Well, after long thought (OK, 17 seconds) I've decided the Hinkelgruber family menu should be brought to the web. A couple of things for you to remember: no substitutions (Charlie's not a short-order cook, after all), and change is inevitable - Charlie may not feel like cooking kim chee on a Tuesday! Oh, and there is one request: if you're joining us for dinner, please either call or text the Scary Lady (you know the number - if you don't, you're really not invited).

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Is it really the end of another year?!?  Each January, I wonder where the last year went and how I will survive the longest month of the year. Then, it's February and not long after that it's Thanksgiving again!

2012 will see the youngest Hinkelgruber graduate from college, and the oldest one (that would be me!) vowing to finish at least five sweaters I have begun.  (I bet you thought I would say something like lose 10 pounds or exercise more - hah! - if I were going to do that, I'd have started before now.)

To all of you, Happy New Year and here's to Mr. Hinkelgruber continuing to keep us well fed!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

As one year comes to an end....

We survived Christmas (and I have a truly clean house!), 2012 approaches (think it really will be the end of the world?), and some things have been accomplished.

The mancave is complete and I'm thinking about the next project.  (It's not like there aren't enough to last through 2022!)  I'm thinking ceilings next....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the neighborhood, although in the Hinkelgruber household, the decorating will have to wait until Wednesday.  In whose mind was I when I was asked if workers could measure our windows December 20 for inside storm windows? And I said yes?  I have to have an insanity gene.

So, from Wednesday until Saturday, we'll have a "blitz-decorating and planning" session for the holidays.  Monday will be occupied with cleaning so that the 'measurers' can get to the windows.  And, did you know that Goodwill accept old books?  I just learned that, and boy, have I made a dent in my book shelves and donated to a great non-profit!

Oh, in case you were wondering - yep - the "Mancave" is finished! WOOHOO!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oldies, but goodies....

A quick look at this week's menu shows that Mr. Hinkelgruber went to the old family standby recipe book.  And, I couldn't be happier!

The man-cave is nearly complete (ahh, the smell of oil-base paint in the morning!) and the younger Hinkelgruber boy will be home from college at the end of the week.  Holidays are coming!

I've been sharing baking hints with the baker down the street (not to mention samples of each other's baked goods) and I can tell you from experience there's nothing like the smell of cookies and brownies baking to make you happy for winter!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ahh, bread...the staff of life...

I've said before, I love to bake.  This past week, I baked rolls for Thanksgiving, then made my first brioche. Oh, Julia Child was right - there's nothing like brioche when it comes to bread!  Soft, sweet, crunchy crust - all the textures one could ask for.

I also did something I try to do once a year - I actually cooked a full dinner.  Yes, sports fans, me, Mrs. Hinkelgruber prepared Friday's dinner.  The turkey breast, the potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the vegetables, the pumpkin pie - all of it. (Ok, ok, ok, Mr. Hinkelgruber actually made the mashed potatoes, but those of you who have had  his mashed potatoes knows that no one makes them like he makes them!)

Mr. Hinkelgruber has a birthday this Sunday - and the man-cave (his birthday gift) should be finished by this next weekend.  Oh, how the boys will be pleased!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering:  28 days until Christmas!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's beginning to smell a lot like...baked goods!

Oh, I love baking season - and this week I've baked or prepared for baking lots! Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pound cake, whoopie pies - and that's just this week!

I've gone back to the gym - I know, baking and the gym - somehow they are two opposite ends of the spectrum, but it just seemed right.

Heading for Lost Wages - oh, the debauchery.  And then, the holidays. It's a typical foxtrot tempo:  slow, slow, quick, quick!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby needs new shoes!

In case you all were wondering, Mr. Hinkelgruber and the elder Hinkelgruber son took off to "Lost Wages" for three days of drinking and debauchery. That leaves me on my own.  Ho, hum....what's a girl to do? Dine out, of course! Oh, and not to be outdone - I'll leave for "Sin City" in about ten days for five days with the best bud.

I started my plan for the holidays and have mixed up the first two batches of the most terrific chocolate chip cookies for holiday gift giving. I'm so excited - it's baking season!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

And, the countdown begins...

Mr. and Mrs. Hinkelgruber have returned from the "Great Panama Canal Adventure."  Did you miss us?  This was, absolutely, a vacation that falls into the top five vacations we have ever taken!

For one moment, allow me to bore some of you (a few, bore again) with a few highlights: 
  • We were among the youngest passengers on the cruise ship (yep, youngest!)
  • We were among the most fit passengers on the cruise ship (yeah, us, most fit!)
  • The Panama Canal is a most amazing piece of engineering, especially when you consider that it was constructed without the design help of computers (it was completed in 1913!)
  • Six days at sea with nowhere to go but the Lido Deck is time well spent.
  • And, Dorothy got it right...there really is no place like home!
As much as it is a relief for some of you to know that Chef Hinkelgruber is back in town, believe me, we also, couldn't be happier to be back, in our own kitchen, eating our own food.

Oh, the title of this posting?  There are only 57 days until Christmas!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One week and then....

With fall in the air, a regular addition to the menu is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Mrs. Hinkelgruber's best friend correctly identified this as a sometimes ruse - maybe we will be eating at home and maybe we won't.  Readers:  BEWARE!

And, sports fans, in case you hadn't been paying attention, there's only one week 'til Mr. Hinkelgruber and I jet off for our biggest adventure in a long, long time - the Panama Canal!  And you know what that means?  I won't be posting for about three weeks!  (Oh, and no home cooked meals, either!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I know what you DON'T want....

In three days, Mrs. Hinkelgruber's best friend will be as old as Mrs. Hinkelgruber.  And that means, old!

And, that means Mrs. Hinkelgruber needs a dessert for Sunday's dinner that's not beer ice cream.  But, that doesn't mean I know what she wants!  It'll probably be something chocolate...or not...maybe something with fruit...or nuts....oh, who knows - it'll be good!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall is coming...

It's raining...oh, yeah...you all looked out your windows and saw that, didn't you.

We went wine tasting yesterday with some friends and had a terrific time.  Had a great lunch at a little Mexican place that is ridiculously inexpensive.  So, in the interests of the economy, I made up for that with the amount of money I spent on wine.  Gotta stock up!?!  Winter's coming!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And they said it wouldn't last!

Well, OK, I don't really believe anyone said that, but Mr. Hinkelgruber and I celebrated 28 years of wedded bliss!  I simply find it hard to believe we've been married longer than we haven't.   We celebrated by going to a restaurant we've been going to since even before we were married and got to reminisce with the owner.  Our lives have been decidedly happier than hers - especially in the past two years.

This is the younger son's last week at home before returning to college. And, it's a mixed blessing, seeing him go.  But, three short terms of college left and the grown-up world will await him!

Friday, September 2, 2011

OK, I got warm!

Well, you'll notice that this week's menu is a day longer than usual - we're back from vacation and Mr. Hinkelgruber is back to cooking meals. Funny what a week of restaurant meals can do for you...(seven pounds, a feeling of slothfulness).

You'll also note that the menu is just slightly on the lighter side (see above!).

Our vacation was fantastic, but Sin City was unusually humid for the desert.  (You know that phrase, "But, it's a dry heat,"?  Turns out there's something to that.)  One day, the humidity was at 35%.  Now here in our neck of the woods, that's really not anything to think about. Combine it with 108 degree temperatures, and you get abject misery! But, I'm not complaining, mind you.  My feet got warm for the first time in a while - without the aid of a bottle of wine.  (That came later.)

Well, it's off to the gym - yes, I put it in print - that means I really have to go.  Only have five weeks until our next big adventure!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ninety degrees and a visitor...

Ninety degrees!  It finally happened...ninety degrees!  Mid-August and the heat of summer finally arrived.

College boy and his buddy head for Las Vegas to celebrate their 22nd birthdays.  The puppy will miss the smoking walks she's been getting.

We had the most interesting visit today - the woman from whom I received the keys to our house when we first bought it came by with her son.  She was born and raised in the house in the '30s.  It was fun to see her face when I told her that she had given me the house keys and she realized that I was the same person from 27-or-so years ago.  We gave her a tour of the house so she could see the kitchen.  And, she marveled the bathroom was still the same.  (Me, too!)  I think she was pleased.

Friday, August 12, 2011

College boy is home!

The youngest Hinkelgruber kid is home for the rest of the summer now and the fun abounds!  There's never more laughter than when he's home.

I finished another sweater and have two more in the works.  I love seeing them come together.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

How many people do you know who have been married to the same person 51 years?  Mrs. Hinkelgruber's eldest sister is celebrating that very thing on this marine-cool Saturday.  Congrats, Sissy!

Another trip to the farmers' market today and a dark chocolate-almond torte in the oven - what could possibly be better on an August Saturday?

Three weeks 'til Vegas!  I can hardly wait!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Socks, Farmer's Market and Audio Books!

So, I attended the second annual Sock Summit - who knew there was so much about knitting to see!  Bought some yarn, met some wonderful people and had an overall wonderful time.

Then, not to be outdone, Mr. Hinkelgruber and I attended the local Farmer's Market for the first time today.  This week's menu reflects the marvelous produce we bought.  Oh, and Mr. Hinkelgruber bought two fresh tamales for our lunch.  It's true, there is something special about a fresh, homemade tamale like nothing else.  Mmmm!

Finally, are you finding yourself missing out on reading?  The most wonderful creation is the audio book that can be downloaded to an i-Pod. Now, I can read and knit at the same time.  What a wonderful summer this is sizing up to be.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Who exactly is feeding you?

So, some of you may have received a mistaken menu from Mr. Hinkelgruber.  No, no, no....he has not left sloppy joes and white bean and chicken chili behind for us to all feast on!  His annual pilgrimage to the northern islands finds those meals going with him - so don't knock on my door!

I'll be making my own pilgrimage today to see the final installment of Harry Potter.  I must admit - this makes me feel more like an empty nester than my own children leaving home.  I wonder why that is?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shrimp, mushrooms and a man-cave...

Do you get the feeling that when Mr. Hinkelgruber doesn't want dinner guests he plans mushrooms or shrimp?  I don't mind, but some of you might!
The plan this week is to begin the new "Man Cave".  What that really means is the big clean out:  the office, the spare bedroom, etc.  The ultimate goal is to have it done by October 1.  There.  It's in writing. I have officially thrown my hat over the fence.  Whew!  Now I have to go to work.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fabric sale, part deux...

Quilters are funny people...for starters, they're addicts!  Yep, every one of them!  "I shouldn't buy more." "I don't really need this." "I have three rooms filled with fabric. Do you really think I need more?!?" And then, like pigs at a trough, they proceed to buy bags full of fabric.   Oh well, I'm happy to be their pusher/supplier if it means I loose my addiction!  I sold about half of what I had and got a lead on a place that buys fabric from individuals and then resells it at their shop.  Gotta check that out. (Uh, no, I'm NOT having another sale - I still don't like people touching my stuff!)

According to Mr. Hinkelgruber, this week's menu is rather mundane - doesn't look mundane to me - looks like we're having some favorites that we haven't had in a while.  WOOHOO!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fresh Corn-on-the-cob, fresh strawberry ice cream....ahhh....summer!

Mr. Hinkelgruber and I went to Mr. MacGregor's produce stand for strawberries and found the first fresh corn on the cob of the season!  In Mr. Hinkelgruber's words, "Just like candy!"  Now, if the Cubbies would start winning, the summer would be perfect!

We get new windows installed this week and I think I may begin working on Mr. Hinkelgruber's 'man-cave'.  Like the ant said to the grasshopper, "Much work to be done before winter!"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fabric, fabric....more fabric?!?

The goal of last week's garage sale was to clean out my sewing room. You read about the good news last week.  What I neglected was the bad news:  I never made it into my sewing room!  You see, I really have had some sort of 'addiction' problem with fabric.  I am happy to say, however, I believe that particular addition is over!  I've been cutting, ironing, folding and stacking even more fabric the past week with the intention of having another garage sale aimed directly at quilters. Today, I believe, I touched the last piece of fabric that needed tending to. There's a lot of fabric!

You'll notice polenta on this week's menu.  I'm not really a fan, but I told Mr. Hinkelgruber I'd try it.  (He gave me chicken and dumplings last week (and they were positively superb!), so the least I can do is approach this new dish with an open mind.)

Oh, yeah, and I got into my sewing room!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I learned something about myself today....

I've never had a garage sale before and I've never been one who frequented them...I always figured I didn't have the patience to organize one and I certainly find no pleasure in pawing through other people's stuff (read:  junk).  Today I learned why I've never had one before:  I don't like people touching my stuff (and until it's sold - it's still my stuff!) and many of them make very snide comments.  But today, I participated for the first time in our neighborhood's garage sale.  People are interesting creatures.  You can give them the deal of a lifetime, and many will still ask, "Will you go lower?  Are you going to mark things down at the end of the day?"  That said, I did have a fun time and might even consider doing it again (I made over $400!) since I know what to do differently next time.

Oh, and food wise - did you notice chicken and dumplings?  One of the few meals my mother could actually cook well and, as a result, one of my favorite foods.  I can hardly wait!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let's all sing like the birdies sing....

How long, do you suppose, does it take the neighborhood birds to find the bird feeders?  Last weekend Mr. Hinkelgruber and I bought a new bird feeder, cleaned the old one and filled them both.  So far, no tweeters. On the other hand, it takes exactly 17 seconds for wee little neighbor kids to learn about freshly baked cookies and find them!  

We bought a new barbeque grill for Mr. Hinkelgruber for Father's Day - can hardly wait to break it in!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ice Cream!

It's going to be 80 degrees and we're making ice cream for the first time this year!

Oh, by the way - the deck is open, the flags are flying and the flowers may finally begin to grow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I told you I'd complain...

It's Memorial Day Weekend.  And, the temperature is predicted in the low 60's.  There's snow predicted in the mountains.   It's supposed to be the beginning of summer.  (Oh, yeah, someone told me, it's also opening weekend of Rose Festival! Doesn't help...it's still too cold to be the last weekend of May!)

Oh, well...In an attempt to make lemonade from lemons, this just means I'll continue baking.

It's your back side I'll broaden!  Pray for sunshine and warmer weather.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Summertime, the living is easy!

You know the only thing better than two warm, sunny days in a row? Three warm, sunny days in a row!

The deck has been open all three days, the back door wide open.  (Gizmo has been very confused - what?  I can go in and out as I please? Really?!?)  I'll be complaining in a couple of days, I'm sure, that the rain has returned, but not today.

Mr. Hinkelgruber seems to have found a volume of recipes he had not previously seen and this week's menu reflects it.  But, one of my all-time favorites:  Pasta with garlic and eggs is on the menu for Friday.  If my mom had known about that dish, Fridays in a Catholic household would have been much more bearable!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

The youngest Hinkelgruber son surprised his Mumma by coming home for Mother's Day!  And, you know what that means - we laugh until we cry.  And then, we laugh some more!
In response to Mrs. Hingelgruber's temper-tantrum about the rich food the Mister has been preparing, he's scaled back to a slightly leaner fare for the week.  Whew!  Now my jeans should continue to fit - albeit tightly.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Day!

One of my favorite memories of May 1 took place in Denmark.  
As the boys and I were coming back from the "Row Boat Park," a young woman rolled down the hill at the castle.  Literally - rolled down - the hill! Turns out she and her boyfriend were engaging in the age-old socialist custom of drinking heavily on May Day (power to the worker, and all that).  Imagine my surprise, when arriving back at the "buffoonery" all the Americans in the group were gathered on a patio - drinking, well not quite so heavily, but drinking.  (For the record - they had all gone to work that morning and were dismissed at 12:00 noon...)
You know what they say...."When in Rome (or Denmark)...."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring is here ... well for one day, anyway!

Rumor has it we may hit 70 degrees today!  Do I believe it?  Well, for today anyway, you can call me Charlie Brown and I really believe that Lucy will not pull that football away.  I have a true need for it to be a spring day!

The younger Hinkelgruber son came home from college this weekend (I'll say it's to spend Easter with his Mumma - he'll say it's to open an new bank account) and the elder Hinkelgruber boy went to Vegas - oh, we all have our priorities (and, good for him).

Mr. Hinkelgruber and I are going to have a much welcome few hours (more likely, several minutes) on our deck - have I told you how much I love spring?!?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

One week until Easter and while the temperature isn't really as warm as I'd like, at least the sun is making more appearances.  I planted a pansy and some Sweet Williams today - I'll drag us into spring, if necessary!
I'm getting to watch the Cubs play nearly every game, and that's helping my attitude (well, when they don't throw the game away).

The menus seem to be somewhat lighter fare (spring is coming, you know!), and I now have some fancy, fancy gourmet baking chocolate to begin baking with.  Wonder what I ought to make?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vegas, Spring and Everything's Good!

Have I told you how much I love spring?  No, really, really love spring...

Mr. & Mrs. Hinkelgruber had a wonderful time in Las Vegas - plenty of alcohol, really good food and enough gambling to remember why we don't consider it a job but a really, really decent form of entertainment! We came back to Portland to a couple of days of the seemingly never-ending January only to be pleasantly surprised by the most lovely spring day in a long time!

This week's menu seems to be a particularly centered on Italian cuisine and, you're not hearing me complain!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring has sprung....really???

So spring arrived, but from what I can determine, only the calendar says so.  The weather is still wet (and cold!), the daffodils are blooming, but the hyacinths are nowhere to be seen and the cherry blossoms seem to be at least three weeks behind schedule.  In light of that, Mr. and Mrs. Hinkelgruber are going to Las Vegas to find some sun!

Mr. Hinkelgruber received the entire collection of our newest cooking magazine, in bound form, so it appears that while all our meals are very, very good, we won't be having a regular "rotation" of meals for probably the next year.  Oh, well!  It's a tough job, but I'll make do.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It really is better in HD!

So, after ranting that television is television is television - the Hinkelgrubers finally succumbed to buying a HD television.   And, yep, it is easier to watch... And, yeah, the picture is clearer... And, OK, the colors are brighter... And I'm told that Brian Williams is really, really dreamy to look at... (I'll have to wait until Monday's NBC Evening News to watch and decide for myself!)

So, as if we didn't watch enough television already, this afternoon you'll find me in front of a new one!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finals' week and other things college

It's Finals' Week at Oregon schools, and that means soon the college boys will be home!  Yep, you read it right - boys - with an "S," because our British son, Sir Watson of Westminister, will be accompanying the youngest home for a week of what I'm sure will be drinking and debauchery.

In anticipation, I will be mixing cookie dough (chocolate chip, of course) for the freezer, a lemon merengue pie (well, maybe/maybe not), and whatever else my "Big Boy" mixer decides is needed.  Spring's coming!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mardi Gras!

That means "Fat Tuesday" for those of you who don't know and that means King Cake!  Need to find a baby for the cake, and I think that instead of Tuesday, I'll be serving it Sunday for dessert - we'll just have to see how it goes.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Favorite Day's Coming!

If it's Tuesday, it's March and that means my favorite day of the year is nearly here!  March 4...I know you're all wondering, "March 4, what's March 4?"  Well, you have to say it, "March Fourth," and then add, "into Spring!"  And, yep, it's goofy but it always makes me feel like there is hope for dryer, warmer weather.

This week's menu has lots of good stuff and plenty of hints of summertime fare.  So say it with me, "March Fourth - into Spring!"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's a Comfort Food Week

This week's menu is heavy on comfort.  Mr. Hinkelgruber may be thinking warm weather, and lighter fare, is around the corner - but not this week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hearts to you!

It was brought to my attention if we posted what might be considered disgusting food, we'd have fewer guests for dinner!  So, in that spirit, you'll notice Tuesday's and Wednesday's menu items are, perhaps, not for the faint of heart.  Honestly?  We won't be around for these meals, either, but thought those of you who might be considering joining us should reconsider.  We won't even be in town!

This past weekend has been a smashing success - my wine cellar is restocked and even the whites are chilled and ready for spring to arrive and the deck to open.  Now, if spring would just hurry up!

Happy Valentine's Day, all!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Told ya: January is the longest month!

Now, I know some of you believed this past week was a long one - but for me, it truly flew by!  And it's the first 'fly-by' week I've had in a couple of months.

Mr. Hinkelgruber and I have planned trips to the coast and to Las Vegas. I can hardly wait!  In the meantime, there is work to be done around the house, a dog that seriously needs to be put on a diet, and the anticipation of farmers' markets opening.  Oh, how I love spring!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

If it's February, then....

If it's February, and on Tuesday it is, then spring really is right around the corner.  Some of you may think this means gardening but for me it means less darkness and more time with the deck door open.  (Well, the deck door probably won't really open for at least another two months, but as with gifts, it's the thought that counts!)

Mr. Hinkelgruber pointed out to me that since we've subscribed to a new cooking mag, our usual menu line-up seems to have gone by the wayside.  It was nice to see that as he planned this week's menu three old standard favorites made it in:  Potatoes Au Gratin, Red Flannel Hash and Macaroni & Cheese.  We'll see you this week - you know who you are and we know when we'll see you!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Are you kidding me?  Seriously?  Are you f------ kidding me?  How can January NOT be over, yet?

My entire life, January has been the longest month of the year (it averages about seven weeks for me). But January 2011 will go down in the annals of my life as taking three full months to get to week three! Which means we have another month/week to go before we even see February.  On the bright side, I guess that means that since they supposedly discovered a new Zodiac sign, there really will be room for it in my calendar world.

The other bright side, is of course, Mr. Hinkelgruber has planned another terrific week of meals - most all of which count among my favorites.  And those that aren't, merely aren't because they're brand new try-outs!  I bet by next week they make it into the favorites column.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What the....???

Before you all say it, know that I too wondered, "What exactly is Mr. Hinkelgruber putting on the menu now?!?"  Yes, you read correctly, "Grape Picker's Skillet."  I had to look it up in the latest cooking magazine we received to make sure I was reading it correctly!  Let me assure you - it has no grapes, but does include bacon, potatoes and gruyere cheese - given those items, who cares what they call it! (Apparently, it's a dish adapted from the Burgundy region of France and a favorite among the wine grape pickers!  Who knew?!?)

Sunday's dinner will also feature a dessert tray of miniature cheesecakes (I'm experimenting for an upcoming dinner to which we've been invited), so forewarned is forearmed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bowl Game Week!

It's BCS Championship week and the Oregon Ducks will make their first appearance!

We'll be watching from Sam Hinkelgruber's home (47" of high definition TV!) and hopefully, a "Man-bucket" of Corona will be on hand.  (Hint, hint, Molly?!?)