Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mom's Smoked Shoulder

While in NH during the holidays, I stopped at the Market Basket for some nice New England groceries. I was able to get a smoked shoulder for $8.00. What a steal! I haven't been able to find this cut anywhere in NY.

My mom taught me how to make a smoked shoulder, boiled onions and mashed potatoes, and I made them for Rick when we got home. It didn't quite fit in my pot, so I sliced a bit off one side. I added 8 cups of water and simmered it for 3 hours. I added simple mashed potatoes, a couple of simple boiled yellow onions, and corn at Rick's request. And it all heats up beautifully :) And the ham broth will make a great potato soup!

Holiday Dinner with Ann and Mike

Last week Rick and I got the chance to have dinner with Ann and Mike in Portsmouth. We walked from the Sheraton over to the Blue Mermaid. I told Rick about the summer Ann and I searched the town over for the best margarita in Portsmouth. This was back in the day when the Blue Mermaid was the new guy in town, and that summer they won! We next stopped at Brazo - we were last there just before our move to Manhattan with Ann and Mike as well as Kathy and Ken. I wanted one of those Hemingway Daquiris. Unfortunately I was disappointed as it was no longer on the special cocktail menu, and the bartender couldn't remember how to make it :(

We had a reservation via Open Table and went to Jumpin Jays for dinner. We started with appetizers - Ann had the Native Beet Salad with the sweet potato tots, and she kindly let me taste! Rick had the roasted beet salad (another of my favorites - I got a taste of this too!). Mike and I each had the mussels and oh ho ho! They were amazing! For dinner, Ann selected the pan seared scollops with the mushroom sauce, Mike got a fish with the lobster veloute, Rick got the chicken picata and I had the Portugese Fisherman's Stew. I was pleased with the different entrees except for the chicken picata - we've had the haddock picata before, and it is wonderful. The chicken picata is nothing like that. Ah well - can't win them all....

We all stopped back at the Sheraton for a night cap, and despite my urging, Ann and Mike decided to drive back to Amherst that night. It was great to catch up with friends and share laughs :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Christmas Pictures at the Mudge's

Now that we are home and partially unpacked, I found Rick's camera. Here are some additional shots from Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lunch-O-Licious Lobster!

She is looking at you!

Last time we went to Petey's was back in August. Today I got to go again!

I've had a hankering for lobster, but I just can't bring myself to pay NYC prices. It is just too painful.

But since I was in the seacoast today, running all the errands I need to get done before we go back to the big apple, I asked Rick to bring me here :)

Rick ordered some onion rings to start, and we had a diet coke and a water. Then I got the twin lobster special - 2 softshells! It came with potato and coleslaw, and I didn't touch either of those - I kinda felt bad, but really, why have those when you have lobster on your plate??? Rick ordered the fried chicken sandwich with cole slaw rather than fries.

Can you believe the entire bill, including tax and tip was only $40???

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day at the King's

Jim, Lynn and Jillian were happy that Santa came for them :) Jim got a scuba mask with a built in digital camera!

Jilly happily showed me her new trampoline that Santa brought!!

Then she opened her new Barbies that Rick and I brought her.

Jilly was happy to show us one of the six princess costumes she got ( a value pack of princess dresses in a pretty pink trunk) and posed with one of her new Barbies :)

Santa Came!

Christmas Eve at the Mudge's

Kim and Bill are chatting with Dee Dee and Sammy

Sammy was up really late and flew up from Raleigh, NC today. She's a little bit tired, but happy to be with family :)

Laura got a bathrobe! And she **really** likes it!

Danielle looked very pretty in her Christmas dress :)

Everybody got to play with new baby Jayda - she was very happy to see everyone :)

Suzee's In Law's Favorite Stuffed Mushrooms

My in-laws appreciate these stuffed mushrooms. If I don't bring them, I wonder sometimes if they would send me to the grocery store to get the ingredients so I would be able to make them on the spot :)

2 10 oz packages of white button mushrooms - I like the smaller ones so each mushroom is just a bite

1 package Jimmy Dean sausage (the tubes of raw sausage meat - regular not the hot version)

1 8 oz block of cream cheese

Brown and crumble the sausage meat.

In the pan, add the cream cheese and mix it with the sausage crumbles.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, leaving the cap and a nice little niche for stuffing.

Spoon the stuffing into the mushrooms and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or so. The recipe is pretty forgiving - I never set the timer - once you can smell them cooking, it's about 10 minutes more. We've always struggled to let them cook long enough so there were never worries about cooking them too long :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Sugar Cookies

When I got my Christmas Care Package, I was wondering if I still even had a rolling pin. Ann told me - just use a glass. Poof. Rolling pin. My glasses are short double old fashions, so I started looking around for something a little more efficient. Ho, Ho, Ho! Rick's Grey Goose bottle is not only a nice long shape, but it is also even up and down! Poof! Rolling pin!

I don't have my cook books here in the city, so I didn't have Roses's Christmas Cookies with me. This book is a wonderful source of cookiedom. Given Rick is also known as the cookie monster, it's a great book to have :)

I found a sugar cookie recipe on Epicurious, and the dough was one of those that can be used for multiple cookies, so I figured I'd give it a shot. It suggested that if you use Plugra butter, the results are even more amazing. I figured, hey, it's only fifty cents more a pound here in the city - worth a try.
I did cheat on the chilling part of the dough - I was supposed to wait 3 hours, and I only waited 1. The resulting cutouts showed that I should have been more patient.
The good news is that they tasted quite nice, and even better the next day :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rockefeller Center at Christmas

It's better to go on a weeknight but we went today :)

The tree is spectacular!

On 5th Avenue across from Rockefeller Center there is a beautiful snowflake ballet coreographed to Carol Of The Bells. I love that carol - one of my favorites I sang with the choir at St Mary's back in Newmarket :)
The Cartier building was wrapped up like the most beautiful gift. I decided to forgo pretending to shop for expensive jewelry :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suzee's Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Rick was pretty happy when he left for work this morning. Vacation starts tonight at 6:00!!! After my shopping trip I decided I wanted to go out to get some "yeah it's vacation baby" food for dinner :) I also want to make my sugar cookies tomorrow too. And gee, would egg nog make it feel a little more Christmas-y?

On the way out I spied 4 mommys and 4 kids - the mommys were dragging the kiddos in plastic sleds down the sidewalk. I looked for my camera, but unfortunately I took it out to down load the Toys R Us pictures :)

I decided to make my spinach and artichoke dip - all baked and yummy. It would be a nice warm baked treat with some crusty bread and a glass of cabernet.

1/2 a 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
1 small jar of artichokes, diced
1 C mayo
1 C grated parmesean cheese
1 C grated mozzerella cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced

Mix it all up, toss it in an oven proof dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so :)

Christmas Shopping at Toys R Us

It's snowing! It' snowing! And there is even accumulation!

Times Square in a snow storm at noon is pretty dark...

Once I figured out where Toys R Us actually was, I walked in and found the famed ferris wheel! It is in the middle of the store with all the merchandise on the 3 floors which surround it. Each car on the ferris wheel is unique and has characters sitting on the car with you! I took some pictures of the Toy Story car and My Little Pony car as they went around.

Then I figured, what the heck? Might as well go for a ride as long as I'm here :)

Mr and Mrs Potato head and the Yellow Peanut M&M were on the cars on either side of mine (the Monopoly car!). It costs $4 to ride, and you can pick a time frame in which to ride. On the Friday morning before Christmas, I didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes.

After my shopping (some success!) I had to take a picture of the snow accumulating on the trees on my corner :) It's not often you get to see the pristine white!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rosa Mexicana at Union Square

I decided today to get my butt up and do some Christmas shopping. I had plans, but no gifts, so needed to change that :) I brought back a coat Rick had ordered on the internet from Macy's. It wasn't too crowded, so I looked for a holiday blouse or sweater. No luck. Looked for some stocking stuffers for Rick - also no luck. I knew there was a reason I tried to finish all Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving....

I went from Macy's to Union Square to visit the Holiday Market again. I found what I was looking for (yay! some success!) and moved on to Filene's Basement - no luck there. OK - time for some lunch. There has to be a place around here where I can sit down and eat.

I came upon Rosa Mexicana and remembered the name as they have prepared meals from Fresh Direct, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I was able to get a seat right away, and I ordered some Sopa de Tortilla and Ceviche de Huachinango.

The soup was **so amazing**. The soup came in a rimmed bowl with some chicken and a few toasted torilla strips in the bottom. The server poured the broth over the chicken and it was smooth and smokey and spicy and rich. I need to figure out how to make this soup. It was like the tortillas were pureed to make the broth thick, and also some smoked chiles pureed as well. It was absolutely delicious.

The ceviche, not so much.

After lunch I decided to hit the grocery store to make Rick a nice dinner - chicken with rice and gravy - his favorite :) And I thought I'd make some cranberry bread too. It turned out pretty tasty :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Suzee's Yummy Beef Chili

2 lbs browned lean ground beef
1 boneless chuck pot roast, 3 - 5 lbs, cooked, trimmed of fat and cubed in bite sized pieces
3 large sweet onions, diced and caramelized
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, 15 oz
1 can small pink beans, rinsed and drained, 15oz
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, 15 oz
1 can niblets corn, 11 oz
3 cans low sugar tomato sauce, 24 oz
1/4 c chili powder
2 T cumin
1 t ground smoked chipotle, or more to taste
1 t garlic powder
1 t cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and heat through.

Serve over a hearty salad (no wimpy greens - something like romaine to hold up to the heat and flavor)

Or serve with a sprinkle of mexican cheese shreds and a dollop of sour cream with a few tortilla chips

Or in an omlet with american cheese (this is especially tasty!)

Freezes very well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Bows with Wired Ribbon

One of the few times of the year I get crafty is Christmas :) My friend Jessie was with me when I went to the 99 cent store (Jack's at 33rd street and 6th Ave) and I bought this ribbon. Jessie asked if I knew how to make bows with this ribbon and when I said yes, she asked me to show her how to do it. This is how I do it.
Take a length of ribbon and make 2 bunny ears. You can do this if your ribbon is around a present or just make the bow as I am doing here.
I tie a simple knot with the ears, and then fluff the bow ends like this.

In this example, I've tied 2 sets of bows and set them criss cross with their knots touching.
After this I took a third set of bunny ears and tied it around these two bows.

After I fluffed the bow, I tied to our lamp.

I tied some tulle type ribbon to the Christmas ornaments on the tree - that makes them look more special :) And I'm adding some bows around the apartment to add some holiday spirit :)
I really need to make a Christmas playlist for my iPod.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Surprise Christmas Parade

This morning I was surprised to hear music outside my window. I got up and looked down to see what was going on.

This kind of ad-hoc parade was moving on by with some trucks playing music - an oompa kind of thing that sounded similar to "Dominic the Donkey". Not my favorite holiday carol, but it goes to how you just never know what you will bump into while you are in the city :)

Nice to see the holiday spirit :)

Friday, December 12, 2008


My friend Ann loves her new dishes by fiestaware, and I saw this contest on a sister blog.

If you like Fiestaware too, send in an entry :)