Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rough Day, but Awesome News

Today has kinda been sucky.

Found out my car needs more repairs (AGAIN), and I'm trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to keep living off the money I'm (barely) making. It's frustrating, and a huge bummer.

On a very VERY happy note, that is balancing out the shitty rough day...


Yes, you heard that right! And I couldn't be happier. I still have to pass my skills test (which should hopefully be coming up soon) in order to bout, but the girls felt that my attendance, volunteering efforts, and all-around good attitude made me worthy of being a full-fledged part of the team.

So that means I get to pick my derby name and number!! Still not sure what those are going to be yet, so ideas are more than welcome. I'm so excited about that, it's hard to be upset about the cruddy day today!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is almost here!!

I think it goes without saying (even though I've said it 900 times) that I LOVE THANKSGIVING! The cooking, the eating, the family, the friends, the wine, the games - everything!!

I had my menu almost entirely planned out before Halloween, so I'm pretty darn excited. Here is my Thanksgiving menu 2010!

Date & Goat Cheese Muffins

Appetizers / snacks
Brie with jelly & caramelized pears + crackers
“Prosciutto” filled with happiness (I'm making these with smoked salmon instead of prosciutto)
Cinnamon roasted pecans (I get this request every year! They're great for munching on beforehand, and they aren't too filling)

Side dishes
Salad (our friend Deb is bringing this)
Roasted Beets
Spinach & Chard Gruyere casserole (I'm adding the chard from the beets to this, just for fun!)
Smashed red potatoes, topped with crunchy kale chips
Cranberry Sauce (my little sister is in charge of this - she's a pro at the homemade kind!)
Vegan Gravy
Pumpkin stuffed with everything good
Stuffed Mushrooms (vegan)
Sweet potatoes (mom is in charge of this dish)
Biscuits with fancy butters (dad is making the butters)

Main dishes
Seitan with mushrooms & port (I'm the only vegetarian this year - what the heck? This is a super delicious recipe though - I've made it 3 years in a row. Huge hit for non-veggies too!)
Turkey & Stuffing (mom is in charge of this too - meat is yucky)

Pumpkin Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie
Ice Cream
(my mom is in charge of all of these)

Wine (duh)
Mulled Cider (another thing my little sis is a pro at making!)
Port (personal favorite)

And again, with camera(s) still broken (yes, I even broke my mom's), all images courtesy of we heart it dot com.

One of my most favoritest Friends episodes!!! I dunno, something about Monica doing a shimmy with a Turkey on her head cracks me up something awful! :)

How adorable are these little guys?? I'm going to have to make them next year. Well, maybe. they look like they might take a little bit of time. ;)

OH, and if you've never seen the movie "Home for the Holidays" with Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey, Jr, etc - you absolutely must!! It's one of those utterly hilarious family comedies that everyone can relate to in one way or another. If you think your family is crazy.... you know what I'm saying. ;)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh my oh my.... SHOES!!!

Uh-oh.... just came across an amazing shoe website!!!
Uhm, anybody want to get me any (or ALL) of these for Christmas??

Aren't they AWESOME!?!?

Here's the website - I'm totally in love: http://www.sinistersoles.com/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

Because Meligrosa (from Bikes and The City) told me to get my darn camera fixed, I felt a bigger push to do so! :)

OK, to be honest, it's not exactly fixed. But the good news is, my lovely mother has been gracious enough to let me use hers until mine is back up & running again. Good woman!

This weekend Katy, Molly (Katy's sister) and I went bridesmaid dress shopping for Katy's wedding. It's not 'till next year, but she wants to get a jump start on everything (and apparently thinks that none of us will be gaining any weight before August of next year). ;)

The pics are kind of blurry (eh, I didn't really know how to use my mom's camera entirely), so bear with me here...

This one I call the "Sex & the City" bridesmaid dress. I thought it was super cute, but someone mentioned that maybe we should all wear a huge hat with feathers & birds in it too...

This one I call the "Fish" dress (because of the scales). I think we kinda ruled this out after all of the other more exciting ones we tried on.

This one I though of as the "Roman" dress - very elegant - I felt like a princess. It was WAY too long (I'm wearing 5" heels in this pic, and it's still dragging), but that can always be fixed. Molly looked lovely in it too.

This one was by far the surprise of the day. On the hanger I called it the "Grandma" dress, but once Molly & I tried it on I fell in love! Shows you can't tell a dress by it's hanger. (Get it? Eh?) It looked really classy & modern - although doesn't really go with Katy's HOLLYWOOD GLAM theme for her wedding.

Now THIS one definitely goes with the theme. The fit wasn't perfect, but it was very cute. We liked the ruffles at the top near the bustline.

This one was very cute, but utterly crappy compared to the earlier dresses. Everything at Nordstrom was absolutely lovely (the first pics), but the ones we found at Macy's were icky. Bad fabrics, bad stitching, and the fitting rooms seemed downright prison-cell-like. We still took a snapshot of this dress though (nice face by me), since we liked the look of it.

The last ones here are from Jessica McClintock, and boy, Jessica - you sure don't like ladies with figures, do ya?? To be honest I was kind of sickened by the sizing all together. At Nordstrom I fit into a size 10 in most of the brands they carried, but at Jessica McClintock I could BARELY fit into a size 12 - which really meant I needed a size 14 - which most of the dresses weren't even carried in. BALONEY.

All in all we had a pretty successful shopping experience! Now we just have to get everyone on the same page with which dress Katy chooses, and all into the right sizes, etc.... yikes. ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Pasta & Another Salad Invention!

My camera(s) are still broken, so I don't have any pretty photos of my lovely new recipe creations! :(

However, these are both super yummy (trust me), and would make for a lovely well-rounded vegetarian meal. And, they're very autumn-themed! Even though it's snowing in Denver right now.... wowza!

Beth's super delicious salad (I'm running out of names here...)

- Arugula & romaine lettuce (or whatever other greens you like)
- 1 fresh pear (diced)
- brie cheese (cubed), about 1 cup
- candied cashews (I just got these in bulk at Whole Foods), about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 medium red onion (sliced into strips)
- old red wine (or red wine vinegar)
- dijon mustard
- honey or agave nectar

Sautee the onion in some olive oil until they begin to caramelize (about 8 minutes), then add a splash of old red wine. Let it cook off for about a minute, and set aside to cool.

Assemble the salad with lettuce, pear, brie, and cashews - then top with red onion. Put equal parts of dijon mustard and honey into a container and shake to combine. I added some water to thin the consistency (and to make it easier to soak into my salad). Dump dressing on salad and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
I made this one up the other day when I had cooked up a butternut squash I bought at the Farmer's Market, then had no idea what to do with it.

- 1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeds & strings removed, and diced)
- about 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- about 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 16oz package linguine (or any other kind of pasta you like)
- Butter / spray oil
- Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced butternut squash on a cookie sheet, spray liberally with oil, and lightly season with salt. Bake in the oven until tender, turning once or twice - this will take about 20-30 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time - mine was ready to go before I even started!)

Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat. Be sure to watch these babies - they will burn in an instant! Keep them moving constantly and DO NOT leave them to get distracted by something else. Trust me, if I had a dime for every time I've burned pine nuts....

Drain the linguine and transfer to a bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and a few tablespoons of butter. Season with salt & pepper, and toss to combine.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


So guess who's gettin' back on the ol' horse again?

Yep, that'd be me.

I actually met a nice fellow recently....how, do you ask? OnLINE!! Crazy, huh?? I'm quite surprised myself.

It's still really super early on, but I like him. He's funny and cute and smart and seems to think I'm funny and cute and smart too. I think that's a darn good start.... ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pasta + Pizza = Pastapizza!

I saw Rachael Ray make this recipe on her show one day, and it sounded WAY to delicious to pass up. I know, she annoys me too (what's with the smoker-scratch-squeaky voice? And why does she abbreviate "E.V.O.O.", then SAY "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" right afterward?) - but hey, she makes some yummy stuff.

I made it for book club over the weekend, and everyone gobbled it right up! I did make some changes to her original recipe (which I think were very good choices).


Carbonara Deep-Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza (Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007) - adjusted by me (for vegetarians, and for awesomeness)

Prep Time: 20 min, Cook Time: 10 min, Level: Easy

Serves: 4 servings (yeah RIGHT! This served more like 6-8!)

* 2 packages linguini, 9 ounces each
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 package tempeh "fakin' bacon" chopped
* 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 4 large eggs
* 1/2 cup cream (I used unsweetened Soymilk)
* 2 cups ricotta cheese
* A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
* 1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese
* 1 can diced tomatoes (I added this ingredient, and used a small can, drained)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat water for pasta in large pot, salt it and add pasta. Cook according to package directions.

While water boils, heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add fakin' bacon and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Drain pasta, add to pan and toss. (I actually didn't have a very huge pan, so I just added everything to the now-empty pasta pot). Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with salt and pepper. I also transferred everything to a 9x12" baking pan after this step (instead of cooking it in the pan), so that I had more space. Beat eggs with cream and pour over top of pasta. Let eggs begin to set up, about 1 minute, and pat pasta into even layer to make the pizza pie crust. Place in oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta and parsley. Open can of diced tomatoes & drain. Remove pie from oven and dump the tomatoes over top, and season with some salt & pepper. Then smooth the ricotta over that. Scatter with the provolone or mozzarella and return to oven. Bake 8 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden at edges. Cut into wedges and serve. (We cut them into squares since it was a casserole dish!)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I think the headline says it all!!! I'm so proud to be part of the BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD!! These shots are from our watch party this weekend, and I think they tell quite the story. It was the most amazing bout I've ever seen, and you can read all about it here!

The Oly Rollers (Olympia, WA) were a hell of a challenge, and what an amazing team. The two teams were so perfectly matched, and I truly believe that both teams played their absolute best.

The entire bout was a total nail-biter with RMRG eventually coming out on top by one point!!! That NEVER happens!! It was the most fantastic thing I've ever seen - for reals.

Congratulations to our amazing players on Fight Club!!! BRINGING HOME THE BIG WIN!! :D

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanksgiving - who needs The Great Pumpkin, when you can stuff one and eat it!

Halloween is over and right behind me - shoot, I think I still have fuzz on the floor of my apartment from my costume (pics to come). But with the holiday just rounding to a close, I already find myself looking forward to the next one, and one of my favorites: THANKSGIVING!

I was trying to explain it to a friend the other day. I love to cook, so naturally I love a holiday that is centered around cooking and feasting. If you think about it, many gatherings always start and/or end around the kitchen table, and food is a way to celebrate. Part of why I love Thanksgiving so much is because it isn't accompanied with the crazy rushing around for gifts or going to a bunch of parties - it's just about enjoying food together, giving thanks for what you have, and enjoying the company of your friends and family. And I get to try out all of my new recipes on them. :)

Speaking of which....

I came across this little jewel on the
epicurious.com website. I cannot WAIT to give it a try this Thanksgiving! Not only does it look beautiful, but I betcha it's delicious to boot. I'm sure it'll be quite a challenge (did you see all of the steps??), but I'm willing to take it on. What's an amazing Thanksgiving meal without a little bit of elbow grease? Wait, ew. You know what I mean....

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
Epicurious | October 2010

by Dorie Greenspan Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours

Since pumpkins come in unpredictable sizes, cheeses and breads differ, and baking times depend on how long it takes for the pumpkin to get soft enough to pierce with a knife, being precise is impossible. See Bonne Idée for some hints on variations.

And speaking of playing around, you might consider serving this alongside the Thanksgiving turkey or even instead of it—omit the bacon and you've got a great vegetarian main course.
Yield: Makes 2 very generous servings or 4 more genteel servings
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped (my addition)
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions (my addition)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (my addition)
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you'll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I've always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I've been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It's hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it's heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.


You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I'm a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Bonne Idée

There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice—when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I’ve made it without bacon (a wonderful vegetarian dish), and I’ve also made it and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are also a good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.