I woke up yesterday to a broken heater and a balmy 59 degree apartment. After calling, emailing and leaving a voicemail for the maintenance service, I curled up in sweats … Continue reading Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
I’m craving big, bold flavors right now. No mansy-pansy olive oil and parsley for this chicka. I stumbled on this recipe for Hungry Girl Broccoli Slaw and saw an opportunity. Veggies + ground turkey + BBQ sauce = a sloppy joe!
12-oz. bag (4 cups) dry, prechopped coleslaw, broccoli slaw if you can find it
1 pound ground turkey
8 oz marinara sauce, pizza sauce or tomato sauce
Bottle of favorite BBQ sauce – I used Weber Molasses Sauce
1/2 cup vinegar – I used a combo of rice and balsamic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
buns for serving
1. Combine chicken broth and bag of coleslaw in a large pot. Set over low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to soften. Don’t wilt it; you want some crunch left.
2. While the coleslaw softens, cook the ground turkey in a skillet with salt and pepper.
3. Add the marinara sauce, onion powder, 1/2 the bottle of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of vinegar to the coleslaw mix. Stir, and let simmer 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust. TIP: I used a lot of vinegar since the sauce was so sweet, but this will vary based on your preferences. Add remaining tomato sauce and BBQ sauce to taste.
4. Add the cooked, ground turkey to the BBQ coleslaw pot. Stir to combine. Simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust.
5. Spoon the mixture onto your bun and nosh! Keep the paper towels handy, and don’t eat this while wearing a while shirt.
I liked how easy this was, and how the half-meat, half-veggie filling offered a way to get more greens in the diet. Even my meat-lover bf thought they were a hit, eating 3 skinny joe’s to prove it! Oh, and this paired well with Yeungling Light beer.
It’s summer, which means drinking a cold beer on a hot day is a slice of heaven. It also means it’s swimsuit season so downing Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss at 207 calories … Continue reading 6 Best Light Beers
It’s the time of the year when I take stock of who’s on my holiday list: who gets a gift, a gift and a card, just a card, or merely a passing wish for a warm holiday season. Which brings me to the task of shopping, and the hardest folks to shop for – men. Ya gotta balance interesting, playful, practical, humorous — things that speak to their inner geek or a treat they wouldn’t get themselves.
Women, we’re easy. There’s a standard repertoire of gifts that make us happy: champagne, a spa pedicure, dinner out where we can dress up a bit, new bubble bath, smelly candles, nice picture frames with photos of loved ones included, gourmet cheeses and dark chocolate, a relaxing massage, a hand-written letter, a clean house, tickets to a show or movie we like…you know the drill.
These 10 gift ideas are aimed more at the Brother-Spouse-Significant other audience than Grandpa Joe, but to each family, their own. I present 10 unique finds to get you started shopping:
1. Bacon Necktie: $19 from Amazon. The world of bacon accessories is astounding: bacon bandaids, bacon candy, pork books, bacon cuff links. You name your bacon product and you can find it. For the men in your life who wear ties with some disdain, this noose, er, necktie, may lift their spirits.
2. Hans Solo Frozen in Carbonite iphone Case: $17 on Etsy. C’mon, this is classic Star Wars. How cool is it to have Harrison Ford’s face of pain on the back of your phone?! This will get you bonus points. If your guy is into Star Wars, this lightsaber corncob holder is pretty kick-ass too.
3. Mustache Bandaids: $10 on Bezerk. It is Movember after all, when men grow out their facial hair to raise funds that support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. If you’re nixing the facial hair, there’s always the option of a beard hat. Especially if you live somewhere really, really cold.
4. Of-the-Month Club: Prices vary – From Of the Month Club. There’s something for everyone: mustard, beer, hot sauce wine, nuts, bagel, flowers, fruit…Not convinced? Here’s an interesting article on the rise of specialized of-the-month-clubs. The best part of these clubs is the joy of a package each month!
5. Ninja Knife Magnets: $18 from Cool Material Shop. My family is big on stocking stuffers, and these would fit perfectly– both in the stocking and in the category of stocking stuffer. They’re not big enough to wrap but area a little humorous something that makes for a conversation starter.
6. Star Trek Pizza Cutter: $30 from Space.com Store. In elementary school my sister and I raced home from school to catch the 3.30 pm episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed by Duck Tales. With the return of Star Trek via lovely Chris Pine, a new generation (ha!) will come to appreciate the Enterprise. Okay, so maybe I just really want this.
7. Gun and Target Alarm Clock: $23 on Amazon. Few people enjoy being roused from their slumber. BUT, wouldn’t he find it a bit easier if getting up involved shooting a target? With settings from one shot to five (easy to hard), this could also improve his reflexes in case of a zombie apocalypse. Just sayin’ – we watch a lot of Walking Dead in my house.
8. Craft Beer Home Brew Kit: $50 from RedEnvelope. I actually bought a beer making kit for my dad, and he enjoyed making, tasting, and naming his brews. I enjoyed sampling. I’ve tasted beer brewed at home from guys aged 23-65 years old. My dad’s Knights of Columbus group has an annual taste off, and plenty of my peers pick it up as a hobby. Heck, DC Brau’s was started by two guys brewing in their basements and now it’s a thriving business!
9. A Book from GQ’s Best of List: Prices vary, list from GQ. Sometimes the men in my life enjoy the books I read, but usually our tastes for pleasure reading are quite different. Rather than giving them YOUR favorite book, take a tip from the GQ guys. Their Best of 2011 list published last December list includes 21 options, and I presume a 2012 edition will emerge soon. You also can’t possibly go wrong with purchasing everyone you know a copy of World War Z by Max Brooks.
10. Mini Guitar Cast Iron Skillet: $16 from Lodge.
A cast iron skillet is a gift for life. Why not spice up cornbread and muffins by adding a touch of the arts to his cooking? Forget Le Creuset; the Lodge has a variety of other skillet, cooking, baking and grilling items – including those in bright colors – and they’re less expensive.
In keeping with tradition, I spent the 4th of July in Arkansas. It’s my favorite holiday, for reasons my sister articulates better than me: “My favorite holiday used to be Easter or Halloween based purely on accumulated sugar. Now-a-days I love that the 4th of July is a low stress holiday – people rarely freak out, just about chilling with friends and family, making some good food & drinks, and appreciating that while we may not have everything figured out as a country it sure averages out to better than most.”
I’m not really a Southern southerner – which I define as knowing how to successfully make and enjoy fried chicken, okra, grits and gravy – but I’ve learned there are a few items that taste better in the south. In no particular order, and without judgment, I present my top 5 best Arkansas flavors:
1. Bud Light. I usually steer clear of this beer because come on, it doesn’t taste like anything and makes you pee like a racehorse. But I swear, it tastes like a cold slice of heaven when we’re out on the boat, in the yard, after running through the sprinkler, and sitting on the porch under the fan. The garage fridge is always packed with these aluminum cans. Even when we buy assorted (expensive) micro brews to sample, I still default to the easy drinking of Bud Light.
2. Egg Foo Yong. In all honesty, yesterday was the first time I’d tried this dish. And it ROCKED. Therefore, according to logic, egg foo yong tastes best in Arkansas. The brown sauce, the combination of crunchy scallions with chewy pieces of pork and chicken and shrimp, all enveloped in a fluffy egg fritta thingy. Mmmm.
3. Mashed Potatoes. Much like Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits, mashed potatoes are better when you don’t know what goes into them. When I make ’em, I undersalt, skimp on sour cream, and leave out the cream cheese – all in the name of health. You read that right: our ‘family recipe’ involves butter, milk, sour cream and cream cheese all blended in before serving, followed by extra butter on the plate. Glorious velvety mouthfeel of fluffy, moist, a little tang and a whooooole lotta good.
4. Cucumber Vinegar Salad. My mouth is literally watering as I type, just thinking about this dish. It’s fast, easy, cold and gets better with each day in the fridge. If you’re a salt ‘n vinegar chip lover, or prefer savory to sweet, this will blow your socks off. 5 of us ate an entire container in one sitting, and I may have poured some of the vinegar dressing over mashed potatoes too.
5. Coffee. Each morning, 4 adults went through about 12 cups of coffee – with maybe another 6 cups in the afternoon. Will I get the “Great Dad” or Tinkerbell mug? Girl Scout cookie or unidentifiable creature mug? I’m sure the leisurely pace and sitting around the table yakking feeds into my fondness for Arkansas coffee, but there are two other secrets: cinnamon and Orange Seville. Every pot of coffee gets a dash of cinnamon, which makes it smell warm and spicy, and increases the bitterness. Also, they usually have Orange Seville flavored coffee. And sometimes we throw in a little Bailey’s Irish Cream. Did I mention we also had Mickey Mouse waffles and crispy bacon for breakfast yesterday?
Sometimes people are disappointing. Maybe we forgive them, or just ignore it and move on. But other times there’s no forgetting or giving a pass. Sometimes people are just awful. Warning: rant about to ensure.
I had 2 moments today of males being total [she pauses to find the most apt, descriptive word possible…] assholes. In both cases, the guys would say imbibing a fair amount of alcohol led to their actions. But ya know what? It’s not an excuse. It never was and never should be. Yes, you can drink until you don’t remember what you said or did, but you still chose to drink.
If you call a girl a foul name, don’t blame the alcohol. If your drunken antics result in pissing people off, it’s your choice to drink and you are responsible for your actions. You break shit? Pay for it. You ruin something? Replace it. You act like an idiot? Prepare to be ignored. You take a piss in public? Yeah, they ticket for that.
And if, god forbid, you move from drunk idiot into drunk ANGRY idiot, I have no sympathy. As an adult – aged 30 or 60 – this is not your first time enjoying libations. You know that phrase, “Know your limits.” Guess what? It doesn’t just apply to freshmen experimenting with alcohol. It applies to everyone, for life. Be an adult, for god’s sake, not a whiny toddler.
So the next time you, drunk man, decide to hit someone I care about just because you couldn’t hold your liquor or communicate your thoughts – look out. I own a chin up bar, and a hand gun.
D.C. has a ton of things going on all the time. The challenges I have when faced with limitless activities are to :1) find them, 2) remember them, and 3) afford them. Is a food-oriented bucket list called a trough? Here are some items on my DC list:
- Volt Restaurant – Table 21 is an exclusive chef’s table with 21 courses for $121, alcohol pairings not included. This restaurant gained notoriety through Top Chef a few years ago. You get a take-home menu. Here’s a local suggestion on how to get a reservation.
- Pizzeria Paradiso – One of my favorite good vibe, great beer selections and just-right size food. They do a few beer pairing dinners a year, and damn it, I want to go! Looks like I just missed one for $65 with Troeg’s brews at their Georgetown location. I like Dupont better anyway.
- Cochon 555 – I just learned about this, and the 2012 event was held last weekend. Their motto: ‘5 Chefs, 5 Pigs, 5 Winemakers.’ All pig parts, prepared every way. Yeahh, but it’s also $125 per ticket for a four-hour event.
- 100 Bowls of Compassion – This is the annual fundraising event for Miriam’s Kitchen, a group I’ve volunteered with off and on for several years. Through volunteering I’ve also gotten to work the event and access the 100 silent auction ‘bowls’ created by local artists, and the 5-star cuisine. Looks like it’s May 10, 2012, and tickets start at $275.
- Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival – I’ve been invited to this at the National Harbor. I love all 3 of these items, and it falls over my birthday weekend, so I might just have to make it a priority. With tickets between $35 – $85, and opportunities to volunteer, this may work out nicely. (Musings: lots of pork on this list. Hmmm…)
- Brew at the Zoo – Yep, pretty much like it sounds. The National Zoo hosts a beer sampling party, alongside the orangutans and prairie dogs. Scheduled for July 12, but no ticket prices listed yet. I like their holiday lights and their Boo at the Zoo activities too.
- PX (Speakeasy) – I’ve heard rumor of this place, but haven’t yet talked with anyone who’s been. Who doesn’t want to get dolled up and sip a specialty from a mixologist under the cover of a secret password? Thursday night I am going to the WW Club, which is supposed to be a speakeasy style club, for a special event. Tickets: $10. Now, what to wear?!
- Cowgirl Creamery – Okay, so I don’t even care what I do there, but I love the concept and the products. Looks like they have tours at least.
I’m also a fan of Free In DC – their website consistently has a good mix of theatre, arts, talks, presentations, popular and off the beaten path ideas for free or almost free activities about town.
I had the pleasure of spending last weekend with a dear friend in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. What did we do? Quite simply – we ate and talked. Talked and ate. Walked around, got pedicures, talked some more. A few dining recommendations next time you’re in that neck of the woods looking for some casual, friendly dining:
Dock Street Brewery & Pub: Fabulous pizza with just the right amount of squish to the crust that’s thin but not too crackery. We tried their vegetarian pizza with red sauce. I’m a bit of a marinara critic, but this one passed with flying colors. Turns out their pizzas are Zagat rated, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. I also tried a sampler of their brews, and my favorite ale was by far their Prisoner of Hell at 8.8% ABV. I had 2, or was it 3?
La Columbe Torrefaction: I love coffee. I need coffee. My friend prefers to start her day with water and tea, and holds the caffeine gods at bay. Fortunately we have the kind of relationship where I can say, “Kate, I will need to find coffee by 1pm. If not, things will get cranky – no good.” She suggested that en route to brunch I pick up a cup of joe at La Columbe. Not gonna lie, when I asked what my options were for a black coffee, they blinked and said, “For here or to go?” A bit disappointing with only one kind of coffee bean. But they’re in cahoots with Leonardo diCaprio, so they can’t be all bad.
Marathon: Ha ha, no we didn’t run a marathon, the restaurant is named Marathon. The food politics of the place are all about buying local, building relationships with local farmers, and serving what’s in season. We enjoyed a late lunch/early supper of fresh salads with an amazing lemon dressing while looking at the (local) art. The food tasted like spring. This was a chalk wall mural in the restaurant.
all the places we ate, this was the most luscious & decadent, mouth happiness-inducing spot. Do not be fooled into thinking this is low country cooking by the simple style and font of the menu. We feasted on sheep’s milk ricotta over grilled country bread, casarecce pasta with smoky mushrooms, a side of pan-seared brussel sprouts with pancetta and some other handmade pasta dish whose name escapes memory. Despite it being Saturday night, we were immediately seated at the kitchen counter to watch the staff in action. I admit that our pasta dishes were ordered based on watching them being cooked and served to others. Drool-inducing. Another reason to love this place? It’s one of 6 retail spots on 13th Street owned by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran – two women committed to revitalizing the area.The only downside, as Kate phrased it the next morning, “I feel like a piece of salted pork. I’m parched!” The food was fantastic, but they were heavy on the butter and salt.
Morning Glory Diner.Despite the general rule about a bad website = a bad experience, diners should be exempted. I don’t need Flash player; I want want S’More waffles, frittatas
the size of my head, banana-caramel stuffed French toast, 5 kinds of pork products and bottomless coffee. Ta da! I understand they regularly deviate from their menu, and we benefited, indulging in goat cheese & roasted beet salad; a creamy spinach-artichoke-asparagus-goat cheese egg scramble; and mint iced tea. They bake giant ‘muffins’ on a cookie sheet and slice them up into crumbly goodness. I appreciate that the clients were diverse too: a group of nuns, two older ladies with curlers in their hair and bright red lipstick, a pack of frat boys, several hipsters with more tattoos than clothes, a mom and son. It was casual, friendly, filling and the food was packed with flavor.
This year I just don’t feel like drinking green-dyed beer, or watching people get shit-faced, pee in the street and pinch arses in public while winking like a deranged leprechaun. Despite my red curly hair, I’m not Irish. Sorry to disappoint.
Instead, come Saturday night, I’m making a green meal (the color, not the eco-conscious kind of green) for some dear friends of mine. Our festive feast will include:
- Guacamole with green tortilla chips
- Edamame dip served with raw broccoli florets, celery and green bell pepper strips
- Spinach enchiladas with salsa verde
- Cilantro-infused jasmine rice
- Mint chocolate chip ice cream – or green tea ice cream, haven’t decided yet
Whether I imbibe a pint of Guinness or Harp, or just drink some red wine, I support Dogfish Head’s quote, “No green beer, just stick with great beer this St Patty’s Day.” I’ll toast to that.