It’s Summer

Happy summer solstice!

The past few days, the weather has been ideal here in the city of brotherly love.  Highs in the 80s.  Not too humid.  Just right.  That may all change in the blink of an eye, so I thought I should go out after work and enjoy it.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I ran errands.  Went to the wholesale big box warehouse to get fixings for a salad I’m taking to a crab boil tomorrow.  Swept floors at home.  I did get the new CDs from J. Cole and Kanye.  And a mediocre milkshake.

One of the best things about summer is the DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince classic, Summertime.  This song always makes me grin from ear to ear.  The lyrics are still relevant needing a break from all the out-of-control poppin’ songs, nostalgia sparked by summer scents, maximum frontin’.  Yes I said frontin’.  And now that I live in Philly, it feels a little more special that I have been to the Plateau and recognize sights from the video.

So on this official start to the summer, enjoy my very favorite song of the season.



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The Trashy Truth- Salted Peanuts…. Shells

The other night my mom fussed at me about not calling her enough.  It had been over a week, which is longer than normal, but it felt like the week went by kinda fast.  Manchild and I closed on a house on Good Friday and are going to vacation next week.  So we were trying to get things in order.  Not to mention a wedding I have yet to make any final decisions on… but goal is this week (we’ll see about that).

My mom asked if I was cooking today, as it was Sunday.  I hadn’t planned on it.  I made a quiche the night before (post on that coming), but I knew that was not going to satisfy manly dinner grumblings.  The chicken I took out the freeze wasn’t quite defrosted.  “Can’t you de-frost in the microwave?”  Sure, but clearly I was being lazy, because I called Manchild to see what we were going to do.  We decided on Five Guys.

For those unfamiliar, Five Guys has basically four menu items- burgers, hot dogs, fries… maybe grilled cheese.  A number of toppings are available.  It’s a deliciously fattening place.

They also have salted roasted shelled peanuts to snack on.




I am not a big peanut fan.  I prefer other, healthier nuts for my snacks like almonds or cashews.  But I was excited about the peanut shells.  I love to suck the salt from the shell.  Sometimes I will even eat a few shells.  Manchild told me that is real low budget.

It is.

I can’t really think of a non-food comparison for texture.  I thought cardboard at first, but I imagine that’s not crunchy enough.  Peanut shells are probably the ultimate roughage though… so yay for my colon (maybe). Boo for my sodium intake.






photo credit: <a href=””>D.Clow – Maryland</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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Irish Soda Bread

I’m not Irish, but I love bread.  Actually I just plain love carbs, especially the Beelzebub of the food world white carbs.  White bread, white potatoes, pasta.  Surprisingly not white rice, I prefer brown.

I am attempting to incorporate more whole wheat into my diet.  But I don’t like whole wheat pasta.  It is just not right.  And whole wheat bread can sometimes be dense, dry and flavorless.  So I am making a personal compromise.  Like with this recipe.  Instead of using all white flour, I substituted half for whole wheat flour.

Also I have given up alcohol for lent.  I didn’t realize how many opportunities I have to drink.  At home with dinner, or dinner out with friends.  Happy hour with coworkers.  Celebrating good news or toasting to lost loved ones.  I say all this to maybe explain why I chose to plump the raisins for the bread in Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey and water, as opposed to just water.

I really like this recipe.  It is from my coworker Molly.  And it is super tasty with salted butter.  Yummy!  Butter is something I will never give up or substitute.

Irish Soda Bread
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 3 ½ cup flour (I used ½ white flour, ½ whole wheat flour sifted)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz raisins (plumped, I used a water/whiskey mixture)
  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk
  • Slightly less than 1 stick butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Drain liquid from raisins and add to flour mixture. Stir until coated.
  4. Add butter melted.
  5. Add buttermilk.
  6. Place on wax paper.
  7. Knead dough, adding flour, till dough does not stick to your hand.
  8. Place dough into 9 in frying pan
  9. Bake for 45 minutes till golden brown. (Check at 40 minutes .)
  10. When done, flip it out and let it sit.


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The Caries Diary

I have caries… dental caries, also know as a cavities.  It’s actually one cavity and another two to keep an eye on.

I’m devastated.

This is my first cavity.  I’m in my early thirties, so I know I have had a good run.  But I think it hurts my ego more that anything.

I went to a new dentist yesterday.  I have not been since summer 2011.  My follow-up in January 2012 was cancelled because of flooding in the office.  They never called to reschedule, but I didn’t either and thought to just postpone until the following summer.  When I called to make an appointment, my voice message wasn’t returned.  The office up and closed.

It is not fun looking for a new provider, even a dentist.  You have to see if they are covered by your dental insurance, if you have any.  They think about a location to look in… by work, by home?  Maybe search reviews online.

I love the dentist (and I think I lucked out with my new find).   You come out with smooth, glittering, clean teeth.  Fresh breath.  Maybe some goodies.  What’s not to love?  Also I have good check ups.  I loved going because I knew nothing would really be wrong.  Everything would be status quo.  Manchild said it is positive reinforcement.  It totally is.

It was the last physical frontier that I was holding onto.  I got my first pair of glasses twenty years ago, so the eyes are shot.  I’m not a flexible or trim as I used to be (with the same minimal effort).  But my teeth… they were my one last ‘A’.

And now it is gone.

My initial thought was ‘damn that hippie toothpaste’.  I have been using Trader Joe’s toothpaste for about 1 1/2 years.  It’s natural and isn’t jaw-clenching sweet like most others.  But I don’t think it’s the toothpaste.  It has fluoride.  Maybe not enough?  I don’t really know.

Now I will, of course, be ultra-obsessed with dental hygiene.  Brushing and flossing after meals, not just twice daily.  And maybe I should use Listerine, even though it seems to have the alcohol content of whiskey.

I will discuss it with my dentist when I go in for my filling.  My first ever filling.  For my first cavity.   Sigh…

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On Repeat- Omarion ‘M.I.A.’

I am currently OB-sessed with this song.

When I first listened to the words, I thought ‘Oh no O, what happened? Why’d she leave?’…  He’s sad, trying to numb the pain with alcohol, fill the void with other women.  However, if you listen too close, you may notice it is not the deepest song ever, and could be a little contradictory.  (He loves this woman but has another basically waiting in line…)

Then I watched video.

Um, sir, you cheated.  Hell yeah she should be M.I.A.

Ultimately, I could care less about the fact that he is a jerk in the song/video.  And of course the video is a misogynistic with the ladies in the lingerie.  But the song has a sexy, chill feel.  It has Wale.  I think it falls in line with being ‘sophisatrachet’.

What’s even better…. it’s available as a free download!  Below is a link of Omarion’s EP.  Some of the songs are mehhhhh, but all that matters is ‘M.I.A.’ is on there.

Alright in the playlist.


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The Trashy Truth- Stale Popcorn

This is the first of a series where for some reason I have decide to divulge less than desirable likes, habits, traits, etc.

With the end of the movie awards season coming to a close Sunday with the Academy Awards, I have been trying to pack in as much culture as possible.  I mean I should want to see Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty right?  These are the critically acclaimed pictures that sophisticated people go see and then discuss.  I shouldn’t waste my time with low-class movies like A Haunted House.

Honestly, I really want to see all the above and more.  I like going to the show (as Midwesterners say).  But ticket prices are getting a little ridiculous.  I mean the other weekend, I was in Atlanta and when I treated my mom to Argo and forgot to ask for a senior ticket I got a little mad at myself.  Yes I only would have saved $1 but it’s the principle.

With the expensive admission, I tend to skip the snack (see saving $1 above).  But when I went to see Lincoln last weekend, I treated myself with a medium popcorn with butter.  Lots ‘o’ butter.  I purposely didn’t eat it all.  I wanted to eat it the next day, when it would knowingly be stale.

I really thoroughly enjoy stale, buttered, salted popcorn.  I think I inherited this from my mother.  It’s so yummy.  It’s a shameful, trashy treat.  And this time I think I heard a little squeak when I was eating it.  Like if I had chewed on styrofoam… it sounds horribly disgusting as I try to describe it.  But I love it!  Nom nom nom.





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Pet Peeve- Elevator Riders



I haven’t experienced this in a long time, but it happened last week.  I was taking the elevator from the 7th floor down to the 2nd.  My friends and I stepped into a car with about 5 other people.  One friend got off at 5.  A lady sighed ‘Oh it skipped 6.’  She didn’t get off.

I guess she was just planning to ride until it made its last stop and ride back up.  Why didn’t she just get off at 5 and take the stairs one flight?  In my judgement, laziness.

When I originally thought about this pet peeve, I thought about people who get on an elevator, knowing it’s not going in the direction they want and actually say ‘Oh I’m a just ride’.

What? No.  Just wait until it comes back.  The elevator is not a ride at an amusement park.  It’s coming back, be patient.

But Manchild has a different point of view.  He has seen this happen at his work place, particularly at lunch.  He said during lunch, the elevator can be crowded, so people will get on even if going in the wrong direction, just a have a place.

Hmmmmm… I get it, but it’s still a tad lazy.  Especially for one floor.  My favorite professor told us his ‘One up, two down’ rule.  At the hospital, if your destination is either one floor up or two floors down, take the stairs.

I wholeheartedly believe in this rule.

What are you penny thoughts?  Are you sometimes a rider?


photo credit: <a href=””>telmo32</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

I love chocolate mousse- it is light and airy yet rich, almost buttery from heavy cream.  I have also been known to dog a piece of chocolate cake or two.  This triple chocolate mousse cake seemed like a perfect marriage of the two.

Triple chocolate mousse cake and ice wine

Triple chocolate mousse cake and ice wine

I have avoided making this cake for a least one year.  My co-worker friend made it for her anniversary (or maybe hubby’s birthday) and brought in a couple of pieces for me.  I died.  She made it again for their housewarming.  This time Manchild, my beloved, (a moniker he came up with in high school) had a chance to taste.  He is not a fatty about desserts but he loved it.

She warned me, it was rather labor intensive.  I prefer lazy desserts… brownies and blondies are one pot wonders.  Cakes are pretty simple too.  But cookies…ehhh.  Pies….uhhhh.  Too much work.

Cake with cocoa

Cake with cocoa

But I had to make this mousse cake.

Last month was our anniversary.  I thought this was a special enough occasion to make it.

Cake and ice wine

Cake and ice wine

It did take a couple of hours, but it was more than worth it.  It was rich, intense, smooth and delicious.

Next time I will smooth out the edges with a large knife or offset spatula, to get those purty pics.   But this was very tasty as is.  We enjoyed it very much!

  • Base layer-
  • 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ¾ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs, room tempature and separated
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt
  • ⅓ packed (2⅓ oz) light brown sugar, crumbled to remove lumps
  • Middle layer-
  • 5 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • Top layer-
  • ¾ tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 6 oz white chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1½ cups heavy cream chilled
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving (optional)
  1. For base layer
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch wide round springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla; set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites gently until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (center will spring back when pressed gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. The cake will collapse when it cools. Do not remove cake from pan.
  5. For middle layer
  6. Combine hot water and cocoa powder in a small bowl; set aside. In a large heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly 2 to 5 minutes.
  7. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 2 to 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.
  8. For top layer
  9. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, stir in gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).
  10. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  11. Garnish the top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa powder.



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On Repeat- Washed Out ‘Feel It All Around’

Long time no post…. holidays, vacation, laziness, blah blah…

With the new year comes a new season of a show I really like, ‘Portlandia’.  It stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, you know the non-distinct ethnic guy from SNL that has played Obama to a Native American and every nationality in between. This comedy sketch show is hilarious.  It pokes fun at Portland residents and those like them.  I call them the Subaru crowd.  The crunchy, granola, Teva wearing, recycling police, reusable grocery bag only, co-op members.

I laugh at the show because I am partly one of the crowd.  I try to recycle as much as I can, have at least six reusable bags in my car at all times and belong to a great co-op (that is in walking distance).

I also like the show because of the theme song, ‘Feel It All Around.’  It is a chillwave, downtempo, relaxing tune with simple lyrics.  This is not an official video…from what I can tell there is none.  But I like this visual interpretation of the song, especially when it is 32 degrees outside.

So sit back, relax and feel it all around you.

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Pound cake

My grandmother is a typical Southern woman.  Proud of her cooking and baking.  Thinks nothing any restaurant can make comes close to her cooking.

She really is a great cook and baker.  She used to regularly make birthday cakes for her daughters and us grands.  My mom’s request would be coconut cake, with coconut freshly grated by my grandmother’s antique Moulin grater.  One year my birthday came around and she asked what I wanted.  I said anything but pound cake.  So of course, surprise, she made pound cake.

This is a time that I am happy my grandmother is not computer literate.  What I am about to say would break her heart.


Buttery pound cake

Buttery pound cake

I do not like her pound cake.  But to be fair, I don’t like most pound cake.  It’s usually too dense and at times dry.  Thick, dry cake.  Terrible.  This is not the case for Gussie’s cake.  It has a lemon taste to it.  But there is absolutely no lemon in it.  It’s probably psychological.  Whatever.

One year my cousin gave me a recipe, knowing my issues with pound cake. And, gasp, I really like it.  And so do most of my friends.


Pound cake

Pound cake


This time I decided to make it in loaf pans, just to switch things up.  But I think I will stick with the bundt.  It’s what I am used to.  In fact, I can’t recall my family every making a loaf pound cake.  I am not sure if that’s a regional or cultural thing.


Slices of pound cake


Whatever it is, it’s not natural for me.  To be honest, I thought it tasted different.  But I think that was me being silly.  It was yummy as usually.


Want some?

Want some?


The loaf does make a purty picture though.    Thanks again to Thien for da bomb pictures!

Pound cake
A simple and easy cream cheese pound cake
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese
  2. Add sugar gradually
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mixture may appear curdled.
  4. Add flour gradually. Fold in vanilla.
  5. Place in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cooking times may vary, so check at 5 minute intervals. A cake tester should come out clean.


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