Sunday, January 19, 2014

January- what else is there to say...

I heard on the News January 6th (a Monday) is the most depressing day of the year.  I think the whole month of January is depressing...

Ralph and Justin were busy this season.  They were invited to be in the Nov./Dec./Jan. issue of  Art Doll Quarterly magazine.  They spent 3 months in beautiful Laguna Hills, CA soaking up the sunshine while waiting to be photographed. 

Now that they're celebrities they were asked what's next.  Their reply was they are waiting for Spring to splash around the lily pads!  Watch for them they'll be in the spotlight again soon! 

So Ralph and Justin arrived home just in time for the real cold weather.  Fortunately or unfortunately, a snow day occurred during our holiday break.  That was dangerous.  I always promise to make pizza if we get snowed in.  Sometimes I keep my promise, sometimes I forget.  Because of the timing I remembered.  I made the first dough in the Cuisinart and then handed the reins over to Kristen.  When she takes over I relax and enjoy the evening.  AND it's a long evening when you make this much pizza!  

What a combination-pizza and beer!  So I froze a few mugs and settled in for the evening.  It was soo much fun!!

Here's our favorite pizza recipe.

We always make the pizza dough in the food processor.  Then when we're all done making all the dough we want we make the pizza sauce right in the food processor.  We use a few cans of crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, olive oil, fresh basil and pepper.  Swirl that together in the food processor and have the toppings ready.  One of my favorite pizzas is thinly sliced tomatoes with fresh basil and a sprinkle of grated cheese.  Many moons ago when Chris and I were dating we went into New York City every chance we got.  We always went to our favorite little restaurant in Little Italy which sadly closed this Fall.  Our appetizer would always be a small pizza with fresh tomato, fresh basil, grated cheese and oil cured black olives.  It was to die for.  Whenever we make pizza that is a must and we make it exactly the same way. 

One tip for trying to get dough to rise in the cold weather.  No matter how warm a house is the dough can be funny.  I found this year the dough just didn't want to rise quickly.  We helped speed up the process by preheating the oven and putting the dough in oiled bowls with clean dishtowels over them.  The bowls sat under the warming light on the hood of the oven for a while and we finally got a good rise out of them.

 One of the highlights of our summer vacation to Maine a few years ago was a stop at the Shipyard Brewery.  It was so much fun.  After the tour you can stand at the bar and taste all the beer!  I loved the blueberry, apricot/peach and SMASHED PUMPKIN not to be confused with their regular pumpkin beer.  This beer is addicting!  All you need is whipped cream and you're in Heaven.  It is rich and you can kind of taste the pumpkin and a bit of cinnamon.  We brought home 4 bottles and I waited until the following Memorial Day to serve them at our picnic.  This year I found them at the package store and bought 8.  I'm saving 4 for Memorial Day!  It's only out between August and October so stock up! Oh, the shop at the Shipyard Brewery is pretty cool too.  I brought home beer soap which I put on my bar shelves.

This was one more memorable fun family night around the holidays.  Dad got Lord of the Rings Monopoly for Christmas.  We had a lot of laughs just playing a game together.

This photo won't go sideways so I'm leaving it in and showing it to you anyway!

OK, the fun's over!  Back to work, back to dieting, back to the gym.  It was fun while it lasted!!!  The next time we have another snow day I'm forgetting about it again!!!

Keep Warm!  See you Soon!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Post Christmas/New Year Catch Up!


It's cold outside and getting colder.

It's real bear weather!  We still have to get to work and bears still have to find their food!

But not Murphy Canning!  He's just hanging out taking doggy naps!  If Gramps comes today to take me for a run tell him I'm not going!  I'm going to lie here and wait for my mom and dad to come home and bring me some food.  And Grandma doesn't have to stop over to keep me company. Sometimes I like it nice and quiet and I can't worry about her tripping over me or slipping on the ice outside.  

Love you all MURPH!

*  *  *

Here's the  perfect breakfast for Humans on a bitter cold day when we're all snowed in!!

Aeble Skivers 
  1. aebleskivers
    Web definitions
    1. (Æbleskive) Æbleskiver are traditional Danish pancakes in a distinctive shape of a sphere. Somewhat similar in texture to American pancakes crossed with a popover, æbleskiver are solid like a pancake but light and fluffy like a popover. ...Æbleskive
They are delicious!  Years ago, I went to Beltram restaurant supply store on Sherman Avenue in Hamden and asked them to order the special cast iron pan you need to make them.  Now they can be ordered on the Internet.  They are such a treat!  I put foil around the pan to prevent batter drips on the stove.  Spray the pan with vegetable oil spray so the batter won't stick.  Let the Aebleskivers cook in the pan for a while before you try to turn them.  The longer they set the easier they are to turn.  We found wooden skewers work best for turning.  Once you get the hang of them you can crank out a lot.  We drop a tablespoon of something in the middle to make them taste more like doughnuts.  I love jelly or jam in the middle.  This year we made a nice variety.  Some had Stonewall Kitchen Wild Blueberry and  Sour Cherry Jelly and others had applesauce and then there's everyone's favorite chocolate chips.  

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and load on the maple syrup!

 Here's the recipe.  I always rate them!

I got the recipe from this cookbook.  This little church cookbook has the best recipes in it!  I know because I have tons of cookbooks and usually never make anything in them but this one is a gem and I always keep it close by.

This little snow girl is coiffed  with my daughter Kristen's hair.  Her mittens and hat are made from old socks.  Her leggins are from an old pair of mine and her coat is a scrap from a Christmas project I made years ago.  I knit her scarf!  What a way to recycle!

Kristen started painting this picture a few years ago and never finished it.  I was so excited when she gave it to me for Christmas!!  I rotate all my paintings seasonally but it's going to be very hard to put this one away when the weather gets warm!

This is my other Christmas present from Kristen.  We were in a little shop in ME a few summers ago and I saw some small paintings like this.  I showed them to Kristen and asked if she would paint me one.  This is a belated birthday present.  It's OK that my birthday is in July because at least I got it!  It's in my butler pantry playing with the rest of the goodies in there!

This is the only project I finished this season.  I thought I would get so much more done but unfortunately LIFE GETS IN THE WAY!  It's a candle mat from a kit I got at City Quilter in NYC about 4 years ago.  When my house gets back to order-if ever-I will put a pretty candle in the middle.

Happy New Year!  Next time Ralph and Justin will visit again with big news!