I’ve so loved reading all of the Winter Warmer recipes shared by everyone at AAR. I plan to try out a number of them over the next few months (first up, Melanie’s potato soup). But I find I’m now in the need of a very different type of winter warmer.
A little over a week ago my apartment complex came through and installed a lot of energy saving devices in all of the apartments. As someone who tries to be energy efficient, I was very enthusiastic. I came home one evening to discover a new “low flow” shower head, new pipes (wrapped with some kind of insulated stuff) under the cabinets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and a programmable thermostat. Having only dealt with an old dial thermostat before, this programmable thermostat was a revelation. It came pre-programmed for optimal energy savings, set for cooler when people are assumed to be at work or sleeping.
Sometimes I become obsessed with the strangest things, and at the moment it’s infinity scarves. Do I own any? No, not a single one. But I’m considering. In fact, I’ve been looking at so many online that wherever I go on the web my “pop-up” ads all now feature infinity scarves in a variety of colors and fabrics.
This week I saw a link to the “30 Best TV Detectives” from the Telegraph’s website. As a big fan of mysteries – both written and video – this was too good to resist. Since it’s a UK publication, I expected a lot of British detectives. Not a problem, as I’m a huge fan of many of the BBC mysteries that appear on Masterpiece Mystery. Truthfully, I was surprised at how many U.S. TV shows are featured on the list, and many that appeared over 20 years ago.
Each year when Halloween rolls around my thoughts go to pumpkins. Not to decorating them, but to thinking of creative ways to use them in cooking. Over the last few years I’ve made pumpkin and peanut butter soup, added pumpkin to steel cut oats, made many loaves of pumpkin bread, and tried making pumpkin stews. But as Thanksgiving draws closer I generally pull out a trusty old recipe for pumpkin flan.
Until a few months ago if you’d asked me if I liked balsamic vinegar I would have answered with a resounding, “yes.” My pantry hasn’t been without a bottle for years. But I recently learned there’s balsamic vinegar and then there’s balsamic vinegar.
A few months ago a friend commented in an email something to the effect that “it pays to buy good balsamic.” That gave me pause. When I replied that I always bought the cheapest at the grocery (rarely paying more than $5 for a pretty large bottle) she indicated that I didn’t know what real balsamic was. I decided to see if she was correct and headed to the local olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. Continue reading
Nearly four years ago I posted here about my intention to start using green cleaning products. While it was partially motivated by a desire to help the environment, my major motivation was personal: I have a lot of allergies that cause reactions to many commercially available cleaning products. Well, I started out with good intentions but until about three months ago didn’t quite live up to my original hopes.
The staff at AAR so enjoyed sharing our Christmas sweets that we decided to do it again, but in celebration of the yummy summer months. Who knew there was more to summer than Salad and 72 Variations? We started with Amy’s Fried Green Tomatoes on Tuesday, and now every Thursday we’ll be publishing a new summer recipe from one of our staff. Enjoy! – Jean AAR
I should say right up front that this is not a recipe I created. Years ago I was out for lunch with a friend in Chicago and she ordered gazpacho. Curious, I decided to order a cup of it myself and was instantly in love. Chock full of veggies, refreshing, cool (it was a hot day), with a bit of spice, it hit the spot. When I commented that I would love to be able to make it at home she shared the recipe she’d been using for years.
Since that time, gazpacho has become one of my go-to recipes in the summer. I tend to make it the most in July and August when local tomatoes are available in abundant quantities at the market. But with “tomatoes on the vine” available at other times, I will often give in to my craving and make it at other times.
I continue to try gazpacho at local restaurants, but have been less than satisfied in recent years. Everyone seems to be adding “extras” that I find unnecessary. One local restaurant has made a “southwestern” version adding in black beans, corn, avocado, and tortilla chips. While I like all those ingredients I find them less than satisfying in gazpacho. Another local seafood restaurant adds large shrimp and crab pieces to the gazpacho. Now I love both of those as well, but find they completely overwhelm the gazpacho.
So for now I’m sticking with my friend’s recipe listed below. Continue reading
I can hardly believe it but I’ve now owned my latest laptop — a Dell Inspiron — for nearly three years. When first purchased, it was all sparkly and new and fast and well, just about everything I wanted. It’s still pretty darn fast and the hard drive has gobs of space on it, but it’s starting to show its age with periodic crashes and freezes. And most annoying, the wifi routinely requires tinkering. And the stupid thing weighs a ton (well, not really, but it feels that way when stuffed in a bag or pack along with everything else I need to carry).
As Downton Abbey’s season was ending PBS began a full-on press for Mr. Selfridge. I was intrigued by the trailers and looked forward to the first episode last Sunday. I’m a big fan of costume dramas, and the costumes looked gorgeous for this early 1900s drama. Add in a London setting and shopping, and it seemed a sure winner for me. Continue reading
Strength. Aerobics. Flexibility. Balance.
If you read any articles on physical fitness, attend any fitness classes, or watch any shows on TV about fitness, you’ve undoubtedly heard how we need to work on all of these aspects of fitness. Focusing on one isn’t enough. Continue reading