Failing the Apple Pie Test.


no stove

So oven.

This would be that infamous piece of equipment that was “tarred and feathered” in 10 years worth of grease and dog hair.  That same oven that I spent days and days cleaning and rehabilitating after we moved into this town home…

that one.

Well, it failed the apple pie test in spectacular fashion this past holiday, and after all that effort, I was forced to purchase a new range the day after Thanksgiving.  You could say the transaction was truly ‘a day late and a dollar short’…a day late because I could have used a good, working oven to bake my famous apple pie in, but a dollar short because at least my new oven was being offered at a fabulous Black Friday price.

thanksgiving1 This is a picture of my husband and me trying to rescue the under baked, half burned pie. He held the vacuum hose close to suck up the burned parts of lattice-work crust that I gently scraped off with a  knife.

thanksgiving2 It was straight out of an episode of ER.. and yes, that’s a clear, plastic knife I’m using as we don’t have running water in the kitchen so we try to use disposable everything and no, the vacuum didn’t touch the pie…C’mon, we’re professionals here!

So this week, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the delivery of my shiny new range.  Here’s hoping that the kitchen counters come in too so we can finally install the sink and the dishwasher! 👍

no sink

(Is that asking too much?)

It’s not loo late to add this to your menu!

It’s hard to believe, but in the last four days, over 100 people have clicked on this recipe.  😮  So here it is on page one for those of you still looking for an impressive salad to serve tomorrow.



Seven Layer Salad



  •  SALAD:
  • 2 heads Iceberg Lettuce, Chopped
  • 8 ounces, fluid Baby Spinach, Washed And Dried


  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 8 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
  • 16 ounces, weight Bacon, Cooked And Chopped
  • 4 whole Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
  • 8 ounces, weight Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 bag (10 Ounce) Frozen Peas, Partially Thawed
  • 1/2 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar (more To Taste)
  •  Fresh Dill, Chopped

Preparation Instructions

In a clear glass bowl, layer salad ingredients in the order they appear above, concentrating ingredients around the perimeter of the bowl and filling in the center with lettuce, if needed. End with the layer of peas.

Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Pour over the top of the peas and spread to cover, bringing dressing all the way out to the edges of the bowl. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Toss just before serving.

The only thing I would add to this recipe is a caution about using too much lettuce on the bottom. A thin, well shredded layer is plenty. Also, I prefer chopped red onion instead of green onions..they pack more flavor and the purple color looks great.  Lastly, leave room at the top so your guests can toss the salad a bit without want them to taste all seven layers!

Recipe above from Ree Drummond’s  Pioneer Woman collection.

The New Normal

the claw

So this is what it’s come to.

Thanks to terrorists roaming the earth, we are slowly developing an almost strangely heroic tolerance for random, mass murder.   In this perverse new world, Western bravery is now seemingly measured by our willingness to stoically accept the risk of our own death at an outdoor café, while (conveniently) the terrorists measure bravery by their willingness to shoot us in the head while we’re sitting there.

My fear is that this twisted, fatalistic resignation to the reality of random killing will not only invite further chaos, but eventually matastisize into a callous barrier that protects us emotionally from the agony of the innocents who are in fact increasingly and indiscriminately being picked off (or permanently maimed) by this band of religious dementors.

As all the world’s attention was focused on France and Mali this past week, it struck me how quickly we moved on from  the over 200 victims in the Russian plane that exploded in mid air thanks to a planted bomb…those vacationers returning home; remember them?

Somewhere there’s a despondent Russian grandmother who hasn’t been able to eat since the loss of her son and his entire family in this horrific attack. She cannot sleep as she wonders if he suffered or had time to hold on to his young wife and those precious grandchildren as they fell out of the clear, blue sky. But the press isn’t listening to this grandma as she wails in her little corner of hell; it has moved on to the next story..and maybe we have too. There aren’t enough candles in the world to lead this poor woman out of the darkness she’s trapped in no matter how many vigils we organize… so we look away with a resigned sigh and get back to what we were doing.

A beheading here, a  suicide bombing there..hey, when your number’s up – maybe it’s simply your time to go.  This new fangled “philosophy” will certainly help take the edge off as you board the subway and ride to the Macy’s parade this Thursday. After all, you gotta live..

“… we are not going to give in to fear.  We are not going to submit to terror.  We will carry on as before, use the Metro, visit bars, see friends. Otherwise the terrorists win.” – Vivien Bouffard, 42, Paris.


So I guess  living our lives ‘as normal’ has suddenly morphed into a patriotic act of defiance (not to be confused with defense.)  Well, I’ll raise my glass on Thanksgiving to this newly crafted concept of bravery and hope that it doesn’t erode..because if it ever does,  we may demand more from ourselves in response to mass murder than just the ‘courage’ to go out to eat.

Here it is!

I noticed that quite a few readers are searching for this recipe, so I thought I’d put it back on “page one” for easy reference with Thanksgiving fast approaching.  These onions would make a wonderful addition to your holiday table.  They are delicious, look pretty, are easy to serve, and most importantly, easy to make!

Baked Sweet Onions


  • 4 sweet onions, peeled, sliced in half crosswise.
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice*
  • walnut pieces
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Place 8 onion halves in shallow baking dish, cut sides up. Season with salt and pepper.

Place onion halves into baking dish, cut side up. Pour apple juice over the tops and float the cloves. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 45 mins to an hour depending on size of onions and desired firmness.

Remove foil, put about 1/2 tsp of butter on top of each onion, raise oven temp to 350 and bake ten minutes until golden.

Sprinkle onions with balsamic vinegar and walnut pieces.

** we are not apple juice drinkers, so I buy a sleeve of kids’ apple juice boxes and store them in the freezer for recipes like this. When I make these onions, I just peel off the paper and place one frozen square of juice right in the (cool) will melt quickly once in the oven and the cloves will float in the juice when it does.

Great side vegetable!

Adapted from “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” by Martha Hall Foose.



1 John 3:18


 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

love quote 

I remember lecturing my kids once about what it means to love a pet. It isn’t just snuggles and cuddles, it involves feeding and walking and keeping shots up to date. We’ve all seen those reality shows on TV where animals are living in absolute squalor, and each time the Humane Society comes to rescue them, the owners cry about how much they truly do “love” their neglected pets.

Healthy, vibrant and growing love requires attention and “deeds.”  Love that doesn’t involve action, personal sacrifice, unsolicited kindnesses and putting the needs of someone else first is nothing more than a deeply felt, but unshared, sensation..

kinda like a stomach ache.



Plastic spoons and dinner from a can.. 😖..mmm, mmm!


ravioloio  Yes, this was supper last night..and I’m sorry to report that these “Ravioli” were as horrible as I imagined they would be.  Even a generous shake of parmesan and a splash of red wine could not disguise the other-worldly taste of the sauce. Oh well, the next few days are just going to demand a culinary sacrifice.. 😉 We have spent the week moving stuff out of our apartment and into the town home which at this moment doesn’t have counter tops, a plugged in oven (still waiting to run the self clean cycle) or a sink in the kitchen…but ready or not, move we must. (At least the fridge is being delivered on Saturday!)

If you take another glance at the picture above you will see tonight’s diner lurking in the background…

No wonder the PUBLIX Thanksgiving commercials are making me cry.. 😐..haha.