Monday, May 29, 2023

Blueberry Breakfast Cake


I absolutely love the abundance of fresh, domestically grown blueberries during this time of year. They are definitely one of my favorite treats and I always keep a pint in my fridge. Aside from enjoying them as is, I like adding them to my breakfast cereal or yogurt, as well as using them in pies or muffins. It's always exciting to discover new ways to incorporate them into my meals.

You have the option to prepare the Blueberry Breakfast Cake recipe using either an 8-inch pie pan or a springform pan.

When it comes to my baking requirements, I prefer to use a springform pan. Recently, I got my hands on a brand new red Nordic Ware springform pan from the King Arthur website, which I absolutely love. I would like to mention that I am not being compensated for sharing this information, but I genuinely admire the top-notch quality of their products.

I absolutely loved the cake's texture - it was both custardy and light, with the added bonus of juicy blueberries bursting throughout. Its unique combination of textures reminds me of both clafouti and Dutch baby, making it the ideal centerpiece for a fancy breakfast or even as a dessert after dinner. What's more, the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of sugar (124g), which means each serving contains a mere 28g of total carbohydrates. It was a wonderful treat!  You can find the complete recipe by visiting the King Arthur Flour website through this link.  If you're looking for some guidance and tips on this recipe, you may want to check out the King Arthur Flour blog post through this link which shares the same recipe.

June is just around the corner and the schools in Colorado have already wrapped up this academic year. Our family has been keeping busy with our grandchildren's end-of-school events and sports activities with a few more big events still on the horizon to keep us busy. 

Let us take a moment on this Memorial Day to pay tribute and show our respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Sunday, May 21, 2023

A Walk Between Rain Showers


We have been having an abundance of rain this spring! 

Our hills and meadows have turned lush and green. 

All last week thick clouds rolled in and it rained daily.  We did not get hail in our area but some parts of the Colorado front range had golf ball size hail.

I've been missing my walks, so one evening when the sky cleared I chanced a long walk along a nearby trail in my community.

The trail passes by many large red rock formations... you see the person standing on top of one of them?

We saw many deer along the way including a young buck growing his first set of antlers. After a long harsh winter, they are enjoying eating all the fresh new green growth.

This deer doe will be having her fawn pretty soon.

We also saw some neighbors riding their horses in the meadow.

The horses must have missed their walks too!

It was nice to see a good flow of water in all the creeks...

...and the first wildflowers and cacti coming back to life.

There are many beautiful trails in our area, and I'm glad you came along with me on this one!

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Sunday, May 14, 2023

Mother's Day Quotations

 This is my Mom at different stages of my life, and with my children when they were young. 

My Mom passed away a year before we moved to Colorado, and I miss her daily.  I was fortunate to live close to my childhood home for most of my life so we often spent time together and she was able to attend so many of her grandchildren's events. Now that I am a grandmother I am doing the same with my grandchildren.  It is a blessing I never take for granted!

Here is a collection of  Mother's Day quotes that help sum up today perfectly:

This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without. ~ Jodi Picoult

Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.
~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.
~ Isaiah 66:13
The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness.
~ Jessica Lange

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~ Abraham Lincoln

A mother is the truest friend we have. ~ Washington Irving

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.  ~ Rajneesh

Being a mother means having my heart permanently stitched to my sleeve, out there and vulnerable and afraid, yet somehow finding such fulfillment and hope that I’m able to appreciate the extraordinary journey. Though it is maddening, and terrifying at times, it is also glorious and beautiful; and the most absurd part is that I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. ~ Stephanie Jankowski

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~ Sophia Loren

A mother is a person, who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
~ Robert Quillen

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. ~ Victor Hugo

Her children rise up and call her blessed. ~ Proverbs 31:28

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.  ~ E. M. Forster

Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary—it’s an act of infinite optimism.
~ Gilda Radner

The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter. ~ Louisa May Alcott

Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, May 8, 2023

May Days

 " Never yet was a springtime when the buds forgot to bloom"  
~Margaret Sangster

Spring weather has finally come to my part of Colorado and as always it is a joy to see nature come alive again.

My first sighting of a robin this spring was on May first!

I am in a "Colorado Gardening" group on Facebook, and many of the participants are anxious to begin planting their vegetables in their gardens, but the wise ones who have lived here longer are advising them to wait a bit longer as we may still have frost and even snow.  When I lived in New York City I learned to wait to plant until after Mother's Day, which is May 14th this year, so I can be patient a bit longer.

My son planted tulip bulbs in their garden last fall and this spring they all bloomed so beautifully! 

With afternoon skies that often look stormy like these, one would think we would have had a lot of rain, but the clouds move East quickly and we remain dry.

The Rocky Mountains are still covered with snow, and we had a great view of them in the distance at our youngest grandson's little league baseball game this past week.

Spring also means we have been attending our oldest grandson's lacrosse games...

...where we saw a large herd of elk grazing the new grass...

...and some pretty canyon views on our drive home.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it

A strange sight along a major highway in our area recently.  I'm guessing a truck cab sale? In the background, tucked into the hogback mountain, is a famous Colorado racetrack called Bandimere Speedway Bandimere Speedway, also known in the NHRA as Thunder Mountain, is a quarter-mile dragstrip located just outside Morrison, Colorado, and Lakewood, Colorado. It opened in 1958 and hosts the NHRA's Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals. The facility has a seating capacity of 23,500 spectators. This will be its last season in this location as they sold their property. They hope to relocate and re-open in a new location. We pass it all the time but have never been there. 

So this is our spring so far, with more busy times ahead with the end of the school year for our grandchildren and their sports and activities. I hope you are also having a good spring (or fall)! Let me know what you are planning for summer in my comment section below.

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Monday, May 1, 2023

Reviews of Books that I've Won In Giveaways

I love to read and share reviews! I read a new book every month as part of a local book club, but I also have been fortunate to win a few books from Goodreads giveaways, from The Book Club Cookbook, and also as a Celadon Reader. This was my recent collection of recently-read books, and more are on my "to be read" pile.  

Author Mya-Rose Craig was raised in Bristol, England, by parents who were involved with the hobby of "twitching"--a new term for me--to describe birdwatching to an almost obsessive level. Craig grew up shuttling across the country, as well as seven continents, to catch sight of rare birds, observing over 5,000 birds by the time she was a teenager. She also chronicles her mother's severe bipolar mental illness in her memoir in a poignant way and her struggles with diagnosis, medications, and treatments. I could feel Mya's joy as she describes the thrill of filling her bird list with exciting sightings of birds such as hummingbirds and eagles, etc, and then the confusion she felt living with a mentally ill mother. Finally, Mya shares in her memoir her resolve to work against the threats of climate change that threaten both bird habitats and our future. If you are a bird lover, a naturalist, or care for our environment, you will enjoy reading "Birdgirl: Looking to the Skies in Search of a Better Future." Thank you to Celadon Books for an advanced reader copy paperback of this book! 

Emma is a busy London literary agent, wife, and mother, but overly engrossed with her phone, reading and answering (or disgustedly ignoring) countless text and "WhatsApp" messages, much to the detriment of her family. Her husband Dan feels neglected, as do her children who are enduring a pre-teen crisis because of their own involvement in social media. It all begins to change when the unthinkable happens and Emma is caught in a revolving repetition of re-living a tragic day. Can she change? Can she control fate? Will she find a way to be the person she finds she needs to be?
I enjoyed this fast-paced contemporary novel by Cesa Major. Aren't we all a little preoccupied with life's demands and the constant notification "pinging" on our phones alerting and distracting us all day? Do we forget what is really important? You will dislike Emma at times, and then cheer her on. She will make you wonder how you would react to a never-ending "Groundhog Day" and then how we might wish we all had that chance to change fate.
I won an ARC copy of this novel in a Goodreads giveaway. Thanks to author Cesca Major for the opportunity to review it!

Set during the Great Depression, Sarah Bird's "Last Dance on the Starlight Pier" is a novel about one woman—and a nation—struggling to be reborn from the ashes.
July 3, 1932, shivering and in shock, Evie Grace Devlin watches the Starlite Palace burn into the sea and wonders how she became a person who would cause a man to kill himself. She'd come to Galveston to escape a dark past in vaudeville and become a good person, a nurse. When that dream is cruelly thwarted, Evie is swept into the alien world of dance marathons. All that she has been denied—a family, a purpose, even love—waits for her there in the place she dreads most: the spotlight.
Last Dance on the Starlight Pier is a sweeping novel that brings to spectacular life the enthralling worlds of dance marathons and the family-run empire of vice that was Galveston in the Thirties. Unforgettable characters tell a story that is still deeply resonant today as America learns what Evie learns, that there truly isn't anything this country can't do when we do it together. That indomitable spirit powers a story that is a testament to the deep well of resilience in us all that allows us to not only survive the hardest of hard times, but to find joy, friends, and even family, in them.
I won this novel through a The Book Club Cookbook e-mail contest! I really enjoy this website, reviews, and book club recipe ideas.

Karen Tanabe's "A Woman of Intelligence" is an exhilarating classic spy thriller of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.   
With a Fifth Avenue address, parties at the Plaza, two healthy sons, and the ideal husband, what looks like a perfect life for Katharina Edgeworth is anything but. It’s 1954, and the post-war American dream has become a nightmare. A born and bred New Yorker, Katharina is the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages. As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, she is a translator at the newly formed United Nations, devoting her days to her work and the promise of world peace—and her nights to cocktails and the promise of a good time. Now she is the wife of a beloved pediatric surgeon Katharina is trapped in a gilded cage, desperate to escape the constraints of domesticity. So when she is approached by the FBI and asked to join their ranks as an informant, Katharina seizes the opportunity and begins a harrowing assignment.
Thank you to Goodreads and to the author Karen Tanabe.  I won this book in a giveaway.

When I first began reading Maame,"" I thought it would be a simple tale of a young girl's first romance, but I was in for a surprise as it was so much more! Protagonist Maddie, a 25-year-old British Ghanaian woman, had to function as an adult, a "Maame" for most of her life, and because of all her responsibilities, she was deprived of the natural ebbs and flows of growing up. Isolated by caring for a father with debilitating Parkinson's disease, and with a mostly absent mother and older brother, Maddie's only avenue for advice was querying the Google search engine for answers to her problems. She knows much is expected of her but she inwardly desires a life of freedom, friends, romance, and fulfillment in her job. When her mother arrives from Ghana, Maddie finally begins to seek out all those desires independently, but then her father suddenly dies and Maddie is faced with guilt. She faces a new reality that she is unable to find joy in those desires any longer. Her struggles are poignant, and as you read on you will want to help and enlighten her to find the life she deserves.
Thank you author Jessica George, Read With Jenna, and The Book Club Cookbook for a copy of Maame to review. I truly enjoyed reading it!

Why would the world's most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman's marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?. This intriguing novel answers these questions in this fast-paced spellbinder. The story takes place in 1925 London, in the socialite world of the Christies. Miss Nan O’Dea became Agatha's husband Archie's mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Nan O'Dea's plot began decades before, in Ireland when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together, until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated. It is a tale of two very different women who want the very same things in life. The greatest mystery wasn't Agatha Christie's disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it's what she discovered.
This was another wonderful win by The Book Club Cookbook giveaway contest! Check out their website for wonderful reviews and delicious recipes from authors for book club menu ideas in their "Novel Noshes" section.

"Life is like a book. Every day is a new page, every month is a new chapter, and every year is a new series." 

I hope you might find a few books from my reviews that sound interesting to you, dear reader. Please let me know a book that you have recently enjoyed.  

Happy Reading!

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