Our friend/Sister by choice


32F655A6-3172-4A5D-92F5-6185A38AB7E7.jpegWhen my sister and I were in junior high and our mother was teaching school there, a terrible thing happened to one of her students.  Her family lost everything in a home fire!  Mom knew how hard it would be for a junior high student to change schools in the middle of the year so she arranged for her to move in with us. There was no money involved, just love. My sister and I were used to having extra people stay with us. It might be family members  down on their luck, or grandparents who could no longer maintain their homes,  or long distant friends who often came to visit. So a young girl moving in with us was a treat. She came from a family with eleven children, and you’d think to loose one for a little while would be a welcomed change. After all, that would be one less mouth to feed, a little less laundry to wash, and one less voice you’d hear arguing with siblings. But it was just the opposite! Even with all those other children around, she was missed terribly. It was the love of her parents that gave them the courage to allow her to stay with us for awhile so she could finish out the school year and start fresh in the fall at her new school. Mother and her teacher friends arranged for clothes to be given to her and, of course, my sister and I were more than happy to share our things as well. Her name was Darlene Adams, and with so many sisters and 2 older brothers, she knew exactly how to get along with all of us without any jealousy. She admired Mom so much and appreciated what she was doing for her that when Saturday’s came and we had  our chores to do, she willingly joined in and made it so much fun. The time flew by.  She was always laughing about something and had us laughing, too.

Since Darlene is one of my best followers and a dear friend, I wanted to share a couple of her recipes and her own memories with you.


Here’s one of Darlene’s family favorites:

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Waldorf salad with a twist 


Leave it to my California Chef Sister to add a pear to this already deliciously good salad. So with this new idea I decided to look up information on pears. I found out that most pears come from Oregon and Washington and most varieties have a long season from August to May. So why don’t we use them more? Well when you pick them up in the produce area of grocery store they feel hard and if you were to push on them it would cause them to bruise and rot. What to do? Be patient! Buy them, bring them home and put them in a brown paper bag for a day or two then eat them like they are or use them in a variety of different recipes.


Halloween/Devilish eggs

Pinterest is wonderful and I use it all the time.  To make these eggs you boil for ten minutes. Cool then take out the yellow part, mash to make small crumbs then sit aside. Mix mayonnaise with a few drops of mustard then add small diced sweet pickles. Add a little salt and pepper and taste. Add more of what you think it needs then mix again. You add this mixture to the egg crumbles till the texture is how youblije it. Not too dry, yet not too runny. Put this mixture into the white eggs then make whatever you want on top. Spiders were perfect for Halloween.🕷🕷🕷

And don’t forget the apple slices with peanut butter and marshmallows!

Our Aunt Wanda Belle Tacy/And Lemons. #lemons

imageI like lemons and put them in my water all the time. But I’ve never met anyone who liked lemons more than my Aunt Wanda. Through the years she put lemons in everything she made from  cookies, cakes, frosting, candies, puddings and tarts. She served lemonade  and lemon sherbet. She was a great cook and prepared many meals for everyone she knew and if you took the time while eating you’d probably taste a hint of lemon in most things she made. She said the secret ingredient in most things was lemon. Added to spaghetti sauce or chili brought out the flavors of all the other vegetables  It makes me sad to think that my sweet aunt passed away on August 31, 2016. But I can’t dwell on that for long because she was so ready to see her Living God as she would say and point to heaven while in her hospital bed. Still she fought hard to get rid of the pneumonia in her lungs. She would try to eat even when she wasn’t hungry. She’d sit up and cough and take small steps around the room. But in the end  she was really sick and very weak and she told me we have to trust God because He knows what’s best for us. 🙏

I have made lemon squares in her honor and I’m asking any of you to fix your favorite lemon recipe and send it to me and I will add it to this blog. She would have  liked this. Happy cooking! 🍋🍋🍋

image.jpegMix crust with 1/2 c butter, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place in the bottom of an 8×8 pan or tart pan like I did here. Bake 335 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix 2eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T fresh lemon juice and the jest of I lemon.

When the crust is done pour the mixture on the hot crust. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

PS  A special note of thanks to Lindsay’s Bakery for the delicious lemon coffee cake I took to Aunt Wanda at the hospital to help her and Uncle Bob celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. She liked it so much she ate two pieces and we still had plenty to pass out to all the nurses on her floor. 💕

My greatgrandfather’s basket/Fruit tarts


I never knew my great grandfather, Daniel Thomas Eye, very well, but I remember he was a gentle, kind man that enjoyed making baskets. He had a small one room cabin down by the creek where he could put the little oak trees he gathered while walking in the woods and allow the constant water to run over them to make them soft enough to work with. As a kid I loved seeing all his baskets and the cabin even had a bed and coffee pot for him to use whenever he wanted. Now he had a room in his daughter’s house that was just up the hill but when he got busy he could always sleep in his cabin if he wanted to.  As a child his cabin looked like a big doll house to me and my sister. We loved being down there and the creek provided hours of fun too. The water was cool and a perfect place to be on hot summer days. When growing up we got to spend a lot of time in West Virginia with our relatives on our mom’s side. They all seemed to be so good at what they set out to do. Whether it be baking or canning or farming or in this case basket weaving, they would take pride in their work and soon became professionals at it. Since my mother, Anna Lee Tracy Brevard, was Pap Eye’s first grandchild and I was his first great granddaughter, he made me the smallest basket he ever made. I’ve kept it with joy and then my daughter, Heather Atkinson, used it in her wedding to hold the rose pedals her little flower girl sprinkled as she walked down the aisle. So down through the generations we are still using these beautiful baskets made with perfection.




Note: Steve Spicer from Circleville, Ohio has made these baskets for years and won many art contests for his expert craftmenship.

California/ Blueberry Muffins

I love baking in Alycia’s kitchen. The view from her window is spectacular and since you don’t have to worry about flying bugs she leaves the glass double doors open. She lives up high in the hills of Santa Barbara and you can see all the way to the ocean. The wind is almost always blowing and yet the sun is warm. Since I had hidden some of these delicious blueberries we picked at the blueberry farm I had enough left to make blueberry muffins with pecans this morning.


Outside Santa Barbara//Blueberries

Besides eating all you want of these luscious blueberries we were able to bring enough home to make this wonderful blueberry buckle recipe from a grandmother of one of Alycia’s friends. I love recipes passed down through the generations. As you can tell from the picture Heather and her younger kids and I are visiting my sister and her family again in Southern California for our yearly reunion.image

Hopland,California/Baked Strawberry Short Cake

imageMy sister spent Memorial Day weekend in Hopland, California and what a wonderful place to be. It’s located about two hours north of San Francisco off US Rt 101. It’s a small town of barely 800 people, but surrounded by beautiful vineyards and wine tasting venues. When I was there a few years ago we walked down to the closest winery and found it to be much more than a store to buy or taste wine. The manager took us on a tour of the whole area  where they grow vegetables and fruits, and since it was the end of the season he allowed us, including all the grandchildren, to pick to their hearts content. We went back to the casitas and immediately baked in olive oil the freshest asparagus to the delight of everyone! This time of year Doug Tomlinson’s, my nephew, gardens are full of various kinds of lettuce and herbs.

imageHe plants in large pots and wine barrels which he should have no problem finding considering where this is! So while the family picked and gathered fresh strawberries and cherries, I came up with a baked strawberry shortcake in which to use these tasty treats. Use a lot of berries or cherries in this recipe. For me the more fruit, the better!img_5300image


Now isn’t this the perfect ending to a perfect day? Let’s eat dessert!🍓🍓

Note: Thanks to Rose Tomlinson for the photos.