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.

Monday, August 31, 2015


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


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

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