Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I really do love my customers and the people I work with. They make the monotony of passing boxes and cans past a little red light bearable. On the day of Christmas Eve I had a pretty woman come through. She had enjoyed the prior evening drinking a wonderful Hot Buttered Rum with friends. The woman behind her in line asked if she would email her the recipe. Well you don't have to smack me on the head twice. I had my email written down before they were through talking and said "me too?". Now you would think that would be nice enough of her, but oh no. She brought me a jar of the mix in a pretty bag with a note saying she thought I might like to enjoy some after work that evening. OMG! It is Christmas Eve. She had plenty to do I am sure, yet she took the time to make my world brighter. I love these people.
I did have some rum at home and I couldn't be inconsiderate so I had a cup. Two cups actually. Big cups really. I had to stop there because I wasn't getting things done. This stuff warms your insides. Then it warms your brain. And then your vision if you keep drinking. It would be very nice with a group of friends or on a cold night in front of the fire with someone you love.

So to Christina, I hope your Christmas was blessed with joy and love.

This makes a lot, perfect for a party. I live alone so I only made half and gave a jar away at Christmas and still had plenty left over. If I made the full recipe I would be singing "I drink alone" with George Thorogood.

Keeps for 2 months in refrigerator
1 qt vanilla ice cream softened
1 lb butter, softened
1 lb brown sugar
1 lb powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t nutmeg
Cream butter & sugar(s) together.
Add seasonings.
Fold in softened ice cream
To serve:
2 heaping tsp of mix to a jigger of rum or bourbon.
Stir and add hot water!

Rum and the mix, just add hot water and top with nutmeg.

Chocolate, Mmm

After Christmas sales.
Gotta love em'.
Mark downs galore.
Prices slashed.
Women fighting over the shattered remains.
I am not speaking of the mall.
I am at the basket of reduced Christmas cookies and candies in the supermarket.
Yes, it can bring out the bitch in any woman.
Don't give her enough chocolate and her endorphin and serotonin levels do not create that relaxed and euphoric feeling that every man hopes his wife feels.
Take away her sugar fix and her sweetness is taken over by her evil twin Wifezilla.
Keep her from shopping the after Christmas madness and you are denying her the right to fight to the death over the last bag of Cadbury mini eggs.
Yeah, that one was me.
After Christmas sales are sort of the women's form of Ultimate Fighting Championship.
There is nothing that compares to bragging about the great deal you got and see your friend hang her head in shame because she paid too much.
Don't get me wrong, it is much, much, much better when you get to brag about your wonderful husband who gave you the most beautiful 4 carat diamond for Christmas complete with tears in his eyes over how much he loves you.
Oh wait, I don't have a husband.
I do live in a great fantasy world though.
But we are talking about after Christmas sales here.
I got the only bag of Cadbury mini eggs, the ones that used to come out only at Easter.

These suckers are sooo good!!!!

Photo credits are from here and here, I didn't have anything left to photograph.
Oops & mmm.
Anyways, I ate them 4 at a time, over and over and over.
Oh my.
And I then I shared them so the other women would be endorphined and serotonined too.
Yes, we women share once we have had enough to begin to feel the effects and our nice self emerges again.
Now, these come out at Easter which is where they originated in my world, so keep your eyes open.
And your mouth.
You'll thank me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wild Rice Pilaf

If you have never tried wild rice or think you don't like it, make this at least once. Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised. It is hearty with a lot of flavor. It goes well with roast pork, beef or lamb. It freezes well and doubles easily and is good even if it isn't piping hot. I found the basic recipe years ago on the Gibbs wild rice package but it called for canned mushrooms. Eww. So a few changes and presto. Yum. I sometimes add a little sherry to this while I am saute-ing (how do you spell that) the vegetables.

Serves 8-12

3 c water
1 c wild rice

6 T butter
1 c celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
3/4 lb mushrooms, diced

1/2 lb bacon
1/2 c parsley, minced
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan bring water to a boil, add salt, then wild rice.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, then drain.
While rice is cooking, in a large skillet, melt butter and saute celery, onion and mushrooms until slightly soft, set aside.
Cook bacon until crisp, drain and crumble.
Add cooked celery, onion, mushrooms and bacon to cooked wild rice and stir to mix.
Add parsley, salt and pepper.

You can do the whole snotty but pretty restaurant molded look above because this does mold pretty well.
Or you can do it the dig right in way below.
You decide.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Want Candy

"You like sugar don't you?
Is there sugar in syrup?
Then YES!"
From Elf

God made sugar.
The devil made fat and diabetes.
That is why I love God.
Well one reason among a bajillion more reasons.

I don't usually bake and such around the holidays. I just come home and collapse from 8 hours at the supermarket where I have worked for 33 Christmas's. But candy isn't always too difficult and you get to eat all the edges. See's Maple Pecan bon bon's are one of my favorites, well See's in general is one of my favorites. So when I saw this on David Lebovitz, I knew I had to make them. After 3 batches I gave up trying to get these to not be grainy, then I remembered that maple sugar candy is grainy.

Then of course toffee. Is toffee a need or a want? I say it is a need. I need protein, nuts have protein (don't forget chocolate comes from a cocoa BEAN). I need calcium, butter is dairy. I need fiber, sugar comes from a plant. Oh oh, and almonds help fight belly fat, so there.


And peppermint fudge from here.

And fudge truffles, but alas, no recipe for them.


Adapted to simplify directions
About 36, depending on how big you cut them

1 c pure maple syrup (labeled "Dark amber")
2 c sugar
1 c heavy cream
2 T light corn syrup
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c walnut or pecan pieces, toasted

1. Lightly oil a 9- by 9-inch square pan.

2. In a small heavy-duty saucepan (about 2 quarts) mix together the maple syrup, sugar, cream, and corn syrup.
Fit a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat until the temperature reaches 236F temperature.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture into the metal bowl of a standing electric mixer. Submerge the thermometer in the candy mixture until it has cooled to 110F, which will take a while.

4. When the temperature is 110F, add the vanilla and beat the mixture until it just begins to thicken and loose its gloss. Overmixing will make it grainy, so keep an eye on it.

5. Stir in the nuts and spread the mixture into the square pan, patting it in flat with your (clean) hands.

6. Allow to cool completely, then remove from the pan and cut into squares.

7. To remove it from a square pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen it, then cut it in half.
Use a metal spatula to pry the candy loose a bit (it will be flexible).
Invert the pan a shake it to coax the maple cream candy out.
Cut into squares.

Adapted to simplify directions
The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz

1 c almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1 T water
4 T butter, salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 T packed light or dark brown sugar
1/8 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips, or 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Using half of the chopped almonds, form an 8-inch circle in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet.

Fit a small, heavy-duty saucepan with a candy thermometer, then add the water, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, mixing them together.

Have the baking soda and vanilla measured and ready.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring as little as possible.

When the mixture reaches 300F, remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Mix just until combined; don’t overstir.

Right away, pour the hot toffee mixture over the circle of almonds on the baking sheet.

Using as little movement as possible, spread the toffee to cover the circle.

Scatter the chocolate pieces over the toffee and wait 2 minutes to allow them to melt.
Use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer, then scatter the remaining chopped almonds on top, pressing them into the chocolate. Cool completely until the chocolate is firm.
Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to cool it in the refrigerator.
Remove it once the chocolate has hardened.

I love Chinese take out boxes for the candy gifts, they just make it more fun. The ties were a garland that I cut, they look like snowballs or the tie from a hat or sweater and these boxes have snowflakes to match.

I wish everyone the most blessed Christmas.

Work Christmas Parties

Darlene and me. Wait, who snuck in the picture. We actually had no idea Kevin was there.

Years ago, in a time far far far away, I had my first sort of professional job. The Christmas party was a dinner dance for the Bank I worked for. Shock would put it lightly as I watched the people above me that I called Mrs. or Mr. get snockered off their suit and tie tushies and flirt/more with each other. I was wide eyed and 18. Not naive mind you, but these were mommies and daddies, these were people who could fire....me! I never looked at them the same at work after that.

When I began working at the supermarket, 32 years, 2 months and 5 days ago, it was pretty casual. You just don't expect much out of people who are covered in blood from cutting up dead animals and the rest of us who open boxes and punch prices. Once at the end of the party or the next morning we found a checker asleep behind the couch with one of the baggers and a low manager in the bushes. Now that was a party.

Another one included dinner at a restaurant and being asked to leave because we got into a food fight with another table. Evidently some people at our table also thought the salt and pepper shakers were party favors to take home. It was a fun night and the only time I have been kicked out of a place.

This year, bowling. Now I am not a bowling fan. It reminds me of Fred 'Twinkle Toes' Flinstone and I have issues from an ex who bowled, drank too much and flirted with trashy cocktail waitresses with me right there. The ones who wear their clothes too tight and their hair is dyed (it's an old country song). You understand about issues I assume. It is still an interesting crowd that a bowling alley attracts, sort of like roller skating rinks. Early on it was teens with not enough to do that reminded me of being a very lost teen myself at one time. Later there were a lot of, shall we say, not very feminine women. Now I don't have a problem with someones sexual tendencies, but I don't think it will be a place I will hang out at alone at night in the dark. Bowling is a little more cool now, they turn the lights down and have pretty moving lights down the sides of the lane, decent party music, a little light show and smoke. Smoke wasn't cool, it just looked foggy. I didn't take pics of the food because I was eating. Eating fried. Fried tater tots, fried onion rings, fried poppers, fried chicken strips, fried mozzarella, fried spicy chicken pieces and not fried quesadillas. And of course there was beer and tequila, though not for me this night. This turned out to be really fun, what with people stealing balls just as they were being thrown, bowling 2 at once in the same lane, sumo belly bounces, yeah, I like this group. I may actually bowl one day.

I am a fan of Stephen Lynch and he sings 'Bowling Song (Almighty Malachi Professional Bowling God). His songs can be a little crude but they are hilarious. If you get offended don't google him, actually don't look at the photos here, nothing x rated but definitely a tiny bit iffy.

"You watch me on your TV.
Say that my
job is easy.
Say I am not athletic.
You think my sport's pathetic.
But you can't judge me 'till you walked a mile in my bowling shoes.
So I don't get all the ladies.
And my clothes are from the 80's
I am known throughout the valleys.
As the prophet of alleys.
And as I roll the ball I cry, "Let me bowl or let me die!"
I am mighty Malakai, the bowling god."

Check out Joey's manly form with the ball and the ladies.

Yep, these here are some of the fine men of our night....

First off we have Robert with his quite redneck t-shirt and c_ck necklace. Whooo doggie.

Up next is Jimmie, don't get your hopes up ladies, he's taken too.

And finally, Joey and his c_ck.

Then there are the ladies....
Me and Sara, the only 21 year old I would adopt. Except perhaps a pool boy named Julio.

Dez, 92 pounds and a bundle of energy, and Darlene, one of my sweetest friends.

Joey and me.

Joey and Sara.

Me, Tracy and Joey. Joey and I got in a lot of photos evidently.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brie With Honey And Macadamias

This is a quick and easy appetizer, perfect when time is stressed.

It seems that as soon as October arrives, so does HalloThankChristNewValenEaster. One set of decorations comes down while the next goes up in a blur. There are costumes and feasts, gifts and resolutions, kisses and baskets. And then spring arrives and we bask in the sunshine and freshness of new growth.
The holiday hurries are here. Christmas is coming faster than most of us will ever be ready for.
I simplified years ago to keep my own sanity. Family is really all I want. Well that and a winning lottery ticket and perhaps a wonderful man who adores me.
If you entertain guests during this season, it is so nice to have a few easy appetizers up your sleeve. A good pantry is a must, I always have nuts in the freezer and honey in the cupboard and this has been my dinner more than once. Mainly you just need to pick up the brie and some fruit if you already have the wine and some crackers. I love how this is so monochromatic and keeps with a white Christmas look.
It is also wonderful including the pear, with thin sliced ham for a sandwich.


Triple cream Brie, I like St. Andre
Macadamia nuts, chopped
Fruit, pears, grapes, etc.
Bread or crackers
A nice white wine

Plate the brie and bring close to room temp.
Just before serving, drizzle honey and sprinkle macadamia nuts.
Serve with fruit, bread or crackers and a glass of wine.