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Archive for September, 2007

Fall Cooking Is In The Air

Fall is a great time to enjoy, the fruits of labor, and also a great time to enjoy cooking after the summer heat is gone.  Here is a recipe I have enjoyed by Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa)  Enjoy!

Croissant Bread Pudding

3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 croissants, preferably stale, sliced horizontally
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.

Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn’t touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Copyright, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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Fall Reflections…

Originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees
Well summer is almost gone and Autumn is here. The smell of the trees and grass, apples, pumpkins and other fall delights are in the air. The seasons change so do our moods. Fall is a time of refection. I time to reflect on what the summer’s bounties have brought us. This summer was a bizarre one indeed. Bizarre in the fact that many unusual things happened. Fall is usually my favorite time of year. Favorite because the summer sun is gone but ,Winter’s sharp edge has not hit us yet. The sun is lower in the sky, last night was the first full moon of the fall, making it the “Harvest Moon” ans also a holiday for the Chinese culture.

The Chinese full moon. The Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. It’s also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. Chinese culture is deeply imbedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese.

The Moon Festival is full of legendary stories. Legend says that Chang Er flew to the moon, where she has lived ever since. You might see her dancing on the moon during the Moon Festival. The Moon Festival is also an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. With the full moon, the legend, the family and the poems, you can’t help thinking that this is really a perfect world. That is why the Chinese are so fond of the Moon Festival.

The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. A perfect night for the festival is if it is a quiet night without a silk of cloud and with a little mild breeze from the sea. Lovers spend such a romantic night together tasting the delicious moon cake with some wine while watching the full moon. Even for a couple who can’t be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at that hour. A great number of poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival.

The moon cake is the food for the Moon Festival. The Chinese eat the moon cake at night with the full moon in the sky. Here is a picture of the typical moon cake.

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Sad news…two days ago, while returning back to work from my lunch break, I was pulled over by my brother who had just found a kitten that was dropped off on the side of the road. My brother stopped by a local rest area and found this kitten hiding in the trees in the middle of nowhere. So he has her at home and we are nursing her back to life. She was left to die and she was starving. What is wrong with some heartless people? This infuriates me. Anyone looking for a new kitty? She is very lovable and constantly purrrrs!

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My daily bread

Originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees
Could I ever live without without bread? I don’t think so!  Yesterday I attended a meeting out of town and the opportunity to visit my niece Amy at her work at an artisan bakery. Bread was over flowing the place…I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The sweet smells that enticed me through the doors, whirled around my head and indulged my senses. Bread I thought….I’m really in heaven! But bread wasn’t the only items sold and created lovingly by my niece. Croissants, muffins, rolls, sandwiches, espresso, cookies and other delights filled the counters of the Atlantic Baking company.

My day had unfolded quite nicely as I enjoyed the visit with my niece and her bakery. I felt as though I had entered into a Parisian cafe. After enjoying a chocolate almond bear claw, she proceeded to tell me the 36 whopping pounds of butter that go into the croissant dough before filling it. I felt my arteries start to clog, as I chocked down the rest of this delicious delight…did I care… no!  In fact I felt no resentment towards this quality delight that was filled with Belgium chocolate and European butter.

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What can I say! I love bread and chocolate and of course my niece.  Not to mention my other niece and nephew!  Did I forget bread?

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Theraputic Shopping….

Ok, Ok, is there really such a thing?

Well for those of you that know me a new purse or pair of shoes will always cure what ails me…hehehehe. 🙂 So I had a meeting to attend today…what can I say. I walked into my favorite shoe store, a little on the vulnerable side and I came out with these!

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Hehehehe, perhaps I need to go home and now and bury my head! Ciao y’all… 🙂

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Well let’s see where do I begin?

It’s been week since I’ve really written about anything about life in particular. So I will update y’all about life’s happening’s here in my world.  My dear husband was sick last week and admitted to the hospital with a serious case of pancreatitis of unknown origin. They believe possibly that a small gallstone was the culprit, even though he no longer has a gallbladder!  Hmmmmm, a medical mystery indeed. He is home now and feeling better for the most part. Although the hospital itself left a lot to be desired in the form of medical treatment.

I have been feeling a bit of wanderlust for another travel vacation.  Even though I will be leaving in few weeks to go to Kentucky once again, I am feeling like I spend an enormous amount of time daydreaming about my next travel adventure.  France seems to rise to the top of my thoughts. So I have been researching the Languedoc Region of France as well as Provence. In the 1600’s my ancestors migrated from the the Languedoc Region to Kamarouska Quebec. So I would love visit the country where it all started; however, my heart always longs for Italy.  So we will see where my wanderlust takes me.

In the meantime, the weather has been changing and so have the seasons. Fall is fast approaching and for the first time this year, we woke to a frost this morning. The tree are also starting to change their colors. Autumn is my favorite season of the year.  Warm days and cool nights, the smells, the colors, the flavors all make this time of the year the best. In the meantime I think I’ll pour myself another cup of coffee to start the day!  Ciao for now…

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I couldn’t resist!

The more I watch the harder I laugh….

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Remembering September 11, 2001

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?” Alan Jackson

I was right here at work, on a morning just like any other day.  However, 6 years later my heart still beats rapidly, while I write about my memories of the that day.   I sat at my desk that morning not so long ago. The new semester had just started and the excitement of the day had filled our workplace.  My husband called me and asked if we had a TV with cable in our building, when I told him we didn’t he immediately told me to get on the Internet to see what had just happened.  Luckily I was able to connect to CNN or FOX to watch what was happening.  With horror I started to feel intense panic rush over me.  I worried about those people in the towers, then other calls came in about the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.  We were told we have to close our facility and evacuate the students. “Oh my gosh”, I thought….what is happening. As I walked into our classrooms nearby and told our students what had just happened, the phones began to ring continuously in the office. Parents, spouses, and family members called to fill us in on what was happening, while we all stood in disbelief.  We were all told we had to leave and go home, per order of the governor.  Panic intensified.  We closed the door and posted signs that we had closed for the rest of the day.

As I drove home I called my mother and she was watching on TV. I called my niece who was in college the first semester and wondered if she was ok. I called my brother at work, I called my husband, I just kept calling people until I arrived at my mother’s home.  When I walked through the door her television was on, and I dropped to the floor in disbelief.  We watched the news broadcast for hours all that day.  We kept hoping that those people in the towers would escape or somehow be found alive.  And mostly we cried.  I did not have a tear left that night when I forced myself to turn the TV off and go to bed.

That night I had a dream. I dreamt that they found lots of survivors down in the basement of the towers.  They were trapped, but alive.  I woke up eventually and thought my dream may be correct…..but it was wrong.

Today is a day of remembrance.  Please remember today and everyday what happened to the families of those who perished and what happened to our Country.  Please don’t ever forget.

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Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?”

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What can cure the blues better than nature?

I asked myself this question over the last few weeks. I couldn’t come up with anything else other than a trip to Italy, and that wasn’t going to happen last week! So instead we headed into the North Maine Woods for some wilderness camping. Deep into the woods we traveled to the edge of the river.  You see, when we camp we go for not only the experience, but the art of dutch-oven cooking….yes dutch-oven!  Just like the chuck-wagon cooking out West.  The only thing we lack is the “chuck-wagon”.

The first night we enjoyed sitting by the campfirewith friends Cathy and Kevin, or lovingly know as “Mr & Mrs H”.  We have known these folks for many years, and we enjoy our yearly camping experience with them.  Our first nights dinner included grilled pork, fire-roasted veggies from their garden and homemade apple pie cooked in the dutch-oven with coals.

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Dinner was great, and so were the black flies that night, because it rained on us.  But rain never disrupts seasoned campers. hehehe!  So after playing dice into the wee hours of the morning we retired to our tents for some sleep.  Only to be visited by a friendly chipmunk and a overly-friendly deer-mouse.  Sleep came quickly and when we woke the sun was shining on our magical place in the woods on the river.

That day we decided to stay low and rest.  We sat by the fire all day and watched the river run by, wondering were it was going.  Numerous local whitewater rafting companies also shared the river with us that day.  We waved as the floated by and wondered what they thought of the tent/tarp city they had seen sitting by the river.  What a sight, I’m sure.  🙂

After more dice  games and reading we decided it was time to start planning dinner, for we had guests coming to visit us on the river.  There was work to be done, dutch-oven baking to be completed and more wine to be consumed!   We had decided on grilled rib-eye steaks, garden veggie stir-fry, homemade biscuits,  mac & cheese, and tollhouse pie (cooked in the dutch-oven).  After all, no one besides us would be so stupid but to drag a dutch oven into the wilderness, but US!

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ck.jpg   Thanks for the camping, good food and great company Mr & Mrs. H.

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My Priceless Pick!

Several months ago, after returning from Italy I submitted a Priceless pick to the Priceless.com Mastercard Website, and my Priceless Pick was chosen! Here it is enjoy!

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