Slow Cooked Short Ribs with Grits

slow cooked short ribs

Short ribs cooked slow in a rich vegetable gravy with slow cooked grits

First off, yes, these pictures are horrible. Sometimes all that important is getting delicious food from my plate into my mouth as fast as possible, art be damned. I will make them again and do better, but for now, I apologize.

It’s bad enough that Mom makes Thanksgiving all by herself (though, her fault because she delegates nothing), but it’s made worse by the fact that when Little Buddha and I come home (or bring friends in tow), we also require (slightly demand) that she make all of our other favorites.  For Little Buddha, it’s Turos Testa. Cabbage rolls were on my wish list this year and since Tomato has been gracing our table for the past three, she also has her favorites and this one, Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Grits, were BOTH of our favorites.  Needless to say, Mom spent most of the weekend in the kitchen, and we love her for it.

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Monday Musings

Hello, Monday.
How’s everyone doing? We are solidly into December and I hope your month’s plans are shaping up to your liking. Holiday plans galore on my end. It’s going to be a busy month filled with awesome things.

I’ve thankfully been away from my computer for much of the week so I have no usual sort of Somethings to share. So today, I’m taking a page out of Biscuits book and sharing with you a current snapshot of what’s happening in my world as I sit safely in my magical Disney reality.

Listening: currently to Hakuna Matata

Cooking: not a darn thing. what should I make next?

Drinking: a margarita, poolside

Watching: people. oh, the people…

Wanting: to see my Crawley, but not wanting to go home.

Reading: a magazine because I don’t love my book…

Looking: for some perfect Christmas gifts

Watching: last night it was Up. not sure about tonight

Needing: Little Buddha here with us

Wondering: What life will look like a year from now

Feeling: relaxed 

Enjoying: my magical Disney bubble and time with Mom

Wishing: upon a star, always

 

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Lentil and Sauerkraut Stew

lentil and sauerkraut stew

Ham hocks are stewed with beer, lentils, sauerkraut and apples for this hearty lentil and sauerkraut stew

‘Tis the season for stew, right?  Namely, lentil stew (or soup) in my opinion. Somehow, it just feels right.

Last year I threw Mom’s ham and lentil soup at you because it’s just so darn good (which I also just made was reminded just how darn good), so this year I’m sharing with you its cousin, a lentil and sauerkraut stew.  Similar, yet different enough that each is worth making, one not really an adequate substitute for the other.

This one I adapted from Marcus Samuelsson’s new book, The Red Rooster Cookbook.  I wandered into a book signing a few weeks ago and had to buy it after I saw that he used both miso and shrimp powder in his bird broth.  I figured if he could get that creative with chicken soup, the rest of the book, which details the story, life and times of Harlem in New York, probably packs the same punch.  I was right.

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My Favorite Things: 2016

It’s shopping season!  Given the fact that I am so over food and cooking and eating right now (a feeling that I’m sure to get over in a day or two), I thought I’d do something a little different and share some of my favorite things from 2016. I don’t want to call it a gift guide because I think that gifts should be personal to…well, the person.  These are things that I’ve either bought myself (and got compliments on!), saw and wanted, or were gifted and loved.  If you’ve ever read me blabber on about whatever and thought, “Oh, she reminds me of so-and-so…,” then maybe so-and-so would want some of these things. Or maybe they will make their way onto your wish list. Anyway you look at it, my favorites are open to interpretation, but here they are. Also, sorry this is a day late for Cyber Monday. Don’t worry, the sales will continue!

Oh and none of these are affiliate links. I just really like this stuff.

Let’s get to it!

  1. Fan Gear. I got this idea from Lima who always gets that really sweet, expensive, licensed fan gear from her brother, and I realized I usually get my brother the same. Anyway, for the superfan in your life, check out Dick’s.
  2. THE MAC.  I have this jacket (seen here) and love, love, LOVE it! It’s warm and rainproof and super cute and gets lots of compliments. Side note, I also love everything from Boden.
  3. Patagonia’s R1 Full Zip Fleece Jacket.  Okay, I know you’re thinking that’s an expensive fleece. It is, but it’s really comfy and not bulky as an under layer. Perfect if you (or your giftee) are the outdoorsy type. I got one of these for my Nepal hike a few years ago and it really has become indispensable.  It’s also great to catch when REI has one of its wicked sales.
  4. J.Crew Colorblock Half-Zip Jacket (and pants!).  Remember those matchy-matchy sweats from the 80’s?  Well, they’re back and I want them.
  5. Jenni Sparks “Hand drawn Map of London”.  Last year when Lettuce and I were roaming around London and I came across this print by Jenni and am clearly still thinking about it. It’s on my wish list for when I have a new house with new walls to fill. Not a fan on London? Check out all her other cities (and it’s okay, we can still be friends).
  6. Victoria’s Secret Dreamer Flannel Collection.  Okay, I really want allthejammies, but VS are still my fave.
  7. Hot Cinnamon Spice Harney & Sons Tea.  While Yam, Lettuce and I were spa-hhing in Virginia a few years ago, we became obsessed with this tea. The perfect stocking stuffer, IMO.
  8. Passport Holders (Kate Spade).  Admittedly, these are a little extravagant, but they are also adorable. Whatever ones you fancy, these are a great gift for your travelin’ friend.
  9. Whisk Necklace.  Whisks are for some reason my favorite kitchen gadget, so when I saw this, I had to have it! They also have pretzels, pears, coffee, pistachios…
  10. Glass Bowls, set of 3.  Mom got me these last year and they are just handy to have in the kitchen. I use mine all the time.
  11. SmartWool Hiking Socks.  Like PJs, I can’t get enough of socks. These are made to last for even those who always seem to have holes in their socks (i.e. me).  Plus, you can’t put a price on warm toes.
  12. Chicago Skyline String Art.  Like the London map above, I can’t wait to put this in my future dream apartment. Also like the London map, there are more cities from which to pick!
  13. C.O. Bigelow Candles.  I fell in love with the White Tea one years ago, which is now apparently hard to find. In any case, they really work without being overpowering.
  14. Marrying Mr. Darcy Board Game.  I don’t have this. I want this.  Both the game, and in reality.  For those that love Jane.
  15.  Alice in Wonderland Illustration Scarf. You saw the Pride and Prejudice one here, but I think these literary scarves are just the neatest.
  16. Cuisinart Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker.  The reason that you see so much ice cream magic on these pages.
  17. The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman.  Of all my cookbook purchases in 2016, this one wins. It’s not a “picture cookbook” so much, but all the recipes are spot on and delicious.
  18. Cream Patisserie Cake Carrier.  I have been eyeing this one for months at World Market. Charming.
  19. Bon Voyage Wall Calendar.  I’m very particular about my calendar each year; it has to be whimsical and cute and sort of go with the rest of the room. I also loved this one, and this is the one currently in my kitchen.
  20. Waverly Petite Crossbody Chevron.   I have this one in blue/tan stripes and get compliments all the time. It can fold up, expand out, or act as a clutch. In any case, it IS clutch. 

There you have it, my faves of 2016.  Go forth and gift well.

 

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Sunday Somethings

Hello, Sunday.

Well, are you all stuffed to the gills? I am, full of good food and good thoughts.  I’ve been in Michigan since Tuesday morning and can I tell you, that I didn’t want to come back?  I love going home because it really gives me a chance to recharge and detox. Not so much a carb-and-sugar detox (definitely not so much…), but a digital one. My phone doesn’t work that well there*, and I’m just so not inclined to even pull out my computer.  Not really even a little bit.**

As such, only a few bits and musings this week. The same story goes for next since Thursday Mom and I are heading to Disney for our annual winter pilgrimage. Turkey legs and Dole Whip await.

In other news, the Christmas music is on and I’m loving it. I suggest you put on your favorites whilst you sit back for some Sunday night reading. Best throw in some nog for good measure.

A goat in a duck costume, and Goats of Anarchy. What? Yes, I’m serious, but this article on Polly, a rescue goat, will make you smile.

You know how much I love photographs. These ones win.

The importance of undocumented friendships and the art of friendships. I love this article, and I think so much is lost to technology, but is there a way to go back?

I’m sure the turkey pardon will look quite different next year…but POTUS, you did good with this one.

Related: An immigrant’s view of our American tradition.  We were always the house that took in those that didn’t have anywhere else to go, and it made, in my opinion, Thanksgiving more fun. It’s also why Friendsgiving is just as special.

Love is the best weapon, and let’s hope it’s one that wins in the end.

Related:  A Muslim girl wasn’t allowed to box in a hijab, so her opponent shared victory with her.  Remember, it starts with one.  

How to interpret art.  I confess that wandering through a museum in Germany years ago, Tomato had the same running dialogue.  Also, fun fact, my cat’s name when I got him was Hieronymus and I had no idea where it came from. Maybe here? Anyway, Crawley is much more suitable.  

And finally, for your Sunday evening funny:  Holiday autocorrects.  They never get old.

*The downside of this is that Thanksgiving morning the dog and I went for a run, and came back over an hour and a half later because I got lost and, without a cell signal, had to find our way back in the misty cold.  I did have flashes of Thomas Hardy and being lost in the heath forever (i.e., the desolate golf course).  Needless to say we found our way back, tired and so ready for turkey.

**Except to read Twitter’s reaction to The Gilmore Girls reboot. Thoughts?  I did not like #TheLastFourWords.  The whole time I was like, “Where’s Rory? Because that girl…who is this girl?!”  Anyway, love me some Emily and glad that she got her happy ending.

Have a good week! Enjoy those leftovers.

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Thanksgiving Benedict with Béarnaise

Thanksgiving Benedict

Poached eggs over leftover Thanksgiving stuffing topped with a rich Béarnaise sauce

Of all the Thanksgiving goods, stuffing is hands down my favorite. Mom’s is, in my opinion, the best. It doesn’t have a lot of hoopla- no meat or sausage, no cornbread, nothing with pizzazz- but classic it is, and that is just how I like it on Thanksgiving day.  I like it even more on the days after, and rarely eat it as originally intended, aside the turkey, but I’ve added it to soups, stuffed in sandwiches and more often then not, pan crisped it with an egg on top.

Ooh. The runny egg. I love thee so.

eggs benedict

I decided to mix it up this year, Benedict style.  I’m stealing a bit of an idea that I ate brunching on Eggs New Orleans at Big Jones, a twist on a classic by using popovers in place of English muffins and béarnaise sauce instead of hollandaise (is it still called a Benedict then? Thoughts in the comments).  It blew me away, and so I offer this to you in the hopes of doing the same.

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Sunday Somethings

Processed with VSCO

Hello, Sunday.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Loving D.C., and every year when I come visit my girls, I sort of don’t want to leave.  This year though, I got a little bit more out of the trip. I’ll explain.

After work the other day, Peaches, Eggplant and I took the opportunity to go on a monument  walk. The sky was perfectly blue, the air just cool enough and the monuments were just begging to be explored. It’d be a while for all of us since we’d been back, and as we walked through the memorials to Lincoln, Jefferson, MLK and all the great men and women that forged the nation we have today, we realized that the words inscribed in stone took on new meaning in today’s climate.  We reflected on where we’d been as a nation, how hard it was to get here, and all the trials and tribulations that we’ve endured since those famous words were inscribed in 1776.  It gave us hope, something that many of those around me have been lacking in the past week, that maybe it’s going to be alright, but not without some optimism, and some hard work by every single person under the stars and stripes.

And in the last bit of serious, I leave you with this, written on the walls of the FDR monument:

In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice, the path of faith, the path of hope and the path of love towards our fellow man.

Anyway, how are you this week? Who’s ready for a short one next?  EFF YEAH, I AM.  Here’s a few tidbits to entertain us all until then.  They are mostly silly and sparse, because that’s where my mind was this week.

The UK is doing the best job with Christmas commercials. Bears and Boss Ladies.  Keep ’em coming because ’tis the season!

Does anyone understand the mannequin challenge?   It’s sort of weird, but it’s less weird when Sesame Street joins the fun.

THE BEAUTY AND THE  BEAST TRAILER!!!!  

A message for all of us to hear, from the cast of Hamilton.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Lettuce and I think it should be Dr. Chris, Pet Vet.

Let’s not repeat history, k?

Good job, Mattel, on finally starting to make Barbie real.

What does your desk say about you? I’m a personaliser to the nth degree!

And finally, as you ready for Thanksgiving…Party guests overstaying their welcome? These are some subtle ways to get them it’s time to scram.

That’s all I’ve got. Have a great week!

Written before breakfast, after a great night’s sleep.

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Turkey and Chutney Sandwich

turkey sandwich

Thanksgiving leftovers get a simple but flavorful revamp with this turkey and chutney sandwich

Hello, Friends!

Pre-holiday buzz is in the air. Can you feel it? It’s quite exciting!

Peaches, Eggplant and I are in DC for work this week, and then I’m staying through the weekend to hang and get into some shenanigans with Lettuce and Yam. A distillery will be involved, so there’s that.  You can follow me on Instagram to see what we’re getting up to, likely all kinds of no good, and the best kind of good!*

However, there are important things to discuss since Thanksgiving is next week and while we all love what happens on the main day**, let’s be real that the leftovers are just as good.  In fact, what you do with them can steal the show.

We’ve got some goodies in the archives: my most favorite cassoulet, this righteous turkey curry, and these sweet pumpkin pie filled pancakes.  All those do involve some amount of labor, and since the day after is often used to recover from the day of, easy is a good place to be, and for that, a turkey and chutney sandwich

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Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle Ice Cream

pumpkin ice cream

No-churn spiced pumpkin ice cream laced with crushed bits of pumpkin seed brittle

How’s everyone doing out there?  

We’re T-9 days until Thanksgiving and I’m thinking that your menus are getting planned, turkeys getting ordered and shopping lists compiled.  I leave that heavy lifting to Mom, the master chef for this and everything Thanksgiving…love you Mom!  However, it took an inordinate amount of brain power to plan the logistics of my five hour drive home for the holiday in order to avoid driving on Wednesday and Sunday, while not having to take too many days off of work, and in a way that would be least disruptive to Crawley’s schedule.  Silly squidgy cat and his schedule.

Today though, I offer an unorthodox dessert solution. We will no doubt have pumpkin pie at our house because it’s Mom’s favorite but for my Spanish Thanksgiving, I wanted to come up with something a little different from the usual, especially since I don’t like pie, but I do love ice cream. I love it so very much.

pumpkin ice cream

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Sunday Somethings

love2

Photo courtesy of Biscuit.

Hello, Sunday.

This has been a horrible week. Our country is a mess and it’s playing out for all of us, and for the world, to see (as if 2016 hasn’t given everyone enough cringeworthy material). We are divided, with a gap so wide that it’s hard to imagine that we’ll ever truly be one again. This election, both the duration and the result, brought out so much vitriol and hate: hate for our government, for the candidates that we chose; hate for our countrymen, and our differences; hate for even our friends and family and loved ones.  I’m guilty of it myself and it’s taken all the gumption in me to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel, praying and hoping with all my heart that it’s actually there.

No one person can heal the divide. It will take all of us, each individual, because though we all live in the same country, we also all live in communities. The whole is nothing but the sum of its parts, and if we can each pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and help our neighbors do the same, it’s the only way that we’re going to get through this as a United States.  

I tried my darndest to stay off the net, so I have only this to offer; one of my favorites from some of my favorites, and I hope that it resets your mindsets as it has mine.  It starts with one, and it starts with love.

 

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn
How to play the game
It’s easy.
Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do, but you can learn
How to be you in time
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where
You’re meant to be
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
All you need is love. 
All you need is love. 
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love is all you need.
Love is all you need
-The Beatles-
 
(And dancing bears because right now, we could all really use some dancing bears)
 
Let’s do it better next week, shall we?
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