Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Favorite Days

My favorite day of the year happens to be my birthday. What's not to love? Generally, there's cake and a meal at somewhere I love. This year, we celebrated early and out of town. Had dinner at a nice Japanese steakhouse in Richmond. And birthday cake with family in my hometown.

Halloween is also a big day for me. I love seeing little kids (some adults) dressed in their costumes parading around for everyone to see. Okay, the real reason I like it is because there's a lot more candy available at a great price esp. Nov. 1st. There's a sense of nostalgia around the day as well. I'm able to find childhood treats that stores don't regularly sell. And if they do sell them, they make them difficult to find. I love Peanut Butter Kisses, Mary Janes and Chick-O-Sticks. This is funny b/c I hate Butter Fingers. I really don't like those or Baby Ruths. Then there's the Kraft Caramels. You can find them all year round, but you'll pay a premium. Then there's my favorite, candy corn. You either love it or hate it. I LOVE IT!!

What are you putting out for the little ghouls this Halloween? I'm making little bags of candy filled with the bounty I bought yesterday at CVS: Twizzlers, Starburst, Hershey bars, Milky Ways, Reese's cups, etc. What are your favorite candies? And your favorite days?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Did A Bad Thing

I had McDonald's for lunch. MJ calls it the Evil Clown. He's right. There's no nutritional value in one of those value meals. Yes, I had a #1, no lettuce, extra sauce, please w/a Dr. Pepper. I have no idea what I was thinking. But how was I going to follow up yesterday's feast at Aroma? Or the steak dinner I'd prepared. Okay, so maybe I do have an idea. I was caught up in the Monopoly hype. DAMN THEM!!! I fell into the online trap, too. It was fun.

Okay, I can see you're not buying it. Yes, I went to McDonald's because I wanted to. Are you happy now? I mean maybe it's that catchy little song. You know the one. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. First, who are they fooling? That can't possibly be real beef. Maybe they use real beef flavoring., but I'm not sure if it's real meat. I don't want to know what's in the special sauce. And if you know, please don't tell me. I'm no fan of the lettuce. Shredded lettuce is for tacos. It doesn't belong on a hamburger. I know what you're thinking. If there's all of that wrong with it, why does she eat it? It must be nostalgia.

We'll just leave that there for a second. What's an oldie, but not so goodie for you these days? Could it be a Frosty from Wendy's? What food would you like to see come back? Maybe Burger Chef or Shakey's Pizza? Let me know and we'll talk about it.

It's Official!

I now work as a blogger for the examiner.com. I am the Dining Examiner. What that means is I get to check out restaurants and other food/dining related businesses. I've reviewed three places and reported on a fire closing another. This is really exciting. So far, I've had some really good meals. I am sure there will be some disappointments along the way.

In addition to food, I am going to do a mini-series called The Art of Dining. It will focus on both sides of the restaurant experience. I'll talk to seasoned diners as well as current and former waitstaff about what separates the good from the bad. If you have any ideas you'd like to share, please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Okay, So It's Been Living Up to Its Name

I really have been slacking around here. Trust me it wasn't intentional. We've been doing some pantry eating as well as checking out some spots for my new job. Once I get on a schedule, I'll be back in my kitchen in no time. Of course, I'll be in there in a few weeks preparing meals for a couple of friends who are expecting their first child. When little Neil comes into the world, his mom and dad will have their hands full. My gift to them will be food that they can put into the oven and heat. There will be no chopping, peeling, boiling, steaming, etc. It's also a fun gift for me to give. I'll work with them to find out what some of their favorite things are. I'll also prep some cookie dough for them. They'll have goodies in no time for family and friends who pop over to see the little one.

Have you ever given a gift of food? Or received a gift of food? If so, what are some of your favorites? I'm looking for ideas beyond lasagna and other pasta casseroles. Any suggestions would be greatly appreicated.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's a Dinner Emergency

Of course, it was another clueless night for dinner. What do we have that wouldn't take more than 15 minutes? Well, we were going to split two chicken wings and have some ramen noodles. Then I remembered how ramen bowls worked. I had a beef tenderloin that I'd left at my MIL's last month. Don't worry, it was in the freezer. I cooked three packs of ramen, added one seasoning pack, a couple of tbsps. of soy sauce and sesame oil, added some thinly sliced beef, and topped with dried chives. The hot broth cooked the thin sliced beef in no time. It was one of the most satisfying meals we had in a while.

Have you ever doctored your ramen? What do you add? What would you add? I can't wait to add this to my planned meal repertoire. BTW, I got that tenderloin on sale. Gotta love the clearance bin.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fried Dough

It's that time of year. Places are having fairs and festivals everywhere. And the sell that wonderful creation called a funnel cake. I was at a festival over the weekend. The had the usual suspects hot dogs, cold drinks, cotton candy and yes, the funnel cake. I don't know what it is about the treat that just starts my mouth watering. Honestly, it is just pancake dough friend in 350 or so degree oil until golden, brown and delicious. It's such a simple treat, but I only want it at a carnival or some sort of outdoor event. And wouldn't you know, I didn't get a single taste of a funnel cake all day. MJ frowns upon that kind of thing and wouldn't get me one. What's really sad about that is they were free.

Are you a funnel cake fan? Or are doughnuts more your style? Perhaps a beignet pleases your palate? Maybe a bag full of zeppolis are more to your liking. How do you like your dough fried? And do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share?

I'm a Cheater. Are you a Cheater?

Okay, I know what you're thinking. That's a horrible thing to do to MJ. It's not that kind of cheating. Think shortcuts. I'm a busy woman on the go, but I love a hot meal at the end of the day w/my fam. We relax over food and our guilty pleasure, reruns of Two and a Half Men. Well, Wed. night I was fresh out of ideas and energy. Lucky for me, bloggers abound. I saw a recipe for a garlic-sage brown butter sauce. I already knew that the frozen ravioli in the freezer would be the base. The recipes for the sauce called for fresh. I had dried. So, I cheated. I took a shortcut. Guess what, it was great! MJ enjoyed and that made it alright in my book.

So, are you a cheater? What are the shortcut ingredients you use? Do you use frozen pasta meals? What brands? Let me know. I'm always on the lookout for something new.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Momma's Gonna Have a Brand New Gig

*hummed to the tune of Papa's Got a Brand New Bag*

Seriously, I have a new part time gig. I will be a blogger for the Examiner.com. I'll be writing about DC's dining scene. More specifically, I will focus on out of the way places, hidden gems, ethnic food and various food stores. I won't just talk about food I've eaten. I'll also provide party ideas and quick meal tips. I just need to send in my photo, a short bio and the form for a background check. That should be no problem.

Wish me luck!