Sunday, November 30, 2008

Post 491

Today Is Post 491
Today is post #491 to my blog. On December 10, I will have posted "500 posts" to my blog. To mark the occasion I am offering to any reader who signs the comment link between December 1 and December 10, a chance in a drawing of something I will purchase during my Christmas trip to Italy. I will require a name somewhere if you sign as anonymous as I will need to contact you if you are the winner. I will also blog what you have won. I will have granddaughter Anna in Italy do the drawing.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Days Of Blessings

Days Of Blessings
Thanksgiving is traditionally the day we gather as a family at our daughter Anne and husband Greg's home for the annual Thanksgiving feast. Each year we have the usual comfort foods and no changes to the menu seem to happen. Our wedding anniversary was celebrated on Friday and lucky for us we had three of our four children with us to mark this memorable occasion. We met at Old Town for dinner and then said good-bye to Barbara who had a Friday evening flight to return home.
We received a card from the family with everyone signing it. The grandchildren were asked to sign the card with their wish. We thought it was so special I wanted to share what the grandchildren wrote.
Katie, age 16 "Happy Anniversary"
Jacob, age 13 "Happy Anniversary"
Phil, age 12 "Phil"
Veronica, age 12 "Happy Anniversary, I love you"
Charlotte, age 10 "Happy Anniversary! You guys deserve it all"
Olivia, age 9 "Happy Anniversary, Hope all goes well".
Moments like this are very special!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sandstone Cliffs Of Torrey Pines State Reserve

click on photos to enlarge detail.
These sandstone cliffs, according to a video shown in the Visitors Center, show the sea levels of millions of years ago. The weather and times have caused much erosion. In most areas the cliffs were at least 100 feet tall.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Torrey Pine

Each group of needles number five not the usual three. The Torrey Pine
Torrey Pine State Reserve is named for a rare Pine tree growing on the sea cliffs of the Torrey Pine State Park. These trees suffer persistent drought with roots growing in poor soil. These trees are blasted by storms and cooked by the sun and has a thick but scalier bark. It offers sparse shade. The strobili takes three years to produce a pine cone which then requires 2 to 3 years and up to 10 years to fall. This tree grows only in two places in California and that is along the Coast of San Diego in the LaJolla area and Santa Rosa Island.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Torrey Pines State Park

We walked about 4 miles on the beach. The girls climbed on the sandstone cliffs We met two girls designing a moat for their castle. This little guy was playing ball. Just another walker.
School is in recess for the week due to Thanksgiving. We had two granddaughters visiting for the day. It was decided to pack a picnic lunch and go to the beach. We were not the only people to make that decision. My pedometer said we walked about four miles. The girls thought we walked eight miles. Tomorrow I will blog the pines and Friday more of this beautiful beach and the sandstone cliffs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Panini Potatoes

Panini Potatoes
Sunday while completing several tasks and trying to prepare lunch at the same time, I thought I would experiment with my panini maker and try roasting, or is it frying, potatoes. I sprayed the grill with vegetable spray and sliced the potatoes about 1/4" thick. I seasoned the potatoes and let them cook on a medium setting. It took about 12 minutes. We were quite surprised with the flavor. It was like a french fried potatoe minus the deep fat cooking oil.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nikki's Sweet Potatoes

Nikki's Sweet Potatoes

I received this recipe by email from Heidi Swanson. I thought it sounded too good not to pass on for your holiday menu consideration. You can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.
2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish. Wrap each sweet potato in foil, pierce numerous times with the tines of a fork and place in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. In a large bowl mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If my sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, l take a hand blender to them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts. Serves about

Saturday, November 22, 2008


We all have read how the white man took the land from the Indians and gave them land called "Reservations". This is part of the land in California granted to the Indians where they could live, fish, hunt, plant corn and enjoy what they had in the wilderness. I understand why they took up gambling and now operate casinos. My husband says someday they will buy the country back with the profits. San Diego County is home to eight large Indian Casinos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kimono As Art

The San Diego Museum of Art Illustration Showing The Continuity Of Itchiku Kobota's Panoramic Design
click on photos for detail
Intricate Detail of Mt Fugi Embellishment On Kimono

The San Diego Museum Of Art is currently exhibiting the art of Itchiku Kubota through the courtesy of The Timken Foundation. Itchiku chose to use silk kimonos as the canvas of his art. Two separate exhibits were used to include the vast number of kimonos. One exhibit was in The Timken Museum with the main exhibit in The Museum of Art both at Balboa Park. In the main exhibit hall of the Museum Of Art, twenty-seven kimonos were hung side by side filling the room. The panoramic display began on the left wall with a summer scene of Mt Fugi. The Kimonos progressed until finally ending with a kimono titled "Silver" which was a total snow scene. The detail of one kimono lined up with the correct angle and color of the next moving into the next scene. The intricate stitches used to texture the fabric, the dyes used to enhance or create detail while controlling and containing color, the strokes he painted to develop his design kept one enveloped studying his artistic mind. Notice the details in the mountain and the hills. This is an exhibit I wish everyone could see as it was beyond ease in describing.
I tried an silk dying class once. Notice, once. Silk absorbs dye and it runs until the dye can spread no more. How Itchiku controlled his dyes with resist was a fete in itself. Just a magnificent exhibit!
If you google you can read the interesting biography of this artist and see many more photos of the actual exhibit. These photos are from a publication.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Green Themes

Use Solar Clothes Drying When Possible and Wash Full Loads. Recycle Household Waste Adjust The Thermostat And Wear A Sweater. Use Window Shades Instead Of Air Conditioning. A Quote From William Jefferson Clinton Our 42ND President
"It makes no sense for us to debate whether or not the earth is warming at an alarming rate and it doesn't make sense for us to sit back and wait for others to act. The fate of the planet our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands and it is our responsibility to do something about this crisis."
There were approximately fifty spheres displayed around the fountain and park walkway at San Diego's Balboa Park. Each sphere was created with a Green theme. The artists each used a clever way to develop their theme. These spheres suggested ways we can each help to preserve Mother Earth by reducing our carbon footprint.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Food For Tought

click on photo for artistic detail
San Diego Balboa Park
An article about a kimono exhibit at Balboa Park sparked my interest. I invited two other ladies for an outing. As soon as we entered the park we saw the display of spheres with a green theme. The globes were provided by Toyota . Artists developed the theme artistically with a contribution everyone could make to help preserve our environment. I thought this particular sphere "Food For Thought" was a very fitting photo for the first blogging. The artist's suggestion for a practice is that by eating one meatless day per week we could save much energy required for production of beef, pork, poultry and other meats. One-fifth global warming emissions comes from livestock production. That is more greenhouse gas than is released from all of the worlds transportation combined. I thought that was enlightening. It was suggested to have one day of legumes, beans or vegetable protein.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rancho Bernardo

Just Another Beautiful Day In Rancho Bernardo
High today 85 and low tonight 55 for good sleeping weather.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cornmeal Crunch

Cornmeal Crunch
I read a recent article that the American diet is Niacin deficient due to omitting whole grains in the diet. This recipe came from 101 Cookbooks which sends to my email weekly. Cornmeal is a winter comfort food of mine. Polenta which is a coarse ground cornmeal is common on restaurant menus in Europe and is served in place of potatoes.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
fine grain sea salt
4 cups yellow onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
3 cups water or vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400F. degrees with rack in the middle. Butter and flour one 9" square baking dish.
In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.
To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large thick bottomed skillet with a pinch or two of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally-more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or broth) to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back to a boil and stir until it is thicker than a heavy frosting-about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the side of the pan a bit. Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like)
Makes 16 pieces
You can easily make this vegan by omitting the cheese.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

San Francisco Sunday

Sidewalk Actors
Along the waterfront in San Francisco known as the embarcadero there is no shortage of people who paint us, dress up, display a skill and all for a donation. That is a folding donation. They want no donations that go clunk when it is dropped into their donation can and prefer no singletons. This mime strikes a pose until you give an offering and then he turns and bows to the donor. Who never heard, "a fool and his money are soon parted"?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Santa Ana Saturday

video video

Santa Ana Saturday
Today I am making my first attempt at blogging a video. The winds are blowing from the Northeast and the heat is coming in from the desert. This condition is known as a Santa Ana. The velocity is mild compared to how the winds usually blow but the wind is constant. It does not stop.
I thought I could show my friends in the Midwest how a Santa Ana appears and learn how to blog a video. I think I need more practice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Ladies of Calle Estepona

We welcomed and met our newest neighbor, Joyce (right) We were blessed with the company of former neighbor Evelyn and her loving daughter Kathy. The Ladies of Calle Estepona More of the Ladies of Calle Estepona As You See We Are Very Sociable!
The Ladies of Calle Estepona met at a restaurant for lunch Wednesday. We had two wonderful reasons (as if we need a reason). Our dear friend and former neighbor, Evelyn who now lives in assisted living will be going to visit with family in Kansas City for a couple of months. Evelyn is blessed with such a devoted and loving family. Her daughter Kathy also joined us and we felt privileged to have her company. Joyce in the top right photo is the fortunate new owner of Evelyn's former home. They have a bond. Joyce was so happy to be with her new neighbors again. We all had a rather brief introduction to Joyce and husband Bob at Bernie and Pat's open house two weeks ago. How lucky are we to live in this neighborhood!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise Sunset
Tuesday when I awoke, I looked over the canyon at such a magnificent sunrise. The Master did an equally beautiful job for the sunset. At the end of the day I was reminded of the song from "Fiddler On The Roof" with the words "sunrise, sunset." If the red sun at night is a sailors delight, tomorrow should be just another beautiful day in Rancho Bernardo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shades Of Autumn

Shades Of Autumn
Many believe we do not have color change in California with the Autumn season. While the majority of trees are not deciduous, it is easy to find a few Maple and Gum Trees that show beautiful color. Saturday these trees were brilliant with crimson leaves. Sunday it rained all day which we welcomed but many of the leaves fell.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Last week we were treated to an appetizer made by Uncle Bruce while he visited with our son-in-law and daughter and family. This was an interesting twist on sushi if you prefer not eating raw fish. The sushi contained carrots and celery cut into match stick pieces, avocado sliced thin, purple cabbage, and rinsed and well drained sauerkraut. The combination of vegetables was wrapped in the seaweed sheets cut into approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch strips. It was an interesting but tasty appetizer. When asked to guess what the mix was, it was hard to decide but the celery and carrots and purple cabbage were distinguishable because of their color.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Victorian Lady Salad Dressing

The Victorian Lady Bed and Breakfast
Located in the historic district of West Main Street in Norwalk Ohio is a meticulously restored beautiful Victorian home now serving as a Bed and Breakfast. We recently attended a 90TH birthday celebration for an uncle and enjoyed a delicious dinner served by the Hostess Patti and Inn Keeper Vickie. Owners Tim and Vickie Dauch spent several years restoring and furnishing the home to its original period creating such a relaxing atmosphere. The lost art of the intricate craftsmanship of the Victorian era is still so visible throughout the home. Click on the website to see the beautiful setting of this magnificent 3 story home and learn the complete history.
I am including a few photographs I took the evening we visited. Vickie very graciously offered her signature salad dressing recipe which I am sure you too will enjoy.
One Of The Five Suites Available Telephone 419-660-9860 175 West Main Street Norwalk, Ohio info@the The Square Piano Adjacent To The Parlor
Salad With The Signature Salad Dressing The Beautifully Appointed Dining Table
click on photos to enlarge
The Victorian Lady Signature Salad Dressing
1 bottle (16 oz) Marzetti Poppyseed Salad Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup "LaCreme" Vanilla or Strawberry yogurt
red food coloring
Place ingredients in blender and mix until well blended. ENJOY!
Thank you, Vickie.
Vickie gave me permission to share the salad dressing recipe which we were served and did enjoy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


For those familiar with Paperwhites can almost smell the fragrance filling our patio at this time. They are small but mighty with a wonderful fragrance!

Friday, November 7, 2008

LaCosta Resort and Spa

LaCosta Resort & Spa
Last evening we drove to Carlsbad for an opportunity to visit with our son who was attending a conference. In the entry of the lounge this beautiful arrangement on a table with the typical colors of the Fall season caught my attention. We like to remain at our summer residence long enough to witness the change of seasons. This year it happened much later than usual and of course we missed that spectacular show of color. I think this floral designer might have Midwest roots as the flowers and colors are so typical.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Aunt Catherine's Apple Cake
At the family reunion last summer, one of the raffle prizes was a framed copy of Aunt Catherine's Apple Cake recipe. My husband's generation was a very special group of grandchildren lavished with the love of a grandmother who taught them what it was to be loved. Today, they share that bond as cousins. The aunts were all such great cooks. The get-togethers at Grandma's farm were looked forward to with great appetites. Everyone knew each dish prepared was special and every aunt was recognized for her great talents. Today I am sharing the Apple Cake recipe which was one of Aunt Catherine's specialities and a favorite comfort food of daughter Cathy. Thank you Cathy for sharing.
3 eggs
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 or more cups apple chunks (cored but not peeled)
1/2 cup raisins and / or nuts
Cream the first three ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well and add the apples, raisins and / or nuts.
Bake in an ungreased rectangular pan at 375 degree oven for 35 to 4o minutes. The cake should be golden brown and with a clean toothpick test in the middle. After cooling the cake for a short time, Cathy makes a thin icing with:
1/2 cup powdered sugar,
1 or 2 teaspoons milk and
1/8 teaspoon lemon flavoring.
Cathy drizzles this over the top.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Olivia Turns Nine

Today granddaughter Olivia celebrated her ninth birthday with a family dinner. Happy Birthday Olivia, we love you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marinated London Broil

Marinated London Broil
Last evening we enjoyed dinner with our daughter Anne's family and house guest Uncle Bruce. I found a recipe for Marinated London Broil which was published in Cooking Light. I did not take the time to "slice and dice" the ingredients. I put the ingredients in my food processor and made a puree. The time for the marinating was extended to three hours with no effects of over-tenderizing the meat. The meat was grilled with the coating of marinade. It was agreed that it enhanced the flavor of the meat. Try this recipe the next time you want a marinade. This photo is taken with leftovers the following day.
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves
1 (2 pound) bonless round steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine first eight ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pierce steak with a fork. Add steak to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Scrape shallots and garlic from steak; discard garlic and shallots. Place steak on broiler pan coated with cooking spry. Sprinkle steak evenly with salt and pepper. Broil 4 inches from heat for 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Donna's method: Place the first 8 ingredients in a blender and puree. Place marinate in zip lock bag with meat and refrigerate, turning every 30 minutes. I marinated the meat three hours and had no over tenderizing effect with the meat, Remove meat from bag to grill. The marinade enhances the flavor to the meat.