Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sick

So, yuck foo, I have had a fever, which started yesterday, a cough and now, the fever is gone but I am so stuffed up it is like I inhaled a box of tissues into my sinuses. I most likely got this illness at a birthday party that had many walking petri dishes, aka: children. I wish kids would cover their mouths when they cough, but a lot don't so now I am ill. My son started to cough earlier and I cringed because I do not want the little guy to get what I have. My husband seems okay, I think I am the worst in the house, which is fine. Right now I am on the couch with my insane Jack Russell snoring next to me. That's right, I have the life.

Since Google Drive and I are no longer friends, my husband was able to get my stories saved off of Drive and we will be moving them to a writing program for the iPad. He has also been looking at keyboards for the iPad as well. One example is this product called The Brydge. Yes, the price made me screech too. None of the keyboard offerings are cheap, but I hope to get the story loaded, start working with the iPad and go from there. Maybe I will not need to buy a keyboard. Maybe I can just work the tablet with ease. Maybe Hugh Jackman will give me a foot massage. Oops, delirium from the fever right there...

And while I do not have much of an appetite, for some reason, I want one of these Bourbon Apple Fried Pies from Ezra Pound Cake and I want it NOW.


Why am I looking at food when I cannot eat it? These carrot cake pancakes from Post Punk Kitchen make my head spin.

Earlier, I had the little boy chill out with me and watch some episodes of Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs. I have to say, that show is amazing and even if you do not eat a lot of the stuff or do any fancy cooking, it is educational and fun to watch. So many mega popular chefs did this show from the early 90's so trust me, you will get a kick out of seeing a younger and slimmer Emeril as well as a younger Lidia. The one episode I really enjoyed was with Hawaiian Cuisine chef Amy Ferguson-Ota. She made a Chicken Papaya Salad and Ono with Banana Curry. I do not eat any meat or poultry, but I would modify those recipes to enjoy them. (The banana curry uses chicken broth) Her Thai Vinaigrette looks so tasty. Check out the video here.

Must go get some rest now.

Cheers!
MissFifi



Monday, February 25, 2013

Pumpkin and Ginger Scones

I had 1/2 a cup of pumpkin left from the Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread, which was yummy but I cheated and added chocolate chips. So I went on a search for a pumpkin scone recipe and found one in the NY Times and dare I say it was just delicious. It is not that sweet so if that is what you want, this is not for you. You could make it sweet by adding some kind of icing I am sure, but I chose to follow the recipe, the only change being that I used soy milk instead of regular milk. I also did it by hand instead of using food processor and used a glass to cut them out into nice circles instead of triangles. They were definitely a tasty accompaniment to my Irish Breakfast Tea and I will make them again. Thank you Martha Rose Shulman :)




Cheers!
MissFiFi

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Writing and Food

Things have been fun. I was on a writing tear which made me feel fabulous. I have edited up to page 200 in my novel, thank you Lord, and am getting ready to send to a friend who has agreed to read it for me. I am not nervous, but more excited about getting feedback. No one has read this story in a few years, yes it has been THAT long that I have been working on the darn thing. This is it though. If it gets rejected again, it will be put to the side and will go down as a great story no one wanted. :) Then I will return to my Angel of Death book and go from there.
I had started a short story, but then stopped. I am no good at those. At least, sticking with the process is what I suck at. I should try though. Just to help keep creative juices flowing, but I always seem to falter. Perhaps I will try again. Thank to Glimmer Train always having submissions, it keeps me hopeful that I will one day get it together, submit and make it into such a prestigious magazine.

I do not have celiac. My husband and I have digestions issues, but his are clearly more food based. I sadly think mine came from wine. I have not had any wine lately and I feel fine. It figures. I would rather be allergic to bread or soy or chocolate. Wait, let's amend that. I would hate to be allergic to anything. The reason we both believe I have a wine issue is when I drink it, my cheeks get bright red and one recent time I got itchy. So I am abstaining. This is displeasing to me, but I figure a sip or two of red wine now and then will be fine. No more full glass for me. And I call myself an Italian. So sad. I have yet to see if the same hold true with gin or vodka. If not, I might be okay. It also made us rethink our diet a little. In past posts I have shared recipes from gluten free and Paleo diet sites. I have yet to buy almond flour and you all know my unabashed love for coconut oil now, but sugar is the one thing I have not substituted. I have no desire to eat faux sweetners. Those people that have to use things like Xylitol and Splenda, do so because their literal life depends on it. My literal life does not. For us, I think we could just convert over to honey, au naturel, as opposed to cane sugar in some stuff. Sort of like coconut oil for butter in some cases. First off, I need to go to a local supplier to buy said honey because the controversy of honey being diluted has been in discussion for the past few years. Here is one article about it. Also, honey is so useful, sort of like how vinegar can be salad dressing and clean your toilet bowl, now there is a visual. Anyway, I came across this good looking pumpkin bread recipe using whole wheat flour and honey and I am hoping to make it very soon. Quite frankly, I do not get how people buy processed food or major food brands because of the amount of crap in them. I had a discussion with my MIL yesterday who believes that us eating soy and peanut butter is the problem of our ills. God Bless her. I had to reiterate we only eat Non-GMO, organic soy and not as much as one would think. Nor do we devour peanut butter on a daily basis. She means well. Let me say that I do prefer almond butter, but we only get it at Trader Joe's since it has been the cheapest. Trader's is also about 40 minutes away so when we do go it has to be a BIG shopping. Hello home office, can you please, please, please come where I live??

Here is an article from the NY Times regarding the Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. I have not read it yet, but I am sure there are things I know already and things I do not that will make my  head spin. Yes, I believe you have the right to eat whatever you want. You want to chew on pigs feet or tofu burgers, be my guest, but at least be an informed one. Remember, knowledge is power.

Avocado Fudgesicles anyone?

Food In Jars bring us Coconut Quinoa Granola. Yes please.

Cheers!
MissFifi






Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday

It is sad that, as a writer, I could not come up with a more enticing title, but I have so much on my mind that I figured I could let it go and be fine.

My son has decided that morning naps are so yesterday so I am contending on dealing with a dropped nap. It is fine since he can self-entertain a lot, for some reason the open refrigerator is a ton of fun, but the wasted electricity is not so I have to encourage him to shut the door and this is with lots of voiced displeasure. He is also hungrier because of this extra exciting activity. I am hoping he will nap nice and long this afternoon, but I am not holding my breath.

Even though I pretty much know the whole story, I borrowed the book "The Help" from a friend. So far I like the pace, it goes quick and it does hold my interest. Of course racial tensions as a topic do not make it light reading, but if I wanted bubbly and happy I would have chosen something else.

This past weekend my brother and husband ripped up the damaged Pergo flooring in our kitchen from where our radiator had leaked. Right now I have three types of flooring in my kitchen. Half Pergo and two types of blue and white vinyl tiles. I despise Pergo, let alone poorly laid Pergo, but it will have to do until we redo the kitchen one day.

In light of looking and checking out various renovation, check out this gorgeous job done on a rundown island cottage.

What a great idea for old sheets! DIY Upcycled Rag Rug

I do not crochet, but this pretty pattern on Fiber Flux for the Cherries In Bloom Infinity Scarf is something I would make if I did.

While I love all things real estate, there are times when an unusual set up or unusual decor catches a person's eye. Hooked On Houses has a few of these gathered in this post here.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, February 15, 2013

GIfts

We have had a lot of birthdays of all ages these past few months.  Because of this, I have been searching for interesting gift ideas. Sure the standard gift card or cash or bottle of vino is always welcome and thoughtful, but sometimes it is nice to do something unexpected. I like good finds and so without further fanfare, I share some goodies I have found that I think can be wonderful gifts for various occasions.

This wood bowling set from ACME Party Box Company is a terrific idea for young kids or hey, even young adults.

Purl Bee has a wonderful pattern for Roll and Dash Hankies which can be a nice hostess gift or for a bride or bridesmaids.




For the baker in your life or all around displayer of goods of any kind, these mini pedestals from Rosanna Inc are delightful!

As a tea lover, I am digging this Rocket Tea Infuser from Kikkerland Design. With a nice package of tea of a jar of honey it is a lovely gift.

We also have an upcoming housewarming and for that we got a gift box of spices for the recipients at Savory Spice Shop in Princeton. There are various locations through the country and may I say their Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar is wonderful!! I am also a fan of their California Citrus Rub to use on fish.

Of course, Martha Stewart has one of the more unique gift kits I have ever seen: A Flower Arranging Gift Kit. This is definitely suited for someone who grows flowers.

Sure you can make your own soap, but in case you are not that skillful, I know I am not, Mirasol Farms has this great gift of mini-bars to offer a guest, a friends or even yourself.


Have a great weekend everyone!!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Manchet Bread

As I continue watching The Supersizers, I am doing the 70's right now and it takes me back to my childhood and makes me laugh, I was intrigued by an Elizabethan bread called Manchet. An interesting tidbit is that the whiter the bread, the more desirable and the more expensive it was. As someone who loves her bread, I did a quick search and found various sites with recipes. I have chosen to link to a UK site called Recipewise which calls itself an encyclopedia for the best in British and Irish modern cooking & authentic and regional recipes. I do love that they let you search by regions and I will have to spend some more time there soon.

I am not sure when or if I will give this bread a try, but if you do, please share how it comes out.


Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beat Sheet

I am not a professionally trained writer. (I know, I know, stating the obvious.) While I did take a few fiction writing classes, I sucked at mastering the format and storytelling necessary for being a writer. I feel bad for my writing professor who was and is a published author. He probably cringed every time I fought for how incredible my stories were. They were good ideas, but I hashed them out horribly. Also, at 18, I was not going to listen to some teacher about what I needed to do to improve my work. I was awful and I hate that most teenagers believe themselves as so self-important. An awful right of passage, we lose out on critical guidance by being arrogant. At least I sure did.

Now, I soldier on, weeding through what I hope are two very good novels worthy of publication. One of them has been rejected a few times, but I can live with that. I finished it and sent it out. That alone makes me feel oh so special. haha Anyway, a friend from college, who was also in my writing class, and is now a cinematographer in Hollywood, good for him!, is giving writing another go. He offered to read my work, brave man, and I mentioned that I sometimes wished I had learned to write a screenplay because I am a lover of dialogue. Writing descriptions? I fail miserably. You read a book by most talented authors today and they can describe swimming in a pool as if it was a religious experience. I on the other hand state it for what it is, swimming in a pool. I may add the color of the water or what it feels like to the character, but that is about the extent of my reeling you in to feel immersed in the water. This is a dilemma and may be what prevents me from ever being published. Alas, I try to get better at that, but I cannot make you a promise.
Anyway, he asked me if I knew about the 70 beat outline and I said I did not, but would look it up. This proves I am an amateur and maybe should think about just being a script reader instead of a writer.

The format is helpful and it is basically an outline. Which I hate doing, but get why it is necessary. Seriously, what did Jane Austen and Edith Wharton do? Did the have little strips of paper hanging on their vanities marked "Newland Archer" and "Mr. Darcy"? Did Jane struggle with scenery descriptions like I do? I need to know this stuff to make me feel a little better. Okay, back to outlines. I do have outlines everywhere in a notebook, but they get edited and rewritten so much I sort of lose track. This is my own fault for not being better organized so I blame no one but myself. Of course, there is a writing program for the Mac that has a bulletin board where you pin notes about every character and certain scenes that you just pull up when necessary  I could so use that program right now. Note to self: Again, you are an idiot for not mortgaging your home and purchasing a MacBook Air. Now go flog your butt in the corner. I digress way too much here. Back to the Beat Sheet. This helpful tool is everywhere on script writing sites and fiction writing blogs so here are a few links.

WTF is a Beat Sheet?

The Beat Sheet

Kick-Ass vs. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet

I am still loving the series House of Cards and for me, the best thing about the show is the dialogue. Snarky, witty, sassy and just downright brilliant. That's the type of stuff that gets noticed and which I want to master. One day my friends, one day.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Supersizers

Mary at An Historical Lady posted about a few shows her and her beloved watch. One that peaked my interest was called The Supersizers. After a quick jaunt over to You Tube I have to say I am now a hardcore fan. A food critic and comedienne team up to recreate a week in the life of a couple in different eras. The food history is quite fascinating as well as the food itself. I started with The Supersizers Go Regency. 



Abundant amounts of food are prevalent along with gout. The authentic menus are fascinating and it really sheds light on how certain dishes came about. I just started the French Revolution one and that is blowing me away as well. The amount of food served at the meals for Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI was staggering. He ate game at every single meal it seems. Louis was quite the glutton. And on an interesting note see Marie was Austrian, her home country created that evil pastry the croissant. I love those so much, but after watching an episode of Julia Child where they were made from scratch, I will never make them. They are intense and amazing and I will let others do it instead. Here, watch this and you will see what I mean.

Now, I do not want to speak for the whole world, but I would say that food history is not something lots of people are interested in. Trivial bits about where the sandwich came from tickles my fancy but anyone else might be like "Who cares? It is just food ." Considering there are many folks in the world that still struggle to put food on the table, we should care. Food is a livelihood. It is also a way to commune with friends and family. I am big on going to someones house for a meal and having people over. There is something wonderful and relaxing about breaking bread with loved ones, the house filled with laughter and conversation.

Hope you enjoy the show(s)!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunny Sunday, Google and More

The snow has come and gone and while we got a foot, it was a typical winter snow storm here in New Jersey.

Currently I am wrestling with not screaming at Google at the top of my lungs. That's right. Little old me battling the monolith.

Docs/Drive needs to be revamped NOW.

As most of you know I am working on a novel. The reason my novel, or I should say novels, are in Docs/Drive is because I have a Chromebook and you cannot work on anything else. I was annoyed by this at first, since Docs/Drive, sort of. Now, I am beyond pissed off. Every single time I finish working, I close down Docs/Drive and the next day I open it, the whole 300 plus page book is reformatted incorrectly. Chapters in middle of pages, indents moving throughout the whole book. I am so frustrated that I want to scream, cry and throw the Chromebook through the window! The best part is, there are writers out there who work on Docs/Drive without a problem so I am at a total loss as to why I am having this issue. I keep trying to work with it, reformatting every day when I go to work so more time is spent fixing the document as opposed to actually writing which aggravates me.  I have gone through Google's forum for help, but it is not like you get a Google Tech assisting you. You get the kind folks who were guinea pigs for Docs/Drive and they try to help you out and while they have been nice, I am not being helped.
First off, they treat you like most people in tech treat you doing the whole "Did you hit a button?" types of questioning which kind of burns my ass in this day and age of technology. The suggestions I have received have been: Clear my browser history. Didn't matter. Clear browser extensions. Didn't help. And my least favorite. Make different files for groups of chapters. Um, no. That will not be acceptable to an agent now will it? This has pissed me off to no end. Others on the help forums have lost full blown sections of their dissertations, book reports, term papers and spreadsheets for work. I'm sorry, you are a tech company that cannot get your document program to work correctly?? WTH?!?!?!?!?!? Yes, some of us are spoiled by the original Microsoft Office Suite and OpenOffice and we all know you cannot copy them, but shouldn't you design a BETTER product? And good luck to me trying to work on my story on a cloud version of Open Office. Once you upload your stuff to Google Docs/Drive, you are screwed. I have emailed them asking them how to get my document from Drive to someplace like Dropbox so I can work on it and not lose what I have so far, but I doubt that will work. I really want to get a hold of the person who created this program and explain to them that those of us who write anything are having issues. I want them to help me, but I do not see that happening.  Next time, I am going to suck it up and lay out the cash for the expensive, but functional MacBook Air.

Okay, enough of that.

This might be one of the best kitchen renovations I have seen in a long while.

These sticky lemon rolls with lemon cream cheese glaze would make me feel a little less annoyed right now :)



Cheers!
MissFifi







Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roasted Chickpea Snack

I love snacks. I do. Then again, I think most people enjoy something to nosh on now and then. For me, I prefer to have a somewhat healthy type of snack in my house. White Cheddar Puffs by Sage Valley, while they are not as bad as say those orangy doodles, they are just as addicting and you will eat a whole bag so hence that is the "unhealthy" slant to them. LOL Seriously though, they are absolutely yummy and you cannot hold me responsible for going out and buying them at Shop Rite when on sale.

One of my favorite snacks to make are roasted chickpeas. I usually use chickpeas I have soaked overnight, but you can use a can. I would recommend using two cans because they are delicious and you will not stop eating just a few. I had to put my freshly made batch in some Tupperware so that my husband gets to have some. It pained me as I could have easily sat there and grazed on them all day. Or in half an hour. ;-) The recipe I used came from AllRecipes.com and is called Simple Roasted Chickpea Snack. You can vary the spices to your taste, but I am warning you, they are quite tasty and a great staple for when you have friends over or for a cocktail party or even just for yourself. Enjoy!

Simple Roasted Chickpea Snack


Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vegan Potato Soup with Cauliflower and Binge Streaming

I had a head of cauliflower that was on the edge of not being at its best and since I loathe to waste food I searched for a quick and easy soup recipe. Here is what I found on About. com.


Vegan Potato Soup with Cauliflower


It was very good and yes I made a few changes. I used coconut oil, four cloves of garlic and two potatoes. I also added sharp cheddar as opposed to soy cheese. it was very yummy. I think it could be taken up a bit with some chilies or crushed red pepper, but all in all, a very tasty and filling soup. I used my immersion blender which I love and it made it nice and smooth. Also, I made soy sausage bread using my mom's recipe and that was just fantastic. Best part? It was the first time I ever thought to use the soy sausage in the bread. I always make it as artichoke, but I have to say, using the Tofurky sun dried tomato sausage rocked!! 

So far House of Cards has been excellent. We are only at episode 4, but it is a well done show and Kevin Spacey deserves to be nominated. The interesting thing to me and probably to other long time Netflix users, is all the articles regarding the show focus on binge streaming. Pulling up a show and just watching it for hours as if it is some new phenomenon. I am guilty of doing that since Netflix began to offer streaming. And not only do I binge, I am a repeat binger. Right now, Arrested Development is back in my queue and gets played when I am cooking and my son is paying to chatting with me. "The Tudors" had also been back up a few months ago. I love that series. Especially the story line with Anne Boleyn. I do not always have movies on. Sometimes the house is quiet and  sometimes music is on instead via Pandora, but I admit I am a junkie for certain shows. What I've really enjoyed is how one is no longer required to be home for a show. We all have lives to lead and people want things on their own terms and obviously we will all pay to have that privilege.
A few years ago, my husband did a binge viewing of the Showtime series "The L Word". I did "Law and Order: Criminal Intent". Recently, "Keeping Up Appearances", which has always been a favorite, put 45 episodes on to Netflix and in a day or two, I was done. What I like is I can watch something and get back to it. I do have a toddler and let's face it, having kids or not, viewing television is not a priority for a lot of folks, so streaming is a great option to have. I even go on PBS and stream Downton Abbey because I do not have a television to watch regular channels on. Everything is watched via computer in our little casa. I never thought I would buy into it years ago when my husband first started telling me about it from articles he had read. But here I am. A big fan of the stream. I hope Netflix succeeds with this because it might bring a whole new dynamic to how shows are done. I doubt networks will change their formula because at the present time, it still works. Sure it is exciting to be given a cliff hanger after months of watching a show, but I like having the ability to sit down and watch three episodes back to back or the whole thing if I so choose.
I am sure at some point prices will go up because content is not cheap. And I am happy to pay a price increase to have unlimited access to such a diverse catalog. Some people complain that you cannot get the latest movies. Seriously? Who cares? You see it when you can and in this day and age, no one is really "behind" anymore on stuff. You missed it today you can watch it online tomorrow. I have to say, if any of you saw my queue, you would see that not only do we have older films, my husband has never seen "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", he should love it, and we have "recent" releases like "The Artist" and "The King's Speech". I do not feel like I am out of the loop because I have not seen these movies nor do I miss going to the movie theater. That experience lost its luster with all the jerks on their cell phones and chatting. At $10 or more to go see a movie, not thanks. I mean yes, I want to Star Trek in the theater, but I saw the first one on online and while it was not surround sound or anything, there was nothing lacking. 
At $8 a month I can feed my addiction and like I said, if they want $15 they can have it from me.
I am a binger and I am proud of it. 

Cheers!
MissFifi 


Monday, February 4, 2013

A Total Nonsensical Venting Session

Some people in this world enjoy being on television.

Not me. Unless I am going to be a guest on Charlie Rose or Graham Norton, I have no desire to be on a tv show of any kind. Do I think I would be a good actor? Maybe, but reality tv acting? Pass, pass, pass. 
The only time I have considered being on tv was checking out HGTV to see if there were any remodeling shows to apply to and there are, but most opportunities are out in Los Angeles. 

A show on Style Network is looking for a glamorous person with a lavish home in the tri-state area to renovate a room in their house. No bathrooms or kitchens are allowed.

Not for nothing, but if you live in the NY/NJ/CT area in a lavish home, you can well afford an interior designer and have your rooms done. Now, we have friends who are well off financially and own a very lovely home, but a massive tulip tree fell on it during Hurricane Sandy causing massive destruction. I would like them to have this opportunity. I would like anyone who had severe storm damage to have free work one on their home. To me, the "bigger than life personality" the network wants with this comes with my assumption that they would overlook redoing a storm destroyed home because let's face it, that is not what they are trying to do here. They just want to renovate a room in a nice home. 

A lavish home.

My husband sweetly asked if I wanted to apply and I almost fell over. We do not have a "lavish home".  We live in an 1400 sq foot home which is the size of a garage on some homes in the area. I do not begrudge the massive house owner or am I jealous. I am more ticked off at the tv show producers who only want to showcase living large. Then add in how they will foot the bill for someone who clearly needs no footing and well, there it is. Am I being petty and small? Perhaps, but with people struggling out here to get their homes back in order, it sort of put me off. Thanks for listening.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, February 1, 2013

Why yes, it is the Weekend.

And I am stoked to watch the new Netflix series "House of Cards". The show is a remake of the 1990 political drama by BBC, yes I have already added that to my queue because I love me anything BBC, and it looks downright delicious. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright rarely disappoint and neither does director David Fincher so I am really looking forward to watching this series.

Today I am being tested for Celiac Disease. Oh joy. Part of the reason is I am being tested is I had an acute attack of gastritis, first time ever, and the second is I am always bloated. The irony would be if I was allergic to wheat and soy. As a pescetarian this could be interesting. We do not eat a lot of pasta, but I do love to bake bread and scones and other goodies so this means finding alternatives to all purpose flour. The good thing is I have been wanting to try almond flour for awhile. The bad thing is the price of it made me pass out. I can always by in bulk which is way cheaper, but sticker shock is sticker shock. One of recipes that uses almond flour are these delicious looking  Honey Almond Chai Wafers from the Daily Bites Blog. They would be lovely with a nice cup of tea.

Chard Saag Paneer. OH MY.

The Frugal Queen aka Froogs, had a recent post with a few economical recipes for your slow cooker. I love using it to make soup so I think I will have to do her first two recipes, sans chicken for us of course.

I LOVE this kitchen. The color, the light, just stunning.


This seems like an excellent use of tomatoes. Homemade ketchup.

I have never, not ever, knitted a cable stitch. I know, the horror. It always looked so intimidating until I thought about doing a search for ways to do cabling without said cable needle. Knitting To Stay Sane seems to have a pretty easy way to do such a task and I will be attempting this in the near future and hope I can master it. Cabling without a cable needle.

As one who is a not a huge fan of shrugs, I love this pattern on Knitty. Nob Hill Shrug.

I do not crochet, but if i did you can be sure I would be making these fabulous big stitch alpaca rugs found on Purl Bee.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers!
MissFifi