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, July 28, 2012

ORANGE FROSTING - on Chocolate Cakes w/Ganache

 This is the orange Frosting on Brownies.  They may have a bit too much frosting here but they were killer good.  The ganache on top makes them more heavenly.
 This is a heavy chocolate cake from scratch baked in a large cookie sheet.  I doubled the frosting recipe and the milk chocolate ganache.
Cupcakes with the frosting piped on and a dollop of ganache and a preserved orange slice. Here is how to preserve the oranges.  I took these to a church party and they got rave reviews.

Last Christmas my friend, Cheryl Johansen, brought brownies with an orange frosting and a chocolate topping to a party I was having.  They were much better than mint brownies, in my opinion, and Mike loved them.  Here is a combination of my recipe and hers with some variations.

Orange Frosting:  Beat together:
1 Cube real butter
1 T.  grated orange peel
3 T. fresh orange juice
2 T. whipping cream
3 C. powdered sugar or until desired consistency
1/2 tsp. good natural orange flavoring (I like Kroger brand)
2-3 drops each of red and yellow food coloring

Spread carefully on top of the cake and smooth to prepare for the ganache.

Heat 1/3 cup whipping cream for 40 seconds on high in the microwave add 1 C. chocolate chips, dark, semisweet or milk as desired.  Stir until the chocolate is melted.  Let sit until spreadable and smooth carefully over the frosting.  I like to put the cake or brownies in the freezer, after adding the orange frosting, until it is solid before spreading the ganache,  Then I freeze a bit more to make cutting easier. 

If you are making a cake or brownies in a large cookie sheet double the frosting and ganache.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This salad is tasty, healthy, crunchy and colorful.  I could drink the dressing and be happy.  I made this one with cabbage but plan to do a broccoli, cauliflower combination soon.  I will let you know.  (I liked the cabbage the best) We ate it for 4 days and it was still good,  even with the cabbage. 

2 T. Peanut butter
1 large lime juiced
2 tsps. sesame oil
1/4 C. rice vinegar (or any vinegar)
3 T. honey or apricot jam  (I love the jam)
1-2 cloves grated garlic
¼ C. oil
1 tsp. grated ginger, bottled for fresh
2 T. water
½ C. Fresh Cilantro
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional but not enough to be very hot)
½ tsp. salt

Blend a little with an immersion blender or a regular blender to chop the cilantro and blend together.  The cilantro makes this dressing and is very subtle.  You might like it here even if you don't usually care for it.

½ lb. Pasta - I like the mini bow tie.  Cook less than you might for a casserole.
4-5 carrots cut into thin, two inch pieces and steamed for 2 minutes (the steaming is not necessary but I like to cut the crunch down a little.)
1 red pepper cut into thin slivers
4-6 Cups of chopped cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower or a combination. 
1 C. salted peanuts

Mix everything together with more chopped cilantro if desired and 2 C. Cooked Chicken if desired but not necessary.  I added 2 grilled chicken breasts with this marinade:

1/2 cup apple juice or lemon lime soda, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup oil.  1 garlic clove grated 0r  1/4 tsp. dry, ½  teaspoon ground ginger,

Friday, July 6, 2012


When I think of myself as a writer little ideas frequently enter my thinking and I feel I could, should or want to write them down.  Sometimes it is just a fleeting insight.  Sometimes it is a story I remember and I begin to develop all the details in my mind throughout the day.  At times it is the disappointments, joys or frustrations of my life.  They come to me almost poetically, rest softly and feel like love. They say, “You are a writer, you can share this.”  So here is a peek at my lovely recent thoughts.

When I think of myself as a writer I want to share my spiritual experiences, like the thoughts I always have in testimony meeting about D&C 62:3 Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.  How beautiful is this image; angels recording my weak utterances and rejoicing .  Maybe my mother is one of those angels.  It would make her happy to know I am trying to keep the faith.  Then the idea that my sins could be forgiven, because I am willing to bear witness of Jesus Christ, is hopeful. These thoughts make me want to bear my testimony more and tell God that I love him.

When I think of myself as a writer I want to record my feelings about our mission call.  I don’t know if I should say that I wish we were in Scotland right now instead of studying Spanish all day as we prepare for the Canary Islands.  I am not good at Spanish but Mike is.  Can it be my right brain verses his left brain?  I have a little knot in my solar plexus as I contemplate not being able to communicate or understand.  I love words and ideas and sharing them.  It will be hard but I can do hard and I will get better.  This will be so good for Mike.  He will be fluent very quickly, I know.  He is working a lot harder than I am.   We won’t be leaving until Sept. 3, so we have more time to study.   We speak Spanish for an hour together on our walk every morning,  and I write sentences with the verbs I am learning and Mike gives me feedback.  I often wake in the night with Spanish words jumping around and they keep me awake, maybe this is good.  Oh Sanish, I hope someday that I will love you.

When I think of myself as a writer I want to tell about my health issues.  Mike calls it the “organ recital.”  I feel so blessed that I can still hike 6 miles or more.  I don’t have pain to speak of and I could.  There are so many with Rheumatoid Arthritis who suffer terribly.   Mike calls my feet “Frankin Feet.”  And they are ugly, surgery swollen and horrible but they can walk, mostly pain free.  Shoes are a trial for me.  I have to buy expensive shoes online for big wide feet with hammer toes.   In my disdain for my feet I am trying to love them more by washing them at night and messaging them with oil and wearing socks to bed and telling them how grateful I am that they keep me going.  Oh, dear feet, even with all your flaws, I love you.

When I think of myself as a writer I wonder if I should write about my children.  There are deep feelings here that I can’t express.  There is too much quiet in our home and Sunday afternoons when I wish our house was full of voices and there is peace and quiet.  I never expected them all to live away.  I thought by this time we would have more grandchildren and marriages and family togetherness.  But we get what we get and I am still happy.  But there are those quiet moments when I think about the family fantasy and wonder.    I am grateful that Michael is close and he is coming to swim this summer.  I love him so. 

I am glad I am a writer because I believe that life looks and feels better through the eyes of a writer.   I read a quote once that said, “We live a better life if we know we are going to write about it.”  I love to think about this idea.