Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's Been FOR-EV-ER!

I haven't blogged in 10 days. TEN! I'm not sure that's ever happened. It has been a very busy week. Girls on the run, Matt's family visiting, a baking extravaganza, and a wedding. All this combined with regular life commitments leaves very little time for blogging. So just a few thoughts as I sit here and watch College Gameday (the best part of Saturday mornings in the fall).

1. Why is it that the first time you do's typically the best time? The reason I pose this question...Girls on the Run. Last Spring was fabulous. Everyone behaved, the kids all enjoyed themselves, life was great, it was like the perfect combination of everything. This season is much more challenging. Does this make sense to anyone else?

2. Today I am going to a wedding. This is the tenth wedding I have been invited to, and the seventh I've been able to go to, in the last 17 months. I'm a little wedding-ed out. This one is in Alexandria bringing the total of Virginia weddings I have been to all the way up to one. As far as I can tell right now, I'm getting a break until next August.

3. I completed two pumpkin recipes soon to make their debut on this blog. They got good reviews and even I like one of them.

4. Tomorrow there will be a showdown in the 709. Patriots vs. Steelers. Which side are you on?

Ok I'm going to cut myself off now and promise some more quality blogging in the future. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Pasta and Lentil Soup
Delicious! And not only will I use this recipe again, but I will make lentils more often. I bought the dry kind instead of the canned to save some money and I was worried I might mess things up, but it was pretty simple and I had some left over lentils to eat for lunch the next day! I also doubled the recipe below so we would have lots of leftovers. I think I either used a pasta shape that was too big or I should have added more water, but it was still very good.

5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
8oz small pasta
2 14oz can of lentils (one drained, one undrained)...I used 14oz dry lentils and cooked them the night before I made this.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and cook until onion is soft. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until pasta is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan and add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with remaining parmesan.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall and Pumpkins

I like fall. And it seems like every year when fall is nearing all anyone can talk about it pumpkin this and pumpkin spice that. Well I like fall because it gets a little cooler and because it's football season. I do not like pumpkin flavored items. And just the thought of pumpkin pie sometimes makes me cringe. This year, however, I'm trying to force myself to re-taste all things pumpkin in effort to join this pumpkin bandwagon everyone is always on. 

Things I have re-attempted:
Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks
Pumpkin Beer
Pumpkin Cookies

The Pumpkin Spice Latte went OK. I started with just a little tall latte a few weeks ago. It was drinkable, maybe even enjoyable. Comparable to the gingerbread latte I like at Christmas time. Then I got a venti last weekend. Bad choice. I'm off PSL's again. The pumpkin beer is debatable. The one we currently have in our fridge is hardly pumpkiny. I tried one at a bar and it was like a pumpkin vanilla overload. So the jury is still out on this one. Pumpkin cookies...also still undecided, I've had good and bad. 

In my opinion the best thing about pumpkins is still the seeds roasted in the oven. But the whole reason I'm writing this post is because my team at school is in charge of Birthday Breakfast this month. I am in charge of bringing a dessert/sweet. I am thinking about doing something pumpkin and I want to know what your favorite pumpkin item or recipe is so I can attempt it as a Recipe of the Week and hopefully get myself to enjoy pumpkin just a little more. Ok, ready, set, send me your pumpkin ideas!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Gnocchi with Squash and Kale

2 tbls. butter
1/2 medium butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 tbls. roughly chopped sage
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 bunch kale stemmed and roughly chopped
17.5 oz gnocchi
3/4 cup grated parmesan

Melt 1 tbls. butter in a large pan. Add squash and cook until tender. Add garlic, sage, red pepper flakes, and one tsp. salt. Cook until garlic is soft. Preheat the broiler. Add chicken broth to skillet and bring to a boil. Add kale and stir until wilted. Add gnocchi and stir to coat. Cover and cook until gnocchi are tender. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan. Stir in remaining butter. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Place under broiler until golden and bubbly.

***FYI. I did not like this. It was mostly something I made cause I knew Matt would like it. It wasn't awful, but not something I would choose to eat regularly. Its probably really good if you like gnocchi, but I'm just not a fan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Wedding in Review

Just Married and back on the Trolley
This weekend was fabulous. Fabulous friends, fabulous weather, fabulous wedding. Personally, I think this wedding was a major success. Everything ran smoothly, the weather was amazing, the food was better than fabulous, and I don't think I saw many people without gigantic smiles on their faces the whole night. That dance floor was packed the moment people entered the room. I have never been at a wedding where people got up and started dancing when the first course was being served. That's how fun it was! Congratulations again to my good friends Melissa and Ted!

Friday, October 7, 2011

11 Garner Court

My junior year of college I lived in 11 Garner Court on Garner Street in State College, PA. It was one of the most fabulous years of my life. It was the year I turned 21, I mostly had to worry about going to class, and I lived with some of the best friends any girl could ever ask for. I wish there could be more years in my life like that. The girls I lived with that year were my core group of friends throughout college, and I am lucky enough to have most of those girls still in my life on a regular basis. Why am I telling you this today? Because I am spending the weekend in Pennsylvania at the wedding of my friend, Melissa. I feel the need to share a memory about dear Melissa.

Everyone deserves an all out celebration for their 21st, especially when you go to PSU. Well Melissa was leaving 11GC (as we fondly call it) for Austrailia the semester she would turn 21. Obviously this was unacceptable. We had to work this out. We threw Melissa a pre-21st birthday. It was also a surprise. As I recall, seven years later, I was in charge of distracting her and walking her around town in frigid temperatures while party decor went on. I really ran out of motivation and lies quickly and I believe she was onto something. I finally got her to the restaurant when I was supposed to. The real party started when we got home, however. There was obviously some age appropriate beverages and somehow the delightful young ladies I lived with decided to have a cake fight. If you know me, you can imagine my reaction. I had these people on a chore chart (not kidding). They were cleaning with toothbrushes the next day and butter knives to get it out of the grout (again, not kidding). Melissa was also somehow scotch taped to the kitchen counter.

Just a little snapshot of the good old days. Congratulations Melissa and Ted!

Just a little FYI about this pic. I believe this was actually taken on my 21st birthday...which is probably why I look like I'm dying. And one very key member of 11GC is missing. Miss Rachel is not pictured because this is before we knew her. She was the lucky person who sublet Melissa's spot in 11GC when she left for Austrailia. And my friend Nicole (all the way to the left) did not live with us she was an honorary member. And let me tell you I found some classic pictures while trying to find one of all six of us. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/3 pound shedded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened. Add chicken broth, half and half, potatoes, bay leaf, and 2 cups water, one tsp. salt, and one tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until potatoes are soft. Meanwhile steam broccoli in microwave. Once the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf and transfer soup to a blender. Blend until smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop. Thin with water if necessary. Stir in broccoli and seat with salt and pepper. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve soup topped with croutons.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook...

Now you have to know my title is me saying facebook, facebook, facebook in exasperation as you begin to read this post. I just don't know what to do with dear facebook anymore. You must also know that I do truly like facebook. I spend entirely too much time with facebook, but I'm becoming frustrated. My original frustration came when anyone in the whole wide world could have a facebook...high school students, adults, dogs, babies practically. This was when I was in college and believed only college students should be allowed to have a facebook. YES, I realize this means my sorry butt would be long removed from facebook at this point, but would that really be a bad thing? Probably not. Life would probably be simpler and a lot less dramatic for some.

My latest outrage (and no I really don't care about this formatting business that they change everyday...I can deal with that) is that I recently posted pictures to my account. In the past I could control who sees my pictures, and I had it set so that only my friends could see my pictures, but after I posted said pictures this past week a person I didn't even know commented on my picture. I was completely confused about this. After all, I thought I had my privacy settings under control. I investigated the next day. Apparently now if you tag anyone in your pictures their friends can see them too. Regardless if you have your privacy settings set to FRIENDS ONLY. So my question is...why is there even a FRIENDS ONLY setting if facebook is just going to violate that anyway?

I realize that I choose to maintain a facebook page and all of this can be stopped with a simple click of the deactivate button, but why can't Mr. Zuckerberg just chill out and keep things slightly simple for once? Why does it have to be so confusing for the average subscriber that doesn't have to make a flow chart in order to make sense of the rules of facebook? I'm just trying to keep my job.

The questions that I have been wrestling with most of all this week is do I keep my account? Obviously, I'm keeping my account. How else could I see the train wrecks that unravel on facebook almost daily without it? So then I went to do I stop posting pictures? This is a possibility, but my mom, my cousins, my aunts, etc. (aka my main reason for posting pictures) check my facebook so they can see the pictures I'm posting. It's the easiest and most efficient way to share the pictures with others. So, I'm still undecided and still annoyed at facebook. Am I crazy? Ok, I think I'm finished.