Monday, March 29, 2010

Cooking Adventures

Last week was my very pregnant best friend's birthday. When I questioned her about her birthday plans, she informed me that she had none. Well, if ever there is an excuse to eat cake, it is on your birthday. And if ever there is an even better excuse to eat cake, it is when you are pregnant on your birthday.

Screw the birthday drinks - Stacy and I are much more of the birthday dessert kind of girls.

And you may remember that I recently took a cake decorating class. So obviously, in my mind, I was pretty much the Cake Boss. I baked the cake (two of them for a double layer cake), the day before and froze them as instructed. You know, it is much easier to frost and decorate a frozen cake. So I learned.

I prepared my mom's famous butter cream frosting which truly does not even need a cake. If it were socially acceptable, I would just put a bit S for Stacy in the middle of the bowl of frosting and call it a day. However, I charged on.

I removed the cakes from the freezer and unwrapped them. In class, the cakes were a perfect solid mass of loveliness. In the Frank house, the cakes were a crumbling mess and cakey explosion. Nonetheless, I continued. I set one cake down on the cake carrier bottom, put frosting in the middle and topped it with the second layer. Piecing the cake back together with frosting as I went.

Dang, I thought to myself, I'm doing well! I've got a new career ahead of myself. I continued to frost the double layers. We learned all about these techniques with this spatula, and how to not get it all crumby. Well, that didn't translate so well at home. Cake and frosting meshed together to form a glue like bond as I touched the cake. Eventually, I got frustrated with the "chunks of cake in frosting" situation and just dumped the rest of the frosting on the cake.

I then pulled out the detail bag and began to write "Happy Birthday"..."Happy Birthday S..." I ran out of room for Stacy. So I pulled off the S. This was going to be a more succinct cake. Just Happy Birthday.

Cake...done. Except for one thing. My cake carrier was only tall enough for a single layer cake and this was double. Putting the top on would destroy my creation.

My friend Jess was over, so she and Jeremy went on a hunt around our house for a creative way to package said piece of art (I mean cake).

I hear a scream from Jeremy's end of the kitchen, "I've got it!" He comes running over with a large serving bowl in his hands. He plops the serving bowl atop my artwork. Done! He then grabs the duck tape and proceeds to duck tape the bowl on to the cake platter.
Beautiful cake inside a salad bowl. I like to think it was just my artwork placed under glass. Or plastic. Whatever.

I hear it tasted good, and that's all that matters.

In other news, we took a cooking class on Friday night with Debra and Alex at Whole Foods. The theme of this class... BACON! Don't tell my mom. We made many bacon items, and finished it off with yes....
BACON CUPCAKES!!!

I am not typically a fan of strange foods. But these were dang good. Maple bacon cupcakes, with maple frosting and oh yea...that's bacon on top. Needless to say we all wanted to die a little bit when we left. But wow, amazing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Here's dinner....

Growing up my mom made her own version of Italian chicken. It was the only thing in her repertoire that required the use of a griddle, so I always kind of thought it was just a food that required a griddle and so I couldn't make it because I don't have one. Turns out, I have absolutely no idea why she used said device. I'm pretty convinced she got it for her wedding and felt she had to use it for something...so Italian Chicken it was.

So...in this, the week before Passover....we try to cram in as many carbohydrates as possible before we are deprived of the fuel of life.

So I made up my own Italian Chicken and it was pretty dang good so I will share:
Kara's Italian Chicken
Serving size: 2
2 raw chicken breasts
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
dash red pepper flakes
dash parsley
dash oregano or other Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
Pasta sauce of your choosing
Parmesan

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Heat a pan on the stove top to medium heat with olive oil or Pam. Mix breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, parsley, oregano and any other Italian seasonings you would like to use in a bowl. Dip each chicken in the bowl to coat evenly.

Discard the remaining crumbs and seasoning.

Brown the chicken breasts for 4 minutes per side on the stove. After each side has been browned, transfer to a oven safe pan, cover with pasta sauce, top with Parmesan (optional). Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sounds putsy but it is not, it's quite easy. And delish.

And here's my preachy moment. Use organic, free range chicken. It makes a difference, a huge one. You will never go back. If you care enough to buy a designer handbag, then care enough about your body to buy quality ingredients.

And if that lecture didn't work, just think of the poor mistreated chickeys in windowless pens, so fat they cannot walk.

Bet that guilt trip worked!

Balk balk (that's me impersonating a chicken)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And I'm back

If you couldn't tell by yesterday's blog post...I was having a self imposed crabby day. There was not a single excuse for my mood, I was just crabby and that was how it was going to be.
Case in point:

I needed to print invitations for a friend's baby shower. I tried at home and they came out crooked. I tried at work, and they got jammed in my printer. So I took them to the Staples Print Shop...where they are professional printers. Or so they say. They do a test print - lovely. I leave and let them print the cards. 45 minutes later I get a call that all the cards got stuck in their printer and thus they have not and cannot print a single one. But I am welcome to come and pick up the crinkled ruined ones and my jump drive.

thanks. On a typical day, I would be supremely annoyed but move on. Yesterday, I had some choice words with the Staples employee for which I honestly think I should bake her some apology cookies. Staples lady out there if you are reading this - I appologize for questioning your intelligence and qualifications for your retail job. Further, I apologize for slamming the phone down on you. whoops.

Second, a friend asked me for wedding registry advice and I retorted: "How the he*% should I know. I don't have a single one of my wedding gifts because our condo is too dang small and they have been sitting in boxes in my parents house for over a year since we can't sell our condo. Don't ask me what to register for because I don't even know what I got, SINCE I CAN'T SELL THE CONDO"

Real cool Kara. Real cool.

So I do what I do when I feel that way and I workout. Some people down 3 jars of peanut butter (I swear, a guy in my WW group did that, frequently), some people drink, other people sleep. I run. Or do yoga. And so I did. Both. And now my head is clear.

Consider this my confession. I am sorry staples lady. I am sorry Debra. Sometimes you just have a self imposed crabby day. There is no cause, you just feel as though it is your time to breathe fire.

Fire breathing complete.

Onward.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My thoughts on Facebook

I have a love/hate relationship with facebook.

I love to peer into the lives of people I have known well at different points in my life, but for whatever reason am not close with right now.

I love to know whose dating whom. Even if I don't know them.

I love to see what the boyfriend looks like. And kids where applicable.

I love to know that my life is not the only totally crazy one.

I love it when people 20+ years older than me are on there posting on eachother's walls. Especially when it's totally inappropriate.

I love it when someone posts something on another's wall and forgets that the entire world is now going to get a message that you wrote that on the other person's wall. The world is watching. This is big brother. You signed up for it.

I don't love that my entire facebook community seems to be on Spring Break somewhere right now.

I also do not love that I am not on said Spring Break.

I do not love it when you are out with someone and they are posting on facebook. Example: Eating sushi at Benihana and the friend posts, "Sushi @ Benihana". I am here with you and I don't even care. What makes you think the general public cares what you just consumed?

I do not love when you post things like, "Editing photos", "Running to Caribou" or "Grabbing dinner with my sweetie"

I much prefer things like, "Just started dating XYZ person", "Pregnant with baby #47!" or something funny your child just said. Particularly the kid sayings...those are the best.

I do not enjoy when you announce you have just purchased a home and it is not my home that happens to be for sale. That one's totally selfish. But true.

So think wisely next time you post something on facebook and make darn sure that it is going to provide me with complete entertainment. The worse the better, I love to see bad haircuts, unfortunate nights out and babies of the day. So if you don't have that, lay off. I'm not real interested in your sleeping habits nor do I think they are facebook worthy.

(I hope you realize I am kidding. Well 45% kidding)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We did it!

You can now refer to us as, Jeremy and Kara Frank, Real estate Moguls.

This St. Patrick's day we are the proud new owners of a bright green house in the Tyrol neighborhood of Golden Valley! We are very excited to start this process, but WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SELL OUR CONDO, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
(The photo above is me dancing, after we sell the condo)

(I probably look a little something like the photo above right now)

Tonight we will be doing the ceremonial family picnic at the new house, sitting on the ground, eating what else...corned beef for St. Patty's day! I have red hair and light skin, I can celebrate dang it.

I have cooked up approximately 78 pounds of potatoes for 10 people. We have 3 dessert options. We are Jewish. It's what we do, we feed. Someone is born, we feed. Someone dies, we feed. Someone buys a house, we feed. Someone gets a haircut, we feed.

It's all we do, and we do it well. (get it, like Jack Prescott, the busiest bankruptcy attorney in MN)

Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations of owning and renovating our home. I am certain it will rank right up there with dance lesson posts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a classy Friday night

Friday is without a doubt my favorite day of the week for the following reasons:

--I actually really like my job a lot, so I work, but we do so in an unstated, slightly more casual manner. Which is good. I think we all need to relax a bit.

--Friday holds great promise of the impending weekend. The fun plans, the sleep, the productiveness. Ya know, that Friday feeling.

--My husband is happier because he can wear jeans to work. I cannot imagine why he would not enjoy having a rope tied around his neck all week. And by rope, I mean tie.

--Friday in 1st grade meant Friday Fun Club. Not that I would know. I was never allowed to go. Nope, got in trouble for playing in class so I was not allowed to go to Friday Fun club. But I heard great things about it. I hear they had candy, and games. Poor little 6 year old Kara did not know, and instead had to sit in her classroom and write "I will not talk in class" 100 times on the wall.
(just as an aside) (Friday could have been fun...potential Friday fun)
And then I was kicked out. Kicked out of public school for playing in class. Does that look like a girl who should be kicked out of school? Public school, maybe you should have taken a lesson from me and played a bit more.

Clearly I am digressing. It is Monday after all.

Regardless, Friday night Jeremy and I decided to do something very fun. So that something very fun included the following
Eating fat free, sugar free pudding and free wine from a vendor on the couch with the dog. Oh yea, we're livin' the high life. Come along for the ride.

If you ever care to join, we most always have cheap wine and fat free pudding. Killer combo.

And Today's blog topic was brought to you by the letter W for worthless, and the number 8. Because I've always liked the number 8.

Every once in a while I have to grace you with some randomness.

On a final side note, I promise, I'm almost done. We had two showings of our condo on Saturday and I'm pretty certain one of the two wants it. Just a feeling I have. Haven't heard from either one, but I'm confident. Joseph is buried on the deck. Cookies were baked and set out. They ate the cookies.

So keep thinking positive thoughts along with me. Please and thank you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fashion

I watched the Oscar's. I really like to see who wins best silent foreign film presented in 3D. I am gleeful when I hear who wins best costume design for a short film. Or whatever those awards are.

But the truth is....I like to see the dresses. I really just watch the Barbara Walter's special and then move on with life. I do my usual TV on in the background while folding laundry, cooking, cleaning, playing with the dog thing.

Which leads me to the worst fashion disaster of the night...
Did nobody look at this dress on her before she left the house? I mean there are the glaringly obvious giant roses on her ta-tas which are just beyond bizarre. Yea, we know they're there, no need to stick some giant flowers on them. And then as you look further down, you notice that her dress is horribly wrinkled and puckered.

Now I am not a girl who irons. In fact if it were a life and death competition and I would have to iron to save my life, I would likely not make it. It is just not a skill that I possess. Therefore, I take things to the cleaner.

And now, if I were to go to the Oscar's (which is entirely possible), I think I would find a little time to get my dress to the cleaners. And if not, I would even take on the job myself. Yes, for the Oscar's, I would iron.

Second fashion faux pas of the week. The jumpsuit.
I am a loyal Shop-it-to-me follower and am typically thoroughly pleased with the items they think I would like. However, when I received my daily shop it to me last week, and opened it to find a jumpsuit, I almost hit unsubscribe. (key word, almost)

Shop it to me, neither me, nor anyone I know, should be caught dead wearing the aforementioned jumpsuit. You should be ashamed.

Friends, if I find you wearing a jumpsuit, I might have to stage an intervention. A jumpsuit intervention. This is simply unacceptable.

And I must pose the obvious question, what happens when you have to pee?

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's true, we're buying a house!

I think most of you know this by now, but if not - Jeremy and I are buying a house. Currently, we own our condo downtown Minneapolis, which we absolutely love. However, life changes, and people grow, and now it is time to move on to a house with more space - and maybe, just maybe we can actually see some of those wedding gifts we got!

(They are currently residing in Frank Family Storage West i.e. Beth and Jay Weinblatt's house)

This home we are purchasing is about the ugliest house you've ever seen. It is a bright shade of green with some peeling paint, over grown trees, original appliances from 1947 and even lacks flooring. Why, you may ask are we purchasing this home?

Well...it sits atop an incredible lot in the North Tyrol neighborhood, and has excellent redevelopment potential. And we are a bit crazy.

We will be gutting, renovating, and adding on to this home, and it will look nothing like it does today. We hope. I hate green. I don't even eat green candy.
(this is what it's going to look like after!)
(okay, so maybe not...maybe more like this)
We close on this home on March 17th - St. Patrick's day! How appropriate for our bright green house!

This weekend, on a routine drive by we noticed something unusual. Now let me preface this with the fact that this has not been the smoothest home buying transaction, and we have run into some bumps in the road. However, this, I feared, would be a mountain of a bump....
Yes, that's right, a giant front end loader parked in our driveway. Of course, in my mind, I was sure the sellers or the bank were going to tear down the house, or put a hole in it, or do something to make us mad. OR, the alternate option was that our builder was confused and thought they were supposed to start demo now - not the case.

My mind was racing. I was freaking out. And that is putting it mildly.

Turns out it was not there to demolish the home we were about to purchase, rather, it was there to perform a sewer modification required by code. Uh yea, I knew that. Totally. What, Me? Freak out? Never... I am always totally calm and rational.

Thankfully, our house is still standing! And as of next Wednesday at 11:00am, we not be the owners of two homes, but "Real Estate Moguls" as we like to say.

Hopefully not for too long!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A dog's life...and a great recipe

You may have heard. She's pretty much the smartest, cutest, most personable dog you'll ever meet. And she eats her own poo. Occasionally.

Before he left for work today, Jeremy looked at the dog and literally cried out, "IT'S NOT FAIR, I WANT YOUR LIFE. I REALLY WANT YOUR LIFE. DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?" Yes, it has been quite a week in the Frank Family Household. We are quite happy it is Friday and we can put March 1-5 behind us.

And as our veterinarian likes to say, "When I die, I'd like to come back as a dog in a Jewish home"
She's a bit spoiled...


And is pretty darn excited for Spring so she can walk...and not end up like this...


And after her walks she gets a little sleepy...
And has to take a nap.

Just one of those weeks where you wouldn't mind being a shih-tzu/bichon. But if I was a dog, I wouldn't eat my own poo.

In the spirit of recipe sharing...because I'm getting great feedback on that...here's one you could make this weekend and either freeze to eat when you don't have time to cook, or eat one day this week. It is fantastic. It is meant to be done on the stovetop, but I threw everything in the crockpot and let it sit and it turned out fantastic:
• Package of your favorite turkey sausage and/or meatballs (or meatball recipe below)
• 1 – 28oz large can of crushed tomatoes
• 2 – 15oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
• 2 – 6oz cans of tomato paste
• About 1-2 tbsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley
• About 1 tbsp of dried oregano
• 1-3 crushed bay leaves (or you can leave them whole and fish them out later)
• A dash of crushed red and black pepper
• 1 tsp olive oil
In a large pot, add the crushed tomatoes and a full can of water (using the crushed tomato can), 2 cans of diced tomatoes and the 2 cans of paste with 2 paste cans of water.
**Add in any meatballs frozen or homemade.
Turn up the heat to high and add all the spices.
Stir and bring to a boil, you should see pinkish red bubbles forming.
Once the bubbles form, lower the temperature to simmer and place the lid on the pot.
Cook all day (about 4-5 hours)! Make sure to stir occasionally!

Note: About halfway through cooking, take the lid off and the sauce will thicken a bit.
I am basing the nutritional information on the approximate number of servings we get out of one pot of sauce. I’ve never weighed the whole batch and sometimes I dilute leftovers with water to “stretch it”. Normally we serve around 15 plates of pasta.

Meatballs:
• 12oz extra lean ground turkey
• 1 egg
• ½ cup quick oats
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp dehydrated onion
• 1 tsp dried basil leaves
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp dried parsley
• 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
• Salt and Pepper
Preheat your broiler.
Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until well blended.
Spray a boiler pan non-stick cooking spray.
Weigh out 1.5oz and form into 10 meatballs.
Place the meat balls on the broiler pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes turning once.
Note: This may not cook them through; I normally continue to cook in the sauce.
I’m counting 2 meatballs as a serving to make 5 servings.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So they say you should bake bread...

when you have a showing at your house. Makes it more homey or something like that. Ya know, that smell is supposed to evoke feelings of yesteryear or something, make you think this is really a place you can lay your nest. I don't know about you, but Beth Weinblatt didn't bake bread too often, unless it came out of a bread maker, and that phase didn't even last too long. But whatever.

At this point, I'll do anything.

And so I baked a bread. I googled, "Easiest possible bread recipe" and made that. It didn't sell the condo. It smelled pretty good, but didn't sell it.

Anyone else have any old wives tales or superstitions to recommend? We'll do anything. Or if you know someone who would like to buy a beautiful condo in an excellent building in Minneapolis, that would be much preferred.

As fun as it is to kneed bread for hours at time, I'd really just like to sell the place. From now on I'll stick to the break and bake cookies, my house growing up smelled like cookies much more often than bread.

Ya know, that's how we roll.

I haven't delighted you all with a poem lately, so here goes. You know you missed it!

Dear potential home buyers
I am quite ready for you to look at those fliers
The time to buy is now
Don't sit on your butt like a cow

Our condo is pretty, Our condo is nice
Our condo has never had any mice
Urban is cool
I'm sorry there is no pool

We have some pretty awesome neighbors
Living in Groveland means no more labor
Marty shovels
Marge cleans
Renee watches
The Chases observe

Please buy our condo, It would be very kind
I promise, it is quite a find

Monday, March 1, 2010

Congratulations

This post of the day is devoted to friends of mine....

#1. HUGE congratulations to Debra and Alex who got engaged last Friday. They are incredible friends and we were absolutely honored to be part of the process with them. I cannot say how incredibly relieved I am that I no longer have to hear Debra complain about wanting to get engaged and knowing in my head that it was just days away. Kara = bad liar. Very bad liar. I still want to know your secrets, though. So keep em coming!



#2 My friend Kristin has been working long and hard on a new coffee shop concept, Coffee Buzz, in Saint Louis Park and her shop has now opened! Please support Kristin and buy a mocha today!!! Her shop is located at 5690 W. 36th Street in the new Hoigaard Village apartment/retail center.

She also has a fun blog that has followed the process of opening her business:
http://www.coffeebuzzmn.blogspot.com/


So congratulations to my friends! Very exciting times!