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A “Thumbs Up” Birthday Lunch October 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events.
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27 comments

On BFF’s Birthday, we went to University Town Center for lunch at Seasons 52.

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We ordered Warm Olives with Rosemary & Garlic, Flatbread Pizza, and the Hummus Duo.

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The Margherita pizza was crisp, chewy, and cheesy with lots of fresh basil and tomatoes.

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When the food arrived, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

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We ended lunch with a trio of Mini Indulgences, the signature dessert at Season’s 52.

Make mine Mocha Macchiato!

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BFF ordered two Birthday Desserts ~> Carrot Cake and Chocolate S’Mores.  Yes.  I tasted them both . . . for quality control purposes only!

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Before we walked around the new mall to burn off the excess calories, BFF gave the meal a Thumbs Up!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Top Tips for Tuesday October 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
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39 comments

Tuesday’s Top Tips for weight control:

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1.  Eat things you love at every meal, in moderation, rounding them out with filling, high fiber, nutritious fruits and veggies.

2.  Write down what you eat.  I lost 10 pounds in 12 weeks this Spring by jotting down what I was going to eat BEFORE eating it.  I didn’t tally up fat grams or calories, I just recorded basic quantities and food types.  It kept me focused on my desire to lose weight.

3.  Drink lots of water instead of drinking calories or diet sodas.

4.  Move more ~ walk, bike, swim, or dance in the living room.  But try to do 20-30 minutes of something every day.

* * *

Speaking of veggies, whenever I have LOTS of greens. I saute them with oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to wilt them down and reduce the volume. Then I freeze in 2 cup portions for soups, stews, and sides.  Delicious stirred into mashed potatoes, rice, or other grains.

I do the same thing when I have lots of peppers and onions.

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* * *

Bonus Tip (for Road Trips):  Bring a bucket of cat litter for “emergencies.”

Perfect when traveling in a blizzard with no bathrooms in sight.  Easier than aiming at an empty coffee cup (or trying to stop the flow when the cup threatens to overflow).

For more tips on “going with the flow” ~> When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go (My Years Of Sweat).

And, now, you’ll have to excuse me. I am laughing too hard to “contain myself.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Case of the Stolen Stollen October 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Word Play.
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34 comments

Mystery Ride5bMy maternal grandfather loved puns, crosswords, and word play . . . like Toyota = Toy Auto.

He also loved Stollen Bread and received a loaf from my mother every Christmas for as long as he lived.

When I read Nancy Curteman’s post on Global Mysteries about The Isle of Guernsey, it struck me that the ingredients for a Guernsey Gache sounded like those for Stollen Bread.

I wondered whether the similarities stemmed from German occupation of Guernsey during World War II.

Could it be The Case of the Stolen Stollen?

There’s a mystery for Miss Marple!

Aah . . . that’s better!

ACK! I said the C-word and it’s not even half-past Halloween.

Puts fingers in ears and hums “LA~LA~LA~LA~LA” to drown out premature mention of the advent. :mrgreen:

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies October 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
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40 comments

This recipe comes to you courtesy of Nancy (“Keep moving!”) Tex:

They say it’s your birthday
Happy Birthday to Ya!

Happy Birthday NT!

* * *

As I read NT’s post, When Chickpeas and Chocolate Chips Collide, I knew I had to give these healthy high fiber cookies a try . . . with a few modifications because I am (a) a lazy cook who (b) loves rum:

* The recipe called for natural peanut butter.  I hate measuring peanut butter. With a passion.  It’s so S~T~I~C~K~Y!  I substituted 3/4 c. roasted salted peanuts (ground up peanuts => natural peanut butter).

* The recipe called for vanilla extract.  I’m not a baker and don’t keep vanilla extract in the pantry.   I do keep rum around.  Rum => Yum!

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 1 1/2 c. chickpeas (15 oz. can, drained and rinsed) with 3/4 c. roasted salted peanuts.  Pulse in your processor until almost smooth.

Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or rum), 1/4 c. honey (or agave or maple syrup), and 1 tsp baking powder.  Process until mixture forms a dough ball.

Toss the dough ball into a bowl.

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Add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Fold the chips into the dough.

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Form into 1 1/2″ balls and place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

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Tip:  Use an ice cream scoop to scoop up the dough.

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Press the tops down with a fork.

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Bake for 10 minutes.  Try one to see if it’s done.

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Press the tops down (again) and bake for 2 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.

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These are not quite as good as Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies BUT they are MUCH better for you.

They omit the empty calories (butter, white flour, and white sugar) and add in good-for-you protein and fiber from both peanuts and garbanzo beans.

Enjoy them.  Guilt free.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you’re allergic to peanuts, you might try these with almonds and Amaretto or hazelnuts and Frangelica.

Multi-Grain Medley & Squash October 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
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27 comments

Minute Rice has a new Multi-Grain Medley of Brown Rice, Wheat, Quinoi, Rye, Oats, and Barley.

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Intrigued, I picked up a packet ~ 6 grams of fiber per serving.  Awesome!  By way of comparison, plain white rice has a scant 1 gram of fiber per serving.

I haven’t bought Minute Rice since before Ronald Reagan was President, but I decided to give the Multi-Grain Medley a try because the idea of cooking up Brown Rice, Wheat, Quinoi, Rye, Oats, AND Barley seemed too time intensive.

In contrast, the Minute Rice Medley takes only a minute to heat and eat.

Multi-Grain Medley & Summer Squash

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Saute onion, carrot, celery in olive oil.  Add sliced summer squash.  Cook until tender. Stir in 2 cups cooked grain (rice, barley, quinoi, or multi-grain medley).

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Season with salt, garlic, and turmeric (or 1/2 c. of Tikki Masala).

Add a healthy splash of wine.  Toss in some raisins.  Let it simmer until the raisins plump.

If you have cooked green beans hanging around, toss them into the mix.

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Sprinkle some peanuts on top to add crunch factor.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Rooftop Happy Hour October 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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51 comments

On Sunday, as we headed back to our car, I snapped this inviting bench outside a local watering hole.

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Caught up in the flow of the day, the bench caused an immediate craving for a cold adult beverage.  So we headed to the Chart House to enjoy Happy Hour under the impossibly blue sky.

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Situated on the Rooftop Deck, we ordered a trio of appetizers and two drinks.

I planned to take a photo when they arrived, but I forgot.  So instead of a gorgeous presentation like this:

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Or like this:

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Or like this:

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I snapped the last two Fried Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Basil Aioli:

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And the tail end of the plate of yummy Hummus:

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And the last few Truffled Fries and Friends (after the Friends got eaten):

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So you’ll have to take my word for it ~ they looked as good as they tasted!

Aah . . . that’s better!

How NOT To Cook A Turkey October 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Humor.
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36 comments

In letters written by my grandfather to dad in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, my grandfather mentioned getting up early to dress the turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

Most years, his calculations resulted in a stuffed bird ready to be eaten at the appointed hour.

But not always.

In 1971, he wrote my dad the day after Christmas to say:

The Royces were here in time for the gifts.  Previously, I started the turkey at 5:45.  Let it rest in the oven during gifts.

When I took it out it was OK ~ OK but the meat was off the bone, in the bottom of the roaster, all ready to lift out with a fork.  Which I did and filled the platter with delicate hunks.

The dressing was contained by the skeleton and I could see right in to get it out fine.  The dressing was dry and well seasoned with sage from the garden.   They were so hungry by then it was a big success and they cleaned the platter.

It was a happy day.

In the same letter, he shared a moment about his wife Margaret’s Christmas:

She insisted she could not be happy with anything except a new toilet seat.  I tried to tell her what a good one the old one was.

No Soap.  It just had to be.

I dangled a new watch, diamonds, a few dresses, another coat ~ No, A Toilet Seat.

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I had Hi bring one down from Shepards.  I worked all one forenoon trying to remove the old.  It clung to its position till in desperation I cut the bolts with a hacksaw.

The new one went on better and Margaret got a new set of table linen for it.  It sure looks nice especially the bib about the base.

I don’t long for the old days and old ways.  I recall how the wind whistled in the olds . . . out in the shed.

Public Toilets ~ Wikipedia (in Public Domain)

Aah . . . indoor plumbing . . . that’s better!

Mint Juleps September 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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32 comments

Although I’ve mentioned Mint Juleps in a number of posts, I’ve never shared the recipe ~ a fact I discovered when I offered to share it with Kate Shrewsday after her recent visit to Charleston.

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Mint Julep

1 jigger (more or less) Simple Syrup with Mint
1 jigger bourbon
crushed ice

Fill a tall glass or silver julep cup with crushed ice.  Add a jigger of Simple Syrup and a jigger of bourbon.  Stir.  Ice will melt and meld with the drink.

Garnish with 2-4 large sprigs of fresh mint.  Sip, don’t gulp.

Simple Syrup

Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 1/2 cup sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.  Stir in 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves (or, in a pinch, 1/4 c. dried mint).

Chill at least 4 hours.  Strain. Store covered in the fridge.  Makes about 3/4 cup ~ enough for 3-6 Mint Juleps.

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Aah . . . that’s better! 

The Benjamin Franklin Diet September 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
Tags: , , , ,
36 comments

While scouting the library stacks for inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting diet book . . .

I added it to the stack of books in my arms, ignoring the oft quoted adage and admonition . . . “neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

At home, I settled down to learn about Ben’s diet.

* At a young age, Ben swore off meat and quaffing pints of ale so as to have more money to spend on books.

* In so doing, he noted that he felt better and had greater mental clarity after meals consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

* He also noticed that he felt better when he exercised for 15 minutes before each meal.  If the weather wasn’t being cooperative, he spent his 15 minutes leaping inside the house ~ forward and back or side to side.

In addition to the fascinating narrative of Ben’s life philosophy, the author, Kelly Wright, collected and shared a number of colonial recipes for grains, soups, stews, game, and sweet fare, including:  Hasty Pudding, Dauphiny Soup, Oatcakes, Classic Colonial Bread, Hoecakes, Tavern Bread, and Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese Spread.

Inspired, I whipped up a loaf of Mrs. Wright’s Beer Bread in minutes.

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Combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt.  Stir in a bottle (12 ounces) of beer or ale.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

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“Hunger never saw bad bread.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Delighted with the result, I followed Ben’s lead and leaped and leapt about.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

To learn more:  The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Book) * The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Website)

Jalapeno Cornbread September 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
Tags: , , ,
33 comments

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Yes . . . we are continuing to carb load.

Man cannot live by bagels alone!

Jalapeno Cornbread

Heat over to 425 degrees.

Grease baking dish with butter or oil and place in oven to pre-heat. I use a round pottery baking dish but a 8-9″ square baking dish would work.

1 1/4 c. stoneground cornmeal
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder (or 1 tsp. and 1 egg)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2-4 tsp. sugar (or brown sugar)

Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl.

1 1/2 c. almond milk
2 T. butter (or 1 T. oil)
5-6 roasted jalapenos (or 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes)

Whisk wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Pour into heated baking pan. Bake 25 minutes at 425.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

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