Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Thanksgiving surprise

We went to my parents for Thanksgiving - over 20 people crammed into their 1898 farmhouse-style home.  They live in the town where I grew up, in the house that I grew up in, and it is always wonderful to come home and see what has changed and what has stayed the same.   I look around each time, and remember all the years of holidays and every-days before them, with different groupings of people, much of the same food, and different news and celebrations. 

This time there was a turkey in the oven, and another one outside in a deep fryer manned by my brother Matt.  Dad built a bonfire in the firepit I gave them years ago, and people wandered back and forth from the snacks inside to the fire outside. 

Shawn disappeared early, after getting the kids so whipped up that he and they were all kicked outside to play.  I wandered out later to see the bonfire. 

While I was there a small kitten wandered up, crying at the little girls and looking very hungry and very cold.  He jumped up to try to eatthe drippings from the turkey, frozen on a plate, while my dad explained that he was one of the wild strays born under the porch. 

One thing led to another, and soon I was holding the kitten, and then bringing him inside on the porch where he stopped shivering and began purring.  Of course we brought him home. 

The big question was whether Max would accept him.  I have always thought Max is lonely - he trys to play with us sometimes as if we are cats, but we never appreciate the flurry of teeth and claws.  The first night and morning he hissed at the kitten in its carrier, and we kept them seperated in seperate rooms.  Early that morning, he went around to each door, pawing at it to be opened, and I realized he wanted to check the rest of the rooms in case there were kittens in there, too!

Later that evening, he and the kitten began playing together through the door, batting at each others paws and chirping.  A sighting, a meeting, and at their second meeting they began to play, and did not stop for two hours.  They played for 3 hours that night!

Now they sit on opposite sides of the door when the kitten is put away, and cry for each other.

This Thanksgiving, I think we can say that we are thankful for new friends.  : )

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fozzie's Sandwich Shop

Again, no post from Shawn on this great adventure - the one where I tried to balance out Italian Beef with a Diet Coke.  Like that is going to undo the massive amounts of beef on this sandwich. 

This is my first Italian Beef sandwich.  I thought it was really good -the beef had a great flavor, the peppers and giardiniera had a wonderful pickle-y flavor.  Fozzie's is a fun place - kind of a hole in the wall place, with just a few tables pushed up against the wall.  The menu is huge. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Strange Donuts field trip

So, Shawn has not posted about all the places we ate last weekend.  Boo Shawn. 

In the meantime, I'm sharing them instead.  He doesn't read this blog, so he won't know. 

Here they are in all their glory:

If he had posted a review, he would have told you how much he loves them.  He got a butterfinger donut, and I got a chocolate cake and an apple fritter (we shared them all).  He loved the butterfinger donut - it was crunchy and sweet.  The chocolate icing on the cake donuts was good - crazy sweet with that thin layer of crunch where the sugar has crystalized into a crust.  The donuts were good, too, but I would stay with the "strange" varieties.  The crumb on the cake donut was dryer than I usually like, and the fritter was too dry in some spots, too greasy in others, and had very little apple flavor.  In all, though, I recommend checking it out.  The storefront in Maplewood is very cute, the staff is fun, and the donuts come in a lot of interesting flavors. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Freezer Cooking Part 2: Sunday Night Stew

A while back I mentioned that I had made the Pioneer Woman's chili, which turned out very well.  The next recipe I tried was her Sunday Night Stew, found here with delicious looking pictures. 

I thought it was amazing.  The recipe was pretty simple, overall - brown the meat, then stew, add cooked vegetables, and enjoy.  The long stewing time made it a little ambitious for a weeknight (I was up until 10), but I knew when I started that I was making it to freeze. 

My stew did now get as thick as hers, and the sauce was not as rich a color as the pictures, but it was delicious.  As promised, it froze well and tasted even better later on. 

Next time I am going to brown the meat more, which I think will help deepen the color of the broth. 

I can't say that this was a total crowd pleaser - Shawn was only moderately impressed by the addition of parsnips.  I am not sure I am a huge fan of parsnips, in general, but I do think I like it in the stew.  They are a very different taste - very rooty and a little sweet.  After freezing, the parsnip flavor mellows and blends with the stew, and it becomes even better overall. 


A Challenge

If you know Shawn, you know he talks about food...a lot.
Every day.

He keeps track of restaurants I have never heard of, food trends (the cronut? really?), chefs and above all, sandwiches. Those he has made, those he has eaten, and those he hopes to eat. If he were this passionate about running instead of restaurants, I would be a size two. But I digress...

So here is the challenge. Shawn said a few times he wanted to be a food writer... but you need experience for that kind of thing. I, high on a constant diet of shelter blogs and pinterest, saw an opportunity: if you want to write, you need experience writing. And that is cheap and easy on a blog.

Start writing, Shawn. I am waiting for fame and a steady diet of comp'd appetizers. : )

And a way to rationalize being talked into this madness:

I'm off to run.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Back to the eighties for Halloween...Rainbow Brite & Snake Eyes

I am especially proud of this year's Halloween costumes. 

There is a fine line between genius and insanity...and we got really, really close to it.  :)

I am Rainbow Brite, with the help of a blue skater dress and some rainbow socks. 
Shawn is Snake Eyes from GI Joe. 

These may be the best Halloween costumes we have ever done.

Happy Halloween,