Friday, April 30, 2010

Four or Five on Friday

I am very very happy it is Friday, the week has been full of drama and trauma and I am glad to be home! Such is life when you work in Skilled Nursing. Now on to something fun.

The Compleat 
over 440 world-famous good-humored 
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She was a funny lady, she did not like to cook, but did like to eat, and I got to meet her. It was in 1997 at a book signing here in little Vancouver WA USA. Actually it had been a very busy day, I started out my morning in Daytona Beach Florida, where I got to see the space shuttle take off, then flew back home to Vancouver (via the Portland Airport) and it was earlier when I got here, than when I left there! 

Peg Bracken was at a book signing at Huckleberry's. They have closed since then, but that was a great store, like one you would find in a small town, from many years ago. 

Ms Bracken was there for her new book, 
for the 
with Emily and PEG BRACKEN

I had never been to a book signing before, but I had the feeling this one was different from most. The difference was that Peg Bracken was so famous for her I hate to cook books that folks were streaming into the store to have their worn, torn cookbook copies signed, instead of purchasing the new book.  And she was the most gracious lady, not only did she sign each and every book, she knew from the print date if it had an error and she would go to that page and make the correction! She did not care about selling the new book, but she did care for how she treated others, she was wonderful. It was a nice afternoon. 

I bought the new book, and she did sign it for me. Yes, it was a nice afternoon.

And now something to cook!

Maxie's Franks
found on page 52

1/2 onion chopped
2 T oil
3/4 c ketchup
3/4 c water
1 T brown sugar
1 t prepared mustard
1 large can sauerkraut
10-12 frankfurters or hot dogs

First you make the sauce. Saute the onion in the oil until it's tender, then add ketchup, water, brown sugar and mustard. Bring to a boil, open the sauerkraut, drain it well and place it in a big casserole.  Arrange the frankfurters on top and pour on the sauce. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with buns.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where oh where did Monday night go?

What a day!

We were having heavy rain showers on my commute home from Portland. That put an end to the photos I was going to take outside to show off the growth in the raspberries. I do enjoy how the raspberry row creates a nice privacy screen just in time for summer outside dining. This shot taken this morning, was taken in the rain, and although it is nice for the back yard to get a good watering, there is a part of me that yearns for sunshine.

I have been reading about plantings of shrubs and seeds for beauty and food production in a small yard. I think the raspberries complete that ideal completely. Now to just figure out the rest of the yard! In addition I have almost decided to go with Lasagna gardens instead of a composting bin or container. We shall see, but that seems the most efficient way to take care of a wide variety of composting materials and save on some personal labor as well!

But for now it is time for a second cup of coffee, fill my travel cup and hit the road. Have a great day and as always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Cafe

We had another nice dinner, I was (again) not as organized as I might need for a better array of photos. But it is about family and time together as much as and maybe more so than anything else. With that said, I did make a small change, I did not make the chicken dish with the preserved lemons, that will be for another time.

Grilled Romaine Salad, I am not certain why I like this so much. Maybe it is the warmish Vinegarette and the cold lettuce just under the grilled portion.

Along with the salad we had a fruit plate and assorted items to dress up your salad or simply eat by themselves. Deviled eggs, ham and green onion batons, pickled pink onions, grape tomatoes and a couple of cheese spreads (not pictured Oops) to stuff into celery or spread on a cracker.

This shot also includes the cilantro sauce I made up, it was yummy.

Pork roast, roasted with green chilies and a roasted green pepper. Lots of garlic. This was so tender, everyone broke off a piece and either ate it plain or wrapped it in a tortilla.

Beef brisket roasted with can of mild tomatoes and chilies, I added cumin, along with some smoked paprika and garlic salt. This was so good, the flavor just right. I cooked this in a cast iron/enamel pan on the stove top.

 Served these with Spanish style brown rice and refried beans.

Chocolate cake with chocolate icing and vanilla ice cream. What else do you serve to celebrate a birthday? I also baked up some cookies, because it is nice to offer a second choice.

Beverages included beer, wine, and coffee with dessert.

Another wonderful dinner, thank you family, I could not do this without you!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate it!

Blueberry Breakfast Cheesecake

I have mentioned before that I especially enjoy Sunday breakfast with a "touch of sweet" as my Grandmother use to call coffee cake or any other "what not" that was baked up to be served with the meal.

There were two kinds of sweets eaters in my family. Our Mother preferred sweet to be the dominate flavor of a meal like breakfast. She would frequently have toast with (lots!) of King Kelly Orange Marmalade, taking a small spoonful of the marmalade for each bite of toast. This was washed down with coffee, that was sugared, but only lightly.

Our Father liked a big breakfast, with a "touch of sweet" at the end. I am sure he got that from his Mother, who was a wonderful cook and loved to bake. I am more like our Father, my first taste choice is not sweet. I like this cake along with eggs and a couple slices of bacon, it is delicious and not too sweet.

My row of blueberry bushes. I am wanting to add more, can you have too many?

This is the first time I have made this with a food processor.  The entire recipe worked up very quickly.  No excuses now, it will be fun to try different fruits in season, but there are always blueberries in the freezer!

Blueberry Breakfast Cheesecake
from the binder collection, adapted from (I believe) Sunset magazine.
425 degrees

2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c butter (cut the cube down the middle and then crosswise in 1/4 inch slices)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 16oz container cottage cheese
1/2 c sugar
1 T flour

2 c blueberries
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbs. In a large bowl beat the 2 eggs with the vanilla, stir in crumbs, continue to stir until mixture is large clumps. Dump into the bottom of a 9X13 pan and using your hands, pat evenly over the bottom.

Add the cottage cheese, sugar and flour to the processor bowl (no need to wash), process until smooth. Pour over the crumb base.

Sprinkle with the blueberries, combine the last of the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.

Bake 30 minutes
Serves 12 - 15

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and visit, I appreciate your time.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday Cafe menu

It is time to narrow down the choices for tomorrows dinner, and I did have a couple of requests to work in as well. Since we will be celebrating SIL's birthday I asked what he might enjoy having. The reply "I'm craving Mexican". Now I know that Mexican cuisine is a lot more involved than I have experienced or actually cooked. However a request is a request and therefore I will have what I call inspired Mexican food.

Our menu for tomorrow will include:

Pork loin braised with roasted green chili, garlic and lime.
Pan fried hominy seasoned with cumin
Refried beans
Warm tortillas
Cilantro Pesto
Sour Cream
Lime wedges
Grilled Romaine Salad plates, with grape tomatoes

I have also wanted to make something with the preserved lemons that are waiting for some attention in the back of the refrigerator. And I found this on the kitchn.

The Chicken will be served with steamed rice and saute'd green beans.

There will also be an appetizer plate that has the Baked Macaroni and Cheese balls from Jenn's blog. And the Ham and Cream Cheese batons that Son has requested, along with a few other items that will round out a variety of flavors and offer everyone something to enjoy.

For dessert? Chocolate cake and something else. I have to work on the something else!

This will be a simple and easy dinner, another wonderful way to enjoy the weekend and my family.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate your visits.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Four or Five on Friday

Is it Friday (secretly I am so glad!) already? Time does go by fast, but the weekend looks like the best place to be after the week I have had. Work is busy busy busy. We are having a bit of a chill here in Vancouver, but the yard is coming along nicely. I will try to get some of the watering hoses out this weekend, or I might have to ask for rain.

The appraisal went well, I am waiting to hear about the final value. Credit rating and loan qualification were never a concern. Unfortunately property values really dropped in this area. I do have concerns about that. I know we are right on the edge of it going one way or the other, so wish us well! What will be, will be. One thing is clear, the house never looked better!

These look fun. Baked macaroni and cheese balls. It is always interesting to visit Jenn's blog. You never know where she will be or what she will be eating! These will be a part of the Sunday Cafe menu. I had a request from Son to make cream cheese and ham batons. I will be making an appetizer tray, the batons and the baked macaroni and cheese balls will go nicely with some veggies and pickled items and deviled eggs.

A Lasagna Garden, say it ain't so!  Gardening could not be easier, check this out.

Salt of the earth.  Who has not heard that phrase? Come and take a look at this, salt all dressed up for the opera. Making your own flavored salts.

Grilled Salad. I have made this type of salad before and I really enjoy it. Here is another one to try.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Golden Egg Buns

I have been making these for many years, how many I do not remember. More than 20 years ago I started putting together the little binder I have of recipes that were good enough to make again. Sounds rather quaint doesn't it? A little binder. This was many years before computers and blogs and sharing online. The little binder has it's own place on my cookbook shelf. The plastic overlay is cracked on the spine and the pages are yellowing and splattered, but I continue to turn to this little collection often. I started with the binder collection  when I first began blogging, and this recipe is here, somewhere in the archives. But no photos and most likely no readers!

I decided to post those favorite recipes again, with photos. The Shoo Fly Cake from Sunday Morning Kitchen, is a re-post.  And now these Golden Egg Buns. The recipe calls for raisins, and that is a delicious way to eat them. But for this mornings re-post I decided to use walnuts.The ingredients are simple, the preparation is easy and the results are delicious.

Golden Egg Buns
Binder collection, author unknown but thanked many times!
375 degree oven

1/2 c water
1/4 c butter
1/2 t sugar
1/8 t salt

1/2 c flour
1/4 c raisins OR walnuts 

Combine water, butter, sugar and salt, bring to a boiling, reduce heat to low and add flour all at once. Cook stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves sides of pan. Remove from heat and continue stirring and beating 2 minutes to cool mixture before the addition of the eggs. 


Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each until mixture is smooth and does not look curdled.

Beat until a satin sheen appears. Drop by 8 or 9 even measures onto a prepared baking sheet.

Bake 30 - 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet 5 - 10 minutes then move to cooling towel or rack.

 When cool glaze with the following,

1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 t soft butter
2 t milk
1/2 t lemon juice

Combine sugar, butter and milk until smooth stir in lemon juice. Spread or drizzle evenly over the buns.
Makes 8 - 9 servings

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday night brights

Well the week did get away from me, I am beginning to feel a bit better and for that I am very grateful.  I had intended to share a recipe for egg buns, (on Sunday morning) and I will later this week. These are so tasty and just the best little light dessert to make at the last minute. Perfect when you need a little bit more to round things out. 
We have been busy getting last minute chores completed. This evening I did a little "staging" getting ready for our appraisal. We are hopeful in trying to refinance the house while the rates are still low. Now honestly I know "staging" for an appraisal is unnecessary and will not increase the value, but it made me feel better! Not only did the inside of the house need a couple of chores completed, the yard needed a clean up. During the new flooring installs, we simply stored the old flooring and debris outside until a run to the dump could be arranged. That happened on Sunday. 

Ready or not, here we come! Bring on the appraiser.......

I know this is not a change, how many ways can you rearrange a couch and a chair? But I did add a couple of finishing touches........

Chocolate covered raisins, Honey's favorite. Right by the front door to grab a handful on the way out. He is such a snacker. 

And I finally have a place for this urn. I bid on this at an auction down in Albany, Or. I had never been to an auction and did not really know how to bid, but the auctioneer was kind about it all. This now has a protected spot to be displayed right by the dish hutch. It takes a really large house to display an urn on a table.

The last piece to the living room project. the dish hutch returned and filled. I also simplified the display on top of the hutch in the dining room.

And now for a bit of history in this shot. Starting over after 30+ years. This is a start from a plant that I gave my sister "Hazel" over 30 years ago. She gave me a start about 20 years ago and I have alternately nurtured and abused it until I decided to cut off the best shoots and start over.

Here is hoping your week is the best, as always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate it!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Four or Five on Friday

Hello, long time no blog and no cooking either.

I was not doing so great in my recovery and needed to see my Doctor. That Doctor led to another Doctor and that is what it took, for me to get the help needed and back on the road to recovery. I will be grateful to feel better.

I had the nicest surprise when I stepped into the backyard this evening. One of the rhubarb plants that I thought was lost over the winter to freeze, has begun growing! It is the tiniest of leaves, but it is there.

Like I said, tiny! We are back to 4 rhubarb plants. 

The strawberries are blooming. 

The blueberries are blooming.

The raspberries are also blooming, but they did not photo well. And last, here is my frugal solution to getting rid of plastic storage in the kitchen.

Wide mouth half pint jars using refrigerator caps.

Tomorrow will be yard clean up. Honey got the first mowing done this evening. Time to get things in order so the back yard can be enjoyed. 

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I do appreciate your visits.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


New carpet, so nice!

Our living room this evening.......

....our dining room.

Tired Honey!

What a nice difference new carpet makes, and such a wonderful feeling to be done. 

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and take a peek!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday night brights, new kitchen flooring

Tonight is a busy night, Honey is getting the under lament readied for new carpet tomorrow morning. Right now the house is awash in the noise of a drill busy adding screws to the flooring support system, He was pleased with how well the kitchen turned out and wanted to make sure the rest of the house is as quiet (squeak free) as the kitchen. There was some water damage in the hall right out side the main bathroom, so that section needed replacing.

I spent Sunday evening pulling staples and bits of left behind pad. Then sweeping up the fine dust and dirt that had passed below the pad through the years. 

This is our dining room tonight......

....and our living room.

It does look a lot larger with no furniture!

This is the last section of the new wall that needed to be finished. This is where the china cabinet sits and we simply waited until time for the new flooring to get it done. It is also the last of the painting that needs completed. The rest of the living room was painted earlier today.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time. The fun begins when it is time to put it all back together again. 


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Potted Gouda Cheese Spread

I have made this many times through the years and it is great to have on hand. It mellows with age, as all cheese spreads/dips/dunks/balls do. I am not a fan of the classic cheese ball. Not how a cheese ball tastes, how it looks after a few folks have had a knife swipe at it. Pretty and then immediately messy. Potted cheese presentation eliminates all that.  For this batch I simply pressed it into one of the old fashioned refrigerator pans, put a date label on it and that was it. There it sits waiting to be served.

 Potted Gouda Cheese
adapted through the years, recipe most likely found in a magazine, source now forgotten, but thanked.

1 8 oz ball Gouda cheese - grated
3 T dry white wine
1 t mustard
1 dash hot pepper sauce - shake the bottle well and give it a definite dash of flavor!

Grate the cheese.

Add remaining ingredients.

Process until smooth, scrape down sides, process again if needed.

Smooth into your chosen container. 

Label and place in fridge to mellow. To make sure this was "sealed" I used a double thickness of wax paper as a gasket.

This is delicious on crackers and in celery, this was a given.Is there a better match than cheese and crackers or bread?

But this is also wonderful to place a small dollop on a saute'd chicken breast or thigh and let it melt into a delicious sauce.

Toss with fresh steamed broccoli before serving.

Serve with crisp and tart apple slices.

Individual balls ( about 1 Tablespoon ) of this can be rolled in toasted pecans, etc and used to dress an appetizer tray or plate. 

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks to taking a moment to stop and say hello, have a great Sunday!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Four or Five on Friday

It has been a while since I added a new post to this label, lets see if I can come up with 4 or surprise myself and come up with 5! It is not that I have: not discovered anything, not learned anything or not completed anything. It is more along the lines I have not had the time. But I made a promise to myself to cut back on work hours and do more of the things that I want to do for me. That includes coming here to this blog and sharing, or going to others and visiting.

Care to come along and see?

Homemade laundry soap. Now I know this seems to be the "new" thing to do, however not only is laundry soap expensive it is sometimes harsh regarding allergies or if you have one of the new machines. The good news here is, this works in both types of machines. Also apparently her children have allergies and she displays before and after shots of laundry. My next laundry soap will be this recipe. Oh and there is a small family size recipe too!

Simple no stir Polenta. I hear dinner calling!

Freeware,what a great resource for folks.

Beer bread is not new, but this is made fresh in your kitchen and does not use a mix.

Can you believe what folks will do for $5.00? Take a look here, this might be the best bargain around.

It was a wet and cold week here. We have enjoyed homemade soup, and warm fires while listening to beautiful music. We have also lost one of the rhubarb plants, there is no sign of it and the three plants in the same row are now about 6 inches tall. We have come to the end of our firewood and will need to turn on the electric heater. So all in all I would say we are ready for spring, how about you? 

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate your visit.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lentil and Mushroom Stroup with kale and bacon

 It is a bright and sunny day here today! But very very cold. So cold in fact that there is a fire in the wood stove and a pot of fresh soup cooking in the kitchen.

Weather complaints aside, soup is a wonderful thing to cook on cold days, it also helps keep kitchen waste down.  There does not have to be any hard and fast rules about soup making, what you have available will usually make a nice pot of soup.

If is turns out a little bland, add a bit of zip with some extra seasonings or serve with a sprinkling of cheese. I have learned a thing or two about myself and soup.

I enjoy a brothy soup sipped out of a soup mug and then finished with a spoon at the end. And sometimes I only want the broth, I must be craving the warmth and the liquid.

I love rice with soup, but not in the soup, because it gets mushy. The way to avoid the mushy rice problem is to cook the rice separately and place a scoop of rice in the bottom of the bowl and serve the soup over the rice. This works especially well for soups that you will freeze and serve later.

The same is true with potatoes. I enjoy a robust meaty vegetable soup served over fried potatoes placed in my soup bowl. The flavor of the fried potatoes is far superior to potatoes peeled and added to the soup. Again potatoes do not freeze well in soup, when thawed and served they are mush and the soup texture is questionable.

Lentil and mushroom Stroup with kale and bacon
adapted from what you have on hand and experience from good soups made before!

6-8 slices bacon - diced
1 onion - diced
1 pound mushrooms - sliced
2 carrots - peeled and diced
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 qt chicken or ham broth
1 qt water
2 c lentils rinsed and drained
1 t thyme leaves, crumbled
1 1/2 t garlic salt

1/2 bunch kale, washed drained and cut into 1" pieces

Saute the bacon in a large flat bottom pan, remove bacon and set aside. Remove all but 1 T of the rendered fat and the "drippings", add onion turn heat to medium, cover and let braise about 5 minutes to soften the onion. Remove and set aside.

Add 1 T of reserved bacon fat and the sliced mushrooms, raise heat to high and cook stirring until mushroom begin to release moisture. Add all remaining ingredients except the kale. Simmer 1 hour, add kale and simmer additional 30 - 45 minutes or until cooked to your preferred texture.

Makes about 1 gallon, freezes great for those quick dinners. Even Honey liked this one and he is not the biggest soup fan.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate your time. 

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