Thursday, January 31, 2008

Black Forest Restaurant, Bellingham've been hearing a little bit of negative stuff on the street about the new Black Forest Restaurant in Bellingham. I've been a huge fan of all of the Black Forest Restaurants in the northwest and Canada for as long as I can remember. Back in the 80's The Husband and I used to meet our Canadian friends at the Black Forest north of White Rock B.C. , before that my parents were such big fans of said restaurant that they were on a first name basis with Jack and Herbie.
I can't listen to somebody dissin' a restaurant like that without going there myself and forming my own opinion, that's not fair, I gotta give 'em a chance.
Tonight my sister and I gave them the chance they so deserve and let me tell you, they passed with flying colors...from the moment we walked in the door.
The hostess greeted us immediately and was very personable, she thought she recognized me but I had to tell her I'd never been there before. Okay...I'll admit, I'm approaching 50 and feeling a little invisible, so even mistaken recognition makes me feel a little better about my presence.
We didn't have time to have a full dinner so we chose to sit in the bar and have salad and appies.
There was no waiting around and looking for waitstaff, our server Kara was right there to greet us and take our drink order, she came back with menus. Sissie and I don't really need menus at the Black Forest but I think I spotted a few things on the Bellingham menu that aren't on the menu in Everson. The ceasar salad was perfect, Black Forest ceasar salad always makes me happy. The romaine was bite size, I know that sounds silly but I hate big hunks of lettuce that you have to fold and wrangle into your mouth...hellooo...sooo unladylike. The ceasar dressing at the Black Forest is crazy good, I've had the recipe in my bag of tricks for more than twenty years...but I would never share it. My mom gave it to me and she got it from her Black Forest friends, I just wouldn't feel right passing it on.
Sissy had the Prawns Tropaz appetizer and it just might have been better than Everson, we're crazy about the sauce on the Prawns Tropaz. Her prawns were swimming in that wicked rich stuff. She asked for a slice or two of their naughty-good bread so she could enjoy the rest of that incredible sauce. I have the Prawns Tropaz recipe too but you guessed it...not in my sharing file.
I ordered the Calamari with Aioli, The Husband and I almost always order calamari if we see it on a menu, it's something we share, a love of calamari...but the aioli has to be good. Once in a great while a restaurant will give me plain old mayo and try to pass it off as aioli....goofballs. The aioli at the Black Forest is great, it's a little heavy on the lemon but not in a bad way, it was lovely. The batter on the calamari is very light, batter is probably the wrong's more of a dusted coating...yum.
So my friends, if you have heard those nasty rumors about the new Black Forest in Bellingham...don't believe it! Go there yourself and enjoy! If you sit in the bar and are lucky enough to have Kara for your waitress even better. Kara is charming and efficient, an absolute delight.

Turkey Sage Chowder

Today I went to the fridge to find some lunch, and lucky me...there was a freezer container of homemade Turkey Sage Chowder. The Husband obviously brought this container in from the cook-a-rama stash in the big freezer. Yippie, I forgot to eat breakfast so I'm really hungry. I popped a bowl of this hearty soup into the microwave, plunked down on the couch to watch the noon news and alarm went off in my head. I remembered that I had told a friend of a friend that I would give her this recipe to try at her restaurant in Friday Harbor. That was only seven weeks ago...okay...I'm a little embarassed...but what the heck, at least the snippet of memory surfaced. These days a lot of things seem to get lost in the deep dark recesses of my brain never to be seen again.

I made this right after Thanksgiving when there was a whole lot of leftover turkey. It's great served with a spinach salad that has a sweet dressing and maybe some sliced oranges.
Here we go:

Turkey Sage Chowder
4 bacon slices, coarsley chopped
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound red potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces...I leave the peels on
2 cups whole milk, sometimes I use cream..I'm a dairy farmer...don't go there
1 cup chicken broth, the original recipe called for low salt broth...I think it tastes metallic
so I use regular organic broth from Trader Joes
6 Tablespoons real butter...DAIRY FARMER!
6 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage, I have it in my could use dried
2 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey

Cook the bacon in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. I love my 8 quart Belgique pan, it's perfect for soups like this. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Don't clean that pan! Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes, remove the onions from the pan and set them aside.
Melt the 6T of butter in this pan 'til it's bubbly, but don't let it burn. Immediately add the 6T of flour, with your heat at medium take a big baloon whisk and get busy whisking
...for at least five minutes until that butter/ flour mixture starts to smell wicked-good and turns a pretty golden color. This is called a roux, I taught my sister how to make a roux and once she did it she told me that she thought that this stuff could make any soup yummy.
Make sure you don't take a shortcut on the roux, the combination of heat/butter needs time to change the chemical make-up of the don't want your chowder
to taste like flour paste, what a waste! me...I've done it and it was a sad day.

Okay...on with the show. It's time to add the milk but don't do it all at once, add it in a slow stream while whisking, if you've never done this don't be freaked. The first splash of milk will sizzle and your roux will look like paste...just keep whisking and adding and whisking and adding. Your soup will be yumy and creamy if you do it don't want lumpy gumpy soup do you?
Mix in the potatoes, broth, and 1 Tablespoon of sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally....about 10 minutes. I watch the soup really closely to make sure it doesn't scorch...that would be such a huuuge bummer, I use my whisk for this but I'm a whisk that whisk. Add the turkey meat, bacon and remaining 1 Tablespoon sage. Simmer until heated through, stirring (not scorching) for about
4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4.

The original recipe is from Bon Appetit, I've made some minor changes to suit my taste.
I make a double batch of this soup and freeze it...nothing makes me happy like a whole bunch of delicious homemade soups in the freezer, especially when it's cold and snowy outside.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So long, little buddy.

For the last couple of weeks I've been reading and re-reading Cesar's Way before I go to sleep at night. I picked up these two books about dog training when we decided to have a foster dog come for a home visit. Most dogs in the shelter system have some kind of behavior problem and I really wanted to be sure I was doing everything I could to make the visit a positive one.
This weekend we picked up another book called Breaking Bad Habits in Dogs, I guess that tells you that these books in the photo above didn't provide me with the answers to all of the questions I had....and that our visitor was proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Kita the foster dog left today. I already miss the goofy little (ok...biggg) love bug.

Kita's last 24 hours here were crazy,challenging, exhausting, maddening, frustrating and finally...just a little bit dangerous.
Kita is big, strong and young. He is an 82 pound jumping, pouncing, dancing, happy dog....add some snow and Kita gets crazyyyy! Happy, crazy, jumping, pouncing wild dog crazy! But loveable crazy. Kita didn't like to be alone so he broke his crate that he was supposed to be sleeping in on Monday night, then he decided the best thing to do was to body-slam the french doors in the living room. Nothing broken. This body slamming was his curtain call after two hours of howling and crying, I was sure there were evil trolls shoving splinters under his nails. When I came downstairs to check on the crashing sounds he greeted me with his usual love and affection. We took him upstars and settled him down on a dog bed in our room....he zonked out...that is to be expected after putting on that kind of a show.

Yesterday we went out back for our afternoon walk , he had so much fun playing in the snow. But then it got wild, wilder than I have ever seen this boy. We had been experimenting with a little off-leash time in very small doses in safe areas of the farm with good results. I had decided that he was too worked up for off leash play and was hooking him back up when he broke away and started running around in circles. Well...the circles got wider and he got wilder. After jumping over and under fences, a short excursion onto a frozen manure lagoon the kid headed for the barn. He started chasing cows, and then he chased some more. The cows here aren't used to dogs so they were pretty worked up. I was trying to dodge stampeding cows while sweet talking Kita to get cose enough to me so I could catch him and get him out of there. It was scary, a freakin' scary rodeo.

When I finally caught him he was covered in cow manure, as was I. My face was splattered with cow crap, so was my ski coat, my cute bula fleece hat, my pretty leather gloves I bought in Italy, my cool apres-ski boots....waaaaaa!!!!
But nobody got hurt, no cows have broken legs, Kita didn't get kicked..although he deserved it. We gave Kita two baths last night and he still stinks ..he stinks baaadddd. My house stinks, we couldn't leave him outside last night because it was cold and snowy and he was a drowned poopy rat. The trek from the back door to the bathroom is a short one but somehow that smell seemed to permeate the whole house. We scrubbed him but good, that smell just won't go away.

Today his case worker came to pick him up. He knows her and looooves her, he showed her how much he loves her by his non-stop jumping and by doing his best to knock her down so he could kiss and lick her face. We had a nice long visit over lattes and he had a chance to settle down, he even took a little nap at her feet. She understands the fact that we can't have a dog here that chases cows, it's dangerous. If the cows had been in a pasture yesterday they would have gone through fences and who knows where they would be by now. The chase scene yesterday was in the barn with good strong gates that are held shut by chains, I was so thankful for those chains.

He is a sweet sweet dog, he followed me from room to room in the house. He will be a wonderful dog for someone. He's smart, in the two weeks he was here we were able to completely house train him with one minor accident. He was responding very well to verbal commands and hand signals, I was even whistle training him with some success....unfortunately if you add snow, a few tweety birds and some cows to distract this guy, things can go downhill faster than I can scream

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cheater, cheater cooking post

I'm sorry...I was going to do one of those cooking posts where the blogger lady (me) takes you step by step through one of her favorite recipes. I was going to make
Chicken and Apples in Cider and Cream, I even bought the groceries for it. Yesterday mom called early in the afternoon and asked if I had plans for dinner. I told her that I knew what I was going to make but hadn't started it yet. She had made a whole bunch of Chicken Kievs and wanted to know if I wanted to stop by and pick a couple of them up so that The Husband and I could have them for dinner. That was pretty much a no brainer for me.

We love Chicken Kiev, but it's only for special occasions. In the fall of 1975 Mrs. R, my home ec teacher had the class make a White House dinner. I went home and got busy in the kitchen duplicating that White House dinner for my parents and siblings, it was a huge hit. We all decided that we would like to have the same White House dinner for our Christmas dinner that year, we've been having Chicken Kiev for Christmas dinner ever since. The last few years my sister and I have been going over to moms on Christmas Eve morning to help prepare the Kievs. Okay...I'll confess, my sister and mom do all the work and I show up late, I drink coffee and visit with them while they do all the work. It's tradition!

So here's how I made Chicken Kiev yesterday.

The Husband and I went to town, he dropped me off at moms and I visited with her for a bit while The Husband ran a few errands. The Husband came back to pick me up a short time later, we left her house with two Kievs and a stick of Imperial margarine (eeks...that was hard for me to type)...this house is a "margarine fee" zone. We were dairy farmers for twenty-plus years so m@#*@#*#@* is a dirty dirty word. When I got home I threw some m in a pan, got it all hot, dropped in the Kievs and browned them 'til they were all pretty and golden. I put them in a baking dish and they went into the oven for 12 minutes at 375.

And here you go...TA DAAAA. I don't know why we don't have Chicken Kiev more's just so easy to make.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Girls and Dirt

My friend Diane gave me this cute little notebook, it was in with a whole collection of "dirty girls" products like shampoo and soaps. I carry this notebook in my purse and it's great because it has a little elastic strap that holds it closed, it's perfect. We laughed when she gave it to me, the whole "dirty girl" thing for me is really just about dirt...I live on a farm, things get dirty here.
Diane lives in the big city, she drives a cute little convertible, she works downtown and one day a week she's on the radio with her own show - it's all about jazz - Diane loves jazz.

Here on the farm, well...these girls are dirty. Take a look at the gal on the right, she is in desperate need of some of that "dirty girl" shampoo...perhaps a nice deep conditioner on those bangs. Little Missy on the left, well...she needs a good facial...girlfriend got a little carried away eating her can see she's got her chopped corn appetizer on her nose, messy eater!
And these knees! Girls, girls, girls. It's going to take a good soaking and a whole bar of that "dirty girl" soap to get these gals ready to go anywhere.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Show's Over at Sundown!

Today at sundown hunting season
will officially be over, the ducks
and I are very happy. I'm so
happy I'm almost doing the
"happy dance". I don't know
what the ducks are doing, oh
yes I do...they're running,
well I guess not running...but
they're definitely hiding. It's
not that I don't like hunters..
hunt all you want, I just don't
want to watch. I don't like to
hear your guns at the (barely)
crack of dawn.
The first photo here is the field I see
when I look out my front window,
I'm looking east. This was a corn
field, ducks love corn fields...I love
ducks. I love it when they fly over
me when I'm working outside in
the fall, quacking away. I love to watch
them when they fly in formation....
that is just so dang cool....oh wait...
it's geese that fly in formaiton.
I like geese a lot too. Just so ya know.
I love looking at these mountains in
the distance almost as much as I like
the aforementioned birds...maybe more.
The next photo here is "out back". This
would be looking to the west. This is our
field, the renter planted it in corn...ducks
love corn fields...did I happen to mention

how much I love ducks? They have the
most beautiful coloring, well...the boys do,
the girls are kind of plain...but it's a pretty
kind of plain. That is our old hay wagon in
the picture. I thought it would make the
photo of the corn field look so much cooler,
it does...doncha think? It gives it some

interest, some much better
than just looking at a muddy snowy corn
This last photo is of a duck hiding in my
front yard at the edge of the stream ...okay,
most folks call it a ditch...but it has some
really big fish in it to be called a lowly ditch.

Hide Mr. Duck! It's only a few
more hours until sundown!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crazy?...Why yes...I am!

It all started innocently enough. We decided to turn the calf barn into a craft barn. It's not a huge building, I think it measures something in the neighborhood of 24 feet by 24 feet. The walls are around twelve feet in height, above that.... open rafters.

Once we finished dismantling the calf pens and everything had been pressure washed, we put some plywood on the exposed walls, Papa Jack put in some cool old windows and I painted the walls in colors I wouldn't dare to use in the house. The ceiling and the rafters were still gross, thirty years of calves and dust and flies and spiders and a few other critters I don't really like to think about had taken a toll. Up the ladder I went with a bucket of soapy bleach water and a scrubby sponge, then....a brainstorm...I decided to paint clouds on the ceiling and in the peak of the end walls. I'd never really done any kind of artsy painting before, but one afternoon I went up the ladder with some leftover paints and did I ever have fun! I was out there all by myself giggling 'cuz I was so happy with the outcome. Well...about four years have passed since that giggly afternoon, sad to say this project has been in a holding pattern since then. Every once in a while I climb the ladder with a bucket of soapy bleach water and do a bit more scrubbing, then climb back up with a bucket of primer but hokey pokeys Bertha...this is gonna take forrrr-everrrrrr at the rate I'm going.

It's a really fun room, there is a wood stove and a big desk, a few big work tables. There is a really funky old yellow velvet couch and matching chairs circa 1973. I use the big work tables out there to make my flower arrangements from all of the flowers growing in my yard, I can be as messy as I want! We always have a pumpkin carving party out there with some friends and their kids, and this year I had a wreath making party the day after Thanksgiving with some lovely ladies...that was so much fun. But... wouldn't it be cool if the whole ceiling was painted with clouds? Perhaps I should set a goal for a completion date...perhaps September...yeah...September....of 2012...that sounds reasonable.

There are approximately 439 more projects around the farm just like this one. I am never ever bored. All I have to do is turn my head ten degrees and I can find something new to do. Isn't that just lovely? Ayyyeeee....what was I thinking?

I think we should move to a condo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Favorite Old House

I love old houses. I was lucky enough to grow up in the same town as both sets of my grandparents, and they lived in charming old houses. Not giant houses, but charming older homes that were cared for and surrounded by beautiful flowers and well tended lawns.

Perhaps my fondness for older homes started with my fascination with my grandparents homes. All of my grandparents have passed away but I still fondly gaze at their houses if I happen to pass by, I am so thankful that the current owners of these lovely homes are taking good care of them like my grandparents did.

I don't know who owns the house in the photo above, but when I spotted this home about fifteen years ago it was love at first sight. I think it's because it has the same roof pitch as my own old house, and the same style of dormers. That's where all of the similarities end. My house is the plainest Jane ever, I call her Old Jane. Old Jane is sturdy...her floors don't slope, her roof doesn't leak, her pipes rattle a little but they're in prety good shape. But Old Jane just "aint purty" like her cousin Janelle LaBelle from the next valley over.

Janelle LaBelle is what my house could be, but it would be a task equal to turning an ugly duckling into a swan. Janelle LaBelle has bay windows and a beautiful front entry porch with an arch! An arch I say! Janelle LaBelle has those really cool knee brace things up by the eaves, she has the exact same siding as Old Jane but Janelle LaBelle has decorative vents .... oh how I love decorative vents. Thirty years ago somebody who will remain nameless put aluminum framed windows (yeck, bleck, poohey) in two of Old Janes upstairs bedrooms...that was a sad day for Old Jane.

The Husband and I are talking about spending a lot of money to fix up Old Jane. Aw heck, we're been talking about this for at least five years. She'll never look like her cousin Janelle LaBelle but I think that it would be a good thing for Old Jane, I'm just not convinced it would be a good thing for me. I have a really serious problem with what I call "major purchase anxiety", but I won't go into that right now....that is a completely different subject....a completely different blog...we don't really even want to "go there".

Poor Old Jane.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Is this cool or what. It was my girlfriend Deb's birthday a little while back and this number (ok..these two numbers...the cake and the girl) were the stars of the show. It was so much fun to watch the guests at the party hover around this cake when the waitstaff brought it out from the kitchen.
I talked to Deb yesterday and she asked me if I got a photo of the cake. Wahoooo...I did!
She said the caterer had asked if anybody had a photo of the cake because he didn't snap one. Launching this cake into blog-land is the least I can do.
This cake was gooooood. I mean eyeball rollin' goooood. Not only did it look soooo cool with the chocolate daggers stuck to the sides - which I had never seen before, it was a delightfully moist cake with hints of spice and then a very subtle liqueur overtone. We had a little guessing game while we were cake tasting, guessing the spices, guessing which liqueur...I love playing the tasting-guessing game...I love cake...and oh yeah....I love birthdays.
Hey..cake birthday is in busy?

Ready, Set, Cook

I tend to cook like I used to drive. I used to drive very fast and then come to a screeching halt. I no longer drive this way because the cost of replacing brake pads on my car was starting to become embarrassing. I still like to cook like a maniac and then screech to a halt, put the pans away and move on to something else, or just park my lazy butt on the couch with my lap-top..hehe.
Around the farm this wild (hey...I'm creeping towards 50...that's as wild as it gets these days) kitchen activity is known as a cook-a-rama. "The Husband" is totally cool with this type of meal set-up. There are some guys out there that want a meal fresh off the stove every evening, I'm so very glad I'm not married to one of those dudes.
I've been known to spend four days straight in the kitchen. We have a large collection of plastic containers, the fruits of my labor go into the containers, the containers get labeled to identify the contents and the date...and TAAA DAAAAA....meals for days, or weeks...depends on the cook-a-rama. The cook-a-rama record so far is 64 days worth of meals....waaaahoooo.
Nothing makes me happier than going out to the freezer and seeing the door full of these containers. Yippieeeee!
This little collection in the photo is a beef-a-rama...I think this weekend feels like a chicken-a-rama, or maybe a soup-a-rama.

Time to cruise the cookbooks, sharpen the knives and get out the crockpot.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


No no no no no no no no no no....!!!!!!!
That's what I said this morning while I was making my coffee. I've been an
at-home-espresso-freak now for at least fifteen years...if not more. Since 1995 I've had two of these little Krups machines, they make great coffee - no fancy shmancy yuppie gadgets for me. Good coffee is about the right beans roasted the right way and ground fresh - the right way, these facts are not negotiable for me. I buy my beans in small quantities and keep them in the fridge. Sound obsessive? Probably...I'll own that. But I make a mighty fine cuppa and have fellow java lovers who will back that up. I like making a good strong brew for the folks that enjoy it, I love watching them grab the big mug with both hands and say, "oh ho ho ho...that's gooooood". That ranks high on "stuff I dig list".
Soooooo.....this morning when I was really sleepy/groggy/foggy ....that's another story, let's just say that the doggie that is visiting is a little sore today and won't ever be procreating. Anywhooo......every day when I make my coffee I put the perfect amount of water in the machine and due to the fact that I was not working with all of my faculties, I doubled up on the water....whoops. I went to dump the water out and start over again and yiiiiikes....spare parts came out of the reservoir. Those little parts you can see on the counter in the photo above, there's a spring thingy, a couple of washers and a little metal plug looking thing. Acckkkkkkk! No way! Please, NO! Not today! Ok...any day would have been bad, this would be a bad bad thing even on the most sunny perfect all-is-right-with-the-world kind of day.
My first thought was "there is no stinkin'way I'm driving to Starbucks"...that's not something I ever do in my own town, if I'm in another town I'll hit a "Bucks" but it never tastes as good as my own stuff..... although I do use their beans these days.
Well...since I didn't see any other options I filled the reservior and loaded the grounds, tamped them down, crossed my fingers and hit the "on" button". I got my triple shot out of the deal but something was definitely missing, there just wasn't the depth of flavor that I demand.
This situation must be addressed immediately. The only solution I can see is that when "The Husband" comes home from his meeting today I'll leave the doggie with him and drive the ten-plus miles it's going to take to locate a decent espresso machine.
Yuk, I hate to shop, yuk yuk yuk. Hmmm....maybe I'll buy one of those fancy shmancy machines. Ya right.
Hey...I just might.

Monday, January 21, 2008

For Cryin' Out Loud!

Excuse me,
Hey lady...
hey...scuse me
could I have your
attention please.
Hey...lady, um
would ya mind
lookin' away from
that lap-top
I mean come onnnn,
now if you could
follow me for a moment
here. Just put that
lap-top down for
cryin' out loud, what
on earth could be so
incredibly interesting
that you don't have the
time to come and
help a poor big
puppy get his ball
out from under
this piece of

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Garden Monster

Miscanthus sinensis....or
My very own garden troll?
Hiding place for naughty children?
Forty-something woman with bad highlights, cheap extensions and in desperate need of a deep conditioner? Charro in a windstorm?

Crazy Larry

Happy Birthday Larry!
Our pal Lar is 60! Hokey Pokeys!
Tonight is a Larrys big birthday party but right now it's snowing like crazy...hmmm. I don't know if I dare drive to Seattle. I have great studded snow tires and a car that handles very nicely in these conditions. It's not me I'm worried's all the other goof-balls that don't have good tires and don't know how to drive in the snow. All it takes is one wrong move and...smmmaasshhh. Right now I think I-5 is a place I don't want to be.
Ohhhh....but the party is going to be fun fun fun. Larry is a musician and so are a lot of the guests, the music room at Larry and Di's will be jumpin' all evening.
What to do what to doooooo.

Groovy Girls

My friends Riley and Clara got
these boots for Christmas,
they are sooooo cute.
The girls...annd the boots!
Oh....I remember a long long
time ago when I was young
and shoe shopping was so
much fun.
There were only two questions.
Are they cute?
Can I afford them?

These days, it's a whole new system.
Do my orthotics fit in them?
Can I walk for more than five minutes in them?
Do they hurt my sore toe?
Do they feel stable or will I roll an ankle?
If the answer is yes to all of the above....the
shoes are NOT cute...but I buy them.

Just visiting...

This guy to the right here was hanging
out in the tree in the front yard today.
He did a fly-by through the back yard,
that was pretty cool...the odds of catching
that with my camera!

But this "little" guy, he sits nice...plays nice. He's
also visiting, he's from the Alternative
Humane Society. Sometimes he's a little
shy with new people...but not always! Mom
came over today and he was verrryyy
pleased to meet her, it was love at first sight.
My sister was here too, he was a bit reserved
with her at first, but in no time at all he was
snuggled up at her feet. He looks a whole lot
like our dearly departed Tippy, he's very
sweet just like Tippy was.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Alfred Hitchcock moment

In my front yard...eeeeeks.
When I was a kid my brother and I would watch "The Birds" every time it was on TV. It was creepy and scary but we watched it anyway. I looked out my window today and my front lawn was full of was like a swarm of bees....but it was birds. Reminded me of my fascination with Tippi Hendren so many (many!) years ago.

Friday, January 11, 2008

In Memory of Tippy

One of my best friends died this week. He's been my constant companion for six years. He was charming, amusing and had good manners at parties. He always remembered my friends and definitely had some favorites ( that's you Fred and Max). He absolutely loved to go with me for long or short rides in the car or the truck, we had to spell r.i.d.e. if we were planning a Sunday drive so he wouldn't get too excited and make us crazy. He was my guardian and fierce protector at the farm. I always felt safe if I went to the cabin alone because he was there with me, he was particularly alert when we were there and would sense and intruder (often deer) before I ever knew they were close.

My house has been so sad and quiet the last two days I can hardly stand it. I keep looking for him, almost calling him to the kitchen for trimmings from a roast beef...oh how that boy loved roast beef! He didn't have a naughty bone in his body. I can count his "accidents" on one hand and that was really our fault for not taking him outside at the appropriate times. He never put a mark on any of my furniture, never chewed on a single thing. He never took anything off of my counter tops...I could leave ten pounds of beef out to thaw and he wouldn't think of touching it. He sat by my side all day if I worked in the yard, always placing himself between me and the direction from which someone might approach....ever the protector. He never dug a hole in my flower beds although one time I encouraged him to dig for a mole...he thought that was really fun. I spoiled him, treated him like a king....but he deserved it...he treated us with respect and adoration.

Wednesday evening I took him out for his evening break, he was dawdling so I came back to the house. Less than five minutes passed, I called him a few times but unknown to me he had chased a mink into the road and got hit by a vehicle and was killed instantly. The mink died too. That was the second time in the six years he lived here that he went out into the road, the first time he went on the road he got a severe scolding. I so wish I could scold him again.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Monday!

Sunshine, and one lonely little snowdrop that I can see from my kitchen window. Yay Spring!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Yet Another Zig Zag Fan

I've been reading rave reviews about Zig Zag Lounge in Seattle, I decided I just had to give it a try. If you google Zig Zag, Murray the bartender is the star of every review.
Last night I coerced a few of my Seattle gal pals to go with me for a pre-party cocktail at this oh-so-popular watering hole.
The drive to the city was a drag, seems to be the way things go for me these days. Rainy, windy, high traffic volume and the dreaded amber sign that read "accident ahead...expect long delays" grrrrrr. I took a detour but I think that was just as nasty, a lot of people seemed to have the same idea. I had allowed for extra time considering I was heading to the city on a Friday afternoon, I arrived safe and sound...just a little traffic-frazzled. We hopped into a cab and headed into the city...and whoooopppss....we were early. Zig Zag doesn't open til 5 and we were there 15 minutes too early. We managed to waste that time at a nearby trendy furniture store and got right back to our destination shortly after the doors opened.
We grabbed three seats at the bar and to my delight I saw Murray behind the bar. Yayyy! Just as all of his press attests to, Murray is a delight. He's so much fun to watch, to observe his mixology skills is like watching poetry in motion. The man is a master. But Muray isn't just about mixology, he's a people person. I wasn't there for long before I noticed that every cocktail that Murray makes is also a game of mix and match....the man mixes to match each person at his bar. A little chatting about what you like, don't like..such fun. All with a smile, a little geography, a bit of history....what a treat.
If this sounds like something you'd like to try, get there at 5. The seats at the bar fill up in minutes and watching Murray at work is worth being on time.
I'll definitely go back, I hear the food at Zig Zag is pretty good too!

Friday, January 4, 2008

whoopsie....thought I was done I said I was done with Christmas. Whoops. Onne mooore partyyyyy.
I've been celebrating Christmas with an "After Christmas" party with my Seattle gal pals for a few years now. We used to go to the Metropolitan Grill for dinner, when I quit my job and was spending much less time in the city we all decided it would be a nice change to meet in La Conner for a casual meal and some shopping. This year we're headed back to the's always a great time. One of my girlfriends has worked there for several years so it seems like we get the royal treatment. Loooove that!!!
We do a gift exchange and sometimes we've made our gifts, Diane knits and makes jewelry, Lynne is an artist and Susie is crafty but is also our go-to girl for teckie stuff. Below is a photo of some Limoncello I made this year. We've all been to Italy together and so I thought it would be nice to make something traditionally Italian. I made the labels with a Zig Painty pen, it was fun and easy. What a coincidence! We're meeting for pre-dinner martinis at Zig Zag Lounge.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Shrimp Appies

Sunday was our final holiday party. The last hurrah! We gathered with extended family on my moms side, fun cousins and their adorable little kids.
By the end of the holiday spree I'm starting to fizzle a bit in the kitchen. The tradition with this gang is a huge spread of appetizers and desserts ... if you saw the food table you would understand why there is no need for a main course.
I made Asparagus Rolls, Spiced Shrimp and these little Shrimp One Bites. The Shrimp One Bites are a variation of something my friend Karen makes. Karen makes them with filo cups and plum sauce. I made a quick run to the grocery store Saturday afternoon and they didn't have the filo cups....drat!. Hmmm, what to do? Puff pastry? Too much poof. Make my own filo cups? I'm fizzzlinggggg, not today. So, off to the refrigerated case I went and grabbed some ready-made pie crust from that giggling little dough boy.
Saturday evening I cut little circles out of the ready-made pie dough and baked them in my mini-muffin tins. What I ended up with were nifty little pie crust cups which I popped in the fridge. Sunday I filled the cups with Philly cream cheese with onion and chives, topped that with a chilled shrimp and then a dollop of cocktail sauce.
There is always a LOT of food at this party, and lots of leftovers. My trays? Empty! I love it when that happens. Thanks for the inspiration Karen :-)

Periodical Princess

A trip to the mailbox and what do I see?
It's a couple of magazines waiting for me!
Is it Garden Design or Bon Appetite?
Either of those, such a wonderful treat.

Trinkets and treasures from Pottery Barn,
blankets and pillows pretty with yarn.
Seed catalogs maybe, spring's on the way
I've been dreaming of lettuce fresh every day!

But what do I gaze at to my great dismay?
Not something I'd ever want to display.
I'm sure these are loaded with wonderful tips,
but unladylike words just left my lips.

I'm not at all happy, can't say I'm sad.
It's not that either of these mags are bad.
It's just not exacly what I'd hoped to see!
A mag all about cows and their pooh and their pee?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

*Focus*...on the little things

Happy New Year!
Resolutions. I usually just pick one word. Two years ago it was *stretch*. Last year is was *move*. My friends joke that I inject more action verbs into my conversations than most people, they're right. This year I haven't given my word for the year a lot of thought...I guess it usually just jumps (action verb) out at me. I'm waiting for the jump but perhaps it's not going to...maybe it's already here. Perhaps I should pay more attention to my thought process. Sit still long enough without all of the distractions...sure enough...the word has been here all along. *FOCUS* Helloooo.
Several days ago The Husband noticed that I had a tail light out in my car. When he got home from work the next day he asked me to help figure out which light it was because he couldn't remember. Left? Right? On his way out the door to go to town to get the new part, he turned around and came back in and asked me "did you say you needed new wiper blades?"... I know it doesn't seem like a whole lot to some people....but I love that kind of thing. Those little tiny thoughtful gestures that people do for one another, not just husbands and wives - - but friends, neighbors, parents, kids....and hopefully ...once in a while....strangers. We've just experienced "the season" of peace and love and joy, most of the people in my life are great about reaching out, I love's so inspiring. While I was out shopping the past few weeks I decided I was going to try to have a really good experience with every clerk I dealt with...not only that but to make real eye contact with them, make it as much about them as it was about me (gee..can ya tell I spent a lot of time working retail?)and ya know what? I had a great time...I think they did too. I guess I started using my new word a couple of weeks ago without even knowing it.