28 November 2012

Spur of the Moment


CA and I are heading to the beach via Cincinnati soon. We've got some extra time and energy, so as soon as our house is in order for the upcoming Christmas holidays off we will go.

One of our favorite beaches--Virginia Beach. We know the area, love many restaurants, are excited about a bunch of activities. It's a long drive, but broken up with an overnight (or two) in Cincinnati makes it very doable.

Can't wait!

25 November 2012

Sunday in the City

CA is visiting his mom in Central Illinois, so best friend RvH and I drive into Chicago for the early service at Fourth Presbyterian on North Michigan Avenue. Soul food. The best. Sets the mood for a fun and lovely day.

RvH needs some gift cards from American Girl and Victoria's Secret. I have a gift card at Nordstrom's and a secret. After a bit of subterfuge, we arrive at the pay-point in the lingerie department at Nordstrom's where I announce to RvH that a big part of her Christmas present this year from me is a bra-fitting appointment. Can't tell if she's tickled, scared, or game but she soon heads off with the fitter. After about 20 minutes RvH reappears--this time definitely tickled and convinced that every girl should have a proper fitting.

We follow our developing tradition and have brunch at the Cafe on the 3rd floor, stashing a chocolate-dipped macaroon (for me) and a big chocolate cookie (RvH) to enjoy later this evening.

It's after 4:00pm when I finally make it home--CA arrived home around 1:00pm. Long and lovely day with my friend followed by a leisurely evening with CA. No one needs dinner here tonight!

23 November 2012

Kitchen Gadgets: It's Been Awhile...

Yes, it's been awhile since I've highlighted a favorite cooking gadget. Making Eggs Florentine yesterday reminded me that these silicone egg cups are a newish gadget in our kitchen. Ours came from World Market, but there are similar versions everywhere.

We've always loved poached eggs, but didn't prepare them often because every method we'd pursued was sketchy. These are great! Poached eggs will reappear on our menu before a week is out.

22 November 2012

A Blessed Thanksgiving

Lots of thankful thoughts and prayers today... It's just the two of us, but we have a lovely day. Yoga for me in the a.m., then we work together to prepare brunch--a long-talked about Eggs Florentine w/our favorite tortillas instead of English muffins.


Later we watch Moulin Rouge and head out for a meal at Jamesons' Original Charhouse in CL around 6:00pm. Wonderful food. NY Strip Steak for CA and Sea Bass in a lemon-butter sauce for me.

We're content to be home today--the weather is mild, the house is in order, and we have our yummy Tollhouse Tart for dessert!

21 November 2012

Tollhouse Tart

We're eating out this Thanksgiving, but I'm still baking--for a friend. This tart is a favorite that I make every once in a while when we entertain our Small Group. The recipe was passed onto me years ago by a childhood friend, and I've adapted it a bit over the years.


2  Eggs
1/2 cup  Flour
1/2 cup  White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup  Butter, melted and cooled
8 - 10 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips (best quality)
1 cup  Walnuts or pecans, chopped medium
Pastry for a 9" pie shell (we use Martha Stewart's Pâte Brisée, but Pillsbury Refrigerated Crust works fine)

1. Prepare Pâte Brisée .
2. Roll the crust very thin and press into the bottom and 1" up the sides of a 12" drop-bottom tart pan. Set aside. (I sometimes pre-bake the pastry for 10 minutes at 350˚; cool completely before continuing with assembly.)
3. Beat eggs until foamy.
4. Add flour and sugars.
5. Slowly stir in melted and cooled butter.
6. Evenly distribute a layer of chocolate chips, then a layer of chopped nuts.
7. Pour batter over top, making sure to leave 1/2" margin to top of pastry crust.
8. Bake one hour at 325 degrees.
9. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

20 November 2012

Special Guests

The effervescent Emerson Sophia and her small brother Rhys stopped in for a few hours tonight, and CA and I enjoyed every minute.

SG  was quick to prioritize working on her homework.

While the guys watched the game.

Then, at mama's prodding, RG demonstrated his angry face!