Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"The Dog Pound" is Dog Heaven in Carmel, CA

The city of Carmel, CA is known for being particularly dog friendly and it's just a 2 hour drive from our place in Larkspur. It's not uncommon to see merchants with bowls of water out for the pooches, and they even have a fountain dedicated for dogs to drink out of. We went this past weekend, and it was hard to walk a block without someone stopping to pet Holly or ask how old she was. Shop owners were quick with a treat or an invitation to come into their shop with dogs in tow.

One restaurant, "Forge in the Forest" even has a dedicated patio just for patrons with dogs. It's called the "Dog Pound," and they serve every dog a free bowl of water and bones. They also have a specialty menu where you can order a treat just for your pet. Holly LOVED her chicken entree. Although it was chicken breast, she didn't seem to have any complaints about it being dry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lovely Pieces Design

My sister-in-law is a really talented graphic designer who lives in Brooklyn. She recently started designing her own line of hand made letterpress note cards, tote bags and other good featuring the designs she's made.

I was blown away by the sophistication of her designs. I received this tote bag as a birthday gift and can't wait until Christmas. Ashley - keep on designing girl! I need some new t-shirts, wall art, and sofa pillows!

If you're interested in checking her out, she's got her own blog at and she's just getting her own store up and running on etsy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alcoa Wrap

Ever heard of this one?

What about now? See the lower left of the photo. Somewhere along the line, Alcoa Wrap had a re-brand.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marshmallow Madness

I had the Dumbo cake for my birthday one year, and I LOVED the marshmallow elephants on the cake. I've never been a fan of marshmallows by themselves, but with Eagle Brand populating the recipe file, I never had to worry. If your pastel colored sweetened condensed milk dessert wasn't sweet enough, just add marshmallows. Like a Jell-O mold with canned fruit added to it, marshmallows don't do much for added flavor - but they do give recipes some err......added texture.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hunky Football Players Sell Iced Tea

When I think of football player endorsements, I think of shoes. Or sports drinks. Iced tea? Not so much. I had to look up who Don Meredith was, but apparently the folks at Lipton thought he'd be great at convincing the ladies that Iced Tea was not just a drink for summertime.

I love how the ad takes the hard sell. As if the idea of drinking Iced Tea year round was blasphemy. I also love how they've got him enjoying his iced tea in two different settings. One outdoors, and one indoors in a room with wood paneling and a ping pong table. Steamy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pudding in a Cloud

Seeing this reminded me of one of my favorite dessert treats when I was a kid. Pudding in a cloud. Simply put: chocolate pudding on top of a pile of Cool Whip. I love how the ad shows instructions on how to make it, as if it was really hard. I also love how they refer to it as a heavenly new idea. Seems like pudding and whipped cream were around before that, but maybe the real breakthrough was in the ratio of cream to pudding. Mmmmm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cooky Sheets

I started this post by trying to think of snarky ways to poke fun at the mis-spelling of "cookie sheet" but then did a search online and discovered that the joke is on me. Apparently "cooky" is another word for "cookie" and in 1963, Betty Crocker published a "Cooky Book." Who knew?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back by popular demand: Technicolor desserts

Ok, Ok. A few of you wrote and told me how much you were enjoying the "retro recipes" series so I dug through what I brought back from my dad's and found enough fodder for a few more posts. After that though, sad to say, it's truly done - at least until my next trip home. I haven't gone through my mom's old cookbooks......yet!

Today I bring you..."Technicolor desserts!" It seems pastels were popular back in the 70s and 80s (or my mom just really loved chiffon pies).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tater Tots for Dessert?

To close out the series on old recipes from my mom's files, I present to you: The TaterO's Recipe book. I can understand the recipes that add cheese sauce or even gravy to the mix, but I can't wrap my head around the dessert version - which has you dunking your tater tots into a dipping sauce made of pumpkin pie spice flavored whipped cream. Still, you have to give them props for creativity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pepperoni and mac & cheese "pizza"

Another fun one from the "old recipe" files at my dad's house. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese topped by pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese. I bet kids would love it, even though I don't think any amount of doctoring could make me love boxed mac and cheese anymore.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wickham Farms and the Jumping Pillow

When I was back in Rochester, I took my niece and nephew to Wickham Farms to play on their jumping pillow. The kids had a blast, as you can see in this video. I wish I had that much energy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A clam I am

I love steamed clams and bought some cherrystones last week. They're typically fairly large and are often used for clam chowder. Check out the size of this guy. It was almost the size of my palm!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Egg Crisis (one of my first published works)

Back in 1986, the Webster School district published an annual book as part of the Community Arts Festival. I don't remember how stories and poems were selected for this book, but the content was written by students from the local elementary schools.

While cleaning out my dad's house I found the book and while flipping through, stumbled upon a story that I apparently wrote. It goes a little something like this:

The Egg Crisis
by Lori Helms

It was a warm sunny day on the Herped Farm in Iowa. Molly was bored. She was restless too. She decided she would go out back. She stopped dead in her tracks.

There standing right smack in front of her were fifty chickens! The head chicken looked her straight in the eye and said, "We are going on strike." She looked pretty serious. "One more thing," she added. "I thought you should know why we are going on strike." "We are going on strike because we feel that we are not getting enough corn." Several chickens shouted out, "All right Georgia, that's telling her."

For two years the strike went on. Everyone in America was craving eggs. A chicken named Carmella layed an egg. A millionaire wanted it so much he paid $9,465,302. People kept begging the chickens to lay eggs, but they wouldn't lay.

Finally, Molly's father had to agree with the chickens. He told them the next day. There was great rejoicing from the chickens. They were so happy it was heard 95 miles away.

From then on everyone was happy. The chickens were happy because they got their corn and Americans were happy because they got their eggs.


I guess my knack for business runs deep - though maybe I should have majored in labor relations :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Which would you rather have?

I guess you CAN have your cake and eat it too - though this ad isn't terribly scientific about how big a slice of cheesecake you get for 235 calories. I especially love how the cheesecake is 5 calories LESS than the cottage cheese. I bet the lawyers would have required an asterisk and small print if they tried to re-run this ad today :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fresher tasting chemicals.

Sick of stale tasting Cool Whip? Try the new chemicals. Yummy. (BTW - I still use Cool Whip for recipes every now and then, so I'm not knocking it. I'm just calling a spade a spade).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jell-O Molds - definitely your mother's party food

A lot of the recipes in my mom's recipe folder used Cool Whip, Jell-O or cream cheese as core ingredients. I like Jell-O every now and then - but when I saw this picture, I had to draw the line. I guess as times have changed, so has my appetite for a Jell-O mold - even one with chicken salad served in the middle. Plus - is the canned fruit cocktail inside really THAT tasty?
Then again, a retro recipe party could be kind of fun. Especially with pastel beauties like the ones below. Who needs cupcakes and macaroons when you can serve something called the "Green Angel?"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tuna and cream of mushroom soup "Chinese" casserole

Ok. I defy you to find a Chinese dish like this in Beijing or anywhere else in China. Were they serious? Canned tuna? Cream of Mushroom Soup? Oh, but wait! They use cashew nuts. Now it's authentic :-)

Then I ran across this Japanese ad. Somehow I don't think it would pass muster today on the "politically correct front."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Retro Recipes

I've been busy this week cleaning out my dad's house, which is no small feat. He's been in the house for 42 years and was a pack rat of sorts (he washed and re-used microwave dinner trays and used coffee can lids for coasters, for example). I counted 16 lids at one point. Plus, how many coffee pots can one man own? Answer: 6. How many of those coffee pots actually work? Answer: 2.
Although most of the stuff I'm sifting through is quite boring, I found my mom's old recipe folders today. I had a blast scanning through them and thought I'd share them with you over the next few posts.
Recipe idea #1: Adding chopped hot dogs to chicken broth. Although I'd never think to add hot dogs to soup, the marketers at Lipton thought that would be a tasty treat. You can't fault them for trying to give their readers new ideas - even if they're loaded with sodium and nitrates. Mmmm :-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

8,763 Steps

I got a new pedometer recently and put it in my pocket this morning. After getting home from the city, I realized I was 1237 steps short of my daily quota. Guess I should take Holly on another walk!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

French Macarons at Miette

In Belgium I fell in love with French Macarons. They're totally different from the coconut and sweetened condensed milk versions that are popular here, and more than one source has said they're the next "cupcake," meaning the craze will soon spread.

I couldn't help but purchase a few from Miette in the Ferry Plaza building, even though I'm planning on making some of my own on Monday using a recipe from my mother-in-law. What can I say...I needed to refresh my memory on how a French macaron should taste.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tasty Salted Pig Parts

I took the ferry into the city today and wandered around the shops in the Ferry Building. My favorite sign of the day was this one.

I didn't try the meats, but they looked like the sign said they would.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The flamingo contest results are in...

A few weeks ago we announced a flamingo decorating contest at work. Participation was optional, but we had a good turnout, with over 12 teams. Even though not everybody participated, visitors and employees alike enjoyed looking at the flock that formed in our lobby. Although there were many strong entries, a few designs bubbled to the top.

Team "Transmingo" won the most creative category when they turned their pink bird into a yellow one and wired it up like a transformer.

Team "King of the Flock" won the funniest category when they made a Michael Jackson inspired flamingo complete with a glittering glove and a surgical mask. Even without the music that went with it this one was a crowd pleaser.

And for Star Wars fans, team "AT-AF" was a standout with their "All Terrain" Attack Flamingo.

Alice in Wonderland fans will appreciate the entry below. Overall it was a fun event that generated a lot of laughs and some great team spirit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Birthday cake flavored milk

Would you expect anything less from Wegmans? I love the blue milk mustache it leaves behind :-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Miniature Golf with my brother's kids

When visiting Rochester last week, I took my neice and nephew miniature golfing. We had a blast, even if my niece somehow managed to lose 3 separate balls in the process. Accuracy is not her strong suit just yet - but she is only six.

They're both real hams. It used to be that I could get them to do a real smile. Now it's all show, but I'll take what I can get