Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Takes Two

I had a lunch date with my additional roommate last week at Sermet’s Corner in Charleston. I had never been there but the food was quite excellent and the prices were perfectly reasonable—especially for King Street! Though she was the better of us as far as ordering goes, we both splurged afterwards and got coffee and dessert. I think we were avoiding going back to work, because once the server tempted us with their famous key lime pie (the real pale yellow kind and not the fake lime green kind) we were sold.

Flash forward a week and I am still craving another piece! I have never made a Key Lime Pie, but I knew it couldn’t be that hard right? So I went about Googling recipes and sure enough, it’s about the easiest thing you could ever make. I tried to be good and use the lower-fat ingredients but honestly, with 5 egg yolks involved, nothing could be salvaged.

Reduced Fat Easy Key Lime Pie

5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 (14 oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker crust

PREHEAT oven to 375.
COMBINE the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix well.
POUR into unbaked graham cracker shell.
BAKE in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
TOP with whipped topping and garnish with lime slices if desired.
CHILL for an hour or more before serving.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Too Much Sunkissed

I don’t remember what blog piqued my interest on this new product, but I think it was Monograms and Manicures or Beauty Squared. And well, if it wasn’t, now you know two bits of my roll call.

Coco Chanel said “the best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you!” As a red head I have often wished for a bronzed tan or even a sunkissed glow. I have tried almost every sunless tanner product out there. Mystic tan booths, airbrush tans, Biodroga sunless tanner, Lancome/Clinique/EsteeLauder products—nothing really suited my shade of skin. I have violet undertones which means almost everything turns an orangey oompah loompah bleh…OR WORSE! (If you can't laugh at yourself...)
But finally, without further ado, I am very excited to share the news of the very elusive and sought after product that can only be found in such posh stores as CVS: Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer!

What makes this product stand out from other sunless tanners is that unlike the sticky lotions that have a funny smell and often take hours to fully dry, this product will take you back to your 80s mousse days. The foaming formula is extremely light so it glides on evenly and dries completely in just seconds—aka no waiting to get dressed. I attribute this speedy dry quality to the lack of streaking. Well done Jergens. I will continue to buy!

Layered Ice Cream Cake

I had a doctor’s appointment today and treated myself to an ice cream cone after the visit. If I had planned ahead I would have whipped up this cake instead! Though it is time intensive if you are as anal as I am, the Family Circle recipe itself is very easy. I have substituted various flavors of ice cream but I always go back to the mint-vanilla-strawberry combination. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Layered Ice Cream Cake

15 chocolate and cream sandwich cookies (such as Oreo)
1 tablespoon milk
8 to 9 ice cream sandwiches, depending on size
1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 pint vanilla frozen yogurt
1 pint strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

COAT bottom and side of a 9-inch round springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. LINE side with waxed paper, using spray to help adhere to pan. Trim paper to height of pan.

Finely CRUSH 12 of the cookies in a food processor. Add milk; pulse just until mixture holds together. Set aside.

UNWRAP 4 ice cream sandwiches*. Working quickly, cut each in quarters. Stack strips of sandwiches on end, cookie to cookie, packing them snugly together, around waxed-paper-lined pan. Repeat with remaining sandwiches to form a stand-up edge. (*I prefer to unwrap them all, slice, and re-freeze. It’s amazing how quickly those things will melt!)

SPOON cookie crumbs into center of pan; press firmly over bottom. (A bit of cooking spray on the finger tips works nicely)

FREEZE 1 hour.

REMOVE all 3 flavors of ice cream or frozen yogurt from freezer and let soften to room temperature.

TRANSFER mint ice cream to a small bowl and stir until good but firm spreading consistency. REPEAT with vanilla and strawberry.

REMOVE pan from freezer. Spread mint ice cream on bottom*, then top with vanilla and strawberry, spreading all layers level. (*Again, I prefer to freeze in between layers to get a more solid division of flavors.)

TOP with thawed whipped topping, swirling top decoratively. Crush remaining 3 sandwich cookies and sprinkle over cake. Return to freezer; freeze overnight.

To SERVE, remove side of pan, then waxed paper. Cut into wedges.


Are you tired, run - down, listless?

Do you poop out at parties?

Are you unpopular?

The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle. VITAMEATAVEGAMIN!

Okay, so I’m no Lucille Ball, at least not today, but I am swearing by this little lunch helper.

For all the desk jobs junkies out there that try to save a dime (and frankly, not your health) by eating frozen meals at work: Are you tired of the same ole ingredients? Do you stare at the black plastic tray and pray it will turn into steak au poivre?

I am a firm believer in doctoring up frozen meals. I always employ the trick of transferring the meal to a real serving plate and often will grate just a touch of fresh cheese over my pasta dishes—but even then, I ‘m not always satisfied with the pathetic meal in front of me.

Enter the VITAMEATAVEGAMIN King, The Jolly Green Giant! He offers frozen single serving trays of lightly sauced veggies in the following varieties:
Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
Broccoli, Carrots & Italian Seasoning
Cauliflower & Cheese Sauce
Niblets® Corn & Butter Sauce
Corn & Peas in Basil Butter Sauce

Simply make your standard frozen pasta dish, pick and mix in your favorite veggie pairing, and voila!

I like the following mixed-in combos:
Fettucini Alfredo + Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
Pasta Primavera + Broccoli, Carrots & Italian Seasoning
Chicken Enchiladas Monterey + Niblets® Corn & Butter Sauce (Mixed into the rice)
Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata + Corn & Peas in Basil Butter Sauce

The best part? The addition is only 1 Weight Watcher Point and 10x Bonus Points of flavor. Bam. Frozen Luncheon Godess.

Artista Vista, I do

If you haven’t heard of Artista Vista, and it’s okay if you haven’t, you need to be on the lookout for the 21st edition next spring! Meggie, yes this Meggie:

Invited me to take part in Columbia’s premier gallery crawl on Thursday night with her. Knowing it was also Saki Tumi Barbie Sushi night, I was eager to visit the Vista!

“The Vista, Columbia's premier art district, has never slackened in its efforts to keep the art scene in the Midlands alive and thriving, as the past three decades attest. The Vista was synonymous with art by the early 1980s, when artists began to move their studios to the area's affordable abandoned warehouse space. Today's restaurants, shopping and nightlife in historic buildings along the Gervais Street corridor are still driven by the Vista's creative energy. Artista Vista is completely organized by galleries in the Vista, as it has been since its birth 19 years ago.”

“This popular event brings local artists and galleries together to encourage the public to support the arts.” While we didn’t venture through every spot, the highlights included: Lewis + Clark, if Art Gallery, Vista Studio/Gallery 80808, City Art, and Installation Art.

I have to admit that installation art isn’t my favorite genre, but I Do / I Don't, by Susan Lenz really spoke those in the Mais Oui Building. An installation focusing of the complexities of marital relationships, Lenz embroidered discarded wedding veils with words of wisdom, tips, and tricks for married life.

Small Things

“Sometimes”, said Pooh, “The smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

I am sorry to my readers for the upcoming e-blast. I have not posted in a while which means my thoughts have piled up so significantly that I fear they resemble a traffic circle! This next couple erm few uh, collection of posts will be a random assortment of what I have been thinking and doing in the past week or so.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good, Good Friday

Above Earth Day and above National Jelly Bean Day, this is Good Friday. Before you begin to hail me as a good Christian blogger, I must say that I gave into my vices and took the time to grab my free cup of joe from Starbucks this morning on my way to work. But as this is a day of remembering, I will be taking time to reflect on what it means for me to be a Christian and an Episcopalian.

Last night, someone asked me if I had any big plans for this weekend? As I was with my witty pseudo sister, my response was of course tongue in cheek, “That Jesus Christ died for my sins and is going to rise again—N.B.D.” But of course, that is true—and that is what I will be focusing on today while I sit at my desk. On Good Friday.

I believe in signs. I’m not talking about the signs that Charlotte spins in her web; though if I had a barn spider writing me praise, this blog might have taken a different path! I’m talking about those little things that bubble up when least expected: colors, smells, dreams, billboards, sidewalk encounters, weather patterns; things of which you don’t pay much attention.

I woke up late this morning. I assume because it was raining, and could there be a more peaceful sound? I have described to my friends that my dog is acting more like a child these days. He sleeps with his head on the pillow and I have to urge him to get out of the bed, rubbing his little big paws, and explaining that “Dutch, it’s really time to get up darling—they day will start without you” and “Okay son, I’ve already showered, you really must get out of the bed now…” to which he will stand-up, stretch out his bad leg, and resituate.

Where we have a mutual understanding is over Breakfast. I stand over the counter, eating something on a paper towel, and he leans over his step-stool elevated bowl because I’m a bad mother that hasn’t gotten him a proper eating dish for his size. My favorite childhood breakfast used to be a fried egg. Fried the real way, the way Grandmothers do it. Sunny side up with butter spooned over the top and a side of crispy toast to dip into the yolk, yum.

Because of the rain, I couldn’t wear what I had dutifully picked out the night before (a teal and white floral embroidered skirt) so I grabbed something that I haven’t worn in months—a conservative black belted shift dress and my old, old, old pink Gap raincoat. As I was walking out the door, I thought about how much my grandmother loves pink and if only she could see me in my coat…only a few minutes later, as I was pulling out of Starbucks, my mom called to say that Mimi had been put in the hospital. This is not intended to be a sad sap story, for as I mentioned, I am an Episcopalian—and we celebrate life to the fullest—especially at funerals!

But the signs were there today and I had to recognize them. For those of you that don’t know Mimi, she is 92 and spunky! She is also my namesake and my reason for loving poodles. For those of you that do know her, I have it on good authority that the Banana Bread recipe has been found and properly stowed away!

Happy Good Friday to you all, and may you see and be grateful of the signs as they are presented to you! And “do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing, some people have entertained angels unaware”.