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The Misadventures of Mrs. B

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-03-28

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Prettying Up for Easter

Hello friends!

In case you didn't know, tomorrow is Easter.  Yeah, yeah, I know you knew that.

Well here's something I didn't know until very recently: My husband is quite the little landscaper!

And her I was, thinking that I'd be the one to be fretting over bulbs and mulch and which plants would do well with our virtually sunless front yard.  But no!

See, we wanted to pretty up for Easter.  The front looked terribly blah and empty - there's three bushes which were pretty much wrecked by our lovely, lovely winter weather.

I've been told that they used to be quite full and beautiful.  Not so much nowadays.  We've decided to keep them in the ground this year to see if they bounce back after we reshaped them, but in the meantime...

...we planted two of the little bushes you see above, plus violas and primula...

...two bunches of these pretty red tulips, plus two bunches of purple...

Then the ice cream man came up the street.  Breaks are important, right?

Rob put in edging and mulch, and it wound up looking much nicer!

I also potted ten hyacinth bulbs which I purchased on Thursday night.  To me, hyacinth just screams "Easter".

I thought that they would be a cheerful and pretty greeting for visitors tomorrow.

Small steps, yes.  But I feel like we've already come a long way!

I hope that everyone has a happy and blessed Easter!

OH! I almost forgot!

Please join me on Monday over at Our Krazy Kitchen, where I'll be sharing a recipe on Save Room For Dessert Monday! It's a fabulous site full of talented and tempting bloggers, where you'll find tons of crazy good recipes.  Check it out!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Pierogi Preview

Hello friends!

Sorry if I caused any undue hunger, desire and/or cravings yesterday as a result of my Krispy Kreme post.  Sometimes I forget that with blogging comes great responsibility.  ;-)

I've been a busy, busy girl today.

As much as I love eating homemade pierogies and watching others enjoy them as well (and I really do), they are so goshdarned time consuming! As I type this I'm waiting for my second batch of dough to finish resting in the fridge.  Then I'll get back to work.

Here's just a sampling of what I've been working on today...

I can hardly wait to boil these babies up on Sunday!

Here's the rest of my cooking projects for tomorrow.  What do you think?

Hope everyone's having a great evening!

This post is for my Company Girls as well - I'm sorry I've been absent, I usually like to visit as many people as I can, but the past two weeks have been tough.  Whenever I get a minute I promise to check in!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

K is for...

Hello, everyone!

What a beautiful day we're having here! This, I feel, is what Easter week should be like - warm, sunny, with the smell of growth in the air.  I just love it!

Hey, have you met my friend Jenny Matlock? She's the best.  I love visiting her blog - she is so funny and down-to-earth and relatable.  Those are the sort of people I really like, the ones I can see myself in.  And I definitely see some of myself in her! Great names think alike, right? :-)

Anyway, every Thursday she hosts a meme called Alphabe-Thursday, where participants write a post based around the letter we're on that week.  You may have seen my contributions to the party on this blog in previous weeks. 

This week's letter is K.  And while I know there are many, many words I could focus on (and I'm sure that once I start visiting other people's blogs I'll be blown away by my limited imagination), one thing immediately jumped to mind.

A name, actually.

That's right.  I went there.  I went there, bought a dozen hot ones, then came back and sat down to eat them while typing this post.

Okay.  Not really.  I haven't gone to a Krispy Kreme in years, and that's not for lack of desire to do so.  That's for lack of a store anywhere near me.

There used to be one not far from where my parents live, and in fact that's the last one I visited.  Oh the delight.  The dancing tastebuds.  But that's gone, replaced by a (I can hardly speak it) Dunkin Donuts.  Don't get me wrong! I love me some DD.  Mucho, mucho love for DD.  But when it comes to donuts, I don't know...

My heart belongs to these guys.

Have you ever had one hot off the belt? OH MY LORD.  It's like heaven in your mouth.  They just...melt.  It's like magic. 

I'll never forget the first time I saw the Hot Light.  I was in the car with my old roommate Marcie and my friend Rob who would become my roommate further down the line.  Rob was driving us to Taco Bell, which was actually in another state but not too far away.  I was blissfully looking forward to our "run for the border" when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he pointed out the windshield and pretty much screamed "OH MY GOD!!!!".  My heart leapt in my chest, thinking he had seen an accident or a murder or something.  Instead, he was pointing at the shiny Hot Light, which was glowing in the darkness like a beacon, guiding happy travelers to the delights which awaited them inside.

I was perplexed, having never had a Krispy Kreme, much less a hot one.  Needless to say I was unimpressed with my friend's reaction (seriously, I was bracing myself for a collision when he yelled).  But he protested, "Oh nononono, we're going there! We're going there NOW!".  And so Taco Bell was forgotten in favor of the Hot Light, as the tires squealed and rubber burned.

I will never forget that night.  I am so serious.  Laugh if you will.  If you have known me for more than five minutes and/or have perused this blog at any point, you know I'm totally serious.  I love food.  And I REALLY  love Krispy Kreme.


After that (dare I say life-changing) night, my friends and I became well acquainted with KK and its wonders.  We looked up the number to the location in question and would call from time to time to see if the Light was on.  If it was, we'd barely have the phone hung up before we were peeling down the street in search of some sugary goodness.  If it wasn't on, we'd ask when it would be. 

Look how they glisten...

My roommate Jess and I once bought a half dozen assorted and sneaked them into the movies with us.  One time she and I bought a box, wrappped each donut individually in tissue, hid them in her huge shoulder bag, folded up the box and put THAT in the shoulder bag, and sneaked them through the house, past our housemates, and into the bedroom we shared, where the box was unfolded and the treats replaced.  We were THAT dedicated.  No offense to my other roomies (including my brother), but we knew that the second anyone caught wind of what we had, they'd be long gone.  Then we poured milk and casually walked back to our room, trying to not attract too much attention.

Rob (my husband, not my roommate) even bought a few for me the last time he passed a KK shop somewhere in Pennsylvania, know how much I love them.  I thought it was the sweetest thing he could do!

So there you have it.  My favorite, favorite donut in the whole wide world.  And Lord help the person who gets in between me and my Krispy Kreme.  It won't end well for them.

Well...except for the kid in this ad...I would totally get out of her way for fear of what she'd do to me.  Even a Krispy Kreme ain't worth that.

Oh, and notice the word "wholesome" in there.  Yeah, totally wholesome!

That is one scary, scary looking kid.

If you've managed to make it through this post without getting up for a snack or hating me for posting such luscious looking pictures, click the button below to pay a visit to Jenny's blog and see what's going on! I know I always look forward to seeing what everyone else has to offer!

Jenny Matlock


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twitter Me This

In case you hadn't noticed (and who'd blame you seeing as how I just added it yesterday), there's a little old button on my right sidebar announcing that I am finally on Twitter! Yes, I joined the rest of the human race, finally.

Anyway, if you're on Twitter too, follow me there and I'll follow you back and we can just bore the heck out of each other with the mundane details of our lives.  For instance, if you'd been following me last night you'd know that I watched Lost.

I'm sure your mind is reeling from the importance of that single statement.

More importantly, though, I can get to know all of you that much better.  And that's what I really care about - heck, it's what got me on Twitter in the first place! And let me tell you, I was dead set against it for the longest time.  I want to know you!!!


This blog has a fan page on Facebook! I haven't managed to do much with it yet (I kinda got sidetracked) but it's most definitely on my list of to-do's.

Now I have that song "Follow you, will you follow me...?" by Phil Collins stuck in my head...


Easter Menu, and Two Questions

Hey blog friends!

Well, it's that time of year again.  Easter.

I love Easter for so many reasons.  I love the season of rebirth.  I love the significance of the Easter season in my religion - as torturous as the lengthy Holy Week masses could be when I was young, I developed a real appreciation for them as I grew older.  Frankly, I love watching "The Ten Commandments".  It's just a great time of year all around.

Easter is also special for Rob and me because it was on Good Friday 4 years ago that I first had him over for dinner, and by Easter Sunday we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.  I remember how excited and nervous I was that entire day as I cooked.  I made shrimp puttanesca over pasta.  He brought over a decadent chocolate cake for dessert.  It was a great evening!

This year, Easter holds another special significance:

We are hosting for the first time!


Okay.  I'm breathing.  I promise.

In reality, the more I think about it the more I realize that I was making so much of the food already.  I mean, really, I would take a ton of food to my mom's and then would help finish the dinner when I got there.  Now at least I don't have the stress of trying to transport all of that food.  PLUS I have a ton more kitchen space.  Win/win, as far as I'm concered.

So what am I cooking? Well I'm glad you asked! On the menu are the following:
Baked ham*
Kielbasa (both smoked and fresh, provided by my mom who waits in long lines twice a year)
Potato salad*
Macaroni salad (made by my cousin)
Cole slaw
Sweet potato casserole*
Pierogies (3 types - potato, sauerkraut and cottage cheese)*
Babka (Polish Easter bread, for those of you not in-the-know!)*
Deviled eggs (after that post regarding my Mistress of the Eggs status, my cousin offered to bring them!)
Bread (fresh Jewish rye which my mom picks up with the kielbasa - it's amaaaaaaazing!)
Various desserts (made by my cousins, though I might try my hand at one...but I think the babka might count if I made a cheese version, which I definitely will)

* means that it's something I'm making.  Yeah.  I'm making all of that! At least only the ham needs to be done the day of - everything else can be prepared in advance.  Even the kielbasa just needs to be cooked on the stove, no great prep work needed.

We also have incidental things like a relish tray and cheese for ham sandwiches and plenty of spicy horseradish for that kielbasa - in my family Christmas and Easter are big antacid holidays.  I should put Tums out like other people put out after-dinner mints.

Naturally I'll be taking copious pictures of all of my endeavors and sharing them with you, my lovely bloggy friends.  I love hearing your thoughts on my cooking!

What's on the menu for YOUR Easter celebration?


I've noticed over time that Easter has evolved into more than just an Easter basket holiday for kids.  I know, I know, it should be about religious significance.  And it always was for us, but we got candy nonetheless.  And as we grew older we might also get a small gift in our baskets, like a DVD or a video game or a CD.  But that was it.  Now, though, Easter seems to have become a much more gift-centric holiday for many families.  I've seen flyers and ads for "Easter gifts" all over the place!

How do you feel about kids getting more than just Easter candy in their baskets? 

I'm not talking about a little gift, as I described above. I'm talking full-on gift buying which involves trips to the toy store or clothing stores for the older kids.  What do you think? Do you do this in your own family, or do you know one that does?

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

I'm such a sucker for citrus.

I drown my pasta in lemon juice.  I adore lime-soaked chicken that's been thrown on the grill.  And citrusy desserts? Forget about it.

On Friday night, aka Date Night, we stopped at a diner for dessert before going home.  There were about a million desserts to choose from, as is the case with any diner worth its salt.  If you ask me, anyway.

Immediately I gravitated towards the lemon meringue pie.  I think it's memories of the pie I used to see at my "childhood diner" that spurs this.  The meringue was as high as an elephant's eye.  And I have never found a pie that comes close.  But I'll keep searching...

Anyway, while I ate my pie, Rob suggested that I try a lemon meringue of my own.  I eagerly rose to the challenge!

So here's how it went down, folks...

Let's start with our filling.  Because that's the bestest part!

Lemons.  Of course.  Mine were a bit on the smallish side so I used 4 and juiced the living daylights out of them.  I probably could have used 5, honestly.

In a saucepan I whisked together 1 1/4 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and a pinch of salt.

To that I added my lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups of water, and onto the heat it went in the hopes that it would come to a boil.


2 tablespoons of butter magically hopped into a bowl and awaited their addition to the boiling sauce, where they would then melt in and add more deliciousness.

Butter = magic.  As you well know.

Now, while I was waiting for the sauce to come to a boil, and while the butter was jumping into a bowl, I was separating egg yolks and whites.

Egg yolks are pretty.  Even the broken one.

I mixed the yolks a little bit, then poured approximately half a cup of the boiling sauce into the yolks while whisking like a crazy person.

I'm sure you know this but just in case you don't: It's important to keep the egg yolks moving so they don't get scrambled from the heat of the sauce.  In fact, that's why the hot sauce gets poured into the eggs in the first place, rather than the yolks being poured into the saucepan.  This is called "tempering" the eggs, and it prevents scramblage.  Scrambled eggs in your custard = kinda gross.

Once the yolks and sauce are adequately whisked, the mixture is then added back to the saucepan.  Again, whiskwhiskwhisk.  Whisk so much you can't even take a picture of it.

Boil the mixture until it gets nice and thick and pretty much keep stirring it the entire time.  Yeah, yeah, it's work.  But burned or spilled-over lemon custard? Gross.

Once this was nice and thick I set the pan aside and allowed the custard to cool.

Step 2: The crust.

I used a Pillsbury roll-out crust for this.  I just love those things.  And besides, I have yet to attempt my own crust.

Clearly I need to work on my fluting.  I think my pie pan's a little deep, because I didn't have enough crust to flute well.

I pricked it all over and put it in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Voila! Lovely and golden.

Step 3: The meringue.

Egg whites went into the bowl of the stand mixer and whipped them just a bit until they started to get foamy.

To this I added 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar...

...and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.

And 6 tablespoons of sugar.  They were too shy to be photographed.

Then I whipped it on up!

Eventually the yolks got all nice and thick and I knew it was time to put my pie together!

Lemon custard, meet pie crust.

Meringue, meet lemon custard.

Y'all are about to become good, good friends.

10 minutes later at 350 degrees...

It's so pretty!

And here's a slice:

Next time I make this, I might even go 1.5 times on the lemon part - it just didn't seem like there was as much as there should have been.  Or maybe I'm just a filthy glutton.

Either way, it was super tasty and like sunshine on a plate!


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