Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evening Edition: Free Kindle Cookbook! ((Also Sony/Nook!))

Fall is in the air!

Well, except for Houston, where it still reached nearly 100 degrees yesterday when I was laid over, and there I was at the airport…dragging my parka from Alaska behind me! I NEEDED that jacket when I left Cordova --- and my luggage had been checked all the way through to home…so there was no way to tuck it back into my suitcase when I hit Anchorage.

Not that there was ROOM anywhere in my suitcase…..but that’s another story!

But I digress! Things are getting back to normal around here. In fact, I got a text from DH this morning that said he was having a hankering for Pot Roast with all the fixings. So much for jammie day! I’ve heard rumors about those who go to walmart in their jammies, and though I was only going to the local Food Lion, I decided to get out of the jammies and throw the jeans back on.

I came across this little offer on Amazon! And it’s good for you Sony read or Nook readers too!

Pumpkin Cookbook, by Gooseberry Patch, is the latest of their titles to end up free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.

Book Description
Get a taste of Gooseberry Patch in this collection of over 20 favorite pumpkin recipes! Pumpkins are as versatile in the kitchen as they are in your home…start the morning with Pumpkin Coffee Cake, amaze the kids with The Great Pumpkin Stew, and invite friends over on a chilly October evening for some warm Pumpkin Cobbler.

Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.
Get the free ebook from Sony.

No affiliation! I just love the gooseberry cook books. The recipes are so good, and usually can be made with stuff that I have on hand or is easy to get!


Pot Roast for the Picky Man!

It’s true.

I live with a Picky Man. And he will probably shoot me for this post, but I just have to let this out. It is NOT always easy to want to cook when the things you WANT to cook are the things that no one else but you yourself will eat.

There. I said it.

Meat is no problem.

Spices are.

Potatoes, carrots, green beans from a can, corn on the cob, or sometimes from a can and baked beans are okay in the “veggie” department, even if baked beans ARE a legume, not technically a vegetable.

NO ONIONS. No green, red, yellow peppers of any kind, pickled or otherwise. No olives.

White rice is only okay if it has butter and sugar on it. Or put in rice pudding. Sometimes it can be fried at the Japanese steak house but it can not be the Chinese style fried rice from the Chinese restaurants, that is too different. No Mexican fried rice either, but the refried beans are okay.

((Brown rice is not accepted!))

Salads must only have lettuce, carrots, ranch dressing and croutons. Oh, and you can add grated cheddar cheese and diced egg too –but must not include tomatoes, onion, celery or cucumbers. Bacon? Yes…bacon can go on a salad, and also on the baked potato, which can only accompany butter and cheese as a topping as sour cream is not allowed.

No cream cheese either.

No broccoli, Brussels sprouts, pickles, slaw, kraut, squash, radishes, cauliflower, or any other “fill in the blank” veggie not listed in the approved vegetable list above.

Most fruits are out too.

I’m sure I’m not the only wife who has found this frustrating. It was easier when the boys were here because THREE of us would eat most things, but now there are only two of us at home. And my cooking has been down to NIL.

Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to go OUT to eat, because if I buy what I want for salads or veggies they have a tendency to go bad before I can eat it all. Remember, I’m only home half the time, and if I don’t eat it while I’m home, it will go bad before I get back.

If we eat out, we both get to choose what we want and I can have veggies and spicy food to my heart’s content.

I understand his argument. Something that does not taste good to him, or have the right texture is never going to taste good to him even if he forces himself to do it. Try to imagine that something tastes like dirt….and no matter how many people are saying EAT IT, IT’S GOOD --- it still tastes like dirt. Or worse to him.

I know I can’t change his taste buds. And sometimes I am envious of other couples who love to cook and share and explore all kinds of new recipes and tastes together.

He tells me to look at it this way…..it’s less work for ME since he doesn’t want “fancy food”. And I nod and smile and say, “Yes, you could be right…” And back I go to serving meat and potatoes.

But let’s face it. Food is one of our most enjoyable necessities as human beings. We have to eat to survive. Why shouldn’t it be a pleasure for all the senses as well?

Today we reached a compromise day of sorts. He said he was hankering for my pot roast, and with autumn on the breeze, I thought that sounded good too!

recipes 001

I sprinkled a 3 lb pot roast liberally with season salt and pepper and put it to brown in a skillet. While that was browning, I got out my crockpot and added some “legal” veggies…sneaking in a bit of “Illegal” onion, just for the flavoring it would give. I can easily pull it out after it cooks and save it for ME…

recipes 003

In the pot are 6 small red-skinned potatoes quartered, what was left of a bag of small peeled carrots that looked like they needed to be used in something fast or get tossed… and 1/2 onion, cut into quarters.

He BETTER not comment on how I didn’t peel the potatoes first! :c/

recipes 004

In a measuring cup I mixed the ingredients that will be the sauce/gravy:

1 can cream of mushroom soup ((Please don’t tell him there are mushrooms in it!))

1/2 can water

1 Tbl dried onion flakes ((Don’t tell him I put THOSE in either!))

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce ((I love how spell check can fix my typo on that word..LOL!))

recipes 005

I placed the browned roast on top of the veggies –Oh, it was already smelling good by this time!

recipes 006

Spread the gravy/sauce on top of the roast and put the lid on to cook. It should be ready by dinner time tonight!

I make salads restaurant style, in individual bowls-- so he can have what little he wants on his, and I can add what I want to mine. I'll also add steamed broccoli to my plate.

Sometimes, there is just a way to make it all work out so we are both happy with it.

And the best part will be the left overs for the next couple of days…..

I’m Home from Cordova!

Gosh, what a long travel day. I was so wiped out by the time we hit home last night that the evening simply went in this order:

1. Dinner.

2. Hot tub soak

3. Bed!

I SLEPT 12 hours straight!

And today I kind of feel like a zombie, but I think after a shower and some unpacking things will return to normal…..

There are so many photos to edit down, and I’ve got a lot to do around here, so I’m going to make this a SHORT ENTRY and simply send you over to the Northwind Quilters Blog for the update and pictures of our Cathedral Stars Workshop Day there to tide you over until I can write my own post about it!

Want more? Here is the link for our Blue Ridge Beauty Day!

Click here for pics from the Evening Trunkshow Night!

Oh, I love looking at these pics and seeing everyone’s faces again! After 5 days there, I was finally getting good at putting names to faces and knowing everyone’s personalities….and oh the stories that come from living in a small town! I love this place!

A lot has gone on around home here too….DH took up the old parquet dining room floor and laid the new pergo floor in there! It looks AWESOME! Of course, part of my job today is to get all the china back IN the china cabinet. At least he didn’t try to move the cabinet with the china still in it ;c)

It’s good to be home….well…for a couple days at least! I’m headed to Oak Ridge Tennessee on Thursday! ((But that’s only 4 1/2 hours drive away, and it feels ALMOST like home ;c) ))

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade Thin Mints!

It’s a travel day! These trips to Alaska, as I’ve found have a tendency to mess with my time-zone clock! ((Don’t I sound like a pro, this is only my second trip to AK!))

As this is posting, I am somewhere between Anchorage and Houston -- I set this ahead to keep you busy! Please have some of these warm and waiting for me at home when I land in Greensboro ;c)

THESE are beyond delicious!! And with the holidays only a few months away, it isn’t too soon to start lining some new things up that you haven’t tried before!

Homemade Thin Mints

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 stick butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract

1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon mint extract


Mix together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl cream butter until smooth, add sugar and beat for one minute. Add milk, vanilla and mint and beat an additional minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients while beating.

Once mixture is well combined and resembles small pebbles, use your hands to form into a ball.

Roll the dough into a log and wrap in waxed paper.

Chill for 2 hours.

Slice into thin rounds and place on parchment.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Melt chocolate in a bowl set in simmering water and add mint.

Once cookies have cooled and become crispy coat their tops in chocolate by dipping them or smearing with an icing knife.


Good Eats!

As I try to break down these days into posts…I’m doing the best I can to keep things kind of “coherent” in little episodes as they happened in the order that they happened. Even though I write this to share, I am also writing this as my own memoir. I don’t want to leave anything out that I will want to remember later. And time passes so fast and things are so quickly forgotten.

However, I will never forget our Wednesday night dinner at Terri’s house..and how the food and friends and fun just kept coming through the door!

Yep, it’s Alaska! And we had more seafood fare than we could make a dent in, but oh did we try!

I felt so welcome as I was introduced to everyone –like we had been old time friends!

What you see in the first pic is the view from Terri’s balcony deck. Can you imagine? Her house is on pilings right over the water, and the tide comes in and goes out and comes in and goes out and it is ever changing.

I started taking pictures of the food as it came in…..as foil was removed we all oooh’d and ahh’d at the wonderful aromas ---

cordova_AK2011 062

Diane W’s Macadamia nut encrusted halibut!! OH MY! This was served with a buerre blanc sauce on top…delectible!

cordova_AK2011 061

Julie’s blueberry cheese cake made with local blueberries! YUM!!!

And at this point I got side tracked and gave up taking pictures until we had all laid out in front of us at the table:

cordova_AK2011 063

Can you see it all? Yes! Diane U brought King crab legs with garlic butter for drizzling…they melted in my mouth! The wonderful tomato goat cheese salad was made by Val, Lila made the SALMON CHEESECAKE! ((Yes, salmon cheese cake…)) and it was served with crackers like an appetizer…You can see the halibut and the pot of buerre blanc, and Sara’s home made yeast rolls. Debra made a delicious pot of home made clam chowder as well…and we stuffed ourselves silly!

cordova_AK2011 065

As the sun set into the west, this was again the view from Terri’s deck. What a wonderful evening with new wonderful friends. I never laughed so hard in my life at some of the antics that were going on amongst these women who are such good close friends. I love the sense of community.

Quilters are a force to be reckoned with!

And this was only the end of Wednesday.

Note to self --- next time…bring stretchy pants for weight gain…LOL!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the Dock of the Bay ---

The Cordova Waterfront!

Sara and I took some time to walk along the waterfront and take a look at the boats, and just look out across the water. It hadn’t started back raining yet and we were making good use of the time we had been given!

In the harbor is a statue dedicated as a fisherman’s memorial, a quiet place dominated by artist Joan Bugbee Jackson's sculpture The Southeasterly (1985).

The statue of the fisherman at the wheel took my breath and instantly brings on a reverence thinking of those who made fishing their livelihood –and often lost their lives to it in the process.

cordova_AK2011 045

I loved looking at the boats –the colors of their paint jobs, the different names on the hulls, some quite funny!

cordova_AK2011 048

And gosh, I love it when the photos turn out good enough to show the reflections in the stillness of the water!

Someone emailed me yesterday and asked what kind of camera I use. I use my iphone 4. I don’t have a lot of room to travel with big fancy cameras. I’ve killed more than one camera dropping it out on it’s extended little lens ---you know the kind that the battery moves out and in as you turn it on and off ((How is that for a technical description!?)) and this phone takes good enough pictures for the web. I wouldn’t do “portrait” kind of fancy photos with it…but for my every day use it is fine.

cordova_AK2011 049

Isn’t this so picturesque?

cordova_AK2011 047

Yes, I’m still having “pinch me!” moments!

Searching through google for info on the Fisherman’s Memorial I found this youtube video! It’s a great one! Seeing it in all seasons is …..WOW to say the least.

We even had time to drive down by the ferry docks and check out the Sea Otters. Oh, they are SO CUTE!!

cordova_AK2011 040

Yeah, they look like logs in the water…and zooming in is one thing that this phone doesn’t do….pics get grainy if you zoom. But we watched them rolling around out there. Diving down, coming back up. I think my favorite ones were the mamas with the babies on their tummies….


Who can resist that face?!

I even tried my hand at a little youtube video. You still can’t see much, but you can hear our voices discussing the otters…

It’s not real great, remember I’m doing this by phone…but this is as close as I can get to getting you here!

We are filling each day jam packed with little adventures. I love the sense of community here. Just love it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lunch Time!

After our hike, Sara drove me into town --- we were hungry by this time! I hadn’t been into “town” proper yet…..and I couldn’t wait to see what life was really like in Cordova.

This was our lunch spot!

Baja Taco!

Let me see if I got the story right, and someone correct me if I’m wrong – Baja Taco started in this little reclaimed school bus and was operated out of the bus “during the season” which runs from about Mid April to the end of September.

cordova_AK2011 052

We just BARELY made it before the season ended!!

cordova_AK2011 054

Sara and Amelia ordering our lunches! Everything is still cooked in the bus “kitchen” and the smell was SO delicious! Did I mention how hungry we were?

cordova_AK2011 053

Here’s a glance at the “surf board” menu board!! FISH TACOS are a must when the sea food is really fresh. Today’s “catch of the day”?? Halibut! OH, Halibut Tacos with black beans and rice, I’m ready for you!

Because the business was so successful, a building was added to the side of the bus – a warm dry place for customers to sit and enjoy their lunches!

cordova_AK2011 055

It was really cozy inside, I loved the mis-matched chairs and the d├ęcor. To the bottom right of the pic is Sara’s smiling face. In this town everyone knows everyone….and everyone stops to say hi or wave!

cordova_AK2011 056

I can honestly say that these halibut tacos were to die for! I’m also sure that I’ve gained 5 lbs on this trip ----One thing Cordovans know how to do, and do well is cook! ((And EAT!!))

cordova_AK2011 051

A memorable lunch with new friends! The season is almost over, Baja Taco will close for the winter, but I’m sure everyone in town will be waiting anxiously for “Opening Day” in Spring of 2012!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Out The Road!

I love spending time out doors and I was quite happy when Terri informed me that she had “activities” lined up for me every day of my time here!

Yesterday, it was Sara’s turn to babysit me!

She showed up around 10:30am and off we went in her trusty subaru along with her 13 month old daughter Amelia and her 4 year old St Bernard/Husky mix Coco! Coco is known as the anti-bear dog….and we were glad to have her along with us!

In Cordova, if you are headed to the outskirts of town and beyond, you aren’t just going “Down the Road”…you are going “OUT the road…” and Out the road we went! It had been pounding rain for days, and we knew it would be muddy, but we were ready for it.

cordova_AK2011 021

Headed “Out The Road!”

I told Sara that I was a picture taking fiend, and she said that she would pull over if there was anything I wanted pics of. The picture you see at the top of the post is of a little roadside spot that just took my breath away! The rain had stopped and we had blue skies…for a while at least, and we had to make good use of it while we could.

We arrived at the end of a gravel road and parked…..and I laughed when Sara said “Your purse will be perfectly okay in the car, but I’ll lock the car if you want me to” OH MY! I could get used to a place like this!

cordova_AK2011 036

Coco was already one step ahead of us, exploring every nook and cranny and following her nose to wherever it lead!

cordova_AK2011 026

This spot. I could stand here and just look forever at this spot! That big flat icy spot is the glacier….and you can’t see it in the picture, but the ice is really blue! It reminded me a lot of those blue raspberry snow cones. By this time our blue sky was already disappearing above the clouds that were coming back in.

cordova_AK2011 034

Hurry, quick! Take my picture in front of the glacier too! Sara was a good sport, doing all of this with her baby in a pack on her back! Amelia was having a great time on her nature hike too.

cordova_AK2011 031

We made it just a bit farther and…..UHOH! WASH OUT!! ((Sung to the tune of WIPE OUT, don’tcha know?!)) All the rain had created a river flowing through our trail…and it was quite deep. There was no way through it, or around it, unless you were Coco and could just wade on in.

cordova_AK2011 033

Neither of us had packed hip waders, so at this point we decided to just turn around, double back and walk some of the gravel road areas instead. At least they wouldn’t be muddy or under water, and we could still get some exercise in! Coco agreed whole heartedly!

cordova_AK2011 038

Rivers were running like crazy….don’t fall in!

cordova_AK2011 037

The fall colors are really starting to appear here. You know, even if it IS raining. It’s just a whole nuther kind of beautiful. Every season and weather condition can have their moments of WOW.

cordova_AK2011 035

After our hike we bundled back up in the car and headed for “TOWN” You know, all that nature can bring on a mountainous appetite! I’d love to come back another day when we can hike further in…I’d love to get closer to that glacier. I’m adding this to my bucket list!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Sometimes, the universe just intervenes and throws wonderful “coincidences” in your path. Look hard, you might miss them --- and as some say, there IS no such thing as a coincidence!

I’ve often talked to people, friends, family, and even strangers who say things like “I know this happened for a reason.” And I am left to ponder on that. Being a rather “Free Thinking” person, I’d like to think that it is not the fact that things happen for a reason or not, but what WE choose that reason to be – what WE decide to do with it.

And that is as deep as my thoughts go. I watch in wonder as each day arrives wondering what kind of interesting things are going to unfold – Like turning the pages of a book and being surprised when twists and turns happen that I never saw coming.

This small diatribe might make you think that there was something really BIG going on in my life, but in fact, it was just a small series of events that brought me together with one of the Quiltie Gals here in Cordova, who was making this trip here so possible!

Terri started emailing me and plotting and planning with me over 2 years ago. It has taken this long for me to get here.

Last July, when emailing about details with her….we found out that we were BOTH going to be in Minneapolis at the same time. I was visiting my mom and aunt, she was there with some crazy Alaskan friends on the Minnesota Shop Hop! Small world, no?

Well, I wasn’t able to join them, even if I wanted to. You remember how short my time was? Meeting my Mom, Aunt and family about midnight at the airport on Tuesday for the big surprise, and then spending only Wednesday and Thursday with them and flying home Friday morning. It just wouldn’t fit.

But it made me wonder….could our paths have crossed before? Were we ever in Minnesota at the same time before and didn’t know it? Who knows!

Friday night, as I was going to sleep ((Trying to sleep early but failing miserably due to too much excitement!)) I got a phone call from Terri ---Turns out she was in South Dakota on a family issue, and was returning to Cordova the same day I was flying out! In fact --- We would be on the same flight from Seattle to Anchorage, and the same flight from Anchorage to Cordova!

The universe must have known that I was feeling a little jittery over the small plane flight into Cordova at night ---And suddenly, I had a companion to go with me!

See, it isn’t life altering, not every thing that happens, but I still love to look at life with eyes of wonder on how things just work out.

The pic you see above is out of my window on the small plane as we were leaving Anchorage. Night time was fast approaching, it was almost 7pm. I’d been awake for 20 hours at this point. It was about 11pm North Carolina time, and I'd been up since 3:15am North Carolina time.

cordova_AK2011 003

This is the small plane! And it was raining….and it was VERY VERY Bumpy! Not just up and down kind of bumpy, but it felt like we were skating sideways at some points. I told myself….as I dealt with the hexagons in my lap ((It was now completely dark out and we were IN the clouds so there was nothing to se out the window!)) “Just keep stitching, just keep stitching!!))

And before I knew it, we were on the ground! We ran for the terminal building because the rain was pounding!

I knew I was in Alaska, and definitely far from home when I was greeted inside the terminal by this HUGE husky dog…..he was soaked with rain and just loved right up on me soaking my jeans clear through. Tried to get a picture, but the dang beast just would NOT hold still, and the picture came out extra blurry, but after 21 hours awake, this was a good indication of just how I felt! LOL!

cordova_AK2011 007

This guy was MASSIVE!! But I loved the doggie welcome! The bags all made it, and I was whisked off to Val’s house……and straight off to bed.

cordova_AK2011 011

In the morning…..this was the view from the living room window! OH MY!! Hello, Cordova! You are definitely a well kept secret!

cordova_AK2011 009

And in usual “Bonnie Travel” fashion…I had to laugh when I opened my suitcase to find yet ANOTHER TSA slip sitting just there on top. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did..at least there were no DIRTY clothes to paw through, but they did rearrange stuff into some weird order that I did NOT pack it in – and my shampoo leaked all over the bottom so that we had to do laundry to clean it all up again.

And NO, I don’t think THAT happened for a reason either, but it’s a perk to have a nice clean jacket to keep me warm while I’m here!