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, April 29, 2012


Women’s Conference 2012
We stood in a dark room shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart--  15,000 women each with a light in her outstretched hand, waving as we sang:

As sisters in Zion, we’ll all work together
The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek.
We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor
We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.

The spirit was overwhelming to the point of tears.  I wanted to stay there and sing that song again and see the thousands of lights waving in the dark and feel the power of conviction in those beautiful women.   It was 10:00 PM and we had been together since 9 O’clock that morning, being taught the “The errand of angels…”  There was every size, age and color of us, but we all came for the same reason—to learn how to be a better woman of Christ.  We stood in line eating a quick sandwich or a mint brownie, because we didn’t want to miss a word.  We laughed and cried through stories of joy, pain and hope.   Some of us are the weary weak, but we were learning to understand that the spirit will guide us and then we will become stronger.  We were there with our private pains and disappointments, seeking strength and answers to endure and serve in spite of our fears and weaknesses.  We left with conviction that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Life is not easy and when we see some of the trials that others are going through it makes ours seem small.  That night we met a Relief Society President from Christchurch New Zealand who came to tell us about the service that was done by the local members of Relief Society last year when they endured the devastating earthquakes that went on daily for weeks.  There was a video of the female mayor of Christchurch talking about the “Church of the Latter Day Saints.”  This woman was amazed at the army of Relief Society women who went through the town helping where they could see a need day after day.  I want to be that kind of woman, arm in arm on the front lines of service with other women who understand their power to love and help.

There is strength in numbers.  Sometimes it is good to be with so many because you can feel the multiplication of each spirit in the air and as you breath it in it changes you and you realize that you are not alone in your sorrows, beliefs, desires and convictions to be more Christlike.  I came home wanting to be a better disciple. 

Friday, April 20, 2012


There is nothing better than a quick dish that tastes delicious and looks you can serve it to company and feel good.  Pinterest had a couple of versions of this recently.  I have made it several times and made some good improvements.  My picky husband thinks it is "very good" and that means a lot.  My dinner guests last week wanted the recipe so here it is.

4 large chicken breasts cut  into 3 pieces each or 12-14 chicken tenders.  Pound to an even 3/4 inch thickness.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Mix together: 
1 C. real mayonaise
2/3 C. coarse grated Parmesan 
1/2-1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dry basil leaves or 2 T. chopped fresh
1/2 tsp. celery salt

Generously cover each chicken breast with the mayo mixture spreading to the edge.  Break up a thick slice of hearty bread in a food processor and chop into crumbs.  Toss with 1 T. melted butter.
Sprinkle a little on top of each breast.  Preheat ( important) the oven to 500 degrees and bake for 10 minutes.  If it is browning well you could leave it 5 minutes more at this temp...if not turn on the broiler for 5 minutes more but not too close to the element.  The meat is thin enough that it bakes very quickly at this high temperature and is the secret to a moist piece of chicken. 

Notes:  One of the recipes that I took this from had you bake it at 375 for 45 minutes.  It was nice and brown but dry as a bone.  We didn't like it near as well as the hot quick cook.  Also the first time I made it I crushed up some dry croutons for the top but they were just too gritty to be delicious.  The soft bread crumbs work better but you could use no bread crumbs as it still browns nicely. 

This is very nice because you can prepare everything and wait until your guests arrive before you place it in the oven.

Creamed Asparagus on mashed potatoes is one of my favorite side dishes and lovely with this.  (This photo is of the cremated version.  It looks good but too dry.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

MIRROR MIRROR - Movie Review

This is probably not a movie I would normally choose, especially not having read the reviews.  But it was opening night and we were out with friends and decided to go.  It was entertaining.  It tried to have something for everyone, adventure, comedy and special effects, not always successfully.  The romance was so so.  The best thing for me was the awesome costumes.  Some of the dresses and sets were stunning. 

Julia Roberts was a little too likable as the wicked stepmother but she got her due in the end.  Mike made the statement that she was a bit too much Julia Roberts and I think he was right but she stole the show anyway.

This is far flung from the original Snow White and a bit disjointed in places but I am sure most kids would like it and it wasn't painful at all.  2 1/2 *

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The basis for this soup came from a Pinterest post but I changed it significantly, especially by lightening it a lot.  This is a wonderful hearty chicken soup.  I have made it several times and absolutely adore it.  I made my own Gnocchi, which is no harder or time consuming than homemade noodles and so much better than the commercial which is OK in a pinch.  Get a good brand like Barilla.   The secret to Gnocchi being soft and not gummy is using dry potatoes and the microwave works the best.  If you want to bake in the oven wrap them in foil.  I made it once with leftover rotisserie chicken and it was good but I really like the meatballs.  This is a great versatile meatball which can be made with turkey or chicken and the spices can be changed according to what you want it for.  I have added sage and thyme for a mushroom sauce or chili powder for making bar-b-que meatballs.  

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
1 T. olive oil in a Dutch oven pan – Grate in 2 cloves of garlic and stir until browned.  Add 2 cups of rich chicken broth and 4 cups of water.  Add 2 grated carrots and 1 stalk of grated celery.  Throw away the strings.  Add 1-2 tsps. dry basil or 3-4 T. fresh chopped.  Add 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. (If you are using meatballs (2-3 Cups) add now if chicken add with the gnocchi.) Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Stir together 1/2 whipping cream  and 2 Cups milk with 6 T. flour.  Stir into the simmering soup until thickened.  Add 1 package of commercial gnocchi or 1 recipe of fresh gnocchi and 2 C. chicken.  Simmer for 5 min.  and enjoy!  It is good served with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on it.

Fresh Gnocchi
Cook 4 medium potatoes about 3 min. each in the microwave until soft.  Let sit for 10 minutes and peel by hand.  Chop up in a bowl and mash with a hand masher or pastry blender until all the big pieces are broken up (don't whip). (You can also cut up and chop in a food processor)  Add ½ C. flour, 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese,  ½ tsp. salt, 1 egg…if it is extra large beat up a little and don’t add all.  Stir together and turn out on the counter and knead for a minute on a floured board.  Don’t overmix.   Cut into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a ¾ inch snake on a flour covered board.  Cut into ¾ inch pieces and quickly round the edges with your fingers.  Bring a pot of water to boil and add the gnocchi one cut-up rope at a time and boil for 2 minutes or until they float.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl until ready to add to the hot soup. 

Chicken Meatballs  These are good in spaghetti sauce or a mushroom sauce over rice or could be used as an appetizer with a bar-b-q sauce. 
1 lb. ground chicken breast or ground turkey
1/3 C. whipping cream
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
10 good grates of fresh pepper or ¼ tsp.
1 tsp. dry basil or  2 T. chopped fresh
¾ C. bread crumbs (I crush garlic croutons from Costco)
Or ½ C. quick oatmeal
½ C. coarse grated Parmesan cheese
Mush all together and roll into small balls.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and broil on high until browned.  No need to turn.  This is more meatballs than you need for the soup but they freeze well for another use.

For the soup I make the meatballs half this size.  I like to make a double recipe and keep some in the freezer for a quick meal.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My son Ian came for Spring break from school in Portland Oregon and since he was leaving before Easter I had a brunch for him before he left.   I filled my DIY  (which I learned stands for "do it yourself") serving platters with fresh fruit and then I have included recipes for some of the things I served.
After buying some fun yellow plates at the Dollar store I noticed that the matching bowls were quite tall and I wanted to make some serving plates for elevation.  The Dollar store also had green plates and bowls so I made two, gluing the bottom of the bowl to the bottom of the plate with a generous amount of epoxy glue.  I also made a red one from Wallmart because they have tall bowls in their open stock dishes.  They have lots of different colors.  The plates there are $2 and the bowls a dollar I think.
I served my favorite brunch dish Asparagus Quiche  I made half with bacon and half without.

I served Nutella French Toast  with a Buttermilk Carmel Syrup, which is heavenly to my taste buds.

This has always been a favorite with my family, Dutch Pancakes.  I served it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream or a Buttermilk Carmel Syrup recipe to follow.

DUTCH PANCAKES -  In an extra large baking dish (bigger than 9x13)  put 1/3 butter and set into a 425 degree oven to melt.  (don't burn, have all your ingredients ready to blend before you put the butter in the oven)  In a blender put 1 1/2 C. of whole milk or 1 1/4 C. milk and 1/4 C. cream.  (Low fat milk is also fine)  Add 6 large eggs and blend a little.  Add 1 1/2 C. flour  and 1/4 tsp. salt and blend for 30 seconds.  Pour into the hot dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and brown.  Be sure to let everyone see it before it deflates, so beautiful!  Cut into pie wedges.  It serves 4-6 generous servings or 8 if you have other food.

BUTTERMILK CARMEL SYRUP -  I wanted a little syrup for the Nutella French Toast and the Dutch Pancakes for those that don't like strawberries (like my husband) so I tried this from Pinterest
It comes together very quickly.  This is my Version. In a large saucepan add:
1/4 C. butter and stir on medium heat until it browns a little then add:
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
1 C. of granulated sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 T. corn syrup (in case it wants to go to sugar in the refrigerator)
Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. vanilla.  I added a T. of dark rum also.   We loved this sauce and I can see it on bread pudding, fresh apple cake, ice cream and lots of other things. I can also see me eating this out of the jar for lunch.

 CURRIED DEVILED EGGS - This is my favorite deviled eggs.  Bring 6 eggs to boil.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 12 minutes.  Drain and cool with ice and water if needed quickly.  Peel and slice in two and remove the yolks.  Finely chop 1 smalish stalk of celery and add to the yolks with 3-4 T.  mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp. curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Very easy.  Add a little more curry if you wish.  I like a mild curry taste.  

I Served these Strawberry Bannana Muffins at last year's Easter Brunch.