Easter with the Family

Hello friends– Hope you have a blessed Easter.  Time to remember the depth of our faith.  And to gather together with people we hold dear.  It’s a beautiful holiday.

So after church on Sunday, family started to pour in the door– great grandparents here to see the grand-girls, my sis Luanne with her incredible hot dish of potatoes.  We all sat down to ham and all the mixings.

     

Of course, we had girls hunting for eggs in the back yard–with Gr. Honey and Gr. Lo watching on.
     

So thankful for these dear faces.  One of the greatest gifts God gives is the people he puts in our lives.  Glad for days we can spend together.

Simple Spring Salad

Hi all– This was the salad on our Easter table–bright and fruity and just right with ham and Aunt Lu’s marvelous potatoes!  It was a good day with grand-girls and their great grandparents around the table.  Hope you have a lovely Easter with people you hold dear.

SIMPLE SRPING SALAD

Salad:
6 cups greens
3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups blackberries
2 cups mandarine oranges, peeled and sliced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar (or your favorite mild vinegar)
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer the greens on a platter.  Then pile on the strawberries, blackberries and oranges.  Sprinkle on the feta.

Pour the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until it’s thoroughly combined.  Drizzle over the salad.

Wisconsin in Winter


Hi friends!!  We’re just back from our stay in Wisconsin with our kids– John & Laurel.  Those two know how to make everything fun.  So here’s my favorite– “Great Eight” things we did for our Wisconsin winter!!

#1.  One afternoon Larry and I trekked down to the campus of University of Wisconsin, for a stroll through the campus, a stop for the best ice cream (from their dairy department!) and a walk on the frozen lake!!  yikes!

     

#2.  We also studied our way through the Chazen Art Museum on campus one afternoon– small, but with a wide range of art from around the world and across genres.

   

#3.  Saturday morning we browsed at the indoor Farmers Market, where each week a different restaurant in Madison, serves up a wholesome breakfast (That week was root veggie hash!!)

   

#4.  On a blustery afternoon Laurel ferried us over to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens to wander through their greenhouse tropical garden– lush and warm and filled with singing canaries!
     

#5.  We tagged along with John & Laurel and their realtor Wade, while they did a little house hunting around Madison (But are still looking to find the perfect place).

#6.  Our most Wisconsin-ish adventure was an evening at the Fishing Expo– I had no idea there are so many many accessories to fishing, from boats to lures to wall mounted trophy fish!

     

#7.  Madison has a gorgeous new library downtown so one day we hiked down past the capital building and on to the library, where we raided the new book section an sat and read to our hearts content.  (P.S. the sculpture on the library wall is all made of battered old bookends!)

     

#8.  And last but sure not least, we had several wonderful meals with Laurel and John– starting with an assortment of coffee shops, a few morning walks to Bath Bakehouse, Salvatore’s Tomato Pies (the Best Pizza!), fashionable Mint Mark Cafe for breakfast, Noddle’s & Company Pad Thai, and our very own John’s incredible burgers at home!

     

     

Loved every minute with our John and Laurel.  They know how to hug and talk to and feed visiting parents in the very best sort of way!  Thanks you two!!  We can’t wait to come back to Madison…

Smoky Honey Orange Chicken


Hi everyone–  It’s pretty true that you can’t have too many everyday chicken recipes up your sleeve.  So here’s a flavorful plateful with the brightness of orange and the spiciness of smoked paprika.  And it’s on the table in about 20 minutes– add some steamed asparagus, a wild rice mix.  Dinner!

P.S While I’m typing this up for you, I’m sitting in a cool Wisconsin coffee shop with Laurel while she’s doing a little work (and drinking coffee) on her way to her office.  Apricot tea, French ukulele music and Laurel!!  Perfect!

SMOKY HONEY ORANGE CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 large orange
1 tab. honey
2 cloves garlic minced*
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika**
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Filet the chicken breasts, to make 4 to 6 thinner cutlets.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and then set the chicken into the skillet. Liberally salt and pepper both sides as they cook about 3 minutes on each side.

While they are cooking, grate the zest off of the orange and then juice it.  Put the grated peel along with the juice in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Add in the honey, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika and corn starch.  Put on the lid and shake well until the contents are blended (no cornstarch lumps!).

After the chicken has browned on both sides, pour in the orange mixture and cook for 3 or 4 minutes more on a low simmer until the sauce is thickened.  Set the chicken on a pretty plate and spoon the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

*This is the perfect time to used pre-minced garlic.  My favorite are the little frozen garlic cubes from Trader Joe’s.
**Up the smoked paprika if you want more spice and more smoke.

Here’s Laurel “on the job.”

 

Home with Kids In SF

Hello there– Just home from a kid-filled week in San Francisco– Lots of quiet days breaking out the crayons and building blocks and library books.  I’m grateful to have sweet days with the 4 grand-kids up there.

My big occupation was keeping company with Little Lois while her Mom went to work– Here we are around the house.

     

One day Uncle Aaron picked us up for a morning with the cousins– Mae, Eero & baby Otto.
      

There was a park day out with friends.
     

And a morning inspection of the house remodel -almost done!!

     

It was a fine full week– love seeing how those grand-kids are growing and changing!  Thanks thanks Ani & Brian– and Aaron too.  It’s always the best to be together.

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!