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Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays to You!

Merry Christmas!

This year I was determined to embark upon just about every Christmas activity offering in the ‘Burgh.  I think I did pretty well!

I went to Light up Night.

I went ice skating at PPG.

I baked cookies. (Pine bark, almond thumprints, and triple ginger cookies to be exact)

I went to Phipps Conservatory for the Winter Flower Show.

 

I went to a Pens game.

I decorated my apartment for Christmas.

I imbibed and chowed down at three different work/friend Christmas soirees.

And I have tickets to see the Nutcracker.

Tis the season!

What activites/events are important to you during the holidays?

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Pittsburgh Food Blogger Meetup

Last Wednesday night I joined a jolly group of Pittsburgh food bloggers for a holiday feast.

A month or two ago Mike from Foodburgh set up a Meetup group for Pittsburgh based food bloggers. Have you ever visited the Meetup site? It is kind of a cool concept – people create groups based upon interests and geography with the hopes of actually having ‘meetups’ where all these people get together. I think its an awesome tool for someone new to an area or anyone trying to widen their circle of friends and acquaintances.

Through the site, Mike set up a meetup for this past Wednesday, December 8th at Dozen Bake Shop in Lawrenceville.

I quickly RSVPed. Yay for meeting other bloggers! As the night neared though, I began having second thoughts. How do I manage to sign myself up for things like this? I won’t know many people there, I will be all by myself, I don’t really know how to blog – I worked hard to convince myself of these things as I sat at work and thought about the evening’s plans.

Finally, I manned up and headed to Dozen.

And I am glad I did.

With a little help from Nicole’s write-up and the Meetup site, here is everyone that was there:

Mike (FoodBurgh)
Nicole and Greg (Yum Yum)
Luke (going to start his blog soon)
Mike (Burghertime)
Megan (Table & Spoon)
Jake (Eatsburgh)
Lauren (Burghilicious)
Eileen & Greg (Starving Kitten)
Leah (Sweet Rehab)
Andrea (Storming Your Castle)
Kelly (A New Place)

I didn’t get a chance to chat with everyone as we were split between two tables but I spent a good portion of the night chatting with Nicole as we had previously met at the food blogger meetup earlier this year at Church Brew Works. Everyone was very friendly and I didn’t spend a minute feeling uncomfortable. Funny how that works out?

Dozen is a full bakery, specializing in cupcakes. According to their website, they have three locations in Pittsburgh. Downtown, Oakland, and Lawrenceville. I am slightly confused by this because I know I have been to both a Southside location and a Squirrel Hill location. Did those close?

Regardless, Dozen has quite a presence in Pittsburgh. The Lawrenceville location is open for dinner, usually serving soups and sandwiches. As you can see from the above photo, we dined on a little more than that.

Being food bloggers and all,  Mike had previously arranged for us to have a full three course meal.

Course 1: Butternut Squash Soup – Not too sweet or too thick and full of roasted garlic. And likely butter. Yum.

Course 2: (pictured) Holiday Dinner – Turkey, Sage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Roll, Cranberries – Um, I kind of could have eaten a whole plate of brussel sprouts. I believe they were roasted or pan fried with balsamic and soy sauce. Must try this soon.

Course 3: Pumpkin Pie – Somehow I think I missed the pumpkin pie at my family Thanksgiving. Therefore, it was necessary to choose this dessert (Apple Crisp was the other choice). Dozen’s pumpkin pie had an incredible ginger crust. The crust was crisp and intensely ginger-y.

Overall, the night was fun and relaxed and full of good food and conversation. Looking forward to doing this again!

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Despite never posting, I actually do still cook! For realz!

Over the last month or so, here are a few recipes that made the grade.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

I used this recipe to turn some leftover veggies into a lasagna. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out as sometimes veggie laden stuff can still be a little gag-worthy for me. However, this was pretty good – roasting the vegetables was a bit of a pain but seemed to be worth it. I would recommend having slightly more sauce on hand than the recipe calls for. I ended up dumping about half a can of diced tomatoes on top of the lasagna before baking as it looked a little sad.

Also, no-bake noodles are amazing. They taste better (almost like fresh pasta) and are way easier. I will never go back.

Cheese Straws

I made these as a Thanksgiving appetizer and they were kind of delicious. My cheese straw obsession began after reading “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”, the Southern based cookbook by Martha Foose. Martha says to use a cookie press for cheese straws, which I do not have. After talking myself out of buying another ridiculous kitchen tool, I did some cheese straw research and Paula Deen told me I could roll and cut the cheese straw dough into any shape I liked. Thanks Paula!

Paula’s recipe was pretty much identical to Martha’s so I have linked it here.

The cheese straws were buttery and flaky and just a little spicy. I will definitely make these as an appetizer again – there were super easy with a food processor and kind of addicting. Addicting enough that despite running around like a crazy woman on Thanksgiving (who was late for her grandparent chaffeuring gig), I took time to sample quite a few of these right out of the oven.

Haluski

No real recipe here, just the guidance of Mama Snicks and my Polish heritage.  First cook down about half an onion in 1T butter. Shred a small head of cabbage in your food processor (or by hand) and add to the onion. Cook down this mixture while boiling up some bow-tie pasta. Add the pasta to the onion/cabbage. At this point I will add 1-3 more tablespoons of butter to make sure everything is delicious. Sometimes I will also add some chicken stock. Cook the entire mixture a little longer and you are done. Sweet, buttery, pasta-y and delicious. Comfort food.

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Grey Day

Why is today so grey?

I will try and forget about the grey and think about the awesome Thanksgiving break I had.

That is the spirit! Be back with recent recipes soon!

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