Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Friday!

The look on her face reflects all the mischief she plans to get into now.  Our borrowed baby Gwenie turned 2 this week!  I can't believe how quickly the time passes.  I remember rushing to the hospital the day she was born.  Traffic was horrible and GPS took us to the wrong place.  I remember thinking to myself that this better be one cute baby - she exceeds expectations.  I literally (used correctly) could not love her more.  This is good because I fear there may be a shift in my typical docile baby.  This isn't all bad, I look forward to doing more activities with her and watching her personality AND vocabulary grow (she can say my name but she much prefers Danny's).  Here's to a wonderful second year for our favorite little girl.

Today is a big day.  I organized my big boss' retirement party!  I arranged for food from all my Detroit favorites and can't wait for lunch.  I also can't wait to see all my fantastic co-workers.  It's hard to believe the end is closing in.  Mom and B will be watching Gwenie for us for a bit, after the after-party I'll stay with them. Tomorrow I'll be spending time downtown with my sister-in-law Teri and Mr. B.  We're going to see Cirque Dreams Holidaze and go out to lunch.  In the evening we're playing Game of Thrones the boardgame with the Hakalas.  Danny is BEYOND excited.  Sunday, Julia is treating us to Painting with a Twist.  It's so sweet of her and I look forward to catching up.  It's an extended weekend for me and Monday I'm going to catch up with Tchinarold.  I can't wait to hear how she enjoyed her first semester of college!  And for an unexpected ending - GO LIONS!

P.S. For more Gwen cuteness

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Rec

This quote is the basis of a memoir I recently read.  My Year With Eleanor recounts Noelle Hancock's self imposed challenge to do one thing that scared her every day for a year.  Big scary things like trapeze class, stand-up comedy, sky diving, ocean diving with sharks and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  And easier to accomplish things like confronting someone who takes your seat in the movies or wearing no makeup.

It was a rare occasion when I picked up a book, read the first page and knew I'd love it. Noelle's writing is honest, easy and playful.  I waited to Google her until I finished the book but as soon as the final page was finished I jumped on the computer.  I needed to know what happened with her boyfriend and her addiction to sleeping pills.  Well the unthinkable happened.  Noelle has NO internet presence.  Everything is from a few years ago when the book was published and her Twitter account is dead.  I feel like my favorite television show was cancelled and it sucks.

Nevertheless, it was a great book* and worth the couple days it takes to read.  Simply brace yourself - you will want more. 

*Although not historically accurate in all areas.  Normally misreporting about the Roosevelts upsets me but I enjoyed the memoir too much for it to bother me.

Photo source: QuotesNSmiles

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Cookies 2015

Sunday afternoon Cara and I spent hours in the kitchen baking cookies. It was our third year carrying out this tradition and I believe our most successful attempt.  We were pleased with all the recipes this year.  The eggnog cookie recipe is fantastic.  It is easy to make and delicious.  I stopped experimenting with homemade frosting because it never turned out but this was a winner.  Cara didn't get her recipes from a website but here are similar recipes: Date pinwheel cookies and Orange sugar cookies.  The most popular cookie was the chocolate covered cherry shortbread cookies.  It was heavily altered but based on this recipe.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Shortbread Cookies
40 cookies
    • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup cold butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Heat oven to 325F.
  2. Rinse cherries in strainer and pat dry. Finely chop cherries and pat dry.
  3. Using a food processor combine flour, sugar and butter.  Pulse until resembles fine crumbs. Add cherries and almond extract to dough.  
  4. Roll dough to 1/2 inch height and cut into 1 inch rectangle/square shape.  Place on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Ganache: Place a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Stir chocolate and heavy whipping cream until combine.  Chill in freezer for 30 minutes or until firm.  Pipe ganache on cooled cookies. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Coney Island

 duly's place southwest detroit coney island

Coney Islands are a metro Detroit staple - you can't toss a rock without hitting one.  This Saturday Danny and I started our morning in Southwest at Duly's Place.  The 93 year old diner is a city staple and was recently visited by Anthony Bourdain during his trip to Detroit.  Southwest is a unique area in the city.  Predominately populated by Hispanics, it has a rich culture and tight knit community.  In relative terms, there is a high concentration of people and businesses.  My MEP girls gave me a list of places to visit and I'm shamefully behind. I plan to correct my negligence and Duly's was the place to start.

duly's place southwest detroit coney island

Coney menus are all pretty similar. Cheap offerings of breakfast staples, salads, oftentimes gyros but the star on the menu is the Coney dog (and fries).  Veteran tip: When ordering say you want "a coney". When the server says "with everything", say "yes".  You will always get a look of disdain for a special order.  More importantly, 'everything' is the best!

duly's place southwest detroit coney island

Duly's is an intimate diner.  A classic set up with obvious regulars.  When my attempt to interview the lovely gentleman in the background of the picture fell through, Rodney stepped up.  A nice guy from the neighborhood, our chat left me energized and reminded me how much fun it is to meet new people.

Do you live in the city?
Yes [Southwest].

What do you like about Detroit?
I like my neighborhood. I love it. It's close knit, everyone looks out for each other. I've been here for 42 years.

What's the go to place in Southwest?
Duly's. That's the truth. Since we were kids, we always come here -even after the club nights. It's what we do.

What's something you would change about the city?
The neighborhood policing. Get more police involved. Get the community involved in doing more things for the kids. That's what I would do.  There's not enough activity for kids.  

What would you like to see happen in Detroit in the next 5 years?
Growth. Business growth. I think it was Pittsburgh that died out and then they rejuvenated it with college people and involved them in the community. It's all about computers and technology. I'd like to see Southwest get like that - use technology to make it a booming city again.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Friday!

What a week!  It didn't go as planned, which is why I didn't post yesterday but c'est la vie.  Life happens and that's ok.  Tomorrow Danny and I are hitting the town.  With a photographer in tow I hope to have some quality content for next week.

This weekend Cara and I will continue our cookie baking tradition. I haven't settled on recipes just yet and need to get on it. Other items on the weekend's agenda are quality time with my God-daughters.  We're celebrating Gwenie's birthday Saturday afternoon and in the evening I'm babysitting Kensley.  There is also football and OUAT with Gina. It will be a nice weekend after a very busy week.

P.S. Another movie for my watch list