Wednesday, September 21, 2011

weekend recap, dinner and other whatnots...

This past weekend kept us pretty busy overall.  I worked Friday night and then got up nice and early to pick Tex up to head into Manhattan for the German Day parade.  Marc was marching in the parade, as he does every year.  The weather was perfect for walking around the city.  

Once we finished up at the parade, we walked across town to the hall where the Steuben association (German police officer's association) was hosting their parade after-party.  There was a group who came from Germany to participate in the parade and they came to the Steuben party for a while.  
Marc dancing
Graceful Gertie Marc had apparently had a few beers and was invited to dance around the room with a bunch of German guys in skirts and make-up.  Their clothes were funny, but they were really nice.  I took some other pictures during dance time, but they're all really blurry from all that shakin'...

Once the party was over, we went to a German restaurant that was relatively close to where I had parked the car.  We really wanted to go to Zum Stammtisch in Queens, but just knew that it would be really crowded.  Marc decided that he would prove just how German he is by ordering the Pigs Knuckles entree.  Yes, folks, it's just as appetizing as it sounds.

If you like fighting with cartilage and bone to get about 2 bites of pork, then by all means, dig in.  If you're like Marc and generally enjoy gigantic hearty portions, this is not the meal for you.  He said it was the first and last time he will ever order pigs knuckles.  I told him he should have ordered the Jaegerschnitzel like I did, because it was delicious.

We had to take Marc's car to the shop, so we've been operating with one vehicle.  I have been rearranging my schedule so he can use my car to take to work.  It's frustrating, but there's not a lot I can do about it right now.

Yesterday, I was in Marshall's and picked up some Caldrea cleaning products.  They are delicious smelling and use essential oils.  They're usually $9 or more per bottle, but at Marshall's, they were $4!! I bought dish soap, hand soap, and counter cleaner in their Plum-Nutmeg scent.  I now want to lick my counters.  It smells SO good.  The unfortunate thing is that this particular scent is now discontinued.  Luckily, I bought 2 of each.  I also got on Amazon to see if there were any vendors carrying this Caldrea scent and I found hand lotion and a candle in the Plum-Nutmeg.  I'm enjoying the fresh scent and they seem to work really well for cleaning as well.

I decided to bake and make dinner today since I'm stuck in the house with no means of escape without a car this week.  I made an Amaretto-cream cheese pound cake.

pre-heat oven to 325

all of the ingredients

cream the 3 cubes butter, 1 8oz pkg cream cheese, & 2 -3/4 cups of sugar until fluffy, then add 2 tbsp Almond Extract

add 3 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 6 eggs alternating flour, eggs, flour, eggs, flour.

pour batter into bundt pan

smooth the batter out and then lick the spatula!

bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes

turn onto a plate and enjoy! It's AMAZING
Once the cake was done, I made dinner.  Tonight's menu was grilled pork chops with a dijon-shallot cream sauce, fried okra, and blackened broccoli...and sliced beets, because I'm still on that kick I mentioned before.
Yummy...fried okra.  Have to make it myself because I can't find it anywhere here in Yankee land!

the pork chops before topping with cream sauce and baking at 325 for 10 minutes

after baking

Bon Appetit!
Dinner was delicious, and this blog was long!  Sorry about that.  Hope you enjoy and if you make the cake, let me know.  You won't be disappointed, it's scrumptious!!

Hope y'all have a great rest-of-the-week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tonight's dinner

Today I had some errands to run and an appointment to get my hair highlighted.  It was in sad shape, but looks great now.  I also decided to make Nasi Goreng for dinner.  

For those of you who don't know, Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian rice & curry dish.  It's so delicious, and I made a HUGE batch so we would have leftovers, because it also reheats well.  I make mine a little different that my mom, but not too much.  I use brown rice instead of white because it's healthier and I  ALWAYS cook my rice in chicken stock.  It adds so much flavor to the dish.  When cooking the rice, I add the sambal.  It's an Indonesian pepper paste.  I cook it with the rice so the flavor mixes throughout.

Then, I dice up celery & onion and saute them.  I usually add the meat to the pan at the same time, but I made such a large batch today that it wouldn't all fit.

Season the meat liberally with garlic, salt, and pepper.  

When the meat, celery & onions are done cooking, add to a large mixing bowl.  When the rice is done cooking, add it to the bowl as well.

Mix the meat, celery, & onions with the rice and season with curry powder.  (I do it at this step because otherwise all of the seasoning ends up in the liquid the meat leaves behind.)

It's almost ready to enjoy at this point, just needs the topping...Fried Eggs!

Scoop some Nasi Goreng onto your plate, and top with the cooked eggs.  I took a picture, but my computer and camera are arguing about uploading it, so imagine the next picture with eggs and cashews on top.  The beets were just because they're delicious and I've been on a kick lately...

It's a delicious and easy meal to make.  Let me know if you try it!!

Hope y'all have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It is really hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the terrorist attacks on the US.  I bet if you ask anyone, they can tell you exactly what they were doing on Tuesday, 9/11/01.  

I was in the first semester of my senior year at the University of Arkansas.  I had decided to skip my exercise physiology class for the day and head into Tulsa to go shopping with a couple of friends.  I had just gotten out of the shower when I looked in the living room and my roommate was staring open-mouthed at the television.  I asked her what was going on, and she said "You have to come in here and watch this, a plane just hit one of the world trade center towers in New York City".  I sat with her watching the news while the broadcasters were trying to figure out what was going on, and then we saw the second plane hit the other tower.  I remember being shocked and didn't know what to think or to do.  I called my mom, because she worked for the government at the time, and she said the federal building (where she worked) was receiving threats, and that she was going home.  I remember feeling overwhelmingly sad, and I didn't go to any of my classes for the day.  I didn't go to Tulsa either.  I went and bought gas for my car because the news said we were likely to have a shortage, and got to the gas station before they started price gouging.  I'll never forget anything about that day as long as I live.  I had never even been to New York at that point in my life; my first trip was 6 months later in March of 2002.  

A friend of mine said today that 9/11 is our generation's Pearl Harbor.  I think she is right.  If you were to speak to anyone of the WWII era, they would say their world changed completely on December 7, 1941.  The same is true for us.  There isn't anyone whose world wasn't altered by the attack.  The thousands of lives lost both in the towers, the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania field were staggering.  The wars we are still fighting have taken a tremendous toll on so many.  Had the terrorists not attacked us, my brother and thousands of armed forces members might still be alive.  The day is a bitter reminder to the many who have lost loved ones either directly or indirectly from the attacks 10 years ago.  

I hope everyone remembered today with a moment of silence for all of the life needlessly lost 10 years ago.  Never forget the sacrifice of the brave.  God Bless the NYPD, FDNY, and all of our Armed Forces.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Mini roadtrip with pictures

Yesterday, I went to Philadelphia with Tex & Colleen for cheesesteaks! I had never been to Philly and we all had the day off yesterday from the MP.  I hadn't ever had an authentic philly cheesesteak either, so we went to both of the places that are famous for them.  Geno's and Pat's.  

We got in the car around 11:30, grabbed the I-pods and drove down to Philadelphia.  It's only 2 to 2.5 hours from where we live if there's no traffic.  It was a really fun day.  We went to Geno's first.  I had a steak "wit" (it means with onions, but you have to order it right) and provolone cheese.  

Tex & Colleen on Philly fun day

Tony Danza...Tony Danza!  hahah

The traditional steak sandwich had cheez whiz but I cannot eat that stuff, it does terrible things to my digestive tract...sorry, TMI...

My sandwich was delicious.  The bread they use for the cheesesteaks is SO good.   The steak at Geno's is really flavorful, and you can never go wrong with provolone cheese.  

Once we finished eating at Geno's, we walked up to a little market that was selling LIVE FOWL. 
flying rats...I mean squab, anyone?!?
Seriously, they had 3 cages on the sidewalk that contained pigeons, quail, and chickens.  Inside, there were more chickens and ducks, pheasant and doves.  That little store stank to high heaven!  It looked to be some kind of Asian market, but seriously, who really wants to eat pigeon??? I know the fancy-schmancy food snobs will call it "squab" but it's a freaking pigeon.  It's basically a flying rat.  A scavenger who crowds the sidewalk at my feet.  In Venice, Italy they used to sell food for them in the Piazza de San Marco up to about 2 years ago, and they discovered how dirty the birds are and have since stopped selling the bird food.  Gross, and a kind "no thank you".  Yuck!  I mean, I love chicken and I've tried duck, I would eat quail and dove without issue, but I am NOT eating pigeon, no matter how pretty they try to make it sound.  Ahem.  

Back to Philly fun day.  We walked to a little sports bar that sits caddy-corner between Geno's and Pat's to hang out and digest our first sandwiches.  It was fun and we just sat and talked for a few hours.  Once we finished our drinks, we walked to Pat's.  

Pat's offers more toppings for your cheesesteak, but you have to know your order before you get to the head of the line or they'll kick you to the back.  I got a cheesesteak "wit" (remember, it's the onions) and mushrooms with provolone.  Once again, the bread was fantastic.  There is a little bit more meat on a Pat's sandwich, but it isn't as good as Geno's.  Also, I was expecting sauteed mushrooms and I received canned mushrooms.  The meat was greasy and not hot enough to melt the cheese.  It was tasty overall, but I am definitely a Geno's fan.  
Winner, winner Chicken Dinner!! uh, I mean, Cheesesteak Dinner!

Apparently you just MUST choose sides.  My cheesesteak was hotter at Geno's and the flavor overall was much better.  We will definitely be repeating this trip, it was a fun little jaunt out of New York.  I brought Marc home one of each, but it's not the same as going and getting it fresh from the window.

We got back in to New York around 11 pm and headed to Jackie Reilly's for Karaoke.  It is there every Wednesday night.  It was really fun.  Tex sang a few songs from Comedian Rodney Carrington.  He's hilarious.  I sang "Leavin' on a jet plane".  Karaoke is always so much fun!

So now today I have to do some laundry and clean up the house before Thursdays at the cake tonight.  I hope y'all have a great weekend!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Sunday Drive...and a recipe!

This week was mostly uneventful.  We both worked a lot and decided to spend our Sunday on a drive out east along the North Shore of Long Island.  About 45 minutes east of our house, there is a lot of farm land.  We stopped today at a vegetable stand along the side of the road and bought some tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, bell peppers and plum jam.  I love roadside vegetable stands, there's something really quaint about stopping to buy a local farmer's produce.  

This farm stand is gearing up for the fall season of pumpkin picking.  They already have several ready to buy.  Eastern long island reminds me more of home.  It's a lot quieter and rural.  The really nice thing about the north shore is the fact that there are about 8 or 9 wineries that you can visit and do wine tastings. We're planning a group day to the wineries soon.  Today, we stopped at the Pindar vineyards to pick up a case of wine.  Marc loves their "Mythology".  It is a meritage and very tasty.  Since we were all the way out there, we figured, why not!

We came back to the house and then went to the grocery store for the necessities.  Since we bought those lovely veggies at the farm stand, the wheels in my head were turning as to what I could create for dinner using some of the gorgeous (and sure to be tasty) vegetables we bought.  I came up with: vine ripened heirloom tomatoes stuffed with sausage, bell pepper, shallots & garlic topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh corn on the cob, and grilled london broil.  It was so, so, so delicious!!!  

Those tomatoes had such depth of flavor, and the sausage stuffing was a perfect addition.  You can never go wrong with fresh mozzarella.  It might just be my kryptonite.  I'll try it on anything...I've even had it in a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and Nutella!!!

So, since those tomatoes were so good, I thought I would include the recipe and pictures.  
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Gather 2 very large tomatoes (cut the stem and top off and remove the "guts" leaving the edge completely intact), 1 bell pepper (Dice), 2 shallots (dice), 1 clove of garlic (mince), 4 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I used whole wheat), and 1 pound of spicy southern style sausage (jimmy dean works great).

Once the "guts" are removed from the tomato, put your sausage, shallots, garlic, and bell pepper in the skillet and cook until the sausage is done throughout.  Add the bread crumbs and mix thoroughly. 

Fill each tomato completely full with the sausage mixture, then top with the romano cheese and mozzarella cheese.

bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes were up, I turned on my broiler to brown the top of the cheese just a little bit.

It's really simple and super delicious.  Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!!

I hope y'all have a great week! I'm really happy that my razorbacks won the first game of the season and I can't wait to watch some more football!!! GO HOGS! WPS!!!