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).

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

Oh, how I wish I had a graphic of a noise-maker! Oh, well, until I can link audio to this, you wouldn't hear it anyway.

One more year for the record books, and it's resolution time. Well, we've gone over this before - if I was really going to make changes, would I wait until the beginning of the year? No - I'd simply make the change when I decided on it. I do have one complaint (well, I'll keep it to one...): newbies at the gym! Some decided last week they should get a jump on their resolutions, and I got the very last treadmill (the ellipticals were all full!) in the gym. And I was there at 7:30 am! Oh, well, two weeks and we'll be back to just the regulars.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and I'll see you next year! (Don't you just hate it when people say that in the last days of the year?!?)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A very Merry Christmas...

Let's see....the weather outside is....wet (and, that can be frightful), and the fire is so delightful (well, the fireplace flue is plugged, so there won't be a fire, but maybe we'll bump the thermostat a notch or two), and since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.... OK, that's out of the way. We had our dusting of snow last week and I'm now over it, so let's get to spring.

Wow... that sounded a little Scrooge-like, didn't it?!? Really, I'm looking forward to the holidays because the Mr. will have two four-day weekends in a row and nothing pressing is going on. I like that! The eldest Hinkelgruber boy turns 27 on New Year's Eve (how did that happen???) Anyone reading this who has not received the invitation to the annual Hinkelgruber Christmas Eve gathering, consider this your invite - no need to bring anything, but if you feel so inclined/compelled to, finger food is perfect. Oh, not before 4:00 pm, please...

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chewing gum head...

There are few things that make one feel worse than a head cold...you're not really sick, you just feel like crap and if you could put your head on the mantle for about three days, all would be good. For me, the worst part is wanting to sit and do nothing and have no one bother me. Boy, I'm going to make a great old person!

Mr. Hinkelgruber took care of me last evening by going and getting hot and sour soup from a local restaurant for dinner. I truly believe that the cure for the common cold is in hot and sour - as hot as you can stand it, oh, and lots of water. I also believe that a cold runs the following course: 2-days to get it; 2-days to have it; 2-days to get over it. This means that by Wednesday, I'll be completely cured.

I did something this year I've planned to do for the past ten - I wrapped Christmas gifts as I bought them! It's funny how much pressure and stress is gone when the thought of wrapping a full holiday's worth of gifts isn't looming over you. I really should do this every year!

Everything on this week's menu is from a new cookbook we received this week. Instead of subscribing to a certain cooking magazine this year, we decided to see if they'd simply send us the annual compilation of each issue. And, they did! So, every recipe is new and they all come from the 2012 Cook's Country. Mr. Hinkelgruber won't be searching for the recipes in innumerable volumes!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


How many Whoopie Pies are enough? Hopefully, 5-1/2 dozen Whoopies are enough for Mrs. Hinkelgruber's BFF's work bake sale. Four kinds: Classic Chocolate with marshmallow filling, Chocolate with peppermint-marshmallow filling, Pumpkin with caramel cream cheese filling (my personal favorite) and a favorite of her workmates: Coconut with coconut cream cheese filling.

Well, another wine fridge was needed by the Hinkelgruber clan. No, we don't drink so much that we need two, but the older one became so noisy I thought Mr. Hinkelgruber would go crazy(er). It's now in the basement where we can't hear it and there's a new, quiet one in the kitchen. Just in time for Christmas Eve!

And, speaking of Christmas Eve...You're all invited to join us for the evening of December 24 to eat and drink - bring an hors d'oeuvre and an appetite.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Imagine my surprise to open my email this morning and find the menu already in my inbox! Mr. Hinkelgruber is either very bored at work, or on strike...hmmm...

That frenetic time of year is upon us. That means baking, eating, baking, cooking, eating, baking some more, oh, yeah, shopping (did I mention I hate shopping?), and somewhere in there I suppose I should get to the gym. Having motivation issues on that front. Back to baking and, oh, yeah, eating!

Oh, and do you remember our rat issue of a few months ago? Well, apparently they have taken up residence in our neighbor's attic! When we had them, these neighbors mentioned they preferred 'humane, non-toxic' methods of eliminating them. Guess what? Now that the critters have moved into their home, they called us for information on where to buy the best rat killer that exists. Yep, hear that scurrying above your head in the wee hours of the morning and you'll reach for the best poison money can buy! Ach, schadenfreude!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is pumpkin pie a food group???

This time of year, I do think the food pyramid does add a new section called "Pumpkin Pie." Well, mine does, anyway!

You all know how Mrs. Hinkelgruber hates to cook (I'm a baker, not a cooker!), but this week is Mr. Hinkelgruber's birthday so yes, you're reading the menu correctly, Mrs. Hinkelgruber is cooking dinner. It'll be Pizza Rustica (some of you will recall it from a few months ago), so you all know I do know how to make it!

I'll be making some more Whoopie Pies for Mr. Hinkelgruber's "group" birthday party/dinner with his fellow birthday celebrators on Monday. And then, later in the week, I'm going to try a Finnish Pulla bread. (It's like a challah or other holiday bread, but Finnish rather than Jewish.) I do love this time of year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ahhh...the smell of gingerbread in the morning....

Well, OK, the smell of gingerbread anytime is a warming and comforting smell! The first recipe for December for my baking group is Ginger Baby Cakes. And, since I needed a dessert for tonight's dinner, how about we go with that one?!? I don't know if they're going to taste good baked, but I can tell you the batter for them is delicious! (And, for the record, I'm not really a batter/raw cookie dough fan...)

They turned out very cute, but rather than go out and buy a new set of pans (the recipe says it makes 8 4-inch miniature cakes) I made them in cupcake pans. So, all of you coming to dinner, feel good about eating two - or three! And, this means that again, I'm ahead on the homework. I may even volunteer to host for the baking group...or not.

Did I mention that Thanksgiving is early this year? Yeah? Well, it bears repeating - Thanksgiving is early this year! So, I'll be baking bread/rolls all week this week. When will I fit in a workout?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thansgiving is early, this year!

So, I got the buttermilk crumb muffins baked as well as the brownies! It's been a long time since I finished homework early - and those brownies are done almost ten days early. (Don't worry, we're not saving them for ten days, I just won't blog about them until then!)

Good things that happened this past week: the election's over (our favorite won), but the good news in this case is it means no more political ads! I managed to do a full 30-minute interval workout on an elliptical (well, it's good news to me!). And, last Sunday Mr. Hinkelgruber repaired my dryer and it works just like new! (You know you're a grown up when working electrical appliances make you as happy as Halloween candy makes little kids!)

This week's menu is abbreviated - Mr. Hinkelgruber is going to "Lost Wages," so I'll be on my own. But, true to form, Mr. Hinkelgruber will be taking care of me by leaving me plenty of leftovers to eat! And I'll be workshopping bread/roll recipes for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

College football is tooooo stressful!

Both state schools' football teams are having historic seasons. And Mrs. Hinkelgruber is aging in five-year increments each week...

I've been knitting up a storm the past two weeks. (OK, so it's not a valid excuse for not blogging, but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!) A couple of hats, a shawl, two cowls well on their way finished a scarf and a shawl...I'm sure you can hear the sticks clicking.

I'll be baking some buttermilk crumble muffins and brownies this month - sounds easy, but that usually means a lot more work than expected. Oh, and Mr. Hinkelgruber just told me that this week's theme is, "Chop...and drop!"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"We're going old school..."

Those were Mr. Hinkelgruber's word as he finished this week's menu - and you'll notice that the menu does, indeed, reflect several old favorites!

We had some fun with this Sunday's dinner (and my mom always said not to play with our food!) - and that's reflected in the photo with this week's post. Yep, that's a 'nude' photo that Mr. Hinkelgruber took of this evening's dinner - well, before it became dinner, actually.

Our final family pumpkin carving party is next Sunday, so here's a heads-up: next week dinner is chili - three kinds!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tending to my knitting...

Yeah, knitting has become an obsession! But what beautiful things I'm making. I may even post a photo or two once their finished.

I made bagels this weekend - and my humble opinion? It was nice to experience making them - once - but do yourself a favor; buy them at your favorite local bagel shop. They were good, but waaay more work than they were worth! The kneading, the resting, the boiling - holy, moly - I'm going to Einstein's next time!

I also made a pumpkin jelly roll - totally worth it and worth making again! Mmm, mmm! I'm glad I gave the leftovers away.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes, someone else's baking is better...

This weekend is the annual Greek Festival! And, boy howdy, for one more year, those delightful and fantastic Greek ladies have treated us to some of the most delicious food and pastries! Yesterday was positively a Greek food frenzy. (Oh, and one second of griping - the amateurs were out in force trying to negotiate their way around the festival! Make way, I say!)

You all know my love of knitting - well, I found some beautiful yarn last week that I can only describe as "chompy." Those of you who know me, know exactly what that means - the most beautiful shade of green that made my mouth water upon seeing it. For those of you who don't know the origins of "chompy," the story is just too long to go into here - suffice it to say, the shade makes me want to literally, chew into it. A gorgeous, green shawlette is in my future.

And, finally, lasagna...the ultimate comfort food. Mr. Hinkelgruber is beginning this week with the perfect fall comfort meal!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall is in the air?

Our fall is beginning more like summer - at least I believe so. Days up to nearly 80 degrees and no rain now for over 40 days! WOOHOO! To celebrate, the Hinkelgrubers are going to wine country! I know, I know, we have a wine cellar (read: basement) full of wine, do we really need more? Well, we have wine shipments from two wine clubs to collect and if we don't do so before mid-November, we'll have to pay shipping (and be available to sign for them), so we're getting that wine anyway.

I've been knitting - made two cute winter hats; one for the wee one across the street (the sample to learn the pattern) and one for the younger Hinkelgruber boy's new girlfriend. Hats - always a safe gift. I have a new favorite knit shop - one that I can easily walk to, if I really wanted - and it has the most beautiful yarns. And, most importantly, it smells like wool! I can't explain it, but that's a smell I have in the deep recesses of my mind - the smell of wool I remember from going to the Mill-End store as a child; when it was truly a "mill-end" store, with skeins of wool piled high on long, plywood tables, by color. Push your nose into a ball of wool yarn, and inhale; you'll learn the smell I mean.

Did you notice the menu of "Fish heads and rice?" I'm guessing Mr. Hinkelgruber doesn't want guests for dinner tonight. To bad for him, he can't lose me - I'm all for fish heads!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall is here!

So, my vacations are over (yeah, I'm a little relieved), fall has officially arrived and with it, baking season!

The month of September saw a trip to Vegas, two weddings, an anniversary trip to Seattle and a quick four-day cruise from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles...WHEW!...what a month! Now it's time to gently slide into the fall and holiday season. (Did I say gently?!? Really?!?) Neighborhood kids have gone back to school, soccer and fundraisers. (Gift wrap, anyone? How about a magazine?) As for me, I'm going to fully embrace my Tuesdays with Dorie blog group and pick up my knitting needles in earnest.

You'll notice that this week's menu is beginning to look a little like winter comfort food, with a few selections we haven't enjoyed in a while. Mac & cheese...Roasted chicken...Texas toast...mmm....well, winter's not all bad. Wonder what I should bake?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We're baaack....

So, the Hinkelgrubers have been on holiday (well, Mrs. Hinkelgruber has been several holidays and is about to embark on another!). Thus, the lack of posting for the past few weeks. But, bowing to pressure from the peanut gallery, we return to the posts this week.

Let's see...to bring you up to date, Mrs. Hinkelgruber has been to Lost Wages (with said peanut gallery), then Mr. and Mrs. Hinkelgruber went to Seattle for their anniversary (29-years, and they said it wouldn't last!) and Mrs. Hinkelgruber is heading for a re-positioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles this coming Monday. Come Friday morning, it's back to normal and baking season starts!

With fall beginning in such a lovely manner, it's hard to believe Halloween and the holidays are right around the corner. Ooh - spooky!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

As summer comes to a close...

Yeah, I know - there's still officially another four weeks or so of summer. But you can't tell it by the weather. Every morning, it feels like school is starting tomorrow! Cool enough for a jacket or sweater and by the afternoon, you're wondering why it is you wore that wrap?!?

We attended the first niece's wedding yesterday - and what a beautiful one it was! The weather was perfect (not too hot, not too cool) and the setting in a friend's back yard was spectacular! In two weeks, another wedding. But before then - Vegas, baby!

You'll notice my favorite dinner is on for Friday night. I told Mr. Hinkelgruber if he wants to guarantee that I won't ask to go to a restaurant for dinner, all he has to do is put pasta with garlic and eggs on the menu - so simple, yet, so delicious!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sorry I forgot the menu!

Mea culpa, mea culpa...Mrs. Hinkelgruber apparently (no apparently about it) - I forgot to post last week's menu - so sorry! This week's will be delayed also - Mr. Hinkelgruber has been out of town this weekend and hasn't even decided if we're eating, let alone what!

Julia Child's 100th birthday was this past week (August 15) and as a result, I'll be making her chocolate cake as a tribute. The recipe appeared in our local paper and I kept ALL the recipes they paid homage to her with. I also have to make some popovers for my baking blog.

September will be a busy month for the Hinkelgruber (well, Mrs. Hinkelgruber, at least) with a trips to Vegas and Seattle, and a brief cruise from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles. And, then, my favorite season: fall arrives! Cooler weather: crisp mornings, beautiful afternoons and Halloween...what could be better?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Wedding Season!

The weather has been lovely - warm days, cool nights. I've been knitting frantically - and with the Olympics airing, I've been able to justify the sittin' and knittin'. How about that women's 4X100 relay team?!? I loved watching them run - it was like watching a well-oiled, humming machine. They were beautiful!

I have to find something to do with a bunch of egg-whites...angel food cake sounds likely. Maybe with some fresh berries...

This month begins the Hinkelgruber family wedding season. There are six nieces in the family and 1/3 of them are being married between now and mid-September. So, it's party season for us.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk!

Wow! Complain about the weather and Mother Nature will bite you in the butt! Yesterday it was 102 degrees - and today? 95 degrees! Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire!

I cooked dinner yesterday. Yes, you read that right - I (Mrs. Hinkelgruber) cooked dinner! My assignment for my baking blog group was to make a berry galette and the dough made enough for two. So...the recipe also said you could use it for a tomato-cheese galette, so that's what I did. I baked it in the morning, let it cool, and we had it cold for dinner. Delicious! Oh, and the berry galette was good, too, but its crust was too thin and it leaked all over the baking pan, leaving a soggy crust. Oh, well, better luck next time!

Can't help it - have to post a big congrats to Michael Phelps and his 22 Olympic Medals. Oh, as the mom of two 20-something boys, I have to say, I know how proud his momma must be. And he really does seem to be a very nice boy. Nice job, Debbie Phelps - that's a fine boy you got there (and, boy, can he swim)!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breakfast - a great beginning!

I saw the best commercial last evening while I watched the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. It opens with a voiceover, "Why is it every race is remembered for its ending? We think it should be remembered for its start." Flash to a little girl sitting at a kitchen table waiting for mom to put a bowl of cereal in front of her and then a simple banner "Kelloggs".

Weekdays, breakfast is my responsibility and Mr. Hinklegruber suffers through a simple bowl of cereal. Come the weekend, though, I'm treated to a $18 - $22 breakfast every Saturday. We live in an over-the-top-popular breakfast town, but my choice is always our own dining room. This morning? Two poached eggs on toasted french bread, with a crumbled bacon topping and a broiled tomato with a bread crumb stuffing. And, I didn't have to wait to hear my name called. Oh, those folks standing in line at any number of breakfast joints are wasting their time!

Between the Summer Olympics and family weddings, I can tell summer is beginning to wind down. That pie has to get baked today (I have my marching orders!) and then I intend to plant myself in front of the telly for the Games. (Who knew the Queen was a sky-diver?!?) What a weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is it time for that "pie" workshop I always thought about?

Got to find some ripe nectarines...nectarine-blueberry pie...that's the next recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie. And, yes, I am considering a pie workshop just so I may perfect a pie crust. Yesterday, our baker neighbor brought us blackberry muffins and two blackberry crostadas - mmm, mmm! Boy, can that girl bake!?!

This next week will see our house completely back together (well, there are those who would tell you it already looks pretty good!). By next weekend, the pictures will be hung on the walls and the books in the bookshelves. A major project completed!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grown-ups live here!

Remember the ransacking thieves of last week? And my D-day of July 23? How about a new D-day of July 18? And the Hinkelgruber home looks fantastic - just like I said it would! All that is left is a quick painting of the hallway and some touchups of a few spot, and people will believe that grownups live here.

I haven't had anything to complain about with the weather. Even this morning's drizzle doesn't upset me - I've soaked enough sun to make it through the next couple of days. I'll be baking bread Monday for my "Tuesdays with Dorie," group and then I've begun a new knitting project that's a "Mystery" shawl. The idea is that you have no idea what the final project looks like, but by following the posted pattern, it reveals itself to you.

Have I told you lately what a good cook Mr. Hinkelgruber is? We've been dining as though a professionally trained chef visits us nightly, and I'm the beneficiary. Yes, we're going out Friday, but what that really means is the Mr. Hinkelgruber and I haven't visited a favorite haunt in a while, so it's time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

OK, so it looks like a bomb went off....

Well, maybe not a bomb, but how about like a pack of thieves broke in and ransacked the place? Having two rooms and a hallway painted simultaneously seemed like a good idea at the time...right now, not so much! There's furniture in the dining room, in the music room, in the living room - oh, yeah, there's more paint ready for application than a small paint store would require. Ahh...and the wafting smell of oil-based paint. OK, ok, ok - enough bitching...it's gonna look fantastic, when it's done (d-day: July 23).

Do you remember how much work it is to buy a car? Mr. Hinkelgruber and I were reminded and the youngest Hinkelgruber lad got to experience it for the first time, as we bought his college graduation gift: a brand-new pickup truck. It's been a long time since we've seen him light up like the proverbial Christmas tree - but he certainly did. So, need to move? I know a guy with a pickup!

We had a terrific time in "Lost Wages" - plenty of food, booze and gambling - there's a reason that city is nick-named "Sin City" - sinning is the rule of the day. Oh, and yes, my feet did get warm; 108 degrees will do that to them!

This week's dessert is very simple and common: Rice Krispie Treats - too hot to turn on the oven!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Are you a crunchy or a chewy?

Summer begins July 5. Ok, ok, ok - I know the calendar says the first day of summer is June 20, but the elder Hinkelgruber son reminded me that honestly, summer begins here on July 5. And since that's the case, Mr. Hinkelgruber and I are going to Vegas July 2. We'll come home July 6, which means we'll be back for the full onset of summer.

I tried two different versions of biscotti for dessert today. Most of you know my theory about people: they're either chewy or crunchy. And, biscotti is definitely for the "crunchy" set - of which I am one. I have learned, however, that when you put dried fruit in biscotti, it becomes an odd amalgam of chewy and crunchy - chewchy, if you will. I don't think I'm a fan of the "chewchy".

Sunday, June 17, 2012

S'mores, s'mores, and more s'mores....

The closest I ever get to camping is s'mores. And, today we'll be trying to make s'mores in the oven. Yep...the oven. If they work, oh, it'll be a whole new way to enjoy a delectable treat.

This week, painting of the dining room, living room and hallway begins. Turns out that the dining room has been the hardest one to decide the color of. I still don't know if I've gotten it right, but we'll see.

Have you ever seen the HBO series, True Blood? I'm hooked! In addition to deciding colors for those rooms, I've spent the last week watching the past four seasons so I might be caught up to the most recent one. Wow! Gorgeous men, beautiful women, sex and, well, oh, yeah, violence. And, funny!?! Who knew the supernatural had such humor.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A new coffee maker, a new way to make coffee!

So the eldest Hinkelgruber son brought his new "Aero-press" coffee maker over this morning and I had two cappuccinos and a cafe Americano. Wow, were they good! I can only hope the caffein wears off some before I go to my movie today! And, that means, I'll be buying my own maker.

I spent yesterday creating a most beautiful French Strawberry Cake for today's dessert. I must say, it is delicious (we taste-tested it after watching the Belmont Stakes horse race). But, there is enough to feed everyone today and send some home with people.

As the sun shines through the dining room window, I am reminded why I live in this town. No better place to live in the summer - when the weather is really summertime weather!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I think summer may be here...

Ok, so the weather doesn't seem to indicate that it's summer, but as I told the strawberry vendor today, "It doesn't matter what the calendar says, or what the weather shows, when your stand opens up with strawberries, summer has arrived!" And, I got the first flat of the season and that's what dessert will be this week - strawberries with whipped cream! Mmmm....

The dining room finally got finished (well, the walls and ceiling textures) and this week will be spent putting the house back together so that people will stop asking if we're moving. The nice thing is, when folks see how fruit-basket-upset it all seems to be, they tend not to stay and chat.

Mr. Hinkelgruber is in a class all week long, and so the menu shows lots of old favorites - with hopefully, very few leftovers. (They're buying his lunch all week.)

We made our first sojourn of the year up the gorge to wine country yesterday and have our summer supply. Now, all that's really needed is some hot weather...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Some things seem interminable...

Why is it that every project that should take x amount of time always takes x-plus time?!? The dining room was supposed to be finished in time for this weekend, but it is not to be. The smallest room is taking the longest time. And, that means the goal to have everything completed by July 4 is going to be a week or so off.

This weekend is the official beginning of summer - if only the weather forecast would think the same thing. On the other hand, the cool weather does make it much easier to bake without heating up the entire house.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cubbies could come back....

The beauty of being retired (well, sort of) is that you have no defined schedule. That means you can have a Friday that allows you to watch Cubbies Baseball at 10:00 am and have your world revolve for that day around that. And that's exactly what this Friday meant to me...Cubbies Baseball, and nothing else! Kerry Wood's retirement was moving, but even he couldn't help them win.

The dining room is being 'resurfaced' Monday, which means the only thing left to our interior redecorating is the painting of the living room, dining room, and hallway. What a relief that will be!?!

The youngest Hinkelgruber graduates from the University next month, and has a job already. One more relief for all of us (him most of all!).

I baked brioche last week, and I think I'll try it again this week - I'm thinking a nice brioche bread for toast sounds terrific.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day - and it's spring at last!

Eighty-two degrees signals one thing: spring is here! On Mother's Day Eve, the weather is perfect, and the same is scheduled for Mother's Day.

Mr. Hinkelgruber and I bought tomato plants for the year, and tomorrow he will plant them. If they all bear fruit, there will be more tomatoes than we've ever had before: nine plants. Let's also hope the grapes come to fruition this year. The younger Hinkelgruber's pruning job last year severely hampered last year's harvest. He wasn't quite as severe this year.

I made Pecan Sticky Buns for my Tuesdays with Dorie blogging group and I can honestly say, they are the best things ever! Thank goodness I was able to give all but two (one for Mr. Hinkelgruber and myself) away to neighbors and friends.

So far, no ideas for dessert for Mother's Day, but never fear - I'll think of something.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo! oh, yeah, and Derby Day!

Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo on one day! What's a drinking girl to do? Mix mint juleps and Margaritas, of course! Mr. Hinkelgruber spent an hour looking for the "right" guacamole recipe last night (right being the one that Mrs. Hinkelgruber wanted...) and then Mrs. Hinkelgruber found it in the second place she looked. (No, that wasn't a passive aggressive move on her part, merely blind-a--ed luck!)

Our local farmer's market opens today (I can hardly wait) and the weather forecast says no rain for the next seven days...Hallelujah! Brioche dough for pecan sticky buns will be prepared this week for my baking blog friends and then I have to box up the two built ins in preparation for the rehab of the dining room. What a week!

Oh, by the way... a piece of trivia I failed to share last week... If you're entered in a trivia contest and the question is, "What did the Montgolfier brothers invent?" The answer is not golf clubs (goof-balls), but the hot air balloon.  Mr. Hinkelgruber was the big star of our previously mentioned vacation's trivia contest. That answer got our team into the finals! (Oh, and if the tie-breaker has a biblical theme, "How many people were on Noah's Ark?" The answer is eight. We didn't have any good bible readers on our team!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We're back!

Fourteen days of no rain - it was glorious!  But, really, the best thing about a vacation is coming home.

I like having my meals planned for me (no menus that require a decision to be made), living in a truly quiet place (ships have weird creaks and pops), and sometimes I really don't want to be nice to people (dining with different people each meal requires energy).

The living room and hallway walls have been retextured and now the only room left is the dining room.  Oh, and my Tuesdays with Dorie group is going to be making two new recipes - I can hardly wait!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

See you at the end of the month....

Well, not to belabor a point, but this is the last entry for about three weeks (ah, maybe two).  But here's what you should know:

  • All the wallpaper is stripped - yep, all of it!  I had forgotten what the mint green that was on every wall in this house looked like until now.  (For one room, not so bad - the entire house?  Atrocious!
  • No one, but no one can make a better breakfast than Mr. Hinkelgruber - think the cruise line will give him a "back-stage pass" to the galley to allow him to prepare me breakfast every day?  Not likely...
  • A homemade Fig Newton is heavenly - even if it's more work than I care to discuss.  
  • And, Kindereggs aren't just a European phenomenon, anymore!
It's a limited menu this week, but we're on a limited schedule, too!  So, if we don't see you before, 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Well, maybe I won't starve...

So, you all know that Mr. Hinkelgruber does all the cooking in this household. (I do the baking, but that's not cooking!) Yesterday, though, to fulfill my "obligation" to a new internet group I've joined ("Tuesdays With Dorie") I made dinner:  Pizza Rustica.  Wow!  It was delicious - if I do say so myself! And, it looked just like the picture in the appointed cookbook (Baking With Julia). Today's dessert, "Lemon Loaf Cake," is also April's assignment for baking, and I've made it already since we'll be off on another ocean-bound adventure on the assignment's due date.

The music room is gorgeous and the piano finally back in its home. And that means that this week will be the week for stripping wallpaper from the living room walls...room-by-room...chunk-by-chunk...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Computers are a girl's best friend....

Those of you who know me well (and if you're reading this you probably do) know that after my family and friends, one of the most important things to me is my computer. So, when earlier this week it started acting a little funky, I was a tad bit panicky - to say the least! Fortunately, the younger Hinkelgruber lad has returned home from college and put his brilliance to work at restoring its workings. (I really only need another two years out of it and I'll feel I fully got my money's worth...) Anyway, I'm treating it with kid gloves for the time being.

It's spring break, although with the younger Hinkelgruber in his final term at university, that really just means that there are more loads of laundry being done. On some level, that's a relief to me.

On the food front, this week has some comfort food, some new dishes and some baking to be done.  Woohoo!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mail Call!!!

We're re-positioning our mailbox! I talked to two different mailmen this past month:  the regular one (Jeff) and one of our utility carriers, and both agreed that moving the mailbox to a spot where they didn't have to bend down was a good thing. (Currently, it's in our door.  And frankly, the dog tears up the door as she tries to get at the carrier - not Jeff - but every other carrier who has come to deliver our mail.) So today, Mr. Hinkelgruber, is installing a new slot. It still comes into the house (something very important to me), but now doesn't have to compete with the door opening and the dog going nuts.  (She'll likely still go nuts, but at least not on the door!) And, this means that this summer, I can get a screen door for the front door.  Yahoo!

So, my Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) hobby yielded a lot of egg whites from one of the recipes during the week, so this Sunday's dessert is chocolate French macarons (well, I'd spell it macaroons, but the website from which I got the recipe spelled it with one 'o', so there) filled with chocolate ganache.  In Mr. Hinkelgruber's words, "Anything with ganache can't be bad," so we'll see.  Oh, and a French macaron has no coconut - just in case all you coconut haters were wondering.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Baseball's Back!!!

OK, so really it's just pre-season - but I got to see my Cubs play. Oh, I love those boys! (They won, by the way!) Favorite new player? Sczcur...and it's pronounced "Seezer". I can hardly wait to see his name on his uniform.

Have a new hobby, "Tuesdays with Dorie." Twice a month, I get to prepare a recipe from the book Baking with Julia and then blog about the experience with bakers from all over the world. (Oh, yeah - one woman from Switzerland read the last recipe (Rugelach) and said her hips were broadening just reading the recipe!) This week's dessert is from the first week:  Chocolate Truffle Tarts. Reading others' blogs say it's to die for. We'll see tomorrow! (Oh, and the rugelach was really, really tasty - not pretty, but really tasty!) Irish Soda Bread is coming later in the week, and while I've never been a big fan of soda bread - in for a penny, in for a pound.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring is on it's way!

I keep a daily push-up log on the family calendar and noticed today that daylight savings time arrives a week from this Sunday. You know what that means?  Well, besides that we'll lose one hour next week, it means that spring is coming! The yard guys came yesterday and applied some sort of fertilizer, so it must be true...spring is coming. At last!

The music room is on its way to being re-done. The ceiling has been over-layed (no longer popcorn) and the walls primed for new texture. No, we're not moving - merely getting the house redone after 25-years. Some people redecorate/paint every three to five years. Not us - for us, decorating is like cars: get what you want and hold on until it either fails or you're finally tired of it. As for our decor, 25-years means it's both failing and we're tired of it (well, I am!).

A new pie recipe this week:  think Almond Joy in-a-pie! We'll see if it's as good as the picture makes it look. Then, I've joined an online group, "Tuesdays With Dorie," that is working its way through the book, Baking With Julia. First recipe:  Rugelach - a cinnamon-roll type pastry filled with nuts and dried fruit.  I'm excited!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I got crabs!

Got your attention, didn't I?!? Actually, it was confirmed today that the Greek Orthodox Church throws the best, the absolute BEST fundraisers in the world, ever! In the fall - the Annual Greek Festival; complete with full lamb dinner and enough baklava to choke the largest Greek goat! Then, today we discovered their latest and greatest event:  The 23rd Annual All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feed! 23-years? Seriously? We've been in the neighborhood 28 of those years and this is the first we've heard of it.  (But, rest assured - it won't be the last time we attend!) Have you ever eaten 1-1/2 Dungeness crabs at one sitting? Well, I have and if I had been willing to eat myself sick, it would have been more.  I've discovered the "crab-coma"!

This week, the music room gets a new ceiling and re-finished walls.  The house is, by-and-large, a disaster, but the endgame makes it worth it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tiramisu...or Terrible Misery?

According to a local chef, tiramisu is Italian for "pick-me-up." We'll see, as I attempt to make one for this Sunday's dinner. I've already made my own mascarpone cheese (yep, you read it right - I made it!), and now I just have to make the Italian sponge cake and assemble it. If nothing else, the flavors will be terrific.

I was awakened this morning by what I thought was rain, but turned out to be squatters (read:  rodents) in the ceiling of our bedroom. They have one more week to find the bait boxes and feast themselves silly before Mr. Hinkelgruber goes in after them. (I'm rooting for the feasting!) In the meantime, I've got to find a podcast that will drown them out.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day and other phony holidays...

Ahh, such a fantastic hoax the floral and confectionary industry has perpetrated on American consumers!  But, since I don't want anyone to be disappointed, you'll notice a very special dessert on Sunday's menu - chocolate souffle!  Apparently, chocolate is the international flavor of love!?! I watched Giada DiLaurentis prepare this on The Today Show, and decided that's it for Sunday!  We'll see if it's really as easy as she made it look.

For those of you wondering about my "to-do" list, the front windows have been painted and the new shutters are to be installed on the 25th of the month.  My goal is to have the ceiling and walls of the music room done within six weeks, but we'll see if my plaster guy has the same goal.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The long and winding road...

Did you miss me? Well, last weekend's absence is the last in a while (until April, and that's all I'll say about that!).

I went to the beach with a group of women friends, and while I did enjoy it, six women in one place is a lot of estrogen.  (Regardless of the fact they're all either menopausal or peri-menopausal!) The weather was beautiful four out of five days, and despite the tsunami alarm system going off at the condo (due to high winds and rough bar conditions the one bad weather day) it was quite remarkable for the end of January on our coastline.

This week's menu features some old favorites as well as a few items that are sure to become favorites.  My theory?  Mr. Hinkelgruber is lonely for some of you to have dinner with us and is coercing you here!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tank 10 Martini or French 75?!?

Well, the latest trip to Vegas was great fun - if uneventful.  The weather was clear (though chilly and windy), and I learned about a new "hot-spot" to experience happy hour!  Mandarin Oriental - a must see for everyone.  The lobby (as well as the bar) is on the 23rd floor, with a spectacular view of the strip.

Back to the gym for an all out 80-day, hardcore regimen in anticipation of another cruise. (Yep, I said it!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cleanliness is next to Godliness...or something like that!

A clean house is wonderful!  And, after each holiday season, my house is cleaner than it will be all year long. This year, especially so, since we've been little-by-little spiffing up the house and we'll be having new interior storm windows installed this week! Next up is new shutters for the front windows and then a couple of major projects:  ceilings and walls in the living, dining, and music rooms. No, no, no - we're not looking to sell out - just decided it's time to fix it up like we've always wanted.

You'll notice this week's menu is somewhat of a rehash of last week's - "stuff" got in the way of last week's meals, but we're back on track for this one.  Oh, and Vegas calls, so next week at this time, I'll be heading for "Sin City"!