Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WDW -Tuscan Pasta Salad

006

This post is dedicated to Sabrina...enjoy, my sweet friend!

I couldn't come up with a name for this new pasta salad creation of mine. It seems to have many of the flavors of Italy in it, so I decided to name it Tuscan Pasta Salad. I think I'll submit the recipe to Giada de Laurentiis, and see if she likes it. Hey, maybe if I eat it, I will look like her...who knows? Well, I seriously doubt that.

This is the easiest pasta salad on earth to make. I basically just took all my favorite canned/jarred ingredients from Trader Joe's and put them into a salad with pasta. I figured, how could I go wrong? I was really happy with the results.

I will warn you - this isn't cheap (about $20), but it's insanely delicious, and it does make a lot. I used 1 lb. Gemelli pasta, but you could use Rotini if you can't find the Gemelli (I got it at Albertson's) or any shape you want. Just don't use penne. Penne has no place in pasta salad, in my humble opinion (it's too dry).

All you do is cook up the pasta as directed, drain and cool, then toss in the following. I got all of these ingredients at TJ's:

-1 can artichoke hearts (not the marinated ones in oil), quartered
-1 jar Kalamata olives, halved
-1 jar roasted yellow & red bell peppers, diced
-1 log marinated fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (you could also use crumbled feta)
-1 jar julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drain & reserve the oil for dressing)
-fresh chopped basil (a good handful)

Now, take that reserved sun-dried tomato oil and drizzle on as much as desired. Toss until the salad is well moistened. I added a little dried oregano, salt, pepper, and a little splash of balsamic vinegar as well. Taste, and add more oil and seasonings if you need to. Chill for a few hours. After the salad is chilled, you may find that the pasta absorbed some of the oil, so add a little more before serving. Garnish with more fresh basil if you want to look Martha Stewart-y. Or Giada de Laurentiis-y. This salad is yumm-y. OK, I'm done now.

post signature

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whatever - the dude at Corner Bakery

OK, so I'm at Corner Bakery. I'm actually there right now (they have free wi-fi). Emma is at ESCAPE tonight, and Rich and I like to hang out here while she is in practice.

Rich didn't want anything, but I decided to get a coffee and a cinnamon roll. For those of you who don't know me, I have never yet been able to resist a single cinnamon roll that I have come into contact with. I just love cinnamon rolls, and I'm very unapologetic about it (I also love donuts too. A lot.)

So, I step up to the counter and this dude asks to help me. So, I order my coffee and cinnamon roll - and he says the total is $2.72. I'm thinking, the cinnamon roll says $2.50, so how could a cinnamon roll and a coffee total so little? Something doesn't quite add up. So I ask.

This was one I'd never heard before.

He explained that he was in a hurry ringing me up, so left the coffee off intentionally. Then he voluntarily shared why he was in such a hurry.

He had to use the bathroom.

Um, TMI, OK?

Anyways, so he gives me my coffee cup (it's self serve here), and says to me (I kid you not) "I will get your cinnamon roll after I go to the bathroom. I have to go really bad."

I stand there, half stunned, half amused. I had to chuckle as he briskly headed towards the restroom.

So I stand there for awhile. I'm thinking that it's going to be rather awkward when he comes back. I mean, do you know how hard it would be for a pop-off like me to resist saying something, like "well, how did it turn out for you?"

But when he finally returns, all I'm really thinking is, I hope he washed his hands.

But, then he puts on a fresh pair of gloves, gets my cinnamon roll and sheepishly apologizes for the wait.

It's a good thing I really, really like cinnamon rolls, or I might have lost my appetite.

Whatever.

post signature

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WDW - Grilled Vegetables

029

I know it's not full-swing grilling season yet, but sometimes I just get a craving for grilled vegetables. I love vegetables so much, I sometimes get a rush being in the produce department (I'm not kidding). I practically drool at Farmer's Markets. It's embarrassing.

Because of my undying love for vegetables, I have often thought that I would make a great vegetarian. The only problem I have found with being a vegetarian is that you don't eat any meat. And that would be a very big problem for me, as I am a girl who loves her steak. So, I guess I wouldn't really make a great vegetarian after all. I'll just be a person who eats a lot of vegetables. And a lot of meat.

I really enjoy grilling up a bunch of different veggies, and having them the fridge for various uses. First, I'll show you how I do it, then I'll share some ideas for what to do with them!

022


First thing I do, is pour a good amount of olive oil into a bowl, and season it. Today it was simply a generous sprinkle of Penzey's greek seasoning. You can be creative here, adding whatever seasonings you fancy, just season heavily and use enough salt because you want the veggies to be flavorful. Slice the veggies and place them in a jelly roll pan.

Just so you know, I have never, ever made a jelly roll. To be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure what a jelly roll is, really. But, they must be extremely good, to have a pan named exclusively for them.

Anyways, brush the veggies generously with your olive oil mixture all around. Today I did zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper, and asparagus. If you use asparagus, be sure you get the thick kind so it doesn't fall through the grill! Other delicious choices are: red onion wedges, green onions (grill them whole), yellow squash slices, whole portobello mushrooms, and even halved carrots (not baby carrots!) are fantastic.

025

Are you one of those people who "thinks" they don't like eggplant? Try grilling it- it's yum-o.

027

Red bell peppers are SO good for you. Never buy green ones - no vitamins whatsoever. Sometimes I slice my zucchini, and sometimes I just quarter it.

023

So, check out this little tool. I wasted years of my life being disgusted with basting brushes. You know, the kind with the wooden handle and horse-tail like bristles. The kind that no matter how hard you clean them, barbecue sauce and seasonings stay forever embedded. No offense to those of you who might have one of those mangled, crusty items in your utensil drawer, but I dare you to go take a good, hard look at your brush. Do you think it looks sanitary? Well, do you? Admit it, you're grossed out. I'm telling you, this little baby is the ticket. It does a great job basting, and cleans up perfectly. Next time you visit Target, throw one in that big red cart.

OK, now that you have your veggies prepped with the proper brush, it's time to cook. Preheat your gas grill to high. Lay the veggies out single file, and grill for approximately 5 minutes each side. That's it - done. You might have to work in batches if your grill isn't big enough.

What to do with these gorgeous veggies? Well, you can just serve them as a side dish for practically anything, to begin with. Want to be a bit more creative? Sprinkle on some feta or blue cheese and drizzle with a nice vinaigrette. This can be served hot, room temperature, or even cold as a salad.

I love a veggie sandwich. Try a veggie panini - layer veggies on a nice foccacia bread with some fresh mozzarella cheese and pesto, and put in the panini press. Or, just serve the same sandwich cold on a crusty baguette.

015

You could also make my my grilled vegetable pasta salad. Mmm. Or, this salad, pictured above. It's simply chopped grilled vegetables atop a bed of mixed greens, with some goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Let me tell you, this is a fantastic lunch. Trust me, I know, because I've had it every day this week for lunch.

You could also use the veggies as a pizza topping. Grab some TJ's pizza dough, brush with a little olive oil mixed with some fresh garlic, top with the cheese of your choice and some chopped grilled veggies and pop in the oven. Super easy and delicious! Pizza makes a great appetizer too!

Me? I usually just grab some of these veggies and eat them when I'm walking by the fridge. Or, I might make myself a little plate with hummus, pita and grilled vegetables. But I mostly just grab them out of the fridge.

They're just so good.

post signature

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Wonderful Evening

IMG_3479

Last night, Drew had the opportunity to get baptized. He shared his testimony, and then was dunked by his beloved high school pastor, Austin Duncan.

We got to sit in the front row, and it was wonderful to behold Drew declaring his personal faith in Christ to the entire congregation. As he spoke, I took in every word, savoring the moment. I found myself being taken back to an evening, much like this one, about 6 years ago, when I witnessed Brady get baptized. He was so young, yet knew he wanted to follow Christ. It hit me in a big way how blessed I am to have seen BOTH my boys get baptized and declare their faith.

I was also reminded me of an interview with Pastor John, in which he quoted 3 John 1:4 ~ "I have no greater joy than this, than to hear of my children walking in truth." I indeed, feel grateful to be able to echo that sentiment. There is no greater joy. And I feel so undeserving of such great joy. But, that is my amazing God. He blesses me in spite of me being undeserving!

I love you, Drew. May you, like our Lord Jesus, continue to grow in "wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men."
Luke 2:52

post signature

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My new {culinary} baby

009

I have been drooling over Le Creuset large stock pots for some time now. Ceramic covered cast iron pans that come in a rainbow of hip colors....the ultimate. They weigh about 100 pounds, and can cook like no other kind of pan. Oh, how I have dreamed of having one of these of my own. But, have you ever checked out the price tag on those babies? Oh my. My oh my. I just can't do it.

Recently when my dad gave me a Macy's gift card for my birthday, I went to Macys.com, and started searching the kitchen department. I considered several things...and then I laid my eyes on this pot. Seems my dear friend Martha Stewart has a line of pots and pans, and she has the same thing as the Le Creuset, for a fraction of the price. It even comes in cool Martha colors to boot! I promptly put a lovely duck-egg blue one in my cart.

It arrived last week, and I have been chomping at the bit to cook something ever since. So, this week, I decided to try my weekly sauteed salmon dinner in it. I usually use my highly trusted All-Clad large skillet for the job, but thought I'd try this Le Creuset wannabe pan and see if there was a difference. WOW! The crust on the fish was incredible, and the fish was so moist and flavorful. Drew said it was the best salmon he had ever had! I agreed, it was pretty spectacular.

So, tonight when I was cooking up some Lobster-Crab Ravioli (love it when Costco has these in stock!), I couldn't help but admire my lovely pot. It looked like a work of art with the ravioli inside it. I just had to snap a photo of it. I guess it's just the former art major in me- after all, orange and blue are complimentary colors on the color wheel!

012

It has a lid, too. Isn't it fantastic?

post signature

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My graduate

Drew cap & gown April 2009- resize

Just had to post this pic. I was surprised yesterday with this shot of Drew in a beautiful frame from the Tubbs. I had no idea that he "borrowed" Lindsay's cap and gown and had Emma take this while we were in DC. Luci got it printed and framed and I was so surprised. I have it on my desk and can't stop admiring it! My emotions start to flow when I look at it and realize that Drew is graduating high school and will soon be off to college.

post signature

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WDW - Spiced Pear Bread

030


Well, did everyone enjoy the WDW last week? I think Drew did a splendid job demonstrating how to properly prepare a pop tart.

I, for one, think I'll be able to toast my own pop tarts from now on around here. I can stop relying on Drew to make them for me. Oh, I really hope I can make them as good as him.

And while on the subject of pop tarts, here's a little joke for my sister. Do you want your pop tart cold or toasted? Do you want it on a napkin or a plate? (Ha ha, she will get it.)

Well, I hope Drew will come back again and make us all wonder if he's really ready for college enlighten us all some more in the future.

***

Do you have some extra pears around? I did the other day, and I was trying to find a new recipe to use them, when I saw a friend's status on facebook. She said she was "smelling the spiced pear bread that she had in the oven," so I quickly fb'ed her and got the recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand, and in 10 minutes had two breads in the oven- and was smelling the same delicious aroma that my friend was. Ahh.

I'm sure you could substitute apples for this recipe as well. But, it's the spices in this bread that make it really special, so be sure to use them all. I think this is actually more like a cake than a bread. But call it whatever you want... I call it delicious! I enjoyed a slice with a latte this morning, and it was so delightful.... this bread is going fast in my house.

Spiced Pear Bread

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oil
¼ cup molasses
3 eggs
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. cloves
1 ½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. allspice
4 very firm pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously grease two 9x5 loaf pans.

In KitchenAid, combine brown sugar, oil, molasses, and eggs. Mix in salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Stir in the pear slices. Stir in the flour. Pour batter between two loaf pans.

Bake for 50-65 minutes. Allow loaves to cool in pan about 10 minutes before removing them and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.

post signature

Monday, April 13, 2009

DC photos

001

Cherry blossoms line a street in Capitol Hill

031

The Metro (subway)

030

Me waiting for the Metro

025 - Copy (2)

The actual hat Lincoln wore the night he was shot!

012 - Copy (2)

Inside Ford's theater where Lincoln was shot while wearing that hat

012

Capitol Hill Baptist Church where we attended Good Friday service

004 - Copy

George Washington's house, Mount Vernon Estate

011 - Copy

George's modest backyard. Just a little unobstructed view of the Potomac.

006 - Copy (2)

Our historic hotel, the Omni Shoreham

014 - Copy

I found this Starbucks coffee while walking through Chinatown - thought it was funny!

020 - Copy

And I loved this Chipotle one, too!

post signature

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We are home sweet home! We had a great time in Washington DC! Here's a post I wrote on the plane ride home last night, to conclude my adventure in the big city:

Day 3 started out great with breakfast at a cute little restaurant down the street from our hotel called Open City. Eggs, sausage, grits, and one of the best lattes I’ve ever had. I love grits for breakfast!

I didn’t have to be anywhere at any time that day, so I just hopped the subway into the city (I had become quite comfortable riding it after a couple days). I started with the Postal Museum, which was a small but very well done little treasure about the history of the postal service and mail. It only took about a half hour, but was worth the trip. From there, I walked through Capitol Hill (humming “I’m a bill, I’m a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill…”) I visited the Library of Congress there. Well, one of the buildings that is – there are three huge buildings to contain the Library of Congress. They are mainly libraries, but also consist of special exhibits and the buildings they are in are quite spectacular. I never got over the majesty of the buildings in DC, as I toured from museum to museum. The setting which they are housed is pretty much an attraction of its own.

I enjoyed leisurely cruising by the Capitol building, but didn’t go in. I have done the tour there twice, and didn’t arrange to do it this time. I hopped the subway and made my way to the National Archives, where I hoped to get in on a cancelation on one of the tours. I read in my little tour book that this was sort of a “unknown secret.” Those who were not savvy enough to arrange for ahead of time tickets, ahem, could try showing up at tour time for a cancelation. So, I went to the office there and excitedly inquired about it.... they had no idea what I was talking about. The employees kept passing me around from one entrance to the next for about a half hour and no one had ever heard of what I wanted to do. Getting eager for some answers, I walked right in an exit door to try and talk to someone who knew….and wouldn't you know, five big and very concerned security people descended on me in a millisecond. Oops. They weren't too interested in my question...I think I now know a bit of how Nicolas Cage felt in National Treasure trying to sneak into buildings. Oh well…at least I am able to report to you that you CANNOT get a cancelation! Do not waste your time! Make your tour reservations in advance (4 weeks at least), people. Or, you will find yourself subject to a line that takes 1 ½ hours to get in, or worse yet, lose your mind and try to to sneak into an exit door.


So, a bit discouraged, I made my way to another one of the places on my list, the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) museum. I walked in, not knowing too much about the DAR, but eager to find out a few nuggets of history. What I thought would be a museum with displays and information was really just DAR headquarters, and I ended up getting lost in a maze of offices! I couldn’t find my way out…so I asked a woman I saw for directions back to the front desk. I finally found out that there was a self-guided tour of about a dozen “period” rooms and was given a little map. The rooms ended up being dark, there was a dangling 3 ring binder that described the furniture in each room (that I could barely see), and oh by the way, you couldn’t go into the rooms at all, but had to peer through the doorway. Disappointed, again, I headed to leave. I stopped in the gift shop, and discovered that was pretty much the best thing about the place. I found a couple gifts, and off I went. The curious thing was, the abovementioned little tour book gave the DAR museum a 4 star review (Mount Vernon got 4 stars – most things were 2-3 stars). Now, I was starting to become very disillusioned with my handy tour book! But that’s OK, it was time to get back for my evening with Rich!


Rich and I went to a delicious sushi dinner and then headed over to Capitol Hill Baptist church for their Good Friday service. We walked in a little early, and the choir was warming up a bit, so we sat down. Someone in the choir asked a question, and I looked up and realized it was my friend Natalie Grubbs’ twin sister, Abigail. She had visited from DC a couple of times to Grace, to see Natalie and Wayne and I had visited a bit with her on both occasions, but had no idea she attended Capitol Hill Baptist. I went and said hello to her, and she ended up giving us a great tip for breakfast for Saturday. Love those insider tips! And, the service was very nice – great to find a body of believers in such a government centered city!

So, today, day 4 (Saturday morning) we checked out, stored our luggage, and grabbed a subway to check out Abigail’s favorite breakfast spot, Market Lunch. It was actually at an indoor farmer’s market. She recommended the “blue bucks” which were buckwheat and blueberry pancakes. We were happy to find her recommendation was a good one! We got there just before a huge lined formed at this darling little walk up eatery. We enjoyed our "blue bucks," some sausage and bacon, and some more grits (happy me).


We really only had a few hours left before we headed to the airport, but were able to squeeze in a visit to the Holocaust Museum and the Building Museum. The Holocaust museum is a DON’T MISS if you are in DC. It is definitely not best for kids under 10 or so, but it is an important place to visit if they are mature enough. The Building Museum, unfortunately, like DAR, was only worth the visit to the gift shop (and the café- their lattes are good!).


Well, that's about it...before I finish this up, here is a summary of my favorite things of this trip (don’t be surprised that food tops my list):


Oceanaire restaurant: BEST crab cake ever, delicious hashed brown side dish, amazing fresh halibut
Open City restaurant: Great vibe, great coffee and scrumptious breakfast menu

Potbelly sandwiches: Puts our sandwich chains to shame. Very good sandwiches that I'll be dreaming of for a long time
Zaytinya restaurant: A very fun eating experience - Greek mezze
Ella’s pizza: We wanted to try Two Amy’s Pizza but ran out of time, liked Ella’s a lot – very hip & innovative menu

Holocaust museum: Very moving, amazing museum
Ford’s theater: Nice slice of history about Abraham Lincoln
American History museum: One of the best museums on earth!
Omni Shoreham hotel: Very safe area, close to subway and trendy Adams Morgan neighborhood. made me feel like I was in a grand hotel of old – very similar to the Waldorf in NY. Bill Clinton even had one of his inaugural balls there – and made history playing the sax that night
Riding the subway: Never thought I’d say this after experiencing the subway in NY, but DC’s subways are clean, easy to figure out, and get you to your destination fast
Mount Vernon: Well worth a half day trip, saw the bed George died on and his false teeth
All the architecture: Truly amazing!
Newseum: A don’t miss, if you are a history buff
The monuments at night: One word: spectacular
The tulips: Blooming everywhere in a rainbow of colors- what a treat for the eyes. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms bloomed last week, and the wind swept most of the blossoms away


And, even though I didn’t visit any of these on this trip, I would like to recommend the following for future visitors:


National Archives
Bureau of Engraving
Arlington National Cemetary
The Capitol
The White House (I think they only offer a short tour now, but you gotta do it)
Air and Space Museum
Washington Monument
Alexandria

DC is such a wonderful city – so full of history and beauty. It’s a great place for families to experience live history! I will try and put up a picture-filled post tomorrow!


post signature

Thursday, April 9, 2009

DC at night

038

I really enjoy big cities at night. I love walking around after dinner, getting coffee and just taking in the sights. DC is a great place to catch a little night action. Tonight we had dinner at a great place called Zaytinya, which is mid-Eastern mezze (small plates). We enjoyed grilled octupus, two different types of lamb, crispy eggplant, zucchini and cheese patties (fried), some fantastic greek cheese, and fresh hot pita breads dipped in flavorful olive oil. Each person orders about 3 different mezze, and you share the food. It is a unique and fun dining experience. Each dish had a lovely sauce or a wonderful accompaniment, such as a hunk of incredible, gooey honey with the greek cheese. Very creative, very tasty! If you are in the DC area, this is a great place to visit.

023

This shot is not bad for being taken with our little point and shoot!

After dinner, we made our way to the Washington monument, World War II monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. These landmarks have a special quality at night. The weather was so lovely, too - it felt like a warm summer night and the moon was bright and yellow.

Today was another great day for me around town. I started off by taking a tour bus over to Mount Vernon, which is the family home of George Washington. It was a great place to visit, however I'm not sure I went about it in the best way. The bus picked me up at the hotel at 7:10 a.m., and finally arrived at Mount Vernon at 9:15 a.m. Then, there was a line that took 1 1/2 hours just to get into the Mansion...thankfully it was nice weather, but my back was killing from all the standing! By the time I got done in the mansion, there was little time to see the grounds or the wonderful new museum before I had to be back on the bus. Oh well, live and learn. Next time, I would probably rent a car for the day and drive there, taking as much time as I need.

It is kind of funny -I am a bit lost without Rich leading me around like a puppy. Here's a typical "Karen" thing to do when I'm left to myself. On the bus ride out to Mount Vernon, I was kind of dozing off...I would periodically catch bits and pieces of the bus driver's little narrative about all the sights on the way there. Well, when we got there, we exited the bus and got in line to receive our tickets. The bus driver went inside and returned with all our tickets and passed them out. We were then set off on our own to do what we pleased. I was heading up to the mansion when it suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea what time I was supposed to return to the bus. Kind of important, you think? Fortunately, there was a lady walking near me that I recognized from the bus ride, so I asked her. Apparently, the time was discussed while I was, uh, dozing off on the way there. Oops.

After Mount Vernon, and a little lunch at Union Station, I also enjoyed a visit to the American Museum of Art, which also houses the National Portrait Gallery. I mostly spent my time at the Portrait Gallery. It was really fascinating. I tell you, the buildings the Smithsonian museums are in are themselves works of art! The museums here are masterpieces.

Well, after a spectacular day today (65 and sunny with blue skies), tomorrow there is a strong chance of rain. I haven't really planned my day yet, but I know it includes breakfast with Rich, Sushi for dinner, followed by a Good Friday evening service at Mark Dever's church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I'll figure out my day after a nice leisurely breakfast... and I'll also plan how to stay dry!

post signature

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My day alone in the big city

I had so much fun today! My first alone day in DC, I started off with a nice little latte and scone at the hotel and then hit the subway. It was my first time alone on a subway, and I have to admit I was a little leary. Thankfully the subways here in DC are much, much nicer than the dungeons ones in New York, and not scary at all. I easily made my way to my first destination, which was Fords' Theater, the site of Lincoln's assassination. I enjoyed a very interesting show where two fine actors portrayed a conversation between General Lee and General Grant at the end of the Civil War. I liked it a lot.

After that, I moseyed back over to the American History museum to see a couple things I missed yesterday. It was really crowded again, so I took off and went to the Newseum. This cleverly named museum is a don't miss if you are visiting DC! Just a year old, it is basically a museum about the history of news. All kinds of news from print, radio, tv, and internet. I found the collection of newspapers chronicling major news stories from the past 100+ years (actual preserved newspapers) to be particularly fascinating, and the museum itself is simply stunning from an architectural standpoint. I highly recommend it.

I capped off my wonderful day going out to dinner with Rich. He treated me to a very nice seafood dinner -well, it was my birthday today after all! Tomorrow, I'm off to Mount Vernon bright and early!

Here are some random photos from my day. And I do mean random. Enjoy!

003

This is what I see when I come out of the hotel. Oodles and oodles of tulips. I admired them for awhile this morning.

022

These are the actual ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz! They are at the Museum of American History. For some strange reason, I was really into these. I dig on the yellow brick road, too!

018

I was so happy to find this dive for lunch. I knew Rich would be proud of me. I had a burger, fries and a real coke (not that I drink diet). It was a cool find.

hashed browns

You knew there would be a photo of food. These were the hashed brown potatoes we had as a side dish at dinner tonight at a lovely restaurant called Oceanaire. Any dish that comes dripping with butter is good by me. I am going to have to try this at home. It was wicked-good and almost upstaged the halibut!

P.S. If you missed Drew's very special WDW, scroll down...

post signature

WDW - Poptart

Hi. I'm doing the blog for my mommy while it is her birthday. I am doing a feature called Way Delicious Wednesdays. WDW. This is now my second week in a row doing it. Last week I had the lemon bars. This week is something equally as good.


Pop tart WDW 2

As you can tell, it is a poptart. Perfectly charred on the sides, and nice and brown in the middle. I even opened it so you can see the fruity filling.

And the best part is, you can do it easily.


Poptarts

1 poptart

"Step One: Toast the poptart. Go ahead, toast it. Hey are you still reading this?"


Ok for real.

1) Remove pastry from pouch. (See where I'm going with this? We're banging on all cylinders now)
2) Insert pastry vertically into toaster.

Be careful not to burn them.

Optional microwave version.
Microwave on high for 3 seconds.


Enjoy!

post signature

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We're here!

Just a quick post with a photo from today:


Mom & Dad at the White House!

Look! It's us with Obama at his house! What do you mean you don't see him? Well, he's in there somewhere...the flag means he's home! Do you see the secret service guy up on the roof? I think his only form of entertainment is watching people lean against the rail and get their photos taken... all day.

And, I just realized what a geek I look like with my sweater being longer than my coat. Excuse my fashion faux-pas, it was bitterly cold!

Well, since I've been up since 3 am this morning (our plane left LAX @ 6 am), that's about all for now. Tomorrow I have a tour at Ford's theater, and then I'm going to head over to the National Archives and hope to get in on a cancelation. You are supposed to book your tour at least 4 weeks in advance, but unfortunately I realized that just this past Monday...so I'm hoping someone doesn't show up and I can sneak in. We went to the American History museum this afternoon, but it was really busy, so I'm hoping to get another chance to go there tomorrow as well.

Goodnight!

post signature

I'm leaving on a jet plane

washington

I'm on my way to Washington DC today! It's hard to resist Rich's invitations to accompany him on his business trips to fun cities. Especially when it's a complimentary hotel! And, my dad was kind enough to send some frequent flyer miles my way, so it's a virtually free vacation for me. I'm excited!

I've been to DC twice before, and have thoroughly enjoyed many of the points of interest including: the White House, Capitol Builiding, Bureau of Engraving (where they make money), the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetary, the National Mall (all the museums) and the major monuments. This time, I'm going to try and see some of the things I haven't had the opportunity to see such as Mount Vernon, Ford's Theater, and the Holocaust museum, as well as enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival that is going on right now. I'm going to be on my own during the daytime on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - a bit scary because I'll probably get completely lost and disoriented I'm a bit directionally challenged, but it will be fun. Rich has the evenings free, so we'll have dinner together and even take in a show at the John F. Kennedy Center one evening.

Those who know us know that we did our food research and have all our restaurants reserved...we will be going out for Greek tapas, seafood, sushi and of course, pizza (always our first night dinner when we travel). Mmm, I can't wait! I'll be sure to fill you in on all my food finds.

So, even though I'm going to be gone, please don't ignore my blog this week. Drew asked if he could be my "guest" blogger while I'm gone...not exactly sure what he has up his sleeve but I have been advised that WDW will be featured. I'll be checking in to see what he's up to, and to see if there is anything I need to delete interesting to read. Maybe I'll even post a few pics if I have time (and a decent internet connection)!

Ta-ta!

post signature

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's NOT "Not me! Monday"

Not me! Mondays are on hold for the time being. The inventor of this little confession carnival, MckMama, has not been doing it the past few weeks, because her sweet baby is in very serious condition in the hospital. To read more about him, just click on my button on the right, Praying for Stellan. Out of respect for her situation, I have decided not to do it until she does again.

And, just so you know, I did NOT set up my cell phone to receive all of MckMama's tweets via text. That would be utterly ridiculous to receive text messages from someone I haven't even met. And besides, I do NOT need to hear the minute by minute of his condition. Nope, not me!

I can't help it. I love MckMama and Stellan, though they are utter and complete strangers and have no idea that I even exist.

Apparently I'm not alone though. Check out this news story on TV last night to see how Stellan's story is going global!

P.S. Keep scrolling down... a very special boy is having a birthday today....


post signature

Happy Birthday to FUZZY!!!

vance

Just look at that smile.

This is my nephew Vance, otherwise known as Fuzzy, the Fuzz, Vancy Pants, and more. I presume these nicknames might need to cease soon as this guy is getting to be a really BIG boy. I can't believe he's 8 years old today!! I'm sure my sister is pretty amazed, too. I'm still working on forgiving her for having him two days before my birthday. C'mon, she could have waited TWO more days so we could share our birthday -especially since he was a scheduled C-section. But, nooooo she had to get that baby out on the 6th. How selfish! (And boy was she was glad she got that little 9 pounder out not a minute later. For those of you who don't know my sister, she isn't even 5 feet tall.)

You can't help but love Vance. He's just one of those kids who steals your heart. But he is not your typical 3rd child. He doesn't let his big brothers boss him around one bit! And, they better watch out, because their little brother is going to be BIGGER than them in a matter of time. He's built.

I want to wish the Fuzz a wonderful day! Love you buds.

post signature

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WDW - Lemon Bars

blogpicture 382

I have the most amazing Meyer lemon tree in my backyard. It produces hundreds of lemons almost all year long, and they are the sweetest, juiciest lemons you've ever tasted. We squeeze them into our beverages and I use them in cooking pretty much every day. I couldn't exist with out my dear lemon tree.

One of the things I like to do with the surplus is make lemon bars. I have always had an intense love for these tart-sweet confections, and have had various recipes over the years. They were good, but not great. But then, one day, one glorious day, I tasted these little babies, from my friend Nan Marie, and knew I'd never need a different recipe again. Let's just say, they rock.

The other day Drew decided to whip up a batch to bring over to some friend's house. It was so fun to see him make his way in the kitchen. Thus far his cooking repertoire had consisted of toasted bagels and quesadillas, when he decided to make a recipe like this. I was a little wary of him working it all out, but he assured me that he could handle it. And handle it he did. He just so happened to turn out a better batch of lemon bars than his mother. It was a very humbling proud moment for me. And, I also want to mention that the kitchen was spotless when he was done. I'm liking this boy. Yes, I am. He's a keeper.

Drew's Lemon Bars

Crust:
2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Filling:
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1/3 cup whole milk or half and half
1/8 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar, for topping

For the crust, combine flour, powdered sugar and butter.


Press mixture evenly into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For filling, beat eggs with electric mixer. Add sugar and flour and beat well. Add lemon zest and juice, milk and salt. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture onto hot crust. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 20-25 minutes, or just until set (do not let brown.) Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over top and cut into squares.

post signature