Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween. Despite a pretty low number of trick or treaters this year they've all been cute.... Except that kid dressed as the creepy clown from the movie it.

Too late....

Why do I always find the perfect Halloween costumes too late... You can buy them at maybe I should see if they're 50% off tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Foodie pen pals October

October was my first month as part of the foodie pen pal program and it was awesome. Now that it's 12:08am on the 31st I can post about the loot I scored.
I received a package from Jason over at he sent me some very cool items. I got a nice letter from Jason telling me about all the items as well as a couple of his favorite breakfast recipes for impressing company. I don't often have breakfast company, but I can't wait to make them anyway and I bet they'll be great this holiday season.
I got a metal tin full of hot chocolate, which I am drinking as I write this. It is super yummy and smelled amazing just when I opened the tin! it also doubles as a piggy bank which is awesome since I work for a credit union and one of my big goals at work is saving members money.
I also received a carton of organic pumpkin purée, great for some fall recipes. I have to find something yummy to make, I don't want to waste it on a pie. A box of organic fettuccine, some ginger peach tea, which I meant to open last week when I had the flu, but forgot I had it. No need to worry because with the amount of hands I shake on a weekly basis there is no doubt I will get sick again, flu shot or no flu shot.
Jason also sent me a yummy looking Forrest mint bar of dark chocolate. I have been waiting for the perfect reason to enjoy this as a treat.

I sent some yummy local treats to new Mexico for my part of the swap over to Stacy at so make sure you check out her blog to see exactly what I packed up for her.

Think this sounds like tons of fun? Check out the lean green bean blog for more information.
The Lean Green Bean

Cranberry beans

Finally getting around to posting about dinner from the farmers market the Sunday before last. The only thing not bought there was the meat (I had a roast in the fridge that needed to be cooked) and the mushrooms since I couldn't find any I liked there.
I served sautéed cranberry beans with mushrooms. I cooked them in the wok with some water, some olive oil, and a little coarse sea salt. I chose to pair them with mushrooms to bring out the nutty, earthy flavor in the beans. If I had it to do over again I would probably blanche the beans before I sautéed them to soften them a bit, even after cooking them for almost an hour they were a bit firm.
I rubbed the roast with some salt, rosemary, thyme, toasted onion, and pepper.
The other veg was some nice acorn squash I picked up at the market. This was easy just a quick roast on a cookie sheet in the oven. Cut into 1/2 or 1/4 s your choice, coat with some butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of nutmeg then roasted till browned and tender. I just tossed it in next to the roast which I was cooking at 400.
Then I made a yummy gravy from the roast drippings. I always add a big of cornstarch as a thickener for the gravy. This was some seriously good gravy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pig candy!?!?!

You all know how much I love bacon and pork. Actually one of my members brought in a present for me to my old boss and it was a piggy bank. She said it was because I like pigs so much, mind you my office is loaded with penguins not pigs, but when my old boss sent it to my new office he told me the story.... All I could think was "well I do love pig products"
This summer I was in Rochester, NY at park ave fest, which is a huge art and music festival every August. I was taking my walk down the street, the festival spans about 8 large city blocks and as I was walking I passed a sign for a BBQ stand from a new restaurant in east Rochester, good smoke BBQ. And on the sign two words just spoke to me.... Like they knew I was about to walk by and they were written there just for me..... "pig candy"
You know there was not a chance I could walk away without getting my hands on some pig candy and at that point I had no idea what it even was. I just knew I needed to have whatever it was!
What I got was some very good bacon, tossed in their spice rub and signature BBQ sauce. It was in a word.... Amazing! It may have increased my love of pig products and bacon, something I didn't even know was possible. Their rub had just the right amount of smoke and heat, without too much spice. The sauce was perfect, not too sweet and kept the heat from the rub at bay. Wash it all down with an ice cold coke and that's what I call the American dream!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pintrest potatoes!

The other night I made roast chicken for dinner, yummy as always and these really neat looking roasted potatoes I saw on Pintrest. I'll spare you the details on the chicken since it was basic roast chicken. Let's focus on those super awesome potatoes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then wash off your potatoes, I recommend russet or Yukon gold. Then make many cuts into the potato like you are making thin slices, but do not cut all the way through the potato, only cut about 3/4 of the way through the potato. You will need a sharp non serrated knife to make these cuts.
Then fan the potatoes with your fingers lightly just to open them up a bit. Don't tear the potatoes. Then drizzle some olive oil over the potatoes. I used some olive oil infused with truffle oil to bring out the earthiness of the potatoes.
Then sprinkle some corse sea salt over the potatoes. Put them on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 35 minutes or until crispy golden brown. They are great because the oil helps the thin slices stay crispy and get a nice crunch to them, but the bottom is like having a baked potato. They were easy to make though the slicing was a bit labor intensive they were a huge hit and are a pretty impressive looking yet easy to make side dish.

Things that made me smile

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Potluck Friday!

So Friday we had a potluck lunch at work for the world series. Everyone could wear their favorite baseball gear and brought in something to share (or chipped in money for pizza.) you know I never pass up an opportunity to make food to share!
I made antipasto squares, a recipe I got from one of my old managers which is a godsend for potlucks and a good make ahead appetizer if you're having company because they're easy and you can make them the night before because you serve them cold.
2 tubes of crescent rolls
1/2 lb of Swiss cheese
1/2 lb baked ham from deli
1/3 lb hard salami from deli
1/3 lb slicing pepperoni from deli
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a baking pan with just a little bit of Pam or canola oil or whatever you choose. One the first package of crescent rolls and unroll it in the bottom of the pan leaving it in a sheet. If need be stretch the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan completely, but don't worry about the side. Then lay a layer of cheese across the whole thing, a layer of salami, a layer of ham, and a layer of pepperoni. Then one more layer of cheese across the top of the meat layers. Now it's time to open your second package of crescent rolls. This will be your top layer so just make sure it covers the pan. Then scramble up the two eggs in a separate bowl and pour the eggs over the top. Try and spread it evenly over the top crescent layer. The egg will act as a sealant to bind all the layers together. Don't worry if some of the egg pools it will all cook and look nice.
Cover the pan in foil and place in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, then take off the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow to cool and put in the fridge before cutting. It's much easier to cut when it's cold. Cut them into squares and serve right out of the pan or arrange them on a fancy plate.
Sorry the photos are backwards in order from completion through the steps. They were a huge hit at the potluck and I hope ya'll enjoyed the recipe!

Farmers market finds

Today I went to the Schenectady green market. It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and about 60 degrees so a perfect fall day to be at the market. Once November hits they move inside so I was glad to go today.
Here's what I got today!
The baked item that didn't make it home was a mini peanut butter cup from funk farms, last time I bought one it was so yummy I didn't even take a photo before I ate it. I slowed down a bit this time, the peanut butter top was so smooth and creamy and fluffy. Sooo good.
Next photo are pointed head cabbages, I didn't buy them since I only like cabbage on st patricks day, but it made me smile. Reminded me of the cone heads.
Then are dream puff marshmallows made in brunswick, NY. I've had these a few times from this guy, he makes all sorts of flavors. Today I got pumpkin spice, but previously i've had chocolate, Irish cream, and passion fruit. They're always light and fluffy. Marshmallows are something I've always wanted to try making, they're on my to do list. These tasted like fluffy pumpkin pie! Also in the photo are these amazing lemon thyme cookies from wellington's herbs & spices in schoharie, ny. They sell great herbs, but I'm obsessed with these cookies and they're only $3 for a bag of 4 cookies. They're perfectly crunchy and full of flavor, also I am happy just eating one or two. I don't need to stuff my face with them I can savor them.
I also bought some cranberry beans. This is something I've never seen before, but from their description they seemed tasty. The sign said they have a nutty taste and are good cooked with some olive oil and a little salt. I'll be cooking them with the roast tonight, so more details on the cranberry beans later.
Last photo is of some local venison snack sticks. Sadly I can't remember the name of the farm, they had many different venison options, it's an acquired taste, but I really like it. I used to have it when I was at college out near the Seneca reservation. They were a bit spicy, but not in a bad way and not overly salty like snack sticks tend to be. I got the ones with bits of cheese too, yum!
Hope you enjoyed my trip to the farmers market as much as I did, more to follow later about those cranberry beans since I'm making them with dinner tonight.

Lazy Sunday

So I've been badly in need of a relaxing day, after a great trip to the farmers market I'm curled up on my favorite armchair doing some blogging. Please enjoy the results to follow. This is a photo of an amazing cross stitch on my desk. I received it from a swap based on the tv the office. That's one of my favorite quotes from the show and always makes me smile when I'm having a rough day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New stuff

So I got an email letting me know my foodie pen pal mailed my package on Tuesday which means I should be getting it soon! Bummer for you guys since I can't post about it until the 31st of the month, that's part of the rules, but I can't wait to get my package. I mailed mine to new Mexico on Monday, hope she likes everything!
Today I was at shop rite and picked up some "creamy mango soda" they always have interesting stuff in their Asian section and I love mango almost as much as I love bacon. It was $3 for the soda, but pretty cool and since I had a good sales paycheck I decided I needed a treat.
It tastes pretty much as its labeled, like a creamy mango juice with carbonation, I was skeptical at first, but it was actually quite good. If you can find it and like mango I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


So I was issued a challenge for a visit this week. One of the companies challenged all of the vendors to a spooky decorating contest. So you know I'm pulling out all the stops. Here are some brains and the instructions.
I took 1 box of fettuccine noodles and broke then in half and put them in a bowl. Then put water in the bowl just covering the noodles, not hot water, just cold tap water. Then cover with Saran wrap and put it on the fridge for about 48 hours to soak.
After it soaks drain out the water and in a separate container mix light corn syrup with some red food coloring. Then pour the red corn syrup mixture over the pasta and coat the noodles.
Then I put it in a plastic bag to make a bag of brains, it also looks kind of like end trails or intestines. You decide, but enjoy!
I also have some containers of severed fingers with the blood and hands and feet that grow in water too. You know me, go big or go home!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Last night I had the pleasure of spending the evening at the Fusion charity event for the Albany Barn it was great because it combined two things I am very passionate about, food and local arts.  I don't have any photos since it was very dark there, but it was a great event showcasing some local chefs as well as work from local artists that was auctioned off to benefit the Albany Barn group.  Currently they are rebuilding an old school in the Arbor Hill neighborhood (the bad neighborhood) in Albany into an artist community and arts center.  You can check out their website for more info. 
Despite my earlier  bout with the flu this week I was there with bells on ready to test all the food. Sadly no photos since the lighting there was horrible it was very very dark at the venue, but I'll tell you all about the foods and chefs there.
There were 5 local chefs and they were given a challenge to use a season and an aroma in their dish.

Elliot from Creo, a local restaurant ( I enjoy very much had probably the best dish of the night.  His theme was the smells of fall, and he did an anise and cider braised smoked pork rib with a turnip and parsnip puree with a pine water chartreuse nectar.  Sounds fancy and it was, but it was also just well cooked homey food.  The rib was fall off the bone tender and the puree was a nice compliment to the smoked flavors.  Even the pine water which seemed kind of silly to me complimented well.  It was a well designed plate of food because it melded well together.  You could taste each flavor, yet they blended together rather than fighting each other. 

Second would probably go to Ric Orlando of the New World Bistro who chose winter aromas.  New World Bistro has had lots of attention locally, recently being voted best vegetarian and best place to take a date in Metroland newspaper.  He made an oak smoked chicken thigh with a cranberry pearl onion compote and a smoked winter squash risotto.  The risotto was so so, honestly risotto in a large setting like this is never very good, it usually just ends up being a very gummy rice.  Risotto should really be made in small batches to order.  Multiple places tried risottos at the event and none of them were any good, but his chicken was very good so I'll still give him points.

Mark Graham of Max London in Saratoga Springs made lamb meatballs with a salad of microgreens and roasted beets with a vinaigrette.  It wasn't bad, but honestly didn't notice they were lamb if I hadn't read the sign and they just tasted like average meatballs nothing too fancy. 

Yono Purnomo of Yono's was there as well.  I was disappointed by his offering as it has been on my list of places to eat recently.  It's a pricey fine dining establishment, but you can't be perfect every time. They also tried a risotto, a jasmine rice risotto, which again was pretty gummy and lacking in flavor.  It was served with a Bakimi Goreng, which is similar to to a lo mein.  It was good, but not great, again I just feel as though it wasn't very inventive or original.  He also had chicken simmered in a coconut curry sauce. 

Last was AJ Jayapal who is part of the Malozzi restaurant family, a local family that owns many restaurants in the area, most of them kind of cookie cutter fine dining, overpriced great place to take a date if you're trying to impress someone, but don't want to really put any effort into the date, lol.  He had angus sliders with a mango pepper chutney.  Eh... sliders have been pretty overdone lately and since these were all precooked and reheated they just we're great. You can't judge all these restaurants by large scare catering events, but it is hard not to when one or two really shine and it makes you wonder how much of a handicap you should give the others.

All in all a great night where quite a bit of money was raised for a great new local art center under construction and some pretty good food was had. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Columbus crafting weekend!

Happy Columbus day weekend everybody! I'm celebrating by spending some serious time crafting. I made a few sets of coasters, I think I'm going to try some pendants and possibly trivets as well. Who knows, I don't know what I'll do with them all, I'm sure some people will be getting them for Christmas lol. Mom thinks I should sell some, we'll see.
Regardless I wanted to share them here. I used alcohol ink to paint on ceramic tile to give it a watercolor effect. It was something new I found on pintrest and knew it was perfect for me. I've always loved mixing colors.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy October!

I love October, it's one of my favorite months. Mostly because of Halloween, I love costumes and giving out presents. If only I could cook a giant meal and feed people too! I've always figured that if I could combine Halloween, thanksgiving, and christmas It would be amazing! My head might also explode with ideas and stuff to do.

In honor of October here is one of my favorite crafty projects! Vampire mini pumpkins! It's super easy and they always look cute on my desk. Last year I made one for everyone in my branch and they got tons of compliments. And you only need 3 things.

A mini pumpkin/gourd (you want one of the "taller" ones. If you find the round ones instead of the smushed ones they work better)
Red tipped sewing pins (I have pearlized red ones cuz they look hardcore, I got them at joann's)
A set of vampire teeth

All you do is cut a hole for the teeth then push the pins in for the eyes. I've also seen people who use one thin coat of white paint to make them pale too! Too much mess for me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

So this is what people think of me

So my friend posted this on Facebook for me... I guess this is how I come off. Though it's true