Of Spring, Outdoor Parties & a Broken Ankle

I just don’t do well two seasons of the year… autumn and winter – and that takes a pretty big chunk out of the year, doesn’t it?  But recently I’d been feeling energetic and full of that old spring time joy.  The garden beds were all cleaned out just waiting for the weather to warm up, all the outdoor furniture had been moved outside and washed, and the fire pit was all set for late night soirees.

Then I broke my ankle…as many of you already know.  The party went on nevertheless and was a big success.  Everyone loved the Shredded Chicken Sandwiches and the Chicken Tortellini Soup with Italian Sweet Sausage and Baby Spinach. (I’ll post both recipes soon.) My granddaughter was really happy with her birthday cake, which I posted last Saturday. And after dark the fire pit roared with searing heat thanks to a few of my pyromaniac male friends.

Tired of Thin Layer Cakes – Here’s a Trick to Fix That! Yellow Layer Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips and English Toffee Bits

Tired of Thin Layer Cakes - Here's a Trick to Fix That!  Yellow Layer Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips and English Toffee - My Yellow

I didn’t really feel encumbered until the next day when I realized how much I can NOT do on crutches, such as going outside to finish cleaning up.  In fact, I’m not able to do half of what I could manage 20 years ago when I broke my other ankle.   ; o (

Example, I put about 12 solar lights in my front garden just to see which ones worked… They’re all still out there… some shining with light after dark and the others… just kind of sitting there…

To the rescue – my trusty little rented scooter. And mine has a basket!!

scooter for broken legs

I love new conveniences like my little scooter – and being able to order groceries online and have them delivered – hurrah!  Tomorrow between 10:00 and 12:00 the Pea Pod truck will be pulling into the driveway here at my old yellow farmhouse and lots of wonderful food items will issue forth. I’m sooo happy!!  Me and my little scooter are gonna get busy preparing and posting two recipes this coming week – Coconut Joy Cheesecake Cake Bars – and – Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna with Creamy Tomato Sauce.  At least that’s the plan.  As we know, life sometimes gets in the way!

My Yellow Farmhouse.com - Tulips in Spring -2016


Wishing You the Merriest of Holidays!!

I had planned to post various recipes for sugar cookies – and was going to call the series ‘The Sugar Cookie Experiment’, but as sometimes happens, life & The Holidays just got in the way.  

I didn’t return from my trip to Italy until late November and, before we could even begin thinking about Christmas, my son and I had to clean out the barn and put away all my outdoor furniture  …. a big and ‘not fun’ project.

Then began the lugging to and fro of lots and lots of Christmas stuff from the 2nd floor of the barn, such as lots of extra chairs and leaves for two tables, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, plates and platters, tree decorations and lights etc. etc.  (Hay had been kept, many years ago, on the 2nd floor of the barn.  It’s so cute up there with all the gables and the quaint ‘tack room’ from the days when the barn housed horses that I’d love to fix it up sometime with a pool table etc.)

For the first time in years I have a real, live Christmas Tree. I am so in love with it!  This year I had an ‘assistant’ in the form of one of my sons, who helped me pick out a lovely tree and set it up. The decorating he left to me, which was fine ’cause I love decorating for Christmas.  

The lamp my friend Frank made me, based on A Christmas Story, still ‘blazes forth in all it’s glory’!

Christmas 2015 002

As you may remember, our moth-eaten but much beloved angel is placed at the top of the tree by one of my grandchildren.  

Our Traditional Christmas Angel - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Every year our family celebrates what we call Our Roy Christmas in the middle of December.  This year it was Saturday, December 12th and entailed lots of gift buying, gift wrapping, decorating and cooking which had to be done almost two weeks before the 25th!  Somehow – we manage to pull it off each year – and it’s always so much fun.  

Christmas 2015 - 4 001

My yellow farmhouse looked so festive and just so downright happy that I decided to host another party this past weekend.  As I often do, I prepare several heavy appetizers and ask others to also bring something to share.  We always end up with copious amounts of delicious things to eat!

++  A few photos from my December 19th party!  ++  

The cage with my parakeets, Linda (who’s a boy..) and Skye can be seen in the background.  They loved all the noise!

christmas party -1 2015

Christmas pary 2015

Christmas party 2015 2a

 I promise to post a few of the recipes from this year’s parties before New Year’s Eve!!

Christmas 2015 - copy

Mason Jars ‘n More! Sharing Some Outdoor Decorating Ideas I’ve Saved on Pinterest

Happy Spring Everyone!! 

tulips - clipart

The last two days have been simply gorgeous – fierce sunshine accompanied by light breezes.  The daffodils broke out from their winter’s nap and are doing their very best to produce flowers in a few weeks…. which won’t be easy since, last summer, the guy who mows my lawn simply mowed over all the naturalized daffodils living under my big oak tree.  Spring flower bulbs need to absorb a good amount of sunshine through their leaves so they’ll have enough energy to push through the ground the next spring.

++ There’ve been years I’ve made fencing with small twigs and twine to protect (from my lawn mowing guy) the daffodils after they’d bloomed.  Those leave may not look like much – but they should remain until the tips begin to brown.  Only then can you be sure the bulbs will bloom in Full Force for the next spring.

duck in the rain++  I’d really love it if you shared some of your summer decorating ideas in the ‘comments’ section below.  (If you don’t see the comments section, click on the title of this post – which will bring you to another page.)

This morning the sun is hidden behind misty grey clouds and rain is soaking the thirsty perennials and bulbs.  So – I am forced to forget about working outside in my gardens.  Instead, I perused some of the great summer decorating ideas I’ve saved on Pinterest.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of these ideas, and that they might inspire you as they have done for me!   Enjoy !! 

– – – – – – – – – –

Mason Jars are so versatile… but you already knew that!  You can wrap them in twine and use them as vases – or as utensil holders for buffets or barbeques.  You can have the kids paint flowers on the outside, put a battery-powered ‘candle’ inside and, using florist wire, hang them from the nearest tree.  I’ve also tied raffia or ribbon to the tops of small mason jars and used them as candle holders. 

Mason Jar VASE... with twinePhoto Courtesy of Big Lots

Floating votives - mason jar - courtesy emmalinebride.comhttp://emmalinebride.com/handmade-wedding/mason-jar-centerpieces-floating-candles/

Carnations in Mason Jar - courtesy of catchmyparty. comhttp://catchmyparty.com/photos/553667

Twig Vase - courtesy of Martha Stewarthttp://www.marthastewart.com/270813/twig-vase

outdoor tables from whiskey barrels and glass.

Whiskey Barrel Tables – easy and inexpensive.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea !! 

Eighteen inch Whiskey Barrels, sold at Home Depot, topped with 20′ glass table toppers from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Viralnova.com is loaded with tons of excellent D.Y. I.outdoor ideas, including these tables.  I suggest you ‘drop by’.


I know the idea of placing a pot of flowers on an old chair is nothing new, but I’m finally going to do this  with an old ‘ladies rockerI’ve had for years. A ladies rocker is smaller than most old/antique rockers and there’s no arms on the rocker.

It took me awhile to be able to ‘save’ the photo of the chair on the right – but it was worth the effort.  I love the delicate lines of the back.  And I’ve been inspired to use yet another item from my barn – an old dining room chair.  Which means, if I actually get to it, I may have the ladies rocker in one area of my garden and the old dining room chair on my back porch.  (I’ll post photos of both, I promise.)

++ Follow link for directions to turn an old cane-seated chair into a flower display.    http://tparty.typepad.com/the_tcozy/2008/04/a-chair-of-flow.html   (Uses chicken wire and sphagnum moss.) 

ladies rocker - courtesy of wikiart.comChair with Flowers - courtesy of http://tparty.typepad.com/the_tcozy/2008/04/a-chair-of-flow.html

To get the effect below, I suggest buying a hanging planter & removing the hanger.
And don’t forget, occasionally, to give all your potted plants a good dose of plant food !
courtesy of - media cache - pinterest.com
I hope these ideas have inspired you a bit – especially on a dark and dreary day such as today!

++ Woman in (Ladies) Rocking Chair – courtesy of  www.wikiart.org

To quote Roseanne Roseanadana, “It’s always something. If it isn’t one thing – it’s another!”

Roseanne Rosannadana

I could’ve titled this post ‘The Pie that Didn’t Make It’….  or “The Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Pie Day”… but you get the idea.

I had planned to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ when I chose to make a Toffee Ice Cream Pie for a party I was attending, but, as often happens, my day did NOT go as planned.  And the final result of my Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Pie Day necessitated a visit to the ER the next morning.l

Like many of you, I’m constantly saving recipes on Pinterest, so I decided to find a super yummy dessert recipe.  And I did, namely Toffee Ice Cream Pie, which features a ‘Nilla Wafer’ crust, ice cream (I used Butter Pecan simply because I love it), crushed toffee candy bars and a delicious homemade caramel sauce.

The cookie crumb and butter crust came together easily. Then I prepared the caramel sauce while the cookie crumb pie crust cooled for a bit in the freezer.

Once the sauce has cooled a bit, a good amount of that fabulous caramel sauce is poured over the crust, then slightly-softened ice cream is added.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie - myyellowfarmhouse.com

My overly-softened ice cream began to melt as I was taking a few photos, so I hurriedly sprinkled on the crushed toffee candy and put the pie into the freezer for a few minutes before I drizzled on the rest of the caramel sauce.

Now here comes the bad/sad part – I wiped out the top of the pie as I put it in the freezer.

Half of all that  buttery caramel, toffee candy, ice creamy goodness was left dripping from the bottom of my ice cube maker, where it immediately began to freeze.

I tried repairing the damage and photographing the pie while at the party but, although absolutely delicious, it looked like a disaster.

And now I come to the part of my day where I did a serious, no-holds-barred face-plant into my hosts’ front door – which resulted in me sleeping in pain that night and going to the emergency room the next morning.  As I trotted up my friends’ front steps, my boot failed to clear the top.  I stumbled forward a few feet, hit the front door with my face and fell backwards like a turtle. I ended up with an instant bump on my head, which is still there. Of course, both my hands were injured in my futile attempt to save myself.

Luckily nothing was broken (as it turned out, I had broken a bone in my left hand…) but my right hand is now in a removable splint and looks like a small, fat balloon.   ++ I should never be put in anything removable ‘cause I end up doing a lot of removing.

I’m going to make another ‘Toffee Ice Cream Pie’ within a day or two & I’ll post the recipe. (Of course, making another pie will necessitate removing my splint.)     ; o )

++  The ‘do-over’ turned out just fine!! Here’s the recipe!  ++

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Has Anyone Heard Anything from ‘ChgoJohn’ of ‘The Bartolini Kitchens’?


This is a highly unusual post…  John (ChgoJohn) of ‘The Bartolini Kitchens’ hasn’t posted anything since December 24th.  I’ve sent him a few emails, yet I haven’t heard from him.  And he unfailingly returns my emails within a day or two.  And – if he plans to ‘close the kitchens’ because he’s traveling – he always let us, his readers, know.   Which makes me wonder if John’ beloved Zia might be ill…

I know so many people, including myself, have come to love John and consider him a friend.  He always has the best ‘tales to tell’ and posts (as many of you know) the most fantastic recipes which have been handed down to him by his mother and his Zia – John’s mother’s sister.

For those of you who aren’t followers of John’s blog – here’s a wonderful post from November 29th, 2014.  The post shows both John’s sense of humor and his warmth – and his love for Zia… because November 29th was Zia’s birthday.


Please post a comment if you’ve heard from John – thanks!

NIGHT GARDEN – Photos and a Poem

I honestly believe I was a Native American in an earlier life because I don’t like coming inside once dusk has come and gone. It’s so quiet, peaceful and beautiful outside that I wish I could stay all night!  And there’s been more than one night (crazily,  considering the bears..) I’ve dragged a few cushions, pillows and blankets outside so I didn’t have to go inside – at all. And I’ve always slept like a baby – never waking up ’til the sun shone full in my face.

I hope to have a little bitty house built on my property just so I can sleep outside – and and it would look something like this. (Uncle Mikey – are you listening!?)

++ I had no idea writer Jane Yolen (who I had once the pleasure of meeting) wrote a poem called “The Night Garden” !!  See below for my poem “My Aunt’s Twilight Garden’.

A little house in Arkansas... so much like the one I dreamt about...!!!

Tonight, as I watched the clouds scuttling across the sky… I moved where I was sitting so the ‘Intruder Hummingbird” could have his late night snack….(The ‘Intruder’ is very wary because the Resident Hummingbird, who got used to me very fast, is always chasing away the ‘Intruder’, who’s still too nervous to feed when I’m close….. )

In any event, I decided I’d try to capture the beauty of my gardens after the sun goes down. I hope you enjoy both the photos and my poem.

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

Night Garden - My Yellow Farmhouse 2014

 +++   My Aunt’s Twilight Garden   +++

 Crickets would chirp merrily among the Bachelor Buttons and Zinnias in my aunt’s twilight garden.  I would tiptoe out to their hiding place, and bending low, whisper goodnight.

Viewed from my childhood window, trees would rustle and sigh gently, silhouetted against the darkening sky.  The sounds of older children at play would drift along the breeze, arriving muted but gay.

God was in his heaven during those lazy summer twilights.  The world would slowly close its eyes until darkness and peace descended

Unknown and unseen, but felt deeply, something beckoned to me in the moonlight.

In adolescence I learned the world was not asleep but had only changed into its nightly coat of jet black and diamonds. And I began to realize the night sounds had somehow hushed their voices so I could no longer hear them in the moonlight?

I had arrived at the future.

The bright sun of day leaves but little time for dreams.    And yet…..

May all your twilights be full of magic and may you always hear the crickets whispering to you in the moonlight !    Cecile Hamel-Roy – –  My Yellow Farmhouse

Night Garden - Aug. 2, 2014 018

Livin’ The Life!!

I’m so sorry….I haven’t forgotten you all.  I’m on a Road Trip, kind of like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in their old ‘Road’ movies, except I actually PAY my restaurant bills!!      Bob Hope Bing Crosby

I’ve been traveling south for two weeks (I started in Massachusetts) along the eastern seaboard. I’ve been having so much fun seeing lots of things and meeting great people.

I absolutely loved Colonial Williamsburg in Virgina! If you ever go, I highly recommend renting either a small home or a room in an old house right in Colonial Williamsburg itself. It’s just like going back in time!!

Colonial Williamsburg  - colonial-house.ashx

I spent two days visiting the fabulous Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina. The Biltmore is the largest home in the U.S., plus it boasts the most visited winery in the States.

Biltomore Estate house_garden_3_850x563__large

In Macon, Georgia I visited a museum dedicated to one of my all-time favorite bands – the Allman Brothers. My big purchases there – refrigerator magnets for my twin sons who are also fans of the Allman Brothers and one of their CDs. I’ve been blasting that CD as I drive along!!

Big House Parlor Painting

Today I start heading north, back to My Yellow Farmhouse. But my trip is far from over – I still have lots of people to visit and things to see on my way north, including Jamestown!

At this moment I’m in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after spending a few days in South Beach, Miami. Some dear friends of mine from Malta happened to be staying in Miami with a friend who lives in South Beach.  I got to spend a few precious days with them, their children and their very gracious host, who allowed me to ‘bunk in’ at his place along with the rest!!

Mojito - South Beach, Miami2

  Possibly the best Mojito EVER, enjoyed at the world-famous Cuban restaurant, Versailles, Miami.



“Just a Chat” – – I’m Ready to Say Bye Bye to Winter…..

In January I was so happy to see fluffy white snow sparkling in the sunshine that I ran outside to take some photos.  But by this time …. the thrill is gone, gone, gone.   I’m craving warm sunshine like a drunk craves his ‘bottle in a bag’.  And I have absolutely no voom. Luckily I’ll be heading down south in just a few weeks!

Due my No Voom syndrome I haven’t posted a recipe for awhile.  However, yesterday, for the second time, I prepared and photographed Toad in the Hole, along with a creamy onion sauce I ‘invented’.  And, for the second time, I didn’t like the results enough to post the recipe.  (Looks yummy, doesn’t it?)

Toad in the Hole - My Yellow Farmhouse

Here’s the big problem – I can’t find a ‘proper sausage’, as the Brits would say.  For this attempt I used chicken sausage with apples but the taste was too strong and the sausages are too big.  I did find real, honest-to-goodness English ‘bangers’ online but the minimum order is far too large.

As Snidely Whiplash used to say, “Curses – foiled again”. Luckily, I have a good friend who’s from Yorkshire, England. She’s found a store across the border in Connecticut which sells real British ‘bangers’ – so, I’ll find out exactly where she gets them and post the recipe very soon!!  In the meantime, I may consider buying a sunlamp to help me get my voom back!!

Sharing Recipes from Some of My Favorite Bloggers – DESSERTS

About a year and a half ago I posted several yummy-looking appetizer recipes from some of my favorite bloggers.  I decided to do something similar today with dessert recipes because, sometimes, things are just too good NOT to share!

For a few weeks I was on a cleaning binge…. of sorts.  My cleaning binge is sooo over right now.  I think I’m going to go on a serious baking binge – starting tomorrow.   Enjoy !

                 Sharing Recipes from Some of My Favorite Bloggers – DESSERTS

This recipe for Heath Bar (or Chocolate Chip) Blondies, from Bits and Breadcrumbs, was my inspiration for sharing dessert recipes today.  Blondies are a lot like brownies in texture but the batter isn’t made with chocolate.  Usually made with chocolate chips and walnuts, this recipe gives you a choice to add either chocolate chips or Heath Bar chips. My suggestion – consider making these, at least once, with half Heath Toffee Bits and half chocolate chips!

Blonde Brownies = Bits and Breadcrumbs


I love pound cake! This Coconut Pound Cake, from The Southern Lady Cooks, seems to be super easy to make: you use a a yellow cake mix, some vanilla pudding, coconut and evaporated milk, plus a few other things.  A rich coconut sauce is poured on top. YUMMY!  If you’re looking for some great southern recipes, be sure to visit The Southern Lady Cooks. You’ll see why she’s one of my favorite bloggers!

Coconut Pound Cake - The Southern Lady Cookshttp://thesouthernladycooks.com/2011/04/22/coconut-pound-cake/

I’ve never made New York Style Crumb Cake from scratch but I sure will now. From Uni Homemaker, this crumb cake has lots and lots of topping.  Doesn’t it look delicious?

from Uni-Homemaker - New York Style Crumb Cake


I’d planned to include only recipes from other bloggers – then I came across my own recipe for Apple Pie, which I’ve been ‘playing with’ for decades.  Everyone seems to really like my apple pie a lot, so I’m including it as well.

My Yellow Farmhouse - Apple Piehttps://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2012/11/18/my-yellow-farmhouse-apple-pie/

I haven’t eaten Oatmeal Scotchies in years. In truth, I’d forgotten all about them – until tonight when I found this recipe from Averie Cooks.  It seems that, like me, Averie hadn’t made these in years – she posted, “These cookies are a tasty trip down memory lane. My grandma used to make them and I hadn’t had them in ages. So I changed that.”  Averie, I intend to change that too !

oatmealscotchies-Averie Cookshttp://www.averiecooks.com/2013/04/soft-and-chewy-oatmeal-scotchies-cookies.html


I’ve Been Hacked…

I could just cry. As you may know, my niece and I have been working very hard on updating My Yellow Farmhouse. You can imagine my shock and dismay when I discovered everything we had done was wiped out – and replaced by a totally boring black and white color scheme with totally different fonts.

The worst part about it all is the lovely new logo and photos have been eliminated. I tried to at least reinstate that… to no avail…

And now I’ve learned that, because my niece & I had connected my computer to hers via ‘join me’, the My Yellow Farmhouse Facebook page as also been accessed. And… Facebook reminded me that my email account can now be accessed. Get this – when I tried to change my email password account, I was requested to include my credit card number!!!

I apologize for the rather bland look of My Yellow Farmhouse at the moment. I’m sure we’ll figure out something. To drown my sorrows, I’ve just ordered Baby Back Ribs from ’99 Restaurant’, which I shall enjoy while watching a good movie. As Scarlet O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day” !!

I don’t want this post to be ONE BIG BUMMER – so here’s a photo from better days – from a trip to the Florida Keys !!

One of the Keys - Florida - My Yellow Farmhouse

Going Through Photos & Sharing a Few !

   Early Dawn – Our Farm – St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec (Canada)

I had the most beautiful gardens at our farm in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec (Canada).  My niece and I are updating my blog, so I’ve been going through photos and decided to share some photos of my gardens – plus a few others – with you.

Below – my biggest garden out of three.  The entire garden was about 50 feet long.  (There was a vegetable garden at the far end.)  How I wish I could’ve brought the gardens with me when I moved to ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’ here in Western Massachusetts! 

Interesting fact, I laid out the two paths by using a garden hose, since I wanted the paths to curve.   PS That’s not our barn – it was our neighbors.  Our barn, as well as our other buildings, was constructed of wood and painted white with a red roof, which is so “Quebecois”!!

Largest Garden - St. Antoine de Tilly -
That’s not our barn but, rather, our neighbor’s barn.

Our adorable twin goats, Fairy & Oberon, arrived rather late at night but, luckily, not so late that we were in bed.  I got so nervous after the birth of Fairy that I had to go in the house to get a rum & coke. My husband said, “I think there’s another one coming” but I didn’t believe him. When I returned to the barn, there was my little Oberon.

My husband said Oberon really hit the barn floor hard as he was being delivered, and that’s why he was having trouble standing up. Ever intrepid, the next morning I put a tiny splint on Oberon’s leg because, without some help, he wouldn’t have been able to nurse.   PS   Did you get my ‘Mid-Summer Night’s Dream’ reference in the names I chose?

Here’s little Fairy – just moments after being born. I had just finished drying her off – Oberon was not yet born.

Fairy after being dried off

And here we have both Fairy and Oberon.  I  just love goats !!

Oberon and Fairy - not long after birth - My Yellow Farmhouse

This photo could be named ‘Big Boat’.  Huge ocean-going cargo ships passed our farm both day and night. My husband headed an international merchant bank, so we had books with information about the ships – if we chose to know their country of origin.  We had a system’ of sorts – whoever saw a ship first would yell out BIG BOAT, then we’d all go look!!

We were really lucky to have our farm perched on a hill. Most of the land along the St. Lawrence river is flat.   PS    Both the ship and the stone home below were huge, although they don’t seem to be in this photo.

BIG BOAT - Our farm in Quebec - My Yellow Farmhouse

Our horse Ben was old & stubborn, but we loved him.  The villagers, I’m sure, thought we were strange because we (meaning me) treated Ben a bit like a pet dog.  You should’ve seen a neighbor’s face when he visited and saw our horse munching away on grass…. about 15 feet from the house.  My husband always said I babied Ben.  I couldn’t help it… it’s my nature!

I took this photo close to twilight. On the left is our ‘fire thingy’. My husband often started a fire hours before dark because he liked it ROARING HOT while he watched the sun set over the St. Lawrence River.

Our horse Ben - Our farm in Quebec - My Yellow Farmhouse

My husband had always wanted a farmhouse facing west, with a view of the St. Lawrence and a view of the sunsets.  We were so happy when we found exactly what he wanted – in the village he’d always loved!  And the sunsets in St. Antoine de Tilly are gorgeous!

Our farm in Quebec - My Yellow Farmhouse

Below, one of my twin sons, probably yelling, “BIG BOAT”.  I love how the sunshine is streaming down in this photo. (Judging from the angle of the sun’s rays, I think it was probably about 10:00 a.m.) 

Summer days are long in Quebec – but you pay for it in the winter when the sun sets at about 3:45!

One of my sons, probably calling out BIG BOAT!!  My Yellow Farmhouse

I hope you enjoyed your visit to our farm in Quebec.  During this cold, cold, cold weather, it’s nice to see photos of green grass and blue skies… and flowers!!

small red heart

“A Work in Progress…”

My Yellow Farmhouse - A Work in Progress

Just to give you all ‘a heads up’, my niece – who’s a professional graphic designer – and I are working on giving ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’ a new look.

At this point we’re about 3/4s of the way finished… so “what you see is not gonna to be what you get” by the time we’re totally finished. For example, we’re having trouble getting the wonderful new ‘header’ photo, which you see above, to post full size on the page.  Once we figure out that problem, we’ll finalize our color choices and then we’ll be all set!  So, please bear with us…

To cheer you up during this current cold spell – here’s a cute photo to make you smile!

No, it’s not The Wicked Witch of the West… ‘bunny version’!   It’s one of the baby bunnies born during the summer of 2009 at our farm in Quebec, Canada.

The mother gave birth to between 6 – 7 babies, but more than once this same little one wouldn’t let go when feeding time was over.  This time she ended up dragging the baby for a few seconds ’cause it was so determined that lunch time was NOT over. (I was laughing so hard that I’m surprised I was able to take this photo.)

Ma, don't move, I'm still drinking!

Snow… Snow…Snow !! The First Snow Storm of 2014

The snow storm ended up being, at least in Western Massachusetts, not much of a ‘storm’.  But even a small amount of sparkling snow magically turns the outside world into something special!

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs – “Snow”, from the movie White Christmas!

By the middle of December, a good amount of snow had fallen here at My Yellow Farmhouse – so the world looked White & Beautiful for Our Roy Christmas. Ten days later all the snow had melted.  We ended up with a Green Christmas – which no one likes…. except for travelers, of course.  But today, once again, there’s snow on the ground here in Western Massachusetts!  Not the huge amount we were promised…. or ‘threatened with’…. but snow nevertheless. I went out to move my car so my friend Don could plow my driveway, and the day was just too beautiful – I had to take some photos!

The neighborhood stray cat, whom we call Sophie, sleeps in the side shed of my barn during the winter. My friend and I set up a clothes basket with a warm blanket for her in there. The basket is in a box but, somehow, Sophie pulled the basket out quite a bit. I think it felt too much like ‘a trap’ the other way. She’s one smart kittie!  She refuses to enter my barn, where it’s warmer and where she used to love to look out the upstairs window like a soldier standing guard (see photo below) because she got sprayed by a skunk there this spring. Mrs. Skunk strikes again !!

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

I remember, growing up in the 50’s & 60’s, how much fun it was to play outside the day after a big snowstorm. Just like today, the air would be clear and bright. We used to play in the snow most of the day – only going in for lunch, to warm our feet or to change into dry gloves. (Most gloves were made of wool in those days and they absorbed water like a sponge! Your hands used to end up feeling like they weighed 5 pounds each!)

A dusting of snow settled onto the wreaths hanging on my barn. I leave the wreaths up all winter – I like the way they look. Especially with a bit of snow on them!

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

It’s supposed to be -18F tonight in ‘these parts’. I feel like I’m back at the farm in Quebec, Canada, but without the benefit of our two wood stoves. Let me tell you, in this kind of weather, both the stove in the cellar and the stove in the living room would’ve been fired up like furnaces.

I plan to post – very soon – a recipe I just found for Brown Sugar Pound Cake. I haven’t made pound cake in years, so I’m really excited about baking one. I’m going to try to ‘invent’ a nice raspberry, blueberry, strawberry & blackberry sauce to pour over it. And, you know me – there’ll probably be vanilla ice cream AND whipped cream. Optional, of course!

Sophie’s Winter “Motel Room” !

My Yellow Farmhouse - First Snow Storm of 2014

Oops…. Those Darn Cyber Gremlins…. !!

I have NO IDEA what was going on this afternoon as I was working on a ‘draft’ of my recipe for Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Pimento-Parmesan Cream Sauce… Twice my entire post disappeared – then (again twice) it announced to me that my post had been ‘published’ !  And I wasn’t even close to being finished…

I’m so sorry – the completed recipe will be posted early tomorrow – that is, if nothing else goes wrong. Those darn cyber gremlins again…

To keep your interest piqued and your appetite whetted – here’s a photo of the finished dish !!!

Breaded Chicken Cutlet with Parmesan-Pimento Cream Sauce

Christmas at ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’

I’ve always loved Christmas, which is why there’s an entire corner of my barn stacked with boxes of Christmas paraphernalia! This year, because we ‘lost a week’ – I didn’t go crazy digging through all my boxes – I just took whatever was on the top of the Christmas pile.  And, I must say, my house looks pretty darn festive!

– – –

The snowballs are actually special Styrofoam balls which have a slightly glittery surfaceBoth the snowballs & snow can be found at craft stores like Michael’s. Remember to sprinkle some of snow inside your glass container to add to the snowy look!

Snowmen and Snow - 2013

I love the architectural details in my living room, although the beams etc. most likely aren’t original (1888). I imagine the beams etc. were put in during the 1930’s or so. Underneath the oak parquet floors are the old, wide floor boards, which are still present on the second floor. (Just like we had at our old farmhouse in Quebec.)

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - 1

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - 2

We’ve had a tradition for several years – my oldest granddaughter gets to put the angel on top of the Christmas tree. She considers it an honor and my sons and I just love that old moth-eaten angel. (Actually, it’s actually been ‘mouse eaten’ – but we still love it.) Meanwhile, my daughter-in-laws ask, “Why don’t you just get a NEW angel?”  They just don’t understand….  

Our Traditional Christmas Angel

I know, my Christmas Tree isn’t straight… but that’s OK !

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - 4

I think I’m beginning to see a theme here…. snowmen…. One of my sons told me, years ago, I couldn’t buy anymore snowmen for their house…

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - 6

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - 7

My dear neighbor, Frank, made me the best Christmas gift/surprise ever and delivered it to my house the night my sons and their families were here.  (He rang the bell and left the package on my back porch.)

2 Oh yeah... it says Fra-gil-A !!.jpg

Can you begin to guess what was in this enormous box?  If you’re at all familiar with the movie A Christmas Story, you may have a good idea!

We had so much fun trying to figure out who could’ve delivered it and what could POSSIBLY be inside. My guess…. after some thought… It’s a lamp…. but not any lamp. It’s the lamp that ‘shines forth in all it’s glory’ from the Parker Family’s front room. Made just for us by my dear friend Frank.

In truth, the lamp Frank made is even better than the Major Award in the movie. And, if Ralphie thought the lamp his father won was electric sex – it was nothing compared to MY lamp, with it’s curvaceous calf and bent knee.

  Happy Holidays to All of You from My Yellow Farmhouse ! 

And the lamp blazed forth in all it's glory.jpg

“Just a Chat”… Yorkshire Pudding versus Popovers

Popovers - Julia Child - myyellowfarmhouse.com   Muffin Tin Yorkshire Pudding - courtesy of theguardian.com

Thanks to my friend, Donna, I’ve been wondering… what exactly is the difference between Yorkshire Pudding, which is British, and Popovers, which are American?  I’m certainly no expert but it seems  popovers – at least the older recipes which are cooked in muffin tins – are almost the same as Yorkshire Pudding.   According to Wikipedia, “A popover is a light, hollow roll made from an egg batter similar to that of Yorkshire Pudding, typically baked in muffin tins.

++ For your edification, here are a few photos of Popovers, Yorkshire PuddingToad in the Hole !

‘My Yellow Farmhouse’ Popovers – cooked in a Popover Pan  

Popovers - Fanny Farmer - My Yellow Farmhouse - My Yellow Farmhouse

Popovers – Cooked in a Muffin Tin.

Popovers - from Wikipedia2                                                                              Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Example No. 1 of Yorkshire Pudding Cooked in a Muffin Tin.

Muffin Yorkshire Pudding - courtesy of theguardian.com                                                                     Photo courtesy of  www.theguardian.com

Example No. 2 of Yorkshire Pudding Cooked in a Muffin Tin – this look very much like Popovers, even though it’s Yorkshire PuddingDifferent recipe… different results!

Muffin Yorkshire Pudding - courtesy of All Recipes                                                                        Photo courtesy of   http://www.allrecipes.

 Yorkshire pudding can also be baked in a pan.

yorkshire-pudding - courtesy of simplyrecipes.com                                                                           Photo courtesy of simplyrecipes.com

And, if you add sausages, you have Toad in the Hole(Don’t tell my British friends, but I used to prepare Toad in the Hole with hot dogs when my boys were young.)

Toad in the Hole - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Of course, as with popovers, recipes for Yorkshire Pudding and Toad in the Hole can vary from region to region – and from family to family. 


Autumn 2013 – My Gardens “Last Stand”

Orange Chrysanthemums nestle next to the barn door. Due to some minor health problems this summer, I didn’t cut them down a bit in July. And that’s the reason they’ve become “top heavy”. But that’s OK – they look rather “rustic”!

Lots of people absolutely love autumn…. me… not so much… But I am truly enjoying autumn this year. The temperatures have been lovely – warm during the day, with just a hint of cold at night. As usual, one of my bedroom windows is opened a crack all night – even in winter.

Watching my beautiful flowers wither and die always makes me feel just a bit sad. Sure, my chrysanthemums are happy but most of my perennials have stopped blooming. The annuals are still “chugging along” though! Next spring (you always have to think of next spring!) I’m gonna plant a lot more annuals. This year I planted several different types of annual seeds, without bothering to start the plants inside. Many did very well…. not all… but many. As always, I take notes at the end of every growing season – writing down what did well and what is just begging to be moved somewhere else, where it will be happier.

Later today I plan to post recipes for two different types of Snackin’ Cake but, at this moment, I want to share some photos with you of what I think of as My Gardens Last Stand !

These daisy blooms were a surprise – my daisies hadn’t bloomed in weeks ! Several years ago my friend gave me a few small plants and those grew like CRAZY. I’ve given so many daisy plants away and I still have too many. Come spring, they’re gonna be divided BIG TIME and put somewhere where they can spread out as much as they want. (Like right next to the Perennial Sunflowers below.)

Last of the Daises

I brought back a small bit of these Perennial Sunflowers from our farm in Quebec, Canada. Perennial Sunflowers grow to about 5 feet and get HUGE within a few years.  I’ve had to divide them several times already. Next spring… they’re getting moved to a more suitable spot…perhaps at the far end of my property where they can grow as big as they like!

Perennial Sunflowers

I’m in love with Dahlias! (They’re the red flowers on tall stalks.) You dig up the tubers in fall and store them away until spring. They can be planted pretty early, although it takes them awhile to bloom. But once they do bloom, they bloom until frost.  And aren’t the pink flowers pretty? They’re called Double Click Cosmos and I planted the seeds directly in the ground. The white Cosmos were also sown outside. They’re just regular Cosmos but they’re still lovely.

porch and flowers

A friend of mine gave me a few dahlia bulbs several years ago. Guess what? Dahlias have “babies”, meaning that in autumn, when you dig up the tubers, you find more than what you originally planted. Which means you can give Dahlia tubers to friends and family, which makes them very happy! Just remember, when you re-plant them in the spring, only the tubers which show little sprouts (like potatoes do) will grow a new plant. (I learned this the hard way….)

Red Dahlias

I also love Marigolds. Not the orange ones – the yellow ones. In fact, my husband used to call me “Marigold” to tease me. When I was younger, I don’t think they had the fabulous, tall marigolds we can buy today. I bought these plants at a local grower… one of the few who actually still starts their own plants from seed and not plugs purchased elsewhere.

Yellow Marigolds and Deck

Zinnias can be a bit temperamental. They sometimes get “rusty” but they’re worth the effort because they’re hardy and bloom profusely. These plants, too, were begun by planting seeds directly into ground. And what a terrific surprise they were. They’re almost 3 feet tall.


I wasn’t going to bother sharing photos of my Cleome but it’s just such a wonderful annual. The plants grow really tall and lush, and look more like a perennial than an annual. And you can save the seeds from your plants to plant the following spring.  Actually, very often Cleome reseeds itself!!


I hope you’ve enjoyed your little “tour” of some of the flowers in my gardens. If, during the upcoming winter months, you miss summer/autumn – you can return to this page and it’ll remind you that planting season will return sooner than we think!

Photos of My Gardens & The Unexpected Perks of Being a Blogger !!

Although my flower gardens have been a bit neglected this summer, they’re still lovely and make my heart happy !!  

Flowers - middle of Aug. 2013 011

Black-Eyed Susans

Pink Zinnas

OK – now about The Unexpected Perks !!

When I began my blog My Yellow Farmhouse, my intention was to share some of the many, many recipes I’ve collected – as well as new ones, which I tend to invent when I raid my fridge or cupboards. I hadn’t realized, at that time, all the wonderful new friends I’d meet in my fellow bloggers! We share not only recipes but also tales and adventures. And I truly enjoy seeing the lovely photos of their gardens or their travels – or a lovely wedding shower they recently hosted – complete with photos & recipes. Their blogs are full of great ideas and, often, great wisdom. So, today, I want to share some of my favorite bloggers with you.  Enjoy !!

I just finished reading a lovely post from http://jjbegonia.com.  Carlynn posted about how, some days, she feels “.. a little bit down on my luck, or simply ‘stuck’ [albeit creatively, emotionally, physically]“. She included several links which she’s found inspirational during times like these. And we ALL have times when we just don’t feel 100%. Reading Carlynn’s posts, and well as those of other bloggers, is rather like receiving an entertaining, newsy letter from a friend.  http://jjbegonia.com/2013/08/19/just-keep-swimming/

Pamela, of http://brooklynfarmgirl.com, grows loads and loads of veggies on a rooftop garden in Brooklyn. Pamela’s blog is always a fun read and I love the photos of her “garden’s bounty” and her recipes. Just today I “pinned” her recipe for Baked Onion Rings with Creole Seasonings. http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/2013/08/19/baked-onion-rings/

One of my very favorite new blogger friends is John, who posts great stories of his life growing up in an Italian/American family – as well as fabulous Italian recipes handed down through generations. (Not long ago I featured my version of his family’s version of spaghetti sauce with meat.) I feel like John and I have become today’s version of Pen Pal’s. Actually, I think John has about 2,000 Pen Pals because he gets a bazillion responses to each of his posts !  http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2013/07/03/farmers-market-pasta/

I’d been searching for a really good recipe for duck, and Karen – of Back Road Journal -recently posted a recipe for “Grilled Duck with Cherry Sauce” which  I can’t wait to make. http://backroadjournal.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/grilled-duck-with-cherry-sauce/  Karen travels “..the back roads of New England and beyond..”, and I love reading about her adventures.

Rufus, of Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide, reminds me of my husband in that he gets right to the point. He introduces his recipes quickly in a light-hearted style. I’m often blown away by the creativity of his recipes! Here’s one I particularly like – it includes both Bourbon and beef – what’s not to like?!  http://rufusguide.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/a-real-bourbon-burger

Here’s my last link, although I have several more bloggers I really enjoy. This blogger calls himself The Ranting Chef.  I can NOT believe how many recipes he posts every week. He makes me feel like a total slug !!  The guy’s a wiz – and his recipes always look fabulous. He’s great fun to read, even the titles of his recipes are a riot! Here’s one of his latest recipes. If you have lots and lots of yellow squash in your garden right now, you’re in luck! http://rantingchef.com/2013/08/12/maggie-monday-crispy-squash-casserole/

So – check out  these bloggers – whether you just just drop by or you start following them – I know you’ll … enjoy !!!

I’m in the Pocono Mountains – and I May Never Come Home!

View of Lake from The Lodge –  You can see why I don’t want to leave!

We’ve owned a lovely vacation home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for several years but, for some reason, this year I’ve really fallen in love with both the house and the Poconos themselves. I’ve been, perhaps, a bit afraid of becoming attached to another “place” after selling our beloved farm in Quebec four years ago. But, as often happens, just when you think you’re not ready to love again…. you do. And that’s a good thing!

Last week one of my sons took me to see the play Wicked in Philadelphia – it was excellent. And yesterday I went to Allentown, PA to see a traveling exhibit of a collection of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s sketches and posters. Toulouse-Lautrec was friends with many of the famous Impressionist painters of the late 1880’s such as Degas and Gauguin, and was influenced by them. I love his work and was so happy to see the exhibit.

Poster Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibit

I feel bad that I haven’t posted in a bit – BUT – within a few days I’ll be posting the two things I’m making today – Baked Pasta with Mozzarella and Parmesan, and Rustic Italian Bread. Some of my family will soon be coming to the Pocono house with some friends, and I thought they’d enjoy having a ready-made meal in the freezer!

So, I’ll be back in a few days with two new recipes. Sending big hugs to all of you.

Just a Chat – And a Promise !

St. Julians - Malta

++   St. Julians Bay – St. Julians, Malta    We could walk to this restaurant from our place in Sliema when we lived in Malta. It was one of our favorites places, and we always tried to bring our guests to see the view and enjoy the excellent pasta.   I took this photo one spring when everything was in bloom. In the summer there is NO rain, which is pretty great but it doesn’t make the flowers happy!                          

Hello Everyone – don’t think I’ve forgotten you. It’s just that I’m still not feeling 100% – but I’m getting there!  I’ve actually been working in my flower gardens a bit lately and they’re gradually taking shape.

So – here’s the promise part. I promise to post very soon – hopefully within the next few days. And the recipe I plan to post is Stuffed Shells Florentine, which has been a favorite in our family since my boys were young. And I’ve got others lined up as well, such as a fabulous roasted chicken make with white wine and a freshly squeezed orange. It’s sooo yummy! So – there’s two promises from me for two great recipes.

I miss not posting…. My email is full of lots of great recipes from fellow bloggers and I feel a bit like a SLUG. A slug with a bit of a tummy problem.

Oops…. and a Lovely Photo of Malta !!

It’s possible that “oops” is my favorite word.     I use it A LOT.    And I have to use it again right now.  OOPS !!    I just (accidentally) published a post which I hadn’t yet finished… I hit “publish” instead of “preview” and the minute that icon is clicked – even by mistake – a new post goes out to my email followers and to my Facebook followers. (I can just hear my sister-in-laws saying, “Cecile, ONLY YOU”!)

To make it up to you…. here’s a lovely photo of Malta.    Enjoy!

**  We were lucky enough to have lived in Sliema, Malta for eight years.  Our “flat” was right on the Mediterranean Ocean. We had an incredible view of the capital, Valletta, and we could hear the waves crashing on the rocks below while we slept. We loved it!!

I took this from our hotel room when we returned to Malta for a visit. Isn’t it beautiful?


You can also view My Yellow Farmhouse on Facebook !!

I started working on a Facebook page for My Yellow Farmhouse quite a while ago… so typical of me lately….. But I’m happy to announce that the My Yellow Farmhouse Facebook page is FINALLY up and running!  All the recipes, and their photos, as well as my “chats” etc., are there as well.

It’s really simple to view all my recipes on my Facebook page – use this link – https://www.facebook.com/MyYellowFarmhouse. Then all you have to do is scroll through, find a recipe you like – then click on the link. You’ll go immediately to that particular recipe on my My Yellow Farmhouse.

So – whether you visit My Yellow Farmhouse by going to directly to my blog, my Facebook page or  My Yellow Farmhouse on Pinterest I’m always happy to have you “drop by”.

Hugs to all – Cecile    Enjoy!

Our Wonderful Farmhouse in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec (Canada)

A Cold Winter’s Day… The frozen St. Lawrence River/Seaway can be see on the middle/left.


A wonderful – and totally unexpected – bonus to being a blogger is all the interesting and talented new friends you find in your “fellow bloggers”. In fact, in the last 24 hours I’ve connected with http://dianeskitchentable.wordpress.com – a wonderful fun & newsy recipe blog AND http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com, an excellent blog with delicious Italian recipes.

While “chatting” with Diane, I mentioned we used to have a farm and farmhouse in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec, Canada, and the fact that I should post some photos from there. I had planned on preparing/photographing Stuffed Chicken Rolls tonight BUT, since I’m nothing if not impulsive, I’m going to post some photos of our beloved farm instead!

First, a bit of background… My husband, who was French Canadian but grew up in the States, had wanted to buy a farm ever since I’d known him – and we met when we were both eighteen. Most of his family lives in the province of Quebec, Canada (Montreal and Quebec City) although his immediate family resides here in Massachusetts, so, when it came time to buy a farm, I thought it made sense to buy one in Quebec – the prices were much more reasonable etc. (Not that my French is all that good…)

My biggest garden – with our neighbor’s barn on the right. I loved this garden so much. It had to two winding paths which met, and there was a seating area with a wooden bench.DSC00341

The seating area – same garden as above.

Large Garden-bench-ovalAt the time – January 1998 – we were living in the small Mediterranean country of Malta, but we were back for the Christmas Holidays and, as always, spent some time up in Quebec. On New Year’s Day 1998 we drove through our favorite village of all time – namely St. Antoine de Tilly – and I spied an incredible little farmhouse house on top of a bluff. As we rounded the corner, we saw that it was for sale. Like this yellow farmhouse which I now call home – it was Love at First Sight.

We actually never saw the inside of the house, although we did see a video of the interior sent to us by a cousin. Neither had we seen any of the property. It didn’t matter – we knew we wanted that farmhouse, which happened to also have 130 acres!! And, just to make it even more perfect, the farm was only about 30 minutes from one of my favorite cities – Quebec City!

Our beloved Quebec City, Quebec (Canada) Quebec City - Quebec, Canada

We had such great times and – although our time there is now past – so many people, including our French Canadian family and friends, plus all our visitors/family/friends from the States – and Malta – have wonderful memories. And those memories can never be taken away!

The 2nd of my three of my gardens – St. Lawrence River/Seaway in the background

Garden-side-oval shape

I’m Loving My “New” Kitchen!!!

I’ve lived here in my old (1888) “yellow farmhouse” for eight years now, which is a long time for me. We used to move A LOT!!  I was rather fond of saying, “I don’t wash windows, we just move!”

During the time we lived in the European country of Malta (again, for eight years) we also owned a farm in Quebec, Canada. But I used to nag my husband that I wanted a house in the States – in Massachusetts near our families – where we could stay when we visited the U.S.  He’d always say, “Wait ’til we move back”.

So that’s exactly what we did. In fact, we were out looking for a house in Massachusetts almost immediately after our return to the States. We looked at one home and then happened to drive by a yellow farmhouse with a For Sale sign on the front lawn.  It was love at first sight once I spied that farmhouse, perched on a small hill, with it’s lovely big porch, .

In fact, that’s exactly the way we had found our farmhouse (and the 132 acres it came with) in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec, Canada.  We were just driving by.  Who says that some things ‘aren’t meant to be’?

Our farmhouse - St. Antoine de Tilly, QuebecOur beloved farmhouse in St. Antoine de Tilly, Quebec (Canada) which I sold several years ago.

– – – –

I’ve done a ton of work, both inside and out, on my old yellow farmhouse here in Massachusetts over the past eight years. Yet, there’s always something to be done, fixed, repaired, replaced or painted.

Summer 2012 - My Yellow Farmhouse. comMy Yellow Farmhouse – Summer 2013

Although I loved the kitchen the way it was, I felt it was time for a change. And, I gotta say, the make-over really makes my heart happy!!

My kitchen then…

Kitchen - before

My kitchen now..

new kitchen

My kitchen then…. 

Old kitchen

My kitchen now…..

new kitchen

I’m so very pleased with how these shelves turned out. I just bought two boards and six supports – and voila – a place to display some of things we collected on our travels. I was aiming for the look of a kitchen from Provence, France and this shelf really gives it a country-French country.

USE - Kitchen - shelf and shutter with utensils.jpg

Provence - sunflowers




I was lucky enough to find the exact fabric I wanted from a website here in the States which sells fabric from Provence!




Here’s a great idea for having your utensils readily available. I was going to paint one of the old shutters I have out in the barn… but I found this at a discount store – all ready to go !!

USE - Kitchen - shelf and shutter with utensils.jpg (2)

Most of these cooking utensils were my mother’s. Such great memories!!

A Small Fan of My Yellow Farmhouse – Who’s a Big Fan of Sheperd’s Pie!

Mateo - Diane & Gilbert's little boy - malta - fimbankThis is just too cute not to share !! Look at those huge eyes and big smile. He’s just waiting to dive into that Shepherd’s Pie, made by his mom Diane. Diane’s a friend of mine from the days when we lived in the small Mediterranean country of Malta. She, and her husband, both worked with my husband at an international merchant bank there.

Diane started following my blog not long ago, along with several other friends from Malta – one of whom now lives in Kuwait and one who lives in Australia. So, when my “statistics” show me that someone “checked out my blog” from Kuwait – or Australia – I pretty much figure it’s one of my dear friends from our time living in Malta!. I’m so glad that I’ve got both big and little fans scattered around the world – and that Mateo seems to love my Shepherd’s Pie.


Shepherd's Pie - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

The country of Malta has its own cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the delicious pasta dishes of Italy. I gotta say…. I got really spoiled while living there due the lightness of the pasta they make in Malta! And, the best tomato sauce I ever ate was at a restaurant in the teeny Maltese island of Gozo, accessible only by ferry. Interestingly enough, the place was owned by a cousin of one of the bank’s employees. The secret to the sauce, the chef/owner told us, was that he used only fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and salt and pepper. And the sauce was cooked for only a brief time – so the flavors of the tomato and basil really shone through!! I tried to recreate that sauce and it was a big hit – although I don’t feel that my sauce lived up to the original.

So, I make you all a promise….. once the summer tomato season is in full bloom, I’ll buy several bags of tomatoes. cook up my approximation of the wonderful sauce we ate in Gozo/Malta – and then share it with you!

My Yellow Farmhouse – Winter 2013

I just received a truly lovely photo of my farmhouse which was taken by one of my (wonderful!!) neighbors – and I decided to share it with you!

My farmhouse was built around 1888 – before the time when there were “bathrooms” in houses. In honor of those days, I have a old “chamber pot” in my master bedroom. For those of you who’ve never heard of a chamber pot, they were often made out of china and looked a bit like a soup tureen…..

chamberpot - courtesy of Nat'l Park ServiceWhen it was too cold or rainy to “go” (pun intended) outside to the ‘out house’, you’d do your “business” in your chamber pot at night. The lucky rich folks had servants who emptied their chamber pots, but the average family had to do the “dirty work” themselves. (And, no, I do not use my chamber pot!)

I’m not exactly sure when, but a proper bathroom was installed in the house where the back stairs used to be.  So, it seems, they lost the convenience of having back stairs, which went from the kitchen to the second floor, but…. they no longer had to use chamber pots or the out house!!

This property was a working farm for almost a century. In fact, as late the 1970’s there were still horses in the barn here at My Yellow Farmhouse and chickens in the coop. But, as so often happens, the land was gradually sold off and houses were built until the property was a farm no more.

I believe I’ve achieved my goal of keeping that cozy farmhouse feeling both inside and out.  For  example, here’s how my home looks during the winter holidays.

Christmas at My Yellow Farmhouse - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

My kitchen, which I decorated with Provence, France in mind!

Kitchen - shelf - myyellowfarmhouse.com

And here’s a photo of my barn in mid-summer.  I love, love, love my old yellow farmhouse!!

My Barn @ myyellowfarmhouse.com

Tonight I’m Making Beef ‘n Mushroom Pie!

barn - frontMy Barn & Perennial Sunflowers – 2012

Today’s post is  “Just a Chat” – for the actual recipe – go to my Home Page or


Hi Everyone – I’m not posting a recipe today, as I usually do .. just a few thoughts… One of my sons is coming over tonight for dinner with his two (adorable, but I’m prejudiced) children. When I asked him if he had any particular “Mommy Food” he’d like me to make, he asked for the pie I make with roast beef – namely – Beef ‘n Mushroom Pie… said he’d really had a “hankering for it”!  He wanted to be sure it wasn’t too much trouble – and I assured him it’s not! So, that’s “what’ for dinner tonight”!

Often, between working (either at home or at a job), we can forget that everyday things – and not just special days or holidays – make memories. Both of my (twin) sons remember how I’d take them, one at a time, out of the tub, wrap them in a towel, then cuddle them and sing a song before getting them dressed. In fact, at my own twin brother’s wedding, they went up to the band on their own (at age five) and announced they were gonna sing – and the song they chose was one I used to sing after their bath. They were a big hit!

Meals – no matter how rushed – should also be times which can be remembered fondly. Think about it – there’s very few people who don’t occasionally say, a bit wistfully, “I remember my mother’s wonderful meatballs and sauce – or pot roast – or macaroni & cheese…” So, ask your family what their favorite meals/desserts are, and make them often. You’re not only filling those empty tummies – you’re making fond memories which will last a lifetime!!   Enjoy!

Looking for Feedback !!

I’m having a great time posting recipes on my recipe blog. It’s fun to make, photograph and post the recipes. And it’s also great fun to check to see how many people have “checked out” my blog each day. The statistics provided by Word Press allow me to see which recipes get the most “hits”. So far, it’s been recipes for main dishes, although I’ve been pleased to see that all my recipes have been well-received. I’ve got tons & tons of recipes, collected over decades…. so please let me know what types of recipes you’d most like to see – and I’ll get going on them!!