August 14, 2010

Life Update and Buffalo Burgers!

It's been quite some time since I last updated this, and quite a bit has happened in my life since then. A quick review:

In late May, I celebrated my 5 year anniversary at my last job, and I started working one date a week for my family. In late June, I made the switch to working full-time for my family. It was a total change of pace and I really love working for my family.

In July I went out to Montana to visit my best friend for a few days. I think I ate more meat in my three days there than I usually eat in an entire month! I had 3 different kinds of pulled pork and I got to try buffalo. I had a buffalo patty melt and I had buffalo meatloaf. They were so good!

I've been back home for about a month ago. One of my friends on a different blog site posted a recipe for Moroccan turkey burgers a few days ago, and it made me start craving a burger. So tonight, I had this for dinner:

This is a cheese-stuffed buffalo burger and potato hash. I seasoned the meat with a mixture of cumin, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and 2 different chili powders. I then formed 4 burgers, each using about a quarter pound of meat, around some Pepper Jack cheese. I put them on a cooling rack nestled into a cookie sheet and cooked them in the oven. When there were only a few more minutes left to cook, I added some more cheese to the top (what can I say, I really like cheese!). I used a mutli-grain burger roll and some spicy salsa to finish things up.

The hash was made with garlic, jalapeno, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, and the leftover spice mixture from the burgers. I started by pre-cooking the garlic with some olive oil and them added everything else in. I cooked the potatoes on medium heat, covered, for about 15 minutes.

The burger wasn't quite as cooked as I usually like them (I'm a well-done kind of girl, and this was still slightly pink), but it was definitely edible and the others will cook up a bit more during the reheat. Overall though, I think it was a pretty good meal.

I'm going to try to post more often, since I know I've really been slacking. At the very least, you can expect a post about buffalo meatloaf later on this week!

May 02, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Yes, I did go with a cheesy with it =P

After a few weeks of not-quite-characteristic weather (temperature in the 70s in last March, followed by a relatively-chilly April), it's finally getting warm out - in fact, it was 83 degrees today, and shows temperatures in the mid-70s for most of the next week. This excites me greatly, especially because it means that there will soon be things to do at night!

I spent the majority of last summer at various coffee shops for bands, stand-up comedy, and open mic nights. My favorite event last summer was the Wednesday night Open Jazz Jam at Huntington Street Cafe. They're starting up with Tuesday night Open Jazz Jam, Wednesday night Open Bluegrass Jam, and Thursday night Open Mic in a couple of weeks, and I'm so excited!

Today was spent doing schoolwork, although I did walk a block to Dunkin' Donuts to buy an iced coffee and enjoy some sunshine. My semester ends in 2 weeks, so it's time to really hit the books! In fact, other than a Cinco de Mayo dinner at Acapulcos, most off this week will be spent finishing assignments for my online Sociology and Statistics classes and studying for my Chemistry exam on May 16th.

I'm hoping that this summer will bring me many good things to post about - I know that I've been relatively boring lately, what with the lack of updates and all. Although the winter brought posts about eating and cooking, summer will mostly like be about places to go and things to do.

Well, I'm starting to ramble and my textbooks are calling, but I promise that I'll post again in the next 2 weeks!

March 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning

This past week was spring break at the college I'm attending, so I also took a week off from work so that I could do some stuff around the house. The first 2 days were spent fully cleaning my living room and dining room, which included FINALLY unpacking a box that hadn't really been touched since I moved out of my parents' house three years ago.

Today, I'm going through my clothes so that I can see if there's anything I can throw out/donate. While I was folding some t-shirts, my cat decided once again to try catching the bird stickers I have on my bedroom wall. She attempts this every couple of days - the stickers have been up for about 2 1/2 months. You would think that by now she'd realize they aren't going anywhere...

Things are shaping up around the condo, and I've finally found furniture layouts that work for me. I recently rearranged everything in my kitchen cabinets as well, which makes it a bit difficult to find the box of cereal at 6 am, but I'm sure I'll be used to that soon enough. I need to get back on top of posting here, and not just writing about food! Luckily, nice weather is on the way (it's currently 65 degrees outside! In March! It's wonderful!) so I'm sure that'll bring things to do, places to go, etc. But for now...I have to fold and put away clothes. Ah well.

January 26, 2010


I get paid bi-weekly, so last Sunday night I was investigating my refrigerator and cabinets in an effort to figure out what I could eat for the next few days until I got paid (I am terrible with money). I ended up making meat sauce in my crock pot out of a few crumbled burger patties and jars of store-bought sauce. I filled 2 of the empty jars with meat sauce and stuck them in the freezer with plans to make lasagna over the weekend. Because of the way life works, lasagna night ended up being postponed until tonight.

I bought a box of Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles and mostly followed the directions on the back. In addition to the 2 jars of "home made" meat sauce, I used a 15 ox can of store brand tomato sauce for the top and bottom of the lasagna and added some crumbled bacon and chopped vegetables to the layers.

This is, without a doubt, the most delicious lasagna I've ever had in my entire life. The vegetables I used were 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 2 tomatoes (bought on the vine), and 2 cloves of elephant garlic. The peppers stayed relatively crisp instead of getting mushy, and the crumbled bacon really enhanced the flavor of the ground beef in the sauce.

I made an entire tray of this which, according to the Barilla box, will serve 12 people. We'll see about that.

January 17, 2010

Recovering from the Holi-daze

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things, now that the holidays are over and done with and everyone's gone back home. Life's been busy - I'm taking a winter intercession course (only 1 week left) and I've had a couple of projects tying up my time at work. The past couple of weeks all I;ve wanted to do when I got home from work was take a nap or read.

I moved my computer into my living room about a month and a half ago so that I could put wallpaper on my desk as a shelf-liner. I still have one shelf left and then I can stop using my desk for whatever I'm holding when I come through the door and start using it for my computer again. On the plus side, I did manage to put up some pretty awesome wall stickers - doesn't that look neat?

I have a few unfinished decorating projects around here and it's time for me to just get them over with. I'll be doing a major cleaning job this week so that I can finish some stuff up the weekend, like painting frames, touching up my dressers, and possibly even hemming my curtains. Well, maybe not that last part.

Also! Christmas brought me the gift of...a crock pot! I've used it twice now - once for chicken, and once to make meat sauce - and it's amazing. I love coming home and having dinner ready and waiting.

Also! This will most likely be the last time that you're subjected to shoddy camera-phone photography on this blog. My computer had not wanted to cooperate with my camera for a while, but they're finally willing to play nice again, can look forward to that.

This for me to get some sleep - I work tomorrow morning (yes, even though it's a Sunday). I hope you're all doing well!

January 04, 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty

It's been a while since I last posted. I haven't done much cooking lately because of the holidays, although my kitchen now has a food processor, a blender, and a crock pot, so...look forward to new food posts soon. The holidays kept me pretty busy - my cousins were here from Louisiana with their children and two of my best friends were in town, so I was keeping busy. Then I came down with some kind of virus that left me feeling awful for a few days...which meant that I did a lot of reading.

On Christmas, my sisters Colleen and Maggie gave me the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I couldn't put these books down! The series takes place in Victorian England and revolves around a 16-year-old girl named Gemma Doyle who finds out that she has special powers. I loved the characters, and Libba Bray wrote some fantastic dialogue throughout the three books as well.

According to Wikipedia, the first book was going to be turned into a movie but the production company decided against it. I'm crossing my fingers that someone else will pick up the project, because I'd love to see this on screen!

December 13, 2009

Thai-Inspired Chicken

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to write about a Thai-inspired chicken dish I made. Well, it's taken me a while to get around to writing about it because I feel like something's missing from the dish.

I marinated the chicken in coconut milk with minced garlic, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne pepper with the juice from a couple of clementines. The chicken marinated in the refrigerator overnight before. The next evening, I poured the entire container of chicken and marinade into a pot before adding white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, an onion, and a container of store-bought chicken stock. This simmered over low/medium heat for about 3 hours before I served some to myself over white rice.

The dish is sweet from the sweet potatoes, carrots, and coconut milk, and spicy from the cayenne pepper with some added kick from the garlic and onion. However, like I said earlier...something is missing, some kind of savory aspect. I tried this dish several times but was not able to figure out what I needed to add in order to make it well-rounded. I even tried adding some salt, something that I try my best not to cook with.

So, feel free to try making this dish for yourself and tell me what YOU think it needs. All suggestions are welcome!

November 30, 2009

Beef Stew

I knew that I was going to be home all day on Friday, so I decided it was the perfect day to make beef stew. My mom used to always make stew in a crock pot, but I don't have one yet, which meant slow-cooking on the stove. Which meant that I was going to need to stick around to stir occasionally.

I didn't take a picture of the end result because beef stew always just looks like...brown stuff with lumps. Not very appetizing in a photo. This was taken about 15 minutes after the pot was put on the stove.

I used 5 carrots, 5 potatoes, 2 onions, 2 large cloves of garlic, and (of course) a package of stew beef. For the broth, I started with a package of beef stock then added about 3 cups of water - just enough to have everything covered. I added 2 crushed beef bouillon cubes along with cayenne powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Then I put a cover on the pot and left it on the stove, on low heat, for about 5 hours (stirring every 15 minutes).

Once the potatoes and carrots were soft and the meat was tender, I realized that I still needed to thicken the broth/gravy. I really hate trying to thicken with flour (i end up with mini-dumplings), but luckily I had some left-over fried zucchini in the that got tossed into the pot. Another 15 minutes and I had perfect beef stew. I thought that it was delicious and ended up eating quite a lot of it that night before giving the rest away.

My most recent attempts at cooking have been great, so I'm crossing my fingers that tomorrow night's dinner will come out just as well. Check back in later this week to find out about my Thai-inspired chicken creation along with how it turns out!

November 27, 2009

Pumpkin Dip with Cinnamon Chips

To anyone actually taking the time to read this, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, I work in a department that requires 24/7 staffing, so I worked yesterday with a few other people, but I wanted to make things a little bit special, so on Wednesday night I had my friend Kate over and we made a recipe I'd found on YouTube.

The end result was a creamy, sweet pumpkin dip with cinnamon tortilla chips. Although the majority of it was packed up and brought to work, Kate and I had a little picnic right on my kitchen floor (you can see us in the picture - I'm the sneaker at the bottom, she's the sneaker at the top). We had already been drinking store-bought sangria, which somehow complimented the dip, even though I never would have paired them together otherwise.

I brought the chips and dip to work with me, where the one coworker brave enough to give it a try loved it. Because I still had a good deal left over, I brought them to my aunt's house after work for Thanksgiving dinner, and ended up emailing the recipe and the video it came from to my aunts and my grandmother. It seemed to be a pretty big hit! Even my sister Maggie, who doesn't like pumpkin, gave it a try and said it was good.

For the video, go to

November 18, 2009

Danny's Drive-In

Last night, after spending an extra hour and a half at work, I came home and found that I didn't want to eat anything that I had in my kitchen. I decided to go down the street to Danny's Drive-In to get something for dinner.

view from the register

Danny's Drive-In has a pretty simple menu - burgers, hot dogs, fries, and onion rings. I had been to the original location in Stratford before, but I'd never been to the one in downtown Shelton (not even three blocks from my condo). I decided that a burger was just what I needed, so I grabbed my wallet and keys and headed down the street.

 I ended up ordering a patty melt and onion rings, which I brought home with me. While I waited for my food to be ready, I looked at the old ads hanging on one wall and the framed articles on another. After about 10 minutes, my food was all set, so I took it and went home.

It was delicious.

For the restaurant's website, go to

November 16, 2009

Sweet and Savory Pasta Salad

Over the past 2 years, I've become a Food Network junkie. It's gotten to the point where if I'm at home and there's nothing really going on, I'll have the TV on, turned to Food Network. When I first got cable hooked up at my current apartment, I ended up sleeping on the couch for a week because I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen. This has lead to some interesting food combinations in the kitchen, which is strange because I'm a bit picky when it comes to what I eat. Luckily, the majority of these dishes have been delicious, and the ones that didn't quite make the cut were flavorless rather than disgusting.

Even though I enjoy cooking (especially when I'm angry or stressed), I have trouble seeing the point in cooking a nice meal if I'm the only one who's going to eat it. But, now I can share my culinary adventures with the entire world, right here on my blog! So without further ado, here's tonight's dinner...

Sweet and Savory Pasta Salad

- 1 box of shell pasta
- 1 package of Al Fresco All Natural's precooked sweet apple chicken sausage
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small/pickling cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 6 or 7 baby carrots
- 6 slices of microwavable bacon
- 4 oz Colby Jack cheese
- Italian dressing, ground cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper to taste

First I took about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and added a bit of cayenne, garlic, and onion powders to it before stirring them together. I set my oven to 350 degrees and sprayed some Pam in a small loaf pan. I took the sausages out of their package and arranged them in the pan, cutting 3 slits in the top of each one. I them sprinkled some of the cinnamon mixture along the top of each sausage before sticking the pan in the oven. The sausages were in the oven for about 20 minutes.

While the sausages were in the oven, I boiled water for the pasta before adding the box of shells. These cooked for about 12 minutes - long enough to have a nice softness while still maintaining their shape. I strained the shells and rinsed them with cold water before returning them to the pot, where I mixed in just enough Italian dressing to keep the individual noodles from sticking together. After this was done, I removed the sausages from the oven to let them cool.

While the pasta had been boiling, I started chipping my vegetables. First I peeled the cucumber and then I seeded it with a grapefruit spoon. I then cut the red pepper into strips. I diced the pepper and the cucumber and tossed the pieces together in a bowl. I then took 6 fat baby carrots which  I halved and sliced before adding them to the rest of the veggies.

Next I took the Granny Smith apple and cut it into eighths. After removing the core/seeds, I cut the sliced in half lengthwise before dicing them. I laid them out in a Pyrex dish and squeezed the juice of a lemon on top before sprinkling the rest of my cinnamon mixture on top. Then I cut the sausage up into small pieces and stirred it together with the apples, at which point I used a slotted spoon to scoop the apples and sausage into a frying pan.

I put the pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the sausage and apples were cooking on the stove, I cut the colby jack into 1/4" cubes and added it to the bowl of vegetables from earlier. I took a plate and covered it with a layer of paper towel, on which I arranged the 6 slices of bacon. I put another piece of paper towel on top of the bacon and weighted it with a second plate. I microwaved this for 60 seconds to make sure that the bacon was nice and crisp. by this point, the apples and sausage were done cooking as well.

I took a large bowl and layered the different components as follows:
- half of the pasta
- half of the apples and sausage
- half of the veggies and cheese
- 3 slices of bacon (crumbled)
- 3 tablespoons of Italian dressing
- rest of the pasta
- rest of the apples and sausage
- rest of the vegetables and cheese
- rest of the bacon (crumbled)

I then mixed everything together with a wooden spoon, took the picture I posted above, and served myself a bowl for dinner. I thought it was a really delicious meal, and I hope that if you make it you'll enjoy it too!

November 15, 2009

Introduction and Ikea

Hello and welcome to my blog! I'm assuming that you already know who I am, so I'm not going to really say much about myself here. This blog is really just going to be about things that I like, whether it's places to go or things to do. In addition, I'll probably be posting recipes (when I actually cook) and pictures of the various ways that I've slowly been decorating my apartment.

I went to Ikea today with my friends Jen and Erim. We had a blast together, like always. Of course, while we were there we had to pick up a few things - I mean, what's the point in going if you don't spend money, right? Not that it's necessary to empty your wallet every time you go, but I did have a few things I wanted/needed to get.

Here's what I got:

Kort art card in "Fruits" - $5.00 for 5 cards. When I was growing up, my parents' kitchen had fruit-patterned wallpaper and vegetable-shaped measuring cups hanging on the walls, which I always secretly thought was kind of cool. My kitchen currently feels a bit bland and undecorated, so these were cut down to size and placed in...

Ram frame - $1.99 for 3 frames (2 packages purchased). I have these on my kitchen counter now and I just have to figure out if I want to put any kind of paint/finish on the frames and where to mount them.

Sigrid dish towels - $3.99 for 2.

Sigrid pot holders - $3.99 for 2. Ikea has a few other things in this line, including an apron that I almost bought today before reminding myself that I don't actually need one.

Rotera tea light lantern - $4.99. I bought this to keep Jen and Erim from calling me "Miss Scroogey" after I admitted that I have absolutely no intentions of getting a Christmas tree...something that Jen insists will be happening, whether I want it to or not.

Of course, there were a couple of things that I really really wanted to buy, but just couldn't afford. My cat managed to break/rip a photo-print that I had from Ikea that was a few years old which I had been planning to hang in my dining room but hadn't gotten around to yet. In addition, I have these big empty spaces on my living room walls that I would really love to fill.

What I want for Christmas:

Pjätteryd set - $89.99 for 3 pictures - this would look great in my dining room, which is 2 shades of green with white chair-rail molding.

Premiär - $199.99 - this would go on the tan walls of my living room and would really compliment my furniture, which is beige with a tan, light blue, and olive green rose pattern.

Ah well...I can always hope, right?