Monday, May 28, 2012

From Wallpaper to Paint, and everything in between

We are finally done stripping wallpaper!

This weekend, we started cleaning the walls (we're cleaning with TSP before priming/painting).  I managed to survive the weekend with blisters (from raking the yard after mowing), a burn on my arm (from accidentally touching a light bulk while I was finishing stripping the bathroom), a shock (I managed to shock myself while washing the wall - I think the sponge hit the electric socket), and a light bulb blew up in my face while I was cleaning (I think I dripped water on it).  

Hopefully I'm done injuring myself!!! :o)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lobster Dinner!!

On Friday night, I got a call from my cousin Carolyn asking if we wanted to go over to her house for dinner - we were having LOBSTER!  Scott didn't need to be asked twice, and we stopped at the wine store, got 2 bottles of white wine, and headed over to my Aunt's house for what ended up being a ridiculously fun night.

Shaw's had a sale on lobster - $5.99/lb, so my aunt bought 7 lobsters, and made an array of dishes to go with it (pictures blow).  We had Italian Cole Slaw (that would be Cole Slaw without mayonnaise and is fixed with olive oil and vinegar), salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and edamame, and corn on the cob (as well as some melted butter for dipping the lobster).

My aunt did some research for making the lobster, and I would recommend it to anyone who is going to make it at home.  In the past, I've always boiled lobster.  I've filled up a large pot, submerged a single lobster in the water.  Instead of using that method, my aunt put about 2 inches of water in a big 8 quart pot with 2 Tbsp of Sea Salt, a coarsely chopped onion and a couple stalks of celery.  Then we put 6 lobsters in the pot all together.  Cook for 15 minutes (until the antennae pull out easily) and then serve and EAT.

6 Lobsters in the pot - the water bubbles up quite a bit, so every so often you have to remove the lid, let the water go down, and then replace the lid

The comedy of the night was my aunt skeeving the lobster (she put on a rubber glove to pick them up), so I saved her and put all the lobsters into the pot (put them in head first).  Then she after she covered the pot and we both walked away...All of a sudden, the cover came off the pot and one of the lobsters STARTED CRAWLING OUT OF THE POT!!!!  His back end was out of the pot, and my aunt was holding the lid, trying to push it back into the pot, all the while screaming, "Camille!!!  Help!!!!"  HAHAHA.  We ended up getting Mr. Lobster back into the pot, and we held the lid down until they were no longer crawling (it's sad, but they're deliciously worth it, lol).

The spread on the table was picture-worthy, and we had a blast all night - my sides ached from laughing.

Salad, Lobster, Corn, Cole Slaw and BUTTER!!!

On top of all of the other food, my aunt ALSO made sausage and potatoes.  It was fabulous!!

Turkey/Chicken Sausage and Potatoes

The night commenced in a game of "What Would You Do If" as well as three people stepping in doggy poopy in the back yard and my forcing my cousin to put bags on her feed before she got into my car.

Cleaned sneakers, but with bags just for good measure ;-)

All in all, a FABULOUS night with good food and family!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lola's Tequila Bar & Cantina

It amazes me that even though I've lived on "The East Side of Providence" for almost 5 years now, I still manage to not only find new places, but also occasionally get lost.  A few weeks ago, I drove all the way down India Street and turned onto South Water Street (the little strip of South Water Street that is between India Street and Point Street).  My intention was to drive to Point Street and take a left so that I could get to an appointment over near the hospital.  In any case, I get to the end of South Water Street and realize that I can't take a left hand turn.  So I went around the block again, and got to the end of South Water street again, and was like, come on Pietros, you're better than that!  In any case, in my trips around the block, I found a little Mexican place that I decided I needed to try.

Lola's Tequila Bar & Cantina is tucked into South Water Street, with a beautiful Waterfront view.  On Tuesday, I went with my friend-cousin Suzie (our husbands are first cousins, but we were friends first!!!) and we really enjoyed everything about the place.  We sat outside where there are a number of painted picnic tables - the view was really great!

A view from our table

A view of the 195 bridge, all lit up!

For dinner, we both got burritos (Suzie had chicken, I had Al Pastor (basically pulled pork)) and they were both delicious and totally worth the $8 and $10 we paid for them.  

Also, the chips and salsa they served before the meal were amazing - the salsa was similar to Tortilla Flats, but had a hint of cilantro which really made it zing.

Chips and Salsa with a Corona on the side
Tuesdays are advertised as $2 Taco Tuesday ($4 for Fish Tacos), and Thursdays they have a Bluegrass band in the bar upstairs.  

I highly recommend it, you won't be sorry!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A new Beginning

As you can see, I've made a few changes.  And some are still in the works.

While I loved the name "Quahog Tales," I really felt like the name of the blog wasn't representative of me and what I've been writing about.  While my original intention was to write about RI, the truth is really that I'm only from RI, and I haven't written a single thing about the state or our traditions.  And as I mentioned yesterday, we're moving out of RI at some point over the summer.

While I have been writing about a collection of different things, I decided to go with Camille's Collections for my blog title.  In reality, I write about tons of different things - baking, cooking, movies, my new house (and all the wallpaper that came with it), etc.  So while I'm writing about a collection of different things, my blog should be representative of that (with a little Rhode Island flair, of course).  

I received a number of different ideas about what my blog name could be.  I loved the idea of incorporating my name into different words like Camillections (combination of Camille and Collections) or Camilleon (a play on the word Chameleon, obviously using my name, but meaning that I'm changing and evolving with different opportunities in life).  But in the end, I decided to just go with the straight and narrow.

So please bear with me while I update some things - My awesome cousin Carolyn is helping me with a new image, and I can't wait for the big reveal!!!

So be patient, and keep reading!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I need your help!!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  

Does "Quahogtales" fit this blog? 

I ask because while I promote the blog as being a "Rhode Islanders view of life," I really don't talk about RI.  At all.  I really just talk about food and the progress of my house.  And when push comes to shove, I'll be moving out of RI at some point over the summer.  Yes, I'm turning into a Masshole. So Do I keep the name Quahogtales?  Or do I change to something a little more descriptive of myself??

So I'm turning to my audience....Should I stay or should I change?

Opinions, please!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

What wallpaper?

With the exception of 1/2 a bedroom that still has backing on the walls and one room where all of the paper is down and we just need to remove the excess glue (thanks to my mother in law who graciously paid to have someone help us -Thank you again!!!), we're almost done with the wallpaper removal!!

It's taken over a month (far longer than I originally anticipated) and we still have a lot more work ahead of ourselves.

I honestly don't know what I will do when there is officially none left. Maybe I'll drink a huge drink. All I know is I'll probably be seeing ugly 1970's patterns in my nightmares for a long time.

Once we finish the wallpaper and glue, we're on to washing (with TSP), priming (we have to use a special primer for walls that have been papered but not painted), and then finally painting.

Wish us luck!!

A view of the hallway, clear of wallpaper!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken and Broccoli

Another attempt at Chicken and Broccoli.  But this time was a little better than my last attempt.

I stopped in the market really quick the other day and picked up a package of chicken - 1 lb of chicken breast tenders.  When I got home, I realized that I had no clue what to do with it.  I had a bottle of stir fry sauce, but only peppers to go with it (not an onion to be found!).  Last week, I did Chicken Caesar Salad, so I didn't want to do that again so soon.  I browsed around online a little bit, and found what looked like a cool recipe for crock pot chicken and broccoli.  It had cream of mushroom soup and cream cheese, neither of which I had, so I ended up adapting it a bit...

In the crock pot, I threw together the following:
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, cut in medium chunks (probably 4-5 pieces per tender)
  • 1/2 bag frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing (just the dry seasoning)
That's it.  Cooked on low for 3 1/2 hours, and Viola!

Some notes on this:

  1. It is better to cook the chicken, stock and dressing for about 2-2 1/2 hours, and THEN add the broccoli.  Because I cooked the broccoli the whole time, by the time we ate, it was like complete mush.  
  2. I made this with brown rice.  I added a dash of salt into the water when I boiled it, and I would recommend NOT doing this.  With the concentrated flavor of the dressing mix, the salt was not needed.  Also - if you happen to have low sodium chicken broth, I would use it.  

Crock Pot Chicken and Broccoli

Enjoy!! :o)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicken Caesar Salad

Over the weekend I went to NY for my sister's Bachelorette Party.  When I arrived at my sister's in the afternoon, she had lunch all ready - and it was SO good.  I decided to make it for dinner last night - and it was a hit!  Definitely on the list of things to make again!!

So hear goes:

Chicken Caesar Salad (adapted from Cooking Light)
For the Salad
-1 2-lb whole roasted chicken, skinned (I'm using 1 lb of chicken tenders, grilled and cut up)
-11 cups torn Romaine Lettuce, about 1 1/4 lb
-1 cup red bell pepper cut into strips
-halved grape tomatoes

For the Vinaigrette
-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
-1 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
-2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
-2 tsp Dijon Mustard (I didn't have Dijon mustard, so I used a combination of regular mustard and mayo - and it worked great)
-1/4 tsp sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1 garlic clove, crushed
-1 1/2 cups Italian croutons (I'm not sure if I have any...)
-1/2 cup (2 oz) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

The Preparation
-For the salad, combine the lettuce, pepper and tomato in a large bowl
-For the vinaigrette, combine the oil, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and stir well with a whisk.
-Pour the Vinaigrette over the salad and mix well.
-Top off with the cut chicken and croutons

Serves 6:  Nutritional Information (per Cooking Light)  Cal: 306, Cal from fat: 47%, Fat: 16g, Sat Fat: 4.3g, Mono Fat: 8.2g, Poly Fat: 2.2g, Protein: 29.4g, Carbs: 10.3g, Fiber: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Iron: 2.8mg, Sodium: 445mg, Calcium: 171mg


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Anniversary dinner and a movie

Last night, Scott and I went out to celebrate our anniversary.  It's hard to believe that two years have gone by already.  To be cliche and corny, time flies when you're having fun!

We've been wanting to go to the movies for a while, so that's what we did last night.  The Avengers came out on Friday, and we decided to see that.  We decided to go to Not Your Average Joe's beforehand.  They just put one in Seekonk (where the old Bugaboo Creek used to be) and it's right around the corner from the theater.

First off:  The bread at NYAJ's should be illegal.  It's too good for it's own good.  Really, it's the oil and cheese and seasonings that you dip it in that's really good.  Too good.  We had the calamari as an appetizer, and it was pleasantly delicious.  Nice and light and it was all sitting on top of a slice of Italian bread which was delicious as well.  For dinner, Scott got haddock and I got steak tips (I was only able to eat less than half, but have an exciting lunch for today!!).

So after dinner, we went over to the theater, and getting there 25 minutes early for the movie was definitely a good idea:  The theater ended up being almost completely full!  In any case, it was fantastic!  They did a great job with story development, left it open (but not with a major cliff hanger) for an Avengers 2, and, by far, had the best looking Hulk I've seen since Lou Ferrigno.  I read beforehand that they actually had Mark Ruffalo wear a suit and they animated the Hulk based on his movements.  They really did a fantastic job.  And by the by, Mark Ruffalo is (in my opinion), the best person to portray Bruce Banner in a LONG time.  They did a great job with the comedic timing and the one-liners (like when Captain America was doling out orders and told Hulk to pretty much smash everything in his way) were great....All around, I was not disappointed!

I may have to go again.  I recommend you see it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

For the love of baking soda

I've talked in the past of my love of baking soda.  I've used it in a couple of different applications (I was able to clean a brand new stainless pan that I decided to fry eggplant in).  In going through Pinterest (my favorite obsession), I found a another method for using baking soda - this time to clean a glass-top stove.  I have a glass top stove, and personally, I can't stand it.  Everyone raves about how easy it is to clean, blah blah blah, but I find it more annoying than anything else.  I feel like it always looks dirty and I can never seem to get it clean.

Well not any more!!!

Stuff Needed
-Big bowl full of hot soapy water
-Baking Soda
-Dish Towel

How to clean your glass-top stove with baking soda!!!

My disgustingly dirty cook top
Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the soiled cook top
I cleaned my cook top one half at a time based on the side of the dish towel
Submerge the dish towel into the hot soapy water.  Wring it out but make sure it is sufficiently soggy.  Place the wet towel over the baking soda.


On the first half, I wrang out too much of the water.  I ended up having to do it twice in order to get it cleaned the way I wanted.  

Set the timer!!  10-15 minutes, depending on how dirty the cook-top is!

When the timer goes off, swirl the dish towel around and make a paste out of the water and scrub scrub scrub.  Make sure you rise out the towel multiple times to wash the baking soda off the cook-top (if not, you'll have a clean but streaky glass cook-top).

And voilĂ !

My beautifully CLEAN cook-top!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An easy and delicious (and filling!) snack

I've recently switched over from Weight Watchers to Calorie Counting.  In essence, it's the same thing....I mean, the last version of Weight Watchers was based on calories.  I've just found myself "cheating" a lot with Weight Watchers - They make it so easy to follow, you get your daily points, and your weekly points, but I always found myself underestimating on how many points I was actually eating.  I also was always dipping into my weekly quota, and then going way over how many points I should be having in one week.

My friend Kate and I decided that we both needed a break from WW, but we needed to try something else - Kate found out about, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  You put in your current weight, what you would like your eventual weight to be, and how much you would like to lose (realistically) per week.  It then calculates how many calories you should be eating per day.  

I've been trying to search around for low-calorie snacks that are filling.  The stores are full of 100-calorie snack packs that are not filling (although they may be delicious little knock-offs of the delicious original versions).  And honestly, if I want Chips Ahoy Cookies, I'd rather have the real thing then the "healthy version" - but one cookie is probably 100 calories.  But I digress. 

My friend at work suggested a snack that I have been eating since Saturday - and it really is great!  It's a combination of Greek yogurt, honey, and granola.

3/4 cup (6 oz) Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (My friend actually said she likes the 0% better, but when I tried a few different kinds at the market to see which I liked best, they didn't have the 0% available, and I liked the 2% when I tried it, so I stuck with that)
1 1/2 teaspoons of Honey (I estimate it as 1 1/2 teaspoons - I used the small spoon that I use to scoop out the yogurt)
1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal (My friend suggested granola, but I didn't have any at home.  I supplemented with Kashi, and it's delicious!!!)

And that's it.  Mix it all together and enjoy!!!  I honestly and NOT a fan of Greek Yogurt.  It's very tart, and the kind with the fruit at the bottom has TONS of sugar.  So with this, you get to control how much sugar you put into it!  The total snack is 256 calories.  4 Chips Ahoy Cookies are 220 calories, 1 mini bag of Lays Potato Chips is 240 calories - but the yogurt snack goes MUCH further.  It's something you can have for a snack, or even lunch!  The Greek yogurt has a lot of protein in it, so it's definitely filling!!  And moderately low calorie!!