An Update

So much for yacking about my garden every month… I have decided to try winter gardening as I am such a hands off summer gardener.  It just gets too hot around here during the summer. So, with the help of my gardener, my planters are ready to go – whenever I get going:


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Dear younger son and dear daughter came home.  Dear older son went to his girlfriends… and so it begins :).   Anyway, DD and I baked the first batch of Christmas cookies so DYS could take some back up north, and DD could take some back down to University and share with friends.  Here we are in our festive aprons:


I was asked to help knit some scarves for our local Youth Hope.  So for the last few weeks, I have been knitting along.  As usual, my estimate of how fast I can knit was really off.  I managed to make 5 Mariners scarves.  There are apparently more homeless boys than girls, so I tried keeping the colors neutral, but that pink and variegated one snuck in there :).


Suzy Homemaker Moments

DD started swimming with the Masters for the summer.  She wakes up at 5:00am, and swims from 5:30am to 7:30am.  She then goes to her summer job, teaching learn to swim.  After she gets home, she goes cycling, climbing, or some other sport – she is loving it! I decided if she can do all that, then I can at the very least get up and go walking.  So, I have been getting up with her, and going walking with one of the dogs, and it’s been great!  For whatever reason, getting up and being active so early has made me feel more productive.  I noticed our apricots have started ripening, so I had DD help me pick them, and we put them in the dehydrator to dry them.  And, I made apricot sauce with the leftovers.  In lieu of lemons (no lemons on our trees at the moment) we used calamansi, which grows year round.


And, as long as I was on a roll, I dried bananas too:


And… I even made pesto from fresh basil growing in my garden:


How’s that for a Suzy Homemaker moment! 🙂

Dr. Oz Three Day Detox

Woo-hoo! two posts in one day… As long as I was talking about eating well, I thought I’d mention the Dr. Oz three day detox.  I just finished day three! After a crazy month with all three kids at home, our good eating just went out the window.  Considering the boys eat like carnivores, my daughter a self proclaimed pescetarian (had to look that one up in the dictionary), and DH not eating wheat, I felt at times like a short order cook! The boys complained there was nothing good to eat, and their sister complained there was too much junk food in the house.  That compounded with two rounds of holiday cookie baking (so much fun!)… It was time to detox.  I’m not promoting it, but this three day detox works great for me.  It gets me going on the right eating track.  Start the day with green tea, followed by three very healthy shakes. If you want to try it, you can find the detox here: Dr. Oz Three Day Detox. I had to do some frozen fruits, as raspberries and such are out of season and hard to find.


Einkorn Bread

In our quest  for better health, DH and I have drastically altered our way of eating.  After reading the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, we decided to try a lifestyle without wheat.  I thought DH would have some difficulty with it since he grew up in Europe, on bread, pasta, whole milk, and real butter.  But, he’s managed much better than yours truly, and is back to the weight when we first met. Me, my cholesterol is great, but the weight has been slow to come off…  Anyway, in lieu of traditional bread, I bake an einkorn bread.  You can find the flour on numerous sites.  Einkorn is supposedly a much healthier alternative to the wheat we consume now.  Here is the recipe that I use: Hubpages.  It doesn’t rise as much, and isn’t as fluffy as regular bread, but all in all, a good substitute:


Cake Pops!

I had my first cake pop at Starbucks recently. The tiramisu flavored one is sooo delicious! I thought it was their invention, only to realize cake pops have been around for some time now. I came across this book, and decided to have a go at making them:

I was able to find a great recipe for the chocolate cake and cake pop at  The Kitchen.  It’s always more fun to have a purpose for baking – in this case, Easter, family, and friends!  I put on some old Beatles music, donned one of my favorite aprons and baked away:

As usual, Hiro was by my side waiting for something to fall from the sky :-):

The decorating part was a bit tedious, but I am quite pleased with the results.  The cake made from scratch turned out really good 🙂 Oh, and as usual, I changed out the oil with apple sauce in the cake recipe:

Cooler Weather & Banana Bread

After having summer like weather the last few days, the temperature dipped a few notches; enough  for me to look at the ripe bananas in the basket and think – banana bread!  So, I spent part of the morning happily baking away:

Here is the recipe if you are interested.  I don’t recall where I got it from, but I replaced the butter with apple sauce.  I have gotten in the habit of  making this switch – fresh apple sauce the better. You can click on the recipe for a larger version:

Oh Beautiful Eggs … And a Pavlova

I had lunch with my friend Donna yesterday. She has a bunch of hens that lay the most wonderful eggs! they come in different colors, and when I get a hold of fresh laid eggs, I love to make Pavlovas. Pavlovas are meringue desserts that we discovered while living in Australia. It is named after a famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. I like to top mine with fresh fruits and drizzle it with chocolate.  Since it only requires egg whites, this time I made sure not to waste the yolks, and made a Lord Baltimore cake too:

Here are the recipes for both desserts (you can click on them for larger versions):


And here is the namesake, Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova:

Baking Day

I love to bake, but after having children (many moons ago), that went by the wayside except for during the holidays. Cookies are a must during the Christmas season, and I usually have three staple cookie recipes plus a few new ones I try out. This year, I stuck with my usual three that I have made since I was a teenager! – Russian Tea Cookies, Peanut Blossoms, and Lucy’s Lemon Squares. These are really standard cookies, but I’ve listed a couple of the recipes here: You can click on them to enlarge.


I just love the vintage style cup and saucer set I got from Starbucks a few years back:

Random Happenings

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season, I was able to sit down long enough to make a pair of earrings to replace the ones that sold at the RAA:

The teenagers have been having fun making a gingerbread house – out of a kit of course! Maybe out of scratch some day 🙂

I don’t do much scrapbooking, but my daughter and I had a project. She wanted to make a sports scrapbook for a senior friend that also plays volleyball. It was fun & opened my eyes to the world of scrapbooking. I think I will pursue digital scrapbooking … I even purchased some kits from Shabby Princess already.

And … when I was trying to take pictures of the earrings this morning, I stepped outside to check the light, and I saw tree trimmers in my neighbors trees. I thought they looked neat, and took this:

A Pretty Cake!

Every year, my dear husband and children have baked me a cake for my birthday. This year, it was a one man show since the boys are away at college, and our daughter was out. After a minor mishap of overflowing cake batter and the “wonderful” aroma of burnt cake, this:

Became this:

Isn’t it pretty!