Thursday, January 27, 2011


This photo was taken a couple of years ago at the Oregon beach.
I was going through my computer photo program today getting more albums put together. Looking at this picture made me want to be there NOW! I had my pack on my back and we were heading for a sheltered area to sit and watch the waves crash and have a snack and share a bottle of wine. We love doing this at the beach. The pleasure of simply sitting on a blanket or a log is so natural and carefree. Our shoes go off first thing. I love digging my toes into the damp sand such a small thing that never fails to remind me of my childhood. The Oregon beaches during the week are usually quiet. Occasionally a couple will stroll along the waters edge or someone will be tossing a stick for their dog. Usually there are lots of sea birds, we love to watch them skitter and dance along the tide line looking for a meal. Could there be anything more relaxing than sipping a nice Oregon wine stretched out on a quilt in the soft sand with the roar of the ocean in your ears and the sun warming your face? We must go soon.

Today here in Eugene is such a great day. Early this morning there was fog so thick you could barely see down the block. But shortly the sun started it's slow burn and steamy sun shinny rays lifted the fog up and away. Then as if by magic the sun was bearing down from the east through our front windows.
My walk was invigorating I was cool for the first part but I was peeling my hoodie off half way through.
Many of the tree's now have pods on the tips of their branches. Some still have last years leaves clinging brown and papery caught up in their branches. It may be an early spring, but we still have February to get through which sometimes can show a nasty face.

I asked hubby what he wanted this weekend for a meal and of course his answer was taco's. Such an easy man to please really. He loves everything I make but he really likes Mexican food, always has. He made a wonderful salsa yesterday. Basically it was his same recipe he normally makes but he roasted his peppers, onions and garlic first before adding them. The salsa has a slight smokey taste which is nice. So taco's it is with pinto beans.

Well I have nothing else to chatter about so I am going to start a new book. I have a couple of hours before hubby gets home from the job site. So I am going to indulge myself with a little down time.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This was the best stroganoff I have ever eaten. Wow! The meat was amazing, so tender and juicy it just melted in your mouth. The sauce was so flavorful. With the touch of tomato paste the color turned a rich rusty gold. I did not make home made noodles as planned, I suppose I just got lazy. So I served with Rotini which worked out great. The sauce stuck in all the little curly parts of the pasta.
This recipe is from the Vinter,s cookbook my daughter gave me for my birthday.

Here is the recipe.
Beef stroganoff

1 pound of sirloin steak cut into 1/4 inch strips
5-6 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 tablespoon butter divided( I like to use Smart Balance cubes)
1/2 pound of white or crimini mushrooms sliced thin
1 medium sliced yellow onion
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can of beef broth(about one and a half cups)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sherry(I used white wine)
a sprinkle of nutmeg(fresh grated is best)
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish( I skipped this as I served it rustic style right out of the black iron skillet.

Sprinkle about three tablespoons of flour in a flat bottom bowl and dredge the steak slices. Heat a heavy skillet and add 2 tablespoon of butter. When the butter is sizzling hot add the meat and quickly brown on all sides(do not overcook the meat), Add the mushroom, onions, garlic and cook till the onion is barely tender.
Remove this mixture from the pan and add the remaining butter to the pan drippings. When melted blend in 3 tablespoons of flour, add the tomato paste, using a whisk slowly add the beef broth stirring constantly to avoid making any lumps. Cook stirring until the mixture thickens. Return the meat mixture to the pan, add the sour cream, sherry or wine and the nutmeg stir to incorporate, season with salt and pepper, heat thoroughly but DO NOT overcook.
Serve over egg noodles or rice. You can then top each serving with a small dollop of sour cream and a little more ground nutmeg and parsley.

This recipie serves 4 to 6. So with our small appetites we are having it again tonight. We are looking forward once again to this meal. Amazing flavor, juicy tender meat, creamy sauce. Ahhh life is good!

I will leave you now. The house chores are calling my name, darn them!
Till later

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Yummy breakfast this morning.
I fixed scrambled eggs with ricotta cheese, spinach, onions and cheddar cheese with a bagel to the side with my homemade freezer mixed berry jam and orange juice.
We were quite famished this morning for some reason. We did stay up late last night perhaps that is the reason.
After breakfast we tidy'd the house and drove over to the University dist. We parked the car and walked around our huge football stadium, Autzen Stadium. We walked to PK Park our baseball ball stadium and then on to Cuthbert Amphitheater. So about a hour of walking at a fast pace. It was nice to get out of the neighborhood for my daily walk and I enjoyed hubby along for the stroll.
The sky was blue with thin clouds flitting about ever so lightly then evaporating to reveal blue skies once more, then the faint clouds would appear again. So it was a good walk with the chilled air in our faces just lovely for the end of January.
Hubby said his legs ached a bit. He does not walk everyday as I do so I can understand that.

The spinach ricotta pie I made the other evening was really yummy. We always give the top a good drizzle of hot sauce. I did take a photo but the pie did not photograph well. With the left over pie dough I made little round tarts filled with my mixed berry jam. I gave their tops a egg wash before popping into the oven. This gives a little glaze to the golden crust. You just pop them in your mouth with your coffee or tea in the morning. Good thing I do not make them often as they sure disappear in a hurry.

Tonight we are having beef stroganoff. Not the faux recipe with the cream of mushroom soup and ground beef. This is the real deal. Sirloin steak simmered in a sauce of whipping cream, sour cream, wine and a dab of tomato paste and seasonings and onions and fresh mushrooms. Should be divine. I will serve over fresh pasta noodles with a side of steamed broccoli in lemon butter. I am looking forward to making dinner tonight.

Enjoy your day wherever you are. I talked this morning to a gal in Cleveland Ohio, actually that is where is my Mother was born. Anyhow she said the weather was just dreadful, so cold and windy and they are so tired of all this freezing cold there. I can understand that. We here in the northwest really have it quite good. Mild winters for sure and a beautiful spring, summer and fall. I am happy with that.

Until next time
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Monday, January 24, 2011


This is Judy, I met her when I was fourteen. We were such close friends in high school. Throughout the years we have stayed in touch. So she is my oldest(no pun taken here) friend.
She is in Arizona now with her hubby. They go every year to Yuma and other destinations. They love the sun and so the gray old drizzly skies of western Oregon are forgotten for a few months as they soak up the heat.

The first time I saw Judy was at my eighth grade graduation. She was from a smaller school as was I. Our graduation was held at what was to be our high school.
I remember seeing her and thinking what a bubbly gal she was. So short with long dark hair and bright happy blue eyes. Just observing her you could tell she was so social. She was chatting with everyone and laughing and so outgoing. Oh how I wished I could be like that.
The next time I saw her was in summer before our freshman high school year started. It was at our county fair. My parents had dropped me off at the fair as I was meeting a boy there. As my boyfriend and I were walking around we came upon Judy. She was so tan from the summer sun she was all bright and bubbly when she saw us. With her giggly laughter and those bright blue eyes and her ponytail swinging, she was a delight. She was so sweet to me and I liked her immediately. We started chatting and somehow we bonded right then on that very afternoon. When school started we sought each other out and became very close friends.

So this blog is for Judy. My dear friend who knows what I was like all those years ago. She knew my thoughts and my dreams for the future. She knew my weakness's, my quiet side and wild and crazy side. She knew my secrets and better yet she kept them. She was a great friend in those years and still in years to follow.

So happy birthday to my friend Judy, have a grand huge day.
I wish I was there with you soaking up that sun!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011


Could not resist putting the sunset on the blog again. The second exposure is how it looked a few minutes later. Look how it has faded to lavender and blue. In the first photo those tangled branches seem almost torched by the fiery sky.
Actually this tree is a pain f
or part of the year. In summer it really blocks too much sun from our back deck. In fall, well you can imagine, it is a huge tree so of course there is massive leaf drop. But in winter I love this tree as the sky is always magic behind it's branches and limbs.

Yesterday was a bit boring to say the least. I read for a couple hours curled up in my red plaid chair. Hubby was playing chess on the computer he can spend a couple hours easily lost in strategical play. So the house was as quiet as a mouse or perhaps dust while we were doing what we enjoyed.
Later his sis and brother walked down for a visit. So we had some drinks and snacks and played some games and then watched a movie. So the day slid by without incident or much excitement. I fear today is the same.
I did get up early this morning and went for my weekly groceries. Now mind you I never shop on Sunday morning but I did not grocery shop this past week. So our fridge and pantry were sparse.
Surprisingly the store was not very busy. Plenty of parking for a change and light traffic. So I whizzed right through the whole list quite quickly without running over anyone or getting annoyed in line. A good job I think.

The day is a pretty one today. So fresh with blue skies...........thank you universe! My legs felt chilled though beneath my jeans as I loaded the groceries into my rig. There definitely is an icy chill around the edges of the air. However today I am doing my walking outdoors as soon as I sign off here. I have been doing my walk/dancing in the house most days. That is working for me. Using the hand weights is helping to tighten up my body and I have needed a tune up for some time. So I will stick with it. Actually I like it, it is quite fun and I lightens my spirit as well as my body. Two rewards for one investment!

This afternoon as hubby watches football I will once again have my nose in a book. I have two more unread books posing on my chest next to my chair. It seems they beckon to me as every once in a while I look over anxiously knowing they are waiting for me. Am I sick or what? Could be I suppose as I consider books my companions. They are always there when I need them, they teach me things, I can carelessly toss them aside and they do not care. I do not have to feed them and no need for a pooper scooper. They just wait and are pleased when my hands open their cover, they know for me it is like opening a gift.

Time to close, walk and read.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011


This is the sunset from our deck last evening. It was one of the prettiest sunsets we have had this winter. It was amazing how the colors changed from this burst of orange to a airy purple blue just minutes after this photo was taken.
I love to take photo's of barren trees in winter. There is always some penetrating light that touches their stark limbs and transforms them somehow. This fiery backdrop defines tangled twisted branches awaiting the warmth of spring.

I have not blogged for a number of days. Reason being, our life right now is as boring as dust!
We did venture out yesterday to walk along the Willamette River through our city park. The walk was rejuvenating for our bodies and spirits. We walked under a sky of deep blue with billowed clouds and air so brisk it chilled our faces. We walked at a quick pace to stay warm. At one point I stopped and tilted my head back, face to the sun. I did not want to move on, hubby said lets go, I just kept standing there enjoying the suns warm embrace.

We did have a lovely dinner last night. We deep fried halibut in my famous triple dredge. It makes for a crispy outside bursting open to tender juicy fish. We had sides of home fries and slaw.
Triple dredge is, flour first, egg wash second and panko and Krusteaz bake and fry coating mixed together for the final dredge. All I did was salt and pepper the fish before the dunking process. We use this method for most all our deep fry. It is always perfect.

Tonight for dinner we are having chicken, fontina, garlic sausages simmered in my homemade marinara served over whole wheat spaghetti with crusty Italian bread with garlic butter. Hubby wanted a comfort food dinner. We love a meal like this and more than likely will have leftovers for lunch or dinner the following evening.

This week I will be making a spinach ricotta pie. This has been a fave in the family for years, though I have not made it for some time. It starts with a home made pie crust, a rich creamy filling with lots of flavor. I will post a photo and the recipe. It is a keeper and quite simple. You can always use pre-made pie crust if you do not want to bother with making one from scratch. However that is something I do not budge on. That homemade tender pie crust is so wonderful no matter it holds.

For today that is it. I will go now and watch the dust pile up. My entertainment of late!
Seriously, I want to read in my book, I can barely put it down. What an intriguing story.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011


Amazing crab cakes. Yum! They were mostly crab with very little filler.
I will give you my recipe at the end of this blog. I did vary from my regular recipe for fish cakes a small bit. There was so much crab I knew I could not make patties and roll in panko as I usually do. So instead I incorporated a little panko right into the cakes, put the mixture on a wide flat bottomed spoon and patted it into shape and then slid it with the help of another utensil into the to hot oil. Only turning once they turned out perfectly browned with a crispy exterior giving way to a juicy tender center.
We just served them with a lemon wedge and a scoop of rice with pea's. I made a very simple aloi sauce to drizzle over the cakes.

I have started a new routine. The weather has been wet and so foul that my walk has become a problem. As I am not one to exercise other than my walk I needed to think of something to do indoors. Well our home is all hardwood floors and we have a one story house. So I thought, well if need be I could walk for a period of time just around and around throughout the house. Well I tried it and it was OK but so terribly boring I thought I would go mad. So the next day I flipped the radio on a exuberant station and thought I will walk to music. But once I started walking I noticed I was dancing also to the beat of the music. Well now this was much better. Dancing and walking at the same time. I also grabbed my hand weights and started swinging my arms to the beat. As each song is different with different beats as the music changed so did my walk and my movements. No this was really getting fun. The first two days I did this for twenty-five minutes non stop, yesterday I went thirty minutes non stop. I am going to continue the thirty minutes for a week or so. This exercise makes me tired as I am moving faster than when I walk. Now I usually walk for about forty-five minutes so I will continue every week to increase the time I spend dance/walking. See now it even has a real name. Well I love to dance, and I like to walk. So what could be better on a nasty ol' day when I cannot get outside?

Hubby and I were going to have his sis and brother-in-law for seafood dinner this weekend. However hubby is working the weekend. So now no plans. Maybe just as well as my house has suffered over the past week or so and could certainly use a good cleaning. Ugh! I really do not mind some chores at all. But bathroom showers and toilets.......please. Who truthfully would ever like that chore?
Well now how I am going to cut to the recipe after discussing bathroom cleaning? Good grief never thought of that!

Regardless here is the recipe
six green onions chopped fine
canola oil for frying
16 oz. of crab meat(I used more)
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dab of horseradish
cracker crumbs for binding
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a medium size bowl beat the egg add the green onions, mayo, mustard, horseradish, seasonings and zest. Mix well together. Now add the cracker crumbs about a quarter of a cup. Mix. Now fold in the crab I like to keep as big of pieces as possible. Now this is where you add the panko just adding enough so it binds loosely together. The mix will be wet, it should be. That is why you handle it carefully. Like I mentioned above take a good size flat bottomed serving spoon and get a scoop of the mixture. Then take your fingers and press down into the spoon to form a cake of sorts. The oil should already be hot in your skillet at this point. You want the depth of the oil to cover the crab cake by half. As you make the cakes slide them into the hot oil. I slide them off my spoon carefully with my finger and use a wooden spoon to guide them in. If they fall apart a little just carefully tuck them back together. Let them completely brown on one side before turning. They will stay together once they start to brown. When the second side is browned, remove to a parchment paper lined plate. You can keep them warm by putting foil over the top or setting in a 200 degree oven while you fry more cakes.
This recipe made four good sized cakes. But you could easily use a smaller spoon and make eight smaller cakes.

I know I was to long winded explaining the frying process but it is a little tricky especially when you have a lot of crab in the patty.

Well I best get on with my day. Also I am hungry. There is a yummy Chobani Greek yogurt waiting in my fridge. This is the best yogurt I have ever eaten. My daughter told me about it and she is so right. It is thick and creamy the texture is like velvet in my mouth. Speaking of my mouth it is watering and I am on my way to kitchen now.

Buy some fresh crab and make some Crabby cakes! You will not be disappointed.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Wow what a weekend. I am full of crab that I know for certain.
My sweet daughter and her guy brought us eight dungeness crab. We made coleslaw and french bread. They also brought tasty tiny steamer clams which my daughter Gina cooked with vegetables, white wine and lots of butter. They were so tender we just slurped them quickly one after the other. We had so much crab left over that hubby spent over two hours yesterday picking all that succulent crab out of their bodies and legs. We had crab Louie's yesterday and crab dip. Some went into the freezer and we will eat it next weekend. It was so so wonderful!
The weekend was grand and so much fun, Then we had a day to gather our thoughts and tidy the house and run to the store to get ready for the OREGON/AUBURN game last night.
Well if you watched you know we lost. I am disappointed we lost but our season was amazing and we were there playing that game, the second best in the nation. And the game was hard, a nail bitter. I feel we lost because we did some small things wrong and they added up. Our defense was amazing as was theirs. Thus our problem. So now no more college football until another season and you know what? I am so ready for it to be over for a while. I am worn out with football at this point.

I like when January is over then I know it will be just one more month and spring will start sprouting in the valley here. Yes the bits of vegetation buried in the ground will start to show their faces, soon crocus and daffodils will appear. Oh how I love it when the sprout comes on as I call it. So not much longer to wait, the time will go by quickly as it always seems to.

I am so tired tonight you cannot even imagine. We have been so busy for the past few days, long hours, too much to eat and drink.

We had huge snowflakes drifting down this afternoon. They floated so slowly down I thought they would melt before they touched ground. I was cuddled up on the sofa and watching through the window and it was putting me in a meditative state. I could have drifted as easily as the snowflakes into a deep sleep. I had to get up and make myself do something to get out of that stupor.

I will write more tomorrow as we are having crab cakes. I will take a photo. If I recall I already posted a recipe and photo of my fish cakes. I basically will use the same recipe as it is so yummy. So I will check and see if it is posted and then let you know the blog where you can find it.
Till then

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Friday, January 7, 2011


This is the easiest most yummy chocolate cake you will ever make but it can ruined in a moment for over baking, so beware. I bake just thirty minutes and not a minute more.
The chocolate ganache is wonderful, it taste like decadent rich melted chocolate in your mouth.

Here are the recipes.
One bowl Chocolate cake.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degree's. Grease and lightly flour a nine inch cake pan or a 8x8x2 baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix with a spoon until blended. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with the mixer on low speed till incorporated. Then mix for two minutes on medium speed. Add the egg and beat another two minutes. Pour into pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Do not over bake. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled remove and glaze with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache
1/4 cup half and half
3 ounces of at least 53% cacao dark baking chocolate, coarsely chopped.

In a heavy sauce pan add the half and half and chopped chocolate. Cook and stir of low heat until well blended and smooth. At this point you can thin the sauce if you like with a very small of very hot water. Sometimes I like to make the ganache a little thinner if I want to drizzle it over the cake rather than spread it on.
Once the cake is frosted put in a cake container and keep in the fridge.
Of course this cake is wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but we love it just the way it is with a nice full bodied glass of red wine. It is so rich with intense chocolate flavor you want to hold it in your mouth and let it go. Enjoy!

Well we are busy today preparing for our weekend company, our daughter Gina and her guy Doug. They will be arriving this evening early.
Hubby started yesterday making his little specialties he loves to share. He made two different kinds of salsa and today he is making jerky. He also went to the meat market this morning to pick up the sausages that are so wonderful so we can slice them for appetizers with our spicy hot mustard.
I am making big pot of Italian potato soup and cheesy muffins for our dinner tonight. Tomorrow we will have an array of snacks, plus I making a slow cooker full of small meatballs in my red sauce made with our garden tomatoes. That way when anyone feels inclined they can make a small meat ball sammie on rolls with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Doug is supplying crab for our dinner so I will make a coleslaw to go with and crusty french bread, We will cover the dining room table with newspaper's and use stacks paper towels for our napkins. We love crab and enjoy just sitting and talking and sipping wine and picking out that suculent crab meat. So it will be a fun weekend of food, drink and games.

I will not write again this weekend. I will wait until Tuesday when our OREGON game with AUBURN is over. They are # 1, we are #2 and we are playing for the national championship game Monday evening.
We are the underdog but I have had a very strong feeling that we will win. For some reason I have felt it has been the perfect storm for our team all season. Eugene Oregon our home and home of the DUCKS has went DUCKY nuts! The telly and the papers are crammed with DUCK news. Everyone is sporting the colors, hanging banners and flags off cars , houses and everything it seems. Crazy fun! We love it.

So till then, have a great weekend and watch the game and root for the DUCKS!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


January 2.
Another photo compliments of my son. My son called me Thursday from where this picture was taken. He was sitting on his snowmobile as we chatted. It was eighteen degree's and as he put it, it was an epic day!

We had a very lazy day yesterday. We did manage to stay up till after one A.M. so we saw the Times Square event. Actually we put it on about eleven thirty. We were to busy playing games. We are sure gammers, just one kind after the other. Sometimes I wonder how we would fare in our lives without games.

Our meal new years eve was amazing and this is all we did. We heated oil in our electric fondue pot and fried salt and pepper shrimp and then dunked them in garlic, lemon butter or a spicy red cocktail sauce. We had a nice green salad to go with and that was it! We bought a pound of large shrimp for the two of us so we consumed a lot of shrimp. We stretched the dinner time out by just frying one or two shrimp at a time. We dined by oil lamp and candlelight as we did for Christmas eve. I was sipping a nice bottle of Prosecco brut , hubby is not much of a champagne guy so I did not have to share!

Yesterday hubby made the appetizers he had seen on food network. They were yummy.
Egg wrappers with a piece of salami and a half piece of string cheese tucked inside and then rolled tucking the edge in. They were then dipped in egg and a combination of seasoned bread crumbs and panko crumbs then deep fried in the wok. I made a homemade marinara sauce for dipping. Before you assemble the egg wrapper use an egg wash and paint with a pasty brush around the edges of the wrapper so it will stick together. Use the remaining egg wash to dip the wrappers in before rolling into the crumbs.
They were fun to make and yummy. We are thinking of all kinds of things we can tuck into their centers for next time. It was fun watching his big fingers maneuvering the intricacies of assembly. He let me make only one.

I am looking forward to my walk today as the sun is out there are only a few clouds hanging about. We woke to 23 degree's and that is chilly for this southern Willamette valley. I read in the paper this morning that walking is good for your brain. Getting good blood flow to your brain while walking helps you hang onto your memory as well as the other benefits you receive from walking. Six to nine miles a week is what is needed. I walk between one and two miles per day most days weather permitting. So I certainly will keep up the pace for 2011. I want to keep my brain as long as possible, a good goal I think!

I fixed pork chops simmered in sauerkraut with smashed red potatoes for dinner last night. It is such a good dish. My Mother always had pork and sauerkraut every year for New Years day. An old tradition from her Yugoslavian heritage I believe.

Well best get on with my fave day, Sunday. A laid back day of doing whatever I like.
Have a wonderful 2011.
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