Monthly Archives: November 2010



I’ve been painting. After my art retreat in September, I came back determined to take more classes and just make myself paint more. I joined a free class at the Senior Center but due to holidays, out of town travel and now a cold virus, I haven’t been able to go back to class after the first one. I’m frustrated by that.

So I’ve been trying to do more at home on my own. I have to think of it as practice or I will remain frozen, unable to use up the ‘good’ watercolor paper and new paints. It’s still hard to do sometimes. There are so many other more pressing things on the ‘to do’ list but this week I’ve been sick with a cold and I haven’t had the energy to do most of the things on my list. The good news is it doesn’t take much energy to paint and my expectations are quite low so I just try to distract myself from my stuffy nose by slopping some paint down. Here are a few photos of this last week’s progress. It feels good to be producing actuals works and then just taping them up on the wall.


Started this from a photo on my computer (from our trip to France) Dordogne River



Copied from the phone book cover (kind of cheating, but it's just practice)




Unfinished, using photo from a magazine as inspiration.



Followed the instructions in my book Watercolor Tips & Techniques (also a copy of someone else's painting)

To see my studio click ‘more’.

Read the rest of this entry


Fall Color in California


Who says you have to go to the East Coast to see Fall Color? On a short last minute girl-friend get-away, we enjoyed the colors of Fall as we drove around Placerville. We discovered this tree as we were leaving town, it’s right in someone’s backyard, but of course we still needed to stop and get a photo.

Holiday Yam & Cranberry Casserole


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make crumb topping by mixing these ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Then cut in 1/3 cup margarine or butter (pea sized bits).

Stir in 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats.

Stir all together. Take one cup to be mixed inside and save the rest for the topping.

Butter or spray Pam on the inside of 1 1/2 qt casserole dish.

Pour in 2 17 oz cans of Yams (drained),

2 cups fresh (washed and drained) or frozen cranberries

and the reserved 1 cup of crumb mixture.

Top with remaining crumb mixture and bake uncovered for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Right before serving, sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows and broil until lightly browned (DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM  THE BROILER, they burn quickly, even caught on fire once). It stays warm for quite a while, serve and enjoy.

I think my mother and I found this in a women’s magazine in the 70’s. It’s been a family favorite ever since.

Turkey Giblet Gravy


Remove bag of giblets & neck from turkey cavity, rinse and place in a medium size saucepan, with 5 cups of water.


1 Bay Leaf

2 celery tops (with leaves)

1 carrot, broke in half

1 Tablespoon salt

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-3 hours. Take out giblets and neck, allow to cool enough to handle. Strip edible meat from bones, chop and save for dressing.

Strain broth into a heat proof measuring cup (it should be 4 cups of broth).

Save 2 cups for the dressing and use the other 2 cups for the gravy.

Mix 1/4 cup softened margarine (or butter) with 1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet Browning liquid and 1/4 cup all purpose flour in a small bowl with a fork, until it forms a smooth paste.

Heat broth in a medium sized saucepan over med. high heat. Stir in paste with a whisk until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer and thicken, keep warm until time to serve.

Note: Left over gravy can be refrigerated but add water and whisk before reheating. You can also add some of the diced turkey meat from the neck and giblets if you don’t want a smooth gravy. This recipe is from my Mom but I believe she got it from her sister, my Aunt Clara.

Aunt Clara’s Turkey Dressing/Stuffing


1 pkg seasoned stuffing/dressing mix, cubed

1/2 of a 9 inch square pan left-over cornbread

1/2 cup margarine (or butter)

Onions, celery, mushrooms (fresh or canned), aprox 1 cup of each of these vegetables, choppped.

2-3 boiled eggs, chopped

1-2 eggs, raw

2 cups (or more) turkey (from neck/giblets) or chicken stock

chopped, cooked giblets from turkey

1 small can sliced olives

ground poultry seasoning (to taste, aprox 1 Tablespoon)

ground sage (to taste, aprox 2 teaspoons)

fresh or dried parsley (to taste, aprox. 2-3 Tablespoons)

Salt and pepper if broth is not very salty

Drippings from turkey as it cooks

Place dressing mix and left-over crumbled cornbread in a very large mixing bowl.

Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in margarine or butter until onions are translucent. Pour over dressing mix. Add boiled eggs, giblets, olives and seasoning and mix well. Add raw eggs and mix well. Pour enough cooled broth to moisten but not make soupy (you don’t want to lose the cube shapes of bread). Add drippings from turkey for extra flavor and moisture if desired.

Place in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish (it may take an additional 9 inch square or more to hold it all) that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven until very hot in the center (test with instant read thermometer, should register at least 165 degrees), at least 30 minutes (cover with foil if it browns too quickly or cover first and remove for the last 10 minutes).  For quicker cooking and crispy edges, place in muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam and cook for about 15 minutes, but be careful to not let it dry out.

Berry Pie


1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons Quick Cooking Tapioca Pearls (the small pearls)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional)

1 qt. fresh berries (Blackberries, Boysenberries, Raspberries, or a combination of them) Frozen can be used but only partially thaw while making pie crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Adjust rack to the center of the oven.

Mix sugar, tapioca and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place berries and juice in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar mixture and toss gently but thoroughly, set aside.

Prepare double pie crust. Stir filling and pour into unbaked pie shell. Cover with lattice top or full sheet of pie crust with slits cut to release steam (make sure there is a hole in the center so you can see when the filling is bubbling).

Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes (or so), then reduce heat to 375 or 350 depending on how hot your oven cooks, for 35-50 minutes. Make sure the filling is bubbling in the center or the juices will be too thin. Allow to cool some before cutting or the filling will run. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Easy Potato Rolls


2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup cooked, mashed potato

2 eggs

2 pkgs dry yeast

1 1/3 cups warm water (105-115 degrees), divided

6-6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Add salt, potato and eggs; beat until smooth.

Dissolve yeast mixture in 2/3 warm water. Add yeast mixture and remaining 2/3 warm water to creamed mixture; beat until smooth. Gradually stir in enough flour to make smooth dough. Cover and let rise in warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or till double in bulk.

Punch down dough; turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly 3-4 times. Divide dough into thirds. Shape one portion at a time into 15 balls, place in a well greased (butter), 9 inch round cake or pie pan.

Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until double in bulk.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

I usually brush with butter while they are still warm.

Yield 45 rolls

I tried to under bake two pans for freezing but my oven gets too hot and the tin pans brown on bottom faster. Glass is my favorite but I forgot that it can make a difference.

Note: Dough may be refrigerated for up to 4 days before shaping. To freeze rolls prepare and bake as directed (under brown though); let cool. Wrap in aluminum foil; freeze. To serve, let rolls thaw; then bake in foil in 375 oven for 12-15 minutes or until heated through.

(This recipe is from my friend Jeanenne in Texas)

Thanksgiving Menu 2010



Last week I practiced brining a turkey breast to get myself ready for our Thanksgiving Dinner next week. Here is the menu I have planned, now if I can just get over my cold and start baking I’ll be on target. I’ll do the potato rolls first because they freeze  and reheat so well.


Turkey (Whole Brined & Roasted)

Turkey Breast (Crockpot),1739,154178-247206,00.html or

Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing (My Mother’s recipe from my Aunt Clara)

Mashed Potatoes

Giblet Gravy (My Mother’s Recipe)

Yam and Cranberry Casserole (The Recipe my Mother found in a magazine)

Cranberry Sauce (one canned and one home-made (?) )

Potato Rolls & Butter (Jeanenne’s Recipe)

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (?) or canned Corn


Mixed Berry (My Recipe)

Texas Pecan (Food Editors Cookbook)

Pumpkin (Libby’s Canned Pumpkin label) Libby’s pumpkin pie