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Posts posted by RebeccaT

  1. - the marked absence now of ramen noodles and Noodle-roni

    - willingness to handle raw meat, which used to give me the willies

    - knife skills

    - switch from inherited RevereWare to Calphalon Professional

    - curiosity to make, and sometimes create, recipes stemming from other cultures

    - staples that used to include Bisquick and cream-of-blech soups now involve Panko, artichoke hearts, balsamic vinegar, and premium olive oil.

  2. I went off caffeine when I discovered I was pregnant in November. I know that some Drs. think it's fine to drink a cup or two of coffee when pregnant, but I wasn't sure, so I went cold turkey. The daze lasted for about a week (although it was probably as much due to being shocked by the news as the lack of caffeine!). Since then, I haven't had any trouble waking up, although the ritual of a hot drink in the morning has led me to hot chocolate (I figure I need the milk, too!). I do allow myself one Diet Coke a week, because I just really like fizzy drinks.

    Post-baby, I will go back to drinking coffee. I have never had more than two cups a day, and I don't really see a reason to deny myself when I just really really like it! I have never been able to drink coffee at night, though, without it keeping me up. Which had its purpose in college, but now I prefer my sleep. :)

  3. Quick and easy dinner for us is a can of black beans, rinsed, a can of Rotel, undrained, some cumin, salt, and maybe some garlic powder... cook for 15 minutes while your rice cooks. Black beans and rice. Mmmm.

  4. I think this is an outstanding idea. I worked in an inner-city elementary school when I lived in Atlanta, and it was so disheartening to see the malnutrition. I mean, you can *see* it... the white dusty film around their mouth, the lack of lustre in their skin and hair... it was awful. And the free breakfast and lunches they received at school? French toast sticks, chicken tenders, jello. Nothing green, or really of any color other than khaki.

    I am a member of the Junior League here in Houston (don't laugh, I got rid of my white gloves long ago). One of the programs we have is a basic nutrition training program coupled with a sort of "medical care on wheels" program for some of the least-privileged schools in the area. I would love to add a program for parents to this nutrition program, so I will be watching this thread (and eCGI) with interest.

  5. Heck yeah! I think this sounds yummy. No, not in place of my turkey on wheat for lunch, but as a treat, TOTALLY!

    I love chocolate-cherry bread. I have a recipe for it that used Guiness. Bread texture, not too sweet, deep chocolate brown with dried cherried... mmm...

    I would totally try this. Especially now that I'm pregnant and could get away with it! :wub:

  6. Favorites from childhood, because they were forbidden: Capt'n Crunch and Golden Grahams. And I always begged Mom for Cookie Crisp, and she never gave in. I've still never tried it.

    Favorites now: Cascadian Farms Honey Nut O's, Puffins (the original flavor), and the most kick-a** cereal of all, Nature's Path Optimum Power Breakfast... mmm... blueberries and flax seeds... I feel so virtuous eating it, and it's tasty to boot!

  7. Interesting and disgusting, some of those web sites. I wonder if there are any similar ones in Europe, and what the contents would be like...

    There is something that really nags me about this. I have been a restaurant critic for 24 years, working mostly in Spain, and so I have been eating out for far too long, far too often and in far too many places. Yet I very, very seldom see customer/waiter or customer/maître d' clashes of the sort that would, not justify, but at least explain the kind of retaliations these web sites so lavishly detail.

    So my question is: Are these clashes really so frequent in NYC or in the US in general? Or is this just hyperbole, or perhaps a tool for disgruntled employees to blackmail restaurant owners? Because if these problems really are commonplace, then the adversary relationship between customer and restaurant is really something that sets the US restaurant scene apart from the European scene as I know it.

    I was a hostess in Atlanta for three summers in college, and I waited tables in Dublin, Ireland after graduating, so I have experienced both sides of the pond. While we would often complain about our customers at the restaurant in Dublin, I never witnessed any out-and-out arguments. I am sure they must have had complaints, but I don't remember them being unpleasant about it. I did witness a decent amount of hostility between the kitchen and the servers, and we all hated the GM, but she was nothing but polite to customers, and they were nothing but polite to her.

    In Atlanta, however, plenty of stiffing of tables, lots of drunk jerks (sure, lets go to the bar upstairs and get tanked before coming down to enjoy a nice meal!) who would abuse the hostess station as well as their servers, and a fair number of fussy guests who made it difficult to make their visit a pleasure. We also had just as many people who would comment on the food/service/ambiance and swear they would be back again and often, but those weren't the people the servers would talk about after hours. It was the jerks were remembered. Shame, no?

  8. I have only been to Hugo's once, and it was for my mother-in-law's birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, but my inlaws are terrible at dining out... they don't drink wine, don't get appetizers, hate to linger and are in and out in 45 minutes or less. Not the best dining partners to experience a new restaurant with. My husband and I need to get back, because we both loved our food and would like to explore the menu more.

  9. Was at the CM on Westheimer last night, and they have a nice little shelf setup next to customer service with a display of ALL of their new CM items. Stuff I hadn't even realized... morello cherry preserves (and loads of other flavors), extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar... I didn't get anything but the microwave popcorn (seriously, so good. Tastes like what used to come out of the stove-top corn popper) but I will definitely be trying this other stuff in the near future.

  10. This is the recipe that floats around the Cooking Light bulletin board... it's originally from the KA Flour message board.

    "The following recipe created quite a stir when it was first posted on our “bakers sharing” site, www.bakingcircle.com. Baker after baker tried these buns and declared them THE BEST. Soft, vaguely sweet and golden-yellow from the butter and egg, these simple buns are perfect for burgers, but also fine for any kind of sandwich. Or shape them into round balls and crowd them close together in a pan to make dinner rolls. "

    Moomie's Beautiful Burger Buns

    1 cup water

    2 tablespoons butter or margarine

    1 egg

    3 1/4 cups AP flour

    1/4 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon instant yeast

    Place all ingredients in your bread machine. Select dough. Allow to run cycle.

    Dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces. With each piece, slap into a bun shape. Usually four or five slaps will do it. Place on greased cookie sheets or your bun pans, cover; rise about 30 to 40 minutes.

    Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes till golden. Cool on wire racks. I like to add a teaspoon of onion powder and about 1/2 teaspoon dried onion to the dough in the bread machine. It makes a light onion-y flavor that is wonderful!

    Ed. Note: Moomie’s right; you really can’t go wrong with these buns. If you don’t have a bread machine, simply mix and knead the dough by whatever method you prefer. Let it rise for about an hour before shaping into eight big buns.

  11. I bought the Organic Microwave Popcorn on my last visit, and I LOVE it! None of the fakey taste, or weird texture that feels like it's coating your mouth that the regular Micro Popcorn has. No transfats either. I am definitely hooked.

    The Lemonade Italian Soda was great, and I totally agree on the Blood Orange flavor... addictive.

  12. I didn't realize the protocol for recipes! Here you go!

    I should add (and I mentioned this in my email to the thread starter) that I realized, when looking in my files for recipes, that the Rasberry Macadamia Bars were actuallyCranberry Macadamia Bars. They're still wonderful, though. Easy to overbake, though, and if they overbake they get very hard, so that's something to watch for. Also, when I made the recipe, I doubled the topping but only increased the crust by 1/2, and that was the perfect ratio IMHO. They are originally from BHG, some Christmas supplement, and the recipe was given to me by a friend.

    Cranberry-Macadamia Bars

    Recipe By : Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2002, pg. 76

    Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00

    Categories : Cookies/Brownies

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

    -------- ------------ --------------------------------

    1 1/4 c All-purpose flour

    3/4 c Sugar

    1/2 c Butter

    1 c Finely chopped macadamias --hazelnuts or pecans

    1 1/4 c Sugar

    2 Beaten eggs

    2 tb Milk

    1 t Finely shredded orange peel

    1 t Vanilla

    1 c Finely chopped cranberries

    1/2 c Coconut

    Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour and 3/4 c sugar.

    Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 c

    of the nuts. Press the flour mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased

    13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes or

    until crust is light brown around edges.

    Topping: Combine the 1 1/4 c sugar, eggs, milk, orange peel, and

    vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour over the hot crust. Sprinkle

    with the remaining nuts, cranberries, and coconut.

    Bake in the 350 F oven for 30 minutes more or until golden. Cool

    slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars while still warm. Cool completely.

    Note: Store in fridge for 3 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

    Here's the other recipe, for Creme de Menthe Squares. They're fabulous. I don't know the original source, I also got this recipe from a friend and she didn't mention where she got it.

    Creme de Menthe Squares

    1 1/4 c. butter

    1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa

    3 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar (I never sift)

    1 beaten egg

    1 tsp vanilla

    2 c. graham cracker crumbs

    1/3 c. green creme de menthe

    1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

    Bottom Layer: Combine 1/2 c. butter and cocoa. Heat and stir until blended. Remove from heat; add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Mix well. Press into ungreased 13x9x2" baking dish

    Middle Layer: Melt another 1/2 cup butter. In small mixer bowl, combine melted butter and creme de menthe. At low speed, beat in remaining 3 c. powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over chocolate graham layer. Chill 1 hour.

    Top Layer: In small suace pan, combine remaining 1/4 c. butter and chocolare chips. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Spread over mint layer. (Work quickly, or the chocolate will cool and be difficult to spread.)

    Chill 1 to 2 hours. Cut in small squares (let them sit on the counter for 1/2 hour or so to make cutting easier.) Store in fridge.

  13. Oh, how I love thyme honey! I got some in Greece, from a lady selling out of her house in a small village who we found by following signs "Thyme honey this way (and then something in Greek). I love it in my favorite Cinnamon-Raisin bread recipe, but my favorite use for it (besides just adding it to oatmeal) is drizzling it on top of an appetizer from Bon Appetit, Goat Cheese with Fig and Walnut Tapenade. Let me know if you would like the recipe, or I could post a link (it can be found on epicurious.com)

  14. I emailed you the recipes - let me know if you have any questions or if they didn't get there! It was my first time using the eG email function.

    I think that the powdered sugar adheres better to the Lime Meltaways if they are still a little warm when dusted w/ powdered sugar(I didn't toss them in a plastic bag like the recipe suggests, because they seemed too fragile and as if they would break if shaken like that).

  15. I have good recipes for a number of bar-type cookies that freezer extremely well. One is a raspberry-macadamia nut cookie (I cut them into triangles just to give the dessert platter more visual interest), another is a layered chocolate-mint confection involving mint buttercream and chocolate ganache (looks beautiful). I also have a recipe for Lime Meltaways that you freeze before baking, then cut off slices of the thawed dough and bake. Let's see...

    How about amaretti for the cappucino bar?

    Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies are fantastic, and freeze well.

    Pound cake that has been cut into three layers can be spread with lemon curd and raspberry preserves, and then sliced for a pretty presentation.

    ... if I think of anything else, I'll let you know. Also, just holler if you want any of the recipes I mentioned.

    Good luck!

    ... editing because I see that Michelle posted a link to the same Lime Meltaway recipe I use. Great minds... :wink:

  16. I just started my second trimester with my first. THe first 10 weeks or so, I just wanted plain stuff - not bland, but very run-of-the mill dishes. I made sloppy joes for the first time in my life, mac and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Nothing too exotic. For the past month, now that my energy is back up somewhat and I have a taste for interesting foods again, I am back to Indian, Japanese, Moroccan, etc. But I still have a taste for those basics.

    No real cravings or aversions yet, but the only thing that actually made me lose it during those early queasy weeks (right between Thanksgiving and Christmas) was the smell of a pumpkin pie baking. How weird is that? Don't know if I'll be able to stand it next year.

  17. That's my 'hood, and I second the recommendations for Goode Co. Seafood. Try the campechana with both shrimp and crab. The minced jalepeno comes on the side, so you and your son can make each bite as hot as you like. The mesquite grilled plates are fantastic and unlike anything you'll get in New England!

    Also second the Lupe Tortilla rec, they have great beef fajitas. Plus you can watch the kiddos in the sandbox.

    A fun place for lunch would be one of the many BerryHill Tacos & Tamales places inside the loop. There is one very close to you at Buffalo Speedway, one on Westheimer just east of Kirby, and one at South Post Oak and San Filipe.

    Another family-friendly place might be Amazon, although they can be a bit inconsistent. Good south american fare, and you can try the tres leches which is great. The kiddos can make S'mores at the table. It's very popular with families.

    Try breakfast at the Buffalo Grille. Lots of very big food, good bacon, good coffee. :)

  18. The Express that Robb Walsh reviewed is about 2 miles from my office, and I have gone 3-4 times. I have to admit, I like it as lunch hour options go. I had the very pizza reviewed in the article last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The crust was crisp from the wood-firing, but tender beneath the golden exterior, the flavor from the garlic-y mushrooms and spinach was complimented well by the pesto. The only thing I didn't care for on the pizza were the sorry looking tomato slices, but we're in a tomato shortage! No one has good tomatoes!

    The Chinois chicken salad is a truly original fast-ish food offering, and while I make similar Thai Peanut Noodle salads at home, not many restaurants do.

    I wonder what folks' opinion of this place would be if it didn't have the Puck name attached to it? I'll bet it would be very well-received as a great addition to the lunch-time choices available in an area thick with office buildings and Chinese buffets. It's no Spago, but it's good.

  19. I have heard very good things about Da Marco, from other foodie friends whom I trust. I hadn't thought about Arista, although I have noted it when I've been downtown lately. That's a possibility. Shame that your parents didn't like Sorrento...

    Where is Rouge? I will have to go look for reviews. Have been to Masraff's, it's the in-laws favorite place since they live nearby. Can't go wrong with it, for sure, but we wanted to try someplace we had never been.

    So no one has ever been to Quattro?

    I'll have to just make up my mind today, and it might be limited to where we can get a table at 8-ish on Saturday! I really waited until the last minute!

  20. In my family, it was mostly pies during the holidays, but coconut cake did make an appearance at my Mississippi grandmother's house every couple of years. Most of the other desserts I've seen listed here, while definitely Southern, were generally enjoyed at other times of the year.

    Although we do have ambrosia at every holiday meal... does that count as dessert?

  21. Wow, that review in the Chron was totally not what I have read elsewhere.

    Here is the review from the Houston Press. This reviewer went to Sorrento twice, and reviewed both visits very highly. In fact, reviewed some of the very same dishes completely differently than the Chron. Hmmm.

    I have considered Aries, but I waver. Among my friends who have visited, the reviews are quite mixed.

    Thanks for the recommendation of Cafe Rabelais. We have been wanting to try it for some time, so if it doesn't make the cut for the anniversary then we'll try to visit soon for no reason at all!

  22. http://www.sorrentohouston.com/

    Haven't ever heard of this place, but I found it while cruising b4-U-eat.com looking for ideas for our anniversary dinner coming up. Typical choice would be Mark's, but that feels so... typical. Also considering Quattro at the Four Seasons. But this place intrigues me, and the reviews (at least the ones on b4-U-eat) are very positive on both food and ambience.

    Anyone been? Any thoughts? Any thoughts on where we should go if it's not any of the places I mentioned above?

    Many thanks!

  23. I have to confess that I started eating cold weather foods a couple of weeks ago, as an act of quiet rebellion against this place to which DH has brought me and forced me to live (that's what I say to him every fall, and of course he rolls his eyes because he knows I have grown to love it here).

    In the past couple of weeks I have made:

    - Curried Sweet Potato Soup

    - Thyme-scented White Bean Cassoulet (in slow cooker)

    - African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans (also in clow cooker)

    - Apple Cider Bundt Cake

    ... of course, I did eat asparagus earlier this week, too, and it was really good...

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