The Flu is terrible … full stop.

So over St. Patrick’s Day I had to go to Tallahassee for work meetings and by the the time I had been home a couple of days I thought I was about as miserable as a person could be. That said, other people from different parts of the state went to TLH and also got sick. Thanks for that.

So when you have the flu, in my one and only experience of it, you do not want to eat, you have a nasty fever and just want to lay in bed because you are beyond tired. I will say now, as a disclamier, I have never had a flu shot. This goes back to my serious allergy when I was a kid. Vaccines made in eggs were a no go for me. I did not have an MMR until I was 25 and it was required by FSU for admission. I had been fine at the junior college in Jacksonville and at the University of North Florida, also in Jacksonville, but FSU said I had to do it. It was a non issue by that point, but when you have an issue with vaccines produced in eggs it can be a bit strange.

So by the Friday after my trip to TLH I was just about as loopy as I could be. Fever was high, no food, but I was drinking plenty of water. That said, I was a big mess. I was so loopy that I couldn’t walk down the stairs so the MotH had to help me.

Also the flu means you are not in the least bit interested in food. Or cooking. Or baking. I know now that I feel better because I am thinking about food and that makes me happy. I will just be making up for lost time from St. Patrick’s Day on until Easter and then the Boy’s birthday (I am hoping for a request for Carrot Cake, but we shall see).

This does not mean I will get a flu shot in the future because several people I know had the shot and then got the flu. It is just such a guessing game. It is, in my opinion, not evidence-based medicine. My rib cage still hurts like hell. And we are almost three weeks in at this point. Allergies and asthma do not make this any better, but wow – really do not want this ever again.

That said, I am really looking forward to going to the grocery store this week. I seem to want some amazing polenta and butterscotch pudding in my future.

I’ve realized life is short and I have to push myself to start trying new things while I have the time to enjoy them – lord, that is just a bit morbid.

Well, if it pushes me, then that is good thing.

St. Patrick’s Day – Preview Day, sort of

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for St. Patrick’s Day this year as I have been in several other years and it makes me sad. St. Patrick’s Day was our first date – ish. I do not think the MotH planned it as a date, but I think it was inevitable and now it is probably the second most important date for us – the wedding date being the most important. Or maybe the other way around. Interesting, that both days were really just amazingly relaxed. Guess that is just us. I think that may be what happens when two adults realize they have found the right person for them.  Okay – I shall stop now because that sounds too sappy. I do seem to do that on occasion.

So back to St. Patrick’s Day, since I will not be around in my kitchen, I will replay some of my favorites for you to enjoy. I guess I need to figure out when St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) is as he is the patron saint of Scotland and I am Scottish on both sides of my family. You do not look like me or like the Boy without some Scottish in you. When I think back, my father really had the look about him, but I just did not recognize as I do now in hindsight. I guess I have to figure out Scottish food, but I’m not entirely sure that will be a good thing. ?

Reuben Casserole – as I have said, not pretty, so not pretty, but pretty amazing.

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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s like looking at a really good pour of Guinness. That is something that has to be done correctly and it takes time – just wait, it will be worth the reward.

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Guinness Brownies – I do not like brownies at all. But the first time I made these, well, hell, in small doses they were amazing. And I think the Boy liked the idea that there was stout in his brownies made him happy. Can not say that I blamed him for that.

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Reuben Roll Ups

I do love a good reuben. I think my favorite recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country. I find that I have not posted that here – an oversight I will have to remedy. But the flavors of a Reuben are some of my favorites. I make a Reuben casserole that is just – I will say it again – stupidly good. It is not exactly pretty food (no, really, it is not), but if you like a Reuben, it is pretty amazing. And the left-overs are, well, let’s just say they are better than the day you make it. I guess I make this in the early spring because it is still cool enough that a casserole works, and it seems to fit with St. Patrick’s Day – I mean, corned beef after all. Again, I have taken lessons from America’s Test Kitchen’s Reuben sandwich – read: no bottled thousand island dressing is involved.dd_1801

I am not typically a fan of crescent rolls, but it seemed to work here. Maybe allowances can be made? We shall see.

1 package of crescent rolls
4 ozs corned beef
4 ozs Swiss cheese
1 cup Boar’s Head sauerkraut*, drained and squeezed dry
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet pickle relish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the crescents. On each roll, place 1 Tbs sauce, 1/2 oz corned beef, 1/2 oz Swiss cheese, and 2 Tbs sauerkraut. Roll up and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 13 – 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serve with extra sauce because that just makes it a lot better.
Modified from : spendwithpennies.com.reuben-roll-ups/

*My go to sauerkraut. Always.



Pi Day

This is a repeat of a pie that I love to make, but do not make often enough. Lots of people think that National Pie Day (January 23rd)** is Pie Day, but for me  – this is Pi Day. Yep. I am that nerd. 3.14D&D_9457

This is also Albert Einstein’s birthday if you can imagine that. Not that he really had much to do with Pi, but …. science nerdism.

i8Σπ – I am ate (me) some pie. It is a total nerd joke, but there it is.

I was young in one of my first jobs. This proper job, because I was not going to go to college (how things change), was at a regional office of a fast food restaurant. One of our things was birthday celebrations for those of us in the office. And celebrations equaled pies from Village Inn. While I’m not a huge chocolate fan, and it was not my pie to order (read: lemon), French Silk was a favorite of just about everyone. My friend Marie gave me her recipe at the time and I made and enjoyed it, and while I cannot find it now, this one is not to far off the mark, and also better than I remember. It’s not too sweet, light, but slightly rich too. Small pieces are in order.

I was surprised to find that the name French Silk Pie didn’t translate to everyone. By definition, French Silk is a mousse-like chocolate pie. Am I being, as I’m often accused, a food snob again? Probably. And yes, raw eggs are used – get over it.

French Silk Pie
1 9″ pie crust, baked and cooled *
4 ozs bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks, unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Additional whipping cream, for topping – which I never seem to make.

Heat the chocolate in a microwave on medium power until melted. Whisk in vanilla and espresso powder, if using, and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Add 2 eggs and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the remaining egg and beat for another 3 minutes until the mixture is silly and smooth.

Fold the chilled whipped cream into chocolate filling until no visible white streaks remain. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Decorate with freshly whipped cream – again – never seem to do. Sigh.

Source: The Kitchn

Notes: I used my graham cracker crust* from the Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake, my go to cheesecake recipe that never fails to impress. Here are the details:

5 ozs graham crackers (1 sleeve)
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse crackers, sugar, and salt to mix together. Add melted butter, and pulse to incorporate. Press into pie plate and refrigerate until needed.

** I shall disabuse you of this idea, because honestly it just too easy. And you may say this is too easy too – repeating something you’ve done before, but I think this the funny bit – to be honest. And I have to go out of town this week, so there is no one to make pie for at this point. And that makes me slightly sad. But this pie really is worth a repeat.

Cranberry White Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

I thought this might be my longest recipe title for a cookie, but I now know that is not the case – just wait for it. I make cookies (or just bake) for people, it makes me happy – the Boy, friends, co-workers (who are also friends), and even occasionally I make something that the MotH* enjoys. This was a recipe I told my friend from Iowa about and made these cookies for them. As I have said many times, I do love a “breakfast” cookie (definition: any cookie w/oatmeal and nuts), but I have to admit that I was not sure about this recipe the first time I saw it about four years ago. I guess it was just the white chocolate, or any kind of chocolate for that matter,  because all the other flavors and the ones I added made this an instant favorite of mine, but I was still hesitant about the white chocolate. But once I tried these – thanks Dana! – I was so sold on them. They seem like a fall cookie, but as you can tell, I made them this spring for my Iowa friends – who I miss.

D&D_1305And I ate these cookies for breakfast. Yep. I did. Hello, oatmeal and pecans. Love me some “breakfast” cookies.

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg – yes, freshly grated
6 ozs dried cranberries – yes, by weight
2/3 cup white chocolate chips (or a 4 oz bar chopped up) Ghirardelli as usual
1 cup chopped pecans, Renfroe’s as usual – local is best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and then add the oats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time of course, mixing well after each and then add the vanilla.    Add flour mixture, which includes the oats, to the butter mixture in a few additions, mixing well after each. Stir in cranberries, white chocolate chips, and pecans.

Drop by rounded teaspoons (or cookie scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

*Man of the House

Source: My friend Dana –  have no idea where she found this, and kind of don’t care. I like recipes from friends. We both added things to the recipe. She added cinnamon, vanilla, and walnuts. I added freshly grated nutmeg and pecans to replace walnuts because we have amazing local pecans, and kept the vanilla and cinnamon. Duh.

I think I could make these cookies every week and eat all of them, but I just do not.

White chocolate surprises me on a regular basis. I do not expect to like it, but there are several cases where I do.

M & M Cookies

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M&M Cookies – for Easter

This is one of those recipes I make over and over again. It is a family recipe that figures largely in my history of the holidays, especially Christmas. Though this is an any time cookie. The main reason is because it uses vegetable shortening, so no need to deal with getting butter to room temperature. I just had to buy spring M&M’s – I mean it is a limited time, right? They are kind of cute – ugh.

1 cup crisco
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups M & M’s plain (11.40 ozs) really nice spring colors (read: Easter egg colors)

Sift together, over a piece of waxed paper, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream together crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in M & M’s. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Dead Simple. My favorite kind of recipe.

Notes: a 11.40 ozs bag is a bit more than one and a half cups. But I usually just dump them all in the cookies. This time I mixed in one cup and topped each cookies with the extras trying to make them pretty. For nice spring colors. Yes, I did this and it is nothing like me at all. Nope. But they were pretty.

The End of Winter (for us anyway)

Well, we don’t really have a true winter here, but it does get cold for a few days at a time. Then it warms up – then it gets cold again – then it rains –  then there is an amazing amount of pollen (damn clover) – this is winter in North Florida. I only have a limited number of long sleeved shirts to deal with season – I think 6? And way more shorts than pants. Sartorial choices.

Last weekend, Sunday was going to be “cold” by our standards (cannot wear really cute open toed shoes), and I joked at Shaggy’s the rainy Saturday prior that if there would be a fire (yes for me) on Sunday, because I would be wearing socks and that is equal to winter where we live.D&D_0670

That Sunday, I was so pleased to be able to get to the beach – because it was too cold for the locals,  and sorry tourists – it is the randomness of travel and you got stuck with “cold”weather for a beach town – no, really I am sorry about that not that I could do anything to fix it. During spring break if it is sunny and warm we locals cannot get out to our beach at all – reference: 2 weeks ago. I do not like to get stuck on the 3 mile bridge between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.  I can handle the Bob Sikes bridge traffic to the beach, but do not want to get stuck on the 3 mile. Ever.

But, last Sunday,  I felt like the happiest person when we got to Shaggy’s, There was a real wood fire. I was told it was for me. But I’m hoping all the other people who were not expecting that kind of “cold weather” appreciated it too because the place was totally packed. This is the only local restaurant that I know that has a real wood-burning fireplace and I do love it so. I am pretty sure I will not see a fire there again until November or December of this year.  We won’t talk about how the fire was started, but is was so very appreciated. I love my local. The place I am  very happy to be. Thanks you guys – you are the best!