Thursday, September 29, 2011


Posted by PicasaThe pie was so yummy. Actually this is a photo of a previous apple pie as my camera battery needs recharging. I was able to take the photo last night but not load it to my computer photo program. But it is the same pie and recipe I always make, so here goes.

Zo's pie crust and her Mom's apple pie.
For double crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick well chilled all vegetable shortening or 3/4 cup of same
6-8 tablespoons  ice cold water

Blend flour and salt in mixing bowl.
Cut chilled shortening into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture using a pastry blender in a up and down chopping fashion until mixture resembless coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining. 
Sprinkle half the amount of recommended ice water over the flour mixture.
Using a fork stir flour from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Add more water by the tablespoon until the dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together. If dough is still crumbly add more ice water.
Shape dough into two balls and then flatten balls into two disc's. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least a half hour or up to two days. The dough needs to be chilled well.
When rolling the dough roll away from center of disc on a work surface lightly covered with flour. Make your circle two inches wider than than pie plate for the bottom crust. 

Apple pie.
6 cups peeled and thinly sliced gravenstein apples (these are usually only found at farm stands if you cannot find them use Granny Smith)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 egg for egg wash for crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Put peeled apples in a bowl and add the lemon and mix well.
In a separate bowl add the sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Mix well.
Add this mixture to the apples and stir to incorporate.
Put the apple mixture into the pie crust in a nine inch pie plate.
Cover with top crust and crimp the edges. Cut vent holes into the top of the pie. It is fun to use your imagination here. There are lots of cute idea's. I have a apple cookie cutter so I use that some time or my star shaped one. Just press onto the dough and press in until the dough slices then remove the cookie cutter but leave the dough in place. Or you can just cut slits or little circles or whatever you prefer.
Then using a whip or a fork whip the egg till frothy and using a brush, brush onto the crust except for the fluted edge.  I then like to add a sprinkle of sugar all over the crust.

Set the pie on a baking pan lined with foil (just in case it juices over)
Pop in oven and bake 45-50 minutes or until juices and bubbles appear and the crust is golden brown.

Then cool, grab a fork and dig in! So good.
Yes it does take time but it is apple pie from scratch.
If you think you cannot make or want to deal with the crust, just buy Pillsbury premade pie crust in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. They are certainly no match for homemade but you can still have pie!

That is all for today as I have much to do this morning. Hubby will be home about one or so. I want my all my chores done early as it is to be in the low eighties today and I am going to be outside soaking up this early fall sun.

We are prolonging summer this evening as we are grilling burgers with the works. I am also making a bean dish have not figured out what as yet. Maybe just a mixed bean pot of various canned beans, peppers and onions and make sauce to simmer them in.
For desert? Apple pie and vanilla ice cream of course!
That's all for now must walk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Posted by PicasaMy fave time of year! Oh I had so much fun this afternoon decorating for fall and I also put out some Halloween decor also.
This is cozy-homey time for me. 
The chilly house and the black windows when we struggle out of bed in the morning is a reminder of what is around the very near corner. But it is not here yet so rejoice and enjoy autumns beauty. There is nothing more pristine or fresher than the first fall air, it is edged with cold in the morning and  sun softened in the afternoon. The sky is the deepest blue of all the seasons and cloud puffs are of the brightest white. It truly seems to me I could reach up and pluck one from the sky.

I making my deep dish apple pie this afternoon as I picked up the apples earlier at the farm. I make my pie crust and let it sit in plastic wrap in the fridge for about an hour before rolling. So while it sits I work on the apples  and other ingredients for the pie. I like to make the top crust cute with little apple cutouts. I also like to glaze the top with an egg wash and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. This little extra step just makes the top crust glisten. Oh, the house will smell so good when hubby walks through the door later. One sniff and he will be a happy man, I guarantee. I love to do little things for him like this. He works so very hard for us so I try to make him happy in anyway I can.
I will take a photo of the pie and post the recipe tomorrow if I have not done so on a previous blog.

I need to get to the kitchen now and get busy on the pie.
I hope you are enjoying your fall days in the manner that touches you.
I know I am.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Posted by PicasaWell my fall wreath went on the front door yesterday and we picked the last of the tomatoes. So I am done with the preserving until next year. I made the last batch of pasta sauce yesterday and pickled the rest of the peppers. Amen. Now on onward and upward to other projects. The first of which starts today. I must deal with this office it is so out of control at this point. I am proposing a few hours in here at the least. I always feel so good when all is in it's place orderly and caught up. 

It is lightly raining this morning but I do have the doors open as it is warm and quite muggy. I will wait to see what happens with the rain before walking. I am hoping it will let up. Even though this rain is light it is constant this morning and I would definitely get wet.
Yesterday the sky was very interesting. A blurry wash of grays and blues and the sun would occasionally be in the mix as it sailed though the clouds. Rain was a distinct possibility but it stayed dry.
It was so black this morning when we slipped out of bed at six-thirty. I had a hard time clearing sleep from my head. I was walking around opening cupboards and staring inside and then closing the doors without removing a thing. Hubby said, what are you doing? Did I know? Coffee helped me thank goodness.

I will be putting together a brown gravy stew in the slow cooker this morning. Lots of vegetables and sirloin steak. I have a nice loaf of filone bread to bake all crispy to go with. So comfort food tonight. Seems right on a rainy fall day.

I best get myself around as I say and be ready to walk when the sky brightens.
Enjoy your Tuesday.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Posted by PicasaHubby and I spent a few hours in our kitchen yesterday we were busy little chefs. Left on top is more roasted tomatoes with shallots, green peppers and garlic I made more pasta sauce from this to freeze. The bottom left photo is my doings also. A blackberry cobbler made with our fresh berries and served last night with Umqua dairy local ice cream. I can tell you we were humming and oh how it brought back to me the flavors of my childhood.
To right is hubby's Hungarian Lecho that he makes for me occasionally. The dish consists of sausage,  green peppers, onions, garlic, paprika and in this case a hefty helping of fresh tomatoes then all cooks down to incorporate the flavors as it simmers for a couple of hours until all the veggies are tender and melded. All we do is make garlic toast to go with.
To the bottom right is salsa that hubby made yesterday. He roasted a variety of peppers on the grill mostly jalenpeno's. The sauce is green brown and smokey! He loves it. 
So tonight we will have leftovers which works as we are going out for a bite this afternoon after stopping to shop at Trader Joe's for a few staples we buy there.

It is another heavenly day in Eugene one of the last I fear as it shows rain coming in on Sunday. However the long range forecast does call for a day or two of showers then back to sun and clouds but at normal fall temp's.

Tomorrow we have the OREGON game against ARIZONA. Even though we are the faves it could be an interesting game. At this point who really knows what is going with the Ducks. We are not having company for the game it is a late game and I do so like to sprawl on my sofa during evening games. We are just going to grab a pizza to bake we like doing that sometimes.
We were going to go out for pizza this week but then we thought NO we cannot have pizza twice in a week that is just to indulgent.

Well enough chatter it is time to head out the door with hubby for our little afternoon.
If you are having lovely weather today as we are make sure to enjoy it if possible as there are not many days left that will be this lovely.
That's all for now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Posted by PicasaPeter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Not sure I know the answer to that but I know how many peppers that hubby picked from our garden. Two huge bowls full.
So this how I came to be pickling peppers what else to do you cannot eat them all fresh or in salsa. So I added what I had on hand to the peppers jars which was onion, celery and carrots.  Makes for a festive looking jar with the many different colored peppers.
I used a basic vinegar, salt and water brim but added to that pickling spice and a tad of sugar to mellow out the vinegar. Hubby is not to keen on the taste but eatable he says. I think perhaps it is the pickling spice. So next time I will make it up without that. Always new things to learn.

Our weather again today is one of the most amazing days we have had this year. Pristine and picture perfect. I am so loving this weather, this last gasp of summer drifting into fall at a slow slide is so easy on the body and soul.
We may make drive out through wine country tomorrow for a last breath of summer and have lunch at King Estate. This time of year most all is yellow in the fields but the evergreens bring a bright green to the landscapes edges. Our lunch at King Estate was so amazing early spring when we were there we are hoping to have the same experience. You know one last hurrah before the rain comes.

Tonight in our kitchen I am making a potato cheese casserole with scallions and sour cream and Monterrey jack cheese. I will grill pork steak bites that have been sitting in the  fridge with my steak rub and will add corn on the cob with honey butter to the mix. So a summer fix I suppose. Who knows how long we will be bbq'ing.

I have a thought for the day. 
Do not worry about a thing.
What good does worry do?
What will be will be if you have done all that you can do.
Relax and let life have it's way with you.
A day at a time is a comfort.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Posted by PicasaSarah and I had lunch yesterday afternoon on our deck. It was such a nice visit and we chatted for hours. I so enjoy hearing about her adventures in foreign countries and her idea's on many issues and what she plans on bringing to her life. She is a smart delightful girl and I know she will live a full and very interesting life as she just exudes a vitality for living.

Today is a stellar early fall day. I was out on the deck a bit ago sweeping a few leaves from it that had floated down from the trees. The sky is that deep cobalt blue that seems to hold your eye and draw you in.   
There is a tiny breeze with autumns breath and the sunlight makes me dizzy with happiness. Oh a lovely day to be alive.

I walked early this morning through an awaking neighborhood the sun barely edging the streets. I have already accomplished much today so the afternoon will be together time for hubby and I. Dinner will be simple this evening. Grilled shrimp scattered in with a skillet of fresh chopped tomatoes and zucchini and  peppers and garlic. I will make a pot of Cal Rose rice to ladle the shrimp and veggies over. Simple, fast and light.

Well as to not waste a precious moment of this glorious day I will say goodbye at this time.
OREGON game tomorrow, family coming over. GO DUCKS!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well this is what is happening right now in our garden and kitchen. More and more tomatoes they fill this big bowl each day. The casserole is a fave of the family. Chicken, cheesy, creamy enchilada's. I think my grandson Tyson goes to heaven when this hits his lips! It is so very good and creamy rich and I have posted the recipe on a previous blog. 

We had a nice little weekend short but sweet in Bend with family. We encountered a smokey pass on the drive there and back. Not enjoyable at all. Usually that drive is such a treat but this trip was miserable. I held two tissues over my nose and mouth for many miles. Poor hubby could only drive and try to inhale as little as possible. My car smells like a forest fire at this point. I have been trying to air it out and finally gave in and bought some new car smell air freshener I surely hope it helps. So sad the forest fires but I think it is natures way of taking care of what needs to be done and then ultimately all is regrown and renewed.

Today was a day of making more zucchini relish, roasted tomato and garlic sauce and freezing berries. So my day was full of processing once more in my kitchen. I must say I do have a feeling of pride and thankfulness when I look in my freezer and see all the items I have made up and processed. We will so enjoy all this bounty in the coming months. I can see how this can become addictive. As I fill each shelf in the freezer I want more items to take up more shelves. I feel fortunate that in this time of my life I am home and not working so I can do this for my hubby and I.

We sat out in the garden late afternoon and sopped us what sun was available to us. These last rays of summer are so appreciated.

My niece Sarah is coming tomorrow to hang out with me. I will make us a yummy treat. I am thinking, tomato, basil and cheese panini's with a little green salad with farm stand veggies and homemade dressing. A light lunch with a cold white table wine to go with should be perfect. I am hoping the sun will be out bright for us so we can eat at the patio table.

Well the dinner mess from this evening is still sitting on the ktichen counter top. So I must get that cleaned up and get in my cozy clothes and chill the rest of the evening. I feel relaxed and full...........not a bad way to feel really.

Today is hump day for lots of folks so enjoy and know there are only two days left of your work week. It feels so good as I remember.


Friday, September 9, 2011


Posted by PicasaWell this is the process. The finished product on the left, to top right the tomatoes after roasting, pan below ready to go into the oven.
I did make a error though on the oven temp on yesterday's blog. Oven best set at 450 degree's then 30 minutes is just about right. Really go more by looks than time. You want the tomatoes to start to blacken a bit on the edges of their skins. But do not overdo as you also want them  juicy inside.
I took off the skins and threw them into the food processor with the roasted garlic cloves and a little of the juice and whirred away.  Then added that mixture and the tomatoes without the skins and all the juice to the blender to puree. Then you can either put into a quart mason jar or freezer zip lock bag and freeze. You cannot believe the roasted tomato and garlic flavor this sauce has. I only added salt and pepper.
So I will look forward to thawing that sauce later this year for pasta sauce. I will just heat in a skillet add a dash of cream, ladle over pasta and sprinkle with good quality Parmesan cheese. Just one of the many ways I will use this basic sauce. I love flavorful and creamy sauces.

We are leaving in the morning for Central OR. hopefully the smoke from the forest fire along the route will not hinder us. I am looking forward to being with hubby's family and enjoying that beautiful area on the other side of the mountains from us.

Tonight we are having summer fare once again. We must eat tomatoes of course so I am fixing BLT's on sourdough along with our left over macaroni salad. Last night I bagged the idea of chicken sandwiches I wanted to skip the bread. So we had grilled chicken breasts with the mac salad, corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes, cukes and onions in a tangy vinaigrette. That made for a much lighter meal. I did dine outdoors but alone. Hubby was hot and tired and preferred to be in the air conditioned house watching college football.

Well I am out the door for my morning walk. Then I need to run and gas the car for our little trip. Gas is high once again, are there truly honest reasons?

Thought for the day!
Smile at everyone you see today, there is always a change of energy and you both will feel it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Posted by PicasaI took this photo from our front door early this morning.
There is a forest fire burning up by the Santiam Pass the fire is causing a little smoke to drift over into our valley.
We are planning a little trip to Bend in Central Oregon on Saturday however this fire is now burning about four miles from the highway. We will have to keep an eye on this fire so we do not start up the pass and get turned back. Fire in this area is quite common as you travel across the mountains the face of the landscape has been altered many times.

My day yesterday, how did I spend my free afternoon? Well it was a combination of pleasure and projects. So a good choice on my part it was an enjoyable day as today will be.

I started my day with a long walk very early this morning. I was a little chilly as the sun was not high enough in the sky to warm me. That actually was fine as it made me walk even faster.
I noticed that a few of the trees are starting to turn they will be displaying their amazing colors soon. It is a stunning time of year in the valley when all is red and gold. However all the beauty comes to an end when the rains start. Then decaying soggy leaves litter the sidewalks and streets throughout the winter. Then we long for spring so the cycle can continue. Oh life it is a wonder.

Tonight in Zo's Kitchen I am serving up grilled chicken breasts on sesame seed buns. We will top them with jack cheese and our garden tomatoes,  sweet onion, shredded lettuce then generously sauced with zucchini relish and mustard for a tangy zip. I am making a small old fashioned macaroni salad like my mom always made. So a fun little summer meal. I would like to eat outdoors at the patio table this evening but that is doubtful with the heat we are to have today.

I talked to my brother yesterday. He is his home for a few days after leaving his nest at the lake. He calls it, reloading. He brings home his dirty laundry and takes fresh back. He resupplies his food items, catches up on mail etc and then back to the lake for a few more days or a week or so. It is a nice way to live in summer. I am pleased for him as it gives him a reprieve from the long dreary winter days spent at home.

Today I am going to spend some time deep cleaning our bedroom. Changing the sheets alone on a king size bed is a chore in itself. I must wax our bedroom furniture, clean the hardwood floors, wash the mirrors and windows, well now I am thinking most of the afternoon will spent on this task.
Later before hubby gets home I will pick some blackberries in our side yard to add to our stash in the freezer to make jam with at a later date.
Right now I am going to oven roast the tomatoes that are overtaking the kitchen counter. 
This is what you do.
Oven roasted tomatoes:
Use a large roasting pan with sides high enough to collect the juice. Usually the pan that comes with your oven works great. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of  the pan, cut the tomatoes in half and lay flat side down, scatter a handful of peeled garlic cloves and whatever herbs you like (basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, oregano work well) or keep it just simple with the garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle some more olive oil over all and roast at 425 degree's for about 25 minutes. After the tomatoes have cooled to the touch you can easily lift off their skins or if you prefer just leave them on.
I like to remove them throw them in the food processor with some of juice from the pan and whir them up and then add them back to the tomatoes  put all in Zip lock freezer bags and toss in the freezer. 
Then all through the winter you can thaw and use in soups, pasta sauces, most anything that calls for tomato sauce. The roasted flavor really comes through. What a nice burst of summer on a cold stormy night.

I had better leave you now as it appears I have much to do today and time is sliding by.
I'm off!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Posted by Picasa Well first let me apologize for the photo. This dish did not photograph properly due to the fact I could not set the camera to (not flash) for some reason. So it is what it is.
This dish is a burst of bright mingling flavors of tender shrimp with sauteed veggies and fresh diced tomatoes and chili's served over our favorite Cal Rose short grain rice. 

Here is the recipe.
1 cup of onion chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 med size green, red or yellow pepper about 3/4 cup
1 cup of diced celery
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 can of diced tomatoes with their juice. ( I used fresh tomatoes from our garden. I diced them and put them in a bowl with a bit of salt to they would release their juices I let them sit about a hour.)
1 can of fire roasted diced chili's
1 1/4 lb of cleaned, deveined shrimp
1/2 cup of sliced scallions (opt)
Hot cooked white rice

I a large deep skillet saute the onion in the oil and butter mixture till tender.
Add the pepper, celery, garlic, tomatoes and chili's. Cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add paprika and shrimp. Stir  cook another 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.
Serve over hot rice. Scatter with sliced scallions if desired.

This simple little recipe has a tiny bit of a bite but if you like more heat just sprinkle a little hot sauce of your choice over the top.
Ladle over white rice and a nice accompaniment is corn on the cob. Enjoy!

This morning I was out and about early in an attempt to have time this afternoon to do my own thing............but at this point what is it I want to do? I like the freedom of that my mind is a whir with possibilities.

I had my weekly grocery shopping done in a wink as there was no one in the store early. The bank had just opened so I was the first drive thru customer of the day. Then a nice little drive out to the farm where I get my veggies again I dashed about so fast. I was back home in no time, a tad over a hour. Way to go Zo! As you know I hate to waste time shopping for anything.

Well I do have a few little things to attend to now. Then the day is mine, all mine. Will I waste it doing nothing but reading and being self indulgent, or will I take on a project listed on my ever growing project list that presents itself to me every morning on the front of my fridge ?

Enjoy your day whatever it is you are doing. It is going to heat up here into the nineties. I am happy for the air conditioning today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Posted by PicasaThese are some campground shots of Silver Cove R.V. park where we stayed with my brother at Silver Lake recently. 

We have been busy of late it seems. Just back vacation for six days then off to Vancouver WA. to spend the Labor Day weekend with my daughter Gina and her guy Doug. We had a fun time with them. Doug had a fridge full of seafood for us to snack and dine on. My daughter had her little specialty snacks and food items for the Oregon game. I think I will not add anything about that game at this time. Sunday our hosts took us over to the Oregon side of the Columbia river to a sweet little place called "The Deck". It is a floating bar and eatery on the river. We sat and had a variety of appetizers while watching the boat traffic on the river. The day was luminous well actually the whole weekend was amazing weather.
At night we had fires in the fire bowl and stayed till wee hours outdoors watching the stars blink on. It is now good to be home for a while to recharge my batteries while hubby works to make money.
Our next little foray will be over to Central Oregon to visit my husbands family. Then off to Lincoln City with Gina and Doug next month. We are getting a nice condo on the beach for the four of us. There will a big brunch one morning. Lots of walks on the beach if the weather permits. Both my daughter and I love beach walks. Of course we will try our luck at the casino and just hang out and have a relaxed time.

The berry pie I took to share this past weekend was so yummy. I have always made the same recipe out of my Mom's old cookbook for as I long as I can remember.When the pie bakes and aromas of berry juice and pie crust fill the house it brings back such lovely memories of her.
A few years ago my niece Sarah came to my kitchen and we made berry pies together. Crust from scratch with pretty cutouts on top glazed with egg wash to make the crust glisten. I made a pie and Sarah made a pie for her family.
My heart was full to the brim as I watched her walk down the sidewalk holding that pie like a prize to be shared with her family. It was a good time in the kitchen that day.

Doug sent us home with seafood once again so I am making a Shrimp Etouffee. It is an easy but amazing dish served over rice. I will take a photo this evening and share the recipe on tomorrows blog.
Last night we made a big seafood louie with my homemade thousand island dressing  The salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, our garden tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet onions, dungeness crab meat and medium sized boiled chilled shrimp and chopped hard boiled eggs. I served it up with garlic toast. It was a light but filling dinner and if you like seafood a perfect summer meal.

On a personal note I am tired today and my throat feels a little hot and thick. I surely hope I have not picked anything up. I rarely get a thing so it is just a passing thing I feel.
I have another load of laundry to run and if the energy holds I will thoroughly clean the deck today. It is in dire need of a good scrubbing.
This time of year all begins to look so scraggly. The flowers dull and are untamed in their pots and other plants are going to seed. So I need to do some plant and flower maintenance as well.  Then as usual my nose will be in yet another good book later this afternoon. This is quite a good tale. Speaking of which, the last book I read was written by an author that lives here in Eugene.  She teaches writing at the university. The book was very engaging and kept my attention. She writes in much detail and leads you along nicely from one page to the next. Her name is Cai Emmons. The name of the book is, "His Mother's Son". It is a suspenseful and gripping story certainly a good read.

Well back to the rest of my day it is marching on without me. I must jump back in.