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.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best of 2014: Top Five Dessert Recipes


Are you ready for a recap of dessert awesomeness?

Presenting...
Ms. Toody's most-viewed dessert posts of 2014!

I was a little surprised when I looked back at the last year,
to find I'd written 22 dessert recipes.
(And I wondered why I gained five pounds this year).
Sheesh. 
I think 2015 will be the year of the salad post. 

*********** 
As 2014 comes to a close, I want to take a minute to thank all of you for reading, commenting, following, pinning, sharing, tweeting and any other "ing" thing I've forgotten.
I am so grateful for each and every time that you stop by.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes - One of my top five dessert recipes of 2014

Best-Ever Chocolate Cupcakes

Chcolate Cupcakes: The. Best. Ever. - One of my top five dessert recipes of 2014

Lemon Cupcakes


Lemon Cupcakes - One of my top five dessert recipes of 2014


Nutella Black and White Mousse Pie


Nutella Black and White Mousse Pie -One of my top five dessert recipes of 2014


Died and Went To Heaven Chocolate Bundt Cake


Died and Went to Heaven Chocolate Bundt Cake - One of my top five dessert recipes of 2014


Linking with:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

4-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

Anyone feeling a little overwhelmed this week?  

Yes, 'tis the season to be busy...
when most of us are in a tizzy.

Maybe I can help to ease your load a bit.

No, I can't do the rest of your holiday shopping, 
but I can suggest a super-easy-yum-ilicous dessert that you can 
prepare during a commercial break of your favorite tv show.

Seriously.
This recipe for Nutella Brownies is one of the easiest 
bake-from-scratch desserts I've ever made. 

And...they are dee-LISH! 

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

So just how fast can you whip them up?  

Faster than you can deck the halls with boughs of holly. 

Faster than you can make a dreidel out of clay. 

Faster than you can don your gay apparel.   

A batch of these will take no more time to make than a box of brownie mix.  
I'm talking 5-minutes fast. 
Wham BAM!   

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

I needed to make a quick and easy dessert recently, 
and this one practically jumped off my Pinterest board 
(Nutella has that affect on me).
 I pinned the recipe almost a year ago from A Cup Of Jo,
when Heather Green of Garland of Grace wrote a guest post about them. 

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella
  
OK, I know time is at a premium, so let's get to it. 
All you need is Nutella, eggs, flour, and walnuts, if you want to use them.
I made half a batch without, since Mr. Goo Shoes doesn't like nuts in his food.
The recipe makes 12 regular-size brownie muffins, or 18-20 minis. 
  
Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

There is only one way to screw these up, and that's to over-bake them.
(Yeah, I did that the first time I made them). 
So my advice is to test them at 8 minutes, and then check again every minute. 
Mine were done at 9 minutes. 
When you test with a toothpick, it should come out gooey. 
Remember, they'll continue to bake a little in the muffin tins 
after they come out of the oven. 

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

If you are looking for a way to raise your domestic goddess status, 
bake them just before you are ready to serve them.
They'll be ooey and gooey, and warm...
and the kitchen will smell fantastic.
Your guests will be so impressed that you have the 
wherewithal to bake in their presence.
(Just don't have too many martinis beforehand,
or you will not have said wherewithal).
Prepare the batter and fill the muffin tins; refrigerate; 
and take them out about an hour before you serve dessert, 
so they come to room temperature.
Bake, and let cool for just a short while, and serve them while they are still warm.


Sit back, and wait to be showered with lavish praise. 

Nutella Brownies - Only 4 ingredients! Easiest bake-from-scratch recipe I've made...They take less than 5 minutes to prepare :) Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #Nutella

There's no excuse not to bake from scratch with a recipe as easy as this one.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why I Love Not Decorating For Hanukkah

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Have you ever seen a house decorated to the nines for Hanukkah?

I have not, and IMHO, it cannot be done.

I've tried wrapping blue and silver garland around the bannister...
and hanging a big, tinsel Jewish star on the door.

It just doesn't cut it, my friends.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Maybe  it has something to do with the colors. 
When the meeting was held to decide holiday colors,
Hanukkah got the short end of the rainbow, 
with cool blues and silvers, 
as opposed to Christmas' warm reds and greens.
This creates a decorating dilemma for me, 
since blue and silver don't get along with the other colors in my home.
So...I have to confine my Hanukkah blues to a small area.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I'd like to be able to add some natural elements in my decor,
that would reflect the miracle of Hanukkah, but there are no boughs of holly, no evergreen trees, and no red berries.
The closest we come to "natural" is with food, lol.
But unlike gingerbread houses and candy canes,
latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts don't lend themselves to decorating
(as if there'd by any leftovers, hah!).
So, what then, deck the halls with loaves of challah?
Chah-lah-lah-lah-LAH-lah-lah-lah-LAH!

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I'm not really a fan of Hanukkah bushes.
They don't hold a candle -- or should I say, eight candles -- to a Christmas tree.
To me, no matter how many dreidels and Jewish stars you hang on them,
they still look like a Christmas tree in Chanukah clothing. 
I couldn't resist, however, hanging a few dreidels on my winter branches 
just for laughs...
and Mr. Goo Shoes did laugh when he saw it.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Although many people start decorating for Christmas right after Thanksgiving,
it doesn't begin to look a lot like Hanukkah around here until just a few days before.
We are usually rummaging through the closets looking for the menorahs...

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

and, where the heck are those Hanukkah candles that I bought on sale last year?

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Now lest you think I am asking for I pity party,
let me assure you I am not.
I'm not complaining, just explaining.

I LOVE not decorating for Hanukkah!

To me, getting ready for the Festival of Lights means 
pulling a few treasured items out of storage...

Like the menorahs Junior Goo Shoes made when he was little, 
and the menorah house we bought him years ago.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I love that my grandparents, whom I never knew, lit the same menorah 
that now sits on my counter.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This menorah, so special to us because we bought it in Israel two years ago, 
is on display year-round...


Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes 
And, anyone who comes to my house has to hear why this 2,000-year-old broken pottery is sitting next to it, even if I've told them the story ten times before.


Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We set aside one night to have a family Hanukkah party,
and Aunt Goo Shoes whips up enough latkes to serve Judah Macabee's entire army.

Our dog, Sadie, recognizes the blessing over the candles,
and when we sing it, she goes CRAZY, because she knows
IT'S TIME FOR PRESENTS!
I think I'll record her antics this year. 

When Junior Goo Shoes was born, we were given this dreidel as a gift...
(oy, I should have polished it!)


This one, I bought at TJ Maxx a couple of weeks ago.

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

So although my house isn't decorated from head to toe,
the Hanukkah candles create a warm glow.
Only sentimental items are on display,
and the best part is -- not much to put away!

OMG, I did not just write that poem, did I? 
OY VAY!

Hanukkah Decor - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Wishing those who celebrate a very Happy Hanukkah!

Linking with:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Teenagers 101


I was not compensated for this post, other than receiving a complimentary copy 
of the book Teenagers 101, in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Did you have a teacher who really made a difference in your life?

I am convinced that my high school Social Studies teacher,
Mr. L., had a significant impact on my career path, 
and ultimately my entire life. 

Really.

I just didn't know it at the time.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up,
so when it was time to apply to colleges,
my guidance counselors, being of cookie-cutter mentality,
 recommended the same mediocre schools to everyone.
 For some reason, Mr. L. took me under his wing,
and even met with my parents, 
to strongly recommend that I apply to some more challenging colleges.

I did...and I got accepted to all of them,
opting to go to Rutgers.
When it was time to declare my Major, I chose the least of all evils,
with my thought process going something like this...

Math? Too dull.
Science? Too hard.
English? Too impractical.
Spanish? Muy unexciting. 
Communications? Too...

Wait a minute...that means studying about television?
Well, ok, I love tv...

Sign me up for that Major!

If it wasn't for Mr. L., the kind of teacher who went the extra mile, 
I would not have ended up at a college that had a School of Communications, 
which ultimately set me on the path to a LONG and satisfying career in television. 

Thank you, Mr. L.
I wish I knew how to contact you to tell you in person.


Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

After reading Teenagers 101: What a Top Teacher Wishes You Knew 
About Helping Your Kid Succeed, 
I strongly suspect that author Rebecca Deurlein
 is one of those teachers who dons her running shoes on a regular basis, 
in order to go that extra mile for her students. 
After all, she starts her book by saying she loves teenagers.
That alone earns my sincere awe and admiration! 

Ms. Deurlein has been a high school teacher for 17 years, 
having taught thousand of kids, from all socio-economic backgrounds, 
all races and cultures, of all abilities...and coming from parents 
with all kinds of philosophies and beliefs.
 Your kid? She's worked with kids like that. 

After all, as a teacher, she gets to see how our kids do their work, how they interact with their peers, and how they handle a myriad of situations. 
She's got eyes and ears on the ground, in an environment that we aren't privy to...
unless of course, we have shape-shifting abilities, 
and can morph ourselves into that proverbial fly on the wall.
 Oh, what I wouldn't give!

Teenagers 101 is a handbook that gives parents guidance on many different academic topics that cause us ongoing angst.
 The chapter titled "Too Old To Run To Mom and Dad" deals with knowing when parents should get involved, and when they should step back.
Although it feels great to be needed, and even better to help our kids, 

there are times we should simply back off,
and let them figure things our for themselves.

"...We do not relinquish our parental responsibilities when our children become teenagers; we merely wean our growing children of their dependency on us."


Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

  Take, for example, the text Jr. Goo Shoes sent me today, 
while he was at school.

"I ran out of money in my lunch account. Can you bring a check to school?"

"No, I can't. You'll have to figure something out."

 When he got home, I asked how he managed for lunch.

He said he borrowed money from a friend, and was able to buy a sandwich...

 "...but no drink and no snack, so I was walking around 
all day with a flaming buffalo-chicken mouth.

You can't make this stuff up.

Another chapter deals with how to get teens to accept responsibility, 
like not putting the blame on someone else...

"But, mom, I swear the teacher tricked us and put stuff on the test 
that she didn't even teach yet..."

...and another on whether parents should still be involved in homework 
and extra-curriculars. I gravitated instantly to the section titled  
"It Drives Me Crazy That They Check Every Single Grade I Get."
Uh, guilty, your honor.
And when I read that many online grading systems allow teachers 
to see how many times parents have checked grades...I freaked!

That could be embarrassing. 
 
I vowed right then and there to look at the gradebook 
only a couple of times a week from now on...
starting right after I check just this last time today. 

The author covers other topics, such as how to get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, understanding the value of Advance Placement classes, 
and whether college is the right choice for your child.
And...if your kid wants to know why he can't wear shorts and a t-shirt 
to Uncle Bob's wedding, you'll enjoy the chapter on  
"Making Sure Kids Know That The Way They Look and Sound Matters," 
whether it's how they dress, how they "look" on social media, 
or how they address adults.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

  This parenting of teenagers is pretty complicated stuff. 
Fortunately, there are books out there like Teenagers 101 to help educate us on how to find the right balance between being there just enough...
but not too much...for our on-their-way-to-adulthood-teenagers.

"For all of these years, you've been poking and prodding your children along. Then they get to high school, and people tell you to back off, to let them fail, and to force them to face the consequences of their decisions. Nothing is easy about that transition. But you have to hang in there, adjust your stance, find the balance and then hold it, the whole time breathing deeply through the effort and the strain. If you can do that, you'll come out stronger.
 
OK, I'm breathing. 
I just hope I don't hyperventilate before senior year.



You may also like: 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Holly, Jolly Tour of New York City, The Rockettes, and Shopping


New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

 What's the first thing you think of when it comes to the holidays in New York City?

The Thanksgiving Day Parade?
The tree at Rockefeller Center?
The Radio City Christmas show? 
The New Year's Eve ball in Times Square?

To me, the holidays in New York City generally bring to mind 
too many people on the sidewalks...and traffic! 

Bah Humbug!

Don't get me wrong, the holidays in New York City are magical,
but I like to admire everything early, before it gets too crazy.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Groupon ad for discounted tickets 
to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and I thought it would be fun to go.
I don't remember ever going before, 
but my sister said my parents took us when we were kids. 
 I asked her if she wanted to go with me...
actually, I had to bribe her...she wasn't that interested.

"Kinky Boots, Book of Mormon, Motown...ok, but the Rockettes??? 
No thanks, I'm planning on being nauseous that night."

"Tickets are on me."

"Naaah, I don't think so." 

"Sushi at Haru?"

"OK, I'm in."

I headed into the city early to meet a friend/former co-worker for lunch, 
and then, had a few hours to kill, so I walked around, enjoying the sights, 
pretending to be a tourist, and taking lots of pictures, to share with you.

The first stop is Bryant Park on 6th Ave and 42nd Street.
Bryant Park is fabulous no matter what the season,
and it's particularly festive in winter. 
The pop-up holiday shops offer lots of unique items...

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes
  
 ...But the ice skating rink takes center stage. 
Remember what this area looks like in summer?

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

Watching all of these ice-skaters is making me want to burn off some energy.
I think I'll go shopping. 
It's legitimate exercise...I call it "interval shopping:"
clothing, shoes, clothing, jewelry, clothing.
See what I mean? 

Lord and Taylor's is close by...and IMHO, they do the best holiday decorations 
of all the department stores.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes


New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

Plus...they're having a huge sale :)

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes 
Before I know it, it's almost time for the Rockettes.

"Where are you?"

"I'm in Lord and Taylor...I just found this incredible leather jacket 
and it's on-sale on-sale on-sale, and 50% off that.'

"I'll meet you at Radio City. Hurry!"

"Wait...I'm texting you the jacket - do you like it?"


I  bought it, by the way :)


In order to get to Radio City on time, I have to race up 5th Avenue...

stopping to take a picture of Saks Fifth Avenue along the way (that's St. Patrick's Cathedral to it's left)...

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

and the tree at Rockefeller Center still in its scaffolding.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

 But I make it with time to spare.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes
 
 The last time I was in the lobby was when we had our company Christmas party here (cough-cough) years ago.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

Time to turn off our cell phones. I wait for them to make a "no photos" announcement, but they don't, so I snap away.


New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes
 
No talking during the show.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes


New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

House lights on, and we're out.

The show was entertaining...and there were some really enjoyable parts. 
It was very, very wholesome and sugary-sweet...
so much so that I'm craving something salty, now.
No low-sodium soy sauce for my sushi tonight... 
I need it full strength.

Some of the best holiday decorations in the city are right across from Radio City...

Like this giant string of bulbs in front of the McGraw Hill Building...

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes 
And these Super-sized Christmas ornaments outside the Exxon building.

New York City  is magical during the holidays! Ms Toody Goo Shoes

 I hope you enjoyed touring around New York City with me...

If only we could do it for real.

Linking With: