Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

1-2-3 Peanut Butter Cookies



I meant to bake more in December and January but that didn't happen. Oh well. I think I focused more on taste-testing various craft beers, bourbons, and Scotch whiskies. ๐Ÿ˜Š  So this recipe is a very easy peanut butter cookie recipe. It was one of the cookies that Mom made for the holidays. No flour, no baking powder, just THREE ingredients: an egg, peanut butter, and good ole sugar! I don't know why I hadn't tried this before. I took me all of 10 minutes to prep, 15 minutes at most in the oven, 5 minutes to cool down, and 10 seconds INTO MA BELLY!


I used honey roasted creamy peanut butter and they came out SO GOOD.
Ready for the Oven!


1-2-3 PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
by Abby Deeds

Set oven to BAKE at 350'F

1. In bowl, stir together 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 cup of white granulated sugar, and 1 egg.
2. Roll mixture into balls (about 1 Tbsp per cookie)
3. Roll balls in sugar if desired (YES PLEASE!)
4. Place on ungreased cookie sheet
5. Bake at 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown (I left mine in about 13 minutes)
6. Cool completely



1-2-3 Peanut Butter Cookies



Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Twin Won $3500


Definition: Doppelgรคnger (from Wikipedia)
Dante Gabriel RossettiHow They Met Themselves, watercolor, 1864

From Wikipedia:
"In fiction and folklore, a doppelganger (German origins) is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and is usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stores, they recognize one's 'double-goer' as an evil twin. Doppelgaenger is a German word which also means double walker."



They say we all have twins in this world. Some consider them doppelgangers, your evil twin creating havoc somewhere across the globe. That couldn't be true ... but could it?  Or maybe it's just a genetic coincidence. Could there be someone, who looks exactly like you, with similar mannerism, features, likes and dislikes? Could the world be just a world of various duplicates of 8 billion people?

Either way, there are websites devoted to them. Usually the easiest ones to find are the celebrity look-alikes. There's a photo of a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney that is making the rounds these days. He is a Turkish man photographed on a bus going about his business. Is he the evil George Clooney? If George is ever face to face with this man, with there be a "Battle Royal" between the Clooney lookalikes of the world? I can see it now!

The stronger one will take over Clooney's career! But wait! What if George is the evil twin trying to take over this nice Turkish man's career as a shop keeper or government worker? If they ever come face to face, would the world explode? I shudder at the thought of the end of the world being brought about by George Clooney. OK OK,  I digress, back to me and my doppelgangers!

George Clooney and his doppelganger? (From TMZ.,com)


Spicoli
Keifer
Years ago and by years, unfortunately I mean decades, I was told I bore a resemblance to a young Sean Penn. I wish! My nickname was Marcus never Spicoli. I was also told I looked like Keifer Sutherland. OK ... I never saw it. I know my chin bore a resemblance to Jay Leno's but that's about all.


Chin
In 2013, another doppelganger of mine was spotted by my friend Donna at the Hilton in Vienna, Austria while she was on a family vacation. He was younger and skinnier than me but bore a strong resemblance, and ironically working the front desk at the hotel. I have also worked in the hotel business during my 20's and early 30's. Unfortunately, I lost the picture of my Austrian twin. You'll have to take my word for it ... and that I'm better looking.

People have compared me to Jonathan Karl, the Chief White House Correspondent and political journalist on ABC News. I think I only look like him during my chunky times of the year (sorry Karl). He is a journalist and I write my blog. He also grew up in South Dakota and I still have extended family out there. Otherwise, not much of a connection.

Jonathan Karl
And still others think I bear a resemblance to Dan Bylsma, the former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach from 2009-2014 and current Buffalo Sabres head coach since 2015. He's a bigger dude (like 6'1'') but the same age as me, born in 1970. I also like hockey. LOL J  Again, the resemblance is more when I put on my winter weight.

Coach Bylsma
I was told the other night that there is a bartender at a bar in Berks County which looks like me too. I also bartend. Hmmm…. My friend who told me this really thought that either I was now bartending there or my brother was. I think I'm gonna have to seek out this guy and see how much we look like each other.

Lastly, the ENTIRE idea for this blog came about by a text from my friend Richelle in Lake Wynonah. She was watching the TV show Celebrity Name Game with the host Craig Ferguson and she saw me, or rather someone who was named MARC as well! And why are they always skinnier! GRRRR!

I was blown away. I thought the pic she sent me was altered on the computer. There was my name, spelled the same way, captioned underneath some dude in a sweater vest wearing thick rimmed  glasses. The mannerisms were oddly … familiar. I can also be quite excitable when I win larges sums of money. OK, I can be quite excitable in general. LOL

To be honest, this latest doppelganger had my head spinning. Just creepy and eeire to think that there are people who look so much like me living different lives in this world. I had once said JOKINGLY that I wanted to take out anyone else named Marc Haynes so that my standings on Google search would improve dramatically. Now I also have to worry about those that look like me? Egads, that's just too much! I think I'll just share the world with the rest of these Marc Hayneses and look-alikes. I already have too much on my plate.

But to the Marc that won the $3500 on Celebrity Name Game, one question ... Brother, can you spare a dime?  I mean after all, we are twins!



Blogger's NOTE: I do not own any of these pictures. They are borrowed from online.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Online Political Convo? I'll Pass...



As a regular blogger, I am attached by way of email or username to many popular social media websites. I use most of them to promote my blog. Some I just connect to as an observer. My good friend from college, Sharon posted a question on her Facebook page asking how many did we participate in and I was shocked when mine added up to more than 10!

In this day and age, if I want to develop an online presence and following, it is necessary to try and be involved promoting yourself through various social media websites. Some though, such as SoundCloud, I listen to for the music. I do most of my blog promotion on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. With everything seemingly online, all of my sites are just a click away. If someone likes my taste in music, maybe they will check out my blog or my tweets and vice versa.

I tend to think of my overall online presence as rather vanilla though. I'll be the first to admit, I don't often get involved in controversial topics. If this were magazine format,, my blogs would probably do well in magazines like Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Life, Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair etc. Give me a good old-school variety mag with human interest pieces and I'm sure I would fit right in!

I find myself growing tired of witnessing horrible nasty drag-out fights on Facebook involving people who are family, friends and strangers arguing with one another to the point of embarrassment. I truly don't feel that posting political rants on Facebook creates an atmosphere for a good conversation and dialogue. You don't get anywhere. No one ever seems to change their opinion!

This is how it seemingly goes. Someone posts an inflammatory statement, religious or political. Invariably friends who are in support jump on the band wagon. You have that one brave individual who speaks up against the discussed position. He or she then gets slammed by long vitriolic tirades against them. Who wants to open themselves up to that? Who actively chooses to be cyber-bullied by nameless individuals or strangers? Sorry but I'm not a masochist.

It's so easy to hide behind your phone or computer. If you wanna have a meaningful conversation, try doing it offline. But honestly, I may not engage you there either. And guess what, texting does not work either! Points are misconstrued, people read other's comments incorrectly.

Let just say that I'll leave the arguments for the pundits. I don't have the time to engage in political discussions which probably won't effect me in the short term or when I know neither your opinion will change mine or vice versa. It's a waste of time going around in circles. You are probably thinking, well that's pretty judgmental, how do YOU know Marc Haynes? Well for starters, I see it directly on past posts on various individual's' pages. Not to mention that my time can be better spent in more meaningful ways with family, friends, and home. How much time do people spend arguing back and forth, posting stuff just to rile people up?

It is hard for me to think that any meaningful conversation can occur back and forth on certain social media websites. I liken it to you and I trying to have a thoughtful discussion in a stadium full of strangers. I make a comment, you make a comment. Then all of a sudden, some stranger comes rushing in and makes a rude comment biting my head off. I don't even know this person!!! Why would any sane individual want to subject themselves to that?

Now before you begin to feel that this post is about you, realize it can apply to about 40 or so people that I know online. But it may be about you... or not. Ha-Ha-Ha. And it's not just for my Republican friends, but also for my Democratic friends. No disrespect is meant but just how I see it. It annoys me when I see a political rant with 30+ comments going back and forth with everyone trying to "out insult" each other. More than likely I'll pass on by and keep swiping.

In conclusion, as a blogger, I know that I open myself up to criticism and comments. I accept that. But my blog is not controversial, it's pretty vanilla with some nuts and chocolate chips thrown in (what does that even mean? Ha-ha.). My time can be better spent commenting on the fun crazy stuff of this world like Kellyanne Conway's nutcracker outfit to the Inauguration. I'll let others have all of the nasty argumentative stuff. I've gots no time for that!

Listen, I've had 5 friends, middle aged to senior citizen, pass away in the last two months from various health issues. It gets very difficult seeing your friends pass away. I'd rather spend my time doing more meaningful interactions with family and friends than wasting time arguing online. You never know when your time may be up. My friends, how much time do you spend on ridiculous online arguments which go absolutely no where?




Monday, January 9, 2017

Resolutions I Will NOT Keep


Possible New Year's Resolutions...

Over the years resolutions have come to annoy me. People (including myself) write a list of things that they want to accomplish or complete in the following year. Some superficial (lose 25 pounds, buy that car), some pretty deep (be a better parent, child, etc). Some silly (eat less chocolate), some kinda serious (keep in touch with family). 

I would diligently write my list, placing it in the interior cover of my yearly planner and then forget about it until the end of the year. I found that some resolutions I would do without even checking the list, like going through old clothes on a rainy day. Many would ultimately just be transferred over to the next year's list.

The only ones I really kept were practicing a healthier lifestyle, working out, and petting the cats more. The others, like learn a new language, completing the yard work, learn to like children etc, seemed to not happen year after year.

It occurred to me that those several resolutions which I would continuously transfer from year to year would never happen! I have decided to be proactive and instead finally remove them from the master list. Therefore, I never have to suffer through the guilt of seeing them at the end of year, staring at me, mocking me, laughing at me, sitting there uncrossed off! Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands.


Resolutions I am NEVER going to add to my list EVER AGAIN:

1. Become more flexible: Come on now. I am WAY too set in my ways at this point. Thank G-d for my 40s. Deal with it.

2. Organize my CD collection: Yeah, I'll do that right after I alphabetize my cassettes.

3. Plant something in the far flower beds of the yard: If something grows over there it's either a weed or some bird crapped out a seed.

4. Organize books and photos:  See #2.

5. Stop having half of the conversation in my head before I speak: Listen people, I start speaking often in mid-thought. YOU need to just figure it out and catch up. ๐Ÿ˜Š

6. Spackle and paint the laundry room wall: I've come to like the drywall look anyway.

7. Stop eating in car:  Today I had buffalo scrapple with BBQ sauce. I also once ate a bowl of soup while driving down the highway. Don't worry, the soup had cooled off by that point and I didn't burn myself. Luckily the cop who pulled me over just gave me a warning.

8. Cut back on caffeine: I will say to you what I said to my doctor. "Caffeine should be the least of my problems! Do you know what the $@*&# that I used to do in my 20s?!  No seriously, because I don't remember ..."

9. Stop worrying:  Won't happen LOL. It's a trait I was proudly born with. Talk to my sister. We got it from our Mother who got it from our Nana.

10. Lowering my voice: HELLO??? It's MARC!!!! My ears are always clogged up due to my never-ending allergies. Excuse given, move on.

11. Like children: There is an exception. I do like children when they are three houses down from me.

12, Learn a language:  I know a little Yiddish, a little Spanish, and a whole lotta of bullshit.











Monday, January 2, 2017

Discovering Roasted Cauliflower!

For my little Christmas Eve Open House, I channeled Mom Abby and put out a traditional crudite' platter of veggies along with her recipe for a spiced up veggie curry dip. It kicked ass! Check out my Mom's recipe and subsequent blog post on that:

Recipe: http://frazzledatforty.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-vegetable-dip-with-kick.html

Italian-style Roasted Cauliflower
Long story short: I cut up enough vegetables for an army but I barely invited a troop! LOL. What to do with all those veggies? There aren't enough vegetarians in the world. Now I knew I could do a stir fry with a bunch of them but I still had a ton of broccoli and a head of cauliflower larger than a butter ball turkey! SERIOUSLY.

So I did some research online because I decided I wanted to try something different than just steaming the cauliflower. Now I'm health conscious but I had definitely eaten my fill of raw veggies. Somewhere through the last couple years I remembered seeing a recipe for roasted cauliflower so I went that route.

I discovered the recipe below and modified it to my own tastes adding Italian spices instead of thyme. After all, I ain't got time for that.... get it? LMAO. OK really bad joke. Anyway, the original recipe is linked below and afterwords is my modified recipe! (The better one.. hahaha.)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/parmesan-roasted-cauliflower-51143020

Marc's Italian Style Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 chopped shallots
- 4 chopped or minced garlic cloves
- 3-4 Tblspn Italian seasoning mix (basil, oregano, rosemary, savory, marjoram)
- 4-6 Tblspn olive oil
- Kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425'F. Cut cauliflower into 1 to 1/2 inch florets. Spray down nonstick pan with olive oil spray. Mix garlic, cauliflower, shallots, seasonings, salt and pepper. Roast, flipping and tossing cauliflower occasionally, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to bowl and toss with grated Parm cheese. Use more cheese if you'd like.

The recipe online states to roast 10-12 minutes longer after sprinkling with Parm cheese until the cauliflower is tender., I DID NOT do this. I like my cauliflower a little more al dente. I could've even stopped the cooking at 35 minutes. Will shorten the time a little bit more maybe next time. It really comes down to how tender or hard you like your roasted cauliflower.

It's a great easy recipe you can do which will produce a roasted cauliflower that is earthy, garlicky, and nutty. Maybe even the kids will like it.

Doubtful though, the little monsters.




Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mom, the Florida Keys Bartender

Me n' Bartender Mom (early 90s)

For a period of time during the early 1990's, my Mom lived down in the Florida Keys with my stepdad Barry. She had divorced my Dad a couple of years prior. It was a difficult time for my family but thankfully, we all survived that period of emotional turmoil.

Mom was attempting to find herself and it ultimately became an incredible time for her, a period of regrowth and discovery. As a family, we rebuilt our relationship stronger than ever. The same can be said with our relationship with my Dad as well. It was the first time I truly had an adult relationship with each of my parents, being able to receive advice from them and give it back (solicited or not, LOL).

Mom and Barry lived at Barry's place in Tamarac Park, Key West, Florida. Specifically, they lived off of Mile Marker 10, down Boca Chica Road. If you know the Florida Keys, you know that places are often informally referred to as by what mile marker they are located at since the Overseas Highway it one long 113 mile stretch from Miani to Key West.

I remember the trip well as I drove it at least a dozen times. From Miami, travel about 3 hours south towards Key West and then make a left at Mile Marker 10, right at the Circle K convenience store. Simple enough directions, right? It was always a scenic drive of resorts, motels, and bugalows, sport fishing spots, bridges connecting the keys, plenty of palm trees and mile after mile of the most beautiful turquoise blue waters you can imagine.

Mom and Barry lived in a little resort-style neighborhood called Tamarac Park on Geiger Key. It was off Boca Chica Key, where the US Naval Base was located. Mom had recently married my stepdad Barry. Geiger Key was 99% residential but did have a great little RV park, marina, restaurant and bar. It was here at the Geiger Key Marina that Mom took a job on a whim as bartender of that little bar in the open air restaurant sitting next to the endless mangroves and canals.


http://www.geigerkeymarina.com/

Everyone loved Abby the bartender. My Mom was feisty and ready to give you a frosty beer along with her wit and (sometimes barbed) wisdom. Standing at a petite 5 ft 4 inches and barely over 100 pounds, Abby become the favorite bartender of the locals who loved her sassy personality but knew she couldn't be taken advantage of.

Even being of small stature, Mom was very well respected. When someone would get drunk or out of hand, my Mom would raise her voice, "Just try me buddy, just try me!" She would grab the bat hidden under the bar and slam it right down on the bar top. She apparently had lots practice doing this with wooden spoons on my childhood backside. She had the back up of her bar patrons of course.

My sister Sheryl saw her bartending and said Mom never looked so happy tending bar. She was in her element, helping people and also able to talk as much as she liked. LOL

Bartender Marc at the Lodge in 2016
I started bartending and waiting tables in Philly during my 20's and have continued it in one position or another since then. Happily, I just celebrated 7 years bartending at the Lake Wynonah Lodge in my community.

One of the joys that I get while bartending is knowing that my Mom did it for a spell for before me. I see her in myself. The mannerisms, the attitude, the loudness, and the ability to have multiple conversations going on at once with friends, strangers, and anyone in between! Knowing that I have so much of her personality in me makes me smile. So when I have a shot at a bar ... ANYTIME I have a shot at a bar ... and I look up, know that I am toasting my incredible Mom the bartender.


***"This holiday season I can truly say that I ate like a king and I drank like a fish."- ME***






Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Spirits Course and my Favorite Booze Selections

Santa was very generous to me this year. :)  (my own pic)
With New Years Eve quickly approaching, I thought I would voice my opinion and subsequent endorsement for some of my favorite booze. Santa was very generous to me this year, bestowing upon me 8 plus bottles of various spirits. My friends and family know me so well. ๐Ÿ˜Š And with a good 20+ years of hotel, bar, and restaurant experience I've learned a thing or two about fine spirits.

When I worked at the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, I took a professional spirits course with my good friend and boss, John Waldbillig. John was the Director of Purchasing and I was the purchaser, his right hand man so-to-speak. The course was held at the Four Seasons Hotel, our competitor, but they were gracious hosts and so professional in their service (as they should be to try and compete with the Ritz-Carlton!) LOL

Sterling Spirits held the day long course on the ins and outs of various types of liquor. We compared clarity, color, taste, smell, etc.  We first tasted the light spirits during the morning: vodka, gin, silver tequila, light rum. You didn't want to start off too heavy.

Next to each seat were these silver wine buckets we would "spit" in. After you took a swig of the alcohol, you swirl it around your mouth, carefully breathing in some air to get a fuller flavor, and then spit. You just cannot do these types of courses and swallow the booze. It just isn't possible or recommended. It is also professionally frowned upon to swallow. You need to conduct yourself as a hotel/restaurant professional and neatly spit the booze into the silver spittoon. But even with all the spitting, you still end up imbibing some of the alcohol sublingually so by time lunch rolled around, we were each feeling pretty good!

After a really nice, swanky lunch complete with many gin Tom Collins' being served, we tasted the brown liquors next: dark rum, gold tequila, whisky, scotch, and bourbon. By this time, I was definitely feeling the alcohol. The room had become quite warm. I couldn't tell a caramel taste from a vanilla one. Luckily I was in the company of those said professionals who were inadvertently getting sloshed along with me. Good company I may add!

After the event, Sterling Spirits hosted a happy hour in a beautiful wood paneled room in the hotel for us and served up bourbon Manhattans. (It may or may have not been wood paneled. Maybe the lights were just down and the room was dark. I dunno.) The rest of the evening was a bit blurry and since the course was completed, professionalism went out the window.

Bulldog London Dry Gin
I remember ending up at the Rittenhouse Hotel Boathouse Row Bar for a drink with good buddy John W. also known as JW or Big Daddy depending on who knew him, what time a day it was, or how many we had imbibed. We had a couple drinks at Locust Rendezvous Bar and then a couple more at the Pen and Pencil Writer's Club until closing, maybe 3 AM I think? WHAT A NIGHT. Fun stuff when your are young in the city and can bounce back the next day. It was one of my best memories with John W. as well (may he rest in peace).

I learned a lot about what the 'experts' felt were the best tasting liquors. I also learned that after a couple more years in the business, I made my own decisions on what I thought were the best tasting liquors. Taste a lot and make your own decisions. BUT ... if I may give my two cents, here are my favorites in no particular order:

**********************************************************************************

Laphroaig 10 yr Single Malt Scotch: nice smokey peaty flavor. My favorite Single Malt Scotch. Very distinctive flavor though. Very rich, and did I say smokey and peaty! I mean it!

Bulldog London Dry Gin: Smooth, mellow, not overwhelming but with a fresh juniper flavor. Makes an excellent traditional martini.

Hendricks Distilled Scottish Gin: A sweet floral cucumber flavor; garnish with a cuc slice too. Just a Hendricks with a cuc slice on the rocks please!

Stateside Urbancraft Vodka
Lazzaroni Amaretto Liqueur: A sweeter amaretto flavor than what's normally out there. So nice for an after dinner drink.

Stateside Urbancraft Vodka: Philadelphia distilled vodka, I love it. Very smooth. I enjoy it on the rocks. Plus its from Philly so what's not to love?

Jameson Caskmates Whiskey: This Irish Whiskey is aged in barrels that once held craft beer. I find the flavor much smoother than your normal Jameson's.

Bulleit Bourbon: A flavorful "frontier" Kentucky whiskey, reasonable priced, and lots of  good ole history! I love making Manhattans with this bourbon. I taste notes of caramel, vanilla, and pepper when I sip this.

Organic Ocean Vodka: Hawaiian vodka distilled from organic cane sugar in a unique fun bottle. Very clean, very smooth and gluten free!

Ciroc Vodka: I have always loved Ciroc since it came out. Ultra-premium vodka made from French grapes. Distilled 5 times and incredibly crisp. Has a slight sweetness. I don't use olives with this one due to the sweetnes. Perhaps a lemon twist or lemon/lime wedge.

Toschi Nocello Walnut Liqueur: An old favorite. Love the walnut and hazelnut flavors. One of my favorite after-dinner drinks.


Bastille French Whisky
Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Porto: My all time favorite porto from Portugal of course! Full bodied, rich, ruby red, tasting of plums and blackberries. Oh My God so rich! YUM. Meant for sipping... but I've been known to go through a bottle in a weekend. :)

Bastille 1789 Blended French Whisky: Oh YES! The French can make excellent whisky! Subtle, floral, with a nice finish. Not overpowering. Just a beautifully smooth whisky, reasonably priced and aged in French Limousin oak barrels which originally held wine helping to give the whisky it's distinctive flavor.

Now I did not include detailed descriptions of each. Check out the internet on how to get them and further info on flavors, etc. I included pictures of a couple of my favorites based on my discretion only.

BLOGGERS NOTE: This blog is dedicated to my good friend, colleague, and best boss, John Waldbillig. RIP my friend. No one could work hard, then play hard, drink hard, and listen to Frank Sinatra like JW.

ADDITIONAL BLOGGERS NOTE: These three pics of Bulldog, Stateside, and Bastille were borrowed from the internet. I do not own them nor claim them as my own.