What I’m Making

June 23, 2009

5 years ago I couldn’t cook a single thing. I was known for setting my kitchen on fire and burning and/or dropping my dinner on a weekly (if not nightly) basis. Gradually, I took an interest in cooking and eating organic and now, it’s almost an obsession.  I make all my own bread, rolls and pizza dough from scratch. I make my own pasta sauce. I shop organically and meal plan. What a difference a 1/2 a decade makes!

granola

Tonight’s attempt: Granola! I didn’t make mine into bars, and used craisins instead of raisins, but that’s the beauty of granola, you can use what you got!

Emeril’s Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8- or 9- inch square baking pan and line with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and set aside.

Place the oats and almonds on a large baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.

While the oats are toasting, combine honey and butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and honey is hot.

When oats come out of the oven, transfer to a large bowl and add hot honey, dates, raisins, brown sugar, salt, and almond extract and stir to thoroughly combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan.

Cut a piece of wax paper and place on top of the granola mixture. Using your hands, press the granola mixture very firmly into the pan. Remove wax paper and discard.

Bake the granola for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Remove from the pan by pulling up on the edges of the parchment. Using a sharp knife, cut into 10 (or desired number) even bars.

Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Yield: 10 to 20 servings, depending on the size of the bars

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I have this skirt from the Gap I bought YEARS ago. Black, perfect fabric that doesn’t wrinkle in a suitcase, perfect length, figure flattering. But when I bought it, it was a smidge too big and now that I’ve lost (and kept off) some weight, it falls right off me.

I put it in my Goodwill pile with a heavy hand and tried to forget about my perfect skirt, but when I finally made my trip last week to the donation bin, I couldn’t bear to part with it and decided to see if I could have my perfect cheap skirt altered.

I was TERRIBLY embarrassed to take it to my fancy NYC tailor for fear of the mocking I would pay so much to get such a cheap piece of clothing taken in, but perfect black skirts are hard to find so I bit the bullet and took it in.

He listened careful to what I wanted done and inspected the label. He said in his heavy Eastern European accent “umm…this is like $18”. I apologized for bringing in such cheap piece and started in on a lengthy explanation of how it was the perfect skirt and how I’d searched for years to find a replacement and couldn’t and he patiently listened while glancing at the cashier with a “what is this chick talking about” look. When I finally finished he says to me “No, Miss. I mean the ALTERATIONS will be $18.”

I thanked him, took my receipt and got out of there as fast as I could.

Old Chatty Coffee Men

June 14, 2009

For those of you who don’t know me in real life, I have a bit of a reputation for being….shall we say less than pleasant before I’ve had my morning coffee. At work, people have been known to cancel meetings with me if the coffee maker is broken. Most people know not to try to engage me in conversation before noon.

There is one exception to this rule. No matter what time of the morning I go to Starbucks on Sundays, I ALWAYS seem to end up in line next to an chipper, chatty old man who wants to engage me in coffee nostalgia. “When I was young, we didn’t have all these highfalutin choices!” “What’s wrong with just a plain ole cup of joe” “What do we need all these fancy high tech machinery just for makin’ coffee”.  It takes everything I have to just smile and nod.

Until I hear the barrista take his order: “A skinny vanilla latte, no foam extra hot”.

Regular cup of Joe indeed.

Legacy

June 1, 2009

I went back to Illinois this past weekend to attend a celebration of life service for a former theatre lighting teacher, turned friend, Shelley, who recently passed away. Held on a theatre stage, with her beloved dog in attendance and a slideshow of photos from pieces of her life, it truly was an honor to her memory. As I sat there listening to everyone who spoke about her I thought a lot about the legacy one leaves after they are gone.

We all come into this world and from breath number one we have a legacy handed to us. Our parents instill their dreams of parenting a future doctor, lawyer or mother or wish for us to take on the family business. As we grow, a societal legacy is born. The one that tells us to earn a certain monetary amount, to stay within an unattainable weight range and to partner up in order to be societally accepted.

We spend a lot of time fighting these forced legacies and thinking that we don’t measure up or fit into this life, but in death, none of those legacies mattered. People spoke of remembering Shelley’s spirit, her sometimes strict teaching methods that now go on through her students as they now teach others and her incredible love for animals. The University dedicated a room in the building where she worked and instituted a scholarship in her name. Those will be her legacies. A life lived, not a life dreamed.