I got asked by one of my favorite bloggers Stephie at Eat Your Heart Out to take part in this getting to know you game. Since I am still new to this whole blogging thing, I thought why not!
Here’s how it works:
1. Remember to post the rules!
2. Share 12 things about yourself your readers don’t already know.
3. Answer the questions presented by the person tagging you.
4. Ask 12 questions of your own, and tag others to play along (tag 12 if you can, but 6 is totally fine, too).
5. Be sure to comment on the blogs of those you’ve tagged to let them know they’re in!
Here we go…
12 Things You Didn’t Know (And Maybe Don’t Want To Know) About Me
1. Totally afraid of the dentist. I had a lot of cavities as a kid. I then went from braces to retainers. I still cry before every visit.
2. I hate brussell sprouts. I do not understand the latest resurgence of this mini cabbage food trend. Yuck!
3. It takes me a long time to finish a book. I read before I go to bed and only make it through maybe a chapter before I start to snooze.
4. I wish I had at least two more pugs. If only my husband wasn’t allergic, one is bad enough.
5. I am a huge science nerd. I have a degree in Environmental Health. I love biology but strongly dislike chemistry and physics.
6. I have an unhealthy addiction to reality TV.
7. I love black and white movies. My favorites are It’s A Wonderful Life, Philadelphia Story, Harvey, and Top Hat.
8. I have never broken a bone (knock on wood).
9. I have a bucket list that I wrote in my junior high diary, which goes as follows:
-Learn how to play the drums.
-Go to Italy.
-Get a pug named Weezer.
10. I was in a sorority in college. Yes, I am a closeted “Woo Girl.”
11. Thank God my husband is an English teacher and is kind enough to edit all my ramblings because I really suck at grammar.
12. I have never been happier doing what I am doing right now! I love where I am in my life.
Here are the answers to my questions from Stephie at Eat Your Heart Out.
If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would it be?
I love living in Chicago, but given the chance to leave it all…well not all of it, I guess my pug Weezer and my husband Mike would have to come along too, right? I would love to go toItaly. I could see myself walking with Weezer and Mike along the cobbled stone streets. I would love to learn the language. And the food!!!! Oh my God! A small table outside, a bottle of good Italian red wine, and a crusty loaf of fresh bread with some olive oil-That is my heaven!
What is your favorite recipe that you have blogged (and why)?
My favorite recipe on the blog is not the most glamorous. It is My Grandfater’s Cabbage Rolls. It is a smelly hearty dish that is near and dear to my heart because it is a dish my dziadzia (pronounced Jah-Jah, means grandfather in Polish) made all the time. His cooking wasn’t anything fancy, it was just good and made you feel at home. My dziadzia passed away almost four years and it still is tough to deal with on occasion. Through making his food and sharing some of his stories, I feel his presence once again.
You can choose one book or movie to live in…which one is it?
Mine is a book first and then a movie second, Harry Potter. Come on, every kid dreams about a magical world. I might be more of a big kid than you all realize!
What is your go-to entertaining meal?
I love cheese platters and antipasto platters. You just go to a store, buy some fancy cheeses, olives, deli meats, bread, and lay it out nicely on a platter-Voila! Ten minutes later you are ready for guests.
Are there any blogs that inspired you to start yours? What was it about them that got you interested?
I really haven’t been blogging for very long, so I am still learning how all this goes and who’s who in the blogging world. But the blog that I first stumbled upon that really caught my eye and made me laugh out loud was How Sweet It Is. Jessica’s voice was very relatable and warm. After having a few rough months at a job I didn’t like, finding her blog and then the whole food blogging community on Foodbuzz, was like a jolt of happy lightening. I am also currently in love with Joy the Baker. I feel like if you can make somebody laugh out loud, have tears in their eyes, and make you feel like you are their best friend all while writing about baked goods, you are a genius in my book! Plus, I actually think we could be friends in real life.
True confession time: Are you a shower singer?
Heck yeah! I have a horrible voice but on occasion I will bust out a Whitney, Mariah, or Gaga jam in the shower.
What is the worst kitchen disaster you have ever had?
Baking literally causes me panic attacks. I just don’t have a keen knack for baking. Any recipe with yeast usually ends up disastrous for me. Maybe I live in an alternate climate pocket where it is impossible for dough to rise…Yeah, let’s say that’s the reason. Other than that, I have set my oven on fire, I have smoked out my house, I have under-fried chicken with oil that was too hot, sliced through a finger, and grated off the occasional knuckle or nail. No biggie!
Scary movies: can you handle them?
Nope. Still having nightmares from the first Paranormal Activity.
Where do you draw inspiration for your recipes?
Seriously everywhere. I make things I have always wanted to try and been too scared, like a four-layer birthday cake. I make old family recipes that I know like the back of my hand. I try to make new takes on standard recipes. I try to balance healthy with the totally not healthy. I have a recipe notebook in my purse that I am constantly scribbling in.
What is the best gift you have ever received and why?
When I was a little big-headed child of six, I was shopping with my grandma and mom. My grandma said I could pick any doll or stuffed animal as a present. There were dolls and teddy bears up and down the aisle. I, to this day do not know why I chose this…creature. I smiled and picked up this stuffed anteater. I named him Arty and have had him with me through every overnight camp adventure to every night away at college.
What are your true feelings regarding snow?
I like it to a point. After Christmas and New Years, I feel there is no need for sow anymore.
What is your favorite childhood memory and why?
I am very lucky to have a lot of favorite childhood memories. All of them are with my brothers. I consider them two of my best friends, biggest fans, and also most annoying critics. But, one of my favorite things we used to do was put on lip-synching concerts in the back yard and kitchen to Beach Boys and Beatles songs. We would play air guitar, pretend the lawn chairs were surfboards, and put on little shows for our parents. It is a small silly memory, but an image that truly encapsulates my childhood.
12 Questions for my Fellow Food Bloggers
What is your least favorite food?
You are dying tomorrow. What is the last meal you would eat?
If you could be any person besides yourself, living or dead, who would it be and why?
If you were a competitive eater, what would you eat?
Give a shout out to your favorite blog of the moment.
Would you rather eat Italian food for the rest of your life or Mexican food?
If you were a Food Network star, who would you be and why?
What is the spiciest food you have ever eaten?
Are you more of a Beatles or Rolling Stones fan?
What is your favorite TV show?
Why do you blog?
Who in your life is your biggest cooking influence?
Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny
Julie @ Table For Two
Karla @ Foodologie
Yuri @ Chef Pandita
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
Lynn@ Order In The Kitchen
I hope you all have learned way too much information about how weird I really am. While you are cruising the net today, check out the lovely blogs mentioned in my post.
See you guys tomorrow with a return to the cooking!
A Virtual Dinner Party to Celebrate Mad Men and The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook
I seriously love the show Mad Men. So, when I was contacted by one of the cookbook’s authors, Judy Gelman, to take part in this dinner party, you can imagine my excitement.
Watching the show, I am always blown away by the amount of importance placed upon appearances. It is visible in everything from the costumes the characters wear to the food and cocktails prepared in the show. The writers do a good job showing you the outward beauty of the time along with the political and home issues going on behind closed doors.
I like to think I would have been similar to Peggy Olson; a strong-willed, witty woman, with a kind of jacked-up fashion sense, challenging rules in the work place. Just to be around during the time of “Camelot” and Jackie O. would have been so interesting. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest being a woman, but I think I would have faired pretty well.
Browsing through this cookbook not only made me hungry, but also made me wish I lived during the time period when martinis, blini and caviar, wedge salads, chicken kiev, and pineapple upside down cakes were present in any house on any given night of the week!
I chose to “bring” the Classic Shrimp Cocktail and Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake to the dinner party. There are still so many recipes in this book I have dog-earred, to try at a later date.
Another reason I am so happy to test out a few of these recipes is that I want to host a Mad Men themed Halloween party. Now, I don’t have to take notes on the meals being served in the show, because I have this awesome cookbook!
The Classic Shrimp Cocktail
Ingredients for the Shrimp
36 Medium/Large Shrimp
1 Thick Lemon Slice
3 Sprigs of Parsley
1 Peeled Onion
1 Teaspoon of salt
Ingredients for the Cocktail Sauce
¾ Cup Chili Sauce
2-3 Tablespoons Horseradish
2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon Grated Onion
¼ Teaspoon Salt
Few Drops of Tabasco Sauce
1 Prepare the shrimp: Shrimp may be shelled and cleaned before or after cooking, by peeling off the shell, rinsing off any grit, and removing the black vein down the back. Leave shrimp tails in tact.
2. Pour enough water to cover the shrimp in a saucepan. Add lemon, parsley, onion, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil and add the shrimp. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size, until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Do not overcook. Drain and chill shrimp until ready to serve.
3. Make cocktail sauce: Combine all cocktail sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix and refrigerate.
Seriously, how cool does this appetizer look? I could snack on these little guys all day!
In my house, we are skipping right to dessert with Lindy’s Cherry Cheesecake. Because what’s better than dessert? And what screams New York better than a cherry cheesecake!
Ingredients for the Cookie Crust
1 Cup Sifted All-Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Peel
¼ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 Egg Yolk
½ Cup Butter
Ingredients for the Cheese Filling
2 ½ Pounds Cream Cheese
1 ¾ Cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ Teaspoons GratedOrangePeel
1 ½ Teaspoons Grated Lemon Peel
¼ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
5 Eggs, Plus 2 Egg Yolks
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
For the Topping
1, 21-ounce Can Cherry Pie Filling
1. Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla. Make a well in the center and add egg yolk and butter. Work together quickly with hands until well blended. Wrap in waxed paper and chill thoroughly in refrigerator for at least an hour.
2. Make the cheese filling: In the large bowl of a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange and lemon peel, and vanilla. Add whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, stirring lightly after each addition. Stir in cream.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide dough in half. Roll one half on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Place over oiled or buttered bottom of 9-inch springform cake pan. Trim excess dough. Reassemble pan and butter or oil sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a light golden color. Cool. Increase temperature to 475 degrees.
4. Butter or oil interior sides of cake form and place over base. Press remaining dough against sides of pan. Fill form with cheese mixture and bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour. Let the cake cool for at least two hours.
5. When cool, spoon cherry filling over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
I hope you all will join me in an after dinner cocktail and continue this Mad Men themed dinner party all the way until next Sunday for the premiere of the new season. Cheers!
Do you know what I love? Mini White Castle Burgers!
Eww, you say? I am not writing about the ones you are thinking of, clearly!
The burgers you are thinking about have been nothing but a good idea at the time for me and my friends and then a deep seeded regret the next morning. I will spare you all the gory details, but I think you know what I am talking about.
Chicken rings? Seriously? How is that something that is good and wholesome and actually exists in nature?
Anyway, without going off on a tangent there…You know what else I love?
Seriously! I think that if everybody high fived their significant other more often (Mom and Dad you are included in this too!) I think they would have waaaaay happier relationships!
If you are anything like me, you are probably not sold on this idea. I was like you once, a very long time ago, when I first started dating my now husband.
He is, and always was, all about high fives. At first that was a very big deal breaker for me. How could you be in a relationship with the “High Five Guy?”
But after a while, it kind of went from this annoying habit to a “lighten any situation” ritual.
Think about it. How could you not smile when somebody genuinely gives you a high five? My nieces love it!
Try it today with your significant other or in a tense moment (not at work though, I would feel bad if a high five got you fired)…. The high five is the food equivalent of these little sliders-Always a good idea!
Ingredients (Makes 24 Mini Burgers)
1 lb. Ground Beef, browned and drained (I also made these with ground bison, which was so tender and amazing!)
1 8oz. Sour Cream
1 pkg. Onion Soup Mix
24 Mini-Burger Buns/12 Slider Rolls
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.
Spread mixture on mini buns/rolls.
Put on a pickle, cheese, or both.
Cover with foil and bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees.
Finally, give your significant partner a high five and enjoy the heck out of these little burgers without worrying about how they will make you feel the next day!
While eating dinner the other night, and basking in the beautiful sunlight and warm breeze coming in through the back door, my husband decided to go all Debbie Downer on me.