Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, so it turns out Bumblebees Do sting...

No, I didn't get stung.. neither did The Kid.. But there's been a ginormous bumblebee buzzing around my door for days and although Bees (or any flying bug for that matter if you really want to get technical, and don't even get me started on spiders!) totally freak me out I was always under the assumption that those big buzzy bumblebees don't sting. So when the kid called me when he got home today freaking out because the bee was hovering right in front of the front door and he couldn't get in I kept trying to reassure him that bumblebees don't sting and to please stop freaking out.. then his phone ran out of minutes.. so as fast as I could i went online and refilled his phone and called him back.. he answered the phone and he was crying "mom, I'm so sorry, that STUPID BEE is still there and I can't get in the house and there's nobody home upstairs to let me in" (I was glad for that one though, those kids are seniors and would make fun of him if they knew he was scared of a bee)

So he was sitting on the back deck sobbing.. mom, i'm so sorry.. and I felt so bad that I couldn't help at laugh at this kid who is now 5" bigger than me sitting outside sobbing becuse he was afraid of a bumblebee... so what happens next.. he screams.. MOM, OMG, there's a Yellowjacket now.. OMG.. okay.. Please go see if the bee is gone so you can get inside. This kid's never been stung by a bee, so I have no idea if he's allergic or not and he's got me really nervous now, so he leaves his backpack on the deck to investigate and see if the bee is gone.. coast is clear, the endlessly hovering bee isn't there anymore.. so he opens the door and runs into the house, I hear the screen door slam behind him and he goes back out to get his backpack off the deck and he goes OMG, that STUPID BEE is back!

Alright, Fine.. leave your backpack out there, check again in a little while and see if the bee is gone.. fine, so he's inside and he's safe from the bees. I tried joking with him that maybe the bee wanted to be his friend and in the most serious voice he says to me "I do not want to be friends with that STUPID BEE! I want to kill it and I never want to see it again!!!" and it set me off again, I'm sitting at my desk laughing so hard that I'm crying and he's huffing and puffing on the other end of the line going "um, mom, it wasn't that funny" which just made me laugh even harder.. Oh lord..

So I finally get home and that damn bee is still there, Hovering around the door.. I go out back and grab the kid's backpack and he's standing there in the doorway waiting to let me in and WTF, there's a freaking little gray jumping spider on the door.. so I scream, throw my flip flop at the door, look back at that hovering bee and run like hell into the house, lol..

AHH!! I hate bugs!

But I learned a lesson through all this..

Bumblebees so sting..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Perpetual Kid is So cool!

So I Twitter.. Yep. I'm totally hooked on the whole twittering thing, I think it's fun to chat (in 140 characters or less) with people all over the place and meet cool new people and find cool new stores and people who have cook shops that you never knew existed before. I've been shopping at Perpetual Kid for a while now, that store is full of insane gifts that you never would have thought of.. but there's something for pretty much everyone.

Last Wednesday @Perpetual_Kid announced on Twitter that they were having a contest on their blog You had to guess how many (Biodegradable) packing peanuts were in the box and so I guessed.... AND I WON! I guessed on a whim and last week was like the week from Hell from me, Thursday I was 20 minutes late for work (Seriously people, it took me 2 freaking hours from the time I left my house until I sat down at my desk at work!) and when I finally got around to signing in at Twitter and checked my @Replies I saw that I had won and it made my day much better :o)

What did I win, you ask?

Well.. this is what I won:


THE WINNER OF THE GREEN GRAB BAG GIVEAWAY IS @CHEFASHBABE (follow her on Twitter!). With a guess of 726 packing peanuts, @chefashbabe was only 7 packing peanuts away from the total number of 733!

Congrats to @Chefashbabe, who will receive a Better Than You Shopping Bag, an I Am Not A Paper Cup, an I’m Not a Paper Towel Dish Towel, and a Wine Cork Trivet!

I got it all today! I even got a little red finger monster!

And these Biodegradable packing peanuts dissolve in water.. How freakin' cool is that?!?!

Thanks again @Perpetual_Kid

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quick fix substitute sweetened condensed milk

Ok, so here's the story..

One morning I went to make my coffee and *gasp!* there was no milk.. BUT there was a half a can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge leftover from something I made, so I scooped out a spoonful, stirred it into my coffee and prayed it was gonna be alright...

and OMG it was AMAZING!!

So, when I went to the wholesale store with my best friend Patty back in September I bought myself a 6 pack of sweetened condensed milk (considering it's around $2+ per can and I got a pack of 6 for around $4 I was very happy!) I used a can or 2 over the holidays making pies and I just used the last of it this morning and then after not adding it to my little list of things I had to stop and grab on my way home I forgot... that is, until I was setting up my coffee cup back under the Senseo before.

AHHHHH!!! I've been having my coffee so long at home like this, I wasn't sure if I could just go back to milk and sugar.. I had to find a substitute!

I searched frantically and every single recipe I found was had butter added (eew!) I knew I had a box of powdered milk packets in the cabinet from last Christmas when I made milk bath sachets for some friends, so I had the most crucial ingredient and finally.. like 20 pages down the line I found this:

Sweetened Condensed Milk substitute:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1-quart sized packet or 1 cup powdered milk

In a small saucepan heat water to just boiling on high heat
Quickly whisk in milk powder and reduce heat to lowest setting (or this will burn)
Add sugar and stir until dissolved
Cook until thick, this will take 5-7 minutes. This equals one 14 oz can.

OMG, it tasted just like the real thing and I have it in a squeeze bottle in the fridge, ready for tomorrow's coffee :) YAY!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Congrats Foodbuzz!


San Francisco – April 23, 2009: Foodbuzz announced today that is has surpassed 2,000 food bloggers in its online food community. These partner food blog websites, when combined with the foodbuzz.com “hub” website, reached 6.7 million people per month according to third-party traffic measurement service Quantcast. This ranks Foodbuzz as the third largest online food property after less than two years of operation. (See Quantcast Media Planner.)

“Our goal is to be the number one online food community by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz. Of the top three properties, Foodbuzz is the only true community that combines social networking for foodies with food content search for everyone. “Both our monthly users and page views grew over 1000% in 2008, and we are on pace to reach the number one spot within the next 12 months”, said Mr. Dehan.

Foodbuzz digs deep into the “long tail” of food publishing to discover and promote thousands of small, yet high-quality, food bloggers. “We are providing a platform for food bloggers to pursue their passion in a community that nurtures and encourages the sharing of quality food and dining content daily,” said Ryan Stern, Director of Publishing. Foodbuzz offers these bloggers a compelling solution for building their traffic, connecting with like-minded foodies, and making money. Foodbuzz has exclusive advertising relationships with partner bloggers which provide brand advertisers the reach and share-of-voice they need to effectively engage the food community.

About Foodbuzz
Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz is a global online food community of over 2,000 food bloggers connected by the foodbuzz.com “hub” website. In the past month, this community reached 6.7 million people and 33 million impressions according to Quantcast. Foodbuzz.com provides a full suite of social networking features enabling foodies to interact and share their food experiences. With over 900,000 high-quality food blog posts in its searchable database, foodbuzz.com is an essential resource for everyone interested in exploring the world of food. Foodbuzz is a 2009 Webby Awards Honoree!

Monday, April 20, 2009

You know I love a contest!

I love a contest as much as the next gal.. I love getting stuff for free.. But then again, I love to give goodies away too!

So, as I was Twittering along this morning up on my timeline I came across a tweet from JavaCupcake announcing a contest (Yay!) She’s giving away some homemade goodies from a few of her fellow bloggers (Yay again! I love homemade goodies! Which reminds me, I really have to blog about the last Lemming Central box)

here are the details of Java Cupcake’s contest:

This giveaway features homemade creations from FOUR talented women who have handcrafted their unique, original products just for this event! Nowhere else will you find a giveaway like this!!

Tell your friends!! Spread the news!!! The "Spring Java Cupcake Collaboration Giveaway" is here!

Here are the prizes for one lucky winner:

Click on the image for details :)

So join in the fun, Follow the ladies on twitter and while you're at it... follow me too :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spinach Stuffed Shells

I really hate it when I made a great tasting and great looking dinner, I go and get the camera all ready.. and BEEP.. the battery is dead.. Damn!

This is so amazingly delicious and good for you (well.. Kinda, Spinach is good, right ;) )



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper


1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & cooked
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
ground black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional) or romano cheese (optional)
1 dash nutmeg (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


For the sauce
Using a large saucepan, cook the onion in the oil over low heat until it is soft, but not browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic, crushed pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

For the shells
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil. Cook the shells in boiling water, being careful not to tear shells while stirring occasionally until tender (about 15 minutes).

Drain and transfer to cold water.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper, spinach and nutmeg. Spread half of tomato sauce on bottom of baking dish. After filling each shell with filling (use a teaspoon), gently set them in the baking dish, cut sides up. Spread remaining sauce over all and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and bake 40-50 minutes. Spoon 2 shells onto each plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 8.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Pastiera

This is my favorite Easter recipe and like lots of authentic regional desserts this one has a story. The legend of the Pastiera is that Queen Mariateresa d’Austria, wife of Ferdinando II of Borbonè, had a nickname "the queen who never smiled". One day her husband, who was outgoing and loved eating, convinced her to try a new recipe. As soon as she tried her first piece of pastiera she couldn’t resist smiling, and at this piont her husband shouted: "I’ll have to wait next Easter to see my wife smiling again!"

This recipe is a little different from the one I grew up with as it doesn't have a crust, I never liked the pastry around the creamy filling and always left the remnants on my plate.. this one leaves nothing to be spared :) Plus, it's not sickeningly sweet (and after all that candy, you want something refreshing ;) )


1 quart whole milk
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
unsalted butter, for pan
all-purpose flour, for pan
3 lbs fresh ricotta cheese, drained 3 hours, preferably over night, through cheesecloth
3 large eggs, plus
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Strawberry or Raspberry sauce

1 pint fresh strawberries or raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Bring milk to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat.
2. Stir in rice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla bean.
3. Reduce heat to medium low, cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until rice is very tender and has absorbed all liquid, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove pan from heat, stir in 3/4 cup granulated sugar, cover, let cool, stirring occasionally.
5. Discard vanilla bean.
6. Preheat oven to 350̊F degrees.
7. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan.
8. In a large bowl, fold together, the rice mixture, ricotta, whole eggs and egg yolks, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar, very carefully using a rubber spatula.
9. Pour into prepared pan.
10. Bake until golden, 65 to 70 minutes, cover with foil if starting to brown too much.
11. Transfer pan to cooling rack.
12. When cake has cooled completely, run a knife around edge to loosen.
13. Gently remove ring; transfer cake to a serving plate.
14. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, and serve at room temperature with sauce.

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan.
2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Save a ton with Direct Buy

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There are Direct Buy showrooms all over the USA!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dinner for 2, less than $5!

bag of Frozen Broccoli Florets: $1.50
Box of Angel Hair: $1
Garlic (sleeve of 10 heads) $1.00
salt, pepper & 2Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°f

Peel and smash 3 cloves of garlic

pour bag of frozen broccoli out onto a foil lined baking sheet

pull apart smashed garlic and sprinkle it around the top of the broccoli

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the broccoli and garlic are in the oven put on a pot of water to boil

Cook pasta according to box directions

drain pasta and toss it back into the pot with the oil

Stir to coat the pasta with the oil

add broccoli and garlic, stirring to combine

Cover and let sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors combine with the pasta.


Friday, April 3, 2009

$5, 6 ingredients and less than 15 minutes.. Dinner!

Tonight I wanted something quick for dinner with stuff that I had on hand.. so I opened up the cabinets and it hit me...

Quick fix hearty pasta

1 box rigatoni
2 Tbs Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, Minced
1 can pitted black olives, drained
1 can diced Italian style tomatoes

Cook pasta according to box directions, drain and add back to saucepan with oil
add Garlic, olives and tomatoes to pan and turn the heat on medium stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the basil.
Cover and let stand 3 minutes and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Splenda is good in your coffee, but not too good when you’re baking..

I learned a valuable lesson last night... Splenda is good in your coffee, but not too good when you’re baking..

I wanted lemon squares last night (Okay, really I wanted a big bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, but I’ve got another 8 days to go to give in to that craving) so I’m trying to be good here and I made my lemon squares with Splenda.. Well.. The cookie part came out just fine, but the lemon part came out very dry and odd tasting. I like splenda in my coffee, but it’s not the right thing to be baking with... Now, in all honesty I did use Regular splenda (even though in hindsight, I do have a bag of splenda for baking in the cabinet ) The cookie part is excellent, but the top lemon layer leaves much to be desired, I’m glad I only made a very small batch though.

I’ve listed the recipe below, this is slightly different from the Lemon Bar recipe that I previously posted, the cookie layer is seriously lemony as well as the lemon topping.. YUM!! Gonna try this again tonight with Real Sugar and do a side by side comparison for y’all :)

Lemony lemon bars

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbs Lemon juice


4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350°f.
  2. For crust, in a medium bowl stir together flour and brown sugar.
  3. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Press flour mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan.
  5. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile prepare topping. Beat eggs slightly.
  7. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Add to eggs. Beat well.
  8. Add lemon juice, peel, baking powder, and salt. Beat until smooth.
  9. Pour over baked crust. Return to oven and bake 25-30 minutes longer, or until just set.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while hot. Let cool and cut into bars.