Sunday, October 12, 2014

MOVING ON

I choose a photo of myself when I was a little girl for this post. This photo which is a childhood memory certainly has nothing to do with a food blog which endorses what I am going to say. I am letting my cooking blog go off into oblivion. For the past year I realize I am posting less and less recipes and not focusing on food.  So it is time to switch gears at least for a while. I think what I am going to do is keep a personal journal on my word processor as I am in the mood to do that again. Yes again as I did that in the past. I will write when I feel I have something to say and then I will print it out and put into a binder. Sometimes things are lost from the computer even with back up and I would like to keep an old fashioned written record.


Today as I sit here and type there is gray outside the office windows. As I view our big tree at the edge of our front yard it is finally changing colors on the north side of the tree. Orange, yellow and red are now taking over the fading green foliage.  Soon the tree will be a blaze of glory and quietly and softly the leaves will float to the ground and bare branches will scrape against one another in the cold wind. Not that I mind I am ready for change.

I am quite certain I will start another blog at some point in time, a different name with a different approach, right now I intend to use the time I have spent blogging to compose some new songs on the piano and learn some new pieces. I played the other evening and it filled me to the brim. I have not touched the ivories for quite some time and I so enjoyed playing. Really it amazed me that most of the pieces I played I remembered them completely and played them well.
I also am thinking of bringing out my oil paints and brushes and seeing what I can do on canvas. I may have to replace the oil paints as it has been years. But the brushes and the stack of canvas's I have still will be usable.  I already know my style will be different. Before I was more of a landscape artist as that is what I was taught in art classes. I think I may dabble in buildings, ancient cities, hillside villages, that type of thing with detailed images but more subdued. I could use some new artwork in my house. I love canvases hung on walls with no frame. So I am excited to start again some old hobbies with new twists.

So I will leave you now until I get the urge to start up a new blog.
Thank you for enjoying what I have posted these past few years.
I am off now to dig out those art supplies. I am excited!

Post note. October 14th. Well I could not stay away from blogging it seems.
New blog is called  Plums and Pits-Scraps and Bits. You can catch it my going to plumsandpitsscrapsandbits@blogspot.com

See you there.

Friday, October 10, 2014

FALL DECORATING

I am finishing my fall decor today. I bought a large pumpkin yesterday at the farm to go with the mum and my Mr. Pumpkin head for the front door area. No body for Mr. Pumpkin this year just his head will sit on the steps on a little metal table. I need to add a few more touches to my kitchen window decor and hang my ghoul and skeleton. Same things every year but I am one that loves tradition the same items going up every year brings me contentment. About the only new thing I buy in the line of holiday decor every year is candles. I have orange mini lights that will die out at some point, this year I have them strung through my wine racks. Every year it seems I put them somewhere new. I love them as they give such a cozy glow in the evening.

I got so much accomplished yesterday it must have been because of that caffeine high! Same thing is happening today. One coffee pod made in the Keurig pot and I am flying. It is a good thing today as I sleep like hell last night. First of all about midnight I had a allergy attack with much sneezing so two hours later and empty box of Kleenex that event was finally over. Then I was fighting leg and toe cramps. Good grief I was about ready to give up but finally early morning I slept for a couple solid hours. So the coffee was much appreciated this morning as I needed a big lift.

Today I will remove the rest of the patio furniture from the deck that we will not be using this winter. We do keep the table and chairs out on the deck snuggled partially under the eaves. The big grill will be housed in the garage as soon as hubby gets home and the two of us roll it out there. We have our small charcoal grill on a stand with wheels that we will keep on the deck under the eaves, which reminds me I must get a little cover for it.

Last night we dined on an array of veggies stir fried in the wok. I served them over rice. I bought two huge bags of veggies and fruit at the farm yesterday morning.
For tonights meal we are having pulled cuban style pork sammies on toasted burger buns with sloppy horseradish sauce and slaw to the side or tossed on the sandwich too.

This is what I did to the pork loin roast. I made a rub of kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne(a wee bit) cumin, coriander, brown sugar, garlic powder and paprika. I patted the rub in good to both sides of the pork roast. Then laid the roast in the slow cooker lined with a slow cooker bag(only way to go). Then I made a mixture of three parts apple cider and one part apple cider vinegar and poured along the edges of the roast. The rub with a sweet hot combination of spices will meld nicely with the tang of the cider and vinegar as it all slowly cooks together.
After it is fork tender I will shred it for the sammies.

It is another beautiful day here in Eugene. Lots of warm sunshine in the mid seventies today. Our street trees have yet to change color. But the trees has gone dormant as there are few leaves now fading and there is little blotches of bright color here and there. 

Tonight we will watch a college football game and tomorrow night the OREGON game.
Again I must say how much I love this time of year. The weather, the geese flying over with their big honks, the football games droning on in the background, the changing foliage of the trees, and apples from the farmers fields adding their sweet scent to the cool air.

Well I am anxious to get back to decorating. I am having a fun day today after such busy busy days.
See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

REMEMBERING STEVE DANCHOK

This photo was taken the last time I saw Steve. I believe it was three summers ago. Steve and Judy were coming through Eugene and I met up with them at a RV park in Coburg.
Oh it was so good to see them as it had a been a while.
As I mentioned in yesterdays post Steve passed away Monday evening the 29th of September.

Steve was bigger than life an entertaining man full of devilment. I met him when I was a teen. Steve and Judy starting dating and Judy and I made plans for our boyfriends to meet. Which they did and they hit it off immediately so it was a good foursome and we had so many adventures and fun times together well into our married lives and our children s lives. 

After I learned of his passing I sat by the campfire that evening as we were camping and thought about him with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and a glass of wine in my hand.

Steve was an entertainer. With his magnanimous personality he was always at the center of things. 

When Steve prepared breakfast for company it took three hours and twice as much champagne and OJ to get the meal to the table. But it was always worth the wait as we were starved and half giddy from the bubbly so everything tasted ten times better than under normal circumstances.  Those were glorious times spent with the Danchok's in their cozy little kitchen with comfort food served up with love and laughter. 

Steve was such a good Dad and spent time with his sons and he was so dear to my children also, loving them like they were his own. He called my son Mike, Milo and Gina my daughter, Little crusty chin as she was a droller when she was teething and always had a chapped chin.  Steve would snatch her out of her playpen and hold her on his knee and entertain her with his antic's.

Boy that man could put the whiskey away. He and my father(they were both navy men) and my former husband would polish off a half gallon in an afternoon. No matter whose home we were at after the drinks came out so did the musical instruments. We had guitars, harmonica's, banjo's a piano at times and Judy and I had our singing voices. The kids joined in at times there was much merriment and the good times rolled with good old fashioned fun.
When we went with Steve and Judy on weekend outings to the beach or mountains one never knew what Steve would be up to. We had more fun with him in a grocery store,  a playground, campground, hotel or anyplace as he was such a character. I sometimes would get so embarrassed by the stunts that he pulled and sometimes I would laugh until I couldn't catch my breath and my eyes were blurred with tears.
I could tell stories for the next few hours but I guess what I am trying to say is that man was a big presence not only in my life but in so many's.
He will be sorely missed for many reasons, his big heart, his generosity, his humor, his goodness and his ever endearing love of family, friends and life! Which he lived to the fullest.
So to you Steve I raise my glass and toast you dear friend. I know you will be waiting for Judy with arms wide open ready to share another adventure.
God Bless you.



Monday, October 6, 2014

OUR TRIP TO FLORENCE

What a great time we had at the beach! One of the best trips ever. The weather was absolutely amazing for the first part of October. I was barefooted on the beach actually wading to my knees. It reminded me of when I was a child and would do the same thing. The breeze was even warm.

We enjoyed our wonderful meal at Waterfront Depot in Old Town Florence. Our first night was spent at the Siuslaw Marina and RV park we were fortunate to get a river site the only one available. We were there early and sat by the river and then strolled down the boardwalk poking around the docks and the little touristy shops. We went into the Beachcomber Bar and Grill to play a little Oregon Lottery which was fun as hubby won some money and we had a drink or two. Then wandered again for a while before our dinner reservations. Then home to play games in the trailer and watch the stars come out over the river. That evening was spectacular. As the sky turned black the stars shown like diamonds and they glittered in the water like a million fireflies. The pier lights smeared the water with their color. The half moon hanging bright projected itself into the still river. My eyes loaded with tears and my heart had a lump I could barely swallow it was so tenderly beautiful.

In the morning we loaded up and went to our next camping place. The Heceta Beach Good Sam Park. Here we spent four nights. Our spot was secluded but provided good sunlight. My husband cooked breakfast each morning outdoors on the camp stove saving me the trouble and mess in our small trailer. In evenings we grilled. During the day we packed our packs with drinks, snacks and reading material for me and would walk the fifteen minutes to the beach. Hubby carried our camp chairs though he much prefers sitting on a log. But there were not that many logs and we feared they may be taken. However there were not many folks on the beach during the week and barely a spattering more on Saturday. 

It was nice to be home yesterday. Now today I have the trailer to clean, a mound of laundry and awaiting on the counter are the last of the red tomatoes that will need to be processed for another quart or two of sauce. Then we will pick the remainder of the tomatoes the end of this week and the vines will be cut down. The green tomatoes will go into brown paper bags to ripen like magic usually one or two a day will be ready for eating.

Now on a very sad note the night before we left on our trip a dear friend of mine passed away. Judy whom I have mentioned before on this blog lost her husband Steve and best friend to cancer and the other diseases that had riddled his body and caused such pain for a long while. Judy insisted that Steve be at home until his time came as she wanted to care for him. They were married for 54 years this past summer. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for Judy and now the loss. She is a strong woman and has much support of family and friends so that is a blessing.  
There is much I want to say about Steve so I will devote my little blog to Steve tomorrow.
I must go now and start my chores.
See you tomorrow.

Monday, September 29, 2014

OLIVIA'S FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY

Olivia's first birthday party was Saturday in Oregon City at her grandma Patty's house. Her birthday is tomorrow the 30th.
I so wish I could have attended her little party especially looking at how adorable she was in all of the photo's. My daughter Gina Olivia's great auntie said she wanted her! She just loves her. I told her she could be Olivia's favorite great aunt as Olivia is in Oregon city frequently and Gina lives there also. I am jealous!
Just look how she loves that sample of cake she was given. She is a eater, loves food and all kinds of food her mommy and daddy have introduced to many different foods. Just think back in the olden days(60's)laugh, when I had my kids they were barely eating solid food at a year and baby food at that. Not this little gal.
The theme of the party was Alice in Wonderland. 
The little car was given to her from her nana Cindy and Brian her grampy. She loves it as you can tell. Only a year old and already she is a car owner. Way to go Olivia!
I am so looking forward to when Olivia and her parents come for a visit. I will give her gifts to her then, fun!

Well today I am a busy woman but I wanted to post these pictures and say a little about Olivia.

It is quite a nice day, started out cloudy but now there is sun and it truly feels like early fall. It will be wonderful at the coast, blue skies which make for a blue, blue ocean. The wind will not be much bother only about nine miles per hour. All days except for one are going to be sunny. Yeah!!!!!!!makes me smile!
I luckily snagged reservations to our favorite restaurant it is very hard to get in. The place has limited seating and only has three window tables overlooking the river and we got one. If you are interested it is called the Waterfront Depot in old town Florence. Amazing food it has been mentioned in quite a few magazine and newspaper articles.

I have no time to spare and I am in the midst of making a pasta salad, the pasta has probably cooled by now so I best get at it.
I will write when we return with pictures.
Ciao




Saturday, September 27, 2014

OREGON COAST

Well the Oregon coast awaits us. The weather coming up seems perfect for a fall trip. We are more than ready for this outing.

This week we seem to have been mired in vehicle maintenance. As I type our pickup is at Joe's garage having a new water pump installed and the work van is at Schwabs getting a set of new tires as well as a brake job. All I can see is dollar signs! Good grief and the work van still needs to go to Joe's Garage as it is running rough. It just had a tune-up last year so hopefully it is something simple and cheap. I so dislike spending on things like this. It is always lots of money and I cannot tell we bought anything.....nothing exciting like new furniture, or window coverings, even new appliances is better than auto maintenance.

Hubby is not working today so he is able to have a little break which is so good as he has been working for days on end. So we have cleaned the big grill today and took the van for repairs and tires and we will need to fetch it later it today. I have grocery shopped and picked up six more books for my reading pleasure.

Tonight we are grilling a rib eye steak to split I have a rub on it while it hangs out in the fridge. I have two luscious ears of bodacious corn to with and I will make a salad with mixed greens and garden veggies and homemade dressing.

Our day today is gray however at the moment I am seeing some sun breaks. We have a little breeze but all seems so fresh and clean since our recent rain. The old farm dust has been washed away I am very happy for that. As our days unfold each one will get nicer now until we are back in the mid to high seventies. Indian summer I love it! We still have many tomatoes hanging on the vines that need to finish ripening so that sweet sunshine will accomplish that.

My great granddaughter Olivia is having her first birthday party today. Has it really been a year since this little one was born? Time just races away it seems. I was invited to Oregon City for the birthday girls celebration today but sadly could not go. As we needed my rig for the shuffling of our other vehicles to their perspective shops. Also I am in the midst of getting us ready for our trip. Hopefully it will not be to long before I see her and her daddy and mommy and she can celebrate her birthday with me.

I am going to sign off now and load a few items into the trailer.
Ciao.

ZO STYLE TOSCANA SOUP

I love this soup and I make it often in the fall and winter. It is my take on the Toscana soup they make at the Olive Garden. I like my version very much and I have posted this recipe before on my blog.
So tonight we will have this creamy sausage spinach soup. I am going to make my cheesy biscuits to go with. Now I am worried about making those cheesy yummy biscuits. I can easily stay out of so many food items I like but those biscuits they are going to test me. You want to bet I can't eat just one? 

I had a really fun time with my gal friend from Bend. We went to lunch at PF Chang's I love the food there. We had the lettuce chicken wraps for an appetizer and then I had the Chang's fried rice and my friend had the Chinese dumplings. We brought food home so I have been eating on that tasty rice. We spent the rest of the time on the deck even though the sky was grim and grey. We sat at the table with the big umbrella and stayed out until eleven that first night.  About eight or so in the evening the rain started to fall very softly but it was still warm out and the big umbrella keep us dry. I lit candle jars and tea lights on the table and turned on the chili lights around the window and when the solar lights put our their soft light along the backyard walkway is was super cozy.
I actually wrote this post several days ago and I am just now posting. I have been busy!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TYSON'S WEDDING. MY DAUGHTER GINA, HER SON SETH (MY GRANDSON) AND YOURS TRULY

I like this photo with two of my favorite people. My daughter Gina and grandson Seth.
How did one Gramma get so fortunate to have two grandsons that are absolutely amazing?
Seth has always been mature for his years. When he was a young child he was always thoughtful, centered, neat, kind and good. He is still the same. He always tries to draw you into a conversation, he is always considerate and such a good man. I am so proud of both Tyson and Seth. They are such grand human beings. Of course my granddaughters are also amazing. Each one different in their special ways. Both beautiful young women and they both adore their grammy. I am blessed.

It sounds as if my brother may not be making a road trip here in his new van. He has had plumbing problems at his home in Kalama. Of course though he is almost 85 years old that event is happening the 17th of October, he still continues to do all the house repairs himself.  So this waterline problem has taken a while to repair. If he feels he does not want to make the drive here I understand as anytime now we could start having hard rains and driving that freeway is no picnic in thrashing rain. My husband I will go to his place early November if work is slow here and spend two nights. I have not seen my brother since a year ago June that is just too long but both our lives are full and busy so it is hard to make the time. I do wish we lived closer.

I have started adding fall decor in my home. At the farm I picked up colorful Indian corn, tiny tot pumpkins,  and a couple small gourds. I gathered them together in a large basket in the shape of a scoop. Put it on my dining room with fall candles to each side. I decorated my kitchen window sill with a small piece of driftwood that my hubby varnished for me. Beside the driftwood is a tin pot filled with faux fall leaves and snuggled in the foliage is a little glass green frog. It is a pleasing array of colors and I adore frogs so I like it. I will do a few more things as we get more into the fall mode. I did hang my fall harvest wreath on the front door. I do not have much room on my front stoop but I can squeeze in my little iron plant stand and plop a jack-0-lantern on it and then grace the steps with various size pumpkins. When I had homes with porches I must say I so loved this time of year and whimsically and colorfully decorated my porches to the hilt.

My daughter is like me. We love to decorate our homes and switch things up with our accessories from time to time. Gina has a gift as she never has had design training. But she instinctively knows what to do. She does not over do and clutter the spaces of her home. She uses the just the right amount of accent pieces, art work and accessories with class.  I on the other hand did have training, two years of classes on the basics of design and then practical experience with on the job training as well as going to workshops and traveling to North Carolina the hub of the furniture markets as well as the San Francisco and Seattle markets. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best folks in the northwest learning many skills including display work and setting up model homes. I loved doing store display. Coming up with an idea, gathering a crew to move the furniture, setting the theme, adding the accessories. It was a fun time for me. I did this at Wall St. Interiors in Bend as well as Jacobs fine furniture in Bend. Then when I worked for the Parker family I also helped with the display work at there large stores in Eugene and Portland. It was a very rewarding job. I am thankful for those years that I worked in the design field. But now all that is available to me is to dabble in my own home.

I have chatted on now for so long on subjects other than food, but I have no food talk today. 

Well off to do my daily chores my gal pal is coming this morning so I had better get myself around.
Have a nice day, it is showery here.







Monday, September 22, 2014

APPLE PIE HOT OUT OF THE OVEN

I finally got this pie made. And we had a piece last night and it taste as good as it looks. There is just something about the taste of gravenstein apples in a pie that is so comforting and yummy. As I have said many times it reminds me of the farm where I grew up with a huge gravenstein apple tree that my mother totally made use of by making pies, cobblers and apple fritters as well as many quarts of applesauce each year.

Our dinner last night was reminiscent of Thanksgiving. I roasted a turkey breast and it served it with mashed potatoes with turkey gravy and cranberry sauce and tomatoes, cukes and sweet onions marinated in apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper. And then topped off with a slice apple pie and home style vanilla ice cream........well what more can I say except we never said a word while eating our dinner we just hummed and  totally cleaned our plates. Then I took care of the kitchen and we sprawled contentedly on our individual sofa's and watched one of our fave series, "Hell on Wheels". After that program my husband went out like a light and I watched a PBS program as he snored(had to turn up the volume) and then we hit the sack and sleep like babies.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. My hubby got home early. He worked in the garage tidying and working on some of his flooring equipment. I cleaned and scrubbed the deck and all the patio furniture. The pie was already made and cooling. After the deck was sparkling clean we both sat and relaxed out there with a glass of white wine, loaded with ice and mixed berries and grapes. It was hot for a late September day. A little later the sky was loaded with crumbled clouds. It was so gorgeous as if someone had tossed handfuls of small cotton balls up in the air. We sat at the patio table and played a couple of games and sipped more wine while the jays were going crazy in the tree above our heads. What they had to chatter about so loudly I do not know. After they quieted the frogs began in earnest. A croak here and a croak there and another croak from another location. They had quite a orchestra going. But we did not hear a peep from any human and that was lovely just us and nature in our small backyard area.

My gal friend from across the mountains will be here tomorrow. I am concerned about the weather now.
It shows showers for tomorrow. We were wanting to spend the afternoon on the deck, snacking and sipping good Oregon wine and relaxing in the warmth with much chatter and friendship. Well it will be warm eighty degree's, but sun? That is questionable. So we may need to spend the day indoors.......darn.

I have a laundry list of things to do today. First thing is office, making out a few billing statements and making out some bills, then a run to the farm for some veggies, and then some cleaning in my kitchen. 
At least I need not be concerned about dinner. It will be a repeat of last nights meal.
My husband is making fresh salsa with some of our tomatoes after he gets home today. He uses diced fresh tomatoes, chopped sweet onions, lots of jalapeno's, cilantro, salt and a good amount of lime juice. It is so very fresh tasting. 

Well with what I must accomplish today I had better get out these sweats, get dressed and get with it!
See you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER OLIVIA TRYING CRAB OMELETTE FOR THE FIRST TIME

This little one is very open to trying anything that is presented to her. I feel it is because her parents encourage that. Especially her daddy Tyson. Tyson loves to cook and is gleaning many skills. He is always trying new things and therefore Olivia gets offered bites. I do not what her decision was on the crab omelette she looks a little perplexed in the last shot. However she liked the calamari the other day.

I have so much I want to accomplish today and here I sit......not good. I ran to the market today and picked up a fresh turkey breast to put in the oven tomorrow. I am going to make cranberry sauce and make smashed tators and turkey gravy and have marinated cukes, tomatoes and onions. Desert is apple pie with Bryer's home style vanilla ice cream. Sounds like a good old fashioned Sunday supper to me.
So I have my OREGON gear on today. And guess what? I got ten percent off my groceries today. Laugh....only in Eugene as they say. OK no more procrastination. Back to work.
GO DUCKS!

Friday, September 19, 2014

CHANGING OUT MY ACCESSORIES

I am cleaning my living room today so of course I am switching out some accessories. Each time I do this I try to remove more clutter. So I have a little collage here with my sideboard front and center, my wine rack looking depleted, umbrella plant and my dining room table top right. My dining room and living room are all part of one large room. It feels good to have everything all shiny, waxed and clean. I needed to rest my back so I am taking a small break then I will clean the hardwood floors in there. Then onto the family which this time of year is more like a sports room with our OREGON DUCK decor. Tomorrow I will get at the kitchen. There is much to do in there. I am cleaning because I am having company the first part of next week. That always spurs me on. A good thing folks come now and then.

I am back for another break. The floors are wonderfully clean walking with my bare feet on them is lovely. My family slash football room is gleaming. Oh how I love clean rooms.
I have a pan of tomatoes roasting in the oven. I am caught up on processing tomatoes now for a couple of days. I think the remainder of the tomatoes this season I will add peppers, garlic and seasonings and put into pint jars, making pasta sauce for our camping trips. I have had to organize the freezer in our garage fridge to accommodate all of our frozen meat. I needed to free space for more sauce in our house fridge. We will so be enjoying that yummy red fresh tasting tomato sauce this winter.

Our chicken soup was so delicious last night. I was good and just had a medium size bowl of soup, no toast. Tonight we will have the soup again. After soup sits for a day it gets even better as the flavors have a chance to meld even more. Tonight I will make hubby a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich to go with his soup. He works so hard and is so hungry when dinner time rolls around.

I have another busy day tomorrow. There is the OREGON game tomorrow evening but my hubby is working all day and I will get my kitchen cleaned, run to the meat market as I want to do a roast for Sunday dinner. I am going to make my apple pie Sunday also to go with our old fashioned dinner.

It is a warm one today once again. A beautiful day really. Big blue sky, a very slight breeze there is no music from the wind chimes today. This sort of day makes my heart yearn for a camp out. I want to be camping somewhere in our little trailer, the chill of the night air, the warmth from the campfire, the trees starting to turn from green to bronze and the geese flying over loudly honking all sounds so incredibly wonderful right now.  I am certainly a fall person.

Well now I am not done for the day. I must unload the dishwasher, and process the tomatoes after they have cooled, and then tidy myself up for my husband at the moment I surely look like a tired housewife.
So so long for today.
Ciao.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MY SECOND GRADE CLASS

Yep there I am in the second seat far right.
The date on the placard Olive Gray is holding says May 1st so it was my birthday.
It is so strange to look at these kids and remember most of their first and last names. You see that open coat closet in the rear of the room by the door? I still remember hanging my coat there it always smelled like wet wool and fresh air. Opposite the coat closet on the inside of bookcase you see is where we stashed our lunch pails or sacks. My teachers name was Mrs. Thompson I had her for third grade also. This was a very small country elementary school, grades one through eight and scant class sizes.
I posted this photo for throwback Thursday today.

Tonight homemade chicken veggie soup happening in our kitchen. I am tempted to make biscuits to go with but you know how I love biscuits. I know I would eat more than one with dinner. I have been working so diligently to lose a few a pounds and have just now started seeing the results I would hate to sabotage myself. I will probably fix my husband some sourdough garlic toast to go with the soup and forget the biscuits.
When you are close to your ideal weight it is hard for those pounds to drop off but I am noticing the difference the past few days. I have been cutting down and being really aware of what goes into my mouth. I just want to be as healthy as I am able and to be comfortable in my clothes and OK look better in my clothes also. Most everything you read or hear states that it is better to be a little under weight than overweight it is less stress on your joints and you have more energy. But believe I do not deprive myself of something if I truly desire it. I just eat a very small portion and being a slow eater it always seems to be enough to satisfy me.

Today the sky is streaked with blue and whimsical clouds. In the parking lot at Freddie's this morning as I was stashing groceries in my SUV it was sprinkling and quite humid. It showered lightly on the drive home, just enough of course to smudge my clean car.

I want to make a nice Sunday dinner. It must be the time of year as I crave homey things cooking. Of course it is going to be ninety on Sunday,laugh and here I am thinking of a oven meal. I may put a whole chicken in the roaster we will see.
I know I am making grilled bacon burgers with pepperjack cheese for Saturday's meal. It is OREGON football night so I want to fix something easy right before the game so we can watch the kickoff with juicy burger sauce dripping through our fingers. Tonight I am making chicken soup, so I will share what I do.
Zo's Chicken soup.
Three bone in chicken thighs
Two carrots sliced 
Three celery ribs sliced
1/2 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic minced( or a shallot sliced)
3 red potatoes scrubbed and diced
one cup of fresh or frozen corn(optional)
additional chicken stock if needed
a healthy squirt of ketchup
olive and butter
pepper and salt to taste
Dried basil, coriander and thyme to taste
a pinch of tarragon.(or use what you prefer)
Note.Of course you can add whatever veggies you need to use up in your vegetable bin,at the moment I have nappa cabbage so I will chop that add to the soup also.
If you are not using potatoes you can of course add noodles after the veggies are cooked or you can add brown or white long grain rice instead of potatoes or noodles. Or sometimes I just make dumplings from scratch(no Bisquick) and add when the veggies (no potatoes) are almost cooked.
Procedure.
Add about four cups or more of water to your stock pot and put in your thighs and bring to a boil with a bit of salt. Once they come to boil put the lid on and simmer until the thighs are falling apart.
Remove thighs from the stock and cool. Strain the chicken broth in the pot and reserve. Clean the pot and add a drizzle of olive oil and add a dollop of butter. Heat but do not brown the butter and add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic or shallots.
Stir and cook until semi tender.
Then add the stock back into the pot add the potatoes and the spices. Add enough additional stock to cover the ingredients. Cook on low until all the vegetables are tender, add the chicken thigh meat you have pulled from the bones. Add the generous squeeze of ketchup(secret weapon) and the fresh or frozen corn kernels if using. Simmer until all is heated through.Taste and adjust seasonings if need be. That is it.
Now of course everyone has their own version of chicken soup. I really did not need to share. My friend Judy is probably laughing at me we both have been cooking for so many years we do not need recipes for soup. But just indulge me Judy I need to share something this is a cooking blog after all.(I normally just use what is in my fridge that needs to be used, but if one needed a recipe this would suffice.)

Well I really need to slide into that chair of mine now and rest this old back that lets me down most every afternoon.
See you tomorrow.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

APPLE PIE FRIDAY :)

I am looking forward Friday to making my apple pie with gravenstein apples. Our plum cobbler is no more and hubby likes a little desert in the evening, only problem is I do not need apple pie, but I want apple pie. So what to do?  Well have the apple pie of course but very small portions.

Today is out to lunch so I will not make dinner tonight as we having a late lunch.
If my husband gets the munchies this evening he can make himself a little something. He enjoys that.

Well today is our first non sunny day in how many days I cannot remember. It is overcast with low clouds and we have a shower.
After today the weather improves once again to warm sun filled days.

My gal friend from Bend OR. east of the mountains is coming for a visit next week. We see each other once a year. She is always so
accommodating to make the journey here. We will more than likely go out to lunch early on and then sit on the deck and sip wine and talk for hours. I am thinking I will throw some shrimp in the grill basket and make a salad to go with for a light dinner. I always look forward to our time together we have a fun time.

Well I must go to my closet and see what I want to wear today for my date with my husband.
Later.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A MUST FOR YOUR KITCHEN

This type of pot is a must for anyone's kitchen. It is cast iron with porcelain enamel on the inside. It cooks on top your stove or in the oven. When I refer to my big red pot this what I have. Mine however throughout the years is getting stained on the bottom of the inside so I was thinking of purchasing another one while they are on sale. This is a good buy as they are normally $100.00. Of course you can buy more expensive designer pots made in the same manner but I would guarantee you they would not work any more efficient and some can cost three times as much.
The reason I love this pot is this. Once it is hot it holds the heat as it is cast iron. It is great for deep frying, soups, stews and sauces anything you want to simmer for a while put it in this pot.

Ah at long last I am sitting here in a clean orderly office with all of my office duties completed. Now to just keep current.
Today I am going to deep clean my living room. It is a room in our house that is rarely used except by me. My cozy chair hangs out in there as well as my piano a few antique pieces and a additional occasional chair rounds out the room. So today the furniture will get a waxing, the windows(inside) will be washed, the wood blinds dusted(hate this chore) the glass and accessories cleaned and the area rugs vacuumed and the hardwood floor cleaned. It will be a good project this afternoon.
Before I commence with the living room I going to finally make those zucchini pickles. I have already put the ingredients on the counter so I am ready to roll as soon as this post is completed.
The washer is whirring away I am on my second load so I have been quite efficient this morning.
If the pickles turn out wonderful I will share the recipe. I found this recipe in the newspaper and it sounds good as it has an array of spices that I love in it.

Another gorgeous summer into fall day. Why do the skies get so deep blue this time of year? The leaves on the trees are barely starting to fade so if the rain does not start early we will have a very colorful long fall this year. As I was grilling the sausage for the casserole late yesterday on the deck a few leaves were swirling down and landing by my feet. I so enjoyed my time out there the air was fresh and still warm from the days heat. I poured a glass of my favorite cab and took my book and hung out in a patio chair while I slowly grilled the italian sausages.
I have been keeping water out for the squirrels this summer. Well I had forgotten to refresh their dish and here one little guy came scampering across the deck running this way and that trying to get my attention and he did. I knew he wanted water. Sure enough he went to the lawn area by the spigot and waited. I filled the dish as he watched me. When I went back to my chair he dashed to the dish, put his little hands on the edge and leaned in and drank and drank and drank!
I love watching our little critters that also enjoy our deck and yards as much as we do.

So tonight it is leftovers and tomorrow hubby is taking me to PF Changs. I always order the same thing when I go. I have Changs chicken lettuce wraps for an appetizer and have the Lo Mien for my main course with steamed brown rice. Why switch it up when I love this meal.

Well my washer has stopped so it's time to let the dryer do it's thing and then get on to my pickle making.
See ya tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

MY STYLE

This is my style. Sometimes I will come across a picture in a magazine that is who I am! I would love to have a covered patio so I could have an arrangement very similar to this though perhaps with more comfy chairs. Maybe someday.  We have no room for a covered patio unless we put a roof over our deck and I am not willing to part with the sunshine that floods into the house, especially in winter. However if we were to buy another home a covered patio would be a must.

Today will be our last hot ninety something degree day perhaps until next spring, who knows? We are dropping tomorrow into the low eighties/high seventies. I would say that will be very nice indeed.
I am ready for the cooler fall weather. It will still be lovely outdoors but oh so much more comfortable.

I am thrilled today that I do not have a counter loaded with tomatoes or plums. However tomorrow I will be back at making sauce as we have many red tomatoes ready for picking. I am going to try my hand this afternoon making some zucchini pickles however. I think that will be fun I am going to make a couple of jars.
I am going to comment that the Magical plum cobbler I made was one of the best deserts I have ever hummed through. It is more like a plum cake with the gooey plums on the bottom and topped with a cakey crust. It is divine with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. After this evening it will be gone but not forgotten. I will make my gravenstein pie later in the week.

Today I work in the office. I have already started by sending out a stack of bills.  I need to take care of filing, making forms, balancing the business budget, sending out some correspondence, and thoroughly cleaning the office from top to bottom. I am not looking forward to this but it must be done today!

Here's a funny little story.
When I was at my sons this summer I was sharing some of my Food Network magazines with him. He enjoyed them as it is a great magazine, large size and glossy pages of food items photographed beautifully with understandable recipes. My son likes to cook so I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a subscription to that magazine.
So I did just that some time back. The other day I happened to mention to him while chatting on the phone if he had received anything in the mail that he was not expecting. He replied, I did as a matter of fact for some reason I got a bill for Food Network magazine for twenty dollars. I said what? He read me the billing statement over the phone. It said, thank you for the gift purchase please pay the following amount.
Hmm. Well I said, I bought a subscription to that magazine for you. Why are they billing you when they should have billed me? Well he was thrilled to know he would be receiving the magazine. But we could not come to terms with the bill. So he gave me the information number off the billing statement. I went online to see what was going on. Well what they did was charge him for an added years subscription for me. It showed he had no subscription at all.  So now I have magazines coming until March 2016. I called him back and gave him this news. He said, good gift Mom you buy me a subscription that I have to pay for and you get the magazines! We both started laughing.
Well today I will go online and pay the bill that was sent to him and order and pay for another subscription for him. But hey I have a magazine I love until March 2016. End of story.

Well I am wasting time now and I must get busy. You know I dread paperwork so I am procrastinating a tad.
At least I have my pickle making adventure this afternoon and I am making of my signature dishes for dinner. My very own, polenta, sausage, mixed pepper casserole with my homemade pasta sauce and topped with Italian cheeses. This is an amazing tasting casserole influenced by the peppers and rich red sauce.  I make a 9x13 size as my hubby cannot get enough of it. So two nights of yummy eating for us.
I really must go.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

WEDDING



This is a few photo's of my grandson Tyson's wedding this past Sunday. I am sorry I do not have more to share a this time but more photos will be coming.
It was such a sweet wedding, unpretentious just as they are as a couple. Tyson told me come dressed as you like we want everyone to feel comfortable that was the idea as it was hot and was held at a park so it was casual. So everyone was comfortable and relaxed in a very beautiful setting nestled beside the Willamette river right where the bride Lindsey learned to water ski when she was a very young girl. Her father told me they camped there at the park many times in Lindsey's young life so it was all very appropriate and had meaning for her and her family.
Baby girl Olivia Tyson's and Lindsey's little girl who will turn one shortly was in the arms of the maid of honor as the wedding procession came down the isle. Olivia was dressed in a long pink silk dress with red rosebuds adoring the hem. She had a crown of flowers on her head. They were the first to walk down the isle and as they did my eyes loaded with tears as did my son Mike's and when I looked at Mike and Gina my daughter looked at her brother Mike with tears streaming down his face we all totally lost it. Then my husband and my ex husband were also dealing with teary eyes. Mike, father of the groom Tyson was so overcome with emotion. It seems when we see someone we love reduced to tears it brings those tears to our own eyes. We cannot help it because there is so much love running though us all. It is family what more is there to say. It did not seem strange to me at all sitting between my my ex-husband and my now husband. Nor did it seem uncomfortable for our spouses. Nothing was about us it was about Tyson whom we all love and adore.
It was a wonderful weekend filled with love.

When we returned home it was back to reality. My hubby went to the garden to take care of business. He brought back to the kitchen a huge basket of tomatoes. We had only been gone three days and we had masses of ripe tomatoes. So the day after we returned I found myself elbow deep in tomatoes making sauce once again. The next day my husband brings home from the job site a five gallon bucket of Italian plums. So another day in the kitchen making plum preserves and plum cobbler. My house is needing attention but between office duties and being a Suzy homemaker everything else is in dire need.
Today(Wednesday) was busy also. I did what I could another batch of jam and more tomatoes. A few little house chores accomplished and then my hubby is home early afternoon and we are off to take his mother to lunch as it has been a while since we have picked her up from the memory care home to spend time with her. I even hate to think about what I need to do tomorrow. Usually I am on top of everything but tending to the produce has thrown me off kilter.I also want to make apple sauce and an apple pie and a few more loaves of zucchini bread and freeze more corn as surprisingly it is still going strong at the farm. So I will be busy for a while yet.

So here it is several days later and my life is still a whirlwind. I still have the office mess hanging over my head I am in here working each day but there is so much paperwork right now with hubby so busy. I am still making tomato sauce, I had to freeze the remainder of the plums as I had no more use for them at this time. 

It was OREGON ducks football yesterday so we had a great time cheering on our team. What a fun game! Our quarterback is a star! I made pizza for the game always a fave.

The weather is still amazing and still in the nineties. Cooler at night however which makes it very nice in the mornings when the doors are opened to fill our house with crisp fresh air.
Here it is Sunday already and I am going to close this post and go finish the Sunday paper. I got waylaid by kitchen duties this morning, yep more sauce making.
With such lovely weather perhaps you should get out the door and take a walk or whatever pleases you, the rainy weather will be here before we know it! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

ROASTED SAUCE

There is nothing better than fresh roasted tomato sauce plain and simple over linguine pasta. A little crowning of fresh grated Parmesan cheese is all that's needed. This is the plate my husband dug into with gusto. We are so enjoying our tomatoes this summer. A hot growing season is yielding more tomatoes than years past. As I type another pan of red darlings is roasting for more sauce.

It is windy this afternoon, it was a chilly morning and it was still. I took advantage to tidy the deck, water the potted flowers and herbs and spiff up the gas grill.
The wind chimes at the moment are going crazy they are playing what sounds like acid rock. I may need to take down our patio umbrella if it continues.
A friend of mine lives in Mexico on the Baja. The hurricane Norbet is advancing along the shoreline there. She just posted a video it is thrilling to say the least with torrential rains and gusty wind. It will continue for twenty four hours or so. She seems quite complacent considering what is happening right outside her door. So I will not worry about a little wind here stirring things about.
Wow it is heating up into the high nineties for a couple of days, may reach a hundred degree's here on Saturday. I do not think that will be conducive for the football game OREGON and MICHIGAN STATE at three-thirty. That is so hot to play, there will be leg cramps for sure. My hubby is soooo excited for this game, as it nears he gets more and more animated, like a kid. I love watching college football especially the OREGON ducks but I do not get overly excited.  Well if I am honest that is not true...laugh.
We have a very fun weekend ahead and are looking so forward to the game, spending time with family and a wedding!

My oven timer has just beeped so time to take the roasted tomatoes out, let them cool and make sauce. The doors are open to the screen doors, the breeze in keeping the house just perfect even with the oven on. I love a day like this.
On that note I will leave you now and continue on with this wonderful day.
Ciao.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DALAI LAMA QUOTE

This is so true.
How many times have we silently judged another?
"Not my life not my choice." That is a good thing to say to yourself when your mind starts to judge.
All people have free will as we know. We all have made a decision that has not worked out in our best interest. We are all just humans trying to make our way the best we can. So walk your walk and walk your road and live your life as no one else can and let others do the same.

The day here in Eugene is smudged with morning clouds but the sun is pushing through bringing brightness to the dull landscape. I can hear the honking of geese but can not see them, several ganders have flown over this morning. The chimes are timidly singing this morning the most gentle of breezes is stirring them. The pair of jays are quiet as are the squirrels. The air is cool as an autumn promise but the suns determination will soon erase autumn for another day. 
My agenda is small for this day. Do what I must and enjoy the peace and contentment it offers.

The Labor day weekend is over for another year and most schools are starting their new year. When I was a child I was happy when school started. It meant new books, pencils, tablets, colors, scissors, glue and best of all a new pencil box and lunch box! It also meant new stiff shoes, dresses sewn by my mother's hand, pretty hair ribbons to match and walking a mile to school and back home again at three-thirty. I looked so forward to my after school treat. In the first month of school it was still warm so that glass of ice cold Kool-aid or homemade rootbeer always put a smile on my face. My mother was always baking so I knew there would be a tasty goody put out on a plate with a napkin handy to the side. 
I love to remember my childhood days as you know. It is because I had a mother that I so loved  and she loved me with all her heart and treated me so special.

So I am going now to enjoy another day of my life.
I hope you have a good day also.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

LITTLE 'O' LOVING ON THAT PUPPY PURSE

Lots of kisses for the little puppy purse an early birthday gift from one of her grammy's. Which reminds I need to take a gift for Olivia when we go to the wedding as she has her fist birthday coming up toward the end of September. But what to get? I do not think clothing. I would like to find a cute hand puppet they are a good toy as the parents get involved also. So something else I must do before we leave in five days.

Well we won the football game last night a blow out but it is very apparent that our defense needs work. We will not beat Michigan State next Saturday if our defense plays like it did last night. The game was enjoyable as it was our first.
Our dinner of sliders were good, very good. Juicy, simple and satisfying.

I am not going to write much today as I would like to go outdoors now and enjoy this grand summer into fall day.
Hope you all are having a nice Labor day weekend.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

FRESH VEGGIE BOWL

Nothing like sitting down to dinner with this in front of you. A bowl of nothing but fresh veggies minus the lettuce. This mixture includes fresh corn, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet onions, leeks, garden tomatoes and from the can black olives and garbanzo beans.To finish sprinkle blue cheese over the top and dress with Italian dressing made with olive oil. A very healthy side dish or in my case a complete dinner.

Tonight is OREGON'S first football game, needless to say my hubby is very excited. He is working today but will be home before the game starts. I put our OREGON decor out yesterday in our family room so all is set for football season once again.
We love this time of year summer is tiptoeing away and fall is sneaking in. Today we have little showers coming by they are very light and soft not making a peep. I was surprised when I looked out and saw the wet deck. It is cooler into the low seventies today. I am enjoying this very much, the air is fresh and moist and I am coxing it indoors with open doors and windows.

Tonight for our first college football game of the season I am making sliders. We love sliders and I make them very simple in my cast iron skillet as they are smaller than a regular hamburger I love to use the skillet and cook them fast as not to dry them out. I heat the skillet on high until smoking I toss in a little salt scattered across the bottom of the pan. I put the small sliders in the very hot pan and fry. I have my stove fan on high but tonight if it is not showering I am going to use the side burner on the big gas grill. After they start to char on the bottom side I flip them and add just splatter of Worcestershire sauce.The pan will start smoking, finish the burgers to your liking and remove and cover with foil until you have toasted your little slider buns. I do this in a different skillet I add just a little margarine to insides of the slider buns and toast till slightly crispy I then remove them from the pan and lightly butter the tops. Open them and spread your mustard of choice on both buns and place in your burger patty and top with sliced dill pickles and close. Yum, a slider plain and simple as they are suppose to be.
I for one like to order sliders when we go out for lunch but invariably the sliders come with aoli sauce or thousand island sauce or ketchup or whatever and are loaded with caramelized onions, tomatoes or lettuce. When sliders first became popular they were just like I am making this evening. Simple. If you want all that other stuff just make a regular full size burger!
I am going to make home fries to go with ours this evening. I love using the mandoline as it makes precise slices of potatoes. I slice them rather thin so they are more like a thick chip.
This talk of food is making me hungry! I have had little to eat today and I am eating clean as they say. I had a medium size bowl of multi-grain cheerios for breakfast and a couple Carr's water wafer crackers with a little deli turkey and a sliced tomato for lunch. Now I wait for dinner.......yumo!
I have a decent bottle of red wine to go with our sliders this evening. I am also liking that idea as I love good jammy full bodied wine with burgers.
Oh another food note I would like to add is that the chocolate zucchini bread is such a winner. I tried a very slender slice when I first took it from the pan just to taste. My husband has been eating a piece every evening and smiling while wiping chocolate from his lips. I made three loaves and put two in the freezer.

It has been a relaxing day for me today. After yesterday's shopping marathon I was more than ready for a laid back day.
Once again I always think I like going clothes shopping but an hour in I am ready to come home. Yesterday was fairly successful however as I found the perfect top to go with my black skirt for my grandsons wedding. I also purchased a nice lightweight black long sweater with some added lace detailing at the shoulders and neckline and a super cute pair of skinny jeans. I also added a few other smaller items that I needed and my shopping bag was full. Enough shopping for a while.

I am now going to catch up on some correspondence via the email. I have several folks I owe a message to.
Have a great Sunday and if you are a OREGON fan it is GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!