Friday, April 22, 2011

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Alicia Hansen

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Alicia Hansen

For today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I would like to introduce you to another local Cleveland blogger, Alicia Hansen.  She writes the very popular blog Poise in Parma and also works with the Ohio Blogging Association.  Poise in Parma is a blog about finding balance in her life in this crazy town: Her non-stop life of family, career, food, fitness and one amazing golden retriever. How She lost 110 pounds in under eight years – and have managed / struggled / survived to keep it off. But most importantly, the discoveries she makes in Believeland along the way.  It is a fun blog, full of wonderful inspiration and of course all things CLE.

If you live in Ohio and have a blog, and haven't done so already, be sure you head over to Ohio Blogging Association and sign up.  It is fantastic place to network with other local bloggers, find out about fun events and help grow your blog.  I only recently discovered OBA, and am so loving the connections I have already made.  I have yet to make it to an event- but already have the next one, Saturday, May 14th: OBA May Meet Up: Cleveland Marathon Pot Luck Pasta Dinner written on my calendar!!  I can't wait!

So as Alicia likes to say: "Run those 3.1 miles then eat some potato & bacon pierogies with me." Cheers!

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Savory oats. It’s very therapeutic for me – to stand at the stove, stirring the oats, boiling off the water,getting them to the right consistency. I love cracking the egg in the finished oats, breaking the yolk and evenly distributing it to get everything nice and fluffy. It’s definitely a practice in developing patience. The end result is always worth it.

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
I HATE pan frying fish/seafood at home. The prep, the cooking, the lingering smell… I would much rather pay for someone else to make it.

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of AMP 150. I really appreciate Chef Cooley approach to how he using his ingredients in his cooking. I’m also a huge fan of Zack Bruell, but have never dined at Parallax. It’s on my CLE dining bucket list.

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
My John Coltrane Pandora station. Can’t beat solid jazz for background music for a social gathering in my opinion.

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
As I’m gluten intolerant, it would be a crazy gluten fest: a grilled turkey, roasted beet & goat cheese panini on a thick pumpernickel. On the side: sweet potato fries and the largest dill pickle you could find. For dessert: a waffle cone from Honey Hut Ice Cream: Honey Graham flavor please.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been working my way through The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky as a personal project I’m calling How I’ll Find Happiness in 2011. The suggested practices in the book have been a great way to figure out what brings me joy and how I can embrace those things in my every day life.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
I chug coffee like it’s no one’s business. I love mine well mixed with a milk frother I picked up at La Sur Table.

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
I am always asked to make pasta salad for family get togethers. Mine is nothing special (bow tie pasta, black olives, green peppers, mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, etc.), but my family can’t get enough of it.

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
No question, it’s the people. Yes, we have amazing museums, restaurants, parks, companies and
organizations. But it’s the residents of our area that make all those things spectacular.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Elbow macaroni with meat sauce has a soft spot in my heart. I don’t make meat sauce much since my husband isn’t a huge “ground meat” fan. But when I know I’m making dinner for myself, I’ll break out some quinoa macaroni, ground turkey & some quality jarred pasta sauce for dinner for one.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
In no specific order, The Muppet Movie, Singing in the Rain & Office Space.

What was your happiest moment in life?
It’s so cliché, but my wedding day. The entire day was a dream. I practically ran down the aisle because I was so excited to marry my husband. My dad had to hold me back to slow me down! Also, our reception was a PAR-TAY – guests still say to me how much fun they had dancing the night away.

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
We do a weekly run to Marc’s Stores. We also it up Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods as
needed. I’m trying to make it to more farmers’ markets in 2011.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Ice cream. Good, high quality, homemade ice cream. I’m obsessed with Honey Hut. (See previous
question on last meal on earth.)

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
Professionally, coordinating a span of ten events in seven days in the Fall of 2009. The events included from organizing a performance for a Hollywood star, a formal sit-down banquet, a private home strolling dinner with an Iron Chef, a luncheon on a stage at PlayhouseSquare, and opening night cast party, and a backstage tour.

Personally, running the 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon this past January. When I was previously a size 22 at 250 pounds, I thought things like that were impossible. Now – much smaller and somewhat older – I know they aren’t.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Make gluten-free pierogies.

One word that best describes you is: Kindhearted.

Now please share a favorite recipe:
Spaetzle is an egg based dumpling that is served with many of my family’s old world recipes. For this recipe, you’ll need a spaetzle maker, but the tool is worth it for this side dish. This is adapted from a recipe found on the Food Network page – I unfortunately can’t find the original link.


2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pam cooking spray
Butter (to taste)

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer. Combine all the
ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spray your spaetzle maker with Pam, then place it over the pot. Ladle batter into the spaetzle maker, then being creating dumplings by sliding the dough over the holes of the device.

Make sure to stir the water/dumplings for even circulation around the pot. Continue the dumpling making until all batter is gone. When the dumplings float, continue to boil until the dumplings look fluffy.

Remove the spaetzle by draining through a colander. Place dumplings in a serving dish, top with butter and parsley (and probably another sprinkle of salt) and serve.


  1. that last meal sounded delish. One of these days I'll make it to an event and meet Alicia.

    Also glad to have found this blog.

  2. I feel like I found a blogging soul mate! I am so inspired by her weight loss and her answers.



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