Tag Archives: LinnieGayl

Oscar Preparations

For a number of personal reasons I lost my love of the movies for a few years. Except for the Harry Potter flicks I didn’t even venture into a theater, and rarely watched a movie on my TV. For a lifelong movie lover this was pretty drastic.

But a few years ago my love of movies came back in a major way. Sure, I can still go for months — particularly the summer months — without watching a movie in a theater. But I’ll still watch a lot of older movies on my TV. But then November rolls around and the “good” movie season begins for me. Finally, we’re through with all the silly summer flicks and the “grown-up”/Oscar contender movies seem to hit town.

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Sweet Memories: LinnieGayl’s Peanut Butter and Hershey’s Kisses

hersheys kisses I should start off by saying this isn’t a recipe I created. The basic recipe is straight from the Hershey’s site.Yes, my favorite Christmas cookie is a chewy peanut butter cookie topped by a Hershey’s milk chocolate kiss, labelled the Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies by Hershey’s. While I enjoy the taste (reminiscent of a warm, gooey peanut butter cup), it’s the memories these cookies evoke that has me craving them at Christmas time.

When I was in graduate school the fall semester always seemed worse than the spring or summer sessions. As fall semester rolled along the weather turned colder, snow  appeared, and I inevitably picked up a cold. To make matters worse, the semester ended just over a week before Christmas, leaving almost no time to get ready for the holidays.

One of my fellow graduate students got the idea to host a Christmas cookie baking party the Friday after finals ended, and honestly, this kept me going through the studying and paper-writing. About four of us went to her apartment that first year. We each picked out a cookie recipe before-hand, and she — wonderful woman that she is — bought all the supplies for our recipes. My cookie recipe was actually Paul Prudhomme’s coffee cookies. One of my friends made peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses and I honestly couldn’t get enough of them. Of course we ate lots of the cookies fresh out of the oven when they were warm and gooey. And being graduate students, we downed the cookies with liberal doses of alcohol.

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A New Look at a Childhood Favorite: Pimento Cheese

Growing up one of my mother’s favorite snacks was pimento cheese. Perhaps it’s because we lived in the north (I’ve since learned it’s a longtime southern favorite), but she never made her own. Instead, she bought this small jarred version of pimento cheese. For a special treat for all of us, she’d put tiny squares of rye bread topped with pimento cheese on a plate. I thought they were okay, but as a girl, would have preferred another snack.

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Shopping or Hiding?

The Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States is termed Black Friday, and signals the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s become rather controversial the last few years as stores open earlier and earlier. This year, instead of beginning Black Friday sales at midnight, some stores opened on Thanksgiving evening.

My local online paper featured several stories about people who began camping out as early as Wednesday afternoon in front of Best Buy to be first in line for the sales. Just the thought of it made me cringe. Stand in line for concert tickets? Yes, I did that in my youth (and hope to never do so again). But camp for days to get a sale? No.

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What Do You Do With a Pomegranate?

pomegranateWhat can I say about the pomegranate? The seeds (the part we eat) are a dark, beautiful shade of red that seems particularly appropriate at this time of year. It’s supposedly one of the “super foods,” rich in antioxidants. And it can be quite tasty. But just what do you do with a pomegranate?

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Looking forward to Tuesday

Don’t worry, this isn’t a political ad for a candidate or proposition. If you live anywhere in the United States I suspect you’re completely fed up with political ads. And while my friends all know my political beliefs, I don’t do them online. But I proudly, very proudly, will talk about just how excited I am to vote.

Yes, I’m excited. Despite nervousness about the results of some races, I’m ready to be a citizen and vote on Tuesday morning. Call me corny, call me sappy, but I love to vote!

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Comfort Foods: Make Mine Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Ah, comfort foods. We all have them. When it suddenly turns cold. When it’s raining. When we’re sick or stressed, comfort foods can bring immense relief. For some of us all it takes is some good chocolate. For others it’s ice cream. I do have my moments when the supreme comfort food is sweet, generally in the form of rice pudding or tapioca pudding. But most of the time my ultimate comfort food is savory. And for me, nothing quite says comfort like tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

And what’s not to love about the combination (well, aside from the calories). They’re creamy and warm, particularly nice for the suddenly cold weather. And they harken back to my childhood when my mother would make me tomato soup (Campbell’s, of course, made with milk) and a grilled cheese sandwich (white bread with Velveeta cheese).

I’ve definitely moved beyond my childhood grilled cheese sandwiches, preferring them now on whole wheat or bakery bread of some kind. I also like to experiment with various combinations of cheeses, and usually add something to the mix, be it sliced green olives, or diced sun dried tomatoes, or even some slices of fruit (apples and pears are particularly nice). But I haven’t strayed very far from the Campbell’s cream of tomato soup. Once in awhile I’ll buy some fancy tomato soup in the deli, but that’s about it. Until today.

After dealing with a lot of stress the past few weeks I decided I really wanted some comfort food this weekend. But instead of Campbell’s, I’m going to try a recipe my friend posted on her blog for making your own tomato soup. With ingredients like Worcestershire sauce (huge fan), white wine, basil, and a variety of tomato products, it sounds like a hit. So this afternoon I’m going to give the recipe a try. Along with it I’ll be making a grilled cheese sandwich (on some whole wheat flat-type bread) made with a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, with sliced green olives and a bit of whole grain mustard. Sounds like the perfect thing for a chilly afternoon.

What about you? Do you have any go-to comfort foods? Do you ever experiment with them, or do you stick with the tried-and-true?


Wearing Pink

Even as a little girl I was never a big fan of pink. I tend to wear mostly blues, greens, and probably way too much black and gray. But on October 1, before leaving for work, I pulled out a pretty beaded pink bracelet and put it on my wrist. I also put on a new pair of pink earrings. And I’ve done the same thing each morning since then. Because once again, it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m not wearing pink just to support the cause and heighten general awareness, because really, I doubt if anyone has even noticed my pink jewelry. I’m doing it to remind myself of just how far I’ve come over the last 12 years, and how very lucky I am to be a 12-year breast cancer survivor.

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My New Favorite Things

IMG_0275How do you find out about new products? Are you current, or do new products slip by you? A few months ago I complained to a friend that my doctor wants me to take a multivitamin and calcium pill each day. I commented that the multivitamins taste so bad, and the pills are so big, that I virtually never take the stupid things. Her immediate response was, “Why don’t you buy the gummy vitamins?” What? There are gummy vitamins? I’d never heard of the things.

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What to do When the Lights Go Off

IMG_0262The bright light in the picture is one of my newest purchases, a reaction to a power outage we had last week. The power went out in the part of town I live in around 3pm on a weekday. It happened to be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures over 100f accompanied by relatively high humidity. In this case the outage wasn’t due to the storms that have been hitting much of the U.S. in recent weeks, but was the result of a fire in a power station.

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