Posted in Uncategorized

The First Half of Summer 2012. At Least, The Part Where I Wasn’t At Work.

Wow. So much for that whole “31 posts in 31 days” thing. Although I did get further into that project than I actually thought I would, so. Progress, or whatever.

It’s hard to have a job (or two) and a life and regularly post to a blog, yo. That’s why I haven’t posted in over a month and work and busy and et cetera. But! I have been having fun along with all the work. There was a Pub Crawl and some hiking and some swimming and…meh, that’s about it. I took a lot of days at job #2 the past month to bank some money away in anticipation of some time off this month and next. No real vacations planned, just extra long weekends of nothing, which inevitably end up getting booked beyond capacity with picnics and outings and movie nights and trips to the pool and other fun things to make up for all the time spent working.

I’ve taken advantage of the time off by doing things around the area that I’ve never done before that have been on my “Summer in the Lehigh Valley Wish List” for quite some time, namely the Celtic Classic Kilt (Pub) Crawl, and hiking to the top of Bake Oven Knob.

We tend to get a little silly after drinks.

Kilts! The lovely lady in the right of the picture wearing the cow kilt is my friend Silagh, who was able to convince me to join the Kilt Crawl, even though I had worked 12 hours overnight the night before.

She’s persuasive, that one.

Massive bug bites aside, it was a beautiful hike, and I might actually want to do it again.

Next up: Becky’s Drive-In, and *maybe* tubing in the Delaware River.

Posted in daily, meme-tastic, Uncategorized

You Totally Thought I Was Going to Say Hello Kitty, Didn’t You?

#19 of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge, What do you collect?

It started out innocently at first, as it often does. Picking one up at the craft store that I found funny, seeing one in Atlantic City that I HAD to have. Buying one or two to commemorate a trip to New York City, getting another from a friend that went to Las Vegas for a week.

And before I knew it, I had a refrigerator full of them.

The magnets. They will not be ignored.

I scaled some back when I bought the new fridge last year, and I moved the majority of them off to the side so it doesn’t appear so cluttered at first glance, but…yeah. I think I might have a problem.

It could be worse. At least it’s not cats.

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 food porn, links, parties and celebrations, Uncategorized

Stuff I Meant To Tell You About Forever Ago: A Very Pinteresting Party

Back in February I had a few friends over for an Oscar-watching party. It’s the second time I’ve done this, and I’m thinking it’s going to become a yearly tradition. Food-wise, I like to do it up a little fancier than I usually do for parties (it is the Oscars, after all), and to help me find the perfect finger foods to serve I turned to my new favorite time waster, Pinterest.

Seriously, who doesn’t love Pinterest? It’s like a visual orgy of pretty. Pretty food, pretty decor, pretty clothes, pretty men (you. are. WELCOME.). I’ve gotten a ton of new recipes from it, and I’ve actually cooked a fair few to great success.

Like this recipe for Asian meatballs. Wonderful flavor, and a great “make ahead” option.

Mine weren’t quite as pretty as the website, but I’m okay with that.

These French Dip Crescents with Au Jus were a huge hit. I cut the crescents in half, though, to make them more finger food friendly.

I love alliteration. And the spicy kick of horseradish sauce in those crescents. Make those, you’ll thank me. And your friends will kiss you.

I also served these puff pasty squares with goat cheese and raspberry-chile chutney. I didn’t find the recipe on Pinterest, but had made them for last year’s Oscar shindig and loved them so much I wanted to serve them again. Crispy pastry, creamy tangy goat cheese, and sweet/spicy jam.

Perfection. In the background you’ll notice my requisite veggie tray, which I usually always serve so I don’t overload on the less healthy options (Two different sour-cream  based dips notwithstanding, of course). Ah! and the hollowed-out-bell-peppers-as-dip-bowls? Pinterest!

On to my crowning achievement, the dessert tower.

Isn’t it glorious?

Since I decided to do three different mini desserts instead of just one, and I only had two days of prep time (and I’m not a masochist), I took some shortcuts. The first treats I made were mini red velvet cupcakes from a box mix. I did make the cream cheese frosting from scratch because canned frosting just isn’t the same, taste-wise. Nor does it pipe as prettily onto the cupcakes. I added the silver and gold sprinkles for a little glitz.

O U FANCY HUH.

Next were these two-ingredient lemon bars. I read the comments on the website before baking them, so I knew they wouldn’t turn out like the lemons bars I love, with the shortcake-type crust on the bottom and the gooey lemon curd-like center, but these were decent. A good idea to keep the ingredients on hand to throw together should you ever need a desert in a pinch.

Last were these Chocolate-Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats, which were like manna from heaven. I could have eaten the whole tray by myself. I was never a big Krispy Treat person before (too sugary, I think. Which makes no sense since we’re adding mini peanut butter cups and chocolate in the mix but whatever, these rule), but I will make the hell out of these again and again and again.

Definitely before next year’s Oscar party. Maybe even for my upcoming Cinco de Mayo party.

Which I will totally tell you about. Before July.

Forgotten Memories

So, in 1985 this happened:

Image

Yes. That would be me, at age 9, holding a wild baby bear. (Apologies for the picture of a picture. My scanner/crap PC is currently out of commission, and I am counting the days until my tax return comes because Mama is getting herself a Mac.)

I don’t remember the circumstances that lead to me holding said baby bear. I’m guessing that one of my “outdoorsy” family members came across that adorable creature in the wild after killing its mother for sport, and decided to bring it home before taking it to the Wildlife Rescue, but I’m not sure. I honestly don’t even remember the experience itself. But here you have it, photographic proof of me holding an honest-to-goodness wild animal. It’s also evidence that at age 9, I let my mother dress me in button down shirts and too-tight navy blue khakis. Thanks for that, Linda.

This was one of just a few pictures that my grandmother had sent along when my parents dropped in for a visit this weekend. Apparently she “has no use for them” since she “won’t be around much longer anyway” *insert dramatic sigh* and thought I would get a kick out of seeing them. My reaction? “That’s a BEAR. WHY AM I HOLDING A BEAR FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?” and also “Nice pants, dork.”

Seeing this picture makes me wonder what else from my childhood I’ve forgotten. Of course I remember many things– There are the happy memories, Christmas mornings and that awesome afternoon one late spring I came home to find a pool going up in the front yard; and the not-so-happy ones, of my dear great-grandmother’s passing and finding out the hard way that I’m allergic to hornet stings; but the other stuff — sleepovers and Sunday morning rituals and sunny days in the garden — they’ve all blurred together and no matter how many pictures have been taken I know I’ll never get them back. It’s not a sad thing, really. I just can’t help but think that if we all knew as children how quickly time passes then maybe we would have stopped once in a while to soak it all in and enjoy it, instead of forgetting about that one Spring afternoon when we got to hang out with a really cute baby bear.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fear

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fear. Ever since a Certain Bad Guy was killed in the Middle East, people have been talking about how “afraid” they are. Afraid of retribution, afraid of more war and higher gas prices (although that last one can’t get much scarier). I’m not trying to get ultra political here — I’ll leave that sort of thing to people that actually know what they’re talking about — but I just don’t understand this whole fear thing.

I mean, sure, I have fears — snakes in toilets, sharks in pools (shut UP, it’s legit), creepy clowns, weird old ladies, forced small talk — but fear of the unknown? Fear of something that hasn’t happened and there’s no way of knowing if it ever will? I don’t get that.

If we let our fears dictate our actions, if we all were afraid of what MIGHT happen, nothing WOULD happen. Fear is the enemy of progress, of discovery. Fear breeds ignorance and hatred. It’s because of fear that it is legal for a government to spy on its own citizens and for an airport security guard to perform enhanced pat downs on children.

Sorry, political again.

You can’t refuse to make tough decisions in your life because you’re afraid of what might happen, of a future that’s not yours to control in the first place. Because to give in to fear is to succumb to mediocrity. To give in to fear is to settle for what’s comfortable, even though it’s not why you truly want.

We’re all afraid at times, in the dark unknown. The important thing is to have someone next to you to face it. Someone you love that loves you back, without doubt or pause.Someone to hold your hand and to light the way.

Posted in daily, Jasper, Uncategorized

We Need a Little Christmas! Right This Very Minute!

I got my Christmas tree Saturday morning, and for the first time in six Christmases in this house I succeeded in buying a tree that A:) took less than 15 minutes to find, and B:) does not take up half my living room. I have a tendency to fall in love with trees that are 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, and in a 900 square foot home that’s asking for trouble.

I’ve really scaled back on the decorations in the house this year. I think it’s a combination of being tired of the both the type of decorations I have (very country Christmas-ish; I’m over it), and the amount of decorations I own (wayyyy too many; I’m also over the clutter). I’ve shelved a good 75% of my stuff, and bought just a couple new things to mix it up. I didn’t want to spend too much money on something as frivolous as new Christmas decorations. That is, after all, what the day after Christmas is for. Ahem.

Anyway, back to the tree. Since I bought the smaller tree, I needed fewer ornaments. This is a shame, since my ornaments are ridiculousy adorable and thus need to be seen.

cuppycake by you.

A Christmas cupcake? Oh, for cute.

bulldog by you.

Seriously. A bulldog puppy? Seriously.

Gossamer and Bugs by you.

Yes, that is Bugs Bunny and the monster (his name, btw, is Gossamer). That’s probably my favorite.

no crocodiles. no rhinoceruseses. by you.

That picture is terrible, and I apologize. But LOOK HOW CUTE. It even plays THE SONG. The cuteness, it cannot be denied.

KITTY! by you.

Pssh. Please. Like you didn’t see this coming. I need to stay out of Target before Christmas, because every year they inevitably have new Hello Kitty ornaments, and if I’m not careful I’ll end up with a very Hello Kitty Christmas.

WAIT A MINUTE.

Kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, here’s my tree, in all its glory, and my dog, totally not giving a rat’s ass:

Oh, Tannenbaum by you.