Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day Trip to Michigan

My friend Lysee had to go to the DMV in Michigan yesterday, so with a day off already I joined her to pillage the cheaper taxes and lower priced shopping at Walmart and Target. Who knew Walmart sold food!?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Scandinavian Vegetable Soup with Shrimp

I was looking for a semi easy vegetable or chicken soup the other day and found this recipe. I'm part Scandinavian, so here's a shout out to my ancestors. I'm also a sucker for anything with cream in it.
I was making it to be on the table by 6pm, when Jason walked through the door. But, as I was about to add the finishing touches, I heard he had to stay at work late and wouldn't be home until 7! Noooooooooooooo! So, i put the heat on real low, and added a 1/2 cup of cream a little bit later. Even with that addition, the soup wasn't very soupy by the time 7 rolled around. I'm assuming it's because I added an extra hour cooking time! STILL, it was very satisfying. The flavors were subtle, and it wasnt rich or over powering. Using dill kind of scared me(the smell of dill kind of gave me a head ache...or it was the 35+ middle schoolers I dealt with earlier in the day...maybe a combo?) , and I shockingly had sherry in my cabinet...i think i bought it for some recipe a long time ago. Also, i dont own a thermometer, so i ignored that part. I just simmered it really low. So, i reccommend this if you want a nice, warm you up soup/stew.

  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup 1/2-inch cauliflower flowerets
  • 1 small boiling potato, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch dice, and reserved in a bowl of water
  • 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces fresh spinach, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well, spun dry, and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 pound small shrimp, shelled, deveined if desired
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon dry Sherry if desired


In a large saucepan combine the carrot, the peas, the cauliflower, the potato, drained, and the green beans with 2 cups salted cold water and boil the mixture for 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the spinach and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. In a small bowl whisk together the half-and-half and the yolk, stir in 1 cup of the vegetable mixture, a little at a time, and stir the yolk mixture gradually back into the pan. Cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute, or until a thermometer registers 160°F. (but do not let it boil). Add the shrimp and simmer the mixture for 1 minute, or until the shrimp are pink and just firm. Add the salt, the chopped dill, pepper to taste, and the Sherry, divide the soup between 2 large soup bowls.

Pecan Trout

I was a little leery of this recipe at first. I thought it might be too bland. Quite Opposite! This recipe is a KEEPER! It was extremely easy which always scores points, and the end result was stuff-your-face inducing. How do you like that description?

Next time I will only buy one Trout fillet for the two of us. We were each only able to finish half of the fish. It was enormous! The recipe called for adding lemon juice to the pecan mixture, and i must have been so hungry, I forgot. I remembered halfway through dinner and sprinkled some lemon juice over it. But, I actually like it better without the lemon juice. I also took one of the reviewers advice and sprinkled brown sugar over the pecans while in the pan. I put maybe a tablespoon in. Result was great. I have decided I hate parsley, so no parsley on our table.
I served it with green beans and cous cous. Jason hates rice(or hes very picky about rice), so cous cous is usually what we have on our plates.

Heres my adapted recipe. Original is in above link.
  • 2 trout fillets with skin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 table spoon brown sugar


Pat fillets dry and rub flesh sides with cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (total). Dredge in flour.

Heat 1/2 stick butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook trout, skin side down, until skin is golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spatula and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Pour off butter from skillet and wipe clean, then cook pecans with remaining 3/4 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and spoon over trout.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce

I almost didn't post this recipe because there's nothing fancy about it. It's spaghetti. But I dont know what recipes you all are looking for, and maybe you need a really good spaghetti sauce this week. I found this from Rachel Ray.

I didn't make meat balls. Instead I added the sauce ingredients to already cooked ground beef. So you can keep this vegetarian if you want. I sauteed the beef in the onions, herbs, garlic, and then added the crushed tomatoes. It turned out great. Side of french bread. It was perfect for last nights thunder storms!


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock, available on soup aisle in market in small paper boxes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • A handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 10 leaves fresh basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
  • Grated cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, for passing at table
  • Crusty bread or garlic bread, for passing at the table


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place a large pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it boils, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.

Heat a deep skillet or medium pot over moderate heat. Add oil, crushed pepper, garlic and finely chopped onion. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until onion bits are soft. Add beef. Sautee until brown. Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Toss hot, drained pasta with a few ladles of the sauce and grated cheese. Turn meatballs in remaining sauce. Place pasta on dinner plates and top with meatballs and sauce and extra grated cheese. Serve with bread or garlic bread (and some good chianti!)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Double Chocolate Chewy Cookies

My mom recently sent me the cook book, Cake Doctor, by Anne Byrn. I try to make treats from scratch usually, but of course easy ways to get the same product is always a fun find! I attempted to make Tres Leches Cake from this book last week, but screwed it up by using the wrong size pan. So, today i was craving something sweet, saw I had these ingredients and gave it a whirl. In the last 5 minutes I've eaten 3 cookies. They are so good! I kept them in the oven for 15 minutes because my oven sucks. I also used slivered almonds as the nut because that was what I had in my pantry.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I won something finally!

I visit 'Joy the Baker''s blog every now and then, and saw she was having a give away for a fed exed box of chocolate chip cookies. All I had to do was list my favorite things. There were tons of people who posted(651 to be exact) so I never dreamed I'd get picked for the 3 winners.
I never win anything (except once, a turkey, because I called into our local radio station, Isle 95, and gobbled like a turkey on air....I think i was in 8th grade)!
Here's my list of favorite things I posted on her site, and others:

1. Eating coconut cream out of the can. I always leave some in the can when cooking so i can have spoonfuls of treats for the weeks ahead!
2. Fresh mangoes from a tree
3. The feel of hot sand in between my toes
4. Listening to my cats “talk” to me with their communicative chirps and growls.
5. Seeing my husbands face after a satisfying meal I have cooked for him.
6. Chocolate chip cookies! (Especially from you, i bet?). Anything sweet and delicious actually.
7. Coming home with “kids say the darndest things” stories when i teach art.
8. Looking through blogs and getting a taste of other peoples lives.
9. Wearing flip flops, knowing there’s no chance of it being cold outside!
10. Getting a new book in the mail.

I was naughty and went to the Benefit counter today at Macy's.

Ok, the LAST time I bought make up was right before my wedding, almost a year ago. My absolute have to have foundation is almost gone, so I decided to be nice to myself and buy another container today. I adore "Some kind of gorgeous", a really light creamy substance i lightly pat on areas of my face in the morning on top of my 30 spf moisturizer. It deletes some tired from my face. I also use Bene-tint on my cheeks because powder blush makes me feel old, and Ooh-La-Lift banishes circles. Those, some mascara, and chapstick are basically my daily make up routine. Anyhow, I bought just the foundation today and some spf powder, and left with a free goodie bag full of fun stuff. yay!

I saw a woman reading this book on the train today.

She looked like a normal person, around my age. But this book looks kind of odd, right? I wonder if she also owns Never Eat Alone.

The Bean

That's me.

These girls are striking a pose that's pretty funny, including the one just slouching and being weird.
Checking out the material, and also secretly checking out themselves.

The Bean is now a must see staple for tourists coming to Chicago. It's fun watching people strike a pose in front of the reflective surface with their cameras, or just because. I played tourist today, and took some photos of these people.

Loop Field Trip

I had today off so went into the Loop to meet Jason for lunch and run a few errands. I had fun experimenting with the fabulous new camera. There are some interesting temporary sculptures up in Millennium Park. Here's some photos of the installations. The middle one was pretty strange. I should have gotten a close up of the Pig, who had 2 sumo wrestler guys hanging off of her body.

New St.Croix Websites

I received an email today announcing the arrival of a North Shore Association on St.Croix. Thats where I'm from, and the website looks very professional and with good heart, so i'm posting it.

While browing through the site, I also found a new website i'd never seen before, "Cruzana",

This one is also a really nice looking site with cool articles. Check them out!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Busy Weekend!

Sorry for the delay in posting. It was a busy week and weekend. I luckily subbed all last week, which went by fairly smooth with the exception of a minor shooting on school grounds. This weekend I began my UIC job and it was great both days! Jason hogged the computer most of the time I was home, working on his website. Check out his updates. Click on photos to see the next photo. For instance, in his passenger vehicles section, you must click on the steering wheel photo to view the series. Enjoy! Find me in 2 updated photos.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Polenta Lasagna

This wasnt the best thing i've ever made, and I probably won't make it again. Too bad, a waste of good cheese. I am happy with the photo though! If you care to try:

I didn't add the seitan because I couldn't find it, so I added asparagus to bulk it up.

I wake up Bamboo from his nap to model for me.

Hugo lets me practice with the new Nikon. Such a handsome fella!

I hate drinking water, but I like my new camera!

I've never liked water. I usually mix it with juice or a lemon, and sometimes find myself at the end of the day with a headache because I am dehydrated. I saw an article online today on tips to drinking water, and reasons to drink it, especially for those of us that detest it. AND drinking water gives me a good reason to use the new camera!

I deleted the ones i thought were dumb.

* Make it a Morning Ritual. I once read in a magazine article that many of us wake up dehydrated, and the first thing you should do before you do anything else is drink two glasses of water. I've now made it a regular morning habit, and it inspires the momentum to continue drinking more for the rest of the day.

* Add Some Lemon. Back in the early stages when I couldn't stand drinking water, I squeezed lemon juice into my water. At restaurants, I would ask the servers to provide lemon slices with my water--which makes me sound snobby, but most restaurants are willing and expected to provide this service.

* Think of How Pretty You'll Look. I don't know how direct the correlation is between having healthy, glowing skin and drinking a lot of water, but I'm not taking any chances. Whatever psychological trick keeps me hydrated!

* Do It Like It's Hot. If you're in the mood for a hot drink, drink heated water. Sometimes we just want the psychological pleasure that comes with having a hot mug cupped in our hands than the actual drink itself. Plus, coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a diuretic and elevates the rate of water being expelled from your body via urination.

* Drink When You Have a Munchie Attack. Sometimes our hunger is thirst masquerading as fake hunger. Drinking a cup or two of water will make you feel "full."

*Take Baby Steps. Don't expect to go from zero glasses of water to the full 8 glasses overnight. Start with one glass of water in the morning and one glass of water at night, and build your way up from there.

Top 10 previously forbidden places to travel

What an interesting list!

Jason and I won't be traveling anywhere with potential for Altitude sickness issues for quite a while, so Himalayas are off any wish list. Iran, however,oooohhhh....I bet that is a fascinating culture shock! Vietnam is also still high on my list.

Cornish Game Hen

I saw these at the supermarket the other day for about $5.50 for 2, so decided to get them. I combined a few recipes. This turned out great!
The photo was taken with my web cam, not the new camera which is arriving today!!!

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • brown sugar
  • mushrooms
  • 2 lemon slices

  • two 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry


In a small bowl blend together well 2 tablespoons of the butter with the sage,the zest, and the salt. Loosen the skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers under the skin and sliding them between the skin and the meat. Divide the butter mixture between the hens, inserting it under the skin of each hen and smoothing it evenly by rubbing the outside of the skin. Also rub with brown sugar and season the hens with salt and pepper.

In a large ovenproof heavy skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Add 2 table spoons of brown sugar. In it, sauté the hens, breast sides up, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown. Insert a lemon slice where the innerds plastic bag is removed from, and roast them in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, for 40 minutes, in a glass dish.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blackberry Almond Cheesecake

I made this for Easter dessert yesterday and it was great! I'm a sucker for anything involving almond paste. Next time I think i'll exclude the almond extract because I tasted the batter before I added that part, and like the subtlety of it better. Another Epicurious delight...

For crust
  • 1 7-ounce tube almond paste
  • 6 whole graham crackers (about 3 ounces), broken up
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (about 2 1/2 ounces), toasted, cooled
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For toppings
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 pound frozen unsweetened blackberries, thawed, drained, juices reserved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin


Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside 1/2 cup (packed) almond paste for filling. Combine remaining almond paste, graham crackers and almonds in processor and grind finely. Add butter; process until moist crumbs form. Press over bottom and 2 inches up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake until crust colors, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Make filling:
Wipe out processor. Blend sugar and reserved 1/2 cup almond paste in processor until mixture resembles fine meal, about 1 minute. Add half of cream cheese and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add remaining cream cheese and process until smooth. Add eggs, cream and almond extract and blend until just combined.

Pour filling into crust. Bake cake until just set in center and beginning to crack at edges, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Make toppings:
Mix sour cream and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl; spoon over hot cake. Bake 3 minutes. Chill cake uncovered until cold, about 1 1/2 hours.

Mix remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar and reserved berry juices in heavy small saucepan. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin over. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir mixture over low heat until sugar and gelatin dissolve (do not boil). Pour into medium bowl; mix in berries. Refrigerate berry topping until cold and beginning to set, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours.

Spoon berry topping over chilled cake. Refrigerate until topping is set, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Traveling with Books

Appropriately, a photo of a bookstore I shot while in India.

I saw this article on the Travel Channel website today,Eight Books You Shouldn't Travel Without,
Most of the time I find it difficult to read when I'm on vacation. There are exceptions of course. If I'm on a plane or in an airport, I read. If I'm visiting home, St.Croix, I read. But if I'm in a new place, there to see the sites, experience the culture, I feel very strange doing something I could easily do while not vacationing. I have this urgency of possibly missing something if my nose is stuck in a book.

I have only one memorable book that I read while traveling. In 1998 I was on a 6 hour train ride from Varanasi to Agra, India. The 6 hours turned into 24 hours because they decided to loop North instead of heading the initial direction. The only female, not wanting to fall asleep in a cabin filled with military men, not hiding their enormous guns, I read practically all of The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand (and this is not a small book). It was an impactful read because of the setting I read it in, and probably because I read it straight through.

Anyone else have a memorable story about reading a book while traveling?

Friday, April 10, 2009

May visits from Thailand!

In 1998 I spent a semester in Asia, much of the time in Thailand. There, I became friends with a few local students, including May. We recently reconnected via Facebook and she happened to have a job interview in Chicago coming up. So a dinner reunion was set for last night. This was her first trip to the U.S., so what do you get someone as a welcome gift to this country? I settled on an Obama t-shirt. I recalled her sending congratulations messages on election night, and of course, what is one thing I'm finally proud of from this country? Obama! Still chokes me up. Really, I get tears in my eyes every time I think about it, and it's been 5 months since he was elected!
We met up at Lulas, a restaurant in my neighborhood that is a favorite of ours, along with 4 other people, including Jason and another person I spent time in Asia with. I have a link to Lulas in my Food section, but just in case,
It was a great evening, and she was ecstatic about her gift! (yay!)


I spoiled myself for a few minutes yesterday and dropped in on a new Ice Cream shop in Bucktown. "iCream" is the They set it up to look like a laboratory, where you can design your own ice cream. Syringes don the walls, and the makers use them to shoot various flavors into the concoction you have requested. My request: Burnt Sugar ice cream with fresh mango topping. It's a new shop, so is very popular:crowded. They kept apologizing for the wait because they were "down one man" that day. Off yesterday from a job, I had nowhere to be, so people watched and dreamed of what flavors awaited my taste buds. My 20 minute wait was wellllllll worth it. I devoured my treat and I highly reccomend a visit! The ploy is that they hand make the ice cream on the spot. You see clouds of frozen air billowing from the electric's kind of magical.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If this doesn't make you feel good inside, then I think you should question what does.

I love how she probably has to grow into her nose. This is 5 day old Ko Raya from the Berlin Zoo. 

How has your life been evolving (for the BETTER) during this Recession?

I received a Real Simple Magazine in the mail yesterday! My mom decided to get me a subscription, since she probably read on here that I miss it. Thanks mom! I was thrilled to have something in the mail besides a bill. It is now the only magazine subscription I get. I used to get Time, US Weekly, and Newsweek. Then, in August, before becoming a full time student, I cut this informative entertainment out of my life. Yesterday I hand delivered our Cable Box to Comcast, bringing our bill down from $110 a month to $59 a month(for Cable's the only company that services our area if you are asking why we pay so much). I watched my last House Hunters on HGTV, and unplugged all the various wires. Jason keeps reminding me that I can watch all cable tv online, and our computer is bigger than our tv anyhow, so it is best.
So what to do with this new found time of not reading magazines(except Real Simple) and not watching Cable tv?
1. We played a very close game of Scrabble(the board game version, not the online version) on Sunday night. Jason won by 2 points.
2. I've been painting(but I cant show you the painting I've been working on because it's a wedding gift for a friend, and I think she reads this(Emily, do you read this?).
3. I participated in an "Object Exchange", making an object for 6 people in return for them making an object for a handful of other people. I painted a few watercolor sketches and sent them off via mail. Kelly (who has "Kelly Loves Whales" blog....Hi Kelly!) started the exchange, and I received 2 lithograph prints from her in the mail a few days ago. It was a really fun activity to be part of because receiving an original object in the mail is inspiring, and hearing the reactions from people I've sent to so far(I still have one to do) was even better!
4. I read a book every week or so, which if you are on Good Reads you have seen, and have been developing my strong interest in Archeology.
5. To those of you who read this often, you see I have been cooking up a storm! This began in an effort to save money. If I do not pack lunch for Jason in the morning, there goes $15 to some low life rstaurant in the loop. I tell myself I am being paid $15 to make lunch. Not bad for 10 minutes of work! And dinner, same thing. If I do not cook dinner, more than likely the Thai restaurant across the street receives a phone call, and $20 later all we have to show for the phone call are 2 full stomaches and a few spoonfulls of Pad Se-ew. I also grew up with parents who frequented nice restaurants, so my palette is very spoiled. If I cant go out to eat at nice restaurants, I will try to cook their dishes!!!!!!
6. And finally, when we get our new camera, we are planning some field trips for photo taking!

Above is a painting I did the other night of the building across the street from us. It was about to snow and everything had a white murky glaze over it, including an abnormally white sky. (I do not have our new camera yet. This was taken with a camera jason borrowed from school.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mmmmmmmeat Loaf.

Rustic French Meatloaf actually....
As I prepared for the weekly supermarket run last week, I poured over various recipe sites, making my shopping list. I discovered this meatloaf that had pistachios, prunes, and advertised a "French pate flavor". The recipe also included chicken livers, which I never thought I'd even CONSIDER purchasing, ever. But, I made the list and was on my way. Well, turns out the Supermarket, on TWO visits, decided my chicken liver fate for me, by not having them in stock. "We are out." Out? Who else uses chicken livers? Do I have a clone walking around making French meatloaf? I see lots of other chicken products in this place....where'd you put their livers? They ALSO didn't have ground veal. I considered buying veal filets and grounding them, but I got kind of grossed out by that thought, so followed the advice of one of the reviews on the recipe site suggesting Turkey and Pork. (sorry vegetarians, I should have warned you to skip this posting, although "meatloaf" should have been a big sign) Pistachios were also hard to come by since they confiscated most of the pistachio brands due to Salmonella last week. I found a lone Planters mixed nuts on a back shelf. How did I have the patience to pick out the pistachios from the various other nuts, you ask? I didnt. I made a deal with Jason, I would give him the container ONLY if he promised to eat any nut except the Pistachios. It made my life much easier last night while making this because the container was filled with all Pistachios!

Verdict: Jason called the recipe "Dynomite!" and had 2nds, AND Leftovers Snob(my husband who sticks his nose up at anything that has been in the fridge longer than 24 hours), requested a meatloaf sandwhich for lunch!

This recipe was easy and soooo yummy. Next time I will delete the sprinkled Parsley on top(I decided I don't really like Parsley). I served it with french bread, 2 teeny potatoes, some cornichons(my favorite!) and a tiny salad. Jason was adamant about adding ketchup. And I see now that Dijon Mustard is suggested, but I forgot. **I think the milked-bread crumbs were key. I tore off pieces of the french bread i bought, soaking them in milk. It really helped keep the loaf moist and succulent.

Also I used a metal loaf pan, and kept it in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Epicurious saves the day again...

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a rustic loaf)
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound chicken livers, separated into lobes, trimmed, and rinsed
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground veal
1/4 cup chopped prunes
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Accompaniment: Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 475°F with rack in middle.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl.

Cook onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Purée livers in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl. Add pork, veal, prunes, pistachios, thyme, eggs, bread-crumb mixture, onion mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and gently mix with your hands until just combined.

Transfer meatloaf mixture to an 81/2- by 41/2-inch glass loaf pan (see cooks’ note, below) and bake, covered with foil, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, 50 to 55 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Cover top of meatloaf with parsley before slicing.

Camera is on its way!

I just bought a refurbished Nikon D40! So, get excited for a flurry of photo taking when we get it! I decided on this one because I read through a bunch of online Photo award sites, and this seemed to be a popular camera the non-professional-photographer award winners used. We will see!

Monday, April 6, 2009

TWO Questions regarding Kitchen and Art.

1. Is there a gadget in your kitchen you cant live without? I'm putting together a wish list, and am wondering what is missing from my minimally supplied kitchen.

2. What was a wonderful or memorable art project you did in Elementary or High School?

Comment below or email me at

I'll post one of the last photos I took of my fridge. I love leaving notes on our dry erase board!

Jason has added more artwork to his website

Not just this piece...check his site out for more..........

I **successfully** roasted a WHOLE chicken!

I was browsing Apartment Therapy the other day ( and found this appealing post about an easy and tasty way to roast chicken. Milk, sage, cinnamon stick, and lemon rind. EASY! I put a lid on during the first hour, and left it off for the remainder. This was a suggestion from apartment therapy:

I have never roasted a chicken before, an entire chicken! I actually didnt know I could....I assumed I needed some special roaster. BUT, I used a pasta pot, and it worked great. It was sooooo yummy. We ate it for dinner again last night. I served it with green beans, couscous, and potatoes. The sauce is really amazing.

The link went to Jamie Olivers site, and here is the recipe:

• 1 x 1.5k/ 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 115g/4oz or ½ a pack of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
• 565ml/1 pint milk

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.

I am now a Water Sampler

On Friday I went to a full day of training to work for the Public Health department at University of Illinois. I learned about testing water for PH and conductivity, and met an array of interesting people. I was the only team member with out my Masters in Public Health, or in the process of getting one. There's a guy who tests for parasites in animal feces, on a night shift; a woman who takes seasonal environmental jobs around the country, most recently studying Moose on an island in Lake Superior; and then a few students doing this study for their Thesis research. I'm excited to talk more with everyone else. I think this will make for an interesting part time/or full time(I might have the chance to be trained for some other lab jobs they have available....yes, Art Teacher in a science lab= crazy!....maybe i'll get some lesson ideas??) until I get the Art Teacher job I eagerly await!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I did not cook this.....

...............but I am taken with this photo! I saw this on La Tartine Gourmandes blog...

This photo inspires me to:
Buy a new camera
Clean my kitchen
Attempt to cook an entire fish
Paint with that saffron color in the teeny bowl