P.S. I ended up at School #2. You know the rest of the story. . . .
Thursday, January 31, 2013
P.S. I ended up at School #2. You know the rest of the story. . . .
Monday, January 28, 2013
She tells Mary that she feels as big as a house, her ankles are swelling, and her head hurts (uh oh!), and then she says a line that I think every pregnant woman in her last trimester of pregnancy has uttered a time or two:
Anyone with me?
Just in case you didn't get enough last night, I found this on the PBS website. Grab some kleenex and watch:
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Friday, January 18, 2013
I guess I haven't been very faithful in that, have I?
Oh, let's be honest. I haven't been faithful at all.
I'm no food blogger, and I never will be--Ree Drummond can have the spotlight in that arena. But what I do know is that I can cook me some real good food. (Ree's got nothing on me in the area of execution, if I do say so myself.)
And what I also know is that I love to share my food with you.
So one goal that I have for this year is to share more recipes with you. I promise you I won't blog about food every week, but maybe every two or three weeks might be reasonable. At least once a month--how about that?
So, with that out of the way, let's move on.
Let's talk about pots, shall we?
I've become a collector of pots, it seems, because my cupboard is bulging with them.
Here's one of the earliest pots I acquired. I think I stole this from one of my college roommates, but I'm not sure. I don't think it was my moms. That's how old this pot is--I can't even remember when or where I got it.
It's kind of hideous, isn't it?
But it still works great, and I'm sure some college girls will LOVE using it next year.
The next pot is one of my favorites--you've seen it featured here many times before. It's a Magnalite roaster that dates back to probably the 1950s.
But this one is special because it belonged to my Grandma Nell. She gave it to me when I was in college, so I have had this since before I got married. This beautiful roaster has made many a meal, has seen many a disaster, and has given me many moments of happiness.
I'll be sad to ever see it go.
Several years ago, when I worked at Williams-Sonoma during the Christmas season (yeah, it was fun and no, I didn't make a dime because I spent it all), I bought this shiny Calphalon pot. Lots and lots of delicious soup has been made in this one.
I also have a 12-quart stock pot complete with both a steaming AND a pasta basket. But I didn't give you a picture because I need to move on.
This Christmas my dear husband gave me this.
Isn't it beautiful?
I will love him (and it) forever.
I have been hinting and hinting for YEARS that I would love to have a Le Creuset, ever since the Williams-Sonoma incident, I think. He finally took the bait.
I've already used it at least four times since Christmas, but I wanted to share with you my inaugural recipe for the Le Creuset: Braised Short Ribs. I made these on New Year's Eve for our family. Get ready to lick your chops. These are GOOD.
Never had short ribs before? Never even heard of short ribs? Me too, until a few years ago when my husband took me to the most amazing French restaurant that served Short Rib Ravioli with Sherry Cream Sauce. Heaven!
Short ribs (known in the UK as "thin ribs" or "Jacob's ladder") are a strange little cut of beef. They can be tough, which is why they require long, slow cooking methods. I get mine at Costco where they come boneless and cut in long strips, but you could probably get them at a butcher shop, too.
I saw Anne Burrell make these on the Food Network a couple of years ago and thought, I could do that, because Anne makes everything look so easy. Turns out they were! This is pretty much Anne's recipe.
Take your beautiful pot. Or your old dingy one. It really doesn't matter.
Get it good and hot and put a little olive oil in the bottom. Add the meat and brown it well on both sides with plenty of salt and pepper.
While the meat is browning, take some onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and pulse it in a food processor. Go ahead. Pulse away. Anne says to make a paste out of it.
When the short ribs have finished browning, set them aside on a plate.
Then add a little more olive oil to the pot and add the vegetables. Anne says to brown the vegetables until a "crud" forms on the bottom of the pot. Scrape it, brown some more, and scrape again.
Then add 1 1/2 cups of tomato paste (that's a big can--12 ounces) to the crud on the bottom of your pan.
Keep browning and scraping, browning and scraping, because this is where all the flavor comes from. Trust me, it's worth it.
Now add lots of red wine and let the whole thing bubble and reduce for a while. In the end, you'll get a sauce that looks like this.
Add the short ribs to the sauce and add enough water so that liquid covers the meat. Place a bundle of thyme on top, along with a bay leaf or two, and put the whole thing in the oven for three hours.
(Here's another shot of my pot going in the oven. Isn't she pretty?)
That's right. Three hours. (About halfway through you'll want to turn the meat over and add more water if you think they need it.)
When finished, the short ribs will be tender and, ohmygoodness, so delicious.
Serve them on a pile of homemade mashed potatoes.
Your family will think they've died and gone to heaven.
And they have!
So there you go. It's a long weekend, it's supposed to get cold, so you need something to do. Go make this recipe. Don't be afraid of it. You can do this!
And if you want a printable copy of this recipe, click here.
Linking this post to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link-up.
Monday, January 14, 2013
I mean, fun for us, but not for poor Edith. And poor, poor Edith is where I think I'll start this week with my Top Five Lines from last night's episode of Downton Abbey.
5. Did anyone else want to slap Edith as she exclaimed, while giddily watched everyone else working so hard to get ready for her wedding, “Something happening in this house is actually about me!” Anyone? Anyone?
But I did love her "Papa's" comeback to Sir Anthony when he asked Robert if he was happy about the marriage: "I’m happy Edith is happy. I’m happy you mean to keep her happy. That is quite enough happiness to be going on with."
Oh those English, they really know how to evade an answer, don't they?
4. Isobel has got to be the most self-righteous, falsely-pious do-gooder I've ever seen, and I, for one, am getting just a leeettle bit tired of it. Surely she's going to get knocked down a peg pretty soon. Or at least gain an ounce of humility.
But in the meantime, it's Violet's job to keep Isobel humble, and she's certainly earning her keep.
This week brought another subtle jab from Violet. Isobel ever-so humbly (not!) joined the chauffeur in the front seat of the car during the "family outing" to Downton Place (you know, that dump the family might have had to move into if Matthew hadn't come to his senses). Sir Anthony says he would have gladly sat in front, but Isobel waves him off with another one of her placating remarks: "Oh, I've sat in the front seat plenty of times" or something like that.
Violet grimaces, then jabs: "Oh, aren't you a wild thing?"
Touche, Violet! Touche!
3. For newlyweds, Mary and Matthew are sure doing their fair share of bickering over money. This does not bode well for the future, I have a feeling. Mary, you've got to stop hen-pecking your husband over his inheritance. It's getting annoying, even to me.
But Matthew had a great comeback for her after she practically forced him to read the letter from Reggie Swire: "Are you sure you didn't write it?"
Bless you, Matthew, for taking her on.
2. My second-favorite moment of the episode came when Cora confronted Mrs. Hughes about the possibility of her being sick. She rambles on and on while Mrs. Hughes just stands there, mouth hanging open, completely stunned that Cora even knows anything about her "situation."
Before Mrs. Hughes can get a word in, Cora tells her, "I don’t want you to have any concerns about where you will go or who will care for you because the answer is 'here' and 'we will.'”
Such a sweet moment of grace and compassion.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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How about you? Have you chosen a word for this year? I'd love it if you'd share it in the comments.
A huge thank you to Melanie at Only a Breath who chose "give" for her word and is GIVING these beautiful "One Word" buttons to anyone who requests one. Visit her. Follow her. I know she'd love to hear from you.
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Monday, January 7, 2013
It feels like it's been a year since we've had fun with the Grantham/Crawley clan. Wait. It almost has been a year! The waiting has been grueling, but it's finally over and Season 3 has begun.
And, as promised, I'm going to record my Top Five (or Ten) favorite lines from each episode. Will you join me?
It was a challenge, folks, to find only five great lines in the opening episode of this new season of Downton Abbey. I mean, when Robert refers to himself as a "Chicago bootlegger," who can resist?
(Personally, I had to roll my eyes at that one. I think many people in England still think of Chicago as the land of Al Capone. Good grief!)
And the words of wisdom that were bandied about in this episode! Like when Anna tells Bates: "Never make an enemy by accident." I may have to do a separate post on all the aphorisms used. Stay tuned.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode; it seemed to me to be kind of flat. I'm sure they were just setting us up for the rest of the season, which is important, but it seemed like nothing much really happened.
Well, aside from Matthew and Mary finally getting married. Whew! So glad that's official.
And that brings me to my Number Five quote(s) from the episode. I just loved when Matthew and Mary were standing at the altar (pretty much the only thing they showed us of the wedding, by the way) and Matthew looked at Mary and said, "To be honest, I wasn't sure you'd show up." To which Mary replied, "Good, I'd hate to be predictable."
That's my girl, Mary. Gotta keep him on his toes.
And while we're on the subject, did anyone else just crack up at the interchange between Robert and Matthew when M&M returned from their honeymoon?
Robert: How was the honeymoon?
Matthew: My eyes have been opened.
Robert: Don't I know it.
Um, yeah. Awkward. How many of you would actually talk to your in-laws about your honeymoon? Like, ever?
I didn't think so.
Moving on to Number Four. Matthew and Tom had a couple of nice scenes together; I hope they continue this friendship.
Matthew: "We're brothers-in-law with high minded wives. We've got to stick together."
Ha! I've got a husband and a couple of brothers-in-law who could probably say the same thing.
Or how about this one, as Matthew is asking Tom to be his best man?
"If we're man enough to take on the Crawley girls, we've got to stick together."
Think Matthew wants them to stick together? Redundant, yes, but cute.
Finally, I think Tom has Matthew pegged. As his best man, Tom has to do the job of convincing Matthew to just forget petty arguments about the family fortune and go ahead, bite the bullet, and get married. He tells Matthew this: “But you’re meant to be together. . . . Because I’ll tell you this. You won’t be happy with anyone else while Lady Mary walks the earth.”
Isn't that so true? So true!
Number Three. Tom was great last night, and I'm kind of liking his character. He's good for the Crawleys. I loved this interchange between Isobel, Violet, and Tom.
Tom: “I want to apologize for last night.”
Isobel: “Oh, there’s no need. We know it wasn’t your fault.”
Violet: “You weren’t the first drunk in that dining room, I can assure you.”
Tom: “Only the first Republican.”
Violet: “You’ve got me there.”
Number Two. We have to include the scene between Robert and Cora, don't we, when Robert confesses that he really didn't know how to handle the family finances and has lost everything. (Even I know the first rule of finance: diversify. Oh, Robert, Robert, Robert.)
Anyway, he tearfully confesses his idiocy to his wife and Cora responds surprisingly graciously.
Cora: Oh my dear. How terrible for you.
Robert: It’s not so good for you either.
Cora: Don’t worry about me. I’m an American. Have gun will travel.
Did it seem to you that there were an awful lot of silly American references last night? Maybe Julian Fellowes needs to take a trip over here. I'd gladly show him around Chicago just to prove that the ghost of Al Capone has been put to rest.
Anyway, just after that Robert and Cora share a very sweet exchange. (And, BTW, I'm so happy Robert has put Housemaid Jane behind him.)
Robert: Thank God for you.
Cora may be an American, but she's one of the only ones with some decent perspective.
Number One. We couldn't recap this episode without some Violet quotes now, could we? She and Martha Levinson (played by Shirley MacLaine) have some awesome sparring matches. Didn't you just love this line by Violet, referring to Martha?
“She is like a homing pigeon. She finds our underbelly every time.”
Or how about when Martha sees Violet for the first time? She says, "Oh dear, it seems the war has made old women of us both." To which Violet replies, "I wouldn’t say that. But then, I always keep out of the sun."
Anyway, my favorite line of the evening came as Cora announces to the family that her mother is coming for a visit.
Violet: I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.
Matthew: Isn’t she American?
And with that, I will leave you to contemplate for another week.
Wasn't it fun? Did I miss some of your favorite lines? Tell me in the comments!
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Friday, January 4, 2013
You know what Sunday is?
It's the day we've been waiting for since, oh, February 19, 2012. The day when the Downton Abbey Christmas episode aired here in the U.S.
Sunday is the day that Downton Abbey Season 3 begins!
Now, I'm not naive enough to think that some of you haven't watched it already. Probably illegally, I might add. But I know you're out there.
You know who you are.
Anyway . . . when last we left the manor, Matthew had just proposed to Mary, Sybil was pregnant with the chauffeur's baby, and Edith was still desperate to be loved by just about anyone.
Will Sybil have her baby? Will she be welcomed back to the manor?
Will Edith ever find true love?
And what about Robert and Cora? I mean, Housemaid Jane nearly ruined them without Cora even noticing anything was wrong. Will Jane show up again? Will the Grantham's attend marital counseling?
And then there's Bates. Dear John Bates, still in jail, and Sweet Anna left behind with her bottom lip quivering. Hopefully all the "Free Bates" t-shirt sales have added something to his legal fund and he'll be able to come back to Lord Grantham, living to brush his shoulders yet another day. But will he be released? We still don't know.
So, if you're a Downton Abbey fan, Sunday is your day. I'm not foolish enough to suggest that ALL of our questions will be answered, but hopefully some of them will.
I haven't watched Season 3 yet. I decided last fall that I wanted to watch each episode in the U.S. as they happen.
So I'll be watching for the first time on Sunday. And on Monday I'll be posting, once again, my Top Five lines from the previous night's episode.
Last year I started posting these recaps sometime in the middle of the season. I had a fantastic response from all of you, so I thought I'd do it again. Besides, these posts are so much fun to write--the Grantham family practically writes them for me!
Just in case you missed some of my Top Five (or Ten) Lines posts, here are the links so you can get caught up.
Top Five Lines from Season 2, Episode 3
Top Five Lines from Season 2, Episode 4
Top Five Lines from Season 2, Episode 5
Top Ten Lines from Season 2, Episode 6
Top Ten Lines from Downton Abbey's Season 2 Christmas Episode
Have fun catching up, and I'll see you on Monday!
Now tell me, what is you favorite Downton Abbey moment so far? What do you hope happens in Season 3? And, please, no spoilers!!
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