Friday, June 24

More Market Madness

Farmer's market produce this week: lettuce, blueberries, scallions, potatoes. Along with a pound of buffalo and a pound of beef. Yep, there are meat guys at the market too!

First up: blueberry pancakes for breakfast. (with the berries I hadn't already munched on...) Blueberry pancakes look like little aliens to me... with lots of big dark eyes. But they're damn tasty! Tasty little alien pancakes. Shawn says they remind him of lotus fruit pods.
I'm sorry if you clicked on that link. Those are just creepy looking. (More aliens maybe?)

Next, we used up the lettuce in a homemade chicken caesar salad last night. We've made our own caesar dressing a few times already, each time using a different recipe. This time it was unimpressive and lacked flavor, so I'm not going to share it with you. Back to the drawing board next time!

This next photo doesn't actually utilize any of my farmer's market buys, but it's still a photo well worth sharing.

S'mores candy bars! Everywhere I look (ok, so maybe just at grocery stores and convenience stores) ingredients for s'mores are perfectly situated next to each other, calling out to you - buy me! make me! enjoy me! - seriously, every. freaking. store. Then yesterday I was reading my various blog feeds and came across this recipe for the simplest bars ever. So all day I had that recipe on my mind, but kept trying to push it back into the depths along with all the other fanciful things my bakerbrain stumbles upon and drools over. Of course we had to go to the grocery store later in the day to pick up a few ingredients for that caesar dressing... and guess what else was there!

Come on. I know you know this one.

Do I really have to spell it out for you? ... S-M-O-R-E-S!

Yes, a whole stand dedicated to the damn things. Right when you walked into the store!
The temptation was too much, and I really don't think I need to tell you what happened next...

Seriously? You're killing me over here.

I bought marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate bars, and honey graham crackers, and I made S'mores Candy.


PS. I think I'll be making a potato salad with those potatoes and scallions tonight. Or tomorrow night. Either way, they're going to be made into potato salad. That's all.

Monday, June 20

A little behind...

A whole week went by and no one told me?! ...
Here are a couple of photos from last week:

I had the idea of strawberry upside down cake in my head for a while before I finally made one. Different recipes for strawberry upside down cake started popping up on various food blogs over last few weeks, so I finally took the hint and made one with those farmer's market berries. The cake was also made with whole wheat flour and a little pineapple juice - a lovely combination of ingredients if I do say so myself.

Pasta with sauteed spring onions and green beans, topped with shaved parmesan. Our cheese grater broke a while ago and we have yet to find a decent replacement. In the meantime, we're just using a peeler to 'shave' cheese onto things.

Shawn didn't get to have any of this pasta... our schedule is conflicting 70% of the time (I've been working mostly morning shifts and he works in the afternoon/evening; we try to have at least one day off each week that we can spend together.) So I've been coming home to an empty apartment with an empty belly and conjuring up my own assorted mid-day meals the last few weeks. This one was most notable in terms of flavor - those spring onions really made the dish!

I also keep myself amused by baking things things I know will put a smile on Shawn's face when he gets home. That mostly means chocolate chip cookies; he's a sucker for those. I took it a little further though and baked a pie. A chocolate chip cookie dough pie. Intense? Yes. Delicious? Oh my, yes! Smile-worthy? Yes! A million times yes!

I leave myself lots of little notes, otherwise I forget things. (Who am I kidding? Even with all the notes I still manage to do an excellent job of forgetting things.) Sometimes, Shawn leaves me notes too. Most of the time, they're really silly.

You know what's not silly though? This pasta dish. (Yeah, we love our pasta over here, kay?) Not only does it have olive oil, parsley, basil, and parmesan cheese... it's also tossed with some vegetables I picked up at the farmer's market last week - lightly sauteed zucchini, chopped tomatoes, and some sweet corn. The best part is, I made enough for leftovers! Everything is better when you can enjoy it more than once.

On that note... you should go back to the top of the page and re-read this post if you want to get your fill. Since, it's the end of it and all. Sorry, no leftovers for you!

Friday, June 10

Nothing Better Than Fresh Bread

A French-style bakery opened earlier this week less than a mile and a half down the road from us. As anyone who knows me well can imagine, I am pretty darn excited about it. If there is one thing I could wish for in this world, it's that everyone should have easy access to freshly baked bread. It's just one of many things the French got right when it comes to breakfast and food indulgence (along with cheese, champagne, and dessert), and I've never been able to understand why here in America people just can't seem to wrap their brains around buying freshly baked bread on a regular basis instead of heavily preserved 'bread' loaves that are made to last for weeks on end. Needless to say, I am beyond excited about having a bakery that can provide such things within walking distance.

I took a walk up there earlier today but was saddened to find that they had already sold out of all their buttery pastries (I was really hoping for a pain au chocolat!) and opted for a baguette instead. Can I just comment on how silly I felt once I realized I was walking down the street, baguette in hand, with a striped shirt and hat on? Way to perpetuate ridiculous French stereotypes, Marine!

By the time I got back to the apartment, half of the baguette had already been consumed. I must confess though, I shared some of it with my very happy co-workers when I stopped in there for an iced tea break on the way home. Then I sliced it up and spread a little honey on one slice, and some strawberry preserves on another... absolute deliciousness. I may not have gotten my pain au chocolat, but dammit, I made a point of enjoying myself none the less. The bread was crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and still warm too... I can't think of anything better for an afternoon snack.

Other than walking nearly 3 miles, I've spent most of my day off relaxing. I did a short yoga sequence upon waking up this morning, after eating some cereal with strawberries and catching up on some reading. (Yes, I'm still working my way through Life of Pi, but I'm almost done, I swear! Then it's on to something else.)

Here's a little collage for anyone who's curious about what I do at work:

(all photos except for bottom left are from

A few weeks ago we had a customer who drove a pretty long way to come to the shop because she had heard so many good things about us. Well, we gave her a demonstration of what we do and she took some really decent photos on her iphone which she proceeded to post on Yelp. So yes, that is my arm and hands in those photos! ...can you pour hearts on top of people's lattes? I can! And I can bake things too! Man, my life is pretty sweet.

Not to rub it in or anything... :P

Thursday, June 9

Herbs and Farmers Market Season

One week ago we took a trip to our local Target's garden center and picked out a couple of different indoor-growing-friendly herbs and a bag of soil. We also got suckered in by two lonely garden gnomes that were hanging out on a nearby shelf... they only cost $15 each so we couldn't resist. (And if you know anything about gnomes... buying just one when there's a pair standing there is completely out of the question. You don't want to encounter the gnome curse! Trust me, you're much better off leaving no one behind.)

What? Haven't we told you about our gnome collection? Yeah, we're those people.

The two colorful ones on the outside are the newest addition to the family. Gnomie East and Gnomie West were acquired from Home Goods last summer. The tall guy is the oldest Gnomie - I found him at another Home Goods a few years ago; he's the only one that has actually spent time outside, but one day we hope to have a real garden for them all to look over.

We picked up a few packets of cat grass to bring a little of the outdoors indoors. It's really simple to grow, and it grows super fast! It's a nice addition to the living room, sitting in a couple of small pots along the windowsill.

We planted some basil, rosemary, and oregano. So far, only the oregano has sprouted, but the basil is starting to peek through the dirt as of yesterday.

Although I'm not a big fan of the heat that summer brings, I am a huge fan of all the local fresh fruits and veggies that I'm able to find more easily lately! I picked up strawberries, cherries, spring onions, and honey on my most recent trip to the farmer's market.

On last week's trip I had picked up some strawberries and asparagus. Here's what I ended up doing with the asparagus:

I boiled it for just a few minutes, keeping it crisp and crunchy, and then I topped it with a simple lemon dijon mustard vinaigrette. We served them along side hasselback potatoes and pan-fried catfish. The potatoes ended up being undercooked but everything else was absolutely delicious!

We purchased the catfish from our local market, where we also bought some chipped steak from our usual meat vendor. Here's our take on the Philly cheesesteak: chipped steak with sweet red peppers and muenster cheese on a cheesy foccaccia roll with a little bit of honey mustard.

I'll end this photo-heavy post on a sweet note. How does a slice of lemon bundt cake sound? It's even better topped with fresh strawberries and hand-whipped cream. I know it's summer, but that doesn't mean we can't all indulge just a little bit!

Friday, June 3

Weekend Recap! One Week Later...

Whenever I happen to mention to Shawn that I don't post on here as often as I'd like, or that the flickr is full of photos I've never gotten around to posting here, he always reminds me that I don't have to be so wordy all the time and that I can do mostly-photo posts every once in a while too. Well, Shawn... you have a point. (Shh! Just don't tell him I said that.)

So I'll try to keep it short this time. Key word in that sentence... try.

Here are a few things I've been diggin' lately:
- Pandora's Jurassic 5 channel (seriously, it's all music to my ears)

- amazingly delicious strawberries from the farmer's market (can you think of anything better than local produce? besides homemade cookies?? I didn't think so.)

- our newly re-arranged living room; we moved Shawn's keyboards back to our desk area and put the bookcase in it's place, leaving us with better defined 'office' and 'living' spaces:

- the little details in our apartment, like our various knick-knacks, french candy, and some new salt & pepper shakers for my collection...

- gin and tonics (um, the perfect summer cocktail? fo sho!)

- getting out of the house for a few hours last Friday for some Willie Nelson & friends action (courtesy of my boss, who ended up with some extra tickets at the last minute)

- the double rainbow we spotted after a short heavy rainstorm on our way home from New Jersey on Saturday - it was full on!

We also got to see a full rainbow arch!

- a Sunday well spent with a group of good friends; a few hours at Adventure Aquarium (because seriously, when was the last you've been to an aquarium?!) and a simply delicious dinner shared at El Vez. (traditional Mexican fare - I definitely recommend it next time you're in Philadelphia. Everything we tried illuminated our taste buds like a well choreographed multi-dance number.... if that makes any sense at all.)

There are a ton more photos from the aquarium on our flickr, and a couple of short video clips on our youtube!

Ha! So much for keeping it short and sweet... see what I mean? I just can't stop words from flowing through these finger tips.

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