Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A Little Wish.......

Gentle Friends,  just a quick note to say...

Image result for a merry christmas antique photos

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

.... and so it begins.....

Gentle Friends, you'll get to ride along with me and my tamale-making...  I've got my pork on the stove with onion, garlic, and some bay leaf... it will cook for a few hours until fork-tender and falling off the bone...

Image result for pork cooking in a pot for tamales
(not my picture, I'm using my yellow le Creuset stockpot to cook in, 
but this better illustrates whats cooking)

... after it cools I'll shred the meat strain the broth (it goes in the masa) and get things together for making the salsa roja tomorrow...the house already smells great!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

A Little Bit'o Winter

Gentle Friends, as today is the Winter Solstice I thought I'd post a little music......


Only a few more days until Christmas... I've gotten everything from my 6-pound pork shoulder, dried corn husks, and chilies for my tamale-making that begins tomorrow!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A Sweet Little Recipe

Gentle friends, I've had quite a few requests for my recipe for the pralines I've been making.  It's one I made up from watching about 30 really wonderful cooks on youtube making Pralines all different ways with little tweaks .... and then I did my due diligence and read numerous recipes using all kinds of ingredients and different techniques... There are as many ways to Pralines as there are stars in the sky.... this is just my way and those that have gotten them this year have had nice things to say ...
so here goes...

Yield 22 to 26

1 1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar
4 Tbls Salted Butter
1/8 teas Baking Soda
3/4 C 1/2 & 1/2 

2 C Chopped Pecans
1/4 teas salt
1 teas Vanilla 

You have to get everything ready before you turn the stove on.... chop up the pecans...

... get the vanilla and salt .....

... layout the piece of parchment on the counter and get the tablespoons ... 

... now you can turn the stove on... put the sugars, butter, soda and 1/2 & 1/2 in a heavy pot, turn the stove on a little higher than medium-high.... start that sucker going...

... keep stirring, not briskly but enough to keep everything a'moving... as it all comes to a boil...

... when the temp hits 211 (by the time I got my camera for the shot it got to 214) I like to add them at this point as the cooking of the nuts makes the praline have a nuttier flavour.

...add the chopped pecans and turn the heat to just under medium-high heat...  by adding the pecans this will bring the temps down a bit and slows the cooking up ...  you now just keep stirring constantly and letting the temp get to 236 on the thermometer...  I missed that shot...  as it cooks the viscosity changes and you'll see the praline pulling away from the bottom of the pan...

... when the temp hits a solid 236 immediately take it off the heat and add the vanilla (or bourbon) and the salt and beat for 3 minutes...

... after the 3 minutes beating drop by tablespoon full onto the parchment paper, this must be done quickly as it will start to get firm the cooler it gets... I let them sit out on the counter overnight before bagging them up...  enjoy!  This takes about 35 minutes or so to make and yields about 22 to 26 pralines depending on the size you make them.

Now, what I was aiming for was a bourbon flavoured praline when I started out and nowhere did I find one so I just replace the vanilla.... and the teaspoon of bourbon in place of vanilla hit the mark and was popular with those that like bourbon, and the alcohol burns off with the heat leaving just the delicious flavour.  But, vanilla it's traditional and for gifting works lovely.  I'm thinking of other flavours of praline and will be experimenting during the year.  

Let me know if you've any questions, This season I've made a few hundred of these suckers one recipe at a time... and they have been a hit so far!!

There you go sports fans.  Thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Good Thoughts!  Good Words!  Good Deeds!

Addendum: I had a couple of questions.... 1/2 & 1/2 is a blend of regular milk and light cream... more fat than milk but less fat than cream... I always have some in the fridge as that's what I prefer in coffee, so I thought why not and it worked a dream  I think just cream would work fine or you could thin out the cream with a little milk. 

When I say beat for 3 minutes I mean to keep stirring vigorously for the three minutes.  I also found a couple of times that the praline mixture started to seize up during this time as it was cooling too fast, and I just popped it back on the warm burner for a few seconds to get it back to the right consistency before dropping onto the parchment paper.  I think in the last few weeks I've made enough that I've gotten to that point of knowing the "feel" of the candy, it just comes with practice, but the mixture has to be loose enough to scoop and stiff enough not to run all over the place.  I hope this helps.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Few Christmas Things

Gentle Friends, Christmas is in full swing in our life here by the Bay.  The week started off with the arrival of our Christmas cards... I love sending out cards every year and once again I had a friend snap a photo at Thanksgiving that I turned into our card.... here's what it looks like this year...

... and then later on in the week was our company Christmas Lunch.  This year we came back to the City and headed down to the Embarcadero...

... to The Slanted Door....  it was a really tasty lunch... they serve things "family style" so you get to taste or leave alone things ordered... 


here's a snaparoo of my lunch...

... there was bok choy, gulf shrimp, and some really delicious beef covered in what was probably some of the best mushrooms I've ever had!!!  For dessert there was...

 and then with the espresso came three of these to the table...

... some flavoured cotton candy.... a little odd but did that stop anyone.... nope!!

... the views were of a very smooth bay looking towards Treasure island...  I think the only real drawback was the noise level was out of control.  Just really too loud for any kind of conversation or just basic talking to your dinner partner. 

Then the week wrapped up with our going out into a rainy evening to see...

... we took an Uber to the Theater and the traffic was backed up all over downtown... crazy drivers and rain are not a good mix!!

... ACT (American Conservatory Theater) has been doing ACC for years at the lovely old Geary Theater.  The theatre dates to 1910 and is a real gem of neoclassical revival.  It is a smaller space and feels really intimate.  The play was fun and they did a super job interpreting the story!!

There you go sports fans an update on my little life, not much stitching to speak of, but with the Season a week shorter than usual, I'm staying busy with other things!!  Thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Little Christmas Cooking

Gentle Friends, so I've been super busy this year, with almost 10 days less to get things done it seems that I've been running around like a chicken with its head off!!  I had some plans in place ( or in my mind) a month ago so it's managed madness!!  As in years past, I like to make treats for family and friends near and far and this year is no different... I chose to whip up a few things... 

.. some delicious Mexican Wedding Cookies, I switched out the more traditional pecans for walnuts... because I am also making...

... pralines and I didn't want to replicate the same nut.  This is one of my favourite candies and it's a recipe I've tweaked from about six different places to come up with what I think is a super candy treat!!

Of course, I have been thinking about Christmas dinner for a while and in years past I've made prime rib, Beef Wellington, standing rib roast and so on.... so this year I thought I'd look to Rico's family for inspiration.   I've landed on making tamales with carnitas... so we'll be giving a nod to his heritage this year and having friends over to enjoy !!  

Last night on the way home we hit a store in the Mission to pick up the supplies. I'm glad we did, as I was hit with almost empty shelves.  Tamales are very traditional for Christmas in Latino homes and I am really glad we stopped.... if I had waited any longer it might have been impossible to get what I needed!!    I've narrowed the list for the Christmas cake but haven't yet nailed it down... I'll keep you posted!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Lotta Christmas Cheer!

Gentle Friends, so this first weekend of the Christmas Season started us off with a bang and two Parties back to back... Saturday evening we headed over to Alamo Square and our friends from forever Chris and Mo and their lovely Historic Home decked out for the holidays..
here are some shots...


... you can't really see it but on the sideboard are some of the pastries and Chris made his Stollen again, so delicious and filled with marzipan!!

... Mo tried something al little different this year while lighting the tree.  He started off with the tree dark and the candles slowly illuminated the tree... usually, he leaves the bubble lights on and after the candles are lit he turns them off... I like the slow illumination...

... and once they are all lit it was a treat to see!!  This shot is from the back parlour...

Then Sunday evening we headed over to friends home in the Castro...

... Adam had decorated the front of his building so the festive spirit started even befor ascending to his apartment...

...I love these feather wreaths....

... his apartment was packed to the gills with people so there was no clear shot of anything... but you get the idea, a lovely tree he looked all over town for...

... and I headed back into the kitchen, there was an open window I was aiming for, fresh air was at a premium!!  From left to right... Adam's mom, Becky, his stepdad, Mo, Daniel, Naidi, Mike, Mike and Matt....the window you can't see is to the left...

... and I'll wrap up the post with another shot of Mo and Chris' tree with just the bubble lights a'going.... it's a beautiful tree once again!!
There you go sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Goo Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Little More Thanksgiving

Gentle Friends, after the long weekend and a fun Holiday I came back to a pile at work.  But, I wanted to share some snaps...

... after I set the table for Thanksgiving dinner... then I noticed... no napkins... they were still on the ironing board...but made it to the table before we sat down...

...we made a run the SF Flower Market Wednesday morning so that Rico could make the centrepiece... it was a great Thanksgiving my sister and brother-in-law drove down from Vancouver for the weekend and we some friends over so it was a full house and a tasty meal if I do say so myself!!

On Friday we headed south to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a private tour with of friend who is a Red Coat Docent there...  I love this bird !!

... it was a really lovely day as this snap of Monterey Bay illustrates...

... we walked all over the place and of course visited the jellies...  
these I am sure are called Black Sea Nettle jellies...

... isn't this a great starfish!!

... I love the shorebird exhibit, it's so nice to see them up close ...

... isn't this sandpiper a cutie!!

It was a super weekend!!  Now, as we jump headfirst into the Season.... it seems that every weekend we're booked up and haven't a moment to spare!!  I've started some baking and have our Cards on order and we're getting the house all bedecked for Christmas!!

That about does it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Gentle Friends... just wanted to stop by a wish everyone a.....

Image result for vintage thanksgiving photos

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Little Stitchin'

Gentle Friends... still moving along on Tidings... here's a snap...


The tea was very tasty, but I still think that their Anastasia Blend is my favourite.  Tsarevna is a nice change and fun for the Christmas Season!!

There you go sports fans, thanks again for stopping do stop again!

Good Thoughts! Good Woods! Good Deeds!

Friday, November 22, 2019

A Little Christmas Treat

Gentle Friends, you might remember I do like a good cup of black tea... my favourite tea is from Kusmi Tea and called "ANASTASIA"... it's an orange blossomed flavoured black tea with bergamot and lemon, really delicious.  

In the past, I've gotten Christmas teas from Lucpicia,  I do like their "White Christmas " and "Jingle Bells."  Another super Christmas tea is called "Esprit de Noel" from Mariage Freres.  But, they have closed both of the Lupicia stores here in SF and the store that carried MF has also closed.... so it's harder to get fun Christmas tea here in SF....and then I got an email from Kusmi Tea.  They have blended a tea called Tsarevna.  I placed an order a few days ago and whiz-bang it arrived last some snaps...

... a pretty red christmasy box...

a nice red tin...

... and a delicious blend of tea...comprising of black tea, ginger, cardamom seeds, liquorice root orange peel and spices.  I've not made a pot yet, I was waiting for the weekend to really sit back and enjoy. So although it smells great just popping the lid, I'll let you know on Monday about how it tastes. 

There you go sports fans... only 33 short days until Christmas!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Monday, November 18, 2019

A Little More Stitchin'

Gentle Friends, so how about a really craptastic snaperoo of my progress... 
was that a resounding yes???  Here ya go...'s blurry and the colours are off but you get the idea... it's an easy peasy stitch and fun to work on...and very relaxing to just sort of stitch away on the repetitive flower/vine border!!  

There you go sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Little Christmas Stitchin'

Gentle Friends, here's my start on a Christmas piece I've had in my stash for a few years...

... It's called "Tidings of Great Joy" from La D Da.  I'm stitching this on the bottom half of the piece of 40ct Vintage Pecan Butter I used to stitch the BBD piece I just finished up... it was still on top so what the heck why not!! I shifted/adjusted some of the overdyed flosses from the called for to more traditional Christmas colours.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Good Thoughts! Good Words! Good Deeds!

Memorial Day

  "Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."   John Adams