Thursday, April 30, 2009

RIP: Old Original Bookbinders 1856-2009

Looks like it's time to sadly say goodbye for good to one of my favorite Philadelphia seafood restaurants: Old Original Bookbinders, opened in 1856, closed last March, and, as I just learned this week, is not likely to reopen.

It closed unexpectedly a few days after Hunter and I had an amazing meal there for his 40th birthday. As we walked down the hallway and looked at the hundreds of pictures of the owners with all the celebrities who had eaten there over the years (pretty much anyone who was anyone) we learned from our friendly bartender that every sitting President has eaten there since 1856, and President Obama was already in the book to visit.

Come to learn the restaurant shuttered a few days later due to ongoing financial troubles. It had been under bankruptcy protection since 2006 following a $4.5 million dollar renovation, but the past year and tanking economy were its' swan song. The bankruptcy petition was dismissed this week, effectively ending the owner's fight to reorganize and reopen.

Eating there in March, we had no idea. We were there on a slow Monday night, and the owner, John Taxin, introduced himself and fussed over us nobodies like we were royalty. He gave no inklings of any imminent trouble.

He brought a local celebrity, Jimmy Binns, over to our table and introduced him to us. (Mr. Binns is a prominent Philly attorney and philanthropist. He has represented Sylvester Stallone, and he even appeared in some of the Rocky movies, playing himself!)

We had an amazing meal, which included a very large lobster for Hunter and scrumptious scallops puttanesca for me. Over dinner we speculated about renting out Bookbinders' 2nd floor room sometime for a big event - maybe a milestone birthday or wedding anniversary party. We thanked Mr. Taxin for his hospitality and vowed to return soon.

Then we learned of the closing. Rumors were Mr. Taxin was trying to pool some investors to reopen, but it looks like no agreement was reached.
So, I'm having a little moment of silence this morning for the demise of a piece of Philly history. Bookbinders, you will be missed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WFMW: Hot Crab Dip recipe from a favorite restaurant

See more tips at We Are That Family .

This recipe is from the Old Key Lime House, one of my favorite restaurants in my old stomping grounds of Palm Beach County, Florida. It was published recently in the Florida Sun-Sentinel, who described it as a "deliciously flavorful dip with the spicy kick of cayenne." Works for me!

To get you in a happy hour Crab Dip mood, below are pictures of the historic Old Key Lime House. If you are ever in the Lantana, Florida area, check it out. We've spent many a good time watching the sunset on this deck while letting the kids throw pennies in the koi pond in the middle of the restaurant!

Hot Crab Dip

Prep ahead of time so flavors have time to meld.


• 12 ounces cream cheese (not low fat), at room temperature
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
• Large pinch fresh-ground white pepper, or to taste
• 2 1/2 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 8 ounces crab claw meat*
• 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the cheese on the low speed of an electric mixer until very smooth. Add the cayenne and white peppers, the sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Blend well with the mixer on medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the crab meat and scallions; mix well with a spoon.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Transfer to a microwave-safe serving bowl and heat thoroughly in microwave before serving. Makes about 2 1/3 cups.
*We used the Phillips brand of Pasteurized Claw Crab meat available in the refrigerator section of the seafood department in most supermarkets.

Enjoy with some tri-color tortilla chips and Coronas. It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WFMW: Quick, Easy, Delicious Turkey Recipe

Today's WFMW tip: Quick, Easy, Delicious Recipe: Turkey with Lemon and Capers

I got this from a cookbook I got from the library which TOTALLY works for me: The 5:30 Challenge: 5 Ingredients, 30 Minutes, Dinner on the Table. I copied a bunch of recipes from it before I returned it. As my photocopied recipes are quite splattered, I think I will just suck it up and buy a copy of the book. It's a keeper.

My family loved this, although I did have to explain to Diva and Daredevil what capers were. (I said: "You like salt, right? Well, capers make things salty." That worked for them.)

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 pound turkey tenderloins, tough white membranes removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 14.5 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 lemon (I keep one of those little plastic lemons in the fridge, that worked fine!)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • On a plate, place flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Lightly dredge the turkey in flour.
  • In a large, well-oiled skillet over high heat, saute the turkey pieces for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.
  • Transfer turkey to a plate.
  • Add broth and lemon juice to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the pan.
  • When the sauce has been reduced by about half, return turkey to pan and add capers.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through and sauce reduces to syrupy consistency.
  • Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 231 calories, 30 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 8 grams fat, 74mg cholesterol, 319 mg sodium.

  • Serve with angel hair pasta tossed in EVOO and steamed Brussels sprouts (I know, Brussels sprouts are a hard sell to kids . . but they are one of my faves)
  • Enrich the sauce with a few tablespoons of heavy or light cream added in the end. (I'm sure this would be great, but I NEVER have cream on hand)
  • For lower sodium, substitute white wine for part of the chicken broth

See more tips at We Are That Family and Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 20, 2009


My first baby girl turns 9 today. The past 9 years have flown by. Hunter and I have enjoyed watching a sweet-but-born-with-attitude baby turn into the smart, strong, beautiful and confident girl she has become. While she lives to give us a hard time (we dread the teen years), we are continually amazed by her creativity, wit, and compassion.

Here are a couple of pictures from opening day of softball, where she pitched in a game for the first time. She rocked and her team won. Go Wolverines!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seriously Random Questions Meme

Seriously Random Questions Meme

Stolen from PT Law-Mom

1. Your ex is on the side of the road, on fire. What do you do? I'd do what I could to help. I've been with my husband for 17 years (wow!), so any issues I had with any exes are long in the past.

2. Your best friend tells you she is pregnant. What is your reaction? Yay! Another baby in the family!

3. When is the last time you wanted to punch someone in the face? Never. I don't think that way.

4. What is the last thing you spent money on? Lunch at work

5. Do you think you gained or lost weight this past month? Gained. Ugh, a constant battle for me.

6. Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos? I don't like Cheetos

7. The first person on your friends list just called you a bitch. What do you do? Blow it off. I've grown a thick skin over the years. So, whatever. If I really was bitchy, I'd apologize.

8. Congratulations! You just had a son. What’s his name? No more kids for me, but hypothetically, Brett or Shane or maybe after Hunter if he wanted that (he hasn't in the past!)

9. Congratulations! You just had a daughter. What’s her name? Again, no more kids for me, but a runner up to #3's name was Caitlyn. I also like Avery, but Hunter has veto'd that in the past.

10. What are you craving right now? Sleep, warm weather, the beach

11. What was the last thing you cried about? Can't remember ...I guess from pain when I had kidney stones.

12. When you buy something and your change is 2 cents, do you keep it or tell the cashier to keep it? Put it in either a penny tray on the counter or toss into my purse.

13. What color is your tissue box? pink flowered

14. Do you have a ceiling fan in your bedroom, and if so, is there dust on that fan? Yes, and YES.

15. What was the last voicemail you received about? Hunter telling me to call him on the road

16. Have you ever blocked someone on Facebook? No....I've thought about it though. There are a couple people that annoy the crap out of me.

17. Scariest thing you’ve experienced in the last year? Kidney stones while 8 months pregnant (the scary part was not knowing what the pain was before diganosis, being on painkillers just weeks before having a baby, and never knowing when the pain would come back)

18. Do you wear a name tag at work? We have them and are supposed to wear them in meetings where we are meeting new people...but I never do. It's my way of rebelling. I introduce myself to people right off the bat, if they can't remember my name that's not my problem.

19. What kind of car do you want?Realistically? An Audi A8....someday.

20. What do you order when you go to Burger King? Burger/fries/coke.

21. Have you ever had a garage sale? Yes, just had one. I need to have one at least once a month though - I've got mad clutter.

22. What color is your cell phone? Silver - I have the lamest, most generic phone - the kind that comes free when you sign the contract.

23. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? A disappointing margarita at a tex-mex restaurant. Should have ordered better tequila.

24. Are you happy right now? Pretty much, I guess.

25. Who came over to your house last? Next door neighbors

26. Do you drink beer? In the past, yes...nowadays, not much.

27. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? No.

28. What is your favorite key on your key chain? Um..seriously? A weird question. Guess my car key - it gets me where I need to go.

29. What was the last movie you watched at home? A League of Their Own on TBS

30.What is in your pocket? Nothing

31. Who introduced you to your bf/gf/husband/wife? No one person, we met at a bar in college

32. Where do you hurt? Everywhere after kickboxing class

33. Has someone ever made you a build a bear? No, but I've helped my kids make them - they love them!

34. What’s something fun you did today? Argue with clients at work about what's in both their business' and the company's best interest. That's my job - saving them from themselves. I love it.

35. What is your favorite aisle at Target? The book/music section, but I love the whole store. Fortuanately for my bank account, there is no Target convenient to us so I don't get there often.

36. When is your birthday? August 9

37. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? No

38. How many states in the US have you been to? Let's see....I'm an East Coast girl.....Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, D.C, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan. Not even half - how lame!

39. What kind of milk do you drink? 1%, sometimes with a whole lot of Hershey's syrup

40. What are you going to do after this? Pick up my kids, make dinner, clean up kitchen, wash/sterilize bottles, play with kids, get them ready for bed, put them to bed, watch a little TV, pass out exhausted.

41. Who was the last person you went shopping with? Husband and kids on our day trip yesterday to New York City.

42. What is something you need to go shopping for? Clothes and shoes! Haven't bought any in quite a while, so I'm in dire need of wardrobe updates.

43. Do you have the same first name as one of your relatives? No.

44. What kind of car do your parents drive? Chevy Trailbazer and Oldsmobile Aurora

45. Are you rich? Nope, but rich in blessings.

46. What color is your couch? Burgundy

48. What famous person do you look like? Um, no one I can think of.

49. Does someone like you right now? I sure hope so!

50. Say you were given a pregnancy test right now. Would you pass or fail? Strange ...never thought of a pg test as pass or fail - Whatever "not pregnant" means...answer depends on whether you'd want to be pregnant or not! I don't, so I guess that means...."pass"???

51. Favorite pop-tart flavor? Chocolate

52. Do you know anyone in jail/prison? Yes.

53. What are your plans for the weekend? Attending opening day of Diva's softball, and later on Daredevil's T-ball game. Supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny, looking forward to sitting in the sun and watching my babies on the field!

54. Do you like the color green? It's OK, not my favorite

55. Who was the last person you sent an instant message to? I don't IM....does that make me old?

56. Last restaurant you went to? Ellen's Stardust Diner in NYC - 51st & Broadway - I highly recommend it!

57. How many hours did you sleep for last night? 6. Not enough, I know, but enough to function today.

58. Do you swear at your parents? No

59. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now? Maybe

60. Have you ever changed your clothes while in a vehicle? Yes - that's where my illegal tinted windows come in handy. (Legal in the state where I bought the car (Florida), illegal where I now live. Just got hassled at the DMV, even though I see hoopdees driving around the city every day with windows much darker than mine.)

61. What is your ringtone? Generic - I don't care much about that stuff. Again, does that make me old?

62. What were you doing at midnight last night? It's a work night, I was sleeping!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Warm wishes for a very happy Easter, or Passover, or whatever it is you'd like to celebrate this weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cool Stuff: One Brave Chick

One Brave Chick is a company started by three moms living near my hometown. They have inspiring individual stories of their bravery and decided to start a company that champions the courage women show in the face of whatever life throws at them. Thus, One Brave Chick was born.

Their product line includes "Bravery Kits" that include their cute t-shirt (or onesie), a crystal bravery bead, a bumper sticker, and a story card. Personalized messages can be added to the kits (making them a cool and very thoughtful gift!)

Their web site has a blog, and this entry is just fantastic. Read it when you get a chance, it's worth it - it inspired me and brought a tear to my eye at the same time. I bookmarked the site and definitely want to go back and read more about the Brave Chicks. Everyone can use a little inspiration every now and then!