A Cold Front’s A-Comin’

by Cate on July 28, 2005

Finally the Northeast is going to get a break from this heatwave. A powerful storm swooped the area tonight, actually starting from Maine, going all the way down to Texas. Just in the commute home from work, I excitedly watch the temperature drop 10 degrees! It’s been over 100 degrees for the past week, so this is a very welcome change. The weekend is rumored to be a gorgeous one, with temps in the mid-70s. I can’t wait!

Was feeling ambivolent about dinner tonight. I wanted to concentrate on getting some of the leftovers eaten, so I reheated a bunch of stuff, and then made Giada’s Tortellini Soup in Light Broth. Honestly, this soup could not be simpler, and definitely hit the spot. Though I suppose it would be much better served in the cold nights of Winter, with the AC on, it doesn’t matter in our house. ;)

Was in a baking kind of mood tonight, and while looking through my tried-and-true recipes for an avocado dish we like (on tomorrow’s menu), I came across the recipe for one of my favorite bar cookies – Cinnamon Bars. I made these a lot last year around Thanksgiving and Christmas; so much so, I got tired of seeing them after awhile. Now that I’ve had a bit of a respite, and more importantly, had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to make a batch tonight. Now, I’ll warn you ahead of time … if you want to make these (and you really should try them!), the cinnamon chips are tough to find. I haven’t been able to find them in NJ, NY or PA, even though Hershey is one of the companies that makes them. My Mom brought back about 10 bags for me last year on a trip to CO, and a friend in TN has sent them to me. I know King Arthur’s Flour carries them, so if you can restrain yourself from scooping up other goodies while there, you might want to grab a few bags. These are just out of the oven, so not a good picture to see all their interior goodness, but you get the gist of it.

So, birthday week has officially started in our family. My birthday is Sunday, and Nicholas’ is Tuesday, and the men in the family will be the first to tell you that the women in the family are pros at stretching out our birthdays to celebrations that last a week … or longer! Hey, why not? Nicholas has quickly learned this tradition. He has his kids’ birthday party Saturday, a family party Sunday, then, of course, the actual birthday festivities on Tuesday. He has been carefully keeping track of everyone’s birthdays, ticking them off as they get closer to his. “First Grandma, she’s a July birthday. Then, Mama, in July. Then Nicholas, August birthday. Then Daddy in Petember and Grandpa in Petember.” I think he’s afraid we’ll actually miss his! With five birthdays in about 6 weeks, it is definitely birthday season around here!

So anyway … every night, Nicholas has been bringing me a small treasure for my birthday. After dinner, he and The Husband go to the park and he comes home bearing gifts. So far, I have grass, some dandelions, two rocks, wood chips and tonight, a handful of leaves. The Husband actually took Nicholas out birthday present shopping a few nights ago. No sooner did they come home do I hear, “Mama, I got your birthday present. Mama, look what I got. Mama, come look!” with The Husband trying to shush a bubbly toddler before he spills the beans. Too cute!

All for tonight … off to spend some time with my munchkin. Until tomorrow…

Precious Gifts

Tortellini Soup in Light Broth
Yield: 8 servings
8 cups chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated tortellini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Season the broth with pepper, to taste. Add the tortellini. Simmer over medium heat until al dente, about 7 minutes. Ladle the broth and tortellini into soup bowls. Top with parsley and Parmesan crisps and serve.

Parmesan Crisps:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400F. Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended. Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool. Yield: 8 to 10 crisps

Cinnamon Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened

4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
225g pkg Cinnamon Baking Chips
1 cup cranberries, dried

CRUST: COMBINE all ingredients, mixing until crumbly. Press firmly into greased 13″x9″ (33cm x 23cm) cake pan. BAKE at 350°F (180°C)for 15-18 minutes, or until light golden.
TOPPING: BEAT eggs, sugar, corn syrup and melted butter together until blended. Stir in Baking Chips and cranberries. Pour evenly over crust. BAKE for about 30-35 minutes longer, or until set and golden. Cool completely, then cut into bars.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie July 28, 2005 at 3:34 am

Well, happy early birthday to all of you!

My almost-21 year old sister has a birthday near the end of August, and I’m elven days later. My Mom is in the middle of September. My dad’s was in September, as well. Also, a cousin and an uncle.

Of course, we have an enormous family, so birthday clusters are bound to happen.

Any plans for the big..eh, week? Mine’s about six weeks away, and I have no ideas. Mom hasn’t bothered to call since Mother’s day, and my in-laws will be out of town. It’ll probably just be the three of us. I hope I don’t have to make the cake!

I’ve had trouble with the cinnamon chips, as well as the mint chips. Not green-colored candy chips with mint falvor, but chocolate-mint chips. I finally found some bags of Andes’ Candies chips last Christmas for my snow-topped mint crackle cookies…

Anyway, have a great birthday…fortnight!


Cate July 28, 2005 at 11:24 am

Thanks, Stephanie! Birthday fortnight? LOL, we’ll take it. Plans keep changing since we’re probably celebrating my birthday with Nicholas’, so not sure yet. I’ll have to keep an eye out for your mint chips – I’ll grab ’em if I see them.


Chan July 28, 2005 at 9:06 pm

Happy birthday to you! and I think the little gifts Nicholas gave you are more precious than anything in the world! That is so sweet! Right now Kathryn just brings me little pieces of dog food every few minutes! Cheers to you and I hope your birthday is joyous!!


Cate July 29, 2005 at 12:10 am

Thanks, Ruby!


Jeff July 29, 2005 at 3:25 am

Happy Birthday early! :)

We had the same problem with the cinnamon chips in Phoenix. Walmart had them for a short time, then stopped carrying then after we got hooked! Grrr….

Found them on a business trip to Portland, OR, and packed the suitcase with 10 bags coming home :p


Donn Dory November 22, 2005 at 6:59 pm

There are a few books on the subject, some very


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