Wednesday, October 29, 2008

look who's back!

well ... for now.
i'm not making any promises. but i finally got a picture of something i made recently so i decided that it calls for a celebration ... or a blog ;)

monday night we got together with our friends "the brewers" for dinner (hence the crazy messy kitchen) and pumpkin carving!

here is my dessert creation: spiderweb no-bake cheesecake from Martha Stewart!

here is the carving process ... and everyone in their various places throughout the house, yard, etc. Megan was drawing at the table, matt was cutting out his template in the craft closet, andy was missing and the rest of the brewer clan were hard at work on the back patio ...

this is what i was doing while everyone was hard at work on their pumpkins ...
once again my timing was off and i was way behind on dinner. here i am, hiding behind the flowers and processing up some chimichurri sauce. don't worry - i was able to make a pumpkin eventually ;)

here are the completed pumpkins ... from the left -

my sorry attempt at a Notre Dame pumpkin
andy and trisha's pumpkin - they were too lame to do individual pumpkins ... dorks
matt's alien pumpkin
tom's cute face pumpkin
debbie's cat pumpkin - i saw it lit up at her house last night. it looks so cute!
megan's scary big mouth pumpkin
chris's spider pumpkin - see how it's 2 pumpkins together? :) he brought black pipe cleaners for the legs! :)

to top the night off, andy and trisha decided to have a jalepeno eating contest.
we had glasses of milk and honey to help with the burn ;) and matt is holding a bag of jalapenos that we picked from our garden. this whole bag was from just a few branches! there are SO many more left on the plant!

we had a great time!
i'm glad i finally posted a blog - MONTHS later!!

hope to check in again soon!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gabi's Visit


my friend Gabi came to visit last weekend.
it's been WAY WAY WAY too long since we have been able to spend time together.
and i'm so glad last weekend worked out so we could hang out a little bit.

enjoy some pictures of my friend! i miss her already ... :-/

we went to salty senorita. it was a fun place with a great patio.
we left JUST in time for the Grapevine for some karaoke.

i say "just in time" b/c a party bus of "cougars" were dropped off just as we were paying our bill. whew! dodged that bullet.

i vaguely remember one of them asking Max for something -
a condom or his phone # ... i don't know.

either way - classy, cougars. classy.

we made a friend at the Grapevine.
his name is Shane. Shane was a fun guy.
i call him "smiley shane".

you can see why below ... he sang a mean "tim mcgraw" :)

good times.

Monday, March 31, 2008

easter, oreo balls and a sister

... ok, so when i took these pictures i was thinking i was being clever & funny.
(road trips can do that to the best of us)

and now it just seems silly ... but i'm going to do it anyway.
pioneer woman and tartelette (a couple of REAL food bloggers & food photographers) are rolling over in their kitchenaids right now ... i couldn't say "graves" for obvious reasons.

here's the back story:
over easter weekend we (me, husband & sister) drove to LA to visit our family ... so i packed up a little bag of treats for the road. i threw in some leftovers from st. patty's day including some grasshopper bars and what was left of the oreo truffle balls.

when my sister started snacking on the oreo balls, which she affectionately refers to as simply "balls" (i.e. " j, do you have any balls left?") i realized i promised the blog-world that i would photograph the leftover "balls" and post them on my blog.
being a particularly quick-thinking individual, i snapped the following photos ...

so please consider the following ridiculous photos a "kept promise"

i know, it's pathetic :)


hello blog-world! it's been a good long while since i've bothered to check in.
we have been working on our backyard for what seems like 134 years now and it's finally coming together in such a way that i look forward to going home, checking on our plants and maybe even eating dinner outside!

i love it!
and the weather is still fabulous for outdoor dining (in the morning & evening at least)

i'll have to post pictures later of the yard as a whole, but for now i'll just let you in on the latest additions.

this is my MEYER LEMON TREE!!!

i'm so excited about it. the genius that is my husband surprised me with this tree a couple of weeks ago and i'm so proud that he picked out EXACTLY what i would have picked myself!! of ALL the varieties of fruit trees in the world, he picked the one i wanted - and i don't ever recall discussing it with him! which is even MORE impressive! :)

this is a baby tree, but someday, it's going to have some beautiful meyer lemons ... and i'll make you all something delicious!

this is what a meyer lemon looks like ... sort of like an orange!! and that would be because it is thought to be a hybrid fruit - of a lemon and a tangerine!

and next up are the herbs. please bear with me, but when i planted all the herbs i decided to take a picture of each one individually so i can keep track of their growth :) i don't know why it matters to me, but i wanted to see how long it took for them to grow from their baby sizes (when i bought them at lowes/home depot) to the size where i could cut from them and still have some left to grow for the next meal ;)
so let's start with the classic simon & garfunkel album "parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme"

i also have a little oregano plant ... and i'm going to plant basil and cilantro as well.
that stuff grows like a weed, though ... so i'm not really in a huge hurry to get it planted.
i'm afraid it will take over! :)
here are the other plants ... the oregano and a gardenia bush!
i can't wait until the lovely smelling gardenias start to grow!

one more thing ... i bought this fun shepherd's hook and hung a hummingbird feeder and a potted geranium plant from it! i love looking out my kitchen window and seeing this colorful sight!

and for good measure, a shot of the herb garden, complete with a cute "herb" sign i bought at homegoods MONTHS ago. it's just been waiting patiently in my garage until i decided to grace the garden with some actual herbs. :)

ok, i think that's all for now.
sorry for the long hiatus before this super-blog about my garden.
and sorry if it's boring for you.
but i'm pretty pumped about it!! :)
over & out at 12:01pm!
have a super fabulous afternoon!
~ Garden-J

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

happy st. patty's day continued ...

as promised ... here are the photos of the fruits of my labor on sunday night!
they were all a hit with our friends!!
this is the irish soda bread.
the first one, on the left, was "plain" (no raisins)
the one on the right (and below) is "with raisins" (with raisins) :)
they were both a hit, but especially the "without" kind.
i like it quite a bit myself ;)
i should have brought some to work to have with my coffee, like danielle did! (smart girl)
its a bit like a pound cake, but lighter and less sweet (which makes it easier to eat more) ha!
Matt liked the one with raisins quite a bit ... must have been the rum soaked raisins that sold him ;)

and like a dummy, i forgot to take a picture of the oreo truffle balls, which were also a hit, by the way! but here is a picture of the food table and you can see that they're on the table ;)

(well you can sort of see them ... they're in the bottom left hand corner, the white balls ... they also have a little shamrock "sprinkle" on them. i think they're deserving of several shamrock sprinkles next time)
i'll take a picture of the leftover oreo truffle balls and post it later.
they won't be stacked on the cute cake stand but you'll get the idea.
and last but certainly not least was my personal favorite ... the grasshopper squares.
thanks to the lovely valerie for slicing & stacking them so nicely :)
these were SO good!!! very rich ... but yum yum yum!! i think i'll go home and have one for lunch. so healthy.

and here's a picture! (you can kind of see the oreo truffle balls in the background too)

If you're still reading, i appreciate it!! i'm having a good time with this blog thing.
and now it's confession time.
Matt, the great husband that he is surprised me with a BRAND NEW CAMERA YESTERDAY!!!! i thought he was going to think i was a flighty girl who can't hold onto anything when i told him i lost our camera ... but instead he surprised me and bought me a new one b/c he knew how frustrated i was that it was gone!! now i'm thinking of getting lojack for it!! i LOVE my new camera!! it takes fabulous pictures. i just have to learn to use it. which is why the pictures posted above are less-than-perfect ;)
happy-day-after-st.-patricks-day folks!!!
it's been fun sharing these treats with you ...
now i'm hungry.
~ j mcJ

Monday, March 17, 2008

st pat's!

this picture was from St. Patty's Day 2006 - i can't find the 2007 ones right now.
i know, i'm really organized. :)
happy st. patrick's day to all!!
i love st. patrick's day ...

sadly i was out of town this weekend and unable to have a "real party" (complete with staying up too late and sleeping in the next day just to wake up to a trashed house).

instead mr. matt & i have decided to have a couple of our friends over for take-out tonight!
and those who are brave enough can tint their beer with green food coloring.
i believe i'll be opting out of that club! ;)

i made a couple of desserts, which i promise to post pictures of.
i've begun to come to terms with my missing nice-camera. so as long as i can find the cord (or the memory card fits into my computer) of my OLD not-nice camera, i will post pictures of my desserts ... tomorrow ;)

here's a teaser of what's to come ...

2 kinds of irish soda bread (one with raisins, one without! which i will serve with irish butter!)
grasshopper squares (brownies covered in chocolate ganache, with a creamy-mint center)
oreo truffle balls (recipe compliments of bakerella! this chick has some creative juices flowing!)

that sounds like a lot of chocolate.
hopefully everyone is up for it ;)

photos to come!!

until then, a couple more from st. patty's 2006 (at seamus mccaffrey's)

the 1st picture is three awesome girls ... not sure what we were up to ...
the 2nd picture is of a random guy who came into seamus wearing matt's shirt!
the picture was my idea. they kind of look like a gay couple :)

over & out!

~ molly mcbutter

Thursday, March 13, 2008


i know ... such a dramatic subject line ...

but that's the way i sum up my feelings about this.

i lost my camera!!!!

i'm not kidding.

it's very sad & very depressing (hence the title) ...

and i don't know what to do about it.

i haven't told matt. i know he's going to just roll his eyes and think "again??"

yes, i tend to lose things.

it's true.

but my beautiful camera is gone!!

i am 99.9% sure i left it at the native new yorker.

so who KNOWS who could have picked it up and claimed it as their own.

it makes my stomach turn thinking about that!

someone most likely just went up to our table (patron, waiter, busboy, whoever!) and just TOOK it and kept it! complete with my personal photos on it!

can you tell i'm upset about this??

i really am, if you can't tell.

well, that's all.

i haven't had the heart to post anything this week b/c i can't post any pictures!!


so, in keeping with a previous promise, i'll post a photo of the fabulous glen hansard & marketa irglova :)

hey, it's amost st. patrick's day!
and glen is irish!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

sticky chewy messy gooey

that's the name of the cookbook we worked from last night!
my friend, erin invited a couple of us over (megan & trisha) to bake cupcakes last night ...

wow, is that a weird book.
the recipes are fantastic looking ... but the methods they use are really odd!!
maybe i'm the oddball, but take this method for example.
we made butterscotch caramel buttercream frosting. (yum)
the recipe said we should fill a large saute pan with water, simmer and put the mixing bowl (with sugar & eggs) INTO the water and whisk for 3-4 minutes until the mixture was thick & fluffy.
i'm thinking it's their warped sense of a double boiler ... but i've never done it this way in my life!

well, 10 minutes later it was NOT fluffy (the way I know fluffy to be) ... oh well.
they turned out OK. i'm just glad i didn't pipe the frosting. it was definitely too runny.
and NOT the consistency of real buttercream.

but that brings me to another odd idea ... the buttercream called for SIX (yes you read that right) SIX sticks of butter!!! cold butter. well my first thought was "if it's cold, how are we going to mix it into the frosting without it being chunky?".
well, here's the method they described.
unwrap all six sticks of butter and REWRAP them loosely in plastic wrap. then take out your agressions (my words not theirs) on the butter with a ROLLING PIN until malleable, but still cold.
what!?!?? once again, i've NEVER heard of this method. seems i'm getting set in my ways in my OLD age. well, even after all these strange methods were put into practice, the frosting was not quite right. oh well. at least the taste was good! :)

so either i did something wrong (which is VERY possible) or the recipe was too difficult to understand, or it was wrong (i like to think its the latter) ;)
but that's my nature ...

and did i mention they were MAYONNAISE chocoloate cupcakes!!
i've heard of this idea, but i've never been brave enough to try them.
my sister-in-law's friend Gail would gag at that concept.
but they really were such yummy moist chocolate cupcakes!
the frosting was the only issue (see above).

of course i FORGOT to take a picture.
dummy me ... but there are some left. so there's still time!! :)
i'll take some pictures later.

thanks for reading! i didn't realize this was going to turn into a rant.
i guess you can expect that if i attempt a recipe and it doesn't turn out the way i want it to :)

its that time again ...
time to say goodbye!!
over & out

~ Mayo-J

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ok ... i promise!!!

last blog of the evening.

do you ever think about the world of blogging?
i mean REALLY think about it ...
it's a strange world! i'm intrigued by it.
i mean, i have LOTS of blogs i read on a regular basis ... but i'm such a stalker.
i don't know if that's the right word b/c i'm not really "in the know" with the lingo of blog-world.
but i NEVER leave comments. so no one really knows i'm reading.
i enjoy the blogs i read, that's why they're bookmarked and that's why i continue to return & read!
but, i also feel a little bit dumb commenting on strangers' blogs!
i mean ... who am i??

anyway ... i'm positive this isn't a new thought.
but it's a new thought to me! so i'm "voicing" it on my very own space.

a few thoughts running through my head before i sign off:

* of all the cooking endeavors i've experienced, i've NEVER made beans from their dried state.
i must be too lazy to do the whole "soak overnight" part ...

* i love barefoot contessa. its hard to imagine she's a real person. she's like a nice martha stewart. who has the time and creativity to accomplish all these things and still be the happiest person on earth? i just love her.

* where the heck do these people buy this fantastic "lump crab meat" and "cooked/shelled lobster"?? apparently every good cook/chef has to live on the ocean. crazy.

* i'm going to include a photo (applicable or random) in all my blogs. i don't care if it has nothing to do with what i'm talking about (b/c let's face it, my thoughts aren't all that focused to begin with), but i want to mix it up a little with photos here & there. i love it when people include photos in their blogs, emails, etc. i guess i'm a visual being. :)
here's a random photo of my friend and me. i know i didn't even mention my friend in this blog, or any of my friends for that matter but i didn't have a photo of lump crabmeat handy.
* do i want all-clad cookware or le creuset cookware? if i had barefoot contessa's house, i'd get both! b/c i'd have the cash-flow AND the space to store it all!

* i really want a new dining set. i'm totally over our dining set. it's been really great for us thus far.
but i'm looking to change colors. so if i trip over a bag of money on my way to work tomorrow i'm going to go get this one! yesiree! that's a beautiful table with a bench! but i'd want 2 benches b/c i like to use all sides of my table. it just makes sense.

ok, that's all.
cheers, bloggers and blog-stalkers (takes one to know one)

~ j-dawg

note to self ...

... don't write a blog about trying to succeed in the kitchen while watching professionals on the food network. it certainly makes you feel a little silly ;)

just for giggles ... here's some cannoli i made last year for my sister's friend's bridal shower.
it was an italian food theme. good times.

farewell for real now ... tata!!

din din!

hi folks!
it seems everyone and their mom has a blog these days.
so i guess its my turn to try my hand at this ... i have NO idea how to do this.
and i don't even know if i have anything interesting to say, but we'll see.

we had a little dinner party tonight. we were celebrating debbie's birthday! FINALLY!
i should have taken pictures.
then i could have something to post other than black & white words :)
but, i'll just TELL you what i made!!

it was a night of giada delaurentiis recipes!
we had lemon spaghetti with chicken parmesan (not breaded!)
i'm not a fan of breaded chicken parmesan, so i don't do it!
it's amazing how simple things like that are ... you don' like it? just don't do it! ;)
i also made rosemary focaccia bread. it didn't turn out as well as the last one did.
last week i made a focaccia bread with my own dough (active dry yeast and everything!) and it was MUCH better. but i have to admit that buying the premade pizza dough from sunflower market was way easier ;) we just had to sacrifice a little quality for the ease of it all.

after dinner was dessert. i made an orange angel food cake with berries & orange scented whipped cream. good stuff. there is not much that beats homemade desserts. i just love them. there's such comfort in homemade dessert! that may explain why i made a banana cream cheesecake yesterday, an orange angel food cake today and i'm planning on making devils food cupcakes tomorrow! wow, it sounds like an addiction, doesn't it?

ok ... i went into the kitchen and took SAD pictures of the leftovers.
hey! it's better than nothing!
here's what's left of the angel food cake (you can't really see the specks of orange zest in the cake in these pictures, but it's there! i swear!)

it worked! isn't that sad? crumbs and all that ... oh well.
i promise the next pictures will be better.
i took pictures of the chicken parmesan too but, if you think this cake pic is bad - you haven't seen anything yet! so i'm not posting it :) it's pretty bad.

but it tasted pretty darn good.

i'll take pictures of my cupcakes tomorrow too.
i know you're looking forward to that.

well, i suppose that's enough nonsense from me.
thanks for reading, oh readers!
i'm sure i'll get used to this and be at least a LITTLE more interesting in the future.
maybe ;)

have a pleasant evening.
stay classy, fair bloggers!

~ J-Fly