Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nostalgia Food

I am so glad that I finally found this recipe!  Does anyone else remember that wonderfully yummy olive spread that Safeway used to spread on their Italian-style deli sandwiches?  I used to get that particular sandwich all the time because I loved that spread.  Kelsey and I would get them all the time on our way home from dance show rehearsals at MPC or take them to munch on at the outdoor Forest Theatre in Pacific Grove, where bringing your own picnic was not only allowed but celebrated.  The posh crowd adult crowd (well, more adult than us) would even bring their own bottles of wine.  And then quite suddenly, Safeway changed their deli menu and quit using it.  Or, at least, they quit doing it at the Safeway store closest to both my house and my parent's house.  Which was really, really sad.  I've been searching the internet occasionally over the last couple years when i crave it and not finding anything that seems quite right.  (And admittedly, part of me forgot that there was a cream-cheese layer to help hold the olive mixture in place, but the second I saw it on my screen, I started drooling in remembrance!)  Part of me also wants to mix the two spreads together and eat it with a box full of crackers, but as it was designed as a sandwich topping, I'll try to stick to the plan.  You could also pop a baguette in the oven and get it nice and crispy and serve it as an appetizer, but I'm looking forward to cream cheese and olives and salami being all wrapped up in one package again with Italian ham and a little kick of yellow peppers.  And since there's no Safeway around here, even if I beg them to bring it back, it wouldn't do me much good, so the fact that I've stumbled across something that sounds so incredibly close makes me absolutely ecstatic   

Safeway's Olive/Garlic Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons white onions, chopped (I'm going to call this optional because I don't rightly remember it being included, but do as you like!
2 garlic cloves
2 garlic cloves
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained
3/4 cup kalamata olive, pitted
3/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
GARLIC SPREAD: Add all ingredients into a food processor. Process until smooth. Remove to a medium bowl or spread generously on toasted baguette slices. Wipe the work bowl and blade clean.
OLIVE TAPENADE: Add the garlic and the black and kalamata olives to the work bowl. Pulse a couple of times until minced. Add the green olives and pulse a couple of times, leaving larger chunks of the green olives (for aesthetics). Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the vinegar and olive oil. (Additional balsamic can be added to cut the saltiness, if desired; keep in mind that the garlic spread will also help cut the salty flavor.) Spread the garlic layer on your choice of bread/toast/baguette first and then spread a layer of the olive mixture, eat as is or follow with your sandwich makings.

I hope that if you haven't had this in the past, that you consider it, either on sandwiches or as an appetizer topping.  It's not something to be ignored, I promise!
Happy Nostalgia Cooking, everyone!

Allie H.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Furniture Freebie Find!

I know I'm not usually a "two post per day" blogger but I forgot to share!  On our way to Kris's first follow-up appointment a couple weeks ago we stumbled across a pile of rejected furniture & objects down by the trash in the garage.  Included in the pile was a small free-standing cabinet with a drawer up top and two shelves and the drawer was stuck, not closing all the way for some reason.  Kris took a look at it and tipped it to one side, and we heard something rolling around behind the drawer.  My hand just barely fit and I pulled out a 5-container paint set.  Drawer closed perfectly, problem solved.  I wiped it down, inside and out with Clorox wipes and it was ready to go.  I carried it to a few different spots in the living room until I settled on the short wall right outside the guest bathroom.  The drawer is holding the extra kitchen towels and on the shelves I tucked away some extra sodas and a set of Chinese dishes for four, and matching Marilyn Monroe party plates and highball glasses that our friend Noel gave us for our wedding.  I'm still determined to find some sort of bar cart with room for glasses but for now, at least, that gets them off the counter and out of the way when they're not being used.  On top of it now are our business cards and a couple of knick-knacks that were also on the counter that desperately needed to be moved elsewhere.  But I was mostly stoked because it was free and in perfect shape and it almost matches the color of the dark nightstands we have so if I change my mind eventually, it will go with out bedroom, as well.  
Happy Furniture Finds!

Allie H.

Personal Projects and Chloe's Cape!

It's been a hectic last couple weeks and I've been working to turn hectic into productive!  We've had two follow-up visits since Kris's surgery, the second of which succeeded in getting ALL of his stitches removed, so he was happy.  58 stitches and the nurse who took them out told me that I should have a my camera ready to take blackmail pictures if he started to cry.  He started physical therapy yesterday and he's going to be going twice a week so he'll get into the swing of things.  He's forgotten how much it's going to hurt before it gets better!  He was pretty sore when I picked him up yesterday.  The PT office is five minutes from our apartment building and he's arranged to do it at 5 PM twice a week since his first appointment yesterday at 3 PM broke up the middle of his work day.  But he's been back to work full days for the last two weeks.  

I've been back an forth to the TJ Maxx down the street a hundred times (well, maybe not a hundred) to return and find another shower caddy, both of which didn't hang correctly over the shower head in our bathroom so I moved on to Bed Bath & Beyond to find a corner shelving unit, which, after three tries, was assembled correctly for the height of the tub to the ceiling and installed it!  It worked and so I took the second TJ Maxx caddy back and while I was there, I decided to wander around the kitchen/home aisles to see if there was anything I couldn't live without.  I settled on a flat spatula, a veggie steamer tray (those ones that collapse into the shape of a UFO) but what my made my eyes widen was a 9-inch deep-dish ceramic Le Creuset for $14.99.  The cartoon light-bulb showed up and the first thought that popped into my head was "Spinach Artichoke Dip!"  I'm pretty sure I said it out loud, too.  And then I thought of tomato pie, which I've been wanting to try, because who doesn't like layers of tomatoes and cheese?  And of course dessert pies, etc.  It's my prized find for the month!  I was surprised that TJ Maxx had the assortment of Le Creuset that they did but I'm happy that they had it, and at a fraction of the price I would have paid at Macy's.  I pondered the colors and settled on black outer-enamel with cream and headed for the cash registers.   

It's gorgeous! 

Bathroom shelves and kitchen gadgets acquired, we're slowly but surely getting our apartment well-rounded and organized.  A week or so ago I helped haul in book boxes one day so Kris could help me unpack.  We've been working on books ever since.  We found a wonderful, lovely used book store/exchange last weekend and spent more than we should have on books and when we came home, I started thinking of listing all the Dean Koontz books I had and the ones I still needed/wanted (which is all of them, really!) and started making a list on my computer, then thought, "I should make an inventory list of all of our books in case anything happens."  So we found this website Kris had heard of earlier called where you can sign up and type in the title, ISBN, or author of the book and make a list of all the books you have.  So I've been scanning bar codes with the android and adding them to the list all week.  My plan is to go through all of the boxes again and pull out any more books that might be hiding but I'm pretty sure we have 99% of them out on one shelf or another.  I've been making a list of projects that I want to get done and would like to get done, which seems to me to be a better way to do it.  It's on my laptop and I can change the color once it's accomplished, keep notes on the ones in progress, add new ones and have it all in one place.  If you know me, you know I love post-it notes and notebooks, and I love writing things down and keeping "to-do" lists of things but it never occurred to me to keep a running tab of sorts!  We'll see how well it works but so far, I thought of something while I was starting to do dishes yesterday, and I ran into the other room to add it to the list before I went back to the kitchen.  

Speaking of things that need to be done, and things that HAD to be done, I've been promising Chloe's World of Beer Super Dog Cape and I finally got a chance to get it make it!  The machine showed up the day after Kris was released from the hospital and so I got to "ohh" and "ahh" over having it back in my life for a few minutes before lovingly tucking it into a corner to deal with at a later date.  The case cracked in transit which, being a $3 find at a garage sale, was no real loss but in terms of storing I'll eventually have to find another one.  But the cape was my project a week and a half ago, and it was pretty successful for a first try!  I do still need to alter it to include a strap with velcro to hold it around her little tummy, otherwise she runs and it falls to the side and she actually trips on it, so that's no good.  But needless to say all the servers at WOB loved it and within seconds of us bringing her by to see them they were all out with their camera phones taking pictures of the intolerable cuteness!  They're supposed to be up on the website sometime soon so I'll make sure to share the  link when they let us know.  But she looks so Super in her cape!  And it gets her extra love and cookies ; )  Do you know how many websites are out there with instructions for how to make a cape for your dog?  I can give you a high ballpark figure!  I'd been planning on doing a "step by step" tutorial with pictures but my sewing machine has a tension problem with the bobbin and it was making me really rather Grr-y, not to mention that I kind of went my own way with the steps, so next time I make her a cape, I'll have to do it then, but here she is in all of her WOB-dog glory!

Doesn't she look heroic?!

And there are more projects to come.  And a list of sewing supplies on my wish-list for the future.  I've also gotten as far as paper for the printer, installing the printer drivers on my laptop so I can print via wireless and scan to my computer, which came in handy yesterday when Kris forgot his physical therapy authorization for his appointment.  I called and asked if I could scan it and email it and of course it took about as long as his appointment lasted for me to figure it all out but now it's done!  I think my next goal in furniture/organization would be some sort of desk for the printer or at least a mail-station.  We bought a file box awhile back and I finally remembered to get hanging file folders for it and I tackled the pile of papers we were just merely laying in the box for the moment!  I was thinking about it and while I love not working, I think part of my time writing needs a little more structure in my alternate goals.  I realized that I missed doing projects like putting files in order and crossing to-do's off my lists for the day and making things in my space a little more efficient and neat.  On to crossing more things off my list!
Happy Project-ing!

Allie H.