Friday, September 28, 2007

Less Than Accurate...

Today was Miss S's four month doctor's visit. This goes to prove that the scale apparatus at Wegmans is less than accurate. While our informal "weigh in" reflected a clothed weight of 12 and a half pounds, the official doctor's office calculation was 14.6. Talk about a margin of error. Additionally, our informal length measurement had been 26 inches, the doctor's measurement was 25 1/2 (not bad, but I still say she's 26).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Burgers and Observations

So it was a good night. We had french fries and mini roadside slider burgers with velveeta (shhhh, don't tell the Husband) and baby roma tomato slices on sweet Hawaiian rolls and the Da Vinci Code was on, so obviously we had to watch it. It finally hit me... Based on Tom Hanks' line delivery throughout the whole movie, it should have been more aptly titled "You've Got Grail".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alas, More Random Thoughts.

This morning I had a cavity filled. Nothing like having a dremel tool in your mouth at 8am and having your dentist singing along to "Sweet Caroline". There's a time and a place for Neil Diamond. During a dental procedure isn't one of those times or places.

Then, later in the afternoon, the deer family came to visit the back yard. Normally this is a fine occurrence, cute and whatnot. Today, however, I found out a bit too much information about our deer family. Specifically that the two smaller deer are apparently still breast feeding. Yup, there I am walking through the family room and I just happened to look out the sliding glass door and the two smaller deer ran up to the mom deer and then just started chugging away. I understand this is a natural process but I felt a bit too much like I was part of a camera crew for Marty Stouffer's "Wild America" I even kind of felt like I was invading their privacy, but then I did remember, it's my backyard! At least they weren't humming "Kentucky Woman".

Monday, September 24, 2007


Should the exersaucer assembly instructions really be 17 pages?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weigh In.

Yes, last night (after visiting the Steinway piano event at the McCarter Theater.... I'm sorry, I just didn't know they start at $56,700 for a new one...) we took Miss Baby to Wegmans. While shopping in the produce department we thought this was the perfect opportunity to do an "informal" weigh in on one of the produce scales. According to the scale next to the lemons and limes Miss S. is about 12 and a half pounds (obviously we'd need to adjust the tare weight to take into account her outfit... but since she wasn't dressed like someone doing a floor show in Vegas I doubt her onesie and skirt combo added that much weight).

Update on Baby's "Big" Adventure

One thing I forgot to note in the post about our trip into NYC was that while out and about we managed to roll past two productions being filmed. The first was the CW's "Gossip Girl" (around Madison and 50th) and the second was an "Untiled Avery Pix, Production" on Madison in the 60s. When walking past the "Untiled" some other pedestrians noted that they had just seen Chris Noth step out of a trailer. Me, being completely oblivious, filed this away and while riding home that evening mentioned it to the Husband and we both said: "Oh, it must be some USA movie." Yeah, think again! It seems that the Sex and the City movie began filming in various locations around New York this week!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Talk About Not Having Any Free Time...

An article in last week's New Yorker magazine noted that a 1969 and 1971 study of the !Kung San tribe of Botswana revealed that the women of the !Kung San "breast-feed [their babies] every 13.69 minutes for the first one to two years of life."

Shout Out to David and Emily and Baby's Big Adventure!

So yesterday was quite an exciting day. The fam headed into the city (Husband off to work and Miss Baby and I off for a day of fun and adventure). We got in around 11 and went to The Job where I got to introduce Miss Baby as the "cutest baby ever", noting that, the general consensus was that she looks like the Husband. At about a bit before 12:30 we headed over to Saks and met Thisbe and the Wee Kraken for a bit of shopping and lunch at the newly renovated Cafe SFA (see below)

Sophie was a bit bored by the menu, but who could blame her-- she knew she'd be getting formula anyway.

After lunch we did some shopping (including a fun visit to H. Stern). Thisbe and WK left us in the afternoon and we stayed on wandering around the East Side hitting up many exciting shopping destinations (including the kid's floor at Barney's where we picked up a very cute little stuffed monkey), Bonpoint (where clearly only Jerry Seinfeld's kids and Barron Trump can shop...), the more hoi poloi Baby Gap on Third Ave and Bloomingdales. At 7pm we met up with the Husband and David and Emily for a fun dinner at Dos Caminos Third Avenue (which replaced the formerly dreadful La Maganette... sure, we move out of the neighborhood and they put a Dos Caminos on the corner of 50th and Third and a Bliss Spa at 49th and Lex, what luck!) We look forward to the impending arrival of David and Emily's little person, as soon, we will be six at dinner!

Really, just about anyone can use Blogger...


Much Better than Meatloaf

Tonight's "comfort food" was Parmesan Chicken served Milanese style. I used Ina's recipe, but added sliced baby roma tomatoes to the greens. We had this served with spaghetti (with olive oil and lemon artichoke pesto) and a warm baguette. It was pretty tasty! This I would definitely make again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meatloaf, Meatloaf Double Beetloaf

I hate meatloaf!

While the sundried tomato turkey meatloaf was *okay* the looks of it alone proved enough to warrant a permanent ban on "loaves" of anything besides bread in this house. I'm sorry, but after you've made really tasty, appealing looking food, one really can't serve up meat formed into a brick.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Welcome to Comfort Food Week...

This week is officially comfort food week. Now, while there are many, many comfort foods out there, we can only pick a few. Tonight's comfort food is Chicken Pot Pieeeee! This time around I did add a bit of white wine to the broth and I've also added in mushrooms... Tomorrow we're trying our hand at (gasp!) Sundried-Tomato Turkey Meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Wednesday is off the schedule since we're meeting Thisbe and the Wee Kraken in the city for some quality time at Saks (aka our Happy Place). (But, on a comfort food side note, while in the city we are planning to lunch at the Saks Cafe, provided its renovation has been complete. All I have to say is if the people at the Saks Cafe don't want to have a small international incident on their hands it is my grave hope that they have retained their half tuna sandwich and cup of corn chowder on their menu...) Back to comfort food week here at home, the next three recipes are Mac and Cheese, Chicken Milanese with pasta on the side (continental comfort food) and Potato Leek Vichyssoise. Recipes to follow and as always, we'll let you know how everything goes!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

All Those Book Prices...

The Raf-O blog notes that the Canadian dollar is quickly gaining on the US Dollar. Damn, now all those book prices are going to have to be revised.

The Dumbing of America

The other day I picked up the TV Guide Fall Preview. The Fall Preview had always been a bit a tradition while growing up and I hadn't read the TV Guide in ages. Since I'm at home now and have a bit of an open schedule where TV viewing is concerned I thought I would use this as an opportunity to familiarize myself with the new fall offerings. I was aware that TV Guide had changed their format from the little reader's digest sized booklet to more of a regular glossy mag format, but I didn't have a true sense of the content revisions until I started reading my issue. Used to be that the TV Guide would have every single hour, for almost all of your broadcast and basic cable tv stations (plus HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and The Movie Channel-- which, by the way, no one ever had a subscription to) for an entire week. To my surprise, this is no longer. No, instead TV Guide now only focuses on primetime (from 8-11) each night of the week and then at the back of the mag there is a single page of "Daytime" (being 12pm-7:30pm) and "Late Evening"/"Early Morning" for your most basic of basic cable services (the bulk of which is shown as "Various Programming" and even more helpful, at 11:30pm on TBS you can watch "Movie", "Movie" also appears on Oxygen and FX at midnight). We're not actually going to tell you what movie is on, we'll let it be a surprise. Oh, and if you actually want to watch local programming after 11pm? Good luck. Planning to watch something after 4:30am but before 12noon? According to TV Guide you should either be asleep or at work, or let's just make everything simple and assume everyone is watching that new 4 hour long Today Show.

All I could think of is, why the hell is this thing still published and who buys it? Clearly the TV Guide people assume everyone has access to the TV Guide Channel and some sort of a cable "Guide" and the whole "TV Guide" has become a superfluous waste of paper useful mainly as a coaster.

Now, to be fair, the TV Guide does still provide some insightful info. The last page of the magazine (before the ever important horoscope and crossword) is a listing of "Late Night Movies" on 6 randomly chosen movie channels. Someone at TV Guide must be staying up nights to write the descriptions of these movies. For instance:

"Indepndc. Day": Aliens attack earth -- Okay, I know that technically this is an accurate description, but come on. I think it was a bit more than that.

"The Island": Cloistered Clones escape -- escape what, exactly? Couldn't we have a bit more info?

"Annapolis": A Man joins the Navy -- like he just walked into a recruitment station and said sign me up!

"Get on the Bus": Blacks go to Washington, DC -- A little vague, no?

"Cousins": Relatives have an affair -- Sunrise at Campobello, or Ted Danson, take your pick.

"Glory": Story of black soldiers -- What war, please?

"World Trade Center": Two cops are trapped -- again, while this is a portion of the plot, aren't we missing the bigger picture?

Yet other films, seemingly clear on their content get detailed explanations:

"Midnight Express": Drug Smuggler's ordeal in a Turkish Prison
"Bats" A Texas town is attacked by a swarm of bats.
"The Firm": A Thriller about a lawyer who discovers that his employers are controlled by the mob.

So The Firm practically gets a novella for a description and The Island gets cloistered clones escape. All I can think of is whoever is drafting these summaries must be trying to get themselves into the Crossword business.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices

So I checked out this Wal-Mart documentary... the whole time I was waiting to see the folks up in Ithaca protesting against the Mart, but alas, they never showed them.


Sure, search for "sundried tomato turkey meatloaf" you get nothing, but search for "turkey meatloaf with sundried tomatoes" and Voila!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Naked Chef Week Ends With a Bang!

Tonight's final Jamie Oliver meal was Risotto ai Carcofi (aka Risotto with Artichokes). Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention to either the recipe or common sense when I was shopping for ingredients for this meal. Did I buy white wine? No. Did I have the white onion and celery that Jamie has you sauteeing as your first step? No. I had to make due. I had two shallots and a bottle of champagne. What can I say, it worked! I sauteed the minced shallots with garlic in olive oil very gently. I then added in my arborio rice (allowing the olive oil to coat each piece of rice just enough so the outside edges were translucent). Then I began heating my box of low sodium chicken stock.

I cooked the arborio very low and slow adding a bit of the heated stock as needed to keep the rice moist. After a while I added in some of the champagne, a pinch of salt and some fresh ground black pepper. After about 15-20 minutes I thinly sliced five artichoke hearts (I used canned) and I put five artichoke hearts in the remaining chicken stock. Then I added a small bit of butter to the risotto and I also grated some fresh parmesan into the mix.

Meanwhile, I wanted to try a new side dish for the risotto so I decided to try my hand at Panzanella. I had about a half a loaf of french bread left over from yesterday's dinner and a package of heirloom tomatoes. I used the Panzanella recipe from the Gourmet cookbook and changed things up a bit. I didn't have any cucumber (which I'm not a big fan of anyway) but I did have red onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dried basil, dried oregano and feta. I cut up the heirloom tomatoes (varying sizes and shapes in order to give the salad a different texture), tore up about 5-6 thin slices of the left over bread, tossed them together with the vinegar, a bit of diced red onion and the remaining seasoning and the feta. Wow. That's all I can say. Both the Husband and I were utterly mesmerized by the vinegar and soppy-bread. I guess we really are Italian if we can be put into a total food stupor with day-old bread.

Anyway, back to the risotto. The trick with Risotto is that you do have to taste it as you go along to see whether the rice is the right consistency. Cooking it low and slow really gave it a great silky looking texture. Towards the end I added in a bit more artichoke and a few dashes of lemon juice (nice kick that lemon juice). Once I was happy with the consistency of the rice, I took it off of the heat, added in the artichoke halves which had been simmering in the remaining stock, added a bit more butter and parmesan and let it sit (covered) for two minutes per Jamie's instruction. It did set up nicely! I served the risotto in shallow bowls with a sprig of fresh mint on top and more parmesan (trust me, we keep the parmiggiano-reggiano people in business).

This was one of the best risottos that I've ever made. The artichokes really blended in nicely, the lemon juice gave a nice kick and the champagne (rather than regular white wine) added a nice hint of flavor. Between the risotto and the panzanella its a wonder that we're still awake at this hour.

What is next, you say? Well, I do want to do a week from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (ala "Julie and Julia") but before we do that I think we may have comfort food week. Last winter I made a really tasty pot pie, mac and cheese is always tops and years ago back in Ithaca I had a really delectable sundried tomato turkey meatloaf (god awful sounding, I know, but it was really good!) I'm going to try and reproduce it! Anyway, that will be next week. For now, I think after this week of good food we deserve to go to Burger King for dinner tomorrow.


A strawberries and cream frappucino should not be followed by some five layer mexican dip from Whole Foods.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Tonight's Jamie Oliver meal was home made pesto with pasta shaped like "little silk handkerchiefs"-- I copped out and used pappardelle instead, but the fresh pesto was very tasty and very easy! I toasted pine nuts in the oven on 350 until they were golden brown. I then used the Kitchenaid MiniPrep to food process the pine nuts, fresh basil, fresh grated parmesan, garlic, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. In addition we had a nice antipasto platter with olive bread sticks, proscuitto, mortadella, fresh mozzarella, tomato and peppered salame. Tomorrow will bring us to the end of Naked Chef week-- here's to artichoke risotto!!

At the Movies

Today was Miss Sophie's first trip to the movies! She voted for The Sorrow and the Pity. But I thought that would be a bit long. Instead we checked out The Nanny Diaries. It worked out well as we were the only people in the theater. Sophie got to have a bottle, nap a little and take in the scenery. She had started to fall asleep quite nicely right up until the MGM lion roared-- what, it can be startling, you know?


Last night's Jamie Oliver meal was linguine carbonara with sausage. I chose hot italian sausage (which gave the dish a nice spicy flavor). First Jamie has you cutting open sausage links and forming little sausage meatballs. Then you brown the sausage meatballs in olive oil (I added a little garlic too). Once the sausage meatballs begin to brown you add in some pancetta. Then you begin cooking your linguine according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking you prepare your carbonara sauce. Jamie has you whipping up in a bowl 4 egg yolks, a half a cup of heavy cream, 1 1/2 ounces of freshly grated parmesan, the zest of one lemon and a chopped up sprig of italian parsley. I wanted more sauce so I added in two additional yolks, another quarter of a cup of cream and some additional lemon zest and parmesan. Once the linguine is cooked to taste you can toss it in a pan with the carbonara, sausage, pancetta and some reserved pasta water. The heat from the pasta water and the cooked linguine will cause the carbonara to cook (though not scramble).

This wasn't bad, though not as good as the Pasta alla Norma.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pasta alla Norma

Tonight's pasta meal was a success! I first started by cutting three baby eggplant into quarters. I cut out the fleshy seeded center and cut the remaining pieces of eggplant into long strips. I fried the strips in olive oil, garlic and oregano until golden brown. Once the eggplant was finished I put it into a larger pan with more olive oil, garlic and two large stems of fresh basil (chopped, leaves and stems). I added a bit of red pepper flakes and once the mixture was tossed with the olive oil I added a large can of diced plum tomatoes and a touch of white wine vinegar. I simmered the sauce for about a half an hour and then added a half a can of tomato paste, a half a cup of water and salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste. The sauce thickened nicely. We also had herbed goat cheese toasts and I served the sauce tossed in with spaghetti with small dollops of fresh ricotta on top. The ricotta evened out the eggplant flavor nicely and all in all it was a nice fresh tasting sauce. Very good for the end of summer! Tomorrow: Carbonara with sausage. Wish me luck!

Pasta e Ceci

Jamie's Pasta e Ceci (aka pasta and chickpea soup) was a success. It was very easy and very tasty. First I sauteed garlic, olive oil, chopped onion and celery in a stock pot with one branch of fresh rosemary. Jamie's directions are to cook this very gently for about 15-20 minutes or until the onions and celery are translucent. Once this happens, add two cans of chick peas (thoroughly rinsed and drained) and then cover with chicken stock (I found one small box worked). Simmer for a half an hour (I also added a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano at this time). Once your half hour is up, take about half of the chick peas out of the soup and reserve on the side. Puree the remaining soup-- remember to remove the rosemary branch!-- (Jamie recommends using an emersion blender, but I just used a regular blender and then returned the pureed soup to the pot). Once you have your pureed soup in the stock pot again, add back in your reserved chick peas and add in soup pasta (ditalini would work, I used mini shells). Simmer until the remaining chick peas and the pasta is tender. You may need to add a bit of water to the soup if it gets too thick. I also grated some parmesan directly into the soup (as well as serving the soup with grated parm on top). It was very easy and quite a tasty soup-- the rosemary and parmesan worked together nicely. I'd recommend serving this with a good crusty bread.

As for the tiramisu. It's best if we don't discuss it.

Tonight, Pasta al la Norma!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Naked Chef Week...

After the success of Soup Week we've decided to make this week Naked Chef Week. We're making a week's worth (Sunday through Thursday-- Friday night is for fun food) of recipes from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy cookbook. Tonight it's Pasta e Ceci (otherwise known as Pasta and Chickpea soup) with Tiramisu for dessert.

The rest of the week will include:

Fazzoletti di Seta al Pesto (Pasta shaped like "little silk handkerchiefs with homemade pesto)
Linguine alla Carbonara de Salsiccia (Linguine, carbonara and sausage)
Pasta alla Norma (spaghetti with tomatoes, eggplant and ricotta)
and Risotto ai Carcofi (Risotto with artichokes)

So far the tiramisu was very easy to make (and Jamie's recipe did not include any raw eggs! Yay!) So I'm hoping its as good as it was easy. I'll let you know tomorrow both how the soup was and how the dessert was!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just Lounging Around....

The deer wanted to catch some rays before its time to close up the pool...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Air Nepal....?

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Orville's Rolling Over In His Grave...

Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn linked to lung disease? And you're telling me that the smell of burnt popcorn doesn't do the same thing? How many people have had to suffer through burnt-popcorn smell coming out of your office's pantry?? Ugh!

Sting's Favorite Pasta

Last night we tried a recipe from this month's Food and Wine magazine. It's the cover recipe and the article which accompanies it claims that it is Sting's favorite pasta dish when he is visiting his villa in Tuscany (noting however that he's currently going macrobiotic so, the dish is out for now). It is bucatini with sausage and peas and it was quite a success! The recipe tells you to first brown the sausage and then sautee garlic and shallots, but I chose to sautee the garlic and shallots first, then I deglazed the pan with some marsala wine after having browned the sausage. The recipe calls for you to use pre-prepared tomato sauce so I used Classico's spicy tomato basil sauce as well as a half a can of diced tomatoes. I added that to the sausage, shallots and garlic and simmered for about 15 minutes. I then added about a half a cup of heavy cream, some organo, basil, salt and pepper and a half a bag of frozen peas. We served it with a bit of grated parm and some fresh basil. All togther it was very tasty and I'd recommend it!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads...

It happened. In Milan Township, Ohio. I got a speeding ticket. It's a first! In 31 years I had never before gotten a speeding ticket (not for lack of going fast, mind you).

From when we entered Ohio there were speed traps everywhere. In the first 46 miles I had seen 6 police cars, at least three of which were already in the act of ticketing folks. The Husband had advised that I should stay between 70-72.

Then it happened. At a spot where I-80 has three lanes, there were two trucks in the slow lane and a third truck in front of me in the middle lane. I moved to the fast lane to pass the truck in the middle lane and as I passed it, one of the trucks from the slow lane cut in to the middle lane right into the spot where I was about to move. This happened on a hill, on a curve. Once this new truck was in the middle lane I had to pass it to otherwise I would be stuck out in the fast lane. Just as we came down the hill I managed to overtake the truck and change into the middle lane. As I was doing this, the cop was out of his car and he stepped out into the road and flagged us down. He claims I was going 84 in a 65. To be fair, I was probably going 80, given that we were going down hill it might have gotten faster, but I'm still skeptical. When the officer talked to me about it he asked if we were in a hurry and if I knew how fast I was going. I was very tempted to quote "Ricky Bobby" and say "I want to go fast!" but I thought better of it.

Please Pack Your Knives and Go

Katie Lee Joel was turned away from P. Diddy's "White Party" for wearing a shade of cream. But, did anyone tell her to "Pack her dress, and go".

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

So we're in Wisconsin this weekend for the wedding of one of the Husband's cousins and the christening of our nephew. Last night was the wedding reception and the Sophie and I were seated next to the Husband's very cute six-year-old second cousin Abigail. Abigail is quite precocious and a great conversationalist. She was very interested in Sophie and kept remarking how cute she was and was very interested in Sophie's tiny hands and feet. Abigail even quite rightly noted (and as we learned on babycenter last week) that Sophie has elbows but no knees yet. Things were all going quite well until I heard those fateful words: "Where did she come from?"
Yes, that's right I had just been asked by a six year old the dreaded infamous question: Where do babies come from? Had I been thinking on my feet I would have replied: "Saks Fifth Avenue, baby department." Instead I sat there for a moment dumbfounded, wheels turning, thinking-- I can't say stork, shit, what do I do? I replied: "um, she just came out" and then I quickly asked: "are you going to dance tonight?" I got an excited "Oh, yes!!!" Followed then by a an ever welcome topic switch to "have you ever seen Hannah Montana?" "Why no!" I replied (delightedly) "Why don't you tell me about that" and the most grave of bird and bee inquiries had quickly and thankfully passed.

Globe Trekker....

Miss Sophie has officially become quite continental. Be it known that last Friday she drove through New York City for the first time (we cut through midtown after our drop-off at LGA and this Friday she drove through Chicago. I totally think she could be the next Globe Trekker host. I can hear the rubberband-based theme music now...