Monday, July 31, 2017

Almond Joy Macaroons

One of  my favorite candy bars is Almond Joy - the creamy chocolate, crunchy almond and the chewy coconut... so delicious. And my mother has memories of growing up with giant 2-person macaroons from Canter's Deli in Los Angels. So why not combine the two?

Almond Joy Macaroons

1 egg white
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 C. sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 C sweetened coconut flakes
3/4 C slivered almonds
1 C dark chocolate chips
12 (or so) almonds; roasted

Preheat oven to 325 F. and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl, stir together the egg white, vanilla, salt and sweetened condensed milk.
2. Mix in the coconut and slivered almonds until well combined.
3. Using large spoon (or ice cream scoop for larger cookies) drop the dough onto the baking sheets (they do not spread very much so you can put them closer together)
4. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
5. While cookies are cooling, melt dark chocolate over double boiler
6. Dip cooled cookies into melted chocolate and top with almond!

The best thing is these cookies are very kid-cook friendly. I made mine with my 8yo niece; she mixed, scooped and was on almond duty!

Now they really are best warm out of the oven but chocolate dipped is delicious too. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cold Shrimp and Crap Soup

Growing up in Southern California with 112 degree summers, you'd think 91 would be no big deal...WRONG! There is a reason I moved away and after 8 years up north I've acclimated to cooler PNW seasons. So these last few weeks, with weather bouncing between 85 and 91 means staying indoors and keeping cool.

Which also means thinking of cool dinner ideas for the family (i.e. no oven or standing over the stove top) and let me tell you, you can only tell them dinner is "salad" so many times before they start to rebel.

Thank goodness for Pinterest and magazines in the doctor's office. In the same week my mother and I both found the same recipe for Cold Shrimp and Crab soup (her from a Sunset magazine from the doctor, and I on Pinterest).

As always (because I really think it's a compulsion and I can't help myself) I altered the recipe ever so slightly.

  • Substituted 3 cups crushed tomatoes (because I happened to have a giant can on hand)
  • Substituted shallots for green onions
  • Substituted 2 (of the 5 TB) lime juice with lemon
  • Sauteed the bell peppers, a shallot and garlic before adding to the puree
  • Add 3 cups homemade crab stock and 2 cups water to the tomato puree to thin and stretch 
  • Added a TB dried basil before chilling
  • Served with avocado and a choice selection of hot sauces (for individual taste)
With the right hot sauce this definitely hit the spot on a hot summer Monday night and brought me back to vacation in NOLA. *drifts off to dreamland*

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Date Yourself

That may sound odd to some, and for other's there is an echoing "Hallelujah!". I'm in the category of doing things for and by yourself on occasion. Whether it's treating yourself to a movie, getting a reservation at the new hot brunch local or spending a quiet afternoon meditating on life in a garden - date yourself.

Ru Paul says, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?"

It's true. It took me years to find some true-self love. Not that I spent years of my life hating myself. I was lucky enough to be raised by a family full of love, had a good high school experience and made life long friends in college.

But it wasn't until years later that I started on a path of true self-love. Being happy in my skin, happy with my accomplishments, actively trying to balance my care for others with the care for myself.

I do believe that it is through this self-love work that I have everything I do today. I have a BF that I adore and who adores me, a job that I feel is contributing to the greater society, family who enjoys being together (as I type this I'm sitting out on the back porch with my mother - not speaking just "hanging out").

Occasionally I still need to step away from all that I have and allow "me time". So this past Summer Solstice, I got off work and headed to the Chinese gardens in downtown. I spent (easily) three hours walking the paths, sitting and just emptying my mind, treating myself to a cup of Holy Basil iced tea and steamed boa.

And for no other reason that a Me Date. Give it a try. I promise it will change your life.