Thursday, December 27, 2007

Everything Really Does Taste Better with Bacon (and Butter)

I don't give or receive many holiday gifts anymore, but I did manage to find the perfect gift for my nearly vegetarian sister: Bacon Salt! It comes in three tasty flavors, regular, hickory and peppered. It doesn't actually contain any meat - but it manages to impart that smoky, sweet bacon flavor to all of your favorite dishes. I haven't seen in any of the stores locally, but you can order it on-line and it will show up in your mailbox in a matter of days.

Yes, I had to get some for myself. I've tried in in tomato soup, on scrambled eggs, and on salad. I like the pepper flavor the best, but they are all tasty. I can't wait to experiment a little more. So it wouldn't feel lonely I also got some applewood smoked salt, and a gift set of different salts from Urban Herbs, one of my favorite stands at the West Side Market.

And what did I get for Christmas? Sis got me a Butter Bell! It's a little lidded jar that you put cold water in, then stuff a stick of softened butter in the insert in the lid. You change the water every few days. So you always have fresh, easy to spread butter ready to go, right on the counter. It's not that I am a butter pig, but I like to have a little to spread on my bread, especially now that it's the height of soup season.

Ok then. So it's off to the gym where I will realize (sadly) that even an hour of cardio really doesn't make much of a dent in my bacon and butter habit. Not to mention the dent I made in the box of Godiva chocolates last night.....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gardens, Groceries, & Gadgets - Oh My!

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. Okay, here goes: My name is Tami and I am addicted all things gardening, groceries, and gadgets.

Since it's winter in the cold Midwest I can concentrate mainly on the cooking related addictions, although yesterday (Christmas Day), it was sunny and bright, and I decided to clean out some of the front beds. A little outdoor exercise before grilling a monster steak for dinner, ahhh. (Yes, it comes back to the food. It always comes back to the food).

My kitchen is a disaster of unorganized, poorly designed, barely made out of particle board, cheapo cupboards. It isn't helping that I keep bringing home things like applewood smoked salt and vanilla fig balsamic vinegar expecting them to find a comfortable home among their previously purchased condiment counterparts.

And the gadgets? Oh they are spread throughout the house. Some are resting comfortably in the (never used) dining room, some in my office, and the rarely used/scared to use, in the basement. (The pressure cooker has graduated from 'scared to use' to the dining room, but that's a whole post of it's own.)

So it's time to get it under control. I really want to demolish the plastic kitchen (I swear I think Barbie's dream house has nicer features), and replace it with materials actually found in nature. I have been pouring over the glossy magazines trying to figure out just exactly where to put all of my treasures so that I can actually see and use them. I have a preliminary professionally produced design. I don't, unfortunately, have a winning lottery ticket, so that makes the whole design process a little more thought provoking and difficult.

So that's what I'll be thinking out loud about. In between, I will be cooking for myself and clients (I am a personal chef), and gardening for myself and others (I am a gardening coach), and posting successes and failures on those fronts.

So many gardens, groceries, and gadgets, so little time...