Sunday, January 27, 2013


It's no secret I am a cookbook fan.
I collect cookbooks for various reasons.
Sometimes a book tells a story with the shared recipes.
Sometimes I buy them as a remembrance of a place I have traveled.  
But for the most part, I'll be drawn in by the recipes and the photographs of the food. 
I have been known not to purchase a specific cookbook based on the fact that there are no pictures of the food. 

These are just a few of my favorites

'The Farm Chicks In The Kitchen'

 Not only are there delicious recipes inside, but crafty projects galore.

Embellished Dishtowel how to...

Food Covers...

And who can resist Susan Branch...
 'Vineyard Seasons' by Susan Branch
 'Girlfriends Forever'-Besides being a  'Girl Food' cookbook, it is filled with stories of girlfriends. 

 I adore Susan's art work. I'm sure I have every book she has ever published. 

Alisa Barry 'La Bella Vita'
 Alisa tells of her story in traveling to Italy, and how she fell in love, with not only the food, but the people, the landscape, and the language, but most of all the love of simple fresh food.  

You can almost taste the fresh basil and mozzarella. 
I have used the recipe for 'Pane' basic bread dough a hundred times. 

'Soul Food Desserts & Memories'
 by Patty Pinner.
Patty was raised in a small town in Michigan. 
Patty tells of spending her childhood helping the women of the house,
the 'Queens Of Soul Food'.
She shares her family's stories, part recipe and part history. 

Who can resist the Pioneer Woman's 
Simple Perfect Chili? 

My kitchen would not be complete without Ina Garten -The Barefoot Contessa. 

Ina's introductions are such a joy to read. 
In her book 'barefoot contessa at home' she begins by saying that she didn't always know how to make a home. Her philosophy is this...
'A good home should gather you up in its arms like a warm cashmere blanket, soothe your hurt feelings, and prepare you to go back out into that big bad world tomorrow all ready to fight the dragons'. 
Ina talks about table setting, gathering family and friends, lighting candles and good music at any social gathering to set the mood.
Just reading her cookbooks makes me want to have a party. 

Positively, my favorite COMFORT food cookbook is the cookbook
I purchased when Beth and I went to Williams-Sonoma for a cooking class. 
There is not a single recipe contained within that I would NOT cook from this book. 
I've cooked almost all of them, and each and every one of them are heavenly. 
As a matter of fact I am making Chicken Pot Pie this week. 

This is/was my very FIRST cookbook. It was a wedding gift in 1976, the first time I marred Caveman. 
 I used it for many, many, years. While it does not host any photographs, I adore it none the less. 
It has a special place in my heart. 
A gentle reminder of a young bride who married very young, and knew absolutely nothing about cooking. 
The pages are soft and well worn, full of stains and some small tears. 
My Aunt & Uncle who gifted this to me are no longer here on this earth, but I am reminded of them each time I look through the pages. 

Brillat-Savarin wrote: 
'The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest to console him when he has outlived the rest'

Tell you have a favorite cookbook?

The Girasole Lady

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Few Things

I want to Thank everyone who has stopped in for a visit via 'Grow Your Blog' Party. 
It has been such a pleasure to meet so many new friends. 
I'm still working on getting to all the blogs that participated in the party. 
I've been spending most of my free computer time visiting. 

A few things going on around here...
Beth is in New York for a week at a trade show for work. 
Beth works for Mary Lake Thompson. If you click on MLT name it will take you to her retail site.
I promise you won't be disappointed. 
Beth has worked for Mary for over 10 years. 
If you call the office there is a good chance Beth will be the one you speak with.

Beth has gone to NYC for the last ?? many years with Mary & her husband, Richard Thompson.
She goes twice a year, once in January and again in August. 
They have been very good to Beth over the years. 
Each time in NYC they treat her to fabulous meals, and exciting places to visit. 
Tonight Beth is going to the Broadway show Chicago, last time while in NYC she went to see 'Jersey Boys'.

Remember the terrible snow storm NYC had in January 2011?
Beth was there to experience it first hand, and loved every minute of it, well almost every minute. 
She took some amazing pictures of Central Park.

 She tells a funny story of her adventure HERE

While she is gone I am 'baby-sitting' Pickle and Roxy at my home. 

Pickle is an Eclectus Parrot
 He talks, A LOT! 
He sounds just like Beth when he talks. 
He is a fun bird. 

Roxy is a tiny little dog, who apparently is camera shy.
I've tried to take her picture a couple of times, but they just look ridiculous. 
Roxy is sorta a Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix of sorts. 

We have more new 'neighbors' out in the back pasture.

Well it's coming along nicely. 
(well that is except for the 2 Cherry trees we have lost twice now)

Yep- out here in the Country this is what we consider exciting news. 

Baby Harper is now a month old. 
I love baby hands. 
I tried for a more 'awake' picture, but she wasn't having any of it. 

That's about it for this moment in time, or at least all I have time for. 
Have a wonderful day.

The Girasole Lady

Friday, January 18, 2013

'Grow Your Blog' Meet & Greet


My name is Becka.
I am The Girasole Lady here at Girasole Farm.

and Thank You for taking the time to stop by for a visit. 
I really love to meet new friends,
and thus far have never met a stranger. 

I will be honest by saying this is my first time linking up to a 'party'
through another blog, and I'm a little nervous.

Thank you Vicki  at 2 Bags Full 
for hosting this wonderful opportunity to make new friends.

My blog is simply a place for me to come and journal my life.
To share with my family & friends, old and new.
-Aprons to Zucchini-
'Preserving A Past To Be Proud Of''

My very first post on this blog was December 31st, 2009.
You can read the beginning- HERE

A lot has changed since then, but I have remained the same. 

Let's see...
I was born in 1959.
I am married, twice, to 'Caveman'.
I/we have 3 beautiful, amazing daughters.
I have 3 precious, very precious, Gran-baby girls. 
I live in the country in Northern California.
I have 2 Quarter horses.
I have 6 cats & 2 dogs, a Mini Aussie and a Beagle.  

I love to garden.
We have a large Summer vegetable garden, and a small fruit orchard. 
I enjoy preserving the foods we grow here during the gardening season. 
I like to can or freeze the extra produce, but even more, I like to share with family, friends, and neighbors. 
I support my local/fellow farmer's as much as possible. 

I love fabric.
I love to sew.
Sometimes, well lots of times, I buy fabric for no reason at all. 
I'm a fabric hoarder collector of sorts. 
Currently, I am sewing a quilt for my daughter's birthday, coming up in February. 

I really, really, enjoy cooking, not sure love is the right word here. 
I'm not afraid to try new recipes, or use ingredients I have never used before. 
I am a cook from scratch kinda gal, it's all I've ever known.
I'm also not afraid to throw away a meal I have prepared, that doesn't turn out as tasty as I had imagined. 
Once, I made Taramisu cupcakes from scratch, yes including the Lady Fingers. 
I say this because the recipe was 3 PAGES long, and it took 2 days to complete the process. 
By far, it has been my greatest dessert accomplishment to date.  
It was amazingly delicious. 
Oh- and I fell in love with Leeks about a year ago. 

I love, honestly love, to 'shop for junk' as Caveman calls it. 
I'm a Vintage Faire, Thrift shop, estate/garage sale junkie enthusiast. 
I am currently in love with ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint). 

Reading- I love reading. 
Books, magazines, NO- I haven't converted to any type of E-Reader. 
Sometimes I collect books, much in the way like I collect fabric. 

I enjoy photography. 
I know just enough to take a decent picture, but overall the whole learning about ISO, white balance, f-stop, aperture, and shutter speed are overwhelming to me. 
I stick to the auto setting. 

I truly believe there is more joy in giving than in receiving.

I am a dreamer-
list maker-
& procrastinator.

I believe, in spite of all the evil and sadness in the world,
it is still a beautiful place, and there are very good, kind, and loving people among us. 

If you've made it this far and want to learn more about me, or why I blog 
go HERE and HERE

If you've found something here that strikes your fancy, please feel free to say 'hi" and visit often.
I would love the company. 

The Girasole Lady

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Better, yes better. 
The post Holiday fog is passing,
I've baked Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I've tended to my home.
I've been myself, once again. 
Thank you for your encouragement. 

Do you love dishes?
I do. 
I love a pretty table setting. 
It's welcoming and peaceful. 

When we have Summer dinners outside, often I use my 'real' dishes.
The sound of dishes chiming together outside 
on a Summer evening is enchanting. 

A few years ago I found a set of dishes I adore. 

 There is inspiration for the pattern...

I found this excellent book review online:
'Far away in the remote, untraveled southwestern French countryside, there is a small village which contains two homes, an eleventh-century church, and a very special farm known as Pistoulet." Thus begins The Secrets of Pistoulet, a charming and beautiful little book filled with food, magic, and love. Part fiction, part cookbook,  this tale of Mademoiselle J., who arrives at Pistoulet with a broken heart. There she is welcomed by the farm's tenants: Madame Claude; Monsieur Andre; the black dog, Marcel; and a chicken that lays golden eggs. Soon, such soul-strengthening dishes as Potage of Babble (guaranteed to cease excessive chatter), Potage of Passion (Cooks beware: this soup has been known to result in marriage proposals!), and Tart of Sunshine (sure to heat both body and soul) have Mademoiselle J. on the road to recovery.'
I made a tasty stew for dinner, yum.
I was going to take pictures, but I had a mishap with the knife while chopping the celery.
Nothing serious, just a nick off the very corner tip of my left thumb,
 enough to be irritatingly inconvenient. 

It's been a good day.

The Girasole Lady

Sunday, January 13, 2013


                                      I wish I could say that I was productive this past week. 
I'm not really sure why, but for the better part of the week I was totally unmotivated. 
I had plenty of time, and opportunity, to get busy.
I just didn't. 

I managed to pin together the strips for the the quilt I am working on,
and that's about all I got done. 

I failed at having early dinners, except for two of the days.
I hardly even cooked at all this week.
I am pretty sure caveman was disappointed, even though he doesn't say so. 

I spent November and December gathering up new hopes, anticipation, making Holiday plans,  
being surrounded by my family and friends. 
Moving from the lights and glitter of Christmas into the January bitterness of Winter,
the cold, and barren landscape. 

Left over corn in the garden that never got the attention it needed after the gardening season. 

Freezing temperatures....
this hose normally keeps a slow drip,
but this morning was frozen solid. 

I have a Susan Branch calendar hanging in my kitchen. 
I've had her calendars hanging in my kitchen for as long as I can remember. 

They just make me feel good.

'Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home'
-Edith Sitwell

The Girasole Lady

Monday, January 7, 2013

The First Monday In January

Caveman is gone to work. 
I miss him. 

Today I'll be sewing.

It's foggy outside. 

Tonight for dinner...
Au Gratin Potatoes
Bratwurst Sausage
Promptly served at 4 O'Clock.

Have a really good day.

The Girasole Lady

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A "Yummy" Quilt

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of events. 
Tonight I am tired, and somewhat ready to settle down.

My Sis went home this morning, and as always it leaves me feeling a little blue. 
Before she left we enjoyed a big family breakfast together at my Mom's house.

After saying our good-bye's to each other, Beth and I headed up to Paradise to 
for some fabric/quilt shopping. 
The weather today was cold and gray and I was glad when I finally got home 
to have a cup of hot tea and enjoy a warm fire. 

This is the quilt pattern/colors I am using for Kristina's quilt. 
This pattern is "Yummy"
by Jaybird Quilts

This quilt will be a lap size when finished. 

Tomorrow is Sunday, and it will be the first 'real' Sunday in a long time. As I mentioned yesterday, Caveman will be returning to work on Monday. 
Tomorrow's plans, hopefully, will consist of a early morning trip to the grocery store, and then just hanging out at home relaxing and enjoying our last day together. 
I do plan on getting somewhat organized so that I can possibly start sewing on this quilt either tomorrow or Monday. 
My other goal for the next few weeks is to have dinner ready by 4 O'clock ish. 
I'll try to plan Slow Cooker meals. 

Typically, I'm not one for making resolutions (why set myself up for failure),
but this year there are a few things I would like to improve on...
1. Be more understanding.
2. Live a more simple life. 

The Girasole Lady

Friday, January 4, 2013

Frosty Mornings

We've enjoyed some great Sunshine this week, and I am loving the break from the rain. 
The mornings have been COLD.
I wished I would have gotten out earlier this morning for picture taking,
but this is what I got...

Frozen Bird Bath

Irish Shamrock


My Sister and two of her boys, baby Justin and Ryan, have been here visiting all this past week. 
We've had great days of Sunshine, and have been able to get the kids out to play. 
As always, we're having a wonderful Holiday together. 
Enjoying time, and of course good food, at everyone's different homes. 
Tonight is the last family dinner together before she heads back to the City tomorrow.
We'll be hanging out at my Mom's all day and having chicken tacos for dinner tonight. 
I love these days spent together. 

Caveman goes back to work on Monday, after having almost 7 weeks off. 
We really enjoy the time we have together, especially not having any schedule what so ever. 
It's the pay-off we enjoy after him working 
Monday morning I will be sorting and re-organizing my craft/sewing room and getting it ready for a project.
I've learned that I am most happy when I have some sort of a project going.
I have decided this year that I want to quilt more. 
I have quilted lots in the past, and am feeling a renewed energy for it. 
My first goal is to make each of my girls a quilt for their Birthday this year. 
( I had planned on doing it for Christmas, but well... the time thing was getting away from me)
Yes-I had to tell them because I wanted them to pick out the pattern/fabric. 
I better get started too- as Kristina is first up, with her Birthday in February. 

Yesterday when I wrote about my family, I forgot to mention that Beth writes about her 
 life HERE...
she only writes about 4 times a year... but it's well worth the wait. 
Leave her a comment- she'll love it!

Have a wonderful day.

The Girasole Lady