Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good Bye To January ..... With A Fond Farewell!

So Long Dear Friend January!
Today I am in San Francisco saying good bye to January. My original plans were to fly up mid January and do some painting for our youngest daughter Barbara. Barbara planned to have an office unit built in the space where she has her computer and etc. Barbara changed plans last weekend and now we would plan for the second of February and I would fly up on the weekend. That was the plan last weekend!.
***
Wednesday with many tasks before me, I received a call that Barbara could get her business unit installed Thursday and could I fly up to be present with workers in the house and also to make any decisions that might need to be made. She also said that there was a flight at 4 o'clock and could I make that. I related I had a three o'clock appointment for a permanent and at the moment I looked like the wreck of the Hespars so I really needed to keep the appointment. Barbara said if I could make a seven o'clock flight that would also work. My suitcase needed to be packed, I had to get thing around for my husband to eat while I would be gone and the permanent. I was using a new hairdresser as my favorite gal was off following surgery.
***
The beautician turned out to be quite a talker and would stop rolling my hair and turn to me and talk. I think she saw that it was stressing me. After a while I would look at my watch when she did this. She would say don't worry I will get you out on time. As soon as the rods were removed from my hair, my hair was rinsed and towel dried, I asked the stylist to just apply the styling lotion and I could finish things at home.
***
I drove home as quickly as possible. I was going to hopefully make the seven o'clock flight. I put things together hoping not to forget anything I might need while I was gone. At 5:40 p.m. I was ready to join the rush hour travelers on Interstate 15 attempting to make it to the airport. About one and one half miles from home, I stopped for a traffic light. The light changed and a brief noise was heard, the engine began to race and the transmission was gone. What a bummer!
***
The benefit of having a daughter living nearby is you can call on them. We called Anne and asked if she could drive me to the airport while Don took care of getting my van towed. Anne had two sick girls at home with a Dr.'s appointment at 8 p.m., but yes she would drive me. I arrived at the ticket counter at 6:58 p.m. I said to the ticket agent, I think I missed the seven o'clock flight. The ticket agent replied, that flight was cancelled. The agent said the next flight was 8:40. p.m. which I made. I finally arrived at the San Jose airport at 10:00 p.m. and with road repair delaying traffic we arrived at Barbara's at 12:10 a.m. Since we had installers here most of the day Thursday, I was without the Internet. It is amazing how dependent we get with conveniences that fifteen years ago were not in our life. Oops I have a call on my cell phone. It is my husband!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday "Sweet Sixteen" .....


Happy Birthday "Sweet Sixteen"
***
Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen - by Neil Sedaka
Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la, Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la, Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
Tonight's the night I've waited for.
Because you're not a baby anymore.
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen,.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
What happened to that funny face.
My little tomboy now wears satins and lace.
I can't believe my eyes you're just a teenage dream.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
When you were only six I was your big brother.
Then when a you were ten we didn't like each other.
When you were thirteen You was a funny valentine.
But since you've grown up Your future is sewn up.
From now on you're gonna be mine, so.
If I should smile with sweet surprise.
It's just that you've grown up before my very eyes.
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
REPEAT LAST VERSE.
Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
FADE: Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la.
Happy birthday sweet sixteen.
***
Happy Birthday Katie!
Grandma tried to get hi-tech with the music and lyrics, but it didn't work so I just copied and pasted the lyrics from the olden days when grandma was a youngster!!! I hope you have a memorable day and being sixteen is great fun. You will always remember turning 16 because that seems to elevate our minds to being grown up! We love you Katie! Katie is our oldest grandchild and missed her dad's birthday by one day. That is okay Katie because Grandpa Donnie did the same thing!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Thomas! And Many More!!!



Thomas Celebrates A Birthday!
Our son Tom celebrates another birthday with many blessings. I have posted photos that will bring to mind for you some of the happiest times of your life. Growing up as "favorite brother" to your three sisters and "number one son" dubbed by your dad and referred to by your dad as "his idol", your fan club continued to grow. Today you are "best dad" to Katie, Jacob, and Phil and loving husband of Susan and not to mention Uncle T. T. May your blessings continue to increase and reign! Happy Birthday Tom.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lentil Soup ..... A Comfort Food For A Rainy Day!


Lentil Soup, Comfort Food For A Rainy Day
The top photo shows the rain in the canyon and this is our rainy season. I decided to make a pot of Lentil soup for a rainy day. Legumes are such a necessary part of the diet and so rich in vitamins and minerals especially Niacin. I do not have an exact recipe for the soup just adding what I like and season it according to taste. I will offer my method.
Ingredients:
Smoked pork hocks, boiled and lean meat removed
lentils
olive oil
onion, diced
carrots, diced
parsnips, diced
salt and pepper
Directions:
Place hocks in a pan and cover with water, boil until tender. Remove from water to cool; remove meat and dice. I remove as much as possible from the bone and use the scraped bone added to the water when I cook the soup. The imparted flavor of the smoked bone give the soup a wonderful but not overpowering flavor.
***
In a soup pot, add olive oil and diced onion and saute the onion just until transparent and stirring often to prevent browning. Add the lentils which you have picked over and cover with water. When the water starts to boil, reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add the vegetables and salt and pepper. Watch closely as the lentils and vegetables will cook in about the same amount of time, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Blizzard of 1978 ..... And What Was Life Back Then!


Click On Photos To Enhance
The Blizzard of 1978
A memory that lives fresh in our experiences thirty years later is the Blizzard of January 27, 1978. The weather announcers had forcast the storm. Don was out of town supervising the operations of nine financial institutions at the time. He left early to drive a distance home that afternoon. I remember hearing the wind howl in a fashion that only a blizzard can bring. The next morning we awoke to about 4 feet of snow in our driveway. Our front walk which was sheltered had about three feet of snow. School was closed for a week. Electricity was off for two days at our house.
***
The top left picture is our home. The picture to the right is the office of our Dr.'s and there were no patients seen that day!
***
So what went on in our lives in 1978. Top left photo is Mary as a majorette. (I hear you Mary, pleeazz!) To the right are the four children on the first day of school. Middle photo to the left is Tom on the Jr. High Football Team. On the right is Anne with her doubles partner Martha Moll who set a school record in girls tennis for Most Wins and pictured with Coach Lynn Garlough. Bottom row is Barbara with her award winning 4-H outfit and last is Barbara graduating from 6Th Grade at St. Francis School pictured with Grandma and Grandpa Myers.
***
Children, I want you to know since you do not post comments on the blog, I thought I would go through the photo albums and make selections that would solicit a posted comment by all four of you!!!! Signed, Your mother!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Four Years As Homeowner ..... Life Is Good


Four Years As CA Homeowner
Four years ago today we made the offer to purchase our home in the neighborhood of Marbella in the retirement community of Oaks North of Rancho Bernardo in San Diego, CA.. It was a big step for us having lived in our previous community forty years. We could walk down the streets and greet most people by name. Don managed a Savings and Loan and I was a nurse in our local hospital. It was an ideal city to raise a family. The schools produced achieving scholars, the churches led the community with great direction, the medical staff knew and cared for the patients with a personal interest. Life was good!
***
Since moving to beautiful Marbella we have learned to know many of our neighbors. We initiated efforts to get to know the residents of our street and also that they could become acquainted with others. It amazed us that people who had lived here since the development in 1989 didn't know the people who lived a couple of homes down the street. I enlisted the help of several women on the street and together we organized a block party on the greenbelt. There are a total of thirty six homes on our street.The block party had a great turnout and everyone agreed we should do it again. That was the beginning of something wonderful. We now know most of the residents and can address them by name. Many other residents have also become acquainted with others previously unknown. It also gives us the privelege of knowing who lives in our neighborhood as a safety factor.
***
We have to also mention that just a short distance away our daughter Anne and family live. Anne and her husband Greg have developed a web based business called http://www.environmentallights.com/ Both Don and I help out from time to time when extra assistance is required to keep up with the orders. The bonus of living nearby is that we get to watch and participate in the activities of our grandchildren. Anne and Greg so graciously open their home to family activities allowing our family to all be together celebrating many different occasions. Our other two children and family living in northern California can travel easily to San Diego to make the celebrations happen!
***
Each morning when we rise and shine we just automatically say under sunshine, "just another beautiful day in Rancho Bernardo". We feel blessed to have the wonderful neighbors that we know on Calle Estepona. They have helped us tremendously bridging that gap of leaving life long friends and starting over again creating a new circle of friends. We do miss our friends from our former community but are convinced we made the correct decision to move closer to our family. Life is Good!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Orange Marmalade ..... Made In Just A Few Minutes In The Microwave!

Orange Marmalade
Mother Nature blesses southern California residents abundantly with fresh vegetables and fruit all year around. Almost everyone has a citrus tree tucked somewhere on the lot. On the side of our home is one tree that bears prolifically and has the sweetest oranges of the navel variety. A photo of the tree was posted on the blog December 28, 2007.
***
Yesterday one of the women from our neighborhood and I went to lunch. She shared that her next door neighbor made and brought her some wonderful orange marmalade. I love orange marmalade on a hot toasted baguette in the morning with coffee. I thought I will call Kate and ask for her recipe. Kate's reply was "why sure, but there is nothing to it"!
***
This recipe can be adjusted to make any amount. There is just one key factor. Measure the orange and sugar and the ratio should be equal in amounts. Also remember that any amount can be made. So here it is:
***
Ingredients:
1 cup oranges with juice and julienned rind
1 cup sugar
***
Directions:
Scrub oranges very well. With a vegetable peeler, remove outer orange rind; julienne and set aside. Remove orange segments only. Do not include segment membranes or pith. Measure in a microwaveable bowl the oranges with juice and julienned peel and measure that same amount of sugar, stir well to mix . Place the contents in the microwave and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking process. Do not overcook as this makes the marmalade tough or rubbery. It will thicken without any pectin. Cool and place in a jar and refrigerate.
***
As Kate says, "Nothing to it". Thank you Kate for sharing this simple but delicious recipe and Marilyn thank you for telling me about Kate's great recipe!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orange Biscuit Coffee Rolls ..... Tasty And Gooey Shared With A Cup Of Coffee

Orange Biscuit Coffee Rolls
Do you need a recipe for something quick or something the children can say they made? These are easy, quick, and soooo tasty. This will be a recipe you will make again and again.
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter
2 packages refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits each)
***
Directions:
Grease a 10 in tube pan.
***
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and orange peel, breaking up any orange peel clumps. In another bowl mix the orange juice and melted butter.
***
Separate biscuits. Dip each into the orange juice butter mixture. Then roll in the sugar/orange peel mixture.
***
In tube pan, arrange biscuits upright with flat side together. Pour remaining orange juice/ butter mixture over biscuits. Bake in a 375 oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 minute. Invert pan on a serving plate. Remove the pan. Cool for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm. Garnish with orange peel and herbs, if you like. Serves 10 (2 biscuits 240 calories)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What A Deal! ..... The Logic Of A Bargain!


The Logic Of A Bargain!
***
I shop at a grocery store near our home and have found a favorite cashier. Andrea just exudes with enthusiasm. She also is still a Midwesterner at heart having moved from Wisconsin to California. When I purchase a product she hasn't ever used or is looking for a new way to use, she will ask what are my plans for that product.
***
Sunday morning after church we stopped by the grocery store for an item I needed. Andrea said to me, hey check out the bargain grocery cart! English walnuts instead of being $7.00 are just $1.00 for a 2 lb. bag. A $6.00 savings just popped into my mind. I checked the stale date on the label and it was "Best by Oct. 4 '09". I knew I could use them by that date and if kept in the freezer their freshness would be preserved. A voice from somewhere said take two bags and I obeyed!
***
When we arrived home I was excited to share my great deal. I showed Don the two bags of English walnuts. Don is my master of reality. Don said to me, "now you have to crack them". Truer words were never spoken! It took me 40 minutes to crack the nuts and 20 minutes to pick the walnut meats from the shells of the first bag. I weighed the shells and I had 19 oz. and 12 oz. of walnut meats. I am sure I picked up from the floor one ounce of shells that flew in different directions when hit by the hammer. So that makes the cost of walnut meats $1.33 per pound if 12 oz. are a $1.00. Subtracting the $1.33 from the original cost of $7.00 I saved $5.67. Minimum Wage is $7.25 per hour. What A Deal!!!!

The Logic Of A Bargain!
***
I shop at a grocery store near our home and have found a favorite cashier. Andrea just exudes with enthusiasm. She also is still a Midwesterner at heart having moved from Wisconsin to California. When I purchase a product she hasn't ever used or is looking for a new way to use, she will ask what are my plans for that product. 
***
Sunday morning after church we stopped by the grocery store for an item I needed. Andrea said to me, hey check out the bargain grocery cart! English walnuts instead of being $7.00 are just $1.00 for a 2 lb. bag. A $6.00 savings just popped into my mind. I checked the stale date on the label and it was "Best by Oct. 4 '09". I knew I could use them by that date and if kept in the freezer their freshness would be preserved. A voice from somewhere said take two bags and I obeyed!
***
When we arrived home I was excited to share my great deal. I showed Don the two bags of English walnuts. Don is my master of reality. Don said to me, "now you have to crack them". Truer words were never spoken! It took me 40 minutes to crack the nuts and 20 minutes to pick the walnut meats from the shells of the first bag. I weighed the shells and I had 19 oz. and 12 oz. of walnut meats. I am sure I picked up from the floor one ounce of shells that flew in different directions when hit by the hammer. So that makes the cost of walnut meats $1.33 per pound if 12 oz. are a $1.00. Subtracting the $1.33 from the original cost of $7.00 I saved $5.67. Minimum Wage is $7.25 per hour. What A Deal!!!! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A School Holiday ..... Meet Olivia!


MLK, Thank You For The Day Off From School!
Monday morning, while mentally organizing my day, the telephone rang. It was a special request. Grandma, would you take Olivia selling Girl Scout Cookies? Since we live in a 55+ community we know any residents could only be former Girl Scouts. The granddaughters feel the area is their dedicated territory because their grandpa and grandma live there. There also are residents who request that the girls stop by when selling the cookies or when the schools are selling fund raiser items. At 10:30 a.m. Olivia arrived at grandma's with her older sister Veronica for a second day of the annual Girl Scout cookie sale.
***
This is the third year we have taken the girls through our development to help them achieve their goal with the number of boxes they pledged to sell. Last year we had some humor involved. The three girls were selling cookies. My husband and I were enlisted to go with the girls. Charlotte chose to sell with grandma and Olivia and Veronica chose to go with grandpa. Just a short distance down the first street the girl compared sales. Charlotte had thirty boxes ordered and the team of Veronica and Olivia had orders for six boxes. Olivia who is grandpa's sidekick told grandpa "he was bad luck" and she wanted to go with grandma. We switched teams and the bad luck followed. Soon Olivia sat down at the edge of someones landscaping and started to cry. That was when her mother appeared. "Livie" was soothed but she said she was done selling cookies! That was 2007!
***
Yesterday was a bell ringer! We went through the development to finish the sales we started on Saturday. Olivia had a total on her list of 108 boxes which 82 were from Rancho Bernardo sales. Olivia was psyched!!! Olivia had three people in her neighborhood who have asked her to stop by for their order and I was told she knows that she will have more sales. I reminded Olivia that all of the sales will have to be delivered but that is off in the far distance in the mind of an 8 year old. Olivia enthusiastically replied, "now I have won a T-shirt prize". The T-shirt is a prize that advertises the cookie sale given by the cookie company to promote higher sales.
***
We came back to grandma's house because Olivia needed lunch. She ordered a panini and mentioned to grandma that she wanted a hot sandwich! The order was filled and so was Olivia! As soon as Olivia had finished lunch she said to grandma, "how about a game of Rummykube". Grandma tells the grandchildren that she is the World-City Champ at the game of Rummykube just to get them to challenge her title. I love to play Rummykube. We sat down at the table and played two games. I had to admit defeat to our eight year old granddaughter with both games. Olivia looked up and said to grandma, "now grandma, what is your title?" I admitted "biggest looser" which put a grin ear to ear! Everyone should have an Olivia in their life! Grandchildren are priceless.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Basic Marinara Sauce ..... A Great Recipe For Those Who Like To Cook A Quantity And Have Some For The Freezer.

Basic Marinara Sauce
The recipe I am posting today was sent to me by a classmate of my husband. I have to do a little bragging now. My husband graduated with a class of twenty-nine students. They get together every year and it is such a fun time. The spouses enjoy it as much as the classmates. They hug each other, shake hands with a pat at the shoulder and at the end of the evening, they know everyone will be looking forward to the next gathering. What a special group of people. Thank you JoAnn for sending this recipe.
***
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 cups fat free less sodium chicken broth
3 (28 ounce) cans no salt added crushed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
***
Directions:
Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for four minutes stirring often. Add sugar ans the next seven ingredients, cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar and cook one more minute. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a simmer and cook over low heat 55 minutes or until sauce thickens. Yield: 12 cups sauce
***
JoAnn says this sauce freezes very well. Place sauce in serving sized containers. Will keep well up to four months in freezer. Using zip lock bags to freeze sauce offers ease in thawing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A True Daily Double ..... Three Wise Women!


A True Daily Double
I received this photo today of our granddaughter Anna (in the aqua and yellow) who lives in Milano, Italy. She is preparing for her First Communion with weekly classes learning the history of our Catholic faith. On January 6, the Feast of The Epiphany, three wise women were chosen. If the wise men were known as the Three Kings Of The Orient, I will call these little ladies "queens". The Three Wise Women employed the Gospel of the day and with the assistance of their instructor presented it with dramatization. Anna carried a crown symbolizing the gifts of gold.
***
We all have received the email that if the three wise men had been women they would have asked for directions, carried casseroles, and been on time for the birth. I can assure anyone that with Anna's organizational skills, the trio would have been present on December 25.
***
Anna, grandma wishes she could have seen you preform as I am sure you did everything correct and looked royal in your garb! The true daily double is from grandma's favorite show Jeopardy and also the fact that I posted twice today on my blog. I couldn't wait to post your photo!!! Thank you cutie!


Pasta With Hashed Brussels Sprouts And Pine Nuts .....




Pasta With Hashed Brussels Sprouts And Pine Nuts
Last week I bought a two pound bag of Brussels Sprouts at the local Costco store. Do you realize how many Brussels Sprouts are in a two pound bag? And God forbid, should I waste anything! I have made the recipe twice Karen shared from her Christmas Dinner which I posted December 25 '07. It is simply delicious. Then I had Rose and Ed in for dinner on Tuesday night and made the recipe again. I look at how many of those little sprouts I have left and hope this recipe finishes the bag. That is a purchase I wont make again in a two pound bag! This recipe is from the November 2007 edition of Gourmet Magazine.
***
Ingredients:
3/4 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 lb. dried pasta, preferably fettuccine or another long noodle
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
***
Directions:
In a food processor fitted with a slicing disk, slice the Brussels Sprouts in a fine hash. Set aside.
***
Place a large pot of water over high heat. When it boils add salt.
***
While the water is heating, prepare the pine nuts. Place in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the pan is warm, add the pine nuts and shaking the pan frequently, toast until golden and fragrant. (Careful as they burn easily.) Transfer to a small bowl or plate, and set aside. Set the pan aside as well, but do not wash it: you ill use it again in a minute.
***
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
***
While the pasta cooks, prepare the Brussels Sprouts. Return the skillet to the stove, and place over medium high heat. You want to get it quit hot. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted (and it is okay if it browns a little) add the Brussels Sprouts and salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until bright green just tender, about 4 minutes.
***
If the pasta is ready at this point, drain it reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water, and add it to the skillet with the cooked Brussels Sprouts. Alternatively, if the pasta is not ready yet, transfer the sprouts to a large bowl. (You don't want them to sit in a hot pan too long.) Either way, when the pasta is ready, toss it with the sprouts. Add the pine nuts and cream, and toss again. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add a splash or two of cooking water.
***
Serve immediately, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and additional salt at the table. Serves 4

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jicama Salad


A.F.C. Title Game Party
The neighborhood is all a buzz about the San Diego Chargers making it to the A.F.C. Title Game and celebrating with a party! I caught a portion of our local news Friday morning with a chef from one of the more notable restaurants in San Diego. He offered suggestions for a party which allows the host time out of the kitchen to watch the game. Although he didn't offer names for his recipes, I won't label them with a name.
***
Marinated Salad
Ingredients:
jicama, peeled, sliced thin and cut into strips
fresh pineapple, cut in cubes
red, yellow, green bell pepper, cut in strips
red onion, sliced thin
Asian vinaigrette dressing, (commercial bottled dressing)
***
Directions:
Mix the ingredients in a glass bowl and lightly dress the salad. Refrigerate over night or 12 hours before serving. Lightly dress was stressed as the marinating time allows the flavors of the dressing to be absorbed.
***
Mini Pizzas
Ingredients:
Pita bread
cheese
toppings of your offerings
***
Directions:
Choose to either make the pizzas for your guests or make it a self serve bar. The chef used an electric skillet at a lower setting to heat the pita breads and the toppings and melting the cheese. Watch the bread that it doesn't burn on the bottom or use the oven to heat the pizzas.
***
Chicken Breasts On Skewers
Ingredients:
Precooked chicken breast strips
bamboo skewers
Thai peanut sauce
***
Directions:
The chef used the bag of Tyson precooked chicken breasts, cut into strips and threaded on a skewer. Thread in and out twice to keep it on the skewer while the person is eating. (once will cause it to flop off the skewer after the first or second bite.) Place a small amount of the peanut sauce in a non stick skillet and over a low flame, add the chicken breasts. Allow them to appear that you spent time grilling and working hard for the party!
***
Spinach Artichoke Dip
While the chef gave no recipe for the spinach artichoke dip, he told what ingredients to "throw" together. If you scroll to the '07 and click on the left below my profile, then continue to scroll the recipes to June 14, '07, I have posted a simple but delicious recipe of the dip. It also can be made in advance and microwaved to be reheated. A word of caution .... reheat, don't cook.
***
Go Chargers!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies ..... Day Seven Of Seven Days Of Brownies!

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
These decadent treats can be served with simply a dusting of confectioners sugar, or topped with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled with berry or chocolate sauce for a more elaborate dessert. The quality of chocolate makes a big difference in the final flavor so look for a high quality chocolate with cocoa liquor, cocoa mass, or unsweetened chocolate listed in the first ingredient list. It will be worth it.
***
Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in cubes
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tablespoon vanilla essence
4 eggs
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
***
Line a 13 x 9 metal baking pan with foil allowing the excess to overhang the edges. Lightly grease the foil.
***
Melt butter and chocolate in a deep saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until well blended. Stir n flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula just until blended. Stir in pecans, if using. Pour into prepared pan, spreading batter into corners.
***
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until just a few moist crumbs cling to a tester inserted into the center. Do not over-bake. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove foil from pan and transfer to cutting board. Serve immediately or wrap completely in foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. To freeze wrap in plastic wrap, hen in foil or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 16 to 24 brownies.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pecan Pie Brownies ..... Day Six Of Seven Days Of Brownies

Pecan Pie Brownies
Who doesn't love Pecan Pie and now Pecan Pie Brownies! Forget the diet and enjoy!
Ingredients:
1 recipe Basic Brownies (posted January 16)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
***
Directions:
Prepare Basic Brownies as directed (posted January 16), sprinkling pecans over batter just before placing pan in oven. Bake and cool as directed.
***
Bring brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat an cool until barely warm, about 10 minutes. Pour caramel mixture over brownies and spread evenly with a spatula. Refrigerate until topping firms up, about 40 minutes. Cut brownies as directed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Basic Brownies .... Day Five of Seven Days Of Brownies.

Basic Brownies
Today I am posting the Basic Brownie recipe which also is a part of the posting of tomorrow, Pecan Pie Brownies.
Ingredients:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 ounces butter (1 stick) cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
***
Directions:
Adjust oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" baking dish with foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
***
Melt chocolate and butter in small bowl in microwave or in heat proof bowl set over pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally to combine. Cool mixture for several minutes.
***
Whisk sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla together in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in flour until no streaks of flour remain. Scrape batter evenly into prepared pan.
***
Bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center of pan comes out clean, 22 to 27 minutes. Cool brownies on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Using foil, lift brownies from pan to cutting board. Slide foil out from under brownies and cut brownies in 2" squares. (Brownies can be stored in an airtight container for several days.)
*****
Watch tomorrow for Pecan Pie Brownies!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tom's Friend's Brownies ..... Day Four Of Seven Days Of Brownies. This Tom is an unknown to me.

Tom's Friend's Brownies
A humorous note added to this recipe is: 2 to 12 servings, depending on how generous you are with your chocolate.
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the nuts)
1/2 cup chopped nuts or to taste
1/2 cup chocolate chips
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together well. Add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, then add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into an 8" X 8" baking dish. Bake 35 to 45 minutes. The longer you bake the more they are cake like. Less time produces a fudgy-chewy brownie.

Monday, January 14, 2008

We Interrupt The Posting Of Day Four Of Brownies For This Newsbreaking Event ..... Frances Has A Birthday!

Click on photo to enlarge.
Frances Has Another Birthday
I have posted a portrait taken in December 1960. This is my family. If you are wondering what was the occasion, we made the headlines! A newspaper and I am thinking it was the Toledo Blade called a local photographer at Bateham Studio and asked them to contact the family that just celebrated the birth of their 14Th child and organize a family photo. Mother received the clippings from friends and family afar as the news appeared in their local paper and they now personally knew someone in the news.
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Well that celebrated occasion evened the score for my parents with now seven boys and seven girls. As one sister jokingly said, if you work at it long enough you will eventually get it right! My mother always loved being around a baby and it was a sincere joy. My grandmother who was a farm wife had told a cousin's wife upon the birth of their first child that she was the happiest when she was expecting a baby. So mother learned from the best.
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I remember when we were flying to Italy one year for the Christmas holiday and we stopped by the Nursing Home where mother spent her last two and one-half years to say good-bye. When I told her that we were on our way to the airport as we were going to celebrate Christmas with our daughter Mary and her family, she so spontaneously said, oh!, won't you have fun! You could almost hear the envy in her voice.
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Tomorrow we celebrate our #1 sister's birthday. If I call her my oldest sister that might have a bad connotation! Especially since she is now a blond and I have silver hair!!!
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The order in the portrait and the birthdays just in case this is a test and also the nickname. (Everyone had to have a nickname! )
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Standing left to right: James "Jim" August 8
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Mary Ann "Maggie" February 19
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Sharon "Shag" July 1
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Robert "Nort" December 14 Our family joker!
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Ruth "Henry" March 3 Henry the comic character had no hair and Ruth was bald until about year one.
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Frances "Sicky" January 15 Frances couldn't say her name as a young child and pronounced it as Sicky thus it was what she responded to all of her life!
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Seated: Donna "Butch" December 13 Please don't tell anyone. My husband hates that name.
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Donald "Frock" December 6
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Michael "Farina and Friedley" March 6 (Kneeling)
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Thomas "Hoagie" February 5
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Dennis "Dan" January 14 (Kneeling)
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Marie "Tina" October 3
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Dad "Chief" July 14 ... R.I.P September 9, 1988
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Mother "Alice" September 1 with baby in arms ... R.I.P July 31, 2003
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Baby Eugene dubbed "Famous" until later and known as "Bon Geeto" November 13
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Helen "Lolly" June 14
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Every nickname had a story. My mother (Bernice) was called Alice. Do you remember the Jackie Gleason Show? Ralph was always promising Alice of brighter days ahead and "someday Alice". Alice always exhibited the symptoms of an overworked and tired woman on the show. Mother could have played that role with her tireless effort.
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The reaction of people in California when they learn I came from a large catholic family is interesting. One or two children is the "norm" here. Most comments are kind but for the few others it automatically exposes a level of intelligence or eloquence. My mother was a kind and loving mother who considered her children a blessing. My father owned a lumber business and provided for his family. Today most of my siblings still live in the area where we grew up but two of us have moved a distance away. Amazingly all fourteen are still alive. I am fourth in line and 67 years old so do your math! I'll never tell! Happy Birthday Frances for another great year!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alabama Chocolate Praline Jumbo Mud Squares ..... Day Three Of Seven Days Of Brownies!

Alabama Chocolate Praline Jumbo Mud Squares
Ingredients:
Crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
Caramel Layer:
1 (12ounce) jar purchased caramel-flavored topping
3 Tablespoons flour
Brownie Layer:
1 box your favorite brownie mix
Chocolate Frosting:
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
2 Tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons water
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
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Directions:
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients together and press into a 9 inch square pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly.
For the caramel layer:
Combine the caramel topping with the flour mixing well. Spread topping over crust to within 1/2 inch of pan. Set aside.
For the brownie layer:
Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on box for fudge-like brownies. Pour batter over crust and bake according to box instructions. Cool brownies on rack.
For frosting:
Combine butter or margarine, cocoa, and water in a small pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla. Spread over cooled brownies.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kate's Famous Brownies ..... Day Two Of Seven Days Of Brownies

Kate's Famous Brownies
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This is reported to be Katherine Hepburn's famous recipe.
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Ingredients:
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
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Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Quickly stir in walnuts, flour, and salt.
Spread batter in a well greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pan to rack to cool.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Leslie's Raspberry Brownies ..... Day One Of Seven Days Of Brownies

Leslie's Raspberry Brownies
Yesterday our neighbor brought us a taste of the brownies that he had baked earlier in the day. They were soooo good. They tasted like a bite of fudge. Naturally I had to ask for the recipe. I got that recipe and six other recipes. I was surprised to learn raspberry preserves are an ingredient. If you like brownies, these will be a hit!
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup red raspberry preserves
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Directions:
Butter a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk to blend. Stir in nuts.
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Pour 2 cups batter into pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread preserves over brownie batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter over preserves in pan. Let stand 20 minutes at room temperature to thaw bottom layer.
Bake brownies until tester inserted in center comes out clean, or about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Cut into squares. The number of servings depends on the size cut.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Raclette Fondue ..... Learn The Speciality Of The Locale Or Region And Give It A Try!

Raclette Fondue At Au Greni
Travel in Europe with daughter Mary can be an adventure in dining. She seems to know the specialities of each village and town. While we traveled in Cranes Switzerland, Mary searched the restaurant best known for Raclette Fondue. Sister Francella might be pleased to know that my one year of French as a sophmore in high school is still with me just enough to pick out enough words to get the jist of written word. I took a small business card from the restaurant which states they have a restaurant and terrace. The card states La terrasse: un cadre unique pour votre repas en plein air. The Terrace: A unique space for you to relax in fresh air.
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Raclette cheese is made in the Alps and is a type of what we know as Swiss cheese. It has a nutty flavor and is aged 3 to 4 months. It is creamier than Gruyere cheese. To serve Raclette Fondue requires constant attention of the server to the diners. Daughter Mary ordered the Chinoise Fondue, granddaughter Laura ordered the Raclette and Don and I ordered the Beef Bourguignonne. Granddaughter Anna had chicken fingers and french fries. Anna went American!
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In the top photo, you will notice at the left of the wood burning fireplace a cheese pot for melting the Raclette cheese. When you order, a sandwich sized plate is brought to your place with a scoop of the melted cheese. Another plate contains small potatoes, pearl onions, and Gherkin pickles. With a fork you take a potato and scoop through the cheese and eat the potato with cheese. Likewise with the pickles, and onions also. Your plate is carefully watched and as soon as you need it replenished another plate is brought to your place. Mr. Hendriksen the owner was so gracious. He immediately recognized us as Americans. He asked where we lived and immediately related to the places in San Diego they had visited a few years earlier. He quickly shared with his wife there were Americans dining in their restaurant. (I wondered if that was supposed to be the validation of a place of fine dining among restaurateurs.)
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Last year while visiting Barbara in San Francisco, we learned that Barbara had found a French cheese shop in her neighborhood. Barbara had ordered a Raclette machine on-line. We had a Raclette party at her home which was a taste treat reminiscent of our trip to Crans.
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If you travel through the Alps and would like to stop by the Au Greni Restaurant-Terrasse, it is located at 3963 Crans-Montana (Mohn tah nah) tel. 027 481 24 43
Mention my name and the owner will say Pardoni moi (pardon me?)