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Cranberry-Raisin Nut Bread

December 22, 2009 in Food and Drink, Recipes Cranberry-RaisinNutBreadCranberry-Raisin Nut Bread

1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. backing powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 C. coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 C. golden raisins
1/2 C. coarsely chopped pecans
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
2 eggs
3/4 C. Milk
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. Vanilla

  1. Preheat overn to 350ºF. Grease 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 -inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in large blow. Stir in cranberries, raisins, pecans and orange peel. Mix eggs, milk, butter and vanilla in small bowl until combined; stir into flour mixture just until moistened, Spoon into prepared pan.
  3. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. Serve with Cranberry-Orange Spread. Makes 1 loaf.

Cranberry Orange Spread

1 package (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 container (12oz.) cranberry-orange sauce
3/4 C. chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese and cranberry-orange sauce in small bowl; stir until blended. Stir in pecans. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups spread.

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Peanut Butter LOVER

November 7, 2009 in Food and Drink, Recipes

I have a passion for Peanut butter and believe it or not, November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month. I have no pretense about my love of peanut butter. As any true PB lover will tell you, the purest way to eat it is always directly out of the jar. I have become an advocate for Adam’s PB because it’s only ingredient is peanuts and besides that I can buy it extra large at Costco. When I travel, I carry a Tupperware container filled with it and two plastic spoons (in case one breaks). I had it confiscated at airport security one time for having too large of a container in my carry-on. It was heart breaking. Come on! Peanut butter’s not a liquid. :(  Besides on my spoon, I love it with a cup of coffee, on apples and bananas, a dob on my chocolate ice cream or chocolate pudding – well, with anything chocolate of course. I keep an emergency jar at the office just in case I need an afternoon fix. One of my favorite cookie recipes of all time is Chocolate No-Bake Cookies because of the classic pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Whip up a batch this month!


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Best Movie I’ve Seen in Ages

August 17, 2009 in Books, Food and Drink, Movies, Television

Julia-child-with-rolling-pins Julia After seeing the movie, Julie & Julia this weekend, I have decided that I have a new role model in Julia Child. In fact I’ve been walking around the house saying “Bon Appetit!” in a very high pitched voice followed by a little chortle. Just that in itself seems to elevate my mood. Amy I may even decide to start wearing pearls. The movie was probably the most charming and inspiring piece of film that I have seen in some time. Not to mention, it was laugh out loud funny throughout. Meryl Streep just keeps getting better and better – in fact the entire cast was entirely engaging. (that Amy Adams is a doll!) I will see this one again and again. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, (in my humble opinion) - it’s a must-see!


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Vacation Getaway Recap

July 23, 2009 in Excercise, Family, Food and Drink, Friendship, Holidays, Well-Being

 IMG_0371   IMG_0375 I grew up in Seattle and making a road trip to vacation at the Ocean was a favorite tradition in my family. We revisited this tradition with a recent trip to a coastal fishing town in Washington called Westport. We spent time doing all the touristy attractions. We climbed 135 steps to the top of the tallest lighthouse in the Northwest and learned about what an enormous job it was to keep a lighthouse operating. (Now replaced by simpler, modern technology) IMG_0372I didn’t realize that every single lighthouse has a different light signal soIMG_0385 sailors know where they are.  We dined at the oldest resort in Washington. (we did our best to ignore the ants that were crawling around on the table – but couldn’t help but laugh about it after) We browsed the gift shops, the Oyster Farm, bought cans of best Tuna you’ll ever taste, toured the Museum, and even spent a few hours tasting and lunching at the Westport Winery.  IMG_0367When we weren’t being tourists, we enjoyed walking the beach looking for whole sand dollars while taking in the wonderful sea air. It’s actually a pretty decent work-out to walk against the wind and trudge through the soft sand. (an excuse to eat more!) When you grow up with certain smells and sounds it is so very nostalgic to experience them again. We happened upon a great driftwood structure that we surmised locals had spent many hours constructing. But mostly we ate – and every meal was seafood.  And it was all great seafood – crab, oysters, clams, tuna and prawns and then we’d do it all over again. Don’t worry though – we ate our veggies too – my sister introduced us to the best Bloody Mary ever!

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Cheery Cherries

July 19, 2009 in Food and Drink, Recipes

It’s Cherry Pickin’ Season here and one of our favorite local pastimes is to visit Greenbluff Orchards for the Annual Cherry Festival.  I’ve been out picking with the little girls and it’s entertaining to see how many more of them make it into their mouths rather than in the bucket.  Even if you don’t get a chance to pick your own, there are ample at the local produce stands and the grocery store. 

FruitBowl-FullI found a great recipe from Taste of Home for a “Cheery Cherry Crisp” that you might give a try. CherriesWhen you dish this one up, don’t forget to dollop with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with a cherry (of course!). Decorate your table with a painted terracotta bowl that you embellish with red glass “cherries” and tin leaves, or have your own Cherry Festival by posting our “A bowl of Cherries” desktop background on your computer screen.

Cheery Cherry Crisp



  1. Drain cherries, reserving juice. Add enough water to measure 1/2 cup. Set cherries aside. In a microwave-safe 8-in. square baking dish, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and reserved juice until smooth. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 3-4 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in the rhubarb, basil, reserved cherries and remaining sugar.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over cherry mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.


If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (1/2 cup) equals 229 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.


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The Perfect Evening

July 16, 2009 in Food and Drink, Friendship, Recipes

1 2 You know how when you’re watching a movie and a group of people are dining outdoors in a lovely setting, eating wonderful food, laughing and drinking wine and it all looks so ideal? Then you dream about doing something just like that (but without having to do all the work that goes with it). That’s exactly what I got to do this weekend. A local Winemaker and Chef pooled their talents together to present the most magnificent meal to 10 very lucky people. We started at the Tasting room at Townshend Winery before we headed up to winemaker’s home to enjoy an incredible meal paired with a chosen wine for each course. With a clinking of a wine glass at the beginning of each course, the chef and winemaker introduced and described the upcoming dish and wine. To top it all off – it was a warm and glorious evening, set on top of Greenbluff, with a panoramic view enhanced by a gorgeous sunset. I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the food. It was all so perfect, that even the mosquitoes and bees even left us alone. Now that I’m describing it, I feel like I was in a movie!

3 4

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Cookies, Candies and Nuts - Oh My!

June 18, 2009 in Food and Drink, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

Wilton Planning a Shower, a little Garden Tea Party or just feel like sharing some goodies with your co-workers?

Just in time for the wedding season, we have a brand new line of party favor boxes, small candy boxes, and treat bags in sweet designs and colors that are perfect for showers, rehearsal dinners, and other special events. We even have a new molded cookie tray so you can home bake treats for these special celebrations.

(Made by Wilton for JoAnn Fabric Stores)

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Sweet & Pink Popcorn Crunch Recipe

February 1, 2009 in Food and Drink, Recipes
  1. Pop 24 cups of popcorn (1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn yields approximately 10 cups of popped popcorn.)
  2. Put candy canes into a food processor and finely crush. Or put candy canes into a zip lock bag and crush with a meat tenderizer or small hammer.
  3. Melt dipping wafers following the package instructions.
  4. Put popcorn into a large  bowl.
  5. Add melted dipping wafers to popcorn and stir to coat.
  6. Add crushed candy canes and gently mix.
  7. Spread popcorn mixture onto wax-paper lined cookie sheets.
  8. Place cookie sheets in frig for approximately 30 minutes or until coating hardens. Remove from frig/freezer and break into medium-sized pieces.
  9. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Make 24 cups of popcorn.

Cards Valentine e-cards!
We have two new "lovely" Valentine's e-cards. No time to mail cards to everyone you're feeling fondness for? This is a super easy way to spread the love!

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14 Things to do before Summer is over

August 15, 2008 in Books, Food and Drink, Friendship, Recipes, Resolutions, Travel, Well-Being
  1. Loose the swimsuit weight - ha!
  2. Sit in the canoe by the waterfall at Horseshoe Lake and sip Lemon Drops
  3. Drink Get one of those European Pedicures that Carolyn keeps raving about
  4. Have an old fashioned picnic with fried chicken, potato  salad and strawberry jello (wow, that one brings me back to my childhood) 
  5. I need at least four more “floats” in the pool. Crystal, come on over!
  6. Be the willing recipient of all the homegrown tomatoes and zucchini that I’m offered by my zealous gardening friends.
  7. Finish up my fun summer reading before they're due back to the library. Currently enjoying Nancy Martin's Blackbird Sisters Mysteries including, "Cross your Heart and Hope to Die," "Have  your Cake and Kill Him Too,"  "A Crazy Little Thing called Death."
  8. Take a ROADTRIP to Seattle to see the Mariner's play. (and win, hopefully - however, I hear you can get tickets cheap)

  9. Have an old-fashioned double scoop chocolate ice cream cone. If I'm going for all those calories, it's gotta be chocolate.
  10. Drive up to Greenbluff to pick ripe Peaches. Just slice the peaches, sprinkle with powdered sugar and arrange in pre-baked pie crust - Yum!
  11. SunbathingTalk Murphy into a day at Silverwood Theme Park to get soaked on the Thunder Canyon water ride. (forecast is 100 degrees on Sunday)
  12. Go up to Priest Lake, lay on the beach and watch the Meteor Shower on August 18 
  13. Throw the final pool party of the season - but make it easy - Pizza and beer!
  14. Meet girlfriends at Anthony's to watch the Falls from the patio - if I leave right now, I can make it for the earlybird dinner special.

What's on your List? Write up 14 ideas and do AT LEAST 3 of them. 

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Fun New Year’s Meal idea!

December 30, 2007 in Food and Drink

Dallasrobert_2  Thanksgiving was delicious and special – but our Christmas Day meal was fun and a lot easier. PIZZA!! LynnLynn went to a local pizzeria and purchased ready made pizza dough (freezes well!). I cut up every kind of topping you could think of and everyone got to make up their own little personalized pizzas. Lynn brought her pizza stone – which we kept heated up in the oven and it made for a delicious crust. Robert and Dallas showed off by tossing our pizza dough in the air. (I failed as an action photographer – we hooted and hollered when the dough flew in the air like a couple of UFO’s!) If you’re struggling for ideas for New Year’s – Pizza may be your answer. 

Notes My holiday is extended this year – my mom and sis are here now for our Family Christmas. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

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My strong desire to eat prevents me from Cooking

August 10, 2007 in Food and Drink

It sounds like a contradictory statement doesn't it? Don't most people cook for the actual PURPOSE of eating? My problem is I just can't wait! As I'm driving up the hill on my way home from work, my brain is thinking, "what should I have for dinner?" As I walk in the door,  my stomach starts churning big time. I throw my bags down and whip the refrigerator door open...."is there something that I can grab and eat now?" Next are the cupboards. One after another, I open each food cupboard door looking for just the right thing. "I do want it to be kind of healthy - but what I really want is something now!"

Blondie "Okay, what will it be? I really should make us some stir fry OR grill some chicken and veggies on the BBQ. But that would take too long. What can I eat now?"

Breakfast "Let's see, which of my quickie meals sounds good? Yogurt over a bowl of fruit? A bowl of shelled peanuts? Perhaps a bowl of Grape Nuts? A big bowl of Popcorn?"

You can see, all I really need is bowls! Well, silverware comes in handy too. To smear celery with peanut butter or to cut up an apple and cheddar cheese.

"Can I wait long enough to pick a few leaves of basil from the garden - because that is great with sliced tomato and Havarti (w/dill) cheese."

"No, not tonight, I think what I really want is a good meal. Once again, my strong desire to eat prevents me from cooking."

"Hey Murphy!  Get in the car, We're going to "Taste of Thai" NOW!"


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Love those Satsuma Mandarin Oranges!

December 10, 2006 in Food and Drink

My son describes them as the perfect fruit - and I think he's right.  They peel in seconds, there are NO seeds, the sections break apart easily and they are delicious!! I've had several this weekend.  Anytime a fruit is as easy to grab as junk food, now that's a pretty good thing.

I have had quite a week.  Well, really more of a "lost" week.  I had the stomach flu to end all stomach flus.  At least in my experience.  Stomach flu does have a way of getting us on our knees for a variety of reasons -  one of them being to pray that you're not dying. I actually called the Dr. this time - just to confirm that I would, indeed, pull through.  I was supposed to travel at the end of the week and I had to cancel.  I didn't have the strength to move underwear from my dresser to my suitcase two feet away.  I figured that was a sign.  If I couldn't pack or bathe - then I probably couldn't make it to the airport.....And I was trying to think of others - it's not bad enough that someone would be flying from west to east coast in a middle seat - but then if they had to sit next to me "moaning" - now that just would have been cruel. 

After a full week, I'm almost back to 100%. Now the one positive consequence of the stomach flu is weight loss.  I was pretty excited that after days of dehydration and gnawing on little more than a few saltine crackers I expected my loss to be significant.  Even though I have a lot of work to catch up on and my son has no groceries - in my head I was planning when I couDsc_2559ld get away to purchase new jeans in the next size down....... so with great anticipation I got on the scale. ......Yes, it was shocking all right.  My disappointing loss was only 1/2  pound.  How could that be??

I'm over the shock and disappointment, and will work hard not to gain back that 1/2 pound!

I'm bringing a box of those oranges into the office - YUM!!  Debbie

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Party Time

December 2, 2006 in Christmas, Food and Drink

Last night I had my annual gathering at my home with my staff to celebrate the holidays.  I served my famous lasagne that seemed to go over with the group.  Of course after a two hour cocktail hour, they w20061201_party_13cropped_1ould have eaten anything!  Lasagne always seems to take longer in the oven than you think.....I made it last weekend and froze it.  I thawed it in the frig for 3 days and it still took two hours to heat up.  (good thing I had lots of appetizers!) We did a fun little gift exchange that Kris (my assistant) found on the internet for us to try.  One at a time everyone draws a Holiday themed Trivia question.  All the gifts have answers to the questions.  So when you figure out the answer, you take the gift that has the answer on it.  Many of the questions had to do with Christmas Carols, which instigated much singing! It was fun  - gifts always seem to put a smile on everyone's face.  I got a gift card to Jo-Ann Fabrics - lucky me!

Today is recovery day - I tried to sleep in.  Why is it that when you really want to sleep in, you can't?  I received a new piece of exercise equipment today.  The treadmill gets a little boring all winter long - so I decided to get an Elliptical machine.  I'll let you know what I think. 

I'm hitting the mall with a friend later today for more Christmas shopping.  Give my lasagna recipe a try....I hope you enjoy.

Happy Shopping!  Debbie

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My Idaho Thanksgiving Adventure

November 26, 2006 in Family, Food and Drink, Friendship, Holidays

For_blog_4 I just have to tell you about my fun Thanksgiving.  I have a very special group of friends that I consider "family."  In fact we call ourselves "Ohana" which means extended family in Hawaiian.  So, as tradition has it, we spent the holiday together.  This year we went to Lynn and Neil's who live on Hoodoo Mountain in Idaho.  Packed with pies and all the ingredients to make a new Cranberry Yam recipe, my son and I drove up right after work on Wednesday.  All 14 of us decided to spend the night (just because it's so much more fun).  Big, huge, silver dollar size snowflakes started to fall just as I was starting to drive up the mountain.  And they never stopped.  It was fun to watch them coat the ground, the trees and the power lines.  You get where I'm going now, don't you?  (Power lines was the clue)  Early (like 4 am) on Thanksgiving we lost power.  The 26 lb turkey was suppose to go in the oven at 6:30 am for dinner at 2:00.

We never feared that we'd starve, but our Turkey dinner was in jeopardy.  (Oh, and the pump that keeps the plumbing working is electric - so, no water or facilities either!)  Of course, being on a mountain in Idaho, they have a wood stove.  So we huddled around that in our jammies for a few hours.  On the stove we heated a ration of water for coffee.  Mary even managed to cook some chicken apple sausage and scrambled eggs on the stove for us.  Much to our relief (and a touch of disappointment) the power was back on by late morning.  And the turkey went in the oven. I managed to stay in my jammies until about 3:00pm when it was my turn to use the shower.  What a great day.  Dinner was about 4 1/2 hours later than planned - and what a feast it was.  Much to all our surprise, my 17 year old son asked if he could cook up the cranberry sauce. My pies were gone long before dinner and the new recipe for Cranberry Yams got rave reviews and we decided it was a keeper. Debbie 

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