11/3/10

NaNoWriMo

My best friend, and (I think) biggest fan, told me about this.

I'm a couple days late, but what the heck. *nods*
I could do this.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Turkey Burgers Taste Good

Wow, my blog is pretty much about anything, huh?

Go go, Turkey Burger recipe!

Turkey Burgers Taste Good
1 lb ground turkey, thawed
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp French Onion Soup Mix
1 Medium Egg
Salt & Pepper

Mash all together like meatloaf, then spoon into patties in hot frying pan.  Make sure to cook thoroughly - no pink, medium rare lovers; this ain't beef! Serve on a bun with favey toppings.
These are juicy and yummy.  Enjoy!

10/4/10

Recipes! Pamper Yourself

Katy's pamper-evening includes one home-made manicure!!!

First - put on your "comfort" t.v. show or movie - or play some music low in the background.

Start with a creamy, warm soak.
Warm some milk or mixture of milk and water in a bowl.  Make it as warm as you can stand it, but not scalding hot. If you have a little honey, add it to the bowl also.  Soak your hands, maybe even elbows, until the water feels cool.

Then...

Scrub away the years.
Combine olive oil and sugar in equal parts. If you have essential oils add a drop or two of lavender or rose. If not, it will just smell like olive oil, no biggie.  Gently "wash" hands and elbows with the mixture, rinse thoroughly, and blot dry on the softest towel you can find.

Manicures are easy.
Use cuticle cream to remove cuticles or push them back with an orange stick. Apply lotion liberally and watch Hand Massage: Do It While You View It. Clean well under nails. Remove oils from nails with nail polish remover or dish soap and water. Shape with a file. Use a 3 sided buffer to shine them up or apply a layer of clear polish.

Relax.
You deserved this little pampering moment.

9/27/10

A Recipe! Breakfast Popovers


Breakfast Popovers (makes 10)

1 can refrigerated biscuits (10 count - great value works)
1/3 roll of Bob Evan's pork sausage
4 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Spray Pam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray 10 cups in a muffin tin. 
Smash one biscuit down into the bottom of each of 10 cups.
Brown the sausage in a pan and then, using a spoon, distribute evenly into the 10 cups on top of the biscuits.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt & pepper, and maple syrup.
Distribute evenly into each of the 10 cups on top of the other items.
Bake 13-15 minutes until they have "popped up" and look fluffy and golden.
Allow to cool slightly and separate sides from pan with a knife.
Eat slightly warmed.  This is easy fingerfood!

Nutritional Information : 1 Popover
125 calories
4.3 g fat
5.2 g protein
12 g carbohydrates

Enjoy!


9/15/10

Talk Like a Cajun Pirate!!!

This Saturday (the day before Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept. 19th) I will be venturing out in full regalia to the Pirate Festival in Wentzville, Missouri.

Here's their website - I will definitely post some pics here and on Facebook afterwards.
http://www.renstl.org/
(See left side bar for Pirate Festival information.)


Then, if I play my cards right, I may get treated to Rajin' Cajun restaurant in Alton, Illinois!

If I do get so lucky as to get my hands drippy with creole crawfish boil, you can COUNT on a review here!
Besides opening my mouth wide to shovel in the fabulous fare, you might catch a few pics of me singing at this piano bar.
Take a look - http://www.ragincajunpianobar.net/late_night_restaurant_alton_il.html

Check back with you soon!

Sub-Series: Restaurant Reviews - LemonGrass


LemonGrass Vietnamese Cuisine
http://www.lemongrass-rest.com/
South Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO

I'm going to start with pictures and names of the various meals my family ordered.  My step-dad was kind enough to foot the bill for lunch so I'm not sure on the total cost, but the website does have a menu with prices listed.  It's fairly inexpensive, I think.


Appetizer: Vietnamese Pancake (Pan seared rice flour crepes filled with shrimp, chicken and beansprouts served with lettuce and cilantro, dipped in lemon sauce.)

Me adding herbs to my Medium Rare Beef Rice Noodle Soup (Pho Tai).

Mom & Jim shared Chicken Rice In Hot Pot (Com Tay Cam Ga)

My brother enjoyed Vermicelli Noodles With Char Broiled Chicken (Bun Ga Nuong), which had vermicelli noodles with char broiled chicken marinated in minced lemongrass and vegetables, served in lemon sauce.

Wow! That was a lot of items and pictures!
I will only review the entrees I tasted myself.

Price: When you just want a simple meal, try LemonGrass for $5-10 deals.

Appetizer: A delightful mix of chewy crunchy; veggies, eggs, meats, and spicy sauce cure the munchies.

Rice Pot Entree: Standard fare for asian food; tastes like takeout. Not for adventurous palates - much too gray. Waiter suggested, but why? Nothing special.

Beef Rice Noodle Soup: At first bite, hearty and warm. Rice noodles slurpy and comforting. Add cilantro, basil, and spice; *watch out* this soup gets extra nice!

Service: Note to spicy-food-servers; keep the drinks filled! Other than that, friendly as can be. I even learned a little Vietnamese!

Ambiance: Quiet and clean-cut. Rows of tables seem crowded, but are amply spaced once seated. “Less is more” d├ęcor showcases the signature food.

Overall: Grand is a nice stroll and this hot stop will refuel you for the crazed trip to international food coop across the street. Get the Pho Tai.

8/25/10

Sub-Series: Restaurant Reviews - Zapata's

Overall Rating

Zapata's
Collinsville, IL

Well I was just too starving when we got there and decided on drinks and the buffet to even think to take pictures.  Here's the review, nonetheless!

Food selection consisted of sweet corn cake, mini chicken chimichanga, salsa and chips, and custom taco salad.  For dessert, also from the buffet, we shared a plate of cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.

Total After Tip: $29 (three lunch buffets & three foutain beverages)

Price: When you have a grumbling tummy, go here for a lunch that's cheap and yummy!

Food: A plethora of choices leaves you with a warm taco-seasoning-feeling. Salsa was ole, pico holy moly, beans, rice, cheese, and beef chichichi!

Service & Ambiance: Drinks refilled religiously, plates cleared repeatedly, atmosphere savory, decorations celebratory!

I recommend for a quick, delicious, filling and inexpensive lunch!

New Restaurant Review Soon - Meanwhile...

So I'm hoping that while my friend, Ron, is in town that we can all go out to some neat St. Louis eatery!

Stay tuned for a review!

Meanwhile - check out the cute kitten that I would like to make mine <3
Will take name suggestion, but I might be thinking of calling him "Socks" or "Boots" because of the white on his paws.  Also buying 1 year supply of allergy meds :)

8/11/10

Not a Winner

Well, this is the dreaded post I didn't want to have to write.

I received my "thanks, but no thanks" letter from the Writer's of the Future Contest just last week.  I made my poor mom read it aloud to me on the phone (I had her down as my permanent address).

When I actually looked at the letter it settled in that I didn't make it.  I am proud to say that I made it through two rounds of eliminations before being weeded out.

The standard form letter said that they hoped I had my new story ready to send in for the next quarter, but of course, I don't have one yet.

I still believe in my story, so I think I'm going to look for someone who might be interested in publishing it - even if just in a short story magazine of some sort.

Well, anyway - stay tuned for more adventures in creative writing! :)

8/8/10

Sub-Series: Restaurant Reviews - Aroy Thai

 Overall Rating

Aroy Thai
O'Fallon, IL

Mango Mai Thai

From left to right: Basil infused rice paper wrapped spring rolls, chicken pot stickers, fried prawns, pork egg rolls, crab rangoon.  In the center - hot and sour sauce.
Split Entree: Drunken Noodle
Total After Tip: $45 (cocktail, app, and dinner for two)

Price:  Upscale exotic eats at a domestic price.  Each item was worth it's weight in US Dollars.

Drinks: A perfect Balance of inebriation and lubrication, the classic cocktails quenched the thirst and added to the food's flavor.

Appetizer:  The spicy dip complimented each fresh item and made it come alive on the tongue.The basil burned the buds!

Entree: Wide, slurpy noodles coated with rich brown gravy topped with chopped veggies stir fried soft. Double up on smokey chicken for two.

Service:  Fantastic form! If your item was ready, it arrived regardless of your assigned waiter. Unlike some ethnic spots, English was fluent.

Ambiance: Quaint, quiet, cultured and classy.  Modern feel to warm environment with distinct Asian influence.

Overall: If you don't mind the heat, find yourself soon in this kitchen - every item was savory and scintillating!

8/2/10

Sub-series: Restaurant Reviews - Easy Buffet

Overall Rating

Easy Buffet
Across from Southwestern Illinois College
Belleville, IL

From Left to Right: Variety of stir-fried dishes including chicken and pork, beef short ribs, fried scallop, lo-mein noodles, vegetable egg roll, assortment of sushi, and wasabi-spiced soy sauce.

Total After Tip: Not sure! (My step-dad bought for us all! Thanks, Jim!)
If I had to guess it would be in the vicinity of $12.

Price: Even though it was free for me this time, I have gone in the past and considered the wide variety available a steal for the low buffet cost.

Food: Flavorful, colorful, fresh and hot; an excellent experience. Wide variety of sushi, fried, stir-fried, and dessert items up the delish factor.

Service: Reminiscent of an “it takes a village” attitude; our cups stayed full, our plates cleared, and all with smiles from the entire wait staff.

Ambiance: It seemed cafeteria-crowded, but the efficient use of space allowed for comfortable dining quarters and the black tiled floors were classy.

Overall: Convenient for Belleville residents and SWIC students, I recommend this newcomer buffet for a quick meal that will satisfy with variety.


7/28/10

Photograph

Someone asked me if the photograph of my lunch yesterday was taken by me or simply downloaded from Waffle House's website.

Much to my pleasure, I got to respond that I was the one who took the picture!

I've heard exciting news that I'll be receiving a digital SLR camera sometime later this year (for a holiday gift) and I cannot TELL you how stoked I am about this.  It's been a long time since I've had a really nice camera to fiddle with (point and shoot is good, but this will be much more flexible) and the last time it was a 35mm film camera I borrowed from my step-dad for a college photography class.

We got to develop our own film and make our own prints in the school's dark room, which was absolutely fantastic - a learning experience!

Now, I'm going to have the capability to have my very own darkroom on my desktop!
So - hopefully - I'll be posting some more of my creative works once I get my new toy!

No restaurant review today - time to eat leftovers for lunch to save a penny or two, but stay tuned for a weekend post.  I will be spending a couple days this weekend with my parents, brother, and son, and am sure that we'll be dining out at some point!

7/27/10

Sub-series: Restaurant Reviews - Waffle House

So, we all know the star rating system.  Similarly, I'll be using the ice cream cone system.  Out of five delicious ice cream cones (1 being relative to fat free, low-cal store brand fake-vanilla ice cream and 5 being hand-scooped, freshly made, candy-loaded, full-fat custard) I will let you know how each restaurant stands up.  I'm going to limit each description to the length of a Tweet, 140 characters, so as to not bore you to death!

Overall Rating:

Waffle House           
Collinsville, IL

From Left to Right: Two Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Hash Browns Scattered Smothered Covered Diced and Capped, and a Coke

Total After Tip $12
Price: Reasonable for a completely filling meal with leftovers.  I'm sort of a generous tipper; could've left a dollar less for the same service.

Food: Hash browns were deliciously crunchy, evenly shredded and topped well. The open, grill-toasted biscuits swam in delightfully creamy gravy.

Service: Uniformed staff choreographed their cramped movements with a friendly air. Code rang out: Ring a scattered, covered, chopped...for table one!
Ambiance: Clean-cut traditional diner filled with sweet pecan waffle smells that linger all the way back to your desk. Twist at your counter stool!

Overall: I sincerely recommend this reformed greasy-spoon to any nooner, diner, or late-nighter! Enjoy!