Baby Boomer Babbling-er-Musings

I'm from the baby boomer generation. I have a mop of white hair, courtesy of my gene pool. And a botox-free face that sports frown lines in the forehead and around the eyes. Love handles instead of a waistline. Can't say I'm exactly crazy about any of these old age indicators but I accept them with grace. And now I've lived long enough now that I ponder on a lot of things, new and old.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Image copyright protected by Patricia Montgomery
Honeysuckle Blossom Jelly

What You Will Need

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms
4 cups boiling water
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 boxes of powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
7 one-half-pint jelly jars, lids, and rings (clean and sterilized)

How to Make the Jelly

Gently pull the tiny green butts off each blossom and discard any leaves, trash, etc. until you have a generous 4 cups of blossoms.

Bring 4 cups water to boiling.
Dump 4 cups honeysuckle blossoms into boiling water.
Turn off heat.
Cover and steep for 2 hours.
Stir a few times during the 2-hour steeping period.
NOTE: At this point it is not going to smell good.  But trust me that it will be okay!  Keep going!!  It will smell sweet before you are done.
Strain the blossom tea (infusion) through a colander lined with cheesecloth.  When most of the liquid has drained, pull up the ends of cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze the flowers into a ball to release the rest of the nectar.  Discard blossoms.  If you have any tiny pieces of blossom trash in your mixture, strain again until the liquid is clear.

Not time yet for the good smell but it is coming during the next final process!

Have your jars ready and sitting in some medium to hot water.  Have everything you will need ready and close by.  Once you reach this point, you will need to stir constantly and work fast so that the jelly does not set up in your pot.

Pour about 3 1/2 cups of your tea into a pot and set your stove burner to med/high. 
Add 2 TBSP of lemon juice and 1 1/2 boxes of powdered pectin.
Stir constantly until it comes to a full boil.
At the full boil dump 4 1/2 cups of sugar in all at once and continue to stir constantly. 
When it reaches a full roiling boil that cannot be stirred down, let it boil for one full minute longer.  
Remove from heat.  Using a spoon, remove the foam from the top of the mixture.

Quickly ladle or pour jelly into the hot jars.
When pouring in your jelly, leave about a 1/4 inch of head space in your jars.
IMPORTANT:  Be sure to wipe tops of the jars clean before putting on the lid and rings.

Once capped immediately turn jars upside down on a clean towel on the counter for about 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes is up, flip them right side up and listen for the plinking and popping to start.  This is an old fashioned method and while upside down the hot jelly juice will help seal and sterilize the lids.  This is the method used by our grandmothers and their grandmothers before them.

Give your jars a full 24 hours to cool.  Then enjoy that amazing deliciousness on a hot biscuit or toast!  My favorite is to spread Laughing Cow cheese on the toast first and top with the Honeysuckle Blossom jelly.  Ahhhh-mazing flavor!  Please comment and let me know how you liked it!

Do’s Don’ts and Tips

Alternate sealing method:  If it would make you feel better, you can do a hot water bath.  See instructions below.  

If a jar does not seal (lid should not move up or down when tapped with your finger or a spoon), then put that one in the fridge and eat it first!

One Batch at a Time.  Don’t try to double the batch as jellies can be persnickety.  If you want more, plan on making separate batches.

Ready Your Jars and Lids Before Hand
Be sure to have your jars and lids clean and ready before you start cooking your jelly, you can submerge them in a big pot of gently simmering water for just a few minutes before you start your jelly adventure, and pull them out when you’re ready to fill them. You can also run them through your dishwasher with the high heat setting beforehand. Place the lids in a smaller pot and simmer until just before you’re ready to cap the jars. 

Hot Water Bath:  If you want the jars to be shelf stable for a long amount of time, do a water bath. Set your jars on a rack in a deep pot of pre-warmed water. If you do not have a rack, you can tie together some extra jar bands (rings) and gently place your jars on top. Be sure the water is at least 1 inch over the tops of your jars. Let it come to a gentle boil for ten minutes then turn off the heat. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monty & Pat : 2013 A Year in Review

Monty & Pat would like to wish all their family and friends a very happy and Merry Christmas!

To see what we were up to this past year, play the slideshow to see a photographic review of 2013.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Happy New Year to everyone!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reindeer Noses

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Yogurt covered or plain mini pretzels

Rolo candies
Red M&Ms

1.  Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
     I used non-stick foil.

2.  Place yogurt covered pretzels on the pan in rows.

3.  Place a rolo candy in the center of each pretzel.

4.  Place in a 300°F oven for 3-4 minutes.

5.  Take out of oven immediately and press a red M&M on top 
      of each rolo and press down.

6.  Cool completely and then store in air tight container or bag.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


While roaming through the Home Depot this week, I came across a lil' 2-foot aluminum Christmas tree for only $9.98!  I knew immediately it would be adorable sitting on the table by the window of my canned ham, the 1954 Aljoa Sportsman.

Tiny Retro Aluminum Tree

I found a few loose Christmas items to surround the tree. The little vintage TV is one I found last year, but didn't get it packed away.  The musical/moving carousel was a bargain find recently at Goodwill.  Santa in his airplane sings "Let's Fly Away" as the propeller turns and flashes several Christmas messages.  The red and white blocks are reminding me to get it in gear, as there are only 31 more days of Christmas joy!

Next mission, should I decide to accept (and I will!), is to find itty bitty retro Christmas ornaments for the little aluminum tree!

Merry Christmas to all 
the Happy Campers!

Friday, November 22, 2013


I am thankful for the joy of friendship. I am joyfully blessed to have BEST friendships with special people in my life with whom I share annual friendship anniversaries that are in the double digits - the constant, loyal, true, lifelong friends. You know who you are and that I cherish and love you!

I have friends who were in my life for a season, but I still remember them and the blessings they brought to my life for that time. We drifted apart for reasons ranging from geography to simply moving in different life directions. I still cherish those old friends, all whom I could talk to today and we would happily chat as though no time had passed. 

I have dear friends that I would have lost touch with entirely had it not been for Facebook. Other wonderful friends I have met through photography and other social media communities. They have all have my heart and I cherish each one!

Sadly I have had friends in the past that seemed to suck the joy out of the air and others that were never really my friends at all. If you have had such a friend, then I hope that you realize the blessing that came from that relationship – the discernment to know, as I do, how to appreciate all the more the real treasure of true friendship.

 I have newer friends today and even though I don’t know if they will be my friends for a season or a lifetime, I just pray that I can be blessing to them for the time we do have together.

Despite the ups and down, I truly hope I never stop making friends!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crockpot Cola 'n BBQ

I saw this easy and delicious recipe awhile back because I follow "FrugalGirls" on my Pinterest page.  I have served it several times but my cooking method is slightly different.  The Frugal Girls recipe saves the sauce for the last 30 minutes of cook time whereas I prefer my meat to simmer in the sauce while it's cooking.

This has become one of my favorite go-to recipes.  It's easy.  It's quick.  Best of all, it's delicious, too!

My Recipe Version

1. Sweet Baby Ray's Cola-Q Barbecue Sauce
2. 6 oz or 1/2 can any cola
3. Chicken, Pork, Ribs - You choose!

Pour the barbeque sauce into the crockpot.  
Add 1/2 can cola (6 oz)
Stir well.  
Go ahead and put the crockpot on low.
Now pan sear the meat with a little cooking oil, 5 mins on each side.
Add meat to crock pot and spoon bbq sauce to cover.
Don't forget the lid!
Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Be sure to squeeze out all the sauce into crockpot!  Turn the bottle upside down and let it sit for a couple of minutes and then squeeze again.  Repeat at least one or more times until you have all the sauce out of the bottle and into the crock pot. 

Let upside bottle stand for a
few minutes to get all the sauce
from the bottle.
Measure or "guess-timate" half a can of cola.  I had a can of Pepsi on hand, but you can use Coca-Cola or generic cola.

Did you notice my cool vintage
Tupperware wet/dry flip measuring cup?
Pour the cola into the crockpot and stir the cola and Baby Ray's sauce until well mixed. 

I like to go ahead and turn the crockpot on low so the sauce will be heating up. 

Pour the cola and mix well with the BBQ Sauce!
Over medium-low heat, pan sear the chicken or pork for about 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total).
Pan sear the chicken (or pork).
Add the chicken (or pork) to the crock pot and spoon sauce over the meat until it is coated.

Put the lid on the crockpot and simmer for 3-4 hours on low.

Chicken simmering in the crockpot.
Don't forget to put on the lid!
The pot is crocking along while I enjoy
the other half of the can of Pepsi with
my mid-afternoon snack!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

School Lunchroom Brownies Bring Back Memories

While looking for a dessert recipe, I found one that my late friend, Debby Brown, shared with me about a year ago.  Her mother, Mae, worked in the school lunchroom at the high school we both attended together.  Her mother baked the best brownies ever!  

Debby lamented to me a couple of years ago that she did not have her mother's exact brownie recipe but an online search produced a recipe that she said looked and tasted very much like what her Mom used to make.  It was a brownie recipe that she shared with me.

One of my fond memories is when the high school lunch hour was almost over, Debby and I would sneak back to the lunchroom window and sweet Mae would pass us extra brownies if any were left over.  

Mae has been gone awhile and then Debby passed away suddenly last year.  I still miss her and think of her often.  While making brownies, my afternoon was filled with sweet memories of our teenage escapades yet also filled with a deep sadness that such a bright light is gone from our world.

Fudge-y brownie with chocolate/nut icing
If you try this recipe, I promise you won't be disappointed!  
So fabulously delicious!!

School Lunchroom Brownies
(like Mae used to make!)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cup sugar
3-4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Cream softened butter with the sugar.  I used my mixer to make the job easier but you could do it by hand.

Add eggs, one at a time and beating after each.  I wanted fudge-like brownies so I only used 3 eggs.

Mix the flour and cocoa together with 1/2 tsp salt.

Add that to the butter/sugar mixture and only mix until combined well.

Add vanilla and chopped nuts and stir well.

Pour into a 9x13 pan.  I lined my pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Bake 20-25 minutes in 350F oven.  Check at 20 minutes.

For the fudge-y brownies, I removed it from the oven at 23 minutes and the middle was a little jiggly.  It fell lower than the outside crust as it cooled down.  No worries!

The middle is lower than the crust as it cools to have that fudge-like texture.
The brownie bandit sampled the corner while it was still hot.


1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 can evaporated milk (I used regular milk)
1/4 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
Dash salt
Chopped nuts are optional (I put mine in the icing rather than the batter.  You could do one or the other or BOTH!)

Mix all together and frost as desired.

Nothing better than brownies and a glass of ice-cold milk!
Debby, my friend, I'm wishing you were still here to share it with me.