Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkins, Treats, and Critters good and bad

Well, here we are in the middle of October with the cooler temps, rain, and pumpkins gracing every corner.

I always feel so sorry for the neighbors who get their pumpkins on the porch steps before all the others, why?, because they usually get them smashed right away.  I used to think what a waste, until I saw the squirrels feasting on the mushy pulp....btw, we have way. too. many. squirrels. this year! I have been harboring some really nasty thoughts about them which include guns, poison, and traps.  I have read that I'm not alone in my thoughts, the squirrels mated in abundance last winter due to the very mild temps, so some areas are being overrun by these bushy tailed rats. 

The Bad Critters:

Anyway, enough about squirrels.  Oh wait, did I say that I have the small red type living under my deck, also a few chipmunks, and a rabbit?  After my dog died from old age, she was such a sweetie, the local varmints have taken up residence.  Of course it doesn't help that all my neighbors have dogs to protect their yards leaving mine the most exposed.  A few years ago, I had a family of skunks and a family of foxes who all wintered under my must be nice there, perhaps I can pipe in some music too.  I called the local "critter removal" guy and he successfully trapped them and relocated them far, far away (I'm hoping!) least they haven't  returned yet.

The Good Critters:

Here's a photo of my dog, the big Lab.  The Border Collie belonged to my daughter, but she stayed with me for a long time.    (As I recall, my daughter stayed with me a long time too.)   Someday, I'll post some stories about my animals.

This is a photo of a photo so it's not so clear.  Weren't they just simply the most adorable girls?!

Two of the BEST dogs in the world.  Gone but never forgotten.

Okay, so when I saw the,  thrice run over by the neighborhood teen driver, squashed pumpkin pulp that the squirrel was eating, I got my pail and shovel and scooped up a  bit for myself..."that critter can't have it all",  I said to personne/no one.

Here's what I made:    Pumpkin Bars

These bars have a graham/nut crust with a soft custard-like pumpkin filling.  I decided to do without the extra calories of a nut and streusel topping, and just sprinkled a little powdered sugar when it had cooled down.  If you like moist food, then you'll love these.

 Click here, where another person has already done the searching on the web for you,  highlighting many varieties of pumpkin treats....this will save lots of time, and give you some good ideas.  My bar was basically the #1 on the list but without the topping.  Next time, I'm going to make the #14 on the list, it sounds sooooo yummy.  Hmm, pumpkin AND chocolate.

Good luck in finding your own local source for mashed might be right outside your door!


P.S.  I hope you realize by now that I didn't take the squirrel's food.  :-)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Return to simple

"sans greed"

I love Paris and I love great food...

I am fortunate to be able to partake in both....

My first cookbooks were those of Julia Child, where I began to learn to cook and bake.  It wasn't quite like the movie Julie and Julia, but I did a lot of reading and trying.  I had my successes and failures, but I was learning. One of my near misses burned the nylon stocking off my legs!! As I was turning out the creme brule on to a plate, the hot syrup splattered all over my legs.  The dessert survived and I served it to my dinner guests without delay. I didn't tell a soul, but I did excuse myself to go wash off the sticky substance. I guessed that Julia Child would be able to relate to me on that!!

 I learned through the years that keeping it simple was the key.  Simple is all about fresh, top quality, and clean tastes. I try to avoid any processed foods, if at all possible.

I skip the aisles in the middle of our grocery stores....just walk the perimeter for the fresh fruits, meats and fish, and the dairy.  You can be in and out very fast.  Of course for a variety of tastes, the pantry will need to be stocked with spices.  But if you don't have those spices, a hot potato with a good butter melting on top is still super, as Joel Robuchon states in the video below. 

All this is leading up to the video linked below.  The bistro/brasserie is alive and well in Paris.

Great food is available and at reasonable prices.  The food is simple, well executed, inventive and delicious....what more can one ask for.  The up-and-coming chefs are committed to the food and the more casual dining experience, they aren't looking to make a fortune or open many fancy restaurants around the world....we should all be able to go out and find great food, and don't forget the wine. 

I think this Anthony Bourdain episode is one of my favorites, if you haven't seen it before give it a try.  It's 42 minutes of mouth-watering enticement.

I've gotta get myself back to Paris soon!  I'm making my list.....


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

See it through to the end

Thanks to some of you who still frequent this spot, even tho' I have not.......I've got to do better.

Do you use your food, bones, scraps right down to the last little bit?  I bet some of you are great at not wasting anything.  I'm always trying to improve....

I frequently buy rotisserie chickens when shopping for my meals,  but until recently, I threw away the bones/carcass.  What a waste!  I really love homemade broth/stock for cooking, so now I freeze them until I have enough to make a quart or more.  Of course it's very easy, at least, I keep it easy.

Here's all you need to do.

Put all the chicken bones in a pot and fill it up with water just to the top of the bones.  I add some onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Then, bring it to a boil.  Next, turn the heat down so the water will simmer.  Simmer it for one hour.   That's it!!!

Pour the stock through a strainer.   Put the stock into a container to freeze for whenever you may need it.  The bones from one rotisserie chicken will make about one quart/litre of broth.

Here is the strained stock/broth.  It's nice and brown because I throw in the roasted skin of the chicken and any juices that were in the take-home sack.

I don't stop with chicken.....I also make fish broth.

I buy a lot of shrimp...mmmm, yum, I love shrimp.

I cook the shrimp for my dinner quickly in a frying pan with a little seasoned butter and olive oil.  As I eat the shrimp, I save all the shells in a freezer bag in the freezer until I have enough for making about 2 cups of stock.  You can save as much as you want, it won't matter.

Make the stock the same as above for the chicken.   Just add water/wine to the shells plus seasoning, simmer for 45-60 minutes, strain, and freeze. 

** If you want a stronger tasting broth, boil away more of the water.  Make it taste to your liking.

I have about 12-15 shrimp shells in 2-3 cups of water when I started.

At the finish of 45 minutes, I have about 2 cups of broth.
The fish broth above was especially flavorful because I added about 1 tablespoon of my compound butter mixture "Cafe de Paris".

I am planning to make a fish stew using the broth to cook pieces of salmon, cod, and more shrimp.  It will be great with a big hunk of crusty French bread on an upcoming cold evening.

Happy cooking!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who was that?

Most of you are too young to remember the masked man and his sidekick,  but when trouble happened, they were sure to save the day!

I count on a couple of modern day heros to help me when I run into problems...well, actually, they are pretty large corporations who have taken my side to solve sticky situations.  It's certainly nice to have them working for me!

Who are they?

Amazon, the giant,  and Apple,  the techie.

A number of years ago, after buying a MacBook on Amazon, plus buying a two yr. warranty, the battery would no longer charge.  My warranty hadn't expired yet but the warranty company wouldn't cover batteries, so I called Apple.  They sent me a new one free of charge ($120).  All I had to do was send my defective one back to problem with that!  Hooray....for Apple!!

However,  when I put in the new battery it wouldn't charge either....hmmmm, must be some other I called the warranty company again and told them that I still had a problem with my laptop.  They sent me a box to ship it to them, and then told me to check their website for details and that they thought it would be a week to fix and get back.  I checked on the progress every day,  BUT, there was no progress, or updates!  What the #@$%^!

Two weeks later,  I call them and ask what is going on???

They give me the run-around.  I ask for the manager, and he puts me on hold for 20 minutes!  His final word was he had no idea when the laptop would be fixed because the part was on back order.  .........Sure, go ahead and blame the other guy.....

Now I'm really I hang up on him and call Amazon, where I had gotten the warranty in the first place.  (The warranty company was not with Amazon.)

I tell the Amazon person my story,  and that I want my laptop back NOW!  He's very nice and says he'll look into the matter straight away....good.  Just one hour later, he calls me back to say that my laptop will be fixed that very evening, and I'll receive it, by Fedex, the next morning before 10 a.m.   Yea!!!!  My hero.....Amazon!  I did get it before 10!!!  It worked, too.  End of that story.

Another rescue by Amazon, in a round about way.

I buy lots of stuff from the giant....I trust they'll do right by me.

Two summers ago, I bought a weedeater/trimmer.  It had a rechargeable battery pack.  I liked this trimmer and used it mainly to edge my lawn.  It worked well.

This summer I tried to recharge the battery, but, no can do!!  A red flashing light tells me that the battery is can this fail so soon??  I've only used the recharging device 3 or 4 times.  I go to Amazon to see what a new battery will cost....$70!....Wow......then, I decide to read some of the 143 reviews on the product.  Long story short,  there are many unhappy customers with defective battery packs.  I'm so glad Amazon printed those comments, that'll give me ammo for getting a free replacement, I hope.

Well,  I phoned the maker of the trimmer, this morning.  I explained about my battery pack being defective (not charging), and how I saw, after checking on Amazon, that I was part of a large group of dissatisfied customers.  The customer service person first asked for the serial number of this product, then quickly took my name and address and said I should receive a new (free) battery pack within 6-10 days!  Very nice, indeed....I think it didn't hurt to throw the Amazon name into the conversation, either.

Thanks, again, big giant, just like the Masked Man, there to save my day!

"Who was that masked man?"

"Why,     that was,     the Lone Ranger." 

  (riding into the sunset, you hear)

   "Hi-O, Silver!"

Those were great episodes....and still are!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Comfy Cozy

Things are a-changing.....

Nights are getting cooler.....

Time to seek some comfy cozy.....

My nights have gotten cool, maybe even downright cold.  No frost yet, but pretty darn close the other night.  Brave as I am, I didn't turn on the heat.  "Grin and bear it", I said to myself.  It will get much colder before long,  this is just a little blip on the thermostat.

I did, however, reach for my duvet, it was so warm and comfy.  I even started wearing my fleece-lined slippers again after the long summer's break. 

My food thoughts, too, are now turning to comfy dishes, like the ones that simmer-and-stew for hours in the hot oven.  My mother made pot roasts that were to die for,  and Goulash that cooked for hours with tomatoes, meat and onions.  Her Mac n Cheese was like no others', and we ate it with butter melted on top and a sprinkle of sugar. And, how could I forget Mom's Ham and Escalloped Potatoes!


When I read Chez Richard's blog the other day, I was all set to fix his recipe for Creamed Chicken. (Click on his blog title to see the recipe)  I had most of the ingredients so it would be easy to do for the weekend meals....just needed to purchase chicken thighs.  I used half-n-half and thickened the sauce with some corn starch/cold water mixture.  You could also use heavy cream, or sour cream, or a combination of both.

After making it all in an enameled cast iron pot,  I transferred it to a larger casserole dish for keeping in the fridge.

The potatoes, carrots and onions are in there but hiding under the chicken thighs.

I will add, and stick under the broiler, the grated cheese for the top, if I feel like having some, each time I eat a portion, that way the cheese will be freshly browned, and crispy. 

Also, I had some mushrooms that I was going to add to this dish but decided to serve them on the side instead. 

****I found the original recipe at Gourmet Magazine website,  click here.
As you can see from their photo,  I made a lot more sauce.  I guess I added more broth and half-n-half.  I do like sauce!!  Their photo also shows what the broiled cheese on top will look like.

Guess what?

I got so hungry writing the above....and it was lunch time....that I dished up a serving.  As it turned out, I didn't make too much sauce, it just looked that way when the whole recipe was grouped together in one casserole.  I added the cheese on the top and put it under the broiler element for a few minutes.  Ta-da!  What a superbly gratifying meal.

I love these cast iron serving dishes....the food stays hot until the last bite.

Don't you think this looks like a perfectly marvelous repas?

Hope your tummy feels warm and satisfyingly comfy......bon week-end!

        Now for some Football,


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Again, Off Again

Ups and Downs

             Warm, then cool

                                                It's September!

I'm always happy to see September roll around...even though I'm confused as to what to eat, or drink, or wear.

One day it's hot,

then it's cold,

then it's hot again.

The Change of Seasons is good, at least for me it is, it's the transitions that create some problems.  I can't put away the shorts yet for good.  I might have to turn the heat on one night, then the AC next.  When should I call to have the sprinkler system shut down? If there's another hot spell, the lawn will dry out.  Even though I'm still getting vegetables from the garden out back,  I'm feeling the need to make a stew or a big pot of hot soup.

                   Too                    much               back              and                forth!

Once the Season truly arrives,  I guess you could say of me,  I look forward to new beginnings.  I get tired of the 'usual' and I am ready for the next thing in line.

Some people just like to stick with one temperature, and can't abide the others.  My cousin, Gail, is like that.  She prefers the hot and humid all the months of the year.  She's surely not alone.

There are drawbacks to living with 4 Seasons;  I have to be prepared for all of them.

You know:    lawn mowers  and   snow blowers

                                                   parkas    and    shorts

                                                                   flip-flops    and    boots

                                    * the list is long -----   I'm certain you get the picture so I won't go on-----

In spite of the long list,  I still live for the changes.  I feel more alive and energized.

Yea!    Something new!

I don't look back with sadness;  I look to see what's coming, with a smile of anticipation.

My garden is changing,  one flower dies but another one blooms.....I'm ready for that.

The tall stalks of the Obedience Plant now have pretty pink flowers....they wait until Fall to get showy.

I'll have to pull these out soon.

The mums are just beginning to bloom.

The grass has recovered from the dry, hot summer,  but the basil is close to its end.

I had some bad spots in the lawn in the front yard, so I spent yesterday afternoon raking, reseeding, and watering.

I'm looking forward to some new bright green grass shoots pushing upwards in a few days.

Happy Autumn to all!  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Whoosh, whoosh...

Do you know that sound?

Hello everyone,

 Well today is one of those transition days,  beautiful sunshine but cool in the morning.

As I was lying in bed,  I heard this whooshing noise which was very unusual.  I haven't heard it in a long time... finally, it got the best of me, so with my p-jays on, I went outside with my camera to figure out what was out there,  above my house...

Before I saw anything,  but still hearing the noise,   I saw my neighbors all come out of their houses and start looking around too...

I looked up in the sky through the trees and  saw a great big hot air balloon.... ahh, so that was the noise...

Every September,  one of the real estate companies here in town--- I think it's Remax--- has a big weekend of hot air ballooning,

I tried my best to get several pictures but the trees surrounding my yard were just too high.  I did get one that,  through the trees, you can see the pretty colors of the balloon.

As I stood outside in my pajamas,  I saw and heard several more coming by overhead.  I couldn't get a really good picture, mainly because they were heading east and the sun was coming in that direction.  As you can see, the morning is beautiful!

It got by my house.... but I snapped this just before it disappeared behind those trees.

++++Trying something new:

I'm using the app "Dragon" to dictate my message.  Then when done, I email it to myself, copy it, and paste it in my blog.  It works great and I don't have to type--- I really don't like to type.

I've been using this app for quite awhile now for sending first it wasn't so good but it's gotten better over time.

Have a great weekend!


P.S.   Go MSU,  beat  ND!!  (game tonight on ABC)

 I grew up 8 miles from Notre Dame's campus, but went to Michigan State during the 60's.  ND students, after losing to MSU, attacked our band members and destroyed many prized instruments...

......also it was the Ara Parseghian era, when he went for the "tie"....some of the sports fans may remember this or heard about it.  I always cheer for the team that's playing against doesn't matter who they are!

Read here for all the reporting after the game.

Click on this to read a great recap of MSU's football history.   I went to the  Jan. 1966  Rose Bowl Game.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Can't wait...

Today is the DAY

Is anyone waiting for the new iPhone to debut, like I am?

                               I know it's crazy and materialistic but I can't help myself...

I had the iPhone original #1 in 2007,  then skipped the next two,  but upgraded to the

iPhone 4, then passed on the 4s because it wasn't offering much in new features.... BUT...

now I really want to get the iPhone 5.

I hate that the launch is at Pacific Time (10 am),  that just means I have to wait all morning my time, Eastern Standard Time.  The rumors are I just want to know, NOW!

After the announcement,  the WAIT know....put in the order as soon as possible....sometimes, they can't handle the onslaught of callers.....then, more waiting.

           Even MORE waiting, as it takes time to fill the orders, like at least 2 weeks minimum.

                                     ENOUGH!   I can't take much more of this....

                                                             By the way,

                                      have I said how much I like the  iPhone?

+++  I just read that they are expecting 75% of iPhone users to upgrade to the iPhone they handle that amount?             $$$$$$$ for Apple, Inc.

+++  Did you know that the iPhone alone is bigger than all of that blew my mind.

                   Well,  I just had to get this out, it's helping me pass the time while I wait.

                                                      Will you be getting the 5?


Friday, September 7, 2012


Most people don't like prunes, but this Prune I'm sure everyone would love.

Prune, the restaurant, in NYC,  is fabulous.  The owner/chef is Gabrielle Hamilton of recent fame for her best selling book,  Blood, Bones and Butter.  The book is predominately about her life as far as food has influenced her.  She's a good writer and has had an interesting life.

She opened the restaurant in 1999 and it has remained at the same location with continued great food and a loyal following.  I ate lunch there a week and a half was very good.  I chose  a pea dish as my first course which was made with 3 kinds of peas in a little bit of a vegetable stock topped with a sliver of honeycomb. YUM! It was all about the freshness of the peas with the honey highlighting their natural sweetness.  My main dish was a perfectly braised brisket in tomato sauce with crispy fries that were tossed with parsley and Parmesan cheese. That was superb.  The meat was cooked just right, so tender without falling apart or dry, and sliced very thinly. 

the peas were freshness at their finest

this was fabulous...very tender and tasty

ready to begin

Gabrielle is known for the way she prepares sweetbreads. I love sweetbreads but they were not on the menu when I was there.  Click here for a video of the chef.

More videos   This one is with Anthony Bourdain.  This is the 2nd of 3 videos he did with her. I found these on YouTube.

Here's a long interview with Gabrielle about the book.

If you want a delicious meal,  make a trip to Prune.  If you are looking for a good read,  find the book.
 I recommend both!



Monday, September 3, 2012

NYC Trip

I'm finding it very hard to get back to writing....but promised myself to get on with it.

A few years ago, my roommate from college and I got reunited with each other, it had been 40+ years since we had last touched base.  We're both pretty much the same, so all went well.

She was the first person I had gone to NYC with....we went there for a week just before we were to start our sophomore year at many years later, we return for a week of fun each August.

We meet at the hotel I found online, each of us flying in from different cities in the U.S.  I got there an hour before her, and to my delighted surprise, was informed that our room was upgraded to a suite!  Wow...and no extra costs.  We loved our previous room because it was so big,  even had a fully equipped kitchen and located in a quiet area on E. 56th St. at Park. 

The new room/suite was every bit as nice as the other one, but now we had 2 bathrooms and a huge living room.  I'm not sure why we got upgraded, but I liked that we were.

Living Room

Entrance Hall

Living Room

This year we saw just two Broadway plays,  Newsies  and  Peter and the Star Catchers.  Last year we tried to get in 4 plays, and we did, but it was a bit much in a week's visit.  Last year we saw, Memphis,  Jersey Boys, War Horse,  and  Sister Act...all were terrific. 

My friend is a singer and voice-over talent with her own kids' theater school in SF.  She trained the boy who is the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.  (He's now a grown man who lives in NYC.)  We might have lunched with him, but he was out of town.  Each year we lunch with another one of her former students who is acting in plays and still looking for her big break.  I hope it comes sooner than later for her.....she's a super nice young of luck to you, Rebecca!

We do the 'usual' things while there...plays, shopping, art museums, and eating at new (to us) good restaurants.  This year's places didn't disappoint! hint: one of them was the winner of the James Beard Award in 2011 and the owner/chef has a best selling book on the booklists.  I'll go into some of them in later posts.

The 'out of the usual' thing we did this year was to go to an "open mic" place so Judy could sing...she does this often in SF.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but the whole scene was lots of fun.  We met many super people from all over, and the ones who got up to sing were terrific.  No doubt, we'll return next year.

I love NYC. 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just tryin'

I enjoy fooling around with new apps. for my iPhone...

White peonies with white border.

Colors at the lake.

Elizabeth and Tracy

*****taken with the apps Camera+ and  Collage (for grouping and borders)

Hydrangeas with white border.

My flowers with white border.

White border



Well known attractions of Paris

"Keep on" exploring and learning .... it's fun!

                                        Thanks for dropping by... hope you had a nice relaxing weekend.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Raisin Rolls

As I was toiling lazing away doing nothing but trying to stay cool in this scorching heat wave, I suddenly got the bright idea to make raisin rolls (which wasn't so bright after all since I had to turn the oven on and make the house hotter).   I didn't want cinnamon rolls, just homemade rolls with raisins.

I usually throw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl relying on my vast knowledge of recipes, but this time I went to the web to look for one---just for an approximation of quantities. While looking, I found an interesting site by a cook who spoke of a certain method I had never heard of....hmmm,  I didn't do that this time but maybe I'll try it at a later date.  Here's the site with this new method.

Anybody ever heard of the "tangzhong" method for light and soft bread?

Luckily, my rolls turned out very well without using that method.

Here's my recipe:

Proof a packet of regular yeast in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.

While the yeast is proofing, soak about 1 cup of raisins in water.  (Before using, drain them.)

When the yeast is foaming about 15 minutes later,  stir in 1 egg, 1/4 cup of water, 5 tablespoons of melted butter (use real butter),  3-5 teaspoons sugar,  1/2 cup half&half, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Mix well.

To this wet mixture add  2 1/2 cups of flour.  Mix well, then knead it for a minute or two.  Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl with  plastic wrap on top to double in size.  (30+minutes) The rising time was very fast for me because my kitchen was quite warm.

After it has doubled,  punch it down and let it double in size again. (30+mins.)

After doubling for the second time,  turn it out on a well floured counter to knead for a couple of minutes more.

Roll it out so it's about 6 x 10 inches,  drop the raisins on top and press them into the soft dough.  Then fold the dough like folding a business letter in thirds.  Then roll that folded dough out again but not so much. It should be about 4x8 inches and pretty thick. Now, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  When rolling the dough with the rolling pin, don't roll so much that you push out the air bubbles.

Roll each piece just a very little with the rolling pin,  then with your fingers, roll the piece up into a small jelly roll and place it into a buttered round baking tin.  Make sure the open end is facing down in the tin.  Place all 6 rolled pieces into the pan (there will be empty space around each piece). It will look like the spokes of a wheel.

Place the plastic wrap on the top and let the rolls rise until almost double in size.  Meanwhile, turn the oven on to preheat at 350 degrees.

Before baking, swab the tops of the risen rolls with an egg beaten together with 1 tablespoon of water.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  My oven runs on the hot side, so it might take 35 minutes in your oven.

Let them cool before eating.

I ate one after it had cooled and it was very soft and yummy.  I put the remaining 5 in a zip lock bag in the fridge to eat at a later date.  They could be frozen, too.

The next day I sliced one of the rolls from the fridge and put it in the toaster to warm it.  Quite delicious it was with a good helping of butter and raspberry jam.

This first picture was taken after I had just dabbed the tops with the egg mixture.  They have already risen to almost twice their size,  now they're ready to pop into the oven.

These next two pictures were taken right after coming from the oven.

The texture and taste of these rolls remind me of a good brioche or a braided Challah.  It has a little sweetness to it, plus it is buttery in flavor. 

Pictures of the slices, not toasted and toasted, the next day.

As you can see, I like a little bread with my butter!

If you don't want rolls, you could just roll the entire dough jelly roll style and put it into a loaf pan for a big loaf of bread...your choice.

Here's hoping you're having a good week!


P.S.   The hot weather continues in my corner of the world, each day is at least 92 degrees with yesterday and today reaching 98 degrees...and still no rain to perk up the grass and flowers... this point, we could really use a long steady rain to soak into the parched earth.

****I'm keeping myself perked up with plenty of fresh produce and ice cold glasses of rosé.****

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer's Pleasures

This is the time for taking a slow walk around the garden.

I love to be up early in the morning with a cup of coffee in my hand strolling from flower to flower, admiring Nature at it's finest.  The other hand held my camera for all these gorgeous images.  There are lots....I got snap-happy...! 

                                             It's a nice place for the birds and butterflies as well.

 I hope you enjoyed a little bit of my backyard.

Have a wonderful weekend...if it's hot, stay hydrated with plenty of skin protection.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking for Cool

The hot weather has been beastly.  I've felt so sorry for the people who have had no electricity due to the summer freak storms raging their way around the country.  No electricity means no fans, or AC...yikes!  We're supposed to get a cool spell soon, temps will drop about 15 degrees from 100 to 85, but most importantly, the overnight low will return to a cool and refreshing 60.

My lawn is very dry and yellow in spots, I only water it a little.  Everyday I water the potted veggies and the containers of flowers...they're holding up.  I make sure to have water in the drip pans under the pots because the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits come to them to drink...they shouldn't have to suffer,  with the exception of one squirrel (I don't like him or her much) who keeps stealing my tomatoes just at the point of picking, eats half and leaves the other half for me.

I don't know about you, but when it's this hot, I lose all hunger for food...well, almost all.  I mostly fill up on water, with a little chilled wine to break the monotony.

Eating very light is all I can Summer Rolls it's been now for days.

Summer Rolls are like Spring Rolls, only made with rice papers and not fried or steamed.

The transparent sheets of rice are dipped in water for a few seconds until they become soft and pliable...not too long or they will tear apart.

Then,  fill them with anything cold and flavorful,   roll them up,  and eat.  Simple, right?

Of course, you must have a spicy and hot dipping sauce to complete this tasty meal.

 If you don't want to go to the bother of rolling it in a rice wrapper,  you can roll the food in a lettuce leaf.  When I'm in a hurry or get really lazy I do this!      Roll it up and plunge it all in your mouth.

Look here for more information for making Spring/Summer Rolls.

Here's a place to find lots of different dipping sauces....scroll to the bottom.

That's it for now....."try it, you'll like it", or so the saying goes.

Keep your cool,


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Turning Four

I wish I could remember when I was four...a couple of vague memories persist, but that's all.

I do recall that my two older brothers told me to "pretend being unconscious" to play a joke on our that was certainly a rotten thing to do and boy did she get upset with us all! Poor Mom, the things she had to put up with. 

I do remember starting Kindergarten at Cherry Street School when I was just 4 yrs old.  That must have been a good September for Mom---getting 3 kids out of the house for part of her day.

The reason I'm thinking about "being four" is that my youngest of two grandsons will be turning four this week.  I hope he can remember all that he has done in these first years of his life because he has done so much already.  He has lived on both coasts of the U.S.; he has driven across the country and jetted across it too. He has visited Disneyland and Disney World, plus Sea World,  Lego Land, and many zoos.  He has been swimming in freshwater lakes, pools, and oceans.  He has ridden in speedboats, paddle boats, pontoon boats, wave runners, row boats, and canoes.  This year, he learned to ice skate, and to snow ski!  He is one lucky and accomplished little guy. 

He's been smiling from the day he was born, too. 

Milo, 2yrs. old, standing in the sky blue shirt with all his cousins and brother.      OK, he's not smiling here!

Milo's third birthday.

Milo found the Band-aids!

Milo with big brother, Kai.

Happy Birthday!

           Happy Birthday!

                      Happy Birthday, Milo!

Mem         (aka)  Grammie