Tony O Rama Bars and Job Hunting

Job hunting makes me SCREAM! I’m just tired of filling out applications with all of the same information that’s on my resume, chatting with people that “ooh” and “aw” over my resume, and then never getting a job.
So what do I do? After another afternoon of filling out applications and turning them in – I drove to the downtown Bellingham Co-Op and continue my search (and blog writing) with the wonderful help of a gluten free Tony O Rama Bar! I don’t know why they call it that – it’s a coop thing.
This bar is like nothing I’ve ever had! I haven’t attempted to duplicate the wonderfulness yet – but I will.
The ingredients are simple: chocolate chips, peanut butter, powdered sugar, vegan (blegh) butter, coconut, brown sugar. It’s pretty much this slab of peanut buttery, coconuty heaven with another slab of coconut chocolaty goodness on top! Words can not describe. And the great thing about this bar is NO GLUTEN! So other than that 1/4 pound of sugar I just inhaled – there’s no guilt! Not that I usually have any type of guilt when I’m eating – but since Hannah and I ate most of a huge loaf of bread on the way home from the store yesterday, I’m working on cutting back on the wheat today 🙂
So the lesson to be learned here is: if life hands you something frustrating – chocolate, coconut and peanut butter will fix it!

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Bob’s Chowder Bar – Review


Bob’s Chowder Bar in Anacortes WA is a fun little place that I spotted as I drove into town. After dropping mom and brother off at the ferry for their San Juan Island bike adventure, I headed back towards I-5 on the lookout for a place to grab a quick bite to eat. Since I was in an area so close to the ocean, with sailing boats and little bays in every direction – I decided that seafood was a must. Bypassing the Greek Islands restaurant that had been recommended to me – I headed straight for Bob’s.
This little place (hardly bigger than most drive through coffee stands) is surrounded by plenty of parking. And if you don’t want to park you can actually drive through and pick up something to go! Bright red with cute pictures of mermaids and such painted on all sides – this chowder bar is eye catching.
The front consists of a small red porch with a couple of picnic tables. There is also a little grassy side yard with extra outdoor seating and a few of those wooden cutout figures that call to you to stick your face where theirs should be and have some helpful friend take your picture. Inside this little drive through is a counter where you can order (and where you can watch the wraps and baskets being assembled), a long grill and stove top where a big pot of chowder bubbles away while being stirred by a lady in white chefs gear – and a red bar that wraps around the customer area to provide indoor seating.
The menu consists of many different basket options, some wraps, a few chowders, smoked salmon, and a few other items floating around the edges. Everything on the menu is available for under $12. My bowl of New England Clam Chowder was the very reasonable price of $3.95 before tax.
I decided to eat inside since it was a windy coastal day. As I was eating I eavesdropped on the gals working behind the counter – I was impressed with their cheerfulness and professional service. They provided a refreshing change to the really bad customer service I have received in Bellingham recently.
The chowder was very good! Not the best I’ve every had, but I was very pleased with the flavor, consistency, and choice of ingredients. The chowder also came with some sort of herbed toast – unfortunately it was very stale, although if it had been fresh I think it would have been slightly addicting… so maybe it’s better that I didn’t really want to finish it!
I was less than pleased with the cleanliness of the bar I was sitting at. Maybe they’d just finished with a big rush of people (although it was barely 6:15 pm) but that bar needed a good decrumbing. To give them a little credit – they were sweeping outside and wiping other surfaces off while I was there – so maybe it was just bad timing.
Over all – I think Bob’s Chowder Bar has a lot of potential. If I am ever back in the Anacortes area I will definitely stop back in – if only to eat a bowl of yummy chowder and listen to some cheerful customer service!
http://bobschowderbar.com/

Salsa and Salsa Nectarine Chicken





I made some great fresh salsa earlier – because really… what is better then fresh salsa and crispy tortilla chips for a mid afternoon snack? For my salsa I quartered cherry tomatoes, finely diced part of a white onion, very finely chopped three garlic cloves, and chopped a large handful of cilantro leaves. I threw everything together in a handy bowl and sprinkled in some sea salt and ground pepper. Voila! Salsa!

After eating about half the bowl – I was still hungry… so – the following recipe was born!

You’ll need:

chicken pieces (I used a giant thigh)
salt
pepper
granulated garlic
a little oil
a few pieces of nectarine
and the a fore mentioned salsa

Preheat the oven to 400. Put a little bit of oil in a glass baking pan – so the chicken won’t stick. Place the chicken in the pan, spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Spoon some of the salsa on top of the chicken. Dice up the nectarines and add them to the salsa on top of the chicken. Spread the nectarines and salsa out so that the chicken in completely covered. Kind of press everything together so it will stick. Anything that falls off into the pan should be scooped back on top or tucked under the chicken pieces. (I suppose that last part is easier when you’re using a boneless piece of chicken…) Bake until the chicken is done (180). Enjoy – preferably with a cold beer and some more chips!

P.S. Be sure to use plenty of salt on the chicken… mine could have used a bit more.

Yogurt!


I made some yogurt last night – while destroying the rest of my kitchen… It’s been a while since I’ve made yogurt, I made a few batches when I was in Moscow but I think the last one was before Sara and I went to Mexico. Anyways… it was long over due.

milk
yogurt starter or plain yogurt
a big pot
mason jars

Making yogurt is easy with or without a yogurt-maker. Simply heat your milk (I used a gallon of whole milk) to just before the boiling point – bubbles should be rising and there should be a lot of steam. At this point turn the stove off and let the milk cool down to between 108-112 degrees(F)(the milk is the right temperature if you can hold your finger in it for a slow count of ten). Cooling the yogurt down takes a long time. Once the milk reaches the right temperature – add the starter to the milk (use a packet of yogurt starter or a large spoonful of plain yogurt for each liter of milk, mix the starter into a small amount of warm milk before adding it to the rest of the milk). Fill clean mason jars with yogurt, put them in a prewarmed oven and cover with a clean dish towel. I warm my oven up a little bit and then shut it off right before I put my jars of yogurt in. I have a pizza stone in my oven to help hold on to some of the heat. Let your yogurt sit in the oven for 6-8 hours depending on how firm you want it to be. About half way through – or whenever you remember to – boil a small pan of water and set it in the oven to help keep everything warm. Once the yogurt has set – cover it and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
Enjoy your homemade yogurt with granola, in smoothies, with fruit, in sauces, on rice, on it’s own, etc.

Tomato Sauce and Broken Sinks





Today I spent a large portion of the morning and afternoon cutting bad spots out of tomatoes, dicing the good parts up, and cooking them down into a yummy tomato sauce. Well – at least that’s what I was doing until some tomatoes got stuck to the bottom of the pan and burnt. And then the pipes under my kitchen sink decided to start spewing water everywhere.
So right now I have a sink full of dishes, a pan that I can’t clean, a trashed kitchen for my landlord to enjoy and bowls full of half cooked tomato sauce sitting on both counters! Pretty soon though – I’ll have lots and lots of home made tomato sauce sitting up in my cupboard!

How to create a mess in your kitchen OR Preparing the harvest…






Yesterday Ayla and I were given 7 boxes of fruit and vegetables that were on their way to being compost! Let me tell you – I have never been that excited to see rotting produce…
So last night, we went to town – sorting, peeling, cutting, freezing, cooking and canning. It’s a good feeling to know that your freezer is full of enough french fries to last the rest of the year, and that all those plums are going to make some great BBQ sauce – but boy does it take a toll on your kitchen!