Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's Crockpot Season! Try this amazing Mongolian Beef!

We're coming into the colder season now so I decided to break out the crockpot this past weekend and kick my husband out of the kitchen as well.   Since we got married, Tom has been doing most of the cooking because he has mad cooking skills.   I'm talking chef level!  So, I decided to allow Tom to cook most of the meals.  It was hard for me (not) to step aside from cooking.   However, I started feeling guilty so I decided to scan Pinterest this past week and found this great recipe for Mongolian Beef!  I found the recipe off of Pinterest and then added and tweaked a few things but you really can't go wrong with a crockpot.

  • 1 ½ pounds Flank Steak
  • ¼ cups cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoons mince Garlic, Cloves
  • ¾ cups Soy Sauce
  • ¾ cups Water
  • ¾ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup carrots - chopped or grated
  • 1 whole onion sliced
  • 2 bell peppers sliced - any color
  • 1 package of button mushrooms sliced
  • green onions, about half a bunch sliced (put half in the crockpot and half for garnishing)
  1. Cut flank steak into thin strips. In a ziplock bag add flank steak pieces and cornstarch. Shake to coat.
  2. Add olive oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sliced onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and carrots to slow cooker. Stir ingredients. Add coated flank steak and stir again until coated in the sauce.
  3. Cook for high 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours until cooked throughout and tender. Can serve over rice and garnish with green onions.
Happy cooking!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Meet Madame Bushka

Our tenth and final cat for this household.  Well, unless we build a huge mansion.   Never say never.  She was adopted on Sunday, May 21, 2017 (her "gotcha" day) from a private party who fell ill and could no longer care for her.   She's all love and the tiniest thing ever at 6.8 ounches and 6 years old.   We are acting like proud parents.  :)

And we will spoil her like our nine others....unless Quincy has a say in it (lurker in the background).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Little Rustic Bread in Wine Country

Finally, there was a break in the weather!  A reprieve from the rain.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, billowy cloud kinda day and it happened to fall on the day my girlfriend and I had a rustic bread making class at one of my favorite farms and winery (Red Ridge Farms/Durant Winery) here in the Willamette Valley.   So we wound our way through wine country on this perfect day, mouths watering for carbs and wine and the need to learn to make bread.

Now, the last time I made bread was when I was in my 20's.    I wanted to make something special for my mom and dad, something with a little artisan flare.  I wanted to show the world that I could conquer yeast and kneading and rolling and punching.   When I took it out of the oven and accidentally dropped it on the kitchen floor, I think it cracked the floor tile.  Needless to say, dad passed on taking a bite for fear he'd end up at the dentist with broken teeth.  That was the first and last time I made bread from scratch.   I didn't want to hurt anyone with my baking.

Oh but today, now today was fun.   After watching Chef Kusuma Rao make a few perfect loaves, I think I can try it again.  It looked so easy and if at first you don't succeed, wait 30 years and try again, right?  Oh and the variations are endless!  Olive bread, cheese bread, garlic bread with whole garlic cloves!  The ideas are like a painter's palette waiting for an artist to come along and create beautiful art...or in this case, beautiful bread!

We were also taught how to make a great Cumin Cauliflower Pate and a sort of beet hummus that was to-die-for but the chef wouldn't give us her recipe for that.  I guess chefs have to keep some secrets.


If you want to find more information on Chef Kusuma Rao, her website is

Happy baking!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I thought I'd forever be the single crazy cat lady....I was wrong. So wrong.

So this happened while I've been away.  

And because that happened....this happened...and nine makes our perfect furry family.

And this poem sums it all up....


for Tom and Michelle’s wedding...

He wondered if that someday would ever come.
And it did on a magical Music Monday in Tom’s backyard.
It arrived with friends and rock n roll and very large serving of Hawaiian pulled pork.
Oh, he wasn’t looking, but he found a gift of a sudden smile,
vanishing and then returning in the house of his imagination by the minute.
It began when she sent him a message—
first with her eyes from behind a glass of Cabernet
and he fell into the light of those jewels
so much so that his daughter Kelsey had to poke him in the ribs
to keep from staring too hard.
But that’s okay, that’s Tom
and Tom brings his love strong.
She was there as a volunteer for PAWS, the animal shelter,
and soon this animal couldn’t keep his paws off her.
But before that, there’s got to be hello.
But Tom’s a host with more than the most, with a boyish wonder
for friendship and laughs, a man with a golden heart
and an impeccably green lawn.
He couldn’t sit still until everyone had a healthy plate of food,
a good drink and smiles beaming like light
through those backyard Doug firs.
But he did settle into a feeling for Michelle,
her kindness, volunteering for the same animal shelter
as he did for a decade.
And yet, somehow they’d never met.
So during his daily meditations of friendships and high fives,
Tom’s feelings grew stronger, a surround sound love in stereo.
And he cranked it to eleven.
And her, an osprey’s glide across the river to West Linn
would find Michelle throwing wine parties, painting parties,
making drinks and making dreams parties, hair parties--
two separate social butterflies now unknowingly
dancing toward each other.
Sometimes, she wondered, would she forever be a single crazy cat lady?
And he wondered, would he forever be a single crazy cat lady?
After a decade of soloing in his castle of rescued cats
like a suburban Jimmy Page wielding barbecue tongs as his air guitar,
Tom kept playing that music, that language of love he spoke daily,
if not on the phone, or in email messages,
then in his love for his garden, his daughters and, those cats,
all of it dialed in for the woman who would make his house their home,
her cats their cats—Fisher, Gizmo, Ichiro, Sylvester, Quincy,
Emma, Kismet, Lily and Perseus. That’s right.
As she poured over his book, The Department of Zenitation,
he was pouring an open hearted joy to friends
like those frozen shots of a Russian vodka no one could pronounce.
But Tom was fluent in the language of love blooming for Michelle.
The more she read Tom’s book,
the more Michelle started to write her own story of their love.
And Tom fell hard—there was no half-baked heart from Mr. Tommy Z.
And so if he did come on a little too strong,
it was in those measured months when they stepped back,
they found a new rhythm, a path to a deeper love,
true and now the stories they string together
like those mini-Eiffel Tower lights framing their living room.
And so love is a music they play together—through doubt,
through the generosity of time and faith and just letting it happen,
from that 4 th of July first date to the right here, right now,
alight with colors like that stone path framed with flowers
leading to the house of his heart.
That distance, this light across the river, across decades
—she in her cozy cottage, he in his castle of rescued cats,
now come together.
It’s a patience painted with a passion that’s say, “let’s do this.
Let’s make this love a light that shines brighter as one.”

~Poem by our wonderful friend and published poet Tim Sproul~

I never imagined love could be like this.
More to come...I've missed blogging.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hello! Is anyone still out there?

I'm back!   Yea, can you believe it?   Still the crazy cat lady but just a year older now.   Is anyone still out there?  I've missed the blogging world! 

Stay tuned...have MISSED you all!  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sweet treats in sweet glass holders and sweetly cheap!

I'm always on a budget, it seems.  In fact, I'm sure a lot of us are on budgets.   So, I'm always on the lookout for crafty items that are sweetly cheap!   Much of the time I find these great ideas on Pinterest,   If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, don't.   You will get addicted.   Okay, DO go on Pinterest but you can't say I didn't warn you.

Everything for this craft was purchased at the Dollar Store (I actually had these items for awhile but decided to finally make the project).   A lot of times I will go to the Dollar Store to purchase hair ties, pens, cards, batteries (and really, the batteries aren't that bad because I found a comparison some passionate person did on YouTube and they really do compare to the ones you buy at any regular store.)   I couldn't resist myself when the idea popped in my head, remembering what I saw on Pinterest.   So, each of these glass holders cost two dollars (one dollar for each piece) and the items inside, another dollar.  So, three dollars total for each!  How can you beat that?  

I found the pedestal in the candle section.  It's actually a candle holder itself.  The glass container on top was from the kitchen section.   I just glued them together and voila!   A perfect container for your cotton swabs, Q-tips or candy!   The front of the containers I got in the kitchen section have an indentation in front to put a label on it.   I haven't gotten the labels but who knows...I may change my mind later.  I like those chalkboard labels so those might look awfully cute and you can change what you write on it.

Thanks for the creepy stare, Quincy.

Spring seems to already be in the air.  I'm loving it.  We had a little scare with my Miss Emma.  She came down with bronchial pneumonia and had a 105.2 temperature.  After a rush to the vet for a checkout, X-rays, steroid shots, fluids and antibiotics she is back to her old self again, thank God.

 Quincy, on the other hand, has no problems passing out in the sun.

Until next time!   Stay strong, stay positive and stay sweet...Valentine's Day is right around the corner, you know?  :)  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sweet Potato Fries!

I've decided that in 2015 my only goal is to keep things simple.  I only say this because for the last ten years I've never been able to stick to your typical get organized or get fit goals.  Yep, I'm still a disorganized chunk.  I mean, how hard can keeping simple be, right?  Keep things simple and eat better, that is.   I didn't say diet either..there will be NO DIETS in my house.   I don't believe in diets...I believe in moderation and exercise, which in my case is going up and down the two flights of stairs in my condo at least a kajillion times a day because I'm always forgetting at least one or two things a day on the other floors.  So, back to simplicity.   I have been on a hiatus from my love of cooking since the holidays but I want to get back in the kitchen and stir things up again.  However, with my busy schedule it's been hard to make a meal that takes hours and hours of prep.   I'll try to save that for the weekends.  So, to start things off, I recently made another batch of these beauties, sweet potato fries.   These are the easiest and the tastiest things you can stir up quickly and, BONUS, they are good for you.  

A little background on this sweet veggie from
  1. "Sweet potatoes are a Native American plant that was the main source of nourishment for early homesteaders and for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. These tuberous roots are among the most nutritious foods in the vegetable kingdom. They are packed with calcium,potassium, and vitamins A and C."
First things first.  Get yourself a fine glass of wine to get in the mood.  Now slice away, thin and long slices, you know, like fries and don't cut your fingers!

Throw the slices in a bowl and toss in olive oil.  I have no clue how much...just splash until coated.  

Line them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and throw in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.   Then flip over and bake another 10 minutes until they just brown on the edges.

Make an awesome dipping sauce by combining 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 cloves garlic minced, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste!   Eh voila! 

Now stuff your face full of this vitamin enriched vegetable and never feel guilty!  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wishing you all a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Just popping on to wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with the warmth of love, family and friends...including your furry family!

You know Quincy's enjoying it.  ;)

See you next year!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Right Kind of Eggs

So I stumbled across this brand of eggs when I was visiting my girlfriend and her husband.   We had an afternoon of cooking, laughing, drinking wine (of course) and baking.   Needless to say, we failed at the baking part but when she pulled out these eggs, I was amazed at the information!   I mean just look at the container.   Now these are the RIGHT kind of eggs to buy.   Am I right?   Vitale Farms is located in Texas.   Click here if you want to read more about them!   Their website is full of information...the RIGHT kind of information we need to know about how hens should be raised and respected.   Granted, the eggs are a bit more costly, but if it gives me the peace of mind I want...then I will spend the money.

I love the colorful, fun and happy packaging.

They even had a profile of the Bird of the Month! I love it!   I mean come on...gotta give credit to these beautiful birds that are providing us sustenance, right?   Also a profile of one of the farmers.  :)

Now this is the kind of pasture they deserve.  

Check them out, especially their website.  It was worth it for me.   If the human race can learn a little respect, love and kindness to each other and animals, this would be a much happier and much different world to live in.  :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cooking Egg Rolls with my Sis!

I recently flew to California to visit my family, mainly to watch my niece compete in an equitation event, to which she ended up being the grand champion.  I was so proud of her and so happy it happened while I was there.   It was a two day event that included lots of hard work, a lot of driving, practice and mom and dad focusing on her the entire weekend.   She deserved it. She worked hard and she won.  I also love spending time with my we can do girly things together, shop, eat, cook.  :)

Soooo...while I was there sis and I cooked some of these delicious egg rolls!   It's actually fairly simple.   Sometimes you see some recipes that have TONS of ingredients and steps that it really just turns you off to even trying it.  You really can have something as simple as this that tastes just as amazing.   I'm all into simple and easy these days.

Chicken Egg Rolls

1 lb. ground chicken (or beef/turkey)
1 can water chestnuts (cut in small bite-size pieces)
1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
1 package of shitake mushrooms (already sauteed)
1/2 onion chopped (already sauteed - can saute with mushrooms)
About 1/2-3/4 soy sauce
About 4-5 Tbsp. sugar
Egg Roll wrappers
Olive or Vegetable Oil for Frying

Saute the onion and mushrooms together until cooked.   Drain if need be and set aside.   Cook ground chicken over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, tossing in mushrooms and onion with it.  Slowly pour in soy sauce and sugar.   At this point I'll typically just keep adding both until I get the taste I like.  It should be both salty and sweet, oh and savory.   When you think you've reached your desired taste, set aside to cool.  To speed up cooling process I'll just put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.   Once cooled, throw in the green onions and water chestnut and mix together.

Now comes the rolling.   Place about a 2 Tablespoons of the mix at one corner of the  egg roll wrapper and start wrapping.  If you've never wrapped before, this is a great demonstration here.  It's good to have a small glass of water set aside.  You'll want to wet the opposite corner of the egg roll from where you're wrapping to seal it shut at the end.

Now you're ready to fry!   You can also bake these at 450 for 20 minutes after you've brushed them with oil.   I'll admit, though, I prefer frying.  Sometimes you just have to be bad.  :)  I will usually have the oil heated at about a medium heat to avoid oil splashing onto you.  Remember, the meat is already cooked on the inside so frying is basically to brown the outside.   Once brown, you're done!

We had a few leftover egg roll wrappers and my sis had a great idea...we filled them with string cheese as an appetizer for everyone!

Autumn is in the air, I can feel it.   I think autumn has become my favorite time of year.   I used to be a summer girl but now I look forward to bundling up in my favorite sweaters and scarves and donning my favorite tall boots (okay, I have about six pair, really.)   The leaves haven't quite changed yet but they will turn an iridescent red, orange and yellow and line the streets I drive down.   I think it might be time to start baking and crocheting.  :)

Hope you're all enjoying the end of summer!   xoxo