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Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Dave Moore, the beautiful Ms. Iris DeMent and the lovely Pieta Brown

October 6th, 2012

We went to hear Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown at the Aladdin last night. The guys were great; the audience was not. Steve: “Portland audiences may be obnoxious, but at least they’re enthusiastic.” How diplomatic of him. Here’s a song for you, and it kinda sums it all up for me:


“Where’s your wife?” one heckler yelled. Greg Brown’s wife being the beautiful and talented singer, Iris DeMent. “She’s at home cooking!” Brown yelled back.


“Get her out here to sing with you!” the same guy yells.

“She won’t sing with me. She’ll only sing with… John Prine.”

It’s true. Or maybe if you’re Josh Turner, she’ll sing with you.


Can’t blame her there.

Also, i’m in love with Pieta Brown, Greg’s daughter:

Now, since this is basically a love letter to Iowa and all the good musicians I’d never heard of ’til I married Steve:

And I don’t want to overlook Bo, so here he is, too.

Love you all, thanks for the music.

— nancy

photo of the day

September 16th, 2012

plumping up

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

For dinner: Cheese fondue, and Huevos Mexicanos with fresh pico de gallo made from tomatoes and peppers from the garden.

Beautiful weekend, happy family, bliss.

Have a great week, y’all, and L’Shana Tova.

— wm

Loud & Proud: “An American Family” + Honey Boo Boo Child

September 6th, 2012

Watching this week:

“Television ate my family.” — Lance Loud

We came up with the best way ever to spend our wedding anniversary this year: watching the Loud family implode on PBS’s “An American Family.” Me to Steve: “Don’t get any ideas.” His response: “Don’t even worry.”

I remember my ma telling me that she and my dad spent hour after hour, week after week, watching the documentary (the first “reality” TV program) when it first aired in 1973. I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I wanted to watch “Cinema Verite” (with Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as Pat and Bill Loud, and James Gandolfini as the series’s producer, Craig Gilbert). Didn’t feel like it was fair to the Louds to watch the fictional filming of their documentary, or the “behind-the-scenes-making-of” film of the film of the documentary (it all gets a little wiggy) without watching their documentary — the real one, which began shooting in 1971 — first. Now I want to give them all a hug, especially Lance, who I just adore, but he is gone now.

Also we’ve been watching non-stop “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” over here and Lord, does my head hurt now. It’s all good TV, people. Have you watched any of these films/shows? If so, what did you think? Gimme the Louds over the Kardashians any day, and gimme Honey Boo Boo any day over “Survivor,” woooooooooooooo-hoooooooooooo :) We love that little firecracker, she’s a pistol. She fractures me, I am not even kidding.

No, I’m not getting much writing done, but I need that once in awhile.

OK, I have to go to bed. More on all of this later. Much.

the Zombie Apocalypse, coming soon to a town near you

August 16th, 2012

My daughter to my husband: “During the Zombie Apocalypse, the item to your left will be your weapon of choice.”

Steve, puzzled: “My wife?”

Friday Recipe Club: One-Pan Rice & Beans with Collard Greens; Fresh Tomato-Corn Casserole; Chocolate Brownie Pie and… Banana Bread

July 27th, 2012

Now, dammit, Steve is going to get all excited thinking I’m fixing all this for dinner. Gah. I don’t think so, buddy. But I might send out for Chinese for us. #peoplewhowritecookbooksdontalwayscook



From my bro-in-law:

One-Pan Rice & Beans With Collard Greens
1 8-ounce bunch collard greens
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
2 cups canned vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons hot sauce

Wash the greens and shake off excess water. Remove the tough center ribs of each leaf. Roll the leaves up in a tight cylinder and thinly slice them crosswise. Roughly chop the greens and set them aside. (You should have about 4 cups chopped leaves.)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 3-quart sauté pan with lid. When the oil is hot add the onion, bell pepper and celery, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 45 seconds. Add the greens and stir with tongs until they’re wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the Cajun seasoning, salt and rice to the pan and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Add the broth and bay leaf and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle the beans over the top of the rice mixture in an even layer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook without stirring until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Gently fold the hot sauce into the rice mixture and serve.

Fresh Tomato-Corn Casserole (from my Late, Dear Granny)
Makes 6-8 servings
6 cups corn cut from cob (10-12 ears; or substitute 3 10-ounce packages frozen corn)
6 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
1 cup flour
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons oil
1 ½ cups toasted breadcrumbs

If using frozen corn, set aside to thaw. If using fresh, slice off the kernels, then scrape any remaining milk into the bowl with the kernels.

Dredge the tomato slices in a mixture of the flour, salt, pepper and sugar. Heat the oil to hot in a large skillet and fry the tomatoes until just golden in color.

Butter an overproof 2-quart casserole and sprinkle the bottom with some of the breadcrumbs. Layer tomatoes, corn and breadcrumbs, ending with tomatoes and crumbs. Season with salt and pepper as layers are formed. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve hot or cold.

Chocolate Brownie Pie (from Granny)
4 eggs
¼ cup margarine (melted)
1 bar (4 ounces) sweet chocolate (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Bisquick
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup chopped nuts

Grease pie plate. Beat eggs, margarine and chocolate until smooth. Add brown sugar, Bisquick and sugar.

Press into pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with nuts.

Updated on Sunday to say: I honestly was going to make all this for dinner when I posted on Friday. I was teasing about sending out for delivery. I have these fits of domesticity, as you may or may not know. Only we were out of collards. And corn (fresh or frozen) and, uh, yeah. No chocolate, either. So we had scrambled eggs or spaghetti or something, I have no idea. But today… oh, let me tell you about today… We had gone shopping, I had everything I needed (except chocolate, which is fine, cuz I wanted to make Banana Bread, anyway.) I made the corn casserole and the greens and beans dish, and they both turned out great. Steve added a layer of fresh basil leaves to the corn casserole and oh my gosh. Yum.

So go for it, enjoy, and tell me what you think. Also, if you make the Brownie Pie recipe… hmmmm. Do you think my Dear Granny mixed up the Bisquick, like from the recipe on the box?, then made a crust and then poured the brownie mixture in? I have no idea. I do remember an awesome Chocolate Pie she used to make, but it was her go-to pie crust, not Bisquick.

If you experiment with that recipe, please advise.




July 26th, 2012

We went to the beach one week, and the mountains the next. I think sometimes I take Oregon for granted. Here’s a gorgeous pic of Mt. Jefferson for you, to start out your day.

Mt. Jefferson

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

obligatory vacation pictures

July 25th, 2012

Black Butte Ranch in Central Oregon is about fun. We had a great time with the in-laws, and now I’m back to daydreaming about our next trip. I’ll write more later, but for now, pictures! (Steve posted a full set.) The house we rented was built in 1984 by someone who was thoroughly trained up in the ’60s and ’70s. It felt exactly — right down to the art, the fake flowers and the carpet — like my grandparents’ house. Either set. They even had the same sampler on the wall my Dad’s Mom had in her guest room:

“Friends, you are welcome here
be at your ease
get up when you’re ready
go to sleep when you please
we’re happy to share with you such as we’ve got
the leaks in the roof and the soup in the pot
you don’t have to thank us or laugh at our jokes,
sit deep and come often
you’re one of the folks”

Thanks. I appreciate that.

Mom and twins

deer leap

Broken Top, South Sister, North Sister

Meadow sunset

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

our weekend

June 11th, 2012

Alpine village

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

summer to-do list

June 4th, 2012

This is from last year (June 20th, 2011) and oh yeah that’s right, we’re going for it again this summer!

— wm

i’m copying everyone else, cuz they’re coming up with such good ideas. I’ll cross them off as we do them.

* celebrate last day of school with dinner out, ice cream, a trip to Powell’s and staying up all night (grown-ups will sleep)

* eat fudgsicles

* swim!

* swim

* did I mention swimming?

* trip to Denver to see grandma ??? (maybe she will visit us here instead)

* trip to Iowa Central Oregon to see grandpa and grandma

* house party!

* eat the first fresh strawberry from the garden

* go for walks in the neighborhood and look for deer, hawks, snakes, frogs and… ???

* picnics at the park

* read on the chaise lounge

* drink iced tea and lemonade and iced tea with lemonade

* go to the drive-in

* farmers market!

* go see live theater outdoors. somewhere. where???

* visit the zoo

* go camping

* go to the beach

* finish proofreading my novel finish writing new novel I started (Young Adult)

* get it published

* start next book (cookbook) then start writing another book!

* celebrate my daughter’s birthday, my birthday and our wedding anniversary

yay to summer.

— wm

ps the comments are from last year. hi girls! i can’t figure out how to allow comments on this post again, so sorry.

just in time for Mother’s Day

May 14th, 2012

Mothers' Day Ducklings

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Found these little darlings at the duck pond near our house. Take a close look to find Mama — she’s keeping watch on the shore. Have a great week, everybody!

— wm

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