Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

Sunday book review, movie round-up & anything else i can throw in here. Happy 2015!

January 11th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.”

– Rumi

“Bottom line is we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect,” film director Richard Linklater, accepting his Golden Globe award for directing, “I want to dedicate this to parents that are evolving everywhere and families that are just passing through this world and doing their best.”

I’ll see how many categories I can hit here… Ready? Ready-steady-go!

* Pacific Ocean: It’s beautiful. It makes me happy, i love my negative ions i get from the ocean, and the wildlife is so fun to watch. The sea lions in that picture are making what’s called a “raft.” They all hold onto each other and float around. Hippies :)

* Book review? Here’s what on my nightstand (and on the Kindle): Re-read “Wild,” re-reading “Torch,” re-reading Carol Shields magnum opus, “Unless,” reading “Quiet” and learning all kinds of stuff about introverts, extroverts, high reactives and the modern age, just finishing Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” genius, and… that’s all I can think of.

* Recipes:

Oven-Fried Spuds (excellent, best potato recipe ever)
Soup! (Steve’s recipe. This one clears up your head, fast)

1 onion, sliced thin
1 bulb garlic
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
6 cups water

Saute onion and garlic (I like whole cloves, but you can chop or press) on low until soft. Add bouillon cubes and squish. Add water and bring to boil. Can be garnished with fresh slices of jalapeno for an extra sinus kick. Wasabi would be good, too.

Reduce water and bouillon by half to thicken.

* Work… is going well. Super well. I love working at a school (computer lab again this year), I’m with the best staff and boss in the universe (no I’m not saying that because they might read this — they really are gifted, funny, smart, wonderful with the students and everything else I was hoping for) and I love that my students are willing to work on my Spanish with me. #yohabloespanolmasomenos

* My own kids… are great. Whoever said, “Eh, you think that when they’re little they really need you, but when they’re teenagers? That’s when they really need you,” that person was so smart. (Seriously, probably 20 people said that to me when the kids were toddlers, and I thought they were joking.)

* Nekkid Neighborsremember them?

* Sex? Not at work, people, keep that in mind, always. Or with the Nekkid Neighbors. Just a bad idea, aight? Lol. We’ve been watching Californication on Netflix, and swear to God, every time I watch it, I feel like I’ve been in an orgy, and it was kind of great, but equally horrible. Yeah.

* Speaking of pop culturemovies. We saw “Wild,” loved it, “Nebraska,” also great, “Boyhood,” one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously.

* Holidays: How can 2015 be a real year? It’s so space-age sounding.

* And in the category of Pets, Stupid… Our sweet, loving, funny Wacky Cat 2 passed away last month. I keep looking for him, thinking I see him, missing him. It just sucks.

* Houses & Homes: We’re cleaning & rearranging & opposite-of-hoarding like mad right now because we’re moving again.

In five years.

But, as one of my 80-something-year-old neighbors told me after New Year’s, “Every year, I don’t know what it is. The days go slower and the years go faster.” Then he gave me a big smile, I smiled back, and he pedaled off on his bike. I know just what he means.

All for now, xo,

wm

Here’s a happy story… and a Tuesday Recipe Club

December 16th, 2014

Once upon a time, I was a little girl, and I loved to eat cookies.

Some things never change.

Over the years, I’ve craved my Mom’s soft, crispy, crumbly and rich Chocolate Crinkles, her mom’s chewy-addictive chocolate chip-banana cookies, and the reindeer sugar cookies (secret ingredient: almond extract) the sweet neighbor across the street used to bake for us every year. Thin, crispy, and perfect. But the cookies I have craved the most are my grandma’s butter cookies. My dad’s mom was from North Dakota, no-nonsense, and knew just how to keep me happy: Books to read, apricots to nibble on, a Kentucky Fried Chicken picnic in the park with the entire family, and a Tupperware container full of the best cookies in the world.

And I had no recipe for them.

I’ve searched through my mom’s files, my own files, my grandma’s cookbooks (inherited *all* of the cookbooks from both grandmas #blessed) and no luck. Tears. Sadness. And a yearning for “how did she make those, exactly?” I’ve guessed, experimented, no luck. Was thumbing through her copy (which looks like it was her mommy’s copy, it’s vintage and gorgeous and about 100+ years old) of “Pantry Secrets,” compiled by St. Aldolphus Altar Society, Langdon, North Dakota (produced in the plant of the Cavalier County Republican, Langdon, N.D.).

Yes, that’s right. Suddenly, there it was. The clouds parted, the sun came out, and there was much rejoicing.

They’re that good. Hallelujah and Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

My Grandma’s Delicious Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 well-beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in one tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 1/2 cups flour

(notes say: roll with date filling — no recipe for that — and “make in roll in icebox or add chocolate drops)

We made drop cookies with one batch of dough, and used the second batch as cut-out cookies. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

We did a basic powdered sugar frosting, dyed green and red, to ice them. (I also have a great recipe for “10 Minute Justrite Fudge” and some quite fantastic recipes to share from the Jiffy Cookbook, but those will have to wait for another time.)

Bon appetit!

– wm

recipes from my BFF L, for Wednesday Recipe Club

October 1st, 2014

These are all so good, go make them right now.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 to 1 1/5 cups chocolate chips

Cream butters and sugars together, mix in egg and vanilla and then add dry ingredients, fold in chocolate chips and oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

2 cups whole milk
2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
1 Tbls. brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 celery rib, chopped finely

Make dressing: Whisk 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayo, brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp pepper in bowl

Cook pasta: Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add 1 T of salt and past and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and cool pasta 10 minutes, then stir in dressing until pasta is well coated. Cool completely.

Make salad: Add green onions, carrot, celery, remaining milk and mayo to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least an hour…or a day or two. Optional: Add a handful or two of frozen peas.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten 5 minutes
1 cup sugar, beaten in
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together and spread on greased and floured 10×14 inch cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and roll immediately in cloth or wax paper. Let set for few minutes

Beat:
1 cup powdered sugar
6 oz – 8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Unroll cake and spread frosting. Roll cake again and freeze.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

2 cups dry black beans, soaked in
6 cups water
1 T olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
10 medium cloves garlic, crushed
2 t. cumin
2 1/2 t. salt
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups orange juice
black pepper to taste
cayenne, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, diced

toppings: sour cream, cilantro, salsa

1. Cook soaked beans in 4 cups of water; boil, cover and simmer until tender about 1.25 hours.
2. In olive oil saute onion, half garlic, cumin, salt and carrot until carrot tender. Add green pepper and remaining garlic and saute 15 minutes more till everything is very tender. Add to the beans.
3. Stir in orange juice, pepper, cayenne and tomatoes. Puree all or some of soup and then simmer 10 minutes more…serve with sour cream, cilantro, and salsa.

Optional: Add cooked diced chicken step three.

Tuesday Recipe Club: Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding, Sweet Basil Cheesecake

August 5th, 2014

Oh, yum. Thank you, Giada. Again.

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Ingredients

Filling:
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
1/2 (8 ounces) multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Parmesan

Custard:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sweet Basil Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Serving suggestion: assorted crackers
Special equipment: 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan, about 2 1/2 inches tall

Directions:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil.

Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse

until mixed. Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and salt and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the springform pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.

Monday Recipe Club: Rose Hip Freezer Jam

July 7th, 2014

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

Saw these wild roses and hips on our walk to the beach, growing by the side of the road. Maybe I’ll have to pick some…

This one is from Cazuela, one of our friends at allrecipes:

“The rose hips in this jam are uncooked so the jam tastes fresh and sweet; it retains its bright rosy-orange color. The hardest part is seeding the hips which can be sticky, but so worth it! Use wild or cultivated rugosa roses that haven’t been sprayed with pesticide; pick them in the fall when they are bright red. I adapted my recipe from one in a Euell Gibbons field guide.”

Ingredients:

1 cup trimmed and seeded rose hips
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit
pectin
3/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Put the prepared rose hips, water, and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Small bits of rose hips skin are okay. Gradually add the sugar while blender is running. Blend until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds or so.
2. Stir the pectin into 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil hard for about 1 minute. Slowly pour into the rose hip mixture; blend for about 30 seconds.
3. Pour into small containers with lids. Store in the refrigerator. Jam that is not used within a few weeks can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Hope you’re having a great summer. Bon appetit!

wm

i (heart) the ocean + Tuesday Recipe Club: Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing + QOTD

May 20th, 2014

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

And, a random Tuesday Recipe Club, from out of left field, thank you, Ms. Kenya:

Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Honey Lime Dressing
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Cut the corn off the cob then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices. Set aside and let cool. Slice the tomatoes in half. Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro.

Honey Lime Dressing
1) Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2) Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and grilled corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors mingle

Now, how about a quote of the day?
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

Bon appetit, babies!

– wm

book round-up and Saturday Recipe Club

February 8th, 2014

It’s been snowing like mad here the past two days, so that means cooking and reading. And reading about cooking :)

Yesterday I baked Russian Teacakes (in honor of the snow and the Olympics), red beans & rice (and cornbread, of course) and made the batter for gingerbread pancakes. We’ll have breakfast around noon, when the kids get up. That’s just a guess :)

Bon appetit and happy weekend to you, book lovers…

xo

wm

“Well, but it’s not as good a story if you dumped her. That’s how I remember things, anyway. I remember stories. I connect the dots and then out of that comes a story. And the dots that don’t fit into the story just slide away, maybe. Like when you spot a constellation. You look up and you don’t see all the stars. All the stars just look like the big fugging random mess that they are. But you want to see shapes; you want to see stories, so you pick them out of the sky. Hassan told me once you think like that, too — that you see connections everywhere — so you’re a natural born storyteller, it turns out.” — from “An Abundance of Katherines”

wherein I remember how to cook. Tuesday Recipe Club: White Bean Soup with Rosemary; Gub-Gub Brownies; Baked Cheese Tortellini in Alfredo Sauce

January 14th, 2014

Yes, I should cook more often. I’m a good cook. I find it relaxing. We need to eat. God knows we have vegetables in the fridge and the freezer, jars and bags of beans, pasta, flour and everything else (spices, oils, salt n pepa) in the cupboard. Fresh herbs in the garden.

But I don’t.

What of it?

Today? Today, however… Who knows what got into me. Cooking! Comfort food!

You know Gub-Gub Brownies? They’re good. It’s my Dear Late Granny’s recipe, but with brown sugar instead of white (gub-gub). Who knows where her recipe is, I swear I’ve posted it, but I look for it and it is not there. Go buy her book if you want it. Also, cheesey tortellini. So frickin’ good. And… soup.

Because that’s all I ever want. I used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, but with fewer onions. PS next year I will have been blogging here for nine years what the what the? True story. (That’s the sixth blog post i ever wrote. Am fond of it.)

Bon appetit, babies!

– wm

Tuesday Recipe Club: Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Lasagna, Feta-Parsley Green Beans and Irish Champ

August 27th, 2013

strawberry

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Doesn’t that look good? I’ll have to go pick some strawberries for dinner. (We planted some everbearings and get three crops a season from them. Who knew berries grew this way?)

Hello, dumplings. What’s up? My husband and daughter are finally back from London, and I owe them some delicious home cooking. They ate out at plenty of delicious restaurants in London, but nothing says lovin’ like something I have forgotten about and burned, just in time for dinner. On the menu:

* Irish Champ, a la Jamie Oliver (edited later to say: will make this tomorrow; ran out of time)

* Leftover Zucchini Lasagna, which is just my regular lasagna recipe, with planks of zucchini subbed for the pasta. Have I never run my lasagna recipe here? Hmm. Well, here’s Carmela Soprano’s recipe. And here’s my recipe for Manicotti. (Edited to say: No one likes the zucchini lasagna but me, apparently. Wacky Boy had a waffle with real maple syrup; Steve and Wacky Girl and I had Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwiches on homemade bread. Fake (vegetarian!) bacon bits = vegetarian BLT. And fresh tomatoes from garden! Rock on.)

* Green Bean Salad (from Food & Family)
500 g green beans topped, tailed and halved
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
50g feta cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the prepared green beans. Cook until al dente, tender enough to bite through but still crisp. Drain and cool under cold tap for a few seconds. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add crumbled feta cheese and finely chopped parsley. (Edited to say: Awesome recipe, thanks, Kit!) (Also, my daughter made a huge green salad, with diced celery and green onions, grated carrots and red-leaf lettuce. Really perfect.)

and…
* Zucchini Bread! (I use my Dear Late Granny’s Banana Bread recipe and sub zucchini.)

(We have baseball bat-sized squash in the garden, am attempting to use some of it up.) (Edited to say: Pawned off one of the zucchinis on my friend. She promptly wielded it like a bat and started laughing. I’m all, I know, right? I made three (3) loaves of zucchini bread. Found some white chocolate chips, Wacky Girl said, Add ‘em! so I did. Oh. Yum. So good. ps if anyone uses the Zucchini Bread recipe from Dear Late Granny’s cookbook, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon is good, 3 is kind of a lot; add 3 cups of zucchini, not 2. That’s all! ta-ta for now.)

xo and happy Tuesday, also, bon appetit!

wm

ahhhhhh… Herbal Iced Tea and a summer day

August 22nd, 2013

Private dock

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

This is one of my favorite photos of the Tualatin River — can’t wait to get out and canoe some more.

Trying to kick coffee/black tea. New delight:

Herbal Iced Tea

4 bags Passion Fruit herbal tea
2 bags ginger tea
A couple splashes lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks

Put in a big jar, cover with cold water, leave out for sun tea.

xo

wm

« Previous PageNext Page »