Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Talk

Yes, I was one of those who stayed up all night to watch the Royal Wedding and I had a fantastic time!

I set up a little makeshift viewing area in the spare room/my office so I wouldn't disturb J. I used my monitor to stream it live on Hulu, lounging on the bed/couch while munching banana bread and tweeting.

(Ignore all the messy boxes and clutter, remember I'm in the middle of packing!)

Highlights:

-Seeing everybody's excitement on Twitter and around the world. It was such an "It's a Small World" moment to know billions were watching the same as me.

-Kate's dress was absolutely stunning. I loved the classic direction she went in with the lace, the neckline, her veil, and that tiara.



-The princes actually looking like I imagine princes SHOULD look. Sashes, medals, gloves, and all.

-Prince Harry sneaking a peek at Kate for William. Easily my favorite moment of the whole affair.


-The little flower girl covering her ears from the roar as William and Kate kissed on the balcony. I imagine my little face would look much the same at that moment, too.


Criticisms:

-Barbara Walters yapping constantly about inappropriate stuff: Diana's death NON-STOP, funerals, suicide, Harry being better looking than William, William's baldness INCESSANTLY, etc. I found it very disrespectful and tacky, personally. Most of it was gossipy and petty, rather than informative and interesting. She's a news anchor, not a high school cheerleader. Dial it back, Babs.

-Why can't William turn around SOONER to see his bride? He didn't get to see her until she was beside him? I feel like he should have gotten to see a full walking-down-the-aisle-towards-him moment for at least a few feet at the end.

Did you watch? What were your highlights/criticisms?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

These are my confessions...

I haven't been cooking much lately.

My dad bought me this bottle of wine as a joke, but I think it's perfect.

Here's the back. So true, right?

Poe is so funny, he loves jumping on the bar stools and sitting up to the counter like he's going to be served. If you give him a fry this is his reaction every time! We love watching it and usually do it over and over, letting Corky reap the rewards!



All of you Glee tweeters, posters, and Facebookers finally piqued my curiosity and I started watching the first season on Netflix streaming.

Let's just say I was up until 6 am this morning watching while J happily snored next to me.

My favorites thus far (I'm only on episode 7 or 8 so don't ruin anything for me) has been I Could Have Danced All Night and Defying Gravity. Both were already personal favorites of mine, so it was cool to see them on the show because they aren't exactly BillBoard Top 100 chart toppers.

Also, is it normal to have fluctuating crushes between Finn, Mr. Shuester, and Puck?

I think Finn looks SO much like a knock off Stephen Colletti:


And Puck looks like he could be Shane West's brother:

Amiright!?! I know my hot boys.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is what happens...




... when you accidentally turn the burner to LOW instead of OFF and don't notice for about an hour.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pan Can Fundraiser

Mara of What's for Dinner? was one of the very first blogs I started reading two and a half years ago when I joined this awesome community. I found out that she lives near me, so we've met in real life a few times. She also recently took Johnny's and my engagement photos. Mara is as sweet as they come and I'm so glad that of all the food bloggers I follow, she's one of the few that happens to live near enough me to make that bond from "online" friend to "real life" friend.

As many of you know, Mara lost her dad in January to pancreatic cancer. This is now a cause near and dear to her heart. Next Saturday, April 30th Mara will be walking a 5K in her father's memory.

Her fundraising goal is $1,000 to benefit Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Today, Friday, April 22st from 8am - 9pm Mara has organized an online flea market fundraiser.



(Click the button above to be taken directly to her blog.)

Rumor has it that many friends and bloggers have donated a whole slew of items (some tasty!) to be bid on. Mara will update the blog a few times throughout the day to reflect the highest bids emailed to her.

Mara is such a
great person and important member of our community. I really hope you go shop, bid on something, and/or donate to support her and this terrific cause!

Also, please spread the word throughout the day. Blog the link to Mara's flea market. Post it on Facebook for your family and friends. Tweet about it to your followers. Help get the word out!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tea Towel Winner!

Hi everybody! Thank you so much for going and showing Mara some support for her PanCan 5k walk and fundraiser!

The PanCan fundraiser flea market will be Friday, April 22nd. It will be live from about 8am - 9pm. All bids will start at $10 and Mara will update the prices a few times throughout the day as she receives emails from bidders. I've heard that some really great bloggers have donated an array of tasty treats and amazing items! So make sure you stop by her blog tomorrow to peruse and shop!

The winner of the tea towels was jhitomi! I'll send you an email to get your address so I can mail these out to you!

Thank you again, and don't forget to stop by the flea market tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

House Updates + Engagement Pics

Sorry for the delay! Most of the pictures I've taken in the last month were on a completely different computer than the one I usually blog with. So I just kept forgetting to boot the other one up to show you the progress!

Johnny and my dad redid the rotted roof of the shed. It was delayed a few days because our resident shed squirrel had a nest of teeny baby squirrels in there.

See the little, pink foot and tail? I followed the instructions on some web sites to set them in a box and the mama came and got them safely!

Johnny and I cleared out the shed of all the junk in there, swept it out, and put back some missing panel pieces. It's going to be getting a new door that locks, then we can use it to store some boxes in the meantime before the move.

My dad cut down a dead tree and trimmed back another tree so the squirrels can't get in the shed anymore.

We enjoyed some nice bonfires in the back to burn the wood instead of having to haul it out to the road.

My dad finished the downstairs shower. It's all grouted and the new fixtures installed!

Next step is the new door, but that's on hold until he gets back too! He tiled the floor down there, just hasn't grouted it yet. That picture must be on the OTHER computer, though.

And in case you interested in some engagement pictures Mara did a post with a few highlights!

Monday, April 18, 2011

iPhone Recaps

Ok, so I've been a horrible food blogger the past few weeks!

But, deep in my veins I was still a food blogger at heart. Something in my DNA would make me whip out my iPhone and snap some pics of note-worthy meals I had for you guys.

A slurpee!! Ahh, when was the last time you had one of these? It'd been way, way too long for me!

We went to Ikea one weekend to look at bathroom stuff for the re-do. My dad got Lox.

I got the Swedish meatballs and 3 bars of chocolate that we all split!!

An apple I ate as a snack had a bellybutton!

Dinner out one night featured a not so appetizing sounding drink menu ..

And this past weekend we went into the city to meet with Mara for our engagement photos! She took us to Old Town Social where we drank Prosecco.

And I ate these delicious poached eggs over spinach and artichoke hearts with Hollandaise!

In addition to splitting these sausage and gravy biscuits with Johnny! (He had his own plate of Banana's Foster french toast while Mara let us sneak a taste of her Waffles and Sausage.)

video

We were serenaded by a Dixieland band because it was brunch! Fun!

I'll post some of the engagement photos soon for you guys to see!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tea Towel Giveaway!!!


I will be giving away 3 sets of tea towels (6 total).

There are two ways to enter (each worth one entry):

Entry 1 - Go to this post of Mara's and read about her online fund raiser. Come back here and leave a comment letting me know you checked it out. I hope you'll consider donating something or at least shopping on Thursday, April 21st.

Entry 2 - Tweet "Help @imadedinner raise money for pancreatic cancer- donate an item, baked good, or service to her online flea market: http://bit.ly/g5CQsc" and leave a 2nd comment letting me know you've done so.

Entries will be collected through midnight, Wednesday, April 20th. I will announce the winner on Thursday, April 21st, just in time for the flea market!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Banana Walnut Muffins

Like Errign, I can't stand bananas once they are ripe. I like them with a little bit of green, right before they become ripe, otherwise it makes me want to gag.

Anyways, I bought a bunch of bananas for the three men currently residing in my home. And they sat, and sat, and sat. I asked what was going on once they became spotted and they confessed that none of them wanted to eat them in case somebody else wanted them.

I know, right? Men!

So, in my first ever baking experiment where I kind of loosely went off a recipe and threw stuff in a bowl, hoping it'd turn out:

3 over ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 flour
3/4 sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Add all of the other ingredients, except the walnuts. Stir until everything is smooth and incorporated. Fold in the walnuts.

Scoop even amounts into 12 lined muffin tins. Bake in a 350° oven for about 25 minutes.

I'll update you on the house in the next post - we've got a lot more done, if you can believe it! I'm too tired to sift through photos now to show the progress!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pepperocini Beef Roast + House Progress!

Swistle has been blogging, tweeting, and shouting from the rooftops lately about how good this beef recipe is. Apparently it's been making its way through the blog world like wildfire. Which is news to me, because I never saw it until last week, despite being an avid reader of A Year of Slow Cooking and even own the cookbook!

So I picked up the two ingredients necessary. Yes, two. 2.

2-3 lb. beef roast
16 oz. jar of pepperocinis

Put the beef in the slow cooker and dump the whole bottle of pepperocinis on top (liquid and all). Cook on low for 8 hrs. or high for 3-4 hrs. (The beef can even be frozen.) Shred the meat with two forks and serve on your choice of bread, topped with cheese and condiments if you wish.

I had already eaten 3/4 of mine before I remembered to take a pic. So I got this quick shot of my dad's sandwich (Biz will appreciate the crushed red pepper flakes!)

It was really, really good. The meat was tender and was reminiscent of a pulled pork BBQ with the prominent vinegar taste. It had a really nice kick to it from the pepperocini. I'm not usually a spicy person, but this was a tasty spicy, so it was great!

In the future I think I'd like to try it with hot giardiniera pickled vegetables. That way there's a nice spicy variety in there to chomp down on, not just the pepperocini.

(Source)

For those of you keeping track of the house update - there's been a ton of progress made!

Downstairs has been taped, spackled, sanded, and primed.

The fireplace is done being framed out.

The downstairs' bathroom is drywalled and the shower is tiled (not yet grouted).

I removed the wallpaper and trim from the upstairs' bathroom.

The outside patio, sidewalks, driveway, and windows have been pressure washed to remove all of the dark grey/green mold and mildew stains.

And I managed to get J's dream tile (granite) down from $10.99/sft to $7.55/sft using my Italian bargaining skills. This saved about $535 in materials and tax!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kale Chips




I finally tried kale chips. I know, I know I'm late to the game. But the only place around me I can find kale is at Wal*Mart and I know you won't blame me for avoiding that place.

It's a simple process. Stem the leaves and tear into 3-4" pieces. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and your choice of spices. You could sprinkle garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, etc. depending on your mood.

Spread out onto a greased baking sheet and pop into a 350° oven for 12-15 minutes. The leaves will be dried and crispy when they're ready to be removed. Some areas might remain slightly soggy/steamed but most crisp up some upon standing.

I thought they were good, but they didn't rock my socks off. Plus I think it's a lot of effort for not a lot of product.

If I were to make these regularly, I'd do really big batches because you snarf them down pretty quickly. Although I'm not sure how well they keep and also how the nutrients are once you've baked them to a crisp.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chili!

I made a bland meatloaf the other night (I forgot to double the seasonings for 2 lbs. of meat instead of 1 lb.) and my dad suggested we turn the leftovers into a chili.

3 cups dried pinto beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 small yellow onions, diced
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup water
~1 lb. cooked hamburger meat

Rinse the beans and discard any bad ones. Soak in a large bowl with enough water to cover the beans overnight. The next day, strain the beans and rinse again.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Saute until soft. Add the spices and seasonings, stirring to mix. Add the cans of tomatoes, and rinse the cans with a little bit of water and add that to the pot. Add the beans and cover, letting simmer over low-medium heat for about an hour until the beans soften.

Crumble the cooked hamburger meat in the pot, stirring to incorporate everything. Cover and let simmer until everything comes up to temperature and the beans are al dente.

Serve over rice with toppings of your choice. We used shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives. Serves 5-6.

Johnny and I aren't big on spicy, but this was a nice heat level for us. My dad added extra Texas Pete and crushed red pepper. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your personal preference.