Here Comes the Bride

Hi everyone– Just one more little scrapbook post.  Family came in from far and wide this weekend for a little pre-wedding celebrating– a Bachelorette party by the beach and two warm & wonderful wedding showers.  So happy for you Laurel & John!

It was so sweet to be with family and old friends to shower Laurel with gifts and good wishes.

     

There were meals together, good times getting to know John’s family come in from Wisconsin and quieter times just hanging around the house…

   

And we threw in a trip to the beach one day, and a picnic at the park another (complete with cherry pit spitting contest).
     

     


It was a fine full weekend– a little crazy–with it’s ups and downs (ie-engagement ring lost at the beach and found by a guy named Stan with a metal detector!!)  But lots of time together– and there’s nothing I love more than that.  Happy Wedding to come John & Laurel!!  God Bless on all that lies ahead…

P.S.  Thanks Jodi for your pictures that I “borrowed.”

Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

 

Hi all– It was a wacky wonderful weekend.  Family pulled in from Ojai, San Francisco and Wisconsin to celebrate John & Laurel, about to get married!!  A Bachelorette Party and two festive showers–it couldn’t have been sweeter.

Now it’s back to real life.  And here’s an straight forward everyday dinner to throw on the grill.  Mix the marinade, drop in the chicken and skewer it up when you’re ready to grill.  A little spicy, and so flavorful.

THAI CURRY CHICKEN SKEWERS
2 to 3  pounds chicken boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
garnish: lime wedges & chopped cilantro

Cut the chicken breasts in to chunks.  Set aside.

In a gallon zip loc bag, add in the other ingredients– soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, Thai sweet chili sauce and salt.  Squeeze the bag until they all is thoroughly mixed and then drop in the chicken.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce, for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Thread the chicken onto 3 or 4 skewers and grill the chicken on a bar-b- que until the it’s charred around the edges and cooked through.

Move the chicken to a platter and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Here’s a simple summer supper on the coffee table (Angel baseball on the tv).

Caramel Pear Cake

 

Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

CARAMEL PEAR CAKE
2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.

Birthday Girl’s Weekend –San Diego

Hi all–Our grand-girl Charlotte turned 10 years old!!  So to celebrate this special birthday we trekked down to San Diego for a zoo day, some late night swimming and a stroll through the Natural History Museum.

It was grand to spend the time with just Charlotte– We followed our “Fun Map” to see us through the trip.
     

First stop– The San Diego Zoo

     

Sunday morning I was in “breakfast heaven” at– Con Pane–Rustic Breads & Cafe–with a thick slab of raisin hazelnut bread & butter.
     

We ended out trip strolling through Balboa Park, and Charlotte’s pick– The Natural History Museum.

     

After a stop at the “Old Town” for a taco & enchilada lunch, we headed up the Interstate to return Charlotte to Ojai.
     
Thanks Char-Star for all the lively fun to add to our lives– And Happy Birthday 10 year old!!

Cherry Citrus Salad

 

Hello friends– Have cherries turned up at your market yet??  I walked over to the Farmers Market in San Francisco last week with little Lois and there were cherries galore!  So dark and sweet– we bought a bagful for a treat.

And back home there are piles of Cherries at the market too– So when Jenni invited us over for a bar-b-que, we arrived with this salad in hand.  Bright and sweet and hearty.  Just right for a summer night eating grilled chicken & sausages with a table of friends.

CHERRY CITRUS SALAD
8 cups mixed salad greens
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 avocados, cut into chunks
3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
2 oranges, peeled and cut into sections

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. Champagne orange vinegar*
1 tsp. sugar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Spread the greens into a large salad bowl.  On top, layer the beans, avocados, cherries and oranges.

Shake the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid until they are thoroughly blended. Drizzle the dressing over the salad when you are ready to serve it.  Enjoy!

*They have this luscious Orange Vinegar at Trader Joe’s– but I’ve seen it other places too.

A couple pics from our trek to the SF Farmer’s Market  (San Francisco City Hall in the background)–
   

White Texas Sheet Cake

Hello ya’ll–  We lived in Texas for a few years when we were first married and the chocolate version of this sweet cake was a staple of friends there.  And it made it’s way into our own cake rotation.

So when I ran across this white reiteration of the old favorite, I wanted to give it a try.  Swap out cinnamon and pecans for almond flavoring and walnuts– and of course, hold the chocolate!  Love the simple, homey little cake.  Just right for a weeknight meal or a picnic with friends.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE
Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto*

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or more if you love nuts like I do!!)

In a mixing bowl, stir up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a saucepan, bring the 1 cup butter and water to  simmer (be sure all the butter is melted).  Them stir it completely into the flour mixture.

In a mug, whisk together the eggs, sour cram and 1 tsp. amaretto with a fork.  Then blend it into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees of 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

While that’s baking make the frosting.  Bring the 1/2 cup butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and then stir in the powered sugar, amaretto and walnuts.  Smooth it over the cake– delicious warm or cooled!

*I use Amaretto in place of almond extract because it it so much less expensive!  And a big bottle will last forever…
**In place of the large baking sheet, I used two 10″ inch tart pans– prettier to serve from.

San Francisco Family Days

 


Hello all– Just a few (or maybe more than a few!) photos of last week in San Francisco.  Maybe if you’re not into doting grandma posts, you might scroll on by this one!  But I’m wanting to remember days of giggling, kite flying, book reading and daily ice cream. So here goes…

Around the house with little Lois (her dear parents Ani & Bria), plenty of play time…

    

And she got us out and about too– Story time at Charlie’s Corner Book Shop, taking in the sun at Golden Gate Park,  tea time at Vive La Tart, and my favorite — visiting Mom at work…
     

     

     

Then we moved over for a few days with Mae & Eero and fine their parents.  Here’s Mae & Eero in their “jungle,” stories in the hallway, the best toy– a cardboard box! and more stories for morning wake up.

     

Out & About with these kids means parks, ice cream and some splashy rock throwing!
     

     

     
The best of the week were quiet talks at dinner with Ani & Brian, out for morning coffee to catch up with Jessica, Aaron making morning pancakes and reading with kids…   You all are the most amazing parents.  It’s a joy to spend time with you and those bright kids!!  thanks thanks.