Category Archives: Holiday

A Feast Fit for a President

Screw Presidents Day. I made this Presidents Week! Earlier this week I picked out two recipes I really wanted to make for the week, both related to Presidents Day. I ordered a Colonial-era cookbook (written by Thomas Jefferson’s cousin!) a few weeks ago and had been flipping through that looking for a dinner recipe, but for some reason a roasted calf’s head just didn’t sound too appealing. Then Monday morning, my stepmom forwarded Food Network’s recipe of the day, which came from the Obama’s and the White House kitchen garden. It sounded too good not to cook. So I decided I’d cook that for dinner one night and I’d pick a dessert from the colonial cookbook. I made this on Tuesday for dinner and it was pretty easy to do and delicious to eat.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 3 tbsp. of chopped mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 bunches kale, collar, or mustard greens (or mix), stemmed and corn
  • ¾ cup chicken stock

I don’t want to just copy step-by-step directions, just click on the above link.  The original recipe actually called for using a 3-4 pound whole chicken. It was easier to just get chicken breasts though. I also didn’t have the money for a bunch of fresh herbs (but I can’t wait to snag some from my sis when they start growing.). I did buy some fresh rosemary and then used dried thyme. Still tasted amazing. Coat the chicken in oil, mustard, and herbs, let sit for 45 minutes, and then bake for 30.

 

Raw chicken just always looks gross

 

 

Ok, so the greens…I can’t believe how delicious these were. And I am a greens snob! After growing up eating my mom and dad’s greens, there are little others that taste as good. These were so completely different, but a really refreshing taste. My parents’ were always vinegary, which were good. These are just cooked with the bacon, onion, and broth.  I literally stood in Whole Foods for at least 5 minutes trying to decide what kind of greens I wanted to cook, but I finally settled on kale.

 

My kind of bouquet

 

Saute the bacon and onion, then add your kale and let it wilt, after a few minutes add the broth, and let them cook for 45 minutes.

 

Simma down now, kale

 

The winning combination:

Umm...yum!

As I sat eating supper, I thought…maybe President Obama is somewhere eating this same exact thing…but probably not. I’ll post my dessert recipe soon! Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

 

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Filed under Holiday, Presidents, Recipes

Panda Thanksgiving

I couldn’t decide between the two above images, so you get both! Hooray! Monday was one of my all-time favorite holidays – Presidents Day!! Or as my friend, Steve, dubbed it, “Panda Thanksgiving.” I actually had a day off from work and couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to head down to my favorite historical (and presidential) house, Monticello. I convinced a few friends that going to museums actually can be fun and we made the trip down on what was looking like a beautiful day. We got down to Charlottesville just in time for the beer tasting in the gift shop. Starr Hill introduced a “Monticello Reserve Ale” and debuted it at Monticello for President’s Day – how fitting! It is actually from Jefferson’s recipe (he was quite the beer and wine maker). It has been modernized a bit so that it is more familiar to us as a beer. I’d be interested to taste the original recipe though. I have to say, I was a big fan of this beer, and not just because  it was associated with Monticello! It was a lighter (but not too light) beer with a really smooth finish. We tried some samples and each snagged a few bottles to bring home.

Our friend, Rob, met us there. He used to work there and showed us around the exhibitions and explained how a lot of the interactives work. If you haven’t been to Monticello since they opened the new Visitor’s Center (or ever), you should really check it out. All of their exhibitions are incredible and really let you get a feel for the kind of person Jefferson was. I’ve been to the new center at least 4 times now and I feel like I learn something new each time. We went up to the house for a tour in the afternoon. We couldn’t have asked for better weather – it was almost jacketless weather. We walked around the gardens for a bit while we waited for our tour time and there were workers planting crops for Spring. Monticello is gorgeous in Spring. Our tour guide was one of the better ones I’ve seen. It’s always interesting to see what stories each one tells and of course, to see what they say about Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings. After the tour, we checked out the rooms beneath that held the stables, kitchen, smoke house, ice house, wine/beer cellars, and a new exhibition on slave activities at Monticello. I preferred the old exhibition, but maybe I was just annoyed by the school kids ringing a servant bell non-stop.

I really didn’t take many pictures while we were there and I kind of regret that now. I guess at the time I was thinking that I have so many Monticello pictures already back home, but it would’ve been nice to document our day, I didn’t even snag a pic of Rob! There was a storm rolling in and I did get some pretty pictures of the garden. Check it:

And of course the house:

Ben and Andrea checking out the privy:

Hanging out in the gardens:

Overall, a very awesome day down in Charlottesville, despite the 2 and a half hour drive back to Nova in the freezing rain…blech. I could go on and on about how much I love Monticello and Thomas Jefferson, but I’ll spare you. I at least made a believer out of Russell…I think he has a man-crush on ol’ TJ.

It’s been soooo nice having time to actually go to museums now that I am not going to school for museums. Heh. Hope everyone had as awesome of a President’s Day as we did. I’ve worked on a few “presidential” recipes for this week (in fact one is on the stove right now) and I will be reporting back on those very shortly!

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Filed under History, Holiday, Presidents, Tom J

Some more “belated”s

Ok, I vow to get caught up on these weekly recipes. I swear I cook them all on time, it’s just a matter of reporting about them. So this past week, I wanted to cook something for Valentine’s Day, some kind of treat. I decided to get it done Tuesday so that I could take my treats over to my friends at the JBP. I found this delicious recipe over at Bakerella! Luckily it was pretty quick and easy, because I was strapped for time between work and recording.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cookies:

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. butter, room temperature

Icing:

  • 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 lb. of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

I won’t go step by step for this recipe, because Bakerella does a fantastic job of explaining it all. Basically though, you just mix red velvet cake mix, butter, and eggs. It does take a long time to get the mix to the right consistency. When I first added the butter and eggs to the cake mix, I really was doubting that it would cover the mix, but with a little elbow grease, I made it work.

The icing was really easy too. Just combine those ingredients and beat with a hand mixer. Once the cookies have cooled, spread a generous amount and make a sandwich! The guys gobbled these up! Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone! What did you do to celebrate?

I’m all caught up with recipe posts now, so be ready for a fun one this week to celebrate one of my favorite holidays!

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Filed under Holiday, Recipes

September Showers Bring…Fall?

Happy October everyone!! Finally, my favorite month is here! It has rained all most all week here. Ugh. I really don’t mind the rain that much. I do mind walking to work in it though. That’s not so fun. I’m looking outside now though and it is sunny and we finally have Fall temperatures. My October is jam-packed this year; between school and social events, I know it’s going to fly by (which means Halloween will be here any day right??).

Some things to look forward to in October:

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1. JMU Homecoming!! Last year was less than thrilling. Evan and I went down to Harrisonburg and sat in the rain watching a miserable football game. We ended up being the last two people sitting in our section. I have high hopes for this year though!

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2. Road trip!! No I’m not going to Edmonton, I just thought this cartoon was cute. Mike and I are headed out to The Magnolia State (Mississippi) later this month. Random, no? One of my best friends, Alpa is getting married next summer, hooray!! Her engagement party is out in Mississippi where her fiancé lives. Timeout. I just took the time to open a word document and add in the accent mark (it’s probably called something else, whatever, I never took French) and Firefox is mad, red squiggly mad. Booooo. Ok, time in! We decided to save some money and drive out to Mississippi instead of flying and make an adventure out of it! It’s going to be a pretty quick trip, but we picked out a few places to stop each way (we’re taking different routes coming and going). I don’t want to tell you everywhere we’re going, but I’ll give you a hint about one:

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Sorry that picture is so gigantic, but what is going on with his face?? By the way, I just looked at Elvis pictures for a solid half hour. Too fun. I will definitely be blogging about that trip though, so I want to leave some mystery. I can’t wait to see some parts of the country that I’ve never driven through and to celebrate Alpa and Nirav’s engagement!! SO happy for you two!

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3. Everything Halloween! I’m trying to find a few Halloween related things to go to. I’m sure a group of us will go to Markoff’s Haunted Forest again. Then there’s always trying to squeeze in a few good scary movies and AYAOTD with the roomie. Plus my good friend, Gretch, is throwing a Halloween party this year which should be tons of fun. Guess I better figure out my costume.

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4. Candy corn, pumpkin picking, apple picking, apple cider drinking, wine tasting, baking lots of fall goodies. I could go on and on.

So, you know, if anyone wants to come write a few papers, or read a few books, or study for comps for me…I wouldn’t complain!!

Happy October everyone!!


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Filed under Fall, Holiday, School is the pits, vacation

Happy 4th Weekend!

For the first time in a long time I have no real plans for the Fourth and I’m actually pretty excited about it. Every weekend lately has been so busy, with either being out of town or having people visiting, that I’m really looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I can get some work done on the apartment and hopefully make a dent on my paper that is due at the end of the month (gross). I’ll be at the beach next weekend (hooray!) and possibly in Richmond/Louisa the next, so I figured a weekend at home would be a good idea. Although, a weekend relaxing in Kathy’s pool sounded mighty nice (but the drive down 95 certainly did not).

It got me thinking about the past few 4th of July celebrations and it really made me miss our old house in Falls Church, the cookouts we used to host, and all of our friends getting together. Maybe it’s just that no one has the space to host anymore (or the desire to clean up after everyone leaves), but I really miss those get-togethers.

My old roommate, Matt, was always the grill-master. He’s out in Colorado now. Miss you Matt!!

We’d usually grill out at our place and hang out for the afternoon and then head towards DC to see the fireworks at night. That year it actually was pouring rain, so most of us just stayed put. Other years, we’ve gone to the Iwo Jima Memorial to watch the fireworks. Maybe I’ll try to do that again this year, especially since I live a lot closer. This was from three years ago I think:

Mike and I might see if we can see fireworks from the roof of his building…or maybe walk closer to Rosslyn. I just want to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Other than that, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend around the apartment. I might even try some new recipes. I’m definitely planning on grilling some steaks on the 4th, using my dad’s recipe. I’ll be sure to post that one!

What are you all doing for the 4th? Whatever you do, hope you have fun and stay safe!

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