Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Friday Cocktail on Wednesday - Bulldog and What to Wear

Bulldog
Thinking the Friday cocktail should be up sooner rather than later given the holiday.  Or, perhaps this mixture would also be good on Friday to help with indigestion.  Either way, the name of this drink makes you think it would be shock to your system.  Quite the opposite.  Light tasting with citrus, a hit of gin, topped off with ginger ale.  An elixir to calm before, during and after the festivities.      

Now, on to what I am going to wear.  Decisions, decisions but thinking elastic will be center stage.  I am searching for the stretchiest clothes I can find that don't make me look like a hot air balloon and will allow me to eat whatever I want.  Thinking this for the top, because my arms are the only things on my body that have not gone completely to hell.  These to take the focus off my waistline and these boots on top of stretch pants that make me look like my bum is still semi-solid.

Yes, good plan.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Baked Alaska


Must wash dogs, water plants, clean up house, remove plants from outside before winter.  Hair is in desperate need of cut and color (why, hello gray hair, thanks for making an appearance 😲).  Have not worked out in a week and apparently that is all my body needs these days to completely give up.  Must wrap presents and get card for my son's birthday.    


Oh, never mind.  Let's just put it all off and bake.  Given my to-do list, I thought a 50's housewife sort of dessert would be appropriate.  Enter the Baked Alaska.  How did this fabulous concoction of cake, ice cream and meringue ever fall out of style?  


I am not a total mockery of a Mom...I mean, I did ask my child what kind of cake he would like for his birthday.  He said ice cream cake.  Just as I was about to groan and roll my eyes, I thought of the Baked Alaska that I have been wanting to make ever since I heard the cook say it in the movie, "Annie".  Yes, yes!  I will do it and make this child feel like for one day out of the year, his Mom is not a total failure.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Cocktail - Grand Galliano


I love our little Oak Park bookstore, The Book Table.  I can spend all day in that place and never get board, much to my son's exasperation.  "Mom, will we ever be leaving this place?"  As if I took him to jail and lost the key.  Oh, what a difficult life he leads.  Pain au Chocolat at Léa and then the bookstore.  To me, that is the perfect day.  To him, the first part is awesome and the second is torture.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

English Muffins


Question:  How are english muffin companies able to package up cardboard and sell it on store shelves and actually make a profit?  I have this image of Thomas' executives laughing hysterically that they are actually able to sell junk to consumers who have never had a homemade english muffin and don't know the difference.  Even smothered in 10 pounds of butter, the store bought version is a mockery of the real thing.

ingredients
I know I tend to have a strong aversion to packaged goods in the middle aisles but this one is particularly ridiculous.  Kind of like all breads, pasta, cookies, and any other snack made by a bunch of scientists in a lab, don't eat it...life is just too short.  I mean, look at the ingredient list for the homemade version - six.  Six!  Here are the ingredients of the store bought version:

ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, REDUCED IRON, NIACIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], WATER, FARINA, YEAST, SALT, SUGAR, CALCIUM PROPIONATE AND SORBIC ACID (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), SOYBEAN OIL, WHEAT GLUTEN, GRAIN VINEGAR, SOY LECITHIN, SOY, WHEY (MILK).

I rest my case.
before proofing
ready to cook
pan first, then to the oven
final product

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Cocktail - Apple Hot Toddy - Holiday Fun



The holidays are coming and I think it's safe to say that libations will be needed given the current political climate.

Do you have Rachel Maddow enthusiasts and family members who worship at the alter of Rush Limbaugh?

Let's say you don't have political issues in your circles of love.  Win!  Yeah, right.  No one gets off that easy.  We all have some version of the Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle, neighbor...your very own parents who love to bring up your weight (too low! too high!), the way they think you should raise your kid (tip: their way is the only way!), or thinks that talking about your dating life or biological clock are appropriate dinner conversation.  

Oy.  You might want to make a punch bowl full of this stuff and pray the serenity prayer:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference."

Amen!

Also, quick tip.  It's never about you.  It is always, always about them.  Fear, self-loathing, insecurity and a range of other negative emotions are the ingredients for being critical and nasty towards others.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Oatmeal Scotchies


I recently went to parent teacher conferences.  These would be my first for my son who is now in middle school.  Ouch.  So not fun when you have a kid who doesn't always think before acting is a free spirit.  I need cookies more than a drink and my kid certainly needs some sugar therapy after having to also sit through the criticism.




I tried these cookies a few ways and I am now kicking myself, being the nut junkie that I am, for not trying them with walnuts or pecans.  Or, grinding up the walnuts and using them as part of the flour?  Oh, the possibilities.

I tried them first with all-purpose white flour with the cake flour and then I tried doing them with whole wheat flour with the cake flour.  The whole wheat flour won out, in my opinion.  I have been partially replacing white flour with whole wheat flour in a lot of recipes lately because there seems to be more flavor with a mix rather than just with one type of flour.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lovely Portugal

Porto
This time, I am not going to wait a year to post pictures.

I journeyed to Portugal and Spain in mid-September, the ideal time to hit both countries for their perfect weather, tasty port wines, moist and intensely flavorful Piri Piri chicken, Sangria, Tortilla, Jamon and the freshest of fresh seafood.  Lisbon and Porto are also less touristy than the London's and Paris's of Europe, huge bonus.

A few things that make Portugal unique (this list is by no means exhaustive), besides their cuisine and port wines:

  • Tiles/Colorful Architecture
    • Portugal has buildings crammed together throughout the country with the red roofs you will find throughout southern Europe.  On the front of the buildings you will see a wide array of tiles in every color immaginable but mostly blue.  If the buildings do not have tiles, then they will most likely be colored pink, yellow, blue, green and every other color of the rainbow.  A gorgeous feast for the eyes.  
  • Cork
    • If there is a cork shortage, you would never know by visiting Portugal.  They make everything out of cork; bags, shoes, wallets, coasters, belts, etc.  I have allergic reactions to almost everything, including leather on my skin.  Think for a moment how that limits me with watch bands, shoes, bracelets.  No such issues with cork and it looks a lot like leather.  So, I stocked up.
  • Mosaic Sidewalks
    • A source of national pride in Portugal, with good reason.  They are truly a delight to walk on everyday.

A Tuk-Tuk - the preferred Lisbon mode of transportation
The Duoro

Port next to the vineyard.  I was never a big port drinker, until now.  I wouldn't substitute it for wine but definitely as an after dinner drink, for special occasions and as a wonderful supplement to dessert.

Have you ever walked on a mosaic?  In Portugal, walking on art is a daily occurrence.

Pasteis de Nata - a sweet custard inside a flaky crust

The French have their baguettes and the Portuguese have their Pasteis de Nata.  One shop of many displaying the much loved Pasteis de Nata - a Portuguese treasure and source of intense national pride.

Sangria

Squid, Olive Oil, Cheese, Olives and Sangria after a long day walking the hilly streets of Lisbon

Porto Trolly

Train Station Tiles

Sangria, Bocadillos and Tortilla Española in Salamanca, Spain

About to be picked grapes for the Port

Grapes for Port Wine

The ubiquitous building tiles seen throughout Portugal