Oprah’s Words Of Wisdom To Roseanne (And Me)

I remember in 1998 when Roseanne announced on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that she was going to do a daily syndicated talk show to air during the daytime hours.  Oprah looked at her with a wry little smile on her face and then told Roseanne that doing a talk show sounds easy in theory, but come January and February, she would see how hard it is to try to think up bright and exciting show topics to air in the dead of Winter.  14 years later, Oprah’s words of wisdom are speaking to me here at Acorns On Glen.  You see, blogging is a great way to document your life and let people read about the interesting things you do in it, until you feel that you have become the saddest person in the world and there is not one thing that you do in the dead of Winter that would interest somebody.  During Spring, Summer and Fall, there was almost never a week/weekend that went by where I didn’t do four or five things that I thought would make an interesting post.  I was always cooking a new recipe, there was always news from my garden, nature was in full swing and doing things worthy of writing about and I was traveling to here and there and able to share my finds in the places that I had visited.  All that comes to a crashing halt when the dead of Winter takes over.  I mean, I have become the most boring person who has ever written a blog this last month and I don’t see much improvement going into February.  I mean, take a look at the possible titles I could have written about for events happening with or to me over this past weekend.  Would you want to read stories like these?

  • My Adventures With Bed Sores After A 12 Hour Sleep,
  • New Ways To Avoid Taking A Shower Until 6 PM,
  • What To Eat When You Have Absolutely No Food In The House,
  • Fun Things To Do While You Wait For The Quarterly Exterminator Visit,
  • How To Open Frozen Car Doors After You Take The Car To Be Washed,
  • How To Hire Young Teens To Pick Up Tree Limbs That Fall Into Your Yard After Strong Winds,
  • Shock After Realizing You Have Used The Brush On Your Clarisonic Toothbrush For Over Six Months,
  • Flushed With Excitement – “The Good Wife” Airs A New Episode,
  • Howard Hughes Has Nothing On These Toenails I’m Clipping Now,
  • Can a 3 1/2 Hour Sleep Really Be Termed A Nap?,
  • The DMV – New Ways To Meet Weird People!, or
  • The DMV – Their Technological Advances Since My Last Visit (NOT!)

I swear to God that each of these titles could have a story behind them in minutes, but I don’t think there would be too many hits.  There is a direct correlation –  the colder it gets, the sadder my life becomes.  I’m thinking March will be my turning point.  I will begin to go out into the world more and do interesting things once again.  Until then, if you see Oprah, can you tell her to call me with some ideas she used for topics during January and February?  I really need them.

Friday Dance Party – Fun. We Are Young Featuring Janelle Monáe.

It’s time for another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

January, 2012 has been typical of all the January’s I’ve experienced over the last ten to fifteen years.  We go to a New Year’s Eve party where everyone complains the next day on how it could have been better even though I had a good time.  Within a week or two into the new year, I decide that I am too heavy and I decide to go on a strict diet.  Towards the end of the month, I always buy a self-help book and begin reading it and then decide that I don’t really want to work on being (pick one:  more loving, more caring, more honest with my partner, better able to read my internal body signs, able to pick healthier foods, ten years younger in ten days).  The list goes on and on.  This year the self-help book I’m reading says that a common trick to looking and feeling younger is to act like you are young again.  It says to pick a time in your young life when you were the happiest and act like that for a period of time and you will feel better and look younger.  So I ask, does this make any sense to you and do any of us really want to go back and act like we did when we were young?  I’m not sure I do!  Granted, if I could go back and be 25 or 30 again, but with the knowledge I have now, then maybe I would do it.  However, without my 47 years of wisdom, I’m not a fan of going back to those days.  Even at my youngest and happiest, I still did some really stupid stuff:

  • Relationships – I remember during a break-up, I went and laid behind the back wheels of the person’s car so there was no way the person could leave without either dealing with me or running over me.
  • Work – I made people at work understand that I would most likely be hung over every Monday because there was a bar that I liked that had Sunday night beer blast when bottles of beer were only $1.
  • Finances – I took out cash advances on three credit cards and borrowed money from my parents to buy my first apartment.  Savings at that time totaled $0.

I think you get where I’m coming from.  Acting like this again just isn’t in me these days.  How about I just stick with something I know and think I’m getting really good at –  being 47 and proud of it.  This week’s dance number comes from a group named Fun. with their song ‘We Are Young’ featuring Janelle Monae.  So let’s dance this week and be proud of earning our stripes over the years.  It’s another week down and we’ve made it through.  After we’re done dancing, I’m off to find another $1 Beer Blast.  I think this beer blast from the past should really come back in style, don’t you?

Friday Dance Party – Beyonce’s Countdown

So here’s another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It’s strange what makes the news nowadays.  It seems we hear more and more celebrity drama reported right up there with the European debt crisis, the war in Afghanistan and the Republican primaries.  On a recent newscast I watched, Mitt Romney’s win in New Hampshire was followed by an in-depth story on Katy Perry’s divorce and the reaction it has gotten from her very Christian parents.  Was this newscast for real?  Do people really care?  I guess they do or this type of reporting wouldn’t exist.  Is it that there is so much going on in the world to depress people that any chance to show someone fall down who seems to “have it all” makes the masses a little happier?  Case in point, the birth this week of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue Ivy.  Can you imagine how you would feel if you got your contractions down to a few minutes apart, you rush to the hospital, you deliver your child and at the same time you are creating an international scandal.  Here are some headlines across New York City newspapers this week:

“See The Room Where Beyoncé Gave Birth”

“Beyoncé Gives Birth On Saturday”

“Beyoncé And Jay-Z Welcome Blue Ivy”

“Name Blue IVy Centers On Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Infatuation With The Number 4″

“What Kind Of Name Is Beyoncé’s Baby Blue Ivy”

(Picture courtesy of 50 Cent on Twitter)

“NYC Hospital Under Scrutiny After Beyoncé Birth”

“Hospital Investigating Beyoncé Birth Allegations”

“NYC Mayor Weighs In On Beyoncé Birth”

“New Mother – I Couldn’t Breast Feed My New Baby Because Of Beyoncé Security”

Enough already.  Just let them enjoy the birth of their daughter.  Yes, I know that people say they make a lot of money and sign up for this type of scrutiny, but really, does this mean intense scrutiny even in the most private of life events like the birth of a child.  I just don’t agree with that theory.  So here’s my headline:

“Beyoncé Gives Birth –  Let’s Dance”

We made it through another week.  Let’s celebrate with “Countdown” by Beyoncé.  Go on, you deserve it.  Get up and dance (just don’t let any paparazzi take your picture).  Don’t even let me see you on the cover of the National Enquirer.

Good Food From Fellow Bloggers

It’s funny how my recipe hunting habits have changed since we started Acorns On Glen.  I used to spend hours reading cookbooks to find that one recipe that was  perfect for that night’s dinner or just the right dessert to end a certain meal on a high note.  I love to cook, but have always cooked using recipes from cookbooks.  I envy people like the Notorious B.I.G. (Brooklyn Italian Grandmother) that can cook a variety of dishes from memory, using just the right amount of this or that by feel versus measuring cups and spoons to get exactly the amount the recipe states.  I think it is the accountant in me that is the reason why I always cook from cookbook recipes.  I like to be able to read the step-by-step narrative and picture in my head what each step will look like and exactly when I will need to chop something or measure something out.

Cookbook reading can also turn into an expensive habit.  I have at least two bookcases full of them ranging from the newest selection from one of the chef’s on the Food Network to cookbooks from chefs that cook at one of the many restaurants we go to when staying in New York City or when we go on vacation.  So while I still spend a lot of time reading and looking for a recipe that will make that night’s perfect dish, I now do it through all the great cooks that blog here on WordPress.  Almost every day, I go into the list of WordPress topics and click on “Recipes” or “Food”.  That takes me into the best cookbook I have read in years.  I’ve been calling it “The WordPress Cookbook”.  There are so many cooks posting recipes for great dishes from all around the world and honestly, I’ve cooked a lot of them.

Which brings me to the sticky buns I made over the weekend from joshuafagans.  His writing about how they are his family’s Christmas tradition was great, but it was the picture of the buns themselves that made my mouth water.  I have to say that I don’t have great luck in making dough.  For whatever reason, my dough never seems to rise very high or seems like a big strip of rubber.  However, after seeing the picture from joshuafagans, I was ready for a little dough adventure.  Please read the original post over at joshuafagans and see how to make it the sane way as well as the quick way, which is pretty funny.  My version is below.  I followed the recipe exactly as written using the “sane” way….read his post and you’ll understand.  Thanks joshuafagans for such a great post and a delicious recipe!

  • 1 cup scalded milk (scalded milk is just heated milk.  You know you are there when bubbles come up on the sides of the pan, but the milk is not yet boiling)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Melt the butter in the scalded milk and allow to cool.  Soften the yeast in the water.  Mix milk mixture with the yeast, eggs, sugar, salt and flour.  I did this in a standing mixer until a ball formed and then took the dough out and kneaded it until smooth and elastic.  I let the dough rise for 3 hours inside of my oven with the “Proof” setting turned on.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 10″ x 18″ rectangle.  Spread the butter onto each half.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over each rectangle.  Drizzle the syrup over both as well.

Roll the rectangles up in a jelly roll fashion and then slice each roll into 12 slices.  Place into two 9 inch cake pans and let rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 and bake until nice and brown, at least 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the pan.

So give “The WordPress Cookbook” a try if you haven’t already.  If you make these sticky buns, be sure to stop by joshuafagans and thank him.  Enjoy!

Happy New Year 2012 – Two Ways

There are many ways to bring in the New Year.  So whether you want to bring it in all sweet and sentimental or you bring it in rowdy and crazy, the choice is for you to make.  Whatever way you choose, please know that all of us here at Acorns On Glen want to wish you, your family and your friends a very Happy New Year 2012 and may even your wildest and craziest dreams come true.  We look forward to spending more time with you in 2012.  Our best to you in the New Year…………and where is the Advil for our friend below?

Friday Dance Party With Some Extras – It All Starts With A Christmas Without You

This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It’s our last Friday before Christmas.  I hope everyone has purchased all their gifts and have wrapped the majority of them.  Unlike me, that has not even sent one box to my family back home in Iowa, does not have all their presents purchased and not one single package wrapped.  I may be in trouble, but as a woman at work told me there is always money.  It always fits and is always the right color.  I think this week it is only right to dance to another Christmas carol.  Last week, we listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs sung by Judy Garland in “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  Here is another favorite but we will need to travel from 1944 (the year last week’s song was released to the masses) to 1984 (when this week’s song was released to the public).  Yes, 1984!  I can’t believe that it was over 25 years ago that I watched the Christmas special “A Christmas To Remember” with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.  O.K., their names may make you snicker a little, but back in 1984 these two were hot, hot, hot.  They were just coming off the success of their smash hit “Islands In The Stream” and so naturally when you have a big hit you immediately turn around and do a Christmas special with some new Christmas songs to introduce.  Are you thinking Justin Bieber right now?  The same trick is being used over 25 years later.

I don’t know what it was then, but my friends and I that watched this special loved this song.  We bought the album (yes, it was an album) and have listened pretty much every year to this song (from album, to cassette tape and now to CD).  We have actually used it to tease several of my divorced friends.  What better way to tease someone divorced than to play “Christmas Without You” over and over and over.  Call us cruel, but this “inside joke” has helped keep the song alive for us over all these years.

This week, I’ll admit finding that one perfect Christmas song for us to dance to was tough.  I have a lot of favorites.  Let me share with you some of my runner-ups.  If Dolly and Kenny aren’t your style, here are a couple of alternatives:

I love me some Amy Grant!

A Nat King Cole classic.

I still have the original album in my collection.  It’s the same album cover as in this little goodie.

I hope you liked this little Friday Dance Party with a twist.  Pick your favorite from the music above and just dance.  It’s the holidays and we’re still alive and kicking.  Here’s to us!!  I wish all of you a happy holiday season and let’s pray for peace on Earth.  What are your favorite Christmas carols or other holiday music?

Christmas Cookie #4 – Cashew Brittle (Not A Cookie, But We Can Pretend)

This brittle has always been a Christmas staple in my household.  I can remember my mom making this brittle as a very young child.  It’s funny about old memories.  My memory of my mom making brittle is as clear as it was when I was actually watching her.  I can remember what the pan looked like that she used, I can remember the exact spoon and even what the candy thermometer looked like.  I can also remember eating pounds of it, including it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Over time, I have taken her recipe and made some modifications.  The biggest one is that I replaced peanuts with whole cashews.  The cashews give the brittle a little more crunch and a little bit more creaminess.  I also try to eat only a few pieces now versus half the container like I used to do when I was a kid.  One thing I haven’t changed from my mom’s recipe is that I try to stretch the brittle as thin as possible.  It is a lot more delicious when your pieces are thin versus thick.  Here’s how we made the cashew brittle this year:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups salted, roasted cashews
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

Directions:

Butter a large baking pan; set aside.  Combine cashews, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Insert a candy thermometer.  Continue boiling, without stirring, until temperature registers 295 degrees, about 6 minutes.  When sugar begins to brown, stir nuts gently to ensure even cooking.  Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in the butter and baking soda; the mixture will begin to foam up, so mix quickly.  Pour onto the prepared baking pan.

As soon as the brittle is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to stretch the brittle as thinly as possible over the baking pan.

Allow the brittle to cool completely, about 45 minutes, then break into bite-size pieces.

This cashew brittle is salty-sweet perfection.  Be careful though, it can become addictive.  You won’t be able to stop eating it once you start.  I like this brittle as well for all the memories it has brought me through the years.  It’s nice to include something in your Christmas cookie collection that reminds you of Christmas past.  So there you have it.  Our Christmas cookie and treat selection for 2011.  I love how the flavors are all unique and stand up well on their own, but also how they complement each other when you make a tin up for a friend.  Coconut pyramids that look like little modern pieces of art, the long biscotti with its red cranberries and green pistachios in the mix, the pretty cookie press cookies that are too cute to eat and the salty-sweet cashew brittle.  The four of these really make a nice little treat for Santa, but better than that, for you and your family to enjoy over the Christmas holiday.  Thanks for baking with us!  Do you and your family eat all of your Christmas baked goods or do you share them with other family and friends too?