Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birthday Dinner Friends

I had a great dinner with friends for my birthday. Thank you for coming to keep me company and celbrating with me!
Kathy, Peggy and Aimee from my Banner Home Care days. Peggy looking fabulous with her chemo hair do!

Helle and Lynnora. Helle works for the Banner Alzheimer's Institute and is my book club. Lynnora and I work together on nights.

The wonderful Mark and Cecelia. Mark was a warrior and the only male at the gathering! Cecelia and I worked together years and years ago at Signature Home Care.

My dear friend of many years, Sue. Know her from church but she works for Banner Rehab institute too.

My "other" friend Sue and I. Sue and I worked together at Banner Home Care and now again at Banner Outreach. She works days. We also went to Italy together. (Do you want me in this picture?)

Part of the group.

Sue, Cindy and Helle. I've known Cindy from Church for about 30 years or so. She and I went to New England this fall and she is my hiking buddy.
We had a great meal at The Rock Springs Cafe in Black Canyon City. Thank you all for taking the time to drive up there and celebrate the evening with me!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birthday Flowers!!

Aren't they fabulous? Thank you Geoffrey!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dog Park Day

I hadn't been to the dog park for a while, so Cindy and I took my dogs, her dog and the dogs they were babysitting all to the dog park.
Look at this cute french bulldog in her sweater.

Here is one of the dogs being babysat getting an invitation to play.

This dog was a really cute pekingese. Unfortunately my photo doesn't do him justice.

Here is my Winston. Having a great time.

Another of Winston.

This is Cindy's Lexie.

And a final shot of Winston. Unfortunately, Dobbie's photos didn't turn out!

Christmas Book Club

Ok, you have to check out Cindy's post from Christmas book club. Great photos!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Teddy Bear Baby Afghan

Just finished my next baby gift. See the teddy bears? Isn't it cute!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Noca RestaurantEdit 3118 E Camelback RdPhoenix, AZ 85016 (602) 956-6622

So! There are some friends that I go to dinner with regularly. And in December, we usually choose someplace a little nicer to go to. There is a restaurant called NOCA (which stands for North of Camelback) that I have been wanting to go to for a couple of years. They have had rave reviews. I knew they would be pricey but I wanted to go. So this year we made reservations and went.
It's a small space and basically in a strip mall. But it's decorated in an understated way, dark paneling. Lots of servers. They started us with some nice bread with olive oil for dipping. They handed us the menu, but also told us about the 4 course tasting menu. I LOVE tasting menus because it gives me the chance to try so many things. The tasting menu was 50$ for the 4 courses. If you ordered a starter and a main course, you were pretty much at 45$ anyway, so the tasting menu was also a bargain.
So my friend Penny, my sister Wendy and I all ordered from the tasting menu. My friend Cecelia and her husband marked ordered a starter and a main course. First they brought us all an Amuse Course, a free little appetizer. It was a miniature amount of avocado mousse with a spicy peanut and a bit of lemon olive oil, all served on a spoon in the middle of a small plate. It was quite tasty, with a lot of different flavors going on.
Then I got the "Bacon and Egg" for my first course. It was almost like a miniature breakfast. There was a small poached egg, that was dipped in panko bread crumbs after it had been poached and was then crisped on the outside. It was served on a small piece of toasted bread with a piece of crisped pork belly. On and around this were pieces of walnut, date and huckleberry. It was delicious and had all the tastes of breakfast.
My sister and friend both had the heirloom beet salad. It consisted of several different colors and types of beets all in a row on a long rectangular plate. There were also pieces of pear and sprouts and drizzled with a little bit of fruit vinaigrette. They said it was delicious!
The next course was a semolina pasta/dumpling with some local sausage and greens with a cream sauce. It was also quite tasty although, I still liked my first course better.
They brought us another little free course, a small serving of cream of turnip soup in miniature espresso cups. It was great!
Then came the flat iron steak. It was beautifully cooked and nicely sliced, perfectly moist. There was a small amount of mashed potato on the plate, but it was mostly just the meat.
Then yet another freebie, cotton candy in a bowl, for the table to share! What a fun touch!
And finally dessert. It was some time of very rich chocolate mousse, with a little cookie crust. It was served with a small amount of banana gelato. Perfect! Cecelia had a deconstructed cheesecake. All the flavors were there, but it didn't look like cheesecake as you were used to it.
It was a perfect special occasion meal, with lots of adventure and excitement with the food!
I would highly recommend it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cookie Exchange

Don't these look great? I made them for the Cookie Exchange for Church tomorrow night. Cherry Tea Cakes and Chocolate Mint cookies. Y'all should come!


Well...I'm just finishing the first dating book and starting the next. It's incredible how many things I was able to do wrong. I think if there was somebody keeping track, I might have won some kind of title or award for the ability to do the most things wrong.
It breaks my heart that I messed up so badly because I liked the last one. I don't really know more than that, but I knew that. And I had fun. Which was important! So life goes on and I try to learn and apply. I think it's sinking in.
The search continues....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dating IQ

Ok, so we all know that I have very little practical man experience. And based on the outcome of my last relationship, maybe could use to learn a thing or two. It is quite possible that the last relationship wasn't going to be a good one for me anyway, but it seemed to me that it self destructed before there was even an opportunity to really even tell how things might work out.
So I just visited one of the gals I visit teach and she gave me what she called a required reading list. I stopped at the book store on my way in to work and picked up:
Mars and Venus on a Date by John Gray PHD
Why Men Marry Bitches by Sherry Argov
Dating After 50 By Sharon Romm MD
She recommended a few others, but this should get me started.
According to my friend, you can't be the giving, loving, nurturing person that you are and think you should be. Oh vey. Somehow I need to learn how to interact with this foreign species because I really think I want one for eternity. So I guess I have a big learning curve. According to these books, I've already done several things I shouldn't with this new relationship. So we will see how to still be me and still not torpedo the relationship.
I have been a good student when it comes to academic subjects. Lets hope I am a good student with this...
Wish me happy ever after!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Candy Madness

I have had a recipe to make homemade caramels for
a while. I finally decided today that I would try and make them. This is the cook!
I have never been a big candy maker. I think I always found it a little intimidating, needing to watch it so closely and get it to just the right temperature, etc. I have made some before but not a lot. Here is the caramels in the early stages. I'm telling you, if you put cream, sugar and butter together and start cooking it, it smells divine!
Here it is finally getting close to the caramel stage. It took about 40 minutes of almost constant stirring and boiling and watching the thermometer. But it ended up turning out really well and I put it out to cool in it's pan.
While I was doing all that stirring, I was reading the other recipes that were next to the caramel one. There was a recipe for peanut brittle. I've never made it before. I read it and I thought, I have all those ingredients and I bet I could do it. So then I made peanut brittle! And it turned out great.
Next to that was a recipe for Cashew Toffee. I had those ingredients too. So I made that. It turned out OK, not quite perfect, but it tastes good (yes I did take a little taste of everything).
Finally I had a 1/2 cup of pumpkin that needed to be used up. I found a recipe for cranberry pumpkin Pecan muffins. I did a half recipe. They are divine. I put them in the freezer and gave one to my neighbor.

So here is how everything looks. The caramels are on top wrapped in wax paper. The muffins are pretty evident. The peanut brittle is in the front and the toffee in the back! I was so excited because I felt way less intimidated and now I have all this candy to use for gifts and when I have company, etc!!

So I guess I am a candy maker now!
I've been so good on my diet. I hope the scale doesn't do anything bad tomorrow morning after my tasting everything.