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.

Friday, November 20, 2015


I have not been a big fan of Kale because it just seemed too scratchy and tough but I wanted to give it a try because this looked like it had possibilities but I made some changes.  The lemon dressing was good.  I liked the honey better and you might want to make it sweeter. (I did after my husband said it was too sour.)  I added the apples but can see other fruits.  The star of the show was the pecan topping.  I think I will use this on other things.  I like the pecans visible, not too fine and a little more Parmesan.  The kale softens a lot by adding the dressing at least 15 minutes or so before serving.  I didn't add the bacon but my husband would love it.

Salad - toss together :
1.  About 12 ounces of Kale, coarse stems removed and chopped small.
2.  2 apples in bite sized pieces or pears, grapes, oranges or a combination...and avocados are nice. 
3.  1/2 C. dried cranberries
With Avocados

Dressing - mix together:
1.  1/4 C. olive oil
2.  1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
3.  1 T. honey (or more if you like sweet)
3.  1/8 tsp. salt and pepper
I like to make a double batch of dressing and keep it ready for making little salads for my husband and me.  

Pecan Topping :
1.  1 C.  pecans,  walnuts or even cashews
2.   1/2 C. coarse grated Parmesan cheese
3.  2 T. olive oil
4.  A pinch of salt and pepper 
I put this all in a small processor and chopped for 10 - 15 seconds.  You don't want it too fine.  (I had made a double batch and tossed some with some hot thin spaghetti...WOW!)

Toss the dressing as desired and let sit for 15 minutes or more before serving. I like to serve this in individual servings with the nut mixture sprinkled on the top and bacon if desired.  

This is a larger, richer version Creamy Lemon Dressing that I made the second time.
1.  Juice  2 lemons about 1/2 C.
2.  Add  2/3 C. light olive oil
              1 generous tsp. fine grated lemon peel
              1/3 tsp. salt or more to taste     
              Some generous grates of black pepper
              1/4 C. honey                      2 tsps. ultra gel
Ultra gel is a thickening agent that you can get at most grocery stores now.  I know Walmart has it and it has many handy uses.  It keeps the ingredients emulsified. Put everything into a pint size wide mouth container and blend with and immersion blender or in a regular blender. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Some time back one of my brothers contacted me to see if I had the Apple Cake recipe that my mother used to make with "the sauce".  I said I didn't think I had it but then I remembered a recipe book that her Wellington church group had compiled and wondered if it might be there.  The book is very dog eared with no front or back cover and I found the page easily because it was covered with dried grated apple splotches.
It is the recipe at the top right of the page.  Called Apple Pudding. It is so moist that it is reminiscent of a steamed pudding.  I simplified the mixing a little and changed it just a bit.

1.  Put 1 Cup sugar and 1/4 C. melted butter into a medium bowl and stir in 1 T. cider vinegar.  
2.  Coarse grate 3- 4 medium apples to make 2 packed cups.  I didn't peel them.  After coring them I cut them into 4 pieces and grated them with the peel side out and at the end there would be most of the peel left to throw away.  Stir each cup into the sugar quickly to keep them from oxidizing.
3.  Add:  1 egg
               1 tsp. cinnamon
                1/2 tsp. nutmeg
                1/2 tsp. salt
                1 tsp. baking soda
4.  Add: 1/2 C. chopped nuts, raisins or dried cranberries if desired.  I loved the cranberries and of course the nuts.  
5.  Bake in an 8 inch sprayed pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until the center is firm.   It makes about 6 servings so you might want to double it.  I am sure with our group we always did at home.

 1.  In a medium saucepan mix together:
                    1/2 C. butter
                    1 C. sugar
                    1/2 C. half and half or evaporated milk
2.  Simmer on low until thick about 10 minutes or so.  I added about 1/4 cup of Kraft Caramel Bits at this point (optional) and 1 tsp. of vanilla.  Serve over the cake with a scoop of ice cream.  WOW!   I should find out what else is in that recipe book.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


This is my new go to Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I like this recipe because you stir it up quickly in one pan and the brown butter makes a great flavor to the cookie.  
1.  Put 3/4 cup real butter in a medium saucepan, stir and cook on a medium heat until it browns to a deep caramel color.  This will happen quickly after it starts to foam so watch carefully.
2.   Stir into the butter:
      1/2 cup white sugar 
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1 tsp. vanilla
       1/4 tsp. salt
       3 T. instant vanilla pudding (I have made them without   
        this and they have turned out fine)
3.  If it is still very hot let it cool to luke warm and stir in:
      1 egg
      1/2 tsp. soda
      1 1/4 cups flour
      1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips and nuts (I like more)
        toasted almonds are good, pecans or walnuts
4.  Roll into balls and flatten just a little.  Bake 350 for 9 minutes if you like a softer cookie or 10 for a crisper.  Makes 2 dozen

I like to roll these into balls and place in a plastic bag and freeze them so I can get a few out at a time for a little treat here and there.  If  I bake the entire batch we will eat them all.

Also - I bought a bag of Kraft Cramels recently that are in little droplets about the size of a pea.  They are perfect to put in a cookie and I added some to this batch and they were very good.  
This is the original recipe

Saturday, October 17, 2015


I saw this idea on Pinterest recently and couldn't wait to try it out.  We traveled to Nauvoo in late September and I collected some leaves from the trees in old Nauvoo.  We were staying in the Willard Richards guest house and the landlord gave me a thick magazine to stick them in.  The process is fairly simple but the designing takes a lot of adjusting.  Basically you watercolor a base of just colors on the paper and then you paint the leaves with gesso and print them one by one according to your design.  When dry you paint them with watercolors and then I sprayed them with touch up varnish to keep the colors from running when you put on the gloss gel paint at the end (not in the instructions).  If you don't like what you did or want to change colors you can repaint your leaves with gesso and try again.  And you need to do some repainting around the leaves to get the look you want.  I had a mat that was in a frame I bought that was damaged so I used it letting the leaves spill out onto it after I painted it with acrylic paint.  The finished size is 24X32 inches.  I have never done anything in watercolor before and it was a fun project with sentiment in that the leaves were taken from a special place.  I will definitely do it again sometime

Monday, October 12, 2015


Baked Chicken Meatballs – no ground chicken necessary
 1-  Ground chicken is not always available in the grocery stores but this method is quick and easy to make with boneless skinless chicken breasts.  If you are thawing the chicken keep it half frozen but still possible to cut into,  or freeze it to a half frozen state.  3 chicken breasts will make 20 golf ball size meatballs.  Cut the chicken into thin slices first and then working in batches using a large sharp chefs knife start chopping.  It is not necessary to get everything evenly small.  Some bigger chunks work fine.  You need about 3 cups of chopped chicken.

2.  Mix with
            1/3 C. whipping cream
            1 tsp. salt
            ½ tsp pepper
            2 tsp. dried basil leaves
            1 C. crushed croutons or panko bread crumbs
             1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
            You can add an egg if you want but I like them better without

3.  Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet and broil until brown and turn them over and broil until the other side is brown if you want but one side is good enough.

4.  These are great in spaghetti sauce, in a mushroom cream sauce,  barbecue sauce or in soup.   Simmer for 20-30 minutes or so in your sauce.

I like to make a large batch and  place them in the freezer to have on hand for an easy quick meal.

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