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Sunday Night Catch Up

There have been a number of things over the last month or two that I’ve told myself I need to get around to blogging about. I have the pictures and the intention, and then it comes down to I could either write the post or take a nap. Today I took a nap and OMG it felt good. Naps have been much higher on my priorities list. As they should be for everyone.  I hate that nagging feeling of having a backlog of posts. By the time I have enough time to sit down and write, the older ideas feel stale and I’m no longer into it. So this is my “catch up post” and I’m counting this as a clean slate moving forward.

(1) Now that the winter is really bitter and cold, I am again asking myself WHY do I live in Pittsburgh, and wishing I could go back to our holiday week in Tampa.  We only got to check out a small slice of it, but Tampa seems like a really cool town.  On our last night there we ate at this killer Latin American restaurant called El Puerto.

El Puerto


El Puerto

El Puerto

Mr. Beez had the dinner pictured in the middle, which was basically steaks on top of sausages on top of chicken on top of mountains and mountains and mountains of meat. Also, they had churros, which is nothing crazy or special when you’re in Florida, but churros are HARD to come by in Pittsburgh, so yasssssssss.

(2)  When we were in Florida, we went to Legoland. Everything was awesome.

Legoland

We were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy a lot of amusement parks with Baby Beez this year. We went to Disneyworld (Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios), both Universal Florida theme parks, Sesame Place, Kennywood, and now Legoland.  now we are beginning what I will call “A few years of not going to any damn amusement parks” because I’ve had enough amusement. We may take her to Disney again in 5 or so years, but we need some time off for a while.

(3) Just FYI, outside of Legoland is this crazy delicious BBQ joint called Hog Heaven Smokehouse. It’s in a nondescript little strip mall, so you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it. LOOK FOR IT. I admit, BBQ does not tend to be the most photogenic food, but you need to try this stuff, because it is delicious. Also, it’s a small family run place, and everyone working there was absolutely the sweetest. I felt more like a guest in someone’s home than a customer at a restaurant.

Hog Heaven

(4) We also visited the Dali museum when we were in Florida. It’s been a dream of mine since I was in high school to visit this museum, and it did not disappoint. It also had a special exhibition of Escher’s works going on. It was a complete dream for my high school self.

Dali Museum


(5) Ybor City was a totally cool neighborhood and we had so much fun checking out their local breweries, of which there are several. Our favorite brewery was Cigar City Cider & Mead. They had over a dozen offerings on tap of all kinds of meads and ciders, so many different flavors and all over the spectrum from dry to sweet. The bartenders were super friendly and were proud of the drinks they were serving, and chatted with us the whole time. Also they were playing Indiana Jones movies on a big screen the whole time. A+.

Cigar City

(6) When we got back to Pixburgh, we swung by the food truck roundup at The Brew Gentlemen because I saw that Blowfish BBQ was there, and thanks to the amazing food I had at Hog Heaven Smokehouse, I NEEDED BBQ and all I could think about was smoked chicken and delicious deliciousness. Delicious deliciousness was had, and if you have not yet had Blowfish BBQ, you are sorely missing out on the best BBQ in the city. And if you disagree with me, you are just wrong. Sorry.

Blowfish BBQ


(7) This week I visited Amazing Cafe with my friend Beth, and at risk of sounding ridiculous, it really was Amazing. I had the Tulum tacos, which included roasted tempeh, potatoes and vegetables. I also had a green juice that was legitimately delicious. I don’t really like juice, but from time to time I will tolerate it. I actively liked this juice, which is very unusual for me. Both Beth and I were thrilled with our lunches, the food was fresh, light and made us feel good from eating it. This is definitely worth a mid-day trip out of downtown.

Amazing Cafe Tulum Tacos

(8) This week was Restaurant Week and I made it out for 2 meals.  On Thursday, we went for family dinner to Braddock’s Brasserie at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. Baby Beez was really excited that we were eating at a restaurant in a HOTEL and I have no idea why, but whatever. The food was very good and the service was very friendly, so we had a really nice time.

Braddock's


Braddock's

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Braddock's

(9) The Steel Trap and I also went to Prairie for Restaurant Week dinner. Prairie is also on the gastropub/comfort food theme. The food was brilliantly executed and the ambiance was fun and laid back. I am puzzled, though, why the owners decided to change from Verde, which was a really good Mexican style restaurant in a town with few Mexican Restaurant, into a gastropub/comfort food kind of restaurant, of which there seem to be no shortage anymore. I went for the dishes that they are best known for– the chicken & biscuit and the ice cream cookie, and I was not disappointed. HGB of The Steel Trap also loved it, and you can click here for her review.

Prairie Pittsburgh


(10) Over this weekend, we took Baby Beez to Dave & Busters for a bit. We played this ridiculous pirates game that involved shooting monsters and such, but she and I had so much fun together with it, it was really incredible. I’m not really into video games, and she doesn’t have the skills or coordination to do well at them so she gets frustrated fast, but we were able to make some headway on this silly game and had such a fun time playing it together. It was one of those special little memories that is going to stay with me.

Dave & Busters


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Pajama Day

After returning from a week at Deposition School in Colorado (sidenote: young litigators, DO THIS PROGRAM. It’s incredible, and while trial skills are great, you’ll be in a lot more depositions than trials, so it’s a lot more practical), and having a week that was nonstop nonstop nonstop, I declared yesterday “Pajama Day.” I’m not good at sitting still and doing nothing. There’s always a to do list forming in my brain, and I’m one of those strange people who feels relaxed by crossing things off that list. In contrast, being idle and letting things sit on that list stresses me out. 

Here’s the list of things I managed to do yesterday on my day of relaxing:

  • Cook breakfast for the family (huevos rancheros & toast).
  • Finish a book that is due back to the library today.
  • Put away 2 clean, folded baskets full of laundry that I’ve been ignoring for the last week.
  • Wash, dry, fold and PUT AWAY 3 more baskets of laundry (you KNOW the putting away is the hard part).
  • Watch Muppets Christmas Carol twice.
  • Sleep on the couch while Baby Beez watched Sword in the Stone.

Return to Oz

  • Watch Return to Oz with the family and live tweet my horror at what a screwed up movie it was and how on earth did I not remember that?
  • Cook dinner for the family (steak & corn).
  • Boil beets and roast carrots and potatoes, all of which had been sitting in the fridge waiting to be used since lord knows when.
  • Read 3 magazines, thereby diminishing the pile of magazines that has been growing and stressing me out because I ridiculously feel like I’m falling behind on something if I let the magazines pile up.
  • Ruminate on New Years Resolutions.

FullSizeRender

  • Eat delicious ice cream.

Alida

  • “Play” with the bird. And by play I mean let her run around the bathroom and bedroom while I did other chores, and make sure she didn’t destroy or poop on anything.
  • Yell at husband to get the fireplace lit.
  • Troubleshoot fireplace when it wouldn’t turn on.
  • Yell at husband some more.
  • Text handyman about fireplace.
  • Praise husband when he figured it out and fireplace was roaring with a lovely fire.

Fire

  • Mutter curses when we realized we have to troubleshoot the fireplace even more, because it shut itself off after 20 minutes.
  • Reviewed contents of fridge and cabinets and wrote grocery list.
  • Picked up a new book and got through the first chapter.

And ridiculously, I feel incredibly relaxed after yesterday.  Today is fairly similar– we aren’t running around to events. This morning I’m doing a couple chores, and then I’m taking Baby Beez to the park so she can ride her bike. Tonight we are having some friends over for dinner, which means that this morning I got to partake in one of my absolute favorite activites: Picking out what we will order from the Kavsar menu (THE BEST!)

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NaBloPoMo Day 28: The Thanksgiving Pile

NaBloPoMo Day 28: The Thanksgiving Pile

I try to keep things light on this blog, but sometimes there arises an issue of such moral and social importance that I am compelled to confront it. This issue on my mind today is The Thanksgiving Pile. Specifically, the fact that the only appropriate way to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner is in a massive, gravy-drenched pile that is decadently disgusting.

Thanksgiving Pile

This is the most disgusting looking food picture I’ve ever taken. That’s the point. It’s wonderfully disgusting. AND THE WAY THANKSGIVING DINNER SHOULD BE EATEN.


There is a school of terribly misguided thought that believes that each of the foods in the Thanksgiving meal should be kept separate and eaten individually. THIS IS WRONG. It is completely impossible to fully experience and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner unless you properly mash it all up.

I feel so much better, now that I have shared this incredibly important information.

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NaBloPoMo Day 22: Catch Up with the Farmshare Breakfast Strata

NaBloPoMo Day 22: Catch Up with the Farmshare Breakfast Strata

Someday I will develop a taste for rhubarb, daikon and massive quantities of kale. But until that day comes, I’m going to stick to my pattern of bringing home the farmshare each week, throwing the veggies in the crisper drawer, and then when the drawer is full dig through desperately brainstorming something, ANYTHING to make with all these veggies before they rot, and cursing myself for not getting around to it earlier.

One of my favorite techniques for using a lot of veggies at once is roasting:  Cut up a whole bunch of stuff (it’s good if the things you pick have similar densities, like potatoes/carrots/winter squash or zucchini & bell peppers), toss with olive oil & seasonings, and roast at 400 degrees until it reaches desired level of cooked-ness (my preference is burned beyond recognition).

Another techniques is to make a strata.  I’ve had mixed success in the past, but the one I made this weekend hit all the marks.  Since you cook the veggies before mixing them in with the eggs, you can use whatever veggies you have sitting around from your farmshare, threatening to rot if you don’t COOK THEM SOON.

strata

Elizabeth’s Clean Out the Crisper Strata

Ingredients (unless otherwise specified, these ingredients are measured in the highly scientific amount of “whatever feels right”)

-Onions (I also had a couple of shallots, so I threw them in too)

-Garlic

-Vegetables, cut up into smallish pieces (in my case, I had a ton of swiss chard)

-Shredded cheese

-Oil for pan

-about 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and other amounts of seasonings as desired

-1 dozen eggs

-Not necessary but a very nice touch: stale baguette (or bread) & milk

strata

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut up onions & garlic and cook in pan with olive oil for a couple minutes
  3. Add in the other vegetables and cook steadily. Add the more dense vegetables first (here: the cut up chard stems), and the less dense vegetables later because they take less time to cook (here: the chard leaves). Cook until everything is obviously cooked, but not SO long that it’s a soggy mess.
  4. Spray some oil in a baking pan.  If you have some stale bread or baguette, slice it up and line the bottom of the pan with it. Then pour some milk (like 1/2 cup or so) on it. You don’t have to saturate the bread, but put enough on there that the bread starts soaking it in.
  5. Beat 1 dozen eggs long enough that the yolks are all mixed in, just lie if you are making scrambled eggs. Mix in shredded cheese salt, pepper and other seasonings (except for red pepper flakes).
  6.  Scoop the veggies on top of the soaked bread in the baking pan (if you didn’t go with the bread, just put the veggies in a greased baking dish).  Then pour the egg mixture all over it. Be careful about it and do not over fill the pain, because the strata will expand while cooking.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  7. Bake until the strata begins pulling away from the sides of the pan, and the middle has set.  I think it took around 40-45 minutes.

Serve with salsa, sour cream or hot sauce!