Pint Sized Diva Update – Gab went for a follow up visit with her pediatrician this morning and we found out she has left sided pneumonia. Dr. prescribed lots of rest and antibiotics. She also said, that had this been detected yesterday she still would have been discharged. And the roller coaster ride continues. In the meantime I’m burning tea tree oil like crazy and wiping down all surfaces with an antibacterial.
While the girls were at the doctor’s office I was getting reacquainted with my oven. Even though I have that dreaded “feel like I’m coming down with something feeling”, I decided to whip up my Fried Cakes, since the dough had been resting in the fridge since Tuesday, and baked a chocolate cake for my daughter in Dallas. Her birthday is Monday and I decided to try my hand at mailing a cake. I’ve sent cookies before with no problem, however packing a shipping a cake is a bit trickier. I used my go-to Chocolate Pound Cake recipe that I’ve never had a problem with, until today. That bad boy clung to the pan for dear life. Now we have a severely misshapen, but very good Chocolate Pound Cake to eat. I wonder if the cake enhancer I’m so enamored with lately had anything to do with it. Oh well, cake mistakes aren’t always a lost cause. But, in light of Gabbi’s diagnosis I wouldn’t feel right shipping out any desserts. That means we have a whole platter of Fried Cakes and a torn up Chocolate Pound Cake to eat. Poor us!
The Fried Cakes came out pretty good. Next time I won’t use the nutmeg and less of the cinnamon. I prefer a lighter (in color) dough for my Fried Cakes. Don’t have the nerve just yet to try a yeast doughnut. Notice I said just yet. Another thing that I’ll play around with in the future is increasing the sugar. ½ cup of the sugar called for is reserved for a coating with cinnamon after the doughnuts have been fried. This recipe is from www.cooks.com, they have a version of almost every recipe known to mankind-womankind. So here we go, Fried Cakes anyone?
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 large egg
¼ cup butter, melted
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In small bowl, combine milk egg and melted butter. Stir in milk mixture into flour mixture, combine well. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least one hour. On well floured board with floured rolling pin, roll out dough to ½ inch thickness. Using 3 inch doughnut cutter with center in place, cut out doughnuts and holes. I started out with a 4 inch cutter and it was way too big. A 3 inch glass worked perfectly and I used a plastic cake dowel with approx 1 inch opening to cut the doughnut holes. In three quart sauce pan heat two inches of oil. Fry a few at a time, turning often until golden brown. Drain on brown paper. We’re not big fans of any type of doughnut that doesn’t have a glaze so I made the same glaze that I typically use for my pound cakes.
4 cups powdered sugar
2 TBS vanilla
3-4 TBS water (may need more)
Dunk each doughnut and hole in the glaze and place on a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet. Any glaze that drips off can be used if you need it. If you find yourself with an excess amount store in a airtight container in the fridge.
Me and CNN Pt 4
New York New York
Flying over New York I spotted the Statue of Liberty and felt a rush that almost left me in tears. Yeah, I’m a big cry-baby at times. La Guardia was so busy and I‘d never heard so many different dialects in my life. A very distinguished looking man in a black suit held a card bearing my name. After verifying, that I was his charge he secured my luggage then escorted me to the car. Feeling very rock star-ish, I rode through places I had only seen on TV. One after one we rolled through the boroughs, the Bronx, Queens and finally into Manhattan. Fifth Ave, Park Place; with each famous street we passed my eyes got bigger and bigger, I was like a kid in a candy shop. Wide-eyed and breathless with my face pressed against the window, I spied New Yorkers draped in furs and wearing Reeboks scurrying in and out of office buildings. Angry taxi drivers laid on their horns despite the posted signs warning of fines in violation of the noise ordinance. Temperatures hovered around the freezing point, yet the city was busy and alive. Manhattan could care less about the cold, life was moving on.
At the Michelangelo, the driver left me in the competent hands of the door attendant, who quickly whisked me in from the cold. Marble and velvet, graced the lobby, and the crystal chandelier sparkled with the brilliance of the Hope diamond. Old world opulence oozed from its pores. These accommodations would surely break my budget, thank you again CNN. Next on the agenda was meeting the rest of the participants at dinner. I still get excited when I remember that I was one of five chosen out of a field of thousands. What a blessing!
Dinner was a lavish spread, and the rest of the participants arrived with their producers, Miriam, my producer followed shortly. Even though his flight was delayed Dr. Gupta still had time to meet us and have dinner. It was our last big supper before the business of making over our lives began. On the advice of our producers, we made an early night of it. We had to meet in the hotel lobby a four a.m. (yikes!) for the walk to the Time Life building, then home of CNN New York. What a way to begin my birthday. I would celebrate with complete strangers, and in unfamiliar surroundings. I was overjoyed.
The nest morning, we lounged in the green room waiting our turn with the makeup artists. This was so cool; and between nervous glances at each other we all wore sheepish grins. In another area of the building, our hosts had laid out a sumptuous breakfast buffet. Pan after pan of all the delicacies that previously would have graced my table at home tempted me. Was this some sort of test, were hidden cameras waiting to pounce on us and reiterate how much of a change we needed? Pancakes, sausage, bacon, and potatoes, simultaneously winked at me. I settled for yogurt, fruit, and tea, and then returned to the green room with my resolve still intact.
The American Morning set proved not to be as nerve-racking, as I had imagined. Famous faces that once only peered at me through my television, now sat across from me, friendly faces I might add. Soledad O’Brien and Bill Hemmer put us at ease with their playful banter and easy questions. After numerous takes, our segment was as close to perfection as possible. We sat, precariously perched on the most unforgiving stools. Shifting for balance, and tugging at a too tight skirt while trying to appear graceful was a struggle. Three of us were on a quest to lose weight and get in shape. A nail biter, and a newlywed resolved to bone up on nutrition pre-pregnancy made up the rest of the cast. Aptly named the fab five by Dr. Gupta we were off and running.
Our itinerary for the day included a trip to the Chelsea Piers Sporting & Entertainment Complex. It sits on thirty acres, with six thousand square feet devoted to cardiovascular training, with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. Tucked away in a small classroom with a windowed wall to the hallway, we took a Yamuna body rolling class. Leigh Ann and I spent most of the time laughing. Again, I was trying to balance my hiney, fat chance, pun intended. The target this time was smaller than a basketball; too funny for words. An indoor volleyball pit complete with sand, flanked by a rock climbing wall, indoor track and basketball court were our choices of activities after the class. Harald, Leigh Ann, and I walked together. That walk was the beginning of our support system; we hit it off pretty well. The fitness instructor in me wanted to run, climb the wall, and spike the volleyball over the net, but the bad knees and heel spurs reminded me to take it slow.
My just turned fifty body managed to complete about three quarters of a mile before I was all in. Accepting the fact that I had had enough walking I plied my plump thighs into my fat lady, old lady, swimming suit for the aqua Pilates class. Brisk does not come close to describing the temperature of the water in the pool. Beneath the surface of the icy water, my plump thighs felt frozen solid, barely able to move. I did read somewhere that shivering burns calories, this had to be good for a few. Thankfully, it was a short class.
In an effort to put some science behind making and breaking habits, an expert from Vanderbilt University spoke with us before lunch. We were eating often, but we had the option of making good choices. The best part of the lunch was the low fat, low-calorie, chocolate birthday cake. Harald had celebrated his birthday a few days before so the cake was for both of us. After lunch, Sanjay and I talked about my personal goals, (I‘m on first name basis with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, coolness. When I returned to New York I planned to be twenty pounds lighter, there I said it. Now I had to deliver on my word.
Wanting to take in as much of the city as possible, I hit the streets after our return to the hotel. Napping was not an option; I will sleep when I am dead. Arriving in Manhattan the day before, the familiar landmarks were whispering to me, today Times Square shouted my name. Evening had delivered shades of indigo and ebony to the skyline. Neon signs and streetlights clamored for first place with the brightness from the stars. Rounding the corner onto Seventh Ave, a larger than life P. Diddy lured me to the end of the street. Between Diddy and I lay dozens of shops, delis, and theaters. With a few occasional dips inside to ward off the cold, I weaved in and out of most of them.
Tonight the rude and boisterous New Yorker so often portrayed in the media is but an urban legend. Steps quickened by the frigid temperatures propelled pedestrians into their own world, each tending to and minding their own business. Bundled up and starry eyed I kept pace with them, as I darted in an out of shops advertising t-shirts five for ten dollars. Hot dogs and pretzels from vendors on the corners sent aromas of summer wafting through the air. Tables piled high with scarves, and faux designer purses were tempting but would have to wait. This trek down Seventh Ave was for sightseeing only, shopping would have to wait. Ending my fiftieth birthday at the Marriott with my newfound friends was a near perfect finale. The revolving restaurant provided a panoramic view of the city and an occasional glimpse of some after dark escapades. Welcome to New York!