Peanut Butter Cheese Cake

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So my friend Bridget brought this ofver to our house, and all I could say was, wow!

Very rich, my husband has been slowly nibbling at a piece he has saved in the fridge. Very yummy, I was particularly impressed with the peanut butter cups and chocolate drizzles. The recipe was found on Facebook from Pinterest I believe.

Update: It took me a bit, but I found the recipe!

You can find it here…

Everyone Loves Ramen

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Everyone has probably tried Ramen noodles at some point. More likely, many have subsisted on them through college and lean times as the go-to food for when you can’t find anything else. Growing up, I knew them as “wiggle soup.” A college professor used to delight in informing his classes that they had enough sodium in one packet to kill a person. Of course, he also tells us they kept him from starving at one point as well while living in a converted chicken coop/garage.

As I started cooking, I became dissatisfied with just following a recipe, particularly when I had done so before and knew that the outcome would be mediocre at best. I credit Ramen noodles with the beginning of my breakout into *gasp* cooking with my gut!

This just means that I stopped following recipes. I started adding bits and dashes until I had something better (or just more interesting) than what I had begun with. I tend to cook with smell. I smell all my ingredients as I am adding and I continue to smell what I am cooking. I rarely have any issues with this method. When I have a cold, my husband cooks as my kung-fu deserts me.

Now, my parents will actually eat Ramen noodles voluntarily if I am making a quick lunch for some reason.

I have tried different flavors and combinations, but I still have a few that are my favorites.

While on a trip to New Zealand to visit my sister, I came across the Ramen equivalent. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they were called, but they came with little packets of garlic butter! I found this a rather novel idea.

Now, I add my homemade garlic butter ( I will post later) and bits that I find in my fridge. My personal favorite is leftover steak. I chop it into bit size bites, fry it in some seasoning and then add it to the beef ramen after I have added the seasoning packet. I also tend to add minced garlic, soy sauce, and Worcheshire sauce while it is cooking. A bit of fresh parsley is always a nice addition.

I just got some summer savory that smells divine, so I plan on adding that next, possibly with some chicken. I’ve tried the Asian inspired ramen and I prefer to add fresh chopped green onions. What do you like to do?

I plan on making a cold slaw using the ramen noodles and marinating them in some salad mixture.

Pure Blend Teas

I went to a friends house in Lancaster and we stopped by the farmers market in the center of town. I found one stall selling my weakness- homemade herbal tea blends. I bought three packets of tea. They were a little pricey- I think I spent $12 for all three of them, but the flavors were wonderful!

I purchased a Peach Melba- which is my favorite for a very light, fruity flavor on a cold afternoon. I bought a Nettle Leaf Detox tea that doesn’t have much flavor, but is very comforting in it’s blandness. I detect a bit of chamomile.

Last, I bought a Egyptian Lime Hibiscus- a deep ruby color, it was very citrusy with a sweet overtone.

Recommend for someone who doesn’t mind floating plant bits from loose tea. Very civilized tasting and I will definitely be visiting the website to order more!

Pure Blend Tea

They are based in West Chester, PA

The card says: “Hand Blended Whole Leaf Teas, Matcha and Raw Cocoa from the World’s Finest Organic & Fair Trade Ingredients”

call 484.639.1546 or email pureblendtea@gmail.com & contact Kari Dandrea. She was very helpful and helped me choose the teas I would try. Continue reading

San Diego 2013: Day 1

Due to a business trip where I attended a conference, I got to bring my husband along with me for the cost of a plan ticket to San Diego. The locals are unhappy with the chilly 62 degree weather, while we are happy it is above 40F!

Our first day marked a stroll around where we found a lovely restaurant called Edgewater Grill in Seaport Village. I only had a Caesar salad (lovely croutons and dressing) but I was quite happy when I ordered a drink. Being that it is vacation, I decided to live a little wild and I ordered a special drink. I had been fiddling with this at home and asked that the bartender have a little fun: I asked for :

Orange juice
Sprite
Dash of peach schnapps
fruit

The bartender brought this wonderful fruity concoction with a crush fruit mixture that made it extremely tasty and rather dangerous, as I could have drank many of these without tasting the alcohol.
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Wonderful service, good food, and a great drink!

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Dinner:

We took the trolley and then the bus to Coronado. Spent over an hour walking on the beach with the surf teasing toes as we watched the waves. Dinner was a little heavier as my husband dearly wanted to try some seafood.

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He had a blackened whitefish with seasonal veggies and a wonderful homemade tartar sauce. I don’t like fish- but this was wonderful! The tartar sauce was chunky and had adult amounts of garlic in it, making it the perfect companion to the fish for a amateur like me! (I tend to steal tastes of most of my husbands dishes).

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I had a medium-well New York Strip Steak with veggies and truffle oil french fries. The steak was nice and tender and cooked perfectly, with a dollop of house butter on top. However, it had little flavor. I don’t know if it was trimmed too much or if my husband has spoiled me with marinades, but I found that it had less flavor then I am used to with a properly cooked Strip steak. The real fun was the truffle oil fries!

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I had read a blog in which someone had tried these in Las Vegas and adored them, and I must say that I was not disappointed.

Desert was a standard raspberry sorbet, with a biscuit straw as a nice addition.

3 stars- good service and well prepared food.

San Diego 2013: Day 3

Saturday saw me attending the conference for which we had flown all the way from PA for. I ended up in the hotel restaurant (Manchester Hyatt) at the bar on the bottom floor. I had a limited time for lunch, so I ordered my quick standby: a Quesadilla.

I was pleasantly surprised to be delivered three very large slices full of gooey cheese and nicely grilled chicken, topped with chopped spring onions (a nice touch, I rarely see these for some strange reason) and a wonderful selection of guacamole, house made salsa, and the wonderful standard sour cream.

Dinner was a true treat!

We dined at Miguel’s right outside of Old Town. For those of you unfamiliar with this spot in San Diego, you are missing out! It is a national park and features wonderful shops and great food.

Miguel’s offered tortilla chip baskets where you could sit at the bar and watch them be made right in front of you. I had a mock mojito which was tasty and refreshing with raspberries. Dinner brought on a delight I had discovered in San Antonio, taquitos!

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It was tasty and filling without being spicy or bland!

The steak was perfectly seared and the gaucamole & toppings were fresh.

5 stars

San Diego 2013: Day 4

We decided to go out early, so we went back to Old Town to walk around a bit.

Breakfast was at a place called O’Hungary’s.

I had fruit and my family had the traveler’s special: For around $2, you could get 2 eggs, toast, choice of bacon or ham. Good food. Four Stars.

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Lunch was the real treat. We were smack dab in the middle of Old Town watching a local dancing festival. Great dancing as high school groups performed native dances in colorful costumes. Several small stages were set up and we waited to be seated while listening to a small group.
First off, they took my cell phone number and I got a text when our table was ready. This place was very busy, but we only had to wait about 20 minutes. Not hard to fill the time where we were, surrounded by little shops.

I ended up going home with a roasted garlic olive oil and a 911 Hatch Chilli vinegar from a local olive grower.
We were seated outside (only place you could sit) and were in the shade while very fat little finches circled and flew around the fountains and tables. Lush hanging plants completed the look. Both my husband and mother order burritos and were most definitely not disappointed!
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I ordered standard tacos came with fresh guacamole and salsa and were hot and tasty.
This will always be one of my favorite places in San Diego.

Our whole group wanted to visit Mission Beach. I have to say that compared to the beach of Coronado, it was crowded and a little dirty. Lots of shops crowded together selling the same t-shirts. We walked down the boardwalk and one of our members had wanted to try World Famous Steak because they had heard it was good.

I ordered the chicken breast stuff with gorgonzola cheese, olives, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes with fettuccine. I couldn’t taste anything except the parsley. I was rather disappointed in the entrée. The bread were baked into seafood shapes and were crusty and tasty, but that is all I can really say about that restaurant. The whole group rated it C-/D+. 2 stars.

San Diego 2013: Day 2

Our second day, Friday, we spent the morning strolling along Seaport Village. We had a lovely breakfast at the Edgewater Grill.

My husband had a tasty layout of eggs, home fries and bacon while I had a truly divine fruit parfait with homemade granola, strawberries, blackberries, and bananas in a fat-free vanilla yogurt.

After that, we made our way to the world-famous San Diego Zoo and had a marvelous time. It was the best zoo experience I have had. ( The best aquarium was an underground one in New Zealand). We were amazed at the sheer amount of planning and greenery, not to mention the wonderful animals. My particular favorite memory involves their special Polar Bear interaction gate where (without glass) a polar bear can rear up on a grate that moves forward and you can stand two feet away (behind a bar of course) and watch them feed the bears! I was up front and thrilled to be so close to my favorite animal.

Dinner saw us at the Harbor House in Seaport Village. My husband ordered a crab topped snapper with garlic mashies. I tried his, and while I am not a seafood fan, I have to say it was tasty.

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I had a fettuchine dish that was green (I know this intrepid foodite (not to be confused with deadite) is still navigating the waterways of foodom, but I usually don’t have many chances to buy and eat funny colored pasta. So this is exciting for me, okay? Bear with me, some day I will be a grizzled veteran unfazed by such blatant displays of culinary experimentation!
Anyways, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese with grilled chicken. Light but still filling with a lovely flavor.
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I ordered the same drink that I had at the Edgewater grill, curious to see what the bartender would come up with- I tell you this, even with the same ingredients, it was a completely different drink!

Much stronger on the schnapps, and I think they put in pineapple juice (def. not my favorite). It was okay, but not nearly as good as the inspired drink from the Edgewater. Edgewater Grill got an extra star for that drink (I prefer to rate on a full dining experience which I rate with a dinner. However, only having had breakfast and lunch there, I felt I could rate a little just on their service and the food I had already sampled).
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Desert was a first for me (what I had not the act, I’m not that uncivilized!). I tried Crème Brulee for the first time.
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I heard it would be amazing and phenomenal and a life-changing experience and…
It tasted like vanilla pudding. Maybe I am just an unsophisticated redneck but I was thinking “wow, this tastes like burnt sugar and tapioca.” I have nothing to compare it to, so I imagine that there are other dishes out there that would be mind-blowing, at least for someone else. My husband’s fruit tart looked more appetizing.
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This restaurant got 3 stars, with an extra half star being added on for the amazing view. We were staring over the bay with an exotic bird rescue tent next to us and large, amazing kites in dragon shapes flying in the breeze in the park.

Try this for a lovely atmosphere and good food.