Friday, February 13, 2009

VALENTINE"S DAY EVE: BAKING THE BLONDE WAY

I am all set up to bake. Everything organized and ready. I am making brownie's, fudge, sugar cookies and chocolate covered marshmallows (courtesy of a recipe from Ms. Tee at A Delightful Home. Now just before you start scratching your head and saying to yourself "Can Blondie bake??", I'll have you know I can do anything as long as it comes from a mix. Note the box behind the bowl... Can you believe Ghirardelli now makes mixes? I read it in a blog and then in another blog that saw the original blog and so before you can say Weight Watcher's, we are all going to be in the kitchen (at least us non-bakers!!

I love to cook. I am a cook. Period. I can use a food processor with my eyes closed, make Salmon Scallops with Sorrel Sauce for 12 or whip up poached pears in Cabernet Sauvignon for a romantic little dessert. But hand me a a set of measuring spoons and I am running for the hills faster than you can say Betty Crocker! And I really do think it is all about the measuring. I am one of the most patient people you will ever meet, so I can certainly labor over a delectable confection and wait for it to bake or chill or what have you, I think it's more that I am the rebellious type and refuse to measure anything. To me, that is the joy of cooking (as Julia Child coined). Just throw a little of this in and a little of that, a science experiment if you will. One of my favorite things to make are soups and stews. I can make 1000 different ones just playing with ingredients. I suppose I look like a witch over her cauldron, stirring away as it bubbles over, a toad jumping out every now and then! :-)

So I am baking these goodies and I am making little packages for the girls in which I am also including various other little chocolates (store bought of course, I tried to make truffles once and I will leave the aftermath of that project to your imagination~not pretty), manicure thingies, lip glosses, earrings and some pretty undies (hey, I do the laundry around here...I know when things need to be replaced!). I am also making goody bags for their boyfriend's parents as well as for their actual boyfriends because they would have waited until the 11th hour. And I have a few things for The Husband, well it's no big secret. I bought him pajama bottoms that he like to lounge around in with a sweatshirt at night. He appreciates little things like that and as I said, I do the laundry around here so I know what he needs! ;-)

So while I was slaving away at the stove I snapped a few pictures in my kitchen. Below is my spice rack. Our kitchen was renovated about 5 years after we moved in and I told the carpenter exactly what I need and voila... I can bake...er, cook like a queen. No, it is not alphabetized but I do check freshness dates a lot. In the summer I can tack up stuff from my herb garden to dry from the shelves, it's pretty & fragrant.



These are my cookbooks. Every basic thing I learned about cooking originated from a cookbook. Before Google, I always turned to books for reference. When someone asks me how I learned to cook, I say "If you can read, you can cook". There are exceptions to that of course; experience and repetition follow that. And if you have fun doing it, you will do it well. I actually thinned these books out, you can see the shelves have started to sag! I brought some to the cottage and gave some away. Only after I started blogging did I learn that so many others enjoy 'reading' cookbooks. I think it it is inspiring to see the author's personality come out in their books and I love illustrations. I have my favorites, but I won't bore you. Let's move on, shall we?



Below is a sign I am sure all of you recognize. This is where I bought all my goodies for my baking marathon (grrrr...). Someone from the suburbs once said,"Your Target is weird!" and I thought, wow, maybe it is. So I am asking you. As you know, parking space in the city is at a premium, so when our Target was built a few years ago, an underground parking of sorts was made. It's actually at street level under the store and then you take an escalator up. So...how do you get down the escalator when you have a cart full of goodies?











As you might be able to see, the customers are coming down on the left. "Where could their carts be?" you ask. Well...





Isn't this just the cat's meow!! Maybe it's weird, maybe not. But I hope you all know what an idiot I felt like standing here taking these pictures!! At times like this I hope people think I'm just a tourist from Romania or something, "...and this is the weird Target store in Chicago, Nadia"!!!
Tomorrow we are off to the cottage to bring supplies to Resident Carpenter. After meeting with him we are going to spend the night in South Bend, Indiana. Does that sound familiar? Home to the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish!! Our cottage sits on the Indiana/Michigan border. We are called Michiana. And we are 20 minutes from Notre Dame. South Bend is a nice sized city and so we will shop, have dinner and stay somewhere. I will try to take some cool pictures! Or maybe have The Husband do it!!! ;-)
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!!
xoxo
Janie






20 comments:

jewelstreet said...

Oh, wow! That is weird. I have never seen that before, but I live in the boonies.

I'm the opposite. I love to bake and make concoctions that way. Cooking is not my forte. That spice rack rocks! I need me one of those when we get done remodeling. I feel the same way about books. I have learned so much from books like how to roof, how to make jewelry, how to knit. Just haven't been able to learn to crochet from a book.

KATHERINELLEN said...

Jane,
Thank for stopping by...sweet notes. Happy Valentine to YOU! The picture came from my camera...My friend took the pictures for me... The scery at Brookhill Ranch...at Hot Springs, Aransas. Hettie Lou Ministries and Camp. I will tell it about on Outdoor Wednesday..It's beautiful there. You are welcome to copy the picture...I don't mind...Have a wonderful weekends..Katherinellen

Pug1 said...

Hmm....I ahven't been to this Target...where is it in Chicago? HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! CHEERS! Michele

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

What a unique way for carts to get down.. it had to be interesting to see... I used to bake all the time when hubby ate..but those days are long gone now.. I just love dishes..lol..The toile dishes are about 10 years old. I would love to have some older..but those take dollars..
Have a super trip with lots of fun..Happy Valentine's Day!!
hugs ~lynne~

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

I saw the carts like that in New Orleans for the first time last year! Didn't have my camera at the time! LOL

Your kitchen looks great...and very organized. I need to get busy on mine!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Well, that is really fascinating, Janie! I thought you were going to tell us some sort of freight elevator. But that is just way cool!

No wonder we're such good friends. You love to cook. I love to eat and admire people who are great cooks! That is so neat that you can whip up all of that great food. I a am the auto-chef. Put me in an auto, and I can drive to the best restaurants and delis in town to pick up their most delicious dishes. ;-) LOL!

I wanted to drop by and wish you the most wonderful of Valentine Days! You are one of my favorite bloggy friends, and you are always so sweet and loving. I just hope that your day is filled with so much love your heart can't hold it all! :-) And I hope that for you both today and every day. AND I'm sending much love from my heart to yours...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

HELLO,
I had the most fun reading your blog, I just laughed and laughed when i read the quote"if you can read,you can cook", I can't tell you how many times I have said that to friends who ask me how I made something. I collect cookbooks and love to sit and read them. weird,huh/I know we are going to be great friends!! Have very safe and happy week end!!
Blessings,
Sue

Smilingsal said...

What an innovative idea that is! Go Target! Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

Sugarplum Cottage said...

I guess I cook like a witch too, a smidgen of this and smidgen of that. I love your spice rack, you'd have to cook alot to use all these spices. I love cookbooks too, although I don't know why women buy so many of them, including me. We still cook the same old thing. Hugs, Rosemarie

Deb said...

I've never seen anything like your new Target store! Thanks for taking the photo :-)What a fabulous idea. Happy Valentine's Day - have a wonderful weekend.

kate said...

Hi blondie,
I was born and raised in SB, In.
home of the fighting Irish, it stays in your blood. I have lived in florida 21 yrs and just moved to south carolina. Hope your having fun, im sure its cold in South Bend, its spring here in charleston.
best to you
kate

beth at aunties said...

You were cracking me up:) I had neve seen a cart escalator.

Your family sounds well taken care of this Valentines day and hope it turned out wonderful.

Ours went by way too fast.

Thanks for your wonderful comments and I love it when you visit!


Beth
♥♥♥

Mama said...

Hope you had both a Happy Valentines and a Happy baking day Blondie, That is a neat Targets you have lol. Kathy.

Cottage Rose said...

My goodness; you sure have a very busy day ahead of you. All the goody bags sound really great. Every thing sounds so yummy.

Hugs;
Alaura

The Berry's Patch said...

I wouldn't say weird, just different. Of course, this has always been my excuse for myself.

Anyway, it sounds like the kids, kids boyfriends and boyfriends parents made out! Well, I mean they made out with lots of goodies. :-)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I have a brownie recipe that is sooooo easy and delicious you'll give up the box. I swear! :-) I made them Friday and will hopefully getting around to posting them this week. The secret is a can of sweetened condensed milk...makes it super easy.

Dana and Daisy said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one who would have dropped their jaw on the floor when they saw that. I would have been like hanging out stalking other shoppers to see how it is done.

Kathleen Ellis said...

You are too funny!
Aren't those Ghirardelli brownies fabulous?! You're my kind of cook, Janie!
Have a fabulously romantic and elegant evening!
Kathleen ;-D

Amy Jemima said...

Your Target is just like a supermarket I was in a couple months back in France. It's not weird, it's chic! :-)

Deborah said...

There is a cart escalator at one of our Targets...cool, isn't it!

xoxo,
Deborah