Hello, and Happy Almost New Year! Hopefully!
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Well I should start out by saying that this room is located in the quasi-unfinished basement our house, so all of the framing, electrical, sheetrocking, mudding, taping, sanding, texturing, flooring, trim work, etc. was all done by us.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Once upon a time,
I was a young, bright-eyed college student who worked as a server at The Olive Garden.
I'm mostly kidding, of course. I think it's a great company, and I love going to The Olive Garden to this day whenever I'm in the mood to enjoy a 10,000 calorie meal surrounded by random Italian-esque architecture. (Both of which, I happen to always be in the mood for.)
I, however, am not kidding about how ridiculous it is to serve at any restaurant that has unlimited ANYTHING, let alone unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. Seriously, don't do it. This is your conscience speaking and I'm telling you: Don't go in there and get seduced by that heavenly smell of buttery breadsticks or the idea of wearing a tie as part of your uniform, which you find kind of fun and sexy, in a 1920's gangster sort of way. Stop it. Turn around and go apply at Buffalo Wild Wings, so you can wear a fake football jersey to work like the dignified person you are. You're welcome.
Anyway! I happened to be working there when they first introduced their now iconic Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. I remember being at the staff meeting where we all got to taste it and get coached on how to say 'Gnocchi' correctly, so that we wouldn't make any embarrassing pronunciation blunders that would give the impression that this establishment wasn't 100% AUTHENTIC ITALIAN.
Even though I laughed while writing that just now, the good people at OG did actually do their homework and we were correctly taught that the true pronunciation is, in fact: 'Nyow-kee'.
I'll spare you the ugly details of an argument I got into with another student in Cosmetology school who absolutely insisted that it's pronounced 'NAW-CHEE' and that there was no way she was wrong because her "mOm iS iTaLiAn!" And this was before the days when cell phones held the almighty powers of Siri to have your back during these moments, so I eventually just gave up after realizing that I could be Clarence Darrow and still lose an argument to anyone who pulls out the Italian Mother card, because truth and accuracy become entirely relative after that. (See what I did there?)
That whole discussion still kind of haunts me, but it quickly became a favorite inside joke between me and my Dad, so we'll randomly say "Uhhh, it's called Naw-Chee. My Mom's Italian." in the middle of a conversation and that always makes me feel a little better.
Alright, I realize that was more of a complex tapestry of long-winded rants than you usually want to hear about soup, but I appreciate you letting me get it all off my chest.
Chicken and Gnocchi is delightful. It's creamy and flavorful and wonderfully satisfying on a cold day.
You can use homemade or store bought gnocchi. You can use cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken or even leftover turkey after Thanksgiving. You can chop carrots or use pre-shredded ones sold in a bag. You can add in the celery or leave it out if you think celery tastes like wet, crunchy soap. Basically, you can be a snobby purist or a convenience-driven cheater, because it doesn't matter. Just follow your heart.
All that matters is how Gnocchi is pronounced. I don't care where your mom is from.
Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
3 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 16oz. package of Gnocchi
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups half and half
3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
-Sauté butter, onion, garlic, carrots and celery for a couple minutes until soft.
-Add flour, cooking and whisking for a couple more minutes.
-Gradually add chicken broth, one cup at a time, whisking constantly.
-Gradually add half and half, heat to simmer.
-Add chicken and gnocchi (already cooked, according to package directions) Simmer on low for 10-20 minutes.
-Stir in the spinach and a handful of grated parmesan, and then salt and pepper to taste.
-Ladle into bowls and add more parm, because it's the right thing to do.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
In the meantime, I'm happy to hunker down and let the amazing medical professionals do the hero work that they trained for at the Hogwarts School for Jedi Masters and Agents of SHIELD or wherever they graduated from, and pray that this thing goes away quickly.
Here's some of the things that have kept me enjoying this weirdly surreal season of life:
1.) My New Puppy
Any of you who keep up with me on social media know that we have a new addition to our household in the form of a Very Good Boy named Captain, and there could not have been a better time for him to join us! He's really settled in with us well, and we've had so much more opportunity to focus on house training and crate training him than if we were still the busy little bees that we were 3 weeks ago. He is such a sweetie and we absolutely love him.
Another reason this dog's presence in our life has been serendipitous timing, is that that it's forced me to go outside multiple times a day, and getting so much fresh air on all of these walks with him has been really good for my mental health.
(Also my physical health, because I've literally been baking almost every day, so unless I try to balance all of these delicious carbs out with some exercise, I'm going to look like Jabba the Hut when this is over.)
Sunday, March 8, 2020
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
But on the off chance that you're like me, and don't keep up with every trending thing because you're busy
So technically I'm not too far behind when it comes to this one, because Office Ladies is fairly new and I started listening in once they had a couple episodes posted.
Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer started this adorable rewatch podcast, where they are chronologically doing a podcast episode for every episode of The Office and they talk about what it was like to film each episode. It's sooooo cute and fun.
First of all, Jenna and Angela are best friends in real life, which makes this even more amazing, not only because of the awkward tension their characters had on the show and the irony of that, but also because their banter in real life is just so down-to-earth and adorable. They encourage each other and tease each other and crack each other up and it just feels like such a gift to be apart of what they have and the perspective they give on what it was like on the set of such an iconic TV show.
For me, one of the most endearing aspects of their rapport is that they're such normal people. They frequently mention feeling dorky and out-of-place at big hollywood parties, or dealing with obnoxious actors who are "on" all the time, or the embarrassing learning curves of how to do red carpet situations. It's just all so charming, because they're so real about it.
They also have had a bunch of guest starts on to chat with them about whatever said episode they're on, like Rainn Wilson, Paul Feig, Creed Bratton, and Melora Hardin to name a few.
Anyway, as an Office enthusiast (who just rewatched all the seasons back in December), I've been so tickled by this podcast that gives so many behind-the-scenes views of what they went through to make each episode. Plus I am just a huge fan in general of a couple of women starting a successful endeavor, especially when they are still able to stay true to their authentic selves.
You go, girls.
I just dig this show, and I think you would too (if you haven't already gotten on board.)
Find it wherever podcasts are available, or on Earwolf for ad-free listening.
4.) Smitten Kitchen Every Day
To go back to my theme of This Is Not New, You're Just Late, I'd like to tell you about the Smitten Kitchen cookbook that came out over two years ago, but I just got as a gift this last Christmas.
To be fair, I have been a disciple of Deb Perelman for years and even just following her social media accounts, when she gets out some chicken and says "jump", I get out my trampoline and say "Yes, Chef!"
I've made a couple of the recipes out of this book so far, but my all-time favorite has been her Street Cart Style Chicken and Rice.
Fun Fact: my friend Johanna made this meal for us a year or two ago and brought it over when we had a foster baby, and I'm pretty sure I was solely responsible for shoveling 90% of it down, and I always wondered what kind of dark magic she had started playing around with to make such a simple dish SO delicious. And now it all makes sense (in a non-sorcery involved sencario.)
These chicken thighs, marinaded in a lemon juice/paprika/cumin/coriander sauce and then cooked in a skillet, alongside a flavorful turmeric rice, taste like SAVORY CANDY. I made this dish three times in one month, and my family was not only fine with it, they kept asking for it again. And all the friends I've made it for have asked for the recipe.
Let's face it, for food that doesn't have any illegal narcotics in it, that's SUSPICIOUSLY addicting.
There's a lot of quality food in this book, but it's honestly worth to buy just for this.
You can get it HERE on Amazon
(Or psst, you can just ask me for the recipe and I'll text you screenshots of the pages.)
Well there you go, I hope you've enjoyed thinking 'Been There, Done That, Elise' for the last couple minutes, but on the off chance some of this is new to you, I hope you check it out and it dazzles your whole world.