Family Trek through the Sequoias!


Hi all– Just back from 5 days with family at Sequoia National Park.  Growing up, every summer, my Mom and Dad would stash 4 kids and piles of camping gear in the station wagon, and head up the interstate to Sequoia. So it was big fun to do it again with my Sis and some of our kids!!

We set out one morning to hike our way around bright and brilliant Crescent Meadow (an old favorite for me and my Sis, Lulu!)

      

     

Midway around the meadow, we found a quiet spot to stop for lunch and a chance to rest our hiking feet!  And then on we trekked…

      

We finally arrived at Tharpe’s Log– a fallen redwood tree that became the home to the first settler in that area, who raised sheep in the adjacent meadow.

     

It was a fine full day–and being immersed in such beauty filled my soul.  I was thanking God for the glorious views all around me.

      


Thanks bunches to Charlotte, Micah, Jodi, Maryann, Larry, Jobay, Laurel & John (and Ted & Lu!)  for being the best adventurous, intrepid hiking buddies.  Let’s do it again!!

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce


Hello there– We’ve been having record breaking heat here in southern California.  So it seems all we eat these days are salads and tacos!    Anything light and cool.

So when Jenna texted and said she wanted to come by and help with dinner, this was on the menu.  She is so much fun in the kitchen– and we had lots to talk about to catch up!

And– there’s lots of flavor in these little tacos– with the cilantro lime sauce and any toppings you have in the fridge. A perfect summer supper.

HONEY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
1 1/2 ponds boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tab. olive oil
3 tab. honey
1 tab. Dijon mustard
1 tab. ketchup
1 tab. lime juice
1 tab. McCormick Chipotle & roasted garlic seasoning
1 tab. apple cider vinegar
1 tab. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Cilantro Lime sauce:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. mayonaise
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 tab. lime juice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Extra Taco Ingredients:
street style small corn tortillas
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
grated cheese
salsa
cilantro
red onion
avocado
anything you like on your tacos!

Cut the chicken to small bite size bits.  Set aside.

In a container with a lid, mix together the oil, honey, mustard, ketchup lime juice, cider vinegar, cumin and salt.  Drop the bit of chicken into the mixture and stir until the chicken is thoroughly coated.  Then refrigerate the chicken 2 to 8 hours.

To make the Cilantro Lime Sauce, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt.  Cover and set it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat tab. of olive oil in a skillet,  When the skillet is hot lift the chicken from the marinade (use a slotted spoon so that the extra marinade is left in the container) and grill the chicken 3 to 4 minutes, stirring now and then until it is browned on all sides.

Serve the chicken with lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, salsa (all your favorite taco ingredients…) and the cilantro lime sauce.

Almond Nectarine Muffins


Good morning– Made these sweet muffins on a Saturday morning, when Paige dropped in for coffee and talk. She’s a darling young woman–we talked about work and plans and life’s ups and downs.  Amazing girl.

And the muffins were yummy warm from the oven– love baking with peaches/nectarines.  Seems like they are in season such a short time– they taste like summer!

ALMOND NECTARINE MUFFINS

Streusel:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tab. butter
1/4 cup almonds

Muffins:
1 medium nectarine
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tab. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. amaretto (or almond extract)*
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Make the streusel first.  Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender of two forks until it looks crumbly.  Stir in the almonds.  Set aside for now.

Cut the nectarine into small bits (no need to peel).  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, amaretto and sour cream.  Then mix in the four, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Finally stir in the cut up nectarine bits.

Spoon the batter into a muffin pan lined with muffin papers.  Makes 12.  Sprinkle the streusel over the muffins and pop them in to 375 degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes– until the are slightly browned and firm to the touch.  Wonderful hot from the oven with a little smear of butter!

Fresh Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad


Hello there– Do you have a summer favorite dish??  Laurel made this for us on our stay with them in Wisconsin and I’ve made it twice already since we’ve been home!  Tonight it was on the table for a cookout at our neighbor’s house– my new summer favorite!!

Sweet charred corn, creamy avocado, summer ripe tomatoes– flavored with just a hint of lime.  Perfect!

FRESH CORN AVOCADO & TOMATO SALAD

Salad:
3 ears of sweet corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lage avocado, peeled, pitted, chunked
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Dressing:
1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed, minced
zest & juice of 1 large lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil

Cut the corn kernels from the cob, slicing down the cob with a knife. Heat 3 tab. of olive oil in a skillet and drop in the corn for about 4 minutes, until some of the kernels are charred, stirring a couple times while it cooks. Take off the heat and cool the corn.

To make the dressing, carefully removed the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno, then mince it finely.  (I use a plastic bag on the hand holding the jalapeno, to prevent pepper burn!).

Put the jajapeno, lime zest & juice, salt, garlic and oil into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until the ingredients are well blended.

Add the cut cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and green onion to the cooled corn.  Mix in the dressing and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it up.

Two Books –Two Old Favorites

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Hey there– Have you put your feet up lately for a little summery reading??  Here’s a couple older books that I’ve gone back to this summer and thought you’d love them too.

 

Years ago vacationing in England, I saw the “84 Charing Cross Road” movie (starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins) and I’ve had that story on my mind every since.  The book contains a series of letters from a breezy quirky Brooklyn writer and a staid & proper employee of a traditional bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road, London, starting in 1949.  The long distance friendship grows over many years as books are ordered and gifts and stories are mailed back and forth across the Atlantic.  Short and heart warming, perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

The Hiding Place is an old favorite I read years ago, then promptly reread it again to my kids.  It’s the actual story of Corrie Ten Boom, who, along with her family, worked with the Dutch underground. During the WWII years hundreds of Jews were hidden in homes, such as the Ten Boom’s.  There are secret codes, late night arrivals, surreptitious radios, and the “Hiding Place” behind a secret wall at the top of the house.  Sadly, Corrie, her father and sister are discovered and the second half of the book tells the amazing stories of God’s care for them as they endure the Ravenbruk concentration camp.

 

P.S. Painting at the top is “Interior with a Woman” by Alexandru Ciucurencu

Orange Maple French Toast

Good morning all!!  Growing up my Dad had one specialty meal– his Sunday morning French toast.  He’d put on his Sunday morning music and cook away while Mom got 4 kids ready for church.

So here’s a recipe that’s so simple , it’s more of a tip than a recipe!  But it really kicks up the flavor or your Sunday morning French toast!  I think you’ll like it!

ORANGE MAPLE FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf French bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
3 tab. grated orange peel (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup maple syrup

Slice the French bread into 1 inch slices.  Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, grated orange peel and maple syrup.

Heat the griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (or use butter if you’re feeling indulgent!).  Dip both sides of each bread slice in the egg mixture and cook just about a minute on each side.

Store the cooked slices in a low oven until they are all cooked.  Serve with butter and more maple syrup!!  Delicious!

Antipasto Spinach Pasta Salad


Hello all– What is the easiest, freshest, yummiest way to have friends in for dinner in the summer??  A big bunch of Bible study friends came couple weeks ago for a salad/dessert pot luck.  As they trickled in the door, brimming bowls of chicken salad and fresh fruit and Asian slaw… lined up in the kitchen.  Plus pies– beautiful pies!

We sat down with plates full and settled into easy conversation that you have with old friends.  Love a summer evening with these ladies.

And this was my salad contribution– so much flavor from the sun dried tomatoes and garlicky salami, played against chewy pasta and creamy fresh mozzarella.  I think it would be good on your summer able too.

ANTIPASTO SPINACH PASTA SALAD
8 oz. Cellentani pasta (or your favorite pasta)*
salt
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup cured olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls (or cubed)
4 oz. salami, cut to pieces
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup parmesan romano cheese, grated
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (mine was 11 minutes in boiling water).  Drain, rinse and cool the pasta to room temperature in a large bowl.

Add in the spinach, red, pepper, red onion, dried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, salami and garbanzo beans.

To make the dressing, put the olive oil, white balsamic, cheese and salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well until it’s all blended.  Pour over the salad and mix to coat all the ingredients with dressing.

Stick it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it up!

*I used Barilla Cellentani in the blue box– nice and chewing and soaks up the dressing.

Wisconsin Welcome


Hello all– Wonder if you’ve been off vacationing yet this summer. –???  We’re just back from our week away– spent a warm & welcoming time with our Laurel & John at their new house near Madison. (warning– SO many photos here!  –couldn’t help myself.)

Our first evening we joined a few thousand others on the State Capitol lawn for a pizza picnic to the music of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.  They played a Spanish favorite– Concierto de Aranjuez!!  Magical!

      

One morning we traversed 3 lakes (including raising the boat in a lock) to arrive at the University of Madison Terrace on the lake.  We lunched on brats and fresh corn along the lake and finished off with the memorable ice cream from the school’s dairy department!

      

      

Saturday morning found us at the Farmers Market collecting bagfulls of fresh produce to cook up over the weekend.

     

John’s intrepid red jeep ferried us out across the countryside to the Crane Institute– a study center for cranes from all over the world.  Then we stopped off along the Wisconsin River for a picnic (until it started raining!).

     

      

Laurel & John made sure we ate well!  Succulent steaks on the grill with Laurel’s beautiful salads– next night, a big grilled paella to eat out under the oak trees with friends.

      

The highlight of the trip was getting to see John & Laurel’s new house!!  While they were at work, Larry & I did a little wall paper stripping, spakeling and instaling of bookcases in the study).  It’s such a cozy place!

We took a few evening walks to enjoy the fireflies and everything so green and bountiful in the Wisconsin summer.

      

Thankful thankful for the days out and about, for the quiet conversations over dinner, for the joy of seeing you settle into your new home John & Laurel,  We love time with you!!  (See you in Sequoia in a couple weeks!!)

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Hi there– how’s your summer going??  We’re getting a big dose of summer here with our kids in Wisconsin!  Yesterday afternoon, John grilled steaks while Laurel made salads and I put this peach cobbler in the oven.  Dinner out on their back porch with the fireflies under the towering oak trees–just grand!

But even better– the next morning Laurel & I sat out on that back porch in the sunshine and had leftover peach cobbler for breakfast!  Good start to a good day with L & J!!

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

Peaches:
7 medium ripe peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cobbler Biscuits:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 tab. sugar
2 tab. cornmeal
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

Peel and pit the peaches.  Cut them into nice bite size chunks.

In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, stir together the peaches, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of it all.

To make the biscuits, stir together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla until the batter is stiff.

Divide the dough into 8 blobs and drop them on top of the peaches.

Pop the whole thing into the oven at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are browned and the peaches are tender.  Add a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, substitute by putting a tablespoon of cider vinegar into the measuring cup and filling up to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a few minutes to thicken.

 

Waiting


Hi friends– Here’s a bit I wrote for the Women’s Blog at church.  It means a lot to me– Thought you might be waiting on something in your life too…

WAITING

I am not a patient “waiter.” I think you know what I mean. Waiting in line at the market in the 5:00 afternoon rush—or waiting on the phone, way beyond reason, to be connected the person I need to talk to. It gives me the fidgets.

Right now Larry and I are waiting on a matter of much greater magnitude. At times, it’s kept me awake in the night. And made my mind run to the worst outcome. The wait has stretched long beyond what we had hoped.

But in waits of consequence, I do find myself coming to God with my impatient prayers—taking him up on his “cast all your cares upon him” offer (I Peter 5:7). He knows me– my hopes, my needs, my impatience with the lengthening wait. I can rest and trust him in that.

On the back page of my Bible, I’m making a growing list of verses that talk about waiting. Exodus 12:40 recounts the Israelites waiting 430 years in Egypt. Yikes!

It heartens me to read “morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” –Psalm 5:3. Expecting God to hear and help.

And I love Psalm 33:20-22. “We wait in hope for the Lord; … for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Hope and unfailing love—It’s what he gives at times like this.

C.S. Lewis said, “I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” Got it.

And Elizabeth Elliot understands the depths of waiting—“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting hearts to God about it whenever it intrudes upon ones thoughts.”   She’s right. It’s the uncertainty that’s gnawing at me and the lifting it up to God that makes it bearable.

So I’m trying to find contentment , even joy in the wait. I don’t want to foolishly miss the good in “now”. The wait could be time to reconcile myself to news I don’t want to hear when the wait is over, to be ready. It could be a rest in the road—to read or quilt or play with grand-kids or care for friends who have their own waits. I think it’s called “living in the moment” even as I impatiently wait.

This I know. God’s love is unfailing and that is where I put my hope. So for now, I’m waiting.

P.S. photo from a park walk this evening with our Wisconsin kids.

Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


Hello all– There isn’t a week that goes by at our house that we don’t have tacos, at least once. Are there other taco lovers out there??  We’re pretty much happy with anything we can wrap into a fresh tortilla!

So when the kids came to stay a couple weeks ago pulled out this new taco recipe. The pork is sort of carmelized and the pineapple sweet and bright.   A perfect summer lunch-  light, fruity and fresh.

PORK TACOS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA

Salsa:
1 cup cucumber, cut to small bits*
1 cup pineapple, cut to small bits
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt

Pork:
small street tortillas for serving
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 jalapeño chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  1/2 pound pork loin, chopped to smallish pieces
2 tsp soy sauce
4 tab. sugar
2 tab. water

To make the salsa, Mix together the cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and salt.  Set the bowl into the fridge to meld together while you cook the pork.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Drop in the chopped onion and jalapeño.  Cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes until the onion is all wilted.  Add the garlic and cook a minutes more.

Then add the pork to the skillet and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the the pork is lightly browned.  Add the soy sauce and stir.  Then sprinkle on the sugar and water and mix it in.  Then let the pork continue to cook 2 or 3 minutes more until it is golden and the liquid has evaporated.

Warm the tortillas and serve with the pork and salsa!

Sour Cream Pancakes


Good Morning!  Who doesn’t love pancakes??  Saturday morning, Sunday supper– I’ll eat them most any time.  These were a result of some leftover sour cream from another baking project.  And I was delighted with our spongey and tender they were.  I’ll be making these again!!

SOUR CREAM PANCAKES
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 tab. vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
toppings: lemon curd, blueberries

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, sour cream and vanilla. Then whisk in the dry ingredients–flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pour the batter onto a hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat.  Flip when bubble start to form on top.

We at the pancakes with lemon curd and blueberries– but bananas, maple syrup, jam, strawberries, yogurt, almonds, any of your favorite toppings would be grand!

Eating Our Way Through Vancouver & Seattle


Larry in front of the first Starbucks, located in Seattle.  

Hi friends– Been meaning to post these pics of all the eating that went on during our travels in Vancouver and Seattle!!  Such fun food that I just have to share it– hoping maybe you get up to Vancouver and Seattle soon and try it for yourself!

My favorite food stop in  Vancouver wasn’t a restaurant– but the amazing Granville Market!!  Spent a whole morning there wandering past bright produce, beautiful baked goods and intriguing groceries.  So Fun!

     

     

Just around the corner, also on Granville Island, we turned in to Edible Canada with dear friends, Paul & Sue.  Loved the stylish interior, interesting menu and the small “made in Canada” store at the back of the restaurant.

     

Searching for Vancouver eating spots on PInterest, the one that came up time and again was the Cafe Medina.  Just brunch and lunch service, with Mediterranean inspired plates.  But they are famous for their Belgian waffles with inventive toppings (mine was gingered orange marmalade).

     

Another Best Stop near Vancouver was The Cliffhouse at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park– a new beautiful space with windows overlooking the cliffs and forest.  Amazing seafood chowder and good old fish & chips!

     

And here are the heart pounding cliffs for which the Cliffhouse was named!

And then we “trained” down to Seattle, watching the sunset over the Pacific as we traveled. Lots of good eating there as well…

We developed the indulgent vacation habit of stopping for coffee and pastries once a day between meals–The London Plane shop was a combination bakery and flower shop. I’d love to be the proprietor there!

     

One of the Tom Douglas string of restaurants was the very cool Serious Pie.

     

And Seattle’s version of our In and Out–called Great State Burgers.
     

On Sunday afternoon we took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island and walked along the waterfront to The Harbor Public House.

    

Our last morning we trekked down to the Macrina Bakery for breakfast– Best pastry of the trip in a beautiful seat by the window.

    

Thanks Larry for being my dining buddy on this trip and all the meals for the last 43 years!

Salt Tasting Room In Vancouver– design your own tapas plate with food from all over Europe– delish! 

 

Fruity Avocado & Chicken Couscous Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


Hello all–  How is your summer rolling along??  We’re trying to keep cool and our ice cream consumption is definitely on the rise!  And if we can manage dinner without turning on the oven, all the better.

So here’s a cool, fresh, filling salad that’s just right for a hot summer evening. Add something cold to drink and a bit of crusty bread.  Perfect. I think you’d like it.

FRUITY AVOCADO & CHICKEN COUSCOUS SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

Salad:
1 cup couscous
14 oz. can chicken broth
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 avocado, peeled & cut to chunks
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. seedy mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil on the stovetop.  Pour in the cup of couscous. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Scoop the couscous into an ample bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Drop all the salad ingredients into the bowl and stir them up.

To make the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.  Mix it into the salad and refrigerate it until you are ready to eat.  Enjoy!

 

Wedding Weekend


Hello all– We had kids come and stay a few days for a wedding weekend.  Our niece Alyssa and her Nick were married on Saturday and it was such a thoughtful, beautiful time together. So happy for them in their new life together–God Bless.   Here’s the highlights:

My favorite part of the wedding was 91 year old Grandpa Stu giving a blessing in the ceremony and a wonderful prayer before the wedding meal.  Here he’s chatting with the bride & groom.  And Micah, Jodi, Ani and Brian at the reception.
     

And after the wedding there were sunny days with Lois and her parents around the house –and at Grandma Lo’s pool.
     

Nothing better than time with the family– from the beautiful celebration to the  low key times around the house talking and eating together.

Maple Pecan Banana Muffins


Good Morning– Isn’t it nice to have help in the kitchen??  Had one of my favorite kitchen helpers with me yesterday morning to mix together these happy muffins.  They are sweet and tender– just like little Lois!  And we all sat around the coffee table for breakfast to munch muffins and drink coffee, while we watched the World Cup this morning!

MAPLE PECAN BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, thoroughly smashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1  3/4 cups four
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Plus more chopped pecans, to top the muffins

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and maple syrup.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, salt and cinnamon.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins that have been lined with muffin papers. Sprinkle the extra pecans on top on top of the muffins.  Drop them into a 350 degree for 18 to 20 minutes.  What a smell when you lift them from the oven!

Actually, Lois likes tasting the batter as much as mixing it!

Don’t Give Up


Hello friends– We are on a continuing journey here.  Working through a daunting situation.  Just wishing it were finished.  And these words are just what I needed to hear. There’s Hope in the middle of it all.  I thought maybe they would encourage you too.

“Our job is to be obedient to God.  God’s job is everything else.  Don’t give up dear friend. Don’t give up.”   –Lysa TerKeurst  (author, speaker)

“So let’s not get tired of doing good. At the right time we will reap a harvest blessing if we don’t give up.”    Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

P.S. Photo from last summer’s walk in the Iowa woods.

Easy Chicken Parmesan


Hello– This was dinner tonight and I’m definitely adding this recipe to my chicken dinner rotation.  So quick & easy and it turned out tender and so savory good. To keep it light, we just added a big bright salad and some chunks of sturdy bread.  Super summer supper.

EASY CHICKEN PARMESAN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, broken to bits
1/2  cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: fresh basil or marjoram*

Slice the chicken breast horizontally to form two flatter chicken filets.

Take 3 flat bowls.  In the first put the flour.  I the second put the egg, well beaten.  And in the third the bread crumbs and parmesan, mixed together.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Then dredge the chicken filets first in the flour, next in the egg and lastly in the crumb-parmesan mixture.  Lay the chicken in the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and cooked through.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet or baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with with the mozzarella and set under the hot broiler for just a minute or two until the cheese is well melted.

Take if from the oven and top with a mixture of the tomato sauce and dried basil.  Garnish with fresh basil or marjoram and serve it up hot.

*I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in the side yard.

Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling


Hello there– How’s your summer going??  We are melting here!  A couple days ago the weather AP said it was 109 degrees in our town!  Yikes!  So it’s lots of fizzy water and air conditioning on for us here.

All of which, has nothing to do with Coconut Cake!  But I’m just hoping you’re staying cool too.

Made this cake for dinner at Jeff & Betty’s on the 4th.  About 30 of us end up there every year for a grand pot luck and sitting in lawn chairs and listening to Jeff’s rousing patriotic playlist while we watch the city fireworks!!  It’s sweet & creamy & fruity.  Just right for cutting into with friends!

COCONUT CAKE WITH RASPBERRY FILLING

Cake:
1 white cake mix
water
vegetable oil
3 eggs
1  1/2 cup coconut

Fosting & Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 coconut
garnish:  1 cup of raspberrries, camomile daisies & leaves

Make the cake according to the directions on the package.  Mine called for 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs.  Beat the batter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Then fold in the coconut with a spoon.

Pour the batter into three 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them about 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Let the cakes cool completely before you add the frosting.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer and beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  (Start the mixer on low or the powdered sugar will fly out of the bowl!)  Beat until it’s creamy.

Take out 1 cup of the frosting to another bowl.  Beat in 1/4 cup of the raspberries with the mixer to make the filling.

To put the cake together, set the first layer on a pretty plate and top with half of the filling. Then set the second layer on top and cover with the second half of the filling.  Top that with the third layer.

Spread the white frosting from the original bowl on the top and sides of the cake.  Then pat the coconut all over the sides and top of the cake.  (this is trickier than it sounds!)

Garnish with the leftover raspberries, daisies and leaves.  So pretty!

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).