sunshine is free

Dear Ask You, I work and like my job, but I don’t make a lot of money and I can’t afford the things that I want to buy. Should I get another job?

Sure, you could get a better paying job, or two jobs, but if you like your job and you make enough money to support yourself maybe you need to change your attitude and realize that money can only buy more  things, not happiness. If you get two jobs or work at a job that pays more, you probably won’t have time to enjoy your extra money and the things that the money buys anyway. Instead have fun and enjoy things that cost nothing…

mistakes happen

Dear Mom, I have made some pretty stupid mistakes and I can’t get over them even though they were a while ago. How can I stop feeling bad about my mistakes?

Since you’re still here the mistakes that you made could not have been that bad. Stop beating yourself up. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t let them be more important than they should be.

chocolate heaven

Sharing the recipes I find is a good thing, but it makes me so hungry…it’s finally warm, celebrate with the best thing ever…chocolate cake or if you’re really lazy make a bowl of frosting and enjoy!

Double-Chocolate Layer Cake- Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

“This is the most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made,” Ina Garten declared. The buttermilk keeps the cake moist and light, and the bit of coffee in the cake and frosting keeps the sweetness in check.

CAKE

  •  3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

FROSTING

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifte
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  1. MAKE THE CAKE Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool. Peel off the parchment.
  4. MAKE THE FROSTING In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water. Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.
  6. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.
MAKE AHEAD The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let stand for 1 hour before serving.

good, better and best websites

here are some good, better and best websites…

 kitchit.com (if you live in San Francisco, New York, Chicago or Los Angeles you’ll love this one, and if not you might want to move)

onefortythree.com

shoesofprey.com

tastemaker.com

tradesy.com

please send me your best websites and I’ll share them

one a day

if you want to get through the last week of April and accomplish 8 things, try these before April ends…get rid of everything that reminds you of the long, cold winter

1. Plan a summer vaca

2. Buy fresh fruit, cut it up and freeze it for summer smoothies or milkshakes

3. Kitchen clean up- clean out your fridge and throw out expired food, get rid of old, broken or useless kitchen utensils

4. Make a list of local museums, theaters, zoos, attractions, sports events, arts festivals and restaurants that you want to visit over the summer, check your list often and have a fun week-end all summer

5. Plan a party that you want to throw this summer

6. Experiment and create your own trail mix recipe, take some with you everywhere this summer

7. Replace old pictures, frame some recent pictures of yourself, your friends, your dog or pretty flowers

8. Empty out your computer in-box and get rid of the ancient emails that are slowing down your computer

 

enjoy Earth Day

Dear Mom, I’m really afraid to make mistakes. I get so stressed that I can’t even think, I hate when people are mad at me or disappointed.

If you’re not doing something because you’re afraid that you’ll make a mistake or get something wrong, then you’re already doing something wrong because you haven’t done anything, and that’s almost always wrong!

Doing something even if it’s wrong, is so much better than doing nothing. If you do something and it’s wrong or doesn’t work out, learn from your mistakes and at least you’ll know what to do right next time, besides there’s always a chance you could get it right…you’ll regret the things that you didn’t do more than the things you did.

start by doing something that you and the Earth will enjoy today

liar, liar pants on fire

Dear Mom, I’m afraid if I tell the truth on my resume or when I meet people that they won’t hire me or like me. Is it ok to lie to get a job or so that people will like me?

If you lie then it’s not really you that will get hired or that people will like anyway, so don’t lie. Someone will always be smarter, more qualified, prettier or cooler but no one will ever be you. You will get a job and meet people being you and those are the people and that’s the job that’s right for you.

unfried chicken

this chicken tastes as good as ‘fried chicken’ and is better for you

Fake Fried Chicken

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken pieces- about 8 pieces
2 eggs
1 tablespoon oregano
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
splash of milk or buttermilk
splash of hot sauce (optional)
1 cup panko crumbs
Honey or ketchup for serving

Heat the oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Wash and pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, oregano, dijon, salt, and pepper. Add a splash of milk to loosen it a little. Pour the panko crumbs in another small bowl.

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture and gently shake off the extra. Roll the chicken in the panko and set it on the wire rack over the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes, if the pieces are thick bake for 60 minutes. When the chicken pieces are finished the tops should just be starting to turn golden brown, juices should run clear.

Serve immediately with bowls of honey, ketchup or ranch dressing for dipping.

*this recipe was modified from a recipe posted on thekitchn.com

surprise websites

you’ll find some surprises on these websites…

  • stitchfix.com
  • make-everything-ok.com
  • piefixeseverything.com
  • lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-be-successful-in-life.html
  • niftythrifty.com
  • shoptiques.com

 

 

 

 

a delicious mess

pomegranates are a delicious mess and really good for you…don’t be afraid of them

Pomegranates for dummies

  • Choose a good one- it should be about the size of a softball, firm, heavy and shiny- no soft spots
  • Opening it up- Wash the outside, and cut it horizontally, place 1/2 open side down in a large bowl and tap hard with a wooden spoon, keep tapping until all the seeds fall out, open up sections and loosen stubborn seeds and tap out all of the seeds from both halves
  • Room temp or chilled- keep in refrigerator for about 3 weeks, the seeds last out of the pomegranate covered for up to 5 days and frozen seeds tightly wrapped last for 3 months

try pomegranate seeds in salads, drinks, on vanilla ice cream and all by themselves