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 30, 2014


We love the peanut butter chocolate combination, and this pie is rich and delicious.  You can't eat a large piece but it is satisfying if you are a PB fan.  This is the crust I use for my Chocolate Mousse Pie  (Mike's favorite)  It is more of a thick cookie than a brownie but is easy to make and I like it better than an Oreo crust.  This is the basis of my recipe but I simplified it some, especially the amounts. It makes a nice 10 inch pie.

For the crust:  Melt ½ C. butter add to 1 devils food cake mix and two lightly beaten eggs.  Stir until blended well.  Make a roll and cut in half.  Spray a 10 inch pie pan and press the half into the bottom and squish up the sides.  Even the edges some.  Bake 350 for 10 minutes…no more.  The dough will slump down from the top some but it won’t affect the pie.  Freeze the other half of the dough for another pie or add some chocolate chips and nuts and bake as cookies (great cookies)

Peanut Butter Layer –
Beat Together until smooth
 4 oz. of cream cheese
¾ C. powdered sugar
½ C. peanut butter
1/8 tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla

Beat 1 ½ C. heavy cream until stiff.  Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.  Pour into the bottom of the cooled crust.

Chocolate Layer –
Heat 4 T.  half and half and stir in 3 T. sugar until dissolved (reheat if cooled).  Add 1 Cup of semisweet chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Cool to lukewarm.  Fold in ¼ C. of the whipped cream until blended then fold in the remaining cream with ½ tsp. vanilla.  Pour over the peanut butter layer.  Chill until firm.

For the Glaze:  Bring 1/3 cup heavy cream to boil add ½ C.  chocolate chips.  (semisweet or milk) add ¼ tsp. vanilla and stir until smooth.  Cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and pour over the pie and chill until solid. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NORTH AND SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell - Book Review

I have to admit that I am somewhat of an addictive reader when it comes to an author that I am enjoying.  I want to move on to something else they have written.  In taking a break from Anthony Trollope, I have moved on to Elizabeth Gaskell.  She was not as prolific as Trollope so I only have one more of her major works to read, Wives and Daughters, except I haven’t read the Cranford series.  I feel totally satisfied with the PBS movie, that I own, and am not sure I will read it, at least not now.

Years ago I watched the PBS miniseries North and South but when I started to read the book I didn’t remember much about it.  The book was very satisfying and I couldn’t wait to watch the movie again.  With the richness of the story in my mind I relished the miniseries, with characters I recognized from other PBS productions.  But their characters held their own in North and South in a beautiful way.  The production was every bit as enjoyable as the book after reading it, even though it takes some diversions from the book, but not in a detracting way.   Mr. Thornton and Margret’s relationship gave me thoughts of Darcy and Elizabeth in the AMC production.  But this is my book review.

Gaskell’s characters are set in the cotton weaving town of Milton, in Northern England.  The city is smoke filled with industry.  The weavers are poor and struggling union members, resorting to strikes as their only power for bettering their position.  Mr. Thornton is the master of one of the prominent mills.  

Margaret, her father and mother have moved to Milton after her father left the church and consequently his position as a parish rector in a lovely village in the south of England.  Milton is a strong contrast to the sweetness of their village life and setting.  Mr. Hale becomes a teacher and private tutor in Milton.  Mr. Thornton is his beloved student and so the families are brought together.

Margaret’s character is strong and filled with the problems of “first impressions” which besot Darcy and Elizabeth.  Sparks of disagreement, between she and Thornton, fly from the beginning.  We love Margaret’s character because she doesn’t stay at home and mourn her new life in a difficult place, but makes friends among the poor and reaches out to help them.
North and South is a favorite among Gaskell’s readers and I have to agree.  If there is anything that mars the story it is that it ended too abruptly.  But that is a common complaint.  The movie does a little better job of winding things up.  I watched the end several times to fill my longing for more.