The Scenic Port Orford…& Let’s Make Chili!

Paradise is where I’m at…-Voltaire

Hello, sweet friends…

You don’t need to travel abroad to find amazing places.

some of the best places can be found in our own backyard…

A satisfying occurrence for me during this pandemic time…

has been the opportunity to visit…

and explore local places in the area.

That being said…

each week just for fun (aka date day) Joe & I plan a quick local get-away.

Recently we took a less than an hour away drive…

to Port Orford…

a working fishing port…

oldest town on the Oregon coast…


although small in size…

the beaches are spectacular…

with their natural beauty…

an active and talented art community…

along with fun cafes minus the crowds

makes Port Orford the perfect day escape date day…

What’s Cooking?

I’ve been playing around with chili recipes for a while…& found this recipe to be the perfect blend of seasonings, ground beef (plant based meat for me) and beans. I garnished it with a sharp shredded cheese…however there a variety of toppings to choose from.



2 lbs. ground beef, ( I use plant based)

2 cloves garlic, diced

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup masa harina, white or yellow

15 oz. kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. pinto beans, drained and rinsed


Stove Top

Cook and crumble the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat until browned.

Drain excess grease.

Add the garlic and tomato sauce, cook for 1 minute.

Add seasonings: 2 TBS Chili Powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.

Stir to combine. Decrease heat to low.

Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Note: If the meat seems too dry after an hour, add water ½ cup of water.

Combine the masa harina with ½ cup water in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add to the chili.

Add more masa and/or water until preferred consistency is obtained.

Add the drained and rinsed beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments

A Visit To Wild Animal Park…& A Copycat Recipe For Disneyland Peanut Butter Cookies

Animals are such agreeable friends…they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
– George Eliot

Hello, sweet friends…

Today I thought it would be fun to go on an animal safari…

I mean why not…since most amusement parks are currently closed…not so amusing

and, well let’s face it… things are still feeling a bit cray cray with most of our “normal” social gatherings…

I’m game for hanging out in any environment where it’s not so challenging socially…sign me up!

I have always enjoyed zoos.

Back in my California days I often visited the Los Angeles & San Diego animal parks…

I’m not sure why I hadn’t gone to West Coast Animal Park…

and a little embarrassed to admit it took a pandemic…

for me to finally go check it out.

I’m really glad I did too because it turned out to be a nice outing…

a welcoming and very low key park.

Wearing my tennis shoes and not sandals was a good thing too, because as soon as I entered the park the goats, deer, and sheep (adult & baby) came right up to me…
those cray, cray social animals are everywhere!


This recipe is a copycat of Disneyland’s peanut butter cookies, which is my all-time favorite amusement park. The cookies are soft, chewy and easy to make. I think you will enjoy them!



1 cup butter (softened)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cups sugar (divided)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup peanut butter chips

1/4 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, and brown sugar.

Add vanilla and mix.

Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each one.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Add to mixture in mixing bowl and stir until completely combined.

Fold in peanut butter chips.

Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls.

Place 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl and roll each ball of dough in the sugar until completely covered.

Place rolled dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and gently press each dough ball down to 1/2 inch thick.

Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes.

Remove cookies and allow them to cool on their cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These cookies are very soft – you don’t want them to over bake or turn brown at all. They will continue to set-up as they cool.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking | 1 Comment

Homeward Bound…& A Recipe For Peach Cobbler

Our truest life is when we are dreams awake.
Henry David Thoreau

Hello, sweet friends…

This weekend marks one year living in our home…and so I thought it would be appropo to share how things have evolved.

So far, (due to the pandemic) half of the year in our new home has been spent at home.

There’s a big difference between living in a place that you simply rely on for necessity and…

living in a place that you really feel at home in.

I’m not certain how much the pandemic has altered my view of home…

however it has changed the way I’ve experienced it these last few months.

My thoughts now include that “Home” is where the rags in my life can be turned into quilts…lemons become lemonade…and those few extra pounds are simply welcomed as “more to love”…

That being said this past year also brought the loss of 3 beloved furry children. I’ve learned that home is where you happen to be when circumstances aren’t stellar.

So as much as I love our new home…this past year has reminded me that home is not so much a place

as it is a feeling of being accepted

and at times a dirty litter box.


What’s Cooking?

With summer coming to an end I just had to bake peach cobbler. This recipe is very easy and I only wish I would have had french vanilla ice cream to serve it with. next time

Peach Cobbler


 2 cups peeled peaches (if frozen, thaw and drain juice)

 1/4 cup butter

 1/2 cup flour

 1 cup sugar (divided)

 1 teaspoon baking powder

 1/4 teaspoon salt

 1/3 cup milk

 1 egg

 1/4 tsp. vanilla

 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 1/4 cup brown sugar

 ice cream for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. While oven preheats, put the butter in a 9-inch glass dish and place in oven until melted.

Mix flour, 2/3 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add milk and egg to flour mixture and stir to combine.Pour batter over melted butter in glass dish. – DO NOT STIR

Put the peaches in a bowl, add 1/3 cup sugar along with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Spoon peaches gently over batter. – DO NOT STIR

Sprinkle brown sugar over top of peaches and batter.

Bake cobbler for 40-45 mins or until batter is golden brown. Finish with a few minutes on broil to give it a little extra crispness on top (watch closely so it doesn’t burn).

Serve warm with French vanilla ice cream.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Our Cottage, What’s Cooking? | 6 Comments

Let’s Go To Florence…

When you love what you have, you have everything you need.

Hello, sweet friends…

Years ago Joe and I traveled to Florence, Italy. It was so beautiful. I smile as I remember those days of international travel. For now travel as we knew it is on hold.

I’m grateful there are wonderful places close to where I live that I can visit.

today I’m taking you to one of them which is just a little over an hour away.

The Florence we are visiting is one of the Oregon Coast’s leading destination towns.

With it’s scenic boardwalk…

harbor lined historic buildings…

interesting landmarks…

unique shops…

choices for coastal dining…

antique shops…

and art galleries.

it’s the perfect outing & fun get-away. I’m wondering what fun places you have close by where you live?

What’s Cooking?

Recently my niece suggested that I bake these lemon cookies. I have to admit that I’ve already baked them 3 times, and I have enjoyed the batter so much! Don’t get me wrong…the cookies are good and super easy to make…however I just love the batter!



½ cups butter softened

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 whole egg

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoons baking powder

⅛ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

½ cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Or cover with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice. Scrape sides and mix again.

Stir in flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder slowly until just combined. Scrape sides of the bowl and mix again briefly.

Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 6 Comments

It’s A “Shore” Thing…& A Great Pasta Recipe

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. -Anne Frank

Hello, sweet friend…

Well…here we are in August still dealing, coping, and doing our best in regards to staying healthy & making choices on how to do so, since March…

No doubt you need a break from everything I certainly do …so today I’m taking you for a visit to Shore Acres where you can enjoy the outdoors and all it’s beauty.

The gardens are perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean…

and fortunately for us even with the current pandemic the park is open to the public.

What’s Cooking?

This past week I decided to surprise our neighbor with a meal. She had recently gone through surgery and with her daughter being an essential worker I knew they’d appreciate a home-cooked delivery. The meal was easy to prepare. I packaged everything up with warm garlic bread, freshly shredded parmesan along with a couple of special cookies. My adorable Joe was excited to drop it off!

Tomato Olive Pasta


Salt and pepper

1 pound penne, or other short pasta 

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2/3 pound (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


Step 1 In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.

Step 2 Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until tomato juices run, about 3 minutes.

Step 3 Add penne, olives, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired. Yes of course…

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments