Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes

3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
… 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Toss well to mix.
3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Great for summer gatherings or picnics!

Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes salad


Barn Raising Breakfast

• 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
• 1/2 cup diced onion
• 1 (8-ounce) package crescent roll dough
• 1 (10-ounce) package refrigerated shredded potatoes, browned
• 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
• 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (optional)
• 6 eggs
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

* In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage and onion until browned.

* Unroll dough and lay flat across bottom of baking dish. Evenly spoon sausage mixture over dough. Top with browned potatoes, 1 cup cheese, and red pepper.

* In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and black pepper; pour over red bell pepper. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

* Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned and eggs are set. Let cool 5 minutes then serve. Serves 6.


Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival

Every year on the third weekend in May the Tulip Festival is held in a small town called Orange City, Iowa. This year will be their 74th year! It is fun to go see them in their parades wearing the authentic Dutch clothing and wooden Dutch shoes. They have multiple events going on for 3 days starting on Thursday May 15th and running until Saturday evening on May 17th this year. There is music and dancing in full Dutch attire, a theater production called “The Music Man” this year, the picking of the Dutch Queen who reigns over festivities, many windmills on display – including their Chamber of Commerce housed in a large windmill, Dutch delicacies to eat – lots of good food vendors, exhibits of people’s art, street scrubbing each day, a carnival midway, and so many other events are slated to take place. And not to mention the hundreds of tulips you can see in a variety of colors each year – they are just beautiful! You can also stop and have a pair of wooden shoes made in your size while you are enjoying other events – beautifully handcrafted! There are little stores that feature a lot of Dutch made products for sale that one can take home souvenirs of their visit. Always a lot to see and do and a great time for the whole family.

A little history about the town of Orange City, Iowa. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 6,004 people – this could be due in part to Northwestern College, a Christian liberal arts college with a little over 1200 students in attendance. The town was first called “Holland,” but was later changed in honor of Dutch royalty named after William of Orange. It is best known for its Dutch heritage and their celebration of the Tulip Festival every May. It is the county seat of Sioux County in N.W. Iowa. Many of the cities buildings are faced with Dutch architectural fronts and their courthouse is on the National Register of Historic places. Courthouse photo: Sioux_county_ia_courthouse

The town was founded in 1870 by some people from Pella, Iowa – who also hold a Tulip festival each year. The settlers were looking for cheaper and better land. Northwest Iowa has some of the richest black dirt excellent for growing!

Orange City is a nice little town to visit and the town comes alive during the Tulip Festival every year. To see all they have to offer this year for events, please check out the link below for photos and what is planned for this years celebration.

Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival – schedule of events

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope all had a Happy Heart Day today!

I spent most of my day with my two youngest nieces! Their teachers were in a conference all day today, so they did not have school. I picked them up and we first went searching for the perfect expression of our love for those we wanted to treat! We wasted some time at a local big chain store before lunch. We got an emergency call from my sister for a trip back to the flower shop for some flowers for one of her employees, dropped those off and then grabbed lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Then the oldest had an appointment for a hair cut and the youngest decided she wanted her hair done also, so she had her’s trimmed and then asked to have it braided. Looked very pretty when done and she loved it!

We went back to my place and we worked the rest of the afternoon before their Mom came and picked them up – we made 5 trays of scented/colored soap molds. I can still smell multiple scents on my hands! We had fun and they wondered when they could come again and do some more. I have a few other projects they can do when they can come again, as well as making more soap. We hope to try our hand at bath fizzies, scented bath salts, and trying our hand at lip balm again. We may even try making some sugar scrubs. We have made soap before and they turned out nice and we sold all of them at my sister’s consignment store! We made some hand sanitizer as well and will be selling that as well.

I go through withdrawl symptoms when I do not see my nieces – they have had a lot of issues with illness this year and so we have not spent a lot of time together like we usually do – it did my heart good today to spend the day with them and made my Valentine’s Day special.

How did you spend your day?