Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As a writer, I read a lot of books. Many of them are written by authors that I've met. Such is the case with Counting the Cost by Liz Adair. Although I don't know her well personally, Liz belongs to my writer's group, ANWA, and since she's been to my house, I can call her friend.

Counting the Cost is a masterful story spun by Liz Adair. Set in the 1930’s when the west was still being tamed, we meet Heck Benham living the cowboy life—and working toward his dream in rural New Mexico. When Ruth Reynolds, a socialite from back east moves to town, both of their lives are changed forever.

Is love an undeniable force that those struck by it are helpless to deny? What is the personal cost of loving someone from a different culture or with a different value system? Can two completely different people live happily ever after? These questions are entertained throughout the book as Heck and Ruth try to meld their lives into the one great whole they can both be happy with.

Counting the Cost is told with authority and detail, and we willingly immerse ourselves into a life where the path to the outhouse out back is standard fare, and indoor plumbing is for snooty rich folk. The characters are portrayed vividly and we sympathize with them—laugh with them—and cry with them as they struggle through the journey called life.

Counting the Cost by Liz Adair is a must-read.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thoughts on Life

Where does the time go? We moved to a small town to kick back a bit, take time to smell the roses. But, instead of kicking back, we've become busier than ever. It goes to show that you can take the horse out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the horse. Haha, a little country humor there.
It's got to end somewhere though, because It's gotten to the point where I'm starting to lose things--to be forgetful. I went to put on my watch Sunday, but before I got it strapped to my wrist, I lost it. I searched for two days for that silly thing, and only found it after asking my kids if they had seen it. My daughter found it in the bathroom under my blouse.
Today, my husband invited me out to lunch. We got to the restaurant and were seated when I remembered a small amount of ground beef that I had been warming on the stove when he called. I didn't remember turning off the gas. My husband handed me the keys and I rushed home to discover my home was safe--I had turned the stove off. Now, I refuse to even consider the idea that these events are because of increased age. No, it's definately due to overscheduling every moment of my life. What I need is a vacation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

There's Nothing Better than a Lemon Bar

I tried a new recipe today. It always brings me joy when a new recipe turns out as yummy as it looks on paper--especially when I'm serving it to company. Such was the case today. My sister brought me a bag of fresh lemons, and so today I decided to make lemon bars. This one is slightly different, yet yummy and easy to prepare.

Lemon Crumb Squares

1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2/3 C. butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. oatmeal, uncooked
1 1/2 C. flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Blend milk, lemon juice and lemon zest together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, blend in sugar. Add oatmeal and flour (sifted together with baking powder and salt) to creamed mixture and blend until crumbly. Add half of mixture to 9 x 12-inch buttered baking dish and pat down with fingers. Spread milk and lemon mixture over the layer of crust and then sprinkle remaining crumbs over the top. Bake in 350 oven for about 25 minutes until lightly browned at edges. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Cut in squares and chill in pan until firm.

Being an Arizona girl, I'm especially fond of citrus. Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This week is spring break for half of Arizona. Why the other half doesn't join in so that my grandson could have the same week off, I do not know. No one ever asks my opinion on these matters. One thing I do know is that tomorrow I am going to spend the day with my husband and my two teenagers. We are meeting my sister and her youngest at Roosevelt Dam and then going on to a picnic area near the lake. Route 88, the road between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake, is an area that long-time residents of Arizona, like myself, are probably not completely aware of. I must confess that the first time I drove the road I was a bit nervous. Twenty-two miles of it are unpaved. There's a handfull of one-lane bridges, and several areas of one-lane, and switch-back road. However, there are numerous rewards for braving this remote area if you enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert set against a backdrop of amazing cliffs, vistas, and man-made lakes. Coming from Globe and going toward Apache Junction, the driver gets to end the drive by enjoying a seldom seen view of Weaver's Needle and the Superstition Mountain.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm calling this blog Simple Creations because most of what I do involves doing things simply. I watercolor simple scenes that catch my attention. I'm also a writer, and putting fingers to the keyboard is a simple activity. Most of my life has been full of the simple moments and not the grandiose. I prefer being at home writing and painting, but my next favorite activity is being on the mountain relaxing and taking in the atmosphere and the smell of pine trees--catching a glimpse of elk nibbling on grass, watching deer rush back into the wild, feeding chipmunks and watching them go crazy with delight with their new treasures.
Having been the primary cook in my home for over 30 years, I've become somewhat of a recipe collector. I've put together several small cookbooks to give to friends and family for Christmas, and I compiled my mom and dad's recipies and turned them into a nice cookbook for our family. Recently I made some chocolate chip cookies that my ANWA writer's group loved, so I will share it again here in hopes that who ever reads this will try the recipe and let me know how they liked it.


2/3 C. margarine
1 C. butter flavored shortening
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 C oatmeal
1 C. coconut (opt)
1 C. chopped pecans (opt, but what's a cookie without nuts?)
1 1/2 - 2 C. chocolate chips

Cream margarine, shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in all other ingredients. Mix well. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Makes approximately 3 dozen.