November 30, 2010

Archie and Edith....well, almost!

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No food today.  Today's topic is Grumpy.  He sometimes likes to make me think he's a He-Man.  That he's not soft in anyway.  Something happened the other night - you know, a rare moment.  If I'm not here with another post soon, you will know that my tattle tailing has gotten me in trouble! 
Grumpy can be a tough outside exterior but really, he's does have a soft side.  He just doesn't show it much - if he can help it.  Grumpy likes to come off tough.  He likes to think he's "the boss of me" but I'm a strong willed woman.  I fight it.  So, in our joking ways, he tells me to do something and because he's "telling" me, I tell him to kiss my, well....derriere.  ;-)  I've compared us to Edith and Archie Bunker before, but in all reality - he is Archie...but me?  Well, I'm no meek Edith running around waiting on him hand and foot saying "yes Grumpy"!  Ok, ok, so I do wait on him hand and foot - but I'm not a yes girl!  If I don't want to do something - you can't make me do it.  Grumpy got a run for his money when he married me!

Earlier this weekend he was being his "bossy" self and I was at the point where I just was sick of it.  The joking was getting to be too much for me so I told him he was "mean and misearble" and that he needed to stop being so bossy/forceful with me.  He let up (although not entirely - he wouldn't be Grumpy if he did that!).  Later that evening we were in our usual spot - in bed with the TV on....Grumpy watching TV (or so I thought) and me, almost out of it.  All it takes for me to go to sleep is to lie down.  I'm like one of those dolls with the moveable eyes.  Lie me down, my eyes shut.  Sit me up, I'm wide awake. 

I was just about into a good sleep when I heard Grumpy say "You don't really think I'm mean do you?  You know I'm not being mean that I'm not serious and I'm just I am teasing you, right?" I'm of course semi stupor but his comments made me wake right up.  Grumpy was actually thinking about what I had said to him.  He then told me "I want you to know that I'm not being mean.  I would hate to have you believe I was being mean on purpose and maybe have me just not come home someday."  He was thinking about how he loves to hunt, and of course, living in a new area, hunting on state land (which isn't always the safest) and how he has to be on the road so much for his job - and maybe someday he didn't make it home.  He was reassuring me that he loved me.

That was all I needed to hear.  It was enough for me to be able to take the teasing again (within reason!  lol).  Sometimes I just get tired and don't want to have to have a "come back".  Maybe its because I'm getting older.  I don't know.  However, it is those moments like that evening when Grumpy opens his heart that makes it worth while and enough for me to realize that he does have a soft heart, he just doesn't like to share it. 

It's also enough for me to know that giving him my heart was not the wrong thing to do.  I really do love my Grumpy.

November 28, 2010

Almond Filled Bonbons - not the candy kind!

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Every year I love making cookie recipes that are "different".  Ones that not everyone else is making (or that I can see they aren't making them...)  I am always attracted to cookies that have ingredients such as browned butter, Grey Sea Salt, caramel, almond, rum, chocolate, mint.....and the list can go on and on....

Years ago, I remember Price Chopper used to carry these Almond Croissants.  You could only buy them on Sunday because that is the only day of the week they would make them.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they stopped making them. I'm sure they were far from low fat being a croissant and all. 

I have never forgotten that yummy treat.  I would buy 3 or 4 whenever I happened to be there on a Sunday and they had them out.  Then, while I was particapting in the Daring Baker's, we made the Danish Braids - which turned out much like my coveted crossiants as I used the almond filling in my braid.  Yummy!  However, I'm lazy, and making those braids are too much work for me unless it is a really special occasion.  So, most of the time I just  "dream" about almond filled treats.
Until today.

I decided that I was going to make a bonbon - a cookie that was filled with almond paste and glazed with an amaretto glaze then decorated festively.

Oh my goodness.  If your an almond fan then these easy to put together cookies are a must make for your cookie tray this year!  I'm packing these up today and putting them in the freezer until we head north this weekend to visit family and take care of business.  I'll be sharing with the kids....and I especially know Justin will love this one!

What cookies are you making this year?  Fill out the link form below and share your favorites with me!  Feel free to leave a link to your own page or someone else's!  I will start out by guiding you to some of my very favorites from the years past!  Enjoy!


Almond Filled Bonbons

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
8 oz almond paste

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 tablespoons amaretto (cause I'm a boozy kinda girl - you can use milk if you wish - but if you do, add some flavoring - almond or vanilla would work!)
Decorator sugars

Preheat oven to 375.  Using electric hand mixer, mix butter, sugars, flour and milk.  Dough will be stiff.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out a scant tablespoon of dough.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out a teaspoon of almond paste.  Shape dough into a ball, covering the teaspoon of almond paste.  You should get close to 4 dozen cookies using this method.

Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until set and bottom is golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool.

Make glaze and spread over top of cooled cookie.  Sprinkle with decorator sugars and enjoy!

November 25, 2010

A heart full of love can sometimes make you cry....

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I can't speak for fathers, but I can certainly speak for mothers....our children are our life, our heart and soul.  As I sit here on this Thanksgiving morning I feel empty.  Empty because I am spending a holiday not even close to my children.  While I am sad about it I have some comfort knowing that they are not alone and will be spending time with people who love them.  I will talk to them today and I will anticipate seeing them soon - and especially look forward to having them with us at Christmas time this year. 

I think of the mornings when my boys were little and I would be up early prepping the holiday meal or at least putting together what I would be taking to dinner if I wasn't hosting.  Thier sweet little sound when they would come downstairs in the morning, give me a hug and say "I love you mommy".  My little boys, who are all grown up, will always be in my heart who they were from day one of their lives.  Precious, sweet, adorable, thoughtful and loving children that I am blessed to have in my life.  It is amazing the love one can feel for someone else, but it is even more amazing the bond between a mother and child.  It touches my heart so deep knowing that my sons are not afraid to show me they love me.  They have hearts and are compassionate young men - and I know they love me as deeply as I love them.  For that I will be forever thankful.

So, while I may shed a few tears because I am not within reach of their hugs today, I anticipate when I will see them and will remember all the years we have been together on this holiday.....and know that there will be many more to come. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the heart & home of
The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch!

November 20, 2010

The Pride of NY Harvest Fest - Albany, NY

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Last Saturday my friend Theresa came to visit me and we went to The Pride of  NY Harvest Festival.  We spent a couple of hours there sampling several different wines, cheese, sauces, yogurt, cookies, candies, popcorn, etc!  It was a great time and I enjoyed talking to several people while I was there.  One company in particular that I spoke with was Open Sesame.

Prior to going to the Havest Festival I did a little research on who would be there.  One of the first places I found who interested me was Jill's Kitchen.  I sent an email to Jill to let her know I was going to be there and was looking forward to meeting her and trying out her sauce.  As many of you well know, I am a pasta fanatic and I am really a pasta with out the red sauce kind of girl.  I am also a lover of anything spicy and sweet so I could not wait to try this sauce!  There are two flavors - mild and spicy.  Both are delicious but my preference is the spicy.  I already had in my mind before I left the festival what I was going to do with this sauce!  Check out Jill's site (link above) and also check out her facebook page.  I'm sure this is a product you would love!  It is so easy and so yummy!  Not only the way I used it in my recipe below, but drizzled over popcorn too!   Thanks Jill for all the hard work you put into developing your delicious product - and here is my recipe to share with you all!

Open Sesame Noodles Tofu, Red Peppers and Cilantro 

This recipe can be modified to use shrimp or chicken,  I also chose to use a mixture of both sauces in the recipe - however you can use it to enjoy it anyway you wish!

6 oz. dry pasta (I used regular spaghetti), cooked according to package directions
1 brick extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes
1/2 cup mild Open Sesame Sauce
1/2 cup spicy Open Sesame Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Fry tofu in non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray until crisp on all sides.  While tofu is cooking, mix sauces and sugar.  Stir into tofu mixture along with peppers.  Toss with Pasta and sprink with cilantro.  Serve & enjoy!

****disclaimer - Jills Kitchen did not compensate me in anyway for this post.  I chose to purchase the product and try it on my own.  You are only receiving this review because I thoroughly enjoyed the product and recommend it to you, my readers****

November 16, 2010

Oh Candy, candy, candy! (prounce that without the d!)

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There is no doubt that I am a lover of all things sweet.  Whether it be cookies, cake, pie, or candy!  While I prefer cupcakes over cake and cookies over pie, candy will always hold a place special in my heart. 
There is a story that is told about me and I heard all about it (again) over this last weekend when I was visiting my Aunt Ann and delivering her some of those yummy Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon buns!  When I was quite young we were visiting my Nanny.  I was being very quiet and I am assuming I was occupying myself by snooping in my Nanny's spare room. 

The story it told that I was so quiet and my mom, aunt and grandmother started to wonder where Shelby went.  They were soon to find out as I came squealing out of Nanny's spare room with candy flying out a box I had in my hand and the words I repeated were "Oh, canny, canny, canny!"  I apparently was totally delighted to have found some sugar in my Nanny's room.  I'm not sure where that candy was that she had so carefully hidden (she was good at that as I found out over the years!) but little Shelby certainly had snooped good enough to find it!  
I still seem to sniff out good quality chocolates as an adult!  One of the first things that caught my eye when I was exploring Albany area was Krause's Chocolate Shop.  I've been living here now for a month and finally had the opportunity to stop in and check out the chocolate came!  My friend Theresa was here over the weekend and we attended the Pride of NY Harvest Fest and then later, went on over to Central Avenue to check out the chocolate shop.
They have a store of full of chocolates along with a fudge counter and chocolate/truffle counter.  While I haven't tasted all of these yet, if they all follow suite to what I have eaten, then they will all be winners!  I really loved the petit four, it had an almond flavor to it that was irresistable - so much so I had to eat the whole thing when I intended to only eat half!  It seems my chocolate honing is still in good shape as I had no trouble finding some very yummy chocolate in my new home area!

If you are in Albany you should check it out.  Krause's is located at 1609 Central Avenue, Albany, NY.  You can visit their website for more of what they have to offer....and they do ship!

****Disclaimer:  Krause's was unaware that I was writing this blog post.  They did not know I would be visiting their store and they did not give me anything in compensation for talking about their company.****

November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Buns

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Not only is this my first pumpkin post for this Fall, it is also my first ever Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun recipe!  My friend Theresa came to visit me over the weekend so I decided that as a special treat I would make the Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns.  I have only eaten a Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun once, and that was at a little mom/pop diner in Watertown almost 2 years ago - where I really didn't care for it at all.  I'm thinking I didn't care for it because it was dry and just not flavorful enough for me.  (probably was more than a day old.....)

November 13, 2010

Having my cake and eating it too! Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

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Nothing shows life starting to have some semblence of normalacy again than by me baking in the kitchen.  While life is by no means the way it has been, it seems to be taking on a new type of normal now that I have been in my new home for a whole month!  Our work lives are definitely different but not different in a bad way!

November 10, 2010

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

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This is one of the most awesome recipes in the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook.  So awesome that even Grumpy likes it!  I haven't been cooking a lot of meals lately since Grumpy's hours have been pretty late on the job.  Now that I am on my 3rd week at my job, I am about tired of the "simple" lunches that I have been taking.  Things like sandwiches, Soup at Hand, yogurt, crackers, etc.  I decided I had to get back on track and start eating the way I prefer.....even if it does mean a little bit more work!  Don't let the list of ingredients scare you.  It isn't that hard and it doesn't take that much work.  Actually, if you do what I did and buy chopped pre-washed kale, it takes even less time! 

If you haven't had tofu, this is a great dish to make to give it a try.  The crispy tofu, the sweet chili lime glaze, the flavorful quinoa and green kale all go absolutely great together.....however, Grumpy likes to eat the glazed tofu straight from the pan.  ;o)

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu
from Vegan Yum Yum made my way (meaning some adjustments in ingredients!)

3/4 C quinoa, rubbed/rinsed, drained
Zest from one lime
2 bruised cardamon pods
1/4 tsp salt
1 tiny cinnamon stick (optional)
1-1/3 C water

Sweet Chili Lime Sauce:
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs light soy sauce
juice of 1 large lime
1/2 zest of the lime
dash or 2 of cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

The Greens:
4 cups pre-chopped, prewashed kale
2-3 Tbs water

The Tofu:
14-oz extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
Lime slices for a garnish

The Quinoa:

Combine the quinoa, lime zest, cardamon, cinnamon stick, salt, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and don’t remove the lid. Let steam for 10 minutes.

Sweet chili lime sauce:
Whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, cayenne, garlic, and salt until the sugar and salt and are dissolved. Set aside.

The Tofu:
Slice the tofu into 8 rectangles.  Then cut each rectangle in half to make two squares, and then each square into triangles.  Saute the tofu in a dry skillet for about 10 minutes on each side OR if your like me and still has your tofu stick when trying to dry fry, add a little olive oil to the pan.  Add the chili lime sauce and stir to coat the tofu. Turn off the heat. The sauce will bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze.

The Kale:
Steam with water for just a couple minutes - you want to keep the nice bright green!

Quinoa, Kale, Tofu with sauce. 

EAT & Enjoy!

November 02, 2010

Bananas Foster Snacking Cake

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I had 6 tiny bananas getting really, really ripe on my counter.  I had banana bread on my mind.  I also had rum on my mind.  Those two ingredients seem to really call out to me....especially when they are together!  I was all set to make a banana bread with rum glaze.  I got my ingredients ready, got started with the wet, put the dry in a separate mixing bowl and decided to get my bread pan out and spray it with cooking spray before I went further.  That was when I realized that my bread pans were packed somewhere and I didn't know where!

I had to think fast.  Did I even have a cake pan in the cupboards anywhere?  After doing some digging, I found my 8x8 glass cake pan and decided that I was no longer making banana bread but banana snacking cake.  I then decided that I was going to make my banana snack cake using an idea from the newest Cooking Light magazine - and make Banana Foster Snacking Cake!  Oh, this turned out so awesome - and even is even lower fat than the Cooking Light Banana Foster Bread!  If you love bananas and rum, then this is a definite try!  I've decided this was so good that with the 3 remaining bananas (which I froze for now), I will make another snacking cake to take to work and share with my new co-workers!  According to Grumpy, that is how I will make them all "love" feeding them (what does he know anyway?!). 

Bananas Foster Snacking Cake
adapted from Cooking Light's Banana's Foster Bread Recipe

3 small mashed ripe banana
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tabkespoons dark rum
1/3 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup pecan meal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Cooking spray
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dark rum

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons rum in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add applesauce, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a whisk until blended.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Fold flour mixture to banana mixture until just blended. Pour batter into a 8x8-inch cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm cake and spread with back of spoon over top of cake.
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