Monday, July 28, 2014


The first time I remember visiting my dad's house, there was a tall stack of cardboard bricks. I built forts and castles, but it was especially entertaining when I built walls and my dad jumped over them. Do it again, Daddy, I cried with delight.

As I outgrew toys, the bricks were pressed into service as bookcase supports. My dad needed a lot of bookcases! They were sturdy and tough and did their duty for many years. When Grandsons appeared, the original bricks were so busy that a substitute set of bricks were sent. Those bricks were well used, and went to live at a pre-school some years later.

I inherited the original bricks, and they are still working hard almost 50 years later!

We replaced our range hood because the old one, poorly designed, was leaking grease and had the annoying habit of dropping parts...either onto my head or into whatever hot pan I was cooking. After the last near miss with a pan full of bacon grease, I was done with it. Handy hunted down a replacement. The bricks were so helpful with the installation.

(Why yes, doesn't everyone have a unicorn blanket drop cloth?)

Hey bricks, I could sure use some more bookcases.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Suburban Sprawl

Tiny sprawled outside yesterday, soaking up the heat absorbed by the bricks during the 95 degree day. 

Fifi sprawled inside on one of my cleaned and perfectly plumped sofa cushions. It is squashed down now.  (Well, she's more curled than sprawled...poetic license!) 

Homer sprawled on the rug in the late afternoon sunlight, with a rare exposé of the belly freshly shaved for another ultrasound, which didn't really show anything. That line down the belly is not a scar. It's just belly folds, slowly refilling with the delicious melange of familiar foods and tasty treats of bacon and pill-disguising cream cheese. Homer the Deli Cat. 

And then the humans sprawled on the clean cushions and elsewhere. No photos there.

So where are you sprawling this weekend?  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wouldn't You Know It

There was a cat accident* on the couch the other day, so I took the cover off the cushion and washed it.  It was hot and sunny and the cover dried in almost no time outside.  And then it was noticeably cleaner than the others, so I decided to wash the rest of them this morning. But wouldn't you know it, today dawned cool and cloudy.  They are taking forever to dry, and the whole living room looks like a tornado hit it.  And wouldn't you know it, the inner case of one of the pillows had ripped, leaving this mess to deal with. 

*Homer's white blood count is high, so he has some kind of infection that hasn't been determined yet. Since his cancer meds are immunosuppressants, the vet thought it would be good to start him on antibiotics right away.  It is usually easier to give him liquids than pills, but wouldn't you know it, we quickly discovered this is not the case with the antibiotic. Five mils of sticky viscous cherry flavored goo were more than enough to traumatize him. He took off like a shot, or maybe a surface to air missile, over the couch, red goo all over his fur, voiding his bladder in the process.  Needless to say, we got the pills instead. They turned out to be tiny enough to hide in a dollop of cream cheese, so everyone is happy now.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Frank tells me that the fruit and yogurt parfaits are the top food item at the coffee company. I'm not surprised. They are pretty yummy. Frank artfully arranges the fruit in a pretty pattern.

Now on ordinary days I have my yogurt and granola in a bowl, but why not make it a parfait? With PEACHES, of course! This is my own homemade yogurt, which has been very successful.  The next step should be to make homemade granola (Claudia's or Merediths?) but I have to use up the bag of Bob's Red Mill first.

Peachy keen!

Stay tuned.  I think Handy might make some peach ice cream!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Classic Peach Pie

Standing on a wobbly step ladder with my head in the peach tree, I was outraged when Handy came up and began to squeeze the poor little peaches.  I would have slapped his hand if I had been able to reach him without toppling off the ladder.  "Stop, you'll bruise them!" I cried.  He wouldn't want a bruised pie, now would he?

Oh this is crazy!  I just googled "bruised pie" and there was an actual recipe. And another for "bruise pie" too. Adjective vs. noun?

After pushing the peach envelope yesterday, I thought I should go back to the classics.  So here's the pie.

Double crust from your favorite recipe.  Mrs. G told me her daughter's pie crust trick but I didn't have the necessary ingredient. I don't want to give away any family secrets without permission!

Peach filling.  I filled up the pie pan with peaches to gauge the right quantity, then dumped them in a bowl and mixed them with sugar, cornstarch, and Frank's secret ingredient.

The appetizer for the pie was another classic meal, homemade hamburgers and oven fries.

No complaints whatsoever.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Peach and Shrimp Salad

We can't possibly be tired of peaches yet!

I wanted something light and was craving a shrimp salad. came up with 3 different shrimp and peach salad combinations.
I went with the curried salad because I had most of the ingredients!

  • 1 pound large shelled and deveined shrimp (24 to 32 per lb.) 
  • 2 cups chopped peaches 
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion 
  • 1/2 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • package (4 oz.) plain or black pepper pappadums*
  • avocado, sliced 
  • 1 cup cilantro sprigs

  1. 1. Boil shrimp in salted water until just opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain shrimp and put in a large mixing bowl.
  2. 2. Add peaches, onion, chile, salt, and lime juice to shrimp.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a small frying pan until warm. Add spices and swirl to toast. Pour warm oil over shrimp mixture, gently stirring to combine.
  4. 4. Microwave 4 pappadums 1 at a time until puffed and crisp, about 50 seconds. Crack each into a few large pieces.
  5. 5. Arrange avocado on 4 dinner plates, top with shrimp mixture, and garnish plates with cilantro and pappadums.
  6. *Wafer-thin Indian bread; find in the Asian food aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.

    Lacking the serrano chile, I just used red pepper flakes.  Less salt because that seemed like a lot. And ground cumin and coriander instead of seeds (about half the stated amount). Extra lime juice because I love it. And no cilantro because I used it all up the night before in some chimichurri sauce. You see how this is going.  But these really were not major changes.

    Oh yes, and no pappadums because I didn't want to go to the store today, and couldn't recall even seeing them in the store before.  Garlic naan would be tasty, I thought.  But I didn't want to get involved in bread making and there was a petite baguette in the freezer, so garlic bread it was.

    Served on a bed of lettuce.  Delish.

    Handy told me "this is great" about three times.

    Next up, the classic peach pie. Unless I get crazy.  Stay tuned.

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

    Peach Bread

    Use your favorite banana bread recipe. This is from my classic Joy of Cooking.

    Substitute peaches. I had about 2 cups of my tiny peach halves but they would have smashed down to 1.5 cups or so. I also added some ginger. Also I had 1/2 cup of shortening, so I used it all. What would I do with the leftover 1/6 cup?? And did I measure the lemon rind? No, I just zested most of a lemon.

    I could never write a cookbook because I am always doing things differently. 

    But for me, it generally works out. It was popular. And delicious for breakfast, too.

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Peach Week Begins Again

    Once again, it is peach week (or two)
    and I am wracking my brain
    trying to think of new and different ways to use them.
    Pie is in the offing this weekend, of course.

    Peach Cobbler and peach salsa have been devoured already. 

    On the menu today: peach pulled pork (so alliterative).

    I was short on counter space because of my little helper. 

    To blanch or not to blanch.
    These are tiny peaches.
    You would not want to peel them by hand.
    In raw dishes like salsa I just scrub off the fuzz and leave the peel.
    For cooked dishes I blanch them for less than a minute,
    drop them in ice water, and the skin slides off. 

    Yucky skin. 

    Beautiful naked peaches.

    Throw it all in a slow cooker.  
    However, my slow cooker is behind all this stuff. 
    Behind the basket of cookie cutters, the shoe dryers, 
    the stack of amazon envelopes, 
    and the nearly hidden tote bag full of other tote bags. 

    So I cooked it on the stovetop instead. 
    One can of tomatoes (underneath), 
    pork shoulder, 
    the peaches, 
    and an onion.

    The men had their pork on a bun. 
    I did not want to waste my stomach space.  
    It was good!

    Homemade cole slaw too. 

    Next up, peach bread. 

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Gyoza Soup

    Leave it to me to make soup on a 90 degree day.

    It actually was a light and tasty meal, and didn't make me sweat any more than usual that day week.

    We can thank Frank for the idea.

    • Chicken broth, flavored with: soy sauce, mirin, pepper, and ginger
    • Veggies: carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, green onions, garlic, cooked in the broth.
    • Trader Joe's Shrimp Gyoza, thawed in the microwave and added at the end, so they wouldn't get too mushy.
    • Bean sprouts sprinkled on top.
    Frank said it tasted just like he imagined.  He can make it next time!

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Virtual Garden Tour

    My garden doesn't look that great.  
    Due to a combination of my brown thumb and the drought, 
    things are either uninspiring or dried up.  
    I didn't even try to plant flowers or tomatoes this spring.
    Instead, I thought I'd take you to a local botanic garden.  
    It's also very dry, but that's a natural state.

    I learned why we have earthquakes in California.

    It makes total sense now.

    Two kinds of poppies were still in abundance, the California Poppy, our state flower,

    and another kind (I don't know the name).

    Cattails took advantage of the last vestiges of dampness in a stream bed.

     Hearts abounded on the travelled path.

    Should I investigate the path less travelled?

    I was happy to see a plethora of bees feasting on mustard

    and even more on the lavender.

    Between the breeze blowing and the bees hopping from flower to flower,
    it was hard to get them in focus!

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    Ferd's New Friend

    This mourning dove was not afraid of big old Ferd.

    Perhaps it's one of the many birds that wake me up at 5 a.m.

    They "hoo-HOO-hoo" throughout the neighborhood like the Twilight Bark echoed through London.

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    The Dog-in-laws

    The dog-in-laws are a bunch of beggars.

    But I can't blame them. The chicken was delicious.

    I just don't get that much begging from two-thirds of our cats, although they will gracefully accept cat treats if placed in homage in front of them. Homer, on the other hand, always seems to show up in the kitchen when there is bacon or cream cheese.

    Right now I would wag my tail if I could find a piece of chocolate in the house.  How about you?

    Wednesday, July 09, 2014


    In fact, today, I think, might be Peach Cobbler day!

    Tuesday, July 08, 2014

    I'm Not THAT Crazy!

    I call myself a crazy cat lady but I'd never put a sign like this on my car.

    Saturday, July 05, 2014

    Join the Parade

    Welcome to my small town Fourth of July parade!

    There were happy chairs...

    A mini cooper...

    What!?!  A mini is patriotic. 
     Just read their sign: 
    "Because of Great Britain, 
    we have Independence, 
    Classic Mini Coopers, 
    Cups of Tea and 
    Mr. Bean."

    Even the goats were dressed appropriately.

    Lots of cars, 

    Even with the crazy hat in her eyes, she was the best driver in the entire parade.

    Dancing horse

    Horse's azz?

    This dress swallowed the rider.

    All we need are some tasty brews

    And a nap.