Sunday, February 28, 2010


Last Sunday it seemed like it was time for a big break from everything.  My best friend Dar and I love to take pictures of just about anything so we grabbed our cameras and headed out for a beautiful day in the country.

Of course a girl needs to stop and take pictures of anything that is appealing.  These little snowdrops planted on the homestead by my Grandfather Oscar Swalander are all over the hill under the apple trees.  It is a sign that spring is coming along soon.  I always feel that they are God's promise for brighter days ahead.

After that little stop we were definitely on the way.
It looks like from the picture below that our first stop is Lake Quinalt Lodge.  Well the reality is that I always stop in Dupont at the Starbuck's when I head south. I needed a Black and White Frappicino Yum .

This old lodge is right on Lake Quinalt and is reminiscent of the Lodges in the Adirondacks in the east. So beautiful it is always lush and green here because it is located in the Olympic Rain Forest.

This is the view when I turned around.  So worth the drive.

After Quinalt we headed west to Kalaloch.  It just doesn't get any better than this.  It is an old resort that is located right on a bluff on the ocean.

Have you ever seen so much driftwood?  It was so beautiful and fresh the wind was soft and the sun warm.  I felt so blessed to be able to be there.

Ruby Beach is just a little ways north of Kalaloch.  And is worth the little hike down the bluff to get there.  Neither Kalaloch or Ruby Beach are accessible by car so a little hiking is a necessary.  Although I took all of these pictures from the top.

Ok wow.  I love this picture of the waves.  The tide was coming in.  We got lucky.


 More of Ruby Beach.  There is camping available for you tent loving campers.
For the others Kalaloch has beautiful little driftwood grey cabins with fireplaces.
So cute I needed to stay there.  Another time. 
We couldn't stay too long the day was fading fast.


Our last light bright enough to take pictures was at Crescent Lake in the Olympic National Park.  Go there...Go there....Go there.  Did you hear me?  You will not be sorry.  It is beautiful and not crowded and amazing.
Thank you for coming along on this little tiny road trip.  
I hope this has inspired you to pick up your camera, get in the car and just Go.



Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Pantry
This is Mary, Debbie's sister.  Sometimes I just can't contain myself and I want to add a little something to this fun blog.
"My" cousin Sherry posted on face book that she doesn't cook like Debbie and I that her kitchen gets all messed up.  Well we just laughed and laughed.
And then we figured we better come clean and show you the DARK side of our little lives.  Ha.

Below are pictures of my pantry.  It is in the hall of the log cabin I call home.


This pantry used to have a louvered door on it, however after we moved in last summer we took down the door and then started looking for a replacement.  We found a beaded curtain with a gauzy sheer was really fun.  We are retired hippies around here I am thinking.
I like to think it looks like a little store in there.  I turn the light on and walk by and say to myself isn't that the cutest little grocery store.  (Ok I  think of myself as whimical not nuts)

This is a little close up, I am sure you can see now that it is a little topsy turvy in there.

Ok pull the curtain aside and step in.  Yes it is really tall in there,  very high ceilings reaching up to the peak.

Makes a girl kind of dizzy.  We store lesser used things up there, like the good china and small appliances. I use a ladder to get things down.

We try for organization, then we start looking for things and oh boy things go south in a hurry.

Oh look up there on the right. It is a bottle of old Montana Red Eye whiskey.  Never to be opened in this house.  Uncle Bob gave me that and I am saving it forever. 

This is the spice department.  Once in awhile the spices get arranged in alphabetical order.  Then we say that was fun and start putting them back willy nilly.


 Well that is kind of a mess now isn't it.  There are the little plastic storage containers.  Have you ever noticed how the lids run away every chance they get just to irritate you.  It sure happens around here.  
Oh look there is the popcorn, I wondered where we put it.
  That is neat and tidy sort of.

  What a mess, that is the snack fast food department. There is no way to keep it organized.  Things don't last long enough in there to straighten.

 So there you have it.  The cute little panty has a dark side too.

I love it very much.  I hope you enjoyed your little tour.  Y'all come back now!!
Ya hear???


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Debbie in real life...

My cousin Sherry made a comment on facebook on the neatness of the kitchens of myself and sister Mary....
After laughing myself silly, I got my camera and went and took pictures of the inside of my fridge, so you can all share in the shame I bare, this is Debbie in real life, like Dan in real life.......
A bloggers fridge, takes the cake, literally.....My refrigerator is not real big anyway and I just keeping pushing things in....even a pizza box...and whole chicken...and left overs from restaurants....and water bottles...and juice....and fruits and vegetables a plenty....and cheeses, oh  my... parmesan, goat cheddar and even goat brie....oh yes and spelt bread....and no nitrate hot dogs....

I am the Queen of Condiments...I have everyone I have ever bought..and sometimes 2 of some things, like ketchup, and jam, lots of jam....the trouble with blogging recipes is someone has to eat all this food....and I am not big on freezer is here it is...this one is for you Sherry.....

Cheers to Happy  !!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New York Cheesecake....

Remember a million years ago when you ordered New York cheesecake at a restaurant and it came dry, yet moist and tall and cheesy and so lemony and good? Where did that go? We used to get great cheesecake at the airport...go figure, a bunch of teenagers going into the airport for cheesecake...back then we used the airport as our playground...that was before security...The question was asked last night, where the heck did great cheesecake go? and after much research, we came up with this easy and great (and time consuming, but not hard) recipe....It is perfect in every way.....

New York Cheesecake...

8 whole graham crackers broken into pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of sugar

2 1/2 pounds of cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs

1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325. Process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the melted butter and sugar over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate. Sprinkle the mixture into a 9 inch springform pan. Press the crumbs firmly into an even layer using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the crust cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes....

2. FOR THE FILLING: Meanwhile, increase the oven temp. to 500 degrees. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters....

3. Beat in half of the sugar and salt until incorporated, 1-3 minutes. Beat in the remaining sugar again another 1-3 minutes. Beat in the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla until incorporated. 1-3 minutes...beat in the egg yolks, and eggs, two at a time, until combined 1-3 minutes.

4. Being careful not to disturb the crust, brush the sides of the springform pan with some melted butter. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pour the filling into the pan. Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes.

5. Without opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake cheese cake a total of 1 1/2 hours...turning half way through....

6, Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 2-3 hours. here is a tip, run a knife every so often around the perimeter of the pan. The cheese cake will not stick to the side and maybe not crack the top of the cake....

It is a good idea to clean the knife between slicing, so you have nice perfect restaurant style slices....
this is great with fresh strawberries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries or choose... I like nothing on top, I like to taste all the cream cheese taste....

Just a few ingredients.......

I just added this shot because I loved it so....doesn't it look happy?

crust ready to go in the oven....

6 eggs plus 2 egg yolks.....

looks creamy.....

putting in the here is a hint for you, if anyone you know is going to Mexico and they say, would you like anything? say yes, vanilla. It is only about .79cents and is the best vanilla you can buy...if you can find it here it would be $10.....

crust out of the oven.....

doesn't that look silky?

do not scrape the bowl, just in case you have something lumpy on the will make lumpy cheesecake....

ready for the oven.....

ready to turn half way through....

anticipation is almost to much.....

so there is a crater, so what? no one will know....

I like mine plain...really, really plain.....

but most people like a sauce, like this blueberry sauce...oh yum!!!!!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

Imagine flavorful...wonderful spices....mmmmm, good.....
Cincinnati chili seems to have originated with one or more immigrant restaurateurs from Greece who were trying to broaden their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine.

The immigrants from Greece Tom and John Kiradjieff began serving the chili in 1922 at their hot dog stand, next to a burlesque theater called the Empress. Tom Kiradjieff invented the style by modifying a traditional stew and serving it over hot dogs and spaghetti. The style has since been copied and modified by many other restaurant proprietors.
When served on a coney-style hot dog, the chili is also topped with cheese.....
 In Cincinnati you order it like this:
two-way: spaghetti and chili
three-way: spaghetti, chili, and shredded cheese
four-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, and either diced onions or beans
five-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans is a quick sauce to make and tastes so great....this would be good for dinner guests as well and a Monday night dinner.....there are restaurants in Cincinnati that this is all they serve.....I can imagine this.....Most of the ingredients are in everyone's kitchen, and we all know how most of this is heart food, right? you will be so glad you made this for dinner! (and yes I do realize it is another pasta, thank you very much)

Cincinnati Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef


1.Saute onion in oil until soft and edges are beginning to brown. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper and allspice. Stir for about a minute until spices are fragrant.

2.Add broth, tomato sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, being sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

3.Add meat to sauce. Use a potato masher to break meat up into small pieces. Simmer just 15 minutes.

4.Serve chili over spaghetti. For "chili five ways," top with diced raw onion, rinsed and drained cannellini beans or kidney beans and shredded sharp cheddar

here are the list ingredients, minus the cumin, (please insert oregano)

get your nice saucepan......your red one......

measure all your different spices in a bowl.....
when the onions ready, add .....

tomato paste......

add spices and cook 1 minute....the smell right now is to die for....

add tomato sauce and cider vinegar, brown sugar and stock.....

in goes the chicken stock.....

add ground beef and cook......(I don't think I like the look of raw meat, just look away)

pasta is cooking and almost ready....

looks and SMELLS great, heaven!!!! this is important, only cook for 15 minutes....that is all it needs and the meat is done and still very tender......

Its done, rich and flavorful.....

you have toppings all ready to go........

put the noodles, a large scoop of the sauce and top with beans, onions and grated cheese, in a pasta bowl...oh man....this is diner food, pure and simple.............

Cheers to Happy  !!