NFR: Jknotties

May 5, 2008 at 9:39 am | Posted in Random | 12 Comments

RPS found this article and it seriously gets me all girly and emotional. Obviously, the greatest thing about planning my wedding was marrying my wonderful hubby, but the close second (I think G sometimes wonders if it’s #1) was meeting my Jknotties. I never really got close with the Boston knotties, but the July 2007 Jknotties will seriously be my friends for life. Yes, I know it’s crazy, but you know you all have blogger friends too so be quiet. We come from all over the country, but I’ve managed to meet somewhere between 15 and 20 of them IRL. I saw one at a Red Sox game last week and am going out to dinner with two on my lovely ladies tonight. You beeches are the bomb and I love you like a fat kid loves cake.

PS CB is the love of my life, my wife on the side, the person I talk to more than G … she is the CB to my NB. (Is your shout out good enough?)

Being a Regular

May 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Random | 10 Comments

I promise I’ll bake this weekend. Poor TWD, DB and CH just weren’t meant to happen this week. Until then, you’re stuck listening to my ramblings.

I’m a creature of habit. The nice and boring kind of creature. I go to the same places every time I go out to eat and I order the same things. My husband complains that of the 100 or so restaurants in our mini city we have been to only three. Of those three, there’s only one that we’ve been to more than once. We go to that one restaurant pretty much all the time. What can I say, I’m addicted to Acapulco’s chicken fajitas. Now, being a bit of a foodie, this is not something I’m exactly proud of, but I know what I like and I know better than to mess with something that’s not broken.

This brings me to lunch today. I typically go two one of two places with the grocery store and Panera tossed in once in a blue moon. It’s either Qdoba for a plain burrito or Quiznos for a Turkey Bacon Guac sub. Quiznos is across the street so I end up there more often than not. I love the people who work there. I feel like they’re almost friends, but not quite. I know about their lives, they know about mine. They know what I order so I can skip the line when it’s massive and I get some of the best discounts you’ve ever seen. Today I wondered over to Quiznos only to find that they shut down. Somehow I missed the memo that it was happening and I’m sad. Sure, there’s another one 5 minutes away, but it’s not the same.

There’s just something about being a “regular” that’s nice. When you walk in you brighten up someones day and they brighten up yours. Even if it’s only for a few brief minutes you get to know these people and appreciate them and no, it’s not just because they cut my bill in half. I play with their new babies, I celebrate their engagements, I update them on the weather. I just like being a regular. It’s like Cheers (the TV show, not the replica bars in Boston) where everyone knows your name. I like that, hell I love it. I want more of it.

So today, I was grumpy when I walked into the other Quiznos. Their service is terrible, the people aren’t friendly and frankly my sub wasn’t nearly as good as it usually is. Oh and did I mention I had to wait in line for 10 minutes and pay full price. Ugh, not my idea of a good time. I don’t want to be their regular, I’m bitter and I don’t like them.

Yes, I’m whining … I want my “regular” status back.
Are you a regular anywhere? What perks do you get?

Am I too Anal?

April 28, 2008 at 10:43 am | Posted in Random | 19 Comments

Note: the first two paragraphs are total rambling mumbo jumbo … the third paragraph is what’s important

This month is seriously kicking my butt.  I’m never busy, I don’t like to be, I prefer to make plans at the last minute and I like never needing a calender.  This month has been crazy though.  Between going away, being sick (which really isn’t enjoyable relaxation time), two bridal showers for weddings I’m in, baking for said bridal showers and what seems like a million other things  I’m ready to tap out and take a nap on my desk.  Yesterday was my first day off in awhile and I woke up at 11:45 and was back asleep from 2-6pm.  I’m still tired.

This weekend I had baking to do for the bridal shower and I kinda sorta don’t have any pictures for you.  I was running extremely late because I had tripped, knocked over milk, did some milk surfing, a split and dropped half of the cake I was making for the shower.  That meant I needed to bake a second cake, let it cool enough for me to frost it and make the 45 min drive to the shower location in 1.5 hrs … ugh not happening.  That second cake didn’t have time to set after I frosted it because I walked out the door 2 seconds later so it went slip sliding all over the place.  Somehow, I was able to save it and got tons of compliments on it, but damn I don’t want to do that ever again.  And my edible arrangement and trifle :( they were so damn cute, but I was in such a rush pictures were never taken.

So this brings me to the real reason for my post.  At the shower, the bridal party’s gifts were the last to be opened.  The group gift was opened, then the gift from me and two of the other BMs was opened.  While the second gift I was a part of was being opened the MOH got up and started putting out dessert.  Now, I made all of the dessert and there were still last touches that needed to be complete before they were put on the table.  Of course I wasn’t going to leave while the gift I bought was being opened and if someone had asked if everything was good to be set out I would have told them what needed to be done.  Instead, as soon as my gift is opened I rush over as the MOH is putting out my trifle that still needs it’s top layer of cool whip (I didn’t want the tin foil to smoosh it and it takes 3 seconds).  I really don’t want to be adding the top layer while it’s on the table, but I was given no say in how the dish was put out there because someone else took it upon them self to assume and put my goodies out without mentioning it to me first.  Then, to make matters worse, my cake that I saved from almost certain death was left on the bottom of the cake carrier when it was put out on the table.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?  I would NEVER put a cake out on the table with that thing underneath it.  The big clips around the sides do not belong on a pretty table dammit!  My cake had been through enough that day, it did not need to add white trash presentation to the list of it’s problems.

I know CB will agree with me on this one, but what do the rest of you think?  Is it super anal retentive that after spending hours and I mean many hours on the things I made that I should want them put out on the table complete and looking pretty?

TWD: Bills Big Carrot Cake

April 22, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Posted in Blog Event, Cake, Tuesdays with Dorie | 16 Comments

I know, I know, I’m a little late, but I got my new computer at work which is WAY more exciting than uploading my ugly picture I snapped quickly last night before I went to bed.  I mean my new comp is awesome.  More hard drive space than I can use up, 4 gigs ram so I can have a bazillion things open and still have a rocking comp.   A massive 20 or 22 inch wide screen moitor annnnd I can leave it on my desk because it’s slim so when I have to burn CD’s on a regular basis I don’t have play around under my desk.  Because of how my desk is set up it’s a hugemongous pain in the rear and I burn CDs daily.

Ok on to the carrot cake.  Laurie had mentioned that it seemed like a lot of carrots.  I was amused while I was grating them so I grated all three cups and it was too much.  I like carrots, but 3 cups?  In one cake?  It’s just too much.  All in all I really liked this cake, but next time I would use less carrots.  I think I may even try it sometime without any carrots.  I’ll call it a not so carrot cinnamon coconut cake.  Mmm now that sounds delish.

Oh yes, it’s my super secret recipe

April 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Random | 8 Comments

I made the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake for a friend’s shower this weekend.  People raved about how good it was and I was even asked if it was my super secret amazing recipe.  Well, I do love sharing recipes, but sometimes it’s a little more fun to enjoy the ego stroking that’s happening.  So, like a complete AW I smiled, nodded my head and let her think it was my very own.  Little does she know the recipe is on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa container.  Bahahaha

Guess what I got at lunch today …

April 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Random | 7 Comments

Yes, that’s right folks I now only have one kitchen appliance (14 cup food processor) left on my list of “every kitchen appliance I could ever want.”  Obviously, that list doesn’t include a drool worthy AGA stove, but that’s on a whole different list of large scale appliances for when I get a house in 20 years or so.

Anyway, back to my hand mixer.  For awhile I felt like I didn’t need one.  I mean I already have a wonderful KA stand mixer that I love and adore, but lately, I’ve been getting frustrated.  My KA does a stand up job, but it feels like such a waste to have to use the big guy when I’m mixing something small and basic.  I also get really annoyed when I’m making cupcakes because I’ll throw my first batch in and want to get started on the frosting, but NOooooooooooo I still have batter in the bowl and I’m way too lazy to get a new bowl, scoop the batter out, wash the KA bowl … ugh hassle and a half.  In the end I say I’ll do it after the cuppys are done, but inevitably I’m “over it” by the time the cuppys are done and they won’t get frosting for another day or so if they ever get it.  Now I know my little gripes can be easily solved with a few extra little things, but really, I have too much already and I wanted to keep it to one easy solution.

I thought it would hang out on my list for awhile and eventually I would get around to buying one.  It wasn’t like the day I decided I needed a stand mixer and within a few days I had one.  Well, today I wanted to take a long lunch because it’s Friday, it’s nice out, and I get Monday off for Marathon Monday so a long weekend is headed my way.  I ended up finding my way to Macy’s and figured ehh I’ll go see if there’s anything good.  Then I remembered that I had a gift card for $28 and change that expires next month.  Yay for wedding registry rewards.

I get in the store and it’s popping.  I look at the purses meh nothing good on sale.  Then I headed downstairs to look for cooking goodies.  Meh, the Martha Stewart stuff is so overpriced for the quality and I just wasn’t feeling any of it.  I almost got some random cookbook they had just so I could use my gift card before it expired, but then …. I saw the 7 cup food processor on sale hmm, I wonder if the 14 cup is too?  Nope, it’s still more than I came to spend BUT, the hand mixers were on sale for $50 w00t, $50 -$28 + tax = $24 yippity skippity.  I snached up the black one (they only had black and white) and now, sitting in my car, waiting for me to get home and start baking is my brand new hand mixer.  I’m giddy.

I love kitchen appliances … it’s a severe addiction … I have a problem (that’s the first step right?) … I think I might need meetings :P

What cookbook do I NEED to have?

April 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Random | 10 Comments

So, my wonderful darling favorite (by default :P ) husband in the whole wide world just sent me an email with a $25 amazon gift card.  Apparently, he helped fix a teeny prob with someones personal computer at work and she wanted to say thanks.  Of course, as any good husband would do (I have trained him so well), he’s letting me enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Now, my only problem is figuring out what to get.  I think I want a cookbook.  But I need suggestions so start suggesting.  Non cookbook ideas are also welcome.

TWD: Marshmallows

April 14, 2008 at 11:29 pm | Posted in Blog Event, Tuesdays with Dorie | 42 Comments

“When it rains it pours” … disaster

I make marshmallows all the time. I love marshmallows and they’re always so easy and I have never had any problems. Of course I walked into this recipe with all the confidence in the world even though Dorie’s recipe was a bit different. The eggs seemed weird, but I wasn’t worried. Come to find out I should have been.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s255/nikki57575757/DSC05732.jpg

Ya, I know, they’re ugly. I was no longer into the marshmallows at this point

My first go at making the mallows I used a different pan than I typically use and the sugar mixture heated way too fast. When I got around to checking it I could see that I had let it heat too long, stuck my thermometer in and I was right. It wasn’t a total loss, I was just going to make hard candy with it. No problemo. I pulled it off the stove, let it cool a bunch then poured the cinnamon oil in, dumped the candy out and started pulling the candy. I was almost done pulling and separating it into bits when i noticed my face felt kinda burn-y and itchy. I wondered over to the mirror only to see that my face was bright red and I wasn’t looking too pretty … oops looks like the cinnamon fumes were more than a little to harsh for my poor skin to handle. A Benedryl strip and some cool cloths later I was fine, but I should have known try two would be plagued by disaster.

When I made them the second time, I think I poured the sugar mix in too fast because I think there were a few teeny bits of egg, but nothing too bad. I followed the directions and mixed for 3 minuted after everything was added. Everything appeared to be well incorporated, so I poured them in my pans and went on my way. After they set I realized something went wrong because there was a thin layer of gelatin on the bottom of the pans. I tried them, I didn’t love them. I’ll stick with my regular marshmallow recipe that’s impossible to screw up and lasts longer because it doesn’t use eggs. Everything went wrong and I just wasn’t a fan of the final outcome.

I only ended up making plain ones and ones with oreo cookies ground up and mixed in. I had millions of lovely ideas and after seeing the final product just wasn’t that into them, but I promise to make some yummy regular marshmallows off all different types later this week because I was very excited about my millions of ideas.

I’m Baaaack

April 13, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | 10 Comments

I know I’ve been MIA for a bit. Vacay last weekend in Chicago with my girls was fabulous, but I came home and by Monday night I wasn’t feeling so good. The rest of the week involved barely dragging my butt to work because I’ve already taken so many sick days. I even fell asleep at work (ya it was that bad). Needless to day I didn’t do any baking and was all around useless. So, since I didn’t bake anything, I’m bringing you my Chicago food and drink reviews. Mmmm

We got into Chicago early and everyone who was there was running low in sleep and food, so we went for quick and fast also known as soup at Panera. Ya, you know Panera, I don’t need to tell you about their yummy broccoli and cheese bread bowls.

Then it was time for lunch two for the second group of girls that got in. CB and I were tired so we stayed back and just relaxed at the hotel and enjoyed some nice chitty chat time with each other. What more could a girl ask for?

CB with our delicious cuppy

Oh wait I know … cupcakes! CB and I went to go wonder the city in hopes of finding the rest of our girls and ended up walking past a Sarah’s Sweets location in one of the Macy’s (apparently there are more than I … there’s also more than one Forever 21 too). I saw cupcakes and said lets go beechykins. So we walked over, decided we needed to try some macaroons because *gasp* we had both never tried them. Then it was on to deciding what kind of cuppy to get. Luckily, the other customer heard us debating and quickly interjected we needed to get the black and white cuppy. Thank you random customer, that was the best suggestion ever! It was literally perfect, best cuppy ever. Simple, but tasty and delicious all at the same time.

Poo poo cheesecake

After some more wondering, not finding our friends and heading back to the hotel it was time for dinner down the street at Viand. I wouldn’t recommend going with a large group because service wasn’t exactly fast (3 hours and the only apps ordered were salads), the bill was screwed up and the waitress left something to be desired, BUT the food was amazing! I got amish chicken, oven roasted, preserved lemon, garlic, rosemary sauce, baby red potatoes and ate every last bit of the deliciousness. Everyone loved all the food, it was all amazing, except for the angry calamari. Poor Jamie got it and ended up sharing Aprils amish chicken. What do we learn from this … if it’s called angry calamari there’s probably a good reason for it an you should just stay away. Oh ya and for dessert we got some cheesecake topped with Chocolate poo … i mean mousse :P Presentation was horrible, but boy was it yummy.

ON “posing” so we could get a pic of Canadians and Towers of Beer

Later that night it was all about the bars. Weak drinks were a bummer, but we still had fun. Just be careful of Canadians with towers of beer and mini, pocket sized guidos. If you get beer and stay away from the crazy guys you’ll have a blast on Rush street.

Pizza pic from April …. and all of us on the wall

Saturday am was all about the continental breakfast and lunch was Gino’s. I have to be honest here, my favorite thing about Gino’s was writing on the walls, the pizza left a lot to be desired. The whole sauce on top thing threw me off and I didn’t even like the sauce so that only made it worse. And crust is usually my favorite part and I just wasn’t feeling the crust.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s255/nikki57575757/April2008127.jpg

After lunch it was off to get more cuppys. Molly’s Cupcakes here we come. Molly’s was great. The atmosphere was fun, bright and lively. They even had fun games to play while you ate. I think between all of us we got just about every kind of cuppy they had, but I went for the Ron Bennington. A chocolate cupcake with PB filling and Chocolate frosting. It was delish, but I still like the Black and White cuppy at Sarah’s better.

MMMmmmm

Saturday happy hour was Pops, the most wonderful champagne bar on the face of the earth. The champagne was tasty and the service was phenomenal. I thoroughly enjoyed having more champagne added to my glass after just about every sip. A woman’s glass should never hit empty and our waiter made sure that never happened. A few bottles of champagne and an hour with the coolest most wonderful waiter ever and it was time for dinner at Weber Grill.

My Chicken’s Butt

I think the best way to describe Weber is good all around food. The kind of food you know and love. Where Viand was more interesting and different, Weber was just good food. CB and I spilt a chicken with the cutest butt full of beer you have ever seen aka we got the beer butt chicken. The drinks were good, the service was great, just an all around great place to go for dinner.

Now what does any well behaved gaggle of girls do after dinner when they’re away from their husbands for the weekend? Go drinking and dancing!!! We had reservations at Excalibur for 10:30, but Weber had such great service we were in and out just after 9. The Red Head Piano Bar was closed for a private party and the best thing we found was the Hard Rock Cafe meh. It was hot, my buzz was wearing off, but on the plus side they were able to do separate bills for all 15 of us yay!

Wannabe Guidos so drunk they’re stretching on the floor

We got to Excalibur at 10pm, they let us start early. Two hours of open bar for $25 each ended up being the greatest idea of the weekend. Friday night we drank a lot but never got drunk on Rush street, at Excalibur we were all drunk when we left at around 12:30. So drunk that two people toppled over on their way out. While BB was able to save her drink and keep going ON busted up her elbow and in the morning we all found out that she was missing a chunk of skin off her back. Luckily, the alcohol dampened the pain long enough to keep going.

This sums it up … drunk, boobs, Whaaaaaaaaaaat?

We had wanted to do a Piano bar all weekend (Howl at the Moon was closed by the time we got their Friday) so we went back to the Red Head Piano bar. Needless to say it turned out to be a little classier and quieter than what we were looking for … so off to Howl we went. Howl was loads of fun, we danced, we sang, we took our shoes off eewww I know and laughed the rest of the night away. Once back at the hotel we laid down on the ground for a few before heading upstairs for some Gino’s leftovers, some much needed water and eventually, a little sleep before we all had to fly back home in the morning. Great trip, great friends, great food, way too much to drink!

Protected: Back From Vacay with a video for my girls … start guessing

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