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Monday, 29 July 2013 17:05

Finding the Next TND

Hi all! 


Colleen and I are currently taking some time to figure out what's next for Thursdays. 


Stay tuned. 


Happy cooking & crafting! 







Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 19:04

TND: Sentimental Style

So, it was about three years ago this month that I made the decision to move from NYC to come back to my hometown, Louisville. I have had no regrets whatsoever about this decision-- I love, love Louisville and I feel so at home in the midwest-- but there are times when I go through really strong NYC withdrawals. I mean, what's not to love about this? Ahhh, Central Park on an amazing, spring day something like 5 or 6 years ago (crazy!!)


central park

This week I've been missing New York a lot, in particular, our adorable pink house in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and the sweet little neighborhood it is housed in. There was nothing I loved more than stepping out that front door and taking a stroll through the park and up and down the towhouse-lined streets for hours at a time.

fort greene house

Not to mention the fact that I kind of miss these girls, too.

My roomies Stephania,


and Caitlin. (This was our Derby party-- leave it to the Kentucky girl to make her northern friends partake in hourse racing).


So maybe I'll get to the city sometime soon for a nice visit, but until then, I'm revelling in memories and photos and oh, so many songs that remind me of my time there. Here's one of our ultimate go-to recipes that we made very often at New York Thursday Night Dinners. This one is great for those Lazy Thursdays (which seem to happen more and more often these days :)






Personal Pita Pizzas
by Stephania Stanley and Colleen Reilly

What you need: 

  • 4 flat, whole grain pitas
  • 8 oz package mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 8 oz spinach
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ yellow pepper, diced
  • ½ zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • ½ head of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Dice the onion and garlic while the oil is heating. Sautee onion and garlic and begin dicing peppers. Add the peppers after the onion and garlic have sautéed about three minutes. While the peppers are sautéing, begin dicing the zucchini and chopping the broccoli into small florets. After about two minutes add the zucchini, broccoli and spinach. The spinach will cook down quickly, so don’t be intimidated by how much there is. Add basil, oregano, pepper and cayenne. If you use fresh herbs, remember that a little goes a long way! While the veggies are working in the skillet, place the pitas on olive oil-sprayed cookie sheets. Spoon out tomato sauce onto each pita and spread it around until the pita is covered with saucy goodness. After the veggies have sautéed about five more minutes, turn off the burner and scoop an even amount of veggie mixture onto each pita. Sprinkle each with the desired amount of cheese, and place in the oven. After fifteen minutes or when the cheese has begun to brown, take the pizzas out of the oven, slice each into four pieces with a large knife or a pizza cutter and devour!

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 16 May 2013 18:15

TND: Greek Easter/Passover Dinner

Happy Thursday! A few weeks ago my darling Jewish boyfriend, Dave, and I had a combined Greek Easter/Belated Passover holiday dinner.



We've been having many conversations lately about what it means to have a reformed interfaith relationship and this was our first attempt at really coming together and combining our two family traditions. We both dug out our family recipes, I got on the phone with my Uncle Greg for grilling instructions, and we spent two full days preparing for our giant feast. Our friends arrived one by one, I put on Shovels & Rope (because obviously that is the perfect Greek Easter/Passover music), we poured wine, and it began.

greekeaster-IMG 1259

After some of the more complex discussions we've had about what our possible, future family would look like we took all that we had learned thus far and came together and shared our favorite traditions with our nearest and dearest. We spoke Hebrew and Greek and ended the night with our favorite American dessert, s'mores.

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By the end of the night, we were all making plans for the next one.







Grilled Greek Lamb
by Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • lamb (1/2 lb per person)
  • olive oil
  • fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Coat the lamb with olive oil and generously salt and pepper both sides. 


Assemble charcoal around the edges of the grill (so that the heat will be around the edges of the grill and not directly in the center). Place an disposable aluminum pan with 1" of water in the center. Heat up the grill. Grill lamb until the center of the meat reads 140°F. We grilled a butterflied 7Lb lamb and it took a little over an hour. 


Once the lamb is ready, let it rest for about 20 minutes and slice diagonally in 1/4" thick slices. Pour the liquid from the aluminum pan into a serving bowl (now au jus) and add a spoonful or so over the lamb when serving.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 18:19

TND: Decoupage Frames

Happy Thursday! If it's been a little quiet around here, one of the reasons is I just started a new job. I think that I am really going to like it, but the process of starting a new routine and learning a new gig is seriously wiping me out! I am sooo tired. But it's a good kind of tired.

Here's a craft that I am really liking right now. I made these frames for my girlfriends as 30th birthday presents and gave them to them when we were all together on vacation in Miami. I tried to pick colors that would go with their houses and personalities. The only problem is, I forgot to make one for me, so I still have to do that.



Decoupage Frames
by colleen reilly

decoupage frames2










What you need: 

  • plain 4x6 frame (choose one that is flat and doesn't have ridges or decorations on it)
  • craft paper
  • scissors
  • x-acto knife
  • craft glue
  • mod podge
  • paint brush

What to do:

Choose a color of paper for the front of your frame. Choose a coordinating color of paper for the back of your frame. Lie the frame face down on the paper you choose for the front (place both on a piece of cardboard so you don't ruin your surface. Cut the piece of paper with the x-acto knife to the size of the frame by tracing along the outside of the frame with the knife and cutting out the inside. Do the same for the back and sides. Glue paper on to frame with craft glue. When dry, brush over entire surface with mod podge to make it shiny.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 18 April 2013 17:20

TND: The Perfect Iced Coffee

It is finally feeling like spring around here and it seems like overnight you can spot bright yellows, pinks, and reds all over the city. We've all taken out our peep toe wedges and have even been able to wear dresses without tights...it's just lovely.  I'm already starting to crave BBQ (specifically BBQ ribs with mac 'n cheese) and this week I've developed a strong craving for iced coffee. I hate the thought of buying coffee each and every day, but have tried and failed miserably to make a really good iced coffee over the years. It's either not cold enough, too weak, or far too sweet, so I decided to do a little research to find out the best way to make it at home and just as good as my favorite spots in Brooklyn.
I found that there are two ways to approach iced coffee: hot drip and cold drip. The cold drip is less acidic and slightly sweeter and then the hot drip is a stronger cup of joe. Being that Ophelia keeps me on my toes every waking minute, I went with the latter and found the perfect balance of cold, strong cup of coffee.  I like my coffee on the stronger side, but feel free to add milk and sugar to taste. 


The Perfect Iced Coffee
by Stephania Stanley

iced coffee IMG 8349

What you need: 

  • coffee ice cubes (make a fresh cup of coffee the night before and use it to make coffee ice cubes throughout the week)
  • 8 tbsp coffee
  • 6 cups water
  • milk and sugar to taste

What to do:

I used a french press to make my coffee, but a drip coffee machine will work just fine. Make your coffee with the extra scoops with your chosen hot drip method. Once the coffee has brewed, fill your heat safe coffee glass (or cup) half way with ice and pour the brewed coffee. Give it a couple of stirs and enjoy! 


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 10:39

Winter Craft: Hypertufa Pots

If you like the look of handmade garden pots, but don’t have access to pottery wheels or kilns, this is the project for you. Hypertufa pots are a great DIY project to try during winter since it takes a few weeks for the pots to fully cure; just in time for Spring planting!

The word hypertufa comes from “hyper” (excessive) and “tufa” (volcanic rock); these pots look like “very rocky” cast stone vessels.  The pots are lightweight and porous, a perfect home for many different types of plants. Succulents especially love hypertufa pots.  Read ahead for a full how-to. Happy winter crafting!



Hypertufa Pots


example of finished pots. image via 33shadesofgreen.blogspot.com



The main ingredients are very simple and can be found at your local hardware store or large gardening store:

  • peat moss
  • perlite
  • Portland cement

hypertufa- 2


Hunt in your recycling bin for clean food packaging or look for reusable plastic tubs/ buckets to use for molds. I found a few cardboard food containers that worked perfectly. For each pot, try to find two containers that nest inside each other, leaving ¾” to 1 ½” wall thickness between them. For one pot, I used a ½ gallon square cardboard milk container and a small half and half container. For the other two pots, I used a few standard ice cream cardboard containers in round ½ gallon and quart sizes.

 hypertufa- 1


You’ll want to have some basic tools on-hand:

  • protective gloves
  • dust mask
  • a mixing tub or bucket (plastic works well)
  • a trowel, cultivator or gardening fork (to stir the mix)
  • cooking spray
  • wire brush, microplane, rasp or similar hand tool (after the pots cure for a couple of days—to clean up the surfaces and edges)


What you do:

Spray a thick coat of cooking spray onto the inner/ outer surfaces of your molds.

Put on your dust mask and gloves.  In a large tub or bucket, mix your dry ingredients: 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part Portland cement.  I used two quarts of each.

hypertufa- 3  hypertufa- 4

Add water slowly and stir until the mixture becomes the consistency of cottage cheese. You may want to use your gloved-hands to mix it up thoroughly.

hypertufa- 5b

Put a base layer of mix about ½” to 1” deep in the bottom of your mold.

Place your smaller (nesting) container on top of this base layer, and begin filling in the wall thickness. Be sure to pack it in tightly to reduce air pockets. Tap on the sides of the container to help get rid of bubbles.

hypertufa- 6

hypertufa- 7

Repeat with all of your molds

Cover your pots with plastic bags and set aside for 24 hours.

After curing for 24 hours, carefully remove the inner molds.

hypertufa- 8

Re-cover with plastic bags and set aside for another 24 hours.

After curing for a second 24 hour period, carefully remove or peel away the outer molds.

Re-cover with plastic and let sit for another 24 hours.

After curing for a third 24 hour period, the surfaces of your pots should be hard enough and ready to be finished.

Using a wire brush, microplane or rasp, smooth the top edges of your pots and any other imperfections that may have transferred from your molds.

hypertufa- 12

Using a drill or a similar tool, create holes in the bottom of your pots for drainage.

Re-cover with plastic and let cure for a few weeks. Check on them in 3-6 weeks. At that point, the cement should have cured, and the pots will be a much lighter gray color.

Now your pots are ready for plants!  (Bonus tip: moss or lichen will grow directly on your pot, if desired! Mix some moss, sugar and buttermilk in a blender, paint it onto the pot's surface, and watch it grow. More info on that technique here.)


hypertufa - hpDSC 0228

example of finished pots. image via 33shadesofgreen.blogspot.com


Some thoughts:

There are a few things I’ll do differently next time I try this project.

First, I would change the ratio of ingredients: instead of equal parts, I’d reduce the amount of Portland cement (try 2 parts cement, 3 parts peat moss, 3 parts perlite). This would keep the pots strong and sturdy but lighter in weight.

Second, I would try using just one mold on the outside, with no nested container inside; I would pack the mixture along the bottom and up along the sides, since it’s fairly sticky and stays put if you pack it tightly. This would give me more freedom in the size/ shape of the vessel I choose to use as a mold, since I wouldn’t have to find a smaller one to nest perfectly inside. I would still try to use plastic or cardboard molds, if possible.

Finally, I would want to experiment with color. There are masonry stains that you can mix in, but I've read that it works best with white cement mix rather than the standard gray.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Sunday, 15 April 2012 21:30

Green Week: Slow Food

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm happy to be kicking off this week's theme, where we'll be featuring all things green in honor of Earth Day which is coming up on April 22nd. My focus: Slow Food.

To some, participating in Slow Food might mean taking a trip to the local farmer's market or growing their own seasonal produce in a home garden. To some, it means crawling around in the back yard, hunting for edible plants. For others, it means frequenting restaurants and grocers who support local purveyors with ethical and sustainable practices. To me, it is a mix of all of these things, tempered with a dash of compromise.  I'd like to share a couple of highlights from my experiences with Slow Food.

Shop carefully, prepare with care and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


Slow Food Part One

This past weekend, Louisville hosted the Slow Food USA National Congress, during which leaders in the Slow Food movement have a powow and determine the organization’s direction for the next four years. According to their website, "Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet." What impeccable timing considering Earth Week, a celebration of all things good for our planet, was only a week away! My husband Tyler, who is a Chef, was invited to participate in an evening food tasting for Slow Food which took place at beautiful Woodland Farm in Goshen, Kentucky.

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The Slow Food movement deems delicious food to be "created with care from healthy plants and animals" and "nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies." The tasting that Tyler prepared was completely seasonal and local, and took all of these important values to heart. Spring is my second favorite season for food (late Summer/ Fall being my fave!) and Tyler's tasting was essentially Spring on A Plate. He featured gorgeous locally-foraged greens, radish, ramp aoili, and thinly sliced lambchetta (similar to porchetta).

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The greens (red and green watercress, arugula, garlic mustard, white and purple violets, purple wood sorrel, toothwort, chickweed), radish, and ramps were foraged by Tyler and his sous chef at nearby Foxhollow Farm. The grass-fed lamb was sustainably raised by a small local farm in Lincoln County, KY and processed by Marksbury Farm in Garrard County, KY.

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His tasting was a big hit! It was great to get such good feedback from the Slow Food community, and show some of the out-of-towners that Kentucky has much more to offer than just bourbon and horses. I hope we get to re-visit Woodland Farm soon-- what a gorgeous place!


Slow Food Part Two

One weekend about two and a half years ago, when I still lived in NYC, I visited an event on Governer's Island called Pioneers Of Change: a "festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture." On cloud nine from Dutch-design-heaven, I was even more thrilled to discover a food-related installation/ experience inside one of the houses, named "Go Slow Café."


The space itself was perfectly serene. Every aspect of my meal was refreshingly slow-paced and calm.

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The tea bags were sewn on-site. The menus were a map, explaining the correlation between portion size and distance each ingredient traveled. Obviously it would be ideal if everything were local. However, when that is not possible, they are encouraging that products that travel great distances are used in moderation and treated as valuable or precious.

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The largest portion (mustard greens), came from a rooftop farm in Brooklyn, only 5 miles away. The very last ingredient, "Star Dust" came from outerspace! Actually, it's just licorice powder, a traditional Dutch candy.

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It was a wonderfully yummy and eye-opening experience.

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More info on this and other projects can be found on sloom.org



Slow Food has over 100,000 members worldwide, including 25,000 in the USA. Click here to find a chapter near you in the States, or click here if you'd like to locate an international chapter.  In Louisville, the Slow Food Bluegrass chapter is very active and features wonderful local events, year-round.


Foraging for edible greens in your own backyard or on a nature hike at a local farm can be a very rewarding experience. Practically everyone in Louisville has dandelion greens, violets, purslane, chives and wood sorrel growing just steps from our backdoors. They are all delicious! If you'd like to try, consult a book on the subject and bring along a friend or professional who has already had lots of practice identifying plants. And of course, forage with caution and at your own risk.

Some links on the topic:

Backyard Buffet

Wild Greens

Backyard Salad

Foraging in our own backyard



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