Friday, February 27, 2015

A Science Experiment (Or, Why I'm Never Eating Promise Again)

Every Friday this winter, I've hosted a Coffee Social at work.  Residents come down, pay a buck for coffee and a pastry, and get to do something besides stare at their own walls.  To change it up today, I offered bagels.

Bagels for a crowd is tough if you're using a toaster oven.  Or worse, a toaster.  So I got the idea of toasting them in the oven.  What do you suppose people did before there were toasters, besides eat the bagels soft??  I spread each one with butter and put it in the community room's oven and checked on it after about four minutes.  They all looked golden brown and delicious.  Only I ran out of butter.  And I didn't know if they would toast well with nothing on them.

A woman who lives on the first floor said that she had some, only it was Promise.  In the thick of it, I said sure.  I had several more bagels to toast and didn't want to disappoint anyone.

Here is where the science experiment comes in:  the bagels that were toasted with butter were crisper, and the butter "sank" into the bagel.  The bagels that were toasted with Promise....weren't.  They developed these oil slicks on top and the spread never soaked into the bagel.  I was unfortunate to get a bagel half dressed in Promise, and I can still taste the plastic-y aftertaste two hours later.

The weird thing for me is that I used to buy "buttery spreads" for years, and only in the last five or so have I switched to real butter.  When I was eating stuff like Promise on a regular basis, I didn't notice.  At the time I was also putting Splenda in my coffee and was no stranger to diet soda.  Actually, I am a former Diet Coke addict.  I drank it non-stop for about a year in college.  It was the first thing I bought every morning and I set a can down on my nightstand every night.  I probably drank a 12-pack of diet coke a day, the more that I had the more I wanted.  And I felt like crap.  Quitting was tough, too, the withdrawal headaches were insane!!

So, as far as I'm concerned, these fake butters are never coming in the house again.  I gave up on the Splenda some time ago.  It's best to go with the real things.  I'm not going to go crazy with the "this is real and I'm not eating this anymore" and cut all processed foods out of mine and my family's lives or anything.  I don't have time to make everything from scratch and neither does my husband.  But this is a change that I don't think we'll regret anytime soon.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day at Home

Brian and I aren't big on going out to dinner on V Day.  It was an experience from ten years ago that ruined it....reservations at a well-known Italian restaurant in the city.  Only to have to wait over an hour after our reservation at a crowded bar that was packed tight like sardines.  From then on most of our Valentine's Day dinners have been at home.  I say "most" because one of our best was a hockey game and subs at D'Angelos.  I'm being serious, it was fun and I can't remember what year it was.

So scenes from this year's dinner.  First, let me tell you that the kids had chicken nuggets and mac n cheese in front of the TV.  Anything to keep them happy so we could enjoy our meal and each other's company.

First, bruschetta on pizza crust.  Fresh, garlicky and delightful.  

Then, the main course.  NY strip steak with red wine sauce,  snow crab legs, baked potato and asparagus with parmesan.

And an hour or two later while watching TV, homemade molten chocolate cake with a little vanilla ice cream.

With dinner like that, why go out??  Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Date Night!

On a rare night out, we got out to a Japanese hibachi place for a sushi dinner.  Brian and I hadn't had sushi out in ages! 

When the sashimi dinner came out for him, it was incredible.  This thing was more than anticipated.....this tub - like thing filled with crushed ice, shells and color changing LIGHTS under the ice!  And to top it off, raw tuna arranged into a rosebud.  Almost too pretty to eat.  Almost.   

We walked out of the restaurant very happy and with no appetite for the swanky dessert place two doors down.  Now that is a first.  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Snow-Day Soup

While walking around the grocery store last week I got a weird craving--butternut squash and apple soup.  It was totally the power of suggestion, after hitting the produce aisle.

Then I got the flu and didn't get to making the soup until a week later.  Still, it was hot and delicious and went well with a grilled cheese sandwich for an easy Sunday lunch.  Made enough for the freezer AND sent some to my parents today.  :)