Whoops

7 Apr

Sorry friends and fam and stalkers.  The owner of this blog has been really bad about updating due to some new endeavors.  She’ll be back soon.  Promise.  Can’t let it go too long.  After all – we’ve got a royal wedding to talk about. 

PS.  William’s not wearing a wedding band?!  What the?

Stuffed Acorn Squash

19 Dec

I’ve made this a few times, each time a little different.

It’s fun to make, really easy, and looks pretty.  Here’s how I do it -

Chop off the top like you would with a pumpkin.   But don’t point the blade toward yourself like Todd in this picture from Halloween.

Be really careful.  You’ll need a big, sharp knife.  Scoop all the junk out of the middle.

You’ll need the squash to sit up straight, so cut the little point off the bottom to create a flat surface.  Don’t cut off too much or you’ll make a hole in the bottom. (Which I actually did and I had to perform some minor surgery but it turned out fine.)

Put a little bit of butter (or olive oil) and some salt and pepper inside of each.  Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 mins to an hour at 400 degrees.  Depending on the size, check the squash to make sure it’s not getting too soft and collapsing in on itself.  It should be mushy but not too mushy.

At this point you can create your stuffing out of whatever you want.  This time I used couscous, onions, garlic, frozen peas and carrots, and spicy italian sausage.  But, really, you can do anything.  Last time I did this I used ground turkey, spinach, and parmesan and it was just as good.

Chop up the onions and garlic.  Throw them in the pan with some olive oil.

Add the crumbled spicy italian sausage.  This sausage came  in the casing, so I needed to remove that and crumble the sausage in the pan.  Cook the sausage until it’s browned.

While the sausage is cooking, make the couscous or rice.  I like the couscous because it cooks super fast.  I always substitute low sodium chicken broth for water when I make it…just for added flavor.

When the couscous is done, toss in the frozen veggies.   (I think I used around a quarter of the bag?  Not sure, I just use however much looks good.) These only need a few minutes to heat up.  Mix in the cooked sausage, onion, garlic mixture.

Once the acorn squash is tender, stuff those suckers.  You can overstuff, it’s ok.  Bake for around 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, top with cheese (any kind, but I think I used shredded mozzerella here.)  Place them under a low broiler until the cheese is melted.  I like it to brown a little bit too.

Let them sit for a minute.  They will be really hot.  Enjoy!

Sidenote – I actually made this a few weeks ago before our kitchen got some major improvements.  Coming up next…

Cooking Class – BIC

10 Nov

I’ve been thinking about taking a cooking class for a while now.  I can make basic things, and follow a recipe, but I know nothing of technique. So, after reading about them on the food blog Dining at Large, Todd and I decided to sign up for one of the Food Enthusiast classes over at BIC.   Baltimore International College is a culinary arts and hospitality management school here in Baltimore.  Our class was called Asian Cooking.

Here’s how it went down:

The menu:

  • Wonton Soup
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Mandarin Orange Chicken
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Fried Spinach

The class was taught by Chef Frederick Parmenter, Jr – or Chef Freddy.  He is an instructor at the school and the Executive Chef at the restaurant run by the students in Baltimore City, The Bay Atlantic Club.

Chef hard at work

We were given our menus, aprons, chef hats, and a huge huge chopping knife.  First up – Wonton Soup!  We made our own wontons with a mix of ground pork, green onions, ginger, chili sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic.  I really loved making these little guys.  Todd’s are the ones that are all wonky and falling over.  Just kidding.  YUM.

Wonton Madness

Next, Todd studied his menu and shoved me in the front of the class when Chef Freddy asked for volunteers to fry things.

After we made (and ATE) the wonton soup, it was on to the lettuce wraps and the main chicken dishes.  I was surprised to learn that the sauce for the orange chicken chicken has a TON of ketchup in it.  Like, 14 huge Costco sized cans.  Oh also, they use food dye to give it that shiny, bright orange color.  Nevertheless, it tasted delicious.  Here I am frying up some chicken for both dishes.

Nice stove!

Todd whipped up some sticky rice and we plated it all…

Orange Chicken

Next Chef Freddy showed us how to make a homemade sesame ginger salad dressing, which was amazing!  I don’t have a picture but it was exactly like the dressing you get with your house salad at a sushi restaurant.  Once we were done cooking and eating all of this (about 4 hours), we were able to head across the hall to visit the Cheese and Wine class.  I know, why didn’t we take that?!  Well, I figured we knew how to eat cheese and drink wine and we didn’t see ourselves making cheese anytime soon, so Asian Cooking might be more useful.  We swapped rooms with that class and we were able to sample some of their creations, and they sampled ours.  I think they were all starving after drinking wine for 4 hours.

I felt like we learned a ton and if nothing else, we got a huge delicious dinner out of it (and that giant scary chopping knife)!

J. Crew = Love/Hate

21 Oct

Back in high school, my friend Gabe and I used to sit in Mr. Durbin’s Latin first section and flip through the JCrew sale catalog.  Gabe called it JPoo.  And we got a ton of work done in that class.   This was back when JCrew was old school preppy and super basic and known for pea coats and clogs.  We loved it.  I don’t think I ever actually owned anything from JCrew until college because St. Mary’s County was (is?) a little lagging in the retail area, but that’s beside the point.

Things have definitely changed.  For one thing, I got myself a pair of those dang clogs.  They were wooden and suede and made it impossible to walk up the 316 stairs in Sellinger.

Yes. The hot jam in college.

My roommate also had a pair and we really rocked it.  Stef had a pair too.  In maroon I think?  Stef, please confirm.  People need to know.

Whoa.

The point is, JCrew I love you.  I love you for your basic things, your pretty dresses, and your trouser jeans, but you’ve really gone off the deep end this time.  Sequin harem pants for approximately 1 million dollars?  Socks with heels on every single page? Telling me I wear a size triple zero one day and a 10 the next?  I don’t care if Katie Holmes and Fergie’s husband are splashed across your pages.  It’s not ok.   And JCrew, don’t think you’re fooling anyone with this “Ask Jenna. Jenna will help you.” malarkey.  Jenna, if  you’re really out there, and you’re reading this, please send me some sequins to wear.  And please tell me what size to order.  I’ll post myself and a select number of friends on this here super popular blog, and people will go nuts buying all of your special things.  Promise.

Wait, those harem pants are already SOLD OUT.  Here’s what “Jenna” just told me: We’re sorry. This item has been so popular, it has sold out. We’ve got other great ideas.

You can't have these.

 

Jenna – Since your popular harem pants have been snatched up by the popular kids, I’ll accept whatever else you can scrounge up.  You know where to reach me.

Friends – If you want to wear sequins (Nurk) and socks with heels, get ready.  Now’s your chance.

PS.  Speaking of clogs –  Todd and I went to a cooking class a few weeks ago.  Preview…

Baking with Pumpkin

4 Oct

A few weeks ago I spotted the Pillsbury pumpkin bread in the market near our house.  I immediately grabbed two boxes and one container of cream cheese frosting.  (I probably should have bought all of the boxes, considering they are crazy popular this time of year.)  I also grabbed a bag of mini semi sweet chocolate chips.  Then Sunday morning, I accidentally woke up really early (by my weekend standards)  and decided to put one of those boxes to use.  By 8am, the house smelled like pumpkin and chocolate (and coffee).  Ahh.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (courtesy of Pillsbury):

Then, this morning I saw this.  Martha never disapoints.

(Photo credit: “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” Stewart, Tabori & Chang, coauthored with Renato Poliafito, October 2008)

Well then.  I think I’ll make these too..which will require significantly more work than the pumpkin bread.  Also, it says I need to use parchment paper.   Do I really?  Mom?

PS.  In case you were wondering.  Here is THE crab cake.  Yes, it was amazing.  Yes, this is how it arrives – on its own plate.  Deservedly so.  No, I didn’t go for the double platter like most people.  I could barely finish this monster.

THE G&M Crab Cake

Guest Room: Befores and Middles

1 Oct

Moving on up the stairs…

The original stairs were white with a white railing, but as you can see, they were not in good shape.

We had no idea what the plan for these was.  Would they clean and paint them?  remove and replace them?  Then one day we showed up and there they were, shiny and new!  I like that they kept the bottom step (acutally I think they had to) and it’s original shape. 

Are you bored?  I am too.  Stairs are boring.

Here we have the guest room.

Guest Room Before

Guest Room Before

Guest Room "Middle"

The room doesn’t have a main wall or door yet.  They were removed when the work was being done on the ceiling.  Since the house is officially a two bedroom, the wall should be replaced sometime soon.  Although this seems strange, it was actually a summertime blessing in disguise.  We rely on two window units for air conditioning.  One is downstairs above the backdoor in the kitchen and works beautifully.  The other is in this room and cools the entire second floor.  Summertime in MD =  hot.  Man is it hot.   And humid.  So humid.  BUT with the window unit, and no wall, all of the cool air is free to blow around.  Score one for us! 

They did not replace the hardwood flooring up here.  If you remember from an earlier post, they restained and sealed the flooring. 

The bed frame is Ikea I believe and it’s your basic wood frame – which of course I plan on painting.  The bedding was mine from my old house and it is also Ikea.  They have some irresistable and inexpensive duvet sets. We don’t have a closet in here yet, but that’s also in the works.  For now, this is Todd’s “dressing room” and his clothes are all hung supermodel style on one of those moveable racks.   We installed the same faux wood white blinds in here as downstairs so that everything matches. 

The dresser is Todd’s and is quite possibly the heaviest piece of furniture in all the land.  I was near tears bringing it up the stairs…not because of how heavy it was but because I was so afraid of dropping on one of us (Todd’s head).   This will eventually match the bedframe and I think some pretty hardware is in its future.

The DIMPLOMAS.  Ok.  You guys.  I have been out of college for 4 years.   Todd has been out for 6.  Our diplomas have been covered in bubble wrap under our beds and in closets for that long.  The shame.  When we moved in, I swore the first thing we would hang on those pretty honeysuckle walls would be our diplomas.  Side by side in the guest room.

Just like God and Father Linnane intended.

I now present to you our first (and by far most expensive) pieces of art:

That’s about it for the guest room! 

This weekend’s plans are dinner at the famous G&Ms for crabcakes (sorry for rubbing it in mom!) and then we might be heading to the Fells Point Fun Festival. 

See ya next week!

Welcome Fall

24 Sep

Fall is upon us.  HOORAY. 

I’m not quite sure why, but this year I’m more excited for this season than ever.   My friends are so sick of me proclaiming my love for fall so I’ll have to do it here on my blog.  A few things I love about it…

Fun things to wear…

 

Banana Republic Textured Belted Cardigan

Forever 21 Flannel Woven Shirt

 

Frye Melissa Button Boots

Fun things to do…

Todd says no pumpkins until October. What's next? No tree until Thanksgiving?!

Apple Orchard not to be confused with “Orchid” (MK- love you)

I only half-pay attention here. But I'll wear a jersey and drink mimosas with my lady friends during the games.

Fun things to eat… and drink…

Pumpkin Spice
His and hers.  Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Beer. 
Making chili in the crock pot.

New Fall TV!

And we can’t forget…

The exciting Baltimore Farmer's Market!

Happy Fall Everyone. 

 

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