Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I have been looking through some old posts on Facebook. Here is one I found from 2011 that I want to share with you. It introduces a recipe I think you'll like.

We have a new addition to our household, a sweet little 8-pound boy. 
...Perhaps I should explain--there's no baby stroller on the front porch and my husband isn't handing out cigars. We recently rescued an abandoned cat. He was dirty, infested with fleas, and near starvation. And although he's almost 2 years old (the veterinarian's guess), his many weeks/months of malnutrition have apparently stunted his growth. His meager diet of mice and birds has also left him with a very sensitive digestive system. So once a week I cook a pot of brown rice, poach a chicken breast, and steam a danish squash or sugar pumpkin. 
One pumpkin or squash is more than a little  black kitty can eat--even one as hungry as Pumpkin (yes, that's what we named him). So I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to use leftover mashed pumpkin.

And with that introduction, I shared a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. 

You  know you need this. Pumpkin spice is EVERYWHERE. (I even saw a reader-board sign at an auto repair shop saying "special price all this month on pumpkin spice oil changes").
from Better Homes and Gardens

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Thought for Today

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.
There is only one thing missing,
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up!
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and hug him.
He licks and kisses your face again and again -
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.
 Author: unknown

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pasta with Fresh Spinach/Basil Cream Sauce

Summer-like weather has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and every day of the week, you can find an open and thriving farmers market. I love my local produce stand for their vast selection and low prices, but it's so very important to support our local farmers.

Yesterday I went to the Farmers Market in my town. It's small (one square block), but what it lacks in size it makes up for with enthusiastic vendors and produce so fresh it's as though you just picked it from your backyard.

It's too early for the warm-weather crops, but spinach and fresh basil were available today. And with just a few additional ingredients, dinner was served.


  • 1 lb. pasta, dried or fresh, (use your favorite)
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese, (ok to use reduced fat or fat-free)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, lightly packed, freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed, chopped
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in the water until al dente, about 11 minutes. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, zest, and salt and pepper. Add the spinach leaves and chopped basil.
  3. Add the hot pasta to the ricotta/spinach mixture and toss to coat. The heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach. Add the reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten the pasta.

What makes this recipe work?

  • Ricotta cheese provides a rich, creamy texture to the sauce without the use of heavy cream.
  • Lemon zest is a bright, tangy note that makes it possible to use less salt.
  • Spinach is a nutrient-rich vegetable.
  • Basil provides a pungent punch of flavor.

How To Change This Recipe

If you want a heartier meal, feel free to add a diced, cooked protein. Some suggestions are:
  • add chicken, turkey, or shrimp and some halved cherry tomatoes
  • stir in diced ham and then add chopped walnuts
  • Use cilantro in place of the basil and then add some chopped black olives and half of a finely minced jalepeno

How to Select and Store Spinach

Choose spinach that has vibrant deep green leaves and stems with no signs of yellowing. The leaves should look fresh and tender, and not be wilted or bruised. Avoid those that have a slimy coating as this is an indication of decay.
Do not wash spinach before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage. Place spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days.

Health Benefits of Spinach

Spinach might be called "the amazing disappearing vegetable", because a one-pound bag, when steamed, becomes a wilted mound that will easily fit in the palm of your hand. But what an amazing powerhouse in that tiny bit of greens. Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. One cup of the contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamins K and A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs, and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thought for Today

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.” 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Courthouse Block Quilt

Marilynn's lap quilt -- 60 x 60 inches

Today is my sister's birthday. Marilynn is 16 years my senior, so when I was a very little girl she was my idol. She worked in an office downtown--I was in awe of how smart and stylish she looked in her crisp business suits and pearl earrings. When (I thought) she wasn't looking I would try on her high heeled shoes. And when she got married, I thought she looked like a fairy princess in her wedding dress. 

Through the years she has been my confidant, my heartiest cheerleader when times were good, and my support and comfort in times of sadness. She is still everything I want to be when I grow up -- and she is my best friend.

detail of quilt

In honor of her birthday I designed a quilt for her; I share the pattern with you.

Each courthouse block (above) is 8 inches square. Follow the photograph for placement of the blocks. The center medallion is 16.5 inches square (16 inches plus quarter-inch seams).  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Thought for Today

“You weren't an accident. 

You weren't mass produced. 

You aren't an assembly-line product. 

You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.” 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oh the Places You'll Go

When my girls were growing up I was working full-time outside of the home. As a result, our minutes and moments together were priceless. Weekends were not to be wasted -- they needed to be treasured, explored, and used to the fullest.

One of our favorite activities, especially on cold, rainy days, was going to the library. Each of them found books to enjoy on their own, we would look for a cookbook from which we could prepare a special meal, and of course we would select a chapter book that I could read to them in the evening. 

Long after they had learned to read on their own, I still read to both of them at bedtime. In our first home, they shared a room. In our second home, an extra bedroom meant that they could each have a room of their own--and so I sat in the hallway between their two doorways so that both of them could hear me. 

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. --Dr. Seuss

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thought for Today

“May the love in your heart overshadow any sorrows, and may you always know with a deep inner certainty, how loved you truly are.” 

Happy Birthday to my daughter Beth. 
You were my first born -- you gave me the incredible, joyous 
gift of becoming a mother.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thought for Today

Some days we all need a little encouragement. 

"You're braver than you believe
and stronger
and smarter
than you think."

-- A. A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Welcome to my blog “The Creative Corner”. It is my hope that I can share something of interest to you each time you visit.

Who am I? I am a wife and mother. I am a gardener and will share my experiences living in the midst of a wildlife preserve.

I am a quilter and crafter and will give you new ideas and patterns.

I am a cook and baker; I believe that food should be an experience and should create a lasting memory.

And, today, to share these bits of my life with you…I am a writer.

“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift.
It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”
–Amy Tan

Let my words, photos, ideas and inspirations lead you to find your own creative gift.