21 November 2009

Old and wise

Party season begins early this year with Neighbor B's Big Birthday Bash. He professed a year or so ago that he couldn't understand why his wife didn't want to celebrate her Big Birthday (because she's older than you, dude!), but that he intended to have a Big Blow Out for his Big Birthday.

And so tonight, we're off to Big Birthday Bash and Blow Out for B. After the daughter and I attend BFF A's play and the spouse has an MRI...gives you an idea what this week's been like.

Just in case the FTC is wondering, I have never been paid for nor received a gift for any product review I've ever posted here. Anyway, don't I tell why you shouldn't use a product or service more frequently than I recommend one? (Hi, Bosch! Though I will tell you, the Whirlpool dishwasher is REALLY useless...) I only talk about things that I use that I like and only because I choose to do so, not because I'm paid, accept advertising or gifts. So now that we've covered that...

Pancakes are a weekend breakfast favorite around here, and a couple of weeks ago, I saw a display at Trader Joe's of their pumpkin pancake mix. I made them this morning, and they are a perfect autumn breakfast treat. A bit heavy on the spice (which is ok with me, but a lot people don't like pumpkin pie spices), but they had a really nice texture and lovely flavor, especially with maple syrup. (For the record, I replaced the melted butter in the recipe called with canola oil, a substitution I usually make with goods like this. I only use butter--never margarine--but generally substitute a heart-healthy oil where the flavor won't matter). With broiled chicken-apple sausages on the side, the pancakes made a hearty weekend brunch on a slightly chilly morning.

And as a bonus, another recipe using a Trader Joe's seasonal favorite: spiced apple cider.

Hot Apple Pie

1-1/2 c. Trader Joe's spiced apple cider
Tuaca liqueur
Whipped cream

Heat apple cider in small pan. Put a shot of Tuaca in each of two mugs; divide the hot cider between the mugs and top with whipped cream. Serves 2. Makes a lovely after-dinner drink on a cold evening. The kids enjoy it, too, without the alcohol, of course.

(With thanks to the lovely bartender at the Wuksachi Lodge at Sequoia, who first suggested this drink after a freezing night-time star walk, then told me how to make them.)

Go listen to some good music: "Old and Wise" from the album Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project.

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