Archive for the 'at home' Category


Last Week of Classes is Dreadful

Austin is lacking personality this week. What is everyone doing? Studying! All professors conveniently assign final papers, projects, tests, quizzes, you name it this week. And FedEx Office on Medical Arts isn’t open after 11pm to support us… Bill Bowman? Do you have an answer for this?

Since none of my busy friends were able to come out with me for one school-related reason or another, I decided they needed a place to vent – my digital camera! Mostly my prompt was “so what kinds of assignments do you have due this week?” Some are drama queens, some are nerds, and some will make you feel happy you are not in their shoes. Most feigned happiness for the camera. I think all of us can agree… the last week of the semester brings out the stressed-out demon in us all.


Great holiday recipes = great late night snacks

Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  Well, it’s Saturday and I’m still living off of mine!

I’d like to share a couple family recipes that always raise a few eyebrows.  The first two are my two all-time favorite holiday dishes – cranberry soup and rhubarb pie.  The third is the Northern version of stuffing.  The main difference is the bread — people from the South make cornbread stuffing and people from the North make stuffing with actual torn pieces of bread.  I prefer cornbread, but both are delicious.  Here they are:

Jolynne’s Cold Cranberry Soup

(From The Madd Apple Café – a pretty soup for brunch, lunch or dinner.)

Makes about 2 quarts

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, low bush
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 to 2 whole cloves
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ¾ to 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • fresh mint sprigs*

Simmer cranberries, water and cloves in large saucepan 10 minutes. Drain cranberries, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.  Discard cloves.  Puree cranberries in blender.  Press through fine strainer into heavy large saucepan.  Mix in reserved cooking liquid.

Combine sugar and flour in medium bowl.  Stir in sour cream, wine and orange juice.  Mix into cranberries.  Slowly bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool.  Refrigerate until well chilled.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)  Garnish each serving with mint sprig*.


Jolynne’s Rhubarb Pie

  • 4 cups ( 1lb ) rhubarb in 1” slices
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • dash salt
  • zest of ½ orange, minced

Combine sugar, flour and salt.  Toss rhubarb and orange peel with sugar mixture, mixing well.  Let macerate several hours if rhubarb is very tart.  Use a 2–crust 9” pie shell; cut decorative slits in the top.  Bake at 400 for 45-50 min., until juices have thickened and start bubbling out of the slits in the pie.

Note: I cut the rhubarb and freeze it; then toss it into the pie shell frozen and allow an extra 10 minutes baking time.

Macerate – to make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid

Tim’s bread (and onion) stuffing

  • 8-10 cups sliced onions
  • 4 cups sliced celery (about 1 head)
  • ¼ cup butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large loaf of crusty Italian bread or San Francisco Sourdough, torn into 2” chunks
  • 3-4 cups poultry stock
  • Diced giblets (cooked in giblet broth)

The beauty of a packed house

Sharing a bathroom with 3 people, labeling your food with your initials, and asking for rent from 7 other people can be a real pain. That’s what apartment life in Austin is all about. But I urge college students to use your 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 8-person house to your advantage this holiday season and have a potluck dinner!

Mostly homemade potluck dinner

Mostly homemade potluck dinner

My friends and I decided to each prepare one dish for our pre-Thanksgiving meal, and it turned out fabulous! The best chefs/best future wives of the bunch made fabulous casseroles, mac and cheese, pies, stuffing, salad, desserts…

Mac n cheese, Sweet potatoes, and squash

Mac n cheese, Sweet potatoes, and squash

Spinach, and more veggie casseroles

Spinach, and more veggie casseroles



The desserts

The desserts

and of course turkey!



And those of us who can’t cook got someone else to prepare two dishes or picked up a dish at a restaurant or grocery store (like me!)

Everyone played a vital role, even the roommate who purchased all the disposable kitchenware. The meal started at 5pm and didn’t end until everyone had finished at least 3 plate fulls. As this will probably be our meal for the next week, you would think that this spoiled Nov. 26. But no, we’re all looking forward to mama’s cookin’!