Something Else is Cookin’

It’s all happening and has been a crazy secret to keep. It was so hard not to spill the beans! My blogging break and abbreviated schedule were really based around being newly pregnant and not feeling well for the first 8 weeks or so. Not feeling “well” was putting it mildly. It was rough.

I’m feeling much better and a weight has been lifted now that people know. I really didn’t want anyone to be guessing before Mr. J and I were ready to share. I’m grateful how genuine everyone’s reactions were…and still are. I think it might have been tough to hear people say “I knew it!” so I’m thankful that wasn’t the case. It was a little bit fun to have it as a secret. I was seriously torn between wanting to shout it from the rooftops versus holding on to our secret for as long as felt right.

I don’t plan on weekly bump updates or anything. I am fascinated by the food interests/cravings versus aversions so I’ll probably share some of that, or whatever else strikes…

I had about a month of steering clear of anything soft & squishy: no hummus; no avocado; no yogurt; no peanut butter; no smoothies, etc. I was often napping after work or trying to cook something to resemble dinner which then I’d not be sure I wanted to still eat it. There were a lot of anything-goes dinner nights.

So far, I think the only legit craving has been for cheetos. It is all very new to suddenly feel passionate about not wanting to eat something or, really wanting something random. Now that I’m not sick all the time I would say I’m hungry all. the. time. I’m kind of prepared for an apocalypse. I started stashing snacks everywhere. It seems dramatic and like I will not make it when I’m hungry and know I don’t have anything on hand. 2 pretzel rods can turn my life around. Maybe this packing of snacks is a life skill that my offspring are training me for, even from the inside.

Also, when you aren’t allowed to eat something it is all you want. Lesson learned. I rarely eat sandwiches but suddenly all I want is forbidden deli-meat.


Do you freeze stuff? I freeze every.thing. I mean, every. thing. I can’t tell you how excited Mr. J and I were to get another freezer. It lives in the basement, and makes me earn dinner sometimes when I’m pawing through the regular freezer and going down/up a set of stairs to check the other auxiliary freezer.

The freezer (much like your washer/dryer) is dry-erasable. We try to keep a running list of what’s in there.

The Three Bite Rule

Most common things I freeze:

bread/english muffins/burger rolls/pizza dough/etc – with just 2 of us we never use it fast enough
raw meat/ground chicken/ground beef/chicken pieces/pork chops – I sort of look for sales, but it’s easier to move to the fridge before work.
already frozen goodies for quick dinners/dinner additions - fries, breaded eggplant, tamales, leftovers, tortellini, etc
frozen veggies – edemame, corn, broccoli, cauliflower
sauces – meat sauce, creamed spinach (I use as a sauce)
double batch, or a frozen portion of meals.

Maybe more uncommon things I freeze:

coffee into ice cube trays – helps to not water-down iced coffee
“grossness & guts” – stinky stuff that would make me take the trash out before it is full (fat trimmings, the gross soggy pad underneath chicken, bones, etc). It’s a Ziploc bag that I add to, then open up into the trash when it is going out. That same bag lives a good life for about 6 months before needing to be replaced.
fresh herbs – chopped up frozen with a little water or a little olive oil if I wouldn’t use it before they go bad.

There are pretty good lists out there of what to freeze.


I’m here, I’m here. I’m giving my noggin’ a break. I have some posts to work on but I wasn’t feelin’ it so I figured I’d take a little hiatus and come back jazzed and ready to go.

Maybe next week.

I just had a big event at work, a few weekends away from home, and an all-weekend volunteer commitment. I’ve been a bit un-enthused about what I’ve cooked and meal planning has gone by the wayside a bit. I was feeling at a level 5 for the posts I haven’t done yet, and figured I can call the shots and come on back when I’m feeling it for 100%.

I didn’t want to just get posts up for the heck of it. I usually am protective of my schedule of 3 per week, even when I’m away traveling or work is nutty. I think I just want to enjoy the spring and get revitalized.

A few topics you can look forward to….

  • I’m fitbit obsessed. I’ll prob share about it
  • a veggie-centric pasta
  • a oldie, but goodie that deserved a re-do
  • some summer bucket list foods
  • Mr. J made an impressive compost bin so I’ll keep you posted how that’s going
  • a fun adventure this weekend!
  • we have tomatoes, cukes, and herbs planted, ohh my!
  • and more ;)

Any requests?

Meals for a Week

Good morning. Happy Saturday! I wanted to share a very special cause with you. This is important to me and I hope I can adequately convey how amazing this is.

How many meals could you eat on $25? Probably not your Thanksgiving dinner. You likely couldn’t eat all that many meals for that price. Did you go out to lunch this week? Lunch at a restaurant, or even a few pumpkin spice lattes this week would get you pretty close to $25.

Community Servings can feed a person for a WEEK on $25. A week of meals. Could you do that? I definitely spend more than that even without any crazy ingredients. A week of meals for $25. They also deliver them. Stop and think about that.

Now that you’ve thought about how amazing it is that Community Servings can make real, culturally sensitive, and homemade food for $25 for a person for a week. Let’s talk about Thanksgiving pie. I’m not a big baker. If you’re a regular reader then you know this. Pie in the Sky is the perfect solution for me. For $25 you pay for a week of meals to be delivered to a critically ill and homebound person in Massachusetts and then you get to pick up a pie.

17,000 pies are donated from bakeries/restaurants/caterers/and hotels who care….DONATED. That is amazing how much they want to help. 75 pick up sites are staffed by volunteers from those locations who stay late and work to hand out the pies out of goodwill the day before Thanksgiving when they could be home getting a jump-start on holiday travel, prep, or relaxing. What will you do?

I hope you’re still here so now I want to share why it matters. I tear up thinking about it. I have never wondered where my meal was coming from. I grew up knowing that food was never a question. I learned that meals were family time and food was valued.

When my family was caring for our own critically ill patient, we were not at risk of lacking food. Can you imagine? This is what people here…in Massachusetts, deal with on a regular basis. I did not have to wonder what would become of my family while our patient received chemo at MGH. My parents didn’t risk loosing custody of their children because they weren’t able to work and feed them while undergoing intense treatments. I felt like it wasn’t fair and it was hard to see the future, but what would it have been like if meals were also a question?

I can’t even get over that our amazing medical institutions can only do their best, but when the patient is weak, possibly having lost their jobs to be able to receive care, is then expected to shop, prepare, and eat it seems like quite the feat. Community Servings hopes that meals can keep some of these people out of hospitals, that these meals can keep families together, and that these people know somebody cares about how they’re doing.

That’s what your $25 can do. I don’t care where you live. I don’t care where you’re going for Thanksgiving or who normally bakes your pie. Buy a pie here. Or donate a pie to a Community Servings client. Or make an outright donation.

It isn’t really about the pie. And what else can you really do with $25? You must care about food, especially if you’ve read this huuugely long post. Pay $25 to show that everyone, especially the critically ill, should get to eat.

I‘ve given you think aboutttt 6 times now. What are you waiting for? Do it now.

Life Update

I started this blog what seems like forever ago. My camera, kitchen, and marital status have all changed. My role at work changed but the place of employment hasn’t changed…until now!  I’m about to embark on a new journey at a new job. Get excited!


Photo Credit: A Ciordila (creative commons)

I didn’t share until it was official, and it was a process so I didn’t want to spill the beans! I also want this to be my happy place. Along the job hunt I didn’t want you to have to share in all my frustrations every minute I had them, also because food & meals are MY happy place. So when things are going bananas I still want to make dinner. I want to make something out of nothing even on the most stressful of days. I love controlling what I can control and sharing meals with you all.

I’m proud of what I’ve done and who I was during everything. I can be content that I made choices and did what I enjoyed for a while. It was my time. I’ll miss so many people I grew really close with and I think back to all I learned and really skilled folks I learned from.

I’m beyond thrilled to start somewhere new. I forget what it feels like to be a newbie, but I’m ready. I can’t wait! I got to celebrate over champagne in Paris. How lucky am I?!?!

Dying Easter Eggs

Happy almost-Easter! Sis and I dyed eggs and got really into it! There were techniques and tools. Ohh my!

I cut painter’s tape to make a chevon egg.
We did some rubber banded dyed eggs. They came out like tie-dye!
We broke out some nail polish. That made the easiest dots. Crackle top coat polish made a white-wash looking on.

I haven’t dyed eggs in years and it was really fun. I’m glad we tried our hands at some different techniques.

Don’t forget: cooled eggs will dye better; white vinegar will make the dye more vibrant. Have fun!

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve! I love all eves! My birthday eve is exciting! My hometown celebrates Independence Day eve as to not outshine the big city’s fireworks on the real day. Thanksgiving eve was always a relief in school days.

I don’t have a real post for you. Maybeeee I’ll be back to it for Boxing day. If not, this’ll have to tide you over.

Here are my favorite gift-able foods in case you forgot anyone who has been nice. 

Bacon Jam - Make a double batch. Trust me.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Jam
Grown Up Caramel Corn would look lovely gifted in a glass jar.
BBQ Peanuts again are addicting and would survive nicely in a cellophane bag tied with ribbon. No other wrapping needed!
Napkins with homemade napkin rings are a fun gift. You can buy the napkins and the craft is hugely simplified.

Or these coasters couldn’t be easier (or cheaper) and the supplies come from a hardwear store which won’t be overrun with holiday shoppers ;) Use wrapping paper if you don’t have scrapbook paper on hand.
Any culinary gifts on your list to Santa this year?

Friday Fun

Today you’re not getting a real post. I’ve had a wicked cold, just got back from vacay, blah blah blah. I’m choosing real life and just going with what works at the moment. A post didn’t make the cut. I have unpacked, grocery shopped, gotten a few gifts…I’ve been productive in real life (as opposed to blog life).

Instead, I’ve decorated for the holidays (check out the tree we cut ourselves!)

check out my mantle-scape while watched the original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street.

This weekend I’ll be sure to get through my New Orleans photos & Caribbean pics. Check out Mr. J’s sneak peek at New Orleans
cafe du monde
I have travel posts coming up, soup, a potluck, some holiday foods, and a cookie swap. Stay tuned!

Thankful and Full

Are you still feeling full of thanks? I’m feeling ever so thankful lately. I love this season of thanks, kindness, and giving.

Mr. J and I spent some time last weekend handing out turkeys and Thanksgiving fixings with our local food pantry. It was a wonderful day and felt so good to know 130 deserving families in our area would have a meal to share with their families. They were so thankful. I was brought to tears when one woman I was helping to her car told me she hadn’t turned her heat on yet.

The food pantry had a great system in place and I was thrilled to see how much the recipients got. In addition to the turkey, they got to choose a pie, then they got a roasting pan for the turkey filled with sides. I was glad we could help since we’re so lucky ourselves. I’ve never been hungry and it breaks my heart to think about it.

My sis and I are signed up to deliver baskets to critically ill patients in a few weeks. My office has taken on filling these wish-list baskets before, and Mr. J and I did some last year. Community Servings delivers 395,000 meals to critically or chronically ill patients and their families annually. They offer nutrition counseling and hands-on job training. Their mission is inspiring. I love how much they fill gaps real people face and how genius they are in using what they already have to help others.

It is lovely to read facebook posts expressing gratitude rather than complaints. I have so much to be thankful for and I this season is a great reminder of how lucky many of us are.

Chocolate Buffet

I have a lot of catching up to do. I just got back from a wonderful anniversary weekend away and I have quite the backlog of posts for you. Here’s one from a few weeks ago, but not to worry. You can still catch it.

I was lucky to join Ms. L for the Langham Hotel‘s chocolate bar at Cafe Fleuri. It was delicious and I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. There were so many amazing treats. Everything I had was great and I was sure to choose wisely since there was sooo much to chose from.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate BarThese macaroons were amazing…one of my favorite items of the day.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate BarThis was hands down my favorite item. There was something about Peanut Butter Bomb in the name. The tan part was soft peanut butter dough with a peanut butter center on some dark chocolate with a milk chocolate mousse.
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
Thankfully they had some salty treats to keep us going. They make their own potato chips!
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Bar
I felt a bit wasteful since anything I deemed unworthy I didn’t go beyond the initial bite. There were too many good things to eat! We did a good job and left full without being sick, but  it was overwhelming. I loved it for the price tag (free!) but I would be hesitant to pay $40 for one sitting of chocolate. The desserts were really great, and there was an impressive spread of choices, but I’d only spend $40 on a box of chocolates I could enjoy until empty. I worked a gourmet candy store in high school and college so it isn’t lost on me, but free was fantastic.

Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: Our invitation from Google+ Local to the chocolate bar was completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own.