Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bagel Bombs

Bagel Bombs
A memo to the kids and newcomers to Chicago: it gets cold here.  It can get really, really cold here.  Sometimes we get lucky and have a mild winter, as has happened for the past couple of years.  Other years we get hit by a blizzard or a cold snap.  It happens.

Today is now on record as the second coldest day in Chicago because there was about an hour that it was -23F.  If you followed the news or social media, you would think it was -23 the entire day but no, it was an hour.  That's it.  I am old enough to have been around in 1985 when the other really cold day happened.  I was 9 years old at the time so I don't remember much but here is the Chicago Sun-Times front page.  See that?  The headline says, "Brave" and that most folks bundled up and kept moving.  Really, the only person who should worry about a blizzard or cold snap is the Mayor.  God help the person in office who doesn't handle it well.

I know I am being nostalgic and sounding as old as dirt when I say this but I miss the days when Chicagoans took pride in their thick skin and ability to put on long underwear and power through a cold day.  I know that in 1985 the deep freeze (-27F) was on a Sunday but I guarantee my Mother had me in church.  I also never, ever remember having school cancelled because it was cold.  The fact that school was cancelled today and tomorrow, when it it supposed to be a balmy 0 degrees, is nuts to me.  Last I checked, I am the Mother of my kid.  If I determine if it's too cold for him to go to school (see never, ever), then I will keep him at home.  Thank you Oak Park School District for parenting for me.  Can you also cook dinner and help with homework?  That would be lovely!

Sunday, January 20, 2019


I would like to say that I dropped off the face of the blogging earth because I was doing something like hiking the Himalayas or that I had finally shoved off everything and lived out my dream of moving to Bali to take a deep dive into Hinduism while practicing yoga and meditation, Eat, Pray, Love style.

I didn't go the travel route but I did get unexpectedly downsized in the corporate job I had been at for the past eight years.  This lead me down a path of self-discovery that lead to a Pilates teacher training program and a job at a non-profit.  I am also making bagels with a group of women a few mornings a week that are sold to locals who enjoy a bagel that is not bread in a bagel shape.

Perhaps this new direction speaks to an undiagnosed case of ADD or a mid-life crises.  I don't know but I can say this, I no longer think about everything I am going to do when I retire.  I had to give up the manicures, frequent hair appointments, clothes shopping, magazine/apps/news/music subscriptions, the overflow of flowers I used to have in the garden, eating out and a lot of travel.  I don't have those things anymore but I don't feel like I am missing anything.  We'll see if this hippy live in the moment shtick lasts.  At this rate, who knows, I could be blogging from Bali next month.

This new lifestyle has me extremely busy and my baking/cooking obsession has taken a back seat to following my bliss.  I had a few minutes and it is Mallomar season seeing as it is way too cold to go out and roast marshmallows for a proper S'more.  These are S'mores with the volume turned way up from Melissa Clark's, "Cook This Now".  It's a bit of an undertaking but if you can get to the finish line, it's worth it.  A pile of marshmallow on a homemade graham cracker crust with a shock of dark chocolate on top.  PSA: Support your local library and check this book out.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peppermint Macarons

Macarons are a finicky little treat.  One of the top questions on Google on macarons is why they are so expensive.  Anyone who has attempted or made these delicate meringue treats knows the answer to that question.  One wrong move and and you have a big pile of goop.

I might have had a few five fails before I was able to bring this together.  I actually checked out books from the library on macrons and I have to say, those books, which shall remain nameless here, make it way more difficult than necessary.

Last week I happened to have a couple of leftover egg whites that I let sit on the counter overnight.  I completely forgot about them and came down the next morning to find them looking sad and taunting me to give the macrons another try, after swearing them off after my last fail.  I looked up a recipe on pinterest that did not require weighing and was very simple.  Guess what?  They actually worked.  The recipe is here.

I used a basic buttercream filling, threw in some peppermint oil and rolled the sides in crushed candy canes.  The end result was delicious, although I do need to work on smoothing out the tops of the macaron shell.  Taking pictures of my work keeps me honest and those little bumps in the picture above are bothering me as I write.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spiced Biscotti

There I was last night, swearing I would not turn on the TV.  I told myself, "Don't do this to yourself.  You can't take the heartbreak."

I cleaned half the house, did some laundry, worked on this blog...and then I couldn't take it any longer.  I had to see what was up in Alabama.  I turned on MSNBC and saw Roy Moore leading.  "Son of a B----!!!!!!  Mother of God, WHY, WHY?????"  My son came down the stairs to ask if I was ok.  "Yes, love...just mourning the end of decency, that's all."  

I flipped on Netflix to the only show that could calm my nerves, The Great British Baking Show.  I watched a group of people being helpful to one another and competing for none other than the honor of doing well.  I watched two episodes and it calmed me.  At this point, my significant other, let's just call him, Manny, because he looks like Manny Pacquiao , was home and checking his phone while I ever so dramatically mourned the end of our Republic.  

All of a sudden he said, "Doug Jones won!"  I thought he was kidding.  I checked my own phone and saw the news outlets calling the race for Jones.  Christmas came early.

Thank you to the good people of Alabama for sending an honorable person to represent them in the Senate.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Homemade Pop Tarts

Store bought pop tarts remind me of a guy in college I used to see in the library all the time.  This guy was so good looking that I assumed that he would have an amazing personality to match his gorgeous looks to fit the fantasy I had built up in my head about our marriage, the gorgeous babies we would have and the perfect life we would lead together.  

Months went by and he would smile at me and I would smile at him.  The fantasy continued to build in my mind to a point where no one could likely measure up to the very high expectations I had built up.  I mean, how many guys look like Ryan Reynolds and actually have a sense of humor, like he seems to least on Twitter?  Never.  It never, ever happens.  Plus, clearly I am not Blake Lively.

So anyway, there I was one day at the library and it happened.  The object of my fantasy came over, just like that, and sat next to me.  It was just like the movies, where the guy you admire from afar forever comes over, sweeps you off your feet and you live happily ever after.  Except, that is not what happened.  He opened his mouth, started talking and after about two minutes, I realized we had nothing in common.  So very unfortunate.

We never spoke again.  Perhaps he also thought my personality was that of a wet rag.  Who knows?  Looks can be deceiving and so is the case with Pop Tarts from the store.  They look so delicious and enticing.  Then, you bite into them and you start wondering if you just took a bite of cardboard, with some sugar on top.  So, do what you want but again, life is short to be spent eating cardboard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry Cookies - Crazy Monday

Monday mornings are never easy but it seemed like a cloud was hanging over this house yesterday.

One of the dogs had an accident, then my son fell halfway down the stairs before school and it sounded a little like this.  I ended up having to drive him to school and on the way back my allergies decided to take a hit out on me and I ended up looking like Rocky after taking on Apollo Creed...the first time.

To top it off, I rushed into my house racing for the computer for a call I had scheduled and tripped over a pair of shoes and went flying into a chair in the dining room, doing further damage to my already blown out eyes.  After binge watching The Crown, I realize everyone has their problems but I did feel a little more jinxed than normal for a Monday. 

Oh well.  At least I have cookies.  Life is good.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Cocktail - The Pink Lady

Here we are again at the end of a long week of learning just how many ways a man can make a woman feel small and powerless.  The Commander and Chief Groper of them all is still in power while heads continue to role everywhere but that office.  Just to add insult to injury, we actually have him on tape bragging about his grabbing, kissing, groping exploits.  We have a ton of women (here's the list) claiming that they were victims of his assault.  Yet, he stays...and stays...and stays.

Here, have a cocktail.  A bright, pink, creamy cocktail to celebrate being a woman.  Cheers and have a great weekend.