Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anything Goes

Such a fun video from the Broadway cast of Anything Goes. A nice way to brighten up my workday afternoon. :-) (I discovered the video from this site.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Something to Hold Onto

I'm trying to decide on new handrails for the house - and found houzz, a great website for gathering home design ideas.  Here are a few that I found inspiring :-)

I like the use of lights...

A neat idea - although I'd rather it not be quite so nautical...

Perhaps simple and metal...

Not realistic for my house, but I love this!

A modern handrail with brackets.

Clean + simple

Rustic + Modern

Okay, I just want to live here...
Modern Dining Room design by Vancouver Architect PLACE, hl johnston architect ltd

Definitely some neat ideas - I'm hoping to come up with something a bit outside of the box. I'll let you know what I decide!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Like a Fine (very fine!) Wine

Happy birthday to my sweet man, who just keeps getting better with age!  He is pretty awesome for many, many reasons - so I have decided to list just a few below, in no particular order. 
(He doesn't like to tell his age (which is the same as mine...fine eleven days younger), but there is a clue in the list below ;-).)
  1. he is okay with me calling him "booger" as a term of endearment
  2. he watches cartoons with me
  3. he stays out of the kitchen ;-)
  4. he has a very cute butt
  5. i don't particularly care for talking*, but i can (and do) talk to him about everything - really, everything
  6. he has the prettiest long eyelashes - this also makes me a tad jealous
  7. he is one of the kindest humans i know
  8. he loves dogs
  9. he tolerates cats
  10. he loves my family - including the gazillion nieces and nephews
  11. he refers to my nieces and nephews as his nieces and nephews (and shows them how to play his guitar)
  12. he plays a guitar :-)
  13. my family loves him
  14. he is always up for an adventure
  15. his smile (picture evidence above)
  16. he likes shows about zombies
  17. he loves dressing up for halloween
  18. he is always open to hearing both sides of an argument
  19. he taught me how to ride a bike...again
  20. he enjoys a good walk
  21. he has conversations with my dad (i take after my dad in the talking department - see #5)*
  22. he is the best pillow
  23. he wears bow ties
  24. he lets me pick out clothes for him
  25. he likes record players
  26. he values honesty 
  27. he loves me - crazysauce!
  28. he appreciates tolerates terms such as "crazysauce" and "awesomesauce"
  29. he is honorable
  30. he says "i love you" at least once a day, every day
  31. his triceps are gorgeous - true story
  32. he looks amazing in a tux
  33. i trust him completely
*Please note that #5 and #21 are null and void after either my dad or I have had a few drinks - then we will (and do) talk to anyone and everyone. :-)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Happy-Hypo-Hypno-Hippo (and thyroid cancer is lame)

James is going (back) into surgery next week to remove what is left of his thyroid.  At the beginning of this year, during his regular physical, he and his doctor found a lump in his throat. Biopsies were performed with no conclusive results as to whether the growth was benign or cancerous. So a week or so later he had surgery to remove the growth along with half of his thyroid.  And then we waited for the full biopsy results to come back - his biopsy went from NYU medical center to Italy and back before (many weeks later) we got the results.  And the results were super lame - cancerous.  Which means he is going back into surgery to have the remainder of his thyroid removed as a precaution to ensure the cancerous cells have not spread.  The "good" thing about this type of cancer is that it is not fast spreading and he should be back to fully healthy in no time. Although, honestly, hearing the C word in reference to anything is super, super scary :-(

But, James has maintained an amazing positive outlook, being very open about everything that is going on.  He even decided to create a character for himself now that he will have no thyroid and will have to depend upon synthroid in order to produce the hormones his non-existent thyroid cannot make <-- hopefully that made sense ;p.  His character is The Happy-Hypo-Hypno-Hippo, which is, as he describes it: "Hero? Villain? Side kick? Comic relief? Or, distopic children's show star?"

I personally like to think of this hippo as both a side kick and a hero, and so I created a drawing for him (what I used for inspiration):

Basically, James is awesome.  And I love him very, very much.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Turkey Meatballs w/ Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The first time I made these, they were in turkey burger form using this recipe from Tasty Kitchen. I had never been a fan of turkey and couldn't understand why someone would eat a turkey burger when deliciously tasty Hamburgers exist!!  But then I tried these, and I finally understood the 'why' of the turkey burger.  The combination of the feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach along with the ground turkey gives this burger so much flavor.  And the great thing about flavorful burgers is that you don't really need to add a bun and all the fixin's (great for a gluten free life!). Although I did add a bit more flavor to the turkey meatballs by cooking them in my secret ingredient (bacon drippings!). This can be left out and only olive oil used, but I love the flavor and color that the addition of the bacon really brings out.
One of these days I'll take pictures of the entire process with lovely DSLR camera instead of a quickie iPhone pic right before I devour the food ;-).

Turkey Meatballs
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Bacon Grease (optional)
1 pound Ground Turkey
½ cups Crumbled Feta Cheese
½ cups Sun-dried Tomatoes, Marinated In Olive Oil, Chopped
½ cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves, Julienned
¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
¼ teaspoons Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
¼ teaspoons Lawry's Garlic Salt With Parsley

Pan Sauce
1 cups Dry White Wine 
¼ - ½  cups Heavy Cream


1. Heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat, and fry one to two pieces of bacon. Remove bacon once fried crisp and drain all but 1-2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add in an additional 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Place turkey, feta, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and seasonings (and if feeling 'healthy' add in one of the bacon slices crumbled) into a mixing bowl. Mix until just combined. Form approximately 1 inch diameter balls and place onto a cookie sheet. Once all are formed, place batches in hot dutch oven or skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on all sides or until golden brown and cooked through. Be sure to let the meatballs cook thoroughly before turning, so they do not come apart.  I recommend using tongs to turn the meatballs.  Also feel free to add more olive oil or bacon grease to keep the meatballs from sticking.

2. Once all meatballs are cooked and removed from the dutch oven, increase heat to medium high. Carefully add in 1 cup of dry white wine (the wine doesn't need to be expensive, as long as it is a white wine you enjoy it will work well in the recipe). Also pour a glass of wine for yourself - always important to have a glass of wine while cooking! :-) Using a wooden spoon or spatula scrape the drippings leftover from the meatballs and allow the sauce to cook on medium high for about 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in up to 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Serve and Enjoy!
Makes about 24 meatballs.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pulled Pork

So, I am one of those people that constantly posts pictures of food I've cooked onto Facebook.  I just really love cooking and enjoy sharing both meals as well as pictures of those meals ;-).  I totally got busted by my Aunt Etta on my latest post though; she loves the pictures, but wished I would also post the recipes (this is great idea!). Unfortunately recipes tend to be a bit too long or involved to post to Facebook, so I am taking the advice of my good friend, Trish (thank you!), to post them here, on my blog. (Why didn't I think of this before?! ...probably that whole "shy" thing I've got going on ;p).

You will notice that most of the recipes come from published cookbooks, my Mom, or from other cooking blogs or websites.  I will always give credit and link to where the recipes came from, as well as describe any changes I've made or issues I've encountered along the way.  And almost always the recipes I post will be either gluten free naturally or tweaked to be made gluten free (my best friend and partner in crime, James, has a gluten allergy - so I like to keep him healthy and happy!).

Without further ado, here is my first FB recipe :-).  I hope you enjoy it Aunt Etta!!
Smokey goodness.

Indoor Pulled Pork (or, as I like to call it: All Day Pull Pork ;p)
from America's Test Kitchen

  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (this stuff is wonderful)
  • 1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally (see step by step on website) (I totally forgot to cut it in half prior to the brine, and it still worked out fine. I just cut it before applying the rubs and cooking)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (see note*)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (cut back if you don't like a lot of spice)
Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup light or mild molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. FOR THE PORK: Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I used an 8 quart stock pot, which wasn't quite large enough to contain all of the liquid as well as the pork, but it all worked out in the end - even if I did make a bit of a mess.)
2. While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside. Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hours.
4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
5. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.
6. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Serves 6 to 8
*Sweet paprika may be substituted for smoked paprika.

Alternate BBQ Sauce
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
Mix all ingredients together and let sit 10 minutes. Add to chopped barbecue when hot to season the
meat and keep it from drying out.

Weaser's Notes: I used the America's Test Kitchen bbq sauce recipe (good if you like sweet) for half of the pork and this recipe (more vinegary) for the other half (recipe is also provided above). But you can use whatever type of sauce you like! We ate the pulled pork by itself, 1) because it is delicious all on its own!, and 2) I was too lazy to make any fixin's ;-). But, tonight I'm planning to make tostadas with the leftovers, yum!
(Also of note, the rub for this recipe has a bit of a kick to it, so if you don't like spicy just cut back on the cayenne pepper.)

Oh, and during the process of making the alternate bbq sauce, I realized that I didn't have any brown sugar - because I almost always forget something on my shopping list :-/. But, no worries, I just mixed 1 cup of sugar with 3 tablespoons of molasses in my blender, and voila! brown sugar. Yay for easy solutions!

Hope y'all enjoy!