September 28, 2010


I was hoping I would be able to post some recipes this week but instead, last night, Stud and I watched a movie on the couch relaxing together for what seems to be the first time in weeks.  And all we have been eating are the tried and true recipes, like pesto pasta.  So, as of right now, I am officially beginning my blog vacation!  Good things to come when I am back, rested and recharged!

September 24, 2010

Daily Fluff

Stud JUST sent me this picture of Beau at the dog park.  I think we need to get him a baby pool for the backyard next summer....

And I have some good recipes coming soon!

September 23, 2010

Me vs. Bed Bugs, part XXVIIXIVXXI

As previously mentioned, I have a past with bed bugs.  I feel like the goal of each individual bed bug in the world is to hunt me down.  I think my blood is like the black truffle of the (bed) bug world.  A delicacy.  In my life, I have survived millions of misquito bites, fire ant attacks, bed bugs (twice), chiggers, spiders, and gnats.  Who gets bites from gnats??? I do.  So I'm used to it.  And sounds like that is a good thing seeing as LOUISVILLE IS THE 13TH MOST BED BUGGY CITY according to a Terminix poll.  So as an experienced bed bug war vetran, I thought I would share some sage advice for wedding guests travelling to Louisville, or DC, or Cincinatti, or Denver, or anywhere for that matter since BED BUGS ARE EVERYWHERE.
  1. Never keep your suitcase on the floor in a hotel room.  They will crawl in, chill in your clothes, and then lay babies all over your house when you get home.  Use those little racks they offer you.
  2. Check the mattress.  Lift up one corner and check it.  You might see a bed bug.  You might see some bed bug poop (little brown dots).  You might see some dead bed bug skins.  If so, run!
  3. When you get home, leave your suitcase outside to debug and put ALL your clothes in the dryer.  This will kill the little suckers.
  4. If you are really nervous, you can get plastic covers for your mattresses.  But that won't keep you safe.  They can live in your walls, carpet, furniture, etc.  But it might save you from some bites at night?
  5. If you have a really good vaccuum, that can pull them up.
  6. If you have a steam cleaner, the heat will kill them.
These are my best tips.  After the bed bug incident in Venice, I was heading home from that hotel and after baking my backpack outside for a week and drying all my clothes, they did not make it to my parents house.  I also googled, no reports of bed bugs at the Hyatt downtown for wedding guests.  And I am considering sending Beau off to be trained as a bed bug sniffer/hunter.  Have him bring in some bucks for the mortgage and his food.  That way, I can rent him out to people as they need it.  Brilliant!

September 22, 2010

September 21, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

I made some chicken tetrazzini over the weekend to FINALLY get a wedding, baby, and I'm-so-sorry-everything-is-so-late present (the food) to Stud's cousin and our neighbor.  Food always makes up for tardiness, right??  Chicken tetrazzini is a good comfort food to me, so I thought someone who is exhausted with a new baby might love some as well.  So they got half and we got half for our dinner since the recipe (from Cooks Illustrated, yet again) feeds 6-8.  This is also a picture from CI since Stud and I scarfed it down before taking a pic even crossed my mind.

Chicken Tetrazzini
For the topping:
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used stale french bread)
1 1/2 T. melted butter
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
For the Tetrazzini:
6 T. unsalted butter
3 c. white mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
3/4 lb spaghetti (I probably did closer to a pound)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 c. chicken stock (which is just short of one can, so I just added water until I hit 2c)
3 T. sherry
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 t. lemon juice
2 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
2 c. frozen peas
4 c. chicken meat (I used the meat from six boneless thighs)

To make the topping, mix the breadcrumbs, melted butter and salt and bake for 15-20 mins in a 350 degree oven.  Once they are cooled, mix with the Parmesan cheese.

To make the tetrazzini, melt 2 T. of butter in a large skillet.  Add the onions and mushrooms and saute for 12-15 minutes until all the moisture has cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. These can also be omitted if you do not have a taste for them.  My bother and I would refuse to eat this with the mushrooms and onions, so they were never included when my mom made it.  I have since learned. Transfer the mushrooms and onions to a small bowl.  Meanwhile, cook your pasta.  Reserve 1/4c. of the cooking water, drain, and return to pot with reserved liquid.

Back in the skillet, melt the remaining 4 T. butter and add the flour and whisk continuously until the mixture turns a golden color.  Good flavor there.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for 3-4 minutes until it begins to thicken.  While it's simmering, chop up the chicken and add it to the bowl with the onions and mushrooms.  Turn off the heat on the skillet and add the sherry, Parmesan, nutmeg, 1/2t. salt, lemon juice and thyme.  Add the sauce, mushrooms, onions, peas and meat to the spaghetti and mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased 13x9 pan (I used an 8x8 and probably an 7x10) and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top.  At this point, you can let the mixture cool and throw it into the freezer.  Or you can pop it into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes and enjoy it immediately.  If you freeze it, I would bring it to room temperature before you bake it and cook it for 20-25 minutes.

So tasty, so good.  Stud and I barely had enough left for my lunch yesterday.  This recipe has quite a few steps, but Stud had a ton of homework and I was able to make it all on my own (minus on moment where I needed an extra hand to stir the pasta, but that was more my bad planning).  And it all pays off.  Such a good warm your belly comfort food. 

September 20, 2010

Daily Fluff

Beau is an evil evil creature.  Stud has been working nights, so Beau has been napping with him all morning.  When I get home for lunch, I have to go upstairs and drag Beau off the bed.  He is usually napping with his head on Studs back, snuggling, loving.  Completely content that I'm not there.  But when it's just me at home, he refuses to snuggle and sleeps at the bottom of the stairs.  As far away from me as possible.  Waiting for Stud to come upstairs.  Some might think this is cute.  No.  He is a hater.

September 17, 2010

Cherry Tomato Pasta

I prefer this recipe more than Stud, so I was slightly pumped for this week when I would have complete control of the menu.  And I thought I would squeeze this one in once more before it (if it ever) cools off and all I want is soup.  And it's so simple, as it should be.  The recipe comes from the Seriously Simple Cookbook.  Yet another one from my mom's cookbook library.

Baked Cherry Tomato Pasta
1 1/2 lbs cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. penne, fusillil, or farfallini pasta
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

Literally the most difficult part of this recipe is halving the tomatoes.  And I have made this enough that I have it timed pretty well.  Preheat the oven to 400 and while the oven is warming up, start halving the tomatoes.  Put them in a dish large enough that can hold the pasta.  In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs (I usually try and use awkward stale leftover pieces of french bread that I grind up in the Cuisinart - way better), cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.  Once all the tomatoes are halved, spoon the bread crumb mixture over the tomatoes and drizzle the olive oil evenly over the mixture.  Put in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Once the tomatoes go in, I start the pasta.  Once the pasta and tomatoes (they should be good a bubbly) are finished, drain the pasta and add to the tomatoes with the basil.  Mix to combine and EAT.

I love what happens to the cherry tomatoes in this one.  They become little pieces of candy.  In fact, I usually always go a little overboard with the cherry tomatoes and bread crumbs.  So much this past time that I had to take some to my parents because I had that much leftover.  And this could also be mixed with some chicken, or shrimp to make more of a meal out of it.  But I love it just the way it is.

September 16, 2010

Ready for FALL! (pt 2)

Any my list continues....

5. Fires.  Fire pits and fire places.  I love sitting around a fire pit on a cool night enjoying company and making s'mores.  And I love that smell.  And my fire place...very glad it's functioning and can't wait to get it up and running.  And then to lay all the blankets and couch cushions down right in front, open a bottle of wine, and enjoy a nice movie with Stud and Beau.

4. Fall food.  I know I will regret this comment come February, but I am tired of summer foods.  I am ready for some squash and (carmel) apples.  For soups. Gumbo, minestrone, chili.  I am ready to eat some food that warms my tum without also making me start to sweat.  For rich heavy foods I do not regret eating ten minutes into the meal.  For pies and warm desserts made to be eaten by the fire.

3. Fall weather - it's by far my favorite.  As someone who glistens very easily, the drop in humidity and breeze that arrive in the fall make it better than spring.  Things are cool and crisp.  There is that first frost that kills all the mosquito's (my arch nemesis).  I can sleep with the windows open and not feel like I need to wash my face when I wake up.  I like turning off the AC and keeping all the windows open.  I love needing to bring a sweater as a perfect day turns into a cool night. 

2. My wedding!!!  I can't WAIT to see all my friends from college and family that does not leave nearby.  I can't wait to celebrate.  I can't wait for Stud and I to be legit.  For him to have some new bling for his left hand so all those wandering eyes on the nurses at the hospital can get the message - HE'S TAKEN.  That cute one in the scrubs - he's mine.  Not that I am proprietary or anything.

1. My honeymoon.  I need a vacation.  I have learned honeymoons are not to enjoy time as newlyweds.  They are so the bride can unwind after months and months of wedding planning.  And the new hubs comes along for company and foot massages.


I have a long torrid history with bed bugs.  They have been part of my life twice in the past five years and I do not like them one bit.  You see, I have highly sensitive skin to bugs bites (so says Stud, the doctor) and beg bugs...well they have some vicious bites.  I mean, I can get ten mosquito bites in five minutes.  So a whole night laying as a feast for bed bugs?  When they were at their worst, I woke up the following morning with somewhere north of a HUNDRED bites JUST ON MY LEGS.  That did not include the ones on my arms and stomach.  I had blisters.  And I now have scars.  To say I have issues when it comes to bed bugs would be an understatement. 

So when I heard on the news last night that my dear alma mater had closed dorms to eradicate bed bugs, I release a huge sigh of relief that I escaped in time.  I bet they are in Collins.  Or Poteat.  If they are and you live there, I apologize.  They can probably still smell me there and are hunting me down.  I have escaped their little grasps twice with only minor damage.  It seems Wake Forest is taking all the proper steps to ensure the beg bugs do not become a huge problem, though I have sneaking fears that bed bugs will be in my life again, probably more than once more.  They seem to be spreading.  Therefore, my travels will always include some major Benadryl, Crotizone Cream, and the knowledge that this soon shall pass.  And everything from the suitcase immediately goes into the dryer.

If you have any questions about bed bugs, I like to call myself well versed in the matter.  Feel free to ask away.

September 15, 2010

Ready for FALL! (pt 1)

I am so ready for fall.  I am done with the humidity.  I am done with the temps hovering in the upper 90s.  It's going to be 94 here today.  It's September.  I'm through with that.  I am ready for a breeze, for cool nights, for fire pits.  I have officially decided that fall is by far my favorite season.  I decided to summarize my excitement for fall into a top ten list:

10. I love that general feeling of everything slowing down.  Taking the time to enjoy things.  Especially after this summer of wedding planning/MBA class/working full time/living it will be nice to unwind, enjoy a glass of wine outside and relax.

9. The change in the leaves and the colors of fall. I love the oranges, yellows, and reds that come with fall. I love the warmth they bring. It always amazes me how bright the colors are on the trees.

8. New clothes. Not new clothes, but all the clothes in my closet that have been resting over the summer. The ones I was sick of last spring. My sweater dresses, my tights, boots, jeans, winter coats.... Can't wait to bring back the wool and coziness. I may have snuck one in over the weekend.

7. Fall activities - Keeneland and Churchill Downs open back up. I can go to Hubers and get a pumpkin. And then carve it. I don't keep up with it, but I can now watch some college football. Go Demon Deacons!

6. Thanksgiving is technically encroaching on winter, but I feel like it epitomizes fall much better than winter. So it's a fall holiday. I love the feeling of Thanksgiving, and it's probably one of my favorite holidays. My family always starts off with Bloody Mary's and eats our "dinner" around 2pm. Gives you just enough time to enjoy a nice long I-ate-way-too-much meal and then still be hungry enough for a second meal, maybe after a nice long walk though the neighborhood. And then we have Stud's family dinner. He has such a huge fun family, it's nice to have my little family lunch and then Stud's large family gathering. And it will also be our first family holiday as marrieds. And there will be a new babe (I will also be an aunt soon - SO EXCITING) in the family so I will get to snuggle a teeny tiny baby.

September 14, 2010

We had too much Salmon

Stud and I are big fans of grilled salmon.  And we (and I obviously mean just Stud here) have perfected the grilling process and oh man it's so tasty.  And I feel great - getting all those omega fatty acids.  Fish is something majorly lacking in our diet, so I always feel success when I can work it into the menu.  Well, when we were at the grocery, Stud was convinced we needed the entire chunk of salmon instead of just half.  So I said fiiiiine and we left the grocery with probably enough salmon to feed six.
So stud grilled it all up and we had some salmon for dinner.  And we had a TON leftover.  So then I had a salmon, avocado, tomato and bacon sandwich for lunch.  So did Stud.  And we still had some leftover.  I'm perusing the fridge and notice we have salmon, cream cheese, and capers.  Those things all go together!  The future in laws are coming over for dinner!  I have no appetizer!  And a brilliant (although I now know unoriginal idea) was born.  I will make some salmon dip!  Oh and sorry for the pic, it's a cell phone picture taken after we had demolished most of it.  Oopsies.  Bad food blogger.

Salmon Dip
1/4-1/2 lb. grilled salmon (or smoked, just make sure it's the meaty kind)
1/2 c. cream cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
2 T. capers, chopped
2 T. parsley, chopped
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Cholula

Break apart the salmon with a fork so it's in little pieces.  Add to a bowl.  Add the cream cheese, sour cream, capers, parsley, worcestershire, and Cholula.  Mix well.  If you have closer to 1/2lb. salmon, add more cream cheese and sour cream until it's a good dip consistency.  So it won't break your cracker when you try and scoop some out.  I hate that.  It would be much easier if the cream cheese was at room temperature, but alas.  This was a spur-of-the-moment thing for me.  And along those lines, we served it with tortilla chips, and it would be wayyyy better with some bagel chips.  Or pita chips. 

September 13, 2010

Some really great words that don't exist in English:

L’esprit de escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love.

Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

Gheegle: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Pochemuchka: (Russian) A person who asks a lot of questions.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

Saudade (sow-da-jee) (Portugese, Galician) the feeling one gets when realizing something one once had is lost and can never be had again

Sgriobn: (Gaelic) The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky.

Found over on scenes-from-my hood.

September 10, 2010

Baked Egg Muffins

I made these last weekend for breakfast and yum yum yum.  And if the bacon is pre-cooked (as in I actually planned ahead which is rare these days...and Stud hasn't eaten all of it), these would take no time to whip up.  I could maybe even squeeze them into my 20 minute breakfast break on weekday mornings!  I think these would be a great treat to start a day off that ends with class at 9pm.  I do need my energy.

Baked Egg Muffins
1 slice of bread, crusts removed
1 egg
1 slice cooked bacon
Hot Sauce

Above are the ingredients for one baked egg muffin - I would suggest 2-3 per person.  I had three.  Wedding diet is going really well.  Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and butter both sides of the bread. Press it down into the muffin tin so the four corners stick out like little peaks.  Bake the bread for about six minutes, or until it starts to toast.  Remove from the oven.  Take the bacon and crumble it into the bottom of the bread.  I saved a little to sprinkle on top!  Next, crack an egg directly into the bread cup.  Mine overflowed a bit here, but I have reallly old shallow muffin tins.  And everything came out just fine without some egg white.  Next, dribble a little cream right on top of the egg and then season with some salt and pepper.  I also (of course) added some hot sauce right to the top.  Cover with cheese and put back in the oven for an addition 10-14 minutes.  Mine took closer to 14, and some were perfect and some were a little overdone.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon.  You can pop them out easily using a fork.  Great way to start off a Saturday of a long weekend!!

Haudge's Fan Pic:

Original recipe can be found here.

September 8, 2010

One Finger....Broken!

Kickball is a VERY dangerous sport....

Scenario:  Fragile Fellow (name changed to protect the innocent) is in the outfield.  Fly ball.  Team is losing 9-1.  Mercy rule goes into effect at 10 runs.  FF catches the ball but experiences a sharp pain in his left middle finger.  But success!  Player was out and Team Shabooms went on to only lose 9-4.

Today:  FF broke his finger.  He has mallet finger if you want all the gory details.  That little chunk of bone in the pic above - that should be attached.  Hence FF must wear a brace on his LEFT middle finger (THANK GOODNESS it wasn't his ring finger) for the next eight weeks.  During a certain upcoming wedding.  Whilst scuba diving on an amazing honeymoon.  Can't trust that boy with anything.  He also cut his finger the other night trying to open a bottle of wine.  Needless to say, I hung the new curtain rod over the weekend.  Stud FF is forbidden from using power tools.  And knives.  And corkscrews.  And from playing kickball.

September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy the AMAZING weekend.  Here in the Bluegrass State, temps dropped to a high of 75 (!!) and I tried to spend as much time outside.  Labor Day weekend, for me, marks the kick off of fall and I could not be more excited!! I have just a few things to look forward to this fall.  Besides the wedding (and honeymoon!), I love the food, weather, and colors of fall.  I drove by a tree the other day that had just the hints of fall color.

The enjoyment of the weather this weekend involved dinner at my parents house out on their porch.  My mom the gourmande made Paella for dinner (wayyy out of my league) so Stud and I offered to make some Sangria.  Dangerously yum. And dangerously strong.  This here is the real deal - the recipe originates from Stud's time abroad in Barcelona.  And we have enough to make another batch....

1/2 bottle red wine (cheap is better)
1 1/2c. brandy
1 1/2c. club soda
1c. sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
1 lime

Slice and squeeze the juice from the oranges, lemons, and lime into the bottom of a pitcher.  I left about half the rinds of the slices in the pitcher - they are so pretty!  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the liquids and stir to combine.  Taste to make sure it's to your liking.  I also added ice to ours, I think it's much better with a chill.  And the color of the sangria is so deep and rich.  I wish I could have captured it better...maybe I should stop using my cell phone camera....

This recipe was so tasty and we just used a basic ratio.  I think it's actually supposed to be two parts wine to one part brandy and one part club soda, but ours was more like 1:1:1 and it's what I'll make again because I enjoyed it so much.

September 3, 2010

Aarti Paarti!

Welcome to my first ever attempt at Indian food!  The picture is not great, but the curry was really good.  And should be much easier the next time I make it.  I think Aarti could use a fewwww more instructions in her recipes...I'm not sure what Masala looks like when it's I guessed.  Stud and I made Green Curry with Rice Pilaf (I told you....problem with the rice pilaf) using Aarti's recipe from the Next Food Network Star.

Green Curry
1 bunch cilantro leaves
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 red onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 in. piece of fresh garlic, peeled
Salt and Pepper
1/4c. water
2 T. olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 t. cumin
1 t. corriander
1/2 t. garam masala
1/2 t. tumeric
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 c. plain whole milk yogurt
Box of Rice Pilaf

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 and roasting the chicken breasts for about 25-30 min until they are cooked through.  First of all - Aarti has you cooking the chicken breasts in their entirety in the curry and then serving them whole.  I wanted to serve it with little pieces of chicken in the sauce, I just like that more.  So I pre-cooked my chicken, cut it into bite size pieces and then added it at the very end.  In the bowl of a food processor, add the cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.  Process until it forms a paste, then add the 1/4c. water and process until it forms a sauce - the "masala."

In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil and add the shallots and cook until they are golden.  Add the spices and cook for thirty seconds.  Add the masala mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring often, for about 5-8 mins.  According to Aarti "stirring often until it deepens in color and aroma. You'll know it's ready when it looks shiny, little droplets of oil will appear on the surface, and the masala will hold together as a cohesive mass."  I have no idea what that means.  But there you go.  Add the chicken and an additional 1/4c. water.  Cook the sauce and chicken until the water has been cooked off the sauce.  Or until you just can't stand it cause you're really hungry.  Remove it from the heat and add the yogurt.  And the enjoy!

I think next time, there is not much I would change.  I think we would add some chili powder (duh, spice), and other than that, it's really really good.  And my house smelled like Indian food for the next few days.  And I never really got sick of it....  Stud of course loved it.  There will definitely be more Indian cuisine in our future!

September 1, 2010


I have officially decided frittatas are a much better "medium" for random refrigerator items than pasta.  I mean, you can put leftover pulled pork in a frittata (really good, trust me).  In pasta, that would just be weird.

Basic Frittata
2-3 eggs per person (Stud and I usually use five)
1/4c. milk

And that's it.  That's all you NEED to make a frittata.  Now the fun part.  To make the frittata pictured, you will also need:

1/2 chorizo link
2c. uncooked spinach
3 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4c. shredded cheddar cheese

To start, combine the eggs, milk, cholula, salt and pepper and whisk until the eggs are well combined.  In an oven proof skillet (I take the rubber handle off mine), crumble the chorizo and saute until it starts to brown.  Add the tomatoes, spinach and garlic.  Once the spinach begins to wilt, add the eggs.  Give a quick stir (just to make sure the good stuff isn't all sitting at the bottom) and then stop.  Reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook until the sides and middle begin to set.  If you jiggle the pan, only the very top layer of the egg mixture will be wiggly.  Once you reach this point, sprinkle the cheese over the top and stick under the broiler until the top is nice and brown - it only takes a minute or two.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Such an easy dinner and so delicious, and actually pretty healthy.  You can even remove some of the yolks to make it even healthier.  And other items we have put in a frittata with great success are (pretty much all leftovers):
-roasted potatoes (or tater tots, or hashbrowns)
-pulled pork
-caramelized onions
-prosciutto (and speck)
-goat cheese
-Parmesan cheese

Really, there are endless options.  I have also seen them made with leftover pasta.  I have never tried it, but it sounds good!  I wish I had known how to make a frittata in college.  I ate so many bowls of pasta that were majority leftover veggies.  Frittatas are a much better choice.


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