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Posts from the ‘events’ Category

Lilly Turns TWO!

My dear, sweet little pup turned two years old on Monday. Once again, Bella was there to celebrate with us. (Funny how she always happens to be staying with us when cake is involved?!?).

This year I went the DIY route, and baked up a puppy perfect birthday cake myself. (Recipe below). The pups went crazaaaaay for it. Definitely a hit.

bday girl Lilwaiting for new toynew toy dnabday playtimebday playtime2new toy2singing to Lil

lilly eating cake

This would be the one and only shot I would get of Lilly eating her cake. I use the term “eating” very loosely, as hoovering might be more appropriate. She gobbled it up, and I spent the next several minutes concerned that she was either going to choke, or throw it up. She did neither; but word to the un-wise… you might want to cut each slice into cubes (which I did on the following days). It is THAT delicious.

My homemade puppy birthday cake…

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Lilly’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Birthday Cake:

  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla extract

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Mix well, and spread in a greased (I used Spectrum Canola Spray) loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely. Frost, if desired. (I cut this cake into 6 slices; you could definitely make the servings smaller depending on the size of your pup).

Quick Peanut Butter Puppy Frosting:

  • a few spoonfuls of nonfat plain yogurt
  • slightly less than equal amount of peanut butter

Blend together with hand-mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Happy Birthday to my darling girl!

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Bourdain and Ripert

Last Wednesday evening, I dragged Tristan to Good vs. Evil at the Belk Theater in uptown Charlotte for an entertaining evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.

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It turned out to be a surprisingly intimate evening with the two chefs.

I was REALLY EXCITED about this show… as I have been a fan of Bourdain for years and years. I’ve read all of his culinary/travel books, the most recent being Medium Raw ; and am crazy about his show, No Reservations … Travel, drinking, swearing and great food? Seriously, what’s not to love? As for Ripert, I knew substantially less about him, other than what I’d seen on Top Chef and in relationship to his friendship with Bourdain. After this though, Le Bernardin is definitely on my must list for our next trip to NYC. (We’ll have to save up though – even to just do lunch! $$$). 

First off, they took turns interrogating each other in the hot seat. (The hot seat consisting of the rather crap folding chair they claimed felt as if  it was going to collapse at any moment).

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Bourdain was the first one out, he introduced Ripert and then proceeded to grill him on his culinary background, Le Bernardin and his dislike for fellow chef Gordon Ramsey. (Apparently Ripert, a Buddhist, thinks Ramsey is a meanie. He is not wrong).

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Then it was Bourdain’s turn in the hot-seat, where Ripert grilled him (mostly) on his slightly salacious past.  It didn’t take long for the f-bombs to start flying. Which I admit to loving about Bourdain.

“I sure as hell know…”

After the interrogations, they sat down together, Bourdain with a beer and Ripert with a Diet Coke (his choice of beverage surprised me). They mused about the current culinary “it’” movement of Farm to Table. They both have very strong opinions and aren’t afraid to express them.  It felt more like we were eavesdropping on two good friends having a conversation, rather than speaking in front of an audience.

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With an audience of food obsessives (and the person they dragged along with them!), this was a love fest. Most of us got the references they spoke of, and ‘celebrity chef’ slams.

Bourdain talked about how cooking should be a necessary skill that is taught to every child… along the lines of potty-training, learning to tie your shoe laces, riding a bike, etc. “Everyone should know how to chop a fucking onion” he said – to which I agree wholeheartedly.

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Bourdain slammed Sandra Lee (to many cheers!) and Guy Fieri . He spoke about his current “riff” with Paula Deen – and how she is the most dangerous woman in America. True, true. Cheeseburger meatloaf with a stick of buttah, anyone?

They touched on the topic of sustainable seafood (yet another reason I want an iPhone, for the Monterey Bay Aquarium app while dining out!)… Ripert advocated it, while Bourdain said he would eat the last Bluefin Tuna in the ocean if he could. Both commented that they had signed some sort of agreement to never eat shark fins. (Rightly so, the practice of harvesting the fins sounds horrific).  They discussed cheap food, fast food and the nastiness that is the McRib. They also spoke up for foie gras… apparently it is being done “correctly” here in the US, by the three farms that produce it.

Towards the end of the show there was a brief Q &A segment. Which was, I’m not going to lie, quite awkward. It didn’t help that the first guy up was clearly hammered, kissing ass, and talking nonsense.  Bourdain eventually told him to “fuck off” and called on someone else. (It needed to happen). It was disorganized, and could have used ushers manning the mic stations (or something like that) because well, yeah, awkward.

But all in all – it was a fantastically fun evening. I think it even inspired Tristan to want to learn how to cook, a wee bit. Which is music to my ears.

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Why I Crew

 

A little more than a week ago, I took part in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, as a Crew Member. A Team Leader of the Information Services Crew, to be exact. I have volunteered as a Crew Member before. I have even participated in the Avon (now defunct) 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, as a Walker.

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Why do I crew?

I crew for the woman I saw on both Saturday and Sunday crossing the finish line, her body wracked with sobs. She seemed sad, and happy, at the same time. A fellow Team Leader, Lisa, (a stranger to the woman) gave her a hug at the finish line on Sunday. I later found out the woman is a breast cancer survivor, as I stood next to her during the Closing Ceremony.

I crew for my Gram… because she has battled (and won) this disease. She had a mastectomy, and is an 18 year survivor!

I crew for myself, as a woman with a history of breast cancer in her family.

I love that I do this. I’m very proud. I do it for you.

crew walking in

The Crew Members on my particular team ranged from average to awesome. Some members of my team were FABULOUS. (Some were… meh. I could tell their heart wasn’t really in it). I received some less-than-enthusiastic responses to our early start time. (Yes, 4 a.m. is early. Yes, you knew this when you signed up. *ahem*.  You are doing this for charity. Presumably you are doing this because Breast Cancer has touched your life in one way or another. It is ONE weekend out of the whole year. Suck. It. Up. – Rant over).  So, I made the best of it – relying on those that I could count on – and picking up the slack myself.

I got 2.5 hrs. of sleep on Friday night, and then worked for 18 hours. On my feet. (Saturday night was very exciting… I got a whole 3.75 hrs. of sleep!). I was in Uptown Charlotte at 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning.  I joked that the only time I sat down that weekend was to pee. (Sadly it wasn’t really a joke).

pink hair and little sleep

I have never worn so much pink in my entire life.

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I had a fabulous time.

People ask me why I crew, raise money, and am involved with the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. To understand, perhaps you have to see it in person. Even if you don’t know someone participating in one of the walks… come out. Attend an opening or closing ceremony. Cheer for and support those who walk (and those of us who work it!).

lisa signlining up for closingboobscheerleader

I’ll be back next year, and the year after that. I even hope to WALK the event again, in 2013. I’m thinking of doing it in Washington DC…? (That way I can still Crew in Charlotte).

next year

I set a modest little goal for myself for fundraising, of $300.00 (Crew is not required to fundraise, but is encouraged to do so). This year, time got away from me. I didn’t even *try* to start fundraising until a week before the event. Ooops.

fundraising pic

Thank you to all of my donors who stepped-up to the plate last-minute, to help me surpass my goal. You guys are the best! Next year – I’ll do better. You can always do better. 🙂

Learn more about the good work performed by the Avon Foundation and the Avon Walk  at AvonWalk.org

 

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GOOD vs. EVIL

This is VERY exciting news to a foodie… particularly a Top Chef-loving, Travel Channel-watching, Bourdain book-reading nerd such as myself.

 

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They are coming to Charlotte on October 26th, 2011.  Get your tickets here: Blumenthal PAC

They are *officially* on sale this Friday July 29th, at 10 a.m. – but if you are a member of the E-Priority Club, you can get ‘em now! (There are even VIP tickets if you are inclined to drop $150 per ticket). (Or, if you want the advance link, comment or email me!)

Eric… you are immensely talented, not to mention handsome, with a  lovely French accent, and I’m looking forward to seeing you and hearing what you have to say — but for me… honestly? It’s all about Tony. I’ve been a fan of his for over a decade. C’mon October! 

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What do you think of Anthony Bourdain and/or Eric Ripert? Geniuses? Jackasses?

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