Showing posts from December, 2009

One Day & One Cheat Left

The makings for the white chocolate martini are chilling in the fridge.  Technically, we may not actually have one tomorrow as we have been invited to no less than THREE New Year's Eve parties, and if I have a white chocolate martini before a party we won't actually make it TO the party.  But it's nice to know it's there....

Bizarrely, I have now lost interest in my chocolate stash.  Knowing I'll be able to have it seems to be enough.  Obviously, I respond to the "forbidden fruit" idea, which I sort of knew.  Idaho is quite close to Nevada & legalized gambling, but the only times I thought it was any fun were the times I did it while I was underage.  I like knowing I have chocolate in the house--and will be hiding some of it so Andy doesn't eat it all--but if I do have any on Friday, it will be a very small piece. 

Since we were staying with relatives over Christmas, we suspended our diet while we were there.  I would never expect anyone hosting u…

This I Had To Share

In general, I'm a big fan of  Not only do they have everything, it's been a great way to research food products from home.  So, today while trying to figure out a good gift (or gifts) to send as a hospitality "thank you" gift, I pulled up Amazon's website and typed in "gifts."  The first item that popped up:

something called "Jingle Jugs Animatronics Singing Dancing Boobs."  And this is what Amazon thinks I am most likely to be looking for as a gift.  Which makes sense, of course, as the last order I placed with them was for some Shirley Temple dvds for my nephews and niece.  I can see how they would obviously connect the two. 

Then again, I can guarantee that it's something they don't already have...............

Getting Ready For Friday........

Any guesses what I'm missing most today?

The Christmas Letter

Holiday Greetings!

2009 has been quite a year here at Château Sutton-Goar. This year we:

decided to see if we would feel any difference if we eliminated all processed foods (unknown ingredients, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup) from our diet for one year.

are a bit disappointed to find out that it really does make a huge difference

have a new appreciation for the bravery of our friends who came over to our house for dinner anyway

had an astounding amount of bizarre-looking meals. If you add spinach to almost everything, it increases the nutritional value, but occasionally one feels like one is eating a pulverized Oscar the Grouch

are really glad the one year is almost up

learned to make homemade liqueurs—and in the future would use decaffeinated coffee for Kahlua unless one intends to have cocktails at 7:00 AM

threw a “zucchini cookoff” party and PEOPLE ACTUALLY CAME!

picked several pounds of cherries...which explains all the cherry jam everyone is getting for Chris…

Lessons From Oprah

Recently, a friend mentioned that she had learned a lot from an article in Oprah's magazine.  I thought it was a great article, and thought the holidays would be a great time to share some highlights from "What I Know for Sure" by Oprah Winfrey:

"Every birthday, you decide whether to mark it the end of your greatest days or the beginning of your finest hour."

 "Reading gives you the ability to reach higher ground"

"When you get the chance, go for it.  You can't accomplish anything worthwhile if you inhibit yourself."

"Live so that at the end of each day, you can say, 'I did my very best.'"

"What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

"Making the decision to look after yourself is the ultimate in healthcare."

As long as we play the 'us and them' game, we don't evolve as people, as a nation, as a planet."

"If you feel incomplete, you alone must fill yourself with love in all your em…

Cough Drops

Okay, the cold is back and really hanging on, so there goes my theory about the no processed foods/no colds thing.  I did find some cough drops without artificial colors or flavors, but they seem to have no "active" ingredients either, so I broke down and bought some bizarrely pink lozenges that do have artificial--albeit really bad--flavoring, and of course they work really, really well.  I promise I really was trying to stick to the rules and have been gargling with saltwater like a maniac, but I'm getting a bit desperate. Maybe not desperate enough to try a mustard plaster or anything really horrible, but if this is still hanging around by Christmas, who knows???????

What I Have Learned This Week

*  Mice apparently don't hibernate

*  Having a huge cup of coffee before trying to paint ceramics is probably not the best idea unless one is fond of polka dots

*  There really is no limit to the number of times I can watch A Muppet Christmas Carol.

*  Diet Pepsi tastes just as good as I remember

*  If any of your friends have children in college, it's handy to have a math whiz on speed-dial

*  Having one's alma mater make it into a bowl game will make even the least-interested alumna consider attending the game for at least 20 seconds.....right until she remembers it would involve sitting outside on December 30 in an area that has "winter"

*  One can NEVER have too many groups of great girlfriends

*  The "live-and-let-live" policy for bugs that I talked myself into this summer does not include fruit flies.

*  A week of temperatures right around zero will stop one from whining about ANY other winter weather one gets

*  She who feels smugness about gettin…


Admittedly, I was pretty worried about making fudge.  How easy is it to just taste a little here & there? 

So I started to make it Thursday and discovered in my exuberance to be buying chocolate of any kind that I had purchased the WRONG chocolate chips.  I purchased milk chocolate instead of semi sweet, so I put it off until Friday.  Fortunately or unfortunately, my cold returned Thursday night.  I made it to the store & back before having to return to bed and sleeping most of the day, so no fudge yesterday either.

Determined, this morning I got up feeling a bit groggy but slightly better, and finally mixed up the fudge first thing--before I could get dizzy AND before my stomach could feel better enough to stop being nauseous at the very thought of chocolate.  And I am happy to report that the layered mint fudge is done, in the fridge, and I didn't have ANY!!!!  Okay, to be fair it didn't even sound good, but still.....I MADE FUDGE WITHOUT HAVING ANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…

And Today's Great Test of Toni's Willpower Is....

Making fudge without eating any of it. 


I Suppose It Had To Happen

2 cats
          + birds that aren't bright enough to fly south for the winter
          + lots of people at Soup Night to impress with one's hunting prowess

            Theo's Live Bird Floorshow!!!!!

Personally, I think it might have been to get even for the cast/water therapy thing, but maybe he was just sharing.  Luckily, one of the guests is a actually a pretty decent bird hunter, since somebody

turned the bird loose under one of the tables.

And yes, our guests CAN move pretty quickly when properly motivated.....

17 Days To Go

I'd like to say that we've been discussing art, literature, philosophy--anything remotely thoughtful--over the last couple days, but most of our conversations right now are about food.  Forbidden Food.  What can we have January 1?  What are we most looking forward to?  What can we have January 2?  Etc. 

While we know that we can't really go back to a "normal" diet, there are some things I'd REALLY like to have access to once in a while:

* Worchestershire sauce
* salad dressing
* cream cheese
* coconut milk
* ANY soup stock that hasn't involved a whole bunch of chopping and simmering on my part
* the occasional ham sandwich
* chocolate chips
* soups from cans or bags (only occasionally, but I really miss Campbell's tomato soup)
* Grape Nuts
* sour cream
* olives
* almost anything that hasn't just taken at least 20 minutes to make

We haven't exactly decided what will happen on January 1--definitely not a food free-for-all unless we decide that J…

We Cheated

OK, so we didn't set out to cheat.  Today we had arranged to meet a friend at one of our favorite restaurants and we had actually looked at their menu online to discuss what would be legal & what wouldn't, and I was excited to see that they made their own Caesar salad dressing (though mercifully not at the table, because as I aware of the egg & oil & anchovies, I don't like to be reminded of it) so I was looking forward to a legal salad. 

It turns out, they are not open for lunch on Saturday, and when it is snowing and 18 degrees is not the time to be standing around debating options, so we opted for a nearby Chinese restaurant because it was A) open, B) nearby, and C) likely to be heated. 

It turns out, the food was not even remotely legal but it was warm & I got to have some of that marvelous "Americanized" chow mien with the crunchy completely-processed noodles.  Unfortunately, it was our third cheat of the week, but I just can't feel much …

Recipe | P Allen Smith Garden Home

Know How Many Easy-To-Take Appetizers Involve Cream Cheese?

Most of them.

This month almost everything we've been invited to attend involves bringing food of some sort.  When taking food to a party, it's easiest to have things that can be served cool or at room temperature.  Crackers, cheese balls, dips--they all work really well and are, of course, illegal.  Even normal cheese in a block is a bit daunting--we have had several inadvertent "cheats" because initially I forgot that in reality, there's no way for cheese to be orange, and then I was foolish enough to believe that smoked gouda might be slightly off-white because of the smoking.  Nope--all food coloring.  And I have discovered at least one of the reasons that most of our dairy products contain some sort of stabilizer--yogurt separates.  Make a dip out of yogurt and IF you can cover up the tangy yogurt taste that, by now, we're frankly a little sick of, it might STILL separate by the time you get it to where you're going. 

So, this year every party is ge…

'Tis The Season To Be Eating

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Scores of friends we must be meeting

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Don we now our loose apparel

Fa la la, la la la, la la la

While our health and waistlines we imperil


Rules That Should Exist

*  Furnaces should only have problems in October when they're only sort of needed....not in December when they're really, really, REALLY needed

*  Food eaten at Christmas parties should not make you fat since you're really only eating to be sociable and it would hurt the host's feelings to abstain

*  All stores should be required to keep at least ONE replacement carafe in stock for every coffee maker they carry.  Depriving customers of a regular caffeine fix is really low on the customer service scale

*  Companies should just admit that unless they are involved in anything regarding retail, Christmas, or perhaps food that they really aren't going to do any business in December anyway and should stop interfering with their employee's holiday enjoyment

*  Cats should come with "snooze" and "mute" buttons.  "Rewind" might be interesting as well

* My Yahoo mail account would automatically realize that I do not have a penis and therefor…

Turns Out, The Answer Would Be "No"

We had frozen blueberries

and frozen cherries

so I thought "Great, I'll get pink and purple frosting."  Since I didn't want the frosting to actually taste like cherries or blueberries as it turns out that even I have some food weirdness limits (who knew?), I defrosted them and smashed some of the juice out

stirred the juice into the frosting--being careful to add a little more sugar to compensate for the extra liquid

and voila!

I think there's a sort of slight hint of purple in the one on the right.  Of course, you can see it better when you compare it with just the white frosting

See?  It looks like 3 paint samples of "beige," doesn't it.  On the cookies doesn't help much

but I think from this angle

you can see a bit of color.  And that my counters are dirty, but we're "overlooking" that part....

And, of course, all those decorator things--sprinkles, red hots, colored sugar--are completely off limits, so this is as good as these cookies a…

Today's Question....

Can one color sugar cookie frosting with berry juice and would one want to?  And even if they end up completely bizarre looking, will people still want to eat the cookies at the Christmas party?

It has taken 11 months, but I have finally missed food coloring....


One of the problems with living the Year of No Processed Foods experiment is it often takes so much time JUST to live it that I don't have as much time as I had hoped to do research into topics that come up.  Like allergies.

Spending as much time as I do reading labels this year, I regularly see allergy warnings--usually the nuts, wheat, and gluten issues.  Sometimes it will actually say that the product doesn't contain any allergens, but was processed in a plant that processes other things that contain allergens.  And this seems to be necessary.

When I was in first grade, it was discovered that I am allergic to milk.  Know how they discovered it?  My mother took me to an allergist, he gave us a list of common food allergens, had her remove all of them and then introduce them in serious quantity one by one, and when I reacted we would have found the one I was allergic to.  We didn't question this, it worked like a charm, and I was only sorry that we started with the onion …