April 29, 2014

Kefir

Kefir (kuh-feer) /noun/
a sour-tasting drink make from milk fermented with certain bacteria.

ORIGIN: Russian

Well, I have a friend who is Russian and she pronounces it key-feer...with one giant roll of the r at the end.  Someday I'll say it right. We're debating whether to buy the real, live grains, but they require daily babysitting and we're not sure if we're up for it.  In the meantime, a local market started carrying the freeze dried starter packages, which does the trick for now.  

Hmmm, good!  This was my first batch, and I've since found that it's even better with a little mango and pineapple mixed in.  =)

April 28, 2014

Fiddleheads

They say some fiddleheads are edible.  Gourmet wild vegetables could be worth a try. But sources say all have some toxins, so they should always be cooked and intake should be limited.

Boy, that sure makes me want to go foraging and throw some in the pan!  =)


April 23, 2014

Happiness

How happy are you?

There are lots of books coming on the market about happiness.  I generally steer clear of this topic as happiness can be fleeting, and my interest is more focused on the longer-lasting concept of joy.  But I'm intrigued because of the scientific research. There is now evidence that not only is the body affected by emotions and experiences, but the brain is an organ that learns and is structurally changed in the process! New neural networks are actually formed.  It's all about neuroplasticity.

Purposefully thinking about good things and cultivating happiness makes new channels in the brain which become strong and resilient over time.  With enough practice, happiness becomes a mood and eventually a trait.

There is a strong association between practicing gratitude and increased levels of happiness.  The Harvard Health Publication (Nov 2011) from Harvard Medical School suggests the following ways to cultivate gratitude:
*Write a thank you note
*Thank someone mentally
*Keep a gratitude journal
*Count your blessings and write them down
*Pray
*Meditate

So if the brain is shaped based on what the mind rests upon, what are you thinking of and doing today??!

April 22, 2014

Earth Day

Mildred, dear, do you see what I see?


Why yes of course, Evelyn!  Worms and green grass!  But really, you must come over HERE with ME. The grubs are far tastier today.

April 21, 2014

Easter Lessons

The weekend did not go as planned.  Highs and lows, joys and sorrows, anticipation and disappointment.

It began with the bunny buns that turned out to look quite different from the internet example.



Small improvements were seen with rising and baking.



The smell of fresh bread, however, was irresistible, and the temptation proved too great for one of my dear ones. She ate nine of them while standing at the counter. Prior to the big dinner.

But in the end I had to admit that it didn't matter.  The shared moment of joy, being together and enjoying a small delight, trumped my own needs and arbitrary expectations.

Today I am thankful for the good things.

April 18, 2014

Good Friday

"Did e'er such love and sorrow meet...?"

Isaac Watts, 1707

April 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Hunt

We happened upon a special bakery in Brooklyn and found the most fabulous chocolate chip cookies ever.  Ever, as in our whole lives.

Chocolate chip macadamia nut with dried cherries.  They must have weighed about 1/4 lb and were the size of a biscuit.  Chewy and heavenly, not cakey.

We walked 4 miles to try and find it again, without success.  I couldn't even find my receipt with the name of the place.  I've searched the internet far and wide to find a recipe that even comes close.  No luck.  Any ideas?  Any recipes????

April 14, 2014

Easter Traditions

We are in a funny place - the kids and cousins are mostly gone, and there are no grandkids.  It's hard to know how much to decorate for the holidays and what traditions we should continue.  Because the honest truth is many of the fun memories came from involving the kids.

I would love to know how any of you have made this transition and what traditions you have chosen to keep!


April 11, 2014

Modern Art

We spent hours in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  It was one of those things I'm glad I did, and in the process realized that I am terribly uneducated about art in general.


Traveling on the subway we found lots of things that could qualify as modern art!

April 10, 2014

New York

What an adventure it was!  My favorite part?  Spending time with our son.  Everything else was secondary.

We walked over 60 miles during our 4-1/2 days there.  We ran to catch subways and flew up and down the stairs and made our way through turnstiles and crowded trains.  The long-legged offspring had destinations in mind, and we had to run to catch up.

Bushwick, Ridgewood, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Chinatown, Chelsea, Midtown, East Village, North Little Italy, Soho, Manhattan...Times Square, uptown and downtown, Central Park, the Garment District, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History, Ellis Island, Mast Brothers Chocolate Company, Brooklyn Denim Company...Momofuku, Cafe Grumpy, Pizza ViNapoli, Delight Diner, Pies and Thighs, Mothers, Cocorun, Rabbit Hole......and bakeries, of course.

That is our incomplete list.  There's more to add, and we're enjoying the memories.  And the Advil.  =)








April 4, 2014

NYC!

Our long awaited trip is finally here!!!
We're off!!!!  

April 1, 2014

Salted Caramel Sauce

Oh, it's good.  No April Fool's Day...just the honest truth.  This stuff is gold.

The recipe below comes straight from Country Living/British Edition.  I added a few notes for clarity and simplified the instructions, but kept the measurements the same.  Weighing ingredients is too exact to round up or down into U.S. measurements.  And this is one recipe you want to get right... =)


Salted Caramel Sauce
225 g sugar
60 ml water
175 ml heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk, so it wasn't nearly thick enough)
50 g unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt

Mix sugar and water in saucepan until dissolved.  Boil 5-6 mins, stirring frequently, until syrup turns a deep caramel color.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cream while whipping quickly - use oven mittens, as it will pop and spit.  Stir in butter and salt.  Reheat if there are hardened lumps.