Posts Tagged ‘cream cheese’

Well, it’s been a little while since I last posted- I think the last time I checked in I was about to embark upon the weekend of performances for Guys and Dolls Jr. Despite all of our ridiculous hurdles, we managed to put out a nice dress rehearsal performance and I was relatively calm about putting on the show for the public. I had a leisurely Saturday, and went out in the afternoon to do a little shopping and some errands. I had left my phone at home and when I got home after 4:00, I noticed that I had two voice mail messages- both detailing how the male lead of our show had woken up that morning with a fever and vomiting. OMG. Luckily, the mom had some serious anti-vomit medicine handy and, after checking with a pediatrician, gave him the drugs that he needed to get through the day. The kid was a trouper, too- you wouldn’t even have known he was sick that morning. Of course, this was one of the few kids who I never had to worry about breaking character or missing lines… he was the least of my worries- until I had to worry that he might hurl on stage!

Anyway, that aside, the weekend was a success- and while I was relieved for it to be over, I didn’t really get to relax last week, as I was gearing up for the NYSSMA festival I would be taking my students to the following weekend. For those of you not from New York, NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) has festivals all over the state each spring for students to be adjudicated by a certified judge. My little ones just go for the experience- mostly they’re playing things like Lightly Row and Home on the Range… if there’s a real hot shot they might play a Bach minuet from Suzuki book 1. So, for me, it’s not really stressful- it’s just a weekend when I have to be impossibly perky and upbeat because I’m usually dealing with a kid’s first NYSSMA solo and I want them to have a good experience.

This year at NYSSMA I only had two students freak out and cry. It’s funny- the ones who cry are always the total hams the rest of the time- so it’s always sort of shocking to see them break down over something like a NYSSMA solo. One of my 4th grade bass players was so nervous that he started playing his solo really fast in the warm-up room… and he couldn’t get through it. The tears were just rolling off the tip of his nose. His mom and I talked him off the ledge with the promise of cookies and potato chips afterward and he did fine. The other cryer was this normally sassy 4th grade violin player- she arrived a little late and I didn’t see her right away- but when I did, she had the tell-tale red, puffy eyes and did not look happy. I managed to calm her down with some effusive compliments and a couple lame knock-knock jokes.

So, NYSSMA pretty much ate up my whole weekend and now this is my last quiet night before I jump headfirst into a high school pit orchestra I’ m playing for this weekend. Last night I made some pasta for dinner and I used that Philly Cooking Creme again- this time I bought the original flavor, and as I predicted, it was definitely the way to go. I sauteed some onion and garlic in a little olive oil, then added a cup of chicken stock. I had a whole bag of baby spinach that needed to get used, so that all went in. I also added a can of quartered artichokes. Then I stirred in the cooking cream and added some grated Romano cheese. I tossed it with some tagliatelli and had a nice dinner. It was also good a day later, as I ate leftovers tonight. I’m not going to bother posting pictures because it doesn’t look that much different from the last pasta I made. I think it was definitely a good idea to cut the cream with some chicken stock, though. It actually made it creamier and more saucy. I might go with the low sodium variety next time, as it was a little salty between the broth and the cheese.

I’m not sure what to do about dinner the next three days- tomorrow I have a rehearsal from 5 to 9, Wednesday I’m getting my hair cut and colored and then going to a board meeting, and Thursday I have another rehearsal from 5 to 9. I could try to be good and pack some healthy food, but I know that fast food is going to lure me in. We’ll see. Which do you think it will be? Greek yogurt with granola and a banana or chicken McNuggets?


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This afternoon I found myself at the supermarket before dinner, without a list. As we all know, this leads to impulsive shopping. One product I saw in the international aisle was this:

I was not compelled to purchase.

Luckily, my impulses were mostly limited to some Cadbury mini eggs. (Apparently, the day after Valentine’s day is when the Easter candy goes out. Last year I waited until Easter was actually imminent, and every store was out of Cadbury mini eggs. Damn.) I also bought a bunch of cream cheese products. You may ask what prompted me to stock up on cream cheese… well, there was this really nice looking cookbook that was free with the purchase of four Philadelphia brand products. So, I got a couple blocks of cream cheese (always good for dip or frosting), a pack of single serving cream cheeses, and a container of this new and mysterious stuff called ‘Cooking Creme.’

I got the impression that the cooking cream was meant to be sort of an quick Alfredo solution… most of the serving suggestions showed it with pasta, or spread on a pizza. I picked up a container of the ‘Italian herbs and cheese’ variety. I probably would have stuck to the ‘original’ flavor, but the Italian one was all they had. The serving size is 1/4 of a cup (I think there were 4 servings per container) and there were 9 grams of fat per serving- so not nearly as bad as traditional Alfredo sauce. Also, I liked that it didn’t involve making a roux and stirring milk for what seems like an eternity (especially on a week night when I typically get home at 6:30.)

When I got home, I put on some water to boil and got to work slicing half an onion and chopping some garlic, both of which I tossed in a pan with a little olive oil. I had a couple of tomatoes that needed to get used, so I blanched those, removed the skin, chopped ’em up and threw them in also. I also had a bag of chopped spinach in the freezer, so I microwaved that and threw it in with the other vegetables and a little white wine. When the pasta was al dente, I drained it, threw it back in the pot with the ‘creme’ and dumped the vegetables on top. I stirred it up and heated it through and this was the result:

I sprinkled a little Romano cheese on top and it was actually quite tasty! I definitely would go with the plain flavor in the future- just because the Italian seasoning tasted a little bit like a Laughing Cow cheese wedge or something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Generic ‘herb’ flavor. Better to get the plain and season it yourself, I think. Well, now that dinner is done, I think I’m going to clean up and do some laundry. I have another college friend visiting this weekend. (one of the nice things about having a new, bigger place- lots of people want to visit!) Maybe I’ll also get some work done on the afghan that I have been neglecting for the last week. I don’t want it to take 8 years to finish like the last one!

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