Sunday, November 29, 2009

Memories For A Lifetime

The Cake Of The 50 Year Bride And Groom
Roses From Mary, Tom And Families The Cutting Of Our Cake The Hostesses Of The Party, Daughters Barbara On Left And Anne On Right With Host husband Greg (below) Our Wonderful Son-in-law Gregory Visiting With Phyllis And Bernie Barbara And Charlotte At The Piano Olivia Playing The Piano and Veronica On The Flute Phyllis, Bernie & Pat, "Griff", Don and Donna Jan, Donna, And Ruth
Bob And Maxine
Our 50Th wedding anniversary day didn't pass without a small celebration. We originally thought that since we were hosting our family on a cruise in December that would be an adequate celebration. Our daughters thought different.
Our neighbors Bernie & Pat belong to our church where Bernie serves as a deacon. Bernie arranged that we would repeat our vows at the five o'clock mass.
Following mass we gathered at our daughter and son-in-law, Greg and Anne's home with a small group of friends. Our granddaughters played the piano throughout the evening for entertainment. It was a beautiful gathering. Anne, Greg, and Barbara hosted the group. Daughter Mary and son Tom who could not be with us sent the bouquet of roses which made a beautiful centerpiece for the table. Nothing could have made a more beautiful memory of the occasion.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Is Our Special Day

November 28, 1959 November 28, 2009
Today Is Our Special Day!
Fifty years ago today we began our journey through life together. We will celebrate the day with family but our entire family will join with us on a seven day Mexican Riviera Cruise after Christmas. It has been fifty years with many blessings!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paper Whites In Bloom

Paper Whites In Bloom
One of my favorite flowers is the paper white.  In San Diego it blooms in late November and is just below my kitchen window with a fragrance filling my home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Greatful Thanksgiving

A Greatful Thanksgiving
Today was such a perfect day to be together with family. The weather was absolutely beautiful with a high of 87 degrees. I stayed behind to prepare our meal while the rest of the family did their traditional Thanksgiving seven mile hike. When they returned, the adults sat down to enjoy a tasty brunch prepared by our daughter Anne. The celebratory Thanksgiving meal was enjoyed toward the evening hours. Daughters Barbara and Anne and family were a part of our holiday this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Day At The Beach

A Day At The Beach
School is in recess this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Yesterday we took our granddaughters to the "Dog Beach" This is one of four public places for dogs to run unleashed. The dogs were just like little kids, so happy to see each other, and wanted the ball that the other dog was playing with. They were hilarious to watch! Our granddaughter's dog ran and ran almost to the point of exhaustion. I don't remember Charlie ever having so much fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

One blog I follow is "Cream Puffs In Venice" @". The blogger has a network of fellow bloggers who often colaborate on an effort which provides some interesting reading. This recipe was taken from King Arthur flour and found on her blog. Check her blog for some very interesting recipes.
Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies
Salt and sugar go together like coffee and cream — each brings the other to new heights. These butterscotch cookies are heavily laced with toasted pecans and butterscotch chips. Love salty/sweet? They're rolled in a mixture of sugar and salt before baking, which gives them over-the-top flavor. There are a few of options once you have the dough made. If you bake the cookies right away, you'll have a flatter, lighter-colored cookie. Refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours, the cookies will be flat, but not "puddley." Chill overnight, and the dough dries out, with some of the starch in the flour turning to sugar. The cookies will be darker, more "caramely," and won't spread nearly as much. Also, these cookies are a good candidate for the "tablespoon vs. teaspoon" scoop choice. A tablespoon cookie scoop (actually 4 level measuring teaspoons) will yield big, 3" cookies; a teaspoon scoop (1 3/4 level measuring teaspoons) will make smaller (2 1/4") cookies.


1 1/3 cups pecan halves
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon butterscotch, vanilla-butternut, or butter-rum flavor
1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
1 large egg
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/3 cups butterscotch chips
1/3 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, for topping*
*If you're making smaller (teaspoon cookie scoop-sized) cookies, increase the coating to 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar mixed with 1 3/4 to 2 teaspoons salt.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Place the pecans in a single layer in a pan, and toast till they've darkened a bit and smell toasty, about 8 to 9 minutes. Set them aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla, flavor, and vinegar, beating until smooth and creamy.

Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Mix in the flour, then the chips and toasted nuts.

If you're going to refrigerate the dough, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for about 4 to 5 hours; or overnight. Cookie dough refrigerated for 3 1/2 to 4 hours will spread moderately; chilled overnight, it will spread much less.

Mix the 1/3 cup sugar and salt for the coating, and put it in a bowl. To bake cookies immediately (without refrigeration), use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/2" balls of dough into the sugar/salt mixture, rolling to coat. Then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread quite a bit. Or use a teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes — 11 minutes for smaller cookies, 12 for larger ones. Their edges will be chestnut brown and their tops a lighter golden brown. (For dough that's been refrigerated, add 30 seconds to 1 minute to those baking times.) Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Yield: about 4 dozen 3" cookies, or 7 dozen 2 1/4" cookies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Overnight Honey-Wheat Rolls

Overnight Honey-Wheat Rolls
My daughter-in-law gave me a small recipe book published with recipes especially for Thanksgiving. I spent time checking the recipes choosing what I could incorporate into our holiday meal. What I liked about this recipe is that it could be made the day before, refrigerated, does not require kneading and does save time. Mix the dough the day prior and you are still able to bake just before serving. Nothing draws people to the kitchen like the aroma of yeast dough baking.
1 pkg. (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
2 egg whites
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Melted butter, optional
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add yeast mixture, honey, oil, salt, whole wheat flour, and remaining water. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough all purpose flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a well floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into nine balls. To form knots, roll each ball into a 10 inch rope; tie into a knot. Tuck ends under. Place rolls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 50 minutes. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter if desired.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
This tasty treat is low in carbs and has no trans fat. If pumpkin pie will not be on your holiday table, make it pumpkin bread.
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl beat together pumpkin sugar, oil, and yogurt.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cionnamon, and salt. Add to pumpkin mixture, stirring until moistened. Stir in raisins.
Pour into 2 greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Huntington Estate Finale

click on photo to enlarge
Huntington Estate FinaleAlign Center
The grounds of the Huntington Estate are so beautifully landscaped. I wanted to finish the week with a few photos of the beautiful grounds.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Huntington Chinese Garden

The Pagoda The Reflection Water of Flowing Fragrances
The Fresh Water Pavilion Tea House
Garden Of Flowing Fragrances
Liu Fang Yuan translated means the Garden of Flowing Fragrances. A Chinese Garden is often compared to a work of art; a scroll painting composed of carefully arranged scenes. As you stroll through its pathways and pavilions, new vistas are revealed as if the scroll were being slowly turned. In the garden as in the painting several elements play a key role. Carvings of bamboo, pine, and plum blossoms are used to adorn ceilings. In Chinese literature these plant represent unity in perseverance, courage, and endurance because they flourish in the cold season. The water represents the ever changing, the rocks create harmony in the garden, balancing the ying and yang.
The weathered limestone rocks from Lake Tai line the waters edge evoking the craggy mountains of the Chinese landscape painting. Water creates an added visual dimension to the garden by reflecting the changing mood of the light, sky, and the clouds. True to the authentic nature of a Chinese garden it respects the site on which it is built. Opened in 2007, the Garden Of Flowing Fragrance was built in the canyon north of the Japanese Garden. The area was the collecting point for water after a rainfall and deemed a perfect setting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Huntington Estate Gardens

The Huntington Gardens
The Gardens cover nine acres of a canyon.  The five room home  in the top photo is a copy of an upper class home.  The dining room is furnished with the typical pillows for seats on the floor at a low table appointed with a tea service and tableware.  The home is completed with typical furnishings throughout.  The Drum Bridge or Moon Bridge is a copy of an authentic pedestrian bridge.

The Dry Garden in the lower photo which is designed in gravel and used for meditation has a very serene setting.  Located in an area behind the Dry Garden is the collection of the Bonsai Trees.  The entire garden gives one the feeling of peace as everything is designed in balance and harmony.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Huntington Estate Rose Garden

The Entrance To The Rose Garden Tea In The Rose Garden Tea Room Tea In The The Rose Garden Tea Room
The Huntington Estate Rose Garden
One hundred thirty acres of the Huntington Estate is dedicated to botanical. The fifteen specialized gardens are arranged within a park-like landscape of rolling lawns. Among the most remarkable are the Desert Garden, a large outdoor grouping of mature cacti, the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, and the Rose Garden. The Camellia collection is the largest in the world. Other important botanical attractions include the Subtropical, Herb, and Palm gardens.
The Rose Garden shows the history of roses covering a 2000 year history of the Rose. The Rose Garden Tea Room which serves tea daily is a special treat for visitors.
Tomorrow I will feature the Japanese Garden

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Huntington Estate / Art Gallery

click on photos to enlarge
The Huntington Estate Art Gallery
Viewing the home of the Huntington's left me wondering where they went to be comfortable. The chairs in the formal living room were museum pieces of the French Provincial style covered with beautiful French tapestry . The living room lacked the cozy look. The dining room had a warmer feel as sunlight streamed through the tall windows. In 1934 a 2,900 square foot hall was added to the home to display the GG Grand Manner portraits. Now called "The Thornton Art Gallery" it is home to Gainsborough's Blueboy and Lawrence's Pinky. Interesting to me was the fact that when Henry Huntington bought "The Blue Boy" for over $700,000, it was the highest price ever paid for a work of art at that time. Pinky is the portrait of a young girl from Jamaica. The story is that she died shortly after the painting was completed. Blue Boy is a stunning work of a 12 year old lad posing in a velvet suit. The folds of the fabric are so exquisitely shaded and painted to appear with dimension.
Surprising to me was a view of the chapel. It was a very small room in an obscure area of the residence. The art glass windows were striking.
To heighten one's understanding and appreciation of the 51,000 pieces of Huntington art collection of which only 1200 objects are on display at any one time, free audio tours are available. Major pieces have a brief explaination.
Tomorrow I will post photos of the gardens.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Huntington Estate / Loggia

The Portico
One Of Two Brass Sculptures On The Terrace or Outdoor Living Room
The View Of The San Gabriel Mountains From The Terrace
The Outdoor Living Room
The Loggia
Click on photos to enlarge.
When planning his residence, Henry Huntington first envisioned a more modest retreat. Arabella Huntington, his uncle's widow whom he would marry in 1913 was looking for a scale similar to her own lavish residences. Ultimately the residence came to some 55,000 square feet, with the north facade reflecting her affinity for Paris and French architecture, and the south facade emerging Mediterranean style of the 20-century California.
The loggia on the east side of the house represents a concession by the architect. Archival documents show that Myron Hunt preferred a modest terrace on the east side: Henry Huntington envisioned a bolder, more spacious "outdoor living room."  Huntington ultimately prevailed.
The guests would arrive from the north side in a somewhat modest area where their luggage could be stowed with closets as needed.
Tomorrow I will post the photos from the interior of the Huntington Estate.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Huntington Library Treasure

The most viewed and one of the prized additions in the Huntington Library is the Gutenberg Bible in top photo. It is one of only eleven that remain of the bibles printed on vellum. If you look in the upper right corner of the photo of the bible you will see some of the enormous rows of shelving encircling the interior of the library holding many of the rare books and manuscripts collected by Mr. Huntington. Next to the Library of Congress, the Huntington Library remains the second most used library in the United States.
For qualified scholars. the Huntington Library is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its field of specialization. For the general public the library has some of the finest rare books and manuscripts of Anglo-American civilization. Altogether there are about four million items. Among the treasures for research and exhibition are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audobon's Birds of America and an unsurpassed collection of the early editions of Shakespear's works.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library
The Huntington Estate probably best known to most people as "The Huntington Library" is one of the nation's great cultural and education centers. Founded by Henry E. Huntington who built a financial empire that included railroad companies and real estate holdings in Southern California. Mr. Huntington was more than a businessman. He was a man of vision-interested in books, art, and gardens. The different parts are tied together by a devotion to research, education, and beauty.
I have included a photo of the library buillding which holds the many volumes that Mr. Huntington moved from New York to California requiring twenty-two box cars to transport. The original 600 acre estate now holds 220 acres of the prime land in Southern California.
I will post for the next several days the buildings and architecture, gardens and art, hoping to give a brief but concise description of what I expereinced. One day and one visit is never enough to be immersed fully to appreciate the magnificence of the gift Henry and his wife left for us to enjoy and appreciate.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crabmeat Sauce

Crabmeat Sauce
This sauce will enhance the flavor of fish or seafood. Many times it is the sauce that makes the dish and this sauce is simple to make!
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces fresh or frozen crab
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Directions: Melt butter over medium heat: add onion, celery, and red pepper and saute for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in chopped garlic and paprika and cook one minute. Stir in hot pepper sauce, mustard and whipping cream and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add 8 ounces of crab. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, stir in parsley. Serves 4

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Asagio and Leek Gougeres

Asagio And Leek Gougeres
I use a website from the Liquor Control Board in Canada which does a very nice job with recipes. This recipe caught my interest for two reasons. It sounded like something that would serve well as an appetizer with a nice crisp Chardonnay wine and also how many appetizers have more than one use. This recipe serves as an appetizer and secondly can be served with soup. I also like the fact that it can be made in a loaf or by dropping by rounded teaspoons onto a sheet and and baked. The latter sounded like a time saver to me.
1 medium leek
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water, divided
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup grated Asagio cheese
2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Cut leek in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, washing away grit caught between layers. Thinly slice crosswise, discarding root end and green portion of leek. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add sliced leek: when sizzling: add 2 Tablespoons water; cover for three minutes. Then uncover and saute 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove leeks to a plate to cool.
Preheat oven to 375.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or foil coated with non-stick spray. Heat 1 cup water, butter, salt dry mustard, and Cayenne in a large saucepan over medium heat until water is hot and butter melts. Add flour, stir frequently for 5 minutes or until mixture easily forms a ball. Turn ball into bowl of an electric mixer. breaking up and cool for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula, stir in cheese, sauteed leeks and parsley.
Spread dough into four loaves, about 12 inches long, 2 to a baking sheet. Smooth and shape with wet hands. Bake in center of preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top is richly golden. Cool slightly, diagonally cut into slices and serve. (Or to store, cool Gougeres completely in a rack. Cut each in half for easier handling. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze. To serve, reheat on a cookie sheet for 19 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.)
TIP: To make individual small puffs, drop by slightly rounded teaspoonsful, about 2 inches apart on prepared pans. (Resist the urge to make them larger as the dough expands 2 to 3 times the volume.) Bake in batches, if needed, for 25 minutes in a preheated oven. Makes 56 puff sized pieces or 24 generous slices.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Beautiful Sunset

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Another Beautiful Sunset
Living atop a canyon provides some of God's most beautiful creations daily. Tonight the sunset was so vibrant and picturesque with the hot air balloon in the sky. A short time later the full moon was visible appearing as though it was hung above the middle of the canyon.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Fading light, dim the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days,
Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky,
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.
Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
Always true to a promise that they made.
While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To they hands we our souls, Lord commend.
From my days as a scout!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

November and Thanksgiving recipes are synonymous with most cooks. I usually like to offer a different dish or two each year. Dessert usually has most input from family members. For the last few years I have served a White Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Tart. The recipe is included on the blog. However, last year the second option on the dessert buffet (pecan pie) was the cause of more leftovers of the rich dessert that knocked the tart from the top choice. I came across a recipe in a magazine "Jewish Journal" which was a freebe at the grocery store. I thought this sounded like a pumpkin pie with great flavor.
Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
1 1/3 non-dairy creamer
2 tablespoons Bourbon, rum, or brandy
9 inch unbaked pie shell
Non -dairy whipped topping
In mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, orange zest, sugar, and spice. Add eggs, creamer, Bourbon. Mix until well blended. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes longer or until set. Cool, then refrigerate. Garnish with twisted orange peel. Serve with whipped topping.