Pregnancy is a fascinating phenomenon. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the lucky ones who walked around with a perpetual glow while boasting a joyful expression throughout my pregnancy. I was nauseous, bloated and my pregnancy glow revealed itself as acne. 🤦🏻♀️ Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to be able to carry the babies that we had so fervently prayed for. I just never understood how anyone could find the joy in being kicked from the inside out. 🤷🏻♀️
I had 2 babies and 2 very different pregnancy experiences. 🤰🏻 (Maybe that was a sign of just how different these two individuals would turn out to be.) When I was pregnant with my first child, I craved Arbys' roast beef sandwiches. Coming from a girl who doesn't eat a lot of meat - that was a really weird craving. 🍖 😅 The second time around - I craved seafood. I wanted shrimp, lobster, crab, mussels and clams but unfortunately, none of that lived in the river that ran through our hometown of San Antonio, at the time. So I bought frozen seafood from the grocery store. Turns out even frozen fish sticks served to satisfy my craving in a pinch.
Truth be told - I haven't eaten an Arby's sandwich since I delivered my first born - 26 years ago. But I have consumed an awful lot of seafood since my second child was born - 23 years ago. 😬 Maybe that should be a sign that it really wasn't a pregnancy craving after all - just a good excuse to make crab legs for dinner once a week. 🤣
Spaghetti with clams, mussels in white wine sauce, grilled salmon, paella, fresh lobster and clambakes. I love it all. I still live in a landlocked city but luckily for me, I have more access fresh seafood even in my small town than I did nearly two and a half decades ago. Our local butcher shop is stocking fresh Scottish Salmon and I am obsessed with it. My goal is to eat this salmon as often as possible.
Pistachio Crusted Salmon
2 Tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
2 Tablespoons panko
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 salmon filets
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt
Place salmon on foil lined baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 400.
This pistachio crusted salmon was crazy delicious. If you are a salmon fan - you NEED this recipe in your life. You can thank me later. 😉
Anyone ever had their day interrupted by one of those annoying phone calls with someone on the other end wanting you to participate in a survey? Or been innocently walking through the mall and been approached by someone carrying the dreaded clipboard and pen? I'm not sure that I've ever taken the time to participate in a single survey but I'd be willing to bet that my husband has completed every survey he's ever been asked to complete. #hesanextrovert 😅
So here I am today - playing the role of a super annoying data collector.😬 I'm conducting an informal poll about brunch. Participate if you like and if you choose to opt out - scroll down the recipe and enjoy. 🍔 If you want to help a girl out though - I would love to get your opinions.
Maybe I'm new to the trend but it seems like brunches are the new morning happy hour. 🥂 I've been making more brunch food than anything else lately. I'm not complaining because I love brunch food. I'm just trying to gather more information about what people what to see on their brunch table.
If you've the person who likes to eat breakfast and lunch in a single bite - this brunch burger is for you. A delicious combination of the best parts of both breakfast AND lunch. And just in case you were wondering - I didn't serve these for breakfast, lunch or brunch - I went rogue and served them for dinner. 🤣
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound (85% lean) ground beef
8 ounces breakfast sausage
4 slices bacon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 brioche hamburger buns
Add top bun.
Weekend brunches are my jam. Who doesn't love the concept of combing two meals into one? Linner - lupper - brunch or even the less popular, late night... brinner. 😅 Fusing the best parts of breakfast like fruit, bacon, eggs and pastries with the best parts of an afternoon meal like burgers, salads, meats and cheeses is my definition of genius. 🥐 And don't even get me started on mimosas. 🥂 Champagne and juice Yes, please.
Does anyone mind if we just turn this blog into a recipe, stories and book club post for the day? 📕 2020 has been the year of the audio book for me. I'm averaging 3 audio books a week and now I'm wondering why it took me so long to jump on the audio download game. I work from home and I spend a great deal of time doing somewhat menial tasks in my kitchen. So why not listen to someone read me a book while I chop vegetables?
Thanks to COVID, I've learned to use Libby as my source for my audio downloads. I love it. Some of my most favorite books lately have been Dream Big (Bob Goff), Present over Perfect (Shauna Niequist), That Sounds Fun (Annie F. Downs), Eat a Peach (David Chang), Forgiving What You Can't Forget (Lysa TerKurst), Dial A for Auntie (Jesse Q. Sutanto) and Death By Chocolate Milkshake (Sarah Graves). 🤣 (I can't resist a good culinary mystery.😅) I enjoy reading memoires and I really like inspirational and Christian non-fiction books. This is where the book club part of this post comes in - I need you to send me your book suggestions. What have you read lately that you just couldn't put down?
I'm naturally drawn to books about food. My family considers it a form of torture when we're on a long car trip and I turn on an audio book at describes food and the experience of eating in great detail. 🤣 You know the books that I'm talking about. The books that have ridiculously lengthy descriptions about a particular food or the process of preparation. The ones that have recipes at the end of each chapter. I LOVE those books but my less food-focused family members believe that listening to those books has a negative effect on them - it makes them far too hungry. And to their credit, maybe being trapped in a car for long periods of time, with pretzels as our only snack, isn't the best scenario for a good culinary mystery book. 🚙 🤣
I've been inspired by books to cook all sorts of different recipes. I made homemade Ramen after I listened to David Chang's memoir. And Banana Cream Pie Murder and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder had obvious consequences. 🤣 After I listened to Fanny Singer's memoire, Always Home, I was inspired to make Fisherman's Pie. Her chronicles of travel, food and family that she experienced growing up gave me all the comfort food vibes. So here is my Springtime comfort meal - Fisherman's Pie.
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
12 ounces jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut in half crosswise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 Tablespoons flour
16 ounces clam juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound skinless cod fillets, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Place pie under broiler and cook until golden and crusty.
Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
I can't help but wonder what other kinds of fish I could add to this Fisherman's Pie now. I'm thinking that scallops might be a nice addition. I'll keep you posted on that trial. 😅
Afternoon walks are my jam lately.🚶🏻♀️ Being outside makes me feel grounded and connected to nature. And as an added bonus - I get to visit my favorite animals along my 5 mile loop around the neighborhood too. Sometimes while I walk, I listen to audio books, sometimes I put on my favorite upbeat tunes and some days I practice my Italian lessons but I always have carrots or apples in my hand to feed the donkey and the cow. 😅
My running career came to an abrupt end 15 years ago and for a long time, accepting that my running days were behind me, was a struggle. #whimpyankleproblems I avoided walking the same sidewalks that I used to run because it brought back painful memories of my running days. I didn't even want to wear the same shoes that used to carry me through my distance runs.👟 To be perfectly honest, I spent a lot of years being resentful of people who still had the option to run. It was surprisingly difficult to have to set that part of my life aside. I say surprisingly, because I never knew how much I loved running until I had to give it up.
I'd like to say that my self reflection and analysis of not being able to run was brief but the truth is, that it took years for me to actually work through the grief of losing my ability to run. I continued to exercise but I just wasn't able to achieve the same fulfilling feeling that I had gotten after a long run. I tried everything. Swimming, yoga, P90X, biking - pretty much everything that didn't involve repetitive impact on my right foot.
I'm not proud of it but I spent years feeling resentful about what I had to give up instead of feeling grateful for my ability to walk.🤦🏻♀️ But something changed this Spring and I started to take some long walks again. Turns out that I wasn't grieving my inability to run, after all. What I really missed was outdoor exercise. 🤷🏻♀️ My new walk routine has me given me a renewed feeling of gratefulness for the ability to breath fresh air and for my ability to move. There are still days when I have to stop my brain from telling me that I could accomplish the same miles in less time if I could run and focus on my appreciation of walking.
I will say that on the days that I get to go for a long walk, my attitude is better and my whole day just seems to run smoother. Walking outside gives me new perspective on life and it helps me make better decisions for the rest of my day. I also know that I am far hungrier on the days that I log and extra 5 miles in my tennis shoes. 😬 I crave carbs and cheese and all the comfort foods that feed my soul. This pecorino pasta has earned a spot in our pasta repertoire - especially on walk days.
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups pasta
Some blog posts are all about the recipes and some posts are more focused on my stories. I was feeling long winded today which means that there wasn't a lot of talk about this delicious Pecorino Pasta recipe. I don't feel like it got the spotlight that it deserves but don't let that discourage you from trying it. It is really good - especially after a long walk. 😂
Random fact about me: I haven't always been a fan of cake. 🍰 As a child, my irrational dislike of cake actually prompted me to make some pretty strange birthday dessert requests in lieu of a traditional birthday cake. And my rock star of a mom indulged me every year and produced elegant displays of donuts with candles, fruit pies and bowls of colorfully sprinkled ice cream. 🍨 I'm thankful for a mom who never questioned my food choices and threw me plenty of cake-less birthday parties as a child. (Yes, I was that kid. 😅)
We celebrated 3 family birthdays last week - my mother in law, my first born and his wonderful wife. That's 3 reasons to celebrate and three good excuses to eat birthday dessert. 😅 Even though I couldn't be with my son and daughter in law to celebrate their birthdays in person, that didn't stop me from eating commemorative birthday dessert. 🥮 Is commemorative dessert a thing or just an excuse to eat dessert? 😂
As I've gotten older, I've actually developed an appreciation for cake - especially as a means of celebration. 🎂 I can't help but think that my late in life cake affection stems from the fact that a significant part of my current career involves making cakes to commemorate significant moments in other peoples lives. I could argue that I owe the success of my catering business to cake. Back in 2016, I started baking cupcakes for a local coffee shop, and I quickly became known to many around town as the "cupcake lady". 🧁 It was all cakes and cookies from there.
To celebrate my mother in laws birthday last week - I threw it back into my non-traditional birthday dessert roots and made a Dark Chocolate Tart. Yes, I'm the girl who likes to show up to the party with an unexpected dessert. (One year, I made glow in the dark jello squares for my daughter's school dance. 🤷🏻♀️ 🤣) Wonderful, unpredictable, stunning desserts are the perfect way to celebrate any occasion.
Dark Chocolate Tart
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons butter, melted and hot
1 cup half and half
4 egg yolks
1 Tablespoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
10 Tablespoons butter, melted
Pour into a strainer and into cooled tart shell. Let cool 20 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2-24 hours.
Top with whipped cream.
Garnish with fresh fruit if desired.
Happiest of birthdays Judy, Ryan and Holly - love you all.
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