Category Archives: MCK: Celebrations!

Making Love Mix

Columbia County, New York  I  Wednesday, 21 February 2018

On my birthday, February 14th, My Copper Kitchen turned three years old!

A few weeks before the anniversary date, I took a look back at my first few posts, the ones I launched on  February 14th, 2015.

One of them was called Valentine’s Day Candy Dishes, so I decided to revisit this idea, and re-incorporate it into my  blog, but in a different, updated way.

I feel like I’ve matured and grown since then (thankfully!), and so have my ideas and the quality of my blogposts.

So, I didn’t want to just repeat the same thing, with better quality photos, I wanted to use the old idea as a springboard, but come up with something new, a different idea, which more accurately reflects who I am now, in 2018.

When I first moved here, back to Columbia County, in October of 2016, I started going to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store a lot.

On my very first visit, in July of 2015, I discovered how much I love their salt bagels, made at their on-site bakery.

My sister and I also really like their maple ginger cashews, which are processed at nearby Tierra Farm. Problem is, a small, square box of these cashews costs $7.99, and they’re quite addictive. We can easily polish off a whole box in one sitting!

Anyhoo, I started thinking awhile back about using the cashews in a trail mix, to stretch them out further. The idea kind of snowballed, and this is what I came up with.

I probably won’t make Love Mix on a regular basis, since it has so many ingredients. But it was a really nice treat for my own birthday month, and I’ve given away a few bags of it, so far.

The red gummy hearts and black anise bears are what I decided to use for Valentine’s Day, but you could easily modify it for any other season or holiday.

For example, in the fall, throw in candy corn or gummy pumpkins. For Easter, how about some Jelly Belly jelly beans? And during the Christmas holidays, try some small, brightly colored gumdrops, spearmint leaves, or gumdrop wreaths!

Once you’ve stirred up a huge bowl of the stuff, put some into Ziploc bags, and leave ’em in a small tote bag in your car (unless it’s blazing-hot summertime, then don’t do this, of course). Whenever you feel like giving a spur-of-the-moment gift to someone, voila, you’re all set!

Use your imagination! Then, let me know what you come up with, by sharing your pix on the Facebook page, My Copper Kitchen Celebrations!

Corn Chex cereal
Pretzel twists
Dark chocolate chips (I prefer Hershey’s Kitchen)
White chocolate chips
Twizzlers red licorice (cut into pieces)
Maple ginger cashews
Lightly salted cashews
Dried papaya spears (cut into pieces)
Dried apricots (cut in half)
Dried pineapple
Dried cranberries (orange-flavored)

Mini Shredded Wheat (strawberry-flavored)
Red gummy hearts
Black anise bears

The maple ginger cashews are available from
Tierra Farm, in Valatie, New York.
Organic Maple Ginger Cashews

The black anise bears are from
Vasilow’s Confectionery, in Hudson, New York.

The orange-flavored dried cranberries are from
Hawthorne Valley Farm, in Harlemville, New York.
(I don’t think you can buy them online through Hawthorne Valley, so just substitute regular dried cranberries if you can’t find the orange-flavored ones.)

To read Valentine’s Day Candy Dishes, go to:


Thank God for Dirty Dishes

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

What a mess! But I think it actually looks kind of cool with the partial color filter on Black Beauty, my camera.


Yesterday I was faced with a mountain of dishes. I’ve never had so many dirty dishes piled up at Valoftten, my little upstairs place with the red kitchen and the views out to all four directions.

Why, you ask? Well, pretty sure it has something to do with the fact my church bag weighs 17 pounds: manuals, notebooks, scriptures, Chromebook, it all adds up!

Last Saturday, at my place, I had a leaf-raking work party for the church group and then a Christmas craft activity. In the afternoon, there was more sitting by the campfire, cider and donuts, and then leaf blowing and weed whacking.

A really nice lady named Diana offered to help with the dishes, but I said no thanks, because I wanted to get some more yard work done before it got dark. That day was bitterly cold, too. Our fingers were numb, even in gloves.

But first, after the other ladies left, Diana and I went to the little local ACE Hardware store I love in Chatham, where they have a resident cat, three dogs, and four turtles. We bought mix and gasoline for her equipment, and then that dear soul, a part-time landscaper, she went to town with her heavy equipment. Shades of Rosie the Riveter!

Later on, after she went home and it was just Thing 2 and me, I was worn out after playing hostess all day, so the dishes, although rinsed and stacked, they sat. And sat.

The next day, Sunday, was chock full of church stuff: three hours of services, I taught the lesson in the ladies’ meeting, then visited the nearby rest home to see two church members.

Later that afternoon, I had a choice. Nap or dishes?

Well, you can guess which won out. THE NAP, of course. (I made the right choice.) But by then it was dark, and my kitchen has less than stellar lighting. It has a main overhead light, but no task lights over the sink and stove. I’ve purchased some little red goose neck lamps to use for task lighting. (Hey, they were red metal and only $6 and match my kitchen, so for now I make do.)

Have I mentioned the kitchen at Valoftten, true to the 50s, has no dishwasher? And that’s okay with me, I actually prefer to wash dishes by hand, since I think they get cleaner that way.

Plus, I’d rather have the extra cupboard space than a dishwasher.

In Salt Lake City, my two-butt kitchen, the original home of My Copper Kitchen, it did have a dishwasher. But I didn’t use it. I stored my big collection of pots and pans in there!

As I started in on attacking the mess on Monday morning, I did so cheerfully, remembering a poem I read as a very young teenager, curled up in the recliner in front of the unicorn wood stove.

It goes like this:

Thank God for dirty dishes,
they have a tale to tell,
while other folks go hungry, we’re eating very well.
With home and health and happiness
we shouldn’t want to fuss
For by this stack of evidence, God’s very good to us.
-Dear Abby column


We’ve reached critical mass on the dirty dishes here!


We’ve managed to scorch three pans in the process of cooking…

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My Copper Kitchen Celebrations!

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Philmont, NY  I  Saturday, 26 November 2016


Hi there, fellow Rockets and all my other friends. Would you like to try something new with me? Just say yes! It’ll be so much fun, I promise! I’ve been thinking how great it would be if we all had a place where we could post pictures of our holiday gatherings: the food, table settings, menu ideas, etc.

One of my absolute favorite repeat posts on Martha Stewart’s blog happens at the end of November. A few days before Thanksgiving, she sends out an email to all her staff members, asking them to submit photos of their Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, and boy, do they ever.

I love looking at them. It’s so interesting to me to see how other people live, how they celebrate. Not everyone has the time, budget, or staff to put on a spread which is camera-ready for a magazine. And that’s okay! We all have our own ways of doing things and can learn from each other.

Would you like to give it a try? If so, ask to be added to the Facebook group:

My Copper Kitchen Celebrations!

and then, post away! I’ve already added my Thanksgiving pix, simply by sharing the public album from my Facebook page. You’re welcome to share pix of your family and friends, but I intend it primarily to be about food, table settings, menus, and decorations.

So have at it! I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!