Category — Holiday
If you are making a special Valentine meal for your significant other tomorrow night, you might want to take some of these suggestions into consideration.
Click on the name of the various aphrodisiacs to find a recipe for each.
asparagus – loaded with essential vitamin E
basil – libido lifting nutrients vitamins A and C, magnesium, beta carotene and potassium
caviar – luxurious jewels from the sea, salty and sexy
chiles – elevates heart rate, raises body temperature, makes lips swell
chocolate – releases phenylethyamine, the same hormone love-making releases and increases endorphin secretions and raises heart rate
February 13, 2014 1 Comment
I want to give you a heads-up – my blogging abilities are going to be compromised for the next week.
Yesterday, I began putting away Christmas. The tree is down and the New Year’s Eve tablescape and decor, that I’m about to show you, is put away. I hope to get the rest of the house “untrimmed” and “deflocked” today.
Then, Saturday the real work begins.
The work I love to do!
The sort of thing I live for…
Decorating. Shopping. Cooking. Making lists. Organizing. Setting up and Planning… for Tram’s baby shower.
Hence – very little time to blog. You may hear from me, or I may go “underground” and you might not. Either way, please know that I am in my element, experiencing joy and happiness, and that I’ll share all the glorious details with you… after the fact. I don’t want to ruin any of it for my sweet friend, loyal blog follower, and mama-to-be, Tram!
For now, back to New Year’s Eve, from here out, referred to as NYE.
See that huge clock?
Isn’t it grand!?! I bought it years ago at a cool store in the Scottsdale Airpark that, sadly, no longer exists. It is five feet in diameter and it is heavy! I put it out on the front patio for NYE and it was still there yesterday, when Chip, my landscape architect extraordinaire, came by with his crew to install more lighting in the front yard.
Chip asked me about the clock and I told him that when I bought it, my intention was to hang it in the front room. But I feared it was too heavy, so I’ve just had it leaning against walls in various rooms over the years. Most recently in the guestroom, better known as Marissa’s bedroom.
He said, “It so cool! Where do you want it to go? I’ll hang it for you.”
Hey, you don’t have to make a generous offer, like that, twice!
Quickly, before he could change his mind, I said, “OK!”
So I got the stud finder, nails, some wire, a hammer, and a ladder. He got his right-hand man, Roy, and another ladder. They wired it up and went to hang it… and the wire snapped. (I told you it was HEAVY!) Thankfully they were still holding on to it when that happened!
They got some “better” wire from their truck and tried again, and voilà, the clock is finally hanging where I wanted it to be hanging all along!
I really am going to get to the tablescape… but first a couple more photos of the front patio/entrance leading to the NYE dinner party.
Happy New Year. Do you see it?
Now you do!
Come on in.
January 3, 2014 8 Comments
I would like to wish a happy, healthy, joyful, and prosperous New Year to each of you.
“May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door.” Traditional Irish Blessing
January 1, 2014 1 Comment
I changed my decades old tradition of present wrapping this past Christmas. I’ve always wrapped each family member’s gifts in their own unique and individual wrapping paper.
None of them knew, until Christmas morning, whose gifts were whose.
When the kids were little, this method kept them from counting to see who had more and from shaking gifts they would have otherwise known belonged to them.
This year, I still wrapped the gifts, I just didn’t worry about using a specific paper or tags. Instead, I used personalized Christmas Sacks from Harrow & Green, a small company in London.
December 31, 2013 3 Comments
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
Of course, the best part is having all my loves home with me!
For Christmas Eve, we brought back a tradition we began last year (when I had a fractured pelvis and could not stand up in the kitchen to cook) and we once again had blue cheese fondue. We are all in love with the new simple, fun, and communal approach to a special family meal. The kids voted that we add in chocolate fondue for dessert in 2014. Dave and I made that vote unanimous.
This was our Christmas day tablescape.
For our Christmas day dinner, the main course was something I taught at Les Gourmettes, individual beef Wellingtons.
You’ll notice that some of the photos below were taken while I was prepping for that class.
I purchased a full beef tenderloin and cut it into 16 pieces. This was the most economical way to feed a crowd.
For our holiday meal, I purchased already cut filet mignon.
December 27, 2013 2 Comments
To you and yours…
December 25, 2013 No Comments
This recipe came from the food section of our newspaper and was provided by our local dairy, Shamrock Farms.
We didn’t trim our tree until Saturday, once the kids and my mother-in-law arrived. So the night before, I put together this breakfast dish while I waited for Marissa’s plane to get in from San Francisco. It was scheduled for midnight, but delayed until 2:00 AM. I made good use of the extra two hours and wrote out all my Christmas cards as well… blurry-eyed, but I got it done!
We all enjoyed breakfast and tree-trimming, with carols playing in the background and coffee and hot chocolate mugs in our hands.
I made a few changes to the recipe; using actual rum instead of rum extract and subbing cinnamon bread for the firm white or whole wheat that was suggested. Additionally, I’ve decreased the amount of eggs used in the mixture.
This eggnog French toast was a huge hit with the family and will likely become a new holiday tradition for us.
December 23, 2013 4 Comments
The final Thanksgiving leftovers recipe of the season is a dessert, using up the last of your mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and whipped cream. It’s a wintertime take on strawberry shortcake.
If your sweet potatoes weren’t mashed, mash them before making these biscuits.
Oh, and did you know that you can buy powdered buttermilk? I’m not certain if I’ve mentioned this product before, but it sure is handy to have when you have all the ingredients for a recipe … except buttermilk. And isn’t that the point of using up leftovers – being able to use what you have and not having to make a special trip to the grocery store? It’s simple to use. Just as with powdered regular milk, you just mix with water.
One last note – One of the secrets to light and flaky biscuits is to not overwork the dough. When handled with a light touch you should be able to see specks of the fat, whether that is butter, as in this recipe, or vegetable shortening or lard. Less is better when it comes to biscuits.
December 2, 2013 1 Comment
I usually use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make enchiladas, chili or tacos. This year… Turkey Gumbo!
The thing about gumbo is that you have to start with roux. The thing about roux is that you have to stir constantly … for a long, long, long time! And the thing about stirring constantly, is that I hate having to do that!
Several years ago I received an automatic pot stirring thing-a-ma-jiggy, called the StirChef Saucepan Stirrer. It has sat in the box and never been opened … until yesterday, when I made this gumbo. I’ve had it so long that the batteries that were included – were corroded.
Guess what, I should have left it in the box. It was useless. It only fit into the smallest of my saucepans and the paddle turned so slowly, seriously ridiculous!
Here are some of the reviews I found on Amazon:
“I spent one dollar on this at a thrift shop and I still feel like I was ripped off. It is no surprise they are already out of business. The thing doesn’t even fit on all but one of my saucepans.”
“I just set this up for the first time to make a roux… what a joke!
It fit the pan and that is THE ONLY thing that was a positive. As soon as those worthless paddles hit that hot oil and flour, they began to dissolve!”
“Attaching the StirChef to my new 4qt saucepan, I turned it on to stir some chopped vegetables for 10 minutes at low heat. After about 4 minutes the flimsy plastic blades began to melt, adding an interesting but unwanted taste to the vegetables.”
Evidently this lame product is a collector’s item of some sort. On Amazon it sells for nearly $90 new and $60 used. Mine has only been used once. I’m willing to sell it for a mere $45.99.
Any interested buyers out there? No? OK, maybe you’ll be more interested in my Gumbo recipe.
November 30, 2013 1 Comment
If you watched the live Food Network Thanksgiving show last week, you might have seen the round-table discussion at the end of the show. I didn’t see it live, but caught a bit of it online.
Some of the leftover ideas the chefs tossed around sounded fabulous – Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict” w/Gravy, Sweet Potato-Cranberry Shortcake, and Turkey Gumbo. Since this was a rapid-fire sort of affair – as in “everyone was talking over everyone else” – there were no recipes given.
Those were the three dishes that caught my fancy, so I thought I’d use their suggestions and create the recipes myself.
Today, the “Benedict” breakfast.
Tomorrow, the gumbo.
The shortcake on Sunday.
Get those leftovers out and make these recipes along with me…
November 29, 2013 No Comments