Welcome to the Circle B Kitchen!  We love that you're here and hope you'll browse the site and grab some recipes.  The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...
                                                                                 Contact me at      pberry@circle-B-kitchen.com

Find a Circle B Kitchen Recipe 

Some of Our Favorite Party Foods!

      Cheese-y Pasta Bites

    Seafood Guacamole

   Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts    

        Sausage Roll Bites 

   7-Layer Mediterranean Dip   

Pasta Squares with Pepperoni and

      Artichoke Spinach Dip 

  Cheese-y Beer and Mustard Dip   

        Baked Mozzarella Sticks       

      Cheese-y Beer Popovers         

        Olive Cheese Bites

       Crab and Avocado Rolls
            Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

       Parmesan Munchy Mix

    Artichoke, Spinach and Goat                Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms     

3-Cheese Crostini with Italian                                  Sausage                

        Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets

    Toasted Pine Nut Hummus       

                Pizza Sliders    

... and just in case you were wondering...



Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .




And Life Goes On...

It sort of seems unimaginable that life really does go on.  But it does.  Dad is living proof of this as he bravely strides into a new reality that encompasses a life without his wife of 69 years.  And at 90 years of age, it is indeed an impressive and inspiring thing to see.  If he can do it, we certainly must as well.  And it’s for sure what Mom would have wanted. 

And things are almost all in place so that Dad can do what he can do and others can pick up the pieces of what he can’t.  My role in his life is slowly becoming less of a caretaker and more of an entertainment chairman, which is how I prefer it, and I think he does too. 

And all of that means that I am slowly returning to my Circle B Kitchen; not just to throw together a quick meal at the end of a busy day, but actually plan a meal and have the time to slice, dice, chop and sauté.  Glorious!  I don’t quite have the time for baking bread or pizza yet, but I see that coming and it thrills me no end. 

I don’t quite know where to start with thanking so many of you for the support you’ve offered me over the last few weeks.  I debated as to whether and how much to share on the blog of what I was going through with Mom’s illness and her eventual passing, but all of those questions fell quickly aside as the comments and emails of caring support kept coming through day after day.  It is still difficult for me to tell you how much it all meant to me, and what a lift it gave me to hear so many of you speak of your own experiences, or just offer comfort, caring words, and inspiration.  Thank you so very much.  Each of you.  What incredibly compassionate and kind people you are.

So the dust is beginning to settle a little and it feels good to get back to work.  Mom was so very proud of this blog and she would tell people she barely knew all about it, much to my embarrassment at times.  But she loved to cook and bake, and she left a notebook full of recipes that she printed out from the Circle B Kitchen, so I know she wouldn’t want me to stay away any longer than I must. 

I brought out my camera this morning and got reacquainted with it.  I felt pretty rusty, but it didn’t take long for things to start clicking into place again.  Not sure I’m really fully functioning in that department yet, but fortunately I have photos that I had taken before Mom became ill and I’ll have that post to you very soon. 

But getting to my computer and actually writing has probably been the most difficult challenge for me.  I knew I couldn’t just jump right in and start talking about the perfect recipe for whatever, although I’m very excited to start sharing those with you again.  It’s been so hard to even imagine how to put into words what this last 2 months has been like for me and how touched I have been by your dear generosity.  But now that I’ve finally begun, it seems a little easier than I had expected.  Thank you for your kindness and patience.  I’m very much hoping to be back here next week to talk about food!  Oh the joy! 




In the Meantime...

Hey guys, things are just a bit busy here still.  We're all in the process of adapting to the realities of life without Mom (Gma).  The great-grandkids called her Gma, so that has sort of become her name.  The most difficult adjustment, of course, has been for Gpa, her husband of 69 years who is now facing an awful lot of quiet time.  Gma was a talker, so his life has been altered in ways that are ever so difficult to fathom.  I have been spending as much time with him as possible, knowing full well that I cannot fill the void that she has left, but maybe I can fill some of those quiet spaces that must be so hard for him right now.  Dad is doing as well as any 90-year old widower can manage under the circumstances, but the stroke that he had several years ago makes living without his wife even more challenging.

So we're all jumping in to love, support and keep Dad going through this most heartbreaking of life events.  As I said, he's managing fairly well, but until all of the support pieces are in place, I will continue to spend large parts of every day with him, which as you can imagine, still precludes any blogging efforts on my part.  I'm fairly certain that we are very close to getting him set up and I will be able to return to my little corner of the internet universe.  I do miss it, and you, so very much.  I hope you have not given up on me, but maybe I'll have to post some life-changing recipes in the near future to woo you back.  :-)

Before I sign off here, I HAVE to thank all of you who have sent such incredibly loving, supportive, and inspiring emails.  I so wish I had the time to respond to each of you individually and thank you in the way that you each deserve.  But please know how much each email has meant to me and how much I have appreciated each word, thought and wish for my well-being through all of this.  So many of you have been through similar experiences and your wisdom has been invaluable.  So many others have written just to wish me well or offer words of comfort, and I cannot thank you enough.  But I do thank you.  Very, very much.  I hope my next missive will be about something delicious.  Food.  A recipe.  Oh that sounds so fun.  XOXO  



And So It Goes...

I was so hoping that this would be a post about how we won the fight and Mom overcame untold hardships and an exhausting uphill battle to regain her health, but on Wednesday, she decided enough is enough.  Quietly, peacefully she said her good-byes and slipped away, surrounded by all of us here who loved her and will miss her greatly.  

It was a month of triumphs and setbacks, and through it all, Mom made it clear that she was willing to do the work, no matter how difficult, to restore her health and return home to her life with Dad. But it finally became clear to her that her lungs were probably not going to heal, and as things got worse, she made the choice to disconnect from the tubes and machines that were keeping her going.  Her final hours were a testament to her love and bravery, and those of us present will be forever changed by the experience. 

The family has gathered and we have celebrated her life and our own connectedness and affirmed the place she will forever hold in our hearts and lives.  It's as good an ending as anyone could possibly have written for the life she lived so well for 90 years.

Thank you each and every one who has left loving, supportive comments and sent untold numbers of caring and insightful emails.  I have tried to thank each of you individually, but if I have not, please know that your words have inspired and moved me and been a wonderful source of comfort these past few weeks.  The internet can be a such a cold, inhuman thing at times, but that's so not the case here in this little corner of that vast technological universe... you are best of the best and what makes the Circle B Kitchen one of my very favorite hangouts.  Hope to be back with you all soon.  XXOXO


Keeping on...

There have been good days and there have been not so good days and Mom is still struggling to stay in the game.  In the meantime, my Circle B life remains on hold.  The bulk of my food prep these days revolves around peeling the lid off a bottle of Ensure and which flavor will perhaps spark a little more interest this time. I do miss my kitchen and cooking and all of you.  Thank you so much for all of your amazingly kind and supportive comments and emails.  I know this is somewhat of a universal experience that so many of you have already been through.  Your words of wise counsel have not been wasted.  Thank you.  Thank you!

it's becoming clearer each day the ways in which this experience is teaching me things I did not know about myself.  I have promised myself to make the best use of this time for me.  Big lessons in being brave and fending off guilt and not letting fear get the best of me.  Hope and optimism heal.  More of these lessons to come.  Hope to be back here soon.  I really do.



Life Can Be Like This Sometimes...

Instead of cooking and photographing and writing this last week or so, I've been sitting beside my Mother's hospital bed, willing her to recover from congestive heart failure. I'm happy to report that this 90-year old woman has apparently only used up 7 of her 9 lives, and today has turned the corner and recovery looks probable rather than questionable. I just left her bedside in the ICU where she was fixing her hair, applying a little make-up and trying to figure out where she left off on her kindle book.

I could write volumes about the brave, caring, compassionate and talented nurses and doctors, some of whom have sat on her bed, holding her hands, speaking in soft whispers, reassurring her that she could indeed pull through. One does not go through an experience like this without being changed; I am only beginning to discover what that might mean for me. Mom still has a pretty long road to recovery, but I will be returning to my blogging and cooking and you all very soon. Until then....