Patience. What tests your patience? If you have children, I'm going to assume that they made your list of people that test your patience. 😂As remarkable as my adult children are, I'm convinced that they were created to develop my sense of patience for the first 20 years of their life. My kids were experts at testing my patience.
One of my children, who will remain nameless, got a hold of a package of zip ties one time and decided to use each and every one of them in an innovative way. This creative prankster snuck downstairs in the middle of the night and decided it would be a hilarious joke to use the zip ties to secure every single cabinet door, drawer and appliance in the kitchen. Imagine my frustration while trying to make my morning tea without being able to open a cabinet and get a mug, open the tea drawer or even be able to turn on the water. 😅 😳 Oh and the drawer with the kitchen scissors - also zip tied closed. Gotta give the kid credit for being thorough. Kids. Patience.
Yup, kids will test your patience on a daily basis. My kids have both moved out of the house but that doesn't mean that other things don't test my patience on a daily basis. I get behind the slow driver in the passing lane. I choose the slowest checkout line in the supermarket. I wait longer than I feel is a reasonable amount of time for a doctors appointment or I have to wait outside in 98 degree temperatures for 30 minutes to get into Trader Joes. 😰
Bread baking is just one of those times when I feel like I get to practice patience. I have to knead it long enough to bring out the gluten in the flour or it will turn into a brick. I can't rush the rising process or the yeast won't have enough time to do its thing. The bread has to bake slowly enough to create air bubbles inside the loaf and to create that beautiful golden crust. 🥖 It's just not something that can be rushed or hurried but if you invest the time required, the results are amazing. There's nothing quite like a slice of warm homemade bread.
This delicious bread is incredible and it takes no less than 9 hours to go from raw ingredients to baked loaf! Just think of it as an exercise in patience. It's well worth your time though. I promise.
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup room temperature water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 Tablespoon salt (or rosemary salt)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
Let loaves cool in pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to pans. Brush with any remaining oil from pans.
Let cool 30 minutes before slicing. This focaccia is the perfect compliment to so many things. Obviously, you can serve it with grilled chicken and fish but you should try it with grilled meats and fish too. If you have leftovers, slice it horizontally and fill it with your favorite sandwich ingredients for another amazing creation.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
I couldn't agree more. I have to remind myself of this every morning when I get up and put on my sneakers. 👟 I don't belong to a gym where I can go to workout and get motivation from trainers and friends. Somedays I have to dig deep (like really deep) to find my own inspiration to work myself into a puddle of sweat. 😅 You'd hardly know it from looking at me, but I push myself to work my muscles past the point of comfortable on a daily basis because I know that the pain and effort that I put into my workouts is ultimately good for my body. 💪🏻
The key for me is to figure out if the time and effort that goes into something is worth it in the end. The extra time and effort that goes into working out - worth it. The time and effort required to make homemade pasta and ragu - definitely worth it. 🍝The time and money that is required to make homemade marshmallows - definitely NOT worth it. (Some things you have to figure out the hard way.) 😂
Sometimes I feel like a significant investment of either time or money into a recipe, makes it even more appealing. I also feel like I've eaten more than my share of really bad meals just because I felt like I had too much time invested to scrap it completely and start over. 😖
There's no question that homemade ragu is an investment in time. It's head and shoulders above anything you can buy in the grocery store. The slow cooker takes all the hard work out of the process. Most of the prep time is hands off so get it started and then just sit back and wait for the amazing smells to start filling your kitchen.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
15 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Serve sauce with the pasta of your choice. I chose an egg pappardelle to go with my homemade ragu. What is your favorite pasta? I like to buy the most unusual, obscure and hard to pronounce dried pasta that I can find in the grocery store. 🤷🏻♀️ I guess we all collect different things. 🤣
We keep secrets in our house. 🤫 The biggest secret that I keep from my husband is which night I'm planning to cook fish for dinner. 🐟😂 Why, you ask? My better half is notorious for showing up late to dinner on fish nights. And fish is the one thing that I hate to eat cold. In my opinion, fish is meant to be eaten hot out of the oven, a pan or off the grill and never lukewarm or cold. (Sorry sushi lovers.) 🍣
I used to prepare a fish dinner every Monday night but I finally realized that most weeks on Monday night, my sweet spouse would come home later than usual from work. After years of getting frustrated while watching my fish cool on the dinner table while waiting on my dinner companion to get home, I got the brilliant idea to switch up our fish nights. 😠 Who knew that he had the innate ability to sense when I was cooking fish and adjust his schedule accordingly? My usually hard working and usually prompt husband is notoriously late on fish nights. It's like Murphy's Law. Without fail, the only night that he arrives home from work, is the night that I cook fish. Did I mention how much I hate cold fish?
If eating a hot fish dinner means keeping it a surprise from my groom, I'll do it. He's sabotaged my hot fish dinner so many times that it's become a running joke in our house. All he has to do is shoot me a text that says, "Is it fish night?" and I know that translates to "I have a late meeting. I'm coming home late." It's hard to describe the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I actually pull off a hot fish dinner without him knowing. 🤣 It's the little things.
Hiding the fish in the basement refrigerator is just one component to pulling off a surprise fish dinner. 😉Luckily, I bought this Branzini over the weekend so it only had to spend one night in refrigerator quarantine. I had the Whole Foods seafood counter employee scale it and cut off the fins before wrapping it in nondescript brown paper. (If cooking a fish with eyeballs freaks you out, you can have the the head cut off too.)
Herb Crusted Branzini
3 pound whole branzini
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Spread breadcrumb mixture over over fish. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes.
Clearly, my filet skills are pitiful. This fish just fell off the bones though and that made my job super easy. That made for some less than desirable pictures though. You'll have to take my word for it that this fish is BETTER than it looks.
I've lived in Georgia for 15 years - Why am I just now finding out about a fantastic little winery in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains? 🍷At the risk of overcrowding this secluded vineyard and against my better judgment that wants me to keep this hidden gem to myself - I'm going to let you in on this little known secret oasis that I just discovered. 🤫
Crane Creek Winery is perfectly incorporated into the Chattahoochee National Forest on the border of Georgia and North Carolina. Don't let the remoteness of it's location discourage you from visiting though. It's tucked away in the tiny town of Young Harris. Less than a 2 1/2 hour drive from Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville - it's well worth making the scenic drive to the winery - trust me. It's beautiful location and serene setting is what makes this little vineyard so charming. ⛰
Did I mention that Crane Creek is dog friendly? 🐶Even our less than energetic pooch, enjoyed exploring the vineyard and strolling through the endless rows of grape vines. Who wouldn't love a walk through the beautiful landscape and then a nap on the lawn overlooking this amazing view? 😂
Let me start by saying - I am by no means a wine connoisseur. Most days, I prefer a dry red but I'll try just about any wine at least once. I'm not an expert on wine drinking and I'm even less of an expert on wine buying. 😅I rarely get it right when it comes to pairing the right wine with foods.
Sooooo, we asked the advice of the very helpful salesman when it came to choosing a bottle of wine to enjoy with our picnic lunch at Crane Creek. He suggested a bottle of Vidal Blanc and I have to say - we were not disappointed. It was the perfect wine for a warm, August afternoon in the Smoky Mountains.
I know, I know. A winery endorsement is a strange way to go on a blog post about chicken wings. Wings and beer - that's more of an acceptable pairing. 🍺 But what happens if you don't like beer? Surely those of use who prefer wine over beer don't have to give up on wings altogether though. This wine enthusiast wants to know - What wine do you pair with beautifully golden baked chicken wings?
This recipe for chicken wings may sound super time consuming but most of the time is "hands-off." You can prepare the marinade for these wings well in advance and let them sit in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. When they come out of the frig - pop them on a baking sheet and slide them into the oven for an hour and voila - perfectly sweet and salty chicken wings - To enjoy with a beer or a nice glass of wine. 😅
Soy Sauce Chicken Wings
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken wings
2 scallions, sliced thin
Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve.
Football season is right around the corner and whether your team is playing or not - you need to keep this recipe in your back pocket. It is a perfect, Saturday afternoon - sit down to watch the game kind of food. Enjoy!
Hey coffee drinkers - I've got a research question. Do you drink hot coffee when it's 98 degrees and 100% humidity outside, or do you switch to iced coffee? This inquiring mind - wants to know. 💁🏻♀️ Since I only drink the occasional cup of decaf, I hardly consider myself a true coffee purist. With that being said - I don't know whether to offer my summer dinner guests a hot coffee at the end of a meal or if it would be more seasonally appropriate to serve iced coffee. ☕️ After all, I change out my desserts seasonally - maybe I should be swapping out my after dinner coffee too.
I have a hard time drinking coffee when my eyebrows are sweating but maybe that's just a weird Amy quirk. 👀 I see people walking around town with cups of steaming, hot coffee even on the hottest of Georgia summer days so maybe there's something that I'm missing.
Mr. Coffee claims that drinking a hot beverage when it feels like a sauna outside will make actually make us feel cooler. "In basic terms, when we consume a hot drink such as a delectable cup of java, the sensors that measure temperature in our stomach are stimulated by the heat of the drink. These sensors then convince the brain to produce more sweat, which is the body's first line of defense against over-heating. ... while drinking hot coffee may temporarily make us feel warmer, the increased sweat production means we will end up feeling cooler."
I'm not sure I buy into that reasoning but I'm not willing to test the theory either. If I drank a cup of hot coffee in these sweltering temperatures, I might literally end up sitting in a puddle of my own sweat. It would NOT be pretty and it's probably not in my best interest in this time when my temperature is being monitored almost daily. 😅 The person with the thermometer at the entrance to the Apple Store might not buy my story that my elevated temperature and excessive forehead sweat was the aftereffect of a cup of Joe. 😂
Until I hear from all of my true coffee drinking friends, I'll put the hot vs. iced coffee debate on hold. As for now, I'm going to serve my summer desserts with some simple pour over iced coffee. I can think of no better way to end a meal on a hot summer evening than with a slice of strawberry shortcake and a big iced coffee. This dairy free shortcake is delicious and it's a great sweet treat for anyone who is trying to limit their dairy intake.
Dairy Free Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups dairy free milk (I used almond milk)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
Layer with whipped topping and fresh strawberries halves.
The weekend is so close now - I can taste it. 😂🍓 Have a great one!
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