Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dream a Little Dream


I dream just about every night


Most are pleasant


Some are thought provoking


Some are scary


They say if you dream of someone you no longer see, it means they are missing you


We were all our parents' dreams at one time


All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.       -  Walt Disney


Don't follow your dreams, chase them.   - Richard Dumb (I kid you not this is his name)


Don't let dreams always be dreams.

Here is a site that gives meaning to dreams.  I refer to it time and again.  It is a great resource 



Joining Natasha at 5 Minutes Just for Me for Singing and Pinning on the Weekend, and of course, the very delightful Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday's Letter D.   

Thanks to Doris Day, and  I am done.

"Don't marry the man of your dreams. Marry the man who can buy all of your dreams."
                                                                                                           - found on Twitter

xo

All photos on Pinterest

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Evening at the Theatre

I am not usually a frivolous person, but I do enjoy pop culture.  



I also like a nice cocktail reception.






I apologize for the dark photos but the room was lit mostly with candles and my point-and-shoot camera couldn't handle   it.  Also, just when I thought I had a good clear view, people would step right in front of you.  The nerve!  




I may have mentioned a certain actor whom I have had a crush on admired for the past 25 years.  


He is even nicer looking in person with a really nice complexion


He is a home boy, having grown up in the NYC suburb of Massapequa, Long Island.   My friend Kathleen J. went to the high school where his dad taught history.  She said there is a  strong resemblance.  (Kathy, I told him this!)


Alec Baldwin


On November 21st, I had the pleasure of seeing Alec Baldwin on the stage at the Two River Theatre Company in New Jersey.  It was a one-night-only performance called Unplugged.  My friend and I were also given access to a cocktail reception before hand, and were introduced to him.  




Alec, Michael Cumpsty and the Two River Theatre's creative director, John Dias, discussed films and roles, playwrights, and answered audience questions and did readings.    Michael is an accomplished Shakespearean actor, as well as acting on television and in movies.  This was a benefit for the theatre and I really enjoyed it.  


John Dias, creative director of Two River and Alec 

Only shot of Michael Cumpsty,  r.
I was a nervous wreck and just took photos when I could.  But my friend Lily was brave and decided to go up to Baldwin and let him know that her friend was a fan of his for years.  She was adamant that we get a photo together.  He asked what my name was and we chatted briefly.  I hope I wasn't too much of a babbling fool.  I get tongue tied around one of the sexiest men in America famous people. 


MY FRIEND Lily and Alec
And I am still camera shy!  




As we were leaving, Lily said to me, "Not bad for two girls from Brooklyn, out hobnobbing like this"...................indeed.




Joining Seasonal Sundays at the Tablescaper here


xo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
                                                                      








I am grateful to God, for the parents who gave me life, for my family and friends, both here and in Heaven, the jobs that I have held that paid my bills, (and where I met several very dear buds), my pets and for my wonderful followers and authors of the blogs I follow.  You bring so much to my daily life, more than you realize.  






Enjoy Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.  Mwah!


xo



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rolling right along for Thanksgiving

This year, I am getting as much done as I possibly can..... today I did the turkey gravy.  The one thing that is a 'hit or a miss' for me.  I found the recipe on a wonderful blog that I follow - Octoberfarm.  Jaz is a phenomenal cook, and she cooks for quite a few people as she does home catering for various functions.




I bought these huge turkey wings and baked them for an hour.


Then you put all this goodness in a pot with celery, chicken stock, and fresh herbs (I used sage, tarragon, chervil, marjoram, parsley) and let it simmer for several hours.    After that time you strain the solids, whip up a slurry and blend it in, strain any lumps, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, pack it up and pop in the freezer.  


For a complete tutorial and full recipe with great step-by-step photos, visit Jaz here and here.  Tell her I said "hi".


I also started the filling for my pumpkin pie.  I bought a sugar pumpkin which I forgot to take a photo of it before I cut it up.


I cut it in pieces and baked in a 400 degree oven til knife went in easily.  Then I scooped it off the peel and put it in the food processor.  A 2 1/2 pound pumpkin (approx) gave me two firmly packed cups of pumpkin puree.


No seasoning added to the pumpkin at this point.  I also realized I needed to go to the store.  ugh  My bird Kiwi was making so much noise until I gave her some of this -she loves pumpkin.







I use Libby's famous pumpkin pie recipe and have for more than 25 years, nothing like a classic I say.  I have tried others, but, always come back to this one.


Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

1 can (15 oz.)  pumpkin 
(or 2 firmly packed cups cooked pumpkin)
1 (9-in) pie shell, unbaked
3/4 cup sugar (I use dark brown)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (my little twist on it) optional
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix sugar, salt and spices in small bowl.  Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mix.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour in pie shell and bake 15 minutes.   Reduce heat to 350F and bake 40 - 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of the pie comes out clean.  Cool and refrigerate.  


I will freeze the filling in the shape of the pie shell until I bake it on Wednesday evening.


I will be sharing this with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.


Happy Thanksgiving!


xo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cemetery and Cranberries

I must have passed this old church hundreds of times but never thought of it as a photo op


nice shadow and the sky really is that blue
It is Bethel United Methodist Church located in the Tottenville community of Staten Island, NY.  There is a small cemetery with tombstones dated in the 1800's and some earlier.




This tombstone is lying down flat and sideways.






This headless statue caught my eye.  There has to be a story behind this!




This sign also caught my eye




Unfortunately, I was not permitted to take photos inside.  People were enjoying a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings prepared by the ladies' auxiliary.  They also sell baked goods, preserves (all edibles made with cranberries), crafts, children's toys and Christmas items.




The coordinators of the festival go to a cranberry bog in New Jersey to buy the berries.  They sell them  1 lb/$2.  I bought two pounds.  I also bought these sugar-free cranberry orange muffins.  Not bad with a cup of tea.


Angel of Hospitality
My favorite side dish - cranberry sauce - can be made ahead, it only gets more flavorful sitting in the fridge.  This recipe is a compilation of different add-ins and flavors I have experimented with over the years.  The addition of the apple turns it into a jelly rather than a sauce, so either add it right before serving or omit.


My Favorite Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
juice and zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2-3 whole cloves, stick them on a large strip of peel so easy to remove later
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Chambord (optional)


Place the cranberries, sugar, juices and zest, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves in a pot, bring to a boil.  If necessary, add up to 1/3 cup water (I did not).  




Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes.  Most cranberries will pop , some won't.  Remove from heat and when cool, stir in walnuts, apple (it will firm up from the pectin), and liqueur if using.  




Keep in the fridge in a glass bowl, covered.  This will be transferred to my turkey compote dish, photos later.


I will be joining Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday's Letter C, Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday, 2805 for Potpourri Friday, and The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.


xo






Saturday, November 12, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

I love to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving.  I always serve soup, sometimes two types, depending on the number of guests.


white acorn squash
This is one holiday where I refrain from antipasto and pasta.  Contrary to my family's way of thinking, I realized that the Pilgrims did not bring pepperoni and provolone with them on the Mayflower!  


My mother and grandmother would make soup using turkey parts or just regular chicken soup, dressed up with tiny meatballs, escarole, and pasta.  We would be so filled up we couldn't eat another bite.    While I love this soup, I make it after the holiday and freeze it and enjoy it during the winter.


This is one of my favorites that I will be serving this year.  


Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

2 small acorn squash, scrubbed & cut into 4-6 sections
1 large onion, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
1 small head of garlic
2-3 T. olive oil
dried rosemary, salt & pepper
1-2 T. butter, optional
5-6 cups chicken stock

Place the squash slices and onion on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Coat with olive oil and season lightly with s&p and rosemary.  Remove a thin slice from the top of the garlic, drizzle with oil and wrap in foil, place on baking sheet.  




Roast in a 425 degree oven about 30 minutes, without turning, or until bottoms are nicely browned.




Place veggies along with the butter, if using, in a small stockpot, squeeze garlic into the pot and pour in the stock.  Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer til heated through.  Puree soup with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a blender.  Keeps in fridge three days or freeze until needed.   Makes 8-10 servings  (recipe adapted from Gingercreek Cooking School)


top with bacon, onions, croutons, creme fraiche etc.

Soup course for Thanksgiving:  Done 


I will be sharing this recipe with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays, Stone Gable for On the Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday2805 for Potpourri Friday and Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.  Thank you, ladies, for hosting these wonderful weekly parties.


xo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday

Sometimes, a blog post just falls in your lap




Having lunch in Red Bank, New Jersey at Basil T's Brewery and Italian Grille








A bounty of big Jersey tomatoes




I started with a roasted beet salad, both red and golden beets, sliced paper thin, with green beans, jicama and buttery goat cheese




No butter for our bread,  but first pressed extra virgin olive oil




Homemade pappardelle pasta with a delicious bolognese sauce




We had dessert at home




Alec Baldwin, Ben & Jerry's inspiration for their new flavor, based on a Saturday Night Live skit back in 1998.  (He inspires me, too, but that is a whole other post)  ;-)




Vanilla ice cream with rum balls and malt balls swirled in


Definitely enough "B" words to qualify for Week 2 of Round 4 of Alphabe-Thursday at Jenny Matlock.


xo


Thanks again, Lil!  
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