April 29, 2010

LA to NY Itinerary-of-Wonder!


Only 33 more days until our trip across the country, moving from one major metropolis to another: LA to New York City baby! Woohoo!!

Can you tell I'm excited? Just a little?

Tonight we booked our rooms at various Marriott hotels across the U.S. (a special thanks to my brother-in-law for the family discount!). There are so many different routes to take across America. You can go across the southern states and visit the Grand Canyon, eat some BBQ Brisket in Texas and line dance your way through Tennessee and Kentucky...




... or you could take the northern route up through the mountains, stopping for a dip in one of the Great Lakes...



... or you could be like us and do a little of both.

Sure, it makes no sense, but hey, we've got people to visit and free places to stay, so there's no stopping us!

FIRST STOP: Mesa, AZ! 


These are our friends AJ & Rhiannon and their 2 super cute little boys. They're way cooler than us. Just for the record. We can't wait to see them!

SECOND STOP: Golden, CO! 


This is Michael, aka "Tex", and Cori, who went to school with my hubby. I'm not sure why he's called "Tex". I think it has something to do with large belt buckles and the aforementioned line dancing. Their wedding was one of the first dates that my hubby and I went on! Thanks for the invite guys, it was well worth it! 

THIRD STOP: Kansas City, MO! 


I'm not really sure what there is to do in Kansas City.


But they look like they're having so much fun, I might have to join them. 

FOURTH STOP: Chicago, IL!


While I've only been to Chicago once before, I know EXACTLY what I'll be going back for:


Giordano's Famous Chicago Style Pizza. Sooooooo good. It's pretty much the only reason I insisted to the hubby that we stay here. Mmmmmm...


FIFTH STOP: Scranton, PA! 


Nerd alert: we seriously are spending the night in Scranton JUST BECAUSE we are huge fans of "The Office". And yes, we are going to Poor Richard's Pub. And yes, we will take a photo with the above sign. And yes, I'm sure I will blog about it.

SIXTH STOP: NEW YORK, NY!!! 




Almost 3,000 miles in just 5 days. Hmmm. I think I'm going to need to stock up on some of those 5-hour miracle drinks.
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April 28, 2010

I want dessert, and I want it NOW!


Sometimes you just gotta have dessert, and have it NOW. I'm not talking dessert like a scoop of freezer burned ice cream or the 6-month-old, stale Oreos hanging out on the top of your fridge. I'm talking about something sweet, hot and gooey and totally cavity inducing. Real dessert.


I just happen to have a husband who has a sweet tooth. A massive sweet tooth. Me, I'd choose salty over sweet any day of the week, but I swear my hubby would dump a pound of sugar on everything he ate if I'd let him. And the thing is, he eats and eats and eats and is STILL as slim and toned as a long-distance runner.

Feel free to bring on the loathing, ladies. It's SO not fair.


With all his sugar cravings, it does allow me to experiment and try out a lot of different dessert recipes. I'm dying to try making these homemade peanut butter and smores cups from The Hungry Mouse, but cute little candies like this tend to take awhile.

It was time for a fast treat.

It was time for ... Apple Crisp! There's not really much finesse to it. Heck, you don't even have to cut the apples very pretty. Just slice 'em thin and throw 'em in!


Easy Caramel Apple Crisp
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

- 3 medium tart cooking apples. sliced (though I didn't this time around, I suggest you peel them too)
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened
- 1 tsp. (heaping) ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. (heaping) ground nutmeg
- 1 small jar caramel ice cream topping


Heat oven to 350º. Grease bottom and sides of an 8" square baking pan with shortening.

Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except caramel until well mixed; sprinkle over apples. Drizzle caramel topping evenly over the top.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream. 

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April 27, 2010

What's a "Tibbie"?


If you saw my previous post about the hubby and I doing a show with Tibbies on the Queen Mary, you probably asked yourself, "What in the dickens is a 'Tibbie'?". Or maybe you didn't use the word "dickens", but I bet you were curious! According to their website, "Tibbie" was the nickname of a popular New York cabaret singer at the turn of the century, who started it all.

But you know what I just found out? NONE. OF. THIS. IS. TRUE. Tibbies is just a name that the current owners inherited from the previous owners. We've been lied to! I'd start protesting, but here in California, no one would even notice.


My parents came to see our show, "Feelin' Groovy", this weekend and, like every proud mother/tourist, my mom took pictures throughout the performance, which I now get to share with you!


Later, you can partake in laughing hysterically at my hubby in his "hippie" costume. It's priceless.

And yes, I give you permission to use it as blackmail against him later.


Ah yes, the fabulous Tibbies serving attire. Notice the gold embroidered vest. Quite the fashion statement. If I start my own fashion line, I expect you all to purchase one.


Ah yes, the hired help, singing about "salad". Caesar salad to be exact. With lyrics like "It's time for salad now, we'll serve it boy, and how! Pick up your fork, don't be shy, dig right in!" For some reason we can never get the audience to sing along...


Hey look! The servers have changed out of those lovely vests and are now in matching blue and silver outfits! How splendid! That's David and I on the left, he's just about to sing "Good Love".


Singin' "Heat Wave", our little homage to the girl groups of the 1960's. Please pay no attention to the Amazon on the right. Thank you.


My friend Patti thinks my hubby is cute. I'm ok with that. Patti and I, we have an understanding. She can think he is wonderful and cute and dreamy... and I get to keep him. So far it's working out quite nicely.


Here I am singing a song I used to remember listening to on the Oldies station as a kid, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". I thought it was a fun song about love. Turns out I was right. But it's ALSO about a one-night stand where the girl basically hopes the dude even remembers her name the next morning. Classy.


You know what? It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. I'm just sayin'.


Still crying about it...


Our little tribute to Motown. I think we're about to hear something through the grapevine pretty soon.


I don't know what he's singin' about, but he sure is cute!


My mom's favorite medley: the Beach Boys! Nothing says the beach like a woman wearing a bathing suit, sarong, high-heeled shoes and sparkly rhinestone jewelry. We must be from Malibu.


Peace sign = hippies. Yes, I have a college degree in Theatre Arts.


My mom said she had a full-body jumper / pantsuit thingy like this one when she was in high school. I'm kind of jealous. It's seriously comfortable.


And the moment you've all been waiting for... THE DRAG HIPPIE!! Please save this to your desktops now for future use.


I think he kinda looks like a mix between Jack Skellington from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and Beetlejuice. Maybe with a little Bon Jovi circa 1980 thrown in for good measure.


 The hubby doing a Rod Sterling impression. Actually, he's speaking the "Gilligan's Island" theme song as if it were a Twilight Zone monologue. Don't ask.


My favorite part of the show: Star Trek! If you look closely you can spot Vulcan ears on my hubby.


I'm a very proud Star Trek cadet. But it's very short lived. Right after this, David pushes me out of the spotlight.


Lawrence Welk! "And a thank you to Bobby and Cissy. Bobby, when are you going to ask Cissy to marry you, huh? She's ready!" Please tell me you've seen that SNL sketch.

I sincerely hope their wigs on the original Brady Bunch show were as good as these. I'm pretty sure mine hasn't been combed through in months. Maybe years. Maybe I should get on that.


I'm in denial about the fact that we look a little like Donny & Marie here. We've gotten a few too many "are you brother and sister?" comments already.


Can you see the sweat glistening off our brows? I LOVE these costumes, but this dance, on the other hand... 10 minutes of an aerobic workout with full-out singing. Oi.


And finally, in the words of Lawrence Welk, "Goodnight, goodnight, and when I say goodnight, I mean... goodnight!"
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April 24, 2010

Don't know what to call it, but hey, it's gooood!

Last night my family came to see the hubby and I in our show, "Feelin' Groovy" with Tibbies on the Queen Mary. I'll post more on the show later (seriously, the hubby looks like a woman in drag during our hippie medley, just you wait!), but first things first.

Brownies = good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies = good.

Brownies + Chocolate Chip Cookies = gooooooooooood.


I made this brownie/chocolate chip cookie thing for the cast and crew last night and it was a big hit! True, I was feeding a bunch of ravenous performers who'd just finished shimmying and twisting for the past couple of hours, but we'll just forget about that and pretend that this brownie/cookie concoction is THAT good.

Is it cookie topped brownies? Or brownies with cookie dough topping? Maybe I can call it a "black and tan" bar? That's kind of cute. Hmmm... well, regardless of their name, this is a simple recipe using 1/2 boxed mix, 1/2 home recipe.

I'm sure there are plenty of recipes on the internet that are virtually similar to this one (Dorie Greenspan has one called "Chipster Topped Brownies"), but I think I came up with a better cooking process that will ensure the cookie dough topping doesn't get too overdone. There's nothing worse than hard, overcooked cookie dough. Ugh.

I promised my mother-in-law that I would post this recipe ASAP. And since I can't say no to her (she's the sweetest, kindest woman ever), here it is:


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies aka Black & Tan Bars aka Cookie Topped Brownies:
(seriously, someone help me pick out a name)

Preheat oven to 350º.

BROWNIE LAYER:

- 1 box GHIRADELLI DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE MIX (must be this kind, it's the king of brownie mixes - there's chocolate chips in the mix!)

Prepare brownie batter according to the directions on the box. Spray the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray (good ol' Baker's Joy for me) and pour brownie batter into pan. Spread out batter evenly.

Bake for 10 minutes to get the party started.


CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE LAYER (feel free to use your own favorite recipe):

- 2 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 3/4 c. firmly packed Brown Sugar
- 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
- 1 c. Butter, softened
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1 pkg. semi-sweet Chocolate chips

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in bowl and set aside. In separate bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and vanilla, and beat with mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

After brownies have been baked for the initial 10 minutes, take them out and drop the cookie dough by small spoonfuls evenly over the top of the brownie batter. Try to cover the entire top with little drops of cookie dough.


Bake in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes until cookie dough starts to get browned on the edges. Then, take the pan out of the oven, cover the entire thing (carefully) in aluminum foil and place back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out "almost" clean*.

*once the aluminum foil is on, set your timer for 20 minutes and then check in 5 minute intervals after that to ensure things don't overcook!

*when you do the "knife inserted in center" trick to see if it's done, don't worry if it still seems a little undercooked. The brownies will set more after they cool off, and it just tastes better a little fudgy anyway. :)

Feel free to experiment, using your own cookie dough recipe! You can add nuts, coconut, a layer of mint (mmmm...), anything you'd like!

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