“Things that make you go HMM.”

“The pondering heart is a thankful heart.” ~ Todd Stocker
things that 11

Besides being a popular dance song released in the early 90’s by artist C+C Music Factory and a fantastic song to do aerobics to,  “Things that make you go hmm,” is a phrase that we often do, (without realizing it,) when we see, feel or hear something that is ‘out of the ordinary’, thus leading us to take the time to ponder…If you are a ‘deep thinker’ as myself, it can get you into trouble, as sometimes I “over think” some of my ‘hmm’s,’ to my detriment…(but I am learning.) 🙂

I am a lover of (most things) that make you go ‘hmm,’ especially the things that are new, thought provoking, controversial to the human mind or case us to  feel hope, magic, faith, wonderment and awe . They bring color to our everyday life, as well as accelerate the blood flow to our brain, increasing brain cells, which  keeps our minds growing . It is also a known fact that when you  exercise your mind, you become a more compassionate, understanding and kind person. (Another reason to challenge your mind with the things that make you stop , think, contemplate and challenge yourself to resolve your questions or embrace your amazement, about the topic at hand.)

things that 55I believe that everyone has stories of things in their life that make them go ‘hmm’. They begin to occur when we are old enough to observe, hear and talk and will continue happening as long as we live. I don’t think we we will ever stop questioning life, world events, human behavior or cease to  fully grasp  the  things that spark our curiosity and cause us to revel, evoking our minds to take the time to arrive to a peaceful conclusion and belief.

There are  a medley of categories for this fun topic... In my research , I was amazed at just how many articles, posts and writings are published about “things that make you go hmm.”  In this blog, I would like to share an array of real life occurrences  that will perhaps cause you to question your own beliefs, laugh, or smile as you find yourself  fully  identifying with their unique “hmm.”  Most of all, I hope this writing brings your day amusement, entertainment and enjoyment as it did for me. ENJOY!

 

things that 109DISTINGUISHED “THOUGHT PROVOKING”CORNER…

 

 

things that 7

things that 2

things that 6

things that 101

things that 100

things that1

things that 10

things that

 

thingsthat7010

 

thingsthat503

thingsthat501

 

How many times have you turned on the news, a favorite talk show or seen an article in the Newspaper about children who have talents or knowledge that far surpasses their age? CHILD PRODIGIES… Unfathomable  Hmm’s.

 

I was amazed to learn about Akrit Jaswal, a child surgeon in India. This young boy performed his first surgery at the age of seven years old, operating on the hands of a burn victim. No, Akrit is not a doctor in India but he is  considered a “medical genius” by his native people. At the age of 13, his IQ is 146 .

things that 30

Born in the year 2000, this beautiful young singer, with her extraordinary musical talents has already gone Platinum. Jackie Evancho was discovered at a very young age, causing awe and inspiration in her followers, with her unique style of  American Classical Crossover music. Since the age of 9 Jackie has issued five albums including platinum gold, 3 Billboard  and 200 top ten debuts.Great Performances: Jackie Evancho-Dream With Me in Concert

I was first introduced to these two precious  “young ladies” on The Ellen Show. Two pint size Brits, 5 Year old  Rosie McClelland and her cousin, 7 year old Sophia Grace Brownlee. They became an overnight sensation with a video they made that went viral. Now 8 and 10 years old, they not only have their first movie out on Warner Brothers, but will soon have their very own Television show. I can not watch these two little girls longer that 5 seconds without smiling, laughing and just being in complete awe at their captivating, sweet personalities, dancing, singing and acting abilities.  thingsthat10003

 

 This adorable little boy is  Akim Camara. He is a violinist prodigy in Berlin. With an extraordinary memory of musical tunes he’d heard as a toddler, Akim began playing the violin at the early age of two. He began taking lessons twice a week, and within 6 months time was playing the violin far beyond his audiences expectation. At the age of 3,  this little guy made his debut performance in December 2003, at a Christmas concert.

Das Adventsfest der 100.000 Lichter in Suhl - Violinist Akim

 

This very talented  artist, known as “Akiane,” began drawing at the age of 4 and was painting by age 6, using acrylics and oil.  Her mission is to INSPIRE OTHERS, with the subject matter being God and nature. She is now 13 years old. Unbelievable!  thingsthat1000

 

I don’t know about you, but I have always been awestricken by the creatures of the deep sea…There are no two creations alike. The Mystical hmm.

A econometric Scale worm, one of many bio-luminescent inhabitants of the ocean, with its scales glowing in the dark.  (Kind of looks like a alien from outer space?) 🙂

thingsthat80066

The mystifying, kaleidoscopic colors of the creatures of the sea are inconceivable.

  thingsthat80078

Oh my gosh… This little guy looks like a human being, that just tasted something very sour.. The Ghost Hunters of the Ocean call this one a ‘scary deep sea creature.” thingsthat80077

A Hawks-bill Turtle in the warm Egyptian waters. Amazing!thingsthat80045

This Brobdingnagian sea creature makes me think of what the bible says about the leviathans, (sea monsters) playing in the ocean… He’s none other than a “whale Shark,” unbelievable in size.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SUPPOSEDLY HAUNTED houses, beaches or hotels…The “spooky, unexplainable, is this for real ” contemplations.

lampost1Everyone , I am sure, has heard at least one ghost story or two of presumably haunted houses,  or about someone who swears they saw a spirit-like presence walk by their door, or that have heard strange noises in the middle of the night, that are still to this day unexplained… Perhaps you are one who has a story to tell.

 

I personally know of two people who have a haunted house story… Now these are not people who exaggerate the truth for the sake of a ‘good, old scary campfire tale.’ When they shared it with me, they meant it and believed it 100%! I heard these stories  many years ago and I am still thinking about them 🙂

“The Lady in the windows.”

Spending many years  in the deep south, it was not uncommon to hear stories of the supernatural. My mother often spoke of her childhood home where she grew up in the late 1920’s…  Suddenly, out of nowhere, (the air languid and still,) she would see their high back, white rockers, rocking all by themselves on the porch, unexplained noises from the hall closet and creaking sounds coming from their old staircase . She and her little brother would run and hide, spooked by what  they could not explain.  I will always remember this one particular story she told me that has been passed down through many generations in our family.

  Kathryn Winders - Susan's  mothers home in Marion South CarolinaThe home that my mother grew up in, was  an Old Victorian home, (which from the outside did look a little spooky, perhaps accented with a tiny bit of Gothic charm.)  (Sorry mom, but it really did.) 🙂  My mom was blessed to live with two generations of her family living in this home,(something very common in the south.)  Her little brother Willie , her mother Virginia, her grandpa, (as well as father figure,) William and their friend and butler, Porter.  My mom recalled an exceedingly vivid dream she had the night her grandpa died.  She dreamed he came to her bedside and gave her a big bear hug, (like he always did) kissed her on the cheek and told her how much he loved her. He then told her that he was going to go away but he would see her again one day. 

The night of her dream, while sleeping,  her grandfather became very ill. His dlampostaughter Virginia, by his side,  asked Porter to get a glass of cold water for William downstairs in the kitchen . When 20 minutes had  passed and Porter had not returned, Virginia went down to the kitchen herself. She saw Porter standing in the dark, the glistening light from the Edwardian lamppost outside highlighting his slender form. As She walked to  turn the light on, she concernedly asked;   “Porter, are you alright?”

Porter , in a trance- like state of mind,  answered back: “Miss Virginia, I don’t know how to tell you this, or if you will believe me,  but when I walked into the kitchen, I saw a woman within the midst of the windows above the  sink. (My moms vintage home had two large, towering encasement  Kitchen windows.)  She was so beautiful…I  know I should have been scared as she was not real…she was more of a spirit, ghost or vision. She was so peaceful, I just couldn’t stop looking at her.”

Virginia, a little awestruck, sat down at the kitchen table and  said;    “Porter what did this woman look like?”

As Porter began to describe the woman, Virginia’s eyes lit up as she continued to listen.

“She looked so  beautiful  dressed in a mauve colored  tailored dress, her hair was up off her neck, softly fastened with a gold clip in a loose bun upon her head. She wore a beautiful silk green scarf that matched her earrings and she was smiling, her lips a deep red color.”

Virginia, feeling bewildered, yet at the same time , comforted, replied;  “Porter you probably won”t believe me either when I tell you who you are describing. The woman you saw was my mother. The very way she wore her hair, her dress, her scarf, her favorite earrings, and she loved her red lipstick. Your description fits her to a “T” of  exactly how she was dressed and looked when we buried her many years ago. You never knew her as she died long  before you came to live with us.”

As they sat together at the kitchen table, they chatted a little more about my mom’s grandmother and then headed back up stairs to see William, trying to grasp and understand this unexplainable occurrence.

In the morning when Virginia woke up and went in to check on  her father, he had died within the night.

When Virginia sat down with my mom and Willie,  to share the news that their beloved Grandpa had died, my mom began to cry. She told her mother about her dream and how  her grandpa had kissed her and told her goodbye. Virginia, hearing about the dream, began to weep as she recalled the night before and the woman Porter saw in the kitchen windows , trying so hard to make sense of it all.

They all came to the conclusion, (and have passed this story down through the generations,) that my great grandmother came to escort her husband William to heaven the very night he died. It gave them all great comfort as they remembered the years William and his wife were together on this earth…they were exceedingly close and shared a love  that was a blessing to everyone who knew them.

merriment18I  am blessed to have at least mamagin1two photographs of these five “very important ” people in my history who lived in this Victorian, ( a little bit Gothic,) 🙂  home of many a ‘Hmm story.’ My mom as a little baby and her mother, Virginia as a young woman. Two amazing and beautiful southern women.

 

“Ghost Soldiers.”

thingsthat7004A friend of mine, Shepherd, who I have always called “Shep”, bought a beautiful Antebellum home in the grandiose and breathtaking city of Charleston  South Carolina. The home had heroically stood through the Civil war, which only made it a home with more stories to tell as well as gave it an extra added charisma…but Shep never knew it was haunted. He and his wife did a wonderful job restoring it to its magical historical charm, and decided to keep the original staircase..thingsthat7001. When finished,  their home was absolutely  breathtaking. Being the night-owl that Shep is, every evening, after his children and wife go to bed, he sits in his study and enjoys an hour of reading. (He is a connoisseur of many diverse books as he loves to learn.)   He tells me that many a time, when the house is still and quiet, he hears the footsteps of heavy boots walking up and down his staircase, creaks in the hardwood flooring upstairs and then begins to hear the men talking. He even knows their names.  They are soldiers who fought in the war. When they speak, they are often talking of the days events on the battle field. When I asked him if it scares him, he said “NO. They actually comfort me, I feel like they they are protecting our home.”

 

The Legend of The Grey man

graymanIn the mysterious , fascinating coast and inlets  of South Carolina, before a hurricane hits the shore,things that10003 the Grey man, (believed to be a  ghost,)  is often times seen on the picturesque shores…his presence is known as a warning to visitors and the residents to leave the island before it is to late. Sure enough, his appearance has saved many a lives. It is also noted that the people who encounter this spirit and heed his warning, are in complete awe as they return to their coastal  homes,  as they have not even been touched by the storm.  This particular “ghost story” is one that many people in the south will tell you is absolutely true and not a myth or fable.

The story of Alice flag and The Hermitage.

alice A tragic story of a refined young woman, who though forbidden by her brother and legal guardian, accepted the marriage proposal of a handsome, young lumber jack in town. She was sent away to a prestigious boarding school in Charleston, where she died suddenly of malaria. When her brother found the engagement ring,(secretly worn as a necklace,) on her body, he threw the ring into the marsh. “People say,” they see Alice, (even 150 years later) at the Hermitage and amongst the family graveyard, looking for her lost ring.  The Hermitage draws in many tourists and Alice still receives flowers and sentiments upon her grave site to this present day. Even now, people are still reporting her visits to this South Carolina Historical, haunted home.

California has a haunted hotel?

thingsthat80030You would never know it as you look at this beautiful, renowned historic hotel on the sandy beaches of San Diego, California, built in 1888, but it has now been officially declared ‘haunted.’ Chris Donovan, the hotels historian has written a book on the young ghost that frequents this grandiose estate by the sea. She was a young woman who checked into the hotel Del Coronado under an alias name, and took her life upon thingsthat80029the steps leading down to the ocean’s shore.  Her ghost has not only been seen but felt in many areas of the hotel, including the beach, her room and the boutiques within this luxury estate. Other guests who have stayed at the  renowned and prestigious, (supposedly haunted,) Del Coronado are Babe Ruth, Bette Davis, Kathryn Hepburn, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush.

 

                                 The “I can’t believe how cute my pet is,” hmm’s.

 

How many times do we catch our precious cargo’s in a Kodak moment?things that1029things that 1030

They are so endearing with their  hearts of ‘boundless love.’ dad56

They surprise us with their comical expressions as well as  their humble, quiet and inquisitive spirits.

.dad65dad41

And the “things they get into” brings a smile to our hearts and we love them all the more. (If that is even possible.) 🙂 things that 1009

Love x 2 = ‘more Hmm’s. 🙂  dad50

I didn’t think a little domesticated lamb could get any cuter! (Her handmade sweater is definitely her color.) 🙂 thingsthat1012

 

Natures, “This is too beautiful for words,” reflection.

Arizona’s prize possession of the wondrous Grand Canyon. “Simply amazing.” thingsthat8019

The breathtaking  Marble Cathedral cave in Chile, nestled in the second largest fresh water lake in South America. It’s unique light show is caused by the reflection of the water on the marble walls.  thingsthat8011

The spectacular Aurora Borealis in Canada. This photo was taken at its peak,  when the sky was filled with opalescent sheets of dancing waves of light.  thingsthat8009

Jeita Grotto in Lebanon. “Beyond Implausible.” thingsthat8008

Ha Long Bay has now been accepted as one of the 7 new wonders of nature …They are celebrating in both Hanoi and Quang Ninh Providence for the beautiful phenomena they possess.  thingsthat8006

 

 Man made Wonders that blow our minds.

The gorgeous St. Basils Cathedral, built in 1555 in Moscow, Russia. This beautiful work of art symbolizes the growth of the city since the 14th century. (Reminds me of the magic castle at Disneyland.) thingsthat8005

 The renowned Mount Rushmore in America’s South Dakota…a monument carved in stone. (No matter how many times I see this, I am still speechless.) (My husband told me he bets that George Washington got tired of posing for this explicate work of art.) He’s a funny guy! 🙂 thingsthat8004

“Christ The redeemer in the Tijuca Forest National Park in Rio de Jeniero atop Corcovado Mountain. This cherished statue weighs 635 tons. WOW!thingsthat8001

The spell bounding  Petra. Located on the slopes of Mount Hor in the Arabah section of Jordan, it’s beauty and age is made mostly of red sandstone. Built in 106 AD it is known as “A rose red city half as old as time.” thingsthat8000

Located 1 mile from the shoreline of Portsmouth Harbor, UK, this ingenious , 134 year old Split-bank Fort has been transformed into a luxury Hotel. things that 1000

thingsthat80009thingsthat80008thingsthat80007thingsthat1

 

 Undomesticated animals and the wild, our “Awestruck Hmm’s.”

What can compare to the majestic elephant and her baby? (The creation of the elephant itself makes me go hmm…everything about them just fascinates me.) 🙂 thingsthat1023

No, these are not created characters from a “Happy feet” movie sequel, they are the eccentric Adelie Penguins…A unique and stunning bird of the antarctic Ocean with a life span of 20 years. So stunning. thingsthat80024

Heart capturing Polar bears… If you are fortunate enough to live in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland or Norway, then your chances of seeing them up close in the wild are much greater. They are beautifully amazing! thingsthat10078

This docile, charming creature and its baby, fills your heart with a hope, that there truly is innocence and enchantment abounding in our world. 🙂thingsthat8023

There is something so regal about the Lion… I could look at them all day long and never quite take in and absorb their stoic beauty and mysterious natures….(from a distance of course.) 🙂

thingsthat7009thingsthat1040

 

“Oh the things our children do” Hmm’s.

 

 

Who wants to be the first to take a bath?dad39

Have you two been brushing your teeth or getting ready to shave?dad34

I truly hope those are washable paints!oops1

The wondrous innocence of our kids…they really believe with boundless faith.oops2

Precious moments caught on camera… a toddlers first encounter with a giant sea turtle and a babies first dance moves…what can you say? You just smile and treasure the moment forever. 🙂

thingsthat1001thingsthat8088

 

 MIRACLES… The “Is this for real and if it is, WOW”  Hmm.

 

 The Parking Lot

A story shared on ainglkiss.com

I wanted to share my own personal testimony of a miracle God performed in my life a few years ago. I went to cash my check one afternoon. After returning to my car, I was putting my money away and preparing to pull out of the parking lot. A guy approached my car and knocked on my driver’s side window. Startled, I rolled my window down and asked what I could help him with. He asked me a question and pointed behind me. I turned my head to look behind me to see where he was pointing and when I turned my head back towards him there was a gun in my face. Before I could yell or even think, he pulled the trigger 3 times. Not one bullet left the chamber. The gun jammed. He ran off and I took the opportunity to run back in the building and alert the staff who of course called the police. Mind you, when I ran in the building I left all of my money on the front seat of the car, car running, and car door open. He could have at taken anything, more importantly he could have taken my life. There is no other explanation than the fact that God was with me. So anytime I question whether God loves me, or if He’s still with me, even when I’m selfish and disobedient, I think back to how He spared my life and more importantly gave His for little ole me. Thank you Jesus! ~ Taken from the website…. ainglkiss.com

 

 

A Double Revival

thingsthat6000On Christmas Eve, Tracy Hermanstorfer’s heart stopped beating while she was in labor with her third child, a baby boy she and her husband, Mike, had named Coltyn. Just after receiving an epidural for the pain, she lost consciousness and went into full cardiac arrest. Doctors attempted to revive her but couldn’t, and began an emergency C-section to save the baby. But Coltyn was born limp and seemingly lifeless.

“Half of my family was lying there right in front of me, dead,” Mike said at the time. “I lost all feeling.”

Then, to his astonishment, Tracy’s pulse returned, and moments later, Coltyn began to breathe. “I’m not big-time religious,” says Tracy, “but I know this was in God’s hands.” Within a few days, mother and son were sent home with a clean bill of health.

Hospital staff commented;“We did a thorough evaluation and can’t find anything that explains why this happened.”

Mike Hermanstorfer credits “the hand of God.”

 

 

  The Dog, The Chicken, and The Bomb

thingsthat6001When David Newkirk, now a youth pastor at Church of the Open Door in Glendora, California, woke up in the middle of the night, he was still exhausted from a college basketball victory the day before.

“Twenty minutes after my head hit the pillow, I was catapulted out of the deepest sleep,” he writes in the book. Along with his mother and sister, he was jerked awake to pray for his brother Dan.

Dan was in Israel. Running out of money, he had chosen to sleep on a park bench for the night. In the wee hours of the morning, a snarling dog woke him up, battling with a chicken under the bench.

Unable to break up the animals, Dan found another bench and resumed his rest. The next morning, a bomb exploded right next to the first bench, hurtling it through the air, leaving “a mess of tangled metal and concrete.”    WOW!

 

 

 Renowned Doctor comes back from the dead.

 ANS NEWS STORY , Reported by Dan Wooding

things that 10009 Dr. Sean Thomas George, an Indian born doctor who is now a consultant physician in a West Australian hospital, told his extraordinary story before more than 220 Christian medics on the first day of the 8th Annual International Christian Medical Conference called “Spirituality and Medicine” that was held June 11-12, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia and organized by the World Christian Doctors Network.

“I was dead for 1 hour and 25 minutes, but came back to life after my wife prayed a simple prayer,” said Dr. George, who provided all kinds of medical data that he put on a large screen for the other doctors to check out.

He said that on October 24, 2008, he returned from the dead to amaze colleagues who had battled for almost 55 minutes to revive his lifeless heart.

Later in the article  it was noted,  that Dr. George spoke regarding his wife,

“Holding my hand, she prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, he is only 39, I am only 38 and we have a ten year boy. I need a miracle.’

“As soon as she said this it was as though someone had breathed life into me again and my heartbeat came back.”

The Lost Wedding Ring.

OK, I know this is not a headline breaker or a story that would ever be on the 5:O’clock news, but it was a MIRACLE to me. 🙂  (And before I experienced this miracle and had shared with others my loss, I was surprised to hear so many “miraculous” accounts of their lost wedding rings being found against all odds.) 🙂

thingsthat80039Never being a jewelry box kind of girl, I took my rings off when I would get ready for bed. I always put them in Kits bathroom drawer, (as ladies you’ll understand this,) my drawer had so much “stuff” in it, my rings could easily get lost.  One morning, when I went to put my rings on, I noticed my wedding ring was not in the drawer… I was a little jolted, but felt assured, it was somewhere in the house…thus for the next week,  and ample uncounted hours, I tore  our house a part to find it. My frustration and sadness grew daily as truly, there was no place left to look within our home, the vacuum cleaner, trashes, car etc…    I asked many people  to pray for me and received  a medley of helpful thoughts on where it could be. After about a month, exceedingly disheartened, as my wedding ring was hand designed by Kit and a jeweler with his family’s precious gems, I  felt I would never see my wedding ring again… Every time I thought about it or looked at my ring finger, it just broke my heart. I prayed so many times it would just show up, but it didn’t…

I remember a friend of mine saying, “Susan, I bet it will show up one day in place that you have already looked..” The thought comforted me as I truly do believe in miracles.

Months later, while preparing for a birthday dinner my husband was cooking in my honor, I went to our dining room hutch to get my beloved (inherited from my mom,) wisteria crystal sugar and creamer. As I took the sugar bowl from the shelf, there in the bottom of the crystal bowl was my wedding ring. I was absolutely ecstatic and began yelling out to Kit “Oh my gosh…you’ll never believe it, I found my ring.” (He too had given up hope.)  OK, the answer to the question you’re thinking? Yes, I had looked in the sugar and creamer months before ...and no it was not there. I truly believe it was a birthday gift from the Lord and that He gave me back my wedding ring.I never take it off anymore, not even when I sleep. 🙂

 I asked a few  friends te share five things that  personally makes them go “Hmm?”

Bob, A Delawarean ,(No picture please.)

1.People who wear their pajamas to shop at wall-mart. 2. People who show up at your home, unannounced, morning, noon and night, 3. O.J. Simpson, (everything about him.) 4.Randy Jackson on American Idol. Why did he say the same thing over an over for 9 years?  “YOUR IN IT TO WIN IT.”   5. Why  cat owners in my neighborhood allow their cats to roam free and pee on my porch rugs all the time.

dad206Patrick, Dana Point  California

1.  Flying squirrels   2. Oxymoron’s (actually, any moron)   3. Paradigm shifts   4. Patterns in nature – like a spider’s web,  the human brain,  or  a black hole.     5. Technology

 

neillNeill, Belfonte Pennsylvania

1. The phrase; ” This is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you.”    2. Spiritual, but not religious (SBNR)   3. It’s absolutely free, no obligation…for the first x months, year, etc.    4. Wars on Terror (WOT?!)–everybody’s got one.    5. Processed cheese food substitute (even if edible, why would you want to?)

graham102Sir Grantham, Delaware

1. How come mom and dad get to go “potty” inside and I have to go outdoors? 2. Why do the adorable little kitties always run away from me, I just want to play? 3. Why do mom and dad sing Happy birthday all day, then make me a yummy steak, (with a big bone) and then, it takes sooooooooo long until they do it again? Every day,  I keep waiting for them to say the word “Birthday” again  4. Why doesn’t everyone love my big kisses? 5. Why does that man in the big brown truck come over to our house and bring great big boxes? (He makes me bark so hard, I almost loose my voice.)

 

formal6Susan, Delaware

1.God has no beginning and no end.(I get into real trouble if I ponder that to long.) 🙂 2. Strangers who drive by your house very slowly, turn around and do it again, and then do it again.  3.To God, a thousand YEARS is as a day, and a day, a thousand years. (Baffles my mind.) 4. Rainbows! 5. That a woman can actually carry 6 babies in her womb at one time, bring them to  full term, with all of them born healthy…(I guess that is really two Hmm’s .) 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this vignette and that you have at least once, shaken your head and said “HMM” 🙂 In closing I will ask you the same question I asked my friends and myself, “Can you think of at least 5 things lately that have made you go hmm?”

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

BURGERS with class!

“The Burger!  It’s a complete balanced meal, all in one. You’ve got your protein, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates and COMFORT! ” ~ Author unknown

burger1

Why is it, that the foods we connect with felicitous memories always taste so much better?  It’s not surprising to learn that when asked the question; “What would you choose for your very last meal on earth,?” many people, hands down, responded with, ” A Cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate milkshake.” Perhaps it goes back to our childhood and the comfort we felt when our parents took us to  McDonald’s for a  Big Mac, Jack in the Box’s for their triple cheeseburger, or to  A&W ‘s with their signature Root beer floats.float   As a child, those were the days, weren’t they?      Who doesn’t love a savory and scrumptious burger from the grill?  (Especially now that so many TV chefs, ( who are cooking healthy now,) have come up with a huge array of diverse ingredients they use in their burgers, creating masterpieces we would never think up.

Summer  has arrived  along with its beckoning call to enjoy the great outdoors. It is the most popular season for grilling… It begins with Memorial day parties where we gather with friends, light up the grill and enjoy the flavors of bratwurst, black Angus steaks, turkey or chicken burgers, the all American hot dog and of course the legendary all beef patties, as they simmer upon the smoking coals, filling our souls with a medley of nostalgic memories. ( There is nothing to compare to the delicious aromas in the air when Kit puts on his “grill master apron” and lights up our BBQ.) 🙂 Even when it is in the 90’s with the humidity being 100 %, you will find Grantham , sitting at the foot of the grill, (30 pounds of his weight being his black fur,)  just waiting for the first bite of the evenings meal…  🙂 IMG_1263 In this blog, I want to share some outstanding burger recipes with you…a recipe of Kits and mine, (yes, low sodium and healthy,) but I have also researched some of the most famous and highly rated burgers from renowned chefs, each with a diverse heritage, bringing spices and flavors that add a little pizzazz to the classic American Burger. I hope you find one you love for your next BBQ, a movie night with your family or for your summer galas.

 

 

 

ClassicB1

DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER

To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world.” ~ David Chang

“I always admired Ray Kroc, the man who invented McDonald’s. Ray had a vision of the most commonplace thing-a hamburger and fries to go-but to him it was just the greatest thing ever, and he was going to make it the greatest thing ever for everybody else, and he did.”   David lee Roth

 

buns“It requires a certain kind of mind to see the beauty in a hamburger bun.” ~ Ray Kroc, creator of the McDonald’s franchise.

“Everyone has the right to a University degree in America, even if its in Hamburger Technology.” ~  Clives James

MC

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” ~ Mathew McConaughey

The journey of a thousand pounds begins with a single burger.” ~ Chris O’Brien

“Anybody who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.” ~ Calvin Trillin

“You can fnorthind your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigation uses stars….We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North….We had a Capitol Burger — guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger.”
Charles Kuralt, journalist.

A Taste of Italy!

mexico2

Do you ever question how the people of Italy stay so healthy and fit, eating the abundance of delicious, decadent foods that they do?    Well, I have heard it said, they eat smaller portions,  always use fresh ingredients and do a lot of walking! 🙂  They certainly do know how to live! The Italian people love to celebrate everything with food. (I love that about this country.) 🙂  If they run out of an occasion to emblazon, they will gather around their dining table or their favorite Italian eatery and just  ‘revel in jubilation’ for  ‘the great food and wine itself.’   🙂 They adore cappuccino, espresso coffee, pasta, fresh seafood, vino, freshly made conolies and walking down to the piazza, where they meet with their friends and family, to catch up on all the latest news and happenings.They proudly own a passion for cooking and are renowned for their superb, spicy sauces and variety of cheeses they use in all of their pasta dishes. I am sure the burger with an Italian flare will not disappoint!

 

Italy’s Giada De Laurentiis’ Caprese Burgers

mexico10

 

 Ingredients for Burgers:
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin beef
1 cup fresh or store-bought pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 7 to 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices, patted dry with paper towels
Pesto Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh or store-bought pesto

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Eight 3-inch-square pieces of tomato or plain focaccia bread, halved, or 8 hamburger buns, halved
4 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (16 slices)Directions

Cook’s Note: Freeze the mozzarella for 20 minutes to make slicing easier.For the burgers: Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Combine the beef, pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form the mixture into eight 4-inch-diameter patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over and place a slice of mozzarella on top. Cook for about 5 minutes longer until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is slightly melted. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes.

For the pesto mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and pesto until smooth.To assemble the burgers: Drizzle the cut side of the bread with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the pesto mayonnaise over the bottom halves of the grilled bread. Place the burgers on top and add 2 tomato slices. Add the top halves of the bread and serve.

 

Italian Mini Pub Burgers

mexico 13
INGREDIENTS!

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/4 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
9 small ciabatta rolls, sliced in 1/2
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 slices (4 1/2 ounces) Taleggio cheese
9 large basil leaves

Directions

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground chuck, Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Pulse until ingredients are combined. Form the mixture into 9 patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes each side.

Brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and toast on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To serve, place 1 mini burger on the bottom half of each of the rolls. Place 1 slice of Taleggio cheese on top of the burgers. Place the basil leaf on top of the cheese and cover with the top half. Serve.

The Beloved SOUTH!

mexico3

 What can compare to a genuine , home cooked Southern meal? (I still have not found an answer to that yet.) 🙂 Cheese grits with grilled shrimp, fried okra, butter beans, hush puppies, boiled peanuts, Pecan pie, oyster stew, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, red velvet cake, buttermilk pie and my favorite, fresh crab from the Inlet water ways. There is an undeniable charm and haunting beauty that captivates each visitor , (as well as  resident) in the Carolinas… One of my favorite  Southern places is the prestigious and galvanic city of Charleston,  with it’s cobble stones streets, chiseled wrought iron fences, summoning Antebellum architecture and grandiose live oaks with their long beard swaying in the soft breezes. Each one, if you listen carefully, telling a magical story, hearkening back to all the many years they have graced this historical, entrancing land.  Every once in awhile, I’ll take out one of  my southern cookbooks, (inherited from my mom,)  and make Kit a special meal.   I know to get an extra stick of butter out, (yes, we will splurge for the occasion,)  as an authentic Southern meal simply can not be prepared ANY OTHER WAY! 🙂

For the vegetarian lover, Southern Cook , Paula Deens’   Portobello Mushroom burger!
portobello1
Ingredients
4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared pesto
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted
1 cup baby arugula
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
Directions
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.Brush mushrooms caps with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, smooth side down, covered with grill lid, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender.In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pesto, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture evenly over cut sides of buns. Divide arugula evenly over bottom halves of buns. Top each evenly with peppers. Place mushrooms caps over peppers. Cover with tops of buns.

The South’s, Bobby Flay’s, Stuffed Cheeseburgers.
       (Just imagine on a freshly baked bun with all the trimmings! ) 🙂
                                           ***** 5 star’s for the cheese in every bite.

 

portobello3
Ingredients

1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 pound ground chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large hamburger buns, split
Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for serving
Lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and avocado, for serving

Directions

Combine the jack cheese and chopped bacon in a bowl. Put the beef in another bowl and season with salt and pepper; use a rubber spatula to mix it in. Flatten 1/4 of the meat mixture in the palm of your hand. Squeeze together about a tablespoon of the cheese and bacon mixture to make a little nugget; put it in the center of the ground beef. Bring up the sides of the patty over the filling, making sure the cheese is completely covered by the meat. Flatten slightly for a nice patty shape. Set them side by side on a platter in the refrigerator while preparing the grill.

Place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium. (The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.) Remove the burgers to a clean side plate while you toast the buns.

Rub the grill rack with more oil and place the buns cut-side down, toast for 1 minute. Serve the burgers with your favorite condiment and any garnish you like, such as lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and/or avocado.

 
THE SPICE OF AUTHENTIC MEXICO

 

mexico1
A beautiful land filled with a wealth of history, gorgeous sunsets,  heart stopping beaches,  resplendent waterfalls and taverns,  joyful and inspirational dancing, romantic music and some of the very best food in the world! Who doesn’t love  freshly cooked fish tacos, hot tortillas,  homemade Pico de Gallo, guacamole and bunuelos? Mexico is known for their fiery hot spices, that we all dare ourselves, (every now now then,) to indulge in.  🙂 They certainly know how to add a little “spice to life.” 🙂

 

 

The Blond Cook’s Spicy Mexican Cheeseburger.
portobello5

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (15-20% fat)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • (1) 1.1 ounce package guacamole seasoning
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  • Optional condiments: mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine hamburger meat, salsa and guacamole seasoning. Dividing into equal portions, form 4 patties.
  2. Place on a preheated grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until desired amount of doneness is reached. During the last minute of grilling, place cheese slices on top of patties to melt.
  3. Place on toasted buns and top with avocado, lettuce, tomato and desired condiments
 “Cooking Light’s,” Savory, Cheese Burger, Mexican Style
mexico 14
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound ground round,
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • Grilled onions (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  2. Prepare grill. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 cheese slice on top of each patty; cover and grill an additional minute or until cheese melts.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of sour cream over top half of each bun, and set aside. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each with lettuce, tomato, onions (if desired), and top half of bun.

 

SOUTH WEST TEX MEX, INTRIGUING AND SPICY

mexico11
There is nothing quite like the genuine flavor of Tex Mex cooking. Its been described as a flavor that is ‘smoked kissed,’ with its star ingredient being the matchless CHILE. While dining in the southwest, their is only one choice to make. Do you prefer GREEN OR RED!  This region of the United States is known for their bouncing and vivacious  way of life, music festivals, breathtaking landscapes, beautiful mountains, intriguing ruins, rich history as well as world famous cuisine.  Their specialties? Mouthwatering sopaipillas, fry bread, posole and a mixture of spices in all their dishes that will keep you guessing what their hidden ingredient is, long after you’ve finished eating. 🙂 Their secret? A mixture of Native American food with an abundance  of choice spices, brought exclusively by the Spanish Settlers,  arriving to the southwest from Europe and Mexico.

Rachael Rays Tex Mex Burgers

mexico 20

Burger Ingredients

  • 12 slices  good-quality smoky bacon, 4 slices finely chopped and 8 left whole
  • 1 1/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil or EVOO, for drizzling

Queso Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 14 ounce can  diced tomatoes with green chiles, well drained

Rolls & Toppings

  • 4 soft burger rolls, split
  • Crisp yellow corn chips
  • Chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro and pickled jalapeno

Directions

Burgers:

Arrange the 8 whole bacon slices on a broiler pan and bake at 375 degrees until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Combine the beef, chopped bacon, grated onion, garlic, chipotle puree and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties (thinner at the center); drizzle with oil. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for medium.

Queso Sauce:

Make the queso sauce; in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Stir in the cheese to melt. Stir in the tomatoes.

Buns & Toppings:

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top with the queso sauce, crisscrossed bacon strips, corn chips, remaining toppings and bun tops. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Josh Bousel’s Green Chile Cheeseburger

Green Chile Burger

Ingredients

  • 3 medium poblano chiles
  • 1 half-inch thick slice of a large onion, skewered through the middle horizontally
  • 1 lb ground chuck, at least 20 percent fat
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 slices Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Place the poblanos and onion on the grill and cook until charred on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Place the poblanos in a Ziploc bag and seal, set the onion to the side. When chiles are cool enough to handle, about 5-10 minutes, remove from the back, peel of the charred skin, and seed. Coarsely chop the chiles and onion together and set aside.

Mix the ground beef with the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Form into 3 1/3-lb patties and use your thumb to make a dimple in the middle of each one. Place the patties on the grill and cook until desired doneness. About 2 minutes before the burgers are done, top each with a slice of pepper jack cheese and allow to melt.

Quickly grill hamburger buns, cut side down, until nicely browned, about 30 seconds. To serve, place the burger on the bun and top with the chili and onion mixture.

 

DELAWARES SURF AND TURF

 

mexico4
Nestled upon the Eastern Shore of the United states, Delaware is a state that “has it all.” Tax free shopping, the infamous Rehoboth beach and its historic boardwalk, romantic and quaint Lewes beach, (the first town ever established in the United states,) alluring inlet waterways, enchanting lighthouses and junoesque rivers. This state is known for its renowned seafood,  fresh from the Atlantic ocean. One of our favorite eateries, grills up a “Crab daddy” burger that is heavenly…(they won’t give us the recipe, so we made up our own!)  🙂

Crab Daddy Burger! (our version.) 🙂

mexico18
Ingredients for burger;
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup of oatmeal.
Salt an pepper to taste
Whole wheat hamburger buns
Mayo,
Two large fresh garden tomatoes
Large red onion
Romaine lettuce
DIRECTIONS
Mix ground beef, egg, oatmeal  and spices until well blended. Make four hamburger patties, set aside for grilling. (Grill 5-7 minutes per side, for your desired burger. )
Slice onions, tomatoes and lettuce for burgers
Ingredients for crab topping
1 pkg. (8 oz.) creme cheese, (softened to room temperature.)
1 cup mayo
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
dash of Tabasco
1 pound lump crab meat
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Mix together creme cheese, mayo, 1/4 cup of cheese and seasonings until blended, fold in lump crab meat( stirring gently.) Top with the remainder of cheese and a few more dashes of Old bay. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
While your crab topping is baking, grill burgers on the BBQ or inside grill. For your burgers finale, top them off with a generous amount of crab mixture.  Especially scrumptious with  Cole slaw and steak fries.

Susan and Kits Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Turkey Burger.
Grace119
INGREDIENTS
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal
dash of Tabasco
salt and peeper to taste
1 box sliced, fresh mushrooms, cleaned
1 red onion
1 large , fresh garden tomato
romaine lettuce
Swiss cheese, or Mozzarella
1 TBSP butter
Mayo, Ketchup
Onion Hamburger rolls
DIRECTIONS:
Mix together in bowl, turkey, egg and oatmeal until fully blended. Add Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Make 4 hamburger patties . Heat up your BBQ and grill for about 5-6  minutes on each side, for medium rare. (Each grill cooks differently, so make sure you test a burger to see if it’s at the right consistency for you, before removing from heat. )
The last minute of your grill time, add your cheese and allow to melt.
While burgers are grilling, or this can be done before hand,
In small saute pan, melt butter at low-medium heat. Add your mushrooms and seasonings, cook until tender.
Slice your onion, tomatoes and lettuce.
Serve with condiments of choice, putting the warmed, sauteed mushrooms on at the last minute. A great side for this flavorful burger is sweet potato fries, hot from your oven.
                                         ***** Delicious and low in sodium!

 

Lastly, Two great sauces for your summer sandwiches and burgers from Rachel Ray.
allspiceallspice1
Tangy and sweet;
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • Mix the first five ingredients, and season with salt and pepper

 California-style sauce from Rach’s Cobb Club Burger sliders.

  • 1 cup sour cream,
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of chopped herbs your choice – parsley, chives, dill, etc.
  • salt and pepper
PHOTOGRAPHS; In placing your computer mouse upon any of the  graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.

Guest Writer #2

MY MOM, “THE MASTER STORY TELLER,” BORN IN THE EARLY 1900’S

storyteller

Have you ever known anyone (off stage,) who could weave a tale so intriguing, so suspenseful, so dog-gone interesting that you could sit for hours spellbound, lost in another world, unable to move except for that demanding trip to ‘you know where’ and, of course, for the usual expedition for a Coke, Snickers bar or Black-cow?

Well, not to brag a whole lot, but my mom was a champion story teller.  Of course, Mrs. Ellarbe, our home town’s Librarian, said that Mama had read every book in our famous Carnegie Library, (except the technical books,) so she had a veritable wealth of information, ideas, plots and great characters to draw from.  Her imaginative resources were not just from the classics, mind you, but from detective stories, horror stories, love stories, history and well, you name it. (excluding our modern day literature, which should be trashed!)

I’ve known the times nobody  had any fingernails left, and the times our back downstairs bedroom, (which was behind Mama’s bedroom and which had two double beds) was unbelievably over-crowded, to say the least.  No one dared to go home, so we all slept however we could to ensure our protection from such villains as Dr. Fu Man Chu!  Every  child on our end of the marshland knew of Mama’s gift, so, as you can surmise, she was very popular. Even older people loved her.

She had so much to talk about and such an interesting way of talking. Oh, how I loved her laugh! Her sense of humor and her appreciation of fun and her genuine delight in kids and people made her a very special lady. My friends used to come to see her even when I wasn’t at home. I wish so much that she had followed through with her desire to write. You would have loved her. Everybody else did…my friends called her by her first name.

Post written by An “Anonymous” writer with request for photo. 

July’s Guest writer #1

 

A TREASURE BEYOND WORDS!

storyteller1

A Treasure beyond words.

One of the most difficult times of my life was leaving the nest and venturing  out on my own to discover my independence. After I moved away, I received this poem from my mother. It made me cry. I keep it with me every day. I did not realize it was just as hard for her to let go as it was for me. This is the poem she wrote to me ;

 

How do you describe a rainbow in a rain drenched sky, Or a dancing sunbeam on the wings of a butterfly?

How do you capture a moonbeam, tip toeing through the night, Or a flirtatious , twinkling star in its halo of twinkling light?

How can you touch a summer breeze, as it gently caresses you, Or a billowing snowy cloud as it rides the heavens blue?

How can you fathom the ocean, mysterious, ever changing , never still Or the beauty of a sunrise, bursting in splendor upon a hill?

How can I tell you of Annie; child, woman, angel, mischievous elf, Sparkling as a raindrop caught by the sun, quiet, reflective, searching in depths of herself?

How can I tell her of my love, which surrounds her everyday, Holds her close in my heart, yet frees her on her wary?

I love you Annie, Mom.

Post written by Annie, with request of finding a photo for her.

 

****If you are interested in sending in a personal writing for the readers at Living Winsomely, please read the blog “Would you like to be a guest writer on Living Winsomely?”   Blessings, Susan