• Nancy Bauer

7 Things I Love

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Brain keeps serving up that Tom T. Hall song about little baby ducks. Except I’ve been singing it wrong all this time; apparently, it’s not I love little baby ducks, green pick-up trucks, and something when it’s good. And wood.


Every time I hum it, though, it makes me think of things that I love, that are always there for me. Don’t you love it when something just works? Here are a few of mine. What just works for you?


Real Shower Caps

I hoarded hotel shower caps for decades - those cheap plastic things that were never quite big enough. Then a year ago, having ripped through my stash, I flashed back on my mom, head full of curlers, heading into the shower. Oh..oh...something's coming to me... Something old fashioned but altogether useful. I checked Amazon, and aha, look at that. A real shower cap.


Mine has been bringing me Kondo-joy. My sister recently came across it and held it up like it was a bug, but I don’t care. (She's probably still drenching towels.) If you want something a little jazzier, you might prefer this one with a regal brooch on the forehead, or if you have really big hair, this one. Or, randomly, if you’re a fan of cats, this one.



Canva

If you’ve ever thought oh I wish I had an iota of artistic talent and graphics know-how so I could make a pretty flyer for my club/logo for my business/Valentine’s Day card for my honey, you need to know Canva. It’s a free online program that I use literally every week. I’ve thought about sending them the occasional check, like Wikipedia, just to make sure they don’t suddenly go away. I love them that much.




My Crackling Electric Fireplace


Not what we mean at all

My must-have amenity whenever I move is a fireplace. Wood or gas, doesn't matter - I love them both. But when our latest move didn’t come with a fireplace, we did some research and decided to go – wait for it – electric. And now you’re thinking oh that's just wrong, and remembering your grandma's living room, aren’t you? Yeah, okay. That’s all I knew, too - or thought I knew... until I cozied up to a lovely gas fireplace in one of my favorite Virginia getaways and – only after several stays – noticed that it was, in fact, electric.


You may say (and you would be correct) that I’m not the keenest of observers, but trust me – these things have evolved, and the good ones are not inexpensive. We opted for a Dimplex Opti-V (about $2900) because it had realistic little sparks and a very realistic crackling sound. You laugh, but you know what? I crank that little baby up Every. Single. Night. And when we move again, we’re taking it with us. (Be sure to turn your sound on to hear the crackle!)



Wine Saver Spray


It’s not often that Mister and I open a bottle that we don’t finish. But on those rare occasions – maybe when a half dozen bottles are left open after a tasting party (don’t judge), or we’re heading out of town – this Private Preserve Wine Preserver is our go-to. We tested stoppers, other sprays, and even spoons for sparkling remnants. Nothing compares. This can o’ magic has kept our wine drinkable for a month or more.




Good Wine Glasses

Drinking wine from odds-n-ends stemware is like spooning up caviar with a Popeye's spork. It works in a pinch, or when you’re camping (or glamping, I guess). But the sheer giddiness of sipping from a polished, paper-thin crystal Bordeaux glass is worth the upgrade investment - or adding to your Amazon Wish List. Sadly, I’m much too spastic for the $50+ super premium, hand blown lovelies, but Mister found these nice ones for me for Christmas, a set of 8 thin-but-sturdy red wine glasses from Schott Zwiesel for $60 on Amazon. They’ve got the telltale rolled rim and seam of machine-made glasses and are a little large at 17.3 ounces, but that just means fewer trips to the kitchen to refuel.


BTW - Want to know more about what makes a good wine glass? Check out this article by one of my favorite wine mavens, Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly.



Cinnamon Shaker

Simple, right? All the coffee shops have them. Why don’t we? Because we never remember to buy one, that’s why. This one from Cuisinox is cute, reasonable, and doesn’t get cinnamon all over the counter. I may get another one for cocoa. (Hmm, I bought this for under $5, but I see they're now asking $27 for it on Amazon !!! Don't pay $27! But if you can find it for $5, scoop it up.)




Late Night Chocolate Cake

There are two requirements for late-night chocolate cake: 1) quick, and 2) simple. And also: cupboard staples. Say hello to Stir-Crazy Cake, a cinnamony, 11-ingredient, one-pan marvel (not one bowl and one pan – just one pan!). I always thought it was my mom’s recipe until I found it on the internet as part of the Chuck Wagon Cooking from Marlboro Country cookbook. Which was published in the ‘80’s by Phillip Morris, the cigarette guys. Branding geniuses. And lethal killers. But we’ll skip that for now and instead share a second – even better – recipe: Kladdkaka, a gooey/sticky Swedish chocolate cake with just six ingredients (seven if you get fancy and sprinkle on some confectioner’s sugar). This one calls for eggs, which I don’t always have, but it was so easy and soft and gooey with a crisp little crusty top that if I have eggs, I’m going with the Kladdkaka from now on. I made one last night and Mister will never know.



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