November 29, 2010


Please meet my nephew, Baby Chuckles.  I mean, fattest most amazing cheeks ever.

Thanksgiving Recap!

I LOVE Thanksgiving.  And my favorite part (besides all the good family time)???  It continues for days until the leftovers are gone.  A sandwich with a little mayo, cranberry jelly (from a can - the best kind), gravy, turkey, and stuffing with a side of mashed potatoes.  And for breakfast - try it open face with a fried egg... an amazing creation by Stud the morning after Thanksgiving.  We are down to a little pie, some mashed potatoes and a few slivers of turkey.  Good thing my mom is already planning another round for December for my lame brother who didn't come home this year.

November 24, 2010

Daily Fluff - Thanksgiving!

Things for which Beau is thankful this Thanksgiving:

- Our trust since he now spends his days outside of the crate
- Long morning naps
- His bed, including the queen bed upstairs
- His dinosaurs (a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus in case you were wondering)
- The dog park and all his dog BFF's
- Long walks
- Digging huge holes in the backyard while no one is looking
- His cougar lovers Molly and Sadie
- His love/hate relationship with Lilly the Cat
- His new cousin Chuckles who he can't wait to smother with dog kisses

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!

November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Replacement

Stud and I volunteered to bring dessert to his family's Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I always make the mashed potatoes at my parents, so I thought I would try dessert for his family.  Last year we brought a CPB Pie - but I really wanted to take a nap so just told Stud to put in a handful of chocolate chips.  Bad idea.  His hands are much larger than mine and it was a little slash wayyyy to chocolaty.  This year we have the measurements!  But instead of bringing two pies (and Fine Cooking happened to do an article on Create your own Cheesecake), I thought Stud and I could bring a cheesecake!  And to keep it in the spirit of things, a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crust:
8 oz gingersnaps
3 T. sugar
7 T. unsalted butter
For the Filling:
1 c. canned pumpkin
3 blocks cream cheese
2 T. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 T. vanilla extract
4 large eggs

For the crust, preheat the oven to 375 and crust the gingersnaps into crumbs.  Combine the crumbs with the sugar and butter until everything clumps together slightly.  Put in the bottom of a 9" spring form pan and using your fingers, spread out evenly and about two inches up the side of the pan.  Bake until it darkens, about 10 minutes.

For the filling, lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  With the cream cheese at room temperature, beat along with the canned pumpkin, flour and a pinch of table salt until very smooth and fluffy, about five minutes.  Add in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time just until combined.  Apparently over beating the eggs will lead the top to crack as it cools.  Poor the filling into the crust and bake for 55-65 minutes, until the center wiggles like Jell-O when you shake it - the edges will be puffed but the center will still look moist.  I think mine took about 60 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until well cooled - at least eight hours.  Remove from the spring form pan and you're ready to serve!

I learned some valuable cheesecake lessons with this one.  First - cheesecakes are super easy.  Also, when baking, put the cheesecake on a cookie sheet since the butter in the crust can ooze out the bottom.  Then your oven smokes like crazy and you have to run the self cleaner.  And my crust slumped down so it doesn't go all the way up the sides.  I think this is because I used a nonstick spring form pan.  Tomorrow I'm going to test using a stick one, so I'll let you know if it slumps.  Finally, during the cooling process, do not leave a cheesecake in the fridge unattended.  You could end up with finger swipes.

November 22, 2010


YOU GUYS.  I am officially an aunt!  Stud's sister (still working on a good blog name - I would go with what Stud called her as a child, but I have no idea how to spell it - Awney? Aunney?) and her husband, Numero Dos welcomed their son, the first grandson, and the first nephew, Baby Chuckles last Thursday and everyone is doing so well!  Since I was sick all last week, I awkwardly hovered until Stud cleared me, and yesterday I spent a good hour harassing Chuckles, and giving him a comb over.  He is just so cute I can't help it.  And since I'm not sure if the new parents want Chuckles forever in cyber space, here is a picture of the new proud cousin:

Beau is very comfortable with internet stardom.

November 18, 2010

Sick Kid Dinner

Still suffering from the dregs of this head cold.  And last night Stud was on call so I made of my favorite foods that could easily be made for just one without leaving a huge mess to clean up.  I love hot sandwiches, so I made a pesto and mozzarella panini on my Griddler.  Probably the best kitchen appliance ever - especially in college.  Then warmed up some of my favorite creamy tomato soup and you can even get it at Costco!  And it was the perfect warm me up dinner that I needed and it will probably be lunch and dinner today as well.

November 16, 2010

Head Colds and Bourbon

So I have been feeling a little under the weather, suffering from the first head cold I've had in years.  My freshly minted Husband-Stud has been taking care of me, and I am not a pleasant patient.  I don't get sick all that often and I don't like it one bit.  Last night, I think Stud had enough and made me a Hot Toddy to send me off to bed so he could watch My Cousin Vinny in peace.  It was the perfect send off to an early night to bed and I might start drinking them whenever it's chilly outside.

Hot Toddy
1/2 - 1 shot of bourbon
1 T. honey
1 T. lemon juice

Combine ingredients and microwave for 10-15 seconds until warm.  And then go to bed at 8:30.  It's amazing.

Disclaimer: Stud MD does not recommend Hot Toddy's as an effective treatment of a head cold. It only leads to dehydration and can make things worse. But Husband-Stud was desperate.

November 15, 2010

Daily Fluff

Beau thinks it's really funny that he has decided that he no longer obeys leash rules while walking.  We had to stop every few minutes and have him sit and calm himself down.  He's laughing at me because he knows it's not going to work and he will attack once again!

November 12, 2010

"Lo Mein"

The other night, I was having a huge craving for lo mein, and I thought I could try and make it instead of heading to our local Chinese take out.  So I did some research and combined a few different recipes I thought looked good and attempted homemade chicken lo mein.

Chicken Lo Mein
2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
2 1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. ginger
1/3 t. rice vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. water
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 t. black pepper
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. vegetable oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 eggs
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. snow peas, cut in half
1 lb. spaghetti
Green Onions

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chicken stock, water, sesame oil, and black pepper.  Mix some with the cornstarch and then combine the cornstarch mixture with the sauce.  In a separate pot, cook the spaghetti.  In a large sauce pan (I used a wok because I actually have one and it's really fun to use), add some vegetable oil and cook the eggs.  Remove from the pan.  Add more vegetable oil and add the chicken strips to the pan.  Cook just until you can't see anymore pink and add the mushrooms, garlic, and snow peas.  Cook until the mushrooms and snow peas are soft and the chicken is done.  Add the pasta to the saucepan along with the eggs, chopped green onions, and sauce.  Cook on low heat until the pasta has absorbed all the sauce and serve.

This was pretty easy, but unfortunately, did not quench my lo mein craving.  It just wasn't the same.  It was good, just not Chinese take out lo mein.  And I bet it would have been cheaper to get it from Chinese take out.  Humph.  To satisfy my cravings, I strongly suggested that Stud make some Asian noodles for dinner the other night while I was in class - they are easier and tastier than the lo mein.  He did, and they are just so so so good.  And he has decided that he is better at making them than me.  SCORE!  I told him from here on out, Asian noodles are his dinner.  And he can make it for me whenever he wants because they are so delicious.  I have already polished off the leftovers.  Maybe dinner next week too?

November 11, 2010


Another video for you!  The more I watch Glee, the more I absolutely love it and the episode on Tuesday might be one of my favorites ever.  I just finished watching it over my lunch break today.  It is probably the only show on TV where I might cry if I missed an episode.  And I have a Glee Pandora station that I listen to at work - highly recommend it.

Oh yeah, and I wish I could sing.


I want a baby Panda.

November 9, 2010

Lentil Soup

One of the most exciting things about fall and winter for me is SOUP.  I love it, and you really can't eat it in the summer.  Unless you like sweating while eating.  So come fall weather, I set aside some of my weekend to make a batch of soup, any soup really.  And I stick most of it in the freezer so on some cold night where Stud and I are way too lazy to cook or leave the house, we have some delicious soup in the freezer.  I think I might actually take it too far....I refuse to let Stud eat more than the allotted amount for dinner.  The rest is for the freezer!  It must go in the freezer!  He thinks I'm crazy but I love having a well stocked freezer.  And it's why a stand alone freezer was one of the first things I bought when we moved in. 

So Freezer Stock 2010 began last weekend with a big batch of lentil soup made from Ina Garten's recipe found in her Barefoot in Paris cookbook!  And this is probably one of my favorite soups out there and is really very simple to make for the flavors that result.  Shocker - when I was younger, I didn't think I liked soup.  I didn't think I liked anything.  Reality is, I love soup and the heartier, the better.  So lentil soup with it's sausages and beans warms your belly over the cold winter and the recipe says you should serve it with red wine, so there you go.  No wonder it's my favorite. 

Lentil Soup
1 lb Italian sausage (I use 1/2 mild and 1/2 hot)
1 lb french green lentils
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. diced yellow onions (about 3 large onions)
4 c. chopped leeks, white and light green parts (about 2 leeks)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. kosher salt
1 1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 T. minced fresh thyme leaves
1 t. ground cumin
3 c. diced celery (about 8 stalks)
3 c. diced carrots (about 4-6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 c. tomato paste
Parmesan rind, if you have one (they are free at Lotsa Pasta!)

Put the lentils in a medium sized bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 15 minutes and drain.  In a large stockpot (I used my 9 1/2 quart, it makes a lot!), heat the olive oil and saute  the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for about 20 minutes.  The veggies need to be translucent.  Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 10 minutes.  Then add the chicken stock, tomato paste, lentils, and Parmesan rind.  I like to add the sausage at this point as well because I like everything to cook together and to get the sausage flavor throughout the soup.  I cook them in the oven first, and then slice them into rounds and add to the soup.  Once you've added everything, cover and bring to a boil.  Once the soup boils, lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook uncovered for an hour.  The soup will reduce and darken quite a bit.  After an hour, fish out the Parmesan rind and serve with a splash of red wine and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  The splash of red wine is essential.  It adds so much flavor, and then have a glass as well!  I told you I loved this recipe.

This soup is so simple.  Once all the chopping is finished, it just sits there for an hour with the occasional stir and then you're finished and you have a delicious dinner.  And if you have a sous chef that loves to chop and stir, it makes it even easier.  And now, I have three quarts of lentil soup in my freezer and some for dinner as well.  Freezer Stock 2010 is off to a good start!

November 5, 2010


Exhibit A
Stud has diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, which apparently is just short of me going too far and being full blown OCD.  Before we put any of our honeymoon and wedding pictures in albums, I chronologically organized all of them - I think that's totally normal and hours very well spent.

But sometimes, I think I might be OCD.  I blame my parents and no worries, they know this already.  My dad has to have things clean.  This manifests in me in my kitchen and bathroom, so a good thing.  Counter tops and the sink must be clean.  And thank goodness for separate sinks in the bathroom - Stud manages to get toothpaste everywhere, and his sink is covered in that white soapiness and mine, well it gets a wipe down every time I use it.  I'm a huge fan of Lysol wipes. 

And then my mom.  List maker extraordinaire and master planner.  Oh man did I inherit this trait.  I depend on lists and my planner.  It was my list making compulsion that led Stud to my diagnosis of OCP.  Please see exhibit A, my grocery list for this weekend (good food to come!), which looks shockingly similar to the lists my mom makes.  Meals are planned, stores listed with items I need from each store along with quantities.  And the items are arranged in the path I take through the store, so I simply go down my list!  It prevents me from missing anything and keeps me from buying, oh three boxes of Dove ice cream bars.  In my mind, lists make my life easier!  I also have a list of things to do this weekend, this fall, this year; a list of wedding presents, their senders, addresses, if they attended the wedding, and if I have sent their thank you note; a list of recipes to try, when I want to try them, and grouped by meal.  At any moment, I can usually pull 2-5 lists from my purse.  Sometimes it can get out of control...but I love my lists.  What can I say.

November 4, 2010

Daily Fluff

You know, just building a nest in the bathroom.  The tile floor is way too cold and this rug is perfect.

November 3, 2010

Turkey Bugers

Stud and I rarely eat regular burgers anymore - they are always bison or my new experiment, turkey burgers.  Hey, it's healthier...right??  These have a smattering of ingredients in them, and the main thing I have learned, is that they need moisture.  I have seen some recipes call for ricotta cheese, but most call for vegetable or canola oil which is what I use because I always have some in the pantry.  And I cooked them in my new cast iron skillet!  Yum yum. 

Turkey Burgers
1 lb. ground turkey
1 shallot, finely diced
3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
4 T. canola oil
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 egg
Worcestershire sauce

Combine everything but the Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and form into patties.  Using your thumb, make an indent in the middle of the patty for the Worcestershire sauce and pour it in.  It will get absorbed as they cook.  If you plan on cooking them in a cast iron skillet, line it first with a thin layer of oil and let it heat up before you put the burgers in - that way you get a good sear on the outside.  I think we cooked them for about 5-7 minutes a side so they were completely done in the middle, about 160 degrees.  Serve with pickles if you are, like me, newly obsessed with pickles.  They go really really well with these burgers!

This recipe might of gotten a little too close to meatloaf for me, something which I avoid like the plague.  I think I had it forced too many times as a child.  My mom had this theory that if she made me eat something three times then I would like it.  She should have never verbalized that to me, I knew her plans and continued to refuse to eat things.  I told you I was picky.  Anyways, I might omit the egg and breadcrumbs next time and see how they hold together.  Or maybe make them spicy with cumin and chili powder.  That's what I like about turkey burgers.  You're supposed to doctor them up whereas with regular burgers, I like them plain and simple.  With cheese.  And pickles.

November 1, 2010

Mike Best's

To any readers that live in the Louisville area - here is a coupon for 51% off Mike Best's Meat Market.  And I will be using it to get all sausages needed for upcoming soups - Ministrone, Gumbo, Lentil, etc....  And they have the best Chorizo!

Mike Best's Groupon

Daily Fluff

Beau accurately represented my feelings about getting out of bed this morning.  Please don't make me.


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