Lilia Write Now

I write, therefore I am

For humanity’s sake April 29, 2013

Todd and I went and saw the movie 42 today.

This isn’t a movie review post.

In fact, this post will be a lot shorter than most of my posts.

The movie, if you are not familiar, is about Jackie Robinson, the first African American man to play in Major League Baseball. The story focused mostly on the struggles he faced being accepted as a Negro in an era where racism was rampant and segregation was a struggle.

As we were watching the movie, there were different moments where I found myself tearing up. These usually came when someone showed some kindness to Jackie. When one of his teammates stood up for him for the first time against an opposing team manager’s racist taunts. When the team owner told him not to quit because they needed him.

Basically, when someone acted with humanity rather than with hatred or ignorance.

Looking at something like segregation, you might say we have come a long way.

But have we?

How many instances of people acting with malice do we hear of daily now?

And why should someone acting with an ounce of humanity make me cry? Why is it the exception rather than the norm?

I’ll get off my soapbox. After leaving you with this one thought.

We all make jokes at another’s expense. We may not do it to their face, we may laugh with our friends, or we may just think it. Next time you catch yourself in one of those moments, do something radical. Compliment that person instead.

Humanity starts with you.


Gather ’round the table August 8, 2012

“The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table”

At least that is what the quote on the dining room wall at Gatherings Kitchen says.  And I would have to agree.

Back on July 20, Todd and I, along with a couple of my co-workers, had our first Gatherings Kitchen experience. What is Gatherings Kitchen? It is “a warm, friendly and interactive cooking experience. It’s part restaurant, part cooking class, and part home.”

They pick a new menu every month, with a different theme.  For our experience in July, we worked with the “American Road Trip” menu.  They offer supper club cooking classes on Friday nights that accommodate 16 people. You can make reservations ahead of time, either for yourself or a group of friends.

We got there at 6:15 on a Friday night.  We were lucky enough that despite how hot this summer has been, that particular night felt downright fall-like with temperatures in the high 60’s.  I loved it.  Especially since I was going to be in a kitchen cooking.

When you walk in off the street, you walk right into the beautiful dining room with a huge table set to match the theme of the menu.  There is a beautiful chandelier that originally hung in Cowell & Hubbard back when it was a jewelry store.

You walk through the dining room and into the large commercial kitchen.  There, they have stations set up with the different components that make up the meal.  All the ingredients are pre-measured and the recipe is printed out next to the supplies.

Our menu for the evening was to be as follows:

  • Mini Lobster Rolls
  • Kansas City Barbecued Chicken Thighs
  • Cedar Plank Salmon with Wild Mushroom Pierogi and Dill Cream
  • Peach, Goat Cheese and Blueberry Molasses Vinaigrette with Candied Bacon
  • Grilled Ribeye with Walla Walla Onion Rings, Warm Potato & Corn Salad and Steak Sauce
  • Berry Crisp with Honey Whiskey Ice Cream


Todd and I walked around the kitchen and scoped out all the stations.  Since my husband is not a huge fan of cooking and I was shocked that he had even agreed to this activity, I didn’t want to overwhelm  him, so we chose the grilled peach salad station.  I had also been told that if you select one of the less involved recipes, you would be done earlier and that would free us up to walk around and observe as everyone else was making the other dishes.

Gatherings Kitchen provides all the food as well as soda and water, but beyond that it is BYOB.  Many people that night brought wine.  As we all started cooking, people were drinking their wine and chatting and there was a general convivial atmosphere in the kitchen.

Once we finished cooking we started to make our way into the dining room.  First up were our appetizers, the Kansas City barbecued chicken thighs and the mini lobster rolls.  There are no set rules as to how many servings you are entitled to per se, but I will tell you that I more than ate my share of the lobster rolls.  I couldn’t help it.  Sweet, succulent chunks of lobster with fresh tarragon and lemon, on a buttered and grilled mini hot dog bun…There was no way I could stop at one.  However I only had half of one of the chicken thighs, so I figure it all balances out.

After the appetizers, the chefs plate the entrées and start serving us one course at a time.

First we had the arugula salad with goat cheese and peaches. Mr. Lipps and I opted to slice the peaches and grill them which produced a lovely caramelized end result.  This was paired with goat cheese and bacon crumbles.  The dressing, which we also made, was odd but tasty.  It consisted of white wine vinegar, shallots, dijon, blueberries, molasses and olive oil.

Next up was the cedar plank salmon with wild mushroom pierogi.  The salmon was brushed with dijon mustard followed by a sprinkling of brown sugar.   Having just made some cedar plank salmon at home, I found that the brown sugar in this recipe was unnecessary.  It made the fish a little too sweet, in an artificial way and I didn’t feel that was needed.  The pierogies, maybe because they were not made by professionals, were a little thick, the dough should have been rolled out a bit more.  However, the filling was delicious.

Following that, we had the grilled ribeye with warm potato corn salad and walla walla onion rings.  The chefs asked all of us how we wanted our steaks done and grilled them to order.  As someone who does not enjoy her steak still mooing at her (go ahead, tell me I am a hillbilly for liking my steaks medium to medium-well) I appreciated this.  Normally I have experienced that when meat is being cooked for a group, it is generally all made rare to medium-rare and I always find myself missing out.  This was a welcome change.  Also, at the risk of sounding like a snot, I usually only eat filet mignon.  This is not because I am some sort of meat elitist, I just really cannot stomach the fat that comes with other cuts of meat.  However, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this ribeye.  There must have been some kind of voodoo.  The warm potato corn salad was unremarkable and needed to be seasoned a bit more.  The walla walla onion rings were amazing.  They were light and crispy and although they had been fried, they were not heavily battered and did not have that deep fried taste.

By now we were all holding our stomachs and moaning and groaning about how full we were.  But, we still had one last course.

This is the one that I knew, as a dessert professional, I would be most critical of.  For our final treat, we had berry crisp and honey whiskey ice cream.  The crisp was baked in individual ramekins.  The oat crumble topping was a little hard to push my spoon through and overall, I didn’t love it.  The ice cream however, was absolutely delicious.  I would have gladly traded in my crisp for a bowl full of ice cream.

By the time we were done, it was about 10:30 and we had been there for 4 hours.  To me, the time flew by.  We were eating, chatting and laughing.  At one point my friend Molly even got down on the floor to show my other friend’s husband how to do frog pose.  You can’t buy that kind of entertainment.


I will definitely be going back to Gatherings Kitchen again for another culinary experience. If you would like to see additional pictures from this night, including the delicious food, click here.

Although the menus have not yet been published, here are their themes through November:

  • August – India
  • September – Spain
  • October – Octoberfest
  • November – Italy

I will definitely be doing Italy and may be interested in Spain as well.  Who wants to go?


In Theory… June 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — llipps @ 2:10 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are a number of things that I hear people talk about and I think, oh, that sounds great. In theory.

Allow me to explain.

Road Trips
I love the idea of a road trip.  Buy snacks, pack necessities, hop in the car and head off for an adventure. For about the first 90 minutes I am there.  The excitement level is consistent. I’ve got the playlist going, I am car dancing, playing the alphabet game. And then…well my butt is sore from too much sitting on it.  Why is it that I can sit at work all day long and my bum doesn’t get numb, but 2 hours into a road trip and I am sitting on pins and needles? For me, it usually ends up being about the destination, not the journey. (Although someday, I will have to tell you about the road trip to Windsor for my bachelorette party that ended up taking 6-8 hours instead of 3)

You know that feeling.  You have been staring at the 4 white walls for so long that you just can’t do it another minute. You excitedly run out to your nearest home improvement store, pore over the paint swatches and settle on the one perfect one that will absolutely change your life. Or at least your room. You head home with your new gallon of paint and anticipation. First, you have to pull the furniture away from the walls, or depending on the size of the space, maybe even pull it out of the room altogether.  Then, you have to tape.  Everywhere. Finally, you are ready to…prime. Ok, now you can do it. You can paint. Oh wait, what’s that?  You’re tired and sore from all the prep work? The ecru eggshell is not changing your life?  Suck it up, finish and grudgingly move the furniture back in place.


So, I know plenty of people who run.  They love running. They tell me how great running is. I love it in theory. Strap on your shoes, plug in the iPod and go. You and the road are one. No annoying thoughts worming their way in.  Just the fresh air, your tunes and your heartbeat. What could be better? How about not having shin splints. How about an activity that doesn’t require strapping the girls in to within an inch of their life. How about no complete boredom as my feet just beat an endless pattern into the ground, one after the other after the other, ad nauseum. Yeah, no danger of me becoming a marathoner.


I LOVE the thought of winter. Thinking about it now conjures up images of piping hot bowls of homemade chili, wearing a cozy sweater, snuggling with my husband and puppy as we gaze out into the snowy white winter wonderland. And I am not saying moments like that don’t occur. But we’re not living in a Swiss Miss commercial here. I have to drive in that white drivel. I have to wash out the salt stains that are left on my clothes. I have to pay the astronomical gas bills that come from trying to create that cozy feeling in my home. (The worst part is, I have to give up my glorious summer shoe collection. Although I do have some lovely boots)

Laying Out

Everyone looks better tan.  Not oompa loompa Snookie tan, but kissed by the sun tan. I certainly like to sport a tan.  So like all Ohioans, as soon as the weather turns nice and reaches a balmy 65 degrees, I am planning my sunbathing adventures. But then I get out there, I lather myself up and…within minutes I am sweating and bored. The only way I can sunbathe is if I am on vacation and there is a pool next to me.  Laying out in my own back yard just doesn’t seem to hold any appeal for me.

So, tell me what you like in  theory, but not so much in practice?


%d bloggers like this: