Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cookies for the Homeless - Grassroots Crisis Intervention

We were saddened to learn that there are many kids who are homeless in Howard County.  According to an Ellicott City article the number of homeless people are growing -
in 2009 there were 174 people 2010 there were 221 people homeless.  

Recently, we learned that our grandmother's friend was organizing people to bake holiday cookies for those homeless in our county. (That's us with our grandmother )


The cookies would be delivered to the Day Resource Center in Jessup where families in need go for help.  Since homeless families don't have a home much less a kitchen to cook in, having something homebaked for the holidays would be special for them.

So, we decided to participate in this effort.  We made a video to show how easy (and fun) it is make a batch of cookies to donate.

Please consider donating something to those in need during the holiday.  If you do, let us know what you did so we can share ideas. And tell us if you have some ideas we could do to help homeless families not just at the holiday time but anytime of the year.

Here's our video -

We used our grandmother's receipe  -

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 pkg (3 oz) soft cream cheese
1 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 sifted all-purpose flour
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Refrigerate ungreased cooke sheets until ready to use.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In large bowl, with wooden spoon, or portable electric mixer at medium speed, beat cheese, butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Stir in flour to make a soft dough.
4. Fill cookie press. Force dough through ribbon disk of cookie press in 2-inch strips onto cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Optional: top with sprinkles
5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden around edges.  Remove to wire rack; cool.

For more information about the Day Resource Center, visit their website below.

Day Resource Center ( a Grassroots program)
8826 Washington Blvd.
Jessup, MD 20794
* Accepts donations of men's and women's jeans (need lots of men's), t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweaters, therma; underwear, heavy shoes, hats, gloves, tennis shoes, socks, underwear.   Open 3 days a week.

Rt. 1 Day Resource Center ==
Directions **Google Map**
8826 Washington Blvd., 1st Floor
Jessup, MD 20794
301.776.9900 (phone) 

Hours of Operation
Mondays, 2 to 6 p.m.
Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crepe Cafe - Bryant Park in New York City

My family and I went to  New York City for the weekend.   We ate dinner at Angus McIndoe one of our favorite restaurants in the theater district.  (will post a review).
A highlight of our trip was a stop at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park.  It has the Citi Pond ice skating rink - which is free to the public. The ice rink is surrounded by small shops and grab-n-go eateries that are all dressed up in their holiday cheer. 

Although there were many places to grab a bite to eat, we decided to try Crepe Cafe. They offered a wicked variety of flavored hot chocolates such as brown sugar, pineapple, almond, acai berry, peach, cinnamon, coconut, banana.  Also on the menu was a variety of teas and of course crepes.

We placed our order at the window. Charles ordered a strawberry hot chocolate and banana crepe. Thomas decided on a Hershey's Hot Chocolate and a strawberry crepe.  Then waited at the pick-up window for our order. 

 The crepe came with whipped cream which melted pretty fast in the cold night air.  The crepe was super thin and a bit chewy.  It wasn't the best one we've ever had but it was tasty. The plastic fork and knife they supplied made it really hard to cut and pick up the crepe.

The hot chocolates were the bomb - it was the best we've ever had. With only one sip, our mouths exploded with a sensation of smooth, velvety chocolate sweetness.  Although we weren't sure if the non-traditional strawberry flavored hot chocolate would be good - it was well worth the try. 

Luckily, we found an empty table and chairs to eat on with a view of the skate rink.  It was a crowded weekend night so it wasn't easy to find.

If you are going to the Big Apple, we'd definitely recommend a trip to Bryant Park with a stop at Crepe Cafe.  We can't wait to go back and try other hot chocolate flavors. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jason's Deli - Columbia, MD

We've tried some of the most amazing New York/New Jersey Delis such as Millburn Deli  so we were very excited when we heard Jason's Deli was coming to town.

When we walked into the restaurant, our first observation was that it looked like a cool, upscale cafeteria. The menu was promising with many different items including classic deli selections (some with organic choices), soups, pastas, specialty sandwiches and more.

The Club Royale -

Toasted croissant with smoked turkey breast, ham, bacon, Swiss, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard (we substituted whole wheat bread for the croissant)


                                                                                           The Turkey Reuben:

                                    Turkey breast, sauerkraut, Swiss, organic stone ground mustard, grilled on rye

Because the restaurant had an open kitchen we could watch an assembly line of people constructing our food. Everyone had a different job, but a common goal  get the food to the customer. Shortly after watching the "birth" of our food, it arrived at our table.

The Club Royale looked good, but didn't live up to our expectations. The whole wheat bread had no flavor. We eat whole wheat bread mostly for school lunch. Healthy bread doesn't have to taste bad, but this really did...... like a flavorless-loaf of air. The meat, although plentiful, was bland.  

The Turkey Reuben was also disappointing. The menu said it was grilled - which is the classic way a Reuben is served.  The bread seemed toasted not grilled because the meat and sauerkraut were not warm and fused together like it usually is when the sandwich is grilled. The turkey meat was bland like the Club Royale.

All sandwiches come with potato chips and a pickle that we really enjoyed!

While we didn't try the all-you-can-eat salad bar, it looked popular with various choices -some organic -  and  many customers coming back for second helpings. 

The deli also had a soft serve ice cream machine.  Sadly, we didn't get to try it.  But like the salad bar, it looked really good.

Pros: fun atmosphere with open kitchen, big sandwiches, tidy, healthy choices and good chips & pickles

Cons: poor choice in breads & bland turkey meat

Recommondation: Every restaurant deserves a second chance...we'd go back and try other menu items.  Btw, Jason's Deli has been around for 35 years with chains in 28 it must be doing something right.

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon