Opposites. My husband and I are opposite in a lot of ways. He's always hot, and I run colder than the average person. He abides by ALL rules and I tend to hang out in the gray areas. He's a morning person and well... I'm not. He is the long term planner in the relationship and I am the detail queen.
Our different ways of approaching life can cause us to butt heads at times but we also compliment each other in a lot of ways. He makes sure that we're adequately preparing for our retirement, I make sure we don't run out of toilet paper and toothpaste in the house. 🧻 Equally important roles in a marriage. 😂
The exception to the rule is when we're in the kitchen. We actually switch roles when it comes to cooking. I'm much more of a "wing it" kind of cook and he measures out every single ingredient with scientific precision. The word "pinch" causes all sorts of anxiety for him. He want's to know exactly what that translates to in terms of number of grains of salt. 🧂😅 And don't even get me started on trying to explain how much parsley to have him pick from the garden. 🌿😂
I think a lot of our different cooking styles has to do with experience. I've logged a lot of hours in the kitchen and I've learned how to substitute out of necessity. This recipe, for example, was written for pork chops. There were no pork chops to be found at the grocery store so I turned it into a pork tenderloin recipe. I think it turned out to be a pretty great pork tenderloin recipe but if you've got chops - by all means, go for it.
Grilled Chile-Pineapple Pork Tenderloin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless, thin-cut pork chops
1 pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2" rings
1 red onion, cut into 1/2" thick rings
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Drizzle pork and pineapple with reserved sauce. Serve with additional cilantro and lime wedges.
This warm weather lately has me all gung ho to fire up my Big Green Egg. This recipe is the perfect kick off to summer. (Yes, I know that it's still April. But since we've all spent the month in - I'm officially starting my summer early.) It's a perfect blend of sweet and spicy and fruity. Hope you enjoy.
Is it just me or does everyone at the grocery store look like they have judgemental eyes when they're wearing a mask? 👀I can feel the heavy stares of my fellow masked shoppers when I push my cart full of butter and powdered sugar through the aisles of the supermarket. 😂😷 I need to wear a sign that says "I'm a caterer - I shop for the masses." (Anyone want to put that on a t-shirt for me?) It would save me a lot of time explaining WHY I'm pushing around an entire case of cream cheese in my cart.
Regardless of what my grocery purchases might indicate, we actually try and limit the amount of processed sugar and fats that we consume. I definitely lean towards "healthy" when I plan meals for my family. I make my best effort to load up our menu with lean protein and vegetables.
Some healthy choices are easier than others. I opt for whole grain bread over white bread. 🥖 I choose brown rice over white because I know that it's healthier, even though it takes longer to prepare. 🍚 I'm kind of pasta obsessed and eliminating it from my diet would be nearly impossible so I substitute whole wheat or chick pea pasta for regular pasta. 🍝
Getting more whole grains into our diet is even easier than it's ever been. There are so many delicious choices that are widely available at grocery stores. Wheat berry, barley, quinoa and farro have taken the place of my go-to side dish of brown rice. We can all agree that some new starchy sides are a welcome addition to our weekly menus.
Not sure if "farrotto" is an actual word or just a made-up term used to describe this creamy farro dish that's cooked like risotto, but I kind of like it. A 30 minute risotto-like dish with whole grain farro and fresh asparagus is just about the most perfect side dish that I can think of. Throw in a honey mustard glazed chicken breast and you've got a perfect meal.
Honey Mustard Chicken with Asparagus Farrotto
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup farro
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound asparagus
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Add chicken and turn to coat. Serve the farro topped with a chicken breast.
It's probably no surprise to you but, I don't use artificial lighting when I photograph my food. I rely completely on natural light so on the rare occasion when I catch the sun shining just perfectly on my chicken breast - I take LOTS of pictures. 😂📷
The longer this self quarantine goes on - the longer the list of activities that I should NOT be participating in, grows. 😂 I've played more tennis in the last couple of weeks than I have in YEARS and I would have thought that with all that practice - I would be a master tennis player by now. 🎾🙅🏻♀️ I actually managed to unintentionally peg my poor pup square in the butt last week during a somewhat comical match with my husband. She was shocked and I can only assume, ticked off, at my total lack of ball control. We both were, really.
Golfing, social distance style, has been very interesting. ⛳️ The cups are turned upside down so that no one has to touch the flag. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, that means that there is no "hole" that the ball actually has to go into. All I had to do was hit the cup. Easy, right? Nope. Golf is another sport that I am painfully inept at - even without a hole. 😂 With the shelter in place order, there were an unusually large number of children that seemed to be playing on or near the course and that made me very nervous. These innocent children had no idea what kind of blind trust they were putting in my amateur golfing abilities. Fortunately no children were harmed during my golf game - maybe just a squirrel or two. 😬
My most recent quarantine endeavor is biking. 🚴🏻♂️I've rediscovered how much fun it is to go out on long rides through the neighborhoods near my house. I was feeling so confident in my new found biking skills in fact, that I suggested that my husband and I take our bikes to the park last weekend. Our ride was all going swimmingly UNTIL I came in contact with a spider! 🕷 The timing couldn't have been worse. I was about half way down a very steep hill when a spider (which was pretty ginormous, by the way) somehow ended up in my shirt. 👚 I started frantically shaking out my shirt with one hand and trying to navigate my bike around the sharp curve at the bottom of the hill with the other hand when I first caught a glimpse of two innocent bystanders who were strolling along in my direction. Terrified - that was the look on their faces as this crazy woman careened towards them at a very high rate of speed on a bike that seemed to be out of control while screaming at the top of her lungs. 🙀 I'm happy to report that there was no collision and the spider was successfully removed (unharmed) from my shirt. But I did give those poor pedestrians (and myself) quite a scare.
Maybe I should just stick to the things that I'm good at. I'm a good walker. 🚶🏻♀️ I've yet to fall out of my kayak. 🛶 And the general public is much safer when I'm on my stationary bike. 🚲😂
All of this outdoor activity though has me craving bigger meals than normal. Sweet potatoes are one of my go-to post workout treats. They have got a lot of the vitamins and nutrients that I need after an afternoon of exercise. These Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes are super easy to put together and REALLY delicious.
Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary)
3 lbs. (3-4 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thinly
Kosher salt and black pepper
Increase oven heat to 450 degrees F. Remove foil and roast another 10-15 minutes, until tops of potatoes are browned and crisp.
We eat a lot of sweet potatoes in our house. We like them baked, roasted, "fried", sautéed and stuffed. We eat them in burritos, salads, muffins, cornbread, eggs, casseroles and burgers. If you're interested in checking out any of my sweet potato recipes - type "sweet potato" into the search bar on the recipe index page of my blog. Even I was surprised at how many sweet potato recipes I had posted.
Strawberry Picking - Officially the best - social distancing - get out of the house - see other people from afar - super delicious - quarantine activity. 🍓 And for those reasons, if you're my neighbor - I'm officially offering to pick fresh strawberries for you too. That's just how much I enjoyed spending a beautiful Spring moring in the middle of a strawberry field. Maybe it's because I've been staying home more than usual but picking strawberries was a much needed interruption from in home quarantine.
Now to find great ways to use up all these strawberries - mostly so that I have an excuse to go back and pick more. 😂 I have no problem dipping them all in chocolate but I probably shouldn't. 🍫
I made baked strawberry oatmeal for Easter and now I'm giving these delicious strawberry overnight oats a try. Even though it's super cute, you don't have to make these in a mason jar. Any tupperware container or bowl will work just fine.
Overnight Strawberry Oats
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup milk
1 container strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
I can't prove it but I swear that I sleep better on the nights that these oats are in my refrigerator. Just the knowledge that a delicious breakfast will be waiting for me when I wake up is all the reassurance that I need to sleep soundly, apparently. 🤷🏻♀️ These oats were so tasty - I can't wait to try a batch with fresh blueberries too.
Remember when we could just walk into a grocery store without waiting in line or worrying that they would be out of the essential ingredients that we need? Grocery shopping has changed drastically in the last couple of months. Not all of the changes have been bad though.
I'm big on personal space and I've thought for years that people should stand 6 feet apart while in line the grocery store check out line. I'm going to be a little disappointed to see those little footprint guides on the floor indicating how far apart people should stand, disappear when this whole pandemic is over. 👣 Not everyone can read my not-so-subtle stares when they're encroaching on my personal grocery space. 💁🏻♀️
And can we just talk about how great it is that every cart is cleaned and sanitized before we use them? 🛒 I've always been a consistent cart wipe user but I feel like the continuous cleaning of the carts by store employees is far more effective. My local Target store is going a step further by cleaning the register belt and key pad in between every customer. As a self proclaimed (borderline) germaphobe - this new level of cleanliness is very appealing.
Yes, it's inconvenient to wait in line outside a store for 30 minutes before being permitted to enter, but I appreciate the less congested aisles while I'm inside, picking out my groceries. I've even shopped at grocery stores with directional aisles. ☞ My type A personality was thrilled to participate in singular direction grocery shopping.
Wearing a mask has probably been the biggest adjustment to grocery shopping during a pandemic. 😷 I've been wearing my homemade masks which are super cute and arguably more comfortable than other options but - it's still pretty annoying. On a positive note - I got carded for buying a bottle of wine for the first time in a looooong time, while wearing my mask. Apparently, I have young looking eyes. 👀
Lucky for me, the panic that initially cleared the grocery store shelves of --- well, everything, has subsided. There were a couple of weeks that I couldn't find a single bag of flour but fortunately, the essential ingredient that I need to keep my catering business afloat, is more widely available now.
Getting creative with the ingredients that were available when I went to the store was the name of the game for a while. And that's exactly how these Coffee Cake muffins became a reality. When regular flour is at a premium - I make treats for my family with cake flour. I think that you'll agree that this is a delicious repercussion to come out of this crazy pandemic.
Coffee Cake Muffins
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp milk
When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each muffin using a small spoon. Allow glaze to set before serving.
This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins or 6 jumbo muffins.
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