Sunday, December 13, 2009

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree is a traditional German Carol. The author of the lyrics are unknown as is the composer of the lyrics. The tradition of bringing a tree inside and decorating it with candy, baubles and bells was started in the nineteenth century and is immortalized in the carol O Christmas Tree.

O Christmas Tree!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
From base to summit, gay and bright,
There's only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee! !"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Welcome Winter

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Tonight is the first night of wintertime. Icy conditions keeping many at home in the comforts if warmth. Snuggling by a fire, drinking hot chocolate, doing projects that may have otherwise been left undone.

Or so that may be happening in some homes...

At my place I have the joy of finding other ways to keep warm, since my heating system has a mind of it's own. I am bringing in the warmth by baking.
Oven on = warm hands!

Here is the find of the season:
Dark Chocolate Cookies...

With Sour Cherries!

The chocolate is melty and yummy, and when you think your taste buds have found true bliss and think there is no better... they then get the tang of sour cherry. Ohhh ya!

1 -3/4 C Flour
1 -1/4 C Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 -1/4 C Unsalted butter
1 -1/4 C Granulated sugar
3/4 C Packed brown sugar
2 Large eggs
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
12 oz Bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 -1/2 C Dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 350
Sift together in large bowl: flour, cocoa, soda, salt.
Cream together in mixer: butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla.
Stir in chocolate and cherries
Form round balls and place on cookie sheet approx. 3" apart. Gently pat down each ball and bake for 9-11 minutes until puffed and cracked.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My sister and I have been with my Mom and Father for the past few day. Ben, my father has been in renal failure for some time and is reaching his end here on earth. On Monday I really felt that I should go to work on Tuesday. Tuesday morning came around and I still felt that pull to drive 2.5 hrs to work. I also felt that in going I would probably miss being there when Papa passed away.

Tuesday I awoke at 4:30 am unable to sleep and spent time with Papa while he slept. Before I left Coos Bay I felt to suggest family prayer. Our last call to our Heavenly father to watch over us as we part our ways.

In entering work I was greeted with a hug and an "I love you" from my fellow nurse. She had already in 4 hrs sent two of our residents to the emergency department for further evaluation. I also learned that one of our Long term residents had passed away during the night. I spent the day consoling her upset roommate who mourned the loss of someone who had never been nice to her. Comforting her with the words, "Now you have a guardian angel looking out for you." I moved from her to another resident who received word at noon that the niece he raised had also passed away. I spent time listening to how she had Alzheimers, and that he is very sad, but happy to know she is in a place of comfort. Work later brought me to calling the on call MD to receive orders to put one of my favorite residents on comfort care. (I know we aren't supposed to have favorites, but I just cannot help it!) Her resperations had dropped to 5 breaths per minute and I sadly watch and helped her get as comfortable as she could.

Work ended with a call from my sister that Papa had passed away. After gathering some necessities (chocolate) I headed for the 2.5 hr drive back to my parents. 2:00 am brought me there, a hug from my mom and a "I stayed up to lock the door" from my mostly asleep sister. And now it is 5:30 am again. 24 hrs after the start of my day. I think I am just waiting for it to all sink in.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cookie Recipe- Finally

Here is one of the recipes I tried ou tin the cookie bake-off. It is not the "winning" recipe, but it is the one that I have been thinking about almost every day thereafter. Surprisingly.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie

3 C Old Fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 C packed light-brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 C salted peanuts
2 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Mix on medium speed the brown and regular sugar, butter, and peanut butter until pale and fluffy. Mix on vanilla and eggs.

Add oat mixture and mix until just combined. Mix on peanuts and Chocolate chips.

Place balls of dough 2" apart on cookie sheet and bake until golden and just set; 13-15 minutes. let cool for 5 minute son sheets and then transfer to wire racks to completely cool.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Little Pause...

I have been slacking a bit on my blogging. Obviously. Reason being is that I am currently working on getting another blog up and going. This other one is about certain goals and how I'm getting there. The address in case you want to follow along: .

I will be back here soon, with recipes :)

Till then here is a pretty picture for your pleasure.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Ever since I can remember my mom has had a large yellow kitchen aide mixer. There is even a dent on the kitchen floor where I accidentally dropped it once. Since we were lucky enough to be taught to use kitchen aides there is no other mixer to compare for us. My sister received hers when she got married. Yes I was envious, but since I knew I would soon be heading off for a mission the jealousy was subsided. Lucky me, I received one for graduating from Cosmetology school from my mom. The fun part of it was that it did not cost her but a loaf of bread. The Coos County fair gives a Kitchen Aide mixer to the best loaf of bread entered, and of course my mom one! A few weeks ago my mom decided it was time for a new mixer for herself. Trusty-flour-dusty that she has had for many years has developed a few personality traits that suggests retirement. So she announces that she needed a new one, and that she needed to make some bread. We of course understood her thought process since the County Fair was coming up.

And she won!!! It was a bit of a disappointment that it was not the usual Kitchen Aide, but a bit of money towards the one she wants is still a lucky day!

To celebrate her winning I decided to make a bunch of batches of Chocolate Chip cookies using my Kitchen Aide. OK I mainly did this since I was craving them. I am also overwhelmed with all my recipes. Which ones are good? Which ones are too good to put in the cookie jar? Here are the 5 contestants:

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies- torn ages ago from some magazine

I could not stop eating this dough! It only has 1/3 C WW flour and the rest is oats. It also has salted peanuts! The cookies itself though was a little overwhelming for me. I think if I put Milk Chocolate chips instead of the dark it would have cut a little of the richness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies- My sisters friend Laurie Marks

This dough tasted like the cookie recipe you used to find on the back of C.Chip bags. Basic, yet good. The finished product had a classic cookie taste. Downfall- if the cookie was not cooked precisely right, not loo long, not to short, it was not the most scrumptious taste for your mouth.

Chocolate Chip Cookies- Martha Stewart: Comfort foods

This one was similar to Laurie's cookie with the exception of a bit more brown sugar. The brown sugar was not disappointing. I ate two of these for breakfast!

Chocolate Chip Cookies- "The Cookie" Cookbook

I have to admit that I had large expectations of this one. A cookbook dedicated only to cookies! This had to hold the best of the best- right? It held a disappointment for me. The cookies were the type that didn't flatted out when you cook them. Like they had too much flour or eggs. I didn't even try one. Looks hold a lot of power over me when I cook.

Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies- If I told you I would have to kill you.

This was a last minute entry for me. I had almost forgotten about this recipe tucked way. The secret ingredient of course being butter, and lets face it, butter is just tasty! I was not disappointed in this one. Dark Chocolate with creamy butter taste. If I had not eaten two of Martha's I think I would have eaten two of these!

Now for the results. I traveled far for some taste testers and now have to wait for the opportune time to have them well... taste!

I thought breakfast would be the ticket. What better for the first meal of the day besides some good ole' chocolate chip cookies and milk!

Five judges including myself. Armed with mugs of milk to cleanse the pallet in between bites. The winner- with two votes...

Laurie Marks- Chocolate Chip Cookies! Congratulations Laurie for submitting a recipe to a church cookbook that my sister gave me for Christmas many years ago and that now will go in my book of "the best of what I've got".

Even Sam tried to have a vote!

Preserving Memories

You know how some smells can trigger the most random memories? One of those smells for me is the smell of fresh dill. Hmmmmm. Dill. I wanted to pick a little bouquet of it and let the smell permeate my house. But I didn't. The dill had a much better use in helping us make hmmm delicious pickles! I know there are those of you out there that think that dill pickles are Satan's tool, and that sweet is the only way to go. I won't hold it against you, I know we all have our own tastes. But homemade dills. Crunchy with a hint of zesty. Love them! I would post the recipe but since I made them at my moms I don't have it with me. But if you are interested in it, just let me know!

I will post however the recipe for your very own blueberry pie filling. This stuff rocks! It was a little thick in bottling it, so I have a few air pockets, but WHO CARES! De-lish. I am already making plans for pie-cobbler-crepes, when the snow is white and our days short. A bit of summer to brighten our days!

Blueberry Pie Filling

For 1 Quart

3 1/2 C Fresh Blueberries
3/4 C + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 C + 1 Tsp. Clear-Jel
1 1/3 C cold Water
1 drop Red food Coloring (Optional)
3 Drops Blue food Coloring (Optional)
3 1/3 Tsp Bottled lemon Juice

Wash and drain blueberries. Combine sugar and clear-jel in a large kettle. Stir. Add water and food coloring. Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Fold in berries. For preserving: Fill pint or quart jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process immediately in boiling water canner for 30 min low altitude, 35-40 high altitude. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My friend Amy and I grew up in the same town of Coos Bay Oregon. We were even walking partners at our High School graduation. A couple weeks ago she shared with me a little of her family memories of CRABBING! I did not actually get to go on the boat, but I was there to help (mostly watch) Amy as she got the fire going, cooked the crab, and taught everyone how to prep them for eating. YUMMY! I don't think I could even describe how good they tasted! Thanks Amy for the great experience!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My parents have been friends with the Little's for years. I remember picking plums in their orchard when I was much younger. I also remember getting sick from eating way too many of those plums! So when my mom excitedly popped the question "Do you want to pick cherries?" I could not help but say, "sure!"

I love the drive to Broadbent. To get there you have to drive through Couquille, past Myrtle Point, and right after the junction to head off to Roseburg, you take a left up their gravel drive. They don't have a commercial orchard. Just a few of each cherries, plums and I think pears.

We picked a flat with Duke at our side. He is the Little's dog that loves eating cherries off the branch. Huge- and hilarious! After our flat of cherries we head on home to start the process.

Pitting, bottling, and canning.

The end product: 7 pints pitted cherries to use in recipes. 7 pints with pits to each right out of the jar. 2 quarts for Darilyn. And lots of little jam jars.

Foam Anyone?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


It seems that no matter where I am living or what I am doing, my parent's house will always have a feeling of "Home". Even though I have been sleeping on the couch there for years I know I always can. Things that trigger that nostalgic feeling for me is Papa yelling, "Woman!" when he is trying to get my moms undivided attention. Or the way he affectionately calls the cat, "You lazy old mutt." In fact any new animal brought into the house becomes a "mutt" once it is accepted.

My mom loves to help everyone. Sometimes this helping becomes her taking over, but we smile and usually just let her. She is extremely creative and loves to share her projects.

I love that when I am "Home" there is always some large animal claiming the brush. For years my folks have had llamas. How this came to be I don't know, but there they are staking their territory over the briers and weeds. "Get to the barn and feed the animals." A command I have been hearing for years. It used to be to my Sis and I, now my mom has taken over the claim of "feeding the animals."

We always had a garden. It used to be a huge 2 acre spread, now it is in planters outside the back door. Papa must have his little garden to tinker around in.

Even though my sis and I have moved on and away from my parents place. (I think ran was more accurate when we finished high school.) Their house will ways be a place of "home". With couches purchased new in the 80's. A cat that sounds like a wounded baby bobcat. A compost manure pile that would be any gardeners dream. And a pump house full of a food preservers wonder and awe. "Home".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Photo Tag - Macy's at Christmas

I love this tag. Plus now that I actually have photo files it makes it so much more fun!

I tag anyone who want's to do this. Just let me know in my comments if you are, so I can see your photo!

1. Go to the sixth file in your documents/my pictures.
2. Go to the sixth picture.
3. Blog about that picture.
4. Then tag 6 more people.
5. Name your picture.

Macy's at Christmas

For anyone who has not experienced Christmas in NYC, you need to schedule it. The street performers, the light displays, ice skating in Central Park, the window displays, and especially the Rockefeller Tree. They all are special treats to add to the normal wonders of NYC. Macy's Department store is especially decked out. They have Christmas decorations from floor to ceiling everywhere, and have a whole floor designated just for Christmas decorations. I'll add a few more photos below, just for your imaginations pleasure.

The Macy's Believe -o- Meter

Macy's Window display

The Macy's original entrance

A Poodle Tree inside Macy's