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.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery

This is a sweet delightful little story written by the author of Anne of Green Gables.  It has all the elements of a fairy tale.   Valency, a 29 year old spinster is sick of the life she is living with her controlling mother and cousin along with abuse meted out by a large group of her extended family who judge her harshly and treat her like a child.  The only thing that has kept her going is a fantasy that she imagines about a life she lives in a Blue Castle.   She secretly sees a doctor about pains she is having in her chest and he diagnoses her as having a terminal heart condition and tells her that she will probably die within the year.  She decides that whatever life she has left is going to change.  She begins to speak her mind, wear what she wants, control her own space and eventually leaves home when the opportunity arises to work caring for a sick woman.  Her entire family think she has lost her mind and tries everything in their power to continue to control her behavior through whatever means they can think of, but when she finally leaves they have lost all ability and Valency’s personality flowers into a very interesting character, and it is joyfully fun to watch.  I don’t want to give away any more of the delightful story.  Montgomery’s writing is witty, sensitive and her descriptions of the Canadian woods are magical. 

Monday, September 14, 2015


Here is a recommendation for my peach pie from my son Beau who lives in LA.
I am good friends with Dr. Phil's personal family chef, and she made your peach pie for him and his wife and they commented how much they loved it. Anyway, thought you might get a kick out of that. Beau 
This pie is a family favorite and I make it every fall when fresh Utah peaches are available.  They can't be beat.  I posted this in 2008 but have made some changes since then and thought it should be reposted.


Whip 8 oz. of cream cheese with 1 C. powdered  sugar until creamy.  Whip 1 C. whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cream cheese with 1 tsp. vanilla.  Smooth into the bottom of your 10 inch pie crust.  If you make a smaller pie you might want to halve the cream cheese mixture.  Chill this until ready to eat.

This is an easy Cookie Pie Crust that is very good with this and other cream pies. 
Melt 1/2 C. butter in a saucepan and cook until is has a deep caramel color.  Remove from the heat and add 1/4 C. sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 1/2 C. flour.   Crumble together and press into the pie pan which has been sprayed with Pam. (This is enough for a 10 inch pie pan)  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool before adding the cream cheese.

Sauce:  Mash peaches to make 1 1/2 cups.  I cut up the peaches and chop them in a little food processor.  It should be a little chunky.  Put in a saucepan with 3 T. cornstarch and 1 C. sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or two until thick and clear.  Chill

To Assemble:  Cut up enough thinly sliced fresh peaches on top of the cream cheese mixture to fill generously.  Cover with the sauce and chill more or eat now.

If the peaches are juicy it is hard to get nice neat slices of pie but no one cares.  It doesn't need whipped cream. 

Monday, September 7, 2015


Painting - 14x18 oil on linen canvas board from a photo taken on New Years Day 2015 after a little snow storm.

Monday, August 31, 2015


Middlemarch is focused on marriage; the fantasies, the expectations, the disappointments and the trials which come from all of these facets of the institution.  The story has a large cast of characters and their lives eventually meld together in the village of Middlemarch.  George Elliott weaves the story into the political wrangling on the Reform vote of the day (giving more men the right to vote).  For me, this was a distraction, but not so heavy that it spoiled the story. Eliot’s writing is elegant with a wise understanding of human nature.  At times her ideas were complex enough to give me pause in following her meaning, but I enjoy a little deep thinking in a story.  The banker Bulstrode committed an evil in his younger day which becomes exposed in his old age in the winding up chapters, but the details of the sin were not clear.

The BBC has a 7 hour miniseries of the story that I watched years ago but I didn’t remember much about it.  I watched it again after finishing the book and felt enjoyably satisfied with the portrayal of the story and characters.   I was hoping my Bulstrode confusion would be cleared up in the miniseries but it wasn’t laid out any better than the book.  I need to read that chapter again and try to get some understanding of what happened.  This is my 4th George Eliot: Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner.  I have enjoyed them all and look forward to Daniel Doranda. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015


While living in the Canary Islands for over a year (and cooking for 16 to 30 twice a week) I had a quest to find a good homemade brownie, made with cocoa, since they have awesome cocoa but no brownie mixes.  I never quite succeeded but have continued to try a recipe here and there.  I found this on pinterest but don't know where since I jotted it down instead of pinning it.  My dessert folder was getting overburdened with brownies.  These couldn't be easier.  They stir together in 5 minutes.  The oil ended up being the secret, which wasn't surprising since all of the great US box brownies are made with oil.  I used light olive oil to make them healthier.

Mix together in a med. bowl:
1 C. sugar
1/3 C. dark cocoa (I like the extra dark Hersheys cocoa but any will work.  I brought home 35 cans of Spanish Cocoa, which is quite dark)
½ tsp. salt

Beat in:
2 eggs
Scant ½ C. oil (7 T. I like to use light olive oil)
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. flour

½ C. or more chopped nuts
1/2 C. or more any type chocolate chip (milk, white or dark or a mixture)

This needs to bake in an 8 inch greased pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Don’t over bake and let them cool to lukewarm before trying to cut them.

Frost them hot for a melted glaze or cool and frost with a buttercream but they are good as is.  The brownies in the photo are frosted with buttercream and topped generously with chopped toasted almonds.

If you want to double this recipe bake it in a 11x14 inch pan not a 9x13 and bake for about 30 minutes

Friday, July 24, 2015


This is painted from a photo I took while in the Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife. 16x20 Oil on Canvas

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


 This recipe came from here
I changed it to be very Thai inspired adding some Thai basil, lemon grass paste and coconut oil.  Costcos coconut oil has a lovely distinctive coconut flavor that I like. I made it once with tuna and once with canned chicken.  I can see it made as a shrimp salad or a salad without meat.  It is a good salad without the lettuce.  I added some crunchy rice noodles - WOW!  It is healthy crunchy and I know I will make it often for lunch.   This makes about 4 servings.


Chop small:
2 C. cabbage
1 C. broccoli
1 C. course grated carrot
(or use 4 cups of slaw mix)

3-4 T. minced cilantro
1 T. Thai basil or regular basil chopped (optional)
2 chopped green onions (I used some chives from my garden)

Put 2 T. coconut oil in a small frying pan and grate in 1 large clove of garlic and fry just until it starts to brown.  (I don't like raw garlic so I usually do this as it infuses your oil with a toasty garlic flavor)

2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
½ tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. grated ginger (peel and freeze your ginger for future use.  It grates easier)
½ tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. of lemon grass paste (optional)  If you use reduce the lime to ½
½ tsp. Sriracha (optional) not enough to make it hot but adds a nice color.

When ready to serve add 1/2 C. dry roasted peanuts or you could use cashews and a can of drained tuna or chicken.  Toss with the dressing and enjoy!

 I didn't have slaw mix so made my own.

 If you put the sauce in the refrigerator it will harden with the oil and will need to be nuked for a few seconds before use.  

 As a salad with crunchy rice noodles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Recently my daughter started a blog for her store tpt home.  One Sunday I cooked a meal and served it in dishes from the store.  The meal consisted of Ricotta Dumplings, which are easy and delicious.  We covered them with a spaghetti sauce from scratch with chicken.  I can see them as meatballs in a minestrone soup or a dozen other soups where they would be tasty.  Here is her blog with my photos on the dumpling process and the recipe for the Spaghetti Sauce with Chicken and lots of nice pictures

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Sometimes I just want a quick snack that is healthy.  This is satisfying.

Combine in a food processor and blend until smoothish:

1 Can of garbanzo beans drained just a little
1 C. of frozen petite peas
2 T. coconut oil
1 T. of lemon grass paste or lemon juice (The paste is found in a tube in the vegetable section and is very tasty.)
1 sprig of basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper and salt to taste
1 T. of grated ginger root
1/2 tsp. curry powder

I like to buy two good size ginger roots and peel off the skin like this.  Then I wrap them separately in foil and put them in the freezer.  They grate much better frozen than fresh and you always have fresh ginger on hand.

When blended chop 1/4 C. dry roasted peanuts and stir in.  Serve with veggies, crackers or pita bread. 

Monday, June 15, 2015


I have had 5 weeks of being out of commission after foot surgery but I could sit at my easel.  It felt good to paint something after 3 years of life distractions.  This is from a photo I took in late November in Zion National Park.  16X20 Oil on Linen board