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, November 25, 2012


I made Cashew Chicken for 30 people and instead of plain cashews I served Curried Cashews.  These are so good I couldn't leave them alone.  My guests wanted to eat the cashews out of the bowl instead of on the chicken dish.  If you like curry at all these are stupendous! This would be great for a holiday nut dish.  And they are very easy.  Make multiples of the recipe if desired. I used an 8 oz. cans but I plan to make one of those big tubs of cashews that Costco sells for Christmas gifts.

Mix together in a bowl 1 1/4 tsp. curry powder. (my favorite is Spice Island)  1/8 tsp. each of onion and garlic powder and a dash of cayenne if you want a little bite.  Melt 1 T. butter in a frying pan on medium heat.  Add 8oz. salted roasted cashews.  Stir fry for 3-5 min. until toasty brown.  Be careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and stir in the curry mix until evenly covered.  Pour out on a sheet of wax paper until cool.  Store in a glass jar.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


There is a box of these in my freezer and they are calling to me right now.  If you are a citrus fan these are heavenly.  This is a recipe I found on Pinterest.  There are versions with a cake mix but I preferred to make the one from scratch.  The baker said it didn't "wow her"  like she expected so I changed a few things and it does WOW! me now.  These will be a staple in my goodie file.  It is nice to have something that isn't chocolate once in awhile.  (My hubby thinks the only dessert is chocolate.)

 You will need 6-8 regular limes- grated for peel and juiced. 

1 ¼ C. vegetable oil
1 1/3 C. sugar
5 eggs (I had extra-large so I used 4)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Juice of one large orange and lime juice to make  ¾ C.
2 C. Flour mixed with 1- 3 oz. box lime jello
1 T. lime peel

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, extract and salt until creamy.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.   Pour into a 11x15 inch baking pan well sprayed with Pam. (or you could make layers)  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the center is solid.  If your pan is dark bake at 325.  While baking, make the glaze.  Remove from the oven and pour the glaze over the top of the cake in spoons-full until it is well covered.  It will soak in, no need to poke holes.

Glaze:  a scant 2/3 C. fresh lime juice and ½ C. powdered sugar mixed together add 2 tsp. lime peel

Cream cheese frosting:  Mix together ½ block of softened cream cheese (4 oz.), ¼ C. soft butter, ¼ C. lime juice and 2 tsp. peel, beat with powdered sugar until a good spreading consistency (about 3 cups).    Cool the cake completely before frosting.  (I put it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes to get the top solid)  Cut into small bars.  These are very zingy and rich.  (If you are making a layer cake, double the frosting)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I would make this for company.  It is a great dish (easy 4 ingredients) that you can make for Sunday dinner to this point and it will bake in 15 minutes.  I have made it twice and Mike likes it.  2 Chicken breasts will feed 4 people easily as it made 8 pieces the first time and 9 the second. I can see some herbs on this in the future but my hubby likes things plain so this is it for now.  I can see children loving this.  It is crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside. 

Cut 2 large chicken breasts into  4 pieces each and pound to flatten a little. Sprinkle with a little garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. (there is enough salt in the crackers and cheese)  Crush enough Ritz crackers fine to make 1 generous cup.  Pour into a flat bowl.  You will need about 1 1/2 C. grated cheddar cheese  in a flat bowl and 1/2 C. whipping cream in a third flat bowl.   Dip each piece of chicken in the whipping cream on both sides.  Then lay the chicken it in the cheese and press some on the top rather than turning it over.  Then do the same in the cracker crumbs.  Some of the cheese will fall into the crumbs, just pick it out and press it onto the chicken.  Put on a well greased cookie sheet.  Put in the refrigerator until ready to bake.  This can be made several hours ahead.

Bake in a 450 oven for 15 minutes or until crispy brown.  Serve with a creamy chicken gravy.  You can make one with a can of cream of chicken soup 1/3 C. sour cream, 2 T. milk and  a pinch of thyme or sage or both. Or make one from scratch, which I did.  I am not a big fan of cream soups but they work in a pinch.

Friday, November 9, 2012


“I’m not watching,” I told Mike.  “If anything happens that will make me happy call me down.”
It was 5:30 PM on election night .  I went to my room, put on my PJs and climbed in bed.  I was praying the entire time.  I had been praying almost constantly for weeks.  My stomach was uneasy.  I wanted this day to be over.   I dreaded its coming in the first place.  I was too invested in this election.  We watched all 12ish of the Primary debates.  How crazy they had so many.  Mitt Romney was my man, not just because he is a Mormon but because I am convinced that he is a man of great character, a man who has a life story of service.  So, by the time he had landed the nomination I was hooked.

I followed the campaign with the Michael Medved radio talk show.  I have listened to him for years but now I hung on every word.  Michael is wise and knowledgeable.  He always made me feel positive, even when the polls looked discouraging.   In my mind there were so many reasons not to give Obama another four years:  The high unemployment rate, the huge rise in the debt and deficit, the lack of support for religious principles as marriage and abortion, his health care mandate, the recent handling of the murders in Bengazi, and well, I had a lot of issues.  I didn’t trust what Obama said.  I saw him as a cult personality, created by the media,  that believed he could do no wrong.  I donated money for the first time to a campaign.

Then I started to post YouTube campaign videos and articles I found to my facebook page.  I posted a comment on facebook saying that I was feeling politically motivated and it might be best for any of my friends not to open my links if it might offend them.  I had other friends posting Obama support.  It all puzzled me.  I could see the “slash and burn” campaign of Obama, painting Romney as an evil out of touch rich guy.  So many lies were being told and it was making me sick.  I had dozens of stories of Romney’s amazing compassion through the years.  Plus he seemed to be “a man uniquely qualified for the needs of the time,” a man who knew business and had the will to cut spending and work across the aisle. 

Before the debates I received e-mails from entities organizing fasts and collective prayers.  I joined in with gusto.  After the first debate when Romney did so well and Obama stuttered 52 times I thought, “Wow, these prayers worked!”

So election night I sat in my bed and watched a Netflix movie that turned out to gratefully entertaining and distracting, “ Island On Bird Street”. But at the end it was only 7:30 and I had a lot of night left.  I tried to study Spanish but couldn’t concentrate.  I found 6 cookie dough balls in the freezer and baked them.   I got out my scriptures and read 7 chapters of John from my current New Testament reading.  Usually after 2 or 3 chapters I am falling asleep.   I pulled “Cranford” out of my video cabinet and watched for an hour.  Mike came with discouraging information, and I knew “that which I had feared,” was indeed coming to past.  I went to bed and cried a little and fell asleep but not soundly. When Mike came to bed at midnight we talked for an hour.  He was angry.  He posted on his facebook before coming to bed:  “Welcome to Greece.”  I was glad I hadn’t watched the returns.  We split an ambian because we knew we might never sleep.  It wasn’t a good night and at 2:00 AM, Mikes snoring drove me to the couch.  The ambian helped a little but I was still fitful.

In the darkness of the night I swore off elections.  Never again would I let something like this dominate my life and emotions as it had the last few months.  I do feel the country is changing and it worries me.  I feel that honesty and character don’t matter anymore, that we want our politicians to be a rock star Santa Clause, that marriage and family are no longer a driving force in our society, that if you don’t believe in abortion you are waging a war on women.  But what can I do about it?  Follow the Prophet and keep the commandments and “trust in the Lord with all my heart” that is all the power I have and one vote.

PS- I am like an addict trying to wean myself away as the post-election commentaries keep drawing me in.   This is a sad commentary from Wednesday’s Deseret News.

South Carolina pollster Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University, said voters nationwide did know Romney.  The problem, Woodard said, was not enough voters shared his values.  “I think the values we see in him are not the values of this country.  It’s just that simple,” Woodard said.  “I just don’t think the country is what it was when we picked Ronald Reagan.”

Romney, Woodard said, was “an ice-cream perfect guy.”  Who was rejected because more voters align with the Democratic president on social issues, including support for gay marriage and abortion rights.  “I think half of us fell in love with this guy,” Woodward said of Romney, praising his values.  “The country didn’t want a leader like that….It’s not like they didn’t know him.  It’s that they just didn’t want what he stood for.”

Soon I will be on my mission and maybe I can put this behind me.


Sunday, November 4, 2012


Knock your socks off bread!

This bread is so easy, crusty, chewy and downright fabulous that you won't believe it.  You do need a ceramic covered iron pot like the one here.  There is no kneading or extra rising, but you do need to start the night before.  I made a loaf  3 days this week and Mike and I ate the entire loaf on two of the days.  I made one for Sunday dinner at Mike's sister's and left it with her to keep from finishing it off.  This recipe came from this Pinterest link but I changed it some.  After the first round I thought it could be made into a larger loaf because my pot could handle a bigger one and it was perfect.  I also shortened the cooking time.

Before you go to bed  get a good size mixing bowl and stir in 2 C. cold water, 4 C. *unbleached flour 1 tsp. instant yeast and 1 3/4 tsps. salt.  (I like to add 2 cups of flour to the water with the yeast and salt and stir until smooth and then add the other 2 cups for the rough stir.   *(I never use bleached flour because there are bad chemicals in the bleaching process.) Fluff your flour before measuring.  I upped the water by 1/4 cup for awhile but then changed back because the loaf was better with less.  You might need to tweak the salt for your taste.  I had 2 tsp. to begin with but Mike thought it too salty and my daughter thought not salty enough with 1 1/2.*Check out the bottom for a quick rise option if you forget to stir up the dough the night before.

 Stir it up until all the ingredients are moistened and in a rough ball.  One minute will do it.  Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter until the next day.

In the morning your dough will look like this.  It can sit on the counter from 12 to 16 hours.  I have done both times and it was great.   One and a half hour before you want to eat your bread scrape it out of the bowl onto a generous layer of flour.  Tuck the edges up to the middle until you form a flat ball.  Cover it with your upside down bowl and turn your oven on to 450.  Put your covered pot into the oven immediately and leave heating for 20 minutes. This must be the crusty secret.
When the 20 minutes are up tuck the edges of the dough up again and turn the dough over.  Remove the pot from the oven and plop the dough in the middle. (no greasing necessary) Cover and return to the oven for 25 minutes at 450.  Remove the lid and bake for 10-15 minutes longer.*   I have been baking mine for only 10 more minutes lately because it is browning quickly.  The crust is so crusty that an electric knife works wonderfully for cutting it. 

The Pinterest site has some ideas for adding herbs, cheese and stuff.  I haven't tried them yet but plan to.  The ceramic pot is pricy.  I found mine (6 qt.) on clearance at Shopco for $47.  I think anything from 5 qt. on up will work.  You can buy a 6 qt. at Shopco on line for $49. Walmart has a 6 qt. for $58. I consider that it will pay for itself in joyful bread over the years.  I will definitely make this bread often.  

*If your pot is a 5 quart, which I think would be the minimum there is not much space around the dough while it is cooking and this increased heat cooks the bread faster (I have a small and a larger pot so I can cook 2 at a time.) So I would bake the bread covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for 10 or less.  You might need to experiment a bit.  

* So what if you forgot to stir up your dough the night before, can you still have bread that day?  The answer is yes.  Turn on your oven to 350 and leave on for 1 minute and then turn off.  Place your bowl with the plate on top in the warm oven and let sit for 4-6 hours.   The flavor was a little different because the long rise sours the dough a little but it was still crusty and delicious.  Here is a picture of the quick rise loaf.