Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a basement couch...finally!

Since we bought our house six months ago, we have been in full-on attack mode. We've replaced the junky old chain-link fence, ripped out about 20 yard waste bags of ground cover, added blown-in insulation to the attic, and painted the main and upper floors. Now that we are done with most of the big stuff, we are really focusing on the details - getting the rooms set up to really feel like a home and like it's ours.

One focus has been finding a couch for the basement. With everything we were doing and our crazy dog, I wasn't really ready to stomach a $1500+ couch, so we hunted for a couple months to find one we liked. To my surprise, we found a great couch for under $500 - at Value City Furniture. Not my favorite store, but the couch was perfect.

Ignore the paneling. It (hopefully) will soon be gone.
 Kingsley already loves it - obviously. And we can finally watch sports live in the basement without sitting on the floor!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

it's been too long.

I've been feeling the itch to write again, so I figured I'd look at this blog and see how long it's been since I posted anything.

Almost exactly two years.

I don't know if I'll get back to Twitter the way I used to be (hello, information overload), but I'll definitely be starting to post on the blog again.

Until I get back in a posting rhythm, here's our not-so-little monster who is essentially a two-year-old going through the terrible twos. He may throw temper tantrums, have an almost exact 8 pm bedtime, and be a bit of a wild child, but he's a great pup.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New York Eating - Day One

A few weeks ago, the husband and I hopped on an early morning train bound for New York City. Although sleepy, we were excited for three days of eating, strolling, eating, drinking some good wines, eating...and more eating.

Our trips almost always revolve around dinner reservations, must-eats, wine, sussing out off-the-beaten-path's an understatement to say that our trips are food- and wine-centric.

So we were very excited for this trip. We had lined up the Michelin trifecta - a one-star (Minetta Tavern), two-star (Marea), and a three-star (Le Bernardin). We had also gotten all kinds of recommendations for little bars, bagels, and to-die-for desserts. Too much to eat all in one trip.

Our first meal was at Minetta Tavern. In a word: delicious! This was the husband's second time there and he had RAVED about the black label burger. He was right - it was fantastic. It's quite simply the best burger I've ever had. A delightful, rich combination of dry-aged ribeye, skirt, and brisket. No cheese...just some caramelized onions. Normally I'd want a nice, stinky bleu cheese to go with this, but it just seemed wrong with such a beefy burger. It was the perfect start to the weekend.

That same day, we had dinner reservations at Le Bernardin. I had triumphantly gotten confirmation of our reservations a couple months earlier and went into dinner with some seriously high expectations. In a word: disappointing. The service was impeccable and the food was executed to perfection. But it was lacking the creativity, the excitement, the innovation that we had expected given its stellar reputation and, being honest, its price tag. Everything tasted very good, but I left wanting more.

So beautiful. So sad.

It was disappointing, but I guess we partially brought it on ourselves with insanely high expectations. Next time? Won't go into dinner expecting the moon.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Five things.

1. I haven't blogged in SO LONG. Like, seven months. I'm actually looking forward to getting back into after such a long (intended or unintended) break.

2. It's November. Crazy.

3. I've started Jamie Eason's twelve-week training program and I am so. freaking. sore. So obviously it works. Right? Hopefully?

4. I'm so proud of my siblings. My brother is halfway done with getting his master of accounting, one sister is studying abroad for the whole year in Spain (and loving it!), and my other sister was just selected for a national-level choir. They're so awesome.

5. I have a serious itch to re-decorate my apartment. New everything - dining chairs, couches, coffee table, lamps, etc. All of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ooey, gooey banana bread

I have a love/hate relationship with bananas. I'm in the category of people that can only eat still slightly ripe bananas - once they pass that point, where they lose that greenish tinge at the top, they're dead to me. Can't stand how they get mushy. Starts reminding me of baby food.

So how to deal with those bananas that have gone too far? Banana bread, of course.

 (First piece kind of fell apart. But see the gooey middle? So delicious. Best with cold glass of milk.)

I used this Martha Stewart recipe because I had sour cream I needed to use up, and it turned out great! My bread turned out a little gooey on the inside (thankfully not baby food consistency), but that's likely because I ended up using a smaller bread pan. If you don't want slightly gooey-in-the-middle bread, I would recommend using a standard bread pan.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crack pasta and an epic failure

Earlier this week I mentioned a pasta sauce recipe that I deemed my version of crack. It's easy, with few ingredients, and always tastes delicious. There aren't any photos because it disappeared so quickly.

When my husband's aunt recited the recipe to me, I was doubtful. No garlic? Or onion? How is that possible? She reassured me that despite the lack of garlic, it was fantastic.

The recipe she gave me was from Scarpetta, and there are several versions of the recipe online. Here's my adaptation (well, Aunt MA's adaptation). Try it! It's fantastic!

2 large cans peeled and whole San Marzano tomatoes*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
red pepper flakes
1 T butter
grated parmigiano reggiano
fresh basil

Bring tomatoes and olive oil to a simmer on medium to medium-high heat (our stove is finicky). Generously salt the tomatoes and shake in red pepper flakes to your liking. Let the tomatoes simmer for about 20 minutes, until they start breaking down. Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti to pre-al dente - and this is important. The pasta must be pre-al dente, because you're going to throw the pasta into the sauce later to finish cooking it.

Once your sauce has been simmering for about 20 minutes, give it a taste (because who doesn't dip a spoon or a piece of fresh baguette in to see how it's coming along?). If you think it's about ready, shred a few basil leaves and add them, along with the butter, to your sauce. Stir them in and add your pre-al dente spaghetti. Stir the pasta in, making sure to coat the spaghetti with the sauce, and allow it to cook for a couple minutes. Serve pasta with a sprinkling (or coating, if you're like my husband) of parmigiano reggiano.

* One quick note - MA said to use San Marzano tomatoes. I can't stomach spending that much every single time I want to make the recipe, so I just use the Whole Foods brand. Works like a charm. If you want to splash out for the San Marzanos, though, I say go for it!

TRY THIS PASTA. It has become a staple in our kitchen, and it's a go-to recipe for us when we need a quick meal.

On another, less successful note, I tried making king ranch casserole tonight. It was an epic fail. FAIL. Steve was very nice and said it tasted just fine, but it was a total disaster. Instead of just asking my mother for her tried-and-true recipe, I googled. (There's my first mistake.) Then Whole Foods didn't have any corn tortillas...and neither did the other couple markets near our house. So I used flour tortillas, which just soaked up the liquid and got soggy. Then I, against my better judgment, followed the recipe and blended the different liquids used in the casserole. Just added to the soggy nature of the whole dish.

Lesson learned. Always ask Mom for her recipe. Don't use flour tortillas. Go with your instinct.

Now it's time to use the horribly brown bananas in our fruit bowl. Fingers crossed the banana bread turns out better!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm back!

I dusted off my Twitter account today and figured I'd do the same for this little ol' blog. I took a hiatus from pretty much all social media (well, except Facebook) for awhile, but now I'm back and ready to get cooking, photographing, and writing right away.

First post this week? The most delicious pasta sauce you'll ever make in 30 minutes. Seriously. It's like crack. I think I made it every week for about 6 weeks in a row (and consequently spent a lot more time at the gym).

This weekend I'm also continuing my quest for the perfect chocolate mousse...more on that to come!

Happy Monday everyone!