Dinner with my boys

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The yummiest hummus (or homus as it’s spelled on the menu) in town. I love Sam’s Oasis. It’s one of our favorite local places. We had a lovely evening. Devin turned his nose up at a few things, but relented on the lentil soup (which he then demanded more of) and Scott’s gyro (which he also loved). He even got his first taste of baklava. And I got to savor three cups of Sam’s delicious mint tea.

Coriander coconut chicken

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London Grill Singapore: Kalamazoo

We went on a date Saturday. Our first one in months. Because, ahem, my husband has a new job!

So, yeah, it was high time we had some adult conversation uninterrupted by food throwing and tablecloth pulling. Although those forms of dining entertainment are certainly welcome the majority of the time.

I ate this!

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And it was darn good!

I met up with some fellow Flickrers at Bobby J’s in downtown GR Thursday night. It was a fun evening.

Though a lot of my friends would find this hard to believe, based on my very talkative and sometimes very loud nauture, I can be pretty shy when meeting new people. This is especially true when I have to arrive somewhere solo. In the past I would even skip those types of things. It was easier to decline than to deal with my nerves.

I guess I’ve grown out of that a bit. But I’m still perturbed with myself for not migrating to the other end of the table afterward to catch up with the nice folks down there who were out of earshot. Something I’d absolutely do with my current friends in the same situations. Instead, I stayed put and chatted with my neighbors, which was fun in itself. I got to know Terry, Katie, Tommy and Andy a lot better. But then I missed out on talking with Matt, Rick, Brad and Scot. The middle of the table is definitely the place to be.

Why do I love my book club?

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My contribution: pumpkin walnut focaccia with gruyere cheese

Because those girls can cook!

Patti made chicken curry salad a la San Chez.
Gina made braised fennel.
Molly made a fun and yummy salad.
Sarah made stuffed mushrooms.
Laurel made a pumpkin torte.

Alas, we spent just a few minutes discussing the book, but we all really enjoyed it. Just not enough to stop digging into the food and catching up with each other.

Leftovers with a happy ending

On Thursday I had what I thought were going to be a couple of hot projects I had to rush home for. You know, the kind where someone calls today and wants it tomorrow. So I shagged out of my on-site gig right at noon and rushed home. I knew I’d have to grab a bite of lunch and I had just the thing waiting in the refrigerator: leftover pasta fresca from Noodles & Co.

With my hand on the refrigerator handle, my life concerning leftovers suddenly flashed before my eyes. My husband is notorious for grabbing whatever helpless item is in there and gobbling it down. I’ve rooted around for the rest of my burrito or the night before’s dinner and come up empty. On many occasions. If it’s not nailed down, he’ll eat it.

I felt a sudden surge of fear because I was totally craving that pasta. I’d been plotting my lunch all morning, proud of myself for forsaking another run at take-out on the drive home and saving money.

So I said, out loud, “If he ate my pasta, I’m going to kick his ass.” (And now all you readers of my recent post will realize that not all of my talking to myself is of the cheerful sort.)

I scanned the shelves and, miraculously, there it was! Hooray!

And then I discovered something even more miraculous. Inside another container in close proximity resided chicken apple sausage and green peppers that he must have cooked up the night before when I was out. Can you say “perfect pasta topper”???

“Oh, yay! Now I don’t want to kick his ass, I want to kiss him.”

(No, I’m not making that up. I really did say those things out loud.)

The making of BAM*

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*Big Ass Meatballs, as they were dubbed by me and my friend Amy this afternoon. I was describing them to her and it just seemed fitting. Although Rachel Ray certainly came up with a more acceptable title when she originated this recipe, but who am I to follow the rules?

Made ’em for dinner last night. They’re topped with a cheese sauce and I paired them with fettucini and pine nuts. (Again with the pine nuts!) Pretty darn good, although Scott and I chuckled because a serving calls for three. Hello! That’s like eating three turkey burgers. These babies are huge!

And no indecent balls jokes, people.

Ahhhh…breakfast!

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Toasted oatmeal with raisins and apples…and a Halloween napkin

This was soooo easy to make. And soooo good.

I used to hate oatmeal. When I was at Camp Merrie Wood, they had a rule in the caf. You had to take three bites of everything before you could leave the table. I HATED oatmeal day. I would heap mounds of brown sugar and syrup on top and scrunch up my face as I ate those dreaded bites. It was just gross.

But I’ve learned, as an adult (well, as a more mature adult), that trying things a second or third time can sometimes change your mind. Many of those no-way foods from childhood are now in my kitchen. I’ve even, way late in the game, started eating some fish. I still can’t get my head around mushrooms, though.

Feeding my bread addiction

I pop in at a local coffee shop on my way to work some mornings. (Heath bar mocha with soy, no whip.) Just a few weeks ago I noticed a new enterprise would soon be sharing the plaza. Great Harvest Bread Co.

I have to say that this pleases me.

I’m a total bread fanatic. I sometimes find the pre-meal bread baskets at certain restaurants to be more exciting than the entree. And after taking a pottery class several years ago, I learned to appreciate the kneading of bread dough, which is very similar to wedging your clay. It’s a soothing, relaxing thing to stand at my kitchen counter and manipulate the yeasty dough. Especially with a good CD popped in for accompaniment.

I’m not, obviously, that worried about carbs. Because I could not live without fresh-baked bread. Really!

We have some great local bakeries that make some incredibly yummy artisan breads. I’m a frequent visitor, for sure. Yet none of them are so conveniently located on the route of my morning drive. So I was pretty darn excited to push open the doors of Great Harvest this morning, during opening week, and plunk down some cash for the Nine-Grain loaf. This, I fear, could become an addiction to rival my thrice-weekly mocha fix.

Parmesan chicken strips

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I’m not at all crazy about this photo, but the food was tasty

My husband and I have spent many evenings slaving over dinner only to watch the kiddo play with his food. It’s to be expected. And it’s not always because the food isn’t to his liking. But it’s fun when you hit on something that he’ll devour. These chicken strips were right up his alley. They’re coated in oats and Parmesan and baked. I’ll be making them again soon.

The slaw, on the other hand, didn’t seem too high on his list, although he did pick up a raisin, eat it and exclaim, “Devin like it!” I’ll just keep trying, though. I’ll have him eating those veggies in no time.

Dinner in 15 minutes

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Tomato and Goat Cheese Pizza. Inspired by fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. With enough left over for lunch tomorrow. I must be feeling slightly better if I’m in the mood to cook. I’m heading to bed early, though, to catch up on the sleep I’ve been missing this week. Wish me luck!