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.