Archive for February, 2013

Eye of the Beholder

I rolled out of bed this morning, pulled on my shoes (and a few other items of clothing) with the goal of tackling my upper body at the gym. I want guns like Michelle Obama. It’s free-weight day, baby.

Holey moley. Got to the gym and the weight area was mobbed with burly, scowling and grunting muscle-bound men with can’t-look-away tattoos. Was it he-man day at the fitness center? Yup, it appeared so. They all had those cliched meaty paws that could easily double as snow shovels. One guy was pummeling the heavy bag with his bare fists.

What could I do but extend my warmup on the elliptical, thinking they’d leave soon.

are you there?

After 30 minutes they were still there.

I was kinda hungry by then, so thought about skipping my upper body workout and heading home for bacon and eggs. But, hey. It’s MY gym too.

So I MUSCLED my way in and grabbed a couple of impressive 8-lb. weights and grunted along with the body builders. When I increased my poundage while flat on my back on the bench, I struggled a little to pick up the hand weights from the floor next to the bench. Embarrassing!

Suddenly the burliest of the tatted-up, intimidating guys came over and bared his teeth. (I thought he was about to let out a mwahahahaha laugh.) But, nooooo. He offered a shy smile. And offered to spot me.

Lesson for the day: Intimidation is all in the mind. The book cover does not always reveal what’s inside. Keep an open mind and an open heart.

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Cupid Can Suck It

2599_1103670158685_6295263_nBy Lindsey Ambrose is the daughter of Jeanne Ambrose. She is a small-space gardener extraordinaire with a penchant for cooking fresh and local. She goes for full-flavored, somewhat-spicy cuisine with a flair for ethnic-fusion feasts.

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. While I do love most holidays (mainly for the excuse to overindulge in food and fancy cocktails) this one has always stuck in my craw. Shouldn’t we appreciate our loved ones year round? It’s simple really: if you love someone treat them well.

Raised by an amazing and independent working lady—my strong single mom—I always planned to make it on my own. If I found love on the side, well so be it. Marriage? That’s a sucker’s game.

But then I found someone that I loved very deeply—and more importantly didn’t bore me—even after four years of cohabitation. I was happy and didn’t mind the idea of marriage anymore. Valentine’s Day became more exciting than depressing and I began to concoct fun, non-cliche ways to celebrate. Maybe Valentine’s Day was more romantic than I thought. Maybe it really was just an excuse to dedicate your time, or money, to show someone that you truly cared about them.

Imagine my surprise when my Valentine had other plans. Things had become rocky since discovering he had been back in touch with an ex-girlfriend and hiding it from me. We started to bicker a lot. So I wasn’t incredibly surprised when he broke up with me on Valentine’s Day, saying he just couldn’t see spending the rest of his life with me. Not surprised, just a little pissed at the timing—and heartbroken. Just when I thought I could maybe get behind the whole V-day hoopla.

Get bent, Cupid.

For anyone who’s been jilted on Valentine’s Day, this song is for you.
Disclaimer: This song did not get the Mom seal of approval. She likes Bruno Mars these days.

Don’t forget the treats. Enjoy these Moon Drops for your solo Valentine’s Day can suck it party.

Moon Drops
A small batch makes about 13 TB sized balls (heaping tablespoons, that is)


1/2 cup almond butter*

1/4 cup honey

3 TB coconut oil

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup chopped up nuts (walnuts are great)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

Optional add-ins:

1/4 cup of dried cranberries, chopped dried figs, dates or any dried fruit, chocolate chips or cacao nibs for chocolate lovers. You can also dip/roll these in cocoa powder or add a few tablespoons of it to the mixture!


Heat the almond butter, honey, and coconut oil in a saucepan on low, stirring constantly, until melted. Once melted, remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients to mixture, stirring vigorously until fully incorporated.

Using a tablespoon, drop mixture onto waxed paper covered cookie. Place cookie sheets in the fridge for about an hour or so until the drops begin to harden.

Now you can leave them as blobs, or form them into nice balls, hearts or whatever you’re in the mood for.


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Cocktail Friday: Me, Martini, and I

Chad's Clementine Cocktail

Because I’ve had an exhausting week and it’s Cocktail Friday, I’m sharing my friend Chad Johnston’s latest concoction. Chad likes to play bartender. And all his friends are happy to be taste testers. Except for the time he attempted a drink that included an infusion of fresh plum and onion. But this ready-for-spring Darlin’ Clementine Cocktail is definitely a worth toasting.

Darlin’ Clementine Cocktail
ala Chad Johnston

Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh rosemary (1 sprig)
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1  1/2 oz. orange liqueur (Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen is partial to Cointreau.)
3 oz. vodka
3 oz. fresh squeezed clementine juice
Splash orange bitters

1. Combine lemon zest with sugar. Moisten rim of martini glass with clementine juice. Dip rim in lemony sugar.

2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle rosemary sprig with simple sugar and orange liqueur. Fill the shaker with ice. Add vodka, clementine juice and orange bitters. Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake. Strain into the sugared martini glass. Add a fresh rosemary spring.

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It’s a Dark Chocolate Fudge Kinda Day

fudge w: dulce de leche

I’ve been in a scowly woe-is-me mood for the past couple of days. That’s why I had to make my what-the-funk  fudge. It’s fast (about 5 minutes once the ingredients are assembled on the kitchen counter). And ohgeewhiz good.

I must admit that I was inspired by a basic Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe. But I’m not a basic kinda girl. I wanted a thicker fudge, so I cut back on the amount of sweetened condensed milk. Then I added a little espresso to add intensity to the chocolate chips (plus I added dark chocolate), a little butter, a dulce de leche drizzle on top…and coarse sea salt. Next time I’ll add chopped toasted pecans, but this pan full of happy was being shared with my nut-free friend.

The reviews were quite favorable. And the funk is gone.

Quick Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge
Makes 24 pieces, give or take

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (or any instant coffee) dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 cup dark chocolate pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk (save the rest of the 14-oz. can for your coffee)
1 tablespoon butter, softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dulce de leche
Coarse sea salt

1. Line a square pan (8×8-in or 9×9-in)  with parchment; set aside. Stir together espresso mix, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and butter in a glass bowl. (I used a 4-cup glass measuring cup.)

2. Microwave for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 1 minute more; stirring every 30 seconds or so, until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread fudge into pan.

3. Microwave dulce de leche (in a glass bowl or measuring cup) at 70% power for 15 seconds or so. Drizzle over fudge in pan. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Chill fudge about 30 minutes or until you can’t stand it any longer. Use parchment paper to remove fudge from pan. Peel off parchment. Cut. Share. Eat.



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