Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta

Wanda sent me the link to this dish, and this is the first chance I've had to try it out.
Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta

  • 14 oz of Orecchiette Pasta (or short pasta)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 4 oz of Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
  • ¾ Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice + Zest
  • 10 Oz of Spinach (Make sure to squeeze excess moisture, after it has been thawed of course)
  • 13.5 oz Can of Artichoke Hearts rinsed and chopped
  • 1 Cup of Mozzarella
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pepper

  1. Preheat Oven To 425°F.
  2. Cook pasta according to the box. Keep ¼ Cup of the Pasta Water before you drain the cooked pasta.
  3. Heat oil in pan and cook onions for 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. In a large bowl – Mix Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Lemon (juice and zest), onions, and garlic. Add Pasta and mix.
  5. Stir in spinach, artichokes, ¼ cup of cooking liquid from the pasta, salt, pepper, and ½ Cup of Mozzarella.
  6. Place mixture into greased 2.5 – 3 qt casserole dish and place the rest of mozzarella cheese on top.
  7. Place in the oven till golden brown on top – about 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!
I did make some slight changes - I used a full box of shell pasta, about a quarter of the onion because of Tom, and no lemon zest because I forgot it - but I liked it. Tom's comment after one forkful, it might be good if there weren't any onions in it. What a butthead! I will gladly finish the rest of this dish.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Granny's Baby Throw

One of my co-workers at the Tidewater is pregnant, and she told me that her nursery is going to be done in a marine theme (you know, underwater, fish, that sort of thing). I instantly thought of crocheting a fish mobile that I’d seen a pattern for on the Lion Brand website, and thought maybe I could finish it in time for her baby shower in June. While looking for the pattern, I saw some others for baby blankets and thought of make a coordinating blanket – something easy that I could definitely finish, just in case the mobile didn’t turn out well. Well, after buying the yarn on Friday, I’ve finished the blanket!

I’m very happy with it, and I only made two mistakes. Luckily, they lined up with each other, so no one will notice but me! Hopefully, the mobile will work out well, too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yea Band

A co-worker just sent me a link to this - I think it's great!

epic win photos - Marching Band WIN
see more WIN - Epic Win Photos and Videos

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie

After much anticipation, I finally saw it!

I honestly thought it was pretty decent. I was expecting a similar translation from the Twilight book to the Twilight movie, but The Hunger Games followed the book much better, and the way things were introduced so that viewers who hadn't read the books would understand what was going on was done well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

Tom and I went to Washington, D.C. today to see the cherry blossoms. I decided a couple of months ago that I'd try to do it this year. After learning when the peak bloom was supposed to be and obsessing about what day to go, then learning that the peak bloom was probably going to happen a week early because of the unseasonably warm winter we've had, I was concerned about how the day would turn out. It turned out well. The weather was nice, even though it was cloudy for most of the day, and I got a lot of decent photographs. I got pictures of various monuments surrounded by cherry blossoms,

pictures of the cherry blossoms themselves,

and other pictures of what we saw.

The one of the reflection of the Washington Monument and wreaths at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial is my favorite (I got the idea from Donnie).
After we finished walking around, we met Donnie for dinner. We went to the Columbia Firehouse. It was nice. We started off with the cheese sampler, then I had Seared Diver Scallops, Donnie had the Cider Brined Pork Chop, and Tom had the Dry Aged New York Strip. I tried a little of everyone's food, and it was all good. It turned out to be a really pleasant day and it makes me wonder why I don't make the effort to get out and do things more often.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beer and Cheese Potato Chowder

While looking at a newsletter I received, I came across this awesome sounding recipe for Slow Cooker Beer and Cheese Potato Chowder.
Slow Cooker Beer and Cheese Potato Chowder

  • 2 lb. (6 medium) russet potatoes, peeled, chopped (6 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth
  • 1 (12-oz.) can beer
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Cheddar and American cheese blend
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Rye bread, cut into cubes and toasted, if desired

  1. In 3 to 4-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pepper; stir gently to mix. Pour broth and beer over vegetables.
  2. Cover; cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. About 10 minutes before serving, coarsely mash vegetables with potato masher or fork. Add cheese and whipping cream; stir until cheese is melted. Cover; cook an additional 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with croutons.
Tom actually cooked this recipe. At first taste, I thought that the beer flavor was a little heavy, but after a few bites it wasn't too bad. It definitely needed salt. The croutons were a great little addition, too. Tom was happy with the soup, which I'm pleased with, too. He thought the croutons were great by themselves, like a little snack.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Corned Beef and Cabbage Quiche

Today at Huber, we had a St. Patrick's Day breakfast. I had hoped we'd do a lunch, so I could get some corned beef, but I found a way to get it anyway!
Corned Beef and Cabbage Quiche Ingredients:
  • 1 (9") pie crust, unbaked
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 cups diced cooked corned beef
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup light cream
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large skillet, melt butter. Add onion, cabbage, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Then add water, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and cook until liquid evaporates and cabbage begins to brown, about 8-10 minutes longer. You need to get liquid out of the cabbage or it will come out when the quiche bakes, making it watery. Stir in the corned beef.
  2. Remove pan from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
  3. In medium bowl, combine eggs, light cream, flour, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended.
  4. Spread half of cabbage mixture in pie crust. Top with half of the Swiss cheese; repeat layers. Then slowly pour the egg mixture over ingredients in pie crust.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until quiche is puffed and golden brown in spots. Let cool 5 minutes, then slice to serve.
I did everything last night, except pour the egg mixture into the pie shell and bake it, which I left for this morning. It turned out pretty decent, and a couple of my co-workers said they really liked it. If I ever try it again, I'll try to shred the corned beef, so that it gets incorporated more evenly throughout the dish.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I've finally done it! My pages for the Christmas ABC Book Swap are complete! I am so late with them, and silly me, I even took on another letter a while back - before my first set of pages was complete. I will never overcommit again. Riiigghhttt.
My first letter was W. I was inspired by a wreath with felt holly leaves that I had made, and thought that I would attempt to replicate that general idea. Here's what I came up with:

On the front, there's a wreath in a window with a winter scene in it. The background is wrapping paper. On the back, I printed out various Christmas carols with W's in them - We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Joy to the World, and We Three Kings to name a few. I then stamped the three wise men on it.
My second set of pages were for the letter F.

For the front, I made figgy puddings out of felt, and adhered them to what I'm calling fancy felt (it's got a pretty design in it). The back is fabric with recipes for fruit cake ironed on to it. I sewed the two together, and voila! A little plain compared to the W pages, but I'm still pleased with how they turned out. I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with for their pages.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2012

Today was Baltimore's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The band performed, and like last year, we played Whiskey in the Jar in addition to the Baltimore Fight Song. While waiting the two and a half hours for the parade to start (after we were dropped off at the beginning of the parade route), I took some pictures of the area we were hanging out in. These were the ones I was the happiest with.

On the way back to the stadium after the parade, I finally got a picture of this cool bridge that I've admired for years.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Breakfast Mishap

This morning, I was in pursuit of the ever elusive "perfect" fried egg for Tom. I tried soooo hard to ensure that the yolk was runny enough, that the following happened after he constructed his bacon and egg sandwich.

I can't believe that the yolk slipped right out of the sandwich! It was just too funny!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Challah Bread Pudding

I tried out this recipe today, and it turned out well, Challah French Toast Bread Pudding.
Challah French Toast Bread Pudding

  • most of 1 loaf of challah or brioche, most of the crust removed, cut into large cubes (about 1.5″)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk (or buttermilk is good too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, or seeds scraped from one fresh vanilla bean
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or honey, or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

  1. Butter a large casserole and fill with the bread.
  2. Whisk the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and sugar into the eggs.
  3. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and toss.
  4. Refrigerate overnight. This might not be all that necessary, but I haven’t tried skipping it. It would probably be fine.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Give the bread mixture one more toss with a light touch, trying to “fluff” it up a bit. Bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in several spots comes out dry (an internal temperature of about 190°F. is good). This will probably take about 45 minutes.
  6. Optionally sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Maple syrup is good too.
I got the ingredients together last night and refrigerated them, then this morning, I combined the bread and custard for it's "overnight" soak. It was ready for me to bake when I got home from work this evening. I think I baked it for too long (I just put it in the oven for 45 minutes and didn't check on it), since it was a little dry. If I make it again, I think I might add more vanilla or cinnamon, or at least eat it with syrup, to make it taste more french toasty.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lyn Comer Benefit

Tonight, the Tidewater hosted a benefit for Lyn Comer, a local businesswoman with breast cancer. 1$ from all drinks purchased in the bar were donated, and there was a raffle and silent auction in the banquet room. There were also sales of fleece hats and scarves with Ravens logos on them, with half of the proceeds being donated to Lyn as well. I bought two, one for me and one for a co-worker's daughter.

I even won two items in the raffle, a fleece blanket and a gift certificate and Army flag from Blue Earth Leather here in Havre de Grace.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken and Rice

I was looking for a new recipe to try and found this one off of the Campbell's website for a One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake.
One Dish Chicken & Rice Bake
  • 1 can (10 ¾ ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  1. Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the chicken. Season with additional paprika and black pepper. Cover the baking dish.
  2. Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
I thought this recipe had a little bit too much pepper and needed more rice and soup. Tom was very kind and said that he liked it and that he would be willing to make it himself, if I left him the recipe.