Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #3 ~ Did I Forget Something?

Oops, I think I did. Here we took off on our trip, I showed pictures of ALL of the stuff that I packed, but didn’t tell you what was in those sacks. Pshaw!

My DH (darling, dear, dazzling, debonair, dashing – husband) just LOVES chocolate chip cookies. The past few times that I’ve made them though they were just, meh. So I did several searches over a number of days on many, many sites and found a Land O Lakes recipe and gave it a shot.

They came out better than I could have imagined. Crisp on the exterior and nice and chew on the inside, I even liked them. Here’s the best part, I stored them in a zip top freezer bag for transport and they STAYED that way.

Speaking of the journey… I didn’t want our goodies to get smushed in the hub-bub-bub, ya’ know? So I made up two cookie tins (I just can’t leave well enough alone). The computer and printer came in handy making custom labels for the cans, cute huh?


YUMMY! Oatmeal Cherry Cookie Bars, thick and chewy

My personal favorite of ALL times is an old fashion Oatmeal cookie.

It’s just me I guess, but I always want to play around with a recipe. I have used the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe that I had printed out YEARS ago. But wait, there’s something different about this new one on line… the butter as well as sugars are in different proportions.

Chopped dried tart cherries

I used a cup of cherries

Rather than raisins, I prefer tart dried cherries; I spray my knife with cooking oil and chop them roughly first.

mix the cherries with the oatmeal

Then I mix them into the oats, so that they don’t clump up in one huge chunk.

parchment paper held in place with clips

parchment paper held in place with clips

My new Chocolate Chip cookie recipe recommends resting the dough overnight, so I figured that would work just as well for the Oatmeal ones.

I would rather have bars than drop cookies, mainly because their so nice and chewy, why not make a good thing better.  I press the dough into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment, held down with alligator clips, smart.  These Oatmeal Cherry Cookie Bars are the best!



Our Great Western Adventure Road Trip! ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #2 ~ Let’s GO!

Blast Off was at 0650 hrs. Yup!

The car was loaded up the night before; food made and packed. Everything turned off or down. We made only three stops in total, one for a bathroom break at Sunset Point Rest Stop in Arizona and then 2 times for gasoline. One stop we made for gas in Jacob Lake Arizona the gas was $4.14/gal … WHAT?!

We made it to Bryce Canyon City Utah by 4pm AST or 5pm MST. We found our room, got settled and then went across the street to have dinner at Ruby’s Inn, which is the sister hotel to where we stayed, which by the way is so nice!

We had the Soup & Salad buffet $8.99 and then added on the ice cream (ice milk really) bar for $1.99 each. I had started to chat up our waitress, Lesa, only to find how much she loved having gone to Hawaii and staying at the Marriott timeshare in Ko’Olina. Both she and her husband loved the food in Hawaii and they even went over to the Windward side (where I’m from), HOW’S THAT? We were very tired so it was off to bed. Oh, I forgot to say we saw, I mean, I saw my first elk (I’ve never seen one before).  This going to be a GREAT month long adventure!

Our Great Western Adventure Road Trip! ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #1

It’s time to hit the trail once again, or as my friend Joey says, WAGONS HO!

We’re off on a month long car trip to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary … we were going to take an Alaskan Cruise, but we prefer to free-lance  😉

teriyaki spam musubi

We like to get an early start, so I made teri-spam Musubi again for our breakfast in hand.

I’ll keep you updated as to what we’re up to.



Gung Hey Fat Choy! Happy Chinese Lunar New Year 2018

In the Chinese culture, an elder gives a youngster Lai See, or a monetary gift in a Red Envelope.  Here in Cowboyville, I cannot find any stores that carry those beautifully ornate Red and Gold envelopes.  😀    So … the mother of need is invention, right?

I made my own!

I wish and your family happiness and prosperity throughout this New Year of the Brown Earth Dog.

Gung Hey Fat Choy!


Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

What did you make for your valentine?


I made Macadamia Nut Dark Chocolate Brownies with a Fudge Drizzle for my honey 🐻


A Lunch Date At The Grand Canyon National Park

Since DH and I moved to Central/Northern Arizona, we are now so much closer to one of the Seven Natural Wonders, The Grand Canyon.  What makes it that much better is, we purchased a Senior Pass back a-ways when they were still only $10 for a lifetime of entrance to any of

¹  “… recreation sites managed by six federal agencies: National Parks Services, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, US Army Corp of Engineers’.”

The card holder, in a private vehicle (as we were) can even take along 3 other adults, FREE! WOW!  We were trying to think how many times we’ve used DH’s America The Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass over the years as well as how many other folks have tagged along for the ride… a lot!

As of the end of August 2017, the price changed to $80, but if you think about it, that’s still a great deal.  Here’s a good example of that value: it now costs $30 per carload of 4 to get into the Grand Canyon, which went up too.  Both of us were pretty sure that it was $20 or $25, so there you are.

Last week, DH and I were talking about a day trip somewhere, seeing as we hadn’t gone or done anything in a while.

My suggestion was to start out really early in the morning on a car trip; we could have lunch at the El Tovar Restaurant in the Grand Canyon.  YEAH, let’s go!

What a fascinating building.  Originally a Harvey House, servicing the Santa Fe Railway, the El Tovar Hotel was built in 1905 and is still in operation more than 100 years later.

We decided once we got up to the hotel that we’d walk around for a while, along the South Rim Trail.  **Hint: You’re at over 6772 feet above Sea level, take your time, it’s not going anywhere – walk slowly and take small sips of water to overcome becoming dizzy.

There are some very unusual rock formations for sure.  Everywhere you turn is a wonder.

DH and I are still trying to figure out why there are pennies embedded into the pathway every so many feet???

Okay, so are you hungry yet?  😀

The restaurant in the El Tovar Hotel is “white linen service”, but don’t let that stop you from having lunch or breakfast for that matter.  It’s much more relaxed during the daytime hours.  And that view, I mean, come on man!  Be sure to go early and ask for a table near the windows, or call ahead for a reservation.

Sylvia, our server today, took our order and promptly brought us a basket full of these heavenly rolls.  I’m not sure exactly what was in them, but do try them.  And I think that it was salted BUTTER  to schmear all over them.  We asked for a second basket.  😉

DH had the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich and I, the Rib Eye sandwich.  Both were very good and generous.  We were stuffed.  So we walked around a bit more, exploring the gift shop and then out to the veranda to simply sit in their Rocking Chairs and stare at the beauty.  I requested a glass of wine and DH a coffee.  Aahhh!

What an afternoon!

*Hint # 2 : I suppose folks think that there’s going to be a ton of snow, ice and general crummy weather at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (the North Rim closes from October through May) in the Winter.  Check the weather reports before you do go, but we had a spectacular, sunny, warm day (it was in the sixties).  And guess what?  There were very few people.  That was the first time that DH and I have not been elbow-to-elbow with humanity at the Grand Canyon!!!


¹ Quote from http://www.nps.gov


Hamburger Curry Stew, Cheap And Friendly

Most of you know that I am from Hawaii and we MUST  be careful with our pennies, because EVERYTHING is so expensive over there.  Ground Beef is something that is readily available as well as an inexpensive protein.  You can even find this dish on menus in restaurants in Hawaii, that’s how much we like it!

I was challenged the other day by an “online pal” to come up with Budget-Friendly dishes that featured Hamburger, Root Vegetables, Beans, Potatoes, Lentils, Rice, canned Tomatoes and frozen Vegetables.  There are so many ways you could put that list of ingredients together and come up with a super supper!

But my mind kept creeping back to an old favorite from my childhood.  I didn’t really have a recipe per se, I usually cook by feel but wanted to put together a recipe for her that would make sense.  I did a search on the WWW and found a YouTube vid from CookingandCrafting; it hit a note for me and I took it from there (Mahalo Beth).

Auntie Doni’s Hamburger Curry Stew

(4-6 Servings)


1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey or Chicken)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

½ -3/4 C. Sweet White Onion, diced

1 Celery Stalk, sliced

2-3 C. Beef Broth

2 C. Potatoes, diced (use whatever kinda of `spud you have)

1-2 Tbsp, Curry Powder (to taste)

S&P to taste (you GOTTA  taste as you go!)

1 ½ C. frozen Mixed Vegetables (or just Peas and Carrots too, any kind is good)

1 Tbsp Flour

In a good sized pan, heat the oil over medium-high; add the Onions and cook until just translucent.  Now toss in the ground Beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, brown well.  Drain off any excuse fat.  At this juncture add the Celery, Broth, Potatoes, Curry Powder and S&P to taste.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a good simmer and cook for about 15 minutes (maybe 20 if you cut the Potato kinda big-ish), or until the Potatoes are tender.  Add the frozen Veg, bring back to a boil and mix the Flour in a cup with some extra Broth; slowly add this to the pot to make some good kine GRAVY!!!

Simmer until thickened and the Veg is heated through but not soggy and falling apart.  Taste it again, howzit, good?  Adjust at this point, more Salt, no?  Pepper?  Curry?  How’z the gravy?  Maybe some more broth?  Me, I couldn’t stop TASTING!


Serve over steamed White Rice or as is, any which way, it’s ONO (that’s delicious in Hawaiian)!


And as always, remember a recipe is just someone else’s idea, take and make it your own.