Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Garlic Spears...

 Garlic spears are the flowering tops of elephant garlic and are one of those special treats that are only around for a little while each year. They are harvested so that the garlic beneath the earth will grow larger. When roasted, any spiciness is tamed down, and they are a mild, tasty treat. You can eat them just like they are, straight from the roasting pan, or you can cut them into 2 inch pieces and add to pasta dishes or to scrambled eggs. They taste like asparagus and artichokes. With a garlic kick to them.  I bought mine at a wonderful store in our area, Tacoma Boys. They are usually available at Farmers Markets this time of year. They are also called garlic scapes..sometimes they are curly.

Roasted Garlic Spears
1 bunch of garlic spears, rinsed
2 tablespoons of fat/oil of choice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400F.
Trim the garlic spear (just a tad off the end). Place on a baking sheet, and toss with the fat/oil and generous sprinkles of salt and pepper. Place in the middle rack of the preheated oven. Roast until the garlic spears are browning, and tender. (20 minutes) Serve right away.

I put olive oil on mine and sprinkled with coarse salt and pepper...

toss a little back and forth to coat...

In the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes

they are such fun food!

The tops are like the center of the artichoke and the stems like asparagus...If you like asparagus you will absolutely love these!!!
Cheers to Happy  !!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Memorial Day

I reread this memorial day blog today- thinking I would find some inspiration to write a new sentiment.
I couldn't.  So instead with Debbie's permission I added pictures of
 a few dear loves we miss every day. 
When I was so much younger Memorial Day meant a day off from school, kind of a jumping off point for Summer fun.  I am older now, life is a little more serious and I am grateful for this date when we once again honor those that have gone on before us.  This day helps me remember how futile it is to struggle with one another instead of savoring every minute.  Walking the trail of this life together is the gift.  I hope you are enjoying yours.

 Maude Aurelia Fauson, she left us in June 2005.  We miss her every day and treasure every memory of her. 

Billy Ray Rushton  went to heaven, December 2005.  He was and is an inspiration to all of us.  A Dad, husband, brother, and friend and a veteran..


Pamela Ann Jordan Whinnery - wonderful mother, sister, daughter and friend.  We miss her very day.  June 1955- January 2003

I asked Debbie if she would please let me write the post for Memorial Day.  There are many ways we remember those who died for our country.  I will first post the traditional Memorial Day history, and then post some of the pictures I have taken at the National Cemetery in Covington Washington and other places.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

all along the roads leading to the entrance are signs that say "Hero's Sleep Here".  I think it says everything.
That these soldiers gave their time and some their lives for us.

Obviously I could go on and on.  There are not enough words to describe this beautiful resting place.

Please consider a visit to honor these sleeping heroes.

This was taken at one of the other local cemeteries.

 Most Americans use this day to remember loved ones that are no longer here with them. When we were kids probably in grade school.  One of our activities was to go to a little cemetery in Spanaway.  We would clean the grave stones and weed and water the plants that were there.  Sometimes if there had been a funeral recently and there seemed like lots of flowers we would take some of them and put them on the older graves that no one visited.

One in particular was Violet Cox's grave.  She was two years old when she died.  Her grave was next to a huge fir tree.  I always tried to do a little extra around her  resting place.  She died in the early 1900's.
I went to the cemetery today and found her grave a picture follows.

I wonder now what people must have thought driving by and seeing three or four kids messing around in the grave yard.
They were special times shared by my brothers and sisters.  I will never forget them.
Debbie added a PS about the old pump we used for water, it is there too.
Here is a picture of it:

I have many heroes I have lost along the way, I will remember and honor them this day for the impact they had on my life.  


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mustard Greens...

Mustard Greens, a very interesting leaf. I had it the first time a couple of weeks ago at an Italian restaurant with a steak. It may not be  surprising to you but it was to me, mustard greens taste like, well, mustard. Really. like a spicy hot mustard to be exact. Have you ever tried mustard greens? Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, they are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant and are used frequently in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cooking. I find them less bitter than kale or collard greens, and more peppery, like arugula. Just one taste of a raw leaf and you’ll know it came from a mustard plant. Cooked, they taste a lot like spinach, but with more body, and spice. I knew I had to make them at home. I also have already planted some in my garden. When you buy them at the store they are very cheap. 1.49 for a huge bunch!

I know, I know, the picture is blurry. You will need a little chopped onion, a couple cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil and lemon. And of course the main event, the mustard greens. You can tear or cut the greens in to pieces. They cook down like spinach. So this is just enough for 2 servings.

Have everything ready. This goes together in a matter of minutes. Saute a half a cup of chopped onion in the oil over medium high heat, until tender crisp and  add the chopped garlic...cook for another minute and...

  add the torn mustard green leaves. toss in the oil

and  grate the lemon peel over the top , squeeze a half of a lemon over the top. Toss again and serve!

This would be so great with bratwurst or chicken also. I had mine with breaded pork chops, and it was so good!!! You will love this!!!!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Roasted Rhubarb Sauce...

I have made this for the first time this year. I vowed that I would always have it, until Rhubarb is out of season. It is so delicious on everything. Yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream and by itself.

I love everything Rhubarb. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, It is one of the things you look forward to about spring....long fresh stems of Rhubarb

Fresh Roasted rhubarb Sauce....You will love this! you can vary it by putting in fresh ginger, grated orange peel, a cinnamon stick, fresh nutmeg...Make it the way you would like it!

Cheers to Happy  !!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Carrot Cake...

Today I am writing my 500th blog. It is hard to believe I have written so many. I started the blog in the fall of 2009. I was such a blog follower myself, and often passed the time leap frogging from  blog to blog. After a phone conversation with my cousin about blogs, she said we should have a blog, and wouldn't it be fun? Sure I thought so too, and the next day "Cheers to Happy", was born. It has always been my happy place. It is very personal to me. So much of "me" is in my happy blog. My love of cooking, creating and family. When I look back at older posts, it is like a journal. It takes me right back to where I was and what I was feeling when I wrote it.

I am still honored and humbled to have followers from all over the world. The five most popular blogs are surprising even to me...Caesar Salad Dressing is overwhelmingly number 1..and I had quickly thrown together the number's 2 and 4 most popular..  the Strawberry Rhubarb Salad dressing and Raspberry Milkshake.....Pork Gyros at number 3...and the Pumpkin Gingerbread Pie is number 5...All are very good....

I have had really good guest bloggers...that makes it so fun. I have a great sister Mary who has written many blogs and edits many of my blogs. I type like I talk, and sometimes the grammar could be better, and well the spelling too....I will work on that.

To Celebrate the big 5-0-0, I decided to make my favorite dessert of all time, Carrot Cake. I have been a carrot cake lover for years. I like all carrot cake. Good and ok carrot cake. There is no bad carrot cake. Carrot cake falls in the same category as crab, shrimp, avocados and mushrooms in my house. If someone doesn't care for it, it is fine with me, I will eat my piece and theirs too!

Carrot Cake
  • 2 generous cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups flour or gluten free flour
  • 2½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 12 ounces (about 1½ packs) of cream cheese, room temp
  • ½ cup (1 stick) soft butter
  • 1⅓ cup powder sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep two circle 9 inch cake pans by lining with parchment paper and spray with Pam.
  2. In the first bowl, toss together the carrots, walnuts and pineapple. Add ½ cup of flour and set aside.
  3. In a second bowl mix together the dry ingredients: the remaining 2½ cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, soda, powder and salt.
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and sugar together. Watch for them to lighten and become thicker, at least 3-5 minutes of beating. When it reaches this point, add the applesauce and coconut oil while softly beating.
  5. Gently add the dry ingredients next. Fold in the carrots/pineapple/walnut mixture from before to create a light loose batter.
  6. Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and they are springy in the middle, not jiggly.
  7. Let the cakes cool in the pans, on a rack, for at least 15 minutes. Remove and let them finish cooling out of the pan on the racks. Frost when completely cooled.
  8. TO MAKE THE FROSTING: beat together the cream cheese and butter for 3-5 minutes, until it lightens up. Add the sugar and vanilla next until reached desired sweetness. Beat another minute until light and fluffy. Throw in the remaining ingredients and gently mix.
gather all your ingredients...this really is a healthy cake! It would be fun to substitute bananas or pureed carrots for the applesauce...

beat eggs and sugar until it looks like this...

cool...this is a really dense cake...The coconut flavor comes from using the Coconut oil...

and frost and enjoy....

Cheers to Happy  !!