Tastes Better When Someone Else Prepares and Serves

Classic winter lunch made and served by my daughter Laura. Hit the spot on a gray chilly day.

img_3117Cheddar and Monterey Jack on wheat was the grilled cheese. She used the stovetop cast iron grill I gave her for Christmas. (Which covers two burners)

Parachute Action Figure Stuck in the Birch Tree

Jack tried repeatedly to dislodge the nylon parachute guy from the birch tree in the backyard. Stuck!  It was a stunning winter day. Gray and white clouds, blue sky and just below freezing temp. A day for the real camera and not the phone.IMG_0066.JPG

His dad was going to help himtry to retrieve it later after work but I wasn’t there to find out if they succeeded.

Different Angles on the Same Bouquet

Photography is all about the light as you know

Recently I photographed the discarded Christmas Tree along the sidewalk and the direction of light made a significant difference.

Found these two photos taken in NYC at my sisters apartment which illustrate the exact same concept. Moving around for the overall  light is one result but the first one in the mottled light gives a dramatic shadow and a whole different feel.

Sculpture from Repurposed Tires

Sculpted in October 2003 by Mr. Rowland P. Buzza. It is made from repurposed tires.

You can see where he signed the bottom of the statue below.Complete with a certificate of authenticity. Mr. Buzza also built Soap Box Racers.This was a gift to Steve from Mr. Buzza.  img_3096

Lee Van Cleef  “The Bad”

The Good the Bad and the Ugly was released in 1966

When Your Neighbor Brings You Pancetta

When your neighbor brings you pounds of pancetta, what else can you do? (Thank you Joaquin.)

Find a recipe, quickly.

I read some eat pancetta raw but that turned me.

Next time I’ll slice it more thinly. First, I warmed the dish in the oven, cooked the cut up pancetta for about 8 minutes in my cast iron skillet and then drained it on paper towels. Tossed  the eggs, cheese, minced garlic cloves mixture  onto the hot drained spaghetti  in the warmed casserole   Freshly ground pepper. Rich and good. Next time I’ll hold off on salting the pasta water as the pancetta and cheese made it salty enough.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup white wine which I didn’t have on hand so poured a glass of red to accompany this perfect dish for a snowy day.

Spaghetti Carbonara  

There’s plenty of pancetta left for several meals if you have any suggestions.

Readability and a New Look

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Readability of text on background is a factor to consider when creating content in a blog post.  I’ve been using the same theme with the white text on the black for a few years, liking the way the photos looked surrounded by black. I never found them hard to read but then I was the author.

These days blog readers frequently check  phone screens, not a giant desktop display.

Today I heard from artist Carol Skinger  after she had visited the blog via FB to check out the macarons.  She included an article Why Light Text on Dark is a Bad Idea

After thinking about her message,  I went to “try on” different WordPress themes and even got some great tips from the support team at WP when I couldn’t see the good old “Like” buttons or the “Subscribe” button or even the “Follow Blog” at the bottom right of the page.  This theme is called SNAPS.

Thanks Carol for taking time to write.  This theme works well on all sizes of devices!

I think it’s a clean look.  I wish I could get the palest of gray as the background but when I tried to change it the text looked dark red.  Will do some more experimenting.

Hopefully one that won’t tire your eyes as you read.  I hope to find a header image that screams Pittsburgh, as I miss my  Pittsburgh Light Up Night skyline view of the city header.  This one is Jack and Michael on the North Side on the way to the Children’s Museum, running to Ned Kahn’s Cloud Arbor sculpture  

Thanks Mar, for the Ott Lite I’m using on the Kindle.

Macarons – First Attempt

img_3045img_3047Macarons go for about $2.50 apiece at the French bakery. Martha Stewart said you could bake them at home for about 18 cents apiece.  My friend V did some quick calculations in my kitchen and seems it’s more like 50 cents each

I’ve watched a video several times, purchased the best ingredients, and splurged for a baking mat with perfect circles embossed in the material. (Not factoring the equipment into the cost.)

Here’s the result.  Some of the macarons seemed a bit chewy. Did I underbake  them? Was the humidity a factor? Did I whip the egg whites correctly? Did I fold the dry ingredients sufficiently? I let them sit before I put them into the oven. Perhaps I used too much batter on each circle as the seemed to puff up like white mushrooms.  I will watch another video I found The Science of Macarons. If you have made them before please share any tips.

I got the ganache right. Had to put it over hot water after awhile as it firmed up, though.

I found another recipe to try next batch.

 

 

Full of Grace

Graceful.   The Weekly Photo Challenge

mother-mary-in-the-spring

 

If you’ve followed me you might recognize this image from a 2011 blog post of almost six years ago. Mother Mary- Springtime NYC

Mother Mary- Springtime NYC

 

Someone placed a bouquet in the crook of her arm.   Today’s post remembers friend and poet Christina Murdock who passed one year ago today, a week short of her thirtieth birthday.

from Let it Be by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

 

Pier 25 Play Area- Hudson River

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Maura, Jack and Michael in the late afternoon.

Took this the Saturday after Thanksgiving when the grandkids and I visited Aunt Mary in NYC. It was a wonderful piece of playground equipment, made in Germany.

Pier 25 Play Area