November 29, 2013

The Flight

My mother-in-law has become a groupie at age 76. She is in love with the Italian "boy band" Il Volo (il volo means "the flight" in Italian). She's such a fan that she was one of the first in line to buy their new Christmas CD, Buon Natale, and a wristband for a performance and signing when they make a stop in our town. That day was today. She cajoled me into going to the Mall of America on Black Friday to stand in line and get up close and personal with the boys. The performance was set to start at 2pm so we arrived an hour before not know what to expect. There were a few people already in queue but not too many so we had a good vantage point. I got us coffee to help the time pass and took photos of the growing crowd while MIL struck up conversations with everyone around us (her trademark). A lady immediately behind us knew a little too much about the boys for my taste (can you say stalker?!) and made mention more than once about how worried she was about their experiencing fame at such a young age. I guess these days you need to worry that even pop opera stars could go the way of Lindsay Lohan. We even had a little drama when a) police surveyed everyone to ensure they had wristbands due to "a little mix up" and 2) a young woman in front of us fainted (she recovered in time for the show).
There was a variety of ages from about 6 years old to 86 with nary a male in sight. I knew it was finally 2 when I heard all the screams and "oh my god"s. That must have been what it was like when The Beatles came to town. The boys sang three Christmas songs and their signature "'O Sole Mio" - they can definitely sing and I'm not going to lie, the tribute to Napoli was incredible.

After the performance we stood for another hour to have CDs signed. MIL was practically floating she was so excited. She started talking about looking up all the dates/cities for their upcoming American tour until I told her it sounded like she was going the way of our stalker friend. I suggested she ask if they had any nice single grandfathers.

It was definitely an experience ... I've never waited on line for a CD signing so I can check that off the bucket list.

To see for yourself what all the fuss is about go here for their 2011 performance on American Idol (before Ignazio lost the weight according to stalker lady) and here for a recent compilation of their Christmas concert on PBS.

November 23, 2013


We had clients in from Florida for a meeting the other day and one of my coworkers led us in an icebreaker exercise. He listed four desserts on a white board:
Ice Cream

We were to go around and rank them in order of preference. I thought it was going to be totally lame, but it turned out to be fun (shows you what I know) and super revealing. Of course someone had to bring up brownies and someone else pudding ... really?!. My preferred order would have been as listed above - I LOVE cake. However I've been on a biscotti (cookie category) and pie kick lately. I made about a hundred peach crostatas this summer (pie category) and have recently turned my attention to the seasonal fave pumpkin. I especially like switching up the seasoning / spices in my pumpkin pie (bourbon, maple syrup or cardamom anyone?). I was going to switch up my crostata with plums but then they were out of season and when I found them at Costco they were too good to use any other way than au naturel ... I just couldn't bear to share them with any other ingredient or another person for that matter. Then I was going to make the crostata with apples when hubby and I got into a discussion about regular vs. "dutch" thanks to some TV commercial from who-knows-where. I guess what makes it dutch is a streusel topping instead of another pastry crust (thank you Wikipedia!). This suits me fine as I am NOT a crust fan. I found this recipe and there is simply no mincing words, we are sold. It is absolutely delicious and I do believe pie may have jumped to 2nd place honors in my book.

How would you rank the four desserts?

November 17, 2013

Here ye, here ye

Evidently there was an important meeting ...

about who could lie where

November 3, 2013

Time is on my side

I am loving the extra hour daylight savings afforded me today. I forgot to set the clocks back so woke up at 6:00am which is "regular" time (now 5:00). That means I got 6 hours of sleep straight and extra sleep time following our morning ritual. I'm pretty sure I doubled my effectiveness the entire day :)

The month of October totally flew by, I can't believe it's November with Thanksgiving less than 4 weeks away. On the down side that means we're closer to snow - yuck! On the up side that means we're closer to the greatest event on earth ... the Olympics! Only 95 days!!! I saw an article on official Winter 2014 apparel - glad to hear it will be made in the USA this time around.

In closing I am totally obsessed with making my own applesauce. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman is amazing. I flavor mine with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, a little maple syrup and bourbon, no butter. 3 lbs of apples (half recipe) makes 3 cups of applesauce. Delicious! Anyone who likes applesauce should try it. I bet this could be done in the slow cooker too ... hmm.