Desserts · Humor

Things I learned while painting

Brush-Paint-Pantene-400x250Painting is like going to the bathroom.

No, it’s not a relief.  Far from it.  Painting echoes toileting inasmuch as the instant you are perched precariously on the ladder, hoping the paint doesn’t splatter on the floor below, the phone rings.  Of course as soon as you have descended, put the brush down somewhere other than on top of your pashmina and trotted to the phone, they have hung up.  That is if you’re lucky.

This being an election year, should you pick up, the possibility exists that a robotic voice you can totally trust, exhorts you to vote for this or that candidate, for or against a ballot measure or just reminds you that if you don’t share their opinion, you are pond scum. ……. Best to stay on the ladder.

Synchronized Swimming is good training for detail painting.

Continue reading “Things I learned while painting”


Hot summer nights

Getting cold when it's hotWe here in the Pacific Northwest are an odd weather lot.  With an average year round temperature of 54, we get picky about things like too cold or too hot.  We are closet rain lovers, whilst putting up a good whiney front when it’s too wet.

It happens every year, a chorus of “where’s summer?” from May until mid-July.  When my kids were younger, we had a bench mark of 72 degrees before we could go to the beach for swimming.  They would glue their eyes to the thermometer in the car whenever we went out, hoping it would shine the magical numbers which meant fun in the water. Continue reading “Hot summer nights”

Christmas · Cookies · Desserts

Christmas in July

Every year the retail industry “helps” us to think about Christmas earlier and earlier, hoping to score a larger portion of our Christmas dollars.  When I was a child, it was virtually hereasy to have decorations out before Thanksgiving.  Now you’re lucky if you make it through Labor Day without Santa cutouts for your lawn showing up in the home improvement store.  Really?  Why this isn’t Christmas is a whole different discussion, but we’ll just say Home Depot lighted reindeer are NOT the reason for the season. Continue reading “Christmas in July”

Britain · Cake · Christmas · Desserts

The cake which takes all year, part 3

A whimsical example of how to decorateSubtitle: The devil’s in the details

Having made the mixed peel, cooked the cake, bathed the cake in alcohol weekly and now anticipating Christmas, it’s time to decorate your cake. 

I have previously made valiant attempts, but so far have failed to wow.  That’s all got to change!  Regardless of my lamentable efforts, the Christmas cake in England is not only enjoyed for its taste, but also its visual presentation.  The cakes are whimsical, elegant, simple, traditional, non-traditional, white or colored.  What matters is the ooh and ahh factor when brought to the table.  Click on the picture to link to the blog where they show how that one was made.  The recipes given to me for completing the decoration are below, but creativity is an intangible.  If you’re stymied, start with something simple and see where you go next year! Continue reading “The cake which takes all year, part 3”

books · Candy · Desserts · Holiday

Library Fines

My parents taught me to be frugal.  I remember a meal in Germany, eating at a cafe in Rotenburg, and for some reason I wanted to be daring and try eel.  My father explained that if he was going to allow me to order it, I would have to eat it, even if I didn’t like it.  There was no sense to waste food, so think carefully, he admonished.  I thought about it and still wanted to be brave. 

In hindsight, I probably expected the meal to have a slab of meat on a plate with some accoutrements.  The reality was a whole eel, head leering at me off the plate, swimming in a post-mortem sea of dill sauce.  I couldn’t eat it.  I couldn’t even cut into it.  I was fascinated and disgusted at the same time. Continue reading “Library Fines”

Baking · Desserts · Holiday

I hate Bobby Flay

A tablecloth with evergreen, pinecones and red ribbons meant Thanksgiving was beginning.  When it hit the table, you knew china and lavish amounts of food would follow.  When I say, “you,” I mean my birth family.  You, meaning you, gentle reader, have your own way of identifying Thanksgiving.  It’s your tradition and when you deviate, the repercussions can be loud and un-thankful.

“You know I hate nuts in the stuffing.  Why did you put them in?  I look forward to stuffing all year and now I can’t eat it.  Thanks a LOT – not.”

Continue reading “I hate Bobby Flay”

Cookies · Desserts

When in Seattle, …

Didn’t you hate when you were in school and the teacher asked a question, digging for the answer they wanted?  You could actually have come up with a brilliant answer, but it wasn’t what they wanted so they persisted till you aligned with their rightness of the world.

Talking Einstein BobbleheadAlbert, what do you know about time? 

Well, Fräulein Lehrerin, I think that E=MC².

That’s an interesting answer Herr Einstein, however do you think maybe it might be that time advances at a constant rate?  Hm????

Poor Albert.  Destined to become an iconic Bobblehead Doll
for his total failure to understand linear matters.  But enough of theoretical physics.  Let’s play, “Search for the Right Answer.”  For our contestants today, the category is SEATTLE. Continue reading “When in Seattle, …”

Baking · Cookies · Desserts · family

A thousand memories

I received a letter this morning for a recipe and as usual it brings back a flood of memories, so before posting the ingredients and instructions, allow me to to share a lovely piece of my life with you.

They came to church, fresh off of losing their mother through divorce and subsequent disappearance.  They both had coke bottle thick glasses, lovely strawberry hair and a father who was overwhelmed with job, family and sorrow.  Our church service has a section where members can stand and offer praise or ask for prayer.  He stood on Mother’s Day and with his voice shaking, said he didn’t know what to tell his children when they asked him for whom should they be making the Mother’s Day projects at school.  The family easily touched your heart.

I don’t remember how it happened the first time, but the younger girl Arminda came to my house to bake.  And then she came again.  And again and pretty soon it was a regular occurence.  She was so much fun to have around and she really enjoyed the learning and of course the consuming.  Before long she felt right at home.

The day she brought Chelsea (and someone else who escapes me at the moment) over was fabulous.  She walked in with the confidence of someone who “owns” the place.  I let her take over and be the instructor.  She was Queen for a Day, and she was happy. Continue reading “A thousand memories”

Desserts · family · Party Food

One thin after dinner mint, Monsieur?

James was high on drugs.  All I could do is sit while the doctor worked on him.

It’s not as bad as it sounds.  James was having his wisdom teeth pulled.  I sat in the waiting room, doing what most people do in doctor’s offices,  I was listening to my Zune louder than normal to drown out the country music coming through the office speakers. 

 Oh yes, and I was flipping through magazines.  

Continue reading “One thin after dinner mint, Monsieur?”


Hang time

My niece came to hang out with my daughter.  It was a fun time.  Not only do they get along well, but there aren’t many kids her age in the neighborhood so time with a friend is special.

One of the things they both enjoy doing (other than eating nachos which they’re doing as I write) is baking, and as we are coming into the holiday season, and as I needed a reason to add this recipe to my blog, I asked if they’d like to make fudge.  That was a no brainer!

20091107_2Cousin Friendly Fudge

A recipe given to me years ago by my sister Lynn
  • 3 cups butter
  • 4 cups chocolate chips

Melt those together in a double boiler or -carefully- in the microwave, checking frequently because chocolate burns easily.

In a large bowl mix together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar (7-8 cups)

Add the chocolate mixutre and beat till smooth.  Add a cup nuts (optional), mix well and pour into a buttered 10x15x1 pan and chill.

As you can tell, we added some chopped up peppermint candies, but other successful iterations have included mint extra infused into the mixture, sprinkles of toffee …. use your imagination.

Because the recipe calls for raw eggs, which are only partially cooked when the hot chocolate mix is added, it should not be left unrefrigerated for extensive periods of time.