Saint Mazie; Jami Attenberg

The story of Mazie in the early 1900’s. A ticket window clerk on the lower east side of Manhattan. Told from entries of her diary and recollections from different people who knew her. Enjoyable read. 

PJH rating: ****1/2

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Kitchens of the Great Midwest; J. Ryan Stradal

The story of Eva Thorvald – a world famous uber chef – told from the point of view of different people throughout her life.  Fun, different read with some recipes thrown in.  I liked it.

PJH rating: ****

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Purple Cole Slaw

This is my Mom’s iconic purple cole slaw that I made a week or so ago for the first time. Simply the best. We traditionally have it with grilled turkey and corn on the cob in the summer.  My Mom reports that it was from a recipe in a California newspaper more than fifty years ago.  Don’t leave out the bacon!

For 1.1/4 c dressing: 

  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar

Combine sour cream, salt, sugar, paprika and pepper. Gradually stir in vinegar. Cover and chill. 

  • 4 c. shredded green cabbage
  • 2 c. shredded red cabbage
  • 1 c. chopped green pepper
  • 1 c. shredded carrot
  • 1/2 c sliced radish
  • 8 slices bacon; cooked & crumbled

20-40 minutes before serving mix with dressing and chill

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A Sudden Light; Garth Stein

A teenaged boy goes to his father’s boyhood home in Seattle and learns of his father’s and father’s family’s history going back several generations.  Big old house, family secrets, ghosts and trees.  A good read but not as good as Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.

PJH Rating: ****

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The Nightingale; Kristin Hannah

The Nazi’s take over Paris during WW2 and two sisters join the resistance.  One helping fallen soldiers cross the border and another taking in orphaned children.  Interesting history but melodramatic and sappy writing.

PJH rating: ***1/2

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Washington D.C.

Friday, December 18th 2015

We left Euclid around 6:00 AM for a weekend trip to celebrate the wedding of my youngest cousin Julia.  We squeezed six and lots of luggage into the Pilot somehow and had an easy drive to DC in our continued freaky warm weather we have been having.  We arrived at the always awesome Hotel Harrington around 1:00.  Patty P arranged over 8 rooms for all of us for the weekend.  We quickly settled ourselves into our luxurious accommodations and quickly found ourselves at Gordon Biersch – a nice German pub where the great beer made up for the seemingly absence of service.  Connor texted us while we were eating as he just arrived in town via the train so he joined us as well.  We then spent the next several hours bopping around the mall enjoying the sunny weather and the sites of DC.  We went to the National Archives and took a quick peak at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; walked through the outdoor sculpture garden; Walked over to the botanical gardens that were decked out for Christmas with lots of poinsettias, trains and Christmas trees and a quick trip into the National History Smithsonian checking out some exhibits and the Hope Diamond.  I love D.C. We wandered back to the hotel for a rest.  Everyone else arrived during the afternoon and we visited and had a beer before getting ready to go out.  We used Uber for the first time Ubering over to Alexandria for the Rehearsal Dinner at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria – an old Inn built in 1752. Cool place.  It was great to meet up with our Davis cousins and their children who we haven’t seen in a long time.  Cocktail hour was fantastic with platters of fresh oysters, raw clams and beautiful shrimp.  The kids went downstairs for dinner and we were invited to the rehearsal dinner in the upstairs room where we had a great dinner and multiple toasts to the bride and groom.  After dinner we went down to the pub downstairs and met up with all the kids and had a few more drinks.  We ubered back to D.C. and I gathered the brave troops for a midnight monument stroll.  It was a clear, crisp moonlit night.  Perfect time for a walk to the Washington monument, WW2 monument and then the beautiful Lincoln Memorial – sitting on the steps taking it all in.  We didn’t get back until after 2:00 AM.  A long, great day.

Getting primed with some good German beer

In front of the National Archives

posing at the outdoor sculpture garden

skating rink at the sculpture garden

the rotunda of the capital was under scaffolding which was pretty cool to see


The Botanical Gardens were beautiful. Full of poinsettias and models of D.C. monuments made out of natural materials.

Happy to be here at Christmas time

cool pink ones

the always impressive lobby of the Natural History Museum

the Innkeeper of the Gadsby tavern calling everyone to dinner

Les Grandes Dames

Wally toasting the happy couple

nighttime is the best time to explore DC

finding OHIO at WW2 monument

late night selfie with Abe

the best spot

Saturday, December 19th, 2016

Slept in after staying up too late and drinking too much.  Wandered around downtown trying to find somewhere to eat and then finally found the au bon pain we were looking for and had coffee and chocolate croissants along with the Gail clan.  We all then tromped over to the American Smithsonian museum and wandered for about an hour checking out the first ladies, Julia Child’s kitchen, Dorothy’s ruby slippers and other American artifacts.  We then walked across the mall heading to the Jefferson Memorial – my favorite.  We hung out there for awhile and then Claire, Sean and Grace headed back downtown as they were meeting Stephanie and Traber for lunch and we joined the Gails in continuing to walk around the Tidal Basin walking through the FDR monument and the MLK monument.  The FDR is different in the cold weather with all the fountains turned off.  The MLK monument was very powerful in the clear blue sky.  We headed back downtown walking in front of the White House checking out the Christmas trees and then had lunch at a sandwich shop before heading back to HH for a much needed rest before the evening festivities.  We Ubered back to Old Town to the Torpedo Factory where the wedding and reception took place.  It was great to see everyone all dressed up and excited for the wedding.  The wedding was great and Julia was beautiful of course.  This is the second non religious wedding we have been to this year and they both were very meaningful and personal.  Cocktail hour was upstairs in the gallery where there was also a New Orleans Jazz trio playing.  Great venue.  The reception back down stairs was beautiful with really great food: short ribs, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.  All excellent.  Wally gave a great toast as well as both the maid of honor and best man.   A great wedding.  The band didn’t start up until late but I think every single person danced the entire rest of the evening.  The band was great and it was fun fun fun.  We somehow managed to Uber back downtown with only one small Claire mishap and quickly crashed completely exhausted.

Saturday morning squad in front of the American History Museum

a poor confused cherry tree blooming in late December

I think the Jefferson Memorial is the most impressive one

The Gail men taking it all in


one more

Claire and Sean

nice spot

…and the other angle

Sophia and Emily

words at the FDR monument… so true in todays crazy ass times

lined up

a mountain of hope

what a beautiful day


another great spot

cousins all dressed up

cocktail hour jazz

another cousin pose

all smiles all night

dance dance dance

dance dance dance

Sunday, December 20th, 2016

I must admit I don’t remember much of Sunday.  I know I got up and found a Starbucks around the corner.  Courtney and I went for a quick 45 minute walk around the mall and  we left the hotel around 10:00 or so and stopped and had a really bad rest stop late breakfast somewhere and had an uneventful drive back to CLE.  A great weekend and a great start to Julia and Hampton’s married lives.  CHEERS.

one of the really old Smithsonian buildings that hopefully will be rehabbed one of these days

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Apple Pie Squares

My Grandma Holzheimer always made these.  The recipe was originally from the first Utopia Beach Club cookbook in the late 1970s.


  • 10-12 medium apples – Grandma Holz always used Granny Smith
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/2 mace
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 t. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (we usually don’t add these)
  • 1/4 cup butter


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 1 egg white, stiffly beaten
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon


  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
  • 2 t. milk – approximately

For filling: prepare apples, toss with remaining ingredients, except butter.  Set aside.

For pastry: In bowl, cut shortening into flour and salt.  Beat egg yolk with milk and stir into flour mixture until ball forms.  Divide dough in half.  Roll one part out on a floured cloth to a slightly larger than 15 1/2 x 10 x 1/2 jelly roll pan.  Fit into bottom and up sides of pan.  Top with apple mixture.  Dot with the 1/4 cup of butter.  Roll out the remaining dough and fit over the top.  Seal edges.  Cut vent into top crust.

For topping: combine stiffly beaten egg white with sugar that has been mixed with cinnamon.  Brush over top of pie.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

For glaze: Combine confectioners sugar with enough milk to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over pie while still hot.

Notes: 1/2/2016: I made these for the first time yesterday and they worked out well – but I just realized I forgot to do the egg white topping before baking.  Ooops. They were still good.  I would also probably make 1 1/2 time the amount of dough and decrease the amount of spices just a bit.

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