Gloomy Day Gloombusters
January 23, 2012

Hmmmm...too sweet?

Ok, at the risk of sounding like Julie Andrews, a little too happily singing, “These are a few of my favorite things“…I, like many of you, was feeling a little…gloomy today. The weather is terrible, snow on the ground AND it’s raining and gray and cold, and yeah, the Ravens lost to the Patriots. But I found there were quite a few things that made me feel better, so I share them with you in hopes they may offer the same respite. In no particular order:

Cardinal on the snow....so pretty...watched him for a while...

No, not whiskers on kittens, but a huge fuzzy Baby Girl tail!!

News that one of my favs, The Dogwood Restaurant in Hampden, will start offering Saturday and Sunday brunch this coming weekend….think about this: “Fried Chesapeake Oysters on Hoppin‘ John… fresh black-eyed peas braised with green chilies, andouille and the trinity, chipotle aioli.” That ain’t nothin’ but hopeful.

A funny crab hat gift(From Cafe HON)...come on, that is funny.

Thinking about George CLooney doesn't hurt either...

Listening to the soundtrack from The Descendants-preview the songs here…for a movie that had more than a few melancholy moments, the exclusively Hawaiian music is so lovely….very peaceful and surprisingly upbeat. It just makes me happy to hear it. Helps if I look at a pic of George Clooney at the same time…

Living wreath...still lives! There is hope...

This living ivy wreath I bought back in December…..it’s been gorgeous through the holidays…you just take it to the sink every few days and douse it with water, drain and rehang. A storm door in front of it protects it from the worst weather, but while it’s cold…it’s happy there. So I’m happy too.

She escaped the Christmas sweep….and lives to sing….

And this little angel is a Christmas decoration from my childhood, that somehow escaped the after holiday roundup. And she seems so ecstatic over the whole thing with her little harp and all, I think I may just let her stay out this year. Who’s gonna notice, really. And hopefully, one of these things has brightened your day too.

Purple Haze: What the WBAL team is doing this Sunday!
January 13, 2012

Let your purple freak flag fly!!

Saw this car on my drive to work this morning(before you lecture me about taking a picture in my car…I was stopped at a traffic light!), but it made me think, what is everybody doing this Sunday for the Ravens playoff game? Here’s what I’ve found out so far:

J-Fran, in purple as always on Friday...

Jennifer Franciotti, who is the truest Ravens fan I know, is working this Sunday. Before you say, “Awwwww, that’s too bad“, let me add that she is at the game! So the girl is happy, you know? Wouldn’t be anywhere else. At home though, her family is saving her some Buffalo wings and sliders, and a glass of wine for when she gets home.

the I-team's Jayne Miller...also a big fan...

11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller will take some time from investigating, and as a season tickets holder, will also be at the game Sunday. What’s she eating? She tells me she will definitely hit a few tailgates, menu TBA, and probably have a Guiness at the game…depending on how cold it is. “What’s the difference between a playoff game and a regular game?”, she asked me. Not knowing of course, she replied, “At a playoff game, everyone STANDS, all the time!”

Mindy Basara and me....comparing our purplicity....

Mindy Basara will watch the game from home….and she was thinking wings, but their grill has been acting funky, so they may switch to chili…or maybe a complicated buffalo wing dip thing, but she doesn’t have all the ingredients to it. She’s hoping she can con her hubby into shopping for it AND making it. Love that, girl.

And yours truly, as mentioned on Facebook,  is making a Pork Shoulder Braised in Apple Cider..a recipe I saw on the Today Show last week. It looks AMAZING…and I have the pork…just need to score the cider. IF you would like the recipe…here it is!

the lovely Sarah Caldwell sports some purple too....

Sarah Caldwell will also be watching the game from home….I asked her if she was making something special…..she said negatory on that…but you never know. Maybe she’ll change her mind.

John Collins.....a working man...

Meterologist John Collinsis working Sunday, so he too, will not be tailgating or baking purple pastries, or throwing a pork shoulder in the oven.(I’ll save you some John).

Lowell Melser.....looking lavender

 11 News reporter Lowell Melser has a little problem…which is kinda hilarious(Chris Daschille laughed out loud when he heard it). Lowell’s wife was invited to a baby shower on Sunday…that starts at 1 PM. And they did not reschedule. Yeah. So, things are a little up in the air…maybe view part of the game at a bar in Canton, maybe pizza in his basement on the BIG screen…you know. He’s keeping it loose(except being a little stressed over the baby shower thingie.)

hope you have a great time on Sunday…that the Ravens win(yeaahhh!)…that no players get hurt…that no one throws rocks, and you all come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Magenta Friday……
January 15, 2010

Purple? I'm not sure....

Ok, let me just say this up front….I’m not really into “Purple Friday“.  I realize that’s a semi-heretical thing to say here in Baltimore, especially the Friday before a playoff game. “How awful….she doesn’t want to wear purple on Friday..shameless!” Here’s the thing. I don’t really like purple….I have ONE thing that’s kinda purple….you see it in the picture, and it’s really more of a magenta, but I’m wearing it tonight on 11 News at Five. You can judge its degree of purpleness for yourself.

Purple  is a lovely color in it’s place….it was the favorite of Cleopatra I’m given to understand…it’s also the color for widows in Thailand(hey, at least it’s not black)…and purple has always been the color of royalty. In Feng  Shui circles, purple belongs to the element of fire and is known as a strong vibration color…one that should be used in moderation. But if you simply cannot get enough purple, especially in football season, do I have the website for youThe Purple Store.  And here is a must have bumper sticker for the back of your car!

I hope to be seeing more of these around town....soon.

 If I had to pick a favorite shade, it would be eggplant, or aubergine, as the French would say….I can hear it now….  “And the Ravens come onto the field,  in aubergine and black!!”  Hey, don’t think this reflects in any way,  my feelings about the Ravens. I think they’re a perfectly fine football team, and I wish them well Saturday night, and I will watch the game and indeed, cheer them on. But when it comes to wearing purple every single Friday in football season….it just seems a little…I don’t know…cheerleader-esque?  And that’s just not my thing. Plus there’s none in my closet. But today I have reluctantly caved to pressure and will sport a magenta/purple on the air. So there. Enjoy your weekend…play nice and come home safe. And yes, go Ravens.

Recreating a Winning Weekend….
January 11, 2010

OK, here’s the deal. I’m really not all that superstitious…but I’m thinking we should all do as close as we can, what we did this past weekend, in hopes of a Ravens’ win this coming weekend in Indianapolis! I understand for those of you who were painting a bathroom or sawing wood, that’s asking a lot, but hey…a little sacrifice could please the football gods, and secure a victory. What does that mean for me?

Great place, On the the Hill!!

Friday night it means takeout..from On the Hill Cafe  next to MICA on John Street in Bolton Hill. They do killer good Cuban sandwiches (called the Mosher)with shredded pork. Try them out…they’re one of my faves.

Let’s see what else…I’ll have to call some friends who just moved to D.C. and tell them we’re coming back for dinner Saturday night. This may surprise them a little, me inviting myself over, but hey, it’s all in the name of a win. On the other hand, maybe the thing to do is exactly what you did last game time….that would not mean a trip to D.C. but the making of chicken wings. We did them a little differently this time…coating in flour and roasting them in  some butter in the over. They needed to cook a lot longer than the directions said, but in the end they were delctable, topped by a Carolina style barbecue sauce I found on sale(of course) at Williams Sonoma.  I’ll have to see if I can pursuade my daughter sleep throughout the game, because that’s exactly what she did Sunday. Maybe she’ll feel like a Saturday night nap. I could certainly wear the same unbelieveable good luck combo…grey sweatpants, t-shirt and grey sweater, hair pulled back in a ponytail, oh I was quite the sight let me tell you…and I’m pretty sure I can recreate that same fetching look this weekend. I could upgrade just a little with yoga pants without doing too much damage to the Ravens’ karma. And we’re all good to go, oui?

Weekend Wrapup…pie verdict, flicks and red beans and rice…
November 30, 2009

My dough..made with my Grandmother's rolling pin!

Let’s see, let’s see….let us begin with the pie. You know…the apple pie I made from scratch…homemade crust and all( made with a rolling pin hand-carved by my great-grandfather for my grandmother as a wedding gift…so sweet). That sucker was kind of an all day affair. Apple pie is just…..laborious…I don’t know any other word for it. Peeling the apples, coring the apples, slicing the apples, mixing the dough, chilling the dough, rolling out the dough, rechilling the dough, don’t forget to put foil on the edges, make sure the pie is toward the bottom of the oven. Bottom line…it was a very nice pie(should be with two sticks of butter in the crust….Martha recipe), but it wasn’t good enough that I want to go through all that again. Seriously, I could have easily bought an apple pie that good, and enjoyed my day more. The nice gentleman who sat by me at Thanksgiving dinner  judged it for me….he said, “It’s pretty good but I kind of had to scoop it out, so it doesn’t look so good.” Or something like that. I didn’t hit him or even consider it….I graciously agreed, and silently made a pact with myself to never do that again. That was my last from scratch apple pie.

Caught a couple of good films over the weekend….The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock is a winner…hands down, one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. And knowing the story of Michael Oher of the Ravens, made me admire him even more. See it if you had a chance. Also enjoyed Coco Before Chanel playing at the Charles Theatre. Oh so very French, very subtitled, lots of cigarette smoking, alors!! Interesting story about the woman who brought us the LBD(little black dress) and Chanel No. 5,  and the idea that clothing should be comfortable….bye-bye corsets. The film conveniently leaves out Coco’s affair with a German officer during WWII and the German occupation of France(it doesn’t really go that far timewise). Some say she was a collaborator, but she was never charged as one. Did Winston Churchill work behind the scenes in her behalf? Who knows, but she left Paris for Switzerland, as people didn’t feel so kindly towards her. Oh, Coco.

Also made some kicking Red Beans and Rice….made with real Camellia Red Beans, which people from Louisiana say are basic to the real thing(though I’ve used plain old kidney beans to pretty good effect). It’s a classic, that once you’ve made it, you really don’t need a recipe for…I just saute a couple of red and green peppers, lots of onion and garlic…put in a couple of ham hocks, bay leaves, Tabasco and your soaked red beans. Cover with water and simmer away. When the beans are tender, add some sautéed smoked sausage, or andouille  if you’re feeling authentic. Let it cook a little longer, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over rice. Yummo.

Ray Lewis and the Grinch….
November 14, 2008

I took this picture BEFORE the announcement about no pictures...really.

I took this picture BEFORE the announcement about no pictures...really.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas holds special memories for me. We have a dog-earred copy of that wonderful tale, and when my kids were little, it was brought out faithfully for their Dad to read to them every Christmas….he does wonderful voices, and really is a great grinch….in a good way.  So when I heard that the book, after becoming a movie(which I never saw) was now a Broadway play and in town…count me in, baby!  Waltzed down to the Hippodrome last night for the opening night…it’s the begining of the Broadway Show’s national tour….and let me just say right up front…I loved it. More on that later….but the show began with a surprise…it was past curtain time at 8 PM…and there were restless kids in the audience, and I’m thinking…”what’s the holdup? A rip in the Grinch suite? Cindy Lou Who having wig trouble…I got here on time, let’s start!!?” But then “who”(sorry) whould come on stage but the great Ray Lewis?

Ray-ray on stage!!

Ray-ray on stage!!

I know you can’t see in my picture, but take my word for it. It was Ray, surrounded by about 10 cute kids….who gathered at his feet, while be began reading  Dr. Seuss’ Christmas favorite. He just read the beginning of the story, and while he didn’t do any special voices (which the story really calls for Ray), he did fine….and on with the show.

Kids in the audience were mesmerized, beautiful colors, great songs…could it get better? Yes it does!! Saints be praised, hallelujah…..this play is 90 minutes long with NO INTERMISSION. I have a thing about intermissions. I hate them. So 1955, big time-waster, I’ve said it before….away with intermissions. Banish them forever. So last night, as is befitting a family performance, people were leaving at 9:30. Love it. And there are four performances on Saturdays, three on Sundays….so if you can afford it, it is a great holiday treat for your kids(tickets range from $25-$65 fyi, depending on location). And if the tickets don’t fit the budget, and hey, they may not this year….get a copy of Dr. Seuss’ book…get your Grinch voice going, oh, and one for Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than twoWHO was fabulous last night…what a voice in such a tiny body!!