Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Blogger Hop and Fabulous Friday



Book Blogger Hop is hosted each week by

This week's question is:

Do you encourage other reading friends to start a blog or at least put their thoughts/reviews on public reading sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, etc?

No.

Wow!  That's the shortest answer EVER.
But.... geez.... I can't leave it at that.  Or maybe I can. No. Wait.
I do have a few friends who are on Goodreads---local friends, I mean. 
I keep up with them there, and I guess I have encouraged them to keep track there.
Just changed my answer...
Yes, I have told people about Goodreads and keeping track of their books there, and it's also a great source for reviews.

**********

And now, for the first time ever, I'm going to tell you what makes Friday Fabulous for me!


Each and every Friday, Michelle of the blog, That’s What She Read, shares what makes  Friday a Fabulous day for her and she has a Mister Linky where you can share your own post of what makes your own Friday fabulous.
Just click here to check it out for yourself!

So... I have Fridays off which makes them all FABULOUS,  but today, I have nothing to do!!
Being an introvert, who needs down time, and having a job that doesn't allow for down time (ribbon cuttings, Business mixers, events, etc), I treasure alone time.
It's just me and the dog, a cup of coffee, a stack of letters I need to answer.  It's almost October--I'm in heaven!

That is until----5:30pm, when I have to attend a 'kick-off' mixer for the Lazy P Adventure Farm!  (corn maze, haunted house and all that).  BUT, I kind of don't mind this one, as I love all things Fall and this is a pretty good event.

Anyway---Love me some alone time, which I will have all day today!
That is fabulous!

My day:




Yay!!



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Food n Flix: Frida -- Fruity Slaw


Food 'n Flix is a group of bloggers who get together every month to watch a movie, and then head into the kitchen and mix up something inspired by the flick. 

There is always room for another pillow in front of the tellie, and another chair around the table. So if you're a blogger who wants to join in the fun, please feel free to jump in at any moment.

 September's  Flick was chosen by  Debra at  Eliot's Eats   She  chose  the movie Frida 
check out her announcement post here---and play along next month!

Frida chronicles the life Frida Kahlo shared unflinchingly and openly with Diego Rivera, as the young couple took the art world by storm. From her complex and enduring relationship with her mentor and husband to her illicit and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky, to her provocative and romantic entanglements with women, Frida Kahlo lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic, and sexual revolutionary.




I find that Americans completely lack sensibility and good taste. They are boring, and they all have faces like unbaked rolls.
Frida Kahlo

Our host is also coordinating her Cook the Books event-- where she also chose a book about Kahlo.  She gets a double-header this month!
I have never read the Secret Books of  Frida Kahlo, nor had I seen the movie Frida,  but I have read the Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, which is where I first learned of Frida Kahlo-- granted it's not nearly the same, but I did learn a lot  about Kahlo's life and lots of history about the  time period and place she lived in, so I was very excited about the opportunity to watch this movie for the first time.

It intrigued me---and I so wish we could see Mexico thru that intellect today.
Of course she and her friends/crowd were all communists, BUT intellectual just the same.

Anyway---the movie.  I really enjoyed it--this was the first time I've seen it and was so taken by the vibrant colors of Mexico.
The Food!
The Clothes!
The Flowers!
The Paintings!

What inspired me in the movie?  As far as food goes.... there was a lot of cantaloupe,( as well as other fruit).  In one of the first scenes,  Frida smells a cantaloupe and asks her sister if she thinks it is ripe.

So, I went with cantaloupe.



I've had this recipe for a while, but
To be honest---the sound of cantaloupe and strawberries and cabbage didn't sound that appealing to me, but make it I did and...  it Was SO GOOD!! 
I loved it.  Just the right amount of sweet from the fruit and crunch from the cabbage.

While this might not seem "Mexican" inspired, think of this--- artists always use fruit in their paintings.  It's common. Still Life paintings--lots of fruit.
Mexican cooking is not always about cheese and enchilada sauce and peppers. (that's pretty Americanized cuisine), but rather, fresh  and local ingredients.
My cantaloupe and strawberries are very fresh, and a bit local.


And besides -- this is SO GOOD!!

I'm always coming in at the 11th hour  (submissions are due tomorrow), so I've been able to do a little peeping at other's blog posts and I think  we have the perfect feast if we all got together with this one.
There are a few spicy dishes--which I love---but  just think how refreshing this fruity slaw would be to go with them!



Fruity Slaw
3 cups cabbage
1 cup cantaloupe
1 cup strawberries
1/3 cup miracle whip
1 T. honey
1/4 t poppy seeds

Chop, dice, mix and enjoy!


You should really join in with the Food 'N Flix group.  It's one of the most fun foodie blog events.
Thanks Debra for hosting!

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.
Frida Kahlo



I am also going to link up  to  "Souper Sundays", where the focus is on soup, but salads and sammies are good too.
Souper Sundays, hosted by Kahakai Kitchen,  is a weekly blog event that started because of her love of soup and a desire to work through the many soup and soup-like recipes in cookbooks and magazines, Deb set a goal to make a soup or "soupish" dish each week and post it each Sunday and invited others to do the same.

Be sure to stop by and check them out!















Cookbook Countdown #94 -- The Fannie Farmer Baking Book



My friend Louise hosted Cookbook Wednesday for years, but  she is not feeling so well, so it is suspended for now.

I am not taking up the weekly commitment, (with a Mr. Linky, etc)  I just have one of my cookbooks to 'count down' and I am going to do it on Wednesday and think of how great Louise's blog is and hope she is up to par soon!


This is cookbook number 93!
You can see them all so far if you click here.



Goodreads says:
A superb collection of more than 800 recipes drawn from both America's rich past and new culinary discoveries. It's the Bible of baking, considered by many as the most thorough baking book on the market. The highly readable, easy-to-follow text explains the whys and hows of baking and makes it easy for even the beginner to achieve delicious results in the kitchen. Line drawings throughout.

I say:
Good cookbook! As Goodreads said--superb collection of everything you've ever wanted to bake--and even things you didn't know you wanted to bake, like:
Coffee-Rum Chiffon Pie
and
Orange Marmalade Tarts
and
Raspberry Liqueur Pound Cake

Because now I really REALLY want to bake all these things. 
Oh for the time!!  There is never enough of it to do all the things you want to.


What I chose to make this time  was,
Canned-Cherry Macaroon-Crumb Pie.

This was an easy-peasy pie to make.

A pie of good contrasts--a crunchy macaroon topping over tender fruit.  Be sure to use a good crisp macaroon to make the crumbs.


Canned-Cherry Macaroon-Crumb Pie

Basic pie dough for a 9-inche pie shell.
(I used my pat-in-pan pie crust recipe, because of my fear of pie crusts)
1 cup lightly packed macaroon crumbs
2 T flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 T butter
4 cups canned sweet cherries, well drained
Droplets of lemon juice

Pre-bake your pie crust.

Combine the macaroon crumbs, flour, brown sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and stir to mix them well.  Cut the butter into bits and drop into the macaroon mixture.  Using your fingertips, work the butter into the crumbs as though you were working fat into flour to make a pie crust.  Let the crumbs fall back into the bowl and continue this mixing until all the butter and dry ingredients have been worked together. 
Set aside.

Line the pie crust with the well-drained cherries and sprinkle with drops of lemon juice.  Spread the crumbs evenly over the cherries. 
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the crumb topping is crisp and brown.

**I used 1 can of sweet cherries and 1 can of cherry pie filling






Thanks Larry Storm for challenging me to use ALL my cookbooks.
Even if it is just one recipe at a time.
(no sarcasm intended in the thanks!  well, maybe a little bit)

This challenge is not to be confused with the Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown--that one is all the recipes from a homemade cookbook, with recipes contributed by me and my friends.
This one is---just making sure I make at least one thing from each cookbook I own, to justify the cost of each and every one I own.
It's a hard life---all this cooking and eating.






Outdoor Wednesday



On Wednesdays I'll sometimes join A Southern Daydreamer and her Outdoor Wednesday Outdoor Wednesday meme to share some pictures.
Stop by and check out other great photos of the outdoors!




I think I am a creature of habit.  Well, honestly I know I am.  And I work from a list--don't surprise me with anything.  If it's not on my list I won't be happy about it.
(that's a slight exaggeration---but only slightly)

Why do I mention this on Outdoor Wednesday?  
Because we took our Friday NIGHT friends to our cabin in Oregon.
The ones we have dinner with every Friday Night,  unless we have other plans.
Every. Friday. Night.  For years.
Hence---a creature of habit.

What did we do?
Sat here by the river and had a glass of wine and beer every afternoon.


And we looked at these rock formations that just appeared out of nowhere.
We have no idea who did them, but they are beautiful.



Some of my friends commented "cairns"  which is of course, a mound of stones to mark a memorial.
(you knew that, right?)
(honestly I didn't--I had to look it up.  Don't tell)

But a couple of other friends wrote:
Ebenezer!
I Samuel 7:12 "here I raise my Ebenezer.."

I loved both 'cairn' and 'ebenezer'!!
Luckily I knew what ebenezer meant, because I had to look it up once, as it's in one of my favorite hymns.





Ebenezer means “stone of help.” From then on, every time an Israelite saw the stone erected by Samuel, he would have a tangible reminder of the Lord’s power and protection. The “stone of help” marked the spot where the enemy had been routed and God’s promise to bless His repentant people had been honored. The Lord had helped them, all the way to Ebenezer.

Don't you love it?!
The mysterious cairns and ebenezers!

Here are more pics of our afternoons down by the river--
and as usual, there are a lot.





























Then we went up the river a ways---way up--we walked to the waterfall.











And Friday night we went to the Outlaw restaurant for dinner.
Dinner and drinks. Friday nights and friends.  Good stuff.








Friday Friend Recipe #103 - Lemon Lush



Recipe number 103



Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook
What is it, you may ask?


In a nutshell...
About 15 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!
Why?


Because  one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!


Which brings me to recipe #103  My Mom's Lemon Lush




I think my mom made up the name "Lemon Lush" when she turned this in for the Friday Friend Cookbook, as I had never heard her say lemon lush in my life.
But it sounds good, so from now on this is Lemon Lush!
OMG!  I just looked online and---this really is called Lemon Lush.
sorry for doubting you mom.

Lemon Lush is GOOD!
A shortbread crust,  lemon pudding, cream cheese---what's not to like?




Lemon Lush
My Mom, Bev Hambelton

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
3/4 cup chopped nuts

1 cup powdered sugar
8oz cream cheese
1 cup cool whip

 3 cups milk
2 pkgs lemon instant pudding

Mix first 3 ingredients together and put in a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool.
Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese and cool whip.  Spread on cooled crust.
Whip milk and pudding together and spread over top.  Frost with the rest of the cool whip and sprinkle nuts on top.
Put into refrigerator.




This is my mom's 15th appearance on the Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown.
To see all her recipes click here.

My mother loved football and she really LOVED the Seattle Seahawks. 
My youngest son loves the Dallas Cowboys.
One year for his Christmas present, my parents took my son and his wife to the Seahawks/Cowboys game in Seattle.  My parents were season ticket holders for the Seahawks for many years, so they just bought a couple extra tickets and made  a very special day for Mark.

For many years  Mark and his Grandma had a friendly rivalry.  They didn't live near each other, but during football season they talked every Sunday on the phone about who was going to win what game, who was the better quarterback, the better coach, etc.
Seriously they could quote stats to each other and my mom could understand all that football lingo.
(and while I do love football, that rabid fanatical FAN skipped a generation---went straight to my son)



As you can tell---Grandma has been a fan since the beginning.
These are my boys 31 years ago, shirts courtesy of my mom.
Mark is the one sucking on his fingers.
It only took him about 10 years to fall in love with the Dallas Cowboys and then he never looked back--he became his own man, with his own ideas.
And also, he quit sucking his fingers.  And grew some hair.
But he never lost that loyalty to a 'team' which he inherited from my mom.
(he has stuck with the Cowboys thru thick and thin, thin, thin.....)



The banner  said "Seahawks Rule"  when Mark and his family arrived  for the weekend.  On game-day, "rule was mysteriously covered over with the word  "Suck".
Friendly rivalry -- my mother loved it.
She was a rabid fan, a 12th man, a passionate sports lover, be it Football, Hockey or Baseball.


My favorite season is fall, and one of those nostalgic, good memories of my own childhood is the sound of football on the television and the smell of Sunday dinner cooking in the kitchen.
Pot roast? Maybe.  Roast chicken? Perhaps.
  And maybe for dessert, Lemon Lush.

Yay for Sunday dinner at mom's!
(go Seahawks)

And that is my mom's story!!

Recipe Number 103.




Monday, September 26, 2016

Elizabeth is missing

From Goodreads:
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable—or her daughter, Helen, seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud . . .

A page-turning story of suspense,
Elizabeth Is Missing hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.

From Me:
Maud is a totally unreliable narrator--not because she's an alcoholic (like Girl on a Train)--not because she's a psychopath    (like Gone Girl), but just because she's an aging woman in the middle of a horrible disease---Alzheimer's related dementia.
Unreliable yes, but very endearing.
I loved Maud and thought the way the story was written was very compelling.
I notice that some readers found it frustrating, because yes, at times it jumped around and felt jumbled, but that was why it compelled me so much---we really don't know what goes on in the minds of those affected by Alzheimer's and that is why the mystery was so captivating for me.

Also, as a side note, my mother suffered from Alzheimer's, and maybe I felt an emotional bond towards Maud and her daughter Helen.
I love the last paragraph in the Goodreads review... we are all at the mercy of our memory.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Japanese Lover

From Goodreads:
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.
 

From Me:
Wow! What a cast of characters!  And themes!
This is the first Allende novel I've read, and while I liked it--I did!-- there was some issue with me in the transitions from past to present.  Those took place often and sometimes in one paragraph it went from present to past to present again.  I had to really pay attention and think.
The characters were great and while I liked them, I never felt that I got to know them really well.
Deep themes, but some of them just touched on lightly.

Those all sound like criticisms, but I really liked the story. The main story as well as the side stories.
It's worth a read.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Blogger Hop


Book Blogger Hop is hosted each week by

This week's question is:

How many years have you been blogging? Anything special you want to tell everyone about your experiences?

I have been blogging since  2007.  9 years.
I started out blogging questions and answers to my friends, but they didn't really 'get' what a blog was at the time, so I switched over to food blogging.
It's a wonderful world of food bloggers out there---but I was not original, I just like to cook.  Then I had a book blog, then a big backyard blog, etc.
It was a lot of work, so I decided to just have my own blog and talk about whatever I wanted to, which is mostly books.  Then food.  Then random stuff.

I've met two blogging friends in person, become pen-pals with a couple others.
Those would be special experiences for me.

The blogging community is a very nice and supportive group of people.
At least the book nerds, foodies are.
It's special.

My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...