Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #99 -- Crab Dip

Recipe number 99

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook
What is it, you may ask?
In a nutshell...
About 15 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!
Because  one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!

Which brings me to recipe #99 Theda's Crab Dip

Crab Dip.  Cream cheese, mayonnaise, crab.
You really can't go wrong here.
Well, I guess you can go wrong, you could eat WAY TOO MUCH, if don't have some self control.
Have self control!  I know it will be hard, because this is just so good!
I found this email from Theda dated  2003, when she first sent it too me.  It's in my 'appetizer' notebook---and also in the Friday Friend Cookbook (I do have some cross referencing going on in my cookbook notebooks)--- so I'm going to include her story--her version of how she got the recipe.
And.... I think you can make out the recipe if you want to make it.
(that says HEAT the cream cheese and mushroom soup)

I made this a gazillion months ago  (let's say October) when I made 4 other appetizer's for our Friday night friends.
Here they all are below! friend Theda.
This is her 12th recipe in the FF cookbook countdown.
Her sister  Freda was our neighbor when I was growing up.  Freda was 16 years older than Theda and had 4 kids, so we all played together in the neighborhood--or they played with my brother, as he was younger than I.
Freda and her husband Jim, were great neighbors---the lived  across from cranky Mrs. Orman.  Cranky Mrs. Orman lived on the corner and could see all of us kinds on both streets and would yell at us if we were doing something she didn't think we should. 
None of us liked cranky Mrs. Orman.  But my mother would invite her for Thanksgiving--the horror of horrors!!
Anyway, I have great memories of Theda's sister Freda, from way before I ever met Theda.  Freda was a constant in my neighborhood.
Freda passed away last week, and I just feel I need to mention it since I'm doing one of Theda's recipes.
Freda was great
And would be so happy that John and Theda are doing this:
What you ask?
Getting so close to becoming retirees that's what!
They went and bought a Winnebago!
And then they go sit on the beach and do this!
Drink wine and watch the waves!
Hey....the best is yet to come, right?!

It might have been a bit chilly!
That's my FF Story!
And I'm sticking to it.


Inside the O'Briens --Winner of my TBR list

This is the 3rd time I have I joined in a monthly meme hosted by Michelle at  Because Reading is Better than Real Life, in which we put up 3 books on the first Saturday of the month, and then you readers, vote on which one I should read, I read and then I write a blog post on the last Saturday of the month.
It's so much fun!
This time the winner was:
Inside the O'Briens
by Lisa Genova
I'm so glad that YOU guys chose it for me.
What do I have to say about this book?
I loved it, I hated it?  I loved it.  It was good, but bad, heart wrenching, emotional, happy, hopeful?
It was all those things and more.
It's a very powerful story.
And the way Genova writes? Oh man!
That's all---my very impressive opinion on her writing style--Oh man!
You can interpret that any way you want--you'll have to read it to find out for yourself.
From Goodreads:
Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.
Think about joining in with us next Saturday--and put up 3 books for bloggers to vote on which one you read.
Thanks Michelle!

Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Monday! What are you Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!
A week seems to fly by when you are crazy busy at work!  These are the books I have read lately and haven't had a chance to write a post about.
Four Seasons in Rome--a lovely book.  I don't know how else to describe it. It was like being warm and comfortable and eating chocolate chip cookies. It was just a nice memoir.
Jane Steele--I Loved this book! 
But you do have to have read Jane Eyre to "get" it.

This was a book club read--really good.
These two are just really fun reads. I liked them a lot.
There are 6 more in the series---about siblings---and I will continue with them. I need to find out what happens.  If you like a good romance, I think you'll enjoy this series.

So that's what I've been reading!
How about you?


Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!

This book!!!

I  need everyone to read Jane Erye (who hasn't read it) and then read this book. And then we can discuss it.
I loved this book.

I haven't been reading much lately--a slump I guess.
But I've purchased a lot of books at my favorite Indy Bookstore while I was on vacation.
(that counts, right)

What have I purchased lately?

So that's what's coming up for me.
Soon I hope!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Post (and other things--Music and Cookbook Countdown #87 and weekend cooking)

This is my Sunday Post #9
The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
I am not consistent.
My last Sunday Post was on February 21st.
It's not that I don't mean to join in---I'm going to blame it on--I give up, I can't think of anything to blame it on.  I mean I'm not any more busy than the rest of y'all.
WHICH brings me to this:  The term y'all is making it's way west!  I'm hearing it more and more.
Maybe because my daughter-in-law is from Virginia?  And she uses it all the time--it's the only concession to her southern upbringing in her speech, as she doesn't have a drawl at all.
So, anyway, I was going to write "you guys" instead of "y'all" but...
....I'm meandering.  Yes. It's what I do.
I don't know how to start....
I have not been blogging much and it's hard to get started again.
What have I been reading?  What have I been doing? What have I been cooking?
Before I get to meandering off again....
only 1 thing on the  blog this past week:
That's the only bookish post/link I have in this bookish meme.
So if books are all you are about---sorry.
Off the blog?
Work is crazy-- 2 big events coming up next weekend.  Who the hell plans 2 events on one weekend?  2 different committees who didn't communicate?  Yes!  At least they are at different times and won't overlap.  It just makes it crazy for me.
Letters-- Yes, I've been writing them, because I love to.  I love getting them too. I can get  a little wordy and crazy, but whatever (that happens to be the most annoying word/phrase in the world, but ?? )
TV-- I don't watch a lot, but I just started watching THE PATH, which is a HULU original series, about a mainstream cult.  Cults intrigue me.  The show I find strangely addicting. To me.  But unlike Netflix, who dumps their whole season at once so you can binge watch, HULU puts up one show a week, so I HAVE TO WAIT!
Music-- I've been making my way thru my parents extensive record album collection.  I just wanted to listen before I gave them away, passed them on to a record store or whatever.  But there are seriously hundreds of albums.  And then when I add in what the Handyman own and what I own (from our teenage years), that's a lot of listening.  Some of it GREAT old music.  Some not so much.
I have found I love old album covers.  Look at these couples!
Conway is dead.  Love did not keep the Captain and Tenille Together, but Herb?  He's still alive and well. And yes, that's him on his cover.  (I am showing my age, but does anyone remember his Whipped cream album? Racy for the times!! )

And then I came across this set of albums, which I had forgotten I owned.  Remember the Top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem?  Before computers, etc they used to be sent to radio stations on vinyl (complete with commercials) to be played on Saturday mornings.   My friend Laura gave me these series of albums from the week of March 29th, 1986.  Laura's family owned the radio station in the little town we lived in.
It was fun to revisit, but there certainly are a lot of songs in the bottom of the countdown that didn't make it.  Like some really bad songs I had to suffer thru.
And the NUMBER ONE HIT for the week of March 29th, 1986? (in case you're wondering)
Rock me Amadeus by Falco. (okay, so the number one song was really bad too)

 Because I'm using this post to catch up on things, I am going to leave you with some updates on my cooking club.  And end with a bunch of photos from it.
  So you can leave now if you want...
First, I just was given the best compliment by my friends--and it was behind my back!!
Some of my friends and I are  struggling with  getting a bit older, health issues or just staying healthy as we age,  aging/dying parents, adult children in crisis, and other life issues, but also at the same time knowing and feeling that this is the BEST TIME EVER in our marriages and friendships and family.
It's hard to explain.
 I guess Robert Browning said it  "Grow Old along with me, the best is yet to be"
Although, None of us want to be THOSE old people -- those cranky old people who yearn for the past and say  "what is this world coming to?"
(our parents and grandparents said it, and guess what?  Everything will be fine people--it always is)
So we don't want to turn into those old people....curmudgeons!
We refuse!
We like to dance with our grandkids, hike mountains, run marathons (well, maybe 10ks?) start new businesses!
FIRST OF ALL THO, let me make this clear---WE ARE not OLD.
It's just that it's on the horizon and we can see it---so it's
DAMN IT!  I always meander....
What was I saying?
Oh, my compliment.  Because we are 'middle aged' (OMG!!! WHATEVER)
We do have to deal with some life facts.  In 2014, I lost both my parents.  My dad in a tragic death and my mom to Alzheimer's.
We all have to deal with our own stuff--no one gets out  of life without it,  right?
We all have our issues to deal with--stuff we're going thru.
But---and I'm getting to the compliment part---in talking behind my back about their problems, two of my friends said  "Look at Debbie. She had that awful year and what did she do?  She started a Cooking Club!"
They thought that was really admirable, so
I am happy they think that nicely of me, but I find it funny too... why wouldn't anyone have a cooking club?
Food, Friends, Cocktails?
What's not to love?
(I'm sharing that story tho, because it made me love them all the more)
I have two Cooking Clubs to post about
One themed  FAMOUS CHEFS
I'm just going to add a bunch of photos of them, but first,  I did use another of my cookbooks for my countdown:
The Essential James Beard Cookbook
450 recipes that shaped the tradition of American cooking.
He was my Chef for the Famous Chef's cooking club night. 
I had the side dish and I made 2x baked potatoes.  And I only remembered to take this picture of them:
They were good tho!  You can't go wrong with a 2x baked potato!

Stuffed Baked Potatoes
James Beard’s American Cookery
4 baked potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons grated Cheddar or Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons cream
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cut the baked potatoes in half and scoop out the meat into a hot bowl. Blend well with the seasonings, cheese, and cream. Heap into the potato shells, dot with butter, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake at 375 degrees until nicely browned – about 15 minutes. Serve with any roast or grilled food. Rich as they are, they also need the company of a sharp salad.
And our famous Chefs?
Main Dish--Gina-- Beef Bourgeon by Anne Burrell and the Barefoot Contessa 
(She combined and made it her own)
It was SO GOOD!!
She served Moscow Mules as her cocktail.
Hostesses have to have a signature cocktail too.
She sets a pretty table too!
The girls (Ladies? Women?) as we wait, drinking Moscow Mules and having....

....this appetizer by Julia Child (and Debbie E, who is on the right in the picture above)
Blue Cheese balls.  And grapes.

The guys are waiting too!
Old?  Middle aged? 
We still see the as they were when we first met them.
(as they do us--THANK GOODNESS--we've all been together since high school or college.  When I see the Handyman in my mind, he has dark hair.  But LOOK, it's white. Huh, imagine that. Mine is still brown.)
(HM is on the right)

 Sally's Chef was Alice Waters, and she made a salad with homemade Green Goddess dressing.

 April made 2 desserts from 2 different Chefs.
Banana Pudding from Paula Dean
and then....
.....Red Velvet cake from (sigh) Duncan Hines.
(she's funny)

Ta Da! 
Let's Eat!

If you haven't left already, I'm impressed!
Now for Cooking Club--Meatball Madness! (or something round)
I was the Hostess this time.
I thought about spaghetti and meatballs OR Swedish meatballs but I was kind of feeing VERY casual, so I went with hamburgers.  Yes, it is the ultimate big meatball--smashed course.
I just had a hamburger bar.
And a ROUND of cocktails for everybody.
Then, I had secretly gathered everyone's birthdates, anniversaries and wedding songs, and we played "name that tune' in a weird way.
I played clips of everyone's songs (#1 on the day they were born, the day they were married, etc)  and we had to guess whose they were.
I think everyone had fun.
I had the main dish --hamburger bar (bacon and ham, some green chilies and jalapenos,   blue cheese crumble sauce, pineapple and teriyaki sauce--and then your basics, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles etc.)
Sally had the most amazing appetizers!  Cheesy bread in a round sourdough loaf and some Brussels sprouts with pancetta. (OMG YUM!)
Debbie E brought a pea salad
April brought some new round red potatoes for a side
and Gina made a round cake for dessert.
* we had bacon in almost everything this time--salad and potatoes and appetizer!
Yay bacon!
Poor Sally had given up sweets for Lent, so she had some round slices of fruit for dessert.

This is the closest I came to taking a picture of my hamburger.
(and we are  Seahawk fans, as you can tell)

I used a recipe for the basic buger---sour cream onion burgers--it has dry onion soup and sour cream in it, and makes the burgers so moist!
This was before they went on the grill.

Sally's appetizers!
To Die for!  (and I don't say that often)
I guess you have to actually like Brussel sprouts,
Cheesy bread tho? Who can resist?

 And our meal was rounded out with  round potatoes and pea salad.

Finishing touch?
Chocolate Cake with Ganache. 
I used my glass plates which was kind of weird.
Everything looks like it is just right on the table.


Finally, yes, I'm done!
Caught up with Cooking Club.
Next month's theme?
Breakfast for dinner.
Cooking Club is the best!
Next week I have 3 book clubs all in the same week!
I'm so excited!!
I have 2 books to read-I better get busy.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts!


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