Archive for January, 2011

Chocolate Pots de Creme

 

I found this recipe in the old, standard “red and white” cookbook.  There are chocolate smudges on the pages.  =)  Easy to make, and very satisfying, this dessert is best eaten in small portions.  The name is pronounced “poh duh KREM.”  Very French, and quite delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light cream (half and half)
  • 1 four-ounce package German sweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 beaten egg yolks
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • whipped cream (optional…really?  I would say necessary!) 

In a small saucepan, combine light cream, chocolate, and sugar.  Cook and stir over medium heat about 10 min.  When mixture comes to a full boil and thickens, gradually stir about half of it into beaten egg yolks; return yolk mixture to saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat for 2 min. more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Pour into 4 or 6 small dessert dishes.  Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.  Makes 4 or 6 servings.

Posted on January 29th, 2011 by DaisyMuse  |  4 Comments »

Rainy Day…cookies and an old movie

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in \

It’s a drab, rainy day.  This kind of weather can drag me down, until I remember it’s a great day to bake cookies and pop in an old, black and white movie!

I love black and white movies! Why? Well, here are some reasons:

Great acting! Think of those long scenes with pages and pages of dialog to be memorized, and no cuts. Those old Hollywood actors were really talented!

Virtually no cursing or inappropriate scenes!

Women wore hats and gloves! Need I say more?

Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant!

The good guy always won, got the girl, etc.

Most of all, they’re just classic! So here are my “Top Ten Favorite Black and White Movies” (Most of these are comedies with happy endings, unless otherwise noted.)

1. Bringing up Baby…Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn get into one predicament after another (Grant rather reluctantly) while trying to transport a tame leopard to the country. Some of the most rapid-fire dialog and funny lines of any old movie I’ve seen. My entire family loves this one!

2. The Philadelphia Story…More serious plot, but mixed with comedy, an Academy Award winning performance by James Stewart…and it also stars Grant and Hepburn…movies don’t get much better than this!

3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington… classic Jimmy Stewart, “David and Goliath” type of story about a small-town man appointed to fill a US Senator’s spot who takes a stand against political corruption. This one is actually not a comedy but a drama. Jean Arthur plays the leading lady. Directed by Frank Capra.

4. You Can’t Take it With You… a little-known Stewart/Arthur film, also directed by Capra. Heartwarming, slightly corny, and sweet. I love Ann Miller as Essie, the clumsy-ballerina sister. She was actually a talented dancer in real life!

5. Another Capra/Stewart combination…everybody’s favorite Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Frank Capra reportedly wanted Jean Arthur for the role of Mary Bailey but couldn’t get her. I have to say that although Jean is one of my favorite actresses, Donna Reed did a splendid job.

6. The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer probably has the corniest plot of all the movies on this list. Cary Grant plays a misunderstood artist who is “sentenced” to date the teenage sister of the judge who condemns him. Silly plot out of the way, this movie is cute, funny, and full of great actors… including Grant, Myrna Loy, and the teenage Shirley Temple.

7. My Favorite Wife… on the day of his wedding, Cary Grant’s supposedly dead first wife shows up, complicating matters in this romantic comedy. Irene Dunne plays the first wife. Her spunky personality is the reason she’s #1 on my list of favorite actresses. The plot is far-reached, but the characters are cute and the scenes are funny.

8. Mr. Blandings Build His Dreamhouse…if you’ve ever bought, built, or fixed up a house, you will find this both funny and painfully realistic! Starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.

9. All Fred Astaire movies have excellent dance numbers, but Top Hat is the one I’ve most recently seen, so I’ll plug for it. It has a cute plot involving a misunderstanding between Fred and Gingers’ characters, and also features the classic number “Dancing Cheek to Cheek.”

10. It Happened One Night features Clark Gable as a reporter trying to get his big break by capturing a story on a runaway heiress, whom he’s trying to “help.” Gable falls for the heiress, played by Claudette Colbert, complicating matters in what is known as “screwball comedy.” Many people list this as one of the funniest movies ever, and while I did enjoy it, it’s not as funny as #1 on this list, which I recommend you watch asap.

Now for the cookie recipe: I remember my mom making these more than any other cookie when I was little, as we always had all the ingredients on hand! The wonderful cinnamony smell wafting from the oven and hot, buttery cookies combined with a tall glass of cold milk make any “drab” day much better!

Snickerdoodles:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coating:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Posted on January 25th, 2011 by DaisyMuse  |  9 Comments »

Barbecue Cups

When I first got married, I brought this dish to virtually every potluck I went to, and always received requests for the recipe.  My husband and children love it, as do the various people who’ve received it over the years when they had a new baby, or were laid up after surgery, or moved into a new house. It was one of my childhood favorites, handed down from “Gramma” (aka my mom).

Barbecue Cups

Brown 1# ground beef or turkey; drain fat.  Add 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 2T brown sugar, and 1/4 cup chopped onion.    Press 1 can of Pillsbury Grands Jr. Golden Layers Buttermilk Biscuits into 10 ungreased muffin cups.  Make sure dough goes up to edge of each cup. Divide meat mixture evenly among cups.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min, or until biscuit edges are golden.

Pair it with a salad or green bean, and you’ve got dinner!

Posted on January 19th, 2011 by admin  |  11 Comments »

Top Ten Things to do While Waiting

I spend a lot of time waiting, especially for my children.  Whether it’s various lessons, the dentist, or youth group, it seems each year my “wait” time gets longer.  Yet my list of things to accomplish is also long.  What to do?

I found the solution.  I grab a totebag and throw in some of those “to do’s.”  Here are 10 things I can do while waiting in a lobby, or even in the car.

1.  balance my checkbook

2.  pay bills

3.  write thank you notes

4.  catch up on phone calls

5.  clip coupons

6.  read those magazine articles I’ve been wanting to read

7.  plan menus or grocery lists

8.  fill out forms that need my attention

9.  plan lessons or grade papers

10.  read my Bible/pray

And one more thing… although I love to accomplish things and check them off my lists, sometimes the best thing to do while waiting is just sit back, breathe, and think about the One who created me, blessed me with these wonderful children, and gives me the energy to get through each day.

I will meditate on all Your work, and muse on Your deeds. Psalm 77:12

Posted on January 19th, 2011 by admin  |  6 Comments »

Top Ten Favorite Simple Pleasures

My favorite things to do when I have a little “me” time…these can be done on any budget!  Please add yours in the comments section…I’d love to hear from you!

 

1.  Sitting by a warm fire on a cold evening

2.  A hot bubble bath

3.  A good book (and time to read it!)

4.  A piece of rich, dark chocolate

5.  Baking cookies  (yes, I eat the dough, but I do not recommend that for several reasons!)

6.  The warm sun on my neck as I pull weeds from my garden

7.  Playing the piano just for fun

8.  Watching 50’s tv programs

9.  Paging through decorating magazines to get ideas

10. Sipping my hot morning coffee while looking out the window when no one else is up

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by admin  |  6 Comments »

Gramma

“Gramma” (my mom) is the greatest Mom ever!  =)  You may, coincidentally, have one of those, too– I hope you do feel that way about your mom.  Mine taught me some of the most important lessons I will ever learn, so I thought she deserved her own spot here on my blog.  Here’s a short bio:

 Gramma was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1941.  Shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she and her family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Some of her earliest memories are of World War II blackouts!  She married my dad in 1965, and they have three daughters—me (the eldest), and my two younger sisters.   Today, Gramma lives in a cozy apartment and spends time with her children and grandchildren everyday (she has to fly out to visit me, so I get her all to myself for several weeks!).  She loves to crochet, play the guitar and piano, and listen to Big Band music.  My kids think she’s a “cool gramma” because she wears hoop earrings.  But the real reason Gramma is so neat is that she’s thoughtful and interested in other people.  If you tell her purple is your favorite color, she’ll never forget it, and you’ll get dozens of purple gifts for every occasion.  She also listens, and praises our accomplishments while seemingly forgetting our shortcomings.  In short, she edifies everyone she comes in contact with.  I love being around her.  And she’s the kind of mom I want to be.

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by admin  |  2 Comments »