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.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

 

Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

ROASTED EGGLANT PARMESAN
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Strawberry Scones

Hello all– It’s starting to be strawberry season here!! That’s great news!  When we were married at the end of March, a hundred years ago (more or less), my Mom and I scoured the town for beautiful ripe strawberries to cascade down our wedding cake.  We finally found them jut in time in a small market couple cities over!!

But now we’ve got these sweet red berries and they are just right to be folded into buttery, crispy scones. With a smear of butter and maybe just a dot of jam.  Perfect.

STRAWBERRY SCONES
2 cups strawberries, stemmed & cut to bits
1 tab. sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1 egg
coarse sugar*

Stem and cut the strawberries to small bits until yo have 2 full cups.  Mix them with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  With a pastry blender (or a food processor if you don’t mind cleaning that big thing), cut in the butter until it is cut to the size of peas in the mixture.

With a soft spatula, sit the strawberries into the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and egg.  Then stir them into the flour mixture as well until it’s all moist and combined.

Onto a counter dusted with flour, dump the dough out.  Cut it into 2 halves.  Take the first half and form it into a thick disc.  Cut it into 6 triangular pieces (like a pizza!) and set them onto a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment.  Repeat with the second half of the dough for 12 medium sized scones.

Sprinkle the coarse sugar onto the tops of the scones and pop them into a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden and crispy around the edges.  Super delicious hot from the oven!!

*the recipe I worked from called for turbinado sugar.  I used some coarse sugar crystals I had from a cake decorating shop.

Widely Read

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“Read and listen to one thinker and you become a clone; Read two and you become confused; Read ten and you get your own voice; Read a hundred and you start to become wise.”

― Timothy Keller

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Been reading lately– and taking to heart the call to read more widely.  Here’s a couple books that were so worthwhile…

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles rells the story of a Count Rostov who in 1922 is confined to the attic rooms of a  luxury Moscow hotel for house arrest.  He spends the next decades there, passing days with a fascinating cast of characters that pass through the doors.  There are gold coins, a pass key, a hidden room and a long term secret romance. But the star of the story is definitely the count himself, wry, witty and cultured to a T. The story concludes with riotous twists and turns and leads to a truly satisfying ending.  Loved this book– favorite this year…

Just finished Hillbilly elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.  The author grew up in the Rust Belt of Ohio, into a tumultuous troubled family and made his way to graduate from Yale Law School.  Vance’s grandparents moved up to Ohio from the Appalachians of Kentucky in pursuit of a middle class life.  But the legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty followed them.  Vance tells his own personal story of a chaotic childhood and the support he received along the way that made him able to move up in the world.  At the same time he is candid about the effects of his family that followed him into adulthood.  As well as a personal story, the book is a worthwhile analysis of class and and the struggle to break out of the bounds of poverty and addiction.  Loved the author’s openness and very real view into a segment of America not well known to me.

P.S. The photo above is from the movie The Painted Veil– which is one of my favorites, along with the original excellent book The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham.

 

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Hello all– This is a little chocolate banana muffin that masquerades as a fruit muffin, but really is more of a dessert.  You can make them for breakfast if you want to (no judging here!), but they’d be fine with a cup of coffee after dinner too.  Moist, rich and delicious…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, smashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream (or unflavored yogurt)
1 egg
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tab. cornstarch
1 cup flour

Smash the bananas completely in a mixing bowl with a fork. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, oil, sour cream and egg.  Then mix in the cocoa and 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips.  Finally stir in the salt, baking powder, cornstarch and flour.

Spoon the batter into 10 to 12 muffin tins lined with muffin papers.**  Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips over the muffins. Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes until they are firm to the touch.

*Love Hershey’s dark cocoa
**or spray the muffin pans with cooking spray

Simple Salmon Salad

 

Hi fiends– Here’s Sunday lunch.  Trying to combine 2 things we should be eating more of– salad and fish.  So when I picked up 2 small salmon fillets at the market, I imagined a nicoise salad– but ended up with simple, quick version.  With a chunk of sturdy bread it’s a fine lunch.

SIMPLE SALMON SALAD

Salad (makes two servings):
4-5 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup petit peas (fresh or frozen)
6 Baby Dutch yellow potatoes*
2 small salmon filets
1 to 2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Dressing:
5 tab. olive oil
2 tb. red wine vingar
1 tsp. seedy Dijon mustard**
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

To start, slice the small potatoes into thin slices and cook them 4 to 5 minutes in a bowl of salted water in the microwave.  Drain and set aside.

If you’re using frozen peas microwave them just long enough to defrost them–not cook them!

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Cook the salmon 3 to 4 minutes on each side, adding salt and pepper as it cooks.  Let it cool a few minutes.

Then layer the greens, salmon, potatoes and peas on 2 dinner plates.

For the dressing, shake together the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid until they are thoroughly combined.  Pour over the salad when you’re ready to serve it.

*red skinned or small purple potatoes would work well too.

 

Between You & God

From Mother Teresa (1910-1997)  Catholic nun and missionary to Calcutta.

“People are often unreasonable and self centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

I you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give you best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway. 

 

Ran across this and loved it, thought you might too.  Reminds me that I walk with God in who I am and what I do day by day.  Thankful.