Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh Oh Oh

That is the letter for this week's Alphabe-Thursday over at Jenny Matlock.  The first thing that came to mind was

Oprah Winfrey

Yes, The Big O herself.  (She looks good in the color orange). Oh boy, do I miss her show in the late afternoon.  I often dreamed of getting tickets for her show, and offered a little prayer to be in the audience on the day it was Oprah's Favorite Things!  Ms. O overcame many obstacles in her early years to get where she is.  Oprah was never too ostentatious, and felt obligated to pay it forward.  The Oprah Show officially ended in May, but we have her new network, OWN.  Hope the ratings improve, only time will tell.  Oprah will never disappear into obscurity.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summertime Blues

No, I am not complaining, I would rather this weather than what we had during the winter.  As long as there are no power outages, all is well.

I took another class at the Alice Austen Museum last Saturday.  There  are always plenty of photo opportunities there.  During the class, there was a wedding on the front lawn.   I could not resist snapping a few photos.  What is it about a wedding that draws you in, even when the people involved are total strangers?  For me, it was the hydrangeas in the bouquets and the color and style of the bridesmaids' dresses.

Luckily the musicians were in the shade

The scene stealers :)

Went by so quickly, but I loved the chignon
Love the expression on the little one's face

Penny for their thoughts!  When will it be my day?, they might be thinking   :)
What's wrong, Daddy?  she seems to be saying
On her way to a new life.........blessings to the young couple

There are always flowers blooming in the garden.  Many diligent volunteers work hard to keep everything beautiful.

Verrazano Bridge ( looking at Brooklyn across the water)  and war memorial

A slightly clearer shot of Manhattan than the one I was able to take back in June.  If you missed that post click here.

I will be linking up with 

Stay cool!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sixteen, but not so sweet......... and a Winner!!

Edited to say I am joining the new meme at Five Minutes Just For Me

<><><><><><><> <> <><><><><><>
bird·brain (bûrdbrn)
n. Slang
A person regarded as silly or stupid.

birdbrained adj.

I felt the need to preface today's post with a definition and a link to an article which states "big city living" can wreak havoc on your mental state.  It might clear up a few things.

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

                                                              - George Bernard Shaw                                                                                                                                                            

So, without further ado, I bring you Kiwi's Sweet 16 birthday bash!

Everybirdy's welcome!

Pearlie, get out of the shot!

We all know I am the photogenic one in this flock!

Will this crown make me look fat?

No way, Jose!

What's a birthday party without balloons?

And a "tablescape"

Cutlery not necessary!

Of course there must be  presents

All cash, no seeds!

And birthday "cupcakes"  Thanks Auntie T.!  (For a recipe for safe birdy muffins (people like them too!)  click here )

Cupcakes by but not for birdies :(

We hope you brought your dancing shoes!  This is our dance favorite!

Wait, the party's not over yet!    We need to pick the winner of our first giveaway!

We love our followers!!

The birthday bird helped picked the winner.

Next time get the Random Generator!
And the winner is

La, from A Musing Potpourri

Congratulations, La!  Please email me your address and I will send this right out to you.  If you need clip-ons, let me know, otherwise the earrings are for pierced ears.

Thanks for joining us for Kiwi's Sweet 16, and our first giveaway!  


Saturday, July 16, 2011

I scream You Scream

We all scream for ice cream!     Nothing says summer to me more than ice cream.  When I was a child I could barely eat a bite of my dinner, for as soon as I heard the ringing bells of the Good Humor truck, I was out the door like a lightning bolt.  The ice cream man's name was Phil, and he drove the truck from April 1st until October 1st.  An ice cream pop was 15 cents.  My father would give me a quarter each night, and  I would go on a ride that came around each evening, for 10 cents, and have the rest for my treat.  

When the family would go on a road trip, we always stayed at a Howard Johnson motel.  I was fascinated by the bright orange roof, the swimming pool at the back of the "motor lodge", and, most importantly, their restaurant offered a whopping 28 flavors of ice cream!  Not that it mattered, I always wanted chocolate, with sprinkles.  I still remember my father only ordered vanilla, my mom was a coffee flavor girl, my aunt (always watching her weight) would get sherbet.  Sometimes she would chill and order pistachio.  My uncle was a butter pecan kind of guy.  

When La,  of A Musing Potpourri,  announced her ice cream social for National Ice Cream Day on July 17th, I couldn't narrow it down to one ice cream treat for this post.  I did my top three favorite ice cream desserts, in no particular order:

A root beer float.  One of my first dates when I was in high school was to drive over the Verrazano bridge to Staten Island, play a round of miniature golf, and stop at A&W's drive-thru for a clam roll and root beer float.  The waitresses were definitely "older" but they wore roller skates!  They would glide up to the car, take your order, and roll back carrying your tray.  You could also speak into a little metal box if they didn't notice your car sitting there.

The foam fizzled fast!

These glasses have to be 60 plus years.  There are no markings, but they have a Quaker couple on one side and a church on the other.  I used to call them "Pilgrim" glasses, later on I referred to them as "Sunday " glasses (because of the church).  My mother told me they were for ice cream sodas.  

A hot mess but oh so good!
Next up, peach melba.  This is an easy version.  I used frozen raspberries, put them in the microwave, added sweetener (I used agave) and poured the warm sauce over canned peach slices and a scoop of vanilla.  You can certainly use fresh berries, fresh peaches, grilled peaches, etc.  But I'm lazy.  The dishes and spoons I bought from Lillian Vernon years ago.

Last but not least, a black raspberry ice cream pie, with cream and lemon curd topping in a sugar cone crust.  This recipe is adapted from the Gingercreek Cooking School in New Jersey (they are very small and have no website). 

Original recipe called for strawberry ice cream with lime curd.  I could not find either strawberry ice cream (?!) or lime curd, and I checked several stores.  The conical ice cream scoop is an homage to Howard Johnson, as their scoops were always triangular, not rounded.  My scoops failed as it wouldn't release easily.

Wrapped in plastic to keep in freezer until I made the topping
You need a box of 12 sugar cones, crush them in a food processor and add 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted, press in bottom and up sides of a 9-in. pie plate.  Put in freezer until cold.  Add scoops of softened ice cream pressing down and smoothing the top.  I used about half of a half-gallon container.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and put back in the freezer.  Whip an 8 oz. container of whipping cream til soft peaks, carefully fold in lemon curd (I used half of a 10 oz. jar), whip lightly to combine and spread over pie.  Serve immediately or re-wrap and store in freezer.

These desserts were prepared over the course of a week, not all in one day :-) .  Just sayin'.  

I hope you enjoyed them.  I will be joining the following linky parties.  Please be sweet and drop by.  A big thank you to all our hostesses.

I put the slice back!  I felt a little guilty, and I want to save this for a special houseguest

Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cook Along with Bobby Flay

The 15th of each month, Lynn of Happier Than A Pig in Mud hosts the Celebrity Cook Along.   July's "guest chef" is the very handsome, redhead celebrity chef,  Bobby Flay.   Lynn has teamed up with blogging buddy Jo, at Lazy On Loblolly, for a fun giveaway, one of Bobby's cookbooks, "Grilling for Life".

Grillin' and Chillin', Boy Meets Grill, Throw Down, Brunch At Bobby's, just some of the cooking shows over the years hosted by Bobby Flay.  I had the pleasure of dining at one of his restaurants a couple of years ago, Bar Americain, on West 52nd Street in New York City.  It was one of my more memorable restaurant meals, a melt-in- your-mouth sliced steak sandwich served with the best French fries that were perfectly seasoned.  Service was excellent, even though the restaurant was packed with business people having lunch.   It was my pre-blogging days, so I wouldn't even carry a camera around, let alone snap photos of my dinner plate.  My, how things have changed.   We inquired but Bobby was not in the house that day.

I guess I fell into cooking.   -  Bobby Flay

While I admire Bobby very much, and look forward to eating in one of his restaurants soon,  I don't have any of his cookbooks.  I have been searching for recipes at Food Network and Bobby's website.   I must admit I am feeling somewhat lazy and not in cooking mode at all.  Maybe it is the heat, or just summertime blues.    Keeping it real  :).  Blogger has me in ranting mode, too, but that is another post.  I found two recipes that were easy, cool and refreshing, did not require a grill or oven,  and just a simple jalapeno pepper!  I made half of each recipe for myself.

Who can resist creamy guacamole and tortilla chips, while sipping an icy cold limeade?  Not me, that's for sure!

Bobby Flay's Guacamole

4 ripe Hass avocados - peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
2 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. canola oil
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and fresh cilantro.

Blender was running but hard to tell!

Bobby Flay's Limeade
serves 4

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh cold lime juice*
1 lime zested
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/4 cup tequila**
crushed ice
lime wedges for garnish

  (*)    I used about 8 limes to get half a cup-they were rather small, next time I will use bottled

  (**)  I did not add tequila

1.  Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook til sugar melts; transfer to a bowl set over a bowl of ice and stir to cool down.

2.  Place lime juice, zest and water in a large bowl.  Add simple sugar to taste.

3.  Put 2 cups lime juice mixture, 1/4  to 1/2 cup tequila (to taste), if using, with 1 cup of crushed ice in a blender.  Pour into tall glasses and garnish with lime wedge.

I bought the chips at Wegman's and they are really tasty,  all natural, and one might become convinced that they are a healthier choice.  I chose blue corn because Bobby is a big fan of it.  The jalapeno chips were good with just a hint of heat. 

It's what's for dinner tonight

Please be sure to stop by and see the other Flay recipes  at Happier Than a Pig in Mud and to enter the contest at LazyonLoblolly.

I will also be joining Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Any Day Out and About With a Friend Is Good

The road to a friend's house is never long.

                              - Danish proverb

I once received one of those annoying emails that asks personal questions and you are supposed to forward to a dozen people if you want to avoid the doom and gloom that might spill down upon your head if you don't, and one question was "what is your favorite day of the week?"  My answer to that was "any day that I am out and about with friends." 

One of my favorite days would be meeting my friend, L., who lives in New Jersey, just a 25 minute car ride for me.  We never know for sure where we will wind up, it could be a farmers' market or a gourmet food store, Whole Foods, Tuesday Morning, Stein-Mart, Home Goods, Michael's Crafts, all within a 5-mile radius of L's home.  We have been known to conquer all of these places in one afternoon, too.  I seem to enjoy boosting the economy of the state of New Jersey.

Sometimes I have a 'personal tag sale', where L. and her husband, L. , offer items they no longer want or use.  I am always happy to take items off their hands.  I work these items in to posts when I can. 

We always discuss our plants, and even with a small patio, Mr. L.  manages to get lots of tomatoes and herbs.

Check out the size of the parsley leaves!  I didn't plant this year, my outdoor faucet took a hissy fit and I need to find a decent plumber, so I enjoyed seeing their pots.

Our day always includes lunch at our favorite spot, Rigoletto.

It is on Route 35 in Red Bank, New Jersey.  If you find yourself in the area, stop in.  You won't be disappointed. 

We love their Caesar salad with pistachio crusted chicken or shrimp. 

I went with the shrimp and strawberries sprinkled on top

L. stayed loyal to the pistachio chicken

The owner's wife, Maria,  is usually our waitress.  I asked if she would 'share' her recipe for my blog.  She laughed and then looked at me and asked "What's a blog?"  Sorry, guys, I will try to noodle this one out and if it comes close, I'll share.

We often look over vintage items from L.'s mom, and arrange them in little vignettes for our enjoyment.  We reminisce about the good old days.

sugar & creamer are J-Bros with the castle
s&p is unmarked but very very old

We usually finish the day with a cup of espresso that Mr. L. has all ready for us when we return.  In my haste to drink my espresso, I neglected to take a photo!

Sometimes, it is the simple things that give us the most pleasure. 

Thanks, L and L, looking forward to next time!

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