Bob's Hot Cereal.



We had really good intentions. All day. Stellar, optimistic intentions. Life had other plans for us. 

The morning began with an attempt to make cracked wheat hot cereal. It seemed like a healthy and cozy choice, easy enough. I proceeded to follow the simple directions: to combine cereal & water, cover the bowl with wax paper, and cook in the microwave. Disaster ensued, as is evidenced by the photo below... 

Oh Bob. Not only had the water failed to absorb, but there was a crust of cracked wheat cereal covering the entire inside and outside of the bowl.  Quite a pain in the ___ to clean...


Take 2: Stovetop instructions.

Success. These instructions proved much more friendly than those for the microwave. Maybe Bob isn't such a bad guy after all.   

We topped our hot cereal from Bob with tart blueberries, satisfying cream, and rich brown sugar. 

We experienced a second culinary disaster at dinner... more about that later. Don't worry, no knives or blood were involved. Though I did get a few splinters in my finger. 

Bouncing ideas.



As I thought about what to write today nothing spectacular came to mind. Not that what I write about is usually spectacular, it's often mundane and ordinary.  But still, I strive to at least write something honest and entertaining. Here were a few ideas that bounced around in my brain as I drove to "work" (my unpaid volunteer position) this morning and continue to bounce around now...

  1. How much wiser and more intelligent I feel after listening to NPR's Morning Edition... however random the news stories are. At least now I'm in the know.
  2. How leftover chicken noodle soup is more of a chicken noodle casserole... not necessarily a bad thing.
  3. How much I love this new skirt. How I'm thinking I should invest in more skirts.
  4. How excited I am that my little windowsill herb garden has a teeny tiny sprout (almost invisible to the naked eye, but not to me).
  5. How attempting to hide things in your boot is not nearly as graceful or stealth as originally imagined. 
  6. How when they say it's a tough economy to find a job in, they're not kidding. That would be a lame joke.
  7. How much I love this wallpaper, and how I wish I lived in an abode that allowed me to put up wallpaper.
  8. How I'm thinking I should round off this list with 10 things.
  9. How exciting it is to find a new blog that I like/admire/will now follow every day.  Such as this.
  10. How this could solve all of life's problems, or at least make them a lot easier to tackle.

Chicken noodle soup.



What in the sane world does an ice-cream flavored pedicure entail? The thought of having toes that taste like rainbow sherbet and pralines and cream doesn't exactly strike a chord with me. I would fear going anywhere near a hungry dog with my feet impersonating the insides of an ice cream shop. Poor puppy would be sorely disappointed.

I'm not just ranting the insane, there actually is such a salon that boasts ice-cream flavored pedicures. And it evokes this curiosity every time I drive past it.

Life's mysteries, who would have thought this would be one of them?

An ice-cream cone while I get a pedicure? Now that's something I could get on board with.

In honor of the not-so-mysterious, the dependable, and the timeless... we made chicken noodle soup tonight. And it didn't come from a can... not one part of it. Bam.  

Now if only I could make homemade tootsie rolls... I have an childish craving at the moment for retro waxy candy. Timeless... yet still a bit mysterious. 

Elisa's Chicken Noodle Soup 
[I wish this was more impressive, but it's really quite simple - though not as simple as my 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, which innocently called for chicken broth and noodles...]

Egg noodles
Shredded rotisserie chicken (about 2 cups for soup) 
32 oz vegetable or chicken broth 
<1 tbsp butter 
1 sweet onion chopped 
1 cup baby carrots (or 3 large carrots) chopped 
3 stalks of celery chopped 

sprinkling of oregano 
sprinkling of thyme
2 cloves of garlic 

salt & pepper (and more salt, especially if you use a low-sodium broth)

1. Cook chopped vegetables (celery, carrots, and onion) in medium to large stalk pot with just under a tbsp of butter until onions are soft. Add two cloves of minced garlic.

2. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add desired amount of egg noodles and spices.  Bring temperature down to medium heat. 

3. Once noodles are soft add the chicken. Salt & pepper to taste. 


[The spice rack I received for Valentine's day]

A two tractor kind of day.



As you may or may not surmise, this saying originated on a slow and beleaguered afternoon, during which I got stuck driving behind two tractors. Two different tractors, on two separate occasions. One on my way into town. The other on my way home.  What are the odds right? Even out in the boonies, it's unlikely to have to slow to a snail's pace behind a small farm tractor twice in one day. Twice in one week, yes. But not in the same day. It's as if they had it in for me. Make Elisa late.  Make her channel the daredevil within to pass us on a two lane highway where most vehicles are moving around 70 mph. The tractor goes a whopping speed of about 15 mph.

Thus the expression "it's a two tractor kind of day" was born.  And it continues to be adapted in my small household to convey with a shrug of the shoulders "it's just one of those days".  

For example, today was "a two americano kind of day".  The americanos don't exactly have it in for me the way I imagine those tractors did.  But on this day it is especially gloomy, damp, and all-together chilly.  Therefore requiring two americanos.  Today the wool cardigan is just not cutting it.  Today the sky (I assume it's up there somewhere) is wrapped from edge to edge in a silver blanket.  This blanket does not in any way imply warmth, but instead threatens moisture from all angles.  Puddles and mud abound.

But, let me assure you, all is not lost, even on a "two americano kind of day". For starters, the first americano was consumed in the company of one of my dearest friends, as I stole bights of the heavenly bread pudding she had ordered.

The second americano is being consumed as I write this silly little note. This time, I am at work, and the americano was free (the best kind).  And this time I'm enjoying the company of a dark chocolate peanut-butter cup.  Though I don't think he will be with me much longer... 

Despite the dreary exterior of this rainy day (in a long line of rainy days) I am content. And thoroughly wired. 

Adios Mr. peanut-butter cup. 

[Ashley Casey, hand model]

Brunch at the Edgewater Hotel



Skillet Carbonara


I think I now understand the carb in CARBonara. It's atrocious. In the best sense of the word. 

This was our first attempt at a recipe from Cooking for Two by America's Test Kitchen.  More like "cooking for 4". Or "two with left-overs for tomorrow's lunch".  We agreed that next time we make this we will either add more pasta to temper the sauce a bit, or add less cheese.  This is more for the well being of our bodies than anything, following the recipe as-is produces a superb, and indulgent meal.

Now, I can't take much credit for the actual construction of this meal.  I acted more as sous chef/wine drinker in the corner.  In my defense I found the recipe, and cooked the black-pepper crusted bacon (compliments of Whole Foods).  But my talented husband performed most of the actual preparation, cooking, and clean-up. 

I'm really not that lazy, I promise.  I'm just a threat to myself and those around me when I'm handling razor sharp knives and kitchen tools. Such as a cheese grater. Which grated the top of my right ring finger just as I was nearing the end of grating an entire block of romano cheese. So close. Victory was upon me, and then, the cheese block began to disappear, and my finger got a little to fresh with the grater.  Like I said, so close. 

The good news is I survived, and so did the carbonara. In fact I think the carbonara thrived. Don't just take my word for it, try it yourself. Just keep those fingers close. 

Skillet Carbonara Casserole
(serves "2")

Adapted from Cooking for Two, by America's Test Kitchen

4 slices of bacon
1 slice of sandwich bread
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/2 cup evaporated milk 
1 large egg 
6 oz (1 3/4 cup) penne pasta 
1 1/4 cup romano cheese 
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/4 cup of water 
1/2 cup vegetable broth 
2 garlic gloves 

1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet, until crispy and fully cooked (about 8 minutes). Save the fat. 

2. Pulse 1 tablespoon cooked bacon, 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat, 2 tablespoons of grated romano, slice of bread, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor until coarsely ground (about six pulses).  In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining cheese, milk, egg, and vegetable broth, set aside. 

3. Add teaspoon of fat to the skillet and heat until shimmering.  Add minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds, careful not to burn the garlic. Add wine and cook until the wine is reduced to about 2 tablespoons (about 3 minutes). Add water and pasta, salt, and pepper. Bring to a rapid simmer, cover and and let simmer, stirring often, until most of the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes, more like 15) - even though it seems like a lot of water it will absorb.

4. Remove from heat, and add egg mixture and the rest of the bacon. When combined and cheese is melted, move from skillet to an 8 x 8 pan (pyrex). Broil for about 2-3 minutes until the bread crumb topping is golden and crispy. 

Let cool. Then enjoy. And possibly watch Marley and Me and cry an embarrassing amount (that may or may not be what we did...). 

Slippers and a staple gun.



The good news is I won... If you count finishing the re-upholstery of my desk chair without driving a staple through my beloved and necessary opposable thumb winning, then yes, Elisa - 1, staple gun - 0. .  

Upon examining the situation through a more critical lens, it is evident that the staple gun in fact put up a respectable fight. With a determined sense of will and disobedience, the staple gun required that I reload the staples for every shot, and then utilize my slipper covered foot to steady the "spring-loaded" staple barrel.  In total, requiring three of my four limbs. 


But like I said. I won. 

In other victories...

  1. I have made a list of apartment projects that I am keen to get started on. 
  2. The dazzling yellow roses sitting behind me mark 3, count them 3, fabulous months of marriage

[note: this is not a photo of the actual chair I re-upholstered... I am not nearly that talented, and the staple gun would surely have had the better of me]

Asparagus soup.



Eat your veggies.  A simple commandment.  Yet so difficult at times... especially when carbs and delicious fats are present. 

I have good new for you.  Spelled S-O-U-P.  Filled to the brim with nutritious and satisfying asparagus. 

Recipe for 4 (i.e. for 2)

1/2 lb asparagus 
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup half & half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/8 tsp black pepper 

Begin by snapping off the ends of the washed asparagus.  Cut into 1 inch or smaller pieces. Saute with 3/4 cup of vegetable broth in a medium skillet for around 7 min. or until tender.  In a saucepan melt butter, remove from heat and stir in flour.  Once smooth, gradually add the remaining one cup of broth and return to heat.  Once thickened, add cream, salt and pepper.  Then add in the asparagus and remaining liquid.  Serve hot.  

Enjoy spoonfuls of veggies.

[Sartorial]: Of or relating to clothes.



A few gems from The Sartorialist

Some days.



Some days you need a pink frosted cookie with sprinkles.  In the shape of a heart.  Love in its buttery sugary form.  Some days you hoard this cookie in your purse, stare at it possessively and contemplate how much to consume before your husband gets a peek at it... for then it will surely be devoured.  

Some days it takes a ten minute phone conversation with the girl at the pizza place to decide just which pizza you want.  Prozac pie or the MAD life crisis?  Why is it that the pizza place seems to think I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown? We finally chose (yes we, she was as much apart of the decision as I) the Almost Joe's Special.  Minus three of what I assume were Joe's chosen toppings.  

Some days truest joy is in the moment when you pass the DISKDRV car on the freeway... a car completely lined head to toe (or rather bumper to bumper) with floppy disks.  Sighting # 2. 

Some days. 



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