Birthday Girl’s Weekend– Santa Barbara!!


Hello friends– Do you have fall birthdays to celebrate in your family?? We have a big one– Maryann turned 10!!  So last weekend we trekked up to Santa Barbara for her “ten year old birthday trip.”  Let me tell you, it’s big fun to have all that time to ourselves with our bright spunky girl!

We started out referring to our Birthday Fun Map–  First stop was the Moxi Museum for kids.  Maryann was in her element.  Hands on exhibits using light, art, sound, movement.
     

     

Then we were off on the Little Toot tugboat tour of the harbor– the Captain even gave Maryann a turn at the wheel!
     

We made a Sunday morning stop at the Santa Barbara Mission–founded 1786.
     

Then dropped in to stroll through the lush Santa Barbara Zoo.

     

We picked out our favorite pieces at the SB Art Museum– and puzzled over a few we were unfamiliar with.
     

And we rounded out our day with a tour through the historic courthouse– up the tower for views across Santa Barbara.

     

The sun was about to set when we headed back to deliver Maryann home.


We’re so thankful for days exploring with this sweet girl.  Happy Birthday 10 year old Maryann!!  Here’s to a great year ahead!

Hello Autumn!!– and Pumpkin Baking


Hey there friends– It’s come!  Autumn has finally arrived.  Maple leaves are starting to cover the backyard and amazingly, we supposed to see rain tomorrow!! I wonder, are you one of those people who love autumn??  It just seems like a fresh new start after the hot lazy summer days. The best!

“Delicious Autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking successive autumns.”
— George Eloit

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I’m with Anne– So glad for Octobers!! Looking forward to the month ahead..

 

      

HOPES FOR OCTOBER
#1.  Pumpkin Cream Puffs– Let the pumpkin baking begin!!
#2.  Pull out my Halloween kid’s books to read with the Grand-girls
#3.  Mugs of hot Caramel Apple Cider
#4.  Hang the Fall Eucalyptus wreath on the front door
#5.  Take a brisk hike through Craig Park and the fall colors
#6.  Join in the Oktoberfest at the Rockwell’s
#7.   Make pots and pots of soup (Corn Chowder, Pozole, Chili)
#8.  Pull down all the cozy sweaters from the top of the closet
#9.  Evening fires in the fireplace & mugs of apple cinnamon tea
#10. Plant the Sweet Peas (for blooms in the spring)
#11. Just sit and watch the leaves drift down from the backyard Maples
#12. Cal Football & mugs of hard cider & a huge bowl of pop corn (Go Bears!)
#13. Harvest Party with my MOPS moms & their adorable kids!
#14. Have our friends in for Sunday Supper– pumpkin pancakes
#15. San Francisco with Mom to see her great grand-kids for Halloween.
#15. Make our Thankful Heart Chart to be ready for November 1st!

 

Started in on the list this week with those Pumpkin Cream Puffs– They look tricky to make, but cream puffs are so easy– and the way they puff up in the oven to be light and hollow is like magic!


LITTLE PUMPKIN CREAM PUFFS
Puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
pinch salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Garnish:
powdered sugar for dusting the tops

Set oven to 425 degrees.

In a saucepan bring the water, butter and salt to a rolling boil.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour until it forms a big glob.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together and then with a fork beat the eggs into the flour mixture until it’s a sticky smooth batter (no lumps! takes a few minutes)

Drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Leave about 2″ between each puff– they will grow!!  Pop them in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes until they are puffed and golden.  Let them cool completely, then slice each puff horizontally with a serrated knife.

To make the filling, beat the cream, powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer until it is a stiff cream.  then gently fold in the pumpkin.

Drop a spoonfuls of filling in the bottom half of each sliced puff and then set on the top half (it’s best to not fill the puffs way ahead– they could get soggy!).   Dust with powdered sugar through a sieve.  Makes about 20. Ready to eat!!

And to my way of thinking, there’s never too many pumpkin treats this month.  Here’s a few baking ideas:

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

.

 

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

.

 

Maple Pumpkin Granola

.

 

Pumpkin Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

.

 

So HAPPY AUTUMN!!  Hoping you enjoy all the coziness and brisk days.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
–Lauren Destefano

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.

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!

 

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