November 27, 2011

Hot Chocolate

Haley's morning hot chocolate.


November 25, 2011

November 24, 2011

Another Roadrunner

Roadrunner in Palm Desert 






The Hawk that Killed a Duck

In the morning we sit out on our patio and enjoy coffee and the view.  Ducks waddle by and visit us, hoping for a crumb of food.  This morning a hawk flew out of nowhere, grabbed a plump duck, and took it to a nearby tree.  About an hour later the hawk was 'kneading' the duck and feathers were flying from the tree.





November 22, 2011

Palm Desert Pictures

Dustin mountain biking in the desert.



A roadrunner on out patio, spotted and identified by Simone!


November 21, 2011

Palm Desert View

We are on vacation in Palm Desert.  This is the amazing view from my bedroom patio this morning:




November 17, 2011

Today's Drive

Afternoon sun and clouds, as seen on Camino Diablo near Marsh Creek Road in Contra Costa County.

November 15, 2011

Dessert Tonight: Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake

....or as Michael calls it, 'The Cake of Deliciousness'. 
We finally got to try the cake we made yesterday and it was delicious!




Click here for the recipe.

November 14, 2011

Baking With My Little Kids

Today the little kids helped me make a persimmon cake. 
I am convinced they would have never liked this cake if they didn't help make it!




My cute little helpers!

November 13, 2011

Photo Challenge: Purple Mountain Majesty

Time for another challenge at Project 64: Out of the Box. Each week a random crayon is chosen from a 64 count box of Crayola Crayons. That color is used as inspiration for the week, the challenge is to find and photograph the weekly color in the world around us.

This week the color is Purple Mountain Majesty.
My photo submission was taken with my cell phone on a stormy day.  This is Mt. Diablo, as seen from the Bypass Road in Brentwood.



November 12, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Peppers Stuffed with Bulgur and Beef

Peppers Stuffed with Bulgur and Beef


Saturday's Brunch

Pancakes with Vanilla Yogurt and Homemade Blueberry Sauce


November 11, 2011

Photographic Scavenget Hunt

It's scavenger hunt time again at Ramblings and Photos. Each week 5 items are listed and participants photograph their interpretations of the items.
The items this week are Food, Purple, In Disguise, Shapes, and Photographers Choice. 

Here are my items:

Food:
Cupcakes served at my daughter's high school golf party



Purple:


In Disguise:
One of these trees is actually a cell tower in disguise.  Bet you can't tell which one!


Shapes:
Legos!



Photographers Choice:
My windshield at the car wash


My other scavenger hunt entries can be found here.

November 10, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Herbed Pork Tenderloin and Wild Rice Pilaf with Fennel and Cranberries

Dinner Tonight: Herbed Pork Tenderloin and Wild Rice Pilaf with Fennel and Cranberries. 
Lots of ingredients and very labor intensive recipes but well worth the effort,
especially on a cold fall evening.


November 9, 2011

Photo Challenge: Dandelion


Time for another challenge at Project 64: Out of the Box. Each week a random crayon is chosen from a 64 count box of Crayola Crayons. That color is used as inspiration for the week, the challenge is to find and photograph the weekly color in the world around us.
This week the color is Dandelion.
I took this early morning picture on the Byron Highway near the Delta-Mendota Canal.


November 5, 2011

French Ovens and Beef Carbonnade

This recipe was delicious!


I got a new 6.5 quart French Oven for my birthday and this was the first recipe I tried with it.  The beef browned beautifully and the meal cooked to perfection.  I will definitely make this recipe again and can't wait to use my French Oven again!
What is a French Oven you ask? 
It is a very heavy enameled cast iron pot that can go from the stove to the oven.  Le Creuset has a model similar to mine, but since theirs retails for around $240.00 I opted for the Kirkland brand French Oven for a mere $79.00.  The only differences are the color of the interior and the closed handles.

Snubbing me because I got a knock-off?? HA!  Here is an article in Hungry Mouse's blog about a battle between Le Creuset French Ovens anf  Lodge.  I imagine the Kirkland preformed just as well.

Beef Carbonnade
America's Test Kitchen
  • 3 1/2 lbs boneless chuck roast or blade steak, trimmed and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 T vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs yellow onions (about 3 medium), halved and sliced about 1/4-inch thick (about 8 cups)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tsp)
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 c low-sodium beef broth
  • 12 ounce bottle or can of dark or amber ale.
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T cider vinegar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; add about one-third of beef to pot. Cook without moving pieces until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes; using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer browned beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional oil and remaining beef. (If drippings in bottom of pot are very dark, add about 1/2 cup of the above-listed chicken or beef broth and scrape pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; pour liquid into bowl with browned beef, then proceed.)

Add 1 T oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions, 1/2 tsp salt and tomato paste; cook, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until onions have released some moisture, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Stir in broths, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay and vinegar. Add browned beef with any accumulated juices. Salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to full simmer, stirring occasionally.

Cover partially, then place pot in oven. Cook until fork inserted into beef meets little resistance, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Discard thyme and bay. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Can be cooled and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 4 days; reheat over medium-low heat.

    November 2, 2011

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