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Archive for Personal

menu planning

We’ve been eating a lot of take out recently. A lot. A disturbing amount even. Little B eats well. He still gets real cooking. In an attempt to get back on track, I’m going to attempt menu planning again! Maybe I will occasionally get to take some pictures and post some food too! My love of Pinterest is helping this effort as well. I’m sure I’ll be making my own version of plenty of these dishes.

So here is what we have for this week:

Saturday Chicken Paprikash
Sunday Sunday Sauce Rigatoni
Monday Quinoa Salad
Tuesday Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Wednesday Leftovers
Thursday Celery Soup
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Tiffin with friends!

Today our grocery bill was ~$140. Chicken was on sale, so we got a lot. Most will go in the freezer. Since I’m hoping to avoid getting takeout 7 nights, I consider that breaking even. I’d much rather make the food. Most of the time.

::buy this:: cake cake cake


We don’t have to talk about how behind I am on blogging right? Things will be different. I have *reliable* childcare for the first time in months. Childcare that will be here beyond my work hours, which means I can concentrate on other “work”, rather than worrying he is going to wake up if I get started on anything. Anyway, enough with the excuses.

I’ve been meaning to post these two cakes for a while. The first is from May. MAY. 2011! Little B was baptized and seeing as hour I had just started back to work and had a 2 month old baby, I was in no condition to bake a cake. Good excuse to call my favorite bake shop in the area right? Remember those delightful cupcakes we had? Stefanie Kitchner, the owner of Ciao Bella Cakes, might be turning into his official baker 🙂 She is amazing. I’m not at all creative when it comes to cake ideas, so I let her take the reigns.

Perfect for a baptism. Chocolate chip cake with truffle filling between layers? I had quite a few guests who “don’t like cake”. They ate more than one serving. AND her fondant is edible. She rolls it perfectly thin. Ahhhhhh I love this cake so much. So then comes November. I had a milestone birthday this year, so PTB put together a little thing for me. He knew exactly who to go to for the cake. He is the opposite of me. I had no ideas, and he had too many ideas in his head. Stefanie came to the rescue.

Some of you may be asking, “what the….?”. It’s been a crazy year for me. What I didn’t mention in my excuses for not posting is that I accidentally started a little Etsy shop. Which turned into Ben’s adorable face showing up on the front page of their site twice in about a month’s time. Which turned into quite a business. So around this time my life was pretty consumed with making dinosaur hats as the weather started to get cold.

Greatest cake on earth. And it was the same yummy chocolate chip/truffle combo. LOVE IT.

Here is our official Instagram “family photo”.

Thanks to Stefanie and Ciao Bella Cakes once again for these amazing memories. And congratulations on your recent win for Best Dessert 2012 for Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Cooks!!!!!!! I am so excited for you! Thank you Kamila Harris Photography for the baptism cake photo and Joy Moody Photography for the birthday photos!




::events:: Food Network Book Signing with Jeff Mauro


I have the greatest husband. Ever. It’s true.

Things I have never been into:

  1. Reality television
  2. Books about a reality television show
  3. Book signings

Well. Time for all that to change. I got into Food Network Star. Way into it. We had to set up a recording for it. I think I bought into it so quickly because the standout players (Jeff Mauro, Vic Moea, and Suzie Jimenez) were just awesome. I was excited for any of them to win. I had already bought into their show. Maybe I was more into it because PTB was watching and enjoying the show with me. He was all for Jeff winning. As he mentions on My Latest Distraction, he can get behind the idea of “every meal in a sandwich, every sandwich into a meal.” If only I would let him eat like that.

Anyway… We were so invested in the show, that when we found out on Monday that there would be a local book signing Tuesday night, we had to make it happen. It wasn’t a book I really thought I needed, but come on…you can’t go to a book signing and not get the book signed. I wasn’t able to make it to the event due to prior commitments, so PTB stepped up and like I said…greatest husband ever.

In all honesty, I think he was looking forward to it. He had the book personalized for me, and while he may never look at the book, I think he wanted to go. I told him beforehand, that he and Jeff could be best friends. Within seconds of meeting him, they were both laughing it up, so I guess I was right.

Based on the pictures, they had an amazing time, but for more on the experience, check out Pete’s post on MLD.

The book is actually a show guide for all seven seasons of Food Network Star. It’s a behind the scenes look at the show’s creation, the contestants, the judges. It seems pretty interesting so far. Throughout the book there are kitchen tips, camera tips, and recipes. Look for a review in the near future. Ok…in the future…I have a baby, when do I read?! If you are that impatient, buy it now on Amazon!

The incredibly short book tour wraps up next week in Chicago, IL.

My new addiction


Off topic from my typical posts, but this seemed to be something I should write before heading off to bed. We just finished watching the season finale of Season 7 of Food Network Star. I had never watched the show before. I have always enjoyed Food Network, but in the past year my love has grown more. When I spent some time unemployed last Summer, it was an easy default when there seemed to be nothing on. Now, with what seems to be little time for anything electronic (tv, internet, etc), Food Network is a safe bet for me when I have a few minutes to relax. There will almost always be something on that I can quickly enjoy without too much thought.

One of the shows that I have really enjoyed is Chopped. It’s a staple of Food Network nighttime. I joke that our bedroom TV can only be on channel 664. I can easily turn on whatever food show is on and fall asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Being the new mom, I am constantly heading to bed before PTB. He can’t fall asleep with the TV on. He came up one night, got so into an episode of Chopped, that he recorded it. A food show we could share? Could it be? With most shows on Summer break, we set up Chopped to record every episode. It has kept us entertained after putting Little B to bed many nights. But this post isn’t about Chopped. Our newfound love of Chopped led us to getting sucked into a repeat of the 3rd episode of Food Network Star. Completely. Sucked. In.

PTB called it. He knew from that episode that Jeff was going to win. I was close! I thought Vic. I quickly changed my tune after a few episodes. We’ve been rooting for Jeff for quite a while. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if Susie got her own show. She’s the Mexican Giada, and I am a big fan of Italian Giada’s. What does Jeff “the Sandwich King” Mauro winning mean?

1. More sandwiches in this house, and I am not a sandwich kind of person

2. Another food show we will be DVRing

3. Another food show we will be DVRing and watching TOGETHER!

I think this might be the first real reality show I got WAY into. I could be wrong though. Maybe it is my lack of time in the kitchen that is drawing me so much to Food Network lately. Either way, I really enjoyed it.

Jeff’s show will premiere next Sunday August 21st at 11:30am Eastern. Give the Sandwich King a chance.

::garden:: quick & dirty


Week Four update..baby was very cranky this week. At least during the time that I would normally work on blogging. He’s decided that going to sleep on his own is lame. He wants to be awake ALL. THE. TIME. Oy. The garden is doing well. Tomatoes are popping up everywhere. My jalapeno plant got it’s first flower, followed by a couple more a few days later.

A single cilantro plant cannot keep up with my Summer time tastes. I think I may need to buy another cilantro plant or two. Right now it is almost completely gone. Hmmm….

The grape tomato has been tamed with some twine. I’m afraid if we hadn’t tied it, it would have taken over the deck and the house.

2011 Deck Garden Week Four
Total Spent: $200  Weekly Savings: $12