Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Black Tea Cherry Popsicles

Our second homemade popsicle attempt was these Black Tea Cherry Ice Pops.
The thing I like about popsicles is that they're quick and easy to make.
The thing I don't like is that many "recipes" use an ingredient I can't stand: coconut milk. Or some kind of low fat/fat free yogurt, or some kind of fake sweetener. I just want fruit and a bit of sweetener. Like this recipe that SP found in a Costco Magazine.
Brew strong tea. Puree with cherries, sugar, and honey. Pulse in some more cherries. Pour into molds. Freeze.
The dark cherries make a very dark popsicle. Don't be like me and wear a white shirt when eating these! You can see tiny bits of pureed cherry in the popsicle. When we ate them, the first thing I tasted was the tea. That was followed by the cherry flavor. Then it finished with the honey flavor. These are really tasty. It's supposed to make 10. Since we have only 6 molds, we kept the leftover liquid in the refrigerator and refilled the molds as we "emptied" them.

Recipe here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gin Harvest Cocktail

Usually on Sunday, around 3 pm, we'll decide it's cocktail time. Last Sunday, SP decided to try a new cocktail, one called Gin Harvest. I don't care for gin, so he was on his own. I stuck with bourbon. He found the recipe in the latest issue of Costco Connection July 2017.
Gin, cucumber, lime, mint, simple syrup. He said it was refreshing and tasty. I might like this if we swapped the gin for vodka. Maybe next week I'll try that.


Gin Harvest

1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 cucumber slices
4 mint leaves
2 oz gin

Add lime juice, simple syrup, 3 cucumber slices, and 3 mint leaves to a cocktail shaker. Muddle together. Add ice and gin. Shake. Strain into a glass. Garnish with remaining cucumber slice and remaining mint leaf.

1 serving

Monday, August 21, 2017


It's been a while since we dined at Dinette. To be honest, if we're driving into the city for pizza, we want Mercurio's pizza and gelato. This past weekend, after our niece's birthday party, we tried to go to Mercurio's, but the streets were all cordoned off and we couldn't get to our usual garage or find street parking that was OK for the wheelchair, plus it was still raining. So we decided to go to Dinette (which has easier parking). I'm glad we ended up at Dinette because it was a very good meal. We each ordered a glass of white wine. Here's what we ate:
Watermelon Salad (Fennel Fronds, Ricotta Salata, Scallions, Lettuces, Nicoise Vinaigrette).
Grilled Peaches & Burrata w/ Mint, Black Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Pizza: Roasted Cherry and Sungold Tomatoes (Red Kale, Potatoes, Walnut Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella).
Pizza: Berkshire Prosciutto (Arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato).

Everything was delicious. The watermelon with salty ricotta and briny olive vinaigrette was excellent. When we make peaches and burrata at home, we use tarragon but the mint was just as tasty and I think I might now prefer mint to tarragon. SP loved his roasted tomatoes and crunchy kale while I was super pleased with all the parmesan atop my pizza. Yum!

We were too full for one of Dinette's desserts. We were too full to walk down the street to Millie's for ice cream. We both really enjoyed our meals and had some pizza leftover for lunch on Sunday.

Dinette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kings Family Restaurant

Does everyone have a "place" that in high school or college they always hung out at with their friends? My brother's place was Eat'n Park. One year for his birthday, a bunch of friends each gave him a mug filled with enough pennies to buy a cup of coffee at Eat'n Park. For me and my friends in high school, the place was Kings for mozzarella sticks and coffee. When we'd all return during college breaks, we'd meet up at Kings. I can remember lots of ice cream desserts, too, and the time my friend L ordered a sundae but didn't want the whipped cream so my friend C asked if she could have L's whipped cream in a bowl and the server looked at them suspiciously and asked if they were going to do something weird with the whipped cream. C turned bright red and stammered that she just really liked whipped cream.

I hadn't been to Kings in years until a few weekends ago when, after a Saturday morning spent coloring my hair, we were super hungry and decided to grab lunch instead of heading home. There was a lot of debate. Fast food like Wendy's? I'm a sucker for the junior bacon cheeseburger. Pizza? SP swore there was a great pizza place between The Dairy Bar and the library. (If you grew up in the township we grew up in, you'll know where I mean when I say The Dairy Bar.) Too late we thought of Aladdin's but we had no desire to try to turn around on Rte 19. We ended up deciding on Kings for my nostalgia and because SP, I think, had never been there. ????!!!!
Sadly, this time there was no coffee. No mozzarella sticks. No whipped cream shenanigans. SP tried the Ham It Up! Omelette (diced ham smothered in oozing cheddar jack cheesy goodness) with fruit cup and 2 blueberry pancakes for his sides.
I chose the Morning, Noon and Night Melt (bacon, ham, 2 fried eggs and apricot-bacon jam and American cheese, between 2 slices of sourdough bread) with hash browns on the side.
Thank goodness our server suggested getting the apricot-bacon jam on the side. I liked, but didn't love the jam, it and it was actually a little too sweet for me. For me, it was a huge sandwich. I managed to finish it, but I was stuffed. I also ate the crispy, brown bits of the hash browns. That's the best part!
It was a decent brunch and our server was very friendly and I appreciate the heads up on the apricot-bacon jam. This Kings has been around for a very long time so I suppose it's not surprising (but still sad) that it looks kind of rundown and not super clean. I'm sad that some things like the Frownie are gone and I could swear once upon a time they served many flavors of ice cream, sometimes atop waffles -? Maybe I'm misremembering the ice cream and waffles.

Anyway, it was nice to take that little walk down memory lane.

  Kings Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

My niece is off to college today. I can't believe she's that old already! I can still remember when I started university - moving into my dorm room, meeting my roommate for the first time, all those new & fun & scary things.

Meanwhile, another niece turns 7 this weekend so we'll be at her birthday party.

The sunflowers we planted are finally blooming. I like to sit in the living room and gaze out at them. They make me smile.

Next Monday is a solar eclipse. A lot of our friends are headed south to TN or KY to be in totality. I asked SP if he wanted to go away to see it but he said no because of work. So we'll be seeing it from here where I think we'll see 81% of the sun covered (I might be misremembering what I saw on a website for our area).

What We're Eating:

  • Shrimp Salad with Grandma's Tomatoes & Cucumbers in Vinegar
  • Chicken Salad on multi-grain English muffin with spiralized zucchini & garden tomatoes
  • Cherry Popsicles

What We're Watching:

  • Orphan Black ended. I suppose it ended the way it should have, the way we all really wanted, and yet I felt somewhat disappointed and I'm not sure why. But gosh was it satisfying when Helena used that screwdriver and Sarah used that gun.
  • Broadchurch ended. The case was solved. I don't want to say much because it just ended last night. We think Broadchurch is a fabulous show and loved all 3 seasons (season 2 was a little weak, but 1 & 3 were so darn good). As usual, despite the crime being solved, it leaves you feeling sad and devastated for all the characters.
  • Game of Thrones. Drogon liked Jon! Gilly revealed an important thing that Sam didn't hear because he was too preoccupied being mad about his maester training! And so much more! Two more episodes this season.
  • We started watching Ozark on Netflix. We're enjoying it. We have the last episode to watch and it's 2 hours long, so we'll finish it tonight.

What I'm Reading:

  • I had a lot of books on hold. I figured they would not become available at the same time. When I reserved them, some said 33 holds, or 100+ holds. You know what happened. By last Saturday I had a pile of 7 books. I read two. So now there's 5. My library account tells me 2 more are in transit. So there will again be 7. Help!
  • I read The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron. I really liked it. Not just because it's the kind of book I most enjoy, but the characters & setting were different. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series (this was the first of 9 books)
  • Resolve by JJ Hensley. It's set in Pittsburgh, and written by an author who lives in Pittsburgh. I really enjoyed it. I was hooked form the beginning and couldn't put it down. 
  • The magazine pile was up, then down, now it's up again. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sienna on the Square

This past weekend we ate at one of our favorite restaurants: Sienna on the Square. As usual it was delicious and service was great. Here's what we ate:
An appetizer special of yellow watermelon, prosciutto, arugula, some kind of nut, and balsamic drizzle. Yummy.
Calamari ('nduja aioli, parsley).
Ora King Salmon (fregola sarda, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, lemon emulsion, pea shoots). SP said it was tasty.
Mafalde Bolognese (veal, pork, beef, tomato, milk, onion, carrot). At first I was upset that the Meatball & Ricotta Flatbread is no longer on the dinner menu. But after tasting this - oh my gosh - so good.
Parmesan Cake with bourbon peaches. Yum.

We went home with happy bellies.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

A couple of weekends ago, we decided to visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden near Settlers Cabin Park. I'm surprised it took so long for us to go check it out since it's only about 5 minutes from where we live. 
It was a beautiful day when we went, not too hot, not too cool. Along the trails are mailboxes with information inside about the trees, flowers, shrubs, etc.
I love how the pond is now clean and alive after years of coal mine contamination.
We went across the bridge and stopped partway for a closer look at the lily pads and flowers.
Lots & lots of lily pads.
The site says there is a mile of ADA accessible trails. Perhaps, technically, this is correct, but some parts, like the path leading to the gazebo near Dogwood Meadow, get quite steep and there are lots of rocks and tree roots that made it very bumpy and difficult. We ended up leaving me off to the side while SP went on and then circled back. The path to the Lotus Pond is not as steep but can be quite bumpy with rocks and twigs big enough to stop the wheelchair and send me lurching forward. The path across the bridge and up to the Asian Woodlands is pretty steep and we had to take me backwards up the hill because of how steep it was and the rocks and ruts. A wheelchair with different casters or a motorized one would probably not have as difficult a time as I did.
But I survived, no mishaps, and thank goodness for the seatbelt on the wheelchair! Across the street near the parking lot are the apple orchard, log house, and heritage chickens.

We really enjoyed walking around, and sitting on the benches. Next time, I think I'd take a book and sit near the pond while SP walked the non-accessible trails to the Hermit Hut, Apiary, and Giant Bird's Nest areas. There were a lot of families there and the kids seemed to enjoy running along the paths and reading the information in the mailboxes. Definitely a good place to spend a beautiful summer day. I imagine it'd especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.