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.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Never Been My Favorite Day


These holidays are weird for me.

I've long since cut ties with my abusive parents, and my beloved Grandpa (the closest thing I had to a father figure) has been gone nineteen years. 

But Matt's a dad, and a pretty good one, at that.

So, today he got Carnitas Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise for breakfast.

And tonight, he's grilling some lamb chops, and I've made tabouli and salted dulce de leche brownies

                                                                     (some prep)

I may not have a dad of my own to celebrate (and there are so many out there like me, who find these holidays triggering), but I'm happy Alex does.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tea for Three


I recently purchased this (old) new tea set.

It's not fancy; no bone china here. But there was something about it; I was absolutely charmed by it.

The fact that there were three cups and saucers probably helped.

Which meant it was time for another tea-for-dinner night.

A savory scone, thyme and Gruyere, to go with espresso cups of tomato bisque.

Sandwiches, of course: egg salad, turkey (or faux turkey) and white cheddar, open-faced cucumber on dill- or mint-mascarpone, and pb&j for Alex.

Cream scones and our standard tea - almond from Adagio.

And little lemon cakes, topped with crystalized violets.

Which were not happy with the humidity, as shown above.  Buttercream and steamy weather do not mix.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Project cooking, and not bowing to pressure




It's been a bit.  I'm still here! 

When I decided to return to blogging, I promised myself that I wouldn't succumb to the 'gotta post every single day!' pressure I felt back in The Old Days.

That self-imposed sense of obligation is one of the (many) reasons I backed away from Dispensing Happiness. 

Posting started to feel like a job, not an expression of who I am, or the desire to be part of a community.

So when I was seriously considering returning, I told myself it was ok if I didn't publish daily. Or weekly.
That it was ok to only show up when I really felt like I had something to say, or share.

It's not as if I wasn't cooking and baking. I just didn't feel the need to talk about it.

(But obviously that first-born, Virgo, former-Catholic guilt is in play, or I wouldn't be explaining my absence!)


Something I started doing about 20 years ago (!) was making the red mole from Rick Bayless.

It's not an everyday recipe: this baby is work.

But oh, my gosh; it is so worth it.

It's kind of a once a year or so undertaking, but fortunately, the mole freezes well.

I was in the mood for a 'project', and my last batch was nearly gone. so it was sauce-making time.

This year, I made a double-batch, figuring if I'm putting in the effort, I'm going to make it worth my time.

Lots of chilies. Lots of other ingredients. 

Lots of frying. 

Everything gets blitzed (I ran them first through the food processor, then the food mill).

That gets cooked down (first, the chile paste, then the everything else paste gets added in), then stock and Mexican chocolate are mixed in.

                                            (not a great photo - the light is directly above)

But, after much prep, and even more cooking, you're rewarded with an amazing sauce.

(Just try not to think about all the clean up after!)

If you're interested in giving this a try, the recipe can be found in Rick Bayless Mexican Kitchen.

And as a head's up: :I've got another Blog Party in the works, so stay tuned!

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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Tied in Knots


I've had my eye on these Glazed Cinnamon-Cardamom Buns* for some time.

They showed up in a newsletter again, which Matt saw, and there was a lot of, "Oh, my".

But like so many recipes, the dough wants a nice, long rest in the fridge (as well a nap later, after being rolled out), and if you're anything thing me...



Stuff was moved, temporarily taken out, and I got down to business.

I love doughs like this.  They're just so satisfying to work with.

And making these twists was fun!

The twists became knots (I am historically awful at braiding, so am always a bit apprehensive when it comes to these sorts of things, but it worked out rather nicely).

Which were baked, then brushed with a syrup made from water and brown sugar.

They guys love them, and my gosh; how pretty are they??!

Easy recipe; just needs a bit of time, and room in your fridge (HA!).

*I ran out of cinnamon (gasp!), so one third of the filling is ginger.

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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Blog Party #44: Pantry Raid! The Round-Up


Welcome to Blog Party!  We're starting a little late, as one of our guests was delayed.

We have a small group, which, considering how long it's been since we've gathered, is still pretty wonderful. 

I've put up some pretty purple lights around the house.

I've set our bandana-themed napkins, which double as masks!

And I've got a nice music mix going, including Stevie Nicks (Stand Back), Dua Lipa (Don't Start), Men at Work (Who Can it Be Now?), Billy Idol (Dancing with Myself), and Celine Dion (All By Myself).

Keeping things simple as we ease back into Blog Party-ing, so let's take a look at our guest's contributions!

First up is Jasmine, who brought Eritrean Tsebhi Birsen and pita chips.

Using up some canned tomatoes she had on hand, spices, and my favorite, galic-chilli paste! Yum. 
And according to her, it can be turned into a soup - talk about double-duty!

Thanks, Jasmine!

Next,  Breadchick arrived with Left Over Cold Veggie Peanut Soba Noodles - looks tasty!

" a handful of soba noodles, little this and that from the past week’s roasted vegs, about an 1/8th cup of chopped peanuts, and some pho broth"

Way to use it all up!

And of course I've set out a few bites for everyone.  First up, Smoked Chicken Salad Bites.

We'd smoked some chicken (and for the vegetarians in the house, Delight Soy 'chicken') last week, which was turned into a simple chicken salad for tea sandwiches. 

There was plenty left, so dollops of the smoky stuff is served on some pecan crackers that were taking up some valuable space. 


Next, Paneer Tikka Naan Pizza Bites.

I'd made naan earlier in the week, and had some kicking around the fridge.  There was a partial block of paneer in the freezer, and oh, hey, a jar of Tikka Masala sauce in the cupboard (yes, sometimes we cheat).  A quick blast of heat, and some finely chopped mint (that needed to be used up) to finish.  

Simple, tasty, and filling mini pizza slices for all. 

And finally, Non-alcoholic Citrus Sunrises

Another case of using up what's already on hand. 

We'd purchased a 2 liter of Sprite for something, and never actually used it! And as I'm loathe to toss anything that could be used, there it sat. 

So, mix Sprite with some orange Crush from a bottle left over from the holidays, and some grapefruit seltzer (a favorite of Matt's), and a little bit of grenadine for color. 

Decorate with a grapefruit wedge, and enjoy!

This is where I'd usually invite everyone to hang around and visit, but this time I'm saying: Stay Home.  

Thanks for stopping by, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and I hope to see you - from a distance!- back next month.

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Saturday, April 04, 2020




How are you all doing?

JEREMY BEARIMY, my friends.
Jeremy Bearimy.

But this is most definitely not The Good Place.

Turns out, when we were all sick in late February/early March, it was Covid-19

So.  Yeah.  That's a thing.

Let me say, from experience, you Do Not Want.

Keep washing your hands.  Stay home. Get your groceries delivered. And if you can't? PROTECT YOURSELF.  If your employer isn't providing the proper materials, raise hell. We'll back you.


We had the tail end of a carton of eggs, and Matt liked the idea of fresh Chinese egg noodles. Sure, why not?

Pretty easy: flour, salt, eggs, water.  Mixed by hand, a bit of a chill in the fridge, then a few passes through the sheeter before switching to the cutting roller.

Really nice, tender noodles.  Alex used some to make himself peanut noodles (he even found a recipe on his own!). 

The rest were bagged and tucked into the (overflowing) freezer. 

Just wanted to remind you that Blog Party is tonight!  In these strange times, I'll take entries up to six PM (EST), in case you were still thinking about joining.

We're using up those the half-bags, hidden-away cans, and deep-freeze treasures and creating bites and sips to share - from the safety of our digital devices! - with friends old and new.

I do hope you'll attend.  See you later tonight!

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

The New Normal


How's everyone doing?  Hanging in there?

Strange times, eh.

And we're all facing new challenges while planning our meals, menus, and shopping.  Trying to use more of what's already in the kitchen, and crossing our fingers that the store has what's on our grocery lists!

We had a decent supply of chicken (and faux chicken) in the freezer, plenty of rice, and a few boxes of 'insta-Indian' (those thin boxes of goodness containing various paneer dishes, daal, and so on),

We did not, however, have any sort of bread.

So I made naan (using a recipe from Rasa Malaysia), and we put together a tasty, filling meal using what we had around.

These are useful skills to hone, as we're looking at, potentially, up to eighteen months of 'six feet away' and 'stay at home'.

And I can think of no better way to work on those skills than to join Blog Party! It's coming up Saturday, 4 April, so there's still time to participate.

Our theme is Pantry Raid (read all about it here), where you create appetizers and drinks (any kind!) using ingredients you already have on our shelves, in your freezer, and so on.

It doesn't have to be fancy.  We're just looking to virtually gather together, and share some tasty foods. Get experimental! Use it up! Blog Party and Dispensing Happiness are safe and encouraging spaces. 

So stop by this Saturday with your (Pandemic) Pantry Raid treats, and get ready to party!

From at least six feet away.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

It Sparkles!


The daughter of some friends of ours was celebrating a birthday in January, and I wanted to do something special for her.

I made seven batches of pasta (the plain, or 'mother' dough not shown) in a variety of colors, and turned them all into thin strips. Oh, and the doughs had corresponding edible glitter!

On sheets of plain dough, I laid the colored strips, in rainbow order.

These sheets then got rolled by hand, then run through the sheeter many times, and cut into wide strips.

They, in turn, were cut into smaller pieces (with a fluted rolling cutter).

And turned into butterflies!

Sparkly Rainbow Butterfly Birthday Pasta, for a very special little girl. 

Blog Party #44 is coming soon!  We're checking our pantries and cupboards for hidden (read: forgotten!) ingredients, and coming up with appetizers and drinks to share - from a safe distance!

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

This time, I mean it!


We're living in strange, confusing times.

We're all a bit scared, and trying to get comfortable in our alone-ness.

Turns out, here at Dispensing Happiness, we've been practicing social distancing for years!

Welcome back, Blog Party!

Yes, the original virtual cocktail party was bringing people together - while never leaving home - before it became the rule.

So, on Saturday, 4 April, we're putting the social in social distancing with what will officially be Blog Party #44: Pantry Raid!

That's right; we're going to have a rockin' good time, nibbling on tasty bites and drinking fabulous beverages (from well over six feet apart!), using what we already have on hand.

No shopping!

Just look in your cupboards, on your shelves, check the back of your fridge, or deep in those freezers.
Let's make do with what's around.

That condiment you bought for a recipe, and never used again!  Get creative.

That can of water chestnuts you keep ignoring? Time to show them some love.

We're not going fancy. We just want to come together, be a part of something, and stay busy.

What's that? You're new to Blog Party (It's ok; it's been on hiatus)?

No problem!  You can read all about it here.  But to summarize, you make an appetizer and a drink - non-alcoholic is totally fine. Post it somewhere (blog, Tumblr, IG, Twitter, whatever works for you), and send me the link (my email address can be found under 'links).

I'll post the round-up (aka, party) on the 4th, where everyone can join in and see what our friends, new and old, have brought!

I hope you'll join!

Edited: To RSVP, send your entries to me by Friday, the 3rd!

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Chorizo* Bolognese with Buffalo Mozzarella


One of my 2018 food goals was to make fresh pasta. I tried a few recipes, with decent success, but it was discovering Salty Seattle (Linda Miller Nicholson) that proved inspirational.

Ravioli, tortellini, fettuccine, caramelle...so many pastas.  So many colors!

I'm having fun, the guys are loving eating gorgeous, fresh pasta at least once a week.

But I really need to invest in a drying rack soon.

Maybe three.

Tonight, it was a beet (from powder) fettuccine with a chorizo (*or for me and Alex, Morningstar Farms 'chorizo' crumbles) bolognese with fresh mozzarella and fried rosemary.

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Another of my food goals for 2018: Perfect my croissant technique.

I've made...I don't even know.  Dozens of recipes, with varying results.

At last, I found THE PERFECT ONE.  Aptly titled 'The Best Croissants', this recipe from Saveur was everything I wanted in a pastry.

Because I made mine a slightly different size, they came out a smidge darker than ideal.

That did not stop anyone in this house from devouring them.

And by 'devour', I mean meticulously deconstructing each croissant, unwrapping layer by flaky layer, until only crumbs were left.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Station Break


Hey there.

 Slight delay, as I am experiencing a bit of a culinary catastrophe ("It's from the Greek. It means a misfortune, a cataclysm or a serious calamity.") - our refrigerator is on its deathbed.

Which mean much purging, organizing and cleaning as we await tomorrow's emergency delivery.

Once the kitchen is back to 'normal', Blog Party will be up and running!

Thank you for your patience. 


Friday, April 14, 2017

IT’S BAAAAAACK! (for now)



I miss you guys. I miss Blog Party.
So I’m bringing it back...as a sort of test run.  We’ll see how it goes.

(We kind of skipped #43 because of reasons, but I’m still counting it.)

BLOG PARTY #44: Tea Party!

I love tea. I love everything about it. The scones and crumpets and finger sandwiches and cakes and cookies and soups and SO MANY TINY FOODS!

And yes, the tea.  And other fun drinks associated with it.

So I’m opening up the house and inviting you all to a tea party. A BLOG PARTY TEA PARTY!

Since it’s been a while, I’ll sum up BP for you (of course, there’s a handy guide right here, too).

Blog Party is the original virtual cocktail party.  It’s friends - old and new! - coming together to share drinks and small and bite-sized treats.  

I ‘decorate’ with themed party accessories, get the tunes playing and introduce everyone as they arrive (translation: I find cool stuff and music that ties in with the party, and do a short recap of every entry).  We hang out, we chat, we eat! It’s fun.

And this time? It’s all about tea!  

Want to join in? Send me a link to your post (and for those who don’t use Blogger, etc but still want to come, Tumblr, Instagram...whatever. Take pics, write about what you’re ‘bringing’ and send that! I’ll make it work.) any time between now and Friday evening, 21 April. I’ll post the round-up on the 22nd.  (My email address is located below ‘Links’ and above ‘100 Things About Me’.)

I know Blog Party has been quiet for a very long time, but I hope you’ll remember the way!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Roll With It


Yeah, I've been doing stuff. Chocolate-y stuff.

Finally got around to really playing with flavors and textures. The hard part was waiting for the weather to cooperate!

Matt gave me a tempering machine a few years back, and once I started using it, the ideas! Boom. They were everywhere.

So, a few weeks ago, we bought all the chocolate. And cream. And I made all the ganache. And there were spices. And herbs. And fruits. And nuts. And...you get the idea. And there were TRUFFLES.

Just a quick photo, and only half of what I ended up with. But, Strawberry-Basil Shortcake (basil and freeze-dried strawberries in milk chocolate ganache, rolled in pulverized freeze-dried strawberries and Nilla wafers), Mint (mint in milk chocolate ganache, dipped in more milk chocolate and topped with candied mint leaves), Mexican hot cocoa (cinnamon and cayenne in dark chocolate, rolled in cocoa powder), Ginger-Thyme (fresh ginger and thyme in dark chocolate, topped with crystallized ginger) and Guajillo (Gujillo peppers in dark chocolate, rolled in Turbinado sugar).

There's four more (including fun with white chocolate), but that's a (maybe?) post for another day.

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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Visit with a friend



Remember me?

I'm still here. I'm still cooking and baking and creating.

What I'm not doing is blogging.


But I'm here now.

Because today was National Soup Day (I'm doing this thing where I try to work in as many 'National Day of' food events into my menus as possible this year) and the timing being what it is, decided to post so I could swing by my dear friend Deb's and join her Souper Sundays.

I know: it's been a while!

I found a recipe from Williams-Sonoma for Lasagna Soup and knew I had to try it.

Nothing too difficult or outrageous, but sounded interesting. And I'm a sucker for deconstructed recipes, so...

A tomato-y broth, pasta, and meatballs topped with an amazingly creamy cheese mix. Wow. WOW. So good.

Obviously, I made some changes. First up was splitting the recipe in two, one pot following exactly and the other done vegetarian.

So, vegetable soup base instead of chicken broth. Vegetarian Italian 'sausage'. And because Alex does not like ricotta, swapped that with marscapone.

Huge success. Everyone loved it. To go all internet-speak: "10/10 would make again".

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Pie


I love any excuse to bake (or cook) and tie it into something else I enjoy.

Like...say, my love for comics. Or action figures.

My friend Kelly Thompson is the writer on A-Force - it's a fantastic book about women saving the world (or a village near you!) and friendships and DRAGONS! ONLY NOT! and it's funny and the art is gorgeous and I am enjoying the ever-loving heck out of it. (And I'm not even a Marvel gal.)

A recent issue was so darn good, I was inspired. Inspired to purchase a new action figure (Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers.) (Partly because there aren't any decent/affordable She-Hulks or Medusa's out there.). Inspired...to bake pies.

Wild Blueberry Pies. (Recipe can be found in Gesine Bullock-Prado's "Pie it Forward".)

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