Archive | November, 2009

Thankful for good food

29 Nov

Oh, there are lots of things I’m thankful for but high among them is having a good weekend with my family, the time to cook really good food, and time to relax and rejuvenate.


I was in charge of dessert.  I made my husband’s favorite dessert.  It’s a secret family recipe.  His grandmother taught me to make it.  So, I call it Robechaud Cheese Pie.  It’s rich and delicious.  I also made pumpkin pie from scratch.  I was so proud of myself . . . I’ve never made pie crust before.  I was pretty nervous about it . . . I had a big can of Libby’s pumpkin and frozen crusts waiting just in case.  I’m glad to say that they weren’t necessary!  The recipe I used was from Martha Stewart’s website.  She has about 15 pumpkin pie recipes.  This was a very basic one, classic, traditional.  Fortunately, I know something about cooking because the recipe had an error in it.  It called for me to cook the pumpkin pie for about 1/2 as long as it actually needed.  I went to pull the pie from the oven and thought, “Uh-oh.”  I searched the web, including the other recipes on her site, and realized it needed 60 minutes, not 30 minutes.  I left it in for the requisite time and it was perfect.

My first pumpkin pie

I was happy.

Ruby was also happy. She loves Thanksgiving. She loves helping clean up messes. This was a batch of yorkshire pudding that had an unfortunate accident. Greg was mopping it up but Ruby really wanted to help. 🙂

Ruby helping to clean up a Thanksgiving mess!



29 Nov

Here is what I’ve been tweeting about for the last year . . .

Somehow with all the other words mixed in there, even the word ‘sigh’ doesn’t seem negative.

What I’m Reading

24 Nov

Kindle with bag
I’ve been finding time to read before I fall asleep at night.  This is, in my opinion, one more reason to love a Kindle.  When I read a REAL book until I fall asleep, I often wake up with a closed book in my hand, having fallen asleep mid-sentence.  Then I have to dig around to find my place.  Not so with a Kindle.  When I fall asleep mid-sentence with a Kindle, I wake up to find a turned off Kindle and my place is forever saved.  Hurrah!

So, I’ve been reading a bit lately.

I finished reading Diana Gabaldon’s new book (and the one before it as I needed to refresh my poor memory).  I can’t recommend her books enough . . . they are quite simply excellent!

Then, I was reading a Regency romance written during the Regency period.  It’s called Marriage
and it’s written by Susan Edmonstone Ferrier.  It’s interesting but a bit slow and draggy.  She certainly didn’t aspire to the “show, don’t tell” school of writing.  So, I’ve put it aside . . . not sure I’ll finish it.  Still, with the Kindle, it was cheap so no worries there.  The hardcover version is $30.  The Kindle version . . . $1.50.  LOVE IT!

Amazon is so good about sending mail when a fav author has something new so I was happy to learn that Nora Roberts had a new book in her latest series about 4 friends who are wedding planners.  It’s called Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet)
. It’s a good read — Nora Roberts is always a good read. I just like her stuff.

Even when she writes under another name. The other name she writes under is J.D. Robb — she has the Eve Dallas series under that name. It’s set in the not-too-distant future. Eve is a cop in NYC. She and her husband, Roarke, clean up crime in their own inimitable way. I like this series because the character development grows from book to book and I like the characters. The latest book is called Kindred in Death. The cool thing is that in February, there’s another one coming out too. Yippee!

All those links go to the not-Kindle-versions of the books I recommended.  Not sure why Amazon won’t let me link to the Kindle versions themselves but they won’t (well, they won’t if I want to get $$$ for your buying these books on my say-so).  So, anyway, there’s the full disclosure piece.  If you click on those links and buy a book, I get a cut.  A small cut to be sure but there you are.   And, would it surprise you to learn that my cut is put directly into an Amazon gift card so I can buy more books to read?  😀

P.S.  I promise to find time this weekend to take pictures of the bathroom remodel and share them with you.  Promise!

Barn Envy

15 Nov

When you own a piece of property on a steep hill in a redwood forest in the 1880’s and you need a barn, you don’t let little things like lack of level land stop you.  You build it on the hill and make it work.  We took a drive on a road we hadn’t been on in years yesterday and this stopped us in our tracks.  It was GORGEOUS!

Amazingly, the property was for sale, too but more than we can afford.  (As if we’re looking and thinking to move in this economy, no thank you!)

And isn’t it amazing when you are in the right place at the right time (even when you have the wrong camera!) to get a shot like this:

1880's Barn on hill in Santa Cruz

Foggy Sunset

6 Nov


For more colorful skies, visit Sky Watch Friday®

This one’s for Wende!

4 Nov

How’s this sky, Wende?


Black Phoebe on a wire

4 Nov

Definitely one of my favorite birds!


San Simeon Crows

2 Nov

A couple of weeks ago, we were camping at San Simeon State Park.  I spent most of the weekend reading my Kindle however I did get out for one walk.  I saw a few birds including these crows.  They were eyeballing a camper who was making breakfast.  I think they were hoping for an invite!



Any Given Sunday: More Football Munchies!

1 Nov

Today’s Menu:  The 9er’s vs the Colts.  And, it’s a game . . . a good game!  We’re still watching it so I don’t know how it comes out yet but . . .  fingers are crossed!

Oh, yea, the food.  Homemade Chicken Nuggets with sauces and guacamole and chips!  YUM!


I don’t know why but this was just so pretty.  Gorgeous eggs in a clean white pyrex dish.


Chicken nuggets (and strips) are just so easy.  Chop up boneless, skinless breast meat.  Coat them in flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs.  That last is the secret ingredient.  Panko bread crumbs are an amazingly dry bread crumb from Japan although Progresso packages them with italian seasoning which is a nice time saver.  I usually add garlic powder and italian seasoning to the panko although today I just kept it simple and added nothing.  Just salt after they cooked.


Fry them in hot oil until brown, turn them and brown the other side.  Drain them on paper towels and salt while still wet from the oil.  YUM!  Resist the urge to eat them while still crazy hot.  You’ll have that burned mouth thing and that’s no fun!


I made a homemade garlic aoli sauce which was delicious but I’ll give you the MODIFIED recipe as they were too garlicky (something I didn’t think was possible, honestly).  I put 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic into the food processor with 1 large egg, 1/2 T of salt, and generous fresh ground pepper.  Puree.  Drizzle 1/2 cup of olive oil in while continuing to blend in food processor.  It won’t be really thick but will set up as it sits.  (The recipe I had called for 3 cloves of garlic and I used large ones — too much!).


I served it with the aoli sauce, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing.  A big hit!


I love guacamole.  I make it very simply but you can doctor it up to your will.  I take 2 avocados, 1/4 can of Herdez Salsa Verde, 1 clove of fresh garlic, salt and pepper.  Mix in a bowl with a fork, mashing the avocado until smooth.  Easy and delicious.  Our local market sells homemade tortilla chips although you can always make your own by frying up corn tortillas in oil.  Wonderful!


Good football.  Good munchies.  Good Sunday!

Happy Halloween!

1 Nov

Trick or Treating in Boulder Creek.Ruth - Zombie GirlGage - "Bertric the Black"

My Little Zombie and the Wizard