my week in cooking

This is the post in which I talk about some things I’ve cooked/made in the last week, and pretend they took even a modicum of effort or talent, all while feigning like I have something in common with the cooking/food blog I obsess over. Enjooooyyyy!

Pizza – I made the dough with flour, active yeast, lukewarm water, vegetable oil, some onion and garlic powder, salt and honey. Then I added onions, red peppers, Italian seasoning, mozzarella, a little bit of pesto and a sprinkling of parmesan. Into the oven it went and it came out all browned and bubbly and perfect-looking. I loved making the dough – doughs/breads intimidate me greatly and I was worried that it wouldn’t be edible. Or worse, I’d find out it wasn’t edible after I ate it. I am happy to report that this was not the case. It was tasty.

Chicken tacos with corn and mango salsa – Sad to say that the mango salsa was pre-made. But the chicken I made by throwing together some chicken (um, duh), chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and garlic pepper. Then tossed in the corn to cook with the chicken for a bit and bedded on tortillas with chopped romaine lettuce, and salsa on top. I have to say, these tasted fine, but the best part was how they looked. They were just so pretty, with the colors and freshness and everything. I'll probably go back to my other version of this using tilapia and old bay instead of chicken/corn. It tastes much better, but still looks just as pretty.

Greek salad - feta cheese, red peppers, olives, romaine and baby spinach tossed in homemade dressing – some olive oil, red wine and balsamic vinegar, and various lovely spices. The best part was that I kind of adapted the recipe in an “I’m gonna wing it” kind of way, and it doesn’t always end well when I try this. It did this time! It was pretty delish. Not as good as the one I had at Niko Niko’s in Houston, but still good.

Garden veggie cream cheese – Two things: I have no idea how to make cream cheese, let me put that out there. Also, I will fight anyone that thinks that Philly or “tubbed” cream cheese is better than deli/freshly-made kind. Because it isn’t. But it’s also all I had that particular morning, so, I dealt with it. I took 1/3-fat regular cream cheese and added finely chopped carrots, celery, black olives, chives, and a little bit of onion powder, salt and pepper. It was pretty damn good, though the best garden veggie cream cheese is Wegmans deli version. I think they use crack. I don’t exactly know how to get a hold of some crack, NOR DO I WANT TO, so I will have to continue to pay Wegmans to make the cream cheese for me. Though my version did get the highly desired Frank Benson Seal of Approval.*

Pasta – Spinach, whole wheat penne, the rest of the feta from the Greek salad, a little parmesan, olive oil and Italian seasoning. Quite good. And nice that it all fit so well together using ingredients from earlier meals in the week.

Either I made these up (the tacos, pasta, and the cream cheese) or Google helped me find the recipes – usually cooks.com has simple and quick stuff, and allrecipes.com has steered me in the right direction a couple of times. The link on the right, Smitten Kitchen, is my faaaavorite cooking blog and I’ve made a number of her recipes. They’ve been good, but I’m nowhere near as good of a cook as her so my versions never come close to the way hers look or (I’m sure) taste.

Anyway, these were all fun and colorful meals and even if they weren’t the healthiest things all the time, they were at least somewhat fresh and all (sort of) had vegetables. Also, do you notice that I use red peppers in like everything I cook? Seriously, I love them. What’s weird is that I used to avoid them like the plague, I don’t know why. I also used to say I didn’t like mustard even though I had never really tried it. I mean, I’m not overly enthused about the condiment now, but it has its place in my sandwich repertoire. I still hate tomatoes despite many a tasting. Now that my dear departed Grandmother is no longer around, I don’t have anyone forcing me to try them. Every Christmas I would be lectured about my distaste for tomatoes, and I’d have to try them while being assured I would like them (“They’re *insert variety here*, they taste much more *positive food adjective* than regular tomatoes. Eat it!”) And every Christmas, they would still taste like butt.

Well that paragraph took a left turn at weird, didn’t it? You are now all witness to my train of thought, typed out. And it usually gets a LOT more random than that. So, uh, I’m gonna go ahead and quit while I’m…not…ahead.

What tasty delights have YOU made this week?

*I can tell when he really likes something because he uses the word “outrageous”.


What happens in Charlestown...

I feel like I need to start a separate blog of all the ridiculous things my father says.

The other night, after his first G&T of the evening (which he calls his "malaria prevention measures") Frank comes upstairs singing the jingle from a locally run commercial for a particular West Virginia gambling establishment : "Charlestoooooown, Races and Sluts - I mean slots"


title fail, epic win

I first want to point out that after getting home last night, capping off two weeks of insane traveling and partying and no sleep and other general craziness, I went to bed at 7PM and woke up at 8AM THIS MORNING. THIRTEEN HOURS and I didn't wake up once in between. Geez.


I have made several posts both here and in blogs past about how awesome the college crew is. Can you blame me, really? I’m in the damn group, so maybe you thought I was a little biased. But this weekend, we have REAL PROOF that we are. Brian’s wedding weekend brought us a handful of new friends, and an official new in-law (though Christy was already totally “in”, if you will) and it was epic.

I am a big believer in combining worlds – I love to see different groups of my friends hit it off. The More the Merrier! Consolidation! It’s all good in my book. So when we spent the entire weekend partying for hours on end with a few of Brian’s LSU friends, so much so that by the actual wedding we felt like old friends, well, weekend, you win.

Thursday had me get up at 5inthegodforsakenAM (EST) and pick up Missy and Franklin to head to Dulles. We all kind of bided our time with the mall, and room switching before the rest of the gang arrived throughout the day. After we had a lovely group dinner we saw Harry Potter (eee!) and then went back to the hotel while some of the guys joined the bachelor party. Later we all converged and laughed and drank and played games and were generally very silly. We went to bed at 5am Houston time, which means I had been up for 26 hours. Surprisingly I didn’t feel bad at all – probably because the day was so freaking awesome.

Um, I suppose I don’t really need to recap anything anyway b/c the people that read this were all there, no? So we’ll leave it with: Pool. Most Amazing Greek Dinner Ever. More Awesome Partying with New Friends. Beautiful Emotional Wedding. Dancing. Delicious Champagne. No Sleep. And then flying home in a shit-can plane.

Also, the week before included a marathon surprise trip down to Savannah for a pre-wedding weekend for Ben and Jess! Hooray surprises!!! Again, almost everyone who reads this was there or has already heard about it, so we’ll continue the same format: 3AM Arrival. Drinking and New Friends. Beach. Greg Kinnear. Batshit Craziness. Fun. Cookout. No Sleep. Sparklers. South of the Border.

In other news, we didn’t get to play fact-game this weekend, so didn’t really have the opportunity to tell everyone that I had a phone interview on Tuesday. I think it went okay, but I don’t think I am going to move any further in the process. I’d like to put it out there that I would like to, though! I just have the feeling.

Finally, I took zero pictures of either event so…everyone, get to posting them so I can steal them or link them or something! The end.


so many possibilities

Page 25. "Teddy saw her again, her back to him as she walked down the apartment hallway, wearing one of his old uniform shirts, humming as she turned into the kitchen, and a familiar weariness invaded his bones. He would prefer to do just about anything – swim in that water even – rather than speak of Dolores, one of the facts of her being on this earth for thirty-one years and then ceasing to be. Just like that. There when he left for work that morning. Gone by the afternoon." Where are my crayons.

Page 155. "And then she turned away and started walking. The orderlies fell into step and they walked down the breezeway and through a side door into the hospital." I like to color.


You know how sometimes you just need to know more about a person?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had checked out a large-print edition of a book from the library. That book was Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane. Same guy who wrote Mystic River. Anywho, a few weeks ago I saw the first 30 seconds or so of a trailer for the movie of Shutter Island, coming out in October – directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leo DiCaprio. The Departed is one of my favorite movies (YOU WANT HIM TO CHOP ME UP AND FEED ME TO THE POOAHHH?!) so I immediately had confidence in this movie. I also liked Mystic River (the movie, never read the book) so I also figured the man could write a story.

He can. He totally can. The book was great, even though I felt incredibly foolish reading the large print edition. But that’s not why I’m telling you all this. Though I will find any excuse to shout/obnoxiously type that Departed quote because it amuses me to no end.

See those bolded/italicized sentences? Namely about crayons and coloring?! They were, I shit you not, written in pen in the book. The book about crazy people. I love the person who wrote it. So many personality-possibilities. Actual crazy person? Vandalism-fetishist? Fan of irony? Something way out of left field?

I hope it was intentional and the irony of scribblings about crayons and colorings in a book about a mental institution was not lost on the unauthorized contributor. HA! So great. But does it end there? Why those two paragraphs? Is our writer perhaps not a crazy/weird individual but an English professor with a PhD writing an abridged version of his/her dissertation on modern literature?!

So, new anonymous friend of mine, no matter what your inspiration, I enjoyed your additions to Shutter Island. I can only hope that I will find more of your musings in other books I get from Reston Regional; perhaps tales of eating paste or uncooked macaroni in Julie & Julia or workout tips and anecdotes of ultimate fighting in Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment.