Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten things Tuesday!

1) It is GLEE Tuesday! Pumpkin chili is made (though it is spicy, for real- I'm glad I bought sour cream). It is now resting in my fridge, waiting for Julie to come over and eat it up.

2) I am knocking off what I think will probably be the last of the 28 in the 28th list that I'll get done this year- Watching Amelie with Julie before GLEE

3)  Had a great weekend with Kate and Potter and Jack! There was some good and tasty food made, There was lots of Community watched, and there was quite a bit had to drink. It was great.

4)  My car is fixed!  I had been driving around with my car being loud for.... awhile, and I think I just kind of kept thinking that it wasn't that bad, and then it also developed a rattle. So I brought it into the shop, and they fixed it, And now it's a completely different car. So awesome. I hadn't realized how terrible it was- now that it is fixed, I feel so much better.  Which leads to my next ten thing:

5) Found a great mechanic down the road from me!  Friends of mine have a mechanic, Mike Tyre, who is really good, but is all the way up in Timonium, which is a 35 minute drive for me. I looked up mechanics on the Car Talk website, and they had good ratings for the one down the street from me, and the guys treated me really well, and fixed my car super fast.  It was great!  The guys really remind me of the mechanics at home, at Dom's Getty and Paul's.  Sense of humor, give good advice, and are honest.

6) Good new music!  Go check out Florence and the Machine. Do it.

7)  I had time to read! And I read!  Kate lent me Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and after they left on Sunday, I read straight through from 3 until 11, pausing only for dinner and a leftover brownie. it was great- both books, and if you're in the market for something good and engaging to read, I really recommend all of the books in the Hunger Games Trilogy.  (I would advise having Mockingjay when you read Catching Fire, because you are going to want to start it right away.) I think I am going to spend some time this weekend re-reading them, because i was reading so fast to find out what happened, I may have missed things.

8) Finalizing my 29/29th list!  This is the last one for my 20's, so I want to make sure it is awesome. I also want to accomplish everything on the list this year, so I am going to make it more manageable.

9) Good things are just happening in general.  The fog and funk that I've been in lately seem to have lifted, somewhat.

10) I have an awesome family.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Weekend!

So I am still without my camera cord, (and also I didn't take any pictures this weekend) but I'm just going to write about what I cooked this weekend, when my cousins Kate and Potter were visiting, and my sister was hanging out too. The purpose of the weekend was to watch copious hours of the TV show Community, which just came out on DVD, and we all love. (Well, Kate and Potter and I loved it. Jackie hadn't watched it at all. But that would all change....)  So I made a weekend's worth of College- themed things.  (well, and also tasty things- i don't know if corn chowder and pumpkin pancakes are college themed)

Dinner on Friday Night: (pizza and beer night!)
Roasted butternut squash and chicken apple sausage Pizza.  with mozzarella, tomatoes, and chopped rosemary.  After it was out of the oven, I drizzled it with some balsamic vinegar reduction.

I also made garlic cheesy bread, in the style like you would get from a Papa John's or Domino's,   We washed that down with the beer that Kate and Potter brought.

Saturday Morning:
Pumpkin Pancakes!  These were dense and moist pancakes that were pretty good- with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon.  (Woo, Fall flavors!)

Saturday Lunch: Corn chowder
My standard corn chowder recipe, this time supplemented with the Prosciutto that I had left over from Glee Tuesday, for some extra porky goodness.

Saturday Dinner: 
Sweet potato oven fries- which, got a little on the mush side, but were still very tasty.
Panko and Parmesan chicken fingers, with a variety of dipping sauces- curry ketchup,  Siracha, honey mustard, homemade barbecue sauce,  and regular ketchup.
Spinach- you know, for being nominally healthy and to cut the protein and carbs that were entering our system.

This was washed down with PAN, an invention of Kate and Potter's college friends, which includes mixing vodka with lemons and sugar, and letting it sit in a pan for a while with ice.  mmmmmm, college-y.

Saturday Dessert:
Salted Caramel Brownies with ice cream and Salted Caramel Sauce.  I made brownies, and there was a layer of salted caramel sauce in the center.   Right before serving, I heated them up, put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and poured some hot caramel sauce over the whole thing.  It was the most delicious sugar bomb ever.

Sunday breakfast:
Scrambled eggs with parmesan cheese,  and potato hash.  salty potatoes,  creamy cheesy eggs,  some siracha on top. I could have that breakfast every morning.

After that, we headed down to the Baltimore Book Festival, and meandered around for awhile. When we came back to my apartment, Kate and Potter peaced out to drive home, and  Jack left too, with the vegetarian chilli I made for her for Sunday dinner, and the breakfast burritos that I had frozen for her.

It was an awesome weekend! I can't wait until they all come back again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Find your spot

So there's this website called find your spot that you plug in a ton of different variables for places you could live, and they spit out your top areas to live.  My friend Katie did it on her blog, so I'm copycatting and doing mine.

Not a huge suprise, seeing as I love the Northeast, and I've already lived in Rhode Island, but it obviously knows me a little, seeing as it didn't pick anyplace dumb for me to live. (like it picked for Katie to live in Utah. On purpose)

Meanwhile, I have three posts on deck, but I can't find my dag camera cord! this is annoying. Hopefully i'll find it soon and be able to get those up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Awesome Cobbler of awesomeness.


There is a new favorite dessert in my life. It's The Pioneer Woman's Cobbler, and I can't stop making it. My friend Bryan first brought it into my life when he came over to my house for pizza and wii night, and it was so good, and simple. After he made it,  Tim came over for Lilith fair, and we made it as part of our dinner of awesomeness (also included: roast chicken, and sangria and potatoes) I have made this cobbler a bunch of times since then. I've made it with just blackberries, I've made it with blackberries and raspberries, I've made it with peaches, and I've made it with peaches and blackberries, and it has been awesome every time.

But that's not the best part of this dessert:  the best part of this dessert is how stupidly simple it is. It is crazy easy. (as do most things with five ingredients)  Five. Ingredients.  Even if you add some ice cream on top, that's still the easiest dessert I make.  Everyone I've made it for has really liked it, and I can't wait to make it some more. This dessert will probably make an appearance in the cooking I'm doing for my family when they visit over the next two weeks

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner: Coconut Pudding

I had not planned anything for dessert last Sunday night, and when Jackie and I were finished with our soup, we both kind of wanted something sweet. I didn't have time to bake cookies, or do anything intense- We were going to work the box office for Hedwig and the Angry Inch that night.  So I rummaged around in my cabinets, and found a box of Trader Joe's Instant Vanilla Pudding, a can of light coconut milk, and some dark chocolate.

I have made the coconut pudding before, in Chincoteague,  where I served it with toasted coconut (OMG DELICIOUS)  but it is also good in this version, with some chopped dark chocolate sprinkled on top.  It is also good with banana. The best thing about this recipe? I almost always have all the ingredients for it- these are all staple items for me.

I've also made this recipe swapping out all of the milk for coconut milk- and I find it doesn't set up as well.

Coconut Pudding

1pkg trader Joe's Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup light coconut milk

some chopped dark chocolate, banana, or toasted coconut for garnish.

Directions: make pudding according to directions in package. After it has the rest in the fridge for five minutes, stir, and pour into individual containers.  garnish, and serve.  (Try not to eat all of them in one sitting)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner: Moroccan Chickpea Soup

 Cake that I made to celebrate first week of classes! (somewhat self explanatory) Please ignore the crappy piping.

So my sister moved to Baltimore a few weeks ago, and because she's a penniless grad student, and I'm the most awesome sister on the face of the planet, I have instituted Sunday Night Family Dinners. So once a week, I'm going to cook her dinner, and make enough leftovers that she gets to take some home. The first week I made chicken and dumplings, Last week I made turkey chili, and yesterday I made Moroccan chickpea soup. It's a recipe that is easily adopted to be vegan, or vegetarian (if you swap out the chicken broth for veggie broth) and it is hearty and tasty. 

I also made her a batch of cous cous, which is one of her favorites, and I will post a recipe for sometime soon. 

She's also on a healthy eating kick, so I've been trying to make things that are on the healthier side. If you have any (relatively inexpensive, healthy dishes that make a lot of leftovers, send them on on over!

This recipe is adapted from a Dave Lieberman recipe from Food Network. I've bumped up the spices, and added more tomatoes, but I largely stuck to the recipe for this one.

 These are my leftovers. mmm, soup.

Moroccan Chickpea Soup

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, medium diced
6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
(5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach

Directions: in a big pot, turn heat to medium high and add olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add spices and toast for about 2 minutes in the pot, stirring frequently (it is at about this time your house will begin to smell amazing)  Then add tomatoes, Chickpeas, broth and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer, and  Simmer for 45 minutes.  If you feel so inclined, take your potato masher (or immersion blender, or large bottomed glass) and mash up some of the chickpeas to add texture. About 3 minutes before serving, put spinach in, put lid on pot, and let it wilt.  before serving, grind a bunch of black pepper in it.


(up this week: Curry chicken salad sandwiches, butternut squash soup, and baked apples)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ten things that are making me happy right now

1. Eleven days until Kate and Potter get here and we will have Community Weekend.  (yes, we are spending an entire weekend watching the first season of Community. We're awesome)

2. Eighteen days until my cousin Kelly, her husband Eric, and their kid, the awesome Evan come to visit (Baltimore for the first time! woot!)  If any of you have kid-friendly Baltimore ideas, I'm open to them.  They are going to the aquarium, we're hitting Fells' point Festival on Saturday, and probably hitting the Railroad Museum too.

3. Iced Coffee.

4. Weekly dinners with my sister

5. Hedwig got a really great review in Out Loud!

6.  Going to teach my friend Bianca to crochet this weekend- it'll be fun! I haven't taught anyone how in awhile.

7. Maintaining my ski jump score in the Wii Fit.

8. Free food at work (always a bonus)

9.  Hard boiled eggs.  Delicious! I haven't had one forever, I had forgotten how awesome they are.

10.  It was a beautiful, crisp fall morning. Makes me happy. I love the fall (even though we're still technically in summer)

What is making you happy right now?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Cupcakes

Hedwig cupcake

These are the cupcakes I made for our opening night of Hedwig And the Angry Inch I made them with Smitten Kitchen's Yellow Cake base, and the frosting is her Fudge Frosting, which is so good, I will be making it again and again.  Before this, I was not a fan of chocolate frosting, really. I liked butter cream, I liked cream cheese frosting, and I was kind of meh about chocolate frosting. (well, except for ganache. I love some ganache)

I whipped this one up, and it's basically a modified buttercream, with unsweetened, melted and cooled chocolate whipped in.  it's light, and fluffy, and chocolatey, but not overpoweringly so. I think it would make an excellent foil for a peanut butter based cupcake, or a banana cupcake,  or as my grandma suggests, smeared in between two graham crackers. Note to self: buy graham crackers.

Anyway, the crew liked them, I thought the wig was super cute piped on, and I even had enough frosting left over to frost a cake for my sister to celebrate her first week of classes. (and then i ate an inappropriate amount of that cake)

So, anyway, Hedwig is looking for volunteers for front of house.  You get a free ticket to the show (a 15-20 dollar value, depending if you're a student or not!)  and you get to hang with some cool people, while you hand out programs, and sell t-shirts.  If you're interested in volunteering, let me know, because we need them!  (plus it's an awesome and fun show, and Joseph and Sarah Lynn and the band are ROCKING IT)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fake Thanksgiving!

I love fall.  I love leaves crunching under my feet, I love sweater weather, I love all of the fall flavors: apples, pears, braised meats, Turkey, pumpkin... I love them all.  This summer has been unbearably hot, and it's only in the last couple of days (and thanks to Hurricane Earl) that we've had a temperature drop in the area. And so when my friend Sarah Lynn invited me to her Fake Thanksgiving party, I thought it was a little crazy, because it was still in the 100's. But who can to turn down free turkey? I cannot. Especially with all of the trimmings.

It was so. good.  There was turkey, there was stuffing, and gravy, roasted potatoes, green beans, broccolini, and tofu,  There were awesome pumpkin squares, and chocolate muffins (which I didn't try, but have had before and know are awesome) I currently have sent an email harassing Sarah Lynn for several of her recipes. Especially for the gravy.... ooooooh, the gravy.  Plus, there was knock-you-on-your-ass sangria, which I need to get the recipe for, from my friend Joseph.  If  I hadn't been driving, I would have had more then one serving, and things might have gotten crazy up in there!  (It's probably a good thing I was driving.)

Plus! it had my crazy, and awesome friends.  Who, although at times inappropriate and try to make me blush,  are fun, and funny, and who I'd spend any Thanksgiving with, fake or otherwise.

It definitely got me in the mood for fall now too- I want to pull out my sweaters, and start looking up recipes for pie, and and perhaps make some pumpkin scones.  I foresee more soups and stews and braised things coming down the pike. 

I love the fall.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

28 in the 28th- One Month Left

Ok, with one month left to go, I've identified the seven list items that I think that I can reasonably do in the next month, with explanations of how I'm going to try to get them done. If you want to do any of these things with me, let me know!

3. Go to DC for the day by myself and walk around This may not happen, but I really want to do it, so maybe I'll be able to
6. Learn how to can things (like jam) - Jalepeno Jam, here I come! Next weekend!
17. Go to a museum- I can get into the AVAM for free this weekend, with my Bank of America card, so that's what I'll be doing!
18. Have dinner that is multi-course and paired with wines- Glee Premire night- I'm cooking it, and I'm pairing wines. Paul and Julie- get yourselves ready.
20. Make something beautiful
27. Learn a new card game Someone wants to teach me how to play poker, right?
28. Go see a movie with Subtitiles (or, rent and watch Amelie without falling asleep) I have Netflix instaplay; I have an evening free. This will happen.

PS: I am also still accepting suggestions for next year's list, I've got 23 of the 29 I'm supposed to have, so far.