What’s FUDGE Got To Do With It?

musical-note-2-clip-art_435934
Sing it loud and proud to the tune of Tina Turner‘s What’s Love Got To Do With It“.

Probably nothing, if you must know, but when we were in Sacramento a couple weeks ago, we stopped for a brief tourist-y couple of hours in Old Sacramento where my tugboat man and I purchased fudge from a candy store, and it wasn’t very good.

You know how when your mouth is watering and you’re anticipating the feel and texture of good fudge doing its slow and sultry dissolve, filling your senses with the magnificence of rich flavorful chocolate??….Well, it didn’t happen, so I knew it was time for me to make a batch.

I’ve been making fudge since I was about six years old — always with my mom and her tried and true recipe, which is Hershey’s tried and true recipe.

All fudge is judged by that recipe and that taste.

There is NONE better.

In fact, I would double dog dare you to a “fudge-off” and surpass the delicious fudge creaminess of this fudge. I know a lot of recipes call for corn syrup but this one does not and I think it’s better.

I feel that I deserve a little extra sweetness and calories because I’ve been working out at the gym really really hard, two times a day for the last week ‘cos hub’s been taking a class in San Diego — something to do with the International Maritime Organization — and he leaves at 7:00 a.m. and returns at 4:00 pm. It’s like in the old days when he worked in San Diego harbor.

I work out at my regular time in the morning and then go back again in the evening just to spend time with my big guy. Since I’m burning twice the calories, I won’t feel too guilty about eating a few pieces of candy.

Join me on my fudge-y journey while I channel my inner Nigella Lawson.

Starting out… Don’t let it bubble over!!!

Fudge3

When the candy thermometer hits 234 degrees, that’s the time to take it off the heat. Add butter and vanilla. Let it cool down to 110 degrees. Don’t stir too soon!!!

Fudge4

When it reaches 110 degrees, beat it until it starts to lose its glossy color. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes, so you’ll get a work out.
Fudge1

Pour into 9×9 pan. Wait for it to set up firm and lovely and oh so creamy.

Fudge5  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Fudge6

Don’t you wish you were here??
musical-note-2-clip-art_435934“What’s FUDGE but a sweet old fashioned notion?”musical-note-2-clip-art_435934

Fudge6

Hershey‘s Fudge
This is the recipe. Follow it EXACTLY. It’s perfect just the way it is.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (I used nonfat ‘cos that’s what we have on hand.)
  • 1/4 cup(1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.

2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.

NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.

Happiness is a Fruit + Veggie Bread Recipe: Zucchini, Carrot, and Apple

This recipe is my own adaptation of a zucchini bread; it’s not too sweet and gets better the day after– if you can wait! Sometimes I drizzle over the top a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with orange juice and a little orange zest. It sort of enhances all the flavors.

All ready for the captain’s homecoming!

3-in-1 Fruit and Veggie Bread

Grate enough zucchini to end up with about 1 cup or so packed
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, grated
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla plus 1 tablespoon juice from orange
2 cups flour (I use all or part whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4  plus 1 tablespoon cup plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
You can always add dried fruit or blueberries or nuts. My recipes usually reflect what I have around the pantry.
Directions: Mix together all the dry ingredients, add everything else, mix until well incorporated. Fold into loaf pan. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, check often so it doesn’t become too brown.

The Lonely Bitches Guide to Solo Cooking, Eating, and Drinking™

Welcome to the first installment of Princess Rosebud’s Lonely Bitches Guide to Solo Cooking, Eating, and Drinking™

Lots of us womenfolk are alone for some reason or another at certain times in our lives.

(Cowboys and Crossbones and I recently discussed this exact topic. Hey girl, enjoy your Skinny Pirates!)

Could be we’re between relationships, taking a break from the sturm und drang of life in close quarters with another human, or, like me, you have a sometimes-he’s-here-sometimes-he’s-not spouse.

And if you’re like me, you don’t cook a seven-course dinner for yourself and pair it with the proper aperatifs, wines, and brandies.

I save all that for the times when my tugboat man is home. I mean, I really save it ALL up for then, if ya know what I mean.

‘Cos when he’s gone, the oven mostly only gets used to hide the dark chocolate from myself.

Wait, hold on, I’ll be back. Ohemgee, DAMN, so that’s where I put it! It works every time. Out of sight, out of mind. I really do trick myself that way. Yum.

Okay. For those of my “one is the loneliest number” sisterbitches of mine, I’m doing us all a public service by jotting down a few of my tried and true tips.

I don’t normally eat breakfast, and even when I do eat in the morning, it’s never cereal, just a protein drink or few bites of toast with a couple cups of freshly ground French Roast.

Because it’s really hot out, I  wouldn’t even want to fire up the stove anyway; I like to eat cereal for dinner. I love Raisin Bran or Oat Flakes or shredded wheat from Trader Joe’s. I use nonfat milk, but you can certainly choose your own favorite — soy milk, rice milk, coconut–vodka, whatever.

As an aside, homemade granola with a splash of apple juice is beyond delicious. Try it! 

Just as you’d pair a fine wine with dinner, I’ve discovered that a chllled chardonnay is a delicious partner to cold cereal. Ripe and fruity Ghost Pines Chardonnay exposes the lavish textured flaky crunch.  After a few glasses, you’ll hardly know you’re eating cereal for dinner — solitary and alone.

When the weather changes in autumn and winter, I love a huge bowl of hot and steamy oatmeal for dinner. As you might expect, a full-bodied merlot brings out the nuance of the rustic oats.

And I certainly won’t tell anyone you’re sitting in front of the television watching old episodes of Bewitched and Gossip Girl. Oh Chuck… Oh Nate… Where are you now?

Try 2008 Sawyer Cellars Estate Merlot tracks earth, dust and red currants in its flavors; made for those who know wine, and for those of us who don’t clean house as compulsively when their tugboat man’s out to sea. Hee hee.

Bon appétit!

For those evenings when even pouring flakes in a bowl and topping it with milk is too much work — that’s when it’s time for popcorn. You can’t go wrong with a crisply dry champagne or sparkling prosecco, a lovely counterpoint to the crunchy, sligthtly salty popped kernals.

princesa champsOf course, my champs of choice is Princesa. Duh.

As a vegetarian (mostly vegan), I eat a lot of salads but sometimes I HATE the tedium of preparation for just little old me. I have two “go to” options: sometimes I make a veggie wrap and shove as many thinly sliced veggies I can find plus lettuce and feta cheese or even tuna fish in a tortilla.

That’s really easy, right?

But if I’m too lazy to do that, I’ll take some whole lettuce leaves, slice tomatoes and feta, and roll the lettuce right up, eating it standing up over the sink. No plate, no mess, and only a knife to clean up!

A win-win for sure.

That’s a marvelous time for a Cape Cod: cranberry juice, vodka, and a spritz of lime. Yum. Doesn’t it just sound delicious? AND healthy? We all know cranberry juice is good for our lady bladder, right? And if you add grapefruit juice, it’s called a Seabreeze.

Let’s all raise a glass and toast my ocean-going hub!

Bean and Cheese Burritos are sooo easy. Open a can of fat-free refried beans and for each burrito, spread a couple tablespoons of beans onto an organiic tortilla. Add a thin slice of cheese ( I use fat reduced cheese because of a tricky gallbladder). Roll it up and nuke it for about a minute or so til it’s piping hot and cheese is melty. While it’s “cooking”, there’s enough time to mix and pour a margarita. My recipe is the easiest!  Tequila, fresh lime juice, a floater of Grand Marnier and that’s it. Salt the glass if you wish; but that’s too much trouble for this lonely no-sodium gal!

For those rare evenings when I’m struck with the urge to eat real food, this is the BEST RECIPE ever. I could win an award for my brown rice, no kidding. It always comes out fluffy and perfect. I’ll share my secret with you. I bake it. Yup, that’s the secret to success.

Here’s the One Dish Brown Rice and Other Stuff recipe…
Add one cup brown rice to a 9×9 glass baking dish. Pour over the rice not quite two cups water. Lay gently on top of the rice large chunks of tofu or salmon, ahi, or albacore. (I don’t cook with meat, so I don’t know if the baking times would change.) Add roughly cut broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, thinly sliced carrots, peppers, mushrooms. I don’t like onions, but you can of course add thinly sliced or chopped onions. Sprinkle, pepper, chopped fresh herbs, freshly ground salt (if you must). Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve with my Special Sauce: One teaspoon (or more to taste) of Sriracha and one tablespoon mayonaisse. Super delish!

Once again, a chardonnay will dance a tango on your palate and lend a oaky counterpoint to the spicy sauce.

One-hundred-fifty calorie Skinny Cow ice cream (sandwich and drumstick are my personal faves) marries exquisitely with B&B brandy. Delicioso!

To recap, chardonnay pairs well with cold cereal, merlot (or cab) with hot cereal.
That’s all you need to know.

Here’s the perfect song to accompany all of our lonesome meals.

What are YOUR favorite eat alone meals?

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (Tree)

Bird droppings make great jam.

Perhaps generated by seeds embedded in bird poop; I’m not sure where this tree came from — I never planted it  – but one day there was a little sprout and a few years later it bore its first harvest.

We have two mulberry trees in our yard; the volunteer is fruit-bearing, the other that provides shade to the deck, is not.

silkwormcloseupSilkworms eat mulberry leaves; maybe I could raise a few silkworms and spin my own fabric — except worms are kinda gross, so I guess not.

mulberry tree3

Technically, the fruit of a mulberry is not a berry but a collective fruit, in appearance like a swollen loganberry. When the flowers are pollinated, they and their fleshy bases begin to swell. Ultimately, they become completely altered in texture and color, becoming succulent, fat and full of juice.

In appearance, each tiny swollen flower roughly resembles the individual drupe of a blackberry. Mulberries ripen over an extended period of time unlike many other fruits which seem to come all at once. {Wiki} They’re very sweet and mild.

mulberry tree2

mulberry tree

I learned from Martha Stewart to spread an old sheet on the ground and shake the tree. All the ripe fruit fall; I wash, dry, and freeze in quart bags. So far, I have about eight quarts and the tree’s not done. Raccoons come by at night and gorge themselves;  during the day, crows and other birds eat from the very highest branches.

mulberrysheetA bowl of mulberries.mulberrybowl

Three beautiful specimens. I add them right from the freezer to smoothies and cobblers and I’ll make a batch of jam, too. If I have enough, I’ll make a pie.

mulberry3

Mulberry Jam
(This recipe uses no pectin)

  • 2 1/2 cups mulberries, rinsed (the tiny green stems do not need to be removed)
  • Approximately one cup granulated sugar (I start with a very small amount of sugar and keep tasting. You can try agave, too.)
  • 3 tablespoons water
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drop heat to medium-low and add jars and their lids. Simmer for 10 minutes to sterilize. Using tongs, remove jars and lids and place on a clean towel to let cool.
    In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, combine mulberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, boil for one minute, then drop to a simmer. Cook fruit, stirring occasionally, until foam subsides and mixture thickens slightly, about 7 minutes.
    Using a ladle, carefully transfer hot jam to sterilized jars. Wipe mouths of jars clean and screw on lids very tightly. Let cool at room temperature for at least 8 hours before using.

The Lovely Luscious Loquat (Jam)

I wish all of you could taste a freshly picked juicy loquat. It’s not a kumquat or even a distant relation…

loquatsI posted a pic of our loquat tree on my Facebook page and was really surprised to learn how many have never tasted this juicy sweet fruit.

Thin velvety skin embraces yellowy orange flesh that tastes  like a cross between an apricot and a peach.

loquatseededIf you have a chance to try them, just remember, the seeds are extremely toxic! They contain many toxic alkaloids like cyanogen-glycosides.

The grow all over my neighborhood — everyone seems to have at least one or two trees and they’re very prolific producers — but no one knows what to do with them. A lot of fruit is wasted — birds love them and so do fruit rats…ick.

Of course, they’re very healthy, too.

  • Low in calorie,, rich in insoluble dietary fiber; pectin.
  •  Excellent source of vitamins A and C, rich in potassium and some B-complex vitamins such as folates, vitamin B-6, and niacin.

Plus, loquat jam is delicious.

Loquat treeA couple days ago, I made a batch of loquat jam with this simple recipe:

Loquat Jam
Twelve cups seeded loquats. Leave the skins on but cut off the blossom end. Five to six cups of sugar. I used white sugar, but I’m sure you could play around with the amounts and use agave nectar or honey. I’m a cinnamon lover and added a couple tablespoons. Loquats are slightly bland and really respond well to spices. Add enough water to cover the fruit. Cover with a lid, quickly bring to a boil, and allow to boil for five minutes. Turn down the flame to simmer, uncover, and cook for a couple of hours, stirring with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t burn.  After a couple hours or so, I used my immersion blender and pureed the jam (the skins disappear), and continued to cook for another hour. After tasting it, I added a bit more cinnamon and three tablespoons of lemon juice which really helped the flavors develop. I wanted to turn it more apple butter-like and thick, so I carefully poured it into a crockpot and let it cook on low all night.

Loquats in bowl

Just started the cooking process.
It was a real surprise to watch the cooked loquats turn a deep rich burgundy.

Cooking loquats

Use an immersion blender to puree.
Time to sleep in the crockpot all night and get nice and thick.

Crockpot loquat

I’m really happy with the results. It looks a lot like apple butter.

Loquat in bowl

Jars and jars of jam!
I’m refrigerating jars; didn’t feel like going through the hot bath canning process.

Jars of loquat jamMore ways to preserve the bountiful abundance of loquats:

  • I’m freezing some fruit whole to use in smoothies.
  • Drying the leaves to make loquat tea.
  • Loquat salsa, like mango salsa.
  • Loquat cobbler. YUM.
  • Chutney

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemoncupcakesingle

My version topped with a lush garden strawberry

A while back I read Our Growing Paynes post about Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. (Click here for their recipe.)

I love anything lemony and it looked so amazing and mouth-watering that I had to try it.

There’s a tangy sweet burst of lemon curd and fluffy meringue in every bite.

It brings out the Nigella Lawson in me to try and conjure up sensual adjectives to describe how they taste.

chocolate babkaMy tugboat man said it was the best thing I’ve ever made, and ranked it right up there with the Chocolate Babka I made a while back.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Lemon curd, cupcakes, and toasty meringue…how could it be anything but spectacular?

I made the Lemon Curd the day before.. the old school way with my mom’s vintage double boiler. There’s an easier microwave version that has great reviews; try that one if you’re short on time. This is the recipe I used:

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Whisk eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a double boiler over simmering water until mixed well, then continue to stir until thick, 7 to 10 minutes.
Drain through a mesh sieve to get rid of lumps. Fold in butter until well incorporated. Mix in lemon zest. Cover curd and chill in the refrigerator until it’s thickened, about four hours. Very important to sieve it, don’t skip this step.

The finished product. So smooth. Like lemon velvet.lemon curd

The vanilla cupcakes ready and waiting for embellishment and a little sparkle.
vanilla lemon cupcakes

The meringue.
lemoncupcake4

It’s fun to core out a bit of the cupcake ‘cos you can eat the middle and pretend it doesn’t have any calories. I used a tomato stem end corer —
a weird but very useful tool. Works great for strawberries, too.
tomato stem end corer

Fill holes with lemon curd and spoon meringue on top in fluffy clouds of goodness.
Place in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes. Don’t go too far away because it takes just a second to go from beautifully toasty brown to burnt.
Lemncupcakes3

Out of the oven, I topped each with a lush garden strawberry.lemonmerenguecupcake1

That first bite… Cake, lemon curd, meringue.
ABSOLUTE HEAVEN.
There are no other words necessary.
Thank you, Our Growing Paynes!lemonmerenguecupcake2

 I’ll make it again for the captain’s welcome home dessert. 

Part Two: Countdown to Sexy Time

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.

welcome home

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:

1. Granola
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?)

(Recipes are posted below)
carrot cake Cooky Jar
I’m not sure what to make for his welcome home dinner; he hasn’t given me any suggestions yet. Possibly Vegetarian Lasagna?

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?

Black Boots

Dear me, how did that sneaky Chanel handbag manage to photobomb every pic?

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…

RECIPES

Lowfat Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon, plus 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used nonfat yogurt, a great substitution)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup loosely packed carrots shreds, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

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

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated raw apple or applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt

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.

A recipe and a request…from a tugboat captain

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.

ex=lax signNo, I’m not going to put ex-lax in his food. Not this time, anyway.

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.pastry bag and tips

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.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake dripping in kirschwasser

 

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?

I’ve 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.

And now for the recipe….carrotraisinbread2 carrot raisin bread

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!

Ingredients
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.

 

Meow

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?

bandit in a boxOur 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?

me2 Pictures of me

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.
hawk2 Hawk in tree
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.
choccloseup chocolate cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Gardens

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I use half non-fat milk and half cold coffee)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • egg
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

    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.

Chocolate 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.

Abandoning the mother ship

pumpkin, pumpkin stew

Soon to be pumpkin stew

DIL and sister wife left this morning to drive back up to SF. I still have my son until tomorrow. He flies out mid-morning to the east coast and I’m not looking forward to the thirty-five minute drive and the lunacy of the airport. At its best it’s not pleasant. Now they’re undergoing major construction delays and it’s another level of Hell.  For the moment, home is reminiscent of the old days; he’s sitting at the dining room table with a computer surrounded by piles of books, only this time he’s not writing a report or research paper, he’s grading essays.

Young Yale Professor

Photo of a Yale professor in action

I can’t believe this little sk8r boy of mine goes to work and fifteen college freshman call him Professor Angel Boy. Of course, they don’t REALLY call him Angel Boy, but I think they  should. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the concept. It’s mind boggling. Especially since he still derives the greatest pleasure by shocking me with offensive earsplitting and vulgar expulsions of intestinal gas that serves as his initial form of communication when he opens the front door (Insert loud breaking wind sounds here) “Hi, mom, I’m home!” or belching as commentary while we’re enjoying a lovely meal at the dinner table, like Thanksgiving. Apparently, my laughing is an ineffective method of dissuading that kind of behavior. Sometimes I tell him he’s disgusting but he finds that a compliment rather than a criticism. His wife thinks he’s funny too; even the captain finds him humorous, shaking his head, “That’s our boy!” almost, no, not almost–completely proud of him– so it’s hopeless. The dichotomy between his academic braininess and his juvenile antics is-uh-refreshing. It’s no wonder I treat him like he’s still in the third grade. It’s as if he never left elementary school with the stupid arm farts and the other robust sounds and smells that emanate from all of his orifices. I keep my fingers crossed that when he meets with his department heads or his publisher that he remembers all the lessons in good manners we practiced and he only acts out here as the living embodiment of the prodigal son. Like I said, fingers crossed. 

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

Smells DELICIOUS

I’m in the kitchen baking another loaf of Whole Wheat Bread. Tonight we had Moroccan Pumpkin Stew (recipe below) with steamed brown rice and Seared Ahi ‘cos I have to make sure he gets enough protein.

It’s kind of cold, damp, and foggy; after dinner we made a fire and  played Scrabble. He won, of course–232 to 219.scrabble

An assortment of desserts; apple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookiesapple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookies

Beautiful flowers from my Angel Boy

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 6 small potatoes, well-scrubbed but not peeled, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-1/2 cups canned tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrot, potato, and pumpkin and saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. When vegetables have softened, add the ginger and garlic. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, then add the canned tomato and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, then add the raisins. Allow to cook for 18-25 minutes until all vegetables are soft – but don’t overcook. Serve over or with brown rice.