Confession

Brown. There I have said it. Brown is my favourite colour. But so is red. And green. And this season apricot—I bought a pair of Keds in apricot and a cute tuck it under your arm purse in the same colour—but brown is still one of my favourites.

A couple of years back, brown was the colour du jour—but brown in all its incarnations: chocolate, coffee, bronzed caramel, russet—because I guess just plain brown was not enough. Let’s face it—if you admit that brown is your favourite colour, people think you are boring. Just take a gander at Wikipedia’s definition:

“Brown is the color of dark wood or rich soil. It is a composite color made by combining red, black and yellow.  The color is seen widely in nature, in wood, soil, and human hair color, eye color and skin pigmentation. Culturally, it is most often associated with plainness, humility, the rustic, and poverty.”

I am here to stand in defence of brown. Brown is not boring or plain. It is comforting and warm and deep and rich. And it has stood the test of time. It is not flakey like chartreuse, or unpleasant like puce. It is not come hither like some shades of red, or shy like pink, nor is it as demanding as “look at me” black. Brown, in most of its shades (except mud and one my mother called shi_ brindle) is a beautiful  colour that complements many other shades cheering them on to shine in all their glory, while brown just sits back and lets them sparkle.

I have never been a fan of diamonds—sure I like them, but their sparkle can be copied – but my new fascination is with chocolate diamonds—they speak to me. As does chocolate in its own perfect way. So that is my ode to all things brown. Dare not call it boring again.

Do you like a colour that seems boring or unusual?

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Published in: on March 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm  Comments (41)  
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Simple Pleasures

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chill in my bones

Is warmed by hot chocolate

Whipped cream on my nose

Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm  Comments (27)  
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Cheese Puffs and Moth Balls

Chocolate Extravaganza!

Chocolate Extravaganza! (Photo credit: Rachel Ford James)

The Daily prompt by Krista was too good to ignore today. She wants us to “Tell us about the favourite dish or food that you simply cannot turn down.”

I love a challenge–

1. Chocolate – but not all forms. Has to be just the right chocolate. I love a deep milk chocolate especially in combination with caramel and nuts—so I am crazy about O Henry bars. I love my Hostess cupcakes with that white filling that doubles as death by sugar; and chocolate covered almonds are to die for. But I am not crazy about chocolate chip muffins, or chocolate whip cream, or chocolate pudding.  And though dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you, it is a little bitter for my palate unless accompanied by my favourite winery’s rose.

cheese puffs, the soft kind

cheese puffs without moth balls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Cheese puffs – I do not indulge in these often as they are a useless snack of lost calories—but they bring back wonderful memories of childhood—but also one disturbing one: one of my grandmas always had these on hand for a snack but she kept them in the same cupboard with her mothballs. I was always so disappointed when she brought them out because I could not eat them as they seemed to taste like what I think mothballs would taste like.

3. Shrimp. Ice cold and dipped in slightly tangy shrimp sauce—I have to try to be demure at parties when these are served so as not to eat more than my fair share. I fail at this, as whenever someone asks a host where I am at a party—the answer is always “she is by the shrimp”.

4. Pineapple – I just love chunks of fresh pineapple.

5. Chili and pizza – no explanation needed.

7. Bread – it would kill me to find out that I am whatever that is that makes you eat gluten free.

8. Coca Cola – I so try to give it up. I poured it on an ivy plant once when I was in university and the plant rusted. Seriously, I did that. And then still drank it. I now have it only on occasion.

Français : Une cannette de Coca-Cola italienne...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9. In no particular order: steak, prime rib, roasted potatoes, cheesecake, cherry pie, lamb, tomatoes out of the garden, corn on the cob dripping with butter and lightly salted, lemon chicken, scallops, stuffing, gravy, cashews, honey crisp apples, butter (shades of Paula Deen), onions, mustard, …..

10. Okay my favourite food is food except for lima beans, those cute little cabbage things—brussel sprouts, canned peas, and bad pastry that does not resemble pastry.

So, do you have a favourite food, or are you like me and just basically love food of any and (mostly) all types?

Dedication

Our most popular cake. Of course anything choc...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the first of my dedication posts. I will choose one lucky recipient a week to receive one of my fractured haiku.

Dedicated to Ms. Loony:

This delicate and highly philosophical  haiku is dedicated to my friend Cindy of photosfromtheloonybin. Needless to say she loves chocolate cake. And is a great photographer. Check her out on Fridays–she has a mystery photo post she submits every week that is designed to stump us. I think I have guessed correctly twice–and that is only because I looked at the other comments.

Cake

The very essence

Of my being calls out for

More chocolate cake.

Published in: on May 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm  Comments (37)  
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So What Do You Think?

Love Stinks

Love Stinks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fine day after Valentine’s Day is being celebrated in a questionable manner in some corners of the world. I join the legions who do not like the commercialization of love,  cheapening it by pressuring us into buying roses and diamonds and chocolates (seriously though how bad could a day be that supports chocolate?) But, are we so delicate that we cannot withstand this barrage?

Kudos for those of you who just ignore the hype. Equal kudos for those of you who enjoy it. No kudos for those of you who try to derail it by throwing anti-Valentine parties. The headline this morning in my local daily reads: “Kissers, Cuddlers Not Welcome”. A local bar is throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party tonight and they have banned “public displays of affection” calling them “strictly taboo” at their annual event.

Most of us have loved and lost. Many of us are in wonderful relationships—but we remember when we weren’t. But is that any reason to be so anti-love? I am not really comfortable with public displays of affection at any time—but showing a little affection should not be eliminated for the sake of broken and jaded hearts. My favourite song was once the  J. Geils Band’s  “Love Stinks”. But it was a phase, and I did not resent those who had found love—in fact I found it heartening.

I say to those who are anti-Valentine—get over yourselves. There is no bliss in negativity. What do you think?

Just Being Silly

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole.

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was an exercise  written for my writers’ group–the prompt was the first sentence. As you will see, I was just being silly:

There is a wickedness and wildness in the depths of my heart. I am convinced of this because I hide my cache of cupcakes from my family in the freezer. These are no ordinary cupcakes— they are the answer to my heart’ s  desire. I do not just buy a package of the cupcakes (you know the ones – they sport a squiggly white line on top of the fudgy icing and have a “hidden” cream filling) and hide them at the back of the freezer as this deception has unfortunately been discovered. I now save the cardboard boxes that the family pack of hamburgers comes in, and squirrel them away under the yellow cover of  this no name product box.

Sometimes, when I do not have a deceptive box to hide my delectables, I will take them out of their original container, and scatter them willy nilly among the other freezer food.  One twin package of the lovelies is tossed into a corner under the frozen chicken, another is tucked in by the peas—so that even if someone is determined to find them, they will probably not find them all.

Granted, it is sometimes difficult finding the little guys when they are sprinkled and strewn, disseminated, distributed and dotted throughout the freezer—but once one is found, the reward, with a tall glass of cold milk is worth it.

Such evil in my soul—but it is satisfied by that first bite of the ice cold cake. It is important that the bite include the icing, spongy cake, and frozen white stuff in the middle (which, in scientific studies I ignore, has been linked  directly to heart failure). This  must be followed with a gulp of cold, cold milk. My fiendish self is then no longer either wicked or wild, but sated by this chocolate fudgy delight.

Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm  Comments (37)  
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Woo woo

English: Magic wand icon

English: Magic wand icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…….expand your horizons, dream….dreams filled with miracles and surprises.” ~ Andy Baggott

My nouveau mantra: make the best of what you have. Right now. My way of doing this may seem a little… what is the term my friends have coined of late—“woo-woo”. It is an all-encompassing term that covers all those things we do not understand, that maybe we are a little sceptical of, that we laugh at, but that we are not really sure there is not a grain of truth to.

For some reason I woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning, and because it did not seem in the cards for me to get back to sleep, I picked up a magazine I had at my bedside. It is an annual edition, called—wait for it—-the “Law of Attraction”. Now, my dear sceptics do not stop reading here—I will try to make it worth your while. I once belonged to the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” school of unrelenting and unforgiving thought. As the decades have gone by, I have softened my stance (no, I am not soft in the head—that is my story and I am sticking to it) and have become open to more ways of thinking than one.

The article I happened upon was called “Setting Your Day” written by Andy Baggott, author of the book “Blissology”. Apparently, Andy “helps people connect with their own inner wisdom to achieve health, happiness, and fulfillment.” As I am not so sure I have “inner wisdom” I read the article in order to find out how to unlock it. It seems my “inner wisdom” is being somewhat coy, so for now, I will have to be satisfied with learning how to “set my day”.

There are five simple steps to what Andy calls “The Practice”, but he says that the more you work with the technique the more your life will change for the better. He says that you might notice that people are nicer to you, that you don’t seem to attract conflicts, and you will “expand your horizons and dream bigger and better dreams filled with miracles and surprises.” I am all for a better life, less conflict,with a few miracles and surprises thrown in for good measure, so I thought I would give his practice steps a whirl. So for your illumination, and possible experimentation, here are steps:

1. Find a quiet place to sit and take three relaxing breaths.

2. Think about all the positive things in your life. Sit in appreciation of your amazing body, your friends, your home, or anything else in your life that makes you feel good.

3. Imagine your day unfolding in the very best possible way. Don’t hold back—think big. If you can imagine it, you have the power to make anything a reality. Whatever you have planned for that day, imagine everything unfolding perfectly.

4. Smile to yourself as you visualize having a day filled with consistently improving feelings.

5. Now go and enjoy your day.

There is no hokus pokus here. No magic wand (though if you come upon one tell me where you found it), no drawing on the spirit world. It is just a simple little exercise to get you ready for the day. While he may lose you a little in his statement that if you can imagine it, you have the power to make anything a reality—I think of it as just another way to have hope.

Maybe, just maybe, this little “practice” honed to suit your lifestyle will provide some much needed respite in a world sometimes gone mad.  That and the very fact that we are still able to take those first “three relaxing breaths” is something to celebrate and appreciate. And if all else fails, eat chocolate.

Published in: on May 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Comments (6)  
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Potlucks are not for the faint of heart

Recipes

Recipes (Photo credit: pirate johnny)

Hey, if you are going to be snobbish about it, forget adding me to your list of fans. Daniel Humm, executive chef of Eleven Madison Park in New York says that people who do not have a certain “level of skill” should relegate his new cookbook to the coffee table rather than near their cook top. According to a short article in the National Post, he says that the recipes in his book require (besides skill) a “significant time commitment, a reasonably equipped kitchen, and a healthy dose of persistence”. So I assume making a meal in fifteen minutes is not a significant time commitment, and the attention span of a baby rabbit and the skill set of an impatient “get in on the table so we can chow down kind of cook” are not the proper credentials needed to cook from “Eleven Madison Park:  The Cookbook”.

Well, Monsieur Humm, methinks your cookbook is not for me. Actually, that is not altogether true—as I treat reading cook books as kind of a hobby. I love to read about food, about exotic ingredients combined in unusual ways to create magnificence, all the while stirring 1% milk into my macaroni and cheese and warming up meatballs from the frozen section of the grocery store.

I have long made fun of my skills as a cook, and I have a friend who calls me on it, saying that she thinks I use my “phantom lack of skills” to ward off any criticism of my cooking. And she is right. I am not a bad cook—my family is not starving, and I can be creative in my own right—but I am not a particularly confident cook. I attended a small get together on Saturday night—a casual dinner party, and having volunteered to bring dessert, I had visions of all kinds of delectables I could make and offer to my friends. I usually volunteer to make the salad, but in my new quest to “take risks” I offered to bring the finale to the dinner instead.

I told my sister of this unusual offer to make dessert and she promptly emailed me an easy and foolproof recipe for dessert that she was sure would be a hit. She is aware of my skills, so sent something that had very few ingredients, and even fewer steps. I think that part of my problem is that I am a languid (synonym for lazy) cook, as well as a little unsure when it comes to feeding anyone outside my family (which includes my siblings and nieces and nephews, who are kind about my efforts).

I was determined to try the recipe. I made a list of the ingredients and was all set to buy them and “compose” a homemade dessert. Then I got cold feet. I perused the bakery section of a local grocery store and found a sinful dessert that would be sure to please. I considered buying the caramel chocolate mousse cake and putting it on a plate from home to “make it seem” as if I had baked it. But then, I decided on two things: I should practice baking before I tried the recipe on my friends, even though I knew my sister would not steer me wrong; and, to be honest. I presented the cake unapologetically in its original packaging. These were good friends—they would understand. And they did. But they did not know the angst that went into “buying” dessert.

Desserts from JusQytly

Desserts from JusQytly (Photo credit: laRuth)

I never judge when people bring “prepared” food to a potluck, as I understand their trepidation. I suffer from it too. To those of you out there who either do not care what people think about your cooking (good for you) or are such good cooks that you have great confidence from years of success, I honour your commitment to “homemade” and enjoy it immensely. There is also a faction out there who is unabashedly unapologetic—as they should be. They bring offerings that may not be “from their hands but still from their hearts” and I honour you too. We are all talented in different ways and being made to feel guilty because you do not make your offerings from scratch is just not hospitable.

So, this holiday season, as we all venture out to our potlucks, go with what makes your season bright and not stressful. If “homemade” is not your forte, that is what grocery stores and specialty shops are for. Some of us will reject Chef Humm’s cookbook except as a form of light reading, and others will relish it as an instruction manual that will garner rewards, which the Chef says is possible, if you follow the recipes “exactly”. By the way, I am going to try my sister’s recipe and report back—just not under the pressure of producing a grand ending to a great meal.

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm  Comments (8)  
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