Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Dark Chocolate Cocoa for my "Halloween Morning Cup"
The house a flurry of pre-Halloween activity before the "Grands" arrive...and a relaxing mineral soak before suiting up as "The Grand-Mummy" tonight.
Pintrest offering up the best mummy ideas. Candle Wraps...Pumpkin Wraps...and these:
(...totally NAILED it...)
Full sized Hershey Bars still in the wrapper...Mummy wrapped in gauze with Googley eyes!
Finishing up a re-read of Bram Stoker's: Dracula this week :)
And hard to believe that October is coming to a close.
Yesterday there was fine crystals of snow in the air and winter, it seems, just around the corner. To those in West Virginia with over 20" and still falling...well...this might not seem so idyllic to you...but looking forward to that first stick-to-the-ground snow, here in Indiana.
Henri...le chat noir...has released his Halloween Video...guaranteed to make you laugh. Take a moment to check it out!
Enjoy...and have a Happy (Chocolate Filled) Safe Halloween!
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
After spending hours into the evening on-line and phone and text...listening and watching as the "Frankenstorm" (...as they've called it...) made landfall...and in the midst of it all...Chuck lightening the mood posting this
noting that it "really is windy in New York"! (...which I immediately shared...) Making me laugh out loud.
And, although it is far from over for our EC Friends and family...Morning Roll Call was wonderful. Everyone ok. Things maybe be messy. Maybe underwater. Maybe trees down or power lines down. But reaching out to each other last night and this morning was amazing. The love and strength we share together! Valerie and Karl...you have a story for a lifetime now...Ann...You've survived two now!!! Gail...overwhelming urge to bake brownies...lol...Diane and Sal...loved the "Couple Shot"...you guys rock!!! Everyone else ((((HUGS))). Ralph...step away from the "brownies"...lol...
The coffee du jour...STRONG...
The overwhelming feeling of the day...gratitude.
Gratitude that everyone is okay. Grateful for being a part of such "friendships" and Circle of Caring. And grateful for the strength of our Country and its citizens...that once this is over everyone rolls up their sleeves and works together to set things right again. That is what makes this nation great. Its spirit...its people. And our small group of friends/family is a microcosm of that greatness.
Okay...sorry...starting to sound like a politician and I'm not running for anything.
Anyway, I love you all.
Monday, October 29, 2012
I was going to post a nice picture of a big gooey piece of Maple Apple Crumb drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with chopped walnuts next to my morning cup. This is what I get for leaving the last piece left sit out when my youngest son comes in hungry (after work.) ~laughing~
So...you will just have to imagine it until I bake another. The last (the entire thing) descended on and gobbled up in a single day.
Anyway...here is the recipe...it it fairly simple and quick to fix.
Maple Apple Crumb
In a large mixing bowl...add
1 can prepared apple pie filling...1 tablespoon Maple syrup...1/8 teaspoon cinnamon...1/4 cup walnuts. (...can also add 1/4 cup raisins...optional)
Pour into an 8x8 baking pan (ungreased)
In separate bowl cut together
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Until butter is well distributed through and mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle evenly over Apple mixture.
Bake at 350 until crumb mixture is nicely brown and the neighbors are dropping by to see "what you are baking".
About 30 minutes.
Serve drizzled with soft caramel and additional walnuts.
So up early tracking "Frankenstorm" whose outer bands will be causing weather-related chaos as as far inland as Indiana today.
I'd climb up on my "Climate Change" soapbox this morning...but I just haven't had enough coffee yet. Remembering Sal and Karl asking me "...just how much coffee do you drink in the mornings???"
But to Those that doesn't believe in Global Warming/Climate Change...and to all the Tree-Huggers who pontificate that we are "Killing Mother Earth"...and to all the Rest who are busy arguing whether the whole thing is Man-Made or a Natural Occurrence/Cyclic...here is something to ponder while you are nibbling on your morning biscotti...
The Big Picture
It doesn't matter if you believe in Climate Change...because...well...to paraphrase the Christians "Climate Change Believes in You."
Mother Earth isn't always your kindly old Grandma baking cookies. Mother Earth can also be Joan Crawford on a rip in "Mommie Dearest". Mother Earth will be just fine. Homosapiens (us) maybe not so much though.
Man-Made or Cyclic...it doesn't matter...if we don't work on adapting to the new NORMAL...we are going (as a species) to be as extinct as the Dinosaurs.
The bottom line is the Extreme Weather Events
(...droughts...floods...infrastructure damage...shutdowns...fires...hurricanes...tornadoes...loss of potable water and shortage of foods caused by all the fore-mentioned...)
is a Nightmare all its Own...Personally and Economically....for this Country. Much bigger than President Obama or Governor Romney could either ever dream of being.
Of course, Virginia does have something to look forward to (re: the impending weeks-long power outages) no more annoying political ads on TV.
So...that is the GOOD NEWS.
Damn...now how am I going to get off this box...
And those on the EC...Stay safe!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Foremost, this must be the most Zen fruit (er...berry) known to mankind. There is no way to quickly prepare this...and I thought picking blackberries was a mindful task. Starting by slicing off the crown end (shown here) then carefully cut in half. This is best done over a sink. You can see why these were mentioned in Exodus as it it amazing just how much juice they store. If I were wandering forty days and forty nights in the desert...these would be at the top of MY list.
You end up with something looking a lot like this.
Large fleshy seeds as though a giant blackberry has exploded inside the white pulp of the Pomegranate. Now comes that Zen part I was telling you about.
The seeds must be loosened. By hand. Carefully. Otherwise they will self-destruct and all you will have is red fingers and an eye full of juice...which stops everything for a few seconds, trust me...loaded with Vitamin C...the citric acid will get your attention.
There are literally hundreds of them.
The process takes forever. A standing and preparing meditation, as it were. It will help cultivate patience.
Even if your mantra becomes "...dammit..." occasionally.
The white pithy part is bitter, inedible and basically compost.
Break the pith apart to find hidden seed clusters.
The white "seed" in these (aril) is much the same as a blackberry and edible...crunchy...the flavor is sweet/tart...amazing. Good tossed into salad or with green beans. Can be used in chutney with meat, too. Or just eaten by the handful as a healthy snack!
I am going to attempt Pomegranate jelly soon.
So another culinary hurdle cleared.
Recipe du jour:
Pomegranate/Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving
- Peel and core apples, and put peelings and cores in a small saucepan with pomegranate seeds, 1/2 cup juice, and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Chop the peeled apples, and place in a large saucepan. Remove zest from half of one orange, chop very fine, and add to apples. Peel oranges, chop coarsely, and add to pan along with cranberries and remaining juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove small pan from heat, and strain juice into larger pan. Cool solids slightly, and then push though a sieve to remove seeds and peels, adding remaining pulp to larger pan. Stir in nuts, if desired. Cook about 10 minutes longer. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.
- PREP 30 mins (assuming you have seeded the Pomegranates ahead of time)
- COOK 45 mins
- READY IN 1 hr 15 mins
My morning cup...black tea sweetened with a smidge of Maple syrup and a bit of cream. The Indiana temperatures hovering in the mid-thirties this morning. The Tucker Cat nesting in the quilts on "his" corner of my bed. A late night chat with a photo-buddy near Miami yesterday surprised me with photos of the beach erosion left in the wake of Sandy as it skirted by offshore. The East Coast seems to be imminently a direct hit. Reminding everyone you can never be too prepared. Stay safe.
And more news on the Henri front as the "little cat big on ennui" goes wildly viral. Yesterday, he managed to get noticed by ABC news. The above link brings you to "all things Henri" and yes...I have already ordered my tee-shirt and mug :)
See everyone tomorrow...
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Welcome to My Morning Cup!
Coldest morning yet. 35 degrees out and Tucker (...my thoroughly spoiled black and white Tuxedo cat) is snuggled on a fuzzy throw purring happily.
Whatever we pay for heat...is a deal on mornings like these.
Watching Sandy (now upgraded to a Category One) off the East Coat warily.
I have friends and family in the cross-hairs and it is massive and slow moving. It is also about to collide with a cold air mass. A perfect recipe for flooding, ice storms or heavy snow. Everyone hoping for the best...and preparing for the worst.
As many of you already know from Lagnaippe, this year and every year to follow is dedicated to "Trying Everything".
Ferreting out all those things I have gone over 50 years without experiencing/embracing and...well...doing them.
Today for the first time I am cleaning/preparing and (hopefully enjoying) a fresh Pomegranate. Have always seen them...enjoy the flavor of the prepared juice mixtures (grenadine)...but have never ever bought and prepared one fresh.
The fruit is technically a berry. Varies in color from blush pink to deep red. Grows on trees. Originated in Iran, but is now grown throughout the world. I think mine came from Southern California. Their peak season runs from September to February, so this one should be at its finest. An apple like shape and appearance...enclosing hundreds (sometimes thousands) of edible seeds. Priced at only $1.00 each at a local market.
Will follow up tomorrow...