Monday, September 24, 2012

Vacation Dreams...Coming True!

     Ever since I was a little girl I have loved the book Anne of Green Gables.  I have read the book time and time again, cheered on Anne as she smashes a slate over Gilbert Blythe's head, laughed at her as she dyes her hair brown and it turns green instead, and read all of her triumphs and fails to finally end up where we all wanted her, back with Gilbert Blythe.  I have read the book and watched the movies so many times that it was definitely a part of my childhood, so I was thrilled when the opportunity has arose for Mr. Love from Scratch and I to actually go to Prince Edward Island on vacation!   How amazing is that?  My inner nine year old girl is in rapture thinking of seeing Green Gables and the  Lakes of Shining Waters and all the amazing sights of Avonlea.  While Mr. Love from Scratch isn't really at all familiar with the book or the story, he is being a good sport.  I have my camera ready and I am going to take pictures galore!  I can't wait for the trip. 

I know that I have shared my affinity for Tea Parties and Ladies Luncheon's, but a couple years ago I was able to help cater an Anne of Green Gables inspired tea party for a young girls birthday party.  It was so much fun!  The cute birthday girl had every girl arrive in their tea party finest, and the tables were decked out in vintage shabby chic galore.  Pink and flowers everywhere, as the guests came through the doors one could hear them shriek and gasp in delight.  It was a magical day for that little birthday girl, she grinned from ear to ear.  Her food was actually a lot of work, tea party food requires attention to detail, and usually there are lots of little pieces, but tea party and shower food is always a delight for everyone.  I have many tried and true recipes for tea parties, but I am curious, what do you make for your tea parties?  I would love additional ideas.

So this trip is one more thing that I can cross off of my memory makers list, I will have finally made it to Prince Edward Island!  How lucky am I?   There are still lots more things on my list, but I am excited to be crossing this off.  Are there any trips that you have dreamt of since childhood?  Where do you want to go on your next vacation?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Places I have to eat at...

Some people have bucket lists, I have what I like to call My Memory Maker List.  Bucket list sounded too depressing for me.  Anyway there are so many things that I do want to do and experience.  Because its me, a lot of the items on my list do pertain to food.  There are so many places I want to eat at.  One of the ones that I am most intrigued by is Alinea, by Grant Achatz.  I reviewed his memoir a couple months ago, but ever since he caught the attention of the culinary world several years ago I have been more than impressed my his cooking style.  

If you have ever read his cookbook Alinea, you can see his precision for detail and his creativity is second to none.  I was so inspired by his story of determination and perseverance, but also his complete passion when it comes to food.  I always love to see people with passion fulfilling their dreams.  Chef Achatz has a couple restaurants but Alinea is definitely the one I want to visit, and has been recognized as the best restaurant in North America.  It is located in Chicago which means that Mr. Love From Scratch and I would need to make a trip to Chicago, maybe we can hit Wrigley Field while we are there.  I already know exactly what I would order too, the tasting menu, the couses change frequently, but the picture shows you idea of what it could be like.  What an experience would that be!  I would love to see his culinary artistry in action.

I have lots of things I want to do, and lots of places I would love to eat at, I will be sharing more of my Memory Makers List with you, maybe I will start getting some of them even crossed off my list.  Do I have any Chicago readers that have been here?  I would love to hear about your experiences there and what you thought!  What are on your Memory Makers List?

Lessons from a rose...

” Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow; gather the roses of life today.”
- Pierre de Ronsard

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Mother's Love & Cookies

I always write about cooking with love, and that when you cook with love you can taste it in the food.  My mother taught me so much when it came to cooking with love, it was always the first ingredient in all of her cooking,  I was going through family recipes this morning and remembering so many of the the recipes that my mother taught me to make.  Mom is an excellent cook, my brothers and I were (and are) so blessed to have her.  She always worked hard to make everything nice for my brothers and I.  She certainly made a ton of sacrifices for each one of us.  My mother is an excellent cookie maker, her chocolate chip cookies are the stuff of legends.  I have never tasted a better chocolate chip cookie than my mother's.  When I was a little girl she taught me how to make them so I could enter them in the fair, I had wanted to enter something, so she helped me.  The were blue ribbon cookies to the judges, and the best to us hungry kids at home.  I have made her recipe time and time again and it brings back lots of memories.

This weekend we went to visit my in-laws.  My father in law loves oatmeal raisin cookies, so I made sure to have some fresh from the oven to take on our visit.  My mother loves oatmeal raisin cookies too, but that is one of the few cookies that I never remember having in our home as a kid.  I remember how many times she said she liked them, but she never fixed them, the reason being, my brothers didn't like oatmeal raisin cookies, my mother wasn't going to make two different types of cookies so that meant chocolate chip cookies it was, and usually that is what was found in our home.  Now I know to you that doesn't seem like a big deal and you may wonder why I even mention it.  I mention it because my mother is allergic to dairy products, she couldn't even eat the chocolate chips cookies that us kids all clamored for.  Instead of her fixing the cookies that she would have preferred, she did what she thought her family would like best, even if that meant no cookies for her.  My mother made tons of sacrifices for us, some small, some huge, but she always put us first. 

As an adult I have discovered that I actually love oatmeal raisin cookies, I wish that I had realized that sooner, maybe there would have been more cookies for Mom to have eaten in the house.  I have developed my own recipe for  oatmeal raisin cookies.  I think mom will like it when she tries them, next time she comes to visit I will make sure she finally gets to always pick what she wants instead of always putting everyone else first.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
11/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dark raisins

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 -14 minutes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lessons Learned, and Lessons to Learn Still...

     It's pretty isn't it?  It looks so calm and peaceful.  I took this photo a couple months ago when my husband and I went on a cruise.  I loved watching all of the different ships that we encountered, some were luxury yachts, some local fishing boats, some were speedboats zipping through the water.  One of my favorite quotes is "A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."  It reminds me that I need to go outside of my comfort zone a times and take the leap of faith that I can do it, and that I will make it work. 

As many of you know I love to watch Masterchef, it inspires every season, this season has been my favorite so far, two particular contestants have stuck out to me this entire season, Christine Ha & Josh Marks.  Both were my two favorites from the first episode, so I am glad to see them as the final two in all of this.  Both amazing chefs, and both amazing individuals.  Both are survivors both inside and outside of the kitchen.  Christine I have learned a lot from watching her grace.  Anyone who has watched this season already knows that Christine is blind.  I am so amazed at her determination and her spirit and that she never lets her blindness stop her.  I can think of a million excuses at any given time, but she never makes excuses for herself.  Josh too has been such a great example of hard work and determination.

I always love to see what I call everyday heroes or everyday champions, I feel like sometimes we forget how many of them there really are in life.  I feel that both of these individuals are those everyday champions.  They remind me to not make excuses for myself, and that I need to have the courage to go after my dreams.  Watch both of them next Tuesday on FOX to see who will be the next Masterchef.