Sunday, December 30, 2012

Les Miserables Movie Review

Les Miserables

Grade: B-

I have been eagerly anticipating this movie for months.  It is my favorite play and my favorite cry.  So, all I wanted to do on my birthday was go and see Les Mis.

I enjoyed the filmed version of the classic Victor Hugo tale, due to the performances of the actors.   Hugh Jackman was a great Jean Valjean.  Anne Hathaway was sweet and vulnerable as Fatime and Amanda Seyfried was the best Cosette I've ever seen.  I typically don't like Cosette because she comes off as non-dimensional and whiney, but Amanda gave her a depth and beauty I've never seen before.  Overall the performances were great...yes, Russell Crowe doesn't have the singing chops for Javert, but he did looked the part (although I could have done without the little blue "night cap" he wears in the first scene).

So you may be wondering where the B- grade comes from.  Welll...direction, direction, direction.  For me, the movies flaws were all in the direction.  I spent most of the movie screaming in my head "ZOOM OUT, PLEASE ZOOM OUT"!

Most of the film is shot in extreme close up.  I think the director (Tom Hooper) was trying to bring an intimacy to the film that you can't necessarily get on stage, but in his effort to bring us close to the characters, he lost the sense drama and scope that the story had on stage and which should have been exemplified on screen.  How dramatic this film could have been if the camera lens had pulled out to view the larger images of despair and hope.  The scene in the tavern where the students sing "Red and Black", with most of the shots in close up, it never builds the tension of all the students singing as one unit.  Singing in unison and moving in unison.  Just a face here and a face there.

Typically, I cry throughout the whole play.  All I really need is to hear the music.  Surprisingly, I didn't cry until the end of the film.  I think the close-up technique allowed me to stay more distant and not feel what I normally feel.

In the final scene, we finally get a full screen view of the barricade with all the characters.  This was the "moviefication" that I was anticipating in the first place.  When you make a movie of a stage musical...make it bigger, not smaller.

Still so glad they made this movie and it was a perfect way to spend my birthday.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome to My World

Why is it that whenever I'm in a fabric store, I think all the salespeople can tell that I don't know what I'm doing.  I start out the whole process a bit intimidated and then you add the whole yards thing and I'm a mess.  Where else do you talk in "yards"??  Yards are what we all have behind our houses.

I told the woman I wanted 6 yards, but fortunately before she cut it, I realized that was way too much.  I actually only needed 2 yards, but the difference between 6 and 2 seemed like too big of an error, so I told her 3 yards instead.  Seriously...this was my logic.  Three yards sounded better than two.  And since I had two fabrics, I stood there and ordered three yards of the second material too.

I am ridiculous and in desperate need of some help.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

LIfe of Pi Movie Review

Life of Pi

Grade: A

At the conclusion of this film, BW leaned over and said "I can't wait to read your review on this movie".  To which I replied, "I don't think I have the intellectual or spiritual capacity to really review this movie".

That comment it still true.

Life of Pi is a beautiful movie.  The film's story, pace and cinematography all make for a beautiful and stirring movie.  Of the film's I've seen this year, it should easily win an Oscar for Cinematography, but there is so much more to this story.  It leaves you sitting in your seat...thinking and wondering.  I like a movie that make me wonder and challenge my views of the world.  Likely you will have to find your own relationship with this film.  I finally resolved that it was a parable with a story inside.

You will find yourself gripped as Pi decipher's his way to surviving alone at sea with a fierce tiger.  Overcoming the elements, sharks, a whale, dehydration, hunger and ultimately finding a way to master the tiger so that they can both survive.

Well done and a deserving must see film for 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

French-Style Chicken with Stuffing

My new edition of Cook's Illustrated (January & February 2013) came the other day and I was completely intrigued by their recipe for French-Style Chicken with Stuffing or Poule au pot as it is known in France.

I decided to make it for Sunday dinner.  Here is my finished product:

It was very good...but not necessarily "make again good".  The pork sausage stuffing was outstanding and I'm looking forward to using the leftover with some eggs this week.  As for the chicken, it was good and flavorful, but a standard roasted chicken is better.

The perks of this dinner is that after assembly, it's all in one pot and very easy to serve.  Just don't know that I'll do the whole thing again.  (Stuffing...yes!!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Card of the Week

Since I'm not working anymore, I should at least be making cards.  I finished this one last week.  I just started with the grey paper and went from there.  It ended up becoming a wedding card although that wasn't what I was thinking at the start.

I used Stickles liquid Diamond drops to accent the design on the paper.  It actually looks better in person, as the dots look gold and don't really sparkle in the photo.

 Simple, but pretty.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And Now What....

As of yesterday, I am officially unemployed.  It is a strange land and although I was laid off once before, I had a new job waiting for me that time.  This time, no shiny new job waiting around the corner.

I found out mid-October that my position was being eliminated and after the initial shock and days of balling up in the fetal position, I've had some time to adjust.

I am working on a new plan for what I'm calling Act III of my work life, but after 28 years in the satellite, distance learning and video production world, envisioning myself as anything else is taking a bit of effort.  But I am determined to move forward.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This Cardmaking Thing

I started making my own cards, about 5 or 6 years ago.  It was just an idea I had one Valentine's Day.  I wanted to make cards for all my kids and for my honey.

It's been building ever since.  I haven't bought a card in all that time.  Although, to be honest, I have spent a little on card making supplies.

It turns out, that my wonderful Aunt Sandy, who lives in Austin...also makes her own cards.  I've decided in must be genetic or something.  My grandmother (Sandy's and my dad's mom) was quite a crafter, in addition to being a marvelous baker.

As I have reached a certain age, of which we won't discuss...I feel a connection to my dad's side of the family that cannot be explained.  Just felt, lived and breathed.

Here is the beautiful card that Sandy sent for Thanksgiving.

She inspires me, she's part of me.  She is family.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall Mantel

I wanted to share my finished Fall Mantel before it gets replaced by the Christmas version.

I added a few little things this year to help fill it up.  A couple of them were from the Target discount section.  You know, that little area right when you walk in with all the $1, $2 & $3 goodies.  (Try and tell me you don't love that little section.)

This is a close up of the left side.  The pumpkin on the end is a new addition to my Mod Podged pumpkins.  I got this pumpkin at Joann's for 70% off and applied layers of elegant tissue paper.  The little lantern next to it was one of my Target specials.  I think it was $1.99.  The picture next to that was purchased last year at Arts & Apples.  I have a thing for doors and windows.  The pitcher is one of my collection given to me by my dear sister.

Here is the right side close up.  I added more wheat to my tall square vase this year. Next are the three Mod Podged pumpkins from last year.  The simple wreath and star are from Target and finally another pitcher from my collection.

That's it.  Now on to the Christmas mantel.

Hope your Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Logan's Baptism

I'm a bit behind on our family activities and clearly need to catch up.  A couple weeks back, Logan was baptiszed and here are a few of the photos.

The parents, godparents, Luke and Logan

The Godparents Uncle Chris & Claire

A proud and beautiful Muma with Logan

Nothing like a cousin hug

Blessings on our dear Logan.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lincoln Movie Review


Grade:  A

This is a remarkable movie and more importantly, a remarkable performance.  Daniel Day Lewis really becomes Abraham Lincoln with such attention to detail.  Not just looking like him, but encompassing his voice, his walk and his mindset.  All of the Oscar talk is completely deserved.

The story focuses on the passing of the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery and servitude.  It is clear early on that Lincoln needs what appears to be an impossible 20 votes in the House of Representatives and it needs to be done before the War is over or the South will block the passage.  It really is a story about a man and a moment and his clear dedication to his vision.

It is interesting to see that the Republicans and the Democrats didn't work very well together back then than they do now.  I certainly enjoyed the across the aisle barbs thrown back and forth during the scenes set in chambers.

Great performances were also created by Tommy Lee Jones as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.  From what I hear, she campaigned long and hard to get this role and she really captured Mrs. Lincoln's sharp tongue, harsh self critique with just a touch of crazy.

The movie is near 3 hours, but it did not feel that way.  It has a rhythm to it that helps reflect the rhythm of the times.  It was a period when everything took longer, something we don't have anymore.  So I appreciated the deliberate pace.

It also equally earns the PG-13 rating with a particularly graphic opening sequence in which Spielberg depicts the harsh, hand to hand gruesome reality of the Civil War.  As with many of Spielberg's films, he doesn't hold back when bringing war to the big screen.

So glad the award winning film season has started.  My movie reviews have been few and far between waiting for something that needs talking about.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Calabrisella Ristorante

We just went over to Windsor on Saturday for the So You Think You Can Dance show at Caesar's, Windsor.  Krissy in her infinitive wisdom chose Calabrisella Ristorante for our dinner.  Brilliant choice.

Calabrisella is located in the "Little Italy" area of Windsor, just a short easy drive from Caesar's.  Walking in was like a step back in time.  The restaurant is feels like that little neighborhood Italian place in New York or Chicago.  And when Toni greets you at the door, you feel like you are actually part of the neighborhood.

There were four of us for dinner (Krissy, Caity and Tonya...who could easily be part of the family) and we all were interested in sharing our dinners.  After hearing the table next to us ask Toni to order their dinners, some of which was spoken in Italian, we opted for the same pleasure.

We started with a delightful antipasto of salami, marinated artichokes, roasted eggplant and cheese.  The main entrees were two chicken dishes and two sea bass.  They were all spectacular.  I can't remember all the names, but two were with red sauces, one white sauce with a bit truffle oil and one with with light oil sauce.  She also recommended a wonderful Malbec wine to go with it.  We ended dinner with a couple expressos and a cappuccino.  We were having such a wonderful time that we almost didn't care about getting to the show.

But we did, although a few minutes late.  The show was great and we all had a great time.

As we were heading to the tunnel back to the US, I checked in my purse for my passport.  It's not there.  Krissy pulled over and we start searching the car and my purse.  I am panicking.  Cold sweat...the whole deal.  Finally, someone says...let's call the restaurant.  Tonya quickly calls them (thank you Toni for giving us all your card) and believe it or not, they had it.  It must have fallen out when we were paying for dinner.  We rushed back to the restaurant where they were waiting with my passport.  Whew!  Hugs all around to Toni and the folks at Calabrisella Ristorante.

I can't wait to go again, but I think I need to get that enhanced license so I have back up.

For those Detroit area readers looking for a special and delicious night out, think about crossing the river and heading to Windsor and Calabrisella.  You won't regret it.  (Check out Trip Advisor for more reviews.)

(Photo from Trip Advisor.  Hope the originator doesn't mind me using it.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Kids Say and Do

Krissy had the boys in for hair cuts yesterday.  Here was the conversation that went on:

Ryan to his hairdresser:  "I have a lot of girls I like at school"

Austin to his hairdresser: "I have more girls than he has"

Austin's hairdresser: "So, are you a player?"

Austin :  "Yes.  I used to play soccer"

Hysterical and adorable.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween 2012 Photos

Here are some photos from Halloween.

Krissy and family were all the characters from Adventure Time.  I think I know all the names.  Jason was the Ice King.  Krissy was the Pink Princess (not sure on that one), Breslyn was LSP or Lumpy Space Princess.  Austin was Jake and Ryan was Finn.

Caity and family were Alvin Simon and Theodore.

And Logan came as "Dr. Logan".  I think he was originally supposed to be Dave Seville, but it was just a lot easier to put this cute little doctor's outfit on him.   And do you dress up as Dave Seville.

Here are the cousins getting ready to go trick or treating.

And finally, here are the little cousins interacting for the first time.

I can't help feeling that Logan's got years of being bossed around by his slightly older cousin.  And he is going to love every minute of it.

Hope you all had memorable Halloweens with lots of great photos.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

It's time for our annual Halloween at Krissy's.  This year her family is dressing up as the characters from Adventure Time.  I think it's on Nick.  Or maybe it's Cartoon Network.   I don't really "get" the show, but it's a favorite of Ryan and Austin.

Here are the characters:

Ryan is the middle character with the white ears.  Aus is the dog like character.  I'm guessing Krissy is the Princess thing and Jay is the King guy.  Breslyn is the purple blob thing.

Please note that the purple thing has a star on it's forehead.  My task was to make the star for Breslyn's costume.  Here is the finished result.

Maybe tonight I'll remember all the character's names.

Happy Halloween everyone and I hope all the children on the East Coast can find a way to enjoy the day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wathcing Baby B

I watched Breslyn for the week-end while Daddy and Mommy went up to Mackinac Island for a half marathon.  So great to see Aunt Kelly who was visiting from Oregon too.

"B" is just a peach and such a joy although I have to say, motherhood is best saved for younger women.  (I slept so well on Sunday night which is kind of a miracle in it's self.)

She reminds me so much of her mother and I think I even see the start of that right side dimple.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Freakin' 78 Degrees

It's October 25 and it's 78 degrees outside. The sun is shining and the sky is that brilliant blue you only see in Autumn.

Decided to take a walk around the yard to see what colors I could still capture.  These are all straight out of the camera.

I just did some bokeh...I just did some bokeh (mambo style).

Also managed to get 9 holes of golf in.  Yes!!  All and all, another good day in the neighborhood.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shrimp Risotto

I made Shrimp Risotto last night for the family.  This is officially the fourth recipe from the Cuisine at Home magazine that I received in the mail.

I apologize for the mediocre photo.  I didn't bring my camera and so this is off my phone.

It was really delicious and I don't even like rice.  It was voted "make again" by all.  Only downside was that is was listed as an easy to prepare "midweek meal".  It wasn't difficult to make, but it was time consuming with multiple steps.  Might be a Friday or Saturday night dinner in the future, although if I made the Chive Gremolata that is sprinkled on top, ahead of time, it would have made things a little quicker and easier.

You will notice in the photo above that I used green beans instead of the peas listed in the recipe below.  Now while peas are probably my favorite vegetable, Krissy hates them and has been know to pick peas out of tuna noodle casserole one by one, ringing her plate with a circle of peas.  So for her...I switched it up.

Also, please note that I doubled the recipe since I was feeding 5 adults (Luke at it too!)

Shrimp Risotto
with Chive Gremolata

Shrimp Stock
1 lb medium shrimp
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped leek (green portion)
9 black peppercorns
4 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves

Peel and devein shrimp, set shrimp aside.  Place shrimp shells and remaining stock ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stock for 10 minutes.  Strain stock through a colander into a bowl; discard solids.  Return stock to pan over low heat.

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white portion)
1 cup dry arborio rice
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large saute pan over medium heat.  Add leek whites, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in rice and sauté for 2 more minutes.  Do not allow rice or leeks to brown.

Deglaze pan with sherry, stirring until liquid evaporates.  Add 1/2 cup of warm stock; stir until absorbed.  Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time until all the stock is used and rice is tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in peas and shrimp, cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes.  Season risotto with salt, cayenne and nutmeg.  Off heat add 2 Tbsp butter and Parmesan.  Garnish with Chive Gremotla.

Chive Gremolata
3 strips thick slice bacon, diced
2 Tbsp minced chives
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Salt to taste

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp.  Drain and cool.  Combine bacon with chives, parsley, zest, garlic and salt.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homemade Caramel Sauce

I have been into making homemade caramel sauce.  I think it might be my new thing.

I had my mom up recently and was planning on making a pie for desert only to remember that oven doesn't work.  Duh!

That made for a quick dessert change.  Something that can me made on the stovetop.  I ended up making caramel.  I am working on perfecting a sauce.  So each time I make it, I try a different recipe.  Hopefully, some day soon I can post the perfect caramel sauce recipe.

This is the water and sugar boiling away.  A key to making caramel is to not touch it too much.  It doesn't need to be constantly stirred like many other sauces.

This is the finished sauce and I also made a raspberry coulis (coo-lee).  Which is basically a strained raspberry sauce.  Very smooth and very yummy.

BW just had raspberry sauce over his ice cream.  Mom just had caramel.  I had both.  Raspberry and caramel are so good together.  I think raspberry caramel is a product in my future.

I promise to share the best of the caramel recipes when I get it find tuned.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Card of the Week

Made this card for my cousin's new baby girl.  I didn't follow any inspiration, just went with it.  I'm pleased with the final product and the welcome for baby Sam.

Happy week-end everyone.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Classic Pot Roast requested here is the Pot Roast recipe.

As I mentioned recently, I received a copy of Cuisine at Home.  I wanted to evaluate a few of the recipes before making the decision to subscribe or not. I've already made the BLT Pasta.

For the second recipe I decided to make the Classic Pot Roast.  It was very good and very easy as you cook it in a slow cooker.  I guess you don't call them crock pots anymore.

(Currently, I am oven-less, so the slow cooker has become very important around here.)

My variations and comment are in italics.

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 boneless chuck roast trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper (3-4 lbs) (I think you can use a variety of beef roasts)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine (I used red wine as I like red with beef)
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups sliced onions
6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
3 large celery ribs, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (tie to together with cooking string for easy removal)
2 bay leaves

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Sear roast on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  Transfer roast to 4-6 qt slow cooker.
Stir flour into sauté pan, cook 1 minute.  (IMPORTANT:  Make sure you have enough oil/juice in the pan for the flour or it will just get lumpy.  If you need more liquid, add more oil or melt some butter in saute pan first. You need to be able to make a roux with the flour. For a 1/4 cup of flour, you will need about 1/4 cup of liquid in the pan.)
Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
Deglaze saute pan with wine and cook until liquid evaporates to half.  Stir in broth and Worcestershire, bringing mixture to a simmer and scraping up any brown bits.
Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker.  Add onions, carrots, celery garlic, thyme and bay leaves.  Cover and cook until meat is fork-tender.  High setting 4-5 hours.  Low setting, 8-9 hours.  Discard thyme and bay leaves before serving.

Serve with Mashed Potatoes as the gravy is yummy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

I think I know what Ryan is going to need for Christmas.  At this rate, it will be 2 front teeth.

He also just ran the mile in 12:44.  Not bad for a 6 year old.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome FALL

I completed a little fall project this week-end.  I'm so glad I was able to get something DONE.

I made a decoration for my front door to welcome FALL.

Here's how it turned out:

I'd love to show you my whole front porch fall decorations, but this is as far as I got.  Unfortunately, I have to wait until pay-day to get my mums and pumpkins.

I got the idea for this from another blog.  I swear I pinned it on Pinterest, but now I can't find it.  I would love to give credit to the originator, so if any of my regular readers recall seeing this somewhere, please let me know in the comments.

I can tell you that the original was far better than mine and she had the ribbons going over the top of the door and securing somehow on the other side.  It was a very cool look, but I couldn't figure out how adhere the ribbons to the door without putting holes in the door.  I came up with the idea to hang the ribbon from a wooden bar instead.

I very happy with how it turned out and both the girls noticed it right away when the stopped over.

So...Happy Fall

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quick Mini Apple Pies

I'm becoming a big believer in Sunday Dinners.  Last week was a delicious Pot Roast (more on that later) and I decided to make apple pie too.  I didn't want to make a whole pie as that would be too much tempting goodies around for the rest of the week, so I made two small apple pies...using a quick method I just kind of figured out as I went along.

I started with the two Corning-ware 16 oz bowls in their oven safe bakeware.  To make things even easier, I used at Pillsbury pre-made pie crust.  I rolled out it to make it a bit larger (by the way...always do this before using, it fixes the rolled up crusts odd shape where the one end is all curly).  I then cut it in half both ways to make four quarter circles. I placed two quarters in each dish with the pointed ends overlapping and letting the extra hang over the side.

Now it's apple time.  For the sizes dishes I used, I peeled cut and cored 5 apples.  I sliced these into a pot and added 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.  I stirred this up and cooked it on the stove top (medium heat) until the apples were saucy and tender (about 20 minutes).

To thicken the sauce, I put 1 tsp of corn starch into a bowl and added a few spoonfuls of the juice from the pan.  I stirred that up and added it back into the pan stirring until well distributed.  The sauce thickened very quickly.  I removed it from the heat and added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, stirring throughly.

I poured half of the apple mixture into each prepared bowl, put a few small dabs of butter over the top of the apples and then folded the overhanging pie crust over the top of the apples.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

I must warn oven is acting up (service coming today), so your pies my brown up faster than mine.  Start at 30 minutes or so and then keep an eye on it.

Here is the finished product.  It was perfect and tasted exactly like apple pie. Which honestly surprised me.  Serve ala mode and enjoy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Farmhouse Update #1

I haven't mentioned this before, but at some point BW and I will be moving out to his house at the farm.  This move has been pending for at least...two years.  BW's work-life just keep getting in the way when he spent a year and half working in Georgia.

In addition, we were also doing some repairs and remodeling that got halted mid-way through.

Now, that he is back home and working for himself, we are finally making some progress on the kitchen. This week, the countertops are finally being installed and we have picked out our backsplash.

You are going to have to use your imagination a bit as these are all just samples, but here is the idea behind the backsplash:

The bottom square tile is the countertop. (It is actually a grey/taupe color of Silestone called Amazon Leather.)    The middle section of the backsplash will be an 11 inch wide section of the blue, green and taupe glass tiles.  There will be a border of white subway tiles below and above the glass tile, with the subway tiles going up behind the cooktop.

Can you squint your mind's eye and see it?  I really like it, although this is the first backsplash I've ever picked out.  There is only one wall needing a backsplash as the rest of the kitchen is very open.

What do you think?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Peach Hand Pies

I am still trying recipes out of the July/August edition of Food Network Magazine.  This will be the 5th recipe I've made from this edition, which is pretty amazing.  My usual goal is to make one thing so as to make my investment worthwhile.

Last night I made Peach Hand Pies.  The original recipe calls for Cherries, but since they weren't available, I switched to peaches.  (The peaches lately have been wonderful.)

Here's my version:

They were very yummy and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Considering these little pies are fried, they were surprisingly light.

You can find the recipe here: Cherry Hand Pies

Have a great Monday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BLT Pasta

I got a free edition of a cooking magazine called Cuisine at Home.  I've never heard of it before, but I took a good look at it yesterday.  It doesn't have any advertising in it, kind of like Cook's Illustrated.  So it's just page after page of what seem to be very doable home-cooking style recipes.  I'm going to test out a few, before I decide to subscribe.  I will let you know how this turns out.

The first one I decided to try was a BLT Pasta. I chose this one because I happened to have most of the ingredients.  Here is the finished product:

It was really delicious and very quick and easy.  Great week-night dinner.

I did make some changes as it called for leeks and I didn't have any, so I used onion.  It also called for one tsp of red wine vinegar.  For those of you who know me well, you know I don't do vinegar.  I know it's may sound crazy...but we all have things we don't like.  My two biggies are vinegar and rice.

Here is the recipe WITH my changes.  Feel free to add 1 tsp of red wine vinegar when you add the broth.  But, please don't tell me about it.

BLT Pasta
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1 med. onion, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 oz. pasta of choice
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated parmesan plus extra for topping

Garlic Bread Crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta per package directions and drain.

Mince garlic and process in food processor with bread cubes or bread crumbs to mix well.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add crumbs and toast until nicely browned.  About 5 minutes.  Salt to taste.

Cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towel to drain.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp drippings.  Caramelize tomatoes and sugar in drippings over medium heat.  Cook until tomatoes begin to brown.  About 5 minutes.  Add onions until soft.

Deglaze skillet with wine.  Simmer until liquid is almost evaporated.  Add broth and red pepper flakes. Reduce by one third.

Add the spinach, thyme and cooked bacon to tomato mixture.  Stir well.  Add the cooked pasta and grated parmesan, toss to coat.  Divide pasta among plates and sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated parmesan to taste.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Seriously now...just try and not smile when you look at this guy.

Can't do it can you?  He just brightens everyone's day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

End of Summer

With my container garden quickly fading, I was surprised to see this when I looked out this morning.  One little strawberry.
Add caption
I haven't had any strawberries for at least a month or so.  Hi little guy.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blog Issues

Have any other fellow Blogger bloggers been having problems opening up their blogs over the week-end?

Well I could not open my blog all week-end.  I could get to my dashboard to access posts, comments and settings.  But every time I tried to open my blog, it told me the server was not available.

From what I can tell from the Blogger Forum, where I've been hanging out a lot, one of Blogger's servers was down and that server was the one my blog was pointed to.  Duh.

Why their down server became my problem I don't know, but after a shifting through a lot of unnecessary links and more tech speak than I ever care to read again, I finally figured out how to add all four Blogger servers IP addresses to my DNS.  (Just typing this made want to buy a pocket protector.)

Small pain in the arse, but things are all better now.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ode to the Tomato

O' the lovely tomato.

Thank you for making me think I am a gardener.  Thank you for granting me a couple beefsteak tomatoes from a container garden.

You are so simple and pure and you give summer it's distinctive taste.

And thank you so much for transforming the ordinary turkey sandwich into a taste explosion.

I am so sad to see my final tomatoes slowly ripening as it means the end of deliciousness right outside my door.  I will miss you my friend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Week-End of Tennis

We are very lucky to live only 4 hours away from Cincinnati where they hold what is now called the Western and Southern Open.  It used to be the Cincinnati Open, but it has grown and is now a significant event on the ATP Tennis circuit.

The best thing about this tournament is that it is held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.  It was built just for tennis and there isn't a bad seat in the house.  It feels amazingly intimate for a sports venue.  I was able to get to court side for photos during warm up.

Here are some of the highlights:

Roger Federer

You can't really appreciate how brilliant he is until you see if play live.  There is just no comparison.  It doesn't heard that he is truly beautiful as completely supported by the group of women sitting behind us.  They came from North Carolina and are admitted "Roger stalkers".

Serena Williams

Venus Williams

Novak Djokovic

And here was the closest I was able to get to Rafa Nadal.  It's not much...but it's something.

And Breslyn was the biggest trouper of all considering we sat in unrelenting sun for hours.

You go Bres!!