Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's Fallfutiful

I made up a word. It's fall and beautiful in one perfect little word. We can now add that to the dictionary.
The twins went apple picking with their Aunt Jess




















Anywho, back to fall. So last fall I had 2 beans in my belly (weird, but true) so I wanted nothing to do with fall flavors. The thought of pumpkin or apple or butternut squash sent me running to the bathroom. Seriously, no good. This year I'm doing and eating everything fall.

Hence the pumpkin ravioli fiasco of Saturday night.

Ravioli. Cooks quick. Great for busy mamas. EXCEPT not for twin mamas. There should be a disclaimer on the package. Mamas with twins walk away from this fresh, local pumpkin ravioli. 

Luckily I bought 2 packages. Cause the first package was cooking and I turned away to wash a bottle that took me 30 seconds longer than I thought and all the pumpkin filling exploded and boiled off into the water. I shed a tear. The beans let out a shriek. It was because of the ravioli not because of poop, I swear.




















So feel free to substitute the ravioli with any sort of pasta because if you overcook regular pasta it's a little less of a fiasco. The idea with this meal is you really don't even need the onion, garlic or much seasoning because all the flavor is coming from the fresh sausage. It's genius. Seriously, genius. Okay maybe not, but it tastes really good and you can make it while two babes watch Spiderman from the living room floor (NO, we would never ever let our 6 month olds do that. Never. Okay, maybe just once. Or twice.)

Cheater Pasta
Ingredients
4 fresh pre-made sausage links with any of your favorite flavoring (I used Whole Foods pepper and onion chicken sausage - so good)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 handfuls of baby spinach
3 Tbsp GOOD olive oil
salt + pepper
1 package of any ravioli or pasta you'd like

Directions
*Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan
*Sautee your onions and garlic over low/medium heat
*Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions - DO NOT WASH BABY BOTTLES AT THE SAME TIME
*Remove casings from the sausage and place the sausage in your non-stick pan
*Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage and let it brown on both sides
*Once the sausage is cooked turn the heat to low and add your spinach if you have some on hand
*Drain your pasta
*Place the sausage and veggie mixture over pasta and viola - dinner!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Be Late

Oh and don't forget to update your blog. Anyway back on topic...

I hate being late, like really dislike it. Just thinking about being late stresses me out. I feel anxious if other people are late. I’m sweating right now.
So apparently my babes hate being late too. So much so they came 7 weeks early. I can’t blame them – they didn’t want to miss Easter or Marathon Monday (the 2 best holidays). They showed up early to party. I forgot to wear my party shoes so the nice nurses gave me some socks (side note: when they tell you to pack a hospital bag and leave it in your car I suggest you listen)
Meet Lou 







And Dean





I only now realize how scared we should have been and how peanut-sized they were. We don’t have other babes, we didn’t know. So we trekked along and have some stories to tell.
But first let’s discuss baby jeans. I die. (Hospital gowns, not as cute)






Oh remember when this was just a food blog? Yeah, now I just make food for the week and food for babies. It’s kinda the same thing, but a little quicker and different. And it tastes really good (the baby food especially). It’s okay, one day I’ll open my own coffee shop – you know in my spare time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookies + Coffee = Happiest of Holidays

Three years. Yes three years in a row I have participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap partnered with Cookies for Kids Cancer for happy hearts and happy tummies. It's basically heaven during the busiest time of year. My husband is always first to rip open the boxes and mopes around the house after all the cookies are gone. I feel for him.
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013
It's also three years in a row that I stress over what cookies to make. Should they be classic or inventive or straight-forward and easy. STRESS. So this year I grabbed a cappuccino on a cold Sunday morning and snuggled with Luce to plan.

Cappuccino cookies a la Joy the Baker to the rescue. I kid you not when I say this recipe rocks: a) it's super easy, b) it's fail-proof, c) it tastes like a cappuccino. Heavenly. And trust me even non-coffee drinkers rejoice.

But first, wanna see what yummy cookies I got??? I think, yes.
Ginger Cookies from Someplace That's Green. Yes these were baked with love because I love ginger. They made my 3pm very happy for a full week.
Monster Cookies from TopNotchMom.com. I don't know exactly what's in these, but I now love monsters. Also, lesson for next year - don't let the husband take the pics or eat all the cookies before you can get good shots. 
 
Almond Apricot Cookies from AlmaCucina.com. These are really quite perfect cookies for me. I ate them for breakfast multiple days in a row. Hey there's jam in there, don't judge.

And now for what I sent out - a little cappuccino in the form of a cookie!
 


Cappuccino Cookies from Joy the Baker
Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temp
1 large egg yolk, room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 cup Ghiradelli vanilla white chocolate chopped into pieces (heaven!)

Directions
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and instant espresso powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the butter mixture with a spatula.  Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients, all at once to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until just combined.  Stop the mixer, add the chocolate chunks and fold together with a  spatula until well combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

Just before you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.

Scoop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking pans.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Happy Holiday, Cookie Style!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sometimes I Only Take 1 Picture...

...because let's be honest I don't have a camera. And I normally take a photo with my phone while I'm cooking, dirty hands and all. But this blog isn't about the best photos, it's just about food. Beautiful food.

I've been feeling blah lately, just down on energy and not my 100%. So I turned to what worked when I was 3, re-invented it a bit and guess what? It works just as well when you're in your 30's. Go figure. Life is so tricky like that.

This soup is so easy, just takes a bit of time. But it's all worth it. Make it on a Sunday night and have lunch figured out for the rest of the week. Plus it makes you feel all happy inside. And somehow dinner table conversations become a little bit longer with a bowl of soup. Trust me.

Couple notes: You can make this soup vegetarian, just ixnay the chicken. Also feel free to add some orzo or rice and any other delicious veggies you have on hand. And don't forget the extra lemons to squeeze on top.

Re-invented Avglemono Soup
Broth
2 onions, cut in half (leave skin on)
5 carrtos, chopped in half (no need to peel)
5 celery stalks, chopped in half
2-3 parsnips, choped in half
6 sprigs of sage
1 Tbsp peppercorns (less if you want less pepper taste)
1 Tbsp salt

Soupa (that's soup in Greek folks, also my second word)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled cut into bite size pices
5 celery stalks, cut into bite size pieces
1 3/4 pound of chicken thighs
6 sprigs of sage
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3 lemons
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped


In a large stockpot (I'm talking the big one that you never use) place all the ingredients for the broth and cover with cold water - leave a little room at the top so it can boil. Bring the pot to a boil, uncovered, and then reduce to a simmer. (Note: It can take an hour or so to get the water to boil because remember you're using your BIG pot) Let the broth simmer for an hour and up to 3 hours.

With a slotted spoon remove all the cooked veggies and place them in a bowl. Feel free to nibble on these while you're cooking. Also, once cooled, dogs love the yummy cooked carrots.

Now strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve (I don't even know why I used sieve, I meant strainer) so you can remove the peppercorns and any herbs. You can also skip this step and simply fish them out with a spoon.

Either in another stockpot or in the same one with the vegetable broth removed, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add in some salt and pepper, sage, your gorgeous broth and the chicken thighs. This is where we cook the chicken in homemade stock - genious.

You want to cook the chicken until it falls off the bone, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it up and add it back into the pot. Turn the heat to low - as low as it can go.

In a medium bowl take your eggs and whisk them - like really good. Then with one hand whisking you want to slowly add 3 ladle fulls of the soup. This is to make sure you don't wind up with scrambled eggs - and if you do, don't panic, just order pizza (trust me, I've done it.).

Then you want to add the egg and broth mixture into the soup and stir away. Add in your kale and the juice of 3 lemons and ta-da!!!!

THE perfect feel better soup.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How You Know You're Lucky

Being in your 30's is tough. No joke. I'm not sure how I didn't see it coming, but it definitely was a trick. There's expectation to be somewhere in your life and yet if you don't have certain boxes checked there's a sense of failure or angst when in reality there are no rules for life. Each life is a different story with a different path.

And in your 30's you can normally take on more risk, but you also have a deeper sense of reality. The two battle with each other and many times you forget to live your life. I'm here to remind you not to forget to count your lucky stars and remember all those accomplishments that make you lucky.

My husband works a ton. He also never complains. I complain a ton and he never calls me out on it. I'm pretty lucky.

We live in a house, an older house, one with never-ending renovations. I don't have a dishwasher, and I'm down a bathroom. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Definitely lucky.
That's wood paneling and a puke green wall!

Miss Lucy. She jumps up on people because she's SOOO excited to say hello. And she's sandy - All. The. Time. I'm pretty sure I'm lucky.

I have a dwindling number of best friends because life moves on. But those best friends, across the country no less, take wine and cheese very seriously. Lucky, no doubt.

My family is AMAZING. We aren't normal, but we're real and I think everyone should be jealous about that. I was born into that luck.
That's my cousin, teaching the rest of us cousins - she's now a teacher, go figure!
I can cook a meal and bake a cake to create memories with said friends and family. Being able to do that is part luck and part skill. I feel lucky to have both.
 

I. AM. LUCKY!



Friday, May 17, 2013

Getaway Partners

I want to travel the world. All. The. Time. But since my partner-in-crime says that's not reality, (he should really be nicer, no?) I travel more in my head than in real life. This year we're taking a lot of weekend trips and as much as I want to go away for one full week, these little trips give me peace. And coffee. And food. And more love for my getaway partner.

First up, Portland Maine. I think I'm going to move there. Wait, let me rephrase. I will move there when it's sunny, I think all the snow might put me into a constant state of temper tantrums.We stayed at the Inn By The Sea and I'm going to live there when I grow up. They allow dogs, that's right dogs! That means the famous Lucy can come next time - you know cause she's so well behaved and all.

So here's where our travels took us - don't judge because it's all food and shopping related.

Pour-Over Coffee Shop (Speckled AX), yes please. I don't think either of us stopped smiling while in there.

Standard Baking Company cookbook and these nautical gems.

Oysters and wine for lunch while sitting with locals at J's Oysters

Wine & Cheese picnic on our bed (we were very neat, we promise!)

Rose bubbly is my new friend.
Cookies before bed.
Cinnamon roll the size of my head courtesy of The Good Table...
 
...and Lucky Charms mugs
Here's to another fantastic weekend filled with food and travel partner love!



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Chicken Thighs: I Adore You

Let me be clear there are MANY days I don't feel like cooking. Well actually it has more to do with time and ingredients and tiredness. But then I feel bad because our beachy little town doesn't have an overabundance of awesome takeout options - some, but not a ton.

But then there are dishes that come together when:
a: I don't want to cook
b: I have slim pickings of ingredients
c: I an tired

and it turns out so perfectly that I forget I never wanted to cook in the first place. And all is right in the world - well, my world at least.
Let's talk chicken. I used to only buy and eat boneless skinless chicken breasts. Then I smartened up and realized chicken thighs have a whole repertoire of recipes that I just adore. And they can make a Friday night throw-together meal feel a bit more fancy. We like fancy over here (fancy as in we ate dinner in our workout gear, but wine was included so it counts).

The ingredients 
chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
prosciutto slices - cut in half)
brie - cut into thin slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper

The "recipe"
First make an assembly line - prosciutto slices, brie slices and salt + pepper. Take your fingers and separate the skin from the chicken thighs making sure it still stays attached - you are essentially creating a pocket for more flavor.

Place half a slice of prosciutto and 1-2 slices of brie under the skin of each chicken thigh. Then salt + pepper the skin of each chicken thigh.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan . Once heated, place each chicken thigh skin side down into the pan. It's best to do this with your hands (probably not safe, but it's the best way!). This is going to seal the skin and make sure your pocket of flavor stays in place.

You want to turn each piece of chicken over once it does not stick to the pan and it has formed a nice golden crust (if it is sticking to the pan, walk away slowly - the chicken needs some time alone). This is about 5 minutes on each side, depending on how big your chicken thighs are.Cook on the other side for another 3-5 minutes and then....


you have dinner, or as we like to call it Fancy Friday Night.