Seared scallops with pea purée


Barrak and I ran a road race downtown this morning – he, a 15k, me, a 10k. Afterward, we had a hot breakfast at North Star Cafe in Clintonville, then popped into the new gourmet grocery store in our old neighborhood, Lucky’s Market.

They had a nice looking seafood case, and I’d been wanting to try this scallop recipe, so I went for it. Six big sea scallops were $14.

I’ve never made scallops at home before and it couldn’t have been easier. The guy at Lucky’s told me to blot them with paper towels first so they’re very dry. Then get your skillet screaming hot until your olive oil is shimmering, place the scallops in, and don’t touch them for 2-3 minutes. If you try to flip them and they’re still sticking, they’re not done.

This whole dish took about 10 minutes.

Click here for the recipe, found on a blog called It’s a Keeper. Next time, I would probably add a little more parmesan or salt in the pea puree.



Here we are post-race, happy to be done and heading for breakfast!



Brown sugar salmon – with pictures this time







We made brown sugar salmon, avocado and asparagus for dinner tonight – a complete replica of the dinner we had last weekend. And this time, I took pictures!

We made this again because when you buy your salmon at Costco, you have a lot left over. We cut it up into individual portions, sealed them in Ziploc bags and threw them in the freezer. They thaw out superfast — I moved them out of the freezer and into the fridge last night, and they were just about thawed when I moved them in a bigger Ziploc of soy sauce, water, olive oil & brown sugar this morning.

Brown sugar salmon


I did it again. I just dove into my dinner like a hungry piggy and completely forgot to take a picture of it all pretty and plated up for blog purposes. I remembered as I was cleaning up, bagging the leftovers of our yummy broiled brown sugar salmon (see above).

Even though the pictures aren’t great, I still wanted to share the recipe because it was really good, with just a few ingredients. And of course, I cannot for the life of me remember where I found this recipe so I can’t just link to it.

But here’s the thing. This recipe is so easy, I can tell you from memory.

Preheat your oven to 450. But um, when my oven temp was around 419 and climbing, it started to smell really wrong in the kitchen. Like smoky. So I just went to 425.

In bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/3 water. Pour it into a Ziploc, add a couple fillets of skinless salmon and let it marinate in the fridge at least two hours. I only had time for one hour and it was still good.

You’re supposed to broil the salmon fillets on a broiler pan. I don’t have one, apparently. So in absence of a broiler pan, I covered a baking sheet with tin foil, then took a roasting rack and laid it completely flat, wrapped it in tin foil, and cut little slits in the tin foil with a sharp knife, so the juices could drain.

Lay the marinated salmon fillets on your real broiler pan or foil-rigged broiler pan. Pitch the marinade.

Broil at 425 (or whatever heat you go to) for 15 minutes. The recipe said 20 but I took it out at 15 to check for doneness because I hate overcooked salmon.

It looked pretty close to me so I moved to the final step: moving the oven rack up higher and broiling for 5 minutes. I took mine out with a minute to go because it was looking sizzly and glazey brown around the edges.

Best place in Columbus to buy salmon: Costco. It’s about $20 for a big package of great-looking salmon, then you can divide it up into individual portions and stow some in the fridge in small Ziploc bags.


We had the salmon with sliced avocado, which — with the soy sauce marinade — made it taste sort of like sushi, in a good way. Again, we snarfed that down before I thought to take a picture. Rice would make a good side.

Best place in Columbus to buy avocados: Kroger. I don’t know why. It just is.

Along with all that, we made the side dish I probably make more than any other: roasted asparagus. You can roast it at any temp between 375 and 425 with olive oil, salt & pepper, it’s done in 15-20 minutes, max, and it’s always good. Occasionally the kids will even eat some. No pictures of that either: you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Race Day


Barrak left the house at 7 this morning to run the Seamus O’Possum’s 30k trail foot race at Delaware State Park. He finished in under 3 1/2 hours, had only one wipeout, and no blisters. Success!

We’re proud of him. After the race, Barrak was ravenous so we went to Chipotle for lunch. We sat with him even though he was wearing his shorty shorts.


Bob Evans Lettuce

{Magnus and his baby manatee, Bob Evans Lettuce}

First, this is not a post about a salad I had at Bob Evans.

Both my kids love visiting the manatee aquarium at the zoo. Truth is, Barrak and I love it too. It has a humid, Florida feeling (I know my mom is shuddering at those words right now).

Greta is behind our family’s love of the manatees. It was the first stuffed animal she ever got from the zoo.

Following in his sister’s footsteps, Mag has had a stuffed baby manatee for a year or so. During that time, it’s name has been Lettuce. If you’ve ever been to the manatee aquarium at the zoo, you know why.

This week, Lettuce got a new name: Bob Evans. We haven’t eaten at Bob Evans in years so I’m not sure what’s behind the name change. When I asked Magnus, he said, “Cos that’s a good name.” Can’t argue with that. Lettuce is now the surname.

Like a lot of kids his age, Mag pronounces his Ls like Ws. Examples: “I’m wittle!” “That is de-wish-ious!” “That’s a hav-a-ween-a in my ‘Who Pooped in the Sonoran Desert’ book!” That last one makes us laugh.

So it’s actually Bob Evans Wettuce.

Is this an example of a mom who thinks everything her kids do is cute? Sorry, couldn’t help it.


Great recommendations

After my sister shared her beauty essentials, I ran right out and bought one of the more affordable items: L’Oreal’s Magic Skin Beautifier BB cream.

Some of the online reviews said it made your skin turn orange. I ran that claim past Bran and she dismissed it, so I pulled the trigger. And I love it! It goes on like a white moisturizer the color of vanilla bean ice cream (it has little color flecks in it) but has a mattifying effect. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a slick of make-up. I feel more like myself. Love that!

P.S. I just have to give a plug to Wal-Greens. The ladies who work in the beauty area keep a plastic recipe box of coupons, and they hook you up! She gave me all kinds of discounts. Amazing service from a lady who probably makes minimum wage.


When I was a teenager, I had horrible acne. I was super self-conscious about it and always wore heavy foundation. In school, I would go into the restroom during class and spiral into picking my face in the mirror until it was red. Then I’d step back and go, ‘Oh shit, what have I done? I have to walk back into class now!’ My poor mom tried every drugstore medication she could find. I used Noxema, Clearasil, intensely sting-y astringents, all that business. She even answered an ad in the local weekly paper for some homemade stuff that we went and picked up at some lady’s house after work one night. Looking back it was obviously a scam, but she was desperate for me. Eventually, on a pretty modest weekly income, she paid for me to see a dermatologist and I got on stuff like tetracycline and weird stuff you had to keep in the fridge. I was on Retin-A before it was fashionable.


Still am!

Anyway, I finally went on Accutane. I am grateful to whoever invented that scary but seriously effective little pill; it is a lifesaver.

Years later, breakouts don’t rule my life but they still happen. I took my sister’s advice — I know she’s sworn by this stuff for years — and picked up some Persa-Gel. The stuff works great for garden variety breakouts.


Before I blogged about Bran’s skin care picks, she had texted me about this stuff and it was on my bathroom counter a few days later. Obagi’s Vitamin C – 20% serum goes on in the morning, and has a smoothing, tightening, glow effect. It could be in my head but my skin seems healthier since I started using it.



Lastly, a great recommendation from the Cupcakes & Cashmere blog: Bioelements Kerafole mask. The C&C blogger leads a life that makes me seethe with envy. She spends half her day doing her blow-out and picking out her $800 outfit, and the second half decorating her awesome L.A. bungalow. Money is no object in her world. But I still read her because occasionally I get some good ideas, and I like to live vicariously through her.

She mentioned this mask so I went online to read the reviews. People were RAVING about this stuff. Not one negative comment. So I gave it a try. It looks like almond butter but smells like cinnamon and clove. It has a warming effect — okay, some might call it “stinging” effect — when you first put it on. In my book, that’s a good thing. It means something is happening. They say “it purges your skin of toxins.” Now we all know that’s a bunch of marketing hooey but it did make my skin really soft and smooth. It even seemed a little clearer.

Sometimes this beauty stuff is so mental, isn’t it?

Paul McCartney’s spinach tart


I’ve made this spinach tart a few times over the past year. It’s from Paul McCartney’s cookbook, Meat Free Mondays. I think I saw it in a magazine at a doctor’s office and then came home and printed it off the Internet.

With just a few basic ingredients, including a box of pre-made pie crusts, it comes together very easily. I usually serve it for dinner, and pack slices of it for an easy lunch at my desk the next few days.

It’s not as eggy as a quiche, and it has dijon mustard in it, which gives it a really unique savory flavor. You sauté the onions and spinach in butter so the whole thing is buttery, spinachy and cheddar. How’s that for food critique skills? Buttery. Spinachy. Cheddary. And oniony.

Click here for the recipe.