Archive for December, 2009

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!!

The day has finally arrived :O). We woke up to freezing rain this morning which was a huge bummer! I’m just hoping and praying my flight is still on time. Not taking off until 5:30 so hopefully things have warmed up by then.

Since I will be pretty distracted the next few days, I’m going to take the chance today to reflect on the year that’s almost behind us and look ahead to 2010.

2009 has been a wild ride!

The year before in ’08, I was one year out of college, living back in Cleveland with my parents and content with life. I had my family, great friends, a good job and nice boyfriend. But I guess all I ever felt was content. Never super happy, never super sad – just comfortable, all the time. And to be honest, a bit bored. Aren’t your twenties all about taking risks and chances??

In need of a life-adventure I ended my relationship, left my friends, family and job and moved out to DC to try a year of adventuring in a big city by myself.

I arrived in DC at the end of January, 2009. Since then life has been a total rollercoaster. I’ve felt a huge mix of things: at times extremely sad, lonely and lost and at times outrageously happy, in love with life and full of gratitude. To my new friends for making DC such fun, my family and pre-DC friends for their support and to myself for sticking things out with the belief that eventually, everything really will fall into place here.

I’ve lived in two apartments with 5 roommates, explored the museums and monuments, spent time at some amazing restaurants, stores and parks and met many, many new faces. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want in life and I credit a lot of that to this blog.

Although I had a major honeymoon period when I first arrived in DC, around June I started feeling that sense of being pretty lost. I thought, so here I am – I made the move, but now I have no one I’m close to nearby, no hobbies to keep me entertained and no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. So I’m paying all this money to live in a big city for what exactly?? In need of something to give me some grounding, I started Dining And Dishing to document my life here through the food I make, discover and eat.

I have had so much fun writing everyday. It gave me a chance to be creative with things I’m passionate about – writing and food. And it gave me something stable each day – if nothing else I always wrote a post.

My dream is to turn my passion for food and writing into a career and in January I will begin an evening culinary program and online food writing course. I am so excited! It is a fabulous feeling to know that I am on my way to turning my dreams to reality. I know it’s a long shot and I know there is the chance I’m reaching a little too far. But if nothing else, at least I will always know I tried. And in that case, 2010 is looking very good indeed :O).

I can honestly say, almost one year later I could not be happier here in DC. I have finally hit the place where I really don’t believe life could feel any more perfect than it does right now in this moment. It’s just one good thing after another lately and I just feel absolutely blessed :O).

So again, Happy New Year! Thank you for coming on part I of this adventure with me. I cannot wait to see what 2010 has in store for each and every one of you too.

And now, a short 2009 photo re-cap.


Best wishes dear readers.



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Hi Friends! ONE DAY until New Year’s Eve! Can you tell I’m excited??

Emily and I realized last night we’ve actually booked our flights to different Chicago airports. OOPS. You’d think for how much we’ve both travelled we’d be on top of things by now but apparently not. Oh well. I think we have a good plan sorted out and as long as we all end up toasting at midnight I’ll be a happy girl :O).

Yesterday I worked especially late, and this morning especially early. Works out okay though because now I’ll have plenty of chance to get all my packing and such sorted out this afternoon. However, I am  horrible at getting out of bed early. So, I skipped making my bed and tidying up in favor of making an early morning bowl of banana oats :O).

  • 1/3 cup each oats/water/vanilla almond milk
  • banana
  • cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • tbsp. flax
  • 2 TJ’s granola clusters crumbled
  • tbsp. maple syrup
  • pb spoon

Enjoyed in my cozy bedroom because our main floor is freeeeezing! Giant windows + poor insulation = an igloo for a living room all winter :O/.

See you tomorrow for the last day of the week! And the last day of 2009?!? – eek!


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Best Weekend Ever

Good morning! Well afternoon really. I’m working 12-9 today so my sense of time is all screwy.

I had a good work-out last night and then again this morning before work, so I’m starting to feel nice and refreshed after Christmas weekend. Good thing too because come Thursday the madness begins again. Speaking of which, MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER. My best friend Emily is joining my brother and I in Chicago for New Years!! We were trying to convince her while we were together in Cleveland this weekend, but with it being so soon and all it was a tough sell. But last night she called and said she had decided to come after all. And I’m so happy! Emily has had a horrible 2009 and I just think that we should do something big to celebrate the exit of a crappy year and the entrance of what is hopefully the year everything turns around! Oh Chicago, keeps getting better :O).

The bad news is my new camera and I are in a bit of a fight already – it refused to photograph my dinner for me last night. grrr. However I got it back on this morning so I introduced it to my oatmeal.

This was:

  • 1/2 cup each oats/water/vanilla almond milk
  • a banana
  • splash of vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • tbsp. ground flax
  • 1/2 serving of dark chocolate chips
  • tbsp. dried cranberries
  • tbsp. of coconut
  • pb spoon

This was my #1 fave oatmeal bowl a while back but I haven’t had it in a while. I remembered why I used to love it this morning. Nothing like melted chocolate to start your day!

Back to work I go. 2 days til the best weekend ever :O).


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Monday. BLAH.

The good news is, I’ve totally figured out my new camera. It even has its own food setting which makes me so excited. Look at what a pretty job it did on Christmas din.

You can even see every little wrinkle in those peas. How amazing!

So the other day while shopping, I was flipping through a Nigella cookbook and spotted a recipe for Elvis Presley’s Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich.  Like a grilled cheese, but filled with pb and a mashed banana instead. Since, it has been all I can dream about! So this morning I had to satisfy my curiosity.

Hooooly this was delicious. There is no better breakfast combo than peanut butter and banana. Crispy on the outside with warm ooey-gooey deliciousness in the center. Washed down with a martini glass of vanilla almond milk. Yum :O).

Back to work for me although I expect we’ll be fairly quiet all week with New Years around the corner. Looking forward to a good work-out and a veggie-centric post-Christmas dinner this eve :O).

See you tomorrow!


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Good evening! It’s been a whirlwind but I am back home in DC again. Time FLEW – what happened to Christmas Break already??

Sorry I was off yesterday – as it was my last day in town I was busy busy trying to spend time with everyone. A well-worth it break from blogging!

Yesterday afternoon was spent Boxing Day shopping with my brother and best friend Emily. We had the chance to go to Michael Symon’s new restaurant, B-Spot  for lunch which was deeelish!! It’s Burgers, Brats, Bologna and Beer – very standard midwesterny stuff but made with really high quality ingredients. I had the Shroomage which was a burger topped with Portobello mushrooms, blue cheese, grilled onions and steak sauce. Mushrooms are one of my fave foods ever so it really hit the spot! I’m not sure I really needed a burger after all the Christmas goodies consumed over the past few days, but meh – what can you do?? Yum :O).

In the earlier part of the evening I headed to my high school friend Kristen’s house for our annual Cookie Party. The tradition started our Senior year of high school as something Kristen’s mom encouraged us to do. Being super-cool 18 year olds, we were not too impressed with the idea but went along with it and it actually ended up being one of the funnest nights ever. And so, years later the tradition carries on. It is perhaps the only chance all 12 of us can get together now we’re all grown-up so that makes it especially exciting. We managed 11 this year which wasn’t bad!

Generally we eat ourselves into a cookie coma, but last night I decided perhaps it was time for me to end that tradition since I had plans to go out after :O). But my my was there a lot of food.

I promised my friend Carmen I would feature her lovely brie wheel here so please admire it closely:

Such talent.

And finally, a group shot. We’re so grown up from the original Cookie Party!

 Post Cookie Party fun I met back up with my brother and Emily for our last night of fun. We did quite a circuit, beginning with Market Avenue Wine Bar, then cocktails at Flying Fig (#1 best restaurant of all time), and finally the Bier Market until kick-out time. Suuuch a fun night. I would like to live with these two forever :O(.

And then it was pass-out time, early wake-up time, met my friend for coffee and was on the road home by 10AM! Must. stop. drinking.

4 days of DC normalcy and then I’m off to Chicago for New Years. Should be a quick week! See you for the start tomorrow.


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Out with the Old, In with the New

Merry Christmas Readers!!

We’ve had a really nice day of family, food and fun. Most exciting blog-related happening is that I got an awesome new camera from Santa!! So expect the quality of photos on this blog to sky-rocket very shortly :O). As I have yet to sort out how exactly to use the new guy, I gave the oldie one last go today. So consider today’s post the official retirement of my clunky old Canon Power Shot. Here are its parting images of today’s eats, pre-Christmas din:

My sister’s Overnight Breakfast Casserole.

My plate and glass of oj.


Cappuccino made from Louisa’s new Tassimo coffee maker, which I may say is one of the yummiest cappuccinos I’ve ever had. Bold statement from someone who worked as a barista for 7 years! Absolutely. Delicious.

My mum’s sausage rolls.

Cranberries and Champers with shrimp and olives (note the new Don Drumm olive dish) :O).

In preparation for this evening’s feast, my sister and I did Billy Blank’s Tae Bo with my dad. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anything quite so funny in my whole life as my dad trying to do video aerobics. I thought I was going to pee my pants I was laughing so hard :O))).

Pics of dinner are on my new camera so perhaps I’ll post those tomorrow once I have it figured out, or perhaps I’ll just show off our Boxing Day Feast instead.

Either way I will see you all then!

Merry, Merry Christmas darlings.


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The Night Before Christmas…

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!!

We’ve just finished our evening and everyone’s getting ready for bed, so I’m sneaking up a post quick before I do the same. 

My brother and I were up early this morning to join my best friend and finish the very last of our Christmas shopping at Don Drumm Studios in Akron. If you’re ever in Cleveland/Akron I highly recommend it! A series of little houses filled with all kinds of artsy jewelry, kitchen ware, vases, lawn decor etc. – so unique! I loved it. I also went for a nice run and then a dog walk this afternoon which helped build up a healthy appetite for this evening’s feast!

We started with a champagne toast around 5:30.


We floated cranberries in the champagne to make the drink extra-festive and enjoyed it with some nice olives.

After we headed to House of Hunan where we had our dinner. This is where we traditionally go because it’s super yummy and the lights in Medina Square are just gorgeous :O).

Stuffed. to. the. Brim. But being full of delicious food on Christmas Eve is nothing I will complain about!! After we drove around looking at Christmas lights and then watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Love that movie! Although I think we know every line by heart now :O).

So there you have it! Time to go snuggle in my bed and wait for Santa to drop down the chimney.

Happy Christmas from my family to yours!


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