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“I Only Make Them Once a Year . . .”

17 Dec

At Weight Watchers this week, we were talking about those things we eat at Christmas because someone says, “I only make them once a year and I made them especially for you.”

It is hard enough to hear, “I only make them once a year.”  It is hard enough to hear, “I made them especially for you.”  

But combine those two and it is hard to refuse the treat (usually baked goods), no matter how hard you may have worked to budget Weight Watcher points for your day/week/month. 

I thought right after that, while looking at a poster of plump blueberries and ripe strawberries on the wall of the Weight Watchers meeting, how we always want to make intricate desserts for those we love. God makes these lovely berries, as the most intricate of desserts for us.  Since He makes them, we can’t improve on them as a dessert.  We can just serve them.  Even sprinkling sugar on them really does nothing for them when they are naturally ripened.  They are perfection, without needing man’s touch.

They are almost too simple for us to serve to our loved ones, because God did all the hard work involved in growing them. They are totally gifts of His grace and bounty.  And we, being by nature works-oriented, associate our own hard, intricate work with showing love for our family and friends. Thus . . . we bake and bake.

We bake and bake even when we know that delicious fruit, served plain, would be best for us and for our loved ones (I am not advocating always avoiding baked goods, as we have Weight Watchers weekly points for just such things–there is a balance to be found, after all!).

And God outdoes us every time.  It is a gift of His grace that He does that.  Just by making His lovely fruits to grow. 

Then I thought of the seasons in which blueberries and strawberries are harvested fresh.  I thought I heard God saying, “I only make them once a year and I made them especially for you!”

And, with a fresh understanding of His grace, love for God surged through me.  He really is the best Friend and Familymember of all.  

Merry Christmas! 

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Cooking is the Universal Language!

6 Dec

Cooking is the Universal Language!

This is my new go-to recipe for Spanish flan. I love that it doesn’t have to be immersed in a water bath. The recipe I used for years required me to jeririg up a “double boiler.”

This recipe is not only easy, but it also tastes great!!!

I cook when I am transitioning, when I am under stress, when I am feeling creative . . . (I bet a lot of others do, too).

Our son is coming back home next week, after four and a half months at a college that is a two day drive from here.

We are excited, but stressed, too. There is so much to do before then. And we always compete against that perfect Currier and Ives family Christmas that lives in our brain, don’t we?

Even at 21, our boy still widens his eyes and grins when he gets something unexpected that delights him.

I am looking forward to seeing that look at least once during the month he is home . . .

And I am cooking up a storm!!!

Cheesecake Day!

29 Nov

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This delicious cheesecake is sold at the bakery across from Carnegie Hall in New York City; it is Carnegie Deli cheesecake. The only place to buy it locally (fresh, never frozen) is at Route 58 Deli in Virginia Beach, our most famous Jewish deli.

I went there for a piece of this cheesecake once a month while losing my weight in 2012. I now go once every three weeks. It is my reward for staying on plan. I usually eat it in place of lunch, as it is immense.

And, yes, I count the points in my Weight Watchers tracker.

Today was fun as yesterday was not only Thanksgiving but the first day of Chanukah . . . It felt festive to be in a Jewish deli today!

I will follow this with a post on how my husband and I ate fruits and veggies for Thanksgiving yesterday and left Weight Watcher points on the table at day’s end . . .

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Cadbury’s is Great Chocolate!!!

11 Jan

Cadbury’s is Great–My Husband Grew Up Near their Headquarters

My husband grew up in Birmingham, England, where Cadbury’s has its headquarters.  This story of how they started out with fairness to all employees is heartwarming.

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On the Road Again: Dessert in Vienna, Sacher Torte

29 Dec

On the Road Again: Dessert in Vienna, Sacher Torte

I will begin my own series on desserts around the world with a post on the most famous cake of all, the Hotel Sacher Wien dessert called the Sacher Torte. The Hotel Sacher Wien (Wien is German for “Vienna”) is possibly the most elegant hotel in Vienna, Austria. But it turns out to be named for the cake and the man who came up with it, not the other way around. Very cool, as the man was only 17 when he devised this cake and the way to prepare it.

When Noel and I traveled to Vienna on a tour for Thanksgiving of 1989, we set aside time to go to the cafe in the hotel and have a piece of Sacher Torte each, along with a steaming mug of cafe au lait (coffee with frothy steamed milk).

It was probably one of the most elegant occasions of my life. I love gentle elegance. We can’t always afford the pricetag for such things, but every once in a while we splurge!

The tables were set with those tablecloths that are so whitened that they almost blind you. The china, crystal, and silver were exquisite. I think I recall fresh flowers on the table, even though it was November.

‘Course we didn’t have cell phones with cameras back then and I didn’t think to take a picture with Noel’s Canon Sure Shot. So all we have are our memories (and the official picture I pulled down from the hotel’s website, LOL!).

Good times!

On the Road Again: Dessert Around the World

28 Dec

I recently read an article in “Martha Stewart Living” (December 2012) that made me think.  She had an article on desserts in Central Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France).  It included a brief history of the ten desserts featured and luscious pictures of them.

It recalled my five years in Europe, specifically the three in Germany (1988-1991).  We lived over a bakery in Germany so fresh loaves of bread were a regular feature in our apartment when we were newlyweds.  It is amazing that I didn’t weigh 400 pounds by the time we moved to the States. 

I will always be a foodie.  I may have just lost 100 pounds (and I plan to stay on Weight Watchers forever and keep it off!!!), but I will always love hearing about delicious desserts, their recipes, and their history.  I will always enjoy looking at pictures of them.  In many ways, the pictures will replace eating the desserts for me sometimes.  I already get teased at my Weight Watchers group because I often refer to “eating a dessert with my eyes and imagining what it tastes like” (especially if I have had it before and have a memory of it for which I can reach).  

That said, I thought that it would be great to see whether anyone blogs on desserts around the world.  I haven’t found such a blog yet.

Martha Stewart doesn’t solely focus on desserts when she travels.  For example, I have never seen her feature Korean or Japanese desserts, despite her trips to Asia at least once a year.  

So this is my idea.  I don’t travel nearly as much now as I once did on active duty in the Navy.

What if you, my readers, photograph desserts around the world when you see them as you travel?  Send them to me.  Write a guest blog post if you wish, or let me do that for you.  

Photograph desserts around the U.S. and Canada, too.

And I will feature them in “On the Road Again” posts.  

I can’t pay you for this.  I am not paid as a blogger.  

But we could have some fun times together with this, learning about other cultures and what they serve each other for a treat!

Let’s do it!

 

 

 

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