Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why Martha is the Queen!

Okay, no matter what anyone may say about her, you do have to admire Martha Stewart. Today was one of those days that just reaffirms to me why Martha is indeed the queen of all domesticity. Earlier this holiday weekend I made for the Husband Ina Garten's Blintz recipe from her new cookbook. Ina recommends adding a nice blueberry sauce to the blintz as a topping. I made the sauce (with fresh blueberries, orange juice and lemon) but the Husband wasn't a big fan of the pairing, thinking it too sweet with the already sweet blintz. So, I kept the blueberry sauce and figured we'd have pancakes later in the weekend. The plan was for pancakes for breakfast this morning but it wasn't until sometime early this morning (meaning around 4:30am) that it dawned on me, in a half-sleepy state that I had thrown out my Whole Foods Pancake Mix. You see, the WF buttermilk pancake mix is actually pretty good, but when I bought the mix last I bought the wrong kind and it was really awful. The ultimate cross between elmer's glue and wallpaper paste. This lead me to toss the remainder of the package and left me high and dry on the pancake mix front come this morning.

Cut to the scene in the kitchen this morning. Miss B. is happily in her high chair, the Husband is hanging out in the kitchen and I need to whip up some pancakes MacGuyver style. I figure no biggie, I've got flour, surely I can put something together. First place I look? Tyler Florence. I've got two of his cookbooks and he's got a great recipe for apple french toast made from croissants so I thought he might have a good pancake recipe. Does he? Well, it may be good but it's a buttermilk pancake recipe and I've got no buttermilk (let's not discuss this... buttermilk had been on my Thanksgiving shopping list but there was only one container of it left at Wegman's when I went shopping and it was all the way at the back of the dairy case on the top shelf and needless to say being 5 feet tall I couldn't reach it.) Tyler also has a recipe for crepes... I scan the list of ingredients... I've got everything, but then I notice that you're supposed to let the crepe batter rest for an hour before using it. The recipe actually tells you that if you don't wait the hour the crepes will be, and I quote: "rubbery". Yum. I look over at my toddler sitting in her high chair awaiting breakfast--- needless to say I don't have an hour for a crepe batter to "rest".

Next? Next I go to a cookbook aptly titled "Brunch". Surely "Brunch" will have a pancake recipe? Yup, but it calls for self-rising flour. Don't have that!

Finally, I decide to go for the big guns... I hit up the Martha Stewart "New Classics" Cookbook. It's a great blue thing that's thick enough to be a good doorstop. Pancakes? Of course! What kind would you like? Again we've got buttermilk, buckwheat.... how about "Fluffy?" Yes, I'll take Fluffy! Thankfully the fluffy pancakes require eggs, butter, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. All things we have... it also requires powdered milk, so I faked it and went with regular milk...

The batter looked good. The pancakes came off the griddle a nice golden brown and indeed fluffy! The taste? Thumbs up from the peanut gallery and they tasted great with Ina's blueberry sauce.

Martha Stewart Saves Breakfast! Woo-hoo!

By the way, after all this cooking this weekend... we ordered a pizza for dinner. Hallelujah!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Today was an exciting day! We took Miss B. to the 10:30am showing of "Madagascar 2" (I did feel bad that her first real movie outing... as we'll not count "The Nanny Diaries", since Sophie slept through most of that... was to a sequel, but, what can you do?) She did great, sitting on the Husband's lap for the bulk of the flick (with just a quick visit to my lap) and snacking on Dunkin Donuts (Who needs Rachael Ray? I think Miss B. could be their newest spokesperson.... "Toddlers run on Dunkin!") and generally enjoying the show.

Later on in the afternoon I visited the S. Brunswick High School Craft Show (eegads!) But I did get a really cute hair clip from Mom's Little Sweet Pea with the letter "S" on it!

Then, for dinner I made cheddar and potato soup followed by a French Apple Tart from Ina Garten's new cookbook! The tart was super easy (as I cheated and used pepperidge farm puff pastry rather than making puff pastry from scratch!) and very, very tasty! All in all a good day!

Felted Sweater Blanket!

Check out this really cool project--- a felted sweater blanket! I had seen this type of thing before at Ye Old "Go For Baroque" and thought it was intriguing. I've got two old sweaters that I think I'm going to try and make into a stroller blanket for Miss B. We'll see how it goes and then maybe we can work up to something this fab!

Prince Albert in a Can!

Check out this great online shop for London's Victoria and Albert Museum!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Got Sushi?

Here's a picture of our first fake food for Miss B. Thanks to the guy from the Sushi department at Wegman's we were able to package it in a real sushi container! Check out those felt chop sticks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! There is so much to be Thankful for, especially Miss B., the Husband, Mom and Dad, Miss Kitty, the Boo-Dog and all of our friends and family!! I hope everybody has had a great day and that this will be the start of a great holiday season.

And, let's also not forget to be thankful for our new kitchen! It was a great place for preparing this year's dinner! I started out this morning by popping the Griggstown turkey into our top oven (upside down) and then followed shortly by a pumpkin pie in the bottom oven. Next we made onion tarts (to be put in the oven after the pie was done). Then we made the stuffing and sweet potatoes, and finally regular mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy! It was a lot of food. And we have a lot left over. Perfect for making turkey, apple and co-jack sandwiches tomorrow (just like they used to make at Ruloff's in Ithaca!)

Good luck to everybody who's off to shop at the wee hours tomorrow morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Official.

The Balloons have been inflated.

Back to Basics!

No, that's not a reference to Christina Aguillera's last album. It's Ina Garten's new cookbook and tonight we made the spring risotto! (Yes, let's not discuss the fact that it's clearly not spring!). It was really tasty-- the recipe includes leeks, asparagus and peas. Ina makes it with fennel too but I'm not a fennel fan. Maybe I should give fennel a try but I've heard it's related to licorice and that's about as appetizing to me as saying that you should add an ingredient that tastes like root beer. Ugh! But, back to the risotto. At the end of the cooking process Ina has you add in a 1/3 of a cup of mascarpone, 1/2 cup of Parmesan and some lemon juice. I added this in, covered the pan and took it off of the heat (I also added a touch of butter as that's Jamie Oliver's secret to perfect risotto). Maybe I put in more lemon than Ina says, but hey, you've got to make it your own, right? All in all it was quite tasty and quite a nice looking, colorful risotto. (It was colorful in part because I also sauteed a mire poix and added that in so there were carrot bits!)

The real cooking begins tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snacktime Comparison

Today Miss B. had a lovely fruit and cheese plate for a post-nap snack. She had co-jack cheese shapes, a strawberry, a piece of watermelon, some grapes and some cantaloupe.

What did Mom have? A coke and some cheetos.
Why don't I just smoke a pack of Lucky's and have a shot of tequila while I'm at it!

Dissolveable Stitch.

So, I'm here watching a double marathon of The Real Housewives and the Husband brought up a great snack! Oatmeal Raisin cookies (from WF) and a bowl of vanilla ice cream (perfect for dipping!). So I'm enjoying this and I had just put a wedge of ice-cream laden cookie in my mouth when I see the Husband inspecting what appears to be a string. He also has a half-eaten cookie in his other hand. He is holding up the string and the cookie. I'm chewing. I say (mouth full) "is that a string?" the Husband's response? Something to the effect of "it looks like one of those dissolveable stitches" This effectively leads me to get up, spit the cookie out into a piece of toilet paper and wash out my mouth with water from the bathroom sink. All the while the Husband is sitting here in bed looking at the "stitch". He then asks me, "did you really just spit that cookie out and wash out your mouth?" In a word? "Yes." He then proceeds to tell me that he had put the cookie down on his sweatshirt so it could have just been a string.


Thanksgiving Madness!

Today Miss B. and I did our Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving shopping at Wegman's. Last week I got a lot of the boxed/canned goodies (such as stuffing mix, pie crust, chicken stock, packed pumpkin, etc.) but we still had a good sized list of stuff for today. Oh my goodness. The Husband's take on it was that today shouldn't be too bad because it should be mostly people who are trying to be prepared in advance, so they should at least know what they're looking for, etc. We both figured tomorrow would just be "PANIC! at the Grocery Store".... today? Today had a mix of people who were hepped up on some sort of shopping speed and then people who acted as though they had never been to the food store before, ever. There were a lot of people with these little carts that Wegman's has. Normally that would be a good thing-- smaller carts, people can move faster and get around easier. Unfortunately, many of the people with the small carts were the ones who seemed like it was their first visit to the store. The baking aisle? It was like a train wreck. Carts and mini-carts were lined up on both sides of the aisle. People were milling about in the middle and then just staring at the food on the shelves. It's as if no one actually knew what they wanted to get but just decided to wing it once they got there. One woman pushed her cart deep into the baking aisle, saying to her companion "Now we need to find brown sugar and vanilla extract." I didn't have the heart to tell her that she had just passed them (as there was no room for her to turn her cart around and besides-- have you never been here before? Don't you know where the brown sugar is? Isn't it likely that it will be in with all of the rest of the sugar that occupies like 7 1/5 feet of shelf space just to your LEFT?

Let's hope tomorrow's great turkey air-lift goes better.


Yesterday when we were in the city we went past the Ziegfeld and saw them setting out the red carpet for the Australia premiere! It's gotten good reviews and everybody loves a Baz Lurhmann flick!

What the!?!

I just saw a commercial for "Personal Trainer: Cooking", whereby some kind of Garmin-esque electronic device (it turns out its a Nintendo of some sort) will speak cooking directions for you while you cook. Its website says: "focus on the food while you cook thanks to Hands-Free Voice Control" alternatively, you could focus on the food while you cook by reading a recipe in advance! The website also notes that this is the first in a series of "Personal Trainer" software. Coming soon are "Personal Trainer: Math" and "Personal Trainer: Walking" Walking? Focus on your feet while you walk thanks to Hands-Free Voice Control! Do we really need a little machine giving us verbal directions on how to walk?

Monday, November 24, 2008

San Marzano Tomatoes!

Tonight we made Tomato sauce from scratch using San Marzano tomatoes! I'm sure this is no new developments for most folks, but I had never tried a can of San Marzano before. I put a large can of San Marzano in a sauce pan, added a bit of cream, some salt, pepper, italian seasoning, a good bit of basil and a touch of garlic salt. After simmering for a bit I added in some of the vegetables from last night's ratatouille (specifically, the eggplant and zucchini and a few red and yellow peppers). The result was a nice light tomato basil sauce with veggies! We had the sauce over fresh gnocchi (which unfortunately, I did not make, they were store bought from WF). Add a crusty loaf of bread and some fontinella and you've got a tasty dinner!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Response...

So the Mom Blog has a post about the North versus the South. I have to respond with just a few thoughts about New Jersey, specifically. I've never (and I mean never) been in a state before where its basically verboten to ever make a left turn. You want to go anywhere? You basically just have to keep making right turns until you either get to Pennsylvania or the Atlantic. After some shlub in this state inventing the infamous "Jersey Barrier" it's like their brother-in-law was given the contract to make every single road in New Jersey a divided highway.

How does one get across a divided highway? Jughandles! What the *hell* is a jughandle and why do I need to use one just to get to the other side of the road? I'm lucky that I don't have to use a jughandle to get into my own driveway! Mapquest? Garmin? Hardly! Both of these navigational tools have not been programmed to take into account the whole divided highway situation. I remember one time the Husband and I tried to get to Buy Buy Baby in Paramus. We started off on I-80, we got off on Route 17 but unfortunately the Buy Buy Baby was south of the exit from I-80. Could we turn around? We had to drive almost all the way to the New York State Border before we could figure out where the F!*% the place was! We had to stop at a Barnes & Noble in Mahwah for god's sake!

It's as if the entire state has been designed so that the only way you can know how to get someplace is if you've been there before. If it's your first time trying to get someplace good luck and leave an hour early.

Circles? Let's not even discuss the circles. I can deal with the "Somerville Circle" as it is known, but the circle at Exit 135 in Clark/Rahway off of the Parkway-- you have to gun it in order to merge into traffic. It's like a pinball machine of crazy drivers and you have to just hope that you in your little pin ball car can be blasted into the circle fast enough not to get hit by somebody else.

As greater proof of more idiocy in our municipal road systems, when we first moved here there was a stop light at Nassau Park Boulevard and Route 1 in Princeton/West Windsor/Lawrenceville (that's another great thing, by the way, every thirty feet and you've moved across some such political boundary and you're in a new town, township, or borough-- it makes using 411 a nightmare). Nassau Park Boulevard is a street that has a bunch of big box stores in two shopping centers, including a Home Depot, Wegmans, Best Buy, Target, Petsmart, Wal-Mart, etc., etc. After Whole Foods moved in down the road (without the benefit of a stoplight at its entrance), DOT decided that there was no need for a traffic light at Nassau Park! You want to get to Wegman's from the Northbound lane? Bon Chance! Get off the exit before, use a clover leaf, and go in the back entrance. You want to exit Wegmans and go North on Route 1? You can get on Route 1 going South and then exit at the next clover leaf, cross over Route 1, exit again at the next cloverleaf, merge into traffic with cars attempting to exit onto another cloverleaf and then you can merge with Route 1 traffic going 65+ MPH. It's accidents waiting to happen, no wonder we have one of the highest insurance premium rates in the country! (Our insurance was actually cheaper when we lived in Manhattan! You would think a close proximity to the Bronx would raise your rates, but no, try moving to New Jersey and watch those rates triple!)

Not to mention how people drive! My Mom is right-- all of these people feel like they need to be someplace and they need to be there *NOW*, but that urgency is also coupled with a great inability to stay in one's own lane. When driving one constantly has to be minding the cars on either side of you because not only will people change lanes without enough clearance, they'll also just weave into your lane!

What about tractor trailers? I know they're bad drivers everywhere but here it seems to be especially bad since, what with all the refineries, often tractor trailers are tanker trucks. On Friday night we heard on the news about another tanker truck that jackknifed and caught fire at Exit 16 of the Turnpike. This prompted both me (and the newscaster) to mention how just a few months ago another tanker did the same thing at the *same exact exit*--- this was memorable because it was the night of a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Meadowlands, and I'm sure you can imagine how well shutting down the turnpike at the Meadowlands exit before a "BOSS" concert went over with the local constituency.

In a nutshell, New Jersey is a nuthouse. The Husband is fond of saying that Princeton isn't New Jersey (a sentiment also put forth by a representative from the State's Tourism Board not too long ago), I just try to bring a little bit of New York to every day in Jersey (case in point, today I blew my car horn four times-- twice at the Wendy's drive through and twice at a Stop sign). You can take the Type A out of their stint at city living, but you can't take the city crazy out of the Type A.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knitting Merit Badges...

Thanks to Miss Leda, I stumbled upon a webpage with knitting merit badges!

This one is easy to get-- it's just about talking up knitting in a positive light, but not too new age-y or grandmotherly... (Okay, done.)

This one was a bit tough for me-- it says that you've mastered the simple mathematics required of knitting. Anyone who knows me knows that math is *not* my strong suit. I actually had to take statistics over the summer in college-- and that was only because it was a requirement of my major which (unlike the required-for-graduation swim test) I couldn't manage to get out of.... But, I have finally figured out the higher math of knitting. This was proved when I was able to successfully confirm that I could substitute a particular yarn for Miss B's poncho. When I tried to tell the Husband the calculations involved it was mind numbing.

This is the MacGuyver I badge-- again, not too bad. It just means that you've used non-knitting items in a knitting related scenario... I'm a lawyer. All I have to say is binder-clip. Also, who hasn't used a paperclip as a stitch marker or a sewing pin as a way to pick up a dropped stitch?

This is MacGuyver II-- meaning you've used knitting implements in a non-knitting application. I can think of many occasions on which I've used a long needle to sweep an errant toys out from under furniture. (Errant object typically is a MegaBlok or soothie).

This badge is one of the more fun ones-- earned for having an inordinant fondness for novelty yarns! My personal fave is anything by Noro... I consider their space dying techniques to be a bit novelty. I also have a poncho (that I've been trying to make for I don't know how many years)which involves eyelash yarn. Let's not even discuss the six months I spent making a Colinette afghan!

I also think they need a badge for having successfully taught someone else how to knit! I vote for Thisbe to get that badge! Thanks, This, for teaching me how to knit all those years ago at the grand old yarn store that is no more on the Post Road in Westport!


In anticipation of the upcoming gift-giving holidays and in furtherance of the great family tradition of wacky crafting (namely (x) when my Mom and Dad spent goodness knows how many hours building and furnishing a gi-normous Victorian dollhouse and (y) when my grandmother made an entire coffeetable full of Barbie clothes for me including a creamsicle colored knitted pantsuit and a Barbie-sized bra), I spent Sophie's naptime this afternoon making fake felt food! (Photos to follow). So far I've made sushi rolls, ravioli, pancakes, bacon strips, and a piece of lunchmeat ham and some lettuce. I'm still working through how to make my two slices of white bread (with crusts) and I also have two eggs sunny side up to make as well as some tomato slices. Basically, when I'm done I figure I'll have a three course breakfast, a ham sandwich, some sushi and then pasta... I'm thinking of also making a salad to go with the ravioli. If this works out (and I can figure out how to master making crust) then I think we'll try a pizza next.

Jean de Florette

The other day Miss B. handed me my copy of Zagat's Movie Guide and as I flipped through it, I saw the review of "Jean de Florette". The review mentions that it's not to be missed with it's companion piece "Manon of the Spring". Since 1986 (when these two films were released) never having seen the actual French title of "Manon of the Spring" I thought it was about a woman named Manon and the season, "Spring". Little did I realize it is actually "Manon des Sources" aka Manon of the [natural water] spring. But, I digress. I read the review and then oddly enough both of these flicks were on HDNet movies the other night. Of course I realized this at about 2am (while the Husband was mysteriously downstairs snacking) and I ended up watching the end of Jean de Florette and the begining of Manon of the Spring until about 3:19am when I finally had to go to sleep. The title character in Jean de Florette is played by (as about 65% of all French films are) Gerard Depardieu. In this flick he's a hunchback "born loser" (as one of the other characters describes him) who ends up dying at the end of the first film when a rock from an explosion hits him in the head. Not a winning description, but it was a well done movie and I'd certainly be interested in seeing it from the beginning and seeing the rest of Manon of the Spring. Of course, neither appears to be coming back on to HDNet anytime soon, but you never know. When I do come across it again, though, it will be quite a time investment-- kind of like when I watched all 3 hours of Camille Claudel (also a Depardieu flick) in subtitles.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today's Randomness...

As I'm at the stove making Hungarian Goulash I flashed to a memory of when the German Club went to an Indian Restaurant all the way on the other side of Atlanta with Herr Craven in high school. It was the worst Indian food I've ever had! Just throwing it out there-- did Texas Jack drive that evening? Most of it is a blur besides the fact that it rained the whole way there and the bad yogurt that seemed to be a part of every dish ordered...

This Week's Approval Matrix

Has the great line: The Real Housewives of Atlanta make The Real Housewives of New York look like The McLaughlin Group"

Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work!

Another great PBS Series! Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work is just like "A Year at Windsor Castle". I can watch these British documentaries all day!!!

Just Tick This Off as Another One Of Those Signs of the Apocalypse...

They're remaking Footloose!?! With one of those people from High School Musical?? Is Footloose really remake worthy????

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do You Want to Die By Post-It?

(We're watching "Get Smart")

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bond. James Bond.

Here's an article from MSNBC's "The Scoop" about a first time Bond viewer. How can you not love Bond? At least she did watch Goldfinger first!

Cat Tales...

Today we dropped off Miss Kitty at Petsmart for a bit of grooming. It was her first time there, and first time being groomed (other than her usual attempts at creating hairballs). We get there at about 11am and are told that we don't actually have an appointment. Okay, whatever. I'm there and I hand over our rabies certificate and just then a woman walks in behind us and asks if the cat which had just finished grooming (and was at the back of the grooming area in a "pet taxi") was a Himalayan. The groomer says that it is a Himalayan and next the cat inquirer asks if she can touch it. Groomer is kind of surprised by this and replies with "that is not a nice cat." And clearly-- lady, it's not your cat! No you can't touch someone else's cat! Turns out that this woman has "allergies" and she thought that a Himalayan might be "hypo-allergenic". When the Groomer tells her that she can't touch the cat she then asks if she can touch some of the fur that had just come off of it. (You see there was a considerable amount of cat fur balls on the floor of the grooming parlor...) At this request the Groomer seemed happy to oblige. She walked over, picked up a big ball of cat fur and handed it to the woman. Ms. Allergy then proceeded to rub the fur ball all over her hands. I can honestly say that I've never seen anything quite like it. The woman said she'd see by the end of the day if she had any kind of reaction and the Groomer's response was, "you should know in about five minutes."

When we came back two hours or so later, we paid to get Miss K. out of hock and she came out of the back with a little pink bow in her fur! Sophie got a kick out of the bow.

Something's Fishy at the Turkey Farm...

Today I checked on the website for my local turkey farm hoping it wasn't too late to put in an order for this year's bird. Said turkey (and quail) farm was just featured in an article in this Sunday's New York Times, which made me think of it. I check out the website and lo and behold, I am advised that persons looking to order a turkey for local pick-up should check back later. At this time they're only taking orders for birds to be shipped (at a starting price of over $100!) Now, giving the farm the benefit of the doubt, perhaps I'll be able to order my bird as soon as tomorrow and maybe this is just some sort of administrative thing... but the more cynical view seems to me that especially following NY Times coverage, they're hoping that the bulk of the birds fly south (or north, east or west... just fly) for the holidays. Perhaps there's an extra cushion of profit margin built in to the shipping costs? Unclear, but what kind of irks me is that I am a fifteen minute drive from the turkey farm and all you hear about these days is "eat local" and "sustainability", yada, yada, yada.... all of those "go green" buzz words that have fueled an entire economy around Whole Foods and the like. Here I am, literally trying to eat locally and I've been stymied in favor of folks who want their turkey UPS'd to them. Argh!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Le Californie Brule!

Once again, knowing French food words (i.e. Brulee, as in creme...) comes in handy when translating TV5 Monde's evening news show Le Journal.

Housework is never done!

Here's a funny article from today's New York Times...

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today we visited the Big Apple Circus! I finished Sophie's Daisy Hat for the occasion and I thought that she was dressed particularly cute today (see picture!) Unfortunately, the animal acts showed up in the second half (for those of us sporting toddlers, an animal or two in the first act would certainly make things a bit more interesting for our little people... perhaps switching out the catsuit attired lady-tightrope walker (who does her tightrope act to the Viagra commercial jazz music... I am *not* kidding...) for a parrot act, horses a dog or cat or two??) I can honestly say I've never seen such a little person consume so much food in one sitting... we went through some hot dog parts, bun parts, broken up pieces of cracker jack, pretzel and cookies (cotton candy was rejected, thankfully). And, as usual in a city of 8 million people, I saw someone I know from the Job. Random, no?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sting's Favorite Pasta!

That was dinner tonight (and I know its a perennial fave of the readers!) In other news, tomorrow is the big day-- we're going to see the Big Apple Circus! We've been seeing commercials for the past two weeks or so and Miss B. and I watched some performers from the show on The View the other day so hopefully Sophie knows what she's in for!

Tonight's project? Finishing an upside down daisy hat for Miss B. so that she can have a new chapeau for circus going! Also, trying to plot how the Husband and I can manage to go see Quantum of Solace...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Tonight's meal (prepared in the new kitchen, and thankfully, not by toaster oven) was Jambalaya! We've gone on a couple of occasions to the Salt Creek Grille for their Sunday Jazz Brunch and they have a tasty jambalaya. I hadn't made jambalaya since law school so I thought why not bring it back in to the repertoire! I used spicy italian sausage (in link form, which I then cut up) and chicken tender strips from Whole Foods. I browned the sausage and chicken together with sliced onions, green peppers and diced jalepenos in a bit of olive oil and garlic as a start. Once the meat and the veggies started to brown I added in a bit of white wine to deglaze. Once browned, I moved the meat, veggies and juices from my large skillet into a stock pot. Then I rough cut a red pepper, yellow pepper and orange pepper and sauteed those in olive oil. Once the peppers were soft I added them to the stock pot, together with a can of diced tomatoes. I also added into the mix some cumin and cayenne pepper. I put the stock pot on to medium heat and added Zatarain's Jambalaya mix (which includes seasoning and rice). I also added about a half a box of chicken stock and some uncooked Texmati rice. I kept the goodies on low-medium heat for about 25 minutes (or until the rice is plump). At the end I added a bit more white wine and a touch of chicken stock. The jambalaya was super easy and got rave reviews from the Husband! Overall I was happy with the general tastiness of the meal and was reminded of our old fave PBS chef Justin Wilson!

In other fronts... yesterday Miss B. and I did see Ernie and Neal. They were, well... a bit too heavy metal for our tastes let's just say. We preferred Melody and Presley (from the last B&N Kid's show we went to see). Melody & Presley were the type where you think to yourself "Gee, I wonder if they're available for birthday parties!" Ernie and Neal? They seemed more like they might be available for gigs at your local Hell's Angels hang out. But, who are we to judge? We like to listen to the Metropolitan Opera on the radio on Saturdays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ernie and Neal...?

This afternoon, after naptime is done, Miss B. and I will be heading over to our local Barnes & Noble to check out the musical stylings of "Ernie and Neal". I'm not sure who these two are but they are taking part in the weekly family fun music series at the store and hell, it's cheaper than Music Together! Now we just have to hope that, unlike last time, Miss B. doesn't decide to rearrange the Art History section and then go running to the Starbucks in the middle of the store carrying a book on Cave Painting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who knew?

According to Dean and Deluca, "Licorice has been prized for centuries by the world's great civilizations." Right up there with gold, saffron and the polio vaccine, I'm sure.

One Day!

One day till Top Chef New York!


Today we watched a bevy (okay, just two) movies from books. We'd already seen Atonement (growing on me) and then earlier this evening we watched "The Jane Austen Book Club". I had read The Jane Austen Book Club a few years ago and enjoyed it, but when I saw the movie was coming out I was a bit disapointed by the cast. It seemed a little like it should be a Lifetime movie of the week. After watching, I'd still have to say putting Jimmy Smits, Amy Brenneman and one of the people from "Lost" in a movie tends to make you think "TV!!!" immediately upon watching, but overall it wasn't a bad movie adaptation. The guy who played the only guy in the book club was somebody I've never seen before but he did a good job and the Kathy Baker character knitted in 75% of the scenes she was in so you can't beat that!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late Night Showdown and Other Stuff!

It's one of those odd nights where the guests on both David Letterman and Jay Leno are appealing! It's Jamie Oliver pitted against Martha Stewart!

In other news, must send a shout-out to the Mom and Dad who had both totally put in the good word for getting a disposal and a trash compactor, and lo and behold... they are both pretty nifty additions to the new kitchen! The disposal (an Insinkerator Evolution, touted on This Old House as the quietest disposal ever made!) has caused a bit of "will-it-blend-esque" disposing. So far we have disposed chicken bones, a whole tomato, a good portion of a sub sandwich, olive pits, banana peels, etc., etc. and the compactor is pretty neat too! It's really an amazing feat for us to only have to empty out one bag of trash per week (noting, we do have a supplemental trash can for certain disposable items that don't fit the disposal/compactor criteria) overall this has been quite an improvement in our waste production.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter...

I am well known for having a habit of "eating a happy face" out of McDonald's cheeseburgers. A phrase coined by my parents and meaning that I will take one bite out of the edge of a burger and then proceed to only eat the middle. Well, this morning Miss B, did one better. We were having pancakes and she took a little silver dollar pancake, folded it in half and took a bite. What does that mean? When the pancake was unfolded there was a hole eaten out of the center. The pancake now resembled a small, flat donut. Of course this also resulted in a dab of maple syrup on Miss B.'s nose, but she didn't seem to mind that.

Friday, November 07, 2008

R.I.P., Dear Apple Tree

This morning I pulled the ye old wagon out of the garage and lo and behold, there was a barren spot at the edge of the driveway. I could see even more of our road than usual (ha, ha, I know, I know, how close we are to the road!)... what was it, exactly, that was different?? I could see more sky, I could see down the lane... wait, I thought to myself... where's the TREE??? We used to have a good sized apple tree right at the edge of our parking area, adjacent to the street we live on. It was a neat Craggy tree that took up quite a bit of space and would indeed produce quite a few apples in season. I stopped the car, got out and walked over to where the tree had stood just yesterday. What did I find? Wood shavings. A stump. A few large cut pieces of apple tree trunk. How random is that??? I thought to myself-- "Who the hell cut down our tree?" There was no note, nothing in our mailbox. I looked down the street to see if there was a tree trimming truck (sometimes the power company comes and trims the tree limbs-- but there was nothing. In fact, there was no other evidence that any of the other surrounding trees had been trimmed, let alone entirely cut down to their stumps!) What do you do when a tree is mysteriously cut down? Call the police! (Non-emergency number, of course...) The local PD put me in touch with the Department of Public Works. I described the situation and gave them my address. I was then told that at about 5am this morning they got a call about a downed tree on our street. Turns out the downed tree was our apple tree. Now mind you, it had been raining and a bit windy.... but it is unclear just how much of the tree came down. Based on the appearance of the cut pieces the tree trunk looked extremely healthy. Mind you, also, that we heard nothing. Not even a peep during the night (not the tree falling nor the chain saws!)

I have to say-- I understand if the tree fell, obviously the township had to take away the limb in the street-- but I can't believe they cut down our entire tree to a stump and they didn't even leave a note! Not a knock on the door, nothing! Now we have this big gap where the tree used to be. I guess I should just be thankful that the damn thing didn't fall on the X5 which was parked outside very near the tree, but still... I miss our tree! It's passing feels so abrupt!

KK's Baby Hat!

Here are pictures of the "Upside Down Daisy" baby hat that I made for KK! (Okay, so it's a week post-shower, what can I say, knitting takes time!) Anyhoo-- I just wanted to post a picture because I am really happy with how this hat turned out (so much so that I have to make one for Miss B. now!) I also have to highly recommend Susan B. Anderson's "Itty Bitty Hats" book! If you're a knitter (or want to become a knitter) this is a fantabulous pattern book! I first found out about it thanks to Thisbe who made the birthday cake hat for the WK! I have already made three pumpkin hats, the candy cane striped hat, the inca snowflake, the rainbow marley hat, the birthday cake hat and now the upside down daisy! All of the patterns are very clear and easy to follow and they just couldn't be any cuter!!! Yay!

This is easily my most used pattern book, if you have any babies/toddlers that you could be knitting for then you need this book :)

This is Sophie saying...

"where are you driving me to *now*, Mom????"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Big Comfy Couch

This is one of those weird children's shows on PBS that I'm not quite sure how we got started watching. It's from Canada and made in the mid-nineties, but what I find most disturbing is that there have been two Loonette the Clown. Unlike in soap operas where they'll replace an actor with someone who only vaguely (or for that matter not at all) looks like the original actor, on The Big Comfy Couch they got a girl who (when in costume) really looks like the first girl, but she doesn't speak quite the same, so she tries to "pretend" to be the original Loonette. The first Loonette was much more natural, while the second Loonette has to truly try and "act" like the original Loonette. Needless to say we prefer original Loonette, but between her, Granny Garbanzo and Major Bedhead the whole thing is a bit kooky (including the "clock stretch" that is on every episode.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Okay so,

who wants to bet that Bill Clinton's sleeping out in the barn tonight!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Real-Time Vote Blogging

So we're down at the Kingston First Aid and Rescue station waiting to vote! usually they have two machines (at least they did for the primaries.... i guess one for each party!) but today there's only one and usually poll workers outnumber voters by 5 to 1. Today there are about 18 people in line with us including seniors bused in from Buckingham Place (aka Buckingham Palace) just down the road. We've already had one angry young woman voter storm out (not sure why) hopefully she was a vote for Obama! :) My crazy next door neighbor (the fried chicken mogul) is in line ahead of me-- I've never seen the man dressed in anything besides collegiate sweatsuits and baseball caps. This is unlike the older gentleman in front of me (who has already informed me that he's doing a write-in vote) who is bedecked in black watch plaid pants, black tassel loafers, a navy turtleneck and a navy blue blazer with gold buttons.. Very dapper! Sophie is likewise dressed patriotically in red, white and blue (pictures to follow!) In other voting observations the poll workers said they didn't need to see my driver's license (scary!).

So today's message is go out there and vote-- it's the only way to justify being able to complain for the next four years!

And, alas, as a side note, years ago I had told Brianna Basaraba that I would move to France if certain Republicans were ever elected. All I can say is that for this election I am neither wealthy enough nor underprivileged enough to justify voting Democratic. I have to vote based solely on taxes. Down with the AMT! (But regardless of who is elected, I'd love to move to France!) ;)

Miss Potter

So Miss B and I finally watched this movie the other day (we've had the DVD for months and months...) and I have to say it is a very sweet, family film (even if, rather depressingly, the love of Miss Potter's life, played by our fave, Ewan McGregor, dies of some Victorian mystery virus two months into their secret engagement while Miss Potter has been spirited away by her family to the Lake District).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why the Italians Will Never Rule the World...

Because they always take a break for salami. This morning I took the train into the City for KK's shower. Especially since it was the running of the marathon I figured the train was the best way to go. I walk on board at PJ and snag a seat very close to the door, by the window. Who follows me? Four Italian girls (and by Italian I mean, speaking Italian, actual real-live, from Italy Italian) and an Italian guy who looked *exactly* like Orlando Bloom (except for the fact that he was about 5'8). The four girls sit in the row right in front of me (as it was a four seater) and Orlando sits in my row. Straight through to New Brunswick they're having a good old time laughing and chatting it up and every now and again I understand a word here and there thanks to college Italian but for the most part I've covered this all up with iPod. Then, as I'm attempting to nap, just after we pull out of NB... out it comes... salami sandwiches. The smell was so pungent I felt like I was inside of a deli case. Four semi-glamorous, sunglassed and coiffed Italian girls and their pungent lunchmeat at 11am. It seemed an odd juxtaposition, but at the same time, it seemed perfectly normal.

One other train anecodte... again proving that everyone looks like someone, on the way home I was standing next to Paris Hilton's twin (that is if Paris Hilton ever was to wear a "Wisconsin" sweatshirt, but still-- super thin, bad short blond hair and that wacky Paris Hilton nose!)


KK's baby shower is tomorrow, so as KK is a fellow crafter, I thought I would include with her gifties some decorative burp cloths! (A hat is under construction, to be delivered after baby delivery!) The Mom's friend made some of these for me for my shower and they're just so pretty and so easy to make that they're a fun gift for one crafter to another!