Posted by missjunebug on March 31, 2013
Food Hall Plaza Hotel NYC Easter Bunny, Hunny! Photo by mjb2013
missjunebug wishes you a Happy Easter! Happy Spring! Happy Life!
May the E.B. be good to you and bring you lots of velvety chocolate rabbits (eat the ears first) and daffodil-yellow peeps (these keep forever!) in your Easter basket. Dye eggs! Hide eggs! Find eggs! Make deviled eggs! (Check out missjunebug’s fab recipe on this very website!)
Eat brunch! Drink champagne! Feast on glazed ham and roasted asparagus! Embrace family and friends and pets! Enjoy the delights of this earthly life!
The beauty of the season and her tiny place on the planet inspired missjunebug to wax poetic and spiritual, a little rhyme-y, but a little serious, too!
For your consideration:
In Not Of
Hearts look above,
Hands work below.
A sun rises, sets;
Shed red regrets.
Hearts look within,
Hands pray to mend
What can’t be mended.
In not of
God’s Son Rises
Wrapped in love.
Hearts look above,
Hands work below,
Souls stir, then know.
Posted by missjunebug on February 27, 2013
Cookie Magic! Photo by mjb2013
Every once in a while missjunebug comes across a product that is absolut! blog worthy. Like Consumer Reports, she receives no special consideration or payment for her endorsement. missjunebug is an ad-free zone! She shares this information for the sheer joy of hoping others will enjoy the product as joyfully as she has enjoyed it! Too many joys?? Not in this case! Speculoos is a taste bud-altering experience, unlike any missjunebug has ever had. Imagine delicious cookies, mildly spicey shortbread cookies. Imagine those cookies smashed to bits. Imagine those smashed bits being spun into a creamy, silky, buttery, sweet, caramel-ly spread. Imagine dipping a spoon into said spread and slathering it on, what else? another cookie! Ahhhh. Spectacular Speculoos! If no other cookies are available just enjoy straight off the spoon.
Your taste buds will be forever grateful as missjunebug is to ElderJB for introducing the junebug family to Speculoos during the Christmas holidays. He wends his way through Brussels, Belgium on his trip from Rwanda to the Hacienda in SoCali and always does a little airport shopping. While missjunebug appreciates the awesome Belgium chocolates ElderJB lavishes upon the junebug fam, she’s just wild about the new find: Speculoos! Thanks, ElderJB for this smashed-up cookie spread madness!
If you are not traveling to Brussels in the near future you can track down Trader Joe’s version of Speculoos descriptively named Speculoos Cookie Butter. missjunebug doubts it is as good as Lotus Original Speculoos but it might run a close second, and it is available a lot closer to home! Sadly, missjunebug will probably have to settle for TJ’s version because her jar of LOS is profoundly empty.
Alas...the jar is empty! Photo by mjb2013
Posted by missjunebug on December 19, 2012
Holiday Still Life! Photo by mjb2012
No, this is not a post about the best place to imbibe alcohol during the holidays! missjunebug wants to share with you her recipe for fruity and nutty Holiday Bars. If you never got into fruitcake but enjoy dates, raisins, and walnuts, this holiday cookie is for you. Mega Delicious and Semi Healthy describes this bar perfectly. Easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to take to any party or cookie exchange, and very, very easy to eat!
missjunebug’s Holiday Bars
(adapted from an ancient but beloved cookbook entitled Cookery for Entertaining)
1 (8-oz.) package Sun Date California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup raisins, Trader Joe’s golden or SunMaid regular or a mix of both kinds
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar, divided
1 stick butter (1/4 lb.), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, organic
2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons orange juice
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets (or use Silpat liners or parchment paper); set aside. Stir together in a large bowl dates, raisins, walnuts, orange peel, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until the fruit is well coated; set aside. In a separate bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer (best choice!) cream butter and the remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk together in a small separate bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Then add this flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the dates, raisins, and walnuts mixture and stir until blended. The dough will be stiff.
Divide dough into four equal portions and shape two logs (12″ x 2″ x 1/2″) on each prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until slightly brown. The logs will feel soft but they will firm as they cool. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut diagonally into 3/4″ bars. Dust with powdered sugar. These freeze well in Zip-loc freezer bags or cookie tins. Makes approximately 64 delicious bars!
After you make these, you can head to your fav holiday bar and celebrate! Cheers!
Don't these look yum x tum! Photo by mjb2012
Posted by missjunebug on July 28, 2012
A Carrara Pastries Croissant with an Italian Twist! Photo by mjb2012
missjunebug had some not so fun medical procedures this week that compromised her diet considerably. The first one (a PET/CT scan) cancelled all carbs and caffeine from her diet for more than a day. Arg. She quickly entered the sad realm of Headache City and no amount of protein or vegetable matter could make up for that profound lack of sweetness and starch and caffeination. missjunebug needs her caffeine and carbs!!!!
The next day she was back to a normal diet for 24 hours, then she had to go all clear liquids for 24 more hours to prepare for a lower GI series performed by a hospital radiologist that assured her the procedure would go by quickly. This, of course, is a matter of perspective. missjunebug’s perspective was no quite so sanguine.
Ever had a baby? Now imagine that baby is traveling down that other canal. Arg x 10. TMI no doubt but to get back to the restricted diet, the interesting thing she realized was that it was tons easier to go all liquids because the beverages she drank had…wait for it…wait for it…caffeine and carbs! She rounded out her intake with some beef broth and chicken broth and those 24 hours just flew by. Clearly (pun intended!!!) missjunebug could never be a big fan of Atkins. But this is all prologue.
What missjunebug really wants to talk about is what she did to catch up on her carbs once the medical procedures were in her rear view (pun intended!!!). She headed over to that lovely, sleepy bedroom community of Moorpark, CA to scoop up some of the best Italian croissants on the planet at the recently opened Carrara Pastries.
This beauty of a bakery is full of delightful Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes, but missjunebug’s two favs are their light-as-air croissant, lightly glazed and their lightly powdered sugar croissant plumped up with the most luxurious and luscious Chantilly cream you have ever tasted. You can see the croissant in the photo above practically floating above missjunebug’s plate! That’s thanks to the meticulous execution of authentic Italian recipes by pastry chef Massimiliano Carrara, a native from the city of Lucca (Tuscany). To borrow a Brit word, he’s brilliant!
This pasticceria featuring homemade Italian desserts will not disappoint. You can find it right across the street from another Italian fav of missjunebug’s, Cafe Firenze. The next time you get a carb craving, check out Carrara Pastries at 476 West Los Angeles Ave, Unit A-13 in Moorpark or their delicious website at www.carrarapastries.com.
If you want more that one or two croissants be sure to get there early, around 9 or so, because these pastry perfections go fast! Or call 805-552-4250 the day before and let the pastry chefs know how many you’d like. Sadly, missjunebug had to learn this the hard way arriving one morning at 11 am, about two hours too late to enjoy authentic Italian croissants! Is there anything sadder than an empty display case where fresh croissants should be, but aren’t? missjunebug doesn’t think so!
Even their packaging is golden perfection. Just take a look!
Pretty Packaging Pleases missjunebug! Photo by mjb2012
Posted by missjunebug on March 14, 2012
The other day missjunebug had a few pieces of art work to pick up from her fave framer in Ventura: Gonzalez Framing. They’re located on 4160 Market St. #4 Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 477-0749. She’s had many, many pieces framed here and has never been disappointed in their work. They are perfectionists, and they use the best materials to protect and to enhance special art pieces.
Here’s one she recently had framed. Won’t it look great in her newly painted kitchen? Oh. my. yes.
What a great framing job for missjunebug's chickens! Thanks Gonzalez Framing!
So what does this have to do with Cow Cookies? Well, right after missjunebug picked up her awesomely framed art works, she realized it was time for a little lunch. Right around the corner (practically) from Gonzalez Framing is Royal Bakery & Cafe. This little gem of a lunch spot is located at 4726 Telephone Rd. Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 658-6030. They have a wonderful menu including soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, pizza, desserts, and coffee. What more could you ask for on a cafe menu? missjunebug had the divine Tuna Pesto Melt on French bread. Such a delicious mix of tuna, red onion, celery, and pesto, topped with melted cheddar and toasted to perfection. She suspects all the menu items are equally delightful to the taste buds.
Which does finally bring her to the Cow Cookies. These big and tender iced gems are shaped like dairy cows each marked with its own pattern of cow spots. Cute! Clever! Fun! and Delicious! She took six of them home with her in a congenial little box.
Check out two of her Cow Cookies and then check out Royal Bakery & Cafe a.s.a.p. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you rustle up some Cow Cookies to take home with you!
Cow Cookies Rule! Photo by mjb2012
Each Cow Cookie has its own unique design! Photo by mjb2012
A nifty box for Cow Cookie transport! Photo by mjb2012
Posted by missjunebug on December 17, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
missjunebug is not much of a fan of that Julie Andrews song from the treacly Sound of Music--was that really Best Picture??–my! how tastes have changed. Anyway she still likes the idea behind the song: enumerating favorite things can be fun and useful. So here are a few of missjunebug’s current favorite things this time of year:
The Somis Nut House–the most awesome place to buy holiday candy, fruit, and nuts in Ventura County, SoCal. Located in an unassuming building reminiscent of a big shed, you’ll find an array of candy favorites vintage and new as well as nuts amped up with spices, sugars, and smoke. She even found a spicy little mix called Samurai whose name speaks for itself! There are the usual sweet suspects: cherry sours, licorice, a virtual gummy zoo of shapes, malted milk balls on steroids, English toffee that’s pricey but so worth it, and many other chocolatey and foil-wrapped Christmas favs. And nuts and dried fruits galore. Mr.JB’s fav? Dried Kiwi fruit! Pale green disks of sugary sweet fruity goodness that look perfect as the centerpiece of a Christmas gift box. Where is this delightful house of delicacies? 4475 East Los Angeles Avenue Somis, CA 93066-9616 Call them at (805) 386-1211 or check out their website at www.somisnuthouse.com. You and your sweet tooth will be thanking Somis Nut House (and missjunebug) the rest of the holiday season!
Pandora Radio set to Christmas Jazz. If you are a little tired of Jingle Bells barked by dogs or the Vienna Boys Choir somber Latinate songs of the season or the mellifluous but slightly depressing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” crooned by various old school musical masters like Bing and Tony or updated by Michael B. then try the instrumental and upbeat Christmas Jazz stream playing right now on Pandora. missjunebug recommends it as the best possible music to decorate a Christmas tree or bake cookies to. For a slightly edgier mix try setting your Pandora to Mannheim Steamroller. That will definitely get your Christmas groove on.
Spritz Cookies! What would Christmas be without these little pressed wonders so sparkly and buttery! missjunebug knows you remember she already gave you the recipe for those cookies in a previous blog post. If you don’t believe her just search her very accommodating site for it under Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes! And make some! If you can’t find the time to do that and you still crave sugar cookies, try to make it to Royal Bakery in Ventura for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that are so worth the drive! Green trees! Red stockings! Black and white cows! Okay, so the cow cookies are not particularly seasonal, but they are delicious!
A fresh-cut Christmas Tree from the Men of the Elks Lodge or other such helping organization! These dedicated white-haired gentlemen provide funding for so many worthy charitable enterprises in local communities, you’ll feel practically holy buying a tree from them! And the piney fragrance is worth every penny! So bite the bullet, dole out the cash, and inhale the green freshness of that very noble Nobel Fir!
A Kiva Gift Card to help support small business entrepreneurs throughout the world. This is the quintessential gift that keeps on giving. As soon as the global entrepreneur pays back the loan, guess what? You can re-lend it again! And again! missjunebug has helped finance a Kenyan moto man so that he could buy some new tires for his burgeoning motorcycle taxi transportation service, a Rwandan woman who needed to procure beauty products for her salon, and another Rwandan woman supplying her clothing business with some fresh fashions! It’s never been more interesting to provide a hand up, not a hand out! Check out this super worthy enterprise at www.kiva.com!
Now missjunebug has an important question for you: What are your favorite things of the season? Shopping? Eating? Watching Christmasy movies–(actually, missjunebug should have included this one, too). Figure it out! Get busy doing them! And do as Julia says,”I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”
Posted by missjunebug on March 18, 2011
Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug recently updated her reliable old standard recipe for Quiche Lorraine and made it a tiny bit healthier by cutting back on the bacon and adding spinach and a little goat cheese.
Here’s her recipe re-do:
missjunebug’s Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche
Read the recipe through for the list of all the ingredients.
Homemade crust or Pillsbury Pie Crust (just unroll and you’re ready to go!)
1 cup Half and Half
1 cup whipping cream
1 T. flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Whisk up the above ingredients and set aside while you assemble the quiche savory components.
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 chopped onion
1 T. olive oil
Cook baby spinach in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until cooked down. Drain vigorously using paper towels–wrap and squeeze out the liquid, then chop.
Heat olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven. Toss in the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add the drained, chopped spinach and combine with onion. Saute together a minute or two, just long enough to blend flavors.
Now prepare these ingredients:
6 pieces bacon, fried until crisp (missjunebug loves Farmer John’s) and crumbled
1 1/2 cups Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, grated
2-3 T. goat cheese, cut up into tiny pieces
Place pie crust in 9″ or 10″ pie plate. missjunebug prefers ceramic ones, but glass or metal will do just fine, too.
Sprinkle in a layer of grated Swiss cheese, then a layer of crumbled bacon. Repeat until you use up all the Swiss cheese and bacon. In one layer, place the spinach/onion saute on top of the cheese/bacon layers. Finish off with the tiny pieces of goat cheese. This part is a little messy since the goat cheese is a soft cheese, but do the best you can.
Pour the custard mixture evenly over the ingredients in the pie plate. Bake on the lowest rack in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until quiche is golden brown on top and firm in the center.
Cut into generous slices and serve with a fruit salad of cut up Gala apples, mandarin orange segments, and raspberries! Delicious!
Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
Posted by missjunebug on March 17, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
missjunebug wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day today. She had a fine time eating her corned beef and cabbage lunch at the local hospital where she volunteers. The St. Patty’s Day Lunch Special was delicious!
Since everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, missjunebug would like to leave you with this little Irish Blessing that she learned when TinyJB attended Notre Dame, the home of the Fighting Irish:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Posted by missjunebug on February 1, 2011
missjunebug appreciates Oprah and her almost-over-forever show, some shows more than others. Today was a some-more-than-others day! Michael Pollan of Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. fame shared his views about coming to terms with our meat-crazy culture, and Lisa Ling gave viewers an unprecedented, up close and grisly look into a Cargill “Meat Solutions” plant. Both gave missjunebug pause.
Michael P. and Lisa L.’s comments encourage food consciousness in Americans who are oblivious and hearty meat eaters, quick to opt for fast food, an industry that helps drive the slaughter of billions of animals a year. Neither recommends going vegan necessarily, leaving that to the personal decision of the viewer, but each sees value in knowing the truth and answering honestly Where’s the beef? It’s in the Temple Grandin tunnel about to get a four-inch bolt to the brain! That’s where.
missjunebug, for one, appreciates being reminded where her hamburger comes from. It’s easy to forget when she’s just grabbing a tidy, plastic-wrapped disk of frozen bright pink meat out of her local market’s freezer. She’s been going meatless several meals a week and Mr.JB, svelte and getting svelter is fine with the idea, too. What she doesn’t get is why people want to eat pretend meat products made of soy protein isolates instead that just aren’t that good for you! Ms. Freston of Veganist fame had no hesitation in recommending these suspicious replacements for meat. Tofurkey?? No thurk you!
And that’s enough to get missjunebug thinking about a few things. Why not try to cook up some plant-based meals instead of making the knee-jerk selection of the product that resembles meat just because it resembles meat. Break free a few days a week and dig into whole grains, beans, legumes, veggies, and fruits! The possiblities are endless. Here’s just one recipe missjunebug cooked up for dinner tonight in less than 10 minutes!
missjunebug’s Tomato, Garbanzo, and Spinach Scramble Minus the Eggs
4 small tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 bag baby spinach
1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cooked brown rice
In a small skillet, drizzle in 1/2 T. olive oil. Heat gently. Add the quartered tomatoes, stir in the garbanzos. Add a shake or two of balsamic vinegar. Stir in the spinach and cook down to a nice juicy mix of flavors and colors. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice. Serves one. Yum.
missjunebug's Vegan Dinner! Photo by mjb2011
Today missjunebug was inspired by the Vegan Challenge and cooked up a little entree for dinner that fully qualified. She suggests you get inspired, too!
Posted by missjunebug on January 20, 2011
Here's the Vital Contact Info for Kringles Sent Straight to Your Home! Photo by mjb2011
If missjunebug hadn’t gone shopping for TinyJB in her last visit to the Midwest, she would still be blithely unaware of one of the most delicious breakfasts treats on the planet! Thank goodness TinyJB needed a few grocery items in his kitchen (except beer, of course! Plenty of that in the frig!).
She enjoyed her very first Kringle sitting around TinyJB’s breakfast table last fall, enjoying the company of TinyJB, his cute as a button friend Leslie from Michigan, and Mr.JB. What a great impromptu breakfast! Cherry Kringle: A flaky, flat oval with fab cherry filling topped with the most delicious icing. It’s like a squashed filled donut sans frying! Brilliant!!!! Those Midwesterners know what’s good to eat and drink. (For another post, another time missjunebug will delve into the wonders of the Milkwaukee Lakeside Brewery Beers! Skol!).
missjunebug needed more!! (Kringle, not Brewski)!!! But sadly the JBs had a plane to catch and a re-supply for take-home was not meant to be.
Enter the Awesome Ricks!!! For Christmas the JBboys and missjunebug and Mr.JB received Kringles for the holidays and beyond. missjunebug is now a member of the Kringle of the Month Club as mentioned in her post-Christmas post!!! (Thanks again, Awesome Ricks!!) What a lasting reminder of the holiday festivities that she can bust out on her breakfast table whatever morning she wishes! Deliciousness x 10!! And, yes, she tracks the calories (1/12 of the oval = 250) on My Daily Plate at www.livestrong.com and believe her when she ways it’s worth every single one of those pesky calories to enjoy the oval icing-slathered, fruit-filled or other-filled wonder Kringle!!!
Decidedly NOT Ashram approved, but missjunebug cannot live by steel-cut oats alone!
Here's the Cinnamon Kringle Close-up! Photo by mjb2011