Coffee with Kathie Lee and Hoda

It’s Thirsty Thursday!
Over the years I have enjoyed watching Kathie Lee Gifford on various morning television shows; first on Good Morning America, then on Regis and Kathie Lee, and currently, my personal favorite, on Kathie Lee and Hoda. In this venue, I enjoy my morning coffee with Ms. Gifford and Ms. Kotb. It’s a ritual. I’m sad to see the delightful and entertaining Ms. Gifford leave the show, but I understand.
In the time that I have watched Ms. Gifford on TV, in front of my eyes she became wed to Frank Gifford, welcomed two beautiful children and nailed motherhood all while continuing to create and move forward in her career. At no time in her personal accomplishments did Ms. Gifford consider moving out to pasture, but rather she has always moved forward to greener pastures, meaning that throughout her life Ms. Gifford has continued to reinvent herself and I admire her for that. She is a role model for all women.
One of the qualities I appreciate most about Ms. Gifford is her ability to rely on her faith as reinforcement. When the going gets tough, Ms. Gifford goes inward to examine how her faith can carry her through and when the journey is over, she emerges with an even deeper spiritual recognition that guides her path. I believe this practice is the basis for each of her successful transformations.
Ms. Gifford never settles for just enough. She digs deep, which is proven by her book, The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi, My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began, and her upcoming movie with Craig Ferguson, Love Me to Death, to name just a few of her many successful undertakings, and I’m sure there are more projects in the pipeline.  Also, I watched teary eyed the personal segment Ms. Gifford shared of her and Frank’s visit to Israel.  Their love and sincerity toward each other and to the Holy Land spoke volumes.                                                                                                        How wonderful it is that Ms. Gifford continues to evolve! She is a beacon of hope and proof that with the right mixture of faith, love, and energy we can be timeless.                Ms. Gifford smiles through her tears, makes us laugh, inspires us, and enriches us. She takes life’s ups and downs and funnels them into Graces. So, I feel it is safe to not say good-bye Kathie Lee Gifford, but rather see you again soon….and Thank You!

Peace and Love,
India

A Cup of Whimsy

There is something about the coming of March that carries a touch of whimsy.  The air becomes a bit balmy.  The days grow longer and the early evening slant of light create a  fairy-like hue across the end of the day.  I confess I find it a wonderful time to gaze out of the window, sip a delicious cup of coffee and reminisce.  In this atmosphere, my thoughts carry me back to Ireland and the places and experiences that warmed my heart. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner I thought it would be a grand time to share a route to visit, a treat to eat, and an elixir to enjoy.

If you want to experience the magic of Ireland, The Ring of Kerry will not disappoint you.  The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometre-long circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. Clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin – passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh – before returning to Killarney via the N72.  An enchanting loop!

It was at a café at the foot of the Ring of Kerry that I experienced the most savory cup of Irish Coffee and here is the recipe for you to enjoy:

Irish Coffee:
Ingredients
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 jigger Irish whiskey (1 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons)
Heavy cream, slightly whipped

Fill a footed mug with hot water to preheat it, then empty. Pour piping hot coffee into warmed glass until it is about just passed half full. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Blend in Irish whiskey. Top with a collar of the whipped heavy cream by pouring gently over the back of a spoon. Serve hot.

No doubt along the route you will hit a bakery.  Step in and savor the aroma of Irish Soda Bread baking in the oven.  Order a slice.  It will come splattered with hot butter.  You won’t leave the shop without buying a loaf, and surely you will want to make it at home.

INGREDIENTS
• 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 Tbsp butter
• 1 cup caraway seeds
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1 Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda: Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
2 Work the butter into the flour, caraway seeds and raisins: Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the currants or raisins.
3 Make a well, mix in buttermilk, egg: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
4 Lightly knead dough and form dough mound: Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Do not over-knead!
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, similar to biscuit.
5 Score with a cross: Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased baking sheet.
Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in a cross. Brush the top of the bread with melted butter.
6 Bake: Transfer to oven and bake at 425°F until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes.
Check by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
7 Let cool a few minutes: Remove pan or sheet from oven, let bread sit for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool briefly.
Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm and just baked.

Life is a journey.  It should be traveled far and wide.  It should be filled with people, places and experiences that keep us enriched long after the journey ends.

As we journey into a new season enjoy and…..March on!

India

 

 

You’re the Cream in My Coffee

 

I love February.  Although it’s a month in deep winter, February carries the hope that spring may be just around the corner.  February also carries the hope that love springs eternal, and who can resist such hope?

You’re the Cream in My Coffee is an oldie but goodie song published in 1928, and if you are a music guru you will know that it was sung by a myriad of talents, but the best rendition, I think, is by Nat King Cole.  It was also the theme song for the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries in 2000, proving that the lyrics have staying power, and are a true tribute to unconditional love assuring “You’ll always be my necessity, I’d be lost without you.”

So how are you planning to celebrate love come this February 14th?  Chocolates, roses, a romantic dinner, possibly becoming engaged?  How about perking up the tried and true traditional expressions of love by adding coffee to the repertoire?  Here are a few recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Red Velvet Latte: 1 cup of whole milk, 1 tbsp. sugar, 3 oz. semi sweet chocolate chunks, 1/4 tsp red food coloring, 1/4 tsp Amaretto Liquor, 1/2 cup brewed coffee.  Place milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer until sugar dissolves, stir in chocolate until melted, stir in food color, coffee, and amaretto.  Serve warm.

Sweet Mocha Latte: Fresh brewed espresso – decaf or regular, 1.8 oz. whole milk,1 teaspoon of semi-sweet cocoa powder, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream.  Heat the milk, mix in the coca powder and stir, place 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass and pour the hot, chocolate over the ice cream, place 1 tbsp. of whipped cream on top, serve.

Café Angelina: This is my own variation of the luscious hot chocolate served at Angelina’s Café in Paris.  2 cups hot frothed milk, you can do this in the microwave.  First shake whole milk in a jar, then microwave it for 5 seconds, easy!  1 small brick of semi-sweet chocolate. fresh brewed coffee.  Place the brick of chocolate in a mug, pour in the hot frothed milk, pour in 1/2 cup of fresh brewed coffee.  Enjoy!

Get together with your loved one, set the atmosphere and brew up a cup of warm, savory love.  You won’t be sorry.

Embark on a sacred journey of the heart.

Peace and Love,

India