About Me

My photo
Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I spent another Christmas with a bad cold. This year was the worst the bf and I had plans and everything with the exception of taking the hell hound to the park was canceled. I was so sick that the bf slept on the roll away cot in the living room so he would not catch my cold... Next year things will be better.
I did manage to make some delicious goodies for home and for the bf to take to work to share. I made some coconut flour brownies and toffee with nuts and chocolate. Both recipes are super simple and easy to do...perfect actually when you are sick as a dog.
Coconut Flour Brownies
Lay out your ingredients into individual bowls.
Mix all the melted butter, honey and vanilla together.
Then mix the egg, cocoa and coconut flour in with the butter, honey and vanilla.
spread into a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake at 300 for about 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. I did make a change to the original recipe I added 1/2 tsp of salt. I honestly feel chocolate does better when you add just a little salt to set it off.
4 Ingredient Toffee
Making toffee is easy if you make sure and have all your ingredients together and at hand, and having a thermometer is essential. Timing and heat are the two most important factors when making this easy candy.
Having room temp butter will make things go a little faster. Since I don't have a third arm and hand sprouting from the center of my body to operate the camera I was unable to take more photos of each of the steps. Use your imagination...lol.
This recipe is easily adaptable to your personal tastes. I did use semi sweet chocolate and pecan bits, but you could easily use white chocolate and macadamia nuts or pistachios and dark chocolate.
Lastly I made a traditional family favorite... Russian Teacakes I don't think there has ever been a Christmas celebration in my family that didn't involve mounds of these deliciously addicting cookies. They were my favorite as a child and they are my children's favorite today. I don't deviate from this tried and true recipe. Just remember one thing they are always better with butter.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday, and are looking forward to the coming year. I did manage to pack away Christmas yesterday and go through things and toss some relics out and organize things to make ready for next year. I think it is always helpful to have a handle on all that before the month of December and the holiday madness begins again.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Odds and Ends

I have been busy, but I am pretty sure everyone else out there is busy to. This is the month of madness. The month where we spend to much time energy and money busily trying to get that one thing or trying to get from place to place in record time...honestly certain aspects of this holiday I hate. I want simpler, quieter and calmer moments. Time to reflect, time to relax, to be able to enjoy the moments with family and friends. I keep telling myself that next year things will be different...I will find the time for all the quiet things...sigh.
The tree is up and this morning I wrapped and put the first of few gifts under it. For some people it is the amounts of gifts under the tree. This years gift for me is four-legged and healthy, and that is all I really care about this year. Shockingly, the chupacabra a.k.a. Katsu is ignoring the tree and it's many wonderful glass and hand beaded ornaments...so far not one casualty. (Side note the tortie kitten in the house (Willow, Bean or Willowbean) has decided to play the role of "The Grinch" this year by stealing Christmas and running off with every single bow I just stuck to every single package...Oye!).
I had my Christmas cards done, addressed and in the mail the first week of December. I am very proud of myself for that. I send out about 30+ card per year, and I never seem to get more than a handful from family and friends. Christmas cards are a old time tradition that I love to do. I love getting cards in the mail it puts a smile on my face and I like to think that my cards put a little smile on friends and family faces as well.
One more note about Thanksgiving and pie...I love pie, and one of my favorite is pumpkin pie. We have it every Thanksgiving, and maybe once or twice before and after Turkey Day. One of the reasons my pumpkin pie is so good is the love I bake into it...o.k. maybe it is a little more than love...haha.
First you start with some lovely pie pumpkins and a sharp knife.
Cut them down into manageable chuncks.
Use that handy dandy tool that you used when making Jack O Lanterns way back in October...if you can find it...check the junk drawer in the kitchen...under the unwound roll of dog poop bags...that is where you will find it. Scrap out the goop you don't want. Peel the skin from the pumpkin with a sturdy vegetable peeler.
Steam those big chunks of pumpkin until nice and tender.
What a gorgeous color!
Then puree the pumpkin in your food processor until you get a nice smooth consistency. Then after the pumpkin cools completely measure it out (It takes a cup of pumpkin for an 8 in. pie) and place in containers to freeze and use later.
Well the next step in making merry around here will be putting the finishing touches on on the gifts...if Willow ,the Krampus's handmaiden, will let me, and making the Christmas cookies for home and work. I have selected the three that I will be making so things should go smoothly.
K.B. shopping yesterday was fun always is, and we will have to do it again after the holiday madness subsides...Jan 25th...hehe. Lets start with Donuts...you know where.