Tuesday, September 9, 2014

what i'm loving - the food

I thought I'd share a few treasures I've found or rediscovered lately:

Emily brought us this from her vacation to Daytona Beach and the Ocean Deck restaurant. She has brought us Rasta Sauce before, and I loved it so much that a few years ago I ordered some. I thought it was in a warehouse or plant or something but I talked to someone at the restaurant and they just shipped  it out.

This is thick, almost with a gravy-like consistency. It is delicious on pretty much anything. I particularly like it on scrambled eggs, but we use it any time we need a bit of heat. It's not hot like Sriracha or runny like salsa. It's spicy, but not searing. Alex described it as more "peppery".

just look at those ingredients - yummy!

Let's jump from the savory to the sweet! I found these at Costco, and I particularly like them because you can break them into whatever size you need. If you want just a bite of chocolate, you can have it. If you want an entire sheet, well, that's yours as well. And they come in Costo quantity!

So I guess this next item technically isn't food, but maybe nectar of the gods. I'm a little late to this particular party, but I discovered Moscow Mules this summer, and our friends brought us four copper mugs as a hostess gift when they came to visit. I know you don't really need the mugs, but they sure make them take taste better. Vodka, lime, and ginger beer - why wouldn't you love it?! As I posted on my Instagram account, #youknowyouwantone.

Two spice blends at Penzey's I'm loving are Adobo and Sunny Paris. Adobo is, as the catalog describes, a "traditional and popular Mexican spice mix. Not hot, but spicy and rich in flavor, and salt-free". You can add it to taco meat, rub it on meat before grilling, use it in guac - I'm sure there is much more you can do with it; just haven't discovered it yet.  The Sunny Paris's main ingredient is freeze-dried shallots, but also chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil, and bay leaf. You can almost imagine how wonderful it tastes just by reading the ingredient list. If you have a Penzey's in your town, but all means visit it, but you can order everything from penzeys.com. I have been ordering from them for decades, long before Omaha had a shop. The labels used to be typed, not printed. One time I ordered a particular kind of cinnamon and they needed to substitute another, and instead of crediting my card, they just sent me the difference in actual change with a nice handwritten note. I love personal attention like that!

I wanted some dessert the other night, but cannot be trusted around a container of ice cream. What I really was hungry for was a Drumstick, but rethought that craving when I saw they were 300 calories apiece. Then these caught my attention, and I can tell they will be a permanent fixture in our freezer. Well, not these, because they will be gone shortly, but you know what I'm saying...

these just might be the best 160 calories I have ever tasted

Has anyone else found anything fun lately?
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

what i'm loving - the stuff

I've seen several blogs about favorites, so I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon with some real randomness.

Ever since we've had a baby in the family, I have had Dreft in our laundry room for when the kids visit and need to do laundry. Scent for me is such an evocative sense, so much so that I'll do a random load of OUR laundry in Dreft. The last time they visited, they left a container of Brody's soap:

this smells like love, and makes me so happy

I haven't been putting in the long runs this summer as I've done the past two years because I'm not training for a half-marathon, but I made it out to Zorinsky recently. I do love that place; the woods, the lake, the wetlands, the animals, and the vegetation. I was going pretty slow so thought I'd take some pictures. Next time, I'm bring the good camera. But these are okay for an iPhone...

leaves are starting to turn. winter is coming

I just had my annual mammogram (AOK results) recently and almost turned down the free koozie because we have so many already. But then I looked at it more closely:

it has boobs!

We had a few rain-free hours last weekend, and I was doing some weeding out front, as was the entire neighborhood. I was on my hands and knees, totally engrossed in my own thoughts, when Amy from next door hollered over, "Is your yard growing penises too?". I didn't have my hearing aids in and thought I had misheard, but she certainly had my attention! It turns out that their mulch is growing some fungus that looks just like penises:

These were small ones - I guess they had some Boogie Nights-sized ones. I'm not sure how to ask for the special mulch next year...

One of the women at work asked me if I was doing my makeup differently because I "look so pretty". I seriously had to laugh because I know how it was meant, but I couldn't help thinking how I must usually look like shit.

So that's it for now. What are some of your recent favorites?

Monday, September 1, 2014


I've been a cooking machine this past week and a half, except for the three nights in a row (!) we went out for dinner. Those three times deserve their own blog post, but I won't bore you, except to say that all three were with different groups of friends. Okay, I'll bore you a little bit.The first night we were supposed to golf in a twilight, but they luckily canceled it at the last minute due to the torrential rains we have had this past week. We seriously need to work on our ark. That dinner was at Maru, the next night was at J Coco, and the third started at Pitch with appetizers and half-price bottles of wine and ended at Lalibela for some Ethiopian food. The company each night was stellar, and the food was fabulous at two of the three restaurants. We chose J Coco because it had been one of our favorites, but after the lackluster food and poor service the other night (not to mention that they charged for blue cheese olives in our martinis!), we will not be in any hurry to return.

But things have been cooking here at Chez Cathy. These are all new recipes, and I'll give you the honest reviews. Four are from Cooking Light magazine and one is from the web. Hang on to your seats, as Mighty Mouse used to say (and we all grabbed our butts when we were little kids), because here we go. (Click on the name of the recipe to be taken to the recipe itself). All of these recipes serve four, so we had some lunch leftovers.

First up is Damn Fine Chicken from Nom Nom Paleo. I love her titles, and I love how her recipes are written. Her cookbook is wonderful as well. The damn fine chicken was, well, okay. She uses chicken thighs and chicken legs in many of her recipes, and after decades of eating boneless, skinless breasts, I just can't with the dark meat. I made the recipe with the chicken legs that were called for, but if I make it again, I'll be boring and go back to the breasts. The recipe said that ten legs served four people, but these legs were so big that two were plenty. I'm not sure how to divide ten by four equally anyway...

sided with a baked potato, carrot and kohlrabi sticks, and my sister-in-law's incredibly delicious pickled green beans

The next four recipes are from Cooking Light, my favorite magazine. I read it each month and dog-ear the pages I'd like to make, but usually just end up ripping them out and filing them. I know everything is available on-line, but I love reading the magazine. And I love that while the recipes are low-fat, they are not non-fat. And they use real food, nothing fake to lower the calorie count. 

Okay, how does Caprese Mac and Cheese sound? Maybe as delicious as it tasted! The basil growing in our garden really came in handy. This took about an hour from start-to-finish, and then about five minutes to eat, as do most of our meals. Most of the time with this came from making and thickening the sauce. We loved this - pretty much the definition of comfort food. The only difference I would make is to use a heavier hand with the red pepper flakes at the end. I thought it needed a teensy bit more bite. And I can't help but think that some pancetta would be delicious in this...

I made the salad that was recommended to go with the mac & cheese, minus the radicchio

The next recipe was a salad I made to go with Iowa Girl Eats' chili lime chicken burgers (which I've written about several times, as it is one of Dwight's favorite meals). It's Greek Style Edamame Salad, and I will be making this again - soon. I didn't have any feta as the recipe calls for; I can only imagine how much better (if that is possible) it would taste. This came together in minutes.

Next we have Crab Cake Sliders with Yogurt Dill Sauce. I apologize for the picture - they tasted much better than they look here. I have never made pickled onions before, but it was so easy:  microwave vinegar and sugar, add the onions, and let sit for 15 minutes. They were sweet and delicious, and complemented the crab cakes and yogurt sauce. And the corn from the farmer's market? YUM!!!

And that leads us to tonight's dinner: Ginger Steak with Sesame Brown Rice. I made the Chili-Basil Slaw that is sided with the meal in the magazine, and holy hell is that ever good. Seriously - make this entire meal. Right now.

Happy cooking!

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