Move Over ESL, Cranky Is My New Language

A housecat named Princess who highly disliked ...

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It was one of THOSE days. You know the kind, when nothing goes right, annoying things happen and no matter what you try, it doesn’t help.  Made a decision, did you? Guess what, it was the wrong one. It was the day of Cranky. I spoke Cranky, I lived and ate and breathed Cranky. If I had a cat, her name would be Cranky.  I felt irritable with life’s problematic surprises and unexpected twists and I felt very out of control.

My children doused the only piece of furniture that I love, my green couch, with water guns. No, my children are not 4 and 6 years old, they are 16 and 18.  Need I say more? The couch, that I picked out, and the multi-colored  square rug beneath it have always made me happy. Why? Because it was the first thing that I bought with great strength of style and character; I was so sure about it and didn’t waver; to me, it was my own tiny corner of the Museum of Modern Art, at home.

Later that day we drove to a restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday. He got lost again and again. Nor did he have the directions with him, he didn’t NEED that, we had been there twice before, silly me!! When I suggested the GPS, he scoffed. He also made an illegal red turn with the (driving) teenagers in the back seat of the car. I was fuming. Dude, what the HELL were you thinking? You’re supposed to be the role model here. At that moment, fuming and cranky became first cousins.

Once seated in the restaurant our daughter, a vegetarian, asked for the chef’s special vegetable plate and we all knew she wouldn’t touch it. She played with her food and moved vegetables around that included: cooked kale and spinach, and fennel and she ate about two bites for 21 dollars. Before she ordered we suggested she order A SALAD  or pasta but she refused. She knew better and at practically 17 anything we suggest is useless. I even said she might want to tell the waitress the vegetables that she DID like but apparently my idea was stupid. Of course it was.

My husband and son shared a steak the size of a lobster pot, it was so large and bloody, it was hard to even take a glance at it.  I decided to have three appetizers: a buttery bibb lettuce salad with a light yogurt dressing  which was lovely, an appetizer of braised ribs ravioli, sweet and soft, the texture of the braised meat contrasting the delicate ravioli casing.  The red velvet cake I chose for dessert was extremely disappointing and tasteless. For those of you who know me, a dessert I don’t like is equal to a symphony of crankiness.

The heel of my left foot throbbed horribly with pain when I walked, the jabbing pain even woke me up in the middle of the night. Not being able to walk comfortably is crankiness personified. I have iced it, wrapped it, rubbed it and have tried at least ten different shoe and old, peeling orthotic combinations, nothing helps.  I’ve had this before and once it starts it takes a long, long time to go away. It’s a stubborn, stupid, painful, cranky, old ailment for cranky, old, me. It’s not enough that I don’t have energy? Now, I can’t even walk comfortably.

I’m tired as hell and just want to lie on the bed, since every bone and joint in my body is not just aching with pain but screaming with it. There are no medications to heal it, or relieve it, it’s something I have to live with every single day and night of my life. I am trying to stay awake and of course I fall asleep, the lights on, the computer on my stomach. I wake up two hours later, annoyed with myself.

The day and night have not gone well and I was glad it was almost over. I couldn’t sleep after my unexpected two hour nap so my night and day hours were confused. I glanced over at my dog who was sleeping happily at the foot of my bed and I watched her breathe and smile in her sleep.  I look at her with love and feel love. My dog is the anti-cranky.

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I’m In Love: FoodCrafters (A Foodie Blog)

Aida Mollenkamp Ask Aida TV Host

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Hello Aida Mollenkamp,

You are adorable as the host of this new (to me) show! I just found this delightful show while I was innocently flipping through the channels. How long has this magnificent show been on the air? I accidentally, I mean blessedly, stumbled upon it this very morning. The show is called FoodCrafters on The Cooking Channel. Today’s episode: candy/sweets: serious, beautiful, artisinal candy made by loving, professional, hands. There are no huge, corporate factories on this show.

First up were beautiful candies made at Papabubbles in NY.  Honestly, for a moment I thought that this FoodCrafters segment was featuring an art show, the different colored candies were so incredibly beautiful. They showed us the intricate detail with which they made their  lime candies. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not talking life savers anymore. This is the real thing, I could practically taste the flavor through the television, so intense and vibrant, so beautiful, so artistic. I made need to take the train to get to this amazing store some day.

Next up was a company called Whimsicals in Chicago. Their claim to fame are beautiful nougat, (I so love nougat) chocolate and caramel candies called The La Dee Dahs. It honestly looks like a swirl of perfection. I would be more than happy to try these if you would like me to. Seriously? My day of heaven would consist of being on the Oprah show (or happily sitting in the audience) while eating these delicious treats.  I promise to share…..at least with Oprah and her best friend Gayle.

We are now visiting the Zen baking company for zen cake balls in Dallas, Texas.  This is a southern specialty but could easily become a national specialty if you ask me. Mini bites (balls) of cake are made, covered in  frosting. They are molded by hand and then dipped in frosting. They showed mini bites of red velvet cake. Did you know that red velvet has chocolate in it?  I had no idea, I just know I love it. The red velvet balls are covered with a cream cheese frosting. (I would have preferred vanilla frosting but no one asked me.) Other varieties are the happy birthday cake (this has my name on it), sunshine lemon (ok, this has my name on it too), cookie dough ( I would be happy to try this too) and I think, one other flavor that I can’t remember because I was salivating so much that I started to drool all over the keyboard.

The last segment featured a store in Los Angeles, California called Milk and Krunchies.  My sweet tooth and basically all my teeth were aching for a taste. This segment featured marshmallow treats and not your ordinary, make- at -home krispie treats (so you feel like an ace mother) either. These are gourmet; a new twist on an old favorite. This place (hey, I travel)  makes krispie treats with flavors like:  cookies and cream, a toffee mix, peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter cup among others. This had my mouth watering with nostalgia and it is definitely reason enough to schedule a trip to the West Coast.

If any of the above stores would like to send me samples so I can REALLY review them, I would be happy to provide you with my address. Please, I beg of you. However, if that is not in your budget or if that does not appeal to you I did hear that you can get some of these delicious delights by going to:  cookingchanneltv.com. Excuse me for the short post but in case I don’t get my samples I may need to run and find my credit card to order……now this is what I call quality television. You rock!

Love from your new adoring fan.

The Lex (A Foodie Blog) *My 100th BLog!!!*

What better way to celebrate my 100th blog than to talk about one of my favorite topics: food. Glorious,  delicious, dance in my mouth food. I confess, I love food. Not just any food but good food, preferably in a restaurant with no dishes to wash after the meal. Due to the economy we go out rarely but this was a special day. A worthy celebration; this was Mother’s Day!  To moms everywhere,  I applaud you, we know how important we are, every day.

Just thinking back at the Mother’s Day dinner at The Lex makes me drool excessively.   We hadn’t been to this particular restaurant in years, often commenting that the food was always good but it was always the same. No specials, nothing new, ever. Much to our incredible delight (and I’m talking about my audible squeals of excitement) the menu had been expanded.  The quality of the food, was always very good. I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Consistency is one of their virtues. Waiter/Waitress service, not so much, but we were here to linger and enjoy.

As soon as we sat down they brought us a bread basket with a sour dough/Italian type bread, bread sticks and crackers topped with poppy, and sesame seeds, and a dish of olive oil for dunking. How can you NOT be happy right away and yes, they do refill graciously  (ask my teenagers). My daughter and I shared a  delicate chopped arugula salad to start. It was simple, fresh and very light. It was served with slivered almonds, goat cheese and I want to say small pieces of hearts of palm. The crunchy and the smooth all wrapped up in one perfect bite.   They even divided the salad into two plates which is really, a very nice touch. The dressing was lovely, (olive oil? a hint of lemon perhaps?light balsamic vinegar?) I’m not sure but  a perfect partner to the salad. The salad did not drown in the salad dressing nor did we have to pick up individual leaves to see if there was dressing on it. It may seem like a small thing but perfectly dressed salads are not that easy to come by. It was a first course that seemed to cleanse my palate and make me hungrier for the main dish. Luckily, we were not in a rush.

I ordered lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce with peas and mushrooms, delicately intertwined and the combination of the flavors made me crazy happy and I swooned. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, ordered butternut squash ravioli that was served with a sweet, apple cinnamon sauce. Sound crazy? Maybe. It was out of this world. Tender, sweet, the consistency of the ravioli played so nicely with the thin apple cinnamon sauce. The staff also went out of their way to make this dish for her because it was not on the menu that night. Nice.

My husband and son shared the Thai lettuce wraps with chicken for an appetizer and the small tidbit I got was flavorful, and spicy.  My husband ordered lamb for his main dish (could have done without seeing the lamb leg) which he said was excellent but looked like something Fred Flinstone would have eaten happily.  It came with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes.  Our son ordered a nicely done steak that he devoured, it came with a baked potato and broccoli which, of course, he didn’t eat but i did. Teenagers.

For dessert,  our son had the apple-cinnamon crisp, the thick crumbly topping sweet and the texture perfect, hard but moist.  A perfect balance.  Our daughter ordered the brownie sundae which looked more like an elaborate cake than any ordinary brownie. Judging by the scrapes of her fork on her plate, she approved heartily.  She ate it so quickly there was not a piece available for me to taste.  I wouldn’t ordinarily order dessert but (ok, stop roaring with laughter now)  what could I do? It was Mother’s Day and I didn’t want to appear anti-social. I also couldn’t  resist a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting served with vanilla ice cream. The texture and the smooth flavors melted into my mouth; the cold vanilla ice cream, the rich, moist, smoothness of the red velvet cake. I don’t really know why they call it red velvet and I don’t really care, it was exquisite; that’s all that matters.

I wish Mother’s Day  would come around more than once a year. I desperately want to go back to the Lex for dinner. Thanks to my family and The Lex for a lovely Mother’s Day. Next year, same time, same place, great love.