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Hobbit, Cake, Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo, Bag End, Shire, Hobbiton, Fondant, gum paste, sugar, edible, sculpture, Tolkein, Tolkien Ever since I started making big old fondant cakes, I had this idea in the back of my mind: I wanted to make a Hobbit hole. And not just any Hobbit hole:

Hobbit, Cake, Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo, Bag End, Shire, Hobbiton, Fondant, gum paste, sugar, edible, sculpture, Tolkein, Tolkien

 Bag End.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Tolkien.

When I was in 8th grade, I was a giant flippin' weirdo. Like, it's amazing I made it out of middle school alive without joining a cult or something equally strange. The one thing that got me into 9th grade, embarrassingly enough, was Lord of the Rings. And Elijah Wood. And the whole idea of a world so fantastical and beautiful that it made my heart hurt with longing to be part of it. I grew out of the crippling obsession, but I never outgrew my love of Middle Earth.

Years later, I still want to be a Hobbit.

Hobbit, Cake, Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo, Bag End, Shire, Hobbiton, Fondant, gum paste, sugar, edible, sculpture, Tolkein, Tolkien With pointy ears and furry feet :) So, with my ridiculous patience and my sculpting skills and my love of the Shire, I finally got to create my dream house...out of sugar! ...continue reading

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I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.Pierogies, pierogy, Mrs. T's, frozen, ambassador, dinner, weeknight, friends, entertaining, recipes, serving ,suggestions, sautee, sour cream, onion, garlic, cheddar, potatoesI was thinking of getting new business cards made up. I mean, I have ones for work that say-

Sarah Westendorf: Clinical Operations Manager

and blog ones that say-

Sarah Westendorf: Self-taught cook, photographer, food stylist

But I'm really looking forward to passing out business cards that say-

Sarah Westendorf: Mrs. T's Pierogies Ambassador

How cool is that title? If I go abroad and lose my passport, can I seek shelter at a pierogies embassy? Do I get diplomatic potato immunity? Even if I don't (which I totally should), I'm thrilled to be participating in this awesome program to promote Mrs. T's, a company that I've loved for years. 

Pierogies, pierogy, Mrs. T's, frozen, ambassador, dinner, weeknight, friends, entertaining, recipes, serving ,suggestions, sautee, sour cream, onion, garlic, cheddar, potatoes ...continue reading

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On Friday I got home from work at noon (which is pretty normal), and I changed into my fuzzy penguin pajamas and got to work on my Hobbit hole cake. At one o'clock the doorbell rang, so I wipe my sugary hands on a paper towel, shuffle over, and open the door. Here is the conversation that followed.

(open door)

Man: Hello.

Me: Hi.

Man: I'm from RG&E and I'm here to read the gas meter?

Me: Oh, sure. Come on in.

Man: Are your parents home?

Me: Um...no?

Man: Oh! Ok, I'm just going to leave this on your door, and I can come back for it later. (hangs thing on door handle)

Me: Why?

Man: It's the rules. I'm not allowed to enter a house unless there's someone over 18 there.

Me: (pause)...I'm 25.

Man: Oh! I'm sorry! (turns bright red)

Me: (laughing) that's ok, it's probably the pajamas. Come on in.

 

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So technically it's halfway through January, but I figured I would get around to making some resolutions of a sort. I vow to use this blog as a tool to practice my cooking, photography, and writing. I've been viewing it up until this point as a cooking blog, under the assumption that people would read it on a regular basis, make the recipes I posted, and I would get famous. Like Pioneer Woman.

It's been two and a half years and I'm still waiting for a book deal, which is totes fine. I'm not an authority on cooking. Seems silly that just because I learned how to take nicer photos I would pretend I know what's going on. photo

But, it's a good way to force myself to write often, stay creative, and eat things that aren't boxed or canned.

And so I've update the blog look to reflect my true self:

Giant nerd.

If you look up at the adorable header that I'm sure you've already noticed, little Disney princess-esque Sarah is cooking while standing in front of a Tardis. Behind Dash and a Pinch, the blog name is written again...in Gallifreyan. And the background is now filled with the logos of the things I love.

Why not embrace my quirkiness, and push my blog towards a more niche market? I'll still share regular recipes, but I'm going to let my voice shine through the writing rather than just post the step by step instructions. I'm going to push myself creatively, and maybe I'll finish Starting from Scratch, start my scifi series, that sequel to Passion's Tide, sculpt that hobbit hole, complete that tardis painting, start singing again...

So lets look back on some dorky moments from the past year:

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photo 5 (1)

photo 3 (1)

I'm so cool I can't even stand it.

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So, I freaking love Bob's Burgers (It's on Netflix!! Watch it!). It's probably one of the best shows on TV right now (I know, I say that about ALL the shows I gush about on this blog), but seriously. If you can get past the pilot, I can guarantee you'll be hooked.

fried, pickles, bob's, burger, fox, Belcher, the bob's burger experiment, tumblr, burger of the day, siracha, hot sauce, mayo, ketchup, cheese

And don't even get me started on the Archer/Bob's Burger's crossover...I was in heaven. I love you, H. Jon Benjamin!

So, for all the people who haven't seen Bob's Burgers, in every episode he has a burger of the day written on the chalkboard in his restaurant with stupid, punny names like,

"If looks could Kale"

"The Bruschetta-bout it burger"

"Mission a-Corn-plished burger"

They are pretty lame, and yet Bob takes such great pride in his clever names that it is a running joke in the show.

Enter The Bob's Burger Experiment, a tumblr dedicated entirely to making real life versions of Bob's Burger's of the day. While scrolling through theposts (and punching myself for not being the first to think of the idea), I came across the "Pickle my funny bone" burger.

fried, pickles, bob's, burger, fox, Belcher, the bob's burger experiment, tumblr, burger of the day, siracha, hot sauce, mayo, ketchup, cheese

Mutha. Fucking. Fried. Pickles.

So this recipe is really just for fried pickles, which I will eat everyday for the rest of my life, or until I die from hypertension. Whichever comes first. ...continue reading

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homemade, pasta, ravioli, farfalle, dough, pepperoni, tomatoes, basil, garlic, peppers, spicy, hearty, winter, easy, weeknight, pasta, dinnerThis yummy dish was our Christmas Eve dinner. I was on a home-made pasta kick, and I got the recipe from the same cookbook as the striped ravioli that I made for Christmas with Kevin's family. But for us, for Christmas Eve, we wanted something simple and hearty.

Which it totally would have been...

homemade, pasta, ravioli, farfalle, dough, pepperoni, tomatoes, basil, garlic, peppers, spicy, hearty, winter, easy, weeknight, pasta, dinnerIf I didn't decide to hand-make my own Farfalle like an overachieving show off. As you can imagine, this set us back a few hours, and we didn't get to eat until 7. And then by 7:30 it was back into the kitchen to make ravioli. Needless to say, Christmas Eve was a long evening. ...continue reading

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ravioli, pasta, home made, hand, rolled, filled, creamy, chicken, prosciutto, italian, shallot, garlic, egg, ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, spicy, savory, basil, cream, heavy, butterNow that you've spent all that time making striped pasta dough, you need something incredible to fill it with! Boring old ricotta just won't do for such fancy ravioli.

So we made a chicken-prosciutto-lemon-shallot filling that was out of this world delicious, and topped it off with a simple garlic cream sauce. And all you cheese lovers? Don't worry. There was tons and tons of cheese in this dish.

For the filling you will need:

  • 4 oz cooked skinless, boneless, chicken breast
  • 2 oz prosciutto
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lemon

The recipe I adapted was from this cookbook, that I picked up for a few dollars at Michael's. It's got some really good recipes, and I like that it has full page color photos of the food in it.

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The first thing to do is cook the chicken. Kevin chopped it up into bite-sized pieces and sauteed them, though in hindsight I would have just poached them and shredded them. Either way, cut or rip it into the smallest pieces you can. Do the same for the shallot and proscuitto. If you have a food processor, by all means, use that and save yourself some time. Kevin and I put handfuls of the shredded chicken into a regular blender with some of the ricotta for moisture and blended it to break it down even more. The trick was not adding too much to gunk up the blades. ...continue reading

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Note: I know I was MIA for several months, but I think I'm honestly back in the game. I've spent hours and hours going overboard making food for parties (first the cookies, now this pasta), and I've even gotten back into documenting the minor meals that I make, in case they end up blog-worthy. So have no fear, I think I'm here to stay for awhile. Now, if I could just sit down and write my damn book...psata, dough, home, made, hand, roll, knead, colored, red, orange, green, tomato, spinach, stripe, ravioli, flour, eggHappy post-holidays food coma! I hope you are recovering nicely from your Christmas binge-eating session, and preparing yourself (and your stomach) for a New Years filled with cheesy appetizers and sugary desserts. Yum.

This was my first "real" Christmas this year, and I'm thrilled to say it went well. What do I mean by real Christmas? Well, Kevin and I got a tree together, decorated it, woke up early on Christmas day, opened presents, went back to sleep, and then spent the day with his family. His mom even knitted me my very own stocking :)

Since the family party was a bring your own appetizers and desserts kind of deal, I decided to hand-make some pasta dish. From there I chose ravioli, and from there I decided that striping it with red and green was a great idea.

psata, dough, home, made, hand, roll, knead, colored, red, orange, green, tomato, spinach, stripe, ravioli, flour, egg

As it turns out, it's not too difficult as long as you have a pasta roller that has a fettucine cutter attachment (I got mine for like $30 at Bed, Bath and Beyond). It is extremely time consuming, however, especially if it is Christmas Eve in Buffalo and your Kitchenaid is in Rochester, 60 miles away.

Using the recipes from this website, which has tons of great tips and tricks for homemade pasta dough, Kevin and I set out to make three colors of dough.  ...continue reading

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Ignore the less-than-awesome picture and go make this drink. It's basically an oatmeal cookie shot...but bigger.

What's an oatmeal cookie shot, you say?

Well...It's heaven. It's a mix of equal parts baileys, goldshlager, and butterscotch shnapps. When you shoot it, it tastes exactly like an oatmeal cookie. But better, because there aren't any raisins to disappoint you.

So to make it into a martini, we just added a touch of milk. You can also add a dash of jager if you want some licorice spice added...but that shit's gross. In my opinion. So leave the jager to the bros, and relax with a deliciously sweet (and incredibly strong!) drink.

  • 1 oz irish cream (like Baileys)
  • 1 oz cinnamon shnapps (like goldshlager, or a cheaper one because it's crazy expensive. Beth had some fireball whiskey laying around, so we used that.)
  • 1 oz butterscotch snhapps (like...I don't know any brand names)
  • 1/2 oz milk
  • cinnamon and sugar to rim glass

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Wet the rim of a martini glass with water and dip it onto a plate with cinnamon and sugar several times. In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients and shake over ice. Pour into sugar-rimmed glass.

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 Ho ho ho!