Category Archives: Sleep

Hello 2022 and a Tiramisu Recipe

Hello 2022 and a Tiramisu Recipe

It’s a new year, so let’s get it off to a good start by writing again. Truthfully, I’ve gotten out of my groove for some time. Covid hasn’t helped things, nor has farming and raising 8 chickens for the past year.

My niece Michelle and her boyfriend Nitin

I’ve loved being in my garden. It has brought me peace and a great deal of exercise which I love. For a 50 something lady, I’m doing pretty good health wise. About 80% of my family got Covid during the holidays. That includes my husband, whom I live with. It hasn’t been easy staying away from him since he works from home and has for the past almost two years. We get along great, but not having time to myself to write has been an issue. 

My Sister Julie, Me, Sister Susan and Brother Rick on Christmas Eve

I also gave up my gym membership two years ago and that’s where I wrote each and every blog post. I would order a beer and an appetizer after a workout and get to writing. I miss that space, but am happy to spend more time in my garden and with my chickens.

My “girlfriends” Babe, Arthur, Mabel, Burtha, Mary Kate, Caramel Corn, Dolly and Bee Bee have been a huge blessing in my life. They bring me joy each and every day. I spend time talking to them, feeding them, cuddling them and driving to local grocery stores to pick up fresh greens and almost spoiled fruit and veggies. If the chickens aren’t interested in celery, or peppers, or whatever, I compost it. Nothing gets wasted here. Sometimes the tomatoes or corn are good enough to eat for us. In which case, it becomes a bit of work and a time commitment for me to separate everything, refrigerate it and feed it or compost it, etc… I love to juice celery, turmeric, beets, ginger, carrots, apples, kale and spinach for Ken and me and then give the pulp to the chickens. They basically get to have any leftovers that we can’t eat. Spoiled girls for sure.

Back to Covid. Right now the Delta and Omicron variants are here in the Bay Area. No one knew they were ill on Christmas eve. Maybe they were asymptomatic, but it was a superpreader event like no other. So far, everyone has survived. Everyone was vaccinated. Not all of us were boosted, which means their cases will be more severe.

I listen to podcasts at night when I can’t sleep and one of them is from Vincent Racaniello called MicrobeTV. He is known as the Earth’s Virology Professor and he has guests that chat with him and answer questions. It is very interesting to me. Probably not something I should be listening to in the middle of the night, but whatever. I learn a lot about Covid-19 and what’s going on.

Sometimes I listen to the Live Twitter feed of theCovid-19:Updates for the US. My favorite is listening to Governor Murphy in New Jersey who speaks every Monday or Wednesday about the numbers of deaths, whether schools are open, stories about the people who have passed away, etc… Last year, I listened to Governor Cuomo in New York, but he has since lost his job. I love learning. It’s a passion of mine.

I haven’t baked as much recently. My friend Marie and I got together last October and baked tiramisu together. I have a few recipes that I use and I promised her that I would post the recipe. I know. I’m a little late. Oh well…

 Ohh. And I’ve been quilting too. I also attended a 5th birthday party for a special little girl in my life. The BEST day ever. I’ve made marajuana pound cake, apple cake with cannabis leaves which is GREAT for sleep, and cannabis butter from plants I grew last summer. Recipe coming soon.
Billie’s 5th Birthday at a park in Walnut Creek

I attended a Holiday concert with Blackhawk Chorus that my son Andrew and good friend Denise Clark performed in which was a blast. 

From the Back left Sue, Nintin, Laura, Curtis, Andrew, Dan, Second row: Hanson, Michelle, Shannon, Nancy, and Terri Ann. And Me in front
Blueberry Pie

I spent Christmas day with my 2 boys, my hubby, my older sister Susan and my dad Ron which was unexpected, but so much fun. We made a ham, scalloped potatoes au gratin, and a blueberry pie with a heart shaped crust and Marion Berry ice cream.

My Daddio and Me with our #Smythfamilyfarmwc hats from my cute husband Ken
Here are the four of us on Christmas Day . Starting in Back: My Husband Ken , son Andrew. Second row: Son Curtis and Me

Back to the recipe.

Tiramisu Recipe

You can purchase 30 small Savoiardi cookies instead of making ladyfingers. Or make a Chiffon Cake and use that instead.

Lady Fingers: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 Butter a 12X16 inch baking tray. Line with Parchment paper and brush again with butter.

In a mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks with ¼ C sugar until ribbon stage and light in color. Reserve. In another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining ¼ C sugar and continue to whip to medium peaks. Sift the flour again. With a rubber spatula, fold half of the flour mixture into the yolk mixture.. Fold in ½ of the egg whites. Then fold in ½ of the remaining flour mixture. Lastly, fold in the remaining ½ egg white mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and with an offset spatula, carefully spread the batter evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes until done and golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. This can be made up to two weeks in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil and stored in the freezer. 

Mascarpone Cream:


6 Egg Yolks

6 Egg Whites

1 C Sugar

¼ C Marsala

¼ C Italian Brandy

2 Lbs mascarpone cheese

2 sheets gelatin or 2 Oz unflavored Knox gelatin

¼ C cold water

2 ½ C Heavy Cream

Espresso Syrup:

1 C hot espresso or use 1 T dry espresso powder with water

3 T brown sugar

1 T sugar

1 teas lemon juice

1 teas vanilla extract

¼ C Kahlua

½ C grated Bittersweet chocolate (preferably Guittard or Ghirardelli) 

½ C Cocoa Powder Dutch Processed

Mascarpone Cream:


In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the Marsala and brandy. Place over a ban marie/double boiler and cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Continue to cook mixture for another 5 minutes, until the mixture resembles a thick paste,( called sabayon). Remove from the double boiler and cool mixture over an ice bath or until room temperature. Whip the mascarpone cheese to soft peaks. Fold the cooled sabayon into the mascarpone until well incorporated. Place gelatin sheets in ¼ C cold water. After 5 minutes, pour mixture into a small pot and melt on medium heat. Cool. Fold melted gelatin into mascarpone sabayon mixture. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture ¼ at a time. Place heavy Cream in a cold bowl and mix until whipped or “chantilly” stage.Fold into sabayon mixture.Mixture should be smooth and light. Use as layers in the tiramisu or as needed. Can be made up to four hours ahead.

Espresso Syrup:

Brew fresh espresso. (or go to Peet’s Coffee or Starbucks and buy 1 Cup). To one cup of espresso, add the brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir until dissolved.

Assembly of Tiramisu:

Divide the sheet of ladyfingers into 2 (8X10Inch) sheets. Divide espresso syrup into 2 portions. Divide the mascarpone cream into 3 portions. To assemble, spread the first portion of the mascarpone cream at the bottom of a deep (8X10-inch) deep dish topped with 1 sheet of ladyfingers. (Or for fun use wine goblets) Pour one portion of espresso syrup on to the layer of ladyfingers until soaked using a brush. Repeat process. Sprinkle grated chocolate and cocoa powder on top of mascarpone. Lastly, top with remaining mascarpone cream, and cover with grated chocolate. Cover pan and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Note: If not serving right away, keep in freezer wrapped tight with plastic wrap and foil. (I’ve kept mine in freezer up to 3 months!) When ready to serve, transfer to fridge to defrost or take out of freezer and leave on the counter to defrost.Then top with whipped cream and chopped chocolate and a sprinkling of cocoa powder when serving.

Recipe was developed by combining Sullivan’s Sweets and Savories cookbook, Diablo Valley College’s Pastry Baking class tiramisu recipe, Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa and celebrity Italian chef Mario Batali’s recipe. You can double or triple the recipe to make a large amount to share with friends and family. 

I had to stop and take a break to bring treats to my chickens “girlfriends.” Ken stopped by Lunardy’s on his way home from soccer and picked up a box of sprouts, broccoli, butternut squash and seeds, spinach, carrot tops, celery and lettuce. They were thrilled. Brought out the garbages, transferred the laundry to the dryer, texted a few friends, replied to Instagram posts and here I am.

And it goes without saying that we miss my Mother in Law Nilda Smyth who died last October a week before she turned 90. We love you Grandma Nilda.
Me and my husband Ken Christmas 2021

Happy New Year everyone and hope to be writing again soon.



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Finding a Sleep Solution at Velvet

Finding a Sleep Solution at Velvet

I have been trying to get my computer to work for an hour and I’ve finally gotten in. It seems there are times when we need to let go and let the universe dictate our schedule. I called a friend Denise Clark and we enjoyed a long conversation and now I’m back to it.

So recently, my friend Donna told me about a new cannabis shop in Martinez, California. I’ve been wanting to sleep better, so I thought I would check out what gummies they had for sale. Back when I was in Portland, found Electric Lettuce and wrote about that experience in this blog. Here are all of the products that I found while walking through Velvet. Green Bee Botanicals sells massage oil, and face serums with CBD. They sold Heavy Hitters vape pens and cartridge batteries. OrangeAde by Citrus and Pine is a great hybrid to try.This is a sativa type dominant weed that leads to good mood and increased energy.
Just a few of the many CBD and THC Products sold at Velvet in Martinez California

Farmer and the Felon Cannabis Company makes SpyRock Sour, Runtz Cake, Cherry AK, Gelatti (an Indica Hybrid Strain), Smoking Sundae Driver, Blue Dream and more. Space Gem makes gummies and edibles that are infused with cannabis. Wunder is a drink made with THC and CBD. The flavors are grapefruit hibiscus, blood orange bitters, lemon ginger flavored sparkling beverage and they claim they are half the calories of beer or wine.

Ember Valley makes weed called zombie cookies, wedding pie, watermelon gelato, now and laters, northern fire, MAC, orange peels, riff OG, ice cream cake and more. Pure Beauty makes weed called Harlequin X GDP, Purple Rain, Terry T, Hybrid Babies, Lobo Loco, Zelda OG, Lemon Haze Flower Cigarettes, Labyrinth, Double Dragon, Secret Friend and many more varieties to choose from. 

Jetty Extracts are also sold at Velvet. These are unrefined live resins found in natural plant compounds. The flavors are Pina Colada, Sour Berry, Lemon Sour Diesel, Gelato, Vanilla Frosting, Peanut Butter Breath, and a  Pineapple Upside Down Cake flavor. You can purchase Wedding Crasher or Blueberry Muffin which are Live Sugar Concentrates. There is a Lemon Grass resin cartridge sold with oil dablicators. Am I getting this right? I think I need a class in cannabis products.
Plenty of hydrating CBD and THC Drinks sold at Velvet in Martinez California

There were many cannabis drinks to choose from also. I spotted Keef a cannabis infused lemonade or fruit punch, or you could buy Bubba Kush Root Beer, Original Cola, Orange Kush, or Pineapple which is 100 mg of THC. The Fizz is a strawberry cannabis infused sparkling water with 10 mg of THC, a brand called “Take Me to The Beach”, “Hold Me While You Dance”, and a ginger lemongrass drink. Another one was called Hi-Fi Hops made by Lagunitas which have blasts of THC, CBD or both. And you can buy them by the case!

A few last items I came across were Petra Cannabis Mints that came in flavors of Moroccan Mint, Tart Cherry, Citrus CBD, Saigon Cinnamon, Pineapple and Blackberry CBD Mints.These are sold as a way to microdose all day and are sugar free. Kiva Lost Farm makes blueberry chews and gummies in strawberry lemonade, and raspberry gummies. They also have a juicy peach and sour apple hybrid strain that help with stress, energy, creativity and mood. It is a women owned business which is always nice to hear. Kiva confections also makes Camino a cannabis infused gummy. These are available at Velvet in wild cherry, watermelon lemonade, wild berry, sparkling pear, and pineapple habanero flavors. Some are designed to uplift your spirit or make you chill and relax to help you sleep. Now that’s what I was looking for. 

All of the employees were happy to assist me and answer any questions that I had. It was a fun place to check out after picking up soil at MacCalvey’s for my Fall vegetable garden. In the end I picked up a few new goodies to try. Hoping they help me fall asleep and stay asleep.

Thanks for joining me on my adventure into Cannabis land in Martinez at Velvet. I’m looking forward to hearing about your cannabis journeys in the comments.


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