Celebrating John and Laurel

Hello everyone– This past weekend we celebrated our John and Laurel here in California– They were married in the woods of Wisconsin in August,  so we had a little second party (because you can’t have too many parties!) here at our house for family and friends who couldn’t make it back to the wedding.

There was lots of busy prep going on a couple days ahead– picking up supplies (thanks Lulu & Jenon!), early morning cake decorating,  getting grand-girls all decked out in the “Link’s Camp” shirts! and setting out cupcakes, setting up tables.  (The bride & groom on the cake is from Grandma Lo’s 1949 wedding and has graced many family wedding cakes since!)
     

     

Then in came family & friends to congratulate John & Laurel, here with Roni & Bret– Jill & Tim loading up on bratwurst, salads and Wisconsin cheese!, Jobay hanging out at the cupcake table, chatting with friends, Grandma Lo and soon-to-be-mom Andrea, friends & family under the maples trees…

     

     

And thanks to my trusty kitchen crew (all 7 of you!) who slaved away all afternoon to make it all go smoothly– And the Gayland for brewing up a keg of Wisconsin Spotted Cow Beer!
     

Laurel and I ended the weekend with a birthday shopping trip to Homegoods and the requisite stop at Yogurtland.  Thanks for coming out– love you girl of my heart!

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

Hello there– It’s Larry’s birthday today!!  I’m 3 months older than him so now he can stop teasing me about my advanced age.  Our parents are coming for dinner– chicken & rice– and we’ll top it off with this hearty cake.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!!

CARROT CAKE WITH COCONUT PECAN TOPPING

Cake:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 cups grated carrot (about 3 carrots)
2 eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter (2/3 of a stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups pecan, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Then mix in the oil, grated carrot and eggs.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  And pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool.

To make the topping, stir together the milk, 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla in a sauce pan.

Then put the pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture thickens (2 or 3 minutes).  the stir in the coconut and pecans.  Let it set a few minutes to cool and then heap it onto the cake.

P.S. This is an OLD post– Larry’s birthday is in August!!  But I saved it and the cake was lovely, so I’m passing it along.  Better late than never!!

Eating our Way Across Wisconsin

Hi All– Do you agree that one of the best parts of traveling is sitting down to share meals along the way??  We did a whole lot of eating during our Wisconsin weeks this summer– here’s the Top Ten of those meals together:

#1. BATCH BAKERY —  So many pastries (Did I really have a mini cherry pie and pecan bourbon tart for breakfast one day??) and the bread is sturdy moist and pretty perfect!  It’s just a 3 block walk from our daughter’s house so they saw us more than once!

#2.  PIZZA AT CRESS SPRING FARM —  On a warm evening we trekked across rolling Wisconsin farmland to order up pizza on the farm– picnicking out on the lawn, while the blue grass band played away.

     

#3.BRATS & BEER BAR-B-QUE AT JOHN & LAUREL’S WEDDING — The first night at the camp, we all lined up for grilled brats soaked in a Wisconsin beer bath along with Lulu’s super salads– and ended with s’mores by the campfire.

     

#4.  For a quiet beautiful lunch together Larry and I landed at Graze, just across the street from the State Capitol in Madison.
     

#5.  GLORIOSO’S DELI — One day for lunch, we dropped into this wonderland of a grocery store–every type of Italian food your could desire.  Sorry no lunch photos (a delicious prosciutto & fig flatbread).  We dug in too fast!  (And– smiley little Lois hates to see dessert end!)

     

     

#6. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN LAKE TERRACE — The perfect place to spend a summer afternoon is on the terrace of UW right on the lake– it’s beer, brats and ice cream from the university dairy department!

     

#7.  COLLECTIVO COFFE HOUSE — For breakfast in Milwaukee we walked down toward Lake Michigan and happily came upon coffee & breakfast out on the patio.

     

#8.  SOBELMAN’S — We went to Sobelman’s for their famous Bloody Marys and discovered it was National Brat Day!1 (Who knew??)

     

#9.  ISHNALA SUPPER CLUB — And the highlight of our Wisconsin  dining– a rustic cabin tucked in the woods on a beautiful lake.  Lovely food in a truly beautiful setting– Thanks Ani & Brian!

     

#10.MARIGOLD — Old friends Jac & Jackie guided us to this cozy cafe for Sunday brunch (braised chicken tostada) after church.  Always the best time talking over a meal with them…
     

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Thanks Larry for being my best travel buddy
and eating companion along the way!!  It was
sweet time with family and friends (and food!)
that I’ll always remember…

Quilt for Baby Otto

Hello all– Finished a quilt for our lovable new grand-guy– baby Otto.  Thought you might like to see it.  I love stitching on a quilt, thinking about who’s going to wrap up in it, praying for them as it gets quilted together bit by bit.

     

And here’s that Otto with his pretty mom.  Blessings on all your days ahead dear baby boy.

Happy Grandma

Hey there– It’s been a grand week– we trooped up to San Francisco to meet our new baby grand-guy baby Otto!!  Hung out with his brother & sis– that Eero and Mae.  Watched baby Lois 3 days while her mom headed off to work and to top it off landed in Ojai today with the 3 big grand-girls to celebrate Maryann’s birthday #9!!  It was a fine full week!

It was good times with little Lois — reading, crawling, hanging out with Mom & Dad.

   

Always a great time with Mae & Eero –picking Mae up at school, out for ice cream, playing at home, and Mae & I assisting on Jessica’s extraordinary donut making day!

     

And then there was new baby Otto– sweet and tender– so much fun to study his little face and watch him squirm and wiggle!
    

To finish the week off, we trekked up to Ojai to get in on the fun of Maryann’s #9 splashy birthday party at the pool.  Love that friendly, inventive girl!

   

So it was the best week– lots of hugs and talks and playtime with grand-kids.  What more could a grandma ask for?!  And one more photo to remember that getting that perfect angelic grand-girls photo doesn’t always work out–

Wonderful Woodsy Wisconsin Wedding Weekend


Hello friends– Just home from 2 weeks in Wisconsin.  Our Laurel and John were married in the woods of Wyalusing State Park, such a warm and wonderful weekend together with family and friends from far and wide.  Here’s a few snapshots from the weekend.

We all met up at the camp on Friday afternoon.  Friends and family went to work to set up camp (I was on the flower crew!) and then it was lawn games, brats on the grill and s’mores around the bonfire before we all tucked in.       

Saturday morning we woke up to Lulu’s scrumptious French toast with berries (Thanks Ted & Lu for being our cooks!).  After breakfast we moved on to more games and some serious painting at the “Craft Corner.” And then scattered to get ready for the wedding.
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We gathered at the glorious lookout point for the wedding.  After a flurry of photos and guests all arrived, the ceremony began.  Beautiful Irish pipes for music, officiating by John’s brother Danny, “wise words” from Dad Larry and the planting of a small white pine tree with soil from family gardens.  It was lovely.
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Back at the camp, we celebrated Laurel and John with a roast pig dinner & all the fixings.  There were speeches and dancing and cutting the cake (including a birthday cake for 6 year old Jobay)– and ending with some quiet moments with our girl by the campfire.

    

     

Well, that’s about it.  Sunday morning it was a quick breakfast and cars set off in all directions.  A few us packed up all the wedding detritus into the van–  And saw Laurel and John off to their National Parks honeymoon (we’ve been getting texts of glacial lakes and buffalo!).


God bless you John & Laurel.  It was a fine full wonderful weekend.  One we’ll never forget.  I’m thankful.

Peaches, Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Hi all– Isn’t August a great eating month??  The tomatoes are ripe and sweet– and peaches, my favorite fruit.  It seems like those peaches are only here for a few weeks ruddy and ripe.  So we’ve been eating both, in just about any form we can get them.

Made up this plate of tomatoes & Peaches with cheese when my siblings came in for Mom’s 86th birthday.  Along with a garlicky grilled tri-tip and a bright green salad and a hearty loaf of bread.  It was a real summer meal.

PEACHES, TOMATO & FRESH MOZZARELLA SALAD

Salad:
2 ripe peaches, pitted & sliced
2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes
2 or 3   4 oz. balls of fresh mozzarella
sprigs of fresh basil
serve with chunks of crusty bread on the side

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. honey

So simple.  Arrange the peaches, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a platter. Whisk together the dressing until well blended.

Pour dressing over it all when you’re ready to eat.  Lovely served with chunks of crusty bread to sop up the dressing.