Posted in blogging, daily, dessert, filler, food porn, links, recipe

Recipe Round-up: Summer At Jenn’s

It’s June 20th, which means summer is here! And this year after such a miserable winter and a spring that was spent doing not much more than work, I’ve been looking forward to warm, sunny days and floating away the afternoon in the pool all the more.

Along with the sun and warmer weather comes recipes I love to dig out when it’s just “too damn hot to cook”, and I figured I would re-share them in case you needed some summertime inspiration.

Like this spinach and strawberry salad with goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette.

100_1250 by you.

Quick, easy, and perfect for Meatless Monday.

Or this Watermelon “Plank” salad with feta and balsamic glaze.

Wonderful as a main dish or as a side.

Here’s a ‘non-recipe’ post for a grilled chicken and smoked mozzarella panini with store made pesto and sun dried tomato spread, and a mango, black bean and quinoa salad. So easy, and great to take for a summer picnic, or tailgating at the drive-in, perhaps?

Can I get an amen?

This roasted parmesan zucchini is perfect if you’re a gardener with superfluous squash lying around.

Culinary OCD, that’s me.

And since you can’t have a “summer food” post without mentioning the holy mother of summer foods, here’s an Heirloom Tomato Crostini that is the best no-cook meal for the hottest nights of the season.

Gosh, I can’t wait for good tomatoes.

This kicked-up gazpacho is also perfect for all those fresh garden “‘maters”, and it makes a TON of soup. No worries about what to take for lunch for a week!

100_1297 by you.

And finally, since I can’t finish a post like this without a little something sweet, here is a peach blackberry crostata with honey-ginger glaze and cardamom spiced fresh whipped cream that is sure to impress any of your summer dinner guests.

I’m itching to make that one again, in addition to experimenting with some other summer crostatas.

Hope your summer is a fantastic one, kids. Spend time doing everything you want to do, or doing nothing at all.

 

 

Posted in blogging, daily, life, pop culture musings, twitter

“What Do You Mean, You’re Not on Facebook Anymore?”

About two months ago, I was sitting at home scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I just thought, “Ugh. I hate this. Why am I here?” I clicked off the page, started looking at something else, and not five minutes later found myself back on Facebook, looking at the same crap I had just looked at (and chided myself for doing so) again. That’s when it hit me: I’m kind of over Facebook. Like, totally. Over it. All of it –  the fake bragging. The passive aggressive posts. The potty training updates. The rage-inducing politics. The duck-faced selfies. The “Doesn’t-This-Recipe-Look-Amazing-OMG” posts that TOTALLY BELONG ON PINTEREST HOLY CRAP PEOPLE GET YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRAIGHT BEFORE I SMACK YOU.

So I went to my settings page, I found the button that said ‘deactivate profile’, I took a deep breath, and I clicked it.

And I never looked back. And then I braced myself for the inquisition.

“Wait, you just deleted it? Just like that?”

No, I didn’t delete my profile. I deactivated it. It’s still there, somewhere, with all my pictures and oh-so-witty-status updates and such, it’s just not active. People that I was friends with on Facebook can no longer see me. If I choose to reactivate it at any time, all I have to do is log in, and I’ll show back up in everyone’s newsfeed again. (Shrewd, Zuckerberg). I don’t think I’ll ever delete the profile, I just won’t be active on Facebook for a while.

“Woah. But…why? What made you do it?”

Eh, I realized I was spending too much time on a site that just truly annoyed me more than anything, and WHY would anyone do that to themselves? There’s more to it than that, but it’s a little personal and I don’t want to get into it here.

“Oh. Was it me? Did I post something that annoyed you?”

No. Absolutely not. It wasn’t any one thing that made me do it, just a myriad of annoyances.

“Well, you know you *can* block people from your feed, and block certain people from seeing everything you post…”

Yes, I do know this. I have taken advantage of those functions on more than one occasion, believe me. But like I said, it wasn’t just one post, or one person. It was the whole experience. Plus I’m really not a fan of how integrated Facebook has gotten into everyday life. There’s just SOME things I shouldn’t need to “Connect to Facebook” for. Believe me, no one on Facebook cares what I’m buying from Old Navy, or what I’m looking at on BuzzFeed.

“You’re much stronger than me! Have you ‘cheated’ at all?”

Twice. Once about a week or so after I deactivated the account, to see if Facebook wasn’t as annoying as I thought it was and if I made too hasty of a decision (nope, still annoying). The second was about two weeks ago, I wanted an old picture that was on there. I still didn’t miss it.

“Do you think you’ll come back?”

Some day, probably. Maybe around the holidays. Maybe sometime next year. I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that I’ll do it differently next time around. Less lingering, less profile creeping, less…everything. I needed to go cold turkey first, then I can think about occasional use.

“Okay. But I miss you.”

And I miss you, too! I know not everyone posts everything everywhere and I know I miss stuff and I’m sorry. I’m hoping in the long run this will only serve to make my real life interactions with friends more meaningful. It’s not like I’ve deleted myself from the internet. You can follow me on Twitter and tumblr and my Pinterest is kind of amazing, not gonna lie. Plus there’s  my blog and Flickr and Instagram and I’m still on Google+!

“Wait, Google+? What’s THAT??” 

Um…

Posted in blogging, daily, meme-tastic, Uncategorized

Because “Run-On Sentences and Excessive Use of Parentheticals” Was Taken.

#18 of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge, The Meaning Behind My Blog Name

Over the past couple of years that I’ve had a blog, I changed its name a few times without giving it much thought. Part of finding my “identity” online, I guess (and oh my GOD did I just throw up in my mouth typing that, I sound like such a douche). I went for a few years as “The Unmarried Housewife”, but for some reason I never really liked that name. It sounded forced, or something. Just…wrong.

I made the switch from Blogger to Word Press in September, and I knew I wanted to change the name as well, so I went with “Pennsylrican”, which is a word I made up a few years ago partially to describe myself (I’m half Pennsylvania Dutch and half Puerto Rican), and also because I wanted a different email address than just “First Initial, Last Name, Year Of Birth”. Having a blog with that name, however…it just didn’t feel right. When I write it’s usualy about my life, something that I find funny, or the silly things I do the pass the time at work, but more and more I’ve been writing about food and sharing recipes. I also love hosting my friends for parties and dinners and girls’ nights, and with what some (meaning I) might say was a stroke of genius (or…not), Dinner At Jenn’s was born.

Because I’m Jenn, and I’d love to have you join me for dinner some time. I’ll put on a chicken and even make dessert. You just bring the wine.

Posted in blogging, meme-tastic

A Daily Blogging Challenge? What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!

Y’know, besides me giving up three days in. But let’s think positively, shall we?

I found Boy oh Boy via Pinterest and thought her daily blogging challenge sounded like fun, and an easy way for me to get writing daily.

Hopefully. Here goes nothing.

Day 1: Introduction & Recent Photo:

Hi! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jenn, 36 years old, single, no kids. I live in a region of Eastern Pennsylvania called the Lehigh Valley, in the city of Allentown (yes, just like the Billy Joel song). I’m a medical imager (mostly MRI and Cat Scan) that’s been working in health care for the past twelve years. I started blogging years ago on Yahoo as a way to vent/connect with friends. It’s fallen by the wayside more often than not the past few years but I do still enjoy sharing recipes and stories with friends, when I make time to write.

I enjoy spending time with friends and family, going to the movies, relaxing on the couch, reading, home improvement and repairs, and I love baking, cooking, and throwing dinner parties.

Here’s a recent picture of me:  Totally cute, right?

Ok, that’s Day One, just under the wire. Come back tomorrow for day 2! Or better yet, play along at Boy oh Boy!

Posted in blogging, daily, don't mind me I'm new at this, who needs a psychiatrist?

Too far inside my head.

I know I’ve covered this before, and I apologize for sounding like a broken record. It’s hard for me to know what to write here. I think social media is ruining me. A few years ago, I used to write almost every day. It wasn’t an “official” blog, more of an online journal that I shared with a few friends, and I wasn’t exactly Emily Dickinson — I would ramble and not always tell the best stories, and would occasionally forget where I was going with things, but damn it I was writing. Then MySpace came along, and my thoughts and ramblings gave way to wall posts and group messages. I joined Twitter and facebook and my more coherent, drawn-out ideas ended up as 140-character outbursts and status updates. I was writing less and less, just when I wanted to try to be an “actual” blogger.

I think — I know — I got intimidated. I started reading more and more blogs by writers that were light years ahead of me, talent-wise, and I thought “Who the hell am I to try to attempt this?”. I trudged on in my own way, but with my increased use of social media it fell by the wayside. Compound this with my innate shyness, my want to keep private things private, and my fear of sounding like a jackass to total strangers on the internet and voila, there’s why I’m not writing.

Also the whole “Two jobs and a house to take care of” thing, oh and the fact that I have no dating or married/family life to speak of. Shit has to happen to someone before they can write about it, no?

It’s incredibly narcissistic of me to think why on earth anyone would care about why I am or am not writing, and I suppose I should just first and foremost write for *me* and not worry about anything else. I would do that, but there are things I am just not ready to put out there at all. It’s up to me to find a happy medium, I guess. Stick with the things that are simple and fun and easy first and dig deeper later on.

In closing, I’m working on it. And there are things I want to say, I’m just struggling with the notion of sharing everything with…everyone.

I’ll get there. Maybe. Until then, there will be cupcakes!

Posted in blogging

Moved

I moved my blog to WordPress because…

Oh, hell if I know. I just was bored and procrastinating on cleaning the house and figured now was as good as a time as any.

Anyway, in case you’re new: Hi, I’m Jenn. I used to call myself the Unmarried Housewife, but that was lame and made me sound like I was desperate to land myself a husband when nothing could be further from the truth. I changed the name of that old blog but I thought a fresh start would get my creative juices or whatever flowing.

Side note: I dislike that metaphor. It kind of squicks me out.

I call myself  “Pennsylrican” because I’m half Puerto Rican and half Pennsylvania Dutch. NOT Amish. There’s a difference.

I don’t wear bonnets. But I do enjoy scrapple.

More about me (Because that’s what this is all about, obviously): I work in health care as an MRI, Cat Scan, and X-ray tech. I like the “caring for people” aspect of my job, but not so much the “soul-sucking monotony and infuriating bureaucratic red tape” aspect. If I had my way (and the available funds) I’d go to cooking school and eventually start a catering business.

I enjoy cooking and baking, but am in no way delusional enough to believe I’m highly skilled at either. I’m still learning, for sheezy.

Sometimes I say “for sheezy”.

I’m an only child who’s incredibly close to her parents. They’ve given me so much and I’m only starting to understand and appreciate this.

I’m a homeowner, and love to dream about new projects and home renovations that my dad is kind enough to help me with when time and money shake hands.

I’m goofy, silly, and slightly immature. I’m also a bit nerdy, in the “I adore Buffy, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter” sense. I love movies and TV and am incredibly awkward in public. If you’re not a fan of Pixar animation or haven’t seen The Princess Bride, Jaws, or Pulp Fiction, I’m afraid we can’t be friends.

Which kinda sucks for you, because I’m an awesome friend to have.

Thanks for stopping by, I’ll try to make it worth your while.

Cheers,

Jenn

Posted in blogging, daily, life, who needs a psychiatrist?

On Holding Back, and Letting Go.

A few years ago, I spent a lot of time around Yahoo — in chat rooms (cringe) and on message boards, and on their first foray into the social media world and blogging platforms. I wrote about anything and everything. I shared my thoughts and goals, the minutiae of my everyday comings and goings, and my opinions on everything from pop culture to whether or not you should wear pajama bottoms to the grocery store.
By the way? No, you shouldn’t. Put some real damn pants on, you lazy so-and-so.
The thing was, all that stuff I wrote? I was sharing with people I knew only from the internet. The few dozen or so faceless people I interacted with, that I considered friends, but had never actually met in person. These people knew a different side of me, a side I was a little afraid to share with my “real” friends, or family or coworkers. So, in my mind at least, it was almost as though what I was writing was safe. Safe from comment or derision, opinion, and most of all, repercussion. 
I’m of two minds about what to share here anymore. I have things to talk about and to get off my chest, things that bother me and things I’d love to shout from the rooftops. But I know the things I say here aren’t always safe to share, because you’re not all faceless people from the internet. Many of the people that read this little blog are people that know me in person — friends and coworkers, even family, and I’m afraid what I say might be misconstrued or cause hurt feelings, when most of what I would say wouldn’t be more than just a way to get things off my chest, to open up, to air out my thoughts and vent my frustrations.

So what’s a personal blogger to do? (Gah, I just internally cringed at calling myself that. One post a month does not a blogger make, young lady.) I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t keep holding things in. So, I’m going to try to open up more, and see where this takes me. I definitely won’t be sharing everything here — I do want to keep at least some aspect of my private life private — but I think that sharing, talking, ranting, even confessing — will help me more in the long run than keeping quiet for fear of upsetting anyone else.

Posted in blogging, food porn, recipe

Chicken Marsala

You know that dish, that one dish you make that you never ever need a recipe for? The dish that your friends tell everyone about? The dish that, once you’re finished cooking it, you gaze down upon with a satisfied grin knowing everything is right with the world?

Chicken Marsala is that dish for me.
I made it for the first time quite a few years ago, for my mom’s birthday. It was my first real meal cooking for my parents and I wanted to make something…a little less ‘pedestrian’ than chicken Caciattore or Parmigiana. She had some nameless Italian cookbook at the time and I picked the Marsala recipe because it looked quick and easy yet still impressive enough for a ‘fancy’ home dinner. Over time I’ve changed the way I make it, but it’s a fairly simple dish and the basics are still covered.
Chicken Marsala
1 lb thin sliced chicken breast cutlets
1 lb white mushrooms
1 cup Marsala wine (note: please, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT buy the ‘Marsala cooking wine’ in your grocery store. Go to a liquor store — or the wine section of your grocery store– and buy actual Marsala wine. I don’t want to hear about it if you don’t.)
2-3TB fresh parsley
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
2 TB butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
Clean off the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove stems and slice thin.
Melt 1 TB of butter in a stainless steel (not non-stick) pan over medium heat. Add 2TB of olive oil and the sliced mushrooms.
Cook until browned, about 7-8 minutes. Add 1Tb lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, just to taste. Remove from pan.
While mushrooms are cooking, pound out the chicken breasts one at a time in a zip top bag.
Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and set aside. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, add the remaining 2TB of olive oil and cook the chicken, approximately 3-4 minutes on both sides, until slightly browned and cooked through.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Add Marsala to the pan and de-glaze, scraping up all the browned pieces at the bottom of the pan for flavor.
Allow the wine to cook down for approximately 3-4 minutes and add remaining 1 TB of butter. Return mushrooms and chicken to the pan to reheat. Add remaining lemon juice and parsley and serve.
Unf. So simple, so flavorful. My favorite recipe, and most likely the one that helped me realize my love of cooking.
I served it over whole wheat spaghetti tossed with lemon, olive oil, fresh parsley, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper; also a side of roasted broccoli.
Exactly.
Posted in blogging, daily, food porn

This Does Not Bode Well

Dear food bloggers, you are killing me.

You realize I’m trying to watch what I eat, right? Emphasis on the try. Because it’s hard to eat healthy when you people keep posting all these fantastic recipes. Here I sit, three hours after I’ve eaten my bun-less turkey burger, steamed veggies and brown rice, and I swear my stomach is not just growling but snarling at the sight of all these recipes.

Like this lemon-olive oil cake from The Kitchen Sink. Lemony, not super sweet, and looks fairly simple to make. Bookmarked.

Or Garlic Butter Noodles at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, recipe by Steamy Kitchen, whose cookbook I am SO getting ASAP. Simple, buttery, delicious. Makes me want to raid the Asian foods aisle at the grocery store.

OH! And this Lemon Poppy Seed cake from Smitten Kitchen. I’m having a friend over to watch the Dollhouse finale next week, and I’m thinking this might be dessert. Also, I’m apparently craving lemon baked goods right now. mmmmm. Lemon.

Next up, we have two entries from Inn Cuisine at Home. These Snack Mix Bars would be perfect and fun for a snowy Saturday afternooon, and this Caramel Banana Pie is just…obscene. It the most delicious way possible.

I’ve been wanting to try to make my own pasta for a while, and these homemade egg noodles by Cooking with Anne might just push me over the edge. By the way, Anne’s a local girl! I met her briefly last week, she’s so sweet.

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin, by The Pioneer Woman. Potatoes, cream, butter, and cheese. My four favorite words in the world.

Nutella Milkshake by bell’alimento? Oh, good gravy, YES.

This Key Lime Cake from Baking in Boots? I give up.

So long, turkey burgers. Me and my thighs are throwing in the towel.

Posted in blogging, daily, life

New Digs.

Hi there. Thanks for coming.

Most likely you’re here because of the last post on my previous blog. And I appreciate you making the jump. If you’re here from somewhere else, well howdy! And thanks for stopping by.

In case this is your first time hanging out with me, I think I’ll use this first post on my brand-spanking new blog to introduce myself. An extended ‘About Me’ section, if you will. If you read my old blog, I’m sure most of what I’m about to cover is not news to you, and to that I say deal with it. Read the entry anyway, you never know when you might learn something.

My name is Jennifer. I’m a 33 year old single woman living in eastern Pennsylvania. I’m a slightly geeky, liberal, non-religious wise ass. I’m a medical professional; I stick people in a big magnet and take pictures of their body parts. We’ll get into what I want to really do for a living another time.

I’m an only child. I’m very close to my parents, and I was spoiled a bit during my childhood, which leads to a tendency to pout a bit every now and then when I don’t get my way. I try to keep that impulse in check, and I’m not happy about it, but it does happen.

My heritage is half Puerto Rican and half Pennsylvania Dutch. I can only speak English.

I’m a big girl – tall and wide. The clinical term would be morbidly obese, but I don’t like to think about that. I know I’m carrying around an unhealthy amount of weight, and I struggle with it every day. I struggle to make the right choices, to work through why I can’t make the changes necessary to become healthy. It always sounds so simple – eat less, exercise more – but it’s not that easy, and only someone who’s been heavy their entire life can truly understand that. But again, another conversation, another day.

I’m a bit of an idiot savant with movies and TV and all things pop culture. When most of my friends are trying to think of the guy who played the guy who did that thing in that movie that one time, they ask me.

I think every sentence is funnier with the word ‘fuck’ in it. I don’t see cursing as a lack of vocabulary skills, I see it as an art form. And I? Am fucking Picasso.

I own a springer spaniel named Jasper, who is awesome.

And very handsome, to boot.

So, why ‘The Unmarried Housewife’?

I figure that’s the easiest way to describe my life. I have a home, I enjoy cooking and baking; I just don’t have anyone to cook and bake for. Which, I will say, I’m not exactly upset about. This will not be one of those “Oh, boo hoo, I’m a lonely single girl” type of blogs. Marriage? Kids? Not a priority. If it happens, great. If not, fantastic. My main goal in my life is just to be happy. Anything additional is icing on the cake. But let’s get it straight: I’m not one of those go out and party every night single girls, either. I hate the bar scene, always have. I always preferred to stay in with friends, having beers and tapas and watching TV. I’m a home body. Domesticated.

The…(wait for it)…Unmarried Housewife. Hope you’ll enjoy your time here.