Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More From TJ

As you know, I'm always ready to mention Trader Joe's. And one of the good things I have found there recently is the Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice with Vegetables. It's in the frozen food section. And it's really good! Although it's vegetarian fare, I will often cut up already cooked chicken and add it to the pan. I haven't tried beef, but why not? I have added TJ's pork pot stickers to it and that's good.

Caution is advised; this is a spicy dish right from the package. You won't need to add any 'heat'.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Books & Authors

Dean Koontz. I don't know why but I never read much of his work before. Then I read 3 of his books featuring the character, Odd Thomas. Amazing! He's quite a good writer and these stories are certainly worth reading. I'm sure that some have always liked his work, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he can write more than a simple horror story.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I haven't mentioned food or any recipes lately so here goes… I made a quick dinner the other night by cooking a package of Trader Joe's Spinach Fettuccini, the green noodles. And while the noodles were cooking I sautéed a can of chicken breast. Yes, the cheap meat in a 12.5 oz can that is already cooked. I used about 2+ tablespoons of olive oil and I covered the chicken with a liberal shaking of McCormick's Grill Mates Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning. The hot noodles are placed in a bowl where I have already placed a half cup of fresh tomatoes chunks. Add the hot chicken and oil and stir. Oh, yes!


Monday, September 08, 2008

Once again - Tomato Sauce

It's been awhile since I last mentioned making spaghetti sauce and since I had enough tomatoes on the counter to make one batch, I thought I would show you how I do it. Starting with a pan filled with halved or quartered tomatoes. That yellow stuff? Trader Joe's Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Then I threw on some Rosemary and Thyme from the garden. Throw on some kosher salt. Then I set the oven to 400 and kept them at that temp for about 5 minutes. Then I lowered it to 250 for the next hour. Why? Just because. Roasting tomatoes is visual thing. And visceral. Go with your 'gut' feeling.

I had to dust off and wash the food mill and then I was ready. In the meantime the tomatoes are roasting.

Out of the oven and ready to run through the food mill.

I keep emptying the mill of the peelings etc and saving them in the yellow strainer. For later. I don't want to miss any of this juice.

I use a measuring cup to press the last of the juice out of the pulp. Oh, yes...don't forget to drain the olive oil out of the roasting pan. It has tomato juices and herb flavoring now and needs to go into the pot.

Now add as much seasoning as you like. I added about a tablespoon of Italian Seasoning and a teaspoon of crushed garlic. It looks like I have about 1 -1/2 inches of sauce in the pan.

Now I simmer the whole thing for about an hour. Don't need to if you don't want to. You will be simmering it later when you make your spaghetti sauce. I like to do it because I think it gives the spices a boost.

Once it's done, put it into the freezer. And when December comes around and you crave some comfort food, take it out and make any kind of tomato based sauce. You will be amazed at the flavor. So sweet!

If you don't have a garden, go to the local farmer's market and buy some ordinary tomatoes. They won't be ordinary for long!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

From Very Good Taste

The blog » The Omnivore’s Hundred:

Omnivore’s Hundred:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

OK, here's mine...

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (I’m so ashamed!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, August 11, 2008

High Crimes -

Mt. Everest in an Age of Greed

I’ve been reading ‘High Crimes’ and found it to be fascinating. And a terrible commentary on human behavior. I only have a few pages left to read, but I wish there were more.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Ursula, Under, by Ingrid Hill

It's a great book and the author is incredible. Twelve children, including two sets of twins! How does she find time to write? She tells you how in this interview.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

For shame!

Speaking of ugly… as I was on another blog; we saw the movie The Wicker Man last night. When, during the opening credits, I saw that more than four production companies had a hand in this movie, I should have known right then that the movie was a stinker. In fact, this has to be one of the worst movies ever made. What were they thinking? OMG! All that money…gone, wasted on 106 minutes of painful acting!

Acting? It was obvious within a few minutes that the actors were there to collect a paycheck and nothing else. Nicolas Cage; someone I used to enjoy watching as he worked, was dreadful! And if you saw the movie, did you wonder, as I did…would he ever stop putting on that darned coat and tie? At the end of each action scene, our hero would collect his coat and tie and put them back on. No matter what happened, no matter where he was, he was always perfectly dressed. Well, maybe not at the end, but I would have loved to see that coat go up in flames with him!

Imagine That!

I haven’t posted here in awhile, but after making dinner last night, I thought I would share a recipe. A Trader Joe recipe and a variation on one I made a long time ago. Very simple; a carton of TJ’s Carrot Ginger Soup and 8 of TJ’s Chicken Gyoza pot stickers. Heat and eat. The Trader used to have a Sweet and Sour soup that was great with the pot stickers but they don’t carry it anymore. I need to spend some time in the ethnic foods sections of otyher stores and I might find something else interesting to accompany pot stickers. Let your imagination be your guide.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Reviews?

Since I started experiencing this pain of mine; two months ago? I’ve been spending a lot of time in my favorite chair. So I read. It’s crazy; I’m reading about a book a day now. Not always the good stuff. I have a tendency to read what I used to call ‘airplane books’, books that you wouldn’t really mind forgetting in the seatback pocket when you arrived at your destination. They are useful to pass the time and not much else. And sometimes I would leave them on the plane, purposely. Too much trouble to carry with me.

I’m going to the library at least once a week now and I’m always looking for that one good book that will captivate me. This week it was a funny book, well written; and that’s not what I usually like… it was The God Project by Stan Lee. Though it was written 18 years ago (Amazing!) it reads as if it were yesterday. Check it out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Thing About Life Is

That One Day You'll Be Dead...
by David Shields

A very different book. But I like it. I'm almost through with it and though it sometimes reads as if you were skipping pages in a diary, it has a certain fascination. Yes, I'm dying. And so are you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Millie

A Chicken Soup Recipe

Yes, it does sound pretty good. Certainly worth a try. Now, will I find any parsnips?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Alta Marie's

Bakery and Soup Shop

Yes, it is located on the Planet Orland and right downtown. To the north of the old theater. We stopped for breakfast this morning and had the typical bacon, eggs and hash browns...with a muffin. This is a bakery, after all.

The shop is a real working bakery with just enough room for about 5 tables in the back, but it's also a wireless 'hot spot' and so I was able to get on-line with my Palm and read the Times and note that Alicia had posted something to my blog. All while I was enjoying breakfast! The eggs were done just right and the bacon was crisp and not soggy at all. The serving size was just right as well. Not so large that you were challenged to finish it, which is the trademark of the Kolesterol Kitchen, just down the street.

We were tempted by the Cinnamon French Toast, but it sounded a little richer than our diets allowed. Next time. And we need to come back and try the soups, for lunch.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I had a great chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie the other day while I was nibbling my way around my Middle daughter's kitchen. (I love doing that!) And I was told that the recipe came from the Pioneer Woman Cooks! blog.

(later) Well, I looked and I looked...no recipe. My daughter must have realized that I wouldn't find it and when we saw her yesterday, she had written it out and copied it for me.

Here it is...
  • 1 cup Shortening (Yes...you could Crisco non transfat)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream the sugars and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Add the soda and salt to the flour and mix. Now add it to the sugar/shortening and mix.

Add the oatmeal and the nuts. (Of course the nuts are optional...but why not!)

According to my daughter, Pioneer Woman rolls the dough into a log (or logs) and chills.

Alicia didn't chill the dough and simply used the 'drop' method. Your choice.

(Oops! Almost forgot...350 oven and cook for 10 minutes.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I REALLY deserve it...

It wasn’t long ago that I reported that I had failed in my attempt to win the Golden Ladle at the Federated Soup Cook-Off. My Sweet Potato Soup was simply OK. No pizzazz at all. Well, I’m ready for next years contest. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were given the Golden Ladle in perpetuity for this one recipe.

For once I followed the recipe exactly. Almost. My herb garden has plenty of fresh Rosemary, but no fresh Basil at this time of year. I used dried. If that makes a difference, it’s slight.

The taste and the color were heavenly. Tomato soup with real tomatoes and real onions. Not that pink pureed stuff you might remember from childhood days. This is ‘Adult’ soup!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On Another Planet

Here's a review of the restaurant we chose to eat in last night. Pat N’ Larry’s Steak House in Willows. Now Willows isn’t on the Planet Orland, but it is in the same galaxy and looks very similar; perhaps smaller. And it really doesn’t have any better restaurants than Orland does…except, for one; Pat NLarry’s. Orland does have a steak house, but it’s crowded and noisy and the tables are far too small. Bah!

From the outside, Pat NLarry’s is… well, it’s ugly. That’s all there is to it. Even new paint wouldn’t help to correct the architectural failures of this building on the outskirts of town. You have to gather up some courage to enter and after that, it’s fine. And if you’re lucky, the sun will have set when you exit and you won’t notice anything till you get back in the car and turn on the lights.

The inside is spacious, clean, well lit and the tables are the right size. We were seated promptly and given menus. Yes, they had O’Doul’s to drink. That’s a plus. And they serve LAMB as well as beef. But we were there for beef and I chose a ‘regular’ sized New York while Laurae had the Filet. Salad, potatoes and vegetables come with the entrée. We had the Caesar salad and I chose the Garlic Mashed potatoes while Laurae had hers baked. The meat was cooked as ordered and was quite tasty. Well, not as good as I could have done it, but certainly sufficient for our evening out. The bill? $59 for the two of us. Not excessive, but not a cheap meal.

We arrived at 5:30 and found the restaurant to be pleasantly uncrowded. And by the time we left, business had picked up and about half the tables were taken. I also noted that most of the patrons were ‘regulars’, knowing one another and greeting the waitresses familiarly. And we will go again; I have to try the ‘Basque Lamb, only $18.95!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

 - one for the table

Desserts -

You may not want to hang around this page for long...far too enticing!

Philippe -

The Original -

Just a stone's throw from Union Station in Los Angeles and right at the edge of Chinatown. Good memories of eating lunch here with Mom and Dad.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Try it

I was working on the new storage shed at the Plant Barn the other day when Denise asked if I would like a little snack that Maria had fixed. Maria works next door at Chico Propagators and meals are often shared between the two businesses.

Denise returned with a plate of carrot slices, orange quarters, chips and a tasty combination of cottage cheese, salsa and sour cream!

Yes, I should have taken a picture.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pepperoni Lasagna

From Chickens in the Road

No, I haven't tried it yet...but I will! Just give me a few days to get the leftovers out of the refrigerator.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


in the Road

More recipes! (Like I need them...)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

How did I get here? What am I doing? Seriously; I'm thinking of making this cake. I must be out of my mind!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Face in the Crowd

1942 Shorpy

A tricky question...what's the average weight of the individuals in this crowd? Is this an early meeting of Weight Watchers?

A Movie

I thought I would get a head start on the movies and order a current one, one that hasn't been out that long, so I ordered 3:10 to Yuma. What a silly movie. Mr. Crowe is not a cowboy. He's an Australian. So he had to talk real slow to hide the accent. He doesn't even wear a real cowboy hat! I couldn't muster up any outrage...it was simply a waste of our time and I'm sure I will get over it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Pioneer Woman


What a great blog...I look every day at my RSS feeds, hoping that I will see a new one from her. And today I was rewarded. I don't know how you could read this all of the way to the end without wanting to race out and buy a dozen chicken legs...or, how about that Morton's Hot Salt? Something new?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Soup, beautiful soup!

Well, it wasn’t mine. The Soup Simmer-Off at the Federated church attracted about 13; or was it 14 contestants? And my Sweet Potato Surprise didn’t win. It was good; but presentation is everything and mine was very bland looking.

I started with a recipe that attracted me because of the colors it promised. Orange and red and purple… from the sweet potatoes. But I only found white sweet potatoes and they turned a sort of pale green upon being cooked.

Here’s the original recipe;

Sweet Potato Ginger Soup

Eating a rainbow of colors isn't so easy in the winter, but here is a

soup that is as sweet and pungent, as it is colorful. More accurately,

the soup will be as colorful as the sweet potatoes that you choose,

which come in an array whose colors include red, orange, purple,

yellow and white. With the added benefit of only 3 grams of fat per

serving, this soup is a winner for your health.

1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil

1 pinch red chili flakes

1 cup chopped leeks or onions

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos (I used soy sauce)

5 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon garam masala

6 cups vegetable stock (I had to use chicken stock)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the red chili

flakes, leeks, ginger, and aminos. Sauté for two or three minutes. Add the

sweet potatoes and sauté until they are well coated and begin to brown

slightly. Add the coriander and garam masala. Sauté another two minutes,

stirring frequently. Add the vegetable stock to cover the sweet potatoes

and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer until the sweet potatoes

are tender. Blend with a hand blender or food processor into a smooth

consistency, adding more stock as necessary. Reheat before serving and

garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serves 4.

I had to double the recipe, as we were supposed to make enough for 8-10 people. And then, the liquid seemed to overwhelm the potatoes, so I had to add…surprise! Yukon Gold Instant potatoes. Which were great for adding consistency and giving the color a slight boost into the less than nauseating range. And I had to strain the soup to remove the Coriander as some people (nameless) seemed to think soup should not contain ‘things’. But I had to do something with the flavor. Crystal! OK, all was well; a smooth soup with a great flavor but a mild green and boring look. Even our crock pot was boring! Now why didn’t I think to use yams and not sweet potatoes? That’s next time!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Reading!

No, I haven't stopped reading. I just haven't found much worthy of posting any comments about. Mysteries and thrillers, thrillers and mysteries. Bah!

But...then I did find one the other day that was a worthy read. The Driftless Area by Tom Drury. Short but very powerful. I went to bed with it firmly stuck in my head.

Here it is

Here's the meatloaf; a few days later. It slices perfectly!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Old Recipes

Laurae had to make dessert yesterday for the Merry Martha’s gathering at the church and she chose a recipe from deep within her archives. This was a recipe from our neighbor of 35+ years ago, when we lived in Newbury Park.

Here’s Karleen Griffin’s recipe for Fruit Cocktail Dessert.

Mix together…1 egg, slightly beaten and 1 #10 can of Fruit Cocktail (use only 1/4 of the juice)

Now mix together the following and then add to the eggs and fruit.

1 cup flour

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Almost last… place the mixture in a 9x13 pan, buttered.

Last, mix together ¾ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of walnuts. Place this on top of the mixture and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream topping.

As I was posting this recipe to the church blog, I decided to create a link to Newbury Park. And once again I was surprised to see what had become of the small community we once called home. Our first ‘home’. Apparently, once a place becomes popular or seems headed that way…we’re outta there!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just an idea

When I decide to make a meatloaf I never remember to get the camera. I should have as it was quite photogenic.

And...my meatloaf recipes are very much open to your own interpretation. Add or subtract anything you like, you can rarely go wrong.

I started with 2.5# of ground turkey and added the following.

1/2 jar of Homade Chili Sauce
1 dozen baby carrots, sliced thin
1 cup of frozen peas
1 egg
1 Tbs Greek Seasoning
1 Tbs Black pepper, freshly ground
I cup of bread crumbs...any kind. (I used Panko, because that was what I had)
I small jar of Trader Joe Bruschetta
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 red onion, chopped

Put it all in a standard loaf pan and cook for an hour at 375.

It was beautiful! And tasty! In retrospect, I should have used a full jar of Homade Chili Sauce, but that was all I had. And maybe another splash of Worcestershire. Next time...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pot Roast Update

Well, I did it and it was good...way good. But, if I were to take pictures, mine wouldn't look as good as the originals. And the spices should have been placed in a cheesecloth bag to avoid the rosemary leaves floating about in the gravy. Now I am waiting for her next pot roast recipe.

I should also include the fact that we used 'instant' mashed potatoes. If you can tell the difference between those and the real deal; more power to you! I used Paradise Valley Yukon Gold potatoes, from Winnemucca? Now I have been to Winnemucca before and I did not see anything resembling paradise, but hey! I could be wrong.

If you follow the link above and scroll down, you will see that Costco no longer stocks this product and that's a shame. I suppose I could drive to Paradise Valley?

Monday, January 07, 2008


The Year of the Pot Roast

Oh, man! I have to go to the store...now!