Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Posted by PicasaWe are off tomorrow to wine country! We do this sometimes twice a year but mainly we never want to miss driving out in the spring. All is so lush and thick green you feel submerged in it.
Here is one place I would love to sink into the green damp grass and just suck it in like a big gulp of green water. Have you ever smelled green? Well you can this time of year here in wine country.
This is King Estate. Such a landmark and amazing winery. We always finish our tour here as to linger for a hour or so.
We will also visit several other winery's.  I am packing us a simple but tasty lunch. I decided to make sandwiches out of black bread with the usual condiments but with the addition of my zucchini relish. I love to load a sandwich so it is a big bite. I have honey baked deli turkey which I will load on with crisp romaine lettuce leaves and sweet onion slices. Hubby always likes his chips so will toss some kettle chips in. That is it. I know just how it will taste accompanied by a wonderful Willamette Valley pinot gris. 
We plan on only purchasing two bottles of wine to bring home. We would love to buy a case but we must not be that extravagant at this time. There were times in our past that we purchased cases of wine that we loved and hopefully those times will come again. 

Today was a grand day. We woke to bright sun and it was warm already as I reached out the door for the morning paper.  I could not wait to start my day.
I was so anxious to get my t0-do-s out of the way so I could be outside and enjoy the day. So I moved through my morning quickly taking care of my office and house chores. This afternoon early I went to the farm five minutes from my home. I do so love that. I bought bright fresh green asparagus picked in Washington state, fingerling potatoes, lots of peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, shallots, garlic and other things my tummy grumbled for. The prices are so much lower than the grocery stores and all is so fresh. I flew home down the country road through adjoining farms as happy as a country bumpkin.

Tonight for dinner I am preparing grilled pork steaks with Chinese five spice marinade. I adore this marinade it is glossy and not to thick just a nice drizzle brushed while grilling is perfect. I also am putting on the grill foil pouches filled with the fingerling potatoes, sliced peppers and onion with several cloves of garlic, fresh rosemary and seasonings. I will drizzle olive oil over and seal the packet tightly. 
Just use double heavy duty foil about three layers is perfect and seal good at both ends. Turn frequently grill for about forty minutes. We are also having as a side the tender Washington state asparagus steamed with lemon butter and salt and pepper.
My mouth is more than ready I can be honest and say that I have not had much to eat today. Kellogg's K with soy milk this morning and a left over cheese biscuit from last night for lunch.

I must end the post now as I need to do my dinner prep.
It will be a lovely evening for a grill it is still so warm outdoors. I did clean the deck and put out the chair pads and washed the windows once again.

Have a nice spring evening.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Posted by PicasaSkipping over pebbles, stepping over stones.........and occasionally picking a bouquet of flowers. Is this the path of life?
Our life's paths are created by our choices and to a good degree what life has handed us. 
I think a lot about this path. As you skip over pebbles, step over stones and sometimes stumble into boulders does not the human spirit keep moving along forward no matter what?
We come into this life not knowing where we came from. We live here not knowing why. We know we are going leave here but where do we go?  It surely seems strange to me that we just take all for granted and accept what is without question. However I have always questioned everything and have thought about these issues since I can first remember.
I have wondered why life hands some humans such dreadful circumstances. Coming into this life without much hope, born into poverty and war torn countries while others are born into privilege no need to ask for a thing it is all given freely.  And then there are the ones like me muddling in the middle of it all, going this way and that or standing still.
I cannot find a sensible answer for these questions.
Why would one child be born blind or disfigured for instance to uncaring parents and another child would be born without a flaw to loving caring parents. Can you see any reason for this? Is it just a roll of the dice?
The only thing that even starts to make sense to me is the belief in reincarnation. Are we constantly coming and going and atoning for our mistakes that we make and pile up on this earth like impossible mountains to scale? Do we ourselves want to continue to come back and settle scores within our souls that have damaged us. Are we always striving to be better but sometimes we slip and fall back the other way? If that is the case we will come to earth forever without end until we achieve what our souls have set out for us to do.
I wish I could be at peace without knowing the answer to these pressing questions. But I am not one to take things on faith alone. Just because it is written in a scared book or someone says you should believe, I cannot trust this. There are many scared books and many folks who could tell you a good tale.
I am not saying that those that live by the written word of any text or holy book are wrong. I am just saying, I cannot. I am always asking questions searching for the truth. It is part of who I am.
I know this is a deep subject but to question is to sort things out and learn. I do believe that we see our loved ones again after they have died. How could we not if there is karma and we keep building it lifetime after lifetime we would have to continually interact with the same souls. 
Haven't you ever wondered why sometimes you meet someone and you just click like you go to together with ease like a piece in a puzzle? Or why is it sometimes you meet someone and instantly dislike being in their presence? There are no clear answers for such questions.  But there has to be a reason. 
So here I am same as I have always been. CONFUSED. What is a person to do?  Really I do not know. And I do not like to hear "you are not suppose to know".  I do not buy that.  All life form is energy and energy never dies it only changes form. That is a scientific fact.
So in the meantime I will continue to wander down this path of mine, sometimes skipping sometimes stumbling, but it is my path after all so if I fall I am not afraid I am sure I have landed on my butt many times. But what to do but pick yourself up and continue on.

It is late now. Sweet dreams.


Posted by PicasaTonight in Zo's Kitchen I am preparing carna asada taco's with leftover flat iron steak which we grilled last night.
I grilled the steak with a rub so it was not marinated. So what I am going to do this evening is chop up the steak and marinate it in fresh lime juice with a smashed clove of garlic a dash of cumin and salt and pepper. I will let those little pieces marinate for about an hour. Then I will drain and put in a hot skillet just to heat. I think this process will work out fine.
We are making crispy corn shells tonight and will top the steak with cheese, chopped sweet onion and shredded lettuce. To the side I will serve spicy marinated banana peppers and sliced pickled Jalenpano's to add if we like.
I am fixing whole pinto beans tonight as a side dish.

The photo posted above is pork verde taco's and black beans that we had some time back.
My camera is busy charging and I thought why take yet another taco picture as I have posted several and I like this one.

Well for a Memorial weekend I suppose it is par for the course.
Cool, gray, grim, ominous looking clouds that could promote a drizzle at any time.  So I raise my glass to all those camping souls that have forged out into this  dull dreary weekend. You are more adventurous than I at this point in my life.
I was content to stay in my home this morning and linger over the Sunday paper and sip several cups of  joe. 
I did take a walk this morning early. Everyone's window coverings were still down or drawn. Not a peep from anyone along my route. Either folks are gone or being lazy this morning.
This afternoon I need to scout my bookcase for a book. Of course it will be a book I have read before but if it has been a few years that is fine with me. I only keep my faves and they all deserve a second reading.

Hubby is smoking salmon today. He bought a whole coho salmon yesterday and marinated it over night. He loves making marinades and smoking meat and fish.
So other than enjoying snacking on the smoked salmon I want to save a portion for a pasta dish I love. I will take a photo of that dish and post the recipe it is an original and so yummy.

Quote for today.
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."
Benjamin Franklin

Enjoy your Memorial weekend. And remember a glass of wine could keep the chill away.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Posted by PicasaHow cute is this photo? Who would not love this big dog? Just look at those bear paws!  My sons big dog Bruin, meaning bear. Now that name fits.
Speaking of names I thought I would blog about names today.

My given name is Zora. For anyone knowing me before 1982 that was my name and what everyone called me.
After that point in time I made a lifestyle change and went into a 'new to me' life. At that point any new person I met I told them my name was Zo. The only person that ever called me Zo was my Mom.  I always preferred it to Zora which always seemed a heavy name for a little gal to pack around. 
So now it almost seems like I have two lives. One as Zora and one as Zo. All my relatives and old friends and acquaintances call me Zora. All newer friends, co-workers and acquaintances call me Zo. Except for the gal at the bank. Zora is the name on my checks so she always greets me, Hi Zora. I want to say call me Zo but I know the next time I go she will still say, Hi Zora as that is my name on my check. I have thought about changing it legally but something inside me feels it would dishonor my Mother. She named me after her sister and she adored her sister Zora.  And really what difference would it make as there would be those still that would always call me Zora.
There are some folks who have made the switch. My brother always calls me Zo, and to my nieces I am auntie Zo.
So what is in a name? Why does one prefer one name over another. In my case it is the way it makes me feel. Zora for some reason gives me a burden to carry that is just how it is for me.  Zo feels light and free.
I am pleased that my children both like their names. They have said they would never change them have never given it a thought.  Of course Michael and Gina are not unusual names. Michael is still one of the most popular names of all time. 

I have things I want to accomplish today.   A long walk is in order and I really need to bake something. It has been a while since the house has been filled with the aroma of desert. Here are the choices I am considering.  Lemon tea bread always so fresh and light, lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies a new recipe I have been wanting to try or my tried and true cocoa cake.
Decisions, decisions. What is Zo to do?

Yesterdays blue skies are gone. A gray has settled in above us and has cooled the air and is making all look dull.  I wonder if it will shower? This has been the driest May on record here in Eugene to this point at least.
Whatever it is you find yourself doing enjoy your day. I am off to start mine with vigor!

Friday, May 18, 2012


This was a tasty old world meal. I know it needs something green to the side but we have been having salads and greens for days so skipped it last night. Just decided to go with a piece of sourdough toast. 
The chicken was juicy. I actually cut a big whole fryer in two and put a half in the freezer. So for this dish I had a drumstick, thigh, wing and cut a half breast in two. So it was more than enough for the two of us. However next time I prepare it I am just going to use three drumsticks and three thighs.

Here is the recipe
Six to eight pieces of chicken your choice(dark meat is juicer)
1 red bell pepper julianned 
1 small onion(I used a half onion and a shallot) sliced
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon paprika or more
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
2 fresh tomatoes rough chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
canola oil for frying 

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces
cover the bottom of a heavy cooking pot with oil
fry the pieces in batches until brown on all sides.
Remove from pot.
add the julianned red pepper slices , and onions to the pot along with the paprika. Stir and cook until tender but do not overcook use a med to low heat takes about five- ten minutes.
Add the minced garlic and cook a minute or so longer.
Add the white wine and deglaze the pot stirring well getting all the goodies off the bottom.
Add the tomatoes and the bay leaf
Add the chicken pieces back into the sauce and spoon the sauce over. Cover the pot and slowly simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken from the pot when done and place on platter cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the sauce on med heat without the lid to reduce a little.
Add the sour cream to the sauce and stir to incorporate.
Pour the sauce over the chicken

Serve alone or over mashed potatoes, noodles, rice or whatever you prefer. If you want your broth extended add a little chicken broth after adding the wine.

This good tasty paprika chicken but really not much different than my usual recipe. Just a different take on it with the red peppers. It is a pretty dish.

Today I am getting myself ready for my visit with my long time friend. 
I must walk now so on with the walking shoes.
It was chilly last night and will be cooler today.
We have had one of the driest May's on record in our area. Which is just fine with me.
Enjoy your Friday. I always so loved Friday's when I was younger. No work until Monday and a weekend full of possibilities.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Posted by PicasaRoasted tomato sauce for pasta.
I make several batches of this sauce when the tomatoes are on in the garden. Then I put into zip lock freezer bags to use in the winter to remind me of summer once again.

All you do is wash the tomatoes and put them on a baking sheet(bottom photo) with about six cloves of peeled whole garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven until the edges are starting to blacken about 30 minutes. Remove and cool. Remove the skins and put them in the food processor with the garlic and some of the juice in the pan. Process until blended then pour into the blender add the peeled tomatoes and the remainder of the cooking juices and blend until smooth. That's it. Put into the freezer in quart jars or freezer bags. When you want sauce just thaw and add to your recopies or make a marinara sauce by adding what veggies you like to the sauce and simmer. Same with meat sauce.
Another good thing is put the sauce in a medium size saucepan heat and then add some cream and a splash of vodka and red pepper flakes if you like. This is a good rich creamy sauce with a little bite. Serve over pasta with lots of grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy.

I posted this recipe today because I cannot wait to get our tomato plants into the ground. It is almost planting time. The beds are weeded but not prepared but will be soon. Makes my mouth water to see these photo's and I have one precious quart of this smokey rich tomato sauce still waiting in my freezer.
But tonight Paprika Chicken on the menu.

Enjoy you day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Posted by PicasaZo making a toast last year at King Estate here in our lush Willamette Valley. We will be going next week weather permitting. We always go in spring and May primarily.
We will have a grand lunch here at King Estate. Their fare is very very tasty indeed. However we will also visit and taste local wines at several vineyards. This is something we both love to do and who could not adore being in this rolling green countryside.

I have just returned from my weekly grocery shopping and banking. So the remainder of the day now belongs to me and my pursuits.
I still need to walk and it is a perfect day for walking. Mid seventies with a slight breeze just enough to make the leaves on the trees do a little shimmy.

I am reading a book now by Ann Pacthett that started out quite slow, but it has been building and building bit by bit. So yesterday as I turned the pages hungrily reading, the tale has revealed a sinful, soiled cast of characters. Each having his or her own back story filled with secrets and lies.  This afternoon will likely find me, nose in book lazing in my comfy deck chair lost in their sorry lives.

Tonight in my kitchen we are having country fried steaks with gold mashed spuds and gravy and fresh roasted broccoli. I love broccoli fixed in this manner. Just toss the segments with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and roast. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar is a nice touch to add to your serving. So comfort food this evening. We dined on the left over enchilada's and beans last night. I have a fat whole fryer sitting in the fridge thawing for tomorrow nights dinner. I will cut it up and make chicken paprika. This is recipe of Nigella's on the cooking channel, actually it is her Mothers'  recipe.  Different from what I usually make.  So if it is as good as it looks I will share photo's and recipe with you.
You know I used to make home made egg noodles to go with a dish like this but I now use "Country Pasta" brand egg pasta noodles. So easy and fast compared to home made and quite good really. I get them at Walmart. Who would think?

It is time to close and get my walking shoes on and stroll through the green green neighborhood. 
Ciao, Have a lovely spring day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Posted by PicasaVery tasty fare last night. Two cheese enchiladia's with a pinto bean pot. In other words pinto beans cooked in chicken broth with shallots, garlic and other seasonings. After dishing up we topped all with a scattering of sliced scallions.
As always we have enough for this evenings meal. I am going to add a side of mixed greens also.

Hubby is working this week. So I am hopeful to get much accomplished. The guest room is waiting for me to make some magic in it. I am arranging the furniture today and cleaning all good and making up the bed in summer mode. I was going to do this last week but it is hard to take on a project when hubby is home. Seems we are always doing something together.
I also need to work on the computer today for an hour or so.

I will be spending time with a gal friend in Bend this weekend. I am so looking forward to that. I have many friends that live in Bend and though I do not see them that often they are always in my mind and thoughts. I do miss Bend for that reason alone. If I were rich I suppose I would want to have a second home there. Hubby enjoys skiing and I like the good quality eateries and what Bend has to offer in it's downtown area's and always a plus to have good friends to share that with. But alas that is not the case at this point in my life but who knows????

Our weather has been glorious. Today though is cooler so far as cloud cover is holding the sun at bay. They forecast 80 degree's for today so I suppose the clouds will melt away at some point and the sun will beam bright for us here in the Willamette Valley.

I made an amazing Mother's day meal for my husband and myself. I was not with family so we celebrated the day with good food and each other's company. 
I fixed Chicken Picata always a favorite classy dish. Golden tender juicy chicken fillets simmering in a sauce of butter, white wine, lemon slices and capers. I serve it along side fluffy rice, risotto or couscous. Fresh asparagus is a perfect side dish also. However this time I made us a salad of baby greens, beets, red onion and cucumbers with home made Russian dressing. When I serve up Chicken Picata there are never leftovers it is just to good to leave one luscious bite.
We spent a plesant afternoon on the deck. I was going through cooking magazines. I have some that are ten years old or better so I have been ripping out what recipes I care to save and putting them in a folder and tossing the magazines. Then we played some games at the patio table. It was quiet in the neighborhood which was a plus.  
Both of my children called I love them so and they are always there for me as I am for them. They are devoted to me each in their own ways. My son and I are very close as he lives his life alone, no partner. So I am his go-to person much of the time. So we do share a lot of our daily lives. We talk about everything. He is such a open man his life rides on his sleeve for all to see.  My daughter and I are very much alike so we can spend hours in conversation. It does truly amaze how much we are the same in our thoughts and patterns. Like two pea's in a pod she always says. So I am so thankful for these two in my life they bring much happiness to my heart and much soul felt love to my being. I could not imagine my life without them being a part of it.

Well on those lovely thoughts I had best get on with my day.
Have a terrific Tuesday whatever it is you are doing.
Bye for now.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


We ate at Newman's Grotto Coburg rd. location yesterday in Eugene.
I usually make our own fish and chips as they are wonderful.
The cod fish and chips at Newman's yesterday was yummy.
They had a perfectly seasoned golden crispy crust. The fillets inside were meaty, moist and juicy. There were three large pieces each piece weighty. Their tarter sauce is savory, hubby loved it.  I watched while they cut our fresh fish before it went into the deep fryer. The kitchen was spotless and the servers and staff friendly and efficient. 
So if you are in the area and want good fish and chips do try Newman's they have two locations. I may not be making them as often at home now knowing we can always stop to get such tasty fare.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Posted by PicasaA southwest burger in black and white but what to do? The color photo turned out like a big bright blob. So I changed it on my photo program to a black and white so I could post it.
You can tell by the size it was a big mouthful. Actually I cut mine in two last night and ate the other half for lunch today.

I have had a good and bad day today. The good part is I worked in the guest room this afternoon and accomplished much. The huge closet in there is clean........yes. I am ready to rearrange the room now and put on summer bedding for our guests.

The bad part of the day was wasted time on the computer this morning. Trying to build a website. I get so irritated when it seems I am doing everything requested and I need to keep repeating a step as I am not doing something right............grrrrr. So I plugged away at that project for almost two hours and accomplished nothing. Tomorrow is another day.

I did take an amazing walk early morning. It was cold the air chilled at it's edges. My face was washed bright from the brisk air. I seems strange now not to hear the rattle of bare branches but instead the whispering of leaves and opening buds. When I came into the house hubby said your cheeks are so pink it made me feel healthy and energized.

Tomorrow we are out and about may stop at a little fish place we both like for some cod fish and chips. It is to be warmer tomorrow and the weekend hot and summery. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Posted by PicasaThis was the full moon the other night it was 15,000 miles closer to the earth than it usually is. The picture looks like this because I did not realize I had the lens setting wrong on the camera. So with the film slowed down like this it appears as if the moon has a blazing fiery fringe about it. Quite interesting I think. I wonder what those other two spots are?

Since returning home from our trip we have been busy outdoors. The deck has a new coat of rusty red stain on it. The patio furniture is on the deck now but awaiting cleaning. Tomorrow hubby will finish weeding the garden beds. And after I return from grocery shopping I will wash the windows outside.

We had a fun afternoon yesterday after chores.
I had a coupon for our favorite Mexican place for a free entree for my birthday. It is nice how they give you a week to use the coupon. So I ordered quite a few things. We know the server and she said we could order what we liked and then she just took $12.99 off the bill which is what the coupon was valued at. So I had my favorites and shared with hubby too. Plus I brought my delicious beans and rice and corn cakes home and reheated them for today's lunch. Yummy even the second time around.

I had the most amazing walk yesterday. It looks like summer out now and the day was so warm with just a hint of a warm breeze. I so liked walking in the neighborhood looking at all flowers that have bloomed out in every color imaginable. The slower varieties are poking up from the earth still closed or partly opened. All look so fresh and bright with their faces raised to the sun. The leaf trees that line the streets are a thick mass of twinkling bright green.

We are having pizza tonight for dinner but tomorrow night we will grill. I am making southwest grilled chicken sandwiches on onion rolls. 
I like to slightly pound the boneless breast to even them out salt and pepper each breast and then I slip them into a ziplock bag with a handful of cilantro, chopped garlic, lime juice, orange juice and fresh jalenpeno chunks. Let marinate for several hours then drain and pat dry. Oil the grill well heat to mediuim and place the chicken on the grill. Turn as often as needed. I do like to get grill marks on them. Before they have completed cooking add a whole canned chili sliced in two and a slice of jack cheese. When the cheese has melted over the chili remove from grill. I make a sauce of mayo, ketchup, Dijon mustard, horseradish and Worcestershire. 
We both like toasted buns. I do not like to put the buns on the grill to heat as it drys them out. I heat a large skillet and drizzle olive oil on the inside of the buns and place them inside down in the hot skillet top with a lid and heat. Let them go until the inside is toasted.
We are having a black bean, rice and corn salad with our grilled chicken sammies. That just reminds me I need to find my recipe for that salad lol.
Anyhow this is a fave or ours in the summer.

I have chatted way to long and chores still await.
Enjoy your day. Me too :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Posted by PicasaWe have returned home. Yesterday we drove through, snow, sleet, rain and wind. Do we work for the postal servive? Who would think driving home on the 5th of May would entail such strange weather. However we persevered and arrived home safe and sound.

We had a fun trip. Granted we are not talking Europe here or even an interesting and exciting locale in the good US of A. We are talking Reno Nevada. Once a thriving little city, is that not what the sign states?
The Reno days of yore were much different than today's Reno. I have traveled there throughout my adult life. Every time I go it is changed and it is an ever changing scene.
So we are downtown this trip staying at the Eldorado Hotel on the 21st floor of the Skyline tower in a luxury king for five nights. The room is very nice actually better than nice. Spacious and such a comfy grand king bed. I slept like a baby not an easy thing for this gal to do.   
As I watched the sunrise every morning ease over the brown suede mountains it seemed I was on the moon. We were so high the perspective from the bed showed no buildings just sky, hills and the sun making it way to claim the day. We rose quite early each morning out of bed before six. Our time clocks were a little out of whack as got up so early to leave for the eight hour drive our first day. So that time personal zone stayed with us it seems. Early to bed and early to rise. Well it worked it was a perfect schedule for us. 
We had not been for a couple of years and of course things did change as usual. I guess it really does not matter to us however as when we go we have our own little agenda. 
The bottom line is we won money this trip and oh that was a fun time. Our rooms were so cheap they were almost free with our players card and we searched out the most reasonable good tasting food there was to offer. Two best choices were a little authentic Mexican place within walking distance from our hotel and we also had the awful, awful burger(awful big and awful good). This is a well known burger as the travel channel had this diner on a show about a year and half ago. The diner and casino is called the Little Nugget as opposed to the big Nugget in Sparks.  The Food Wars show was comparing the Little Nugget's awful awful burger to the Nugget's awful, awful burger in Sparks. The Little Nugget won the battle and the place is famous now.  So of course we had to experience the best burger in Northern Nevada.
The place is a dive I will say that as it has been there forever and ever. But hey that burger was the best burger we ever had. We split one as they are a half pound of ground chuck loaded with all the trimmings and the best yummy sauce on a toasted oversize onion roll with a full pound basket of thin crispy perfectly seasoned fries. All for $6.50. What a deal and what a treat!
So it was a fun birthday trip for me. We gambled and won, had amazing drinks all free, cheap amazing rooms and tasty food. What is not to like?

At home now chores inside and outside await. We did catch up on some things today but this coming week much will have to be attended to.
I will say being gone just six days we were surprised when we came back into our Willamette Valley as all was sea of green, every green hue you could envision. Everything is lush and dense. How can that happen in a week? The wonders of the earth just thrill me. Sometimes I just want to roll in the grass and soak it up like a sponge and put hands and feet deep into the earth and feel the richness and absorb into my being. 

Remember to watch the big full moon tomorrow night. Here in Eugene it will be most impressive at nine pm. We will watch for sure. Hubby is all into the cosmos's. How insignificant we seem here in this Universe. We should be so humble and grateful for the honor to live in such a grand place.

Have a nice evening, we will.