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, June 23, 2013


This is the rock I painted with the JAS kids and a bouquet of Bougainvillea from "my garden" here and a beautiful water bottle from a restaurant on Gran Canaria.  Unfortunately the camera focused on the rock and flowers and not on the cake but here it is anyway.  When I served this cake to the Elders they said, "Now this takes the cake."  I make a lot of cakes for them because they are easier than baking cookies.  They are the Guinea Pigs for my experiments.  If you like peanut butter this will knock your socks off.  Peanut butter is only sold in very small containers here and it is a little pricy for what you get but sometimes you just need a little peanut butter in your mouth or a lot in this case.  It is very rich and moist.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
Bring 1 C. of water to boil in a medium large saucepan or in a larger glass bowl in the microwave.  Remove from heat.
Add in this order:
2 C. sugar and stir a minute or so
½ C. butter
½ C. Peanut Butter
¼ C. vegetable oil
½ C. plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt or none
¼ C. cornstarch (or 2 T more flour)
Blend well with a wire whisk
1 tsp. soda
2 Cups flour

Mix well and pour into a 10x15 inch pan.  Sprinkle with 1 C. chocolate chips (if desired) and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is solid. 
Frost with peanut butter frosting.
¼ c. butter
1/3 C. peanut butter
3 C. powdered sugar and enough milk to make a creamy frosting.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I  wish we could have been there.

Leif Anderson was a joy to raise and one of the nicest people God created.  He was born naturally good with "no disposition to do evil"  We are proud to be his parents. 

This week Leif will be graduating with his Master's degree from Portland State University in Art.   He has worked hard and paid for a lot of his schooling himself.  We are sad that we won't be there to see him receive his diploma.  We send our love and congratulations.  

This is the best family picture I could find in my files, which is sad because we haven't taken a family picture in awhile.  This is about 13 years ago.  Wow, we look young.  Sometimes people here want to see my family so I am posting this to show them how we looked once.  Maren, Me, Mike, Leif, Ian and Beau. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


Very smooth and creamy and it was still thick in 2 days
This is my homemade double boiler - a stainless bowl over simmering water
Fresh from the success of my Vanilla Pudding I decided to try a Chocolate.  I hoped using flour as the thickening agent would work better than my success with cornstarch in the past.  I also like the fact that you can use cocoa. I did add a little chocolate for a more intense flavor but it didn't need it.

Mix all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler and put over simmering water that touches the bottom of the pan and stir with a wire whip for about 10 minutes until thick.

3/4 C. sugar
6 T. cocoa
2 T. butter
3 C. milk
1/3 C. flour (add 1 T. for pie)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt

Remove from the heat and add  2 tsps. vanilla  and if desired 1/4- 1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.  (I didn't think it really needed it but it did make a rich zing to it.) 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


As you can see I cook a lot.  They grow bananas here on the island and the strawberries are coming on.  They are small but oh so flavorful.  I cannot get boxed pudding here at any price and the cake mixes are too expensive to consider so I have experimented with some homemade cakes and puddings.  Most weeks I make this Chocolate Cake  Last week I searched for a yellow cake to use as Strawberry Shortcake base. I found a cake on Pinterest with raves as a White Sheetcake.  I have a 12 inch square pan I bake cakes in so decided to make it.  The other reason I liked it is because you boil water to start and the sugar here has large crystals and I like to get it dissolved, if possible.  It had a cup of butter and I have discovered that you can decrease a cup of butter by 1/4 Cup and add 1/4 C. of oil to 1/2 cup of butter and not lose any moistness or the butter flavor..  So here is my Yellow Cake recipe that I used in the trifle and with the strawberry shortcake.  It is perfect.  Very dense, moist and poundcake like.  I will love it forever.  It is a one pan mix easy.

Yellow Sheet Cake
In a medium size sauce pan bring 1 C. of water to boil.  Remove from heat. Add ½ C. butter ¼ C. oil and 2 C. sugar.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add:

½ C. sour cream or Greek yogurt 
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 scant tsp salt.
2 ¼ C. flour
1 tsp. Soda.

Bake 350 in a small sided cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.

I made a pudding from scratch some time ago for a Banana Pudding.  It was made with corn starch and egg yolks as thickening agents and it was wonderful right after I made it but the next day the thickening broke down and it was runny.  I have had that problem with cornstarch puddings before, so when I found this recipe with flour and eggs, and it was simple, I gave it a try.  This is just what I wanted for the trifle.  It is smooth and creamy and very tasty.    I don't have a double boiler but I do have a metal bowl over a saucepan that works.  I think that it is important for keeping the pudding smooth.  I added a cup of whipped cream after it was cold for the trifle.  I am thinking next time I will only use milk in the cooking if I plan to add whipped cream.  This is simple and was thick and creamy the next day.

Vanilla Pudding
Place in a double boiler over simmering water:

3 egg yolks
½ C. sugar
1/3 c. flour
2 ½  C. Milk
½ C. whipping cream

Cook and stir with a wire  whisk until bubbly and thick.  Add 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla.  Cool and add 1 Cup of cream whipped stiff if desired or eat as is.  

For the strawberries : Mix 1 T. (1 pkg.) of plain gelatin in 1/2 C. cold water (or if you are using canned pineapple use the juice from draining it)  heat in the microwave and stir to dissolve.  Set aside to cool.  Slice up 1 quart of strawberries and hit them with the immersion blender a bit to get the juices flowing but not puree.  Keep plenty of large pieces.  Add:  3 T brown sugar and 3 T. white sugar.  (The brown sugar adds a richness.)  Stir in the gelatin.  Add one can of  pineapple chunks.  Let cool until it begins to set up.  You can eliminate the pineapple if you only want strawberries.  Just add 2 tsps. gelatin.

To assemble:  Cut  up a little more than half of the cake in 1 1/2 inch cubes (You don't want it too cakey)
Slice up 3 large bananas.

Layer the cake, with  about 3 layers each of the strawberry mixture, the pudding, bananas and the cake, beginning with the cake. Refrigerate for several hours to set the gelatin.  Top with some sliced strawberries.   This is a bit of work but if you want a special desert it is worth the time.  And makes enough to serve about 15. 

I took this to a Sunday dinner invitation and it was a hit!