Rhode Island Rocks

Peanuts, raisins, pretzels and chocolate make up the lumpy Rhode Island Rocks.

I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate-covered pretzels, so I was pleasantly surprised by the simultaneously chewy and crunchy, salty and sweet candy called Rhode Island Rocks. Invented by two out of work siblings and based on their mother’s recipe, the candies have grown in popularity over the last few years and can be found at dozens of locations in the state (as well as some stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts) and ordered online. If only every Rhode Island job loss story could end this way — and by that I mean, with candy.

Rhode Island Rocks
Tesoro Confections Inc.
Headquartered in Warwick, RI and available throughout the state (see locations)

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My version of the whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

When you gain 50 pounds during pregnancy and your baby is only six — well, you might be left with a few extra pounds.  Anyway, as you may have noticed, I have a weakness for sweets, which makes dieting a bit difficult (although admittedly I’ve never tried a cookie diet). So in an effort to find a cookie that I could indulge in regularly (no, I won’t divulge what I mean by regularly), I spent a few weeks perfecting this healthier version of a chocolate chip cookie, which I originally found too dry. It turns out, it works better with butter instead of oil (not much surprise there). Plus I borrowed a tip from The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook‘s cookie recipe, which is not to be alarmed if they look raw. If you cook them too long they will be dry and brittle — and no diet is worth that.


1 1/2 cups ground oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Grind the oats. Mix the oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the brown and granulated sugars until smooth and creamy (in a mixer ideally, although this can be done by hand). Then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Then add the dry mixture and mix well. By hand, mix in the chocolate chips.

Arrange into balls with about 1 1/2 diameter and bake for 14 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove and cool on a rack immediately.

Note: I find that putting the cookie dough in the fridge only causes it to dry out so I bake them without cooling the dough. Of course, they’re delicious hot out of the oven.  With the remaining cookies, I cool them and keep them in the freezer. If you have a microwave, you can nuke them for a few seconds (no idea how many since I don’t have one). Or just remov from the freezer and wait a few minutes (if you can).

Gallery Night Providence

Gail Armstrong in her studio in the Deacon Taylor Studios.

Last night, we decided to go to the opening of the 15th season of Gallery Night Providence and boarded the “art bus” (aka school bus) for a tour of neighborhood galleries. Our “traditional” tour was one of four different ones offered (earlier tours included a “contemporary” tour and a “celebrity” tour with RISCA director Randy Rosenbaum).

Our first stop was Picture This Gallery, which in addition to offering custom framing services, exhibits watercolors and oil paintings by local artists. Painter Rob Rey was there to chat and answer questions.

Artists demonstrate egg tempera at Bert Gallery.

We then toured the Bert Gallery which featured the exhibit “The Magical Realism of Louise E. Marianetti” (through March 19), a re-creation of the artist’s original 1949 exhibits in Boston and Newport. A few local painters had set up a table there to demonstrate egg tempera (creating colors out of pigment mixed with egg yolks), a technique that Marianetti used in her work.

Next, it was on to the John Brown House Museum, where I discovered the most fabulous mural wallpaper (I wonder how much it costs to commission such a thing?) and a restored carriage originally used by the family.

Our last stop was the Providence Art Club and Deacon Taylor Studios, which combines the studio spaces of a number of local artists who often open their doors to exhibit and sell their work. This is one of my favorite gallery spaces in Providence, because you can speak with the artists directly and often can witness them creating new works.  Not to mention, I love a lot of the paintings there (like this).

The Gallery Nights continue every third Thursday of the month (see dates below), and you can choose to take the bus, your own car (there’s free parking available), walk, or even take a bike tour in nicer weather. Each tour is unique, so you can attend as often as you like.

Gallery Night Providence
2011 Dates (third Thursdays 5-9 pm): April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17

Bert Gallery at Corliss Landing
540 South Water Street
Providence, RI

Deacon Taylor Studios
9 Thomas Street
Providence, RI

John Brown House Museum
52 Power Street
Providence, RI

Picture This Gallery
48 Weybosset St.
Providence, RI

Providence Art Club
11 Thomas Street
Providence, RI

Angkor’s Nam Yaa: Medicine Soup

Ah, a bowl of Nam Yaa soup...

After spending what seemed like an eternity shut in my house with a fever and cold, the only thing to motivate me out of bed was a craving for the Nam Yaa soup at Angkor Restaurant. They deliver, but I find somehow it tastes better there.

According to the menu, my Cambodian Nam Yaa soup contains herbs, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves, but all I taste is a perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy — and that steaming soup (which they call medicine soup) cures me, at least momentarily. They do have other dishes on the menu — chicken satay, hot basil in lemongrass sauce, pineapple fried rice, street noodles with coconut sauce, among others.  But I’ve been here at least half a dozen times, and no matter what I get, I also get the Nam Yaa.

Their new location on Traverse Street (around the corner from their old spot) is tiny, but the waitress told us that the owner will be able to own the building instead of rent, which I was glad to hear since that means they’ll be sticking around.

Angkor Restaurant
10 Traverse St
Providence, RI
(401) 383-2227