Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I am experiencing a Winter melt-down at the moment. We've got about two feet of that "white stuff" on the ground and drifts so high you wonder where the next batch of snow is going. So I am thinking beach, warm sunshine and warm ocean breezes. As long as I stay inside where it is warm and play some Island music, I can delude myself for five minutes. We will see the snow on the ground till about the end of March as temperatures will stay cold enough that it won't melt. Before I forget, Happy New Year everyone and I hope this is a great year for all of you.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Christmas Snow

Christmas 2009, a major snow storm came through this area.
According to all accounts about 14 inches. But snow drifts were 2-3 foot near me and I am sure they were higher else where. This is my front patio with 14 inches of snow in the bird bath and the first snow drift past the patio is about 3 foot. My sliding screen door is frozen shut so I can't go clean off the snow. More is predicted so I might just wait for "spring thaw". After all....spring will come eventually.
Till next time........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

Till next time........

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Complicated

This movie definitely has an abundance of humorous moments. It stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, all mega stars. It has been nominated for Best Comedy, Best Ensemble Cast and 3 Golden Globe nominations including Best Actress and Best Picture.(comedy and musical) But I found it a bit "in your face" with some of the sexual scenes. Call me a prude but I don't need to see them "doing the deed" in bed nor do I need to see Alec Baldwin in his birthday suit. But as I said, it did have some very funny moments and is rated R for those interested in seeing it.
Till next time.......

The Bucket List

The Bucket List is a must see movie. It is about 2 cancer patients from different backgrounds, one is a car mechanic and the other, well, let's just say he is filthy rich. The bucket list is a list of things that one of them wants to accomplish in the 6 months he has left in this world. So the two collaborate on a bucket list for the two of them together and set out to do all the things on the list. Not only do they have fun doing all those things but they find a close friendship ensues. What was on the list and what all did they do? Well, you'll just have to see the movie and find out. With Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman it just has to be good, and it was.
Till next time........

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!

Silent night! Holy night! was heard for the first time in this little village church located in Oberndorf, Austria. The name of the church is St. Nicholas. The year was 1818. The story goes, that a mouse had chewed through the baffles of the organ and hence the organ could not be played. Fr. Josef Mohr wrote the words and Fr. Franz Gruber wrote the music to this beautiful hymn. This song was sung for the first time at their Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Little did they know the impact this song would have on the world. It is sung in tiny chapels, grand cathedrals and is sung in many different languages around the world. Many of you know three verses of this song, but did you know when it was written, that there are actually six verses to the song? For more on the history of this beautiful hymn, see the following website.
Till next time........

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Baking is Done!

This is the last of my baking for the holidays. The shortbread is a small, very rich cookie dipped in dark chocolate. The perfect little cookie to go along with a special ice cream sundae or elegant parfait. It is also nice with a fruit cup .

Next to the cookies are orange spiced nuts. They are English walnuts and have a coating of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Something different to let your guests nibble on when they stop over. It is a great recipe. Happy Holidays!
Till next time........

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nyanza, Cape Breton, NS

Coming down off the Cabot Trail, we came to a town called Nyanza. Our motel reservation was there. Further down the road was the Herring Choker Deli /Cafe where we were able to buy some lunch. We had not eaten since breakfast before starting the Cabot Trail. It was now 3:00pm and we were definitely looking for food. This delightful deli/cafe had homemade bread and the best turkey sandwiches ever. Of course, being so hungry may have had something to do with it . The sandwiches were so big we could only eat half of them and then had the rest as a late evening snack. The road was right next to the water and the view from our motel was lovely. We were glad to get off the Cabot Trail and back on level ground. The mountains are definitely not for us. I will look at them from afar.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheticamp Cape Breton Nova Scotia

This is a postcard I bought of a charming little fishing village called Cheticamp., Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. As you can see, the church is the highest building around. In the far background you can see the mountains and the beginning of the Cabot Trail.
It was my first experience driving in the mountains. If I have a choice, it will also be my last. I was not used to driving that close to the edge from that high up. I did not stop to take any photos. I kept my eye on the road and saw the beauty of the Trail by looking straight ahead. I took some photos prior to the Trail and after I came off the mountains. I must admit, though, it is some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen.

Till next time........

St. Peter's Catholic Church

This is St. Peter's Catholic Church in Cheticamp, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It can be seen from miles away as it is the tallest building in the town.The community has almost 4,000 residents, a large number of whom are Acadians and speak French natively, as well as English. It is located just a few miles before entering the beautiful Cabot Trail. I had the pleasure of visiting this small picturesque Acadian village a few years ago. The culture had its humble beginnings in the French countryside. Due to the fact that they were so isolated, the ancestors were careful to hold on to their culture, and to this day it is very much alive. Visitors will often hear the lively sounds of Acadian being spoken and in restaurants, visitors will sample typical Acadian food. The servers in the Artisian Co-op will be seen wearing the traditional Acadian clothing. The history of this lovely fishing village is very interesting. They have a lot going on for such a small village. Part of this information was taken from the following website. Take a moment to visit the website and enjoy a culture not often seen by most of us.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Baking

I've been a bit busy lately. These are some of the cookies I like to make for the Christmas season. In the photo from left to right in a clockwise direction. I have made Anise Pizzelles, Lekvar, and Chocolate Pizzelles. These are probably my favorites. But I would also like to make a Butter Shortbread and dip half of it in chocolate. So I will keep busy for a while yet making some more goodies. Just thought I would share these, so far.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 6, 2009


What's your favorite Holiday cookie? These pizzelles are one of mine. I have several other kinds to make for Christmas but at least this is a good start. Tomorrow, if time allows, I will be making some chocolate pizzelles and some Lekvar. Then I will only have Shortbread with one end dipped in chocolate, Pecan Balls, Gingersnaps to make. What are some of your favorite cookies for the holidays?
Till next time........

Holiday Shopping!

Has Holiday shopping got you down? I avoid it like the plague! If I have shopping to do; I try to get it done very early before the sales and crowds start. I guess now I will be shopping in August and September, as our sales here, started before Halloween. this year. That's a bit much for me. I am of the generation that didn't shop till after Thanksgiving. But those days are "dead and gone" as they say. Take time to enjoy the season; it only comes once a year. Me....I'm having another glass of punch. Cheers!
Till next time......

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Comfort Mug

Do you have that favorite shirt, that is worn out but you just can't bear to part with it?
Or maybe it's a pair of shoes that should have hit the trash last year.
Well, for's a favorite coffee mug. It's not big or fancy and it wasn't expensive. I have had it for many years and if it isn't in my dishwasher already, it is the first mug I reach for. It is comfortable to hold, holds just the right amount of coffee and somehow says, "Me first!" to me when I need a mug for my morning coffee. It may break someday; but for now, this plain white mug works for me. What is your favorite item that you can't bear to get rid of?
Till next time........

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loving Memories

This photo brought back memories of a long time ago. When my oldest daughter was in college; I wanted her to have some love from home. She was going to college half way across the country from me. So I set out making ornaments from English Walnut shells. I made one with her high school and college colors. I remember a strawberry and there were others that I can't remember now. She was so far away and I really missed her. I know she felt the love when she opened the little box of ornaments. Some memories are just too good to let go of.
Till next time........

Sunday, November 29, 2009

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

This is a Tony Roma Restaurant. If you have never been to one, you are missing the best BBQ Baby Back Ribs ever. This one was in Portland, Maine. The website at the end of the blog will take you to their home page and there you can find their locations. If you are lucky enough to live near one; make it a priority to stop by. Just to let you know how good they are, I order their Carolina Honey BBQ sauce on-line. It is that good! They have several flavors of BBQ sauce as you will see when you visit their website. The sauces are available in their restaurants as well. It is worth a trip to their website to see if you have a Tony Roma near you. Cut and paste their website.
Till next time.........

Holiday Parties

For Holiday time, these two cookbooks are a must.
The Philadelphia Cheesecake book has so many yummy and best of all easy appetizers, dips, desserts, H'orderves and lots of other good things.
The Southern Living Party Cookbook is another must have if you are planning party buffets. This book will give you menus from Happy Hour all the way through to dessert. It has drinks, breads, entrees, desserts and anything else you can think of. Of course, they include all the great recipes as well. If you are not big on entertaining, you can always read them for fun. But who could read these books and not want to have a party? Not me!
Till next time.......

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and many delicious foods will be consumed. Although there have been some rough patches this year; I have much to be thankful for. I have my faith, my family , my health, my wonderful friends and the freedoms of living in a great country. My family is truly blessed and for this I am most grateful and thankful.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Enjoy your family and friends today and always.
Till next time........

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Everyone has a favorite pumpkin pie recipe from Grandma. But do you have a Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake recipe? Here is one you must try. You can make a crust with gingersnap cookies and butter or you can simply make a graham cracker and butter crust. Then fill the crust with this scrumptious filling. I like a gingersnap cookie crumb crust myself.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
4 packages of cream cheese, each 8oz, softened.,
1 cup sugar,
1 tsp vanilla,
4 eggs,
1 cup canned pumpkin,
1 tsp ground cinnamon,
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.
Beat the softened cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar and vanilla with a mixer until well blended. Add eggs, beat until blended. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and set it aside. Stir remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, pumpkin and spices into the rest of the batter. Spoon half of the pumpkin batter onto the crust, top with spoonfuls of half of the plain batter. Repeat ending with the plain batter. Take a knife and swirl through the batter. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Then refrigerate 4 hours. This makes a nice sized cheesecake.

Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy your family and friends!
Till next time........

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Final Bounty

Summer's over and Fall is about to turn into Winter. But before that can happen. Potatoes had to be dug. I was fortunate in that I could share in these wonderful veggies. These luscious looking potatoes are now grated into hash browns for the winter and are in my freezer. I can't wait for some cold night to put a few in a skillet with a bit of onion and red pepper to cook up for supper. Or better yet, when the snow is falling; throw some into some potato soup. The bounty of summer is over and after working hard this summer to process a lot of it, I can now sit back and just enjoy the fruits of my labor. Wow, it is so worth the work! Till next time.........

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Bend in the River - Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks was recently name Best Author by Entertainment Weekly. I just finished reading his book, "A Bend in the Road". It was a good book and for the most part held my interest. I would say it is first a love story intertwined with a bit of mystery. The main character's wife was a victim of a hit and run. Although the driver of the hit and run talks to you throughout the book, you are never sure who it is; until you get almost to the end. Does it have a happy ending, well now, that would be telling, wouldn't it? To find out you will have to read the book. It was a good read but I still prefer legal thrillers. I am off on another adventure with "Under The Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes. It is a New York #1 Best Seller. So I hope I won't be disappointed.
Till next time........

A Time to Meditate

I have always enjoyed different gardens and grottoes. Here are just a couple that I saw when I was visiting a friend of mine. These were near her home. After a brief walk through their garden, I saw this quiet area of meditation with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was so peaceful and serene. A perfect place to sit and get your thoughts collected. Then further on almost hidden by the trees; was this lovely grotto with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Again it was a place I could see myself just enjoying the peace of the day. I'm sure many have come here to visit and meditate in these lovely settings.
Till next time........

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day.
Please remember all the men and women serving our country today and in years past. Thanks to all of them and their families for the sacrifices they have made and are making.

God bless all of you and God Bless America.
Till next time.......

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Lovely Outing

I went to lunch at St. Michael's Abbey not long ago and this was one of the tables that we ate at. It was beautifully set. The food was outstanding and we are all ready to go back for a second lunch. There were gifts in every room and all were for sale. There was really so much to look at and see. The garden was so inviting. It just begged to have it's picture taken. Most of the flowers were done blooming for the summer and fall but the garden still captured my eye. There was a lot of greenery and was lovely to see. We also went through their "barn" and got to see any flea market items that were still for sale. They had fresh made breads and pies that we could buy. This lovely wooden glider was a scene I could see myself in. Just give me a good book and I'm there. So rustic and quaint. We all had a fabulous time.
Till next time.......

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ford County - John Grisham

Let me start out by saying; all book reviews on this blog are strictly my humble opinion. I also want to state, I am a huge fan of John Grisham books. I either have all his books or have read them. So I bought this book thinking the stories would be at the very least, a little bit of a courtroom drama. It doesn't come close to a courtroom except for a judge's decision at a hearing. If you liked "A Painted House"; you will probably enjoy these short stories. But it you are a legal thriller fan as I am, you will find some disappointment in this book. There are seven short stories in this book. In one of the stories, "Michael's Room", the author redeems himself with a plot that holds your interest. I also read some of the reviews from other people, after reading this book, it seems the reader either loves it, or hates it. This I can understand. I should have done my research before buying the book. Till next time.......

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Moment In Time

This is one of those weather phenomenons that you rarely get a chance to take a photo of. We were coming home from the airport one day and I saw storm clouds on the left hand side of the road. On the other side of the road was blue sky and a partial rainbow. I had my camera from the trip so got it out quickly to snap a picture. Just that quick the storm cloud had moved on and the area missed a bad storm. It looked like the car was going down the middle of the good and the bad weather. I could not believe such dark clouds on one side of the road and blue sky and a rainbow on the other. In just a few seconds these photos were no longer visible. The moment had past.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Acorns and Oak Leaves

It's just me again. I can't get over how beautiful this fall has been. The fall colors are almost gone now and most of the leaves have fallen to the ground. The leaves on the oak trees are still hanging in there. They just refuse to give up and let winter take over. There are still some acorns, that haven't fallen to the ground yet. Yes, I got hit on the head with some while trying to take this picture. Every so often I would hear one hit the ground. So they won't last much longer. The fall is just too beautiful not to get outside and enjoy it for as long as you can. I am taking full advantage of the good temperatures to be out and about and enjoy this grand fall season.
Till next time.........

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ice Cubes or Sugar Cubes?

These aren't tiny ice cubes, they are sugar cubes. When I was a little girl, my Gram used these sugar cubes for special occasions and holidays. I saw a photo of some lovely decorated ones and it brought back this sweet memory. On really special occasions, she would buy the decorated ones. So I thought to myself, why not make a memory? So I bought some sugar cubes and today I made a memory. Do they look great, well.......perhaps not perfect, but good enough for a sweet memory. Eventually, the cubes will go into some hot tea or lemonade; and I will have the "sweet" memory of my Gram and of decorating the sugar cubes.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aspects of Fall

I wasn't going to post again today but the robins reminded me of how quickly these berries will be gone. These vibrant red berries are all over the trees in my courtyard. The robins have come by droves to eat them. They will strip a tree in a day or two. You will see as many as 50+ robins in just one tree having a wonderful feast on them. The trees themselves are so pretty. They are covered with lovely white blossoms in the spring, then have bright greens leaves for the summer and in the fall these vibrant red berries appear. They start out as green berries and you don't notice them with the green leaves on the trees. But once the leaves start to fall, you get to see these colorful berries. The trees are truly "all season" trees.
Till next time.......

By Chance

Some things in life happen by chance. In the midst of my patio garden this year a little sapling started to grow. I am assuming a bird dropped the seed in one fashion or another. It was 2 inches tall when I first noticed it. Now it is about 4-5 inches tall. When I cleaned out the flower boxes, I didn't have the heart to pull this little tree up. It won't survive for very long in the flower box. But I will let it grow and see if against all odds; it survives our cold winter. If it does, I will plant it elsewhere and give it a chance to be a full grown tree.
Till next time........

Monday, October 26, 2009

Favorite Cookbook

If you have a chance to pick up this cookbook at a flea market; don't pass it up. It is a must for anyone who likes to entertain using seafood. It is an old cookbook and I have had it for years and I would never give tt up. The recipes are simple and easy to follow and above all; are so delicious. The name of it is Southern Living The Seafood Cookbook and it came out in 1972. There are still copies of this wonderful book available. Use your search engine to find out where you can get it. It is the best seafood cookbook I have ever seen.
Till next time.......

Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball

This a Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball recipe that I received from a friend. It uses Robert Rothschild's Hot Pepper Peach Preserves and it is "out of this world" good. If you really want to impress your friends this upcoming holiday season, this is a must. Below is the recipe for this delicious spread.

Hot Pepper Peach Cheese Ball
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Peach Preserves
1 Tablespoon onion, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon Jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded or favorite shredded cheese
Cream together the first four ingredients and chill for about 1 hour. Form into a ball and roll in shredded cheese. Keep chilled until ready to use. Can be made 48 hours ahead. Top with sliver almonds if desired.
Here is the website for them.

You might think this is hot and you wouldn't like it. But that is NOT the case. It tastes delicious as you are eating it and then there is a MILD warm feeling when you finish eating it. This is definitely NOT a hot spread.
Till next time........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Holiday Brunch Cup

Holiday Brunch Cup
2 oranges, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
3 bananas, mashed
1 cup of sugar
1-8.5 oz can crushed pineapple
Mix above ingredients till sugar is dissolved and pour mixture in a cup cake pan and freeze individually.Pop out the frozen mixture and put one in each glass. Let glasses sit out before adding the 7-Up so the drink will be slushy. About 30-45 minutes usually does it. Depends on how cold your freezer is. If it totally melts and is not slushy, it is still very good and it is not a big deal. 1-12oz can 7-Up (or Ginger Ale) Add 7-Up to glasses shortly before serving. Serves 10-12 (6oz glasses) If you are serving 12 people you will need an extra can of 7-Up. Depending on the size of bananas, you should get 10-12 frozen little half cup pieces. Once they are frozen they can be put in a freezer bag and stored till needed. It is a great "make ahead" item. Garnish with a half slice of an orange.
Till next time........


With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I would give you a few drink recipes to try before it was time to actually serve the guests. The first one is Eggnog. This is a very simple and a very good recipe. At least, my family likes it.
Beat until light:
3 eggs
Beat in gradually:
6 Tablespoons sugar (scant half cup)
Pinch of salt (a few grains)
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
Stir in:
2 1/4 cups evaporated milk
Diluted with 3/4 cup water
If alcoholic flavor is desired omit the vanilla extract and add 1/2 cup rum, brandy or whiskey (your choice, but only use one of them.) I prefer the rum. Place eggnog in a jar with a screw top. Permit to "ripen" in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Serve cold with a sprinkle of nutmeg on the top. You can add a dollop of whipped cream to the top before sprinkling the nutmeg, but it isn't necessary.

If all this is too much for you, you can always go buy a quart of it at the grocery store and then add the alcohol to it and let it sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Till next time.......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Pods

More of the beauty and vestiges of the fall season. Now you can see why I am fascinated with these delicate pods. It's hard to believe that from such a rough pod can come the delicate white plumage. I guess that helps them float through the air to their final destination to grow for the coming year.
Till next time......

Milk Pods

The milk pods at the park are just starting to open and show their delicate seeds. I was lucky enough to get a few photos of them before they are totally open and have scattered their seeds. The pod itself is like a rough hard shell, tan or gray in color and then it splits open and this beautiful plumage of seeds comes forth for all to enjoy. Our winter rains have arrived and the plumage will be gone or ruined. The seeds will have fallen to the ground to grow again next spring. There is a definite time frame to enjoy the beauty of the milk pods. The pods themselves are often dried and painted a metallic gold or silver for a holiday bouquet or decoration. I am always amazed at the delicacy of the seed and plumage.
Till next time........

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dandelion Survival

The main part of this dandelion has withered and has died. But the flower just won't give up. The bloom stretches tall to reach for the sun to survive for one more day. It is strong and refuses to give up. But the season is over and the inevitable will happen. This lone dandelion ,that has come up through the gravel in the street ,has struggled for life and will live for another day.
Till next time.......

Japanese Obos

I went to the park the other day and of course took my camera with me. I never know what I will find to photograph. I tried for a little bird sitting on a bird house but he was too quick for me and flew away. The park is one of my favorite places to go, to forget the world and just be me. Most times, I also have a book with me and I sit at the shelter and read for a while.The five little rocks you see stacked just behind the blades of grass are an obos. It's a Japanese custom and it designates harmony between nature and mankind. It simply states, "I was here". The rocks are perfectly balanced. I left the obos there as that particular spot is a favorite place for me. Sometimes I make a sandwich and just park by the lake there and have lunch. I especially enjoy the late fall and winter at the park. If you happen upon an obos when you are hiking, at the park or at the beach, stop and maybe leave one of your own.
Till next time........

Last Rose of Summer

Summer is gone, Fall is fast moving on and the last rose of summer has bloomed. As I saw this last bloom and smelled it's fragrance, I thought how sad it was that it was over for this season. It looked lonely in the garden and I couldn't help but take a photo and at least preserve it's beauty for a little longer. It's hard to say goodbye to the beauty of the summer and early fall. But the fall has much to offer as well, as you will see in up coming posts.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Did you know that in years past, they were called craneberries? The blossom of the cranberry resembles the head and neck of the Sandhill Crane, so they were called craneberries. In modern times, they are called cranberries and are harvested in the fall of the year in many northern states and eastern Canada. A small proportion of them are in eastern Europe. Following is a refreshing Cranberry Raspberry Punch.

Cranberry Raspberry Sparkle Punch
Yield: 8 – 8oz Servings
4 cups Raspberry Cranberry drink, chilled
4 cups Lemon Lime carbonated beverage, chilled.
In 2 quart pitcher or in punch bowl combine beverages. Stir gently. Serve immediately.

Serving Ideas :
You can float orange slices on punch. In punch bowl make and float an ice ring made of cranberry/raspberry juice mixed with water. Very refreshing and easy. Not too sweet.

Till next time.........

Recipe by: Pillsbury, Easiest Ever Holiday Menus Cookbook
Photo by Charles Armstrong, the Uni Maine Cooperative Extension's Cranberry Professional

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Colors

The colors this year are absolutely gorgeous! If you haven't noticed them yet, do take a walk or drive and see this wonderful picture of Fall. Be it the cool weather, the abundance of rain or whatever phenomenon of nature, it is especially beautiful this year. I can 't remember seeing so much red in the trees. This year we have such an array of color. The yellows are bright, the variety of reds and orange are brilliant, then you have the few green leaves that haven't changed color yet and some of the reds actually look burgundy. It is such an array of colors. I am totally in awe of the Fall beauty this year. I can't get enough of it.
Till next time........