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Showing posts from May, 2017

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Know Your Tribe

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A good friend just started dating someone seriously after being single on-and-off for ten years after her painful divorce. Another friend is going through the heartbreak of the unexpected death of her longtime boyfriend. Goodness and trying-hardships ebb and flow. I’ve experienced it -- kindness of others, heartbreak, unexpected blessings, painful breakups, courageous moments, self-doubt, fearlessness, immaturity, joy, indecision, hope, loss. And my small tribe has stood by me, helped me get through, and grow from it. Many wise people say, “The only thing constant in life is change”. Change comes with its difficulties and sometimes despairs, and the key to making it through is to search out our tribe to cheer us on, help us absorb all the good that’s happening -- or help us regain our footing and find the courage to keep going when things are hard. Both of my friends have gathered their tribes to cope with the new relationship and the heartbreak. It’s a humbling and sobering experien…

Jalapeno Pepper Poppers

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Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee
Total: 1 hr 5 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 12 poppers
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
12 large jalapeno peppers
4 Cheddar cheese sticks
24 pieces center-cut bacon
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons honey
Special equipment: 12 toothpicks, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Directions
Preheat a grill to medium heat.

Cut about 1/2-inch off the top each jalapeno pepper. Take the top pieces that you just cut off, cut the sides off and reserve, discarding the middle stem pieces. These will be used to plug the open end of each pepper to help keep the cheese from melting out. Using a straight peeler, scrape out the seeds and ribs from the inside of each of the peppers.

Slice each cheese stick into pieces that are just slightly shorter than the jalapenos. Stuff a pepper with a piece of cheese. Take the reserved side pieces and place them into the open end of the pepper, covering the cheese and plugging the hole. Take a piece of…

Pineapple Polenta Squares with Shrimp

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Recipe courtesy of Karen Dawson
From: Food Network Magazine

Total: 2 hr
Active: 25 min
Yield: 12 appetizers
Level: Easy

Ingredients
For the Polenta:
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/2 cup polenta
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the Shrimp:
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise

For the Sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions
Make the polenta: Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta and cook, whisking, until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the sage and pineapple. Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil; add the polent…

Pear Clafouti

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 1 hr
Active: 25 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pear brandy (recommended: Poire William)
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners' sugar
Creme fraiche

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slic…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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No Longer My Turn To Steer...

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My oldest child recently started to ask me back off from her social life, as if I’m clueless about being a teenager! It’s been a while since I was a teenager but I remember how hard it was to be one. To be fair, it took her a while to get to this point and I thought I would get away unscathed by her teenage years, but it wasn’t realistic and I knew that. I had a bit of an identity crisis that day because I had been assigned a different role and I didn’t have a choice on picking it. My job description changed and from what I’ve gathered so far, it now reads something like this: Mom needed – you must be on call for select activities and information. You need to be empathetic even though you haven’t been told the entire story. Must be on your toes and not take anything personally, especially when I’m moody, tired, hungry, and/or having a crisis. And crisis mode is a constant but you must keep your cool. You won’t know about the crisis unless I want you to know. And most likely, you won’t…

Cranberry Orange Scones

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 55 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 14 to 16 scones
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cran…

Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 1 hr 45 min
Active: 35 min
Yield: 6
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
12 skin-on chicken drumsticks (3 1/2 to 4 1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Olive-oil cooking spray

Directions
Mix 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add 1 cup water and the sugar and whisk to dissolve, then whisk in the buttermilk. Pierce the drumsticks several times with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Toss in the marinade, cover and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Put the panko, thyme, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon zest, the cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a large resealable plastic bag and shake to mix. Put the may…

Magic Cornbread

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Something very special happens in the oven while this twist on a southern classic bakes. The result is a rich and custardy center. Serve it with barbecue -- or as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey.

Total: 1 hr 10 min
Active: 1 hr
Yield: 12 pieces
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra butter for brushing the baking dish
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
Kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish that is at least 2 inches deep. Place the buttered dish in the oven while you mix the batter.

Whisk together the heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and melted butter in a large bowl until well blended…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Lemon Yogurt Cake

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 1 hr 20 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 1 loaf
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minute…

Spicy Citrus Bloody Mary

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Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Total: 10 min
Active: 10 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 to 3 cups ice
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon horseradish, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
Pinch salt
2 cups vodka
3 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions
Muddle ice, lemon wedges, lime wedges, horseradish, jalapeno, and salt in the bottom of a pitcher. Add vodka, tomato juice, and Worcestershire and stir to combine. Refrigerate if not serving immediately, or pour into glasses over ice and serve.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


Happy Mother's Day To, Me!

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The decision to write to my children in honor of Mother’s Day, instead of my own mother came when I sat at my computer boohooing about not having a relationship with my mom. Every Mother’s Day for the past thirteen years, I’ve written pieces to honor the women in my life who are mother’s themselves, but just not my mother. My relationship with her has always been complicated and history tells me that it will continue to be so – with that, I draw strength and courage to accept what our relationship is and will most likely continue to be. On this Mother’s Day, I choose to honor my children for helping me grow and blossom into my worthiness:

My dear and beautiful children,

Thank you! Thank you for making me see the world with brighter filters of empathy, love, vulnerability, fear, courage, and exuberance. Only you, two humans, have brought me to my knees in humility and fearlessness. I’ve watched you guys crawl, stumble around while learning to walk, make mistakes, learn tough lesson, and …

Marinated Bistecca Fiorentina

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Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total: 1 hr 20 min
Active: 40 min
Yield: 2 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
One 2-pound rib-eye steak, about 2-inches thick
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus whole sprigs for basting
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon half, charred on the grill if desired
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, to finish

Directions
Place the steak on a rimmed plate or baking sheet and rub all over with the smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle evenly with the rosemary, thyme and lemon zest. Drizzle with the olive oil. Rub the herb mixture into the meat. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle the steak evenly on both sides with the salt. Grill until nicely seared all around, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the steak to the wire…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Flowing Into Nirvana

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I’ve been meditating to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s Hope in Uncertain Times. The 21-day meditation session has helped immensely during these challenging times. It’s helped me see a clearer way about hope and understanding the fleeting sense that I’ve had of it. I started to feel a constant flow and steadiness of hope that only started happening after I came to the understanding that hope is not connected to material things, it’s a sense of being able to take the next breath, unencumbered -- taking the next step forward even when I’m afraid, and finding ways to center myself when life gets overwhelmingly tough. It’s a simple yet difficult thing to grasp when you think of it, and it all starts with a breath of air, in and out of our bodies -- then every other function in our body flows. And once I allow for those simple functions to flow, then everything else that gives me glimpses of happiness, or complicates my life, or makes me fearful should also be allowed to flow without regard for…

Green Margarita

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For this bright margarita, use your favorite tequila (we loved it with silver).
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total: 5 min
Active: 5 min
Yield: 1 drink
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Lime wedge, for rim of glass, plus lime slice, for garnish
Coarse salt, for rim of glass
2 ounces Super Green Juice, recipe follows
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

Super Green Juice:
1 to 2 large, juicy lemons, peel and pith removed
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
2 romaine leaves
1/2 large cucumber
1 cup loosely packed hearty greens, such as spinach or kale

Directions
Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with a wedge of lime, and then roll the glass at an angle in the salt so that only the outside of the glass is salted.

Combine the Super Green Juice, tequila and orange liqueur in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds. Strain into the prepared glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Super Green Juice:
Juice, in this order, the lemons, apple, r…

Corn Muffin Churros

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: about 2 dozen churros
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Vegetable oil, for frying (about 6 cups)
1 8.5-ounce box corn muffin mix
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2/3 cup buttermilk
Chocolate sauce or dulce de leche, warmed, for dipping

Directions
Heat 3 inches of oil in a large, deep skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 340 degrees. Combine the muffin mix, flour, sugar, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the eggs, orange zest and buttermilk and whisk until combined.

Transfer half the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (No. 844) and pipe 4-inch-long churros into the oil, about 4 at a time. (If you don't have a pastry bag, you can spoon the batter into the oil in lines.) Fry until golden, about 15 seconds per side, turning once. Remove with a …

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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