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Sunday Summary

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Monday:  I hope y’all had a Happy Labor Day.   It started out dark and stormy around here, but the sun came out just in time for Phoebe’s walk.

Zinnias from my back yard:


Tuesday:  I was off today, but I vigilantly waited by the phone for The Call and it never came.

I ran a few errands and as a result I’m here with an official statement:  Enough with the pumpkins already.  People, it’s September, not October.  What about the humble apple?  Ever heard of Johnny Appleseed?  Why is everyone in such a rush for fall?  Sure, I love fall as much as the next person.  I mean, hello, it’s the beginning of holiday decorations and all.  But here I am thinking that I just got cheated out of a good summer because of excessive rainfall, so please keep your pumpkins to yourself.

Wednesday:  No work today.  All caught up; so no editing.  Here’s the question:  why haven’t I been in the kitchen?  I’m really not sure where my time has been going.  Unless you count the two hours I wasted today trying to figure out why my water wasn’t working.  Thank you, Useless HOA, for letting me know an inept crew was going to test the fire hydrants today.  Oh, and thanks to My Immortal Beloved for drinking all of the bottled water while I was in Nashville.

Thursday:  Here’s something you don’t want to hear while enjoying your morning latte with Kelly and Michael:  your tenant just moved out with no notice.   I guess it’s a good thing I had to work today.

Friday:  I finished reading Girl With a Pearl Earring and of course I had to watch the movie because Marnie and I are going to see the exhibit at the High Museum on Sunday.  As usual, the book was way better.  But no complaints about Colin Firth.

Saturday:   A while back Marnie told me that I would like Smitten Kitchen.  For some unknown reason I didn’t listen.  Recently I stumbled onto the site and discovered these Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles, and now I’m hooked.


Um, yes, I took a couple of bites out of one.  So good.

Sunday:  I made Hungry Girl’s Caramel White Chocolate Brownies.


Cake mix and a can of pumpkin = genius.

Marnie and I went to brunch at Another Broken Egg.  It was my first time there, but I’m obviously going to have to take Jake there some day.  It’s too cute and too close by.  And there are biscuits and gravy.

After that we headed down to Midtown and then turned around and came back.  There was some sort of something that caused the street to be closed down.  We would have had to walk two blocks to get to the High.  Perish the thought.  Let’s just say we didn’t have proper footwear.  The Girl With a Pearl Earring isn’t going anywhere for a few weeks.

Good Deed of the Week:  Become an organ donor.  Done.  I have been for a while now.  I’m not sure when I first signed up.  You would think something like that might be memorable.  For all I know it was because BJ gave her heart to Maxie on General Hospital.  And they say soaps don’t educate.  I’m mostly kidding, but I do tear up every year when they celebrate BJ’s birthday.

Eat Well and Savor.


Sunday Summary

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Monday:  There’s nothing like starting the week with a 1:00 job.  I love having the time to peruse the Web and make my latte in the morning.  It’s especially nice when the job is over by 2:00.  I did do some work from the couch, though.


Tuesday:  Off today.  I never really want to work, but I have to.  You know what I mean?   You have to support the shopping habit . . . and the grocery bill.  Today was nice because I did have to do some editing.

I am also proud to say that I renewed my library card today.  It expired a year ago.  Obviously I have gotten out of the habit of visiting the library.  I need to stop spending money at the book store; so this will work out nicely.

Wednesday:  The good thing about freelancing is you have time during the week to go shopping when you don’t have a job.  The bad thing about freelancing is if you don’t work you can’t afford to shop.

Apparently that didn’t stop me.  I picked up this beautiful book at Anthropologie.  I’ve looked at it several times before.  I told myself I didn’t need it because I already do a lot of the stuff in there.  Insert pat on back here.


I don’t want to be too much of an overachiever; so I’m going to try to make sure to hit one a week.

I also made Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, Onions, and Raisins from the Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook.  Here’s  a secret:  I used currants instead.  No big diff.


I may be not so thrilled when it comes to radishes, but I do love cabbage.  My mom used to make green cabbage with ham and lots of black pepper.

Thursday:  I think we know each other well enough; so I don’t mind telling you that I had a hot dog for breakfast.  I’m sure I’ve established that I’m not really a morning person; so by the time I got up and woke up and actually had breakfast it was close to 11:00.  Besides, my job was at 1:30, which means I had to be there at 1:00, which means I had to leave at 12:30, and it was easier to pack my cereal.

I’d like to say the hot dog was the highlight of my day, and it kind of was.  I had to stop at Williams-Sonoma to pick up some Olio Santo aka Best Olive Oil Ever.  There’s a new Michael’s next door; so I stopped in.  I couldn’t have been in there more than ten minutes, including a stop in the bathroom, and I had at least 8 different salespeople ask me if I needed anything.  Two of them offered twice!  One even approached me from behind; so I ignored him, and then he still cornered me by a display case.   By the third time I was approached I actually stopped making eye contact.  By the seventh I started getting testy.  In my book, it was tantamount to harassment.  All of this for a lousy tube of super glue.

Friday:  After a nice morning at home with my latte I went off to Van Michael for a cut and color.  And when I say cut, I mean cut . . . I think my hair is five inches shorter.

My friend Lily came over for dinner, which consisted of Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip from Cooking Light’s Crave!


We also had a Southern Pimm’s Cup from Garden & Gun for the Drink of the Week:


Saturday:  I was in heaven for the afternoon:  AJC Decatur Book Festival.

I discovered Mirabelle the Boston Terrier.  She looks just like my Phoebe, and there are books, clothes, and greeting cards!


On top of that, Decatur is home to my favorite little book store:  Books Again.  Let’s just say they were having a sale.


Uh, only two of those belong to Jake.

Afterwards we went to The Iberian Pig for dinner.  I didn’t love my cocktail, the Aviation, but everything else was superb.  Don’t ya just love tapas?  You can sample so many dishes.  Variety is the spice of life.  We had Bacon Wrapped Dates, Albondingas, Veal Ravioli, and Croquetas de Queso.

Sunday:  What. A. Day.  It started out slow, but then we went to Costo, Pike’s Nursery, and Whole Foods.  Then we came home and planted our new blueberry bush and did yard work.  I. Am. Pooped.  But here’s hoping we are blessed with many blueberry muffins, cheesecakes, pies, and jams.

We haven’t had much luck with fruit in the past.  We have an apple tree that self-pollinates, but we didn’t realize that; so we bought another one to go with it.  Well, let’s just say that someone, not me, didn’t drill holes in the pot and the poor thing drowned with all the rain we’ve been having.  Then, just a week or so ago, I bought a patio peach tree that apparently produces inedible peaches.  Just my luck.  That has since been returned.  Thank you very much.  I have had a little success with the lemon true, although no lemons have actually turned yellow yet.

Good Deed of the Week:  Smile at a Stranger.   How easy is that?  I do this every day.  I see a lot of strangers when I’m walking the dog and in and out of office buildings.  I’m not perfect, though.  I’m only going to smile (and I say hi) if they’re looking up and willing to make eye contact.  I’m not into accosting strangers for the sake of being friendly.  See above remarks about the Michael’s employees.

Eat Well and Savor.

Sunday Summary

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Monday:  I think every Monday should start with flowers.


I met Marnie for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.   I had the Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad.  I have frequented the CF in many states, over many years, and although I love a lot of dishes on the menu, I really think this is my favorite.  Avocado, corn, black beans, onion rings, and more.

I have a few top favorites in the cheesecake category too:  Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake, Dulce De Leche, Red Velvet, Vanilla Bean . . . just to name a few.  As you can see, I kinda steer clear of too much chocolate.  Today that flew out the window.  I could not resist the Toasted Marshmallow S’mores Galore.


Can you blame me?

Tuesday:  I managed to avoid The Call today.  Other than that, not much going on, which makes this a perfect recover-from-vacation day.  I made this Strawberry-Watermelon Rum from Edible DIY.  I’ll get back to you in month when it comes out of the closet.


I also made Summer Minestrone from the Fresh Market cookbook.  Notice that piece of ciabatta bread peeking out from under all of those veggies.


Wednesday:  I am obviously being punished for ignoring The Call.  I had to go to Cleveland today for a two-day job.  Who even knew there was a Cleveland, Georgia?  Apparently, it’s the home of the Cabbage Patch dolls.


No, I didn’t go to the museum, even though there is one.  This was a display case in the courthouse.

The best thing about having to drive an hour and a half into the country is being able to stop at a farm stand on the way home.  I picked up some corn and peaches and tomatoes.  Do y’all know how easy it is to freeze corn?  You cook it for three minutes and then cut the corn off.  Done.  I think I picked the easiest recipe in Put ‘Em Up!  That exclamation point is part of the title, but I do really feel like exclaiming.


Side note:  You should never see an exclamation point in a transcript.  A court reporter is not an interpreter.  In other words, we’re not there to judge emotions.  What’s the point?  (Pun intended, I guess.)  Personally, I tend to overuse the exclamation point.  I put them everywhere.  When I send in my jobs to our production department I sign off with a Thanks!   I’m sure every text has at least five to ten.

Thursday:  Another day in paradise, aka Cleveland.

I made Fresh Peach Ice Cream from Ice Cream.


I love a no-cook ice cream recipe.  Just peel four peaches and coarsely chop them.  Toss them in the food processor with a can of sweetened condensed milk  and the juice of a lemon.  Strain it through a sieve.  Whip 1-1/4 cups of heavy whipping cream and fold it into the peach mixture.  Then process in the ice cream maker.

Friday:  I am in total ice cream mode.  I have used Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home many times.  I love her base recipe, which doesn’t include eggs.  I don’t know why I think that’s important.  Usually it’s milk and cream with a little corn syrup and cream cheese.  This time I made the Beet Ice Cream With Mascarpone, Orange Zest, and Poppy Seeds.  Man, that’s a long title.


I don’t quite get the poppy seeds, but I don’t question Jeni.

Saturday:  I forced myself to go to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.  I say forced because I’ve been meaning to go for weeks now and something always happens.  Something is usually sleeping.   I went looking for peaches and tomatoes and maybe some more corn, but I left with $14 worth of baked goods.  I realized today that farmers markets are for morning people.  I had my sights set on a little French pastry, and they were sold out of all the fruity types.  I wound up with some sweet potato muffins/biscuits/cheesecake.

I used Jeni’s Backyard Mint Ice Cream recipe and made a lemon verbena version.


It may look like vanilla but it packs a punch.  Well, it’s actually more like a zing.

Sunday:  Obviously I have some peaches to use up.  I made Peach Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop.


This was a mostly no-cook recipe.  You do cook the peaches, but that’s it.  Then they go in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients, which includes sour cream.

Well, Dear Reader, I hate to break it to you, but fall is nigh.  I really feel like we got cheated out of summer here in Atlanta.  I don’t think it got into the 90s for the last four weeks, and we’ve had lots and lots and lots of rain.  This weekend it was downright chilly; I ordered a hot coffee at Starbucks.  That usually doesn’t happen until November.  I love fall, but clearly my ice cream marathon was a blatant attempt to cling to summer!

Eat Well and Savor.




Sunday Summary

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Monday:  Just your average 10:00 to 2:00 workday today.   I was at an office that used to be a garage.   You know, like where mechanics work.  It was beautiful with the exposed brick and the cement floor, and it was impeccably decorated.  In the lobby alone there is an Alexi Torres painting of Abraham Lincoln and these superfab benches that are hairy.


And I made this Almond-Raspberry Jam from Cooking Light’s 2006 Annual Recipes.


Canning is not something I would normally attempt on a weekday.  However, this is only stored in the fridge for six weeks, so no processing necessary.  It has amaretto in it, so it may not last six days, if you know what I mean.  I do love this combo.  In fact, the top layer of our wedding cake was almond cake with raspberry filling.  Come to think of it, that didn’t last six days either; we ate it on the honeymoon.

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Obviously I wasn’t blogging back then.  If I was I surely would have made the photographer take a picture of the inside.

Tuesday:  I was supposed to work 10 to 5 today in Buckhead, but it canceled last night.   Oh, well.  Then the office tried to call me at 4:30 to race to some doctor’s office by 5:30.  Unfortunately, I missed the call.  But, fortunately, I was able to make these muffins:


I had some raspberries left, so I think it was fate that I saw this post on theKitchn.  I knew I had to make these Jumbo Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins from Sally’s Baking Addiction.   I love it when I have everything on hand for a recipe.  Sally said semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips.  Dark sounded amazing, but I used semi-sweet; however, I can’t help but think that white chocolate would go perfectly with the raspberries.   I also feel that I should disclose that I am now addicted to Sally, but not in a creepy way.  I’m just after her recipes.

Wednesday:  I had my last dentist appointment today.  Well, for the foreseeable future, that is.

Then I went to my new favorite salon for a pedicure.  Sugarcoat in the Vinings Jubilee.


So cute.


And a bargain compared to the Remede spa.

And I made broiled bok choy.  I was inspired by the recipe in BHG’s Eat Well Lose Weight, but I didn’t have all the ingredients.


Toss with a little oil and broil for six minutes then flip and broil for another seven or eight.  My version of the sauce has OJ, ginger, honey, and mirin.  Honestly, next time I will just give it a spritz of soy sauce and call it a day.

Thursday:  Lucky me.  I got to go to Gainesville today, and I don’t mean Florida.  Two hours in the car is not my favorite way to spend the day.

Friday:  We went to see Man of Steel today.  My new favorite way to see a movie is at noon on Friday.  There is usually only one or two other couples in the theater.   I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t seen the movie, but I will say it made me want to watch the Christopher Reeve version again.

I also made Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding from Cooking Light’s Crave!


Saturday:  Before we set out on our one big chore for the day (going to the garden center) I made Lemon Crepes with Cherry-Ricotta Filling for breakfast.  I got the recipe from the Drop 10 Diet Cookbook by Lucy Danziger.   This was the first recipe I’ve made, but if the rest are like this I think I’ll be using it more.  Besides, there’s a lot of cherry recipes and I still can’t stop buying them.  I think my days are numbered, though.


Also, my new centerpiece came from NapaStyle today.    I just couldn’t resist the chicken wire.


I was hoping to put hydrangeas in them, but these little purple flowers still had some shine, so I settled for the vase from Whole Foods, which you can’t really see anyway.


I’m proud to say that the hydrangeas are from my yard.

Sunday:  Today we went to the Grant Park Farmers Market.  I had ordered some bug spray from Small Batch Garden and they said I could save shipping if I picked it up.   I wish I could say we had a great time checking out all the vendors.  But we had a limited amount of time and of course we parked on the wrong side of the park to begin with, but I got my bug spray.

I made it home in time to plant my shade garden.


I hope it doesn’t die.  I can’t help but think that we could have achieved the same result by burying a $100 bill in the clay.  I’m going to spruce it up some with a little more mulch and maybe a stone border.

I’m wiling away the time until Mad Men starts by watching Viva Las Vegas.  It’s nice to the old sights, and a lot that are still around, not counting Elvis, of course.

Eat Well and Savor.





Sweet Potato-Macaroni Souffle

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I’m not sure how you can call this a souffle, but it’s totally amazing so I will let it slide.  This is pretty much one of those recipes where what you see is what you get.


Start with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes.


Then a layer of macaroni and cheese.  I’m sure you have both of these just lying around.


And just in case you don’t think there’s enough cheese in there you can add some more.


I made a little sample so that Jake could taste test, but of course I had to have a bite first.  It was hard to stop at just one.


Here’s the best part:  it makes two 8-inch cheesecakes.  Well, it’s not really a cheesecake, but you do use springform pans and it does look like a dessert.


It truly is a thing of beauty.


I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.


Clearly I’m in love with this dish.


Doesn’t it look great with my beautiful flowers?


My wonderful friend Marnie gave them to me.


She made the perfect choice.


They perfectly matched my new patio furniture and my new drink cart and this mac and cheese.   We were supposed to have a little soiree in our newly renovated backyard, but the 30-degree weather and snow flurries chased us inside.


I forgot to mention that this recipe is from Atlanta magazine.  I like to file that away in the I’m embracing my Southern Belleness category.

Eat Well and Savor.




Butternut Squash Trifecta

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Let me tell you a tale about three little butternut squash.   Squashes?  Squashi?  Squasheaux?  What is the plural?

A while back I picked up Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai.  I had my eye on it for a long time and finally gave in.   The cover itself is adorable.  Pancakes stacked on a little pink cake plate – need I say more?  I don’t really know too much about her, other than she was on Top Chef and she has a new book called Cook Yourself Sexy.   Who could argue with that?

Recently I made the Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.   The recipe called for 1-3/4 pounds of squash, which is about five cups.  Apparently the scale was broken at the market that day, because I wound up with three times that amount.


I know what you’re thinking.  That’s the brownest butternut squash soup you’ve ever seen.   Remember I said that there are apples.  Well, CK didn’t say to peel them, so I didn’t.


Of course it could also be because my onions got a little crispy.  I can honestly say it didn’t affect the flavor, especially with the addition of almond milk.  Delish and only 241 calories a serving.

Squash number 2 became Hungry Girl’s Bake-Tastic Butternut Squash Fries.  As if I don’t have enough HG books, I picked up her new one a few weeks ago:  Hungry Girl to the Max.  The fries recipe is so simple I didn’t even take a picture.  Sorry.  Just bake them away at 425, flip after 20 and bake for 15 more.  Add a little salt.  I could have eaten the entire squash in one sitting.

Squash number 3 met some cauliflower and a potato and lived happily ever after.  Hungry Swirl Butternut Casserole, where have you been all my life?  In order to get the swirl this does require a little work, but next time I think I can put it all in one bowl.


There’s a little cheddar and some Laughing Cow mixed with the squash and a teeny bit of butter and fat-free half-and-half in the potato/cauliflower.


I may have broken a little HG rule and added a little extra cheese on top.  I also didn’t broil it, as she suggested.  I used my 8×8 Pyrex and I’ve heard some horror stories about those babies shattering.  In fact, it says no broiler right on it.

This makes six servings, 146 calories each.  I didn’t really have a plan for what to have with it.  I considered just making it four servings and calling it dinner.  I finally paired it with a little Morningstar Farms riblet.  However, it was SO amazing I think I could have eaten half of it as a meal.  Needless to say, I have found a repeater, my friends, and one I would serve to company to boot.

In other news:  No need to send out the search party.  I’ve just been a little busy with work and decorating for the holidays.  And last week we went to see Rudolph at the Center for Puppetry.  It was bargain-priced, free parking, only an hour, and if you can stand being surrounded by a jillion kids and their annoying mothers on cell phones, this is the show for you.

Also, we’re going to WDW for the Very Merry Christmas Party this weekend!

Eat Well and Savor.


Lamb Shanks with Orange and Star Anise

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This was my first adventure with lamb shanks, or any kind of shank for that matter.

No offense to Elizabeth Bard, but I think this might be my last.

The preparation wasn’t the problem.  Unless you count the fact that I had to go to three different stores.  Even then I could only get five when the recipe called for six.  That part was actually okay; five would barely fit in my pan.  Is there a shortage on lamb that I’m unaware of?

This did make a lovely autumn dinner.   Personally, I’m always willing to try lamb, it’s just been a while since I’ve found a version I really like.

In other news:  If you live in an area where you have a chance to see any Cirque du Soleil show then I highly recommend that you do.  If you are in Atlanta you should go see Totem now!  I’ve seen a couple of different shows, but they never cease to amaze me.  The acts are incredible and there’s always a little comedy too.  I don’t want to give anything away, but where else can you go and see Indians on roller skates?

Eat Well and Savor.