This second one was created as a follow-up to Klaus the Mouse in a way, as it evolved from friends asking for, and then me creating, characters based on my besties’ grandies similar to the watercolor paintings and rhyming stories in Klaus the Mouse. It was a labor of love to honor these friends and their special grandchildren.
My first book was dedicated to my first granddaughter. This one is dedicated to my second. They are two of the greatest loves of my life!
Thank you Bubby for encouraging me every step of the way to publish this book. Thank you Jim for that first request of Alex the Alligator and Liz the Lizard that put this whole compilation in motion. Thank you Jill for sharing your family with mine and supporting me no matter what I do. Thank you Joyce for your love and creative inspiration and for sharing the best of what family is all about with me.
And in this book, I left two blank pages at the end where I hope readers will consider drawing their own character and creating their own rhyme. And I would love if they will share with me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all of you for your ongoing encouragement and support. You’ve really contributed to making my dreams come true!
I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them. Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets. I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.
I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week. Here is my recipe. Hope you will give it a try.
1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
¼ cup pecans or walnuts
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 small clementines or oranges
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast. Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat. Remove from heat. Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.
Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl. Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates. Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.
*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet. Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender. (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel. Cool completely for salad. Cut up after beets have cooled.
On a recent visit to an awesome new grocery store that opened up near us called Fresh Thyme, I discovered they carried big 2.5 lb bags of red sour pie cherries. I was so excited! This is something hard to find where we live. You can find dark sweet cherries everywhere, and they are delicious for eating, but to make a good old-fashioned homemade cherry pie, you have to have the sour cherries.
I snagged a couple bags and was excited to get to make a cherry pie for hubby for Valentine’s Day last week.
If you are lucky enough to find sour cherries, here is the simple, old-fashioned recipe I use to make a classic cherry pie.
In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond extract. Mix well, and let sit while preparing pie crust.
Prepare crust and place bottom layer in pie plate. Fill with cherry mixture. Top filling with dabs of butter followed by top crust, being sure to cut slits or a shape to allow bubbling and steam to escape. Spread a small amount of milk or water on top crust, and sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of sugar if desired.
Place pie in oven. Cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Bake approximately one hour. Remove foil and continue baking until filling bubbles out of top and crust is beautifully browned.
Allow to cool completely to set. Serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Bake 20 minutes. Toss and flip slices. Continue baking for 10 minutes. Toss and flip slices. Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp. Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil. Serve immediately and enjoy!
TIP: Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.
Hope you enjoy!
Cheers & Hugs,
P.S. Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips? (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)
I know we live in a world
that says do what makes you happy,
and I get that…
But the happiness you get
from making someone else happy
might just be the happiest happy of all.
Cheers & Hugs,
P.S. This photo is a section of a 3-foot tall piece of art I created for a special young lady who has a few of my other abstract pieces in her home and asked me to make another to complement them. I can’t wait to give it to her and then see how it looks in her home. I sure hope it makes her as happy as it made me creating it for her.