Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 - the good.

So like most of the world, I have been feeling pretty thumbs down about 2016.  In retrospect, it really wasn’t all that bad, but it was certainly one of the most annoying and frustrating years in recent memory. 

The other day I poached two eggs.  The first one came out perfect.  It was the perfect shape, cooked cleanly in the water, and was cooked to perfection.  I was so happy and proud.  The second egg was a wreck.  I dropped it into the water, and it completely came apart.  It foamed, lost its shape, became disconnected, and looked like the mess it was.  These two eggs pretty well sum up 2016.  It had its moments of pure perfection, balanced with messes along the way.

However, I am thankful for my friends and family, and happy that everyone is well and healthy.  Everything else is just stuff.  As something I saw on Pinterest said, 1) don’t sweat the small stuff, and 2) it’s all small stuff.

So here I choose to reflect on the top moments of 2016.  Looking back through these pictures helped me to see that 2016 wasn’t that bad.  In fact, it was pretty good.

I visited my friend Kayla in Wisconsin!  It was a beer & cheese filled good time.  This was at the Miller plant tour.

After years or long locks, I chopped them for a shorter do.

I made this cake from scratch with my new stand mixer for Easter.
Evan, Mom and I crossed the Shark Bridge at the Newport Aquarium.

Had a little on screen time talking about Farm Credit for a local network.

Went with Randi to visit my second parents in Florida!

Mom and I visited the Biltmore Estate (and winery of course).

Enjoyed one of the best brunch delights - a sandwich at BiscuitHead in Asheville, NC.

This part was sad, but a milestone nonetheless.  Jeepie and I went our separate ways.

Rode a river boat with Lynn & Rita.

Went to Kings Island with Rose.

Waited for hours and almost thirsted to death to see the HRC - so worth it. 

The family vacation to HHI.

I moved home to the farm, and when the parents went out of town, I protected newborn calves from ass hole buzzards.

Went to a couple of OSU games with Emily.

Laughed at these crazy kittens (RIP to one of them).

FINALLY WON A BEST OF SHOW RIBBON AT THE BROWN COUNTY FAIR!  The entry was green tomato chutney.

Saw one of my all time faves on stage.

Spent time with BFF Abby & her cute little Baby Morgan.

Went as a talking mime for halloween, accompanied by a ninja turtle.

 I got snapchat.  And mostly learned how to use it.

DISNEYLAND! I went to there.

Rode Mary Poppins / Julie Andrews' carousel horse.

Witnessed a Bengals loss in person - as usual.

Threw a baby shower for my BFF.

Pigged out on Haiku sushi one last time.

Played with my sweet little nephew, who is hilarious.

Gained a new little nephew, too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Perfect Stuffing Recipe + A Poached Egg!

A few days off at Christmas allowed me to experience two culinary successes.  These two victories were especially great, because I had wanting to conquer these two items for some time!

The Perfect Stuffing Recipe

So I have to thank friends of friends for this achievement.  Some friends of ours hosted Thanksgiving in their home this year and it was there that I had the most fantastic scoop of stuffing that I had tasted possibly ever (OK – Mamaw Lawson’s stuffing will always be #1, but since I don’t think I can ever replicate it, I needed something of my own).  The chefs said it was from Smitten Kitchen – a cookbook that I just happened to have in my collection!  

Since I was more than a little tipsy as this Thanksgiving soiree, I worried it might not taste the same to a partly sober mer.  But - holy crap was it good.  After it was out of the oven, I kept picking at it.  And mom told me to leave it alone.  I told her I couldn’t because it was f*cking good. LOL.  Luckily we were both buzzed so it was hilarious.

Here’s the recipe and some pics.

This is before it cooked.  I was so busy eating after it came out of the oven, I didn't take any pics.

If this doesn't look like a fine midwestern Christmas dinner (also kind of like Thanksgiving) I don't know what does.
A Poached Egg

There isn’t much better than a perfectly cooked (which in my opinion is kind of over cooked) poached egg atop some brunchy delight.  This culinary task has intimidated me for quite some time.  However, the time had come to try it out.

I brought some water and a splash of vinegar to a high simmer and gave it a swirl with the spoon.  Using a farm fresh egg from the chickens just out back, I dropped it in the water.  So that didn’t work.  Out the door to the dog.

Part two went a little better.  I basically did the same thing, but added some confidence.  Voila!

The first egg I ever poached sitting atop a creation of a hawaiian roll, sweet potatoes and prosciutto medley.  Thanks chickens!

Overall it was a great holiday.  And here is a classic from a few weeks ago - a lovely 2 story tall blow up Rudolph in Upper Arlington.  #housegoals.

New Nephew Neatness

My sister Katie and brother-in-law James gave our family a wonderful early Christmas present on December 20 – a new baby boy for all of us to love!  Baby Crosby Alexander was born on a very cold day, but he has warmed all of our hearts.

Katie invited me to witness his birth earlier this year, because she said I needed to understand and see what childbirth was like - or something to that effect.  Maybe she thought I was underestimating the process, or maybe she is trying to convince me to give her a niece or nephew.  Whatever the reason, I am so appreciative that she and James allowed me to be a part of the most beautiful, gross, amazing thing I have ever witnessed. 

If you’ve seen a baby take its first breath, you get it.  If not, you can’t understand until you experience it for yourself how awesome it is.

Katie, the champ, and little buddy Crosby.

My first pic with Baby Crosby. He is already giving me a look akin to, what the what?!?

Evan was and is very interested in Baby Brother.  He is a good Big Brother!

Little Buddy original - the cutest little stinker and new Big Bro!

Welcome to the family, Crosby!  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Cookie Classics

Hark! It’s almost Christmas!  This year has flown by and it’s hard to believe that the annual friends cookie baking weekend has come and gone. 

For the past several years, I’ve been firing up the old sleigh and heading up to Licking County for a holiday cooking extravaganza with my dear pals Abby and Lindsey, and their momma Mae – who is great for answering questions like, “is this butter browned enough?” or “can I mix all my dough in the food processor?” or even, “how much longer do these egg whites need to go?” – plus hundreds of others!

Over the years we have made countless recipes of cookies, candies, bags of random mixes, noodles, and whatever else inspired us.  Each recipe is mixed with a healthy dose of cuss words for the added holiday flare.

This year Lindsey had the bug so she couldn’t come (we missed you Linds!) but she sent her two little girlies to help out, and they did a great job!

Auntie Abby & Madeline cutting it up! 

Avery enjoyed finding miscellaneous treasures around the house when she needed a break :)
New to the cookie event was Miss Baby Morgan, who seemed to enjoy the shenanigans.  We are looking forward to many years of cookie baking with this one!  I'm sure she'll have sweet skills!

Baby Morgan was hopped up on excitement!
OK, so now that you know the parties involved, I’ll get to the cookies!  I always make jam thumbprints from a recipe I got out of a random Columbus Library cookbook years ago, if I find it, I'll share it later!  

This is the start of the jam thumbprints.  Nom nom butter, sugar, and eggs. 

Add a few more things and it's a fab dough!
These little dandies are rolled in coconut before they're baked, and after they cool they get a scoop of jam - raspberry in this case.

This year for some reason I got a wild streak and decided to swap out my other go to / always makes snicker doodles for gingerbread cookies.  SPOILER!!! This was a mistake, LOL.

I had high hopes for this recipe, I mean it was from freaking America’s Test Kitchen – like, those people know how to cook.  And they’re always smiling, and complimenting themselves, and having reactions of extreme pleasure after taking a taste of whatever they have created. 

I did not have such occurrences when I made their recipe.   For the record, I brought a box of cookies home and my dad ate ALL of them except these gingerbread cookies.  That’s saying something.

So maybe I just don’t like gingerbread.  After this recipe, I find that it suitable for decorative houses only – not for eating. 

Here’s the scoop on the g-bread:

I believe firmly, that the root is the grossness is molasses.  Read it correctly, molASSes. 

Grandma got this wrong.  Barf.

So I kind of kept thinking of Gingy from Shrek and felt sad.  Poor flat, fat legged cookie :(

But I like to end my blogs on a high note, so check out these amazing cookies decorated by Abby, her nieces, and her basically better than America’s Test Kitchen people momma!

Abby - "Cara, can you take a pic of us?"
Me: "Sure! Everyone look over here!!"

Nice work Madeline and Avery!  You girlies have the gift!

Happy holiday baking to add, and to all a nice glass of wine!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ode to Haiku (the sushi restaurant)

So now that I have written this, I have to admit I feel a little insane dedicating a blog post to sushi!  But whatever, because it's Columbus history (kind of) and it's a goodie.


I think the first time I tried sushi, it was at Haiku.  Working downtown back in the day provided many opportunities to explore the restaurants up and down High Street (I never really have been very good at packing my own lunch), so I eventually found my love of sushi snacks. 

Haiku was a fave.  There were papers provided to write haiku poems, plus a variety of rolls for all tastes.  A favorite of friends and I was the harvest roll – which was basically not sushi and was pretty much just fried sweet potato and cream cheese wrapped in rice, lol.

In honor of Haiku’s soon to be (probably) restaurant obituary in the Columbus Dispatch, I offer this work.

Ode to Haiku.

Haiku was a place –
For us to go for yum yums.
Harvest roll was great –
And so was everything else.

Parking was on site –
A real treasure in Cbus.
Lovely patio –
Which was good for drinking drinks.

By now it has closed –
For a new high rise that will –
Be built on its land.
Haiku will be remembered.

The end.

OK, so basically I like to write haiku poems, too.  Because it will be greatly missed, Abby, John, Andrew and I met there for one last plate of sushi.

Soon to be something else from a fancy developer (I think).

Site of many a summer drinkie drink.

My BFF Abby and I are never too tired for sushi night! LOL! 

Thankfully, John created a killer sushi order for all of us.  Andrew - sorry if your eyes are closed in this pic.  

We will never forget.

Haiku poetry left behind by guests.

And then we got some Jeni's ice cream.  Matterhorn and sweet potato something.  It was freezing cold.