Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Vacation

I am writing from my parent's house, relaxing and enjoying my vacation - finally. Things got off to a very rough start.

On Saturday, CC, Red and I performed Act 1 of the Couch Shuffle. First a little back story: CC is moving into an apartment and he bought a beautiful cream colored couch from the Arhaus Loft Clearance Center. This is the same place I got my couch. They have sweet deals and I love it. If you live in the Cleveland area and need furniture, I highly recommend it. So Saturday morning, CC and I picked up the couch and headed over the apartment to move it - just me and him. We only got the couch out of the bed of the truck before I decided there was no way I was going to get far with this couch. So we recruited Ruby's BF Red to help (oh lucky him).

This couch is so crazy heavy that CC and Red had to take a break after about 50 feet of carrying it. So they get it to the door and it does not fit through. We tried EVERYTHING to get it through the entrance - every angle, we took the light fixture down to get more room, and we broke two panes of glass in the door. It was a MESS. Then we realize, not only is there no way we are getting this couch through the front door - there is NO WAY it is going to make it through the apartment door. Did I mention that you can't return things to the Clearance Center? So what now?

Couch shuffle. My couch is much lighter and is in two parts - two seats and an attached chez lounge. So our solution is move the crazy heavy/wide couch to my apt and the lighter/two piece couch to CC's. Red helped move the couch into my apt and on Sat night I had two couches in my itty one bedroom apt!

Sunday morning CC and I began Act 2: Move my couch to his place. This started out well enough. The chez piece we moved with no problem. We should have known it wouldn't be so easy. Piece 2 made it to the apt door, but would not make the turn to get into the apt. Our last desperate attempt to get a couch into this apt was to take the heavyass apt door off the hinges. We still had to shimmy, but by golly it worked - a Christmas miracle! Moving this couch is up there with tetanus shots on my list of things that don't seem bad at first but end up being the WORST IDEAS EVER.

By Monday I thought I was home free to enjoy my vacation. The weather had a different idea. It wasn't bad downtown, but I drove into a blizzard in Mentor. Route 2 was a mess and I was sliding all over the place. I got off at Heisley, heading southbound and the roads only got worse. I drive a rear wheel drive mustang and I went to slow down and ended up sliding to the other side of the street and hitting a guard rail - my first car accident! No worries, I'm fine. I was going about 10-15 mph, I don't even think my seat belt locked. But I managed to do a whopping $1600 worth of damage! The cop was "nice" enough not to cite me for failure to control my vehicle, puke. Snow tires for Christmas - YES please!
My poor little stang:

Add into the mix of all this a few hours of work, cleaning my apt, a dentist apt, laundry, and an eye apt, the last few days have not been fun. I know what Ruby's mom tell me to do, "call the waambulance". Sorry, I had to vent. Moving on - its Christmas Eve. On today's to-do list - relax! And make peanut brittle - yum yum yum!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Secret Santa

Tonight was the secret santa party for the ladies at work. We had to give our person three small gifts with clues to our identity and then one large gift to open tonight. My secret santa got me a starbucks giftcard, fuzzy socks (currently wearing), a horse bookmark (this gave it away), and a gift card to TJ Maxx. Yay for presents!

The peppermint cookies were a success. I will not go so far as to say they were a hit, but I definitely received several compliments and someone asked to take the leftovers home. And the true test of a recipe - I will make them again.

The countdown is on: three more days of work until Christmas vacation. Biggest Loser Finale is on!! GTG!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Cookies 'n' Such

I can't keep letting myself get behind like this. I have just been accumulating things I want to share and I apologize that this post is going to be long and possibly rambling. But have no fear, there will be LOTS of cookies (and some interesting outfits) along the way!

I have been a busy baker. And I have discovered something interesting about cookies - keep it simple. People love the tried and true cookie recipes. Two recent examples: (1) Some of the gals at work got together to make cookies at Mrs. Brownie's house and after sharing the various trays of cookies with various people, the consensus was clear - people's favorite out of the variety was the toll house cookies from the recipe on the back of the bag. Or as Phoebe (and Joyce) would say its a secret family recipe from "Nestle Tollhouse" (in a french accent). (2) I also just loved and devoured the cookies that Skids brought to the Harvest Party. I asked her for the recipe (see below) and low and behold, the almost exact same recipe is on the Eagle Brand can! So while I am always up for trying a new exciting recipe, sometimes I think you are just better off with the recipe on the back of a box, bag or can. Here it is, Cookie Recipe #1:
Seven Layer Bars
Melt 1/4 lb of margarine in 9 x 12 pan. Sprinkle over the butter 1c. graham cracker crumbs (I use a rolling pin and plastic bag). Sprinkle over that 1 c. flaked coconut. Sprinkle 1 sm. pkg. of choc. chips (1 cup) and 1 sm. pkg of butterscotch (1 cup). Drizzle all over one can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle over top 1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Allow plenty of time for them to cool.
I cannot share Cookie Recipe #2 with you. It is up to Snickerdoodle who has promised me she will write a guest blog post on her sugar cookie recipe. And I hope for everyone who reads this blog's sake that she does it soon, cuz they make the darn cutest cookies you have ever seen! And I love and adore almond extract so they are way up there in my book. And they are at the top of Blaze's book. Here is a teaser:

It isn't just cookie baking that has had me busy and turned me into a negligent blogger. I have also been attending Holiday parties!! Could there be a more valid excuse? Friday night the Brownie family had us over for some more Christmas beer pong (the same as regular beer pong, just played in December) and impromptu photo shoots. I don't have the pics to share unfortunately, but use your imagination: a dog, two different Cavs wigs, Romeo Crennell, some ranting on Bailouts, and Fritzy!

Saturday brings us to Cookie Recipe #3 and an Ugly Sweater Party. White people love ugly sweater parties, it is a proven fact. I think this blog really sums it up. My contribution to the party was a cranberry delight cream cheese dip and Giada's Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. I thought they were yummy and different and the corn meal in the batter gives them a distinctive texture. However, the cream cheese dip and Ruby's buffalo chicken dip were definitely much bigger hits with people. So now I have learned two things: people really like recipes that taste familiar and anything with cream cheese in it.

The party was so much fun! Something about wearing a christmas tree turtleneck, snowman vest, santa earrings, matching pin, and a santa hat that just makes you merry. Maybe that is why fourth grade teachers are so chipper. Below: Ruby, me (no longer being a grinch), and Rae Rae (unfortunately not pictured: Rae Rae's Christmas flamingos).

Tomorrow we are having a Secret Snowman exchange at work. I don't think my Secret Snowman reads this blog so I will let you in on the secret. I got her two books I enjoyed this past year: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Run by Ann Patchett. And to this holiday party I am bringing Cookie Recipe #4. This recipe is adapted for the season from a Maple Walnut cookie recipe. Just scrap the walnuts, replace maple extract with peppermint, and top with some crushed candy canes. They are so pretty! But are they good? I will have to get back to you on that tomorrow (I promise).

Maple Walnut Cookies (thank you H's sister)

3/4 c. butter
1 ½ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ c. flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream
2/3 c. chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. Alternately mix in dry ingredients and sour cream. Add nuts. Drop by teaspoon on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Frosting

½ melted butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. boiling water
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple extract (NOT syrup)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

TiS tHe SeaSoN - part 2

Two posts in one day - cool or pathetic? I have to share pictures of the Christmas tree I bought today. It's just a four-footer but I love it!

And in case you didn't get catch the Cathy reference in the previous post, see below. I can't find a video of Andy Sandberg's impression, so you will have to settle for this.



TiS tHe SeAsoN

Last night Bones and GiuGiu (pronounced JuJu) hosted a holiday dinner party at their very lovely home with some of our co-workers. Mrs. Brownie and I were in charge of apps. I brought my no fail chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I got it from Cleveland Foodie. It is easy and always a crowd pleaser. This time I also made a veggie version for Bones, no bacon and stuffed with goat cheese. I also brought Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Walnuts. These were tasty, but mostly they were very pretty and festive:


Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

4 pears, halved, but not peeled – Scoop out the seeds, it makes a nice pocket for the blue cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 bunch fresh thyme (I substituted rosemary cuz that's what I had)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled good-quality blue cheese
1/4 cup walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the pears, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Strip the leaves from the thyme branches and sprinkle over the pears. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon a generous teaspoon of crumbled cheese in the center of each pear half, return the pears to the oven and roast until they are tender and the cheese is soft, about 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, put the walnuts on another baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop. When the pears are cooked, transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the top. Serve hot.

After dinner and our ornament exchange (Bones tripled the number of ornaments I own and I now need to buy a tree, stop being a grinch, and give in and decorate my apt to showcase these ornaments), things got serious when we moved the party to the basement for a beer pong tournament complete with 7 teams and brackets. Sadly, Elf and I were the first team eliminated. Bones and CC were very serious, but came in third place:


And the winning team is.... GiuGiu and Mrs. Brownie! Congratulations! The final game was played with Christmas Ale, ack!

It was such a fun night! Thanks again Bones and GuiGui! I love holiday parties!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tree O'Yarn

So far I have one picture from Saturday's Harvest Party: my girlfriends and the giant cat toy, I mean yarn tree. Hopefully there will be more to come- pictures that is, not yarn trees.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lake View Cemetery

CC and I occasionally like to enjoy something I call "Cultural Sunday" or sometimes "Cultural Saturday". This started when I moved out of my parent's house a few years back and realized that no one was going to stop me from wasting an entire weekend sprawled on my couch watching non-stop MTV, E!, and the Food Network (Blaze and Snickerdoodle can attest that I am expert at this). And there is so much to explore here in Cleveland, so thus Cultural Sundays were born. All you have to do, is leave the apartment, and go do something interesting. Eat, shop, walk, explore, drive, photograph, relax, whatever, just do something. Luckily for me, CC hates laying around and is very good at pushing me off the couch on the weekends.

This fall, CC and I enjoyed one of my favorite Cultural days to date at Lake View Cemetery. I know that sounds a little strange, but it is the most beautiful place I have been to in Cleveland. We spent a lot of our time taking photos around the Garfield Monument on a beautiful fall afternoon. It has these amazing blue doors, see:


Here are some interesting facts about Lake View Cemetery: Did you know that President Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, and Elliott Ness are all buried here? The interior of Wade Chapel is original Tiffany glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany himself and the chapel has to be heated very slowly so that the glass won't break. Lake View's most famous piece of graveside sculpture stands atop the grave of Francis Haserot and his family, near the Mark Hanna mausoleum at the edge of the cemetery proper, the Haserot Angel:


Among other tours offered at the cemetery is one called "Angels of Lake View: Guides, Guardians and Messengers". It is such an interesting and beautiful place. I can't believe I lived in Cleveland for 20+ years before first visiting this place.

So if you are free this Saturday there are some Holiday events taking place at Lake View that CC and are planning to attend:

SCHWAN GRAVESITE TREE-TRIMMING (Mrs. Schwan was my fourth grade teacher, fyi)

Saturday, December 06, 2008 10:00 AM
Join us as Hope Lutheran Church decorates a tree at the gravesite of Rev. H.C. Schwan, of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, known for bringing a candle-lit tree into a public sanctuary for the first time on December 24, 1851. Parking is available on "Lake Road" in front of Section 25.

HOLIDAY PROGRAM OF MUSIC AND LIGHTS

Saturday, December 06, 2008 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Please join us for our 14th Annual Holiday Program in the spectacular, historic Wade Chapel. The merry music, bright candles, and lovely chapel surroundings are sure to lift your spirit for the season. Parking is available in front of the sections surrounding the Chapel. Reservations requested, as seating is limited.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Catching Up

I haven't posted in a week and I feel light years behind. What a week, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. So here's the recap...

Wednesday was spent marketing. I needed to get the goods for Thanksgiving at mom's and the Harvest party on Saturday. So I headed to Westside Market and Dean's Supply. Dean's Supply is a restaurant supply store and I got some sweet deals on wine glasses (99 cents each that were $5 each at Pottery Barn), beer glasses (79 cents each), forks, plastic plates, napkins, and some serving pieces. If I had some more storage room in my little apt I would have gotten a set of party plates (and I'm not talking the yellow ones that go on your car).
Thursday was an all day cooking extravaganza! I think Aunt Rita was a little scared to even enter the kitchen. My mother's not so large kitchen with minimal counter space was full of a mom, three daughters, Uncle Dick making Parker house rolls (or is it Porter?), and one very large golden retriever - my favorite visitor, Joey. Behold, my pride and joy:

Can you smell the citrus and garlic and the thyme! Aunt Jeannie said a Hail Mary to Grandma and behold, her pride and joy:

Good family, good food, good punch, an overall lovely Thanksgiving 2008.

On the ominous Black Friday (it sounds so scary), CC and checked out an apartment (for him, not us, just so everyone is clear), and we both got party clothes at my shopping heaven - Filene's Basement. Afterwards, I went home and began preparing for Saturday's party and then drove down to Columbus.

I haven't mentioned yet that my Grandmother passed away last Saturday. She had a cancerous tumor in her abdomen which I think caused the stroke on Wednesday and by Friday when I saw her she was sleeping soundly. But she waited until the whole family was with her on Saturday afternoon before she let go, very peacefully, and it seemed, without pain. Its bittersweet, but after 68 years of marriage, she was ready to go be with Grandpa. Saturday morning was a memorial service and luncheon and our family was back to the Church of the Messiah a lot sooner than we had anticipated. We shared a lot of memories and tears and needless to say both Bill and Mary left a tremendous impact on countless people.

Saturday afternoon I drove back to Cleveland where CC and I hosted our Harvest Party at Spaces Art Gallery. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but my brother did, so maybe I can get those up at some point. Bo and M provided the music and sound system which was amazing! And we had way way way too much food and only finished half the keg of Magic Hat #9 (mmm). The party was partially catered. Well, I shouldn't say that. I thought it was partially catered, but it was actually plenty of food and I am sad to say we had to throw a lot of it away at the end of the night. But I couldn't pass up making party food and I had lots of help from my friends and sisters. I made Smitten Kitchen's Pepita brittle, and will definitely be making this recipe again.

And Sunday, glorious Sunday, was spent eating copious amounts of cheese (obviously not tossed at the end of the party), watching Forgetting Sarah Marshell, and eating Sushi Rock take-out, a wonderful capstone to a very busy week.

And now it is time to start thinking about that next big holiday. When did it get to be December 1?

P.S. I have to mention a Meaningful Beauty update - I think I am allergic and have ceased using it. So much for my second foray in infomercial shopping. Has anyone tried the Power 90X work out dvd's? That may be my third attempt.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm a New Woman

Meaningful Beauty finally arrived! It is a bit time consuming, but my skin already feels fantastic. The booklet it came with has a letter from Cindy Crawford herself and it says something like this: "my mother told me the face you have at 25 is the face God gave you. The face you have at 50 is the face you earn". So apparently I currently have the face from God. But since I won't be 25 for much longer (tear tear tear mid-to late twenties here I come... Or is 30 the new 21?) I am just in time to begin using this product. Look out world - I will soon have the face of a 24 year old.

Thanks to Gene-O and MarBear for the Jason Mraz tickets!!! The Little Potato and I will be at the Lakewood Auditorium tonight singing "So shine the light on all of your friends, When it all amounts to nothing in the end, I won't worry my life away, heey oooh oh, I won't worry my life away"

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Look

Check out what my sister, the Little Potato, made for the blog! Talent runs in the family ;) Thanks for the new look!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quick Update: Warning Contains TMI

Eating beet salad for lunch the last few days has turned my you know what bright pink! It is like I have swallowed magenta dye. If you ever wanted to make going to the bathroom a little more colorful, I suggest eating a whole lot of beets.

Spinach update, Day 6: The w.l.b.o.s. is 2/3 empty and I'm going strong. I think I have several more days before it will wilt away. Just call me Pop-Eye.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Team Coleen

Our local Cleveland gal just got voted off the Biggest Loser. Tears... I still like Amy though, I hope she wins. Speaking of Biggest Loser, I took their recommendation and bought the Banana Sundae Sugar Free Pudding and it is da-bomb.

Tonight will go down in history as the night I roasted beets. Actually it was really easy and not scary like I thought it would be. I used the epicurious recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens. Except I substituted, you guessed it: Spinach! for the beet greens. Also I used apple cider vinegar and halved the recipe. Beets are beautiful! And yummy

As I reflect on my blog I realize that all I talk about is cooking, eating, and watching tv. Here are some interesting (err.. other) things about me non-food or tv related: I am really good at the Jumble, I drive a stick shift, and I love maps.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Dinner Party

Cleveland weather was particularly nasty yesterday, crazy windy and raining. On an up note, this makes for a perfect night to stay in with friends and wine and of course a fabulous meal. Ruby and I pulled together the menu yesterday morning after yoga. We wanted something healthy and light, but that would be enjoyed by boys as well. We decided on Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe for Chicken Parmesan served with multi-grain Ohio City Pasta in olive oil and garlic, wheat rolls and salad (courtesy of the Little Monster AKA Tree), and an Apple Tarte Tatin for dessert.

My Food Assignments: Ohio City Pasta and apples for the tarte. There was only one place to go. I ventured out in the wind and rain (which has since turned into snow and I just overheard someone say they are calling for 6-8 inches, nooo!) and headed to one of my favorite Cleveland spots, The Westside Market. Check out all the stuff I got for ~$20. Hidden in the back is a container of fresh basil that was only $1 - love!

Is that the largest bag of spinach you have ever seen?? Maybe the picture isn't doing this thing justice, its ginormous! It was $6. Goal this week: do not throw away rotten spinach. I will definitely get enough Iron and Vitamin K - perfect for upcoming 5k race and Twilight weekend. As if I hadn’t given myself enough of a challenge this week by buying the world’s largest bag of baby spinach, in my attempt to come up with spinach related foods I decided it would also be a good idea to try roasting beets. Why do I do these things to myself?

It is now time for me to profess my love for Ohio City Pasta (and Westside Market, but that’s a given for any foodie-type in Cleveland). Ohio City Pasta, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love that you cook in 2 minutes. I love that you are lovely and delicious and local. I love that I can buy you by the serving from a colorful array of flavors and shapes. I love you for making a simple and elegant addition to our dinner party.


Assignment #1: check. And now for the challenge, Assignment #2: my first Apple Tarte Tatin. I purchased 3 granny smith and 4 Macintosh apples from the market. Huge timesaver: when I made the crust for my last apple pie, I doubled the batch. So the crust was simply pulled from the freezer to thaw and roll out. I followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
I was very nervous about the boiling of caramel, and I let it go a minute or so too long. But it came out of the pan, and was enjoyed by all (even though slightly burnt in places). I think next time I can get this perfect. Let the feast begin!


Blaze – You cannot peer pressure me into making caramel corn. I am trying to be healthy and eat things like spinach and beets! I will consider making it as a party favor for the Twilight party this weekend, maybe!

An Open Letter to Meaningful Beauty

Dear Cindy Crawford, French Doctor, Rare Melon Extract, and Company,

I watched your infomercial several weeks ago and was enticed to buy. I am 25, it is time to consider an anti-aging skin care line as preventative measures. You are distributed by Gunthy Renker, Cindy’s skin looks amazing, you cost like $30, how could I not order you? And the only item I have previously ordered from an infomercial – Bare Minerals three years ago - I still use it to this day.

So why haven’t you arrived?? I am getting wrinkles from waiting. Please hurry. I have been patient. I need eye cream and serums and masques.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Asian Inspired Week: Night 2-4

Being busy at work is really getting in the way of my blogging. Also part of my re-dedication to getting in shape I took two yoga classes this week and poor CC has pneumonia so I have been on nurse duty. Needless to say, I am way behind on my week of asian recipes posts. Ready for some rapid fire recipes??

Night 2 was Green Curry Basil Chicken. This recipe came straight from the 'Thai Kitchen' green curry paste jar.

Green Curry with Basil

1 (14 oz.) can Thai Kitchen Pure Coconut Milk (Regular or Lite)
1-4 Tbs. Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste (I use 2, 4 would be crazy spicy)
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
2-3 Tbs. Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1⁄4 cup chopped basil leaves
1 1⁄2 cups assorted vegetables, cut into 1” pieces (I like bamboo shoots, you could do red bell pepper, peas, or your favorite combination)
12 oz. chicken breast, cut into 1” pieces
Rice (I prefer Uncle Ben's 90 sec brown rice**)

Mix the coconut milk, green curry paste, stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and basil in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the vegetables and chicken and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve over cooked Thai Kitchen Jasmine Rice and garnish with basil.

** Does anyone have a rice cooker that they are just in love with? I can't cook rice on the stove to save my life and rely on Uncle Ben's 90 sec microwave rice. But I grew up on basmati and want to make it myself. HELP!!

On we go to Night 3, and this is the gem of the week. Thank you Ruby for introducing me to this divine recipe for Crispy Ginger and Garlic Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps.


Crispy Ginger-and-Garlic Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (20-ounce) package lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, separated into leaves
  • Hoisin sauce (optional)

Preparation:

1. Cook carrots and 1/2 cup water in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until carrots are softened and water is evaporated. Remove from skillet. 2. Reduce heat to medium. Cook turkey in skillet about 5 minutes, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. 3. Add carrots, mushrooms, and next 8 ingredients. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes. 4. Add green onions, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. 5. Spoon mixture evenly onto lettuce leaves; roll up. Serve with hoisin sauce, if desired. P.S The trick to getting the lettuce off in nice full cups is to cut the stem and pull from the back where it was originally attached.

Sidenote: as I am writing this I am also watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This has to be the funniest show currently on television. FX 10pm Thursdays watch it.

Night #4 is another Ellie Krieger recipe, this time Fried Rice with Scallions, Edamame, and Tofu. Except I always substitute shrimp for tofu and this time I also added shiitake mushrooms left over from the night before. It was not so long ago that I didn't even like mushrooms, but lately I cannot get enough of them. Speaking of, my friend Mrs. Brownie is going to guest blog a fantastic stuffed Portobello recipe soon - I'm holding her to it!

Fried Rice with Scallions, Edamame, and Tofu
1 tablespoon plus

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 scallions, greens included, rinsed, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 cups leftover cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup finely diced red pepper
  • 3/4 cup cooked, shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen, thawed, corn
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, cut into
  • 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet until very hot. Add the garlic,scallions and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened and aromatic, about 2 to 3minutes. Add the rice, red pepper, edamame, corn and tofu and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Make a 3-inch well in the center of the rice mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil, then add the eggs and cook until nearly fully scrambled. Stir the eggs into the rice mixture, then add soy sauce and incorporate thoroughly. Serve hot.

I hereby declare Asian Inspired Week a success!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Asian Inspired Week: Night 1

I planned the menu for this week, four nights of Asian Inspired healthy food. Of the four planned Recipes, I have made 3 of them repeatedly. I tried the 1 new recipe tonight. It is Ellie Kreiger’s Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce from her Food You Crave cookbook. This is a really fantastic cookbook for anyone looking for healthy and really delicious recipes, I have enjoyed many of them. So this recipe has good news and bad news. The good news is that spring rolls are easier to make then they sound. Really easy actually. The bad news is that I enjoyed the first one, but was overall disappointed. They definitely don’t compete with Saigon or #1 Pho’s spring rolls.

Here is the recipe in case you are interested. I think the problem is something to do with the basil and mint overpowering the rest of the roll. And the dipping sauce is really good, but really spicy with a full teaspoon of Sriracha. I think it would make a nice salad dressing. Don’t worry, I know the next three nights will be better.
Ingredients
For the summer rolls :
2 ounces Vietnamese or Thai rice noodles
6 rice paper rounds
1/4 cup, or 12 fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil leaves), rinsed and dried
6 medium shrimp , cooked and halved
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup, or 12 whole large fresh mint leaves, rinsed and dried
3 red-leaf lettuce leaves, leaves, spines removed, leaving 6 halves
Vinegar dipping sauce, recipe follows

Directions
Bring water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and cool (makes about 2 cups).

Line up ingredients in small bowls before beginning to make rolls. Fill a large bowl or saucepan with very warm water. Place a rice paper round in the hot water. Soak for between 30 seconds and 1 minute, or until rice round is pliable and pattern on the round is barely visible. Remove and place on a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel.

Place 2 basil leaves on the inner edge of the rice round, about 1-inch from the edge and leaving about 1-inch on each side. Top with approximately 1/4 cup cooked rice noodles. Place 2 shrimp halves on top. Top with about 2 tablespoons carrots, then 2 leaves of mint. Fold 1 piece of lettuce leaf and place on top of pile. Bring the edge over filling and tuck underneath. As you continue to roll, fold in the sides. Finish rolling, repeat with the other rolls, and reserve under a damp cloth or paper towel. When ready to serve, slice in half and serve, cut ends up, with dipping sauce.
Vinegar Dipping Sauce:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely shredded carrot
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Dissolve sugar in warm water, combine with other ingredients, and chill until ready to use.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Salad with Fig-Yogurt Dressing

Life is getting back to normal, no travelling this week and hopefully, no funerals. However, I cannot move forward without mentioning last Wednesday night’s dinner at Murray’s in Lexington, KY. G-Bone, Peter Wellington, and I gave this restaurant a 9.5 out of 10 for amazing ambiance, food and service. The restaurant is in an old converted manor house, and with last week’s fabulous weather, we opted to sit on their very large patio under sparkling white lights and the warmth of the fire place. To start, our adorable (and slightly prego) waitress, Morgan, brought out small loaves of warm bread. I had the house salad with roasted garlic and red wine vinaigrette, and was so impressed by the salad I knew that our dinner would be phenomenal. For the entree I had the Pork tenderloin filetsapplewood bacon wrapped and pan roasted, topped with Granny Smith apple chutney & maple chipotle butter sauce” and a side of corn pudding (what can I say, I love corn. I’m a mid-western girl through and through). For dessert, G-Bone and I split the seared pound cake in caramel with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Is your mouth watering yet?? Worth the drive to Lexington for this meal alone.
My grandfather passed away on Nov 1, which also happens to be the one year anniversary of running my first (and very likely only) marathon. My 11/1/07 self would be disappointed in my tubby 11/1/08 self. I ran 2 or 3 miles today in preparation for the Pigskin Classic 5k that Ruby and I are running on OSU vs Michigan game day (Nov 22, too soon!). It was a sad sight and I am surely going to be sore this week. But I am re-dedicating myself to getting in shape. I have planned out this week’s menu: four nights of Asian-inspired healthy, delicious, and fairly-quick meals with leftovers for lunch. I did my grocery shopping and the good news is that many of the ingredients overlap. This week’s preview: Shrimp fried rice, crispy ginger and garlic turkey lettuce wraps, chicken curry, and Vietnamese spring rolls.

CC came over today, pumpkin cheesecake with pecan praline topping in hand. Doesn’t he realize I am on a diet? Ok, one little itty bitty slice won’t hurt (I went running, my favorite excuse to splurge). OMG, amazing. The recipe came from this month’s food and wine magazine. I think the only way to possibly improve on this cheesecake’s perfection would be to use fresh pumpkins instead of canned purée. Also included in the magazine is an article claiming that yogurt is the new superfood. Who am I to argue? So, within this article I stumbled upon tonight’s salad recipe: Mixed green Salad with Fig-Yogurt dressing. As I was making it, I realized this was a fantastic tribute to my grandfather. The man loved figs, we gave him some every Christmas. And according to the recipe, figs are rich in vitamin K, hooray!

Mixed Green Salad with Fig-Yogurt Dressing

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried figs, stemmed and halved
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed greens (1/2 pound) (I used red leaf lettuce)
1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 ounces)

Directions
1. In a small heatproof bowl, soak the figs in the boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes, then drain.
2. Transfer two-thirds of the soaked figs to a blender. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and vinegar and puree until smooth. Add the remaining figs to the blender and pulse once or twice, until the figs are coarsely chopped. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing, top with the cheese shavings and serve right away.


Perfect parmesan shavings thanks to my new cheese peeler from Blaze, I love it! The dressing is very sweet, but the cheese is the perfect balance. Looking forward to tomorrow's leftovers.

Goin' Home

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a terrible memory. Hopefully this blog will serve to fill in the blanks. So I feel obligated to myself to write about my grandfather’s funeral services that have taken place the last 3 days. No one was particularly surprised when he passed. He was 97 and had been battling dementia among other things the last year or so. I am not qualified to elucidate on his legacy, but I have 25 wonderfully playful and inspiring years of memories with him. My reflections on the last three days:

Thursday: The calling hours were held at Hill Funeral Home in Westerville, OH. It was an open casket, so the first hurtle was seeing him. The second, seeing my family’s reactions. The third, seeing my grandmother’s. The kids huddled in the corner where a tv was playing a video of 50 photos, a few of which I had never seen. And Little Debbie told us funny stories from over the last few months. Most of mom’s family was able to make it and my dad’s three sisters came down. During the break, we went to the Davis-Tressler house for a light dinner and Kenny (three year old cousin) and JJ (their dog) served as our entertainment. At the end of the night we said our goodbyes before the casket was closed.

Friday: The funeral service was held at Church of the Messiah on State Street in Westerville. I was able to hold it together until the end. My grandmother asked the soloist to end the service by singing “Goin' Home”. The words couldn’t have been more perfect and it’s safe to say had the whole room in tears. The lyrics are posted at the bottom. I told her later that I thought it was the perfect choice and she told me “well that’s just how I feel about the whole thing”. My uncle Terry brought my dad’s mother down and Father Chris also attended. After the service there was a luncheon upstairs and we took turns talking about grandpa and our memories. It was only 7 years ago that we had his 90th birthday party in the same room and he brought down the house telling the most hilarious stories. That evening we met at the Old Bag of Nails for dinner and drinks and family photos.

Saturday: We drove down to Parkersburg, WV for the burial. On the way into town we got lost, but we passed the house on Juliana Street where Grandpa grew up and that we had all heard so many stories about. We also crossed the Little Kanawha River, which was the setting for the story we had all hear so many times: when WT Wiant moved his family down the river to Parkersburg. (And we have the furniture to prove it was not an easy task). It was cold and windy. He was buried near his parents and sister on top of the hill at the Mt. Olivet cemetery. Grandma was presented with the flag, there was a gun salute, the bugle played and then we said our final goodbyes. After the burial, we had lunch at the Blennerhasset Hotel in downtown Parkersburg.

Goin' Home

Goin' home, goin' home I'm a goin' home
Quiet-like, some still day
I'm jus' goin' home
It's not far, jus' close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Goin' to fear no more

Mother's there expectin' me
Father's waiting, too
Lots of folk gathered there
All the friends I knew
All the friends I knew
Home, home, I'm goin' home

Nothin's lost, all's gain
No more fret nor pain
No more stumbling on the way
No more longing for the day
Goin' to roam no more

Mornin' star lights the way
Res'less dream all done
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life jus' begun
There's no break, there's no end
Jes' alivin' on
Wide awake with a smile goin' on and on

Goin' home, going home
I'm a goin' home
It's not far, jus' close by
Through an open door
I'm a goin' home
I'm jus' going home
Goin' home, goin' home

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

Sorry if last night’s post was a little grumps, that election coverage was so annoying. But I woke up this morning to the best news – OBAMA WON!!! I am so thrilled!

But let me tell you, Kentucky is not the place to celebrate….

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Warning: the following is in no way cohesive.

Election election election. It is amazing the amount of stuff the guys over at CNN can find to talk about when only 11% of the Poll results from Indiana are in.

Frankly I am having some trouble writing. But I am in a hotel in Lexington, KY and don't have much else to do except watch the election (umm... no thanks.) Relax, I voted, by absentee a few weeks ago. And the results are the results, so why do I need to know the up to minute projected results of 11% of counties in Indiana?? I'll just wait for the morning - it will give me something other than a Pumpkin Spice Latte to get out of bed for.

I had some very sad family news this weekend, but I don't feel like writing about that yet. I will, just not tonight. I also found out that my mom hit a deer and CC's mom's house was broken into. I hope that is bad news coming in threes, cuz I can't hear much more.




I have been enjoying some fun restaurants and even a UK basketball game while here in Kentucky. I think my favorite part is the hotel, they have Chupa Chups in the lobby and across the street there is not only a Starbucks, but a Sonic! What can I say, I'm easy to please (that's what she said! zing!) Yesterday, my travel companion G-Bone, and I ate lunch outside at Ramsey's, a cute little diner with homemade blue cheese dressing and an extensive pie menu. Maybe I have been living under a rock, but I have never heard of a Black Bottomed Banana Cream Pie and I can't wait to make one! Today's lunch was at Wine on Vine. I had a chicken breast sandwich with melted brie and apricot preserves on a baguette, mmmm, well done.

Tonight we went to a Mexican place for dinner. I go to Mexican for two things: (1) chips and salsa and (2) strawberry frozen margaritas. Well apparently you cannot order alcohol before 7pm on Election Day in Kentucky. Is this really a law?? To prevent drunk voting??

P.S. I am watching 90210 and someone needs to force feed these girls a cracker.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Load of Crop

First off, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

And a very BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Snickerdoodle on passing the Bar! What an accomplishment!

As promised, here is my third food topic I can write about from the road. If anyone asks me for a recommendation to eat at a nice place downtown, the first place I always mention is Crop. They opened not too long ago and while I have only eaten here a handful of times, they won my lifelong devotion by offering one of my most favorite and almost never served at a restaurant foods: wait for it…. wait for it… Popcorn! Delicious popcorn with lots of yummy veggies, fresh herbs, and a balsamic glaze (tends to change a bit each time I go). Yes, I know it sounds like a strange thing to eat at a restaurant, but I would compare it to eating a salad. And I would recommend never getting it to-go because CC and I learned the hard way that it just turns to mush on the short walk from Crop to my apt. Which is why I have come up with a very easy way to make this dish at home. It starts with my no-fail directions for making stove-top popcorn. I guarantee once you master this, you will never make microwave popcorn again (unless its 99% ff kettlecorn, cuz that shiz is goood).

Stove Top Popcorn

In a heavy bottomed pot (I must emphasis the term heavy bottomed because I destroyed one of my mother’s pots by burning popcorn in it), heat 1tbsp. light oil over med-high heat. Place 3 popcorn kernels in the oil and cover. When you hear those 3 kernels pop, remove the pot from the heat and add 1/3 c. popcorn kernels to the oil, cover and count to 30. This method allows the oil to heat up and then the kernels to heat up together so that they don’t start popping at random times and thus you don’t get burnt or un-popped kernels. Once you count to 30, move the pot back onto the heat and keep covered. Wait for the popping to start and then shake the pot while it is still on the heat source. Remove once the popping slows down and salt to your desire. That wasn’t so hard, right?



Now to make it Crop-like. If you are adventurous you can roast your own peppers and onions. I prefer to go to the prepared foods counter at Heinen’s or Whole Foods. They usually have grilled or roasted veggies and I get ½ a red pepper, ½ green pepper, and ½ a red onion. I also really like peppadew peppers which you can find jarred or by the olives. Slice each of these into the thinnest slices you can. In a bowl, combine the thinly sliced peppers and onions with balsamic vinegar, just enough to cover the veggies. This next step I like to do in a paper bag. It works, so I keep doing it. Place COOLED popcorn in bag (if it is too hot, it gets mushy), add balsamic peppers and onions and shake to cover the popcorn. Serve with fresh torn basil or herbs of you’re choosing. I like to eat it with a big spoon. This is just the way I like it, but you could experiment with all kinds of fun things- like cheese!


Since I have mentioned peppadews in the last two posts, I must add that they make an awesome appetizer simply stuffed with feta or some type of marinated feta and a little piece of basil. It doesn’t get much easier (or much tastier) than that.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rica Rica

While on the road this week I have been trying to think of food topics I can write about without my kitchen or being able to actually make something. I have come up with several things, the first being my earlier post on dark chocolate pudding (it’s the little things in life), the second is the topic of today’s post. And the third will have to wait for tomorrow (is the suspense killing you????)

I’m sure most people who work in downtown Cleveland have waited in line at least once for lunch at Teahouse Noodles. Trust me when I say this, there are VERY few places/things you need to wait in line for in Cleveland. One of the perks of this great city is that it sometimes seems like it is all here just for you. You don’t have to worry much about reservations at restaurants (unless you are going to the Flying Fig), tickets to sports games are fairly easy to come by, lots of stuff is free. Which leads me to Cleveland Rule #1: if there is a line for something, you can assume it is out of this world awesome. Ok, just as I finished writing that I thought about the line into Bar Flyy on most Saturday nights and realized this rule does not always hold true. Appendix to Rule #1: Except in the case of Bar Flyy.

That was a very long winded way to say that Teahouse Noodles is awesome! And healthy! And they sell jars of their very own sauce – Rica Rica. It is a Balinese style sauce -“sweet and hot peppers with ginger and sesame oil”. I love this stuff and gave it to people for Christmas last year in my “Taste of Cleveland” Christmas baskets. So if you are in the area, be sure to pick up a bottle. Here are some yummy ways to enjoy this fab sauce :

Marinate chicken breast in the Rica Rica sauce, preferably overnight or while you are at work. If you don’t have Rica Rica you can definitely substitute your favorite teriyaki sauce. In the bottom of a casserole dish, layer chopped red onions, peppers, whatever you like. I usually just use red onions. Place the chicken on top and cover with sliced pineapple rings (fresh or canned). Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (flip chicken halfway through). Serve on brown rice with a little extra sauce. Easy, fast, cheap, healthy and delicious! Makes great leftovers too (for those of us cooking for one).

This is CC’s favorite way to eat Rica Rica. Either marinate a flank steak or brush flank steak with Rica Rica sauce and grill (medium or medium rare). Thin slice and serve on top of iceberg lettuce with chopped onions, peppadew, and your favorite salad ingredients. I prefer to make my own homemade dressing, which really can’t be easier. I use extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (the one with the skins in it “the Motherload”), ½ lemon juice, and this great seasoning I bought at a Greek restaurant in Findlay, OH. Shake and serve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Message from Bill Cosby

Although I am not convinced anyone is reading this blog, I have to say that after one week I am Beyonce and Jay-Z crazy in love with writing it! No one else may read it, but I already love to go back and read posts – and it has only been a week!

I inherited a number of traits from my mother, the most prominent being the complete and utter lack of memory. I mean seriously, if you are dying to tell someone a secret, head my way cuz in a few days my brain gets wiped clean and you’re safe. I love hearing stories about high school and college, cuz I never know how they end even if they are about me (there was also a substantial amount of "good times" in college which this may be attributable to, but that is neither here nor there). My point being that while I have never been able to sustain journal writing (minus the four months I was in Europe when I MADE myself write knowing that otherwise I would remember nothing), I love blog writing and will now be able to go back and remind myself with pictures and stories and recipes and jokes, what my life was like right now and hence forward. Technology is awesome! To quote a wiser man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kZWuiZZgOM

So, I feel kind of bad about not writing much about food so far, especially because there are few things I like to talk about more. So here is some food I love: Dark Chocolate Jello Pudding. And here is my recipe for dark chocolate pudding: Buy it in snack pack form and place in fridge. When hungry for something sweet (usually while you are watching your tv shows – HIMYM, GG, TO, 30R, ASIP – this is like that acronym game, 1000 points to the first person to figure all those out, oh wait, no one reads this…) remove pud from snack pack and put in a bowl. Microwave for 11-22 sec. (momma taught me that trick, way faster to microwave with double digit secs, you’re welcome!). Top pud with generous portion of Reddi-Whip and a cherry if you got it. MMMMMMM, enjoy! That is 75 calories of awesome right there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suri, Biscotti, Lederhosen and Paint

I am on the road for work this week in Atlanta and Florida, so unfortunately this means no cooking or recipe blogging. Which throws the "Food" portion of this blog out the window because I’m sure no one wants to read about lunch at Chipotle or dinner at Maggiano’s - although I could write about my love love love for Sonic and about how if anyone out there has $1 million net worth they would like to let me borrow I can open my own franchise in Cleveland and we can all enjoy the Cherry Limeade and slushes we are teased by on their hilarious commercials… But I digress. Instead the topic of today’s post will be the "‘n’such" portion of my past weekend. And no worries, of course it involves some food.

Friday night I headed down to Akron for H&M’s Hallo-wine soiree (see above). By late Friday afternoon I still hadn’t come up with a costume and I had a pie to bake before leaving which meant I had to scrounge the apartment for something to wear. I decided my wig from last year’s costume (Ugly Betty) was very similar to Suri Cruise’s cute little hair cut and the decision was made. Suri Cruise wig + Jumper, Tights, & Flats + “ABC’s of Scientology” book = a pretty decent costume even if everyone still has to ask exactly what you are. Next time + Baby Bottle and I think the outfit will be perfect. Pic above: Belly Dancer, Harry Potter, Sophisticated Cat, Amish, Suri, P, Ugly Betty and a dinosaur peeking over.

Highlight of the evening was definitely the Sarah Palin costumes at the party. Thanks to Rae Rae (previously referred to as Ray Ray, but has since informed me of the correct spelling – check her out) and someecards (“when you care enough to hit send” – hilarious) for the following:



Saturday I headed to my new blog headquarters – The Phoenix Coffee on W. 9th. If you live in the area and haven’t had their orange walnut biscotti you haven’t lived! CC was particularly bored with me as I spent three hours glued to the computer trying to get hip with the blog scene (thanks TKTC for the super fab tips!). We also put together the evite for the upcoming Harvest Party we are throwing at SPACES Art Gallery. Look for upcoming posts on party planning – love!

For lunch we decided to explore and went to the Tremont Tap House. Little did we know we were stumbling into an Octoberfest celebration complete with 15 piece lederhosen-clad band! Giant pretzel the size of a football? Yes please! Even our new German and Austrian pals said the pretzel and coarse grain mustard were divine! And they would know! We also tried the Short Rib Sliders and Portobello Pizza. Tremont Taphouse we will be back soon (I think this Friday actually)! I will not go into detail about watching the Buckeyes’ game :(, however there was a very nice crowd at Dive Bar and with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Magic Hat #9 on tap I’m a happy camper. How Cherry Wheat was discovered by Blaze, Ruby, CC, and I is an entirely different story (stay tuned).

Sunday morning, CC and I played paintball with some work friends. Unfortunately I cannot post a pic of my right butt cheek, but trust me, I have proof that I played paintball thanks to the crazy Micheal Myers looking guy on the other team that snuck up on me (that is Michael Myers as in Halloween, not Austin Powers or Linda “I’ll Give you a topic” Richman from SNL). Luckily the weather held out and it was a great time.

A fabulous weekend was topped off by a Brown’s victory, life is good!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gossip in the Grain

This past weekend, the boyfriend (CC) and I celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to Nashville, TN to see our friend Blaze and to see Ray LaMontagne perform at the Ryman Auditorium (amazing, amazing). Ray's new cd just came out last week and he performed mostly songs from that and some older favorites. I cannot describe how good this show was in words. I also can't really describe it with this video because it was taken with my crappy camera and the sound is ehh, but here is a teaser of how amazing this musician is.

video


His voice... I'm glad you can't hear me singing along. My favorites so far off the album are 'Sarah' and 'I Still Care for You'. Leona Naess opened for him and she is adorable. I would kill to have legs like hers, but she is an amazing singer as well. My favorite song of hers is 'Not the Same Girl'. Well worth 99 cents for an itunes download.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Delights



I was inspired recently by a blogger that probably doesn't remember me. She sat behind me in Econ 201 sophomore year with that professor that loved the Marx brothers (or is that all Econ professors?) and I adore her blog. It was her post on apple pie that made me want to give it a try for myself. I was intrigued by vodka in the crust, cuz any way to sneak liquor into food is good in my book, and smitten kitchen's recipe turned a daunting task into an art project. Fate stepped in when I stopped by my grandma's house on the most beautiful autumn day and her trees were bursting with apples that were calling my name. So I picked two large bushels of apples and spent the rest of the day working on my very first apple pie. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe for the apple pie filling, simple and traditional, exactly what an apple pie should be:

5-6 cups apples, pare, core, thinly slice
Sprinkle with 1/2 lemon juice

Combine and sift over the apples:

1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Place them in layers in the pie shell. Dot with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Bake in a 450° oven 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°. Bake until done, 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. For a delicious touch, sprinkle the top crust lightly with sugar and cinnamon as you put the pie into the oven. Some cooks brush it first with milk.



When my pie was finally out of the oven at 10 o'clock that night my dad gobbled his slice. Who can blame him, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is there anything better than apple pie straight out of the oven? And Ray Ray said it was the best apple pie she had ever had! Great success!

Ray Ray had a good point, do you know how some store bought pie crusts have that strange dirty taste? What is that? Well this crust is nothing but flaky, buttery goodness.

My fridge is still full of apples, so I am making my second apple pie for H&M's Hallo-wine party this weekend. Now I just need to decide on a costume...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The View from E 9th

Today was just like any other day - until the circus came to downtown!! These lovely elephants marched right down E. 9th, and at a pretty good pace. I had to run to take this picture.

And if living in Cleveland couldn't get any more exciting than mid-afternoon circus elephants... Jordin Sparks is performing a free concert this Saturday for the opening of a bus line! I couldn't make this stuff up. http://www.rtahealthline.com/grand-opening.html



My Very First Blog

After many months of reading blogs and a little bit of blogger stalking, I have decided to join the ranks of bloggers. I am a little apprehensive, but if nothing else, this blog can serve as my personal archive of favorite recipes, restaurants, and Cleveland "hidden jewels".

A little about me, and perhaps to start a theme, in the form of a recipe:

Molls
2 yrs. living in downtown Cleveland
40 dozen dinners cooked for one
A handfull of lb's I'd like to drop
A dash of pizzazz

Alright, that was cornier that I anticipated, but if I have one rule for this blog it is this: I will put myself out there, for better or worse. You may kiss the blog.