Sunday Somethings

20160429_162411

Hello, Sunday.  

It’s been a fun weekend here, my little Boston escape.  The weather has been perfect and that has really dictated the whole trip.  Leisurely strolls along the river in the sun, stopping every now and then for a cannoli (now AND then) It’s my first time here, which surprises me to be honest, but for some reason I just never made it this way.  And, as I suspected, I love it.  

I hope your weekend is treating you just as well. If cannolis aren’t in your future, hopefully something equally indulgent is. Start May off with a bang.

I’m here for a few more days, so follow my adventures on the Instagram, #adventuresoftheHB

Things worth a read, say I, says the internet.  Here we go:

I started watching a show on Amazon called “Catastrophe.” It’s hilarious and laugh-out-loud-on-the-couch-scaring- your-cat-funny.  Here’s what piqued my interest, and hopefully it’ll pique yours.

Tourists behaving badly, and measures used to stop them.  Remember tourists, boy scout motto.

Hero dog dies after saving earthquake victims.  Poor guy. Sad.

Further proof that Tinder is the worst. As if we needed it.

Reminder: you’re never too old to make it happen.

Hello, CJ. Welcome back to the West Wing.

To quote my friend, “a fun read about the Royal planner, trivialized by terrible headline regarding the price of her shoes.”

It’s almost time for the Olympics, so naturally it’s time for P&G to make us cry with another “thanks, Mom” commercial.  But really, thanks Mom.

WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE???

Related: Related.

Cinco de Mayo’s coming. Let’s round it up! And again!

Have a good week!

Written whilst watching Dirty Dancing, and then Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (which is better, I think).

Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

A Mother’s Day Tea Party

IMG_0412

Saturday! Saturday! 

It’s a happy chant for a happy day.  Mom and I are in Boston having some fun in the gorgeous sunshine before I have to be a grown up and do work and it’s been a good, stomach-satisfying trip so far. More on that to come in a few days when we’ve eaten, and then eaten some more.

I’m lucky because I have a relationship with Mom that is similar in a lot of ways to the Gilmore Girls, different in that she was not 16 when I was born, but similar because we sort of have a language of our own and that rarely has she ever had to pull the mom card. And even when she did, I was usually too stubborn to listen.  You know, kids.

We took our first trip together to NYC for my high school graduation, and then had a long hiatus until our 30/60 European trip in 2013.  As my other go-to suitcase sisters have been distracted by jobs and boys, she’s become my go-to, “hey, Mom, want to go?”  And here we are in Boston.

A few weeks ago, you may recall that I went home to help her host a spring tea.  It was fun, a reason to meet some of the friends I’d heard so much about, and a chance to cook for loads of people, a trait that must be genetic because we both do it with compulsion, neither of us as often as we’d like.

For weeks before we hashed the menu, blending elements of a traditional fancy pants tea with our own family twists. So here we have today an instructional; much like Tuesdays How-To Cinco de Mayo Potluck, here we have a How-To Tea Party, complete with homemade clotted cream, scones, mini-sandwiches and multiple cakes from which to choose to meet all your cake needs.  It’s the perfect menu for spring, for Mother’s Day, for Sunday or just because you want to buy and wear a fascinator and need a reason.

IMG_0421IMG_0405IMG_0409IMG_0415

As if you really need a reason.

This also doubles as this month’s Screen Cuisine, so pop in Mary Poppins or tuck in for a Downton Abbey marathon.  Because a tea party is indeed a marathon, not a sprint.

To start things off properly:

Pre-tea cocktails

mimosas | vanilla plum moscato | palomas

The traditionals:

cream scones | clotted cream | jam

Mini-sandwiches, because we are ladies:

smoked salmon on white with a cream cheese dill spread | egg salad on croissants | chicken salad on croissants | ham and cheese | traditional cucumber

Mini-quiches, because we are fancy

Cakes, because we are human:

mandalas torte | Victoria sponge | Viennese honey cake | walnut torte | pound cake

Cookies, just because:

rugelach | lemon cookies | butter cookies

A selection of teas (especially my fave)

IMG_0410

IMG_0417

As we look straight into Mother’s Day and try our best to pick out the perfect gift, I’m happy to announce the winner of the Carol’s Cookie giveaway is Manda. Thank you all for entering, and I hope you’ll go out and give Carol’s Cookies a try!

Written after a lot of walking, some lobster and some beer.

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

North African Potato Soup

IMG_0547

A few weeks ago when I went home, I bought some potatoes with the plan to make oven fries. The fries didn’t happen and since Mom somehow already had a plethora of potatoes (mo’ potatoes, mo’ problems), I carted them home across the cornfields back to the city. They sat here for a few days before I panicked about them going bad. Not really a panic, but a concern. Because my mood for oven fries passed and now I panicked about what to do with them.  Again, not really a panic, but a concern.

IMG_0537

I consulted Mom (because what else would one do when faced with potato panic..er, concern?) and she suggested I make potato soup.  Good idea since I am not sure I’ve ever made a straight up potato soup.  Plus it sounded good since summer came and went in a day, and potato soup warms the soul like a good bowl of chili. 

Oooh. Now I have chili thoughts….

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

A Cinco de May Potluck

PicMonkey-Collage

If you’ve been checking your calendar you may be as surprised as I am that it’s almost May. Freakin MAY.  What the heck?!  Twenty-16 is flying by as quick as a flea.

With May comes many things. May Day. Mother’s Day.  Tulips.  Late spring.  Margaritas.

Yup, as May starts, so is Cinco de Mayo once upon us again.  

I go through weeks where it’s like Cinco de Mayo all the time in Apt 2RB. Mexican food is the one cuisine of which I never tire, and which I never really have to be in the mood to eat because, really,  I’m always in the mood to shove some tacos in my face.

Last year, the people at work and I decided to throw a potluck for May 5th, and it was such a success that it snowballed into a quarterly event. For Mardi Gras fun, check it here.

To help you duplicate our duplicate-worthy efforts, I’ve combined a list of must-haves to make your Cinco party muy bueno.  Different strokes for different folks, this sign up sheet accommodates the at-home cooks and the at-store buyers.  Win-win for all.

We’re building a taco bar because that’s the most fun way.  Here we go.

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Sunday Somethings

20160423_111034

Hello, Sunday.

We’re doing pretty well over here.  Despite a very traumatic car ride to the vet yesterday, we both settled down enough to watch the Hawks pull out a victory (playoffs!), and Crawley forgave me enough to let me sleep until 7:30 this morning.  Building trust all around.

It’s a beautiful day in this Chicago neighborhood, and I hope that your Sunday is just as snazzy. After all, don’t we all deserve it, having Monday to face tomorrow?  

But first, coffee.

Somehow, somewhere, something.  Somethings, now:  

Show me the money!  Harriet Tubman set to oust Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Bad weather is serious, man, and this meteorologist has got your back.

Why do we mourn celebrity deaths?  We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.

“I voted.”  May we never take it for granted.  Thank you Ms. Anthony.

Meditation for cops? Can’t be a bad thing. Perhaps the CPD can take a page out of these officers’ books.

Bringing back memories of the science fair.  I won 2nd place one year for my toothpaste test, ya know…

Time’s Influential 100.  Influential indeed (some, for better or worse).

Date going badly?  This bar will save you.

The entire election season, summed up.

“Ethnic food” in America– a very interesting read.  After cooking so many different world cuisines, I totally get what he is saying.

A corset for gymnastics?  Yeesh.  Our undies, a history.

This is happening. I’m so excited! I’m so excited!

Remember to enter my cookie giveaway!  COOKIES!!

Thanks to Yam, for helping me out with this weeks’ somethings.

Book of the week? No reading with a new baby.

Written during news time.

 

Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Grandma Diamond’s Coffee Cake + a giveaway

Coffee Cake

Thank you, Saturday.

It’s been a long week, full of “new parent” things. Now, before you people-parents get all angry, I’m not trying to minimize what you do, but I’ve learned this week that being a pet parent can be a whole lotta stressful, too. Especially in that first getting to know you phase:  figuring out the schedule (so, breakfast/play time starts at 6:30? That’s cool), figuring out why he won’t eat certain foods (guy does NOT like treats.  Weirdo), freaking out because I came home yesterday after being gone longer than I wanted to find that he didn’t eat anything all day, stressing out about leaving for Boston next Friday (thank you Meatball for pet sitting).

Whenever I’m stressed, I bake.  It’s almost mindless in a way- the mixer doing all the heavy lifting, my 90’s pop playing in the background and Crawley now circling at my feet- and results in an almost instant gratification with homemade cookies that lift any clouds away.  They deliver on so much more than flavor, and leave me with all the good feels.

IMG_0570

PicMonkey Collage6Coffee Cake

Speaking of cookies, have you ever heard of Carol’s Cookies?  They’re amazing, and honestly they’re the closest thing to homemade-from-my-kitchen I’ve ever tasted…well, outside my kitchen!  Thanks to the wonder that is The Facebook, I got the chance to chat (virtually) with her about her cookies, her business and her love of The Diamond, and she generously agreed to give away one of her cookie tins to one lucky duck.  More on that later, but first, here’s a bit from the Carol behind the Cookies.

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Café de Olla

Cafe de Olla

Happy Thursday folks! It’s just past mid-week and we’re staring Friday in the face.  We’re almost there.

It’s been an interesting week over here. I haven’t had a roommate in literally years, but Crawley and I are settling in like peas and carrots. He’s a lap kitty, quite a change from Sneakers, who is the king of dirty looks.  That is, unless he wants a good belly rub.  Crawley, alternatively wants to be cradled like a baby most of the time and, since he’s too cute, I can’t help but oblige.  Also, I’ve sadly established the rule in the house as “one must not disturb the comfortable cat,” which I’m sure will lead to sleepless nights as I work to contort my body around his.  Still, I would’t want it another way.

I promise to do my best to keep cat stories and pictures to a minimum, but for all you pet parents out there, you know what I mean when I say it’ll be hard.

What’s not hard is today’s recipe. Coffee. Café de Olla.  Mexican spiced coffee, a recipe borrowed almost unaltered (gasp!) from next month’s cookbook club selection, Eat Mexico.  

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Crawfish Étouffée

IMG_0554

Today’s dish was not really bred from want or cravings, but more from all the extra crawfish tails leftover from the cajun fettuccine.  Not that it’s a bad thing- ever since Peaches made Chicken Étouffée for our Mardi Gras potluck a few months ago, it’s been on my list of dishes to recreate at some future point because it was oh-so-delicious. The fettuccine just gave me a reason to do so.

IMG_0558

I’ve heard from a few people on how they wished that one meal, made in excess, would magically turn its ingredients, or itself into other meals, theoretically yielding a whole week’s worth of dinners.   While I’ve struggled to figure out a way to make that happen on the reg, this one sort of happened accidentally. While the flavors are similar to the fettuccine from which it was borne, the substance of it is vastly different, moreso than just pasta versus rice.  And, much to my surprise, the onion/celery base of the étouffée really did make a world of difference flavor-wise.

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Sunday Somethings

Hello, Sunday.

It’s going to be 75 degrees today, and I don’t even know what to do with myself about it. Walking outside without warm footwear and some sort of overcoat seems risky and unrealistic, but it’s that time of the year that mental expectations for what awaits outside must be checked. It leads to an onslaught of emotions and feelings: hope, skepticism, disbelief, excitement, trepidation.  Joy.

Enough about the weather. I hope that wherever you are, if it’s lovely, that you’ve spend the weekend enjoying it. If it’s not, I hope you’ve tucked in with a good book, a new TV show and some hot chocolate, which defies the seasons. 

My best laid plans of yesterday encountered a sort of hiccup, but no matter that it will sort itself out by mid-week.  Until then, time to cook things.

And read things! Lots of things to read this weekend:

Sorry- politics.  As we loosely consider the merits of our potential leaders, an interesting read on an American’s take of the notorious Swedish system may change a few views.

Related, sort of:  Can Justin Trudeau be more likable?

The lingering effects of growing up poor.  This needs to change, but how?

Related:  life expectancy inequality, the gap that is growing fast.

Survival of the fittest as one alligator eats another. Try to stop staring…and why are these people getting so close?? (sorry of this does not at all interest you, but for this Florida girl, I’m obsessed with/terrified by all things gator-related)

Is it really 2016? Why is this happening?

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Your take on this might be telling.

Dear me.  I know more than a few people of my generation and generations past that were raised by negligent parents, if this is true.

Related: Parenting today versus yesterday. How did so much changes so fast?

I love the Royals, and I am absolutely appalled at this article criticizing Kate’s un-pedicured toes.  THIS is what you have to talk about????? Horrible, horrible.

And finally, time to sign off.  All the best.

Have a good week!

Book of the past week: Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs. 

Written over pancakes, waiting for coffee.

 

 

 

 

Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon

Moroccan Semolina Pancakes

Moroccan semolina pancakes

It’s been months since I’ve had a proper Pancake Sunday.  For one reason or another, my usual Sunday morning favorite time ritual has become more un-usual and taken a back seat for one reason or another.  No more. It’s time to resurrect it, and what better way than with a new pancake recipe?

I’ve admittedly been struggling with breakfast foods, interesting ones at least, so this was a welcome treat (if you have ideas, they’re always welcome, so throw me a comment below). 

These are a bit different than normal flapjacks for a lot of reasons.  First, they’re really thin, almost crepe-like and very amenable to just eating with ones hands, tortilla-like.  Other differences: they’re semolina rather than all-purpose flour based and have yeast (and thus, require a rise).  Also, unlike the norm, they’re not flipped, leaving them full of craters akin to those famous Thomas English muffins. Perfect for trapping all the glorious orange honey that we’ve got going here.  A prize worth trapping.

Read the rest of this page »

Pin It
Sharing is caring!Email this to someonePrint this pageShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUpon