Sunday, August 23, 2009

MIdwestern Movie: Julie and Julia

I have just returned from a Sunday matinee with my friend Laura. We saw Julie and Julia which is based on the book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. I have read this book and I thought the movie was great. It may not have been exactly as the book, but I thought it was even better.

The best part of the movie was Meryl Streep playing the gregarious Julia Child. Because the movie was also based on the Julia Child autobiography, My Life in France, the movie shared more about Julia child than the Powell book.

It is no surprise that Meryl Streep's story line of Julia Child was so entertaining. I could have watched an entire movie all about Julia Child and her life in Paris and beyond. I have always loved to cook, but the movie inspires me to cook more interesting meals and desserts. More than when I read Julie Powell's book, the movie makes it all look so easy, but we know that it is not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Midwestern Recipe: Fruit Streusel Muffins

I don't have a picture for these muffins because I have already put them away and I cannot be bothered to take them back out for a picture. However, they are delicious and a yummy treat if you ever host a brunch or a special breakfast. My friend Cheryl gave me this recipe and I love the versatility of the flavors. Today, I used blueberries, but you could use sliced strawberries or raspberries. Your choice!

Muffin Batter:
1-1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup blueberries (or fruit of your choice)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Combine the first four ingredients; make a well in the center. Combine the egg, milk, butter and extract. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Fold in fruit. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups - 3/4 full. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I have been under some delusion that I do not have clutter in my house. What I have come to fully understand this afternoon is that I have well-hidden clutter. Behind closed drawers. Behind closed closets. Behind closed cabinets. I have often boosted about my lack of "stuff" with our four moves in nine years, but I found out in my office/soon-to-be-nursery that I need to throw away some "stuff".

Each spring and fall, I go through the clothes and purge myself of the wardrobe that was. However, I have not followed such a strict regimen when it comes to computer accessories, manuals, and general office supplies. If it were not for the arrival of our first born, who knows how long the hodge podge of office items would have stayed hidden in the drawers and cabinets?!

Then, there is the scrapbooking materials. I do not even know where to start with this collection. I think I have a plan. I will move it all downstairs into a waiting cabinet piece that we used when we had small apartment kitchens. It sits empty now and will soon house the scrapbooking items.

It is a process and I just wish there were some clutter fairy who could pop into my room and whisk it all away. I think a trip to Target for multiple size rubbermaids is in my future for all of those computer accessories. I have this feeling that Tim will think we MIGHT need them someday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Betcha, I'm From North Dakota

I went to a wedding on Saturday night. It was a very nice event. The kind of wedding where women wear a different dress to the ceremony and a more formal dress to the reception. I wore the same dress to both the wedding and the party.

Our table assignment was table 7. We sat next to a nice couple in their fifties and a couple with three young boys. The talk was small at first, but it went wide open when they found out that I was from North Dakota. Being from North Dakota and living in Philadelphia is either a conversation starter or stopper...depending on the audience.

The older man said to me, "You are the first and only person that I have ever met from North Dakota". I get that a lot. He made the mistake that most people make who are not from either North Dakota or Minnesota and said "South Dakota" a couple of times when he really meant the more northern Dakota.

The topics of North Dakotan conversation ranged from the weather to my thick accent. He asked me to pronounce a few words, most with long vowel sounds. Because this man was so friendly and not at all condescending like many people who want me to say things with that "funny Fargo movie accent", I played a long with it.

I always like it when the east coasters say, " you are not from around here, are you?" Is it that obvious? Is it the accent or could it be something else? Could it be that I wear the same dress to the wedding and the reception? Could it be that I have a more laid back sensibility about me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

All Good Things...

After eight states, 1500 miles and two days, we are finally back in Philadelphia. The summer in the midwest was exactly what I wanted it to be. We spent every weekend visiting our friends and family in the surrounding states of Iowa.

  • Baptizing our nephew Caeden - I spent about two weeks in Grand Forks over the summer where I was able to play and cuddle my nephew.
  • Baby showers - if you didn't already know, I am going to have a baby. My friends and family were kind and showered the baby with gifts galore. More than the gifts, I loved spending time with my family and friends as they shared the excitement of our new baby.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals - we enjoyed a perfect evening at the ball park with Joe and Ellie. The Cardinals won and I enjoyed my favorite ball park snacks. We also took in a little fair where our niece Leah enjoyed the rides and fair food.
  • Lots of lunches - during my time in Ankeny, I lunched and lunched and lunched with many of my friends from my days in Iowa.
However, it is always nice to return home from a vacation. Tim and I both commented this morning about what a restful night we both had. It could have been the 13 hours in the car, but I think it was being in our own bed and in our own home.

The first thing that I accomplished today was grocery shopping. I also experienced the sticker shock of the east coast grocery store prices compared to the low prices of the midwest. Oh well. I like nothing better than filling up my refrigerator with food and snacks and drinks. I stopped by my favorite produce store, Produce Junction, and stocked up on fresh cherries, peaches, blackberries and blueberries. Although we had our own apartment in Iowa, I wasn't able to cook like I enjoy. I was without a grill and many of my essential tools. I look forward to the cooking and baking in my own kitchen.

I better get cleaning my house. It is shocking how many cobwebs develop in just six weeks.