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This is my first website where I display writing, poetry and artwork, such as collages, and paintings. Occasionally I'll comment on gardens, flowers and vegetables. I hope family, friends and visitors will enjoy what you see, and make comments, if you choose. Thanks, Marilyn


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Until Class Ends

 

Will they focus

on the textbook, use their minds,
learn new words like nerds.
Will they search, think,
settle down, not clown around,
not text friends, until class ends.
Will they study vocabulary,
nouns, faithfully zoom in.
Will they read stories aloud
to nourish and arouse.
Will they be less concerned
about socks that match
name brand hats, sagging pants.


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Maroon Bathroom

Three alcoves in the posh bathroom
boast clear-cut lines, wall-squares tiled
maroon. Twelve by twelve feet in size,

the far corner of the room houses the toilet,
seat always down, unless in use.
Next, the curvaceous pink sink

on a matching pedestal shines.
The shower stall ends the trio,
smoky glass conceals any naked body.

On the opposite side from these practical items
stands a huge bathtub polished to perfection.
During mid-morning a kindergartener,

daughter of the homeowner seeks attention,
wanders in the door open a crack:
sees the live-in housekeeper

smack on the toilet, doing her business
as the maid fishes out moments of
seclusion, a smoke break.


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Dressed in Personality

It shows on the studen
as he stretches out on the couch
in the lounge.

Limp legs dangle
as tight jeans, with random
holes, hug ankles,
thighs and calves.

Plaid sneakers—Vans—
red and black, look
plastic with elastic.

His mohawk, tapered
at the tip, shouts pink
and orange from forehead
to nape of neck.

Like spokes on a bike, strands
of hair stand stiff—razor
buzzed along sides, above ears.

Dressed in personality,
he studies the social reformer
Voltaire, next tackles
Shakespeare.


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In the Palm of the Land

In the Palm of the Land

In the Palm of the Land

Order from Amazon or
Order Hand Signed book by Marilyn


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The Intuitive Gardener: Finding Creative Freedom in the Garden

The Intuitive Gardener: Finding Creative Freedom in the Garden

Intuitive Gardener

Order from Amazon or
Order Hand Signed book by Marilyn


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Ornamental Grasses for Western Gardens

Ornamental Grasses for Western Gardens

Ornamental Grasses for Western Gardens

Order from Amazon or
Order Hand Signed book by Marilyn


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Chicken stew with potatoes and vegetables

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE STEW   I enjoy crockpot cooking; its easy once the ingredients are assembled, added to the pot, and hours later the flavors rise in intensity, creating a fused, rich stew  especially pleasing on cold winter days. The stews’ aroma adds warmth and a comfortable feel throughout my house. Although technically a stew because of its big chunks of fowl and potatoes, plus pieces of vegetables, this succulent chicken dish  also belongs with soups, because of its abundant soupy texture .   Whatever its label, its moniker stamps delicious! And the tomato paste, often familiar in pasta and  Italian dishes, enhances the flavor, plus perks up the color to  deep tawny.

3 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

salt and pepper

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1/3 head cabbage, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp.  tomato paste

1/2 tsp. thyme

4 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1/3 cup flour

4 medium red potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

2 bay leaves

4 scallion, chopped

 

In a large frying pan, heat the oil to medium high. Pat the chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the frying pan and brown on both sides, 7-10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the celery, carrots, cabbage and onion, plus a bit more oil if needed. Sauté on medium for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes. Add the tomato paste, plus 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Add the flour, and stir in. Fold a few times until all the vegetables are moist,  the tomato paste adheres to them and some of the liquid has evaporated. let the vegetables cool 5-10 minutes. In the crockpot add the chicken thighs, meaty side up. Add a layer of potatoes.  Atop the potatoes, add the cut up scallions. Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil.

Along one edge, but toward the middle of the foil, lay out a thick layer of the vegetable mixture, using it all. Fold the foil over the vegetables, first one end and then the other.  Fold in the sides too, securely crimping each end tightly. lay this big pocket on top of the scallions, tucking in each end so it fits well in the pot. Push down gently on the top. Cover, and cook 4-5 hours on low.  At the 3rd or near the 4th hour, check to see if the soup needs more water. Add 1/2 to 1 cup water or chicken stock. Then too, peel back the foil, toss it out, and spread the vegetables around the pot. Cover again, and cook until the potatoes are tender, and chicken is cooked through.

Once cooking is complete, remove the whole chicken pieces, and shred into bit size pieces of meat and return to the pot.  Reheat if necessary


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Mouth-Watering, Soft and Nutella-Stuffed, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I confess, I’m a chocolate lover, especially when it’s tucked, hidden, mixed in cookies and cakes, but naturally too, when chocolate boldly stands out, slathered atop any sweet food.  When nutella gets added as an ingredient, as well as peanut butter, then the recipe truly reaches a high note. These flavors intermingle creating a cookie in a class by itself, unparalleled, much better than the old-fashioned peanut butter variety, or even the moist, melt in your mouth familiar chocolate chip, swimming in chunks of chocolate chips.  While browsing the internet this chocolaty dessert caught my eye. The recipe contained a special method for arranging the ingredients which appealed to me. I made several adjustments with the ingredients, and tweaked their method, creating my own exclusive cookie. An alternative cookie title is below.

These cookies stay soft for more than a week, if they last that long, in a secured container, and will last several weeks in the freezer.

Wrapped chocolate nutella peanut butter cookie

Oven @ 350   yield: 3 dozen cookie

 

1 and 1/3rd cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. nutella— microwave for 5-10 seconds to soften
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup nuts  - your choice - optional

1. In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer mix the butter, peanut butter, both sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, mix for 1 minute, then add the vanilla and mix until combined.

3.  In three batches add in the flour, mixing on low or slowly by hand until well blended.  Fold  in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread out two layers of parchment paper, one on top of the other. Shape the dough, on the parchment paper, in a flat 12” x 6” inch square, making sure the doughs thickness, about ¾ inch, is somewhat even throughout.

5.  Drop 8-12 spoonfuls of the nutella randomly on the dough, then spread throughout with a knife, like you’re icing a cake, but don’t spread too thin. Leave small blobs in spots. 5.  Occasionally let  the nutella seep into the dough. Don’t cut the parchment paper.

6.  Chill everything, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.

7.  Roughly slice hunks of dough to form balls, about 1- ½ inch.  Wrap some of the nutella inside the ball, and dab some on the outside. Poke a nut meat on top, if using.

8.  Place finished balls on a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper.

9.  Bake 7-10 minutes, until barely golden along edges.

10.  Cool 3 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack, and leave untouched until completely cooled. Then bend one and devour, and then more and more.


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round dangling earrings

round dangling earrings

DSCN0257

pink

 

 

 


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red bead dangling earrings

red bead dangling earrings
red dangling earrings

a red bead surrounds two sequin-like flat shells, held on by a silvery jump ring, which lets the shells gently dangle.   Cost:  $7.00, plus $2.00 shipping.


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cookbook

Hello fellow cooks, gardeners, writers !

Barbecue sauces abound in cookbooks, on the internet, and I’ve tasted tons of yummy samples from family and friends. Some recipes were so, so, others ranked fairly high, but I still didn’t find a sauce that hit my taste buds just right. I wanted to create something tangy, different, smooth but not overly, yet with a solid bite that could heighten the flavor of whatever it covered and soaked.

After forty-five years of cooking and baking I knew my way around the kitchen, but, an epicurean  barbecue  sauce eluded me. Of course I still had my file card from decades earlier with some simple ingredients:  brown sugar, onion flakes, vinegar, oil, water. But now I was ready to forge ahead, create an auspicious sauce, one with maximum flavor to use over pork, beef, chicken.

One evening, thrilled with excitement, I combined the eleven ingredients below, cooked and stirred the pot on low  for 10-15 minutes, then, after I cut away visible fat from the meat, poured the sauce over a four pound piece of pork shoulder and covered, left it to marinate overnight in the fridge and even half of the next day. I turned it several times while in the fridge.

Then, I cooked the meat, still drenched in the sauce, in the oven for  five hours @ 250, covered. Half way through the cooking process I cut the meat away from the bone, sliced it in 1/2 inch thick slabs and continued to cook it, still covered. Once or twice I basted the meat, but then recovered it.

First I served the pork over plain rice (I’m a rice lover). The next night I spooned the tender pork pieces and sauce on a bun. Both ways the smooth and tangy taste rose to great heights, way above all expectation!

Try it, and share your opinions with me.

Best Ever Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8th cup soy sauce

1/8th cup Worcester sauce

1 small onion, grated

1/4   cup brown sugar

1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated, or 1/2 tsp. dry ginger

1 tsp. celery seed

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tblsp. spicy mustard

 

Heat all ingredients in a small pot,  simmer, uncovered on low for 10-15 minutes. Stir once or twice until well-blended. Store in refrigerator, and use over pork, chicken, beef. Marinade four hours or more and then cook in the oven for approximately 5 hours @ 250, covered. Baste several times during the process, and test for doneness around four hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Until Class Ends

Until Class Ends

Until Class Ends by Marilyn Raff

Order from Finishing Line Press
or
Order Hand Signed book by Marilyn

 


next page

Until Class Ends

  Will they focus on the textbook, use their minds, learn new words like nerds....
article post

Maroon Bathroom

Three alcoves in the posh bathroom boast clear-cut lines, wall-squares tiled maroon....
article post

Dressed in Personality

It shows on the studen as he stretches out on the couch in the lounge. Limp legs dangle...
article post

In the Palm of the Land

Order from Amazon or Order Hand Signed book by...
article post

The Intuitive Gardener: Finding Creative Freedom in the Garden

Order from Amazon or Order Hand Signed book by...
article post

Ornamental Grasses for Western Gardens

Order from Amazon or Order Hand Signed book by...
article post

Chicken stew with potatoes and vegetables

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE STEW   I enjoy crockpot cooking; its easy once the ingredients are...
article post

Mouth-Watering, Soft and Nutella-Stuffed, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I confess, I’m a chocolate lover, especially when it’s tucked, hidden, mixed in cookies...
article post

round dangling earrings

pink    ...
article post

red bead dangling earrings

article post

cookbook

Hello fellow cooks, gardeners, writers ! Barbecue sauces abound in cookbooks, on the...
article post

Until Class Ends

Order from Finishing Line Press or Order Hand Signed book by Marilyn...
article post