It’s a good thing I ran seven miles today…
It’s the first Friday in Lent in NEPA, and that means it’s Pagash season! It’s also known as “pierogi pizza.” The Polish (and meatless) treat consists of layers of mashed potato and cheese on a thick pizza crust. This Pagash was from Ferri’s in Moscow.
While it’s very convenient for those of us who go meatless during Lent, the Pagash was actually by special request tonight. Our night assignment manager, Bianca, is leaving us for bigger and better things. For her last dinner at work, she requested the Lenten treat she has put on TV so many times.
Thanks for the memories, Bianca… and the Pagash!
When I arrived at work today I was greeted by a lovely surprise from Mr. Dish:
Ok, I’ll admit I wasn’t that surprised… but that doesn’t make them any less appreciated!
Papa Dish let me in on his Valentine’s surprise for Mama Dish: a dozen brownie batter donuts from Dunkin.
Well THAT looks like a good idea. If only I were around to help eat them. (Did you know in the 1800′s doctors advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for a lost love? True story.)
If you haven’t seen it yet, Google has a fun Valentine’s Day animation… which also pays homage to the inventor of a classic carnival ride. Read all about it here!
I’ve never been one to go all out on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve never been “anti-Valentine” either. (Full disclosure: I didn’t have any red or pink in my closet this morning, so I went to Target and bought a pink shirt.) While some call it a “Hallmark holiday,” I do think it falls during a miserable time of year when many people can use a little cheering up. Whatever you do to celebrate, I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love… or at the very least, chocolate.
For as much as I love fitness, I have very little interest in watching professional sports. Yummy snacks make the football much more tolerable.
Mr. Dish and I were invited to a Super Bowl party at our Best Man’s place. Our Best Man makes a mean bowl of chili… but it is incredibly spicy! My taste buds are usually dead before my stomach is satisfied. So I decided to bring the yin to my host’s yang… Creamy Chicken Chili! It’s one of my favorites, and oh so easy. Enjoy!
Creamy Chicken Chili
1 lb. Boneless chicken, cubed
1 med onion, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp veg oil
2 cans (15 ½ oz.) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 ½ oz.) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz.) chopped green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup instant rice
In large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilis, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered for 30 mins. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, cream, and rice.
Serve in 5 minutes. (For thicker chili, let sit for about 30 mins before serving.) I usually sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top, too!
7 servings. (It also freezes well if you don’t eat it all at once!)
I’ve been on a whirlwind purging streak lately. Clothes I haven’t worn in years and books I really didn’t like that I’ll never read again are being packed up and delivered to the Salvation Army. (We call this the “Sally” in the news biz. This was pretty confusing when I first started. ”Who’s Sally??”)
This morning in the midst of my boxing, tossing, and donating, I made myself a most excellent power snack. I shall call it: Coco-Maca-Awesome Yogurt! (OK, the name needs work.)
Chobani Plain 0% with cocoa powder, vanilla extract, Splenda and macadamia nuts! (I think I had intended to bake with them once upon a time, which is why I had them laying around.) Delicious and protein packed!
My days have a slightly frantic energy to them lately, but I end each day feeling productive. Here’s hoping this trend continues!
Last weekend, Mr. Dish and I got to do one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process to date: cake tasting!
Our wedding cake comes included with our venue. But we do get to choose between two local bakeries… and that means we got two tastings! It was a tough decision, let me tell you!
Don’t worry, I shared with Mr. Dish!
We tasted four varieties of pound cake at Bakery #1: plain, chocolate chip, marble, and raspberry swirl. All with buttercream icing. All delectable.
We met with the owner who also bakes and decorates the wedding cakes. We looked at lots of books filled with designs. She also gave us several other kinds of cakes to take home to try. We left Bakery #1 feeling great and really blown away at the personal attention we were given.
Then it was on to Bakery #2.
Edible works of art!
This quaint bake shop was bustling with activity when we arrived. But the owner whisked us upstairs to a private “wedding room” where we once again looked at lots of designs and tasted four cakes:
It’s a good thing I skipped breakfast.
Here we tasted plain pound, marble pound, raspberry swirl pound, and red velvet. Again… delicious! I was also awed by the gorgeous cakes we saw at this bakery, all so different and all so beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat!
After we had our fill of sugar (and a post-tasting drink at a local pub) we were faced with a tough choice. But we ended the day with a cake design we loved and we knew just the bakery to do it. But alas, you’ll have to wait to find out which sinful selection we made… I have to save a few surprises for the big day!
I believe I have reached the point in wedding planning where there is something that can (or should) be doing every single day. I have accepted that I will likely get to a point of deciding what MUST get done and what I can live without. It is frightening to think of all the things left to do before April 6. Still, with each step I feel insanely lucky and joyful that I’m doing any of this at all.
So this is a warning that my blogging will probably go to the wayside. I will try to check in as best I can, since I do enjoy reflecting on each completed step as I write my entries.
I have two stories airing today and both involve – you guessed it – FOOD!
First, a Special Assignment called “Food Truck Frenzy” airs at 6:00 p.m.
We shot this piece a few weeks back, and I’m pretty excited about it. More gourmet food trucks are appearing on roadsides in northeastern PA, so I decided to go behind the scenes to see how it all works. These people create amazing food in an insanely small space.
Yes, bacon jam. Don’t ask, just eat.
Then at 7:00 p.m. my weekly Taste Test airs. This week it’s Gingerbread Oreos! It just wouldn’t be a holiday without Nabisco fooling around with a perfectly good sandwich cookie. (“Mama Dish says, “Why can’t they just leave Oreos alone??”)
I was skeptical at first because gingerbread is not my favorite. But trust me, if you like the idea of gingerbread but think it’s much better used building houses… try these. Our testers were pleasantly surprised.
Do you think anyone will mind if I bring these to our annual Christmas cookie swap?
UPDATE: Stories have been posted! You can view the Food Trucks story here and the Oreo Taste Test here!
This weekend Mr. Dish and I attended the tasting event at our reception venue! I was excited by this, because it’s one of those events I always hear couples talk about and it seems like one of the more “fun” wedding prep tasks. It’s no secret I love food, so I was excited to dive in. We tasted the two items that a) sounded delicious and b) would be crowd-pleasing. So we tasted chicken bruschetta…
Those are potatoes, by the way, not mushrooms.
… and filet mignon au champignon.
This is totally what I’m having for dinner!
We were very pleased with both dishes. It’s a good thing, since we were limited to taste only two dishes, and the tastings are held semi-annually. So if we were to choose another dish to serve, we’d be choosing blind. We were tasting our food along with a number of other couples in the ballroom where we’ll have our reception. I’ve heard other venues run their operations this way as well. It’s definitely not the tasting experience I had in my head from movies I’ve seen, but it was fun nonetheless. And like I said, I was very happy we liked our first picks.
Because we could bring up to four people to the tasting, we brought our Mama’s along for a little mom date! It was very nice to have their input and company, and this gave Mama Dish a chance to see the venue for herself. I must say, I got a little giddy when I walked into the ballroom again! We also went out for coffee after, which was lovely. Mom dates are fun!
The very next day, Mr. Dish and I were right back in that same ballroom for our “six month meeting.” (Even though we’re actually five months out now.) We spent about 90 minutes with the manager going over details. Linens! Sashes! Cocktails! Speeches! Favors! Dances! My head was spinning on the drive home. But it was a very productive meeting, and helped me formulate a list of things I still need to do and the order in which to tackle them. We also got the dreaded “seating chart!” (I’ve heard it’s the pits, and that there may be tears.)
Next on my “wedding to do” list: cake tasting!
Last weekend, I learned that Mr. Dish’s aversion to capers began when his uncle made him try one by itself, straight out of the jar when he was little. He was scarred for life.
Well, I love capers and the salty tang they add to a dish, so I had to at least try to make something that incorporated capers in a tasty way.
Behold – Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss:
This simple and lemony recipe from Rachael Ray was the perfect way to re-introduce capers because all of the other ingredients were familiar. I also love cooking with wine because it gives me an excuse to open a bottle. (“Well, since it’s already open…”) Since Mr. Dish did not pick out every single caper, I say it was a rousing success! You can find the recipe here!
If you ever find yourself on Second Street in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia (Nolibs, as the cool kids call it) you must stop by The Blind Pig. And you MUST order the Thanksgiving Balls.
Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing deep fried and served with cranberry sauce and gravy. Oh. My. Gosh.
It was like Thanksgiving dinner in appetizer form. Delightful. The short-rib gravy fries weren’t bad, either.
Mr. Dish and I really enjoyed the vibe of this pub last weekend, and our visit lasted several hours. It might have been the food, it might have been the friendly staff… or it might have been because we had some pretty important stuff to talk about.
See, we went in search of junk food after our day-long Pre-Cana session. (A marriage preparation course couples are required to take before getting married in the Catholic Church.) Most folks roll their eyes at the mention of Pre-Cana, and tell some sort of horror story if they had to take it themselves. So with those expectations going in… it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, Mr. Dish and I agreed that while it was a long day, there was some really useful stuff in there. We enjoyed hearing the stories from the married couples who led the class and hearing some of the things they struggled with when they got married.
It also got our wheels turning about some important issues (money, family, religion, communication) that we’ve *kind of* talked about but never really tackled head on. Turns out, this was the spark that got our real life conversations going over some drinks and greasy food.
We left The Blind Pig with our stomachs… and souls… satisfied.
Apologies for the lack of posts. It’s been a week. Rather than boring you with the details, I’ll show you my next few Taste Test subjects:
Simple Pleasures. Everyone needs them, right? Well, here’s some of the chocolate variety from Hershey’s. Their claim to fame: 30% less fat than the average leading chocolates. Will our taste buds miss that fat? I hope to find out on my shoot later today.
And for next week, another product from Special K:
I’ve seen commercials for Special K Pastry Crisps recently and I’m excited to try them. I’m a fan of the Special K line of snacks, and they usually go over well with tasters. As with any weight loss plan, the more variety available, the more likely you are to stay on track. I’m especially intrigued by the brown sugar cinnamon flavor. Great for fall!
To check out recent Taste Tests, click here!