Baking for a visit-



Can you see the design?  I used a stamp of a lion and the lamb.

You can see it better in person.  Maybe YOU should come over for a visit!

I love stamping baked cookies!  Especially these Swedish ginger cookies-

they get a little larger and crunchier and have a cool design.

My son and his family are coming for the weekend!

So I also made bread!


A cheesy flat bread… to go with some spicy pumpkin soup.


Sourdough Rye with caraway seeds.

I love the spicy pumpkin soup, recipe here.   I added some fresh ground

cardamom this time!


I love grinding it myself- and it is Extra aromatic and fresh!

Cardamom is quite expensive.  I usually buy my spices at bulk stores and get it

fresher that way.  But I left this ingredient out of the soup last time because:

1) the stores didn’t carry cardamom (WHAT?  I was in a remote place in Virginia)

2) the store I found that carried it wanted $20+ for a medium size bag.

So I waited until I came home to my own little stash!


Halloween bread bears 006(Forgot to mention bread bears for Aidan!)

People should come over to visit more often!

A Kitchen post


My friend Celia, over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial often shows some of

the riches of her kitchen in a series called “In my kitchen”.  It is a lot of

fun looking at all her exotic and fun items.  I thought, since right now I

have much of the bounty that Meredith brought back, I, too, would put up

some of the items in MY kitchen!

Above I have oils and vinegars-  Australian Pukara Estate oils –truffle,grove gourmet and

a triple pepper- plus two pomegranate balsamic vinegars and a dark sweet cherry



I have Japanese noodles, smoked salmon from Washington,and a very savory mix of

of curry and mushrooms- written only in Japanese- so I’m only pretty sure that the

vegetable is a mushroom.


Take a closer look at the smoked King Salmon from Seattle Pike Place Market!

I’m looking forward to some good sandwiches with these babies!


A collection of pesto and sauces- all in Italian- mushroom, pepper, olive,etc.- I

intend to make my own pasta for these or maybe some fresh Italian bread for



These lovely bottles contain olive oil.

Mostly in Italian with pithy English translations- (Of course- for the

pasta-, Using mainly in Neapolitan cookery, and, my favorite-

for make witty

a candid pasta)

That last one has olives on a skewer and oregano, basil, and assorted

peppers and spices nestled in the bottom!  For make witty!


I also have many assorted Japanese sauces to go with those

noodles.  The yellow labeled one is called aji-pan and has a

wonderful citrusy light flavor!  It goes very well with a splash

of rice oil as a salad dressing !


Last night I made Kalua pig and pulled it to go on these yummy Semolina BBQ

rolls with Dixie Grill Sauce from Oahu!


I also made these delicious Swedish ginger cookies!

I can’t remember whose blog I got the recipe from- if you recognize them,

let me know.  They are fantastic- and no cinnamon!


Allyson got me this wonderful thigamatropic straw broom!

I love brooms- I love twisted handles-this makes me smile!

(and I’m sweeping the floor more than once a day!)


In my kitchen, I have this nifty new frame for digital pictures!  I love

it! ( thank you, Jordan!)  He programmed it to do a slide show- so I just sit

and watch my loved ones while I’m drinking my coffee!

What’s in your kitchen?



snack pack from Japan

A happy little pair! Packaged together- it looks like a watermellon and fish crackers-no?



NO! It is dried tiny fish and peanuts and rice crackers! This is what they have in Japan for snacks at the baseball games. Meredith sent me this in a package- without an explanation and I've been wondering why- WHY?


And that is also in my kitchen!  WHY?

Psalm 119-vv33—40- The Message

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
      so I can stay the course.
   Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
      my whole life one long, obedient response.
   Guide me down the road of your commandments;
      I love traveling this freeway!
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
      and not for piling up loot.
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
      invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
   Affirm your promises to me—
      promises made to all who fear you.
   Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
      but what you say is always so good.
   See how hungry I am for your counsel;
      preserve my life through your righteous ways!

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Sometimes, staying the course is really hard.

Sometimes, it is downright scary trying to travel

God’s freeway.

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You are holding on, white knuckled, to the wheel-

and the Nor’easters of life are blowing hard against you.


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But you look over and the signs point to the cross.

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And in the midst of the storm-

You are reminded that Jesus Christ loves you.

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That is such a wonderful truth that the storm passes over-

and you are back on solid ground.

And somewhere between the Psalm and Chincoteague, you

have affirmed that this is the highway- or should I say that

God’s highway is the one we can always love traveling on!

(a special thank you to Allyson for her fortitude and courage

in doing the actual driving in these photos!)

Red velvet cupcakes: can’t beet this experience!


picture by Laurel Bocka

Recently my oldest  brother celebrated his 70th birthday.

His family wanted a five layer cake to commemorate the day and I decided to make the top layer.

The other layers were: bottom- Dark chocolate peanut butter, second-Strawberry Butter cream,

third-Meringue butter with berry lemon cream, fourth-fresh winter fruit cake with caramel glaze and


red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate frosting.

The idea came from a Rachael Ray article from her magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray.

Anyway- we got together the day after we returned from Virginia and so I made the 

cupcake portion of my contribution at Meredith’s house.

Interestingly, this recipe calls for red beets rather than a lot of food coloring to make

the RED part of the cupcake.  That is why I chose to make these- because I knew

that I could share it with my grandsons without impunity.  So there I was, boiling up

the beets (with Meredith moaning in the background- apparently she HATES beets!  Who knew?)

I had just taken them from the oven when the oven guys showed up to measure the wall

for the double ovens Meredith wants on that wall- so I kept apologizing to Ed and Eddie ( who

could seriously be a comedy show all on their own!

“Measure to this point” –Ed

“Now, we cain’t take it out to there.” –Eddie”

“Well, I know we cain’t take it to there, but I want to measure it to there.”-Ed

“That’s fine- but we have to keep it to the right size.” –Eddie

“I’ll keep it to the right size- measure to this point, here.”-Ed

“We cain’t take it out to there.  It won’t fit- we need to keep 1/4 inch all around.”-Eddie

“ Well I know that.  We will- measure it out to here.”-Ed

“ We cain’t-…” 

It went on and on for a good 20 minutes this measuring and bickering.  They were like Mutt and

Jeff in appearance.  We just sat there – entranced with the show- until Ed’s phone started

ringing.  Suddenly, EVERYONE wanted to talk to Ed.  And Eddie wasn’t having any of that

either.  “Just hang up the phone and let’s get measuring!”

“Well, I will.  Let’s measure out to this point, here.”-Ed


Any way- back to the cupcakes.


The recipe called for 1 1/2 lbs cooked beets- pureed.

You mix brown sugar,eggs,Greek yogurt and melted butter


and flour, baking soda and powder,cocoa powder and salt.

And you have batter for lots of cupcakes-




  • 1 1/2 pounds beets (4 to 5 medium)—trimmed, peeled and sliced 
  • 2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 sticks (1 pound) butter, 2 sticks melted and 2 sticks softened
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


    1. In a medium saucepan, bring the beets and 2 1/4 cups water to a simmer over medium heat; cover and cook until fork-tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer the beets with a slotted spoon to a food processor, reserving the cooking water. Puree the beets. Add the reserved cooking water as necessary to get 2 1/4 cups beet puree; transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar and let cool.

    2. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Line a dozen 1-cup muffin cups with jumbo baking liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt.

    3. Whisk the eggs into the beet puree. Whisk in the melted butter and yogurt until smooth. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring with the whisk until smooth. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cups. Bake until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for at least 30 minutes.

    4. Make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and the cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and pinch salt at low speed. Beat in the white chocolate and vanilla at medium speed until fluffy.

    5. Using a pastry bag  pipe the frosting generously onto the cupcakes.Sprinkle with red sugar.

    This was a lot of work- and kind of expensive- but the cupcakes were very good.  And they are kind of good for you.  And they keep wonderfully in the freezer.

    And the Ed/Eddie show was such a bonus that I wouldn’t want to miss any of the experience.

    Bread! and pans and bacon jam! and chili!


    This is the bread pan I got for Christmas.  It is spring lock and makes

    bread that looks like this-




    This is free form with sesame seeds.


    Rye with caraway seeds ( and the pot holder Willow made me).


    This is the bacon jam my niece made for Christmas gifts.

    Great in peanut butter sandwiches!  🙂

    And Chili!

    I made a big pot for supper.

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    I started with a 2 1/2 lb beef roast-slightly frozen- cut it into chunks and processed

    it until it was medium fine, browned it with a chopped onion.

    IMG_3226 and then added 3 TBS chili powder

    1 tsp cumin

    1 tsp oregano

    1 scant tsp sea salt

    1 tsp red pepper

    1 small can diced tomatoes

    Add above to browned meat and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Tomatoes will start

    to break down.  Stir often to keep from scorching.

    Add below ingredients- tomato products first, stirring well.  Add about 2 1/2 cups water

    after paste.  Cook for another 30 minutes, then add beans.

    1 can tomato sauce

    1 small can tomato paste

    1 can light red kidney beans

    1 can dark red kidney beans

    Cook another 3o to 45 minutes, stirring often and then taste.  Add extra ( hot sauce) heat at this point.


    Add salad and bread and enjoy!


    Lemon Coconut Dainties-recipe


    These were my mother’s FAVORITE cookie.  I made them 4 or 5 times a year while she was living.  Now I don’t – I love them- but they are kind of nostalgic for me to make – so I need a good reason. Like Christmas!

    They are a shortbread style of cookie- yet very light- although the cream cheese and butter icing bring them back down to earth.  If I was celebrating Christmas in warmer climes- I would definitely make this cookie- they go very well in summer!

    Lemon Coconut Dainties.


    3/4 cup soft butter

    1/2 cup sugar

    1 egg yolk

    1 tsp vanilla

    1/2 tsp lemon extract

    2 cups flour

    1/2 cup chopped coconut


    Cream together the butter and sugar, add egg yolk and mix until they are light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and lemon extract and mix well, once again.

    Add flour- one cup at a time, incorporating it into the wet ingredients, then add coconut.  Your dough will be on the dry side, kind of like a pastry dough.

    Make into balls(walnut-sized) and flatten with two fingers.  You can place them close on a tray- they won’t get much bigger.


    When working with short doughs it is a good idea to use parchment paper to keep the bottoms from getting too brown.

    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.  Check often to make sure they don’t get too brown.


    I got almost 3 dozen cookies.You want them to look pretty pale.

    Cream Cheese frosting:

    1/2 stick butter

    3 oz. cream cheese

    1 cup 10x (confectioner’s sugar)

    1-2 TBS milk

    Soften butter and cheese, using mixer beat them together and add sugar- a little at a time- until mixture is stiff.  Add milk until it becomes spreadable. 

    Ice cookies and add a little sprinkle of red, green and white.

    Lemon coconut dainties- dressed for the holidays!



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    Anise and citrus pizzeles, Christmas cake pops, ginger cut outs, ribbon cookies and brownie bites!

    Fruitcake recipe, per my niece’s request.

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    My mom would make it in early November and wrap it in cheesecloth soaked in brandy until Christmas.  So it is fruity and nutty and a little boozey.

    The recipe – typical of ALL of my mother’s recipe is basically a list of ingredients with  temperature and baking times tacked on the end.


    2 cups flour

    1 3/4 cup sugar

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1 pint marachino cherries

    1/2 lb. candied pineapple

    1 lb. dates

    1/2 lbs pecans

    1/2 lbs. walnuts

    1 lb. candied fruit mix

    5 eggs, beaten

    BAKE at 250 degrees F for 2 1/2  to  3 hours.

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    Just smell the deep and festive mix of  fruit and nuts!   Fruitcake 008

    CLOSE UP!!!

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    Add flour, sugar and baking powder and stir until all of the flour and sugar is incorporated.

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    This smells so good!

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    add beaten eggs  to mixture  and stir well.

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    The dough is thick and looks very sticky.

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    Grease pans liberally and use wax or parchment paper to keep mixture from sticking to sides of your pan.

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    Now you can decorate the cakes, using candied pineapple and the red and green glacee cherries.  Cut the green pineapple into leaf shapes and the red into petals- pop some cherries in for the centers and you have bright and happy little fruitcakes!

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    You can make them in smaller sizes or in a large loaf pan- just make sure that you use parchment or wax paper and lots of Pam to keep them from sticking.

    Happy Holidays- and don’t forget to wrap them in whiskey or brandy soaked cheesecloth for a couple of weeks, at least!

    Post Thanksgiving post…

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    Here we are.

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    Still happy and smiling.

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    We’ve been holding babies-

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    telling stories and sharing a feast-

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    reading and watching football together-

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    And, of course-

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    Kieran_Aidan_LW 023 


    I love holidays!



    just added this last picture because I loved what Jordan did to decorate his cookie!  He made a St. Patrick cookie- and then- He ate it!

    Cookie art is not the saving kind, but the savoring kind!

    Mid November – REALLY- running out of time.

    I can never seem to get a handle on the calendar.

    This is not a new thing- I’ve always had a problem with timing.

    Robin used to keep me up to date-on task- so that I didn’t get lost in the midst of planning and miss out on the actual happening.  Since she’s been gone I’ve gotten a little better and there are plenty of people to remind me- but it is still kind of a disconnect. 

    I have plans.

    Good plans.

    Fun plans.

    Doable plans.

    But time is ticking away.

    I am not ready or even close to ready for Thanksgiving to be within a couple of weeks.  I am not ready for St. Nicholas day, or our anniversary (Ha!  35 years!  I HAD plenty of time to get ready for this one- right!) and I’m certainly not ready for Christmas!

    I’ve got to kick it into high gear!

    But I do have a helper.

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    Elves just keep getting cuter every year!

    Are you ready?