February 21, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Ragu

(2 servings with tons of left over ragu)

1 spaghetti squash
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
1 celery stalk diced
1 carrot diced 
2 cloves garlic minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Italian seasoning 
1/2 c red wine
1 tbsp butter
grated Parmesan 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle lengthwise.  Discard the seeds then place rind side up on a baking sheet.  Bake for 35-45 minutes until tender and you are able to shred squash meat with a fork. 

While the squash is baking, heat a large saute pan on medium heat and add olive oil.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and heat until softened (about 5 minutes).  

Increase heat to medium high and add the ground beef and ground pork. Brown and season with salt and pepper.  Drain any fat from the meat then add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, and wine.  Reduce heat back down to medium and simmer until most of the liquid is gone, (you want a lot of meaty goodness).  Discard the bay leaves.  Add butter to sauce.   Season with additional salt and Pepper as you see fit.  

Once the spaghetti squash is done, remove from oven and shred the innards so they look like spaghetti.  Leave in rind for presentation if you so desire.  Top with ragu and sprinkle with Parmesan.

I have a ton of leftover ragu that is going to be used in some other pasta dish this weekend.  Jealous much??

February 10, 2014

One year.. We're still Alive!!

I am totally spazzing out because I can't believe that it's been a year since I married the hubs.  Where the hell has the time gone and how have we not killed each other yet?!? It's been a very interesting and difficult year, but we made it.

If getting married and blending two lives together wasn't hard enough, the week after the wedding, we packed up all of my stuff and drove 800 miles to Richmond, VA. Let's just say it was not love at first sight for me... Plus it was effing freezing!  That alone was a huge adjustment for me.  The fluffer face on the other hand LOVES winter and would play in the snow all day if she could... TRAITOR!

The first few months were difficult for us. No one ever tells you about all the adjustments you have to make and the learning curve is steep. All anyone ever talks about is "wedded bliss". What bullshit.  Being married is hard work and compromise.  I can see why there are so many divorces in the first year of marriage. If you're not willing to adjust your lifestyle and work together to build a family, you'll never make it.  And the worst part was combining bank accounts and credit cards.  No more impromptu purse purchases for me! :(

Also the doubt of if you are a good enough spouse is always there.  Let's just say there were a few people who doubted our relationship and didn't think this would work out.  However I'm hardheaded, I know what I like, and all I have to say to the haters who doubted our relationship is, "Bitch you cray cray!

Ok enough of the bad.  There have also been some great things happen in this last year.  First of all The hubs and I went on a spectacular honeymoon to Croatia.  It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  There was so much food, wine, and fun, and my birthday on that trip that it was hard to come back to reality.  

I started a new job in October in a new field.  The stinker had grown to love the hubs as her second human, though I think she loves him more than me and that's totally unacceptable.  This Christmas we were able to start a new tradition of blending our families together for dinner.  And hubs and I have been able to discover the city of Richmond, and all the craft beer it had to offer, together.   We've even started house hunting so look out suburbs, we're coming for you! 

This last year has been an adventure but I could not think or ask for anyone else to enjoy the ride with. He's the calm to my crazy, the white on my jasmine rice, my missing puzzle piece, etc, etc.  I'm really excited to see what the next year has in store for us. 

For our anniversary, we enjoyed the Champagne brunch at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.  

January 8, 2014

Mushroom and Tomato Barley Risotto

Happy New Year All!

My a few new years resolutions are to cook more, incorporate new foods into the Hub's and my diet,  and be a better blogger.  When it comes to starches in our household, we normally stick to rice, potatoes, pasta, and quinoa.  This week I've been testing out Barley.  I know, its not the most exciting ingredient, but I've never cooked with it. So last night I made a Mushroom Tomato Barley Risotto.  It was so filling, delicious and healthy!

Serving 2 entree or 4 side

3 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup barley
4 cups chicken broth
8 oz mushrooms, chopped (I had button because they were on sale)
1 small onion, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, divided
2 tbsp butter

In a small pot, bring chicken broth to boil.   Once at boil, lower heat to medium low to keep warm.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat and saute mushrooms for 5 mins.  Set aside mushrooms and liquid.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in the same pan.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add garlic and saute an additional minute.  Add in barley and toast for one minute.   Add in 1/2 cup of stock and stir until incorporated.  Continue adding stock 1/2 c at a time.  When adding the final 1/2 cup, also include the grape tomatoes and the reserved mushrooms and liquid.

When almost all the liquid is absorbed, finish off with butter.


November 5, 2013

Oversharing Much?

This has been a topic that has irked me for a while. Seriously, when did social media take over our lives? Gone are the days when Facebook was only college students asking what bar / party was going on that night, complaining about how hungover one was in class or discussing what cute outfit one was going to wear to that evening's social.  Now it seems that nothing is sacred on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc anymore.

First of all parents on social media: I understand that you have the most amazing, smartest, cutest, all around best (and only) child in the entire universe, but is it really necessary to post 1,231,000 photos of said child (or children) every single day?  I understand that some milestones are important to share, like his/her's first day of VPK or how cute he/she looks on Halloween,  but honestly 99.9% of us do not care that your sweet baby ate peas for dinner and made 3 poopies.   What you leave yourself with is absolutely zero material to embarrass your child with 20 years down the line when he/she brings their significant other home for the first time.

Also dear mothers, please stop bitching about your child, how little sleep you have gotten in the past 48 hours, and how every time you prepare a bottle for baby, you want to drink a whole bottle of wine. Seriously one day that kid (or even worse, prepubescent teenager) will go online and see all of these rants about them and exclaim "I always knew you hated me!" 

I'm sure you're all thinking "Well you don't know, you don't have a child yet!"  Yes I know I'm not a mother yet, but there's another topic that really grinds my gears that I can relate to... COUPLES on Social Media.. 

First of all, to those couples who profess their love to each other's Facebook walls, come on, there are other options: Facebook Messenger, text messaging, a phone call, or hell even walking into the other room.  If you think that your profession of love showing up on my newsfeed is going to convince me that you love or even like your significant other, you are sadly mistaken.  

Hell even engagements and weddings are fair game.  These are two of the happiest moments of your life which should be shared with family and friends.  However nowadays, its "I've had this ring on my finger for 39.23254 seconds, screw calling my parents, siblings, friends etc, I'm putting this on Facebook so everyone, including the guy I had a one night stand with in college, can know that I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!"  IMO give at least 24 hours after said event before posting anything on social media so you can let all the important people know via in person, phone call, text, email, facebook messenger before sharing with the world.  The rest of us will be just as happy to find out about your great news 24 hours later as 2 minutes later.  
And brides, I know a lot of you are guilty of, "I'm about to walk into my grand entrance for my wedding reception but before I do that I have to change my relationship status, my name, state how HAPPY I am today and post 2,842 selfies in your wedding dress"  OMFG put the phone down! You're getting married and hopefully that only happens once in your life. You have friends tagging you in pics and you paid that professional photographer thousands of dollars. That should be enough!  #imabouttocutmyweddingcake...  how about #imabouttopunchababy

Political / Religious views.  Just keep them to yourself.  Your 5000 posts for or against aborting your 8 year old child (don't get mad, its a South Park reference) or praising the flying spaghetti monster will not make me change my mind or all of a sudden have me speaking in tongues.

I know it would be easy to just deactivate all my social media accounts, but for every annoying post there is one that I really want to read.  So go on, keep posting your funny posts, news articles or even the one of your child on its 1st birthday (babies and cakes are adorable) but I really don't need to know about your nasty infected ingrown toenail.  

August 29, 2013

Bourbon Peach (or nectarine) Crumble with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Thanks to our CSA, we have a bounty of peaches and nectarines.  One of my favorite combos is bourbon and peach and last night just screamed out Crumble!

2 servings


For Crumble:
1 1/3 c flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 1/3 c pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes

3 ripe peaches (or nectarines)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)

Whipped Cream:
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 F

For crumble, mix flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon, and pecans together.  Once combined, work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips, until you get a crumbly texture.  You will have tons of left over topping. No worries, this stuff stores great.  Refrigerate or freeze until next time (which I will assume is tomorrow

One of my favorite tricks for peeling peaches is cutting an X at the bottom of the fruit and placing in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Once cooled, the skins come right off (works great for tomatoes too!). When using nectarines, I like to keep the skins on.  Cut fruit into bite size pieces and place in a bowl.  Add sugar and bourbon and coat the fruit.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  

Place fruit into 2 ramekins and top with 1/4 c of the crumble mixture.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet to catch any drippings. This is a must because cleaning that burnt shit is a BITCH!  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the juices have started to bubble, (Since there's only 2 of us, I made this in our toaster oven and it took closer to 45 mins.)  I've under baked this before and there is nothing more depressing than under baked soupy buttery mush on top of fruit .  Remove from oven and a allow to cool.  

While waiting for your crumble to cool, prepare whipped cream by pouring heavy whipping cream, butter and bourbon into a cold bowl.   Whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks.   

Add whipped cream on top of crumble and enjoy.  However, we like to stay super classy and eat the whipped cream straight out of the bowl.  


Hubby's "Cherry Poppin" Bolognese

Bolognese over rotini

The Hubs and I are about to go on our belated honeymoon so,  of course this means we have to clean out our refrigerator before we leave.  After thinking about everything we had in there, all I could think was BOLOGNESE.  I am a Filipino with a crazy obsession with pasta. Hello I put effing pasta bowls on our wedding registry!  When I asked the hubs what he thought, he asks, "What is bolognese?'  I'm like WTF? You poor poor deprived boy (He did not have frosty and french fries or PB and bananas until the age of 30). Naturally I had to make sure that his first bolognese experience was a good one.  Mind you, this would be so much better on the weekend when it had 4 hours to simmer, but this was a Wednesday night, so all had to be done at a reasonable hour.

Simmering away

Bolognese Sauce
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz bacon, diced (i had jowl bacon)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb ground bison (lean beef works too, just had this in the freezer).
1/2 lb ground pork (optional).  I did not have that on hand so its not in here
4 Hanover tomatoes, skinned, 2 diced, 2 pureed
1/2 cup sherry or any dry white wine.
1 cup milk
1/2 c red wine.

Heat oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add onions, garlic, butter, and carrots and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the bacon and saute for an additional 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste and ground beef and cook until beef is browned.  Add tomatoes, sherry, and milk, and simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally (or if you have all the time in the world, lower the temp to low and simmer for 4 horus). Remember this sauce is about the meat, so dont be scurred of all the liquid  After an hour, and halfway though a bottle of wine, I checked on my sauce, and with glass of red wine in my hand I thought, why the hell not, and poured some red wine in there too.   I simmered it down for an additional 30 minutes until thickened.  I served this over some  Rozoni Garden Delights rotini, because you can't get enough veggie,s and grated some Trade Joe's Unexpected Cheddar on top.

Note - The Hubs was sooo happy about this that he ate two bowls full.  Not this smartest meal to make before going on vacay to a sunny locale.  Oh well, here come two beached whales!

August 13, 2013

T.T. also stands for Tummy Troubles

One of the worst parts about getting older is no longer having an iron stomach.  Growing up with my dad's cooking and eating all the greasy pre-packaged goodness while living in my sorority house and chugging a keg's worth of beer meant you had to have a stomach of steel.  However, after graduating college and moving out of my parents house,  my tummy has decided to become one of my worst enemies.    I've gone from eating every last morsel of yummy fried goodness to having to watch what I eat in fear my estomago will scream out "Viva la Revolution" in public.


Lets be honest for a minute, everyone has had a moment similar to that wonderful scene in the movie Bridesmaids where Maya Rudolf's character is running down a busy street in a full on wedding dress.  This may be TMI but mine always happens after I eat at Pei Wei.  UGH I just want some spicy noodles in my life!  Having these problems and being female is the WORST.  When men hit the shitter, there's no surprise whats going to happen there and they let it rip.  Heck, at work you see men walking into the restrooms with reading material in hand.  Women on the other hand are very poop shy. While my husband has no problem walking in the bathroom and taking a dump while I'm getting ready, even the idea of him walking in on me pooping makes me more uncomfortable than a wool sweater in the summer.

I miss working in my old office in Tampa.  We had one bathroom per sex, so no one really knew what you were doing in there besides the fine aroma of Febreeze that followed.  However, when I moved to Richmond, I had go back in my mental file to remember my pile of tricks dealing with pooping in public.  Living in a sorority house is a wonderful place of knowledge when it comes to this stuff.  So here ladies is my list of how to *discretely* do it:

1.  Try to train your body to go at times when the restroom is normally empty.  At my office its between 8:30 and 10 and at lunchtime.

2.  Place some toilet paper in the bowl before you start, it really helps muffle the "plopping" sound

3.  Lift your legs when pooping so no one can see your shoes and figure out who's doing what

4.  Wait until the lady next to you flushes or washes their hands.

5.  If you're in an office building, go to one of the other floors where no one knows who you are.

6.  Always keep Imodium, GasEx, and Tums in your purse.

However if its really a bad one, just let it go.  Yes its mortifying but EVERYONE has been in your shoes. We'll just run out of there as fast as we can.