Monday, March 31, 2014

Chocolate chip, pretzel & potato chip cookies

It's become clear that I need to get my priorities in order.  A few recent "discoveries" have caused me question how I made it to the age of 29 living the way I do.

To start, Matt called on his way home from work one night last week and informed me that our car was overdue for inspection.  Three months overdue.

The car is kind of Matt's thing since he's the one driving it 95% of the time.  But it shouldn't have taken that long for one of us to notice.  In fact, I looked at the sticker recently and thought, "Huh, they usually write the date on the inside of the sticker, but this one's blank."  Did I bother to look at the front?  Nope.  Definitely didn't.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fast Friday: Fried egg & savory oatmeal

Happy Friday from the comforts of my bed!

[crickets & nasty glances]

Okay, so not literally from the comfort of my bed.   But when this post goes live, I'll ideally be lounging around the apartment somewhere.  I took the day off since I knew we'd be out late last night.  For his 30th birthday, I got Matt tickets to see one of his favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan (yes, the Hot Pocket guy) when his tour came through Pittsburgh.

Paired with a delicious dinner out, we had such a great time!  Who knew weeknights could be so fun?  As far as Jim Gaffigan's performance, he was laugh-so-hard-it-hurts funny and totally surpassed my expectations.  I wasn't super familiar with his routines but ended up really enjoying it since he talked about food a lot.  If you have a chance to see him, I highly recommend doing so!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pasta with asparagus, chicken & goat cheese

Looking at the calendar, it's hard to believe that Matt's been in my life since 2007.  We met in February of that year at work, became colleagues and then friends, and slowly (and secretly) started dating that summer.  There were so many opportunities for us to miss one another had we made different choices leading up to that meeting.  But, thankfully, none of them matter because today he's my partner, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

All that's happened in those short 7 years could fill a book: highs and lows, good times and not so great times, and so much teaching and learning.  I can honestly say that Matt has brought out the best in me and continues to challenge me and open my eyes to new things every day.  What more could a person ask for in a partner?

Recently, we had a conversation about some of those changes, like things we once disliked but now love thanks to the other person.  Maybe it was a previous negative experience, a bad review from someone else, or simple ignorance; whatever it was, we were not fans of this stuff.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chocolate marbled pound cake

After a major baking fail this weekend, I dug through the archives for a tried and true recipe that was sure to be, well, a sure thing.  What caught my attention was this bold and beautiful pound cake from 2 1/2 years ago.  Equally vanilla as it is chocolate, it's both dense and light and will appeal to all appetites.  Few cakes can get away without the addition of a thick layer of frosting or a scoop of ice cream, yet this one does so while lulling you into a blissful dessert daydream.  Sometimes, what sounded like a call for a new cookie recipe was really a request for an oldie but goodie slice of cake.

Here's the original post and how to make it:

Want to see a gorgeous cake?  Of course you do!  One that's so pretty it needs no icing or other adornments.  Ready?

Though that's just one slice, you can surely imagine what the whole cake looks like.  Need another glimpse?  Of course, I'd be glad to oblige.  I'm a giver, after all!

You'll have to forgive me for not having a picture of the untouched finished cake.  You see, I made it for our wonderful DC hosts this past weekend and didn't want to be toooo obnoxious about food photography.  Even though one of said hosts is, quite possibly, this blog's biggest groupie (thanks!).  If anyone would understand, it'd be her.  So I guess I can't blame my lack of archiving on my friends.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cod with tomatoes & white beans

Has this happened to you?

After a fantastic weekend, Sunday night starts to poke its head out around 5:00 and, suddenly, the feel good, free-spirited mood you were enjoying is zapped.  Stopped in its slipper-forming tracks.

Dun dun dun.  It’s the Sunday evening slump!

Immediately, thoughts of work, to-do lists, work (again), and responsibilities in the week ahead cloud your mind.  It’s almost enough to spoil those last few hours of relaxation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Five: Fish dinners (perfect for Lent!)

Happy Friday to you and yours!  And, more importantly, happy spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Exclamation points for miles and miles.

I love winter through and through but, after a day last week with temps in the low 60s and my first run outside in months, I'm so ready for spring.  In a perfect world, we'd completely skip spring and make a bee line to summer, season of farmer's markets, infinite playtime outside, vacations, and ice cream for dinner.  But, I suppose I'll settle for spring.  This is what they call compromise, right?

After last weekend's separate but equal man-cation & me-cation, Matt and I have an open weekend and plan to spend it together.  There's been talk of a lunch date at a new-to-us restaurant, antiquing (his choice) and shopping (her choice), and possibly a show at a local theater company. 

Saturday and Sunday may be up in the air, but tonight's dinner is set in stone -- fish!  Matt is Catholic and always requests some kind of fish on Friday nights during Lent.  Being the accommodating humble wife that I am, I'm happy to indulge his preference.  Since so many of you also take part in this seasonal tradition, I thought it'd be a great time to share five of my favorite fish recipes.  Toss those bland frozen fish dinners and try one of these homemade dishes, bursting with fresh flavors. 

1. Fish tacos with mango salsa - I'm a magnet for fish tacos and, after sampling them at over 10 restaurants, my favorite kind involves two key components: grilled fish and fresh & juicy salsa.  Check and check!

2. Sun-dried tomato parmesan salmon -This is so not your mama's salmon (sorry, all you mamas!).  The flavor of the breading is so unexpected and bold thanks to the sweet sun-dried tomatoes and salty parmesan cheese.  Sure to knock the socks off anyone who tries this for the first time!

3. Greek tilapia with feta tomato orzo - Reliving this recipe through the pictures has me wondering why it's been months since I made this.  The Mediterranean spices and fresh lemon really liven up the tilapia.  But, if we're being totally honest here, the feta tomato orzo is totally the star of the show.  Good luck stopping at one serving!

4. Salmon tostadas - Another round-up of recipes, and yet another mention of this recipe.  It made my top 10 recipes of 2013 and, to date, remains my favorite salmon recipe ever.  I could wax on about the finer points of this dish for enough pages to write a dissertation, but I'll keep it short and leave you with this: make this right now!

5. Homemade fish sticks - Last but not least, I couldn't share a collection of fish recipes for Lent without including at least one that involves frying.  This formula is simple and produces the crunchiest fish sticks I've ever had.  Make dinner a family affair by getting everyone to form an assembly line (save the frying for the grown-ups, please!) and be amazed at how full of flavor homemade fish sticks can truly be.

Enjoy the weekend!  See you on Monday for one heck of a cookie recipe... ;)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nutty peanut butter granola

One glance at recent posts, and it's clear that I'm on a breakfast kick.  Well, snacks masquerading as breakfast foods.  If we're being totally honest, aren't many of our breakfast staples also ideal anytime snacks?

Technically, I'm not referring to that tray of cinnamon rolls or loaf of banana bread.  You know, the weekend brunch dish that lingers, uncovered, on the counter with a fork/knife resting precariously nearby.  The one that magically dwindles in size as the hours roll by yet no one will admit to eating even one bite of it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Banana blueberry power muffins

I feel like a new woman!  Relaxed, refreshed, refocused, and re-energized, thanks in part to these amazing muffins.  But I'll get to those in a minute.

How was your weekend?  Did you celebrate something?  Maybe St. Patrick's Day or Pi Day or just the fact that you can celebrate for the sake of it.  Surprisingly, I celebrated neither of those things because, welp, I celebrated me.

Matt spent the weekend with friends for their annual man-cation -- it's basically a 24 hour all-guys get together doing all the guy activities one can imagine: watching sports and movies, playing video games, drinking, and consuming a multitude of meats.  From what I heard, bacon, pepperoni (pizza), wings, and cheesesteaks were cooked and consumed.  Somewhere, Ron Swanson is smiling.

Determined not to let him have all the fun, I planned a weekend full of my favorite activities, and it turned out to be pretty spectacular.  I called it my me-cation.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fast Friday: Oat waffles

"Yikes, it's looking empty in there."

That's what Matt said two weekends ago when he opened our refrigerator.  To give you a visual, we had milk, eggs, butter, half of a bag of shredded coconut (so I can always make these cookies), and condiments.  No leftovers, no vegetables, no cheese, and no meat.

Wait!  We did have something else in the fridge: the Brita pitcher.

It was bleak times, my friends.  Throw in the fact that Matt was coaching at a swim meet all weekend (read: had the car), which meant I couldn't get to the grocery store until late Sunday evening.  I went out for lunch twice and dinner once - a "yippee!" and "yikes" kind of moment.

Lest you think I spent no time in the kitchen and depended on others to feed myself, I'm proud to report that I did make both breakfast and cookies.  Breakfast and dessert, that's all the food anyone really needs, right?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Honey cinnamon butter

For as much as I think and talk about food, you might think my favorite meals would be high-brow dishes served on fine bone China by a white-gloved wait staff.  Things I couldn't possibly make myself using ingredients not easily found.

This couldn't be farther from the truth.  In fact, I have a confession:

Breakfast foods are my favorite.

And not the fancy stuff (i.e. anything with hollaindaise).  I'm talking about the classics: toast, pancakes, muffins & breads, and waffles.  The good stuff a.k.a. anything that can be buttered.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

10 St. Patrick's Day recipes

Officially speaking, St. Patrick's Day is just under a week away, but I know so many of you will be celebrating this weekend.  Are you going out to watch a parade or partake in a bar crawl?  Or are you staying in with friends to enjoy some special brews and Irish shenanigans?

Regardless of how you celebrate, I've collected 10 of my favorite recipes to bring you good luck and delicious food worth its weight in gold (sorry, I had to!).

Not-so-Irish foods but green in color and spirit:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Curried butternut squash & red lentil soup

While everyone else in the country seems to be all, "Spring is almost here.  Finally!"  I'm all, "No no no, spring can't be almost here. I'm not ready yet!"

Yes, I love snow and winter, and I got very lucky this year since we were blessed with, um, lots of snow and all things winter.  But I'll admit that sunny skies, warmer temperatures, and more hours of daylight are pretty fantastic

I took a few just-because walks this weekend and was surprised just how happy this break from winter made me.  Turns out I love a leisurely stroll for which I'm not dressed in enough layers to be mistaken for the little brother in A Christmas Story.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Giant kitchen sink cookies

These cookies... oh, these cookies.  Swoon.  Pitter patter.  Drool.  I have so many people to blame thank for these cookies.

I'd like to thank my coworker.  When we came up with the idea to have a Fat Tuesday party, it was she who requested cookies.  "Giant cookies.  With chocolate," she said.  For her, I baked the biggest cookies I've ever made.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras grub!

For breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- ahem, brinner -- pancakes are the name of the game today.  Whip up a batch using one of my favorite recipes:

And don't forget to make these cute mini King cakes!

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras with any special meals?  Who knows what today will bring, but pancakes and bacon are most definitely on the dinner menu.  Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Penne with spinach & fried eggs

Considering what a neurotic perfectionist I am, my daily life is full of little failures.  Or, maybe it's the other way around: my life is full of little failures because I'm such a perfectionist.

What's that?  It's Monday, you say?  You came here looking for a light-hearted story and an easy recipe rather than the cynical ramblings of a 29-year-old complaining about first world problems?  Keep reading -- I promise this is going somewhere delicious.

I'm currently training for my second half marathon (May 4th is the big day).  By no means does this make me a seasoned runner or marathoner, yet I feel so much more at ease this time around.  I wish I could tell 2009 post-foot surgery and pre-half marathon Katy the following: "Chill out and enjoy yourself!  You've trained enough; the rest is mental."  After all, my goal then was simply to finish.