Friday, December 25, 2009


So this is Christmas
And what have I done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you had fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear. . .

What a beautiful sunny day, today! Warm and almost 60. Here is my first harvesting on my satsuma mandarin oranges. Aren't they beauts! And so good in this salad I made for dinner. Here's the recipe. Kid tested and family approved. Enjoy!!!!

2 large chopped Pink Lady or Fugi apples
1 chopped peeled pear (optional)
1-2 mandarin oranges peeled and sectioned (optional)
1/2 cup golden or jumbo raisins
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 16 oz package cabbage/carrot coleslaw
2 Tablespoons mayo

Combine the apples and pear, dates and raisins with lemon juice and rind into a large bowl. Add the remainder ingredients. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30-60 min.

Monday, December 7, 2009


"I've been for a walk on a winter's day. I'd be safe and warm if I was in LA" . . . .but I'm in Wilton and we had a frosting of snow today. This is highly unusual for us lowlanders in the Delta. Snow is very rare, so I had to set out on a walk and capture this moment in history. Stopped into a park, I passed along the way. . . And as you can see, not all the leaves are brown. Love the patches of color here and there.

"California dreamin' on such a winter's day!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009




Butternut Squash Flan

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life!"

Is there a better time of year than this? I can sit back and reflect on how grateful I am for my wonderful friends who I can talk turkey with! The only presents I have to worry about today, are the presence of my friends! It is just all about fun, good food and good conversation and laughter. As far as I am concerned, this should always be the way that the year ends.

Unfortunately, it doesn't. Many of you may think that this is the last day before we are forced to listen to Christmas Carols 24/7 for 30 days or so. . . endless commercials to buy more than you have. . . for more things that most people don't need!! But that doesn't start till tomorrow. So for today, I will savor this day as long as I can. I will also be savoring some of this delicious flan made with squash picked from my garden. I will include the recipe for those that might be inclined to try a melt in your mouth desert!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! Whether you celebrate it or not!

Butternut Squash Flan

2 cups diced and cooked butternut or kabocha squash
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/3 - ½ cup sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten plus 3 egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice
pinch salt
1Tbl vanilla extract + 1 Tbl maple syrup or extract

1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
3 Tbl water

  • Preheat oven to 350ยบ
  • Coat 6 custard cups or flan mold with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Mash the squash and set aside. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and syrup in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly. Continue cooking 11 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Immediately pour sugar mixture into prepared custard cups or flan mold, tipping quickly to coat bottoms of cups.
  • In a medium bowl, mix half-and-half, sugar, eggs, and flavoring until thoroughly combined. Stir in mashed squash. Pour into the prepared mold. Place cups in a 13x9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until set. Remove cups from pan; cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours before unmolding.
  • Loosen edges of custards with a knife or spatula. Place a dessert plate, upside down on each cup; invert onto plates. Drizzle any remaining caramelized syrup over custards.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I have a lot to fix- - -guess I will go take a "cat" nap!

Top pic circa 1958, my baby sis. 2nd pic @1953-yours truly.
2 bottom cuties are my grand nephews (not the guy with the 5 o'clock shadow).

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In my travels this summer, I flew in to Castlegar, BC. Castlegar is located in the West Kootenay region of BC, nestled at the base of the Selkirk Mountains. I found out on the final approach in the "JAZZ" prop plane that if the pilot can't see the airport, they return to Vancouver. So the nickname for this airport was called "CANCELGAR". We seemed to graze the treetops on the mountains and I was quite relieved when the plane literally dropped into the airport.

At the airport restaurant there, I had the most delicious stew. I have never been a fan of borscht, but this stew was different. It is a meal in a bowl! The West Kootenays has a heavy concentration of families of Doukhobor ancestry, from So Russian and the Ukraine. Many Doukhobors are vegetarians and have a rich tradition of hearty cooking. This recipe is from one of their recipe books.

I had a craving for it the other night and whipped up a batch. Just in case any of you would like to taste this, too, I included the recipe here:


1 Tbl butter

1 onion chopped

3 cups diced canned tomatoes

1/3 cup green pepper chopped

1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

4 cups finely grated cabbage (used “classic cole slaw”)

3 cups water

2 tsp salt

2 tsp chicken broth seasoning

4 med potatoes, peeled and halved

2 potatoes diced

1/3 cup carrots, finely diced

1/4 cup beets diced

1 cup tomato or V8 juice

1/3 cup cream ( used fat free)

1/3 cup sour cream(reduced fat)

Melt butter in large kettle. Add onions and cook at low heat for 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, peppers, dill and cabbage. Cook at moderate heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid browning. Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add potatoes, carrots and beets, and return to a boil. Add tomato juice. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Remove the halved potatoes and mash with cream. Combine both mixtures and season to taste.

Friday, October 16, 2009


You got to be kidding!! What next? The french are fried over the bad taste at the Louvre.

Now you can view fine art and boost your blood sugar and speed up the onset of diabetes with junk food? We may as well share the abominable Western diet with Europe. Do they need some couches to sit in front of the TV as well?

We all know after a short stay in America, Michelangelo's David returned to Europe supersized.

I have heard a rumor that Dan Brown will soon begin work on "The McNugget Code".

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Listening to NPR today, I heard the news about the airlines asking the passengers to "use the john before they get on"!! Since the average bladder can hold a 1.1 pound of urine, if all 216 passengers had fairly full bladders, it would add additional 240 lbs. In one month, they are hoping to reduce their carbon emissions by 5 tons. Add to the weirdness, the airline will post "loo attendants" who will encourage people to use the restroom at the gate prior to take off. I can hear it now, "Excuse me, miss, but I can't help noticing that you look like you need to take a leak". Next thing you know, the privy police may be saying that "you may board as long as your fluids fit comfortably in ONE, QUART SIZE,clear plastic,zip-top bag".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

San Fran

The city by the bay. . . managed to leave with my heart in tact. Just had a fun weekend in SF. Tickets to Giants game, sitting next to the dugout. I must say that the new ball park location has certainly improved the clientele, ambiance, everything! No fights in the stands that was typical with Candlestick. I will make an effort to be a fan now.

The highlight of the weekend was hitting the Tut exhibit at the de Young museum. The above "coffinette" was for the majesty's "viscera", which in a layman's term pretty much means the intestines. It is hard to imagine this organ would be sacred and could be preserved for 3200 years.
Gives a whole new dimension to "ass hole".

Such diversity. . . took 4 different taxi's and the drivers were from 4 different country's. The driver with the worst English, had lived here for 25 years! Guess it works for him. Only in America.

I was blown away by the fancy public toilet. I thought it was a visitor information booth at first.

After a weekend of noise pollution and crowds, my little brush Okie palace in the country was very welcome. But I am already planning my next excursion to the bay!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I had no idea that I would get so much enjoyment from these sunflowers in my garden. They spend the day bowing to the sun. The mantis found it was a good place to "catch" lunch.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do. --Helen Keller--

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Love the sound of 9-9-9. In England it is their universal emergency number. 09-09-09 is believed to be particularly lucky by many. It represents the last set of repeating, single-digit dates that we'll see in this century. A day to get dressed to the nines! I could go on.

Something unusual was destined to happen and sure enough, our power went out in the evening. My son asked if I wanted to play monopoly and so we did. By candle light. A rare event, that I can interact and play a board game with my teenager. No tv, no computer. A rather enjoyable evening on an eventful day 09-09-09.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Labor Day is a holiday celebrated here in the US as
a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of this country. However, traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer and to the relief of many parents, the beginning of the school year. A day where we rest from all our labors and barbecue and enjoy other outdoor activities. Growing up, proper etiquette dictated that you did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, after Labor Day. My mom put all things white away until Memorial Day. It would be a major faux pas if you were to be caught wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Fortunately, this custom has pretty much died out, but it still crosses my mind when I put on white shoes or pants between Labor Day and Memorial Day that I might get pulled over by the Emily Post Proper Etiquette Police.

Today, we took a drive through Lodi and discovered that it truly was "LABOR DAY" in the vineyards as there were plenty of laborers harvesting the grapes. Busiest time of the year for wineries.

We appreciate all those who labor to make this country a better place to live. And I especially appreciate having a day off to relax and "rest from labor" and look forward to the kids being in school.

Friday, August 28, 2009


It's cloud illusions I recall. . . just like life. . .lots of illusions.
Ive looked at life from both sides now--upside down, sideways, top, bottom. I think that is more than 2 sides!
From win and lose--I win some and lose some but if I worry about the failures, and keep banging my head against the wall, I will end up with a headache.
I really don't know life at all--every time I think I have life figured out, I get thrown a curve ball. Just trying to keep my balance from one moment to the next can, at times, take a great deal of effort.
Well, somethings lost, but somethings gained in living every day. It's one day at a time for me.

Friday, August 14, 2009


School will be starting soon and it won't be long before you will be seeing all those bumper stickers--"PROUD PARENT OF HONOR STUDENT" or "MY CHILD IS AN HONOR STUDENT". Yada,Yada,Yada.

Maybe I will add a bumper sticker to my car. You can vote for which one I should use in comments! I probably will cut off the student part so it just says "DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY".