Grandma’s Cooking School: Ultra Chocolately Brownies

Sophia is away at camp this week. Avery chose Ultra Chocolately Brownies to make today. Lauren really didn’t want to butter the pan with her fingers, but she persevered.Avery is so good at cracking eggs into the bowl.While they baked, time to play.They did NOT end up in a pile like this at the bottom, they staged this picture and I was asked to take about 10 shots.The brownies were delicious, very fudgy.

Thursday @ Merrilyn’s

I think Merrilyn called today a Tartapalooza. She made Tomato Gruyere Tart on a pie-crust base. I made Artichoke Feta Tart and a variation with roasted red peppers and black olives on puff pastry.For dessert, Phyl made Oreo Mousse Parfaits. Because our usual photographer (Merrilyn’s husband Bob) wasn’t back from his errands in time, we took multiple pictures of us in pairs. I will have to show Merrilyn and Phyl which button to press to take a picture because this is the only picture that was on my camera (lol):

Sophia’s swim practice

The most enthusiastic person who goes to swim practice is Avery. Even when Sophia isn’t feeling well, he suggests she come along anyway and sit in a nearby chair so he can do his own swim practice. His skills are improving within his 8-foot-square corner of lane 1.We make a couple of rotations from big pool to hot tub (no bubbles please) to baby pool (where he swims more like a hippo, feet and hands touching the bottom when needed.Meanwhile in lane 8, Sophia persevered. She really is a good swimmer.

Luau party

Phyl and I went to a Luau party this evening at the clubhouse.Almost everyone wears a name tag which eliminates the problem of remembering names. Table 4:Really good food catered by Hannibal’s.Entertainment.Audience participation.

San Giovanni Day

This is THE day to make nocino at Justin’s.We started with breakfast.In (limited) keeping with ancient nocino tradition, this year five (not) barefoot (not) virgins gathered the green walnuts: Phyl, Maria, Val L, and Val S.We chopped, zested, and measured all the ingredients, then added a bottle of 100 proof vodka.We ended by tasting the 2016 batch of nocino.Fun! For the next 40 days, I will “agitate” the nocino jar once/day. One online source of information described it this way, “the soaking liquid will first turn sinister green then the tea-brown of bayou swamp water, [and eventually] black as cowboy coffee.”


I made the most delicious Salmon Taquitos with Avocado Cream last night, but did I really want to eat 3 more servings? Solution: invite friends over for drinks & snacks.Thank you, Dave, for the gift of a hammer appropriate for me … bottle-opener on one end.

Grandma’s Cooking School: Smoothies

Thank you Lauren for being the cheerleader to get this going. Grocery list:I will probably skip the grocery list/shopping step the next time we do this … because there is way too much stuff in the cart that has nothing to do with smoothies.Lauren made pina colada smoothies.Sophia made strawberry-guava which required additional sugar to be palatable and was ranked #3/3 by four taste-testers.Avery made very berry.Time for several games of Hide and Seek. The “it” person rode the stick horse and pressed one ear or the other to make clippity-cloppity sounds or a lot of neighing.The places they tucked themselves into were remarkable.Later in the afternoon, it was time for swim practice.Behind those towels is the meanest (most hilarious) face you can imagine.