Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shower Power!

Shower 6

Jeff and Michelle are having a baby (they beat me to it).  I felt privileged to attend one of their baby showers last weekend -- and not just because the food served there was excellent.

Shower 4

But it was.

Shower 1

Shower 5

Shower 2

The party was held in the back room of, and catered by, a charming local bar called The Richardson.  They laid out a great spread of grilled sandwiches/panini, veggies, pickles, cheese, deviled eggs, pretzels, and meats.

Shower 9

I believe I ate quite a bit. 

Shower 7

Shower 8

Seriously intense, moist, and attractive cupcakes (chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, and carrot cake) were provided by another local favorite shop, The Blue Stove.

Congratulations, Jeff and Michelle!  And thanks (also to Jeff's mom, who hosted) for the party!

Shower 3

Snowy Sick Day Breakfast

Rolls 1  Rolls 3

My sister made homemade orange rolls and posted a photo on Facebook.  I wanted some immediately. But she lives in another state, I can't eat a photograph, and I'm home sick after a snowstorm with neither the ingredients nor the energy to produce my own rolls. Alas!

We were, however, inspired to throw some Pillsbury/Cinnabon cinnamon rolls (find them in the refrigerator biscuit section of the grocery store) into the oven this morning.  No doubt, Cali's rolls were better (as are my mom's, here), but these were pretty good.

Rolls 2

My only quarrel with them, really, is that there are just five in a can.  That's an odd number, and there are two people in my household.  How can we possibly share fairly without dirtying a knife?

So, I'd love to have had that sixth roll, but I can acknowledge that this product would be perfect for people with five-person families.  You just can't please everyone, Pillsbury.  You just can't.

Microwave leftover, cooled rolls for 20 seconds before eating.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stuck on almonds

Helping 2 Helping 1

Dan's preparing for an installation at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ.  I went down to Flavor Paper, his main wallpaper distributor, yesterday to help with the "weeding" (removing the negative space from hundreds (thousands) of sometimes-tiny vinyl stickers.


These salted almonds (sent to us at Christmas by Dan's parents) saved the day.  Between them, a clementine, and some red raspberry leaf tea (good for uterine toning, I'm told!), I was able to get through multiple hours of picking away at sheets of vinyl with tweezers and my fingers.

When we were done, we grabbed some Tex-Mex at Lobo.  They start out by bringing the table a basket of what I judged to be above-average chips and salsa, in case you were wondering.  And I was hungry-but-not-ravenous, so my dinner of chicken enchiladas with verde sauce suited me well.

Bathroom 3
p.s. How's this for a bathroom?!

[Tiny Fashion Spread: Jeans and cardigan by Uniqlo, Tee from Forever 21, Onitsuka Tigers on the feet] 


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowy Breakfasts

Our blizzard
(photo by Dan)

We had a blizzard a few weeks ago.  I miss it (which I realize is because I could stay inside, safe and warm and dry).  Our lazy, snowy, post-holiday mornings made for some excellent breakfast opportunities.


Ruby red grapefruit (no sugar needed) and jalapeno-cheddar bagel with cream cheese.  Thanks, Dan, for shoveling and stamping through the snow to the store to get the provisions!


Pancakes and Cranberry Curd Steamy

"American Pancakes" from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess and homemade cranberry curd (loosely based on a recipe in the same book).

Here's a tip: if you make more batter than you need, cook up all the pancakes anyway and freeze or refrigerate them.  Throw the leftovers in the toaster to heat and eat when you feel like it.  Pancake batter doesn't keep well, but cooked pancakes do.

Let it snow, breakfast-lovers!


Fast Snack: Tuna Salad on Crackers

Tuna salad crackers

Dan makes a wicked tuna salad.  This one, assembled for tuna melts the other night, was heavy on the onions. I added a sprinkling of cheddar left over from breakfast and ate it on crackers this afternoon.

Disclaimer: Yes, pregnant women shouldn't eat too much tuna.  There's a debate raging about whether they should eat any at all.  The most extreme opinion I've read is that NO woman of "child-bearing age" (!!!) should eat tuna.  I'm pretty careful (and choose light tuna when buying it for myself), but decided I was unwilling to give it up completely.


The Cookbook Challenge: Book One

Just a few cookbooks

For a couple of years, I've been wanting to prove to myself that the many cookbooks I've hoarded (about a quarter of which can be viewed in the photo above) are good for something.  I do cook regularly from a number of them, but there are others that just hang out in the kitchen as novelty items.  Far too often, I turn the internet when looking for a new recipe to try.  I know this is, in part, because it is much easier to search for specific ingredients on my computer, but I love quite a few of the cookbooks I've collected -- even ones I don't use often.  They do take up space, though, and I should probably use them or lose (at least a few of) them.

I thought perhaps I would create a challenge in which I attempt to make at least one recipe from each of my cookbooks (and books of "food writing" that include recipes) over the course of a year.  This may help me decide which cookbooks to get rid of, but it might also clue me in to some new favorites.  As a bonus, this could also create some entertaining blog content (for you!) along the way.

Large Type 1

For my first book in the challenge, I chose The New York Times Large Type Cookbook (by Jean Hewitt; illustrations by Maida Silverman. Golden Press, NY, 1968).  I don't remember exactly where I picked this up (as will be the case with many of my second-hand sources), but for some reason I was drawn to the format.  The recipes are fairly basic in an appealing way (large print makes everything look easier!), and the illustrations are spare but sweet.

Large Type 2

This morning, I made up a dish of the cookbook's: 

Boone Tavern Spoon Bread
 (note: recipe instructions have been paraphrased)

1 1/4 c. white cornmeal
3 c. milk, rapidly boiling
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt (you could ease off the salt a tad, I think)
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 T. melted butter, cooled

Once the milk is boiling (be careful, as it can easily boil over in a too-small pot), add the cornmeal and stir constantly until it is well-mixed and thick.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Preheat oven to 375 F. 

When cooled, stir cornmeal mixture into other ingredients.  Mix (I used a stand mixer) at high speed for 10-15 minutes, or until smooth.  Spread in a pie plate or casserole dish (1-1 1/2 qt capacity).  Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with melted butter (or cheese or hot sauce or sour cream, I thought, with bacon on the side).  The cookbook specifies that this should be eaten with a fork, which tickled me.  It's "spoon" bread, after all!

Spoon Bread


I hope you appreciated my "large print" homage.

Spoon bread is like a corn bread casserole.  I found the recipe plain but filling, which seems true to the aesthetic and contents of this cookbook.  I have a hunch, flipping through it, that there are other things in this volume I would enjoy making and eating.  The New York Times Large Type Cookbook is staying on the "keep" pile for now.

Spoon Bread portion

How many cookbooks do I have, anyway?  I'm taking bets.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I passed!

Reward: honey GD screening, that is. If you're curious, I got a 107, and anything greater than or equal to 140 would have required further testing.

I rewarded myself this morning by spreading honey on my peanut butter toast. I also put the two slices together so I could eat them as a sandwich, which is neither here nor there.

And I may or may not have had a secret number of cornflake cookies yesterday, a few hours after the test.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


"Thank God It's Gestational Diabetes Day!"

No, not really.

I have my GD Screening this afternoon.  One of the annoying things about the so-called "One Hour Test" is that doctors/midwives do not have a standardized way of giving this test.  Some pregnant women are told to fast for 2-8 hours beforehand.  Some are told to eat normally.  Some are told to eat only a special diet (usually heavy on the protein).  This lack of standardization may be one reason there are numerous false positives resulting from the screening.  Most women who don't pass the 1-hr test go on to pass the follow-up "Three Hour Test," but anywhere from 5-10% of pregnant women actually do have GD.

You can probably guess I'm hoping I'm one of the lucky pregnant women who don't become diabetic during pregnancy!  I don't want to have to spend these last three months on a restrictive diet (and/or having to give myself insulin shots).  So I'm hoping to pass the first screening with flying colors.  We shall see.

My midwife's instructions were to not fast before the test, but to stick to proteins and whole grains.  She told me to abstain from fruit, sugar, and carbs on the day of the test (today).  The best news from her was that I do not have to drink the sugary glucose solution that most pregnant women report being disgusted by.  For my test, I was told to drink 10 oz. of purple Welch's grape juice.  Dan and I only had to check 3 bodegas to find the right sized bottle, which felt like a victory to me.

Step one: breakfast.

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter.

Step two: lunch

Lunch: Turkey burger with cheese (but no bun). Sorry it's not more photogenic, folks.

1:45 pm 1:48 pm

And there goes the grape juice!

Stay tuned for the results...


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Late lunch? Big snack?


Leftover noodles + leftover sauce - any sort of layering or baking = one lazy lasagna.


One last gasp of cookies

Coffee hour

I made the leftover Mrs. Fields dough into cookies (102 of them) and cut up 60 pieces of double-decker fudge to take to church today.  And now I think I'm due for a little cookie-making break.  Maybe I'll concentrate on eating the leftovers.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Other stuff I ate last year:

Grey Dog cookie

Grey Dog cookies are huge!  Big cookies have to be soft for me to like them, and this chocolate peanut butter one worked for me. Several times.



Molly and David gave me pie!

Pies from Ian

Ian gave me pie!

Plum cake

I made a plum cake!


Brunch Bunch

I digress: A short film with our hosts -- unrelated to today's brunch, but v. nice.

Brunch 2




Eggs, prosciutto, puff pastry
(photo by Dan)

Asparagus and leek
(photo by Dan)

Coffee cake w/blueberries

Anna and Mike hosted the most charming all-day New Year's Day "brunch" I've ever attended. Seriously. Well, it was also the only all-day brunch to which I've yet been invited, but it was better than I could have imagined -- and I do tend to get my hopes up when it comes to holiday food.

The day started with fruit and doughnuts and egg dishes (etc.), transitioned to chili around lunchtime, and when we left (late in the afternoon) there were promises of spaghetti and meatballs for evening stragglers.

Oh. My.

Brunch crowd
(photo by Dan)


Babies, dogs, adults -- everybody seemed to be having a lovely time. I certainly did. The food was plentiful and delicious, and it didn't hurt that their (under renovation construction) apartment is gorgeous, too.

Hash browns mix
(photo by Dan)

Hashbrown casserole
(photo by Dan)

My favorite dish? Mike's Hash Brown Casserole (recipe on Epicurious). I will be making this for myself. It was crunchy outside and creamy inside. I had two enormous helpings, with hot sauce.

Dough doughnuts
Dough doughnuts 2

These fancifully-flavored doughnuts from "Dough" were also a big hit.


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