Sunday, June 11, 2017

Week 77, 6-11-2017

Thoughts and Quotes:   Aspire to inspire before you expire. Eugene Bell, Jr.

Bev sent me a forward of amazing sculptures and at the very end I found this quote, but without the author. I Googled him, and found a box of treasure buried in the internet. He wrote a book called What are YOU waiting for?. You can find it at Amazon.  He also has a blog which he started in February of 2011. I like this guy, and I think you will, too. Here's the LINK. This will be my evening, just before bed, fun time. I'm going to read every post.

After reading this quote, I realized that's exactly what I set out to do when I started these books. I wrote this foreword for the tea book ages ago:


Regardless of age, inside every grown woman there’s a little girl who will promptly appear at the mention of a tea party.  Let’s release the little girls – bring out the teapots!

We’re all busy, we don’t have proper tea party paraphernalia, we’re on a diet, and we’re on a budget.  But – here’s some good news.  Teas are the easiest way to entertain and the least expensive.  Here you will find easy recipes for an afternoon tea using inexpensive super market ingredients. 

Here’s the next good news – you don’t have to wreck the budget.  You can set a beautiful table shopping Craigslist, thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.  And the hunt is exciting – like searching for buried treasure.  Afternoon tea doesn’t have to mean china cups, a silver tea service, and white linens.  We all enjoy a beautiful formal tea, but everyday tables can be exciting, too.

Now about that diet – more good news.  A few finger sandwiches, a scone, and a couple of little cookies have fewer calories than a meal of meat and potatoes, salad or vegetable, and dessert.  Entertain your lady friends with teas.  When entertaining couples, go out to eat so you can select items which fit with your diet and you can skip dessert if you wish.

The best good news – these teas take place in the afternoon.  Working girls have plenty of time on a Saturday morning to prepare for a tea that same afternoon.  And some things can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated.  We retired ladies are lucky – we can work a tea into our schedule very easily.

I’ve prepared a year of twelve teas for you.  There are three for each season; you can do a tea each month and impress your friends.  Each tea has recipes for two savories, two sweets, and scones with accompaniments; tables using mostly bargain finds, and a plan to make it easy. 

If  you’d rather host a tea luncheon, simply expand the tea at the beginning with a cup of soup or a fruit cup, in the middle with additional savories, and at the end by adding a cake or tart.  You’ll still need only one kind of scone, and don’t omit them because they sound difficult.  They’re really quite easy and I’ll give you tips along the way.

Okay, ladies, choose a tea and let’s party.  Oh, and don’t forget to watch for some fun hats when you’re shopping for your table items.  You might want to do a fancy tea someday. 

I started Theme Dining years ago. I did it for fun and invited guests. I hadn't the foggiest notion that I'd one day want to make a book, A Year of Everyday Theme Dining (24 meals), and then another book, A Year of Everyday Tablescapes (52 of them), and another book, A Year of Everyday Teas, (12 of them)

I began thinking that perhaps I could inspire the young adults to get back to family dinner at a table, with no TV and no cell phones, or to add some fun to meals by making a theme, or inspire ladies to prepare a tea (they love visiting tea rooms). 

So now you know why I have to finish this project before I expire - I aspire to inspire. Hope it works.

Theme Dining: The final June assignment, so I can get an early start on July. This one is Aloha Luau Lunch.
The Invitation

The Table

The Menu

The Food

The Recipes


Make a tossed salad and add cubes of Spam (More Spam is sold in Hawaii than any other state).


1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs pineapple juice
1 Tbs (packed) brown sugar

Blend well and chill.


1-3/4 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup water (if using a really salty brand like Kikkoman)
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
8 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
1-2 lbs. beef flank steak, thinly sliced diagonal to the grain.

Mix marinade and taste. Add more sugar, if desired.

Soak meat in marinade several hours or overnight.

String onto bamboo or metal skewers and broil 1-3 minutes; flip and broil another 1-3 minutes. They cook very quickly. Broiling time will depend on the thickness of the meat and doneness preference.


Bone-in or rolled pork butt roast
Salt and pepper
Liquid Smoke (optional)

Rub roast with Liquid Smoke (if desired).

Salt and pepper on all sides.

Place in a slow cooker. Don’t add water. Cover tightly.

Cook on low until done. Cooking time will depend on size of roast. Six pounds will take 8-10 hours.

Remove when tender and shred with forks. Discard any fat as you go and moisten shreds with drippings as you shred.

Note: Add barbecue to any leftovers for pulled pork sandwiches.


2 Tbs butter (divided)
1 egg
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup cooked peas
1-1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 cup diced cooked meat (to make it an entrée)
3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Scramble egg in 1 Tbs butter and set aside.

Cook onion in the same skillet on low in remaining butter.

Add rice, meat (if using) and peas to skillet and stir and heat.

Add soy sauce and cook another minute.

Gently stir in egg.

Garnish with green onions, if desired.

To make Buttered Sweet Potatoes, bake them first, peel, slice and arrange on serving plate. Refrigerate until just before serving, heat in microwave, and brush with melted butter.

(I found the recipe on the Kitchen Bliss blog, her version of a recipe from the Hana Maui Botanical Gardens on the 1st Travelers Choice Internet)

3 small very ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Heat the oven to 350°.

Blend together the bananas, shortening, and eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and then gently fold them into the banana mixture. 

Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.  Thump once to remove air pockets.  Bake 40-45 minutes.  Cool before cutting.

The original recipe says to bake in a 9 x 9 square pan sprayed with non-stick spray and then cut into squares.


4 cups flour
2 Tbs baking powder (yes, 2 Tbs)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained.

Heat oven to 425°.

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Mix eggs, milk and butter in another bowl; add to dry ingredients.

Stir in pineapple and mix well.

Spoon into greased muffin pans, 3/4 full.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins.

(5 Ingredients or Less Cookbook)

1 pkg white cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 15 oz can cream of coconut
1 8 oz. Cool Whip
7 oz shredded coconut

Bake the cake in a 13” X 9” pan as directed on the package.

Mix condensed milk with cream of coconut. Set aside.

While cake is warm, pierce all over top with a fork.

Spread  condensed milk and cream of coconut all over the cake evenly.

Cool cake in the refrigerator.

Frost with Cool Whip and sprinkle with coconut.

Note: Look for cream of coconut in the liquor or international foods sections. One brand is Coco Lopez.


                This recipe is a collaboration between Betty Crocker, Brother Dan, and Moi

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs butter
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 20 oz can sliced pineapple in heavy syrup
1 jar small whole red maraschino cherries
1 small pkg pecan halves (optional)
1 Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake mix
1 cup Dole (not from concentrate) pineapple juice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

Place the 1/4 cup butter in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish.  Melt in oven while preheating to 350°.

When butter has melted, sprinkle brown sugar over evenly and using a fork, smooth so entire bottom of pan is covered.  When pan has cooled, spread the remaining 2 Tbs butter over the sides of the pan.  If you get a few sugar crumbs on the sides, no problem.

Put the pineapple, cherries and pecans (if using) decoratively on top of the brown sugar.  The cake will be flipped, so be sure to put the side you want showing next to the sugar.

Put cake mix, juice, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer on low, blend together; then beat on medium for two minutes.  Pour over pineapple and smooth evenly.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.  Get your serving dish ready.

Remove from oven and immediately place serving dish over top of cake and flip.  Leave the baking pan over the cake for 5 minutes to allow glaze to disperse.

 The Party Favors

The guests wore the leis and then took them home.

The Pepper Report: Dr. got tied up on an emergency surgery, so our Friday appointment got moved to Monday. I'm sure he'll get a release because his eye looks perfectly normal again. This is Pepper before his accident when he was a wild outdoor kitty. 

Thank You: To Kelly's family for my scrumptious carrot cake. We celebrated Sonny's birthday on Saturday. For those of you who don't know, Sonny was my brother and Kelly's father, who was killed in an auto accident February of 2015. 

Years ago I read a book called Having Our Say, The First 100 Years. It was written by the Delaney sisters who lived to be 105 and 106. They said they lived this long because "We never had husbands to drive us crazy". Here's the LINK. It's a wonderful book. 

The sisters came from a large family and after their father died, they continued to celebrate his birthday by having a big get together with the entire family, and they cooked all the father's favorite foods.

I thought this sounded like a wonderful idea. I started celebrating my aunt's birthday after she passed by taking a guest or guests to a lady lunch or a tea - something my aunt would have wanted to do. Later I added my two aunts, my two grandmothers, my mother, and recently my two cousins. I always do something which relates to the person whose life I'm celebrating. For instance, I always cook white beans, and my mother always cooked pinto beans, so last month some friends and I went to Rosie Jo's and had ham and pinto beans on my mother's birthday. I used to spend Saturday night with one of my grandmothers quite often, and she'd get up Sunday and make a wonderful breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hot biscuits before we went to church. And don't dig down in the jelly jar - skim it from the top or you get in trouble. On her birthday, I have to eat biscuits with whatever, preferably breakfast.

When we lost Sonny, I added him to our birthday celebration list. Friends and relatives gathered for lunch on Saturday and then went to the Botanical Center to see his memorial brick in the walk leading to the Hosta Garden. And that's when Kelly's family brought me a carrot cake - Sonny's favorite. Kelly's daughter, Nana (sorry if I misspelled your name, Dear) has a summer job at a bakery where they make only Bundt cakes. She puts the frosting on them. I thought it was such a clever idea, I thought you might like to hear about it. (Nana says she wants to make enough money to buy a car so she doesn't have to spend her senior year of high school riding the big yellow bus).

This is on the top of the box it came in

And this is on the box flap

They have several sizes - 8" or 10", Bundtlets, and Bundtinis.

Nine classic flavors plus rotating special flavors

Brother Bill, Niece Sarah, and I sat in the Hosta Garden and talked after everyone left. Bill said that he'd run up to the gift shop and get us some bottles of water. I told him to check with the desk (they know us because of Chosen Brother Peter), and see if they'd give us three paper plates and plastic forks so we could have some cake, too. I thought I might have a plastic knife in my glove compartment. No knife, but we found that my ice scraper was perfect for cutting cake. Hey, it's clean. It has never touched even one ice crystal. If there's ice, I'm home. The cake is delicious.

Time for Others: Joey shared some birthday cards she made this week. I knew all you cardmakers would love to see them, so here goes -

For someone in her book club

For her son, who's a supervisor on the railroad

For her cousin who has a farm and raises cattle

Doesn't she do a wonderful job?

Thrifting: Remember the Lazy Daisy Lunch?

I believe it will have to be redone, because I made a wonderful buy on Craigslist. I'll show you next week.









  1. Everything looks amazing, Patsy! The table, the! And Pepper is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing, and I really appreciate your kind comments on my blog posts. I hope you have a great week ahead!

    1. Pepper is still beautiful to me, even with all his scars. He's a sweet loveable kitty. A call him my pilot kitty, because he "swims" beside me when I walk, just like a pilot fish.

  2. It is always a joy to visit and be inspired by your wonderful themes and menus, thank you for sharing.

    1. Can you believe it? We're halfway through. I can get an early start on July now.

      You're going to love the dishes I bought on Craigslist. I'll show you next week.

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed the carrot cake Patsy! I read the butterfly one and that just sent chills down my spine. I'm also going to try some of those recipes you have on here for sure!

    ~Nana (Kelly's Daughter)

    1. So sorry I didn't know how to spell your nickname. I've fixed it now.

      Hope you do try some of my recipes. If you're a B-----k, you like to cook, even the men.

      I froze the rest of the cake to save for the 4th of July. We're having another Gathering of the Clan. I'll email your dad about it. Love, Aunt Patsy

  4. Hello Dearest!
    Love that quote! And I love your foreward!! So beautiful and so many wonderful points and tips!! I love the luau table and menu - how fun and a unique one to think to do!!

    I love the birthday tradition for the loved ones...that is just so cool. What a beautiful - and FUN - way to celebrate them. And happy to hear sweet Pepper is doing better. Hugs and kisses to you both!! xoxo

  5. Pepper saw the Dr. this morning and got his nails clipped. Eye is better - just continue putting the antibiotics in morning and evening and we don't have to go back. Yay!

    Been running since early morning and it's 10:00 p.m. Going to check out your blog and crash. Love to you and yours, P