Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Flat Belly Pumpkin Bisque- One Last Thanksgiving Recipe


Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

Is the weather around you as wacky as it is here?

Two days ago, it was 70 degrees...
Today, it's snowing...the first storm of the season...
and we are expecting 3-6 inches.  
After last winter's ridiculous amounts of snow,
I was hoping that not a flake would fall this year,
and I'm not finding this pre-Thanksgiving nor'easter at all amusing. 

I usually turn to food to cheer me up (do you?),
so in anticipation, I whipped up a batch of pumpkin bisque.
I know I'm just squeaking in under the wire, with a pumpkin soup post the night before Thanksgiving, 
but I'm behind schedule on most everything in my life right now.

Last-Minute Mom...that's me.

Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

I'm blaming everything on my volunteer position,
which is keeping me as busy as a full-time job...
is almost as stressful...
and, oh, yes...there's no pay :)

It's ok, though, I'm happy to do it, it's just that
 it's been hard to get out as many blog posts as I want to, or even when I want to...
and it's really limited my time to go and visit other blogs.
I hope you understand. 

Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

So back to the bisque...I was glad to have some of this rich and velvety soup 
for dinner on a snowy night; 
in fact, I've been singing,
"I'm all about that bisque, 'bout that bisque, no trouble...
'cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top." 

Someone save me from myself.

 Yes, I said "rich," in a post that's has "Flat Belly" in the title, and that's not a mistake.
This bisque doesn't have any cream...or any dairy, whatsoever, 
and yet it is still thick, and hearty, and filling.  
A single potato is what gives it such a substantial consistency. 

The recipe comes from my beloved Flat Belly Diet Cookbook  
(I also have the first one, and the Family cookbook).
(By the way, I lost 5 pounds on the Flat Belly Diet over the last few weeks).

Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

If you follow me regularly, you know that I almost always  
screw up something when I'm cooking,
but every now and then, that turns out to be a good thing.

Mr. Goo Shoes knew I was at it again, when he heard me yelling, "OH CRAP!!!" 
...or some lady-like utterance, to that effect.

Most of the errors of my ways are due to the fact that I don't read the instructions throughoughly before I start,
which inevitably leads to a recipe malfunction,
or just as often, a second trip to the store to get what I forgot.

The recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree.
I knew I had several cans in the pantry, 
 and I inadvertently grabbed pumpkin pie mix, instead of plain pumpkin puree.

I didn't realize my mistake until it was simmering away.

Uh-oh.

I was afraid to taste it, but...
it was so good, I couldn't stop sampling it.
I must have eaten half a bowl right out of the pot...
and I can't help but think that I improved upon the recipe. 
Of course, the pumpkin pie mix does have sugar in it, 
making it a little more caloric than the original version.  
 But, the flavor of the nutmeg/cinnamon/cloves made it well worth it,
and I figured that if I did about 50 more sit-ups, 
my belly wouldn't expand as a result of my blunder. 
Seriously, spread across what I figure to be 8 servings
(or four, if you are me), it's negligible. 

You, however, have the option of making it either way.
Just know that the pumpkin pie mix does make it a little sweeter.

Oh, and by the way, it took much longer than 15 minutes 
for my potatoes to become very tender. 
It was more like 30 minutes. 
Just thought you should know.


Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

On this day before Thanksgiving,
one thing I am enormously thankful for...is YOU.
With all of the blogs out there, I have to pinch myself sometimes that somehow, you've found your way over to mine.
I am thankful your readership, your pins, your follows, your tweets, 
your status updates, your comments...
but mostly, your friendship.

Pumpkin Bisque - this thick, hearty and filling soup is guilt free - from the Flat Belly Diet cookbook - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Thanksgiving #FlatBellyDiet

Wishing all of you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving...
filled with whatever it is that makes you feel 
content and grateful.


 You may also like these other Flat Belly Diet recipes:

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake  from Flat Belly Diet Cookbood - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes  #FlatBellyDiet Cookbook
Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake
Lemon Cupcakes from Flat Belly Diet Cookbook- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #FlatBellyCookbook
Lemon Cupcakes

Linking With:
Wow Us Wednesday

Wake Up Wednesday
What's It Wednesday 
Let's Get Real 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The World Trade Center Museum in New York City


World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 What are your most vivid memories of the events of 9/11?

 Aside from the overall shock of the day, a couple of things stand out for me.
The first is the candlelight vigil that was held a few days after the attacks.
We were living in New York City at the time, in a huge hi-rise building, 
surrounded by many other large apartment buildings. 
Normally, you can't get New Yorkers to look each other in the eye 
when walking down the street;
in fact, the unspoken rule is to avoid eye contact at every cost.

But there was nothing normal about New York that week.
And so, on the evening of September 14, at 7pm,
New Yorkers came together on every street in Manhattan...
face-to-face, eye-to-eye, shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart.  

Elevator after elevator carried thousands of people down to the sidewalks, 
to honor friends, neighbors and strangers who lost their lives 
in the World Trade Center tragedy.

As if that scene wasn't incredible enough, 
nothing could prepare me for the moment 
when people spontaneously began singing patriotic songs. 
I could barely get the words out...I was so choked up.
I do remember we recorded it,
but somehow, something got recorded over that video.
Maybe it was only meant to be recorded in our minds and hearts,
and not on videotape.

All of these powerful memories and feelings came flooding back,
when we visited the World Trade Center Memorial 
and Museum two weeks ago.


Rather than the usual museum that houses artifacts, 
this is "a museum housed in an artifact," according to the director of the museum.
 The museum exhibits are underground, 
because the space was built around some remaining structures, 
for example, the "slurry wall" on the left side of the photo below.

When the World Trade Center was built back in the 1960's,
this retaining wall was built to prevent water from the nearby Hudson River 
from seeping into the site.
It was feared that the wall would breach after the attacks,
but it held.
The portion of it that was preserved became an interior wall of the museum.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When the recovery process was coming to an end, 
one steel structure was chosen to symbolically mark the occasion. 
Recovery workers, first responders, volunteers and victims' relatives signed it, 
and added memorial tributes. 
 Known as the "Last Column", it was one of the last steel structures 
to be removed from the site in May, 2002.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
The "Last Column"
The second thing that stands out in my mind 
were the flyers requesting information for missing people...
posted in desperation by family and friends...
their grief and fear literally plastered throughout the city. 

The photos below are a video display;
the real flyers are housed in the Historical Exhibit within the museum.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The Historic Exhibit was extremely powerful, and is really the heart of the museum.
It is comprised of three parts: The Day of 9/11; Before 9/11, and After 9/11.
Unfortunately, I can't show you pictures from that part of the exhibit, 
as no photography was allowed..

Photography was limited to a few artifacts outside that exhibit.
This was a piece of the radio and televsion transmitter atop the North Tower.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

You can see where it was located in this photo, where that little white circle is.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This is a remnant of the elevator motor that carried people to the top floors.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FDNY Ladder Company 3 was one of the first responders on the scene.
 The eleven members of Company 3 were killed inside the building when it collapsed.
 
World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 We also walked through the Memorial exhibit, which
commemorates all of those who perished, 
on the Wall of Faces. 

After we left the museum, we walked down Greenwich Street,
and came upon the FDNY Memorial Wall, which pays tribute to the 
343 firefights who lost their lives on 9/11.

FDNY Memorial Wall,  New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Walking through the museum is not an easy thing to do.
It brings back painful reminders of a terrible time.
 But, remember, we must. 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cranberry Apple Pie

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Do you have everything in order for Thanksgiving?
Shopping list made?
Menu planned?
Tablecloth ironed?
Turkey ordered?
Outfit ready?

We'll be going to my cousin's for Thanksgiving, 
and I'll be bringing a dessert or two. 
And then, on Saturday of that weekend,
I'll make my own turkey and all the trimmings, 
just because...
well, because it happens to be one meal that I actually do cook pretty well...
and believe it or not, as much as I'd rather do anything but cook, I like doing it. 

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've really been enjoying these last few weeks of autumn...
the foliage has been beautiful.
The rich red leaves of the Japanese maple trees have literally 
made me stop in my tracks.
It took me a half-hour to get to the supermarket the other day, which is 2 miles away, because I kept pulling over to take photos.
Exquisite! 

 
Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Not color-enhanced!

Most of the leaves are down now, and heavy winds today helped finish the job.
All remnants of summer have been packed away...and the deck is bare. 
Winter is coming. 
Blah. 

But before it gets here, there's Thanksgiving to look forward to.  

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  
I love that it's the one holiday in America that everyone celebrates... 
whether you are NJ housewife, the good wife, a gossip girl, a broke girl, 
 a son of anarchy, a mentalist, a mad man, a family guy, or a modern family...
whether you live in a house of cards, a full house, in South Park, or Downton Abbey...
whether or not  you think orange is the new black, and even if you are on the blacklist.
No matter what language we speak, we all talk turkey. 

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Cranberry Apple Pie is one of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts.
I've been making it for about eight years,
and, believe it or not, the recipe came from Family Fun magazine.

It is the perfect combo of sweet and tart...refreshing, actually,
and pairs beautifully with all of the other seasonal goodies on the dessert table.

Aside from it's extraordinary flavor, it's mighty good-lookin'.
In fact, I'd venture a bet that it would be a finalist in any dessert pageant.  

I will warn you, however, that it is a very dangerous pie...
in that it is difficult to stop eating it. 
Seriously...because it's not heavy or overly sweet, 
you may find yourself reaching for a second slice.
Don't feel guilty about it -- it's fruit! 
Well, at least it isn't as fattening as a lot of other desserts.

Cranberry Apple Pie has one more thing going for it...
it's EASY!
It shouldn't take you more than 10-15 minutes to assemble,
and another 10 minutes to make the topping while the pie is baking.

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Making the topping will give your hands a workout...
it's the finger-equivalent of doing about 500 sit-ups. 
After cutting cold butter into small pieces, 
you'll need to work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
You could always assign this task to a child, who will think it is great fun...
as long as they washy-washy first. 

After the pie bakes for 30 minutes, 
take it out, spread the crumb mixture over it, 
and bake it for about another 25 - 30 minutes.
I had to cover the crust with aluminum foil for the second part, 
because it started to get brown.
That may be because my crust was a little too thin.

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It smells SO good when it's baking...
but you'll have to be patient, since it needs to sit at least 2 hours 
before you dive in. 

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Cranberry Apple Pie - great dessert for #Thanksgiving - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I hope you add this to your Thanksgiving menu...
it's a winner...
it's a pinner...
and just right for after dinner.  

I'll stop now. 

Aren't you glad you don't live with me?  ;) 


You may also like:

Mini Pumpkin Pecan Cups
Nutella Pumpkin Pie

Cranberry (Awesome)sauce
Linking with:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece and the Shopping Debate

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

How do you feel about shopping on Thanksgiving?

I just read in my local paper that two malls near me are going to be open 
on Thanksgiving Day, for the first time. 

 I like to shop with the best of them, and if competitive shopping was a sport,
I'd be on the varsity team, for sure. 
But I have my limits. 

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Now, I'm not judging.
I know that for some people, working on a holiday 
means badly needed extra income, 
  or for those who don't have plans for Thanksgiving, 
the mall provides a place to go. 
I get it that stores offer deals which make otherwise unaffordable items, affordable (but why can't they just wait till the next day???), 
and for some families, burning off calories at the mall together, 
is no less quality time than a game of Monopoly. 

Hey, whatever plucks your turkey.

It's just not my thing.

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


For me...and I'm just talking about ME here...
the "centerpiece" of Thanksgiving is spending time with my family around the table, and for once, not rushing to go anywhere. 

Most days of the year, we are racing through dinner for one reason or another...
homework demands, tennis practice, classes, etc.
This is one night of the year that I don't want to be choking down my turkey and cranberry sauce, to go and fight for a parking space at the mall.

Thanks, but no.

I guess it just makes me a tad sad that Thanksgiving
is becoming more and more about the "cuh-ching..." 
and brawling over sale items, rather than fighting over who gets the turkey wings.
 And, I feel bad for the people who have to work, that don't want to.  

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
  
Sorry, I didn't mean to get my turkey feathers all in a twist here. 
This post is supposed to be about a Thanksgiving centerpiece,
and so it shall be.

(OMG - this is too funny...Sadie was just barking her head off like a mad dog, 
and when I looked out the window to see why,
a parade of turkeys had just crossed the street.
Too bad I didn't have my camera handy!)

Back to the subject at hand...

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
  
You know how I like to do things the easy way.
As much as I admire all of the elaborate decor seen all over the web,
I just don't have the ability or the patience.

For this centerpiece, I started with a bamboo table runner, 
and a tray.

I placed three battery-operated candles in a rustic wooden box 
in the center of the tray,
and loosely wrapped some burlap trim around the candles.
Now you know why I opted for battery-operated...
as much I like a "wow" factor, setting my table top on fire 
is not the direction I'd like to go in, 
although it would be an excuse to buy a new dining room table. 
Hmmmm.

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Gourds, pumpkins, pine cones, and faux fruit were used to fill up the tray.
(Real fruit would have been even better if a certain Ms. Toody had gotten to the store in time).

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
 
I had a few pieces "spill out" onto the table, in a cornucopia-ish way.

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The nice thing is, it's low enough that people can see each other across the table, 
which I'm assuming you and your guests think is a good thing ;)

 And, if you need room for the turkey platter,
you can easily lift the tray off table, and put it back when you're done. 

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece - everything goes on a tray! - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Well, I think my work here is done.  
 I'm going shopping :)


You may also like:

Thanksgiving Lanterns - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Easy Thanksgiving Lanterns

Linking with:
Best of the Weekend
Bouquet of Talent
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Treasure Box Tuesday
Wake Up Wednesday
Home and Garden Thursday
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