Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today is a special day for my son who is serving in the Army and stationed in Iraq. It is his sons first Valentine's Day and to celebrate this day, 6 dozen iced heart shaped cookies were sent to him as well as a loaf of Bayou Banana Bread. XXOOXXOO.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have eaten a lot of baklava and have found this recipe to produce the finest quality pastry yet. This baklava recipe Makes 2 dozen pieces. The recipe has 2 parts. The first is for the baklava and the 2nd is for the syrup that goes on the baklava when it comes out of the oven.
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
1/2 cup finely chopped, blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 lb. butter melted
1 pkg. filo pastry sheets

Combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Brush a 13x9x2 baking pan well with butter. Separate 25 filo pastry sheets from package. Place under a smooth (not terrycloth), damp towel so filo does not dry out. Wrap remaining filo well and freeze for future use. Place one filo sheet in pan. Trim to fit. Brush generously with melted butter. Repeat procedure until there are 5 layers of buttered filo in the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 of nut mixture over buttered filo sheets. Butter and layer 5 more filo sheets. Sprinkle with 1/4 of nut mixture. Repeat this procedure two more times, ending with the top of the pastry consisting of 5 sheets of filo. Drizzle and remaining butter over the top. Bake in 300 degree F oven for 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown. Remove baklava from oven. Using a sharp knife, immediately cut long, diagonal lines from corner to corner, forming an "x". Follow these guidelines to cut baklava into serving sized diamonds. While still hot, pour cooled syrup over baklava.

2-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups water
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup honey

Combine sugar, water, orange and lemon rinds, cloves and cinnamon stick in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes to thicken syrup slightly. Remove from heat. Discard spices. Stir in honey. Cool at room temperature. Pour over hot baklava. Allow to stand overnight before serving.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Time went on since that last puff. Now in Junior High School I was looking for cool things to do, say and wear in order to fit in. I remember the cool most popular guys had side burns, wore penny loafers with Adler socks, tight fitting navy bell bottom jeans, wore some cologne and smoked. I thought I would be cool to so I did all of those things except wearing the side burns, I did not have a whisker on my face. The pack of those old pall mall cigarettes got smoked and now I was into the Marlboro's. I gained an appreciation for Dante and Jade East cologne, I thought I would camouflage the smell of the smoke. At that time you could go into any bowling alley or restaurant and buy a pack of smokes out of the machine for .35 cents. You just waited until no one was around, dropped your coins, grabbed the smokes and ran like hell. We used to go in the back of Bonneville Junior High School between classes and during lunch and have a smoke. One day a friend of mine and I were having a smoke and the Vice Principal came around the corner and caught us. I sat in his office while he called my mother and let her know what I had done. Two weeks later a letter from the Utah State Juvenile Court showed up in the mail box addressed to my mother. It was a smoking ticket. She shared it with me which resulted in me having to pay the court $15.00. Needless to say, I continued to smoke.

My last year of Junior High I became friends with a guy named Ken. He played the organ and had all the nice amplifiers and microphone's needed for a band. I played the drums and had a nice Ludwig black pearl drum set that my parents bought for me. Ken and I hooked up and practiced together mostly at his house. It was nice to go to Ken,s house because his mother worked so we smoked in side the house. We latter joined a rock and roll band with two other guys that were much older that went to Skyline High School. One played the bass guitar and the other the lead guitar. We were all cool guys jamming and smoking. We even got so good that we were playing at LDS church dances and making $20.00 each. Latter on the group broke up and we all went our own directions but I continued to smoke and was now addicted to cigarettes. Continued.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


DAVID L. OLSEN 5/29/1960 TO 1/28/2009
On Wednesday, January 28, 2009 I received a disturbing call from my step brother, Dave letting me know my step sisters son in-law, David L.Olsen passed away as a result of lung cancer from smoking. Services will be Friday, January 30, 2009 at 2:00 P.M..I am dedicating this blog entry and my story to David L. Olsen in an attempt to help others quit their addiction before it is to late. David was 48 years old and leaves behind a wife and children.

If you read this please make a donation in his behalf to the American Lung Association, Utah Chapter in order to help educate non-smokers the fatal reality of smoking and to also help those to quit the addiction before it is to late. Smoking is a game of roulette. You never know what damage the next puff, cigarette, pack or carton will have on your health. I have not smoked in 3 years but I often wonder what damage I did to my body after smoking for 35 years.

American Lung Association of Utah
1930 South 1100 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84106-2317
Phone: (801) 484-4456
Fax: (801) 484-5461

Obituary Information
David L. Olsen

May 29, 1960 ~ January 28, 2009
David L. Olsen "Super Dave" Today a new journey begins for someone loved so dearly. Our wonderful husband, father, uncle, brother, son and friend has been released from his pain from Lung Cancer and has been given the divine gift of peace.

Dave will always be remembered for his smile, laughter and ability to do just about anything. If anyone was in need, 'Super Dave' was always there and willing to help. He was a hero to his children, nieces and nephews. He was greatly enjoyed and appreciated by his friends and coworkers at Utah Power & Light (Rocky Mtn. Power).

Survived by his wife Alisha “Lisa” Marshall Olsen; Daughters Jessica and Nicole Olsen; Son Jason D Olsen (Ashley); 3 Nephews Daxtonn Marshall, Tanner and Colby Packham; 2 Nieces Jadacee Vick and Sadee Packham; Mother E. Berneice Olsen; Brothers Stephen and Lynn Olsen; Sister Annette Olsen; Grandson Chandler Olsen-Ezernack and many other family and dear friends.

Preceded in death by his Father A. Perry Olsen. Services celebrating his life will be held on Friday, January 30, 2009 from 2 pm to 3:30 pm at Larkin Sunset Gardens Mortuary, 1950 E. 10600 S., Sandy, UT. Interment in Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery. Condolences at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Before we get started there are some things you will need to have and know. First, is a box. If you go to your local post office they have free large flat rate box's. Second, also at your post office is a Form 2976-A. This is the United States Services Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note. Do not attach this form to the box but take it with you when you mail the package. It might sound kind of dumb to have to declare something like cookies but you will be required to complete it. You will need to complete the from portion, to, detailed description, the value, check the gift box option , your license # and a date and signature on this form. The last thing you will need is mans best friend, a roll of duct tape. It comes now in white also instead of just gray. It makes any package more attractive. Put the stuff that your mailing into the box, mark the box as fragile if there are things that might break and tape it up good, complete the to and from portion on top and you are now ready to take it to your PO. Using this box will allow you to mail items to a military APO or FPO. To give you am idea of the $$ cost using this box and mailing to either a APO or FPO, I mailed a package to a family member from Murray, Utah and only paid around $12.00. Some of the box's were heavy but price was the same.

Now to give you some information about the military mail system. A primary feature of military mail is that they are subsidized to ensure that military mail posted between duty stations abroad and the home country does not cost the sender any more than normal domestic mail traffic. This means that you are only paying for the item to be sent to New York where the package will be mailed to the military APO or FPO. This is a very good deal.

Overseas military post offices operated or supported by the Army or Air Force use the city abbreviation APO. Overseas post offices operated by the Navy, Marine Corp or U.S. Coast Guard use the city abbreviation FPO (Fleet Post Office). There are also three quasi-state codes assigned to different geographic locations of military mail recipients and also the carrier route to be taken. They are AE-(Armed Forces Europe/Canada/Middle East/Africa)-099xxx. AP-(Armed Forces Pacific)-962xx through 966xx. AA-Armed Forces Americas (excluding domestic and Canada)-340xx.

So when you mail something it should look something like this:
SGT Mike Nelson
Unit 1111 Box 1111
APO AE 09499-0074

The United States Post Office has a very good web site on how to address items correctly to make sure items sent to the troops arrive to them. It also tells you what can be mailed and what can not.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have a son and a son in-law who are in the military stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been baking various cookies for them and their buddies and would like to share some of the recipes with you. A latter blog entry will also tell you how to send a package of cookies to a military APO at a very reduced price.

48 Hershey Chocolates Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F and remove foil from chocolate kisses.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Lightly roll the balls in a bowl of granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie; cookie will crack some around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and allow to cool completely. The recipe claims 4 dozen but I can only get 2 dozen so I double recipe for each batch made.

Monday, January 26, 2009


My story starts in an exclusive neighborhood in the Salt Lake City valley area where my younger sister, age 12 and I two years older lived and went to school. I attended Bonneville Junior High School. Being a single parent my mother always worked a full time job which kept her away from home for at least 8 hours every day. She came from a very religious LDS family but acquired a smoking habit young in her life. Her older sister also smoked and her younger brother chewed. Both addicted to nicotine. My parents were divorced as well as my best friend David's parents. He had sisters also, 3 older ones. David was the youngest. He was one year older than me. A couple years down the road my mother and Davids father married.

Staying in our same home, my new stepfather moved in bringing with him my best friend, David as well as a nice 23 foot Road Runner trailer. His sisters were already married or living out side of the home so they did not come with him. Shortly after the move in, my step father asked David and I to please go out into the trailer and bring the dishes into the house so he could wash them. They had been left in the sink from a prior camping adventure before the marriage to my mother. The key was given to David and we went out to accomplish our mission. Never having been in a camp trailer, I was amazed of the amount of room inside as well as the many drawers and cabinets. Both of us being very curious in nature, started opening cabinets. The first one I opened, I saw an old military coat covered with stripes and patches. This was my stepfathers which he wore during world war II. Being interested in military stuff I wondered the places that old coat had gone. We kept rummaging and looking in drawers until we found an old grey colored box. It was marked "Rations". Not knowing what was inside we opened the cardboard flap that was tucked inside the box. There were small olive green colored cans inside and different food types noted on the top of each can. There were also two other items. The first was a small 1 inch by 3 inch toilet paper packet which I could not figure out what you could possibly do with. The second, was a small pack of filter less cigarettes, which if my memory serves me right said "Pall Mall". Not ever thinking that anyone would ever look inside the box to see if that little pack of smokes was missing from the World War II, we took the little box of smokes and placed the larger one back in the drawer where we found it. Taking a few wooden matches by the gas stove, we left the trailer. Smokes in one pocket and dishes in both hands. David locked the trailer on the way out. We walked up the stairs in the back yard, opened the door and gave David's dad the key back to the trailer as well as the dishes. He said thank you boys, thats all I need your help with right now. We went back outside and curved the corner around the side of the house where we had alot of thick foliage. Looking to make sure no one could see us, I pulled the small pack of Pall Mall cigarettes out and opened the plastic cover around them. There were I believe 5 smokes in there. I pulled one out and placed in my mouth. It did not taste to bad so I played like I was cool by inhaling it and flicking the ashes just like I had seen real smokers do. Now thinking we were pretty cool, we pulled a match out and lit it on a rock. With a large flame and the smell of buring wood, we lit the smoke that was hanging from my mouth. Embracing the moment, I sucked that smoke from that cigarette as old as world war II down deep into my lungs. It burned all the way down and kept burning as I exhaled it out. Passing the smoke to David he took a hit. I took my second puff noticing the cracking of the old tabacco at the end of the cigarette and before I could exhale, the earth started to move. It spun faster and faster until I started coughing, throwing up and went through all of the color gray spectrums on the color chart. I was one sick teenager and David experienced the same results. Cleaning our selves up the best we could, we labored back into the house with 4 smokes left in our pocket and smelling like a pool room. On the way to the family room we passed my mother in the kitchen where she was reading a book and having a cigarette. Thank god she was smoking or we would have surely been caught by the smell giving us away. TO BE CONTINUED