New Year, Clean Break

As you can tell from the lack of posts, I haven’t had a lot of enthusiasm for the blog lately.  I cook, I vacation, I celebrate the holidays, but it seems like such a chore to make sure there are quality pictures, to upload the photos, and to write commentary.  I used to do it because I enjoyed it, but if it’s not fun anymore, it’s time to stop.  So, I am signing off from the blogosphere.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2010!


Thanksgiving 2009

For the second year in a row, I hosted Thanksgiving.  More and more, it is becoming one of my favorite holidays.  What’s not to love about a holiday devoted to food, where the main purpose is to share a meal with family and friends?

We had a relatively small gathering of me, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law and their 3-year-old (my favorite, and okay only, niece).  As with all family gatherings, we went a little overboard and made way too much food.  Everyone helped with the preparation, even Abby.  She loves cracking eggs.

I sent much of the leftovers home, but am still eating my share well into this week.

I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of everything, but here is the menu and any recipe links or pictures I have.


  • Fresh Fruit (pineapple, grapes, strawberries)
  • Potato Frittata (recipe below)

  • Pumpkin Donuts – These were delicious, especially when dipped in sugar.  We used a biscuit cutter for the donut shape and then the cap from a bottle of water to cut out the center hole.

Thanksgiving Dinner


  • Apple Pie (purchased from Carlson Orchards) – I bought this during apple season and put in the freezer, taking it out the day before Thanksgiving.  It was great.
  • Gooey Pecan Pie with a Nutella Bottom – This was very good, but next time, I would leave out the coconut extract.  I thought it was a bit strong.2

  • Vanilla Ice Cream (to go with the pies)
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (from 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies cookbook) – We substituted dark chocolate chips for semi-sweet and added 1 cup chopped walnuts.

Thanks to my family for a great day!

Potato Frittata
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or put through garlic press)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 ounces canadian bacon, diced 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the potato, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Saute over medium heat until the potato is golden and crisp on the outside, tender inside, about 10-12 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.  Whisk the eggs, milk, Parmesan, canadian bacon, and rosemary in a medium bowl.  Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture in the skillet.  Cook over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set but the top is still loose, about 3 minutes.  Place the skillet under the broiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 4 minutes, checking after 2 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide the frittata onto a plate or serving tray.

Crustless Quiche

Quiche is one of those great flexible dishes that is perfect for using up whatever you have in the fridge.  On this occasion, I had some eggs to use up, so I searched the kitchen for other ingredients.  I did not have a pre-made crust, and did not feel like making one, so I used the guidelines I saw on Pink of Perfection for Crustless Quiche.

First, I submerged my eggs in water to be sure they were still good.  They were past the ‘use by’ date, which I know some you strictly adhere to, but I have read that eggs are usually good for about two weeks after the date on the package.  To be sure, I used the float test:  Submerge the egg in water.  If it sinks, it’s good.  If it floats, it’s bad.  I had two floaters, but the rest were good. 

I found some asparagus and some Gruyère cheese in the fridge and a thick slice of low-salt ham in the freezer.  I added some fresh rosemary from my little indoor herb garden and an onion and I was in business. 

I served it up with a slice of whole grain bread.

I didn’t really measure, but here is a rough estimate of what I used.

Crustless Asparagus & Ham Quiche

1 tablespoon olive oil
7-10 asparagus spears, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 thick slice of ham, diced (but not too small)
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute asparagus, onion, and rosemary until onions are soft (4-5 minutes).  In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper.  Stir ham and sautéed ingredients into eggs.  Pour egg mixture into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with salad or bread.

Night at the Museum (of Science)

Earlier this week, I took advantage of a corporate event at the Museum of Science.  As an employee of a contributing sponsor, I got free admission to the exhibit halls and discounted tickets to the traveling Harry Potter: The Exhibition, and was able to bring a guest.  My friend Jessica and I had been trying to make plans to the see the Harry Potter exhibition, so this was the perfect occasion.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition showcases sets, wardrobes, character models, and props from the films.  I really enjoyed it.    As some of you know, I’m a big fan of the books, but after seeing the first movie, I refuse to watch any more of them.  I don’t agree with all the castings and when I re-read the books (yes, I’m a dork and I read them more than once) I don’t like to have the images in my head of the movie actors saying the lines.  This philosophy doubly applies to the Twilight films (the first one was atrocious).

So not having seen most of the films, it was totally new for me to see how they depicted certain locations, mythical creatures, and clothing.  There was also an accompanying audio tour (for an extra $5).  I thought it was interesting and would recommend it for that additional bit of insight.  There are signs identifying each item in the exhibit and which movie it was in, but the audio explained how or why the filmmakers did something.  I think Harry Potter fans of all ages would enjoy seeing the exhibition.

Heidi’s Special Zucchini Bread

I’ve lost track to zucchini recipe numbering.  This is either #4 or #5.  I made it back in August when I couldn’t stop myself from buying too much zucchini at the farmer’s market.  I wanted to try a bread, so I chose Heidi Swanson’s Special Zucchini Bread.  I omitted the optional poppy seeds and crystalized ginger, but did add the optional lemon zest and curry powder.

Special Zucchini Bread

It was good, but I wouldn’t make it exactly the same way again.  I found the curry powder it to be a bit strong, making this more of a spice bread than a zucchini bread.  I was also expecting a very moist bread because of the zucchini, but the whole wheat pastry flour gave the bread a drier texture than I would have liked.  Next time, I would omit the curry powder and use half whole wheat pastry flour, half all-purpose flour.  Overall, it was pretty good though.  I especially enjoyed the walnuts.

Chive Risotto Cakes

It has been way too long since I posted a risotto related recipe.  I make it frequently, but the basic recipe is the same, so I have not felt that there was anything new to add, until now.  This recipe for Chive Risotto Cakes comes from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook, but is also available on

It starts by cooking arborio rice, but you could also use leftover risotto from a previous meal.  You would just omit the cheese if some had already been added during the original cooking.  I did not have any leftovers, so I started from scratch.  Also, I didn’t have any Fontina cheese, so I used Asiago.  The cute little panko crusted cakes were crispy and delicious.

Risotto cakes

Zip-Line Family Adventure

My dad, my brother-in-law, and I enjoyed skydiving so much last year, that I thought it would be fun to try another family adventure this year.  As part of a birthday present for Dad and Adam, the whole family (even Rachel and Mom!), went zip-lining in September at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, New Hampshire. 

We did the Treetop Canopy Tour, and had a fantastic time!  They harness you up:

Rachel getting ready

and send you off:

Rachel zipping

to land on tree-top platforms:


The suspension bridge was a little scary for some people:


We all agreed the zipping was fun:

Dad zipping

me zipping

and everyone made it to the end without becoming a hiker (those who don’t want to continue are lowered down and have to walk to the end).


You can view my full album of photos by clicking here, and my dad’s album by clicking here.


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