Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NORTH AND SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell - Book Review

I have to admit that I am somewhat of an addictive reader when it comes to an author that I am enjoying.  I want to move on to something else they have written.  In taking a break from Anthony Trollope, I have moved on to Elizabeth Gaskell.  She was not as prolific as Trollope so I only have one more of her major works to read, Wives and Daughters, except I haven’t read the Cranford series.  I feel totally satisfied with the PBS movie, that I own, and am not sure I will read it, at least not now.

Years ago I watched the PBS miniseries North and South but when I started to read the book I didn’t remember much about it.  The book was very satisfying and I couldn’t wait to watch the movie again.  With the richness of the story in my mind I relished the miniseries, with characters I recognized from other PBS productions.  But their characters held their own in North and South in a beautiful way.  The production was every bit as enjoyable as the book after reading it, even though it takes some diversions from the book, but not in a detracting way.   Mr. Thornton and Margret’s relationship gave me thoughts of Darcy and Elizabeth in the AMC production.  But this is my book review.

Gaskell’s characters are set in the cotton weaving town of Milton, in Northern England.  The city is smoke filled with industry.  The weavers are poor and struggling union members, resorting to strikes as their only power for bettering their position.  Mr. Thornton is the master of one of the prominent mills.  

Margaret, her father and mother have moved to Milton after her father left the church and consequently his position as a parish rector in a lovely village in the south of England.  Milton is a strong contrast to the sweetness of their village life and setting.  Mr. Hale becomes a teacher and private tutor in Milton.  Mr. Thornton is his beloved student and so the families are brought together.

Margaret’s character is strong and filled with the problems of “first impressions” which besot Darcy and Elizabeth.  Sparks of disagreement, between she and Thornton, fly from the beginning.  We love Margaret’s character because she doesn’t stay at home and mourn her new life in a difficult place, but makes friends among the poor and reaches out to help them.
North and South is a favorite among Gaskell’s readers and I have to agree.  If there is anything that mars the story it is that it ended too abruptly.  But that is a common complaint.  The movie does a little better job of winding things up.  I watched the end several times to fill my longing for more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I love bread pudding and this is a special one.  I found it on Pinterest and it came from Sunset Magazine.  I have made it 3 times.  About the only thing that survived the Sunset recipe was cooking the peaches to make the sauce...a great idea. 

Fresh Peach Bread Pudding
4 Cups peaches cut into bite size pieces
¼ Cup butter
½ Cup white sugar
Melt the butter in a frying pan (don’t brown) and add the sugar and peaches and simmer stirring for 2 minutes.  Pour into a large strainer or colander over a bowl and let drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients.   This takes some of the juice out of the peaches and makes a wonderful sauce for later.

In a 4 cup measuring cup put in cubed French bread and press down when filling. Put into a 9 inch style greased casserole.   When the peaches have drained well toss them with the bread in the baking dish.

Beat together and pour over the bread and peaches.  Press down a little:
2 eggs (I used extra large)
1 Cup Milk (I used about ¼ Cup cream as part)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ Cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and mix with ½ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of chopped nuts (Walnuts or Pecans are best but optional)   Sprinkle over the pudding and press down a little.

Bake 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Heat up the drained peach sauce and pour over the servings with ice cream.  WOW!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

RUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell

Book Review
I am a student of 19th century English literature and frankly don’t understand the rigid unforgiving attitude that is displayed toward the sinner, especially a woman who has been presumed immoral. And if she happened to have a child, in the course of this sin, it will become a “bastard,” outcast to society.  It seems that repentance was not possible.  These people are church going Christians and clergy.  I sometimes wonder if the community attitude was really that severe.  I wonder, did they never read Christ’s story of the woman taken in adultery as they cast their stones?  Did they never preach the Prodigal Son from the pulpit?  Did they not understand Christ’s teachings of “judge not that ye be not judged?  These were my thoughts while Reading Ruth, a beautiful metaphor for how the atonement works in the life of the repentant sinner. 

This is my third Gaskell.  I liked "Mary Barton" a lot and it’s thesis was forgiveness.  “Cousin Phillips” was my least favorite but I enjoyed the first person narrative with it’s sweet descriptions of simple rural life and honorable loving people.  But “Ruth” wrenched my heart and sent me to my favorite religious book “The Infinite Atonement” by Tad Callister.  I remembered reading how in a sense repentance can make us better than we would have been had we never sinned. This was the thesis of "Ruth"

“The law of justice brings about order and stability in the universe.  That is good.  But the law of repentance does much more; it brings about godhood.  Repentance is more than a passive process to “get us even” it is the affirmative process to improve us, refine us, and ultimately perfect us.  It’s purpose goes far beyond the satisfaction of justice.  It opens the door to the cleansing and perfecting power of the Atonement.”  (Callister p. 225)  

”The Savior’s victory can compensate not only for our sins but also for our inadequacies; not only for our deliberate mistakes but also for our sins committed in ignorance, our errors of judgment, and our unavoidable imperfections.  Our ultimate aspiration is more than being forgiven of sin—we seek to become holy, endowed affirmatively with Christlike attributes, at one with him, like him.  Divine grace is the only source that can finally fulfill that aspiration, after all we can do.”  (Bruce Hafen, Broken Heart, p. 20)

For me, this was Ruth’s story of redemption.  She was an orphan of 16 working as a seamstress in a sweatshop environment.  An assignment to repair damaged dresses, at an elegant ball, introduced her to the handsome, 23 year old, Mr.  Bellingham.  He was smitten with her beauty and sought her out, in her realm, on numerous occasions.  He promised to take her back to her country home for a nostalgic visit on her Sunday off.  He didn’t want to be seen with her in a carriage so they walked.  The day was longer than anticipated.  Ruth’s employer happened to see her on the road and fired her on the spot for being in an inappropriate situation with this man.  She was distraught and desperate with no place to turn.  Ultimately the story unfolds to a seduction (which we see nothing of) and abandonment in the hills of a resort in Whales.  She is pregnant and despondently ill.    A deformed minister from a nearby town sends for his spinster sister and they decide to take her home with them, passing her off as a widow.  This is part of the conversation that takes place between Mr. Benson and his sister Faith:

“Faith, you know I rejoice in this child’s advent?
“May God forgive, Thurstan!—if you know what you are saying.  But, surely, it is a temptation, dear Thurstan.”
“I do not think it is a delusion.  The sin appears to me to be quite distinct from it consequences.”
“Sophistry—and a temptation,” said Miss Benson, decidedly.
“No, it is not.” said her brother, with equal decision.  “In the eye of God, she is exactly the same as if the life she has led had left no trace behind.  We knew her errors before, Faith.”
“Yes, but not this disgrace—this badge of her shame!”
“Faith, Faith! let me beg of you not to speak so of the little innocent babe, who may be God’s messenger to lead her back to Him.  Think again of her first words—the burst of nature from her heart!  Did she not turn to God, and enter into a covenant with Him—‘I will be so good?’  Why, it draws her out of herself!  If her life has hitherto been self-seeking, and wickedly thoughtless, here is the very instrument to make her forget herself, and be thoughtful for another.  Teach her (and God will teach her, if man does not come between) to reverence her child; and this reverence will shut out sin,--will be purification.”

And as the story unfolds we see Ruth’s purification as she turns her life to God through all the difficulties that come before her.  We see God give her strength and direction in heart wrenching situations.  We see what good people, like the Bensons, can do for such a lost one as Ruth, even as they are not sure they have done right.  Ruth and her child bring sweetness and love to their unfulfilled lives.

We see others in this story that throw stones at Ruth, but feel no remorse for their indiscretions until they are forced to face them on the home front.  Ruth was ever the willing repentant soul and it shined in her character.

As someone, who believes in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, this gave me a lot to think about in how the process works.  It is a beautiful story of faith.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Three weeks before leaving on our mission to the Canary Islands we went to St. George to get warm.  It was January and we had been waiting for a visa for 9 months.  We happened to look at this house in Sunbrook on the golf course that was just too good of a deal to pass up.  It was a bank repo with cement work that had sunk in the courtyard and in the garage.  The bank was anxious to sell and we couldn't believe we made an offer that they accepted.  It wouldn't have happened without our contractor brother-in-law who did the repairs while we were gone and Mike's brother who rented it after.

When we returned home the renters left and Mike and I worked crazily for 5 months collecting and painting old furniture.  We painted over 20 pieces including lamps and mirrors.   Our daughter gave us some pieces.  We got others at consignment shops, Deseret Industries, and classifieds.  I wanted the place to be happy and colorful and the painted furniture did the trick along with a wonderful rug I got at Pier One Imports.

I planned in the beginning to do chalk paint and did hours of research on Pinterest.  I started out mixing my own DIY formula but found that it didn't stick any better than just plain flat paint and it had issues that I could do a post on.  If we were worried about it sticking we would spray can a light primer base on.  I was going to use wax as a sealer but after reading this I changed my mind.  I crackled the tops of most of the pieces and some of the doors and I did a little stenciling and some glazing on a couple of pieces.  Then we put several coats of water base poly finish.  I started with Minwax and later used Varathane floor finish because it is very durable.

All of the paintings in the house are mine that have been stacking up over the last 10 years.  I also made the curtains and about 20 pillows.  It was all great fun but don't tell my husband that because he did a great deal of the painting and repairing. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Peach season is here and this is really yummy!  I got this from Pinterest.  It needed another cup of peaches so I adjusted it.  The recipe meant it to be refrigerated bars, but that made the crumble a little soggy.  We ate it warm with ice cream and WOW, better than peach pie!

For the Crumble:
3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks cold butter
1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the cold butter until coarse cornmeal texture.  Add 1 beaten egg and mix thoroughly.

Peel and cube 7-8 peaches to make 6 cups.  Toss with ¼ teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, 1 C. sugar and 6 T. flour. 

You will need an 11x14 baking dish.  Spray the bottom and sides well with nonstick spray.  Lightly press in half the crumble.  Pour in the peach mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the crumble and press lightly.  Bake 375 for 35- 45 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cut into squares.  This is best warm with ice cream. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Some of my vegetarian kids are visiting this next week so I am going to cook again.  These interested me on more than on a vegetarian level Zucchini Bites  But I made some changes.  I could see them with Parmesan  and added more crumbs to eliminate the squeezing out the water from the vegetables.  I love them and ate 8 straight out of the oven. Yikes!

Parmesan Zucchini Bites 

1 ½ C. packed grated zucchini (I used half yellow squash)
Generous ½ C. crushed garlic croutons (I used Costco’s Focaccia garlic)
1 beaten egg
½ C. Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dry (the fresh was great)
¼ tsp. garlic powder (I used a little fried garlic but this will work)
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Mix everything together and let sit for 5 minutes for the croutons to absorb the zucchini liquid.  Drop generous spoons full onto a greased parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 425 for 15-18 minutes until they have crispy brown edges.  Makes 8-12  Depending how big you want them to be.

Friday, March 28, 2014

CARROT CABBAGE SLAW - My new favorite salad

I am back in Utah now but I still have a few recipes that I created in the Canaries.  This salad is our new favorite.  I actually make it for us several times a week.  It is easy to make in any size batch.  If you like crunchy chewing, packed with flavors and texture this will satisfy.  My young adult group and the missionaries both liked this.

To make the dressing drain a can of pineapple chunks (big can for big salad little for little salad)  Sometimes I make up a jar of dressing using some small cans of pineapple juice so it is ready when I need it.

For every 1/2 Cup of juice stir in 1 scant T. cornstarch, 1-2 tsps. sugar and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk for 1 minute.  Cool.  If you are in a hurry pour into a shallow dish and put in the freezer to cool.  It will be very thick when cool.  If I am serving this to guests I will add equal parts of mayonnaise,  for us I will add less.  You will need to whip this together. 

Grate carrots and chop cabbage to make equal parts.  Add the pineapple chunks, dried cranberries and when ready to serve add some salted cashews and stir in the dressing until nicely moistened...crunch away.