Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jerome, a great place to visit in Arizona!

I want to introduce you all to one of my favorite places in Arizona. It is the small mining town of Jerome. It is located just 20 SW of Sedona and the first time I saw it, I was reminded of what Park City UT was like when I was a child and was forced by my parents to go skiing every weekend, and I hated the cold… back to Jerome… The first time I ever saw Jerome, we had taken the kids over to see the GREAT Indian ruins of Tuzigot (you’ve got to see those also) while we were visiting Sedona. It was late in the afternoon when I looked across the valley from the ruins toward the mountains and I saw a “glimmer” half way up the side of the mountain. I asked one of the Rangers what it was and she informed me that it was Jerome. I was so intrigued that we drove over just to see it quickly. It was so amazing and quaint that we went back over the next day to spend more time. There are many galleries which aren’t really my thing, but there are also great shops and museums that tell the history of Jerome. It use to be the 3rd largest city in AZ during its’ hey-day. If you are looking for great buys on interesting things, skip Sedona and go straight to Jerome where you will find great stuff at 1/3 the price. There are some great restaurants also, one of which is “The Haunted Hamburger”. Bruce and I stayed in the "Ghost City Inn" B&B (pictured above) when we stayed for a weekend and it was great. There is also a connection to England in Jerome. One of the founders of the town was a cousin to Jennie Jerome, who is Winston Churchill’s mother, however as far as we know, she never visited the town. Another great mining town is Bisbee but we will discuss it later. Check out Jerome and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A prefect poem on "unconditional love"...

As I was working in my Shakespeare Garden, I was reading many of the quotes listed by the plants and I was reminded of my favorite Sonnet, 116. Enjoy...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This movie is a hidden gem!!!

I just finished watching (for about the 20th time) a wonderful movie called “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont”. It stars Joan Plowright, who is amazing in anything, and Rupert Friend, better known as “Mr. Wickham” in the latest “Pride and Prejudice” movie. You will fall in “love” with him in the role. It is one of those hidden gems that very few people know about but is so worth the time to find it and watch. It is a heart-warming story about an older widow who is completely ignored by her family and so she decides to be more independent and moves to London. While there, she meets a young man who is also ignored by his family and so they create their “own family”. It leaves you with the feeling of the importance of each individual and how we can positively affect another person’s life, no matter what our circumstances. It is filmed in my favorite neighborhood of London which is Lancaster Gate. I highly recommend you see this movie!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"...for I am Welsh you know good countryman..."

I just finished reading a great book entitled, “Here Be Dragons” by Sharon Kay Penman. She is one of the best Historical Fiction writers there is today, and she focuses her books in the Plantagenet /Medieval era of British history. “Here be Dragons” covers a very important period of Welsh history starting in 1189 when the Welsh king, Llewelyn the Great, was a boy and follows up through the 1230’s. It goes into great detail of his relationship and dealings with King John (you know his as Prince John from the Robin Hood stories). It was beautifully written and the author stayed with the truth chronologically. I was disappointed with some of the things I found out about King John. I had always believed he was a much better King than Richard the Lionhearted, but in this book, I found he was not a very nice Man. I guess all my life I have put certain historical figures up to a specific ideal and when I learn that my “ideal” isn’t quite true it is hard to re-adjust. Be that as it may, if you enjoy English history (and who doesn’t), or you have Welsh ancestry, you will enjoy reading this novel.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This is a great recipe!

Me and Jamie Oliver!!!

This was taken in London at his "Fifteen" restaurant where Kim Wold and I ate once when we visited. As we were eating, in walks the Man himself! What a great surprise for us. I love watching Jamie Oliver on Food Network but his recipes are really not practical to make until he did this one:
Balsamic-Baked Onions and Potatoes with Roast Pork
Available wherever books are sold.
This dish has attitude - it uses a lot of balsamic vinegar but, trust me, it works really well! The onions and potatoes are baked in the vinegar, making them crispy, dark, sticky and sweet. I've chosen to serve them with roasted pork, but beef or lamb works just as well. I prefer red onions for their color and sweetness.
3 1/2 pounds medium-sized waxy potatoes (all purpose), peeled and quartered lengthwise
Olive oil
7 ounces butter,
cubed 1 bunch fresh rosemary,
leaves picked and chopped 1 whole bulb garlic,
quartered or smashed 5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups cheap balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pork:
1 small bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons freshly ground fennel seeds 1
(3 1/2-pound) boneless rolled pork loin, preferably free-range or organic, skin off, fat scored in a crisscross pattern
Olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
4 bay leaves
2 wine glasses white wine (I used white grape juice)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for around 8 minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.
To prepare the meat, scatter a handful of finely chopped rosemary leaves over a large chopping board. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper and the ground fennel seeds. Roll the pork across the board, pressing down hard so all the flavorings stick to it.
Get a large roasting pan that your pork will fit snugly into, and place it on a burner over a medium-high heat. Pour in a little olive oil and place the pork in, fat side down, sprinkled with any flavorings remaining on the board. After a few minutes, when the pork fat is lightly golden, turn it over and add the garlic cloves, onion, celery and bay leaves to the pan. Place on the bottom shelf of your preheated oven for 1 hour, basting it halfway through. (For the last 20 minutes of cooking, you may need to cover the pork with a bit of damp waxed paper to stop it coloring too much.)
Get another roasting pan, into which you can fit the potatoes in 1 layer, and heat it on the stove. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf and cook for around 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy - removing the pan to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through.
After 1 hour, the meat should be cooked. Prick it with a sharp knife - if the juices run clear, it's done; if not, pop it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the potatoes warm. Remove it from the oven and let it rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Pour away most of the fat from the pan and mash up the garlic and onion. Place the pan over the burner and add the white wine. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, scraping all the meaty, marmitey goodness off the bottom to make a tasty little sauce, and season if necessary. Pass through a sieve into a serving pitcher. Then slice the pork and serve it with your incredible baked onions and potatoes, drizzled with the pan juices. This meal goes great with some nice greens or an arugula salad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cool and easy summer treat

Here is a great recipe for a no-bake cookie. Here in AZ it is too hot to cook, so swimming is our only other activity and this recipe is perfect for those extra hot days.


Butterscotch No-bakes

1 pkg. (12 oz) butterscotch chips
½ c peanut butter
4-5 cups cornflakes
Chopped nuts opt.
Slowly melt chips and peanut butter until smooth. Add cereal and coat well. Spoon onto cookie sheets and refrigerate until hard. EAT!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Take a trip to Narnia

If you are a fan of the CS Lewis books or the movies, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”, or “Prince Caspian”, you can’t missed the Narnia exhibit at the Arizona Science Center. It opened on the 9th of June and Douglas Grisham, Lewis’ step son, (watch the movie “The Shadowlands”) was there to open it. It is AMAZING! Take a child with you who has seen the movie. It is magical to watch them go thru the exhibit, and then go back again without them so you can enjoy it at a more leisurely pace. I took 6 of my grandkids and it was magical to watch them go through the “wardrobe” and into Narnia. This gift shop is great also. Check it out! Then when you are so impressed, pick up one of his books and read it. What an amazing Man!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The artichoke is the most amazing plant. I usually plant them in the fall and wait all winter for them to grow. Then in April the waiting is over and for about 8 weeks I am in heaven eating steamed artichokes whenever I want, either dipped in Italian dressing, or a butter and lemon combination. Then when we are totally sick of them and they are still growing abundantly, a miracle happens. If I leave them on the stalk, they open into the most beautiful flower with the most brilliant florescent purple hue you can ever imagine. It never ceases to amaze me. I think I remember year to year how bright they are but my memory never does it justice. The Thistle is such a beautiful flower no matter what the size.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It’s amazing to me how I think I have so much to write about until I actually sit down to do it, then my mind goes blank. I think the motto of my blog should be a quote from Shakespeare’s play, “Measure for Measure”:

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

Too many times in my life I have missed out of doing things because of my doubts but now I try not to. Here is another of my favorite quotes of his, (I promise no more than two Shakespeare quotes per-posting):
“Henry the Fourth, Part One”, It says:

“The time of life is short, to spend that shortness basely…”

I think that is great advice to remember in our day to day living.
There’s more great advice from the Bard that I will give you from time to time. Just wait until I am in a CS Lewis mood!

Below are a few pictures from our Shakepeare Birthday Dinner that we had in April. His birthday is April 23 and this year he would have been 444 years old. My kids and friends like to humor me because it is a great excuse to dress up, and to make the guys wear a great hat, which only Michael left on past the taking of the pictures.