I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Forget the Turkey, Make Some Goulash

Hi everyone! I am again not hosting the Thanksgiving dinner so instead today I'm sharing a warm hearty comfort food for the rainy snowy weeks ahead. I first made this recipe in college, where I so often found myself feeding a crowd of hungry friends. Why, oh why---I'd moan, was I the chosen one! I hate to cook!  My mom raised me to cook well and by age 19 I was by far the most skilled, maybe the only skilled cook in our crowd. My mom sent me off to school with vintage cookbooks--The Joy of Cooking, Fanny Farmer, a simplified Julia Child, and my favorite, an old James Beard that had easy  recipes with not many ingredients. I loved the goulash then, and still love it today. [I think my cookbook was OOP Menus for Entertaining here---my mom loved organized projects, like dinner menus, and complete outfits laid out the night before. Itineraries!]

James Beard

Possibly you could try cubed chicken if you absolutely will not eat beef. And a crock pot version could work but it won't heat up a chilly house on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon.

Hungarian Goulash

"In Hungarian cooking, paprika is an ingredient, not a seasoning."


You will need good quality fresh sweet paprika, from supermarket is fine.

Preheat oven to 350*

3 lbs of cubed round. I buy a London Broil and cut the cubes 2".
More economical than precut stew meat. Don't skimp on the meat amounts, it cooks away to much less.  Sprinkle lavishly w/ meat tenderizer and store somewhere cool, like in your unused microwave [or fridge] for a few hours if possible.

Dust the meat cubes with flour, approx. 1/2 Cup flour mixed with 4 T paprika. Save whatever you do not use. I shake the cubes and flour in a gallon Hefty bag.

Heat your dutch oven on the stove, add olive oil and  a bit of butter. When hot add the cubes and brown lightly  ''on all sides''---I flip the cubes once. Let the cubes sit and brown, don't shake or stir, or it will turn watery [and tough].

Take the dutch oven off the burner and turn off the stove. Add the rest of flour and paorika mix; stir it into the hot meat to dissolve..


  • 2/3 of a large can of good Italian crushed tomatoes

  • 3 C beef broth

  • 1 C cheap red wine if you have some. Again supermarket wine is fine.

  • Add enough water to cover the meat plus 2 or 3 ".


  • Parsley -dry   3 T
  • Garlic powder   1 T
  • Paprika:   3 more T
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t caraway seeds [optional].
  • 2T sugar or sweetener of your choice. Do not skip this, it makes the sauce savory instead of sour/ bitter.

Stir gently.

Cover the pan top with foil and then the lid, for a tight seal.

Bake 350* for 3 1/2 hours.

You can check it after 2 hours to see if you need more water or broth but continue the baking time completely.

So easy! Nothing to chop, no onions, no carrots, no real garlic. The result is so tasty. If your meat is a smidge dry, just smush the cubes in the gravy as you eat.

Serve over homemade spaetzle* or egg noodles, rice, pasta or quinoa pilaf. Spaetzle is the best and easiest, here's my mom's recipe.

 * say: "Spetz' Lee" Add a generous dollop of sour cream.

I can't find my friend Homer's mom's hand cut egg noodle recipe. It's good too. All the internet recipes I am finding have milk in the noodle dough but H's mom's is much simpler.  Flour, eggs, ice water. Kneed, roll out, cut as desired. Let the noodles rest, covered, for one hour. Boil 3, 4 minutes. Butter, lots of butter. [hahaha, so retro! this is old fashioned ''mom'' cooking, update as you please! My kids like goulash over quinoa pilaf or mashed sweet potatoes.]

Also serve Brussels sprouts or sauerkraut or cooked red cabbage.

Leftovers are so good; freezes well, though I rarely have leftovers.

I added a few little Thanksgiving pretties over November, and put away the extremely bright orange quilts.

I have never before seen hydrangeas this color. Maybe dyed?


I do not do Black Friday shopping or Heaven forbid, Black Thanksgiving. How shameful. And then there's politically correct history to consider. Our grandchildren may never know the joyous holiday we had when we were kids, all family and great food and lots of wine. So sad.

I did try to do some real life Christmas shopping over the past couple weeks. Here we are heading off to Christmas Tree Shop: it was a madhouse! My friends hightailed it off to Saks. I persevered but it was disappointing.

Another day we went to Michael's [weekday early afternoon!] because my friend didn't want to make the very long drive to Hobby Lobby. I found some fun things--a galvanized bucket "Reindeer Feed", some ornaments, needed knitting needles. Santa sacks, like feedsacks, with old timey graphics to back small Xmas quilts?

I loved this this tin mailbox.

BUT when I went to pay there was one cashier and perhaps fifty people in line. I can't stand there like that for an hour or more, my hips joints hurt too bad. And my friend was impatient too.  We walked out, empty handed. Color us disgruntled.

Oh! Of course you won't forget the turkey! One of my faves. I'll put my make do stuffing recipe here at the end. It's been here before, a real crowd pleaser.



gone to the  beach....

Cornbread stuffing, easy peasy

one or 2 boxes of Stove Top Cornbread stuffing mix, depends how much you want---follow the directions, but use chicken broth. Use butter as directed.

1 box of Uncle Ben's White and Wild Rice or one Quick Rice bag of same. Cooked.

1 C prepared chestnuts, cut in half.

1 apple, diced,

1/2 C cranberries, dried.

Crumbled precooked sweet Italian sausage or 8 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled.

2T fresh sage, shredded fine.

Mushrooms and diced sauteed onions optional.

Mix everything together, add a smidge of water or Ch broth if it seems dry. Put in a large Pyrex pan, bake as directions on Stove Top box [I think 35 minutes @ 350*] , cover w aluminum foil until last 10 minutes. Mmmm, yummy. Reheats well, but if you reheat in the oven cover so it doesn't get too dry.


Friday, November 22, 2019

A Quiet Day

Photos from a rare and beautiful day last week, enjoy the peace and quiet.

*photos taken by my friend LK. Click any image  for enlarged slideshow



gone to the beach.........

Here is an idea to smooth and soothe those family moments at your Thanksgiving gathering. I'll let you know how goes. I'm bringing the cider and the apple garnish.
Aren't the cocktails pretty!  Cider Cocktail, with Vodka

Monday, November 18, 2019

Disappointed in November

Good evening, friends. I have lost my train of thought here, I suppose that's why people stop blogging, but once I get started I know it'll be fun. I love to write and was so sad these past weeks when my computer was so wonky.

It is a cold miserable night here at the beach. Rain, verging on sleet, howling winds, and oh so dark.We have gone from late summer to dead of winter. I can't believe I am again--already!---wearing my three or four layers of clothes, including snow pants, to take poor bundled up Mo out for a walk.  November here should be crisp and breezy and golden. Mellow, happy, with the holidays ahead. But no.

My special drawer where I store what I call transitional clothes has mostly gone unopened. In it I keep cropped pants, cardigans in autumn colors, a couple cotton turtle necks, bright socks, wooly plaid scarves. My two favorite LL Bean sweaters that are 80% cotton/ 20 % cashmere. All unworn. It is just far far too cold.

The sweet little lime tree got frost bite! Flannel sheets on the beds! And--gasp--the heat is on, that never happened until last year when November was also very cold. I think we should call it "climate change" for accuracy, as global warming doesn't fit the bill of windchill in the teens on what is traditionally our first day of Fall here at the beach--Veterans Day.

Mo and I still have to venture out of course. Some days, when the wind is still, he trots along merrily. But when the wind blows hard, he lags and cries and our walks are no fun at all.

We inspect the grey fences for hints and remnants of the autumn we expected and remember better years.

after the early frost---the morning glory vines.

hardy roses, usually bloom til Christmas.

In late summer the koi pond was ''updated''....very craggy and slick now.

Only four koi remain, so sad. Used to be 13 big koi. I hope they were relocated and didn't die when their long time home was upended.

I think we sat out on the deck to sew just once since Halloween. Tail down, you can tell Mo isn't happy, he is cold.

Sometimes Mo sits out alone after breakfast. He seems to like his new sweater, it's loose and soft.

I have moved our hand sewing hour indoors, late mornings. We sit in at the dining table, like we used to do, backs to the warmth of the low northern sun.

Meanwhile I am putting together the tshirt quilt for my friend. It is much harder to do than I ever imagined. And today, just after I got the strips sewed up, my friend texted that she has another shirt to add. Um. No, I said. She wasn't pleased. I think non-quilters do not understand the effort involved in a commissioned project. Yet I desperately hope to please her and her daughter, whose quilt it will someday be.

Very off topic, for a few friends here [or anyone who cares] , friends--Mel, Kel, Bonnie, Wanda--- who were fans of the Stephanie Plum novels in their heyday. The next book is out, Number 26. You can read it or not. I always skip over anything with Grandma or Morelli, so there wasn't much there for me to read. But one page caught my amused attention. Stephanie is again whining that her job is going nowhere, and she says, "I'm 56 years old, I should have a career by now!" [or some such] And Lula says ''What? You aren't 56, your mom is 56. ''

The funny part of this short bit is that Stephanie was 30 in Book one, and has always been 30 since; yet if she had aged, she would indeed be 56 now, 26 books and 26 years later. It showed an unusual hint of irony and self-awareness on the part of whoever writes these books now. [Ranger is reserved and sexless. He only gets maybe 4 pages. How sad. He does give her a new Porsche though. Some things never die. Oh and Tank has a walk on moment but not a speaking part.]



gone to the beach....