Thursday, January 31, 2013


Posted by PicasaCupcakes and champagne what could be more decadent? These were the best cupcakes this gal ever made. A tender white cake, a raspberry center, and butter cream lemon frosting. My daughter went nuts over these cupcakes. I had to send the recipe I devised home with her. 
We two gals had a marvelous three days together. Friday the day Gina got here we stayed home. So we had the above mentioned shortly after she arrived. It was serendipity as she brought champagne and I  bought some also. We chatted non stop, we snacked, we watched video's of my grandchildren, her little ones in younger years. We listened to music, played with her new kindle fire hd and then my hubby was home to visit with Gina while I made the cauliflower soup and bread for dinner. Gina set the table festive and we had a candlelight dinner the three of us savoring deep bowls of creamy soup and munching and dunking crispy bread into our bowls.
The next morning my daughter and I were two very lazy gals. We finally got ourselves around and went downtown Eugene for lunch. We went into the Cornucopia pub for a glass of wine and wound up staying there to eat. We felt like pub grub and their food is very tasty. After a two hour lunch we wandered across the street to the 5th st Market Place and meandered through some charming shops. It was raining torrents, water was running down the streets.  We were trying to stay as dry as possible, laughing and squealing as we ran along the sidewalks side stepping puddles. 
That evening we had a simple dinner of munster and sharp cheddar cheese panini's with tomato slices tucked in. Such a good combination. The remaining days were similar.  We went out to lunch with my hubby one day.  One evening we looked through old memorabilia and photos laughing at ourselves in the old styles and hairdo's. We played games and cards and just had good fun with much love tucked in.
When she drove away I was standing at the window and swallowing the lump in my throat that always forms when she leaves.
The house was so quiet the laughter and chatter no longer echoing through the rooms.
She brings such warmth and happiness when she comes through the door, it is hard to let her go.

We have rain or showers or whatever you want to call it now in Eugene but sadly I heard on the weather cast last night the fog will be returning tomorrow. I have not cared for this winter one bit. To many gloomy days.

Today is a busy one for me. I need to catch up on household duties of which there are many. I am also going to get in a walk between showers.
Now I am going to get a steak stew going in the slow cooker and will make either biscuits or cornbread to go with that this evening.
I will leave you now.......till later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Posted by PicasaMy lovely daughter Gina. She will be here by noon tomorrow. We both are so happy to share Mother/daughter time. She emailed not to long ago and said, I feel like I need a Mommy fix. I so love that as I need a Gina fix every now and then. When we are together we seem to recharge each other's batteries. We always feel energized and more powerful when the two of us are together.

I just took my vanilla cupcakes out of the oven. They smell like Christmas. This recipe has twice the vanilla as most recipes and I use a high quality pure vanilla. So the air now is permeated with rich dense vanilla.
When the cupcakes have totally cooled using a very sharp tiny knife I will cut a small deep circle out of the top of each cake. Into that hole I will put a small dollop of seedless raspberry jam.
The frosting is a butter cream but it is moistened with lemon juice instead of milk and also lemon zest for a pop.
I am going to have one of these cupcakes with a glass of champagne. Seems like a perfect fit.

I cannot express how wonderful it is to see the sky even though cloudy there have been breaks where I have glimpsed some blue. It is warmer too a good thing. I woke in the night  kicking covers off as we added an extra quilt and have quite enjoyed it's warmth this past few weeks.

We were up so early again and I was off to the store for needed items. Others must have been still having coffee and in their slippers and jammies as the parking lot was nearly empty.

It has been sixteen years ago today that my dear Mother left this old earth for a better place. The old saying that time heals is correct. Each year that goes by I am able to remember more of our life together with so much happiness in my heart. And another thing that time does it softens all the edges of your memories and you magically remember all the best parts. Of course with my Mother and I all the parts were pretty grand. She was one of a kind in that she always put others first. She did this without a thought I am sure. She was just who she was, giving, always smiling and loving.
My husband always says to me, you do not even know how blessed you are to have had a Mother like that. But oh I do. Maybe I did not when I was young and immature. I can remember times I hurt her heart but I realize now I was just a kid or a teen and trying to gain my own independence. My Mother and shared a wonderful life together and we were always close so that only makes it harder for the one left when someone passes over. 
I am sure we do not all hurt the same when a loved one dies. To be close and feel all that love for all those years is a hard thing to lose. To not have it as a lot of folks do not it seems to me it would be easier when that person is lost to you. But that I do not know as I have not lived that life. And maybe then there would be regrets and guilt other things to make you sad.

On a fun note my dear friend Judy had a birthday today. I hope she is having an amazing day with family. Happy Birthday Judy!!!

My hubby will be home soon so I must get my cupcakes frosted before he wants the kitchen. He is making Gina his special salsa that she loves.

I will not blog for a few days now as I will be to busy having fun with my daughter.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Posted by PicasaFreezing fog making a winter scene. Everything is so pretty when the fog freezes, it has it's own beauty.
Today it will be over we have been encased for almost two weeks now. Everyone is waiting for the change and being happy because of it. By this afternoon we should be getting some light showers. I know I am more than ready for the rain. Sometimes I feel like I am buried alive when the fog presses me down. It is very claustrophobic and certainly effects you emotionally.
So no more, goodbye gray cold old fog you will not be missed.

I am listening to Pandora radio on the computer while I type. Right now The Civil Wars are playing. I enjoy them they are so talented. The music is alluring, soft and tender. Ahhhhh.

I have another agenda today I must accomplish. More general cleaning in the house and finish up the office. That probably seems boring to some folks but for me sometimes it can be quite relaxing in it's own way.
One is with their own thoughts as you go about your chores methodically no concentration required. I usually have some favorite music and let my mind wander to things that please me. Before I know it my to-do's are finished, it is magic!

I am making a stove top steak stew for this evening and cheesy biscuits. I have not made those yummy little darlings for a couple months now and we are craving them.
I think the stew and biscuits will make for a rich hearty winter dinner.
Last night we had a simple but satisfying little meal of a cheesy potato casserole, glazed honey carrots and beer brats with spicy mustard.

I must now start my day. First item on the agenda is to get a couple of proposals typed up and into the mail. 
I cannot wait until it starts to rain this afternoon......silly me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


This dish was so delish!
Here is the recipe.

1 pound boneless chicken breasts sliced across the grain 1/4 inch thick.
2 tablespoons of dry sherry(I used dry white wine)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil(I used olive oil)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 onion sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 red bell pepper cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf italian parsley

In a medium bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon sherry or wine, garlic, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and salt and pepper.
In a smaller bowl combine the chicken broth, remainder of sherry and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch stir until dissolved.
Heat a flat bottomed wok or pan that will generate hot heat and add half of the oil
(Best not use a coated pan as you will need to scrap up the goodies off the pan with a metal spatula.)
Add the chicken mixture in a single layer and cook for a minute or so then using the metal spatula stir fry until the chicken begins to brown then transfer to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium and swirl the remaining oil in (I scrapped the pan here to get what remained off the bottom.) Add the peppers and onions and stir fry till softened. Add the paprika and chicken with any juices back into the pan add the broth mixture and stir scrapping up any tidbits clinging to the pan for about two minutes until all is well blended and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the sour cream and fresh parsley and serve over noodles.

This recipe sounds kind of complicated I posted it the way it is in the magazine  When I was making it however I added my own short cuts instead of making so many steps out of it. It turned out perfect making it my way.
I sometimes follow a recipe only to a certain point and then just do what I like. I call it creative cooking.

This dish was so flavorful and it had a little heat also though I am not sure where that came from actually. Serving it over noodles that had lots of butter and lemon and also some parsley made the dish even tastier as it was layers of flavor.
We loved it.

My hubby is back to work today after a slow first part of the month. Now he is working non stop for a while and has two more bids this week. January is always our slowest month for our business.It will be nice now to have the house to myself during the day. I do always miss him however when I am used to having him here. Seems lonely at first but then........I say to myself "Ah it is nice to have my space".

I have much to do these next three days before my daughter arrives. I love having a sparkling clean house and will make some appetizers ahead for her arrival.
Friday evening I am making that heavenly cauliflower soup for her as she has always been a soup gal. I will heat up a couple sourdough baguettes to go with. Then of course a delightful cupcake for desert.
Saturday the two of us will go to lunch as hubby will be working. I suggested we go to the Lucky Noodle in downtown Eugene. A very good restaurant specializing in all things noodle. The decor is very contemporary but still it maintains a warmth and coziness.
There are few specialty shops in that area we can visit. There is amazing kitchen store I so love to browse through. It will be a fun little afternoon for us. Then home to talk and talk sip some champagne and perhaps take a hot tub if the weather allows.

We are to have rain coming in this evening and you know I am happy about that. As we have had no sun just fog and cold so a break in the weather is welcomed.

This is a long post.....sorry. Recipes do take time to write out and some like this one are quite long.

So I will now start on my to-do's for the day of which there are several.
It will be a busy week I like that!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I am making a new recipe this evening. It truly does look like a mouth full of pleasure. 
I am craving something creamy and flavorful tonight.  My side dish will be a nice accompaniment of buttered egg noodles with fresh parsley, lemon juice and of course lots of butter some salt and pepper. The contrasting flavors of each dish should make for a nice compatibility in ones mouth.
If the meal is a success tomorrow's blog will include the stir fried chicken paprika recipe.

I was disappointed today as I was going to make bread with my Kitchen-aid mixer. I was looking forward to watching it raise and smelling that yeasty  aroma from the oven while it baked. Sadly I forgot to buy yeast. I thought I still had a three pack in my pantry but was mistaken. So no bread baking for this gal on this old foggy cold day. Bad mistake.

I do have something to look forward to Thursday however. I am making raspberry filled white cupcakes with lemon frosting to have on hand while my daughter is here. Nothing says love more than a little treat like a gourmet cupcake. The frosting will be a rich butter cream with lemon zest and small amount of lemon juice. After the cupcakes are frosted I will zest a little extra peel over the tops for a bright bite.
I have a white cake recipe that is divine. It is as light as a feather, delicate and rich(lots of butter).
One has to be careful making cakes from scratch. If you over beat or put the mixer on a high speed the batter will become to dense and make for a compacted tough cake or worse yet one that will not even rise.
One needs to slowly beat air into to the batter and there is a method for doing that. Each step must be executed slowly and thoughtfully.
Something internal always told me to go easy on mixing up cake batter. Less is more. Once the ingredients are well incorporated quit mixing! As always eggs go in one at a time till blended in. A quick way to sift (as most folks do not take the time) is put your dry ingredients into a large bowl and use a whip by hand. Just circle through your dry ingredients until they are blended. And remember when baking you cannot fly by the seat of your pants. Your measurements must be perfect. Baking is a science, while cooking is an art.

My hubby just asked me if I would like to join him the hot tub. I think I will. We have bitter cold and fog so a hot soak will feel just fine.
So off I go!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Posted by PicasaHere they are! 
I came by these bowls when my niece Chris  had cancer and her odd's of beating it seemed slim so she passed the bowls to me.
I had wanted them after my Mother passed but Chris asked for them so I said yes.
I am so happy she gave them to me who knows where they may have gone as Chris died not long after putting them in my hands.
These bowls have always meant much to me for various reasons. Big yellow bowl potato salad, green bowl mashed get the idea.
So when I brought them home I wrote a little story of how I felt about these bowls which I will share with you now.

As I looked at the bowls my heart was happy. I did not want to put them in the kitchen cabinet as I longed for the sight of them but I knew I could not keep them on my counter forever. I removed the old bowls from the shelf and replaced them with these delightful bright colored bowls that adorned the table when I was young and continued to do so through the years until Mom was cooking and baking no longer.
Today I made lemon batter for lemon bread in the bright yellow one and beat the eggs in the green one. I touched and fondled them as if they were a lover. I took such care to beat and blend by hand until all was perfect. I then washed the bowls tenderly in warm sudsy water and traced their rims with my soapy fingers. Knowing my Mother's hands had done these same tasks over and over gave me a sense of being with her in that very moment. I truly felt her presence so strongly that I was prompted to go the stereo and put on the old standards, the same songs that she would be listening to on the radio when I came through the door from school.
So my Mother and I tidied my kitchen together and swayed to the music as the aroma of lemon filled the air and our hearts danced with the bright joy of the afternoon. was a good day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I titled this post thoughts for a reason. As there is nothing going on in our life right now except thoughts it seems.
We have been thinking about some little adventures later this year or next when the weather is suitable. Talking about perhaps a trip to Nashville Tenn for a week. We think it would be a fun place to go and listen to music in the out of the way cafe's etc. We could eat some good southern food and check the area out. We have not done anything like that for some time. We think it would be a fun trip.
Another trip we have been talking about for years is an Alaska cruise. We are not wanting to take a tropical cruise as we have been to a number of islands over the years and want to do something different. As we can board a cruise ship in Seattle it seems a feasible thing to do without much effort. So we have been having thoughts!
I suppose these grim winter days bring on such thoughts. One has to think of something to make the day brighter at least in spirit.
Yes we are still in gray today. I have lost count of how many days now in a row we have had this fog.
I have not been walking as it is just so bitter. I know I said I would walk every day regardless of the weather but easier said than done. The air is like a frozen stone.

I am reorganizing my book cases today. I am overloaded with books so I need to sort and take some books to the thrift store. I am also removing some family photos and such that sit atop my bookcases and will use that area for books also.

I finished a great book a couple of days ago as you know. The book I am reading now is wonderful in it's own right. It is called "The School of Essential Ingredients". by Erica Bauermeister. This is her first book but there will be more this woman knows how to write! She lives in Seattle and this book is set in the northwest. It is a book about cooking and allowing the sensuality of preparing a meal full of textures and spices and ingredients seep into your being. I have never read a book  like this and I love it! It takes your mind a step farther into the process of cooking.

I am now going to work on my books in those overloaded cases.
Have a nice Saturday. Perhaps cook up something divine and be in the moment of the whole process. You will be surprised how remarkable that experience can be.
I think I am going to bake something this afternoon and take in each step slowly and savor it just like meditation 
Bye for now.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Posted by PicasaWe are hungry for taco's tonight. This is a photo I took of some pork verde taco's I made previously. Tonight our taco's will be ground beef as that is what I have on hand. Into them will be the usual toppers. Shredded lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, onions and cheese.
My husband is making a batch of tomatilla sauce today. We love that green fresh tasting sauce so that will be my sauce on my taco as well as on a side of rice and red beans.

I just had a pretty hardy breakfast/lunch combo for me. I gobbled down the half of baked pork chop I did not eat last evening as well as a small dish of homemade applesauce. So I will be content till taco time this evening.

Life with fog!!!!!!!! Oh we are so tired of this low hanging gray blanket. The hard part is knowing that just a small way above this  dense cover there is sun and warmth. If we were to go a ways on either pass out of this city we would be in the sunshine. 

We are painting one of our bathrooms this weekend. Tomorrow I will start the prep work and we will paint on Sunday.
I have had a hard time determining what color I want for this room. The floors are neutral large tiles, the counters are lovely in ceramic grained Mexican style tiles in neutral variations with a husky bullnose edging.
I have decided to go with a medium value canyon color. I just want to set a nice backdrop for some colorful thick bath rugs in a sea blue/green. 

For those of you still on a weekly work schedule today is your TGIF. Rejoice and be happy! All the years I was in the design field working I never had a Monday through Friday schedule. I sometimes had split days
off(nasty)or most likely I had Sunday and Monday. At least I could have one weekend day off to get together with family and friends that had weekends off. Seems so long ago that working gal life of mine however I have only been retired for eight years. Time sure flies when you get older.

I surely hope where you are that you are not trapped in grips of fog.

On a footnote for those of you that follow my blog daily. You are probably wondering why we are having taco's when I stated yesterday we were having wonderful fresh ling cod today. Well hubby went to get the fish and it did not come in as promised so we had to adapt. So taco's it is!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Posted by PicasaThese yummy little tidbits were wonderful. I just used my Mother's old standby recipe. I ate many of these fritters throughout my young years. We finally finished them off yesterday. The recipe really makes too much for two people so from now on I will half it.

Wow! talk about cold weather. Brr and more brr.
We took a hot tub last night in freezing fog. I will say that hot water was incredible we so enjoyed that soak. We plugged in the icicle lights. It was a festive touch.

We did not go on our country drive that I had mentioned yesterday. The clouds did not lift and the same seems true for today. We are getting so weary of the gray and this stone cold. Nothing moves, just dense bone cold air in the stillness.

Our spaghetti sauce last night was once more  such a treat. Bright red sauce made with our own garden tomatoes from last summers harvest. They work out so well just roasting, slipping the skins,blending and freezing them. This batch was not seasoned in any way. It was just roasted tomato sauce.
So I added some olive oil into my red pot, tossed in some diced onion and a couple cloves of minced garlic and slowly cooked until the onion was transparent. Then I added the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, cracked black pepper, kosher salt,dried parsley and red wine and tiny meat balls. I let all simmer for about two hours removing the lid the last twenty minutes or so it could reduce somewhat. We made bruchetta with olive oil and a little mozzarella cheese and scallions and quickly toasted it under the broiler. It made for a lovely meal with a large glass of melbec. I added a romantic touch with candlelight and red and white checkered napkins. La Dolce Vita.
As is normal I made enough for tonight. So a repeat of dinner with the addition of a mixed green salad. 
We never mix the spaghetti noodles and sauce together if we know we are having the meal again as the noodles as you probably know will swell in the sauce. That rings true with all the pasta dishes I make, unless in a casserole.

I just fixed myself a hot buttered rum. I am chilled and that will certainly warm me up.
I do love them but will not have more than one. They are very fattening and rich.

We are looking forward to Friday as our fishmonger at the fish market told us they are having fresh pacific ling cod. It will be unadvertised. There will limited amounts so hubby is going to call first to make sure it is in and go and pick us enough for two days. It is a steal at just $5.99 a pound. Friday I am going to prepare it in the black iron skillet. I will very simply salt and pepper the fillets and put into the skillet with a little butter and olive oil mix. A nice sear on one side flip to sear the other side and out of the pan fast. With a squeeze of lemon it will be perfect.
My husband is going to prepare it the next day. He wants to make cod fish sandwiches. So he will season the fillets and bread them in egg and panko and fry them crispy. I will make my home made tarter sauce which we will slather on sesame buns with shredded lettuce, a slice of tomato and onion. Sounds pretty wonderful both ways.

I am in love with my beautiful book with all things Italian. So it is time now to sip my hot buttered rum before it cools down and stick that nose of mine into my book.


Monday, January 14, 2013


Posted by PicasaYes I am ready for spring and our annual trip to wine country. Tired of winter already! Though that is probably not a good thing as it will be with us for a while yet. Fortunately here in this southern end of the Willamette Valley springs shoots forward in mid march. By the end of March the sprout is on!
We always have two events to look forward to in spring. Wine country(see photo) as it is the most beautiful then so lush and green and our annual trip to Reno. A road trip we have been taking for many years. We usually go around my birthday time(May 1st) and spend four to five nights in a luxurious suite at the Eldorado hotel so that alone makes it fun for us. We know all the good eateries and fours star restaurants after years of trying most every one. So only two more months till spring in the valley.........yes! Then later the little trips.

Today looks promising. Woke to a stone cold gray sky but now the sky is brightening slowly, but perhaps...........sun?  Oh that would be lovely. We are hoping for a drive out in the country between Junction City and Monroe area toward the west. It is pure countryside out there rambling hills and big sky country. A sunny day, a picnic lunch and the camera will make us two happy souls. Hubby wants to check out the Long Tom river and find some fishing holes for springtime. So a little day trip this week if the sun shows it face.

I am ashamed to say I am still sitting here in morning attire. I must shower, dress and get my day going it is already after ten.
Oh on a note, I am loving my new book I started a couple of days ago. It is set in Tuscany. A love story about two Americans that find one another in Italy and fall in love. I adore books that are set in Italy. This one in particular is very descriptive and also has little sayings in Italian with English under. Lovely. So I intend to spend sometime today reading but I must linger as I need to savor this book.

So I am off.....enjoy your Monday not the best day in the week but a day of your life regardless.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Taco night! Yum is all I can say. I had two taco's and no sides. Hubby ate four and Mexican rice...... he was a hungry man.

It is so cold brrrrr, 20 degrees tonight. The hot tub had icicles all day hanging off the sides........weird. Hubby took a hot tub late afternoon before dinner. When he came in we played games for a while before I fixed dinner. It was a fun relaxing day.

I went to the store first thing this morning. As I did not want a lot of folks out and about with the flu epidemic.  I could not believe the amount of people out and about coughing, blowing noses and sneezing. Please stay home if you are sick. They say this flu is so contagious that for instance someone can sneeze and the germs will fly six feet. Even if you are not there when  this happens if you walk through the area shortly after you will be exposed.
I am one of those that does not get a flu shot. Hubby did this year first time ever. I am just afraid I will have a reaction from it and I do not like putting things into my body that are not natural. There are fillers in the flu shot that make some folks very sick. I will take my chances and do everything I can to stay safe. We will not eat out for one thing during the duration of this epidemic. I use sanitizer the minute I get in my car before touching my steering wheel. I avoid close contact with people. Also I will only go out once a week early in the morning to do my grocery shopping.
The paper stated that workers are the worse offenders because they do not stay home when sick with the flu. They continue to work at their jobs and spread it everywhere among other workers and shoppers. For youngsters, seniors  folks that have health issues, this flu could be a death warrant.
Well enough doom and gloom.

Tomorrow I am fixing artichoke Parmesan ravioli's in vodka sauce with a fresh baked baguette. Just a simple little meal as I picked up the ravioli's at a  gourmet shop and they are already made.

There is no more news so I will say good-bye for now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Posted by PicasaA photo of my lemon roasted chicken. It was very juicy and had a nice subtle lemon flavor. We still have a nice portion chopped and ready to use in a chicken and rice casserole for this evening.

We woke to snow covered streets this morning and the snow continued to slowly float down in large flakes for an hour or so this morning early.
It was a lovely sight not having snow that often it is quite exciting. Of course nothing accumulated as it is warming up. We may have the same scenario tomorrow morning.

The book I am reading now by an author I have read before is quite different than my usual fare. It is a like a detective novel. There are quite a few characters some seedy some normal that make a great cast of characters. There are several different scenario's going at once but I am sure they will tie together at some point. I must remember everything I read and not skip read as I sometimes do in slow books. Every detail is going to count in this book. So yes I think it is enjoyable but I am not sure if I really care for this type of book. I can only answer that when the last page is finished.

I had lunch out with my sis in law Liz yesterday. It was nice having gal time. We had a good lunch then ran to a thrift store to see if there were any good treasures we could not do without. I usually only go to thrift stores to buy books but I looked at other items this time and bought a cute little sign for the outside fence in the garden come spring.

Last night I took a hot tub.  I was not sure the sky was going to clear as it had been overcast for most of the day and early evening. But when I checked about eight PM all was clear and glittering stars laced the navy sky. I quickly ran and put my spa gear on and headed to that hot pool of water. There alone under a heavenly body of diamonds I soaked in the quiet hot water. To float weightlessly and take in the universe above you is always an emotional experience for me.
To be so insignificant less than a grain of sand in the cosmos puts my mind in a deep place. And that place  has always had an allure for me.

I am now going to make a batch of apple fritters. Old fashioned apple fritters just like my mother used to make, battered and fried and dusted with powder sugar. I am still working on those apples that were given to us from the farm folks. I have them stored in the garage fridge they will be gone shortly but they surely have been a lovely treat to have on hand.

Till tomorrow.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Posted by PicasaI am thinking taco's. My tummy is better and on the way to well. Yeah. Today I have been watching what I eat. I have had a can of chicken noodle soup and some soda crackers so far. For dinner tonight I am just having some red potatoes and a small amount of gravy and a serving of a veggie. No wine for a few days. So you wonder why I am thinking of taco's does not take Einstein to figure that one out!

I am making roasted lemon chicken tomorrow evening and with the leftovers the following night I will make chicken taco's.
Lemon Chicken as you probably know is just roasted chicken with lemons inside the cavity. Salt and pepper the chicken inside and out. Take three lemons and wash them and roll them to soften them and then with a tooth pick poke holes all around into the lemon and put them inside the chicken. Then truss your chicken closed but not totally tight as the chicken may burst so leave a gap. Put the chicken in a roasting pan breast side down uncovered in a 350 degree's after 30 minutes turn the chicken, try not to puncture the skin but if you it does not really matter. Roast for another 30 minutes then increase the heat to 400 degree's and bake another 20 minutes.Plan on 20-30 minutes roasting time per pound. I use an instant read thermometer so I know it is always done.
Bring the chicken to the table whole for presentation and leave the lemons in while craving. The lemon juice will run all over the platter. Good stuff. Simple and lemony. To the side I will have roasted cauliflower with olive oil and a romaine salad. So a light dinner for us tomorrow evening. And taco's the next night...yummy.

Hubby just went to the hot tub. I declined. It is not raining out it is gray and cold and I am not in the mood for a soak.

No one sent us a 2013 calendar this year. Usually the companies we buy our products from or even the local garbage or power company send a calendar. So for the first time ever I going to buy one. Seems so strange as I have never done that. I know things are lean for businesses at this time so that is probably the reason.

I went and bought six books today that should last me about six weeks I suppose. I bought four with authors I am not familiar with though they all write national best sellers. So it will be a experience for me to see if I like their writing styles. I started one this afternoon. It is guaranteed to be a page turner thriller of sorts. I will see. I am more inclined to read women authors more often than men. I so like the sensitivity and warmth that a woman brings to the story unlike most men.

I worked in the office this afternoon and now all is tidy. That file cabinet gets in such disarray in a short time. I blame that partly on my hubby as he is always searching for something and then after he is finished  it does not get back in the proper file. It is an ongoing thing I just deal with.

Well the four pm bell just tolled. Tea time! I will sit and sip a hot cup of tea in my comfy chair before starting dinner.
Just another blah winter Monday I hope I have not put  you to sleep.
That's all folks.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Wow a restless night for me last night.
Ugh. If you have heard of IBS it started up again with me last night. Have not had a episode since last April. Not fun. I will not go into the details. It is enough to say I was in pain last night for several hours in which I could not sleep. So I found myself in my chair reading for about three hours until things subsided I finally went to bed and to sleep after four AM.  So now today I am tired and sleepy. Actually I need to go get myself around into the shower and dressed as it is almost noon.
Hopefully this episode will not last beyond a couple of days.

It surprised by the pretty day here today. Hubby just came in from mowing the lawn and dealing with the last of the leaves. I will try for a walk later if I am feeling up to it as we are to have rain again beginning tomorrow.

Here's the report on the Senate Bean soup. It was very delish!
My husband really enjoyed it. Subtle changes over my regular recipe made for a creamy and flavorful soup. Tip here, if your ham is not salty and mine was not you do need to add salt, very important.
Here is the recipe.
First of all let me state I cut this recipe in two as there are just the two of us. We still have enough for another meal this evening. So that keep that in mind. Here is the full big recipe.
1 pound navy beans picked over
1 pound ham of your choice diced.( I used leftover spiral ham and diced it)
1 large russet potato peeled and chopped
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley( I did not have fresh parsley so I used some chopped celery leaves and a little dried parsley)
Freshly ground pepper

Put the beans in a large bowl with three times the amount of water and soak overnight.
Drain the beans and transfer to a large pot or dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water and the ham if on the bone.
Bring to simmer over med heat then reduce to low heat and cook until the beans are tender about an hour and a half.
Transfer ham to plate and cut off bone and dice and add back to pot.(My ham was already cooked so I did not add it early on I added it after the beans were tender)
Boil the potato when tender mash with the 1/2 cup of milk add the mashed potato to the pot stir in well.
Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions, celery and garlic cook till the veggies are translucent about seven minutes or so(do not burn you want a white soup). Add the veggie mixture to the pot and season with salt and pepper(I also used a little Mrs. Dash original seasoning as we like the taste).
Let all simmer until well melded and serve.
Not I always say this but the best way to eat navy been soup in my opinion is to grab a deep soup bowl, plop a corn muffin the bottom and ladle the soup over the top.This thickens your soup right in your bowl and nothing better than a spoon loaded with soup and corn muffin. Seriously try it sometime.
So there you have Senate navy been soup. It may become our go-to bean soup recipe.

I must go now to the shower and get on with my day though I will not do much except walk. A day for Zo to sit in her chair and finish her book, yes another book comes to it's demise. Now I am out again. Tomorrow I will run back to my book place and grab a few more to keep contented. I am really thinking I should allow time for my piano and other endeavors but I so love to read, especially in winter.

Have a lovely Sunday. Sunday's were always my Mother's favorite day of week. Everyone home, no school, no work, perhaps company for our delicious Sunday supper as Mom used to call it. It was a day to be spent with family doing simple things around our home and farm.
Ahh the peace of it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Posted by PicasaI am thinking I am a little lonely for the coast.
We have not been for well over a year which is out of character for us.
Hubby and I will talk and see if it may be possible to go in the very near future. His work always comes first and it has to be that way for us.

We are back to gray and wet today. Though it rained during the night as the streets were wet but it has not rained today as yet.
It was so nice having that splendid day yesterday and last evening. 

I am making the Senate bean today. This soup has been a mainstay for the Senate dining room since the onset of 20th century. It is basically no different than my navy bean soup except for the addition of mashed potato. I will let you know how you turns out if it is a winner or a loser in our household.

Mu husband is snuggled down on the sofa watching football it is quiet in our home today there is not much activity. That suits me just fine. I like quiet days.
I have been reading off and on today as I go about my house chores. 
I stripped our bed and remade it so all is clean and fresh. I am down to one contour sheet that fits our huge deep mattress so a priority this coming week is new sheets. I like to go to Ross for this type of thing. Their prices are very good on quality bedding. Think I have mentioned that fact before.

I bought the cutest small size table lamp the other day for my living room. It is just perfect size and color. A bronzed dark brown base in swirls with a unique shaped shade in red and gold stripes. I have placed it  on my old 1910 antique sewing machine in the corner of the room. I adore little lamps they throw such a cozy light with a 40 watt bulb in them. I have several placed throughout my home.
I suppose I am obsessed with coziness. I always have been. Not only in my own home but in eateries etc. I always search out cozy intimate places. When I go into homes with overhead lights glaring I am automatically ill at ease and it is the same with load noises. Put the two together and I am ready to flee out the door. It probably is a disease but it is the way I am. I always one to seek out quiet and cozy.
Perhaps that is why I am cat person instead of a dog person. I just cannot abide by the racket.

Well my dryer is being obnoxious now this the second time it has beeped at me. How dare it? Well I had better answer the call and finish my chores for the day.
Bye for now.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Posted by PicasaThis is the scene right now on our deck. Our fire bowl is hot!!!!!!!!
I could only get within about four feet of it. It is made of steel so it really radiates out and heats an amazing size area. Hubby has fun building the fire and keeping it going with his hardwood scarps and the cuttings of limbs and trees on our lot. So at this time he is still out there watching for the first stars and enjoying the fire. I have obviously come in as I am on computer, but it was hard to leave.
I needed to wash and sort navy beans and put to soak for our Senate Navy Bean soup tomorrow night.

We went back to the mexican eatery we love today for lunch. This is becoming a fattening habit. Now the servers know what we drink,and what extra's we like etc. Well the food was good as usual and a lot so tomorrow we will eat out of our doggie boxes for lunch. Thank goodness we do not have dogs! 
It was an amazing day today. The kind of day you want to have in mid-winter. Woke to clear skies and cold air. Everything outdoors looked pristine. It was to nice to stay indoors thus the trip out to eat, my walk, sitting on the deck this afternoon with winters sun on our faces and the fire and stars tonight. Perfect. 
Hubby is going to watch another bowl game and I am going to go for a soak in the hot tub this evening. Alone I will float and look up into that black sky and stare at stars and wonder what I am doing here and what is life?  I always talk to my Mom and others that have moved on. You would be surprised if you ask what you receive.The answers rejuvenate me.
Then when I come back in I will have a piece of leftover pizza that I made last night for dinner.

Speaking of last night..........WOW Oregon did an amazing job. It was so good to win!!!!!
I knew we were worthy of going to the National Championship, but no we had to have a bad game against Stanford.....darn....well I seem to be doing a lot of dots here but what to say? I suppose I should be happy with the Fiesta Bowl win but perhaps......more dots. I give up!

One thing I do have to elaborate on. When I was taking my walk today because it was warm but yet winter the birds were out in droves, perhaps confused. My ears were a buzz with their chirping. 
Also I am so blessed as I walk that country road as I have mentioned before. One side is our development the other total country. I never look at the development side I only concentrate on the other view. Orchards, farms, old barns,dirt lanes etc.  Besides the birds chirping I heard chickens and a rooster, and cows mooing and the grassy aroma of cow patties, fir needles, dropped apples in the fields decaying and faintly the smell of something approaching......spring? I know that is not possible but my senses picked it up. So it was a good walk and I actually lingered under sequoia trees that line the road. I was trespassing a bit but did not care. To stand under those giant trees my feet deep in needles was worth any argument I may have gotten from the property owner. I stood quietly and closed my eyes and once again I was a child, every thing felt and smelled the same. I so enjoyed that walk today, I really cannot explain how much.

So now I am hungry as hubby has put his leftover pizza in the micro and it smells amazing. So should I eat first before the hot tub or eat after.... decisions, decisions!

Whatever you find yourself doing this evening it is a day of your precious life. Treasure it and be in the moment. Who knows what lies ahead and the past is already gone so do not dwell. Be in the moment there will never be another day like it.
Sometimes when I am doing something simple perhaps lets say washing dishes. I concentrate very hard on my hands, the suds, the dishes and what I am doing at that very moment, just being in the moment so very focused. And you know what? I can recall that feeling again and again when I think of it. Focusing and putting your mind on what you are doing at the moment is a powerful thing and it can be recalled again and again. Quite amazing really.

So I leave you this evening with thoughtful thoughts. Deep thoughts really but we need them to clarify our lives and to understand what our life is teaching us. We can always learn if our heart, mind and soul will allow it. So let it run through your body and mind and find what it is you search for......God Bless.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Posted by PicasaMy little collage say's it all.
The OREGON and KANSAS STATE game tomorrow with homemade pizza. We are excited! What could be better......alright, OK, I know the National championship or the Rose Bowl. But because of our undoing those games were not possible. So we take what we get and be thankful and hopefully win!

It is so cold today.........brrrrrr. Woke to a world of silver and white frosting this morning. Not a breeze was stirring it was like frozen breath. As the morning eased on the frozen fog lifted and the sun glistened on the lingering frost it was very pretty. The hot tub cover was a mass of sparkles.
So the day has been beautiful. Frigid with deep blue skies and nary a cloud to be seen.

Today I un-adorned the tree and packed all the carefully wrapped ornaments into the Christmas totes. Then hubby and I took a pitifully dry tree out the door leaving piles of needles to contend with. Well all is back to normal now after much sweeping and vacuuming  Clean and fresh and uncluttered,I like it but I will be ready again next year to bring it all back out once more.
We left our little white lights atop the kitchen cabinets and the icicle lights on the back of house for a little atmosphere while taking hot tubs.

My menu is made out for the coming week. Tonight is my home made pizza.
This time I am using fresh mozzarella so much tastier. Also on the agenda for this week is Marcella chicken. Pork chops with roasted cauliflower with olive oil and garlic, ravioli with vodka sauce and salad, Senate Navy Bean soup with ham and bacon corn cheese muffins and a simple meal of patty melts on black bread with tomato soup.
Tonight it is bakers( a half for me) filled with butter,seasonings and scallions, then loaded with chopped salad, tomatoes and blue cheese dressing and topped with crispy fried bacon bits. We have had not had much food today so we are looking forward to this simple but satisfying meal.

Well I am going now to sit in my chair and read. It is almost four-thirty and I have been on my feet all day with the cleaning and such. So a little relaxing for me before I make dinner.

Have a nice evening.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Posted by PicasaThis was the scene last night before our guests arrived. This morning was another picture. I just spent a hour hour vacuuming up crumbs from everywhere. What did we do? Have a crouton wonders.
The chowder was so good and I made homemade croutons at the last minute to go with Liz's cesar salad as she had forgotten them.

Guess how late I stayed up? Would you believe I stayed up until two Am. Astounding. My hubby and brother-in-law hung in there also and we three watched the ball drop and then some. However my sister in law was fast asleep snoring on the sofa long before the bell tolled. Yes snoring. She would not like I shared that fact....bad me.

Hubby and I slipped out of our warm nest this morning at ten........hello ten! I have not done that for years. I feel a little out of kilter do to different hours but no worse for wear. I kept my drinking to a decent level. Only two glasses of champagne and then sipped slowly on a couple glasses of a bright flowery Chardonnay with ice. I finished the evening off with several big glasses of ice water.

We have the perfect amount of chowder and bread for a repeat tonight. We did not eat our puddings our guests loved theirs. So we have ours to look forward this evening also.

Now what will the New Year hold for us. We were timid this morning when we unfolded the newspaper to see if we went over the fiscal cliff. Seems all will be OK.....we are thankful for that.
We are anticipating a busy year work wise for hubby. We are anxious to do a few updates in our home as the money comes in.
I am going to get back on my walking routine starting today. Cold, rain, fog, snow and sleet will find me out there trudging through it all. It has been too easy for me of late to stay in the warm house and my body shows it.
Also I want to always be thankful and appreciative for what I do have in this lifetime. The most important being the love of my husband, children, family and friends. Having a home and food on the table. These are or should be the basic's of life but so many go without and that is very sad.

Now I am going to peek in fridge to see what I can have for lunch. The fridge seems to be bulging at this point so I surely will find some tasty morsel.

Have a wonderful first day of 2013. Give thanks for all you have and chart a course of goodness and love for the new year.