welcome, may!

And what a beautiful day it was here yesterday, for the first Saturday of the month!

The farmers’ market opened…

…and Carolyn and Abigail joined us for brunch at Charlie’s on the porch!  Definitely one of my all-time favorite places.  And only on the porch; inside is a little cramped when it’s busy.

Per my usual, I can’t NOT get the blueberry pancakes, but I also wanted some savory breakfast components, so I opted for a spinach and mushroom omelet, home fries and one pancake on the side.  (The cinnamon toast was forced on me…too bad I couldn’t have gotten fruit instead.)

I’ll have you know that half of everything (minus the toast–I nibbled on a couple pieces, though) went into a to-go box as soon as I got my food.  To-go box = more room on the table + more room in my tummy + more deliciousness to enjoy later = VICTORY!  Therefore, following the previous equation, a to-go box = victory.  (Obviously, the Chemistry is starting to go to my head…)

Speaking of Chemistry…  As my test is beginning to loom in the distance (May 14th!), there was some of that going on yesterday afternoon as well.

Mid-afternoon, we met Regina and her kiddos, Kevin and Vivian, on Elmwood in Buffalo for some walking around.  We’d thrown the idea out about getting margaritas (it was Cinco de Mayo, after all), but with the two angels that wasn’t going to happen…

We walked around for a bit, popped into Penzey’s Spices (I was in desperate need of cinnamon and powdered ginger–two of my staples–and also got some Za-tar spice and grinding salt).

Regina and I wanted ‘real’ food before we treated ourselves to ice cream (the kids and Andrew had already gotten cones at Watson’s, which serves Anderson’s Ice Cream), so she and I popped into the uber-crunchy (a.k.a super natural/hippie-ish) Globe Market for some bites.  I ended up with tiny amounts of an Israeli Couscous dish and an almond and cranberry chicken salad.

After a bit of a run-around, Regina opted for some blood orange gelato–I had a taste and it was amazing–I ended up BACK at Watson’s for the same flavor Vivian had, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, atop some Chocolate Chaplin (chocolate with coconut, marshmallow and cashew).

OK, bit of a rant here:  I definitely asked the lady for a small with two different flavors, but she obviously did not understand what I wanted, since I got a giant one.  Now, the old Holly would have been super excited and used this as an excuse to scarf the whole thing because, after all, I had at least tried to order less.  No, not the NEW Holly.  My first thought was, ‘OK, now there is no reason to eat all of this since I didn’t want this much to begin with.’  This is growth, people.

And I’ll share the victory:  I gobbled the top flavor–amazing, by the way–but realized somewhere half-way through the chocolate that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.  Into the trash it went!  Hurray!

We got home around 6 p.m. and weren’t hungry for dinner, so back to Chemistry I went.  Below is a page from my study packet from last semester’s ACS exam…  Oh, did I mention THIS semester’s exam will cover both this AND last semester?  Yup, it’s cumulative.

Quantum numbers, orbitals, wavelength…  I don’t remember it all!

After just about pulling my hair out trying to at least get through a practice test, Andrew and I decided it was time to head out for some “dinner” at 8:30.  I wasn’t thrilled to be eating this late, but a walk from our house to the village to the new mexican place for margaritas was sounding really good right about then.  (I’ll say it again, it was Cinco de Mayo, after all.)

Well, long and sad story short: the mexican place was more than packed with no room at the bar and an hour wait (!!!), so with no where else to go, we walked back home, trying to brainstorm a solution.  I had no interest in waiting and having a full meal handed to me somewhere at 9:30 at night; the truth was, neither of us were that hungry.  This was one of those classic examples in which I have a definite need for a food “experience” and if that need isn’t getting met, filling it with anything else is pointless.

Sooo, I might have been a little grumbly on the way home.  And then, it hit me! We had margarita mix in the fridge!  I said I silent prayer that there was at least a little tequila downstairs… (gosh, I sound like a crazy person here…)

Three ounces of tequila (the last!) and nine of margarita mix later, Andrew and I were both enjoying drinks on the rocks (sad about no salt!) in front of the next season of Big Bang Theory on DVD.  I even assembled some nachos with sweet potato tortilla chips, a little melted monterey jack cheese and drips of salsa.

Overall, it turned into an OK night 🙂  I treated myself to a couple bites–literally–of the chocolate I got at Watson’s earlier (a sample to compare with Fowler’s) and ended it there.  Another victory, in my mind. I might have eaten later than normal, but I avoided going overboard by succumbing to a restaurant in desperation, or a popcorn-and-ice-cream-binge that would have been tempting had we not been in possession of margarita ingredients.

Happy May!

almost! a pizza tragedy

So, I may not be quite the ‘gourmet’ chef Andrew makes me out to be ALL the time…

…if you think THAT’S bad, you should have seen the other guy!  (a.k.a. the hunk of ORGANIC beef roast I bought for Pioneer Woman’s Carnitas Pizza.

(Actually, upon further inspection of the meat itself, it had only formed a nice ‘crust’ on the outside and was still quite edible on the inside–thankfully!  Otherwise, Andrew might have killed me.  In fact, I moistened the shredded meat with a little apple juice I had stashed in the freezer since our HOTEL STAY last year… Side note: I am my father (the pack rat)’s daughter.)

Apparently, leaving a roast in the oven while out of the house is too much for me to handle; not 10 minutes after we left for church I had a panic attack and tried to make Andrew turn around.  I suppose I could have done the math on the cooking time a bit better, and certainly should have added some more liquid to the pot before departing…

Anyway, her carnitas pizza (the recipe for which must not be online), piqued my interest from the moment I saw it in the book.  It’s a regular pizza crust–I used one I found in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (best one yet!)–with green tomatillo salsa, fresh mozzarella slices, sauteed red pepper and onion, then baked and topped with the warm meat and sliced green onions.

Let’s just say Andrew was on his 5th piece before either of us knew what was happening, but I suspect that had more to do with the crust than the toppings, unfortunately.  Or fortunately, I suppose.  I’m on the hunt for a go-to pizza crust recipe…could it be that the search is over?

I enjoyed the last two pieces for lunch today–YUM.  While I may not make the exact recipe again, PW does have a bunch of neat pizza recipes on her website and in her newest cookbook, and we seem to be on a pizza kick lately!  It’s the “best crust” hunt, I tell ya.  My favorite pizza, you ask?  HAWAIIAN, all the way.

And, just in case you were wondering about that pot….

…GOOD AS NEW!  Nothing a little elbow grease and a brillo pad couldn’t handle.

where we live, pre-snow

This is our neighborhood.  I walked (HA!  WALKED!) to the hardware store to buy a lightbulb shortly after moving into our rental house in October and snapped a few photos along the way.  (Somehow, they never actually got published…  Life happens, I guess.)

This is the top of our neighborhood where the road meets up with Quaker (a.k.a. 20A) which is the road that takes you to East Aurora.  It extends east that way (the way you’re looking, above) and west through Orchard Park and further past the Bills stadium and, eventually, turns into Southwestern Blvd., which is a main thoroughfare here and also the street on which the Y resides.

Here is this adorable little gift shop on Quaker called the Lemon Tree.  I finally went in once when Emily was visiting and it’s definitely your typical gift shop with kitchen items, kitschy items, papers, baby stuff, etc…

And this even more adorable children’s bookstore called “B is for Books.”  The name is interesting, though, since I came to find out through writing an article for the paper that the owner’s last name actually starts with a ‘B,’ so I thought that was neat.  It’s the kind of place I can envision myself going once we have kids, although by that time I’m hoping we’re settled in East Aurora!  There is a used bookstore in EA, as well as the library on Main Street, so those will have to do.

Here’s a shot from the intersection of Quaker and Buffalo Roads, the main intersection of Orchard Park.  I love the lampposts–they’re the kind that play music, too.

Here’s the hardware store, around since 1907.  It’s no Lowe’s, but it has the necessities and is way closer (and walkable!), which I love.  And I love shopping locally.  I think it’s becoming more and more important these days to do that.  I’m not saying I’m ready to swear-off my Honda Pilot or other foreign-made goods (I’m all for good, old-fashioned capitalism), but when all things are equal, I’d rather support the local economy and reduce my carbon footprint.

And we’re back!  Here is our actual street and our house is about two past the stop sign on the right.  It’s a cute little street filled with cute houses and youngsters.  Ours, as a rental, leaves a bit to be desired in the curb-appeal category, but it gets the job done.

Now, imagine all this under a blanket of white.  That what happened yesterday just before class, and by the afternoon, it was all gone again.  I’m thinking my snow boots are going to get a run for their money this winter…