Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baked Apples

The recipe for these autumnal yummies is short and sweet.  Be sure to have friends around when you make them, otherwise you will eat them all. I love this dessert because it is an easy, drool-worthy, gluten-free take on my favorite sweet indulgence: apple pie.

I remember slaving away over my first apple pie, at the ripe old age of 12, and becoming so frustrated because the pie crust would not cooperate under my rolling pin.  If only I'd known about baked apples; there would have been no turning back!  Baked apples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!






You will need:

4 apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbs. butter, softened
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup water
1/2 lemon



1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut off the top of each apple, carve out cores, leave bottom of apples intact.  Once cores are carved, place apples in an upright in in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet with a lip.  Squeeze the lemon juice from half a lemon over the four apples.  This extra step will add a little tang, as well as prevent the fruit from turning brown.

2) Combine, brown sugar, butter, toasted almonds, oats, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix well.

3)  Fill cored apples with the sugar mixture.  And don't be shy about it!

4)  Add water to the bottom of the dish or cookie sheet being used to bake the apples.

5)  Bake apples uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

6)  Let cool if you wish.  I like mine piping hot, so I guess this step is based on preference.

7)  Add extra cinnamon or whipped cream for an extra special touch.

8)  Devour.







Monday, October 22, 2012

Anchors Aweigh!

This weekend, my sisters and I took my uncle up on his offer to take us boating.  Lounging on a boat, taking in the sights, and being in good company was the perfect antidote for the residual feelings of stress from a hectic week.

'Susan My Love' was docked and waiting for us as we arrived. We hopped aboard, sufficiently bundled in over-sized jackets and scarves, as the weather was overcast and breezy.  

One jolty start later (my sister and I were put in charge of navigating the boat for the day), we were happily chugging down the canal.

























What did you chickens do this weekend?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

These Little Piggies Went to Market

There was a gloomy fog hovering over Ojai this morning.  This blip in southern California's weather forecast made it harder for me to convince myself to roll out of bed, but it also made the prospect of hot coffee more enticing.
In fact, once out from under the covers, I went the whole nine yards and moseyed into town to grab coffee and browse the local farmers' market.  
Proud, huh?

I'm always so amazed by all of the beautiful, vibrant colors that are created naturally in the assortment of produce sold.  Mother Nature never fails to impress.
There was also on 'old-timey' band playing atop an antique-looking wagon as shoppers meandered through the market.  They, also, did not fail to impress.

More than just the opportunity to buy beautiful, organic fruits and vegetables, the farmers' market is a wonderful place for people-watching.  I saw at least one bronzed, bare-chested, linen bell-bottom-wearing, Tarzan look-alike.  And as I walked around, I couldn't help but notice the number of shoppers who would frantically wave their newly-bought bouquets of marigolds, or bunches of asparagus, while shouting salutations to friends they had spotted through the various tents and booths. 
Warms my heart.  Every time.


Gosh, I live in such a wonderful place.



































The Ojai Farmers' Market is held every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9am-1pm.
300 E.  Matilija St. Ojai, CA. 93023



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good Reads: Bossypants

If there was one thing I could change about myself, it would be that I laugh out loud more readily.  Maybe this is the reason I appreciated Tina Fey's autobiography so much.  Fey radiates pure comic genius.  I should be ashamed (but I'm not) about the number of times family members and complete strangers came across me guffawing while reading this work of humorist art.

I admit, I may have been biased upon beginning this book, as 30 Rock is on of my favorite television shows. How can it not be?  As I read Bossypants, Fey's voice was crystal clear. 

I felt for Fey as she recalled less than desirable birthday presents from boyfriends-past (I should’ve known he and I weren’t going to make it when for my seventeenth birthday he gave me a box of microwave popcorn and a used battery tester. You know, to test batteries before I put them in my Walkman. Like you give someone when you’re in love.”) 

I "hell-yeah'd" for her when she elaborated on her opinion regarding the root of self-loathing that runs rampant among young women of today ("...And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”)

Finally, I may or may not have related to her snippet that read,"...every time I reached in the closet to grab a Sunday school dress or my colonial-lady Halloween costume that I sometimes relaxed in after school...".  You will never know.





I got together for a book club meeting with some friends to discuss this autobiography tonight, which turned out to be very successful.  Fey is a strong, hilarious, non-judgmental woman who will truly captivate you from the moment you pick up her National Bestseller.  

If you have time for a little light, humorous reading, choose Bossypants!  You will become inspired.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Faux Mashed Potatoes

Last night I was in the mood for something savory, warm, and new.  Mashed cauliflower--perfect!  

Now, I also love mashed potatoes, and nothing could ever take the place of my sister Katie's mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving day (or any day, really), but I have to be honest when I tell you that these mashed cauliflowers give Thanksgiving spuds a run for their money.  Sorry Kate. 

The best part about this recipe is that it only takes 20 minutes to prepare; there is no scrubbing or peeling required.  I prepared this dish as a side dish, but if there had been leftovers (there weren't any), it would have made a perfect lunch.  Totally satisfying. 



You will need:

1 head of cauliflower
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 large onion (chopped)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste




First, add cauliflower, chicken broth, and onion to a sauce pan.  Bring broth to a simmer, softening cauliflower.  This step should take about ten minutes.




Add milk to cauliflower mixture, then add sauce pan's ingredients to a blender.  You may want to let the mixture cool a little so you don't run the risk of cracking your blender.




Once cauliflower has been blended, pour mixture back into saucepan. Add cheeses, garlic, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.





Garnish finished product with green onion and cheddar cheese.

Amazing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blast from the Past: Lady Marguerite Tangye






THE INSPIRATION:


'Lady Marguerite Tangye,' Dorothy Wilding, 1937


Matthew Williamson 'Russian Floral Chevron Jacket'


Theyskens' Theory 'Sonne Forma Maxi Skirt'


Jeffrey Campbell 'Antonio'


Trina Turk 'Vermeil Super T Enamel Ring'














Thursday, October 11, 2012

Word of the Week: 'C' & 'D'

Because I somehow forgot to post the 'Word of the Week' last week, I'm going to double up on you today so we can further our education together!

In honor of the Vice Presidential Debate tonight in the USA, I've colored our words in red and blue.  I'm sure we can all agree that developing one's vocabulary claims bipartisan support. 




cadge/kaj/

 Verb: Ask for or obtain (something to which one is not entitled)

 Synonyms: beg - mump

Sentence examples: He smokes whenever he can cadge a cigarette;  We should probably let her know that she is developing a reputation as a cadger.

 

dearth/d…ôrTH/

 Noun: A scarcity or lack of something

 Synonyms: scarcity - shortage - lack - want - deficiency - famine

Sentence examples:  There was a dearth of accurately stated facts in the Vice Presidential Debate tonight; Studies have proven that a dearth of necessary foods caused malnutrition during the Great Depression. 


Word definitions compliments of the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Florence et al.

A few weeks back, I met my 24th birthday.  We stared each other square in the faces, each of us trying to determine our feelings for the other.  I 'flip-flop' every year between thinking I'm getting old and thinking I still have my whole life in front of me.  For the sake of squeezing as much goodness out of life as possible, I'm going to think with the glass half full and be excited about what's to come!

In fact, I planned a night out at the Hollywood Bowl to see Florence + The Machine in order to extend birthday festivities for as long as possible!  The Bowl is such a great venue, and we couldn't pass up a chance to see Florence perform, so that was the end of that. 

Off we went!







First, matters of business:  Glass bottles and unsealed water bottles are not allowed in the venue.  This being the case, a popular pre-concert ritual is to pack a picnic and a blanket and bring them with you to right outside the main gate.  You won't miss the crowds lounging on the concrete, enjoying their picnics like we did!  Just seek out a few square feet of space and throw down a blanket. 

And honestly, I probably shouldn't say this, but if you are extra stealth and observant, you won't find it too difficult to spot the least stringent "bag checker" and enter the Bowl with all goodies intact.  Just sort of shuffle in sideways with your bag on your other side--it worked for us!



 The white lights on the hill above the Hollywood Bowl surround the infamous 'Hollywood Sign.'  I love thinking about the history and stories behind those nine letters.



 


We like kisses...


And cuddles.







 
What a night!  She just blew my socks off!...Or maybe I was just following her lead...the woman sings barefoot!

 Florence is wonderful.  And a little off her rocker, which I love.  You must go see her perform if you get the chance.  There will be no regrets!


See you next year, Florence + The Machine!