Wednesday, December 26, 2012


What a nice surprise! Susan & Chris' gift arrived today from Maisie Jane's in Chico. Lots of local Sacramento Valley goodness....packets of flavored almonds, local olives, Sierra Nevada IPA mustard, apricot jam from Gridley and beautiful organic rice from Hamilton City. And all in a nice antiqued copper tub that I can use in my kitchen to hold pots of herbs this year. Great stuff!


 Our Boxing Day tradition is a big pot of minestrone. The absolute required ingredients are good sweet Italian sausage, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, dried beans, pasta and collards!
Here is the pot of goodness. I've added carrots, celery, mushrooms, peppers, & eggplant from the garden. A combination of chicken stock and onion soup give a nice complexity to the mix.
Be sure to drain the collards as they always come in a very spicy broth. Don't even think about using fresh collards...they take forever to cook and do they stink up the house, according to my friends in North Carolina. Even there they used the canned! Of course you could use kale or mustard or chard...any tough green.
As for the seasoning, less is more because there is already seasoning in the sausage, the chicken stock and the onion soup. I just add a bay leaf, some cubes of basil & garlic and some sage. I just let it osmose for a few hours on low on the stove or in the crock pot. Serve with crusty french bread for a real hearty meal.


Nothing says holidays like an Irish coffee. All we needed was a good strong pot of Peet's dark roast, some Bushmills Irish whiskey, whipped cream and dark chocolate to grate over the top. And of course our regulation Irish coffee mugs (a gift from Chris & Susan).

Sunday, December 23, 2012


 Well, actually it's just deck the mantle this year as we opted out of the tree part. Chase likes to plop down in front of the fireplace when we have the gas log going. This fireplace is faced in "Eden rock" from a quarry up in the Cascades just a few miles from here. The painting above the mantle is of a winter scene that my mom got us years ago....who knew it would go so well at Angel Crest Manor?
 We used a magnolia leaf swag with some white lights, candles, the 1905 lamp from the Ashcraft farm on the left and a wire frame tree with little cones I got this year from Christian & Johnson in Chico on the right.
The owl is also from C & J in Chico. They had an entire tree decorated with various was hard to choose just one!
Have a nice holiday...we're expecting snow today, tomorrow and maybe even for Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


What does a cat do on a nice sunny December day? Climb up a trellis, of course!
                              Queen of all she surveys!
                       Don't try this at home!