Friday, December 18, 2015

Eggnog Cake Cookies

Eggnog Cake Cookies
Can we talk about pain for a moment?  Pain is what happens when you are, oh say, 39, haven't worked out in about three months and then decide that you are going to finally get back to The Dailey Method class that you haven't been to since you purchased that five class package over the summer when you were feeling motivated.  I am now still feeling pain in muscles I was not even aware existed.  This says two things, 1) I am lazy and deserve this pain and 2) the class is incredibly effective.  I do this because I want to be able to bend over and touch my toes when I am 70 and for reasons I don't fully understand, after I take the class, I am at peace with myself and the world around me.  Considering my anal nature and tendency to overthink and stress about anything and everything, achieving inner peace, even if it is temporary, is an achievement.    

Thursday, December 17, 2015

News, Quirks, Insights and Other Odds and Ends - December 2015

Chocolates in Paris
It is 60 degrees outside, it has been raining for two days straight, and this is Chicago in December.  We are in bizarro land.  Below: some reads over the past month that were a welcome break from the holiday insanity.

Not even Yoga is politically correct. We can just call it stretching class.

Apparently, how you dress does matter.  Should I take it personally that my significant other sent me this article?

A peek inside the difficulties of quitting an addiction.  This story talks about heroin, but it is also about the daily, unexciting but difficult grind of getting up everyday and living life.

Foods that TSA will confiscate.  If you do put them in your checked baggage, pack them well so you don't come out on the other end with vodka gravy jam.

This article is about a Father/Daughter relationship but it might as well be a message to all parents.  It's not the things we buy our kids, it's our behavior everyday that counts.

Our phones are turning us into old people with hunched backs.

Some sore throat remedies from folks who depend on their voices more than the weekend karaoke crowd.

Where would we be without Will Ferrell?  Laughing a whole lot less.  His SNL appearance was classic.

The food companies do some very shady things to keep you eating.  Be warned before you grab that bag of chips.  There is a science behind not wanting to stop eating once you start.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars
I don't do traditional holidays.  Every other year, my son is with his Dad for (name the holiday) and I don't have family within driving distance.  Don't break out the tissues for me just yet.  This unconventional way of life can have an upside.

When my son is away for whatever reason, be it camps or at his Dad's house, it gives me time to regroup, clean up the house, and get my affairs in order so I can be completely on when he comes back to me.  I also never take the time I have with my kid for granted because I know that time is limited.
Packing from The Container Store
So, even though I don't celebrate holidays in the traditional sense, I do love to make holiday treats which I promptly give away to neighbors and teachers so I don't devour them all while I work from home.  These bars have to be the best invention ever to come out of Starbucks, besides the Peppermint Mocha.  I have been searching high and low for a recipe that makes a good imitation and this one is it.  Thank you, Pinterest!  This is about as close as you are going to get to the stuff at the Starbucks counter and dare I say, perhaps a little bit better.       

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

I have been putting off making rugelach for years.  I would always get motivated, buy the ingredients, and then get sidetracked by work or my kid or just procrastinate and forget about the project all together.  I realize that this does not speak volumes about my work ethic.  On the upside, I finally made them and so glad I did.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Roasted Chicken Chili

Roasted Chicken Chili
I am pushing 40 and that means that holidays like Thanksgiving land me in my fat jeans for about a month after the bountiful feast.  What to do when I still have to feed my boy who has an ever expanding appetite and I have a taste for something substantial and warm given the cold turn of season?  Finally try Ina Garten's Chicken Chili is what.  This recipe is essentially roasted chicken, vegetables and lots of spices.  Healthy, hearty, and great for this time of year.  This recipe makes a ton so you might want to cut it in half if you are not feeding a viking army.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cranberry and Orange Cream Scones

I searched high and low for a good scone recipe and the selection available is least in the U.S.  Recipes in many American cookbooks tend to produce scones that are too hard, dry, crumbly, and heavy.  Last time I tasted a scone in the U.K., it was light, with a soft texture on the inside, buttery, and slightly sweet.  To add a decadent touch, add some clotted cream and jam, and have tea with cream.

Friday, November 20, 2015

News, Quirks, Insights and Other Odds and Ends - November 2015

How I Feel

This has been loooong week.  Client meetings, way too early in the morning puppy bathroom breaks, birthday's, all while trying to wrap up, close out, push through deals to finish strong at year-end.  Happy Friday to all of those in the same boat.

Yes!  Now this is my kind of work environment. Woof! Woof!

This is the best outline I have seen yet on why the issues in the Middle East that are now bleeding into places like Paris, that are so difficult to address. The Strategic Limits of ISIS.

We have a long way to go but WOW, we certainly have come a long way and these two women deserve a lot of credit.  Gloria Steinem and Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflecting on their extraordinary lives.

Guess I will be holding off on buying the standing desk.

I have always had a far away crush on David Beckham.  People finally caught on that he is indeed sexy.

I, like most Gen Xers, grew up drinking copious amounts of milk based on the widely held assumption at the time that it would prevent broken bones, improve posture, and it was full of nutrients that did a body good.  These days, that thinking has changed.  A guide to milk.

I am not usually a fan of rap.  That is, unless it's Missy Elliott.  She's back and awesome as ever.

Always fascinating to me how obsessed people are with Obama's refusal to scream and shout in a crises.  I personally prefer the measured calm response, but that's just me.  Good news to those who want a more passionate President, you can vote for this guy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

S'more Cake

The double digits are here.  My boy is turning 10 and I made him a huge marshmallow with a chocolate cake inside to celebrate.

I had no idea that having a kid would be the most rewarding and at the same time, the most difficult thing I have ever attempted.  I am still working on being a decent Mom since child rearing tends to be a moving target.  I figure something out and inevitably, the kid develops and I have to figure out a new set of issues.  Companies sometimes move around executives within their organizations to keep them sharp.  My kid does that very naturally and it does help me grow as a parent.

The years are short and the days are long.  It's a cliche because it's true.

The S'more cake came from Homemade Decadence, by Joy the Baker and the recipe can also be found here.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

News, Quirks, Insights, and Other Odds and Ends - March 2015

Spring Break is here and I am headed off for a Cruise with the kiddo.  The picture above captures how I am feeling about being on a boat where no one can reach me.  Cheers!

Hale to all things Bourbon.

Could not be happier that these jeans are back in style.  They make we look way skinny.  Win!!  Down side is that this pair had to be taken up by about 8 inches.  Fashion is a cruel world to us standing at 5'4.

Selfie-stick etiquette.  I first saw these peculiar contraptions on a boat out to Las Caletas, which, by the way, you should do if you happen to be in Puerta Vallerta and you have kids (see picture above).  So much fun.  Anyway, so the people on the boat who were using them clearly had not been educated on the etiquette of the selfie-stick.

Crazy coffee.  Crazy indeed.

There are Reindeer People in Mongolia.  Amazing that I find pictures every day that blow my mind.

Although I am not from Australia, I can relate to family in far off places and the sweet and sad emotions that come from moving further and further from our childhood into the life we make for ourselves.  This article is about so much more than falling in love 10,000 miles from home.

I have always loved Suze Orman for her sound investing and spending advice.  She is moving on from CNBC and that means I have to find something else to do on Saturday nights.

Post workout recovery nutrition.  Increasingly important as the years pile on.

Know what ABC technology is in reference to Lululemon's man workout wear?  You are about to find out.

All of a sudden, my business travel headaches don't seem so bad.  At least I can look out the window and walk in the front door of the hotel.  Not so much if you are POTUS.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Dog's Huge Heart

This is my dog, Daisy.  I got her when I was pregnant with my son and she was only a puppy.  

She had been coughing over the past couple of weeks and I brought her to the vet.  Turns out she has an enlarged heart.  This makes complete sense because she gives so much love.  She is going to see a cardiologist next week and we are hoping that they will be able to put her on medication to make her big heart beat a lot longer.  

This has been a rough week and I am pretty amazed at just how much I am capable of crying.  Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Red Paella with Scallops

Sometimes technology can be a nightmare for a parent.  For every way that it makes our lives easier, it also makes life with a child in possession of an iPad or computer, very frustrating.  The daily battles to put the iPad down and pick up a book are, in the words of my kid, "epic".  No, I did not purchase this device for him and dig my own grave, the iPad was given to my kid as a gift.  What does this have to do with Paella?  Absolutely nothing at all.  Happy cooking.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Decorating Dilemma

I thought I had a little bit of style until I moved into a new house.  Now I feel like a decorating hack.  I now realize that buying a house that is not a fixer-upper is not all it's cracked up to be, because although the house is nice, it might not be your style and I have found that injecting my style into someone else's style is not as easy as painting the walls...despite what Realtors would have you think.  "It's just paint!" Are they kidding?  More like paint, window treatments, furniture size and placement, even little things like the covers on the ceiling fan lights or the colors inside the can lights.

So, I am at a crossroads with several of the rooms in this house, starting with the master bedroom.  I picked out a darker gray color for the bedroom to replace the faux yellow and gold color scheme they had in the room.  After the painters left, I felt like something was wrong but couldn't put my finger on it.  Then it hit me a few days later, the ceiling was a yellowish color to go with the yellow on the walls.  The carpet on the ground was also a greenish blue color that went well with their colors but not at all well with the new gray walls.  There were also tuscan style yellow covers on the ceiling fan lights and gold insides of the can lights.  So, now I am having to make changes little by little.  I changed the covers on the fan lights to white from yellow.  I put up white curtains and I pulled the painters back in to paint the ceiling and trim white.  Getting there, slowly...
Note:  I like this duvet cover from West Elm but it is having issues.  The silver details are unraveling and I haven't even washed this one yet.  I had another one on which the silver details completely unraveled and I sent it back to be exchanged for a new cover.  So now, I need to get yet another cover after I send this one back...again.  Annoying and I don't know which cover can replace this one.  Especially since it took about 6 months just to find this one.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

News, Quirks, Insights, and Other Odds and Ends

Watching the World from the El

Is there any part of my unconscious mind that is not being manipulated these days?  Diner Beware

No one is more ready for spring than us...ok, maybe after the snow in Boston this past winter, they also need spring.  Too bad they don't have our Chicago brand of spring fun.    

Sage advice for the career world.

We can't stop complaining about it yet we can't seem to detach.  Facebook madness.

Just goes to show that you don't have to work on Wall Street to pick stocks.  Patience, frugality, and research rule for this multimillionaire gas station attendant.

Jon Stewart on Aaron Schock's colossal fail.

Free-range parenting.  An idea whose time has come....back.

Five things to do to your home to make it home.

A cocktail to celebrate spring.

This makes me feel old.  Pretty Woman turning 25.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chocolate on Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate
This is the only chocolatey chocolate chip cookie recipe you will need.  The original recipe is from the Momofuku Milk Bar book but I had to make some alterations.  Christina Tosi has an obsession with corn syrup and glucose and that is a bandwagon I refuse to join.  In my mind, those ingredients are unnecessarily sweet and a poor substitute for actual sugar.  Perhaps she uses it to cut costs in mass production or to make the cookies look shiny.  I don't know why she does it but I am out.  So, I used Pure Maple Syrup where she calls for glucose and the results were fabulous.  I also added in chocolate chips because I like to feel the chocolate melting on my tongue.