have you taken a “master’s” class yet?


I had not taken a cooking class in years before this morning. The last cooking class I took was in a beautiful private home in Bryn Mawr. But it was less hands on and more lecture. This cooking class today, an Italian Baking Class, was totally hands on and fun!
The Italian Baking Class is one of the series of baking classes offered by The Master’s Baker in West Chester, PA. The classes are moderately priced and worth every penny!

We arrived at 11 a.m. Parts of our groups were friends, and others like myself, had just signed up by ourselves. I am a decent home cook, but there are plenty of thing I want to learn how to make. Like focaccia. I am not a facile yeast bread person. So this was a great class for me to start with!
We were taken back to the kitchen and were set up in what is normally the large decorating room and split up into pairs. Then the fun began with Pastry Chef Patricia Polin.

The hours flew by as we made Focaccia, Parmesan Rosemary Grissini (like a breadstick), Dolci di Amalfi (almond lemon olive oil cake), and Biscotti.

We learned a lot about the baking process. We baked using a scale- measuring the ingredients by weight.

I loved everything I made except my Biscotti. They are not super attractive because I was impatient cutting them before the twice-baked stage.


It was a lovely group of ladies and I will definitely be taking another class when I find one I want. I highly recommend taking one of the Master’s Baker classes. I am told plans for the future include mommy and me (mother and child) classes, and more!

The Master’s Baker is a fabulous specialty bakery (wedding cakes, custom birthday cakes, and special orders only, no regular bakery cases and street traffic, etc). They are located at 319 West Gay Street, West Chester, PA 19380. We are customers of theirs, which is how I learned about the class I took today.

how is this a properly contained construction site?

A reader sent me this photo just now as they went by the location of where this is. Yes, a construction site where a house was torn down, but the foundation which is wide open, remains.

The photo came with a note:

They tore the house down and the foundation is sitting there wide open with that little pink ribbon keeping people out

The reader asks how is this safe and I wonder, where is the constitution fencing? There is not much to deter the curiosity seekers, and this could be dangerous couldn’t it?

The location I am told is S. Cedar Hollow Rd and Paoli Pike. Again, I am not there personally, this photo was sent to me. Here is hoping whichever municipality it is, they get the site a little more secure.

rainy day kitchen tips

First of all, could it be any more miserable outside today? Since I’m housebound and I had not oiled my wooden spoons and cutting boards in a while, I figured I would do that today as it does not take much time.

Yes, cutting boards and wooden spoons should be oiled.

I can’t take credit for this kitchen tip or kitchen trick, my husband was the one who pointed out the obvious here a few years ago. I noticed in a cupboard he had a bottle of food grade cutting board and wood block oil. I asked what it was for, and he told me. I had never known to do that as much as I cook.

This is totally simple advice and if you take the time to buy the food grade oil, which is mineral oil based, you will extend the life of your cutting boards and your wooden spoons and your butcher block if you have one. Oiling the cutting boards means they don’t warp and don’t dry out. Oh and you won’t get splinters!

I use the Howard brand of cutting board and butcher block oil. I also love their furniture wax and oil.

It is totally simple to oil the cutting boards and wooden spoons. I use paper towels. I put the oil on the paper towel and I gently rub in the direction of the grain.

I should back up. There is a step for the spoons in the cutting boards before I oil them. I read about it somewhere and quite simply it’s you make a paste out of salt and lemon juice to help extra clean your boards and spoons. Or you can just wash them with soap and water and let them dry – I never let them soak in water because they will warp and split. And that goes for both wooden spoons and cutting boards.

I always keep my cutting boards very clean, and I also read that some people use peroxide after they have had raw meat on a cutting board.

Whatever you clean your cutting boards with before you oil them, they must be perfectly dry before you oil them.

When you apply the oil you need to do so evenly. And you need to give it a few hours I think to soak in. If after a few hours anything seems sticky or greasy, buff it up a little bit with clean paper towel to soak up any excess oil. (Again, this cutting board and butcher block oil is food grade and mineral oil based.)

Anyway, it’s such a simple and easy thing to do, and it helps extend the life of your wooden kitchen things. If you use wooden salad bowls and salad servers, you also might want to oil them once in a while as well.

I also oil my kitchen cabinets. They are vintage at this point and original to the house so they need occasional love too. I try to oil my cabinets once a month, and as for the other oiling of cutting boards and wooden spoons it usually ends up being twice a year.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay dry today.

what can we learn from the newly crowned super bowl champion philadelphia eagles?

COURTESY OF AP FOUND ON INTERNET: Thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate the team’s victory in the NFL Super Bowl 52 against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in downtown Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) ORG XMIT: PAJL115

 

”Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Walk humbly with your God .” [Micah 6:8]

 

That bible quote is one a dear friend signs her e-mail with.  I am not by nature a bible quoting kind of gal. Not that I don’t believe, it’s just not my thing.

This morning while drinking my coffee I watched a news conference on NBC10 in Philadelphia, that quote jumped into my head as I watched Super Bowl MVP Eagles Quarterback Nick Foles followed by Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson.  They just are so simple and genuine.  They seem both like people you would like to just hang out with.  No drama. No T.O. and McNabb-sized egos.

I say this as NOT a true football watching person.  I am not.  I understand the basics of the game (sort of.) Then I am done. I have never even been to an NFL game.  I did go to a few Army-Navy games in Philadelphia as a kid.  I remember how cold Veteran’s Stadium was, the sea of Army and Navy uniforms in the stands, especially the white hats of the midshipmen, and the echoing roar of the crowds.

But when it comes to Eagles teams past from coaches to players the media drama locally and nationally has been undeniable.  Even the current owner’s divorce cast an unpleasant pall at one time.

But that was then, and this is now. Lay the past to rest Philadelphia, and savor the moment.

But these Eagles.  Wow.  From the coaching staff to the players, good sportsmanship. These guys are cohesive and mutually supportive.  No dog fighting (literally) or other drama including major problems with a former coach’s family or another coach’s ego that literally shoved him out the door. It’s astounding, and very refreshing.  We could all learn from them, including the great Tweeter in Chief who paused briefly from spouting vitriol on Twitter to congratulate the Philadelphia Eagles.

But seriously, since the Philadelphia Eagles began this trajectory to an amazing Super Bowl win, the world has been a little nicer.  Less politics and current events nastiness and honest to goodness come together now moments. (oh and this from CBS sports was a great read:Super Bowl 2018: Who should you root for? Five reasons to make it the Eagles)

It’s been so nice.  Although I will admit the media hype leading up to the Super Bowl was a little much at times.

Ok so….time for….My Eagles at the Super Bowl memories:

Following the 1980 season or winter 1981 (Super Bowl XV) – I was a senior in high school.  I went with one of my best friends to I think the most boring Super Bowl party ever.  It was my very first Super Bowl party.  I had never been to a Super Bowl party, so I don’t know what I was expecting but it was one of those moments where you wonder what all the hype was about. I remember there was snow on the ground. I watched the entire game.

The Eagles lost.

Following the 2004 season or winter 2005 (Super Bowl XXXIX) – I gave it a go again.  Went to a small Super Bowl party at a dear friend’s house in Gladwyne. That was the best part of that experience, the party and the company (with one exception – and thankfully that blowhard football know it all exited our lives.) I watched the whole game.

The Eagles lost.

So being a superstitious not particularly football knowledgeable kind of gal last night I took precautions.  I peeked at the game, and watched the last four nail biting minutes, but for the most part, I stuck to Netflix. My husband watched the game downstairs. No Super Bowl parties.

The Eagles won.

Ha! See that? It worked.

You’re welcome, Philadelphia.  I just couldn’t have that on my conscience, if I watched the whole game and they lost.

But this team? This coaching staff? They are a different breed of cat from what Philadelphia has known.  They are less glamour kitty and more about being worker bees and getting the job done.  As a team on and off the field, they are a pleasure to watch.

As seen on Instagram this morning

So Philadelphia, yo’ enough already with crowd diving off of the Ritz Carlton canopy and trashing it.

So Philadelphia, yo’ enough already with flipping cars in front of the Bellevue.

So Philadelphia, yo’ enough already with the destruction – smashing giant plate glass windows at Macy’s in Center City, destroying traffic signals, wrecking giant concrete planters. (Check out Philly Voice if you do not believe me or see CNN or New York Post.)

When people do things like random acts of stupidity and destruction, that is the memory that endures, and well, if you love your hometown heroes and newly crowned Super Bowl champs, you should not show the Eagles disrespect by destroying stuff, should you? Come on now, Philadelphia, we are better than that.

In Chester County, it was thankfully fairly tame and you can check out West Chester post- Super Bowl on The Daily Local. And also check out this great editorial from The Mercury News.

This Eagles team is the stuff legends are made of.  They earned it through hard work. So when the parade happens, honor them and respect their work ethic by not trashing the city. These are exactly the guys little kids (and their parents) can look up to and learn good sportsmanship from.

Lay the past to rest, Philadelphia, and savor the moment.

 

As per NBC10 Philadelphia the Eagles will be home in Philadelphia later today, and a parade possibly on Thursday.

Philadelphia, it is such a sad and ugly world out there some days.  Let’s celebrate as an area the right way.  Let us learn the lessons of good sportsmanship and teamwork from this team and their coach.  Being nice costs nothing. I like this team because they make a non-football person like me understand the love of the game.

Thanks for stopping by and I close with my favorite NFL Meme to date….

 

 

THEY DID IT!

Oh. My. God.

The freaking Eagles 🦅 just won the Super Bowl!

#FlyEaglesFly

Speechless.

Buh-byes Boston.

Amazing. (And yes, I only watched intermittently because as I said in another post on this blog every time I watched a full game they lost over the years.)

super bowl sunday.

That photo above was taken by the First United Methodist Church of Collingswood, NJ.

Today is the day.

One more game.

You know what is the nicest part of the Eagles being in the Super Bowl? People are happy and uplifted. There is something happy and positive to drown out the din of other less pleasant things at least temporarily.

That is all I am saying.

Celebrate safely. There are T-shirt tents everywhere…

And make sure you watch this Super Bowl skit by Tina Fey and the current cast of Saturday Night Live last night!

Below photo is floating around social media. My friend Tim took it.