Blackberry Avocado Salad

Hello there– We had another important celebration at our house last week– Larry’s folks came in to celebrate their 69th anniversary!!  It’s a joy to watch them together.

So we made toasts and ate lasagna (Stu’s favorite) and Larry’s cheery sister brought in a magnificent cake. It was a great time together.  Stu & Helen, you’re the best!!

Oh, and with our supper, we dug into this bright salad– sweet berries, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, salty feta– tossed with a mustard & maple dressing.  Just fine on the plate with our lasagna.

BLACKBERRY AVOCADO SALAD

Salad:
6 cups salad greens
2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 avocados, cut into chunks
6 oz. carton of blackberries (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cut feta, crumbled

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon veingar
2 tab. maple syrup
1 tsp. seedy Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Layer the salad ingredients in a shallow bowl.  When you are ready to serve it up, shake together the dressing ingredients in a container with a tightly closing lid until they are all blended and drizzle over the salad.

Overnight Orange Rolls


Happy New Year All!  It’s New Year’s Eve here as I’m writing this and grand-girl Jobay and I just put together these orange rolls for tomorrow morning.  We have big plans to watch the Rose Parade on t.v. and enjoy orange rolls and hot chocolate around the coffee table when we get up to welcome in the New Year.  Sounds pretty perfect to me.

OVERNIGHT ORANGE ROLLS

Dough:
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 pkg. yeast (2.5 oz.)
1/2 cup white sugar
4  1/2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs

Filling:
6 tab. butter, melted
1 cup sugar
grated peel of one large orange

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. orange juice

Heat the cup of milk 1 minute in the microwave so it’s lukewarm.  Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the milk.  Stir in the yeast and 1/2 cup sugar.  Then mix in 3 cups of the flour, salt and the eggs.  Finally stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently for about 8 minutes.  Put the dough into large oven proof mixing bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it in a warm place for 1 hour for the dough to rise (about double in size).*

While the dough is rising mix up the filling.  Stir together the 6 tab. melted butter, 1 cup sugar and the grated orange peel and set aside.

After an hour, punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10″ by 15″ rectangle.  Spread the orange peel mixture over the rectangle, clear to the edges.

Starting along the 15″ side, roll the dough into a cylinder and cut the dough into 12 (or 18 thinner rolls)** slices.

Nestle the cut rolls into a 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or I used a 12″ circular tart pan).  Cover the orange rolls with plastic wrap and set them in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning, take the rolls from the fridge and set them on the counter for 30 minutes to warm a bit.  Then set them into a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the rolls are golden.

While they are baking, make the glaze.  Stir together the powdered sugar and orange juice and set aside,

When the rolls are hot from the oven, drizzle the glaze over the top and serve them warm– preferably with mugs of tea.

*I turn on the oven to 350 for just 3 minutes and then turn it OFF when I first start making the dough,  This makes a warm cozy place for the dough to rise.
**Cutting the dough into 12 slices makes taller fluffier rolls, but we have a small crowd for breakfast tomorrow, so I’m cutting them into 18 smaller rolls.  (I know it’s the same amount.  It just looks like more!!)

And here’s Jobay kneading dough New Year’s Eve– my best kitchen helper!

 

Second Christmas at Home


Hi there friends– Just one more Christmas post!!  After our sweet time with kids up in San Francisco, we trekked back home for celebrations with family here.  It was a bustling few days and a small house bursting at the seams–a festive time with people we love.  (If you aren’t into way-to-many Christmas photos, you might want to skip this post!!)

We sat down to Christmas Eve lunch, four generations around the table,  opened a few gifts and passed around baby Lois.

     

Christmas Day– Gifts exchanged, new toys tried out and my favorite– Spanish tapas supper around the coffee table after all the hub bub had died down.

     

     

The week filled up with park walks and picnics, playing around the house with 4 grand-girls and a pass through In-and-Out as we ferried John & Laurel to the airport.

      

     

     

     

So thankful for the time with our kids– and for the chance to remember our Savior’s come to earth.  It was a Merry Christmas.

Early Christmas in San Francisco


Hi all– We had a two part Christmas this year– starting out with 3 nights with kids up in San Francisco.  It was all lively grand-kids and beautiful meals, cookie decorating and a big explore in the arboretum.  Thanks thanks Jessica for pulling us all together!

We started our celebration with a ramble through the SF Arboretum.  Mae & Eero were our tour guides and Ani & Brian supplied Wooly Pig sandwiches for a picnic on the lawn.

     

     

There was a table full of cookie decorators and lots of cookie nibbling.

     

We had some beautiful meals around the table together.  From Jessica’s morning waffles to Chef Chris’ short ribs with glazed carrots and cashew-beet sauce.

     

And there was some mid morning gift opening by the Christmas tree by all the cousins.

     

But my favorite part of our days together was watching the cousins play together.
     

     

Here we are all together.  Thanks bunches AA & Jessica for everything!!   So one more Merry Christmas dear readers.  Hope you had a sweet time with people you hold close.

Rethinking Christmas

Hello Blog-Friends:  If you’re like me, you might have a whole lot of expectations (I prefer to call them “hopes”– it sounds kinder) about Christmas ahead–what the best Christmas should look like to you.  It’s all about lists.  Making them & checking them twice.

But this year we’ve had a shift.  Last Monday, our son called from Ojai.  They were pulling out from home, evacuating because of the wildfires closing in on their small community.  The family finally made their way down to our house, and we spent some days watching blazes on t.v. news and checking Facebook posts detailing damages.

The school where Micah teaches lost the science building (his physics lab & robotics program) and the girls’s dorm burned to the ground.  Their home had some damage, but much was saved by fire fighters.  So thankful.

So our hopes have changed some.  Christmas will look a little different.  The to do lists are shorter.  And things that matter– being together, remembering God’s gift of his son to the world shine brighter.

I’ve been reading a daily Christmas email from my favorite blogger, Shannan Martin.  She writes it so well:

“There in the wonderful, terrible thick of December, the furniture of my heart was shifting. Things that had lurked in the shadows were snapping into focus. As Christmas drew nearer, the new rhythms of my soul were bumping against my old ideas about how to celebrate, why we celebrate, and what a new way of living the “thrill of hope” might look like practically.

Basically, I cleaned out my Christmas closet. I did that thing where you hold up each old shirt and decide if it still fits, and whether or not it’s worth the space it occupies.”

So my Christmas hopes for you (and me) are that we’re able to see that “thrill of hope” and rest in God’s love for us in the middle of all the Christmas storm of activity.  Merry Christmas Blessings to you, dear friends.

P.S. To find Shannan’s blog and the link to her “12 Ways of Christmas Emails” click here.  I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

The Not So Perfect Thanksgiving

Hi Friends–  Still pulling things together here after Thanksgiving.  It really was full of fun, family and fabulous food!!  But surprisingly  also included the flu!!    A few of us had a bout of that flu and a couple even spent all day Thursday in bed while the rest of us celebrated!!

I’ll just share the best bits of our Thanksgiving (flu aside); it was a fine full, truly thankful day for us here.

We tucked into a true feast– My favorite– Lulu’s sweet potatoes sliced up with apples, walnuts and whiskey!

And here are a few of my favorite moments all through the day–
Jodi organized a giving thanks game that had us all guessing and laughing,  cousins waiting for everyone to arrive.
     

Grand-girls making place cards for the table,  Micah & Grandma Lo’s after dinner talk.

     

My kitchen “helper” eating breakfast,  evening trumpet concert by Charlotte and Cousin Brett (our concert band teacher)
     

All in all, it was a fine day together.  Thankful, thankful for the people around the table with us, for all God’s  goodness to us in this year.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Hello dear friends–  Our house if full today.  Lulu’s come in the door with her arms full of chocolate cake, stuffing, sweet potatoes and her legendary dinner rolls.  The great grandparents are settled on the sofa and 4 little grand-girls are squealing around the house.  Pretty perfect!

I’m hoping you’re sitting down around the table today with people you hold dear.  I hope there’s hugs and laughs and extravagant thanks for the blessings of this year.

And so truly thankful for you all who read this little blog– it’s a joy to have blog-friends to talk with from near and far.

“Give thanks to the Lord, … Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts. Glory in his name.  Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”                –1 Chronicles 6:8-10

P.S. thank you to pandagun.tumbler.com for the turkey graphic