As I’m consumed by 24/7 cooking, baking, and cleaning, I have been remiss in responding to comments and blogs.
Please accept my apology — I’ll be back in a few days.
Until then, I’m on….
As I’m consumed by 24/7 cooking, baking, and cleaning, I have been remiss in responding to comments and blogs.
Please accept my apology — I’ll be back in a few days.
Until then, I’m on….
I couldn’t resist. This was too funny to not share.
Anyone think I miss my out-to-sea captain hubby?
Overnight French Bread rising…
Calling Dr. Freud…calling Dr. Freud…
UPDATE on my friend’s son. He’s home from the hospital with no clearcut diagnosis, but he seems to be feeling better. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I’m very glad it all turned out OK.
And now, back to me — my favorite subject — and my Countdown to Sexy Time.
The welcome home table… see the tugboat shaped rock attached by a “towline” to a barge shaped rock? Those were our special finds on our hike in Palm Springs. (Click to read about it) I’ve loaded the barge with cargo of dark chocolate chips. Cute, huh? He’ll really like my creativity.
.Just started the Princess Rosebud Bake-Off:
2. Overnight French Bread
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
4. Carrot Cake (you can see that I already tasted it–I DID have to make sure it was OK, didn’t I?)
That would be great with the Overnight French Bread although I might save that for Friday when my son and DIL are here.
All I’ve had to eat all day is two hard boiled eggs and one of my special secret formula wheat grass smoothies, so I’m totally ready for food.
The big question…
What should I wear?
I never had the chance to shop for a new outfit but I do have new boots; his unexpected afternoon arrival wreaks havoc with my original plan of an evening gown and spiky heels.
Although….I’m not ruling out an evening gown; I’ve been known to wear one to the airport, but we have a couple of stops on the way home–I’ll need to figure something out.
He tells me to dress “normal” and I always ask him if he has any idea who he’s married to, or should I say “to whom he’s married”. LOL
Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions. And if you’ll excuse me, I gotta mow my legs now…
Lowfat Carrot Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 6 cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup sour cream, the oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and walnuts. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, remove the pan and let cool completely.
3. Using a wooden spoon, mix cream cheese and butter. Add confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread or drizzle on top of cake only.
Lowfat (there’s a theme here) Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I cannot live without parchment paper. It makes clean up soooo easy! In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, apple/sauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.
Overnight French Bread
I attempted to inbed the html, but it wouldn’t work, but if you click on the title, it should take you to the recipe I use.
Your apple pie tutorial.
An apple pie with attitude.
If you are one of the many boys and girls (OK, adults) who’ve never made an apple pie from scratch and you don’t want to meet the Grim Reaper without having made at least one perfect apple pie, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m right here, holding your hand, gently walking you through all the steps and twists and turns to create the best apple pie you will ever eat. Guaranteed. Fur realz. I know you can do it! Once you’ve mastered one pie start to finish, you will never be afraid of a little old piecrust again. Pinky swear.
The apples you choose are of the utmost importance. They need to be firm and tart and able to stand up to the heat of a 425 degree oven without becoming mushy as the pie bakes. (For my Canandian friends, you’ll have to do the conversion–I’m not that smart.)
Squeeze a little lemon juice over the slices for a pop of flavor and it’ll help keep the apples from turning brown.
Unless I’m making apple jelly, I put the peels in the compost bin, and so should you!
This is one time when I use white sugar and don’t feel guilty about it–about 2/3 cup or to taste. Some apples need more sweetness, some need less. The most important ingredient is cinnamon. The right amount of cinnamon elevates the apple pie to a higher level. I use approximately 3-4 tablespoons. I do a lot of tasting, so it’s a good idea to add a little at a time and taste as you go. My family loves a LOT of cinnamon!
When you feel that your apples and sugar and cinnamon have reached the zenith of blissful co-existence, sprinkle one tablespoon all-purpose flour over the apples and mix lightly.
I like my mom’s favorite cookbook for old-fashioned recipes.
It’s not rocket science. This is a tried and true basic recipe for a two-crust pie. I don’t like to use butter in this crust because I don’t want any other flavors to taint the apple+cinnamon perfection. I know you can use a food processor and it cuts the time in half but sometimes the most satisfying part of baking is to be fully immersed in the process as much as the final results!
For a nine-inch pie pan:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
Four tablespoons water
What does “cut in” mean? It means you need to distribute the shortening into the flour so that the particles become the size of peas. This is what makes pastry flaky. Use a pastry blender to cut shortening into flour. If you don’t have one, use two knives and this technique: holding a knife in each hand with blades almost touching, move knives back and forth in opposite directions in a parallel cutting motion. The side of a fork or a wire whisk works, too.
Mix only until all ingredients are worked in. If you overwork pastry dough, it’ll become tough. Sprinkle the water in a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until all the flour is moistened. Gather dough together and press into two balls for the upper and bottom crust.
Flour the board or counter and the rolling pin so the dough won’t stick. There are all kinds of fancy schmancy rolling pins–I’ve been really happy with this old wooden one. Flatten the balls with your hand. Roll each ball into a sort of circle; don’t go all crazy thinking it has to be perfect at this point. If it breaks or tears, just pinch and push it back together–about 1/8 inch thick. For an apple pie, I think the bottom crust needs to be a bit more sturdy than the top crust–roll accordingly.
Roll into a circle two inches larger than pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides.
Pile high with the yummy apples.
Redo the same steps with the other round for the top crust. Cut off the extra dough that hangs over–leaving enough to fold under.
I wanted to add an enchanted seashell embellishment to the final version.
I molded leftover dough over a scallop shell, cut off the excess, and placed it on the pie.
It will bake quicker than the pie–remember to take it out after about ten minutes and place it back on the pie before serving.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or so until it’s bubbly and the crust is beautifully browned.
Come on, add this to your list of goals for 2013 and let me know how it turns out!
The wonderful FurFiles (meow!) is back from her Jamaican vacation, and it’s about time! I’ve missed her astute blogging and pithy commentary, like the many ways I can exact revenge on my tugboat man should the need arise.
Ms Fur has furrily requested the recipe for another version of carrot bread I made last night, loosely based on a recipe from my 1970s Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook.
I’m not the magnificent artist of decor and whimsy like Judy at Petit4Chocolatier nor do I possess the versatility of (bakery owner in another life) Tonette of tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily but I have my most consistent success with everyday, homey, mom-like healthy breads, apple pies, lentil cookies, and black bean brownies.
Confession: I’ve been known to wield a mean pastry bag to build roses with tip #12 and #104 on flower nail #7 (as well as shells and garland) but I save that skill set for special occasions only.
A Schwarzwälder kirsch kuchen similar to one I made to celebrate my son’s graduation.
First the request...I’m conducting an interview of my resident mariner for a future post. In the wake of today’s ferry accident in New York and other recent vessel related incidents, it seems timely.
Anything you’d like to know?
tortured used my not inconsiderable powers of persuasion to convince my tugboat man to put up his surfboard for a moment and consent to an interview. The convincing involved all sorts of things like I need to wear nothing but a pair of six-inch heels and red lipstick and must refer to him as Most Exalted Master Seaman, but that is my cross to bear, not yours.
It was his idea to take requests from my readers in the wonderful world of blogging and Twitter and FB and I agree that’s a great idea–which should prove to doubters (and children) that hubs does have an independent thought once in a great while.
He’ll entertain queries about maritime-related stuff, what it’s like being married to me(!), technical stuff about boat handling/boat restoration, marlinspike seamanship,– ask away!
Certain things can’t be revealed of course, but he’ll do his best to answer all questions. He’s a USCG certified instructor, so you know he’s got the cred and he’s not just another pretty face.
You’ll discover the funny side to life as a seaman–they have a weird sense of humor–creating witty rhymes such as, “It’s not gay when you’re underway…” [urban dictionary]
I’ll credit the question with a link or you can remain anonymous–your choice.
Carrot Raisin Bread
It’s moist and delicious with a rich texture! The difference is in the process. Try it and let me know what you think about it. Hubs loves it!
One cup grated carrots
One cup raisins
3/4 cup honey (I didn’t have a lot of honey so I used 1/4 honey, 1/4 agave, 1/4 brown sugar) Maple syrup would be yummy, too.
One teaspoon each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons vegetable oil
One egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, not sure how to do the conversions.
In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, raisins, honey/sugar, oil, and spices in the water for about ten minutes. Let cool. When cool, add beaten egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and add to wet ingredients. Pour into one or two loaf pans depending on size. I made mine in one large loaf pan. Bake for about 45 minutes but check carefully so it doesn’t over bake. Let cool before slicing.
What is marriage all about? Based upon my personal research, experimentation, and analysis, I have the answers to your questions.
This is for all you young’uns who’re on the cusp of searching for a mate or for the older and hopefully wiser female who perhaps wants to dip a toe back into the dating pond.
Do you want a life partner with whom to share your laughs, your tears, your bout with intestinal flu, your pillow and cat-laden bed, and to assist in the breeding of your offspring?
What’s the secret to my long lasting (twenty-two years together, nineteen married) relationship?
The secret is…COMPROMISE.
Not really. I’m only messing with your head.
What works around here is torture and retaliation.
That’s it. Simple. Torture and retaliation.
It works like magic.
Case in point: My tugboat man goes out to sea for quite a while-usually two months or so at at time. When he returns, all he can think about (other than THAT) is surfing. Yes, he’s a big old surfer baby. Right now there are big winter waves pounding our coast.
This is not my captain because he’s not a dick dragger. That is NOT my term. I didn’t think of it but I wish I had. It’s what the young folks call a boogie boarder. Very descriptive, right? Think about it…
A couple days ago he left at 5:30 a.m. to surf in La Jolla. In case you’re a surfer yourself, waves were mostly six feet with an occasional eight foot set. I was just about on my last nerve with this surf obsesh, so I blocked the driveway with sawhorses and trash cans so he couldn’t pull in the driveway. Hee hee.He had to get out of his truck, move the obstacles, and then pull in.
After that, I used my wiles to torture him into building four more shelves for my lovely collection of shells and rocks.
And that brings us to today. Sunday. I guess the honeymoon’s over.
I was out in the garage chatting up the hubs about tonight’s dinner menu: freshly baked French bread, Caesar salad with my signature dressing, and thought I’d make some Frico at the same time that I make the croutons. I asked him:
“Have you ever had Frico? Do you know what it is?”
“Yeah, I know what a Frico is, I’m married to one.”
How RUDE. HOW RUDE!
I was being the best wife ever; I brought him lunch on a tray while he was working on restoring his rowboat and building yet another shelf (I love shelves, OK?) and THIS is the attitude I have to deal with!? After I brought him a wheatgrass smoothie, fresh pear cut in half and filled with nonfat cottage cheese dusted with cinnamon–and to make it extra-special, a smiley face out of fresh blueberries–he retaliates with a comment like that? Oh, he’ll pay all right, oh yes he will. We’ll see who’s FREAKY when he takes me to South Coast Plaza tomorrow. We’ll test the limits of his stamina and endurance throughout the huge shopping center. We’ll whet our whistle at one end with Bloomingdales as we march determinedly toward my personal holy grail, (do you hear the trumpets sounding?) as we round the corner to….Chanel–Chanel, the holder of my bliss.
Torture and retaliation-the stuff of which great marriages are made.
Frico, not Freako
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Using largest holes on a 4-sided grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner. Stir together cheese, flour, and pepper. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed. Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3-inch round.Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely.
Finishing up three or four posts that aren’t cooperating. They’re not funny enough, they have no point, no denouement, no zing–nada. Instead of a rational thought process, I’ll offer up a scattered smorgasbord of tasty appetizers instead of a whole meal.
Remember these cats?
Our Bandit used to talk to us that way. After a while, I started answering her back. She’d say, “Meow“, I’d respond, “Meow”. She’d stroll into the kitchen and greet me with a head nod and a brief “Mew”. I’d imitate her head nod and answer her. She tried so hard to communicate with us! If we didn’t go to bed at the same time every night–if we stayed up a bit longer than usual–Bandit marched into the family room with an outraged sense of purpose-maintain eye contact–and kind of growly-meow, walk a few steps toward the bedroom, and then walk back to us. If we didn’t follow her, she’d leave in a huff and wait on the bed and if we didn’t move quick enough, one swipe of her her paw let us know she was pissed. She had the sharpest claws. They spoke volumes.
One day, the captain said something to me and I didn’t hear him. Instead of saying, “What did you say?” I said, “Meow?” He seemed to understand what I meant because he repeated himself. That one meow led to complete conversations in cat language. Angry meows, grunting meows, questioning meows, and mews in agreement. We just have to remember not to do it when anyone else is around. I’m not sure many people would understand. Meow?
We worked out at the gym this morning. Before we left, I asked the hubs to take a couple pictures of me. See the hairband with sparkles and the Hello Kitty slippers? Starfish?
Late this afternoon I heard a hawk in the eucalyptus tree across the street. It let me get really close for these pics! The colors were magnificent. I wish I took better photos.
Chocolate cake was requested by my tugboat man; I whipped up an easy one bowl version. It was sooo good! It’s lowfat but really moist. The recipe is below.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Spread with glaze.
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. water or coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, gradually add confectioners sugar; beat with wire whisk until smooth.
My tugboat man brought back some treasures and cool marlinspike seamanship projects he worked on while he
abandoned me was away for two months.
What do you think of the captain’s welcome home signs?
This picture frame is huge–2 ft. x 3ft.
This is a close-up view of his masterful work.
My mariner found a float in the harbor and crafted a delicate netting in black.
And then we worked together to make it into a lamp! The base is a piece of driftwood. The captain’s making some fancy knotwork to embellish the shade.
He fashioned a pretty little handmade tray with copper tubing sides and handles and filled it with shells and driftwood!
We had welcome home festive cocktails of cranberry juice and vodka with a fresh cranberry in our antique champagne glasses.
And yummy ginger cookies…
Our Downton Abbey-inspired dinner table.
Now he has a new project–when he’s not surfing– refinishing a rowboat and making it seaworthy.
Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife! I’m a happy girl, that’s for sure!
A miracle occurred and at the very last minute, my tugboat man has been released from his assignment and is on the long journey home. Because of the great distance he must travel, it takes two days but he’ll be arriving on Friday, which means another drive to the airport at midnight. It’s an unexpected joy, and in honor of this great occasion, I have written a poem based very loosely on “Twas The Night Before Christmas“. It won’t win any prizes, that’s for sure!
...neither a plumber nor a drug dealer
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