Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Woman

Readers, there are two things to consider in understanding the importance of this post.
  1. Yesterday was my first full day back to work & re-started Lit Review

  2. This morning I had to give a lecture in the car of why it is important to make good decisions in the classroom

These two things are the heart of why I needed coffee so bad this morning! I was on facebook, getting my morning fix while settling into my office, and read the post of the Good Woman (who will retain this nickname until we can come up with a better one or I can cleverly make Tim Gunn's Bestie more succinct) which explained the need to make coffee quickly. Just reading her post made me reach my hand out for my travel mug. Then, I reached again. Then, I got up and looked around my office. And I saw it... in my mind's eye, sitting on my table at home.

Readers, you know how there are mornings when you NEED a cup of coffee? This surpassed that, I required coffee to function on the most basic of levels today. The instinct of breathing would fail in me, that kinda requirement for coffee. I had not even had sips of my coffee this morning due to the car ride lecture (for the kid) & early carpool (for me) pick up.

I facebook complained to the Good Woman & Readers, and she brought me a cup of coffee!

Look at this, it is brimming with love and goodness and the stuff that make polar bears and bunnies cause that swell of affection in our hearts. It is lovely and warm, and being local totally allows the fact that I am wearing a little girl's flannel shirt under a smartassed Tshirt (Lady McBeth Hand Soap - Thanks da Sis & Mental Floss!) feel like a completely legitimate thing to wear to work. I am just so happy that I needed to have a big shout out for this one!

I have catching up to do

And my favorite way to catch up is with bullets! Or bullet points, as I am not that angry of a person, with the surprising exception of board games. The following are all blog worthy tidbits about this past week:
  • I was taken to dinner twice this week! Once to Chick-fil-A (ahhhh!!!) with my pops, & the kid was able to get the peppermint chocolate milkshake he has been bugging me about all year ("Mom, it's your NYR, why is it effecting me so much!?!"). The next night, Eyelashes McGee took me out for my first of birthday celebratory meals at The Globe for penne pasta with chicken & an Irish coffee.

I would like to take a brief time out to write that I think the next two weeks are going to be filled with a lot of actual dinning out because it's my birthday soon, and I enjoy going to restaurants and spending time with people and usually this is my favorite type of present. I preface this because the blog may sound like it is losing that food goal rambling of things that I am working at. To that, I think this; I only have the month of February and then the next ten months are going to be my nemesis. I imagine the initial responses to my NYR garnered some friends treating to dinners and lunches, and then the birthday season, but after that... the novelty will have worn. In March, not only am I thinking it will be a very homebound meal lifestyle, but I may be traveling twice that month, and have to prep for how that will work out! That was it, my brief timeout to relate that I still feel totally on track.

  • We took a 26 year old to ChuckECheese for his birthday, and because of the time frame and that I had not eaten all day, my first true consideration of breaking this whole thing off came while pondering if there was anything to do to make ChuckECheese pizza not taste like total (fill in any profanity or body part here)! Maybe getting my first 100,000 ring in ski ball assisted my hunger to subside.
  • I went to book club, so excited to finally bring something that I had made. I got a recipe for couscous, I bought the ingredients the day before, it was on. Until life happened, and I was 45 minutes late to BC and came totally empty handed. Above you will see someone else' lovely edible creation (and no, I did not eat it, it's got green in it). There are angels walking this earth and they come in the form of women who put up with my never bringing food to BC and not kicking me out for being a sad book girl.
  • I had wine two times this week! Oh yeah! (goofy dancing at desk, if you know me you can see it!) Monday night with the dinner I made (Italian sausage w/ peppers {so Jersey Shore} over penne pasta in tomato and basil sauce) for Bean Maddow, and then for PR Night (I love Project Runway & Tim Gunn!) with The Good Woman. With the brain stuff it has been a slow road back to normal and that includes my alcoholic consumption.
  • Speaking of my big head, I also finally started back working on my literature review, or should stay have started over. Between considering giving up, giving it another year, or becoming a street performer, I had all but walked away from my phd program since the surgery. I just did not expect it (the head stuff) to be as hard as it was/is. Doesn't matter now, as I read last night my entire text book (which is littered with notes & highlights, none of which I am recalling ever looking at) and have started an outline. It is the most productive I have felt in a long time, even with all the cooking.

I think that's it that is noteworthy. I will be attempting a macaroni and cheese this Sunday and I am kinda excited about it. I have narrowed down a few recipes that I think might be good. If you happen to have a good one, please shoot it my way. I tend to have a great deal of arrogance about mac n' cheese and I am now on the hunt for the perfect (to me) mac n' cheese recipe. The quest has begun...





Monday, January 25, 2010

What's Missing?

Maybe it's just because I have my souvenir Harvard tshirt on today and so my breasts feel really smart and aware, but I have recently come to the realization that I have not had a hamburger this entire year. Hamburgers are for me, not so much a "favorite," but definitely a staple. Fast food would barely exist without hamburgers, even from the point of view of a Chick-Fil-A fan such as myself. I am partial to cheeseburgers myself, and totally plain (no veggies, unless mushrooms count, which my real foodies will tell me does not). I like a rare burger too, regardless of the health concerns. I was once walked out on while on a date because my rare burger I was consuming... well it sorta dripped into my hand and down my forearm. Date went pale, excused himself to the bathroom, never to return again. I can't recall what color that guy's eyes were, but I can tell you I still remember how good that burger was.
I even think I know how to make a good cheeseburger, with breadcrumbs, seasoning salt and such. I think I have just considered it easier to simply be a dollar menunnaire (McD's) and grab a burger for a buck then what it could cost to make burgers at home.
Today I found that to be SOOO true. This is particularly because the hubs is not one who shops by the price tag, but we spent $18 to make 3 burgers today. That was a head of lettuce (yes, most is still in the 'fridge), one tomato, one onion, a pack of 8 potato bread buns, 2lbs of beef (at $4.95 a lb! Where's my cheap turkey meat?), and 2 boxes of cereal at $1.99 a box.
Readers, you know else happened? The burgers were only "kinda good." They weren't bad, the hubs does not make much bad food. It just was not what one would wait for 26 days for. Could it be that I have forgotten what a good burger tastes like? The hubs LOVED his burger, teased us for not fawning over his meaty masterpiece. I think I am going to try again in a month to make my own burgers. Until then, I can always tell him it was the BEST burger I have had all year!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bowtie Festival

Since I could not go out to eat and I have started missing some of my favorite meals, I have found that I can make them myself, or at least attempt to. I have been prone in the past to suggest Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival fairly often for a lunch choice, even though as the Liberian Lovely can attest, I never finished my plate (portions), but the meal was so worth it.
Readers! Guess what! I did it! It is now the best thing I have ever made. I spent 5 solid minutes after it was finally all together in giddy glee, hopping back and forth, yelling and texting people. I was insane. I love eating this. I am eating the leftovers as I type this up now (yes, it's 8:30am).
Readers, some of my insanity was because I struggled with this. First, it took me a solid hour to make this. Suggested prep time 20 minutes (that includes cooking). Second, it was the most I have spent for one recipe since starting this, so hence also EVER. Next, I had to call the Pink Haired Professor in a fury while I had food on the stove about to put in my next ingredient, only to find that I did not have something to measure out ounces, and freaked out! The Magic Chef knew it in like 30 seconds flat... it was like magic! I also now have the food assistance amendment where I am no longer to apologize (probably not 15 times in a 2 minute phone call either) for asking questions. BTW, 1 ounce = 3 tbsp.
..... Also there was this.
I did not read the instructions in full first to realize all that needed to be done, or in what time, or whatever. So, I did not cook my alfredo sauce until it appeared on the list, which was at the end, so I did not know how I would cool it. When I was cooking the pasta (again, because I did not read the directions clearly enough to cook the pasta! I was going to throw uncooked pasta in there. Ahhh!) I stuck the alfredo sauce in the freeze so it could cool off. Yes, I know Alton Brown is rolling in his spectacles right now and that I am sure that this disrupts the micro cellular composition or something, but I thought this was clever!
I finally got all my ducks in the same row and this meal was so delicious! The hubs could not stop smiling at me bc I was just that spastically enthused. After the fourth time of saying that I even made the alfredo sauce by myself, the kid started teasing me and I knew that it was time to settle down. Below you will find the recipe for what topped off my night!

JOHNNY CARINO'S BOWTIE FESTIVAL
1 oz. Melted butter
1 tsp. Chopped fresh garlic
1/8 cup Diced red onion
1/8 cup Diced cooked bacon
1/4 cup Diced Roma tomatoes
3 oz. Sliced cooked chicken
1 oz. Heavy (whipping) cream
3 oz. Alfredo sauce (recipe follows)
1/8 cup Asiago cheese
1/2 tsp. Salt, pepper, and garlic salt
10 oz. Precooked bowtie pasta
ALFREDO SAUCE
1 quart Heavy whipping cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. Black pepper
1/4 cup Whole milk
Preparation
In a heated saute pan combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken, and spice mixture. When onions begin to turn translucent, add heavy cream and Asiago cheese.
Once cheese and cream have reduced by half, add Alfredo sauce and bowtie pasta. Toss until well combined and remove from fire. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce thicken. Saute heavy cream, milk, and black pepper to a consistent boil. Remove cream mixture from heat and fold in parmesan cheese. Store completed sauce in refrigerator until use.

Dinner Party!

Readers, do you ever feel just too lucky for words? I am on a weekend high right now (part of which will be my post following this one). Saturday night I went to the Big City of my state for a dinner party to celebrate some of the people I love in my life. I got to hang with some of my favorite folks; Megadeath, Teece, Leece, E-Poo (who is going to hate that, but I feel like as a nickname for this blog will make more people happy than that one person mildly irritated), The Jam, and KR the first (I do want to add that most of these nicknames are not mine, but the London Lady's). Keeping with this blog, I think those above named folks liked the food I brought too!
This is truly a starred event in the history of my life because I have NEVER cooked food for a potluck or dinner party before. Readers, for some of you this may be a big surprise and you are thinking to yourself, "oh, yes you did when you made..." Sorry, that was a sham. It was an untruth. It came in a pre-made box, a microwave, or more than likely... Kroger! (My only exception, those mac n' cheese cupcakes for winter bookclub 2008) I am sorry if this hurts any of you, but I am willing to make it up to you by making real food, but I thought the truth should be set free. Oh, I feel better.
There was such good stuff at this dinner party, I mean look at this spread!
There was nacho bean dip, apple pie, really good cookies (Yes, I pocketed a few of those!), potato wedges marinated in something that even though there were bits of green in there, I still ate and enjoyed. Readers, you know what I love about potlucks and dinner parties? It is okay to eat in my favorite style... grazing. Teece & I arrived around 4:30pm, grabbed beer, and then I ate from 5pm continuously until we split at 10:30pm. For 6 hours, I had either a beer or a plate of yumminess in my hand nonstop.
I love how food can be a medium for celebration. I thought one of the hardest parts (and yes I still do struggle with this and probably will all year long) of this would be a loss of social contact because of how food is used as social function, in my life, THE social function. Food gatherings are the town hall meetings of my life. Food makes me happy, friends make me feel my best, combined is where our lives are lived. Saturday night I celebrated the coming together of people I love, to praise the future, each other and our food.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Smells like Home & Mom


This morning when I was running out of my house to go to the grocery store before my transportation for the day was gone, I grabbed a pair of jeans off the bed rail, gave them a whiff (readers, you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't judge), and they had a distinct smell. It was garlic! When making lunch yesterday, I wiped my hands on my pants several times (because I do not have an apron, though now in wasting trees of paper towels I fully see their worth) & now they are all garlic-y.

I love smells. I seem to have never lost my pregnancy nose, and more than once I have been compared to a hound dog when out in public. Don't you have a loved one's kitchen, where the smells just remind you of the most comforting places? Is there a fry seasoning that makes you smile when it whiffs in from the other room (frying butter will make me come a-runnin')?

What I think of most when I think of smells however is my mom, so I wanted to post a bit about her smells. For some people it's photos or certain places that invoke memories of their loved ones, and while I will always be reminded of my mom when I think of the ocean or see her red sweater in a photograph, her smell is what I miss the most. It's been close enough to her departure (3/6) that I still posses items that that are fragrantly reminiscent of her, but far enough away where I have to keep some things sealed to store it. I have her leather jacket that she smoked in ultra thin "toothpicks" in. The putrid outpouring of it's existence, the jacket's smokey smell ruminating through my hall closet and beginning to escape through the cracks. Her pillow that I took from her bed has lost all of it's smell of apple shampoo and pink Dove facial soap, but every now and again (and while I think it's all in my head) I think I catch a whiff of her head on the pillow, maybe next to mine, maybe smiling and tucking her balled fist under her chin and making the snuggle face. I don't really like it when the hubs sleeps on or holds this pillow as I'm afraid that he'll cause the scent to go away even faster, and in his sleep when I awake and he's touching it, I feel resentful.

My hubs and I are owners of only common smells, deodorant, sweat, grass. He invokes a heavy cigarette odor, while I can be bready. My mother smelled like pink Dove soap and Sea Breeze. She had the faint hint of butter when she got mad or annoyed. When she was happy and it was a windy day, she smelled like sea salt. When she wore perfumes, she grew sophisticated and elegant, they permeated through our house and made you take notice. my mom was a tough woman, and if you can imagine such a confliction, she always smelled soft.

Her car, which is parked outside my house, still smells like what makes memories of her. There is a strong lemon car freshener that is masking 2-3 days of chain smoking from her trip driving down to see me for her final farewell. I like to go and just "be" in her car, sniff up some of what it has to offer, finger her knick-knacks and treasure hunt for the possibility of uncovering something new. Yet all in all, the aroma of her car is comforting, and at times I try to curl up in the seats like I would, and did in those final days, in her lap and wish to be comforted and feel her presence. But I do not, so what I'm left with is her smells, and only until that fades too. She would think this NYR humorous and would send me funny trinkets to motivate me, or just to be that clever gift giver. I wish she could see me now, cooking and making my kitchen smell something like a home should.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Damn G-chat

I found a $1 bill on the ground in front of the vending machines at my office. I took it upstairs and while I was G-chatting with my London Lady, I asked her if she thought that meant it was okay for me to go downstairs and buy myself a Coke with the found money. Readers, my coffee creamer was empty this morning when I went to pour it & on a rainy day like today a Starbucks would have so hit the spot, that I just stopped making my morning coffee. So, I have not had any caffeine intake as of the conversation with London Lady. I decided that I would get a second opinion, and asked her if she thought it would be okay to get a Coke from the vending machine. Readers, the names she called me! "Cheater" being the most prominent, I realized she was correct. Since that time, I have wanted a Coke so bad!! It's all I can think about, and I actually think I am bringing on a caffeine headache simple to give myself an excuse that I NEED one!
Now, I am drinking water out of my metal water bottle thing (that London Lady said was better for me) kinda, sorta,... pouting.
To make matters worse, later my London Lady was drinking a beer over chat with me, and now it's noon-ish my time and I want a beer too.
In closing, the point is while I may be getting better at planning, I still have a far way to go!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Big Lovin' Dinner


I have heard complaints of cheating when other people are taking me out for meals or biscuits, and I can understand that, but this is also why I clearly stated some ground rules. Also, I try really hard (I hope) to attempt to compensate when this occurs. Last night, I had the pleasure to make dinner for the friend that took me to lunch this weekend, and my two favorite parts of this dinner was that; 1) We watched Big Love, and 2) When I asked her what I could cook for her... She Actually Answered!!

She told me she liked veggies, chicken and rice, what she did was give me a ballpark, and that is usually half the battle for me, deciding what to prepare. I get all pre-brain surgery anxious and make a total mess of myself and the situation. There was no rice, but I did make chicken pasta with summer vegetables. Then I prepared a salad. I don't know if it's good or what is composed of a good salad, because I don't eat them, nor am I going to try it out (would I even know what a good salad would taste like?), but she seemed to like it! And I do like to proselytize about my salad dressing collection (get it, proselytize, Big Love!?!).
We ate, we watched some Big Love (oh, Marjean, you are just too cute for words!) & I had enough for... leftovers!! It's all kinda unfolding slowing now. If I could just learn how to use coupons for grocery shopping, I would be taking that next step in this venture.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bust or No Bust?

If you really know me you will be disappointed that this is not me griping about my lack there of, but rather trying to figure out if this weekend was a bust or not. I built up quite a bit of stuff that I would be doing/attending, and some of it happened, but not much of it. I did eat from Friday to Monday, my white noodle contraption 4 times, but since that is neither exciting or healthy, let's move along.
Saturday I did go to the Women's Expo, but it was a huge disappointment. I arrived one hour after it started (it is suppose to be a drop-by event, not all day attendance) and all of the services like pedicures, manicures, waxing and massages were booked for the rest of the day (ended at 3:30pm, I arrived at 11:30am). There were no cooking demonstrations, and the tables were more local organizations or individuals hawking their ware. I would not be frustrated if I had not had to pay $5 to attend. My only comfort was later hearing that the money was going to a local charity. There was even a booth for dog training, which to me was not the best venue for the local women of my city. More than once I heard screaming, as in, "Get that dog away from me"!
I was planning on meeting some friends there but sent quick notes that this was not the best use of our time or money, and then because I was their personal financial saviors... I was treated to lunch at Last Resort, where I had fried ravioli w/ tomato sauce. Here are the hands (at lunch)that hold me up when I'm down, or in times of serious need for pasta not covered in my white sauce.
That night I convinced the hubs to play beer drinking games with me at the house. It is hard to live in a college town and have a drinking lifestyle as I did and to give up drinking downtown, especially when my friends were downtown most of the weekend. Readers, two person drinking card games are few and far between. We played gauntlet where you put your card against your forehead without looking and guess who has the higher card, incorrect guess drinks. It was pretty fun, but why we did not play quarters will remain one of the great mysteries of all time.
On Sunday, I woke up with the intention to make muffins for the woman who bought me lunch the day before and drop them off to her, but I slept too late and all I could bring her was a movie and a surprise visit. The day turned into homework and playing with the kid. That night I went over to Fievel's Moms' house for games, Golden Globes award show, and spaghetti dinner.
Monday morning I made this....

it is suppose to be Banana Nut Muffins, but I do not have a muffin tin, so it's more like BN cake, but with some tabs of butter (REAL butter), it was pretty good! Then the boys and I went bowling (which was $25 for us to bowl one game, I have become a cheapskate in this venture of mine) & played arcade games. We heated up some frozen pizzas for dinner & called it a night. Overall, not too shabby a weekend, even if I did not do everything I planned, and still wished I had attended the Effie's Chili Cookoff & Show, there was much quality time with quality food (and white noodle meals)!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Automatic Out of The Blog Reply

I think there should be an unwritten natural law that states that after any serious health issue, one should not be able to get sick until that person is fully healed. That said person is of course me, and my complaint is that I just am not sure if it is regular sickness (sinus cold), or snifflies accompanying extreme head pressure (from this bipolar weather). So I have been MIA for a few days of posting, maybe just 2 days.
Yet, don't worry Readers, I have a big day planned with lots of food related ventures. I should have a handful of posts for this weekend. Hopefully they will be fun!
Yesterday, I spent the morning in bed, and that turned into the afternoon in bed too. At 1pm, I had to take the hubs to work and then run by the bank to drop off some $$. I had not eaten yet, and as I am driving away from the bank. what lies in front of me but a Subway, McDonalds, BoJangles and you know the gods were against me when I could even see that the Hot Light was on at the Krispie Kreme! It is hard to walk away from a routine of $$ received = edible treat.
When I was 14 I got my first job to help my mom and I be able to support ourselves. every other Friday when my paycheck came in I would give my mom my check except for money pulled out for cookies. When my mom would get her check, we could be mounds in debt, and yet we would still go to a nicer place to eat that night. Yesterday, I was hungry, not feeling well and knew I still had to drive back home and then make something to eat, which I did, but was I ever sore about it.
I did get to eat out last night however. I dropped the kid off at his Grammy & Poppa's (hence forward to be known as) house, and I lingered around (not to eat) to possibly play a game of Phase 10. We did not play, but they did take the kid and I to go eat at a local joint named Bell's. I have not eaten at Bell's in YEARS, and it was just as good as I remembered and the portions were insane. I got a 3 piece fried chicken meal with fries and a baked potato. The kid got a VAT of popcorn shrimp and fried okra. I was able to bring back half of my meal and the kids for the hubs and we could not finish our leftovers. Quality, right?
Look for the next few posts with fun food stuff, sorry for the delay. Good eating!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pictures Test

This is a test to see if I can post mulitple pictures on one blog. Hold your breath readers, as we discover together. I will try to make all food related!

My First ever bit of sushi. Also my last one... 2006

Social Work Conference San Destin 2008 - I can't eat any of this, but looks good right?

How to make kids excited about school: Party first day w/ CAKE!

Trilex de Lomo - Argentina 2007. 3 steaks layered around cheese & fired eggplant

Blue Key Lunch 2009 @ Five & 10

Cookie Baking party 2009. This cookie is my brain w/ a bloody stem

Feb. 2009 My super sweet 16 + Birthday. Drunken cupcake eating!
I think this worked and I am so excited that now I can share more pictures with you guys, as anyone who knows me, knows I love to take pictures!

Coffee: Cups or Containers


I had to go off coffee for 6 weeks after my brain surgery. (In mid October of 2009, it was discovered that my years of severe neck pains, headaches and other things stemmed from having a Chiari Malformation.) I had surgery for it on November 4, and long story short, got to have coffee once I was off the narcotics about 6 weeks later.

I was talking with one of my physical therapists during that time about how many cups of coffee I drank a day. I said usually I only have 1-2 cups every day, thinking that was not so bad. Then he asked me if that was "cups" or "mugs." This may not be as shocking for you as it was for me, but I thought cups of coffee referred to containers, as in what said coffee was being held in, versus a measuring cup of coffee.

Yes, when I go, or when I used to go to Starbucks, Jittery Joe's, Cups, Espresso Royale (step away Katherine, step away. They will still be there when you get done with this. deep breathes and continue), I would get the largest size available, but consider it to be a cup of coffee, right?

So, my average intake of coffee was probably more like 6 cups a day. Now, I find myself making my own coffee with the cup measurements on the pot itself and it seems overwhelming how much coffee I drink, and then throw in some black tea about twice a day, it's a lot of caffeine.

Yesterday was particularly strong coffee day, as I filled up my huge travel cup with coffee for the drive to the kid's school to drop him off, the two mugs I had of coffee at work (recalling that I am only there until noon-ish), and then meeting a friend for an afternoon talk, where she bought me a medium sized caramel latte (so espresso shots too). All of this before 2:30, probably means what possible 10+ cups of coffee?! Of course with no lunch, I got coffee rot belly and with serious school drama & being dropped from my classes and having my financial aid disrupted, it only made the belly a little worse, exemplified by the idea that I wanted another cup for comfort of the afternoons mishaps.

Did anybody else just come to the realization that cups and containers of coffee were not the same thing? Or was I once again the kid that realized that Santa wasn't real a little too late in life?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And the Winner is...

ME!!!!
I went to Full Contact Trivia hosted by, probably the Athenian we have known the longest, Bobby (http://flagpole.com/Weekly/EverydayPeople/BobbyNettles.27May09). The hubs is a trivia buff and has been playing trivia weekly since we moved here in 2002. We used to bring the kid to the bars where Bobby hosted trivia when he was 3 years old (what happens when you have kids too young, you don't know they are not suppose to be in bars) and he would request Pink Floyd or Def Leppard songs (oh, precocious 3 year olds). So, last night I decided to go along to trivia with the hubs to get out of the house, and to say hello to Bobby (who is so muscly now, for my female readers that are interested, wink, wink). I am not at the table for 5 minutes before the other team players' meals begin to come out. Now I am not hungry, but the food at this place looks so good, and as Hubs orders a sweet tea, I pretty much feel like this is not going to be as much fun as I thought it would be. Readers, I even get an eye roll from the waitress as I only order water, I wish I could grab her hand and say, "but I will still be tipping you"! Time goes by, the hubs orders Brunswick Stew with the prettiest little piece of toast on top. I am mildly listening to the trivia questions as I stare at people's Barbie (pink) coleslaw dishes and massive hoagies, until Bobby asks for famous nicknames, "She was known as the Port Arther Rose"? Readers, I used to sing my mom to sleep every night with the songs of Janis Joplin, and she remains one of my favorite singers in the world, so of course I nailed this (and steered the hubs away from an answer of Willie Nelson {who was mentioned in Big Love this week}, & who is not a "she")! However, I was the only one in the room to do so! So, I was the big winner and guess what I got Readers!!!
A free pitcher of beer!!! I took a picture with my cell phone (and as soon as I figure out how to get it off of there it's coming up here) and proceeded to drink my free beers! I was so excited and Bobby even gave me a brain surgery shout out, and let folks know that for a quarter, I would even show you my scar. Readers, that offer is still on the table too. Needless to say with all the exclamation marks, I was pretty excited.

Monday, January 11, 2010


A little white trash cooking action happening for you. Is that offensive? I don't think so. Maybe if I included the HUGE jug of sweet tea I made too, it would seem more homey than

Along with these tasty piglets in a blanket (obviously with cheese), I made egg salad for sandwiches on Sunday, using the ambrosia of my world, Miracle Whip! I will eat anything with sour cream or Miracle Whip in it.
The Magic Chef (to be better nicknamed later) taught me a new way to boil eggs too, and so next time I will give that a shot and feel like a kinda bas-ass cook myself. Then, i will let you guys know the secret egg tip I got and how it worked out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I like to call this segment...

BITCHING.

Readers, you all know that this was not intended to be a cooking blog, but more an outlet to vent about how difficult this will be. Well you're in luck, because today will be that bitching tirade!
I did not start this to become more domesticated, or a houseparent of sorts. I do not think there is a more selfless, thankless JOB than house parent! I am not a big enough woman to do it, and yet I find myself doing things that were not what I was intending when I started this. I find myself waiting on the boys to make then meals. First, I hate to wait! I hate it. I don't like being late and my skin begins to crawl when I get the feeling I have to wait for things. I even lack the capacity to lay in bed if I'm awake, as if consumed in small bugs that I can't repel away from me. WOW, that is a pretty classic Katherine tangent, moving on. I wake up hours before the boys and I just wait until I can make them breakfast, then lunch and then dinner. The problem is I am not only not used to making dinners every night, but I still expected that the hubs would be doing some of them. The problem is not that the hubs is not doing that, it's just that I am this erratic, spazzing whirlwind and he moves more at a Southern molasses pace and it just freaks me out!

I was so mad, for feeling that now my time is spent doting on the kid and waiting for the hubs, this morning that when I had to go to the grocery store ....once a(frickin')gain... that I made a beeline for the in house Starbucks for the biggest carmel infused sugary therapeutic relaxer. Deep breath, deep breath. I just stood in front of the stand and looked at the menu. My one drink of choice cost more than the gallon of milk, eggs and cheese I had to pick up. I can not imagine what could have happened if there had not been a line. Deep breath, deep breath.

Man, I just found out that thing in which I am not appreciating this blog for! Writing this out and gathering my thoughts has made me find some clarity. I wanted to wallow in self-pity for a while longer! When I think about it, I have not only gotten used to living my life so lax, but I am used to holding the "stereotypical breadwinner role" w/ the full time working and 2-3 classes a week, and so I did not hold many household responsibilities, like the kid's homework, dinners or cleaning. Now that I am the one working part-time, my classes online this semester, and the hubs working full time, wait for it.... It is my turn and now my job to start taking on the household work too. I guess I just have to quit being a brat about it, and start being a responsible part of this family. Deep breath, deep breath.

And it would help alleviate stress if I could figure out how to create a weekly meal plan. I understand this is really suppose to help, but I can't even figure out how to plan this. Anyone still like me enough after this rant to give me some ideas?

Appropriate scene from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991)????
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: Did you burn something?
Kenny Crandell: Yeah, well, maybe if you'd called and told me you were gonna be, like... three-and-a-half hours late, I could've planned my dinner better.
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: I had to work late, OK?
Kenny Crandell: You still should've called. I sat and I waited. I went ahead and I fed the kids. I worked all day on that casserole.
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: Sorry.
Kenny Crandell: You haven't even said how nice the house looks. You're off at the office all day doing interesting office things. I'm stuck here cooking and cleaning and mowing the lawn, helping Melissa with her fastball, being a role model for Zach, spending quality time with Walter, doing your party shit! You've got the car and you don't even take me anywhere anymore. And when was the last time we went out to dinner together, huh? You know what, I'm sick and tired of not being appreciated!
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: I appreciate you.
Kenny Crandell: Eat shit! [storms away]
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: I don't believe this! I have to get up at 5:30 every morning so I can beat rush hour traffic into the city and go sit behind a desk for eight hours a day and miss Oprah Winfrey everyday on my summer vacation. And then, I get to drive home in gridlock IN A VOLVO with no air conditioning just so I can take care of you guys and put food on the damn table! It's a rat race and it sucks, Kenny. So what do you want, a medal? [long pause]
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell: Oh come on, you don't have to do all this. I mean, I never asked you to whisk the couch.
Kenny Crandell: Well, it needed it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

White Bowl of Noodles


There is this dish, more accurately a contraption, that I make as the ultimate comfort food. It has all my favorite ingredients, pasta, sour cream, cheese, garlic and wine. But that is also the only ingredients. It is a bowl of everything that will give you a heart attack at 30. If that is not enough the preparation is kinda a joke. I think this sprung from a strognoff recipe I tried that I destroyed so terribly that I was left with something I thought tasted delicious but was not a food consistency that I would offer anyone. I heat the wine to boiling (this is going to kill you, I wanted this meal so much last night that I actually used what I had left of a Riesling and a white chardonnay, because I did not have enough of either and mixed the two), then cut 2 cloves of garlic (making sure they are big enough slices to pull out with my fingers later), toss in, scoop out about 8oz of sour cream, toss in. Then I start to shred what ever white cheese I have, usually white cheddar, and toss it in. Then when the cheese is melted, I take it off the heat and let it begin to .... coagulate (it there a better word?). I dump it on noodles and have to eat it with both a fork and spoon because typically the consistency is that of water. I do not feed this to my family, though the hubs has had the occasional bite, always saying that each batch tastes different. I tend to think it sublime and during the 2 months I had off probably made it 3-4 times a week. If there is a Golden Bowl, then I could call this the White Bowl. Let me know if you ever want to come over for some! (*I load pictures at work, so you can see this on Monday)

I woke up this morning with the most intense dry mouth you could imagine. Some time in the night my new phone went off, with its not yet familiar chiming ring tone, from the front room where I had left it. I was dreaming and heard this sound and started out of my house, pushing a grocery cart full of nondescript items (the cart is either from The Road** or because I have to go to the grocery store almost every freakin' day), chasing after this sound. I finally begin to catch up with it, and it's an ice cream truck! Now, this is the most run-down ice cream truck you could imagine, I'm surprised there are people in it let alone ice cream. It does not matter because I am overwhelmed by the desire for ice cream. I wait my turn in line, and as I go to buy an orange push-up or drumstick, I am informed that they have heard of my NYR and told me I can not buy one. I start attempting to barter things out of my grocery cart, like brooms and jars of moonshine, and yet they will not give me an ice cream. I woke up from the dream feeling desolate and frustrated.
** The Road was such an amazing book, and I have somehow continued to put things into reference of the man and the boy. I will share this one with you readers. I was getting my eyebrows waxed and yes, I am a wimp for pain. So, as she is ripping away my thick, Greek heritage from my face, all I was thinking of was, "calm down Katherine, the man and the boy could take this"! Maybe for inspiration, as Julie had Julia and Max Stevens had fighting corporate greed, I could lean of the man and the boy for support! It's just a thought.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tasty treats inspired by movies




When the pink-haired professor and I went to see It's Complicated there was a whole chocolate croissant thing happening. Before Steve Martin even gave up the close up view of the delicious item, I had already seen it. I love chocolate croissants! My mom used to bring home a tray from the grocery store on payday when she would come home Friday mornings. so, not only does it include two of my favorite food groups; bread and chocolate, but I have a huge emotional attachment. Moving on, as we watched the pink-haired professor told me an amazing cheat, which I attempted today.

I bought a can of croissants and two huge Symphony bars (the ones with almonds and toffee in them). I simply wrapped the chocolate bars inside the dough. They did not look like I expected and they were not the taste I was hoping for really, but they were still really good, just in a different way. The boys don't really like chocolate... yes readers, I know it's insane, but just leaves more for me... and they both ate TWO.

I get by with a little help from the hubs


There are and will be so many times through this venture when I will need some help in the kitchen, more likely LOTS of times. I am very quick to call the Magic Chef, or when I'm alone try to look up a YouTube clip, but 9 times of out 10, I call the hubs. The funny thing is I don't know if he possess that much more knowledge than myself, or if I just want him to validate that I am trying (more a confidence booster than a cry for actual help). Sometimes I call him into the kitchen to help and then quickly "shoo" him out if I get the impression he is trying to take over, or stubbornly disagree with the advice he's give even though it is usually correct.

Take for instant last night, I had just awoken from my 3-5pm nap (thanks big brain) and stumbled in to make a roast, and i have done this before and kinda know how to do this. Maybe because it was cold, maybe because I was not awake yet, but I played (cooking) dumb REAL QUICK when I entered the kitchen. By the time Hubs asked me if I was going to "put a rub" on the meat, I knew I was close to checking out and heading back to bed. If "put a rub" meant was I going to add salt and pepper, sure. If it meant was I going to crystallize it in yumminess as he did, not quite. So, I sorta made dinner last night of beef roast, lima beans, mushroom mac 'n cheese (honestly, the wheat noodles did lose me as a fan), and the best part... I made brown gravy from the drippings. It was so good, that I just dripped it over all my food. MMmmmm, brown gravy. I wonder how'd it taste on ceral?

BTW, we also ate at the table together... big ups! Yeah!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quick Update...


I am eating leftover spaghetti out of Tupperware from my desk at work! It's a Gold star day for me! Just saying! Readers, this is kinda a first for me, the only leftovers I usually eat are when restaurants give large portions and I did not want my hubs to know I ate out for lunch for the 4th time that week, and so I keep the food in my mini-fridge at work!
I deserve to get to spend some time playing with my Hole In The Head game as a reward!

Back at The Globe


Yes readers, I made my return to a bar, moreso one of the my favorite bars, The Globe. Now it's no surprise since Esquire magazine named in one of the best bars in America (http://www.esquire.com/bestbars/bb-Globe), and I could always rationalize that if I could not buy a beer there, I could always go for one of my all-time, top 5 favorite dishes, the penne pasta with chicken. Wait one minute! No, I can't! Why am I at this bar? Are these people at the table with me worth the internal struggling I am experiencing as I look at the chalk menus hanging above the fireplace that reveal that the tomato Gorgonzola cheese soup is on special?

I guess so, because I spent a about an hour drinking water and looking at iPhone pictures, just generally being around the folks I care about, which is always worth having to watch shapely pints of Guinness being poured all around you.

On another added note, I returned to work after the big brain sabbatical, and while I am at half days for the first month, it did a number on yours truly! When I began to make my sandwich for lunch around 1:30pm, I thought I would fall asleep in my Miracle Whip. Luckily my kid is brilliant enough to require little homework help from me, and was kind enough to help me with dinner. We made garlic spaghetti with turkey meat. The kid made garlic bread rather ingeniously as he melted butter in in a bowl the microwave and then added garlic salt. He took the bread slice I gave him and "stamped' them into the bowl. i thought it was clever as hell and not the typical giant mess I make of things. We had 3 folks join us for dinner and leftover fudgy pie, which is not as good as leftovers, but i do like the company and maybe the thought of cooking for other... maybe. Company = yes, Cooking for others = not too much, kinda stressful.
Overall, I made it another day!

Fast Foodie Secrets

To be a real fast foodie it is important to share some of this golden wisdom with others. Since I am not utilizing these trade secrets, I have decided to share them with you to see if any of them help. I really think these are some winners!!
  • If you’re at Starbucks and in need of just a little caffeine, don’t worry – there’s a tiny option for you. It’s the Short size, and they don’t advertise it. It’s like a little baby cup of coffee. It also comes in handy when you’re scrounging for change and don’t have enough for a tall. You can also order a smaller sized coffee and then a free cup of ice and it equates to more than double the size for an iced coffee. Don't do this at your regular Starbucks, you will look like a jerk.

  • If you’re at Wendy’s and you’re really hungry – like, three-patties-just-won’t-cut-it hungry, go ahead and order the Grand Slam, which is four patties stacked on a bun. It’s also known as the Meat Cube.

  • At Wendy's you can also get junior frostys for about 50 cents, better idea is to go pick up the Halloween Gift packs that are meant to be handed out as trick-or-treat gifts, and they are 10 for $1! I buy a pack every year and my kid & I go for random snacks.

  • Feeling a little health-conscious at Popeye’s? If you are, you really should have gone somewhere else. But there’s a little hope for you – ordering “naked chicken” will get you breading-free poultry

  • McDonald’s offers a “MiniMac”, basically a double cheeseburger that is a BigMac. I order a “double cheeseburger, made like a big Mac” and the order screen indicates a MiniMac. It’s about $0.40 extra.

  • Burger King can hook you up with an order of “Frings” that is half french fries and half onion rings. they have given it to me at all of the Burger Kings I have been to.

  • At Waffle House you can request a quadruple order of hash browns even though the menu only lists up to a triple order.

  • Don't be grossed out, but at Long John Silver’s, order a “side of crumbs.” It’s a box of the fried batter crunchies that hang off their fish and chicken planks, and best of all, it’s free of charge. Can’t say it’s healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but it tastes delicious says the girl who loves the skin of poultry the best!

This is for my New England folks and was from a former employee that came up with these concoctions while working at Dunkin Donuts. I think they sound wonderful!

  • Orange Creamsicle - 2/3 Vanilla Bean Coolatta concentrate, 1/3 Orange Coolatta concentrate, Neutral base
  • Arnold Palmer - 1/3 Lemonade Coolatta concentrate, 2/3 Ice Tea, Neutral base
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberry - 3/4 Vanilla Bean Coolatta concentrate, 1/4 Stawberry Coolatta concentrate, 1-3 pumps of Mocha Swirl (depending on size i.e. small, medium, large), Neutral base
  • Toasty Caramel Creme - Toasted Almond Flavor Shot, Caramel Swirl (3 shots for a small, 4 shots for a medium, 5 shots for a large), Neutral base
  • Blueberry CobblerX-Large - Blueberry Flavor Shot, 2/3 Vanilla Bean Coolatta concentrate, 1/3 Wildberry Smoothie base, 1-3 pumps of Caramel Swirl (depending on size i.e. small, medium, large), Neutral base

How about Free food days?

  • Ben & Jerry's offers a free cone day around April every year since 1979. Part of their campaign slogan, "Be one in a Million." Sometimes this is held on Earth Day and some times volunteers have been on hand to help people register to vote.
  • Hello, welcome to 7eleven, which on July 11 will hook you up with a free slurpee!
  • Dunkin Donuts has whole week at the end of April with a different free item each day; free scoop, free iced coffee, free donut, etc. Fundraising groups lobby for donations that may have gone to those items & get to retain 100% of donations.
  • Stone Cold (killa) Creamery dipenses a free cone around September 24. There will be a line and there will also be the skinnest people ever in that line. don't let that disaude you, it's free ice cream!
  • This seems like a decent site, and you can get updates via email, twitter or facebook: http://www.freemania.net/blog/free-food-days/

And for those of you who made it all the way to the end of the blog, my fav food establishment, Chick-Fil-A, offers so much! Here are just a few:

  • Chick-Fil-A will knock off 40 cents from the BLT Chicken sandwich if you ask for no tomato.
  • Also if you time it just right, you can get there right at the end of the breakfast time and beginning of lunch and they’ll throw in a “special” for free, usually the mini biscuits.
  • Regardless of what your coupon says, Chick-Fil-A will always honor any coupon, even if expired... even really expired!
  • Chick-Fil-A partners with Coke and some of their offers require you purchase a Dr. Pepper, however you can actually order any Coke product.
  • Labor Day if you wear your favorite ACC or SEC (Go Dawgs!) sports shirts, you get a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
  • Don't even get me started about their Father Daughter formal lunches or 12 Days of Christmas specials either. Oh, I <3>

I hope this helps you guys out. If I think of or find any more, I will post them as comments on this post. Happy Eating!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day Four... last numbered day post


Readers, today I did not cook, but I did not go out either. Well, I went to the movies and saw "It's Complicated" which made me want to drink a lot of water and maybe smoke a little pot, as well for one of the first times in my life made me say "I really like her kitchen," and not have it mean because the it was filled with clothing. I did remember to bring a baggie of snacks for my girlfriend and I, but neither of us imbibed too much in them. Note to self mixing trail mix with sour skittles is not a good idea, in fact I don't think sour skittles mixes with anything!
Breakfast saw me having to say good bye to one of my top 10 favorite people on the face of this earth, so I could not eat much. I am an emotional eater at heart, and it is always really hard for me to say good-bye to people, especially someone as lovely as this woman is.
Today, I went to my most favorite of favorites places, Goodwill (I could spend my whole life Goodwill hunting). At the previously mentioned dinner party I did not have enough plates for everyone and I had to wash while company was here or use bowls, etc. There are only 3 peeps in my house & as you guys have been introduced so repetitiously to, we don't eat on them! At Goodwill, I found a set of 3 gorgeous greenish heavy plates and a set of two black with blue slashes (I got these plates in case I ever have a plate wall like D&OC (http://downandoutchic.blogspot.com/) always makes me want to have, until then we'll eat on them). I like having separate non-matching plates, like towels, it seems to make your house feel lived in and lived through. (Here are where pictures will come of plates)
Dinner was leftover lasagna and I know that it may not be that exciting for you, but I don't have leftovers at my house because if you don't cook you don't have leftovers. This made me think that I could make one large staple thing on Sunday and try to spend one week eating off of it through varying sides and components. I have seen it in Real Simple issues and so I am going to try it, possibly next month.
Something interesting to note, I have received now $125 in gift cards to restaurants since January 1st. Now I am considering this to be an acceptable form of not paying to eat and so eating off the cards, but that has raised some questions. In my college town, there is often free coupons for Chick-Fil-A or cups of coffee given without purchase required. I was planning on considering these coupons to be placed on the NO list, and I was just going to give them away. Yet, now I want to get some feedback to see what you guys think. Let me know, do "free without purchase" coupons apply? Should I house the gift cards for a year? Give me some feedback people!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day Three


Let's just say I have to go to the grocery store every single day for this to work. Today only for another pie shell, as I made tomato pie! Below you will find the recipe & it is as my hubs said today, "the best thing I have ever made." My friend, Mel, brought this to book club end of the year foodie month, and out of loads of delicious dessert-like items this (more like a side) winner shone through! This time I did not use a graham cracker crust, as I did the first time. My first attempt resulted in graham cracker crust since I knew crusts were suppose to be tan colored and that was all I found in the baking aisle (it took 2 days later to find out that there were some regular baking crusts in the frozen aisle. This is also where my green onion story was from when making the pie the first time. This time was much easier even though I still needed the directions every 15 seconds. Here are my pie pictures (coming soon)!

This morning I made cinnamon french toast for my kid, Laurie and I, and I don't think that turned out too bad.

Dinner will be made tonight by the hubs. A chicken in white wine (casserole) w/ portabellas. it is my favorite meal he makes. I just think that he had a hard time getting started after not having to do much of the cooking lately because I kept having to do the prompts, "I sure will be hungry in an hour" or "I bet dinner does not make itself." Poor fella, if he said those things to me I would put a lot more than resentment into the food. And then, it happened a meal explosion. The mushrooms were bad, not not tasty, but possibly expired to a point of toxicity. The casserole gets pulled out of the over and I hear Hubs say, "Oh no!", and he was right it was "oh no", almost a "hell no".
You know what i do usually in a situation like that, readers? Call my closest pizza joint and we are back on track. However just like this afternoon when my hubs picked up a pack of cigarettes and asked if I needed anything from inside the gas station (shooting danger angry eyes), that not what I can do. Readers, you would have been proud. I pulled out some Bertolli mushroom raviolis, grabbed the jar of vodka sauce, grated some white cheddar cheese, 9Laurie made some broccoli because, yes I do keep veggies in my house even if I don't eat them), and in 10 minutes after casserole is out of the oven, new meal! I would have preferred my hubs meal, but this was pretty good too!

Another slice of the fudgy pie for dessert, and Laurie, the boys and I were (I hope) well feed for the day!



Mel's Amazing Tomato Pie
9 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
10-12 basil leaves, chopped (or one teaspoon dried basil)
2 – 9” pie shells
6-8 medium tomatoes
6 slices bacon
1 TBSP garlic salt
½ bunch green onions (SCALLIONS)
2 cups mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


Fry bacon, drain, finely chop and reserve. Peel tomatoes. Slice thinly and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle tomatoes with garlic salt. Combine mayonnaise, cheese, green onions, salt and pepper for the topping and reserve. Cook pie shells according to directions. In the cooked pie shell, layer the tomatoes, bacon and basil. Cover completely with the topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serves 12.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day Two


As I pulled up to the car next to me at a red light today, the man sitting in the passenger seat had the largest cup of Starbucks coffee I had ever seen. Readers, do you know what happen then? I was able to actually smell to coffee. The aroma was in my nose, a buttery caramel deliciousness, and just as sweat was beginning to drip from my brow with the anticipation of driving as fast as I could to the closest Starbucks... I realized I just picked up two pounds of coffee, and the smell was from my backseat. Crisis Averted!

I can feel a type of change in the wind when I go to target and instead of blowing my Target card (from my wonderful aunt & uncle) on their cute clothes or blowing all of it on the kid stuff (I did still get myself a Henley and the kid a couple packs of Gogos), readers, I bought food. What I assume to be Target's brand, Archer Farms, is pretty decent, though for me kinda on the high priced side. I picked up the above coffee bags, Cinnamon Vanilla Nut and Toasted Caramel (my tastes in coffee make it apparent that I want it to taste more like a candy store than actual coffee), a bag of chips that were Parmesan Garlic kettle cooked (which my house guests and I devoured all last night during an intense late night game of Balderdash), and two side items. These side item are Mushroom Gnocchi and Porcini Mushroom Mac n' Cheese (people, there are even whole wheat noodle, though I did not know that when I bought them). I am not trying to be Julia Child or Julie Powell, but I do think I should try to make at least one side with each meal and I struggle with it not being blue box Mac n' Cheese every time. I don't want to attempt each night for 3-4 "made from scratch" creations. I want possibly one and then super instant sides or whatever is left. What do you guys do that easy & I can not botch up?

As you may have read, I had my first dinner party last night where I did all the cooking (okay, not really, my beautiful friend made an insane garlic butter paste for garlic bread she prepared as if it were making a bowl of cereal). I prepared lasagna ( I stuck it in the over, it was a massive party size Stoffer's), prepared a salad (which meant cutting up 2 tomatoes, as I bought the bag of salad), and then I made a pie!!! I made it, I just kept saying to myself and my guests, I wish Michelle could see this. My pie even looked pretty (pictures to come). And... while they are all my friends, the guests seemed to really like it. I have enclosed the recipe below, I had caramel sauce leftover, so I did not make my own, and I only had to go to the grocery store twice, even though I was pretty sure I owned all the ingredients for the pie. I have on work on pantry stocking, big time!


Funny story from last nights venture cooking. I was opening the Stoffer's box and reading the directions. Directions are where I get lost in cooking. If I lived at Hogwart's I would be thrown out of every potions class conducted. I have lived in my county for 7 years and if you give me street directions, I will never even make it across town. Back to the box, the very first instruction is about tearing the perforated strip and removing something, and I spend a solid 5 minutes trying to find the perforated strip on my metal lasagna container. I have to ask my hubs to come in and help. There are many things that have been lately adding intricately detailed descriptions of use, light bulbs, batteries, tampons, just to name a few. The strip was on the outside of the box. The first step of simply to remove the lasagna from the box (which I had already done, and from the non-strip side of the box, hence my dilemma of locating it). Baby Steps, Katherine, baby steps.

Fudgy Brownie Pie w/ Caramel Sauce
Crust

1 refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box

Filling
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (from 11.5- or 12-oz bag)
1 cup chopped pecans
Sauce
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
2/3 cup half-and-half

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
2. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla and eggs until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt until smooth. Stir in chocolate chunks and pecans. Spread evenly in pie crust.
3. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and half-and-half over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. Serve hot caramel sauce over each serving.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 50 to 55 minutes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1


Of course right now is the exciting time. I am all energetic about the little things and the small inconveniences are more like fuel for funny stories. However, I am aware that I am still "on break", that neither school or work will resume for 4 more days. Hopefully, I will use the time wisely. Today, I went through a cook book and attached Post-Its with the ingredients I do not typically possess in my house, so that I could just grab one and run to the store. I think that may be a good idea until I figure out how to grocery shop. I could also see patterns of food I should keep in my house, such as beef broth (what the cuss is that?). However all of this occurred after I went to the grocery store. Let me share with you one thing I learned today. I shop for groceries the same way I shop for clothing. I see one item, I like it, I get it. It does not matter if it goes with a single thing in my house. This is why I own 30 skirts I never wear and the same gray Tshirt once a week, much like always making the same 3 meals over & over.
So, that is what happened today when I got up to the grocery store. I had no plan and no idea how to actually shop for "meals." I was throwing in random things, not creating meals, not equating entree ingredients. Essentially I spent an hour pushing the cart (I did not even get a big cart, but the mini ones) around, feeling those first impressions of "what the hell did I get myself into?".
The day turned itself around though, as I made grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch for the family, and then met up with friends to walk around our college town. Some of my closest friends are in from Austin, TX & Harper, Liberia. Again in my town, there are three big things you do when folks come in from out of town; eat, coffee, alcohol. So as we were walking we stopped into a wonderful local coffee shop, ERC, and my lovely friends got hot tea. Here is why I was so happy today. Not only did I get to ask for just a hot cup of water (thanks), but as we walked out I got to place in the cup my Black Chai tea bag that I had remembered to tuck away in my purse. (I even took a picture to load on here & will load it asap). Yeah!
I then split from my friends as they went out for Thai food, and went home for pasta and vodka sauce, my staple comfort meal, & made my boy Ramen, his staple comfort meal. We made it through Day One with no bought meals.
But wait... all of a sudden we (the 6 out of town pals, my hubs, kid & I) decide to go to the dollar theatre and see The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which was truly fantastic). Readers, place those fingertips to you cheeks and wait for the smile. I remembered to pack up snacks to bring! Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kid mini packs from Halloween, M&M party mix in baggies, and assorted peanut butter cups. I was just so excited I could hardly wait to come home and type this all up.
So, today was a success. Tomorrow, I have a dinner party for 8 people in which I am preparing lasagna, salad (which I don't eat so I don't really know what I should put in there versus, setting up a build your own salad on the table, I'll let you know), and the kid and I will be making from scratch the dessert, a fudgie brownie pie with caramel sauce. Pictures will be taken. Wish me luck!

Last Meals

Happy New Year! I hope 2010 brings you many good times and many good meals.

I have to imagine that a few of you may be wondering what I chose as my last meals for 2009. On 12/30/09, I made plans to eat at one of my favorite Italian joints, DePalma's. Now something I foresee making this resolution challenging is that I associate memories with food and restaurants. DePalma's was the first "nice-r" sit down place that my mother and I went to just the two of us. In 2000, it was the place recommended by our good friend, Josh Payne, as the spot to have our first anniversary dinner. It's one of my go-to places for suggested birthday or pre-op lunches. Even my 2005 undergrad graduation meal was there and it was the last meal I had with my mother, father, and sister (hubs, kid, in-laws were there too) in the same room. And friends, I have these types of stories for so many places.
So, my son and I go to DePalma's, where I have my usual, Chicken Pasta DePalma, with extra sauce on the side. It's not a long meal, but I do enjoy eating out with my kid. He's getting older and I don't know how much longer I get to cart him around for our little date nights. He mutated into a tween this year and all those promises that he made at 5 years old to always want to hold my hand & for me to be his favorite girl, I feel are getting harder for him to keep. Our morning breakfast had even been BoJangles that morning, which our routine is to see which of us ends up with the larger of the two chicken biscuits. It is never me. Never. You know you are a fast foodie when your kid brags that he always gets the larger BoJangles biscuit in random conversation, as if that makes any contextual sense to any discussion.
On New Year's Eve, I bought my last Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit. Quite honestly Chick-Fil-A will need a post of itself from me, as my favorite place to eat and because I am a nut about it!
And here it is, my last bought meal. Loco's hot wings. I know it's kinda disappointing. Loco's was one of the few places that were delivering on NYE, once again proving why we need a change because it was just lazy to not even eat someplace and something more exciting, or at least more Katherine-like.
As if the heavenly creatures above were rooting me on, all of these last meals... were not so great. My chicken biscuits were more of the Saturday rush variety than the buttery weekday ones (What you can't tell which day is the best to get your fast food, from each of your favorite Establishments?). At DePalma's, I was suppose to meet friends and through my phone difficulties, we were not able to meet up. And the worst one of all, Loco's delivery was running so late (understandably!) that I only was able to spend about 3 minutes with one of my dearest friends at the NYE party before she had to leave... to return to work in London. That's a whole country away!
It was as if I was receiving tiny signs that this is not only a good idea, a funny traipse for you readers, but that my eating lifestyle has interrupted more than just my wallet's ability to show off to it's other wallet friends. I feel excitingly motivated for the new year and for this hopeful change in lifestyle. The only thing left now is to go food shopping for ... real food. Talk about blog worthy!
Happy 2010 everyone!