Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MysteryMeal™ #1 – Revealed

Congratulations Todd! You correctly identified the most recent MysteryMeal™ – Chicken! Your high five is in the mail.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dinner + Facial

As we made this pasta with clams & white wine sauce for dinner, C and I took turns getting facials while peering into the pot of clams and subsequently the pot of boiling pasta. (I can't afford a real one in these troubled times!) We meant to use linguine, but ran out. Instead, we ended up using a freebie box of Kamut spaghetti that I got in NYC at the marathon expo. The Kamut didn't really taste too different from regular spaghetti and now I just read that it's really similar to durum wheat, which is what most pasta is made from, no? So now I'm not sure what makes it so special. Anyone?


Friday, February 20, 2009

From the Pantry: Tuna Noodle Casserole

So my new fabulous lifestyle as a Recessionista has found me going through my pantry of sorts to see what's in stock and then looking online to see what all of those ingredients might make. I tend to be a girl that goes more towards comfort food when looking for a recipe.  I was born and raised in Nebraska...land of comfort food and the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich...I heart comfort food.  I have a few bags of egg noodles in various shapes and sizes left over from a chicken, peas, mashed potatoes and noodle recipe I make in the fall/winter, and an abundance of cans of tuna...due to a sale and of course my comfort friend, cheese.  So what recipe did I find: Cheddar Tuna Casserole.  I think it's the grated parmesan cheese and the chopped pimiento that I love about it.  The pimiento might be there just for color, but I love buying an ingredient I normally wouldn't! 


Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Aus-some!" #2

"Australia's Favorite Cookie" is still on the shelves courtesy of Pepperidge Farm at Target until March 2009.  I wanted to try the caramel flavor since I tried the chocolate flavor back in December.  The Caramel Tim Tam has the same chocolate covered thin layers of cookie with the chocolate creme now surrounding the caramel.  It reminds me of a Twix bar.  Hurry, hurry! March is right around the corner!  Go here to get a coupon for a $1 off and for U.S. residents to enter to win a trip to Australia!

P.S. While you're picking up your Tim Tams pick up something from this new (and my favorite!) collection at Target!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MysteryMeal™ #1

I'm bored of polls... are you bored of polls? Now I'm all about the MysteryMeal™! Each week I'll post a picture that I've closely cropped to disguise the main ingredient. Leave a comment with your best guess. Later, I'll post the full picture and reward the correct guess with a prize... which may or may not be a high five. It's tough times people.



I spent Sunday with the cooties, and I think some of them got on me. Yesterday I was cold all day... today my head felt hot but my feet were cold. I left work early and went to the market to buy a big bag of Florida oranges. When I got home I made a tall glass of fresh squeeze, added some vitamin V and curled up on the couch.

When I got up it was dark and I had a craving for breakfast. I was out of granola but I had all the ingredients so I threw together my favorites – oats, oat bran, walnuts, almonds, sun flower seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Over that I poured a warm mixture of butter, almond butter, honey, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. 20 minutes later the smell of fresh roasted granola gave me a wicked craving for something completely different, so I had that for dinner instead. Can you guess what it was?


Food for Thought

Since being laid off again in January, I've been slowly but surely going through a stack of books I've had piling up since about February of 2008.  The latest book from the stack is called, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn.  It's a non-fiction book about the author who quits her job and cashes in her life savings to explore her true passion of cooking by enrolling at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  I wasn't so sure about another "woman's journey" book since I could not get through Eat, Pray, Love. But this book is fantastic!  How could it not be with quirky chapter titles like, "The Soufflé also Rises" or "As the Vegetable Turns"? It's filled with recipes from the various classes as well as her recipes and recipes of friends.  And you get to live through every class and crazy personality of the chef teaching the classes she takes at Le Cordon Bleu.  Plus, you also get to read and enjoy her experience of living in Paris: the language barrier, the boyfriend...the everything!  Ah, Paris...when will I win the big jackpot of the lottery?


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

These Valentine treats (iced sugar cookie & vanilla cupcake with pink vanilla butter cream frosting) are store bought goodness from one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood, Sarah's Candies & Pastries.  


Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Domestic Goddess Lives in Seattle

Last night I received a text message from my friend Christy in Seattle, it wasn't so much a text message but a picture of a red velvet cupcake.  For this cupcake lover...it was torture...it made me very hungry. I texted Christy  back telling her that those cupcakes looked blog worthy (she is an avid reader of our lovely blog) and I promptly received the 4 images above on my email. The adorable Zoe is attacking that cupcake much like I would...take no prisoners my young cupcake lady! The girls, Abby and Zoe, decorated the cupcakes in the bottom left hand corner with massive amounts of sprinkles and what not...just like I like them. Christy, in her newly acquired Domestic Goddess status, decorated the other cupcakes pictured above in a photo shoot ready fashion, and I hear their Dad, Ryan, did have a role in all of this as the "taste tester"...I mean really, someone has to be!  Stay tuned...the Domestic Goddess of Seattle is baking a cake this weekend for Abby's birthday...  Maybe I'll get a slice in the mail??!!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leftovers for lunch: not just because it's a recession

Who hasn't heard of all the penny-pinching recession tips floating around out there about how much money you can save by bringing your lunch to work or not buying coffees and bringing your own in a thermos so you can also save the environment? But I bring my lunch to work because a homemade lunch tastes better than what I can get down the street. I'm a girl who loves leftovers. In fact, I won't just eat my own leftovers, I'll eat someone else's too, which is just what I did for this lunch. I know this pic looks a bit messy and yucky, but this was one of the best homemade sandwiches I've eaten in, like, forever. Leftover eggplant parmigiana lovingly made by an unnamed Mamma, in a spelt walnut loaf with the insides taken out to create a little 'bed' for the saucy filling. The sauce gets soaked up by the crusty bread overnight and the next day… the best lunch ever!! How can I even put a dollar amount on such hearty, filling deliciousness? I highly recommend scrounging around for leftovers to bring for lunch in other people's fridges. How's that for a recession tip?


M-M-M-My Verona

A Valentine care package from my parents brought these yummy cookies to me.  They showed up on a cold and rainy Chicago afternoon today when I had a lot of freelance to get through. Trust me, you can't eat just one of these (I was warned!)...they are flaky butter cookies with a delicious fruit middle.  They come in a variety of flavors:  Strawberry, Blueberry, Apple Caramel, Mango Peach and the one I received was filled with two of my favorite flavors combined...Apricot Raspberry


Monday, February 9, 2009

Latin grenade (brought to you by C.)

Here's a little Columbian bombshell. They say that this is Shakira's favourite fruit. Called granadilla, this little number is hard on the outside and packs a punch on the inside. The contents of this tropical fruit is kind of like, I hate to say it, sweet phlegm with a tart undertone accompanied by the crunch of sunflower seeds. As the people at Buckley's Mixture might say: "Sounds awful, but it works". Seriously, this description doesn't do this unusual fruit justice, as it makes for an attractive, tasty (and expensive) snack that could best be likened to nature's jell-o.


Coppa as explained by C

This sandwich is not for the faint of heart… I told Prosecco to follow my instructions and construct this panino. The star of the show is underneath the avocado; coppa made by the hands of Uncle Lou. Coppa is basically Italian for headcheese. A gelatinous concoction made from boiling various parts of a pig's head. That's all I can tell you. The only thing left to add is that it tastes *fantastic*. And that's the bottom line.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Morning

Having fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning brings back that vacation feeling. If I can start every day with a fresh glass of vacation, I'm good.

Monkey Likes it too!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

A "Bottle of Bob"

My family and I have become good friends with the wines of Robert Mondavi.  We're such good friends that we affectionately call his wines Bob. I picked up a bottle of Pinot Noir Bob at Trader Joe's this afternoon. Trader Joe's has such great prices on wine.  Great varieties from all over the world starting at $3.99! I also picked up some healthy (note the gluten free and low sodium icons on the bottom left corner of the packaging) dark chocolate almonds.  The California wine and chocolate were a perfect complement while watching the movie "Bottle Shock".


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Be Mine...ALL Mine

Valentine's Day came early for me yesterday.  I had a Zipcar reserved for an interview in the suburbs, but at the last minute or so my interview was rescheduled for Monday.  That left me with a car for most of yesterday afternoon.  So, the car magically drove itself to Sweet Mandy B's to check out the assortment of Valentine's Day sweets they had ready.  Cookies, cakes, bars, pies...everything...even cupcakes.  

Still need more sweets to stare at?  My friend getting married this fall (reception full of firemen) sent me this link. Enjoy!


Broccoli & Prosecco do lunch

We grabbed lunch at Hank's today. The little sister of Jamie Kennedy Winebar and Gilead Café. Broccoli and I ate at our desks, but here's a snippet of what we exchanged via email. More to come later.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oyster Detour

Last Friday, Prosecco and I were on the streetcar heading to a sketchy craigslist meeting when fate intervened, canceling the meeting, and dropping us off right in front of Rodney's. There's no point arguing with fate, so we headed in for a round of drinks and oysters while we waited for Fusilli and C. to join the party.

If I haven't said it before, I love oysters.... except the big ones. I almost choked to death on a fancy Malpec once – imagine trying to swallow a tongue. So now I just stick to the small ones that don't fight back on the way down. They're alive you know, and probably a little bit pissed about how things have turned out.

After oysters, I always have a shrimp cocktail. Is there anything better?


Recession Reds – Primativo

This whole global economic meltdown thing is such a buzz killer. For the the next two years we're all supposed to be responsible, save more money and refrain from rioting in the streets. You know, I've never been to a riot... but then again I've never been invited.

In terms of saving money, I'm doing my part by (trying) not to spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine. Not as easy as it sounds, especially when the Liquor Barn seems to carry a lot of wines well above $20. On Tuesday I hit he LB and here's one that I found – ANGIÒ ARCHEO PRIMITIVO 2006 for $12.95. It's not incredible, but it's a great Wednesday wine... a really fruity punch in the mouth. If it was under $10 I'd buy a case.

On a totally unrelated note, this wine goes really well with the sound track to Saturday Night Fever.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


When I was trying to decide what to make for dinner, I searched for 'fish and rice' on epicurious. This recipe – Wild Rice with Smoked Fish and Snap Peas came up... so that's what we had for dinner.

I would describe it as a variation on a Niçoise Salad, but better! Yes, better! I'm giving it 5 stars... my first 5-star rating. That's how good it was.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Café chez Prosecco

Here's a sneak peek into my dining room. I know what you're thinking- "That doesn't look like a dining room - it looks like a general store". Well if that's really what you thought, then my mission is accomplished. Sort of. I live in a 900 square foot condo and never felt like I had enough storage or cupboard space in my kitchen. So when I was trying to decide on the function/look of the dining room, I realized I needed it to be more than just a room where one sat down to eat food. It's still a work-in-progress, but I'm going for a café/bakery vibe, inspired by two places I really like for casual eating, coffee-drinking, and catching up with a friend- Le Gourmand and Black Camel. When my "café" is complete, do come over for a light refreshment. I make a mean chocolate brownie. ;-)


Sunday, February 1, 2009


The words of my Italian dinner preparer as he runs out of the kitchen serving me a bowl of pasta carbonara, and as I'm yapping to my roommate. "What's the deal with the yelling?", I'm thinking. I'll dig into my pasta just as soon as we finish discussing the state of her dating escapades. And then again: "EAT!!" Fine, I shove a warm forkful of luscious yellow-coated creamy goodness in my mouth. Mmmm good. But then, the next subsequent bites are kinda cold. That's the deal with carbonara, I learned. You have to eat it *right* when it's served, piping hot. Because by the time you finish listening to a story about another bad date your roommate's been on, it's over. Pasta's cold. Lesson learned. Next time, I will eat my carbonara as I'm told, exactly when it's served. One other lesson learned- I always thought carbonara contained milk or cream, which it does not. When I watched my dinner preparer making it, I noticed eggs, salt, pepper and grated parmigiano. Oh, and some bacon thrown in for good measure because everything is better with bacon.