B’more Thankful

Celebrating Thanksgivukkah Baltimore Style!

natty boh

My celebration began Wednesday night serving up Natty Bohs while beer tubbing at Looney’s Pub! They know how to throw a good pre-thanksgiving party and it was so great catching up with old friends.

 

thanksgiving

My parents hosted this year, so it was a bit of a busier day than usual. However, our day began as a lazy morning as it always does with the Macy’s parade and french toast casserole.

On the menu was turkey of course (which is probably the second best turkey I’ve ever had, due to the chicken broth my mom put in the bottom of the pan to ensure it stayed moist). My sister and I were like the professional basting squad, basting obsessively at least every 15 minutes. There was also cranberry apple stuffing, sweet potato casserole (made with brown sugar and pecan topping not marshmallows), mashed potatoes, our polish staple of sauerkraut and polish sausage (which is amazing mixed with mashed potatoes), tarragon broccoli, and my grandma’s specialty of peas and dumplings.

coins

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah last overlapped in 1888 and it won’t happen again for another 77,798 years so Colleen brought some gelt. We don’t have any ounce of Jewish in us, but we figured why not try to appreciate the culture since it was the second night of Hanukkah?

dessert

It would not be a holiday for our family without more dessert than we know what to do with! Fenwick bakery provided a lovely coconut cake. My grandma’s famous cheesecake of course was a hit as always. But I think what stole the show was an apple crumble pie with candied nuts on top.

ravens

My night was complete with some Baltimore football. Despite Emmanuel Sanders’ completely disrespectful jerk move of doing Ray Lewis’ touchdown dance in our stadium, the Ravens still came through for a win! It was like the whipped cream on top of pumpkin pie 🙂

I know this post  is a day late (I still have not gotten the hang of blogging in real-time) but now it counts as a “Foodie Friday” post. I will have to post the recipes later and I may be working on adding a separate recipe page to this blog so stay tuned!

One thing I have have realized is that Baltimore has a lot of transplants (like people, not just kidney transplants). And I am so thankful that my family all lives in the Baltimore area so I did not have to spend the day traveling or running around. At times, I do take my family for granted, but have been recently reminded that I need to b’more thankful that I have them closeby.

Thankfully yours,

Cara

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A Very Maryland Birthday

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Today is another honorary blog post complete with a miserable picture from my childhood and a not-so-miserable picture from some birthday festivities. I’m posting today in honor of my dad, whose birthday was yesterday.

daddy bday pic

Everyone feels love in different ways. My mom is definitely “words of affirmation,” but my dad is much more into quality time and acts of service. Hence, the all day adventure in college park and the cold football game. For those of you who know me, you know that is love because cold and I do not mix.

maryland game sunset

Even on his birthday, my dad was thinking of us and buying hot chocolate, offering up his gloves and letting us leave the game early when our fingers and toes just couldn’t take any more. That was a great reminder to me that people show love in different ways. My dad shows love through acts of service and I think it took me a while to realize that. Over the years, I definitely took things for granted like my dad coming to the rescue and fixing my car whenever something happened that seemed like a crisis to me.

Check out The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman for more information. This book really helped me understand every relationship in my life so much better.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Love-Languages-Secret-Lasts/dp/0802473156

So this post in itself is n0t the present like it was for my mom last month. Instead, my dad, a guru of the English language and future creative free-lance writer, will be a guest blogger for charm city magic!! My dad has always been so supportive of everything I do, including this blog 🙂

So Dad, this is for you. You get to pick a topic of your choice and write a blog post to be published here sometime in the next month!

daddy bday pic 2

P.S.We had a lovely lunch at Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville (another post coming with more details..for now check out their website http://www.franklinsbrewery.com/). In addition to my goofy, dry sense of humor that I get from my dad, I found myself using a “daddyism” at lunch without even realizing it. My sister Caitlin was eating a very spicy curry dish and I reassured her, “Don’t worry it’s good for your sinuses.” Our entire family has allergy and sinus issues so there will be many more posts coming with all kinds of fun ethnic, spicy foods!

Finding the Silver Lining.. I Mean Diner

silver diner

So I have been super behind on blogging this past week with the transition into my new job. But I have decided I at least want to do one post per week that is a traditional “foodie post.” Foodie Friday is what I will call it, although I’m a bit late with this first one. I’m doing a special post today on the Silver Diner, a hidden gem in College Park. It looks like a typical diner form the outside, but is a complete farm to table masterpiece on the inside, complete with organic ketchup!

ketchup

The diner is very clean and has a great atmosphere. Lighting was not too bright or dim, temperature was perfect, not too hot or cold, super friendly staff, and they even have their liquor license! Shout out to our server Wall-e, who kept our waters full, knew the menu inside and out and how to work his charm! The prices were reasonable, especially considering how much selection there was on the menu and how many of their ingredients were locally sourced. I’m not usually indecisive when it comes to food, but everything on the menu looked amazing! Thanks to my sister Colleen for finding this place and having a birthday so we could go there 🙂 Even though this was a belated birthday celebration I’m glad we made it happen!

lamb burger

The biggest dilemma at a diner is whether to go sweet or salty, and then whether you want breakfast or real food. We were there for dinner, but the best thing about having a sister is you can share and get the best of both worlds! I decided on the pesto burger with local goat cheese, basil pine nut pesto, arugula, roasted red peppers and sweet potato fries. We substituted lamb for $2 extra and whole wheat toast for free.

quinoa pancakes

To balance out the salty, Colleen chose the quinoa coconut pancakes with blueberries, pecans, strawberries, grilled bananas and agave. We nibbled on them and saved the rest for a post race snack! Another post to come about the 5k we ran that night!

silver diner staff

Life has been good these days and I love my new job, but the areas I work downtown can be depressing at times and traffic to get down to College Park always seems to suck the life out of me so this dinner and conversation we got to share really was the silver lining!

Check out the diner’s website here:

http://www.silverdiner.com/

Fully yours,

Cara

Celebrating Cambodian Style

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Finally a post about cooking! It’s funny how I always imagined having a food blog, yet very few of my posts so far have been traditional foodie posts. I had dinner with my family Wednesday night to celebrate my new job. My sister was so sweet and found this gem of a recipe courtesy of food and wine- Cambodian chicken and rice soup. This will be a post for another time, but some of you know I have spent some time in Cambodia and this country is very near and dear to my heart.

We did not have fish sauce, so we substituted low sodium soy sauce. We omitted the chiles just because I am not a fan of spicy. We also added bok choy and mushrooms to it. Soup is not complete without some veggies!

It was super easy too!

Ingredients:

  • One 3 pound rotisserie chicken
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 8 shelled and deveined medium shrimp,  halved lengthwise (about 1/4 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges, for serving ( I remember EVERYTHING in Cambodia was served with limes, even our omelettes!)

Directions:

  • Cut the chicken into legs, thighs, breasts and wings. Cut each breast crosswise through the bones into 3 pieces. Remove the thigh bones and cut each thigh in half.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, water, fish sauce, honey and rice and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro, basil and chile and serve right away, passing lime wedges at the table.
 *Pairs well with Riesling wine.

Follow the link below to the full recipe:

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cambodian-chicken-and-rice-soup-with-shrimp?fb_ref=fw-vert&fb_source=email

Nostalgically yours,

Cara