August 2014 archive

Sunsets, sunbaths, and wild things.

I liked this week. It flew by for me. Maybe it was the crazy treadmill vortex I was sucked in to so I could enjoy a pizza party with my brother and sis in law last night. I also love non-crazy weeks. I need my ample TV time (Bachelor in Paradise is all that matters!). I know we all are looking forward to the 3 day weekend or maybe you’re like me and it’s a 2 day weekend. Either way, if you don’t have to work Monday, lemme get a wha! wha! This is what my simple week consisted of. Not shown: enough pizza for 6 people, gone in 60 seconds by 3 people. (more…)

We sunbathe right. She literally wouldn’t come in for an hour.

Leftovers are always the easiest dinners.

This is what the sky looked like a few nights ago when I was leaving the gym. I guess this is more rewarding than an ice cream sandwich.

I always love it when he joins me on my grocery excursions. PS. Can you tell me which state that is on his arm? If you can, that would make you a minority because sadly, not a lot of people do.

Bedtime with this sweetie. It’s hard not getting a picture of her that isn’t blurry these days. She’s always movin’ and groovin’.

Honorable Mentions:
I’m totally trying these tonight with some girl friends.

My friend, Dana, has a blog. Check it out! She’s raw, real, and hilarious!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Goat Cheese and Bacon Tartine with Peach Onion Jam

Now, before you get offended at such a fancy word as tartine, let me explain. Tartine is the french word for open face sandwich. See, you can relax a little bit. So at your next party, you can tell your guests they aren’t eating toast, they aren’t eating bread with cheese smeared on it, they are definitely not eating crostini. You can tell them they are eating a tartine. And just like that, you will look like an Iron Chef in front of them. I’m only looking out for your best interests. It’s what keeps me up at night. I also loosely use the word jam here. It’s more like a chunky jam and less like a spreadable jam. Dump and go with this jam. How appetizing does that sound? Chunky jam? Aren’t you glad you stopped by? Just don’t tell people they are eating chunky jam. Your Iron Chef title will be immediately stripped. (more…)

This tartine is the perfect mix of sweet and salty, savory and tangy. Serve it up as an appetizer or just a light lunch. You can even leave the bacon out and make it vegetarian. Moral of the story: this is a tasty way to use up those peaches that are giving you sad, puppy eyes for not enjoying them in their prime. Let’s show these peaches some respect…by eating them.

Our ingredient line up is as follows:

From Top Left to Right: Goat cheese, balsamic vinegar (or is that worchestire sauce?), peaches, onions, crusty bread, bacon, and worchestire sauce (or is that the balsamic? I didn’t think this through!). Speaking of not thinking things through, I forgot to add the fresh thyme and white wine. It’s called cooking on the fly and boy is it exhilarating!

We caramelize our onions. Low and slow is key here. Once they are golden, we add our peaches and thyme so there’s a little peach on skillet action.

Our wine is added into the peaches and onions. Save a little for yourself at the end. A glass of white wine plus this tartine sounds like an acceptable dinner to me. Our jam is finished with the worchestire sauce and balsamic. Taste for seasoning as per usual.

Some assembly required: toast, goat cheese, peach onion jam, crumbled bacon. Done and done! You can get all fancy like and cut these tartines into thirds. It will make this appetizer go a long way.

This was me. I did this. I didn’t have patience to cut into thirds. I smell bacon and become like a cave woman. MUST EAT BACON. WITH HANDS. You get the drift. Happy tartine makin’!

Cinema Paradiso Club: Top 10 Films of 2004-2014

We are at the end of August, which means the end of the summer blockbuster season. With nothing to look forward to until the Oscar bait films of Mid-October to Late December and other than The Leftovers, there’s not much to be excited about on television right now either. This leaves you few options for entertainment for the dog days of summer. What a perfect time to look back at the past 10 years in films, to discuss in short what I believe to be the best made in this 10-year span. It’s easy to say that in the last decade, we have only been bombarded by superhero movies in which cities are destroyed over and over again. With its share of Batmans and Tranformers, the last ten years has had its quality too, with groundbreaking modern classics as well. I felt that this was a good opportunity also to show my taste of films if I am to write film reviews for Ashley’s blog once in a while. Although these reviews on my list may be short, I hope they make you curious enough to check out some of these film if you haven’t already. CINEMA PARADISO CLUB LIVES! (more…)

Honorable Mentions: The Social Network, Inside Llweyn Davis, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Toy Story 3, The Aviator, There Will Be Blood, Man on Wire, The Dark Knight, Boyhood, Before Midnight, Grizzly Man, The World’s End, 12 Years a Slave and Funny Games. Among many others.

10. Ratatouille (2007)

Hardly the first or second Pixar film to come to mind for most, but surely one of its best. Brad Bird, who also made The Incredibles with Pixar, brings a voice of his own to the already legendary studio with his two collaborations with them. In Ratatouille, Remy (voiced perfectly by comedian Patton Oswald), believes despite being a rat, that he is capable of the same fruits of joy as any human; to the point of bold and costly decisions he makes for his objective happiness. The film is naturally about our pursuit of making art and the price we pay to do so, whether it be in films, novels or cooking. And besides this is a food blog, I had to have one movie about food on this list.

9. Zodiac (2007)

David Fincher was already well versed in the serial killer film with the critical and box office success of Seven, but his return to the genre with Zodiac would be a quite different turn. Mostly taking place in San Francisco, also the site of a now classic Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo, which had a clear influence and shares parallels with this film. Most prevalent being the obsession for answers to the point of damaging effects on our lives. This gives Fincher the opportunity to show his own obsession for detail in his direction, while giving him a new maturity in his filming language and tone. The films lack of traditional climax or answers, making it a returnable watch for myself, constantly leaving the possibility for a few different conclusions on who the Zodiac killer might be.

8. Inglorious Bastards (2009)

It’s probably fair to say that the events surrounding and involving WWII have been covered in film more than any other historical event. More directly, the Nazi conflicts in Europe, which have been covered in all angles in films. Yet Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained) is clearly unconcerned with your knowledge or preconceptions of the historical facts of the WWII. Instead, he is determined to play with the facts, while showcasing his amazing talent for words. Prying into our fascination of the war drama genre with his own love of genre films such as The Dirty Dozen, The Life and Times of Colonel Blimp and Sergio Leone films, he manages to give his own flare of the events. Tarantino shows his gift for words, in two classic suspenseful scenes that simply involve characters sizing each other up for truths. The added bonus of seeing Adolf Hitler brutally murdered in a way that we all wish he had experienced in real life makes it all together fantastical Tarantino film. Not to mention the breakout performance of Michael FASSBENDER!

7. Mother (2009)

This maybe one of the few films on my list that you might never heard of, being that it’s a foreign film from South Korea, that would be understandable. With that said, director Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Snowpiercer) is dealing in a very familiar genre to American audience, the “who done it murder mystery”. This “who done it” follows a mother seeking to clear her son of a murder she believes he was framed for. Although influenced by the Hitchcockian suspense films, brings a flair and sense of humor that can be seen not only in Mother but in Snowpiercer too. The last half of the film is terrifically paced, with an ending you wouldn’t expect.

6. Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

Director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Her) manages to turn a fifteen page picture book into gorgeous images of nature in the style of Terrance Malick with small scale personalized story that would almost remind you more of Michelangelo Antonioni than Spielberg. Jonze has managed in past works to show how to engulf the strange world of that particular story with his own nuances. Directing choices that easily appear to just be “quirky” or “weird”, run much deeper dealing with mature issues of identity and control. As a fan of Jonze’s work, I knew that he was not going to give us the usual adaptation that we’ve seen recently done to Dr. Seuss books such as The Grinch or Cat in the Hat. Those cutesy versions with overtly bright sets and clever kids with too many one-liners and a clear message that wraps up everything so perfectly. Instead, Jonze does something no modern live action children’s film ever has done. Wild Things gives us a true portrait of who we all were as eight year olds: selfish, spoiled, angry, deceiving, destructive and vulnerable boys and girls.

5. The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford (2007)

This allegory on our modern desires for fame and riches didn’t receive as high of praise as it should’ve upon its release. The stylized “western” was overshadowed by two other revisionist westerns that came out also in 2007: No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood, which received the Oscar this film so dearly deserved. The films main focus being that of Robert Ford’s building and eventual destruction of the mythology of his hero Jesse James (Brad Pitt). Casey Affleck gives a great performance, as the naïve would be assassin Robert Ford, which is daring and heartbreaking, making an otherwise villain of the wild west, sympathetic for his errors. Showing us our own idiotic pursuits to build up undeserving celebrity heroes only to tear them apart in one form or another.

4. No Country For Old Men (2007)

This 2007 Best Picture winner brought the Coen Brothers (Fargo, Inside Llewyn Davis) back to form with a modern western meets cat and mouse thriller. Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, who seems to share the same nihilistic worldview as the Coen brothers do, gives the template for this subtle story of America’s long history of violence. Along with Javier Bardem’s Oscar winning performance, Josh Brolin gives a terrific turn as the mouse in this film who isn’t as dumb as he appears. Along with Brolin and Bardem, the Coen Brothers once again find a cast of memorable characters, that play the fine line of mocking and admiring they’re cultural surroundings.

3. Take Shelter (2011)

Although it’s the number 3 film on my list, this is perhaps the film that I’ve recommended the most of all. Mostly because it’s the film that many people know little about, which is all the better for viewing this film. The character actor Michael Shannon plays Curtis LaForche a husband and father, who starts to experience what he believes are prophetic dreams of a possible apocalypse. Curtis isn’t sure if he is losing his mind or if these vision could be a true warning of the near future. The film isn’t interested in the possible end of the world but as much as how in which Curtis seeks to protect his family. With that said Take Shelter is just as much about the struggles of a modern man seeking to physically protect his family but financially as well in a chaotic world. With an ending that is leaves interpretation and room for debate gives it a lasting impression.

2. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)

Like Bob Dylan’s discography this film resonates with me, as I grow older and more understanding of not only romantic love but also all forms of love. When I first saw it in theaters in 04’ I really enjoyed it but grew fonder of it as I begin to experience my own heartbreaks and second chances. Michel Gondry directs in a way that can be easily written of has high concept for the sake of it but everything as it’s place and purpose as we go deeper in the visual rabbit hole of Joel’s (played by Jim Carrey) mind. Kate Winslet’s portrayal of Clementine, the dreamy pixie girl gone mad is one of more original roles of a female lead in a romantic comedy. This film was a truly unique look at love that hadn’t been seen since Annie Hall.

1. The Master (2012)

Although, on any given day I could see myself changing the ranking of several films on my list, there’s one that I’m certain wouldn’t move for me at all. That being this recent masterpiece by writer-director P.T. Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood), starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in three terrific performance of they’re own. The film taking place shortly after WWII, deals in large part of the unquenchable thirst for all things that a man in Freddie Quell (Phoenix) a veteran of WWII desires. All you may have heard about this movie is it being that it was a fictional telling of the early days of Scientology, which is part of the story but at it’s core the film is dealing with man’s animalistic nature and attempts to subdue are violent. Joaquin Phoenix of performance Freddie is in my opinion is one of the greatest performances put on film. He brings everything in this performance and then some. The primal masculinity of Phoenix acting makes him freighting, funny and vulnerable in every scene.

Sage Butter Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Tomatoes

I came up with this recipe when dreaming of Fall a couple of weeks ago. The morning air was cool with no humidity in sight. I tried said recipe   and opted for a pizza night instead. If you spend your time and money on a recipe that goes awry, you deserve a pizza night. I can write you a doctor’s note if that’s what you need to convince your family. But again, who needs much convincing when pizza is for dinner. So I’m back at it, changing it up. Instead of a succulent loin, I’m using easy peasy boneless pork chops. Instead of smearing our sage compound butter all over the meat before cooking, we add a pat to each pork chop before they go into the oven. See, we all live and we learn. Thank you for accepting me. (more…)

Before my heart gets all pittery and pattery for signs of orange leaves and sweater weather, I wanted to send a nod to summer by using what’s left of the summer produce. Two things I know people are up to their knees in: peaches and tomatoes. Oh and squash. Tricky, tricky. Well, this tomato recipe is great for those tomatoes on their way out. You know, a little too soft to eat raw but not soft enough to consider the hungry bunnies anxiously waiting outside. We roast the tomatoes making their sweetness intensify and giving them a more satisfying texture. You could serve these guys with your summer squash or green beans. Also, these tomatoes make a simple and fresh tomato sauce for any lonely pasta.
Disclaimer: This post might feel super long but the amount of time it takes to make this recipe isn’t. I just got photo happy.

Our Summer meets Fall ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Boneless, center cut pork chops, lemons, fresh sage, brown sugar, ground mustard, garlic powder, salt, butter, fresh thyme, olive oil, garlic, small tomatoes (these are heirloom but grape or cherry also work!), and balsamic vinegar.

We first make our compound butter so it can harden in the fridge. A compound butter is simply ingredients added to softened butter then is hardened in the fridge. Sage, butter, lemon juice blended. Roll it in plastic wrap and forget ’bout it…until you need it for the pork chops. I am using salted butter and will ALWAYS choose to do so. If you join me, keep that in mind as you season your pork. If unsalted butter is your thing, you might want to add a pinch more salt to the chops.

We season our tomatoes with olive oil, brown sugar, thyme, garlic, and balsamic vinegar

Our spice blend of salt, garlic powder, and ground mustard powder is rubbed onto the chops.

The pork chops are sauteed to get that golden color. Remember that sage butter? Slice it up and put onto the chops.

Then, to get even fancier, we slice our lemon and lay the slices on the pork. An easy step but a worthwhile step. Plus, look how cute those lemon slices look! Now time for the chops to get the oven treatment.

This is what our tomatoes look like when done. Do you see the glorious sauciness and tenderness? I thought maybe the addition of mozzarella would make these extra good but the good, honest truth is that they are perfect on their own.

Tomatoes represent Summer in such a bright and sweet way; while the pork chops are bringing in their Fall flavor with the sage butter. I love it when we can all come together.

Now, I’m going to give you a big tip and you might owe me your first born because of it (not really but maybe take some pics?). If you have leftovers, put the whole thing on a bed of pasta. Leftover makeover: pork and tomato edition. A dab of that butter never hurt anyone, either.

Happy dinner making!

Greek Egg Scramble with Oregano Mayonnaise

You know how there are those recipes that your mom makes or your grandmom and you ask them for the recipe and they tell you it’s not really a recipe, they just add what they like? You know, a little bit of this, a little bit of that? Wow, what confidence! Most of cooking is this way though; you’re given an outline and you can fill in the blanks according to your tastes. Isn’t that a relief? If you don’t love red pepper flake, don’t add it (or maybe just as much as the recipe calls for). You love basil? Then add a little bit more than the recipe calls for. That’s how I want you to read my recipes. Of course, recipes are there to guide you and give you a good outcome, but never forget why you’re in the kitchen. If you aren’t excited about what you’re making or maybe a specific ingredient, change it to what gets you going! Really! Ok, end of rant… (more…)

I hardly call this egg scramble a recipe; it’s more like an inspiration. We eat our fair share of eggs so I’m always looking for new add in’s. Mushroom and cheddar omelettes, smokey bacon and paprika scramble, or fried egg sandwich with grape jelly (my husband’s fave). Eggs are a blank slate. With all of that being said, my recipe is just an outline, measurements to what I like. Add more or less of what you like. See how gratifying cooking can be?

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Right to Left: Eggs, feta cheese, dried oregano, bread of choice (if you wish), baby spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and mayonnaise. I always recommend farm fresh eggs! Good for you and your local farmers! Seriously, once you go fresh, you never go back? That saying works, right?

For our mayo: just mix the oregano with the mayo. I was thinking of adding anchovies but didn’t want to get my food processor dirty. I’ll let you know if I ever decide to add them.

We beat our eggs and cook them in some butter (always). Once the eggs start to come together, we add our sun dried tomatoes and spinach. Add the feta at the end. Voila!

Take your toast and spread the mayo. Plate your eggs. I made an egg sandwich that was just too messy to capture its gloriousness on film. This is perfect for the weekend brunch situation. So flavorful! Happy scramble making!

Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is.

It seems like our hearts get heavier with every passing week this summer. Suicides, executions, persecution, shootings, and protests have taken over our televisions and our minds. I’ve had a few friends who have written some lovely pieces of encouragement but man, this world is tough. In lieu of the heartbreaking news and events, there was something that took over all social media: The ALS ice bucket challenge. Now, I will have to admit, I was confused at first and didn’t understand the benefit of awareness vs. just plain donating. Of course, I have since educated myself, watching the tear jerking and gut wrenching videos of people diagnosed with ALS participating in the challenge. Although at times annoying, and we don’t know everyone’s motives for filming themselves for the world to see, the fact that so many people supported a very important cause that normally goes unseen was incredible. It gave me a little sense of hope for the ALS community and even bigger, the world. (more…)

There is still beauty and grace in this dirty place and even though it’s hard hearing constant sad and disturbing news, there are some really awesome people doing really awesome things. I truly believe whenever there’s a tragedy, there’s also a story of redemption. Find the beauty in your own life and use it to inspire others. Be grateful for what you have and where you live. Be well, my friends.

This week flew by for me and since I’m counting the days to my Fall vacation in Disney (58 to be exact), fast weeks are fully welcome. It started off rough with the pork loin fail but got increasingly better and for that I am thankful. Here are some highlights from this week.

Do you have a band that speaks to the inner being of your soul? That’s what these guys do to me. It was a party unlike anything ever.

You’re never too old for english muffin pizzas for dinner!

It seems like my life is full of baby rolls and slobbery kisses these days! It’s been such a blessing seeing some dear friends and family enter into the unknown and crazy world of parenting. Every day, I give just a little bit more respect to motherhood.

Our community of friends met this week for an Asian inspired barbeque. I didn’t want this meal to end!

A midnight playground stomp. I rode a swing for the first time in a while. Let’s just say I’ve found my new form of cardio.

How is the end of your summer going? All prepared for school? I don’t have any kids yet but I have a husband who is in school so I can relate to the stress of getting everything ready in time for next week. Enjoy your last official weekend of summer. Just think, flying to the beach is cheaper in the winter. Happy weekend!

Graffiato: A Restaurant Review

It is no secret that Chris and I love pizza. Living in Los Angeles, we had at least 3 favorite pizza places; all offering a different type of pizza. In Maryland, it’s been hard finding a legit pizza place that goes above and beyond in their creativity. We have friends who have done their thorough research, going to Annapolis then Baltimore, then DC. They have recommendations I’m sure we will eventually try. A friend of ours that used to live in DC told us about Mike Isabella’s Graffiato: a low key pizza joint that also offers creative small plates (caesar salad with cream cheese croutons, anyone?). Graffiato has become our go to restaurant when in DC and their pizza is beyond amazing. We also share a couple of small plates (go big or go home, right?), making the whole experience one a foodie or an average joe will never forget. We were in DC on Sunday to see our favorite band play, Arcade Fire, and of course squeezed in a dutiful trip to Graffiato. Unfortunately, this time around, the pizza was the only aspect of our dinner we thoroughly enjoyed. The small plates seemed a little bit off. This was our 5th or 6th time going so we will give them a free pass on having a bad night. But again, the pizza was still nothing short of umami greatness. Also, their brunch is delicious and they have bottomless mimosas. Enought said. (more…)

It was Restaurant Week but we decided just to do our own thing. If you go to Graffiato, make sure to score a cocktail. They are delightful but oh so strong…in a very good way.

The top small plate is one we ALWAYS get. It’s a pork ragu gnoochi with a whipped rosemary ricotta. It has always been so delicious and I’ve tried to recreate it numerous times and have failed. I will persevere! The bottom small plate is a charred hanger steak with whipped potato and a VERY spicy chimichurri sauce. This definitely wasn’t our favorite small plate, we were trying something new. Probably won’t get it again but everyone was getting this flatbread with pepperonis I am now regretting not ordering. Until next time…

Now, here is the show stopper! It’s the White House pizza: taleggio cheese with salty prosciutto and a sweet honey drizzled on top. My usual meat lovers husband can’t get enough of this pizza. If it were up to him, we would get two of this pizza but I always demand another option.

This pizza was also really good! It was a greek pizza with lamb, arugula, caramelized onions (my love language), and a tangy tzatziki sauce. Oh and crunchy homemade potato chips on top! I loved the savoriness of this pizza. A lamb gyro on pizza, what could be so bad?!

I’m a sucker for the White House pizza but this stole my heart for the night. I had to take a bite before I took a picture. Priorities, priorities… Did you notice those lovely salt flakes on the crust? THEY SEASON THEIR CRUST! Do we need to ask for more?

All in all, Graffiato is a unique and delicious place to visit if you ever find yourself wandering the salty streets of Chinatown. Anything that sounds good on the menu will be good… unless they are having an off night, which doesn’t happen often. We love Graffiato and hope you make a stop there soon! If you do, let me know what your favorite item on the menu was! Betcha I’ve tried it!

Canadian Cheddar Poutine with a Red Wine Reduction

I know you. You probably don’t think so but I do and I know why you’re here. You saw the word “poutine” in the title of this recipe and you were curious. I’ll just cut to the chase: poutine is a Canadian dish usually involving fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Now, I have never actually been to Canada so I can’t vouch for authentic poutine from the natives. Does a trip to Disney World’s Epcot count? When Chris and I went there for our anniversary last year, we ate at Le Cellier, the Canadian steakhouse in Epcot. They had different poutine combos like lobster and butter poutine, a BBQ pork poutine, and this gloriousness of canadian cheddar, truffles, and a thick red wine reduction. We ordered two poutines BEFORE our steaks came out! We know how to party. (more…)

You probably are aware football season is upon us and before you jump up and down for chili cheese fries (you might see them here, you might not), hear me out. I think your friends would be thrilled to eat these fries on any given day. Plus, these require much less work than chili cheese fries so there’s that!

Our fancy ingredient line up:

From Left to Right: Frozen fries (I used shoe string but choose what you like!), Truffle cheddar, red wine, shallots, Canadian cheddar, and rosemary.

We start with our red wine reduction, as our fries are baking in the oven (healthy choices here!). You can obviously make your own fries from scratch if you aren’t lazy like me. Look at that rosemary making googly eyes at you. Let it simmer until it’s thick and drizzle worthy.

Once the fries are cooked, sprinkle on your cheeses. You could also use an English cheddar or even an Irish cheddar if you can’t find Canadian cheddar. Heck, you could use white cheddar really. Cheese on fries equals bliss. That’s an old adage.

Broil the cheese fries until cheese has melted then drizzle the red wine reduction. Serve these hot, right in the sheet pan! If you are feeling fancy, eat ’em with a fork. Otherwise, take those clean paws of yours and dig in! My sister-in-law, Lauren, and I went to town so we could expertly report to you how these turned out. See the kind of sacrifices I’m willing to make for you?

These were cheesy with a herb sweetness from the reduction. The truffle and Canadian cheddar were key and really made this savory and hearty. Give ’em a try! Happy poutine making!

Mischievous Mishaps

I want to make a pork loin with sage butter, she said. Oh and roasted sweet tomatoes would be the perfect side dish, she said. I just need to blend the butter and sage together to rub on the loin, she said. It will be herby, and a comforting Fall meal, she said. Well, she was wrong. Very wrong. (more…)

This is where it began. Not so bad? Eh? I do want to say I’m in love with how the sage looks here.

It all started with a pork loin, only a couple days old that turned gray and didn’t smell too fresh either. “But it still has 2 days until its sell-by date! Ugh, Whole Foods! Well, if I can’t eat it, I’m at least going to cook it and see if the technical side of this recipe is solid, plus I have cute little heirlooms wanting in on the party.” I covered my pork loin in the delicious smelling sage butter and popped it in the hot oven. My kitchen started to smell good but after about 15 minutes, I decided to open the oven door to see how the loin was progressing. It wasn’t. It looked worse than before I put it into the oven. Of course, the butter would melt and start to burn in a hot oven! What was I thinking? My creative juices came to an end with that discovery. How do I make a half-bad, half gray and brown pork loin look appetizing? You don’t. The answer is you don’t and to order pizza immediately.

I definitely felt a sense of loss; first, in my pocket for that bad piece of meat. Second, for that defeat in the recipe. It doesn’t feel good when you spend your money and very precious time on something that doesn’t turn out. If you are in this place more often than not, I feel you. This cooking thing isn’t always perfect. Sometimes, you follow the directions perfectly and the recipe doesn’t turn out like you had hoped. Sometimes, you misread the directions and find yourself in a hole, with guests coming in 15 minutes. In my defeat, I had to remember the reasons why I’m here. Is it just to show you yummy food with enticing pictures? Sure. Is it to encourage you to get in the kitchen, no matter what the cost? Definitely. After reviewing my mistakes with this recipe, I know where I went wrong and I can’t wait for a redo. Luckily, I decided to fight the notion of inviting some friends over for a roasted pork loin dinner. Thank you, guardian angel!

Some people say that how you are feeling when cooking is reflected in the outcome of a recipe. If you feel excited and happy while cooking, then your meal will turn out great. If you are feeling sad or mad or rushed while cooking, the outcome won’t be so good. I didn’t know where I stood with this idea. Most of the time, I am excited and happy while I’m cooking because cooking makes me feel that way. But Saturday, with the pork loin, wasn’t a good day and I wasn’t feeling happy or excited to cook. And I let that get the best of me. I’m sure during the week, you can feel the same way, trying to throw dinner together just to get it done. I want more for you. Instead of it being a burden, I want it to be an escape; a place where you can feel most comfortable and satisfied. When I first thought of this post, I didn’t know which category to put it in. I decided to put it in, “Adventures”, because that’s what cooking is. It’s an adventure that you deserve to go on and enjoy. Let’s make that happen. Oh and we can make our husbands or wives do the dishes. Just looking out for ya!

Baby rolls, pickled onions, and a farewell.

How was your week? Did you see the “Only 20 more Fridays until Christmas” countdown on Facebook? I sure did and it made my heart skip a beat! My week was full of family cookouts, rainstorms, dear friends, and the treadmill. Here’s a little peak at my week! Rhyming is what I do! (more…)

We kicked off Friday the only way we know how. Do you like how the salsa in the carafe is totally gone. That was BEFORE the fajitas.

I went to the movies past my bedtime. Thank God for buttery popcorn and peanut butter M&M’s.

I dabbled with these guys.

Cookout being the operative word here.

My sweet niece not a fan of cruisin’ in the cold pool. Those rolls, tho.

I pickled these.

A much needed Cookie Butter Ice Cream date with these ladies. Dunkin also made an appearance.

Isn’t it a good sign when your shoes have holes in them? Like you use them a lot? It is? Thanks.

I had a pretty busy week but I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with this guy.

I know the news this week made us all a little bit more somber. Let’s have a Robin Williams marathon this weekend! He would want to make us laugh; although I’m probably going to cry. Have a great weekend, guys! You deserve it!

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