Tag Archives: Favs

Oatmeal Cream Pies and Easter Feasts

8 Apr

Happy Easter all!  When I was a kid, we would always get dressed up and go over to my grandparent’s house for an egg hunt, and afterwards eat deli ham, deviled eggs, and drink fizzy green punch (it’s a McG family thing-don’t ask).  Then my Mom took over, and turned Easter into one of my favorite feast days.  Now I can look forward to fresh seafood, tomato and burrata salads, spinakopita, Maryland deviled-eggs (Old Bay of course)!

I’m convinced my Mom can cook anything, and man can she create a table-scape.  She’s just not that into baking, which is where I come in.  This year, I wanted to find a recipe that would appeal to kids and grown up kids alike.  Something sweet, portable, and to appease the non-chocoholics in my life.  I bring you my take on Oatmeal Cream Pies just in time for Easter!

Oatmeal Cream Pies (makes about 40 cookies, 20 sandwiches)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 12 oz Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda together with a spoon.

In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and brown sugar with a hand-held mixer for about 2 mins.  Add your eggs and vanilla to the wet mixture, and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are combined.  Slowly incorporate the flour and oat dry mixture into the wet ingredients, I added a quarter of the mixture at a time.  Combine dry and wet ingredients with your mixer on low until completely blended.  Stir in your raisins with the spoon.

Ok decision time!  Large or small cream pies?  I say go big or don’t eat, so went with the large size.  If so, put heaping tablespoons of the batter onto a silpat (can also use parchment paper) on top of your baking sheet.  If you want the smaller hand-held variety cookies, use a regular cereal spoon to dole out your batter.  Make sure to leave at least an inch to 1 1/2 inch between batter.  It will spread out while cooking.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes, rotating your cookie sheet half way through to ensure evenly-browned goodness.

Let your cookies cool on a wire rack for 5-10 mins.  Once they are cooled, use a spoon to spread about a tbs of the frosting between two cookies.  You guys will love these!  They have a melt in your mouth brown-sugary goodness quality and are easy to transport today’s Easter feast.

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I Heart Screwtop

11 Feb

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and it’s only fitting that my first restaurant review should be a place I love.  ♥

Screwtop is a charming neighborhood wine bar in Clarendon, VA.  I’ve been there several times and have yet to be disappointed.  The staff is knowledgable and friendly, and the food is creative and whimsical.  The wine…lets just say I’d be happy to celebrate or drown my sorrows anytime with their selection!  In fact, the place is just perfect for book club; provided that book club is really an excuse to drink and nosh, instead of actually discussing a book. 

Moving on!  My most recent trip to Screwtop was with my best friend RB.  She had recently returned from a trip to South America and was really pleased the featured flights that evening were from Argentina and Chile. 

I started my dinner with the Obscurely Delicioso flight of red wines.  How could I pass them up with a name like that?  Total consumer.  I really enjoyed the Familia Mayor Bonadara and Yale Cabernet Carmenere wines.  I wasn’t a fan of the Alma de Chile Carmenere, and thought it tasted too much like the Chili Dog wine from the VA Wine Festival.  RB ordered the Chilaxing in the Andes white wine flight.  All three of her wines were light and refreshing.  

The two of us also decided order the Baked Camembert cheese with fig compote, walnuts and crusty bread.  It warmed me up from horrible cold, and was incredibly comforting.  I felt transported to a ski lodge somewhere sitting by the fire.  Heaven knows I strongly prefer the great indoors to snow.

After the cheese we decided to order… more cheese.  RB ordered the Mac’s Mac & Cheese Trio.  This included three adorable portions of pasta.  The flavors were blue cheese, traditional and truffle.  She let me sample (another plus to being best friends) and I LOVED the truffle.  The blue cheese was surprisingly good and tangy.  The traditional was fine.  I liked it, but I’d rather save room for the other two flavors and eat the truffle oil popcorn.

I ordered Wendel’s Low Country Lasagna served with a side of their yummy tomato soup.  The soup was thick and had chunks of tomato that made it seem more like a bisque.  I’ve ordered it before and it’s a real winner.  The lasagna was made with beer-braised beef and a good amount of tomato sauce.  I thought it was a nice twist on a very traditional receipe.  

All and all, I thought this was a great meal.  I love this funky little place and would order most of the items we ate/drink again.  I also thought the truffle oil popcorn was a nice touch with the wine.  Overall Rating B+ 

After a filling and rich dinner our thoughts turned immediately to a nice brisk walk.  We were so full we were busting at the seams!  Somehow (these things just happen) we decided after a few minutes that we needed to finish the night on a sweet note.  We ended up outside of Crumbs and this happened.  

My excuse-I overdid it on the cheese and simply blacked out.  That happens to people right?! 

Top 5’s

13 Jan

Top 5 Foods (and my favorite local places to find them)

Anyone who has ever met me knows my all time favorite food is mac & cheeseHands down, no contest.  In fact, I feel compelled to order it every time I see it on a menu.  The best mac and cheese is at Equinox.  The dish is creamy, cheesy goodness with crunchy crust.  Best of all, it includes truffle oil.  Period.  Chef Gray is the master.

I’m from Maryland, the home of Old Bay and the crab cake, so it’s no surprise that this item is on my must-have list.  Restaurants all over Maryland, Virginia and the District claim to have the best crab cakes.  The truth is the best crab cakes outside of my Mom’s kitchen can be found at OceanaireTheir crab cakes are huge mounds of jumbo lump crab meat and are simply served with a delicious mustard sauce and a wedge of lemon.  Nothing else is needed.

 

Cupcakes were HUGE in the DC area in 2009 and 2010.  It seemed like every metro stop opened a new cupcakery, and the Washington Post even had its own cupcake wars to pick the best.  I did my part and tried out as many places as possible.  Anything for research right?  My favorites are still from Georgetown Cupcake and Sweetbites.  I love all of the seasonal flavors and light frosting from Georgetown Cupcake.  Sweetbites stole my heart with their pina colada cupcake and their cupcake shortcake.  Oh and did I mention that they run the whole operation out of a truck, which is often located around Farragut Square?!

I love breakfast foods and could eat them all day, which leads me to the next item on my list, cinnamon rolls.  I have yet to find a good place to get these besides Cinnabon, and have been forced to make my own imperfect version (see upcoming post).  Please write me in the comments if you have suggestions of where to find them.  Pillsbury’s version just doesn’t cut it.

 The last but certainly not least item on my list is the Avgolemono Soup from Greek Deli.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the soup, but trust me you need to try this. Don’t be intimidated by the long line or Kostas barking at everyone in the long line.  The soup is worth it.  It’s the best lemony, chicken and orzo soup ever.  If I’m sick, I want this soup.  If it’s cold, I want this  soup.  If it’s Wednesday, I want this soup.  I even order this soup during hot and humid DC summers, which pretty much says it all.

What’s in your top 5 list and where can I find it?