Wednesday, December 31, 2008

High School Musical: The Ice Tour

If you have a tween or a pre-tween, I would suggest taking them to this ice show. It was so fun and not too expensive.
They added to the line-up a preview of HSM3 and the skaters skated to 3 songs from that movie. Then they went on to act one which was choreography and music from the 1st movie and after the intermission was the second movie. The skaters were so talented. They were doing some of the basketball moves and flips on ice without missing a beat. I think the most amazing thing was in act one during the cafeteria reenactment when the skaters would jump up on table tops. Crazy Cool.

Happy New Year

So what are you thinking about tonight as 2008 comes to a close? Is it your family, the economy or maybe about who else you can find on Facebook that you haven't spoken to in 20 or so years? :) All of these things are on my mind. About the Facebook thing...for some reason, more so lately, really long somewhat forgotten friends have managed to either find me or I found them because of a mutual friend. Crazy world we live in now where you can connect so easily and have the choice to do so.

For instance, there was this guy I dated for about 10 minutes, OK it was a few weeks and 10 minutes I think way back when I was 18? At the time while I was living on my own and held a couple of jobs he was the most grown-up person I knew. He worked at Northrop and had a real job and he was so young. He seemed kinda mysterious at the time but now that I think about it, maybe he was taking that angle to not bore me. LOL! Just kidding George. Anyway because of the wonderful world of modern technology we were able to catch up and guess what, he's still the most grown-up person I know. lol!
I've noticed so many different trends in 2008. Tweeter, blogging is becoming more and more of a trend both for people that want to tell a story, their story, just stuff or the biggest trend...blogging for money. So many give-a-ways (I won a cupcake decorator thingy) and people advertising other peoples stuff and getting paid for it.

So the economy is also an issue that concerns me. For many reasons of course but one also being the fact that I started Hey, That's Gourmet! in this horrible financial time. So let's just hope that people want to wallow in chocolate. :) Just kidding. Chocolate makes people happy and I know this first hand from being such a chocolate fanatic.
Dave and I are looking forward to January 19th. We will be in San Francisco for a food show where we will be tasting our way through a giant convention center. We attend this once a year now and I have to tell you that tasting aside, it's just fun. We are there for business but we are like little kids going from booth to booth taking in an learning about all sorts of new food trends. It's so much fun! We named the business very carefully so we can add more than just confections. But this year we are on a mission for a new line of caramels since everyone is making a salt caramel and we need some sugar-free and vegan chocolate as well as some real unique milk chocolates. Let me know what you like!
So now totally unrelated to this post - check out this picture I took of our menorah this year! Cool huh?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

41 degrees during the day and getting colder at night!

This is a short post just to say that it’s 41 degrees here in Southern CA today and I was not ready for it! I know that some may say, so what, it’s below zero here. But what you may not understand is you prepare for that. You buy warm clothing. My wardrobe, if you want to call it that, consists of short sleeve shirts and jeans. I have one heavy jacket that I bought 10 years ago and doesn’t fit much anymore. So yes, I am cold and I am not enjoying the rain, no matter how much we need it. OK, I am done least until it's 4pm and I have to go outside again!

Honest Scrap Award!

My blog has been awarded the Honest Scrap Award by Rena. Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will. There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to 7 other bloggers. So here are the 10 honest things about myself...

1) I don't lie, the guilt isn't worth it
2) I always put family first...always, always, always
3) I don't steal
4) My natural hair color is brown
5) I am a skinny girl in a fat girls body, honestly!
6) I return the shopping carts to the place they belong, even in the rain
7) I am a Jewish mom that loves her Christmas tree
8) I don't believe in purchasing something just to wear once and then return
9) I use reusable bags at the grocery store
10) I don't tell people things just because it's what they want to hear

Now for the 7 people I nominate: (read these blogs even though I don't comment much. Some I just started reading thanks to Mom Bloggers Club) Yes, most of the people listed have no clue who I am but I love their blogs!

1) Jenn
3) Sunshine (although she has already been nominated by Rena, checkout her blog :) )
4) Jayne (although Sunshine nominated her, checkout her blog :) )
5) Deb - such a great blog!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tis the season for Rum Balls

I was born in 1969 so I have something in common with one of my favorite holiday indulges, Rum Balls. We were both born in the 60's.

With the recipe below you can make some changes to suit your taste. I have experimented a lot and found that this is a pretty good recipe for experimenting. Instead of the Nilla Wafers you can use shortbread cookies. Instead of pecans or walnuts you can use hazelnuts. Instead of rum you can use bourbon. Also try adding extracts. I have used coconut extract and cherry extracts in the past. Just a little bit though like about a teaspoon or two. Be sure to plan ahead with these. They should sit in the fridge in an air tight container for at least 48 hours.

Yield 4 dozen

1 1/4 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (easiest to use a food processor for this)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar - J calls it snow)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I like to use Hershey's European Cocoa)
2 tablespoons dark or light corn syrup
1/4 cup of rum (do not use 151 because it is too dry and will not work well)
Confectioners sugar, chocolate sprinkles, nuts and/or coconut for garnish

Simply mix all ingredients up to the rum together in the order given above. Make little balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place in a bowl or container and cover. Place in refrigerator for 48 hours. Take out of fridge and roll in confectioners sugar or any of the garnishes listed and serve. They are so darned good. And of course, not for kids.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

J's Hip-Hop recital was today

Jonathan takes a Hip-Hop dance class at the Boys and Girls club. They are a great organization around here. The studio they have is just for the arts and do their recitals twice a year.

Last year Jonathan went to Huntington Academy of Dance in HB and it was waaaaaaaay to serious of a dance center for such a silly kid. Plus a lot of the moms there were like stage moms and kinda freaked Dave and I out. We heard a lot of "when I was in dance" and "if you can't take it seriously then don't take it at all" and it was not a whole lot about just enjoying the classes and being a kid.

So in the recital Jonathan's class danced to the song Forever and they did a great job! In the middle of the routine everyone got a free dance moment and had to choose what they were going to do. Jonathan started break-dancing and he was front and center so he got some major attention. He was great! I am bias but he really was pretty good.


Friday, December 12, 2008

My Grandma's Brisket Recipe

My Grandpa and Grandma (Joe and Frieda Rosen)

This is a recipe that does take up your day so be sure to plan well. My grandma used to make this brisket but she only used water. My sister and I use Broth. I personally like to throw in a cup of red wine but that would change the name to Sharon's Brisket Recipe and here I am giving my grandma's.

My grandma's name was Frieda Rosen. She was awesome. She was kind and taught me some very good life lessons. One in particular that I will never forget was when I was 16 and asked if she could buy my class ring for me. She said no. NO! I was shocked. I couldn't believe it! Knowing I was quite spoiled and expected everything in life to be handed to me, my grandma told me that the only way I was going to get that ring was if I bought it myself. She told me she absolutely didn't believe I could do it. So there it was. If I wanted a ring like all of my friends I actually had to pay for it myself. So I saved a portion of my paycheck from my part-time job at Baskin-Robbins for a couple of months and was able to order the least expensive ring they had. BUT I DID IT! And I did it all by myself. It was the first time I ever actually earned something totally on my own. It really changed me. I know it may sound silly but after that I started to really be a lot more responsible. One year later I upgraded that stupid ring just because I could. My grandma never forgot she did that for me either because she brought it up on the phone every now and then. She even told Dave about that lesson learned when she was out for my wedding. She said to me several times that although I was a brat as a child, she was very proud of how I turned out as an adult. She was right about the brat part. :) My grandma passed on about 5 years ago and I swear to you that there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her.

My Grandma's Brisket Recipe (Courtesy of Jennifer Rosen & Mary Scotti)

4-5 lb beef brisket
3 tablespoons Crisco (original recipe uses Nyafat (vegetable fat) which is very hard to find)
1 lg onion (minced)
Salt and Pepper
Good Hungarian Paprika (about 1/4 cup)
Half and Half of enough water and Beef Broth or Stock to cover meat (about 1 to 1 1/2 quarts)

In dutch oven or large pot, place oil in pot, melt down on medium heat, add minced onions and saute until translucent, add brisket, brown on both sides, season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste (the more the better) then cover brisket with water, cover and simmer for about 5 hours or until fork tender. Towards the end of simmering, last 40 minutes or so, tilt the lid a bit. This will make the juices simmer down and become thicker. When cooking is complete, slice on the bias and serve on a platter pouring the remaining juices over the meat.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hooray for the internet during the holidays!

I truly do not know how people shopped every year before the Internet came along. I mean seriously, have you been in the stores lately? The (majority of) employees are rude and don't want to be there, the shelves are either picked through or the merchandise is on the floor or worse, you end up buying someones return without knowing it!

This year while I was not able to afford much for Jonathan so I did ALL of my shopping online. I found that the deals I got were better than going to the store itself and I knew it was in stock and I didn't waste my time. I didn't have to stand in line for a half hour and I managed to get free shipping in most cases. Also have you noticed that there is merchandise you can only get online. I have been searching everywhere (calling of course) for the Pixar collection of short films on DVD and not one store in my very overpopulated area has it in stock. I ended up buying it from I love Amazon because you can find everything under the sun there. And soon you will be able to buy from Hey, That's Gourmet! on Dave and I just signed a 3 year contract so I guess we are in it for the long haul.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I can't imagine what the heck my parents went through when I was little having to go from store to store. And believe me, when I was a kid there was a HUGE amount of floor space taken up by the mounds of wrapped packages for us kids. It was a truly amazing site! I wish some of the pictures still existed of Christmas's past. Our house was quite a site. The electric menorah in the window and a giant fake tree with hundreds of multi-colored twinkle lights in the "game room" just next to the living room. It was very warm and cozy. We had a wood stove that was in the middle of the room. I lived in Hopewell Junction, NY back then. Oh, anyway I'm getting off topic again. LOL! I do that a lot. So my parents (dad and at the time my step-mom) had gone shopping in that mess. Perhaps back then it wasn't like it is today. Maybe it was more fun?

So I am done shopping for this season. I bought Jonathan some very modest gifts. I got him that DVD from Pixar, a root beer making kit, a Camp Rock electric drum set and and an Ugly Doll. Ugly dolls are so cute and all the rage. So the only thing I have to do now is hit Walmart and Big Lots for some stocking stuffers. Tomorrow night Jonathan will be at school for Drop and Shop, an event his school does so parents can go shopping if they dare. I will be going to get those stocking stuffers and some wrapping paper and I am DONE!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Latkes, latkes and more latkes and a little brisket

I know when Hanukkah is getting close because Jonathan starts begging for me to make latkes. I am planning to make a ton next week as I always do but I thought it sounded yummy enough that I made some tonight as well. Here is the recipe:

1 pound of russet potatoes (don't use waxy ones)
1/2 brown onion
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons flour
canola oil or vegetable oil

Peal the potatoes and put them in cold water. One by one grate them on the small part of a grater. Do not use a food processor or the larger grate because you are not making hash browns. You will want them to be a very fine grate.

When done with the potato, grate the onion the same way and mix in.

Place grated potato and onion in a strainer and strain out all of the water. This will not be a quick process. You may want to do it in batches. The reason for this very important step is because waterlogged potatoes do not crisp up.

Once drained add eggs and flour and mix well.

Add oil to a large skillet and heat to about 350. I use an electric skillet so I can control the heat.

Using a tablespoon drop in scoops of the potato mixture. Once in the skillet take the back of the spoon and gently flatten the center so it's not real thick.

Let brown then flip until golden brown. Take out and place on plate with paper towels or place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place on rack. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream

My family has enjoyed latkes for generations as many Jewish families have. I hope you enjoy them too. If you have any questions let me know.

I like to serve them with brisket. Here is the easiest brisket recipe in the world.

1 brisket
1 packet of onion soup mix
aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Trim fat from brisket
Place in center of a very large piece of foil
Sprinkle half the packet of soup mix on the brisket and turn over
Sprinkle the other half of the soup mix on the other side of the brisket
Cover the brisket with the foil and be sure not to leave any holes or pockets that steam can escape from.
Place in a shallow roasting pan.
Place in oven and roast for 2.5 hours for a 2 lb. brisket
When finished take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before opening foil.
When done you will have a perfectly cooked brisket that made it's own delicious au jus.

Enjoy the holidays coming up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Forgive me if I babble. Today I was sitting at my desk at work staring at the dual monitors I have. One monitor I have the program up that I enter all of the classes the company I work for teaches and on the other monitor I have my email up. I have been staring at these screens since 8:30 this morning with only a couple of breaks and I am tired! I guess waking up at 3:00 am because I couldn't sleep doesn't help either. But hey, at least I got time to catch-up on The 2 Gossip Girl and Privileged shows I had recorded.

So I am sitting here and I finally decided I had 2 choices. Either fall asleep on my desk or go downstairs to the liquor store in our building and buy an energy drink. I am not an advocate of energy drinks so you have to relize just how tired I must be.

I looked at the selection and I cannot believe all of the choices. There were juice drinks, soda drinks and coffee drinks. They claimed to be so crazy full of energy. I of course bought Starbucks Doubleshot Energy + Coffee, vanilla flavored drink. It seemed like the only thing I could actually get down. All the other drinks were full of sweet flavors and seemed gross.

I have to tell you that the Starbucks drink I got was awesome. The can is 15 Fl oz and 2 servings. 210 calories and 2.5 grams of fat for the entire can! The taste is great and it did give me a bit of a boost but it's not like I'm shaking from a caffeine overload. I loved it!

So if you find yourself falling asleep at work my advice to you is try this drink! It's awesome!