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  1. Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    The Best Pastry Blender in the World

    I love my pastry blender. I use it all the time. For guacamole. For smashing berries when making jam (more on the jam later this week!).  For “slushing” my cranberry slush.  For making baked goods, which is what it was originally intended for! Once in a while when I’m cooking and using one of my favorite kitchen tools, I know I just have to share it with you.  So, allow me to introduce you to my pastry blender!

    Isn’t she beautiful?  Now let me be clear, not all pastry blenders inspire such love on my part. In fact, the pastry blender I had before was almost totally useless. But this one? It kicks some serious blending butt. The blades don’t move. They are shaped so they actually cut through things. It’s super sturdy, and the handle is nice and comfy. I purchased mine at Crate & Barrel years ago, but there are similar models elsewhere. The key is looking for non-moving blades with that flat shape. 

    Who knew a pastry blender could inspire such love, such PASSION?

  2. Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Week 125 Menu

    Aren’t these beautiful strawberry tops?  They caught my eye yesterday and I had to snap a photo.  Yes, I know I did not carefully cut the tops off, therefore wasting fruit.  No lectures please.  I was in a strawberry jam emergency at the time of the chopping, which emergency I will share the details of with you later this week!

    – Hamburgers on the grill
    – Corn on the cob
    – Sweet Potato Fries (Trader Joe’s freezer)

    – Chicken & Broccoli Penne

    – Either Indian food or breakfast for dinner…depending on what we end up eating tonight, Sunday, as I’m planning this menu

    – Leftovers

    Kitchen-Sink Quesadillas

    – Eat out

    – Chicken paninis

    Please share your menus!  We can’t wait to see your ideas…big and small!

  3. Friday, June 12, 2009

    Cinnamon Exposed!

    Okay, so an exposé on This Week for Dinner is definitely not as exciting as one on Entertainment Tonight…but it’s an exposé nonetheless!  Did you know the cinnamon in your cupboard is not really cinnamon?  Shocking, I know!  The stuff pictured below is “true” cinnamon, called canela or ceylon.  What most of us have lying around (ground or in sticks) is called cassia. (There’s a nice side-by-side photo on Wikipedia.)

    Years ago, Alton Brown from Good Eats went on and on about how cassia cinnamon stinks and that ceylon, the “true” cinnamon, is the only way to go, blah blah blah. I thought it was interesting and then forgot the different names for everything.  Until Lindsay (my super gourmet friend) pulled out her ceylon cinnamon to grind one day.  Then it all came rushing back to me.

    You may be asking yourself, what IS the difference and does it matter?  If you really want to know, click “more” and keep reading!

    (>> Find out more…)

  4. Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Ain’t Too Proud To Beg…

    Remember my party? And remember the BlogLuxe awards? PLEASE GO VOTE! Don’t forget, you can vote once a day! Yeah, I know I’m begging, but I figured I should beg just a LITTLE.  Voting is easy, free and you don’t have to register to be a member of anything.  I have that handy dandy button there on the right to make it easy for you every time you visit my blog. 😉

    Thanks everyone!  Have a happy day!  (Quick note – make sure you VOTE, not nominate. Just click on “Tastiest,” scroll through to find This Week for Dinner, then click VOTE!)

  5. Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Unexpected Hawaiian Pizza Topping of the Day: Cinnamon

    Our favorite pizza place in San Diego had some delicious pizza flavors. In addition to their sumptuous Thai Chicken and Barbecue Chicken pizzas (you really should click those links there), they make a mean Hawaiian.  Last night as I was sprinkling cinnamon over our homemade Hawaiian pizza, I realized I’ve never written a post about Leucadia Pizzeria’s not-so-secret-secret ingredient.

    That’s right, that brown stuff sprinkled over the cheese?  Cinnamon.  Trust me, it is delicious.  Sprinkle a bit  over your next Hawaiian pizza and you will be thanking me.

    Quick note: I’m going nuts. The battery on my good camera died and my charger has gone AWOL. I’m stuck with my point-and-shoot.  I’m doing my best to make the pictures look good, which is HARD.  For example, yesterday’s photo of bagged chicken left much to be desired.  Granted, it’s a picture of raw chicken, so how good could it be? Oh, with my Canon Rebel and the 50 mm lens, I can make anything look beautiful.  BOTTOM LINE: I’m desperately searching for my battery charger.  Everyone cross your fingers it magically reappears. Until then, if anyone has a Canon Rebel XT battery charger lying around that you want to give away for a good cause (that cause would be pretty pictures of food for you to look at), I’ll pay shipping and give you my secret hot fudge recipe. 😉

  6. Monday, June 8, 2009

    Your Grocery Store’s Best Kept Secret: Cheap Chicken Breasts

    The other day I was chatting with a few friends.  Friend #1 mentioned that she has been buying whole chickens and cutting them up since that’s so much cheaper than buying boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  She also mentioned that their kitchen feels like a butcher shop.

    I said, “I just wait until the boneless/skinless chicken breasts are on sale at the grocery store.  It’s usually $1.99/lb.”  Both friends looked at me like I had three heads.

    I figured if they didn’t know that boneless/skinless chicken breasts go on super sale at the regular old grocery store, than a few of you might not know either!

    In case you are not aware, your local grocery store will carry family packs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts for $1.99/lb…sometimes less!  They will go on sale randomly, so I always swing by the meat section when I’m at the store. When they ARE on sale, I grab a few packages, individually bag them up in the food storage bags, tie some knots, and toss them in the freezer.  I literally had 10 pounds of chicken breasts on my counter this morning.

    Costco’s chicken comes individually packaged…but it’s more expensive.  I think it’s worth the 5 minutes of time to bag it myself.  And, I’ve been able to find chicken on sale like this everywhere I’ve lived. 🙂

  7. Sunday, June 7, 2009

    Week 124 Menu…and Rhodes Yumminess

    Back in the day I wrote about how much I love Rhodes rolls. Seriously awesome stuff.  They recently sent me a a box full of Rhodes goodies to say thank you for writing nice things about them.  I wasn’t planning on mentioning them again…but every single product we tried was delicious.  So, thank you Rhodes!  You’re the best!  If your grocery store carries Rhodes, you should definitely be eating it for me…I don’t have it here in the Bay Area and it makes me sad.

    Hawaiian Pizza

    Chicken Parmesan
    – Side of pasta and marinara
    – Salad

    Orange Chicken
    – Rice and Veggie

    – Leftovers

    – Hamburgers/Hot Dogs on the grill

    – Eat out

    – Indian food…details tbd

    BRING ON THE MENUS!!!!!!!!! Please share what you’re eating this week…or maybe you can just list out what you ate last week!  I love getting all your ideas, fancy and simple.  Keep it coming and thank you!

  8. Friday, June 5, 2009

    A Table for One, Please!

    Nate and Cate are going on a daddy-daughter camp out tonight, which leaves Anna and I to fend for ourselves.  Which I’m actually a little excited about.  I’m just going to feed Anna some leftover spaghetti.  As for me, the possibilities are endless!

    Do I order takeout? Do I cook a favorite dish, just for me? Or how about a bowl of cereal?  Ah, the freedom of only having to worry about myself!  I think I’ll even wait until Anna is in bed to eat, a nice peaceful dinner with my book.

    Here’s to a lonely night at the dinner table…yippee!!

    P.S…Nate and Cate, it’s nothing personal.  I promise.

  9. Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Cheese Paper

    I was at a party a few months ago where, at the end of the evening, the hostess began wrapping her leftover cheeses in cheese paper.  I didn’t know anything about cheese paper, but I did know it looked cute, so I took a picture.  The hostess said she got the cheese paper from her local cheese shop and that it helped keep the cheese fresher.  (I wonder how many times I can use the word “cheese” in this post…we’re up to 7 already!)

    I’ve done a tad bit of research.  This short little NY Times article indicates that cheese paper does indeed help the cheese breathe better and, therefore, last longer. Click over to this website for a very scientific-looking diagram explaining how the paper works, as well as a video explaining how to wrap cheese in the paper.

    Hey, if wrapping cheese in paper is good enough for the French, then it’s good enough for me!  I just need to track some of this fancy, dancy paper down.

  10. Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Your Best Hamburger Toppings!

    Reader Shantel has requested ideas for hamburger toppings…she said she’s a big fan of grilled pineapple, but hasn’t ventured much beyond that. I must admit, I am not very creative when it comes to topping my burger…cheese, lettuce, tomato, sometimes grilled mushrooms, and the classic condiments. Yeah, boring. Tasty, but boring.

    So bring it on, folks! What are your yummiest hamburger concoctions? Please share all of your ideas – classic and crazy!

    Since I don’t have much to offer in the way of toppings, I’ll share how I mix up the meat. Feel free to offer your recipes for the hamburger meat as well!

    Hamburger Meat (great title, eh?)
    – Sometimes 1 egg
    – Bread crumbs – about a handful
    – Couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce
    – Salt
    – Fresh ground pepper
    – Dried minced onion – a few shakes (I know, it’s not fresh…but it’s fast and tasty)
    – Garlic powder – a few shakes (again, I know not fresh again…call the authorities)
    – ~1/8 – 1/4 tsp cumin

    Mix it up with your hands, make into patties (I prefer thinner patties, they always thicken up when they cook) and grill away!