A surprise soup made with avocados and sausage. Recipe




I’ve been so busy- grandchildren have come and gone- Spring is still here although disguised

in Summer garb and Winter snow part of the time.



Trying to catch a snowflake on his tongue and children of all ages rolling down hills!


I’ve also been making sourdough bread with its complex corridors of holes-


And I made Sausage and avocado soup with apples and peanut butter.

It may sound like a weird combination- but it is good.  And it has a story behind it.

I was working with a group of ladies several years ago on a weekend workshop.  I was supposed to speak AND

cater the luncheon on Sunday.  I planned the menu to be soup, salad, roll, and chocolate for dessert.

The soup I had planned was Apple,Fennel, and Almond – the salad was chicken garnished with slices of avocados and greens-

and I had gotten croissants and wonderful chocolate truffles .  Everything was prepared and packaged up to go. 

Except the base for the soup never went.  I had left it to put in the cooler last and instead it just got left.

So Sunday morning I started to get the preparation in hand and couldn’t find the soup base.  I had the broth and the cream

I had ground almonds.  I had everything but the base.  And without the base, I had no soup.

The hotel we stayed in offered breakfast with our rooms – and one of the offerings was sausage gravy and biscuits.

I don’t like sausage gravy- but thought it would work as a soup base.  I had a little cider and apples from a stop at a nearby

orchard ( We were out in Amish country, in Wilmot, Ohio) and one of the ladies had a jar of peanut butter.  Plus- I had my

avocados for garnishing.  I only had a slow cooker to work with, but I put it on high and starting with the cider and apples, slowly

put together a soup for 38 ladies.  I spoke about my topic- making beauty preparations from your kitchen– and then went back to my soup

– planning  to trash it if it didn’t turn out.

But it did turn out.  It was – in fact- a success!  I had many requests for the recipe- but I had no recipe to share- just a panicked memory

of what else can I add???!!

A little while before the grandkids and their parents came, I made guacamole for Jordan and myself.  It was really good, although I

added a zested jalapeno pepper and it was really spicy as well.  But I had a lot left over- and it was starting to go brown.

That is when I decided to recreate my luncheon soup and see if it was as good as I remembered.

I started off sauteeing a 1/2 pound of sausage.  To that I added 1/2 diced onion and one chopped and peeled medium apple.


Add a large cup of guacamole-(so avocado,lime juice,finely grated jalapeno and salt and pepper)


Add 2 small cans of chicken broth, and 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter and

stir and heat until hot but not boiling.  Add salt and pepper to taste- maybe a little bit

of hot sauce – a dollop of cream- and enjoy!


We ate it with tortilla chips and it was just as good as I had remembered. 

(Jordan was VERY skeptical at first- but I think he really loved it by his third helping.)

Irish Soda Bread- traditional recipe


I’ve made a lot of Irish soda bread.  My youngest son loves it and I got the recipe from

a friend of mine of Irish heritage- so I thought I was making a traditional recipe.

Turns out- no.  Irish soda bread does not contain sugar, or currants or any kind of dried

fruit whatsoever.

So I’m sharing a recipe I got from a couple of websites on Irish traditional cooking.

A couple of the websites were pretty adamant about what WASN’T in soda bread that

they neglected to give the recipe.  And a few more wrote about putting together flour,salt,

soda, and buttermilk without any instructions.  So I pieced together the information and used

my own experience and made a marvelous loaf whilst in Chincoteague.  It is like a biscuit-y tea

loaf- delicious with butter and orange marmalade- wonderful with a slice of corned beef!



4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

14 oz (1 cup 3/4 ) buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease and flour round cake pan.

Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add butter milk and stir to a sticky dough.

Dump onto a heavily floured surface and knead lightly- just for a minute or so- you don’t want to

release too much of the leavening gasses in overkneading.

Shape into a large round and cut a cross into the top.  Cover pan with another the same size- to keep

the bread moist and steam as well as bake.

Bake for 30 minutes and then remove top pan and bake for another 15 minutes.

The crust is a lovely thick brown when done and will sound hollow when thumped.

Cool with a damp tea towel on to top to keep it moist.

035It smells heavenly!

038Try to wait till it cools before cutting.


Although it is very tempting – still try to wait – or the knife will crush the crumb.


Add braised cabbage, skillet fried potatoes, and corned beef and have a wonderful

St. Patrick’s Day feast!

(in which)The doldrums give way to moments of p-p-p-Pleasure

Strange title, that.

But really descriptive.

I am in the midst of the mid-winter doldrums.

Depression.  Down in the dumps.

The business of the holidays are over- and so is the magic and

mystery.  We have celebrated both spiritually and physically-

met together and rejoiced with those we love.

And now everyone is scattered.

And it is January.

There is snow.


It is kind of beautiful, but it is also cold and I really hate when the sun shines

on snow- it’s blinding. 

Today, however, I made a lunch up from various leftovers and it was very pleasing

to the palate and the ear.

Everything started with a P!


Fresh pineapple and pomegranate salad!


Potato soup!


Pulled Pork!


Pumpkin seeds or pepitas to garnish the soup and of course, my can of POP

(I know it is called soda in other parts of the world- but I call it pop)!


And my purple thumb from cleaning the seeds out of the pomegranate.

So- my alliterative luncheon gave me a moment of pure pleasure.

It happens that way sometimes.

BTW- did you notice the buns?  Fresh bread also makes me happy!


What is making you happy today?

Meat and more meat.

My husband loves meat.

I love potatoes …and bread…and veggies… and chicken and fish, and meat.

But not like Frank.

When we go out, he asks for his meat without seasoning.

Without sauces.  Without salsas.

But he does like gravy.


So when I made this roast, the gravy was acceptable.

I made a gravy using burnt sugar syrup and allspice as seasoning.

After taking the meat out of the pan and covering it with foil, I added 1 1/2 Tablespoons

of the syrup  ( I made the syrup here to use in a cake recipe)- then I added 3/4 cup of

broth to the drippings and stirred it with a whisk.  Heat the drippings back up and

then add 1/4 cup cold water with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch stirred into it.   Add salt

and pepper to taste, and simmer until thickened.  Then pour over sliced beef and

boiled potatoes before serving.


The gravy tastes caramelized but very savory.


more meat.


This is the pork shoulder I bought to make pulled pork.

Again- meat.

I rubbed it down with Hickory smoked salt  and put it into the

crock pot all day on low- about  8 hours.


Hickory salt with black Hawaiian lava salt rub.



Again- pulled pork with  barbecue sauce for me—- plain for Frank.

I use a bbq sauce with mango and guava in it- from the Dixie Bar and Grill in Hawaii-



Because it just makes it taste so very good.

I couldn’t even take the time to take a picture of Frank’s sandwich with plain

pulled pork- he likes it that way- but I was busy.


Eating mine!

Coriander and Orange glazed Pork chops- recipe


These were the highlight of my weekend.

I loved all the people I interacted with-loved the books I read-

enjoyed all the activities- BUT- these remain a shining moment in my


It is Autumn here in Ohio.  The recipes are a little heavier and more

nourishing for the body and soul.  The light and lovely dishes of summer

are yesterday and there are more soups and stews on the stove.

But these pork  chops would be good anytime of the year!

They are savory and sweet- satisfying, but not too heavy- they smell divine-

and they are not very expensive. 

Here’s the recipe-

4 nice loin chops

2-3 TBS ground coriander

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup orange marmalade, preferably home made

S + P, to taste


Heat oil in large cast iron skillet, add garlic and sautee until translucent.  Remove

from pan.  008

Rinse chops and dry with paper towels.  Dredge or sprinkle with ground coriander.

I ground my own coriander ( I always have lots of coriander- because my cilantro goes

to seed so quickly- I keep planting more which gives me LOTS of coriander!


I like it fresh ground and like to use my mortar and pestle! Smile


So after grinding it up, I used a fine sieve and sprinkled the coriander on top

of the chops.006

Add salt and pepper, and they are ready to put into the cast iron skillet.


Fry them up- browning both sides-


Then take them out and add the marmalade.  Deglaze the pan, stirring the

marmalade into the pan juices and put the chops back in and turn several

times while simmering the chops in the glaze.

Cook on stove top until chops are done and looking shiny with the glaze.



Then dish them up and scrape all the glaze on top of them and serve with a

side of rice pilaf and green vegetable and salad.

Add crusty rolls-011

And you have a wonderful dinner!

What to do with a glut of tomatoes?


Sausage and fresh roasted tomato sauce on

3 color Rotini!


Turkey and black bean chili w/ fresh and roasted

tomatoes cooked into the meat.


Tomato and cheddar pie (or quiche!)


Roasted tomatoes and garlic with basil-


Spread on fresh made bread!  So good.

So far I’m keeping up with the tomatoes- but

then again I didn’t go into the garden today.

I think I’m going to be roasting up another

couple of batches and freezing them for later

in the winter tomorrow!

Got any suggestions?

In my kitchen…


… is this happy little onion!


I saw this big smile when I cut into the onion and it made me smile right back!

In my kitchen…


are these salty almond bars- packaged and ready for lunches!

In my kitchen…


is this loaf of peasant bread – raised in the banneton Celia sent me

(Thanks again, Celia!) and fresh out of the oven.

In my kitchen…


is this wonderful tea infuser pot!  Jordan bought it for my birthday- he doesn’t know yet

that he bought it- but he did all the same!

In my kitchen…


is this can of Tasmanian honey!  I love the tin- and the honey is delish-

Thanks to Meredith for this beauty of a treat!

In my kitchen…


are my favorite rolling pins.  Most of them were gifts and I love them

and use them all throughout the year.

In my kitchen…


is dinner!

Grilled Ahi (yellow fin tuna) with a swirl of basalmic vinegar on a bed of

vegetable couscous, baked sweet potato, and a garden salad!


S’mores and raspberry rhubarb pie ( and some people I love)


S’mores!  Are these a world wide treat?

If not, they should be.

We made our with Reese’s peanut butter cups- and they were perfect.


Graham crackers, melted marshmallows and a peanut butter cup.



We put up the firepit and built a fire last night- smoked out the mosquitoes

and made our yummies  and had a rollicking good time, last night.

And today, we went to the Cowboy festival, Aiden got to ride a pony- we bought

some cowboy hats and sat on the dock of the bay watching the boats.

When we came home we got sandwiches from Woody’s (pulled pork with

coleslaw and fried onion rings-decadent!) and then I made a pie and started

some bread.  The bread is still raising- but the pie?


Raspberry/rhubarb custard pie- that’s for dessert tonight.

Dinner looks like pan fried tenderloin medalians, basmatti rice w/chicken and lemon

broth, mushrooms,garlic and kale, sauteed with spring onions, green salad and


A quick preview (In my kitchen- Part 1)

I’m looking longingly out my window.

My orris root iris is blooming and I’d love to capture

it in first bloom- but don’t have the time.

I know there are many other garden beauties

out there- but my yard is so wet walking

about feels like an adventure in spongeland.

And I really don’t have the time.

Today, I’m  making the mini-trifles-

strawberry pie trifle- Boston cream pie- and

Key lime.  And the finger sandwiches- chicken salad

and hot pepper jelly on wheat- cucumber and boursin

cheese on French- and smoked salmon and hot mango

curry on sourdough peasant- ( these descriptions are

making my mouth water!)

I finished making the quiches yesterday, have the sausage

rolls made and frozen- ready to bake for tomorrow.

Here are some pictures-


Lemon coconut dainties- awaiting a flower garnish.


Cinnamon-almond honey bees!


Lavender sugar cookies.


Carmelized onion, sundried tomato and asparagus quiche.

And I forgot to mention, I’m assembling the lemon curd and

crystalized violet tarts today.

I’ve got to go- I’ll post better pictures and let you know

how the sale went later.

Let me know if you want any recipes!

Sons and grandsons


Here is my son, Luke.

He came from a busy week of work to make a wonderful meal for his wife and I

for Mother’s Day!  We had baked sockeye salmon, roasted ramps and asparagus,

King Trumpet sauteed mushrooms, fresh lettuce salad with pear basalmic vinegar and

a marvelous Australian pepper olive oil, a selection of gouda and feta cheeses with

luscious olives and crusty fresh baked bread.  It was delicious.


And here is Jordan, our youngest son- he just turned 25 last week.

What a treat to have both boys here to share this fine repast!


Kieran was in such a happy mood- smiling a blessing at all around him-


Grandpa sure enjoyed this time together!


Aidan’s favorite is always the bread- foccacia and seven grain- this time.


Although the fruit- mangos and raspberries- made everyone quite happy!



Yes, everyone was quite happy.


Even my husband.  Grumps, I mean Gramps!