Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brownie Pudding Cake

When I was young we had brownie pudding cake often. It was a cake that we could make and put in the oven while we ate dinner and when the dishes were done the cake would be out and still warm. We had it with fresh whipped cream. The fun thing about brownie pudding cake is the way you pour the liquid on top and put it in the oven and magic happens! The liquid sinks to make a pudding on the bottom. Very fun for kids to make, always turn the oven light on so you can watch the transformation!

So rich and so chocolatey....some would say to much chocolate but no, no, no!

The cast of characters:
cocoa (and yes I do have that much cocoa)
brown sugar
baking powder
unsweetend chocolate
cold coffee

you melt the butter and cocoa and unsweeted chocolate in the microwave and stir it into the rest of ingredients

like this

mix cocoa, brown sugar and sugar together and sprinkle on top of batter

pour cold left over coffee (can use water) all over the top

Then pop into the oven and just wait for the best dessert you have ever experienced!

Brownie pudding Cake

6 tablespoons of butter
2/3 cup of cocoa powder
2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups coffee (room temperature)

heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan.

melt butter, 1/3 cup of the cocoa powder and the chocolate pieces in the microwave, stirring often just until melted. In a separate bowl, stir the brown sugar, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and remaining 1/3 cup of cocoa powder together and set aside. Whisk remaining 2/3 cups of sugar, milk, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl, add egg yolk and then the chocolate mixture, whisk in the flour and baking powder.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, and sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the coffee gently over the brown sugar mixture. Bake until the cake is puffed and bubbling and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the baking dish, about 45 minutes. (do not overbake)

Let cool and serve with soft whip cream.

I would like to introduce my helper for this recipe.
This is Brena Margaret my oldest grandaughter.
She is one terrific young lady!

Cheers to Happy !!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Orange Cosmo Vinaigrette

This recipe came from chef Tom Pantley of Toscanos Italian restaurant. He was kind enough to share. It is very refreshing and light.

A basic vinaigrette is 3/4 parts oil to 1/4 part vinegar or lemon and seasoning to taste.
This recipe has a few other ingredients, very simple to make, taking only a few minutes.

3/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon grey poupon
1 clove of chopped garlic
2 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped tarrogan
salt and pepper

Put clove of garlic in blender with

the tarragon and basil. Pour in the
oil and vinegar and blend for 30 seconds. Put in the orange juice concentrate and the teaspoon of mustard. 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoons of fresh pepper. Blend again for 1 minute.

The mustard emulsifies and brings it all together.

This dressing will keep nicely in the refridgerator for weeks.

This dressing is especially good on organic greens with goat cheese. It is also good with a bit of orange zest. In my salad I also used pomegranate, carrots, fresh beets, cucumber....Make it the way you like it, use your imagination.

Cheers to Happy  !!

Monday, September 28, 2009


This is a favorite web-site...BAGGU

A big reusable shopping bag. Carry in your hand or over the shoulder. Perfect for travel, laundry and big shopping trips. 18" wide / 33" high / 9" deep. Folds into a zippered 7" by 7" pouch. Holds 50 lbs. 100% ripstop nylon. Machine washable

A small reusable shopping bag. Perfect for your lunch, a six pack, extra shoes, or a trip to the corner market. 10" wide / 18" high / 4" deep. Folds into a flat 4" by 4" pouch. Holds 30 lbs. 100% ripstop nylon. Machine washable.

Three standard sized Baggu bags in a stylish zipper pouch. Sized small to keep in your everyday bag at all times. You’ll never get caught shopping without bags again. (Not just for groceries.) Available in five color assortments. 100% Ripstop nylon. Machine washable

Holds and stores fresh produce from the grocery store or the farmers market. Small size (9” x 12”) holds a bunch of green beans, 4 oranges or 6 lemons. Large size (12” x 16”) is just right for a head of lettuce, a dozen apples, a bunch of bananas or some kale. 100% nylon

These come in many, many different colors...

I will be giving some of these away for Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts. It is a really green thing to use and so stylish....Can you just imagine the envious looks of all the onlookers at the grocers? Doesn't it make you want to load some in the trunk of your car?
I thought so....This is a very happy thing!

Cheers to Happy !!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Church Day

Saint Patrick's Cathedral is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Catholic cathedral church in the United States. It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and a parish church, located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York. It faces Rockefeller Center.

On August 15, 1858, the cornerstone was laid, just south of the diocese's orphanage. At that time, present-day midtown Manhattan was far north of the populous areas of New York City.

Work was begun in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865. The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879, its huge proportions dominating the midtown of that time. The archbishop's house and rectory were added from 1882 to 1884, and an adjacent school (no longer in existence) opened in 1882. 

This is a very beautiful church inside, up in front under the alter there are 13 people entombed. Most archbishops. The church is used in many movies and is the subject in many books. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to go to New York. I put on my nicest travel clothes and healed sandals and walked the million blocks to church. By the time I arrived I had so many blisters...oh much for beautiful..I walked about a half a block back to the hotel before stopping at a 'I heart NY 'shop and buying some, one size fits all, NY flip flops that I wore the rest of the trip.
I took this great shot of St Pat's, across the street , from the top of the Rockefeller Center

Notice the difference around the church from the late 1800's compared to today...In the 1800's the church was out of town, well I'd say town found it....

Cheers to Happy  !!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Memories, line the corners of my mind

Luzon Building

Address: 1302 Pacific Avenue
Construction date: 1891


Daniel Burnham and John Root.

Architectural/Historic Significance:

Built in 1890-91, the building’s significance stems from its breakthrough design and from the fame of the Chicago architects who designed it, Daniel Burnham and John Root, considered among the fathers of the American skyscraper. The Luzon was a transition building for the firm because it incorporated a relatively light steel framework along with traditional masonry construction. Before the Luzon era, major buildings were limited in height because all of their weight was borne by their thick masonry walls. Once Burnham and Root substituted steel framework for the heavy masonry, taller buildings became a possibility. The Luzon was one of two Burnham and Root buildings in Tacoma, the other, the 12 story Fidelity Building at South 11th and Broadway, was torn down in the early 1950s
The six-story building, which has housed a bank, a Chinese restaurant, an arcade and other businesses during its tenure, is one of two Burnham & Root structures remaining on the West Coast. Its internal metal structure was an early precursor to modern skyscraper construction methods

Last Tuesday I drove by the building and took a picture of it

I loved to look at the reflection of the building in the glass building behind it, it was kind of spooky, much like looking into a pool and seeing a reflection. Because of the squares of glass it seemed to be moving. Today the building was torn down. It had to be. It was left in such disrepair for so many years that it was a danger.
So I went to say good bye (of course)

All rubble now

This building, as far back as I remember it was an adult theater and then the Fun Circus. The bus station was right across the street. As a young person my sisters and I used to take the bus from Sumner to Tacoma and be dropped off right in front of here. There were always seedy people outside, you averted your eyes and headed to the right straight down to downtown. We heard of many things that went on in the place, heck we heard there were 'peep shows' after that was described to us we were terrified! Later when as a teen and in the safety of a car we would glance out of the corner of our eyes at the place, still you never turned your head. You didn't want to be caught looking!

Although sad to say goodbye to a part of Tacoma's history we raise a glass and shout

Cheers to Happy !!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Caprese Salad

This is a version of layered Caprese Salad. This salad is so versatile. You can make it how you like it.  I used

sweet onion
fresh mozzerella
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

You slice all the above up in thick slices and layer on a platter in a circular pattern, like this

You again make it the way you like it, drizzle olive oil on top and then the balsamic vinegar, makes a great appetizer with a glass of dry red wine, like a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cheers to Happy !!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


The best part about camping, is the campfire. It is mesmerizing. You are drawn to a campfire, and it is hard to pull a hot shower only better. You can sing around the campfire, tell stories, and just plain old roast marshmallows. Now is the time of year to build or buy a fire ring. We built one out of the large rocks on the this....

We just drew a large ring in the dirt, dug it out some and started building with the rocks and cement.
Very inexpensive and crude as it is....

It is very functional and a nice foot rest as you are sitting around it.
An added bonus is you can burn your yard limbs....if you don't have the space for building a firepit, you can buy a good container firepit, they are not to expensive, and will last for years.

(sure wish the grass was freshly mown)

The best part is the 'smores, don't they make everyone the happiest ever!!

Cheers to Happy !!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fresh Creamed Corn

Now is the time to hurry and make creamed corn. The corn right now is so sweet and fresh in the Puyallup Valley, here in the Northwest.  I have always loved canned cream corn, but it doesn't compare with fresh creamed corn, the flavor is so full and fresh! It is so easy to make and it is a 'say somethin' side dish!

Start with 1 ear of corn for every person you are cooking for, peel the corn and cut off the cob,

cut into a deep bowl. The corn flies around a little while you are cutting. Also scrape the ears of corn so you get all the milk from the corn as well. Put in a saucepan with one clove of garlic, sliced, and salt and pepper to taste.

Next pour 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream (for every 2 ears of corn) bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Simmer for appoximately 10 minutes until corn is cooked through and cream is reduced by half.
(the cream becomes very flavorful and gold color) Next use your potato masher and mash the corn to make it a little more creamy.

Serve as is, or you can flavor with fresh basil and crisp bacon bits. So good either way. Does it get any better than this?

Cheers to Happy  !!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swiss Chard Pasta

This is the best darn, earthiest pasta ever! So delicious, and hearty. I was thinking that swiss chard was an adult vegetable, but now that I think of it, I loved swiss chard as a child. We got it in the summer from my grandmother and mom would cook it in a big pot and we would put vinegar on it. My brothers and sisters and I loved it!

Here is the cast of characters for this wonderful dish

this recipe is for 2 hungry people or 4 not so hungry people,
1 cup of pasta, I use rigatoni (but you can use any of your favorites)
1 large tomato seeded and cut in chunks
6 good size mushrooms cut in quarters
1 cup canned rinsed cannellini beans
1 cup chopped ham ( can use pancetta or bacon)
2 cups of chopped bite size swiss chard
1 cup large sliced onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan

Start by boiling your pasta, most recipes call for al dente, but for me I like my pasta done, really done.
next saute your ham in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until browned. Take out of pan and set aside.

Next add your onion to the pan with the left over olive oil.

Carmelize your onion and then add the chopped garlic and quartered mushrooms. Saute on medium heat all together until doneish (I am sure that is a word)

Then add cannellini beans and swiss chard and cook for about 1 minute until swiss chard is wilted.

Then add the rest of the indredients, the tomatoes, cooked pasta and the cooked ham.
drizzle about 1 tablespoon additional olive oil and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Saute until all is cooked through and add 1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan, and stir.

Serve with additional grated parmesan and fresh chopped basil.

I would definently pair this with a nice earthy Chianti (the one that has the basket attached)

Cheers To Happy  !!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Favorite Websites

I will frequently be posting some of my favorite websites. Starting with today my #1 favorite!  It is a site for bakers, it has cake and cookie decorating supplies, which in itself doesn't sound so unique, but this one is. The shop is in Bozeman Montana. Everything they have is so cool!

They have these neat vintage edible pictures on rice paper. You make sugar cookies in the size of post cards  and frost. Then you attach the pictures to the frosting. They are so extraordinary!

They have a bazillion different cupcake holders, they are laser cut-out and they are just the right size for a cupcake. So sweet for tea parties and 'special tiara wearing birthdays.'

They also have matching cake pedestal papers for different size pedestals. So cute, they have every occasion, every holiday covered, decorating ideas, a huge assortment of cookie cutters, and every kind of cake and cookie decoration.

Even these adorable (expensive, but folks its only money) edible roses.

and you can buy numerous, colors and sizes packing boxes. Go visit this site, you will want to save it in your favorites, it is fabulous!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, Sunday Church Day

Today's church is the old adobe church from Taos, New Mexico.
A source of inspiration for artists, travelers and natives alike, the mission church of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Ranchos de Taos, has been worshipped in, painted and photographed by artists and travelers who have lived in or passed through northern New Mexico. Its mysterious sculptural form, created out of the indigenous building materials of adobe and wood, has been portrayed by more artists than any other church in the United States.

This is the back of the church

The village of Ranchos de Taos was settled by the Spanish in 1716. "The Ranchos Church," San Francisco de Asis, was completed in 1815 and provides one of the best examples of Franciscan Old World architectural ideals combined with New World building techniques.

The church is fortress-like, with adobe walls four feet thick and enormous buttresses. Light plays off its enormous sculptural form to reflect the change of line, time and space. The church's surface holds the community's history—generations of hands plastering and replastering the adobe walls. This gets done once a year. For many Taosenos, the church provides a place of worship on Sundays and holidays, for others it provides an anchor in the landscape.

This is the most photographed and painted church in the world. Made famous by Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams.

I caught this shot of the father running in, he was late to start church.

When we went last year to visit my daughter in Taos we heard that at dawn, when the sun was coming up it cast a shadow of the cross on the front of the church, well who wouldn't want a photograph of that? So we got up at 5 in the morning and drove to the church and waited and waited, and then waited and waited. The sun was coming up and it got higher and higher and still no shadow of the cross. We waited until about 8 am and then went back to our hotel and told the clerk about our dissapointment and he told us it was just certain times of the year that happened. Oh well, it was great fun to watch the sun come up in front of the church with coffee in hand!

Cheers to Happy !!