what up wednesdays

just a few things I’ve been up to lately……
I missed posting sunday suppers this week. I’m sorry. I could blame it on my excitement for the Game of Thrones premiere but in reality it’s because I’m still dealing with a health issue that renders me unable to want to get out of bed and literally has made my brain go to mush out of sheer frustration at the fact that I can’t get relief or help for wtf is wrong with me. I’m a medical mystery. For real, you may see me on one of those TV shows about nobody being able to figure out what’s wrong with the person. I’ve been dealing with this for over 9 months and I really and truly could just cry every day. It’s seriously affecting me mentally, emotionally, and physically.
So now that I’ve dumped that shit on you, let’s talk TV! Game of Thrones I really liked even though most of the internet didn’t. And everyone is just obsessed with Meilssandre’s saggy old lady boobs. I’m really liking The Girlfriend Experience on Starz. It took about 4 episodes but I’m totally digging it now. I’m watching The Real Housewives of New York because of Bethenny. She can be a lil annoying but I admire her for her business and she’s a total go getter and she motivates me to want to do better and just go 500% at all times(meanwhile I’m lucky if I can get out of bed). I tried watching the Real Housewives of Dallas but it literally put me to sleep 2 nights in a row. Maybe I was just really tired? We are thinking about giving Fear the Walking Dead a try because we have had a few people and the internet say that this season is much better. Any thoughts?
Books- I’m reading The Summer Garden which is the 3rd book in The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paulina Simmons. I loved loved loved the first book, The Bronze Horseman that I talked about last summer and the 2nd book Tatiana and Alexander was really good but really hard to read because of a lot of war content which I have a hard time with. I started the 3rd book this fall but put it down for awhile to read some “lighter” books. As in not such deep depressing content and literally lighter because it’s 776 pages long. Totally don’t want to put it down now. My happy place for the moment is taking a long bath with a glass of wine and reading The Summer Garden.
It was my Dad’s birthday on Friday so we had a happy hour for him. Some snacks and some cocktails. I made a cheese board. It was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

I had grapes too but forgot to put them in the picture
I had grapes too but forgot to put them in the picture
Nero said "hey lis, can I borrow your car keys?"
Nero said “hey lis, can I borrow your car keys?”

toasted almond coffee with vanilla whipped cream & toasted sugared almonds

This coffee is like dessert in a cup.
toasted almond coffee
This drink is actually inspired by a famous dessert made by a Pittsburgh bakery-Prantl’s burnt almond torte. Actually named the greatest cake in America by The Huffington Post. I would have to agree. Now, I’m not a big cake eater. I’m a pie girl. But years ago I had the pleasure of trying this cake when I worked at a job where we would celebrate everyone’s birthday with presents and cake. The burnt almond torte was the most requested cake for everyone’s birthday. My favorite part was the sugared toasted almonds on the outside of the cake on top of the buttercream icing.
toasted almond coffee
So the toasted almond drink is kinda like a white Russian which is vodka+Kahlua+cream. The toasted almond is amaretto+kahlua+cream. The name “toasted almond” made me think of the almonds on the burnt almond torte and instead of trying to recreate the cake I tried to make it into a drink. Because you know how I like to turn everything into a cocktail.
toasted almond coffee
The vanilla whipped cream melts pretty fast on the top of the hot coffee but then it gives the coffee the cream that makes it a toasted almond drink. If you like a lot of cream in your coffee, you can always add a little bit and let the melted whipped cream finish it off. If you don’t eat the sugared almonds fast enough, they sink to the bottom of the coffee. I just use my spoon and eat them like cereal before I drink my coffee. I know that sounds weird but it works. And tastes so gosh darn good.
vanilla whipped cream
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, I made this coffee with my homemade amaretto.
toasted almond coffee
Toasted almond coffee with vanilla whipped cream and toasted sugared almonds
2/3 cup hot coffee
1 oz amaretto
1 oz Kahlua
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBL vanilla sugar (regular sugar works just as well, if you don’t have vanilla sugar)
1/4 cup water
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup+1 Tbl coarse sugar (I use sugar in the raw)
Add amaretto and Kahlua to hot coffee. Top with vanilla whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted sugared almonds.
vanilla sugar
with an electric mixer, beat 1 cup whipping cream with 1 TBlsp vanilla sugar. I get my vanilla sugar from Penzy’s. Beat until stiff peaks are formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
toasted sugared almonds
In a bowl combine 1/4 cup water, 1 cup sliced almonds, and 1/2 cup coarse sugar. Mix well and spread on a grease baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. As soon as almonds come out of the oven, sprinkle with 1 Tbl coarse sugar. Let cool and break into pieces.
toasted almond coffee
This coffee is seriously addicting. I’ve made it several times already and crave it everyday. And the toasted sugared almonds are like candy and I can’t stop eating them.

what up wednesdays

just a few things I’ve been up to lately…..

I worked an odd weekend afternoon shift at the club where I bartend. It was a beautiful day out so I wasn’t very busy. I literally had only 1 customer for the first 2 hours of my shift, but it was one of my favorite customers. Her name is Mary and she’s somewhere around 80 yrs old and she is the sweetest, most feistiest little old lady you’d ever wanna meet. Her and her husband used to come into the club a few times a week for a few drinks in the afternoon before dinner. Her husband passed away a few years ago and Mary still likes to come in for a few beers in the early afternoon. She was a whiskey drinker but now she just sticks with beer. So whenever I work, especially if it’s in the afternoons, I always have The Food Network on 1 of the several TV’s we have in the place. This prompts a lot of conversation about food and recipes which is right up my alley. So Mary and I always talk recipes and she’s given me a few good ones in the past plus she gets to reminiscence about her husband because he was a pretty good cook himself. Over the weekend Mary gave me a cookbook from her collection and even signed it on the inside. It’s not an old cookbook but it’s one she’s made several recipes out of and really liked. It was an awesome gift and I just love her to pieces.

The cookbook Mary gave to me
The cookbook Mary gave to me
She even signed the inside
She even signed the inside

TV talk! There isn’t any. If we are hanging out and the TV is on, we have either had baseball on or the hockey playoffs or Ridiculousness. Game of Thrones starts this sunday so we’re kind of excited about that.

I mentioned Food Network before and I had to laugh at this Boozy Pies Inspired by Classic Cocktails. Totally right up my alley(sorry, that’s the second time I used that phrase). They even have a margarita pie like the one I made here. I think I may have to try the mudslide pie or maybe the dark and stormy pie…

I made some m&m cookies over the weekend
cookies
Unfortunately they were gone before I could remember to take the “after” picture. Oops.

So what have you been up to lately? Any good books or must see tv?

painted mason jars and a messy desk

We’re crafting and organizing today!! Just trying something different. Hope you don’t mind.
painted mason jars
I have a ton of mason (canning) jars especially since my friend George gave me a shitload when he cleaned out his garage. Some of them are really old and there’s even vintage lids and seals. I do some of my own canning and I also use mason jars as everyday drink ware but I still had loads of jars and was so excited to try out this Martha Stewart craft project-mason jars turned vintage décor vases. And in case we just met-Hello, my name is Lisa and I love LOVE love Martha Stewart. So I couldn’t wait to try her craft project.
painted mason jars
I bought her vintage décor paint in spring lilac and the vintage décor clear wax from Michael’s craft store. I have to admit though, the lilac color is very pale. Not as purple as I was hoping for. Actually looks white. But, I paired it with my giant purple mason jar/candle my friend George made me and you can see some “lilac” color in my painted jars.
painted mason jars
After applying 2 coats of paint, I used sandpaper to give them a distressed look. Then you wipe off the jars and apply the clear wax.
painted mason jars
So these painted mason jars were also my attempt at organizing and “prettying” (is that a word?) up my desk. I’m all about aesthetics and my desk was a mess.
messy desk
But then I read an article in the newspaper where they cited a 2013 study by University of Minnesota researches that found that cluttered space is more conducive to creative thinking. And Albert Einstein is credited for saying, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” So I thought, “oh cool, I’m good.” Until I realized that I can’t think straight unless my “clutter” is a little more organized. And Pretty. So that’s where these painted mason jars come into play. One holds my pens and the other holds pretty flowers.
no messy desk
painted mason jars
The cool shoe painting was a bday gift from my sister from one of her trips to NYC. Pretty cool huh? And it goes so well with my little purple theme I have going on.
painted mason jars
Now that it’s all pretty, purple and organized, I guess that means I have to get back to work. No more excuses!

sunday suppers

Tonight’s sunday suppers is brought to you by a steak and goat cheese hoagie. Or sub. Or grinder. Or sandwich. Or whatever you want to call it. I loaded it up with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Topped it off with a little mozzarella cheese and baked it in the oven. Oh yeah. And I served it with some sweet potato fries(not homemade).
steak hoagie
So I’ve never had an authentic Philly cheesesteak sub. I think I may put that on my bucket list. Go to Philadelphia and eat a Philly cheesesteak. Not that my steak sub with goat cheese resembles a Philly cheesesteak, I just always think of that whenever I eat a steak sandwich.
steak sub
I made my steak subs in steps. I first sautéed the peppers in olive oil in my cast iron skillet. Then added the onions. Then added the mushrooms. After they were almost finished, I added the banana peppers that were from a jar. I set the whole mixture aside to cool slightly.
steak hoagie
I sliced my steak into strips and added them to the cast iron skillet. I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper and worcestershire sauce. Once the steak strips are cooked through, I added about 4oz of goat cheese.
steak
I piled everything on top of store bought bolillo rolls, topped it off with some mozzarella cheese, and baked them in the oven for about 7-8 minutes until the cheese was all melty and gooey.
steak subs
I also made my food for the week which is just a repeat of the last few weeks. Breakfast casserole, turkey meatballs, and bbq chicken and sweet potatoes. I was able to throw all of this together while the peppers and onions were sauteeing and then threw everything in the oven to bake while we were eating our subs. Super simple and fast.
Steak and goat cheese subs
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
8oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sliced banana pepper rings from a jar
6oz goat cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound thin steak, cut into strips
2Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
4 bolillo rolls or sandwich buns of your choice
mayonnaise, optional
In a cast iron skillet or regular skillet heat 1 Tbl olive oil and add peppers. Once they start to soften slightly, add onions. Continue cooking over medium heat until onions start to soften. Then add mushrooms to the mixture and continue cooking. Add banana peppers and mix together. Set aside.
In same skillet add 1 Tbl olive oil and steak strips. Add 1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Once steak is cooked through, add 4 oz of goat cheese and stir until melted. Cut rolls in half and place on baking sheet. Top bottom half of rolls with steak and pepper/onion/mushroom mixture. Add a little bit more goat cheese and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. I like to put mayo on my subs but that is optional.
steak subs