Mother’s Day 2015

Mother’s Day 2015

The day after my nephews’ graduation party was Mother’s Day. It was also the first Sunday after my mother retired. I had asked all of my siblings to come together to celebrate Mother’s Day as well as her retirement.

As long as I can remember my mom’s favorite food has been “hors d’oeuvres”. Her favorite part of going out to a restaurant is the appetizers and small plates and her favorite part of any party is the canapes, dips, finger foods, and the sort. I asked my siblings and daughters to assist me in making appetizers to bring. We all know what mom’s true favorites are, so it was pretty easy to lay out the menu. I asked everyone what they would be bringing and I would create around it.

I assured my mother that she would not need to cook for her party, that I had it under control. Every time she asked if there was going to be one thing or another, I had to tell her that it was covered.

The menu included:

Shrimp Cocktail

Seven Layer Dip

Taco pinwheels

Deviled Eggs

Homemade Pretzels

Vegetable Pizza

Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

Brandy Slush

The Shrimp Cocktail recipe came from my mother’s family, as did the Vegetable Pizza recipe and the Brandy Slush. I made up the Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle at the last minute because I realized no one was bringing a sweet. I will share the Vegetable Pizza and Brandy Slush recipes with you.

Vegetable Pizza

  • 8 ounces refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 raw carrots
  • 1/3 head raw cauliflower
  • 3 spears raw broccoli
  • 2 stalks celery (I omit)
  • 6 radishes (I use less)
  • ½ green pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat crescent rolls flat in ungreased 10X15 jelly roll or baking pan. Bake 5 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack. Wash, drain, and chop vegetables to approximately pea size. Toss together. Soften cream cheese and blend in mayonnaise. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and dill weed. Spread mixture over crust and top with vegetables. Pat vegetables lightly into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares to serve.

Brandy Slush

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 teabags
  • 2 cups brandy
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen orange juice
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade
  • Sprite or 7-Up

Combine 7 cups water and sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat to cool. Pour boiling water over teabags and let stand until cool. Combine simple syrup (sugar water), tea, brandy, orange juice and lemonade in a freezable container and place into freezer. When frozen put 2 – 3 Tablespoons of mixture into a glass, then fill with lemon lime soda.

brandy slush

(I like mine a little stronger, so I use more of the frozen mixture. No judgement, people!)

Mother’s Day Retirement Celebration was a huge success, and the food was a big hit with my mom. The biggest surprise for my mother came when her sister, who lives 600 miles away, showed up! I had managed to keep that secret for weeks, and it darn near killed me!

If you are a fan of hors d’oeuvres or summery cocktails, these are both musts! The vegetable pizza is a great little morsel or even a light summer dinner!



Posted by on June 29, 2015 in recipe


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This Road I’ve Traveled


A very touching memorial, of my Grandma, written by my brother.

Originally posted on Ichabod at Large:

I have sat here for more than an hour, fingers on keyboard, typing, erasing, humming, mourning. My Grandma died Sunday night, and I want to do something meaningful, I want to say something momentous. Instead, I open Wikipedia and check out Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves, whose long playing albums served as part of the soundtrack to Life with Grandma. I look up bierocks and google Grandma’s Tuna Sandwich, two staples at her house. Although she and Pappy (my grandfather) were peripatetic school-teachers for much of their lives, from the time I remember they occupied only two houses, one in Wilson, KS, the other in Alva, OK. Those homes and their environs functioned as sanctuaries and laboratories, especially the one in Wilson, which we visited every few months from elementary school until I was in high school. If my brother and I weren’t climbing trees or creating our own adventures…

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


Egg-cellent Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs and Roasted Potato Salad

Egg-cellent Hard Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs and Roasted Potato Salad

Family is so important to me and always has been. Over the years I do not spend as much time with my siblings and their children as did when we were all younger, but I am still very connected to my family.

When I got the invitations to my oldest nephew’s college graduation and party I knew I wanted to make something for the party. Then, I got the invitation to his brother’s high school graduation and party. They were having a combined graduation party and I got on the phone and asked my sister-in-law what I could bring. She told me what she was serving: meat and cheese trays for sandwiches and sloppy joes. I asked if I could bring potato salad or deviled eggs. She was thrilled and said that either would be great.

I have a favorite potato salad that is just a little different than the “old standard”. Also, since I knew I was having my oldest daughter (Daughter Number One) staying with me for a few days over that weekend making both dishes wouldn’t be a problem. It was also a bonus that the potato salad calls for hard-cooked eggs, so I could get that part of the potato salad done while I was getting the eggs cooked for the Deviled Eggs.

I posted the recipe for my Roasted Potato Salad in 2012. I highly recommend you check it out. It always gets rave reviews, and this even was no different than any other.

I put Daughter Number One to work on the deviled eggs. She and I have slightly different ways to make deviled eggs. She uses much more mayonnaise than I do, and more mayonnaise than anything else. I asked her to add a tiny bit of vinegar to them. She did, and we were both delighted with the results. Now, the best part of this recipe is the way that I am going to share the most perfect way to hard-boil eggs so that they peel without incident. Every. Single. Time.

Deviled Eggs

  •  6 eggs, hard-boiled
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish

Halve cooked eggs. Gently remove yolks and mash with a fork until crumbly. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar. Mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Fill egg whites to neatly with egg yolk mixture until heaping. Sprinkle tops with paprika.

World’s Best Hard- Boiled Eggs

Fill a pan, large enough to hold the desired number of eggs enough that it will cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil. Gently add the eggs to the boiling water. Return the water to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Immediately drain and run cold water over the eggs for several minutes. Drain the eggs again, and let sit until cool. Once cool, peel the eggs. Perfect.

perfect peeled egg

Give these recipes a try for your Memorial Day weekend food. I promise that the Roasted Potato Salad and Deviled Eggs will be appreciated by whomever you are cooking for, and you will never be frustrated by trying to peel hard-boiled eggs again!



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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Picadillo and Sofrito

Picadillo and Sofrito

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with work and family, so I have not been able to write about all of the cooking I have done and shared in so far this month. I am not going to share all of the awesomeness at once, so be prepared for me to play catch up for a few days.

I did some cooking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I helped cook for a graduation party for two of my nephews, and I did some cooking for my mother’s retirement, which we celebrated on Mother’s Day. It really has been a busy month, and it’s only half over!

Let’s start with the first week of May. I love cooking for holidays and making food with a theme, and I absolutely love Mexican food and Hispanic food. I wanted to start with a dish I had never made before. I chose a Cuban dish that had a little edge, Picadillo. I worried that my husband and girls would not like it. The best surprise was when all of the girls told me they loved the dish and when my husband said it was better than any he had eaten since he was in the Navy and one of his Cuban friends took him to eat it in San Diego.


  • 1 pound lean ground meat, turkey breast or ground beef
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Cooked rice

Cook ground meat  in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned , stirring to crumble. Stir in salt, raisins, oregano, and cumin; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in water and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve rice. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

I had never heard of sofrito, and was not sure I would be able to find it where I live. I decided I would read about it and make it myself.


  • 8 ½ garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/3 cups onions, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ dried bay leaf
  • 8 ounce pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put the garlic into a tall jar or beaker, then process to a paste using a hand-held blender. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the garlic until browned. Meanwhile, process the onion in the blender. Add to the pan with the garlic. Lower the heat, add the herbs, then fry, stirring frequently, until the onion has browned. Add four-fifths of the tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add the remaining tomato, cook for 30 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

I will be making the sofrito again and again and again! I used it in this dish, a dish I made the next night, and ate it all week with chips. It was delicious.

This entire meal was top notch. It was easier to make than I had expected, and it was incredible. It will make our regular meal cycle and raise our eating experience to a new level.

I strongly suggest that you give this a try. Throw caution to the wind, even if you don’t think you will like meat with raisins – try it. These morsels are worth the risk.

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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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National Poetry Month – A Breeze

National Poetry Month – A Breeze

When I got home from work yesterday my youngest daughter was so excited to share a poem with me that she had written. I asked if it was for an assignment, and she said, “No, I was thinking of you.”

Her poem inspired me to create a Mixed Media piece. I am sharing both with you.

a leaf

A breeze

I felt a breeze upon my shoulders

And knew he was watching me

down a leaf flapped and fluttered

in the steady soft long breeze



By: Éan Haynes



What are some of your favorite poems or poets? I would love to know!



Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Sharing some passion

Sharing some passion

Friday was Haiku day. I was on the road with my job most of the day. I did have time to write some Haiku in my head, unfortunately by the time I got home I had things to do and no time to get any of the words out of my head onto paper or into the computer. The weekend was busy with work and family, but I did manage to slip in a few hours of my new found passion, mixed media art!

My mother surprised me with a few bottles of acrylic paint and some scrapbook paper when I went to have coffee with her on Saturday morning, so I just had to use her gift!

First, I made a picture for Daughter Number One, who purchased her first home less than a month ago, and is finishing up painting the walls and starting to hang some artwork. I used her favorite color, green, and did a coffee cup like the one I had done last weekend. I sent her a picture and she was very excited.

Then I made a picture for Daughter Number Two, who is currently a student at the University of Kansas, majoring in biology (pre-Med). I made hers in pink, blue, and yellow and did a few new techniques and went with a simple heart collage. I loved trying the new techniques and am learning what works and what doesn’t.

As much as I would love to be able to take some time off to “art”, alas I must return to my job today. I did take a few minutes after my morning workout and while my morning beverage was brewing to write this Haiku about another one of my most passionate things.

green cup

The sounds coming from

My coffee pot are music

To my Waking Ears.


Thank you for allowing me to share my passion with you, in food, in art, in life. Just another small bite of my life… and they really are orts, of sorts.





Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Salmon and English Muffins

Salmon and English Muffins

I have never been one to shy away from making something new, but when it comes to baking I tend to stick with more of the tried and true; recipes that have been passed down from my parents or ones that I have made myself many times.

(Warning: this post may suffer from seemingly random thoughts and wandering. Stay with me.)

Last night The Hubs grilled a lovely, big piece of salmon for dinner. When I told him I had purchased some salmon and it would be great on the grill he didn’t look at it. Basing his coals and cooking estimate on the salmon I usually buy he miscalculated a bit. When he saw the big, thick piece of salmon I had purchased his initial grumbling and running (under his breath) commentary was that it was much bigger than he had thought and he hadn’t put enough coals in and it was going to take much longer than he had thought. His next concern was what I had paid for it. I assured him that not only was it sale, but it also pays (saves) to know your butcher! I got an incredible deal on the salmon! I should have cut it in half and frozen part of it, but it was too damn pretty!

As we were eating dinner and savoring the delicious grilled salmon (The Hubs and I and Daughter Number 4 were savoring. Daughter Number 3 was complaining about not liking fish, and we discovered later that one of our cats and our Chihuahua got the benefit of her dislike under the table.) I was already planning on making some of the leftover grilled salmon my breakfast today.

I have loved salmon for breakfast since my trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada in 2010. Prior to that trip I had the rare occasion to eat lox, cream cheese, and bagels, but nothing more exciting than that. I was introduced to salmon with poached eggs and hollandaise, salmon omelettes, and more; I digress.

When The Hubs asked what I was thinking about so quietly at the dinner table (yes, I was quiet) I told him I was planning my salmon breakfast. His eyes sparkled. “MY salmon breakfast?” he asked. I agreed that it would be OUR salmon breakfast. (Homage to Billy Madison)

I did not start thinking about breakfast as soon as I got up, but I did start thinking about it very shortly after. All during my workout I was thinking about what I was going to make with the salmon that would be simply amazing. I thought about crepe-eggs, a delightful fluffy egg/crepe served at “The Good Egg”. I thought about the poached eggs with salmon I had eaten in Banff. I decided that whatever I made there had to be a side of English muffins. Sadness hit when I realized I didn’t have English muffins. Happiness overcame when I decided to make my own. Although I had never made English muffins before, that became as much a part of the breakfast (which I knew would be brunch) as the salmon. I quickly found a recipe and got started on the English muffins. As with many baking firsts, they English muffins took longer than I had anticipated. Our brunch would be lunch at the rate I was going. (Thank goodness I can work from home.) I was delighted at how the recipe for English muffins was coming along and could not wait to try them. Once I placed the first batch on my hot, oiled griddle I was ready to start the rest of my breakfast / lunch.

The salmon dish I decided on was Salmon Omelettes. Since I was already trying something new I didn’t want to ruin one thing by becoming overwhelmed. The omelette filling was simple. I melted butter in a sauté pan, added some green onion whites, minced garlic, and some flaked, grilled salmon. Once that was sautéing I added a knob of butter to my omelette pan to melt. I whipped three extra large eggs in a glass bowl until frothy. Once the butter started to bubble I added the eggs to the pan. (Here’s just a quick run-down of omelette (omelet to most Americans) making.) Swirl the egg around the entire inside of the pan. Take a rubber spatula and carefully lift the edges away from the pan in a light swooping motion around the entirety of the pan. As you lift the edges continue to swirl the eggs lightly. When the edges are set, but still pull away from the pan add your filling ingredients to the still soft omelette, being careful to keep all of the filling on one side. The other side will be flipped over the fillings. To my omelette I added some cubed cream cheese, the salmon mixture, a bit of dill, and a small amount of grated cheddar. When the cheese melted I gently folded the unfilled side over the filling. After removing gently to a plate I topped with some chopped green onion.


During the cooking of the omelette I had turned the English muffins at the 10 minute mark. The timer went off after another 10 minutes and I removed the muffins onto a platter. I had more English muffins to add to the griddle, but I left some room. I added a small bit of butter to the griddle, split one of the already ‘baked’ English muffins and added it to the buttered griddle. I left it on to toast for a couple of minutes and then removed to the plate with my omelette.

The Hubs was very complimentary of the presentation of the omelette. He was even more impressed after he tasted it. I asked how he liked the homemade English muffins, and he asked if I was kidding. I hadn’t tasted mine yet, so I was getting ready to pout a bit when he clarified his comment. He couldn’t believe they were homemade. We will never buy English muffins again. These were incredibly delicious.


I followed this recipe exactly, and suggest you do the same when you make YOUR English muffins.

Also, I think everyone should make friends with a butcher! Even if you don’t get a super deal like I did, you will get better cuts of meat than the average customer.

A few morsels to chew on…while planning your next foodventure!



Posted by on April 14, 2015 in recipe


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