Friday, October 27, 2017

A Week of Cake, Lefse, Party Food & Socks!

Hello my dear friends.  It's Friday morning here and our heat wave has passed.  It felt like going into a furnace each time I walked outside this past week.  Hopefully, we can enjoy some nice fall weather southern California style!

It's been a nice week here at home.  Earlier this week we had some friends over for tea and cake.  I enjoyed using my English bone china tea cups that I've collected for years and years. (I inherited most of them from my dear Mother).  I made this seed cake from a recipe I found on the Simple Living blog.  I made it in my new 7" round cake pan and it turned out great.  I was so pleased.

Do you enjoy drinking tea out of pretty teacups?  Each afternoon I drink a cup of tea from one of my favorite teacups.  It just makes me feel like it is a treat and an afternoon enjoyment.

Yesterday, I met up with my dear Daughters of Norway friends and we made lefse.  It's my job to roll the dough and I always look forward to this activity.  I had to leave early but I know they made a lot of this delicious flatbread.

In the evening my daughter hosted a party and I made these appetizers to share.  It's an easy recipe and they make a nice addition to a party.  You'll find the recipe at the bottom of this post.

It's been awhile since I shared any knitting, crocheting or needlepoint.  I finished the socks above.  I called them my Aegean Socks since I knit them while vacationing on the Aegean Sea.  You can find the specifics here on my Ravelry page.

If you happen to enjoy knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, etc., please check out #stitchingsanta 2017.  Sewchet is hosting a secret santa/swap and you can sign up at her blog.  There are two categories to choose from; knitting/crochet or sewing.  I think it will be fun.  Sign up now if you want to join in as the deadline is October 31!  All the info in included in the link above.

I'd better start my day and see what Lilly is up to.  I think she's outside hunting geckos!  Enjoy your day and I look forward to hear from you!

With my best wishes,

Puff Pastry Appetizer
1 Package puff pastry
1 small potato 
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup feta cheese (I use Bulgarian sheep's feta)
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
fresh chopped parsley - 1 tablespoon
fresh chopped dill or dried dill- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tsp dried mint
fresh chopped sage
salt and pepper
1 beaten egg

**Note**You can use any combination of cheese and herbs you may like to make this pastry.  Since I have an allergy to cows milk, I use sheep's milk cheese hence the Romano and Bulgarian feta.

Grease muffin tins.  (I used a 12 count and a 6 count muffin tin). I use puff pastry squares and cut each square into 4 pieces approximately 2" x2".  If you use a large sheet of puff pastry, cut into 2" by 2" squares.  Lightly place pastry into muffin tin; gather dough and place in muffin tin but don't press into tin.  Let the dough kind of float as when it bakes, it will fill into the tin.  

To make the filling, microwave potato for about 3 1/2 minutes. Peel and mash adding a little milk or water.  Don't add too much liquid as you want the mashed potato to be on the dryer side.  Add in cheeses and herbs.  Be careful with the salt as if your cheese is salty, add less salt.  Add in pepper and then beaten egg.  Stir mixture well until it is blended.

Place about 1 tablespoon of filling onto each pastry square.  (I usually divide the mixture in the bowl and that way I can judge how much filling to put into each square).  Place filled muffin tins into a 400 degree pre-heated oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and puffed.

Remove from tin and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve and enjoy!  

Although the recipe might look complicated, it is very, very easy.  You can adjust the filling to any taste you might like. 


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Beauty of Nature in Small Packages

Hello my dear friends.  I've had a great two days at home enjoying my favorite things; keeping house and cooking.  For some reason, I feel I have so much energy and have already started to plan for the holidays.  I hope this energy stays around for awhile :) read to the end of this blog post if you want to hear me rattle on. . .

I love to collect little dishes and such.  You know those tiny jars you get jam or honey in at a hotel?  This is a tiny little succulent that I'm trying to sprout and it's in one of those little jars in my kitchen window.  I love the symmetry of it all.

Last week I pulled out all the old tomato vines.  There was still a handful of green tomatoes on a couple of them.  Here they are in a little earthenware dish I bought in Spain.  I hope they turn red.  I did leave a few of the unripe one on top of the soil as last time they reseeded themselves and grew up to be lovely tomato plants.

I made a mini bouquet from the flowers I bought earlier in the week.  My little crystal vases were being used for something else so this is a Turkish tea glass I'm using as a vase!

This is a pumpkin candle.  I have a set of them that I use for decorating my fireplace mantle. It sure doesn't feel like fall. . . we are expecting the heat wave to hit tomorrow and they're saying it could break some records.  And, it's the end of October!  I'm a bit scared as with the heat they are saying the Santa Ana winds (which are fierce, hot winds) may be blowing.  That's a huge red flag for fires.  Where I live, there is a huge ravine (not sure if that's the word but it's a huge expense of lowland with higher ground on either side that goes for miles).  There are communities on both sides of it.  Actually, in the area where I live there are three different cities that connect along this ravine.  And, there are three  bridges that cross over it.  Last week, I saw a car parked off the road after crossing the bridge.  I first thought it was a police car scanning for speeders. But, there on the side of the car door was a sign "fire watch". I'm not sure if these are volunteers who provide this service or if it's part of the fire department.  Either way, it's a very smart idea as if that ravine ever caught fire, it could spread throughout all these communities.

I know the heading of this post is beauty of nature in "small" packages but I just had to share a photo of Lilly this morning during her morning naptime.  She's not "small" but to me she is so beautiful.  And, she is such a sweet natured kitty.  My little two year old granddaughter was here last week and loved petting Lilly.  Lilly was so kind to her.  I think they are good friends now.

I have a question/survey to ask you my dear readers.  Do you read blogs or other social media sites where you feel the author writing these pieces has real likes or dislikes?  For instance, I read a lot of blogs and they span many subjects.  But, there are a couple of them whose main theme is being thrifty.  I love to shop for a bargain as do most people.  But the more I read some of these blogs, the more I am totally dismayed.  It appears that these people are very closed minded and set in their ways unless you follow the same path they do.  Examples would be:  
- buying clothes from a department store - never!
- travel/take a cruise - never!
-shopping at an upscale grocery store -never!
-buying a designer/name brand item - never!
The list could go on and on.  I have likes and dislikes but I never ever would try and push my agenda onto someone else.  Hey, if you want to buy a no name brand or buy a designer brand, that's up to you.  But, don't bash people who don't think like you.  I'm finding it very rude sometimes.  And, their opinions are not limited to consumer goods.  Oh no.  Some of them are ethnocentric as they don't want anything to do with America and they frequently share this on their blogs.  It puzzles me as to why people who know nothing about someone, can hold such negative opinions. I've met some very dear friends abroad via my blog; friends that I hope to meet in person one day and visit their lovely countries.  I truly feel we should embrace what we have in common rather than divide.   Anyway, that's my rattling on tonight and it has nothing to do with nature and yet it does have to do with one's own nature.  I try my hardest to never offend anyone or make anyone feel they don't belong.  We should be embracing the beauty of this world we live in regardless of where or what country we live in.

Enjoy your day everyone.  Lilly sends you her meows.
With my best wishes,


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fall Dinner

Haha...this is titled Fall Dinner but it sure doesn't feel like fall.  It was another warm day today in the mid 80's and we're expecting high temps again this weekend.  Where are the glorious clouds and rain?

I had a great day today.  As my dear husband told me this evening, you got to shop and cook.  What more can a girl want?  I did have fun this afternoon shopping at one of my favorite store, TJ MAXX.  You never know what you will find there.  Then I came home and made dinner.

I had some huge boneless pork chops I took out of the freezer this morning.  I was inspired by a recipe I found on Margaret Powling's website, Devon Dreaming.  I didn't add the cider as I wasn't sure if it was hard cider or regular cider?  Either way it turned out very nice.  Although, I cooked mine on top of the stove in my le creuset dutch oven.
I had bought some root vegetables  last week to make roasted vegetables.  I was inspired by a recipe from my friend Elizabeth.  This was the first time I had peeled and roasted a raw beet.  It turned out quite well.  In the past, I've always either boiled or roasted an unpeeled beet and then used it in my in dishes.  Beets are so cheap.  I paid 50 cents a pound at the Persian market.  If you want fresh beets, they are like $1.50.  Yet, I see on TV those advertisements for super beets supplements.  No need if you go to your local market and pick up some fresh beets and roast them.

I just had to buy some fresh flowers for my kitchen table today. I found this huge bunch of chrysanthemums for $5.99 at my local Sprouts store.  Sprouts is a unique little market with lots of organic, artsy stuff.  But, when they have a sale, it is really quite good.  And, best of all, it's across the street from TJ MAXX!  

I found two ripe pears in the frig drawer so I made a pear crumble.  No recipe really. I just sliced up the pear into two individual dishes and made a crumb topping with a little flour, brown sugar, oats and butter.  I added in a little vanilla powder and cardamon for some flavor.  They tasted quite good.

Here's my sweet kitty, Lilly.  She enjoyed her morning outside with me today.  She's almost too big for the patio chair!  It was pleasant sitting outside this morning as we had a little breeze.  The good thing about SoCal is that it's warm during the day but almost always cools off at night.  Except this week . . . it was still warm when the sun set.  Unusual for us for sure.

Thank you for your kind comments and listening to my complaints on my last blog post.  I have to say that finally, keep my fingers crossed, I feel a bit at home this fall here in SoCal.  It's probably because I do have memories now made here that I can grow and expand on.  I know it sounds funny but really when you get a bit older and your children have grown up, it can be hard to settle in a new place.  But, the best thing is that my little grandchildren are a 10 minute drive away and it's so much fun seeing them grow up.

I've love to hear what you've been up to.  How is your weather?  I miss the four seasons but I probably don't even have proper shoes to wear for winter :) Sandals and flip flops won't work!

My best to you,


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lessons of Life

 It's a quiet Sunday afternoon here.  A time for reflection.  At 63 years old, I've never been one to reflect or spend a lot of time thinking about myself.  But sometimes things can change. . .

After being in Turkey for six weeks, I returned home and here was a lovely letter from the management company telling me that the front door at one of my rental properties needed to be painted.  On Monday, I loaded up my car and after picking up the paint at the paint store, I went to the property.  I'd never officially met my tenant since our property manager takes care of that.  As I started painting her door, she sat down to chat with me.  She's a actress/reality TV star but since I'm not interested in that "stuff" she easily talked with me.  Turns out that we are both from the same state and think that Orange County, California is odd! We both had a good laugh.

She told me she thought it was "cute" that my husband and I sometimes take care of the repairs on our properties.  I told her after 40 years, it's kind of normal.  She then asked me about my husband, and when I told her he's an Egyptian Copt she then asked me had I ever felt discriminated against in the middle eastern community.  Wow!  What a loaded question.  If she had asked me 7 years ago, I would have said "no, never".  But it finally dawned on me that after being married for 43 years, maybe I have been living in a bubble.  It was not until I moved here and started attending churches that are 99% middle eastern did I feel discriminated.  Discriminated to the extent that now I have a true phobia.  It's lead to me totally alienate myself whenever possible.  Isn't that odd?  After 43 years?  Funny thing is, never, ever has I felt discriminated against in my husband's own country or with his own family.  It's been by people who know nothing about me.  Only because I don't look like them or speak like them.  It's made me sad over and over again.  But, this time a light went off and now I'm no longer going to be the victim.  I feel I have finally become victorious.

To see the story in a clearer view, my husband immigrated to America and settled into a small, eastern Washington town.  There was only two other Egyptian families.  And, they were of the protestant faith.  There were no immigrant churches at that time; even in Seattle.  They had no choice but to assimilate into the culture.  My husband is 110% American and so proud of this country.  Here in Orange County, there are huge groups of people from everywhere in the world.  For instance, when a new church opens, you don't get "new members" to the faith.  You get "members" from neighboring churches.  Hence, they all know each other and some have been close friends for 30 to 40 years.  They don't want "outsiders" in their circle.  It's sad in that it's a practice that is totally opposite than what their faith professes.  And, this is not just happening at one church.  Many, many churches.  My faith is still there.  It will be guarded from now on and more than likely I will worship with my dear little grandchildren at their church God willing.

On a brighter note, I read so many lovely blogs where they always ask what are your favorite things.  I will have to say after handbags and jewelry, I love fine linens.  It wasn't always that way.  My dear Mother always bought me lovely household linens.  But she has been gone for many years (I as 39 years old when she passed away from a sudden stroke).  I have to admit next to high thread count hotel linens, I love Italian linens.  This is the second set I've bought and it 100% Egyptian cotton made by Patresi.  You can find it at the high end department stores (where I never shop), or at Home Goods.  It was on sale at $70 off and I love the detail of the hemstitching.  (Sorry for the wrinkly photo as they were properly ironed but being cotton, they wrinkle).  All the better for a heavenly sleep.

Speaking of sleep, my two dear grandchildren (ages 2 & 8), spent the night for the first time together here.  They were in bed on time according to their schedule but for some unknown reason, the little one decided to wake up at 4:15AM and sing and talk which then woke up the older one.  We all got up by 5:15AM to usher in the new day.  They are precious so I will never complain of lack of a little sleep :)

I hope wherever you are you are safe.  My heart goes out to all those in the path of the fire storm.  The photos are heartbreaking.  Have a great week and I will be back again soon.

With my best wishes,


Oops, almost forgot.  The lovely bouquet above was given to us my our dear friends.  It was a lovely surprise to receive it this week.  The vintage Austrian enamelware was a gift from my dear daughter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It's Good to be Home

The joys of home . . .
I'm back to my routine after spending six wonderful weeks in Turkey.  Oh, Turkey. Maybe you have read the disturbing news about America and Turkey suspending visas?  What a mess; I wish our government would stay out of other people's business!  But, that's a story for another time...

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about what I've been up to this week.  My jet lag is not so bad and my energy level is high.  Yes!  My home is always "clean" but not everything is organized in the cupboards, closets, etc.  I recently discovered a new blog and it has really inspired me to get myself in gear and try to decorate a little more posh.  It's been fun as I have so much "stuff" to decorate with.  And, my cupboards have been cleaned along with my closet.  So, things are looking up.

My new decor for my nightstand.  I used to read in bed years ago but not anymore.  My nightstand looked so bare and neglected.  When I wake up now, I see something bright and happy.

I went to the store to buy fresh flowers but I didn't feel like buying pink or red flowers for fall.  Instead I opted for this "green" bouquet.  It matches the decor quite well and will last for a long time as it's fresh greenery vs flowers.

I found my fall decorations and decorated the mantle in the family room.  I bought these little pumpkin candles years ago and have used them as decor vs candles.

I just have to show you my new electric tea kettle.  I think this is the 5th one we have had.  Years ago when they came out, we bought one and it lasted for so long.  Since then we've gone through a couple of them that didn't last long at all.  This is the latest one from Amazon.  The cost was $25.00 and free shipping, too!  So far, it's working great, heats the water fast and is an attractive design, too. (Do you spy my new cookie/cake tin? A new buy this week from Home Goods.)

 People have asked me how did my cat Lilly get along without me for so long.  She did great.  She got to stay at home and we have some dear friends who come by every couple of days to take care of her, pet her and let her wander in the back yard for awhile.  The best thing I did before I left was to buy Lilly this HUGE covered litter box.  It's amazing and no more mess.  I should have done this years ago but Lilly is a 17 pound cat and my dear Pumpkin was 15 pounds.  Try and find a covered litter box to fit a big, beautiful kitty!

I left my completed needlepoint in Turkey after I had them framed.  This is a new one I've started on and it's huge compared to the other pieces.  It's going to take me awhile since the colors are a bit darker and for my eyes makes it more difficult.

It's nice to be home and get ready for all the upcoming fall activities.  So many people have asked me if it's safe to go to Turkey.  We've never experienced any problem whatsoever.  Staying home could be just as toxic with the horrible Las Vegas shootings and the San Bernardino shootings.  Both of those incidents hit very close to home.  And, since yesterday morning we have a horrible wild fire near us burning down houses and destroying beautiful  natural areas.  If the wind had blown in the opposite direction, we would have been in danger.  We've been having Santa Ana winds which are strong, warm winds that cause havoc each year.  My hearts and prayers go out to everyone effected by these sad events.

I'd love to hear what you've been up to.  I'm going to plant some spring bulbs, iron and enjoy my day at home.  It's always good to be home.  Thank you for visiting today!

My best wishes,