Friday, November 30, 2007

My first Experience...

Last night was my first experience going out to a Sports Bar and I must say, I enjoyed it! Okay, my first experience at a sports bar in twenty-two years... I wasn't counting all the time we spent at Mr. K's and Brother's in Aggieville in Manhattan at K-State when I was a teenager!

Any way, the Dallas/Packer's game was only broadcast on NFL Network, via Direct TV last night and since I won't have satellite, seeing the game meant going out to where the game was. But it worked out okay... We found a fantastic place nearby - nonsmoking, clean (newly opened this summer), bright and best of all, they had 34 screens, and most of them were BIG! Heaven...

I was one of just a handful of Cowboy fans there so thankfully, Tony and the boys kept the large Greenbay crowds fairly quiet all evening! I cannot tell you that I wouldn't have preferred to watch the game snuggled up in my jammies; but all in all, this was a great experience. One we'll probably have to repeat on 12/22 when Dallas comes to Charlotte to beat, I mean play, the Panthers!

Have a terrific weekend - Go Cowboys!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I did it!

I ordered Chickens for February delivery!

This means that you-know-who better get cracking on those chicken coop plans I keep leaving on his desk...

I am SO excited! It was so hard to choose my chickens but I finally settled on Silver Gray Dorkings and Pearl White Leghorns! Check out all the cool chickens at:

The bottom photo you see are my Silver Gray Dorkings - they are a very old breed, known even to ancient Romans and were introduced by them to Britain. They will be large birds on short legs and both sexes of this breed have a 5th toe!

Known to lay the most and best quality eggs are the Pearl White Leghorns (top picture) so I've also ordered a couple of them too. Livability and resistance to disease are very high with this bird, so while I may be taking a chance on the Silver Gray Dorkings (a rare breed), the Pearl White Leghorns seem more fool-proof, which for a first time chicken keeper like me, might be a good thing!

Seeing all the breeds available makes me want to buy a farm and raise chickens for a living... Or at least play with them! I just hope they don't stink. Oh! That's what you-know-who is for, he'll clean my chicken coop and make sure my chickens don't offend my senses...

Now I can't wait for February... I just hope the neighbors like eggs!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Because more turkey seemed wrong...

I woke up this morning to Ina Garten's show, the Barefoot Contessa running on Food network... She was making her chicken piccata with herb roasted onions and mashed Yukon gold buttermilk potatoes for Jeffrey, her husband, who was on his way home from the City.

Seems Jeffrey must have roast chicken every Friday evening for supper, otherwise the weekend just doesn't start off right... But this Friday would be different because Ina was surprising him with her piccata recipe instead.

So if it's good enough for Jeffrey to reconsider his rigid stance on roast chicken, well then it must be good enough!

The buttermilk mashed potatoes are worth the extra effort of dragging out my food mill (mine is from Martha's line) and running out for a little buttermilk. I don't care for wine so I left it out of the piccata sauce. Otherwise, this was a great meal. Quick, easy with very little prep required.

And, yes, it does look like schnitzel, which is why I intend to make this again using veal very soon!

For the complete recipe (and pictures) go to:

A new favorite vinaigrette

From the Barefoot Contessa comes this yummy recipe for Herb roasted onions. The vinaigrette dressing is great - I can imagine using it as a marinade for tri-tip or drizzled over roasted bliss potatoes. As it is in this onion recipe isn't bad either!

Herb Roasted Onions

2 red onions

1 yellow onion

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I take it ALL back!!

I love them! I've just had one, then two of my German butterdream cookies and I love them!

They really improved overnight and now I want nothing more than to recommend you bake them too!

Now that the cookies pass, I want to experiment with the recipe a little... First, I want to see what happens when I use real butter instead of margarine. Then, I want to see if I can mix it up a little by substituting hazelnut extract for the almond extract called for in the original recipe. Anise extract might make it a more interesting cookie too! I haven't quite decided if I want to replace the cherries with nuts, chocolate or another dried fruit (apricot?) but I think the possibilities might be fun.

Any way, I take it all back what I said last night - Just as it is or modified a bit, this recipe is a keeper.

I do hope you try it... There isn't an easier cookie recipe I've found.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Better than Pizzelles!

Still testing cookie recipes... Notice that I always start with a batch of Nestle's Toll House - that way, no matter how terrific the disaster test recipe might be, I still come out a winner with the boys who just want chocolate chip cookies any way.

From Midwestern Living magazine this month comes this butter cookie recipe called Butterdream Cookies. What caught my attention was the story behind it that says this cookie recipe came over from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, an area I am familiar with - just south of Denmark.

For those who like a little cookie with their butter, this is a fantastic mouthful. For me though, they are a little rich... However, I must say that I am very pleased with my results because these cookies came out looking just like the picture in the magazine. This really beats the you-know-what out of the Pizzelle recipe I tried a few weeks ago.

If you would like to try these German Butterdream Cookies, they go like this:

1/2 cup margarine
Note: I don't cook with margarine and wonder if these cookies might be better actually using butter!
1/2 cup crisco (I also never cook with Crisco!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 & 1/4 cups flour
12-15 maraschino cherries (rinse, drain and dry before cutting in half)

Shape dough into balls. Put little dent in the middle and press 1/2 maraschino cherry into the dent. Bake at 350, 8-10 minutes*

*I baked these cookies on parchment paper (on dark cookie sheets) for 15 minutes and the bottoms were still very, very light - but it took my oven 15 mins to set the dough

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Leaves Everywhere!

It was a perfect fall Thanksgiving day...

I'll have some 10 & 1 with my pie, thank you...

As I devoured pumpkin pie, the Cowboys devoured the Jets - Yum!

No one left the table hungry...

Roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and honey ham

Cauliflower, broccoli, corn pudding, cinnamon apples and
sweet potato souffle

I love my...

I'm the only one though...
No one else will touch it.
But that's okay - More for me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Thank you, Mr. Romo!

A Life well Lived...

Martha Kostyra
September 16, 1914 - November 16, 2007

Martha Kostyra, who’s complete name is Jadwiga Martha Ruszowska Kostyra, the Polish American mother of Martha Stewart who passed on to her daughter enough cooking, sewing and other household tips to fill several books, has died. She was 93.

The passing of Martha Stewart's mother reminds me that my beloved Oma would have also been 93 this year as they were both born in the same year, less than a month apart.

There is no good time to lose a loved one but I imagine the loss is particularly difficult around the holidays.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our show cat...

He's declawed, no longer a whole male and wasn't "bred for disposition", but somehow we ended up with one pretty fantastic cat!

Autumn North Carolina

Spring and Fall, and Winter when there's snow.

These are my favorite seasons of North Carolina...

A hanging party!

An hour was spent before dinner tonight relocating the collector boxes in the dining room and hanging the painting we picked up at the Centex model home sale. It only took us a month to get it on the wall - Thank goodness for Thanksgiving next week; otherwise, the dining room would still be a work in progress! While we had the spackle, paint, nails and hooks out we also hung the milk bottle in the kitchen and the metal sign above the kitchen door. And, yes... by we, I do mean he.


I like them better side by side on the walls that form a corner in the dining room. The other wall was too big for them. Better...

I do love Perfect!

The condition of this Pyrex bottle made it worth the price they were asking (it's perfect!) but asking if the dealer would do better saved me $25.00, which was the price of the cake stand. So for a few dollars over $100, I got both pieces!

Saturday Finds!

Okay, I admit it... I have a serious addiction to glass! After the cat show and lunch we stopped at Antique Marketplace in Greensboro where I found this Pyrex bottle and cake stand. I think lemon drops would look perfect in my new bottle, and I know just where to find such vintage hard candy... At Mast General Store in Boone, of course!

Jamestown, North Carolina

The cat show was held at the City Park in Jamestown - Their public pool is pretty impressive. Complete with waterslide! I think empty swimming pools are cool. The leaves blowing around in circles on the bottom and the chilly air today reminded me just how far away we are from summer.

You would be pissed too...

...if your Mom made you wear a coffee filter around your neck!

Cat Show!

Went to our first cat show today... Better ventilation would have made it a more enjoyable experience for me, but we did see some beautiful and very interesting cats. The owners/handlers were pretty interesting as well - This is serious stuff!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Friday!

Bing poked on my face at 5AM and I couldn't get back to sleep so I knew rather early that today was going to be a long day! We have dinner plans tonight so it's not like I will get to bed early to catch up. Plus, I want to go to the cat show in Jamestown at 9AM in the morning so I won't be sleeping in tomorrow either. I am looking forward to the cat show though... I've never been to a cat show so I'll be happy to let you know all about what I see!

Ordered my turkey this morning - Thankfully, Sonya asked me to help find her a fresh turkey, which reminded me I had yet to order mine! I called the only place to call, Fresh Market and ordered one of their yummy birds. My first instinct was to go for the Bell and Evans brand they offer because it's more expensive per pound; however, after the guy warned that the Bell and Evans is a free-range turkey so the meat is darker and tends to taste more, "gamey" I knew this was one situation where less expensive was probably better.

I have my confirmation number and an appointment to pick up our bird the moment they open at 8AM Wednesday. This of course means I'll have to prepare my honey brine either the night before or super early on Wednesday morning because brining takes 24 hours and I want to be ready to pop Mr. Turkey-bird into the oven by 10AM on Thursday. This will require a little organization on my part but fortunately, organization is my middle name.

I do hope you're having a super Friday and that your weekend is both relaxing and fun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Looking forward to Thanksgiving...

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving next week. Although I miss my parents more than I can tell you, and knowing we won't be together for yet another Thanksgiving and Christmas is difficult, there is still joy I feel about the holidays.

What I remember most about all the holidays we spent away from our family in Germany is the overwhelming sadness I knew my mother was feeling. No matter how happy our family was or how hard she tried not to let it show, there was always someone missing for my mom, and I knew it.

So here it is, another holiday season that reminds me of this and of my obligation now, to put aside missing my parents, to ensure that it doesn't take away from the holidays for the boys...

I cannot wait to have the boys home! I am planning my menu this week, and have very high expectations for what Martha says brining will do to make this turkey better than all the others I've ever put on the table. I'm going with a honey-based brining solution, so wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving!

"When I speak of home, I speak of the place where - in default of a better - those I love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy's tent, or a barn, I should call it by the same good name notwithstanding."

- Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Monday, November 12, 2007

Moo at ASU

That's him on the left, leaning back

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank you, Veterans

Veterans Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1919, to honor those who served in World War One. It was then called Armistice Day, marking the truce that ended the war on November 11, 1918. The day is also marked by many other nations around the world, where it is known variously as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day and Veterans Day.

Attempts by retailers to use Veterans Day as another opportunity to boost sales irritates me... I purposely will not buy anything advertised for sale solely because of Veterans Day (or Memorial Day).

Instead, I choose to observe Veterans Day being thankful for the men and woman serving and who have served to keep us all Free. Free to buy a mattress at 25% less, in honor of beloved Veterans everywhere.