Thursday, January 29, 2015

Anna Sultana's Lava Cakes / Links for Romantic Dinners for Two


Good gosh, we’re almost through January.
It’ll be February in a couple of days.
We go from one holiday to the next.
I mean, wasn’t Christmas a week ago?

Valentine’s Day is staring us in the face.
What is there about giving and enjoying chocolate on Valentine’s Day?

I don’t know, and with Valentine’s Day about two weeks away, there isn’t any time to waste doing any research or worrying about it.


What there is time for is to make a nice ‘For Two’ dessert.
Like Lava Cakes.

Want some ideas for romantic dinners for two?
Here are a few great recipes from Adriana La Cerva's chapter Cibo D'Amore in The Sopranos Family Cookbook.


Hints:

I don’t know about you, but I’m nervous about trying a new recipe on a special day.
Why not make a trial run of this recipe this week?
You can present the practice cakes with a simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

For the special day pull out all the stops.
Serve them with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries.
Strawberries or raspberries would be very nice.
A drizzling of raspberry and/or chocolate sauce would add a special touch.

You can sift the flour by using  small strainer.

For Valentine’s Day you can make the batter ahead of time, pour it into the prepared ramekins, and then bake it when you’re ready for dessert. 

Don’t have ramekins?  
Custard cups will do.
Prefer unsweetened, milk or white chocolate?
Why not?  It’s your Valentine’s Day, too.


                        Lava Cakes

Generously butter 2 6-oz ramekins, dust them with cocoa powder, and set aside.

Place in a small pot
2 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Melt together over low heat, stirring until completely smooth. 
Take the pot off the heat.
Stir in 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400º F

Place in a small mixer bowl
1 large egg
Beat at medium speed until foamy.
Slowly add 
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Beat on high for 10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow.
Pour the egg mixture into the melted chocolate and butter.
Sift directly over the mixture
1 Tablespoon flour
Using a spatula, gently fold everything together.
Divide the batter between the two prepared ramekins.
Smooth the tops with the spatula. 
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 13 minutes.
The cakes should have puffed slightly and jiggle a bit in the centre when gently shaken.

Remove the ramekins from the oven.
Immediately run a knife around the edges of each cake. 
Invert each ramekin onto its own individual dessert plate.
Let them sit for about a minute, then lift the ramekins off the cakes. 

Dust with 
Confectioners’ sugar
Garnish with whipped cream, fresh berries and sauce.
Serve immediately.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Emergency Food & Supplies List & Hints - Margaret Ullrich

We’re not out of winter, yet.
There’s always the threat of a bad storm coming, making it impossible to get out to the store.
Still you’ve got to eat.
Or, even worse, feed the kids.

Here’s a list of items to keep on hand for times like these.
Most of these can be stored in a box.
Nothing exotic, and they can get used up once spring comes.


Hint:

You might want to keep items like this on hand most of the time.
There’s always a hurricane, tornado, blackout….


* Cheeses, such as Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack
* Hardtack bread (Wasa), tortillas
* Dry noodles, spaghetti, rice
* Commercial biscuit mix
* Commercial cake mix
* Peanut butter
* Powdered milk
* Canned milk
* Canned salmon, tuna, meat
* Canned tomatoes, vegetables and beans
* Canned soup
* Packaged side dishes (rice, pasta, potatoes, noodles)
* Spaghetti sauce
* Salsa
* Barbecue sauce
* Oil: vegetable or olive oil
* Basic seasonings: garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
* Dried fruit
* Packaged instant pudding mix
* Crackers
* Nuts
* Marshmallows, treats
* Jam, Jelly
* Syrup
* Coffee, regular and/or instant
* Tea
* Bottled water

If you’ve heard that a storm is coming get some extra
* Fruit: oranges, apples, bananas
* Veggies: onions, potatoes, carrots, peppers, celery, cabbage, squash etc.
* Eggs
* Fresh milk
* Meat
* Bread

Your Emergency Kit should also include: a flashlight and portable radio, fresh batteries for both, candles, matches, a manual can opener, a first aid kit with a manual, extra prescription medicine, cash, pet food and a list of emergency phone numbers. 

The following are household basics: smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a multipurpose fire extinguisher, emergency lighting wall units, a camp stove or hibachi, a coil of half inch rope, duct tape, work gloves, a crowbar, a shovel, a hammer and a handsaw.  

Add a portable toilet or plastic bags, plastic sheeting for covering broken windows, a suitcase packed with warm clothing and sturdy shoes and you're set for an emergency.  
If you live in a mobile home, know where the nearest safe structure is.


If mobility is a problem, have a network of people to help you, and give someone a key to your home.  Wear your medical alert ID.  If you need dialysis or other treatments, know the location of more than one facility.  And know the size and weight of your wheel chair and if it's collapsible.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Anna Sultana's Monkey Bread Muffins / Monkey Bread Coffee Cake

A few days ago I posted the recipe for Ma's Lemon Monkey Bread, along with links for a few of her lemon recipes.
The Monkey Bread is good, either with soup or as a dessert.
It’s a fun dish for when you have the gang over.
And the kids enjoy pulling pieces off the loaf.

But, if you’re not serving a crowd, it does leave a sad looking leftover for the next meal.

It looks like a nicely frosted cake that has been ‘sampled’.
Not exactly appealing.
And not practical if you’re a retired couple.

No problem.
The recipe can be prepared as muffins or as a coffee cake.
Isn’t that nice?


Hints:

If you prefer cinnamon, substitute 1 Tablespoon cinnamon for the lemon zest in the original recipe.

If you want to have either of these recipes for breakfast the next day you can.
After you have placed the small balls in the pan, wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then place it in the fridge overnight. 
In the morning take the pan out and let the dough finish rising before baking.

For a lighter icing you can combine in a small bowl
!/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice or water (more or less)
Drizzle over muffins or coffee cake.

If you don't want the icing, skip it.


                        Monkey Balls

Grease the pan you’re using and set aside.
Place the oven rack in the medium low position.

In a medium bowl combine
3 1/4 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl mix together
1 Cup milk, warm (around 110º F)
1/3 Cup water, warm (around 110º F)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 Cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
Gradually stir the flour / salt into the liquid ingredients. 
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead about 10 minutes. 
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.
Rotate the dough around to grease all of the surfaces.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
The dough should be doubled in size.

On a floured surface roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. 
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into about 60 pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball. 


                        Monkey Bread Muffins

Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.

Combine in a small bowl
1/2 Cup butter - melted
1/2 Cup brown sugar

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each greased muffin cup.

Combine in a second small bowl
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoons cinnamon
Toss each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Place 5 balls into each muffin cup. 
If you have any sugar left in the bag, sprinkle on top of the muffins.

Cover the pan with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
The balls should be doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350º F
Bake for 20 minutes until the top is light brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute.
Invert to remove the muffins from the pan - they should fall right out.

Combine in a small mixer bowl
1/4 Cup cream cheese
1/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
Drizzle icing over muffins.


                        Monkey Bread Coffee Cake

Grease a 9-inch round pan and set aside.

Combine in a small bowl
1 pkg. (102 g) vanilla instant pudding
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Toss each ball in the pudding mixture.
Place in prepared pan.
Drizzle with
1/4 Cup butter, melted

Cover the pan with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
The balls should be doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350º F
Bake 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. 
Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan.

While the cake is cooling, combine in a small mixer bowl
1/4 Cup cream cheese
1/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
Drizzle icing over the coffee cake.

Sprinkle over the top of the cake (optional)
2 Tablespoons chopped toasted pecans or walnuts or almonds

Monday, January 19, 2015

Living the High Life by Margaret Ullrich - Highball Recipe

Last August I posted about our quest for a Queen-sized bed.
We had searched and tested mattresses in two countries.
You’d think, after all that trouble, that we’d have found the perfect bed.
You’d be wrong.

The queen-sized, soy-based, gel-plus memory foam mattress from Sears was just fine for about two months.

Then Paul’s shoulders and hips started to hurt again.
Since Sears has a one year return policy for their mattresses we were back to testing their mattresses.
Finally Paul decided on a tempur-pedic mattress and box spring set.  
The Concord.
Yes, we were buying a mattress set and not the airplane.

Kathryn was very helpful and, within minutes, had sorted out all our paper work.
We were given a large plastic bag to wrap the mattress.
We knew the routine.
On January 18 our bagged and sealed mattress was to be exchanged for the Concord.

I’ve got to admit that Sear’s service was prompt.
We had been told to expect the delivery between noon and six p. m.
At 11:30 a. m. we received a phone call.
They’d be here within ten minutes.
No problem - we’re home 24/7.
The young men who came were the same pair who had delivered the Zed bed.
They had also removed our old set, which we had bought from Eaton's, probably a few years before our young movers had been born.

By now we were buddies.
As they removed the Zed they said there had been problems with that model.
As bedding professionals, they approved of our replacement.
Which made me feel much better.
The set even came with a welcome kit!

They did have a bit of a chuckle while they installed the new bedding.
Some comments about our needing a step ladder, or maybe a stool.

The Zed was basically a slab of foam that was eight inches high.
Perfect for me, since I am about five feet tall.
I could easily sit on it, and getting in and out was no problem.
Since Paul was the one with the comfort issues, I had let him test out the mattresses.
What was fine for him would be okay by me.
Yes, well he’s over six feet tall.

The bed is comfortable.
But I feel like the girl in the Princess and the Pea fairy tale.
The mattress and box spring combined are twenty-one inches high.
Add the frame and it's another nine inches, for a total of thirty inches.

I have to take a flying leap to get into bed.
And it takes a few minutes for my feet to touch ground when I carefully slide over the side to get out of bed.
Well, nothing’s perfect.

I miss the days when we could camp and sleep on the ground.  
Oh, well, that was another century.
We’re zipping along in the twenty-first century.
Time for a nice simple drink, like a Highball.

A little history…
Highball may refer to the fact that these drinks are served in tall glasses.
Or it might refer to the dining cars of trains powered by steam locomotives.
When the engine got up to speed the ball showed that the boiler pressure was at its high level, known as "highballing".
Whatever, it’s a nice simple drink.


                        Highball

Pour over ice cubes in a highball glass
1 1/2 ounces whiskey, scotch, brandy, rum, gin, vodka or creme de menthe
Add favourite mix and stir.

Initially the highball was made with Scotch whisky and carbonated water, known in the UK as a "Scotch and soda".
Other highballs include the gin and tonic, Seven and Seven, and Cuba Libre


Happy Highballing!!!


About Tuesday’s new moon in Aquarius…
According to the folks at astrology.com:

The new Moon on January 20 is also a super Moon (Close to Earth)!  
The very next day Mercury goes retrograde amid this calm, cool, and collected constellation. With the planet of communication rolling backwards for the ensuing three weeks, expect to feel the opposite of calm! 

Social media and technology are in for some major confusion during this time, so be certain to back up your data.

Interesting… 
When I posted about getting the bed it was also a Super Moon. 
It was a full moon in Aquarius which is the best lunation of the year for sexual experimentation.
No idea what this moon is supposed to do for our sex life.
Thanks to the extra height, I’m getting more exercise.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Anna Sultana's Lemon Monkey Bread / Links for Eight Other Lemon Recipes


I’m so glad to see that Ma’s Cinnamon Buns recipe has become popular.

The buns are a little messy for a lunch bag.
Bu the buns can make a soup supper feel more like a meal.
They can also be served as a weekend breakfast.
Or you can enjoy them with a cup of tea.


Another nice but messy to pack treat is Ma’s Lemon Monkey Bread.
It is sweet enough to serve as a dessert.
But it could also be served with the soup.
And it’s so nice to serve something that is a little different.

It also gives the kiddies a bit of a giggle when they pull the bread apart.


Hints:

If you want to have the bread for breakfast the next day you can.
After you have placed the small balls in the bundt pan, wrap the bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap, then place it in the fridge overnight. 
In the morning take the pan out and let the dough finish rising before baking.

Check this post for variations.


                        Lemon Monkey Bread

Grease a bundt pan with softened butter and set aside.
Place the oven rack in the medium low position.

In a medium bowl combine
3 1/4 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl mix together
1 Cup milk, warm (around 110º F)
1/3 Cup water, warm (around 110º F)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 Cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
Gradually stir the flour / salt into the liquid ingredients. 
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead about 10 minutes. 
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.
Rotate the dough around to grease all of the surfaces.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
The dough should be doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, combine in a medium bowl
1 Cup sugar
the zest of 1 lemon (or 1 Tablespoon lemon extract)
1/2 Cup butter, melted

On a floured surface roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. 
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into about 64 pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball. 
Dip the balls in the melted butter, allowing the butter to drip back into the bowl. 
After tossing the balls in the lemon sugar mixture, layer them in the prepared bundt pan.
Cover the bundt pan with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.
The balls should be doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350º F

Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown. 
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
Turn out onto a platter and allow the bread to cool about 10 minutes.

While the bread is cooling, combine in a small mixer bowl
1/4 Cup cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (or more - you want it to be a bit runny)
Beat until smooth.

Drizzle the glaze over the bread, letting it run over the top and sides. 

Serve warm.


Having a craving for some more lemon recipes?  Try these…








Sunday, January 11, 2015

Anna Sultana's Cinnamon Buns

About a month ago I posted about how I had made cinnamon buns for the first Santa Lucia Day that happened after Paul and I had gotten married.

Yes, that was not one of our finest early mornings.
To be honest, none of my early mornings have ever been any good.
But, that’s neither here nor there.

Cinnamon buns are not to be blamed for that fiasco.
Particularly not these buns.
They are very good and very easy to make.
And they are a very nice change of pace for breakfast.
When they are served at a normal, decent, time for breakfast.

Which three a. m. is definitely NOT.


Hints:

You’ll know the milk is about to boil when you see small bubbles.
It is important that you give the milk enough time to cool.
If the milk is still too hot when you add the yeast, well, the yeast just won’t work, because you have just killed the living yeast.

If you want to make the buns for breakfast the next day you can do one of two things:
After you have stirred in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt you can cover and refrigerate the dough and shape the buns the next day.
Or you can make the buns and refrigerate them overnight and then bake them the next day.
Personally I would go for option two if I’m planning on having them for breakfast.
Forget about option one, unless you like getting up way before everyone else.


                        Cinnamon Buns

Grease 2 9-inch cake pans

Place in a Dutch oven
2 Cups milk
1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup sugar
Heat over medium heat until it is almost boiling. 
Set aside and cool until the milk is about 105º F. 
Stir in
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast 
Let it sit for a minute. 
Stir in
4 Cups flour
Cover and place it in a warm place for 1 hour.
Add
1/2 Cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
Stir in until thoroughly blended.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, combine in a small bowl
1 Cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

In a small pot place and melt
1/3 Cup butter

On a floured surface roll half of the dough into a rectangle, about 12 x 8 inches. 
Brush the dough with half of the melted butter.
Leaving an inch around all sides, sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture.
Beginning at a long end, roll the rectangle tightly, finishing seam side down. 
Tuck in the ends.
Slice the dough into 9 equal slices and arrange, cut side up, in one of the pans. 
Set aside and repeat with the remaining half of dough.
Allow the rolls to rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 375º F
Bake for 25 minutes.  The rolls should be golden brown. 
Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine in a small bowl
1 Cup confectioners’ sugar 
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Drizzle the glaze over the warm buns.

Best served warm.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Anna Sultana's Roasted Potatoes, Maltese Style / Roasted Lemon Butter Parmesan Potatoes, Greek Style / links for Maltese Style Ross il-Forn, Imqarrun il-forn and Timpana

I can’t escape the rather haphazard way in which I did my first posts.
Back in October, 2010 I posted the recipe for 
I just quickly mentioned that Ma roasted potatoes, too.

Well, I got an email asking for a bit more information than that.
Okay… no problem.

Ma had two favourite ways of roasting potatoes.
One was her basic roast.
A pan of potatoes sharing the space with the meat.
For example, Ma’s basic roasted potatoes goes well with her Lemon Chicken.

If the main course was not as strongly flavoured, Ma made Lemon Potatoes.
This was a recipe she picked up when we were on the boat coming to America in 1950.
It was a Greek boat, so she got a a steady diet of Greek food during the two week trip.
Some of the dishes caught her fancy.
Even back then Ma wasn’t shy about asking questions about what she was eating.

Here are both recipes, complete with measurements, temperature and time.


Hints:

It’s a good idea to compare the temperature and time needed for both the potatoes and whatever else you’re cooking.

If you’re using potatoes of assorted sizes, cut them to about the same size when quartering.  Some might be better halved, then cut into thirds or fourths.

If you want the basic roasted potatoes to be more crispy, roast them for about 20 minutes, then take them out,  quickly turn them around a little bit with a spoon, then roast them for another 10 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes, Maltese Style variation:
Instead of cutting into quarters, the potatoes can also be cut crosswise into slices about 1/4 inch thick.
After placing the potato slices in the greased pan, season and cover tightly with foil.
Bake in a 375º F oven for 45 minutes.
Word of warning: any reheated leftover slices will be crunchier than reheated quarters.


                        Roasted Potatoes, Maltese Style

Serves 4 to 6

Combine in a small dish
1 Tablespoon thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash very well
2 pounds potatoes 
Without peeling them, quarter the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 400° F

Grease a large roasting pan.
Place the quartered potatoes in the greased pan. 
Drizzle potatoes with
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
Sprinkle the combined spices over the potatoes.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes.


                   Roasted Lemon Butter Parmesan Potatoes, Greek Style


Serves 6 to 8

For the dressing:
Mix together in a medium bowl
1 Cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 Cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash very well 
3 pounds potatoes
Peel the potatoes and cut them into large wedges.
Place the wedges in the prepared baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375° F

Butter a large roasting pan.
Place the potatoes wedges in the greased pan. 
Drizzle potatoes with the dressing.
Turn them around with a spoon to completely cover with dressing.
Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, uncover, and turn the potatoes.
Sprinkle with
1/2 to 3/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place the uncovered roasting pan in the oven.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are done to desired tenderness.

Before serving sprinkle with
fresh parsley, chopped

Want something else besides potatoes?
Ma had some great recipes:
Ross il-Forn (Baked Rice, Maltese Style)
Imqarrun il-forn (Baked Pasta, Maltese Style)
Timpana (Baked Pasta with pie crust, Maltese Style)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anna Sultana's Angel Wing Cookies (Polish Chrusciki)


Some of Ma's recipes were similar to those my Sicilian Aunts cooked.
And some were similar to what our German neighbours cooked.
Hard to believe?
Ma said Mrs. Kekelia's German rouladen reminded her of Maltese bragoli.
So sometimes she’d switch, just to keep things interesting.

We also had Polish neighbours in College Point.
One of their cookie recipes reminded Ma of Maltese Imqaret - Deep-fried Date Slices.
Imqaret has a bit of heft to it.
The Angel Wings were more delicate, perfect with a cup of tea, and a great favourite at gatherings at St. Fidelis Church.
When Ma saw us going for seconds - and thirds - she asked a neighbour for the recipe.
Hey, what’s not to like about fried dough covered in sugar?


Hint:

If you’re in a rush you can fry the squares as is, without slitting and pulling through.
Some of the Moms did that.
The other Moms said the Moms who made plain square cookies were lazy.
But that was in the 50s when Moms did that.
The plain square cookies curl up a bit at the corners and are good, too.

If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, test the oil by slipping a bit of the dough into the oil.  It should sizzle and turn brown in 1 minute.

The cookies can be stored in a closed tin.
If some of the sugar has be absorbed before serving, add more Confectioners’ sugar.


                        Angel Wing Cookies

Makes about 1 dozen cookies, more or less

In a large mixer bowl place
4 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brandy or rum 
Beat at medium speed until just mixed.
Add
1 Cup flour
Mix flour in, then turn out and knead the dough.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

Cut the dough into three sections.
Roll out one piece as thin as you can.
Then cut the dough into strips, about two inches wide.
Cut the strip into two inch squares.
Cut a slit in the middle of each square and pull one end through.
Repeat with the remaining dough.

In a deep saucepan or deep fryer pour
about 2 inches vegetable oil
Heat to 375º on a deep-fry thermometer or test with dough.

Place a few cookies into the hot oil.
Don't crowd or they won't fry properly.
Fry about 3 minutes.
They should be crisp and light golden brown.
Remove the cookies with a slotted spoon.
Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with plenty of
Confectioners’ sugar

Serve with hot tea or coffee.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year / New Life by Margaret Ullrich - Hot Toddy Recipe

Hope you all had a very Happy New Year!
If you were celebrating in the 1950s, you would have seen women dressed this way.

I have a a black and white photo of me celebrating New Year’s Eve back in 1950.
Well, to be honest, it was mostly my parents, aunts and uncles doing the celebrating.

In that photo my Pop is holding me and his brother Tony is holding his daughter, Linda.
Both men are standing in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen.
I had been born in May, 1950.
Linda had been born a month later.
My guess is we were about to be put down for the night.

There’s a second picture of a few parents sitting on the couch and side chairs.
Three cousins - age four, five and six - were playing in the living room.
Our moms were basically in house dresses.
So it goes…

The past New Year’s Eve was pretty much the same for us.
Relaxing in the living room in regular clothes.
A bit of bubbly and a few snacks.
We’ve come a long way, alright.

And now we’re in a brand spanking new year - 2015.
In most ways it’ll be more of the same.
In some ways we’re in for a few changes.
I’ll be turning 65 this May, which will qualify me for a pension and discounts.
That baby of 1950 has come a long way, alright.

Back in 1950 a warmed bottle of milk did the trick.
Now, I like something with a bit more of a kick.


                        Hot Toddy

Stud a lemon slice with 4 cloves and place it in a mug.
Fill the mug about 2/3 full of boiling water.
Add
1 1/2 ounces rum, whiskey or brandy
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Stir and serve.

Happy New Year!!!


About Sunday’s full moon in Cancer…
According to the folks at astrology.com:

Last month's new Moon in Capricorn helped you focus on your goals and ambitions. Now it's time to take stock of how far you've come, while also making sure you're not neglecting any of your personal needs. 

Create a self-care plan that can emotionally, mentally, and physically nurture you. Fix up your living space in a way that makes it feel cozy and comfortable. 

Finding a sensible balance between your career and home life will provide a necessary foundation for success.  In the days leading up to the next new Moon on January 20, make changes that will make you feel more content and secure.