Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

I am so excited how beautiful these came out! Plump fresh blueberries were perfect! The batter alone tasted so delicious. I felt like a kid again tasting it.  Haha. One difference I did notice was I creamed the butter and sugar like she said for 5 minutes and it totally came together perfect. I use to not sift my dry ingredients as to why? I know it was just laziness. But now I do and it also makes quite a difference. The recipe said it made 16 muffins but she must have been using a big muffin pan because the ones I made made about 20+ perfect sized muffins.

It is definitely going to be a very reliable recipe for sure! I think I will start posting the recipes for others to try out because they are absolutely perfect. It is the best feeling in the world when you have success in the kitchen! :)

Take Care, Lauren

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins Recipe
Copyright 2002. Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken

Well, yesterday 1/29/10 I made Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken. It was very tasty. Unfortunately though, I ended up putting the marinade together that morning. She said to marinade it overnight which definitely would have given it even more flavor. I absolutely love grilling in the winter. When you come outside in the bitter cold but can smell the chicken on the grill... YUM!

I definitely think my sister and her husband would love this meal. My dad made potato wedges and a vegetable to go with the meal. Very satisfying.

Here is the recipe for you to make it at home if you'd like :) Her recipes can also be found at

Tequila Lime Chicken 

Copyright 2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style 

Cook Time:15 min Level:Easy Yield:6 servings


  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Culinary School....

Every now and than I get in these "disappointed in myself" moods. I have so much money in loans and nothing to show for it except some minimal life experience. Since I've been cooking I keep kicking myself for having not tried harder to complete my 1 year Culinary Certificate. 1 year! There was a lot of drama going on with some friends I had made and everything snowballed.

Now that I'm older and more determined I have this aching to go back. But is it really worth the effort and expense? I also now have my cat shadow who I love dearly. I can't bring her on campus. Campus life also doesn't interest me at all. Living in those small rooms with a roommate, not really appealing to me now. My dad was saying there are some townhouses in the town of Cobleskill. There are so many lose ends about the possibility. Seeing my chefs outfit and knife kit just make me yearn to go back even more. Like I said before about being older and more mature than when I went last time, I think I would be much more focused. Some of the chefs there are very off the cuff and use a lot of language I'm not fond of. But I think that's what it would be like in any kitchen also. Just look at the "Hells Kitchen" guy. I literally despise him. I know there are some chefs who are much more calm in the kitchen but it would be a lot to find them. There are tons of restaurants here in Ithaca but applying for anything like a line cook or something like that, without experience is difficult.

I'm just very disapointed myself for not pushing harder back than. Now I kind of feel a void and I would be more employable if I had my 1 yr A.O.S and I'd be accredited with that as well. A lot of what if's in life now and it's so difficult finding a career. Wegmans is excellent and I love it but as far as a career? Prayerfully my Bed and Breakfast will happen someday. Finding the right place for it is the challenge. All in God's timing right? There must be a reason why I didn't finish, I just can't figure out what that reason is. Cobleskill is not very far away and isn't out of the question. Anyone else reading this have similar feelings to what I have now? I'd love to know your thoughts

Take care, Lauren

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

Well, I did it! I made Ina's Beef Bourguignon today and was successful at it! There was a lot of chopping and dicing and I decided to use my knife from culinary school. :) It's simmering away on the stove and smells delicious! Lately, I've been cooking but having help with it. Today, I was the only one in the kitchen. I had my laptop downstairs with the recipe and kept referring back to it. Surprisingly It wasn't simple but it was straight forward. Drying the meat (man does it have a LOT of juice!!) sauteing the bacon, taking that out. Than searing the beef in batches, adding the onions and carrots and cooking those. I than added the beef back, added the red wine and beef stock. Pretty awesome huh? All I have to do now is make a roue with butter and flour, add that to the stew to thicken it, saute the mushroom and add that to the stew!

A lot of steps but it was easy to follow which is wonderful. I was afraid the wine might be overpowering for my liking but it isn't! I really enjoy cooking now. It gives someone a sense of satisfaction knowing they completed a dish successfully. I just can't wait til the time when I find that person who is meant for me. Someone who I can cook for and that we can even cook together. Ok, enough of that talk. LOL I'm just so proud of myself for completing it and doing it thoroughly!

Time to eat! :)

Beef Bourguignon

Copyright: 2002. Barefoot Contessa: Family Style Cookbook


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Chocolaty Rocky Road Brownies

Today I'm doing a couple of recipes. I had asked to make dessert for Bible Study this week so I decided to make these brownies from our Down Home Cooking Cookbook. Well, I decided to use my glad ware pan so I could just leave it there. The pan came out very wobbly even though it says you can cook/bake in them. The brownies themselves were perfect. However, the frosting I'm a little worried about. For anyone reading this have you ever noticed the difference of consistency when using fat free cream cheese in baking? I melted the cream cheese, butter, and chocolate but added the milk a little late so I'm not sure if that's what caused it. The frosting tastes good but I hope it's ok.

The great thing about the recipe is that you store the brownies in your refrigerator. Which is perfect when making them a day ahead. I had to use big marsh mellows so it looks a little bulky but I hope they'll taste good. I tend to be a worry wort especially when it comes to baking. Tonight I"m finally making Ina's Beef bourguignon. I decided to use sirloin which is MUCH less expensive than the fillets which were 17.99 a lb. These were much more affordable but still a good cut of beef. I noticed she does have a second recipe which calls for chuck roast which is much more affordable for the every day cook. I asked the girl behind the counter if she could cut the beef into 1in cubes. I remember from different food network shows that you should ask the butcher if they could do that because it saves you one less step. Plus, it doesn't cost anymore for them to do it there. 

I will post later tonight to let you all know how the beef comes out. I'm very excited. It actually doesn't look too complicated just a little time consuming. But it's all going to be well worth it! 

Take Care everybody!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate chip, walnut and Cranberry Cookies

Well... I must admit, this is not an Ina Garten recipe. I'm laying low today and decided to make some cookies. I wanted a really simple recipe so I decided to do the original Nestle Tole house cookie recipe. I decided to try using parchment paper this time for some of my old pans and it worked beautifully. I added chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. The cranberries were an excellent addition. The cookies came out delicious!! I got to use my new cookie pan from my dad this Christmas.

One of the Food Network Throw down episodes showed this one set of women who make these "out of this world" cookie recipe. It's actually more of a meal because they make them to suit those who run triathlons. I'm hoping I can keep working on making them more like that for when I sell baked goods at the Ithaca Farmers Market. I hope those of you reading this and are local will come check out my families booth this upcoming summer. I'll be mostly the one their selling the items but it'll be a mixture of my dad's baking and mine. It's been a dream of mine for the last couple of years but it's been a long process with getting the kitchen licensed. The name of the bakery is going to be Lauren's Simple Pleasures Homes Bakery. I'm very excited about it. I will definitely be at the Saturday market and possibly the Dewitt Market every Tuesday and Thursday. It just depends how much we can bake to have to sell. Pretty soon I'm going to start learning how to make bread. I think that will be a big seller and there could always be one more vender for homemade bread.

Since I can't have my Bed and Breakfast quite yet this will at least be an outlet to meet even more people in Ithaca and to make some extra money doing what I love. You never know who you'll meet at those events. I'm very excited about that new adventure. Now it's getting everything finalized. I will keep everyone posted on when we will officially be open for business down there. :)

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good hearty Meatballs! :)

Tonight I decided to make Ina's "Real" Meatballs recipe. I had to do it differently because makes a tomato sauce from scratch and than she cooks the meatballs in the sauce. I decided to use the crushed tomatoes we bought and put them on top of the meatballs and at the last minute added some Parmesan cheese on top. They were sooo delicious. My dad kept saying how great they were which was a wonderful compliment. :) Honestly the best way to make meatballs is using ground beef, veal and pork. It makes them so tender and juicy. In Ina's recipe she uses freshly grated Parmesan inside the meatballs. Yum!

I decided to add some chopped onion and garlic as well. I've finally decided that I 100% enjoy onions. I enjoy chopping them just hate the tears from doing so. hahaha. I use to only like them sauted and diced VERY thin but I absolutely love them in French Onion soup. They were a nice crunch addition to the meatballs. Plus, it was a very simple recipe which I'm a big fan of simplicity when it comes to cooking. I do make more intermediate recipes but simple is sometimes the way to go. My dad made a delicious Pasta dish with spinach and artichokes and guess what? I love artichokes as well! I just hate scanning them through the check out. hahaha...

My sister Lisa makes this fabulous artichoke dip that is very popular when we have dinners together. Her pork recipe is the one my dad used this weekend. We are big fans of it for sure. :) I keep talking about making Ina's granola bars and I'm FINALLY doing so tomorrow. I'm on a 2 day break from work which is glorious. I have to work both weekend days this upcoming weekend but we don't have too much planned. Well, time to finish this up. My friend Heather told me about where you can share recipes with each other. If you're reading this you should definitely sign up there, it's an awesome site.

Til next time,  goodnight friends :)


 Ina's Real Meatballs
Copyright, 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 min 
Level: Intermediate 
Yield: 6 servings


For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dinner Party...

Well this Saturday we had our dinner party with some friends of ours. It was a lot of fun. I made Ina's Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette and fresh Mozzarella. I'm telling you, there is nothing like fresh mozzarella. It was very delicious I must say. The thing I was most impressed with was the recipe for the Devil's Food Cake from our 30 year old cookbook. I have to say that I've never once been dissapointed with a recipe from there. Sometimes the greatest recipes are the oldest ones.

I really love to entertain. I just wish I was a little more creative with things like the table set up and all. I'm thoroughly enjoying this cooking blog. It's something to update and a lot of learning as well. I had to whisk egg whites with sugar til they made soft peaks. I started out the old fashioned way with a whisk but man, that was hard! My dad has these antique style beaters and I must say that helped. It didn't quite make it to the soft peaks but it was close enough. I should have gradually added the sugar so maybe that would have made a difference, who knows?

I'm very excited about an adventure I'm going to take this upcoming fall. I'm going by myself to the Hamptons where this blog is inspired from. I'm quite nervous I must say, but I was able to find my way through the London Heathrow Airport while traveling back (alone) from Somerset West, South Africa successfully . I've been to the city numerous times and actually going there over the summer but being by yourself is always scary. It's definitely going to be a little expensive but I figured, I better do it now. Since I started this blog I figured that would be a nice thing to look forward to and hopefully I'll have most of the recipes from this one cookbook finished. There are only 43 recipes in there surprisingly.

I have to tell you... throughout the day at work today I was daydreaming about visiting there. I would dream that I'd be walking by the old Barefoot Contessa shop (it's now a clothing store) and would just happen to run into Ina Garten. I would be shocked and tell her about my blog and she woudl say "Oh, well I'd love to have you over for dinner" HAHA  I know, it's pretty silly. But I figure everyone reading this knows how much I love her and they know my personality pretty well. I'm ok with sharing that kind of thing LOL I'm also excited because a friend of mine from SUNNY Cobleskill lives on Long Island. She was living in FL for a while but I was pleasantly surprised to find out she's back on the Island so I'm hoping to catch up with her while I'm there.

East Hampton is the very farthest end of the Hamptons so it will definitely be an adventure. But it's an adventure that is worth taking. I would definitely appreciate prayers for travel safety though when it gets closer. I'm going in September ( I know a little early in posting about it ) but I think it will be a great way to see where Ina lives and to see for myself what it's like there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mmmm.... baked Macaroni & Cheese

Well, today I decided to make Ina's Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It was sooo delicious and satisfying. I'm getting more day shifts now at work so I'm able to have more time to cook which is nice. I have to admit for years I was afraid of making cheese sauce from scratch. Don't ask me why. But I've finally overcome that which is a good feeling. However, while I was cutting the rind off of the gruyere cheese I cute my finger and am sorry to say I said an unpleasant word. Ho Hum. Right before the cut happened I had been thinking about past relationships which isn't a good idea to do while cooking. Right after that is when I cute my finger.

I must say though, the Mac & Cheese was thoroughly satisfying. Very comforting.

I really wanted to make Julia Child's Chocolate and Almond Cake from the movie this weekend for some friends we're having over. However, it's much too difficult. Some of the egg yolks need to be whisked with sugar and it just seemed a little too complicated. I'm going to have to do a different chocolate cake recipe but I'm going to use Julia Child's Chocolate Butter Icing recipe. :) I'm still going to put sliced almonds all around the sides to make it look extra fancy like Julia's recipe. I was thinking of adding a fruit sauce that could go on top but I think it would make it too heavy. I'm looking forward to having my friend Heather and her boyfriend over along with 2 other friends as well. I love to entertain. It gives a nice feeling of enjoyment and gives time to catch up with everybody as well. :)

So far I've had two decent nights sleep with out any tossing or turning. I had a strange dream last night, luckily not a nightmare though and I still work up feeling well rested.I will post a picture of the mac and cheese later on. You can find most if not all of the recipes I'm doing on the Food Network website. :)

Til next time, goodnight friends :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ina's brownie pudding

Ugh... Today was a really frustrating day right off the bat with a bad experience at a new Dr.'s office in Elmira.  Finally I forced myself out of bed and decided to make Ina's brownie pudding recipe. Well I stupidly didn't fully read the recipe right. I should have melted the butter first off. Second, I should have beaten together the eggs and sugar than added the melted butter. Not mixing the  eggs, butter and sugar. Although, either way it wouldn't have been the same because I don't have a big enough dish to put underneath the one that had the brownies in it for a water bath. I'll have to do some kitchen supply shopping when I have some extra $. Even with doing it a different way they are pretty much like regular brownies from scratch. They certainly look yummy. Julia Child's did say though "don't apologize, no excuses" haha. This post isn't as long as the others but it's nice to have something to update and share my experiences with. :)

Til next time, goodnight friends :) check out my flickr page for a picture of the brownies :) --Lauren

Monday, January 11, 2010

First night of recipes

Well, day one was 1/10/2010. I made Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, Parmesan Chicken and Angel Food Cake. I've never made an angel food cake from scratch before... it called for a cup and a half of egg whites. GASP! I have to say though I'm not a fan of the kitchen aide stand mixers. I've never felt it thoroughly mixes through things. As I was mixing the whites it said to make it so they were soft peaks or about 1 minute. Well I mixed them for one minute but I failed to make sure they were soft peaks. As I was mixing everything else though it seemed ok, the batter was getting thick and looked like the consistency I'm use to seeing with the boxed Angel Food cake. It was delicious, however it was very dense. But that must be the difference between scratch Angel Food cake and the boxed mix. I have to say that it was way too much to make all of those. Actually, I had already pounded out the chicken a couple of days ago because it was meant to be for the night before. It was pretty therapeutic I must say to pound out the chicken hahaha but it's so true. Hammering away at it just felt good. I was using our almost antique meat tenderizer and I'd have to screw the top on every so often. :) But it still works fine.

Than for the Shrimp Scampi I had used frozen shrimp and the recipe called for fresh shrimp cleaned and debained. Ho hum so that took more work to peel the shrimp and boil them a little first to make it easier to peel. I didn't fully realize how tired I was til we were all in the kitchen and it got a little crazy. It's usually my dad in the kitchen cooking and I'm only in there to bake. It'll be some getting use to. I have to say major kuddos to Julie Powell... I was looking at that cookbook today at work and it is AMBITIOUS. That's putting it lightly. Doing Ina's books will be a little more my style. I never felt a connection with Julia Child's. Probably because when her show was on I was quite young. But she most certainly is a beloved legend, that's for sure.

It was pretty funny/disrespectful (unintentional) because as we were finally sitting down to eat and my mom started her prayer I burst hysterically into laughter/tears. It was completely unintentional and I couldn't stop. I had invited my uncle over for dinner because I felt like we had all this food it would be nice to share it with someone else. I'm so thankful he was my first guest for this project. Luckily he didn't take offense at the fact that I bust into laughter during my mother's prayer. hahaha After laughing I just started tearing up and from now on it's one recipe a night like Julie did. Otherwise I just know I'm going to get burnt out. I took some pictures and going to post them now for you to see. Everything was extremely tasty. Cooking the chicken in the pan with butter is seriously the easiest way to make Chicken. It was funny also because we were having a five minute debate on the difference between Parmesan Chicken and Chicken Parm. Chicken Parm is usually classified with marinara sauce and melted cheese on top where as what I made was just doing the egg wash with Parmesan cheese added to the bread crumbs. It made the most tender chicken I'd ever eaten. I've been asked by my Uncle Richard to say how well it was pair with his homemade Dandelion Wine. :) He has become an expert at wine making I must say. He also mentioned it was the best shrimp scampi he had in while (I was pleasantly shocked). He said that unfortunately the restaurants now are making the scampi with a red sauce which he feels kind of ruins it for him at least. I personally enjoy the original style of scampi the way we had it last night. :)

Day 2 1/11/2010. I'm simply going to make granola bars. Something healthy and not so heavy like last night. I love that it calls for a 1/2 a cup of honey though. Those reading this who know me, knows how much a sweet tooth I have. But for these they have dried cranberries, slivered almonds and apricots. I've actually never eaten an apricot before. Hmm, eventually I also want to try a mango, I've never had one of those either. I also love that you can store granola bars for a while. I'm bringing a few of them to some friends of mine for them to enjoy as well :)

So that was the first night. Whenever I write a new blog post it reminds me how much I enjoy writing. Anyone out there reading me? I hope you enjoy the pictures :) You can view pictures from my Flickr account I just created. It seemed better than the way the pics looked on my profile. Here is the site address

Til next time, good night friends :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Can I afford to do this?

Well, in an attempt to start my first recipe for this project I'm already a little frustrated. I called Wegmans to see how much their fillets of beef costs 18.00 a lb!!! So for a three lb recipe it would be 54.00. I can't get over that! I know meat is expensive but anyone reading this, isn't that too expensive? I really wanted to start off the blog with In'a Beef bourguinon recipe because that was in the movie Julia & Julia. Ina use to follow the original Julia Child's recipe for it however, she felt it was necessary to make it a little easier. I really admire her for that because of the popularity for that particular recipe.

Blah!!! Although it's going to be an expensive endeavor, I feel strongly enough that I'm going to stick with it. I am very much like the original Julie Powell in the sense that I feel like I always start things but don't finish them. I absolutely love Amy Adams that played Julia Powell. I truly hope that if I ever meet anybody that I'll find a guy who has the same love of food as I do like an Eric Powell or Paul Child's. They were so supportive of their wives and truly appreciated them. I sure wish I had someone like those two right now but I'm praying that there is someone else out there with similar character traits as they had that I'm meant to be with.

But for now, it's the single life. I'm so grateful for the family and friends in my life which I can cook for. :) I'm starting this weekend, what will I make? That is to be determined yet. I think I will save the beef bourguinon recipe for later in the project. I have also decided to give up eating out at restaruants for this year. Why you might ask? I just ate at a  restaurant here in Ithaca that I normally love. Kilpatricks. I literally had the absolute WORST shepherds pie I've ever eaten. The waitress warned us the skillets were hot but when I went to taste it, it was lukewarm if that. Of course, I know I should have said something but I think it bothered me more so afterward than while eating it. I wish I had commented because it cost 13.97. BLECHHH I'm not one to be so negative about a restaurant but this was bad! So I figure, why not just spend that money on groceries instead to make food at home. It's much nicer and without all the commotion with kids, music that might be terrible to listen to and a good part of the time being dissapointed with your meal. I want to see if I feel a difference after a while, like a void that is missing. I will go out to eat if I'm away or it's a family affair but as for the normal times I'm going to tell myself not to and cook at home. I always envy these chef's & Cooks like Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentis and Mario Batali who create these FABULOUS recipes!! Such genius work. I may not ever create recipes but I most certainly want to make those recipes the absolute best that I can. I have a couple of dream jobs 1st the bed and breakfast 2nd being a food writer/critic. Being able to write about well known chef's and their recipes would be awesome.

I might be getting carried away :) but for now, we'll just stick with this project. :) I hope those following this blog will check out my new posts. Like Eric Powell said in the movie the best thing about blogs is that you just type, you don't have to be published or anything like that. I love that. :)

Til next time.... goodnight friends :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuna Tartar....

As I was looking through the book and seeing all I'm going eat, I have a confession to make. I'm scared of raw fish. The thought of eating tuna tar tar actually makes me sick to my stomach. It will have to take A LOT for me to eat that. Everything else I'm very excited about. Late last night I was doing some web surfing and I found it!! Julie Powell's real blog from her Julie/Julia project. It's funny watching movies that become your favorite and than seeing the real person that the movie was made about. Pretty amazing.
I promise to take pics of everything I make.... I loved in the movie where Julie said "Even after the worst day at work you can come home and know that if you had egg yolks to chocolate they will thicken." Not the exact words, I admit but I loved that segment. When frustrating days happen, cooking is a way for so many people like myself to express ourselves. I sure hope some people surfing the internet will come across this blog but you never know. For now, it's a project for personal feeling of satisfaction. I can't wait to get started....

Lets Cook!!! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010

I've never really been much of a New Year's Resolution follower until now. I'll be turning 28 in February, although still young it's more important to me now to stick with things. It's funny how movies can inspire one to want to try the same thing they did. My inspiration? Julie Powell from the movie Julie & Julia. Her love towards Julia Child's was so genuine. She took on a very ambitious task I must say. 524 recipes in a year?? Wow.
Well, although this idea is almost the same thing it truly inspired me to learn more about cooking through my biggest inspiration. That would be Ina Garten. I fell in love with her show Barefoot Contessa a few years back when we first got satellite. She's so graceful and she makes you wish you could be invited over to her house. Although I have many favorite food network chef's she at the very top of that list. I attended Culinary school for a semester and a half. However, I must say that since than I have learned more about cooking from Food Network than when I was at Culinary School. Plus, it doesn't cost a fortune to learn from them. haha :) I am grateful for the tools I learned and can apply them now. I absolutely love cooking and baking. It is the greatest feeling in the world to make something and have it come out being successful. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction. Ever since I was 16 I've had a dream of running my own Bed and Breakfast. However, being 27 I wonder if that will ever happen. Being able to have the guests waking up to the smells of cinnamon rolls and freshly brewed coffee would be so wonderful. Although it would most likely be a 24 hour a day job with all the cleaning, cooking and preparing for guests, it would be totally worth it.
But for now, I will stick with on of my resolutions which is cooking my way through Ina Garten's Family Dinners Cookbook. I have other Food Network Chef's cookbooks and even others of Ina but I felt as though this was the most reasonable one and more fitting for this project. I unfortunately can't afford a recipe a day but I can certainly do a recipe a week if not maybe 2. I'm looking forward to it. My dad made her East Hampton Clam Chowder and let me tell you, it was the BEST Clam Chowder I've ever eaten. I'm not kidding you. It wasn't so heavy that you could only eat one both of it. It was hearty and delicious. I'm looking forward to hearing from others about their cooking experience as well, that's if anyone finds this blog and it intrigues them. You never know. Like Julie Powell I also love to write and at least this way, I have a way to express myself and to share my cooking experiences.
In conclusion I must say I made Ina's Coconut Cake recipe for a New Years Dinner party my family and I had and it was so scrumptious. It was a messy job putting the coconut all around it but the end result made it completely worth it. Back when I first saw the movie in the theaters I started a blog about Ithaca, NY and unfortunately never really stuck with it. But I'm determined that by the end of this year I'll have the majority of the recipes completed. I'm very excited about it and hope that friends of mine will follow it. :) Take care for now and I'll write again soon about my first recipe :)