Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Posted by PicasaWe are overloaded with produce right now. And here I sit writing this blog when I should be in the kitchen making whatever out of is never ending. 
The photo's to the left are a couple of our tomato plants also above is the latest batch of zucchini relish I put up and the tomatoes hubby brought in from the garden. That amount seems to be about how many tomatoes we pick each day now. Bottom left photo is one of our four pepper plants as you know hubby loves his peppers so he has a smile on his face every day when he picks this little hotties. The blackberries were picked in our side area of the house. We just let a berry vine go and see what happened? I am making a huge deep dish pie with this berries. So the garden gives us much pleasure but at harvest time even a small garden like ours can make you a slave in your kitchen for lots of days this time of year. 

Tonight I am making spaghetti pie from the leftovers from last evening. That fresh tomato sauce was so rich and bright tasting. So tonight I will just mix the pasta with the sauce with an egg or two and some grated Parmesan cheese mix well. I will grab a good size skillet and drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom and spoon the mixture into the skillet. I will then fry the spaghetti mixture until the bottom is crispy and set, then I will carefully flip it over and add more cheese to top then when the underside is crispy remove from pan and cut into wedges. Yummy. There are lots of variations of this dish as you can bake it the oven also or add cottage cheese and other things. However I like the crisp that the skillet gives it.
So dinner is a snap tonight.

I did all my running for the week today and my back aches now. Groceries are bought for the weekend, banking is done, other errands are completed. I also got my hair cut. I was worried if I went this short it would look like a Buster Brown hairdo. Well I am thinking I am borderline in that regard. I did need all those fried ends off though so really had no choice. I just hope when hubby walks through the door he will not say, Hi Buster B which is my avatar character on the Wii golf game. I feel he may.

Well I had best get the rest of the days projects done so I can relax a bit before hubby gets home.
Have a wonderful day enjoy these last days of summer. Sad.


Posted by PicasaWell here is little Audrey. She is learning to swim it seems. Well her Daddy has taught scuba diving so I suspect he can teach his little daughter to swim. Her mommy Diana said she loved splashing in the pool. How sweet.
Audrey is Jack's little cousin. I had four boy cousins when I growing up and we were just months apart in age. I imagine it was totally chaos when we were all together which was often.
I am so happy for Diana and her hubby Geoffrey Audrey is the perfect little daughter to make their dreams come true.
Bless your little family Diana.
Love, Aunty Zo.


Baby Jack is having fun with his Mommy and Daddy. How cute is this little boy?Seems he always has a smile or a laugh going I bet his personality is huge! I have yet to meet him.......darn.
This baby was so achingly wanted. Well I say he was certainly was worth the wait.
Thank you Jana for keeping me in your little family loop with all the photo's you send. You are a sweetheart.
Love Aunty Zo

Monday, August 29, 2011


Posted by PicasaA wonderful six days we spent on this lake with my brother. I took almost fifty photo's this place just urges you to use your camera.
As you see in the photo's there are Blue Heron's. There are many of these birds and they appear prehistoric when they lift their huge wings in flight. We never tired of watching them. The owls at night were so loud with their screeching it was hard for hubby to sleep in his little tent. I spent a night in the backpacking tent with him to hear their calls, oh how loud they were! Regardless every other aspect of this little adventure was wonderful. The food was simple and easy to prepare so it did not take away from my being self indulgent. I read all the magazines I toted along as well as a good deal of the sequel to  Under the Tuscan Sun which is called Bella Tuscany. Just more page turning details of life in the Tuscany region. I lazed the days away sprawled in my red beach chair reading and dozing and reading and dozing. Hubby took a photo of me just sacked out in the chair with glasses askew my book having dropped to the ground. I will not be posting that one.

Back home to reality. Piles of dirty camp smoked laundry to tend to. I ran early the next morning for a few groceries to tide us over until my regular grocery shopping day on Thursday. Hubby has been busy mowing lawns, cleaning the car and tending the garden. The thing about a garden is that you wait forever it seems for the veggies to come on and then when they do you are in a panic to use them all. Right now the tomatoes are so thick and heavy on the vines hubby had to reinforce them as well as the peppers. We have been eating bright red juicy tomatoes non stop since arriving home. Tomorrow evening we will have spaghetti made with fresh tomato sauce, oh what a difference that makes.
A tomato tart is on this weeks menu as well as we are making Salsa fresca. My husband and I just shared a tomato, sweet onion and cucumber sandwich all from our garden. It was so yummy with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on good nutty whole grain bread.
This afternoon I need to make up a big batch of zucchini relish to sit overnight in the fridge before processing in the morning. The rest of the week will be making zucchini bread and cucumber salads. 

We are going to my daughters and her honey's home for Labor Day weekend. They live in Vancouver WA. We will all watch the OREGON game on Saturday evening. All of us are big fans. I am sure we will have a grand time as they are such a fun couple. Hopefully my son will be able to join us also. So once again we will driving up the interstate to WA.

Once summer slips away and we slide into fall I will be better about posting food photo's and recipes. Seems I am just to busy to even think about it most evenings now. This after-all is a cooking blog (of sorts). I should have taken the time last night as we had a great meal. We love grilled flat iron steaks they are so tender and juicy if done correctly. I put my steak rub on both sides early in the day and tucked into the fridge. Hubby made his cucumber salad and I roasted Klondike Gold potatoes in the oven and I sliced up freshly picked tomatoes to go along side. The meal seemed like perfection to us, we hummed eating this simple summer meal.

I received new batches of baby photo's of little Jack and Audrey. So I will be posting those soon. What adorable little ones. Also I will post a photo of our heavy laden tomato plants.

I had better get on with my day once again it is a busy one.
You all enjoy the last dog days of summer, I am sure I will.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Posted by PicasaDon't you just love summer? When the underground sprinklers came on this morning early I took this photo in the center.It was much more grand viewed through the window with the sun sparkling off the water spray. Looked quite magical. 

I am going to share with you one of my fave summer recipes of all time.
6 fresh heirloom tomatoes(or substitute any other large garden variety)
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic
tablespoons butter 

fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream 
fresh cooked pasta
1 pound of medium shrimp deviened and peeled

Blanch and peel skins from tomatoes, chop tomatoes, put in bowl with the herbs and seasonings and let stand one hour. You can use fresh herbs is you like.
Melt butter in a large pan. Add onion and garlic and saute for 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic.
Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cook over medium heat 1/2 hour. (You can clean your shrimp while this cooks.) Add shrimp and continue to cook until the shrimp are pink, then stir in the cream and heat through.
Serve over fresh cooked pasta of your choice.

I make this several times in the summer. In place of shrimp you can use mushrooms or chicken. 

It is a glorious day here in the Willamette Valley. I am trying to glean as much from each day as possible as I know it is a count down until fall.

When we return from Silver Lake I will need to make more zucchini relish as the zucchini's are taking over once more. I have given away most of the previous batches I have made this season. I will have to keep what I make now so we will have it to last us through the winter.
The other evening I made hubby meatloaf as he does love it and likes sandwiches from the leftovers. I served up the meatloaf with a little zucchini relish ladled to the side. That was a great combination of sweet and tart with the tender meatloaf with it's glistening glaze.
What I do for a glaze on meatloaf is this. In a small bowl put in about a third cup of ketchup add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a couple teaspoons of brown sugar a little salt and pepper. Mix well and spread over the top of the meatloaf. Try this, it is good. 

Well I must get back to folding clothes. It turned out being my laundry day today. I am hoping for a hour or so on the deck this afternoon with my nose in yet another book.
Till Later.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Posted by PicasaFor those of you who have only seen the movie the book is really a good read. And of course as with all books made into a screenplay much was changed for the film version.
I enjoyed this book so much. Buying a home in Italy is as distant for me as living on the moon. Even traveling to Italy now seems out of reach. So to read a book that is so descriptive of the Tuscany region an area inhabited by Etruscan's long before Romans is a treasure. The book leads you on an adventure, page after page of exploring and enjoying this ancient region. I walked through the rooms with the author, I cooked with her in her makeshift kitchen, I worked with her in the olive grove and could almost taste the white pears simmering in red wine that was a favorite desert. The book also has rustic summer and winter recipes indigenous of the land. As all the ingredients for cooking come from the area living off the land is totally a truism there it is a way of life that has sustained for centuries. 
In the photo is the Villa Barmasole that was restored by Francis Mayes the author and her husband Ed. When purchased it was nothing but a crumbling hovel but with good bones as they say. The stone wall above the house dates from the 8th century B.C. Hard to comprehend.  So once again I have fallen in love with a book. I finished the last chapter this morning while having my coffee and as the last words came to an end I regretfully closed the book, traced my fingers over the cover and tenderly placed it in my bookcase.

The Willamette valley is amazing today. I sense a touch of autumn has begun. The sky is a deeper blue, there is a shift in the air, leaves have started to drift down from the tree over hanging our deck and geese have flown over the house the past two mornings.  I know before to long the nights will be cooler and the days will become shorter but I so want the summer warmth to linger into October.

Today I am out to the farms to buy assorted vegetables and fruits. I just now looked at the time and I had best get on with my to-do's. The day as I say is slip sliding away.
I do have dinner prep underway however. Tonight we are using the grill basket and into the basket I will toss, assorted peppers, onions, zucchini of course and garlic. I will drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until all is getting somewhat charred. Then I will toss in large marinated shrimp and squeeze fresh lemon over until all is sizzling and the shrimp are pink. This will be served over white rice and to the side I will serve fresh garlic green beans.
This is why the run to the farm today. Veggies and more veggies. Oh summer how heavenly you are!

Have a great day! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Posted by PicasaThis where we cook and dine. I sent photo's to my friend that has not had the opportunity to come to our home so I thought I would post a few of them. It is nice to have a visual when I am chatting away about spending time in my kitchen.

It is a splendid day today though at it's beginning I was not a believer it would turn out that way. But the morning clouds quickly gave way to bottomless blue sky and lots of sunshine.

Hubby at work again today as he will be all week.  I love this time alone to plan my days and I have been getting much accomplished without interruption.
Yesterday I deep cleaned the living room and today it was the family room and nook. I will do the kitchen later as that entails a long day as there is much to do.

I had a lovely walk this morning just as the clouds were breaking. Sunday mornings are usually quiet in the neighborhood. As I walked the sidewalks this morning my senses filled with cooking smells. Pancakes and maple syrup at this house, bacon across the street well you get the idea. Folks were retrieving their newspapers in their morning robes and slippers. All seemed very lazy this morning. 
There is a sweet cat that likes to follow me most mornings. She does not go far with me maybe a half block at most but she is chattering all the way. I wish I knew what she was talking about.
On my route there is an attractive home that is kept in perfect order. The grounds are immaculate, flowers brighten the walkways and their windows always gleam. As I passed this morning the Mr. of the house was washing his bright yellow vintage corvette in the shade. Wow, I said what an amazing car. He answered, well I am like a kid with my toys, it is what keeps me going. I suppose he is right whatever it is that rings our bell we hold on to more dearly  as years go by. Knowing you are on the down side of your life makes you appreciate everything so much more. Good health, family, friends, your home whatever it may be.  You want to treasure every thing that is precious to you, and hang on tight and not forget for a moment what life means. Like walking in the sun and morning air so fresh and full of natures breath, I just want to suck it up into my being. There is just so much to appreciate in life when we focus on the good.

Well on that spiritual note I will now adjourn to my new little red chair on the deck that is so comfy and finish my book. I have a chapter or two at most to go and I will leave a dear friend once again when the last page turns.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Posted by PicasaHere is where we will be soon. We certainly hope the weather holds so we can enjoy all the outdoors has to offer in this lovely area.
I am sure you recognize Mt. St. Helen's looming in the background. When I was a little girl and living on the Oregon side of the Columbia river we saw Mt. St. Helen's from our living room windows. At that time it was shaped like a big ice cream cone. That was long before it blew it's top. In my child hood life we took many day trips toward that mountain, usually to spend the day at Spirit Lake which is no more since the volcano spewed everything into that lake and filled it up. The scenery is still very beautiful driving toward the mountain as so much has grown back and flourished. 

Today here in Eugene it is quite dull out at this point. We have low coastal clouds that are still hanging on. I hope they do burn off soon as the bright sun brings me energy. As it is I feel like taking a nap and it is to early for even the briefest little cat nap.
I was out and about this morning early. I needed a few fresh veggies for our dinner tonight and really would have preferred to get what I needed at the farm. But on a Saturday it is not a good idea. Those farms are just packed with folks on the weekends.  
I also went to World Market to buy a beach chair that hubby I saw there the other day.  I wanted the red stripped one but they were sold out at $20 each which was a good buy. But today when I went in I choose a red one the only color left and took it to check out. She said that will be $7.50. Was I hearing right $7.50? Yes they had been discounted again. I said I will take two and ran and grabbed another. So now I am the happy owner of two bright red lounging beach chairs.............what deal. Made my morning.

Hubby are making a collaborative effort toward this evening's meal. I will chop and slice and he will cook. We are fixing Lecho his fave Hungarian  dish. He learned this dish from his father. It is yummy and fun to make.
All you do is slice about four green bell peppers add to a pot with a sliced onion, some garlic, salt, pepper and lots of paprika and cook down a bit then add two large cans of whole tomatoes in juice. Simmer till the tomatoes are cooked down and break them down more with a wooden spoon. Add your choice of sausage. For this dish we like smoked turkey kielbasa,  just cut into thick slices and add to the pot. Now you just let all meld together for a hour or so. I just had a thought maybe I should toss in some diced zucchini I am sure there is one waiting in the garden. Serve this hearty mixture over boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice or noodles. This dish has a rich red color the peppers and onions so tender they melt in your mouth. This is a mouthful of big flavor. We make enough to eat on the next day as it is even better after sitting over night.

This afternoon I have a little project that I will enjoy. I am going to deep clean my living room. I will rearrange a few things and change some accessories out. I like doing this every few months. A bit of a change, sparkling windows and clean hardwood floors makes me a happy woman.
Well no time like the present to get started.

Have a nice Saturday. 
Till later.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Posted by Picasa Ah the joys of summer they unfold and wrap around me like warm sunlight.
Here sits zucchini relish, a photo of the loaded green tomato plants slowly ripening and hubby's Hungarian peppers mostly yellow now but on the way to dark red. There was a red one already he enjoyed it very much. He also has carefully been munching on the cherry bomb peppers quite a bit of heat in those little guys. One must be careful and not bite off more than one can chew!
I have been making specialty ice tea's for me. Hubby likes his plain and simple. Tea and water. In this batch I added lemon slices and mint from the herb barrel. There is nothing more refreshing on a warm sticky summer day than a big glass of sun tea poured over lots of ice. Yum!

This afternoon I will be back at the zucchini. Today I am blanching, icing and loading into freezer bags once more. However the batches today will be chopped instead of sliced. They then can then be added to spaghetti, soups sauces or whatever. The zucchini stay a bright green due to the icing process they are very smart looking sitting in their freezer bags. What a welcomed treat it will be to bring summers bounty to a winter table.

Well hubby and I have been working on our list for our Silver Lake camping trip not sure when that will be but between a break in the work schedule.
My honey is quite taken with the idea of camping without an RV. We have  always had a RV of some sort it seems. Two years ago we sold our motor coach. We felt we did not use it enough for the cost it entailed. Now we are thinking perhaps next year we may buy a small trailer. It would not be such a large investment and we think would work well for us. We generally go to places near by and spend time,rather than use up our precious time traveling to far destinations. So some ideas are rumbling about in our heads.

Well I have my house chores done. I mopped the main bath hardwood floors with Dr. Bonners peppermint soap today. The entire house now  smells of peppermint.
We are making a huge salad for tonight's dinner and I will make some cheese toasts to go with. Nice light summer fare.

Have a glorious summer day, I intend to.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Posted by PicasaHere they are my two good friends. I had a wonderful time with them yesterday at the RV park here in Eugene where they stayed while traveling through.
They are still so in love and just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Now how many people can say that? Not many I am thinking. They are best friends just as my hubby and I are. To enjoy each others company so that you do not need the distraction of others is a gift in a marriage and one that I appreciate so much. 
These folks are still the same year after year. Seems not much changes except time changes us and we cannot do all we did as when we were younger. But we do our outright best. As in Steve's case battling through one health issue after another but he is still strong and humorous and traveling and doing the things he enjoys. Judy is my high school friend and a dear friend all these years since, seems certain bonds do not break and I am grateful for that.
So a good time with treasured friends yesterday that was so enjoyed by each of us.

Today I am back in the world of zucchini does it never end? I ran out the other day to buy more pint jars for relish and zucchini pickles. Today I am back in the kitchen again as the zucchini gives birth daily.
I need not make dinner however as last night I made a divine spaghetti sauce with the last of our tomato sauce I put up from last years crop. This sauce is bright red and taste like fresh plucked tomatoes. So tonight we will have left over's and  I will make a fresh salad from the garden to go with. So at least no dinner prep to speak of tonight.

Hubby said this morning he will have a short day on Thursday and wants to go to Ambrosia once more for Happy Hour and have their amazing brick oven pizza. So he need not twist this gals arm, my mouth is always ready for a bite of crispy crust and silky cheese....... heaven.

I am going to close now and go to the kitchen and start my day of pickling, relish and bread making. I have the doors standing open and will put the internet to Pandora radio and listen to my fave cooking music. That would be French Cafe. I adore that music to chop, mince and dice to!

The sun has moved out from broken bits of clouds this morning and is shinning bright. Oh how the loads of green tomatoes will love this day.
La Dolce Vita!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Posted by PicasaI am back from my little adventure. Enjoyed the companionship with my friend we never stopped talking. Did not enjoy the clouds of mosquito's nor the lakes high water covering the beaches. The few places that were accessible to the water there were to many folks about.  So it felt crowded though there were very few people. We were constantly swatting at the mosquito's though we sprayed ourselves with repellent. I am no fan of mosquito's and with the lake so high it was not the usual experience there. However the weather was amazing. Warm days and frigid nights and the deep blue skies and water contrasting with the lush green of the trees seeped deep into my soul. I have been needing a nature fix and this was it.

I came back to the fridge in the garage stuffed full of zucchini, yikes. So today I start using it up as more is ready in the garden. I really fear we planted to many this year. Tonight I am going to make some zucchini cakes to go along with lemon/garlic grilled chicken and a salad with our garden veggies. I am going to make some zucchini pickles this afternoon. Tomorrow I will run early to the store for ingredients for more zucchini relish and zucchini bread.

I am meeting up with friends that are traveling though on Monday. They will be staying the night at a RV park nearby. I am looking forward to spending the afternoon with them. 
There will be a getaway to Silver Lake WA. hopefully with hubby. He will go with me if he is not in the midst of a job. He started one big job today and will continue on to another very large project but maybe he can find a little time for fun.
I am certainly hoping for a long summer well into fall. We were cheated out of a warm spring and summer was late arriving also. There is much we still want to do before the rains come and the damp sets in.

I must walk now as that has not occurred yet today. I was busy this morning with house things.
Enjoy the weekend. It is so lovely here I hope to spend some time outdoors this afternoon if I am not mired in zucchini.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I was busy at this project early this morning. I only made a half recipe however. To make this amount it took three large zucchini's. I still have several hanging out in the fridge. I was chasing time though this morning and in a hurry to get out the door for my walk and then on for grocery shopping.
I will say when this mixture is cooking on the stove the whole house smells like you are making pickles only with a lovely warm spice aroma. I love it.
So I have six assorted size jars sitting on my counter, brings pleasure to my heart.
The recipe is posted on my 8-30-10 blog titled Zucchini Relish.

What a day shopping for groceries. Doesn't anyone work anymore? You could not even move down the isle, all the check stands were backed up. No where to park bah humbug!
Then on to the gas station which was worse. You would think gas was free. I was fifth in line and of course got into the wrong line as always. I was at the gas station for over twenty minutes.
Then to the bank. That was the only place I did not have to wait. However getting back on the main street was a nightmare. Traffic w backed up forever. I am thinking is it a holiday? Nope checked the calendar. What the hey?
I was very happy to be back home in my quiet peaceful atmosphere.

I am packing this afternoon for my little getaway with my gal pal. The weather is suppose to be wonderful. I love Crescent Lake and as I have mentioned before I have been going there since I was a young woman of 18. I hope to have my ashes scattered along the edges of this lake in the high mountains.

This is short today as time is limited.
I will not blog again until I am back home. I will take the camera and intend on taking some photo's of this beautiful area.
Good bye for now.