Hurricane Preparedness

In an effort to prepare for Hurricane Irene…I got a new camera!
camera_box_590_390 Well, actually it was a gift but now I’m all charged up and ready to shoot lots of meals using only canned goods. Just kidding!

camera_case_590_390 I’m very excited. This is actually camera #2. #1 didn’t stick around long because the flash had issues (luckily within the no-restocking-fee time period). I have lots ‘o posts to do before you actually see this camera in action, but you will. Think how amazing the food will look when I’m in Italy & Spain with a fancy schmancy new camera? Sorry, I just had to get that in. I am just so excited and I just wrapped up the final travel plans.

In all seriousness, I hope everyone is a-OK while Irene wreaks havoc on the east coast.

A Sweet Bite

Just writing about gelato makes me want some…especially in this heat. While I was working in San Francisco recently, my colleagues in the local office shared a super fun treat with all of us: Gelato on a stick!
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I just learned that the only difference between gelato and ice cream is the butterfat content. It was a perfect treat while we were working (and enjoying) the sun. I really love San Fran and know that we’ll always be treated fantastic meals.
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It is definitely the best Italian dessert. Mr. J and I also just booked our honeymoon to Italy & Spain so I’ll be sure to report back about the gelato in my future. Also you have some other food-on-a-stick to look forward to coming up!

Father’s Day

I have such a wonderful father and I hope he is having a terrific day even though his daughters are off on vacation right now. Sis and I are off to the bahamas but I wanted to take a minute to celebrate my Dad. He’s so caring, strong, and such a great support to me. I’m very lucky to have him.

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photo photo courtesy of Sideral via Creative Commons


He’s not where I learned any cooking tips from though…dill and parmesan cheese are his favorite additions to everything! He makes great Mac & Cheese from a box and AMAZING omelettes. If you’re ever lucky enough to have my dad offer you an omelette, you take it.

Here’s to you Dad!

Mother’s Day

For some reason at this point of my life, Mother’s Day brings me to tears. I am so lucky to have the best mother ever. I realize more and more how much my mother means to me. Mother’s Day makes me misty eyed because she’s happy when her daughters are happy. One of her favorite sayings when times are tough is, “a mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” We have all been very lately and I’m glad to celebrate her since she so often celebrates us.

I work at an organization whose event participants celebrate the women in their lives and I just wish I could celebrate my amazing mother everyday. I’m very lucky, and I cherish my mother.

Plus, does your mom make Chocolate Ring of Coconut Fudge Cake?

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Love you Mum!

Southern Sweet Treat

In case the Easter Bunny didn’t leave you enough treats, I wanted to share this little bite with you. While I was in Houston working an event, I got a special little treat from Starbucks.

Have you seen the Starbucks Petites? They are so darn cute. There are bite (or 3 bite) sized treats. We had the pops. They are cake and icing rolled into pops on a stick.
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Rocky Road Cake Pops had chocolate cake, chocolate icing, almonds and mini marshmallows. Tiramisu Cake Pops was vanilla cake, Starbucks coffee, and vanilla icing and a chocolate covered coffee bean.
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Realistically, there’s nothing about this that warrents the pop stick. It’s definitely for the cuteness factor but that’s ok. That’s the basis of the appeal. 

Photos courtesy of of one Mrs. C and treats courtesy of another Mrs. C!

3 Bite Slurp

I wanted to introduce you to a little bite…something I discover and enjoy but isn’t quite a recipe or review…

The other day as I was running errands near work I stopped to peruse the books on sale outside Boarders bookstore. What did I come upon? A cafe barista/server (is it only Starbucks who calls them baristas?) giving out free samples.

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I don’t mind if I do! How darn cute is it?! I had to include my awkward hand so you can see the size.

Bacon & Beer

I cannot believe that the Bacon & Beer Festival 2011 sold out in less than 24-hours. OMG!

This better be an April Fools Joke. I’m on the waiting list, but anyone who wants to bring me or who can get me can:

a) be a guest blogger (you may notice how rarely that happens here)
b) be quoted, and photographed by me at the Bacon & Beer Festival
c) give me a mystery ingredient and read the post where I try to figure out how to use it
d) receive my love via blog, email, facebook, and twitter

I’m sad I might miss this again this year! I haven’t been yet!

Dinner from the Depths of the Fridge

Every now and then meals should be easy to whip together or comforting…or both!! They can’t all be amazing, sometimes the goal is simply dinner.

I was digging around looking for inspiration in the fridge when I realized there are a few items in my fridge I couldn’t recall buying. Totally uninspiring. Cleaning out the fridge went onto my to do list but dinner was still a necessity.
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Anywho. I found some fresh spinach, some chicken sausage, a too-small-for-pizza-dough-ball. Time for a little experiment!I decided to try wrapping the chicken sausage in some dough and balancing the weight with a side of wilted spinach.

Ingredients:

2 bamboo skewers
2 chicken sausage links
pizza dough (size of a tennis ball)
salt, pepper, garlic powder mix (also known as Jane’s Krazy Salt)
3 cups fresh spinach
½ cup roasted red peppers, sliced
2 tbs lime juice

Directions:

Skor the sausage and insert a bamboo skewer in each to keep the shape.
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Stretch the dough out and wrap around the sausage. Secure each of dough on the skewer. Lightly roll in olive oil and season generously.
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Gently wilt spinach and roasted red peppers.
Flavor with lime juice.
veg_limedress_290_200Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, turning to ensure even cooking. The chicken sausage is fully cooked so only the dough needs to cook through.

I used my fav lime salad dressing. It goes with everything! This dressing is great for a touch of citric acid or Mexican salad. It makes a great marinade too.

The dough was ok, but puff pastry or crescent rolls would have worked better. I didn’t want to encase the sausage because I thought it wouldn’t stay perfect and the look of this was half the interest. I was going for a pigs-in-a-blanket appearance.

Maybe this isn’t my signature dish but it was yummy and was ready in 30-minutes. Serve with some mustard and call it dinner.

A Tasty Catastrophe

Once upon a time, Ms. S wanted to bring something to a weekend away with friends but what would travel well on a bus from NYC all the way to the far away land of Massachusetts?

BEER BREAD (mix, to be made on the spot)

It was such a great idea. It was easy, goes with everything, didn’t take up room, and didn’t create any leftovers! Yum! I was new to the world of Tastefully Simple but it sounds like fun and I’m glad to be in-the-know (recently I was feeling old/out-of-it after having to google flash mob).

Ingredients

mix
12 oz beer or carbonated beverage
3 tbs butter (optional)

Directions

1) Empty mix into a big bowl
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2) Stir in beer

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3) Melt butter and pour over the top of the mixed batter
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4) Bake according to package
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I hesitate to share the commotion this bread caused before telling you how yummy it is! We loved it and ate it all. For beer Ms. S chose a winter beer which was great, thought I hadn’t had it anyother way. The buttered top made it crispy and delicious.Ok, so, we’re in a rental house with a full kitchen. Ms. S followed all instructions perfectly and baked it until she realized the oven was smoking. It smelled like chemicals so we fanned it out, wiped the bottom of the oven, let it cool and turned it back on. It seemed fine at first but the smoke came back! It was crazy, let me tell you. One of us would open the oven and stand back from the fumes, another one would hold a small fan pointing into the oven, three was taking photos, and four was opening doors and fanning the smoke detector.

The smell was very intense and the property owner had to come over to look at the oven. We still attest that it wasn’t our fault. We THINK the previous tentant may have used oven cleaner on a self-cleaning oven (serious no-no).

Anywho, it baked part way, then the oven had a hissy fit then it baked more. It didn’t taste like the smoke at all and turned out fine. We loved it and hope to have it again!

Gift-giving for the Culinary Inclined

This year Mr. J and I got some great food and cooking related holiday gifts and I wanted to share them! Here’s a roundup of these fun items. Our families know us too well.

Cast Iron Skillet for the grill, and an authentic deep dish Pizza Pan from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago. I’m so excited to whip up some pizza soon! We can’t grill outside the condo, but someday we’ll own a house and can grill year-round (or when there isn’t snow covering it).

I asked for bakeware and this one is so fun! I love the yellow. You’re sure to see some posts come out of this.

We got some tools as well. 3 Wooden Pampered Chef spoons & spatulas, a set of new whisks, and a nifty little spoon to get to the smallest quantities.

I got a set of 3 CorningWare baking dishes with covers. Great sizes. Now I have options to whip up double batches and freeze them.

Lastly, we got a set of everyday dishes from Bobby Flay…or from Mrs. E & Mr. T but made by Bobby who will always have a special place in our hearts since we got engaged at his restaurant, Bar Americain.
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Mr. J and I got a few cook books and some fun ingredients that I’m sure will make an appearance soon.