Category Archives: Cooking

Cooking Class

This week, as a networking/team building/fun outing, my team from work went to a cooking class. We made our dinner and then enjoyed it. We had butternut squash ravioli for the appetizer, chicken pot pie for our main course, and apple pie for dessert. Of course, this was all complimented by wine and candles.

The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that the room the tables were set in was covered on three walls with cook books. I noticed some I have and really enjoyed looking at them. I definitely took down the name of a few I would like to purchase.

Here a some pictures from the night of the team making pot pie and then the finished product!

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Birthday Cake

I don’t usually do much for birthdays, but my birthday usually falls on or around the Superbowl. This year we had a Superbowl party and I made this cake for myself and a friend of mine, who has a birthday 3 days before mine. The way this turned out made me so happy!

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Oh, and I also made these badass chocolate covered strawberries!!

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Dinner Party Table Setting

This past weekend I had a dinner party and had this vision in my mind of what I wanted my table to look like. I was able to hit my vision almost exactly and was so happy with my table.

The table cloth was really tough to find, actually, because my table is so big. It’s a 4’x4′ square. I found the “outdoor” table cloth at Bed Bath & Beyond last year. The placemats I also had from BB&B. The napkins are brand new from Williams Sonoma. They were only $7 each. I was going to make napkins, but I was crunched for time and these probably turned out to be cheaper than the fabric I would have used. The name cards are from Martha Stewart. They took some time, but I loved them.

We had a couple of birthdays to celebrate, so I make a chocolate cake with yummy buttercream frosting, but the birthday boys didn’t know I’d made a cake, so I put it in the microwave to hide until after dinner. Great hiding spot, but bad idea with so much cooking still left to be done. The frosting ended up melting off the sides of the cake, which was disappointing, but it was still good!

Recent Food Adventures

There’s nothing more I like to do in the winter than make comfort food and stay warm on the couch under a blanket either reading, knitting or watching something.

I have recently made chili:

Chicken Chili Rellenos:

And Chicken Tortilla Soup in the crock pot:

Yum! Also on my upcoming list: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter sauce, Breaded pork chops with mashed potatoes, Meatloaf (I have a great recipe, I swear), Honey glazed chicken stir-fry, chicken pot pie, and I’m forgetting one or two.

Easter 2010

Yesterday we had a bunch of friends over for Easter dinner. It was nice to have a sort of family kind of thing since none of us have family here. I made my bunny cake and, unfortunately, that’s the only thing I managed to take a picture of. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the meal – including my first ham, which turned out quite well I think!

It was a perfect beautiful day yesterday. We hung out, talked, ate, played on the roof deck, and I had a great time. There were 9 of us there and it was nice to have people to hang out and chat with. It definitely felt like a holiday, which was nice, because holidays can tend not to feel that way if you’re not with family.

We didn’t actually go to church yesterday, we went to the Easter Vigil on Saturday night because I was someone’s sponsor through RCIA and they do all their baptisms and confirmations at that mass. It was long, but it wasn’t miserable long, maybe because I was involved throughout. My favorite part was by far the fire at the beginning. So you walk into the church and it’s all dark – no lights on, but everyone gets an unlit candle. To start mass they have this big pedestal they light a fire on the top of in the back of the church, the priest then lights a candle from that which he uses to light the paschal candle and from the priest’s candle the flame/light spreads rapidly. All the candidates/catechumans and their sponsors (me) were standing in the back with the priests, deacons, alter servers, lecters, etc. We all lit our candles from the priests and others around us and then it spread from us to the congregation in the the pews and up to the front of the church. It was really amazing to see and was beautiful to see this giant, old church lit by hundreds of candles. The way the light spread felt very unifying and I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t know if I can handle an Easter Vigil again next year, but that feeling I had and that part of the mass will make me at least consider it.

Cooking

One of my resolutions this year is to use my cookbooks more.  So far, so good.  This week, however, is a busy one and I’m going with tried and true.  Last night I made meatloaf – yum, greenbeans and rolls!  Tonight it’s breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes and corn.

I had friends over one night and made stuffed mushrooms – they were SO good. Last week I tried out a Spicy Chicken and Rice Bake that was actually not spicy at all.  If I made it again, I would definitely add some jalapenos or cayenne or something.  From the same cookbook I also make a honey glazed chicken stir fry – that one was pretty good.

Any recommendations on favorite recipes?

Pumpkin Pie – My first Time

This weekend tbf and I went down to Philly to do Thanksgiving with my Aunt and Uncle. I was responsible for the desserts. I made a family recipe, carmelitas, which I pretty much make for everything because people love them. I also made a pumpkin pie. Who doesn’t do pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?!?

I made it from scratch – well, not the pumpkin. I even made the crust from scratch, which I was nervous about because I never had before…and because I don’t have a rolling pin. I just pressed it out with my hands, but then was nervous about getting it from the counter into the pie plate, so I dusted it with flour, folded it up and moved it. Not problems. It unfolded just fine.

My aunt and uncles are foodies and they complimented the pie, saying it was cooked perfectly – not to long and not to little. They were saying it’s easy to under cook pumpkin pies and leave them a little mushy. They also seemed really into the crust. Yay! Apparently they told my grandma and the rest of the family because everyone is telling me I made a great pie. Haha. I feel like a child who just used the toilet for the first time. People seem so excited! Surprise, I can cook! (I always knew it – I’ve been doing it for like 10 years now – I guess the rest of the family just didn’t.)