dancing for coffee

Thick, rich, deep amber color, luxurious velvet on your tongue………..caramel sauce.  Oh, be still my heart.  The flavor and the smooth sweetness makes you want to lick the spoon clean as a whistle.

Actual tears (the ugly kind when you cry so hard your nose gets red) poured out of me when I found out I had to give it up.  Seriously?  Do you know how many Caramel Macchiatos I used to drink?  Beautiful strong, rich, dark espresso with creamy white milk and then topped with whipped cream and drizzled all over and back again with caramel sauce.  Oh, I had it bad.

I won’t go into all of the bad mojo that is hidden in that sauce……….sugar, colorings, flavorings and on and on and on it goes…….you get the picture.

Bit by bit, drink by drink, I am thriving and dancing about a beverage once again.

Come on, you KNOW that feeling.  Even if you don’t drink coffee… you have it bad for an icy Dr. Pepper or you get a sweet thrill when you pop the top on that Diet Coke, that slight giddiness you feel when they hand over your drink at the local coffee shop and you take that first, eyes closed sip.   You KNOW?  Television commercial happy to be drinking some type of beverage……. a tad strange, crazy with joy, dancing in the streets happy for a beverage. Really, do real people do this?

Sweet Peaches, I am curious.  I must be able to create something that will work?

I am smart.  I can certainly figure out one little drink.

Okay, I got the whipped coconut cream down pat, I make a lovely espresso and don’t even talk to me about just how fabuloso my homemade almond milk is.

Last week I cried again.  The good kind of “movie star” cry.  You know?  No actual mascara running down your face or smudges under your eyes. Misty eyes with a gentle falling tear from the corner of your eye.  All pretty and lady like.

I figured it out!  Coffee time is back, baby!20160722_204522-1_resized

My gift to you!  Saving the world of goodness one cup of coffee at a time.

Here’s the recipe.

1/2 cup raw, unsalted almond butter, 1/2 cup real maple syrup, 1/3 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon real salt…….use your immersion blender and blend baby, blend!  Put in a jar.   Spoon at will.

Tastes amazing in coffee drinks……..however, I am sure, if you were inclined to try,  it will taste mighty fine just off the spoon, while standing in front of the refrigerator.  (juss sayin’)

In this together friends,  (this is PERFECT for two-handed hot coffee.  You know?  You hold the cup with two hands and you can’t hold your phone, so you just talk with a friend and look at them so you two can figure out the world’s problems and drink delicious hot caramel coffee together.)

Here’s to our wellness and health!

20160722_204456_resized_1Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shot glasses + dental floss = love

You know those plastic, inexpensive shot glass that the younger crowd uses to make jello shots?  Yes, those.

When I have a dessert buffet, I use them for mini desserts.  Everyone loves mini desserts. You feel like you can have three!

Mini lemon tart?  Don’t mind if I do.

Mini chocolate mouse?  Oh yes.

A miniature Pineapple whip?  Heck yeah!

I also use them for frosting.  Can I get an AMEN!?

Thick, rich, gorgeous, creamy dreamy frosting. AMEN!

I made cinnamon roll dough early Monday morning.  This dough is amazing.  It has to hang out in the refrigerator for a day or two to be at it’s very best.

So, this morning I put on my really cute, ruffled apron and got out my dental floss, heating pad, shot glasses and ruler.  What? You don’t get out your dental floss first?

How do you cut your cinnamon roll dough without squishing them?

Note to all:  This recipe is full of fat, sugar, gluten and dairy.  I did use a fresh egg and amazing cinnamon from the Penzey spice company.  We LOVE Penzey!!!!!!

https://www.penzeys.com/

20160727_093132_resizedOkay, I rolled and cut (with dental floss, 1.5 inches wide rolls) and I let them rise on my heating pad. 20160727_094250-1_resized

Next, put them into a very hot oven to do their thing.

Oh, man, these babies (not real babies) rose up toward heaven and released an amazing aroma of fresh baking bread and cinnamon. That glorious scent  of yeast and sugar and butter swirls together and has filled our home with love.  Yes, that is the smell of love.  Trust me.

Mr. Right has chess lessons tonight.  So, I thought I would bake an extra pan (King Arthur Flour baking pan made out of cardboard) for his chess teacher.  Not knowing if the gentleman likes frosting or not, I thought………how about giving him three little shots of icing?20160727_112253-1_resized

8 or  80+ year olds…….let me ask you, who among us doesn’t want to ice their own rolls?  Wasn’t that the best part of those “smack on the counter, cinnamon rolls in a tube”?  They came with their very own tub of creamy icing.

Here’s to baking and sharing love (remember today, love is fresh-baked rolls with shots of icing), one neighbor at a time.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

W4D

For a while, I wanted to write a blog about food.  More specifically, to help answer the age-old question, What’s for Dinner? (W4D) A place you could go, desperately searching for an idea. You could see what others came up with and made for dinner.

Here is what I cooked for dinner last night.  Okay, I didn’t do it all.  Mr. Right grilled the Albacore Tuna.  We would usually use chickpeas and sunflower seeds, however, that Albacore was calling our names.  For a warm summer night, it was a perfect choice.

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No one really mentions, in addition to becoming famous, an eye doctor, a mom, a mechanic, a refrigerator repair person, an architect, a solider etc….. you still have to know how to make and prepare meals and put them on the table for your family every single day of your life.

I’ve always maintained that if I was Scrooge McDuck rich, I would pay someone to come up with ideas.  I would still cook.  I like the cooking part.  By the way, if you happen to have canvas bags of money tied with rope, and have a dollar sign stamped on the front, one would think one would have enough moolah to hire a kitchen cleaner upper & person to wash dishes?

There are two girls in my life that help make dinner more, well, beautiful and delish. We have our own W4D exchange.

food is essentialWe live far, far away from each other.  E-mail  is how we share.  A couple of times a week,  we exchange emails about food.  Glorious Food.  Idea of what to make or bake.  Sharing the cookbook we found it hidden in or what food blogger offered up the inspiration. We tell each other, “didn’t have leeks, so I substituted purple onion” “fresh berries aren’t in season yet, used frozen”.  If we are really in a pickle, we explain, ” help! 20 people around age 25 coming over for a gathering…. what do I feed them?” And somehow, as if by magic, the two other people swirl ideas around and share 2 or 3 ideas/solutions each.

The subject line, W4D grabs our attention.

We are honest in our sharing.   What worked well for lefties (left overs). First go round, needed more salt, will add for lefties tomorrow.  The “secret” ingredient to an amazing sammy (sandwich), refrigerator pickles.   What we fell in love with and that dreaded moment the person sitting across from us, took a polite “no, thank you bite”.

Like life and all of us, it’s a rather glorious hodgepodge  of fancy, easy, quick, 24 hour marinade, bake it and take it, slow cook, grill and blend.  We just share what we made and put it out there.  Yes, we have food preferences.  We sort of don’t get into those.  If you are vegetarian, just substitute chickpeas for the albacore tuna.  No soap box, no explaining, no time to judge, just move on people.  The goal is to get flavorful, beautiful food on the table, consistently.

We don’t have to explain, why one husband won’t eat weeds (fresh herbs not cut small enough) or why some don’t eat sugar or dairy …. You get the picture.  We just talk about what we made.

Let’s face it whether or not we have a passel of kiddos to cook for or a tired hungry boyfriend or cooking for one,  tasty food needs to be put on the table on a regular basis.

Excellent, high quality food that is worthy of our families, nourishing their bodies and feeding their souls.

We share pictures. Here is the first good size tomato I have ever grown.  Eating tonight!20160725_110507-1_resized

We share results.

too salty/needed more salt/fresh thyme was the secret

too time consuming/ very time-consuming, so worth it

very messy/hardly no clean up/used every pan & bowl in the place

clean plates all around/ lots of food left on the plates, had snacks later

putting this into the rotation/tried twice,  ripped up recipe and tossed, said good-bye

All that to tell you, I found a great recipe for a Nicoise Salad dressing. Minimalist Baker shared it on her food blog.  Note:  Make extra dressing.   After I par-boiled the potatoes and beans I covered them in dressing (used as a marinade) and let chill.  20160725_123512_resized

3 Tablespoons minced shallot, 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (fresh was amazing) chopped , 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, s & p, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Whisk or use immersion blender.  

When you have good friends who talk about food, it’s not called bragging, it’s called sharing.

…I grew the tomato, beans and thyme.  I gathered the eggs and steamed them today.  Nicoise Salad……… clean plate club members!20160725_174050-1_resized

In this together, friends.  All of us have a need to feed our family and friends excellent quality food. They are worth our time and energy.

Sweet Peaches!  We are worthy of great food.

What’s For Dinner in your neck of the woods?

In this together, folks.  Please share what you are cooking for dinner tonight with a friend. I promise they will love getting fresh new ideas.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

guest blogger

I got the call.

I was invited.

You know that feeling when you are invited to the party?  You are all excited, flushed, happy, giddy and can’t wait to tell someone.

Then reality hits.  What the heck am I going to wear?  In this case, what the heck am I going to write?

My friend Joanne and her friend Karen started a new blog called, Recovering Perfectionists.  I was happy for them, cheering them on.

Then was asked the question, “Will you write something?”  Oh yeah, sure!! Thanks for asking…………  then it hit.

What have I done?  Yikes.  What will I write about? Wonder why they asked me?

3 or 4 days later, I had a thought, then another, then I started writing them down.

This is what fell out of my brain.

Hope you enjoy and please leave a comment on their new site, to help inspire their new venture.  They will love it that you pushed their swing.

https://recoveringperfectionistsblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/perfectly-covered-in-grace/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one smart cookie

This blog post is to celebrate my friend, Natalie.

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Natalie is a pre-teen, her “Happy Place” is the kitchen. She is all over becoming a chef.

I love her spirit, her smarts and her willingness to learn. She has the best laugh that goes right along with her sense of humor.  When you meet N, it’s her smile that wins you over. Right away you notice she is a bit short in stature however, amazingly head and shoulders above the crowd.  (between you and me?  She IS going to become a chef, I just know it.)

Good gravy, when I was 11, I had excellent table manners and could properly thank anyone who brought me food.  My sisters nor I, were even allowed in the kitchen.  Apparently, “the stove was HOT”?

My young friend has amazing kitchen talent with skills to back that up.  We are not talking about “making” rice krispie treats and toast here folks.  She makes a Cilantro Lime Rice that will make you swoon, bakes, cooks up science experiments, operates a juicer like a pro and the list goes on and on.

N shared a wonderful scone recipe with me, so I am sharing this recipe (blog post) with her.  We trade recipes.  Sometimes we text (she uses her mom’s phone). Sometimes I send a recipe via  e-mail or snail mail.  This time, I thought I would shout it to the world that I know a smarty pants girl who has already found her calling.

I love that N is fascinated with cooking, baking and creating.  Her willingness and interest to do the research, the prep work, the serving, as well as the clean up, are evident with the final product.   I adore that she isn’t shy about asking food questions and then listens to the answers. You can actually feel her excitement towards learning about cooking.  Heck, she went as Giada for Halloween one year!  Now that is passion!

When you watch her serve a homemade treat to her dad, mom or brother…. you notice that she already “get’s it”.  By making quality food, N figured out that she can show love and respect to her family.  She figured out in short order,  in her own home, how sincerely good food nurtures both mind and body.

Yesterday, I made these really good, seriously good, moist Strawberry Granola Bars (vegan).  While baking, the aroma had my mouth-watering and I thought instantly, oh, I have got to share this one with Natalie.

strawberry granola bars, veganI found the recipe on http://wonkywonderful.com/strawberry-oatmeal-vegan-breakfast-bars/   A great food blogger is like a window to the world.  Thank heavens they share so much.

So between you and me girlfriend…. Very simple and straightforward recipe.  I will make again.  I switched the oatmeal and used gluten-free oats.  I used parchment in place of foil. I replaced the flour with Better Batter Flour mix which is gluten free,  I used my own homemade strawberry jam and it calls for Almond Butter or Cashew Butter… this is where you will use Cashew Butter for your family’s allergy.

Cooking tip of the day:  My girl Gabi is a real live chef.  She wears shoes in the kitchen.  No, not flip-flops, not cute gladiator sandals, real shoes like sneakers or clogs.  While I know you are very careful while cooking and baking, accidents happen to everyone.  Hot liquid spilled on your tootsies or a knife dropped could spell trouble for your cute toes.  Observe any accomplished chef and look at their feet.  Yes, shoes.  enough said.

Every chef worth their weight in salt (a world of beautiful and amazing salts filled with minerals await you), feels giddy that moment you offer up delicious food that feeds both body & soul.

This recipe is one of those good ones, with excellent ingredients to produce a final product worthy of sharing.  Put this recipe in the column of such high quality and wonderful flavor, not a person will ask if it is vegan.

Make food so good, so flavorful, no one will put a label on it.  Your mission should be to cook and bake sustainable, high quality, tasty food that friends will just say, may I please have seconds?

The color is stunning.  The flavor combination is spot on.  That first bite into the moist bar will lead to another bite.

So, I raise my Strawberry Oatmeal Bar to you my friend!  Cheers!  Yum!

Here’s to you and your calling!chalkboard cooking

It is a pleasure to watch your dream unfold right before you.

A tip of the hat to your wonderful parents for raising such a kind & smart cookie. Parents who are giving you such a strong foundation of love and support that you have the freedom to explore who you are, what you want to be.

Natalie, my friend,  keep studying,  a smart chef is always a very good thing.  You have before you the ability to heal the world through nutrition.  Yes, my friend food heals, but you already know that.  Just for a moment, use your imagination and think…. how many people will I be able to feed and heal in my lifetime?  The number will surprise you.  Thousands upon thousands of people will be Bathed in Grace by your skill and fed by your hands.

Stay curious & creative….yes, we can taste the love in food prepared by a chef who embraces what they do.   And for heaven sake…….keep asking questions and trying new things.

You got this girlfriend.

Bon Appetit

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  Virginia Woolf

ps.   I feel the need for Asian food.  We have to get together to make pot stickers, soon!

*****Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18 years old, I asked for and received permission from her parents to post a picture of her.

 

 

 

 

haint that somethin’

In 1983, we didn’t have pinterest.  Shocking?  I know, I know.  Seems rather “plain jane” to write down ideas in a little notebook or commit them to memory.

I didn’t have a phone with a camera, either.  We had a baby to juggle and I didn’t have extra hands to hold a fancy camera and snap a picture. Never mind waiting until after Halloween when we could “finish” the roll of film and send off and wait two weeks for the prints.  The olden days were hard, I tell ya!

We were tourist in the town of Charleston, South Carolina.  It was the first time for me visiting that part of our country.  I fell in love.  Boy howdy, did I fall hard.  Front porches with ceilings painted sky blue, dark stained decks with beautiful ferns hanging above.

I took notes as well as mental notes.  Once home and baby put down for sleep, I wrote down ideas in a little journal.

Then I waited.  I waited, some more.  We moved.  More waiting.

I was waiting for a house with a porch.

Hello July 2016.  smiling.

I honestly don’t need a picture on pinterest to remind me of what I wished/dreamed and schemed for.  The idea is a permanent part of my brain.

Oh, yes, I took before, during and after pictures of this before and after project.  These are sort of the middle pictures.  The ceiling is painted, the lighting fixture has been ordered, the deck stain is sitting in our garage and I am working up the courage to try my hand at growing ferns next summer……..we have progress!

I chose to use Sherwin Williams 6505, Atmospheric.  No, SW didn’t pay me to write this commercial.  I will say 2 thumbs up on their product.  I wait for a coupon or sale, it is a bit spendy, however, so worth the price. Excellent quality and covers like a dream.  The lines from your brush lay down for a smooth lovely finish. 20160718_193555_resized

I am not a blue lover.  When some little person says, “Miss Daleen, what is your favorite color?”  I usually list off 6 or 7 maybe 9 colors before I get to sky blue.

Why the blue on the porch ceiling?  20160718_193619_resized

In the early 19th century milk paint was mixed  with lye.  Folks repainted every year and duh, the lye in the paint did indeed keep the bugs away.  No, it wasn’t the blue color everyone thought.

Some folks believe that the blue is a way to trick spiders and wasps into thinking it is the sky and thus won’t build their nests there.

We live in the Pacific Northwest and while we do enjoy glorious blue skies as the song by Perry Como reminds us,  the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle…. we have an extraordinary amount of rather dull gray days.  Looking up to see the blue “sky” will be a refreshing treat.

The reason I fell and fell hard for the blue skies?  Haints.

The blue color for porch ceilings are often called “aurora blue or haint blue”.   Aurora blue ~ a Northwest Aurora Colony, a Christian communal society that gained popularity in the 1850’s.

“Haints are restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world.”  The haint blue is to protect the home owner from being taken.

Dreamy, silly, delicious, right this very moment I am twirling my hair just thinking about this idea………I love the idea of being protected and safe sitting under that Atmospheric Blue.  I love the idea of spirits dressed in fantastic old costumes, now all gauzy swaying above me. This is good stuff, people!!!

Oh and good news, in my morning note, Mr. Right captured the real essence of me painting.  Just sharing so you could get the real feel of the project. 20160719_081146-1_resized

Stay tuned, next up, Autumn Orchid……..hello master closet!

ps.  I am always pleasantly surprised the next morning when I go look at something I painted.  I am always smiling when the paint is still stuck there and didn’t fall off sometime during the night. snort

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summer pie

Saturday was the day.  We have been waiting for it since , well, since last year.  It’s been on the calendar in ink!

Heck, Mr. Right bought this print for me a couple of months back to remind us.

Sumner Rhubarb Pie Festival. fruit-crate-labels-rhubarb-packed-and-shipped-by-washington-berry-growers-association

Small town, close main street, meander through booths and shops, wear sun glasses and eat pie.

yep, that’s it.

Smack dab in the middle of Summer.

Goof off and eat pie.

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so good.

the end.

going back next year.