Monday, January 25, 2010

Birthday Party/Dance Party 2010

Over the weekend Rob and I celebrated our birthdays with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.
I think I accidentally took more pics of the food than the party....but I had SUCH a great time.

We started the evening off classy and ended it with a late night Nati Light beer run and a dance party that lasted until 3:30am.
First.... The Food:

Homemade Hummus:

Caprese Skewers:
Bacon Balsamic Deviled Eggs:


Veggie Crudites with the biggest bowl of Dill Dip Ever:


Parmesan Chicken with a Lemon Garlic Aioli:



Stuffed Mushrooms:

Smashed Potatoes (Darn, I must have forgotten to take a pic of these...but they were a big hit!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

These had a peanut butter buckeye in the middle! Super tasty but I really need to work on my decorating skills!...and get a new pastry bag!


I had a lot of fun making all this food and was lucky enough to have a few sous chefs drive down early to help.
(LOVE you B & Ben)


Birthday Couple Having Fun:

Dance Party 2010:

Thank you to everyone that came and made our bday so special... we are so lucky to have such good friends :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my BIRTHDAY!...and it was a really great one!
I got home from work with cards in the mailbox (always love that!!) and a box on the doorstep…that turned out to be this sweet contraption from my loves in Chicago. Obviously I was excited about it as I immediately opened it and stuffed some cilantro from my fridge into it… it's supposed to keep your herbs fresh much longer......we left some out in the bag it came in too…so look for comparisons soon to see if this little guy works! Thanks girls!!


After that it was time to get dressed and go to dinner and see a show!
Rob took me to Nada (restaurant review coming soon)- we asked a random guy to take our picture- seriously, worst picture taker ever….

But dinner was fun and delicious..and the mac and cheese appetizer was to die for. I can’t wait to try and re-create it at home!!

After dinner we walked next door to the Aronoff where Rob had scored us some amazing seats to Spring Awakening!!! (you all better appreciate this pic because I got in trouble for taking it!)


The music was awesome and the show was very racy…which made it even more fun. Seriously…boobs/butts/masturbation/the f bomb….all in a musical stage show… everyone should at least listen to the awesome soundtrack where Lea Michele is Wendla… (LOVE her)

When I got home from dinner and the show this was sitting in my kitchen:


Which will eventually be built into this:
Thanks Dad!! I can’t wait to spend cool nights sitting around this pretty fire pit with friends….

All in all it was (obviously) an awesome day…
Thanks to everyone that made it special!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another Before and After Pic- Guest Bedroom

Here is another before and after pic for your viewing pleasure :)

This room used to be the old owner's five year old son's room but now it is now our guest room.

I love how pretty it turned out!!

Before:

After:


Thoughts?


Holiday Weekend

Happy MLK Day!!

It was a great weekend! Friday Rob and I made dinner at home and then met up with some friends at a Dueling Piano Bar in Kentucky. There was lots of singing & dancing and some very funny piano players.

Saturday night while all the boys watched football and grilled out...Krista came over for dinner and Season four disc 2 of Sex in the City....(glorious!)- We made a delicious dinner and got to catch up after her 3 week trip to Australia.

Boursin Stuffed Breaded Chicken with roasted asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes (the mashed potatoes were a requirement for Krista as she claimed there were no mashed potatoes in Australia)

Last night we stayed in and made a pot roast with the leftover meat from Wednesday's chili. mmmmmm


...and a blue moon with a big ol' chunk of orange. yummm


We also watched, My Sister's Keeper on DVD...


um...anyone else out there read this book before seeing the movie? WTF???

Today we have lots of errands to run because we have lots of friends coming over next weekend :) Hope everyone had a great 3 day weekend!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Steel Cut Oats

Oatmeal has been all over the food blogging world for a while now. Every single food blog I read has talked at least once if not multiple times about Oatmeal. I eat oatmeal almost every single morning for breakfast. I started forcing it down about 3 years ago because it seemed like the best option in the cafeteria for a healthy and filling breakfast. It was gross. I would cringe through every bite of the bland gloppy mess...but after forcing it down for a couple of months, I kind of started to like it. I would add a little granola and a couple of raisins and that would give it texture...after a while, it became the only thing I ever WANTED to eat for breakfast.

Recently I have fallen in love with Kroger Brand (of all things) instant Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Easy, yummy and cheap...this is my current work breakfast of choice... I even eat it as a late night snack some time and buy 3-4 boxes at a time at the grocery store.

But I had finally had enough of hearing about all these different types of oatmeals and never tasting them....so this morning we decided to (finally) try Steel Cut Oats. What was the fuss all about?

We had bananas and peanut butter so I decided thats what we would make:



The oatmeal needs to simmer for about 15 minutes.. (a little longer than the minute and a half that my kroger instant needs...but no problem for a weekend breakfast..and rumor has it the steel cut oats reheat beautifully if you want to make a week's worth of individual portions in advance)

We made the oatmeal and stirred in the bananas for the last couple of minutes on the heat. Added the pb after the heat and stirred it all together. It was really tasty. Definitely a different texture than the instant Oatmeal and I'm pretty sure its healthier than whatever is in that little packet.


Next time I want to try my own apples and cinnamon oatmeal...so I am excited about that!
Any delicious ideas or recipes out there? Please leave a comment!!

Also, it's a gorgeous day here in Cincy and Maggie is thoroughly enjoying her watchdeck in the backyard.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chili Time

Is there anything better on a cold winter's night than a spicy bowl of chunky chili? ....maybe a spicy bowl of chunky chili with like 6 different toppings....which is what we had on Wednesday night. yummm

I wanted to try a new chili recipe and lo and behold my newest issue of cooking light was ready to offer me some with their January Chili Edition. I chose this one because of the multiple different kinds of toppings they recommended (including avocado.. yummmm) I liked it because of the big chunks of meat that got super tender by cooking low and slow in the chili for an hour and a half. Also from now on I will require an avocado topping in my chili always....seriously..SO.GOOD.

We cubed and browned a pound of chuck roast in the dutch oven:
Then removed it and browned sauteed everything else.- Careful cutting those jalapenos!! One of them squirted Rob right in the eye! Not fun.....

Added a bottle of beer and let it reduce down to concentrate the flavor:



Added the beef stock/tomatoes, etc, added the beef back in and let it do it's thang for about an hour and a half.

Chopped up the delicious toppings bar:


and feasted on some tasty chili with crunchy radishes, creamy avocados, lime wedges, fat free sour cream, oyster crackers and a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese.
yummmmm



You can get the Cooking Light Recipe Here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Delicious Life

Hi Friends-

Random Ramblings is changing its name! Following in the footsteps of other blogs I read that started blogging about one thing and then moved to another topic, therefore changing the look and/or name of their blog (Emily/Lauren), I started blogging about nothing and then (kind of) about something….so with you I present:

A Delicious Life.

I love comments so please let me know what you think about the new name/header!
More to come.....

Love,
Jen

CSA Contact Info

It seems like a lot of people were interested in the CSA info, so I'll just post it here.

Go to the Cedarmore Farm site and click on the e-mail link to provide your information and you will get all the information in the mail... (it's an Amish Farm, so there is no online ordering or anything like that)
http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M20743

There is a pickup in Oakley from 4-7 on Fridays and also various others around the area (Eastgate on Fridays from 4-7, Hillsboror from 4-7 on Tuesdays, etc.)..or you can go up to the farm and pick it up yourself..which I plan on doing at least once to see the farm and where my food is coming from!

The spring share is $128 for 8 weeks which comes to about $16/week for a box of locally grown, organic vegetables... I will say, money well spent.

For those of you not in Cincinnati....the same site without the specific farm on the end, can help you find a CSA near you!
http://www.localharvest.org/

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We're joining a CSA!

Yay! I am so excited that today we are going to sign up for a CSA for this Spring.
For those of you that are not familiar with CSAs....let me take a minute to explain..

CSA=Community Supported Agriculture.
Basically it is almost like buying stock in a local farm. You pay them upfront for a season (the spring season is 8 weeks)- then every week you get a box full of locally grown, freshly picked organic produce. If they have a great season, your box will be overflowing...if locusts invade the farm and eat all the veggies...maybe not so overflowing. Regardless, however, you are helping to support a local organic farmer.

The crops planned in our CSA for Spring 2010 include: Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onions, Radishes, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Tomatoes and Zucchini...

I am excited to be totally suprised each week and see what thrived on the farm and what I get in my box...and meal plan around all the fresh vegetables we happen to get that week.

You can also sign up seperately for a Fresh Egg Share, where you will get a dozen eggs each week from grass-fed, free range local chickens....but we aren't sure if we would ever eat a dozen eggs per week, so we are going to buy those on a weekly basis.. you can also make orders for fresh baked pies, cinnamon rolls, wheat bread, homemade jams, and grass-fed chickens throughout the whole season and pick up those items when you pick up your produce share...lucky for me there is a pick up point right in Oakley :)


If anyone would like more info on this CSA, please let me know and I'll be happy to share!!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Night (So Far)

Snowy Backyard:

Awesomeness on TV:

Cup of Hot Tea:


and one very Snuggly Puppy:


Pretty good night so far :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's Cookin

A few more things that have been cookin in our kitchen lately:

When Rob got home from California, we had our own special Christmas complete with a Christmas Movie (Love Actually), present exchanging and a delicious dinner. We had Filets with roasted Brussel Sprouts, sauteed mushrooms and mashed potatoes... mmmmm



A couple of nights later we had Wall over for a mexican dinner. I knew the avocados weren't going to be 100% but I just love guac with Mexican food so I whipped some up anyway... the avocados didn't have as much flavor as usual, being totally out of season, but it was still pretty good.


I also marinated some flank steak in some lime juice, olive oil, cumin, jalapeno and cilantro for about an hour before searing it for three minutes on each side until it was medium rare in the middle. I cut it against the grain and grilled up some onions and peppers in its pan drippings. Grilled up some corn and warmed up a can of fat free refried beans and dinner was served :)



New Years Day we made the traditional Pork and Sauerkraut and decided to try it in the crockpot this year. Sauerkraut, garlic, caraway seeds and a pork tenderloin in the crockpot for about 5 hours and whipped up some mashed potatoes to go along side and had a delicious New Years Day Dinner. The pork fell apart just by poking it with your fork it was so tender and flavorful.. sometimes I forget how much I love my crockpot!!


The next night we were looking for something easy so we breaded some chicken....the pieces shown in this pic is a half a breast together...about 4 oz total- pounding chicken as thin as you can is a really smart dieting trick.. makes you feel like you're eating way more than you actually are! I know it seems like we eat tons of mashed potatoes but to be fair this is the leftovers from last night and I was just too lazy to make a new side....plus we bought like a 5lb bag of potatoes which is probably not smart..but they're so cheap!

There are a few things that have been cookin up in our kitchen!
Tonight is my first night back to the gym (in waaaay too long)- to work off all of this delicious holiday food.

Restaurant Review- Venticello


I had the pleasure of eating at this delicious little Italian place while we were visiting San Francisco over Christmas. It is located in Nob Hill and the cable car drives right past it.

We packed our own wines with a corking fee of $15 each. This seems pretty high to me, but I'll let you be the judge of that....

First off we ordered 3 appetizers for the four of us... I thought it would be ridiculous amounts of food, but these apps were all pretty small so it turned out to be a pretty good amount of food. Let's take a lot at them, shall we?:

A little bit of each on my plate:
SCAMPI E PANCETTA FRA DIAVOLO
Fire Grilled Prawns wrapped in Pancetta with a Spicy Chili Sauce

The spiced chili sauce was especially delicious..not to mention, let's be honest who doesn't love anything wrapped in pancetta?

CARPACCIO CIPRIANO
Shaved Beef Tenderloin with Caperberries, Wild Arugula, Aged Parma in a White Truffle Vinaigrette

Also really delicious. I especially loved the thick slices of aged parmesan together with the carpaccio. mmmmmm
MELANZANE RIPIENE
Two Grilled Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta and Mascarpone in a Marinara Sauce

Warm cheese, delicious marinara and meaty eggplant made this appetizer absolutely delicious...and something I plan to make at home very soon!

After appetizers we split two salads among the four of us. I thought it was so nice of them to split them up on two plates for us.....and I even got my own radiccio cup!
BARBABIETOLA
Radicchio Cup filled with Roasted Beets, Tomatoes and Arugula in a Tarragon Caper Vinaigrette

I don't eat a lot of beets...but lately I just happened to randomly be eating them..they are little sweet for me for a (what I consider) savory dish like salad...but as far as a beet salad is concerned, this was really delicious.

CESARE TRADIZIONALE
Classic Whole Leaf Cesare with White Anchovies

Pretty standard fanccy caesar...at $10 a little expensive...but still very tasty.

Now onto dinner....here was my dinner:

AGNELLO AI FERRI CON SALSA DI FUNGHI
Rosemary Marinated Grilled Lamb Tenderloins with a Sweet Mushroom Chianti Sauce
Wish I would have paid more attention to the word "sweet" a little more. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes and veggies were great, but the mushrooms with the sweet sauce on it were way way too sweet for my palate.
SCALLOPINE DI VITELLO
Sautéed Veal Scallopine with a Flamed Sambucca & Basil Cream Sauce with Tiger Prawns

And it's Christmas time so we topped off our delicious dinner with a cappucino and these desserts. (Tip- order the chocolate torte and the strawberry sorbet and take the bites together..amazing!):
TORTA DI CIOCCOLATA
Flourless chocolate torte with a toasted pecan and walnut crust over strawberry puree topped with fresh whipped cream



All in all a delicious dinner in a cozy little Italian Restaurant!!

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