Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Mommy Hot


It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, going from Starbucks and stilettos to Sippy cups and strollers can take a hit on anyone’s ego. Okay, I’m more of a kitten heel kind of girl, but I haven’t seen a pair of those since that plus sign appeared more than five years ago.

Along with my job and my wardrobe, my life changed when we started our family. So, it’s not surprising that my emotions followed suit.

The other day while my daughter and I were trimming the tree, I got choked up listening to ‘Feliz Navidad.’ If you’ve heard it, you know it’s a cheerful tune. Why get emotional over this song? Well, it started when my daughter was two.

I’m toting around the cutest tot on the planet, but I look like one hot mess. I’d heard that’s what happens when you have kids, but vowed never to go more than two days without a shower and to never, I mean never ever, resort to a three-day ponytail and stretchy pants. Yet, there I was hair pulled back rockin’ the loungewear wondering if I’d ever shave again.

We’d been listening to holiday tunes on every media device we could since the day after Thanksgiving and ‘Feliz Navidad’ was playing.

All of a sudden my daughter squeals, “Mommy Hot!”

Not sure whether she said what I think she said, I ask her, “What’s that honey?”

And this adorable kid, bouncing around beams at me, “Mommy Hot is on.”

I know my daughter misunderstood the words and changed ‘Navi-dad’ to ‘Mommy Hot.’ I also know that to her, hot is a temperature, not a word describing one’s appearance, but I feel complimented all the same. Not since being relegated to the easy on, easy off driving moc category had I felt anywhere close to ‘hot.’ Thinking of myself as ‘Mommy Hot’ made me feel good on a day that I really needed to feel good. So I turned the music up and sang along.

It was the cutest thing, every time we heard the song she’d get excited and I’d get a confidence boost just hearing her say, “Mommy Hot.” I loved it. I clung to the moments as long as I could and figured she’d soon forget all about our special version.

Fast-forward two years. We’re in the thick of it with two kids – an independent wants-to-do-everything herself 4-year-old girl and a teething makes-his-own-schedule baby boy. I’m stuck in some kind of post-baby reconstruction phase and all I want for Christmas is eight consecutive hours of sleep. But, it’s the holiday season, one of my favorite times of the year, and darn it, sleep or not, the hall decking must go on!

We had our favorite holiday classics from Ella to Elvis on while we trimmed the tree. I heard a guitar intro and then a chorus of, “Feliz Navidad.” My girl did a “twirl-jump” as she likes to call them and shouted, “Feliz Mommy Hot!”

So focused on getting the umpteenth box of decorations emptied and out of the way, I almost missed it. I stopped and stared at my daughter. Her red dress twirled as she sang, “Feliz Mommy Hot.” She was two again and I wondered when did she get so big?

This peppy song is playing, our daughter’s dancing and I’m devastated that my baby girl is not a baby anymore. Such emotion is expected when something holds such great meaning. I just never thought it would be ‘Feliz Navidad’ that brought on the waterworks.

The scene reminded me of how desperately impossible parenthood is at times. Struggling to keep your identity, and sanity, while pouring every bit of goodness, confidence and smarts you can into your children. Sure, it’s wonderful to see them grow, but bittersweet that many precious moments are over so quickly, like snowflakes melting on your skin. 

I stop thinking about how much has changed and focus solely on this moment, for I know it will pass just as quickly. I hit rewind and grasp my daughter’s hands. Then I grab our son and we all dance together for a while. When it's over, I squeeze them and tell them how much I love them. So, to José, Celine and the many artists who’ve covered this song I say, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Does Anyone Sign Holiday Cards Anymore?

If you read my previous post then you know how I feel about empty Christmas cards. I heave a heavy sigh when we receive cards that aren’t even signed. Hey, I get that life’s busy, but can you at least write in your name every couple years or so?

We’ve come close several times to stuffing envelopes and shipping them off, but I’ve fought hard against it. Printing companies are making it even more tempting when they offer to design, print and mail your announcements or greetings sight unseen. But, I can’t bring myself to it just yet. Sure, it’s easy, but is it impersonal? I’m not sure.

We still sign ours, and let me tell you it’s fun for about the first five cards. After that, our daughter’s had it and struggling to get her to write more makes it worse. So, like any good (desperate) parents, we stop and take the next few days to bribe her with games and treats until they’re finished.

Ours are done, except I still have to fill out the envelopes and mail them, but they’re close.

As I prepare to spend the evening with some eggnog, a sharpie and my next stack of Christmas cards, I raise my glass to those of you who still sign your holiday greetings. Cheers!    

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Need Gift Ideas for Book Lovers?

Books make a great gift. Take the stress out of selecting the right one by following two simple rules. 


1. Give what you like, like what you give. If you find a topic interesting, share it with a friend or relative who recognizes this is something you enjoy. If you love jokes, perhaps a humorous take on parenting is the perfect gift for a new mom or dad. If finance, cooking or another subject is your favorite, try to find something that relates that subject to the person you're gifting it to. 


2. Give what they like and you can't go wrong. Say you know someone who loves biographies, search sites like Goodreads, Indiebound or Barnes & Noble for ideas. You can search by genre or see what's new and recommended. 


Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Praline Cream Wishes and Pâte à Choux Dreams…


I like challenges. Hey, I’ve got two kids, right? Even more, I like challenges that involve butter, cream, sugar and, well, you get the idea. Enter the Paris-Brest Cake.

Named for the famous Paris to Brest bicycle race, the Paris-Brest Cake is a showstopper. It’s everything you want in a dessert and then some – be warned though, it’s not for the faint of heart.

You can find photos of the decadent pastry here. I’ll post the test recipe as soon as I find my electronic copy. In the meantime, look and drool, look and drool.  :)

You can find the Cook’s Illustrated recipe and more in the December issue. I’m not a paid endorser, unless you count the helpings of praline cream I enjoyed while testing this one. 





Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Prime To Remember

When this recipe hit my inbox, I was excited and a little intimidated. Normally, I enjoy testing recipes and can handle new techniques, but this was different. If I screwed this up, roughly 7 pounds of Prime Rib were going to get hacked up, charred or wasted. Plus, what was I to do with all that meat? 

I debated taking a pass on the recipe until I realized one of our sisters would be in town. If I did mess it up, we could always get takeout, which is the house rule. Plus, it might, in the company of loved ones, make an interesting story. But, there was still a lot of meat to go around. Enter good friend who lives nearby.

I sent a quick e-mail that basically said, I’ve got some extra meat and it may turn out good or not, wanna stop by and find out? Read: please be my guinea pig and don’t laugh too hard if this fails miserably.

Why so much fuss? Well, it’s not a cheap cut and anything that involves bones, a knife and me is risky. After a couple days of waffling, I gave in and bought the Prime Rib.

Boy, am I glad I did. The Cook’s Illustrated recipe outlined all the steps needed to make a delicious Prime Rib, which they call The Best-Ever Prime Rib in the December issue.

It was melt in your mouth tender and had a browned and deliciously seasoned crust. I didn’t find anything too complicated about the instructions. Thank goodness it worked.
Everyone at our table was in good spirits and loved dinner. We had a great visit that turned into a feast.





Here’s the recipe, enjoy your own feast!

Best Prime Rib
From Cook's Illustrated.
Serves 6 to 8

Look for a roast with an untrimmed fat cap (at least 1/2-inch thick); roasts that have been trimmed of their fat cap tend to overcook at the surface. We prefer the flavor and texture of prime grade beef, but choice grade will work as well. To remove the roast from the bones, use a sharp knife and run it down the length of the bones, following the contours as closely as possible until the meat is separated from the bones. Open the oven door as little as possible and remove the roast from the oven while taking its temperature. If the roast has not reached the correct temperature in the range specified in step 3, heat the oven to 200 degrees for 5 minutes, shut it off, and continue to cook the roast until it registers 126 to 128 degrees. The roast can be served plain or with one of the following sauces.

1 (7-pound) first-cut beef standing rib roast (3 bones), meat removed from bones, bones reserved
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Using sharp knife, cut slits in surface layer of fat, spaced 1 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern, being careful to cut down to, but not into, meat. Rub 2 tablespoons salt over entire roast and into slits. Tie meat back onto bones exactly from where it was cut, passing length of twine between each set of bones and one lengthwise around widest part of roast underneath ribs. Place roast on large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Sear meat-side of roast on all sides until browned, 6 to 8 minutes, spending more time on sections with thick fat cap. Flip and sear bone-side of roast for 1 minute. Transfer roast, fat-side up, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and season with pepper. Roast until meat-probe thermometer or instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 110 degrees, 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours.
3. Turn off oven; leave roast in oven, opening door as little as possible, until meat-probe thermometer or instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 126 to 128 degrees, 60 to 90 minutes longer. 
4. Remove roast from oven (leave roast on baking sheet), tent loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 75 minutes.
5. Adjust oven rack about 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Remove foil from roast, form into 3-inch ball, and place under ribs to elevate fat cap. Broil until top of roast is well-browned and crisp, 2 to 8 minutes.   
6. Transfer roast to carving board; cut twine and remove ribs. Slice meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Season interior of slices with salt and serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cabin Fever and How I Egged My Own Car

Just about everyone knows what it’s like to have cabin fever. If you’ve ever been forced to stay indoors during hurricanes, blizzards or bouts with the flu, you know that it’s tolerable for about the first fifty minutes and then all you can think about is everything you could be doing outside. Yet, there you are stuck doing absolutely nothing, because you can’t get your mind off of how closed in the place feels and how much you just want to get out.

Well that’s us. That’s been us since day three of our kids being sick, which was about the time we noticed our first child sneezing on our second. So nice when they share, isn’t it?

We’re in the second week of limited activities and instead of watching our 4yo bouncing off the walls, and going without bananas and milk yet again, I decided to take the kids on a quick run to the store. Go ahead and laugh, as most parents know, there is no such thing as a “quick” run to the store when you have kids in tow.

As soon as we got there I struggled to fit our infant’s car seat in the shopping cart. They tempt you with an abundance of food and goodies, yet they give you carts just large enough for a loaf of bread and some butter. How am I supposed to shop? Deep breath, and go.

So we make it inside and my oldest goes for the mini shopping carts. Okay, we can manage this. Maybe she gets the task of helping cart the groceries around, it seems harmless enough. That is until we make it halfway through the store and she starts running around doing her impression of Tokyo Drift.

Another deep breath and I get her to drive within 5 feet of me while urging her to stop taking everything off the shelves and putting it in said cart, “No sweetie, we don’t need soy cheese slices.”

Two more minutes go by as we’re waiting at the deli and she’s got her hands on the glass. This lasts 30 seconds before she starts drumming on the glass and pointing to all the stuff we should get. I patiently work with her and ask her to take her hands off the glass. I turn away to order some food, and she’s got her hands up on the glass again. “You need to stop playing on the glass,” I say. Momentary pause while I get our next item ordered and she’s at it again. “If you don’t take your hands off the glass you won’t get a cookie” I say feeling confident since this is what she’s waited the whole trip to get.

It takes less than a minute for her to go from absolutely perfect to sprawled out on the floor in protest. That’s it, “Let’s go.” She refuses to move and I am forced to hoist her over my shoulder. As she begins wailing, I realize I can’t drive the “big” cart and the kid’s cart while carrying her carcass over my shoulder. I try to set her down and she collapses onto the floor again. All I’ve got left is to lift her up and plop her down on a pile of uncured ham and soy cheese. At least she’s mobile now, sort of.

Next dilemma, there’s two kids and two carts. No way can I leave either one of them. So I’m hunched over at an angle pushing a crying toddler in the dinky kid’s cart, every third wail she’s belting out, and my higher hand is guiding the baby’s seat wedged in the “big” cart, which really isn’t big at all.

We make it past all the wine bottle displays and a nice lady ahead of us in line offers help to guide the “big” cart across the finish line, which is the register. I think we’ve made it, and we have until I unload enough groceries from the “big” cart’s kid seat and try to lift my now calm toddler into it. “Ouch! Something’s rubbing,” she says. Still lifting her above my head with her feet dangling chest high, I struggle to fit her in the seat, but after a few moments I have her secured. Two kids, one cart. Why didn’t I just do that from the beginning?

Feeling I’d accomplished something and not wanting to miss out on sweet goodness myself, I eye some cookies at the checkout and sneak them in with the food moving down the beltway. I heave a sigh of relief and we’re out the door.

It only takes us fifteen instead of the normal twenty to get everyone and the groceries in the van and we head home.

Things were uneventful until I started unloading the kids and groceries. It’s lunchtime, so I had to do it in stages. Kids out, check. Food on table for oldest and toys to distract baby, check. I unpacked food from the front and headed back to get the rest, clicked open the lift gate, and that’s when it happened. I watched in slow motion as a carton of eggs spilled over and the viscous insides of one slid out of the van, crept over our back bumper and jiggled into a pool on our new garage floor.

Sigh.

My thoughts: Karma, never should have touched those cookies. If my daughter didn’t get any, I shouldn’t either. And, I’m so done with grocery shopping. (See also, Disaster on aisle...)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Raven Trailer Released - whoa!

The first official trailer for The Raven has been released, a thriller where actor John Cusack plays Edgar Allen Poe.

According to Deadline, the story features Poe teaming up with a detective “to hunt down a serial killer using Poe’s works as the basis for a string of brutal murders.” The film will hit theaters on March 9, 2012. (via Shelf Awareness)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Books That Began Life Self-Published - IndieReader

Among them are Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. Check out a few other Books That Began Life Self-Published - IndieReader and surprise yourself.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Changes and 101 Book Ideas

Summer's given way to autumn, and reading books is good in any season, so I wanted to share an interesting book list that might help you find your next great read.  

101 Books We Can't Live Without: The Daily Candy Roundup

If you're returning to the site, you may have noticed some changes. In keeping with the changing seasons, I have updated the blog format and added a fun Twitter feed located on the right. 

Brew some coffee or tea and curl up with a story you love!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Experimenting with Google+

I've been trying Google+ out. It's new. It's good. It's adding to my tech time, though, which cuts into my writing projects, but I'm dealing. So, if you're out there in the ether, tweeting, FBing or on Google+, raise your virtual hand or give a shout and let us know how you balance work and the rest.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Success or Mess: Fruit vs. Chocolate Conclusion


When I started this challenge, I had every intention of finishing it. The thing is, I’ve made some great fruit desserts and my family loved them.  An occasional fruit crumble topped with streusel or ice cream is great; however, my family prefers chocolate.

This weekend we went to a local festival and I knew it was time to call it even. Lovely autumn weather surrounded us as we walked the park and took home an amazing apple pie. That night we warmed some and topped the pieces with ice cream. That’s when I knew we were finished. It was that good. Plus, my husband said it was a great fruity dessert. That’s all I needed.

Now that we’re done, I just have to say whatever dessert you choose, fruit is good and chocolate is good, sometimes better. Today though, I’m just waiting and salivating until we can grab a couple forks and dig into that last sliver of sweet cinnamon apple goodness. I’m trying to hold off until tonight, but talking about it is making me hungry, so I better go. 

Worth a second post: E-Books – My (Not So) Secret Addiction *Guest Post by Debbie Sears*

When Amazon first introduced the Kindle I had mixed emotions.  My first reaction was, “I have to get one of these right away!”  Immediately followed by, “It cost how much?!!!”  My last reaction in those first three seconds was, “It will never replace real, paper books.”

I believed I was a purest and would never get sucked into the whole e-reader thing.  I was wrong; very, very wrong.  I held out until I got my iPad.  The e-book app was the kiss of death for me.  I was hooked, like an addict who had absolutely no intention of ever going to rehab.

My dear friend, Kristen, got me involved in a werewolf/vampire series by Patricia Briggs.  I finished the first book about 1:00 on a Saturday morning.  I really wanted to start the next book but Borders wasn’t open 24 hours so what was I to do?  I looked over at my iPad and thought; “I wonder just how easy it is to download a book?  I wonder how long it will take?”  So, taking a deep breath, I plugged in the information for the next book in the series and hit “Purchase.”  Within 15 seconds my book was downloaded and ready to read.  Holy smokes, could that have been any easier?  I don’t think so.  And so, my addiction began. 

The convenience of e-books is wonderful.   Your library is at your fingertips wherever you go.  My only regret is I don’t get to share my books with family and friends.  I believe books are treasures that should be shared with everyone; and I truly enjoy sharing my books.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with e-books; at least not yet.  I hope that issue will be resolved in the future.  I do know you can borrow e-books from many libraries but I haven’t tried this and don’t know the procedure.

For now, I’m going to hunker down with my iPad and enjoy the marvels of this new technology.  I just LOVE living in the 21st century!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Berry, Berry Pound Cake to Make You Merry



I’m sitting here after having a couple pieces of pound cake wondering if this success or mess challenge is worth the extra lbs. All it’s proven is that it doesn’t matter if it’s chocolate or fruit I love dessert.

This week was the third attempt at getting my family on board with the ‘fruit as dessert’ thing. We enjoyed it, but I feel weighed down and I know pound cake is goo all on its own. Instead in my attempt to take fruit over the top for dessert, I, well, took it over the top. 

Thinking about a trifle or using some of the season’s freshest berries with a pound, I chose the latter. Although I ended up making a bit of both and made Vanilla Pound Cake with Mixed Berries and Custard. Or something like that. I should have known when I didn’t know what to call it (because there was so much going on); I might need to rethink things. But, I kept going full steam ahead.

So, you can take a look at this and decide for yourself what to keep and what to exclude.

Homemade pound cake topped with a couple spoons of vanilla pudding, topped with mixed berries, topped with whipped cream. Uh, yum. And way too much!

Here’s a picture, the info and tips. Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go work it off my thighs. 

Vanilla Pound Cake with Mixed Berries and Custard

Ingredients:
·      2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
·      2 1/2 cups sugar
·      6 large eggs
·      2 1/2 cups flour
·      1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
·      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·      1/2 teaspoon salt
·      1 cup heavy cream
·      2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Leave the oven off. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together in the mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add flour mixture and cream to butter-sugar mixture, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and stir. Pour into the cake pan and bake at 325º for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, keeping the oven closed the whole time. No peeking J Take the cake out and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Turn it out onto a plate.

Custard: Just mix a small box of vanilla pudding with 2 cups milk and let is set up for about 10 minutes.

Mixed Berries: Rinse and cut up 1 ½ cups strawberries and put in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 cup of blueberries (optional) or use your favorite berries. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

Whipped Cream: Well, just go buy some and make it easy on yourself.

Cut a piece of cake. Top it with some custard (pudding), then add a helping of fresh berries, add a dollop or three of whipped cream and enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

E-Books – My (Not So) Secret Addiction *Guest Post*

Thanks to Debbie Sears for this great post!


When Amazon first introduced the Kindle I had mixed emotions.  My first reaction was, “I have to get one of these right away!”  Immediately followed by, “It cost how much?!!!”  My last reaction in those first three seconds was, “It will never replace real, paper books.”


I believed I was a purest and would never get sucked into the whole e-reader thing.  I was wrong; very, very wrong.  I held out until I got my iPad.  The e-book app was the kiss of death for me.  I was hooked, like an addict who had absolutely no intention of ever going to rehab.

My dear friend, Kristen, got me involved in a werewolf/vampire series by Patricia Briggs.  I finished the first book about 1:00 on a Saturday morning.  I really wanted to start the next book but Borders wasn’t open 24 hours so what was I to do?  I looked over at my iPad and thought; “I wonder just how easy it is to download a book?  I wonder how long it will take?”  So, taking a deep breath, I plugged in the information for the next book in the series and hit “Purchase.”  Within 15 seconds my book was downloaded and ready to read.  Holy smokes, could that have been any easier?  I don’t think so.  And so, my addiction began. 

The convenience of e-books is wonderful.   Your library is at your fingertips wherever you go.  My only regret is I don’t get to share my books with family and friends.  I believe books are treasures that should be shared with everyone; and I truly enjoy sharing my books.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with e-books; at least not yet.  I hope that issue will be resolved in the future.  I do know you can borrow e-books from many libraries but I haven’t tried this and don’t know the procedure.

For now, I’m going to hunker down with my iPad and enjoy the marvels of this new technology.  I just LOVE living in the 21st century!



eBooks and guest post

When it comes to eBooks, I’m torn. I love the convenience, but I’m not ready to give up on real books just yet. Oh, they may contain the same words, but it’s not the same experience of scanning a shelf for just the right one; breaking in the spine and feeling the fibers as you flip pages and get lost in another world.

However, the ease of getting and transporting eBooks is unmatched. I mean, taking an entire library of books, references and magazines with you is amazing. So, here’s a post from my friend Debbie, a book lover and devourer, to give you an idea of how eBooks can change everything. Go on, read it. You know you want to. Then post your comments and check back for more discussion. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There's an App-le for that


Apple pie is great, á la mode it’s even better. Since we’re approaching apple-picking season, I thought about mini apple desserts that, I must admit my family loves. Here’s what I did.

Using store bought piecrust, I had my daughter help me cut out small shapes. You can use a medium-size glass or get creative with cookie cutters. We placed the shapes on a cookie sheet, poked them with a fork a couple times and baked them in a preheated 400º oven until they were golden brown, about 10 minutes.

When the crusts were done, I pulled them out and let them cool a little while I made the following recipe for yummy, warm apples.

Next, I pulled out some French Vanilla Ice Cream and let it soften a little.

We assembled the desserts, layering one piecrust shape, a helping of the apple mix, a whipped cream dollop, another piecrust shape, more apple mix, another whipped cream dollop and served it with a side of ice cream. They were like double-decker apple tarts. Wow, so good!

Warm Apples
2 Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cloves

1.   Dice apples into small bites.
2.   Heat butter in sauté pan over medium heat and add the apples. Cook 7-10 mins.
3.   When apples are coated and warmed through, stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and continue cooking about 4 mins.
4.   Assemble mini desserts or serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a wonderful treat!


Got another fruity dessert idea? Share it here and it could be the next one we try.

SYOAS – See you online again soon! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where have all the books gone?

The café is out of commission, magazine racks are dwindling and shelves emptying at a furious pace. You can’t take a step without seeing discount signs. The banners say ‘Going Out Of Business’ but that’s just stating the obvious given the state of the store. If you’re caught up in your latest e-book or have just been out of the loop, I’m talking about Borders closing its doors.

I hadn’t planned to visit the store once the bad news broke. I had good reason. After reading articles about the decline of bookstore sales, I thought it prudent to spend money where it’s still needed. In stores that are struggling to stay in business, say, the local indie bookstore, or even Barnes & Noble who is being courted by Liberty Media according to Publisher’s Weekly

We took a trip to the bookstore for my daughter’s birthday. She chose Borders. I thought it might be interesting to see how things are going and maybe check out some deals, so we went.

It was hard to see the place in its diminished state. I was sad when we saw handwritten price tags on all the shelves and fixtures. A woman was bargaining for a bookshelf and I could hardly believe my ears. It seemed like a good buy, but it was so odd to see the store being sold to the bare walls.

The hardest part was taking what would be our last trip to the kid’s area. My daughter always picks a few books to read. We go up on the platform, or stage where they usually host Children’s events and hold our own story time.

After we read our books and gathered several purchases, we headed out. With one glance back at the bare shelves and ‘Everything must go’ signs, I wondered what will happen to these brick and mortar stores. Will our kids get to experience them the way we did? Would libraries and locally owned stores will see a resurgence of customers? Perhaps, our kids will create a new book community all their own. I just hope they learn the joy of reading and sharing books with spines that crackle and pages you can dog-ear.

If you’re interested in checking out a local independent bookseller, click this link to search the IndieBound site http://www.indiebound.org/indie-store-finder

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fruit so good it should be illegal

I started my Success or Mess Fruity Dessert Challenge using a Paula Deen recipe.  If you know of her cooking, you know it’s got to be good. Let’s just say dessert that uses a pound of butter, biscuits and brown sugar is worth a try.

This looked drool-worthy and since it’s got blueberries, I figured we were in business. Let’s just say it’s so good I started eating it right out of the pan and did not want to stop. Then I remembered the point was to convince my family that a fruit based dessert could be delicious. So I had to share.

It was a definite success. If you’re looking for a yummy recipe that uses blueberries, try Paula’s Granite Steps Country Blueberry Coffee Cake. You can eat it for breakfast or dessert and try it plain or with a side of vanilla ice cream. Delicious!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Success or Mess: Fruit vs. Chocolate


We’re Choc-a-holics, no doubt. If it’s got choco in the title we’re all over it. Especially when it comes to desserts. When we’re out I’m the only one who experiments with desserts other than chocolate. If there’s a Raspberry this or Blueberry that on the menu that sounds good, and maybe has ice cream with it, I’m up for it. My husband knows it. Nearly every time I try said Fruity dessert, I end up asking for part of his chocolate decadence anyway. He warns me, but I’m still learning.

Perhaps, I really do believe fruity desserts are healthier or maybe I’m just a glutton, but this year I want to find something that comes close to the wow factor of triple chocolate ganache cake. 

Summer’s the perfect time to attempt such a feat since so many fruits are in season. Over the next five weeks, I’ll try to convince my family that fruit's great for dessert too.

I’ve already got my first idea, it’s a coffee cake and cobbler mash up. We’ll see how it goes.

Got another fruity dessert idea? Share it here and it could be the next one we try.

SYOAS – See you online again soon!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spice Up Your Fourth and Liberate Your Slaw

As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, many of us will be heading to family gatherings and firing up the grill. If you’re old slaw has you weighed sown in mayo, perhaps a new recipe is what you need. The spicy pepper slaw I tested for Cook’s Illustrated gets high marks as a light alternative to creamy coleslaw. My family liked the flavor, it was not heavy or overpowering, and it had just the right amount of crunch. I also liked that it was quick and easy to prepare.

Here’s what it looks like. Yummy red peppers, kick from a little jalapeno and a delicious crunch! Check back as I’ll post the Spicy Pepper Slaw test recipe. You can find it and other options in the online video and in the June 2011 Cook’s Illustrated issue.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...