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, August 25, 2012


I never wanted my blog to be exclusively a cooking blog but cooking is just about all I do right now, other than study Spanish. We received news this week that there will be no visas out of Spain until at least December.  There are hundreds of missionaries waiting to leave.  The plan is that we will go to the MTC on the Monday after Thanksgiving and then if the visa is not here after our 2 week stint there, we will come home and wait.  It is very possible that we will not actually enter the mission until one year after our first call. (So start early) We are somewhat uncertain as to what they will do with us as we see some changes in the YSA program.  But Mike and I remind each other every day that we are not going to have any expectations because it will just set us up for disappointment--que sara, is Spanish.  So, until I have time to read, write or go to a movie again you might just see recipes here, which may be a couple of years.  

I love, love, love this salad.  With lovely fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and basil bursting with flavor in the garden (or the farmer's market, which is where I am now) it tastes wonderfully  of summer.  It is the pasta salad with bread instead.  I am going to give the ingredients with the amounts up to you.  Sometimes I make this small for two.   I will give you a dressing but if you have a good Italian dressing you like, it will work.

You want at least half bread.  Cube some crusty artisan bread into bite size pieces.  Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a cookie sheet and grate some garlic onto it.  Toss your bread cubes in the oil and garlic and put into a 350 oven for 10-15 minutes or so until the edges start to brown but don't get it too hard.

Sometimes I stir fry a little cubed yellow squash or zucchini for 2 minutes.  I don't mind the raw zucchini but I like the yellow squash cooked a little.  Cut up some English cucumbers, lots of tomatoes in larger bite size pieces.  You can use cherry tomatoes but cut in half.  I like the juice of the tomatoes to penetrate the bread.  Toss in a little Parmesan cheese.  Cut up some soft Mozzarella cheese in big bites.  (thank you Costco)  Slice a good amount of Basil in generous slices, (not chopped)  Toss it all together with some Italian dressing.  It is fine sitting for awhile or even the next day.  

I like this dressing on it.  I dry my own tomatoes.  Nothing compares commercially.  I bought one of those round portable dryers just to dry tomatoes, mostly for a bread dip I make.  They can even be dried in the oven on a very low temperature.  Then I double bag them and put them in the freezer until I want them.  They stay good there for a long time.

Put 1 T. olive oil in a small frying pan and finely grate 2 cloves of garlic into it and stir fry until it just starts to brown . Remove to a blender.  Add 3/4 C. olive oil, 1/3 C. wine vinegar,1 small Roma tomato peeled, seeded (seeds removed) or 3 T. dried tomatoes (If you use the dried tomatoes add 2 T. water) , 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 C. fresh basil leaves, 1/2 tsp. salt and generous grates of fresh pepper.  Blend for 30 seconds.



Sunday, August 19, 2012


 I get Dr. Mercola's Newsletter every day.  He has many healthy studies that I believe in.  Some of them are difficult to implement in todays world but I have made changes because of his ideas.  The following I posted from this link , which I have found true for me.  When I eat breakfast it starts me on a hunger binge.  I fast easily in the morning.  I am glad he made me feel OK about this choise.  It is part of the fasting idea for health.   I know some are hypo hypoglycemic and this would not work for them but it does for me. 

Why Breakfast May Not Be a Good Idea for Many

This clearly runs contrary to the traditional view, which says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The reality is that breakfast may be one of the LEAST important meals, because skipping it may allow you to enter into a more efficient fat burning phase.
Clearly, step number one, if you’re struggling with your weight, is to reduce your sugar intake. Dr. Johnson suggests cutting it by one-half to one-third of your normal intake. I recommend keeping your total sugar/fructose intake below 25 grams a day, or as little as 15 grams a day if you have any health problems related to insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. But you can further boost your fat loss efforts by incorporating the principles of intermittent fasting, and by exercising in a fasted state.
Intermittent fasting, when you stop eating for 14-18 hours, typically after dinner, has become increasingly popular in certain circles. It has been a strategy I have been personally using for the past several months to help me lower my waist size about two inches. In fact, at times I will fast for 20-22 hours.
The theory of intermittent fasting is based on the rationale that your body stores sugar as glycogen in your liver but only stores enough for 6-8 hours. So after this time, you have consumed your glycogen store, which forces your body to metabolize the fat stored in your body. It essentially replicates what our ancestors were exposed to in terms of food availability and, Dr. Johnson agrees, this form of intermittent fasting can indeed help you optimize your weight.
“... [I]f you want to burn fat, intermittent fasting is a pretty good way to do it. Normally when you fast, there’s a short period of time where you’re burning glycogen, which is the carbohydrates stored in your liver and other tissues but particularly in the liver.
While there’s glycogen around, it’s hard to burn fat, because your body will preferentially burn glycogen... [G]lycogen gets burned off fairly quickly, but it takes six to eight hours before it’s really burned, or before it’s completely removed. It takes a little bit longer in people who are obese.
If you eat a dinner early, for example, at 5:00 PM, then you decide not to eat afterwards until the morning, by two or three in the morning the glycogen is gone. Now your body burns fat. You are burning fat while you are sleeping.
It’s a great move.  Whereas if you stay up until midnight and you’re eating chips and things like this... you may never burn the glycogen at all. By the time you wake up in the morning, you still have glycogen in your liver. You’ve burned no fat.  Another thing that comes out of this... is that if you exercise in a fasting state, like in the morning, you will be burning fat.”

 But if I ever indulge, which I do on occasion.  This is my favorite Nutella French Toast  and I can gain 5 pounds right here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Fresh corn season is here and so am I.  I expected to be in the Canary Islands by now but it looks like October, if the  Visa comes through.  I pinned these on Pinterest last year and vowed to make them when the corn was on.  I have made them 3 times and I like the finished product.   The recipe I made them from had basil but I could see them with a Mexican flare and I liked them both.  I added the cheese and it was a nice addition.  I halved the recipe.  12 cakes for us was too many, but the leftovers were good for lunch the next day reheated in the toaster.   The relish was delicious on the cakes but I also liked them plain.  I will make these again. 

Makes 6 - 5 inch cakes
Italian Version
Add 2 T. of oil to a small frying pan and add 1 clove of grated garlic and fry until light brown ( or use raw garlic if you want.  I like the flavor of fried garlic.)  Remove from the heat and add 1 T. Milk.  Pour into a bowl.  Add 1 large egg and beat lightly. Add ¼ C. chopped fresh basil.

Cut the corn off 2 ears of corn.  You need 1 ¼ C.  Mash a little or hit a few times with an immersion blender. Release a little juice but maintain some of the corn character.  Add to the bowl.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 c. coarse grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
A scant 1/2 tsp. Salt and 15 good grinds of black pepper

Stir together until moistened.  Put a little skiff of oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan or griddle (the griddle gives more room to fry all the cakes)  Drop into the pan to make a 4-5 inch cake about ½ inch thick.  Cook slowlyt on medium heat until brown.  Add a little more oil for the other side as you turn them over to brown.

Tomato Avacado Relish:
Cut 2 large tomatoes into small cubes.  Add one cubed Avocado with a little garlic powder and 2 T.  chopped Basil with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over the corn cakes with some lightly salted whipped cream or sour cream.

Mexican Version 
Add 2 T. oil in a small frying pan with 1 cloves of grated garlic, 1 generous tsp. Cumin seeds ground a little in a mortar and pistil or 1 tsp. ground,  and 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped small.  (take out the white membrane if you don’t want heat) Stir fry for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add 1 T. milk, 1 beaten egg and add  2-4 T. chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional).

Remove the kernels from 2 ears of corn to make 1 1/4 cups.  Mash a little or hit with an immersion blender a couple of hits.

In a mixing bowl add
1/2 C. flour
 1/4 C. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
 A scant 1/2 tsp. salt and some generous grinds of pepper. 
 Stir in 3/4 C. grated Cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or Cheddar)

Combine the egg and corn mixture.  Stir just until blended.

 Drop onto the pan or griddle to make 6- 5 inch cakes.  This cooks better on a griddle so you have some space.  Add a little oil to the griddle and cook slowly on one side. Add a little more oil when they are turned over.

Serve with a chopped tomato, avocado and chopped cilantro with a little cumin, salt and pepper.  Add a dollop of sour cream when served.  Salsa or guacamole is also good.

Leftovers can be heated in the toaster the next day to maintain a crispy outside.