Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Escape Time !

Well, it was that time again....time when I needed to recharge my soul....I think some people recharge by being around people...and others like me get refueled by being alone in a quiet, serene place. Soooo, after enough busyness for a period of time, I knew that I had to get on my trusty computer and search for a place to escape to, to unruffle my feathers. After a search on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), I discovered a couple of photos that made me go ahhhhhh......a photo of a soft, fluffy white bed and another picture of a deep white tub with trees in the windows behind it. How bad could that be ??!

Sold !  So I booked the home with the owner, a sweet, lovely woman who is from Eastern Europe. This home is located on a hill in Carmel Valley, California, with a view of the soft, green hills across the valley. I arrived at night, so it was a bit of a challenge to find the house, but the kind hostess guided me over the phone as I climbed the hill in my car.  She showed me all the rooms, light switches, the coffee maker, utensils, and dishes in the kitchen, etc.

   The next morning, I woke up to soft sunlight flowing through the windows of an incredibly peaceful, romantic bedroom. I loooove the dreamy white, cream, and beige colors of the bed, walls, fireplace, tile, and curtains. It just sort of felt like waking up in Heaven....

   So I went upstairs and made myself some luscious coffee, and a bowl of yogurt with Whole Foods Market Bakery Granola (which is fabulous !), blueberries and mango. I was so excited to crawl back into that fluffy white bed, and enjoy my warm, aromatic coffee and tasty
breakfast as I looked out the window at the green hills, listening to the bird songs coming through the open French doors, and feeling the gentle breezes blowing on me. The warmth of the flames in the fireplace were a sweet touch as well. Every bedroom should have a fireplace in it, right !!
   I also took some time to spend with Yeshua/Jesus, reading my Bible, and afterwards looking through a new French cookbook that I had brought. I always like to bring a new book or two and a few magazines to read when I go on my escapes !
   The house has a couple more bedrooms, a roomy living room, and two outdoor decks. I had my lunch on the upstairs deck that is outside one of the bedrooms. It was all very rustic, with that foothills/moutainous vibe...just a great place to get away for some soul restoration....
   And extra treat on my trip was to spend some time with my daughter Courtney ! We had a super delicious lunch at Cafe Sparrow in Aptos and then we scavenged through three of Courtney's favorite  antique/vintage stores that were across the street. She found a few lovely quilts and a big pot for her garden . It's always a fun adventure when I spend time with each of my three daughters because they take me to places I've never been ! I'm so very happy that G-d blessed me with three wonderful daughters....and now a son Jeff, as my daughter Brittany got married not long ago !
   If you're needing a little get-away....check out VRBO.com, airbnb.com,  go camping, have a stay-cation at home with all your electronics turned off, spend half a day at a park, go to the beach, get a baby-sitter,have coffee or tea at a cozy coffee house and read a good book, or just do what gives you peace and calm......find a place that tugs on your heart and run away !!! Bon voyage !

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Whole Grain Waffles that Taste like Mounds Bars !

   Hi ! Are you a waffle lover like me ?! My brothers and I grew up eating the waffles and pancakes  that our dad made for us, especially on early mornings before heading up to the mountains, an hour and a half  away, to go skiing ! These days Dad makes Swedish pancakes more often, with the perfect recipe he has found, and oh they are delectable ! But to get back to the subject of waffles, I decided that I wanted a recipe that was healthy and and enjoyable to eat ! So this recipe combines whole graines, olive oil, and honey, or raw sugar.

   One day I decided to put chocolate chips, shaved coconut, and warmed maple syrup on my waffle. Ooooh my...that was the bomb, as the young people say ! The hot off the press waffle and the warm syrup melted the chocolate chips, made them ooey and gooey. The chocolate mixed with the shaved coconut reminded me of eating a Mounds Bar, one of my favorite candy bars !
My waffle recipe has whole wheat flour, oats, and cinnamon in it. You could substitute ground flax seed for the oats, and buckwheat flour for the whole wheat flour. If you don't want to add cinnamon, you could add ground nutmeg or perhaps allspice, or just leave the spices out.
                                                            Whole Grain Waffles
   1 cup whole wheat flour
   1/2 cup all purpose flour (or cake flour)
   1/2 cup oats (or ground flax seed, or bran)
   2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder (without aluminum)
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   2 teaspoons cinnamon (or nutmeg, or a teaspoon of allspice)

   1 tablespoon raw sugar (or honey) (Leave the sweetener out if using the waffles with a savory recipe.)
   3 eggs
   7 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)
   1 1/2 cups milk (or buttermilk)
   2 teaspoons vanilla
   100 % maple syrup


   Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggs well and stir in the oil, the milk, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir altogether until blended, with a pebbled look, like a muffin batter. Don't over mix. Put about 1/3-1/2 cup of the batter into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are done according to your waffle maker.
   Pour warmed syrup over the waffle and sprinkle on top fresh fruit or berries, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, pureed dried fruit or raisins, shredded sharp cheese, butter, or chopped nuts. (I buy Lily's Chocolate Chips sweetened with stevia, at Whole Foods Market.) Some people eat their waffles with chicken, which I have yet to do !!



Monday, January 9, 2017

Our Family Thanksgiving and a Honey Cranberry Sauce Recipe !


 Have you had your turn roasting a Thanksgiving turkey...or are you going to take the challenge any other time of the year !!??  Well, last year I waited until three days before Thanksgiving and I had to go to a couple of stores before I found an organic turkey. This year I decided to buy one sooner than that, so I became the turkey roaster this year ! I'd never tried brining poultry before, and after hearing chefs on cooking shows say how tender the meat becomes, I thought why not, I'll try it ! It's actually not scary or hard at all. It's just a matter of combining in a big pot, water, salt, sugar, fruit juice, spices, herbs and putting your bird in there overnight ! "How to Brine a Turkey"from the kitchn.com looks pretty easy, if you want to try it !

I also tried Chef Jeffrey Zakarian's Turkey Wet Rub recipe on foodnetwork.com,  for roasting the turkey, because it looked easy and had ingredients that I love, like tarragon, honey, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice ! 
  Some of our family celebrated at my brother Brett and sister-in-law Laura's house. We missed our family members who couldn't make it this time. My mother  Sonje made delicious cinnamon, brown sugar yams. Laura made the yummy  Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad that you can find on Pinterest. It has gorgonzola cheese in it....oh yeah ! She also made two scrumptious cranberry sauces, one was flavored with orange and one was traditional. I made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic in them. Now my mouth is watering !

  My nieces Tessa and Tatum, nephew Jared, and my brother Chris were there too.  Chris "cooked" two Marie Callender's pies; a sugarless raspberry and a pumpkin one that we had with vanilla ice-cream ! We had a lovely, intimate time, enjoying each other's company and giving thanks to G-d for His blessings on us in 2016. I'm so happy that we have this unique, special Holiday in our country each year to pause, reflect, and give thanks.
                                                            Turkey Wet Rub

Preparation Time: 5 min
Yield: Enough to coat a 12-14-pound turkey
Level: Easy


1 cup mayonnaise, such as Hellman's
1 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

                                                         Directions for the Rub

   In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, tarragon, honey, mustard, lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. Rub the mayonnaise mixture all over the 12-14-pound turkey before roasting. I would add to rub this mixture under the skin, where possible  as well.

  I followed the directions called "How to Cook a Turkey : The Simplest, Easiest Method" by Emma Christiansen, on thekitchn.com.  Maybe you'd like to follow her directions too ! ( The truth is, I was going to type the directions, but when  saw that they were about  10-15 paragraphs long,  (And I type with 2 fingers !) I decided that  hopefully,  you wouldn't mind looking it up yourself ! But seriously, don't freak out ! It has been said that cooking a turkey is like cooking a big chicken !

   P.S. In past years, I have made cranberry sauce with honey....so here is a recipe for you !

                                                          Honey Cranberry Sauce

   1-12oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
   1 cup honey
   1 strip orange zest
   1 cinnamon stick ground cinnamon stick
   1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
   1 whole clove nutmeg
      (You can also use 1/4 teaspoon of each powdered spice instead.)


   Pour the cranberries into a medium saucepan. Add the honey and the strip of orange zest or peel. Grind the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and whole nutmeg in a clean coffee grinder.  Cook the cranberries and honey over  medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the cranberries until they burst and until the the mixture has a saucy consistency. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the freely ground or powdered spices. Taste the sauce  to see if it needs more honey or spices. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool.

P. S. I decorated the turkey with citrus branches from my trees, fresh sage and rosemary sprigs, tangerines, apples, a pear, pomegranate, and some persimmons.