The Best of MTTD…….


The Harmonica Man

This post was originally posted on March 8, 2010 under the title, “What Would You Do?”

In keeping with this week’s Fourth of July theme, today’s recipe was originally posted on July 4, 2010.

NOTE: Of all the profiles I have done at More Thyme Than Dough the last sixteen months, none stands out like this one. None touches my heart like this one.
I will say no more. It is time for you to meet The Harmonica Man.


He is known simply as the harmonica man.

His real name is Andy Mackie.

After nine heart surgeries he was taking 15 different prescription medications to stay alive. The side effects of the medicine made him feel miserable.

So Andy decided to go off all medications.

This retired horse trainer decided that if he only had a few more weeks to live he was going to spend it doing something he loved and had always wanted to do.

He took the money he would have spent for his heart medications and went out and bought 30 harmonicas.

He gave them to children in a local school in Washington state, where Mackie lives. Mackie also gave free harmonica lessons to the children.

He thought this simple act of giving would be the last thing he would ever do on this green earth.

That was 11 years ago!

Since then Andy Mackie has not stopped. Not for one second.

He has continued to spend a portion of his monthly social security check to give the joy of music to as many school children in Washingtonstate as he can. He also makes and gives away strum sticks. And he still gives free music lessons.

According to CBS News, Mackie says, “I can’t explain the joy. I don’t think Bill Gates feels any richer inside than I do.”

You can watch Andy in action and get the full story in this CBS News video profile.

Today there is also an Andy Mackie Music Foundation.

From the Foundation website: “Andy’s dream is to give every child who wants to learn to play music an opportunity to do so.  The Andy Mackie Foundation provides Free Instruments, Free Lessons, and Scholarships to any child who wants to learn. 

He has helped more than 1000 children learn to play stringed instruments which he builds in his shop, taught more than 12,000 children to play harmonica and given over 75 scholarships to graduating seniors.”

Not a bad legacy.

What would you do in similar circumstances? Would you stop taking all of your medications to pursue a dream? Do you have a secret dream you would like to pursue? What would you be willing to do to make that dream come true?

Leave your response in the comments section below. I share my dream in the comments section.

A Fourth of July Treat
Featured Recipe:     Red, Black, & Blue Berries with Orange Crème

My eyes light up at the mere thought of berries! My tongue tingles!! My tatse buds salivate!!!

The colors are bright, cheerful, and exotic. The smell of berries takes me back to warm summer days years ago picking, and eating, berries straight off the bush as a child. Berries are bursting with flavor!

The mix of these three different berries is a delight on my tongue. How can such a small fruit carry such a wallop taste wise? Each berry has its own unique taste, but taken together they create a symphony of tastes that awaken every single one of my taste buds. In fact, they awaken taste buds I never even knew I had.

Berries are super nutritious too. They are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and flavonoids too. If you want to know more about the health benefits of berries click here.

This recipe is equally delicious whether served for breakfast, as a salad, or as a dessert.

This is what you will need for 5-6 servings:

About equal amounts of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries

About 1 tablespoon brown sugar

The juice of ½ an orange

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Dressing:

8 ounces cream cheese

7 ounces marshmallow crème

The juice of ½ an orange

NOTE: You can save money by just making some whipped cream.

Here is what you do:

After rinsing and drying the berries place them in a big bowl.

Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Squeeze the juice of half an orange over the berries. Add the vanilla.

NOTE: If you wish you can leave these three ingredients out and instead add about ¼ a cup of Grand Mariner or Chambord, or your favorite liqueur. But we are talking a whole different dessert if you do that. Yippee!!!!

Very carefully and gingerly mix the berries to coat.

For the dressing place the cream cheese and the marshmallow crème in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of about half an orange into the mixture. I add a little bit of juice at a time. I want the crème to be just a bit runny, but not watery. I add more as needed.

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.

You can use a mixer or processor. I choose to do it by hand with a wooden spoon. It means fewer utensils I have to wash up later.

And you keep thinking I am kidding about being a lazy cook. Oh you of little faith! LOL

Place a couple of spoonfuls of the berry mixture in a small dish or dessert cup. Top with some of the cream cheese mixture.

So yummy. My mouth is watering in anticipation of  my first bite!!!

Bon Appetite!!


Blueberries          $2.50

Raspberries         $3.00

Blackberries         $1.50

Brown suagr        $0.06

½ an orange        $0.50

Vanilla extract      $0.06

Total Cost = $7.62
Cost per person (6) = $1.27

Dressing Cost:

Cream Cheese               $1.99

Marshmallow Creme       $1.69

½ an orange                  $0.50

Total Cost = $4.18
Cost per person (6) = $0.70
Total Cost For All = $11.80
Total Cost per person For All = $1.97

Quote of the Day

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?

Albert Einstein

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4 comments to The Best of MTTD…….

  • Isn’t this an inspiring story. Imagine, planning to give a gift to a few children knowing — really knowing — you were going to die soon. I think I love him. 🙂

    I’m trying to decide what to make to celebrate 4th of July. It’s only a day after the 3rd and before the 5th here so I need to do something special.

  • Friend with a job

    OK, I looked over this several times checking for your dream in the comments section. Did I miss it? Would love to know what your dream would be!

  • Roberta

    For several years I have had a dream of starting a cooking blog. My original idea was to create a blog that would cater to single folk, or those people who cook for just themselves or maybe one other person.

    But the Great Recession struck and I started to read about people losing their homes and even many in the middle class needing food stamps just to feed their families.

    So I decided to make my dream a reality so that I could share inexpensive and easy recipes for those needing the same.

    I am living my dream every single day since beginning MTTD. Thanks to all who are a part of my dream.

  • So glad both you and Andy have had the guts to pursue your dreams! What a great story, thanks for sharing it. The berry dessert looks delish, too!