Friday, August 22, 2014

Foodie Friday: French Toast Muffins

found here

Baked French Toast Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes (Plus 2 hours to overnight in fridge)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Baked French Toast made in muffin cups. These muffins are too cute and a fun breakfast treat!

ingredients:
1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1/2 inch cubes (about 12 cups of bread)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Butter and Maple Syrup, for serving, optional

directions:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Add about 1 cup of bread cubes to each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin. You may need to press down on the bread cubes after you pour a little mixture and then pour more. Pour slowly or you will have a mess. Cover the muffins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands, until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove the muffins from the refrigerator and sprinkle the muffins evenly with the streusel topping.

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.


YUM

Monday, August 18, 2014

As The Stomach Churns -or- The Continuing Medical Saga That Is My Life

Well, it was another fun filled weekend. I went to bed feeling rough Friday night, woke up Saturday feeling like I'd been hit with a truck. Not the CFS, this time I had strep throat. I texted Mom to let her know that I wouldn't be going to the hospital to see Dad and dragged myself to the clinic.

Amusingly enough, when I got to the clinic I was seen by the same doctor who treated me for the sinus infection 2 weeks ago. "You just came off of antibiotics! How can you be sick again?!?"

I told him my self-diagnosis, he took one look at my throat, and then he sighed. "Yep, you're going on the penicillin express...no wait, you're the one with the allergy...what the hell did I give you last time?" Flipped through the chart. "Ok, you're going back on this, but at a higher dose."

Then we had to wait for the pharmacy to call, because they did last time to make sure he MEANT to give me that strong an antibiotic. While we were waiting, he asked me what I keep doing ot myself to wind up there. I couldn't resist- I told him that I'd faked everything just for an excuse to come see him again. (He IS pretty cute...and probably about 12 years old) He snickered and said "Well, if I wasn't married and you weren't contagious, we might have had something there."

I love doctors who get my smart ass sense of humor. Dr B would have probably fainted on the spot if I'd said that to him.

So I hit the pharmacy & headed home to bed. The little black snot decided to come in for the day/night as we were having a nasty spell of rain that turned into a thunderstorm. She snuggled up and purred me to sleep and that was pretty much it until 2 pm Sunday.

Before I passed out, Mom had messaged me that Dad now had C.Diff- a really nasty stomach bug- plus he still wasn't able to eat. None of us were having a good time.

Mom & I went out to dinner at Panera Sunday and then I went back home to bed while she went back to the hospital to Daddy-sit.


Everyone is feeling better today. Dad is being allowed ice chips, honey, juice, and broth. They gave him a cup of tomato soup and you'd have thought it was manna from heaven. I was able to stick my head in and yell hello at him before coming to work today.


More news as it happens...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Belated: Happy Birthday to Me!

So, Dad got moved OUT of the ICU on my birthday! We're very happy about this, especially him.

Mom & I went and had our tea party at Sister's Tea Shop. It was tasty. I tried their Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea blend which turned out to be an Earl Grey with Jasmine. I loved it. The three-tiered nibbles assortment we ordered was also good. 2 of my favorites from that were the Black Pepper Biscuits with Ham Salad and the Caramelized Onion/Corn scone. They also brought me a giant chocolate cupcake with a pink rose frosting that was moist & delicious.

Went back to Mom's to open my presents. She & Dad bought me the Hollow Crown miniseries on DVD- Tom Hiddleston, yay! I won't list everything else, but Mom did her usual bang-up job of gifts and gift-wrapping.

Back to the hospital to spend some more time with the old coot, and then I went home and grilled myself a steak. Watched my new DVD's- ok, mostly just my favorite Tom scenes, but I'll watch the whole thing later.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Foodie Friday: Apple Gingersnap Brown Betty from Desserts From the Loveless Café

For Brown Betty:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom*
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups peeled cored and sliced apples (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.)
2 cups coarsely broken gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup heavy cream

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped walnuts**


* I’ve never made this with cardamom as it’s not something I keep on-hand. It seems to taste just fine without it!
** These can be omitted for those with allergies or who just plain don’t like nuts. Weirdos. :-)



Directions:
To prepare Streusel:
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon and rub together with your fingertips to blend and break up any clumps of brown sugar. Scatter butter cubes over flour mixture and continue to rub ingredients together with your fingertips until it forms small clumps and butter is no longer visible. Stir in walnuts and reserve.
To prepare Brown Betty:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Add apples and toss gently to coat with flour mixture. Arrange half of apple slices in an even layer in an 8-inch baking dish or other shallow 1 1/2-quart glass or ceramic casserole. Sprinkle half of gingersnaps over apples. Repeat with a remaining layer of apples and gingersnaps. Drizzle cream over gingersnaps and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until apples are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer baking dish to a wire rack and cool until warm. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

Mickey’s notes: I like to use a mix of tart and sweet apples, with a tendency toward more tartness. This is heavenly served warm with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream!


Even Dad, normally Mr. Picky, liked this!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Surgery Story (may be long & rambling- my brain is not totally functional right now)

So Daddy's heart surgery was on Friday. The planned procedures were: replacing 2 heart valves, doing one bypass, and scarring on a chamber to alleviate his A-fib.

My sisters arrived on Thursday. All four of them. This was a surprise to us, because we were told only one would be able to come after it had been re-scheduled. Only 2 of my BILs were brave enough to come along for this adventure. To be fair, Sandra's husband Eddie was in the hospital with congestive respiratory failure himself, but he insisted she come be with Dad.

We met at the hospital at 5 a.m. Friday. They took Dad back almost immediately, and we were allowed to come back for hugs/kisses/prayers before they took him off to surgery. The nurse took one look at us and asked "Is this ALL of them?" The look on her face when we said no was priceless.

Waiting is the worst. Around 7-8, we went to the cafeteria for breakfast. I'm a nervous eater and apparently so are my sisters. That place made a lot of money on us that morning! I took coffee & a danish back to Mom and we all sat around playing the waiting game. Sandra called the hospital back home to get an update on Eddie and scared us all to death when she burst into tears. It turned out to be a good cry though- they told her that he was off the breathing tubes and doing just fine. In fact he was fussing about wanting something to eat.

Sometime around 11-12, the surgeon came out to talk to us. He said Daddy had made it through the surgery like a champ! They wound up being able to replace the leaky heart valves instead of having to replace them, so the operation was less invasive/involved than they expected. (YAY) He also said that Daddy should be good for at least 10 more years now. (oh boy) It was going to be at least 2 hours before we could go back and see him, so we opted to go get lunch.

On the way to the parking garage, everything just hit me at once. I started bawling, much to the horror of my brothers. JR is normally a smart ass, but he was the first one to hug me and THEN he started picking on me to get me to stop crying. Roy started crying when I did, much to Audrey's disgust. Anyway, we all dried up after a minute or two and headed out.

We went to a Mexican restaurant near their hotel for lunch. They'd stopped in for Margaritas the night before and the host remembered them. (not entirely a surprise, given our family) Apparently he was so taken with the pack of us that he started pulling the staff out of the kitchen to gawk at us. The food was really good, though.

Saturday is kind of a blur. Daddy was still heavily drugged, so we took turns going in to sit with him. He did blink at us and squeeze our hands, so we knew it was really him in there. The ICU would only let us in 2 at a time for 10 minutes per pair. At the end of afternoon visiting hours, Sandra & I went shopping while the others went back to the hotel to pack up and move to a new one. Because the PGA championship was in town, hotel rooms were hard to come by and the 6 of them wound up having to share one room for Saturday night. I won't go into details about the dance off that took place before I left them for the night other than to say that Sandra & Audrey are wild women and should know better than to twerk.

Audrey, Roy, & Sandra had to leave Sunday morning. Daddy was still pretty out of it, but was fussing about his breathing tubes. The rest of us spent the day in and out.

Brenda, Angie, & JR left early Monday morning. Shortly after that, Dad managed to pull out his breathing tubes. Mom & I flew down to the hospital and were told that he'd thrown up while they were examining him to see how much damage he'd done to himself and aspirated some of it into his lungs. They were afraid they'd have to cut him open again to clean out his lungs, but were eventually able to flush everything out. He kept fighting the oxygen and other masks they tried to put on him in place of the breathing tubes, so they had to drug him senseless again and put him in restraints. And put the breathing tube back in. Needless to say, I didn't make it to work yesterday.

Today, after a night under sedation and lots of oxygen forced into him, Dad is MUCH improved. The doctors are optimistic that he'll be off the vents by Thursday, and if so, he can be moved into regular recovery. He waved at me when I stopped in to visit before work, and winked at me when I told him that I'd bought his lottery tickets for the weekend.

Then I made the mistake of coming to work. Psycho is giving me the silent treatment because I had the nerve to put my Dad before this hell hole, and if she rolls her eyes one more time when one of my friends drops in to hug me and ask about Dad, I am going to roll her head across the floor.

Yeah, life is getting back to normal.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Foodie Friday- No Churn Sea Salt & Honey Ice Cream

originally found here:

yield: SERVES 6 - 8 prep time: 5 MINUTES cook time: 6 HOURS total time: 6 HOURS 5 MINUTES
INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup honey (I like clover honey for this recipe) + 1 tablespoon for topping + a little more for serving if desired
1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel sea salt + more for serving if desired
DIRECTIONS:

Pour the whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with the whisk attachment. Start out mixing on low speed, then slowly increase speed to high and mix until the whipping cream forms stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. You can also use a bowl and a hand mixer, or a bowl and a whisk and mix by hand (but it'll probably take awhile unless you have superpowers!)
Using a spatula, gently fold the sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt into the whipped cream. Continue stirring gently until completely combined. Pour into a freezer-safe container with airtight lid. Drizzle the top with 1 tablespoon honey. Seal.
Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.
Scoop into cups, bowls, or onto cones; drizzle individual servings with a little more honey and a bonus pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve.


This was a hit! I am now trying to figure out how to make a version of butter almond.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Heart Has Been Broken Once Again

So, toward the end of June, both Greymalkin & Nightshade had managed to escape the house by breaking out the side panels to the window unit A/C. I couldn't get wither of them back into the house for love or money. Nightshade would just stay out of reach. Malkin would come up to me for cuddles, but fight to get loose when I tried to take him back inside and then run away again.

After 2 weeks of this, I gave up. They were both coming back to the house to eat/drink from the bowls that the feral kitties were using, so I knew they weren't starving. The weather was uncomfortable to me, but not nearly as horrible as it had been for the last few years, so they were ok that way. Both of them were smart enough to go under my car, or under the house, or onto the neighbor's shaded porch if they got too hot or it was raining.

Then we left for the reunion in NC and poor Malkin lost his mind. I had made sure that Helen next door AND 2 officers knew my cats were outside and had them check on their food/water supplies for the 4 days we were gone. Helen said Malk would meow at her, but not come eat.

We got home and I went looking for the little nimrod. Nightshade had started coming and doing figure eights around my ankles, but still wasn't ready to come in. Finally, after walking up/down the street and calling for 20 minutes, my sweet boy appeared. He looked awful. He's been a fat little butterball for so many years, and now he was MARKEDLY thinner. I tried to pick him up for a cuddle and he hissed at me and ran away.

He spent most of July in hiding and looked thinner every time I saw him. He occasionally came out when I put out fresh food & water, but wouldn't eat or drink. And wouldn't let me touch him. I think he felt that I'd abandoned him and he wasn't willing to let me make it up to him. Nightshade, on the other hand, was finally showing signs of wanting to come inside.


Two weeks ago, Malkin was lying in the driveway when I came home from a Saturday lunch with a friend. He meowed at me when I got out of the car, and it was the most pitiful little sound I've ever heard. I knelt down beside him and was shocked to see that I could count his ribs. I picked him up- he let me- and cuddled him and he began to purr for me. I tried to carry him inside, and he jumped out of my arms and nearly knocked himself silly when he landed on the concrete. I picked him up again and sat on the porch with him for a long time, cradling him against me and listening to him purr. He drank some water when I held the bowl up to him, but wouldn't eat. I put him down to go in and get the cat carrier, because I decided he was going to the vet.

I was in the house maybe 2 minutes. He vanished in that time and I haven't seen him since. I've spent hours walking through my neighborhood & calling to him with no luck. I've called the animal shelters to see if someone turned him in, and they don't have him. Nightshade started staying in the front yard the day he disappeared, instead of roaming like she had been. Last weekend, she allowed me to pick her up, take her inside, and she's been indoors since then.


I think I've lost my sweet grey boy, and it's killing me. I should never have let him stay outside in the first place, so I have no one to blame but myself. I honestly think that last afternoon was his way of saying goodbye to me. I hope wherever he is, his beautiful soul is at peace and he knows how much I truly loved him.