Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 - You Suck

On so many levels, this was not a good year.  I know that I don't have to tell you all that.  But with the announcement of the death of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, today, December 27, this was a year that sucked, truly.  Let's hope that they didn't know something we didn't about 2017.

Here's a list of deaths that significantly impacted me over the past year.  Unfortunately, this list is by no means comprehensive.

  • Harper Lee, 89 (February)
  • Edward Albee, 88 (September)
  • W. P. Kinsella, 81 (September) - author of the story that became Field of Dreams
  • Beth Howland, 74 (December 2015) - Vera from Alice
  • Wayne Rogers, 82 (December 2015) - Trapper John McIntyre from MASH
  • Pat Harrington, 86 (January) - Schneider from One Day at a Time
  • Dan Haggerty, 74 (January) - Grizzly Adams 
  • Abe Vigoda, 94 (January) - Detective Fish from Barney Miller 
  • Larry Drake, 66 (March) - Benny from LA Law
  • James Noble, 94 (March) - the Governor from Benson, but for me he's the Rev. John Witherspoon from 1776
  • Patty Duke, 69 (March)
  • Garry Shandling, 66 (March)
  • Doris Roberts, 90 (April) - the matriarch from Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Morley Safer, 84 (May) - 60 Minutes legend
  • Garry Marshall, 81 (July)
  • Florence Henderson, 82 (November) - Mrs. Brady helped raise me.
  • Ron Glass, 71 (November) - from Barney Miller
  • Grant Tinker, 90 (November) - Mr. Mary Tyler Moore
  • Alan Thicke, 69 (December)
  • Alan Rickman, 69 (January) - for me, he's always Hans
  • David Margulies, 78 (January) - the Mayor in Ghostbusters
  • George Kennedy, 88 (February)
  • Anton Yelchin, 27 (June) - the new Chekov from the Star Trek reboot
  • Gene Wilder, 83 (August) - the one and only Willy Wonka
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99 (December)
  • Robert Vaughn, 83 (November) - I've listed him under movies for his role in The Towering Inferno (he dies in that one, too)
  • Bernard Fox, 89 (December) - you know him from a lot of TV and movies.  I just saw him the other night on Big Jake, one of my favorite John Wayne films
  • Carrie Fisher, 60 (December)
  • Natalie Cole, 65 (December 2015)
  • David Bowie, 69 (January)
  • Glenn Frey, 67 (January)
  • Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72 (March)
  • Merle Haggard, 79 (April)
  • Prince, 57 (April)
  • Kay Starr, 94 (November) - legendary jazz singer
  • Leonard Cohen, 82 (November)
  • George Michael, 53 (December)
  • Meadowlark Lemon, 83 (December 2015) - star of the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Andy Bathgate, 83 (February) - legendary New York Ranger
  • Muhammad Ali, 74 (June)
  • Joe Garagiola, 74 (March)
  • Gordie Howe, 88 (June) - Mr. Hockey
  • Pat Summitt, 64 (June)
  • Arnold Palmer, 87 (September) - Mr. Golf
  • Ralph Branca, 90 (November) - Brooklyn Dodgers player
  • Craig Sager, 65 (December) - sports announcer
  • Boutros-Boutros-Ghali, 81 (February) - former United Nations Secretary General
  • Nancy Reagan, 94 (March)
  • Elie Wiesel, 87 (July)
  • John McLaughlin, 89 (August) - founder of the McLaughlin Group
  • Phyllis Schlafly, 92 (September)
  • Shimon Peres, 93 (September)
  • Tom Hayden, 76 (October) - among other things, he was married to Jane Fonda
  • Janet Reno, 78 (November)
  • Gwen Ifill, 61 (November)
  • Fidel Castro, 90 (November) - finally
  • John Glenn, 95 (December)
  • American Democracy, 226 (November)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Roasted Potatoes

My grandmother used to make the perfect roasted potato.  My mother used to try and make them but they always fell apart.  My mother once watched closely as my grandmother made them - and still couldn't get it right.

Perhaps this recipe will get me there. My grandmother (and mother) used to make them like this in a dutch oven, I think it's the shaking and the fat that make them that much better..  And now that the Launchpad has a new oven, I bet they will come out even better.  Recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 35 minutes 
Total Time: 45 minutes 
Serves 4

  • 1.2 kilos (2 1/2 pounds) potatoes (waxy or floury -- both types will work equally well) 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or duck fat 
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (optional) 
  • Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F).
  • If your potatoes are smooth-skinned, scrub them well and peel them in alternative stripes so that strips of skin remain. If, on the other hand, the skin of your potatoes is rugged and grainy, peel it off completely (no need to scrub) then rinse the potatoes well in cold water. 
  • Cut the potatoes into even chunks, about 2 cm (3/4 inch) in width. Place them in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them, cover with cold water, and add 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Set over high heat, cover, bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. 
  • As soon as the water boils, pour the fat into a rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet in the oven, so the fat and baking sheet will heat up. 
  • After the 5 minutes of boiling, drain the potatoes -- they will not be cooked at that point -- and return them to the saucepan. Add the fine sea salt and the rosemary, if using. 
  • Place a lid on the saucepan. Holding the lid firmly shut with both hands (the saucepan will be hot, so wear oven mitts or use dish towels), shake the saucepan vigorously for a few seconds, until the surface of the potato chunks is fuzzy; this will help the formation of a crust. 
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven, pour the potatoes onto the sheet, and stir well to coat with the fat. 
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through, until cooked through (when you insert the tip of a knife in one of the pieces, it should meet no resistance), crusty, and golden. If you want a little more color on them, you can switch to grill mode for the final few minutes. 
  • Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Like many Americans, I have been adrift of late trying to figure out what country I am living in.  As most of you know, my dear readers, I was in favor of the other candidate who was running for president in the recent election.  The night before the election, President Obama recorded a message for the American people, saying that, regardless of what happened, the sun would come up in the morning. After hearing that message, and seeing the results, I was reminded of the scene above.

I don't know what the next four years will bring, but in the morning, the sun will rise and who knows that the tide will bring? Today is Brave Astronaut Day - for it is the anniversary of my birth.  I have reached the precipice - next year is the Big "L". As you may know Mrs. BA hit the number earlier this year - but we are looking forward to many more years together, at least I know I am!

My birthday, falling on a Tuesday, is not all that spectacular but I made the best of it.  I had a great lunch with friends.  Both LBA and SoBA had basketball practice so a big family dinner wasn't in the cards.  But the boys are out of school tomorrow at noon and they are going to be spending the few days leading up to Christmas at their cousin's house so Mrs. BA and I may have a date night on Thursday.

Then we will have Christmas at the launchpad, followed by a few days with my sister before we all travel to NY for a Brave Astronaut family Christmas, where we will celebrate SoBA's birthday on Friday the 30th.  You will note that this blog has been missing the "12 posts of Christmas" this year, some of that is due to my feelings noted above, and some of it is just because that as the subtitle of this blog notes, I have a very full life, "with room for improvement, and little time to do it."

Thank you for sticking around with me on this blogging journey, which is more than 1400 posts long and more than ten years old!  I promise to come here a little more often in 2017 and offer a few more thoughts and posts other than the weekly recipe. I am very blessed to have a wonderful wife who loves me, two boys who seem to like me as well, a great family, my father, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews and all my in-laws.

Of course, dear reader, you know how much I love numbers, so I would be remiss if I didn't end this post with some statistics.  As of this posting my birthday garnered the following:
  • Approximately 195 posts on my Facebook wall, many of which were commented on on top of that.
  • 11 Promo emails (offering me a deal for my birthday)
  • 10 distinct birthday posts (on which multiple people commented) on Facebook
  • 9 in person birthday wishes
  • 3 birthday emails
  • 3 texts
  • 2 phone calls (my father and sister)
  • 1 birthday lunch with 3 people
  • 1 Facebook Messenger message (though it was not necessarily birthday related)
  • 1 holiday lighting contest in town - not sure if I got an advantage or not.
  • 1 blog post (this one)
The first birthday wishes came from (again this year) Kim Ayres, who has the advantage of being across the pond and it turns into my birthday over there before it does here.  If you're not reading his blog (or buying his photography) - you most certainly should be.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread

SoBA is a big fan of the banana.  He eats at least 1 or 2 a day.  We will often be getting ready to sit down to dinner and SoBA will ask for a snack - and the banana is a good option.  I have made my share of banana bread in the past, for if SoBA is off his game - there may be an overripe banana or two around the house.  I have posted banana bread recipes before, this is the classic go to that I use.

Here's one that uses parts of chocolate bars and cinnamon. From BuzzFeed via Unicorns in the Kitchen.  I won't tell the boys about the zucchini.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hr


  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (or more) 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside. 
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl beat the sugar and olive oil until completely incorporated. Add in mashed bananas, egg, and vanilla. Beat until completely mixed. 
  4. Add in flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Fold in zucchini and walnuts. 
  5. Pour the batter in the loaf pan, top with chocolate chunks and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes our with small crumbs on it. 
  6. Let the bread cool completely before slicing it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

One Pot Chicken Parmesan

You may have noticed (or maybe you didn't) that I missed last Monday's recipe. But life must go on.

Here's a recipe that is sure to please LBA and SoBA (although the latter is always iffy).  From One Pot Dinners from BuzzFeed via Unicorns in the Kitchen.

One Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut into small pieces 
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 8 ounce pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano 
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or more) 

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute onion until golden brown. 
  2. Add in chicken breast pieces and saute until the color has changed to light brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Add in sauce and water. Stir and add in pasta. cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until pasta is cooked. uncover and let it simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced. 
  4. Top with parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella, cover and cook for 1 minute until cheese is melted. 
  5. Serve warm.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I'm always on the lookout for good slow cooker recipes. This one uses flank steak, one of Mrs. BA's favorites though it seems like a sin to do this to flank steak. I might consider a chuck roast instead. From 30 Things to Eat in November from BuzzFeed, recipe from GimmeSomeOven.

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu 
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 mins

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup beef stock (or I used dry red wine)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 16 ounces pappardelle pasta (or any kind of pasta will do)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, for serving (optional)
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic, carrots, bay leaves and thyme.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using two forks.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.

Divide among 8 pasta bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and (optional) 1 tablespoon ricotta. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

Recipe appeared on Gimme Some Oven and was "used with permission [on that site] from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes by Gina Homolka"

Monday, November 21, 2016

Honey Crueller Donuts

The Brave Astronaut clan will be headed for a Mrs. BA family Thanksgiving this week - so no Thanksgiving specific recipe this week - but I am still thankful for many things, especially Mrs. BA and that she lets me use my deep fryer - like last night when we fried chicken wings.  Now I can make these beauties.  From Life is a Party via BuzzFeed.

Homemade Honey Cruller Donuts

  • 1 cup water 
  • 6 tbsp butter 
  • 2 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 3 eggs 
  • oil for frying 
  • For the Glaze 
    • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar 
    • 1 tbsp honey 
    • 4 tbsp milk
  1. To begin with, bring the water, butter, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Then, add in the flour and use a whisk to incorporate. Switch to a wooden spoon, and lower the heat to medium. Stir the dough and cook until the bottom of the pan is covered in a film and the dough has dried out. 
  2. Put the hot dough in a stand mixer with a paddle beater and mix on medium to cool the dough slightly. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. 
  3. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Cut out square 3 x 3 sheets of parchment paper (my batch made about 18 smallish donuts), and pipe donuts on to them, being careful not to overlap the beginning and end of the donut. 
  4. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a deep fryer. When the oil is hot, place one or two donuts, paper side up, into the oil. The donut will separate from the paper in a few seconds, and you can remove the floating paper with tongs. Allow the donut to fry until it is a rich golden brown, then flip over and do the same on the other side. (Test your first donut to make sure it's not not doughy in the middle and adjust your cooking time if needed). Remove from the oil and allow the donuts to cool completely on a paper towel, and finish frying them all. 
  5. To make the glaze, combine the icing sugar, honey and milk in a bowl and stir together. Dip the good side of the donuts, one at a time, into the glaze. Set on a rack to set completely. Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2016

One Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

The boys have been agitating for Mrs. BA to make Chicken Parmesan again.  Maybe this will satisfy them.  From one pot pasta dinners from BuzzFeed via Unicorns in the Kitchen. It's a quick an easy solution for weeknight dinners. I'm not a big fan of Ragu sauce - but you could substitute your favorite jarred sauce.

One Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta
Yields 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
A healthier version of an all-time favorite, this One Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta is great for weeknight dinners and is ready in less than 40 minutes!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 1 jar Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounce pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or more)

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute onion until golden brown.
  2. Add in chicken breast pieces and saute until the color has changed to light brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce and water. Stir and add in pasta. cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until pasta is cooked. uncover and let it simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced.
  4. Top with parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella, cover and cook for 1 minute until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve warm.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What's Next?

I hope that this post will be somewhat coherent, but I must admit to being a little shell shocked, still.  In the words of my candidate, this loss hurts and it will for a long time.

This morning, I woke to rain - it was as if Mother Nature herself was weeping along with a majority of this country.  I sat down yesterday evening, prepared to watch this nation elect the first woman president.  All of the evidence, all of the polls, it all pointed to a big Democratic evening.  It started out as expected, with the Republicans jumping out to an early lead.  Then some big electoral prizes stayed "too close to call" for too long.  The night stretched out and when I finally went to bed at 1:30, it was mostly over.  She had the most narrow of paths and it was unlikely that she was going to pull it out. Mrs BA had gone to bed earlier and was physically ill most of the night.  I also woke up feeling sick - unsure about the country I was waking up to.

My immediate problem was what we would say to LBA and to SoBA.  Mrs. BA and I finally decided on something to the extent of, "we've survived bad presidents before and we will do it again."  We urged them to be extra kind to people today as most of the people they would encounter would likely be feeling the same way as their mom and dad.

I tried to stay off Facebook and other social media sites today but I kept returning and saw the whole gamut of reactions: anger, sadness, depression, fear, desperation.  Throughout this campaign, I have encountered Republicans who weren't planning on voting for him.  I also know of some Republicans who did vote for him.  I didn't understand it, but I accepted it.  I just didn't realize there were so many of them.  Or that so many Democrats would stay home in unprecedented numbers.  In a democracy, if you don't vote, you don't get to complain.  If you want something changed, you have to be the agent of change.

So now we have a new agent of change.  I don't know what is going to happen.  I have all of those feelings that my friends have verbalized on Facebook.  I'm going to do the best I can in the coming days, months, and four years ahead.  But I won't stop working to be an agent of change for good.  We will get through this.

I am a Democrat.  I am an American.

Life is too short to hold on to hate and anger for too long.  I'll pick myself up and I'll go forward.  I encourage all of you to come along with me. Together we can make a united America again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It's Election Day - Get out and Vote

If you don't vote, you don't get to complain.  Today is the day where the nation will elect the 45th President of the United States. I would like to tell you that I don't care who you vote for, as long as you vote - but you really should vote for her.

You might find it surprising to learn that in the age of the country, we are only four presidents old (via the Washington Post). "When President Obama was born (1961), President Herbert Hoover was still alive (1874-1964). When Hoover was born, President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) was still alive. When President Johnson was born, President John Adams (1735-1826) was still alive. And just like that, we've connected present day to the Founding Fathers."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Day Drinking

If you didn't start drinking during this election season, you weren't paying attention.  Here's 4 recipes to get you through tomorrow night.  But be sure to finish the night with champagne when we elect the 45th President of the United States!  Recipes from Liquor.com.  Is it wrong that I like the Donald one the best?  But I'm sure to take in a Hillary or two.

The Donald
Tall and golden like a gilded casino tower, this choice is anything but subtle.
  • 2 oz vodka 
  • .5 oz Goldschläger gold-leaf cinnamon schnapps 
  • Orange juice 
  • Garnish: Orange wheel and cotton candy 
Pour the vodka and Goldschläger into an ice-filled Collins glass, and top with the orange juice. Garnish with an orange wheel and big puff of cotton candy.

The Mike Pence 
With a strong tea (party) base and a deep red color, it’s the (side)kick you need to start your night.
  • 1 bag hibiscus tea (such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger) 
  • 2 oz bourbon Club soda 
  • Garnish: Cherries 
Prepare the tea according to package instructions and let cool. Pour the prepared tea and bourbon into an ice-filled Collins glass, top with a splash of club soda, and garnish with cherries.

The Hillary 
A riff on the classic Democrat cocktail, this option’s a little stiffer than the one you might ordinarily choose.
  • 2.5 oz gin 
  • 1.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • .5 oz peach liqueur 
  • 5 oz honey syrup* 
  • Soda water 
  • Garnish: Lemon wheel 
Pour all of the ingredients except the soda water into an ice-filled Collins glass, stir, and top with the soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
* Honey syrup: Heat equal parts honey and water in a small saucepan, and stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Cool and store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

The Tim Kaine 
Even though it may not be the most exciting cocktail, pretty much everyone loves this super sweet “dad drink.”
  • 1 oz Silver Fox Virginia rum 
  • Cola 
  • Garnish: Apple fan 
Pour the rum into an ice-filled Collins glass, and top with cola. Garnish with an apple fan, and serve with a big smile.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

One week to go

Today is November 1.  In one week's time, Americans will go to the polls to elect the 45th President.  All evidence and polls indicates that, eight years after electing the first African-American President of the United States, we are about to elect the first female President of the United States.

I have not hidden that I am a Democrat - but I am also an American.  I will admit that the Democratic nominee for President is not an ideal candidate, she has flaws and she has trouble relating to people sometimes.  But she is a smart, policy driven, candidate, who truly believes in the greatness of America.  She is a fighter who will truly work for the best of every American.

The Republican nominee for President is unhinged, dangerous, and unfit for the office.  When he makes a declaration that he "will keep us in suspense" regarding the election results, and will contest them if they don't go his way, because the system is "rigged" - he undermines the very foundations of American democracy.

I have Republican friends and almost every single one of them, without exception, is not planning to vote for him.  They may not be voting for her, which is fine, but they cannot bring themselves for vote him, which is even better.

I am willing to let people have a difference of opinion - if people really want to vote for him, I can't stop them.  What I can't accept is that people can't vote for her because of statements (and misstatements) that have been perpetuated by the Republican party and nominee.  You can dislike her, but there is nothing about the Republican nominee that could ever get me to vote for him and I would hope that those who are considering voting for him might change their minds.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Vodka Tonic Jello Shots

Today is Halloween.  Trick or Treating will take place in our little town tonight from 6-8.  LBA is preparing to be out as Doc Brown (from Back to the Future), I'm not sure why.  I really wanted SoBA to go as Marty McFly, but I couldn't convince him.

As is routine, I will likely walk the boys around town for candy collection and Mrs. BA will stay home and pass out candy.  Maybe I will make a batch of these and walk them around with me, passing them out to dedicated parents.  Of course, one of the first stops is usually the mayor's house, where the kids get full size candy bars and the parents get adult beverages.

Halloween cocktails from Liquor.com.  Jello Shot Bats from "Chloe's Inspiration."

  • 1 1/3 cups tonic water 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 3 envelopes plain Knox gelatin (makes a firm jelly shot for setting in a mold. Decrease to 2 or 2 1/2 envelopes if using other methods to set, such as loaf pan or mini martini glasses. An envelope of plain Knox gelatin equals about 2 tsp of gelatin powder.) 
  • 2/3 cup vodka (citrus flavored is nice . . .)

First, prepare the silicon molds with a light application of cooking spray. Then wipe the mold cavities out with a clean paper towel. This method will leave just the slightest residue, which will help unmold the gelatin without affecting the taste or appearance. Place each mold on a cookie sheet or cooling rack to provide a stable surface for handling.

Combine the tonic, citrus juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. (Mixture will be very foamy, but this will diminish.) Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka.

Pour the gelatin mixture into the molds, and refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight. To serve, unmold, loosen the edges by pulling away from the side of the mold, and pop each jelly shot out.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake

I like cinnamon rolls.  I like pound cake.  From Creme de la Crumb via BuzzFeed.

Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 60 mins
Total time 1 hour 20 mins

Serves: 12

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened 
  • 3 cups sugar plus ¼ cup, divided 
  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 3 cups flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the Icing
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened 
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two 9x5 loaf pans with nonstick foil, spray heavily with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Greek yogurt. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. In a separate bowl mix flour and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. In a small bowl mix ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon. Pour ⅓ of batter into loaf pans. Sprinkle half of cinnamon sugar mixture into pan. Repeat with remaining batter, then cinnamon sugar, then ending with batter. 
  4. Bake about 50 minutes or until edges begin to brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If cake is not ready at 50 minutes, check again every 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before gently removing from pans. 
  5. For the icing, mix together butter and cream cheese. Add cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar and mix to combine. Pour over cooled loaves. Allow to cool and set at least one hour before slicing and serving. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Iowa Loose Meat Sandwiches

It's like Mom's Beefaroni on a bun!  From the Washington Post Food Section on sandwiches, October 5. 

Iowa Loose Meat Sandwiches
Not quite a hamburger and not quite a sloppy Joe, this is said to have first been served in the state’s Maid-Rite restaurants. Serve with mustard and ketchup on the side. 
Servings: 6

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 pounds ground beef (20 percent fat) 
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice 
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought no-salt-added chicken broth 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 6 split hamburger buns, for serving 
  • Dill pickle slices, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the ground beef and onion; cook for several minutes, until they have browned, stirring vigorously and breaking up any clumps of meat. The end result should look like lots of small crumbles.

Add the broth, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, the chipotle pepper, if using, the brown sugar, salt and black pepper, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Use a slotted spoon to pile a large amount of meat atop each bottom bun half. Garnish with a couple of pickle slices, and serve with the top bun.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Tragedy of Washington Sports Teams

Ninety-two years.  That's a long time to wait.  1924 was the last time that a Washington baseball team won a post season series.  And it just grew by one more.  Despite winning the National League East and having one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball, the Washington Nationals lost last night in game 5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The season is over.

As most you all know, dear readers, I grew up in New York, rooting for the team that plays baseball in the Bronx.  I was never a big fan of the guys that played in that "purple stadium" in Queens.  When I came to DC, I signed on with the Nationals as soon as they arrived.  I went to Opening Day for the first several seasons and made it to at least half a dozen games each season.  At some point I will have season tickets for the team.  I would tell my New York friends that I was fine rooting for the Nats - it was only if they made it to the World Series against the Yankees that I would find myself in a dilemma.  With the way that both teams have been playing the last few seasons, I'm OK for now.

I stayed up to watch the entire game and sat on the edge of my seat as the Nationals put the tying and go ahead runs on base in the bottom of the night.  Then I held the remote in my hand for the final at-bat, with my finger on the power button, and turned it off seconds after the last swing.  Mrs. BA and I had allowed LBA and SoBA to watch the beginning of the game - sending them to bed when the Nationals were up 1-0.  I didn't have the heart to tell either of them this morning - though LBA had learned the outcome from his device.  We didn't discuss it.

I don't really have a solution for the team - I guess if I did, I'd be in the dugout with Dusty.  But I do think there is something to be said for the curse that afflicts the sports teams in the Capital City.  The Nationals will get there at some point, hopefully before they hit the century mark of a postseason win drought.

In related news, the National Hockey League started its season and the Washington Capitals had their first game last night, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I am not in a position to comment on that team's successes and failures, my friend ADR has lived with them much longer than I.  Again, as noted, I am a New Yorker by birth and grew up with my allegiance pledged to the New York Rangers.  It has made for some tense conversations with ADR, especially at playoff time.  I can root for the Caps, and do so, except when the Rangers face off against them, which happens a fair number of times during the season and often during the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The Rangers know of Cup droughts, going more that 40 years between Cup wins.  The Caps haven't hoisted the Cup yet and continue to perform above expectations each season.  With the dawn of each season, there is hope.  But here in Washington, sadness and anger smack us again at the end of a season, with goals unfulfilled.  Here's to another great season and that maybe, this is the year.

I won't comment on the basketball team - I'm not a big fan of the bouncy ball and the sport doesn't really do it for me.  I do like college basketball and will watch March Madness.  But other than that, I can't get excited about it.  As to the Washington football team, I don't particularly care about that sport either, I was never a big football fan growing up, but as I will say, if you pin me down, I was a fan of the Giants over the Jets.  Now, while the team that currently plays football here has won the Super Bowl, I really believe that they won't (or can't) win again until the weasel owner of the team is gone.  I don't really care about the name controversy, I suppose it should change, but he's not in favor of that, so that sort of puts me on the other side of that issue, if only to be in opposition to him.

Finally, as a parent of two boys engaged in soccer for their fall sport, this is one that I really don't get.  Maybe I just don't understand it well enough - but there is nothing more mind numbing that watching players run up and down a field, with the occasional (and infrequent) goal here and there.  But I'll root for the Cheverly teams any day of the week and twice on Sundays (which is usually the case with both of them playing games on Saturdays and Sundays for the next few weeks.

Monday, October 10, 2016

No Churn Coffee Ice Cream

This is good, because I'm not actually sure where the ice cream maker is. From Baked by an Introvert via BuzzFeed.

No Churn Coffee Crunch Ice Cream
Yields 6 cups
The smoothest ice cream made without an ice cream maker and only 4 ingredients! Coffee flavored ice cream speckled with mini chocolate chips is great for a summer afternoon pick me up. You will not believe how simple this delightful coffee crunch ice cream is!

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cold 
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips 

Combine the condensed milk and coffee in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the heavy cream to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set to medium speed, beat until stiff peaks form. Turn the speed to low and slowly pour in the condensed milk and coffee mixture. Turn the speed back up to medium and beat until thickened. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

For Tracy

The first text came while I was at church on Sunday morning.  Then a Facebook message from another class mate.  When I saw the words, "News about Tracy Fentress" I knew.  I didn't want to believe it, but I knew.

Tracy and I met in elementary school.  We became fast friends and then when the school district reorganized, I went to a different school until we were reunited in junior high.  She had become active in girl scouts and so I still saw her on occasion - as my mother was one of the troop leaders.  The year that my mother organized a troop trip to Bermuda (of all places), I got to tag along and stayed with friends of my parents while the girls camped not far away.  I have a great picture from that trip of Tracy, throwing some shade (before throwing shade was a thing) while we are all on the beach.  But you can see it even in that picture, the bubbly friendly personality that embodied Tracy.

We graduated high school and went off to different colleges and our lives diverged further. When my mother died in 2006, one of the people I remember seeing at both the wake and the funeral was Tracy and her mother.  Tracy continued in girl scouting, becoming a leader for her daughter's troop and cookie mother.  Tracy would often contact me at cookie time, because she knew that I would buy boxes from her, knowing full well that I wasn't going to be able to eat them - but I made the donation to her - because that's what she wanted (and it's what my mother would want me to do).

Once Facebook began to bring old friends back together, Tracy and I reconnected as I did with many others from my high school class.  I now am the moderator for a group dedicated to my class, which is a little weird for me, because I wasn't the most popular kid in high school, I was just one of the class, in the middle of the pack.  But I am happy with the way the group has turned out and that so many of us from our class (we were over 500 people in our class) have been able to reconnect and reminisce about old times.  I post each week the birthdays that are ahead and almost without fail, Tracy would be one of the first people to comment, wishing everyone a heartfelt happy birthday.

In 2010, I attempted to use Facebook to organize a 25th Reunion, which did not manifest itself very well - though those of us who came had a good time.  Tracy was involved in that reunion planning, but unfortunately she had begun her battle against cancer and she was unable to attend our mini-reunion. I was urged by my classmates to give it a go again for our 30th, set for 2015.  I knew my own limitations and found one of the few remaining reunion companies to help me organize the reunion the right way.  Once again, Tracy reached out to me and volunteered to be there for whatever I needed as the plans moved forward.

As several of us met in the bar before going upstairs to the ballroom for the reunion, I got tapped on the shoulder and turned around to see Tracy.  As with so many of us that evening, it was like we were back in high school and not 30 years later and the night just got better from there.  Later, as we tried to get everyone's attention to say a few words - it was Tracy who managed to get everyone to listen for a few minutes so that I could express my thanks to everyone for making the night such a success - but it was Tracy's words that echoed with everyone - because when Tracy talked, you listened.

She made a point of saying to several of us that evening that she would be back for the next reunion - but unfortunately that won't happen.  A few months ago, she posted on Facebook that she was back at Sloan-Kettering because she was having some pain.  I commented then that I was sure she would get through this as she had been doing all along.  But after fighting the bravest fight, Tracy lost her battle with breast cancer on Sunday morning.  She was 49 years old.  She leaves behind her husband and daughter, her sister and brother, both her parents, and all of us from the Class of 1985.  Tracy is the 14th Brave to leave us from our class - Once a Brave, Always a Brave.

Tonight family and friends gathered to remember Tracy and tomorrow she will be sent home.  I really wanted to be there - but couldn't make it happen.  I know that Tracy would have understood, but she would have also given me a little lip about it.  But she didn't quite know how to stay mad at people.

God speed my dear friend. You are free of pain now. I am sure that you and my mother are having a grand time talking about anything and everything.  And eating girl scout cookies.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice

I usually have chicken breasts in the freezer and am always on the lookout for quick and easy dinners for the Launchpad. From Creme de la Crumb via BuzzFeed.

One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken & Rice

Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 25 mins
Total time 30 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients for the chicken
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 

Ingredients for the rice
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown) 
  • 2¼ cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)  
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or pan (one that has a lid). Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste, and Italian seasoning. Brown chicken in the butter for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Chicken shouldn't be cooked through at this point) Transfer chicken to a plate. 
  2. Add rice, chicken broth, lemon juice, and remaining Italian seasoning to the pan (no need to clean it first). Place chicken on top, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes until liquid is dissolved. 
  3. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro if desired and lemon wedges for squeezing. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Time to Make the Donuts

I own a deep fryer.  And I like donuts. From CakeWhiz via BuzzFeed.

Homemade Jelly Donuts

  • 2 1/2 cups flour + additional flour for kneading 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (100-110 degrees) 
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar 
  • 3 large egg yolks 
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 2 tbsp salted butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 1/2 cups oil for frying 
  • 3 cups homemade strawberry jam or store-bought strawberry jam 
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (for rolling the doughnuts)
  •  2 cups coconut cream chocolate frosting 
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries (blotted dry)
Step 1: In a small bowl, add 1 tsp sugar, yeast and milk. Keep this mixture aside for about 15 minutes until it becomes foamy.

Step 2: In a deep mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, egg yolks, butter, vanilla extract and yeast mixture. Mix everything with a thick plastic spoon until you have a sticky mixture.

Step 3: Dump this mixture onto your floured countertop and start kneading until you form a dough ball that’s not sticky any more (takes about 10-15 minutes). I had to add some additional flour at this point to help with all that kneading. The dough should eventually bounce back when poked with a finger.

Step 4: Oil a bowl and place this dough ball in it. Cover it with saran wrap and keep it in a warm area and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours. (I keep the bowl inside my oven- Don’t turn it on though!)

Step 5: Now, flour your countertop again and roll out the dough at a thickness of 1/4 inches.

Step 6: Use a round cutter to cut out circular pieces.

Step 7: Cover these circles with saran wrap and allow them to rise for about 15 minutes.

Step 8: Heat oil in a saucepan until the temperature reaches 370 degrees.

Step 9: Add 3-4 the circle pieces into the oil very carefully and fry them on both sides until they are golden (about 40 seconds on each side).

Step 10: Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the oil and place them on a tray lined with paper towels.

Step 11: Then quickly roll the doughnuts in sugar while they are still warm.

Step 12: Then, attach the round tip to a piping bag and fill it with strawberry jam.

Step 13: On the side of the doughnut, make 2 holes with a wooden skewer about 1 inch apart. Push your piping bag into the holes and fill the inside of the doughnut with jam. Do this for all the doughnuts.

Step 14: When the doughnuts have cooled down, spread fudgy coconut cream chocolate frosting on top of them and place a few sliced strawberries on top.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

I like the hash brown.  But they're never crispy enough.  These might work.  From Serious Eats via BuzzFeed.

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes, about 10 ounces each, peeled and shredded 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  1. Preheat waffle iron. If it has temperature controls, set it to medium.
  2. Squeeze shredded potato with a towel until it’s as dry as possible.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded potato, salt, and pepper.
  4. Using a silicone brush or paper towel, carefully grease both sides of waffle iron with butter.
  5. Pile shredded potatoes into waffle iron, over-stuffing it a bit, and close lid. (The pressure of the lid will compress the potatoes and help them emerge as a cohesive, waffled unit.) Cook for 2 minutes, then press down on lid to further compress potatoes (be careful: lid may be hot). 
  6. Continue cooking potatoes for 5 minutes longer, then begin checking them: the are ready when potatoes are golden brown all over, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve hot with eggs or any other breakfast foods.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Later

At this point in time fifteen years ago, I had finally made it home to Long Island from my job in Westchester County.  As I have written about before, the day had started with me dropping my car off for service and upon getting to work, I learned that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I was able to find a TV and my colleagues and I crowded around the TV to watch.  I went off to find a computer to get more information and then learned that a second plane had hit the other tower.

I was able to get to the roof of the Archive Center and could see the smoke rising from the city skyline some thirty five miles to the south.  I was finally able to reach my girlfriend (now Mrs. BA) who had a dentist appointment (which I hadn't remembered, I only knew that she worked across the street from the White House).  I left for home about 2:00pm and as I traveled south, fighter jets crisscrossed the sky above me - I crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge as policeman waived me through the toll barriers.  As I looked over to the city, the smoke hanging over lower Manhattan was immense.  I drove east on the Long Island Expressway as trucks and emergency equipment passed me heading west into the city.

Upon getting home I was able to talk with my parents, who had been flying that day - they were in Texas - but they were taken off the plane, shortly after the planes struck their targets and the decision was made to close the airspace over the United States. (If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend that you go to Ford's Theatre to see "Come From Away" about the planes from Europe that were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland.)

I went to church that evening as many Americans did.  As the scope of the tragedy unfolded and the tremendous loss of life became evident - I stayed home the next day - there wasn't anyway for me to get to work anyway - and I was able to reflect on how much had changed for each and everyone of us.

I traveled to Ground Zero not long after - when the debris still burned and participated in a candlelight vigil.  Just last year, I finally made it to the Memorial in the plaza and was deeply moved - much as I knew I would be.  Today, I spent most of the day reflecting on what happened fifteen years ago - I watched some of the coverage of the events in New York City today - I watched some of the documentaries that have been produced about that dark day.  We went to church, as we do almost every Sunday and we closed with the hymn, Let There Be Peace on Earth.  Yes, please, let's try that.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Raspberry Blondies? Yes, please

Combining my love of raspberries and the blondie. From Sweet Peas and Saffron via BuzzFeed.

Brown Butter Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Blondies
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 25 mins
Total time 55 mins
Serves: 9

Cream Cheese Layer
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (125g, fluffed, spooned & leveled)
Raspberry Swirl
  • ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam 

Cream Cheese Layer
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain.

Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.

Set aside.

Line a 9X9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and grease with spray oil.

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Allow the butter to simmer gently for 5 or so minutes to brown it. Keep an eye on the butter, as it can go from golden to burned very quickly. As the butter browns, stir frequently, and you will see small brown bits coming off the bottom of the pan.

Pour the browned butter into a large bowl and add the sugar, mixing completely. Allow it to sit 5 minutes or so to cool, before stirring in the egg and vanilla.

Stir in the flour until completely combined.

Raspberry Swirl
Heat the jam in the microwave for 10 seconds, then stir until smooth.

Spread ⅔ of the blondie batter over the bottom of the prepared pan.

Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture randomly over the blondie base.

Add teaspoons of the raspberry jam randomly over the blondie base.

Spread (as best as you can) remaining blondie over the cream cheese and raspberry jam.

Gently run a knife along the length of the pan to swirl the mixture. As you can see from my photos they won't look very pretty at this point, however they will be much prettier when they come out of the oven!

Bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set (it shouldn't jiggle). Mine was perfect in 23 minutes.

Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.

Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mini Meatball Casserole

When I'm interested in comfort food I will usually go for my Mom's Beefaroni.  Leave it to the one woman that I might consider leaving Mrs. BA for to provide me with an alternative. Via the Pioneer Woman.

Mini Meatball Pasta Bake
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 1 Hours
Servings: 12 Servings

  • 3/4 pounds Italian Sausage 
  • 3/4 pounds Ground Beef 
  • 1/2 cup Regular Oats 
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan 
  • 1 whole Egg, Beaten 
  • 1/4 cup Minced Fresh Parsley 
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste 
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced 
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced 
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 can (8 Ounces) Tomato Paste 
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar 
  • 2 cups Hot Water 
  • 12 leaves Basil 
  • 12 ounces, weight Ziti Pasta, Cooked To Al Dente 
  • 16 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Cut Into Large Cubes 

In a bowl, mix together the sausage, beef, oats, 1/2 of the Parmesan, egg, half the parsley, and salt and pepper until well combined. Form into small meatballs (about 1/2 inch) and brown in batches in a skillet over medium heat. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain.

Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, salt and pepper, sugar, and water. Stir and bring to a simmer, then add in the meatballs and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to cool. Stir in the basil once cool.

In a casserole dish, add half the pasta, half the mozzarella cubes, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and half the meatball sauce. Repeat with another layer, ending with the meatball sauce. Cover with foil and either refrigerate for up to 2 days, or bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve piping hot!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Vacation Cereal Chicken Strips

The Brave Astronaut Clan is on vacation this week - so there is sure to be some vacation cereal in the beach house - probably Cap'n Crunch or maybe Fruit Loops.  Maybe if SoBA and LBA and their friends don't eat them all, we can make these this week.  From the Pioneer Woman.

Cap'n Crunch Chicken Strips
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

  • 12 whole Chicken Tenders (strips) 
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour 
  • 2 whole Eggs, Beaten 
  • Salt And Pepper 
  • 2 cups Cap'n Crunch Cereal 
  • Vegetable Oil, For Frying 
  • Ketchup, For Serving 

Put the flour in a shallow bowl and add some salt and pepper. Put the egg in a second shallow bowl. Crush the cereal in a third bowl, leaving a few larger chunks.

Dip the chicken strips first in the flour, then the egg and then the cereal.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the strips in batches until golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes, turning them so they don't burn. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with extra salt. Serve with ketchup!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mrs. BA Hits a Big Number

Today is Mrs. BA's birthday - she's hit the 1/2 century mark. I am more and more in love with her every single day.  She is the best wife and mother.  If you see her around today, make sure you wish her a happy birthday. 

Tonight we will gather at the pool (her favorite summer place) to celebrate with friends.  Tomorrow we leave for vacation. 

Doesn't she look great?  And I'm the one younger than she is?

FYI - dear readers, I am unplugging for the week while on vacation.  I am in need of a respite from technology for the week.  I plan to do as little as possible, except sit on the beach, swim in the ocean, and relax.  No Facebook, no games on my phone or other devices.  I'll be back soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Road Trip

The Brave Astronaut Clan is heading out for some much needed vacation time.  No, not to Vacationland again this year - we're staying a little closer to home, but still beach bound.

I have always wanted to drive cross country and hit all the sites along the way.  Some day, I will do this.  I have wanted to do this for years.  And hey, you can't tell me that science is wrong.

According To Science, This Is The Perfect And Best Road Trip You Can Possibly Take
(via shareably)
Be honest with yourself: at some point you’ve probably thought about going on a cross-country road trip. Whether it be driving across Canada, United Kingdom, United States, or wherever you’re from, it’s probably crossed your mind at some point.

Luckily, for those in the United States, the “perfect road trip” has finally been planned.

According to the algorithm - it hits all the biggies.  Those that I would be able to take off this list (as I've already been there) - are in bold.
  1. Grand Canyon, AZ 
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT 
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID 
  4. Yellowstone National Park, WY 
  5. Pikes Peak, CO
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  7. The Alamo, TX (can you see the basement there?)
  8. The Platt Historic District, OK 
  9. Toltec Mounds, AR 
  10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN 
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS 
  12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA 
  13. USS Alabama, AL
  14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL 
  15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA 
  16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC 
  17. Lost World Caverns, WV 
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC 
  19. Mount Vernon, VA 
  20. White House, Washington, DC 
  21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD 
  22. New Castle Historic District, Delaware
  23. Cape May Historic District, NJ 
  24. Liberty Bell, PA 
  25. Statue of Liberty, NY 
  26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT 
  27. The Breakers, RI 
  28. USS Constitution, MA 
  29. Acadia National Park, ME 
  30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH 
  31. Shelburne Farms, VT 
  32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI 
  33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH 
  34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY 
  35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN 
  36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL 
  37. Gateway Arch, MO 
  38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS 
  39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA 
  40. Taliesin, WI 
  41. Fort Snelling, MN 
  42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE 
  43. Mount Rushmore, SD 
  44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND 
  45. Glacier National Park, MT 
  46. Hanford Site, WA 
  47. Columbia River Highway, OR 
  48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA 
  49. San Andreas Fault, CA 
  50. Hoover Dam, NV

Monday, August 8, 2016

Toll House Cookie Pie

I like chocolate chip cookies.  I like pie.  Both together would be fine with me. From A Family Feast via BuzzFeed.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie
Serves: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 55 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell 
  • 2 eggs 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar 
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature 
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional but highly recommended, for serving)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a deep dish pie plate with the unbaked pie crust, crimping the edges. Set aside. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high speed until light and foamy. Add the flour and both sugars to the bowl and mix again until combined. Then add the softened butter and mix one more time until completely mixed. 
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts and mix until the chocolate and nuts are evenly mixed throughout the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pie crust. 
  4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center of the pie comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken in Tomato Sauce

One of my favorite dishes my mother made growing up was her version of chicken cacciatore.  She would brown some chicken pieces and then smother them in some tomato sauce and serve it up.  Tonight LBA, SoBA, and I had breakfast for dinner (though we were going to have meatloaf until I realized we only had one pound of ground beef in the house).  In learning that I discovered that we need to eat out of the freezer for a while - there's too much in there.

So time for some chicken dishes.  From Cafe Delites, via BuzzFeed.

COOK TIME 10 mins
TOTAL TIME 11 mins
Serves: 4


  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves 
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, halved to make 4 fillets 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • 1 cup your favourite Marinara tomato sauce 
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (adjust to your tastes) 
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat the broiler/grill to a medium heat setting. 
  2. Combine the herbs in a shallow bowl with salt and pepper and oil. Coat both sides of each chicken fillet with the oil. Heat a large heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the fillets and pan fry on each side until golden (about 3 minutes on each side). 
  3. Add the garlic to the same pan and allow to fry until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the chicken. Add the Italian seasonings into the sauce and stir them through. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella over each chicken fillet; transfer to the oven and broil / grill until the cheese has melted and the chicken is cooked through (about 3 to 5 minutes). 
  4. Garnish with freshly chopped parmesan cheese and serve over zucchini noodles, rice, pasta, steamed vegetables, or with a salad!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The 50 Best Animated Films (so far)

With LBA and SoBA in the house, I've seen my fair share of animated films.  So when this list came out, I knew I needed to comment.  There's a lot on Japanese anime on this list, which I haven't seen many of.  What say you? My comments in italic. From The Playlist via kottke.

50. "Brave" - I haven't seen this movie. When Mrs. BA took the boys to see this, I went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
49. “The Pirates! Band Of Misfits” (2012) - haven't seen it
48. “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” (2009) - a cute film.
47. “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003) - haven't seen it
46. “Frankenweenie” (2012) - I think LBA and SoBA have seen pieces of this
45. “Zootopia” (2016) - "What.  Do.  You.   Call.  A.  Three.  Humped.   Camel?        Pregnant."
44. “Kung Fu Panda” (2008) - Jack Black is pretty good.
43. “Shaun The Sheep Movie” (2015) - haven't seen it
42. “Paprika” (2006) - haven't seen it
41. “Song Of the Sea” (2014) - haven't seen it
40. “Sita Sings The Blues” (2008) - haven't seen it
39. “Boy & The World” (2013) - haven't seen it
38. “April And The Extraordinary World” (2015)  - haven't seen it
37. “The Adventures of Tintin” (2011) - I grew up reading these books and I enjoyed this movie.
36. “Ponyo” (2008) - haven't seen it
35. “The Illusionist” (2010) - haven't seen it
34. “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2006) - haven't seen it
33. “Ernest & Celestine” (2012) - haven't seen it
32. “Wolf Children” (2012) - haven't seen it
31. “The Secret Of Kells” (2009) - haven't seen it
30. “The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000) - Disney, and based on its ranking not one of the better ones, but not bad.
29. “Mary And Max” (2009) - haven't seen it
28. “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit” (2005) - a bit creepy, but amusing.
27. “Lilo & Stitch” (2002) - more Disney, and a cute film.
26. "Winnie The Pooh” (2011) - the books are better.
25. “Rango” (2011) - For some reason SoBA and LBA have a thing for this one.
24. “A Town Called Panic” (2009) - haven't seen it
23. “Millennium Actress” (2001) - haven't seen it
22. “Monster House” (2006) - haven't seen it
21. “How To Train Your Dragon” (2010) - SoBA and LBA also tend toward sequels, and this one is actually not as good as the second one.
20. “Finding Nemo” (2003) - into the Pixar movies we go - Mrs. BA and the boys went to see the sequel a week or so ago - I have yet to see it.  This one would be higher on my list.
19. “Monsters, Inc.” (2001) - MIKE WAZOWSKI!  KITTY! One of my favorites.
18. “Toy Story 3” (2010) - appropriate that this is here, the others are better, but I still can't watch the end of this one without crying.
17. “Anomalisa” (2015) - haven't seen it
16. “Coraline” (2009) - haven't seen it
15. “The Lego Movie” (2014) - well it is AWESOME.
14. “Ratatouille” (2007) - Mrs. BA doesn't like this one, because she doesn't do rats.
13. “Chicken Run” (2000) - I've seen pieces of it, but it's not one of my favorites.
12. “Persepolis” (2007) - haven't seen it
11. “Wall-E” (2008) - doesn't do it for me.
10. “The Wind Rises” (2013) - haven't seen it
9. “Waltz With Bashir” (2008) - haven't seen it
8. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) - not a bad movie, but I wouldn't call it "animated"
7. “The Tale Of Princess Kaguya” (2013) - haven't seen it
6. “Inside Out” (2015) - I haven't seen this yet, but the boys have.
5. “The Triplets of Belleville” (2003) - haven't seen it
4. “It’s Such A Beautiful Day” (2012) - haven't seen it
3. “Up” (2009) - I don't know if this one should be this high?
2. “The Incredibles” (2004) - another good one but #2?
1. “Spirited Away” (2001) - haven't seen it

I'm wishing there were more Disney movies on this list.  101 Dalmatians?  Any of the Shrek movies?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coffee-Caramel Creme Brulee

Mrs. BA and I just returned from a weekend jaunt to Boston, where she went on a field trip for her volunteer board work.  As part of that field trip, we enjoyed a really, really, really good dinner at The Country Club at Brookline.

We started with passed appetizers and cocktails in our private sitting room.  Then we moved into a private dining room and were served a deconstructed lobster roll (Mrs. BA, who's not fond of the crustaceans, was given a lamb carpaccio, which practically melted in her mouth).  We then had a cold summer squash soup, followed by the main course of a veal chop with crabmeat on top.  Dessert was a creme brulee.

So now, I need to have more creme brulee (I may have finished Mrs. BA's after finishing my own).  Here's a recipe that showed up in my inbox a while back.  Hey, I own a torch.  I have sugar and coffee in the house (from Epicurious).

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided 
  • 1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans (such as French roast; about 3/4 ounce), crushed with mallet in plastic bag 
  • 1 cup sugar, divided 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 8 large egg yolks 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 teaspoons raw sugar* 
Bring 1 cup cream and coffee beans to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 11 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth. Stir in half and half. Strain coffee-infused cream into caramel cream; discard coffee beans in strainer.

Whisk yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain custard into large measuring cup.

Arrange eight 2/3-to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups in roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Add enough warm water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins or custard cups.

Bake custards until just set in center, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer custards from water bath directly to refrigerator. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Sprinkle top of each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar on each custard until deep amber. (Alternatively, preheat broiler. Arrange custards on small rimmed baking sheet; broil until sugar topping melts and browns, about 2 minutes.) Refrigerate custards until sugar topping hardens, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not chill longer than 1 hour or topping will start to soften). Serve custards cold.

*  Also called turbinado or demerara sugar; available at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Space: The Final Frontier

Today is the anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing, July 20, 1969.  As of today (and for the foreseeable future, it would seem), there have only been 12 men who have walked on the moon.  They are part of a group of individuals who have been in space.  Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many people that is?

(as of November 2013, from Wikipedia)

So on this anniversary, here is a list of those "Brave Astronauts" who journeyed to the moon.  Of that number, only seven are still alive. (originally from kottke)
  1. Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012
  2. Buzz Aldrin, b. 1930
  3. Pete Conrad, 1930-1999
  4. Alan Bean, b. 1932
  5. Alan Shepard, 1923-1998
  6. Edgar Mitchell, 1930-2016
  7. David Scott, b. 1932
  8. James Irwin, 1930-1991
  9. John W. Young, b. 1930
  10. Charles Duke, b. 1935
  11. Eugene Cernan, b. 1934
  12. Harrison Schmitt, b. 1935
Here's a video mashup of space movies, for your entertainment (Luc Bergeron's Space Story, via kottke)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Raspberry Coffee Cake

I commented recently that it's possible that raspberries are my favorite fruit. That was when my neighbor produced some raspberry pie for me.  Then a week or so later, I fell victim to a Costco impulse purchase after getting a sample of their new coffee cake.  Now, with this recipe, I can combine the two.  From Just So Tasty via BuzzFeed.

Raspberry Coffee Cake 
Prep time: 35 mins 
Cook time: 55 mins 
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins 
Serves: One 9-inch Cake, about 10 pieces 

For the Streusel
  • ½ cup cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled 
  • ⅓ cup lightly packed brown sugar, light or dark 
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 
For the Coffee Cake
  • 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, to taste 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature 
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature 
  • 2 and ½ cups fresh raspberries (I do not recommend using frozen berries because they'll add too much water to the cake) 
For the Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons milk, half-and-half or cream 
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup icing/confectioner's/powdered sugar 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9 inch round springform pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and lightly flour. Set aside. 
  2. Make the streusel. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugars & cinnamon used in the streusel whisking gently. Add the ½ cup butter cut into chunks and cut in using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly and similar in consistency to wet sand. Set aside. 
  3. Make the cake batter. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a separate large bowl using a hand-held or electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in the eggs and vanilla and continue beating until combined (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Turn off the mixer and stir in the sour cream using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Then turn back on the mixer to low and carefully add in about ½ half of the flour mixture followed by about ½ of the buttermilk. Repeat with the second half of the flour mixture and buttermilk until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl using your rubber spoon or spatula as necessary until well combined. 
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Place the raspberries on top of the cake batter to create an even layer. Then sprinkle the streusel on top of the raspberries by crumbling it in between your fingers & fists until an even layer of crumble covers the raspberries. 
  5. Bake in your prepared oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  6. Gently trace around the edges of the pan with a thin knife, then allow the cake to cool fully in the pan.
  7. To make the glaze, whisk together the milk/cream, vanilla & powdered sugar until a smooth consistency is reached and no lumps remain. Add a little extra milk/cream or powdered sugar as necessary. Then when ready to serve unclamp the ring around the springform pan, cut into pieces and drizzle with glaze.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The New Englandah Burgah

I'm one of those people that likes to dip bacon or sausage in maple syrup.  When I spotted this recipe, I knew that I've found something worthwhile trying to create at the launchpad. From Food52 via BuzzFeed.
The New Englandah Burgah
By Chef Jason Royal
July 19, 2010

Author Notes: This came from my mind when I was a student at The Culinary Institute of America. We had to create a menu item based on where we lived. Since I am from New England I created this burger with ingredients that you can find or originate in New England. This was a hit at both the CIA and at the restaurant I worked at. - Chef Jason Royal

Food52 Review: We were intrigued not only by the name of this burger, but by the juxtaposition of savory and sweet. This could easily go too far, but Chef Jason manages to rein it in, inspiring harmony rather than a cacophony of flavors. The burger themselves have a faint sweetness from the maple syrup, and this is enhanced by the grilled apples; the salty crunch of the bacon and the tang of cheddar provide the perfect counterpoints. This is a burger that requires a ravenous appetite and begs to be eaten in generous mouthfuls, each including all of the different components. - The Editors

Makes 2 large burgers
  • 1 pound 80-85% lean Black Angus ground beef 
  • 1/4 cup Pure New England maple syrup, plus more for basting 
  • 4 thick slices applewood smoked bacon 
  • 1 MacIntosh apple 
  • 4 slices Vermont cheddar cheese 
  • 2 Bulkie rolls 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 bottles blueberry beer

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well using your hands. Form into 2 8-ounce patties. Set aside in the refrigerator. 
  2. Cook the bacon on the grill, in a skillet, or in the oven. Peel and slice the apple. Place in small bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over the slices to prevent browning. 
  3. Place the apple slices on grill and cook for about one minute on each side. Remove and set aside. 
  4. Grill the burgers over high heat, turn after 3 or 4 minutes and move to a cooler part of the grill. Drizzle some maple syrup over the burgers as they cook. Toast the buns as the burgers cook. 
  5. When the burgers are cooked to your liking, take two slices or more of bacon and place on top of each burger. Arrange some apple slices on top of the bacon. 
  6. Place a slice of cheese on top of each burger, cover the grill and let melt for about a minute. 
  7. Place the burgers on the buns. 
  8. Serve with blueberry beer. 
  9. Enjoy.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day! Toast to the Founders!

Today is the 240th birthday for the United States.  It is also the 87th birthday of The Brave Astronaut's Father - so if you see him, be sure to wish him a happy day.  The Clan will be in NY soon to wish him well along with my siblings. There is likely to be card playing, which comes with greasy cheese pizza and drinking.

So here's a few Sangria recipes to keep us lubricated during the visit.  Hey Brave Astronaut Sister get those ingredients.  The Brave Astronaut Brother should plan to stop at the NH State Liquor Store!

If anyone is interested, I would like the first and the last over the other two.

Strawberry Lemonade Sangria
Servings: 6-8
  • 2 lbs strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 lemon, sliced 
  • 1 bottle white wine 
  • 1 cup white rum 
  • 4 cups lemonade 
  • 2 cups champagne 
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Preparation: In a large pitcher, combine the strawberries, lemon, wine, rum, and lemonade. Stir until mixed. Chill for at least 4 hours. Add the champagne, then serve with a lemon slice on each glass!

Mixed Berry Sangria

Servings: 6-8
  • 1 cup blackberries 
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 1 bottle red wine 
  • 1 cup brandy 
  • 3 cups apple juice 
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda 
  • Strawberries for garnish 
Preparation: In a large pitcher, combine the blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, red wine, brandy, and apple juice. Stir until mixed. Chill for at least 4 hours. Add the lemon-lime soda, then serve with a strawberry on each glass!

Mango Pineapple Sangria
Servings: 6-8
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced 
  • 3 mangos, diced 
  • 1 bottle red wine 
  • 1 cup brandy 
  • 3 cups pineapple juice 
  • 2 cups orange soda 
  • Pineapple wedges for garnish 

Preparation: In a large pitcher, combine the pineapples, mangoes, wine, brandy, and pineapple juice. Stir until mixed. Chill for at least 4 hours. Add the soda, then serve with a pineapple wedge on each glass!

Raspberry Peach Sangria 
Servings: 6-8
  • 3 white peaches, sliced 
  • 2 cups raspberries 
  • 1 bottle rosé 
  • 1 cup white rum 
  • 4 cups peach nectar 
  • 1 cup champagne 
  • Peach slices for garnish 

Preparation: In a large pitcher, combine the peaches, raspberries, rosé, rum, and peach nectar. Stir until mixed. Chill for at least 4 hours. Add the champagne, then serve with a peach slice on each glass!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wait, How Old Were They?

We have arrived at the final post for the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Next week we will celebrate the independence of our nation - and of course, there will be the traditional viewing of 1776, but please take a moment to peruse the list below - noting the ages of the "Founding Fathers" and other prominent personalities of the age on July 4, 1776 [from the Journal of the American Revolution, via kottke].
  1. Andrew Jackson, 9
  2. (Major) Thomas Young, 12
  3. Deborah Sampson, 15 
  4. James Armistead, 15 
  5. Sybil Ludington, 15 
  6. Joseph Plumb Martin, 15 
  7. Peter Salem, 16* 
  8. Peggy Shippen, 16 
  9. Marquis de Lafayette, 18 
  10. James Monroe, 18 
  11. Charles Pinckney, 18 
  12. Henry Lee III, 20 
  13. Gilbert Stuart, 20 
  14. John Trumbull, 20 
  15. Aaron Burr, 20 
  16. John Marshall, 20 
  17. Nathan Hale, 21
  18. Banastre Tarleton, 21 
  19. Alexander Hamilton, 21* 
  20. John Laurens, 21 
  21. Benjamin Tallmadge, 22 
  22. Robert Townsend, 22 
  23. George Rodgers Clark, 23 
  24. David Humphreys, 23 
  25. Gouveneur Morris, 24 
  26. Betsy Ross, 24 
  27. William Washington, 24 
  28. James Madison, 25 
  29. Henry Knox, 25 
  30. John Andre, 26 
  31. Thomas Lynch, Jr., 26^ 
  32. Edward Rutledge, 26^ 
  33. Abraham Woodhull, 26 
  34. Isaiah Thomas, 27 
  35. George Walton, 27*^ 
  36. John Paul Jones, 28 
  37. Bernardo de Galvez, 29 
  38. Thomas Heyward, Jr., 29^ 
  39. Robert R. Livingston, 29 
  40. John Jay, 30 
  41. Tadeusz Kosciuszko, 30 
  42. Benjamin Rush, 30^ 
  43. Abigail Adams, 31 
  44. John Barry, 31 
  45. Elbridge Gerry, 31^ 
  46. Casimir Pulaski, 31 
  47. Anthony Wayne, 31 
  48. Joseph Brant, 33 
  49. Nathanael Greene, 33 
  50. Thomas Jefferson, 33^ 
  51. Thomas Stone, 33*^ 
  52. William Hooper, 34^ 
  53. Arthur Middleton, 34^ 
  54. James Wilson, 34*^ 
  55. Benedict Arnold, 35
  56. Samuel Chase, 35^ 
  57. Thomas Knowlton, 35 
  58. William Paca, 35^ 
  59. John Penn, 35^ 
  60. Hercules Mulligan, 36 
  61. Andrew Pickens, 36 
  62. Haym Solomon, 36 
  63. John Sullivan, 36 
  64. George Clymer, 37^ 
  65. Charles Cornwallis, 37 
  66. Thomas Nelson, Jr., 37^ 
  67. Ethan Allen, 38 
  68. Charles Carroll, 38^ 
  69. King George III, 38 
  70. Francis Hopkinson, 38^ 
  71. Carter Braxton, 39^ 
  72. George Clinton, 39 
  73. John Hancock, 39^ 
  74. Daniel Morgan, 39 
  75. Thomas Paine, 39 
  76. Patrick Henry, 40 
  77. Enoch Poor, 40 
  78. John Adams, 40^ 
  79. Daniel Boone, 41 
  80. William Floyd, 41^ 
  81. Button Gwinnett, 41*^ 
  82. John Lamb, 41* 
  83. Francis Lightfoot Lee, 41^
  84. Paul Revere, 41 
  85. Thomas Sumter, 41 
  86. Robert Morris, 42^ 
  87. Thomas McKean, 42^ 
  88. George Read, 42^ 
  89. John Dickinson, 43 
  90. John Glover, 43 
  91. Benjamin Edes, 43 
  92. Samuel Huntington, 44^ 
  93. Richard Henry Lee, 44^ 
  94. Charles Lee, 44 
  95. Francis Marion, 44 
  96. Lord North, 44 
  97. George Washington, 44 
  98. Joseph Galloway, 45 
  99. Robert Treat Paine, 45^ 
  100. Friedrich von Steuben, 45 
  101. Richard Stockton, 45^ 
  102. Martha Washington, 45 
  103. William Williams, 45^ 
  104. (Dr.) Thomas Young, 45* 
  105. Josiah Bartlett, 46^ 
  106. Henry Clinton, 46 
  107. Joseph Hewes, 46^ 
  108. William Howe, 46 
  109. George Ross, 46^ 
  110. William Whipple, 46^ 
  111. Caesar Rodney, 47^ 
  112. John Stark, 47 
  113. Mercy Otis Warren, 47 
  114. William Ellery, 48^ 
  115. Horatio Gates, 48 
  116. Artemas Ward, 48 
  117. Oliver Wolcott, 49^ 
  118. Abraham Clark, 50^ 
  119. Benjamin Harrison, 50^ 
  120. George Mason, 50 
  121. Lewis Morris, 50^ 
  122. Lord Stirling, 50 
  123. George Wythe, 50*^ 
  124. Guy Carleton, 51 
  125. John Morton, 51*^ 
  126. Comte de Rochambeau, 51
  127. Lyman Hall, 52^ 
  128. James Rivington, 52* 
  129. Samuel Adams, 53^ 
  130. Comte de Grasse, 53 
  131. John Witherspoon, 53^ 
  132. John Burgoyne, 54 
  133. Johann de Kalb, 55
  134. Roger Sherman, 55^ 
  135. Thomas Gage, 56 
  136. James Smith, 56^ 
  137. Israel Putnam, 58 
  138. Comte de Vergennes, 58 
  139. Lewis Nicola, 59* 
  140. George Germain, 60 
  141. Philip Livingston, 60^ 
  142. George Taylor, 60*^ 
  143. Matthew Thornton, 62^ 
  144. Francis Lewis, 63^ 
  145. John Hart, 65*^ 
  146. Stephen Hopkins, 69^ 
  147. Benjamin Franklin, 70^ 
  148. Samuel Whittemore, 81
*  Evidence may exist that this age is not precise, or only a birth year is known
^  Signers of the Declaration of Independence (average signer age was 44)