Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Funnies

Ever happen to you?

Last month, I bought this package of coleslaw mix. The package listed its ingredients: cabbage, carrots, red cabbage. 
Here's the package with tiny orange and purple specks — carrots and red cabbage. While two out of three ingredients were in very short supply, there was plenty of cabbage. 
After adding grated carrots and sliced peppers for color, the slaw was delicious despite the "missing" veggies. 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eggs in a Cloud

In the 1950s, meringue pies were all the dessert rage. My late mother prepared lemon meringue pies as the featured dessert at every family backyard summer BBQ.

Meringue is back in style, not that it ever left.

A current food fad is a modern spin on a centuries old recipe, 400 years to be exact. That's when a food dish called Oeufs à la Neige (eggs in snow) was described in Le Cuisinier François, a pioneering 1651 cookbook when France was beginning a revolution in cookery that would make it the culinary leader of the world for centuries.

Today, this dish has been renamed eggs in a cloud, eggs in a nest, or cloud eggs, depending on your source.

Modern "eggs in a cloud" look sophisticated, but are not hard to make. Separate the egg white and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites, and arrange into "cloud" shapes on a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet leaving a hollow in the middle for the yolk to be added. Bake a few minutes, slip the yolks onto each nest, bake for a few more minutes. That's it.

The 17th century version was cooked a bit differently. There were no hand-mixers or whisks, chefs used bundles of finely split sticks. The egg foam and yolk were placed on a buttered dish and baked atop coals instead of in an oven. Everything was heated from above with a cooking tool called a salamander, basically, a hot fire shovel held over the dish. It was served with a sprinkle of sugar. 
This dish is fully customizable. You can add a variety of spices, such as oregano, basil, cilantro. You can also top the finished eggs with salsa or other toppings.

Eggs in a Cloud
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1/4 C chopped chives
  • 1/4 C crumbled ham or bacon
  • Pepper & salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate eggs. Put whites in a single bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put each yolks in a separate small prep bowl.
  3. Whip the whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in cheese, ham or bacon, and chives (if using any) after peaks have formed. 
  4. Spoon 4 mounds of egg whites on parchment-lined baking sheet. Make a well in the center of each. Bake until slightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Carefully add an egg yolk to the center of each white nest and bake again until the yolks are just set, about 3 minutes.
Watching your calories (as we are)? Here's great news — a single egg is only 70 to 80 calories, and you're not adding any oil, butter, or bread. You can eat two eggs at 160 calories for a filling breakfast. Adding 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to our four-egg recipe added 27 calories per "nest." But. the chives and herbs were minimal calories.
These are breakfast dishes that Grenville prepared adding cheese and chives and serving on a bed of field greens. he really enjoys making this recipe and enjoys being creative each time. Personally, I enjoy eating his "creations" as they are delicious!

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Happy 1st Day

    Summer Solstice 2017 began yesterday, June 20 or today, June 21 depending on your time zone in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the 1st day of summer and also the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's the winter solstice.

    Go out and catch some rays as summer solstice is the day containing the most hours of sunlight during the year. But, if you're living in Iceland and Norway you will have continuous daylight this time of year. 

    Timing of the solstice isn't based on a specific calendar and date, but is dependent on when the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator.

    Solstice derives from the Latin solstitium combining sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) reflecting the fact that the sun looks like its stopped at this time, and again at the winter solstice around December 21.

    We'll be spending some time outdoors today. Here in Nashua, NH, the forecast is for daytime highs in the mid-80s, unlike the dangerously high temperatures in many Southwestern U.S. states.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Money Isn't Everything

    Not only that, but money can't always buy everything like rare or vintage items. But, for some ultra-rich folks, there's other ways to get what they want, like through a wager.

    That's the story line in these two commercial short films, now several years old. Their mini-film format highlights the (also) ultra-pricey Johnnie Walker Blue Label brand. The whiskey is shown in the films, but doesn't rob from their entertainment value and fun story telling. 

    Here's the background information, but no spoilers.

    In 2014, Johnnie Walker Blue Label teamed with British director Jake Scott to shoot a unique 6-1/2 minute commercial called The Gentleman's Wager in the British Virgin Islands with actors Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini. It begins with the two relaxing in style on a vintage 1928 Italian Baglietti yacht. Law's character is impressed with Giannini's yacht and tells him, "I want this boat." After being told,"It's not for sale," Law replies that he doesn't want to buy it, but win it — with a dance.

    Does he succeed? You'll have to watch to find out. 
    In 2015, Scott directed a follow-up, The Gentleman's Wager II, an 11 minute film featuring the same actors. This time, the setting was Giannini's beautiful Italian mansion, where he shows Law a garaged vintage Delahaye 135S race car. Law declares that he "wants" the car, (again) he doesn't want to buy it, but win it with a race to Monaco by noon the following day. Giannini laughingly tells Law that the car hasn't run in 40 years, and that he can have the car and the villa if he succeeds. 

    Does he make it? Watch and find out. 
    Although I'd seen these commercial films online earlier, they (again) provided lighthearted fun this weekend. I hope you enjoyed them. As Law's character said, "It's for a bit of fun."

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

    First Time Dad . . .

    Son-in-law Paulo is celebrating his first (but certainly not the last) Fathers Day today since the birth of nearly six-month old granddaughter Lilliana Jean.
    Sending Paulo our best wishes for the first of many more dad's day celebrations to come. Lilliana is growing and here she is with her "best" friend, Lola.
    And, with two other (larger than her) "friends." We named the gray and pink "Ollie" and gave it to her for a Christmas gift shortly after her December birth.
    Happy Fathers Day to Everyone who has been a father, stepfather, grandfather, foster dad and more. If, like ourselves, your fathers are no longer with us, take a moment to celebrate them too.

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Friday Funnies

    Missing a walkway for this door?
    Seeing this door made brought to mind a popular 1956 song recorded by Jim Lowe, called The Green Door. Lowe's version reached number one on the U.S. pop chart. The lyrics describe the allure of a mysterious private club with a green door, behind which "a happy crowd" play piano, smoke and "laugh a lot", and the singer is not allowed in. Lowe also was a disc jockey with WNEW AM (1130) in NYC and also worked at WNBC AM in NYC. 

    For others who may also recall this "oldie", here it is again.
    Enjoy your weekend, Everyone!

    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Exploding Night Sky

    Summertime and the time is right for — 🎆FIREWORKS🎇

    Every Friday night at Holman Stadium, in Nashua, NH, there's a display immediately after the Silver Knights baseball game. The Silver Knights are a summer baseball team competing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL). 

    While we could watch the light show from our apartment window, it's much more run to enjoy an evening at the ball field and stay for the show. Earlier this month, we attended the Knights home opener, which unfortunately they lost. 

    But, the fireworks were great, as always!

    These photos were taken from our seats using a handheld Olympus Tough Stylus digital 
    set to the Fireworks setting. Admittedly, I am a "newbie" at shooting these displays.
    This one was my favorite of the evening.
    We'll be returning for another Friday night home game at the end of this month, which means another chance for fireworks shots. Also, the 2-for-1 hot dog specials are one of Grenville's favorite meals.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    Curried Chicken Salad

    Both Grenville and myself are watching our caloric intake (more closely) these days. This means looking for healthier ways to prepare a summertime favorites, chicken salad.

    We've been using less mayonnaise by combining part (regular) mayo and plain yogurt in some recipes that use mayo. We find this preferable to buying no-fat or low-fat versions.

    The recipe below is a variation of one by Ellie Krieger, whose Real Good Food, show is one of my favorite PBS cooking shows. Her other show, Healthy Appetites is on the Food Network, Healthy Appetite, but as we are non-cable or satellite TV subscribers. As a registered dietician and nutritionist,  her menus are focused on both delicious and healthy eating.

    Ms. Krieger's recipe used 1-1/4 lbs. of skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, a cup of red grapes, and a 1/4 cup of freshly chopped cilantro. My substitution, used leftovers from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, chopped scallions, and dried cilantro as we didn't have any fresh available. It was delicious!

    Curried Chicken Salad
    • 1-1/2 C chicken, cut up (cooked rotisserie chicken)
    • 1/4 C nonfat plain yogurt (my choice Greek-style plain)
    • 1 TBSP mayonnaise
    • 1/4 C chopped scallions
    • 3/4 tsp curry powder (more or less to your liking)
    • 1 tsp dried cilantro
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 C sliced almonds, roasted
    • 3 ounces mixd greens (about 3 cups lightly packed)
    • 1/2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

    1. Before mixing the salad, toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat about 3-4 minutes until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden
    2. Stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise and curry powder in a bowl. Fold in the chicken, and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Tos the greens with the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
    4. Arrange the greens on individual plates, top with a scoop of the chicken salad, and top with the almonds.
    This salad tastes better if made ahead of time, then chilled for a few hours before serving. It's an easy summer meal and great as a picnic take-along as long as kept cold. 

    It's healthy, carb-free and provides plenty of protein and vitamin benefits. Grenville rated it a "keeper."

    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Double Birthday Time

    This past weekend we went on a quick road trip to our native NJ for two belated birthday celebrations. On Friday night, we took this lovely lady, Margaret, out to celebrate her (are you ready) 90th birthday, which was in early June. She is amazing in looks and spirit!

    Margaret joined us on Saturday at a birthday party for my "baby" (no longer) brother, Tony. His party at an a favorite area restaurant was attended by some 35 family and friends. 
    As I am the older sibling, he's "still" my younger brother. This was how he celebrated as a toddler. That's my (slightly) older cousin, Mary Ann, on the left and myself on the right. That's a cowboy and horse decorating the cake fitting for the mid-1950s boyhood.
    At Saturday's celebration, the table decorations were cardboard cars representing "Vettes" and other sports cars. My brother is a Corvette fan and owner. The table cars were filled with "vintage" candies; remember Chuckles, Turkish Taffy, Zagnut, and Babe Ruth?

    What's a birthday without a hat and my brother had his own special one! As shown by the balloons, this was a milestone birthday, #65. Tony is really older now as his birthday was in early April. His wife who was recovering from surgery then, planned this belated party. She figured he would really be surprised with a June party — and he was too!
    His two daughters, Julie (l) and Jamie (r) with their dad. (They are not biological sisters and were adopted as infants; Julie was born in Columbia and Jamie in Guatemala.) 
    These young ladies are engaged and both will be married in 2018; coincidentally, their fiances are both named Michael. Their weddings are in June and October, double NJ celebrations next year.
    Happy belated birthday to my "baby" brother!

    We're Adults! 
    When did that happen? ... How can we make it stop! 

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    Friday Funny

    Pins on a roll ?

    Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    Feeling Blue?

    Did the recent "news" of a new Crayola® blue crayon being introduced and a favorite yellow color going into retirement, excite you?

    Me neither.

    But then, it's been quite a long time since I used any crayons. 

    In case you haven't heard, bright-yellow dandelion is on its way out of the crayon box and a(nother) blue color will be join the crayon ranks. 

    Why a new blue? That's America's favorite color crayon so says U.S. crayon-maker Crayola. The yet-unnamed blue will join its crayon buddies in a 24-count Crayola box, but not until Dandelion leaves or should I say "retires" as that's the term that Crayola uses. Dandelion's retirement leaves a lone yellow crayon in the box. 

    The new blue is described as brilliant blue and its color is “inspired” by a blue pigment, “YInMn” blue from yttrium, indium and manganese oxide, elements that comprise the pigment. (Right, I knew that. Not really.) 

    The story goes that the color was accidentally discovered by Oregon State University chemists years ago i2009. Chemists were mixing and heating chemicals to find new materials for electronics use. In 2016, NPR reported that a sample heated to a temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit came out "strikingly blue." Crayloa executives heard of the pigment find and contacted the chemists about using it. 
    Color blue aficionados, and anyone else, could help name the new blue by submitting name suggestions on Crayola’s website. In early September, Crayola will announce the fan-selected name winner. It will have to wait until late 2017 to join the crayon pack. That's because as a newly-discovered pigment, it must go through regulatory approval. (Sort of like drugs and chemicals and wondering why this wasn't done earlier.)

    Shed no tears for dandelion yellow which, since 1990, has spent 27 years in the crayon business. It's on a crest of pre-retirement fame and going out celebrity style. There's North American retirement tour and Instagram updates with “requests” for its next stop. It will also enter the Crayola Hall of Fame. (What more could a crayon want?)

    And, anticipating a run on dandelion yellow, the company started selling 64-packs of all dandelion crayons after the retirement news. (I'll bypass that buy.)
    • Crayola didn’t invent the crayon, that claim goes to Europe.
    • Crayons are made primarily from paraffin wax and color pigment.
    • Early crayons were made from a mixture of charcoal and oil. Powdered pigments of various hues replaced charcoal. It was found that substituting wax for oil in the mixture made the sticks sturdier and easier to handle. 
    • Crayola crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and his cousin C. Harold Smith in 1902 and first sold in 1903. 
    • Edwin Binney was color-blind.
    • The Crayola name was coined by Mrs. Binney by merging the French word "craie," (stick of chalk) and "ola" from "oleaginous (oily).
    • Crayola marked its centennial year in 2003 and makes over 3 billion crayons annually.
    And now you know the story of a new and a retiring crayon. While it wasn't the biggest news story of the day, it was a pleasant diversion from recent news events.

    NOW for a question — My favorite color(s) are purple & red, and YOURS ?

    Monday, June 5, 2017

    Bear With Us

    Recently we took a road trip to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our 1st date and posted highlights here

    What wasn't shown was our trip to "bear" country, not to see live bears — but teddy bears.

    Vermont Teddy Bear Company is now the largest U.S. teddy bear manufacturer with an output of 150,000 bears annually. It began in the 1980s when a Vermont resident, John Sortino, found that his children’s stuffed toys, including teddy bears, were non-USA made. Working from his garage, he stitched together a bear and named it “Bearcho,” (an ode to Groucho Marx). Sortino later added movable body parts, re-naming the bear “Buddy.”
    During the first year, he sold 200 bears from an outdoor market in Burlington, Vermont. When a visiting tourist asked to have one sent to her home, he added packaging and mailing bears and created the "Bear-Gram." It featured a customized teddy bear placed in a box (complete with "air hole"). Today, bears are still packaged this way.

    Sortino opened a factory in 1985, followed a decade later by the facility we visited in Shelburne, Vermont. Another factory is in Newport. Each bear consists of 20 parts and 14 layers of fur. There are various stations along its path to completion, such as the Sewing Station, where parts are stitched inside-out to hide the seams and the Stuffing Station, where, a machine shoots recycled bottle fillings into the bear at 100 mph. 

    Not only are all teddy bears assembled in Vermont, but most of the component materials come from America as well; the bear "fur" is made in Wisconsin. The eyes of every bear contain the phrase “Born in Vermont” as does a rear tag.
    Each bear comes with a lifetime guarantee and will be repaired or replaced, at any time, as long as the tag on the bear’s rear is identifiable. Injured bears go to the Bear Hospital for treatment. If the injury is too serious, the bear will be replaced. During our factory tour, we saw several bear "tragedies" including burned when used as a pot holder, chewed by a dog, melted in the dryer, and run over by a lawn mower. 
    We met the "head" (or rather very large) bear" during our factory tour. And, we couldn't leave (actually we could have, but decided not to) and brought home our own teddy bear, who we named "Shelby."

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