Sunday, October 1, 2017

My fair share



We are entering the high eating season of the year.

You pass the September Ember Days, and you are into it!

This morning for our St. Anthony's coffee hour I made two pumpkin delicacies. I am sorry if I was jumping the gun a little but I could not help it! I made a pumpkin wreath, one of those big coffee cakes I make with yeast, and I also made a Bundt cake I called Buttercup Rum Cake. There is this amazing recipe, Whiskey Squash Cake, which was the first successful Bundt cake I made a couple of months ago. I riff on it now and this version used rum instead of whiskey, as well as deep orange Buttercup squash.

I assume it was good because it vanished pretty quick!

I have been having a good time with the farm I joined, this CSA. This is the same ol' organic farm I used to belong to, Porter Farms. I just do not remember having as much fun with it then as I have been having this year.

The deal is, they deliver to the office. And so every week, on the appointed day, at the appointed hour, all of us are going downstairs and collecting these bags of produce. It is hard not to smile when you are toting this big bag with collard greens sticking out of it and so it is always a bright and cheery day.

I took the picture up above of one share. That was especially heavy because of the cantaloupe which was like a bowling ball! But it was so sweet and good, worth the long haul across the parking lot.

Here is the share from Sept 7.


I love how the farm says one share does for four people, or for two vegetarians. That Sept. 7 share, I think I ate it pretty much single-handedly in two days! The cantaloupe on the other hand lasted us a week. We ate every bit of it.

This current share included an array of peppers which, I used them for this Mexican cheese soup I made for the coffee hour. The coffee hour sees a lot of the vegetables. A few weeks ago I made yummy white bean soup with greens from the farm.

Bring on the fall eating season.

I am ready!




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The aimless, No Goal bullet journal


I keep a bullet journal as I may have mentioned. It grew out of this story I wrote for The Buffalo News on bullet journaling.

Speaking of growing ... The other day I am drawing up my October calendar spread. I wanted it to look sort of brooding and October-ish, so I began doodling a barren tree. That is it, in the picture above! Anyway, I am having fun drawing this tree, la la la la la la. Then I realize...

That is the column where I usually put my goals for the month!

Things to do, stuff I want to get achieved. Such was the case in bright, cheery August.


The goals column is skinny but you would be amazed what you can fit in there. That is, unless you start doodling a big old tree.

I guess I will have no goals for October! October will be the month of No Goal. That is a hockey catchphrase up here in Buffalo, dating from some long-ago game where we were cheated. It applies to me this month.

I will look on the bright side.

October will be fun!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Riding the Reddy


Today I took a break, borrowed a Reddy Bike at Canalside, and rode down to Tifft Farm Nature Preserve.

What fun! I love taking a ride like that, particularly in a sun dress and sandals, which I did today. You get to go over the Ohio Street bridge. I always ride over the grating so I can see the water beneath my feet.

Landscapes like that one up above, I love it.

I want to have a picnic here.


That is the Cotter at left, our 1905 fireboat. Here is another pic I took.


Sometimes I like the take the boat north from downtown, to LaSalle Park. But now I am seeing that south is the way to go. I love the grain elevators, the Old First Ward, the Outer Harbor. There are endless bike paths. Which, those bike paths are not everywhere. Everyone loves to tell you, we are all connected by bike routes. That is not true.

I ride Reddy Bikes so much they lose money on me. I love them so much I did a story on them for The Buffalo News. Plus if I take a ride at lunch time I can skip the gym at night, giving me more time to work on important things.

"Fun!" That is what I exalted, sailing down that ribbon of highway.

It is!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Can stand the heat


This heat wave, I love it! Above is a picture I took of torpid Hoyt Lake.

One of the things I have been doing to celebrate the heat wave is go swimming. The other thing I will get to in a second.

The swimming has been great. No, you do not swim in Hoyt Lake. But there is plenty of other opportunity! The other day, I went to Beaver Island with my brother and my niece and nephew. There were no lifeguards or parking fees because the season is over, at least so they say. Hundreds of people were on the beach, folks of all stripes. All of us unsupervised! It was so peaceful and beautiful.

We kept gloating about it being late September and here we were swimming. Except as George reminded me, we have been swimming at Beaver Island much later in the year than this. We do get beautiful autumns here in Buffalo, or should we say, beautiful summers.

Today I went swimming at LA Fitness but even indoor swimming is wonderful. They have huge windows and it feels so refreshing.

So... what was the other thing I was doing to celebrate the heat wave?

I have had the oven going full blast!!

For our Tridentine Mass coffee hour, I made Orange Cornmeal Cake out of Martha Stewart ...


... and Cocoa Fudge Bundt Cake...


... and one of my signature coffee wreaths, from King Arthur Flour. Howard took all these pictures and he photographed the wreath before it went into the oven. When it came out, it was huge!


The Orange Cornmeal cake was really interesting because you top it with sugar and the sugar forms this crust. The fudge Bundt was a great old Betty Crocker recipe that mixed up all in one bowl.

I will have to remember that.

Along with this heat wave!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Dollar Tree Hoax


Today I got my chiro adjustment, and after that I am supposed to take it easy, and so to relax I made a stop at Savers. I met my friends Tracy and Lizzie and Nike.

We were hanging around Office Supplies, having fun, and I selected with Nike's help a baggie of old Crayola crayons. That is another story for another day. For now I have to get to the shocker.

Lizzie and Nike told me that they had read in the paper this morning that Dollar Tree was closing!

What in the world??

Tracy and I immediately began to protest. Dollar Tree had just opened new stores. It was impossible. They always looked as if they were doing well. They --

"It's right here," Nike said, and she pointed at her phone.

No way! I was too upset to think properly. Shortly after that Nike and Lizzie left to go, you guessed it, to Dollar Tree. I did not want to go with them. I was too sad. Tracy and I wandered around buying this and that and mourning the loss.

I have written before about my great love for Dollar Tree, which ranks up there with my great love for Mozart, Leonard Pennario, and the Catholic Church. Where would I now buy Totally Awesome cleaning products? What about cheap Lime-A-Way toilet cleaner? About once a month you find a coupon in The Buffalo News and Dollar Tree takes coupons.

How about their writing implements? I love that brand name Jot. I just bought a cute Jot notebook a few weeks ago to keep track of my chapter revisions.

Cookbooks. Coloring books.


Wrapping paper. Gift bags. Nail polish. Wax paper. Bar ware. Made-in-USA glass candle holders. Hot sauce. Those 50-ounce drums of Totally Awesome dish soap. (They never did disappear.) My head was spinning.

And what about Tevive Tea? Just yesterday I enjoyed a cup of Peach Passion.

And oh, the holy frozen food!

Well.

Guess what, I get home and I look in the paper to see where this Dollar Tree story is, so I can put it on Twitter (where I am, under @MaryKunzGoldman), and post, "I am devastated."

I could not find that story anywhere!

Subsequently I did a search and sure enough.

Fake News!

I should have guessed. How could Dollar Tree close, with me keeping them in business? At first I was really mad at Nike and Lizzie for causing me this stress. But a second later, I was over it. Number one they love Dollar Tree as much as I do, and were as distraught as I was.

And secondly, who cares?

Dollar Tree lives!

I will appreciate it double from now on.




Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunset over Hertel Avenue


Sometimes the best pictures of sunsets are in urban settings!

I personally prefer the above picture to the greatest inspirational pictures of the sun setting over a peaceful ocean. It is Sunset Over Hertel Avenue! I took it from the lot of the Lexington Food Co-Op.

Another shot that same evening. This was a minute or so earlier if memory serves me.


Speaking of the sun, here is my masterful photo of the solar eclipse a month or so ago.


That was August 21, yikes! I can barely bear to look at my camera roll, the weeks and months are passing so fast. Barely bear, that is a phrase I like. It is like manly man or girly girl.

Jeoffry does not care what the sun is doing.


As long as he has his bird, he's happy!

All right, it is back to work with my fine self.

There is one thing the sun never sets on.

That is procrastination!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bless me, Father, for I have cooked


Today for church coffee hour I went back to a cookbook I've had for years and had completely forgotten about. It is this cookbook from Cape May's Mainstay Inn. It is called, "Breakfast At Nine, Tea At Four."

Why, you cute cookbook!

I made Banana Crunch Coffee Cake, p. 104. While it was baking I turned a few pages and found Orange Kuchen. I had an orange. I had everything I needed. So I made that too.

Here is a funny thing. Both the Banana Crunch cake took about three times as much sugar and butter as the Orange Kuchen. Both baked in the same pan, the 9 by 13, one of my favorite pans, I must point out.

Well, even though the banana cake took enough sugar and butter -- and coconut, too! -- to sink a ship, I made it as written. Give the people what they want! Several times I have skimped and tried to make things healthy and in that case nobody eats it.

Both cakes were a success. My friend Oscar complimented me on the orange cake. Oscar comes from some South American or Latin American country I can never remember, but he is an authority on baking and he loves the taste of orange peel. As do I! It is most zesty.

Another way in which I was a winner, I made a crock pot of white beans and greens, the greens being the collards from my Porter Farms CSA, which is another story for another day. One of the gentlemen complimented me on that! He and his wife were on some kind of plant-based diet and he could not believe his luck.

Long story short, here I am kicking back and listening to Harry Connick Jr. and basking in my greatness. Oh! There is one more thing.

Lizzie and I both managed to make it to Mass in a timely fashion! The Kyrie was just beginning which was not bad for us. Last week, even better, we made it in time for the Asperges. What are we doing right? We were trying to figure that out because it would be great if this trend continued.

I think with me, it was because I made two big coffee cakes instead of any number of smaller ones. That plus I made Amaretto Coffee Wreath ...


... which was huge too. Howard took that picture of it on its parchment paper! I threw these treats together yesterday easily, among doing other things. Howard helped me carry them out to the car this morning so that was something else. He usually helps me but this morning he did the lion's share of it. Not as many pans, and a lot of help! That made a difference.

Now if I could only bring this kind of productivity to the rest of my life.

Onward and upward!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Weber wondering



So I get a big tray of spareribs from Tops. They are all spiced up and ready to barbecue. I scanned the ingredients and it all looks nice and natural. I've got all my ducks in a row, right?

Well.

What do you do when ...

... the package says to grill for 7 minutes a side, and ....

.... every cookbook and online recipe says to grill for about two hours?

What do you do??

Whom do you trust???

Do you start them in the oven and then finish them on the Weber?

What about Constanze Weber, Mozart's wife, pictured up above?

She was the first soprano soloist in Mozart's "Great" Mass in C Minor which is challenging, but I do not think she ever had the challenge of grilling spareribs!

Constanze Weber did not have a Weber!

I do. With which, I like to cook and I like to think I have gotten good at it. However, I have a confession. Meat confuses the daylight out of me.

Every cookbook I see tells me that this or that cut of beef could be called this or could be called that. There is no consistency. Every book tells me --

Oh, wait, the husband is home. The ribs will be cooked, one way or another. I do not need to point out that this impossible situation came about thanks to Eve being created from Adam's rib, you know? The rib situation is complicated from the word go.

I will report on how this goes.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Me, the mermaid


I have been doing a new class at the gym, Aqua Fit.

That is not exactly our LA Fitness class in the picture but it may as well be. That is exactly what it looks like. I remember a year ago or something I glanced at Aqua Fit while it was in progress and I saw this big group of men and women of all ages and races and shapes and sizes advancing in the pool like an army, smiling and laughing, hefting these weights. I thought: I should try that! Finally I did.

You get to be in a pool which is fun. I love swimming. So if the teacher is late, as is often the case, no big deal. I've learned enough of the exercises so if the teacher doesn't show up, which is often the case, no big deal. If you get a lazy teacher, no big deal. Unlike in Zumba, where a lazy teacher drove me crazy.

So. I have been doing this Aqua Fit off and on for about six weeks. And this is the truth: Things fit me that did not fit me before that.

No kidding, I bought a pair of pants at the Temple Beth Tzedek sale and they did not fit me then and now they do! And there is nothing else that could have done this for me aside from Aqua Fit. I have made no other lifestyle changes, God knows that.

Perhaps it is just that I am going to the gym three or four times a week because I enjoy this class. Perhaps it is the nature of the class. Oh, who knows.

There was one thing weighing on me. This is great now that it is summer and you feel like jumping into a pool. What about winter?

Then just last night that question was resolved. This other gal in the class, she and I were hanging out in the pool afterwards, paddling around and looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows.

She said: "Just wait till it's winter and it's snowing outside. This will be awesome!!"

She is right!

I just needed someone to point that out!

The important thing is, it's fun, and it works. On top of everything else the class is easy as pie. It is not like Boot Camp or even Pilates. Pilates feels great but it is work, I will tell you that. There have been Pilates classes where I have rolled over on my mat afterwards and thought: I am ready now to audition for the Alvin Ailey. I am a superhero to have gotten through this class.

Aqua Fit on the other hand is a walk in the park.

Exercise does not have to be miserable!






Saturday, August 26, 2017

Last call at Little Vegas


Today my friend Lizzie and I spotted an estate sale sign and, as usual, screeched to a stop. The sale turned out to be bittersweet. It was the Little Vegas tavern in Lackawanna.

The tavern had been a stop a few years ago on a Forgotten Buffalo tour we were on! Lizzie reminded me of that. And I remembered -- well, sort of anyway. I must have had a good time on that tour, what can I say. Well, what happened in Little Vegas stays in Little Vegas.

Inside we learned it was the last day of the sale. The owners' daughter was pretty much taking all offers. I tried to talk her into stretching the sale out for another weekend, so I could help get the word out about it. But she was in a hurry to get back to Florida. Which, I can understand. You can only take so much of this kind of stuff, you know?

I regret I did not buy the cash register.


And a case could have been made for buying these vintage Santas and other Christmas decorations that were in the basement. You could just imagine the bar's regulars waiting every year for these old fellows to reappear.


There were tons of decks of playing cards behind the bar. Of course I went behind the bar just so I could feel what it would be like. I took this picture from behind the bar.


 And yes, I did say, "What can I do you for?"

And: "You and me both."

The playing cards must have been in keeping with the bar's name.

I tried to interest Howard in the vintage beer cooler but to no avail.


Howard is less sentimental than I am. I am sentimental!

I did also love this old scale.


In the end I bought a chalkboard for $2 and Lizzie spent a couple of bucks on some very cool decorations. We had to have some kind of memento.

It is a pity saying farewell to an old bar even if it was not exactly on your turf. These mom-and-pop taverns are disappearing.

Goodbye, Little Vegas.

Goodbye!