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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I am painting again.  I finished 3 commissions for my kids (I will show you the one I did for Colette soon, if I dare, it is an abstract symbolic painting--a little weird.)  and now I am on to my photos from Europe last fall.  Chenonceau is a wonderful Chateau in the Loire Valley of France.  It was my favorite Chateau of all because it was designed by women.  All the rooms had a fresh flower arrangement in it.  If I live long enough I will paint other pictures from here.  This Chateau had a kitchen with the most wonderful copper pots, kitchen tools and old jars.  This is a scene from the kitchen window.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This is a cooked salsa and lasts a little longer in the refrigerator.  If you do it on the grill you will need one of those grill pans with holes.  You can also broil it on high in the oven.  The grill gives it a little bit of a smoky taste which is very nice.

4-5 Tomatoes boiled for a minute for easy removal of the skins.
2 cloves of garlic sliced thin or grated
1 small sweet onion or red onion sliced
1 T Cumin seeds crushed in a mortar and pistil
4 Jalapeno peppers with the seeds and white membrane removed to control heat, sliced.
1/2 tsp. salt

Toss it all with 1 T olive oil and place in a grilling pan on the barbecue or on a cookie sheet for the broiler.  Cook until it starts to char a little - 7-10 minutes.  If you are cooking it on the grill stir it every 30 seconds or so.  If in the broiler stir a couple of time.  Chop coarsely in a food processor.  Add some cilantro if you are so inclined.  (My husband doesn't like cilantro so I use 2-3 T chopped Greek Oregano if I think he might eat some.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Mercy is a word with a spiritual connotation and I have always known what it meant on some level but recently our Sunday School teacher shared a definition with the class that she found in a Wall Street Journal article. (April 14, 2011, A Definitive American Life by Barton Swain)  This definition came from an 1828 Webster Dictionary.  It made me realize how much dictionaries have changed.

Mercy:  That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespass and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.  In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy.  That which comes nearest to it is grace.  It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders.  Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.”

This is a beautiful concept.  No wonder we plead for mercy from God in our undeserving state.  And I am completely amazed that he is willing to give it so freely.   I have a scripture that I say to myself after I have gone through the veil during my weekly temple visits.  

Be merciful unto me O God
Be merciful unto me.
For My soul trusteth in thee
Yea in the shadow of thy Wings
Will I make my refuge,
Until these calamities be overpast. Psalms 57:1

There are 4 winged vases in the Celestial room of the Bountiful Temple and they have become a symbol of hope to me for my 4 children.  “….in the shadow of thy Wings will I make my refuge…” (see Wings of Hope)  I cherish this definition of Mercy because it paints a picture of all that I am pleading for as an offender.  I want to be better than I am and I need more consideration than I can ever earn.  I plead for the benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity and clemency promised in this definition.  But can I give Mercy as I beg for it.  It is not easy.  Only with God’s help can I learn to give Mercy when I am offended.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

LEMON AIOLI - Multiple Use

This is a delicious recipe and I have used it in a myriad of ways.  I changed the recipe a little with exact measurements for the lemon juice and peel instead of juice and peel from one lemon.  It is lovely with salmon and shrimp.  Fish cakes are dressed up with the aioli.  Below is a chicken recipe that is very good with it.  

Lemon Aioli
1 egg
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (I used coarse grain)
1 clove garlic, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C olive oil 
1/2 C vegetable oil
4 scant T fresh lemon juice
1 T finely grated lemon peel
Method: Blend the egg, 2 T lemon juice, mustard, garlic and seasoning until combined. While the blender motor is running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until the mixture is thick and creamy. Finally, add the remaining lemon juice and the zest. Season to taste. Keep in a bottle and enjoy on fish, salad, chicken, pasta, veggies or simply dip your finger in it and enjoy!!

Tuna Cakes With Aioli

Serves 5 - makes about 10 fish cakes
3 tins of Albacore Tuna drained
3/4 cup of dry Oats or cracker crumbs
salt/ pepper
zest and juice of a big lemon
3 eggs

1-2 T chopped chives if desired
Mix all the ingredients together and make 10 fish cakes using your hands to shape them. Heat a skillet on the stove and add the oil. Fry them until golden brown on both sides. Serve with the lemon aioli!

Salmon Cakes with Aioli
1 large can of Salmon with bones and skin removed
1/2 C. oats or cracker crumbs
Salt and Pepper 
2 tsp. zest and 1 T. of fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
Mix everything together form into pattys and brown in a little oil. Serve with Lemon Aioli.

I have a favorite Chicken recipe Creamy Lemon Chicken   It is served with salted whipped cream and  lemon slices.  Instead of this I folded 1/4 cup of the Lemon Aioli into the salted whipped cream and it was delicious.  I also tossed spaghetti and asparagus with the lemon aioli and Parmesan cheese.  It was so good I will do it again.

 The chicken served with whipped cream and lemon aioli and the pasta tossed it the same.

  The chicken ready to bake

Friday, May 13, 2011


After reading Jeffery Archer’s wonderful book Paths of Glory about George Malroy’s  attempts to climb Everest, I couldn’t wait to see the documentary on the subject “The Wildest Dream.” 
George Malroy lost his life on Everest on his 3rd attempt at the top in 1924.  In 1999 Conrad Anker found his body very close to the top.  It was never known if he was on his way back from the top or still moving forward.  Malroys body was very much intact after all these years because of the frigid conditions on Everest.   The one thing they didn’t find on him was the picture of his wife he promised to leave at the top if he made it.  Thus the answer to the mystery is forever in question.  Malroy's climbing partner Sandy Irvine was also lost but his body has never been found. 

In the movie Conrad Anker attempts to recreate Malroy's  climb, including having the clothes he wore made to see how they functioned.  The old pictures and film were stunning to me.  I enjoyed so much seeing the pictures of Malroy and his family including many from the actual climb.   I am not an Everest aficionado.  For me this was a love story in conflict--the love of his wife and family and the love of the climb.  4 stars

Thursday, May 5, 2011


This is cool, creamy, and lovely beyond anything! Try Raspberries this summer.

COOKIE PIE CRUST: Melt 1/2 C. real butter in a saucepan and cook over med heat until it starts to brown (this is optional but I love the flavor it gives the crust) Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 C. sugar 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp. salt  and 1 1/2 C Flour. Crumble together and press into a 10 inch pie plate making the sides as even as possible around the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or until it starts to brown.   This makes a generous 10 inch pie.

Strawberry Mousse:
1.    Blend 1 lb. strawberries until liquified. (blender or food processor.) Press and stir through a sieve to remove as many seeds as possible.  (The finer the sieve the more seeds you can capture.)  You need 1 Cup of puree.

2.   Whip 12 oz. cream cheese with the puree and 1 cup of sugar.

3.   Whip 1 ½ C of cream to stiff .  Add 1 T. Vanilla instant pudding. (I keep a box of instant pudding in a jar to use to stabilize cream when I whip it.  It gives a nice flavor too.) 

4.   Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture until well blended and pour into the cooled pie shell.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.  This pie stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  (If you can get it to last that long)  It also freezes well.  I made it early for an event and froze it.  It was perfect after thawing in the refrigerator for a day.

Sauce:  Crush ½ lb. strawberries.  If you have any puree left over use it in the sauce.  Add brown sugar to taste and 1 T. vanilla instant pudding to thicken a little.  Spoon some over the pieces when serving. Makes 8 generous servings.

This is also wonderful with raspberries!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


The New Jane Eyre

I am a Jane Eyre Aficionado.  I have loved the novel since I was a young girl.  The story has so much merit to show us how character can be developed in spite of growing up in difficult circumstances.  Jane Eyre does not compromise her standards and do the thing that feels good rather than that which is right.  We need heroines today who stick to their values and moral beliefs. 
There has been 18 versions of Jane Eyre on the screen.  These are my favorites and a critique of the new Jane Eyre.

In 1983 my husband gave me a VCR copy of the Timothy Dalton version, which is 4 hours long.  I have watched it dozens of times over the years.  It is pure escapism for me.  I never tire of it.  No one has ever played Rochester quite like Dalton.  He is too handsome for the part but his acting, brogue, and sheer sparkle is so captivating that your eyes are glued to him.  He definitely steals the show from Jane in this version who is a little too understated and mousy.  But she doesn’t ruin it for me.

In 2006 Masterpiece Theatre produced yet another 4 hour movie.  The chemistry in this version between Jane and Rochester may be the best of all.  This Jane is a little more antimated and pretty.  Rochester is good but not Dalton caliber.  I felt the romance and passion between the characters stronger in this adaptation and the ending is wonderfully delightful as they take the story a step further.  It was a very satisfying conclusion.

The new Jane Eyre, made for the mass market, suffers from its two hours.  I like Mia Wasikowska as Jane.  She may be the best character image.  Michael Fassbender was just OK as Rochester.  He didn’t ruin it but didn’t sparkle in the part.  The chemistry was somewhat lacking and because of the shortness of the movie it didn’t get time to develop.  My husband remarked that the romance didn’t feel quite real.  It didn’t bother me but then I have so much history in the story that it naturally flows for me.

Thornfield hall was perfect, feeling like the residence of Count Dracula.  However the lighting was too dark through the entire movie.  There was lots of natural candle light with shadows and candle glow on faces and places.  It had its charm but more light in parts would have been a good contrast. 

The movie wanted to have a unique twist so it began in the middle when Jane runs away.  Then the story moves in flashbacks.  It didn’t bother me, but I can see how it could get confusing to someone not familiar with the story.

When Jane is taken in by St. John Rivers and his sisters it is never revealed that she is related to them.  I liked that.  It always seemed a little to coincidental but then perhaps it was Providence. 

For the shortness of the movie there was still some long contemplative scenes, beautifully thoughtful and emotional that surprised me were left in.   The ending was rushed and did not satisfy.  But still I liked it very much.   A friend who saw it  was very disappointed.  Maybe it is hard to ruin Jane Eyre for me.   3 of 4 stars.