Recipe Attribution: A Murky Issue.

As some of you know, in addition to blogging here, I also run a low-sodium food site called The Daily Dish.  I’ve spent years creating recipes, sometimes off the top of my head, other times jumping off something already published.  I often go through cookbooks and websites looking for new ideas and inspiration.  Whenever I adapt someone else’s work, whether slightly or significantly, I make a point of citing sources and linking to the original.  It’s simply the right thing to do.

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The day after.

So how was your Valentine’s Day?? I have to say, I am feeling a little depressed this morn. It inevitably happens after a big holiday – I get sooooo EXCITED and then it comes and then it is gone. Way too fast. This feeling probably hits most people following Christmas – I know my mom gets it pretty bad, the blues, the doldrums, but for me, it’s Valentine’s Day. Oh well. I hope everyone had a terrific time yesterday. And I hope many of you got the Valentine’s cards on time. I have been thinking about that a lot. It was a relief knowing at least one arrived safely – Thanks Hayden. Really hope that tongue thing worked out for you.

WELL since I’ve been harping on Valentine’s Day Lo these many weeks, I thought you’d all enjoy hearing a bit about what I actually did.. SO HERE GOES.

My Official V-DAY Preparations began weeks ago (yeah, I CAN SEE you eye-rollers out there) with an initial trip to Target. They have those $1 bins of holiday-themed stuff in the front of the store, and for Valentine’s Day there were lots of frogs & chihuahuas. Neither of which makes me think of love, but were very cute nonetheless. So I got Post-it notes with the frog prince & socks with chihuahua cupids. Valentine’s Day candy. Gift bags. Headbands. All adorable. They seem to stock these $1 bins with the sort of stuff you will eventually use, so you don’t feel too guilty buying it. Because it’s only a DOLLAR after all. But it always makes me wonder – all this stuff coming from China that costs $1 and looks a whole lot better than $1, I wonder how much the person who manufactured it actually earned. Even a cent? How the hell could they possibly pay a living wage to the people making this and sell it so damn cheap? And then I feel guilty. TERRIBLY guilty. and I try not to think more on that b/c I l have filled my cart. And I know that I suck as I wheel it to the checkout. And as I place those bullseye bags in my trunk I feel an ache deep in my soul which begs to be held. Like that man who earned just 17 cents for the whole lot of it.

MAN. I feel really depressed now. And It’s only 9AM. Too early for wine. I have to go raid my kids chocolates. I’ll be back in a minute…

*****TIME PASSES*****

Okay. SO weeks ago I saw this stuff and even though it was early, like the first or second week of January, I thought WOW.this stuff is super cute and so cheap! I have to stock up. I will stash it away for the ladies for Valentine’s Day. And so I did, I got a whole bunch of stuff, and even though my younger daughter was with me, I knew she would forget. It must be fun being 4.

So I got cards and candy and a bunch of other heart-themed merchandise and when I got home I hid it. Several weeks later, I was at Target again, and I noticed how picked over everything was. They still had some stuff, but no where NEAR the selection they’d had just after Christmas. This is the reason why you need to buy early, to get the good pickins. So seeing the picked over less-good pickins reminded me of what I’d already bought. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget, like when we went to Atlanta for the holidays, and Christmas morning we’re opening presents and I realized that the Vince Guaraldi CD we’d gotten my dad was actually at home in the closet. Then I had to mail it with his birthday presents a couple weeks later, and I felt a little silly b/c it was a Christmas album.

Anyway, I remembered I’d already bought a bunch of stuff, and was very happy (even though now thinking about it I am way sad and don’t think I will ever buy anything from those $1 bins – or the dollar store, come to think of it, ever EVER again. and that poor man, he is probably supporting his extended family of 15 on that cruel unfair salary, living in a waterless thatched hut next to the town garbage dump. While those stupid corporate execs at Target are living in fat plush mansions, with gold-lined toilets, drinking espressos and eating $400 steaks. Those rat bastards. And that poor man. That poor, poor man……BOY……I am so depressed. I need more chocolate. Be right back.)

*****TIME PASSES*****

SO I AM truly crazy about Valentine’s Day!!!! I have no idea why I am this way, but it’s like Christmas & Easter excitement to me, all mashed together and sprinkly with a heaping helping of hearts. I know I am a truly hopeless romantic.

My day started out like any other Valentine’s Day should – in bed next to my main squeeze. Unfortunately both of the kids were there too, having woken us @ 6 AM jumping up and down yelling HAPPY VALENTINES (YO!). When I finally extracted myself from warm covers & their grasping paws, I enjoyed a nice breakfast. And on Valentine’s Day, even my cereal says “ROMANCE”.

The remainder of the morning was consumed orchestrating my SURPRISE V-Day treat for said main squeeze. I had a covert operation going with 2 of his coworkers, little did he know.. So after stops at SEVEN (count em SEVEN) different stores, I had everything I needed. I had already gotten the rest of the things from another 3 stores in the weeks before. Including Target. SIGH……………………….. [Reaching for the chocolates.]

SO WHAT DID I TAKE HIM??! I know you are all wondering, particularly in light of all the wonderful & marvelous suggestions I’d already offered on my great big list of creative, thoughtful & CHEAP Valentine’s ideas. WELL, I made him two gift bags. In one I assembled an array of presents, and in the other I brought him a special gourmet lunch.  But the gift-giving didn’t stop there. Oh no. For the past 2 weeks I have been working on a little covert operation of my own, code name: heart pillows. You see, after wracking my brains for days and days, trying to think of how to out-do my past V-Day extravaganzas, I decided I was going to make each of my three beloveds a pillow. But not just any pillow. I was going to make themed pillows of love, dedicated to each of them exclusively. I initally thought I would make square pillows, emblazoned with each of their portraits, cut out of fabric or felt and stitched on. But when I got to IKEA (that magical store I had decided to purchase pillow fixins from), I spied the most perfectly PERFECT & enchanting pillows ever. Big fat soft red hearts with crazy arms sticking out each side. WOW. I KNEW these were IT. So I bought three – and at JUST $9.99 each, a super cheap bargain. I will not think about how they got such a super cheap bargain right now b/c I have already had to let my pants out from all the chocolates. I feel confident that IKEA paid those pillow seamstresses a just wage and they are all living in penthouses or at least apartments with clean running water. So I am not thinking of that anymore – nah-nah-nah-nah-nah I can’t hear you bad thoughts..Now I will describe what I did to these pillows.

SO I went to the craft store and bought an array of multi-colored felt and fleece sheets, some shiny embroidery thread, and several beaded felt hearts. I brought all of this home, and then periodically, over the course of the next couple weeks, when no one was looking, I would break all of it out, put on heavy rock music and start sewing. It was hard to do – not only b/c it was very labor-intensive work, but b/c my time is consumed so many other ways. Blogging, cooking, photographing, wiping up bird poo, mothering, cleaning. Plus I like to read and drink wine and watch TV. Sometimes I even shower and get dressed and leave the house. So I am usually pretty darn busy – so making these fabulous pillows took quite a bit of doing. BUT I DID IT! And here’s how they turned out:



ANd everybody LOVED them!! And they were so SURPRISED!! I am so glad they didn’t look under the bed, b/c that’s where I’d been hiding everything during the ‘making of’ process. I had to stow them in one of those huge blue IKEA bags, but they didn’t quite fit:

That doesn’t look too good.

ANYWAY, last night we enjoyed an absolutely decadent meal of crab legs, shrimp, and bread from Metropolitan bakery. Then we drank champagne, (the kids had Boylans sodas – a real treat for them b/c we don’t usually drink soda) and we all ate the chocolate chip cheesecake I’d made earlier in the day. And even though I really am NOT a fan of cheesecake I have to say it was AMAZING and I could have eaten the whole thing myself. I was feeling a bit of a pig. But I cut myself off after two pieces. So we all watched Survivor – our family favorite! Then put the kids to bed and we decided to watch Lost. What a mistake. Is it just me or does anyone else feel that Lost has become an hour-long tease, sandwiched between the most irritating and/or offensive and/or downright fool stupid commercials? I am tired of the whole drawn out process of watching this show unfold. I like long & drawn out but where is the damn black smoke and the polar bears and the crazy ass forest whispers? I don’t give a crap about Benjamin Linus. Ooooohhh scary. This show – I feel like they’re just making it up each week as they go along, trying to keep us in the dark. It is very annoying. PLUS those horrible commercials. I feel like I am being pummeled by a pharmaceutical pusher – I don’t HAVE ALLLERGIES – and then when they busted out “Viva Viagra” I nearly turned the set off. Have you heard of TOO MUCH INFORMATION? Listen, if you can’t maintain erection and have to take a pill, fine. But when they have to warn you in the commercial that “You must see a doctor to see if your heart is strong enough for sexual activity” I am thinking maybe you as a 69 year old man shouldn’t be dating a lusty 25 year old. Seriously. No offense but she’s your granddaughter for pete’s sake. Talk about putting a dampener on my own libido. SIGH…… [Reaching for chocolates].

I AM your own PERSONAL CUPID. I am serious.

A couple days ago I posted about finding a bunch of vintage valentines at the thrift shop, and how I’d been struck by the sweetness of it all. Well – when I bought the whole big whopping sack of them, I suspected there were probably more than I could use, but I hadn’t realized precisely how many until I actually counted them last night. 65. WOW. That’s a lot of valentines. If I use one per year for the next 65 years, I’ll be dead before they are gone.

So I started thinking about My poor dead self – dead. and all those unsent valentines. Sitting unused in some dusty desk – or thrown out in the trash. Or recycled into new 2073 Valentines. And all those choice 1980s sentiments gone.

SO I thought about that for a while last night, while drinking my wine and watching Arrested Development. and noticing how unbelievably adorable Jason Bateman is and how young he looks, like he cannot possibly be 39 because he looks so great and so YOUNG and , and. wow. 65 valentines that is a lot. I could send them all out this year – you know carpe diem, SEIZE THE DAY and all that. It is Valentine’s Day after all and I am ALL ABOUT LOVE. But somehow I think it might be a bad idea for me to send 65 people suggestive cards suggesting that we get it on. What if they all showed up at the same time? That’s a lot of chex mix. Not to mention the fact that my husband is a very jealous man. Just look at him in this year’s Christmas photo.

There aren’t a lot of opportunities for a man to swing an axe living in the city.

So when my blog buddy Hayden commented yesterday asking where she could sign up for some cards – I thought hey, maybe I should do it. Maybe I SHOULD make some Valentine’s Day dreams come true -or at least make somebody’s V-day a whole lot funnier. We need more laughter these days.

Therefore I am officially making the offer to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CUPID this Valentine’s season. I have 65 “new” (really vintage 1980s) Recycled Paper Products Inc. valentine cards up for grabs. Most of them involve risque humor, not ideal for grandma, kids, or your boss (unless of course you are sleeping with your boss), but some are okay for them too. You can click through and actually view the entire selection HERE. With the help of my husband above, who helped me ever-so-kindly scan them. If you find a card (or cards) that speaks to you, email and let me know. I will be happy to personalize it as instructed by you and mail it to the UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY recipient of your choice, or you can of course opt for poetic license and have me create my own imaginative greeting FOR YOU. Now we’re talking real FUN.

So, in summary, if you would like me to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CUPID, simply CLICK HERE to select a card, email me with the Title, recipient info, etc. and I will be happy to make your Valentine’s day dreams come true. BUT HURRY – ONLY WHILE LIMITED SUPPLIES LAST!