Monthly Archives: November 2007

the antidote

to Holiday stressing.
pict0018.JPG a slice for you! (photo added 3 December).
i refuse to get caught up in it! last weekend we saw lots of vehicles with holiday trees tied to their roof racks.
wha? isn’t it a tad too early for that? i’ve just washed up the last platter and bowl from the Thanksgiving feast!
so here’s my antidote.

Rosie’s Bakery-style chocolate sour cream layers with fudge filling and whipped cream frosting and chocolate curls..

fudge filling to magnify the chocolate flavor (as if it needed more oomph…) it is so easy to make in the blender.

friends! i have been pressed for time lately, so to make it easier on myself i’ve resolved to just supply recipes upon request. at least for now. if i can, i will always supply the link if it’s up online.

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee (or 5 tsp Instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 345 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8″ layer cake pans with vegetable oil or butter, or line them with parchment circles or inserts.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler placed over simmering water, then turn off the heat (or use the microwave, watching carefully!).
Sift the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the hot coffee, sour cream, and vegetable oil with a whisk.
With the mixer on low, add the coffee mixture in a stream to the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 35 seconds. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl several times with a rubber spatula.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium-low speed after each addition until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl each time. Add the chocolate and mix until the batter is uniform in color, about 10 seconds more.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared plans and place them on the center rack of the oven.
Bake until the cake springs back to the touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry (do not wait for a crust to form), 35 to 38 minutes.
Cool the layers in the pans on a rack before frosting.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton together, again!

Johnny Depp is in another Tim Burton movie!

When we heard that he would be starring as Sweeney Todd coming out in theaters this December we were really excited.
They have worked together before, in Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; he voiced the character of Victor the groom in the stop-action animation film, Corpse Bride.

He has been an A-list actor capable of selling tickets just by lending his name to a project; but he also is a gifted actor who gives his all to his craft. I saw him in “The Libertine,” a movie from 2004 where he portrays the Second Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, a poet who fell in and out of the graces of the King. Heavily made up and in prostheses and crutches and a nose piece (the Earl died from the ravages of syphilis and was an unabashed druggie and alcoholic …a rock star in other words), Johnny Depp’s portrayal was a revelation. He looked disgusting yet you could totally understand why his abused and long suffering wife took him back and cuddled with him on his deathbed.

It was not much of a stretch for him to portray my son’s favorite movie character, the conniving drunken Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy–once again the parallels to rock star come to mind. Though the character is sort of a tongue-in-cheek homage to Keith Richards (the Rolling Stone who made a cameo appearance as his father in the third installment) Jack Sparrow may be forever the pirate standard against which all pirate captains will be forever judged.

Once again Johnny Depp dons an English accent and gets to explore the goodness descending/alternating into evil that resides in all human beings as the first fictionalized and most notorious serial killer, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace to find out more about this latest collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.
Click here tovisit the official Sweeney Todd movie site.


“the consequence of a particularly ruinous event.” yeah, ruined my diet, fer sure!

we kept a lot of old recipes, and added a few new ones. the crowd favorite: husband’s New England codfish chowder.

i’ll supply recipes/links later or upon request. it feels like i just ran the Boston Marathon.

starring roast turkey with oyster stuffing, with a fine supporting cast…
brussels sprouts with chestnuts
sweet corn bread
Southern Pride sweet cornbread (special request of my 3littlekids)

cranberry-dried mango sauce
taro rice pud
taro sweet rice pudding by MaMa (Grandma)
shrimp fungus
shrimp with celery and and dried fungus from sis-in-law

20 of us for dinner! it was a tight squeeze…

the remains of the desserts…(it got pretty hectic after dinner, which was so contrary to how i felt: sleepy-tired, almost slumping over at the counter. must be that good old tryptophan!

deep dish apple pie from Cook’s Illustrated
pumpkin cheesecake with streusel topping
pumpkin flan with toasted pumpkin seeds

kids had their own “dessert buffet” with the leftovers…this is #2son’s plate.

my favorite photo:

found at his usual spot, positioned right in front of his favorite shrimp cakes brought by a GooGoo (paternal auntie). later on during dinner, “i don’t know why i feel so full…”

we know why #2son :dash-d-knight: !!!
my brunch the day after
and i am not above rewarding myself with a treat, what i call my “kiss-the-cook” trophy:

happy thanksgiving!!!

our favorite holiday especially when we’re invited to someone’s house and don’t have to host because we get hang out with our family without having to worry about the shopping and the wrapping. it’s Christmas without the presents!

and with turkey instead of any other meat.

i’ve enjoyed this holiday since i arrived here and was given cooking duty when i was 18.

i am no longer the control freak :fryingpan i used to be and i have no objection to being a guest (psst, someone tell my in-laws puh-leezz!). i keep a lot of the old recipes every year, because that’s what thanksgiving is partly about, the looking forward to those tasty dishes that you remember year after year. my kids hint and hint at what they want, and this year they’ve all sat me down and told me, “mom we like cornbread!” and then specified exactly what kind. no bacon , no corn kernels, no scallions, no cheese …just sweet old-fashioned store-bought-like cornbread! ok! that’s easy enough to deliver.

pumpkin flan! apple pie! corn relish! stuffed turkey! i’ll do it!

just remember this is the time to enjoy each other’s company and to kick back and relax with your loved ones. i’ll lift these Thanksgiving graces from Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated’s Holiday Baking issue.

“For what we are about to receive, may our hearts be truly thankful.”

“Bless O Lord this food to our use and us to thy service.”

“Some hae meat and canna eat and some there are that want it;

but we hae meat and we can eat, so let the Lord be thankit.”

(The Selkirk Grace, Robert Burns)

and my favorite…

Bart Simpson: “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.” recipes will follow!


(the way my family pronounces it, and i have to stomp my feet and clap and teach them, “li-TSON!!!” , with feeling!)

based on puerco asado from Cuba.

very easy, tasty!… makes you want to chomp instead of chew daintily…

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home again

The season is upon us…I can attest to this, the November holidays give way to the Thanksgiving onslaught and moves on to the Christmas And New Year’s rush.

It is very easy to give in to the stressful heartrending pressure and whine and moan and go on and on. but surely it is even easier to count your blessings, as my mom always admonishes us, her kids, and revel in each other’s presence.

One way to express this is with holiday greeting cards, those little missives you send at the year’s end. For no matter how good your intentions are sometimes it is just these once-a-year greetings that you can manage to send to your loved ones.
For business owners it is especially important to express appreciation to customers, clients, patrons….

So out you go to the card store, and find the same-old same-old cliched formats and graphics.

How about something new and beautiful and meaningful all at once?

Holiday Cards business has an extensive assortment of Holiday styles to meet every need for business owners.

They also have pledged to send holiday cards to the soldiers giving their all for our country, and to match them with blank cards for the troops to send out to their loved ones. They’ve partnered with Soldier’s Angels which gives comfort and aid to the troops of the United States Armed Forces, and their loving families.

What a heartfelt way to express our appreciation to these brave and loyal men and women whom we would love to get back home.

“sometimes i wonder if i’m ever gonna make it home again
it’s so far and out of sight
i really need someone to talk to, and nobody else
knows how to comfort me tonight”
–carole king

This is a sponsored post.

a new toy

new toy

a new toy to play with! as if in a trance i’ve been trying to follow the instructions of a self appointed famous health guru to reap the benefits of raw fruits and vegetables. first experiment: apples and carrots, in a 4 to 1 ratio. verdict: deliciously sweet! mostly sweet…i better check if this is good for diabetics.

the clean-up’s a teeny bit of a chore but what a great way to drink your vegetables.

just about anywhere

my friend told me about the wonderful “white chocolate bread” recipe she finagled from a Club Med chef…and since that time i’ve been dreaming about a Club Med vacation.
so when the first flurries arrived today…
yep, unbelievable! i thought it was just raining but then it was very cold today. naturally i started thinking about warmer climes, what i wouldn’t do for a treat like a Club Med vacation!
talk about the all-inclusive package, you won’t even need your wallet after you’ve booked everything.
they have packages for families, couples, singles….the only difficulty will be choosing where to go!
i’ve got my heart set on Bora Bora! take the virtual tour…
This is a sponsored post.

squirrel in the rain

i like rain.
but i like rain conditionally.
i like rain when it’s warm. it reminds me of “home.”
i like rain when i’m indoors, sitting on the kitchen chair, sipping my coffee, looking out into the deck and listening to the quiet. (and not having to drive in the dark blinding rain when even the highest speed of the windshield wipers aren’t quick enough to clear the glass for my old myopic eyes).
..and i don’t worry about things, that much, whenever i see how the wild things out there are still able to cope, and take care of themselves… out there.

clear skin at any age

in my foolish youth one of the things i always wished for was clear skin. of course eventually i realized it was something you are born with, and just accept as part of your person. still, it smarts when you see others with seemingly pore-free porcelain smooth complexions.

we siblings were all afflicted with acne in varying degrees of severity. i had an occasional problematic blemish but severe enough to get teased, especially when it hit my nose. (remember Karl Malden?) my siblings were taken to a dermatologist so we all grew up with a strong awareness of how to control and treat acne.

then as now, the best defense against this skin-deep problem with far-reaching psychological effects was…getting educated about the causes of acne. this site helps to bust the myths about it as well. imagine finding out, it has nothing to do with chocolate for example!

as a mother of two teenagers i have been vigilant about my kids’ skin problems and discussed it with their respective M.D.’s. but for a more thorough explanation and to get a better understanding, is an excellent resource in planning out an effective and aggressive defense. this crucial time of teendom when they are feeling their way to adulthood and they become self-conscious about their growing bodies and the way they present themselves might get affected by acne.

in order to treat it, one must first determine what type of acne it is and what condition the skin is in. then anyone can find information on how to get better control over it especially since acne can show up at any point in life, well beyond the teenage years, and not just in your face.