Thursday, August 28, 2008


Since recently much has been made of Michael Phelps' daily caloric intake and diet, I jumped at the chance to post a similar "menu", one much nearer and dearer to my heart... this time from the Wake Forest football team!

Today is the kick-off of the 2008 Wake Forest football season... so it's only natural to talk about how the team is gearing up; and, with that, (thanks to the Deacons Direct Gameday Blog) comes this impressive list of food apparently consumed every gameday by my favorite Deacs:

Here's a breakdown of all the food available on this trip:

- On the bus to the airport: bags of Chick-fil-A and a bottle of Gatorade.
- Boarding the plane: bottle of Gatorade or water.

- During the flight: a bag of snacks that includes pretzels, two granola bars, a Snickers bar, an apple and a banana; plus more Gatorade available.

- During the flight, part 2: more fruit, cheese and crackers and again more Gatorade or soft drinks.

- Arriving at the hotel: more Gatorade.

- Team dinner: salad, fruit, rolls, green beans, mashed potatos and gravy, roast beef, spaghetti, more Gatorade (of course) and the highlight of the evening, the ice cream bar (including hot fudge, strawberry topping, caramel, whipped cream, nuts, bananas and cookies - yikes!).

- After movie: late night snacks which includes salty stuff such as chips and popcorn (gotta have salt to stay hydrated) and more Gatorade.

- Team gameday brunch: fruit, eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, pancakes, grits, juice and more Gatorade.
- Pre-game meal: heavy on pasta and Gatorade.
Post-game meal: TBA...everyone is usually given a bag or box of food (of course in a generous portion)

- During the flight home: similar to the first flight, but top it all off with a Wake Forest football tradition that is said to pre-date the current coaching staff: Dove ice cream bars. Oh, and more Gatorade.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Denial

The fact that I read more articles these days on looking and feeling younger is, in my opinion, a clear sign that I'm clearly getting older... kinda sad when I think about it so I prefer to try not to.

Nevertheless, I of course stopped and skimmed this article about 10 Foods that May Improve Your Appearance. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we eat our fair share of most of the categories of food listed... so, MSN, tell me... why isn't my skin glowing and my hair shining?!?!

Oh well... I'm still holding out hope that eating more of these foods in addition to keeping up an active lifestyle (like starting a regimen of walking 3-5 miles a day with Chris' grandmother in her late 80s as my inspiration!!) will keep me healthy and young, though I'm always searching for any other tips.

Get back to me in a few years and I'll let you know how my plan's working out...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who's Counting Anyway?

I'm still waiting on the official count determining how many dog years equals one human year... but since my favorite furry friend probably could care less about the actual numbers, it's best just left alone.

Accurate count of dog years or not, I couldn't miss a chance to say a big HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY to our absolutely adorable Annabelle.

And to celebrate... a picture of our little girl doing what we believe she loves best, in a place that surely ranks in her top 5...

Happy Birthday, little 'belle... we love you!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Press Release

Lots of very news-worthy events going on these days... it's hard to ignore the Olympics *or at least it is for us: Michael Phelps achieved the greatest individual performance in a single Olympics winning his 8th gold medal; and, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won the first-ever second consecutive gold medal in Olympic beach volleyball while securing their 108th win in a row; meanwhile, in non-Olympic news, AP pre-season ranked #23 Wake Forest's season opens against Baylor August 28, both Republican and Democratic National Conventions are heating up and maybe even announcements of running mates (and by NO means is this me asking for any type of political debate), and last but not least, I won a cookbook!

Yes, this is newsworthy - not only because as everyone who wins something for the first time says... I never win anything in contests like these, but also because it's THIS cookbook!

Thanks SO much to Donna at Spatulas, Corkscrews, and Suitcases *cutest blog name ever! and The Taunton Press.

Last week, I had the good fortune of stumbling upon Donna's blog and of course all of her grilled pizzas caught my eye (so much so that last weekend in an inaugural effort, we grilled 6 different pizzas... did you know that certain blogs are searchable even via Blackberry; thanks to that nifty technology, I was able to access my favorite homemade dough recipe even though we were nowhere near a computer) so I quickly entered her contest to win this delicious-looking cookbook, Pizza on the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer! And now that we've officially entered into the world of pizza-grilling, I'm drooling even more in anticipation of all the recipes calling to me from underneath its covers. I still can't believe I won!!

In the spirit of all things grilled... I present to you an innovation in grilling corn! Ever grilled corn out of the husk and gotten really dry, burnt corn? Not if you marinate it like we did. *don't be scared of this method - try it once and you'll never go back, this eliminates the messy hassle of having to butter your corn once it's cooked!

"Marinated", Grilled Corn on the Cob
serves 8

1 c butter
1/4 c honey
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ears of corn

Microwave first three ingredients in microwave-safe bowl until completely melted. In a large, sturdy plastic bag, pour melted marinade over all ears of cleaned corn and toss gently. Leave to "marinate" for at least an hour, or up to 3 hours. Grill all ears of corn over medium heat until tender, being careful to turn at even intervals to protect from burning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Memories In the Making

This time, these pictures really ARE going to speak for themselves... they don't need much more than a short caption; the rest was as perfect as your imagination lets it believe.

Our annual long-weekend up in Penn Yan, NY was quite over-shadowed by the beautiful and carefree wedding of Liz and Sean - a wonderful and personal ceremony at the Chapel at Keuka College followed by a beautiful and fun reception at Heron Hill Winery.

Liz's florist picked a spectacular array of local flowers for her and her bridesmaids' bouquets. *A note for any brides-to-be... GO LOCAL! These gorgeous flowers cost a TINY portion of what you'd normally spend... and aren't they amazing?!?

Can you imagine having this gorgeous view from your own wedding reception?

Very fitting place cards... cutely, each one was attached to a Heron Hill cork.

The delicious wedding cakes on acrylic stands merely enhanced the already beautiful view of the lake!

Later in the weekend, after the wedding festivities waned, we were back to our usual - Sean, the groom, fixed me a "dark and stormy", a mixture of Ginger Beer, rum and a splash of lime juice; my drink of choice in PY.

And of course, Annabelle got her time in the lake... swimming after anything that would float long enough for her to jump in after it.

Another trip to Penn Yan has come and gone, but not without new memories being made. Next summer promises even more fun as the family continues to expand with a whole host of new babies joining us!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Twice the Fun

I'm an aunt... AGAIN!

Little (or not so!) Caroline Grace was born tonight at 7:16pm, August 14, 2008, to my brother and his wife. Weighing in at 8 lbs 13 oz and 20 3/4 inches, she held her own.

Our newest little lady and her mom are doing well... her big brother's well-being is TBD. *he meets his little sister tomorrow

We are so thankful for a beautiful, healthy baby... welcome to the family, little Caroline!

more pictures!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


How many times have you ever headed out, craving that one dish from your favorite restaurant, only to arrive at an empty building with a huge and sadly permanent sign reading: CLOSED?

For a while I thought my family and I were cursed or just had really poor taste (still a real possibility), but I recently came across this study that explained things with a bit more perspective. Turns out most people think, like me, that restaurants close down at alarmingly high rates, when in reality (at least in the markets that was studied), the frequency is quite a bit lower then we think. I still want to know why it seems all of the restaurants I like close, but at least know I know it's not just me.

Regardless, another restaurant (or food-establishment), not one that we necessarily frequented but when we did get a chance to go, it was always delicious, has come and gone... or at least gone from any market that we are close to... eatZi's. They used to have at least two locations in Atlanta and one close to my old office in Maryland... but they are no more.

And how did I come to find this out - searching online for an old favorite recipe of theirs that was once published in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution - luckily, the recipe is still there, even though the only way you'll get to eat it is if you make it... which I highly recommend.

eatZi's Gemelli, Chicken and Cranberry Salad

1/4 lbs gemelli (or other short, twisted) pasta
1/4 c pine nuts
1/4 c frozen corn
10 oz chicken
1/4 lb asparagus
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
6 TBSP honey
3 TBSP Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of 1/4 orange
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a single layer in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove corn from freezer and set aside to thaw.

Poach chicken in a small amount of water until no longer pink. Remove from water and drain. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. Blanch asparagus until of desired doneness. Drain and cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into 1-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, mix rosemary, vinegar, salt, pepper, honey, mustard, orange juice and olive oil.

In another bowl, combine pasta, pine nuts, thawed uncooked corn, chicken, asparagus, orange zest and dried cranberries. When well-mixed, add to bowl with dressing and toss to combine.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Let's Do This

So it turns out I wasn't kidding when I said I was super excited about having joined Operation Baking GALS... so excited in fact that I'm a "host" for our Round Two!

*seems as though I'm not the only one SUPER EXCITED about this group... check out this latest news story and video featuring our fearless leader, Susan!

So here's the deal (and this is new to me, too, so feel free to ask questions)... I volunteered to be a "host" basically because I happen to be unfortunate enough *obviously you know what I mean to know someone overseas who would LOVE to be the recipient of some tasty treats from home. I'm assuming most of you can guess who the lucky guy is but in case you're new here, let me introduce you.

Colin getting ready to take-off

Colin is a long-time friend of my family's and is currently stationed overseas in Afghanistan. He's a 2001 graduate of the Naval Academy who went on to fly the F/A-18E but before that, from Atlanta, Georgia, which is where our parents met almost 10 years ago and as such, our families have been friends ever since. While he is overseas right now as part of a joint service program, this is not the first time that he's been deployed - he joined his squadron aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on Thanksgiving Day 2004, was in Hong Kong when the Tsunami hit,and subsequently spent a month off Banda Achea performing relief efforts; Colin also deployed again in 2006 to South Pacific/Asia. Aside from my brother and my dad (Naval Reservist and former Navy, respectively), I am absolutely most proud of Colin, for his commitment to serving his country and willingly going above and beyond to step up to the call of duty every single time.

Us at Army-Navy 2007; Colin was honored to fly the "slot position" as part of the fly-over during the pre-game festivities

Why am I telling you this? I need some of you, heck ALL of you, to help me out by baking and subsequently mailing your goodies to our good buddy and his fellow soldiers. In my opinion, sending a 'bit of home' is without a doubt one of the easiest ways to make a HUGE impact on our troops and to remind them that we're thinking about and praying for them, and most of all, wishing their safe return home!

For this round of Operation Baking GALS, we're going to be mailing our packages the week of August 23rd so if that happens to work with your schedule, please leave me a quick comment AND email me at kara [dot] w [dot] stevenson [at] gmail [dot] com, so that I can send you Colin's mailing address and other details. Once our group is formed, I'll be corresponding with each of you directly rather than through my blog to make sure that our goods arrive at their destination and ultimately, so I can properly thank you once it's all said and done (though we hope you'll be back to bake for another round... and then another!).

I hope this makes sense; please don't hesitate to contact me (or Susan) with any questions. I am still digesting the unbelievable magnitude that groups like this can have just by doing something we love and sharing it with others.

Colin, his sister Kelli, and their cousins

Need ideas of what to bake? Just make some of your favorites... or try these:
Celebration Cookies
Big, Soft Ginger Cookies
Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
Kitchen Sink Cookies
Double Chocolate Chip Brownies
Brown & White Walnut Bars

Official Team Members
Allie, San Francisco, CA
Andrea, Falls Church, VA
Cappie, Forney, TX
Chris, Sandy Springs, GA (my oft-referred to mom!)
Christie, Orlando, FL
Christy, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dolores, East Bay Area, CA
Elizabeth, Providence, RI
Falon, Prosper, TX
Heather, New York
Hollie, Forney, TX
Jen, Pittsburgh, PA
Karen and Kayla, Broadview Heights, OH
Kristy, Herndon, VA
Lesley, Alpharetta, GA
Lila, San Angelo, TX
Linda, Sherman Oaks, CA
Liz, Bremerton, WA
Marisa, Brooklyn, NY
Megan, Alexandria, VA
Missy, Radford, VA
Monica, Atlanta, GA
Sandra, Atlanta, GA
Tamera, Atlanta, GA
Tara, Connecticut
Tia, Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Whole Lotta Fuzz

Remember these?

I thought it was about time that I showed you some of the ways we enjoyed these delicious treats... other than just a quick rinse and sinking your teeth into the peach, plain and simple. Sometimes that just can't be beat...

But when you're looking for a little more... here are some of our favorites that I'd suggest...

Sliced Peaches and Grilled Chicken Balsamic Salad
*the homemade balsamic dressing with this salad is out of this world, really... it works well on just about any romaine (or even spinach) salad you can imagine; one of our other favorite side salads includes candied walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese and slices of pears with the balsamic

Marinate your chicken breasts in your choice of Italian dressing for at least one hour refrigerated or 30 minutes at room temperature.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp finely minced onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4 cup olive oil

Combine dry mustard, seasoned salt, and pepper in small bowl. Stir in vinegar, sugar, onions, and garlic. Let stand at least 1 hour. Just before serving, pour through a strainer into a small bowl to remove garlic. Beat in olive oil with wire whisk.

*I often make a double recipe of the dressing and refrigerate the remainder; just be sure to pull out your dressing at least 30 minutes before serving and mix well to reincorporate the olive oil.

2 chicken breasts, marinated, grilled, and sliced on an angle
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 1/2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
1 1/2 green onions, sliced on the bias
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 firm ripe peach, sliced

Put all ingredients, except for chicken slices and Balsamic Vinaigrette, together in a large salad bowl and toss gently. Add dressing and toss so salad is evenly covered. Top with slices of grilled chicken.

As for the tasty-looking cake below, I turned to an experiment in Peach Pound Cake. You'll probably have the same reaction my sister-in-law had when I told her what it was... "huh, peach pound cake??" but this was pretty good stuff. I thought this was delicious as an indulgent morning treat... though admittedly, I had to give the rest away quickly so I didn't turn into one big peach, myself.

Peach Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 degrees C). Spray an 8x4 loaf pan with cooking spray and coat with white sugar.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Reserve 1/8 cup flour for later; sift together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Use the reserved flour to coat the chopped peaches, then fold the floured peaches into the batter. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from

*BONUS: another highly recommended use of fresh peaches

We have loved being creative with our delicious and beautiful fruit... I never realized that peaches were so versatile but we certainly enjoyed finding that out!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Never Enough Time

Surprisingly enough, this is actually not a post whining about not having enough hours in the day... I still think about that constantly but in an attempt to get over it, I'll leave it off the blog. This time, it's a simple plea for a few more hours with some of my very best friends.

This weekend marked the 7th annual summer trip for a group of my girlfriends from Wake! I'm so thankful that we've managed to keep this tradition going - even with all of the changes that life has brought throughout these recent years.

Even though in the past, this trip has always been our "beach weekend", we easily adapted that to the schedule of our favorite "BG" and dare I say a new tradition of "home visits" has begun?

Friday evening, everyone assembled in Kernersville, NC, just outside of our alma mater's town of Winston-Salem. Our weekend would end up consisting of a variety of activites between K-Vegas and Greensboro! It was so much fun to be back in Carolina!

Saturday morning, bright and early, we headed to the Old Fourth Street Filling Station to prepare to host a shower for Jayne and BG! Brunch was of course delicious and the shower was a lot of fun; I think BG and his/her parents are now adequately equipped!

At risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn... earlier in the week, my mom had convinced me to get into the arts and craft groove; somehow through a series of conference calls, she instructed me into making this cute "Baby Sock Corsage" that our guest of honor donned at her shower. Let's just say that I usually have way more fun in the kitchen than I do with arty projects but this might have gotten me back into the spirit! It was really simple and actually tons of fun to put together!

After the shower, the girls and I made our way to Greensboro for an afternoon of pampering at a spa! It was so much fun - the spa was nice enough to let us take over their back room so we could all be together. Everyone got at least one treatment and some of us even included their very first massage! *yup, that's me - it was a VERY relaxing experience, not sure that I'm hooked or anything but definitely worth it on a rare occasion!

Since this was a weekend of celebrating what's to come mixed with some old favorites, we couldn't skip a visit to our old stomping ground, the Village Tavern! YUM! We munched on delicious Hot Crab Dip and Spinach Tortilla Dip and then each enjoyed our entrees. How I miss this restaurant... it seems that it's sprouted offspring in just about every city except anywhere close to me! Unfair!

As a special treat, and since it seems we always have a few birthdays to celebrate when we get together, Jayne got us some delicious pink lemonade and chocolate-chocolate cake squares from none other than Dewey's! We loved the cute summery decorations (flip-flops!); plus, they were the perfect size for a little sweet treat after our yummy dinner.

Sunday morning, we sadly gathered all together for the last time. Katie fixed us a complete brunch of cinnamon rolls, hash browns, tasty English Muffin egg casserole, and fruit! Unfortunately, soon after brunch, a few of us took Allison and Anna to the airport and bid them farewell though we were so happy that they were even able to join us for a short time.

The rest of us took advantage of the tax-free shopping weekend in NC and then headed to the Greensboro Grasshoppers single-A minor league baseball game! Unbelievably, this was my first minor league game and definitely NOT my last - it was a blast!

Yes, we did actually pay attention to the game, but my favorite part, no contest, was Miss Babe Ruth. If Annabelle ever had a job, I'd want her to do this - Miss Babe Ruth is the team's bat girl and it's absolutely adorable!

And of course, no visit in Winston is complete without the requisite trip to Cook-Out and a stop at the Deacon Shop. Even though I was so sad to be leaving, you can't get much better than a send-off of lunch at the Carving Board (carved turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and a thick slick of sharp cheddar on wheat). *I think this weekend turned into a old-favorites restaurant tour!

There really is never enough time when it comes to old friends... thank goodness for major life events! The last time I'd seen them all was our wedding weekend, then this past weekend, and again in October to shower another baby! I'll admit I'm getting sappier as the years fly by, but I couldn't be more thankful for the time I have with these girls... can't wait to see you all again soon!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Yes, Please

My first adventure into the world of fresh berry sauce... and we're hooked! I am so thankful I stumbled upon these blueberries the other day staring back at me at my friendly grocery store - not only were they perfectly beautiful and fresh, but on sale?! I took one look and decided they were coming home with me.

And it couldn't have been better timing seeing as how the period I had to enter Susan's Sugar High Friday #45 was nearing the end.

When I got the aforementioned blueberries home, it was decision-time... what to make. One quick glance into the freezer was all I needed - I still had some homemade vanilla ice cream left so what would be better than a delicious and quick blueberry sauce! This recipe was SO easy, came together in a second, and gave us excellent results!

No big surprise, thanks again to Susan at Food Blogga, I've been inspired or found a new "go-to" recipe!

Blueberry Sauce

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 TBSP water
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c and 2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP cold water
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 2 TBSP water, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.

In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 2 TBSP cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thickened to your liking, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.

Adapted from this recipe at

And, since this is my latest foray into cooking with fresh berries, this is my entry for Sugar High Friday Berries! Check back at her site after August 3rd for what is sure to be a delicious round-up!

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