Tag Archives: Sugar

missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread: The Perfect Start to the Day!

A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014
A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug has a love of all things nutty and apricoty. When the two are in combination she’s twice as happy. If you find yourself occasionally craving some carbs, try this sweet little tea bread on for size. missjunebug thinks you’ll find it fits your appetite perfectly!

missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread  

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons Canola oil

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

4 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 cup chopped dried aprictos

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan (9x5x3inch or two mini loaf pans). Measure all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and chopped fruit and nuts. Mix well with hand mixer or Kitchen Aid, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes depending upon the idiosyncrasies of your oven! Check the doneness of the loaf with a toothpick–it should come out clean when inserted in center. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert pan and remove loaf. It should come out easily!

Serve warm, cold, or toasted. Slice thin and smear with butter or cream cheese or apricot Stilton cheese spread!! Divine!

mjbTip: Make some tea bread today! It’s super easy and super delicious!

Little White Hen Looks on  Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014
Little White Hen Looks on Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014

 

 

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Welcome October!

missjunebug loves fall in SoCali!  The fall of blazing orange pumpkins, cool, crisp weather (almost here!), clear dark-sky nights (rain by Thanksgiving), sweater warmth (cashmere, please!), and plenty of practice baking going on so that missjunebug can be ready for pie duty on Thanksgiving day. So how has missjunebug been preparing herself for all that’s fall?

First, she headed to her fave pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark and picked some perfect pumpkins for her porch! (Whew! So alliterative!) Take a look:

A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013
A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013

 

Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013
Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013

 

Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013
Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013

 

missjunebug worked up a serious appetite and decided it was time to make one of her fave cookie recipes: Monster Cookies! So appropriate for the Halloween month of October. Are they scary? Not really. Just big and fun and delicious. The secret: No flour! Just some healthy oats, some (maybe not so healthy) sugars, peanut butter and voilà! Monster Cookies! Easy to make. Easy to eat. Easy to freeze for later!

Here’s are the recipes for a ton o’ cookies (the first one) and a half ton o’ cookies (the second one):

missjunebug’s Not-So-Scary Monster Cookies

Full Recipe

1 dozen eggs

2 lbs brown sugar

4 cups granulated sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 T. Karo syrup

8 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 lb. butter

3 lbs. peanut butter

18 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats

1 lb. M&Ms

12 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat the room temperature butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugars, vanilla, syrup, and baking soda. Add the eggs and beat in a few at a time. Next, blend in the peanut butter until the mixture is thick and semi-gooey! Throw in the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips and you are good to go. Scoop a large size cookie onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes, depending upon how crispy you want the cookie to be. missjunebug likes hers super crispy, but it’s up to your taste!

Remember what missjunebug says: “De gustibus non est disputandum!” There’s no accounting for taste (so each to his/her own!)

Too many cookies? Yeah, this Full Recipe makes about 12-14 dozen depending upon the individual size of the cookie. That’s a lot o’ cookies!!!

Try this instead:

Half Recipe

6 eggs

1 lb. brown sugar (= 2 cups)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 T. vanilla

1 T. Karo syrup

4 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb. butter

1 1/2 lbs. peanut butter

9 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 lb. M&Ms

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw in a bowl and beat the heck out of the ingredients. (Not really. Just read above Full Recipe for how to combine the ingredients!)

These cookies should be stored in an airtight tin or container. You can also Ziploc them into freezer bags and save some for later!

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013

 

Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013
Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013

 

Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013
Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013

 

mjbTip: Go out and have some fall fun! Welcome October indeed!

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Four-Hour Body: Easiest Eating Plan Ever!

So it’s that time of year when missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB begin to think about improving their health, slimming down a bit, and getting fit! The January resolutions didn’t quite pan out and the pre-Easter makeover didn’t quite make it, so now summer looms in the June gloom and they are both ready to turn over a new (stevia-sweetened) leaf.

As mentioned in an earlier post, missjunebug and her fab fam have been reading the Tim Ferriss books all of which riff on the number four: Four-Hour Work Week, Four-Hour Body, Four-Hour Chef. They are fun x 4 to read and they guarantee full body, brain, and brawn overhaul with minimum expenditure of effort and maximum pay off. Tim even encourages his readers to learn a foreign language along the way to their “new you” status! missjunebug is pretty sure with Tim Ferriss as a guide, anything is possible!

Which brings missjunebug back to the Easiest Eating Plan Ever: Four-Hour Body. Five Simple Rules. These are reproduced straight from missjunebug’s copy of Tim’s awesome book Four-Hour Body. Some of these succinct rules will sound very, very familiar to you as they appear on most sensible eating plans these days. Others not so much.

English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest p...
English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest pinto bean from ARS and university plant scientists. It resists a host of harmful fungi and viruses that can otherwise cheat growers of a bountiful harvest. Photo by Scott Bauer.http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you are just picking new default meals.

Rule #3 Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night are allowed.

Rule #4 Don’t eat fruit. Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5 Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.

What could be simpler? missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB have had no trouble staying on this plan because it is so super simple: protein, bean, green. That’s pretty much it!! Oh and did she mention how super boring it is! Life without carbohydrates is drab indeed, but when Sunday rolls around–their “go nuts” day, life is good indeed!

Today, for instance, missjunebug and Mr.JB had a marvy brekkie at Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura–(search for mjb’s review of this great eatery!) Waffles! Syrup! Milk! (and a strip of bacon or two and an egg or two for good protein measure.) Let the carbohydrates roll!! Of course, they can only roll until tomorrow when it’s back to six days of protein, bean, green! missjunebug suspects there is a modicum of discipline required in staying on this plan, but honestly she thinks it’s easy because you can never overeat protein, bean, green. It simply can’t be done!

So if you are feeling a little sluggish and in need of some slimming, say good-bye to sugar and take the Four-Hour Body Five-Rule Challenge! Summer looms just past the June gloom!

 

 


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Mini Cheery Cherry Pies

Miniature Pie, Maximum Flavor! Photo by missjunebug 2013

missjunebug woke up this morning and got a cheery, cherry idea. She had one, lone roll-up Pillsbury pie crust in her frig, and thought she better use it or lose it to the rapidly approaching expiry date. After a quick pantry forage, she found a can of that blissfully sweet Cherry Pie Filling to help her seal the deal on this Semi Delicious, Mega-Not Healthy breakfast idea.

She grabbed a pint glass–perfect round mini pie crust cutter–and managed to form eight tiny crusts, the perfect size for muffin tins. She carefully placed them in the tins and spooned in a generous dollop of cherry filling into each Mini Cheery Cherry pie-to-be. With the leftovers she cut a few lattice top strips (as easy as pie to do!) and placed them over the cherry filling in a not quite perfect woven top crust. missjunebug might even call the top crust “rustic”–that word covers over many imperfections without losing any flavor!

missjunebug popped those precious mini pies in a hot 425° oven and baked them until they were golden brown and bubbly, about 2o or so minutes. After a quick sprinkle of granulated sugar over the top–(also helpful in covering over any rustic crust imperfections!), she popped them out of muffin tins and placed them on plates for breakfast for her and her dear MrJB who was happy to help taste test her Mini Cheery Cherry Pie experiment.

What a fun way to start the day: A cold glass of 1% milk (missjunebug is, of course, always watching her calories!) and a Mini Cheery Cherry Pie…or two. Double delicious! The next time you find yourself with a lone roll-out pie crust, turn it into the mini pies of your choice! Super easy to make. Super delicious to eat.

missjunebug will think about eating Mega-Healthy tomorrow.

MiniPie in a Muffin Tin: Oh. Pie. Yes. Photo by mjb2013
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missjunebug’s Holiday Bars

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)

Ingredients

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
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My oh my missjunebug LOVES pie!

Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...
Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pumpkin_Pie.jpg Scrumptious and good for you! Pumpkin pie is loaded with a healthful phytonutrient called beta-carotene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug got back into the country from the Land Down Under just in time to start baking pies for Thanksgiving! She’s sticking with the traditional tried and true Libby’s Pumpkin Pie and Karo Syrup Pecan Pie. You can’t go wrong with the classics! She throws in a Harvest Pie for good measure that provides a mouthwatering mouthful of Granny Smith apples and Ocean Spray cranberries. She’ll share that recipe as soon as she makes her trip to the market to gather the necessary ingredients…absolutely the hardest part of the whole process!

Speaking of desserts, please God don’t let Hostess go out of business! That’s just wrong! Life without the occasional Twinkie or handful of Donettes–powdered sugared or chocolate iced–is not worth living!

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...
English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake with cream filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

missjunebug wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving! It is far and away the best holiday of the year. The focus of Thanksgiving remains where it should: on friends, family, feasting, and fun. What more could a holiday merrymaker ask for except maybe another slice of pie, please! My oh my missjunebug loves pie!

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Ode to Candy Corn

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's cand...
English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's candy corn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White pointy head

Orange body quadrilateral

Yellow Gumby feet

Bite the base first,

Then the body.

Save the tippy tip

for last: a light, bright,

sugary sweet tiny bite.

“Made with Real Honey”

offers the perfect pretext

to eat first one

then another

and another to 19 for

a less than 150

calorie

treat!

missjunebug wants to assure you that her love of Brach’s Candy Corn–yes it has to be Brach’s–is unleashed only once a year on the First Day of Fall, give or take a day or two for just a few weeks. This seasonal favorite recalls all the best of autumn days giving way to the spooky nights of October and culminating in carved pumpkins and costumed revelry.  missjunebug encourages you to think about your seasonal favs and to join her in her seasonal cheer: “All for Fall!”

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missjunebug’s Find of the Week: Carrara Pastries in Moorpark, CA

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

Buon Appetito!!!

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missjunebug’s New Flav Fave: TJ’s Non-Pareils

missjunebug loves her TJ's Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils So Much, She Gave Them a Rose Bouquet!

missjunebug does not take the word nonpareil lightly. Non-pareil means “having no equal” and “unrivaled.” Pretty strong words to live up to. But that’s exactly what Trader Joe’s 73% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils are: nonpareil.

Two ingredients, endless deliciousness. The chocolate is super dark, super smooth and chocolately and the white sprinkles will remind you of all the (inferior) nonpareils you scarfed down as a kid. These TJ nonpareils leave the ones of missjunebug’s youth in the dustbin of history, to borrow a phrase from Dubya.

Walk, no run to your local Trader Joe’s and buy a bunch of these candies. Especially if you’ve already managed to eat your way through your Valentine’s Day candy from yesterday. Come one, you know you have. And you’ve got to love the marketing brilliance of measuring out Belgium Dark Chocolate in such precise percentages. missjunebug for sure would pass on 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils. Who wouldn’t? You gotta have 73%!

Thanks, Trader Joe’s, for another great product. missjunebug thinks that 3 of these gems for 110 calories is a bargain even Weight Watchers would approve. Satisfaction guaranteed!

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missjunebug’s Homage to Valentine’s Day or How to Fall Back in Love with Your Sweetie Pie

 

One from the Heart! Happy Valentine's Day from missjunebug!

missjunebug has decided to write her missive about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day Eve. Pourquoi? (the requisite bon mot of French for V-Day) you may ask?

Because tomorrow missjunebug will be way, way, way too busy scarfing down See’s Candies Strawberry Creams and swilling Frexinet Champagne in that sexy-chic and sleek black bottle and swirling her new Jennifer Miller Jewelry faux (another Français bon mot!!!) diamond-size seven-yellow gold bracelet around her wrist that she ordered for Mr.JB to give her (natch!), to be bothered with anything wordpressy and tedious.

missjunebug has mixed feelings about V-Day what with all the commercial hoop-la, Lifetime cry-fest movies, and rom-coms littering the airwaves, streaming bands of Netflix, and guilty pleasure-rented iPad movies. (missjunebugTip: Skip Blue Valentine with Gosling and Williams: triple downer on steroids, but an excellent film–save it for a dark and stormy winter’s night. But if you do choose to watch it –even though the title alone should scare you off–have Jane Eyre (2011) or Pride & Prejudice (any version will do) or Downton Abbey Season One waiting in the wings for an emotional uplift because you are going to need it after BV).

missjunebug’s bottom Valentine line is it’s all about LOVE.

So how do we fall back into LOVE if our Sweetie Pies (MrJB for mjb) have been with us for 30+ years??? missjunebug has done thousands and thousands of loads of laundry, washing the Jockey t-shirts and underwear (eww: skid marks!) of her SP about a kagillion times, fixed countless sometimes-inspired meals, (sometimes not), made the bed every morning (or at least her half of the bed, because mjb must admit, her SP makes his half–thanks Mr.JB), planned social outings because somehow that task falls to her most of the time, and even set the queue for their streaming evening entertainment (no more WWII movies puhleeze, Mr.JB; missjunebug is currently partial to French subtitled rom-coms, a cut above the American ones–except for any American-made rom-com with her guilty crush AplusK. (sigh). Sorry Demi, you did the one thing that can’t be allowed a woman in Hollywood married to a (much) younger man: you got old. missjunebug so does not envy you this V-Day.

But missjunebug digresses. How to get the LOVE back into a mature marriage? That is the V-Day question. And here are missjunebug’s super practical, maybe no-fail mjbTips to help you just do it. After all, LOVE is a verb, an action, (mjb’s Master’s in English pays off big time) and that will make all the difference.

1. Say a prayer every night thanking God for your man. missjunebug has a dear friend who recently lost hers and believe mjb when she says that is NO picnic. Her dear friend is shouldering on, but the thing is, she no longer has a solid, manly man shoulder to lean on. Think about that the next time you start mentally nagging your SP. At least he is THERE to listen to your nagging if you have the temerity to vocalize it. mjb advice: Stifle the nagging. It is a guaranteed marriage and romance buzzkill. Don’t ever, ever go there. A) It doesn’t work. B) It’s rude as well as unkind and (mostly) unwarranted. and C) It doesn’t work. You’re a smart cookie. Figure out a way to politely cajole or do the damn thing yourself that has to get done…remember LOVE is also a verb, not just a noun. Okay, so say that prayer of gratitude to soften you naggy attitude. You won’t regret it, and God and your help-meet with appreciate it. Guaranteed.

2. Be happy to plan the social outings. You know all your girlfriends are having to do the same thing, too, so have some fun with it and double date or triple date. mjb has two dear friends + hubs that she and her Mr.JB celebrate New Year’s Eve with every year. No better place to be than in one of their homes, drinking champagne (or martinis–triple olives, please), and popping Poppers when the clock strikes twelve and poor old Dick Clark gets rolled out again on his taxidermy stand to wish us all a Happy New Year‘s. Fun times x 6!!! So bust out that calendar, email, text, tweet, or call your married friends or solid single friends–don’t invite problems with unattached women you can’t trust–because our silver fox men are looking better and wealthier every year! True dat. And make some fun plans to do something, anything that shakes up the routine a bit. A movie, a dinner and a movie, a museum date, a local play, a music experience, a quick stroll around the outlet malls (okay, maybe not so quick), a walk along the beach or in your own neighborhood! Many, many fun things to do if  you’re willing to make the initial move. Just do it!

3. Praise your husband to your children. You loved ’em and nurtured ’em unconditionally, but your SP taught them how to be wonderful men and women. ElderJB and TinyJB don’t spend much time referencing what they learned from their mom missjunebug, but you can bet Mr.JB gets mentioned repeatedly in sentences that begin: I remember Dad said… I remember Dad did this.. I remember everything I every learned from Dad and just now I’m beginning to appreciate his profound wisdom as a man, husband, father, friend, breadwinner, spiritual leader, and all round great and ethical human being. So say ElderJB and TinyJB. So says missjunebug. So say we all.

4. Keep buying you SP’s wardrobe and sending those shirts to the cleaners-you know you’ll never get around to ironing all of them so don’t kid yourself! Keep your man well-clothed and encourage the occasional haircut, eyebrow trim, and nose and ear ream-out. Speaking of ream-outs. Get him in for his colonoscopy asap if he hasn’t had one yet! This kind of maintenance is absolutely essential for a full and fun second half of life. And throw in a physical with a good internist while you are at it. Encourage good grooming and exercise to maintain your SP in tip-top shape. Who benefits? He does, of course. But so do you!

5. Feed you man according to the Michael Pollan/Mark Bittman plan. Food does matter so “eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” And throw in a little red wine for good measure. One of mjb and Mr.JB’s faves? Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon featured on a previous mjb blog post! But choose his fave and you can’t go wrong. Cheers!

Are there other tips? Keep things interesting in the bedroom. A little lovely lacey and racey lingerie never hurt (missjunebug must try this herself sometime!). Surprise him every once in a while with an interesting story, an amusing anecdote, or just a line or two from the newspaper you can quote to him. Have both of you listen to NPR together in the morning as you prepare for your day…lots of good stories to talk and debate about that are always in the news. Listen to Marketplace.org for some fun and scary facts about our economy! Our local NPR station KCLU 88.3 has the best local coverage, too, for Ventura County so you get triple benefit with news, weather, and traffic reports. This year Mr.JB and mjb donated some funds and received excellent seats to see Yo Yo Ma, master cellist, up in Santa Barbara in April. What a great cause to support and what a great gift in return! Thanks KCLU and program director Mary Olsen. Sweet x 88.3.

Other mjbTips? Just love him up before he leaves the house with a big hug and love him up with a big hug when he comes home. It’s rough out there, and our SPs are not getting any younger, better maybe, but not younger. Somehow what they’re up against, is younger, faster, hipper, and much more technologically expert, so fortify them with hugs infused with LOVE and encouragement.

Are you back in love with your SP yet? No? Okay, then think of all the reasons you married him in the first place, and yeah, you picked him!! That’s a really good thing to remember!

Is he sweet? funny? kind? adventurous? smart? capable? loving? spiritual? giving? cute? handsome? (lucky you! But missjunebug will take intelligence over looks any day of the week and twice on Sundays! just mjb’s pref.) or all of the above? (even luckier you!). In other words, remember why you fell in love with him and want to be in love with him again. It’s all still there, you just have to take the time to discover it again.

And remember what Rhianna wisely sings, “I found love in a hopeless place…I found love in a hope-less place.”

You can too! Now go give your man a big Valentine’s Eve hug and an even bigger one tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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A Few of missjunebug’s Favorite Things

English: Christmas cookies in Czech republic. ...
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.”

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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missjunebug’s Homemade Kettle Corn Keeps Snacks Simple and Delicious!

Thanks for the help, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2010
Thanks for the help, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug with the help of her steadfast Mr.JB performed a culinary experiment recently that was a resounding success: Homemade Kettle Corn. Simple. Sweet. Savory. and Capital Dee Licious!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup Orville Redenbacher ‘s Original Gourmet Popping Corn

1/4 cup peanut oil or canola oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

Directions

1. Place oil in stove-top style popcorn popper with hand crank (for best results) or use a heavy saucepan with a secure lid. Heat oil over medium high heat.

2. Add popcorn kernels. When the oil just starts to sizzle, pour in sugar on top of the popcorn, cover, and keep turning the hand crank or shaking the pan while the popcorn begins to pop.

3. Continue to crank or shake until the popping slows or stops, around 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle on the salt to taste.

mjbTip: Use a wood spoon to remove the popcorn. It’s a little tricky to remove from the pan because it’s a little stuck together, but persevere! It’s worth it!

The kettle corn keeps well in a large glass container for easy, delicious, and low calorie snacking (35-40 calories per cup). Popcorn is a high fiber, whole grain that you just can’t go wrong snacking on!

Kettle Corn Up Close! See the Sugary Sheen? Photo by mjb2010
Kettle Corn Up Close! See the Sugary Sheen? Photo by mjb2010
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missjunebug’s Not Quite Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Delicious x 10!
Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Delicious x 10!

One of the great benefits of closet clean-out is finding cool stuff long since forgotten. missjunebug had that very thing happen recently. What she found was a notebook of Pleistocene-era recipes she used to make on a pretty regular basis. If you ever need a sweet treat that’s easy to make and fun to eat, missjunebug encourages you to try this recipe.

missjunebug’s Not Quite Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy

Ingredients

12 oz. Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 cup Jif Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)

1 cup butter softened to room temperature

4 cups C & H Powdered Sugar

9 whole Honey Maid Graham Crackers (rolled into crumbs in a Zip-Loc bag)

Directions

1. Melt the chocolate chips in mixing bowl over a saucepan of water on medium heat. Set aside.

2. Mix together the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and the graham cracker crumbs.

3. Combine until no dry ingredients remain. Press by hand into a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ glass pan.

4. Spread the melted chocolate chips over the pressed mixture using an off-set spatula.

5. Before refrigerating, cut into small squares. These are good to go when the chocolate is completely set.

missjunebug finds these so rich you’ll only need one small square to satisfy! Unless you are Mr.JB, of course.

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missjunebug’s JBGranny’s Sponge Cake

Sweet! Simple! Sensational! Photo by mjb2010
Sweet! Simple! Sensational! Photo by mjb2010

What could be simpler than this delicious JBGranny’s Sponge Cake recipe? Follow the pictures to get one of your own to snack on! All you need is 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, 4 eggs, separated, and the rind of one lemon!

Separate those four eggs! Beat the egg whites to soft peaks! Photo by mjb2010
Separate those four eggs! Beat the egg whites to soft peaks! Photo by mjb2010
Gently fold in the flour to the beaten egg yolks and sugar. Photo by mjb2010
Gently fold in the flour to the beaten egg yolks and sugar. Photo by mjb2010
Fold in the egg whites with care! Photo by mjb2010
Fold in the egg whites with care! Photo by mjb2010
Add the grated lemon rind to the mixture. Photo by mjb2010
Add the grated lemon rind to the mixture. Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! Photo by mjb2010
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missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars: Semi-Healthy, Mega Delicious!

A Plateful of Goodness: missjunebug's Homemade Breakfast Bars!! Photo by mjb2010
A Plateful of Goodness: missjunebug's Homemade Breakfast Bars!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug has been comfort cooking lately and one of her fav comfort foods is a little breakfast treat called missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars which she adapted from a recipe given to her by one of her best students at the community college where she taught a long day ago.

missjunebug can’t say enough good things about these treats: grainy, sweet, easy to make and oh so easy to eat! Without further ado, missjunebug introduces you to

missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (mjbTip: store in frig to keep fresh!)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

1/4 cup Kretschmer Wheat Germ (Also store in frig after opening!)

1 1/2 cups jam of your choice (mjbFavs: boisenberry, raspberry, red plum, and blackberry)

Directions

Cream butter and sugar until well blended in your Kitchen-Aid mixer…you have one, don’t you? Mix in remaining ingredients except for the jam.

Press down well 1/2 the mixture into a buttered-down 13″ X 9″ glass baking dish. Spread jam evenly over the top using an offset spatula for smooth and even distribution of the jam.

Top with remaining crumble mixture, pressing lightly.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until light brown. While warm, cut into bars, 2″ X 1 1/2.” As they cool, they will set up nicely.

Enjoy for breakfast with a big glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee. Delicious!! You’ll never need to buy Nutri-Grain bars again…no offense NG.

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