Monthly Archives: May 2014

Muffin? Monday: You Butter, You Butter, You Bet Biscuits!

Good evening, people of blogland! This is your guest blogger, Maggie (Rita’s daughter), as mum has broken a toe and is a bit disposed to slaving away in the kitchen. In comparison to my mother, I am no master of muffins or Mondays, so I decided to take my own spin on the idea: biscuits. I am a sucker biscuits. They are extremely versatile and can be pared with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert! Of course the key to this variety is normally the topping or spread you choose to garnish the biscuit ( butter and cheese, vrs jelly and powdered sugar, vrs bacon or vodka… you get the idea), but a good biscuit base is a must!

The “You Butter, You Butter, You Bet” biscuit contains:

1 1/2 cup of flourphoto

1/2 teaspoon of saltphoto copy 3

1/4 teaspoon (or just a pinch will do) of baking sodaphoto copy

oh yeah, and butter! 8 glorious ounces of butter! creamy dreamy wonderful… again, you get the picture.

Pre-heat the oven to 45o degrees. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Melt the butter until it is soft or liquid. photo copy 2Add it gradually to the dry mixture until the result resembles crumbs, or the surface of the moon Calisto.photo copy 4th       Try to squash it together. Like Jupiter’s gravitational pull on Calisto. Grease a muffin pan ( 6 pit is best, as this recipe only makes 5 or 6 biscuits), and scoop your compressed crumbs into each pit. photo copy 5Bake for 11-15 minutes, or until the tops are light golden brown. Let them rest for about 5 minutes, then serve. They hold up before serving for at least 12 hours, but after that I’d refrigerate. They are particularly delicious with orange marmalade. Make 5-6.

Enhanced by Zemantaphoto copy 6As far as commentary goes: be sure not to use too much baking soda, or they taste gross. If you do, however, it can be fixed by eating the biscuit with liberal amounts of orange marmalade (kudos to mum for the idea). And that has been your brief biscuit break! Happy Monday!!!!!

Muffin Monday : Kathy’s Vegan Banana Muffins

IMG_8055

 

My friend Kathy gave me this gem of a Vegan Banana Muffin recipe that I thought I’d pass along. (Thank’s Kathy!)

I like that you can add just about anything to the base recipe to create your own special version. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Mashed Bananas
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

 

Add Ins:

  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1/2 cup Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Dates
  • (You can also add Oatmeal, Chocolate Chips and Dried Cherries)

 

IMG_8059

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep 12 muffin cups with baking spray (I actually needed 13 so… bonus ME!)

2. In a large bowl mash the Bananas and mix with the Oil and Sugar.

3. Mix the Flour, Salt and Baking Soda in a separate bowl then add to Banana mixture.

4. Throw in your Add Ins (Cocoa Powder, Chopped Pecans, Raisins, and Chopped Dates for me) all at once and mix until well incorporated.

5. Divide evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes until the muffins pass the toothpick test.

6. Cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

 

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My delightful taster Maggie said these were “Delicious and the perfect combo of crunchy and soft. ” She also liked that they are booth sweet and healthy. They reminded her of banana bread.

 

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Johannes Brahms 5.7.14 Thought of the Day

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind”

 

“It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.”

 

“If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.”

 

–Johannes Brahms

 

 

 

 

Johannes Brahms was born on this day in Hamburg, Germany in 1833. Today is the 181st anniversary of his birth.

 

The second of three children born to Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen and Johann Jakob Brahms, Johannes’ love of music came from his father who played horn and double bass. Little Johannes was playing piano by age seven and earning money as a musician “at local inns, in brothels and along the city’s docks” [Biography.com] by the time he was a teenager.At age 20 he met German composer Robert Schumann. Schumann help his career, and Brahms quickly became friends with Schumann and his wife Clara, a pianist and composer in her own right.  When Schumann attempted suicide  and had to be confined to a sanitarium, Brahms helped out the desperate (and very pregnant) Clara, by moving into the apartment above the family and acting as go between from the Schumann household and  the hospital. Schumann died in the sanitarium a few years later, but Brahm’s friendship with Clara continued. He relied on her to review his compositions and valued her opinions.

 

Brahms in 1853

Brahms in 1853 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While in Hamburg he “held several different posts, including conductor of a women’s choir in Hamburg” [Ibid]. His compositions from this period include:

 

  • String Sextet in B-flat Major
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

Here’s his String Sextet in B-Flat Major as performed by the Berlin Philharmonic:

 

He moved to Vienna in 1850 and in 1863 took the post of Director of the Singakademie, an a cappella group that focused on historical and modern works.

 

Brahms, for the most part, enjoyed steady success in Vienna. By the early 1870s he was principal conductor of the Society of Friends of Music. He also directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for three seasons…. In 1868, following the death of his mother, he finished “A German Requiem,” a composition based on Biblical texts and often cited as one of the most important pieces of choral music created in the 19th century. The multi-layered piece brings together mixed chorus, solo voices and a complete orchestra. [Ibid]

 

He’d found his home in Vienna and lived there for the rest of his life. He traveled in summer, touring Europe for concerts and for pleasure.

 

These later years for the composer saw him living a comfortable life. His music, since 1860 anyway, had sold well, and Brahms, far from flamboyant or excessive, lived a frugal life in his simple apartment. A shrewd investor, Brahms did well in the stock market. His wealth, however, was rivaled by his generosity, as Brahms often gave money to friends and young musical students. [Ibid]

 

Brahms was rather famous in his old age for being sarcastic and rude to adults, but he loved children (and would often give them candy when he saw them in the street.) His music was popular and sold well, and he lived comfortably and with in his means. He was generous to his friends and his students.

 

English: Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), German c...

 

Brahms contracted Liver (or perhaps Pancreatic) Cancer and died at the age of 63 on April 3, 1897.

 

 

 

He wrote in a variety of genres for a number of instruments, and his works include:

 

  • Fugues
  • Cadenzas
  • Choral Pieces
  • Folk Dances
  • Folk Songs
  • Symphonies
  • Concertos
  • Canons
  • Sonatas
  • Masses

 

 

 

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Muffin Monday: Raspberry Pecan Muffins

Note to my vegan friends… as you’ll see pretty quickly from the ingredient list… these are not vegan. So be warned.

These Raspberry Pecan muffins are good on their own. But if you are livin' large and want to ramp up the flavor volume spread a bit of goat cheese on top a hot muffin.

These Raspberry Pecan muffins are good on their own. But if you are livin’ large and want to ramp up the flavor volume spread a bit of goat cheese on top a hot muffin.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Whole-Wheat Flour

1/3 cup sugar

4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 large Egg

3/4 Rice Milk

1/2 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon of Almond Extract

1 cup fresh Raspberries cut in half

1/2 cup Pecans

 

The batter is divided and ready to go into the oven.

The batter is divided and ready to go into the oven.

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees and prep 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl combine the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.

3. In a smaller bowl combine the Egg and Rice Milk.

4. Add the Egg/Milk to the dry.

5. Melt the Butter and let cool. Add the Almond Extract.

6. Add Butter / Almond Extract to batter.

7. Add the Raspberries and Pecans and mix.

8. Divide evenly into muffin cups.

9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins pass the toothpick test.

10. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before eating.

 

 

Fresh from the oven.

Fresh from the oven.

 

You can really taste the butter in these muffins, and you wont need to give them an additional pat. However if you are looking to really boost the flavor, my tester Bill tried them with a bit goat cheese and found them super delicious.

 

 

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Audrey Hepburn 5.4.14 Thought of the Day

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and
for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
— Audrey Hepburn.

 

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on this day  in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. Today is the 85 anniversary of her birth.

 

Her mother was a member of the Dutch aristocracy. Her father was banker. She had two older half brothers.

 

She grew up in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. She attended a small boarding school in Elham England (there were only 14 students) before the outbreak of WWII. Her parents divorced and her mother, Ella took Audrey back to Arnhem hoping that the Netherlands would remain neutral. There she attended the Arnhem Conservatory and continued to study ballet. She used the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra during the war because Audrey sounded too English. “Hepburn and her mother struggled to survive. She reportedly helped the resistance movement by delivering messages.” [Biograph.com] She carried messages in the toes of her ballet slippers and performed in a dance troupe that gave concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance. She survived starvation by eating cakes made of flour made of ground tulip bulbs.  She suffered from anemia and malnutrition. She never forgot the hardships of her war-time youth and devoted herself to the humanitarian organization UNICEF in her later years.

 

After the war, Hepburn continued to pursue an interest in dance. She studied ballet in Amsterdam and later in London. In 1948, Hepburn made her stage debut as a chorus girl in the musical High Button Shoes in London. [Ibid]

 

Her first film role was an untitled one in 1951’s One Wild Oat. She met the French writer Colette who insisted that Hepburn play the lead in the Broadway play version of her book Gigi. So at 22 Hepburn found herself the star of major Broadway production.

 

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Grego...

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck from the trailer for the film Roman Holiday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Soon she was making movies and at 24 she starred opposite Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. She won an Academy Award for her performance as the elegant, spunky,  yet somehow fragile Princess Ann.

 

The following year, in 1954 she won a Tony for her role in the Broadway play Ondine opposite Mel Ferrer. She played a water nymph who falls in love with a human. In real life Hepburn and Ferrer fell in love off stage. They married in September of that year.

 

Also in 1954 Hepburn starred in Sabrina opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. She got an Oscar nom. for this bittersweet  romantic comedy.

 
 

 

English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Hump...

English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film en:Sabrina (1954 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Rita’s note: Can some one please tell Hollywood… THIS is how you make a romantic comedy!

 

 

 

 

 

Hepburn turned to dramatic costume drama in 1956 co-starring with her husband, Ferrer, and Henry Fonda in War and Peace.

 

 

 

She teamed up with Fred Astaire for 1957’s Funny Face. The film allowed Hepburn to show off her dancing skills.

 

 

 

In 1959 she received another Oscar nom. for her role as Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story, which Variety called “her most demanding film role.”   [Ibid]

 

 

 

Then in 1960 she went Western starring in John Huston’s classic The Unforgiven with Burt Lancaster.

 

 

 

In 1961 she went back to rom/coms in Truman Copote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her Holly Golightly earned her a fourth Oscar nom.

 

 

 

For the rest of the 1960s, Hepburn took on a variety of roles. She starred with Cary Grant in the romantic thriller Charade (1963). Playing the lead in the film version of the popular musical My Fair Lady (1964)… Taking on more dramatic fare, she starred a blind woman in the suspenseful tale Wait Until Dark (1967) opposite Alan Arkin. …This film brought her a fifth Academy Award nomination. That same year, Hepburn and her husband separated and later divorced. She married Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969, and the couple had a son, Luca, in 1970. [Ibid]

 

 

Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964)

Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The roles slowed down in the 1970’s and 80s. She worked with Sean Connery, playing an aging Marian in Robin and Marian in 1976. She brought sophisticated grace to the crime thrilled Bloodline with Ben Gazzara in 1979. The two switched gears to comedy and starred again in They All Laughed in 1981. Steven Spielberg had the honor of directing her last film, when she took on a cameo role as an angel in Always.

 

 

 

Hepburn died on January 20, 1993 of appendiceal cancer.

 

 

... Audrey Hepburn

… Audrey Hepburn (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)

 

You may be interested in my previous blog post on

Secondary Character Saturday: Mr. Roat (Wait Until Dark)

Gregory Peck 4.5.13 Thought of the Day

 

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