Cooking + Baking

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After the resounding success of our 50th birthday espresso machine, we decided to do it again. We love my homemade pizza, but the stifling heat of a 550 degree oven, especially when a craving hits in the thick of summer, is not so fun. So when I saw this wood-fired oven, we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve used it once thus far and made four pizzas. The first saw the crust catch fire, the second was a little under-done, and the third and fourth were pretty spectacular. There’s definitely more finesse involved, but we’ll get it perfect in no time!


We took my nephew Tyler to visit the graves and homesteads of our Maes-Williams-Casias(Casillas) ancestors this past weekend, keeping just ahead of the storm. I never fail to marvel at how lucky they were to live in such an astoundingly beautiful location.

Caught up in the first real warmth of the year, however desperate for green. I love my full shade hat!

It had been ages since we’d enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich! This was smoked gouda on rye with my homemade spicy tomato chutney for dipping. The word is splendid.

Our first burger of the season, also with spicy tomato chutney and a homemade brioche bun. Summer on a plate!

Does anyone else remember the 80s t-shirt of Richard Nixon – Tan, Rested, & Ready? Well, I’m not exactly tan, but am feeling refreshed, thank goodness. Could be the dazzle of sunlight on my keyboard or maybe something else. Whatever it is, I’ll take it!

Biscuits two ways! With crunchy-sugary blanched almonds and and ye olde gravy topped version with left over smoked chicken and mushrooms. Small luxuries.

Homemade minestrone, damn good. When I was a teen and bussing tables at the Italian joint, I ate this all the time, dunking crispy hunks of garlic bread like there was no tomorrow. It didn’t have zucchini noodles but did have tortellini, which was better, truth be told, but I made do.

Sunday is raw marrow bone day for the Juper-dog, and darn it if she doesn’t know. She gets it in place of her usual afternoon snack and is positively wild with anticipation. She works herself into a lather for about half an hour, utterly cleaning it of any doggy desirable, before collapsing with exhaustion on the couch. It is ALL the things and keeps her teeth clean, too.

True love…

In a strange reversal, my constant coldness pre-menopause has turned to coziness or straight up hot flashing, barefoot on the frozen porch and loving it! Poor Greg is often left shivering. So this started as a joke, a weird contraption from Poler called a Napsack that had me chuckling. It’s basically a sleeping bag with arm and leg holes! Then the genius of it sunk in, and here we are, peeps. The hubster loves it!

A fun puzzle from Michael and Mary!

In an attempt to be less wasteful, instead of donating a sheet that got a small tear (Juniper and her bed hopping!), I repaired it. Looks nifty, I think.

Parting shot…
Asian Pork Salad
Barbacoa Soft Tacos
Buffalo Chicken Zoodles with Blue Cheese – hot damn, peeps! Seriously hot.
Beer Bread – using almond meal from making milk. Yes!
Japanese Glazed Sweet Potatoes – that color!!
Cheaters Latte Art – I use a tool to make the swirls – no badass pouring here.
Chicken soft taco sticking it’s tongue out.
Pizza! Pizza! And some super fizzy Popup wine. All the things…

Aloha, dear reader! It’s been a minute since I posted a talkie type. Not gonna lie, I was a little stuck in a rut. None of the thoughts I was having seemed share worthy. Simple as that.

During that time, I did, however, make some delicious foodstuffs, and here we are with them. It had been a long while since I’d made pizza or drank wine, so why not? There were many sounds indicative of gustatory pleasure in that meal, boy howdy! In all of them, truth be told. We’ve got our system down here.

Save this past weekend, where we were out sans coats in the near seventy-degree garden doing our final rake up, it’s been feeling rather wintry. Several storms have brought actual accumulation, which has yet to fully melt. YAY! Unless something biblical occurs, we are always in need of moisture in the high desert. I will make no complaints. No, ma’am.

Hope life in your corner of the world is aces. Until next time…


My aunt and uncle (Hi Betty and Phil!) have family in Arizona, and on their holiday trip picked pounds upon pounds of grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, generously sharing the bounty. We ate many, many and had plenty more grapefruits to make marmalade! Delightfully delicious. I added some rye whiskey to a few and wow-ie, best friends in a jar.

I love me a gyro, but, for the longest time, struggled to make my own taste like the twirl on a spit restaurant variety. I am pleased to report I finally got it right. The key? Add waaaay more oregano and thyme than you think will do the trick. I also pulverized some almond flour crackers to nail the texture. A Greek salad win!

Way back in our first apartment days, we loved to eat at this little local joint called Z-Teca (It is now Q-Doba and not at all the same). My favorite all-the-things burrito thereabouts was a poblano pesto. We had ample frozen poblanos from Farmer Greg’s summer season, and I got to making my closest (and runniest) memory of it.

We simmered it with cauliflower rice and topped it with smoked scallops for a Mexican flag beautiful lunch, accompanied by roasted pepper tomato soup. Um, y e s.

Barely visible white bean and green chile soup, topped with cilantro, green onion, and jalapeno.

Smoked pork shoulder (with whizzed red & green poblanos and a touch of o.j.), pintos, and cilantro lime slaw. Southwestern flavors pretty much rule our roost, friends.

Ground chicken, zaatar, golden raisin, dried cherry, jalapeno, and carrot skillet. We served it over spinach and red lettuce.

A similar blend of Mediterranean flavors, mixed with zoodles and cabbage, with homemade pitas. Sometimes you just gotta.

More Southwestern foodstuffs: butternut squash “queso”, cauliflower lime rice, pintos, and pulled chicken. Oh, and prickly pear margaritas (scroll here for the recipe) from the fruits I harvested this fall. Woot!

Smoked chicken tacos and smoky white beans!

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