Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

That Time of the Year


Just another reason I love this time of year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Four Days After Two-Days-After


We didn't 'do' Thanksgiving this year, we brought back our Two-Days-After-Thanksgiving Dinner. Lots of food, with a theme.

I'm having photo issues, but here's a look at what we served. Words and photo edits to come later.

Red Curry Shrimp

Ginger Chicken

Sherried Black Bean Soup


Mashed Plantains


Dulce de Leche-filled Cinnamon Cake

Lime Coconut Macaroons

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What I Ate


Sam decided to record everything she ate last week, and I agreed to join in. I did not photograph drinks, because I'm very much a water, tea and milk kind of person...and that gets boring.

I'm ashamed of the food below: I don't usually eat like this. But, except for Monday, we spent all of last week cleaning the house and cooking for Saturday's dinner party. Neither of us wanted to do any side cooking, for us, so we ate what we could...including frozen convenience foods. We also ate out twice, which is outrageous for us.
I think we usually dine out once every six weeks, and last week? Twice. Crazy times.

I also forgot, repeatedly, to photograph my morning bagel. So, I used the same two pictures throughout the whole thing.

I've had the darndest time with my photos lately: I don't know if it's Picasa or Hello, but my photos aren't loading properly, which explains my delay. It also explains the mess you see down there. Click on them, if you want to see. Descriptions will be found after I can decipher my own photos...

1. Fried Egg, Hash Browns, Tea
2. Salad of Greens, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Chick Nuggets, and Cottage Cheese.
3. Sweet & Sour Veat with Water Chestnuts, Tofu, Carrots, Snow Peas
4. Bagel with Cream Cheese
5. Out for Lunch: Boca Buger with Cheese, Wild Rice and Chips, Fruit Tea
6. Left-over Sweet & Sour Veat
7. Bagel (no Cream Cheese)
8. Out for Lunch: Dal, Paneer, Vegetable Fritters, Naan
9. Boboli Pizza, topped with Mozzarella and Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Bacon
10. Bagel (no Cream Cheese)
11. Amy's Vegetarian Lentil Soup
12. 5 Mrs. T. Cheese and Potato Pierogies, baked
13. Fontera Pizza, Cilantro removed and topped with MF veg bacon
14. Bagel (no Cream Cheese)
15. Pizza Snacks
16. Dal Naan Samosas
17. Bagel (no Cream Cheese)
18. Small piece of Veat, small serving Red Curry Vegetarian Shrimp, beans rice
19. Rest of Veat and rice
20. Zoe bar
21. Browned potatoes with egg and cheese, MS veg bacon

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sugar High Friday#25: Eight is Enough!!


(or, The Trouble with Truffles)

SHF is one of my favorite events. While I may not always eat the sweets I make, I do love handing them off to others!

And when I saw that Johanna had chosen truffles for this round, well, it was serendipitous.

See, this was the year Matt and I were resurrecting the dormant Two-Days-After-Thanksgiving Dinner, the Anti-Turkey event.

Matt doesn't really care for turkey, and I haven't had it in over ten years. For us, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner just doesn't make sense.

But what we used to do, while still in California, was host a huge dinner for friends the Saturday after.

So, we were planning our menu when I saw the SHF announcement. Perfect.

I could do this, and save the 'results' for our guests!!

Of course, I do get a bit ambitious.

I couldn't just make truffles.

No, I had to make Truffles.

Eight of them...sigh

Starting at top left, and going clockwise, Sweet Smoked Paprika (spice added to cream), Cashew-Topped Vanilla (vanilla bean steeped in cream), Orange (orange zest steeped in cream, plus a bit of orange liqueur), Hazelnut (hazelnut oil added to ganache), Fleur de Sel-topped Tea (loose tea infused cream), Amaretto, Pecan-topped Plain, Mint (mint extract in ganache, then rolled in crushed peppermint candy).

Manual labor!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Free Cookbook!


You may remember I was a recipe-tester for a cookbook some months ago.

Well, The Good Home Cookbook is out, and it is fantastic. Everything you'd ever want to make, it's in there. Wonderful book, and I'm not just saying that because my name is mentioned!

I had a lot of fun helping with this book...plus, it's from the great folks at Collector's Press...and I'd love for you enjoy it, too.

Which is why you need to visit The Good Home Cookbook blog, and get a copy of your very own...free!

But, copies are limited, so act fast!

'Flick' Away the Dirt, and Win!


Ever since I first saw Swiffer products advertised, I was hooked.

See, I hate cleaning my house. I hate it. Hate, hate, hate. Hate housework, with a passion.

And yet? I'm a housemommy! So, I'm kind of stuck.

I suppose it comes from being the person charged with cleaning the family home when I was in school...my mom felt it was my 'payment' for being allowed to live there, and be fed and clothed. Oh, no...I'm not at all bitter.

Then, over the next few years, I had summer jobs working at two different hotels; one, a resort in New York state, and another, a place in my hometown.

Cleaning up after total strangers? Not fun! Businessmen, apparently out from under the watchful eyes of their wives, no longer felt it necessary to 'aim' while in the bathroom...!

So, in my eyes, any product that claims to cut back on the actual 'work' part of housework is worth a look.

Of the ones I've tried, Swiffer has been the clear winner. I clean the many wood surfaces in my enormous house with the dusters, and both wet and dry Swiffer floor cleaners are stocked under the sink.

The one product I'd yet to try, though, was the CarpetFlick.

But with the holiday season in full swing, it couldn't be a better time to test it.

Better yet, Swiffer has given us all a really good reason to try their CarpetFlick...clean your house, and win!

There is nothing that interrupts dinner or a holiday gathering quite like the sound and hassle of a vacuum. Therefore, “Flicking” away carpet messes means that there is no need for a heavy vacuum, long cords, or a hassle.

In lieu of the holiday season, Swiffer is conducting a pre-holiday national sweepstakes featuring the CarpetFlick as the MUST-HAVE cleaning tool for the holidays.

Here’s how it works:

Consumers will be able to visit Swiffer Holidays beginning November 15 through November 30 and submit photos of their interior holiday decorated home. During this time, one photo will be chosen each week and posted as “favorite home of the week”

In addition, participants will be chosen via random sweepstakes selections and will win the following:

1. Grand Prize Winner: $3,500 toward a home makeover
2. 25 First Prize Winners: A Swiffer WetJet
3. 6 Weekly Winners: A year’s supply of Swiffer Products

It's that easy! Clean your home with ease, and win...with Swiffer!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blogging by Mail: The Holiday Edition


Sign-up's are now closed.

Ok...after a week without Internet access, entries have been processed, bloggers have been matched, and swap information has been sent out.

If you've yet to receive an email from me containing your partner's particulars, CHECK YOUR SPAM FILTER OR JUNK MAIL FOLDER. Several people have had over-helpful anti-spam filters stop mail from me. If you don't find it there, write to me IMMEDIATELY at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com.

This time, we have 70 bloggers signed up!

66 packages have shipped!! Just 4 to go...

59 packages have arrived!!!!

Below is the list of participants, followed by whatever customs requirements we were able to dig up. If you happen to know the rules for one of the countries still missing that information, please share with the class!

Here comes the fun part: putting together your package. We're celebrating the Holiday season...whatever that may mean to you. I've done my best to match everyone up based on several criteria, including pet ownership.

If you're wondering what to include in your package, here's a few ideas.

Try filling your box with items produced locally, or important to your area. Toss in the food section of your local paper, or a church or junior league cookbook.

Include those things which represent your feelings toward the holiday you celebrate...ornaments, music (CDs make great swap gifts), cake or cookie decorations, candy.

If you're shipping within country, baked goods are always a hit. If you're sending your package internationally, this isn't always an option, unless you're comfortable paying for a faster delivery service.

If you can't ship your great-grandmother's famous oatmeal cookies, send along the recipe, instead!

Think of your favorite foods...what would most love to share with a new friend?

If you'd like to include a photo of yourself, go for it.

And a letter, explaining all those goodies, is always appreciated!

When it comes time to ship that package, be prepared: it can cost a lot. Even domestic mail can be expensive, so try to pack as much as you can without letting your box get too heavy.

If you find you simply can't leave out those ten extra items, consider sending your package on the slow boat to it's destination. This can take up to two months, depending on the country, so again: pack accordingly. Baked goods aren't likely to survive a trip like that!

Many have asked, so I'll add this: most of us like the thrill of the 'secret Santa'. Keeping our identities a secret until the big reveal appeals to most bloggers, but if you really want to let your person know who you are, it's entirely up to you.

Also, keep in mind: some bloggers prefer to go by an alias. In these cases, please don't refer to them on your blogs by their real names. We're trying to spread joy here, people!

Ok, if you have any further questions, you know what to do.

Your packages should (I'd like to say 'must', but I'm not naive) be shipped no later than 5 December.

When you've done that, please let me know, and I'll make a note of it here. As packages come and go, I will update this page, which can be located by clicking on the BBM icon in the upper right hand of my blog.

Once you receive your package, take pictures, write about it, and send me a link to your post. I will then add that to the page, as well.

That way, we'll all be able to see what wonderful goodies bloggers are sharing!

Ok, here's your list:

I Got 2 Shoes Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

* Curiosity Cabinet * Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

A Mindful Life
Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

A Self-Proclaimed Foodaholic Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Aarikavination Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Acme Instant Food Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Adventure Chef

All Things Jennifer Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

American Girl Package has shipped!

Anne's Food Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Artizen Kitschen Package has arrived!

Attitudes Are Contagious. Mine Might Kill You. Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Barbie2bePackage has shipped! Package has arrived!!!

cass loves cooking Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Christine Cooks Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Clivia´s Cuisine Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Columbus Foodie Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Couteau Bonswan Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Crumpeted Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Cyndi Cooks Package has shipped!

Dispensing Happiness Package has (finally) shipped! Package has arrived!!!!!!!

dreaming in denmark Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

eat the right stuff Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Eating for One Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Enjoy Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Enthusiastically Human Package has arrived!!

erin-go-blog! Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Experimentation of Taste Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Fallen Souffle Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Feeding My Enthusiasms Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Flavor Junkie Package has shipped!

FoodArtandRandomThoughts Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Fruits Basket
Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Gastronomicon Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Gighas thoughts on Food and TravelPackage has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Gluten-Free By The Bay Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Guinea pig with a wok Package has shipped!

Habeas Brulee Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Have fork will travel Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Impossible Juxtapositions Package has shipped!

In Search of Dessert

Jenny Sais Quoi Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Jumbo Empanadas Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Kiriel Package has shipped!

Kitchem Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

La Mia Cucina Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Leena Lighthouse Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Lila Füge (Purple Fig) Package has shipped!

Limes & Lycopene Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Little Spatula Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

m3rni3 Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Only Turkish Food Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Pam's Pantry Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Pouter's Pond Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Saffron and Pepper Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Savoury Snark Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

So anyway… Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Spin Me I Pulsate Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Tartelette Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

thatgurl.com Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

The Town Tart Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Tours et Tartines

TriniGourmet.com Package has shipped! Package has arrived!

Tsuredzuregusa Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Tummy Treasure Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Ugly Fruit Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Veggie Friendly Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

What geeks eat...
Package has shipped!

When My Soup Came Alive
Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

Writing at the Kitchen Table Package has shipped! Package has arrived!!

If you're interested in what other people have done, you can see the roundup of the previous edition here.

Here's what customs information we were able to find:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

US Customs

Austrailian Department of Agriculture

New Zealand Customs Service

Malaysian customs information

Singapore customs

German customs

Netherlands customs information

Sweden: both Lexi and Kristina let us know that if you mark a package to Sweden as 'gift', you won't have to pay taxes on it! Also, no real restrictions.

Swizerland: Mademoiselle Différentielle gave us this helpful bit: "There are no taxxes on gifts to private people living abroad to private people living in Switzerland as long as the value is not higher than 100 Swiss Francs (ca 75 Euros), but not more than max 0.5 kg butter, 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, orr 25 gramm tobacco, 1 litre of alcoholic drinks under 25 degrees, 0.25 Litre alcoholical drinks above 25 degrees"

Belgium: Eva says, "For Belgium it is about the same rules as for Sweden, so as long as it is marked "gift" you can send just about anything."

Cananda: Randi says, "If you mark a package to Canada, GIFT, the recipient wont have to pay any duty."

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Blog Party Round Up


Well, it looks like it's just the five of us tonight, ladies!

But we have lots of 'take-in' food and drinks, so I hope you're hungry!

Tonight, because of the small crowd, and the type of food we're enjoying, I thought that instead of putting on some music, we'd curl up on the couch, open up all those containers of take-out, and watch some movies and play games!

Since it's just the 'girls' this evening, let's start off with the dashing and handsome Cary Grant, shall we?

In the Signature Collection, we can pick from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer (with a teenage Shirley Temple!), Destination Tokyo, Night & Day (with Grant as Cole Porter), and one of my all-time favorite films, period; My Favorite Wife.

If you want something a little different, and because The Good German won't be out till December, we can always go with the ultimate in romance, Casablanca.

Bogart. Bergman. What more can I say?

And since the DVD player is already on, how about a round of Scene It? The Movie Edition?

It'll be fun, trust me. I can almost guarantee you'll win...I suck at competitive games!

Or we can go low-tech, and break out the original 1935 Edition of Monopoly...love the wooden pieces!

Oh, and of course, as I'm sure there will be left-over's, you'll want to grab a few of these cute little take-out boxes! Fill up; I bought plenty.

And now, let's get to the food!

First one in tonight, it's Elle, who like many of us, really had to stretch to figure this one out. It's also her first Blog Party, so be sure to give her a proper welcome!
But she really came through with her Pesto Chicken Savory Triangles...I'm a fan of anyone who bakes their own focaccia!
Elle brought a six-pack of beer for us, so pass 'em round.
Thanks so much for coming tonight, Elle...your triangles look fantastic!

Next, Haalo makes her return after a much=missed absence, and as usual, she's brought something good!
Tonight, we have her wonderfully crispy Mini Spring Rolls...yum!...and something we'll have to hide from Matt, Strawberry & White Chocolate Milkshakes! It is a girls night, after all.
Haalo, so happy you could come tonight...and pass those spring rolls, please!

Morven's here!! It's her first Blog Party, too, so make room on the couch.
Morven's brought us another delicious Asian appetizer, Gyoza. I love things like this; looks great, Morven!
Not forgetting the beverage, she also suggests a Shandy, which is new to me...beer and Sprite or 7-Up! Glasses are over there, ladies.
So glad you could make it tonight, Morven!

Rounding out the party, say 'hello' to Em!
Em's another first-timer..and the only other American here tonight...of course, I love my Aussie and Kiwi friends, so it works out.
A bit like me, she's brought us a couple of appetizers tonight; Green Curry Chicken Wingettes, and Pizza King Bites...again, we're going to have to kick Matt out of the house, or he'll try to snag those wings! Of course, I'm calling 'dibs' on the pizza. My weakness, I'm afraid.
And she's made sure we'll all get nice and happy tonight, with her Simple-but-dangerous Sangria...good call!

By now you probably know I couldn't help but go over-board with the food...I had to make something for every body!

First, Bite-Size Tacos. How cute are they? I fashioned the shells by cutting corn tortillas with a biscuit cutter, and wrapping them (both sides) with foil coils to keep the shape, and baking them in a moderate oven till brown.

A little (fake) beef, shredded cheese, finely chopped lettuce and tomato, and finally, a dollop of sour cream.

See? They really are bite-sized!

Next, a sushi assortment.

A little bit of everything...and they're all one-bite-able!

Tiny Tomago.

Itty-bitty Avocado.

Pint-sized Plum Paste and Walnut.

And Cute Little (cucumber) Kappa Maki.

Told you they were tiny!

Sandwhich and fries? Sure, why not.

The tiniest French fries, ever.

Itty-bitty subs: poppyseed rolls, cheese, 'meat', lettuce and tomatoes. One bite, max.


And finally, Tandoori Chicken Fingers with Pappadum chips!

Can't forget the drink...sort of the ultimate in take-out: a Chocolate Malted...despite the cold here in the States, you won't be able to resist!

Well, that wraps things up for this month. I'm afraid we had absolutely no publicity for Blog Party this time, which (I'm hoping) is the reason we had such a small party.

Of course, I'm thrilled each and every one of you could come tonight!!

But for December, I have something big and sparkly planned...and I'm counting on you, dear friends, to spread the word.

December's party is going to be fun and fancy, and I'm hoping for a big turn-out...and to do this, I'm going to need your help.

So, check back 1 December for the details, and tell everyone!!!

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