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Courtesy of Cookinglight.com

When I was a little whipper-snapper, all I wanted was a doll that looked like me.  I know what you’re thinking:  a toy-maker could never capture my beauty.  An impossible mission.

Joking aside, I wasn’t all that into the whole Barbie thing, mainly because the gal was a tall, skinny, blue-eyed blonde, and I was, well, pretty much the exact opposite of that:

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Where was I going?  Not sure.  But I was going to be fabulous.

Studies show that girls desire to play with dolls that most mirror themselves, and I was no exeption:  I wanted an olive-skinned, short, dark and curly-haired doll, preferably one with high ambitions and little patience. My poor mother’s best solution was a Native American doll, thinking that the hair and skin would be a closer match than Barbie.

Now, Barbie has launched a new campaign with a wider range of dolls:  there are tall, curvy, and the original skinny B’s with a variety of styles.  But…. what about us average gals?  I know Matel cannot please everyone, but how about a brunette with green eyes, and normal height and weight?  Maybe they thought the most popular combination of female attributes was too obvious…

Anyway, given the way my weight fluctuates the search for the doll in my image is futile.  If they can come up with a doll that is constantly stressed at work, eats like a linebacker, then guilt’s herself into losing the weight a few times a year, I’m game.

Here’s a binge-worthy recipe for you!  I got this recipe from Cooking Light, and it was a HUGE hit at my Superbowl gathering.  I served it slightly warm, with sliced french bread.  Enjoy!


 

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • aluminum foil
  • small pot with lid
  • food processor
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 1 c water
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can of white beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove paper coating from garlic.
  3. Cover garlic with olive oil. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil, and roast for about 12 minutes.
  4. While garlic is roasting, place sun-dried tomatoes and water in a small pot.  Boil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain.FullSizeRender (5)
  5. Remove garlic head from the oven, carefully popping out the cloves from the shells.FullSizeRender (4)
  6. In a food processor, combine all ingredients.  FullSizeRender (3)
  7. Pulse until well-combined.  It should have the consistency of hummus.FullSizeRender (2)
  8. Serve warm with bread.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender (1)

 

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • aluminum foil
  • small pot with lid
  • food processor
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 1 c water
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can of white beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove paper coating from garlic.
  3. Cover garlic with olive oil. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil, and roast for about 12 minutes.
  4. While garlic is roasting, place sun-dried tomatoes and water in a small pot.  Boil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain.
  5. Remove garlic head from the oven, carefully popping out the cloves from the shells.
  6. In a food processor, combine all ingredients.
  7.  Pulse until well-combined.  It should have the consistency of hummus.
  8. Serve warm with bread.  Enjoy!

Parmesan Squash Ribbons

It’s times like this when I wonder why. WHY. Why am I living up north?  I mean seriously, who am I kidding with this bitter-cold misery?

But I like the seasons, I say.  We all say to justify this crazy thing called winter.  Let me tell you something.  I don’t ski or snowboard Snow-shoeing is out of the question and ice-skating is not for me.  I would be all up in the curling business if they brought that to Boston, but alas, we aren’t with it yet.

Do you want to know what my winter sport is?  It’s bundling up with layers upon layers until every inch of skin is covered thrice over, finding the shortest distance to my destination, and making it there without slipping on ice.  I could go pro.

I say all of this, but it’s not all dismal.  Winter is beautiful, and better yet, it’s a chance to cook hot foods 🙂  Soups, stews, boils, bakes… I love it all.  One of my favorite new cooking ventures that warmed my insides both physically and emotionally ironically featured a an out-of-season star:  the summer squash.  Okay, before you rain hate for me buying out of season, let me be clear:  I don’t care.  I buy what I want.  You should too.

So, this dish.  Oh, this dish.  Full disclosure, I ate the entire pot, by myself.  It was that good.  AND, so easy AND FUN to make, that I am actually excited to make it again 🙂  Enjoy, and stay warm!FullSizeRender_1


 

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • veggie peeler (horizontal)
  • knife and cutting board
  • large pot
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • two large summer squash
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • minced garlic to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil (about a tablespoon) in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Place onion into pot, stirring occasionally. IMG_6750
  4. While onion is cooking, create thin ribbons out of your squash by peeling long strands the  length of your squash.  You may need to rotate around your squash.IMG_6748FullSizeRender_2
  5. Place ribbons and garlic into pot and stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until squash is tender.  NOTE:  ADD WATER TO POT IF NEEDED (about 1/4 c).IMG_6751
  6. Remove from heat.  Add parmesan cheese, alt and pepper to taste and stir.IMG_6752
  7. Serve with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!IMG_6754

 


 

Parmesan Squash Ribbons

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • veggie peeler (horizontal)
  • knife and cutting board
  • large pot
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • two large summer squash
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • minced garlic to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil (about a tablespoon) in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Place onion into pot, stirring occasionally.
  4. While onion is cooking, create thin ribbons out of your squash by peeling long strands the  length of your squash.  You may need to rotate around your squash.
  5. Place ribbons and garlic into pot and stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until squash is tender.  NOTE:  ADD WATER TO POT IF NEEDED (about 1/4 c).
  6. Remove from heat.  Add parmesan cheese, alt and pepper to taste and stir.

Superbowl Sliders!

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You know those moments when you are so proud of yourself it’s a little embarrassing? Example: bringing in the groceries last night, I spotted my umbrella in the back of the car. Remembered that it’s going to rain like whoa today, I grabbed it, and then was SO PROUD of myself for having the forethought of grabbing my umbrella to shield my from tomorrow’s rain, rather than cursing it in my groggy morning haze.  I was soon dethroned after climbing my 4 flights of stairs and realizing I left my purse on my front seat of my car.  Way to win, Jenni.

Hey, the SUPERBOWL is this weekend!  Who do you want to win?  The New York Trumps, or the Vermont Sanders?  Oops, wrong sport.  I get those two confused:  they are both blood-bath sports that involve head-bashing all the time, and everyone is trying to figure out if they are that way because they have a concussion or not.

I love football so I will definitely watch, but don’t care who wins.  I will probably hedge a funny bet with my friends on who wins, and I will most certainly P-I-G out.  That’s the best part of the day, right? Well, that and the commercials.

So, what are we going to eat?  Pulled.  Pork.  Sliders.  Yaaaaaaaas.

I made this fool-proof recipe twice in December for large audiences, and it was a huge crowd pleaser.  Ladies and gents, I am about to unleash one of my best recipes I own:  my slow-cooker pulled pork.  This pork is simple, yet so good you will over eat.  I warned you.  I had two different people say it was the best pulled pork they’ve ever had, and I don’t take their opinions lightly.  The secret is to cook on HIGH for at least 6 to 8 hours.  Please, please trust me on this.  Well worth it.  MVP.


Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • slow cooker
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • tongs and forks, for shredding

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-7-lb pork shoulder (aka pork butt, aka picnic cut, aka boston pork)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T paprika
  • 3 T liquid smoke
  • 1 c chicken broth (or water)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pat-dry the pork after removing it from its wrapping.
  2. Mix all spices in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub liberally all over the surface of the pork.FullSizeRender (7)
  4. Place pork in slow cooker.
  5. Pour broth in over pork and close the lid.FullSizeRender (5)
  6. Cook on HIGH for at least 8 hours.
  7. Shred using a fork and tongs.FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (8)
  8. Serve on buns, with favorite BBQ sauce, or mustard.FullSizeRender (2)
  9. Enjoy!

 

Superbowl Pulled Pork Sliders

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Time: 10 min plus 8 hours cooking
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:

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  • mixing bowl
  • slow cooker
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • tongs and forks, for shredding

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-7-lb pork shoulder (aka pork butt, aka picnic cut, aka boston pork)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T paprika
  • 3 T liquid smoke
  • 1 c chicken broth (or water)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pat-dry the pork after removing it from its wrapping.
  2. Mix all spices in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub liberally all over the surface of the pork.
  4. Place pork in slow cooker.
  5. Pour broth in over pork and close the lid.
  6. Cook on HIGH for at least 8 hours.
  7. Shred using a fork and tongs.
  8. Serve on buns, with favorite BBQ sauce, or mustard.
  9. Enjoy!

Invisa-wha?

Hello.
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I’ve been trying to find the right words to write after not writing for, let’s see, a MONTH, but Adele has been in my head non-freaking-stop, so I couldn’t help it.  And how cute is that kid?!  I am so thankful for parents who don’t care about putting pictures of their children on the internet.  As someone who is highly entertained by child antics but is very thankful that I do not have to put up with the rest of their ridiculousness (for now), I am grateful to the moms and dads who share moments like this with me.  So, after that, if you haven’t clicked on that link, you need to.  It’ll make your day.

Let’s take a brief detour and discuss where in the effin-A I’ve been.  Well, after making my New Year’s Resolution to blog more, I decided to take a more liberal approach and not blog for 30 days straight.  Just kidding.  I went on a cruise vacation that took me off the grid for a week, and I HIGHLY recommend it; except, when I got back, I had a flu and cold that took me out of commish for a solid week.  Sick as a dog.

Where does that term come from?  Until my dog was 17 and lost his eyesight, hearing, and control of his bowels, he was healthy as a horse.  Where does that come from, healthy as a horse?  Okay, I’ll stop.

Anyway, to top off my cold, I had a nice bout of vertigo, which I never experienced.  You know how sometimes you’re on an elevator for a while, and when you get off the elevator, you feel like you’re still on it?  Multiply that by *#*&$*(&$(&@@ and that’s what it felt like.  For 3 weeks, I thought I was still on the ship, and looking at a computer screen for longer than I had to was out of the question.  Now, I am happy to say that as of a few days ago, I finally stepped off the boat, and am ready to be to quality time with you fine folk.

So.  Where to start, where to start.  How about my tooths?  Why not.  I say that because I am getting my attachments off TOMORROW.  TOMORROW.  Did you catch that?  I said, TOMORROW, PEOPLE!!!!!  And even though my teeth aren’t perfect, I have already decided that I am done-zo with this business.  Well, full disclosure, my orthodontist is done with me, so I don’t have much of a choice.

Yep, I went into my check-up 3 weeks ago today, and my orthodontist informed me that he is moving his office the next day to a temporary facility, and is slowly transitioning into a new practice out of state.  Then he infoms me that we are done with treatment, and I will need to decide which retainer-style I will want to go with when I see him on the 2nd. You know what?  I’m not complaining.  Fine by me, because I wanted them off off off.  If it were under different circumstances, like if I needed a lot more work done, believe me, I would not be as cool.

So, I’ve been back and forth for the past few weeks on which type of retainer to get:  the permanent (a wire behind my teeth), or the plastic aligners.  I was all about the permanent retainer:  I don’t like long term commitment to routine, and the idea of wearing these plastic aligners for another day, let alone the rest of my life, was too much to bear.  However, I keep reading these horror stories about how hard they are to clean, about folks who have the wire begging their dentist to take them out, and about them breaking.  So, it looks like I’ll be stuck with these plastic nuisances for much, much, much longer.  Like, ’til death do us part.

So, although my teeth aren’t as straight as they could be, in comparison I’m pretty happy.  This is a comparison (not very good, sorry) of the day after I got Invisalign last spring, and today:

and a bunch of open-mouth pics:

 

White Cheddar Cran Ball

 

Oh, hi.  It’s me.  I hope you had an epically fantastic holiday!  I did, which is partly why I am just now writing, two weeks later.  Whomp whomp.

I spent several bliss-filled days with my two 10-ish-year-old nephews.  and my 8-month old niece. I love spending time with them so much, and get so depressed when I have to drive back to Boston, far, far away from them.  My niece is without a doubt the most adorable baby on the planet, and happens to be the heaviest thing I’ve held since Nam.  Seriously, after Day One of my visit, my biceps were sore.  Why is it that rolls of fat on my niece’s thighs are adorbs, but not so much on my 30-year-old legs?  Oh, the humanity. Continue reading

Moose Droppings (Chocolate Fudge Candies)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…well, fall.  But this week is THE week, right?!  As you know, I am a total sucker for all things holiday, and Christmas is undoubtedly my favorite.  I think that’s do to my parents:  over the years, we have cultivated a series of traditions Christmas Eve and Day that never seem to get old.  Here’s what 100% happens without fail e’ry year: Continue reading

White Turkey Chili

Christmas is in one week!  Can you believe???

Did I just send you into a cold sweat?  Sorry.  Didn’t mean to, honest!  Thankfully, my OCD, which is usually my demise, comes in handy this time of year– my presents bought, wrapped, and stacked for two weeks now.  But don’t worry, it’s not all bubbles and butterflies in Jenni’s kingdom:  I still have about 4 dozen deadlines for work (hence no blogging for, oh, 13 days now?) entwined with 18,000 meetings that are somehow scheduled simultaneously, and around coworkers dealing with the same dilemmas.  And maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like everyone has been totally on edge lately.  Perhaps it’s the cray cray weather, or maybe it’s just this time of year that brings out the ho-ho-horrible in people.  I don’t know, but I don’t like it.  Hard pass on that. Continue reading