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.

Friday, August 30, 2013


My Spanish is indeed in very dangerous territory with me and Anthony Trollope's 57 novels  and my i-pad with free downloads.  We have been in limbo the last 2 weeks with our JAS activities finished in the South and moving to the North so I took a break and read my second Trollop novel.  We are installed in our new Piso and Sunday we will begin our mission on a different scene.  It would have been nice to stay with the familiar but we look forward to the new experiences here. 


This is my second Anthony Trollop (The Warden).  He has written 57 novels, so they could keep me busy for a very long time.  I like his language and writing style and I dearly love old English drama.  I do have one objection to his writing, which I will talk about later.  This one was published in 1858.  After reading several Novels by George Elliot and Vilette by Charlotte Bronte, who were both writing at the same time as Anthony Trollop, I see a common element that must have been popular at the time.  They all narrated parts of their stories as an onlooker that seemed to know all characters and events.  Trollop actually apologizes for his writing at times:

“II quite feel that an apology is due for beginning a novel with two long dull chapters full of description.  I am perfectly aware of the danger of such a course.”

I didn’t mind it in any of their stories.  In some ways it made the story feel more authentic.  Trollop also likes to tell you who the hero and or heroine of the story is at the beginning.  It caused me to watch them closely.

“Doctor Thorne” is about what happens when English aristocracy land owners mismanage their money and get in debt jeopardizing the inheritance of the heir.   The heir is then forced to marry for money, not for love.  This is the thesis of the story.  Then of course the superiority of the “blood” of the aristocracy also comes into play in marriage decisions.  But there is an interesting element to the story as money trumps blood.

What is the inner reality, the spiritualized quintessence of that privilege in the world which men call rank, which forces the thousands and hundreds of thousands to bow down before the few elect?  What gives, or can give it, or should give it?  (No page numbers in the quotes because they were skewed in the i-pad.)

“She said to herself, proudly, that God’s handiwork was the inner man, the inner woman, the naked creature animated by a living soul; that all other adjuncts were but man’s clothing for the creature; all others, whether stitched by tailors or contrived by Kings.  Was it not within her capacity to do so nobly, to love as truly, to worship her God in heaven with as perfect a faith, and her god on earth with as leal  a troth, as though blood had descended to her purely through scores of purely born progenitors?”

“Sell yourself for money!  Why, if I were a man I would not sell one jot of liberty for mountains of gold,  What!  Tie myself in the heyday of my youth to a person I could never love, for a price!  Perjure myself, destroy myself—and not only myself, but her also, in order that I might live idly!  Mr. Gresham!  Can it be that the words of such a woman as your aunt have sunk so deeply in your heart; have blackened you so foully as to make you think of such vile folly as this?  Have your forgotten your soul, your spirit, your man’s energy, the treasure of your heart?  And you, so young! For shame, Mr Gresham! For shame—for shame.”

This is a love story.  The characters are endearing but their stories are told perhaps a little too well.  Trollop is known for his long novels.  I read it on my i-pad and the smallest writing is over 650 pages.  I always pump up the letter size to the largest so I don’t think about how long the book is. Trollop set up the ending of the story too soon for me.  I think it could have been a surprise, closer to the end, and left a little suspense, especially since he took so long to wrap it up.  I liked it.  I would read it again.  It is not for everyone.  I love the detail of his character development. I just don’t think he needs to detail every player quite so thoroughly. His writing is lovely to me.  4 stars.  I am going to read "Castle Richmond" now, which is a story of the potato famine in Ireland. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Today in Relief Society the lesson was on unity and at the end of the lesson they went around around the room and the teacher had the person next to us say something nice that they know about us.  My lady said I "puede hacer los postres buenos, especialmente  brownies"  (she can make good desserts) They call my chocolate cake brownies and they love it.  I get asked for the recipe all the time and must give American measuring cups with the recipe (translated into Spanish).  This week I made this Oatmeal Cake for the missionaries and then again for the baptism we had on Saturday.  They loved it.  No one bakes here and the stuff you buy is not good so they are always excited for some home made desserts.  I have always loved oatmeal cake with broiled coconut frosting but coconut is not good here.  It is dry frizzled little shreds, besides Mike doesn't care for coconut so I got the idea to add some cocoa to the  topping with nuts to see if it was good and WOW, it is, especially warm, and I can taste a scoop of ice cream on it.   But it is still good room temperature.  I used walnuts because I can't find pecans here but chopped  toasted almonds would be good also.  My pan bakes the cake thin and it makes nice little bar cookies to pick up easily.

Oatmeal Cake
1 Cup of quick oatmeal stirred into 
1 1/2 C. boiling water, let sit for 5 minutes
1/2 C. butter
1 C. white sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Bake at 350 until set, depending on the size of your pan.  A 9x13 will work for a thicker cake or if you want bar thickens use a bigger one.

If you are planning to serve this later and want it hot wait until you are ready to serve to broil the topping and it will heat up the cake again.
Broiled Fudge Nut Topping 
Melt 6 T. butter in a small saucepan
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
1/4 C. whipping cream or evaporated milk
2 T. Cocoa 
Bring to a slow boil stirring constantly and then when it is boiling full let it boil without stirring for 1 minute.  Remove from heat
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chopped nuts of your choice.

Spread on the top of the cake and broil until bubbly.  It took about 10 minutes in my little oven but it probably depends how close you are to the broiler units.   Watch carefully, don't burn or over brown.  


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I saw something like this on Tasty Kitchen and knew it had possibilities.  This is my version and I like it a lot.  I have always liked dumplings.  I have made this twice for my lunch.  The second time I used semolina flour and wow!  that made the difference.  It would serve 2 as a vegetarian main dish or 3 or 4 as a side.  I can see it with some grilled chicken or meatloaf and a green salad.  One recipe served me 3 awesome lunches.  It is quick to make with pantry ingredients.

Parmesan Semolina Dumplings

in Tomato Basil Sauce

Tomato Basil Sauce
Make these in a Dutch oven size pan with a tight fitting lid. 

Lightly brown 2 cloves of grated garlic in 2 T. olive oil
1 Large Can and 1 small can of whole tomatoes chopped to desired smoothness
½ large carrot grated or diced small
½ stalk of celery grated or diced small
1 T. onion flakes
¼ C. fresh chopped basil or dried to taste, about 1 T.
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 - ½ tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
Simmer covered for 15 minutes while making the dumplings.

Parmesan , Semolina Dumplings
In medium mixing bowl add:
½ C. Semolina flour
½ C. all purpose flour (or 1 cup of flour if you don't have semolina but get some for next time)
1/3 C. Parmesan Cheese
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Baking Soda
Cut in 2 T. butter

Add 2/3 C. of buttermilk or 1/3 C. Greek yogurt and 1/3 C. milk 
New addition:  1 egg white lightly beaten.  Keeps the dumpling together better.

Stir the simmering sauce well and drop large tablespoons of the dumplings onto the sauce.  Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.  Carefully scoop the dumplings into a serving dish and stir the sauce and pour over the dumplings.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired.  Or if you have a cute ceramic Dutch Oven size pot.  Bring it straight to the table.  

With Spinich
I wanted to try the dumplings with spinich.  They are wonderful!  Add  a generous 1/4 C. lightly steamed chopped spinach, measure after cooking (I think grated fresh zucchini would be good also).  I increased the Parmesan cheese to 1/2 C. otherwise the recipe is the same.  Add the egg white also.   I also like the idea of serving them in the cooking pot so the dumplings show more.  (I made these dumplings for a chicken stew recently and they were very good)