In the mean time, here's what's been happening in my brain this wet week during the month of March.
Brownie Mix Secrets: Coffee and parchment paper. There's always a brownie mix in my cupboard. While I like to make cakes from scratch, I don't feel the same way with brownies. However, I add things to the mix to make it seem a bit less "boxed." Substituting the morning's leftover coffee instead of the listed water ingredient does the trick. Also, I may be late to the game but I recently discovered parchment paper. I "pammed" the pan well like I always do, but also added parchment paper to the bottom leaving excess to pull out after the brownies were baked and cooled. The pan was perfectly clean, so all I had to do was give it a quick wash and rinse. It was also a cinch to cut the brownies on the parchment - easy to make those end cuts, and perfect lines. Find out more ideas in The Infallible Brownie Mix.
White Candles: Picture this. Friend moves to new house. Friend is on stepladder taking photos of her new home for the interior designer who lives a few states away. Friend falls. Friend breaks leg. It's one thing to be suffering a broken bone, but another when the interior designer takes notice of the white candles in the photos and suggests, "Just say no to white candles" as it's the mantra of home decor for 2017.
Needless to say that suggestion to my friend got me a bit paranoid. My leg isn't even broken, but much heartfelt sympathy to my friend for her broken leg, but deeper sympathy to be called out for your choice of candle colors - - or more like non-color candles. I looked in the greeting card section to find a "Get Well" or "Sympathy" card on being called out for your choice-of-candle-colors that are not on the cool list of 2017 Home Decor, but I came up short. Hopefully the doc gave her some good pain meds, not only for her leg, but for this design upset.
Listen, I am not the Anna Wintour of Vogue candle decor, but I think I have some furniture that are timeless pieces of good taste and quality. I don't use those fake silk flowers in my home. Just ignore the 1980's wallpaper and vertical blinds in my kitchen, but give me some points on my large kitchen island with the Jenn-Aire stove top. Yeah, so shut up about the tall white wooden shabby chic candle holder topped with the white pillar candle perched next to the stove.
After much tossing and turning at night, looking through many of my favorite decor online sites perusing colored candles, I finally made a decision - - I am keeping my white candles. In the mean time, something tells me the day my friend removes the armor from her leg, she will march forward into the world of candle color. She is brave.
Just move along, interior designers. There is nothing to see here. Ignore my old hippie "Made in India" incense burner/ash collector and Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa fragrance. Ignore my boring white walls in my living area and dining room. Call my decor old and outdated if you must, but I will not be lured into the world of "Island Sky, Corsica Brick, and Cassis Noir Chrome." Isn't my amber Voluspa Japonica candle enough color for you? I give in to color and you just want more. Tapers and Pillars! Oh my!
And speaking of incense burning...
Ketchup and Brass: After too many years of cleaning up ashes from incense (What? 45 years now?), I started thinking I needed some kind of a cool platter to place the old flat wooden incense burner on. Obviously, I knew I was in no hurry after all these years, but when I saw the piece, I would know it.
Two weeks ago, I was at a second-hand shop perusing, and there it was tucked on the bottom shelf. An old brass platter, about a foot long. It was perfect. If I decided not to use it to hold the incense burner on, I figured it would make the perfect authentic charger-like platter to hold a serving bowl or platter for when I get in one of my Middle-Eastern cooking storms of making tabbouleh, hummus, kofta, or something curry.
Trust me, the thing looked worse than the photo shows. Lots of dark spots, with many I have been able to rub out. Look, I am not in the military so I didn't have a can of Brasso metal polish handy, so I did an internet search of kitchen applications to clean brass. Ketchup. Every day French-fry-dipping ketchup. Well of course! I use ketchup from time to time to spiff up a few pieces of copper. It's all about the tomato acids and vinegar that works to clean up metal. It must be known that when it comes to my silver, copper, and brass pieces, I don't like them very shiny. I may give it another coat of ketchup, but give me that well loved patina.
Noodles: I don't know why, but the last week I have been thinking about my grandmother's recipe for egg noodles. They were big and thick cut toothy eggy-rich noodles. My dad would refer to them as "dumplings," but we all knew those round soft clouds of biscuit-like goodness cooked in broth were also known as "dumplings." In our home, we often referred to those cloud-shaped "dumplings" as "snow balls."
Spring is just around the corner, so it's time to make this winter comfort food before the warm days appear.
Oh, and one more thing about candles. Martha Stewart once said that when you use candles in the house, be sure and burn the wick whether you plan to burn the whole candle or not. It sets the mood, whether they are white or colored candles. So there!