Archives for April 2014

April 29, 2014

Foodgasms: Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

There is nothing better than a great tasting, crunchy chip. Especially for a light snack. But most of the store bought chips are super salty, have trans fat or I have a hard time finding the flavors that I like. So when I came across a recipe in the Food Network Magazine (December 2013) for some amazing pesto crackers, I jumped at the chance. Yes, the recipe they published called them crackers. But I consider them chips as (to me) they are too thin to be considered crackers. But whatever you choose to call them, they were amazing. So after trying their recipe, I went off on my own and created these magnificent snacks.

Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

How amazing do those look? Lightly crisped along the edges, melted and browned cheeses and bright green parsley. And the crunch is heavenly. It literally is the perfect snacking chip. And with summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect appetizer to make and take to a party or picnic. They are easy to make, last for several days in an air tight container and retain that crunch the whole time. Even better? You don’t need a dip or salsa to accompany these chips as they have enough flavor already. Let’s get a close up!

Closeup of Five Cheese & Parsley Chips

The best part about this recipe is that you can easily switch the cheeses and herbs. Want something simple? Try Parmesan and Parsley. Or how about Asiago and Green Onion? Or even Romano and Basil. Find a combination you like and run with it. Get creative and feel free to share your flavor combinations in a comment as I’d love to hear from you!

Five Cheese & Parsley Chips:
Inspired by Food Network Magazine’s Festive Crackers Recipe

1 package of won-ton wrappers
1 cup of Italian Blend Cheese, finely shredded (mine was a mix of asiago, romano, mozzarella, provolone & fontina)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup of chopped parsley
1.5 tsp of kosher sea salt
1.5 tsp ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with either foil or parchment paper (either will work – do not use wax paper as the wax will stick to the chips and become useless)
2. Measure out your salt and pepper and mix together in separate small bowl.
3. Cut your won-ton wrappers in half, either diagonally to form triangles or vertically to form rectangles.
4. Place your won-ton triangles or strips in a single layer on your baking sheet and lightly brush with the olive oil. Then lightly sprinkle with your cheese of choice or cheese blend, top with a sprinkling of parsley and season with a pinch of salt & pepper.
5. Bake for 6-8 minutes (I discovered that 8 minutes was perfect for my oven) or until your chips are browned and crispy. Lay flat on cookie racks until cool.
6. Either serve immediately after cooling or store in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.

April 24, 2014

Pros and Cons

I both love and loathe my job.

I know that I’m not the only person to feel that way. And to be perfectly honest, overall, I absolutely love my job. But there are days where I literally cannot get out of the store fast enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I love working in the bakery.
– My co-workers are absolutely awesome and my boss is pretty kick-ass (And no, I’m not just saying that because several of them may know about my blog).
– I have made several fantastic friends here (in fact, I have a great little circle of friends that have become my best friends: Trouble/Twitchy, J and Blondie have been there for me like crazy and I love them for it).
– My discounts are pretty darn good.
– The walk to work is fantastic exercise.
– The store managers and store director know me by name and greet me daily.
– The PIC’s know I take pride in my work and know that they can count on me to do all of my work without checking up on me.
– My boss knows that I will never call out unless I physically cannot work and that’s a great feeling.
– My boss tells me when I screw up and when I do a great job. I love it because I know where I stand and I know what to work on. Constructive criticism is the best criticism.

But then there are certain things I cannot stand.
– The early morning hours. 3 or 4 am shifts are the worst, especially since I’m a night owl.
– My walk to work (while energizing and great exercise) are freaking creepy at 2 or 3am. It’s super dark and there are definitely some weirdos walking around.
– I wish my salary was higher. Especially since I bust my ass for the money that I make and I know several people with less experience that make more. Which definitely infuriates me when I hear them complaining about how little they make.
– One of the managers seems to hate me and even though I don’t particularly like them, I wish I knew why I bothered them so much. Oh well. Not much I can do about that if they won’t talk to me.
– Freight. I absolutely hate pulling the freight. It kills me at night. My knees start to give out, my back aches for hours and my arms feel like they’re about to fall off. I hope I adjust to it soon. Although …
– Perhaps I’d adjust to it faster if they’d stop playing with my schedule so much. I don’t mind closing. In fact, part of me prefers it because I can sleep in and stay up late. But when they make me close for two weeks and then throw me into the morning shift … my system gets totally out of whack.

I have no desire to leave my job. As I said before, overall, I absolutely love my job. But every once in awhile I just need to let off steam and vent about the things that bug me most about my job. Heck, everyone needs to. And boy, that DID feel good! :D

What are some of the things you both love and hate about your job? Feel free to let me know in a comment!

April 23, 2014

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been counting the minutes until I could forgive her. But it’s a lot harder to forgive someone who’s not looking to apologize.

Synopsis:

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text – She didn’t jump.

It is no secret that I am head over heels in love with the novel “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn and that I live for a fantastic psychological thriller. So while still reeling from the ending of “Gone Girl,” I searched for similar novels and came up with a list that just sounded intriguing. Which is how I came across Reconstructing Amelia. I had some fairly high hopes for McCreight’s debut novel and while it was actually a good novel, it was not quite what I was expecting.

When I first cracked open the book, I was excited. It started off as a mix of Pretty Little Liars meets Cruel Intentions 2 meets Law & Order. (Yes, I’m a giant sucker for semi-trashy, Lifetime movie-esque novels) But despite being a speedy read with enough tension to keep you wanting to read more, it fell short of it’s glowing reviews and promising storylines.

My biggest issue with Reconstructing Amelia has to be the characters. There isn’t one character that I truly loved. Amelia was the only one I had any interest in, but she’s already dead when the story starts so there’s no way to see her character gain any depth. You want to cheer for her, but there’s really no point. And as far as Kate goes, I really wanted to like her. But I just couldn’t do it. I completely understood her grief-stricken emotions – she just wasn’t likeable to me. In fact, Kate pretty much annoyed me. I hated how little she was around for Amelia. She prided herself on being a great mom and while she gains points on being pretty cool, she lost points for never being around for her teenage daughter.

My second issue is just how much insanity is packed into this novel. It’s like all the major hot button issues are packed into one storyline. Bullying/homosexuality/premarital sex/suicide/sexting/hazing/cheating and affairs … the list goes on and it can be enough to make your head spin. It’s a constant stream of “AND THEN” moments which can definitely be confusing. I actually think that several of those topics are extremely important to cover, but when you pack so many of them into one story, I feel as though the impact of those important issues gets lost in the shuffle.

In conclusion, I’m certainly not saying don’t read Reconstructing Amelia. It is in fact a fairly good novel. It is certainly an interesting and fast paced read. My advice is to just not give into the hype and read it without those expectations in your mind and get lost in the secret society goodness of hipsterfied Brooklyn while drinking an ice cold lemonade in the park on a sunny spring day.

THREE STARS