Sunday, December 22, 2013

USPS - what's up??

I mailed 2 packages to Greta on Tuesday, Dec 17th.
They were mailed with the same mailing labels, at the same counter, at the same time with Priority Mail 2-Day Shipping (although not guaranteed) and scheduled delivery of Dec 20.

These are the trackings of both.
Today is Sunday, Dec 22.
The first goof happened when it went to Sodus.  Somebody must have thrown it in the wrong bin.
And now it appears to be stuck in never-never-land.

Although my other thought is that the post office has stopped tracking because I got a notice a few days ago that a package was shipped to me and it hasn't shown up yet in the tracking system.

All's well that ends well
Greta called me this afternoon to say that she got the package.  Delivered on Sunday.
Just checked to see the tracking information.  I'm glad it got there in time for Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ghiradelli Dessert Cups

Ghirardelli Dessert Cups

    •    1 1/2 pounds Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers
    •    8 small round balloons

1.    If you are using baking bars, break or chop the chocolate into 1-inch pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt half the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Cool for about 5 minutes.
2.    Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
3.    Inflate the balloons to a 4-inch diameter; knot. Holding a balloon by the knot, dip into the chocolate, tipping to cover the balloon halfway up with chocolate. Place the balloon, knotted side up, on the prepared baking sheet, holding the balloon in place until the chocolate starts to set. Repeat with the remaining balloons to make eight cups. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
4.    Melt the remaining 3/4 pound chocolate and repeat the dipping procedure. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
5.    Snip a hole in each balloon to deflate; carefully peel the balloon away from the chocolate. Refrigerate until needed. Use the same day.

Here's a video of how to remove the balloon

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deviled Eggs - Improved

Ever since I got that dish for holding deviled eggs it has been my go-to dish to pass.  For one thing it's easy and for another it's always popular.  I think I've now perfected the entire  technique for making them from boiling the eggs to making them so I thought I would post it here.  Especially when Laura and Greta called me from the car after dropping their Dad off at the airport, for the recipe so they could make them when they got back to Greta's.


As we were eating dinner tonight and it tasted so good, I wondered if I ever posted a frittata recipe and the answer was NO.  The one tonight tasted really good so I'm putting it here.  It was a last minute decision to make it since at 5:40 I didn't have a clue of what we were going to have for dinner since I've been busy preparing things for tomorrow night when we're having company.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Raspberry Orange Bread

I made bread from this muffin recipe.

My only goof this time was that I added all of the raspberries, which were 12 oz and not 6.  I knew I had the large container of raspberries but I didn't remember until I thought there were way too many raspberries in the bread.

If I do something like this again, I would replace or modify the amount of orange juice with some other liquid because the orange is too overpowering.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I've Been Diagnosed

I was so glad to get this email from Joan that explains what my problem is, and I'm not alone.  In fact a song was written about it too (see bottom of page).

    Thank goodness there' s a name for this disorder.

    Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

    This is how it manifests:

Friday, December 6, 2013


Well, it's been 1 week since Thanksgiving so I suppose it's about time that I get to it.

Larry and I drove to New York on Thursday morning and found a great parking spot outside of Aunt Harrie's apartment. We brought the appetizers with us, deviled eggs, hummus, chopped liver (in memory of Aunt Millie who I remember bringing it to all the Thanksgivings we had at Aunt Harrie's when we were kids) veggies and crackers. The reason I'm listing this is so that I can remember if I ever want to do it again.  I also brought roasted brussel sprouts, a cranberry jello relish and wine.

We had the best time.  We arrived around 2 and everyone was there except for Em, Jon and Luke.  Emily got a speeding ticket on her way so she was trying to get there earlier (although I heard she always has a heavy foot).  I'll just let the pictures do the rest of the talking.  In case I never mentioned it before, this is where all our Thanksgiving's were held for as long as I can remember.  The last one I remember going to was after I was married in 1965 and it was the time that Grandma managed to get John & I and Mom & Dad together after I eloped, but I digress - - let the pictures show the fun.

Thursday night we stayed at the B&B a few blocks from Greta's, the Harbor House Inn.  We pass it all the time but never stayed there.  This time we stayed because Greta's was overbooked.  It was fun this particular weekend because there were people from all over staying there, South America, Europe and of course USA.   On Friday we went into the city for lunch at Osteria al Doge, 15 of us, and had the whole upstairs.

We said good bye to Kay, Gerry & Ashley, Em, Jon & Luke and the rest of us walked around the city

 making our way over to Radio City for the Christmas Spectacular.
 We then made our way back to Greta's for a couple of hours until bedtime.
Saturday morning everyone went home.
The End

Hope we can do it again, it was so much fun.

Blueberry Bubble Bark

This recipe was No. 9 in the 12 days of Cookies in the D&C yesterday.  My comments are in red.
Blueberry Bubble Bark

6 ounces white chocolate  
3/4 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I used sweetened, couldn't find unsweetened)
1/2 cup dried blueberries (substitute dried cranberries if you cannot find blueberries)
1/2 cup unsalted coarsely chopped pistachios

Grease a 4-inch-by-8-inch loaf pan and line the base and two long sides with parchment paper so the paper extends a couple inches above the sides.  (Note:  If you're going to put parchment paper down, why grease??  I didn't)

Melt the chocolate: You can do this in a double boiler by bringing water to a simmer in the bottom of the double boiler and putting the white chocolate in the top of the double boiler and stirring until the chocolate melts. Conversely, you can melt the white chocolate in a microwave. Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Set the power on low and microwave for 1 minute intervals, stirring between intervals, until the white chocolate is melted.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and spoon mixture evenly into pan. Cover the top with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until set. Remove the bark from the pan and cut into slices or break into chunks.

Makes enough for about 15 to 20 pieces.  (Note:  You can break it into way smaller pieces, don't need to eat such a big piece.  Very satisfying in small amounts.)

Since I had to buy all the ingredients I calculated the cost $7 for the batch and whether there are 15 or 20 pieces it is 3 PP per piece.

Note: (after making)
I didn't think there was enough white chocolate since it all crumbled apart, only some of it stuck together.  I melted more chocolate and added all the loose pieces to it.  After hardening I then had too much chocolate so I remelted all of it and added more coconut and nuts and it was much better.  I forgot the puffed rice which would have added more crunch to this batch.  Anyway, it is delicious.  I didn't think I would like it but I do and I'm going to make it again but this time I will start with more chocolate and just add the ingredients till I think I have the right consistency.

Best Friend

Saw this today, I thought it went with Laura's poem

19 Signs Your Mom Is Your Best Friend

Dec. 2, 2013
By Koty Neelis

1. You call her every day or multiple times a day just to tell her about little things going on in your life and to find out what’s going in hers. If you go a day or two without talking you feel like something is missing.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I just designed my own photo gift at Printers Studio:

This is an example of the cards I just ordered for each of the boys.  Each card has the same picture on the back but with their name on the stocking.  On the front, each card has a different picture, but maybe not for the same card because I had to recreate the 3 decks.

I sent a question through their site asking about whether there was a way to duplicate a project.  When I saw that it could take 2 business days to get an answer, I called.  They couldn't help me so I recreated 2 more decks which mainly involved rotating most of the pictures 90° on the cards.  When I went to bed, I saw that I got an email telling me how to do it so I'm writing it here so I remember in case I want to do something like this again.

"You can finish one project and save it in your "Wishlist", then you can add it in shopping cart repeatedly and edit it in shopping cart."

I tried this but what he failed to mention was that the items are still in the Wishlist after they are moved to the shopping cart (unlike Amazon) which makes this possible.

Their next version will have the feature to save variations of the project.  They are really good with customer support.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipes

I looked at a lot of recipes for a cranberry jello salad and this is what I came up with for my version.

Cranberry Jello Salad

1 large package Sugar Free red Jello
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Make Jello following directions on box.  Put in refrigerator until thickened, about 1 1/2 hours

1 12 oz bag cranberries
2 oranges peeled and segmented
2 apples chopped
1 cup seedless grapes cut in 1/4s
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 - 1 cup Splenda

In food processor add half cranberries and 1 orange and finely grind.
Put in bowl.  Do the same with the remainder of cranberries and orange.
Add the Splenda and mix well.
Add 2 apples diced or chopped in food processor.
Add the pineapple, grapes and walnuts and mix well.

Add to thickened jello and mix to blend.
Pour into a bowl and put in refrigerator overnight.

Since we were going to Aunt Harries for Thanksgiving, where we always went as kids, I decided to make chopped liver in memory of Aunt Mill.  I remember that as the dish she always brought.  Nadine remembers sweet and sour cabbage.

Chopped Liver
1 lb chicken livers
1 large onion
1 hard boiled egg

Saute onion in oil.  Remove onion then cook the liver until no longer red in center.
Put liver, onion and egg in a food processor and combine to desired smoothness.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Holiday Snowball Cookies and OOPS!

Holiday Snowball Cookies
    •    1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
    •    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    •    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    •    1/2 teaspoon salt
    •    3 cups all-purpose flour
    •    1 3/4 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Holiday Shapes & Morsels
    •    1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
    •    1 sprinkle powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. 

BEAT butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in Shapes & Morsels and nuts.

Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. 

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

I wanted to make these cookies since I saw a picture of them in the Wegmans Menu magazine.  I found the recipe and then I couldn't find the chips.
One day I found the chips in the back of the store and bought two bags and it was a good thing because the next time I was there, which was probably the next day, there weren't any more.
Yesterday I made the cookies but had a little mishap in the middle.  I was adding the flour (needs 3 cups) and specifically thought to myself that I need to keep track of how much flour I was adding since I was mixing in between each add of a cup.  At some point I remembered a couple of items for my shopping list and added them, then Larry came into the kitchen and when I went back to the cookies, "Did I put in 2 or 3?"

I looked up what the pitfalls were for too much or too little flour and this is what I found
. . . If you add too much flour, your baked goods will be hard and dry. If you don't add enough flour, the recipe will fall and fail.. . .
I added  1/2 cup more and hoped for the best.  The batter tasted good, they held their shape when I put them in and took them out and Larry said they tasted good.  I'll have to try another batch and pay attention and see how they compare.

Note (12/3/13):  I made another batch with the correct amounts.  I think I shorted the flour the first time, but there wasn't really a noticeable difference.  The one thing I did do the second time is make them smaller.  I think I rolled my balls too big the first time.  This weekend I'm going to make them again, everybody loves them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Med Cruise Photo Books

Five months after our cruise and travels in June and one day before my Groupons expired I ordered my photo books.  One came yesterday and the other today.

Here are the links to each.  I love the covers which I created since I finally learned to use Photoshop Elements

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Visit with Laura and Greta - Nov 2 - 8

This was a spur of the moment, sort of, visit.  Greta was giving her notice at Bloomberg and then was going to have three weeks off before she started her new job, as VP of Brand Strategy at Pitney Bowes so she suggested I come to visit while she had some time off.  After a weather delay on Friday, Nov 1, I left on Saturday to go to Laura's.  We hung out on Saturday, had a late lunch and then decided to go to DSW before it got dark.  When we went down to her car, the battery was dead.  She called AAA and they came really quickly and installed a new battery.  After that we decided we didn't want to go to the store.  It was already dark and we were tired.
The next day we went to the gym, Laura to Zumba and me to Yoga.  Then we stayed after and Laura did the stairmaster and I walked around the track.
View from the track.
There's Laura on the stairmaster.

After we came home, Laura had an event at Sherry's to go to and I went to the store and made my squash soup that we had for dinner.  I brought a quart with me and we ate it on Saturday.
Her place looked really neat now that she's becoming so organized and neat.
On Monday morning we went to DSW and Laura got a new pair of boots.  Then we went to the train station and picked up Greta.  We went out for lunch then Laura and Greta went to the gym and I worked on emptying Laura's cabinets so that they could get as organized as everything else.

We had squash soup for dinner again and took a break for a group shot.  I hardly took any pictures this time but we did take a few corny ones later on for fun.
Tuesday when Laura went to work, Greta and I drove to her house.   Monopoly was the game of choice with the boys and we played the electronic version and also the old fashioned one too.
A picture of the boys.  The only one I took of all of them.  What was wrong with me??  Well, I'll see them again at Thanksgiving, which now is only
She did a presentation for Hunter's class on Wednesday about marketing as a career and then the kids broke into groups because each group had to do a commercial which she came back to film and edit.
After we left there we went to lunch at the Cos Cobber where we went when we were there for Mother's Day and I got the exact same lunch, a Grilled Vegetable Wrap and it was as good as the first time.
Thursday morning I drove home.

Laura's Poem

Laura was at a Woman's Weekend this past weeked and one of the projects they had to do was write some sort of message to their mother.  Laura wrote this poem (in only the 15 minutes they were allotted) and when she read it to me over the phone we both had tears rolling down our cheeks.  I wanted to save this forever.  I love you Laura!!

A poem for my mother
A woman like no other
Who I love with all my heart
To me you're a beautiful piece of art
With you I have so much fun
Our good times are never done
Over the years we've had some disagreements and fights
But always share our love for each other by that night
Our anger never lasts long
Because we know to stay mad is wrong
You've been with me through thick and thin
It's because of you I'm able to love myself from within
There were times when life got tough
I'd call to say I'd had enough
You'd listen to what I had to say
And tell me to make my way
Sometimes you had no sympathy
But I know you were being tough for me
You showed me how to be independent and strong
Something you've been all along
Together we've done so many things
I look forward to new adventures our lives bring
It's time to bring this poem to an end
I love you Mom, you're my best friend.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy Halloween

We went to a pumpkin carving party at Ann's before Halloween. I wasn't going to do a pumpkin but I brought one anyway along with an old pumpkin carving kit I had.
I made these cupcakes to bring.
When Ann's neighbor Nancy said she would clean out my pumpkin if I would cut the top off of it, I decided that would be a good deal. Once I got the top off and looked inside I thought that it would be pretty easy for me to do myself and I did.  But that was as far as I got.
These are the pumpkins that other people did.
And these are more.
When I got home I decided to carve the pumpkin using my kit.  I didn't know how old my kit was, but when I opened the book of patterns, the pages were pretty yellow and there was a coupon in there for Halloween candy that expired Nov. 2000.  Guess I had it for a while.
This was the cat that I did and I just love it.
This is what it looked like without the light.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Butter news

This weekend I became a baking expert.  After years and years of baking, I happened to look up the difference between using melted butter or creaming the butter and found out all kinds of iformation I never knew before.  It was the science of baking.
As an example, for mixing and creaming, butter should be about 65 degrees: cold to the touch but warm enough to spread. Just three degrees warmer, at 68 degrees, it begins to melt.  For my pumpkin bread I actually checked the temperature of the butter and started the process at the correct temperature.  It used to be that I would take out my sticks of unsalted butter and let them sit out all day or overnight until I got around to beginning.  WRONG!!!

This time I cut the butter into pieces and it got to the correct temperature in a short time.
I used it to make pumpkin bread with fresh cranberries.   I added a cup of cranberries to my favorite pummpkin bread and you can find the original (hard copy) recipe here at the bottom of the page..
The next thing I looked up about butter was whether there was a certain temperature to use for creaming the butter for making frosting. I didn't see anything about temperature but I did find that the key to perfect frosting is a lot of beating.

Buttercream Frosting
   Unsalted butter
   Sifted confectioners sugar

Use 2 cups confectioners sugar for each stick of butter.
Cream butter for 2 minutes at high.  Turn down to medium and add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  Add vanilla to taste and milk to get desired consistency.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Honey, Mustard and Rosemary Pork Roast

Honey, Mustard and Rosemary Pork Roast
Bon Appétit | July 1994
Yield: Serves 4 to 6

    •    3/4 cup beer
    •    1/2 cup Dijon mustard
    •    6 tablespoons honey
    •    1/4 cup olive oil
    •    2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
    •    2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    •    1 2-pound boneless pork loin roast

    •    1/2 cup whipping cream
Whisk first 6 ingredients to blend in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Add pork and turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer pork to rack set in roasting pan; reserve marinade. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 150°F., about 55 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.
Strain marinade into heavy medium saucepan. Add cream and juices from roasting pan. Boil sauce until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice pork; arrange on platter. Drizzle some sauce over. Serve, passing extra sauce separately.

I made the recipe using 6 pounds of pork, no whipping cream and there was loads of thick delicious sauce and lots of leftovers after serving 5 hearty appetites.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Dutch Apple Pie

I was going to make an apple pie but then I looked at the centerpiece on my island - a cooking pumpkin.

So I looked for a recipe that uses both and found this one that I'll try tomorrow and add the picture.

Pumpkin Dutch Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

So Many Good Recipes

We had dinner at Lila's tonight and each of us brought something and everything was so good I needed to post all the recipes so I have them for future use.  Unfortunately I didn't take pictures to include so I guess that means I will have to make the recipes and then upload the pictures along with the them.  For now, here are the links:
This is Audrey's salad but she added dried cherries and apricots, and used spinach and field greens

I made a pumpkin pie for dessert and did it a little differently this time by putting a caramelized pecan topping on it.  I took this picture after I got home with the leftovers (for Larry).
The original recipe, with instructions for using a real pumpkin are here --->

And this is the addition:
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

While the pie is baking, chop the pecans and add them to a sauce pan
with butter and brown sugar. Over low to medium heat, let the butter sizzle and caramelize the sugar, but be careful not to let the butter burn!
Remove from heat and set aside until the pie has cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and has firmed up a bit and just looks soft or wet in the center.  Then open the oven, and sprinkle the pecan topping evenly all over the top of the pie.