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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yay!



I passed my exam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am beyond excited, and inside I am jumping for joy!  In reality though, I really just want to sleep for a good two days and then catch up on my magazine reading.  Oh Thanksgiving break is going to be soooooo glorious :)

Oh yes, and I made my cornbread stuffing for this past weekend, but I never took a picture because I was in a HUGE RUSH.  This is the recipe I base it on, but as you can see, the directions aren't actually too helpful.  Last year, when I made this for Christmas, I made a box of Trader Joe's cornbread to use as the base and I ended up needing to triple the amount of liquid.
It.  Was. Amazing.
This time I went to the grocery store and bought pre-made corn muffins, but even then I needed to add more liquid.  Either way, I need to write down some sort of recipe to use, because I love the combination.  I think using cornbread vs. corn muffins is a good idea because it's a little less sweet.

As for my homemade cranberry sauce, I use this recipe, which is the easiest recipe of all time!  It might be a nice with a bit of orange zest in there?

Anyway, have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving - and enjoy your day(s) off!

- Nakiya

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Morning Haiku

Finished your menu
Created your tablescape*
Come on Thanksgiving!!

So what is everyone's plan for Thanksgiving?  Are you hosting?  Are you making your special dish, and if so - what is it?  

My friends and I are having our own Thanksgiving this Sunday and I am making cornbread and caramelized onion stuffing and some homemade cranberry sauce.  I will post the recipes this weekend after I make them.

Thankfully, I am not hosting actual Thanksgiving, otherwise I would have gone officially insane.  I am taking a big exam** on Tuesday (which is why I've hardly been posting - I've been studying!) so I really REALLY can't wait to just RELAX.  I am planning on watching all of the earlier Harry Potter movies and then going to see the new one (!).  I am also going to decorate my house (YAYAYAYA!) and maybe paint?  Or perhaps I will just play Lego Harry Potter on XBOX instead.  Either way, it's going to be a glorious break! :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful break and a lovely Thanksgiving - safe travels!



*My small ode to Sandra Lee, first crazy lady of New York and cookbooks

** A professional licensing exam that I actually should have taken right after I received my Master's Degree 4 YEARS AGO.  Needless to say I've had to re-learn and re-memorize concepts I haven't even thought about in 4 years.  It's been rough. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks, Martha!

Or, should I say Sirius?

Sirius and Martha Stewart are offering a FREE download of her 2010 Martha Living Thanksgiving Recipes.  It's a 63 page pdf with gorgeous photography and yummy recipes for your Thanksgiving meal!

Inside you will find recipes for:
Soups and Starters
Turkey/Entrees
Sides and Salads
Desserts
Cocktails

You should check it out!

I annoy myself sometimes



I have a really annoying habit.  I am trying to control it, and every once in a while I do, but then for weeks on end I go back to it.

My habit? I buy my morning coffee.  

What is wrong with me?  I have a perfectly awesome coffee machine at my house....and yet I still manage to find myself in line at Dunkin Donuts.  They know me so well now that they hand me my order as soon as I walk up to the counter.  This has just GOT TO STOP.  Sure, it's less than $2 a day, but compared to what it costs when I buy my own coffee beans...that is RIDICULOUS.

Maybe by declaring my habit to the world, it will be the impetus I need to stop  :)

And since we're (well, I'm) getting it all out there, I am also really annoyed that I kept hitting snooze for about an hour this morning and didn't wake up to work out because I felt "too tired."  Of course I was too tired!  It's the morning!  I am tired whether it's 5am or 8am and whether I get 5 hours of sleep or 10 hours!  BLAH.

Do you have any annoying habits that you wish you could break?  Spill the (coffee) beans!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NON FOOD RELATED, BUT HARRY POTTER RELATED

OMG

SHORT OF GOING TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE BEST WAY TO SPEND A SATURDAY.

I JUST GOT THIS PRESS RELEASE, I AM TOO EXCITED TO EDIT IT, SO YOU WILL GET IT ALL IN FULL.

MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER, I WILL LOVE YOU NOW AND FOREVER.


The Maryland Science Center's Harry Potter Day celebration is this Saturday, November 20th as we kick off the opening weekend of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the IMAX Theater.

Join the fun from Noon until 4pm as you explore a day in the life at Hogwarts. Attend potions and herbology classes, explore the night sky over Hogwarts in the Davis Planetarium, take your turn at the sorting hat to see which house you'll be joining and make your own crest to take with you.  Follow the marauder's map on a hunt throughout the Science Center to find horcruxes hidden around the building.

Of course, the day isn't complete without seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the IMAX Theater.  Show times are at 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Saturday—advance sales available online and at the box office.

So grab your wand and your cloak and get to Platform 9 3/4 for a trip to the Maryland Science Center's Harry Potter Day this Saturday.

All activities free with paid admission—free for members.  IMAX Theater admission requires and additional ticket.















Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yum, I loooove Pie!

Today's Groupon almost made me perk up without my morning coffee on this gray day.  Half off a pie from Puffs and Pastries ($15 for $30)?  Where do I sign up.

Don't you just love the name of that place?  Puffs and Pastries.  Love it.

Important Details: Expires May 17, 2011.  Limit 1 per person, but may buy 2 additional; as gifts.  Must order your pie by phone at least 24-hours in advance.

I am already imagining the rush of people flocking to pick up a pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's just one less thing to worry about :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Morning Haiku



Today is the last day
To vote for the Sun's Mobbies
Thanks for your support!

Well, we are finally at the last day of voting.  I thought the voting process was WAY too drawn out and long, which is why I hardly asked you to vote for me (unless you were my friend, and then I bugged you every day hahahaha).  Even so, if you did vote - thank you so much, I really appreciate it.  I am honored that people read my blog about all my random food chatter, and I don't need to win an award to feel that way.  

I know I've haven't been so active lately, but I've got a lot of stuff going on right now that should be finished before Thanksgiving. Until then, I may be a little scatterbrained/non-existent.  
Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe: Homemade Clif Nectar Bar

Back when I used to think Clif Bars were delicious treats rather than exercise fuel, I loved the one and only Dark Chocolate and Walnut Nectar Bar. 

But then all of a sudden I couldn't find them ANYWHERE, so I became super sad :( Then one day I found a recipe for it and FINALLY made it!!!!!

Homemade Clif Nectar Bar
Adapted from here
20 dates (any kind), pitted
1/2 cup walnuts
2oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2.5tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
1. Put walnuts in food processor and pulverize into small pieces.
2. Add the dates with the walnuts in the food processor, and combine until there are tiny pieces (remember, you don't want a paste, just crumbles)
3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or double boiler if you want to get fancy)
4. Add melted chocolate, cocoa and vanilla to the processor and blend
5. At this point, the mixture should be crumbly, but should stick together in a smooth ball
6. Put mixture into 8x8 brownie pan (no need to grease) and use your hands to press it down. 
7. Dust with cocoa powder to make it less sticky
8. Bake at 300 degrees for about 12 minutes
9.  Cool them in the pan and then cut them into pieces.

Very crumbly, and yes, it was very hard to take a pretty picture of this hahaha

Overall, it's reallllllllllllly yummy.  If you melted a Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar and then crumbled it into pieces, it would taste like this. 

Debriefing:
I think they tasted much better the morning after, especially after working out. (Yes, that's right I am actually waking up early to work out, go me!) But this recipe definitely needs to be amended to avoid the crumbles.  I am assuming they would come out better if they were baked in a much smaller pan, so that it isn't such a thin layer.  Or perhaps they would be better if I rolled them into little balls?  Or perhaps the ingredients need to be adjusted.  The original recipe called for 20 dates, but all dates are not created equal - mine were especially small....so that could be another reason. 

Either way, these may not be pretty, but they are DARN tasty if you want a healthy (and super quick) treat, so I don't mind testing and re-testing :)  And even though this is somewhat of an imperfect recipe (the taste is great, the presentation not so much), I still wanted to share it because I thought maybe some of you expert Chefs out there can help me tweak it to achieve the perfect result!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Morning Haiku



Remember to set
Your clocks back before bedtime
Yay for morning light!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Tony Foreman, restaurateur extraordinaire in Baltimore, along with his wife, Chef Cindy Wolf.  They own Pazo, Charleston, Cinghiale, Petit Louis, Bin 604 and Bin 201.  That is A LOT of stuff to take care of, but he seems to thrive on being busy.  It was so interesting to hear him talk about his early life and the business of owning a restaurant.  

One thing that really stood out to me was his emphasis on treating customers well.  He is aware that his restaurants, most notably, Charleston, are expensive, so he believes that the staff should treat the guests like they are pleased they are there.  I actually agree that when Dan and I went to Petit Louis, our waiter did exactly that. 

Anyway, now I am VERY intrigued about going to Charleston, but we'll have to save up for a couple of months for that treat.  Has anyone been there - what do you think about it?  Any comments about Foreman and Wolf's other restaurants?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

APPLE BUTTER IS SO GOOD

I have good intentions, I really do!  I was planning on spending a whole weekend making apple butter from scratch and smelling those amazing aromas waft through my house.

But when I went to Weber's Farm to get the apples and cider, I came across their own homemade Apple Butter for $2.99.  I immediately put back my 10 apples (which were $1.99/lb) and my $3.29 1/2 gallon jug of apple cider and went on my merry way, after paying of course :)

Oh, and that apple butter is GOOD! 

I've added a big heaping spoonful (or two) to cottage cheese
I've had it on toast
I've used it to make apple butter whole wheat bread
I've even spread it on my apple butter whole wheat bread!!!!

Suffice it to say, that was $3 well spent.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have you voted yet?



.......for me in the Mobbies 2010 under Best Food Blog?

ahahaha, see what I did there?

No, but seriously - I hope you voted or are planning to vote in the real election, and if you are so inclined, perhaps you could be so kind as to vote for me in the Baltimore Sun's 2010 Mobbies (Maryland's Outstanding Blogs).  

I was nominated (THANK YOU!) in the Foodie category with 39 other blogs!  WOW!  I am so excited we have so many food blogs!  I better start adding them to my blogroll!

Voting is open from today until November 12th at 5pm and you can vote once per day. Here is the link to vote!

Thanks again!!!!! :)
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