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Life is a Stew

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Today is a little rainy, a little overcast and a little melancholy.  Today is quiet, lazy, peaceful, restful and reflective.  Today is a good day.  Today is a  good ingredient for my life.

I’ve been thinking lately of how, “a good life, is like a good recipe”.  A good recipe starts with good ingredients, you add the spices, you prepare the dish then you serve it up with  a large helping of love.  A good life is much the same ; the recipe is made up of days, spiced with family, friends, co workers, strangers, chance meetings and random encounters.  It takes years to prepare, but the final product is always good if served with a lot of love.  When served in the right portions, there’s room for dessert,  and it will taste like, ” a little slice of heaven”.

I know the metaphor is a little weak and could use a little spicing up of it's own...but it gave me the opportunity to use this photograph of the ingredients of my beef stew.


Eggnog Sugar Cookies (via Patent and the Pantry)

WOW can’t wait to try and I don’t bake, you have to measure.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies Can I just admit something pretty embarrassing (for bloggers anyway) here? I made these a year ago. And then I procrastinated (It’s a curse!). And then, well, the window closed for holiday baking. And that was that. Until now. However, in the intervening year (!), I have completely forgotten why I wanted to make these and what I was going to say about them. I mean, cookies = good. Eggnog = good. Eggnog cookies = good x 2. And, really, do they nee … Read More

via Patent and the Pantry




I was reading some “posts” on face book recently, and was intrigued by what I read. I saw where “DOWNTOWN TITUSVILLE” was encouraging its residents to come re-discover the down-town shops and restaurants.  I thought that would be a great thing to do for a Saturday off from work during this holiday season.  It turned out to be a very pleasant day.

My wife Cathy and I decided we would spend a few minutes exploring the shops, I would take a few photographs and we would move on to some other holiday activity.  Titusville is trying to re-build the downtown area.  It’s been slow and our residents have not really supported the area shops and restaurants in a meaningful way.  We were pleasantly surprised by some of the newer shops.

Soup and A Sandwich

Cathy wanted to step into Cafe Chocolate and buy some fudge, we did not realize it was both a chocolate shop and a cafe.  It was a nice surprise.  We bought some candy and decided to return at another time for lunch.  We walked around the streets for a short time and found ourselves in the Sunrise Bakery, where we bought some bread and breakfast scones.  We took a few more photographs and were ready to head somewhere else when we came across some people setting themselves up, curb-side, with some folding chairs and card tables.  Brief inquiries revealed, to our surprise,  the Christmas Parade would be starting in a couple of hours.

Browsing the Bakery

Cathy and I decided we could go back to Cafe Chocolate, eat a light brunch, then come out and watch the parade.  We called the kids, and they agreed to come down and meet us, after we ate.  Suddenly the afternoon was developing into a Christmas outing.  Lunch was good even if our soups, “french onion”, were a little disappointing.  I make better.

French Onion Soup

The parade started late and it was a little cold, so we kept warm in the car, we were parked just a few feet from the parade route.  The warm car and a “coffee to go” made the wait worth it.  We ran into a few friends, visited with others.  We waved to a few participants we recognized and shouted Merry Christmas to the ones we didn’t, we laughed and carried on like little kids amazed by the wonder of a “small town Christmas Parade.  I’ve posted some of the photographs on the Christmas Page and hope You enjoy them as much as we enjoyed taken them.

We didn’t go out looking for Christmas, but happily it found us, right here in our backyard.  The cost was small but the reward was great.  To paraphrase Tiny Tim, God Bless us one and all!

Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro

This a fun appetizer for when you are in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner or watching the parade. I got this from the New York Times 11/17/2010.

Recipe: Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro
7 ounces dried chorizo, diced small
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese , grated
Sliced bread, if serving as sandwiches
Extra virgin olive oil, if serving as sandwiches
Tortilla chips, if serving as dip
Lime wedges, if serving as dip.

1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the jalapeño, cilantro, scallions and salt. Add the cheese and toss well.
3. If serving as dip, skip to Step 4. If serving as sandwiches: drizzle slices of bread with oil and brown in a toaster oven. Top with chorizo, then the cheese mixture. Return to toaster oven and toast until bubbling.
4. If serving as dip: heat the broiler. Combine the chorizo and cheese mixture and pour into a shallow baking or gratin dish. Broil until melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with the chips and lime wedges on the side.
Yield : 4 sandwiches or 8 hors d’oeuvres servings.  ■


The holidays are quickly approaching, and we will be cooking, shopping, and entertaining. We all live busy lives, but there is one recipe that needs to be made now, it will make it all seem like a lot more fun.  Here is my sister Vanessa’s recipe for Coquito.


Very yummy creamy tropical coconut eggnog made with spices and white rum. It is always requested at my holiday gatherings (and sometimes gets selfishly hidden in the fridge by the hostess). Serve in glass cups and sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired.

Original Recipe Yield: 10 servings


2 egg yolks, beaten (not the whites)

1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk

1 (14 ounce ) can cream of coconut or coconut milk

1 (14 ounce ) can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup white rum (Bacardi)

1 cup water

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cinnamon sticks (canela)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In the top part of a *double broiler, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Boil 3 cinnamon sticks in a cup of water for 3 minutes then let cool. Throw away the cinnamon sticks. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add cream of coconut or coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, cinnamon flavored cooled down water, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds. Pour into glass bottles and chill overnight.

Feliz Navidad!

*If you do not have a double broiler, put some water to simmer in a sauce pan or pot. Put the evaporated milk and 2 egg yolks in a smaller pot inside the saucepan so the heat is indirect.