Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Tag: food (page 1 of 2)

Snacks at the most wonderful time of the year

The holiday season is about seeing your friends and family. And goofy Christmas specials on TV. And God and spirituality. (Baby Jesus if you’re Christian) And parties AND FOOD!

Oh the snacks. Party food is the best food. Some people get all ga ga over the Turkey and dressing. I, on the other hand, get all happy over the bites served at the parties beforehand. I like food that you can eat with your fingers while talking smack with your friends. Portable and tasty is a good combination.

Here are some of my favorites. In order to preserve what little girlish figure (HAHAHAH) I still have, I only eat these things during the Holiday Season. I am deliberately leaving out the veggie tray.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (I use the Frank’s Red Hot version when I make it)

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 (8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup FRANK’S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or FRANK’S RedHot® Buffalo Wings Sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese or your favorite shredded cheese

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

COMBINE all ingredients and spoon into shallow 1-quart baking dish.

BAKE 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired. Serve with crackers and/or vegetables.

Please don’t sue me Frank’s. I make a complete jackass out of myself eating this stuff. It’s a less messy version of hot wings. I am not going to say how much of this I eat but I am going to say that i am grateful that I run. I have also used this as a way to get rid of leftover turkey.

Those white chocolate covered Oreos. Fortunately, the Oreo people only see these things during the Holiday season. Everybody is happy.

Those little brisket sandwiches served on a roll with hot mustard aka Brisket slider. Some random caterer makes these and many of the holiday parties in Arkansas serve them. I have found them at the bar association annual meeting in the summer. But yeah slide down my throat into my belly.

Sweet Love holiday sugar cookies. Sugar cookies shaped like Santa? HO HO HO

Back in the day, I would say Charcuterie plates was a holiday only but some of the local restaurants have started to serve some awesome appetizer trays.

My big fat BBQ weekend

The House of Gee

The House of Gee

Several months ago, Kelly Gee and his lovely wife Erica started a Kickstarter campaign to procure a super duper mega BBQ smoker. The real name of the super duper mega BBQ smoker is the “Boca Roto” smoker. It is a BBQ machine. It has platforms that rotate above the flame. It is large enough to smoke a human body. Not that I advocate that sort of thing but it is feasible. I am pretty sure that is illegal so don’t point to this blog as permission. Leave human bodies alone.

Ahem..

So as a “Thank you” for all kickstarter donators who donated $25.00 or over, the Gees threw a celebratory BBQ at their house and provided a jar of the Super awesome Gee spice rub for your own BBQ needs. So this weekend. I took a trip to the House of Gee. Look it even has a plaque on the door. Is that charming or what?

Kelly didn’t hold back. He rubbed and smoked all the meats. There were ribs. There was chicken. There was pulled pork. It all had been rubbed down and smoked until it was JUST RIGHT. There was also a choice of 3 sauces: Tipsy Sauce (A bourbon sauce), Mustard Sauce, and the East Arkansas Red (a vinegar based hot sauce). This was tasty food. The ribs were tender and flavorful. The rub on the ribs was enough flavor that a sauce wasn’t necessary. The chicken was smoky. The bourbon sauce was sweet with a kick. The pork was also tender and made a dang fine sandwich.

Of course, there were sides. There was blue cheese slaw. There was potato salad. There were bacon wrapped jalapenos. There was deserts: cupcakes, brownies, diet coke cake (?)

As you can tell it was a feast.

Kelly Gee knows how to smoke a rib.  Potato salad is at the bottom and to the right is the bourbon sauce

Kelly Gee knows how to smoke a rib. Potato salad is at the bottom and to the right is the bourbon sauce

And there were friends. All the foodie friends I have met at different foodie functions were there. Kevin of the Mighty Rib and Red Lobster Biscuit coma fame was there. So was Dan the writer over at Eat Arkansas. Greg of Rock City Times. Thanh of Red Kitchen Recipes. Joel from Southern Ash and his wife Amanda. It was a good time.

Sweet Love fall cupcake extravanganza

On Tuesday, Kelli, ninja baker and owner of Sweet Love had a “fall flavors tasting” on Tuesday. All the new fall flavors in mini cupcake form for free. It was a tasty treat-o-rama. I got to see many of my twitter friends like Erin, Paul Strack of CustomXM, Kelli the baker, Micca… A BUNCH OF PEOPLE OKAY!..
Here are the pictures.

New fall flavors in mini cupcake form

New fall flavors in mini cupcake form

From left to right: Snicker Doodle, Caramel Apple, Bananas Foster, and Pumpkin Pie

The snicker doodle was based on the flavors of the popular cinnamon covered cookies. The cake is a vanilla base with a cinnamon buttercream icing. It was my favorite.

I didn’t have the caramel apple but I was told there was real apple chunks in the cake.

The Bananas foster was a banana cupcake with what I think was a vanilla cream cheese frosting. My talent of distinguishing between butter cream and cream cheese frosting is non existent. A banana cupcake is very similar to banana bread. The frosting did not overpower the cupcake.

Pumpkin pie. (Sorry I didn’t eat this one)

More fall flavors from Sweet Love

More fall flavors from Sweet Love

From Left to right: Spiced Rum, Pumpkin Latte, Italian Cream, and Some Like it Hot (dark chocolate with a dash of Cayenne)

Spiced rum was with a cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Latte was a pumpkin cupcake base. It was moist and had a consistency similar to the banana foster cupcake but with the cinnamon and nutmeg associated with a pumpkin pie. The frosting was a cream cheese frosting covered in a dusting of cinnamon.

Italian Cream

Some like it Hot is a dark chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate frosting with a dash of cayenne. What can I say but pure deliciousness. The cayenne is not overpowering and merely enhances the dark chocolate.

101 in 1001 list

I am a compulsive list maker. Part of the reasoning behind the compulsive listmaker is that I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and I have found taking big tasks and dividing them into the manageable small task chunks makes me less frazzled and more productive. Also, my job means I have more to do than I could possibly store to memory so I have to write it down anyway.

I also have been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I believe that the combination of self reflection and goal setting is a good way to keep a girl grounded. I find that I am more focused with clearly defined goals. As far as self help books, I am a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It provides a system to execute your goals — right down to scheduling day to day activities. I might say it changed my life.

I found 101 in 1001 on blogs several years ago. I have thought about trying it out and I am in a place where I

Starting Tuesday, the deadline is Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

  1. Complete this list of 101 things
  2. Make a list of 101 things that makes Melissa happy
  3. Make cinnamon rolls from Scratch
  4. Learn to cook a dinner party worthy meal (or something that won’t embarrass me in front of the foodie friends)
  5. Get a bona fide cooking knife (Wustoff)
  6. Complete the Little Rock half marathon three times
  7. Complete the Arkansas Road Runner Clubs of America Grand Prix (You only have to complete 6 races, I think) I tried it this year and failed. 2013 has not been a good year for me
  8. Complete on marathon
  9. Do the Mississippi River half marathon It is near my grandma’s house
  10. Do yoga two days a week for a month
  11. Drink green monsters every day for a week
  12. Keep AGS Alumni afloat and turn it into a bonafide nonprofit with a speaker every year.
  13. To read all the books listed on the Modern Library 100 best novels list.
  14. To read all the books on the Radcliffe Best 100 novels list
  15. To attempt to learn to speak Spanish Fluently. (yeah we’ll see how this one goes)
  16. To call my Grandma once a week
  17. Go to Kenya
  18. Get a bicycle
  19. Incorporate a bicycle into my exercise routine
  20. Visit Washington DC
  21. See the Dandy Warhols in Concert
  22. Paint my adirondack chairs
  23. Grill something using the Kelly Gee grill seasonings I am getting in October 2013.
  24. Go Sky diving
  25. Make Homemade pop tarts with Nutella
  26. Do the William Faulkner tour in Oxford Mississippi
  27. Visit the Crystal Bridges Museum
  28. Try poutine
  29. Get a professional massage
  30. Get a facial
  31. Buy a classic handbag
  32. Watch 10 classic films
  33. Go to 10 concerts
  34. Donate to random business on Kickstarter
  35. Watch Veronica Mars Movie
  36. Get a crockpot
  37. Get three pieces of Fiestaware to add to my collection.
  38. Host a dinner party
  39. write more often on my blog. (at least one post per week)
  40. Put my day of the dead skeleton set up in my apartment. (yee haww)
  41. Get a cat
  42. Advertise for Bowen 5K every year

September Burger Caucus: Mugs Cafe

1/2 pound beef burger with avocado, cheese, and a spicy sauce

1/2 pound beef burger

September 18th was National Cheeseburger day and the Little Rock burger caucus celebrated it at Mugs Cafe in the Argenta neighborhood of North Little Rock. I arrived a little late so the burgers were being delivered to some as I ordered. It was a nice mix of politicos, media hounds, and other random folk. I am “other random folk”.

Mugs is a coffee shop that also serves food. As a result, it doesn’t serve fountain drinks such as Coke or Pepsi. You can buy bottled sodas such as ginger ale, grape soda, and similar bubbly drinks. The decor and layout is definitely a coffee shop vibe with tables spread out for socializing. There is a couch and comfy chairs in the back of the place.

The burger itself was a very generous half pound of beef with “bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack cheese, and a spicy mayo on an onion roll. Served with sweet potato and apple hash.” (quoting the menu on the website) The pepper jack and spicy mayo means this burger has a kick but it complements not overpowers the beef. It still taste like a hamburger. The sweet potato/apple hash was interesting. I ended up smashing the sweet potatoes with my fork and eating them like mashed potatoes. I wouldn’t characterize the sweet potatoes as mushy though. This was, in my opinion, one of the better burgers in Little Rock and I advise that you make the trek to North Little Rock and check it out.

Sweet Love!

Last Saturday, I went to the super special preview of Kelli Marks‘s new bakery Sweet Love. It’s official grand opening is on THIS FRIDAY THE 13th but don’t let that scare you. This will not be scary, unless you want some scary good treats. (ouch! shoot me now before I finish this!)

Sweet Love is located at 8210 Cantrell Road in Little Rock across from Pavillion in the Park. It is in the same shopping center as Tzakiki’s. That’s right! You could get a gyro and a cupcake. How about that?! oh and on the other side of Tzakiki’s is a liquor store so it’s a full on party on this little slice of Cantrell. Don’t say I didn’t tell you about it.

Ahem.

So what will you find at Sweet Love?

You will see this cute little yellow table set up to get beverages. Yes the table will be there. I can’t promise that there will be coffee and pink lemonade but it should be tasty.

See Kelli in the Pink Baker’s coat. Yes that’s the maker of the treats. Be nice to her. The woman holding the baby is Kat and that baby, Nora Kate, is the most laid back chilled baby in the history of the world. She didn’t cry at all and there was a helluva a lot of noise in that place. I have never been that chilled out about anything in my life. EVER! The lady on the left is Sarabeth. She makes tasty salsa and took pictures with the fancy pants camera. My pictures are taken with a camera that probably retails for $19.95 now.

LOGO! Pretty!

These are chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. Yeah exactly. It tasted exactly like you think it would: Chocolate chip cookie dough covered in chocolate. She used mini chocolate chips so you had multiple chocolate chips in each cookie-dough-tastic bite.

These are mint chocolate brownies. These were make obnoxious orgasm sounding “ooohs” while eating them good. Unlike most things that are mint chocolate, the mint doesn’t overpower the chocolate. Instead, it’s a marriage of equals. There is both a strong mint and a strong chocolate taste in this brownie. It’s also on the gooey side but that just makes it better.

The pink flower covered cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes with vanilla butter cream. (the pink flower). The others are vanilla cupcakes covered in chocolate ganache.

I have a confession. These had coconut on top and as a result, I didn’t even try them. I was told these things were good.

So there you go. Go to Sweet Love and try some tasty treats for yourself.

Christmas roundup with the family traditions explained

Hello America. Why yes I am behind on my Holidailies posts. I was spending time with my 80 year old grandma at my 80 year old grandma’s house. She’s not tech savvy enough to have internet access and even if she did, it would be that god awful dial up that would take ten thousand years to upload any pictures anyway. And well, 80 year old grandmas are a higher priority than some random internet meme. So there you go.

The annual Melissa family Christmas celebration goes like this.

We go to my Mom’s Mom’s house. Mom’s Dad died back in the late 70s. We spend Thanksgiving with Dad’s family. This was decided way back before I was even born. It makes sense really. Mom is one of two siblings. Dad is one of six.

Now we go to my Mom’s Mom’s house and on the 24th we have a baked ham. We make sandwiches with the baked ham. The sides include the lettuce and tomato and what you would consider toppings for a sandwich. Also, there is pimento and cheese. I don’t know if “pimento and cheese” is a Southern thing but there you go.

Besides the meal itself, there is a cornucopia of snack foods: cookies, Chex Mix, the summer sausage/cheese/spicy mustard combo, pecan brittle, etc.

Now the 24th, the family would open the presents and clean up the area around the tree so that when Santa came, he would have room to set up the toys on Christmas day. THis meant when the kids woke up, the toys were already assembled under the tree and ready to go. Yeah it was fun times.

Also, back in the day, every other family on the street (well it was all cousins) would open their presents on Christmas day. This would leave a whole bunch of people bored. They would come down to grandma’s house and have a helluva time. Back in the day, there was also a lot of liquor around. As the cousins got older and became grandparents on their own, that tradition sort of stopped.

But to this very day, we open our presents on Christmas eve. I guess this is preparing me for the god awful visitation arrangement with my future ex-husband and our future kids who will be floating between the families. Nobody ever said I wasn’t prepared.

On Christmas day, we have turkey, dressing, and the other traditional “Christmas foods.” Grandma’s dressing is a cornbread based dressing and it ends up really thick with a consistency similar to bread pudding. It also has quite a bit of sage in it. We eat around lunch time. There you go.

My family quit trying to buy me things for Christmas years ago. Usually they ask for a “Christmas list” where I list things I would like and they pick from that list. But lately, they’ve even dropped that pretext and I usually get a bunch of cash. Of course, cash is impersonal and so I usually get something small and “thoughtful” to go along with my money.

One year, I got a Tickle me Big Bird. I was twenty seven years old. One year, my Aunt got footie pajamas. I’m not even going to say how old she was because she will find this web post, hunt me down, and kill me.

So this year, I got a lovely dark purple faux reptile (or maybe real who knows) handbag, (seriously it’s something I will actually use), a Timex Ironman watch, a bunch of cash, a snuggie, and a shake weight.

That’s right kids. A SNUGGIE

Me and my snuggy

and a SHAKE WEIGHT!

Shake Weight

As you can see, not only did I get a snuggie. I got the most whacked out designed by a six year old girl on acid Snuggie in the world. Seriously, what the hell? I asked my mother and she replied, “I wanted to make sure you didn’t lose it”

No siree. Homeless people would slap me if I attempted to give them that monstrosity.

As far as the shake weight is concerned, I almost bought my Aunt a shake weight. It’s like the smart ass version of the Gift of the Magi at our house.

My Dad got a pistol and some CDs. My Mom got some cooking items. My grandma got an air compressor. My Aunt got a car vac. Everybody got watches from my grandma. Apparently, she went to an outlet mall watch store and stocked up.

My brother spent Christmas at one the family home of one of his roommates.

I spent a couple of days after the holiday hanging out with my grandma, watching goofy television. We went out to eat and hung out like girls. She has some random pain in her hip and doesn’t like to drive after dark so when someone comes to visit, she is all about having someone take her somewhere.

About a year and a half ago, she started experiencing pain. It turned out she had a slight curve in her spine that went untreated as a kid. As a result, the disc between one of the greatest curves has pretty much eroded away. It puts pressure on a nerve that makes it feel like her hip is hurting. Somehow it goes back to her back. This is the first time that she’s really felt like she can’t do anything. She’s feeling her age and she really hates it. It gets her down. Two years ago, her BFF Bud died. He used to come over every morning and drink coffee at her house. Now she doesn’t get nearly as many visitors. As a result, I try to spend as much time as I can with her.

I did. It was nice.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Arkansas Women Bloggers at Museum of Discovery

Saturday, the Arkansas Women Bloggers hosted a lunch/mini-conference at Arkansas’s Museum of Discovery in Little Rock. It was during lunch time and so we got some yummy light lunch goodies with Petit Jean Meats, fancy bread, and cupcakes. CUPCAKES.

Cupcakes make everybody happy.

So we ate and I got to see a lot of my LRTweetup friends like Amy, Kerri, Sarabeth… okay I’ll stop too many too mention but I saw a lot of people I knew.

Latonya gave a talk on finding your voice through your blog. Her advice is to be yourself and keep writing. She said that no one else can be you better than you and that imitating someone else will only make you second rate. I thought for a minute all this talk about being yourself was going to end up with a big group hug. She mentioned that with practice you’ll figure things out. Yeah she said you were going to suck (okay she didn’t actually use the word “suck” or maybe she did) but she said that they might not be that good until you get your groove.

About this time, the phone rang and Katie McManners just picked up that phone and hung it up again. OH YES SHE DID. She does work at the Museum but I did have a good old laugh at the girl just barely picking up the receiver and hanging it up. Then they called back. She picked up the phone again and said “we’re busy”

Don’t mess with Miss McManners. She will cut you!

Speaking of cuts, she has a sassy new short hairdo.

Then Kyran from Plainting Dandelions spoke about building an audience and stats. More specifically, the numbers don’t always measure success. She did confess that a lot of people are interested in stat numbers (i.e. how many people read your blog) but that there are different ways to value your blog. She did mention that she managed to get a gig at Good Housekeeping and her memoirs are being published in 2011 based on her blog even though she ONLY! was getting 50 hits a day. (only 50 hits… okay.. hmmm… wait). She did point out that not all the positives of blogging are monetary: enjoying the process itself is a positive and the friends you meet via blogging is a positive.

There were also door prizes. No I didn’t win one. But they were pretty cool prizes. Honestly, I wasn’t aware of door prizes until after the speakers started and so I didn’t check out the shelves of prizes. I do know that there was a big ole HAM over there.

I met new people. I reconnected with .. err “old” people. It was a lot of fun.

Then I went Christmas shopping in Little Rock.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Hello, it’s Holidailies time and things I’ve made

It’s that time of the year. It’s Holidailies time. A time when tons of busy people agree to post an entry a day during the busiest time of the year. (December 6-January 6). I’ve done this before and it’s quite difficult to do it in a way where it’s not completely vapid navel gazing crap. That hasn’t stopped me before.

The first prompt says “introduce yourself” and so here goes, I’m Melissa. I’m thirty something. I’m an attorney. I live in Arkansas. I am attempting to get fit and I like running and yoga. I am quite broad in my emotional states which is probably more fun to watch than to live.

Oh and I’m also doing Reverb 10 this year too. Here’s the prompt.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I made was a slight variation on The Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce. IN my version, I used penne pasta. I also added more garlic than listed and added red pepper flakes. I was attempting to recreate the pink sauce from Damgoode pies out of Little Rock. I used fresh garlic and a fresh onion. I used tomato sauce out of a can and some organic heavy cream. There you go.

I really want to make a clutch out of a book, like the one Natalie Portman is holding in this picture.


Holidailies 2010 Badge

Best resolutions ever.

Well I’m a day late but I am taking the NANOBLOMO challenge and am going to be posting something every day for this month. (bwahahahah)

I spent yesterday at my grandmother’s house eating the traditional New Year’s Day foods and was away from the internet.

So today it’s resolution time.

Here we go.

  • I will not kill any small children or animals in 2010
  • I will finish the Little Rock half marathon with a faster time than last year’s Little Rock Half Marathon. (This shouldn’t be too hard, I more or less cramped out about 2/3 of the way through. The time was 3 hours 26 minutes 20 seconds)
  • I will make Duck L’Orange from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1
  • I will eat all the ice cream I want. (*wink* to LR tweetup)
  • Less whining and more productivity. This is the “If you’re not going to do something about it, then don’t bitch” which means if something makes me unhappy enough to bitch about it then I will find out what I can do to change it. This may end up being that I just need to lighten the hell up.
  • I will try to be healthier by keeping a food journal all year. I will attempt to use Weight Watchers point system and see if I can’t lose weight, too
  • I will start the 100 push up challenge
  • I will start the 200 sit up challenge
  • I will blog here at least once a week
  • I will see Fellini’s 8 1/2
  • I will attend my college reunion
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