Foyer Shadows



I’m joining Hey Harriet for Shadow Shot Sunday. These are shadows in the early morning hours in my foyer.










Be sure to visit Hey Harriet for other Shadow Shots.


Living with Dogs

Living with Dogs: Collections and Traditions, At Home and Afield ***** by Laurence Sheehan


I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.

This is a favorite book of mine, with a prominent place on my coffee table. I stumbled on it for several years ago (it was published in 1999). If you are a dog lover, this one is not to be missed~ full of beautiful photos of homes, dogs, collections, and quite simply, as one reviewer says:  “this book is a celebration of hardcore dog enthusiasm.”



In his endearing and hilarious introduction, the author, Larry Shehan, talks about his dogs, one of which, a tricolor Collie named Zorro, who he says was “as slow-witted as he was beautiful”. (I had a cat like that :-)   He and his wife add an Australian shepherd puppy, Addie, to their household who “at that early stage of growth looked more like a California sea otter than a dog.”  As his household adapts to the puppy, he confessed to turning into my own worst nightmare– “a guy who carries a picture of his dog around with him in his wallet.” A few years later, he finds a two-year-old English Setter, Buster“His upper lip was hung up on one side of his freckled muzzle and  one ear was flopped, pink side out, giving him a slightly deranged, ready-for-anything aspect.”  He was hooked~ however, he describes his household as becoming dysfunctional with introduction of an exuberant, willful dog deaf to the command of “Come!”. He, his wife, his cat & Addie eventually settle in and adapt slowly:

“The secret of living with dogs is to take the wild with the sweet, and then sit back and wait for the laughs and the love.”

~ Amen!

Here is some of my own canine kitsch~ my collection of chalkware dogs. . .

There is a chapter on dog portraiture. . . here is an oil of a dog in my powder room ~ he doesn’t look like my dogs, but I loved the expression in his eyes~

I loved this cozy room in the book, with all the dog pillows. I makes me want to curl up on the sofa with my dogs and a good book!

“Dogs settle into a home pretty much the way people do, gravitating to a favorite corner, window, or chair.”

This is a “portrait” of my dogs :-) It’s a canvas from Photofiddle, you can see more about that here.

“Like children they leave their toys scattered around– a rubber squeaky here or a half-gnawed bone there. These objects, along with the leashes, collars, food bowls, dog beds, and all the other paraphernalia associated with keeping a dog, turn a house into a habitat– and, late at night when the lights are out, a minefield.”

No food references in this book (other than kibble :-), so I thought I’d do “Pup Cakes” from Hello, Cupcake!

 This is a fun cupcake book, with lots of ideas and directions!


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”  ~ Roger Caras

Be sure to stop by Food for Thought and see what everyone is reading & eating!

Green Eggs and Ham



Green Eggs and Ham ***** by Dr. Suess




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.



I’m sharing this book at Food for Thought, because I discovered that this classic is 50 years old this year! In my google searches for events of 1960~ for my best friend’s husband’s 50th birthday, I discovered these book facts and was delighted to reacquaint myself with Green Eggs & Ham:


Green Eggs and Ham was published in 1960 and became the fourth best-selling English-language children’s hardcover book of all time.




Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The bet came after Seuss completed The Cat in the Hat, which used 236 words.




“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

– Dr. Suess (Happy Birthday to You!)




“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




Green Eggs & Ham~ courtesy Rachel Ray, recipe here



These were quick and tasty~ they would be great for a brunch. If you cook them 15 minutes as the directions call for, the egg will be firm. If a softer yolk is more to your liking, cook 10 minutes and let the egg stand several minutes more, before removing from the muffin cup. A touch of Hollandaise doesn’t hurt either :-)


“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Dr. Seuss (Horton Hears a Who!)~ yes, my inner four-year-old loves this book. . .




“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh the Thinks you Can Think!)





“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




 This makes a fun gift, if you know someone turning 50 this year! Stop by Food for Thought and see what everyone (and their four year old) is reading & eating. . .

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry




The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry ***** by Kathleen Flinn




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where “pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera”.





 This was an excellent book, especially for Food for Thought. I devoured it :-) It was a quick read~I was able to finish on recent flight &  while waiting at the airport. It made me laugh out loud, cringe at times, and feel a lot of empathy and admiration for Kathleen, who at the age of 36, decides to make lemonade out of the lemons she’s handed, when her job is eliminated. Following her dream to go to Le Cordon Bleu, she moves to Paris which requires her entire severance package and savings. Against her mother’s advice to get another job immediately, and without the benefit of speaking French, Kathleen embarks on her journey. If you’ve ever made a career change, taken a leap of faith, or just wish you could pick up and move on~ you’ll enjoy this book:


“Life is so much easier when you can wrap yourself within the veil of a big company’s identity. People assume that so much of what you do is who you are, and it’s easy to believe that yourself. There’s a stamp of worth that you get automatically by association.”









 Chef Savard explains how to cut an onion. . .





“So, the sharper your knife, the less you cry.”





“I sink into the water and consider Chef Bertrand’s comment that pastry is like people. You can’t hurry love, and you can’t rush puff pastry, either. You can knead too much, and you can be too needy. Always, warmth is what brings pastry to rise. Chemistry creates something amazing; coupled with care and heat, it works some kind of magic to create this satisfying, welcoming, and nourishing thing that is the base of life.”







Quiche aux Oignons D’or et aux Tomates Rôties
Golden Onion and Roasted Tomato Quiche, recipe here





















Kathleen reminisces about meeting Julia Child at a writer’s conference:


“Just as I sat down, I heard a familiar warble ask, ‘Is this seat taken?’ Julia squeezed her giant frame into the seat next to me. It was as if God Almighty had saddled up on my left. ‘The salmon at breakfast was so good, I had to finish it.’ she whispered in a conspiratorial tone. She took copious notes of the morning’s sessions. As we broke for lunch, she closed her notebook with a satisfied smile.’I always love to come to this workshop. You learn so much.’ she said. This amazed me. After all, she was Julia freakin’ Child. I assumed she knew everything there was to know about food and cooking. I politely told her so. She laughed. ‘Oh, no, you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.’ she said, patting me on the knee. ‘Besides, I started late.’








There are lots of ups and downs for Kathleen. . . she does has company to commiserate with:  “This isn’t cooking, it’s like learning a complicated sport!” — Kim, a student in Basic Cuisine





“Undeterred, I sign us up online for a promising monthly event. ‘Practice French language skills and meet new friends in a non-threatening environment,’ the description reads. Photos on the site had nothing but smiling, happy people holding up glass of wine or waving at the camera. It turns out to be a horrible blind date with ten people.”








Confit Provençal aux Tomates
Provençal tomato spread, recipe here










“It’s easy to appreciate why sauces developed into one of the distinguishing elements of French cuisine:  a great sauce can hide a host of deficiencies. A bad sauce hides nothing, especially not itself.”




 “Today’s sauce calls for roughly three tablespoons of butter and about a cup of cream. At 55 calories per tablespoon of cream and 90 for the same amount of butter, I calculate that these ingredients alone contain more than 1,500 calories. Perhaps this explains why I’ve gained seven pounds in five weeks.”









“I’ve gone through more than three hundred recipes, ninety lessons, my entire savings, and an incalculable number of calories from fat, cream, and butter. I look at my hands, scarred from a motley assortment of cuts and burns.”






“Everyone learns something different at Le Cordon Bleu, and maybe this is my lesson.” she says. “Sometimes I can’t be the best. Like today. My sauce was fine. It wasn’t the greatest sauce the judges saw, but it was what I could do today. I have to be happy with that.”






“As in cooking, living requires that you taste, taste, taste as you go along–you can’t wait until the dish of life is done. In my career, I always looked ahead to the place I wanted to go, the next rung on the ladder. It reminds me of ‘The Station’ by Robert Hastings, a parable read at our wedding. The message is that while on a journey, we are sure the answer lies at the destination. But in reality, there is no station, no ‘place to arrive at once and for all. The joy of life is the trip, the station is a dream that constantly out distances us.’ How many tears did I cry because I didn’t know what I wanted? ‘The sharper your knife,’ as Chef Savard had said, ‘the less you cry.’ For me it also means to cut those things that get in the way of your passion and of living your life the way it’s meant to be lived. Of course, I also learned to make a mean reduction sauce and to bone an entire chicken without removing the skin, which is nice too.”






For more information on the author, visit her website & blog where you can find a recipe for limoncello out of lemons, rather than lemonade :-)



Be sure to visit Food for Thought and find out what everyone is reading & eating!

Pontoon Picnic

P is for Pontoon Picnic. . .

Jenny Matlock

I’m joining Alphabe-Thursday ~ this week’s letter assignment is the letter P.

 Our picnic paraphernalia was purchased at Kohl’s including the placemats, napkins & napkin Rings, fish bowls & glasses.

 This place setting is not our normal boating picnic fare~ for practical purposes we typically use plastic :-)

  To drink~ Pellegrino. . .

 This Pontoon Picnic wouldn’t be complete without plenty of pillows.

 For the purposes of these photos, we are at our pier, pretending to float on the lake :-)

 For the wine drinkers we are pouring Pinot Grigio~

Our Picnic Menu includes a Turkey Panini with Provolone & PearOrzo Pasta Salad with Pine Nuts, and Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus. . .


This Panini is a combination of provolone, sliced pear, and turkey with apricot mustard. We prefer La Brea Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, which is available at our grocery store.

 This Pasta Salad is one that is light and easy~ adapted from The Fresh Market’s deli department. . . cook your orzo according to the package directions. Add to taste: capers, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice & zest, chopped basil, parmesan,  grape tomatoes & Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Dressing.


 This Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus is a perfect picnic side and is ready in just 5 minutes. Roast in a 400 degree oven. For Picnic Protocol and food safety tips, you can read here.

Be sure to stop by Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday for more alphabet fun and Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. I’m also joining Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Smiling Sally for Blue Monday.

Blue Monday Instructions

Cinco de Mayo




 A few Tex-Mex inspired recipes to put you in the mood for Cinco de Mayo. . .





Southwestern Layered Salad Recipe adapted from Southern Living~







 A Quick and Easy Salsa. . .



 Almost homemade :-)



Start with your favorite jar of salsa, we like a store brand that has black beans and corn in it.  To it add:


  •  1 can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

  •  1 can of diced tomatoes, not drained, since our salsa is thick (I used one with diced green chilis)

  • 1 cup of frozen corn, thawed~ Trader Joe’s has a Fire-Roasted Corn that’s great!

  • juice of 1 Lime

  • Cilantro to taste

  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil








And of course, a  Muy Bueno Pomegranate Margarita :-) to wash it down, recipe found here.







If you’re looking for Margarita Inspiration, see some refreshing concoctions here.


 Be sure to visit Designs by Gollum and see what’s being served. . .


Boat Names



 Here are some boat names we’ve run across recently on the lake~



 According to this site, here are the top 10 Boat Names:

  1. Aquaholic

  2. Destiny

  3. Haukuna matata

  4. Happy Hours

  5. Knot Working

  6. Life is Good

  7. Plan B

  8. Pura Vida

  9. Reel Time

  10. Second Wind 



And this site, the top 10 Sailboat Names:

  1. Second Wind

  2. Serenity

  3. Wind Dancer

  4. Orion

  5. Windsong

  6. Whisper

  7. Escape

  8. Carpe Diem

  9. Summer Wind

  10. Serendipity



 It does look happy doesn’t it :-)

















 I guess if you have The Joker on the lake, you have to have Batman too :-)




I’m joining A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.



And Watery Wednesday–prepare to get your eyes wet!



Shoot the Moon



Shoot the Moon **** by Billie Letts




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.






In 1972, the town of DeClare, Oklahoma, was reeling from the murder of Gaylene Harjo and the disappearance of her baby, Nicky Jack. When the child’s pajama bottoms were found on the banks of a creek, Nicky Jack is presumed dead.


Nearly 30 years later, Dr. Mark Albright, aka Nicky Jack, returns to DeClare after learning of his adoption~ on a mission to find his birth mother. His shocking reappearance causes a stir in the town, as he tries to follow the shaky trail of evidence and decipher thirty-year-old clues regarding his mother’s murder. Secrets begin to emerge as the truth is revealed bit by bit~ in a story of a young girl’s dreams, and an act of desperate love.





The “domino boys” are a foursome that hang out at Teeve Harjo’s pool hall: 


 “The oldest of this foursome was Ron John O’Reily, who at eighty-two was developing Alzheimer’s; the grumpiest but undisputed leader of the pack was Lonnie Cruddup, who in temperament was much like his deceased sibling, Raymond. Johnny and Jackson Standingdeer, Cherokee brothers in their late fifties rounded out the group.”





“What does it mean, ‘shoot the moon’? ‘It means he’s gonna go for all the tricks. The whole kit and kaboodle’, Jackson said. ‘Kind of like getting married’, Lonnie explained.”





‘How’s that?’ Mark asked. ‘Well, say you find you a woman you just can’t get enough of. You want her so bad you can’t eat, can’t sleep. Now you know this is a woman who’s gonna keep your bed warm on cold nights, make you potato soup, when you’re sick. She’s gonna believe you even when you’re lying. Hell, she’s the only person in the world who’s gonna know what wanted that you never got, and what you got that you never wanted. But you know for certain there’s gonna be times when this woman is gonna make you miserable. She’s gonna bitch if you forget your anniversary. She’s gonna want to watch some crying movie on TV when there’s a ball game you wanna see. She’ll expect you to skip your poker game and keep her company when she’s feeling blue. In other words, she’s gonna be a pain in the ass some of the time. So, you gotta make a decision. What are gonna do? Walk away from her? Or go for it all. Give her up? Or shoot the moon.”







So with that convoluted explanation of  Shooting the Moon, I took the potato soup reference & ran with it. . .my options were limited since most of the food references revolve around a character whose cooking is kindly described as “unusual”. In addition to Pumpkin squid bisque, his repertoire includes cold fish mousse and lima bean souffle :-)





 Ina Garten’s Roasted Potato Leek Soup







 After I pureed the ingredients, I decided for our tastes, it was too smooth, and wanted some potato “chunks”. I diced up probably a pound or so more, (I had a 5 lb. bag to start, so I had plenty left) and tossed them in to simmer. This soup has great flavor~ due to the roasted leeks, potatoes & the arugula. (I did not peel my potatoes, as it called for~) I’m sure the crispy shallots the recipe calls for to garnish it with would be great, I just didn’t go that route. Also, I couldn’t find creme fraiche at the lake. My Trader Joe’s carries it, but it was too far to go, so I just substituted sour cream. I would definitely make this soup again~it made a gracious plenty, and we shared it with my in-laws, since my mother-in-law loves potato soup.







 I loved this quote describing how gossip spreads in DeClare upon Nicky Jack’s return:


“The story, on the loose now, raced through the community like an unbridled child. Rumors climbed over backyard fences, skipped from street to street, romped down the aisles of Walmart, tumbled through the Laudromat and cartwheeled through the park. Later, no one would give much thought to the path the news had traveled, but more than a few would be amazed at the speed with which the story sprinted past the city limits, jumped the river, galloped over eight counties and dashed across the state line.”




 The Domino Boys consider the pool hall a “man’s refuge” and are quite put out when, after Teeve’s husband skips town, Teeve decides she’ll run it without selling beer or booking bets. The last straw however, is when she changes the sign to “Teeve’s Pool Hall and Tea Room”. She has to bribe them a Peanut Butter Pie, a new domino table and  has to change her sign to read “Teeve’s Place”, since The Boys claim they can’t be seen frequenting a Tea room.


Peanut Butter Pie courtesy Paula Deen



 This pie is quick & easy~ but sweet, sweet, sweet. . .insulin shots may be required!











“He had come to this place in Oklahoma to find the mother who had let him go, the mother who had not loved him enough to keep him. Instead, he’d found the girl who had given up her dreams, but not her baby.”





Like the ingredients in Ina Garten’s Potato Soup, there is a little bit of everything in this book~ humor, colorful characters, mystery and romance.



Be sure to visit Food for Thought and see whatever is reading & eating!

House Rules



House Rules ****.* by Jodi Picoult



Seventeen-year-old Jacob Hunt has Asperger’s syndrome, which renders him unable to read social cues or relate to his peers. Like many kids with AS, Jacob is obsessed with one subject — in his case, forensic analysis.  His mantra: What would Dr. Henry Lee do?, watching CrimeBusters, and listening to his police scanner, consume him~ leading him to look suspicious to the local law enforcement when his town is rocked by a terrible murder. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, make him appear guilty. His mother, Emma, has to navigate the waters of intolerance and misunderstanding, that constantly threaten her family, but in the process finds herself asking the same question the police are asking: Did Jacob commit murder?





“I don’t get into trouble because rules are what keep me sane. Rules mean that the day is going to go exactly the way I am predicting it to be. I do what I’m told; I just wish everyone else would do it too.”


We have rules in our house:


  1. Clean up your own messes.

  2. Tell the truth.

  3. Brush your teeth twice a day.

  4. Don’t be late for school.

  5. Take care of your brother; he’s the only one you’ve got.






“Dealing with an autistic meltdown is like dealing with a tornado. Once you are close enough to see it coming, there’s nothing to do but weather the storm.”


“It is only thirty seconds, but thirty seconds can last forever when you are the center of everyone’s scrutiny; when you are wrestling your six-foot-tall son down to the linoleum floor and pinning him with your full body weight, the only kind of pressure that can soothe him.”






Jacob’s world is one of logic and not emotion: 


“It should be noted that I do not always understand body language. That’s quite normal, for someone with Asperger’s. It’s pointless to expect me to look at someone and know how she is feeling simply because her smile is too tight and she is hunched over and hugging her arms to herself, just as it would be pointless to expect a deaf person to hear a voice.” 




Twice a week, Jacob meets with Jess~ his social skills tutor and a student at UVM, who plans on teaching autistic kids. As an exercise to interact socially, Jess decides Jacob should ask someone to his prom. His concern is not in asking a girl to go, he has no one in particular in mind~ rather that his date will wear orange (#12 on his list, see above).


“There are 402 girls in my school. Assuming that one of them finds me remotely attractive, the probability of getting one of them to say yes is statistically in my favor.”

 (Undaunted, he only had to ask 83 :-)





  Jacob has a photographic memory, that in addition to remembering every CrimeBuster episode by number, allows him to remember obscure facts:






“Five days of the week, in addition to having a limited diet, Jacob eats by color. I don’t really remember how this started, but it’s a routine:  all Monday food is green, all Tuesday food is red, all Wednesday food is yellow and so on. For some reason this helped with his sense of structure.”




















“I’ve always sort of pictured it like a movie:  imagine a camera that can record the entire world at once–every sight, every sound. That’s impressive, but it isn’t particularly useful if you want to specifically hear a conversation between two people, or see a ball coming toward you while you’re standing at bat. And yet, I couldn’t change the brain I’d been born with, so instead I learned how to narrow the world with makeshift blinders, until all I noticed was what I wanted to notice. That’s autism, for those who’ve never been there themselves.”










According to Jacob’s brother Theo, Blueberry Pie was the “only good thing about Blue Food Friday”. So for Theo’s benefit, I decided to make a Blueberry Tart.







Blueberry Tart Recipe adapted from Real Simple



  • 1 8-ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 jar lemon curd

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • juice of half a lemon

  • 2 cups blueberries



  1. Heat oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of pastry and roll it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  2. Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the pastry without cutting all the way through. Brush the border with the egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes.

  3. Using the tip of a knife, rescore the border of the cooked pastry without cutting all the way through. Gently press down on the center of the pastry sheet to flatten it. Let cool to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the lemon curd, lemon zest and juice and beat until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly within the borders of the pastry.

  5. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer over the filling.


Really simple ;-) 



I read/listened to this book with some trepidation. After Jodi Picoult’s last book, Handle with Care, I had marked her off my reading list~ stick a fork in me . . . I. Was. Done. So either a glutton for punishment or cautiously optimistic, I bought this book. It turns out I’m glad I took the plunge! I enjoyed the suspense, the characters, learning about Asperger’s and I didn’t feel like I was kicked in the gut when I was finished. (always a plus :-) It has all the elements of her previous books that has you wringing your hands . . . a child with a disability or a debilitating medical condition, a trial, and a sibling that gets lost in the shuffle~ told through multiple points of view. I listened to the audio version of this book~ the multi-voice audio performance is easy to listen to and hard to turn off. 




“I like the concept: that Asperger’s is like a flavoring added to a person, and although my concentration is higher than those of others, if tested, everyone else would have traces of this condition, too.”


Looking at Jacob’s list above~ change of plans, foods that explode in your mouth (for me cherry tomatoes) and loose hair (tickling my face). . .  traces of Asperger’s?



Be sure to visit Food for Thought and see what everyone is reading & eating!