Tuesday, January 31, 2012

T for Tuesday....

Mom was here for a week or so last week.  She was at the tail end of her trip to my sister's house.  We both got our hair cut. This was mom's second haircut since her hair started growing back! It's very exciting.  And for the record, I used that wrinkle edit on this photo. It's fabulous. I might be addicted. A little black and white, and little softening and some wrinkle editing, and 'voila!  We are sisters instead of mom and daughter!  Woo Hoo!
We took a trip to Northwestern to meet with Mom's hottie doctor.  (Well, mom and I think he's hot but my sister questions our judgement!)  Evan got to make the trip with us and before we got called in to see the doctor we had what my mom referred to as a "bagel picnic" in the waiting room.  Evan was more than delighted!  He was a very nice boy.  He can be nice when he wants to be.  We are happy with "no change is good news" in mom's condition.  We continue to be optimistic for the future and joyful that our journey has been textbook.  Sure, looking back it had it's moments, but overall we had it easy.  But then again, I wasn't the one going through it!  I was the care giver after all!  We all have our breaking points.
And now forgive me for the multitude of "fake Beatle" photos from the Brit Beat concert we went to for her birthday.  My BFF Brendan schooled me in the way of all things Beatles, John, Paul, Ringo and George.  It was only right and good that he came with us.
 This group is called BritBeat and we were very impressed.
 Paul is our fave.
 George had a thing for me.  No lie.  We were front row.

 Does anybody really like Yellow Submarine?  Um, no.
 Maybe if we smoked a big fattie beforehand!

And then it rounded out with Let it Be.
 All the guys were extremely talented musicians and had all the mannerisms down.
OMG!  Are you so YAWN right now?  I know, I know!  But what else am I gonna do with all those iPhone photos?  I created a Mommy*s Missing Pieces page on Facebook today.  Go over there and "like" me!  There is a method to my madness and when I write the book I'll give you all the credit.  I'm so overdue for bed and I just finished watching the season finale of Tori and Dean and crying my eyes out.  I cannot watch a baby being born without crying.  For one second I wanted a baby.  Then I slapped myself across my own face and snapped out of it.  As Bethanny would say, "Holy shit balls!"  

And on a final note, I watched the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion Show (Part 1 because there has to be like 3...why?)  My take away is what I've always said.  They just don't like each other.  Fakey McFakerson.  Bicker Bicker Bicker.  And why do they now have to send all the ladies from each of the franchises on a big fancy trip?  Just to stir the pot?  They can't manufacture enough drama and cattiness while in the states?  I love to hate on these shows.  But I've eliminated RH of Atlanta this season.  So if each season I ditch one, soon I will be pure again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

B & W Monday....

We spent the weekend at my mom's house.  My mom was very sick with a bad cold and not feeling like getting her picture taken.  Lauren was using my scarf as a veil and "playing" with my mom's pearl crown from her wedding.  (My sister wore this eight years ago when she got married with a new veil attached.  It was perfect.) How could I not take photos?!  Luckily, I did a little photo editing and used a "wrinkle eraser" on my mom's face.  Now if it was only that easy in real life!  She was very tired and felt like she looked "a hundred years old."  Well, now didn't that do the trick?  I always say B&W makes everything look better!
Will you accept this rose?
Lauren wearing my mom's wedding dress.
My mom and dad were married on May 6, 1967.
I will blink and I'll be crying my eyes out when she steps out of the dressing room to show me the dresses she likes.  Lord, please make the days go slower.  I'm not ready quite yet.  We have many journeys left to take together before I am ready to let her go.
My mom has preserved her dress wonderfully.  All it took was a cedar chest and some blue plastic.  Some day she's gonna go all "Pretty in Pink" on this dress, and mine and my sister's.  My mom already said that she's got that "this is vintage/old/used/has a memory therefore it's special" gene.  Yep!  It's my mission in life!
Just a moment.
Friends Forever.
Sissy and Buddy.
Look at how old Lauren looks in this photo!  Precious.
Lace detail.  Simply gorgeous.
Lauren Love.
Vintage Love Forever.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creme Brulee.....

It is a rare day in this house when this big daddy comes out!  The hubs literally looked at me and the Kitchen Aid and said, "Whoa! What is happening here???!!!"  I did for my mom's 67th birthday and her favorite dessert:  creme brulee baby!
 The cast of characters.  Really quite simple!  I like a dessert recipe with very few ingredients!
 Pour 4 cups of heavy creme into a measuring cup.
I took all these photos on my iPhone!  I'm delighted!  I don't even have the latest and greatest version of the phone. Also, please note that I am using The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  You can go here and check it out and compare and contrast our photos.  But I find this fun and I'm practicing with the whole photo documentation.
I got this little bad-ass torch for my birthday last year from my BFF.  She likes to get me kitchen gadgets and they make me happy.  She had visions of me making creme brulee and torching away in the kitchen and I needed to fulfill that dream for both of us!
Next, pour 1 table spoon of vanilla extract into those 4 cups of heavy cream.  You can use a vanilla bean or vanilla paste, but this is what I already had and that keeps this whole process simple.
 Next, pour the vanilla laced heavy cream into a saucepan on the stove and simmer over medium heat.
 Here is a lovely little close up of that.
While that is simmering, very slow and low, that is the tempo, we need to separate 10 egg yolks from the white.  It is fun and you can pretend you are Julia Child and get all fancy with your separation.  Then you can make an egg white omelet and pretend you are really healthy.  I just saved mine in the fridge for a day or two and THEN pretended I was cool.  All the while forgetting I just made a gazillion creme brulee pots for me and my family!  
 Now this photo got blurry, but you get the idea.  Into the mixing bowl go 10 egg yolks!
 Now we need 3/4 of a cup of sugar to add to the egg yolks.   See how easy this is?
 This photo is less blurry and it makes me happy.  Weird things make me happy.  
Now blend the sugar and egg yolks together until pale yellow and thick.  This description is straight from Ree Drumond, Pioneer Woman extraordinaire, because what actually does that mean?
Remember that heavy creme and vanilla mixture simmering on the stove?  We need to take a small amount and add it very slowly to the mixture.  Call me crazy, but I think this is called tempering the eggs.  Yeah, BOO-YAHHHH.  And I don't even bake!  
 Look at that action shot!  All from my iPhone!  Wooo Hooo!
 This is what the mixture looked like when I completed mixing.  Nice and foamy.
But apparently we are supposed to remove this foam.  I did my best, but I didn't get overly concerned.
And now I would like to introduce to you my creme brulee dishes.  Aren't they so simple and perfect?  I purchased these a few years ago after I received that torch.  See how the dream is all coming together??!!!
I feel like Martha would appreciate and understand the simple beauty of a creme brulee dish!  Can you feel me Martha?  Do you hear me?

Now we fill the ramekins.
 Put the ramekins on a baking sheet first.  (wait for it!  we are going to put water in there!)
 So pretty!  And then we are going to EAT them!
 Once you have all the ramekins filled, fill the baking sheet with water about half way up the ramekin.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until "set" (what does that mean?)  I like a little brown! And see how I ran out of my perfect ramekins and had to resort to random dishes? Next time I wouldn't have to make the full recipe.  Half would have worked,  Yet, no one complained!
 Oh my!  Mine were brown....GASP!  The horror!  Apparently this is what you shouldn't do.  Again, nobody complained!
 YUM!  And the sugar is not even baked on yet!  Remember, we have a torch to use people!
 Sprinkle some super fine sugar on the top of the brulee.
Super fine sugar works best in this situation.  Or so I've been told.
I followed directions.  I never do that.
 At this point I turned the camera over to the hubs.  I am good but I'm not a magician!
 Almost torch time!
I'm running out of things to say but you know if I've make a comment under every photo then I need to keep doing that throughout the whole post!!!
Okay here we go with the torch!  So exciting!
 You simply go back and forth over the top to crystallize the sugar on the surface.
 Insert moody torch photo here for drama.
 It's addicting that use of a flaming torch in the kitchen!
 I liked the tiny bit of brown bits.
 Lauren was of course obsessed and had to try it out.  We are all "safety first" up in here so Dad helped.
 How many more photos of this can I show you?
Get ready to clink your spoon on the surface and then dig in!
Lauren added blackberries and blueberries.  The fresh fruit really adds a special touch.  If you have hauled out that 50 pound mixer and are making creme brulee for your mom's birthday, go the extra mile and buy some fresh berries.  And the bottom line here is, if I can do this, you can too!  It was actually quite simple and there was no need to be intimidated.