Lisa informs me, via Facebook, that Dunkin Donuts has already launched their pumpkin spice mishegoss. The interwebz search says Starblechs won’t be doing theirs until August 30th.

So splitting the difference, here is my annual ode to all things pumpkin spice –

Crazy Shit

 Let’s start with this – 

I cannot even fathom this level of stupidity. But then – look at who said it. 

If that doesn’t give you a rueful chuckle then listen to this: Domino’s Pizza, after 7 years of trying to establish themselves in Italy, has closed its 29 stores there. The reason for the closure? Well, Duh! Do you have to ask? What moron thought that was a good idea? That’s a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle. Are there P.F. Changs in Beijing? Do they sell Budweiser in Berlin? Domino’s pizza in Italy – the mind boggles.

Also crazy shit – the weather. We are in our third day of high temperatures in the 70’s and overnight lows in the 50’s and 60’s with – wait for it – low humidity. Heaven! It was so crisp this morning that I adjusted the windows from wide open to almost closed. Needless to say I’ve slept well the last two nights. 

Any craziness in your neck of the woods?

Fiddlehead Ferns…

what a thing to dream about, right? And what do I, the concrete and carbon monoxide gal, know about fiddlehead ferns? Well quite a bit actually, sort of, a little. 

In my dream I was trying to convince someone that the only time to pick fiddlehead ferns to eat was in the Spring; that Summer is not fiddlehead season, and that you need to cook them right away and…on and on I went about the proper use of them.

I just looked up fiddlehead ferns, wanting to get a photo, and found this web page. I didn’t know that I knew that much about fiddlehead ferns – considering I had never heard of them prior to that day in 1990. And haven’t had any contact with, or interest in them since. 

Way back when (then) I lived in Derby Line, VT, I was coerced into foraging for fiddlehead ferns and as thanks for helping I received severals jars of pickled fiddleheads and my were they tasty! Of course I happen to like pickled foods. I can’t recall exactly what they tasted like, only that I liked them. 

But damn, it’s a weird thing to dream about. Not only that I was so agitated trying to explain the foolishness of foraging for fiddleheads in the Summer I actually woke myself up. I went back to sleep and continued with the dream. 

A restless night’s sleep because of fiddlehead ferns. 

(Gosh, isn’t it fun to say ‘fiddlehead ferns’?)

Light and fluffy?

 Goodness I’m still getting comments on the hat post – I guess with the state of the world and especially the US we are all craving light and fluffy. Even if it’s a moment or two when we get to think about something as inconsequential as hats. 

Want more light and fluffy and inconsequential? (Boy am I giving that word a work-out. Let me pop over to a thesaurus and find a substitute. BRB)

Here you go – pick whichever you like best and substitute it where you will – 

Okay here’s another bit of common-usage errors that frost my butt and make me twitch – 

Cannelloni and manicotti ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. 

The first difference is that manicotti is NOT PASTA. It is a crepe. A CREPE, people – not pasta. 

There is no such thing as a “manicotti shell” – none, zero, zip, ninqueno, niente! Only in America. 

Allow me to quote

“Manicotti is well known in the United States as a tubular pasta usually served stuffed and baked, similar to cannelloni. The noodles are cooked, stuffed, and covered in sauce in almost the exact same way. Manicotti pasta is also sometimes sold in stores as shells instead of tubes, which can make stuffing them somewhat easier.

However, traditional manicotti is not actually a pasta. Authentic manicotti is made with crepes, not pasta, that are filled and baked. The thin crepes required for what in the United States is known as manicotti must even be made differently, in crepe pans (rather similar to the pans used to make tortillas). In Italy, manicotti would not be served as a pasta dish but as a crepe dish, or a crespelle.”

You can read the whole article HERE. 

I’ve just done a lot of hopping down the rabbit hole of manicotti/cannelloni and it seems that manicotti is basically an Italian-American thing like chop suey is a Chinese-American thing. In Italy what I know as manicotti is called crespelle. 

I make manicotti/crespelle – it’s easy-peasy boring but easy. One time my husband ordered manicotti in a restaurant and they brought him what I make – he said ‘That’s just like my wife makes!” Uh-huh.

So this is a battle I don’t think I will win. But I’ll go to my grave swearing that manicotti is not pasta and is a crepe and it is not cannelloni. 

Now imagine I’m holding my hand up. with my palm facing me and, with the tips of my fingers, I flick under my chin outwards –  that means – 


And a glorious good morning to you!

 After 3 or 4 days of 90+ temps and yesterday’s awesome thunderstorms (yes, I love thunderstorms) Monday has dawned cool and crisp. Not all that sunny yet (I’m typing this at 8:30am, been up since 5:30am),  but the sky is a light blue with streaks of light clouds – 

Just a heavenly day – if only every day could be like this – weatherwise. I could just sit here and look out the window all day. The trees are crazy full and lush, swaying in a light breeze and the birds are very, very chatty. Usually they are off to “work” by this time of the day but they seem to have decided to stay home and hang out.

I’ve already done the laundry so aside from some cooking in the middle of the day, I’m free and clear. It’s a good day to make cornbread. This will be the fourth week in a row and I finally figured out why the first two batches were not all that they should have been. 

First time not only was my baking powder old but I had bought the wrong corn meal (white instead of yellow and some weird brand – my grocery store is still low on stock of everything – that’s been going on now for two years *sigh*). And one other thing.

Second time out I had the good corn meal, fresh baking powder but still – not the best result. Then I had my aha moment. Salt! I was using the wrong salt. 

“How could salt be wrong” you say. Well, I’ll tell ya. 

I’m not a big salt user, I don’t like it and it’s bad for my blood pressure. I switched to coarse Kosher salt some time ago. When I was making the cornbread the first time around I wondered if Kosher salt would work in baking. 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt weighs less than an equal amount of regular table salt. Also Kosher salt is less salty. I had that in the back of my mind and used a bit more but still. 

Last batch of cornbread I had the good cornmeal, the fresh baking powder and regular table salt and voilà – perfect cornbread!

I’ll leave you with a glimpse of what’s distracting me this morning – 

Just a quick thought about ~

My husband bought peanut butter chocolate fudge this morning. I like fudge, 100% sugar and yummy. Thing is I’m not crazy about peanut butter. I don’t  particularly dislike peanut butter but neither is it my first choice in anything. 

My husband, on the other hand, really likes peanut butter. It must be Skippy and it must be creamy. He eats peanut butter and cream cheese; peanut butter, cream cheese and jelly, and even, don’t gag, peanut butter and mayonnaise. Ok, gag, I know I just did.

The flavors were in layers so easy enough to cut them apart – the chocolate for me, the peanut butter for my husband. Win-win.

Thing is, peanut butter is ubiquitous. I try to find protein or energy bars to have as a snack and they are all some combination of peanut butter and…Why? Is there nothing else on the planet that can be turned into a snack bar?

When I was having a massive dental makeover (not because I wanted to but because I had to) and had no teeth at all for 6 months, peanut butter on low-carb bread was my basic diet – for six months! Even had I been a peanut butter fan I think that might have put me off peanut butter for the rest of my life. 

Anyone else not a peanut butter fan?