Back at it

5 01 2016

I love you Blogs and Coffee (5)

Rather than make an excuse for the hiatus from my blog, I’m just going to say I’m back and I’ll try to do better. Sometimes, life comes before blogging.


Updates on the Homefront

Over the years, I’ve documented my hubby’s struggles with Bipolar, Depression, and Anxiety. The last couple of years have been extremely challenging as we have been actively working on his treatment. I feel like we’ve turned a major corner in the last six months, and I’m hoping he’ll remain stable for a long, long time.


Have you seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo? This mark represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention, and is a reminder that a person suffering from mental illness could have chosen to end their story, but chose not to. It’s a powerful conversation starter about an important topic. Learn more here.


As for the kiddos — the Baby is no longer a baby. In fact, she’s now 10 and at the start of puberty, so hormone-induced hilarity is a daily occurrence. She is a straight-A student, Girl Scout, and ballerina, plus she’s hilarious and incredibly kind. The Big Kid, on the other hand, is a 17-year old high school junior. She and I are like oil and vinegar —I think her interests are weird and she thinks I’m impossibly out of touch and could never really understand her. Newsflash, kid. I was 17 once and also thought I was a misunderstood genius. Sigh.


Help with Your New Year’s Resolution

If you’re trying to clean up your eating habits (and you probably should), head over to Buzzfeed Life and check out their 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge. All of the recipes and instructions are there, too, which is extremely helpful.


On Our Plates Tonight

The Baby and I are both dealing with sinus ickiness, plus it’s 20ish degrees out, so something spicy and warming is in order. Plus, I have a ton to do tonight, so a labor-intensive dish is not going to happen.  Instead, I’m making this Quick Ramen Bowl. I may even add the egg. I’m madcap like that.

Quick Ramen Bowl 2



Buying the Wrong Thing at the Store Doesn’t Make You a Donkey

4 07 2010

Ever tried to save your own ass in the kitchen? This happened to my friend, K. She emailed me on Friday, dismayed at her blunder at the grocery store. She said she had gone to the store with the intention of buying feta cheese to make a watermelon and feta salad she’d been reading about. When she got home and unpacked her groceries, she realized that she had, instead, bought gorgonzola, which probably wouldn’t taste too good with watermelon. So now what?

What’s where I come in – she asked me to help her come up with some solutions so the accidental purchase wouldn’t be a total loss.

Option #1 – Beef Tenderloin
Roasting a beef tenderloin and then topping with gorgonzola is an easy solution – the rich flavors seem to go together perfectly. Serve with some roasted potatoes and a simple salad and you have a meal to be proud of.

You could also top a salad with tenderloin slices and crumbled gorgonzola. I’d probably dress it with a simple vinaigrette for a lighter option.

Option #2 – Roasted Asparagus
Snap off the woody stems and oven roast asparagus – for best results, lightly coat with EVOO and a little kosher salt. Toss with toasted walnuts and gorgonzola for a luscious side dish.

Option #3 – Pasta
Gorgonzola easily turns into a creamy pasta sauce. A simple variation is to combine 2T unsalted butter with 1 1/4c milk and 8 ounces of cheeese and bring to a slow boil. Yes, this is an easy version of cheese sauce, but I think it’s a bit runny and doesn’t really cling to pasta the way a sauce should.

Instead, melt 2T butter and then add 2T flour. Stir until you have a roux. Flavor the roux with some salt and pepper, and then begin to slowly add 2c milk (you must slowly add the milk and continue to stir over low heat. Milk that is brought to the boiling point too quickly tends to curdle, which is a surefire way to send someone to the ER).

Once you have combined all of your milk with the roux and the texture is smooth, start to add the cheese. Continue to add cheese until you have reached the desired texture – you will probably need between 1 1/2c and 2c of gorgonzola. This sauce is thick and rich, as well as terrific on pasta or veggies.

For a lighter option, cook your favorite pasta and combine with your favorite veggies, and then top top with gorgonzola crumbles. I just made this tonight with fresh tomatoes from my garden and spinach, and it was great. Can’t wait to take this with me to work for lunch.

Now, it’s your turn. Have you ever gone to the store and bought the wrong thing? What did you do to remedy the situation?

Kitchen Beautification Project

19 05 2010

Now that I’m between jobs, I’m starting to get a little squirrely, which only means one thing: I need an outlet for my creative energy. The kitchen beauticiation prject is an all-encompassing one that entails a total makeover of the kitchen, as well as its contents.

I have always made of a point of saying that I want us to eat better – more produce and lean meat, less processed food, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of the Clintonville Farmers’ Market and I make a point of getting to know the vendors and what they have to offer. My latest trip yielded sheer gold.

Check out this gorgeous salad I pulled together with fresh spinach, strawberries, blackberries, and homemade vinaigrette.

Of course, the downside of a trip to the Farmers’ Market is trying to figure out where to put everything. Behold the disaster that is the inside of my refridgerator.

As you can see from the dark and blurry photo, everything is crammed in there and is in no particular order. It’s next to impossible to find things and we lose an incredible amount of leftovers because we have no idea what’s in there.
I just read an article in Real Simple about how to organize your refridgerator and let me say that Rubbermaid’s Produce Savers are a godsend! This is your garden variety food storage container, but it has a thing that goes in the bottom that controls moisture and keeps food off of the bottom of the container. Apparently, I’m a little late to the party here – restaurants have been using these for years.
Note: I’m not even being encouraged to promote this product. I just like it a lot!

I also added a lazy susan to the inside of the refridgerator. It takes up a decent amount of space, but at least you can spin it and find your condiments. Obviously, this project is nowhere close to being done, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Kitchen Beautification Challenge: I have very minimal space in my kitchen and have a pantry that lives behind a closed door. It’s cramped and dark in there and finding my spices is a pain, so phase 2 of this project will be giving this space a much-needed makeover. What kitchen organization tools work for you?

Let the Games Begin

10 05 2010
One of the things I love about this time of year is the number of food-oriented festivals that pop up. Let’s be honest – any event with a name that begins with “Taste of” is a good thing in my book.

Taste of Powell was a fine way to kick off this glorious time of year. Held at the always-spectacular Columbus Zoo, 16 local establishments offered samples of their favorite entrees. Upon arrival, I greeted by this guy.

Now, onto the food. A few of my favorites…

Liberty Tavern offered pulled pork sliders house smoked pork smothered with a sweet Carolina BBQ sauce, topped with bacon and cheddar.

Liberty also brought out one of their signature dishes – Kahlue Shrimp, which are jumbo shrimp, sautéed in a sweet and spicy Kahlua butter sauce, and served with creamy risotto.

Flyers Pizza had a fantastic barbecued chicken pizza. This monster consisted of marinated chicken, red onion,3-cheese blend (provolone, cheddar, and pepper jack), cilantro, and was topped with my all-time favorite BBQ sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s.

Another new favorite in the pizza category was Jet’s Pizza, which had an incredible deep dish pizza. Really, deep dish is my least favorite style of pizza, but I loved this whopper of a pizza with its butter crust.

Kogen’s had a shrimp salad sushi roll, which was incredible – Crisp and fresh, I’m definitely  going back the next time I’m in the mood for sushi. Just two complaints – one being pouring soy sauce onto a paper plate, which tends to absorb everything, and the other being trying to eat sushi standing up when I’d much rather have time to enjoy, rather than sucking it down and moving onto the next item. Sigh…

Gooseneck Tavern (sorry, no website) had what I considered to be the most original offering of the night. Greek Nachos, as you can see, have the typical components of a Gyro – lamb, feta, tomato, scallions, red onion, and cucumber sauce – but served on pita wedges, rather than in the usual pita pocket. Definitely a cool twist on what we usually see at these events.

Finally, if I had to pick a favorite restaurant from Taste of Powell, it would be Lost Shepherd Tavern. They had an absolutely gorgeous Tomato-Tamato salad, which is their spin on the classic Caprese salad. It consists of balsamic-glazed romaine chiffonade, fresh mozzerella cheese, french bread crostini, basil pesto drizzle, and a vbariety of fresh tomatoes. This is one of my favorite salads, but it can be awfully predictable, so I appreciated Lost Shepherd’s variation. What I want to know is where they got their produce – I can only find sad, pale tomatoes, and these were gorgeous, so wherever they go, I want to go there, as well.

Lost Shepherd also offered their Carolina Crab Dip, which is a rich and creamy Carolina Crab and Artichoke Dip, served with warm flatbread. Seriously, I could have eaten a bucket of this.

Note: In the interest of total disclosure, I attended Taste of Powell for free as a member of Tastecasting. We are not professional food critics (thought I’m certainly opinionated when it comes to food), nor are we paid. We are invited to attend these events in order to raise awareness of the establishments involved.

5 01 2010

A new blog post about a few of my favorite things – jewelry, social media, and pizza – Coming Soon to a Geek Near You –

One Day I Will Have My Act Together

14 10 2009

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I have been out of work since January, although between freelancing and blogging, I have never been so busy. Thankfully, I know myself well enough to know that this working-at-home thing is just not for me, especially when I have an eager 4 year old constantly clamboring for attention and it usually has something to do with ballet, artwork, or Barbie.

I'm distracting? Nahhhhh!

I'm distracting? Nahhhhh!

Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughter, but it’s also hard to work when you are constantly under siege and basically not allowed to finish a thought, let alone an article. Yeah, I know, it’s called being a mommy.

Frustrated, though I may be, I get the occasional moment of reflection and I think I may well be both ADD and OCD at the same time. Really, it’s the only explanation I can muster for the piles of projects that are mounting around me. One day, I will be a grown-up and actually finish what I start. Promise!

Speaking of Unfinished Business…

Last week, I visited the Dublin Village Tavern with my Tastecasting peeps. All in all, it was a fantastic night, despite my being uncomfortably full afterward (damn their hospitality!). Read the official review here. Tonight, we’re visiting the Top Steakhouse and I swear I will actually write a review in this space. It could even happen tonight – I’m kinda madcap like that.

Bangers and Mash at the DVT

Bangers and Mash at the DVT

Just to clarify – Tastecasters are not food critics. Our job is to build awareness, announce grand openings, introduce new menu items, distribute special offers, and encourage people to visit various establishments. We are treated to a free meal in exchange for this effort.

Wild About Harry

I have had a virtual love affair with Harry Connick Jr. since I saw “When Harry Met Sally” for the first time. I fell in love with my college boyfriend to that soundtrack and have followed Harry ever since. I have always loved his dreamy vocal style, loved him as an actor – especially for his role on “Will and Grace” – and loved him even more for his efforts to restore his beloved New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Now, my man has released “Your Songs,” which is a collection of modern classics with Harry’s special twist. Truly, this album is sheer magic.


Want to Get Your Hands on a Copy? Here’s How.

Tell me your love story. I want to know how you and your honey first met and knew it was for real. Post your story in the comments and I’ll randomly select the lucky recipient of Harry’s latest album Friday night. Winner will be informed via email.

Good luck!

(Note: Thanks to One2One Network for providing me with two copies of the disc – one to review and one to give away)

The Best of Taste of Grandview Heights

4 10 2009


Rule number one for anyone going to a festival that is focused on food is to come hungry, but not ravenous, and to pace yourself. As much as I love events like Taste of Grandview Heights, this year’s event was tough for me – all of the vendors served their normal portion sizes, rather than the usual 2-3 bite sample size, so I didn’t get to try as many items as I would have liked, but I did manage a respectable showing.

Grilled Artichoke

First off, the grilled artichoke at Third & Hollywood. I love artichokes – really, they’re one of nature’s most perfect foods, especially when they’re seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper, grilled and topped with an herb and  mayo-based sauce.

Biscuit Sandwich

Next up was this terrific sandwich, also from Third & Hollywood, combining their cheddar herb biscuit with Tennessee smoked ham, endive, and what I believe to be a pimento cheese-based spread. If the reviews of this place are accurate, I’m going back soon, high prices be damned.

Pumpkin Bisque

Gordon’s Gourmet offered up an interesting twist on pumpkin bisque. Ordinarily, pumpkin bisque is heavy, creamy, and filling, so imagine my surprise that Gordon’s did something completely different with it – they started with a chicken broth base and added pumpkin puree, then topped with chantilly cream, which I believe may have been mixed with pumpkin pie spice). It was a little on the salty side, but definitely a pleasant surprise.

Fish and Chips

The Old Bag of Nails brought out their staples – french fried chips, fried pickles, potato pancakes, carrot cake, and their signature fish and chips. At this point, I completely ran out of steam, but I did manage to talk some poor lady into letting me photograph her lunch (I’m oddly persuasive like that!). I can tell you from personal experience that the Old Bag, as I like to say, probably has the best fish and chips in the city.


Five Guys is a relative newcomer to Columbus, but I’ve been reading about them for a while on various foodie websites – apparently, celebrity chefs love this place and swear by their bacon cheeseburger. Obviously, I didn’t have room for a burger, but I did manage to choke down some of their crispy french fries. Can’t wait to go back and investigate further!

Seriously Big Chocolate Cake

Of course, I had to round out the day with a visit to Cap City Diner’s tent for a slab of their Seriously Big Chocolate Cake to go – all three layers of it. Hubs and I just polished it off and are in total chocolate bliss.

So, what’s the deal with you Segway, you ask? They offered free rides at Taste of Grandview, which is great, but, as usual, my choice of inappropriate footwear impeded my performance. Mind you that I was wearing platform sandals, which put me at an angle anyway (and basically on my toes), plus I have balance issues anyway, so put me on a Segway and I’m completely out of my element. However, the Segway tour guy took pity on me and considered me to be a special case, so he wouldn’t let me off the thing until I had it mastered. It took a while, but at least the other people in line were amused at watching the dork on a Segway.

Repeat after me…the diet starts tomorrow!