Saturday, December 22, 2012

My boss Rachel lost her 7 year battle with cancer last night. She was an amazing boss, mentor, and friend. Her spirt and faith never wavered and she fought hard to the end. I know there is another angel in heaven now and I hope god knows how lucky he is to have a warrior like her on his team.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bad day

So I'm having a bad day, mostly a rough time lately so dad decided to cheer me today by making me some hello kitty pancakes with the hello pancake maker he bought me from target!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


So I don't normally take photos of my breakfast, but since it's the first day of my mini vacation I made myself a egg sandwich and it looked so yummy and perfect, I had to take a photo.
It's just scrambled egg, a little bit of mozzarella cheese, and spinach on toast. Healthy and yummy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Santa,

If you're reading this there is one thing I really want for Christmas. I really don't need much, I wouldn't turn down a new coach purse, but only if you buy it at the outlet. Don't pay retail for over priced purses Santa, no matter how pretty they are.
I really want a pair of these sneakers. Doesn't sound like anything I would ask for, but when I was a kid I always wanted sambas. I wanted sambas and rainbow laces for them. I never wanted to ask for them because it always seemed silly to beg for cool sneakers, it's the same reason I never asked for a starter jacket (I hated football, I just wanted to look cool at the time.) I need a new pair of sneakers since mine are pretty beat up, but they're something I'd never buy myself because when I need new sneakers I just buy cheap ones at Walmart. I try to save most of my shoe budget for high heels.
Sambas are men's shoes so just in case you're wondering I wear a men's size 7 1/2. Thanks for listening Santa, I promise I've been mostly good this year, if nothing else I've always had good intentions.

Let's talk about....

Cheesecake! This week I used my meeting group at the local chamber of commerce as guinea pigs for a brownie bottom cheesecake I've been wanting to try. I did not get any complaints, of course I am my own worst critic, but I think with some slight tweaking in cooking time this has some serious potential.
I poured my salted caramel sauce on top to add some extra flavor too and garnished it with a sprinkle of course sea salt as well. The caramel was a little firmer than I would have liked, so I have to use a hot knife to slice it.
I used box brownie mix (I was on a time budget) don't judge me. I chose Betty Crocker dark chocolate fudge brownies. I mixed up one box and poured it in my springform pan. Since brownies bake a different temp than cheesecake this is where you need to get creative.
I put the brownie layer in the oven at 325 for 25 minutes. Then I pulled it out and poured the cheesecake on top. You have to be careful to pour the cheesecake in layers and spread it out over the pan so you don't dent the brownie layer. I was worried about the cakes swirling, but if you pour the cheesecake slowly they stay separate.
Then I upped the oven to 400 and put the whole thing back in the oven for 25 minutes and then shut off the oven. Don't open the door! Leave it in the oven with the temp off for another 25 minutes. A that point you should be good to go and cool your cheesecake. Then drizzle or coat with a topping, caramel, chocolate sauce... You choose.

Made me smile

Since I've been a crafting and cooking mood lately here are a few things I saw on the Internet that made me smile. Please enjoy.

Sweet Sue's

A couple Sunday's ago dad and I drove over to troy NY to check out what was going on at the Troy Victorian stroll. It was a rather quiet visit, but I did get the chance to go to Sweet Sue's a bakery that opened up downtown earlier this year.
I actually took my class in petite fours at the arts center with sue as the instructor so I had been hoping to catch them open the next time I was in Troy. It wasn't exactly what I had expected, they had. Lot more treats like candy and candy apples and very little ready to eat baked goods. You can check out her website
I bought dad a slice of carrot cake (which for some unknown reason he loves) he said the cake was good and as you can see was a very large slice. He said "it is a meal unto itself!"
I tried a pumpkin pie cupcake, for which I had high expectations, but honestly I wasn't a huge fan of. It looked pretty, but if you look at the photo of it half eaten you can see, it was really just a spice cake with a hole in the top filled with what tasted like canned pumpkin filling. Then it had whipped cream instead of frosting.
I have already envisioned an improved version with a pumpkin spice cake and using my cream cheese cool whip frosting to give it a bit more body.
It looked like a nice place to go buy some candy or treats as a gift, and I know she also does some nice cakes, but stopping in for a snack will not be on my list again in the near future.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Foodie pen pals November

Yay! It's November reveal day, I love this program because I get to send fun packages and get awesome stuff in the mail! This month I received a package from Kim and she sent me a bunch of healthy goodies. Here's what I got.... Some whole grain pretzels, kashi granola which is yummy and not something I would buy myself since I'm cheap. It was yummy sprinkled on yogurt for breakfast. I also got some multi seed crackers, which made me laugh out loud since I had gotten the exact same crackers for my pen pal! Some almonds (brought those to work for my desk), some BBQ grilling sauce and a chocolate pecan candy rounded out the box.
It was a great month and I had fun eating it all!
If you want to see what I sent this month head over to see Sarah Jane at she's a great blogger and hopefully soon she will be doing a guest spot here on my blog. Make sure you check her out as this was a fun and challenging box for me to create since it was all gluten free (except one item)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Caramel apple cheesecake

So I won't divulge my cheesecake recipe, though I will tell you my secret to making it super smooth and creamy. I make the filling in my food processor rather than a mixer or trying to blend it by hand. The food processor makes it very smooth and mixes all ingredients perfectly.
I am also sorry to bum you out, but i won't give out my salted caramel recipe. Since i like to give it as gifts for holidays I'm keeping it my secret. It's a hybrid of a few different recipes I found online, there are tons of recipes out there, but I make mine with corn syrup.
I cut up 5 large granny smith apples into a small dice, if I had more time I was planning on slicing them and kind of fanning them around the top. Might do that next time I make it, but I was in a bit of a thanksgiving day time crunch. All these apples made 2 cheesecakes and still had a bit left over.
I cooked the apples on the stove in a pan with a full stick of butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt at the finish. I then put a thin layer of my caramel sauce over the top of the cake, then a layer or apples and a drizzle for caramel over the top to finish it.
I always make my cheesecake the night before, and if I'm putting a warm topping on the cake I make sure it is cooled before layering it on so that it doesn't cook the cheesecake further. I also make my crust with vanilla wafers rather than graham crackers, it's just always tasted better to me that way.
The cheesecake got rave reviews, of course I had some criticism myself since I'm my own worst critic, but it still tasted super good when I had it for breakfast this morning!

Test kitchen

So I decided to try and make the bok choy from the farmers market. I've never tried to cook it before, but I figured it would be fun to try something new, plus bok choy was 3 bunches for $2. I can never pass up a good deal!
I made garlic and mushroom bok choy.

3 bunches of bok choy
Lots of mushrooms
About 4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Wash and cut up the bok choy, if it's baby bok choy you can toss the leaves whole, I sliced them lengthwise into strips about 4 per leaf on the big ones. Then mince the garlic and cut up the mushrooms. Toss the garlic in a hot pan with some olive oil, then throw in the mushrooms. I let those simmer up a bit then put all the bok choy in the pan. Make sure all the leaves are coated in the oil, then add just a bit of water maybe a 1/2 cup and cover. Let it simmer for a bit stirring occasionally. I let mine go for about 15 minutes, you want it to be tender but not mushy. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the top before you serve it.
Serve over pasta or just plain and I had mine with a bit of fish. I bought some wild caught sea trout from shoprite! Enjoy the

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bet you....

Thought I was exaggerating about my love of Martha Stewart. Not even, the proof came in the mail yesterday just in time for thanksgiving! I have a subscription to Martha Stewart living AND Martha Stewart living food. I also have subscriptions to money magazine, entrepreneur magazine, and US weekly for a little tabloid flavor. I consider myself a renaissance woman in that way.
Enjoying thanksgiving though stressful as usual. The turkey is in the oven, the stuffing has been cooked, still need to mash potatoes with garlic and cheddar (skins on so I don't loose the nutrients), and I think some roasted carrots since I still have some left from the farmers market on Sunday that need to e used. I gave in this year and settled on a 15 lb turkey. I can't lie I usually god overboard for the holidays, one year I bought two turkeys, in all fairness I was cooking for 8 people and a couple stragglers, but there's always too much food. There is even too much food this year, even though the whole time I was cooking I said to myself, gosh my list of foods seems so small this year. Without fail when everything is stuffed on the table it will look like there's no actual room to eat.
Hope everyone enjoys their thanksgiving as much as I do! Happy thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Farmers market Sunday!

So Sunday was a could days ago, but with the shortened work week I haven't had much time to blog. Now that it's thanksgiving eve and I had a nice meal of chinese food and cheesecakes are in the oven I can relax.
More about the cheesecakes later, you won't get my recipe out of me since it's one of my secrets, but I'll certainly post some photos. This year I'm making plain cheesecake with a salted caramel sauce and sautéed apples. So excited!
Before I get carried away thinking about thanksgiving cooking lets recap Sunday's trip.
First photos shows my veggies, I got a couple bunches of bok choy, which I had never cooked before, but it was so fresh and yummy looking I figured I could make something up. I also got two bunches of carrots, one regular and one called purple haze, they taste the same they just look way cooler. Also got some adirondack blue potatoes, yum!
I also got some sweet treats this week. I got a cranberry orange scone, which was a little on the sweet side, but good. I also got some lavender shortbread cookies from Wellington herbs in schoharie, where I normally get my lemon thyme cookies. It was a really nice change and they were super yummy. The lavender was very faint, but you could taste it a little bit. The last sweet was a donut with maple Bavarian cream filling.
The donut was seriously good. It was actually from the same place that I got my foodie pen pal the maple cotton candy from last month. They make them fresh at the farmers market in the morning so they don't get soggy. Normally I'm not one for donuts, but it wasn't overly sweet. The donut itself wasn't much to write home about, but the filling, oh my goodness!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roasted acorn squash

So I am absolutely in love with the new show on PBS Martha Stewart's cooking school. It's and old style cooking show a la Julia child. Not like all those jazzed up shows on the food network, Martha just shows you how to cook classic food with good fresh ingredients.
Plus Martha Stewart is my hero, I've always loved her. She is amazing around the home and also runs a massive business empire, she's an inspiration. I've watched movies, documentaries, read her books, and a subscription to her magazines.
The first episode of the show was all about veggies and one of the ones she made was roasted acorn squash which is always a nice treat in the fall. I doctored Martha's recipe slightly (shhh don't tell her) so enjoy!

Step by step
Cut off the stem of the squash and cut it in half. Rip out all the guts. Slice up your acorn squash, you can use the ridges in the squash to guide your cuts, that makes it super easy.

Spread the slices out on a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Then I sprinkled them with sea salt, cinnamon, and a little bit of cumin for spice.

Bake them in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes or until they are fork tender.

It's a great fall side dish!

Yummy yam chips!

Time to make some sweet potato chips. These are so amazingly easy, healthy and yummy. You only need 3 ingredients and a mandoline for slicing. The mandoline is very important because they need to be sliced really thin, mine actually has 1 click right below the 1/8 presumably 1/16 and that's the setting I use that way that still have that nice crunch. Also don't be afraid of them getting a little burned, they get caramelized and don't taste burned.

Gather up your three ingredients, sweet potatoes, olive oil, and coarse sea salt.

So here's all you need to do....

1. Slice the sweet potatoes very thin, again see above for level guides.
2. Put them all in a big bowl and coat them with olive oil and coarse sea salt and toss them in the bowl. Make sure you coat each of the slices as best you can.

Then bake them at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes each. To keep them crispy on of my tricks is to put metal cooling racks on my cookie sheets. This also keeps them from burning too much. Don't think you have to put in a ton of this either, both my cookie sheets and the cooling racks came from the dollar store, you don't have to spend a ton of money on pans and supplies, just get creative.
Here are some photos to help you through the process too!


Well since its Sunday that means its blogging day! It was also farmers market Sunday and I checked out an awesome barn sale and scored some memorabilia from frontier town, a now closed classic amusement park in the adirondacks. My father is an adirondack historian having written a couple books and currently works for the adirondack research library so I inherited my love of the adirondacks from him, combine that with my love of classic Americana and you find my love of old local theme park items.
More posts to follow, but here are some awesome photos I have collected over the week that made me smile.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rip twinkies

So I don't actually like twinkies.... They're kind f gross actually, but I do love some of the snack items, but you all know I will fight to my death for my pop culture icons and Twinkie the kid is one of them. Now what will we eat when the apocalypse hits... In honor of the death of the Twinkie here is my favorite ecard.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I wish....

El capitan looked so happy snuggled up taking a nap on my favorite chair I had to take a photo and post it. That chair was actually my moms and she had it in her old apartment before she married my father and it has always been my favorite chair. It's perfect for curling up and reading. Enjoy the cuteness overload.

Boston's Quincey Market

So on my trip to Boston my friend Sue and I spent a bunch of time at Quincey market and had both lunch and dinner there. Here are some awesome photos from the trip, including one of me in front of a giant macaroni noodle sculpture. It had no explanation it was just in the middle of the square and i love macaroni and cheese so I needed my photo with it of course.
I also had sue take my photo with a vending machine outside the new England aquarium which has a spectacular penguin habitat. It you've never been I highly recommend visiting as it is a great aquarium. One of their vending machines outside has a penguin on it! And I loooove penguins! I was very excited when I saw it.
I love the food court at Quincey market, I usually have to walk up and down the hallway twice before I decide where to eat. For lunch I stopped at a paninni shop (I wish I could remember the name, but I paid cash so no record on my card either) it was very yummy looking, they had tons of different ones. I chose the smoked salmon paninni, it had cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber which added a nice crunch to the sandwich. It also had good bread which is important for a paninni.
For dinner it had gotten pretty cold so I wanted something nice and warm. In Boston that means clam chowder. I've written About chowder before and I do have some strong feelings about it. This was good chowder, not chowda which is much thicker, but a good commercial style chowder. It had large chunks of clam and potatoes, plus it came in a bread bowl. In Boston, on a cold night, having a bread bowl of chowder is absolutely the best thing ever. And honestly, though I normally prefer a thick chowda, when you're having it in a bread bowl thinner is a bit better because it will soak into the bread. I took a photo of the sign for the chowder company in case you want to check it out. There are many places selling bread bowl chowders in Quincey market so look around and check it out!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Farmers market Sunday

So Sunday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week because I get to head to the schenectady green market. It's very relaxing and then I get to pick out new treats and plan some fun cooking for the day or the week.
Here are a few photos of my haul. As usual I got a pack of my favorite lemon thyme cookies and dream puff marshmallows. This week they had a couple different flavors of marshmallows available, Guinness, blackberry Cabernet, frilly vanilly, and chocolate mousse. I went with the blackberry Cabernet and they were very yummy. They smelled amazing, just like wine. I swear this winter I'm going to try my hand at homemade marshmallows so stay tuned.
I also got sweet potatoes, apples, shallots, Seckel pears which are these tiny yummy pears. They are firm, but they looked so darn cute I had to buy a couple to try them out. I also bought some acorn squash and more if the venison snack sticks with cheese that I picked up from the market a few weeks ago. The venison snack sticks are a great treat, not to spicy, especially the ones with the cheese which mellows them out a bit.
In the next day or two you'll get a couple postings showings exactly what I did with all these yummy fresh foods!

Sweet, Boston MA

So last Sunday my company sponsored an employee bus trip to boston. It was a great trip and my friend Sue and I planned a relaxing cheap day together. More to come on the trip but we stopped at a cupcakery called Sweet for an afternoon pick us up. I can go either way with cupcakes sometimes they are too dry or two sweet, but these were actually very good.
The cupcakery had a cute pink interior, it had kind of a Parisian feel to it and they had many different kinds of cupcakes including gluten free and vegan cupcakes.
As you can see Sue and I bought two cupcakes and split them, one chocolate orange and one s'mores flavored cupcake. There were a bunch of other flavors that looked yummy, like the caramel apple, but we didn't want to go crazy.
The cake was good, not too dry and the icing was fluffy and not too sweet. The chocolate orange was a buttercream frosting and the s'mores actually was a marshmallow topping that had been toasted. The other neat thing about the s'mores cupcake was that on the bottom of the cake was a layer of gram cracker and it was a chocolate cake so it really tasted like a s'more.
If you're in the Boston area I highly recommend a trip to Sweet. Check out their website for more information and directions, it was so worth it !