Monday, July 18, 2016

Lemon Yellow Squash Bread

We have an abundance of yellow squash in the garden so time to get busy. Not exactly the healthiest way to consume your veggies but certainly a  tasty and delicious way to. 

The recipe come from Heather Christo's blog.

Recipe: Lemon Summer Squash Bread

makes 2 loaves


  • -1 cup melted butter (I used 1/2 butter, 1/2 veg oil)
-2 ¼ cups sugar
  • -¼ cup plus 2 Tbs lemon juice
-2 tsp lemon zest
  • -3 eggs
  • I added 1/2 c Greek Yogurt
-3 cups flour
  • -1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 ½ cups grated summer squash (or zucchini)
  • Opt: add 1 cup blueberries too
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-3tsp of lemon juice


  1. 1)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray.
  2. 2)Melt the butter in a small pan.
  3. 3)Combine the sugar and lemon juice and zest in a mixing bowl.
  4. 4)Add the butter and mix to combine.
  5. 5)Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the batter is light and fluffy, (about 2-3 minutes.)
  6. 6)Meanwhile combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  7. 7)Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and barely combine into a batter.
  8. 8)Add the grated squash and mix until just combined.
  9. 9)Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  10. 10)Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  11. 11)Take the bread out and let cool until the pan is just cool enough to handle.
  12. 12)While the bread is cooling you want to make the lemon glaze.
  13. 13)Add the 1 Tbs of butter to a small pan and melt it.
  14. 14)Remove the pan from the heat and add the 3tsp of lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
  15. 15)Add the powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  16. 16)Add the water to thin it to the right consistency.
  17. 17)Turn the loaf out (upside down or “right” side up is just fine!)
  18. 18)Drizzle the glaze over the top of the loaf.
  19. 19)Slice and serve, this cake is great warm or room temperature!
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Old Friends....

Last night, Brenda and I  had assumed our usual position in the backyard in our comfortable chairs listening to the same old playlist and marveling at the peace and quiet of the neighborhood despite the new kids who have moved into the neighborhood.

A couple of fellows appeared at the side gate, waving. Turns out my old friend Steve was in town who met my other old friend, Steve and the decided to look me up. I can't tell you the last time I was more pleasantly surprised

We talked for hours (or did I talk for hours?) and reminisced about our school days as we all attended the UNO Fine Arts program in the 70's together, sharing studio space and our lives with each other.

Stephen Cornelius Roberts is a famous guy. He painted the state capitol dome and has a ton of work out and about and a great public figure and fantastic painter. Steve Bendy (Bendykowski) is also a  great painter but lives in Des Moines.  We lost touch when he left school but have caught up a bit since.Bendy drove a cool little car, introduced me to Steely Dan and the Guess Who and his lovely bride cut my hair.

I cannot tell you how fun this gathering was and how much more I need to learn about my long lost friends.
I am so excited to think about meeting up again!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happiest Birthdays

Mackenzie gave Nick tickets to a Royals game for his birthday Saturday and then arranged a tailgating for the rest of us. I was in charge of the kebabs since we rarely do the ordinary. I brought a few dogs for Benny and made kebabs for the rest of us. We are tailgating virgins, so a few key items were forgotten like matches to light the grill.

Hottest day on the tarmac in KC and relentless sweating ensued. I was never so happy to jump into a cool shower at home but I was so tired after the 6 hours of driving and my back was killing me from the stadium seats. Sunscreen saved the day and a light Pho supper after the game made for some great decisions.

We choose chicken and steak for the meal. I used a nice set of tri tip steaks and a few chicken breasts and thighs. Brenda suggested cooking the meat, a least partially so we would not have a long cooking time as I was unsure about the grill we were using. Turns out this small Weber gas grill was a really nice little unit. It got very hot quickly and placed a nice sear on the finished product.

I choose to Sous Vide the meats first which, as you know, brings the meat to a perfectly cooked temp and no more. This worked better than you could imagine. The meat was tender and juicy and cooked through while the veggies got just the right amount of char and doneness.

After the meat was cut up (I placed the meat whole in the Sous Vide) we threaded it on bamboo skewers with onions, peppers, and mushroom and then into a gallon bag to which I added the marinade. Sounds backwards doesn't it? It turned out great. Really great. Nicely browned steak chunks, super tender and tasty with the marinade. The chicken followed suit. We made a delicious antipasto salad with oil and vinegar avoiding the hassle of a mayo dressing. 

The marinade for the beef:

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Olive oil
3 T soy sauce
1 T Lemon juice
1 T Dijon Mustard
2 t Brown sugar
2 t black pepper

For the Chicken:

Jiuice one whole lemon
1/4 C Olive oil
1 t Oregano
Salt and Pepper

So...tailgating? A success with the kindness of strangers who had a few matches. Other missed items? Tongs would have been nice to remove the meat of a stick from the searing grill. All in all though it was a nice gift and really great time to spend with family.

Oh yeah...the Royals won!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Too Hot to Cook...

Many thanks to the Schaben clan for suppling this beautiful bird. I intended to grill it but after the blast of heat headed out the back door I roasted it in the toaster oven instead. Came out great after brining for a few hours. Pair that golden bird with some sauteed sprouts and a strip of leftover bacon and ...yum.
Looking foward to a great harvest this year. We have several yellow squash and zucchini ready to pick and a few tomatoes are set. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Eating Omaha...Taxi's Redux

Saturday we had no peeps and nothing to do so took ourselves out for a belated anniversary dinner. I was busy searching for a new plant so we hit up Mulhall's Nursery before hand to no avail and resisted temptations a plenty and left empty handed. On to dinner then.

Not very busy for a Saturday night, mostly retired couples and few at that. We settled in with the house wine and appetizers. Shrimp Havarti for me and Brenda had the Cabbage Blue cheese soup. The Shrimps were perfect although pricey at $12 and Brenda's soup, a usual favorite was heavy with caraway making it not as palatable as in the past.

For the entree's Brenda went with the menu item Whiskey Steak while I broke my rule and had the special, in this case a 8 ounce Fillet. The entrees arrived promptly and were cooked to perfection but Brenda complained about the coolness of her food, mine came out quite hot.

Service was prompt and courteous and with the exception of a little over seasoning and temperature of the food, it was all good. Mostly we noted the quiet atmosphere and the age of the patrons. Might have been the time of day as we were finished by 7 p.m. Also it's a pretty expensive place to eat. I know the last time we were at Taxi's with the Fangman's, the ladies were very disappointed in their entree's of scallops (which was no longer on the menu) and the very skimpy portion for the price. I had complained to the owner overall about the service and portions in which he sent us gift cards for a future visit. Lori left their card with us last time they were in town so we used both cards and it still cost me $45 with the tip.

Overall a good meal, a little pricey, pleasant service, good wine list. My Cabernet was especially smooth and spicy (LaTerre). 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pinteresting Weekend with Friends...

Lazy weekend with overnight company called for some recipe surfing to find quick and tasty items to serve.  All the recipes and pics are from Pinterest. I take no credit.

Breakfast with pals over the weekend could not have been easier with this delicious ring made with Crescent rolls, scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon. Very tasty and the leftovers heated in a jiffy in the microwave.


After a disappointing dinner out Saturday evening, we came back to the hacienda for dessert and this found recipe on Pinterest did not disappoint at all. Super easy and very tasty. I made a few additions with a layer of Lemon Curd from Trader Joe's to the bottom half and I cut the sugar in the filling in half and used a lemon cake mix.  Yum. 

Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake Copycat
Makes one 10" round cake

  • Cake:
  • 1 white cake mix,prepared ( I used Lemon Cake Mix)
  • Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powered sugar (I used 1 cup)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • zest of lemon 
  • 1/2 jar Lemon Curd
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. butter

1. Prepare cake as directed in a 10" round cake pan or a 10" round spring form pan.

2. Blend cream cheese, powered sugar, and lemon juice together. In a medium bowl, whip heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into cream cheese mixture and blend by hand. Chill until ready to add to the cake.

3. Mix flour and powered sugar in small bowl. Crumble butter in and dribble in vanilla extract. The crumbles should be no larger than pea size. If you have trouble crumbling mixture, chill for a few minutes. Chill until needed.

4. After cake is cooled, cut in half. Spread cream cheese mixture, saving 1/2 cup, on bottom half and carefully place top layer back. Spread rest of cream cheese mixture on the sides of cake. Press crumb topping into sides gently. (We only added it to the top)

5. Chill for 3 hours. Cut into 12 slices.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


We have been off our feed a little bit lately so I haven't been cooking much and we eat a lot of leftovers when I do cook so I certainly don't cook as often.

Brenda had surgery to remove her gall bladder so she has not felt like eating much and some things disagree with her so we are treading carefully.

Still though we are keeping an eye out for recipes and great food, just less of it. The neighbors Jerry and Becki, brought over a light lemon pie after Brenda's surgery and that was a tasty treat. So light and refreshing. I don't eat  a lot of sweets though.

A few weeks ago we were in Vegas for the week as I attended a hospital business meeting. We had a great taste of Vegas and don't feel the need to head back anytime soon honestly. We ate at mostly local (cheap) places and avoided the big FoodTV  star places and the prices. Did a lot of walking till my knees complained bitterly and had to break the fast early as the meeting occurred during Holy Week, something I would consider hard and long before doing again as it dampened the whole experience for us this year.

Lately our life has been consumed with planting, worrying over rabbit infestation of my plantings and planting again. I had a Eureka! moment last night whilst searching for critter control devices. I am looking for the right materials to build the ultimate plant protectors to keep the rabbit at bay and still allow us to enjoy our hosta collection.

We did find a new Indian restaurant Kurry Xpress,  close to the house and went there Friday. The food was good but spicy and we decided this might be a better carry out place rather than sit down. The food was delicious although Brenda did remark she likes my Na'an a little better. Kurry Xpress is directly next to my favorite Indian grocer in town, Patel's so 2 birds with one stone for sure.

On the bright side of life, the Fangman's are coming to Omaha for a visit and I will have someone to cook for. Finally.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Wings and things

You know I love my wings and they are the thing I missed the most from the recent Lenten pilgrimage. Ah....wings. Crispy, flavorful and not fried. Roasted, not fired. I like to think it makes them 'healthy'. Ok so its a fantasy but how I love em.

I have been perfecting the cooking technique so I don't miss the oil drenched version by roasting them at 400 degrees, on non stick foil for about 20-30 minutes, pour off the grease then roll them over for another 10 or so. I dip them in homemade sauce and place back in the hot oven for about 10 minutes till the mahogany crust develops and they get a little char. Ben likes them dry, not juicy but I like them somewhere in between. I always mix the same combination ingredients in the sauce:

A knob of butter
a squirt of ketchup
a dollop of honey
a good swig of hot sauce (Valentina)
a dusting of Chipotle powder
garlic, about 3 cloves mashed
a good dose of Fish Sauce
Salt and adjust at will

Add anything in addition, Siracha? Soy Sauce? there are no rules here but be balanced and control the heat for your audience. You'll notice, I never cut them apart, just remove the tips. That way I get both my favorite part and the drummie.Makes for great eats.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Post Paschal Feasting

After the end of services early Sunday Morning, we stayed for dinner at the church and some turkey and ham. Not exactly the traditional post Greek fest but it was welcomed after the long fast.

On Sunday we had Mackenzie and friends over as well as Ben who came into town. I made marinated Lamb kabobs, lamb burgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, and Greek style chicken as well as a bunch of sides. Funny, I have no photos of food at all but it was delicious and everyone seemed to have their fill.

The decorated Tomb (kouvouklion) that houses the Epithaphio (burial icon of Christ)

The service had a new twist this year and Father had several languages printed in the service book but the service quickly lost momentum as we stumbled over the foreign tongues and didn't have that swelling joy that we have experienced in the past. A little anti climatic. 

We had already experienced an unusual Lent being gone almost all of Holy week in Las Vegas and breaking the fast early. It really seemed to make a difference to us and we were sorry it had to be this way this year. Perhaps it was just that felt off this year but this isn't our last Lent.

The whole clan minus Nicholas. We miss him a lot but he is almost done with his schooling and will rejoin the festivities we hope. Mackenzie asked her work buddies to come help us celebrate and they have some really adorable little ones to liven up the party.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Another Easter Sunday Dinner for those of us still in Lent

I am surprised how lonely it felt this year with Pascha being so far off the American calendar. Normally when my Dad was alive we would celebrate the day with a huge crab and shrimp feast since we were still in the Great Fast. This year, Mackenzie suggested we do the same though it was just the three of us. We had a great dinner last night and we love getting together with Mackenzie any chance we get but without the boys here and for whatever reason I really just miss my Dad this time of year.

It was weird seeing all the stores closed and not business as usual as one might expect.It was nice to see commerce put on hold and not subverted as Christmas seems to have fallen prey to crass commercialism.

A few years back we had a Big Fat Pascha Celebration at the house and invited friends and neighbors but it was short lived as we came to realize that no one else but other Orthodox share in the joy of the celebration and it made no sense to them why we put on such a meat fest. We spent the last 50 days or so abstaining from foods but no one else had so they really didn't get it. Then the fact we were celebrating the Resurrection when they had all done so weeks earlier kind of deflated the whole idea.

So some of the things I learned from our journey this year so far:

We (Brenda and I) are minor participants this year due to circumstances that will take us out of town during Holy Week so we feel a bit disconnected. We have not been able to attend a Pre Sanctified service this year. I have not served the altar for a year now so it feels a bit out of whack.

The AHEPA organization conducted their Fish Fry during the regular season of Lent so we are left out for the rest of our Fast.

Discussions with several others of different faiths revealed that we don't share the same zeal and joy of the Passion. In our faith it is really a big deal but others, not so much, at least I didn't feel any real excitement.  Most folks I spoke with are completely oblivious to the Liturgical cycle that leads to the feast. I saw mega church celebrations with rock concerts and entertainment at major venues and re enactments of the Passion in modern times on TV. None of it rang particularly true for me.


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