Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays and... A Festive Drink Recipe

Yes, it is that time of year again.  Time for a good, stiff festive drink!

We found what looked to be an interesting recipe.   And with the help of Brother Kent and GamGam we found all the ingredients.  We used Templeton Rye.  The VERY BEST rye whiskey, in our opinion, and it's produced right here in Iowa.  But, alas, we couldn't find any of the other exotic ingredients in our home state.   That's where Brother Kent and GamGam come in.   Brother Kent picked up the St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram at the Village Bottle Shoppe in Lafayette, Indiana and the Punt e Mes vermouth at Lambrecht's Liquors in St. Joseph, Michigan.  GamGam found the root-beer liqueur produced by Art in the Age at Tiffany's Wine and Spirit Shoppe in Kalamazoo, Michigan.   

When it was time to mix, GamGam taught us how to create a twist of orange.  What fun!  How festive!

Instead of making cocktails one at a time, borrowing a mixology trend, we prepared them in batches and served with flair.

Most of us agreed we liked this strange brew, a spiced wintery cocktail.  Even GamGam who after a few declared, "it tastes like a dental office smells."  So, naturally, we christened our holiday drink The Root Canal.

The Root Canal

12 ounces bonded rye
12 ounces Punt e Mes vermouth
3 ounces root-beer liqueur (preferably Art in the Age Root) 
1 1/2 ounces allspice liqueur (preferably St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram) 
24 ounces water

Combine the ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Chill for at least 4 hours, until very cold. Serve on the rocks with orange twists.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville has a Tibetan Terrier

Hugh Bonneville on the line.

We were happy to learn that Downton Abbey's Lord Grantham, actor Hugh Bonneville. has a Tibetan Terrier.

"I have a Tibetan terrier. I'm still not sure if Teddy's a genius or very thick. It's a fine line," the actor recently revealed in an interview with the BBC.

Bonneville says he has also learned that dogs and their owners do, indeed, tend to be very alike in character.  "Mine is a Tibetan terrier who gets under everyone's feet, then stops to lick himself for no reason, so we all fall over him."

Then, we came across this piece written by Teddy for Tattler.


Let's get one thing straight. I don't live at Downton Abbey. I am Hugh's real-life dog - his actual best friend and not some part-time, performing gimp. Jealous? Me? Not at all. Isis the lab may get to hang out on set with Hugh, Shirley MacLaine and Dame Maggie Smith, but he's never allowed into any of the Crawley bedrooms and, when the cameras stop rolling, he's just like any other hound.

I get to sleep on Hugh's bed. It's a pretty cosy spot. Normally, it's just me, Hugh and Mrs Bonneville, unless the cat sneaks in - then it gets a bit crowded. I always maintain my dignity by keeping quiet and staring into space until I have him to myself again. When I'm not eating anything I can find, you'll catch me barking at nothing, sniffing any available crotch or being dragged like a sack of potatoes across the hall for a walk.

I think exercise is overrated but, once I get into the woods, I give in and let Hugh have his wretched romp, while I stalk twigs and have the occasional argument with my tail. If I'm feeling really frisky, I'll roll in some fox poo. This never has a happy ending. I have to have a bath afterwards and I loathe any type of grooming. I'd like to sue whoever invented the electric dog-clipper for cruelty. And I categorically refuse to win Crufts. Ever.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's That Time of Year....

The Obama's holiday card arrived today.   A pop-up card featuring Bo and Sunny!

You may remember that last year's card featured a beautiful rendering of Bo painted by an artist from Iowa.

The Daily Mail in London is reporting that this year's card is going for $150 on ebay, but we wouldn't part with ours!  At least not til it hits $1500!

The holiday card, a tradition that stretches to the early 20th century, began with the country’s notably hushed president: “Silent Cal” Coolidge.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Best Waffle Recipe Ever - TRULY!!

This is our new go to Sunday morning breakfast.  Our waffles really are fantastically-wonderfully delectable!  They are also fun to make.   The brown butter smells like heaven.   You put them together the night before and let them rise over night.  It's so fun to find the batter all poofed up in the morning.

We serve with fresh fruit, Funk's Grove Maple Syrup, and, of course, more butter.

We use our favorite white whole wheat flour from Montana.  We'll share that with you soon.  Cause you have to get some.  You will never use processed flour again.

Yeasted Brown-Butter Waffles

Once you make the batter, all you need to do the next morning is plug in the waffle iron.


  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter plus more for serving
  • 2 cups warm whole milk ( after we transfer the browned butter to a small bowl, we pour milk and buttermilk into the same warm saucepan to gently warm the milks.  Turn off the heat and place saucepan on burner to warm, but not cook)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp., we use Platinum yeast)
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Melt ¾ cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not burn), 5–8 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl; let cool.
Whisk milk, buttermilk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in flour and brown butter; cover with plastic wrap and let batter sit at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.
Heat waffle iron until very hot. Whisk eggs and baking soda into batter. Coat waffle iron with nonstick spray and pour batter onto waffle iron, spreading it to cover surface (amount of batter needed will vary according to machine). Cook waffles until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve immediately with Funk's Grove Maple Syrup and more butter.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scarpetta Tomato and Basil Pasta

These are the tomatoes we use

This is the best tomato and basil pasta ever.  It is based on the dish served at Scarpetta, the Italian restaurant at the Fotainbleau hotel in Miami Beach.   Everyone raves about their pasta and it is really good.  I think ours is even better.

Scarpetta Tomato and Basil Pasta

  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 lb can of San Marzano tomatoes drained and rinsed in a colander (we got ours at Costco)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 24 basil leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil Sauce
Add the olive oil to a pan and heat until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and the red-pepper flakes.

This step can get messy, especially when the tomatoes hit the oil, so use a lid to shield yourself and the stove top. Remove the lid once the tomatoes have settled into the heat.
Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil Sauce
Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, or a wire whisk, to release all their liquid. Cook for 25 minutes over medium to medium-high heat, until the tomatoes form a semi-chunky sauce.
Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil Sauce
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. When the pasta has cooked for three-quarters of the time stated on the package, drain it and reserve the water. Add the spaghetti to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.
Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil Sauce
Remove from the heat and add the butter, basil, and cheese, mixing thoroughly until the pasta is an orange hue. Season to taste with salt.
Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil Sauce
Serves 6.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Release the Cuteness

Deep Acres Pups Waiting Patiently

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Scarlett Johansson Sings

Scarlett Johansson sings One More Hour 

We have to admit we are in love with her singing.   Our love affair began a few years ago with the album Clean she made with Pete Yorn. Please find it and take a listen. Yes, it is one of our favorite albums.

One More Hour isn't on Clean. It's on the soundtrack for a movie called Wretches and Jabberers. We like it too. Although we are not sure they got all the lyrics right in this video. We had some other ideas. And we like them better.

We also love a funky little French number titled Bonnie and Clyde she recorded with this dude Lulu Gainsbourg. It's infectious. And in a good way!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


We love the HOLLA doormat we bought at a cool little shop in the gaslight district in Vancouver.  We finally placed it outside our side door now that the construction workers are (mostly) done tromping in and out.  Check out if you want one for your very own.   Just now we ordered his HOWDY doormat for our front door.  We wanted to get the one below, but it is so obviously not true.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. President

We know it's ridiculous.   But those two extremely cute girls from 2 Broke Girls (we've never seen their show)  were on Ellen the other day and they just love this new app My Talking Pet.  With My Talking Pet, you just snap a pic of your dog or cat (or parrot or lizard....) and then record a message.  The app then makes your favorite pet talk (sort of).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Winger by Andrew Smith

I bought Winger by Andrew Smith for Ryan, our 14-year-old boy.  It had a "staff pick" sticker on it at the local bookstore in the northern Michigan town where we spend the summer.  And something about it interested me.  Could it have been the cover art and words?  When I discovered the main character is a 14-year-old named Ryan, I had to get it.

Well, Ryan has yet to read it.  But I did.  What an amazingly great book!  You have to read it.  You just have to.

I loved it.  Is it really teen fiction?  Am I immature?  Intellectually stunted?   I asked the author these questions and here is his reply.

"Is it "teen fiction"? Not the way a lot of people look at the genre. Here's why: I write ABOUT young adults and the adolescent experience, not FOR them. People who write FOR teens tend to get all preachy and condescending and become overly careful with what they say. I write about the adolescent experience because I think it is the most profoundly shaping part of our lives. And kids know when you're bullshitting them. If I view my approach as writing ABOUT adolescence, then I know I can put anything that is true and real in the book. No bullshit. So, no... you are not immature. Most of my readers happen to be adults. I write first and foremost for myself as the audience, so I write what I would want to read... and believe it or not, Winger still makes me laugh and chokes me up, too."

Winger more than lives up to its cover
And its back cover

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We are headed to Santa Barbara soon to visit our dear friend Moe.  Maybe we'll spend one night glamping at El Capitan Canyon.   Probably not this trip though.  Moe has a fabulous guest house!

El Capitan Canyon

11560 Calle Real

Made up of cabins and tents (for those who are looking to "glamp" in large decked out tents with a double bed and electric lighting), El Capitan offers a rustic but luxurious way to experience the El Capitan Canyon and beach near Santa Barbara. Perfect for a family trip with kids, choose between doing your own cooking (each cabin has it's own "outdoor kitchen" with a grill/fire pit) and opting for super healthy meals at the Canyon Market and Deli.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Orlebar Brown or How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

Our Shaving Accident Entry (note the BAND-AID) was one of the 14 Weekly Winners in the Orlebar Brown Summer Mask Contest
We love Orlebar Brown.  Especially their swim trunks.  When a recent order arrived at our house, two masks  and instructions were included for their Summer Mask Competition.  The rules were simple.  Take photos of yourself wearing the masks showing OB how you spent your summer.  The most innovative and creative would be selected.

Low and behold one of our entries was selected as one of the 14 weekly winners.   We were rewarded for our efforts with our choice of Orlebar Brown swim trunks.  We selected the Setter in Rescue Red. Described on their website as an  icon reinvented. Setter revives the 1950s swim short, and has itself become a new classic. As featured in James Bond Skyfall. Quick-drying fabric will take you through the day.   We were thrilled!  Finally some recognition!!

Although we were quite happy with our win, we can't help thinking some our other entries were even better.   Judge for yourself.

We spent our summer in northern Michigan

This summer we built a new stylish scarecrow

Grace channels Bridget Bardot using dad's OBs as a cover-up

We hung out with Hemingway's Ghost

We goofed off at the farm

We spent the summer at the beach and on our phones

This summer we wore OB or nothing at all

It was a great summer!  Thank you Orlebar Brown.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Spotlight: Little Lola is Now a Champion

We are so happy that little Lola earned the title of champion last weekend.  You may now refer to her as Champion Deep Acres Loco Por Lola.   We are so happy because now we don't have to go to any more ridiculous dog shows. We thought we'd share this video of Angus winning best of breed to celebrate. It's expresses our feelings perfectly.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Red Haven Peach Omelette


Peaches are in season here in northern Michigan and we have been eating them every day in every way. Today we made a 3-egg omelette stuffed with Tilamook sharp white cheddar, 2 Red Haven peaches sliced and peeled and julienned basil. Served with a side of local berries and Honey Rock melon and toasted sesame semolina bread spread with homemade strawberry preserves. It was a very good start to our day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another Dog Painting We Love

This ink on paper work was painted by a monk in Vietnam.  "What should I think about when my lovely master's going downtown?"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dog Painting We Love

We love this dog painting is by Earl Swanigan, an outsider artist in Hudson, New York.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Grandpups!

Lola whooping it up!
My girl Roxie's pups are one-year-old today.  Happy birthday to Lola and her four bros- Henry and Bodey and Gibbs and Puter.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Every Teenager Should Have a Summer of ’65

A vintage postcard of Lake Switzerland, near the Catskills town of Fleischmanns, N.Y.

We liked this piece by Joyce Wadler in the New York Times today so we thought we'd share it.  Joyce Wadler is the author of “Cured: My Ovarian Cancer Story. Follow Joyce Wadler on Facebook: and on Twitter: @joyce_wadler.  Previous “I Was Misinformed” columns can be found here.

Every Teenager Should Have a Summer of ’65

There are people who make fun of teenage romances, but I never do and that is because of Rob. He strolled up the street in the tiny Catskills town of Pine Hill one day in the summer of 1965 carrying "The Catcher in the Rye," the badge of a kindred spirit, wearing a canary yellow cable knit sweater. You did not see that shade of yellow on an American guy, but, of course, Rob had not yet become an American guy. He was a Hungarian, working as a busboy at a small hotel owned by another Hungarian. The Catskills were like that then. I was 17; Rob was two years older.

“Do you remember a conversation we had one night near the lake about God,” I was saying to him this weekend on the phone. “I told you I had been thinking there was nobody out there and I thought that was pretty bold of me.” 

He did not, but he remembered something I had forgotten entirely. 

“I was telling somebody the other day you were the person who introduced me to Bob Dylan,” he said. “It’s kind of funny because 50 years later, I’m still listening to Bob Dylan.” 

Rob lives in Budapest. A few years ago doctors found a nonmalignant tumor in his head, which the doctors zapped, and now, because of medication, he no longer drives. A year and a half ago, pre-cancerous cells were found in the breast where I’d had cancer 22 years ago, and I had to have surgery, and there were complications healing. Did I tell Rob about the complications? I can’t remember. We sometimes go for months without talking, but when we do it is as if we talked yesterday so I always have the feeling of being caught up. 

“What was my father like when you met him?” one of Rob’s two daughters, then in her late teens, asked me once. 

“He was funny,” I say, which sounds wrong to both of us the moment it is out because Rob was never a guy who always had to be on. 

He was dry and smart and observant. He spoke at least four languages. He had history in his bones: His mother and older brother had been rounded up by the Nazis in Budapest during World War II and escaped by melting into the crowd, though I do not think I knew that then. He had lived at the Y when he first came to New York and always seemed calm and perpetually amused. It would be a long time before I knew that coming to the United States speaking very little English was so stressful that he would have stomach trouble for years. The self-absorption of 17-year-olds is staggering. 

“You must have been making out like crazy in these woods when you were a teenager,” a friend I was showing around the Catskills said recently. 

“No need,” I said. “We had all these deserted hotels. Sometimes with beds.” 

Not very good beds, it’s true. The mattresses were so skinny they could be rolled up, and they smelled heavily of mold. But the deserted grand hotels that might or might not be torched at the end of each season were still an answer to a teenager’s dream. It’s too bad no one wrote songs about them — we were probably too limited a demographic: Kids in the Catskills making out in abandoned hotels. And what fine little love nests they were: Force open a window of the Takanassee Hotel in Fleischmanns, slip inside, wonder about the detritus left behind — a cook’s big white apron, a few pots. But you don’t think about it long. Busboys don’t get a lot of time off. 

Most teenage girls have to leave their boyfriends when they go off to college, but I do not. When I go to N.Y.U., Rob returns home to Queens to work in his parent’s candy store. At the Weinstein dorm on University Place in the Village the other girls are impressed: College boys are scruffy, starting to move from chinos to jeans and longer hair, unreliable, stoned. Rob, in his narrow-cut jackets and jeans that look pressed, is a cool European guy out of one those French movies we were so proud of watching, "Shoot the Piano Player" maybe. 

But I don’t want a European guy. I want a funny, fast-talking New York City boy. I don’t want a guy who has to be back at the candy store by 11 on Saturday night, to put together The New York Times. My values stink. I break up with Rob for a fast-talking guy in freshman sociology who has a girlfriend at Boston University and a red TR-3, starting a bad pattern of lusting after the unattainable, human and automotive. 

Rob, fundamentally saner, gets a scholarship to N.Y.U., where he meets a smart, pretty American girl who grew up in Paris and whose name is Lucy. It is probably between junior and senior year, when I hear they have married and spent the summer knocking about Europe, that I feel the deep, unequivocal, “Oops.” And it is not until I am 32, visiting Rob and Lucy in Budapest with my boyfriend, Donal, that I really realize how much I had in common with Rob after all.

But here is the upside of being an adult: It is O.K. You do not have to be in a romantic relationship to keep the love. I have known since I met Lucy that she is the better match for Rob, and I like her. If Lucy comes alone to New York we hang out, which, as you move into your 40s, means something different than when you were in your teens: me being treated for one kind of cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering on one floor, Lucy’s mother dying of cancer a few floors down, Lucy, shuttling from one floor to another. With the boyfriends who matter you get a new friend, the wife. And later, when their children grow up and come to New York and need a place to stay, you get to fuss over them and see how great they turned out and wonder, just for a moment, how they might have looked if you hadn’t have gone for the guy with the sports car. 

Next thing you know it is another day in summer, the summer of ’98. My friend Herb and I have just finished a bike trip in France’s chateau country and we are waiting for Rob and Lucy. When they drive up, we are all talking at once. We drive to Provence. Around three in the afternoon we pull up to a little guesthouse and the owner says it is too late for lunch but maybe she can scare us up something. Forty minutes later we are sitting at the table, having the freshest salad I have had in my life. 

“This lettuce was in the ground 20 minutes ago,” Rob says. 

Why, with the billions and billions of sentences I have heard, do I remember a sentence about lettuce? But I do. It is great lettuce and my first boyfriend and his wife and my best friend and I are all together. I have pictures. We four in the house in Provence, grinning. 

Somewhere out there a 17-year-old girl is sitting outside on a muggy day and a teenage boy is about to walk up to her. 

Don’t knock it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Birthday GamGam!

Dad, Suddie, and GamGam

It's GamGam's 78th birthday today (we can't believe it either)!  Happy Birthday GamGam!!

Friday, July 5, 2013


This exhibit of Pluto figurines was on display near our gate at the Vancouver airport.   We fell in love.

Here's what it said on the info card that accompanied the exhibit.

Figurines from 1930 -2012

Pluto is the bright orange or yellow short-haired dog of Mickey Mouse.  Pluto was his pet.  He was a favorite of mine.  It was a lot of fun collecting Disney figures over the years and discovering them in the most unlikely places.

From the collection of Ken Stephens
British Columbia

Thank you Ken!   We think they're great!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Carol Channing?

I said hello, Sadie,....well, hello Sadie!

Now, we said to GamGam, "Don't you think Sadie looks a bit like Carol Channing with her new 'do?"  We haven't heard a word from GamGam since!

All we can say is,

You're lookin' swell, Sadie....I can tell, Sadie
You're still glowin' ... you're still crowin''re still goin' strong!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Suddie's Fantabulous Coconut Cupcakes

They're Fantabulous

We're expecting guests to arrive.   They say they will arrive at 9:30 PM.  Just in time to tuck them into bed.  We suspect it's far more likely they will roll in around midnight!  They're coming from San Francisco via Boulder and driving.  It's very difficult to stick to a schedule on such a long haul.

We have Suddie's Fantabulous Coconut Cupcakes in the oven in case they arrive famished (in addition to very, very late).

I think we first got hooked on cupcakes when we experienced them in all their glory at Society Bakery in Dallas.   They are so good.  Later we found their coconut cupcake recipe in People magazine, of all places.  We tried it out and this recipe WAS NOT their coconut cupcake recipe at all.  We were more than sure of that.  And the accompanying 7-minute frosting recipe produced something just dreadful.

So I emailed Roshi, the owner of Society Bakery.

Hi Roshi,
Whenever I was in Dallas, my dad would walk us over to Society Bakery so he could have your amazing cupcakes.
We don't get to Dallas as often as we would like and I know my dad pines for your cupcakes.  He misses them so much that I tried to make some for him using the Society Bakery coconut cupcake recipe that was published in People magazine.  I have to say they didn't taste nearly as good as your cupcakes and the frosting recipe didn't come anywhere close.   It didn't seem to be the right recipe.  Was this recipe correct or do you use a different one? Would you be willing to share?
Thanks so much for baking such great cupcakes.

Roshi replied:

Hi Suddie
We can always ship you some whoopie pies!  The frosting recipe we gave to People was a seven minute frosting recipe that we only do for custom orders.  We do not give out our traditional cream cheese icing recipe.  Another thing we do differently with our coconut cupcakes now is hollow them out and fill them with pastry cream.   We have experimented with several versions of our Flavors - so another thing you might want to try is making a traditional white cake and add coconut to the batter.  I hope this helps.  Let us know if you would like us to ship you anything.
Take care,
Roshi Muns

So, I had to take matters into my own paws and create a superior coconut cupcake recipe.  My dad says they are the best coconut cupcakes in all the land, far and wide.  And we have no problem sharing the recipe!

Suddie's Fantabulous Coconut Cupcake Recipe

Cake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
scant 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup 0% Greek yougurt
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 /2 tsp coconut extract (we got ours from Amazon)
3/4 cup milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour with next 3 ingredients; set aside.
2.  Beat sugar and butter at medium speed until fluffy, about 5 mins.  Add eggs, egg whites, vanilla and coconut extracts and Greek yogurt, beating until blended.
3. Add coconut mixture to the butter mixture alternating with milk, beginning and ending with coconut mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
4.  Scoop (we used a small ice cream scoop)into lined muffin pans, filling 2/3 full.  Bake from 22 -25 minutes.  But start checking them at 20 minutes.  When finished baking a wooden pick inserted into the center will come out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:
2 8 oz cream cheese, cold
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tbsp 0% Greek yogurt
4 tsp meringue powder (or dried egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Be careful not to over beat.  Beat in the Greek yogurt and meringue powder (if using, you don't have to but we think it helps the frosting keep it's shape).  Add the vanilla.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix until combined and fluffy.  Fold in coconut.  Sprinkle with remaining coconut.