Thursday, March 31, 2011

Russo's NY Pizzeria

A few months ago, I noticed that Groupon was selling $20 coupons for $10 at Russo's NY Pizzeria.  Since they were on The List (my list of new food places to try in 2011) I had to scoop some up.  I managed to purchase 2 and saved them for when it was time to try another pizza joint.  Yesterday was that day. 

We met up with our good friend, Carlos, there and sampled a variety of items to give us a good indication on what kind of place we were dealing with.  The food was actually pretty good.  Their mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto was yummy while their flatbread, all coal fired cooked, was genius.  Of course, we had to get a pizza because, if a pizza place doesn't know how to make pizza then that's an automatic fail.  When the pizza arrived, it was perfectly crispy and full of toppings not unlike the wimpy kind I've seen at other places.  I ordered a pasta dish, chicken marsala, because I like pasta.  While I found the sauce a little too runny, the noodles were a perfect al dente texture. 

The Final Verdict:
Is it Brother's Pizzeria?  No, not at all but it makes decent pizza and pasta.  It certainly comes closer that the disaster that was Romano's.   But, would I go again?  Sure especially since I have the other $20 coupon still left to use.  Besides, another try at the pizza is needed.  And, I hear there is a brunch?  Holla.

Carlos probably playing a round of Words with Friends.  Cheater.

Chicken marsala = yum.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Kitchen

When we moved in early February, our kitchen lost a lot of storage space but gained a wider kitchen.  One that now allows us both to be in the kitchen.  Yay.  But it's that pesky storage space that gave us quite the pickle.  Many items, such as my beloved little toaster oven, went to live in our storage unit.  What were we to do?  We figured that we may as well use the walls for our dilemma and so, we looked to Ikea and their Grundtal series.

The BNC installed these for me one a Sunday afternoon.   I put out most of the cookware I tend to favor except for the dutch oven, the braiser and the cast iron.  Those got lucky and found some real estate in the cabinets.  Having a small kitchen makes you get creative on where to put things such as the microwave.  Our solution?  On top of the fridge.  It's seldom used and, quite honestly, I'm thinking of getting rid of it altogether. 

I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out though.  It's still a work in progress but the functionality has come out.  Some of my dry herbs need to be replenished but the ones that are present are ready to be used. 

Even my colorful knives are ready.  And, you know what else?  The toaster oven is out of storage and in the cabinet, and, like the knives, the cookware, and the dry herbs, ready to be used. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blah Again

I have a cold.  Another cold.  Just wonderful.  Even Logan is like, "Dude, shut up.  Can't you see my stories are on.  While you're up, can I get a treat?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

By now I'm sure you've learned that Dame Elizabeth Tayor is gone.  I'm completely saddened about it.  This woman was amazing.  UH-MAZING.  She was beautiful beyond anyone's comprehension and yet she was just as equally, if not more, known for her compassion to HIV/AIDS and those living with the disease.  I, like many others, I'm certain of it, enjoyed her films, her perfume and her honest approach to all subjects.  She was even the voice of Maggie Simpson even if she uttered the one word, "Daddy" referencing Homer.  What a unique woman, the last great movie star.  I cried when Gregory Peck died and tonight, I'll go home, watch one of her many movies, the standard retrospective on the news, and shed a tear for a woman I admired from afar. 

Welcome to Kitteh Korner

Welcome to the corner of our home now named Kitteh Korner.  The majority of their stuff is here, out of our way as well as any guests.  Sure, there is more of their stuff in other parts of our home but all the good stuff is in this corner. 

I finally managed to find a nice, inexpensive cat tree for the kids.  If they tear it, or just  rub their butts on it cause anyone with kids knows all about the butt scooting, then I'm fine with it.

I'm happy to say that they love it.  Logan reminds of Chris Farley.  They're both fat and yet incredibly agile.  He managed to get up there without faceplanting it.


Then Bitty Girl comes along cause she noticed some shit needed to be stirred and that shit was a dangling tail. 

Remarkably, Bitty Girl, while an active and crazy thing killer, has been behaving very well.  It's the older ones that are acting up.  Shitting right outside a litter box with fresh unused litter as well as pissing all over the new mat made from Astro turf.  I've been chalking it up to them being 9 years old, senior citizen kittehs.  It makes me sad to think of them getting older but it may just be them getting all snotty on me.  All in all, I may have to buy a new litter box this afternoon.  

Damn kids. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Evil Pancakes

Since we gave up going to House of Pies for breakfast on Sunday mornings, I've had to check the brain for making breakfast.  While out shopping, I found Quaker Oatmeal pancakes and since I'm a label reader, I had to snatch them up after reading the 4g of fiber per serving.  Not bad, not bad at all.  Mrs. Butterworth's, not pictured, in sugar-free form was perfect as well as the Hersey's sugar-free chocolate syrup, not pictured.


This comal, or griddle, in cast iron form, has been in my family for years.  I "stole" it from my mom when I finally moved out years ago.  Apparently, my mom received it as a wedding gift.  It will be 40 years old in November.

Darth and Stormtrooper helping with the flipping. 

That's right, evil is where it's at.  I found these are Target for $0.74. 

The pancakes came out a little thin but all in all, i'm very happy with the oatmeal pancakes and its sugar-free topping.  My apologies for nomming it all up before I took a photo of the final product. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy birthday, Mom

My mom, beautiful, wise, optimistic and strong, turns 57 today.  I have sung the praises of the Old Man many times here before so my mom is due up for one.

Let me tell you, she is quite a woman.  She taught me many, many things stemming from cooking some of the specialties my Grandma, her mom, taught her, to never playing second fiddle to anyone.  I enjoy the Saturdays I spend driving her around as she runs her errands, visits friends, looks at every dang thing at Ikea, and, telling me every detail of her week.  Sure, it's tiring but, it's my mom.  She sacrificed so much for her family and it's a small price to pay in my effort to pay her back.  Ah, moms and their soothing touch, the one thing that makes it all better. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thanks Dad

I bought a car this past weekend and, with a bit of a broken heart, I had to return it on the advice of the Old Man.  I'm almost certain now that a catastrophe was looming underneath the hood and, luckily, it was averted thanks to him.  I've been thinking about him since, and how he views me.  Does he still see me as a child, like the one pictured above where I was trying to pose just like him, or does he see me as the 34 year-old that I am?  I'm okay with the former and I get it.  I'm his daughter, his only daughter, and I asked for advice and he gave it to me straight.  I've asked for help perhaps a handful of times, as a last resort because my thinking was, and always has been, I'm an adult, I can handle this.  I don't need your help.  But, I get it now wherein I never did before.  They want to help.  They want you to be safe and happy.  They won't be mad or annoyed that you bothered them.  So, here I am, ready to be treated as a kid, so to speak, by my dad, the man who loves me like no other man will.  Thanks, dad, for always being there for me.  I'm sorry that I'm a stubborn mule.  I got it from mom so go yell at her.  $20 on mom.  ;) 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Return of PB & J

A while ago, after much testing that yielded crazy high readings on my meter, I realized I had to give up my beloved PB&J.  It hurt.  It hurt more than the cereal.  PB&J is the perfect morning breakfast.  Easy to make in the morning, only dirtying up a butter knife, wrap it up and voila, done.  And, since we're always honest here, I'm not a big fan of breakfast.  Sure, I like eggs and bacon and waffles and bagels but lunch and dinner is where it's at. 

I was pretty gloomy after I made the dreadful decision of saying good bye.  Bad breakfasts happened, usually ones that had me in hunger panic mode when lunchtime finally rolled around.  But then, the sky opened because I found this.

And then this.

Which made this.

And then all was right with the world.

Don't forget the sugar-free iced coffee from McDonald's, the only thing I can stomach from there. 

The jelly, while more runny than the sugar-laced one, is surprisingly decent.  A serving of the jelly, about 2 tablespoons, contains 5g of carbs and the peanut butter contains about 6g of carbs.  The medium sugar-free iced coffee is about 8g of carbs.  So far, my blood glucose has taken to the change very well and that, in turn, makes me happy.  Very happy.  Time to eat!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


What can I say?  The burger is still amazing.  The fries, known as Smashfries that have rosemary and sea salt seasoning, were a little eh, but it's really all about the burger.  Isn't it always about the burger?  Though I recently went, without the BNC, the burger has remained the same; succulent, juicy, orgasmicy, and overall yummy. 

Troop loves it.  It's a small price to pay for me having lost his gun. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


After last year's, too high potassium readings from some blood work done on Good Friday, I'm not participating in the No-Meat Fridays thing.  Also, I'm not giving up a certain food, etc.  Instead, I will focus on my baseball catching skills, still under construction, mind  you, as well as my awesome kite flying skills.  Skills, I gots 'em, yo.  In other words, I will hit up the park as much I can, a park only 3 blocks from my home.  The park where I flew kites when I was a wee little one. 

The only thing the BNC and I are giving up is going to our beloved House of Pies for our Sunday breakfast.  Instead we will save that money to either give to charity or purchase something for us.  It will be a little hard since they know us there but it's Lent.  However, you know what will be hard?  Cooking.  The BNC will be fasting while I won't so what to make for dinner will be a little tricky.  I will try to fast when I can but I have a date with the Lab soon with a visit to the endo 2 weeks after.  I'm afraid that what happened last year will happen again if I do abstain for the whole meat thing on Fridays, including the 3 days before Easter, the toughest time of all.  So, I'm prepared to make some potato patties, eggplant lasagna, lentils with shallots, green beans with tomatoes and that stuff the BNC loves while I sneak in some protein on the side at dinner time. 

By and by, I made chicken fried chicken yesterday because I hit a roadblock on what to make with chicken breasts.  I had Panko but no egg and had to settle for whole wheat flour.  It tasted good but it was still a fail.

Yup, the flour, without the egg as a binder, didn't really stay on.  A yummy failure nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The weather continues to be erratic here.  Cold and windy one day, and then, today, muggy and foggy with the promise of falling temperatures (again) this afternoon.  Monday evening, with the cold still hanging in the air, I decided to make some albondigas, meatball soup, to warm our bellies and our toes.

I like to keep my meatballs simple.  Back in the day, I would put a few pinches of rice, maybe some cut up potatoes, into the mixture but simple really is best.  Salt, pepper and 1 egg, maybe some bread crumbs if they're on hand.  After a little mixing, not too much, I form small little meatballs and let them hang out while I warm up my dutchie on the left hand side.  A little olive oil and, in small batches, sear them a bit.  (I don't thoroughly cook them.)  Also, they aren't perfectly round and really, who cares?

You have to make these in batches otherwise they will fall apart during the flipping process as well as being boiled rather than getting a nice brown color.  No bueno.

After they're all done, pour in some diced shallots until slightly translucent.  A little tomato paste and chicken/beef broth, or water, to remove all the bottom Klingons.  Bring to a boil and, if you didn't use broth, like me, put in a couple of tablespoons of your Knorr, bouillon base, a Mexican staple.  A little time and let it boil for a minute before adding your noodles.  I have ceased using rice because I still get called out on the childhood incident when I poured more than a couple of cups of rice and made porridge with meatballs.  Thanks, mom.  Anyhow, noodles is best. 

I like Oaxaca cheese so a few little cubes go in along with a little lemon.  Throw in some toasted up tortillas to help scoop up some of this deliciousness as Roseanne, Season 1 on Netflix plays and you're good to go. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bitty Girl, World Watcher

I'm sure the slogan is the same in every city.  "If you don't like the weather, give it a minute and it will change."  It certainly rings true here in Houston.  It's been a little warm, extremely foggy and muggy; A nasty combination.  Saturday morning was a typical warm, sticky morning.  I was ready to tackle Ikea with some shorts and a t-shirt.  Then bam.  I had to put on some jeans and a long-sleeved tee when I opened the front door and got a cold handed slap in the face.  Go figure.  Regardless, the day was beautiful.  I opened up all of the windows and let the cold air run through.  And you know how much Bitty Girl loves opened windows.   She spent a good chunk of the afternoon sitting and watching. 

She's easy to please. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Neighborhood Watch, Part 3

By the looks of it, it may not be much of a view for her, but there are a lot of squirrels and birds running up and down those trees and roof.  She's good.  She misses Ms. Gustafson's little girl and her many uncles though. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


According to the back of these photos, and Billy Corgan, the year was 1979.  The wood paneling should give it away.  It's the coat that really cements it though. 

I remember this photo being taken.  I also remember this house.  Absolutely some of the best times there.  B would be born later that year, in November. 

I'm so hood.
Tummy teaser. 

My parents are giving me all of the family photos.  There's so many but it's awesome to look back and remember.  It's going to be quite a chore to scan them.  But, after I do, I am going to display them on one of the two streaming photo albums I have.   

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Papa Geno's

Papa Geno's was chosen for dinner last night after having to run some unexpected errands that would have left me making our dinner too late.  It was a good choice. 

Papa Geno's is a philly cheesesteak joint that is supposed to be a Philadelphia transplant.  I say supposed because I don't know if they are or aren't.  All I know is that in Philly they use Cheez Whiz on their cheesesteaks and this place is doing it.  I'm not down with that kind of cheese.  Let me make a side note comment for a moment.  My momma didn't really feed us junk food.  I guess you could say that she was way ahead of the curve.  For example, as a 34-year old, I have never had a Happy Meal.  My mom doesn't like it when people feed their kids nothing but sugar or fatty stuff.  Sure, we went to Pizza Hut a lot but I guess we went to a) feed our Italian ancestry and b) my mom doesn't know how to make pizzas.  She always preferred to make our meals no matter how long it took.  Cheez Whiz was one of those items she didn't feed us.  So, rather than get the original Papa Geno's cheesesteak, I got a regular one with white melty cheese (the name escapes me right now).   Dudes, it was good.  The meat was wonderfully cooked and the cheese was awesomely melted and clinging to the meat and bread for dear life.  I didn't go, "ZOMG, this is SOOO good!" when I bit into it because it was just good.  It was good use of bread, meat and cheese and it came together great but it was nothing spectacular.  However, I would go again.  Maybe even try the other items on the menu.  The BNC on the other hand, whose childhood meals consisted of coming out of a box, and with a toy, tried the original with the Cheez Whiz.  He liked it. 

I know I should be taking photos of the food but oy, I don't want to be that person, sitting at the table, whipping out her camera, etc.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind but, what if they do?  Sometimes I can pull it off but then I am forced to share a crappy photo of something I can't even make out. 

In closing, Ralph Macchio is going to be on Dancing with the Stars.  This may finally be the reason I need to watch it.