Monthly Archives: April 2012

Delicious Dinner, Bad Blogger

Last night is a perfect example of why I could never be a blogger as a career (besides not being crafty or creative).  I spent hours making a big dinner and didn’t take ONE picture!  I’ll share what I made anyway and throw in a few random pictures from Captiva since I’m itching to go on vacation.

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Every few months we get together with three other couples for a dinner club.  We rotate who will host with a couple restaurants thrown in.  It’s always a super fun night with great conversations and lots of wine laughs.  The group is a mixture of folks that all (except me) work or previously worked in or around politics in some way.  Most have known each other for years and now since we’ve been having these dinners I feel like I’ve known them forever too.

The dinner.  As I normally do, I mixed homemade with ready-made.  The menu:

  • Cheese ball – homemade
  • Jalapeno and artichoke dip – Costco (and sooo good)
  • Bruschetta – homemade.  Recipe here – delicious!  I found some sourdough chips at Costco so we used it more as a dip but you still get the same great fresh taste of tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Wedge salad – traditional, old school.  1/4 head of lettuce, tomato, bacon, blue cheese with blue cheese or thousand island dressing
  • Prime Rib (more on that below)
  • Blue cheese mashed potatoes. Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  Delicious!
  • Rolls from Meijer
  • Chocolate cake from Costco.  I just love their icing.  It reminds me of my favorite cake growing up from a restaurant called Bill Knapps.  Have you heard of it?   We would go on Sundays or birthdays with my grandparents.

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The prime rib I made is a Pioneer Woman recipe.  She is one of my favorite bloggers.  If you haven’t read her blog, it’s well worth the time.  It’s an interesting glimpse into ranch life written with a great sense of humor, delicious recipes and beautiful photos. She now has a show on food network and when Matt and I saw her make the Prime Rib, we knew we had to try it.  Prime Rib is one of Matt’s all time favorites.  We made it for Matt’s family at Christmas and it turned out great (unlike some of the sides at that dinner – I don’t always have great luck – oops).  Because the piece of meat is so big and expensive, it’s not something we would make for the two of us.  The rub makes the dish.  A combination of kosher salt, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme, it makes such an amazing crust.  The cooking time in her recipe is much shorter than the two times I made it.  I think I overcooked it a bit this time even though I pulled it out to rest at only 120 degrees.  It wasn’t dark pink/red enough for Matt (he would be happy if it was just warm and red) but it ended up a nice medium/medium rare.  I think I need a new thermometer! We had two five pound pieces and it was enough for eight people with plenty left over.

Next time you have to feed a crowd – try the prime rib and the blue cheese mashers.  They’re sure to please!

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Feline Friday–Sleeping on the Job

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My officemates are always very helpful.

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Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

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One of the few highlights of traveling by air these days is getting the Biscoff cookies.  The caramel taste is so unique but I never think to buy them from the store (if they’re even available) so it’s something I only get when I travel.  I think they’re pretty good but my husband LOVES them.  So when I found out there was a Biscoff Spread, I had to order a jar. 

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I definitely like the spread better than the cookies.  I don’t know how they make it but it takes like crushed up cookies mixed with some kind of fat to make it spreadable.  So good. 

My husband thinks it’s great plain on toast but I thought I’d try something different.  This afternoon I made oatmeal cookies with the spread.  Oh my.  So delicious.  It’s probably strange to take a spread that tastes like crushed cookies to make a different cookie. But it is well worth it.  I actually like these better than the original cookies because the caramel-y flavor is a little more subtle and any oatmeal cookie is a hit in my book.

Check out the cookie recipe here.

I undercooked one of the pans which made them nice and chewy.  The other pan was more crisp.  I have no idea why they ended up so flat but they taste just fine!  Give them a try!

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Sadie Saturday–Thank Goodness It’s NOT Friday

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This was me last night.  No, those aren’t some fancy sweatbands.  Those are my bandages.  Under there my pretty fur was shaved off and they put in IV’s and made me go to sleep for awhile.  Yesterday I went into the animal hospital to have my ear flushed.  It was not fun AT ALL.

You see, I have tons of allergies and because of that, I’ve been getting lots of ear infections.  I got one that was really, really bad.  My Mom and Dad were always going on and on about how gross it was and they would make these ridiculous gagging noises when they would clean my ear.  I have to admit, the stuff they would pull out surprised me. All I knew was my ear hurt a lot .  None of the drugs the Doctor tried worked and everyone was very worried. Finally, they found out it was a special kind of infection that couldn’t be treated by normal drugs.

So yesterday, they had to make me go to sleep and go all the way down my ear and clean it out good.  They even said the eardrum was ruptured.  Who knew I had a drum in there?  Regardless, all that smelly gunk is gone and I feel much better.

The only bad part is that Mom has to give me shots in my skin with big needles and clean my ear twice a day.  She doesn’t seem to like that very much and frankly, I don’t appreciate getting poked all those times.

I’m resting today and getting lots of extra pets and jerky.  I deserve it!

Sadie Saturday–No More Vets!

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sigh…Why me?

 

Hi.  This was me on the way home from yet another vet visit this week.  I had to go twice this week!

First was to get the results of my allergy tests and to have the doctor look at my yucky ear again.  They seemed confused at what was going on.  The doctor kept sticking those long q-tips down my ear and pulling out the slimy gunk.  I love to smell it! I don’t know why Mom says that’s gross!  The doctor said it was the worst she’s ever seen.  I could have told her that! I live with it all day.  Anyway, I found out I’m allergic to almost everything I like – all poultry, oat, corn, soy, potatoes, and on and on.  Lots of weird things like specific grasses and trees too.  At least there’s still peanut butter!

Then I had to go back to the vet later in the week because I had a nasty reaction to the antibiotic I was on.  At least that’s what they think.  I got these big bumps on my lips and Mom got all worried.  I’m looking better now. Of course they had to poke around in my ear more and I hate that!

The worst though? The results came back from the ear culture they took.  I’ve got some nasty infection that is really hard to treat and is resistant to all the drugs they’ve tried.  That’s why it keeps getting worse.  So I have to go to a specialist at an animal hospital on Friday to get a procedure done on my ear.  They have to sedate me, whatever that means.  I’m really nervous but hopefully it will make me feel better.

Think good thoughts for me on Friday afternoon!

Feline Friday

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Crab Cakes

We decided to stay in and cook on Saturday night. For most people that’s normal but we eat out A LOT.  And not because we are livin’ it up out on the town – just different work schedules and travel. I was itching to cook since I rarely do during the week. I really enjoy cooking but never plan ahead to have the right ingredients at home during the week, especially if I’m out of town a couple days.  I am in awe of families that put dinner on the table every night with entrees and healthy sides.

I ended up making crab cakes, tartar sauce, a homemade salad dressing (that had to sit for 24 hours – whoops – no salad that night), and a jello pudding salad that I grew up eating.  The crab cakes were fantastic.  I don’t say that to brag – I didn’t develop the recipes!  I combined two very similar recipes from trusted cookbooks.  I added/subtracted from both.

I know some may think it is sacrilege but I used the pasteurized lump crab meat you buy at the refrigerated seafood counter.  They come in 1lb cans. ; Not cheap but a good compromise between fresh and the canned stuff in the tuna section.

Next time I make these, I’ll make 6 crab cakes.  These were too thick and had to stay in the skillet too long.  They tasted great but were a little more brown than I would have liked (just visually).  I will absolutely make again!

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Serves 4

1 pound fresh or pasteurized lump crab meat

1/2 cup scallions

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg (I beat mine first)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

4-6 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1/2 cup flour (for dredging)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Mix the crab, mustard, scallions, Old Bay, egg and mayo.  Add some salt and pepper.

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Add breadcrumbs gradually – just enough to bind the mixture.  I used 5 tablespoons.  (one recipe called for 6T; one called for 2T). Combine.

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Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Form into 4-6 cakes.

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Heat the pan for a couple minutes, add butter and oil and heat.

Place flour in shallow dish. Add salt and pepper. Dredge cakes in flour.

Carefully add crab cakes to skillet and cook approximately 5 minutes per side.

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(and the money shot didn’t turn out – ugh!  My kitchen is just too dark)

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Enjoy!