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Showing posts from December, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

Hard to believe it's just two days away!

What kinds of things will you enjoy this holiday season? Here's a rundown of what I expect we'll partake of this Christmas and New Year's:1 ) Some form of sugar cake. You may recall I've waxed poetic on the Moravian sugar cake I grew up enjoying as a child of the N.C. Piedmont area. Winkler's Bakery in Old Salem is the place to get the sugar cake - it's like a coffee cake-style deal - cinnamon and sugar and all those good things. I have the recipe, but will I really work with rising yeast and stuff early on Christmas morn? That, my friend, is TBD. This little elf may want to sleep in. Mother Dear says she has a simple recipe for something similar, so we shall see.2) Seafood! Mom's promising her amazing Carolina Rice & Shrimp dish, and we're headed for Charleston, S.C. to ring in the New Year. Shrimp, I am coming for YOU.3) A pig roast! Scott's aunt and uncle have held a traditional New Year's pig r…

Gimme Some Dim Sum!

Guess what, folks? We've discovered the ONE redeeming thing about going to a mall during the holidays.

This weekend, Scott and I joined our friend Jim, his mother visiting from Florida, and two friends of his for a dim sum extravaganza at Hollywood East Cafe in Wheaton, Md. As Scott and I had errands to run afterwards, we followed Jim in our car, and were quite perplexed when we pulled up to the Westfield Mall in Wheaton.

"A mall?" I asked aloud. How could good food come from the same place that has FYE, Macy's and JC Penneys? Scott reminded me we had a pretty amazing Vietnamese experience at a strip mall in Honolulu during our honeymoon in April 2007, so I shut my trap and hoped for good things to come.

I'm happy to report that Hollywood East Cafe should get a Golden Globe, nay, an OSCAR -- at least a supporting one, for its Dim sum.

Now, I must admit my dim sum experience is sparse -- other than a couple lunches at Ping Pong in D.C., I got nothin.' Scott, howev…

Friday Shout Out: Mac & Cheese

Recently two boxes of Giant-brand (generic) organic Mac & Cheese made it into our pantry somehow - methinks I know who squeezed them into a fully loaded shopping cart not too long ago.

And then this week my grocery store trip went awry and I somehow figured we'd get by on random produce, rice, a cut or two of meat, and....magic?

Let's just say the cupboard was pretty bare and we did the dreaded yet handy "Breakfast for Dinner" approach one night this week. Yep, grits, egg and veggie scramble, and a commendable approach at potato pancakes from one Scott Adams.
So...those two boxes of mac and cheese - one Wisconsin cheddar and another white cheddar - came in pretty freakin' handy. Problem is, they fully brought the mac, yet not so much the cheese. Both boxes were dry, dry, dry. I had to poke around my bowl just to find any semblance of sauce.

Here's my stance: if you're going to go the boxed mac and cheese route, do yourself a favor and forget "organic…

Down with OPB: Other People's Blogs, Part Two

Check out Scott's most-excellent post at our friend (and Scott's colleague) Mark's blog Car Free Baltimore. Scott shares our experience saying "See ya, sucka" to one of our cars. Thus far, no worries.

Chances are, I'm going to do more of this (below) in the future.Can someone turn up the thermostat for me, though? I'm not crazy about biking in 20 degree temps!

I'm Dreaming of a Sustainable Christmas

Yes, the term "sustainable"gets tossed around like a mo-fo these days, and it's enough sometimes to make even the most pro-green of us to want to strangle the everlovin' mud out of the next Fair Trade-lovin', recycling, patchouli-scented Prius driver we see.

Now that I have that vitriol out of the way, I admit to my own hypocrisy - I love Christmas and all the trimmings, but I am super tired of the waste and the consumerist hype. And as much as I am weary of trying to be "green," I want to consume less and encourage others to do the same.

For the past two years, Scott and I have shunned the malls and the online sites, tracking down "the perfect gift" for friends and family, and instead have made our own silly yet practical gifts from what we have on hand or have made by hand.

Exhibit A: Christmas 2009.

I can't give away all of our secrets, but I can show you how we're packaging our gifts. Don't mock me now, but we collected our coffee …

Pittsburgh in Pictures

As promised: our weekend in Pittsburgh, a lovely city situated on some amazing bluffs and ridges at the confluence of three rivers! So charming, and the people were very, VERY polite. DC/MD/VA residents, are you hearing this? POLITE!

Anyway, accentuating the positives:

We arrived Friday just in time for dinner - we decided to take our friend Jim's advice and try out a former church-turned-brewery: Church Brew Works in the Lawrenceville 'hood.
We tried our first ever pierogies, dumplings filled with cheese, chased with a Pipe Organ Pale Ale for Scott and a Pious Monk Dunkel for myself. We didn't linger too long, as we had to rise early to get in line for the.....All-Clad Factory Sale! This was the line when we arrived - it doubled back twice in front of us and took us about 45 minutes to make it into the warehouse. The organizers work very hard to ensure this event doesn't turn into madness - only 30-40 people are allowed in every 10 minutes or so for crowd control.We made…

Something to Chew On

Not to get terribly political or high-minded on this little blog of ours, but while we're planning our holiday gifting, it came to mind that 1) time's running out, and 2) we're both somewhat skeptical now of the consumerist nature of Christmastime.

Each year Scott and I usually rally in early December to scour the Internets and Google Machines for silly holiday songs (like this one), buy them online, and burn a lot of CD's to gift for friends. We've done this since December 2006, but instead of making this our 5th annual Christmas Mix, we're opting to do something different.

Inspired by the good guys over at The Bitten Word, I learned from them about Share Our Strength, a non-profit working to end childhood hunger in America. With the economy as it is, and reports like this one indicating one in seven Americans are on food stamps, it dawned on me that perhaps we can afford to direct our Christmas gifting funds in another direction.

The money that would normally g…

Shameless Cross-Blog Promotion: Eat Your Vegetables

Yesterday on my other blog, I posted my pondering on vegetables - even though it's cold as a witch's you-know-what, we can't forget our greens, can we?

I had fun hearing from readers' favorite vegetables - and even the vegetables that are really fruits - the impostors!

My top five are:
1) Red bell peppers
2) Brussels sprouts
3) Big heirloom tomatoes when in season
4) Portobello mushrooms
5) Lettuces like arugula and mizuna/baby spinach

What are yours? Do share!

Friday Shout Out: Travel Time

Scott and I are hitting the road today in search of all the fine things Pittsburgh has to offer.

Can I just say I am more than a little excited? I already went out of my way this morning to hit Union Station to pick up my train ticket to meet Scott in Baltimore, and I have my backpack filled with reading material for the road, a Christmas CD which will annoy the hell out of Scott, and some snacks. I am psyched - and guess what? They're calling for SNOW this weekend in PA.

Yes, me, the one who slept on Interstate 81 last year due to snow mucking everything up, is excited about the white stuff. Crazy, party of one!

Good friends have recommended some excellent spots to eat and visit while we're there, and I hope the All-Clad sale isn't too insane. I'm already preparing my fetal position and head cover in case there's a stampede or I have to fight someone over the last saucepan. My dad taught me some pretty sweet basketball elbowing maneuvers back in the day, so I can giv…