You Have to Buy a Beverage First, People!

free whipped topping

The added “with beverage purchase” rule cracks me up … because of course somebody asked or the free whipped topping WITHOUT a beverage purchase. I mean, free whipped topping would certainly liven up a trip to the service station when you’re paying $4 a gallon.

How Fido and My Husband Saved Me One Day

Thanks to husband John Pitts, I now have a new favorite coffee house — Fido, in Nashville’s hip Hillsboro Village. A couple of weeks ago I spent several days lurking around a Music City hospital while my dad recovered from cardiac arrest and got a defibrillator. Did you know that hospital coffee is very very bad? (Although everything else about this hospital was very very good, including the care and skill my dad received.) Anyway, please never even try drinking hospital coffee. Do. Not. Even. Try. Learn from my mistake. So after hearing me complain for days and days, husband JP took great pity on me and squired me around town one day for some refreshing non-hospital air and some Real Coffee. He said we’d been in Fido before with friends, and I do sort of vaguely remember that. But now I’ll never forget this fun and funky cafe that’s part of the ever-growing local Bonjo Java coffee company. Bonjo Java roasts and wholesales its own beans and owns some of the town’s most popular cafes/coffeehouses/restaurants, of which Fido is one. It’s open all day every day and has a full menu, which we need to go back and check out because all I had was a restorative and perfect espresso macchiato. But when you’re dealing with perfection, one is good enough.

But It Was Only A Dozen Cupcakes! Or, The Perfect Holiday Meal

I know that Christmas is over and we’re all enjoying a break from Forced Holiday Baking, but I can’t stop remembering all that great Christmas food — mainly because a lot of it’s still in our refrigerator. As we were talking over our first Christmas in our new house, my husband commented that all the meals were good except that on Christmas Eve afternoon, when we set up a buffet of holiday goodies, there simply was too much food. But I ask you: Is cheese (good cheese) and crackers and pistachio nuts and hummus and cheese straws and cocoa-ginger straws and toffee bites and Pepperidge Farms Ginger Man cookies and cupcakes and walnut-espresso brittle and white-chocolate/cranberry/pistachio bark and dark-chocolate/peppermint bark too much? Plus Chex mix. Plus the sugar cookies we made and decorated. Plus assorted pumpkin and cranberry breads. Plus a yummily delicious fudge pie with homemade sweetened vanilla whipped cream — although we had that for Christmas Eve-dinner dessert. On second thought, never mind. I think I know the answer my question. But it wasn’t all my fault. Everybody contributed: Younger Daughter brought the excellent cheese and made the whipped cream. Older Daughter perfected the bark and brittle recipes, which I hope she’ll make her signature holiday dishes. And what’s Christmas without Chex Mix and decorating sugar cookies? So there.

And speaking of food, here are some recipes from friends and family for some cozy and warming hot drinks. I’m always amazed at the great ideas people have. Look here for ways to use up leftover holiday ingredients and tips for jazzing up instant cocoa as well as a recipe for homemade coffee liqueur and some wonderful tea punches. Now all I need is a roaring fire and a soft fuzzy blanket …