Saturday, December 24, 2011


On our Christmas mantle is the word PEACE.  There are five letters in this word, there are five people in my family, it may seem only natural.  However, there is a story behind why our stocking hang from this word.

This story was born nine years ago when I was expecting my third child.  My husband and I had gone in for a routine ultra sound just after Thanksgiving.  However, this ultra sound was anything but routine.  My doctor could not find four chambers in my baby's heart.  Try as he may, he could only find two chambers.  

We were immediately set up for a follow up ultra sound at another doctor's office that was used to working with high risk pregnancies.  We had to wait what felt like forever, but in fact was probably about three or four days until our next appointment.   I was beside myself with fear for my unborn child and what life would hold for him.   I was in a state of constant worry and crying.  I spent a lot of time praying for my unborn child.

One night, I woke up to a voice telling me 'It is going to be okay'.  My head shot up off the pillow, but the house was dark and everyone was asleep.  What I was left with was an overwhelming sense of Peace.  A Peace that could only be from God as it surpassed my understanding.

When my doctor appointment came, we found that our son's heart did in fact have four chambers and in fact...everything was okay.  That year as I went Christmas shopping I bought our PEACE stocking holders.  Each year I pull them out and am so thankful for the gift of Peace God gave me that year.

My Christmas wish for you is that you too will have God's Peace that surpasses our human understanding.  Merry Christmas!  Peace be with you!

And the Peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten - Reasons I Run

I have told you before, I run.  I would not consider myself a runner, but I run.  I want to say I am a runner, but the words never make it past my lips.  Hello, my name is Carol and I am a..., nevermind - I run.

These days my runs are sometimes more sporadic than they used to be.  My running partner has been injured for the past six months and I find my self discipline is much better when she is waiting for me to get my running ass out of bed than when she is not.  Nevertheless, I am still running and these are my top ten reasons for doing so:

10.   I don't want to be a quitter.  I've worked hard to get to where I am at, I don't want to give it up and have to start at square one when I decide, again, that I need to shed some pounds.

9.     I want to set a good example for my live-ins.  Exercise is a good I am told.

8.     I have a mean 'Sweet Tooth'.  Pie should be a breakfast food and cookies are not a one and I'm done kind of food for me.

7.     I don't believe in margarine, I like Butter...and lots of it!

6.     I believe Sauces should be it's own food group.  Hollandaise Sauce, Pepper Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, anything with heavy cream and butter sauce...

5.     I have some really cute running clothes that I like to wear.  Not to mention the small fortune I spent on them.

4.   I like the feeling when I am all done.  It makes me feel good to know while most people are getting up and ready for their day, I have already run at least three miles.

3.    If I do it today, I will have a break tomorrow.

2.    I LOVE to eat. Savory, Sweet or Baked Goods...I love them all so very much.

1.    And my number one reason is My Jeans.  I like them, I'd like to continue to fit into them.  So when I am going through all the thoughts in my head as to why I should get out of my warm cocoon and go run in the morning, it is my jeans that finally gets me up and going.

So there you have it.  Another method to my madness, another peak into the workings of my mind.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Caramel Wonder Bars

Let me start by telling you that if you are looking for a waist friendly dessert, this is not your recipe.  However, if you are looking for something that makes you throw your arms up in rapturous abandon, then this is most definitely a dessert that will not disappoint.   
I got this recipe from my friend Carmel.  Not spelled the same so no pun intended...  
Carmel is a cookie diva!  Her hands are incapable of making a bad cookie.  Her cookies are always moist and delicious, unlike  mine that often turn out flat and greasy!  When she made these for me the first time I crowned her Queen Carmel of Enchanted Cookie Land.  I am sure there is such a place...

Ok, I'll get out of my own head and tell you how to make them.

For the Crust/Bar you will need Quick Oats, Flour, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt & Butter

In a large bowl add 1 1/2 c. Oats, 1 1/2 c. Flour, 1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar, 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda, & 1/4 tsp. Salt.
Mix all dry ingredients together.

Next, melt 3/4 c. Butter and pour into dry ingredients.
Mix together until well incorporated and you have a crumbly mixture.

Set aside 1 cup of this delicious mixture.

Pour the remaining mixture into a 9x13 Glass Pan (spray/grease the pan prior)

Press down so the mixture is evenly distributed in the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, melt a 1 pkg (14 oz) bag of caramels and 1/2 whipping cream together in the microwave.  

Do this in one minute intervals, stirring in between intervals.
*Note: if you buy caramels in bulk like me you will need approximately 40-50 caramels to equal 14 oz pkg.

Now you need 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 - 2 cups if you like bulk).

When your crust is finished cooking, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top evenly.

Then pour the melted Caramel mixture over the top of the chocolate chips.

Finally, sprinkle the reserved Oat mixture over the top.
Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Cut into bite size squares and be thankful these are not a sin to eat!

Caramel Wonder Bars
1 1/2 c. Quick Oats
1 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 c. Butter, melted
1 pkg (14 oz) or 50 individual Caramels
1/2 c. Whipping Cream
1 pkg Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

In a bowl stir 1st five ingredients.  Stir in melted butter.  Set aside 1 cup of mixture for topping.  Press remaining Oat mixture into a 13.9.2 pan.  Bake at 250 degrees for 10 minutes or until light brown.  Combine caramels and cream in sauce pan or microwave bowl.  Cook over low heat until melted, stirring often.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust.  Top with Caramel mixture.  Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.  Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Back to School - Boys vs. Girls

My first child was a girl.  When we found out our second child would be a boy my mother told me I would notice a difference in the way a baby boy cried vs. a baby girl.  She even told me that my sister had called her and told her she was right about this.  I never noticed it.

Fast forward to now and I am noticing a big difference between my girl and my boys...this is not a personality difference, it is definitely gender difference.

Last week my sweet live-ins started school.  At the end of each of their days I ask them how their days went, what was their favorite thing, do they like their teacher, what they played on the playground, did they eat all their lunch, etc...

My sweet girl is happy to tell me all about her day, in colorful, vivid detail.  A moment by moment recollection.  When I ask her questions she answers happily and thoroughly.  This process takes quite a while.  Just when I think I have heard it all, we have dinner and I hear it all again and then some.

In contrast, trying to get any information out of my boys about their day is like trying to pull teeth with no hands.  This is how this conversation usually sounds:

How was your day? Fine
Do you like your teacher? Yes
What was your favorite part of the day? Recess
You can't pick recess.  Then nothing.
What did you learn? Nothing
Did you do math?

It is a this point that Live-In #2 pretty much stops answering and Live-In #3 makes a loud sound of frustration.  This is when I realize I like all the colorful vivid detail.  I am used to 13 years of colorful vivid detail. But, my precious boys are not going to give it to me.

I can sum it all up...My girl is her mother's daughter and my boys are their father's sons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enchilada Sauce

Not long ago, on a day when I needed to throw together a fast dinner, I decided to make chicken enchiladas with some leftover chicken.  As I often do, I waited until the last minute before beginning my dinner preparations, only to find out that I had NO Enchilada Sauce!

To make matter worse, I had NO gumption, get up and go, mojo (or whatever you want to call it) to get myself in the car and drive to the store.  There wasn't even an effort on the part of the 'little voices in my head' to try and convince myself to go to the store.  So, I was forced to improvise.

This is not the first time I have had this happen, but luckily for me the last time it happened I was on the phone with my mother who walked me through making a homemade sauce.  It was good, but I didn't write down what I when it happened to me this time I had to reinvent the wheel.

I checked my pantry and found that I at least had the ingredients to make a sauce - the only thing I had to do was get-r-done!  This is what I came up with...

Pantry Ingredients you will need: 
Tomato Sauce, Green Chilies, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder & Cumin
(I love Cumin...but I don't want to marry it)

Place all ingredients in the blender.  Liquefy!  (Oh, I like that word!) 
Let me say it again, LIQUEFY!
Finish it off with a little salt & pepper.

When it is finished liquefying, it will be Enchilada Sauce.
If you are weird like Live-In #3 & Live-In #1 you will think it should be salsa...taco sauce maybe, but salsa no.  If you want Salsa click here.

I must say, this sauce is very easy to make and I like it way better than the canned sauce at the store and the seasoning packets which require me to sit over the stove and stir.  I think I will be out of enchilada sauce in my pantry more often!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
1 29oz can tomato sauce
1 4 oz can green chilies
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in blender

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School Letter

Dear Sweet Babies:

I cannot believe another summer has come and gone.  I am am not quite ready for you all to go back to school, but I am so excited for the adventures you will encounter as an 8th grader, 4th grader & 3rd grader!   You are growing up so fast and I am so proud of each of you.

Live In #1: you are growing up to be such a lovely young lady.  I am so proud to be your mother.  I am in awe of your strength of character and your confidence in yourself.  You are inspiring.  I am looking forward to the new experiences you will have at your new middle school and the stories you will tell at the dinner table each night!

Live In #2: you are an amazing boy.  I am honored to be your mother.  You have a absolute sense of yourself.  I have no doubt you are destined to be and do great.  I am eager to hear about all the new wonders you will learn about.  I love learning about our world and the things in it through you!

Live In #3: you are a wonderful boy. It is an absolute delight to be your mother.  You amaze me with your unwavering character and sweet spirit.  The mommy in me wants to keep you as my little baby, but I know you are growing up to be a spectacular young man.  It is a joy to watch you grow and experience new things.

I love you all so very much.  Best wishes for a grand school year!

With All My Love,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Goodbye July, August & Summer

My Life - July & August 2011

Summer at our house involved as much boating as possible and the months go by so fast...too fast!  So here is my list of 'happenings' for what began as a dud summer (weather wise) and ended up being no to shabby.

  1. Live-In #2 figured out surfing and got up for the first time.  He yelled 'YEAH' so loud I think my right ear drum broke!.
  2. Live-In #3 started tubing, not just tubing - but crazy tubing...the kind of tubing where you end up making several summersaults on top of the water before you finally fall in.  He yelled 'THAT WAS AWESOME' so loud I think my left ear drum broke!
  3. Live-In #1 proved to herself that last years surfing expedition was not a fluke...that girl can surf!  
  4. I/We camped at our favorite campsite for not 7 but 8 nights and 9 days.  Yes, tent camping.  I survived.  I loved it.  I was ready to come home.  I kissed my bed upon my return.
  5. Lover has finally accepted my obsession with Fried Chicken while boating.
  6. Live-In #2 started football practice.  10 hrs a week...did I mention it's tackle football???  I hope nobody smashes my boy.
  7. Live-In #3 started football practice.  1 hr a week...this is flag football.  He is such a sensible boy.
  8. I took Live-In #1 school clothes shopping. We still love each other.  The end.
  9. Declared one Saturday afternoon to be a 'girls day' on the boat.  No boys allowed!  Confirmation: 1 boat, 1 surf board & 8 girls = some very good times!
  10. I went on a scavenger hunt...I felt like I was 13 years old all over again, except afterwards I got to drink something more fun than chocolate milk!
Such is a couple summer months in the course of my lifetime.  I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of my Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

As you can tell from the photograph is obviously not my strong suit or I would have noticed the chip in the plate and chosen a different plate to photograph these little bites of wonder.  Please forgive me...or don't - but either way try this recipe...I promise my food is better than my photography!

This is my very own, authentic Carol, just me recipe!  I came up with this recipe as an alternative to our cream cheese and sausage stuffed mushrooms.  As usual I used our company as "guinea pigs" to my new recipe and luckily it went well and they are willing to come back again...which is a very good thing seeing how our company that night was my parents!  

To start you will need the following:
Mushrooms, Crab, Mayo, Cream Cheese (yes I know it is not in this picture, I forgot it...I blame it on my photography skills, but it's in there!), Bread Crumbs, Lemon, Green Onion, Red Pepper, Worcestershire, Tabasco, Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper

Finely chop 1/4 cup each - Red Bell Pepper and Green Onion

Add 1/4 pound Crab meat.
I live in the Pacific Northwest where Dungeness Crab is readily available - so that is what I used.  However, you could use whatever crab you like.  Please promise me you won't use imitation crab though...I think I would have to have myself a good cry...

Add 1 1/2 Tbsp each - Mayo & Cream Cheese

Cut a 1/2" thick lemon slice and squeeze the juice into the mixture

Add a Dash (a few shakes of the bottle)
Worcestershire & Tabasco

Mix Together.
Add 1/4 c. Bread Crumbs, 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder, a pinch or two of Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste).
Mix Again.

For the Mushrooms:  You want to remove the stems and wipe down the caps to be sure they are clean.
Fill the caps with the crab mixture

We cooked ours on the BBQ, however you could also cook them in the oven.  
BBQ:  Med heat for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly softened.
OVEN: 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are slightly softened.

Once we removed these from the BBQ, Lover poured a little melted garlic butter over each mushroom  They are delicious without the extra melted butter, but if you are feeling like your diet for the day can handle the extra fat it does make them a little more scrumptious!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms:
12 Mushrooms
1/4 pound Crab
1/4 c. red bell pepper
1/4 c green onion
1 1/2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp Cream Cheese
Lemon Juice
1/4 c. Bread Crumbs
1/8 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Worcestershire - dash
Tabasco - dash
Salt & Pepper
Butter (optional)

Remove mushroom stems, wipe clean, set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients together in a small/medium bowl. Fill each mushroom cap with crab mixture.  BBQ or Cook in Oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly soft and wrinkled.  Serve with melted garlic butter if desired.

Makes: 12 stuffed mushrooms

Friday, August 12, 2011

Military School???

This was an actual conversation at my house last night as we talked about 'Back to School'...

Me:  When I was your ages I looked forward to going back to school because by the end of summer I was bored.

Live In #3:  (incredulous look) Did you have a boat?

Me:  No.

Live In #3: (horrified look) Did you have a DS?

Me:  No.

Live In #2:  I like school, but it is too long, when you get home from school you only have like 5 hours until bed time.

Life In #3:  Yeah, we basically get home for dinner and bed.

Live In #1:  (thinking she will help with perspective) Maybe you should send them to boarding school.

Live In #2: (not knowing what boarding school is, but thinking it sounded no good) Maybe you should send HER to Military school.

Live In #3:  Yeah, then they could shave her head.

The End.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pushing Through....Fried Chicken & Boating

One may have noticed that I have not written much on my blog lately...the truth is I have writers block.  I am not out of ideas, I have a whole list of recipes, wine reviews and summertime fun to capture on this blog, but my creative juices need to be squeezed.

I thought if I wrote about my writers block perhaps it would go away.....
Waiting....waiting....waiting...(imagine me tapping my fingers...pinky, ring, middle, index, pinky, ring, middle, index)...waiting... I am not sure it worked, but I am going with one of my ideas...I hope it turns out witty and fun the way it plays out in my life and I have it in my head...

We have been spending as much time as possible lately boating.  Molly Mae is our second boat and this is our sixth summer boating (3rd on Molly Mae).  I love boating...I can lay in the sun with a glass of wine or martini in my hand and be lazy cause the kitchen doesn't need to be cleaned, the floors don't need to be vacuumed and the live-ins aren't asking me what is for dinner cause they are too busy swimming and having the times of their lives.

Next to my lazy ways and libations, my next favorite part about boating is the fried chicken!  What you say, fried chicken??  Yes!  To me it goes hand in hand with boating...some things are just this way - peas & carrots , peanut butter & jelly, pie & coffee, oreos & milk, fried chicken & boating...see what I mean, it flows!

Lover does not share my opinion about the necessity of fried chicken when boating.  Don't get me wrong he enjoys himself some fried chicken, he just grumbles that we have to stop on our way to the lake to get it hot and freshly fried.  He also doesn't like the crumbs that he finds all over the boat, but since there are no floors that need to be vacuumed while I am boating this doesn't bother me at all!

A couple of weekends ago we headed to the lake early.  Lucky for me there are two stores between me and my favorite lake that usually have their fried chicken ready on our way through town...however on this day we stopped at store number one and they did not have any fried chicken ready.  When I returned to my Lover to announce we had to stop at the next town to get the fried chicken he was not pleased, but he knows better than to mess with a woman and her fried chicken, specifically his woman and her fried he obliged (such a smart man)!

Luckily, the next town had their fried chicken ready for me.  It was like they knew I was coming...however that could have been because I had store number one call ahead to store number two to make sure they had their fried chicken ready...yeah, I am that serious about my fried chicken.  Oh, did that chicken ever taste good...just ask Lover!

Looking for the best places to buy fried chicken?  I know all the best spots in Oregon...well maybe not ALL of Oregon, but give me time!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lake Billy 2011

Lake Billy 2011

Nine Days, Eight Nights.  Rain, Sun, Clouds.   Deer, Mice, Snakes.  Surfing, Skiing, Wake Boarding, Tubing.  Fried Chicken, Turkey Wraps, Hamburgers, Ribs.  Martinis, Beer, Gatorade, Minute Maid.  

The stories from this trip are many.  
The fun on this trip was abundant.  
The memories made are priceless.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Creamsicle Martini

I'll let you in on a little known fact about me...I don't drink soda.  It's not that I don't like it, I do...especially if it is an ice cold Diet Cherry Coke or Mug Root Beer...but back in my teenage years I swore it off thinking it would help me in my weight loss endeavors.  Over the years I have gone back and forth with the soda thing, but in general I have found it is something I don't mind living without and therefore I do...  Call me mad, call me crazy, call me whatever you want...this is just a quirk about me you'll have to accept if we are going to get along.

So what does this have to do with martinis...well beside the fact that martinis are not something that I would be willing live without...I have a little story for you...

Last year I was introduced to Whipped Cream Vodka.  The person who told me about it suggested it be mixed with orange soda or root beer.  I did try it, but I found it to be way to sweet for me.  So recently I decided to play with the idea a bit and came up with my version of a Creamsicle Martini.

Bring to the Party:
2 oz Orange Juice, 2 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
Shake Together Vigorously

Pour into Martini Glass, Serve & Enjoy!
Easy, Peasy, Lemon Orange Squeezy!

Makes 1 Luscious Martini

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Anniversary Letter

Dear Lover:

How do I put into words how I feel for you?  How do I describe how lucky I feel that at the age of 21 I made the best decision of my life by marrying you.  At 21 I wasn't thinking about the really big things in life...I knew I loved you and I knew you loved me and that was enough.

Now, 16 years later I look back over the years and the life we have created and feel so blessed.  You are my best friend, confidant, lover...the person I most enjoy spending my time with.  I love you more than my life.

I don't look forward to growing old, but I do look forward to doing it with you.

Happy Anniversary Lover!

Your Wife

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 Maiden Voyage of the Molly Mae

Usually we bring our boat out of storage in May for it's maiden voyage, sometimes it is even in April, but this year the weather had been...well....icky! So our maiden voyage wasn't until the end of June.  To make matters even worse, it wasn't even very sunny or warm...but we were determined to bring her out come rain, wind, snow or just plain clouds.

On this late maiden voyage I decided it was high time our boat had a name...

Bertha?  No, that is the name of my car's GPS when it is leading me the astray...

Sally?  No, that is the name of my car's GPS when it is being a good little girl...

Betty Lou?  No, just no...

Cornelia Marie?  No, the guys from Deadliest Catch took that one already, shucks!

Molly Mae?   Molly Mae...yep, that is it!  Now if only 'my people' would agree with me...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friends - Forever and Always

Some of my best friends were made when I was in the second grade.  I am lucky this way.  We met at our church school the first year it opened and have been friends ever since.  Over the years we haven't always been in touch, but when we get together it is like no time has if we are seven on the blacktop playground all over again!  

Me, Elissa, Tracy & Erin
The Four Amigos!

Recently we got together and I made the announcement that I was going to liken us to the Sex and The City girls on my blog...I think they might be waiting on pins and here we go...

Elissa is our Carrie.  Everyone loves her...well we love everyone...but thinking back through the years I think Elissa was our glue.  Nobody ever got irritated with can't...she is too funny...she is so funny she can make you pee your pants...but that is another post.  Elissa just makes a person feel good when they are with her.

Tracy is our Miranda.  She is smart...always was...she was always 10 paces ahead of us in Math, not to mention Science, Social Studies, & English.  She also had a mean handstand...nobody could beat her at handstands!  Tracy is a school teacher today, she teaches...Math!  

Erin is our Charlotte.  She is our girly girl.  She is perfect...she will emphatically say she is not, but to me she is. She likes art, funky music, baking and she has a wicked sense of style.  She is sweet and kind, but not in the way a person could walk over her. 

So that makes me our Samantha...I am probably the loudest one of the bunch.  What?  That is not what you were thinking?   Shame on you!  It is true, I am probably the one who opens my mouth and inserts my foot more times than not...which I think Samantha had a good knack for...

So there you have it.  My friends wrapped up in a nice little SATC package.  I think we all have a little of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte & Samantha in us...tomorrow this list may have been a little different, but I am going with it today.  

I love you my knew me then, you know me now and somehow you still choose me.  Thank you. Forever & Always...

Blast From Our Past
Tracy is on the far left, Elissa is in the blue pj's & Erin & I are on the right

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who's the Blonde Now?

Lover has taken to calling my beautiful brunette daughter 'a blonde' because from time to time she seems a little on the airy side.  This doesn't bother or impress her, she goes right along on her merry way I assure you.

So the other morning my family went to breakfast, at one point during our breakfast conversation Live-In #2 announces that if you spell his name backwards it spells an actual word.  I was impressed, I hadn't thought of it before...then I asked him what his sister's name spelled backwards was - which he quickly informed me was the same as it is spelled boy that one...

Then Lover got in on the conversation and announced her name is spelled E-X-C-U-S-E-S.

Live-In #1 said quickly quipped... 'That doesn't even make sense...'Who's the Blonde Now?' - rendering my Lover speachless....while the rest of us enjoyed a good laugh!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Goodbye June

My Life - June 2011
  1. Wrapped up 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 7th grade with my live-ins.
  2. Celebrated my 37th birthday feeling more fabulous than ever!
  3. Experienced being an 'All Star' Mom for the first time...there is a lot of work in this title, but it has been so much fun.  I hope it will be the first of many.
  4. Watched Live-In #2 experience All Stars for the first time...he is loving it.
  5. Tended all three live-ins in their hour of need...sickness is not my thing, but somehow they are comforted by me.
  6. Enjoyed a Sunday afternoon at Methven Family Vineyards...and looking forward to doing it again.  It is the perfect place for an afternoon picnic!
  7. Apparently my body doesn't know adults don't get cavities...20 years after getting my first cavity my body decided to make another one...lovely!
  8. Enjoyed an end of season BBQ with our baseball team families, had a great time.  Played a little ball in the park and actually hit the ball...that makes for I think the 2nd time in my life!
  9. Celebrated one of my oldest (time wise) friends' son's graduation from high school!  Congratulations Trey!!!
  10. Celebrated Father's Day with the best dads I know...My Lover & My Father.
Such is a month in the course of my lifetime. I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of My Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Methven Family Vineyards - 2006 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

One of the perks...perhaps the only where I live is that I can drive for about 60 seconds and be in the middle of wine country...basically my backyard is wine country...I just have to look beyond a few rooftops.  

Last spring My Lover and I were out on a Sunday afternoon frolicking our way through the wine country when we stumbled upon Methven Family Vineyards.  What a pleasant surprise!  The tasting room is gorgeous with a large floor to ceiling wooden bar and a beautifully sanded & lacquered wood felt like my kind of place.

We tasted the wines and enjoyed each of them for their own distinct offerings, bought a few bottles and bid the winery goodbye.  As I walked out the door I took in the beautiful scenery before me and vowed it would only be 'goodbye for now', I was smitten.

This past weekend I returned to this vineyard knowing its beautiful scenery, quiet atmosphere and delightful wines would be the perfect pairing to a girls afternoon out.  And it was...

2006 Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley

From the Winery:
This wine was crafted from new estate vines and older vines from Elton Vineyards.  Wonderfully complex aromas of root beer, pine pitch, and vanilla vaporize out of the glass.  The mouth-feel is velvety and supple, with flavors of currant jam and cassis.  White-pepper and alcohol add a thrilling finish to the wine, making this a powerful, full bodied food wine.

Carol's Thoughts:
Yep, they got that one right! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of wine.  The flavor lingers in your mouth long after it is in your tummy, making you think...Mmmmm...Heaven!  

What is even better...every single wine I have tasted has been remarkable in its own right.  There wasn't one I disliked.

If you are lucky enough to live in my neck of the woods, this is a must visit winery.  You will not be disappointed.  If you don't live with Pinot Noir country in your can order off their website and bring a little heaven to your home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Potato Salad

Summer food would not be complete without some sort of potato, macaroni or pasta salad.  Over the Father's Day weekend I had a craving for a good potato salad and the best recipe I know is my Mom's.  It is a staple in our mama makes it, my brother makes it, my sister-in-law makes cannot be beat!

I have to admit, when I first tried this recipe out I altered a few of the ingredients, but the potato salad was not nearly as in a 'Mom, you were right' moment I decided to go back to the original...if it ain't broke no use trying to fix it!

So here it goes...

Potato Salad

Ingredients: Potatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, Mayo, Mustard, Sour Cream, Sweet Pickles, Sweet Pickle Juice (secret ingredient), Celery, Green Onions, Garlic Powder, Celery Seed, Salt & Pepper.

Now you must know that exact ingredients are not necessary here, but I will try to give you my best estimate.

Chop the Sweet Pickles, Green Onion & Celery.
I probably used 4-5 sweet pickles, 3-4 green onion and 2 stalks of celery.

Note: Don't be tempted to substitute dill pickles here, it won't turn out the same, Trust Me...I have already made this folly!

Boil the Eggs.
I know everybody has their own way of hard boiling eggs, but here is how I do it:  Place eggs in cold water, bring to boil, turn temp down so eggs gently boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, fill pan with cold water and lots of  ice to cool eggs ASAP.
Chop the Eggs.  You want them to be large chunks.  I cut in half one way, turn & cut in half again and then cut into about 4-5 sections.

Note: I use equal part eggs to potatoes...8 potatoes = 8 eggs

Yukon or White Potatoes are best because they are creamy...
But I have been known to use Russets from time to time, just beware they may make for a grainier potato salad - a little more rustic if you will.
Boil potatoes in their skins until you can easily insert and remove a knife. 
Drain & Let Cool.
Peel potatoes and dice into small chunks.

Put all chopped items into a LARGE bowl - larger than the salad will be, you are going to need lots of stirring room...

Next you want a huge dollop, I love that word...dollop, dollop, dollop...
Eh, hem...yes a big dollop of Mayo and Sour Cream (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups each).  

I'll let you in on a little secret here...the equal parts mayo & sour cream are purely to mess with my see, I am not a fan of mayo so I trick myself by adding the sour cream so as I eat it I tell myself the white stuff is the sour cream, not the is the method to my madness,'C' in my crazy, the 'L' in my loony...but it works!

Now, add approx 1/2 cup Classic Yellow Mustard...I love mustard, I think it should be a staple in any good Americans diet.

Now for the 'Secret Ingredient'...pour some sweet pickle juice into the mixture.  Maybe about 1/4-1/3 cup. 

Mix it all up, add more or any of the above if you feel you need to - whatever floats your crazy train!

Add Onion Powder - about 1/2 -1 tsp - I just cover the top with a nice dusting...
Do me a favor?  If you you decide to take pictures of yourself making potato your nails first, it will look better and you won't berate yourself when you are reviewing.  Thank you.

Sprinkle Celery Seed over the top, probably equal to 1/4 tsp.
Do me another favor?   Wash the salad goo off your hands before they get photographed, you will be so much happier with the results.  I promise.

Add Salt - start with 1 tsp...but you will definitely need to add more at the end.
Do me one last favor?  If your daughter is taking your photos, instruct her to focus on the food so your arm and hand does not become front and center!

Liberally dust the salad with Pepper.  I probably did this twice.  
Now taste, does it need more salt, mustard, onion powder...God forbid, mayo???

Serve alongside BBQ or eat by itself.  It will be creamy and crunchy and oh so delicious!

No more store bought potato salad, no more being afraid if what you are about to put in your mouth will be good, bad or ugly.  This potato salad will be the crisp and cool side dish you have been dreaming of...or maybe I am the only one who dreams of potato salad???  If so, it is because...yes, it's that good!