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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be forty.

Unlike many people who turn forty, I'm not dreading it, I love birthdays, especially my own. My attitude is that I'd much rather have a birthday and get another year older than be dead. Morose, but true.

So often, getting older, and being an adult in general, is underrated. Often I hear those of my generation or older lament that they would love to be a kid again. Reminiscing about a time of no worries, or burdens, nothing but play time, nap time, eating and fun time. I don't recall my childhood as being nearly that rosy. Frankly,  being an adult rocks.

There's a lot to be said for leaving the t.v. AND all the lights on when I leave the room, if that's what I want. I can go to bed whenever I choose (my choice is often 8:00 p.m., but that's not the point). Running through the house with scissors has become an option. I can have cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The choice of what clothes to wear and how to style my hair on any given day are mine and mine alone. I am not required to make my bed. And even at the ripe old age of forty, my bedroom floor is often littered with clothes that no one can make me pick up and carry to the laundry room. I don't have to be home by the time the streetlights come one. There's no one to "give me something to cry about!". No more worrying about being tall enough to ride the roller coasters. I can shop in department stores without the employees there treating me like I'm going to steal something.

Of course, many of the perks that I listed come with consequences, if I choose to implement them. Exorbitant electric bills, possible flesh wounds, a shameful waistline. But sometimes, just knowing that you can do what you want, within the reasonable confines of the law of course, is just as good as actually doing them. Just think about it...adulthood wins.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Here are a few of my random food opinions in list form...
A Sour Apple Tree's blog does this type of thing much better than me, but I like his blog so much, I've decided to swipe it ;)

Best Hamburgers in the Charleston/Huntington area...

1) The Bear's Den-Downtown Charleston, in the basement of the old Daniel Boone hotel

2) Bobby's Bar and Grill-Cross Lanes (Yes, it's a beer joint, but it's not a scary beer joint, and you'll see lots of people there strictly for the food)

3)Five Guys-Pullman Square (Crusty deliciously messy burgers and fantastic fries)

4) Fat Patty's-Barboursville and Huntington (Wish the fries were better, but hey, this is a burger list)

5) Steak and Shake-Barboursville (Royale Burger, 'nuff said)

Best Hot Dogs in the Charleston/Huntington area...

1) Sam's Hot Dogs-Hale St., Charleston

2) Tony's Gold Dome-Kanawha City (Another beer joint, but the dogs are worth the risk)

3) Sam's Club-Southridge Centre (What? Don't laugh. The weiner is Nathan's brand, the chili is Custard Stand, they're HUGE, and ultra-easy on the wallet)

4) The Leonard's-The Mound in South Charleston (Just simple WV dogs, for WV people who know good food)

Sorry Huntington, you're just not a "hot dog town". Hillybilly Hot Dogs, Stewart's, Frost Top, I'm unimpressed with all of those offerings. But I have an open mind, if any of you want to recommend a great dog in Huntington, just leave me a comment letting me know about it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm pretty sure that I will be spontaneously combusting at any moment now. Actually, if it wasn't for the tropical humidity that is making everything so wet and steamy, I already would have. It's hot. Inhumanely hot. And in weather like this, a young woman's fancy turns to thoughts of ice cream.

Usually, I'd only make ice cream a couple of times between May and September. But, because of my above mentioned facing of a fiery death on what now seems to be a daily basis, I've already made ice cream three times, all of them crazy good batches.

There was the ubiquitous chocolate, made with a healthy infusion of Nutella (I wish I had two hearts so that I could pledge one of them to Nutella *sigh*). Chocolate is the preferred ice cream flavor of Mr. Icequeen, so it has become required summer (and winter) eats in our house.

Then there was the semi-successful-first-try at a peach flavored quart. Not bad, not great either, but I'd be willing to try making that one again.

But then....oh but then, came the one flavor to unite them all....Dulce de Leche w/toasted coconut. Not only is it possibly the best ice cream I've ever made, it may be (insert booming god-like voice here) THE BEST ICE CREAM OF ALL TIME.  Yep, I said it after the first spoonful, and I stand by it now, even though the last drips of it were finished weeks ago. It's not just good, it's not just great. It's (comic geek alert!) the fucking Batman of frozen treats.  This flavor will now be held up as the standard that all other ice creams aspire to. I'm drooling on my keyboard, just thinking about how great it will be when the ice cream and I are together once again.

It tastes like caramel. It tastes like coconut. Sweet monkey dumplings, it tastes like BUTTER! Smooth, and creamy, with tiny flakes of crunchy, nutty coconut throughout. It was sweet, and just a little salty. I've reached food Nirvana, and it's quite lovely.


1 cup half and half

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 Tbs coconut extract

2 cups whipping cream

6 oz cream cheese, softened

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

13.4 oz can dulce de leche

2 cups coconut, toasted and finely chopped

In large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until fluffy then gradually add sweetened condensed milk until smooth, then the dulce de leche, beating until all ingredients are smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour the ice cream mixture into a ice cream freezer container and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I may be the luckiest woman in the world. Because of my lifestyle (child-free) and my job (government drone), most of my weekends are lazy, stress-free affairs. Before you start hating me, you need to know that even with all this free time on my hands, I still can't seem to....

Make myself work out on a regular basis
Get to all the backed-up shows on my Tivo
Read all the books and magazines that I have laying around
Get to work on time
Shave my legs as often as I should
Learn a second language
Do as much baking as I'd like
Pay enough attention to my blog.

One thing that there always seems to be time for is the weekend breakfast. You know what I'm talking about. The breakfast that consists of more than a bowl of Corn Pops, or a piece of toast you're frantically shoving down your throat in that futile attempt to make it to work on time.

The weekend breakfast du jour is malted waffles. This is another one of those Baked: Explorations recipes (I'm smitten with this cookbook). These waffles were slightly crisp on the edges, with a very fluffy interior. The recipe requires malted milk powder, which I actually had on hand, and the powder gave it a hint of malty, cocoa like flavor. Me and the hubs were enjoying them so much, that I almost forgot to take a pic for you. The recipe follows the shot.

Malted Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup malted milk powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 large egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk the egg in a second bowl. Whisk in the butter and buttermilk. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until mixed – there will be some lumps. Heat waffle maker as per manufacturer directions and. Brush lightly with oil. Drop batter onto waffle maker and use technique from manufacturer to make the waffles.

Makes five to six waffles.

Up next, Dulce de Leche and toasted coconut ice cream.



In a bleak future where the United States is on the brink of becoming a third world country, and everyone is judged primarily by their credit rating, a poor schlub in Manhattan is just looking for someone to share his pathetic life with.

This is not a chick book. Instead it's a funny, often ironic, look into what could end up being a very real vision of the future, mixed with lots of heartbreak that speaks to the inner loser in all of us.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Since almost any recipe you could possibly want is available via internet, I rarely lust over hard-cover copies of cookbooks anymore. But, "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" is an exception. If you're looking for something simple, but still a little off of the beaten path, B:NFB is worth a fun look.

Some of the most rewarding baking, is "thank you baking". Baking something for someone who has done something helpful or nice, or someone whose friendship you appreciate, and you want them to know it.

The reason for the two different types of brownies, is because I wanted to make brownies for some co-workers. I wanted to make something special, but I also needed a back-up brownie plan in case something with the untested recipe went awry.

I looked through the B:NFB cookbook, and made the delicious "Baked Brownie". Recipe listed further along. They turned out great, but then Mr. Icequeen wanted brownies too, so instead of making another trip to the grocery store for supplies to make another batch of "Baked Brownies", I turned to a Ghardelli box mix instead.

Both are delicious. I've always believed that boxed brownie mixes were actually superior to all brownies I had ever made from scratch. But, I have seen the chocolate light. The scratch brownie is both fudgy, and has a deep chocolate flavor, that is richly enhanced by the espresso powder added to the mix.


Yield: 24 brownies

The Baked brownie is a beautiful thing.

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors. 1. Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. 2. Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter, and 3. Make sure you check your brownies often while baking. Once the brownies have been overbaked slightly, they have reached the point of no return.

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder

11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely

8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.


We never really thought that the world would end over the weekend, but we're always looking for any small reason to celebrate. So, when the world is nice enough to keep on keeping on, it only makes sense to party on down with shrimp fritters.

The only thing that even came close to the "walking dead" was Yeti.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What I'm Reading Right Now

I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy. If you have not read this set of books, you must do so, right now. I'll be waiting here patiently for you to come back, and to let me know what you think of it.