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Showing posts from April, 2018

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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Raspberry Sunrise Mimosa

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This beautiful drink is the perfect fancy treat for Mother's Day. Extra points for serving it to her in bed.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 3 hr 50 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
10 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 cup grenadine, chilled
2 cups pulp-free orange juice, chilled
One 750-milliliter bottle sparkling dry white wine, chilled

Directions
Special equipment: a 12-cube ice cube tray, preferably one that makes square cubes; a freezer-safe pitcher; a large serving spoon

Make the ice: Fill each compartment of a 12-cube ice cube tray about a third of the way up with water and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Puree half of the raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of puree to each cube compartment, coming about another third of the way up the side. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Top off each compartment with water and freeze until solid, another hour.

Make the cocktail: Carefully pour the grenadine into a large freez…

Life In A River of Change

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"Recently I’ve been rather shocked when I look in the mirror or feel a new ache in my knees or notice that my grandson is about to turn 9 years old. How did this all happen? So I thought I’d take a look at that passage. I wrote it 14 years ago (back when I thought 50 was old.) It’s called The River of Change, and I still agree with it! Life is always changing; you are always changing. You live in a river of change, and a river of change lives within you. Every day you’re given a choice: You can relax and float in the direction that the water flows, or you can swim hard against it. If you go with the river, the energy of a thousand mountain streams will be with you, filling your heart with courage and enthusiasm; if you resist the river, you will feel rankled and tired as you tread water, stuck in the same place.”-Elizabeth Lesser

Elizabeth Lesser’s quote about living life in a river of change reminded me of my children's transition into their teens—it’s a whirlwind that makes…

Lemon Pudding Cake with Fresh Mixed Berries

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Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup superfine sugar, plus more for dusting
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Garnish: 1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and lightly sugar 4 ramekins (about 1-cup size).

In a mixer, add egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and sift in flour, sugar and salt. Continue to mix until combined. Beat egg whites until you get stiff peaks then combine the 2 mixtures by gently folding them together, a little at a time. Divide evenly amongst ramekins then bake in a water bath - set ramekins in a roasting tray and fill with water halfway up …

Lemon-Garlic Skillet Chicken and Potatoes

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For once, water and oil work together to make a magical one-skillet weeknight chicken dinner. Potatoes cook alongside crispy chicken thighs -- first they boil in water until tender, and then fry into golden nuggets in the remaining oil.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound small red potatoes, quartered (about 8 potatoes)
1 small lemon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and halved
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 cups baby arugula

Directions
Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook until golden brown and crispy and the skin releases easily from the skillet, 6 to 7 minutes.

Reduce the heat to m…

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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I Got Love For Our Human Errors!

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I love Elizabeth Gilbert! Besides the accolades of best-selling author, speaker, and truth-teller advocate, she’s hilarious. A few days ago, she posted a Happy Mother’s Day tribute to her mom. My initial thought was, “Hey! You screwed up. It’s not Mother’s Day. How can you get that wrong?” After people kindly corrected her, she posted, “You guys. I thought today was Mother’s Day. It isn’t, is it?” Many kind and supportive comments followed on how to possibly correct her error, she replied, “Screw it, I’m leaving this post up anyhow! BECAUSE I LOVE MY MOM. Every day. Every damn day I love my mom! (Have mercy on me, folks...it’s been a tough time. You’re lucky I’m walking and talking.) Oh well. I LOVE YOU MOM! BLURGGGHHHHH!!!!!” As much as I have always proclaimed my love and admiration for Elizabeth, my initial reaction lacked empathy because she got a special day wrong. Once she posted her comments I stopped feeling “offended” and accepted her honesty that acknowledged that she’d ma…

Comfort Meatballs

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 2 hr
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 45 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup quick oats
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Plenty of ground black pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
4 to 6 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco

Directions
For the meatballs: In bowl, combine the ground beef and oats. Pour in the milk, and then add the onions, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Roll the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and refrigerate them for 30 to 45 minutes to firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the meatballs in the flour, and then brown the meatballs in batches until light brown. As they brown, place them into a rectangular baking dish.

For the sauce: Sti…

Herb-and-Mustard Sirloin With Baked Potatoes

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 small russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak (1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons spicy mustard, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons crumbled herbes de Provence
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion greens

Directions
Pierce the potatoes a few times with a fork, then microwave until soft, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pierce both sides of the steak with a fork. Mix the mustard and herbes de Provence in a bowl and rub all over the steak.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter; as soon as it melts, add the steak and sear on one side until browned, about 7 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about 4 more minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, season with salt and pepper, and top with 1 tablespoon butter. Let rest at least 5 minutes.

Retu…

30-Minute Spicy Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

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Spicy, smoky chipotle chiles and chili powder add long-cooked flavor to this quick pork stew. To save time and use less fat, only the pork is browned in oil, while the onions get pureed with tomatoes, garlic and the chile to make the broth.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
1 cup canned unsalted diced tomatoes
1 medium white onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chipotle in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
One 8-ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon pickled jalapenos
1 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
1/4 medium head red cabbage
1 medium Haas avocado
1 lime
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
Eight 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed

Directions
Puree the tomatoes, onions, garlic…

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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The Flow of Simplicity

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Spirituality comes down to such a simple process--experience the things you value the most, ask inside for more and listen to the response of the true self that will guide your next step. Existence was designed to liberate us and our task is to accept such an incredible gift with humility and joy.” -Deepak Chopra

While listening to another great meditation by Deepak Chopra, I slipped into a deep state of calmness and started daydreaming about how my life would be if I had more of the things I value most. One word to describe this feeling is, freedom! When I was about eight-years-old, I learned to ride a bike. The bike belonged to a friend and I learned how to ride it in seconds. After a few tries, I could steady myself enough to have a smooth ride, I pedaled as fast as I could--the wind caressing my face and hair. It was the most freeing feeling ever! It was joyful nirvana!

Decades later, during this meditation session I was able to realize that my first bike ride experience was a s…

Black and White Angel Food Cake

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
2 cups sifted superfine sugar (about 1 pound)
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely grated semisweet chocolate

For the glaze:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour and sift them together 4 times. Set aside.

Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs form medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Beat on high speed for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Add the…

Palmiers

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 35 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 40 to 45 cookies
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough in…

Strawberry Tarts

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 2 hr
Prep: 35 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 tarts
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco)
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Pastry Cream:
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cognac
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions
Special equipment: 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the b…

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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Wonder Comes From a New Perception

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“Wonder comes from a new perception. Wonder fades with repetition. All that’s needed to create wonder is the intention to let things be new. Open yourself to the possibility of perceiving and feeling your world differently.” -Deepak Chopra

The last time I was in New York City, I was there on business and stayed for a whopping twenty-two hours. A couple of weeks ago, I was there to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and got to be a tourist. It was a different city--it was thrilling seeing it anew. It was my daughter’s first time there and it was my first time as a real tourist. The city was a true wonder to our new sets of eyes!


I have been to the city so many times for work and always drove by in a cab or walked by quickly, dismissing the beautiful landmarks, trying to get to meetings without stopping to take it all in. I could have easily been dismissive and jaded this time around about the intensely beautiful and cultural elements that pop out at you at every turn. It was an even bigger…

Roasted Stuffed Cauliflower

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One of our favorite vegetables gets the royal treatment: It's filled with a cheesy, bacony kale stuffing, coated in crispy breadcrumbs and baked until melting and tender. You can make it vegetarian by replacing the bacon with 4 ounces of sliced button mushrooms.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 2 hr 25 min
Active: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
4 slices bacon
Kosher salt
1 large head cauliflower
8 ounces kale, stems removed
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
3/4 cup grated Muenster cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) butter, melted

Directions
Special equipment: a large piping bag or 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Arrange the bacon on the …

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet…

Shrimp Francese

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/4 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 20 shrimp)
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Pure olive oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Two 5-ounce packages baby spinach

Directions
Butterfly the shrimp: Make a deep cut along the outer curved edge, then spread open like a book. Pat dry.

Whisk the eggs with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon parsley in a bowl. Heat about 1/8 inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour, dip in the egg mixture and add to the skillet cut-side down; fry, turning…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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