Rachel has been talking about, and experimenting with, making her own peanut butter cups ever since she visited around the holidays and had some from the Chocolate Moose, a now-defunct (sadly) chocolatier who once had a store but now only makes her chocolates a couple of times a year. (She also makes the BEST almond crunch in the world, and believe me I consider myself somewhat of an expert having consumed this particular type of confection for years and from all over the place. Suzanne’s is to die-for.)
Anyway Rachel had one of the peanut butter cups and proclaimed that she was going to learn to make them herself. Ever the supportive mother, I encouraged her in this endeavor, figuring I would reap the benefits at some point. Rachel started by making her own peanut butter. From there she began experimenting with the chocolate covering. Dedicated cook that she is, Rachel has apparently made several batches of these babies before finally sending me a few. (She also sent me shortbread because, as regular readers know, I have given up ever being able to make my own after several epic fails. I choose to think her sending me these is because she loves me rather than that she wants to rub my face in my shortbread failure.)
Anyway I am happy to report that Rachel is well on her way to nailing this peanut butter cup recipe. The chocolate is damn close to the right mix of dark and milk chocolate (I would vote for a tad more dark myself), and she’ll be posting about it tomorrow for all to try. In the meantime, this photo will just have to tide you over. I’ll think of you all during my next tasty bite.
My 3-week purification cleanse ended Saturday and from my perspective it wasn’t a moment too soon. While I did fairly well following the plan and only cheated a few times (like the time one of my colleagues surprised me with a tall skinny caramel latte, my favorite Starbucks drink, and I allowed myself three sips, which practically killed me), the plan was pretty limiting and didn’t allow for a whole lot of creative cooking. Baking, meanwhile, was just something I could dream about. (In case you didn’t read my post, I gave up caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and wheat for three weeks.)
I’m not going to lie: I had some weird moments during the cleanse. For instance, I bought the people I love in my family about seven different kinds of seriously good chocolate items. I don’t buy this much chocolate in my non-cleansing life but for some reason, buying it made it easier not to eat, despite the fact that the stuff was literally sitting in front of me on the table. It was not rational.
That said, I can’t deny some things did improve in my life. I lost some weight of course, but surprising — at least to me— is that the joints in my hands and fingers stopped hurting for the first time in years. I also stopped having some post-menopausal symptoms and my sinuses were decongested more than they have been in about 30 years, no joke.
These were all happy changes so as the cleanse end-date loomed, I began to think about how I would incorporate more normal, interesting eating but not lose the benefits. Just continuing to eat this way was not one of the options. (Apologies to all the healthy vegan/non-caffeinated/teetotalers out there but living without all those tasty items is not on my schedule.) I also began fantasizing about what food I would eat first that was not on the list. What was the thing I wanted most?
Yes, it’s true. I wanted Dannon coffee yogurt with my homemade granola (no nuts on this cleanse either). I have eaten coffee yogurt with granola for breakfast for decades. The only time I eat other yogurt is if the store does not have Dannon, and whatever yogurt it is, it’s a poor substitute and that’s just a fact. The only time I don’t eat yogurt is if I’m away from home or out for breakfast.
Anyway as soon as I decided what I wanted for the First Meal, I started thinking about it. A Lot. Now here’s the thing: Dannon coffee yogurt is not always available. (which is why I usually buy at least 5 or 6 containers when I see it so I’ve got the week covered.) So I was a little worried when I went shopping. I rounded the corner in the dairy section of my supermarket, headed to the yogurt section and my heart sank. Plenty of fruit on the bottom Dannon but NO. COFFEE. YOGURT.
I headed to the checkout with my other groceries, loaded up the car, and without a moment’s hesitation drove an extra 10 miles to another grocery store to see if it had coffee yogurt. The only question I had was whether or not I would drive to yet another grocery store if the local Stop and Slop didn’t have coffee yogurt either. In my internal conversation, I was allowing as how driving to a third store would be kind of pathetic. I decided to just wait and see.
Happily, the coffee yogurt was there … although I did have a moment of panic because it was hidden behind the peach fruit on the bottom type. I bought 4 containers, went home and had it lunch. After three weeks, the culinary planets were lined up once again.
Oh and in case you’re wondering: Driving to a third store? Yea, that was going to happen.
Do you have something you’d drive to multiple stores to get? C’mon, share your secret.
As part of our plan to add more bloggers to the LTIR mix, we’re happy to introduce Mike, the Gay Beer Guy, as a regular columnist. He first posted a fabulous beer/food pairing post in December and we got a good response from folks, so we asked Mike, who we’ve known for years, if he’d be game to become a regular. Happily he was.
If you’ve ever thought about brewing beer but weren’t sure how to go about it, or maybe you just like to think about beer and drink it, this column is for you. Mike will be posting the first Friday of the month, offering ideas on how to brew different beers and letting us know how he’s doing in his beer experiments. Let him do the failing for you! You can just pick up on the successes. (Oh by the way, Mike is a mighty fine homebrewer. He just entered 3 beers in the Upper Mississippi Mashout, a beer competition out of Minneapolis that is the 2nd largest in the USA, and his Barleywine won a silver medal, and his Light Belgian Ale (which we’ve had the pleasure of tasting) won a gold.) He’ll also periodically add some food ideas to go with his beers. So, without further ado, heeerrre’s Mike!
Since I started back at school I’ve become a serial boxed cereal eater. I’m sure I’ll return to the glory days of granola baking, but for the past several months the name of the game has been ease. Needless to say, breakfast is a little less exciting when it’s poured straight from a box, particularly when it’s the same box day after day, week after week.
The excitement–the feeling of self-tending–then, comes in the little details.
I love vintage Pyrex. Love it, love it, love it. Durable and kitschy, it’s something I can get behind on a number of levels. Over the years I’ve been making this interest known and have managed to accumulate what is surely becoming a respectable collection. Over our visit to Connecticut my mom added to our stash, gifting us with cereal bowls (and the original primary-colored storage containers…*swoon*) which brought the collection into tableware, a kitchen arena that up until then was devoid of any Pyrex save a lonely butter dish.
Now every morning I pour my unexciting and super healthy boxed cereal into a vintage Pyrex cereal bowl. It makes me smile a little bit and think of my mom and it makes breakfast feel just that little bit special which, I think, is an excellent addition to the start of a day.