Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a contest

i know i don't post much anymore, but i wanted to share this awesome contest.

Cleveland's a Plum 1,000th Post Giveaway Extravaganza!

sooooo much food!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

a time to be thankful

as this holiday season winds down, i wanted to take a moment to talk about how thankful i am for all of the wonderful parts of my life that help me to wake up with a smile in the morning.  i am writing to remind everyone that while there are undoubtedly frustrating parts of the holidays, whether it be the family member you have to see that you don't get along with, or maybe it's the gift you wanted but didn't receive, or perhaps it's the 2011 new years resolution that was never accomplished, whatever it may be, this is not the time to focus on what we have lost, but instead a time to focus on all the things that enrich our lives.  the next time you are faced with a challenge this holiday season, i invite you to think of just one thing or one person you feel fortunate for in your life.  then i want you to think about someone out there that has gone through a recent loss and will have a void in their holidays this season.  be thankful for what you have and try to make the best of every situation. 

perhaps instead of going out to eat one night, you can help out a recent widow who is struggling to pay their bills and donate to the Liz Logelin Foundation.  or maybe you are an animal lover like me, and then i advise you to donate to your local animal shelter.  even if you buy a bag of dog food to donate, it's the small steps that make the big difference.  almost all animal shelters have a list of items they need year round.  there are many families that cannot afford dinner and will have empty plates this holiday season, so please think of places like the Los Angeles Mission, where just $38.57 can help to feed 19 people.

if you don't have money to donate this year, then volunteer your time if you can.  i have had many rewarding experiences through volunteer work.  i also want to mention that i received a gift last year that a donation had been made in my name to an animal shelter, which truly touched me, and for all of you last minute shoppers out there, this is a wonderful gift idea.

happy holidays everyone :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

the great food blogger cookie swap !

so i decided to participate in the great food blogger cookie swap this year, which i found out about through the lovely blog love and olive oil.  i've been following this blog for quite some time now and when lindsay posted about a cookie swap, i had some hesitations because i know how busy december can be, but after talking with my friend jessi, i decided to participate with her help.  we both love baking so it seemed like a natural fit to do this together.  after looking around for cookie inspiration, we ultimately decided to stick with what we know, or rather what jessi knows, and made her grandmother's buttermilk lady locks.  jessi just learned how to make these not too long ago and she said they were a lot of work, but i figured she was exaggerating and we would be finished in a couple hours.  this is not true, these cookies are A LOT of work and we spent the bulk of our friday making them, but it's work well worth it for the final product.  i should also note we took a two hour break that friday to eat indian for lunch & decorate our shipping boxes.  so here is the recipe:


2 cups flour + more for rolling out dough
1/2 lb soft margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream

-In medium bowl cut margarine into flour and salt mixture.  In large bowl mix buttermilk and sour cream together.  add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture.  refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours.  divide dough into 3 parts.  roll 1 part at a time into a rectangle and cut down the middle horizontally, lengthwise, across rectangle.  cut strips 1 inch wide.  wrap strips around foil covered clothespins, overlapping slightly

-bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins or until light brown.  remove pins right way and cool before filling.  dust with powdered sugar.  

Icing Filling:
1 cup milk
2 tbs corn starch
-mix in pot and cook until thick.  remove from heat and allow to cool

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup crisco
-cream together with beater

pour cold paste into creamed mixture and beat together for a long time.

*this recipe is exactly as grandma told jessi via the phone, so yes it is a bit short and lacking the modern detail of other recipes, but that's what makes it great.  as we were making the cookies, jessi actually said she wasn't sure she was doing any of the steps right, she was just doing what she thought was right, as her grandma did not actually show her how to make them
so here are some things we noted to try for next time or to keep in mind for next time:
-we think we would use butter instead of margarine next time.  my aunt makes a delicious frosting very similar to the filling for the lady locks and she uses butter, not margarine, so we thought it would be worth trying out.
-investing in proper lady lock rolling devices.  we used clothing pins like these covered in foil, which worked okay but we found that after a few uses the clothing pin foil started to come off.  i googled what other people used and i found the ones below.  i think it would be worth the investment.  jessi said it was a real pain in the butt to make the foil clothes pins as well.
-the other thing we did not do was dust them with powered sugar at the end.  i thought they were plenty sweet as is without the dusting, but i tend to like a bit of salt with my sweet, so keep that in mind.

for the cookies i received i shared with jessi of course, and we got an adapted thomas keller cookies (chocolate chip, almond & marshmallow), peanut butter chocolate cookies & white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  they were all really great :) i would definitely participate again next year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


so i've been a lazy blogger, but i've had so much exciting stuff going on!  besides having two new babies come into my life (mary ryzner & avi gennert) i finally made it to the proper west coast :) i've been to arizona before but now i can add seattle and vancouver to my list.  michael and i traveled first to seattle for a wedding and then spent the following week in vancouver.  it was a much needed vacation and a really special time with michael :) i hope to make it back again one day!  so for my lack of blogging, please enjoy some of my vancouver food related pictures...

 the wedding cake!

other dessert goodies

this is the only food picture i managed to take at the wedding, but i wish i had more.  honestly, the BEST wedding food i have ever eaten.  i would happily order my entree at any restaurant.

awww, aren't we cute?  my dress matched the flowers almost too well...

breakfast at local 360 in seattle..... this was really good!

beautiful vancouver :)

i forgot to take a picture of the sushi before we started eating.  it was a long day and i was STARVING.  needless to say, this plate was cleared.

i ate a japadog !!!!  i hate hot dogs, but i felt like i needed to try a japadog.  if anthony bourdain says it's good, i'm in.

so begins my favorite meal in vancouver at chez meme.  obviously a good start to any meal is hot chocolate. i wish i could eat like this everyday!  just a really happy moment in time.

this was michael's meal.  i made him order the salad for his side because he was already getting a full portion of french onion soup as an app so i wanted some salad :)

the french onion soup !

this was my meal!!  the soup was tomato yam & cilantro, and it was AMAZING.  then i had a ham & brie sandwich.  i don't normally like ham but when i researched this place online everyone said this was the sandwich to get, and it was really tasty.

so we went to this cute little diner called templeton that served all organic food, but kept it real with the diner theme.  we were actually there for our last meal in vancouver and it just so happened to be the saturday before halloween, so we had some good people watching while we ate.

and michael would insist i include this picture in the list because he is still talking about these little guys... not my cup of tea, but maybe it's yours?

so i could have done a better job of taking pictures of more of our delicious food, but usually i was too busy enjoying the moment to get out my camera and i'm okay with that.  looking forward to my next adventure with michael :)  next summer we already have a trip to nyc & a trip to south carolina planned but who knows.  i'd love to go to spain !!

Friday, October 7, 2011

birthday !

so it's michael's birthday again!  well, it was michael's birthday as the day has passed now.  but we had quite the celebration, a clam bake feast with his family.  michael's grandma and i took on the dessert for the meal and she made a lovely coconut cake, complete with 7 minute frosting!  michael had requested a cake with raspberries, nuts & chocolate.  this was kind of an odd request, but i had remembered seeing a cake on smitten kitchen that covered all of the based. so the  almond raspberry layer cake came alive!  i have made cupcakes in the past using almond paste as an ingredient and michael went crazy for them so i knew this would be the perfect cake.  as far as filling i actually added in a vanilla bean buttercream and then topped that with raspberry jam for one layer, and then did the same vanilla buttercream for the next layer but this time i topped that with strawberry jam.  i have to admit, there were two open jars of each kind of jam in the fridge and it was just easier to finish them both up rather than opening new jars!  michael strongly dislikes wasting food, so i thought he would appreciate that little gesture.  also, we made both jams together so that added a bit of love into the cake :)


voila!  the finished product.  i actually took this picture in the car on the way over.  i tend to forget to take finished product pictures and i figured i better do it while it was on my mind.  

we had dinner at michael's sister sarah's house and she had this lovely little fall table set up.  

THE CLAMS!!!  i don't like clams at all, but i pretended that i was just like everyone else and made my little table setting with them.  michael happily ate my leftovers.

and one more shot of the happy birthday boy with his cake !! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the garlic bake off !

i was asked by north union farmer's market to participate in a garlic bake off at this year's garlic festival.  while i am happy to say i took home second place, i don't think this is something i would do again in the future.  i don't feel the need to go into too much detail, but i walked away from the experience a little confused about some things and without much confidence in the event. regardles, let's get back to the cupcake!  i decided to make a rosemary roasted garlic cupcake with a bittersweet ganache frosting.  i am just thrilled to death about these little guys!  they were so tasty.  i went through quite a few trial runs on these and i never received any negative feedback.  people seemed shocked that they could love garlic in a dessert so much.  it just goes to show the endless possibilities in baking with savory ingredients.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


so i recently went blueberry picking at black river organics!  i had never been before and i can't wait to go again next year.  michael and i woke up bright and early to beat the crowds as it's nearing the end of the season and it was just us and old couple for the first hour.  once it got to be around 1030 though, the place was filled!   we walked away with a little over 10lbs and then scooted off to the lakewood art's festival where we were sharing a booth.  get your cupcakes & messenger bags!  hey, it works.

after the long day finished we sorted our blueberries & made some jam!  admittedly neither of us really like blueberry jam, but we made some nonetheless.  we kept the majority of the berries frozen for later snacking.  for our jam recipe, we really try not to use any sort of thickening agents and just cooked it for a long time with a little bit of sugar.  the jam ended up being a bit thicker than we wanted, we were hoping for more of a syrup for pancakes, but i'm happy with the result.  i ended up using the jam as a garnish on these lovely blueberry cupcakes i sent off to the sweet spot the following friday :)