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Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Low-Key Easter

Happy Easter!

And to those of you who don't celebrate Easter, Happy Sunday!

We've all been hit hard by the throw-up bug in this house.  Sean had it earlier this week (apparently it is making the rounds at his school), he was fine by the time he came home on Wednesday for his Easter break, but Friday at 4 a.m. (me), 5 a.m. (Erin) and 2 p.m. (Mr. Terrific) the rest of us succumbed.

It's been years since I've had this kind of a bug (Erin informs me that the last time she remembers me throwing up was when she was in preschool, in March 2000.  She's right!), and let me tell you, vomiting really gives your abs a workout!  And since I'm keeping score, I tallied seven workouts before noon on Friday.

The worst is over, I'm definitely feeling better, just a bit of a more lethargic, light-headed (thanks, dehydration) version of myself.

Up since the crack of dawn, of course, because although I would have liked to sleep a little bit later, Gus and Clyde had breakfast plans.  I wish I could somehow explain to them that breakfast will wait for them if they decide to sleep a bit later; that sleeping past sunrise doesn't mean they missed their opportunity to eat!

So, up we were at 6:30.  What have they been doing since around 6:45 or so?  I'll give you two hints:

Gus. Zzzzzzz.

 Clyde. Snooze.

Huh? Whazzat?  Was that a camera click that woke me.....can't you see I'm trying to catch a little shut-eye?

Happy Easter!  Happy Sunday!  I hope you enjoy a lovely day with family and friends.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Irish Soda Bread



First things first: I am not Irish.  I had never tasted, nor even heard of Irish soda bread until I started dating my husband, who is 100% of Irish descent.

Every spring, around St. Patrick's Day or Easter, my husband's great-aunt would bake an Irish soda bread and give it to my father-in-law, who would divide it and give a really large, foil-wrapped chunk to my husband.   If you read yesterday's post, you know that my anniversary is on March 14, so my first encounter with Irish bread occurred fairly soon after we were married.

My husband was all excited over a chunk of bread that to me looked like a lump of sawdust with raisins in it.  At his insistence, I tried a bite and found it so dry I couldn't even swallow it, so I choked it down with a gallon of milk.. Okay, that's an exaggeration, it wasn't a gallon but it was way more milk than you should have to drink in one sitting.  I will tell you that I enjoyed the flavor of the bread, but the texture was unbelievably dry.

At this point I feel the need to say that I mean no disrespect to anyone of Irish descent, I am not making fun of you or your bread.  I happily embrace so many things from your culture:  I love the color green almost as much as I like pink, the Boomtown Rats totally rock, and having named my children Caitlin, Sean and Erin you can be assured that I think Irish names are the bees knees.   I also feel the need to tell you that I am of Italian descent (with a name like Frances, what else could I be?  Did you ever watch the Sopranos?  Do you remember that episode when Paulie's mom invited her girlfriends over to play cards?  At the end of that episode, when the credits were rolling, suddenly there was a glut of characters played by actresses named Frances.  Like, practically every one of those little old Italian ladies was played by an actress named Frances!).  If my descriptions of Irish soda bread are insulting your Irish sensibilities and you feel the need to fire back at me that Italian panettone is blah and overrated, let me tell you right now that I agree with you.  Now that I've cleared the air, let me continue....

So, after we had been married a couple of years, I saw a recipe in the newspaper for Irish soda bread (this was the 1980's, folks, before there was internet access we actually read newspapers to get our daily fix of what's going on in the world) and I thought to myself, why should Mr. Terrific have to wait for his great-aunt's yearly baking? Why not bake it myself?  So I followed the recipe for "My Best Irish Soda Bread" (or some other similar, folksy name) and man, was it good!  It was not dry, it was perfect. 

I was so excited, I couldn't wait for Mr. Terrific to come home so that I could show him the bread and tell him that he would be able to have homemade Irish Soda Bread more often than once a year.  He took a bite of the bread, and promptly told me that his aunt's was better.  At that moment, I was wishing that it was as dry as his aunt's bread so that he would just go ahead and choke on it.

I don't know what happened to that recipe that I made all those years ago, because Mr. Terrific said "my aunt's is better" one time too many and in a hissy fit I chucked the recipe and went on strike for a few years.  The recipe that I use now is a combination of several recipes; I left out things I didn't like and added things I thought should be there.  Hope you enjoy it, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Good Day!!




Happy Pi Day!! 

I baked this pie last night.  The math geek in me wanted to share the picture with you!

It's also my anniversary today........these strawberries were just delivered, a sweet gift from Caitie!!


And I baked an Irish Soda Bread for Mr. Terrific.............I'll post the recipe soon!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Maple-Mustard Pork Chops

If there were an Olympic competition for displays of disorganization, my preparation of this recipe would probably qualify me.

It all started with 4 boneless pork chops that I was going to cook for dinner.  I was totally uninspired and couldn't come up with a way to cook them.

First, I thought I would put together a honey-mustard-ginger-soy marinade.......but I was out of soy sauce and the fresh ginger that I was so sure was in my refrigerator was playing hide and seek with me.  I know I will find it tomorrow.

I decided to pare it down a bit, forget about the heavy Asian influence.  And then the honey wouldn't cooperate!  There were at least 12 ounces left in the (warehouse-size) container, but it was starting to crystallize and refused to pour.

At this point my patience was really stretched so I decided I'd go with maple syrup instead of honey.  So here we have it--Maple Mustard Pork Chops.  Not what I set out to make, but I think this is one of those times that I ended up with something better than I had planned!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Broiled Ginger-Soy Chicken Cutlets

Why don't we just get the puppy pictures over and done with:

Clyde is 5 months old now and actually willing to strike a pose now and then. 


What a difference a week makes; he no longer feels the need to investigate the camera in my hand whenever I sit on the floor with him.  Our photo sessions never last very long, anyway; I can't spend any amount of time focused on him without the urge to cuddle taking over!

I'm still unable to use my oven.  My handy-dandy repairman came to take a look at it, and confirmed that it is the baking ignition that is not working.  So I'm waiting for the part to arrive. I can still use the stove-top burners, and even the broiler, which got me to thinking:  why don't I ever use my broiler?

I couldn't remember the last time I broiled something, so I searched my blog (HA! I just KNEW this blog would serve a purpose someday!  Even if it's only to refresh my feeble memory that it's been six months since the last time I broiled something), and the broiler was last used to make Broiled Zucchini With Melted Cheese .

So I challenged myself to come up with something that can be broiled.  Erin and Mr. Terrific both agreed that this broiled chicken is a keeper!