Last but not least…

As my week of housesitting nears its end, I’ve also come to the end of my epic baking and cooking week. I invited my grandparents over for dinner this evening in return for a yummy Thai dinner earlier in the week. I recycled the main dish and the dessert, but added a new side dish, Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets.

Really very nice! Easy to make and the puff pastry adds a lightness that the traditional tart crust misses. A big hit – I think they were definitely my grandpa’s favorite of the evening. πŸ™‚

The cooking continues!

I woke up feeling pretty gross this morning, but managed to rally in the early afternoon, so I decided to continue my cooking plans as scheduled. First up was a mushroom stroganoff.

I love eating mushrooms, but cooking with them is a pain in the bum! This called for 32 ounces of mushrooms – I used a combination of cremini, oyster, and baby bellas – which are sooooo fiddly to cook with. I had to wipe off every single baby bella individually! But it was worth it. Very tasty! I was a good veggie tonight and omitted the Worcestershire sauce (as it’s made with anchovies) – Heather and I both decided that crushed red pepper flakes would be a good substitution for it next time.

And to follow, I made an Apple-Cider Sugar Upside-Down Cake. Very nice! It’s an egg-white cake so it has a very crispy crust to it. To top it, I made a calvados whipped cream to complement the apple. Also tasty!

We all go a little mad sometimes…

…and tonight, I did just that. By eating…side dishes for dinner! Say what?! I know, right? First up was Cajun Potato Salad. I couldn’t really taste the Cajun seasonings, but it was still pretty darn yummy.

And I washed the potato salad down with Baked Onion Rings. I like onion rings, but I hate frying things. Not that I have anything against fried food, it’s just that it always leaves the kitchen smelling of oil and also? I’m not good at it. I can never get my oil to be the right temperature and things always end up being charred on the outside and raw on the inside.

Which I guess is for the best because otherwise I would have no excuse to not be making actual doughnuts all the time. πŸ˜‰

But back to the onion rings. The recipe uses panko bread crumbs to get an extra crunchy coating on it, but I had a little problem getting a thick coating on my onion rings. There was enough for a crunch after they were done, but there wasn’t as much of it as I’d been hoping for. Maybe my dredging station work is subpar?

Still good – nice crunch against the lovely sweetness of the onion – and not completely terrible for you! I followed all of that with a Coconut-Lime Scone.

The lime in here is really strong – I like it lots! I wish there was more coconut flavor, though. I ended up using cream of coconut instead of coconut milk because that’s all they had at the market here and I don’t think it affected the texture of the scones, though I’m hoping that coconut milk would up the coconut flavor next time. They’re very good, though – not too sweet and very moist. Tasty!

And the yum continues!

I was heading over to Heather’s after work and before our weekly Glee gathering, so I brought along the ingredients for tonight’s dinner and made it there to share with Heather and her mom. What did I make? Spaghetti with Spinach and Herb Pesto. How can something so easy be SOOOOO tasty?! I made the pesto last night – just threw everything into the food processor and voila! I didn’t have nearly 2-3 cups of basil and the market here didn’t seem to have any flat-leaf parsley, so I made mine with the baby spinach, what basil I had, and the rest of the bunch of cilantro that I used for garnish on last night’s dinner.

Then all that was left was to make the spaghetti, poach the eggs, and toss everything together! And the result?


Stop judging me!

I’m housesitting this week and it’s a bit of a longer drive in to work in the mornings. I’ve been having a harder and harder time dragging myself out of bed lately – I blame the seemingly endless, grey, cold days (today not withstanding) – so I thought with an extra 20 minutes or so ahead of me in the morning, I ought to make something I can grab and bring along with me.

If you know me at all, you know that I love doughnuts, but hate frying things (it always makes the kitchen smell horrible and it’s something I’ve never managed to master), so I made Baked Red Velvet Doughnuts!

So far, she’s right – keep an eye on them because they overcook in a heartbeat! I put my first batch in for 12 minutes and, though they looked really nice, they’re a bit on the dry side. The second batch I put in for only 10 minutes, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll be a bit more moist. They’re still entirely edible and should give me a nice little sugar kick on my way in to work!

Dinner for one…

Heather and I celebrated Valentine’s Day over the weekend, so tonight I’m just cooking for one. What did I choose? Indian food! Specifically, Aloo Matar (potato and pea curry). I liked this recipe because, unlike the other Indian food recipes I’ve tried, was sized down just for one (well, probably two, but I ended up inhaling it all before I could stop myself) – it’s one potato plus bits and bobs, so I figured it was kind of like the equivalent volume-wise of a baked potato with the trimmings.

Lots of lovely spices and flavors in there and the bright, sweet, crunch of the peas cuts through the heavy but delicious spices. Yum!

Happy Dinosaur Day!

Love it or hate it, it’s Valentine’s Day! And thanks to the lovely Heather, I am now, among other things, the owner of the most awesome pair of earrings ever to exist. Think I’m kidding? Check it out.

Wa-BAM! Tyrannosaurus Rex earrings. Your argument is invalid. πŸ˜‰

And I saved the best for last.

I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of The King’s Speech at the local cinema, so when Steve tipped me off that it was coming, Liz and Heather and I quickly added it to our double-feature Saturday. And it did NOT DISAPPOINT! Oh, my god, seriously, if Colin Firth does not win the Oscar for this, he will have been ROBBED. ROBBED, I TELL YOU!

It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s poignant, it’s dramatic – it’s just plain amazing. I really cannot recommend this movie enough – if it’s playing anywhere near you at all, run, do not walk to the cinema right now. You’ll be glad you did.

Followed by review #4!

So, clearly, I needed to follow Black Swan with a ridiculous movie. So Liz and Heather and I decided to pull a double-feature Saturday and kicked things off with The Green Hornet.

Did anyone else realize that Cameron Diaz was in this movie? Because all three of us were surprised when she turned up on the screen. Sneak attack!Cameron Diaz aside, this movie basically does what it says on the package. Explosions? Check. Super hero back story involving extraordinarily overbearing father, a media empire, and a rebellious playboy son? Check. Gadgets? Check. Blokey Seth Rogen? Check. Overly talented sidekick? Check. Plot full of holes? Check. Fun? CHECK!

Don’t go in expecting a Dark Knight- or Spiderman 2-caliber superhero movie, but it’s an entertaining enough way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. πŸ˜‰

Three of 5…

Whew! This movie is exhausting. And falls into the category of movies I think are good but that I never need to see again. I have to say that Natalie Portman deserves her awards – she’s very good here. So far I’ve heard two reactions to this movie:

  1. I didn’t know what was real and what was in Natalie Portman’s head and I didn’t like that. (Courtesy of my aunt)
  2. It was perfectly clear what was real and what was in Natalie Portman’s head and I liked that. (Courtesy of my aunt’s friend [and Heather])
  3. I didn’t know what was real and what was in Natalie Portman’s head and I liked that. It may just be me, but I love an unreliable narrator. (Courtesy me!)

So decide which of these categories you fall into and then decide whether or not you want to go see the movie (be aware there are some cringeworthy moments, so have your hands ready to hide behind!).

Aaaaand 2 of 5…and no, I’m not embarrassed I saw this…

Okay, I kind of am, but I like Jack Black! And Jason Segel! And Emily Blunt! And Catherine Tate! And Billy Connolly! And Chris O’Dowd! And Amanda Peet!

How could I resist?!

And, frankly, poor Jason Segel’s “English” accent aside, it wasn’t terrible. In fact, it was pretty cute and sweet, too! I mean, don’t, by any means, go see this movie and then try to write an essay on the real Gulliver’s Travels, but for a winter movie, it definitely took the edge off the clouds and the cold and the gloom. πŸ™‚

Okely-dokely, movie review 1 of 5 so far!

Oh, so good. If you haven’t seen this yet, go see it. And if you haven’t seen it because you don’t like Westerns…GO SEE IT!

I haven’t read the book nor have I seen the John Wayne version (though my parents assure me this version is far superior), it’s so good. The girl deserves her Oscar nomination and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she wins it – despite being in a movie with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and James Brolin (and not getting her name on the poster), she definitely carries the whole thing. I mean, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and James Brolin are all their usual good actor selves, but she’s the glue who holds the film together.

At any rate, it’s a really good movie. Really, really good.

New TV: Thursday

Parks & Recreation (8:30 CST, NBC)

It’s back! I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it until it came back. I’ll admit that I was slow to commit to this one – for the first one and a half seasons, I only watched because it was on between The Office and 30 Rock and has a super-catchy theme song – but now it’s one of my favorites!

The first two episodes were laugh out loud funny and the third one was more quietly funny – I love my Thursday night comedies!

Having said that, though, three hours of comedy (Well, 2 1/2 because, seriously? Outsourced sucks.) is exhausting and I say that as a pro TV endurance watcher. And I like the anticipation of not getting to see 30 Rock until 9:00, but by that time of the night, my eyelids are starting to get sleepy.

Perfect Couples, which fills the gap between Community and The Office, is cute enough, but still pretty bland – and the characters are (and are meant to be, I assume) pretty severe stereotypes, so much so that I don’t believe them as real people and I’m not sure how much development the characters can go through. Problematic, but it doesn’t make me lunge for the clicker the way Two and a Half Men did when it was on between The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. So that’s a plus. πŸ˜‰

But, yes. Parks & Rec. Watch it!

Bring it, Snowpocalypse!

I have:

  • 1 (one) calzone
  • 1 (one) batch of tuna pasta which is just as good cold as it is hot
  • 6 (six) cookies (well, four – I already at two of them)
  • 1 (one) set of clean dishes
  • 3 (three) extra pitchers of water
  • 1 (one) bag of cat food
  • 1 (one) set of work to work on from home
  • 1 (one) fully charged computer
  • 1 (one) fully charged Richard

See title of post. See you on the other side, fellow Midwesterners!

p.s. – I will, will, will update my blog soon – I promise!