Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuscan Mac N Cheese

I picked up this recipe from the Turkey Lady at Central Market the other week. Fantastic and easy to make.

Yes, I altered the recipe. I did not add the olives even though I love them (others do not) and I did not top with a tomato because I do not like toms on my mac n cheese.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apple Walnut Crumb Pie

Are you a man or woman that needs to gain five, ten, fifteen or even twenty pounds? ... Then here's the pie for you!

I love this time of year. I buy a couple bushels of apples a year and go wild making apple pies and crisps. Cameo is my favorite apple this year.

Here is an awesome buttery, sugary pie ever - Apple Walnut Crumb Pie (I love this cookbook, too. Brad's Aunt Jean gave or lent them to us and I use them often.)

3 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1/4 c unsalted butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
cloves and nutmeg to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c unsalted butter
vanilla cookie crust (7 oz finely ground vanilla wafers, 1 cup finely ground walnuts, 2 tbs confectioners sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 c melted butter. Combine all ingredients in bowl; mix well. Press over bottom and side of 9 in pie plate. Line w/foil. Bake 5 for 10 minutes longer or until light brown. Cool to room temperature. Freeze for 30 minutes.) I cheated and bought the Nabisco Vanilla wafers crumb pie crust. Then I wanted to place the crust in my pie pan to make it look "homemade" and it all fell apart! It was too small for the pie pan so I ground some walnuts, melted some butter and made the crumb fit the pan. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T except for the "cooling and freezing the pie crust" because I ran out of time.

Combine apples and 1/2 c butter in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to coat apples as butter melts. Add lemon juice, sugar, salt, cloves, nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon. Simmer until apples are tender, stirring frequently. Mix cornstarch, vanilla and rum together. Add to apples. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

Mix chopped walnuts, brown sugar, flour and 1 tsp cinnamon in bowl. Cut in 1/4 c butter until crumbly. (Okay, I lied a little bit about following the recipe to at T but no time to note my deviations.) Spoon apple mixture into chilled Vanilla Cookie Crust, heaping higher in center. Sprinkle walnut mixture over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until brown. Cool on wire rack for 2 to 3 hours before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Prep time: 30 minutes (NOT!!) 10 servings (really tiny slices ~ maybe 6 real slices)

I have already made the pie twice in the last 24 hours. I majorly lowered the sugar content and added more rum to the apples and into the crumb topping. Rum is liquid sugar so the second pie should be just as yummy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Business Time

I heard this song on XPN and about fell off my ball chair! Hilarious!! I called Brad and he was in a meeting (not listening to XPN). Damn. So I find the YouTube clip to email him. After seeing the clip and laughed even harder. I know, this has probably been around a while but I don't get HBO and do not surf the web that often. :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Is Love?

Let's see if I can be brief and to the point. For the last month, both Brad and I have been slackers with our diet and riding. After having fantastic home made macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken, apple pie, lots of wine and beer and more home cooked food (and wine and beer) at a house warming party, Brad organized a three hour ride for today.

I knew I was going to crack but I was told it would be easy. "We are all carrying about 5 or 10 extra pounds"... "We're going to start the ball rolling and work off the overhang." Cory's English friends call the belly, the gut, an "overhang"! So pleasant - but that's what it is.

Ed, Doug, Brad and I met Marcy and George on our way to Middle Creek Wildlife preserve. We were an hour and half into our ride around Middle Creek and Marcy and George turned back. The guys had pushed the pace here and there and it was okay. Sometimes the extra weight is great on the flats. Hmmm. The key work is flat.

Middle Creek is not far from Eagles Peak. Brad got a bug up his butt and I was doomed. "Aw, honey, you will be fine. Let's go up Yellow Mtn. instead of Pain Mtn." Right. And I followed. After I finally made it to the top with Brad trying to be a trouper by keeping me company, I told him no more climbing. Damn, when I am in shape, I suffer over these climbs. F***! with 10 extra pounds, I wanted to hurt someone. So he quickly and happily rode off to the other guys to do the rest of their crazy ride down and up the other side of Eagles Peak. I rode back down Yellow Mtn at 50 mph then turned onto part of the Pain Mt TT course to get some extra miles to meet the guys at the bottom of Eagles Peak. Thank goodness for some alone time so I could regroup and not flip out on Brad. We are so lucky that I can be a trouper and laugh about these crazy rides. I knew I could not do anymore mile plus climbs as we had at least an hour and a half to get home and it would not be a flat ride. Especially with Bradley leading the way.

"Sure honey, let's climb Eagles Peak, Yellow Mtn, Texter Mtn, ..."

Monday, November 9, 2009


The weather is true to England ~ foggy, dreary and damp. We walked Nathan to school and now we are having coffee and checking emails/blogging/shopping.

We arrived in Paris around 3 pm on Friday, 6 November. We had fabulous weather as it was to rain the whole weekend. It was cloudy at times but we did have sun and warmth for a November weekend. When it did rain on Saturday, we happened to be having lunch. The sun shined for our long, climb of a walk from the Galeries Lafayette to Sacre Coeur.

Views from the flat in the 13th arrondissement (district). Cory is pointing at the Sacre Coeur off in the distance.
Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Original metro stop arch ~ designed in the early 1900s by Hector Guimard.
Tea and coffee break in the St. Germain arrondissement (6th).

Un anniversaire Cory!

Europe has smaller versions of our cars so I was priviledged to sit in the back with the baggage. Mari drove on the right side of the car; driving on the left side of the road as they do in the United Kingdom, as I tried not to get sick. I would have been fine if I had not whipped my camera out to take pictures! We were pressed for time as most adventures go and Mari drove like a wild woman. At first I was thinking Jo was driving and was having a heart attack as I tried to figure out how she did not crash us while driving and talking while looking back. Right.

We took the National Rail from Royston to Kings Cross/St. Pancras Station to take the Eurostar to Paris. We celebrated Cory's 40th Birthday in first class. Champagne all the way, baby!! The attendants almost left us the bottle. Instead, we made them work very hard to keep our glasses filled. The ride was smooth and we had fabulous service. I could not tell when we travelled under the Channel. Just amazing engineering!! Off to walk Nathan to school.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Long Weekend in Europe!

I have arrived in England safe and sound. Drinking two glasses of lovely wine watching the Phillies lose while I waited for my 2hr delayed flight really helped my nerves. Then another bottle on the plan helped me sleep. Yay.

I am a bit freaked on flying anymore which sucks because I love to travel. As we get ready to depart, the pilot apologized for the delay as the plan had technical difficulties that had to be resolved before flight. Ugh. So the plane made it across the pond, will it make it one more time for my flight?! Yes, yes, I will have more drinks on the plane.

Another dilemma that I had was I packed two bottles of champagne in my checked luggage. Since I am on a long holiday of six days, my bag had too much room for the bottles to break. I packed all my clothes around the padded and zip-locked bag of champagne and shove an extra fleece just for protection. They survived the trip, too.

I am off for Paris today to celebrate Cory's 40th birthday with her English friends. I must be off to take the Eurostar in first class. We will have champagne for breakfast. Lovely!! I will write more when I return. Au revoir!!