Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nonni's Chow Mein

Sometimes, you just need a big bowl of comfort food.  That's what I got on Tuesday.  Nonni's Chow Mein.  This dish is something that my mom used to make once in a while when I was younger, and I always loved it.  And somehow, in the move of my Aunt and Grandmother (temporarily) into my mother's house, we ended up with about 2 heads of celery in the fridge.  So that means.....Chow Mein!!

This is seriously a very easy dish to make.  In true Nonni form, there are no exact measurements for anything - it's all dependent on what you like.  But I tried to write everything down, and I can't wait to share it with you!

Nonni's Chow Mein

  • Sliced Onion (about 2-3, depending on the size)
  • Largely chopped celery (as much as you want, we probably used about a whole head)
  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 can bean sprouts, drained
  • 1 can mixed Chinese vegetables (or just a can of water chestnuts), drained
  • Black Pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce

The Method to Nonni's Madness
  • Put the ground hamburger into a pan with a little bit of oil and break it up.  You don't want the mean to get overly browned - just so it's not pink anymore.  
  • Add in the onion, and mix together and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes
  • Add in the chopped celery, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the celery is softened.  
  • Add in the bean sprouts and vegetables, and black pepper.  Don't add in the sprouts until close to the end, because they really only need to heat up.
  • Mix together a little bit of water, a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch, and the soy sauce and add this into the pot.  This helps everything thicken up a bit.
  • Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Taste it, and add salt if needed.

Serve the Chow Mein with either white rice, or the Chinese Crunch Noodles.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Can I tell you how exciting this weekend was for me???  My mother in law came over and helped me UNPACK MY KITCHEN!!!

All of my stuff has been in storage since July/August, and it was so nice to unpack it all and get it in the cabinets.

I have an obnoxious amount of baking stuff, so a lot of that stuff is still not unpacked, but all the shelves are lined, and at least some stuff is put away!!!

Check it out!

All of the dishes

Glasses, Mugs, and Shot Classes

Wine Glasses, Big Mugs, and Plastic Collector Cups

Mixing Bowls and Measuring Cups

Silverware Drawer.  I still have to find the organizer...

Utensil Drawer #1

Utensil Drawer #2

Lazy Susan - Currently used for Tupperware and Colanders


Cooking Utensils (Spoons, etc....I think this is the OXO Drawer ) :o)

Wooden spoons

Calphalon Utensils

Baking Sheets!  I love this cabinet!!

I found this when I took a drawer out of the kitchen.  When is the last time bread was only 37 cents???

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Matters

  1. I spent the entire of last week (Sunday night through Friday afternoon) in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It's a nice place.  I liked it a lot.  It's always fun when you go away for training and actually get something out of it (and not just boredom).

  2. While in Charlotte, I got to try a really awesome restaurant, Bad Daddy's Burger Bar.  It's a local place (with a few chains, all within NC), but it is SO good.  I highly recommend you trying it out if you're in the area!!!

  3. We did a ton of work at the house this week:

    1. The contractor finally started fixing the bathroom, and he got the vanity leveled (since the first contractor installed it with the entire right hand side 1/4" off the floor).  Because nothing can go smoothly for us, the back-splash cracked in half, so we have to buy a new one, but otherwise, that fix was successful.

    2. He also installed the linen closet, which looks terrific.  I bet it will look even better once the doors are on it.  HAHA

    3. He still has yet to fix the tub (it was installed incorrectly, with the side walls not meeting up correctly so there are spaces in between....Let's take a shower and get water inside the walls!!).  But hopefully that will be next on the list.

    4. The painter came back yesterday and touched up all of the woodwork that needed to be addressed after the floors were done - and they look great!

    5. We brought a few things over from the storage unit, and started thoroughly (again) scrubbing the kitchen.  I also picked up some contact paper and started lining the drawers and the shelves in the cabinets.  It's not a fun job!

    6. I'm really hoping to be in before Christmas.  I really think it might happen.  My plan is to go to the house every day this week after work and finish lining the drawers and shelves.  Then we can move the kitchen in!!  Then all we need is our bedroom and the bathroom, and we'll be able to sleep there!

    7. I do need to do research on blinds/window treatments, so if you have any suggestions about them, please let me know!!

  4. Scott and I went to breakfast yesterday before heading to the house.  We have been to this place a number of times within the last few months (including yesterday, we've been probably 3 times total) and yesterday I finally ordered the Eggs Florentine.  I seriously love this for breakfast, and hadn't ordered it in SO long.  I was very disappointed to find that with the updates they made to their menu, they also updated this dish.  Instead of cooked spinach, they just stuffed handfuls of raw baby spinach underneath two very undercooked poached eggs.  So disappointing. 

  5. My Christmas Cards are ready to go!!  I received them in the mail on Saturday, and I spent most of Saturday evening writing them out.  While they're not super exciting, they get the message of "Happy Holidays" and "We've moved" all in one card.  I was pretty happy.

  6. Speaking of Happy Holidays, I'm determined to be in the house before Christmas.  I don't think I can make it through the Christmas season without baking...Cross your fingers that we'll have good luck and make the move soon!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rhode Island-isms

I have spent the last week in North Carolina, and while here, I realized that I say stuff that makes NO sense at all.  Like, "I'm all set" instead of, I'm all done, I don't need help, etc.  I think it's a Rhode Island thing, because I know I've heard family and friends use the same phrase.

So I figured I would dig deep into the depths of my mind and put together a list all of the weird things that I THINK come from RI....Or that we at least say in RI...If you don't already know, us Rhode Islanders have a slew of terms and phrases that never made it to the other states....So enjoy the list!!
  • Wicked (pronounced wickit).  As in, "I'm having a wicked good time!"  OR "This is wicked awesome!"
  • Bubbler (pronounced bubblah).  It's a water fountain from which you drink.  They're often staged in hallways.
  • Are you serious?  I think I use this expression any time someone tells me something outrageous.  It's almost as bad as my complete over-use of I'm all set.
  • Idear.  That's an idea.  With an extra 'R' on the end.  We do that.  A lot.  With a lot of different words that end in a's.  Case and point:  my cousin Tina is often referred to as "Tiner"...
  • Gravy.  That's the red stuff that goes on MACARONI (not pasta).  As long as it has sausage and meatballs in it, it's GRAVY.  (And yes, I realize that this is a point of contention even within the boarders of the state....I suppose it's all based on what you grew up hearing, but this is in my dictionary).
  • Cabinet.  You would think it's something in your kitchen where you would put glasses and plates.  But I bet if you go to an ice cream shop and order a coffee cabinet, they would give you a coffee shake.  When I used to work at the ice cream shop in highschool, someone came up and asked for a cabinet and I promptly told them we didn't sell those.  Luckily my boss was standing right behind me and explained what it was...Since then, I hear it all the time.
  • Jimmies.  Some people call them sprinkles and put them on ice cream...
  • Coffee Milk.  You seriously haven't ever had coffee milk?  Go buy some autocrat coffee syrup and stir it into some milk.  You'll be amazed.  It's delicious.
  • Gagga.  Hot Weiner.  No, it's not a hot dog.  Go to New York System and try one.  Get two all the way.
  • Grinder.  It's a sandwich.  Would you like a meatball grinder?  We don't sell Heroes are these here parts.
  • Oh, please.  No, I'm not begging.  I'm challenging what you're telling me.  It's like saying 'no suh!!'
  • QUAHOG.  Previously being Quahogtales, it's important to bring this up.  It's just a large clam with a hard shell.
  • Stuffie.  It's a stuffed quahog.  And it's delicious.  
  • Scrod.  It's technically "Fish of the day" and is a white fish, typically cod, haddock, or pollock.  I can honestly say that there are very few places outside of RI where I have actually seen scrod offered on the menu. Most people who don't know what scrod actually is assume that when they are ordering it, they're getting a piece of cod.  As a side note, an acceptable pronunciation is SCHROD.  Not a lie.  Look it up in  They'll pronounce it both ways.
  • Doughboy.  Fried Dough.  I've said this term before with out-of-town friends, and they always looked at me like I was crazy.
  • Clam Cakes.  It's like a ball of fried dough with clams in it.  No, it's not a fritter.  It's definitely different than a fritter.
  • Cellar.  Basement.  My mom always used to tell me to bring stuff "down cellar"...
  • Supper.  As a kid, the term "dinner" was reserved for those evenings when we went out to eat, or the meal that we had on Sunday around 2pm.  Supper was an every day occurrence around 6pm.
  • Pocketbook.  Purse.  Same thing.
  • Awful Awful.  No, I'm not repeating myself.  It's a shake!!  From Newport Creamery.  And the description, shake, does nothing for what it actually is.  Get yourself to a Newport Creamery, and order one!!!
  • Dels Lemonade.  Frozen lemonade CANNOT compare.  It just can't.
Now, these are just some of the words that I know as "Rhode Island Slang" .... I researched some lists online and there are a ton of other words and phrases that other generations used that goes well beyond my list (Side by each, Throw me down the stairs my bag, Sangwidge, etc).  And I'm sure there is some overlap of these words into other states.  So if you've heard it, GOOD!!
If you're brave enough, take the 45 minute drive to drive across Rhode Island, drive up past the BIG BLUE BUG, take the IWAY to the East Bay, enjoy some gaggers and coffee milk, and visit often!!!  :o)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Matters

  1. I feel like I have been living in a whirlwind for the last few weeks.  Maybe I'm living up in the twister.  Look for me the next time you watch 'The Wizard of Oz.'

  2. I have missed blogging over the last few weeks, and while I often think 'this would be a great subject to blog about' throughout my adventures, I just haven't had the time. 

  3. Since April, I've been telling you all about my house, and all of the work that we've been doing on it.  I would love to be able to tell you that we have finally moved in, but alas, I can't.  As you know, we've had tons of problems with our first contractor, and while we found another contractor to do the work, he's super busy all the time, which makes finishing a project somewhat difficult.  And stressful.

    1. We had the floors refinished, and they look A-Mazing.  Seriously.  Amazing.  We decided not to stain the wood, and just finish it with a Latex Polyurethane.  The floors are light and beautiful, and look so amazing with the colors I picked out.


    3. We bought new door jambs (the right size - curiously enough, the size I wanted to buy in the first place), and the contractor has replaced two of the four doors that were previously replaced by the hack.  Note:  When he removed the old wrong size jambs, he noted that not only were the the wrong size, and put in incorrectly, they also did not have any of the required insulation.  Note:  Do NOT hire the guy who we did the first time around.

    4. We also have everything available so that the contractor can finish fixing the bathroom that the original contractor hacked up. 

    5. I spent about 3 hours cleaning the kitchen on Saturday and I can't even begin to tell you the difference it made.  My dad introduced me to Fabuloso - and while it may be the cheapest stuff out there, it is an amazing cleaner.  I know I'll have to wash the kitchen at least one more time before we move our stuff in (I still have to do the inside of the drawers for the first time), but it did an amazing job cleaning the dirt and grime off of all the surfaces.
  4. I'm travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina this week, and I am really hoping that when I get home on Friday night, that I can go to the house on Saturday and find that most of everything that is left (see above) is done.  That would be so awesome.  Either way, I think we'll be able to move our stuff in.  Maybe get a U-Haul next weekend and take all of the stuff that is currently at my mom's and dad's houses, and then call movers to move our stuff from storage to the house the weekend after.  That would mean that we're in by Christmas.  And that would be awesome.  Truly awesome.

  5. In non-house-related stuff....I have been continuing to attend the gym at work, and have been continuing with a combination of Tae-Bo, treadmill, and the stationary bike.  I haven't really lost any weight, but changing my diet a bit more will definitely help.  I wrote off the Zumba class at work because I just really just didn't enjoy it. 

  6. Thanksgiving was a fun event at my mom's this year, and I contributed by making Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Stuffed Mushrooms.  I also got up super early with my mom and she went through the process of making the turkey with me.  You can ask Scott, and he'll verify that it was the best turkey.  Ever.

  7. Being that it's finally December, I have been in the Christmas Spirit.  Maybe it's because we've been staying at my mom's house, and growing up, my parents house always rang with Christmas.  But I'm excited to decorate and I truly hope that we're in our house and can celebrate Christmas there together.

  8. I've been listening to Christmas music in my car (mostly just Straight No Chaser) and I've watched a few Christmas movies (Mainly because of the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family).  I'm hoping to get in at least 1 view of my favorite Christmas movie, Santa Claus the Movie (not the Tim Allen movie), no matter how much my husband makes fun of me for liking it.

  9. I've recently become obsessed with Dropbox.  If you don't have it, you should get it.  It's amazing.

  10. I'm hoping to blog on a regular basis again.  Hopefully with the house finally coming together, I'll feel more like myself again.  Keep on the lookout for more posts!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Welcome Back!!

Wow, I am the world's worst blogger.  I mean, seriously.  I haven't posted since OCTOBER.  Over a month since I have graced you with my stories of my unfinished house and baking adventures.

I sincerely apologize!  And promise to get back on the ball!!

Keep on the look out for Monday Matters this coming Monday, as well as (I hope) regular blog poasts thereafter.

Love and Smoochies,