Thursday, May 19, 2011

Everything Is Better With Cream Cheese

What does a nice Jewish, ex-vegetarian girl love to cook and eat more than anything else? Sausage rolls. The greatest breakfast known to the non-vegetarian non-Jewish man. I could live without meat. Challenge me. I’ll gladly accept. But, I don’t know if I could make it until I find a vegetarian sausage roll alternative. This has nothing to do with my goals, but people keep on asking me for the recipe, so I thought I’d be nice and share.

I learned how to make this Sausage Roll when someone brought one in to share at a morning sales meeting in my office. I took one bite and my eyes widened and my heart (and stomach) sang out with glee. I was like “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS AND HOW DO I MAKE ONE!?” It turned out to be really easy and a surefire crowd pleaser.

A few months later, I became mentally insane and offered to cater the feature film Andy was directing. I had to cook a hot meal for 50 people, every night for 3 weeks straight. I worked full time during the day, rushed home to feed the baby, cooked for the peoples, dropped the food off on set, fed the peoples, then went grocery shopping at One O’clock in the morning, organized the food for the following day, and was finally in bed by 2AM. Then up again at 7:30 AM for work. I did all the cooking in a normal, standard non-commercial kitchen. I’m telling you, it takes mental insanity to agree, wait no OFFER, to do something like that (free of charge no less). I did have a lot of help from my awesome mother-in-law and from a few of Andy’s students. Thanks awesome students and mother-in-law! You guys ROCK!

Wait, where was I going with all this? Oh yeah, on the first day of shooting I made the sausage roll. After that first day they renamed the sausage roll “Sawesome” because it’s so awesome and begged me to make it again. Like, got down on their knees, clasped their hands together and said in the whiniest voices possible “Please, please, PUH-LEEEEEASE!???!?”

No, that last part never happened. But they did ask me several times to make it for them again. So I did and everyone was happy. The end.

So, here is the recipe that will change your life and get you to quit keeping kosher and renounce your vegetarianism. You’re Welcome.


You need
1. 1 pound spicy sausage  -Eeek! so NOT Kosher
2. 1 pound mild sausage  -Double un-Kosher
3. 12 oz of cream cheese (one and half packs) -OMG TRIPLE un-Kosher!
4. 2 packs of seamless Pillsbury crescent rolls (I have only found the seamless kind at the Rock Brige Hyvee- for those that live in Columbia- You can use regular crescent rolls, but you will have to piece them together because they are pre-cut into small squares and you need one big rectangle).

Leave the Cream cheese out to soften. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Brown both packages of sausage and combine in a bowl. While it is still warm, mix in the cream cheese. Mix until it is well blended and makes a gross gushing type sound when your stir. In a 9x13 glass casserole dish open up the first crescent roll pack and lay it out vertically on one side of the casserole dish. Put half of the sausage mixture on the crescent dough and the roll it up. I like to pinch off the extra dough on the ends because that dough makes it need more cooking time. Then open up the second crescent roll pack and do the same. They should fit next to each other in the casserole dish, but not have too much of the sides touching because other wise that part won’t bake. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. The top of the “Sawesome” will be golden brown when it’s finished. I like to brush a little butter on top of each sausage roll when it’s still hot.

**The most important lesson we will take away from this post is that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is better with cream cheese.**

Above: On set with some of the food we cooked (most of it gone!)
Below: The Cast and Crew of Vampyras on set at Ravenswood Mansion
Below: Sausage Roll photo I got from Googling "Sausage Roll Photo". Mine looks something like this, but way awesomer. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Number:12 Part II- OR Adventures In Painting With A Toddler

(Plate 2 of 8)

Over the weekend I painted the second plate in my series! I went to Hands On (my favorite ceramics place EVER) with my sister-in-law, Alyssa, and we took my daughter Lilly. Lilly just started walking a few weeks ago, so I let her hold my hand and walk around with me in the ceramics place while I chose a plate to paint. A woman there, who also brought her much older kids in to paint, saw Lilly and said to her in a baby talk kind of voice, “What was your mommy thinking bringing you here?” 


Let me explain. I have a weird 15 month old child. She is generally in a pretty good mood. Quiet when she is focused on something and easy to handle. She also sleeps 12 hours a night and takes not one, but TWO naps a day. I have been trying to get her down to one nap, but she simply can’t make it. So I use that time to do stuff around the house, or relax. It’s pretty nice… We know we are LUCKY. Most toddlers couldn’t handle a quiet place where you need to sit still for an hour, so I guess I can understand why that lady thought I was nuts. Even so, that was pretty rude for her to say. Also, Hands On Ceramics is very accommodating of any age.

So, anyway, I figured we could get started and if Lilly couldn’t handle it we would play while Alyssa finished up her picture frame (which turned out awesome by the way) and I would just come back some other time to finish. Lilly stood on the chair next to me, I took off her shirt so she wouldn’t get it dirty, and she helped me paint the underside of the plate. We also put her hand print on there! It's so cute!

I decided since Lilly was with me, to paint the Lilly plate. It doesn’t really look like her. I mean you can tell it’s supposed to be her, but it looks how I expected the Andy plate to turn out. Even so I love it! Can’t wait to see how it turns out after it’s fired in the kiln!

Lilly did a fabulous job. That dumb rude lady even complimented her behavior admitting that she had a child the same age at home that she would never bring to a place like that because he couldn’t sit still for 2 seconds. HAHAHA. My child is way more awesome than yours. HA.

I gave Lilly dry brushes with no paint so she could “help” me and that kept her occupied for about 30 minutes (an eternity in kid-time). I also gave her a coloring page and some crayons. I watched her very closely the entire time. Then I began painting the plate-Lilly’s eyes and took my attention away from her for about 1.5 minutes. In kid-time that’s like 45 minutes of amazing time for a kid to repaint your house or crash your car into a McDonalds. BIG MISTAKE. She stepped right off the edge of the chair and crashed right into a McDonalds. No, but she did fall onto the floor. She was totally fine, but cried for a very embarrassing 5 minutes while the rude lady glared at me probably thinking, "TOLD YOU SO!" That witch. Then all Lilly wanted to do was dump crayons on the floor. So I finished up the plate while Alyssa held her for a couple of minutes and then we played while Alyssa finished up.

All in all, we had a great time! We didn't let the man (I mean rude lady) get us down! I would definitely bring Lilly back. There are a lot of fun things for little ones to do at Hands On Ceramics. Lilly loves painting. She also loves eating paint, but that’s another story for another day.

Hey guys!!! Read this: 
 "Just to let your loyal readers know.... the MEAN lady was NOT the owner of Hands On Ceramics.... in fact.... the OWNER loves to see all ages of kids painting and tried to keep the cutie occupied. FYI !!" - Lisa Gromer, owner and operator of Hands On Ceramics . It's true! Lisa helped us out by helping me get Lilly's hand print on the back of the plate (and suggesting it) and bringing us crayons and books! She is SUPER awesome! 

Above: Lilly Plate Before Kiln
Below: Lilly Out Shopping

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why My Mom Is More Awesome Than Yours.

I am not really a super mushy emotional person. Unless a Disney World commercial comes on or a commercial with a dog. Then I bawl like a baby.  I am incapable of love. No, not really, but I have a hard time expressing how I feel.  But, for this Mother's day I am going to tell you why my mom is super awesome in a super mushy way. It won't really be that bad, I promise. So here goes...

When Mrs. Berman, my first grade teacher was being unfair, my mom went down to that school to talk it out with the teachers. She didn’t take a “my child can do no wrong” approach to anything. I was always held accountable and for that I am grateful. When I had a difficult time learning to read, she worked with me every night. Through all of the tears and the tantrums, she remained patient and calm. 

She taught me how to French braid and make lanyards, how to play softball and jump rope. She saw my potential even when I didn’t and showed me that with a lot of hard work I could succeed. She taught me patience and teaching a girl with ADHD patience is not an easy feat. 

She taught me it’s ok to laugh at myself. She once made a little tiny curtain for what you'd think was a super tiny window. She asked me if I needed it for anything and then said, in her punny way, "Are you sure? Because the window of opportunity is closing..." She then hung the little tiny curtain on the microwave with a little sign that said "The Window of Opportunity". I laughed so hard when I found it. 

She taught me not just to treat everyone with respect and kindness, but HOW to treat people with respect and kindness. She taught me how to admit I was wrong and how to apologize. She taught me how to stand my ground and when to just let things go. She taught me how to be a mom. If I am a fraction of the awesome my mom was than I know my daughter will grow up a lucky girl.

I was a very difficult child and I don’t know if my mom knows just how grateful I am for all of her patience and support, but I am more grateful than she will ever know. Thanks, Mom!

It also must be mentioned that I have the most amazing mother-in-law a girl could ever ask for. She is my mom when my mom can't be there and I am so grateful to have the love and support of such a wonderful mother and person. Andy is very lucky to have a mom like her. And I am so lucky to have two awesome moms!

And that is why my mom (and my mother-in-law) is more awesome than yours. I am just kidding. I am sure your mom is awesome too, but you'll have to prove it. I'll give a prize to the person with the most awesome mom (well, the the way I see it, the second most awesome mom, no wait the third). 

Please, if you have a moment, comment and tell me why your mom is awesome. Or why your Mother-in-law is awesome. Or why you yourself are awesome. Just spread some awesomeness and the best one will get a prize that I don't know what it is yet. I mean a surprise prize. Yeah... I am of course the judge on this. You have till Tuesday. If no one comments I'll know you didn't read this all the way through. And then I won't be your friend anymore.

Above: My mom with me, age 1, 1985
Below: My mom with the cake at my firetruck birthday, probably 1988.
Above: My mom is also the best Nana!
Below: My mom with her mommy and my daughter
Below: 3 generations of awesomeness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Number 12: Paint a set of 8 dishes at Hands On Ceramics

(Plate 1 of 8)

For our wedding, Andy and I did not register for dishes. Not for fancy ones anyway. We just aren't fancy people. I'm not interested in buying matching dishes. Since I went to paint ceramics with my sister in New York and I made an awesome chip and dip bowl with our last name on it, I've liked the idea of creating a set of  plates that were personalized for our family. I thought it would be cool to have personalized plates. Not too many people do. They will be way more special. So the idea I came up with was to paint a cartoon of each of our family members on the plates. Who wouldn't want to eat off of their own face when we have them over for holidays? This is how my goal to paint dishes came about...

So over the weekend I finally made it over to Hands On Ceramics with a bunch of friends for a girls day out. I finally got started on my plates. I decided to paint Andy's face on a plate first because I didn't want to paint my own face. Even though I have a very nice face, I thought that was kind of conceited of me. So I pulled up a Facebook photo of Andy on my phone and penciled it in on the plate first. 

Now, I'm an ok artist. I only feel comfortable saying that because I had better be after all the training I have had. I took serious art lessons after school and over the summers, not to mention classes in school, from ages 8 to 20. I am not really that great though. Just alright. My biggest problem is that I can never get a likeness when I do portraits. That is until I painted the plate of Andy.

Completely out of left field I actually got a likeness. It looks just like him. How did I do it? I seriously have no clue. But I hope I am able to repeat this accidental awesomeness on the rest of my plates. If not, I'll just paint the name of the person on the plate so people know who it is... 

I have changed the number of plates to twelve so that I can also paint our whole families instead of just the three of us and the cats. I am painting the cats for guests. In case the whole family is over for dinner along with a few guests. We will all be eating off our own faces and who will the guests eat of? The cats. Problem solved. You're Welcome.

Above: Plate is painted, still needs to be fired in the kiln and then I get to pick it up on Thursday! It will be all glossy-like then. I'll post a pic when it's truly finished.
Above: Amazing Mickey cake that KC made for me!
Below: me and ma paintin ladies

"Me=Fashion Wizard"
I got so many compliments on this outfit that me being a fashion wizard is the only logical explanation. See those shoes? Those are 6 inches tall. Ok, no Andy measured and they are only 4 inches. They are the only heels and tallest shoes I have ever worn/owned. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Number 17: Shop And Eat At More Local Places I've Never Been To

Shopping (and eating- lets be clear about that!) locally. Why is this a goal? I have no idea. Well, no, actually I just want to help support the community and stuff, but also just cause I like to shop. And eat. There are so many places I'm sure I'd love if I just went and tried them out. 

I had never set foot in a Wal-Mart until I was 20 years old. I had heard a little bit about them. People on my part of Long Island didn’t shop at Wal-Mart for one reason; We didn’t have one near us (oh, also we are a little bit snobby. Ok, a lot bit snobby). When I moved out to Santa Barbara I continued to remain in the dark about Wal-Mart. The people of Santa Barbara didn’t want a Wal-Mart poisoning their community. They didn't even have a Target.They did have a K-Mart though. Interesting.

Next I moved down to Ventura, CA. They had a Wal-Mart. A dirty, disorganized Wal-Mart. A Wal-Mart where I saw people being violently arrested on three separate occasions. A Wal-Mart where small children got into packages of razors and threw them at each other for fun and accidently cut an old mans leg. A Wal-Mart where I’d have to call Andy when I got there and when I was leaving so he knew I wasn’t dead. A Wal-Mart I only shopped at when I was convinced it was the only place I could get what I needed. Or when I was super short on funds. It wasn’t until I moved to Missouri, to a town where we have three, Yes, THREE clean, safe, Super Center Wal-Marts, that I began to regularly shop there…

And boy do I shop there. I am at Wal-Mart at least once a week. I buy all kinds of things I need plus other crap. It’s just so darn cheap! But now I’d really like to start eating and shopping locally whenever I can. We have so many neat places here, it’s time I give them a chance. However I will continue to buy diapers at Wal-Mart. I will never give up Target.

I am weird when it comes to local shops and restaurants. For some reason I feel like the owners and other patrons are judging me and thinking “What is SHE doing here? Get the hell out of here!” When in reality they are probably thinking “Oooo! business!”

It is a strange fear I am more than ready to get over. Local shops and restaurants have a lot to offer and are kind of awesome. It’s true, sometimes they cost a little more. But if there is ever an area you’d be willing to spend a few extra dollars, you should do it at one of your local shops. Or just send those few extra dollars to me. Jut kidding. No, really though, I’ll take em.

This particular goal will be on going, as it would be unrealistic to try to shop and eat at every local store and restaurant in one weekend.  Unless you want to send me those dollars we talked about. Then I might be alble to make it happen...

Last week my friend KC took me out to dinner for my birthday to a local restaurant called Addison's. It was delish! We decided to start with an appetizer, but couldn't choose. We narrowed it down to four choices; Goat Cheese and Black Bean Quesadillas, Nachos Bianco, Something called "Red, White & Green" (Which I think was like Bruschetta), and Tempura Lobster Ravioli. To choose I implememted a decision making process using the four different sugar and sweetener packets we had at the table. I threw them up and assigned them to the appetizer they landed nearest. Then I put them in my hands and switched them around behind my back. There were two in each hand. KC chose a hand and then we did that one more time... Doesn't going out to dinner with me seem like tons of fun? TONS OF FUN!? Anyways the fates ended up choosing Goat Cheese and Black Bean Quesadillas for us. It was delicious and so filling that we even left one over.

For dinner I ordered the Diablo Shrimp Pasta which was shrimp Sauted in Spicy Diablo Butter. Tossed with a creamy marinara sauce, mushrooms, and penne pasta. I'm drooling just typing that up now! KC ordered the Baked Tortellin Pasta which was sauted artichokes, romas, scallions, and mushrooms, tossed with ricotta-stuffed tortellini in a pesto cream sauce. Topped with mozzarella & cheddar cheeses and baked to a golden brown. I tasted hers too and it was soooo good!

Supporting the community sure is delicious.

Addison's also has lots of amazing art on the walls by artist and bartender David Spear. The art definately made for a great atmosphere and other positive sounding critic-y type stuff.
This was a great start to shopping and eating locally. I can't wait to go eat and buy some more stuff!