Monday, July 30, 2012

A Blast of Berry Bounty!

We were having a picnic by Minniehaha last night.  I just call this creek/river the "Ha".  And a little girl came running up to our picnic table with some berries she'd picked from a tree.  She and her dad didn't know what kind they were.  It was almost like she knew we were some kind of berry experts!  I'm sure she saw last week's post.  Ha!  Little did she know how much foraging we did this Summer. We've seen her mystery berries all over.  They look like blackberries, except they grow on a tree. They are notorious for staining the biking and walking trails purple.  I've even seen people picking them.  Boysenberries?  Mulberries?  I don't know.  I'll have to google them.  If you know leave a comment.  But for now check out my berry goodies.

(Above) French Toast with Black Raspberries.  I look forward to this all Winter! It is such a winning combo.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberries.  I frosted them with both Chocolate Butter Cream and White Chocolate Frosting.  

Black Raspberry Jam

Fresh Raspberry Glazed Pie.  I updated my Mom's recipe with a cream cheese filling and an Oreo Crust.  I've had people tell me this is the best pie they have ever eaten!

Spiked Crepes with Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries.

My favorite Summer breakfast. (I posted this easy recipe on July 4th!)

Raspberry White Chocolate Oreo Torte.

This one is kind of a joke!  We brought berries to our hotel!

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.

A homemade Chocolate Raspberry Bar. Easy.

Red Raspberry Jam.

Now just leave a comment for the dessert you'd like a recipe for and I'll post it on Wednesday!

P.S.  Caren asked me to add the follow by email feature to my blog.  So I did! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yummy Southwest Hotdish

It is hard to photograph a hotdish and make it look appealing.  Just saying!  It is also a hard recipe for me to post because I triple my dishes.  But here goes.  I start with around 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni.  Boil until aldente, drain and put in the largest mixing bowl you can find.  Now saute 1 pound of hamburger and 1 onion until browned.  Add to the macaroni.  Now this is an important part.  I used 4 cups blended tomatoes from my freezer/garden.  The fresh taste can't be beat.  But if you use canned be sure to use low sodium. (I sometimes substitute some salsa for part of the 4 cups of tomato)

 Now add 1 can of rinsed black beans and 3 small packages of frozen garden corn.  If you are using purchased corn just add as much as you like. Add what ever chopped sweet or hot peppers you like.  Add 1 jar of processed nacho cheese.  What ever your favorite is. Now a big bunch of chopped cilantro.  You can add a few tsps of chili seasoning if you like.  Stir this big batch of hotdish goodness well.  Then transfer to 3 baking dishes.  I freeze 2 and bake 1.  You can bake it for around 1/2 hour to 45 minutes at 350. (The frozen dish usually takes about 1 1/2 hours.  Covered until it thaws out) Then put on some shredded cheese and tortilla chips and bake some more. 

And I always serve it with hot sauce!

P.S.  Be sure to check back next Monday and Wednesday for the berry desserts! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Berry Extravaganza Post!

 June 16

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 20

June 21

June 23

June 23

June 25

June 25

June 27

July 2

July 3

July 4th!

No, we don't live on a berry farm.  We live on a tiny city lot.  But we are blessed with a bountiful raspberry patch.  And we foraged for all of the black raspberries.  Black raspberries are my favorite berry.  And the thought of waiting until next Summer for more brings a big ole sniff.  But I will say that I'm happy to be off berry picking duty.  And as for berry eating, you will have to check back next Monday.  I'm posting all the goodies that I made with this year's crop.  And you can leave a comment for which dessert you'd like a recipe for on Wednesday. 

 But guess what we were doing yesterday?  Picking blueberries... 

P.S.  For more cats and far less berries visit

Friday, July 20, 2012

Have paint brush...will travel.

I did this little vignette for a poster advertising the Minnesota SCBWI Zoo day adventure back in 2010.  Next weekend is our latest outing.  Here's the scoop.
Join us on Saturday, July 28 for the MN SCBWI Mixer at the Como Zoo!

Yowl, Howl, Prowl, Pant - Come to the zoo, get a new slant!

Bring your sketch book or notebook. We will be drawing zoo-animals and
writing zoo-poetry. Bring a lunch or stop by the Zoo-cafe. We hear the
gorilla makes a mean cup o'joe. The Como Zoo is open 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Stay a few hours or all day!

We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Como Zoo Visitor Center entrance for
creativity and camaraderie. We will regroup for lunch at the Zoo-cafe at
12:30 p.m.

And it is my latest entry over at  I have a boat load of Carry themed illustrations on file.   But this one was a bogo.  Not only zoo but carry too! The beaver is not only wielding the paintbrush, but carrying it.  And he is carrying his tail as a palette.   He just looks so excited about his graffiti. The moose not so much.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Yum.  Bruschetta.  It is so easy that everyone probably makes it already.  But if you don't here's how I do it.  First you have to start with a good quality french bread loaf.  I get mine from Turtle Bread here in Minneapolis.  I put a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan, then grill the bread until it is a little crispy on both sides.  Then while it is still warm I rub a cut garlic clove over the surface.  Now just top it with a sliced Summer tomato still warm from the Sun.  And a little basil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.  An easy lunch is served. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Florida 101

There are a lot of people I've run across in life who don't care for what Florida has to offer.  But I always say that if you don't like Florida you just aren't looking hard enough.  We love the white sand beaches, peaceful Cypress trails and abundant Winter wild life.  The first shot is one of our favorite parks in Naples.  We always try to walk and enjoy a few picnics here.  Sungren park

The view at Naples beach. Or I should say one view of thousands.

I had a visitor below my beach chair.

I was sitting on a bench in the heart of Corkscrew Swamp and look who snuck up behind me.

An Egret wading in the swamp. 

A curious Owl.

A maze of gulls.  Or amazing gulls!

Butterflies fluttered at the Rookery Swamp Trail.

And turtles sunned themselves.

Weird colored sea birds at Lover's key.

We threw this live shell back after a photo op.

Feeding Giraffes at the Naple's Zoo is not only for the youngsters.  Florida.  It's what's for Winter!

P.S.  This FLA post has been simmering in my drafts bin for quite awhile.  It is going to be 100 degrees in Minnesota today.  Hotter than a Florida swamp in Summer! For more photos visit the Sunday Best blog hop!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Are we there yet?

click to enlarge

Are you lost?  Well, here is a map.  But unfortunately it is only helpful if you are in Hopkins, Belize. And who wouldn't want to get lost in Belize.  Mayan ruins, snorkeling, caves, culture and Marie Sharpe's Hot Sauce.  Oh, and One Barrel Rum.  Yum!  Lost is the theme of the week over at 

I had so much fun with all the details on this map.  I would love to paint more maps from our travels.  And there is even a website to put them on.  But it is easy to get lost in other projects!   

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chicken Apple Pizza with Caramelized Onions

First of all this is a fabulous pizza.  Even if it isn't as colorful as the pizza sauce variety. I'm going to skip the crust prep part because I already covered that in my Mexican pizza post.  See labels under savory!  So I'm starting with a prebaked crust.  Then I drizzle the crust generously with olive oil.  I even rubbed a cut garlic clove around the edges this time.  I was feeling ambitious!  Now put on a light coating of mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle on as much leftover rotisserie chicken as you desire.  Add caramelized vidalla onions and sliced green apples.  As many as you would like. Now a sprinkling of Penzey's dried Bouquet Garni herb mix. Or what ever herbs you like.   

Bake at 450 for around 10 minutes

I sprinkle the pizza with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked pepper.  Enjoy! It is so good.

Monday, July 9, 2012

After Hours...

The first thing that popped into my head when thinking of a name for this post was the movie After Hours.  Are you a fan of weird?  Well, then this movie is for you.  A bizarre night of surreal events unfolds for the poor sap of a leading man.  I always thought this movie was by David Lynch.  But it was actually directed by Martin Scorsese.  Who knew?  

We were taking our trail cam to the woods for another Summer of Mystery Deer Theatre.  So before that happened we set it up to record the cat's hijinks for a night or two.  Nothing weird happened at all.  But I always wonder if we will record something paranormal.  Gulp.  It turned out to be just another couple nights of sad stares and cat calls.  "Please get up." Whined Hana and Akua over and over.

These aren't movies.  So just take a look see at all the pathetic captures...

Akua takes a little punch at the same ball that sits there every night.  But you never know when it could turn all monster on him.


Hmmmm. Which pair of legs doesn't belong?  This was as weird as it got.  Oh well.  These may not be paranormal but everything looks a little spooky with night vision. 

P.S.  For more cats day or night visit