Saturday, August 30, 2008

i need to say something.

I need to say something, anything. It's rude to not speak for over a week. I'm not mad at you, I've just been busy. Please don't be hurt, it's nothing personal.

My dearest Meribeth told me the other day that she kept checking the blog for some capital letters. I really wanted to oblige, but I couldn't. You know how I get, I want to write something spectacular, and when I can't I just don't write anything.

I still owe you all the posts I mentioned in my last post. The only problem is that I'm not on my computer right now, so I would have to post sans photos. I can't post about these topics without the photos, it just wouldn't do them justice.

I wanted to say hi, I hope your holiday weekend is going well. I think it's funny how much my outlook on life changes on Saturdays, or really the weekend, espcially when said weekends are attached to a lovely Monday holiday. Ahhhhhhh.

I'm currently babysitting, the kiddos are taking naps, hence the post. I made myself some chocolate cinnamon muffins for breakfast this morning. I just jazzed up a double chocolate muffin mix with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Then I made a brown sugar and cinnamon crumble topping. They were pretty nice, although the execution was a bit off. I thought I would add my topping midway through the 15 minute cooking time, but the tops of the muffins were already formed and the mixture just dribbled off onto the muffin pan. It burned and made a terrible mess. The edges of the muffins were chewy and they tasted faintly of burned caramel. Not delicious, but palatable with my coffee. I can't think of many combinations tastier than chocolate and cinnamon, I just love it!

I think you deserve a treat, you've been such a loyal reader. Have I ever told you about my grandmother's recipe for peanut butter cookies? I know I should have, they're so simple and really very tasty, I shouldn't hoard them for myself. I call them Grammy's Cookies. Who doesn't love a recipe named after a beloved family member? These are the most versatile cookies I know of. You can do them "kiss and tell" style: they're those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kisses in the middle. While the cookies are warm place the kisses in the middle... can we say heaven? I also used these as a base for a pb&j bar I made once. They're also good by themselves, alongside a big glass of milk.

Here's the recipe: Grammy's Peanut Butter Cookies-
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg

Mix the ingredients together and spoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy.
No seriously, that's the whole recipe!

I hope you enjoy them, they're soft, chewy, and a little bit crispy around the edges. The crumble a little bit while you're eating them, but that's one of the things I love the most about them. Let me know if you like them.
Talk to you soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

lowercase letters...

warning: this post contains no uppercase letters. i just don't want to... that's why.
i want to post something.
but it's 1:00 am.
i have a brutal tummy ache and can't sleep, i really need to sleep, just can't.
i have plenty of delicious things to report, there are photos involved. for example; a wonderful night out at our friend murphy's restaurant. a lovely dinner i cooked. red velvet cupcakes. going to choir practice. olympics. michele's birthday celebration. etc...
i promise i'll write soon. i haven't gotten home before 11:00 once this week, i decided sleep was more important than the blog (except for tonight, sleep is important yet impossible.)
tomorrow's saturday.
maybe then i'll feel inspired enough to capitalize....

Friday, August 15, 2008

a little snapshot of my life this week...

So much has been going on in the past week, I'll give you the "caitlyn-notes" version.

8/8/08- Everyone at work enjoyed my fried rice... I ate it at lunch and again at dinner that night mixed with some pineapple chunks and shrimp. (One of my favorite Asian restaurants Bubble Tea Cafe serves a similar dish. My knock off was pretty good.)

Brandon and I went to church and then watched the parade of atheletes in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, much fun!

8/9/08- I made breakfast and B came over (I was still house-sitting.) We had some vegan pancakes, veggie sausage, and roasted Keith and Sarah tomatoes. Then we went to the farmer's market. B bought me some lovely sunflowers, and we got some really nice hot sauce. It's really smoky and adds a very deep flavor to foods. We also got some veggies for the fiesta...

I had several people over that night for a Mexican Fiesta in honor of Meribeth and Charlie's trip to Mexico. We had fasting friendly Mexican dishes including shrimp tacos and margaritas (since it was Saturday.)

8/10/08- Evan's last day in town, he just got a really great job coaching a swim team in Chicago. Liz, his wife, is going to finish school here and move after the semester ends. I'm totally jealous. We went out to eat Indian food, truly my version of comfort food.

That evening we went to Fr. John's for young adults, it's always so great. How awesome is it that our priest has dinner and a lesson almost every Sunday night for all of us young-uns?

8/11/08- Back to work. :~(

I went to T.J. Maxx on my lunch and got a new top, and a collapsible market basket for the MFM. After work I stopped off at Wild Oats for some sushi and ginger snaps (the Whole Foods brand ginger snaps are very spicy and really taste like ginger!) Then I loaded up my market basket and went to the park to meet B for a quick picnic dinner.

Then off to church, we had the Paraklesis service to the Mother of God every week night for the duration of the fast.

Then we went to Cafe Eclectic.

8/12/08: Work, another Wild Oats catered picnic this time Mediterranean food, then church...

8/13/08: Same, but with Dino's catered Wednesday night meal after church...

8/14/08: Work, Church...

8/15/08: At work, I'm the receptionist today. I can't do very much of my own work up here. I just get to answer phones and get drinks for clients... you know I love being a hostess!

Today is the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. I'm very sad I couldn't go to the Liturgy this morning, but anyway. Although today is a fast day, tomorrow we shall feast! Blessed Feast!

Speaking of tomorrow, my plans are as follows: Breakfast with Abby and Michele (Happy Birthday, many years, to Michele) and then off to buy some veggies, with my fab new basket. Then, Brandon and I are going to India Fest (agricenter, admission is free.) Then we are planning on visiting Miss Zoe Anne. Then I will walk Liz and Evan's dog Maggie. Then Vespers. Then dinner at our friend Murphy's restaurant.

Does it seem like my life revolves around food... Hmmmm.
Goodbye for now, have a very happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

fried rice.

I just had to make two bags worth of fried rice... That's 8 cups of dry rice... many many more cups when cooked.  I suggested the Olympics theme for our monthly "celebration" at work.  Chinese food was the natural progression.  I (the idiot that I am) volunteered to make fried rice.  I was given two bags of rice and cooked every grain. I'm so tired of frying rice!  But to be honest, for my first ever attempt at making fried rice, it isn't half bad.

I'm so excited:  Last night at church I got two wonderful presents.  My friend Marjo gave me some uh-mazing smelling green fig soap as a late birthday gift.  (I love late birthday presents, they make the party go on for weeks!) And I also got some fresh tomatoes from the Parkers.  Keith and Sarah brought these beautiful tomatoes to share with the parishioners of St. John.  Isn't that sweet!? As much as I love the farmer's market, I love produce from friends even more! (My mom works with Keith, they're buddies.)

Tonight I got to hang out at our new priest's home with his sweet daughter Anna Marie.  Kh. Jeanette and Fr. Nicholas are a wonderful recent addition to our parish.  And their little girl (I think she's around 1 year old) is the funniest kid, she's crazy!  We had so much fun hanging out before church while mommy and daddy went out for a quick dinner.  

So, Happy birthday to Kh. Susan's blog: Pen and Palette.  She has been blogging for a year now, and I've been a loyal fan for several months.  Her blog inspired me to venture into the world of blogging. Hers is one of my favorite blogs to check when I have a second (and I make a second for this blog, it rocks.)  Read it... that's an order. 

Here's a toast I commented on her blog after reading her birthday post:
Pen and Palette, I met you for the first time last year after our first dinner group meeting. I was a little skeptical at first, but I was told my picture was featured so I had to check it out. Pretty soon after that first visit I knew we would have a great relationship. 

Dearest Pen and Palette, you've inspired me to start my own blog, taught me, made me laugh out loud, made me cry, and made me decide that you're writer is one of my favorite people in the world. 

Thanks for being here Pen and Palette, here's to many many more birthdays! 

Another happy birthday:  Claire gave birth and now we have another sweet St. John baby.  Her name (I am in love with this name) is Zoe Anne.  How beautiful!  I can't wait to meet her, her auntie Caitlyn is already so in love! 

I need to go to bed now, I'm exhausted!  Don't let me forget to post the AMAZING new vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I made for the first time yesterday.  I'll try to post it next time.  

Monday, August 04, 2008

i wish it were saturday again!

I just read my post from Saturday (I do that sometimes, is that conceited?)  And I started pining for Saturday!  I've almost finished off all of my MFM purchases.  I made green beans almondine, roasted corn on the cob with spring onions, and some delicious tomato and eggplant sandwiches for dinner tonight.  On Saturday night I made an heirloom tomato salad with shallot vinaigrette, green beans, eggplant steaks with an onion white wine sauce, toasted olive bread, and a blueberry peach crumble.  I'm regretting that I didn't buy more on Saturday.  I also know my beautiful flowers are going to wilt soon... I'm getting sad.  I know I sound pathetic!  

It's only Monday... but I wish it were Saturday.  

Last night I made some of The Post Punk Kitchen's rich chocolate cake (cupcakes) after dinner.  I've posted the recipe before, but honestly it's one of the best cakes I've ever eaten vegan or otherwise.  I decorated my cute little cupcakes with some rich chocolate icing (sorry no recipe, I made it up) and sprinkles!  

Brandon and I went to the Paraklesis at our church tonight.  It was nice.  I had honestly started to miss being at church every night of the week since Pascha.  Fasts are hard, but praying together with other Orthodox Christians helps.  

I found out tonight that my good friend Claire is in labor as I write... or maybe a mommy by now.  I'm very excited for her and have huge plans for this child!

Please pray for me tomorrow (Tuesday) around noon... I'll give more details later.  

Saturday, August 02, 2008

today i feel: epicurean.

Don't get me wrong, I love a great cheese, good wine, and especially the artisianal butter I recently found.  But what I mean when I say epicurean is enjoyment of good food, good for you food.  Fresh, locally grown, organic GOODNESS!  I really need to find a better word for this.  I love the feeling of making a dinner solely of vegetables, especially those grown close to home!

Today I went to the MFM with my good friend Michele.  I love that place, and I love the Saturday morning atmosphere.  It's like a big social outing and I usually see 2 or 3 people I know.  I went because I wanted to stock up on veggies since the Dormition Fast began yesterday.  This fast commemorates the falling asleep of the Theotokos (The Virgin Mary.)  I love to cook fresh veggies during fasts, along with plenty of beans.  (The perfect food, cheap, fiber filled and protein rich, yum!) 

I need to sing the praises of my striped C bag.  I bought it years ago at Happi Stores and realized today it's the perfect farmer's market bag.  It held everything, and I saved a few plastic bags.  Plus it doubles as a nice sized purse.  I'm so glad I took it this morning!

Today my purchases included:
(You like the photos, I'm house-sitting and just hijacked Meribeth and Charlie's mac photo-booth! Do you guys mind?) 

  1. Four (very expensive, and I hope worth it) heirloom tomatoes.  I hope to make a tomato salad with them.  Something like tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Very simple, just showcasing the tomatoes.  I know they look kind of funny. I've heard it's a chef's trick to buy the ugliest tomatoes, because they always taste the best.  
  2. I got some fresh green beans, honestly is there any other kind?  I despise canned green beans.  (Although I admit, green been casserole is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I can tolerate canned green beans in that case.)  
  3. I bought some ears of corn.  I'm a bit nervous, I haven't shucked any fresh corn in years, I hope I can remember how to do it.  
  4. I got some fresh peaches from Jones Orchard in Millington, my grandfather loves their peaches.  I plan to make some sort of peach crisp.  
  5. I got two loaves of Cucina bread, kalamata olive and cranberry walnut.  
  6. I also bought some eggplant, I'm not sure what I want to make with it yet.  
  7. My crowning glory this week was the bouquet of flowers I bought.  They are so bright and colorful with zinnias.  I love fresh flowers.  They make me smile! 
I saw some beautiful squash blossoms, and I though about buying them, but I wouldn't be able to stuff them with cheese this week, so I had to resist.  

Now, working backwards:  Last night I went to my friend Melissa's house for a dinner party.  Mel's sister, Jennifer is home for about a week from Hawaii, where she is studying law.  It was so nice to get to hang out with such good friends. Have you ever had friends that you can go months without seeing and still be able to pick up where you left off?  It's wonderful, I feel like no matter what changes I go through I can still spend time with these friends and have 10,000 things in common.  I truly value their friendship.  

Plus to top it off, Jennifer and Melissa are wonderful hostesses.  I've never been to their houses and not felt completely at ease.  They get it from their mother!  Every party of theirs is like something pulled from a much more chic and modern Southern Living Magazine.   Overall, it was a fabulous time.   

I promise to post about Vacation Church School very soon.  Until then, enjoy Kh. Susan's post about her time with the kids from Tuesday.  

Happy Saturday dear readers, I will update you as soon as possible about tonight's dinner.  

P.S.- Please post any favorite recipes for the veggies I bought.  I need some fab new ideas! And I would much rather make friend's recipes than google for stranger's recipes.