Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Had a great day, today. In Southern California, my daughter introduced me to a market she had been raving about. It's called Sprouts and it is pretty terrific. Great fresh fruits and vegetables - and a new wine to try. Good Times! And Day 8, and still indulging and tipping. Irvine Starbucks today. So I'm 1/5th of the way - can I make it? Hope so.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Flourless Cookies From Halcyon Days

Sanda at Halcyon Days suggested that it would be fun to all test the same flourless cookie recipe and compare notes today.

Almond Butter Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir almond butter and sugars together until well combined.
Add egg, baking soda, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips.
Using a teaspoon, scoop out small, walnut-sized amounts of dough and roll them in your hands to form a ball. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes.

My results were wonderful. Only difference was no salt. (I never put salt in my cookies.) And next time I will leave out the Maple Syrup. It was unnecessary to the flavor, making the dough extra sticky and sort of flat. But they were reminescent of a French Macaron. Just stick two of them together with a nice ganache.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ten Pounds Or Ten Percent?

With a wedding in August, comes pictures that will be around forever. I have heard of people dieting to prepare for these pictures, and am mulling it over in my mind. I have also heard that the camera adds ten pounds. But I don't believe that. The people being discussed are like Sarah Jessica Parker, and since she only weights about one hundred pounds, we are talking about ten percent, not just ten pounds for most of us. Which means that you need to diet until you are at your desired weight and then lose ten percent more. So it appears that I won't be eating after June, or maybe May. Rats!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Did Your Grandparents Feed You?

I do two hours of Water Aerobics every weekday, but on weekends, John and I walk over to the exercise room at the apartment complex. I walk on the treadmill for an hour or so, reading, which is the only good thing about a treadmill. This little snail was crossing the sidewalk early Saturday and looked delicious. I could just see my grandfather picking him up and putting him in the little pen with the other fellows, waiting out the two weeks to make sure they hadn't been poisoned. And then, if he survived, turning him over to my grandma to cook up in that amazing garlic powered butter sauce. Which is just as good without the snails. My grandparents would more often get their snails in cans, along with a whole lot of other gourmet (in those days, I just thought of it as odd) stuff. One of the more intriging things to eat was the canned baby eels. It looked like worms with teeny tiny black eyes and when you ate it on a cracker, tasted a lot like fish sticks. Somehow, sardines just never measured up to the eel.

Just in case I don't get a chance tomorrow (since I'm traveling), I bought two Jamba Juices today, so I'm still on my Lenten track. Monday, I'm planning on Ice Cream.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day Three Of Lenten Indulgence

I made it another day - had my Chai Tea Latte and tipped my $1. But I didn't give up being smug . I bought one of those tiny cupcakes from Starbucks. Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting. Here's where the Smug factors into it: my Peanut Butter Frosting is so much better than theirs! Can't imagine a better Chocolate Cake, though.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving Up My Small, Smug Frugalities - Day Two

So far, so good on my plan to give up my small, smug frugalities (SSF's) for Lent. I am looking forward to being in Southern California next week and changing from Starbucks to Jamba Juice and Strickland's excellent ice cream. Please, someone in Tulsa, take up the slack at the Oklahoma Starbucks. Just remember to leave $1 tip - think of it as charity, if you like. It will make a difference!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Please Let Jamba Juice Make It Through Lent!

OK Guys - This is important. We've made it through some really rough years economically as a nation. A lot of little businesses that make our lives more pleasant have just squeaked by too. Places like Jamba Juice and Pink Berry and Michael's and JoAnn's and our neighborhood Starbucks are still there for us, as are those wonderful employees who know what we like to drink and (at Jamba Juice) can still make us our special favorites long after they have disappeared from the menu. (Yes, I know that Michael's is an arts and craft store, and JoAnn's is the same but with fabric, but the idea is the same.) So what have I been hearing today? People are giving up spending money on their little pleasures for Lent! For Lent, Guys! Showing their devotion to God, but severely impacting these small businesses and their employees. First thing this morning, (right after Water Aerobics, that is) (Water Aerobics being where the first person announced their intention to quit their daily Starbucks habit), I began my Lenten plan by going to this woman's Starbucks and getting .........A Chai Tea Latte!! And tipping $1. I wish I could start a movement to make Lent a brighter time for these businesses and their employees.

So my point, and I do have one, is that for Lent I am giving up my small, smug frugalities. I'll still make my own tea, but not all of it. I'll try to buy at least one cup of tea or fruit smoothie or yogurt at one of my neighborhood establishments every day and I'll tip $1 when I do. The tip alone is a $42 commitment, (but I always tip people who serve me; I'm not complaining about the $42) so this is going to cost me around $100. Buying things I can easily and cheaply have at home will be harder for me to do than to give up, say, tea or candy or eggs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feral Fowl and Pool Fun

This morning we had a substitute Water Aerobics teacher - the wonderful Sandra is in Maui on vacation and we sure miss her. The woman was very cute and fun, but didn't really hold everyone's attention, so the conversations wandered even more than usual. Jerry said I should explain on my blog that Not-Lucille (Beverly, that is) reminded her family of Lucille Ball when she was younger, which made it even funnier that the teacher kept calling her the wrong name. Then Carol (I think) said she bet I only told stories on my blog that made me look good. So, of course, Barbara (who you might remember is my "girl-crush") says, "I'll bet you never wrote about the time I nearly ran off the road laughing at you mistaking a horse for a donkey". Which, of course, I had admitted here. (If it's grey, I thought it was a Donkey. Evidently Donkeys are a little more complex.) She went on to tell everyone how I also thought these sheep were young buffalo. (So, you can see why I like her so well. Plus, all the time she is making fun of me, she is giving me this cat type look that just cracks me up.) (She has mesmerizing eyes!) OK, my point, and I do have one, is that everyone kept coming up with more outrageous stories, most of them involving animals in the wild until the woman with the angelic face who has been married for more than 30 years to a Marine (bundle of surprises every time she opens her mouth) tells me that there are feral Emus running around the country side around Tulsa. Huh? And she knows this because she (up until 2 years ago) worked on a cattle ranch and the wild Emus would come out of nowhere and scare the cows. The reason there are all these feral Emus is that the best snake oil salesman in America sold all these rancher on the idea of raising Emus just like cattle - except it is way more difficult to ranch an emu than a cow. Who Knew? So these ranchers just abandoned the Emus, but the Emus turned out not to actually need Purina Emu Chow, and lived fine on all the native food freely available in the wild. And found each other and multiplied. Good (Emu) Times!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Some Closet Pictures

Anne of The Frump Factor showed a few pictures of her closet and challenged us to post our own. I love my closet, which for the first time since marrying 33 years ago, is all mine! Oops, now that I look closely, I see John's antique Panama Hat and his Filson's Safari Hat nestled among my carefully selected Target hats. John just put up a row of racks right behind my hanging clothes so I can hang up my collection of necklaces.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Food And Romance

On Friday, John took me to The Chalkboard, a charming place to eat. The appetizer was terrific, Olive Tapenade Topped Hummus with Roasted Garlic. The Salad was very good, with unusual proportions of Dried Cherries, Dried Apricot, and Candied Nuts - could have been a dessert, but since we shared it, it was nice. The main dishes were the reason we won't go back. John's Sea Bass smelled a little too fishy, but was OK - just OK. My Beef Wellington was awful. If you've never made it, you might not know that it's one of the easiest fancy entrees you can make. Almost impossible to wreck, unless you burn it. And the whole bottom of it was. Oh well, there are other places in Tulsa to try. And it was a sweet place for a romantic evening.

In a romantic vein, since John knew he was away on business for Valentine's Day, we spent a little more time together the weekend before, even going to Target together. Since our Target has a Starbucks, John got me a Chai Tea Latte. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't like the taste of coffee, (je n'aime pas le café), so I have never actually had a Latte of any kind. Who knew they made them with Tea? But I am so hooked now - that warm, frothy creaminess and sweetness from all the spices. Oooh!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Wish I'd Said That - And Where Do I Go To Join

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple.

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
Jenny Joseph

Anyone who know me, knows my distrust of Internet searches and Wikipedia. If I want to know something, I go to the library and look it up in an Encyclopedia (singing the Encyclopedia Song as I spell the word). But I must admit to looking up the Red Hat Society on Google since I was only slight fuzzy on its history. I knew that it was inspired by a brilliant J. Joseph poem and that it started out in Fullerton, California, the city where I was born. Wikipedia says Sue Ellen Cooper was the founder. Who am I to argue? It says anyone over 50 could join. So I am qualified agewise. What I couldn't find was where to go to join them. I hope I don't get unqualified for the fact that my Red Hat most certainly does suit me - it being an old Beret and me having been raised by a French mother.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vitamins, Anyone?

Do you take vitamins? I can't remember the last time I went a day without a Vitamin D supplement. I figure it's the price you pay for using so much sunscreen. Do you use sunscreen? When I was in Seattle, I used it everyday, making sure my hands, face, and wrists were always protected. So what am I doing now that I'm living someplace where there is actually some (and often lots) of sun? Constantly running out of sunscreen. So now I have a couple things on my Walgreen's list - more sunscreen and darker makeup, since I'm now too tan for the old stuff. And speaking of old makeup, did you know that there is a website that gives you the age of your makeup by using some code printed on it? Google it, if you don't believe me. I'm not checking mine, since if it looks good, I'm still wearing it, no matter how old it it - except for eye makeup. I'm not fooling with my sight. (And when it gets too old, you can get those raccoon eyes - ick!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do You Do Fresh Herbs?

I love fresh herbs! When ever I find good fresh French Tarragon, I know I'll be making Beef Stroganoff, which can be made with 20 ingredients, or not quite as many. If I just have butter, Worcestershire sauce, and tarragon, I'm good. Of course, there's the beef and sour cream, but everyone knows that. I actually add a tablespoon of good quality catsup, too. Try it, it makes a difference. But this week, I didn't find any fresh Tarragon, so I settled for the old reliable - Thyme. There was also some wonderful Dill that I splurged on. That was going into Cauliflower Soup. But the Thyme went into everything. It's the most useful thing you can throw in your cart. This week it went into Roast Chicken, Chicken Stock (which involved putting the skin and bones back into the roasting pot with boiling water), 12 Chili Bacon Chili, the Cauliflower Dill Soup, some Ratatouille (all right, I didn't actually have an eggplant, but it had everything else), Butter Sauted Mushrooms, and (still to be assembled) Lasagna. Good Times!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Stores Please!

Just because everyone else manages to give Ugg's a bad name by only wearing the funniest looking ones and wearing those funny ones with really unusual outfits is no reason to avoid the brand totally. Those suede clogs are cute and comfortable - and with that snow we had on Monday, the fuzzy wool lining the toes was worth its weight in gold. I also have a new pair of those Cole Haan flats with the same construction as a pair of Nike sneakers. They were on sale in Hawaii, the last place I was that had an actual Cole Haan store. Please bring to Oklahoma the following stores: Trader Joe's, Nordstrom, Cole Haan, Ikea, Sur la Table, and just for fun - Hermès. Any ones you'd like to add?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yellow roses are my favorite cut flowers. Nice to wake up to a bowl of them on the table with an adorable card from my Sweetie!

Monday, February 13, 2012

No One Should Ever Take Home Their Whole Pie

I had an unusual conversation with my friend Carol at the Potluck at the Y on Friday. It involved an untouched Homemade Cherry Pie. This pie had been cut into 8 slices, but there wasn't any serving utensil and at the end of the party, there it sat. I took a piece and sat down with Carol. I could see her eying the crust, which was amazingly flaky. So I passed her a bite, explaining that I was actually too full, but was going to take at least two pieces, even if I ended up throwing one away when the pie makers back was turned. So Carol admitted that she had been know to take extra serving of homemade, but unloved Potluck offerings, knowing that she didn't have the points (some kind of Weight Watcher's thing - she always says that she has been on Weight Watchers for 45 years, I guess like an AA member) and couldn't actually eat any, just so no one took home their whole dish. We hit upon a better idea, and just began to oooh and aaah about this wonderful pie, until we had enough other people running to grab a piece, that it all got eaten.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bacon 12 Chili Pepper!

Bacon 12 Chili Pepper! I read about this on Class Factotum's site. The post where she takes Tupperware to a Chili Cook off to take home the leftovers. It's pretty usual for me to have 6 different pepper at all times - I am a pepper fanatic. (This is bringing back visions of old Dr. Pepper commercials. "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?") I always have Red Bell, Poblano, and Jalapeno peppers. Usually I have Yellow, Orange, and Green Bells, too. So I got some Anaheim, Fresno (a totally wonderful small red pepper with a little heat and a wonderful flavor that is underutilized), Serreno and Wax peppers. That wiped out the pepper department of my local market. I think what made this Chili special, besides the Bacon, was that I was forced to improvise with Pickled Peppers. (No tongue twister jokes for me!) I added chopped Pickled Banana Peppers and Pepperoncini. I chopped them all and added an equal amount of chopped yellow onion and fried it all up in Olive Oil. I got something new to me - the local butcher called it Arkansas Bacon. I asked where they got it from, meaning what part of the animal - would it be leaner? And of course the butcher said "Arkansas" and laughed, but picked out 2 pounds of the leanest strips for me. Next time I make this, (and it is terrific, so there will be many more batches of it), I'll use at least 4 pounds. So now I've got all 12 chilies, onions, bacon, frying in oil, add 6 cloves of minced garlic, 3 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 small cans tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried), 1/4 cup cumin, 1/8 cup ground New Mexico peppers (the New Mexico pepper is called a Hatch pepper and these are my absolute favorite pepper, but they are almost never available fresh and even when they are available, they are not widely distributed), and salt and black pepper to taste. Boil this until you are ready to eat. Remember that hot peppers get hotter the longer you boil them. (At least that's what I believe.) I am a Pinto Bean lover, so I add 1 pound (dried weight) of them that I've soaked and cooked, but it's just as good without - and more authentically Chili.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Baby Changes Everything

99 people have commented on the most recent post on that wonderful blog, Faux Fuchsia. In that post, Faux gives us a beautiful picture of her mother past, and her mother present, along with the incredible land she lives on. She gives us pictures and pithy chatter and beauty advice. Let's face it, her blog is amazing. She wrote almost daily before she got pregnant, during her pregnancy, and her maternity leave from the law firm, we know only as the "Coalface", an Australian term meaning pretty much the same thing the "Salt Mines" means to an American. She's been back at work for a week now, and noted in this most recent post that she was considering giving up blogging. Unless I was missing something, only Cybill, who I am not familiar with, and I said that she should consider herself and her child and do what was best for them, without any regard for what her readers wanted. It's the old female problem of trying to please, the common weakness that spawned the "Don't Say Yes, When You Want To Say No" revolution.
What's wrong here? This woman has a new baby, a demanding job, and a significant other (a Mr. Faux Fuchsia, as it were). We should thank her for all she has given us and wish her the best.
Would we all pay for a subscription to read her blog, so she is financial able to quit her job and just garden, cook, dress, etc and blog about all of it for us? Is it worth $1 a post, and are there enough of us who would pay the $1 per post to make it worth it? How about $1 per month, the amount I pay to have Martha Stewart's Living magazine delivered to my Nook? Just a thought.
Please don't stop reading because you think I'll be billing you for reading this - unlike Faux Fushia, I am retired with all my children grown and out of the house and a husband who works constantly, so writing this is my recreation. Heck, if you asked me, I might just send you a $1 for reading my blog for a month!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spice Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting - Origin?

One of my favorite things to take to a Pot Luck is a Spice Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. (I actually had two potlucks to go to today.) (I love Pot Lucks, so this was pretty cool.) But back to my point......A good Pot Luck should have no duplicate dishes. I have a foolproof way of insuring that I don't bring the same thing as anyone else. It's the odd combination of Spice Cake and Peanut Butter. But today, I was stunned - stunned, I tell you, when an elderly lady came up to me and told me this was her brother's favorite dessert. How could this be? She had spent her life in Oklahoma and I had spent mine 1500 miles away. I asked her what her ancestry was - she said Cherokee, German, and Irish. I was about to give up finding a connection, when she said, oh, and my grandmother was full blooded French. Does Peanut Butter Frosting sound like a French thing to you? Me neither. Unless, of course, it started out as Almond Frosting and unable to get almonds, both our families substituted Peanut Butter. Marzipan Frosting on a Spicy Fruit Cake is not an uncommon dessert for a European.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Madame Marie Skłodowska-Curie

One of my childhood heroes was Madame Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the Polish woman married to a French man. I'm not going to go into what it was about her that impressed me, anyone can read the encyclopedia (singing the Encyclopedia Song to self while spelling "encyclopedia", as usual). But my most favorite thing was that she worked side by side with Pierre, her husband, with constant intellectual stimulation. So tonight I was absolutely delighted to hear the Curie relationship referred to on The Big Bang Theory in almost the same vein as I think of it. One of history's great love stories. As Amy said to Sheldon when they were working together in her Biology lab describing her idea relationship, "Marie and Pierre Curie working side by side, Bathed in the glow of their love and the radium that would eventually kill them. That's the story Disney should film."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Was J C Penney's Thinking?

For maybe a week, there have been ads on TV with people screaming at the top of their lungs, punctuated with a view of a mailbox with coupons too numerous to count flowing out of them. The only effect these commercials have had upon me is a bit of lingering psychic upset. I never got to the mute button in time, but would hit it as soon as I could. If someone had asked what I thought of the new Penney's ad, I would have had nothing to say (not a normal occurrence). I had no idea these were Penney's ads. I had no idea that Penney's was planning on doing away with the deluge of coupons and special offers and just planned on lowering all their prices to as low as any coupon could make them. Isn't that a great idea? But the only reason I found out about Penney's great idea is because I need a new pair of athletic shoes and John is out of town, so I decided to go to the closest place that carried New Balance. But when I got there, I found this great pair of Privos for half what I would have paid for them usually. And this pretty bracelet and a scarf and pair of earrings and a 20 piece set of Lock'n'Lock storage containers.. still well under $100 for all that.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Remember Your First Romantic Ideal?

They're bring the Disney Classic, Lady and the Tramp out in Blue Ray soon, which is a great excuse to play little snippets of it on TV. I know I'm not the only one whose idea of romance was formed the moment those two doggie noses met at the middle of that strand of spaghetti.

Here I am on my first day of school wearing one of the terrific dresses my mother made. And no, that's not a shadow around my left eye - I had a black eye from playing with my older brothers the day before.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Remember When?

One of the best things about my father was his laugh. Once he got going, he would laugh until tears rolled down his face and he could barely stand up. One thing that always got him going was watching Broderick Crawford, an Oscar winner who played the Chief on the 1950's era show - dudududta- Highway Patrol! My father was an actual California Highway Patrolman, a member of the CHP, the nickname that later was used for another show - Chips, (that Eric Estrada masterpiece of flaming car crashes which my sons loved as toddlers). My father would crack up over every procedural error, all the car chases, the guns fights (often counting the number of bullets Crawford could get from a 6 shooter - 7+ more often than not), Crawford's ridiculously worded pronouncement at the end of each episode, and especially the poorly concealed emblem on the real CHP car they used. Simpler times! Good Times!

But it wasn't all simpler. Who remembers having to use the eraser end of the pencil to wind all that runaway tape back onto the cassette? (And how much better the cassette was than the 8-track?) What magic the CD is! No fast forwarding back and forth, trying to find the start of that special song. And looking everywhere for a pay phone? And seeing the zippers running down the costumes worn by Aliens in the movies? Having only one choice of leisure athletic footwear - Converse? Everything you wore wrinkling? No garbage disposals or dishwashers?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Christmas Cactus Thinks It's Christmas!

When we got home after weeks away, this was how the Christmas Cactus looked. I think it was happy to be all alone in a quiet house. That thing it's sitting on is a binacle, part of the navigational equipment on old ships. John's grandmother married a sea captain and after his ship, The Hollywood, was retired they gave him the binacle. It spent many years in the Seattle Museum of History and Industry, since its carved base was so unusually.

Good Night's Sleep - Blog Therapy

I didn't sleep well last night, which might not mean anything to a lot of people, but is unbelievable for me. John and I are easy sleepers. He is famous as the guy who slept through an audit - why shouldn't he? It's only money and he was pretty sure he didn't owe any more. And it was nice and quiet at the IRS. I usually sleep when he is driving. Once I fell asleep on a train and woke up two stops past where I wanted to be. Except for labor and an appendix attack, there isn't an ailment that has kept me awake at night. So you get it, right?
{And now I going to write something that no one actually needs to read - I am just using blog therapy. I have found that things that rumble around in my brain with no resolution can be banished by writing them in the blog. And I really need a good night's sleep, which means I have to get rid of this today.} {I have removed my graphic account of the traffic accident that was haunting me, because the Blog Therapy was successful and no one else needs have to have that image.}

I could blame it on my GPS, but we were the ones who misunderstood and took the wrong turn. The wrong turn put us smack in the middle of a construction zone with no u-turn possibilities. Isn't it odd how that wrong turn resulted in at least a half hour delay? And that half hour put us in a place we weren't supposed to be at exactly the moment of an awful crash?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dinner At The Farm

Just in case you weren't jealous enough, I get to have dinner with very special people today. That's right, John and I are having dinner at the Farm - the one made famous by Catherine of Aesthetic Alterations . She is cooking up a storm, and all I have to do is bring the olives. Pretty exciting!

I love eating food someone else cooked! I also love cooking. I am surprisingly uncritical of my own or anyone else's cooking, even though influenced by some of the best cooking in the world at my French grandparent's. I am absolutely convinced that you have nothing to lose by entertaining anyone with a meal. If the food is amazing, they will think you amazing. If the food doesn't turn out, they will be sympathetic, since everyone has had a failure of their own. And it might convince them to entertain, since "my food couldn't turn out as bad as that". Quote from a guest (after my Carne Adovada turned out a little too spicy) who was afraid to have people over due to overdeveloped perfectionism gene. (And shouldn't she have said "turn out as badly"?)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crudités And Tea At The Ritz - Plus A Recipe For Easy Vinaigrette

When I was little, my mother referred to the ubiquitous carrot sticks, celery stalks, and black olives served together as "crudités", and it tickles me every time I hear the term, and you know that it's used a lot these days. But then my mother was smarter and a lot classier than the other mothers in the low rent neighborhood we grew up in. She used to bake a loaf of bread, (in fact she always made her own bread, as did I when I had young kids to feed), and slice it lengthwise into three "layers". Then she would use two different fillings, stick the whole thing back together and cut it into slices. (She usually did this once a year.) She told us this was how they served it when you had Tea at the Ritz (in London). Did we believe her? Not really. Was she right? Absolutely. The first time I had Tea at the Ritz in London, they served just such a thing. It turns out that my mother had been to London as a child and had Tea at the Ritz and even thought she never had the kind of money her parents did, she took some of those elegant touches and used them whenever she could. Thinking about this reminded me of her Vinaigrette, which I whipped up to marinate some mushrooms for tomorrow. She would take 1/3 cup vinegar, (wine vinegar if possible), 1 cup oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dried mustard, (or 1 tbsp prepared Dijon), 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. She would shake it up, but I like to stand a wire whip up in it and roll the handle between my palms until it looks creamy. (Think about that Boy Scout demonstration trying to start a fire.) To vary it, sometimes 1 tsp paprika got thrown in for good measure. Then she would put it on a lot of weird stuff that no one else ever served, like uncooked spinach. That's right - prior to the '60, no one in the US would dream of serving spinach raw. Good Times!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Happy Ground Day! And for Catholics, happy Feast of the Presentation Day. (Formerly know as Candlemas, but at some point blessing all those candles lost its status and no longer warranted a whole day. Plus, a Feast Day is just better.) In honor of Candlemas, here's the anecdotal recipe for Grandpa Emile's Pancakes, or EPs, as my cousins would say. They are really crepes and best done in a blender.

Beat 6 eggs and add 1 cup milk and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth. Makes enough for 4 people. (or 6people if they are light eaters.) For every additional person who comes through the door, throw in another eggs. When you've used up a dozen eggs, it's time to start a new batch.
Rub your hot pan all over with a cube of butter, and pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan while turning and tipping and coaxing the batter to the edges. Flip if you like, but it's so thin, it cooks right through. Just remember to roll or fold the less browned side to the inside. It's just prettier like that. Jam, syrup, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and squeeze a fresh lemon over it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Are You Good At Backing Up?

Are you good at backing up in a car? Did you ace your parallel parking on your driver's test? I did - but then, I'm one of the 7% - a left hander. (Sinister!) But even though I'm a good backer upper, I don't agree with my husband on the issue of the best way to park in ones garage. Now, this never came up before, since we lived in a house without a garage, or any type of driveway at all for over 25 years. (And if we are keeping track, that would mean that for 8 years, [33 years of marriage minus 25 years in a house without a garage], we were just so madly in love that I could have parked on the roof, and he would have thought it was sweet.) (Of course that doesn't account for the 3 1/2 years we dated, but I think we both only had driveways then and the issue didn't come up.) What issue? Whether cars should always be backed into your garage? To me this doesn't make sense - you are entering a narrow building at a time when you are probably more tired than when you left it. I think that when you are leaving your home all fresh and rested, you are in better shape to be backing up. And you are backing up into the wide open spaces - easier to than trying to fit between the walls of the garage. But John thinks you should always back into the garage - no logical argument offered - to him it's the only sensible thing to do. Isn't that sweet?