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Monthly Archives: December 2010

what the friday?!: garfunkel and oates

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Please watch this.  I hope it gives you as much joy as it has me 🙂

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sweet potato fries and I shut my mouth.

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Ok, maybe not exactly fries.

DSC07314 But I’ve seen other bloggers call these little slices fries…so I will, too.

After reading Beth’s post earlier this morning about sweet potatoes, I knew exactly what I wanted for lunch today.  I also have a TON of these orange fellas in my kitchen, just waiting to be sliced and diced and baked.

I set the oven on about 375, sprayed a pan lined with foil, and lined these guys up for a trip to the oven.  I turned them after several minutes.  After I initially plated them, I noticed they were a little soft, so I left the rest of them in the hot oven as it was cooling down and just took them to work.  They were a little crispy and totally delicious!

DSC07327 Especially with ketchup.

While they were baking, though, I got to work on the rest of my lunch.  I bought some pumpernickel bread at Publix these week, and I have been dying to make a grilled cheese with it.  So I did!

DSC07316 Winnie the Pooh and a grilled cheese, too!  I used half a slice of Muenster cheese, and I drizzled honey on top.  Sounds weird, but it was amazing!  I love this bread.  It reminds me of pickles.  Maybe it’s the word pumpernickel?  Maybe it’s salty?  Who knows. 

Fun Fact:  In college, my roommate and I once bought a loaf of bread labeled, “PUMPERNICKEL PARTY LOAF.”  Ever since then, I’ve always thought of pumpernickel as the shelf life of the party.

I grilled this in about a teaspoon of real butter.  I considered eating it with some preserves (also a good combination) but decided against it.

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On the side:  aforementioned “fries” and some of Beth’s black beans that I batch cooked earlier and froze (more on those later, I promise, but you can check out her link for the recipe and method).

My lunch was boss.

DSC07324 Do kids still say boss?  They should.  Maybe if they were to eat this sandwich, they would.

What’s one of the oddest combinations you’ve eaten?  Does the word pumpernickel make you smile?

sometimes, I just like to steal things.

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Oh, only when it’s legit.  Like in Dirty Santa!  Or more specifically, Ornament Swap Time!

For the past three years, Stephanie has invited me to her ornament swap (since I was an intern at the magazine).  And I’ve not been able to make it 😦  But on this, the 10th anniversary party, I knew I had to be there.  And whenever someone tells me Dirty Santa is involved, I usually get the wrong idea and agree to be there with jingle bells on.

When I first arrived, Steph put me to work in the kitchen—making me feel right at home!  And even better, she set me up mixing mimosas.  Now we’re talking.  On the menu:  breakfast for dinner.  There was breakfast casserole (crescent rolls, sausage, cheese and eggs, I think?  Need to get a recipe), pimiento cheese and biscuits, chocolate mint cookies, fruit salad, mimosas and cider.  It was all awesome!

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I had a little bit of it all.

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Stephanie’s condo is so cute.  I love these wall hangings:

DSC06620 Look closely on the left…you can see a visibly shocked hostess.

For my ornaments, I chose something I thought others might want.  (Hey!  I wanted to incite a jealous rage.)  I almost thought about buying one of these big-ass ornamental balls and showing up with it, acting all confused.

DSC06615 You have to admit, it’s pretty!

Instead, I went with these cuties from Cracker Barrel.

DSC07294Check out the pins on that doe!  Busy busy business deer.

I almost ended up with these sweet little guy:

DSC06621 But alas, he was stolen away.  In the end, I stole this beautiful origami swan away from someone else.

DSC06996 Isn’t it beautiful?  I know it’s not really traditional, but I liked it because it was different.

We ended the party the only way we knew how.

DSC06622 With some good ol’ fashioned weight shaking.

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Steph knows how to work it.

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As does Jen.

DSC06625 This all reminded me of the SNL Shake Weight “commercial.”

Have you ever attended an ornament swap?  How dirty are you when it comes to dirty Santa?  And spill it—have you tried out the shake weight?  Did you feel as nasty as I did shaking it out??

are you ready…to party??!?

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Me?  Not so much.  I’m partied out, yo.  It started back with Jonathan’s parents’ Christmas party, then there was the 4th Annual Tacky Christmas Sweater Party.  Then there was the Greater B’ham Young Republicans affair at Rogue Tavern.

I know, I know.

What is this brite blue dot doing in a sea of red?  On her own accord? Well, I thought I’d support my wonderful boyfriend.

DSC06538 There was also some of this:

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Oh, sweetie.

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That’s pork quesadillas, fried zucchini and pickles, and some sort of lettuce wrap.  It was pretty good.

I represented my blue.

DSC06533 There was also this guy:

DSC06531 It may be hard to see, but that is, indeed, Dale Peterson.  If you haven’t already viewed the commercial for his campaign for the position of Alabama Ag Commissioner, please do so now.

I’ll wait.

So?

Yeah, you can see why I was excited.  I got just tipsy enough to get my picture made with him when he left the building.  Sad day.

When we left, we were still hungry from the lack of real food at the event.  Enter Formaggio’s.

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$5 pitchers???  How could I say no?  This blog ought to be called “That’s What Summer Drank.”

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I don’t even really like ranch, but these were really great.

The next week, the food parade continued.  There was the Citadel party, which I look forward to all year.

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I tried to fill up my plate with lots of veggies and fruit, but I can’t resist the awesome cheese platters they always have.  So good.  That meat on the right was so tender I cut it with a fork.  Also—I didn’t eat everything on both plates 🙂

Later on, I joined J for another work luncheon (separate job) that I actually forgot about until the last minute.  I’d come to work wearing an Auburn sweatshirt (dated Sugar Bowl 1987)  and tennis shoes, so needless to say, I wasn’t exactly presentable.  I hightailed it home and then up to the Summit.  Holiday traffic took its toll, and a drive that normally would have taken me 10 minutes took 25.  I felt so rushed.

My meal, however, was great.  We ate at the Macaroni Grill, and I tried to order something from the lighter menu.  I had the Rosemary Chicken Spiedini with roasted veggies.

DSC06760It was just enough food.  The chicken was juicy, and the veggies had so much flavor.  There was zucchini, peppers, eggplant and onion.    This was listed as being under 400 calories.  Sweet!

How do you try to practice moderation while indulging in all the eating activities that come along with Christmas?

it’s chocolate, it’s peppermint—it’s very refreshing!

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Ah, Seinfeld.

This year, I decided I want to make some tasty Christmas treats to give away as gifts (as long as I didn’t fall into the whole trap where Monica from Friends makes all the candy, and—never mind, enough sitcoms for one blog!).  I knew I wanted to make peppermint bark, since it’s both A) delicious, and B) cheap (and easy).

Ghirardelli chocolate chips and almond bark were both on sale at Publix, so I decided to make both a dark (ish) and white chocolate recipe of peppermint bark.  I started by unwrapping just short of a million starlight mints.

Seriously.

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I put all the unwrapped mints in a Ziploc and pounded it like there was no tomorrow (TWSS).

DSC06712 After beating the shit out of my mints and taking out some holiday aggression, I got to work on the chocolate.

I just love these Ghirardelli chocolates.  They taste awesome, and don’t they look cute?

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The white chocolate isn’t so cute…but it redeems itself when it melts.

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Don’t really follow my example when it comes to melting chocolate.  It’s best to either melt it on a double-boiler (a pot on top of a pot of boiling water) or melt it gradually in the microwave to avoid burning it.

Once it’s good and melted, add about a half to one teaspoon of  peppermint extract or oil.  Add some of the crushed peppermint to the pot of chocolate.  Spread the melted goodness onto a pan that’s been lined with wax paper or foil (and sprayed).  Pop it into the fridge to cool.  I left mine in overnight.

DSC06726 Look at the beauty!  Looks like an elf just regurgitated happiness onto a pan full of chocolate.  Yum, right?

I broke this up into chunks and put some in some cello bags tied up with some string and paired them with a few other treats.  I think they were received fairly well.

Do you like to cook/bake/melt over the holidays?  What’s your favorite thing you made this season?

from gingerbread to ginger veggies.

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Hello all!  Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  If you’re like me, Monday meant back to work :(  I’ve been enjoying some yummy holiday eats and spending time with my family, so I was none too ready today.  Luckily, we’re off for New Year’s Eve (since New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday), so it’s going to be a short week.

With the new year just around the corner, I’m hoping to get my priorities in order this week.  That means getting my eating back in check, cleaning up around the apartment, and of course—blogging!  Tonight I took a soothing visit to the grocery store to re-stock my kitchen.  I tried a recipe out of a book I got shortly before the holiday—The Carb Lover’s Diet.  The recipe:

DSC07270  I first read about the book on The Jen West Quest.  She had a lot of success, and I’m anxious to see what I think of it all.  I feel like sometimes I color too much out of the lines to be able to stick to any sort of plan (though I did well on Weight Watchers), but this book included not just valuable information re: nutrition but also recipes.  Granted, there’s the normal cheesy diet book copy, but there’s still some good stuff.

Any way, the recipe.  I was in the mood to hit the grocery store anyway, so I flipped around until I landed on this.  You can find the exact recipe here.

I started out by cooking up a serving of brown rice (I scaled this down from 2 servings to 1).  Then I put my shrimp under some running cold water to thaw.

DSC07260 I measured out about 2 cups worth of frozen stir fry veggies, which I supplemented with some shredded carrots that need to be eaten.  They’ve been hanging out in my fridge, making friends with all the other aging contents.

DSC07267 While the rice was finishing up, I grated and chopped my ginger and chopped some almonds (for the garnish).

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Once the rice was done, I combined the ginger, soy sauce, honey and garlic to make the sauce.  I added the veggies after about a minute, along with the rice and shrimp.DSC07269 This was awesome!  I didn’t have the scallion that the recipe called for, but I still give it an A+.  It was super filling, and it made a lot.  (I think I may have used a little too much rice, but not by much.)

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Ok, so maybe it didn’t look quite like the picture. 

DSC07275 But hey—it all eats the same!

I’ll recap later, but here’s a quick sneak-peek at my two favorite Christmas presents:

DSC07281 I finally got a Garmin!  I’m so excited for my next run so that I can take this thing out for a spin!

And then there’s my personal favorite:

DSC07286 Jonathan gave me these gorgeous earrings.  They are sparkly and lovely and wonderful and this picture does them absolutely no justice!

What was your favorite thing about this holiday (it doesn’t have to be a gift, of course)?  Have you ever bought/read/used a diet book?

“you’ll shoot your eye out!”

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That’s what she said.

Heehee.

Every year at my work, we typically have a Christmas luncheon.  They shook things up a bit this time by taking us out for a delicious, fancy meal and then out to see a movie at the beautiful Alabama Theatre for the Christmas series.  Film of choice?

I’ll give you two guesses.

a-christmas-story (source)

In fact, I’ll skip the first guess and go right for the throat—I triple-dog dare you!

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(source)

None other than A Christmas Story!

But first things first.

We left work and headed straight to DoDiYos, a Greek restaurant.  (The owner, George Sarris, is also responsible for another well-known Bham jaunt, the Fish Market.)  The story behind the name is pretty interesting; you can read more on the linked site, but it basically reflects his memories of his mother (do), his father (di), and his grandfather (yos).

Jonathan and I had the pleasure of visiting DoDiYos earlier this year, and I really enjoyed the food and also the service.  For our group party, the menu was narrowed down to a few choices of entrees, which actually made my choice a little easier.  However, we all got started with fresh bread and feta spread.

DSC06645 A few people joked that it looked like potato salad.  I will attest to the fact that it tasted much better than that.

The meal got started with a salad.

DSC06646 While it looked lovely and I’m sure it tasted just dandy, I don’t much care for this sort of lettuce.  I don’t usually care for salad at all, but if I do eat it, I’m super picky about what greens I’ll eat.  The salad I had the last time here was awesome:  radishes, carrots, feta, and spring mix salad.  I picked around this little guy, but I didn’t do much damage.

For dinner, I went with the catch of the day (mahi) served “plaki” style with onions, tomatoes and garlic.

DSC06650 With green beans on the side.  That little ramekin has a lemon-y sauce that went with another dish but was mistakenly put on my plate. (I sampled it, and it was creamy and tart and yummy.)

The fish was very firm and flavorful.  The “sauce” (as they called it) wasn’t too heavy and the tomatoes tasted awesome.  The green beans were good, but nothing too special.

For dessert, they brought out a sampler tray of Greek pastries:  cookies soaked in honey, Baklava, and what looked like a chocolate torte.

DSC06651 I had the baklava, and it was out of this world.  Flaky, sweet, nutty and it melted in my mouth.  (All qualities I look for in potential mouth-visitors.)

The movie was great fun after!  I love any chance to visit the beautiful old Alabama Theatre.

Have you had a holiday party at work yet?  Do you do catered to-dos or pot-luck parties?  And the most important question….what are your feelings on A Christmas Story??!?