Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy Halloween

Candy Corn ( or is that horn") Witch LuLu

Monday, October 16, 2017


May you live happily ever after:
Saturday in Genesee Colorado my friends Kim Price and Chad Yantorno got married.  These two are truly the happiest couple I have ever known.  They are both wonderful people and a a perfect match.  Kim chose me to be one of her bridesmaids.  What!?!  It was an honor Kim.  Thank you.  Here are some of their pictures.  The wedding was perfect
Pure love and joy

sweetheart table

When you start with perfection you don't have far to go

with her Dad

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Butterfly migration- The Painted Ladies

on the zinnias
It is time for the Painted Ladies to migrate South.  As soon as the sun starts to shine these lovely creatures take over the yard busy flying from one blossom to another almost in a frenzy before the first snow.  In the Spring I planted a pollinating garden replacing about 200 square feet of sod.  I planted some perennials but also scattered poppy, marigold and zinnia seeds.  The first part of the summer the bees were busy doing their honey things but now it is the butterflies' turn.  At any one time there will be about 100 which is pure joy for me.  I think I have about another week before the first freeze when all of my flowers and tomatoes will be done but for now I am enjoying the little bit of sunshine Denver is getting and watching these fun ladies ( and gentlemen, I'm sure)

on the marigolds

busy butterfly

on chrysanthemums

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I just had to post this again:  Maverick and LuLu are now a year old and no more goat babies until next spring (fingers crossed) so I just had to have a fix of these adorable ones again

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sewing with my Grandmother

My Grandmother, MiMi as I called her, taught me to sew when I was a little girl.  We started out easy like hemming and progressed to hand beading and sewing with no pattern.  I loved sewing but mostly I loved being with my MiMi.  She has been gone 42 years but today she was with me looking over my shoulder and coaching me through this project.
I inherited the fabric from my MiMi's sewing studio.  Unfortunately I haven't used all of it but as I was going through my own stash a few months ago I found this lovely basketweave wool.  Yellow and pink!!!  It reminds me of a Chanel fabric and today I made it into a skirt.
finished skirt

This fabric needed to be lined so I chose a pink cotton for the inside.

The inside of the skirt has this fun lining.  No one plans on showing off the underneath side of a garment but it's fun to have a cute surprise

finished ensemble

This was an effort that should have taken place 40 years ago but today was the day this fabric came to life.  I am forever grateful for having such a wonderful Grandmother.  I don't think there has been a person in my life who loved me more.  She is my model for my role with my Granddaughters today. 
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms

 A nice hearty purely vegetable soup made with a mushroom stock

Ingredients- pumpkin from last season stored in the basement
 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 TBS olive oil
2 cups yellow onions, sliced
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts
1 TBS garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh pumpkin, to measure 5 cups peeled and cubed
1 TBS honey
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 quart mushroom stock- recipe follows- can use chicken stock
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper
dry sherry -optional
garnish with fresh mushrooms and chives if you want to

pumpkin soup mise en place


Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup warm water. Submerge them completely and let stand for 1 hour.  Remove mushrooms, strain liquid and reserve. Chop the mushrooms
In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil.
Add the onions, leeks and garlic and saute until soft and lightly brown
Add the chopped porcini and saute another 2 minutes.
Add the pumpkin, honey, sage, cloves, lemon juice, stock and the porcini-soaking liquid.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.

add the pumpkin

Transfer to a food processor and puree, in batches.
Return the puree to the saucepan 
Add the milk and cream.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring back just to a simmer
Add sherry just before serving if desired
Garnish with sautéed mushrooms and chives if desired

ready to serve

Mushroom stock:
This was fun to make mushroom stock from scratch.  It is full of flavor.  You don't need to have perfectly fresh mushrooms but you do need a lot of them.  This made 5 quarts of mushroom stock.  I used 1 quart for the pumpkin soup and froze 4 quarts for later:



1/4 pound unsalted butter
5-6 pounds fresh mushrooms, chopped
6 cups onions, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1 oz dried porcini or other "wild" mushrooms, soaked, strained and chopped
3 cups carrots, chopped
3 large bay leaves
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 cups canned diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups dry white wine
6 quarts water

mushroom stock mise en place
In a stockpot - 12 quart stockpot if you have one  melt the butter and saute the mushrooms in small batches until they are well browned, almost crisp.  Set aside
Add a bit more butter to the stockpot and saute the onions, garlic, dried mushrooms and carrots until lightly browned
Add the herbs, peppercorns, tomatoes, wine and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
Strain pushing down on the solids and chill.
Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months.
sauté mushrooms at about a pound at a time

makes a whole lot of stock
inspired by and modified from John Ash's book "From the Earth to the Table"

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

LAVENDER, tea, jelly, syrup and ice cream

Part 2 Update:
My Seattle girls and I made a batch of lavender jelly from their garden lavender.  The color was so beautiful.  The tea was a dark purple but then when the pectin was added the color changed to this rich red.  We used raw sugar instead of white.  But I honestly don't know why the color was so different:
lavender jelly
Gabriela adding the sugar

Seattle lavender 

Let's make some jelly!
Lavender jelly is absolutely fabulous over smoked cheese or any cheese that is strong.  It's mild flavor balances out the intense flavor of the cheese.  Try this combination next time instead of figs and goat cheese:
lavender jelly and syrup

Pick the absolute best lavender buds you can find.  Fresh is best but dried will do too

Steep in water for tea
For lavender tea:
Bring to a boil 6 cups of water.  Turn off the heat and add 2 cups of fresh lavender flowers (buds) and let steep for 15 minutes or longer.  
Strain.  Now you've got lavender tea.

Lavender Jelly


3 1/4 cups lavender tea
4 cups white sugar- must have white sugar for a clear jelly
1 box of powdered fruit pectin
2 Tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice


Measure the lavender tea into a sauce pan.  
Bring to a boil and mix in pectin and vinegar (lemon juice)
Cook 1 minute at a rolling boil.
Add in the sugar, whisking to melt.
Bring to a boil again, whisking and continue for 2 minutes.
Let settle 5 minutes and skim off any foam on top.
Ready to jar for refrigerator or can.

If canning, process for 15 minutes ( plus 10 for Denver)

Lavender syrup

measure the remaining lavender tea
Add an equal measurement of sugar and bring to a boil in a saucepan. 
Your syrup is ready

ideas for syrup:
add to lemonade instead of sugar
use to sweeten tea
make ice cubes to use later

Kate and Ella
See if you can find some really sweet girls to help you make and enjoy a lavender day!

Lavender ice cream

follow this post
 from 6 years ago.  It's one of my favorites.

this week's harvest