In Honor of the Olympics….I Bring You “Gold”Fish

Dear Boo,  Wowie Zowie!  It has been so fun watching the Olympics with you these past two weeks.  To see the poise, grace, and spirit in all the competitors is such a blessing.  However, the best part is to see the maturity growth in so many of the athletics.  When you hear their stories and learn all what they have given up in their young lives just for the honor of representing their county in Vancouver.  Their determination and single minded focus is awe-inspiring.  And their joy………it is almost palatable through the television screen.

It reminds me of all the times you competed in the horse shows.  I know how hard you worked and the joy and pleasure these events brought into your life.  Me?  I was usually under the grandstands alternating between throwing up and wetting myself with nerves for what you were getting ready to do.  Going out in front of all those people, putting yourself out there to be judged.  Granted, your competition was not on the same viewing level as the Olympics, but in my world it was just as important.  I can still picture in my mind your free-style reining programs.  What fun those were to help you choreograph them and then to be able to see the judged performance.  To see you and your horse, Candy, spinning and sliding always took my breath away.  Horse and rider acting and re-acting as one unit was just an amazing sight.  Each and every time they announced your name as the winner I could be found doing the “ugly cry” in the grandstands.  I truly admire you and am in awe of your determination and single-minded focus.  You are my hero!

I tried to find something along the lines of a gold medal cooking or baking performance, but I was striking out.  Until I kept seeing this recipe in several of the blogs that I follow.  Such an easy and fun recipe…….I will be making these again.  I did not have a fish cookie cutter, so I could not make them into “gold fish”, but the heart was a pretty good choice I think.

The Women’s Figure Skating Short Program is ready to begin, so I am going to grab my “gold fish” and hope for more gold medals for Team USA.  Joy Rising!

Gold  Winning  Gold  Fish

Prep  Time:          5 minutes

Chill  Time:          20 minutes  up  to  24 hours

Bake  Time:          15-20 minutes  at  350 degrees



  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  tsp salt
  • 1/2  tsp  ground pepper
  • 4 T  cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 oz  grated cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 T  water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse the flour, salt and pepper in your food processor until blended.
  3. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.
  5. Pulse in the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms into a ball.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  7. Roll dough out to 1/8″ thickness either directly onto the baking pan or onto your counter.
  8. “Dock” your dough (this means to use the tines of a fork to poke holes into the dough.  This will allow the steam to escape during the baking process).
  9. Either use pizza wheel to cut dough into 1″ squares or use cookie cutter to make into desired shapes.
  10. Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown.  Watch them carefully starting at the 10 minute mark.
  11. Once removed from oven sprinkle lightly with salt.

Embrace Life

Dearest Boo, I saw this on “YouTube” and I just had to share it with you.  It reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses:  Isaiah 11:5-6  “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.  The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling  together; and a little child will lead them.”  The “sash around his waist” part reminds me of our seat belts and how they are a sash around our waists.  And the part about “a little child will lead them” reminded me that it was our children who lead the campaign to buckle up and wear our seat belts.  This video clearly brings home the fact that when you are in a car accident, and not wearing your seat belt, it is not just you that will be injured.  It will be every member of your family, they, too, will be hurting when you are hurting.  I love the image of the daughter wrapping her arms around her daddy, as if she were the seat belt.  And the wife wrapping her arms around his chest, as if she were his shoulder harness.  Beautiful and thought provoking.

I remember that when you were young people just did not wear seat belts.  For what ever reasons we just were not getting the message.  Then you started school and were “brain washed” in a good way about the importance of wearing seat belts.  You became the police dog who has been trained to attack and not let go.  Every time we got into the car if we were not wearing our seat belts you were this little “Seat Belt Nazi” who would insist that everyone buckle up or else!  Your voice took on the characteristics of Regan, in “The Exorcist” when the devil would take over her body.  I was fearful of you and did not want to see your head spin around if I did not buckle up – so I did.  And am I ever grateful for that powerful lesson.  In that case a little child did lead me to practice better safety.

To be honest, I thought that all children in your school were being “brain washed” in the same manner, but one incident brought that into focus for me.  We were selling our van and our good friends (Beth’s of “Beth’s Dip” fame) were considering buying it from us.  For some reason I had the two boys (ages about five and three at that time) and we needed to go on an errand.  We loaded up into the car and I saw that they were not putting on their seat belts.  I explained to them that they needed to buckle up, as the van would not not move until everyone had on their seat belts.  They buckled up and we took off.  About ten minutes into our drive I heard a seat beat come unbuckled, so I said that the seat belt needed to get buckled or the van would stop.  I did not hear a “buckle”, so I pulled to the side of the road and sat there until I heard that little “click”.

About a week later I heard the boys version of what happened.  It seems that the five year old came into his home crying his eyes out telling his mother that he did not want them to buy our van.  When I told him that the van “would not go” unless everyone’s seat belts were buckled I meant that I would not put the car into drive.   Bless his little heart – he understood it to be that the car itself would stop all by itself until all seat belts were buckled.  He did not want this “monster robot” van!  What a kill!  Their little brain logic just is not capable to make the leap that it is the driver controlling the car – not the car controlling itself.

Speaking about a little person’s brain logic, I still cannot get over the fact that when you were a munchkin you loved mac and cheese.  However, you did not like the homemade kind.  Oh no, the ONLY type you would eat was the Kraft Blue Box.  I could hardly believe it.  My little Foodie did not like the homemade kind with four cheeses.  Our backyard neighbor was an excellent cook and I so envied her skills.  One time we were sharing stories/recipes for mac and cheese.  I had to laugh.  She could not make mac and cheese, so she only made the Kraft Blue Box and her daughter hated it!  We laughed and said that we should plan mac and cheese on the same night and trade daughters for this one meal.  We never did, but it was an interesting thought.  I am so thrilled to know that as your body grew, so did your taste buds.  You now love home made mac and cheese.  This recipe is a bit lower in calories (385/per serving) and I was able to sneak in some veggies (both zucchini and asparagus), however calories from fat is artery clogging (82%).  Pretty sure that next time if I use fat free sour cream and milk it will be better.  Joy Rising!

Cream  Pasta  Sauce  With  Zucchini

Prep  Time:           20 minutes

Cook  Time:          30 minutes

Bake  Time:           15 minutes  at  400 degrees

Source:           #36419


  • 2  1/2 T butter
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 c sour cream  (next time I will use fat free sour cream)
  • 1 c half-and-half  (next time I will use 1% milk)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 whole zucchini, shredded
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 box spiral pasta
  • fresh shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
  • black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut off woody ends of asparagus
  3. Place asparagus onto baking dish; sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Gently toss.
  4. Place asparagus into oven for about 20-25 minutes to roast.   Once roasted let sit in baking dish until needed.
  5. Place pot of water onto stove, add salt, place on high.
  6. Once pot boils add the pasta and cook to slightly less than al dente  (this will finish cooking in sauce).  Drain pasta.
  7. Peel and shred zucchini.
  8. Place zucchini onto kitchen towel; fold in sides and gently squeeze to remove excess water in zucchini.
  9. Place skillet on stove and melt the butter.
  10. Stir in flour; cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  11. Add in sour cream, milk and lemon.
  12. Cook until heated through.
  13. Add in the zucchini and asparagus.  Cook just until bubbly.
  14. Add in the pasta.
  15. Add parmesan and black pepper to taste.

Serve with nice green salad.

“Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez” – Let The Good Times Roll

Dearest Boo,  yesterday was a good day for me, as one meal reminded me of two of my favorite cities in North America and one of my favorite times of the Christian calendar.

We were forced to have one of my all time favorite things for supper – breakfast.  I don’t know what it is about me, but I cannot eat a big breakfast and there are so many good things that are classified “breakfast”.   Like omelets, and waffles, and pancakes, and french toast, and quiche, and donuts, and scrambled eggs, and muffins.  The best part about being a “grown-up” is that I can eat whatever I like, whenever I want.  So, tonight for supper we had breakfast!  And not just any breakfast, but a specific breakfast for a real and specific reason.  Pancakes!  And why pancakes you may ask………..easy, it was Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.  And Fat Tuesday reminds me of New Orleans.  Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, the festival New Orleans, Louisiana, that this city celebrates loud and proud . “Gras” is French for fat and “Mardi” is French for Tuesday.

In ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday, refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which started on Ash Wednesday.  The annual festivities(Mardi Gras) start on January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when the three kings are supposed to have visited the Christ Child, and build to a climax on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.  This  day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.

There are traditionally forty days in Lent, which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbor). Today, some people give up a vice of their’s, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.  I try hard to add a “good” habit to my daily life.  For me, to try to eliminate a “vice” for forty days just did not work out, as I would go back to that “vice” on Easter Sunday.  For example, giving up sweets during Lent.  Once I would wake up Easter morning all I could do was stuff my face with jelly beans, chocolate eggs, cookies, cakes…….whatever I could find.  That just was not getting me closer to God.  However, I found that if I would just incorporate one practice into my life that would bring pleasure to God and help me to lead a more Christian life it would bring the whole meaning of Lent and Easter closer to my heart.  This year I will get back to my Bible reading each and every night.  Not only will this get me more in tune to the season, but falling asleep with the words of my God will help me to sleep more soundly and restfully.

Back to our supper.  Not only did the pancakes honor New Orleans, but they honored the Olympics.  In honor of the Olympics, that are being held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, we also added a healthy dose of real maple syrup.  Vancouver has to be one of the most beautiful and clean cities in all of North America.  About nine years ago I won a trip to Seattle and Vancouver from the company I worked for at that time.  This company yearly honored about 125 employees company-wide that had performed above and beyond what was expected.  My manager nominated me for turning six retail stores, that all were operating in the red, into all highly profitable stores.  At the awards dinner in Vancouver I was then honored, along with twenty-four other employees, with an all expense paid trip to Hawaii.  Sa-weet.

Vancouver impressed me so as every night, once all the stores and restaurants closed, there was a huge crew of workers out cleaning up the streets.  We would go to bed, with the streets full of litter, and wake up the next morning to totally litter free streets and sidewalks.  Amazing.   Pretty sure that your dear cousin, Amanda, must have trained this cleaning staff.  That child is amazing!  I wish I could bottle her up and sell her as the world’s best cleaning product.  We would make a fortune.

I believe we stayed in, what is now called, the Fairmont Hotel.  It was built in the late 1930’s and has a distinctive green roof is made of oxidized copper. The exterior has carvings of mythological figures such as griffins and flying horses, and parapets embellished with Gothic gargoyles with the interior mainly mahogany, brass and crystal.  The carpets were lush and thick and the bathroom floors were all marble, with claw foot bathtubs and gold fixtures.  I loved it!  I felt just like a princess during my stay, as I thought it looked just like a huge old castle.

One day we were blessed to take a bus to Butchart Gardens.  The Butchart Gardens is one of the world’s premier floral show gardens. Robert and Jennie Butchart established their home on the land that Robert quarried for limestone for his cement plant.  When the limestone supply was exhausted Jennie began to shape this magnificent landscape in 1904.  Jennie, conceived an unprecedented plan for refurbishing the bleak pit. From farmland nearby she requisitioned tons of top soil, had it brought to Tod Inlet by horse and cart, and used it to line the floor of the abandoned quarry. Little by little, under Jennie Butchart’s  supervision, the abandoned quarry blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden.  By 1908, reflecting their world travels, the Butcharts had created a Japanese Garden on the sea-side of their home. Later an Italian Garden was created on the site of their former tennis court, and a fine Rose Garden replaced a large kitchen vegetable patch in 1929.  Through successive generations of the Butchart family, The Gardens has retained much of its original design, and continues the Victorian tradition of seasonally changing the outstanding floral displays.  Robert Gutchart took great pride in his wife’s remarkable hard work and added to the scenery with his “collections”.  A great hobbyist, he collected ornamental birds from all over the world. He kept ducks in the Star Pond, noisy peacocks on the front lawn, and a ill-tempered parrot in the main house. He enjoyed training pigeons at the site of the present Begonia Bower, and had many elaborate bird houses stationed throughout Jennie’s beautiful gardens.  Flowering cherry trees line the road into the gardens, completing a breathtaking nature experience.  Oh, how I wish I had a camera with me for this trip.  It is one place I would love to go back to visit.

Here is our favorite pancake recipe, that you insist I make with chocolate chips.  And we must, must, must have real maple syrup.  If I were thinking I would have dashed to the store to purchase Canadian Bacon, just to complete the Olympic theme.    I kind of like this picture as it looks like Quatchi, one of the Olympic mascots!  Joy  Rising – Joie la Hausse!

Griddle Cakes

Prep Time:              5 minutes

Cooking Time:        2-3 minutes per side   medium-low heat

Source:                   too long ago to remember


  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 T melted butter  (or you can use bacon grease)


  1. Measure out milk; add egg.  Mix together.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to the egg/milk mixture and mix together
  3. Add melted butter (or bacon grease) and mix together
  4. Pour into pre-heated pan pour out equal amounts into shapes.
  5. Cook until bubble fill the surface (about 2 minutes).
  6. Flip and cook other side until brownede (about 2 minute).