Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Corp of Discovery

The young explorers stand on a precipse in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, their eyes drinking in the sights and sounds of this remote wilderness. From this vantage point, high atop Lookout Mountain, the rugged Wallowa Mountains are visible to the east as well as Idaho to the northeast and Washington to the north. (Not visible in the picture ~ only to the explorers standing on the brink). Looking closely and with a little patience, these same explorers will experience the thrills of watching elk, deer, moose, black bear and yes, a few wolves roaming the canyons. Such wonderful discoveries await our little expedition. Lewis and Clark had nothing on these guys...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Juicy Goodness

July has arrived and with it come juicy ripe peaches smelling of summer sweetness. Mmmmm.....absolutely delicious.

The latest issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray also came bearing sweet peach goodness in the form of four incredibly simple and yummy recipes. I've made three of the four in the last couple of weeks and they were absolutely divine. That dessert that you see in the picture above was incredible. Oh, my gosh is that recipe a keeper! Here it is for you to make for someone special. Share it on your summer porch with the flickering light of a candle. You'll be glad you did....

Ginger-Peach Ice Cream in Grilled Peach Cups

Serves: 4
Prep: 20 minutes plus freezing
Cook: 3 minutes

1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream
7 Peaches, 4 halved, 3 peeled and chopped
3/4 cup crushed GingerSnap Cookies
1/2 cup shredded sweetened Coconut, toasted
(toast the coconut in a skillet or 350 degree oven until golden & fragrant, then let cool)
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the ice cream, chopped peaches, gingersnaps and coconut on low speed until just combined. Freeze until firm, 2 to 3 hours. (I made mine the night before).
2. Preheat a grill to medium. Brush the cut sides of the peach halves with oil and grill cut side down until golden-brown. (I just sprayed mine with butter-flavored cooking spray). Turn the peaches over and grill for 1 minute more. Divide among 4 bowls; top each with a scoop of ginger-peach ice cream. (I also topped mine with a whole gingersnap cookie)


These Peach Pattycakes were wonderful also. Almost like a shortcake with the peaches baked right in. I had a hard time just keeping Dustin out of the batter while I was trying to bake them. Yum!

I also made the Steak Quesadillas with Hot Peach Salsa from the magazine and they were a keeper too. Really good, especially using fresh cilantro from my little herb garden. A few nights later we mixed the left over peach salsa into a pound of hamburger and made burgers on the grill. Again, Mmmmmm....

May you all be blessed with wonderful foods of the season...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


(originally uploaded here on flickr)
Have you ever done anything so silly that even though you don't have to admit it to anyone, you can't help but tell on yourself because it is just so dumb? Happens to me quite often, actually. I guess it doesn't really "happen" to me; I am the cause.
My latest story involves my little red cookbook. You know the kind that comes with blank pages and you write in your favorite family recipes? That's the one that was laid out on my kitchen counter. I have alot of problems with foods and stomach issues in general. I always have to be careful about what I eat, but it also seems to go in cycles and sometimes, for months on end, anything I eat makes me sick. I'm in one of those not so good cycles right now, but get hungry and have to eat something. The other day, about mid-day, I was starving but had had a really bad food day the day before, so was being extremely cautious. I decided that pancakes sounded good and might not completely tear me up. I got out the aforementioned cookbook, flipped it open to the "Bread" section where I keep our family pancake recipe and started whipping up the ingrediants in my glass batter bowl. Shilo was sitting in the kitchen chattering away to me (see, I think maybe it was HER fault!) while I was flinging flour around the room. I, apparently unconciously, finished the last step and then started paying attention to what I was doing. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THIS BATTER?? My griddle is hot and spattering butter around, just waiting for those pancakes to start sizzling on the grill, syrup standing ready and at attention. I've got a puzzled look on my face ~ good grief, this looks like bread dough. Did I use to much flour?? I make pancakes all the time. This is weird. A quick glance at my cookbook and realization dawns.... That's not my pancake recipe. That's my biscuit recipe. What a dummy. Shilo, at this point, is rolling around the kitchen in hysterics. Can you believe that my 18 year old smartie-pants had the nerve to call her mother an idiot? All in jest, of course!
I do make fantastic biscuits, if I do say so myself, and they are one of Riff's favorite things, so the rest of the family was pleased as punch. I never did get my pancakes....

So, what silly, unconcious thing have you done lately??

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Magazine Cover!

My allergies have attacked and I've just been hanging around today with a bad headache, itchy eyes and a swollen nose accomplishing next to nothing. I decided to play on the computer a little bit ` JUST AS I TYPED THAT, MY MONITOR DIED ~ YIKES, I'M ON MY DAUGHTERS COMPUTER NOW BUT REALLY WORRIED THAT I MAY HAVE LOST ALL MY PICTURES THAT AREN'T COPIED TO DISK. ~ Anyway, I was blog-hopping, which I haven't done in eons, and came across Mary's Little Red House. Very fun blog! She had her magazine cover posted, so I popped over to flicr toys and made my own. Try it, it sure is fun!

A Mid-Morning Visit...with snacks

Be really quiet and she might not notice that we're sneaking up on the fruit tree's and veggie garden.

Delicious! I'm not sharing this.

Try this one before we get to that pear tree dessert~

Shhh. I think I hear something...

Dude, yeah, I hear it too.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Parasols, Polka Dots and Pink Lemonade

I came home for lunch the other day, had been home less than a minute when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to the smiling face of our mailman holding my Sweet Goodness Summer Swap package from Ali at Wila's Way. Yeah! ((hands clapping)) What a wonderful middle of the day treat. I, of course, couldn't wait to dig in and Shilo & Dustin were right there with me, just as excited as I was. They scored big by getting to share my mints and Crystal Light packets. I have never bought Crystal Light but guess I will start when Dustin proclaimed it the best drink that we've had in the house for eons! I should have taken some pictures of their sparkling expectant faces as I was opening my box. Too funny, especially at 18 and 16 years old!!

Look at all these goodies ~ and wrapped so cute. Ali made polka-dot tags for each and every item. She handmade those super cute fruity bags, they have a vinyl lining so will be perfect for the pool or beach to throw wet suits and towels in. Very smart idea. She made the polka-dot kitchen towels, a really cute ribbon bookmark and some adorable parasol stationary. Check out that vintage book. The Purple Parasol, copyright 1904. Is that perfect or what?! I can't wait to read it. I immediately scooped up that water bottle and the Crystal Light on the go packs and hauled them to work with me along with that very cute "Knitting Lady" tin of green apple mints.
What a haul! Thanks Ali!

I had these super cute polka-dot kitchen towels out of the box for about 2 whole minutes before they were hanging on my kitchen towel rack. Don't you love these?! Good job, Ali!! Thank you so much for such a fantastic swap package. You knew exactly what I would like ~

This is the package that I sent to Ali. We have similar tastes, so I had fun putting this together for her. The beach sign is her handmade item, the white napkins with the pink flowers are thrifted and the raspberry margarita mix is her sweet treat. Enjoy Ali!

Thanks to the Sweet Goodness Girls for another fabulously fun swap!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Small Town America 4th of July - Clatskanie, Oregon

1. The Patriot, 2. My First Ride, 3. The Log Walk, 4. Whee!!!!, 5. Ribbit..., 6. On the Bandstand, 7. Logging Contest, 8. Magic Carpet Ride

I love small town 4th of July celebrations and our small town just doesn't do it. We have a wonderful fireworks display over the Columbia River, but during the day our town has rolled up the sidewalks and there is not a single thing going on. We've had such a chilly, gray summer that I told Riff I wanted to go in-land somewhere to get a little bit of warmth. We started doing some on-line research of the little towns in the Willamette Valley and came up with a couple of good choices. I remembered Adrienne posting about her town's celebration last year, so contacted her to find out more and came up with a few other possibilites in the valley, but nothing as "small town" as I wanted to get.
Riff suggested that I check Clatskanie, which is in Columbia County just up highway 30 about 30 miles from us. I didn't expect to find anything so was very pleasantly surprised to find out about "Heritage Days". Seems that Clatskanie has a long celebration that started a week or so ago and goes through this 4th of July weekend. Festivities include a parade, a trout derby for the little kids, a logging contest, a petting zoo, a carnival, music on the bandstand and food vendors. Yeah! Just what I was looking for and not far away, but far enough from this crazy cold coastline that it is a good 15 degrees warmer there. We had a wonderful day, a bit of sun and fun and back to Astoria in plenty of time for a nap before the fireworks.

I don't know a whole lot about the town of Clatskanie. We drive through on our way to Portland or points east and on the east edge of town is our favorite coffee stop. They have a really nice, huge city park on the banks of the Clatskanie River which is where all the festivities were held. The kids have driven over several times because Clatskanie has a really nice covered skateboard park that the kids enjoy going to know and then. It is located in the same city park, which has to be several acres in size. Historically wise, Clatskanie was platted in 1884 and is a mill and logging town with a population of around 1500 or so. Another small town that is cute and well-kept for the most part. I hear there is a yarn store that carries locally spun and dyed wool. I must stop in there one day soon...

If you are in our neck of the woods around Independance Day, I highly recommend a lazy day in the park in Clatskanie for the perfect small town celebration.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Stacey!

Happy Birthday to my sister, Stacey! Please pop over to her sight and join me in wishing her a wonderful day. I forgot to take a picture of the beach sign that I painted her for her birthday present, but it is very similar to the one in the picture above. Her boat is red and her sails are straighter. Less wind in her ocean I guess. Have a great day, my sister!

Happy late 4th of July from me and Noah!

Coming soon, the second installment of my Small Town American Series ~ Small Town 4th of July; Clatskanie, Oregon.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Good For the Soul

Camping is just good for the soul, rejuvenating and refreshing. We gladly accepted an invitation from some friends to join them (and a bunch of other people) at a cabin that THEIR friends own on the banks of the Nehalem River. What a beautiful spot~ A more perfect weekend could not have been chosen as our only two hot days in June just happened to be this past weekend. Below is what fed my soul on this little outing.

Home Sweet Home Away From Home...

A cool place to relax on a sweltering day...

Tall tales told around a roaring campfire...

Fields full of wild daisies and buttercups...

Early morning fly fishing....

May you all be blessed with a little bit of soul food...