Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pincuisine...Cheeseburger Soup

One of my goals is to make a different soup every week.  So when I saw this recipe I pinned it on my soups and stews board.
The recipe I based mine off of (and home of the original image) is Cheeseburger Soup I from Allrecipes.
Cheeseburger Soup
  • One pound of ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • one red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups grated cheese, I used smoked swiss and cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cup milk, I used 2%
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, I used light

Start by browning the beef with one tablespoon of butter over medium heat, add the cumin, chili powder and pepper.
Next add the veggies
Add the broth and diced potatoes
 In a sauce pan melt the remaining butter and add the flour, then add the milk gradually.  Keep stirring while you do this, keep stirring until smooth.

Add this slowly to the soup, stirring while you do it.
Once incorporated into soup, add the grated cheese.  Bring back to a boil, lower heat to a simmer.  Add the cheese, stirring to melt and incorporate into soup, then add the sour cream.  Do not boil the soup at this point.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pretty eggs...

I re-pinned a picture of eggs cooked in bell pepper slices from Apron Strings blog because:
A. I like making breakfast on the weekends
B. We like eggs and it seems like almost everything we make has red peppers in it, win win
C. They are very pretty

I can't seem to show the picture from the pin because when I tracked down the true origins (fabfrugalfood on flickr) the image is copyrighted.  I totally respect that. It seems ironic that an untold amount of people can pin their really cool image of eggs in bell peppers and use it for "inspiration" or whatever. Any way this is what mine looked like (after the mess below)...

My husband said he felt like he was eating like the 99% because they were so fancy.

It is simple and easy to do, start with bell pepper slices and eggs

Warm your favorite flat bottom saute pan, add some oil (I used canola).  Cut pepper slices, try to do as evenly as possible so they lie flat.  Place in pan.
Add an egg to each pepper.  You will see my peppers were not cut so flat...
Opps!!  We do not like over easy (aka "dippy eggs" from where we are from) so I added a small amount of water and covered to poach the eggs.
When they were done I trimmed off the run away egg white and added some pepper.  I served them with biscuits and tea. Yum.
I think with some practice they will look better next time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Making the best of a not great situation...

I was excited for an early winter storm.  A day of staying inside watching the snow fall while enjoying a hot cup of tea.  What isn't great about that?  This:

Yesterday as we were getting to watch my niece on the local high school quiz show our Bradford pear decided it couldn't take the weight of the snow anymore. At the end of the storm it looked sad but beautiful.

Now as we wait in the long line for the tree removal guys to come we are trying to find the bright side of the situation.  Apparently our tree was doomed from the start due to poor Bradford pear branch structure.  This was apparently going to happen eventually.
We will have firewood.  Maybe not as much as we first thought, but we should get a little stack out of it.  Searching for "firewood" pins I found these cool ideas (that probably won't happen).
No original source found, re-pinned...
Originally from
 Originally from It's Hard to Find A Friend on Tumblr

All said and done this is what it probably will look like after it is seasoned and we get something to hold it in:
Originally from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

photos in mason jars - love it, hate it, or meh?

After seeing this pin 50,000 times I gave in and re-pinned it.  It could be an interesting craft project. Maybe.

I was not so crazy about the look of the mason jar, so I went with rounder jar for a more up-to-date look.  The scientist in me was thinking of specimen in jar versus vintage.  Various online directions I found suggested using olive oil  or vegetable oil.  I used what I had on hand - canola oil, some pictures from our last vacation, and clear glass jar.

Craft items assemble!!
 Before I cut the photograph I placed it under the jar to figure out where I wanted to crop it.

I tried an iguana, not crazy about it.

So I tried some seaweed that had washed up on the beach.  I liked this one better.

At the end of the day I would say meh to this craft project.  It ended up on top of the refrigerator.  I think I will try a variation of this where I put rocks in oil inside of laboratory specimen jars and just skip the picture.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pinterruption...Geek Style

My pinning and blog were on vacation while I got my geek on at New York Comic Con last weekend.  My inner geek absolutely fell in love with cons at Wizard World in Philadelphia last summer.  What better excuse to spend a weekend in New York City than some uber-nerdy goodness?

We started out on Friday, arriving around noon, just in time to get into the Felicia Day panel.  As fans of both Doctor Horrible and The Guild, this was a great way to start off the con! After the panel we headed to the main floor to check out the exhibits and vendors.  I must say I was super excited to happen upon the Doctor Who Store equipped with a dalek!  The crowd was thick but manageable at this point. 
Fan with WWII era Dalek
We headed back to check into our hotel and grab a bite to eat.  We decided to grab something close to our hotel so we ate at Cho Dang Gol.  We were pleasantly surprised by the spread of appetizers including kimchi and this amazing fish along with other things that were good but we were not quite sure what they were!  I had the Dol Sot Bibimbap and Steve had the Korean BBQ. Way to squeeze in some foodie goodness during our con weekend.

After scarfing down our food we headed back to the Javits to get in line for Mark Hamill's solo panel. We got in line at the appointed place and waited patiently.  Then the line started to move and comic con totally mismanaged the line letting people way behind us in front of us.  Luckily we got in to the panel by a hair.  It was interesting to learn he can't tell the difference between a dewback and bantha (for reals).
Our view from the very back of the room...
Our friend Barb (of When Nerds Attack blog fame) motivated us to get in line very early on Saturday.  Boy am I glad she did.  We queued up in the line to get into the main door a little past 7 am (three hours before the doors officially opened).  After waiting in line for an hour or so they let us into what I call the big scary line room.
In line in the big scary line room, not many people behind us (yet)
The line fills up...
The front of the line (I mean start of the stampede!)
We were not far (probably 150-200 people) from the front of the line.  We each grabbed a bag with some freebies and met two gentlemen from Boston who we bonded with over con goodness.  One was actually from our home town originally - small world!  The goal of all this standing in line was to get to the line for the IGN Theater (aka home of the best panels of the day).

As soon as the doors open we made the mad rush for the next line.  We were only 20 people or so from the front of this line.  One of the best things about cons is the general good will and solidarity of those in line, we quickly bonded with a group (including a girl in a kick ass River Song wig).  At a little past 11 am, we were finally in our chairs for the day. And no, standing in line so early does not get you seats in the front row.  The first nine rows of the theater were reserved for those who ponied up $400 for their passes.  Money does buy you access at Comic Con.

So began our countdown to the Avengers panel... First up was the Terra Nova panel, which was really good.  First they showed us the next episode of the show then they brought out the two main stars.

Terra Nova stars aka the bad guy from Avatar and that guy from the time travel cop show that got cancelled
Then they showed the next episode of Person of Interest, which was interesting but no in-person panel.  A Liar's Autobiography, a cartoon biography of Graham Chapman was up next.  They showed us portions of the movie and discussed making it.  I look forward to seeing the completed project.
Graham seemed a little flat...
Things started heating up with the Nikita panel.  I was sort of lost having never seen this show. I was happy to recognize the guy (Shane West) from Once and Again.

The Nikita panel, Maggie Q is like get me out of here...
The Ghost Rider - Spirit of Vengeance (aka Ghost Rider 2) panel showcased the the directors.  They are nuts, they showed footage of them on roller blades with a camera tied to a moving motor cycle. I learned that in a PG-13 movie you can violently burn up all the people you want.   They also showed a clip from the Total Recall remake at this panel.  Having a special spot for the original in my heart, I was weary of the remake.  I am now open to seeing the movie having seen their fresh take on the story and setting.  It was a pleasant combination of the familiar with futuristic elements, the whole look is very different from the original.
The crazy Ghost Rider  directors
Up next was the Walking Dead panel. I do not deal well with scary things, I was not looking forward to a panel all about Zombies. Not at all, tried to find comfort in the fact that zombies do not make scientific sense.  How can they be driven to eat human flesh and only have one part of their brain function?  How would peristalsis work, they would get all backed up.  They subjected me to an extremely scary clip that seemed to last FOREVER.  I am glad we do not have cable.
Zombie masses approaching the Walking Dead panel
Finally it was time for the Avengers panel, almost.  We watched some drama in the rows in front of us as people without the expensive passes tried to sit in the reserved seats.  Punches were almost thrown.   I am still curious how many people were standing line to get in and didn't get in.  The room was completely full, then some.

Avengers Assemble!!
Chris Evans (Captain America) wore a hat during the panel, which was in poor taste in my opinion.  Tom Hiddleston (Loki) totally was the star of the panel.   I wonder if the producers are thinking of a Loki movie based on the reaction to him (imagine mass swooning).  They started off showing us the preview released the week before, then they moved on to some special footage (sort of like a preview) with Bruce Banner.  I bet their market research shows they need to really sell Mark Ruffalo to the geek masses.  I still don't really see it, he has been to engrained into the chick flick loving part of my brain.
Lovely Loki
The funniest thing during all these panels is that the people on them walk out taking pictures with their cell phones.  I probably would do the same thing.  It has to be pretty cool walking into a room of 3,000 cheering fans.
Panelist taking pics of audience
Sunday we headed back to check out the north hall (where the autographing was taking place) and the main hall.  We thought since it was "family day" it would not be crowded.  The north hall wasn't crowded, we walked through the autographing area to get glimpses of some stars.  Personally I don't get the whole paying for someone to sign something.  Maybe I would pay for a one of the Doctors, but that is about it.  The shy part of me honestly wouldn't want to go through the whole process.  Anyhow, we headed to the main exhibition hall.  It was even more crowded than Friday!  After walking through the masses for a hour or so we gave up and headed home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

my tea obsession...

One of my favorite Pinterest boards is the generic "Products I Love" board.  It may sound sappy but it helps me to remind me of things that make me happy.  I have renamed most of the generic boards to suit myself, but honestly I can think of a better name for this one.  Maybe "My Little Joys"?  Meh.  I am going to be lazy and keep it.
My favorite thing right now is Harney and Sons Paris tea.  I am on my second 50 sachet bag after tearing through this tin my best friend gave me.  He wasn't crazy about it, I absolutely love it.  Every time I trek to New York I hit up their shop on Broome Street.  It is like a more feminine turn on Earl Gray.  It combines a subtle bergamot with vanilla, with a dash of half and half it is absolute heaven.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

my lazy spin on strawberry mascarpone cake...

I re-pinned this because it looked yummy and beautiful. It originally hails from shesimmers blog (great name for a blog!).  I was going to make it for a summer dinner party and end up looking like an accomplished baker.  But when it came to actually making it I was racing the clock to get to a picnic, so I did the lazy suburban trick of turning it into a trifle.  The end result was not as flawlessly beautiful, but it tasted good.

  • One 4-ounce container of mascarpone cheese, softened on the counter
  • Two pounds of beautiful strawberries
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 unflavored gelatin packet
  • sugar to taste, I used about 1/3 cup
  • vanilla to taste (I don't measure I just pour...)
  • Angel food cake - I was lazy and used one from the store. 

    -Place 1 cup of cold whipping cream in a bowl, I used the bowl from my mixer.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it sit  until it is dissolved (it won't look crystalline any more, it will look sort of wrinkly).

    - Add the softened mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla.  Mix until fluffy, but as shesimmers warns, don't over mix or you will have butter.

    - Cut the "pretty" strawberries, enough to line your container walls, chop up the rest into little bite-sized bits.

     - Add the chopped strawberries to the cream mixture, move to another bowl (chill in the fridge if you want until you are ready to use)

    - Dice up the angel food cake or rip as you go....

    - Place a layer of angel food cake pieces in the bottom of your trifle bowl.  Ring the bowl with slice strawberries, insides facing out.  Place filling inside until strawberries on sides are covered.  Repeat until you fill your container.

    - Garnish with strawberries.

    -Use sugar substitute along with a sugar-free angel food cake for a sugar-free version
    -Use other berries in the filling, blueberries, raspberries, ,blackberries