this used to be our family blog entitled "British Royalty versus the Ramsey Clan" (since i'm descended from King Edward II and jon is a descendant from the Ramsay Clan) but since jon never participated, and my mom is the only one who reads this, it is now a format for writing her letters. I mean, for writing you letters, mom.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Afternoon (2014)

there is never a dull moment with seda:

 And here is another photoshoot... i feel like the photos speak for themselves:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dear Mom,

i needed a change and cut my hair:

jon requested an italian sausage and spinach pie, so i didn't cheat and made my own homemade crust:

for the filling i made my own sausage, and our enormous bag of spinach from costco came in handy.  it also had cheeses in it:

...the bottom crust crisping up first:

...and the dinner pie all baked:

for fourth of july, the dogs relaxed with their favorite people:

piper & tim:

...we relaxed in the air conditioning, tim made us a gourmet meal, and we watched funny movies.  i was too tired to stay awake for the fireworks, but i managed to see flashes through the curtains... or, what i thought were fireworks... but the next day we read in the news that a young boy was hit by a car while riding his bike right at the intersection of our building... so the flashing lights were firetrucks, etc.  

i had my glucose test today at my appointment, so we'll see if i'm sugar-sensitive.  i also got to have my vitamin-d levels tested.  we'll see how minnesotan my blood is.

time for a nap!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Mom,

here is a photo of the indian food i made that i told you about in an email.  it's my favorite cuisine (besides italian) to make now.  mainly because i get to use sooooooooo many flavorful spices that smell (and taste) so amazing... plus it's always so low fat.  this day, i made spicy baked cauliflower & sweet and sour Balti shrimp:

a week ago, i went visiting teaching, and my partner is a photographer, and took some pictures.  this family (of the little girl i'm holding - who wears cute little girl glasses) is moving soon... the ward is very sad:

WE GOT FURNITURE!!!... which you know, because it's yours.  THANK YOU thank you THANK you!!!  we have never been more comfortable in our lives!  and now, our living room is my favorite - a beautiful burnt orange and gold.  i love even just looking at it.  

that night, we all lounged and watched about four movies together:

margie can't decide which couch to pick as her spot because she loves all the furniture too much.  she's doing really well being gentle on the furniture too.

phineas is in love with the orange loveseats and hiding underneath the big couch - just like our old cats used to do:

everybody enjoys a comfy nap now!

here's an awesome photo of me and jon; i don't know what happened to his face; maybe he had a disease that day:

and this was a day when i ate a big burrito.  i look so fat!  

5.5 months pregnant

yesterday, to spoil us both for father's day, jon practiced his Iron Chef gourmet skills... he boiled rice in chicken stock, marinated shrimp in an asian barbeque sauce he made up, grilled the shrimp on metal skewers over our gas stove, made little hearts out of the rice, topped with the shrimp, drizzled with the sauce reduction, and lightened it all up with cucumber shreds around the edges.  it was sooooooooooooooooooooo delicious:

a close-up

later, he made, from scratch, organic/free-trade hot-lava brownies (perfect gooey brownies with melty pieces of chocolate chunks in the middle oozing out heavenly).

he still insults himself that he can't cook or bake.  

i beg to differ.

Hope you have fun in Mississippi!  say "hey" to everyone for me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear Mom,

Jon and Tim have a tradition where they buy their nieces and nephews the most obnoxious gifts mainly to annoy the parents.  The funny thing is, the kids frequently end up liking those gifts the best.
One morning, Margie was barking incessantly at the patio door, and i was back in the bedroom, so i yelled, "What on earth are you barking at!!?"  and i walked into the living room to find this on our patio, staring in:

I immediately knew it was Tim's doing.  And, i thought: "huh, the first obnoxious present , i guess."  So, i brought it inside and put it in the baby room.  Mind you, it was so big, i could barely get it through the sliding-glass door.  A few minutes later, i emailed jon a photo of it, and he wrote back saying, "you know, that was by the dumpster this morning... i thought of doing the same thing to tim."  Eeeeeewwwwwww... so, cooties and all, i rushed it back out to the dumpster.  Oddly a few hours later, it was in a garage of a family that stock piles all kinds of horded goodies.  I often wondered where they got all their stuff.

The other day, i decided to try to make "healthy" chocolate chip cookies.  And it was a SUCCESS!  i looked up recipes online using whole wheat flour, and tweaked them a bit and came up with my own recipe.  you HAVE to try them, especially if dad is craving a sweet treat.  They are completely whole grain, but NOT at all healthy tasting.  mmmmm they're so good, but with a little less guilt.  I did an experiment on the baking time... see it and recipe below...

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 egg 
1 Tbsp. molasses

(mix well, then add):

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour (or oatmeal flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
organic chocolate chips
chopped pecans

Oven: 375ยบ F
Bake: 8 min. for chewy cookies
11 min. for perfect cookies
12-13 min. for crunchy cookies

This morning, as i was walking out my patio door to take some picture of the plants you planted for me, in bloom now, a very brave, huge, beautiful butterfly was tasting all of my flowers... 

it kept letting me get closer...

and closer...

and closer...  and this was not taken with a close-up lens.  you can see its eyeballs in this photo!

...i stood there as long as it did, watching it uncurl its "tongue" into my "mini-petunias" (calibrachoa), and it seemed to prefer the purple ones.  he really didn't mind that i was watching him or taking pictures.  he let me get as close at a few inches away.  
it reminded me of the time i came home from school - kindergarten i think - one hot sunny afternoon, and spotted a monarch on the flowers that Marilyn Grover grew around the mailboxes.  I tiptoed so silently and slowly up to the butterfly and reached my arm so carefully, closer and closer, until i pinched it by its wings.  i was stunned i was able to catch it.  then i brought it to you and you "prepared" it for Erin Hill because she was a big kid in 6th grade and was collecting insects for science class.  i was glad i was able to help her out as only a 6 year old.

The plants are loving their new home where you planted them along my windows:

Sadly, a squirrel or some other animal dug up the bleeding heart and left a big hole like unfinished surgery on the ground.  So, i planted, in its place for now, the pink "we're having a girl" gerbera daisies:

People stop and stare at the new plants and blossoms as they walk in and out of the back door to our apartment building now.  the yellow flowers are doing exceptionally well, and the hydrangeas are growing rapidly... maybe i'll even get some blooms this year!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dear Mom,

i made the most amazing dessert with the rhubarb you gave me from your garden.  it stemmed from the day you gave it to me and asked what i thought rhubarb tasted like, if i had to explain it to someone who'd never tasted it, and we both said, "like a really tart kiwi."

so, i had all this rhubarb, and a bulk carton of kiwi fruit, and decided they should become married in a dessert.

i found a martha stewart recipe online for rhubarb berry crumble, and changed it a bit, and it ended up making the most delicious dessert i've tasted in a long time (that didn't have chocolate in it).  you HAVE to try it sometime...

here's the recipe:


3 cups rhubarb, chopped 1/4" pieces
3 kiwi fruits, skin on, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 zest of one orange (use leftover 1/4 zest for crumble topping)
fresh orange juice from half an orange
pinch of salt

(mix and pour into shallow 9 x 13 " baking dish and let sit 15 minutes)

*crumble topping*

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 (the leftover) orange zest
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups flour (cookie dough texture)
pinch salt 

(mix and sprinkle 1/2" balls over top of mixture in baking dish)

Oven: 375 degrees F 
Bake: 60 minutes or until golden brown, bubbling sides

serve over ice cream or yogurt if desired... but i liked it best alone.

mmmmmmmmmmmm!  Thanks for the rhubarb!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Mom,

A couple months ago, i decided to stop making whole wheat bread for sandwiches and regular eating.  My homemade wheat bread couldn't compete with the rise and softness of artisan bakeries.  

But, i did have success making jon's favorite bread, a french baguette:


Then in April, Phineas the cat, and Margie and i had a nice warm spring on the upstairs balcony while the trees were blossoming.  It was one of our last times to relax outside before moving downstairs.

When we moved to the two-bedroom apartment right below us in May, Margie got a present from Grandma Pat (a dog bed) that she lovingly shared with Phineas. See, dogs and cats can be friends:

Jon bought these for me the day before mother's day.  I asked him if they were pink because he thought we were having a girl and he agreed.  Two days later, we found out we were indeed having a girl.  So, i took this picture as a memento for daddy's girl:

About a week ago, as you know, you came to help me garden around our patio (which is encouraged by the apartment manager) with very nice plants from your gardens.  By "help" i mean, you "did" all of the work, as i remember doing nothing... which was nice and relaxing for me.  It reminded me of watching you garden when i was a little girl... i would lie in the grass and watch you pull weeds out of the flower beds or pick thousands of raspberries while getting attacked by thousands of mosquitoes.

After you left, it rained heavily for days and days - the plants seemed to love that, because they are doing very well... and even that Hydrangea you thought would die as perked up and has many green leaves on it.  This was taken on a cloudy day (today), so you can't see how well they look, but the buttercups are blooming, along with the little dark red flowers, and the coral bells (liz flowers) are shooting out new buds.  I could've taken some close ups, but i like this long shot so you can see how pretty it is underneath my windows:

And here is the hosta on the other side of the patio.  It has really liked the rain and had gotten greener each day, i think:

My flower pots are doing exceptionally well considering they survived several heavy-fat-rain thunder storms.  Although, the hanging plant (cashmere) does like to be brought inside during super heavy rain or else it loses too many blossoms.  It almost looks like we live in a field!

And here's the other pots:

Hopefully it'll get warm again and we'll have some hot sunny days.  I'm ready for that.