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

Maren

Maren
I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SNICKER CHEESECAKE BITES

These are a perfect little piece of something reminiscent of Snicker Pie but much easier and also like one of my favorites but without the snickers  Oreo Cheesecake bites
 

These Snicker Bites are awesome!  The recipe came from here  but I changed a few things, making them small bites instead of bars because they are so rich.

1.  Melt 2 T. butter and add 20 finely crushed Oreo cookies.  
2.  Press into the bottom of a 9 inch pan which has been covered  including up the sides, with foil sprayed with pam.  
3.  Beat 2 blocks of room temperature cream cheese with 1/4 C. of sugar and 2 tsps. vanilla and 2 eggs.  It will take 2-4 minutes to get it smooth and creamy. (I questioned so little sugar but it is perfect because the candy adds so much sweet)
4.  Fold in 14 fun size Snickers chopped into small pieces or 28 mini bars cut into 4 pieces each.  
5.  Bake 350 for 30-35 minutes. (they will be lightly browned on the edges and top)  Cool 
6.  These are good as is or you can melt 1or more C. milk chocolate chips or semisweet, if you prefer, and frost the tops after they have been cut into 1 1/2-2 inch squares.  They freeze well.  

Update:  I made these again recently and used Milky Way bars.  Then I toasted about a cup of almonds and chopped them quite coarsely  and after painting on the melted chocolate I dipped them in the nuts.  Wow!


 

Friday, November 20, 2015

KALE SALAD WITH LEMON DRESSING

I have not been a big fan of Kale because it just seemed too scratchy and tough but I wanted to give it a try because this looked like it had possibilities but I made some changes.  The lemon dressing was good.  I liked the honey better and you might want to make it sweeter. (I did after my husband said it was too sour.)  I added the apples but can see other fruits.  The star of the show was the pecan topping.  I think I will use this on other things.  I like the pecans visible, not too fine and a little more Parmesan.  The kale softens a lot by adding the dressing at least 15 minutes or so before serving.  I didn't add the bacon but my husband would love it.

Salad - toss together :
1.  About 12 ounces of Kale, coarse stems removed and chopped small.
2.  2 apples in bite sized pieces or pears, grapes, oranges or a combination...and avocados are nice. 
3.  1/2 C. dried cranberries
With Avocados


Dressing - mix together:
1.  1/4 C. olive oil
2.  1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
3.  1 T. honey (or more if you like sweet)
3.  1/8 tsp. salt and pepper
I like to make a double batch of dressing and keep it ready for making little salads for my husband and me.  



Pecan Topping :
1.  1 C.  pecans,  walnuts or even cashews
2.   1/2 C. coarse grated Parmesan cheese
3.  2 T. olive oil
4.  A pinch of salt and pepper 
I put this all in a small processor and chopped for 10 - 15 seconds.  You don't want it too fine.  (I had made a double batch and tossed some with some hot thin spaghetti...WOW!)

Toss the dressing as desired and let sit for 15 minutes or more before serving. I like to serve this in individual servings with the nut mixture sprinkled on the top and bacon if desired.  

This is a larger, richer version Creamy Lemon Dressing that I made the second time.
1.  Juice  2 lemons about 1/2 C.
2.  Add  2/3 C. light olive oil
              1 generous tsp. fine grated lemon peel
              1/3 tsp. salt or more to taste     
              Some generous grates of black pepper
              1/4 C. honey                      2 tsps. ultra gel
Ultra gel is a thickening agent that you can get at most grocery stores now.  I know Walmart has it and it has many handy uses.  It keeps the ingredients emulsified. Put everything into a pint size wide mouth container and blend with and immersion blender or in a regular blender. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

FRESH APPLE CAKE WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

Some time back one of my brothers contacted me to see if I had the Apple Cake recipe that my mother used to make with "the sauce".  I said I didn't think I had it but then I remembered a recipe book that her Wellington church group had compiled and wondered if it might be there.  The book is very dog eared with no front or back cover and I found the page easily because it was covered with dried grated apple splotches.
It is the recipe at the top right of the page.  Called Apple Pudding. It is so moist that it is reminiscent of a steamed pudding.  I simplified the mixing a little and changed it just a bit.

1.  Put 1 Cup sugar and 1/4 C. melted butter into a medium bowl and stir in 1 T. cider vinegar.  
2.  Coarse grate 3- 4 medium apples to make 2 packed cups.  I didn't peel them.  After coring them I cut them into 4 pieces and grated them with the peel side out and at the end there would be most of the peel left to throw away.  Stir each cup into the sugar quickly to keep them from oxidizing.
3.  Add:  1 egg
               1 tsp. cinnamon
                1/2 tsp. nutmeg
                1/2 tsp. salt
                1 tsp. baking soda
                 1 Cup flour
4.  Add: 1/2 C. chopped nuts, raisins or dried cranberries if desired.  I loved the cranberries and of course the nuts.  
5.  Bake in an 8 inch sprayed pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until the center is firm.   It makes about 6 servings so you might want to double it.  I am sure with our group we always did at home.

Sauce:
 1.  In a medium saucepan mix together:
                    1/2 C. butter
                    1 C. sugar
                    1/2 C. half and half or evaporated milk
2.  Simmer on low until thick about 10 minutes or so.  I added about 1/4 cup of Kraft Caramel Bits at this point (optional) and 1 tsp. of vanilla.  Serve over the cake with a scoop of ice cream.  WOW!   I should find out what else is in that recipe book.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

This is my new go to Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I like this recipe because you stir it up quickly in one pan and the brown butter makes a great flavor to the cookie.  
1.  Put 3/4 cup real butter in a medium saucepan, stir and cook on a medium heat until it browns to a deep caramel color.  This will happen quickly after it starts to foam so watch carefully.
2.   Stir into the butter:
      1/2 cup white sugar 
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1 tsp. vanilla
       1/4 tsp. salt
       3 T. instant vanilla pudding (I have made them without   
        this and they have turned out fine)
3.  If it is still very hot let it cool to luke warm and stir in:
      1 egg
      1/2 tsp. soda
      1 1/4 cups flour
      1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips and nuts (I like more)
        toasted almonds are good, pecans or walnuts
4.  Roll into balls and flatten just a little.  Bake 350 for 9 minutes if you like a softer cookie or 10 for a crisper.  Makes 2 dozen

I like to roll these into balls and place in a plastic bag and freeze them so I can get a few out at a time for a little treat here and there.  If  I bake the entire batch we will eat them all.

Also - I bought a bag of Kraft Cramels recently that are in little droplets about the size of a pea.  They are perfect to put in a cookie and I added some to this batch and they were very good.  
This is the original recipe
 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

NAUVOO LEAVES

I saw this idea on Pinterest recently and couldn't wait to try it out.  We traveled to Nauvoo in late September and I collected some leaves from the trees in old Nauvoo.  We were staying in the Willard Richards guest house and the landlord gave me a thick magazine to stick them in.  The process is fairly simple but the designing takes a lot of adjusting.  Basically you watercolor a base of just colors on the paper and then you paint the leaves with gesso and print them one by one according to your design.  When dry you paint them with watercolors and then I sprayed them with touch up varnish to keep the colors from running when you put on the gloss gel paint at the end (not in the instructions).  If you don't like what you did or want to change colors you can repaint your leaves with gesso and try again.  And you need to do some repainting around the leaves to get the look you want.  I had a mat that was in a frame I bought that was damaged so I used it letting the leaves spill out onto it after I painted it with acrylic paint.  The finished size is 24X32 inches.  I have never done anything in watercolor before and it was a fun project with sentiment in that the leaves were taken from a special place.  I will definitely do it again sometime

Monday, October 12, 2015

BAKED CHICKEN MEATBALLS



Baked Chicken Meatballs – no ground chicken necessary
 1-  Ground chicken is not always available in the grocery stores but this method is quick and easy to make with boneless skinless chicken breasts.  If you are thawing the chicken keep it half frozen but still possible to cut into,  or freeze it to a half frozen state.  3 chicken breasts will make 20 golf ball size meatballs.  Cut the chicken into thin slices first and then working in batches using a large sharp chefs knife start chopping.  It is not necessary to get everything evenly small.  Some bigger chunks work fine.  You need about 3 cups of chopped chicken.

2.  Mix with
            1/3 C. whipping cream
            1 tsp. salt
            ½ tsp pepper
            2 tsp. dried basil leaves
            1 C. crushed croutons or panko bread crumbs
             1/2 C. Parmesan cheese 
             1 tsp. garlic powder
            You can add an egg if you want but I like them better without

3.  Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet and broil until brown and turn them over and broil until the other side is brown if you want but one side is good enough.

4.  These are great in spaghetti sauce, in a mushroom cream sauce,  barbecue sauce or in soup.   Simmer for 20-30 minutes or so in your sauce.



I like to make a large batch and  place them in the freezer to have on hand for an easy quick meal.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

THE BLUE CASTLE BY LM MONTGOMERY



The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery

This is a sweet delightful little story written by the author of Anne of Green Gables.  It has all the elements of a fairy tale.   Valency, a 29 year old spinster is sick of the life she is living with her controlling mother and cousin along with abuse meted out by a large group of her extended family who judge her harshly and treat her like a child.  The only thing that has kept her going is a fantasy that she imagines about a life she lives in a Blue Castle.   She secretly sees a doctor about pains she is having in her chest and he diagnoses her as having a terminal heart condition and tells her that she will probably die within the year.  She decides that whatever life she has left is going to change.  She begins to speak her mind, wear what she wants, control her own space and eventually leaves home when the opportunity arises to work caring for a sick woman.  Her entire family think she has lost her mind and tries everything in their power to continue to control her behavior through whatever means they can think of, but when she finally leaves they have lost all ability and Valency’s personality flowers into a very interesting character, and it is joyfully fun to watch.  I don’t want to give away any more of the delightful story.  Montgomery’s writing is witty, sensitive and her descriptions of the Canadian woods are magical. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

FRESH PEACH PIE


Here is a recommendation for my peach pie from my son Beau who lives in LA.
I am good friends with Dr. Phil's personal family chef, and she made your peach pie for him and his wife and they commented how much they loved it. Anyway, thought you might get a kick out of that. Beau 
This pie is a family favorite and I make it every fall when fresh Utah peaches are available.  They can't be beat.  I posted this in 2008 but have made some changes since then and thought it should be reposted.

  

Whip 8 oz. of cream cheese with 1 C. powdered  sugar until creamy.  Whip 1 C. whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cream cheese with 1 tsp. vanilla.  Smooth into the bottom of your 10 inch pie crust.  If you make a smaller pie you might want to halve the cream cheese mixture.  Chill this until ready to eat.

This is an easy Cookie Pie Crust that is very good with this and other cream pies. 
Melt 1/2 C. butter in a saucepan and cook until is has a deep caramel color.  Remove from the heat and add 1/4 C. sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 1/2 C. flour.   Crumble together and press into the pie pan which has been sprayed with Pam. (This is enough for a 10 inch pie pan)  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool before adding the cream cheese.

Sauce:  Mash peaches to make 1 1/2 cups.  I cut up the peaches and chop them in a little food processor.  It should be a little chunky.  Put in a saucepan with 3 T. cornstarch and 1 C. sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or two until thick and clear.  Chill

To Assemble:  Cut up enough thinly sliced fresh peaches on top of the cream cheese mixture to fill generously.  Cover with the sauce and chill more or eat now.

If the peaches are juicy it is hard to get nice neat slices of pie but no one cares.  It doesn't need whipped cream. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

NEW YEARS AFTERNOON IN ZION

Painting - 14x18 oil on linen canvas board from a photo taken on New Years Day 2015 after a little snow storm.

Monday, August 31, 2015

MIDDLEMARCH - BOOK REVIEW


Middlemarch is focused on marriage; the fantasies, the expectations, the disappointments and the trials which come from all of these facets of the institution.  The story has a large cast of characters and their lives eventually meld together in the village of Middlemarch.  George Elliott weaves the story into the political wrangling on the Reform vote of the day (giving more men the right to vote).  For me, this was a distraction, but not so heavy that it spoiled the story. Eliot’s writing is elegant with a wise understanding of human nature.  At times her ideas were complex enough to give me pause in following her meaning, but I enjoy a little deep thinking in a story.  The banker Bulstrode committed an evil in his younger day which becomes exposed in his old age in the winding up chapters, but the details of the sin were not clear.

The BBC has a 7 hour miniseries of the story that I watched years ago but I didn’t remember much about it.  I watched it again after finishing the book and felt enjoyably satisfied with the portrayal of the story and characters.   I was hoping my Bulstrode confusion would be cleared up in the miniseries but it wasn’t laid out any better than the book.  I need to read that chapter again and try to get some understanding of what happened.  This is my 4th George Eliot: Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner.  I have enjoyed them all and look forward to Daniel Doranda. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

BROWNIES FROM MY TEST KITCHEN

While living in the Canary Islands for over a year (and cooking for 16 to 30 twice a week) I had a quest to find a good homemade brownie, made with cocoa, since they have awesome cocoa but no brownie mixes.  I never quite succeeded but have continued to try a recipe here and there.  I found this on pinterest but don't know where since I jotted it down instead of pinning it.  My dessert folder was getting overburdened with brownies.  These couldn't be easier.  They stir together in 5 minutes.  The oil ended up being the secret, which wasn't surprising since all of the great US box brownies are made with oil.  I used light olive oil to make them healthier.

Mix together in a med. bowl:
1 C. sugar
1/3 C. dark cocoa (I like the extra dark Hersheys cocoa but any will work add a little more regular if you want richer chocolate.  I brought home 35 cans of Spanish Cocoa, which is quite dark)
½ tsp. salt

Beat in:
2 eggs
Scant ½ C. oil (7 T. I like to use light olive oil)

1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. flour 
1 T. cornstarch

Optional:
½ C. or more chopped nuts
1/2 C. or more any type chocolate chip (milk, white or dark or a mixture)

This needs to bake in an 8 inch greased pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Don’t over bake and let them cool to lukewarm before trying to cut them.

Frost them hot for a melted glaze or cool and frost with a buttercream but they are good as is.  The brownies in the photo are frosted with buttercream and topped generously with chopped toasted almonds.

If you want to double this recipe bake it in a 11x14 inch pan not a 9x13 and bake for about 30 minutes





Friday, July 24, 2015

PAINTING - CASA, ICOD DE VINOS

This is painted from a photo I took while in the Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife. 16x20 Oil on Canvas

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

THAI INSPIRED LETTUCE WRAPS


 This recipe came from here
I changed it to be very Thai inspired adding some Thai basil, lemon grass paste and coconut oil.  Costcos coconut oil has a lovely distinctive coconut flavor that I like. I made it once with tuna and once with canned chicken.  I can see it made as a shrimp salad or a salad without meat.  It is a good salad without the lettuce.  I added some crunchy rice noodles - WOW!  It is healthy crunchy and I know I will make it often for lunch.   This makes about 4 servings.

THAI LETTUCE WRAPS

Chop small:
2 C. cabbage
1 C. broccoli
1 C. course grated carrot
(or use 4 cups of slaw mix)

Add:
3-4 T. minced cilantro
1 T. Thai basil or regular basil chopped (optional)
2 chopped green onions (I used some chives from my garden)

Dressing:
Put 2 T. coconut oil in a small frying pan and grate in 1 large clove of garlic and fry just until it starts to brown.  (I don't like raw garlic so I usually do this as it infuses your oil with a toasty garlic flavor)

Add:
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
½ tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. grated ginger (peel and freeze your ginger for future use.  It grates easier)
½ tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. of lemon grass paste (optional)  If you use reduce the lime to ½
½ tsp. Sriracha (optional) not enough to make it hot but adds a nice color.

When ready to serve add 1/2 C. dry roasted peanuts or you could use cashews and a can of drained tuna or chicken.  Toss with the dressing and enjoy!



 I didn't have slaw mix so made my own.


 If you put the sauce in the refrigerator it will harden with the oil and will need to be nuked for a few seconds before use.  

 As a salad with crunchy rice noodles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

SPINACH AND RICOTTA DUMPLINGS

Recently my daughter started a blog for her store tpt home.  One Sunday I cooked a meal and served it in dishes from the store.  The meal consisted of Ricotta Dumplings, which are easy and delicious.  We covered them with a spaghetti sauce from scratch with chicken.  I can see them as meatballs in a minestrone soup or a dozen other soups where they would be tasty.  Here is her blog with my photos on the dumpling process and the recipe for the Spaghetti Sauce with Chicken and lots of nice pictures

Thursday, June 25, 2015

THAI INSPIRED HUMUS

Sometimes I just want a quick snack that is healthy.  This is satisfying.

Combine in a food processor and blend until smoothish:

1 Can of garbanzo beans drained just a little
1 C. of frozen petite peas
2 T. coconut oil
1 T. of lemon grass paste or lemon juice (The paste is found in a tube in the vegetable section and is very tasty.)
1 sprig of basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper and salt to taste
1 T. of grated ginger root
1/2 tsp. curry powder

I like to buy two good size ginger roots and peel off the skin like this.  Then I wrap them separately in foil and put them in the freezer.  They grate much better frozen than fresh and you always have fresh ginger on hand.

When blended chop 1/4 C. dry roasted peanuts and stir in.  Serve with veggies, crackers or pita bread. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

LATE FALL IN ZION - PAINTING

I have had 5 weeks of being out of commission after foot surgery but I could sit at my easel.  It felt good to paint something after 3 years of life distractions.  This is from a photo I took in late November in Zion National Park.  16X20 Oil on Linen board




Friday, May 22, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - THE GOD WHO WEEPS AND THE CRUCIBLE OF DOUBT







I attended Woman’s Conference this year at BYU and attended a class where Fiona Givens gave a presentation titled:  “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” From Mark 9:24.   When the class was over I told my friend that I could listen at her feet all day.  I couldn’t wait to get the books written with her husband Terryl Givens:  The Crucible of Doubt and The God Who Weeps.   I had surgery on my foot the first part of May and have been mostly off my feet for the last two weeks but I can say they have been perhaps the most 2 spiritual weeks of my life as I have spent the sweet hours reading these books.  When I finished I had the desire to go to the book store and get a pile of books to pass out to my favorite people.  The beginning pages of The God Who Weeps, has 8 recommendations from mostly non-Mormon scholars.  This is how Robert P. George, Law professor at Princeton describes the book:

Writing from the perspective of Mormon faith, Terryl and Fiona Givens have produced a work of theological reflection that has much to offer not only to Latter-day Saints, but to intellectually and morally serious men and women of every religious persuasion who ponder the mystery of a God who, though profoundly transcendent, reveals Himself to us, offers us His friendship, and even shares our joys and sorrows.  To be sure, readers who are not Latter-day Saints will learn from “The God Who Weeps” a great deal about what Mormons believe (including certain distinctively Mormon doctrines) and why they believe it.  But that is only part of the value of the book.  For even readers who do not share certain fundamental tenants of the LDS faith, but who believe in a personal, omnipotent and omniscient God, will benefit from the Givens’ thoughtful reflection on how such a God enters into the lives of imperfect creatures like ourselves, lighting our paths, lifting us up when we fall, and summoning us to share His divine life.”

Both of these beautifully written books are written with a perspective from prophets, scriptures, classical literature and inspired Christian thinkers.  The ideas melt into your heart with a warmth and tenderness that is hard to describe.  I will never see my deity quite the same after reading “The God Who Weeps.”  These books are not quick reads but take thoughtful attention, sometimes reading passages over several times to meld the meaning to your soul.

My patriarchal blessing tells me something that I have always known, that I have a gift of faith.  But in these words I felt an understanding of those who struggle to believe and a hope that there is a way to function comfortably in doubt.  Not that I don’t have questions, so the encouragements here have buoyed my simple faith also.

I am going to share the last page summation of the Crucible of Doubt.

So, here, in sum, are the principal reasons for “the hope that is in us.”  We agree with Nathaniel Hawthorne, who believed that “our Creator would never have made such lovely days and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.”  And if we are immortal, no eternal existence makes sense separate and apart from an eternal community of loved ones, presided over by heavenly parents who set their hearts upon us.  We could never love a God “without body, parts, or passions.” Who does not Himself feel love, or grief, or joy, or gladness.  Christianity gave us a God who was willing to die on behalf of His creation; Joseph Smith added to that conception a God who intends our full participation in “the divine nature,” who will bestow upon every single one of His children all that they “are willing to receive.” And who made Himself vulnerable enough to weep at our pain and misery.  That is a God to whom we are powerfully drawn, and whom we gladly worship.

We have seen the power of the gospel to transform human life.  We can affirm, as Gerard Manley Hopkins did, that “Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes, not his, to the Father, through the features of men’s faces.”  In new converts and returned missionaries, who in their testimonies unexpectedly speak “with the tongues of angels,” a simple eloquence not of their own resources.  In the parting words of a beloved friend near death, before whom the veil grows suddenly thin to transparency.  In lives transformed and redirected, then imbued with sudden beauty, to rival anything narrated by and Elizabeth Gaskell or Victor Hugo.

Joseph Smith said, “You say honey is sweet, and so do I.  I can also taste the spirit of eternal life.  I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more.”  We believe the doctrine of the Restoration to be true for the same reason:  It tastes good. 

I am not ready to lose the spirit of these books so I begin again.