Tag Archives: cooking

Once Upon A Time, My Kids Got Along

My kids did something shocking tonight, they helped in the kitchen without arguing! For 30 glorious minutes they worked together effortlessly to create magic in the kitchen. Too bad the cohesiveness didn’t carry over after dinner. It’s okay, this post will serve as evidence that they occasionally get along.

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Gordon Ramsay is my Hero!

I spent most of my day off with episodes of Kitchen Nightmares playing in the background. Nothing makes me happier than hearing Gordon Ramsay yelling at an restaurateur. During one of the episodes my 12 year old son announces that it is his dream to own a restaurant and have Gordon Ramsay come in and yell at him. I guess we all have our ambitions.

During this marathon, I am motivated to do something I have never done, make ravioli from scratch. Yep, I am attempting something I have never done before. This is going to get messy. I don’t mean a little messy, I mean catastrophic kitchen debauchery, I will destroy it before the day it over.

Okay, I didn’t destroy it but I came close. In making pasta apparently you need to make a well in the flour and add egg. The first time I attempted this I had a breach in the well and egg went everywhere! It was a nightmare. There I was at my table slowly trying to mix in the flour when I pushed the fork down a little too far. Instead of gracefully mixing in the flour, I was chasing whisked eggs across the table with flour and my arm. Needless to say, it was a disaster. The second attempt at this went much smoother.

The egg stayed contained this time around


In the end the pasta turned out pretty good. I surprised myself, for a moment, I allowed myself to daydream that I could have my own restaurant. Then, the day dream was interrupted by Gordon Ramsey yelling at some restaurant owner who can’t keep their kitchen clean.

As I looked around my kitchen I noticed seasoning on the stove, dishes on the counter, and worst of all, flour all over myself. I even had flour on my neck of all places. Gordon Ramsay would have a field day after visiting my kitchen, but even with all the mess and time it took, the meal was worth the wait! I was really happy with the way it turned out!

This was the hardest part

 

After my pasta was complete, I made a simple butter sauce to drizzle over it, so I would not distract from the taste of the pasta. Below I will post what I used for the pasta and filling.

Finally, we get to eat…and drink wine of course

For the Pasta:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 eggs

Method: 

  1. Pour the flour straight onto the counter or table (make sure that sh*t is clean)
  2. Make a well in the flour
  3. Whisk the eggs into a bowl, then pour into the well
  4. With a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs, eventually using your hands to incorporate the rest.
  5. Knead the dough until all the dough is a little wet, then wrap in clear wrap. Let rest for 30 min.
  6. When the dough is finished resting, flatten with a rolling pin or pasta maker. Make sure to roll it as thin as you can.
  7. Cut the dough in half and add about a tsp. of filling every inch and half.

For the Filling: 

  • 10 oz of fresh spinach
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese.

Method:

  1. Boil the spinach for a few min until tender
  2. Wring as much water out of the spinach, chop, and add to mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in ricotta, parmesan, garlic, and salt

After everything is mixed put the filling onto the rolled out dough (on one half that you cut). Put the other half over the top and press out as much air as possible. Using a pastry crimp or ravioli stamp, shape out the raviolis the way you want. Make sure the ends are pressed together tightly. Add the fresh raviolis into boiling water for about three minutes. I served my pasta with a butter olive oil sauce (infused with basil and garlic).

Date Night, Selfies, and Apple Crisp

I am super excited about tonight because it is DATE NIGHT! Yep, my husband and I still go out on dates after 15 years of marriage (which we celebrated on July 4th). Tonight we are making it simple; Chick-Fil-A, and Spiderman homecoming. We are both even wearing Spiderman shirts to the movie. How. Freaking. cute. is. that?!

As you can see, he’s near impossible to take a photo with

Part of my excitement is also due to the fact that I made my first apple crisp a couple of days ago! I did make a couple of errors though, first I did not peel the apples. This is something I will make sure to do since it made cutting through the apple slices a bit of a challenge. It was also a little sweet for my liking, but the family approved.

I added lemon to the recipe along with a whole cup of sugar, forgetting that lemon brings out the flavor of everything, especially sugar. I think next time I make this I will reduce the white sugar to only 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Regardless, I am going to post the recipe I used and you can make it your own. 

For the recipe I used 5 apples, 1 cup white sugar, *update; 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup juice of one lemon, 1 cup quick oats, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2/3 cup melted butter.

I started out by slicing the apples (I recommend peeling them as well) and putting them in the pie pan. I then added the white sugar, 2 tbsp flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, and lemon. Now set that aside and in a mixing bowl put together your quick oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, and melted butter. After that Is all mixed in crumble it evenly over the top of the apples. Bake it on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

When it was finished cooking I let it cool for 50 minutes. I like to serve mine with vanilla ice cream, there nothing better than warm apples served with ice cream. 

My husband is heading home from work now, and I have demanded that when he gets here we are to take a corny couples selfie. After photos I am off to eat dinner and enjoy a stress free night of movie watching. Have any of you watched the premier of Spiderman homecoming? How did you like it?

For the Filling:

  • 5 apples peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup juice of one lemon

Method:

  1. Slice apples and place into the pie pan
  2. In a mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mix together
  3. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples
  4. pour the water and juice of one lemon over the apples and set the filling aside

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 to 1/2 stick melted butter (the mixture should be slightly wet)

Method:

  1. Mix together flour, brown sugar, quick oats, baking powder, and baking soda
  2. Add melted butter and mix in

After topping is all mixed together, spread evenly over filling. Bake apple crisp at 350 for 45 minutes. After removing from oven let cook for 45 min to an hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Thunderstorms, Pretty Little Liars, and homemade stew

After I finished my last blog post, I couldn’t get my writing flow back. I attempted to do the next one with the recipe I put together. I started to write it, a few times, but it was pretty stinking boring. So, I did what anyone in my situation would do, get caught up in a Pretty Little Liars marathon and finish off the series. I curled up on the couch with my plush blanket, a warm cup of tea, and a thunderstorm brewing outside. It was actually pretty perfect, I could not have planned a better evening.

Now I am sitting up in my bed, listening to the thunder rumble, and wondering what I am going to do without the drama of five women who don’t know how to defend themselves? I will find another show to get lost in but until then, I will write.

So, I was pretty proud of myself for putting together a recipe from just an ingredients list. If you didn’t get a chance to read my last post, I was reading my book and the main character mentioned a list of ingredients she was going to put together. It sounded so good, I just had to make it.

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Since there were no instructions I pretty much had to come up with the method on my own. I’ll have to be honest, even though the stew sounded good, I was a little skeptical about putting potatoes in it. I debated and in the end, I am really glad that I did. Continue reading

Kay Scarpetta, you’ve done it again!

I woke up around 6:00 AM Sunday morning thirsty and wanting to continue the book I fell asleep reading. By 8:30 AM I am several chapters in, hungry, and run across a recipe list that I am itching to try.

I am currently reading the book Dust, by Patricia Cornwell. It is the 21st book in the Scarpetta series. I am a little behind considering there are currently 24 books out in the series and she’s writing the 25th.

I picked up my first Scarpetta novel when I was 13 simply because the main characters name was Kay. I immediately fell in love the with the characters and the fast paced style of the thriller. In addition to the amazing story line, Cornwell incorporates ingredient list to Italian recipes that Kay puts together after a long day of investigation. Who wouldn’t fall in love with these books?! The lead character is an amazing woman who fights crime, survives harrowing situations, and still finds time to cook dinner.

In my excitement over the idea of making this recipe I tweet about it as well as post on Instagram. After social media shares, I fall into the hashtag rabbit hole and discover that Patricia Cornwell has not one but TWO COOKBOOKS!!! How did I not know this?! I need to figure out how to get my hands on these cookbooks. For now, I will have concentrate on cooking while I drop hints to my husband to find these cookbooks for me.

For this recipe I have everything except the veal, asparagus, and mushrooms. I think I will skip the veal and mushrooms and substitute green beans for the asparagus. This afternoon I plan on putting this in the slow cooker. I will update everyone on how it turned out and what measurements I used.

I’d Like Some Pasta Sauce With My Wine Please

Today was a brutal day at work. I believe the only thing that got me through it was the fact that there was a bottle of beautiful dark wine in the fridge, beckoning for me to come home. I could almost hear it calling my name….Never mind, that was my children asking me when I would be home to cook dinner. Now that I was awoken from my daydream it was time for me to go home and get to cooking.

When I arrived home I had to get going on the ingredients quick. I was really in the mood for pasta and the sauce tends to take a little while. After pulling the wine out of the fridge, I had to remind myself what I got in there for. I really needed tomatoes, green peppers, garlic and onions. Whenever I make pasta sauce I wrestle with the dilemma that I know we all face, “Do I want to drink the wine or cook with it?” For me it boils down to whether or not I have enough for both. Today I do, so pasta sauce with wine it is!

I really like the flavor of home made sauce. If it has wine in it, then I love it even more, the more intense the better. Before I get started, I put on the 80’s music and poor my first glass of wine. My kids respond well to the music, even singing along to some it (of course, they would never admit that to their friends).

For my sauce I always start out with my tomatoes. I need them to be skinless. I do this by boiling them for a few minutes. The skin starts to crack and get wrinkly. When this happens I toss them in some ice water to stop the cooking process. While this is going on, I chop my green peppers and onions. I cut mine a little thick because I like my sauce so chunky it could be a dish all its own. I add the onions to some olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and cook them for a few minutes before adding the green pepper and garlic. When I have added all the ingredients and they have cooked until tender I add wine to the mix. I cook the wine down, then I add more. I repeat this a few more times. I like my sauces to have an intense flavor of wine. The amount you add will be based on how intense of a flavor you desire.

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Documentaries, Food, and the Sweet Promises of Pasta sauce

I enjoy watching documentaries, especially ones about food. I started watching them a few years ago when my eating habits became horrible. I knew I wanted to change but did not know how.

Even though I had a solid foundation in my cooking skills growing up, the 50-70 hour work weeks took their toll on me. Leaving the house at 7 in the morning  and not getting home until six or seven in the evening made my motivation for meal planning non existent. Instead of quick dinners and pizza becoming the exception, they became our go to. Processed foods are cheap, easy, and eventually my mind and taste buds tricked me into thinking it was the best tasting thing in the world.

Fast forward several years and 100 pounds later I was tired of being tired. The first documentary scared the *insert expletive* out of me. In reaction to this, I became a vegan for a year. Not a day, A. WHOLE. FREAKING. YEAR! Now being vegan wasn’t really the lifestyle for me. I literally dreamed about cheese for the first couple of months. It did get easier,but I never lost my desire for dairy. I did really well until one drunken night I found myself ordering the most glorious cheese pizza I have ever tasted in my entire life (at least that what the wine made me believe). Then came the guilt. I remembered the baby cows from the documentary being pulled from their mothers. After a few days of beating myself up I realized, food should never be about guilt.

After my realization, I started seeking out provocative documentaries that made me think about where my food comes from. I wanted vindication for my beliefs and  to celebrate food. I wanted to eat to live, instead of…you know the rest.

I am now very passionate about what I feed my family and where the food comes from. I am not going to be a hypocrite and say that “I only eat organic and all my meat is pasture raised.” I have two teenagers and a husband who eat me out of house and home, I would go broke. I do however, make sure the meat is not treated with hormones and if pasture raised is on sale, I buy it.

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