Monday, February 20, 2012


I guess even people who love cooking, enjoy breaks now and then.

We recently enjoyed a long vacation in Hawaii.  I thought I would love shopping at the many fruit and vegetables stands and farmers markets and cooking in our condo.  But despite good intentions, there are no pictures of food. 

I did enjoy going to the stands, and buying local papayas, bananas, pineapples to go with my yogurt for breakfast...

But mostly I just enjoyed,

Sun ...

Lush green mountains ...

Turtles ...

The sound of the ocean, as I read my book ...

Trying new things, like stand up paddle boarding ...

Rainbows ...

Waterfalls ...

And eating lots of fresh fish, often in a dish including macadamia nuts, and drinking lots of Hawaiian coffee and beer, but not taking pictures of the stands or food, just enjoying.

Mahalo for your patience during my break.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gelato and Biscotti

Yes, there is an Italian theme!  I got dessert duty for an Italian themed birthday dinner for a friend.  How was I going to choose among the many desserts, such as is Panna Cotta, many almond cakes, Lacy Florentines, and of course, Tiramisu?

Turns out I didn't choose any of those.  By the title I'm sure you've guessed I made Gelato and Biscotti.  I had both Mango and Chocolate Gelato with Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti.  It was delish, if I do say so myself!  And, although we didn't take pictures you'll have to trust that the three pieces looked very pretty on a friends brightly colored plates!

Essentially Gelato is creamier and a bit less sweet than regular ice cream, otherwise it's very similar in make.

I used the Chocolate Gelato here from, but I paid attention to the reviews and added a little bit more sugar, just the full 3/4 cup and I cut back on the coco to about about 3/4 cup.

I used the Mango Gelato linked here from  My only tip for Mango or another fruit is don't be stingy with they puree time.  I would have liked mine a bit smoother in texture and I think in so doing, it would have melded the pretty yellow color throughout more consistently.  I used a bag of Organic Frozen mango and that worked fine!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

If you haven't made biscotti, you are missing out on a wonderful treat.  I think they are pretty easy, even if there are two baking times.  I used this great recipe from Giada as a base.  I just substituted the pistachios for almonds and added about 2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate.

This was an excellent recipe and your imagination is the limit as to how many variations you could make. Dried cherries would have been wonderful in these!  You can see in these pictures how you bake the biscotti the first time in one long and wide log.  Then, after cooling some you slice with a serrated knife and bake again to get that all over crispiness the goes so well with hot drinks and gelato!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The "Things To Make List"

Do you have a "things to make list".  No, I'm not talking about the normal non-fun lists like wash the walls and go grocery shopping.  Hmmm, funny how wash the walls just keeps going on the next list without ever being done....

Anyway, I'm talking about the list of fun things that you'd like to make or do someday.  It could be crafty things, or things like learn to knit, learn to refinish furniture etc. Well I've been collecting some ideas lately. Here are some of the things I'd like to do someday.

Cloth Napkins: I've been thinking for years I want to make my own cloth napkins in fun colors and patterns.  Ta-da! As soon as I get a new sewing machine these are on the list!  How fun are they?  The picture and directions are from the Kirtsy site.

Cloth Napkins 9

Reusable Bags: Ok, I admit, I like to watch the Martha Steward show while I eat lunch.  They had a whole bags show.  I have a lot of reusable bags, more than I use!  But, this is a great cute idea. I like the idea of using the laminated cotton and I think I'm going to look for some other ideas for making this type of bag, bigger, sturdier and with handles.  The laminated fabric would be perfect for grocery shopping, so you can just wipe off spills.  This picture is from the Martha Steward site, linked above.

Cute Fabric:  I'm not a quilter, but I do intend to buy some fabric here at Quilt Home.  There is just so much cute fabric that will be perfect for my napkins and bags.

Knit Socks: You already know that knitting socks is on my list. It's been raised up as I enjoy wearing the socks given to me by my friend Ellen. This posting on Knitters Review makes it look doable!

Knitting Bags: There are lots of great books on knitting different types of purses and bags.  I've had this book for a long time looking at me from the shelf.  

Product Details

Well those are just a few things on my list.  In between taking care of my plants, cooking, gardening, and staying active outside, hopefully some day I'll allow myself enough time to sit still and knit or play on the sewing machine.  What's on your fun to-make list?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Makes You Happy?

Hopefully I'm not the only one that needs to remember every now and then what makes me happy.  Not the big things, like having a wonderful husband and friends. but it's a week to take a deep breath and acknowledge the little things that make me happy each day.

Things like:

Big snow flakes, falling slow out of the sky and piling up on trees and the deck.

Toe Socks - really your toes will be so happy!  And that color of pink on my feet, whether on my toenails or in socks, just makes me smile.

Amazing friends, who can knit!

And knit me socks!  Look at those cool heels and warm toes! 

What made you smile today?  Don't let that fleeting moment of happiness pass by without treasuring it!