Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Fruitcake

And, yes, this is my Dark Fruitcake made with lots of yummy fruits and nuts. My yellow Tupperware bowl from the 60's continues to be my "go to" bowl when I make fruitcake - - or turkey stuffing. 
With this fruitcake I used a little brandy to soak the fruit and nuts. The only thing I do not like about making fruitcake is the lining of the pans with brown paper. I recently saw a product from King Author Flour website. And, they are so pretty, too. I think I will order some for the future.

 I hope you are having a wonderful day and your holiday preparations are coming along well.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do You Like Fruitcake

Ok, I am back again! Surprise! I am trying - really, I am.

I thought I would share with you some of my very limited holiday baking.   
It has been many years since I have made my favorite recipe for Light Fruitcake. And, I am happy to say that it turned out very well. Since I have become a fan of Tuaca Italian Liqueur, I decided to macerate the cake with orange juice and Tuaca. The liqueur is a blend of Madagascar vanilla with "notes" of citrus fruits and Italian brandies. How's that for my fancy description? As you can see, I then wrapped the cakes in cheesecloth prior to adding the liquid and then wrapped in plastic wrap and then some foil. The Tuaca certainly added a nice dimension to the flavors.

I also made a Dark Fruitcake and I will share those photos with you soon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Different Style of Christmas Tree

Yes, I did something quite different this year. A White Christmas tree!

The beginning of the year, when the good sales where available for prelit Christmas trees, I decided it was time for me to get one. I really love the tree that I have been using in the past. But, putting a thousand lights on the tree has just become to difficult for me. So, much to my surprise I decided to go for something very different. A White Tree! And, as you can see, I used only one color - Red - to decorate. 

I am not quite sure if I like it. Even though it has been decorated since the first week of December.  Sometimes, I think it looks like I am in a Department Store and not MY living room. But, I must say, it was a lot easier than in the past years. Who knows what I will do next year.
Actually, from a decorating point of view, it is quite lovely with the colors in my living room, specifically, the red accent colors. One thing about the tree is that it is smaller in diameter than my other tree which means that I can place it against the wall, which I quite like. 
Yes, yes, yes, I know - - - I haven't been a very good blogger. The motivation just hasn't been very good. I have a lot of photos that I will try to blog when I am feeling more creative. Life is good with no problems. It's nice!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taco Stew, Yard Work, Massage And Flowers

Fall is definitely here. The days are still warm, the breezes are there and the nights are cool. Isn't it lovely? And, such a good time to try out all those new recipes we continue to collect or just use some good ol' standbys.
This is Crock Pot Taco Stew. The recipe can be found Here.  And, it was very easy and very good!


I have been doing a lot of outdoors work during the last few days while the weather is nice and warm and lovingly sunny. And, my body sure feels it! By that, I mean, it hurts, hurts and hurts some more.

Three years ago, about this time of year, I blogged a little animated photo of what would have felt good at that time and what would feel good at this time. The photo made me smile at that time and makes me smile now.   Nutty Hedges Health Farm And Spa!  You bet, I'll take a massage, too!


 Even though a garden takes a lot work, if I look around the garden there are beautiful reminders of what makes a garden special. The fall colors of the trees and scrubs are magnificent at this special time of year and there are a few flowers blooming.

Beautiful White Chrysanthemums are blooming in the White Garden. This plant (three-inch pot)was bought last year from the local High School horticulture students. It is blooming profusely.

And,  Elle' by Jackson-Perkins nursery, a lovely pink rose is presenting me with the "Perfect Rose" with the Burning Bush (Euonymus alata "Compactus) in the background. This rose seems to bring delight to me each year around October when the other roses have almost said goodbye.

On Thursday, the rains are forecast. And - - - on Friday, SNOW may reach the lower elevations which means it may be Here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Who Will Be President

It won't be long and the elections will be over. Let's hope we don't have lots of confusion regarding "the winner". Remember - "hanging chads".      Be sure to vote!

Recently, I came across the art work of Andy Thomas who is an artist that I find to be very interesting. "Many call Andy Thomas the ‘Storyteller' and if you have ever had a chance to view his work you might just agree. In the past, he has painted many subjects from picnics by the river, kids playing sports, to a brutal bear fight. All of his paintings end up telling us some kind of a story of our lives. You just never know what he will present to you next."

The following works were completed in the Spring of 2007. For more about the artist and these two paintings, take a look Here.

"True Blues" captures the likeness and personality of our past Democratic Presidents.

"Grand Ol Gang"  captures the likeness and personality of our Republican Presidents.

A more recent painting of our current President was completed in 2009 depicting President Obama giving his inaugural speech and the painting is titled "Change".

Who will be Our President come Inaugural Day 2013?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Cleanup

It's that time of year again. Leaves, leaves and more leaves, pine needles and tree bark drifting down from above. I love being outside in the garden but my body doesn't like the idea of yard work at all, any more. I try to, at the very least, keep the front patio and driveway fairly clean.

It is a beautiful sunny day and the temperatures are in the low 70's. This past week we had the first storm of the season and another storm is on it's way in a few days.
I've been busy trying to get some housework done along with some outdoor work. Sadly, I have not been able to prepare the garden for the winter months like I have in the past. Life goes on. Hopefully, next spring I will be able to catch up. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For My Birthday

Recently, (during the past  month) I celebrated a Birthday which was very nice. And, there was one surprise that "put me over the moon". Let me tell you more. For the past couple years I have been cyber friends with a wonderful women in Czech Republic. This friendship started when she responded with an email to my blog. She does not speak English, however, she can read and write English which allows her to communicate with me.

She is very talented in many ways. The above needlework doily which she sent to me for my Birthday is just one example. I have admired her work ever since I first saw it in photos. Take a look at this link - Needlework - and you too will be impressed!

I was in such a hurry to take a photo with my fresh cut roses that I didn't take time to iron this little beauty. You can see the folds from the shape of the large envelop that it was mailed in. Trust me, it is pressed and enjoyed every day on the dining table.

I marvel at how the world communicates with each other these days. Lately, it seems as though the technology is moving so rapidly and I feel a little unsettled that I am not feeling like I understand the latest social media advances. Even though I am not interested in personally using some of the electronic "toys" I like understanding how to use them.

I remember when ATM (at the bank) became available. I wasn't about to get left behind and become "an old lady" who doesn't know how to be current with today's world and the common everyday activities. Silly - huh?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Movie Night - Crock Pot Night

Something simple was on the menu Thursday night. This is one of my standby crock pot recipes that is so delicious and always so easy. Originally, I got my recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in the 70's. Since then I have seen it in many variations. It is that kind of a recipe. You can change it up in so many different ways. And, this time, that is what I did.
First off, I used Turkey Polska Kielbasa Sausage (Hillshire Farms) instead of Polish Sausage. I don't use much turkey but I am trying to keep the calorie count down. Especially, since we eat out a lot! And, you know most restaurant food is NOT low calorie.  
Even though the recipe does not call for browning the sausage, I thought it might give a little more flavor if it is browned. And, as long as I was at it, I thought why not toss the onion into the pan. The recipe also includes cream of celery soup, canned sauerkraut and brown sugar. In addition, I added some caraway seed, and celery  (just because I had it in the refrigerator) which I would have added to the browning pan along with the onion, if I had thought of it at the beginning.
Remember, this is a crock pot recipe and you can get away with almost anything when it comes to technique!
When I was combining all the ingredients in the crock pot, I thought why not add some apple. So, I tossed in some sliced apple, mixed it some more and turned the temperature to high and put the lid on the crock pot. And, it was only 1:30 PM. Later, shredded Monterey Jack cheese was added just prior to serving. 
 And, while dinner was cooking, to the movie we went.
ARGO chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979 and 1980. It was an interesting movie that held a person's attention. Ben Affleck's performance was impressive.
Dinner was very good! And, the use of turkey worked out great. MSM (My Special Man) enjoyed it and does not have any problems with reduced calorie ingredients. Luckily, he is a person who can eat anything and everything he wants and not gain weight or alter any of his normal laboratory tests ordered routinely by his doctor. I am so envious - really - I am!

*Did you notice, my friend has regained his moniker - - -  MSM! We are so happy and plan on keeping it that way!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beautiful Shadowbrook Restaurant

Stopping in to say hello. It just seems that I have been busier than usual. Perhaps, it is more accurate to say I have been having a lot of fun going places, resting up and going some more. As some of you know, it takes a lot of time to prepare blogs but I think it is nice to chronicle my life events. And, I really enjoy the responses from wonderful people, each and every one of you, who take the time to check in to see what I have to say.

Well, this is the last entry of our recent Capitola vacation. With a little help from google I can show you the beauty of this romantic and fabulous restaurant.

Shadowbrook Restaurant is located beside Soquel Creek in Capitola-by-the-Sea, Shadowbrook Restaurant is best reached by the quaint cable car, or the meandering garden path. Since 1947 Shadowbrook has provided world-class service, fine food, wines and liqueurs in an atmosphere of Old-World charm and grace.
This is the little cable car that holds about six people and transports you from the entrance/parking level down to the restaurant or you can walk through the gardens on a lovely designed walkway.
And, when you exit the cable car or arrive from the walkway, this is what you see. The dining rooms are very nice with white table cloths and decor. The menu, wine list, food, wait staff and environment is top rate. It can be compared to a fine San Francisco restaurant. Our table was next to the table location you can see in the photo above the steps on the left side of the photo. It was great!
The next day we drove down to Soquel and Aptos.
This was a great place to have breakfast. It certainly is a popular spot. Very informal, quite small and fun. People are waiting outside waiting to get in. And, when you get in you sign the clipboard and return outside if the limited seating inside is occupied. Then you wait for your name to be called. 

The food was very good and the service was quick. We left fortified for a day of sight seeing and driving home.

This is a flower shop in Soquel that I remember seeing for years whenever I have been in the area. It is on a corner on the main street that runs through the little town. Aren't the murals "special"?

The flowers were gorgeous!

Further along, we came upon a community garden in the next little community.

 There is a nice play area for children to enjoy while their "adults" are busy. 
And, then we had the 3 hour drive home. It was a Fabulous Mini Vacation.
I wanted to get this blog written so I can write about the most recent mini vacation to San Francisco that we returned from last week.
Yes, I am being spoiled! - Perhaps,for the first time in my life. And, I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to have a wonderful man in my life. We have finally come to a stage where we have resolved the issues that plagued us in the past. Our communication with one another has evolved during the past two and a half years to a wonderful level of comfort. We value what we have and will continue to take good care of each other. We have both grown in areas that we would never experienced if we hadn't met - and we have worked to merge the diversities of our past, specifically that I have lived a single life for most of the past 40 years, and he was married for 57 years prior to his wife's passing.  And, that's a lot to process. Just, think about it!
Thank you for visiting. I will be trying to blog more and share a few projects I have been working on instead of taking care of my garden - that needs a lot of work before the winter weather arrives. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What A Nice Evening

This is Ironstone Amphitheater a mile from my home. And, last night is the first time I have gone there for a concert. It is just something I have not done. No special reason. This photo from google depicts exactly how beautiful is was yesterday up here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.
And, this was the entertainment for the evening. It looked like it was almost a sell-out performance.
Tony Bennett and Jackie Evancho did a mighty fine performance.
This is a very busy Labor Day Weekend in this little tourist town especially with this concert taking place. This is an area with a lot of retired people (like us) that remember the "early years" of Tony Bennett. And, he did not disappoint nor did Jackie. What a gifted young lady! 
Our town is so busy this weekend that all of the restaurants are busy busy busy. It sure helps our local economy. It was almost like a traffic jam downtown last night on Main Street with all of the visitors. It is only two blocks from my house but I never am disturbed by the activities or noise. I am just the right distance away and it is always quiet. Location, location, location. I am so blessed.
Tomorrow we are going to another picnic. So, I think I am going to make another salad with the same recipe as I made last week. The Tropical Slaw was very good. So, I better get "in the kitchen".

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Wharf And More

This is a nice photo of The Wharf that shows its relationship to the "colorful motel" and surrounding area. We walked all around the area and to the end of the wharf. We considered going to dinner the first evening at the Wharf House at the end of the wharf but changed our minds after reading reviews and taking into consideration the walk to the end and back at night time. So, of course, we had to check it out in the daytime.
And, here we are at the Wharf House.
I guess I would say that it is pretty typical of an "end of the wharf" restaurant. It reminds me of the Crab Shack at the end of Santa Cruz wharf which is just up the coast a bit.

Now, we have many photos of the sights around and from the wharf. 
 Meet me on Sunday!
 Let's play volley ball   - Misty Mae and Kerri Walsh?
 The weather was overcast in the mornings but transformed beautifully to sunshine.
The surfers were having a great time and there were lots of them but not in this picture.
Beautiful Homes! Love the purple accents.

After walking all around the area, it was time to find a place to eat lunch. So, we walked back to The Esplanade and decided on the Paradise Beach Grille after poking our noses into several doorways.
 From our seats we had a view of the area that we had been walking around. Isn't it pretty?
 And, the Tomato-Carrot Bisque Soup was sooooo good.

 Look at these scrumptious Fish Tacos.
 The food was great and restaurant was nicely appointed with flowers and art work.
The Esplanade with lots of outdoor seating and beautiful views.
Next time - The Shadowbrook Restaurant and the communities of Soquel and Aptos.