December 12, 2006

I want a restaurant/bar like this at home!!!

I am sitting in the bar at Cobblestones, a great restaurant/bar in Lowell, MA. I have had dinner here 4 or 5 times - 3 in the last week and 1/2. But I didn't realize they have free wireless broadband!!!! Now, if I could just find an electrical socket when my battery gets low...

Anyway, I will eat here tonight, tomorrow and the next night - then I'm going home. They have a great selection of food - you can have anything from homemade macaroni and cheese (with BACON!!) to a fancy gourmet wild game dish (varies each week) to a cheese tray with baguette (my dinner tonight).

They make a mean margarita. I do wish John had been able to come here with me over the weekend, but we were concentrating on Boston eateries.

If you are ever in or near Lowell - I highly recommend this place - A++++!!

Posted by Beth at 04:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

Oatmeal - good for the body

Last March, when I went in for my annual checkup, my cholesterol was high. Really high. It was about 290. And even though my HDL was very high (a good thing), it was not high enough to make up for the very high LDL.

The doctor wanted me to take zocor for it, but after reading all the warnings for the stuff, I thought I'd try eating oatmeal every day instead.

So I did. In fact, I now love the stuff - and I grew up hating it.

I went in for blood tests and followup stuff earlier this month. The doctor assumed my cholesterol would still be high, so he gave me a prescription for zocor. Rather than argue with him, I just didn't say anything.

I just looked at the results of my lipid tests and found that my cholesterol is down - way down - to 195. And my HDL is 69 (which is really, really good) and my triglycerides are normal, and my risk of cardiovascular disease from high cholesterol is now - low.

And the only thing I changed was eating oatmeal for breakfast. It doesn't seem to matter if it is instant or steel-cut or semi-instant - it worked.

So, my friends, develop a taste for Oatmeal. You will be healthier for it.

Posted by Beth at 10:46 AM

March 02, 2006

Restaurant review

Last night, I stumbled across a restaurant on my way back to the hotel. It looked like a little neighborhood joint from the outside, but oh, my - the food is to die for!

Next time I'm in Chicago, I'll be sure to take Mr. and Mrs. Glittering Eye there - in case they have not found it.

It is called Nonna Silva's (1400 Canfield in Park Ridge).

I had an incredible red snapper dish. Red Snapper on toasted ciabatta bread. Capers, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers in a wine sauce - wow, it was incredible. And th fish was cooked to perfection - moist, yummy.

They garnished the plate with sweet potato straws, which were also yummy!

If you are in the Chicago area, go there! You probably need reservations on a weekend.

Posted by Beth at 07:11 AM

January 14, 2006

Tastes can change

When I was a kid, I never liked oatmeal. I also absolutely hated sweet potatoes and lima beans.

I still hate lima beans.

A couple of months ago, the doctor said my cholesteral was getting too high (they changed the limits of acceptable). He wrote me a prescription, but after reading all the possible bad things the drug could do, I thought I'd maybe try changing my diet first. So I tried some Quaker Instant Oatmeal - and surprisingly, I kinda liked it.

Next time I went to the grocery store, I looked at all the different varietis of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. I found this Quaker Oatmeal Supreme, and I tried it, and I absolutely love the stuff. Go figure - I've spent over 50 years thinking I despised oatmeal (except in cookies) and I love the stuff!!

And then ... sweet potatoes??? I despised the damn things - but then last year, at a hotel restaurant in Springfield, Mass, I had a salmon dish with fried sweet potato straws on the fish, and I really liked it.

A year later, John and I went to a comedy club and I ordered sweet potato fries - oh, my, I loved them!

And then, when I was in London right before Christmas, there was a pub on my way back to my hotel that had the British equivalent of cheese fries - big chunks of roasted white potatoes and sweet potatoes with some kind of white cheese melted over them and some kind of mayonaisse based sauce to dip the taters in. Oh, my - it was good!

So now, I take a sweet potato, cut it into big chunks, sprinkle some salt and olive oil over it and bake in the oven at about 400 for 30 minutes. You don't need butter on sweet potatoes, they are creamy and yummy by themselves, but if you feel like dipping the pieces in mayonnaise, well, that's pretty good, too.

I have tried lima beans again, thinking maybe I could stomach them, but no. They still suck. Biting into a lima bean just is icky -squish, if you know what I mean!

Posted by Beth at 08:23 PM

November 27, 2005

Bar Stuff

Okay, to continue with me attempt to earn some Christmas money, let's talk about bar stuff.

The best corkscrew we have found is the Rabbit. Sorry, ladies, it is a corkpuller, not this Rabbit.

Shooters are nice to have.

I really like our Smoothie Maker. It is great for Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris and any other frozen drinks. It really does a great job. I've never had a blender come close to do as well.

Also, various bar glasses are good - I love these big goblets. I need to buy more of them, as someone managed to break one or two of mine.

I also like these Pilsners- I have a set that belonged to my parents, and can't be found anymore, but these are close.

Posted by Beth at 10:16 AM

November 26, 2005

More on Kitchen Appliances (small ones)

Everyone ought to have a bread machine. I have the Ultimate Bread Machine and it is wonderful. I've had it for 2 years or a little longer and I don't think there are any that will do more than this one. And the price is certainly good.
Whatever bread machine you get, be sure that it will make 1, 1 1/2 and 2 pound loaves. The best recipes I have found are from the internet - chocolate bread, onion cheese bread, and more. I bought some bread machine cookbooks, but when I want to make bread, I turn to Google to find some interesting recipes.

I gotta tell you, I have a Cuisinart Food Processor and I probably use it maybe once or twice a year. For most chopping chores, a good knife is about as fast and way less messy. For grating, get a good grater. It is great if you want to make cottage fries or potato chips, but I don't do much in the way of frying. Unless your cooking habits are way different than mine, I don't think that food processors are worth the expense. But if you do want one, don't get a cheap one - they can't handle much without breaking.

Did I ever mention that once upon a time I managed a small appliance repair shop? It's been about 20 or 21 years, but I can tell you that some brands were and still are (because the engineering has not changed)cheap. They break a lot.
Cuisinart can handle a lot of stress.

I almost forgot the coffee maker. Oh, gosh. We love our coffee maker. We have had many different brands through the years, but this Capresso is the best we have ever owned. It ain't cheap, but for the last 3 years, it has faithfully performed. It has a great burr grinder that can be adjusted to different grinds. It is much easier to clean than the Cuisinart version, and honestly, it is much better made. I highly recommend it. It has the clock thingie on it so you can set it the night before. The grinder will grind your fresh beans and then shoot it into the basket which then moves over to the correct position over the carafe.
I love it, love it, love it.

Everyone needs a toaster, but I've never really found one that toasts really evenly. So I have no recommendations there.

Okay, that's it for kitchen appliances - later I'll tell you what I think of knives, and more importantly, bar supplies!

Posted by Beth at 05:59 PM

August 10, 2005

Easy Yummy crescent roll things

There was no food in the house today. I wanted something good, so I played around with some things, and this came out pretty good:

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I had one of those itty bitty packages of 4)
Grueyere Cheese, grated
sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375 Farenheit
cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unroll the crescent roll dough and place on parchment paper.
Spread grated cheese on the dough - be generous.
Spread sliced mushrooms on the cheese.
Shake a bit of nutmeg over each and salt.
Close up the rolls - they won't make quite a crescent but you should be able to make the point of the roll tuck under the wide part.

Put in oven and bake for 12 minutes. Simple and good, and I'm sure you can come up with good variations.

Posted by Beth at 11:53 AM

October 15, 2004

Mexican Martini

Tonight I made Jack's Mexican Martinis.

I have one in my hand, even as type.

Jack is correct - this stuff is strong. I was not sure I'd care for the splash of olive juice, but I do like it quite a bit.

This is definitely a grown up drink - it's very tasty and it makes me warm all the way down!

So, I give Jack's Mexican Martini two thumbs up!

Posted by Beth at 05:58 PM

September 28, 2004

Food and Wine

Professor Bainbridge has started a new blog on wine - it looks like a good place to read some wine reviews.
Professor Bainbridge on Wine
I will be honest here. I love wine, but my pocketbook does not allow me to buy many of the wines that Prof. Bainbridge talks about - his idea of cheap wine is under $18 a bottle. My idea of cheap wine is under $10 a bottle!

Posted by Beth at 06:09 AM

August 27, 2004

Recipe Reviews here

Anyone who tries one of the recipes in the carnival and would like to comment can do so here in the comments.

Tonight, John and I tried BeeBee's Cornbread Casserole. It is very quick and easy to prepare. And boy, is this ever a comfort meal! It coule probably serve 8 people easily, so we have lots of leftovers.

I highly recommend you try it.

Posted by Beth at 07:40 PM

August 20, 2004

Deadline is 6:00 PM Central

For recipes for the Carnival of Recipes!
My email address is beth(at)thedonovan(dot)com.
It will probably take me an hour or so to finish putting together this carnival of bloggy, linky yummy goodness!

Thanks everyone, for participating.

Posted by Beth at 02:05 PM

August 19, 2004


So far, I have 8 really yummy looking recipes for the carnival. Thanks, everyone for sending them to me.
My email address is beth(at)thedonovan(dot)com if you want to send me a link to one or a recipe to be in the Carnival of the Recipes tomorrow.

Posted by Beth at 05:14 PM

What the blogosphere needs

Is a Carnival of Recipes! I look around, and I find absolutely wonderful recipes from many bloggers. Some bloggers are professional cookbook authors, and just talk about their recipes, but others of us are willing to give every detail of a recipe to the rest of the world.

So, I am going to start the Carnival of Recipes. Send a link to your recipe, or the recipe yourself if you don't have your own blog to beth(at)thedonovan(dot)com.

And on Friday evening, cooks everywhere will come looking for your bestest ever dish!

And frankly, I need some new recipes.

Deadline is Friday at 6:00 Central Daylight Time. Oh, and that is PM!
Now, I'll be embarrassed as hell if no one sends me anything, so please, please, please ----- send me a link or recipe!

Posted by Beth at 05:06 PM

August 17, 2004

My Favorite Grocery Store Ever.

There is a small local chain of 16 grocery stores in the Kansas City area that is absolutely the best. The stores are called Hen House Markets.
We do not have one in Leavenworth, but there is one on my way home from work, and occassionally I'll stop there to pick up something for dinner. I did so tonight.
I wish every grocery store was as cool as Hen House is. It is a beautiful store - arranged artfully and logically. I also like the fact that they carry all the local produce they can find. I can buy organic milk, eggs, veggies and beef all produced within about 50 miles of Kansas City.
They have absolutely the best produce section, deli section, fish, chicken and meat section ever.
Tonight, I picked up a quiche for dinner tonight - just 20 minutes in the oven and voila, John and I had a yummy brocoli quiche - and enough for two dinners. Wow, I love that store.

Posted by Beth at 08:40 PM

August 15, 2004

Beef Rib Roast

Found a nice 4 pound rib roast today at the commissary - thought I'd make a special dinner since Andy and August go off to their respective universities tomorrow.
I decided to try something a little different. I had a recipe where you marinate the beef roast for a couple of hours and then smear a kosher salt and water paste all over the roast.
I don't have time for a marinade, so I am trying this out -
2 cups of coarse kosher salt.
1/3 cup olive oil (I always use extra virgin)
fresh basil leaves
fresh thyme
fresh marjoram
a bunch of garlic cloves
freshly ground pepper.

I put them all in the food processor until they were smashed up together.

Spread it all over the roast. Cooking it at 325 for about 20 to 25 minutes to the pound.

I'll keep you informed. The salt and herb paste looks green - I don't know if that will change or not.


Yum. The greenish color of the salt went away with roasting. It is important to brush the salt away before serving.
The roast was super tender and very tasty!

In fact, I would be proud to serve it for company - if Tammi or anyone else is ever in town!

Posted by Beth at 05:08 PM

August 13, 2004

Low Carb Yummy

John and I are trying to keep our carb intake at a minimum, so I make a lot of deviled eggs for snacking on.
I was looking through the internet for something different in the way of deviled eggs and found several recipes that used curry powder.
So I hardboiled 10 eggs, mixed the yolks with mayonnaise (has to be Helmans) about 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

They are quite good. A nice change from the normal mustard, vinegar, mayo and relish type.


Posted by Beth at 08:29 PM

Julia Child is dead

(registration required, sorry)Julia Child Dies at 91

She was a very cool lady. What a life - the Dallas Morning News has a very nice write up on her.

Posted by Beth at 01:51 PM

August 04, 2004

Sharia law in employment with Muslim Firms?

A Muslim corporation has fired a woman for eating 'unclean' meat.

Yup, this happened in Florida - and the woman, a Roman Catholic, was fired by her Muslim bosses because she had a pizza on one occasion and a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on another occassion.

The company, Rising Star, is a telecommunications company, which means it is highly regulated by the federal and state government.

They did not make the woman sign anything saying she agreed not to eat pork, but even if they had, I believe it would be going way too far.

Muslims cannot demand that Christians follow the same religious dietary laws that they follow.

Can you imagine if a Catholic-owned business fired people during Lent for eating meat other than fish on Friday?

Same thing. Hope the woman wins her lawsuit and wins it quickly.

Posted by Beth at 01:02 PM

June 17, 2004

Beth's Restaurant Review

I have found my favorite all time restaurant. It is The Central Street Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wow, the food is to die for, and the service is just unbelievably great. Last night I had Oysters Rockefeller and lobster tail. Tonight, I had Greek Oysters and jerk seasoned Mahi. Wow. Yummy

The atmosphere is intimate. It's a small place, but it has a huge character.

Scott is the General Manager, and Danielle is a great server, as is Star. They are all darling, wonderful people. They went way out their way to make me feel welcome and well cared for.

I highly recommend The Oyster Bar for anyone visiting the Tampa or St. Petersburg area.

And I have to admit, of all the coastal cities I've been to, I like St. Petersburg the best. It is just beautiful. Come autumn or winter, John and I need to come here for a little vacation. It's not our normal mountain kind of place, but there is something wonderful about St. Petersburg

Posted by Beth at 08:38 PM

March 26, 2004

Nit Picking?

Top doc backs picking your nose and eating it

Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor. Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies. He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up.

I stole this from Laurence at ATS.

Hey, Joanie, do you suppose this practice might help people with chronic sinus infections? Ewwwww yuckkkkkkk icccckkkkk blechhhhh

Posted by Beth at 04:48 PM

March 10, 2004

John's working really late

So I get to fix myself anything I want for dinner! At the Red Lion Inn in Salisbury, England, they serve a wonderful Stilton Cheese salad. I had it one day for lunch when John and I were there last November, and I have been trying to duplicate it ever since.

I'm getting closer.

For the salad greens, I use (hey, I work and don't have time to do it ALL by myself!) the Fresh Express Royal Blend (you have to have some kale in there) and some pitted calamata olives. Then I crumble about 2 tablespoons of Blue Stilton on the salad, and for dressing, Newman's own Balsamic Vinaigrette. Yummy.

So, that's my dinner tonight. That, and one little margarita.

Posted by Beth at 07:45 PM

January 27, 2004

I had the best dinner last night

The Steak House at the Reno Hilton is superb. I had Lobster and Black Tiger Prawn Thermidor and French Onion Soup. Sometimes, I splurge when I'm traveling. It was yummy, I didn't overeat, and the service was impeccable.

But then, I woke up a few hours ago itching like crazy. I have several rashes on my arms, legs, boobs. Ugh. I must have an allergy of some sort to something I ate last night! I'm trying to figure out if I should try to find some benadryl in the gift shop, or just drink lots of water and see if it goes away.

I will not be a happy camper if I have developed an allergy to lobster!

Posted by Beth at 07:34 AM

January 02, 2004

Another break - and a question

I am a mess, this is tedious as hell, but it will look gorgeous when done. Unfortunately, this is only the hallway and front entry. Until today, I did not realize that there are 10 fricking doorways in our hall/entry. I have to paint all the trim. I'm about 1/3rd thru. I will be up until 3 am to finish.

Anyway, while I'm painting, I would like your best Margarita Recipes. I'm in the mood for something different.

Or, Sazerac - a good recipe for that would be tres cool!

Posted by Beth at 05:31 PM

December 27, 2003

I cooked something new tonight

And it was good. My sister-in-law gave me a cookbook for Christmas - one of those cookbooks that church ladies put together. I love those kind of cookbooks, because I know that real live normal people have tried these recipes and found them acceptable.

I made Sherried Chicken tonight - pretty easy and extremely tasty!

If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350
Chicken Breasts or other chicken pieces (I used 3 large boneless breast halves)
2 tablespoons flour that is salted and peppered.
Equal parts olive oil and butter for sauteing.
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 can artichoke hearts
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (canned works just fine)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup sherry.

Dredge the chicken in flour and saute in the olive oil/butter mixture until browned. Remove the chicken to a flat casserole dish - I used a 9 X 13 pyrex dish.
Place the artichoke hearts around the chicken.

add the rosemary, onion, mushrooms, chicken broth and sherry to the olive oil/butter mix and stir unti thickened - you may want to add a wee bit of flour.

Pour this mixture over the chicken and artichoke hearts.

Place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until chicken is tender.

This is very good - you could serve over rice or pasta unless you are watching the carbs.

Posted by Beth at 07:55 PM

November 27, 2003

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

A friend of mine sent me this:

A Thanksgiving Poem...

Twas the night of thanksgiving,
but i just couldn't sleep.
i tried counting backwards,
i tried counting sheep.

the leftovers beckoned -
the dark meat and white,
but i fought the
temptation with all of my might.

tossing and turning with anticipation,
the thought of a snack soon became infatuation.

so, i raced to the kitchen,
flung open the door
and gazed at the fridge,
full of goodies galore.

i gobbled up turkey
and buttered potatoes,
pickles and carrots,
beans and tomatoes.

i felt myself swelling
so plump and so round,
'til all of a sudden,
i rose off the ground.

i crashed through the ceiling,
floating into the sky
with a mouthful of pudding
and a handful of pie.

but, i managed to yell
as i soared past the trees....
happy eating to all -
pass the cranberries, please!

may your stuffing be tasty,
may your turkey be plump.
may your potatoes 'n gravy have nary a lump,
may your yams be delicious,
may your pies take the prize,
may your thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs.

Posted by Beth at 08:26 AM

October 09, 2003

One Last Dinner in Baltimore..

When in Baltimore, forget seafood. Go to Little Italy. Go toLascala.

This was some fantastic food. Very pricey. Very good. They have this unbelievable roasted Caesar Salad - you have to try it to understand how good it is!

Anyway, I highly recommend this place. Now I have to do some documentation for work!

Posted by Beth at 07:32 PM

October 07, 2003

Tuesday Night's Dinner

Tonight I walked over to the Rusty Scupper. Long walk - at least a mile, maybe 1 1/2 miles.

Anyway, I was seated at a very nice table with a wonderful view - I wish John was with me, it could have been quite romantic. I had crab stuffed shrimp. It was pretty good, and served quite nicely. However, it was not spicy enough for me. I seem to like spicy hot things more and more, and I love the food of New Orleans, and Texas, and yes, Kansas City more than what I have had here on the coast lately.

Just 2 more nights, and I can come home on Friday morning.

The Rusty Scupper is worth a visit, I am just getting homesick!

Posted by Beth at 07:55 PM

October 06, 2003

Tonight's Baltimore Restaurant Review

Tonight, I decided to walk around the corner to a nice beer joint called Max's at Camden Yards. When I was here last December, they had a to die for spinach salad - unhappily, that is no longer on the menu.
But, they have an incredible Crab Cream Soup - and it is a very large helping, doesn't leave room for much else, though I picked at some calimari.

The soup is worth the visit. The calamari - ehhh, it's ok, nothing to write home about.

For lunch, we went to Slider's Bar and Grill - I liked it better than Max's - it is very close to Camden Yards and have a really nice lunch selection that is reasonably priced. It was good.

For breakfast, I went to the hotel restaurant - it sucked great big green ones..

ick. I think they are trying to sell the same breakfast sausages they had a year ago on the breakfast buffet.


Posted by Beth at 06:14 PM

October 05, 2003

I'm travelling again

This week, I'm in Baltimore, Maryland. After I got settled into my hotel, I walked to the Inner Harbor area and had dinner at Legal Sea Foods.

Unfortunately, Legal Sea Foods, like many restaurants, seems to think it their duty to push people eating alone to sit at the bar. I asked if I could sit at a table in the bar area, and they relented. I could understand it if the restaurant was full to overflowing and I would be taking up a 4 top table. However, there were at least 4 tables for two empty the entire time I was there.

Oh well. The atmosphere was nice and relaxing. The service was a bit on the slow side, but oh my God - the food was wonderful. I had a combo dinner - wood fired shrimp and scallops and a crab cake to die for. I had a jalapeno polenta, also, and it was the perfect texture and flavor.

I have to turn in early tonight - have a long week of doing techie stuff in front of me, and I the hour time difference can make me weird!

I'll try it again this week, there are so many entrees to try, and so little time.
Aside from being pushed to eat in the bar because I was eating alone, it was a very pleasant experience.

Posted by Beth at 08:05 PM

October 04, 2003

I love Waffle House

in the South, at least. We have a few newer Waffle Houses here in the area, well, if you consider 15 miles away in the area, and the one in Wyandotte County, Kansas, which we tried this morning, would be an embarrassment to the Southern Waffle House establishments I visited during my travels for work.

I was in Columbia, South Carolina for 3 1/2 weeks recently, and I had breakfast at the Waffle House every morning before work. The ladies there were really good at their jobs - the place was always Spic and Span clean, the food was efficiently prepared and damn good. The grill was totally under control of one of the two ladies who were obviously expert in short order cooking, even if there was a full house and people were waiting in line.

In contrast, this pitiful excuse for a Waffle House in the county south of us should be reported to the Wyandotte County Health Department. The grill lady was lording it over the poor servers and dishwashers in a voice so loud that everyone knew what she was pissed about - even us customers.

The waffle makers were incredibly dirty - there was batter coming up all the way to the top of the waffle makers and they were in no hurry to clean up the mess - is was just gross.

And the lady at the grill did not clean up after herself while she cooked. I think of the lovely ladies, (Ruby was the name of one of them) in Columbia, South Carolina, and they had everything under control - always calm, always clean, always getting the order right.

Naturally, my order was wrong - but it took so damn long to get it, I didn't complain. I looked at the ticket, and the server got it all right, but the grill bitch didn't pay attention.

Anyway, heres to those folks who do it right at Waffle House and hisses on those who do it oh so wrong!!!

Posted by Beth at 06:58 PM

September 29, 2003

Oh, No, There go our Margaritas!

U.S., Mexico Tussling Over Tequila Bottles

Mexico is threatening to bottle all Tequila in Mexico read the article for reasons why.

What upsets me the most is the strong possibility of Tequila shortages if this happens!

I guess John and I will have to start drinking mint juleps or something.

Posted by Beth at 11:27 AM