Soup to Nuts

Because you know I love things that come in boxes…and have to tell you about them

 
So my bestie L tried out the kinda new, delivered fresh to your home, meals kit called Hello Fresh that is affiliated with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. She got to gift a trial delivery to someone and picked moi ( I would have picked her if the roles had been reversed! ) 

Our box arrived Last Tuesday and because of my travel schedule we didn’t try to cook anything till the weekend. We got three meals for two peeps each. The meal choices rotate each week and members can choose from regular or vegetarian meals as desired. 

Our first meal was a fusilloni al forno and all the ingredients were in the box right down to an onion and two individual cloves of garlic. Here’s the unpacking… 

   
    
    
 
And here’s the finished product…

   
 We added mini grilled zucchini for another green veggie.So here are my thoughts in no particular order….
1) It’s a long way to send nondescript foodstuffs that can be bought most likely at a much lower cost and probably within a mile of your house.

2) It’s a lot of extra packaging that my sometimes sustainable ego kinda cringed at, although it was mostly associated with the shipping

3) It’s more than 2 portions. Easily could feed 4.

4) Simple recipes, good for beginning and/or busy cooks. A little too simple for me, the Hubs and I needed a little more seasoning.

5) Recipe book is simple to follow and includes a ruler so that items are cut to the correct size as indicated in recipe.

6) It’s expensive at $69 for 3 meals, so $23 a meal, and $11.50 a head. That is closer to retail restaurant pricing and more than it in some cases. Remember there’s no salad, or soup or dessert courses, only entrees, so that expense is not included.

I’ll update you when we cook the pork tenderloin and mozzarella crusted chicken, but for this little kitchen, I think we’ll support our local grocers, farms and merchants.

However, you do get a handy superhero mask with every package…

  

Five for Friday

Well that week went quick…

   

  
 Here’s the latest addition to my little kitchen. Baby pink, limited edition, 3.5 quart. Perfect for everyday !

  

A dress made of woven ribbon….

 Spring is currently living on my kitchen windowsill..courtesy of Trader Joes.   

  

Rose gold is everywhere!

   

Chocolate is the giveaway for how good this class was….

“Gal-entine’s” Day

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What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a terrifically frigid winter afternoon than gathering some “gal pals” and celebrating “gal – entines” day? Leave the romantic dinners, wine and flowers for your soul mate, but in the meantime, gather your girlfriends, daughters, nieces and all those creatively inclined for an afternoon of crafting coziness.

Eleven women who met the criteria above were at my house on Saturday to craft and decorate just in time for the holiday. It was a no pressure event featuring a mimosa bar, quick and easy baked but not breaded chicken parmesan with a salad, and tons of goodies.

Here’s some of my projects for the afternoon : chocolate covered strawberries and macarons and meringue hearts for everyone to take home!

For the meringues I placed a  sheet of plain 8 1/2 x 11 paper that I had used my computer to space even, same size hearts on as an outline. I placed the template between my silpat covered baking sheet and the parchment paper. Once the meringues were piped, I just pulled the piece of paper out. This works to make macarons also. Also a little hint for your piping bag is to use a large cup like kind from fast food restaurants or movie theaters snack bars to fill and hold your piping bag. Makes it very easy!

Here are some of the notions and ephermera I put out to help my guests craft!038041042

Hope everyone had a terrific Valentine’s day!

 

 

Counting Carbs…

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My boss is a licensed, card carrying registered dietician and fond of saying occasionally…”carbs will kill you”. So occasionally, I listen.And feel guilty about bread, breading, stuffing, cakes, cookies etc. But only occasionally. That’s when I look to vegetables to get me out of the fix…

So in the middle of one of the snowstorms and in celebration of weekly meatless monday endeavor, I ginned up this creamy leek and cauliflower soup. I started with frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s

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I cooked them down in some olive oil with some yellow onion, till they were all soft and see through and a little caramelized.

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Added cauliflower florets and stems, cut to about 1″ size all around. Added salt and pepper and about 4 cups of vegetable broth. I cooked it all until very soft and then hit the mixture with my trusty stick blender while still in the pot. Adjusted the seasoning and added a tiny bit ( about 1/2 cup) of light cream, just to smooth it out and reblended. I also put in a bit of shredded parmesan that I had on hand and topped with some sliced green onions. Serve with crusty dark bread and a dark green salad with simple oil dressing. See, I still need to have the carbs with the meal!

 

Five for Friday

I was reading a blog the other day about photography and getting in the habit of taking photos, even if just with your phone. No need for a big camera, you can get used to seeing things in different ways without hauling out your SLR. One of the themes they advocated was to publish on the same day every week, or to keep a theme for a month and publish each day, just one photo. But just because of the alliteration, I’m choosing Five for Friday. Just like how the blog started, and my macaroon of the month adventure and craft a week project, I’m committing to Five for Friday for a year. I’ll put five new pictures up ech Friday that I take during the week, the good and the bad. The clock started ticking last Friday, February 5, so herewith the first five! 

 
Cause it’s all about snow this week..

  
Be bright!

  
An opal sky on road home…

  At the Opera House
  
Valentine window, Jacob Wirth, Stuart St, Boston

Current Crushes

Things I’m currently crushing on…

 

Rhonda Designs
and Rhonna Collage are apps and a website that combine photo editing, captioning, borders and effects like this… 

 
And this…

  
On the AppStore for Apple or rhonnadesigns.com

 Younger 

Binge-worthy, smart, hilariously funny adult comedy about 40 year old divorcee, reinventing herself as a 26 year old in the Big Apple with new and old besties and a hot tattoo artist boyfriend, a wicked stepmother of a boss and a prince on the doorstep of a brownstone . And a daughter. Who’s maybe 20….IRL. Very adult themes, probably not the most suitable for tweens. Stars Broadway actress Sutton Foster (late, of Bunheads..RIP),  Hilary Duff (Disney queen and late of Lizzie McGuire) and Debbie Mazur (late of Entourage and Madonna videos). 

Physicians Formula Lash Extension Mascara

 

 Have you seen those women who get eyelash extensions? You know, the ones they drape over their sunglasses?  Here’s how you can get the same look for short money and no time invested. On Amazon.

  
The Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks

The Books. The Bracket. The Judges. Keep Up. See what cookbook takes the golden piglet this year. Like March Madness for foodies.

“Join us…leave your cheese to sour!”


So goes the direct invite to the audience in the opening bars of the musical “Pippen”.

When the rollcall  of great American musicals is read one day, Pippen will not be at the top of the list. Singin in the Rain…check. Oklahoma…check, but not Pippen. Lacking a “hit” song like “Shall We Dance” or “There Is Nothing Like A Dame”, the original production was staged at the end of the Age of Aquarius and is best known for making a star out of Ben Vereen.

That being said, it should not detract in any way from the current touring production, conceived and revived by Diane Paulus of ART in 2013. The play tells the story of the mythical son of Charlemagne, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, who is questing for the “meaning of life” . He goes to war and to love, and from the set…to the circus.


John Rubenstein, who originated the role on Broadway, now plays Charlemagne in a slightly inebriated and very rakish manner. He rules, is assassinated and then is resurrected. His wife Fastrada can steal the scene with her costume changes. The “players” of the troupe astound and awe the audience in the manner of Cirque de Soleil juggle knives, climb poles and body surf across the stage on large rubber balls like the kind preschoolers use for chairs. A lot of money must have passed hands with the Boston Fire Department to cover the permits and detail firefighters that were no doubt lurking backstage due to the sparklers and flying torch scenes.

The most extraordinary of the performances however, belongs to Adrienne Barbeau of “Maude” fame. Not only can and does she belt out the songs, but in her performance of Berthe, Pippin’s grandmother, she spends a lot of time in a fetching bustier hanging from a trapeze. You read that right, a trapeze.

Limited performances through February 14. Come on, “join us…leave your cheese to sour!”

Copycat….

353The first nite that the Hubs and I were in Paris last fall, we went to a tiny creperie and enjoyed traditional galettes with eggs and ham. Well let me tell you, if those buckwheat crepes were the ballet slippers of the crepe world, then I produced the winter boot.

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Ok, maybe I was more upset about my Tommy and the Pats loss to Mr. Manning et al. And maybe because I didn’t cook them on the crepe pan that I thought I bought but now can’t find. Or maybe it’s because I used buttermilk in the recipe instead of whole milk. Whatever the reason, my buckwheat crepes ( or creeps if you type too fast) tasted great, but left a lot on the table in the beauty department!

You be the judge!

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Theirs……

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Mine…..

Just another Meatless Monday

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Like all my Meatless Mondays, sometimes it’s just stuff I have hanging around the frig, that composes what we eat for meatless day. I sort of had a plan when I started out roasting zucchini and yellow peppers in the now ill fated oven adventure of Saturday nite. However the execution of the plan had to be completely changed once I remembered…I can’t just zap stuff  to reheat it…and rats, I can’t put it in oven to reheat either!

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I will say that I made a stellar sauce of roasted yellow peppers that topped off the saute pan reheated zucchini sticks that I put on top of polenta with parmesan and butter. Simply take the roasted peppers, take the top off and seed them, and drop them in a blender. Pulse on high while drizzling some olive oil into the blender. If you seasoned the peppers before roasting, you should not need any more salt or pepper but you might want to double check it!365