Another Update

Hi guys!

I am thinking of restarting the blog soon under a new name, thus the lack of action here lately. Mom says I better before there’s an uprising. Do you have any new name ideas for me?

Hope you are all surviving the winter! I am trying my darnedest.


Hey guys, just wanted to give you a little update on why it’s been so quiet around here lately. I ran out of space again…….wahh! I’m getting really tired of forking over money, so I thought I would just go through and delete a bazillion pictures, which I did…and I still can’t upload anymore.

Dave thinks I should start Designs on Dinner 2: The Revenge, but I’m still on the fence.

I’m still cooking over here! Yesterday, I made a pecan pie cheesecake with chocolate ganache for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to taste it. And I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. I get to see my Momma and Poppa, my besties (aka siblings), my friend Amanda, my grandma, aunt, and uncle, and my little Moonbeam! I’m excited to take Ari on a road trip and watch A Muppet Christmas Carol and eat too much stuffing and have the day after to spend with my auntie.

Ready for the Holidays

Happy Halloween! My clinic did an 80s fashion theme for work today. Since I had no other excuse to get dressed up this weekend tonight, I was definitely on board.


We’re handing out candy to the kids and playing Halloween music all day long at work. It’s like, totally righteous, man. Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching some Halloween movies while I hand out candy to the kiddos. I wonder how many Frozen characters I’ll see? (I still haven’t seen the movie!)

Here are a few pictures from our Halloween day at work:

Group picture

Now that Halloween is here, it’s time to start thinking about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! I’m trying to be organized and get a head start this year, so I worked on my apple pie yesterday.

I saw an idea for a cinnamon roll pie crust on Pinterest, which gave me a good idea. Cinnamon rolls definitely have their time and place, but not in my apple pie.

I made my pie crust (I use my food processor, which makes it a cinch), rolled it out and cut it in a rectangle, then topped it with a butter, cinnamon, and sugar topping.



Then I rolled it up and sliced it into 1/4″ rounds, which I pressed into the pie plate.

IMG_7745So pretty! I realize that it’s a little crazy to make a pie crust bottom that no one will see, but I will know it’s there, and that’s good enough for me.


My apple pie filling was made with some mixed apples from an orchard my parents visited on their anniversary, and I added a dried cranberry and goji berry mix for a bit of a twist.

I was going to make a lattice pie crust, but then I remembered we still had some apple cake with walnuts left that our friend brought over, so I crumbled it with a little flour and used it as a topping.


Now it’s going to be heavily wrapped in foil and frozen to save for a few weeks! I know fruit pies freeze very well, so I’m not too worried about it. Next up on my Thanksgiving pie list is a a pecan pie cheesecake, which I can also freeze, and key lime pie, my mama’s favorite.

Since I was up to my elbows in apples yesterday, I decided to make some apple pie cookies for a work party on Monday.


I basically made a huge pie on the counter, then cut it out into rounds using a glass.


They were kind of a pain to get off the counter and onto the pan, but they are cute individual-sized pie cookies that taste great.

After all this baking, Dave was fully prepared to order takeout for dinner, but I was still in cooking mode. Plus, the recipe I wanted to make promised to be pretty easy: Sage Polenta Bowls with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms.

I made some polenta with vegetable broth, milk, and dried sage and popped it in the slow cooker for a couple hours, and in the meantime I roasted the Brussels sprouts and mushroom with olive oil and salt.

When the polenta was done, I stirred in a can of Northern beans for some protein and some Asiago cheese because…cheese, then topped it with the veggies.

IMG_7751-0Total comfort food and perfect on a chilly fall day. I highly recommend it!

Apple Cider Chicken and David Sedaris

IMG_7730This dinner was way more delicious than it looks. Curse you, lack of natural light! (And admittedly colorless food).

My name twin in Washington recommended a recipe to me recently that she thought I’d like: Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. I’m hoping to get more use out of my crock-pot this year (not that it ever wants for use long), and this was a perfect excuse to break it out on a workday.


  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I use thighs because we buy Just Bare brand, and they’re cheaper!)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • one 12 oz bottle of hard cider

Place the apple and onion slices on the bottom of your slow cooker. Lay the chicken breasts or thighs over the apple and onion slices, then top with the seasonings and the hard cider. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and serve on crusty bread with cheese.

Recipe adapted from: Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Though it was good as is, Dave and I both felt it could have used a bit more flavor, so he doctored it up with some rice wine vinegar and extra seasonings. Still, I loved the minimal ingredient list, the ease of the recipe and, most of all, the fact that it was something different. I’ll definitely make it again.


I also made some really awesome stuffed mushrooms on the side. I drizzled portabella caps with some of our fancy mushroom sage olive oil and topped it with a mixture of caramelized onions, tomato sauce, garlic, Greek yogurt, and mozzarella cheese, then baked it at 400 for 15 minutes.

Last night’s dinner was boring (but delicious) mac & cheese, because I got to meet one of my absolute favorite authors. Listening to him speak was food for my soul.


I was introduced to David Sedaris’ creative nonfiction when I was a freshman in college, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with him. He’s hilarious, profound, crass, lyrical…I could go on and on. I actually only own one hard copy of his books and the rest are audiobooks, because I love listening to him read his books aloud. They have gotten me through many car trips, nights of insomnia, and hours of dishes. I couldn’t believe that the voice I heard last night was coming from a podium in front of me instead of through my iPod.

And in case you’re curious what his silhouette looks like….


I knew David Sedaris was not a fan of photographs after I read an article he wrote back in 2009 about how embarrassed it made him, so I thought I could snap one while he was talking. Not so much. Luckily, I found said article online, read it, and it cheered me up immensely.

Visit from the Dowes

It was another one of those weekends where the time just flew by. Today’s post will have to be more food-centric than life-centric, because I forgot to take pictures of people. Oops!

I got up early Saturday morning to get my hair color retouched, hit Goodwill for my Halloween outfit (Robin Sparkles), cleaned, and went grocery shopping, finishing up just as Dave’s parents were pulling in the driveway. Was the last time I saw them really last Christmas? Oof. We had plenty to catch up on–my mother-in-law Kathy had taken a trip to Europe with Dave’s sister and her wife, and she brought back some lovely souvenirs for us, including a lovely Celtic necklace, a Guinness candle, beer, and whiskey.

We had a very foodie afternoon; we started at O’so Tap House for some beer samples, stopped at Great Northern Distilling for a cocktail, and then meandered over to Father Fats for an amazing dinner. We tried to take his parents here last year, but it was so packed that there was a huge wait. This time, we bit the bullet and went at 5! No trouble getting in then.


We started with Crispy Plantain and Yuca Chips which were served with guacamole and mango salsa. I’ve had plantain chips in the past that I didn’t care for, but these were fried perfectly crisp and paired wonderfully with the guacamole and mango salsa.


Next up, New Orleans Firecracker Shrimp with grilled bread. True to its name, the shrimp was very spicy, but the broth served with it was excellent, especially with the grilled bread.


Our wild card was Creole Cornmeal-Fried Crawfish and Gator. Dave wasn’t a big fan of this one, but I really liked it. The gator tasted just like chicken! I thought that the veggie slaw and remoulade it was served with was even better than the gator.


My pick was Lamb Meatballs with cucumber salad and tzatiki sauce. Lamb may be pretty expensive, but remind me why I don’t make tzatiki sauce more often. I love it! I usually don’t care for meatballs, but these were wonderful–jam-packed with flavor, juicy, and perfect with the sauce.


Up next, Craisin Molasses-Glazed Pork Belly served with butternut squash and cauliflower. Dave and I weren’t sure at first what the squash was until Dave’s dad filled us in, and then we promptly stopped eating it. Ha ha. I guess we’ll just never be squash lovers. The pork belly was wonderful, though.


Last but not least, Chicken Leg Confit Salad served with spinach, goat cheese, and fig jam. Since confit is such a heavy dish, I like that it was paired with plenty of fresh spinach and fig jam for counterbalance.

For dessert, Dave and I split the Salted Caramel Parfait.


With layers of devil’s food cake, caramel, and toffee, it was a perfect end to the meal.

Dave’s parents went to check in at their hotel after dinner, so we elected to walk home from the restaurant since it was such a beautiful night. We ended the night with plenty of conversation and a few episodes of one of Dave’s favorite internet shows: My Drunk Kitchen.

We had a very leisurely Sunday morning before going to Emy J’s for brunch.


I ordered a Matcha Latte, which is my go-to drink at Emy J’s–iced in the summer, hot in the winter. I love the leaf on top of my beverage–so pretty!


I ordered Huevos Rancheros for breakfast with a side of wheat toast. I loved that it was served on top of a small tortilla so by the time I got to the bottom, I could eat it like a piece of pizza.

Dave’s parents had a long drive back home, so they left soon after breakfast, giving me plenty of time to play in the yard and in the kitchen.


This was the only pepper we got from our pepper plant this year…and it was supposed to be a red bell pepper!


I was really happy with the amount of Brussels sprouts we got, though. Brussels are notoriously hard to grow in warm weather, and, while they aren’t huge, I’m sure they’ll be like popcorn after they’re roasted and perfect with some gnocchi and blue cheese sauce.

Dave asked me to make some soft pretzels, so I made four…and then made a pretzel dough pizza crust as well.


Here it is boiling in the baking soda bath.


And post-baked. I made this pretzel crust half whole-wheat, so the dough was a little dense to work with, but the bread man helped me turn it into something beautiful.

I decided to make a caramelized onion and mushroom pizza with gorgonzola cheese and a little good balsamic drizzled on top.


It tasted as good as it sounds.IMG_7727

Spinach salad with roasted broccoli on the side, topped with diced hardboiled egg.

Dave and I had a good grocery shopping trip on Saturday, so I’m excited that I have so many good ingredients to work with the next few weeks. I even did meal prep last night, so, if it turns out, you’ll see a recipe for slow-cooked apple cider chicken on the blog tomorrow!


Out of the Rut

Hey, guys! Sorry I haven’t been updating much lately. I found out that I need to pay to upgrade my space AGAIN! Clearly, I post an awful lot of pictures. So I’ve been flip-flopping back and forth again to see if I want to continue the blog and, thus, haven’t been taking many pictures lately.

Last weekend we celebrated Davy’s 28th birthday and Arion’s 6th birthday. I love my boys! Dave and I spent one of our days off baking a three layer cake: brownie bottom and two layers of banana cake covered in chocolate frosting. I probably don’t even need to tell you how amazing it was.


We had a bunch of people from near and far over to celebrate and this beast got devoured piece by piece. We even gave Ari a little slice.


In other news, I’m starting to break out of my meal rut!


Monday, I made a really delicious spicy quinoa bowl. The base was a spicy quinoa mix that I get from our local market which I combined with chickpeas and diced tomatoes. I topped it with diced avocados, Greek yogurt, a poached egg, and some Sriracha.

I love the spicy quinoa mix because it’s already chock-full of delicious and healthy ingredients and spices and can so easily be made into a meal.

On Wednesday, I received a $10 gift card from my workplace for one year of service, so after work I stopped at the grocery store and spent it all on lamb.

LambCutlets413__57302.1405411524.1280.1280For some reason, I was craving meat, and since that is a rare craving, I gave into it. I used the lamb to create a beautiful lamb and vegetable coconut curry served over rice. Dave loved it so much, he even heated it up before he ate it! (Dave is notorious for eating everything I cook cold, so this was a compliment in itself).

Last night, Dave and I tag-teamed dinner. We are getting so much better at cooking together. The key is to each work on a different component and no backseat cooking (ie, Did you oil the pan? I would cut the onions a little smaller. I think you need to turn the heat down to cook that properly).

Dave took over the baked trout, and I handled the sides: cheesy spinach orzo with smoked mozzarella and aged cheddar and roasted winter vegetables with sage and thyme.


Everything was amazing: the trout wonderfully juicy, the orzo creamy and smokey from the cheese, and the vegetables perfectly roasted. Maybe we can make this cooking together thing work.

Dave and I are looking forward to a visit from his parents this weekend to celebrate his birthday one last time!

What I’m Loving Today

This quote:

Lucy Quote

So true, Lucy. So true. I’m convinced that people make more bad decisions when they don’t love themselves enough.

This shirt:

Cat Queen

This combines two of my favorite things: books and cats. And I’m convinced this is my kitty, Queen Athena.

This drink recipe for Apple Cider Moscow MulesApple Cider MulesHoly yum, Batman. I need to make these.

This pumpkin:

Cookie  Monster

How cute would this be for a Halloween party? I love it!

This recipe for slow cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches.Apple Cider ChickenI don’t like pumpkin, so I’ve been drawn to everything “Apple Cider” this fall.

This picture:

sisterBecause my brother and both sisters are coming this weekend, and this is exactly how I feel.

Happy Friday!

Anniversary Weekend

Yeesh! I can’t believe it took me this long to write about our anniversary weekend in Door County. I got back into my regular routine pretty quickly: work ten hours, come home, walk Ari and/or take him to the dog park, do the dishes, and make dinner, at which point all I want to do is plop down on the couch with a plate of food and a glass of wine. Dave remembers when I used to post three times a day, but I think he forgets I was only working 28 hours a week at that point–writing a blog takes time, my friends!

Anywho, we started our journey last Friday morning. I dropped off Ari at the pet sitter’s house and then proceeded to cry the whole way home. I know, I’m weird. It would have been different if he was staying with friends or family, but for all I knew, this lady made dog fur coats or threw them in a ring and made them fight with each other and the ten (!!!) birds she has in an aviary.


How could I do that to this face?! Fortunately, Dave was sympathetic and didn’t tell me I was stupid; he just told me Ari would be fine. I knew the kitties would be fine because our friends Dan and Em took care of them while we were gone. And thus we started our journey by car.

I abhor car rides: I get nauseous, restless, dizzy, the whole nine yards, so I distracted myself by taking pictures.





PicMonkey Collage 2

PicMonkey Collage

After two hours, we made it to Sturgeon Bay, and I asked Dave if we could stop at a cafe for some lunch to break up our ride. Google served me well in finding Bluefront Cafe.


It was cute and cozy inside with a fantastic menu and really friendly waitstaff. Because it was a chilly day, I started with tea, and I was impressed to see that they actually had loose leaf tea in tea bags.

011Hit the spot.

I ordered the Maple Street Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a cup of their soup of the day: curried lentil.

012I cannot stress how amazing this grilled cheese sandwich was: 2 year cheddar, baby swiss, roasted red pepper, and mustard on grilled country sourdough bread. It was the best grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten, and I can’t wait to recreate it at home. The curried lentil soup was also amazing.


Dave ordered the Bluefront Organic Burger which was served on a ciabatta roll with housemade fries, which tasted like they battered just like fish before they were fried. So good.

We thought it was another hour to the cabin in Egg Harbor, but it ended up being only about 30 minutes away, so we made it just after check-in time. Perfect!


I opened the cabin door to a personalized sigh: Welcome to the Treehouse, Chelsea Leahy! Such a nice touch. The cabin was modern and comfortable with a beautiful view.



The bedroom was perfect with a soft king-sized bed and huge closets that nearly made me weep. I really miss having a decent closet!


After we settled in for a bit, we drove into town and checked out a few of the shops.



I loved this British Import store. We picked up a bag of haggis chips and some delicious orange curd which we deemed perfect for biscuits and scones. I also found a pair of Chelsea football socks that I had to have.



After a brief olive oil tasting at Fat Louie’s, we decided to come back the next day for some olive oil and balsamic and walked to Shipwrecked for a brew.





Nearly every beer, wine, and mixed drink on the menu was locally sourced from Door County, which I thought was neat. I started with a tasty pumpkin ale, but the bartender cringed when I ordered a Fat Louie’s Martini.


The Fat Louie’s Martini was made with balsamic, vodka, pureed strawberries, lime, and black pepper, but she said most people couldn’t drink it because they thought it tasted like salad dressing. Dave and I thought it would be good to order with a side salad, but I opted for the Snowbird Sour instead, which was made with Door County Whisky, cherry bluff infusion, orange marmalade, and sour soda, and I thought it was something my brother would have ordered.


We thought about ordering dinner there but decided we wanted to relax in our cabin, so we drove to the local market instead for supplies.


We took a turn down libation lane for some gin.030

We ended up walking out with frozen pizza, dolmas, reuben bites, and ice cream. Dinner of champions. We turned in early, and after a sleep punctuated by nightmares, I woke up early to read my book in the jacuzzi bath.


Note to self: a jacuzzi bathtub is not like a regular bathtub. I lost a huge chunk of hair when one of the jets sucked it off my head. Ouch!

After Dave woke up, we enjoyed our morning coffee while watching a John Wayne movie, then hit the road for some antiquing and wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cheese tasting.



This giant thumb may have been my favorite antique. Because who doesn’t want a thumb statue in their house?



The tapas place I wanted to go to wasn’t open for lunch, so we walked down the street to The Bistro.


We had to wait a little, but it was cold and rainy, and neither of us (well, mostly me), wanted to venture out again before something warm. I ordered the crab burger with french fries, which was pretty bland and tasted more like tuna than crab.


I also made the mistake of having a cup of orange spice tea, which I thought would taste like my mom’s delicious cinnamon orange spice tea, but instead tasted like I was drinking a cup of red hots. Blech.

Fortunately, the cheese tasting saved my palate.



Cheese makes me very happy.042

So does bread.


We only went to two wine tastings, both of which were packed with people, which made for kind of a hectic experience for those of us who don’t like large groups of people. Hello, claustrophobia! Thankfully, wine helps with that.


After a stop at Grandma Tommy’s country store (which Dave and I nicknamed “Tranny Granny’s” and he didn’t think I should post on the blog because then people would know how strange and creepy we are sometimes), we decided to go back to the cabin, get in our PJ’ss, and have a European dinner night.

046We enjoyed bleu, trappist monk, and irish cheddar cheese, sunflower flax and country french breads, broccoli and hummus, and sausage while we watched Pride and Prejudice and Galaxy Quest. We packed up lots of leftovers for snacking on the rest of the weekend, and went to bed at 9:30. Old fogeys.

The next morning we were aimless: we got in the car and drove to the tip of the peninsula, and even though it was another cold and windy day, the views were lovely.


We made our way to the Cana Island Lighthouse and paid to walk the grounds but elected not to pay the extra money to walk up to the top.



050We drove back to Egg Harbor to try a pizza place we’d been recommended by a few people, but when we heard there was a two hour wait, we decided to try our luck elsewhere. Casey’s looked good, a barbecue and smokehouse place, but really we were craving pizza, so we took our pictures with the pig and headed out again.



I found out that one of the Mexican places in town had pizza, and our day was saved with margaritas! Thank you, Mojo Rosa’s.


There were only a few people in the place, and we finally felt comfortable. At my coworker Jessica’s suggestion, we ordered the nachos to start, which were awesome.


We then ordered the Chipotle Meatball pizza which came with chipotle salsa, meatballs, black olives, onions, and was topped with fresh cilantro.


It was such a unique and fantastic combination. We were so full from the nachos that we ended up taking more than half the pizza back with us. After relaxing for a few hours back at the cabin, we decided to head down the street to the Log Den for a cocktail but got sidetracked by some beautiful horses on the way.


Hello, horses! When I’m rich and retire on a big, beautiful ranch, you will become my pet.057




After our beverages at the Log Den, we spent our final night at the cabin with a multitude of delicious leftovers. It was another relatively early night for us, and we woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning, eager to get back home to our pets. Because of our poor luck, Monday was the first truly gorgeous fall day, but at least it gave us a pleasant drive back home to our kitties and turkey butt.



It was a much-needed vacation, and I’m glad Dave and I got to spend so much wonderful time together! We both decided that Door County was a little too touristy for us, but it was undeniably beautiful, and we really liked the cabin we stayed in. Our next vacation may not be for awhile, so I’m glad we finally got a trip away from it all.

Four Years

Where does the time go?


It has been four years of crazy, beautiful, ridiculous, sometimes frustrating but always interesting wedded bliss.

I came home yesterday to a wonderful steak dinner from Davy.

004Steak with mushroom sauce, roasted vegetables, and baked potatoes. I enjoyed my delicious dinner with a dirty Tanqueray martini and an episode of Gilmore Girls (GG is on Netflix!!!),


Happy Anniversary, baby love! We are so excited to celebrate this anniversary with a four-day trip to Door County!

Roasted Pepper & Potato Soup

Sundays are becoming my favorite days to make soup (and, yes, I resisted the urge to title this post “Souper Sunday”). There’s something so cozy about listening to music, chopping veggies, and letting a big pot of soup simmer on the stove and permeate the house with an aroma that can only be described as comfy. Or as I often tell Dave, “It smells like Thanksgiving!” It’s not even so much about the smell as the whole general feeling of contentedness.


Dave and I have started a little tradition with our friends Dan and Em (who, at this point, are more like family): much like the friendship plate that circulates with cookies, we pass back and forth a mason jar filled with different varieties of soup. Dave will bring over curried white bean soup and they’ll give back potato leek soup. I’ll send over stuffed pepper soup, and they’ll drop off spicy chili.

For this reason, and because I like freezing leftover soup for late nights when we don’t have time to cook, I tend to make big batches. This soup supposedly serves 12, but realistically is more like 6. Because when you eat soup for dinner, it’s hard to stop at one bowl.


Roasted Pepper & Potato Soup

  • 3 bell peppers, diced (red, orange, & yellow work best)
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups diced potatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine diced peppers with one tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt in a roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes.


In a large saucepan over medium high heat, saute onions in remaining tablespoon of olive oil until tender. Stir in the roasted peppers, chilies, cumin, paprika, salt, and peppers. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Stir in potatoes, broth, and milk and bring to a boil.


Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Use a stick blender to puree soup to desired consistency.

*Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home