Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Celebration Part 3... A Daughter-In_Law, The Greatest Gift Of All

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I knew I liked her and I knew something odd was going on around me.  Chris had that "smile" on his face and a lighter step.  I couldn't put my finger on it and the staff was hush hush.  Which around me, depending on how severe the gossip is they can be hush hush.  And Bethany avoided me, she stayed under my radar.  I never thought much about it until Derby Day two years ago.  Bethany, Chris and their friend Henry were going to Louisville and man were they decked out.  While they were gone, someone said something as I was passing about them dating.  HaHa me being the crack investigator, as I am, I knew now what that smile was about.

Chris and Bethany have now been dating for almost two years and I couldn't be happier.  Anyone reading my blog for the first time, Chris is my son.   He has a wonderful heart and a great sense of adventure.  Yesterday, Chris got down on his knee (with Bethany's dads approval) in Melt (their date place) and asked her to marry him.  He will make Bethany a wonderful husband.  She deserves none less since she is such a wonderful person herself.  They have that click.

Chris is now the General Manager at Arnold's and is also in charge of events and social media.  He has been a part (and I credit many) of turning Arnold's into a thriving entertainment mecca of the wonderful City of Cincinnati.  Bethany is a server at Arnold's and also a dance instructor.  She is as hard of a worker as anyone. I am thinking this is the perfect setup for a reality TV show. 

I am done writing my blog for the rest of the year.  Chris can look for guest bloggers (which do better than me).  I was going to go strong with all the things I love about my job, my life and Arnold's. My life at Arnold's has allowed me to have this wonderful life with family, friends and all the things I need.  I am grateful beyond believe to live my life one day at a time, with serenity, to share my stories, hope, dreams and yes, food with all of you.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have given me.  I welcome Bethany into our family with open arms and can't wait to live my future with her in it.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and the Happiest of New Year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Holiday Celebration... Part 2 Bad Grammar But I Can Kick Your Ass At Scrabble

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I am killing two birds with one stone today (my mom used that expression a lot).  I get to talk about where I came from and my roots (part of my celebration for life).  Then,  I forever have wanted to express to some people how hurtful it is when you correct others grammar. 

In this computer age very few people could be online and having a wonderful time if they had to be perfect on grammar.  I now delete someone that rudely corrects me or Arnold's on grammar mistakes.  I will gladly change something if you message me in private and let me know with a friendly reminder that I have used your instead of you re or you're.  Or even you instead of your, a big keystroke mistake for me.  If anyone of my friends or customers that love me dearly and would never want to hurt my feelings care to edit this post please do so and I will re post with the corrected post.  I will even give you credit if you so desire.

I grew up in Newport.  In a poor and caring neighborhood.  It was on 2nd and Park.  Now called, "Mansion Hill".  Our gas and electric was often turned off and my grandmother often bailed us out of debt.  Odd thing is I didn't know I was poor until I was in my thirties.  All of us kids started working in one form or another when we were under 10 years old.  We baby sat, we worked at race tracks  and carnivals.  We sold cotton candy and ice balls.  When I was 15 years old I went to Kings Island (just opening in 1972) and taught their workers how to get the most out of making a cotton candy.  See I was really good at putting air in it and making them beautiful.  The Gold Medal Company asked me to do that and as pay, me and my sister got to spend the day there. 

When I was 14 years old my brother and sisters all moved out.  Three of them and all 2 years apart.  My mom worked on a steam table in a restaurant and my dad had many jobs.  My job was to finish or make dinner before my mom got home at 8pm.  It wasn't daily but it was often.  My mom always told me what to cook or how to finish something off.  As I stated, I didn't know I was poor until I was in my thirties.  I think one reason for that was because my mom was an awesome cook.  That is where I started learning.

I come from a hard working family.  That was important.  To learn the skills to earn a living and take care of yourself.  Welfare was unheard of and food stamps were not going to be an option in our family.  Never.  We were expected to do our homework and to pass. We were expected to get jobs and if someone chose to go to college that would have been okay, as long as we worked to do it.  My parents didn't have the money to give us.  If we did it, it was up to us.  I did go to Cosmetology  school and I did graduate.  I made more money working in a restaurant so decided to do that instead.

When I was 26 I decided I would be a waitress forever.  I made enough money at it and it was what I knew.  I didn't need to go to college.  I was raising a kid on my own and was doing well.   I did get married a few years later (then became single again and married again)  and I did go to computer school for a few semesters.  When I got promoted to Assistant Manager at Arnold's I asked my teacher if I should take the job, it was paying $10.00 per hour or if I should hold out and finish school.  He told me I would probably never make that kind of money in computers.  I wonder if I was a bad student or if that was the best advice he could ever give me.

My point is this.  I never needed grammar to add up a customers check or to hug my son or to cook dinner.  I never needed grammar to love my friends and family.  I never needed grammar to have good credit and work my ass off and work my way up to owning Arnold's.  I never needed grammar to play scrabble with my mom, my sisters or our next door neighbor.  I never needed to learn grammar to succeed in my world.  So now I am thrown into a delightful world of computers where people get to read my poor grammar.  If it had to be perfect I wouldn't know many of you.   I didn't have time to learn it then and I sure as hell don't have time to learn it now.  Scrabble anyone?

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Holiday Celebration... Part 1, Latka's And Margarita's, A Hanukkah Fiesta...

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My blog today is a lead into a few post I am going to be writing over the next week.  My friend Judy, which is my friend Sue's really good friend, asked me why I love Arnold's and my job.  I always think that is a given but it made me think and is still making me think of all the reasons I love Arnold's, my job and my life.  What can I say, it's that time of the year. 

I met Sue at Arnold's though my friend Shannon Rae.  She said she thought we should meet.  Boy was she right, Sue and I have become dear friends over the years. 

Latka's and Margarita's is a celebration  dinner at my friends Sue and Rob's home.  She celebrates Hanukkah and loves having her friends around to celebrate with her.  It's a mixed crowd of no more than 14 people and it changes from year to year.  I have been honored to attend several years.  It's a light twist on a holiday that is very dear to Sue's heart. 

We start the evening in Sue and Rob's kitchen with Mexican appetizers and some kick ass Margarita's that Sue makes from Tequila, agave, and fresh limes.  The sourness almost makes you pucker but the sweet agave smooths it at the end.  It isn't written in stone but no one seems to have more than one or two, we do have to drive home, you know.  While we are talking, eating and drinking, Bob (another friend), is making homemade Latka's on the stove.  These are made from shredded potatoes, herbs and a pinch of flour.  They are a bit thicker than Izzy's potato pancakes and very crispy.  He makes tons of them.  

Meanwhile Judy is making a salad which the greens are from her garden in Madeira.  She is STILL growing micro greens in her community garden in the middle of December!  She adds some tomatoes that I believe ripened on her window sill, green peppers and a cucumber.  Her salad "dressing" is made of feta cheese, oregano, olive oil and a touch of red wine vinegar.  It was just sprinkled over the salad.  I have to say, it was one of the most delicious salads I have ever had.  

The salad is then place individually on the dining room table, the appetizers are cleared and the "buffet" is set.  Sue carves the beef brisket that is the star of the show, believe it or not.  She had to get the recipe from her mom because this brisket is that good.  I Jones for that brisket throughout the year. She also has this deep red sauce to go with it.  It isn't bbq sauce and it isn't spaghetti sauce.  It is a deep rich flavor of tomatoes and beef.  I think not asking her for the recipe is a huge compliment to her.  That's the respect I have for her and the dish. 

Placed on the buffet table is the latka's, the brisket, the sauce (in a gravy boat of course), sour cream and apple sauce for dipping the latka's. 

There are thirteen of us at a table for 8 and for some reason there is plenty of room.  It is cozy, we eat our salad and then our meal.  There are tiny candles on the table which burn out long before the dinner and the conversation.  The meal is finished and removed from the table for dessert.  Jody has made cookies and Bret (my husband) is always responsible for making the traditional apple cake (recipe below). 

This dinner is one of my favorite things to do over the holiday season.  Bret and I missed it last year because we were "too busy" at the restaurant.  This year we decided to jump though every hoop possible, life is too short.  The meal is awesome but the friends are more awesome.  It is a night of happiness and joy.  We remember Sue's mom that passed this year and the time we called her and she sang to us.  Sue reads a hilarious letter she received from a friend.  Jody ad libbing to put us in stitches.  This is just one thing I love about Arnold's, my job and my life.

Jewish Apple Cake
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c sugar (use last)
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz. cream cheese (3/4 cup)
2 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS cinnamon (use last)
3 c chopped peeled apples (2 large)

Preheat oven to 350
Beat 1 1/2 c sugar, butter, vanilla and cream cheese
Add eggs 1 at a time
Combine flour, baking powder and salt then add to liquid ingredients
Combine 1/4 c sugar and cinnamon mix in bowl and toss chopped apples then fold into batter
Pour batter into 8" springform pan that has been oiled (Pam)
Sprinkle remaining cinnamon over batter
Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until cake pulls away from pan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Crisp Bread Pudding Recipe And The Love That Goes Into It

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Yep I am going to give it up.  At least I am going to try.  A customer came in and asked straight up if they could have this recipe.  I give almost all my recipes, it's just some of them we don't write down.  Some recipes are more of a love. 

Joe in the kitchen is a control freak.  If I am making something he has to learn how to do it and then the next thing I know I come in and he has made it.  This had happened with the creme burle, many of my soups and now the bread pudding.  So talking to him and asking how I could get this recipe down so someone else could make it we both agree it has a lot of love in it.  Finding the right doneness is more of a feel.  Here is our attempt at telling you guys how to make it. 

This is a bread pudding with a pumpkin pie on top then crisp (like from an apple crisp) on top of that.  It then gets ice cream and a sweet vanilla glaze on top.  Of course whipped cream for a final touch.  You just might want to buy it at Arnold's since that would be way easier.  I change the flavors of the bread puddings when the seasons change so this will be available until early spring.  Our recipe makes about 40 orders requiring 2 extra large pumpkin pies so here is my best attempt for home use. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Super Easy And Delicious Indian Veggie Soup

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This soup is delicious and easy.  In this recipe I am using canned bean for convenience.  If you want to make your own, get a bag of mixed beans and you will be covered.  If making your own beans, you don't need to season them while cooking.

1 can garbanzo beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can black beans
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked arboria rice (other types of rice can be use. don't use instant rice so not sure how that would work with this soup)
mixed veggies totaling 2 cups (I used shredded carrots, onions, roasted red peppers, spinach)
1 TBS chopped garlic
                                                                     3 TBS curry (be brave)
                                                                     1 tsp cayenne (be cautious)
                                                                     2 TBS craisins or raisins
salt and pepper to taste (do not add salt when cooking but when finished)

Add all ingredients except the beans and coconut milk to a big pot.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 - 20 minutes after boil.  This is a thick soup and there shouldn't be too much liquid.  If there is, turn your burner up and cook off some of the liquid.  Add beans and coconut milk.  Eat and enjoy!  Your soup should look like the picture.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jewelry Fridays: Amy E Wallace

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I decided to break away from photographers for the entire month of December and feature different artists from around the Arnold's community. Today's guest artist is Amy Wallace. She makes her own jewelry from scratch and that is pretty awesome.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Years Eve with The Young Heirlooms

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I know, I know, just when you are knee deep in holiday cheer I mention those 3 little words.  New Years Eve.  Well I am thinking this year you don't have to go crazy at the last minute trying to figure out what to do.  Pick up you phone and call Arnold's for a reservation!  513-421-6234.  No deposit required! 

I am always excited about New Years Eve as it is the end to our holiday season.  It is the end of our fiscal year and the beginning of a new anniversary.  Next year will be 151 in case anyone didn't know. 

What is so special about Arnold's this year is what we are not doing. We are not charging a cover, no inflated prices, no prix fixe menu. Just great food, great fun, great music and an affordable New Years Eve night out at Arnold's.  I never know if people want cajun or traditional, Italian or Mexican.  This year we are going to do our regular menu with some 16.95 specials. The entertainment for the night is the awesome new band the Young Heirlooms. We are not charging a cover, but we will pass the hat like always. We will also be well stocked with plenty of free party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. We will also take reservations for the courtyard for the music (something we don't normally do). 

Here's the deal...
Todd Hepburn on Piano from 6 - 8pm
Young Heirlooms from 9 - 12:30
All seating in the courtyard is for dinner seating until after 10:30.
Regular Menu plus specials

PRIME RIB... Prime rib coated in fresh herbs and seared in a giant cast iron skillet then slow roasted until rare.  Finished on the grill to your liking.  Served with garlic mashed potatoes, fresh sauteed green beans, au jus and horseradish sour cream.

BABY BAKE RIBS... Slow roasted until fall of the bone then char grilled in a spicy pineapple bbq sauce.  Served with french fries and cole slaw.

FLAT IRON STEAK... Delicious!  Grilled to your liking and topped with Ronda's bernaise.  Served with garlic mashed and fresh asparagus.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH CASSELOT... Spaghetti squash, fresh spinach, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke, sundried cherries baked in a casserole with a spicy pumkin thai sauce.  Topped with blue cheese crumbles and chopped pecans.  Served with baked garlic bread.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The "GingerBreadMan" Drink at Arnold's

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This drink turned out very well and is incredibly spicy with just enough sweetness.  I do let it "infuse" and make a large batch.  Let this set at least a day before serving.

1 bottle 750mL Vodka (I used Stoli)         
1 bottle 750mL Bailey's Irish Cream
1 quart heavy cream
1 TBS nutmeg
2 TBS grated fresh ginger
2 TBS ground dried ginger
1/2 cup simple syrup (make by dissolving 1/4 cup of sugar in 1/4 cup very hot water)

Let the simple syrup cool before you mix with other ingredients.  Let sit for at least 1 day.  Strain before using unless you want the bits of ginger in your drink.  Serve in a rocks glass  with ice and a cherry

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Bombshell's Brunch

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On Saturday December 10th from 11am-2pm, the Bombshells of Cincinnati are hosting a brunch that could be called unique to say the least. The outing will be in support of their next big bombing. Not only will those in attendance be the first to find out where it will be, they will be given their own Top Secret dossier with detailed instructions on a individual craft project to be completed by them, which will play a major role in the next yarn bombing. Beyond that, the Bombshells will be in attendance to lend their expertise to whatever helpful hints and help with any random yarn conundrums that you may be experiencing. The cost of the event and brunch will be $25.00 including tip and is a fundraiser going towards covering the cost of the Bombshells next bombing. Also included in the deal will be a $5.00 gift certificate going towards your next visit to Arnold’s. Please, please, please RSVP at

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pottery Fridays: Linda Legendre

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Ok, so we are switching things up a little this Friday. We are featuring the very talented potter and Arnold's employee, Linda Legendre. She has a show coming up this weekend so I thought it would be the perfect time to feature her just in time for it. Here is Linda Legendre.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Scalloped Oyster Recipe & Our Arnold's Family Thanksgiving

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I can't decide if I have been in a food coma for a week or if I am just over planning for Christmas.  I wanted to get this post in a week ago and the week just slipped away. 

Thanksgiving was wonderful, the guest and the food.  There were about 20 of us for dinner and then some more people came by as the night went on.

For people reading this and that don't know what we did for Thanksgiving, go here. The food was amazing and with no organization we did great.  We all told what our dish was and we all brought a favorite we couldn't live without!  Turkey, stuffing, another turkey, gravy, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, pecan praline yams, mashed potatoes, ham, corn pudding, slaw, cranberry concoction, lime jello dish, sausage chestnut stuffing, brocoli casserole, yeast rolls.  Then dessert.  Bruce's Turtle Cheese Cake, Cindy's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Apple Pie, Ice Cream, Pumpking Pie, Keith's Apple Bread. And scalloped oysters.

Scalloped oysters was my dish.  It dates back in my family as long as I can remember.  My uncle would buy fresh oysters to use in the dish because my mom always used canned.  To be honest, I do like the can almost (note the word almost) as much as I like fresh.  I was thinking what an amazing cook my mom was.  We were not wealthy, I grew up in Newport before Newport was Mansion Hill and my mom is making oyster! Here is a very simple and delicous recipe for Scaloped Oysters.  I don't know the reason behind their name but that is what we always called them.  This is fast and you need to make it right before you bake it.  Serve it right out of the oven and DO NOT keep the leftovers. 

Scaloped Oyster Recipe

2 sleeves of Zesta crackers crushed slightly
12 oz. fresh oysters (Finley Market always have oysters) or canned
1 stick of butter melted
1 cup heavy cream (my mom used milk)
1/2 T salt
1 T finely ground pepper
Put all ingredients in a big bowl and lightly toss
Oil or spray oil a baking dish that will hold it all
Bake at 325 - 350 until golden brown on top.  About 25 - 30 minutes.