Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving at my brother Jacks. A good time was had by all. It was a fun day with good company and good food.
The catered dinner went well, I did not forget anything, that was my concern. The men all had seconds. I knew they would. My brother, son and grandson all cook for themselves. They actually do a good job of that but you know when someone else cooks up a meal, they cannot pass on second helpings.
The next day was college ball day. We watched two games. We won our game over Arizona. Once again we started slow but the end result is what counts. It is very exciting at this point. Now we must and I repeat MUST beat the Oregon State Beavers next Saturday in their stadium. As you know this is called the Civil War game and it is war!

My brothers house was very cozy. I brought some table decorations and candles. Friday morning he had a fire in his fireplace. How I miss a fireplace in my own home so it was a treat for us.
We left Saturday morning quite early to miss the traffic and for the most part the trip was uneventful. There was one event that could have turned nasty for us. A car on the outskirts of Portland tried to cut in front of us from the right almost sideswiping us and rear ending another vehicle. It shook us up!

My son and grandson rode together to my brothers. It was so wonderful to see them both.
My son has a big booming voice and always has many humorous stories to tell. He is quite an entertainer. My grandson is such a nice young man. He is thoughtful, easy to be with, mannerly and so handsome. What is not to love?
My nephew John, Jack's son and John's Mom Betty were there. Betty and I are close. I have known Betty since I was seven years of age. Now that is a lot of years back in time believe me. There is a lot of history to share when we start chatting. Betty kept company with me while I prepared and cooked. We could hear the men in the living room enjoying themselves with their boisterous laughter and voices.

I am off to the grocery store as soon I finish this blog. I will pick up the making for tomorrow nights dinner. I am making a cheese spinach pie. I have not made it for a number of years as I recall it was good. I am making a green salad to go with. Seems we have not had a green salad for a while. Tonight I am making old fashioned fried chicken which I will finish off in the oven. We are having with mashed potatoes and chicken gravy and glazed carrots. I love freshly cooked carrots. After their cooked , I put a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey on them and let all melt together. Quite good and easy.

It is a gloomy day here. There are varying shades of gray looming over us low. Sometimes it brightens for a bit then turns all gunmetal gray once more.

Till tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This photo did not post on my blog, so here it is. Sometimes that will happen when I try to post more than one photo. I am not the brightest bulb on the block when it comes to the computer. I am a work in progress as they say.
Have a good day.
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I use this method sometimes when roasting a chicken. Take out the back bone, open it like a book breast side up and push down with your hands to flatten it. It cooks more evenly I think. I surrounded it with sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, carrots, Anaheim peppers, onions and garlic. I chopped the veggies and mixed them up with a little olive oil and salt and peppers. I rubbed olive oil on the chicken and then rubbed on my mixture of, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, kosher salt sweet paprika and allspice. Now you are thinking Allspice? Well this is the secret ingredient. It makes that rub taste all earthy and warm. It is wonderful. Then I popped the pan into the oven on 375 for a little over an hour I have an instant read thermometer so when it was 180 into the deepest part of the thigh I removed it from oven. The potatoes and other veggies had caramelized perfectly making them melt in your mouth with dense flavor. Make sure you spray your foil or pan with cooking spray for easy cleanup.

The second photo I took this morning was taken off my front step. We had just a sprinkling of snow late evening. We were in the hot tub last night before the snow came in watching the black sky as it broke into puzzle pieces exposing a roaming moon. It looked so ethereal, I felt quite moved.

I have news. I am a great, great auntie. My great niece Jana had her baby boy Sunday morning. Now this is no small baby............11 pounds, 12 ounces! Ouch!!!! She had to have a C section as that little man was just to big to make his appearance in the normal manner. Jana sent a photo and I will try to post that tomorrow. I am so happy for this couple and their baby, this is an event that has been so anticipated.

I have many things to accomplish today to get ready for our Thanksgiving trip. As I am catering the meal I will start some prep work on that today also.

Enjoy the snow if you have it. I for one am not stepping outdoors today.
Till tomorrow.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010


This meal was amazing. A simple and hardy meal for a cold autumn night. It was not only warmth for the body but food for the soul. My guy does such a great job on this dish. This is the first meal he ever prepared for me some 28 years ago. He quite impressed me I must say.
Tonight we will repeat the dinner as he always makes enough for two meals, by the second evening the flavors have melded even more.

It is really cold now in the valley. There is a little breeze today that makes it even more so. The paper said rain or snow, or rain mixed with snow today. Not a fave or mine. I lived many years on the eastern side of the Cascade mountains where is snows non stop for days. I have dug out enough snowbound cars and shoveled enough sidewalks and driveways to last a life time. No thanks!

I am waiting to hear from family regarding the birth of my great, great, nephew today. I keep checking my e-mail, there is no news as yet. This is a much anticipated event for the family. Jack Thomas Wilson making his debut and starting his adventure in life. What will he be like, who will he look like, what will he want to become and achieve? What will he believe, how will he live his life? As the years pass by these questions will be answered but for now all is a mystery.

I have many things on my agenda today so best get at them. I still must walk. It is not something I am looking forward today. Bundling up and facing that cold blustery wind will be exhilarating no doubt but not pleasant.

Have a lovely Sunday whatever your weather.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I am longing for the coast I think. It has been a while since we ventured over. We were talking this past week that we need to make a trip soon. Walking along the beach at the water line on the hard wet sand just centers me. Looking for shells or special rocks while watching the sea birds bring much joy to my heart. There are many winter days on the Oregon coast that are perfectly pristine. The ocean a deep blue appears as a reflection in the sky and the air is fresh and wild with it's salty bite. In the evening standing on our balcony under a star crusted sky is truly a piece of earthly heaven.
We have our favorite places we like to pop into but overall we spend an incredible amount of time on the beach. In winter we bundle up snugly, slip on a day pack holding a nice bottle of wine, two glasses and some cheese and crackers. Hubby finds us a windbreak either a log or a dune to nestle behind. We spread a blanket and gaze at the sea and sky and enjoy our little treats we brought for the occasion. We really enjoy winter at the beach. There are less people for sure and the clarity of the sea and sky are not the same in summer. I am ready to pack our bags just thinking about it. We are thinking Christmas but maybe before.

This morning we woke to clear skies. I walked early before the clouds and the lower temperatures came in.
My husband and I then made a run to Traders Joe's for our usual staples. Wine for one thing, cheese and bread for another. There are many items I like to purchase there but with hubby along best to get what was needed and no lingering. He is not a shopper nor am I so that could spell trouble in an overly crowded store.

I put a beef pot roast in the slow cooker early this morning. Tonight we will have roast, smashed garlic potatoes and Trader Joe's baby green beans with lemon butter. So I would venture to guess you know what is on the dinner menu for tomorrow night. You are right, shredded beef taco's. See you remembered I am married to Taco Man. I really do not mind, it makes him happy and it is easy for me.

It will soon be time to start gathering together my ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner I am catering to my family in Washington state. Because I am an organized person I have the menu set and a list of needed items already on the word processor. I will enjoy doing this so much for my family. I love the planning, the prep, the cooking and the presentation. This year as we will be at my brothers we will not be dining at the table as his table would not accommodate us all. He has a huge kitchen island so all will be set up buffet style but I will make it festive and fun. It will be so nice to have the companionship of my family and share a meal.

A dirty kitchen floor and another load of laundry await me, so best get my chores done.
Till later.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gloomy Day

Good morning,
It is a grim Sunday. My sis in law and I just returned from a long walk along the country road adjacent to our neighborhood. The sky is hanging low today threatening showers, there are no definable clouds just a dreary gray blanket. The air so damp it left my hair wet and curly around my face.
We walked along a newly made street with new homes. Most of them sadly empty. They are nice looking houses, all with dormers and large porches on good size lots. It appears a couple have been abandoned as there are legal notices on the doors. It is difficult to know folks have lost their homes. A home was and has been the American dream. Oregon is a state that is very depressed at this time. You see it everywhere. More folks working the streets for handouts, more homeless people sleeping wherever they can get out of the weather. There are less patrons at the malls, specialty stores and restaurants than usual. No one is spending on luxury items or for that matter spending on items that are not absolute necessities. Our own business of hardwood floor installation and refinish has slowed. I feel bad for us all. There is nothing to do but wait it out and hope we go into recovery soon. We have found we just do not do the things we did in the past. We are home for the most part entertaining ourselves with food and drink, games and projects. Not a bad life but quite boring at times and certainly a change in our lifestyle.

I wrote my great niece yesterday. Her baby boy is due now and has not made his arrival as yet. Oh how she longs to have that baby out of her body and into her arms. I remember so feeling that way at the end of my pregnancies. Seems you just cannot stand another moment as the waiting seems impossible. Maybe it will happen today. I will be notified via the e-mail along with everyone else. Very exciting!

Well OREGON won another game. Not a pretty game for sure, but we won, that is the main thing. CAL really held us back, they did a great job. What a victory for them it would have been to take down the number one team in the nation. We could hardly breathe sometimes, I was chewing at my nails, it was an intense game.

Tonight for dinner I am taking the easy route. We are having patty melts. I will make my Mom's coleslaw to go with. I have sharp white cheddar to put on the patty and the bread will be the good crusty pane bread from Trader Joe's. I will have horseradish sauce for dipping. I am making myself salivate just writing about it.

We have some TV shows we must catch up on tonight. We love Empire Blvd.on HBO. We also have some fave shows on Food Network of course.
I see that the movie " It's Complicated" is now on HBO so we will need to catch that also sometime soon.

Well I am just rambling at this point. See, I said our life is small. I am now going to flop in my comfy chair and read the afternoon away. Not a bad plan actually.

Till later.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I think as far as French onion goes, we pass. The recipe was made properly but we just do not care for the soup. To many onions? Too funny.
Anyhow will not bother to pass the recipe along as I am busy with getting ready for the OREGON game against CAL.
We have family coming over to watch the game. So I always get our OREGON decor out and then we deck ourselves out in OREGON gear.
I am not doing anything special for food just popping a pre-made pizza in the oven, my sis in law is bringing a lot of munchies. So all is simple, the game is the MAIN course after all. We must win this game and then two more. It is so very exciting at this point.

It is rainy and bit blustery here today. It looks gloomy outdoors. The once colorful leaves are now brown and grimy littering streets, driveways and decks. No more do the colorful flowers adorn our entry. The trees stand mostly bare with just a few hardy souls holding tight. Looking down the street I see the remains of political candidate signs sticking out of leaf clogged yards. Some folks still have not removed their shriveled pumpkins from their porch rails and steps. How sad the little jack o lanterns look with their sunk in eyes and misshapen mouths. It is not a pretty sight out there believe me!

Have a great game day. There is a lot on the line today for many teams.
Have fun, enjoy your eats and drinks and root for your team!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is my younger brother Jim's grandson, his son Aaron's little boy. His name is Vinny. I have not met him in person but I hear he is a little character like his Grandfather was. My brother Jim was so proud when Aaron was born, so thrilled to have a son to carry on the family name. Now there is another son to do the same. I only wish my brother could have known his grandson. But I have no say in that and maybe he does know his grandson. We truly know nothing for certain of what happens when we leave this earth.

We woke to showers this morning. I waited a while before walking. The sky did brighten later but still the bruised looking clouds hung dangerously about, I took the umbrella.
This time of year the crows work the nut trees in our area. They are very busy dropping nuts on the pavement to crack them open. Their loud caws and crazy maneuvers make me nervous. Between the nuts dropping and you know what else dropping I feel I should use my umbrella for protection. My brother told me that crows are extremely smart. Do not ever do them wrong as they will remember you. What if they mix me up with someone who did not treat them right? Now that is a frightening thought, so I tread lightly as not to be noticed.

I grocery shopped for the week today. The menu is set. We are having French onion soup tomorrow evening, my hubby's request. That is one dish I have never made. Reason being I did not have the oven proof soup bowls to make it in. So I went to World Market the other day and purchased some. I found a delicious sounding recipe on the internet. So I am excited to make the soup. I will share the recipe if it is a keeper. Hey maybe I can remember to take a photo this time before I start consuming it.

I have started a project, something I hope my children will appreciate. In December 1978 I was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, it was a non Hodgkin's variety and quite nasty. So January 1979 I went through a laundry list of tests and started treatment. During that time I kept a journal of my ordeal and all that was involved, what our family went through, our daily lives and the emotions that surfaced. I am making a transcript on the computer and printing it out for my children. Believe me it is time consuming as some of the entries were written at the end of the day when I was so worn down from radiation treatment. Many of the words are barely readable and the sentences ramble. As I read it brings back to me just how important every day is. I almost had no more days. I could have been gone at 37 leaving two teenage children without a Mother. I have had the privilege of watching them grow into adults and have their families, my wonderful grandchildren. How fortunate I am and I never take a day for granted believe me. No matter what my life brings to me, I have life and I do not squander it. I did make some life style changes after my cancer ordeal as I wanted to create as stress free life as possible. Stress causes dis-ease. My type of cancer never leaves your body. It can come back at anytime, it waits patiently to strike when certain elements come into play such as illness, stress, worry and depression. So I look at everyday as a gift, of course sometimes I forget, you know like bathroom cleaning days or visits to the dentist. I feel it will be interesting reading for my children to look back at that time in their lives to see how we dealt with the trauma of it all. Of course it is written from my perspective so they will know not only my pain but also the joy's and the tender moments that touched me during that trying time.

Enjoy the day, the falling leaves, the wash of late afternoon sunlight, the crows. Whatever is outside your door today that brings a smile to your lips and joy to your heart, embrace it.
Good morning,
No photo today. A funny thing happened. I had every intention of taking one when I plated my food last night. But then I got sidetracked talking with hubby and I started eating. About six mouthfuls in I thought, oh no, then oh well, and took another bite!
Regardless I am going to give you the recipe it is good I have made it before on several occasions.

Today it was showery early now the sky seems to be breaking and the clouds are separating, there is some blue. I have not walked as yet hoping for it to warm just a little. We felt chilly and tired this morning when we crawled out of bed. The time change has us a little befuddled we have been falling asleep to early and then do not sleep well.

Well our deck is certainly a big mess it is plastered thick with leaves. The only way to remove them now is with the hose and who wants to go out there and hose them off when it is cold and rainy? So as I work in my kitchen the view from the window onto the deck is less than pleasant. I may do something about it this afternoon if the showers hold off.

Here is the recipe.
Shrimp Etouffee.
I use Pacific Seafood easy peel shrimp but of course you can use the shrimp of your choice. Buy at least medium size.

1/2 onion chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium green pepper chopped
1/3 Anaheim pepper chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic minced
1 can diced tomatoes with green chili's
2 teaspoons paprika
2-3 small squirts of Sriracha(chili sauce)we call it rooster
1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined removing tails
Hot cooked rice of your choice. We like Cal Rose(sticky rice)

In a soup pot cook onion in oil and butter until onion is tender. Add green peppers,celery,garlic,sriracha and tomatoes. Cook uncovered over low heat for about ten to fifteen minutes stirring occasionally. Add paprika and shrimp,cook until the shrimp turn pink.
If you like you can add more sriracha after you dish it for more heat.
Ladle over hot rice in a bowl. This is a mouthful of goodness with a bit of a bite. It is also a very pretty dish, with the green peppers and red tomatoes and pink shrimp. Sorry again about the photo.

Tonight I am making comfort food and something easy to digest as we will be eating late as hubby is putting in a long day. I am making my scalloped potatoes with ham and cream corn. It is creamy and cheesy and definitely satisfying.

Stay warm and dry and have a great day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

CHRIS and her daughters JANA and DIANA

It has been almost a year. Chris left us last Thanksgiving day on an achingly beautiful autumn day. I had taken a photo on my cell phone that morning from the living room window as the sun was rising. The sky was a blaze of pink, gold and orange illuminating behind the barren branches of our trees.
Chris had been fighting a battle with colon cancer for almost three years. She knew her time was close and the last time we talked, she said Zo I do not want to die on a holiday, it would just be to hard for all of you.
When the phone rang a little before two p.m on Thanksgiving day I knew. I tentatively answered the phone and heard the broken voice of Jana. I said, oh honey I am so sorry she did not want to go on a holiday. Jana said, it is OK Zo. Every year on Thanksgiving I will have so much to be thankful for because she was my Mom. I thought that was beautifully said.
It is such a sad heartbreaking thing to go through; the loss of someone we love so dearly that fits in our life so tightly.
I loved and adored Chris. She was the sister I never had and the niece and friend I always had. There has not been a day since her passing that I do not think of her. Everywhere I look in my home she is there. The quilt she made me, the throw pillows on my sofa, the jewelry I wear, the note cards I use, the kitchen items my hands touch daily. She is everywhere in my home as well as my heart. To simply say I miss her is such an understatement. We were so alike in so many ways it seems a limb is missing from my body. I know time gently heals the wound but the scar remains.
So this Thanksgiving my husband and I go to be with her Father( my brother.) Others will come, her Mother, her brothers, my son and grandson. Whether words will be spoken or kept locked inside our thoughts will be of her.
Maybe we will share a story or two but perhaps not for I know each of us deal with this loss in our own way.
But we will be there together sharing a meal and remembering and I feel in someway she will know.

I am not going to write more today this story is for her.
Till tomorrow.
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