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Thursday Book Review: “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” by Ronan Farrow; “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball,” by Jeff Kinney; “Dog Man,” by Dav Pilkey; “From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole-Foods Meals for the Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot ™,” by Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer; “The Power of Showing Up,” by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

December 26th, 2019

December 2019 + old shots

(“Black n Blue,” photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

Hello, cats and kittens,

I generally don’t review everything all at once, I do try to break it down by genre (or “jenner,” as my friend Milly used to say), but today? All of it. Cuz we’re reading a lot this winter.

* A cookbook arrived, just in time for these cold, foggy, dark winter days. The recipes are mwaaah!! Perfecto. Cool recipes for breakfast (Denver Omelet Casserole, or Peanut Butter Cup Steel-Cut Oats); lunch (Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, or Asian Lettuce Wraps), dinner (Mouth-Watering Brisket with Balsamic Glaze, Fake-Out Lasagna) and snacks in between (Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches, anyone?).

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer (from the “Thriving Home” blog) have done a lovely job with their new cookbook, “From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole-Foods Meals for the Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot” (Rodale Books; on sale Jan. 14, 2020; 256 pages; $22.99).

The authors were inspired by memories of a freezer cooking club they were part of, back in the day, with some other mamas. For many of us, this is where we get our favorite recipes. They’ve done a cool switch-up with recipes that can be cooked in the slow cooker, or the Instant Pot ™. Ingredients can easily be adjusted accordingly, if you’re feeding two of you, or a big crowd.

I’m trying out the Autumn Chowder first, because I’m a soup girl. Followed by Potluck Pumpkin Chili, Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, and White Chicken Chili.

What else are we reading over here? Lots, lots, lots.

* “Hamlet,” by that one guy. Super depressing, but don’t let that stop you.

* “Crash & Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” Ronan Farrow’s extraordinary book about breaking the Harvey Weinstein story. Intense, and you won’t be able to stop flipping the pages, it’s that good. (And yes, I know this is quite the eclectic review, sorry about that.)

* “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball,” by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books, 2019, 217 pages, $14.99). This is the 14th book in the series that just continues to be a lot of fun. Love the “Dog Man” series by Dav Pilkey (“Captain Underpants”).

“The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired,” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson is being released Jan. 7, 2020. (Ballantine, 2020, 256 pages, $27.00). I’ve been reading the advanced copy I was sent of this how-to — it’s interesting. I appreciate their perspective. Parenting is hard, dude.

Now I have to go grocery shopping, clean the house again, clean the chicken coop again, and declutter. Talk later.

Bon appetit!

Much love, and happy holidays to you, wherever you are,


Smashed Potatoes a la my friend Kay

July 23rd, 2019

Keep Fucking Going

(“A Few of My Favorite Things,” photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

SMASHED POTATOES a la my friend Kay

* Yukon potatoes, sliced up to 1″ thick
* 6 tablespoons melted butter
* Fresh thyme

Mix spuds, butter and herbs in a cast iron skillet or metal pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; flip; bake another 15 minutes.

Add some smashed garlic and some chicken or vegetable broth to the pan; put back into the oven for 15 minutes more.

(Adjust the temp/time as you see fit, cuz I freestyle this one, as always.)

Bon appetit, babies!


We lost our first chicken…

April 20th, 2018


(“Historia, Historia,” pic by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

When Gardenburgers ™ were first invented, by a Portland guy who owned a really superfine supercool house in Southeast Portland, btw, one of the other tasty tidbits they invented was a Gardentaco.

They did a funny ad, black & white as I recall, and it had a line drawing of the Gardentaco in a shell.

“Looks funny, but fits!”

But the best line? “The average person, in their lifetime, eats 700 chickens! Let your 700 live!” I thought that was cute.

Did you know you can toast Gardenburgers in the toaster? You can. So when my vegetarian sis and I were in college, and broke, we toasted a *lot* of Gardenburgers.

My cousin, visiting and heading straight to the kitchen, used to say, “Something about walking into your house makes me want to toast a Gardenburger.” lol.

Oh, Historia, Historia… She was our chicken. She was egg-bound (the eggs couldn’t come out. She was a big girl who laid big, gorgeous eggs.) There were two stuck in there. So I took her to the vet and they told me that for a grown chicken to be egg-bound like that was generally a “secondary symptom,” or something, meaning she had another problem and the eggs not coming out was just a sign that something else was wrong. Tumors. She hadn’t been grooming herself, was listless and in pain. She had a lame foot and it hurt her to walk.

So I had her euthanized and now I’m just sad because, dammit, chickens. And also? I don’t really want to eat chicken anymore, it depresses me. Do you know how much chicken is always on the menu? A lot. My friend Gigi says, kindly, “Chickens are disposable.”

(huge sigh.)

Let your 700 live.

Sorry this post is sad but life in the country is sometimes sad. PS the gardener said next time he’ll take care of it, if one of the chickens gets old and sick (which they will. That’s life). Also? Can I deal with the poison oak out back cuz he’s hugely allergic to it?

I’m hoping I’m not.

I miss Steve all the time, not just some of the time. That sucks. Twenty years is a long time to be married, and then have your partner go missing on you.



Chicken and Dumplings, a la Granny, and… her cookbook is for sale!

August 2nd, 2013

Cookbook is ready!!! You’ll find it on CreateSpace, on Amazon, and on Kindle… soon.

From my Dear Late Granny’s upcoming COOKBOOK! which, yes, is FINALLY DONE after just eight years or something. will be available thru Amazon and Kindle in the next couple of weeks, so watch for it… I’ll post a link when it’s ready for purchase. In the meantime, here’s a recipe.



Chicken & Dumplings (from Margie & Nancy)

This is a variation on my Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings recipe. She would not use shortening; she would use lard or bacon grease. She also would not add lemon, thyme or a bay leaf; she would add lots of black pepper and call it a day. If the Pioneer Woman (Bree) was making this, she would say forget the lemons and add a little apple cider. She would also suggest adding cornmeal to the flour mixture. Keep experimenting until you get it exactly how you like it at your house.

1 (3-pound) whole chicken
1 onion, quartered
2 slices lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

In a heavy pot with a lid, place the chicken, onion, lemon, salt, pepper, water, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until tender, about 1 hour.

Let chicken cool slightly, then take out of pot and remove meat from bones. Discard bones and skin and skim excess fat off the broth. Discard onion, lemon and bay leaf. Return chicken pieces to the pot. Simmer over low heat while making the dumplings.

To make dumplings: In a medium mixing bowl, cut shortening into the flour and salt. Stir in 1/4 cup water (more if needed) to form a soft dough. Roll out dough on a floured surface until very thin. Cut into 1-inch strips. Tear off 1-inch pieces from these strips and drop into simmering broth and chicken meat. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off, then 10 minutes more with the lid on. Serve immediately.

Wednesday Recipe Club: Trisha Yearwood’s Lemon Squares

July 17th, 2013

Best, easiest recipe ever for Lemon Squares. Serve with fresh blueberries on the side. Bon appetit, babies!

— wm

Lemon Squares

15 squares


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling


4 large eggs
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


For the crust: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Mix the flour and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and add the melted butter, mixing until a dough forms. Press the mixture firmly into a 9- by 13- by 2-inch pan. Bake the crust for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling: While the crust is baking, with an electric mixer, combine the eggs, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder and salt, and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture over the baked crust. Reduce heat to 325 and bake for 20 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into squares and serve.

donuts in heaven

April 14th, 2013

My son, talking about his late, great-granny’s funeral: “It was the best ever.”

Why’s that?

“We had donuts!”

Steve: “And up in heaven, Margie is smiling.”

We like sweets.

Easterish b-day

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

what we talk about when we talk about lasagna

October 8th, 2012


(Photo by Steve Rawley)


Man, what a good weekend. We saw Bag & Baggage’s production of “Of Mice and Men” in Hillsboro on Saturday. Went canoing on the Tualatin River Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Heard Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey play at the Aladdin Theater in Portland on Friday. Every time I go hear some live music I ask myself, Why do we never go hear live music anymore? Then I balance the checkbook and it’s zeroed out again and I think, Oh yeah. That.

We caught a Bag & Baggage show last season… Dangerous Liaisons… so good. And I’m not just saying that cuz our friend was in it. We can’t afford season tickets to the Blazers (or the Winter Hawks), the opera (or the symphony), but occasionally we can pull off buying a ticket or four. Usually it’s one or two. But the season tickets were really reasonable for Bag & Baggage, so we went for it. Saw this crazy version of Titus Andronicus that they did this summer… Kabuki Titus. One of the most inspired and craziest shows I’ve ever seen.

It kind of freaked me out.

That’s not a bad thing.

The upcoming season is going to be good, so I’m looking forward to it. There’s a new exhibit up of Greek and Roman art, at the Portland Art Museum. It’s on loan from the British museum and is supposed to be quite good. The kids get in for free, so I’m psyched to go to that one, too. I love taking them to stuff that I never really took part in as a kid (other than the occasional school field trip).

What’s new in your world, artwise or otherwise?

Have a great week!



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

Tuesday Recipe Club: Broiled Fruit Shakes, Lottie’s Peanut Butter Pie… and more on Granny’s Cookbook

August 14th, 2012

Broiled Fruit Shakes

Stay with me here. I know it sounds weird, but this is a chilled drink I tried a couple of weeks ago at that crazy New Seasons Market, and it is quite good. It tastes like a Fruit Crisp milkshake.

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups coarse-chopped fruit (nectarines, plums, apples or whatever you would like)
2 cups ice cream or frozen yogurt (your choice of flavor)

Preheat broiler to high. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Add fruit; toss to coat. Spread the fruit in a single layer on a jelly roll pan lined with foil. Broil 5 minutes or until bubbly. Allow fruit mixture to cool. In a blender, mix 2 cups of ice cream or yogurt with a few scoops of the fruit mixture. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Lottie’s Peanut Butter Pie
(This one is in Grandma’s handwriting, on a “Here’s What’s Cookin’” card that’s decorated with pictures of lemons. I’m writing it exactly as I found it. Lottie and her husband Darrell were dear friends to my grandparents for years – they met when they were young married couples, before their children were born.)

1 – 8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup crunchy p. butter
½ cup sugar
1 – 12 oz. Cool Whip

Blend in blender.

Pour into crust.

Choc. cookie crust,
Plain crust,
Graham cracker crust

Bon appetit, babies!

OK, back to writing now. Did I already mention that I was done with my Late, Dear Granny’s cookbook and memoir, and then I came across three more of her cookbooks?

Yes, I did.

Found the cookbooks, that is. As for already telling you this, who can remember?

My point is: They all had her handwritten recipes inside, and well. What is a girl to do? Of course I have to type them all up. Those of you who knew my Granny (i’m looking at you, Cuz 7), know that it was just her style, wasn’t it? To say, Wait, wait, looky here. No, looky. This is what you need/should do/want to take home with you. Do it!

That Nike motto, Just do it!? I think she invented that for them.

At first, I was a little stressed out. Because no offense but I am ready to be shut of this project. I have turned into my Granny’s Girl Friday. I can’t even find my desk anymore it’s so covered with scraps of paper, books and photos. But then I realized… it’s my Grandma.

OK. Back to work, and I’ll let you know when it’s done so you can buy a copy. (PS, I think I’m going to call it, “How Are You, Sugar?” You like that?) (PSS, If you still haven’t purchased a copy of my novel, well, what’s stopping you? lol.) I’m hoping today and tomorrow will be it for typing/writing. My mom is allegedly going over the photos and figuring out captions. Then Steve will do lay-out for it and we’ll be ready to roll it out.

I’ve loved working on this project, but I don’t want it to be the only project I do for the rest of my life, y’know? Besides, as my wise daughter put it: “Think how good it will feel to say, ‘Ah, my book is done!'” Only in this case, it will be “Ah, her book is done!”



chick-fil-a brouhaha

August 3rd, 2012

“But take solace in this: Gay marriage is happening. Like many drive-through window lanes, it ain’t going backwards. And your bonus is this: You get gay marriage. And all your political opponents are going to get is Type 2 diabetes.” — Jon Stewart

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