miss her but we also knew it was well with her soul.

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Paladini Pickled Peppers

This was a dismal year for our garden.  Not one single eggplant…and just one forlorn cucumber. Only three or four zucchini, although we did have a fair smattering of tomatoes. 

But the peppers!  Oh did we have peppers! Peter Piper would have been proud!

 A few days ago I went out there, and I think I had probably picked more than a peck of peppers…when I began to wonder about something. 

How did he do it? 

 Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

 How did Peter Piper pick peppers that were already pickled?

I had to pickle my peppers after I picked them – and even though it was pretty easy, if I ever meet Peter Piper I’m going to ask him for his labor-saving secret.

And then I’ll pass it on to you.

But for now, this is how I did it. 

Paladini Pickled Peppers

About 30-36 red and green jalapeño peppers

4 cups white vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup olive oil

4 tsp. salt

15 peeled garlic cloves

5 or 6 pint canning jars with new seals and rings.

You will need a “canning pot” that’s big enough to hold the filled jars of peppers in order to “process” them.

Put vinegar, water, salt, oil into a saucepan to make the brine. Bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill the canning pot about half-way with water and begin to bring it to a boil.  

Meantime, wash the peppers, and using the tip of a sharp paring knife, put 2 small slits in each of them.

Wash the jars and fill them with hot water. This warms the glass so it doesn’t break when you pour in the boiling brine. (Pour the water out before you put the peppers in the jars.)

Pack the peppers in jars and add 2 or 3 of the garlic gloves to each.

Ladle brine over the peppers in the jars. Fill them to about ½” from top.

(I use a wide mouth canning funnel so I won’t spill the oily brine on the edge of the jar.)

Close the jars with seals and rings and place them in the hot water of your canning pot. Make sure the jars are covered with hot water.

Bring this “hot water bath” to a boil and lower the heat to medium.  Process for 10 minutes.

Carefully pour off some of the water so you are able to lift the jars out onto a towel on the counter.

As the jars cool you’ll hear the ping of each jar sealing, and you can be so excited to know that your pickled peppers will be preserved and yummy for months and months.