Unwavering Trust

Hello friends–  Some times life seems heavy, too real.  We have three friends facing very serious medical treatments.  They don’t know how things will end, but I’m thankful they all have a tenacious hope is God’s goodness and mercy.  They are prepared.  And we are praying with them…

It reminds me of a note I received a while back from a friend in the middle of her chemotherapy–

“No one warns which days will forever change our lives.  No one wakes us that morning and says, “This day will require you to have an unwavering trust in the sovereignty of God.  This day you’ll need to be prepared with all truth.” (Chuck Swindoll)

So every day, we all must be prepared, ready knowing who God is and how we trust him.  Because we will all face unwelcome troubles. It’s our hope in God and trust in his care that will see us through.

–photo from drive across New Mexico with Laurel

Full House


Lois visiting her great grandmother– with Mom & Grandma looking on.

Hi all– The last two weeks we’ve had waves of kids (and their fun friends) coming through the house.  There were plenty of cute grand-kids and dear great grand-mothers to pose for pics.  So I hope you’ll indulge my little family scrapbooking here– it’s a time I want to remember…

First in the door were Laurel and her three bright coworkers.  Lots of chances to get to know them over dinners and morning mugs of tea.

Then baby Lois and her parents, Ani & Brian, arrived– The following section may be titled “Lois on Laps!!”
     

     
above photos:  breakfast time with Grandpa Larry, at the Taqueria with Auntie Laurel, Four generation picture with my mom–Great Grandma Lo!! , post bath time snuggle with mom, having fun with Great Grandma Honey and Great Grandpa Stu,  And– her first taste of solid food–avocado!! (very messy & entertaining)

Then the fun began with the arrival of the three big grand-girls and their parents– Micah & Jodi!

    


above photos: 3 girls following clues on their treasure hunt,  coloring one of Aunt Lolo’s giant photos,  more treasure hunt clues in front of their Happy Birthday banner,  Micah & Jodi selfie,  obligatory walk to Yogurtland.

There were  few other good times–

     

     


above photos:  Lois’ first trip to the pool,  afternoon stop at Porto’s incredible bakery,  Girls’ day out to register for John & Laurel’s wedding things,  Albert & Liz dropping in for brunch, family walk…

I’m still remembering our wild and wonderful weeks together. Thanks everyone for making the trek home!  So grateful.

Italian Chopped Salad

 

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Hello all-  Took this salad to dinner with a table full of friends on Valentines Day.  A big Italian feast.  Jill made us all wear large heart name tags (ala Julia Child) and Tim was ready with the go ’round questions after dinner–
What’s the most romantic things your spouse has ever done??
What about you, most annoys your husband/wife??
If your spouse were famous, what would he/she be known for??

It was a a delightful evening, 12 old friends, most of us married around 40 years, and I appreciated my Larry all the more by the time the evening was over.

And– we had this bright salad–full of a lot of my favorite tastes.  It’s hearty enough to be dinner on its own– or just part of a big festive dinner with friends!

ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD

Salad:
6 cups chopped green leaf lettuce*
1/4 pound hard salami, thickly sliced & chopped
3 oz. feta with herbs, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup good mixed cured olives

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. white balsamic**
1 tsp. honey
3 tab. parmesan romano
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

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Spread the greens in a large salad bowl and top with the other salad ingredients.

In a container with a closed lid, shake together the dressing ingredients until they are thoroughly blended.  Pour over the salad just before you are ready to serve and do just a bit of tossing to coat all the salad.  (This amount makes 6 servings)  Enjoy!

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Mandarin Pomegranate Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

 

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Hi all–  A couple weeks ago we had friends in for a wintery night dinner.  There was honey crusted pork loin, wild rice and Brussel spouts– and this bright sweet salad to start us off.

The real hit of the evening was after dinner, when our friend Mark pulled out his little bag of tricks and did an amazing magic show!  How did the nine of hearts jump from that stack of cards to the other?? Or the coin go right through the table??  You had us totally mystified Mark.

MANDARIN POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING

Salad:
4 cups of your favorite greens*
3 mandarin oranges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 avocado, cut to neat chunks
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. orange vinegar**
2 tab. honey
1 tab. poppy seeds
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Peel and break the mandarin oranges into neat segments.  Then layer the greens, mandarin segements, pomegranate seeds, avocado and almonds onto a pretty platter.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the oil, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds. salt & pepper until they are thoroughly blended.  Pour over the salad when you are ready to serve it up.

*I used baby arugula– spinach, green leaf lettuce, bib lettuce are all great.
** Love love Trader Joe’s Orange Champagne Vinegar, but red wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar would be terrific too.

 

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Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

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Hello all–  I’m up in San Francisco, spending some stormy days with the new grand-girl Lois, while her mom is off to work.  It’s been quiet and cozy in the house.  Today we baked a birthday cake (actually Lois mostly just looked on from her little chair!).  So this has nothing to do with maple chicken– just wanted you to know how much fun I’m having!!

The Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes came out of the kitchen last week– made it for a friend who is having shoulder surgery next week, after a bad fall.  Praying she comes through this all strong and back on the run.  Love her so.

The coating is sweet and peppery, makes the chicken bright and tasty– with those smoshey sweet potatoes, a good winter evening meal.

MAPLE CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes:
2 large-ish sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 to 3 tab. steak seasoning (such as Montreal)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 green onions, sliced to small bits

Pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes and set them on a baking dish lined with foil (for easier clean up). Put them in a 350 degree oven fro 50 to 60 minutes, until the sweet potatoes feel tender when poked with a fork.

Let them cool for a bit, then peel off the skin.  Put the sweet potato flesh in to a mixing bowl along the the milk, salt and vanilla.  Beat it all with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and fluffy. (You can reheat these easily in the microwave when the chicken’s done).

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to cut each of them into two thinner cutlets.  Coat the chicken with a sprinkling of the the steak seasoning.  Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken cutlets 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium high heat– unitl they are nicely browned and cooked through.

Take the chicken from the pan and add the maple syrup to the chicken drippings.  Let it all simmer on low for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan to coat the pieces in sauce.

On a platter heap the sweet potatoes next to the chicken cutlets.  Scrape the extra sauce from the pan onto the chicken and then sprinkle the green onion slices over the chicken.  Enjoy!

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Snowy Weekend

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Snowy trek up the mountain–I’d never seen such white sky!

Hey all– Are you looking out the window to see a wonderland of snow–bright & white & beautiful??  We’re snowless all winter here at our house, real snow amateurs.  But last weekend we trekked up the mountains to Big Bear through a snowy afternoon and it was magical.

We settled in to a snug cabin.
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We woke up to sunshine and crisp mountain air (Larry was the snow shoveler!)
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Some of the group took off to ski/snowboard.
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While Larry and I took a long morning walk in the sunshine.
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We loved every minute talking and playing games and eating and praying with this group of amazing people.  It’s wonderful to be together with them…
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Thankful for the beauty and the people and the quiet of this snowy weekend.
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And thanks Tyler for this sunset photo– it’s awesome! So glad and thankful for this group and for all we learn from you…

Swedish Lemon Hearts

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Hello Cookie Makers– Got this recipe from my friend Sue, who actually learned to make these from her Swedish grandmother.  We’ve both been making them since our kids were small– almost 40 years!  It’s a Christmas favorite.

They are thin and crisp and citrusy and sweet.  And so pretty, they belong on a Christmas table.

SWEDISH LEMON HEARTS
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lemon
maraschino cherries
sprinkling of sugar

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With a fine grater, grate the peel off of the lemon.  Then juice the rest and strain the seeds from the juice.

With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until it’s blended and smooth.  Then beat in the flour (it will be dry, may take a few minutes).    Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin an a floured counter.  Also sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough–it may be a little sticky.  Cut out your hearts and place them 1″ apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle a sugar very lightly and cut up the cherries and put a small bit of cherry at the cleft of each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes, just until they start to brown at the edges.  Merry Christmas!

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