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!!!!!!!!!!!!  



Thursday, August 28, 2014

GRANDSON TYSON, LYNDSEY AND OLIVIA ENGAGEMENT PHOTO'S.

This will soon be the Jarvi family come September 7th.  Just look at Olivia so proudly holding her O for the camera. She is a little ham. In my mind they are such an adorable family, full of love for one another and their sweet little daughter.
So the family is looking so forward to this event a late summer wedding in a park along the side of a meandering river.  I wonder if little Olivia will play a part in the wedding? We will have to wait and see.
My husband and I will be staying with my daughter Gina and her husband Douglas. We will arrive Friday afternoon and the four of us will be dining that evening at Gustav's restaurant in Portland. My hubby so adores german food, then Saturday we will spend the day at my daughters home watching OREGON football a very important game with Michigan State. Then Sunday afternoon is the wedding. So it will be a busy weekend, we will head back home to Eugene Monday morning. Then my husband starts another round of jobs.

It is lovely today but still a little hot to my liking. I have put a chair and umbrella and my little side table in the back yard just off the deck. The grass is lush and green and it just feels cooler when you toes are tucked into the thick grass. I hope to sit there for a small while today reading.

I have done a good deal today and it is barely afternoon. The house is cleaned even the floors are vacuumed and mopped. I have completed a few office chores and tended my outdoor and indoor plants. I still must hose the deck(late afternoon) and make a couple loaves of chocolate zucchini bread.
The pork roast I made in the slow cooker yesterday was so tender and juicy. I am going share how I make a pork loin roast in the Crockpot.
I purchase about a two and half to three pound boneless pork roast and make a rub of kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander, garlic powder and paprika and rub all the parts of the roast.
I put a liner in my slow cooker and add about a third of a cup of apple cider or apple juice. To that I add chopped shallots, onion and garlic. I then lay the roast in. Put on the lid.......that all folks. About seven hours later you will have an amazing juicy tender roast. Last night I shredded some of the pork and we had taco's and tostado's.  I made myself a healthy tostado. My husband enjoyed several taco's.

Well I must head to the kitchen and pull my favorite toy my kitchenaid mixer and make my zucchini bread. 
Have a nice afternoon you all. Summer is winding down and soon the brisk air of autumn will be here and I for one so love that.


Monday, August 25, 2014

SIUSLAW RIVER

This is where we camp at the Marina RV Park in Florence. What a grand setting right? This was taken early morning I stepped out our trailer door the snap this shop.
We are going here again in September we blocked out four nights. We cannot wait but of course if the weather is not nice we will go at a different time. We will spend two nights at this place and then go to the beach and spend two nights there.

I am enjoying a laid back day today. It started out with a bang however. A spider scared me! I had my tea and toast and went to my old red plaid fading most comfortable chair in the world chair. I set my hot tea on the table beside the chair and noticed a huge black spider just under the glass rim of the table. I wanted to scare him and have him fall to the floor so I could stomp him so I grabbed a bit of newspaper and touched him and he flew I swear he flew right into my chair and ran under the cushion. Oh my golly I was so mad now where was I going to sit and drink my tea and eat my toast and read the morning paper? That dang spider was ruining my morning. I have been bitten by this type of spider twice in the past. They bite you multiple times. I have had three bites each time. The swelling is terrific and the bites itch as bad anything you would ever need to scratch!  So I was not about to cuddle down in my chair. I took the cushions off the chair and probed the seams of the chair with a butter knife. I did not see a thing but still I am not sitting in that chair the spider could be still lurking.  So I sat in other living room chair that is not that comfortable and has no reading lamp. Bah hum bug! By that time I had cold tea and toast. So I ate the toast cold and reheated my tea in the micro and settled down to read the paper. I still have not sat in my chair today which is my haven in the afternoon when my back starts arguing with me.  So I will see how I feel about my chair tomorrow surely that ugly spider with bad intentions will be long gone.

I decided not to go shopping today as planned I will go tomorrow. I knew my hubby was getting home early today and I wanted to share the afternoon with him but here he is catching up on some TV series he likes and I do not and I am here in the office so I may as well be gone.
 I am making that fresh tasting shrimp salad for dinner. I do not care to clean shrimp as it is time consuming standing at the sink which tweaks my back. But I love shrimp. Tonight I will grill them in the grill basket with a little oil, seasonings and lemon squeezes.

I did walk this morning after my spider fright and it was such a pretty summer morning. Interestingly the neighborhood lawns have many different looks right now. It has been such a hot summer some folks have let theirs turn brown, they will return to green once the rains start. Some are like our front yard with brown spots and green areas where a few weeds are struggling to hang on to life. There of course are very green lush lawns also due to the help of lawn maintenance crews.  So as I walk I observe it is quite a little adventure each morning and always there is  something different to take in and ponder.

Well  I am off to unload the dishwasher and make salad dressing for our salad tonight and get those ugly shrimp shelled and cleaned.
Later.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

TIME FOR A BIG SALAD








This a great salad and tomorrow evening I am going to make it. Crisp lettuce, home grown tomatoes, fresh corn, sweet onions, edamame and grilled shrimp. Slices of lemon and aoli dressing compete the salad. As I am making pizza this evening a salad is more than appropriate for tomorrow nights dinner. I love this salad as the grilled shrimp makes it outstanding. Of course it is good with a basic vinaigrette but what makes it really tasty is that aoli dressing. Actually the aoli recipe is a sauce for fish and veggies but I adapt it into a dressing by adding less mayo and little water to thin it.
We enjoyed last nights spaghetti with red clam sauce. Hubby rarely has two helpings but I saw him back at the counter dishing up with a smile on his face.

We have a grand looking watermelon sitting in the garage fridge that I will break open today. I love having a slice in the afternoon. It is one fruit that I can eat that does not upset my system. As I cannot eat citrus it is nice having a few choices such as the melon, nectarines, peaches and plums.

I will be on my feet for a few hours today in my kitchen so I elected not to walk this morning. Though I would have loved to walk as Sunday mornings are so quiet and my legs have energy this morning as I slept well. But I know exactly what would happen later today, my back would get angry. 

I have tended to the back yard this morning giving it a good watering while it was still sleeping in the shade. Oh guess what I discovered a few days ago? Remember the star jasime we had to cut back due to ice damage last winter? Well two of the six plants are coming back with tender leaves and new shoots and one is actually wrapping around the deck pickets. Oh it makes me so happy as there is hope now for them all to come back. Maybe next spring we will once again have that fragrant plant wrapping around our deck.

My husband will be home early today about three. I am happy he has a little reprieve for a few hours at least. He has no days off for quite a long time now.
When he got home yesterday afternoon we did go to the deck and catch the last of the sun that is available to us.
We are getting more heat and up and up it goes. By Thursday we are almost 100 degrees. I do not think this is normal for here in late August. We are getting warmer summers each year and they seem to last a little longer.  Global warming is no lie it is happening everywhere right now.

Tomorrow I will have an enjoyable day. My new prescription sun glasses are finally in. So I will do a quick grocery shop first, a stop at the bank then over to pick up my glasses. As TJ Max is right across the street I am going to pop in and see if I can find a nice designer black leather shoulder bag. I buy all my purses and usually my shoes at TJ Max. And speaking of shoes I would love to find a pair of expensive black flats for cheap. I discovered TJ Max about twenty years ago and it has been my main stay for not only clothing but home goods as well. We have a wonderful store here in Eugene. It is spacious and has a huge array of everything for your home. I could spend hours in there and have.
We also have a Tuesday Morning store in Eugene. It is a great discount home goods store also and is right adjacent to World Market another of my favorite stores for browsing.

It is time to get the pizza dough made and two possibly three batches of pasta sauce so I will make my way to the kitchen and be there for several hours.
Have a fun  Sunday do whatever rings your bell.







Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE SHOPPING IS SO GOOD IN ARUBA

Here I am in 1991 49 years old in Aruba with my hubby filling my oversize bag with touristy sorts of items. I took an extra bag on this trip for some indulgences. I brought home hand made linens and hand embroidered and cutwork items a specialty of the women on this island. I also tucked in a few pieces of hand painted dishware, some silver and woven items and best of all luxurious creams and lotions with aloe and lime reminiscent of the island breezes. All items were amazingly priced and these items you will not find in the states. When I returned home and applied the body lotion I would close my eyes and was there on that island once more. This was one trip that held my soul for many days after returning home.


Aruba is blessed with gracious beaches their white sand sparkling for miles along the turquoise Caribbean. The other side of island faces Venezuela really just a stones throw of fifteen miles. This side of the island is riddled with cactus, goats and rocks. It's very rough terrain and the sea is wild as it is the windward side of Atlantic ocean. We rented a jeep and made good use of it driving through boulder strewn dirt roads. Quite an adventure and I could write volumes about this trip as well as our other Caribbean trips. But enough this is a cooking blog.

Well I did not make the spaghetti with red clam sauce last evening as I had forgotten I had pre-made a container of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions marinated in a vinaigrette. This would not have been a complimentary side to the pasta dish. So I regrouped and took a large rib steak from the freezer. So we enjoyed a juicy charred rib steak, small bakers and the tomato vinaigrette salad. So on the docket for tonight is the spaghetti with red clam sauce and a crunchy boule.
As I bought a variety of peppers at the farm and then my husband bought more I need to use peppers. So today when I make tomato sauce I am going to toss assorted peppers into the roasting pan with some garlic and shallots. This will make a tasty pasta layered with many flavors. I will put this sauce into smaller jars so they will be the right amount for one meal while we are RV-ing.

I had a busy morning. I was up early to help get my hubby out the door to the job site. I then read the paper and had my tea and then tied on my walking shoes and away I went. The neighborhood was barely waking as I walked through it early. Folks were stepping out their doors to fetch the paper or let their pets to their duty. All was very quiet and it was an enjoyable forty-five minute walk. Then home to pull a few weeds, sweep the sidewalks and water my plants and pick a basket of tomatoes. As it is to be 88 degrees today the earlier you take care of outdoor chores the better. I also cleaned up one of my husbands work benches. When he is so busy things get cultured and messy in his garage as he has no time to tidy. Then it was on to my housework. I have also ran a load of laundry and did some necessary office work.
So what a busy woman I am today.

So now I will go to the kitchen and get started on roasting tomatoes and peppers. 

Have a great Saturday. Oh and the weather is divine with deep crisp skies, a soft summer breeze and a big smiling sun. Love.
Ciao.



Friday, August 22, 2014

REMINDED OF NEWPORT

I was reminded of Newport this morning. My daughter Gina and husband Douglas are staying in Lincoln City for a few days, their last getaway for the summer. Today they are taking a drive to Newport to spend the day doing some antiquing and out to lunch. It reminded me of our amazing time we had in Newport when we went in January and spent just under a week there. We adore Newport and all there is to do there and it just reinforces how happy we will be when time allows to go to the coast this fall.

Wow, I am tired today. It was a very full day yesterday and has been for a few days. With my hubby home the past couple of days we tried to cram as much activity as we could into those days. So today I am not going to do other than what needs doing. I am not even walking,I should as I know it would energize me but just taking that first step and thinking of that mile walk or so tires me. So no walk. I may take a nap this afternoon. Besides being tired due to all the extra activity I did not sleep well last night at all. That really makes me lag today. I woke quite a few times during the night due to this and that. We needed to be up early this morning as hubby left the house at seven.

Our zucchini canoes were good last night but seriously I like my own recipe better, but now I cannot find it. Oh I hope I did not toss it. When I locate it I will share it with you as this is the time of year for that dish.
Tonight in my kitchen I am preparing spaghetti with red clam sauce. I made a jar of tomato sauce to have fresh and I have canned baby clams and will add a can to the sauce and toss with the pasta and sprinkle with grated asiago cheese. I have a crusty boule to heat in the oven to go with. I will not make a salad. Just an easy dinner, as I said,  to tired today to take more than I need to.

My husband is loaded with work once again. The jobs come in groups it seems. So now he will be working from one job to another until we go to Portland on the 6th of Sept. Then he has a huge job scheduled starting the day after we return. So I will have time to make sauce each day as the tomatoes allow and to make a few pints of applesauce with apples from the farm and also an apple pie and some zucchini bread to freeze, both chocolate and plain. So I will be a busy Zo in my kitchen. I am happy I have corn on the cob now in our garage frezzer and I may pick up a few more ears to freeze before the corn season is over. What a treat in the dead of winter to have a ear of corn messy with honey butter that taste like fresh picked. Ah heaven I think.

Well this food talk is making me a tad hungry. I am still trying to watch the carbs so I will have a sliced garden tomato with salt and pepper. Who wouldn't like that?

My thought for the day.
Pick a small plate and park the big one. Curb the carbs and cut the calories!
Have a fun Friday!





Thursday, August 21, 2014

AND SO IT GOES................

This has been the scene for days now. Today I have a break from the kitchen but my hubby is a busy bee in there. So far he had made cucumber salad(his family recipe) two differnet salsa fresco's one mild for me and one HOT for him, he has prepped the corn on the cob for me it is sitting in the sink waiting to be housed into freezer bags but I cannot get near the kitchen with so much going on. And now he just started making a jar of his hot pepper pickles mix......good lord the kitchen looks like a bomb went off.

We went to pick blackberries to our fave patch near the river. But we were stunned when we got there as the berries were over. We always go this time of year. We are thinking because it was so hot early on this summer the berries ripened earlier and we missed out. We will need to be more prudent in the coming years.
So we stopped at one of the farms on the way home and picked up a little more produce.
Tonight for dinner I am making zuchinni canoes. This is not my regular recipe I normally use this one has a few more ingredients and does have fresh diced tomatoes so I wanted to try it. To go along for a side this evening we are having corn on the cob with honey butter.
Our dinner last night was tasty and healthy. I made a salad of romaine hearts, our fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and sweet onion. We topped it with our canned quality albacore tuna compliments of my son-in-law and then I made a dressing of honey mustard. Wow what a burst of flavor it was so very tasty.
I have been really trying to cut my carbs down for a while. I weighed yesterday for the time I would say in about fifteen years. I have not known my weight I just let my clothing be my guide. My daughter encouraged me to weigh she said we all need to get real so we know what steps to take. Well she was right. She told me that the weight you felt best at in your life is where you should be. Well I felt best at about 123-124. So I have five pounds to lose and I am there. I did not know what to expect when I got on my digital scales that I had purchased a few ago with good intentions to weigh. So I can probably lose that small amount of weight in a couple of weeks so I am striving and concentrating on healthy eating.
For instance today I have had a cup of Kellogg's K(love it) with soy milk and for lunch a small bowl of last nights salad with more tuna. Tonight the zucchini will be good more vegetables plus a little ground beef for protein and corn on cob for good protein and vitamins and roughage.

Well it sounds as if things are quieting down in the kitchen perhaps I can get on with getting the corn in the freezer bags.
It is a busy day as laundry is happening and I spent some time in the office this morning on business duties, then to the berry patch and farm and so it goes......
See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TOMATOES AND CUKES FOR LUNCH!

Now this is what I call a yummy lunch. All that is needed is salt and pepper. I just love going to the garden and picking my lunch. Fun!

I am still in tomatoes, there are bowls everywhere overwhelming the counters. I will make at least three more pans today of roasted tomatoes for sauce. I am so thankful for air conditioning if we did not have it the house would be unbearably hot with the oven at 445 degrees for so many hours.

I made a trip to the farm this morning. And I forgot onions! What? Makes me so irritated with myself. I really need onions for this weeks meals and hubbies lunches.  I did buy three big leeks and a handful of shallots that will work for cooking but I will have to go for onions before I shop next week. I bought lots of bodacious corn on the cob. I have it jammed into the outside fridge and come Thursday my husband and I will make a joint effort and get it ready for  the freezer. I am going to use a new method I saw online on U-Tube. This farmer picked corn in his field and then put the ears on a cutting board and cut about two inches off each end so they would fit into a gallon freezer bag. He then took the majority of husks off the corn but left a few layers. He then put the corn in a freezer bag. That's it! I read the comments online and everyone loved the corn frozen in this manner compared to blanching it first. They said it tasted just like fresh picked. So I am going to try this method as it is super easy. So my husbands part in this effort is to cut the ends off the ears of corn. It is hard to cut corn and I just do not have the strength to do a multiple ears. So later this year when I take a bag of corn from the freezer I will let you know how it taste.

My husband will be home early today about two or three PM. That makes me happy as he has been working since I came home from my daughters. I think we will go out to lunch Thursday after we take care of the corn as he has the day off. There is a lovely eatery here in Eugene along the Willamette River so perhaps we will go there. The weather is not so hot now only in the eighties which is so much better than the nineties.

Soon it will be time to go berry picking. We always love to have a fresh cobbler or pie. And I do like to make a few jars for berry jam or syrup. I still have two jars of blackberry jam from last summer. I should have taken a jar to my son as so loves the homemade berry jam but I did not even think of it. Bad mom. Well next time we visit I will make sure to give him some.
Speaking of my son I have not heard a peep from him for two weeks. Sometimes he calls almost daily and then a stretch of time will go by without hearing from him. So I am going to call him this afternoon hopefully it will be a good time for him to chat and we can catch up.

Well now I must get a load of laundry going and attend to my bedroom and bathroom and then into the kitchen for the tomato sauce marathon.
See ya.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

OLIVIA SAYS. "I JUST GET OVERWHELMED WHEN I SHOP THERE IS SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM..

This is soooo cute! Little "O" shopping, new purse in hand and on her feet new shoes with the tag hanging down. 
This is certainly going to be one fashionable gal if her two grammy's have anything to say about it!


Today is another day of making sauce. I roasted four pans of tomatoes yesterday that made eight cups of sauce, thus four jars. I fill quart jars with two cups each as that is right amount for the two of us. I am mainly making simple tomato sauce this year with just olive oil and salt and pepper. I will make a few smaller jars of pasta sauce to take in our RV.  When I make pasta sauce I add to the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, green peppers, fresh oregano, basil and thyme all sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil it is then roasted all together and then it is put in the food processor just as I do the simple tomato sauce. I even use the roasted skins of the tomatoes. I process them first then add the tomatoes and the olive oil juice from the roaster pan.
I know one thing our bodies should be filled with antioxidants at this point as we are eating so many tomatoes daily.

Tonight for dinner I am roasting a chicken, I will fill the cavity with lemon slices, fresh rosemary and thyme. On the skin I will make a rub.  I am going to serve with yukon gold potatoes and make chicken gravy out of the drippings in the roaster pan. We will have sliced tomatoes to the side topped with balsalmic vinegar. Makes my mouth water as I write as I am a bit hungry right now.
Last night I did not make the tomato pie as I did not have enough mozzerla cheese. So I made a recipe of Giada DeLaurentis's from the Food Network. This is what you do and you will want to make this as it is so easy and tasty.

Roasted veggies with fresh tomatoes.

In a 13x9 casserole dish add one yam or sweet potato, two red or yukon gold potatoes, one green bell pepper all cut into 1/2 inch pieces drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Then add sliced shallots or onions I added a leek also over the top of the vegetables. Then add zucchini cut in 1/2 inch pieces and lay over the onion layer. Drizzle two more tablespoons of olive oil over the zucchini. Cover the top with red sliced garden tomatoes, (heirlooms or celebrity tomatoes work best as you want them meaty). Then make a topping of two tablespoons of italian bread crumbs and a 1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese mix together and put over the tomatoes and drizzle with  two more tablespoons of olive oil.
Bake in a 400 degree oven uncovered for 45 minutes. 
This is simple and you can vary the potato, pepper and onion varieties according to what you have on hand. Give it a try and enjoy.

Well my day is slip sliding  away as I say. I have much to do again today so I had better get myself out of this chair and on with my day. 
Fortunately I have already walked and chatted with my brother as I did so. So that was such a nice way to start my day.
Well I am off, have a super summer Sunday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

MOTHER DAUGHTER TIME

This is my daughter Gina and I on Thursday. This photo was taken at Stonecliff Inn in Carver. One of our favorites places. A table on the deck overlooking the Clackamas river is so perfect. This was the third day of my visit.  Gina was playing tour guide to a Kansas family showing them some places she thought may be interesting to them.  The reason for this event is that Megan Gina's daughter my granddaughter works for this man. He is her branch manager and she had asked Gina if she would do this. He was on vacation with his wife and two adult sons both civil engineers and one of the sons girl friend a college student. So we all had a early lunch at Stonecliff with a yummy glass of Oregon wine while we strolled some of the areas where the movie Twilight was filmed.
We then drove off toward the Columbia Gorge. First stop was the Women's forum and then onto Crownpoint. Both of these places offer breathtaking views of the river and across to Washington state. We then drove to Multnohma Falls. I had not been there for years so it was interesting to be close up and personal. The crowds of folks though was overwhelming. Then we headed to Bonneville Dam. There again I had not been for a long while. The fish were going over the ladders or trying to and I did not watch long as watching them struggle made me sad. After the dam we headed to Troutdale and McMinnimans Edgefield. There at Edgefield we enjoyed three hours walking the grounds and touring the building, listening to music and doing some wine tasting before dinner on the patio there. The food is always so good for pub grub and the wine was Edgefield's own Black Rabbit red that everyone but the designated driver was enjoying. It was a very full day, ten hours with the Kansas family. They were lovely company and we so enjoyed spending time with this kind generous family.

So my time at my daughters was three fun filled days that we both so enjoyed.
Now back to reality. And reality for me has been busy today. The washer is doing it's thing, the house has been cleaned, I am unpacked, office chores have been attended to and at the moment I have my first roaster pan of tomatoes in the oven and when they are done and cooled I will make my first batch of sauce. I am hoping to make three batches today. It is not difficult it is just time consuming, but while they roast I do other things.
I came home to these sitting on my counter.



My husband was a busy man picking tomatoes while I was gone. He has eaten many fresh as well. As I look at the garden today I see many more ready to be picked. So the sauce making will be a marathon now until tomato season is over and that is quite a while yet. The tomatoes this year are just amazing and I give my hubby credit for that. He has devoted much time keeping them tended.
Tonight for dinner I am making roasted vegetables with tomatoes. It is dish I like very much. Just a crunchy piece of sourdough toast is all you need to complete the meal.

Well my washer has stopped so I need to get the load into the dryer and one more into the washer. Then that chore is done. I do regret I have not walked today but I knew I would spending time in the kitchen today on my feet. I knew my back would not tolerate that if I had walked. So I had to make a choice.

It is good to be home but oh so nice to get away and spend time with my sweet daughter.  I was only going to stay two nights but she asked me to please stay an additional night so I could go with them all Thursday.
Gina spoils me so and is so very generous in every way. I just love her so and am so thankful this beautiful person is in my life.
Have a lovely weekend you all.

Monday, August 11, 2014

HOT THUNDERY SKY LAST NIGHT

This sky photo taken from the back door last night. When I stepped out onto the back deck the heat assaulted me with it's intensity and humidity. There was an odor in the air, not quite metallic but bordering near to that. It was still and eerie. I took a couple of photos and retreated to the cool of our house. It was not long after and we heard the rumbling of thunder and later a quick shower came through though when I walked on the wet deck later the heat still had not abated.
I would have liked to stayed up to see the super moon but we both had to be up bright and early this morning. So sadly no super moon photos for us.

I have dye on my hair as I sit here and type. The last dye I put on my hair gave it orange highlights which were to be caramel but believe me it was not. So today I put on a neutral light brown trying to mellow that effect. I really do not need to dye my hair as the only place on my head that is going gray are my temples but I notice when I put dye on my hair every few months it gives my hair more body. When I was a young woman my hair was dark brown with reddish highlights. That was natural for me. But my hair seems to be fading and losing it's richness as the years go by.

So today I am off to pick up one pair of glasses I do not suppose my sunglasses are ready yet as the lenses were a special order. I would be thrilled if they happen to be as I am leaving for Portland tomorrow. As it works out my husband will not be working the days I am at my daughter so he will have his own time in the house to watch the movies he likes and do his own thing(he loves having the kitchen to himself.) It is nice sometimes having time to oneself.

Tonight my husband is making dinner for me. He will make one of his Hungarian specialties. He is on a job today and will stop and buy the ingredients on the way home.
This afternoon I will make my first of many roaster pans full of tomatoes for sauce. The tomatoes are coming now faster than we can eat them fresh. So they will made into tomato sauce to be enjoyed this winter for pasta, pizza and whatever.

The cookies I made yesterday are quite different. A savory sweet crunchy and topped with cinnamon sugar. I have not the time this morning to share the recipe but will do that when I return home. I think it will be a great cookie to go along with coffee or tea. In fact my hubby took two along this morning to have with his coffee and he already had breakfast!

Well I must go take care of my hair. I will not write again until I return in a few days. I am excited for this little outing with my daughter.
Till then.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

LITTLE OLIVIA PICKING BLUEBERRIES.

There she is princess of the blueberry patch. Her mommy and daddy took her. They took lots of photo's looks like they had a really fun day and filled two buckets full of blueberries.


So it has been a few days since I last posted. I have been busy to say the least. I have been to have my eyes checked, selected my frames for two pair of glasses. A simple straight forward pair of Eddie Bauer frames for my main glasses and a designer pair of Jenna Nicole for my sunglasses. I will be smoking as they say in my new sunglasses.....laugh! I only wish seems those days are gone!
But I think I am happy with my selections which took forever as you do not select just any frames when you have progressive lenses the frames have to fit the prescription. So my first few choices for sunglasses were not compatible so I settled for my fourth choice so I hope I like them.  My husband patiently waited for me for almost three hours. What a sweet man.  He did not complain and helped me out when needed. After I was finished we then picked up our fish from the seafood grotto and raced home with it as quickly we could considering it was rush hour traffic. I was so happy to be home as it had been a long hot afternoon. I ran in the house placed our fish and chips on plates and filled a large wine glass with ice and poured in white wine. Ah, nice to relax.

We have had some good meals over the past three evenings. We have grilled twice and last night we made a veggie meal with loaded bakers, corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes and cukes from our own garden. A nice summer meal.

The tomatoes are really coming on now. We can barely keep pace with eating them fresh though we have them in everything. When they start to accumulate I will start making sauce. It takes about three dozen if I recall to make a quart of sauce. Could be more I have forgotten. One roaster pan full makes a quart that I know. 

Well I am off to my daughters in three more days. I will be trying to find her new place out in Oregon City country. This area appears to have been farmland before the developers came in.  Rolling hills with trees skirting the fields and farms dotting the landscape. I know this as I pulled up Google Earth and put in my daughters address. I love Goggle Earth as it gives you an amazing view from above. So now most is housing developments. A very nice area of expensive homes. There are like a zillion turns one has to make to get to her house however.  I remember when I was doing design work I always made house calls and finding some folks houses was no easy task but I always found the homes with no problems.  Now days of course most everyone including us has a GPS. But still my fave method is writing the directions in large print beside me on the seat. I am old school as they say.

My walk was interesting this morning. There was a brisk breeze coming from the north that kept me cool. On the country road there was a farmers wife on her riding lawnmower cutting the grass along the front of their property. It was stirring up a good amount of dust which I had to walk through as I had no recourse. So of course about ten minutes later I started sneezing and my head filled. I wish I was not so allergic to dust and smoke. I am really sensitive to smoke so it is hard for me to enjoy a campfire. The other night when we were using wood chips and rosemary springs in the charcoal cooker the smoke caused me to have to allergy attack. That is not fun! These things never bothered me in the past it has just been the past couple of years I have become so sensitive to them.

Tonight for dinner we are having grilled bone-in chicken thighs. I will precook them as usual as they are hard to get done on the charcoal grill.  I am going to make a green rice pilaf and iceberg lettuce salad with tomato,cucumber and onion and ranch dressing as I made ranch dressing last night for our stuffed bakers.
Tomorrow I am going to make Bizcochitos cookies. They are a savory/sweet cookie and the main star in the recipe is anise seeds. This will be my first experience making them but I have tasted them before and loved them. They are more common in Europe. If I like this recipe I will share it with you. I am hoping they will be wonderful as I want to fill a wide mouth mason quart jar with the cookies stacked inside and topped with a fabric cap covering the lid and a ribbon of twine with the recipe attached. This will make a cute container with a bit of whimsy to take to my daughter.

I am going to leave you now on this beautiful summer Saturday. I still have much I want to accomplish today. For one thing my dear husband is going to wash my rig so I will clean the inside after he is through with the outside. I will then have a nice clean car for my trip to Portland. It has always been important to me to have a clean rig when I start on a trip. Also today I have some business paperwork to attend to in the office and must do a load of laundry. So off I go.
Have a good day!






Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FISH AND CHIPS

This will be our meal late afternoon so it will double for a late lunch and early dinner. Yeah I have the night off from the kitchen. Our fave place in Eugene for fish and chips other than my own kitchen is Newman's Fish Grotto. We are stopping there as we will be nearby at the eye wear store.

My husband has just left for the home improvement store to buy a couple bags of cement. He needs to fix our sidewalk as it is being lifted up  by the roots of our tree that resides between the street and the sidewalk. He is going to make a ramp on both sides of the up-heaved sidewalk.
I am so fortunate that my hubby makes all the repairs to our home. Of course he was a home builder for many years so he can do it all. It really saves us a lot of money as charges for home repairs are expensive.

I have my main house chores done and will walk here directly. I skipped yesterday as my shins were sore but back to it today. And it is cooler today only to be a nice comfortable 83 degree's. I like that. So I am not too worried about it being to hot at nine-thirty when I will walk. I have been getting out the door at eight or earlier in order to avoid the heat.

I heard from my daughter Gina she and her husband are off to join his family on a camping trip in central Oregon. They have been there quite a few times this summer. They love it over there as that is where they both grew up. They looked at a piece of property there to buy for a summer place but the lot was not to their liking so the search continues.
I will be off to my daughters next week in Portland for two nights. The time there will be packed full with seeing my grandchildren and my daughter and I going to lunch and shopping and whatever else we can find to amuse ourselves. I am looking very forward to this getaway though the time goes so fast. I love spending time with her it is always a fun time as we are best friends as well as mother and daughter. I am very fortunate I have such an amazing person in my life.
When I go up to Portland and farther north as I do sometimes to see my brother there are others that I never see that I would love to visit as I grew up in that area. I have a dear friend we met in our first year of high school, I have other high school friends I have not seen for years, I have an ex sister-in-law I am still very close with. I have shirttail relations and nieces and nephews and cousins. It would take me a week or better to see all that I would truly like to see.
This trip I will not be going north of Portland as my brother will be coming here to visit us the last week in August. I am so happy he is making this effort to do so as he has not been here in for a few years.

Well I have no other chatter and I had better tie on those walking shoes and head out the door, down the street to the country road where I walk. All is so summery out today no haze in the sky it is pristine. It will be a good walk. 
Later.




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

SMOKEY APPLE WOOD AND ROSEMARY GRILLED SALMON SALAD

This was one amazing salad the best I have ever eaten and that is saying a lot. What made it so scrumptious is this.
My husband put soaked apple wood chips and rosemary springs onto the coals in the charcoal kettle. He slow cooked the salmon chunks with the lid on the kettle and it filled with smoke. The coals were burning low so the salmon grilled slowly we took the pieces off while they were perfectly cooked, just flaking apart. The salmon is Copper River sockeye the best in the world and known for it's flavor as well as it's deep red color.
As for the salad itself I used romaine lettuce hearts, our own garden tomatoes, sweet onion, olive slices, artichoke hearts and a little arugula.  For the dressing I used my aioli sauce recipe from Bon Appetit' and thinned to make a dressing out of it. I will post the sauce recipe it is a tasty one.
We had Trader Joe's sourdough crusty boule slices to the side and sipped chilled chardonnay.

AIOLI SAUCE
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 teas kosher salt
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl lemon juice
black pepper
cayenne pepper

In a bowl mash the garlic, and salt until a paste(of sorts)forms.
Whisk in the olive oil and lemon juice and then add the mayo blend well and add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
This is a great sauce for any kind of seafood or chicken.
( If you want to make a dressing for salad just thin with a little water.)
Enjoy!

I have decided to go to Eyemart Express for my eye wear. I called my insurance co and I do have coverage and they will accept my insurance there. That makes me happy. So I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon. I will select my frames, have my exam and then finish up with the measurements etc. So I should have my two new pair of glasses by Friday or Saturday. So one more thing marked off my list.

We have dull skies again today because of the smoke. I read in the paper this morning the smoke is from the northern California fires. It is very high in the sky that is why we are not smelling smoke nor is it effecting the air quality which is good, but it is gloomy. The temps have dropped into the eighties which we are enjoying. So far the air has not been on today we just have the doors open to the screen doors.

I took a walk early and then came home and worked on the back deck cleaning and deadheading my potted flowers and I cut back my mint it was out of control. I never use it for anything but like the smell of it on the deck and I pulled some weeds along the back sidewalk.
My hubby just came in  from the garden with a handful of tomatoes. Everyday now we are getting three or four of the red beauties.

Tonight for dinner as I have a half quart of roasted Heirloom tomato sauce(our last jar) I will make spaghetti. I will make the sauce simple with ground round, onions, garlic and green olives. For herbs I will add oregano, fresh thyme, and basil. The sauce does not much as it roasted with garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. We love pasta with the roasted tomato sauce and this year we have more tomato plants so more sauce for the freezer.

Tomorrow after we have taken care of my eye wear we are stopping at our favorite fish take out place Newman's Fish Grotto. We will bring home their wonderfully juicy deep fried cod. Their fish is never greasy or soggy. They make a crust like I do, a crunchy one made with bread crumbs and panko. Their fries are delicious as well, not to large cut and crispy and salted just right. So I will not need to make dinner tomorrow night which suits me just perfectly.

My husband is weeding our side yard so I am going to be the good wife and put on my gloves and go give him a hand or lets say two!
Later.



Monday, August 4, 2014

PIZZA FOR FAMILY

We had hubby's sis and husband over for pizza last night. There were only two pieces left when all was said and done. The pizza was fun to make while our guests looked on. They loved the Heirloom roasted tomato sauce and the crust. My sis in law said, Zo you should open a pizzeria. I think NOT. Regardless I like to cook for those that enjoy it.
It was a nice evening though we did not eat outdoors as it was still to hot and muggy at seven when the pizza was pulled out of the oven. We elected to stay in the air conditioned house.
The reason for hot stillness outdoors is we are in somewhat of an inversion due to smoke in the air from all the many wild fires burning in Oregon. So our normal blue skies are now a light gray with a yellow cast. Last night the half moon looked like a orange sail as it hung in the sky. Today the sky is about the same as yesterday and again it will be hot. But there is a cooling trend coming in a couple of days so we will appreciate that.

Well I am out and about tomorrow to get an eye exam. But where? There are so many places to buy eye wear it is just confusing. A few places have specials going such as buy a pair and get a pair free. But are they really specials or are their prices higher than normal prices elsewhere? I am always trying to save a dollar and new glasses when you need two pair are expensive, especially with my no-line bifocal lenses. So this task is something I do not enjoy but I am always happy when I have completed it and have my new eye wear.

My husband is home today he has no jobs lined up at the moment. But all could change as he has bids out there. So now we wait to hear back. He has some of equipment here to work on today as well as other chores so he will stay busy.

I am not walking today as my legs are a little sore so I am going to give them a rest.  I have been faithful going for my walk each morning.
I have some office duties to tend to today.
And always on Monday I have laundry it seems.

What to have for dinner tonight? Hmmm here we go again it is hard day after day to come up with ideas. I did not make out a menu for the week but have everything I need to make a variety of meals. So I will talk to my hubby and see what he may be in the mood for. Maybe a salmon salad that sounds good to me especially with our garden tomatoes.

It is already after ten AM as I slept in until eight this morning as we did stay up a little later due to having company. So considering I have much to do I had better throw on some togs and get to work.
Ciao.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

OUR DECK

I added an extra table, two chairs and umbrella to the deck. So now I have two seating area's. As we are having company tonight for dinner I just wanted to have a little more space to gather. I have had the little white metal bistro set for years. We always had porches in the past and this little set was perfect for sitting and having a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the afternoon or evening.

I have been cleaning house today as I have been somewhat neglectful and just tending to the things that I must. 
I am making pizza and salad tonight for our guests. It is easy as I can to do all the prep work ahead so I do not have to do a thing while company is here but get the pizza dough ready and add the prepared ingredients. The salad will be made ahead as well as the dressing. The dough is rising as I type.
I always love to have as much done when possible when the guests arrive so I can enjoy myself also.

Our steak last night was heaven in our mouths. I like the new thing I am doing which is making a parsley garlic butter bar. I mix soft unsalted butter with flat leaf parsley and minced garlic and then form a roll out of it and put it back in the fridge. When the steak comes off the grill I then cut slices of the butter mix and put on top the steak cover with foil and let it rest for 8-10 minutes. When I remove the foil the butter has melted leaving the green parsley and garlic on the steak top like a chimichurri sauce. Oh it taste wonderful. We split the ribeye steak something we always do because by the time we have a side salad and a slice of crusty hot sourdough bread with butter it is plenty. After we cleaned up the dinner mess we took the last dredges of our wine outdoors and sat in the patio chairs and looked at the face in the half moon and stayed until the first stars peeked out. It was such a nice evening, warm but not to warm, a very soft gentle summer breeze and the sky was a twilight blue. I will certainly miss summer when fall slips in and chases her away.

Well this past fifteen minutes I have been resting my back. I took another long walk this morning before it got warm and have been busy with cleaning floors and vacuuming so it needed a rest. Now onto the rest of my chores.

Have a lovely summer Sunday.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

LOVING THE SUMMER WEEKEND

Ah summer weekend under way.
My husband is washing his work van, the pickup and the travel trailer. A big project! 
I am scrubbing the deck, the hot tub cover,tending my herbs and flowers and washing the windows on the deck side of the house. When our projects are done we will fill the pool and plunge in our feet halfway to our knees and enjoy the heat.
I just returned from a long walk. I am glad I did this early as the heat is having it's way with us quickly this morning.
I wish I had the makings for a pitcher of sangria's to sip on this afternoon.

For dinner tonight we are grilling a ribeye steak to share and having a salad of romaine and our garden tomatoes and cukes and walla onions. I have a container of my Mommy's russian dressing hanging out in the fridge. So a simple but satisfying summer meal.

We had a nice lunch out yesterday with Marylou my hubbies momma. She enjoyed her lunch, the fisherman's special, which consisted of a basket or warm baked sourdough bread, a cup of clam chowder and a very large bay shrimp salad loaded with a variety of vegetables and crsipy romaine. My husband and I had cod burgers and we enjoyed them. We lingered and did not hurry lunch as it was a treat for my mother in law to be away for a while from the memory care home.
After taking her back to her place we came home and sat on the deck in the shade of the tree you see in the photo and talked. Later we played gin rummy inside as it was too hot outdoors late afternoon. Into the nineties once again. The air conditioning felt very good indeed. My husband and I each won a game which is always nice. Then we watched the old movie, Rob Roy with Liam Nesson and Jessica Lang. We love that movie, a great film.

Well as I have done nothing but read the paper and take my walk I must get on with my daily to-do's.
Enjoy this beautiful summer day doing whatever it is that rings your bell.
See you Sunday!