Resolutions

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I don’t know how I feel about resolutions at New Year’s.  I usually make my resolutions on my birthday, which I did this year also (in July). But things have been so dynamic since my birthday that I really want to keep the momentum going.

2013 started off in a not so wonderful fashion, I was laid off, in a dead end relationship with a liar who was, apparently, constantly looking for a person who “looked better” on paper than I do, my finances were in a desperate state, and I was unhappy with the direction my life was going.

Then, suddenly, things changed.  It had to be divine intervention.  I got a job working as a nurse again.  I found out I was dating the worst kind of liar in the world, the kind who lies to himself about being a liar.  After that ended, I met someone much more fun and honest…  And hot.  I started making money and venturing out more, doing things out of my comfort zone.  By May, I was liberated from most of the toxic things that had been seemingly holding me back.

I learned to get back on my path and pursue an open heart.  I’ve met amazing people who I love.  Great people have come back into my life, my friendships have strengthened.  I feel like I’m on the brink of joy again.  That’s something that I haven’t felt in a few years now.

So, could it get better?  Absolutely!!!  Why shouldn’t it get better?  How can I start to make it even better?

Well, as much as I like to make fun of girls who are so type A that they never have a hair out of place and their roots are always pristine, I want to be a little more type A as far as organization goes.  I want to get over my fear of no longer being fun if things are perfectly organized.  I’m starting to believe that if things are in better order, maybe I can find more time to be even more fun.  I’m actually amazingly fun, so being more fun is going to be hard work.

With organization comes better control of finances.  So, like everyone else in the world, I want to make more money.

I want to do more good in the world.  I want to help people.  My job allows me to do that every day and I’m so grateful for it, but what if I could do even more?  What if I can help other people get on their paths so they can be happier people? How can I find ways to volunteer in a way that is meaningful to me and the things I believe in?  Specifically, I’d like to help other women learn how to get out of bad situations.

I want to cook more and be around the people I love.  I want to be a better friend and I want to be better about keeping in touch with the people I love who I don’t see as often.  I want to, most importantly, be a better mom and spend more time with my kids.

I want to show more gratitude.  There’s so much to be grateful for, my parents, my kids, my work, my friends, my home, the health of the people closest to me, and so much more…  I’m going to continue to learn how to be happy in the moment I’m in and love myself.

I hope I’m held accountable to these goals.  I know I can accomplish these things.

This year, I hope everyone learns how to be happy in their moment and love themselves.  I wish you happiness, health, and better lives than last year.  Thanks for all your support.

An apple cake and a tarte tatin walk into a bar…

I love Jewish Apple Cake.  I also love tarte tatin.  I wanted them for breakfast, but I didn’t want to make two separate things at 5:00 a.m.  This is my mash up.

First, I’ll give you the long version.  Then, I will give you a cheat so you can do this in less time.

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The long version…

For the cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract, rum, or brandy

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups chopped Granny Smith apples

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the pan

1 stick of butter (6 ounces)

1 cup brown sugar

1 apple, sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread the stick of butter in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the butter.  Lay the apples in a way that’s similar to dominos, overlapping the slices so it forms a pattern (see below).

Next, assemble the ingredients.  Mix the oil, sugar, and flavoring (vanilla or whatever you choose).  Next, stir in the chopped apples.

Mix in the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir until the ingredients are mixed.

Pour the cake batter over the arranged apples in the pan you prepared.

The cake will take about 40 minutes to bake.  I know this is a little more cumbersome than my usual recipes in that it takes longer to bake than my usual half an hour, but this is a great coffee cake for New Years Day with the kids.  The top gets caramel-y and the apples become chewy with the super moist cake.

Now the short version…

Duncan Hines makes a spice cake mix.  Prepare the batter the way the box tells you.  Add three cups of chopped apples.  Prepare the pan the same way as you would have above and bake according to the box directions.  Or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tiny hint…  If the bottom of the cake starts to brown more than you think it should, cover with aluminum foil and continue to cook.

Happy Baking!!!!

 

Having a Vegan for dinner

I have a friend who is a Vegan.  Personally, I don’t want to live in a world without pork fat, but I’m not judging anyone and she seems like a good person in spite of this belief she insists on having.

I’m kidding, but I really don’t know much about being a Vegan.  It’s like a super strict vegetarian diet, but you can’t fall back on another of my favorite ingredients…  Butter.  If the zombie apocalypse did come, I wouldn’t really choose to live if I had no access to butter or bacon.

Anyway, the point is I invited her for dinner.  She offered to bring her own food, but I said no.  It didn’t make much sense to me for her to be invited to my house, yet still have to make her own dinner. 

I do have a problem, in addition to learning how to cook like a Vegan by Sunday, and that is how do I make something that my other guests will be willing to eat?  My other friends love bacon and butter almost as much as I do.

So I went to the library and started to read.  I found a vegan pie crust, so I’m going to make a tomato, olive, onion sort of thing.  It’s going to be somewhat like a pizza, but without the cheese.

 Surprisingly, she told me that not all wine is Vegan.  Something about fish guts, but she’s willing to compromise on this issue.  I’m going to ask the guy at the wine store anyway.

 So, here is the crust I’m going to try.  There are variations with coconut oil, but I’m highly allergic to coconut and I don’t know what coconut and olives might taste like.  I’m not sure what coconut tastes like, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mesh well with olives. 

 Vegan Pie crust

2 cups of flour

1 Tablespoon of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Vegan margarine. 

            I found this at Whole Foods.

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 Tablespoons of ice water

Place flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the vegan margarine while using the pulse button on your food processor.

Add the oil and ice water to the margarine mixture and continue pulsing until it’s mixed. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll it out and place in a pie plate or tart pan.

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This was pretty different for me.  It didn’t have the consistency I was used to, but it held together well and I didn’t have problems rolling it out.  In spite of the fact that it’s a humid day in Philadelphia.

I did make sure that the vegan margarine was super cold when I cut it into the dough, which is what you’d do for a regular carnivore’s piecrust.

I grilled eggplant and mushrooms, added some tomatoes, and sprinkled with olives.  Then, bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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P.S.  I didn’t put hot vegetables in the pie crust, I chilled them for about an hour in the refrigerator.  If they go in the crust hot, they will melt the margarine and things could get sloppy.

Thanks, Lisa, for being a good friend!  I hope you’ll come for dinner again and again.  Especially now that I know where to buy Vegan margarine.  🙂

Ten dollar appetizer

It’s that time of year when parties are inevitable! Whether it’s an event you’ve been looking forward to for months, or one you’re dreading, it’s always polite to bring some food or drinks to contribute. I usually ask people to bring wine, but I’m just as appreciative when someone bring an appetizer to help soak up some of that alcohol.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could throw together something in ten minutes?  What if it cost less than ten dollars?  Even better!

 

Here’s a recipe you can make from things that you can buy already prepared, throw together in minutes and be off to the party!

 

½ red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (finely chopped for those you don’t know…)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 package (12 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

3 black plums or peaches, chopped

 

Mix the chopped red onions, garlic and olive oil.  Stir the blue cheese in.  Sprinkle the top with the plums or peaches.

 

Serve with sliced French bread.  If you have a left over baguette, slice it thin, brush it with olive oil, rub it with a clove of garlic, and place it under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s crispy.  The other guests can spoon the cheese on to the toasted baguette.  Call it crostini if you wanna be fancy, entirely up to you.

 

Enjoy your parties!!  

 

P.S.  I recommend having the parties at your house.  It’s a faster path to your pajamas when dinner is over and you never need a designated driver.  🙂

Oops. Ten dollar Tuesday, but on WednesdayHello, everyone! I can’t believe it, but I thought today was Tuesday! I had Monday off and it messed my whole sense of timing up. Maybe it’s just the dementia? :) Anyway, here is what I intended to post on Tuesday. I had some left over chicken I wanted to use. It was chicken breast cooked on the bone. I had one of the boys shred it. It seemed like a viable choice for energy burning. And no actual weapons were needed. Haha. We ended up with two cups of shredded chicken (about 2 1/2 breasts). I cooked a box of bow tie pasta and drained it. In the meantime, I prepared the sauce. 2 cloves of garlic, whole 1/2 cup of milk or light cream 2 cups of chicken 1/2 cup of Parmesan Basil, about ten leaves torn up. Heat the milk or cream, just until it starts to simmer and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic starts to yellow. Toss in the chicken, Parmesan, and pasta. Cook for one minute until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Throw the basil in at the end. That’s it. Dinner in the time it took you to cook a pound of pasta, about eight minutes. Enjoy it!! Have a great day!Hello, everyone! I can’t believe it, but I thought today was Tuesday! I had Monday off and it messed my whole sense of timing up. Maybe it’s just the dementia? :) Anyway, here is what I intended to post on Tuesday. I had some left over chicken I wanted to use. It was chicken breast cooked on the bone. I had one of the boys shred it. It seemed like a viable choice for energy burning. And no actual weapons were needed. Haha. We ended up with two cups of shredded chicken (about 2 1/2 breasts). I cooked a box of bow tie pasta and drained it. In the meantime, I prepared the sauce. 2 cloves of garlic, whole 1/2 cup of milk or light cream 2 cups of chicken 1/2 cup of Parmesan Basil, about ten leaves torn up. Heat the milk or cream, just until it starts to simmer and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic starts to yellow. Toss in the chicken, Parmesan, and pasta. Cook for one minute until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Throw the basil in at the end. That’s it. Dinner in the time it took you to cook a pound of pasta, about eight minutes. Enjoy it!! Have a great day!

 

Hello, everyone!

I can’t believe it, but I thought today was Tuesday! I had Monday off and it messed my whole sense of timing up. Maybe it’s just the dementia? 🙂

Anyway, here is what I intended to post on Tuesday. I had some left over chicken I wanted to use. It was chicken breast cooked on the bone. I had one of the boys shred it. It seemed like a viable choice for energy burning. And no actual weapons were needed. Haha. We ended up with two cups of shredded chicken (about 2 1/2 breasts).

I cooked a box of bow tie pasta and drained it. In the meantime, I prepared the sauce.

2 cloves of garlic, whole
1/2 cup of milk or light cream
2 cups of chicken
1/2 cup of Parmesan
Basil, about ten leaves torn up.

Heat the milk or cream, just until it starts to simmer and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic starts to yellow. Toss in the chicken, Parmesan, and pasta. Cook for one minute until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Throw the basil in at the end.

That’s it. Dinner in the time it took you to cook a pound of pasta, about eight minutes. Enjoy it!! Have a great day!