Before we started our FREE Newsletter, TONI'S KITCHEN CORNER, we used to post Brian's Postcards here on the website. Here you can read his original posts. Hope you enjoy!
Postcards is now appearing in our Newsletter, TONI'S KITCHEN CORNER. Please sign up for this FREE
newsletter by filling out the form to the left or below. Read all about Brian's
adventures and news items; and there will also be lots of recipes and
kitchen tips for you! Catch up on all the past "Postcards" that you have missed out on!!!!!
Happy New Year everybody - hope you all had a good holiday.
Toni and I spent the New Year with our children and grandchildren at John and Cindy's place in Grass Valley.
Our daughter, Tricia, and her husband Simon from So. Calif. picked us up in Stockton and we were on our way.
The party on New Year's
Eve was celebrated in true "Brit" style: music, sing-songs, plenty of
grub and booze; all-in-all, we had a fabulous time. The celebration
followed a fabulous meal prepared by Cindy (Polenta with Meat Sauce);
which was absolutely delicious...
Tricia, Cindy, John & Simon, put on a wonderful birthday party for me on the weekend (my 75th); and what a party it was!!
The kids cooked the meal, with everyone contributing their own specialty: Simon's being the roast leg-of-lamb; the girls adding all the trimmings: roasted spuds, Yorkshire puds, peas, gravy and Toni's special; followed by dessert and a birthday cheesecake! <em>(Can't wait to be 76)!
I got birthday greetings from our son, Jerry and family in Hawaii; and
daughter, Tanya and family, in Singapore; which put the finishing
touches to a great day!!!
to Stockton, now that the festivities are over and the body needs to
recover; hopefully to resume some travelling in the New Year!
Weather-wise, it's looking a little like winter; we are finally getting a decent amount of rain (not nearly enough); but it is great to see!
Well, until next time, Toni and I wish you all the very best for the coming year; stay healthy, wealthy and wise; and don't forget to log on to Toni's Home Page for all the latest and best recipes from around the world. I know you will love the site; believe me!
By the way, I must mention congratulations to Kelli Littrell (my step-granddaughter) on the birth of her baby girl, Makayla Ann, born on the 15th! The family extends on-and-on!!!
Read Older Posts.......
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009 - FALL or AUTUMN (depending upon where you live in this beautiful world) -- here in Stockton, the nights are getting chilly, which is a pleasant relief from the hot evenings we've had over the past few weeks.
Toni and I have just returned from a month in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. We stayed with our son, Jerry, and his lovely wife, Susan, and their two children (Casey and Chris). To say the least, we had a most wonderful time; it is hard to get back into a "normal" routine again!
We did miss our goodfriends here on the Mainland - Jim DuClair; and many cousins, like Joe & Margaret Valverde from just down the road; and the neighbor's kids that I chat with every evening.
We had great visits with old friends in Hawaii (our old neighbors, Morris & Sets Ito); and Susan's family; and also beautiful Monique (Joe & Margaret's daughter), who is a transplant from Stockton to Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
Overall, it's nice to be back, but I do miss being around Jerry, especially. Susan's mom, Doris, was wonderful and so accommodating; she got us tickets for the special tour on the Admiral's Barge of the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
I didn't get a chance to thank Jim and his nephew, Patrick from Newcastle, Ireland, for the great time we had here in Stockton at the end of July; and God bless him for bringing the PADDY (that's Irish whiskey for you people who are not educated); it was beautiful.
Well, the American Football season is off again - 49'rs looking good; Raiders looking like "Raiders"! What more can I say!
We had sad news recently that our wonderful friend from Wigan, England -
Keith Wilding - has passed away. He was a grand fellow and really part
of our family. He was "one-in-a-million" and is going to be missed.
He wasn't that old and didn't deserve to go so soon.
On a finishing note; a little slice of golf history trivia that some of you may enjoy: "Why do golf courses have 18 holes, and not 20 or 10, or an even dozen?" Well, during a disagreement amongst the club membership at St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1858, a senior member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of whiskey per hole, the Scot figured out a round of golf was finished when the bottle ran out. (Interesting even if you are not a golfer!).
Well the past couple of visits to the doctors brought positive reports - that's something to be thankful for!
So to all of you great people out there who read this, cheers - and a special hello to our good friends across the Pond and our good mate Steve in Aussie, and Leif & family in Denmark -until next time - Happy Halloween to all too! Brian
AUGUST 2009 (the 8th month of the Gregorian calendar) is already with
us - my how time flies!!! We are already starting to see the
occasional flocks of geese heading south on their migratory journey. We
still also get our share of birds in Toni's garden, although the
hummingbirds will be leaving us in the Fall; and we no longer see the
crows. (I believe the hawks have feasted on their babies, as they are
nesting high in the Redwood trees); and even the Blue Jay doesn't come
as often as it used to. Plenty of sparrows and finches, though; and
Robins hopping around in the grassy areas.
Well, we had a new carpet installed last month (sounds exciting, doesn't it?); but let me tell you, if you have gone through this experience, you will know what it involves -- as the apartment management was installing the carpet for free, we had to have every single piece of furniture moved out of the apartment so the carpet-people could come in and lay the carpet. You can imagine taking out ALL the stuff you have accumulated over the years. If it had not been for Toni's cousins, Dr. Marshall Contreras, and his two sons, Anthony and Andrew, and Ronnie Lozano, it would have been an impossible chore. Thanks to these good people the feat was accomplished in 2 days, with the hard work of the young and strong!
I failed to mention last month about the fabulous time we had at our good friend, Jim DuClair's home in Manteca; he and Ray put on a wonderful spread. His garden and back yard was really luscious and full of fruit trees and fantastic foilage. We helped ourselves to plenty of plums, and Toni made Plum Pie and Plum Preserves with the pickings.
We enjoyed the wonderful company of
cousins Ray & Norrine Valderrama, and Ray's brother, Michael, and
Michele and Mark McQuillan were there; and Jim's brother and
sister-in-law. As you can imagine, the food and booze were flowing and
the atmosphere was excellent. I have to mention to my friends in the
Emerald Isle, that Jim opened up a bottle of Irish Whiskey, "Paddy",
(that was a wonderful mistake, Jim") and it was most appreciated by
all. The "craic" was good, as they say. Jim tells me that more relations
from the "olde-sod" are here now and will be bringing more
"Paddy"....that should be good!
Later this month, Toni and I
have the Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson concert to look forward to here in
Stockton - should be great, and then a few days later we are on the way
to Hawaii for a well-anticipated visit with our son, Jerry and Susan and
their beautiful family. Hawaii, as Mark Twain wrote, is "the loveliest
fleet of Islands that lies anchored in any ocean". For those of you
who have been, I'm sure you will agree - for you who have not, please
make it a point to see them one day.
Incidentally, as a matter
of Trivia, Honolulu comes second to being the warmest US City, with an
average temperature of 77.5°F; the warmest being Key Largo, Florida,
with a 78°F (thought you might like to know that)!
weather: over the past month, we had a heat wave (temperatures about
the 100°F mark and higher) - miserable; thank God for air-conditioning.
This past week, thanks to the Delta breeze and the San Francisco Bay
fog, it is beautiful - averaging mid-80's to low 90's°F.
Football season soon; (let's get that "pool" going again, Tricia); see
if your dad can beat all the Yanks one more time!
It will be interesting (maybe) to see how the Oakland Raiders perform under their new coach (so to speak), Tom Cable; having ignored Michael Crabtree in the draft for Darius Heyward-Bey. At least they have brought in Q.B. Jeff Garcia to help out Marcus Russell.I think the 49'rs are going to be the team to watch this year.
Golf: Well, what would have been a dream come true for Tom Watson to be the oldest winner in the British Open in history, ended with a missed 8-foot putt in a play-off with fellow American, Stuart Clink; unfortunately, Hollywood endings are confined to the Silver Screen!
The weekend of 24th July, had
the potential of sporting miracles in England, (following Tom Watson's
defeat); for the first time since 1934, England beat Australia at Lords
at Cricket. (I know what your saying, Steve Brown, my good mate in Oz),
"make the most of it, it won't last"...I agree.
Until next time; have a good month; will drop you all a line from the Islands... Cheers, Brian!!
JULY 2009 - Happy July the 4th everyone - even a transplanted Brit like
me can enjoy this kind of a celebration -- good friends, good food and
good booze! Here in America in spite of all the drawbacks created over
the last few years, we can still smile and look forward to a great
Toni and I spent a wonderful weekend in So. Cal. -- June 27th was a Romo family reunion in Escondido; but the highlight was being around our daughter Tricia and her hubby Simon at their beautiful home in Murrieta. It is a place you just don't wan't to leave. But, unfortunately we had drs appointments in Stockton and had to cut short our stay -- it's terrible to get old; but I suppose it's more terrible not to get old!!!
Just as a matter of course, on our flight from
Sacramento to San Diego (this was on our way to the Romo get-together),
it wasn't without incident: When we landed in San Diego we were
informed that there was a security breach at the airport and we couldn't
de-plane. 1½ hours later we found out that some "clown" dressed in
combat gear tried to get through the security with a live hand-grenade.
Anyway, all's well that ends well; we followed up with a great
bar-b-que at our grandson Joe and his partner, Laura's, place, before
heading out to Tricia's. Our other grandson Ryan was also there and
that made it extra special!
Next month we are looking forward to
staying with our son, Jerry and his wife, Susan & family in Hawaii,
for a few weeks. We had intended to go this month, but the difference in
airfares between July and August were incredible. Anyone planning on
trips to the Islands; be sure to check it out!
We got a welcome
e-mail from my good buddy "down-under" - Steve Brown. It's always nice
to know that people you have met and become attached to over the years
don't forget you! Steve worked in one of the local pubs in Wigan (some
of you have probably been to Gem's); and, of course, being an Aussie was
very popular and a good drinking partner of mine. He is now back in
Aussie and doing well in the Mining Industry -- good on yeh mate.
Speaking of Gem's and Wigan, this week Wigan celebrates their annual International Jazz Festival. It is their 24th year - and always a tremendous success. The Jazz Festival was built on the popularity of the big bands from the 40's and 50's. Toni and I have seen such great artists (Frank Sinatra, Jr.; Stan Kenton Band, Maynard Ferguson, Eric Delaney, Don Lusher, Arturo Sandoval, and many more who have appeared through the years). Not only do we miss the excitement of the Festival; we also had year-to-year bookings of several Jazz Fans at the Maple Hotel. Any of you who are still staying at The Maple Hotel, a big "hello" from me and Toni....especially to you, Bill Caldwell (R.A.F.). I remember Bill so well; I would say to him "Glad to see you, Bill" and he would always reply, "....that's what I say to myself every morning when I look in the mirror!" Great memories of great times. And all the best to you Ian Darrington, Director of the Festival and the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra. The Jazz Festival has supported the development of young musicians through the Youth Jazz Orchestra since it's inception.
Weatherwise, it is starting to cool down a little this
week; mostly in the 80's -- lovely!! Unfortunately, our apartment
complex is being subjected to a new paint job which means Toni's plants
(lots of them) have to be relocated; mostly into the apartment from the
patio. But sadly, all of my bird feeders aren't there for my feathered
creatures and they will have to look elsewhere for the time being!
Wimbledon again -- the poor Brits are still looking for a champion;
will have to wait another year (at least). Andy Murray (who is actually
Scottish); and lives in Spain, just couldn't beat Andy Roddick. So
Federer, on beating Roddick in the final, becomes the 1st man to win 15
Grand Slam Singles; beating Pete Sampras' record of 14!!!
Well, that's it for this month; have a great one and don't forget , Toni's Website is coming up and running again soon! Cheers, Brian
Weather - beautiful! high 80's in the daytime
and cool evenings - love to sit out there on the patio (Toni has made
us real relaxing small garden with all kinds of plants and bird
feeders). Amongst our wildlife guests, we can boast hummingbirds, a
family of sparrows and a mischievious Blue Jay, who is becoming real
tame and part of the family. A couple of crows are also nesting high up
in the trees opposite and they let us know (by cawing), in the early
morning that they are waiting for yesterday's left-over breads.We also
have hawks flying over occasionally, swallows and an assortment of
colorful birds... Considering we live very close to the I-5 Freeway and
not too far from town, it is so nice to be able to have a little
MAY17th, was a big day for the family - had Toni's father (Felix) been alive, he would have celebrated his 100th birthday. Toni's mom (Stella), who is 93-years young and going real strong, decided to have a family get together in honor of Felix. About 40 people showed up, and after a mass at St. Bernadette's Chuch in Stockton, everyone was treated to a great meal at Angelina's Italian restaurant. It was a real success and I must add that Toni was the organizer and did a great job.
In a couple of weeks, we are looking forward to going to Southern California for the Romo Family Reunion (it's held every 2 years, alternating between Southern and Northern California). This year it's going to be held in Escondido at our Cousin, Kelly Fiorito's Home. Toni and I will be staying with our daughter, Tricia and hubby, Simon, in Murrieta - that I am really looking forward to.
Next month, all being well, we are off to Hawaii
for a few weeks to visit with our son, Jerry and his family in Kaneohe
in Oahu. Paradise, here we come. It brings back memories of when we
lived in England, and a neighbor would ask, "where are you going for
your holiday (vacation) this year?", and of course, I would say staying
with one of the kids either in Southern California, Grass Valley,
Northern California, Singapore or Hawaii -- he would reply "By-gum lad,
you picked the best places for them to live; all of mine live within
about a 5-mile radius from here (in Wigan)!!!" I told him that's why I
moved in the first place!
It seems never-ending; come August, Bob
Dylan and Willie Nelson are appearing here in Stockton at the Stockton
Ports Ball Park. We received our tickets in the mail yesterday; didn't
think that life could be exciting at my age...but like they say, you are
only as old as you feel (or look) - NO COMMENT PLEASE!
Hoping you all a great June and a great year - Summer starts June 21st (the longest day). Also, don't forget to "clock" into Toni's recipes as soon as the recipes are available again in a few weeks...Best regards, Brian....
APRIL/MAY 2009...."April went out like a lamb; and May came in like a
lion"....I know that's supposed to apply to March; but weatherwise here
in Stockton, the temperature was in the high 90's two weeks ago; this
week, we are in the mid-40's and quite windy. Fortunately, though, we
are getting more rain (unusual for this time of year); but very welcome!
Hispanic community celebrated Cinco de Mayo last weekend with parades
(and lots of music and Margaritas....love those parades and
Of course, also last month for those to whom it
applied, had to pay Uncle Sam their due in taxes (hope you didn't try to
cheat... that is, unless you're rich enough to get away with
it).....hopefully, you will all get a refund! I read where it takes
approximately 37.2 hours to complete the standard 1040 tax form (no
wonder the H&R Block brothers make so much money....). Anyway,
President Obama has a Task Force working on a much simpler form for next
year; hopefully it will ease the chore...
It was Toni's birthday in
April and we celebrated with a meal at The Red Lobster restaurant;
fantastic seafood; and although I am lucky to be married to a great
cook; it was nice to get out for a change of scenery. Also, we got a
visit from a friend of many years, Debra, who is now living in
Virginia. She was visiting her sister, Rebecca, in Oakland and they
were on their way to Yosemite. So we got to eat out again, at a place
just across the street - Dave Wong's; anyone living in Stockton knows it
well; as Debra said probably the best Chinese food she ever tasted!
is back, and it's a little early for me to get too wrapped up in it;
but a couple of weeks ago our son, John from Grass Valley, invited us to
go with him and Cindy to watch the Oakland A's farm team (the River
Cats) at their stadium, Raley Field in Sacramento. Sara and her
partner, Brent, were there also. It turned out to be a brilliant day;
the Stadium is top-of-the-line; the atmosphere terrific with all the
concessions you could want - good grub and plenty of booze - beats the
Oakland Coliseum any day. Anyone planning a family day out, I would
highly recommend it; you don't have to be a baseball-nut; just go and
enjoy yourselves; and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Staying with the Sports theme: T.V. legend, John Madden retired from the broadcast booth - he will be missed. When our kids were growing up, we had season tickets for the Raiders for many years. Madden, being made Head Coach in 1969 - believe he never had a losing season. It's been a lot different over the past few seasons!!!!
Toni has an updated website coming out later this month; we'll keep you
informed...in the meantime, don't forget to log into the existing
one....there will be loads of recipes coming on board this
summer.....thanks for all of you visitors to the site....
Until next time; keep your chin up and be good (and if you can't be good, be CAREFUL!.....Cheers, Brian
Hi: APRIL 1st passed by quietly; no kids to make "April Fools" of us
anymore...as my old Mum used to say to me: "you don't need April Fools
tricks; as you are a big enough fool as you are!!!" Maybe she was
I just finished watching President Obama's speech in London at the G-20 Summit conference; he was magnificent; makes one proud to be living in the U.S.A. -- if anyone can get us out of this financial mess we are going through, he certainly can do it.
For all of you computer experts, hope that the Conficker computer worm ( a scourge of the Internet) didn't get to you; and that's no April Fool!
I hope your St. Paddy's Day last month was as good as mine; corned beef and cabbage and all the trimmings; and plenty to wash it down with. (When it comes to drinking I am a respected authority - so I am told). Keeps you young!!!!
Toni and I had a very pleasant get-together with a good
friend from Manteca, Jim Duclair, who brought along a couple of Irish
relations; it was a great day with plenty of grub, drinks, and a
sing-song. Would love to do it more often.
Weather-wise, been very
windy lately (bad news for sinus sufferers - like me). Gotta take our
hats of to the wonderful people in the Dakotas the way they are fighting
the elements - hard to imagine living here in California. God bless
I read where the local growers here are having a problem with the bee population; they are bringing in hives from all over the country to help pollinate the orchards -- what happened to all the bees?????
I'd like to make a mention for our grandson, Dan Richelieu, who just got layed-off from his job; but he isn't sitting down and sulking; he has applied to join the Peace Corps - good on you Dan - proud of you. Not a whole lot of news this month (they say no news is good news); but I can't finish without giving you a real Toni recipe for CHIPS - yes CHIPS!!! Let me tell you, there are chips (some call them French Fries or whatever); but until you have tasted Toni's Chips, you haven't tasted Chips.
'Till next time; cheers and enjoy your Wigan Chips.....Cheers, Brian
For Toni's "Wigan Chips" recipe, see:
MARCH 2009 - Spring is in the air - the clocks have been advanced by one
hour (known as Daylight Saving Time, or Summer Time as it is called in
many countries). Although many places do observe DST, many do not. For
instance, in Hawaii, where our son Jerry and his family live, they do
not change the clocks at all, and in the Southern Hemisphere, it is
Fall, so those that do change their clocks FORWARD, do so in October!!!!
doesn't seem like ONE YEAR ago that I commented on the reason for this
time change; but among one of the reasons is, it saves energy due to
less artificial light needed during th evening hours. Ben Franklin
first suggested it in 1784, but it was not until World War I, in 1916,
that it was adopted by several countries in Europe. However, many
rejeted it. End of lesson for the month (I hope I didn't bore you)!!!!
on to the weather. Here in Stockton, you can really feel that Spring
is definitely in the air. The nights are a little chilly, but the days
are sunshiny with blue skies. Toni's small garden gave us the first
batch of spring daffodils which thrilled her -- this time of the year
brings back many memories of living in England. Usually following a mean
winter, when Spring arrives, the gardens (most homes in England have
one), are blessed with an early morning chorus of returning birds
starting to build their nests, getting ready for their new families.
The daffs, hyacinths, tulips and crocus start peeking through the soil,
and the trees are starting to blossom. You have to live through an
English winter, though, to fully appreciate it!
Meanwhile, here in
Stockton, over the President's Day weekend, we finally got what was
badly needed - RAIN - lots of it and in the Sierras, snow piled up in
feet rather than inches. This brought a smile to the Water Resource
Managers, as the reservoirs are now about 90% full (first time in 16
Well, of course, can't have March without mentioning St. Paddy. I have two very special people to mention on St. Patrick's Day (the 17th of March): one being my Dad (who passed away many years ago), and our granddaughter, Sara, from Grass Valley, who both celebrate their birthdays on the 17th - Happy Birthday and Happy St. Patrick's Day!
FEBRUARY 2009 - Welcome! Another month nearer to Summer -- although here
in Stockton unlike your weather in the Mid-West and Back East; it is not
that much different (except our summers do get exceptionally HOT)! We
are promised rain showers this month; but nothing like what we really
need - the reservoirs are 50% full (or low) and the snowpack is 61% in
South lake Tahoe; California is heading into the worst drought in modern
We spoke to some friends over the phone from England where they are experiencing the worst snowfall in 16 years; it closed down Heathrow Aiport and all the Double Decker buses were grounded. On the other hand, another friend from Melbourne, Australia, was complaining about the heat (around 107 °F); where Nadal beat Federer to win the Australian Open men's single title - funny old world, isn't it???? And now, the inferno of horrible fires in that part of Australia!!
to congratulate Toni's mother, who celebrates her 93rd birthday this
month; still enjoying life to the full and still batting 500.
starting to see flocks of Geese flying North to breed in the temperate
or Arctic Summer before returning to wintering grounds in warmer regions
of the South. I read the reason larger birds fly in a V-formation , is
it helps in reducing the energy needed and they can fly faster in
flocks than flying solitary. Thought you might enjoy that bit of
Well, it wouldn't be right not to mention the 43rd Super
Bowl....I figured it wouldn't be much of a game (most of my friends and
family were rooting for the "underdog"). As it turned out the game was a
thriller; the winning play was right out of a schoolyard; scramble
right; scramble left; find someone open; the perfect unscripted end to a
One more thing about the Super Bowl (like most people from
the other side of the Pond); I didn't know much about Buffalo
(especially Buffalo Wings). I did know that Buffalo was in New York;
gets very cold in the winter; O.J. Simpson played for them at one time;
and Buffalo Bill massacred thousands of them (nice guy, huh?); but
Buffalo Wings - COME ON , even I knew that buffalos don't have wings!
Well, of course, we all in America know they are chicken wings created
in Buffalo, New York. According to city-lore. Buffalo Wings were
created when a group of hungry customers came into the Anchor Bar
looking for a quick, late-night snack. Co-owner, Teresa Bellissimo had
some chicken wings handy, dropped them into a deep fryer and put
together an easy hot sauce.
It's relatively easy to create a
facsimile of Buffalo Wings at home - and you don't have to wait until
next year's Superbowl! They can be enjoyed in front of the T.V. with
any sporting event; especially with a few "bevvies". For a luscious
recipe for Buffalo Wings, try Toni's Website for this and many, many
more delicious inexpensive recipes.....
'Til next time....Cheers, Brian
P.S. - You must watch "Christian the Lion" again on YouTube! It's a blinder!
Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley - yes that's right, Grass Valley. Children dressed up as Cornish Miners; Handmade arts and crafts are displayed and sold by vendors dressed in turn-of-the-century attire, selling delicious food, cooked on the spot. You have to try the Cornish Pasties; me being a Brit from way back; these are a special favourite for me.
Anyway, a little of the history behind the annual event: Cornwall, England is the homeland of the Cornish people and by middle of and late 1800's, Cornish mining was in decline; and many Cornish miners emigrated from England to developing mining districts overseas where their skills were in great demand. One of areas these miners settled in, was the Grass Valley area, where more than 360 miles of mines were drilled, blasted and mucked the tunnels following the veins, extracting the precious materials (gold, silver, quartz, etc.) found under the Grass Valley mother lode. Then a couple of local merchants who decided to create a unique tradition and create a special event for local residents, and attract visitors from surrounding areas. So, in 1967 they created the concept now known as "Cornish Christmas". Put it on your calendar for next year; you will love it; I know we did! The event runs every year on Friday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas - don't miss it!
The next day (Saturday, Dec. 13th) was another exciting day; it was the 17th Annual Harley Davidson Nevada County Food & Toy run; where over 1500 motorcycles (the vast majority Harleys) come from everywhere to "bike" through the town ", handing out toys, food and treats for local children and families. The crowds line up on the sidewalks; it's really something experiencing those magnificent machines; and then to add to the excitement, our son John was in the parade this year.
We finally finished off the weekend, enjoying a family get-together with John, Cindy and the grandchildren, John Michael, Gerard, Sara and her beau Brent. Managed to "sink" in a few before heading back to Stockton. It was just beginnig to snow when we left; I was looking forward to it; but then again I wasn't driving - left that to my lovely wife, Toni.
Well, you all have a great holiday season - hope Santa is good to you. By the way, you can try Toni's recipe for Cornish Pasties found here on the website. Merry Christmas! Brian - December 2008.
OCTOBER 2008- Here we are in midtown Manhattan; it's Autumn in New York, City that never sleeps, City of Yellow Cabs (48,000), I believe - the Big Apple!
Well again, we are so lucky to have family in all these wonderful places; we are presently visiting our Tanya, Peter and three beautiful grandchildren (Cailan, Rachel & Sean), who live in the Upper West Side of Manhattan; in a beautiful area alongside the Hudson River, with great views of New Jersey, and only minutes from Central Park.
Peter is something extra special to me, as he comes from my home town of Wigan, England, where I knew him as a young lad; now he is a very successful business advertising executive, which makes us all so proud of him. Oh yes, while we were visiting the kids in New York; we had a surprise visit from our son, Jerry, who was working in Philadelphia and he took the train up one weekend!
OK - a little trivia for you - I could never understand why New York was called the "Big Apple". Here's a couple of theories - Jazz musicians slang for engagement was "apple"; and a gig in New York was the "big apple". The other one was coined by J. Fitzgerald - a horse racing writer for the New York Morning Telegraph in the 1920's - who wrote the dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There's only one Big Apple. That's New York!
Would love to hear what version you have heard about. Till next time, Cheers - Brian - 10/31/08
Now it's September - children back at school...much to Mom's delight; Football back on T.V., much to Dad's delight! Trees are getting ready to change their foliage, but we don't see much of this in Stockton; you have to travel aways to catch the "fall" colors. Thankfully, though, the weather has been kind to us over the past week or so - temperatures in the low 80's - looking at the rest of the nation, we are truly blessed.
Not much to report other than we are all keeping well - certainly looking forward to visiting Tanya, Peter and family in the "Big Apple" next month. Will keep in touch; in the meantime, here is a great Thai Curry recipe from Toni! Regards, Brian 09/13/08.
AUGUST 2008 - 8th Month of the Gregorian Calendar - nearly a memory already, and I am neglecting to keep in touch with you good people!
It's been a quiet, but interesting month; lots of Doctors' and Dentists' appointments; thank God for them though; keeps the body and soul together.
I have been looking through some old English newspapers we brought with us; and I mentioned to Toni that I'd give anything for a good old English Cornish Pastie as was advertised in the paper. Well, of course (if you knew Toni); she responded immediately, and lo and behold, she came up with "the real McCoy". She is a wonderful cook - so why not try some of the recipes included here - you will love them, "I guarantee it"!!! Check out our Cornish Pasties recipe. Until next time, take care - Brian 8/26/2008.
JULY 2008 Grass Valley - Gold Country - beautiful place to live! Well, Toni and I spent a long weekend there with our son, John, wife Cindy and their family* a couple of weeks ago - had a great time. They own a few acres there and have various pets, including a horse and a goat (that eats most of Cindy's plants). Unfortunately, the air-quality was poor because of all the fires in Butte County; but John and I managed to "drown" that out with no problems. We got Cindy's recipe for Pot Roast - try it; sounds delicious! Looking forward to going back there soon. Take care, Brian 07/26/08
*P.S. Got to see 3 grandchildren, Gerard, Sara (and her new beau, Brent), and John Michael, his partner Jennifer and his family of 3 - Tegan, Evelyn and newest member of the family, Eli Steven (my great-grandchildren!) - lovely!!!!
JUNE 2008Hi! It's that time again -I was on my way to New York come the weekend, but considering my weak "ticker" and the soaring temperatures on the East Coast, decided to put it off until October. I'm sure my lovely daughter will be relieved!
Not a whole lot happening here in Stockton, other than the high temperatures (98°+ yesterday) and of course, the gasoline prices!!! I read where we met another record yesterday - "THE HIGHEST GAS PRICES IN THE NATION!" At least we are famous for something.
Toni did get a response from one of you lovely readers last month; thank you - always appreciated. Although times are hard and money is scarce these days, keep your chin up and get into some of the great recipes we have to offer on this website. You can download and print them for free; and believe me, everyone of them are delicious! Have a great time and please keep in touch! Simply Best Recipes Brian 06/07/08
P.S. Hope some of you lucky people got the Kentucky Derby winner; I certainly didn't - my bet all the way from the Belmont to the Derby was on "Dennis of Cork" - Bet on him next time around - I will! He came in second each time and if you had placed an "each way" bet - the odds are you would be pretty happy!
APRIL/MAY 2008 Well, another month just about over - and thankfully everybody I know in the family are doing o.k. and I don't think I made a fool (April fool) of myself. My beautiful wife, Toni tells me that at least a couple of you guys read my blurbs -- that's nice!! Good luck and keep reading....
It's kind of hard to make a newsletter interesting when living in an apartment in Stockton; but if you could be able to share the amount of love I get from my mum-in-law and Toni and the great pride they both take in their potted plants in our patio garden; plus our hummingbird who calls at least 20 times a day; it's not too bad!!
Stay in good health guys, and don't do anything I wouldn't do -- that leaves you a million options!!!
On a finishing note, put a couple of bucks each way on "Dennis of Cork" on the Kentucky Derby this Saturday!!!Regards, Brian 4/30/08
MARCH 2008Well, what was meant to be an idyllic trip down the Coast Highway to Southern California to visit with our daughter, didn't turn out quite like that! Yes, we did get to visit with Tricia and her wonderful family; taking along our good friend, Eileen, on vacation from England. She spent a couple of weeks with her daughter and family in Hawaii at their home at Hickham Air Force Base on Oahu. She left for Manchester on Thursday, April 3rd; not looking forward to the return to the English weather. She had absolute wonderful weather and sunshine in Southern California and Hawaii; and going back to Wigan with a fantastic tan!
Anyway, as I began, the trip did not turn out quite as we planned; first of all I fell in the supermarket parking lot and broke my wrist (not a good idea before a 450 mile trip). The general idea was to spend Monday the 17th (St. Paddy's Day), with the family and spend a day in San Juan Capistrano where the swallows arrive to nest every year. We certainly celebrated St. Patrick's Day, but didn't make the swallows return; as Eileen's trip to SFO was delayed by one day due to setbacks in Paris. However, I read in the local paper that we have a hotel right here in Stockton that's becoming quite famous for the annual migratory bird - so must check that out!!! Good luck and don't get April-fooled! Brian - 4/01/08
MARCH 2008 "Don't forget to put your clocks forward 1-hour" - that's what we were told this past weekend. I haven't quite figured out why we still do this? I like the story about the old man that stays up every year until 2 AM to adjust his timepieces; sound like something I would do! I'm told it goes back to Ben Franklin, in order to save burning candles. We don't burn candles anymore, and the extra hours of light in the evening are nice, but come the hot weather, it will mean extra hours of air conditioning - not much of a saving there. Another story is "something to do with the farmers and milking time" If you have other explanations - would love to hear them.
Next week, we are looking forward to driving to Southern California to visit our daughter, Tricia and her husband Simon, and family for her birthday. We will take the Pacific Coast Highway - a beautiful drive; had better do it now before gas reaches $5 per gallon! Hope you all have a wonderful week and St. Patrick's Day! Brian - 03/12/08. See Recipe for Irish Stew
Already March and St. Patrick's Day not far away. Toni and I got a great phone call the other morning from an "old" neighbor in England (Eileen is anything but old, a delightful person). What a pleasant surprise!
Anyway, phone calls and letters from Wigan friends, bring back memories from our days of running a Bed & Breakfast hotel there (The Maple). We spent 12 years there and had the most wonderful time. For anyone reading this column who has not yet been to the North of England, particularly my home town of Wigan; I can only say if you do have the opportunity - TAKE IT!!
Wigan is a market town with beautiful shops, great pubs, outstanding Fish & Chips, and very friendly people. Wigan was awarded a charter in 1246 by King Henry II (which afforded them the right to hold a regular weekly market); and holds to this day.
If you do get the chance, take a walk to Haigh Hall, Wigan's grandest residence in Haigh Country Park; you will never regret it. Another interesting item from history is Standish Hall, 2 miles out of Wigan, where Miles Standish comes from (the Miles Standish who travelled on the Mayflower to the New World with the Pilgrims). Wigan is not just famous for its Rugby Team, its Meat Pies or its Uncle Joes Mint Balls (candy); it is a pretty neat place. Brian 3/1/2008
FEBRUARY 2008 HI! I recently returned from a great 3-week trip to Hawaii - visited with Jerry, Susan, Casey and Christopher. Was lucky to be in Kaneohe on the Island of Oahu.
Toni stayed home to keep mom Stella company (92 years young!); it was her 92nd birthday recently and she was feeling a little under the weather and wasn't up to travelling. Had a great birthday party for her here in Stockton with the family.
We lived in the beautiful volcanic Islands for a few years whilst the kids were still schooling; and although we have been away for many years, the feeling of Aloha never leaves you. For anyone who has never been, I highly recommend you do the trip. It truly is Paradise on earth. Aloha and Cheers and keep in touch...Brian
Amish Cheesy Breakfast Casserole |
Bacon and Leek Quiche
Bacon Cheddar Bake
Baked Eggs with Chorizo and Potatoes
Bird's Nest Breakfast Cups
Breakfast Burrito Quesadillas
Bubble-Up Breakfast Casserole
Chile Cheese Omelets
Christmas Brunch Casserole
Cream Cheese Sausage Pinwheels
Crescent Sausage Bites
Egg Brunch Casserole
Egg In A Roll
Green Chile Bacon and Cheese Bake
Ham and Sausage Strata
Holiday Breakfast Bake
Mexican Baked Eggs
Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Onion, Bacon and Mushroom Strata
Potato Bacon Breakfast Casserole
Sausage Hashbrown Casserole
7 Up Biscuits
Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Biscuits and Gravy
Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Sausage and Cheese Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits
Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Cranberry Orange Scones
Pumpkin Raisin Scones
Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
30 Minute Rolls
Basil Pesto Pull-Apart Bread
Billy Loaf and Billy Can Bun
Bread In A CrockPot
Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie
Easy Garlic Bread
English Muffin Bread
French Bread Recipe
Garlic and Olive Bows
Garlic Cheese Bread
Herbed Garlic Bread
Irish Soda Bread (Challenge Butter)
Irish Soda Bread (Darina Allen)
Italian Garlic Bread with Gorgonzola
Lambert's Cafe Dinner Rolls
Old Fashioned Pull-Apart Buns
Onion Garlic Crostini
Parmesan Pull-Apart Buns
Pioneer Woman's "The Bread"
Pull-Apart Bread with 3 Cheeses
Sausage Roll Recipe for EGG Cooker
The Very Best Garlic Bread
Dulce de Leche Coffee
Best Lemonade Recipe
Old Fashioned Lemonade
Perfect Sweet Tea
Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Chiquita Banana Smoothie
Detox Green Smoothie
Java Chip Frappuccino
Mango Banana Smoothie
McDonald's Shamrock Shake
Orange Julius Copy Cat Recipe
Orange Push-Up Smoothie
Pineapple Ginger Smoothie
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappe
Super Skinny Smoothie
Blueberry Vodka Lemonade
Chica Iced Tea
Christmas Egg Nog
Frozen Strawberry Mojito
June Bug Punch
Make Ahead Mango Raspberry Margaritas
Mango Strawberry Sangria
Red Rooster (Vodka Slushy)
Red Wine Sangria
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
Basic Polenta Recipe
Best Cornbread Ever
Cheesy Roasted Garlic Grits
Jalapeño Hush Puppies
Mama's Cornmeal Hush Puppies
Homemade English Muffins
Homemade Hamburger Buns
Homemade Mustard Croutons
Homemade Olive Garden Breadsticks
Homemade Pizza Dough
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Homemade Sweet Hawaiian Bread
Basic Popover Recipe
Herbed Yorkshire Pudding
Yorkshire Pudding (Tyler Florence)
Portobello Pesto Pizza
Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread
Blueberry Cheese Rolls
Christmas Cinnamon Roll Wreath
Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls
Cranberry Orange Bread
Pumpkin Buttermilk Cream Bread
Starbucks Lemon Loaf
Sunny's Hard Lemonade
Recipes Collected From Around the World
This recipe site was created to bring together an abundance of recipes I have collected over many years. These recipes come from family, friends, co-workers
and my collection of cookbooks and from magazines from all over the world.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and find what you are looking for. Please feel free to copy and print any that you like. I have tried to acknowledge the source of the recipe in most cases and if there is no such acknowledgement; it's because it was from memory or handwritten notes from my mother and that I have jotted down from other family members. Also recipes go back for several years and I never bothered to identify the source at the time I copied it or pulled from the pages of magazines and newspapers over the years.
Thank you for visiting my site and Recipes Collected From Around the World
I hope you will contribute to my collection.