Sunday, January 29, 2012

Strawberry Jam Oatmeal Cake

I accidentally made a cake. Yeah, that happened.

It was a delicious accident, but an accident nonetheless. This cake was supposed to be a take on homemade Fig Newtons, clearly that didn’t work out. Luckily enough for my appetite friends, this cake turned out tastier than any Fig Newton I've ever had.

Initially I wanted a whole wheat fruit filled bar that was a cross between a granola bar and a cookie. I wanted oats in them, but I didn’t want a lot of that “oaty” texture. To solve that problem I used one of my new kitchen toys I got for Christmas and made my own version of oat flour by grinding up some old fashioned oats. I was on a roll.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Things

1)     Besides baking these cookies, Pandora is really helping me get in the Valentine’s mood. I’ve got an amazing rotation of stations going right now that are lovey and dovey and fun and peppy.

2)     That just makes me want to bake some more heart shaped treats.

3)     Watching an old episode of The Big Bang Theory has inspired what I’m going to make next. I love when that happens!

4)     Speaking of Big Bang, I adore Sheldon. I can’t get enough of him!

5)     I saw this last weekend. Me wants.

6)     And these.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brown Sugar Candied Ginger Chocolate Drizzled Hearts

I’m kind of a dork. Shocker, I know.

You know that kid that gets to lecture early (sometimes before the previous lecture is done), sits in the front row, and answers the professor’s questions on occasion. Yeah, that’d be me. I’ve got glasses too – if that helps complete the picture.

See, I blame some of my dorky-ness on my need to be early. I hate, hate, HATE being late! I can’t do it. It makes me very uncomfortable – think clammy palms and dry mouth. And if for some reason I am running late, I agonize over it the whole time I am rushing to get to wherever it is I am supposed to be already. Then I arrive all sweaty and out of breath and apologize profusely for my wrong doing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On food and family

I realized quite a few things this weekend, some of them bad, some of them good, and some of them great.

I realized that it only took me a little over a year to become acclamaited and accustomed to city life. I realized that the women in my family don’t have the best sense of direction. I realized I am not the little six-year-old girl visiting her favorite Aunties anymore, but a young woman, an adult, and they treated me like it. I realized that family, not laughter (but there was plenty of that), is really the best medicine.

Chocolate helps too.

See, my aunts were in Chicago this weekend and I was lucky enough to get away from prison school to take a day to visit them. There was a lot of talking, laughing, and eating. Those things are a constant whenever I see my aunts. They always have been.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chicago Chronicles: Stanley's Kitchen & Tap

Since I am avoiding class work for one more day going into Chicago to visit my aunts this afternoon I figured it was high time for a new Chicago Chronicles post. It has been far too long, although I’ve been eating out plenty. I either forget my camera or forget to take pictures.

But I didn’t forget it when I ate at Stanley’s Kitchen andTap before Christmas. And I was with a large group of ladies, so we ordered a bunch of different dishes and I got to try a whole bunch of items that I wouldn’t have gotten if it were just me, or just two people, that’s a win.

I don’t pretend to be an authority on any southern cuisine. And I’m always a little leery of eating popular regional dishes out of said region. But, Stanley’s is doing something very, very right with their approach at comfort food from the south (at least, according to this Wisconsinite).

I know shrimp and grits is a HUGE thing in the south, but I had never had it before Stanley’s. I don’t know how or why I waited so long! Grits to me had always been a grainy, hard, and bland substitute for oatmeal in the morning or rice at dinner. Not something I was into. But, oh boy, am I even into grits now! Creamy, buttery, and full cheese, these grits were amazing! I have tried grits at other so-called southern restaurants since, and none have even come close to Stanley’s. None I say. The shrimp on top were cooked perfectly and the Andouille sausage had just the right amount of spice, even if it was a little on the tough side. I ate the entire bowl!

The second best thing I sampled that night was the pulled pork with apple slaw. I love, love, LOVE pulled pork. It’s one of the dishes I order most at restaurants, looking for the perfect one. While Stanley’s wasn’t the best pulled pork sandwich I have ever had, it is definitely up there. The pork was tender and soaked in a tangy barbeque sauce, my favorite! I think what really put it over the top was the apple slaw which was a tart, crunchy contrast to the succulent pork. Swoon.

The much touted mac and cheese was so-so. I like my mac and cheese really creamy and lush, with extra breadcrumbs on top please! Stanley’s mac was a little dry for my taste, and it didn’t have that fluidity that comes from a creamy, rich sauce. It was more like a pasta bake which isn’t really my style. It was also a bit plain, but better than boxed mac and cheese!

While the food was all good, if not great, the service could use a little work. We were one of maybe five tables in the restaurant at the time and our waiter was very inattentive and we saw neither hide nor hair of him the entire meal. He dropped off our food and then dropped off our check, never really checking on us during the process.
I thoroughly enjoyed Stanley’s but I don’t know that I will go there again, barring a huge craving for shrimp and grits. It was good, don’t get me wrong, and reasonably priced to boot! There is just so much to see and eat in this city that I’m going to have to get to work if I even want to make a respectable dent!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Things

1)     I still geek out every time I get a new twitter follower.

2)     Then I’m crushed when it’s just one of those spambots.

3)     I burnt white chocolate yesterday. Slightly expensive (for my budget) white chocolate. That made me sad.

4)     So I ate five a cookies.

5)     I’m going to Chicago for the second weekend in a row! My aunts are coming down and I cannot wait to see them!

6)     Homework? Nah! I’ll research places to go out to eat with my aunts instead…

7)     I went on a pinning spree while once again avoiding homework. So many cute hairstyle tutorials, so little time!

8)     I wonder if I can change my major to pinning?

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lightening the Load

True talk? I’m trying to lose a little bit of weight. There, I said it. It’s out in the open. The girl with the food blog, who loves to eat and bake and cook, wants to drop a few pounds. I feel as if I’m not supposed to admit that, that it’s taboo, that I couldn’t possibly be unhappy with my body. But, I am.
I’ve never been what people would call “heavy” and for majority of my life have been at a happy, healthy weight. I’ve always had a healthy appetite and been active in sports and athletics – making weight gain a pretty nonexistent issue. Then I was diagnosed with a heart condition.

I was out of sports and then out of shape and then into surgery. I came out of the whole ordeal in about six months with a clean bill of health and, unfortunately, 15 extra pounds.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This Weekend

This weekend I...

Saw my best friend from back home.

Ate lots of tasty food for breakfast.

For lunch.

And for dinner.

I ate pie too, but forgot to take a picture.

I laughed so hard it hurt. I ate so much it hurt.

Drank a goat’s milk latte.

Walked around Chicago showing off “my city.”

Missed home a little bit more, and a little bit less.

Didn’t do any homework.

Danced (badly).

Loved every minute of it.

Happy MLK Day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Things

1)     I know I am the millionth person to say something about the weather...but..IT'S SNOWING! Finally!

2)     See how pretty?

Yes, I took this from inside my room. No, I'm not going back outside.

3)     All those times my dad tried to get me to dress warm when I was little are totally paying off. Pants tucked into boots. Scarf wrapped tightly and up over my chin. Hat and gloves. I look like I’m seven again, but boy, am I warm!

4)     I made granola bars last night. They’re tasty. I will share them with you next week.

5)     I would much rather write a post about said granola bars than my history paper. College <3

6)     I get to see my best friend tomorrow! She’s spending the whole weekend with me!

 7)     I don’t know what we’re going to do besides eat, that’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about/planning.

Happy Thursday!