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Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Cook This Weekend

To some, cooking seems like a daunting task. You get home late from work and you’re tired. You just want to have a nice glass of whiskey and watch shitty reality television until you get tired enough to sleep (just me?) Weekends are a great time to try out new recipes. Stop simply trolling Pinterest and drooling over recipes that you think are out of reach – try them out! And if you screw up? There’s always take out! Here are ten reasons why you should cook this weekend:

1. Wine pairs well with cooking. And we like wine.

2. Cooking something from scratch is an unbelievable feeling. It’s satisfying. You’ll be proud of yourself when you sit down to a kick ass meal that you created.

3. You’ll know exactly what goes into your food. Watching your calories? Cook a healthier, low cal meal. Hate vegetables? Don’t include them. You won’t have to worry “is there something I can eat at that restaurant?”

4. Try out a new cuisine. Always cook Italian? Try an Asian stir fry. You might find a recipe you love, like we did with this Orange Chicken recipe!

5. Less stress. We all work hard. If you’re having a lazy weekend, make a pot of sauce that takes a few hours to cook and catch up on your magazine reading.

6. Make extra and freeze it for during the week. If you’re making a pot of sauce, freeze the extra in Tupperware for an easy meal you can defrost during the workweek.

7. Practice for when you have company. My husband and I love having people over the house! But timing can be a challenge. Practice cooking your main course, side dishes, etc and make sure they are all hot and on the table at relatively the same time.

8. Practice your knife skills. My knife skills could use a little (a LOT) of work. Take your time and cut things properly. Use Youtube and learn the correct way to cut potatoes, vegetables, anything.

9. Cook a family recipe. My mom collected all of these amazing recipes from family and friends for my bridal shower. It’s so special to have everyone’s favorite recipes at my fingertips. Don’t have many? Call your mom, grandma, aunt, friend – anyone! They will be flattered that you want one of their recipes. There’s a reason they have that recipe on hand, it’s a good one!

10. Up your game by posting photos of what you made to Facebook, Instagram, etc. Your friends and family might throw you some encouragement, and may even want the recipe!

Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cacio E Pepe: A sauce so quick, you’ll be done making it before your pasta is done boiling!

Hi guys! Building on my theme of easy weekday meals, this one is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket. Not only is it quick to make, but most people have the ingredients on hand in their kitchen already. If you have a box of pasta, black pepper and cheese, consider your dinner DONE.

My husband and I love this recipe. We learned it from our awesome cooking class at ICE (review of the class here). Since then, we’ve worked it into our weekday meal rotation. You can make this sauce in a SNAP – start boiling your pasta, and you’ll be done making the sauce before the pasta is done. Sound good? It is.

Here is the actual recipe from our cooking class:

A few quick things:
  • The recipe says to use two different types of cheese - we only used Parmigiano and it came out fine, of course! If you have both cheese, great.
  • The recipe is for an entire BOX of pasta. We made the mistake last time of only making enough pasta for two people, then making a LOT of cheese and pepper sauce haha. Scale it down if you are cooking for two.
  • Don't forget to save some of the pasta water, it's the key to this recipe! Otherwise, the pepper and cheese will have nothing to mix with to create the sauce.
  • Enjoy! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guinness Beef Stew

How fantastic does that look?! This recipe is such an awesome fall/winter dish. You get such a warming, homey feeling while eating it. Below is the recipe we got from America’s Test Kitchen and it’s definitely a keeper. My husband was awesome enough to write down the recipe for our recipe book. We used our Dutch oven to cook this, and it worked out great. We changed two things slightly - we used ground thyme instead of fresh (ShopRite was out of fresh thyme), and we didn’t add the parsley. This meal is awesome for lazy days – like a Sunday – when you have a few hours to let it cook. It takes a bit of work up front – cutting the meat, pealing and cutting potatoes, measuring things out, etc but the oven does the rest of the work. And hey, who doesn't love food with a little bit of Guinness in it?!

Greg and I have been trying to make new recipes each week, so expect to see more new posts soon! Hope you guys enjoyed, have a great week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Simple Butter Cookies

Hi dolls! I finally got around to using my cookie press for the first time this weekend. I used this recipe from, but made a few slight changes. See below!

•24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) salted butter, softened
•1¾ cups granulated sugar
•2 egg yolks
•2 tsp. vanilla extract
•3½ cups all-purpose flour
•Red, pink, orange, or multicolored decorating sugar

(This makes 5-6 batches, I cut everything above in half).

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add yolks and vanilla, beat again to combine, and then beat in flour.

From here, the original recipe from says to roll out the dough into 1 inch rounds. I used my Pampered Chef Cookie Press instead! Since Halloween is quickly approaching, I decided to use the pumpkin insert. I pressed the cookies onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake until cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let rest on baking sheets 2 minutes, then gently transfer to baking racks to cool.

And there you have it! These cookies are so tasty on their own, so I didn't want to overdo them. I sprinkled some colored sugar on top for some simple decoration. I'll definitely use this recipe around Christmas time, they are so versatile and easy to make. The cookie press, on the other hand, is a little tough for me to use. I might just need some more practice!! Hope you guys enjoyed =)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Orange Chicken with Egg Noodles

Hi dolls! My husband and I have been pretty good with our weekly recipe planning lately - we'll go food shopping on the weekend and plan out our meals for during the work week. We have a few favorites in our rotation, but are always on the look out for something new, easy and delicious.

Enter: this orange chicken recipe. It was so delicious and something DIFFERENT. We had most of the ingredients on hand which was good. Orange chicken is usually served over rice, but we didn't have any HA. We used egg noodles instead which worked out great - the sticky, sweet sauce and the plain noodles were a great combo. See recipe below and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Time I Caught An Awesome Sea Bass - And Ate Him.

I am NOT a seafood person. Like at all. The closest I've gotten to eating any type of seafood is fried calamari that's been fried within an inch of its life. My husband is allergic to most seafood, so that's another reason I've always steered clear of it. So imagine my surprise when I actually ate sea bass and fluke last weekend!

My husband and I took Friday off from work, grabbed my father in law, and set sail on a 7am fishing charter boat for 5 hours. Being up at 4:45am? Not my fave. Spending the entire day outside fishing? One of my faves (I've been fishing since I was a kid). So I bit the bullet, grabbed some coffee and off we went.

Below is my "keeper" as they say - for all the non fisherman out there, that means the fish was of regulation length to take home! My father in law caught a few sea bass too, as well as a nice sized fluke! The mates on the boat take your keepers to the back of the boat to clean and cut, which is awesome. See photos and recipes for both below!

 Me and my sea bass!

 The beautiful 50 person charter boat in Long Island. Such beautiful weather and great company!
My husband rocks. The top is the fluke my father in law caught, and the bottom is my sea bass. I'm so glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Plus - everything Greg cooks is great so I knew he wouldn't steer me wrong!
To cook Sea Bass:
Season with paprika, garlic, salt, thyme and black pepper. Cook on grill.
To cook Fluke:
Marinate fluke in lemon, lime and orange juice, and rosemary for 15 minutes. Cut thin rounds of lemon, lime and orange, and cook fluke on grill directly on top of rounds.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Heart Shaped Donuts and Party Sprinkles!

Hi dolls! Wanted to share the super cute heart-shaped donuts I made this weekend! I went to a bbq yesterday, and wanted to bring something fun for dessert. I made chocolate donuts in my heart-shaped Wilton pan, and topped them off with an easy vanilla glaze and sprinkles. Check out the photo and recipes below, and my comments on how I think the recipe tasted. Enjoy!

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
From the Wilton Heart Doughnut Pan package

Makes 24 doughnuts


1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used Pam for Baking).

In large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla; mix gently until just combined. Fill each doughnut cup approximately 1/2 full (2 tablespoons batter).

Bake 4-5 minutes or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes before removing. Repeat with remaining batter. Finish doughnuts with desired toppings. Doughnuts are best served fresh.

Taste of Home
Quick Vanilla Glaze

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until
smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken if desired. Spoon over
bread. Yield: 1/2 cup.

So here's my conclusion: the donuts LOOKED great, but the taste wasn't all that wonderful. I didn't have buttermilk on hand, so I looked up the sub - milk and vinegar. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, after the donuts had baked and I tasted one, they seemed to have a slight bitter after taste. So i'm assuming it was the vinegar. If I had time, I would have run to the store and picked up some buttermilk. Oh well, lesson learned I guess.

The vanilla glaze was great and very simple to make - I put some pink Wilton food gel in it to give it some color. I had some pink edible hearts and rainbow sprinkles to top them off with. They looked so cute, I just wish the taste was better. I definitely want to try more donut recipes using this pan. The prep didn't take too long, and the donuts bake quickly - 4-5min. Thanks for reading!