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gold speckled robin’s egg Easter eggs

If you haven’t dyed your Easter eggs yet, there is still time. Time to do something more creative than the dye kits from the grocery store.

Many years ago, when my now 20-something kids were in grade school and we had our own egg-laying chickens, I tried dyeing our eggs with natural ingredients for Easter.

I used onion skins, beets, coffee, Red-Zinger tea bags, spinach, turmeric, chili powder and red cabbage. The only one I remember turning out as beautiful as the ones I’d seen Martha Stewart do were the eggs dyed with red cabbage. Maybe that is because instead of getting the red or purple eggs one would expect, the cabbage eggs come out a lovely shade of robin’s egg blue.

I was inspired to make these gold speckled robin’s eggs when I thought back on those red cabbage blue eggs combined with the memory of the Robin’s Nest Cake I made last Easter.

This is a “Do as I say – Not as I do” sort of recipe. I didn’t use enough cabbage and water to completely cover the eggs.

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April 15, 2017   3 Comments

where flowers bloom

My plan for this week was to get ready for Easter. I was going to make some gold speckled robin’s egg Easter eggs, start decorating the house, get my table ready and have fun doing it and then share it with you. The only thing I’ve accomplished this far is the update of my letter-board.

Instead, I’ve spent countless hours at the Verizon and Apple stores.

While I type this post, on Thursday evening, I’m actually sitting at the Apple Genius Bar. I’m dealing with my Mac laptop and issues with my Photos library. Basically what happened, is that I lost all 49,000+ of my photos when I updated the operating system, late on Tuesday night.

I installed the update because I needed to back up my phone, so that I could transfer all content from my iPhone 6S to a new iPhone 7.  The reason I needed a new phone was because on the morning I was leaving for my NYC trip (a week ago Wednesday) my phone fell from my back pocket into the toilet.

I know, it’s the worst!

I put the phone in a container of rice to dry it out and carried that container with me throughout the two flights from Phoenix to Houston to New York. All seemed fine on Wednesday night when I arrived in NYC and pulled the phone from the rice. It was still working fine on Thursday and on Friday morning. Then, out of the blue, on Friday afternoon, the camera stopped working. I had no front camera for the rest of the trip, only the back “selfie” camera worked.

The phone could not be fixed, so I spent all day this past Tuesday at Verizon, trying to back it up, to no avail. The Verizon dude told me to bring it home and plug it into my Mac and use iTunes to back it up…. hence the update of the Mac’s operating system before the phone could be backed up.

The new phone is all good but the update of the operating system on the Mac somehow jacked up my desktop. Everything disappeared, so I brought the computer to the Genius Bar on Wednesday afternoon. They fixed that problem and I thought that my technology challenges were over… until I got home and found that ALL of my photos were gone!

Well, I do have most of them on an external hard drive, but I discovered that the last time I used the drive was in 2014. Oops!

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April 14, 2017   2 Comments

NYC with my girl

I returned on Monday night, after a glorious long weekend in New York City with Marissa. We hadn’t had a mother/daughter trip since we went to Paris and London, the summer after her freshman year in college.

We had The Best Time!

The first morning, we went to LIVE with Kelly, where we saw Mandy Patinkin, Rashida Jones, Jason Statham, Kelly’s charming and fun co-host for the week, Scott Wolf and even got to give high-fives to James Bond himself, Pierce Bronsan!

Kelly Ripa was adorable and everything you hope she would be; funny, quick-witted, beautiful and sweet to everyone on set and in the audience.

We were actually there for two shows. The live show on Thursday, when we sat in the front row. And again about an hour later for the taping of the Friday show, where we were up in the balcony. Both vantage points had their advantages. It was fun to be in the front, but there were often production crew and cameras blocking our view. It was great to be up high because we could easily see it all.

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April 13, 2017   4 Comments

new toy obsession

I have a new toy!

It’s an old-timey letter board from the sweet family-run business, Letterfolk.

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April 5, 2017   2 Comments

Plan B

On Sunday morning, I pulled a package of pork tenderloin from the freezer to thaw for dinner. A few hours later I heard from Connor and he decided to stay home instead of coming over as he usually does for Sunday dinner and to do his laundry. I think he’d had enough of me after our trip to Austin.

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April 4, 2017   2 Comments

Austin with Connor

A week ago, Connor and I flew to Austin, TX to visit Marissa and Jeff and see their new house.

We saw, we ate, we drank, we had a great time and we toasted a lot.

We toasted at every place we ate and drank.

So pretty much all the time!

Looking back, it seems like all we did was eat and drink! Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with that at all!

The night we arrived, we ate at Odd Duck. Marissa and Jeff had celebrated their first wedding anniversary here, back in October. I love that they wanted to share it with us.

The menu consists of tapas-style shared plates. The food was creative, fun and yummy.

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April 3, 2017   4 Comments

dirty little secret

Honestly, it’s more of a dirty little tip that I have for you today.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite cocktails to make is Mules. Everyone knows that Mules are best served in copper cups. They’re hip, on trend and they keep the cocktail ice-cold for a very long time.

They most recent Mules I made were for Steve and Tram’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. Here are links to some of the Mule recipes I’ve posted:

My collection of copper mugs has grown to 20. Most are vintage. Seventeen of the twenty are as shiny as a new penny. They stay that way because they are sealed.

Sadly, the sealant has come off the other three and they tarnish quickly. But there is a fix for that.

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March 24, 2017   No Comments

Guinness Fondue

Sweet Zoey and me testing the appetizer I made for Tram and Steve’s St. Patrick’s Day/Going-Away dinner party last Friday night. Zoey and Zak were not fans of the Guinness Fondue, but they did love all the dippers for it.

One of the dippers is blanched Brussels sprouts.

To blanch them; trim the ends and cut in half. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add sprouts and boil for 3 or 4 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces a sprout easily. Drain and then shock in ice water. Drain on paper towels and leave at room temperature until serving time. Note: When you’re trimming and halving the sprouts, you’ll end up with a pile of single leaves. I blanched the leaves first for about 30 seconds, shocked and drained them and used them in a salad the next day. Zero waste!

Also a note about another dipper – the pretzel roll cubes. I didn’t have time to get to Costco and buy a package of their pretzel rolls, which are the best around, in my opinion. Instead I bought the Trader Joe’s pretzel rolls. You know I love my Trader Joe’s, but there is no comparison between the two rolls. The Costco variety are saltier and way more pretzel-y. Lesson learned.

One last note before the recipe. I know, I’ve got so much to say about this easy-breezy appetizer! A third and very important dipper is apple cubes. In my rush to assemble and set out the appetizer when I arrived at Tram’s, I forgot to add the apple cubes to the serving tray. I felt like something was missing, but I brushed it off. Finally, a guest asked, “What is this container of apple cubes for?” Darn it! Don’t forget to put them out because they add a much-needed light and bright color to the tray of dippers and are a delicious fresh addition to the overall taste choices. *If you look closely in the left upper corner of the photo above, you’ll see them in their storage container with the purple trimmed lid. Oh well.

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March 23, 2017   No Comments

Irish recipes for next St. Patrick’s Day

On Friday night, Tram and Steve had a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party that was also a going-away party for a special Irish chef we all know and love. Chef Michael Cairns and his beautiful wife, Dar, are moving to Napa, California today. You will now be able to find Michael at the gorgeous Silverado Resort. The last time I was at The Silverado was in 1990-something for the Napa County Wine Auction. Knowing that Michael is there makes me want to go back. The 2017 Auction is the first weekend in June… very tempting!

Michael and Steve cooked up a delicious traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal; corned beef, cabbage & carrots, soda bread, Shepard’s pie, roasted potatoes, boiled potatoes and colcannon (which is another potato dish – you know, for good measure!)

I contributed my favorite things to bring to parties, a cocktail and an appetizer. Today you’ll find the cocktail recipe and tomorrow I’ll post the appetizer.

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March 22, 2017   1 Comment

Soup for the Ventos

I had my dear friends, Lori and Jonathan Vento, over for dinner. Not this last weekend, because they are back in Chicago, freezing their little toes off! It was actually last month, while they were here visiting and Lori’s mom was along for the trip.

For our first course, I decided to combine two of my favorite vegetables. I love butternut squash soup and I equally adore red bell pepper soup. They are both bright and beautiful and doubly so when in the same bowl.

Off topic …. It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted any adorable photos of my exceedingly adorable 2-year-old cats, Bombay and Bailey. While scrolling back through my photos to find the pictures to accompany this recipe, I found a few cat pics. Honestly, I found a ton of cat pics, I am constantly taking pictures of them. I only chose a few to share though. They are at the bottom of the post … after the recipe … if adorable cat photos are your thing!

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March 20, 2017   2 Comments