Monday, March 22, 2010


Spring is finally here! In the middle of winter I was lamenting that I was sick of citrus and was craving fresh berries. The only blueberries that were available were from South America. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but I knew the berries from the Farmer's Market would be better. And don't get me started on the horrible strawberry prices! Who wants to pay $5 for a pack of unripe berries? Not me!

Saturday I went to our Farmer's Market and the strawberries smelled so good! I know their season really doesn't start until April but they were so tasty now and I couldn't resist!

The little old lady with the best prices on produce at the market had 6 ounces of blueberries for $3.50. I could of course get them at the grocery store for less but they might not taste as yummy and I would not be supporting my community.

Here are some photos of my beautiful spring produce:

Just look at how lovely they are!

The strawberries are finally ripe!

I love the market stand carrots! They are so sweet.

OK, so maybe theses aren't very spring-like, but they are the best shitake mushrooms that I have ever had!

In other, related news: You know how everyone keeps saying, "Buy meat from your farmer's market. It will taste better." I have always been annoyed at this statement because my market never had any meat beyond sausages (very expensive, DELICIOUS sausage.) This past Wednesday I went to the market and lo and behold, there was a gentleman selling all sorts of cuts of beef! I thought, "Finally, I can join the masses in buying local meats!" I purchased a breakfast steak as the prices were a bit out of my price range. When we eat it I will do a review of the taste and such.

I guess that about wraps up today's post. Hopefully more yummy foods will start appearing at the market and I can get some healthy, delicious cooking in!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Ode to Biscuits From a Tube

Our Albertson's has store-brand biscuits for $0.50. As someone on a serious budget that is a price I could not ignore. Last night I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I had to cook out of the freezer because we have so much food in there it is a waste not to. I thought of the biscuits and remembered that we enjoyed the crescent rolls filled with meat and cheese. I thought, "Perhaps I could make some sort of cup out of biscuit dough and fill it with meat and cheese." Thus the recipe was born.

I started cooking the meat and saw the rosemary I had sitting next to stove in water. Light bulb! I snipped a few springs of the rosemary and added it to the pan while the meat cooked. While cooking I recalled the bag of bell pepper slices that might still be in the freezer. We are big pepper fans so I thought it would be a good way to get some veggies into dinner. Luckily there was about a quarter of the bag left which ended up being just enough. Fresh pepper would work just fine as I defrosted them before use. Here is the recipe:

Rosemary Ground Beef and Bell Pepper Biscuit Cups
1lb ground beef (I used just under that much)
Two or three 2inch sprigs of rosemary (basically, to taste)
About 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers, frozen or fresh, any color
Two 10-count tubes of biscuits*
4oz shredded cheddar cheese (maybe 1 1/2 cups?)
BBQ or ketchup for dipping

Heat the oven to 400°. Cook the rosemary and ground beef in a pan until the meat is no longer pink.
Drain the beef and discard the rosemary. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Spray two six-count muffin tins with pan spray.
Open biscuits per directions on packaging. Take each biscuit, one by one, and flatten/stretch to about 2 or 3 inches (do not let them tear!)
Place flattened biscuits into muffin tins, pressing sides of dough up and against sides of the pan.
Place a few pieces (4 or 5 depending on size) of pepper in the bottom of each cup.
Spoon two (regular sized) spoonfulls of ground beef on top.
Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, sprinkle them with the cheese and return to the oven for 6 minutes**.
Remove and enjoy!!
Makes 12
*I used Albertson's brand biscuits, this recipe is NOT sized for Pillsbury grands, the store brand are much smaller!
**This is to ensure the biscuits are done, if you use a brand with a different baking time, adjust!

These are super delicious and relatively healthy. If all goes well they should come out looking something like this:


You may notice that the recipe called for two 10-count tubes of dough and I only make 12 dinner cups. This is because as I was making them I was also thinking of dessert!

I recently bought some Lemon Curd from Trader Joe's. It is so lemony good I have been looking for excuses to eat it (besides out of the jar!) A while back chocolate chips were on sale and lemon and chocolate are yummy so I improvised a  dessert to go with the improvised dinner.

Chocolate Chip Lemon Dessert Cups
A handful of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 teaspoons lemon curd*
8 store brand biscuits
Powdered sugar for dusting**

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a six-count muffin tin with pan spray.
As before stretch/flatten the biscuit dough into 2-3 inch disks and drop into muffin tin.
You will have 2 biscuits left over. Place them on a tray as per package instructions and push some mini chips on them.
Spoon a teaspoon of lemon curd into 4 of the cups. Sprinkle two of the lemon cups with mini chips.
Add some mini chips to the two remaining cups.
Bake 10-12 minutes rotating halfway.
Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 8
*My husband does not like lemon as much as I do so I only made 4 with the lemon curd. Use about 1 teaspoon per cup.
**I wish I had thought of this when I made them. The chocolate chip only ones would have really benefited from this.

Below is a close-up of the lemon and chocolate cup. They were so delicious!

If you do not like lemon these could of course be made with any type of jam (I do not recommend jelly, too fluid) or even a custard. I am considering making another batch of these soon and trying them with melted butter and sugar brushed on before baking. Will it burn? No idea.

I hope you enjoy!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Bits of My Childhood: Part 2

So the other day I posted about things that had a great impact on my childhood. I tried to get part two up yesterday but my computer was being weird and dumb so I didn't get a chance. Today the computer seems to be in better health and so here we have it; part 2:

The Polar Bear King (or Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon)
This is another instance of me having no idea where and how my mother came in to possession with a film. I suppose it is possible that she just saw it in the store and thought we kids would like it. Well, if that was the case the she was absolutely right! I watched this so many times as a child, I loved it. Growing up I was always confused as to why the actors mouths never quite matched what they were saying. Recently I have discovered that the Polar Bear King is a Norwegian folktale and this movie was in Norwegian and dubbed over in English. This is another piece of my past that is now available on DVD and eventually I am going to have to buy it. What I really want is to find a non-dubbed version and see if there are any differences is dialogue. If anyone finds this PLEASE let me know!

Just in Time for Chanukah
Another peek into my religious studies as a child :) This was a great tape (cassette) that we always played at Chanukah. It helped my brothers and me learn the Chanukah blessings and other fun facts about the holiday. There are two song in particular that stand out in my mind and the minds of my siblings: The first is, "Matathias Bold", a short little song sung in round. I can still hear the song in my head and we used to sing it ALL the time, even if it wasn't Chanukah. The second song is the ballad of Judah Maccabee. I don't remember anything about this song other than it's chorus because my brother and I used to sing at each other, swinging our head towards one another like madmen.The first song on the list is also one of my favorites, "O Chanukah".

Old Disney Channel
There is a Facebook page out there that is, "If Walt Disney watched the Disney Channel right now, he would cry." I think this would, in fact, be true. The Disney Channel used to be awesome. They showed all of the old shorts on tv (now you have to buy them in expensive tins,) they showed good movies each week (remember when Michael Eisner introduced the movies with Mickey and Minnie?) and they had no commercials. Granted, now the commercials are usually for Disney related things, but still! Some of my favorite short are the ones shown above, "Rugged Bear" (the one where all the other bears get a cave and they won't let Humphrey in so he goes to Donald's cabin) and "Grin and Bear it" (Humphrey teams up with Donald because be wants his ham.) At some point my parents recorded these and several other "Humphrey" shorts on a tape and I watched them all the time (I apparently did all of these things 'all the time'. :) ) Also on the tape may have been "Tea for Two Hundred". I used this as an example of racism in Disney cartoon when I asked them why they wouldn't release "Song of the South" but they would release obviously racist cartoons. I have yet to get a response. Don't think I will. Anyway, I have been happy to find that I have two Humphrey cartoons as well as Tea for Two Hundred on two of my Disney Treasures Tins.

Well folks that concludes my childhood in a nutshell. I have some ideas for more posts but I have a lot of homework right now so we will see when they actually get posted. I hope you all have enjoyed reading.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bits of My Childhood: Part 1

Recently I have been thinking about how certain things in my childhood left such an imprint on me that I still think of them to this day. Last night I decided this would make an interesting blog post; reliving my childhood through books, music and TV/movies.

...If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
I have no idea where or when my family acquired this book but as a child I read it so many times. For some reason the story captivated me and I learned so much from it. Now, whenever I think of the pilgrims or something associated with them, I think of this book. A couple of months ago I was reading a book about Christmas and the author was talking about how the Puritans did not celebrate. As I read those words I remembered the book and how Christmas day came and the settlers saw it as just another work day but the ship's crew, who were not Puritans, did celebrate. It amazes me how much that book impacted my life. Apparently the woman who wrote the book has done a whole series of these kinds of books. I would recommend them to any young child who wants to learn.

Sesame Street Episode 2485: Maria and Luis get Married
I have seen this episode of Sesame Street more than any other. My mom recorded it off TV and we watched it all the time. I have most of the songs from this episode memorized and still enjoy watching it today. About a year ago I was pleased to discover the full episode on and burned it to DVD for my mom. So much does my family love this episode that when Brandon and I got married, when his Best man went for the wedding ring, we played the sound clip, "Don't drop the rings Elmo, please Elmo don't drop the rings!" which was always my favorite part. I had no idea they had incorporated that into the ceremony and I was delighted! Please go here to watch the episode as it is not available on youtube. Right before we got married I watched this video several times and now Brandon quotes it all the time! Especially the beginning where Maria is on the roof talking with Linda in Sign Language.

Bubbe's Boarding House: Passover at Bubbe's
This is a really cute, muppet-like, mostly educational film about Passover. Before doing this post I did not know that there was a Chanuka one as well. I am really not sure how we came to posses this movie but my brothers and I had a great time watching it as kids. We learned the four questions in Hebrew and had a lot of fun singing the title song! Even to this day I still break into songs from this movie and my brothers get a big kick out of it. When my cousin was born we gave the video to her and now I am sad about that because I want to watch it again. Fortunately for me I can by the DVD from Amazon. I may have to buy this soon, not only to relive my childhood, but to see the Chanuka story as well.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon! (Probably tomorrow.)


Friday, March 5, 2010

When the truth is found to be lies / And all the joy within you dies

Brandon and I are taking an Aesthetics of Film class at VC. I has been an interesting couple of weeks because I have been given the chance to see many movies I otherwise would not have seen. Every fifth week we must turn in a 'film log' of the four movies we have just seen, giving our thoughts on the way the movie was shot, the acting, etc. This past week we watched "A Serious Man" the Academy Award nominee by the Coen Brothers. I would like to give you my thoughts on this movie because it truly was a very well made film.

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

An ordinary man tries to live his ordinary life but things get in the Sy Abelman.
    This is the third film by the Coen Brothers that I have seen and like the other two, I did not enjoy it. I think it was a very well done, excellent film, it just didn't do anything for me. I know it was a great movie because, as with other movies we have watched in this class, I have not been able to get it out of my head.
    I would like to start with fist adressing the opening scene. The big question is, "Dos this part have anything to do with the rest of the film?" We discussed how the brothers have stated that it does not and perhaps they are right. However, I think that it could be seen as the reason for the whole movie. The couple in the beginning could have been Larry's ancestors and their actions with the supposed dybbuk caused their family to be forever cused, thereby causing the long sting of misfortune for Larry.
    There were a few of the characters in the movie that I thought were amusing. Danny's Hebrew teacher was a fine example of the stuffy old teacher. He just stood at his blackboard, his back to the students, droning on and on in Hebrew. Frankly I also would have almost fallen asleep. The Clive characted I loved. He was so funny in his brolen English, "Secret test. Hush, hush." HIs delivery of the lines was absolutely perfect. The Sy Ableman character was amusing in an annoying way. You knew the actor was doing a good job because you just hated him and were happy when he died.
    I was not overly enthused with the character of Larry Gopnik. He seemed to be a man who was uncomfortable in his own skin. He was completely lost in life, oblivious to the things around him, almost as if he wasn't really there. He was more an observer of life than someone actually living it. I was also annoyed at the foul-mouthed kid on the bus. In movies there always seems to be one kid (as far as I have seen, always a boy) who is trying way to hard to seem "cool" and inserts as many four letter words into his sentances as possible. I am guessing the Coen Brothers hired Simon Helberg to play the part of the Jr. Rabbi because people already have a dard time taking him seriously. In his other roles he seemed much the same character. I couldn't take him seriously and neither did Larry.
    There were a couple of comments made by characters that I found interesting. All throughout the movie members of the Gopnik family kept saying, "I didn't do anything." It's as if none of them actual do anything. Larry certainly does not. He walks through life letting things happen to him rather than making them happen. Also, when Larry, Judith and Sy meet at Amber's and Sy is telling Larry about the Jolly Roger, he tells him they have a pool. The only time we see the pool is during the very sad scene with Arthur and Larry and the pool is completely drained!
    After the movie when we were discussing several people talked about how great the cinematography was. I don't know whether is was my dislike for the movie or if I was just having an off day but I didn't see anything special. The whole movie was very dark, which made taking notes difficult and there were only a few scenes that I found worthy of note. I really liked the shots in the Bar Mitzvah scene. Danny is stoned and it's almost as if he has tunnel vision, he has a very narrow window of focus and all of the edges are blurry. I enjoyed the way they played with the foucs. This was really also the only part of the movie that I could relate to, having had a Bat Mitzvah.
    You may wonder why I say I did not like this movie when I have just spent the last several pages talking about all the great things in it. There are two things that I can pinpoint that would really make me dislike a movie. The first is Larry's character. I could not empathize or relate to this character at all. He just seemed to be floating through life, not trying very hard to be a good father or husband. He was a total doormate, letting everyone walk all over him all the time. The only thing he seemed to understand was physics. If only he understood life the way he understood math. The other thing that severely irked me was the end. Through the movie I could not wait for it to be over. I kind of started to enyoy it the last 30 minutes or so (starting with the Bar Mitzvah scene,) things seemed to be looking up, his wife apologized, Danny gets his radio and money back and Larry decided to change Clive's grade and keep the money. Then the tornado is about to start, there is an onimous call from the doctor and the movie just ends. There is no resolution to anything! The property lawyer dies in the middle of the movie without revealing what he has found, Danny does not give the money he owess to Fagle, Larry and Judith are still going to get a divorce and to top it all off, a tornado is coming but we don't get to see it. I understant that life does not always give you the resolution that you want but to sit through this movie watching this schlub lose everything and not even fight for it and then the audience gets nothing in the end is just annoying.

So there you go, my thoughts on this movie. I am trying not to let my thoughts on the few films by the Coens inform my thoughts on any future movies of theirs I might watch but I must admit that it is difficult. If any of you have seen this movie I would love to hear your thoughts!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken With Goat Cheese and Basil

Several months ago I stopped home for something (no idea what for, not important) and was talking with my mom. Every time I go home my mom tries to give me food and this instance was no exception. She had made dinner for her, my dad and my brother for that night but there was extra food so she gave it to me. It looked and smelled very good so I accepted and ate it for my dinner that night.

Let me just tell you how delicious that chicken was! Goat cheese was oozing out from under the wonderfully crispy skin and the flavor of the basil was a wonderful addition.

Later I called my mom to tell her how much I enjoyed the food and told her I had to have the recipe. I have no idea where she got the original recipe, she just told me the ingredients and how to put it together. I have made this several times for Brandon and myself and I love it each time. The original way to put it together is to put everything under the skin but the first time I made this all I had was boneless, skinless chicken breast so I did a roll instead. That worked although I missed the taste and texture of the skin.

I have tried to assemble some semblance of a recipe here but there are so many variables to take into account; how many chicken breasts you are using, how much skin in on the breast and how much basil you like. Here are the basics, do with them what you will:

Chicken with basil and goat cheese:
Skin-on chicken breasts (the bone is not necessary)
Log of Chevre goat cheese (amount is variable, however much you want)
Bunch of basil leaves (also variable)
Salt, Pepper and Olive oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts into a baking dish.
Slice the goat cheese and gather the basil leaves.
Pull the skin away from the breasts and stuff with the goat cheese and then the basil.
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil (this will make the skin nice and crispy) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake until done, about 30 minutes

Simple, delicious and nice enough to serve to guests. If the chicken does not have bones this will of course be easier to eat but we all know that the bones give extra flavor so it is up to you!



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My First Blog

So this is my fist blog ever unless you count LiveJournal. I have been wanting to do a blog for a while now but I thought, "Who would want to read what I have to say?" Recently I discovered 'feedly' a Firefox add-on that lets you have all of the blogs one wants to read all in one place. I went crazy adding food blogs and started to think that perhaps I could do a blog of my own. After Watching "Julie & Julia" I wanted to do a blog even more. To quote the movie, "I have thoughts." And I do. Who knows if anyone besides my husband will ever read this. Frankly I don't think I care that much anymore. I make so many observations about my world and I thought perhaps I could share them with the rest of the world.

If anyone is curious about my profile photo (which I LOVE) it is from a trip to Magic Mountain almost six years ago. We were in 'Gotham City' and they had these foam Batman masks at this one stand. I had to try one on and my friend Justin took this picture.

Anyway, if anyone is out there, thanks for reading and hopefully I will post something of interest sometime soon!