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Friday, September 24, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Breakfast Date

This is the time of year when I love having a breakfast date.  There’s something about fall that makes breakfast at our favorite coffee shop a real treat. 
For us, for this particular treat, it has to be a morning with the luxury of time, and the absence of real hunger ----- because there is no real, serious breakfast involved.  Oh, there are mornings when we go out for breakfast at some lovely restaurant and have omelets or French toast.  But this fall breakfast date is not that. 
We’ll go to Chocolate Springs and nestle into the sofa at the far end of the room.  They’ll have the pecan buns from Wheatleigh.  They are amazing.  Its probably a good thing that I can’t get my hands on the recipe – but if Gourmet magazine ever wants to print that recipe, I’ll be happy to clip it out and laminate it. 
We’ll bring the paper and browse through together, noticing articles and announcements that would otherwise skitter past unnoticed.  We’ll chat and read little bits of interesting articles to each other.  We’ll giggle at comics, silly photos, grammatical errors and more.
Several cups of hot steamy chai and coffee later, we’ll sigh, and begin to gather our things to leave.  We’ll return to the mundane --- go grocery shopping, take the car to the car wash, and return the bottles to get our deposits back.  But for that hour or so in the coffee shop, with sticky buns and steaming drinks --- we’re lost in our own little romantic world. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Last Patio Dinner

Our date this week will be one last dinner out on the patio.  Soon, the weather will be too cold to enjoy eating out there.  And the time will soon arrive to put the outdoor furniture under wraps to protect it from the winter’s cold and snow.  But for now, one last crazy dinner out under the stars suits me fine. 
Since the weather is already beginning to chill in the evenings, we’ll plan some warm comfort food.  I’m thinking about maybe a hearty quiche.  They’re one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers --- a nice eggy custard in pie crust filled with whatever bits of vegetables I have from the fridge.  I’ll add a bowl of soup beside it.  Its time to break out the crock pot and start my fall/winter ritual of weekly pots of soup. 
We’ll light the tiki torches, not for the bugs – they’re gone for the season – but for the flickering flames --- romance ---- and warmth.  Our friends recently inherited one of those fire pits that acts like a free-standing outdoor fireplace.  I’m not willing to pay actual money for one --- but I love the idea.  If anyone would like to bequeath a fire pit to me, I’ll happily accept. I might even start keeping my eye open for one at tag sales and such.  I wonder if I could extend the use of the patio by a few weeks with a fire pit???
We’ll sit and huddle together over hot tea and coffee and just enjoy being together.  We’ll talk about our day, wonder about the craziness of the world around us, and re-connect in that profound and simple way that knits couples together. 
I’ll sit on my patio and flirt with my husband.  Does life get any better??

Monday, September 13, 2010

Assistant Wanted: Virtual Need Apply

With school having started, my to-do list is getting longer and longer.  Things are in serious danger of not making it onto a “list” and just hoping I’ll remember them.  Clearly, this is not going to work for me.  And it is going to be one very long school year if I don’t find a better way. 
Since I have an IPhone (who’s potential I clearly don’t maximize”) I thought I’d try getting a little more work out of it.  I’ve been looking at personal organizers and virtual assistants. 
I tried Cozi.  It gives you a calendar, to-do lists and more.  It will email your calendar to you each week (even after you decide you don’t want it anymore). And its free. But it doesn’t sync with the IPhone – only with Blackberries and other such smartphones.  So it didn’t help me “on the run”. 
I’m looking now at Jott.  For $3.95 a month Jott will let me phone in messages and reminders to myself and send them back to me as emails.  It will add things to my calendar and set reminder alarms on the calendar for me.  Jott does a bunch of other things too – like converting voicemails to text messages – that I’m not sure I need or want. 
Also on my list of possible hires is Toodledo.  Toodledo is basically a to-do list dream for the Iphone.  It lets me keep a list of to-dos, prioritize them, keep track of due dates etc.  It will sync with ICal (good) and with most other applications known to man.  And its free. 
Next candidate:  RemembertheMilk.  This one also is a steroidal to-do list.  It lets you make lists, set due dates, prioritize tasks etc.  It syncs with googlemaps so you can use the GPS function on the IPhone with it (not sure how useful I’ll find that one, but you never know).  Its free too (like that price)  The only thing I don’t think I like about it is that it looks like you have to email tasks to yourself rather than just add them directly. 
I’m still interviewing --- the freebies may get a probationary period.  I’ll let you know who I hire.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Lunchboxes

Do you pack your husband’s lunch?? Or maybe he packs yours??? (I’ll confess, I’m a spoiled princess who has her lunch packed for her every Monday morning --- talk about love.)  But I leave designated leftovers in the fridge for his lunch all the time ---
However the lunch deal works itself out in your family, it can be a time to flirt shamelessly. 
The next time you’re at the dollar store or the clearance rack of office supplies,  grab some of the adorable shaped post-it notes.  Not just the heart shaped ones, they’re obvious – try the Hawaiian shirt ones, or the bright yellow star shaped ones.  The unusual  post it notes make for great little love notes in a lunch box or even left in the fridge on the leftovers container. 
Whether you choose simple sweet notes:  “I love you”, or even just drawing hearts all over that Hawaiian shirt note --- or choose something a little more seductive --- “this shirt wouldn’t stay on you long if I were there” (okay, really cheesy, I know) – a little love note will give him a smile.  And isn’t that what flirting is all about??? It makes you smile --- and smile ---- and smile……..

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Deep Dish Quiche

I’m almost ready to work the oven again.  The heat of summer is dissipating and we’re ready for hearty foods once again.  We’re still hosting guests fairly regularly, so I’m looking at quiches and frittatas for breakfasts.  This one caught my eye.  Its hearty, yummy and not your usual quiche
Deep Dish Quiche
Olive oil for the pan
1 onion sliced thinly
garlic (to taste)
1 package of baby spinach
dash of salt
refrigerated pie crust (I do NOT make my own pie crust anymore – Pillsbury’s is good)
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 lb of mushrooms sliced and cooked
6 oz cheese
4 eggs
1 cup of milk
½ tsp dried rosemary crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 (always)
Using your large skillet (mine is cast iron) Рheat a little olive oil and saut̩ the onions and garlic until softened
Add the spinach, and salt and pepper.  Cook until wilted.  Drain off any excess liquid
Using a springform pan (trust me on this one) line the pan with the piecrust.  Make sure to come up the sides – that’s the point of “deep dish”
Spread half of the vegetables (all of them) over the bottom of the crust.  Top with half of the cheese
Repeat the layers so you have 4 layers in all
Beat the eggs and milk together. Add the rosemary
Pour over the vegetables and cheese
Bake for 50-60 minutes (until a knife comes out clean)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day

--- Aaaah, Labor Day.  Its such a bittersweet weekend.  On the one hand, it’s a long, three-day weekend with time to relax and enjoy.  On the other hand, it is the harbinger of fall, the exclamation mark on summer.  School is back in session.  The weather is beginning to hint at changes.  The beach is surely done for the season. 
But it also the promise of fall.  The whisper of changing leaves, crisp mornings, apple picking and pumpkins.  There is so much to look forward to. 
One of the wonders of living in the Northeast is the drama of the changing seasons.  Fall is incredibly different than summer or winter.  It holds wonder and joy that is all its own.  Labor Day can be a day to mourn the loss of summer ---- or it can be a welcoming and anticipation of the arrival of autumn.  The glass can be half full if we allow it to be.  

Friday, September 03, 2010

Flirt with Your Husband Friday: Back to School Date

When I was a child, my mother always looked forward to the first day of school.  No, she didn’t attend school --- it was her first day without children after the long summer.  One year (after an especially trying summer), she even kissed the front of the schoolbus.  I never knew quite what my parents did with the day (dad always seemed to manage to have that day off), but it was their day --- without the kids. 
Now, things are a little bit different.  For one, I TEACH at a school, which makes the first day of school one of the craziest days of the year.  For another, I’m now the grown-up – cherishing the ritual of the first day of school.  (I also have a much easier time imagining what my mom and dad might have done with their first day of freedom.)
So --- have a back to school date.  Go out to dinner on the first night of school if you’re a teacher (you won’t be up for cooking anyway – so plan ahead for it).  Or go out to lunch after the kiddos are all safely at school --- just the two of you.  It won’t matter if its McDonalds or some chic French bistro – its time alone together and a ritual that will repeat itself for years to come.  That’s what making family memories is all about --- repetition and rituals.  Maybe some day your children will be writing about how mom and dad always had a date on the first day of school.  

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Summer's Swan Song

Summer is coming to a sure close.  I’m sad to see it end.  This weekend we’ll be having a family picnic at the Jazz Festival.  This is one concert that everyone in the family seems to be able to enjoy --- and we have widely diverse tastes in music! 
Since this is likely the last picnic of the season, I really want to make it a little extra special.  We’ll set up the table, with a tablecloth and cloth napkins.  It always amazes me how much that simple detail makes a picnic feel more special.  Even if I’m serving take-out or pizza (which, I confess, I’ve done once or twice) it makes the entire meal feel a little bit more elegant.  It only takes a few minutes to drop the used linens in the washing machine and later, the dryer.  Well worth the effort. 
Food will be a bit more challenging.  We’ll have the young children (who only eat white foods --- chicken, french-fries, rice, cheese, pasta etc), the vegetarians, the die-hard meat men, and one fairly fussy eater.  Mix all of that in with a little bit of food snobbery – and you begin to sense the menu dilemna. 
Whenever this kind of menu stress kicks in, I turn to my skewers.  Anything skewered seems a little bit fancier.  I can skewer the chicken nuggets for the kiddos, skewer a wide host of veggies for the vegetarians (and for me) and even skewer some fresh fruit for dessert later.  Mix in a salad, maybe a noodle salad as well, and we’ll have a lovely menu. 
Add some wine, some sparkling juice for the young ones and it will be the makings of an elegant picnic.  Care to join us???