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Posted on Feb 14, 2012 in Food | 24 comments

The Perfect Pie

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope that yesterday’s announcement of Ben & Taylor’s engagement helped put you in a romantic mood — it certainly did for me! We did most of our Hallmark Holiday celebration over the weekend. In addition to taking me to the DC Wine Festival, Sean took me to Ray’s the Steaks (technically, to Retro Ray’s next door which is its new walk-in only brother restaurant) and it was AMAZING. Seriously. DC-ites, Northern Virginians, and Marylanders alike: you must go. You get complimentary mashed ‘taters and creamed spinach with your entree, so the value is awesome for a steak joint (where you normally have to pay for every side individually). Get the crab bisque and the filet with brandy mushroom sauce and thank me later.

Sidebar: I also got this gorgeous Valentine’s surprise yesterday afternoon!

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Aaaand we’re back! Sunday night we played it a little more low-key and made pizza! You already know how much I love putting my Christmas-given pizza stone to use, but you also know from past attempts how poor my dough-handling skills are.

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Well, I’m sad to report that nothing has changed there. Misshapen pizzas still unfortunately seem to be my thing, and this margarita pizza definitely got struck with my ugly ‘za skillz. Luckily, in contrast, Sean seems to have unearthed a hidden talent for pizza shaping. Check out the perfectly circular pie he whipped up!

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I was seriously jealous impressed. We determined that a factor may have been letting the dough sit OUT of the bag (we used the ready-made Trader Joe’s dough, like always) before shaping, instead of letting it sit in the plastic. We’ll have to do a strict comparison next time!

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The second, perfect pie also had perfect toppings. It was like Hawaiian (my favorite) to the max: canadian bacon, bacon, mozzarella, feta (!), and pineapple. We may or may not have tucked cheese into that gorgeous crust, too. Heh. Not to worry! I exercised portion control only made it through a couple slices.

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We both decided that if we did it again, we would cut the pineapple down smaller so you could get more of it in each bite. Delicious, nonetheless, and it made for the best leftovers ever!

On the docket for today is a cookie exchange that I’ve organized for my office (you better believe my disaster cookies are making an appearance, so brace yourselves for another earthquake!) It’s my first cookie exchange, so hopefully it goes smoothly. Hopefully my roommates will be happy that I’ll be bringing home a smorgasbord of sweet treats too — I’m counting on them to help me eat them so I can stay on track…ish! 😉

What are your V-Day plans? Alternately/in addition, what’s your favorite pizza topping combination?

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Posted on Nov 29, 2010 in Dear Diary, Food | 0 comments

Thankful (Part 2)

Okay, okay, yes, I know. This post is long overdue. An entire weekend overdue, in fact. But hey! It’s been a holiday, which roughly translates into vacation most of the time, right? So, I vacated this blog for a few days. But I’m back! And here’s all the glorious stuff you’ve missed out on. 😉

First things first: Thanksgiving Dinner!!

It was delicious, amazing, and fabulous. As the Head Chef, I don’t think that’s bragging at all. Hehe. No, it really did turn out pretty wonderfully, and we made (mostly) healthy substitutions for everything we ate. The turkey was definitely the piece de la resistance, my pride & joy. Brining is the way to go, people! I’m never going back. Brine, brine, brine!

I was crazy busy between the 5K that morning, seeing Tangled with the fam, and then cooking up a storm so I didn’t think to take photos of everything we made, save for the Lemon Meringue Pie I made the night before:

I’ll admit, it was a pie-tastrophe. It was my first attempt! It looked great at first glance, and it tasted really good, even if it ended up more sauce than pie… oh well. Does anyone know if you’re supposed to fully bake the lemon part before you put the meringue part into the oven? Because the meringue would have been totally burnt to a crisp if I had left it in any longer, but the middle was soooo runny, it didn’t take shape at all!

On the table we’ve got the entire Thanksgiving menu that I detailed in an earlier post, and here are a couple close-ups of my plate (the salad with beets, arugula, red onion, dried cranberries, and my homemade honey mustard vinaigrette was especially scrumptious!!)

All in all, a grand success! And it was wonderful to be able to share the experience with my family, including my aunt and uncle who drove up from Roanoke, and my mom who was  able to come home from the hospital just the day before!

Other activities that occurred this weekend included festively decorating the house for the next holiday! Now that Thanksgiving is over we can finally start preparing for Christmas, my FAVORITE HOLIDAY EVER!!!!! We went tree shopping on the 26th, hehehe.

Our tree has since obtained a few more ornaments, and there are other decorations that will be going up soon, so be prepared for more photos. Consider this a mere sample of the Christmas-y joy yet to come. Also, please don’t think that I love Daxter more than Harry just because Harry doesn’t have a stocking up. Harry’s stocking is just still tucked away in my parents’ attic, so as soon as their Xmas boxes come down, his will be hung by the fire with care as well. Also, I’ll try to take better pictures once everything is all finished so that I can appropriately convey the splendiforousness to you all. (Maybe I can cajole my brother into letting me borrow his fancy-schmancy SLR camera…) 😀

Also, we had a homemade pizza night using the pizza dough you can buy from Trader Joe’s.

Mine was a whole wheat crust with half-Hawaiian toppings (ham and pineapple) and half-Mediterranean toppings (chicken sausage, mushrooms, olives, capers, and prosciutto).

Unfortunately, my crust got stuck to the tinfoil in the oven and didn’t get cooked all the way through anyway, so I ended up just scraping off all the toppings and picking at them, hehe. Ben’s, Taylor’s, and Steve’s turned out pretty good though!

Most of my, er, “pizza casserole” still in a container in the fridge though, because we snacked on hummus and pita chips so much while we were making the pizzas that I was full by the time they were done!

Okay, I guess that’s about it for now. I am definitely nervous about my weigh-in tomorrow, although I’m surprised that I’m not freaking out MORE. I just know that I’m anticipating a gain from this week. I mean, despite all my intentions to eat healthy for Thanksgiving, I still ate A LOT of food, healthy or not. And I haven’t really had any exercise since running the 5K Thursday morning, so that’s a lot of days for me to build back up on whatever calorie-deficit I might have had going for me. But whatever, it’s a special week, and the holidays are hard. Hopefully you guys won’t judge me too harshly, and hopefully this won’t have caused me to stray too far off-track.

Regardless, I am so thankful for how far I’ve come. I’m thankful for knowing I have such strong support even if tomorrow ends up going badly for me. And I’m thankful that I have the knowledge and the tools now to keep going. To persevere. To reach my goals. So, thank you.

And with that last bit of cheese, I’m out. <3

Oh wait, I forgot to mention the other thing that I spent the majority of my weekend doing: trolling Amazon.com for Black Friday lightning deals and spending an obscene amount of money on Christmas gifts. Just had to throw that in there. And tomorrow’s “Cyber Monday” so I’m sure there is more spending to be done. Don’t you just love this season?! 😀

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