Dinner and a Movie Monday – Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar for best picture in 1989. It was adapted from the play of the same name. It stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, who reprised his role in the play, and Dan Aykroyd.  

Jessica Tandy lost a bet with her agent when she said she wouldn’t win for best actress. She did an excellent job of bringing Miss Daisy to life. She plays a retired school teacher, an outspoken, independent woman living in Georgia. We get to know her by focusing on her home life, synagogue, friends, family, fears, and concerns over a twenty five year period.

Morgan Freeman brought Hoke to life with his dignity, patience and sense of humor. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part. It’s a story of an unlikely relationship between a wealthy Jewish widow and her illiterate black chauffeur who become the best of friends.

In the move, when Miss Daisy backs her car over the neighbor’s hedge, she doesn’t wring her hands and cry over spilt milk. She makes up a batch of pickles! That’s a true southern woman for you!

This recipe was given to me by my sister. It came from her mother-in-law, Maxine Raley.

Lime Pickles

1/2 bushel cucumbers (20-24 lbs)

12 lb sugar

2 3/4 gallons white vinegar

1 1/2 small bottle pickling spice

Lime

Wash and slice cucumbers. Put in a large plastic container with water and lime (1 cup lime to 2 gallons water) Soak overnight with ice cubes on top to keep cool. Drain and rinse 3 times. Put in pan. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, spices and vinegar. Soak overnight. Boil rapidly until color changes. Pour into clean quart jars (takes about 20) Seal with lids and let stand about 20 days.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Troop Zero

Troop Zero is a 2019 American comedy-drama, starring Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell and Allison Janney. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019 and was released in January, 2020 on Amazon.

It takes place in rural Georgia in 1977, where a group of elementary-school misfits led by spunky outcast Christmas Flint join forces form their own troop in the high-and-mighty Birdie Scouts youth group in order to compete in a talent show. The winning Birdies will earn the right to have their voices included on the Voyager Golden Record, which Christmas believes will be heard by her deceased mother – if they can just win the show.

My sister and I watched this last month. It was a delightful move. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. Viola Davis and Allison Janney are two of my favorite actresses, but I have to say Mckenna Grace, the child who played Christmas, held her own. The scrapes she and her friends find themselves in trying to earn their badges are hilarious. Each one of them is quirky, peculiar and a little strange, but they learn to lean on one another. I live in the south and the references to life there during the seventies took me down memory lane. You’ll love it.

Fried Chicken

You don’t think about the south without thinking about fried chicken. I don’t cook it now, but this is how I did when my kids were growing up.

Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast (My family preferred white meat)

Eggs

Milk

Salt

Pepper

Flour.

Wash the breast. Split them in half lengthwise. Salt and Pepper them. Coat them with flour. Dip them in a mixture of milk and eggs. Then coat them with flour again. Fry in a cast iron skillet on medium heat until golden brown. Serve with mashed potatoes and brown gravy, fresh green beans or green salad and bread to sop up the gravy.

Dinner and a Movie Monday – Awakenings

Awakenings is a 1990 film based on British neurologist Oliver Sack’s 1973 memoir and directed by Penny Marshall. In 1969 the doctor discovered the beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa when administered to catatonic patients who survived the 1916-28 encephalitis lethargica epidemic. Leonard Lowe and the rest of the patients were awakened after decades of catatonia and have to deal with a new life in a new time.

Robert DeNiro was nominated for Best Actor for this role. He plays Leonard Lowe, one of the patients. After a trial run with L-Dopa produces astounding results with Leonard, it is administered to the rest of the catatonic patients. In my opinion, he should have won.

He did a remarkable job of bringing the man to life. Through his portrayal, we see the despair and isolation of his condition, and the attitude of wonder he adopts when awakened. We watch his struggle to relearn, his fight to find a place in the world, and the heartbreaking realization that the miracle is only temporary.

It will move you to tears, but it is a poignant movie with a lesson for everyone. Enjoy the wonder of living. Appreciate it every minute of your life.

Apologies. Instead of a recipe like I usually share, this I leave you with this quote. In a way, it’s the same. Call it food for the soul.

Dinner and a Movie Monday – Practical Magic

A 1998 film based on the 1995 nove by Alice Hoffman. A great cast. Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Diane Wiest, Aidan Quin and Goran Visnjic. It takes place in a ficticious New England town. Bullock and Kidman play sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, who have always known they were different from other people. Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical—their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But being a member of the Owens’ family carries a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that could take away all the Owens’ lives.

A lovely movie I love to watch at Halloween.

WHOLE=WHEAT PANCAKES

A great recipe given to me by a friend, and the pancakes are truly to die for.

1 C whole wheat flour

1 ½ C oatmeal

3 T Brown Sugar

2 T Baking powder

¾ T salt

1 cup milk

1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

3 T sugar

1 T vanilla

1 T cinnamon

Chopped pecans or almonds if desired

Add all dry ingredients together. Gradually add the rest, stirring as you go. Sprinkle nuts on top when you are cooking pancakes.

Dinner and a Movie Monday – Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein is a 1974 comedy directed by Mel Brooks. Gene Wilder stars as a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. A great supporting cast included Teri Gar, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn, among others. The film is a parody of the classic horror films of the 1930s. Mel Brooks shot the film entirely in black and employed 1930s-style opening credits and scene transitions like fade to black. The film also features a period score. A box office smash, Young Frankenstein ranks No. 13 on the American Film Institutes’s list of the 100 funniest American moves.

In my books it’s a classic. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. And I still do, every time I watch the movie. Peter Boyle’s portrayal of the monster was hilarious, He could speak volumes without ever opening his mouth. Cloris Leachman was perfect as Dr. Frankenstein’s housekeeper and paramour and who could forget Marty Feldman’s Igor?

And the outtakes…when Igor says “what hump” or Gene Hackman as the blind man shouts to a frightened monster running out the door “Where are you going? I was going to make espresso.” And then there’s Igor’s reference to “abby normal” or Gene Wilder’s “Put…the…candle…back” If you need to kick back and have a belly laugh, this is the movie for you.

Sauerkraut and Sausage

2 lb sauerkraut, rinsed and drained

1 T caraway seeds

¼ c brown s ugar

1 diced apple

½ bacon

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ lb kielbasa sausage cut into 1 inch slices

  1. Place the sauerkraut, caraway seeds, brown sugar, and apple into a large saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Place the bacon and onion into a skillet over medium heat, and cook until the bacon is almost crisp and the onion is beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir the bacon mixture into the sauerkraut. In the same skillet, brown the kielbasa sausage in the remaining bacon grease until the sausage begins to brown, 10 to 15 minutes; stir into the sauerkraut mixture. Spoon the sauerkraut and sausage mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling, about 1 hour.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – 5 Flights Up

5 Five Flights Up is a 2014 American comedy-drama, starring Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) and Diane Keaton. The film is based on the novel Heroic Measures written by Jill Ciment and was released on May 8, 2015.

Alex and Ruth Carver, an older couple, want to move from their charming apartment because living in a 5-story walk-up is becoming too difficult for them to manage without an elevator. Alex is a painter and uses one of the rooms as his studio. Ruth is a retired school teacher. They have lived there so many years that it and the neighborhood have become intertwined with their lives. Their niece Lilly is their broker and is pressuring them to sell because she believes the apartment is worth up to $1M.

Three other plot lines develop simultaneously with the sale of the apartment. Do they pay for an expensive operation for their elderly dog or do the humane thing and put her to sleep. The second is an alleged terrorist who may be lurking in the neighborhood near the Carvers’ apartment and how it impacts the sale of their apartment. The third is the Carver’s search for the perfect new home.

Their decision in the end may come as a surprise. Or not. But it was a lovely story about growing older and all the things that go with it, both good and bad.

Meatloaf – An economic staple from my childhood made a hundred different ways. This is my recipe. 1 – 2 lbs ground meat, 1/2 a sleeve crushed saltines or bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 cu chopped bell pepper, 1/2 cup catsup or tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. Press into a loaf pan and cook at 350 degrees until done in the middle (about an hour) Serve with macaroni and cheese and fruit salad.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Meet Joe Black

The movie stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Claire Forlani. The screenplay is loosely based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday. It was the second pairing of Hopkins and Pitt after Legends of The Fall.

His daughter, Susan, is considering marriage, but her father can tell that she is not passionately in love. He tells her “Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike!”

Joe Black (Death) arrives at Bill’s home in the body of a young man, explaining that Bill’s words have piqued his interest. Susan falls in love with Joe. She tells him she has loved him ever since that day in the coffee shop. Joe is attracted to her as well, but he realizes he must set aside his own desires and allow Susan to live her life. Bill makes his peace with his daughters.

This is one of those movies that makes you think about truly important things in life. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes to recognize them as long as you do, because you’ll never be truly content until then. Also, Anthony Hopkins is one of my favorite actors.

Susan meets Joe at an old fashioned diner. One of my favorite places to eat. Especially for breakfast. Everything is fresh and hot. Served with strong, hot coffee and pancakes if you’re lucky!

Dinner and a Movie Monday – The Bookshop

The Bookshop is a 2017 film written and directed by Isabel Coixet, based on the novel of the same nameby Penelope Fitzgerald.[2The film stars Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and Bill Nighy. It was shot in Portaferry and Strangford, County Down, Northern Ireland, and in Barcelona. The cinematography was spectacular.

Set in the late 1950s, the film opens with an explanatory voice-over narration. Florence Green, a widow, has decided to open a bookshop in the small coastal town of Hardborough, Suffolk, acquiring as her premises the Old House, a damp and abandoned property that has been standing empty for many years. After refurbishing it and moving in, she learns that Violet Gamart, an influential and ambitious local resident, had privately earmarked the Old House for her own pet project, a local arts centre – a project that she has no intention of dropping even though the property is no longer empty. Aided by several of the townspeople Mrs Gamart attempts to get Florence evicted, and the shop closed down.

Florence’s business does well enough for her to need help in the shop from Christine, the young daughter of a neighbour. Their best customer is the wealthy bookish recluse Edmund Brundish, who begins to have feelings for Florence as she introduces him to new authors. Learning of the threats to Florence’s business, he volunteers to emerge from his seclusion, to visit Mrs Gamart and tell her to desist. But despite everything, things do not go well.

This was a movie that touched my heart. Florence and Mr. Brundish were drawn together by their love of books. She had the courage to pursue her dream, despite a rich woman’s meddling, and he admired that.

This is a movie I recommend. It made me think about the characters and their story long after I finished watching it. And I loved the music as well.

Quick Apple Cake Recipe

When Mr. Brundish invited Florence to tea, he served a delicious looking bundt cake with it. This easy recipe makes a large cake with quite a few servings. 

Ingredients

  • apples
  • Eggs
  • 2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Olive Oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cup Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • Oil for baking pan
  • Brown Sugar

Instructions

  • Combine together eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla extract and salt. Using a mixer, beat until mixture is fluffy.
  • In small parts, mix flour and baking powder into the egg mixture.
  • Peel and grate apples on a large side of the grater. Mix apples into the cake batter. Stir to combine everything together.
  • Spray baking dish with oil. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour cake batter into the pan. Bake at 325F for about 50 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool to a room temperature. Enjoy!

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Eilis Lacey is a young woman from a small town in southeast Ireland, where she lives with her mother and sister, Rose. Eilis is unhappy with her life. She sees no future there. Her sister writes to an Irish priest in Brooklyn who arranges for her to travel to New York City.

where she takes bookkeeping classes and meets Italian-American Tony Fiorello and falls in love.When her sister suddenly dies of an undisclosed illness she had kept secret, Eilis tells Tony she must return home. He shows her a plot of land on Long Island that he intends to build a house for them on and proposes. Eilis seems hesitant but agrees. They marry at the courthouse without telling anyone.

Once back in Ireland, Eilis temporarily takes her late sister’s old bookkeeping job and gets attention from a wealthy bachelor. A completely different life than the one she left behind in Brooklyn. When gossip goes round about Eilis, she’s reminded of what life was really like living in this small town. She leaves for Brooklyn the next day because she wants to be with her husband. On the crossing, she offers guidance to a young woman making her own first trip to Brooklyn.

Eilis makes her journey from Ireland to New York in the 1950s, along with approximately 50,000 other immigrants (around a quarter of which moved to New York) as a part of the second minor wave of migration. Many of these citizens were in search of steadier jobs and a happier lifestyle. There were also smaller surges of immigrants from many other countries at this time, leading to modern day America becoming a vast land of many different cultures. You’ll enjoy this movie. Saoirse Ronan takes us through her journey to New York. We see her courage and determination while she struggles to pursue her version of the American dream.

Brooklyn is adapted from Colm Toibin’s novel of the same name. It has been named one of “The 10 best historical novels” in 2012. The novel and the film have equally been praised for their refreshing perspective on the plight of the Irish immigrant. They both depict a realistic story.

Irish Stew

The ingrediants for Irish Stew depend on who you ask. Traditionally, it’s made with neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavour of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Please use beef chuck stew meat that is well marbled with fat. Lean stew meat will end up too dry.

Save prep time by prepping the onions, carrots, and potatoes while the stock with beef is simmering in step 2.

  • 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 teaspoons of salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup of Guinness extra stout
  • 1 cup of hearty red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Dinner And a Movie Monday – The Accountant

The Accountant

The American crime thriller stars Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambour and John Lithgow. Chris Wolff (Affleck) is a small-town Illinois CPA with high-functioning autism that makes a comfortable living. Beneath the surface, however, he’s a brilliant forensic accountant who uncovers insider financial deceptions, often for criminal and terrorist enterprises.

Through flashbacks we see how his father, an army officer in Psychological Operations subjects Chris and his younger brother, Braxton to a brutal regimen of stoicism and martial arts training. Later, while serving time, he is mentored by an accountant for a mob family who turns FBI informant.

Eventually he’s hired to audit Living Robotics Corporation by the company’s founder and his sister. When he discovers that over $61 million has been embezzled from the company. Lamar dismisses Chris and pays off his contract, leaving him distraught because he wasn’t able to finish the audit.

He spends the rest of the movie methodically eliminating the killers sent after him while he figures out who did the embezzling and why. There’s a twist to the movie, and I guessed it early on, but it wasn’t obvious, and I like the way it unfolded.

The movie wasn’t on for long, and I didn’t hear much about it, but I think it was a good movie. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Affleck had autistic tendencies in real life. His portrayal was convincing and I loved the plot twist.

No recipe this time. Nothing to cooking bacon, eggs and toast. Use an iron skillet and pay close attention to the bacon or it will burn. Chris Wolff’s meal illustrates some of his tendencies. Which is really funny, because I remember my father being very particular about the way his food was served.