Currently Crushing….

I’ve got a pretty full list this month on some new things you should check out!

From the sublime to the ridiculous we go…

First up, new television must see…nbc-this-is-us-aboutimage-1920x1080-ko

What a little gem of a drama that “This is Us” is on network television! The story looks back in time from a trio of siblings (twins and an adoptee) raised by a ne’er do well dad and a fiercely devoted mom. The drama centers around what’s happening with them now, today and how their past drives the future.


Dinozzo’s back! Well, not the character, but the actor in a uniformly likable rendition of Dr. Phil, before he was Dr. Phil. You know back when he was a jury consultant…that’s the premise of the new show starring Michael Weatherly. He’s quirky, he’s smart, and he has quirky and smart peeps working for him. Very watchable…


I have always loved Maria Shriver. I loved her as a newscaster and as First Lady of California before her world with “Ahnold” disintegrated. She’s whip smart, funny and devoted to moving women forward. Sometimes to do that, we need to take a breath and Maria’s Sunday Paper is the way to do it. She makes you think….and breathe…and then you can think and breathe together, which in today’s world doesn’t happen often. Too often, thinking makes us stop breathing! Have cup of coffee on Sunday with Maria. Smart.

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Next up, the adult bevvie front…now that summer’s over and a definite chill is in the air, it’s time to go back to red…wine that is. Ah, I’ve missed it! A few years ago, the Hubs and I were at our friend J & A’s house for dinner, and J on taking cocktail orders announced to me “have I got a wine for you!” He was dead on. Apothic Red is lush, and rich and full and perfect for your house wine. They followed with “Dark” with some serious body a couple of years ago in limited batches and then “Crush” appeared last year. Now “Inferno” is on board as the limited batch. In very small batches and I think you can only indulge in small batches because this wine will “wreck” you as the Irish say. It’s almost 16% alcohol….But it tastes delicious. Not a wine for a steak, I think the whiskey undertones get in the way, but definitely a wine for sipping by an indoor/outdoor fire! With chocolate!


Remember these?  They were so last year, so , I don’t know …iphone 5 ish. Now with new phones and new upgrades to IOS10, you get lots of chances for new emojis downloadable from the new message app store. My personal faves are Lily Pulitzer, cause everyone needs a mermaid emoji…img_6198

But you can also get free ones like from Dunkin Donuts! Imagine, you can text your order right to your SO’s phone!


And lastly, my favorite new follow on Facebook is courtesy of the Financial Times, the venerable financial paper known for printing on pink paper. The FT has an entire site dedicated to ” how to spend it”.  Seriously….bookmark it in case you win Megamillions or Power Ball…just saying.


Off the Shelf…The Admissions


At first you think Meg Mitchell Moore’s book “The Admissions” is only about getting into college. But it’s so much more than that…in fact, this family is a train wreck. Honestly, you cannot take your eyes off them. They are clinging to the tiniest ledge of sanity because of a belief about “what should happen”. With a few well struck incidents of fate, and the accompanying “admissions” the family realizes that everything they have worked for for 20 years, is about to be upended. It will change them as a family and as individuals and you hope they survive. Fast read,hooks you right in in first few pages…read it to see!

Yummy Gummies….


So the fashion and food blogs are full of stories about how cool it is to have wine flavored gummy bears, more specifically rose flavored dummies. How hard can this be I thought as I trolled Amazon for a mold to try them at home. Success!


All you need is wine ( 1/4 cup for 50 bears), sugar, plain gelatin and gel food coloring. I used  sparkling Moscato because it was open, but I will definitely be doing this again with Rose. Mix sugar and 3 packets of gelatin together in a heatproof measuring cup. Heat the wine to between 90° and 100°, any higher temp and you will lose the wine flavor. Pour wine onto powdered ingredients and mix until all the gelatin is dissolved and the add some food coloring and stir well to make sure it’s distributed.

Pour into molds that are on rimmed cooking sheets and then use an offset spatula or the edge of a flat blade to scrape liquid excess away. Put the whole cookie sheet into the fridge and let chill for a few hours. The dummies will pop right out!



I used a recipe from Pinterest ( where else?) but you can adapt this by changing wine to water and adding a drop of candy flavoring! In preparation for an India Hicks event next week, I of course, experimented with Flamingo for a color, because, well….you can never have too much Flamingo!

Multitasking…part deux (or, just another meatless Monday)

So the flip side of the coin was a tomato eggplant gratin which is a cinch to put together. From the Cooking section of the New York Times last week, it is a versatile and forgiving dish with enough zip to make it taste like an entree.

Start with yellow and red grape tomatoes with seasoning as indicated and oil. I had the last of our truck farm tomatoes to use up. Thanks to 90 days of sun, they held on till the end! Peel and chop the eggplant and toss with tomatoes. Then mix shredded mozzarella with panko, basil, more seasoning and olive oil. Mix half of panko with the tomato/eggplant and put into roasting/casserole pan. Add tomato purée and to with the remainder of the seasoned panko.


Side dish on Sunday and entree on Monday!

Multitasking at the stove…

Saturday night I couldn’t decide which of two recipes to try, so I made both and flipped a coin at the last minute…

Saturday nite we wound up with ragu on cauliflower polenta. A simple ragu of ground sirloin (which, when I make again, I will put through the food processor for a finer product).  Brown the meat in oil, add some Worcestershire and onions, a cup or so each of ketchup and tomato purée,chicken stock, season to taste and let reduce. You can add in some butter at end to smooth it out. Top with chives.

Meanwhile, back at the food processor, cut cauliflower (shown here in festive carnival colors) into florets and then run through food processor do its like rice. Bring salted water to a boil and drop in the cauliflower and cook for about 3 minutes. Add a mere 1/3 cup instant polenta and stir until very thick. All the taste of polenta without the carbs and calories!

Original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, September 2016, p.28

Part two of multitasking is coming right up!

Just Another Meatless Monday


Remember that scene in the “Fabulous Baker Boys” when one of the brothers buys spray on hair coloring that’s called “a hair system” and the other brother corrects him and says “it’s paint!”. That’s a little like how I feel about  “broth bowls” now surging right along side PS ( pumpkin spice…added to anything) due to the recent calendar pages turning to fall. Panera is serving them and God knows, Noodles and Co. have made a business out of them, but here’s the thing folks…”it’s paint” or more to the point…”it’s soup”!

So when Cooking Light came out with a recipe for a broth bowl WITH EGGS, I paid more attention. To be specific, it talked about “frizzled” eggs, which means cooked in oil until the edges are nice and crispy.


The broth part is easy enough. A base of garlic and chopped onions caramelized in a little oil, add mushrooms and cook them down, then diced tomatoes, a can of white beans that have been rinsed well, a blister pack of spinach and veggie broth.


I made mine over the weekend and let it chill till Monday nite. Then I brought it up to temp on the stove top and fried up an egg to top each bowl (and an extra for second helping!). I threw in some of my garlic confit to frizzle side by side with the eggs, and then portioned out some soup and topped with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese ( not included in recipe, but hey, you only live once).


Then top with the egg and dig in! Very satisfying and the melty yolk mixes with the broth to taste extra rich and silky. Enjoy!



What a potboiler!

Well there’s 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back….


Connie Stevens plays a naive young woman who meets and falls in love with a doomed mountain climber on her way home from South America with her parents.( Her father has been working there for the past 10 years in a mine.) Susan and Conn ( the climber) have a shipboard fling that results in a teenage pregnancy. Conn dies trying to summit Mt. McKinley, but Susan doesn’t know. She’s involved in trying to hide the pregnancy from her family and when they do find out, the revelation coincides with an invite for her father to return to South America to work.

Que suerte! What luck! They can hide the pregnancy in South America, where no one knows them. And for an added twist, Susan’s mother, played by Dorothy McGuire tells everyone that she is pregnant in a “change of life event” , so that the story will stick.  Susan finally receives a call from her lover’s father telling her that he is dead. She tries to kill herself and Hoyt ( portrayed by Troy Donohue…you could surf on the wave in his hair) the novelist and stable hand, rescues her, confides all his hopes and dreams to her AND promises to watch Susan’s horse while she’s away.

Fast forward about a year and the Slades are preparing to come home. It’s speeded up by the elder Slade’s untimely death. Their best friends, who also happened to have an eligible and wealthy bachelor son, played by Bert Convy  ( seriously…) fix them up in a house in the states and basically run their lives. It’s more than a little creepy. Susan continues to hang out with Hoyt and when the baby catches fires ( you read that right, we can’t make up these plots from the 60’s…) Hoyt is the hero and the true provenance of the baby is revealed at the hospital.

Holy cow, at times patronizing, misogynistic and downright dated, this was the really a stretch of a plot. But like a train wreck…. you can’t take your eyes off it!

What to do with?

I had a sheet of puff pastry in the frig and picked up these aptly named, beautiful,  sunshine raspberries. This purchase happily coincided with a precipitous drop in temperature and humidity, allowing me to TURN ON THE OVEN! For the first time in what seems like years, but was probably only weeks…

I blind baked the pastry crust and sorted the raspberries, only one bad one in the bunch! 

Then the happy, magic concoction of egg yolk, sugar, cream, a little milk, a little flour and vanilla bean and whisk and temper the ingredients over medium heat. You will be rewarded with pastry cream….

That you can then spread on your crispy, flaky, buttery pastry…

That you can then top with fruit and some thinned out apricot glaze….which you can enjoy sitting by the fire pit on a chilly nite with the Hubs!


Well, that was a longer than necessary break, trying to get back into EDT, get a job, catch up with laundry…all good except that pesky second item of a new career. Anyway, I digress and wanted to finish up the story of our trip to Paris.


On our final day on Monday,  we decided to go out to breakfast, the Hubs correctly recognizing that if he didn’t get me to go out in Paris, he’ll never get me to go out to breakfast in the States. We opted for the typical Petit Dejeuner or Continental of coffee/tea, orange juice and pastry. Not shown is the baguette, cut in half, and toasted with butter and jam called a tartan, and it was as big as a 747 wingspan.


Then like typical but not “ugly” Americans we sought out central air conditioning. We caved, we whimpered, we even whined a little. We were HOT….like Africa hot. Over 90°F in central Paris was the breaking point for us. So like little lemmings we streamed into BHV, short for Bazaare de Hotel de Ville ( the bazaar of city hall) which it stands right behind. In Hubs lingo, BHV stands for Big Honkin Venue. This store had everything from million dollar jewelry to gallons of paint! Seriously the entire basement is like Home Depot!  The photo above of the pink and yellow china was on a wall not a table, yup glued in place!

We poked around there for the majority of the middle of the day and then retreated to a nearby sidewalk cafe for hydration and a club sandwich…a mainstay of our diet when it’s too late for lunch, too early for dinner and goes good with rose wine and cold draft beer. I think we drank some water, too. Don’t want to take any chances…

After we wandered back over the bridge to the apartment and proceeded to cram our treasures into our suitcase, clean up our lodgings a bit, finish the rose we had in the fridge and then went out for a final dinner on Ile de Ste. Louis, a pigeon flight from the Rose Window of Notre Dame. We found a table out of the way at a restaurant by the name of Chaumiere, and enjoyed dinner al fresco, like seemingly everyone else in Paris that nite.

Later we walked back up Quai de Bourbon to number 17 and looked at our bridges, the lit towers of Hotel de Ville and the bateaux on the “have a cocktail, see Paris in the moonlight” runs up and down the Seine.

Tuesday morning we were up at 4:30 am and out of the apartment by 6 for a very long ride to CDG due to numerous traffic accidents. One last pain au chocolate and tea while we waited for Aer Lingus check in and then off to our gate and flight to Dublin where we celebrated the Hubs’ birthday with a professional pint…and a little duty free shopping.





When we couldn’t get there from here…

We were trying to get here…

This is how it went…

All we needed to do was hop on the crosstown bus and get over to la tour Eiffel by 11 am to meet a former colleague and dear friend for brunch. No one told us that 1/2 the city was shut down for La Parisienne, the Paris version of a Komen walk/run for breast cancer research. An immense event that took 3 hours to get everyone over starting line. We wound up getting rerouted, as did Isa, my friend but about noon, we sat down to a leisurely lunch. Rain threatened early, but thankfully held off and cloud cover kept the temps down. We strolled back to bus and did a little window shopping on the way back to our nest.

The Hubs found a cute car…

And Paris evidently believes that cute male florists with open shirts sell a lot of flowers…

We had dinner at our local cafe and watched the bateaux go by on the river and the steady stream of human and motorized traffic on the pont, to and from the right bank…

We also saw Marcus Welby/ Royal Pains come to life when this car pulled up 3 feet away from our table in a no parking zone and out hopped the doc, complete with his black bag! Who knew there are still house calls?