Sunday, April 23, 2017



Outlaw Broccoli Salad

My mother-in-law, Muriel, was a classy lady who belonged to about 30 ‘clubs.’ She was a gourmet cook and always enjoyed cooking for her family and many others. The ‘others’ often included my own family. Whenever she would entertain any of us, or any of her other children’s inlaws, she would call the party an “outlaw’ dinner party. I always thought it was clever and now I follow suit with my own ‘outlaw’ entertaining and recipes. This particular recipe comes from my daughter’s mother in law, Jeanie. That would make her my outlaw. She is by no means dangerous but she is a good cook and when I asked her for her broccoli salad recipe, she gladly sent it to me.


6 cups fresh broccoli florets

1/3 cup red onion diced

2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs. Apple cider vinegar

8 slices of bacon

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Mix crispy bacon pieces, broccoli, red onion and grapes. Whisk mayo, sugar and vinegar. Pour dressing over broccoli and mix. Mix in sliced almonds.

It is easy to prepare and doesn’t take much time at all. I cut the recipe in half and still had a very large amount. It is crunchy and has that tang of sweet and sour to it which makes it so luscious. Summer is coming..give it a try. I think you will love it. I might even add some fresh strawberries to it next time too. Thank you Jeanie!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017



Finished Recycled Wine Bag

From the time I was a child, I believed in recycling. All the kids in my neighborhood used to take our ‘pop’ bottles back for a refund ( I think we got 2 cents!) There was a shop that took our aluminum foil for refund and of course milk bottles from our milkman etc. I try to remember now to take my own bags to the grocery store instead of using their plastic. Having just returned from Morocco, I was pleased to hear that plastic has been outlawed in the entire country.

I was tired of looking and stumbling over the huge stack of wine bags I had accumulated from my weekly trips to the grocery store. I racked my brain trying to think of some unique way to use them but finally decided to load them all in my car and take back to the store in hopes they would recycle them in some way. I was told that it was not their policy to accept wine bags back. So..they sat for a long time more and kept accumulating (I love my wine) until FINALLY I came up with a solution!

Stack of Bags That Accumulated

Selection of Bags Now Available for Chocolate Truffles, Wine, Bagettes, Vegetables Etc.

I cut a section from the middle of each bag and then added a copy of one of my paintings or sculptures to each bag along with one of the stories I write for each one. Viola! Now my customers will have a padded, insulated, sturdy waterproof and colorful tote in which to place their chocolate. The totes accomodated 6 bottles of wine and now will hold 4 plus the truffles, baguettes, and all sorts of other shopping needs. I am offering them this week at the market (while supply lasts) complimentary with the purchase of 3 boxes of my delicious chocolate truffles. Each box is only $6.00.

Inside Recycled Tote-Holds A Tremendous Amount of 'Stuff'

Hope to see anyone on my reader list one day at the Farmer’s Market in Roanoke, Va. I am usually there Saturdays and sometimes Fridays and Sundays-depending on weather. Booth 18. Please stop by for a sample of my dark chocolate truffles which include: Bailey’s Irish Cream and Salted Caramel, My homemade Kalua, Mayan, Dark Chocolate with Grand Marnier and Orange extract from Morocco, to name a few…

Thanks for reading my blog posts. I appreciate you!

Cheryl-The Chocolate Queen

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


This is The Relics of the Royal Stables, Originally Built To House 12,000 Royal Horses

It would be impossible to show and tell about all the exciting views and places my grandson, Zack and I saw while in Morocco. I am trying to give highlights but get carried away when I go to my pictures and remember the stories that went along with them. I want to tell you everything but you surely would be very bored having not been there. Many of my viewers are artists like myself and hopefully you will appreciate seeing the doors, arches and entryways all over the country. Here I have just touched on the gates to the old Medinas or old part of the cities, oppulent arches and doorways as well as humble abodes. Please feel free to repost or use any of the pictures as you would like. I believe Morocco should be shared. I wonder what treasures I would find If I opened any of these doors. Next post I will be showing the wonderful Moroccan people we met along the way. Please click once on any picture to enlarge.

Another View of Same Stable Arches

Opulence Inside of Mosque in Casablanca

Zack and I outside of Mosque in Casablanca-largest mosque in Morocco

Another Picture Inside The Mosque

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Friday, March 31, 2017



My Tea Inspiration From Trip To Morocco-"Tree Pots."

As many of you know, I just got back from Morocco a few weeks ago. There were so many levels in which I was inspired to create and I actually didn't think the mint tea would be my first inspiration. The Moroccan's favorite drink is mint tea. There were men and women selling mint at all the souks in the Medinas along the highways. One Moroccan told me that mint tea is a Moroccan’s scotch. They drink it at any time of day but especially love it after dinner to help prevent indigestion.

Tea Preparation-45 Minutes Required For A Good Tea

I learned that for a good tea, the Moroccans take 45 minutes to prepare. I had tea prepared for me several times and have to admit, they did take their time in getting it just right. The tea is brewed on a charcoal grill, allowed to steep for quite some time, strained and presented. Sometimes they even use bellows to keep the charcoal at just the right temperature.

Here Our Host Has Finished Pouring and Now Serves the Tea

After the Ceremony, The Tea Pot and Charcoal Burner are Placed Outside to Cool

As I Leave the Tinehir Oasis and Walk Along the Todra Gorge, I Notice Someone Has Placed A Small Rug and Tea Service for A Cool Respite at Foot of the Gorge. Tea Ceremonies Are an Important Part of Moroccan Life.

My first inspiration in creating art after being in Morocco are my new ‘Tree pots.” I have made several tea pots over the last few years. When my good customer, Alicea, asked me to create a teapot for her for a friend who loves trees, I immediately thought of making a ‘Tree-tea pot” Tea pots are difficult to do in the first place so in making one resembling a tree, I knew the challenge was on. It took quite a bit of time but I am very pleased with the way they turned out. I made 2 so that Alicea would have a choice, plus, I am never sure how tea pots will emerge from kiln. It could be Christmas or Halloween! In this case, it was Christmas. With spring and summer on the way, I know I will have plenty of mint and plan to brew some refreshing mint tea soon, although I don’t think I’ll brew for 45 minutes.

Tree Pot number 1-She is Approx 7"wide x 4" deep and 10" High. I Used Stoneware Clay and Fired Twice-Glaze is Food Safe. She is $110. I Am Pleased With Her Branch Handle.

Tree Pot number 2- Unique with Raku Candle Holder on Lid. She is approx 7" wide x 4" deep and 6" high. Also priced at $110.

One of my 'tree pots' will be for sale. If you are interested in either one, please e-mail me and I will let you know if she is still available. Alicea gets first choice.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017



This is The Road We Traveled Which Went On For Many Hours. We Climbed To 7,414 Toward the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass, Which is The Heart Of The Atlas Mountains. Please click once on pictures to enlarge

Highlight number 3. Visit to the Taureg tribe or the Blue People and a long ride through the Atlas Mountains to get to them! They are named Blue people because of the indigo blue scarves worn by the men to cover the faces and bodies. The women actually do not wear the scarves. Sometimes the blue stains their skin and creates an eerie effect. We were given a bit of information on this tribe of Berbers before entering their small villages located just beyond the middle Atlas Mountain range.

Entering the villages was like going back in time-kind of like walking through an old wild western desert town. The people were friendly and so kind. One little lady followed me around. She was shy of having a pic of her face taken but didn’t mind the pictures otherwise. They learn from the time they are children to greet the tour buses as we arrive to their desolate area. The air was filled with the smoke and scent of the tagines on the charcoal flames. The restaurant owners are actually preparing for the ‘chicken buses’ to arrive and bring Moraccans from the area into town. The chicken buses are aptly named because they are old retired tour buses, used now to transport people and livestock.

We Passed All Sorts Of Livestock Trucks Along The Way. Sometimes I had To Cover My Eyes When One Of Them Came Toward Us From The Opposite Side Of The Road. There Were No Security Rails!

Each Valley Was More Beautiful Than The One Before and Was Ever Changing

There Was Greenery

And Snow Capped Mountains

There Were Crystals Ready to be Plucked Out of The Ground

And Then There Were the Tuaregs. One of Our Taureg Guides

Berber's With Scarves for Sale Seemed to Pop Up From Nowhere in This Desolate Area

The Curves Continued

Shops Were Built into The Rocks

We Stopped in A Small Village and Met the Most Wonderful Berber People. This Little Woman Saw My Scarf Around My Neck and Motioned for Me to Put it Around My Head. I Followed Her Instructions and She Smiled at Me and Hugged Me and Then She Was My Friend for Life-Or Until We Left The Village Anyway.

This Village Was a Stopping Point for the Notorious 'Chicken Bus.' The Bus Stops For Travelers to Barter, Trade, and Have Lunch. The Tagines Were Fired Up at Every Corner (2)

Zack Made Friends with This 'Blue Man' Earlier But I Thought it Worthy A Picture Here.

Here is Another Younger Woman I Met In The Village

A Few Hours Later, And More Steep Highway, We Finally Came to the Film Capital of Morocco-Quarzazate. We Passed the Now Defunct Hollywood Set.

Next, Ait Benhaddou, a kasbah famous for it's filming of Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. This Was My All Time Favorite Place in Morocco (Outside of the Dunes)

A Stream Separated Part of The Village

This Picture Was Taken by Zack. He Was Shooting From Inside One of The Rock Crevices

While Zack Was Taking Pictures Elsewhere, I was Welcomed by Mohammad. He Couldn't Pronounce My Name So He Called Me Fatima-A Common Female Name Here

Mohammad Invited Me Up To His Home Within The Rocks-And I Went! (Kind Of Like-Let Me Show You My Kasbah- style) It Was A Very Trecherous Path Leading Up and Up

Along the Way, He Let Me Take A Picture of His Pointy Shoes. They Reminded Me of Aladdin and The Magic Carpet.

Upon the Path I Met An Interesting German Man Who Came Into The Village Via A Motorcycle-He Was A Stunt Man. He Was Having Trouble Climbing Up The Stone Pathway and Said to Me "These Boots Are NOT Made For Walking." He, Mohammad and I All Had A Good Laugh At His Sense Of Humor

Stepping Stones-In This Case-Sand Bags- To Return

From Another Angle

Mohammad and His Wise Words, Sweet Smile and Kind Manners

One of the Berbers Said to Me- "You Have The Beautiful Watches That You Wear, But WE have the time.

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