Saturday, July 29, 2023

Vee, We Shall Miss You!


Oh, I am so very sorry to receive the news that a lovely blogging friend Vee from Haven for Vee passed away. I 'met' Vee years ago through blogging. She was a joy to follow, and I was always glad for her sparkling and thoughtful comments on my own blog. Vee's presence here will be greatly missed. I learned something new upon reading her obituary - her name is Vickie. I'll always remember her as Vee.

My heart condolences to all her family and friends. God bless Vee, and God bless those who mourn her passing. What a reunion for Vee and John, now both safely with the Lord.

Click HERE for the link to her obituary.

Heart hugs,

Photo credits:
(Top) Image by Beverly Buckley from Pixabay

Friday, July 21, 2023

Potato Salad Season: Three Favourites

Potato salad is very personal;
everyone makes theirs differently.
found on

I've always loved a good potato salad. And it still is a family summertime favourite. Doing a Google search, I was somewhat surprised to learn how often potato salad is mentioned when people share their childhood summer memories. An integral part of the family tradition. Every family probably has their favourite version of it. My mom used to make a creamy dilled salad that I loved, and still do – with cooked potatoes, hardboiled eggs, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, in a creamy dill mayo dressing. I do enjoy making potato salad: chopping the potatoes, boiling the eggs, putting the dressing together and pouring it over still warm potatoes. Sampling as I go. 

Today I share two longtime favourites plus a new-to-me French Potato Salad which is declared a new favourite in our household.

Sour Cream Potato Salad

This recipe is based on the traditional mayo dressing with a twist. It became an instant favourite when a work colleague brought it to a staff luncheon years ago. It's the dressing that makes this recipe especially yummy. I love the contrast of the sweet-tart from the vinegar-mustard-brown sugar combo, and the sour cream mixed with the mayo makes it lighter and really creamy.

Salad Ingredients
3/4 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green onions
6 cups diced potatoes

4 hard-cooked eggs (Once cooked, separate the yolks and whites.
Chop whites, add to salad. Mash yolks, add to dressing.)

Salad Dressing
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar (or less, if you're watching sugars)
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt and pepper, to taste
Mashed eggs yolks (see note under salad ingredients)

Mix dressing ingredients together.

Add to the salad.

The secret to great flavour in this salad is to dice the potatoes
raw and cook in salted water until tender, and to add the dressing
while cooked potatoes are still warm.

Serves 10 - 12 (unless you love it a lot!)

Potato Salad with Mint,
Onion, Capers
'Insalata di Patate Siciliana'
from Sun-Drenched Cuisine (1986)
by Marlena Spieler

This recipe is from a book I bought at a library book sale years ago. At first, I was unsure about using mint in a potato salad, but along with the onion and capers, it really is delicious. Alas, I have no photos of it for you.

I first served it at a long ago Canada Day celebration back in my single days. My housemate and I invited friends for a BBQ; we served salmon which paired nicely with the potato salad. My dear hubby Rick, who was still 'just a friend' at the time, was one of our guests. As you can guess, this recipe has special memories attached to it.
Salad Recipe
6 to 8 medium waxy potatoes, red or white
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) red-wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 ml) dried oregano leaves, crushed between your fingers
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) capers

1 medium tomato, cut into wedges or slices, for garnish

Boil or steam potatoes in their skins.
When cool, remove skins if desired and slice
(1/4 to 1/2 inch (6- to 12-mm) thickness).

Toss with everything except the tomato.
Serve immediately at room temperature, or serve chilled.
Garnish with tomato.

Serves 4 (small portions) 

French Potato Salad

Lorrie from Fabric Paper Thread recently mentioned she made French Potato Salad for a meal. I was intrigued and went in search of a recipe and found one that appealed to me. I made it last night for supper. It was delicious with grilled steaks.

Made with a Dijon vinaigrette, the recipe uses a variety of potatoes—such as purple fingerlings, red potatoes, and Yukon gold—and includes herbs like tarragon, parsley and chives. The author from describes the dish as simple but deeply satisfying. I agree. As you see from the photo, it turned out beautifully and is now added to my 'favourites' collection. You can find the recipe HERE.

Does potato salad feature in your family summertime celebrations? Do you have a favourite version?

Wishing you a beautiful weekend, and
maybe with a little potato salad on the side.

Photo credits:
All salad photos are mine.
Mint photo is by Abdul from Pixabay. 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Afternoon Visit to St Albert Botanic Park

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature,
is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
quote found at

It's so smoky and hazy today. My goodness, we hardly know what blue skies look like anymore. Thankfully it wasn't so bad on Thursday when we visited the St Albert Botanic Park. The gardens were stunning in their summer glory. To think there is such a place to visit right here in northerly Alberta—what a gift. A huge thank you to the many committed volunteers of this wonderful place.

Today I'm dedicating this post to my dear friend, Sandra Lambiotte. I miss her so much here on my blog—she would have stopped by, and together we would have celebrated all this beauty. I think of her often and her dear Michael who is missing her more than we can ever know.

It gives my heart joy to share these photos from our visit with you. Happy day, beautiful friends!

"Flowers always make people better,
happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine,
food, and medicine for the soul."
quote found at

"Gardeners tend to be the most adaptable of human beings. In fact,
gardening . . . trains you to be flexible, and to find consolations
where you can. So the poppies never came up and deer ate the roses?
Well, the irises looked great, and the lilacs were fabulous."
quote found on

So true!

"There is a garden in every childhood,
an enchanted place where colors are brighter,
the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again."
quote found on

"There is nothing I like better at the end of a hot summer’s day
than taking a short walk around the garden. You can smell the heat
coming up from the earth to meet the cooler night air."
quote found on

"I think this is what hooks one to gardening:
it is the closest one can come
to being present at creation."
quote found on

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Photo credits:
All photos on this post are mine

Saturday, July 08, 2023

What Would You Say to Your 15-Year-Old Self?

"I was a quiet teenager,
introverted, full of angst."
NIGELLA LAWSON, as seen on

A fellow Instagrammer, whose daughter was turning fifteen, posed the question to her readers: What would you say to your daughter who is turning fifteen? Right away I knew what I'd say... if I had a daughter. They're lines found in the ancient book Song of Solomon, lines I read years ago that resonated deep in my heart at the time:

"O my dove, (here) . . . in the sheltered
and secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely."

If someone had spoken those words 'your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely' when I was a quiet, insecure young woman, I probably could have lived on them for the rest of my life. How I longed with every fiber of my being to be found lovely, and not to be found wanting in any way. My fifteen-year-old self always felt nervous that she would never quite measure up, never be pretty enough, or good enough. She worried the boys would never notice her or be interested in what she had to say. The beautiful movie stars of the 1950s were her initial standard... with their swishy dresses, beautifully styled hair, and lovely nails. Oh if I could only look like that, she yearned. Instead, my teen self would look in the mirror and see a pale face and the slight bump on the bridge of her nose from a childhood encounter with a swing. I couldn't see the pretty green eyes that looked back at me. Or that my blonde-turned-brown hair glinted with hints of auburn in the sunlight. I knew definitely what I'd say to Anne of Green Gables when she asked, "Which would you rather be if you had the choice—divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?"

Barely twenty, I met my beautiful friend, Jean, and it wasn't long before we discovered we were kindred spirits. Enjoying similar things, finishing each other's sentences. Bosom friends, like Anne and Diane. One afternoon, maybe a lazy Sunday, we were hanging around in my tiny apartment. She wrote a poem. Which she gave to me. Titled The Rosebud - in which she wrote how she saw my life as a tightly furled rosebud that would one day mature and blossom. Several stanzas... those words were like water to parched ground - I drank them in.

Some years later I came across those words from Song of Solomon, and I felt the love and acceptance in those words all over again. My soul bloomed into maturity. I felt beautiful in my own skin, and I began to find my way to live a beautiful life as a single woman.

Of course it took a lifetime to learn that beauty is not just skin deep, that beauty is also shaped by our daily choices and attitudes, how we present ourselves, what we choose to focus on. It took me a lifetime to learn in my inmost self that God so loved me, so that I could 'hear' and believe for myself those beautiful words, 'your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.'

They've been in my heart ever since. And so I know the great value of speaking words of beauty into the lives of our girls and young women. Maybe not every woman needs to hear those particular words, but I think we all need to know we are loved as we are and accepted by the Beloved One. It helps us to love ourselves. Then, in response we turn to love and accept others.

Wishing you a beautiful day!
With love,

Photo credit:
Top image by Silvia Rita from Pixabay