Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I thought it would be nice to make brownies for Valentine’s Day. (Ok, the truth is I was craving brownies, and Valentine’s Day happened to be a convenient reason to make them.)

And this time, I decided to cut a couple into heart shapes and give them as little gifts on Valentine’s Day. I put them in clear plastic bags and tied them with a red ribbon. (The ribbon is actually from Christmas. Shh, don’t tell.)

Note: By cutting the brownies into shapes, you are left with scraps. It would be a waste to throw them away, so it is my duty to eat them. I’m taking my duty very seriously.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resolutions by Mail

I teach an English class at night. For our first class of 2012, I had the students write out their resolutions or goals for the year and address an envelope to themselves.

I told them that in a month I’d mail them their envelopes with their resolutions. Now that it’s officially February, I’m putting the letters in the mail today.

I figure it would be a good time to see how the resolutions are going after a month. And it’s probably a good time for all of us to dust off those month-old resolutions, or congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

Happy February!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's that time of year...

This month starts my favorite season: Girl Scout cookie season!

There are 3 boxes on their way to me, which just makes my day.

What's your favorite kind of Girl Scout cookie? 
It’s no secret that I love Thin Mints, but I’m an equal-opportunity-cookie-eater.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cooking School

Well, 2012 is off to a delicious start.

Yesterday I went to a cooking class that I absolutely loved. The Italian dishes were so delicious that I secretly wanted to ask for seconds (and thirds).  

And the instruction was practical and informative. It was much better than the last cooking class I took, where things were so complicated that it made me want to give up cooking. But, this class yesterday made me want to run home and start cooking.

Here were a few tips that I loved and plan to use in the kitchen:

1) Before you dice an onion, wet a wooden cutting board and you’ll never cry. (The water absorbs whatever it is in the onion that makes you cry.)

2) If you don’t have time to make chicken stock, “Better than Boullion” brand is a good substitute.

3) If you don’t have time to make a homemade salad dressing, buy a good quality dressing and add appropriate fresh ingredients, like lemon juice, cheese, etc.

4) It’s best to grocery shop being open to ideas and using whatever fresh, seasonal items are available.

5) When entertaining, serve custard in a fancy wine glass or martini glass for dessert. You can make it the day before and refrigerate. Top with berries or chocolate. The dessert looks impressive, but it’s pretty easy to make. 

6) You can use a vegetable peeler to grate cheese into slices to top soups or pasta. You can also use the peeler on a Hershey bar to make chocolate strips to top desserts.

7) Cooking does not have to be complicated. Simple things with the right seasoning and herbs can be really tasty.

8)  I know there were other things I learned, but I think I’m just distracted thinking about the yummy food we had.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roasted Chestnuts

I saw this sign today for roasted chestnuts outside a local store.

I have to say that I’m a sucker for: 1) trying new things, 2) things related to Christmas and/or Christmas songs (“chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”), and 3) things that are less than $5.

In other words, I was walking away with a bag of chestnuts.

And the verdict? 

I liked them. They were slightly sweet, although they were a little bit dry. And as weird as it sounds, they sort of tasted like a baked potato.  

Overall, I’m glad I got them. And if I can just find “yuletide carols being sung by a choir” and/or “folks dressed up like Eskimos,” then my life-turned-Christmas-song will be complete.

Merry early Christmas!