Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Our oldest daughter, Rachel, graduated from The University of North Texas, my Alma mater, a little over a week ago so we headed back to Texas to watch her graduate. She is the one with an anchor on her hat.
The Family

Rachel and her boyfriend Brad.
After the graduation we had a tail gate party at our car and enjoyed some Holiday Shiner Bock Cheer we had picked up at the Beer Barn in Denton. The kids working that day were amazed I had worked there during my time at North Texas.
Sometimes I feel so old!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

How Not To Spend Christmas Eve

I have commented several times that the "rain" in Sacramento is not truly "rain". After dealing with rain on our recent visit to Texas I'm thinking the rain in Sacramento is much better to deal with - at least I don't need to worry about the crazies driving.
Jim, Hagen and I headed out Christmas Eve to finish up some shopping. I was driving, as I was more familiar with the area. It was pouring rain and somewhat foggy so people for the most part were driving slowly on the freeway. I did notice a certain Nissan 350Z in the far left lane going a little faster then everyone but didn't think much until she was suddenly hydroplaning right into the driver/passenger side. Fortunately no one was hurt. Just makes me mad that we were sent spinning across the freeway and almost got hit again. Even if you are a safe driver you have to watch out for the idiots.
It also gave me another opportunity to discuss driving strategies with Hagen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Jim has taken Monday's off throughout the month of December to use some of his vacation time. This past Monday we headed to Napa to pick up some wine and do a little bit of tasting. We stopped in at Chappellet and enjoyed a tasting with Candice of their latest released reds. I was also very excited to learn that the release of the 2009 Chenin Blanc was available. I was very intrigued on a tour of their facility about a year ago to find out about a new aging process they are using at Chappellet called the "Egg" which was made of cement.

The Egg
The Chappellet 2009 Chenin Blanc is a blend of grapes from the "Egg", french oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. We bought two bottles - one to try and if it's good one to gift.

Afterward we stopped overlooking Lake Berryessa and enjoyed our lunch we had picked up at Soda Canyon Grocery. I love stopping there because I can order a liverwurst sandwich. Jim, who just loves to share, has no desire to have anything to do with my sandwich so I get it all. I don't know what this says about me but I'm not a food sharer.

My wonderful Liverwurst sandwich

Onward we headed to Joseph Phelps.

The property is so interesting to look at as the seasons change.

My favorite is still the 2006 Insignia

We also stopped in at Domaine Caneros to picked up our sparkling wine and to enjoy a glass of their Vintage Brut.

And since we had never been there, we went across the street and did a tasting at Cuvaison. I really like their Two Estates.

It was a wonderful day and to top it off we stopped and shipped a case of a variety of wines and sparkling that we had picked up to Fort Worth for our holiday vacation in Texas.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where is Kelsey when you need her to......

Frost some cupcakes!!

In our last few CSA box's we were getting very autumnal (I love that word) vegetables. One that I thought particularly beautiful and not familiar with was the Kuri squash. I decided to take this squash which I received two, along with a pie pumpkin and roast them. 350 for an hour and a half for those interested. I ended up with 8 cups of wonderful pumpkin/squash puree.
First I made a batch of pumpkin/squash muffins that the recipes needs a little tweaking but are very wholesome and delicious with whole wheat flour, oats, brown sugar and Greek yogurt. Then on to the not so wholesome pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate butter cream frosting. This is where I need Kelsey. The cake decorating class we took this summer was amazing but I let her take with her some tips I did not replace so while the cupcakes are very tasty the frosting has some issues in looks.

Pumpkin cupcakes
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin/squash puree, I was generous
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with 10 muffin papers.
Put flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixer. Add butter and process on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin/squash, spice and vanilla. While mixer is running at low speed add half of the liquid ingredients. Slowly add remaining liquid ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated, scraping sides as needed.
Divide among 10 paper lined muffins and bake 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Get Kelsey to frost your cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing and enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


According to family lore my parents came to this country with my sister Jacqueline from Holland via England the day before Thanksgiving. Their neighbors in their apartment complex in San Francisco invited them for Thanksgiving dinner. The repast was amazing and my mother continued to create the dinner forward including inviting any lost sole that had no family to celebrate with in the area.

My favorite Thanksgiving was the Thanksgiving we spent celebrating my mother's 70th birthday. I was just finalizing my divorce and my two sisters, their husband's, children and mine along with my mother boarded a cruise ship out of Galveston for a week. It was the most give and take wonderful week.
And life goes on and lives get scatter and now I am giving recipe advice to my girls. Life is good and I am blessed with a loving husband and three children that check in with their mother as their lives ebb and turn. All is well with the world!! Happy Thanksgiving to all that have touched my life in the past year and made it better and to all that have been in my life watching over me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Been A Year

It's hard to believe it's been a year since I moved to California from Texas.
The biggest adjustment is a no brainer - I miss my children!!
The girls are both at college but they would routinely pop in for a weekend or two and Hagen was in the house, learning to drive and it is amazing the daily conversations that can be had driving back and forth to school. I miss that!!
Next on the list is the shoppe and Dru Ann. The shoppe and Dru Ann go together as we spent at least five days of the week interacting and sharing our families lives with each other.
Next are all our wonderful customers and friends. And a lot of our customers became our friends. We shared our daily trails and tribulations with everyone. We were a great group of knitters and I miss our Thursday nights.
It has been an adjustment finding connections here. I can state with positive enthusiasm that all my new friends are KNITTERS. What a wonderful connection that is!!
Before the move I had connected with a few ladies on Ravelry.
Linda took me to my first knitting guild meeting as I was in the midst of unpacking boxes and Marleen encouraged me to join the Saturday group at Filati's. Both ladies, I will say have been my saviors.
I am now working part time at Filati's and love the interaction with the customers and my co-workers. I have also been elected to the position of treasurer for the Camellia City Stockinettes Knitting Guild.
I am still trying to get my children to California but am happy to say they are thriving and doing well where they are.
And the bestest thing about living in California is living with the most wonderful man in my life, Jim.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fingerless Gloves

I got to wear my new Cabled Fingerless Mitts by Lazychick Designs today when Jake and I went for our walk. One of the goodies I received at the knitting guild retreat was a skein of Noro Kuryeon and I needed some gloves for our cold morning walks. The pattern called for 120 yds and I had 110 yds. These mitts are knitted from the wrist down and my thought was to eliminate one eight round section of the cable pattern so I did two cable repeats instead of three before starting the gusset.When I began knitting the second mitt it became rather obvious that the mitts were not even going to look close to coming from the same skein and I really wanted my fingers to be covered more so I did two cable pattern repeats instead of one after I was finished with the thumb gusset which meant I needed more yarn. I had some left over Kuryeon from Murphy's sweater so the thumbs are from a different skein but yes folks the body of the mitts are from the same skein. Ah, the beauty and aggravation of Noro.
They did keep my hands warm.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pine Nuts Not Needed

I tried a new recipe for pesto today. Instead of pine nuts I used pumpkin seeds. At $3.59 a pound it's a much better bargain.
2 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Makes about 1 cup
Let me know if you need basil. It's growing almost wild in the back yard.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Champagne Wednesday in Napa

Today I headed out to Napa to pick up a shipment at Domaine Carneros and some wine Jim had ordered from Buoncristiani Family Winery. I planned my trip to Domaine Carneros to coincide with lunch time. I enjoyed a glass of 2006 Vintage Brut (cheers Loren) with a cheese platter which included Oregonzola Blue from the Rogue Creamery in Oregon, St. George- a cows milk cheese- from Matos Cheese Factory in Santa Rosa and Grand Cru Gruyere Surchoix from Roth Kase in Wisconsin. There were also pistachios, figs and craisins. The weather was in the high 60's and I sat on the patio knitting and nibbling. I wonder if I could get Jim to move to Napa. I could grow to like this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Retreating in South Lake Tahoe

This past weekend, which started on Thursday night, I headed out to South Lake Tahoe to Camp Richardson for the Camellia City Stockine'ettes Knitting Guild retreat. I had blast!! Cindi and Beth coordinated the retreat and did a great job. There was plenty of knitting, food, fun and camaraderie.
Those of you that know me will be amazed I brought my walking shoes and went for a walk on Saturday. It was great getting outside in the fresh air, I just needed to adjust my speed for altitude. I walked for 2o minutes and came upon this view. Isn't it wonderful!
This is a picture of Historic Camp Richardson where we stayed and played.

These are views just down the road. The retreat was a great time for meeting other knitters in the guild and sharing. I can't wait until next year!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Really. Blogging every Friday night about champagne - excuse me- sparkling wine. Sorry folks. What was I thinking? Anyway Fridays may be on Friday, Saturday or whenever. I can't commit. My life is not consistent.
This week Champagne Friday was actually on Wednesday. We enjoyed a lovely sparkling pinot noir. Not Jim's favorite as it is somewhat sweet but of course that leaves more for me. Again it was a Mumm Napa Valley. We are club members and have a back log to drink. The suffering that must happen here at Casa York. Friday we actually enjoyed a Bremer Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. We have yet to find a Howell Mountain vineyard we don't enjoy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Champagne Friday

My friend Lisette has a wonderful blog Tete-a-tete where each Tuesday she has tea. Her photography and dialog is wonderful and inviting. If you're not a tea drinker after reading her blog I think you might try tea and become one. Yes, I like tea but I am thinking I might expand and add to it with Champagne Friday's. What's more wonderful then adding a little sparkling wine to your weekend so enjoy Tuesday tea with Lisette at and join me on Fridays for a little sparkly. Today's bubbly is a Mumm Napa Cuvee M Red from Napa Valley. It's a smooth red "Champagne". Enjoy. We are.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Channeling Goldie

Years ago when the children were small and I was a major volunteer in Arlington, Texas we had a wonderful babysitter named Goldie. Goldie was in her late 60's and her husband had recently retired from Skaggs Albertson's as a baker. His and (her salvation) was his garden. In that garden he grew tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, garlic, squash, cucumbers, potatoes and more. Goldie would can as much as she could and for us she would make hot salsa. And our family liked it hot. The initial jars would start out saying hot and then become hotter. I don't know what it is but just because you add more jalapenos does not make it hotter.
I have become Goldie. With each succession of hot salsa I have made I have added more. Initially sriracha sauce, then jalapenos and this latest batch is a combination. In about a week I will know if I have finally gotten it right. Of course tomato season is about over. But it has made me think about Goldie and what a wonderful and caring person she was.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Napa Sunday

Yesterday we set out to Napa to pick up some wine and do a little wine tasting. Our first stop was at Mumm. The weather was wonderful and we sat outside and enjoyed tasting a little bit of champagne. This is a picture of the grapes growing at Mumm. Everyone is Napa is playing a waiting game as to when to pick the grapes. The weather was very wet in the spring and has been unusually mild and the grapes are staying on the vine longer then norm.Onward we went to Joseph Phelps to pick up some wine we had order and to do a little tasting. Everyone at the winery is talking about the 2008 Insignia and how great the ratings might be.
After that we headed up to Deer Park Road and the Bremer Family Winery. They were offering a vertical tasting of their Claret from 2002 to 2005. Our favorite was the 2004. They were also serving brick oven pizzas. I had a very tasty caramelized onion with garlic and Gorgonzola cheese pizza. Jim got a sausage and tomato basil pizza that he did not offer to share with me.
Our last stop was at Ladera which was new to us. As a club member of Chappellet we are also able to do tastings at several other wineries. We decided to make an appointment and check out Ladera as it was just up the road from Bremer.
It is a beautiful property and the wines were great. I think we are now a member of their wine club.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Squash Anyone

The CSA box from Soil Born Farms has had an abundance of squash. While I was gone Jim picked up our box but didn't cook much of it and tomorrow is another box. Tonight we dined on grilled squash which was tossed with a little olive oil, garlic powder and Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning. Tony Chachere is a staple in our home. We moved with two large, l pound, containers and are now down to one. It is our seasoning of choice for all meats and vegetables. I also grilled sausage and we had fresh strawberries and blackberries Jim picked up on Saturday at the local farmers market. I think he is hooked on the idea of fresh. Granted he also bought his favorite thing - pistachios from Dewey farms.

Still trying to figure out what to do with all the carrots. Any suggestions would be appreciated. FYI, all soups must have meat according to the husband criteria.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tomato Sauce

So what does one do with ripe tomatoes from the Soil Born Farm CSA along with the tomatoes being grown at the York casa - make tomato sauce. Along with garlic from the CSA box is fresh bay leaf, rosemary and basil from the backyard. This is all going in the freezer as I am off tomorrow to Seattle to celebrate my youngest sister's 50th which was back in December but we wanted a little warmer weather. See you all in a week with more fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


While Hagen was visiting me this summer he knit a few hats for community service hours. The Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas requires that a student complete at least 70 hours of community service to graduate. Since I am a knitter and my son knows how to knit, he knit hats. We originally were going to donate them to the Salvation Army of Sacramento homeless shelter but a call was put out for hats from a customer of Filati Fine Yarns in Rocklin, California to make hats for the people of New Guinea. This is a compilation of hats Hagen did and that I had in my stash.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cloud Chaser

Back in June I found the pattern Cloud Chaser by Amy Swenson and just had to make it. I had some Rowan Wool Cotton in my stash and decided to use it. There were a few hiccups in the pattern but I managed to finish the vest just before Kelsey and Hagen came for a visit and since I use the extra beds as my blocking boards I didn't have time to block it. That was of course before Kelsey saw it and decided she needed to add it to her wardrobe so one morning I soaked it and put it out on her bed to block with a fan going.
I am very happy how it turned out but I made a pledge to myself to not use patterns that have not been test knitted or at least made by more than one person. And do you know how long that pledge lasted-about a week. Kelsey saw my Brandywine shawl designed by Romi Hill and wanted to knit something similar. We found the Forest Beauty by Tetiana Otruta that was easy enough for Kelsey to knit because it had written instructions as well as being charted. The pattern had not been knit by anyone else and Row 1 had a mistake and we found another one on row 23. We wrote to the designer and she very quickly got back to us and sent out a new pattern. It was smooth sailing after that.
Kelsey used Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Oceana. What I found rather amusing is she is in California buying yarn made in Texas.
I think Kelsey has caught the knitting bug. She finished another shawl on the plane on the way home. It is unfortunate that Waco does not have a knitting store.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Red velvet cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese filling and buttercream icing.Jim took them to work so I didn't need to add them to my hips.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

Kelsey and I have been taking cake decorating classes at Michael's this month. This is our first cake. The cake is a carrot cake with nuts as I am moving carrots this month because of the abundance in the CSA box from Soil Born Farms. For a practice cake Kelsey made this cake which I took to work with me today. Inside is a banana chocolate cake with a homemade chocolate pudding filling.

Next week we learn how to make flowers.

Michael's teaches the Wilton method of cake decorating and it is very easy to learn. I wish I had taken this class years ago. Now that I no longer have children at home I won't be getting much practice. Maybe in another ten years or so I can decorate cakes for the grandchildren.

Or I can take special request from my friends. Anyone????

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Young Bucks

On our walk with Jake today, Hagen and I spotted these two young bucks. The velvet on their antlers is beautiful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's Getting Hot In Here

Today was another day spent without air conditioning. Yesterday, of course, was the warmest it's been so far this season topping over 100 degrees. Today we stayed under 100. We managed to keep the temperature in the house yesterday at 85 although after baking bread, which I would not recommend without air conditioning, it felt warmer. This loaf was seasoned with rosemary, garlic and butter on top to go with our spaghetti dinner. It also did not last real long. Hagen and I had barely enough for sandwiches today. The saving grace to the heat is our whole house fan, which makes nights cool enough to sleep. The other good news is it is only going to get cooler this week as we are having to wait until Thursday to get the air conditioning fix.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tennis Anyone?

After taking Jake for a walk this morning, Hagen and I went and played tennis at Hagan Community Park. I was concerned the courts might be a little wet because it rained early this morning - I liked to remind everyone Jim told me it never rains here - but the courts were relatively dry when we got there.
I even beat him 6 to 4. Now I probably will not be moving too quickly tomorrow but we had a good time and hope to get back out there on Sunday.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baking Bread

Who doesn't enjoy the smell of fresh baked bread? The aroma of baking bread was always so tantalizing as you drove on the freeway past Mrs. Baird's Bread Company.

I recently bought the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. Included in the title in smaller letters is, "The discovery that revolutionizes home baking". And after making a loaf I might have to agree.

You begin by putting all your ingredients in a bowl and mix until you have a uniformly moist dough. This then goes into a plastic container and covered loosely. You notice folks there is no kneading involved. Yes I said NO KNEADING!! After 3 hours your dough is ready to become bread but they actually suggest you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I did. The next day you cut off a grapefruit-size piece of dough and quickly formed it into a ball which you let rest for at least 40 minutes.
Thirty minutes in the oven and VOILA - a beautiful loaf of crusty bread. "And tasty too" as Lucy would say. This bread was made using the master recipe but there is many more flavors of bread to try.

Jim has now requested a baguette so we will be trying that out tonight. I'll keep you posted

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pushing Vegetables

I have become a vegetable pusher. The goal each week is to consume the vegetables in the CSA box before I pick up the new one. I haven't been winning. So far we've been getting lots of greens which I am not sure how to freeze or dehydrate so creative cooking 101 has been happening here. Some successful, others not. These beautiful carrots were in the box today. I don't like cooked carrots. Either does Jim so they will be eaten raw. Along with the carrots we have squash, collards, kale, cipollini onions, kohlrabi and cauliflower.

Tonight with our grilled hamburgers we had sauteed squash and a kale oven frittata. Thank you Natalie for the recipe for the frittata. I put my own twist to it and it came out delicious. I'm not sure Jim is enjoying the CSA box experience as much as myself. It should be real interesting when the children come to visit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still looking

Apparently the only knitting that can be done is simple sock knitting. Which in a way is good as this is for a Christmas present so I'm way ahead of the game for me. About another inch to go then decrease for the toe and one will be done. Now on to the garden. Even though I am getting my weekly CSA box, I went ahead and planted a few things. These are going to grow up to be Husky Cherry tomatoes. Right now these are smaller then marbles.
Here's what is going to become a red bell pepper.

And here are some unwanted visitors that are no longer living. The shells are about the size of a quarter.

I also have growing Roma tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, basil, tarragon and oregano. I am on the hunt for a bayleaf tree. I have tried to plant to facilitate Italian and TexMex cuisine.
If I can't knit at least I can cook!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Knitting Mojo

I have lost my knitting mojo. A few weeks ago I started making the Ruched Tank Top by Karen Garlinghouse. The top is done except for weaving in ends but while it looks good laying down, it does not look good on my body. I attempted the neckline several times and am not happy with it so it will be going to the frog pile to become something else another day. Today after a lovely day knitting with friends I stopped to look at the progress I had made on my Loppem out of Berroco Palace and realized 4 inches back I had made a mistake on one of the cables. Guess who's going to be ripping back?

To top all this off, my Webs order came today for some yarn I had ordered to go along with some yarn I already had and of course the dye lots are too off to use together.

I think it's time for some wine as I have now finished with the other whining!!!