Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

I’m All Schtroumpf-ed Out

THIS little song has been running through my head for the last half hour….

Cest le schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
Qui fait schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
Un ptit schtroumpf, deux ptits schtroumpfs, trois ptits schtroumpfs
Schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
La la la la schtroumpf
La la schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
La la la la la la la la schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
La la la la schtroumpf
La la la la schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
Avec le schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
Qui fait schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf
Un ptit schtroumpf, deux ptits schtroumpfs, trois ptits schtroumpfs
Et cest le schtroumpf, schtroumpf, schtroumpf…

(repeat ad nauseam)


OK – when I was a little girl I lived in Paris (the one in France). My brothers and I were completely plugged into all aspects of French kid culture, as we attended French schools (OK we attended L’Ecole Active Bilingue), and were big time fans of Les Schtroumpfs (known here in the US, as Smurfs) – the books AND the cartoons.  Anyhoo, on my kitchen windowsill is a little Schtroumpf and for reasons I cannot explain, the little song has been rolling through my head (I’m no musician, so I can’t get the notes down), but you have to understand that the brothers and I used to sign this song at the top of our lungs as kids.  I just caught myself singing it out loud while I was filing away some papers.

Maybe it would be a good idea to end the work week a little on the early side.  I’m clearly schtroumpfy today.



TGIF and All That Jazz

If I could get a refund on this weekend, I would.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Sunday- the STBExH takes (almost) the last of his stuff; and Angharad’s truck gives up the ghost.

Monday – the only decent day Chez Maeve – I move furniture in the living room and see potential.  Also I come up with a very tasty new cocktail that’s sort of like a Mimosa, but also has pomegranate and lime juice.

Tuesday – We find out that yep – there’s no resurrecting Angharad’s truck; so we go vehicle shopping (plus I work about 12 hours); also Angharad’s summer classes start and Iseult takes her first set of midterms (and she only has to take four because she exempted three, thank goodness).

Wednesday – We find an awesome car for Angharad – a payment she can afford and I will cosign her loan .  OTOH, the insurance is 200% more than what was on the truck; I have an ever-so-slightly-argumentative discussion with her dad about the need for him to provide “some” assistance.  Yay – small victory.  Plus I work 12 hours.

Thursday – I have to go to DMV to get a duplicate title for the truck, because I can’t find one.  Loss of 2 hours of my life.  I head to dealership where Angharad and I sign paperwork – and we have a happy girl (I lose 3 more hours).  Also, Iseult twists  her ankle in an uncharacteristic display of clumsiness; I just forget about work because why bother at this point.  I make this tasty dinner:


Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Friday – Um, it’s looking stormyish.  I don’t really mind because I’m not even getting out of my pajamas today.  Once again I’m ever so grateful for telecommuting.  Oh yes – and Iseult takes her last two finals, so technically my baby is now a Sophomore in HS.  Maybe I’ll schlep the laptop to bed and just work from there.

(Clearly I need to bake something.  It’s my one tried and true strategy for getting out my frustrations.)



Why There are Gargoyles in my Living Room

They’re actually “grotesques”; in order to be “gargoyles” they must be part of the cathedral’s drainage system.

Their names are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and they came to our house about five years ago. We were hosting a Halloween party and I forgot to take them down from their perch. Months later, while we were putting up the Christmas Tree, Angharad asked if we were planning to ever take them down. I decided not. If they were good enough to grace Notre Dame de Paris, then surely they could watch over my little SC living room. So we went to the pet store and bought them the little Santa hats & beards that you put on small dogs, and then dressed them up for the occasion.

Most people don’t even notice them. I find them rather endearing.

(I have replicas of the some of the more famous gargoyles from Notre Dame; my Dad had them in his office and then they came to live with me, but R & G are my favs.)


His & Hers (Part Deux)

I thought I would take a last look at our living room. He’s taking it today and I suppose I’m glad because it will be done and I won’t have to fear it. I had wished he would do it on a weekday when the girls were not here, but things are what they are. At least it’s nearly over.


I guess it was a pretty welcoming place


Going to need a new home for Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

And maybe it’s passive-aggressive as all get out, but I’m not helping. 

[Edited to add that if the GF doesn’t stop calling him every 30 seconds it’s never going to get done!]


Cool Grown Up Treats for a Hot Weekend

Sometimes it’s nice to make an adult-version of kid-fare – and this is a simple and very nicely grown up version of everyone’s favorite gelatin dessert. I was first turned on to this by The Food Librarian – and have made it a number of times during the summer. It’s creamy and sweet and highly caffeinated – what’s not to love?

Let’s discuss a couple things. This needs to be made with really strong, fresh brewed coffee – and don’t think of using decaf (that’s just heretical). I made mine using a certain coffee chain’s “Verona” roast and I made it strong! Secondly, you’re going to use a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. There are no acceptable substitutes. Really, there aren’t.

OK, so now that we’ve talked ingredients, let’s talk pan size. I made mine in an 8×8-inch pan because I like that thickness. You can use a 9X13-inch pan or even a 7-11-inch. Just bear in mind, the larger the pan, the thinner the squares of gelatin will be. This is considered “finger gelatin”, so it’s firmer, allowing you to eat it with your fingers, legitimately (the other really fun part about this!).

So how to serve. well, I like to cut it into squares, put them on a chilled plate and top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon or some ground sweet chocolate, like this one (NOT unsweetened cocoa powder). I suppose you could finely grate some semi-sweet chocolate over the top and that would be nice also.

Enough chitchat! Onto the recipe

• ½ cup cold water
• 3 packages unflavored gelatin
• 2 cups strong brewed HOT coffee
• 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Pour the cold water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow the gelatin to bloom (get all fat and puffy and translucent), about 10 minutes. Add the coffee and stir gently until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir gently to thoroughly combine. Pour the gelatin into your pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8 to 10 hours or until firmly set. Cut into squares and enjoy.

You don’t actually have to cover the gelatin, but things tend to get spilled in my refrigerator, plus there are usually onions and other pungent occupants, and I prefer my sweets uncontaminated.

For other amazing gelatin desserts (she makes one with ice cream!!!!!!!), do head over to visit the Food Librarian’s website. You’ll be glad you did.


Now that all the bubbles are dealt with (the back of a spoon works great), it’s ready to set up for a couple hours


See those little bubbles – what happens when you don’t stir gently enough





With Love to my Mother


Isn’t she lovely? She smelled of Arpège and wore “Fire and Ice” lipstick. She baked the best apple pie and blueberry muffins and she cooked the worst hamburgers. She was fiercely devoted to her family and she loved my father with everything she had (her words, not mine). She was the wisest, most compassionate woman I’ve ever known and I feel privileged to be her daughter.
Happy Birthday Mother.


What Happens When the Mama Leaves Town

Three days!!! Just three days! She’s almost 15, for crying out loud!



Happy National Buttermilk Bisuit Day

I’m not baking today (work is just overwhelming plus I’m kind of feeling sort of despair-ish, and that’s not good for baking).

There is good news, however, mouthwateringly tasty news – rather than give into overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, I headed over to The Kitchn because of this post – which of course led me to discover a new blog (The Candid Appetite) – and you know I need to follow another foodie blog like I need, well, never mind.  Anyway, Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich – that’s what’ he’s pimping.  And not just any waffle – a bacon/scallion/cheese waffle.  So far I’ve resisted purchasing a waffle iron, but this – this might just push me over the edge.

I  need that sandwich!!


Tuesday Night Baking

Iseult is studying for a test tomorrow. What’s a nice Mama to do? Uh, bake a skillet chocolate chip cookie, that’s what. We love these and we’d love them even more if there was some vanilla ice cream in the house, but there isn’t, so we’ll have to make do with the cookie.


You can find the recipe right here at the Tasty Kitchen Blog (warning – venturing into the Tasty Kitchen site is dangerous; it’s like falling down the rabbit hole and getting lost in Wonderland – you’ve been warned – proceed with caution).


Happy National Apple Pie Day

I know some people are afraid to make pie crust.  That’s OK.  I used to be afraid of it, too.  And even though I’ve made hundreds of pies, I’m always reminded to be respectful of the dough – it has a will of its own and it’s not afraid to exert it.

So, what to do if you’re really not of a mind to pay deference to pastry?  Well, you can make this delicious Apple Shortbread Tart from the “Loaves and Fishes Cookbook” by Anna Pump.  I like making this in the summer, when the heat and humidity just add to the difficulties of rolling out pie crust.  Let’s face it, when its 90˚F outside, and you’re heating your oven to 375˚F – the kitchen is just not a suitable environment for dealing with something as pernickety as pie pastry.  It’s extremely versatile – you can use other fruit, vary the topping, etc.  It’s an all-around good recipe to have tucked away.  Plus you can have the entire thing done from start to finish in an hour –how’s that for last minute dessert?

For the Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature, sliced into 8 Tablespoons
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream (you can use whole milk or half & half)

Heat the oven to 375˚F.

Make the crust by blending together the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the butter, egg yolk, and heavy cream; use your hands to create a crumbly mixture.  Press the dough into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

For the Filling/Topping

  • 7 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Place the apples over the dough in a circular pattern.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly and sprinkle over the apples.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the apples are soft when pricked with a knife.

So yummy warm with ice cream.  I often double the crumb topping and have also used apple crisp (oat-meal based) crumbs.  I’ve made this with pears, peaches and plums.  In fact, I might need to bake one today .