Lemon Curd


Hi all– Are you a Lemon Curd lover??  I first met Lemon Curd in Gibraltar!  The years we lived in Spain, a van full of us would drive south to Gibraltar twice a year of a bit of British shopping.  We’d pick up English books, Christmas treats and then hit the market for cheddar, cereal, walnuts… (things we couldn’t find in Seville back then).  And Lemon Curd.

I’ve bought it here since– for scones or toast.  But this is the first time I’ve made it myself!  Easier than you’d think and so sweet-tart delicious!  Here’s how you do it:

LEMON CURD
6 tab. butter (3/4 stick), room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 tab. finely grated lemon peel
pinch salt

Grate the peel off 1 lemon (should make about a tablespoon).*  Juice 2 or 3 lemons to get the 3/4 cup lemon juice.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until they are light and creamy.  Then beat in the eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon peel and salt.

Scrape this all into a sauce pan and stir over low heat just under simmering for 10 to 15 minutes until the curd thickens.  Take off the heat and let it cool completely.


P.S. The little sprig of green is marjoram.  It grows like a weed in our side yard and it’s blooming right now!  (Planted by the previous owners 25 years ago– it just keeps growing).

Summer Reading 2018

Hi Reading Friends–  Do you have a stack of books waiting for time you can snatch for summer reading??  Here’s a few recent reads that I really enjoyed, memoirs, fiction and an amazing story of WWII.  What are you reading this summer??  Would love to have your suggestions!!

The Middle Place — by Kelly Corrigan
A memoir of Kelly’s growing up in her close knit family, alternating with chapters about her cancer treatments as a young mom and her father’s battle with cancer at the same time.  Sounds grim, but Kelly’s honesty, humor and love of family make it a book you won’t want to put down.  Love all her relatable books.

The Dirty Life, On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristen Kimball
Memoir of the author’s falling in love with her husband Mark and falling in love with organic farming.  It follows the first year they spend developing their farm in upstate New York–so many informative stories about crops and cooking, about animals and how to care for them.  Makes me appreciate all that goes into the food we eat!

Devour
by Sophie Egan
Egan goes in to detail about how and why American’s eat the way they do.  Topics: How work affects our eating, Diets, the rise of wine consumption, how Italian food became so mainstream, fast food marketing, the popularity of brunch, organic, gluten free, non-fat options, family meals…  Fascinating and sometimes surprising.  Loved it.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Riveting from the first page, the story of the bright and prosperous Richardson family and their renters, artist Mia and her smart daughter.  Their lives intertwine to the breaking point and divisions over the adoption of a baby, personal choices provide all the plot twists and turns.

The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons
The story alternates between 3 brothers returning to their dilapidated manner house after WWII and an enchanting young singer who helps bring it back to life– and then the story of one of those brothers 50 years later, training his grandson, the piano prodigy and reliving the turmoil of his life.  British family drama wrapped in music.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
A small girl is found alone on a ship arriving from England to Australia in 1910.  She is taken in by the harbor master and his wife.  But her story is a mystery.  It takes 500 pages and 3 generations of women to tell the true story.  Sort of a mix of Charles Dickens meets Downton Abbey.  Very readable and graced with likable characters and an involving plot line.

A Higher Call: an incredible true story of combat and chivalry  — by Adam Makos
The true story of an American pilot in WWII who was flying a battered bomber out of Germany, when a German fighter pilot, Franz Stigler flew along beside him and escorted him out of danger.  The book gives the two men’s backgrounds and stories through the war and their meeting finally many years after the war.  Interesting to have an anti-Nazi German pilot’s point of view.

Illustration at the top by Andre Pecoud.

Open Face Sandwich Board


Hi all– My buddy Janet came over for lunch today so we could plan a project we’re working on together.  so instead of making her a sandwich (a little dull), I set out all the fixings on a board so we could pile up our own open face sandwiches (more fun).  And we had mini ice cream cones from the market for dessert– only 110 calories each ((but I wont’ tell you how many we ate!!).

It isn’t really a “recipe”– just an idea!

OPEN FACE SANDWICH BOARD
Thick sliced sour dough loaf
Sliced turkey
Sliced ham
Colby Jack cheese
Fresh mozzarella
Sliced avocado
Arugula
Orange marmelade
Seedy mustard
Mint
Sea salt
Fresh apricots (for munching, not sandwiches)

Find an ample board or platter and start arranging!  Good bread and whatever options you can find in your kitchen to pile on top!  It’s that simple.

Morning Prayer


Good Sunday morning to you– A dear friend shared this with us.  His grandfather had said this prayer every morning as he rose.  I find it so beautiful and meaningful.  Wanted to share it with you…

Morning prayer

O God, Lord of all power and might, preserver of all thy creatures:
Keep us this day in health of body and soundness of mind,
in purity of heart and cheerfulness of spirit,
in contentment with our lot and charity with our neighbor
In our labor strengthen us;
in our perils defend us;
in our troubles comfort us;
and supply all our needs,
according to the riches of thy grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen

P.S. photo from our kid’s home in Ojai on Mothers Day.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with PB Cream Cheese Frosting


Hello all– Peanut Butter & Chocolate– goes together like peaches & cream or bacon & eggs.  It’s just a pretty irresistible combination.  I’m imagining this could be a hit at your 4th of July Bar-b-que!!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES WITH PB CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cupcakes:
1 chocolate cake mix
vegetable oil
water
3 eggs
1/3 cup peanut butter

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar (about 3  2/3 cups)
1/2 tsp.vanilla
3 to 4 tab. milk

Make the cake mix according to the recipe on the box. (Mine used 1/2 cup oil, 1  1/4 cup water and 3 eggs.)  Use an electric mixer– and also add in the 1/3 cup peanut butter.

Use cupcake paper liners in cupcake pans to make 24 cupcakes.  Fill the cupcake cups 1/2 full with batter and the pop them into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cupcakes are firm to the touch.

Let the cupcakes cool before you frost them.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, 1/2 cup peanut butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add the milk, a little at a time until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

Top the cupcakes with frosting and dig in!

Broccoli & Pork Stir Fry


Hello there– Do you hit nights that you just don’t want to summon up a dinner??  Me too. Happy for us last night was 99 cent Taco Tuesday!!

But if you do want to put dinner  on the table, here’s a meal that you can cook up in the time it takes your brown rice to cook up.  Set the rice on to simmer and start dropping stir fry ingredients into a skillet.  Quick & Easy.

BROCCOLI & PORK STIR FRY
1 cup brown (or white) rice
1 pound thin pork cutlets, sliced to bite sized strips
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 small heads of broccoli
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
ganish:  2 sliced green onions

sauce:
1/2 cup water
2 tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. constarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (optional)

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet (or wok).  Cook the pork on high for just 3 or 4 minutes until it is browned, but still tender.  Salt and pepper the meat while it cooks.  Remove it from the skillet.

Chop the broccoli to bite sized bits and cook it in the microwave for 3 or 4 minutes in a bit of salted water, until it is tender, but not mushy.

In the same skilled at add the carrots and cook for 4 minutes until they start to get soft.  Add in the red pepper and cook just 1 minute more.

Then shake together all the sauce ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid until it is all blended.  Add it to the carrots in the skillet and stir on medium heat a couple minutes until it thickens.  Add in the meat and broccoli and stir to cover it all with sauce.

Layer the rice and then the sauce & stir fry on a pretty platter.  Garnish with chopped green pepper.  Eat it up nice and hot!

Grammy Camp 2018

Hello friends– We’re just through with this year’s Grammy Camp– and it was tons of exhausting fun!   How can 4 small girls strike so much joy in one old grandma??  I took a big bunch of photos– but I’ll just send you my favorites of our 4 day together.  (And then give you the list of all we did– for any of you Grammy’s out there who are planning your own Grammy Camp!)

With this crew, arts & crafts are always popular!!  We painted t-shirts and painted favorite animals on canvas, made Fathers Day cards and cut and pasted monsters together,  and there was daily lunch bag decorating while Grandma made sandwiches.

     

 

      

 

Grandpa Larry drove us all out to Irvine Regional Park for a day at the zoo and the Nature Center, a picnic and a little tree climbing.

      

     

There were lots of other things to keep up busy.  There were daily picnics and playgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

There were good times in the kitchen– a Brownie Bake Off, mixing up homemade ice cream and a Make Your Own Pizza Night!

     

Early on we had a scavenger hunt at the library and stocked up on bedtime reading.
     

One evening we set out at dusk for a flashlight hike.

We spend a sunny afternoon decorating sugar cookies and then eating them up at a tea party.
     

And followed clues all over the house & yard on a treasure hunt to find the treasure– bubble gloves.
     

We headed out to the backyard for our Wacky Water Day– splashes and squeals and water balloons.

So at Grammy Camp there are just TWO rules!

#1. Eat an ice cream every day
#2. No Grumping!!

And for activities:
Bible Stories at Breakfast every morning

Cooking– homemade ice cream (later made into sundaes),A Brownie Bake Off (brownies later delivered to the Great Grandparents, Make Your Own Pizza night, decorate sugar cookies

Library Scavenger Hunt (find a book with a mouse on the cover, a book by Dr. Seuss, a book about an amazing girl…)  and check out the books for reading at home.

Art & Crafts– Paint your t-shirt,  decorate your lunch bag, monster collages, paint a favorite animal, Fathers Day Cards– (describing Dad on one side, making his portrait on the other).

Daily picnics/playgrounds and the Splashpad at Lemon Park

Movie & popcorn night (Paddington Bear 2)

UNO championship (involves M&Ms!)

Flashlight Hike around the neighborhood before bed

Bedtime stories (of course!)

Irvine Regional Park –picnic, zoo, nature center, train ride, tree climbing

Ice Cream Sandwich Race- beat Grandma around the block!

Tea Party with Martinelli’s and cookies we decorated

Wacky Water Day (water balloons, water bag toss, squirters)

Slide show of Grammy Camp photos the last night before bed.


So very glad, so thankful to have our grand-girls, so bright and full of fun.  And a Big Thanks to Larry for all the grandfathering he did for those girls along the way.  Can’t wait for Grammy Camp 2019!!