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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Quinoa Salads are big now and there have been several versions on Pinterest  This is mine.  I like this salad a lot and know I will have it in the refrigerator often for a healthy lunch.  One of my vegetarian sons was here when I made it and liked it also.  Quinoa is a very healthy grain grown in the Andes I believe and has no gluten.  You can buy it in most grocers now.  Costco sold it once.  I haven't seen it lately but maybe it is there.  

Put 2 T. oil in a 2 qt. pot and stir fry, until lightly brown: 1- 2 cloves of grated garlic, 1 T. Cumin seeds crushed in a mortar and pistil a little, and 1 ¼ C. Quinoa.  Add 2 ½ C. water, 1 tsp. salt and 10 grinds of pepper and simmer covered for 15 minutes.  Add to the hot grain ½ C. dried fruit as desired:  Golden raisins, dried cranberries or snipped dry apricots or a combination of any.  Add 1 can of rinsed black beans and ½ C. rinsed frozen peas.   Mix together 3 more T. oil with ¼ C. fresh lime juice and ½ tsp. ground cumin.   Mix everything together with ½ C. chopped Cilantro (optional but I love it in here)  and ½ C. slightly chopped pecans or toasted almonds.  Adjust the salt and pepper.  Add some green onions if desired.  Chill and when ready to serve add some cubed Avocado as desired. 

The recipe I based this on had smoked paprika and it was terrible.  I decided that I don’t like smoked paprika.  It is just too overpowering.    I added a little Garam Masala (a very nice Indian spice) to the paprika and it was a great improvement.  Some time I will make it with only the Garam Masala instead of the Cumin. 1 tsp. added to the dressing will probably be about right.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


An amazing picture painted by my son Ian Anderson.   Click for a larger detailed view.  (It may take a few clicks to bring it up but worth it.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012


 This is my favorite dessert this year.   It is died and gone to heaven good.  I will be making this forever whenever I need a good chocolate fix.   I  have the nuts and the no nuts in my family so this is how it looks.  The mousse is delicious by itself.  I found the basis of this recipe on Pinterest but changed it quite a bit with a different crust and a no bake cheesecake layer.  I made it in a spring form pan but it could be made in a 10 inch pie pan.  The mousse is worth the time as its own dessert.

Crust - Melt ½ C. unsalted butter (Preferably) but salt is good too.  Beat in one extra large egg and one Chocolate cake mix….any kind.  Stir until there are no dry spots.  Roll into a fat roll and cut in two.  Wrap half in foil and put in the freezer for the next pie. (or bake into cookies)  Press the other half into the bottom of a greased 9 inch spring form pan or a 10 inch pie pan.  If you use the pie pan you might need more of the crust mixture.   Bake for 12 minutes at 350.  Cool while you make the cheesecake mixture.

Cheesecake Layer –  Whip ½ C. whipping cream set aside.  Beat 1 - 8 oz. block of cream cheese (room temp is easier)  with the same beaters  until creamy and add 1 tsp. vanilla and ½ C. powdered sugar.   Fold in the whipped cream and spread onto the baked crust.  Put in the refrigerator while you make the mousse.

Mousse Layer – Melt 3 T.  butter in a double boiler or a bowl over simmering water.  Add 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate.  I used Costco’s Ambrosia  semisweet chocolate chips  and it was good.  One generous cup.  The second time I used 1/3 C. Gittard Milk chocolate and 2/3 C. semisweet.  It depends on how chocolaty you like things.  They were both good.

Turn off the heat and melt the chocolate stirring very quickly over the hot water.  Remove from the heat and stir in 3 egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add 1 /2 tsp. vanilla. 
Beat the egg whites with ½ tsp. cream of tarter and 6 T. sugar added gradually until very stiff peaks form.   Using the same beaters beat ½ C. Whipping cream with ½ tsp. vanilla until stiff and fold into the egg whites.  Fold into the chocolate mixture when it is luke warm and mix well.  Pour over the cheesecake layer and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for 2 hours or more.

Ganache Layer -  Heat a scant ½ C. whipping cream until hot but not boiling (microwave works)   Add ½ tsp. instant coffee if desired (stir until it dissolves) and ½ tsp. vanilla.  Add one cup of semisweet chocolate and stir until melted.  Refrigerate for 15- 20 minutes or so until it starts to set up but still runny.  Remove the plastic wrap and pour over the mousse letting a bit drip over the edge.  Sprinkle with toasted chopped almonds if desired.  I do half and half for the nuts and the no nuts.


The heavenly mousse

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


 Nutella is definitely my weakness.  It is best I don't have a jar of it around.  This is a good quick cookie bar (made with a cake mix) with a crispy outside and a soft yummy middle.  

Nutella Cheesecake Bars
1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 Cube melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chopped nuts if desired (toasted almonds coarsely chopped are good)

Beat the egg into the melted butter.  Stir in the Cake Mix and stir together until no dry spots.  Press half the dough into a greased 9X13 cake pan.

Beat together:
1- 8oz block cream cheese
2 Extra large eggs
1 C. Nutella
¼ C. Butter Melted
2 ½ C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Add: ½ C. Chocolate chips – semi-sweet or milk

Pour over the first crust and smooth to the edges.  Flatten pieces of the remaining dough in your hand and lay it on top of the cheesecake mixture until covered.  Spaces between are fine.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Cut into desired sizes when cool. They are very rich...smaller is better.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

BUBBLE PARTY - Homemade Bubble Solution

I was planning a bubble party for my grandson Luke while we were in LA last week.  I found a recipe for homemade bubbles from a Pintrest site.  I made 3 quarts for us to use and some for Luke to take home.  With a small bottle of Dawn dish detergent and a small bottle of corn syrup you can make a gallon of bubble stuff and it makes great bubbles.  I went to K Mart and bought a battery operated bubble machine for $10, a bubble gun, and some bubble wands.  The bubble machine worked great and pumped out lots of little bubbles, which Maren's pug had a riot chasing.  The gun was so so.  I should have gotten the push button model instead of the trigger one, as it was hard for Luke to push.  But the best deal was the bubble wands.  For $1.50 you get a wand that makes bigger bubbles by dipping it in the solution and waving it through the air.  I went back to get more wands for an Easter bubble party at home with Michael.  (Walmart has these wands also in 2 sizes $1 and $2)  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the party...just me trying out my solution with a wand I made from a piece of heavy wire.  Here is the recipe:

Put 2 1/2 cups very hot tap water into a quart jar.  Add 1/2 Cup Dawn liquid detergent and 1/2 Cup corn syrup.  Stir until mixed well.  Go make bubbles!

Here is the bubble wand and the solution.  The site where I got the recipe had the idea to put it in a sun tea jar with a spigot for dispensing.  I plan to do this next time.  Happy Bubble Party!