Sunday, May 27, 2012


After hearing the very funny (and British) Anthony Horowitz speak at an author's luncheon here in Phoenix, I bought two of his books, one for me and one for a friend.  I was first impressed that Horowitz is the creator and writer of Foyle's War and I love that series.  You may be familiar with his other television creations such as Midsomer Murders and Poirot.  He also writes the popular Alex Rider novels (a teenage adventure series) which didn't ring a bell with me but has sold over 12 million books worldwide.  As you can see the guy is talented.

Horowitz was asked by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. The House of Silk  is fast paced and the voices of Holmes and Watson ring true. Mycroft and Lestrade are involved as is Mrs. Hudson.  The plot is interesting which turns to disturbing when the real meaning of "The House of Silk" is revealed.

If you are a diehard Holmes fan, I think you will enjoy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THEN AGAIN - Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton is quirky and classic and I've always liked her acting--even when the movie was terrible. Her recently published  biography, Then Again, begins with excerpts from her mother's journals which Keaton uses throughout as a comparison of their two lives. She was very close to her mom and this book pays honor to her. I listened to this book on audio CD narrated by Diane Keaton which made it all the better. Keaton's voice at times was emotional but it always fit the subject matter (usually talking about her mom or dad).

This woman loves and enjoys her family--her parents, sisters, brother, and now her children.  I didn't realize Keaton grew up in Orange County, California.  She always struck me as the New York type.  It was fun to hear her mention various places around Orange County since I love the place and have been there a zillion times.

Keaton describes her relationships with Woody Allen, Al Pacino, and Warren Beatty with enough detail to make it interesting but always respectful. I would have loved more information about her success at restoring houses and more behind the scene stories from movie sets.  But all in all I enjoyed this book.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I'm so sorry if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby.  Truly.  And I am hoping you can find this sweet lobster-like shrimp if you don't have a TJ's--it's worth the search.  My friend, Ashley, grabbed several bags when she spied these because apparently it is only available a few times a year. Lucky me--she gave me a bag.

I had lots of pasta so concocted a recipe using what I had in the pantry.  But grilled and served with vegetables would work well, too.

Serves 4

Bag of Trader Joe's Argentinian Red Shrimp (frozen)
8 oz Linguine
4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Olive oil (I used garlic infused olive oil)
Fresh parmesan cheese


Forgive me, I didn't measure much in this recipe, but I know you will turn all these ingredients into a lovely dish.

While pasta is boiling, drizzle olive oil in a skillet and add crushed garlic cloves and red pepper flakes.  Cook the garlic for a few minutes and then add the frozen shrimp sprinkling with salt and pepper.  Cook until shrimp is pink and curled (about the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta).

Drain the pasta saving 1 cup of pasta water.  Add pasta water to the shrimp, stir, and then add the linguine.  Peel fresh parmesan strip over the shrimp and linguine. Serve with fresh parmesan.

Really, this is so yummy and easy.  Do make it!  From start to finish it took less than 30 minutes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ARTISTS IN CRIME - Ngaio Marsh - Book Review

I had completely forgotten about Inspector Roderick (Rory) Alleyn until my friend Lisa reminded me.  Dame Ngaio Marsh wrote over 30 books with British detective Alleyn as the superstar.

I'm not one to necessarily read a series in order (which surprises me since I like order). Years ago I read Death in a White Tie written in the late 1930's and liked Marsh's style but then forgot about her.  Last year I enjoyed the book Last Ditch written in the late 70's which is about a drug smuggling case and includes Inspector Alleyn's son.

This year, I read Artists in Crime, the story that introduces Rory to his future wife, the painter Agatha Troy. What fun to see a very confident and sure of himself Alleyn get a little wobbly and doubtful when paired up with no nonsense Troy.  The story opens with Alleyn meeting Troy on a ship somewhere around Fiji.  It doesn't go well and they split once they return to England.  Their next meeting is rather grim.  A model posing for Troy's art class is murdered and every member of the class, including Agatha Troy, a suspect.  And, of course, Inspector Alleyn is assigned the case.

The detective work is interesting, the characters very well-developed (I could always tell who was doing the talking), and the usual folks that surround Alleyn are in force.  The relationship between Alleyn and his mother, Lady Alleyn, reminds me a bit of Lord Peter Wimsey and his mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver.  A solid murder mystery, excellent returning characters, humor, and a bit of romance equals a good read.

Friday, May 11, 2012


It has been a feast of flowers around here for the last two months.  My sister's garden is the gift that keeps on giving.  Flowers were clipped on a daily basis filling vases or being delivered to neighbors. We are going to miss all these beauties that are the perfect accessory for every room.

                                                                         Bishop's Flower

                Mix of Sweet Peas, Sweet Sultan, Cornflower Dwarf, Larkspur Giant Imperial

                                                               Godetia Tall Double

                                                               Bishop's Flower

                                                                   Godetia Tall Double

                                              Mix of China Aster, Sweet Sultan, Cosmos,
                                                 Larkspur Giant Imperial, and Godetia Tall Double

Sunday, May 6, 2012


It's a leap of faith to severely prune all signs of life from 12 gorgeous Iceberg rose bushes.  But, wow, the payoff is spectacular.

January 28, 2012

                                                                          May is bliss!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CHERRY ALMOND CRISP - Pioneer Woman Cooks

HAPPY MAY 1ST!  This Cherry Almond Crisp would be the perfect dessert to celebrate May--although, really, isn't this year flying just a bit too fast?!

My family and friends loved this crisp.  But there is a lot of liquid at the bottom of the dish that could be avoided (I think) if the cherries were first thawed.  Although the syrupy sauce is yummy over ice cream.


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Dash Or Two Of Nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds (I used sliced, not slivered, and toasted them first)
  • 1-1/2 stick Cold (salted) Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 4 bags (12 Ounces) Frozen Tart Cherries (I bought a 64 ounce bag at Costco, not tart, but good enough)
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Almond Extract

Preparation Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Cut the cold butter into pieces. Add the butter to the bowl and use a fork or pastry blender to cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse crumbs. Add the slivered (or sliced) almonds and stir them in.
Place the still-frozen cherries in a bowl, and add sugar, cornstarch and almond extract. Gently stir the cherries to combine.
Put the cherry mixture in a large baking dish. Top generously with the crumb mixture, evening out the surface.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown. If the topping appears underdone, continue baking in 10 minute increments until it’s done.
Serve the crisps warm or room temperature with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.