Saturday, December 29, 2012

NEW YEARS EVE


Posted by PicasaNew years eve is always a special evening for us.
However through the years I do not think we have had two exactly the same.
In our first years as a couple we sometimes went to New Years parties or hosted parties or at other times had a very romantic evening at home just the two of us.
When we moved to Eugene in the early nineties we started a new tradition. We would go to a very elegant dinner downtown usually at the top of the Hilton or sometimes at another favorite restaurant adorned in our finest attire.
Then home for a decadent desert and more champagne to ring the New Year at Times Square via the telle.
I suppose my most favorite is staying home having a lovely dinner that we prepare together, good champagne, and an over the top desert and playing games listening to our favorite music until it is time for the countdown at Time's Square.
However in years past there have been several eve's that we have fallen asleep before the ball dropped.
This year is different again from last year where we went to my hubby's family for a rather large gathering.
Monday night will find us still in our decorated Christmas home with the table festive with a New Years motif. New Years eve's hats awaiting to be plopped on heads if desired.
We are having hubby's sis and husband, it will be just the four of us this year. We will sit down to a dinner of thick creamy clam chowder with crusty bread and Cesar salad. For desert I am making a rich dark chocolate pudding with whipped cream.
We will have champagne on hand and also a white table wine.
Games are in order as we four enjoy that. Then if we are not crashed at midnight we will watch the countdown.
So a simple night, uncomplicated in any way to usher in 2013.

I am having a lovely today. I had no need to rush getting up this morning so I slept in until eight AM. I slowly read the paper with two cups of coffee and one Christmas cookie. Then I came to office and read my e-mails and returned a couple and peeked at FB.
I tidy'd the house, showered, took a short walk and here I am. A relaxed and feel good day even though it is gray once again outdoors and it is cold, brrrr was all I could think while walking. I was happy to come through the front door and leave the chill behind.

We certainly enjoyed the wok veggies and rice last night. As I did not add any broth to the veggies last night tonight's leftovers will be morphed in a chop suey of sorts. I am going to boil spaghetti noodles, drain and add chicken broth to the veggies and serve over the hot noodles with soy sauce(our version) is Brag's amino acids soy an alternative that is so tasty without salt.

We have the Oregon State game to watch this afternoon. We are hoping that the Beavers do well. So we will be cheering on OSU. I even have on a orange and black shirt for the occasion.
Needless to say we are primed for our Oregon game with Kansas State on the 3rd. I certainly hope for my husband's sake we win that one. Or it will be grim state of affairs in this household to say the least!

I am off now to read for a while. My book is a page turner as they say. I will fix a cup of hot tea to enjoy while reading. I really like having a cup or so of tea in the afternoon. And I do take mine like the English with a bit of milk. My English grandmother would be so proud.

Have a nice Saturday.





Thursday, December 27, 2012

AFTER CHRISTMAS


Posted by PicasaI took this photo off the internet. I just looked up winter scenes.  This photo is lovely and spiritual looking I think.

We had a very enjoyable Christmas and it was so grand having my son Mike here with us. So it was the three of us sharing stories, good food and drink and gifts. Also we three made plans to get together this coming month. My hubby and son want to make a snowmobile day trip up into the MT. Hood area.  Mike lives out toward the mountain on the east side of Portland so it is not to terribly far for a snow outing. It is fun to plan. I will keep the home fires burning at my son's house and be cooking some comfort food for when they return from their little adventure.

So now that Christmas is over and the ham and the deserts are lacking luster and the needles are dropping off the Christmas tree into piles onto the hardwood floor I am ready for a change. I will leave the decor and tree up until the 1st of the year. Then as always all comes down and is carefully packed away for next year and the house is cleaned thoroughly.  However I will continue to find needles for a week or so. How can you ever get every single needle? The trees when they go out the door create such a mess.

According to my hubby's work schedule we will work in a trip to my brother's in WA. state and to my son's as I mentioned also to my daughters and the beach. These small trips will occur throughout January and February. It is nice we have them to look forward to.

I am happy with the day.  The gray clouds rolled away during the night as we woke to a cobalt sky with high fluffy marshmallow clouds spattered about.
I took a walk along the country road with the orchards bordering it's one side. There were many birds in the tree's singing their songs and making much chatter as well as the occasional crow swooping through with it's craggy caws. I rather enjoyed the cold air walking west as the breeze was coming straight at me so I arrived home with reddened cheeks and a very cold nose. Refreshing! 

We went for Mexican food yesterday. What a booming place  that eatery was. But the service and quality of food was as good as always. I loved my roasted chicken enchilada with jack cheese and tomatillo sauce rice and black beans.  Hubby had a steak burrito with the works. Of course we brought food home I had the remainder for lunch today and hummed just as loud as yesterday. Such tasty food. We arrived home with full tummy's and a very tired bodies as the many days leading into Christmas were busy. So we were couch spuds as they say. We watched the movie. "It's all about the Curve." with Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. It was a very entertaining movie we thought.

Tonight in my kitchen I am preparing for our dinner wok food. I went to a grocery store this morning that has the freshest lovely produce and picked up bok choy, bean sprouts, leeks, savory cabbage and carrots, celery and onions and water chestnuts. I will dice some pork loin and add that to the hot oiled wok first to stir fry with fresh ginger and pepper. Then I will remove that from the wok and set aside. Then into the pork drippings I will add the sliced up veggies and a drizzle or so of toasted sesame oil, the chicken I set aside and toss and stir in the hot wok till all is crisp tender. I am making sticky Cal Rose short grain rice that I will serve the veggies and chicken over. Sounds about perfect to me. Truthfully I want a change from meat. The remainder of the ham will be morphed into ham and navy bean soup with the addition of corn muffins with honey butter in a day or so.

Well that is about all for today. I have a book to read. Yes my husband and I stopped by my book place when we went for Mexican food so I could buy a couple of books. I was going through withdrawal.  I am a happy woman being back in book world.
Ciao

Monday, December 24, 2012

YESTERDAY MORNING GIFT WRAPPING


Posted by PicasaI wrapped the gifts for my hubby and son yesterday morning. Now they are tucked under the tree awaiting tomorrow morning.
My son Mike will be here early Christmas day. We are looking so forward to having him.
We thought he may come for tonight's little Christmas Eve celebration but it will just be the two of us which is usually the norm.
I am following through with what I planned. Flat iron steaks in the black iron skillet and a mixed green salad with my mother's blue cheese dressing and baked potatoes with the works.
After the flat iron steak has set with little pats of butter topping under a piece of foil for ten minutes,  I slice it thin and stack it beside the salad. It is so heavenly dunked in that blue cheese dressing. 
I have a nice bottle of wine we will share. Then we will settle down and watch "It's a Wonderful Life" for the millionth time.
Last night we watched "Christmas with the Krank's."
It is a silly Christmas show with Jamie lee Curtis and Tim Allen. We like both of them so it is always enjoyable to us.

My husband will be home around two today and will wrap his gifts for me. Wrap is a stretch  He plops them into a gift bag and grabs a handful of tissue to cover the items with. Oh well better than his wrapping believe that is not pretty site.

I am down to making the apple galette and another quart of applesauce today and the Irish cream. So am on my way to being done.

It is gray here today but no rain is called for. Tomorrow however it is to rain and rain and rain all day. So we will have a merry little soggy Christmas.

The chicken noodle soup I threw together last night was very tasty. My hubby said to me, how can just grab this and that and toss it in the pot and it taste this good? Anyhow it certainly warmed us body and soul. I will have another bowl for lunch today. That is the good thing about soup it always taste better the next day as all the flavors meld even more together.

I woke early this morning. For me there is always a sense of wonderment and excitement on Christmas Eve day. I am like a little child in that respect. I do love it. I put the coffee to brew first thing and then turned on all the Christmas lights and started the Christmas music. My husband was laughing at me it was 6:00 AM and dark windows faced us and here I excited as a elf.
I will leave you now on this Christmas Eve day and get into my kitchen and finish my baking.
Have a good Christmas Eve day. There is always something to be thankful for and I tend to look toward those things this time of year. 
When  I awoke this morning I was thinking how thankful I was to have a very cozy warm bed.  So many of the homeless and less fortunate are in tents, make shift shelters and what have you. I cannot imagine how cold and grim that must be especially this time of year.
I so wish everyone could be warm and have a home.
Blessings.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE RUM CAKE RUSH IS ON


Posted by PicasaThe rush is on to get the rum cake made. The photo is of last year's cake. It will look the same this year so why take a new photo when there is no time.
I should not even be posting today but my fingers are flying across the keyboard I will be quick.

I raced to the store this morning for a few fresh things for the Christmas table, now back to tidy the house. The kitchen counter is an array of gift wrap, bows, ribbons and tape awaiting the purchases I need to snatch from their hiding spaces to turn into gifts.
Hubby will be home a little earlier today so I must make haste in wrapping his gifts. 
Then on to Rum cake and the prepping of other Christmas delights.

For dinner tonight I grabbed some chicken pieces from the freezer. I think there are a couple of thigh's and drumsticks so I will throw them in the red soup pot to boil away and then pick the meat off their little bones. Saute some celery  onions and carrots in some olive oil and butter toss in some fresh herbs add the boned chicken back into the pot and top off with chicken broth and more seasonings. At the end I will add a handful of noodles. Yahoo dinner is made! Two crispy chabata rolls will round out the meal.

It is so dark today. But my mood is bright. The house is cozy with Christmas lights burning and Christmas music playing. I have cinnamon wax scent in my scentsy pot. The house surely embraces the holiday spirit. 

So off I go to wrap gifts and then on the to the baking list.
Hope you are having a sunny Sunday where you are if not you can make a sunny mood!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

MY PIZZA


Posted by PicasaWell now seems I can make pizza. That makes me very happy indeed. I had problems in the past with my crust so I kind of gave up on myself....but I'm back!
This crust is yeasty and very crispy. And my kitchen Aid mixer did not beat me up. The whole affair was very simple and quick.
I made the sauce from scratch also. Everything was yummy and as you can see I made a huge pie. Next time I think I will half the recipe. We do not need this much pizza. However a cold piece of that pie would be quite tasty right now.

I just finished the Christmas cookies the kitchen is still a mess. I only frosted a dozen and a half and I just made a thin vanilla glaze to coat them. I think the less the better when it comes to cookie frosting. Do not know that hubby will agree.

I thought I would get to gift wrapping today but the day is slipping away and I am working slowly now after being on my feet for a good deal of time today. My back is starting to let me down and has been for the past hour. That is why this break to blog as the kitchen sits in all it's messiness. 

I have a few more things to attend to however so sitting here is not accomplishing what needs done.

Have a nice weekend. I will probably post something tomorrow but may be short as my time for attending to Christmas matters is ticking away.
Have a Merry day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

PIZZA PIE TONIGHT


Posted by PicasaI am making pizza this evening. For the first time I will use my dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer. I have had my mixer for about three years and have yet to try kneading dough in this manner. 
So homemade pizza crust with some wonderful toppings sounds about perfect tonight.

So we are still here on this earth today. Makes me a happy woman. Not that I felt anything was going to happen but who can say for sure. 
Now I can concentrate on Christmas preparations.
Today I am making up the dough for my Granny's Christmas cookies. As they are rolled cookies and the dough needs to be chilled I will wrap the dough in plastic wrap and tuck in the fridge and make them tomorrow.
Over the weekend then I will make the rum cake and apple galette's. Hubby told me wants the galette's instead of a deep dish apple pie so I will oblige him even though I will need to make two as they are small.

I have also decided to make my Bailey's Irish cream. My son adores this stuff in his coffee.  So I will make a fifth for him to take home and a fifth to indulge in here at the house.

Well guess what the weather is like Eugene Oregon today? Do you think it is same ol? You are so right. How many times can I go on to describe, grim, gray, wet, gloomy and chilly? However there is nothing I can do about it at least it is not freezing cold with thigh deep snow and high winds like the east coast is getting today.
What foul weather they have in that part of the country. It seems they are always dealing with something or other. No thanks. 

This is crazy but I am antsy today as I finished my last book yesterday and thought I had another stashed away to read, but there is none.......makes me sad. So I looked through my bookcase which holds many books but could not find one I could reread that I would not remember at least parts of it. So now what? I do not know when I will get back over to where I get my books at this point either. So that means I will have to go cold turkey for a week without a read! Don't know that I can do that.

I will let you know tomorrow about my experience with the dough hook and pizza dough. Could be interesting. 
I remember one time a friend had given me a pasta machine. So I set my new machine up reading all the instructions and assembled my ingredients. I put the dough in the machine and as the dough started to form it flew out of the top of the container and wads of dough shot about the kitchen like baseballs and rained down on me.  I was afraid for my life before I got it shut  off. 
I am not a gadget or machine person usually preferring to use my own hands.  So I am a little hesitant to try the dough hook, who knows what could happen.

We have watched two Christmas shows so far. The first, Charlie Browns Christmas Tree. Remember that old classic? We enjoyed it.
Then last night we watched the CMA Christmas show. It was really good. Our favorite folks are Band Perry a very talented trio of two brothers and their sister and her voice is amazing. Also Little Big Town are an extremely talented foursome. They sing so beautifully their voices just melding perfectly together. But I have to say the star of the evening was Jennifer Nettles. She is nine months pregnant ready to give birth at any moment and there she is in all of her huge baby bump glory singing her heart out with that incredible voice of hers. She did an excellent job of being the MC for the evening.

Well off to make cookie dough and then perhaps a hot buttered rum. Seems I am a little chilled today.
Only four days till Christmas.
I best make haste.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

PLANETS ALIGN


Posted by PicasaSo here we are once more. The end of the world at 3:11 PST 12/21/2012? I wrote yesterday regarding this event.
I for one will be relieved when tomorrow is over. I am tired of hearing about it as it  keeps one on edge even though you may not recognize that it does so.
For one thing in our lives we take everything on faith as we know so little. 
We are here on this planet we know that, but we do not know where we came from, or where we are going if anywhere when we die. Everyone, every religion, every seeker of truth and culture has an idea but no one knows totally for sure. So we rely on our faith and really do not think about it much as we are so caught up in our daily lives. 
So when something like this comes up it does make you think. There are certainly enough scenario's that have been talked about so take your pick. Or pick none of them and choose your own.
Have you ever thought, how did the Mayan culture get so smart as to know the cosmos's so well? They were mathematical genus's. Where did that kind of intelligence come from in that day in age? Everyone else was living like cavemen and knew very little. These people were Indians living in the jungles but yet they knew almost as much as our greatest physicist and scientist know today about the universe. How could they be so knowledgeable unless someone who did know instructed them. Anyhow something to wonder about.
My mind does not let these kinds of questions rest as I want to know the answers. I have always been a seeker of truth. That is what is called an agnostic. I am however am a Christian agnostic. Meaning a seeker of truth but one that believes in God. I know we have a soul and that soul does not die.I have my reasons for truly believing this as I had an experience that made this fact very clear to me. 
So I am comfortable with death and do not fear it though I do not want to die as long as I am enjoying life and healthy I want to stay with my loved ones as long as possible.
I have idea's about what happens when a soul crosses over into another dimension but there again it is just an idea as we do not know for sure. All is taken on faith and our own reality.
So the talk goes in circles and nothing is ever established in fact. So I will leave this subject and hope to be here tomorrow on my keyboard typing away but if not well look for me elsewhere.......I will be around.
Blessings.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CHRISTMAS HOUSE


Posted by PicasaThis is our dining room. As you can see I have some decorations but hopefully not overdone. I love decorating for Christmas a special time of year that means cozy to me.

I feel I am spinning my wheels as they say. I have so much to attend to and all will occur this weekend. I must finish my grocery shopping tomorrow and then there are still gifts to buy, wrap and place under the tree. Also I will do all my Christmas baking this weekend. I like being busy so I am looking forward to the next few days.

Now where do I stand regarding December 21st 2012?
I do not know......well what really can a person think? Obviously I think that nothing will occur but if something does it will be course what is going on in the cosmos's on that date. I suppose with the planets all lined up so perfectly that it could effect the magnetic pull of the earth and put it into a wobble or worse or possibly solar flares could interrupt our electrical grid system. So there I am back to I just do not know.
I do know we are prepared for small emergencies. Food, water, gas to cook on, oil lamps, batteries, transistor radio all within reach.But no one would survive a catastrophic event as some are predicting. So why worry about that?
Let us hope and pray that our old earth will just keep revolving along in it's normal manner. 

Today is a full day of house chores for me. 
Also laundry will be doing it's thing in the machines as I make out my final xmas shopping lists.
I also must clean out both the house and garage fridge to make room for the Christmas bounty of food and drink. So my day will pass quickly.

We finished up the last of the spaghetti and meatballs last night. So what to have tonight? I had better get my thinking cap on. Right now I have no clue.......I do know however I am hungry for rice so I will build from there.

Have a nice Wednesday. It is windy here again and cloudy. The sky looks like it could do anything at this point, showers are possible and it is chilly but not cold enough for snow.
Well I am going fix a hot cup of tea and reread this before posting and then on with my to-do's.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SNOW TODAY


Posted by PicasaThis is the street in front of our home. We woke to snow and it is still coming down. It is pretty but has put a hitch in my morning plans. I was going to go to the mall early this morning and onto a couple of specialty stores in the city to finish up my Christmas shopping.......hmm. Now that will have to wait as I do not want to be sliding around on the freeways. So I will try for tomorrow, may be worse or better who knows at this point. The storm is still coming in and the mountain passes are getting a load of snow. 
I am sure I can find things to occupy myeslf today. I wish I could bake my Christmas cookies but it is a little early for that. The ones I make, my Grammy's recipe are best when fresh and not over a couple of days old. They are a soft sugar cookie made with brown sugar. These cookies have been a staple in our family since I was a babe in arms. My daughter and granddaughter now make them as well as many friends and other relatives that I have shared the recipe with. They are good plain or frosted. I surely prefer the plain cookies. My children when they were young loved them either way and I always made two very large gingerbread men for each of them. They would save those gingerbread men until after all the other cookies were gone. Then they would relish them, taking a bit of a leg or a arm always saving the head for last. It was quite a game for the two of them as neither wanted to finish their cookie first. So I will be making those tasty family treasures this coming Sunday.

The snow flakes are really large now, covering the ground quickly if this keeps up no one will be going anywhere.It is so pretty to watch them float down from above as I sit here by the window in our office.

I made a very red rich pasta sauce last night. I tried something a little different. I used one jar of my tomato sauce from our garden tomaotes that I had frozen. To that I added a large can of good quality whole roma tomatoes. I crushed the tomatoes with my hands as I added them to the tomato sauce. I then added a good splash of merlot wine and Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. This is what I normally do but to the pot this time I also added green pepper and onion slices that I had slowly caramelized in butter and olive oil toward the end of the caramelization process I added two cloves of garlic minced. I added this mixture then to the pot of other ingredients and then added the small meatballs I had made and let all simmer for a hour or so. The sauce had a lot of depth, a red rich color and intense flavor. We loved it.
Tonight it is leftovers once again. We have to admit in this household we adore spaghetti and meatballs.

I have let this post set for a while and now it is several hours later. The snow has stopped and the street seems just wet with slush at this point so I am going to go to the market for my ham and other meats I need. At least I can then cross something off my list for the day.
When I get home I will make another batch of applesauce. I made up a couple quarts yesterday afternoon. I put a variety of apples in together seems tasty enough but not as good as gravenstein apples for sauce.......they are honestly the best for pies and applesauce.

Well I am off out into the cold. I will wear my warm black wool coat. I was telling hubby the other day as I putting it on that I have had that coat for fourteen years now and it is still a current style and in good shape. If something works why replace it? That is my motto.
Bye for today.


Monday, December 17, 2012

APPLE CARAMEL GALETTE


Posted by PicasaI must say this was delish! So good there is not one bite left it disappeared very quickly. A nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream plopped on top made for perfection.
I love making galette's they are easy and so pretty. The one made from local italian prunes this past summer was sumptuous. I also love the combination of pear and apple and peach is amazing. Well seems I like them all!
There is something that needs to be noted however when making galette's. You need to be very careful when folding up the edges of the crust that you do not puncture it anywhere. Check carefully for this as if there are holes or even one hole in the crust the juice will run out all over your baking pan and your galette will be be dry. I have done this and believe me it is not fun getting that gooey baked on juice off your baking sheet besides the fact that your galette is ruined. So beware.

I did not get to making applesauce yesterday as I was lazy! So that is certainly a to-do for today. We love home-made chunky applesauce and it is so easy to make.
As well today I must make out my grocery list for our Christmas festivities  I do not want to forget a thing as I do not want to deal with the stores anymore than need be.
So tomorrow I will finish up the gift buying and stop at the meat market to pick up my ham, then home. Then Thursday my usual grocery shopping day I will finish all the food items.  
The office also needs my attention today so that will entail a hour or so this morning as well as general house cleaning. So a busy day for Zo.

If my Mother were still living it would be her birthday today. December 17th. So she will be on my mind today as I go about my daily doings. I wish she were here so I could call her up and chat about this and that. But I can talk to her regardless, I know she will hear me. Oh how I miss that woman. Do we ever quit missing our Mom's? I wonder.
I am going to share a little poem at the end of the blog that my Mother sent me years ago. It is perfect for today.

We had a good deal of wind throughout the evening last night. I woke in the middle of the night and you could hear it coming toward the house for a minute or so before the gust would actually hit. It was as they say howling. It rained quite heavy at times during the night. I was thankful for my warm comfortable bed. 
This morning as I type the rain is heavy on the roof. The wind seems to have subsided. The mountains are to receive heavy snow over the next couple of days. Ahhh winter is here at our doorstep.

I will now listen to Christmas songs on my Pandora radio and slip out of my morning attire into some jeans and a soft cozy flannel shirt.

"The Poem"
What could be nicer than seeing your smile
being with you and just talking a while.....
Laughing and chatting about all that is new
fondly recalling our memories too.
And though were apart, I hope we'll soon be,
enjoying each other's warm company.

For you Mom



Sunday, December 16, 2012

CHRISTMAS TREE 2012


Posted by PicasaSo here sits our tree in all of it's glory. A seven foot wonder and I will say so much easier to decorate than the ten foot trees which is our norm. Now we wait for Santa to put some presents under the tree.
So the house is done now on to the food and drink planning. As you know I am a planner so the Christmas meal is set as well as the deserts. My husbands client who owns a farm gave us bags of several varieties of apples. So I will make a deep dish apple pie along with my usual rum cake. I made an apple galette yesterday as well I have been eating an apple a day. Those apples no matter the variety are crispy, juicy and so fresh, right off the trees. I have not yet decided what to have for our Christmas Eve meal. My son may be here that evening also or he may come Christmas morning. Either way I am leaning toward steaks, grilled outdoors weather permitting. If that is not possible I can make a great steaks in the cast iron skillet. Perhaps just a cesar salad to go with. I just want something simple and comforting. A piece of rum cake with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would top the meal off perfectly. I will buy a nice bottle of melbec great with steak. So idea's are whizzing around in my mind.

Sunday today and my honey is hard at work continually it seems at this point. I really do not do much on Sunday's. I am hoping for a walk but it looks so daunting out right now. Wet and cold and a bit of a frosty breath in the air. No thanks, but maybe by this afternoon the sky will have brightened a bit. It is the most I can hope for.

I made an amazing recipe last night. I will not post the recipe as you can do so yourself by pulling up Cauliflower soup and going to the Ree Drumonds recipe. She has the pioneer woman blog. This is her granny's recipe.
The only thing I changed in the recipe was to add a sprinkle or so of Mrs. Dash.  I do love the way she makes her white cream sauce much easier than my version. 
So we dined on a very creamy cauliflower soup with Lisa's Parmesan cheese spread bread. A recipe I have shared several times.
As we have a half pot of soup left tonight I will slowly reheat it and serve panini's to the side. I will just make one and we will split  I have a good sourdough and I will tuck inside jack and cheddar cheese, slices of tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. They will be so yummy and gooey to dip into that lovely soup.

Well I am off to tidy the house it will not take much effort this morning. It is an easy, perhaps lazy day for me.
Have a super Sunday.






Saturday, December 15, 2012

MY CHRISTMAS CARD


Posted by PicasaMy Christmas care to you.
Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year! 

My heart is still saddened from yesterday's events in Connecticut. I am sure folks all over the world are still in a state of shock. I surely do not know what the answer is......more gun control?  Well in the past two incidents the guns did not even belong to the perpetrator's. So what to regulate?  I just don't know. All I know is there are a lot of mentally deranged folks out there that need help.

It is cold this morning and truthfully I could have went back to bed easily after getting my hubby out the door. However that is something I just do not do unless I am ill. I have tried it but then when I get up for a second time I feel I have wasted time and I am behind on my day and that does not suit me. I am grouchy when I feel pushed.

I trimmed the tree yesterday afternoon and it did turn out lovely. The tree itself is not naturally a beauty as hubby had to use the sniper's to give it what shape it has. So it has had cosmetic surgery. I will not take photo's of the tree until I get the gifts wrapped and put under. Today I will clean the living room so we are needle free. I need to rearrange a couple pieces of small furniture and then I will be done with the decorating phase of Christmas.

My hubby is going to be very busy over this Holiday season. He is working now for 22 days with only Christmas day off. I do think he will need Jan 1st off however as we are entertaining New Years eve. So we will see if that can be arranged. Regardless it will not be our usual relaxed holiday enjoyment. So we will make the best of Christmas day with my son Mike who is joining us.

I am going to leave you now and head into my day.  I do not have a busy agenda today it will be a relaxing and perhaps an enjoyable day. Yesterday was totally busy from early morning throughout the evening and all had to be accomplished with a heavy and saddened heart.
Ciao.


Friday, December 14, 2012

LIGHT A CANDLE


Posted by PicasaI cannot begin to say how sad and heartbroken I am feeling right now. How does one go on with their day when other's are suffering such soul wrenching agony over the death of their children and loved ones. I do not know if I could go on.
My husband called earlier and as I started to relate what had occurred in Connecticut at the school I started to cry I could not get the words out.
My prayers go out to all those needing them at this time. I am going to light candles this afternoon for the ones that were taken today and will trim our tree with a saddened heart and a lack of understanding as how these sorts of heinous events happen.
Maybe someday there will be an understanding of all things good and evil I pray this is so.
Till tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MY CHRISTMAS TABLE WITH ALL THINGS OLD.


Posted by PicasaI finished my table yesterday. I am happy with it as all that sits upon it is old and treasured except for the tea light holders. 
I have photo's of me as a very little girl perhaps two years old holding this doll. My mother took the doll to have it repaired and gave it to me as an adult.....how sweet and thoughtful she was.

I am wondering if young folks today will treasure what their parents and grandparents leave to them? Even with my own children and grandchildren I wonder how much will be appreciated and used or will be kept to be passed on to more generations.
I really do not feel that this will be the case with most of the younger generations. It was more prevalent to pass on things when I was growing up.  In respect to all those younger folks I know it has turned into a throwaway world. It seems now day's it is just easier to use and toss. However in this household it is not the norm. We are old school and treasure what is old and well used.
I so adore it when I grab a utensil from my kitchen drawer, or a linen from the closet or a thread bare quilt that these very items were things my mother, grandmother or father used in their daily lives.
I surprised that anyone makes quilts any longer except for showing at exhibits and such. Now days you can be quite warm and cozy picking up a fleece throw for ten dollars, when it gets icky looking you toss it out and buy another. So  is the way of life now. That's OK things move forward and on and I do not want to have an "old persons" attitude about such things, besides hubby has a fleece throw! All I am saying is we need to appreciate what was given to us or passed on. Keep it well cared for to pass on and respect where it came from.
Well I must go now and take of care of my daily doings as usual.
Have a good day.



McGrath's Fish House Eugene OR.

McGrath's Fish House Eugene OR.

Well what can I say. We went to McGrath's Fish House today in Eugene. 
The clam chowder was a cream base clam sauce lacking potatoes and.... hello clams!!!!! It was a bowl of good sauce without a chunk of anything else.  We used our bread to dunk into the sauce to make something substantial out of it. The only thing I can say is a can of Snows clam chowder would have been more satisfying at least we could have found a piece of clam or potato to put in our spoon.
This is our last time at this place, so disappointed every time we go, no more.... we are done.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WINTER BIRDS













Monday.
Our deck has been littered with little birds today. Dee our neighbor must be gone because otherwise she would be feeding them. They are nibbling at the little seeds that fall off the leaf trees. I will not feed them as that would upset their pattern. They are just adorable I love watching them.

Another gloomy, dreary, grim, ugly drab day here....enough already. That is one thing I do not appreciate about Eugene. We have so many days like this in winter. Actually I prefer the rain or showers at least it brightens at times as the clouds move in and out. 

I just took a pan of brownies out the oven. Hubby likes them. I will make a chocolate ganache glaze to drizzle over them in a window pane pattern. They look very pretty that way.

Tonight in our kitchen I am making sausage, polenta bake. I will take a photo and post the recipe however I may have posted it before so I will check that and if so I will note the post date for you.

Here it is Tuesday morning. I got side tracked and did not finish the post yesterday.

We are going for our tree today. Hubby will be home around three or so. Also we will stop by the liquor store to pick up some rum so we can have hot buttered rums while trimming the tree tomorrow evening as it our custom. I am looking forward to trimming the tree as we always have a wonderful time it seems. There is something to be said for rituals. I always feel so contented doing the same things year after year. There is something so stabilizing in that for me.

There is not much on my plate today. A few house chores, a walk and a few Christmas cards to attend to. Yes I send out about ten cards a year mostly to my older family and friends that do the same. They are not into the FB Christmas greetings or even e-mail. There is something to be said for this lost art also. I love getting cards in the mail. I display them during the holiday time and the following year I make gift tags out of them. I cut out a pleasing pattern from them then with a hole punch make a hole at the top of the tag and then I insert satin ribbon into the hole to attach to the gifts. They are quite pretty and different.
Well as I do not get many cards at this point I am short on gift tags. So sometimes I use new cards and make them. I just like making tags and book markers also out of old cards.

I need to get on with the day. My husband being sweet as is his norm let me sleep-in this morning. He left very early as he is coming home early so we can get the tree. I barely heard him he was like a little mouse. So I snuggled down under the comforter and continued to snooze away until eight AM. Ahhh nice. I slept good last night and I feel very refreshed. 

I posted the recipe for Polenta sausage casserole on 7/27/12. The only thing I did differently this time was I used bratwurst.  I boiled them first then sliced them and fried them in a little oil to brown them and then drained the slices on a paper towel before adding them to the casserole.
We will have leftovers tonight. As much as I love to cook it is nice to have an evening with no dinner to make.
Till tomorrow.





Sunday, December 9, 2012

TODAY'S SUNRISE FROM OUR DOORSTEP


Posted by PicasaWe were up early this morning and after it broke daylight I opened the blinds on the living room windows and this is what I saw.......I went for camera and snapped several shots from the front door. What a way to start your day!
Actually last evening we had a pretty sunset oozing through the skeletal trees and in through our kitchen window.

Hubby working again today so I must amuse myself......not hard as I am still in the midst of decorating for Christmas.
I have a few more sentimental things to place about and must do something fun in the main bath.
After I am finished with that task I will squeeze in a short walk and then I am going to bake something. Have not quite thought of what yet. Perhaps a apple/pear galette. I have one pear left from the batch I bought on Thursday. I quite like pears they are a good afternoon treat.
So the day will go by and soon hubby will be walking through the door.

I am making baked chicken breast in mushroom sauce and rice for dinner tonight and a simple little dinner salad with honey mustard dressing. There is some garlic bread left from last nights meal. Oh how my husband loved that bread. Ho loves garlic on almost everything.

I am going to leave you with this exert from "Mother and Son". 

The child, the seed, the grain of corn, the acorn on the hill, each for some separate end is born in season fit, and still each must in strength arise to work the Almighty will.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Have a lovely Sunday.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

BENGAL KITTEN


Posted by PicasaJust look at this little fellow. How cute!
I am thinking that perhaps in the future I will want  one of these Bengal cats or least a mix. I love their look and their intelligence. They even like water and you can train them to go on the toilet. How great is that? Don't know how hubby would be with a pet as he has no patience where pets are concerned at least with other folks pets. Me neither for that respect unless they are well behaved. I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person. However in the past I had both and a lot of them but not in the past 30 years.
I am not quite ready to be a mommy yet but maybe at some point. At least we are not traveling now like in the past. At the most we are gone for three or four days at a time. At least with a cat you can put food out and if they use the toilet well there you go!

It is cold here today. I did take a short walk earlier it was not to cold but I was dressed a little warmer compared to what it is my usual walking attire.
It is a dismal day though no getting around it. I have tired to keep my spirits high but the gray does press in on you. Since daylight this morning it has been a ugly gray low hanging sky. Not one flicker of brightness just the same gray throughout the day.
I pulled out the Christmas decor and did a small display on the front porch step area. Such a tight area I cannot do much but I took one of my favorite baskets and filled it with assorted cones, and little birdhouse and a bird. Hung my Christmas wreath I always use made by my Mother years ago. A patchwork stuffed affair. I added new ribbon this year to give it a new look.
I did the dining room table very simply this year. A old piece of lace adorns the middle of the table on it sits an old oil lamp, a Christmas book, a Christmas poem by Shakespeare in a gold wooden frame and two small brass dear and candles. I am keeping things very low key this year. The tree will make a statement everything else is balanced throughout the house just a touch here and there.
So tomorrow I will finish that little project. I am cleaning as I go along so it takes a little longer.

I am going to leave you now. I cannot blog about food as we are having those amazing leftover scalloped potatoes again tonight. I will make some glazed carrots to go along with the broccoli and some garlic bread. I am going to roast to the garlic and then squeeze the bulbs over a split buttered baguette then top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of thyme and basil.

I have time now to read before hubby comes through the door. I managed to finish that somewhat boring book. I did not enjoy it so much but once I get into a book so far I will not quit. This new book is a page turner from the get-go. Good, I enjoy that.

So from this grim and gray world here in Eugene I will leave you, until another day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

FOGGY WNTER SCENE


This is truly a magnificent photo I downloaded from the internet. A German town I think.

We had such a joyous time in our hot tub last night. The lights just made us feel so festive. All just looked so inviting and cozy. The dark black starless sky, the cold damp air, the hot steamy water and on the house a blaze of twinkling white lights.

I had a lovely conversation with my daughter yesterday afternoon. She called right after we had finished with the lights. I poured a nice size glass on pinot noir and settled down into my chair and propped my feet on the ottoman and enjoyed my daughter's chatter. I miss the sound of her voice when we have not talked for a while.
Her life is so full with work and family. I remember only to well when I was her age how fast and furious my life also was. Working at a full time job and working on the houses with my husband in any down time I had. Plus taking care of our home. A busy life for sure. It makes me tired to think of it now.
So Gina and chatted for about a half hour only usually the calls are a hour or longer. But she was meeting her son and his gal for dinner and did not have much time. 
It appears that we will not be seeing each other over the holiday. My hubby will be working straight through the holidays with only Christmas Day off. The man in her life is not taking additional time off either. So we will not be making a trip to their home nor will they be coming here. So my daughter and I decided we two will get together here at my house after the first of the year as she has that week off from her work. I am looking so forward to that we do miss each other so if we have not been in each other's presence for a while and it has been since the first part of September.

Hubby was going to cook our meal this evening but we decided I would make scalloped potatoes and ham and fresh steamed broccoli  He was going to make a Hungarian dish but neither of us are not in the mood for it. So another time. He loves to cook for me, I love that he does.

Here is how I do my scallop potatoes sometimes with ham or sausage and sometimes not but tonight I will add ham.

I grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray. I then lay in thin sliced potatoes, then a layer off sliced onion and a sprinkling of chopped ham and then a layer with grated cheddar cheese. Layer up a another layer of everything and then cover completely with white sauce then sprinkle top with paprika.
I make a basic white sauce but add some chicken broth along with the milk, season with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder or whatever is your pleasure.
This makes for a very creamy casserole loaded with the cheese and creamy sauce. 
Bake covered with foil in a 400 oven about an hour plus during the last ten minutes remove the foil.
I used to make a 9x13 casserole dish but it is just to much for the two of us. So now I use a 7x11 seems about right. We have about a half casserole left this way. Enough for another dinner or breakfast. I have even made up 8x8 casseroles they were perfect for camping in the motor coach.

Well I feel it is time to get on with the laundry. I am doing sheets. I am at the point that I only have one pair that the contour sheet is deep enough to accommodate our new thick mattress. It is past time to get a set of new sheets however my others are lack luster at this point.  I always buy high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and they are not cheap. But oh how wonderful they feel next to your skin.....heavenly smooth and soft.
Till tomorrow.

It is Saturday now and I just reread this post and there were  error's. So I have cleaned it up so to speak. Hubby was talking to me as I was typing yesterday and it is apparent I was side tracked.


WINTER SCENE


Posted by PicasaThis scene is reminiscent of where I lived for many years in La Pine Oregon. Seems most of the winters were like this. Lots of snow and cold for months on end. At the corners of my mind it seems so very long ago. I lived there from the time I was 19 until I was 37. Then I moved to Bend with my then husband and two children. Bend was thirty miles to the north does not seem like much of a distance but the winters were certainly milder in Bend. Not to say it could not get nasty it is central Oregon after all. However you look at it, that country on the other side of mountains has two seasons, a short but glorious summer and long, long winter.
Give me the valley any day. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. Just as it should be. The winters here only last  about  four months as in March it is a mix of winter and spring and winter does not really start until we are out of October.
It is quite funny that the folks on the other side of the cold sunny state think it just rains here all the time. Well take today for instance. It was gray this morning breaking to clear skies and sun this afternoon and warm! 
We went out to lunch again, anyhow all that was needed was a long sleeved top and a light weight hoodie and I actually was to warm.
I never wear sweaters or heavy clothes in the valley's so called winter. I usually just layer up as I know I will be peeling off in most instances.
Tonight we are under clear skies and the temps are dropping but no rain. Most of the accumulated rain we have in our area falls during the nighttime sleeping hours.
I surely love the climate here and knowing that we will be seeing green shoots coming forth from the earth and buds appearing on trees in three short months makes the winters very bearable. 

Well it is now a day later as i did not post.

Today is Thursday my grocery shopping day as well as other errands.  So the day began early I was on a mission to get all done in quick order.  I knew when when I got home I wanted to get our outdoor lights strung. So this afternoon we hung twinkly lights along our house eves on the back side along the deck where the hot tub is.  We also put clear lights up along the top of kitchen cabinets and over the kitchen window. Now all looks so festive.  Over the next few days I will gradually start putting out my Christmas items. Not to overload but just to give the house a cheerful holiday face.

The chores are done for the day and as soon as darkness appears we will take a hot tub enjoying our newly hung twinkly lights.  We are having french dips with the leftover roast beef and small green salad for dinner. It will not take long to make this simple meal and then off to get into my sleepy clothes and relax in the front of the telle for the remainder of the evening.
Good night.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BONELESS RIB ROAST


Posted by PicasaI took a photo of searing this boneless rib roast before placing in the slow cooker. This should be an amazing roast this evening to be served with unpeeled yukon gold smashed potatoes with chives, cream and butter. A side of cooked whole buttered carrots and then a brown garlic gravy made from the drippings left in the black iron skillet that I deglazed with red wine and beef broth after searing the roast. 
Here is the recipe.
1 boneless roast, rib, cross rib, or sirloin roast approximately 2 1/2 pounds.
salt, pepper, onion salt, canola oil
1/2 onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon dry onion soup mix
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch

In a black iron skillet drizzle canola oil just to coat bottom.
Place the roast on a large plate and using a paper towel dry it.
Using a basting brush, brush on some canola oil to cover roast on all sides.
Mix kosher salt, pepper, onion powder to taste in a small dish. Mix. Sprinkle over roast on all sides and rub in with hands. 
Place the roast in hot iron skillet and sear on all sides and ends this will seal in the juices. See photo.
In your slow cooker place the chopped onion and garlic in the bottom. Place the seared roast fat side down on the onions and garlic.
Deglaze the hot skillet using a stainless steel spatula scrapping the bottom getting all the crispy bits, while pouring in the wine and broth.
Then add the dry onion soup mix and stir. Pour this mixture over the roast.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hrs. 
Remove roast to platter and slice or it may fall apart when you remove the strings. Pour the juices and onions and garlic from the slow cooker into a strainer. Take the strained juices and pour in to a saucepan reserving a little liquid in a small bowl. To liquid reserved add about a teaspoon or so of cornstarch mix well with fork and add to the rest of the gravy stock in the sauce. Stir constantly the sauce will thicken as it heats.
To serve put the sliced roast on a platter and drizzle with gravy, use the remainder over the potatoes. If presenting the roast for company it is fun to use little bunches of flat leaf(Italian  parsley for garnish. Or you can just scatter leaves of the parsley over the meat.

So that is dinner tonight. I was not going to use the slow cooker today but I know it makes for the juiciest of roasts and this is a quality roast and I wanted to make sure I did not dry it out in the oven treating it as a pot roast.

We are to have quite a storm today but so far nothing but the usual dismal gray. Winds are to whip to thirty some miles per hour and we are to get hard rain. There will be some flooding in certain areas. Not ours.

My husband and I had such an enjoyable day yesterday.
We went for a very good lunch. Our view of the Willamette river was interesting. It was full and dirty and moving quite fast. It looked quite threatening with the stark skeletal trees lining it's banks.  We watched as folks ran, jogged, walked and rode bikes along the river trail. This is Eugene after all.
When we arrived home I opened a nice bottle of pinot noir and sipped red wine hubby had himself a brew. We then proceeded to play several games of golf on the Wii. Hubby did so bad.......so I gained in the stats. We are always very competitive so it is always close.
We then played a couple of board games. By that time we were thinking hot tub as it had turned dark and the promised rain had not come in. So we had a nice hot soak...ah so relaxing. We then came in and watched a couple of our favorite shows that hubby had recorded previously.
I was in bed by ten and was dead to the world after the soak in the tub and snugged into our comfy new mattress........heaven.

I am going to go now and sit in my chair and try to get into reading my new book. It has been a little slow but is starting to get more interesting. 
Later today I am taking down the fall decor and tomorrow the Christmas decor will start going up.

Have a nice Tuesday.