Sometimes you get weird stuff in the Christmas swap

In case you were unclear, this post is a throwback to Christmastime–or winter-holiday time for anyone celebrating something else….YUP I’m inclusive.

So I feel like I need to give a little background to this post. My dad’s girlfriend (oh hey T) introduced this amazing game into our Christmas celebrations a few years ago. The gist of it is that everyone stands in a circle and most people are holding a present (all if you want to make sure everyone ends up with a prize…..I’m still resentful of 2012 when me and Meg ended up empty handed. T reads a story about the Right family…and you pass presents around whenever the words “right” and “left” are announced. It gets INTENSE…especially in my family because we love a good holiday punch. Long story short I ended up with a boxed Italian christmas cake “Panettone” that was regifted into the game by my godfather.

This box o' mystery. Do people really buy this for themselves? It's not all that bad to be honest...

This box o’ mystery. Do people really buy this for themselves? It’s not all that bad to be honest…

You’ve all probably seen them before in the grocery store. Like me you’re probably wondering what the F you do with this box of strange. Turns out Giada from the Food Network has the answer! You make a bread pudding!

Simple to make. Easy ingredients.

Simple to make. Easy ingredients.

It’s actually super simple to make—and BONUS: it tastes amazing. I made it for the New Years Eve party I went to. A bit of truth for you, this is some full fat sh*t. You gotta just roll with it on this one…lower fat alternatives just don’t hold up as well.

Panettone Bread Pudding:
-1  box panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
-8 large eggs
-1 1/2 cups whipping cream
-2 1/2 cups whole milk
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-vanilla

Butter/Pam a dish and arrange the bread cubes in it. In a large bowl whisk all the other ingredients together and then pour over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes a bit to make sure they’re covered. Let stand for about 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 mins until the pudding puffs up and the center is set.

Bread pudding is always the right choice

Bread pudding is always the right choice

I topped it with some homemade whipped cream. It went over pretty well.

In other newsssss….I just got back from a trip to San Fran to visit L! A group of us went, and we had a total blast celebrating birthdays and L’s new San Fran life.

The fog gets crazy in San Fran. It literally covered the bridge the day we arrived

The fog gets crazy in San Fran. It literally covered the bridge the day we arrived

We seriously had so much fun. Here’s a quick recap of the shenanigans we got into:

-self guided wine tasting tour where we got daytime buzzed drinking wine all day and playing bocci ball
-amazing dinner with L’s bro and sis in law and their 4 beautiful and way too lovable babies
-brunches
-sight seeing of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Ghirardelli  factory, the Full House houses, and so much more
-night tour of Alcatraz
-soaking up the sunshine…I was beginning to forget what it felt like
-meeting up with CB!!!
-fun bars, new friends, cocktails and Cards Against Humanity

The Ladies outside of the Cliff House after brunch

The Ladies outside of the Cliff House after brunch

 

K&CB together again!! #viadelmoro4life

K&CB together again!! #viadelmoro4life

 

Gettin' our drank on with amazing cucumber type cocktails with Death Star ice balls.

Gettin’ our drank on with amazing cucumber type cocktails with Death Star ice balls.

Check out this sweeet 20 piece knife set that C and D got me for my bday :) woot woot

Check out this sweeet 20 piece knife set that C and D got me for my bday 🙂 woot woot

Advertisements

The Labors of My Labor Day

I’m gonna be honest…I did ALMOST nothing this holiday weekend. I had plans…plans involving sitting poolside working on my tan.

Expectation

But the weather simply did not cooperate. So rather than chill out poolside it changed to me on the couch. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Reality

It was a good time though. I did do a few things so I figured I may as well share them with all of you.

I recently acquired a Wii (shout out to my sis for moving to Abu Dhabi…aka the Dhabs). Which means this gal now can watch Netflix on the TV!! BOOM. Game Changer. So this long weekend of crappy weather gave me the perfect opportunity to break it in. So maybe I watched more movies than I care to publicly announce on Saturday, but I did manage to get one of my best gals C over for a Sunday Funday movie marathon.
In between movies we got a case of the hungries so we decided to make some food. We settled on pasta with a white wine sauce. A quick convo with Google later we headed to the shops to pick up the few things we needed to make our masterpiece a reality.
Pasta with White Wine Sauce:
Penne with White Wine Sauce
  • Pasta (we used tri-colored penne)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, rough chopped (we used onion bc that’s what I had…and I chopped it finely)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

You start by sautéing the finely chopped onion with the olive oil. Then we poured in the wine and let it boil. NOW: the recipe said to let it reduce…but we were hungry and tipsy so we didn’t…we just let it boil. Then add the butter until it melts. Take the sauce off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley (which we took from my herb garden). Then we poured the sauce over our cooked pasta and grated some fresh cheese over it…NOM NOM.

tri-colored is so fun to look at

tri-colored is so fun to look at

 

White Wine Sauce

White Wine Sauce

NOTE: while cooking we were drinking….and we were pretty buzzed. So we didn’t super follow the recipe as written…in that we 1. did not let the white wine reduce at all, 2. did not strain the onion from the sauce, 3. we added garlic and pepper, and 4. we thought that maybe it wouldn’t make enough sauce so we pretty much doubled everything…”lets just add more wine…yeah…and more butter!”…It was really good though. The lemon juice gives it a nice fresh taste.

Since we were at the grocery store anyways, C had the brilliant idea of making some beverages…specifically White Russians. It was a truly excellent idea. So if you’re like me, and have no idea how to make them and don’t feel like asking Google I thought I’d share that as well.

Cocktail Corner: White Russians

-Ice
-Kahlua
-Skim Milk
-Vodka

Put Ice in your glass. Add a shot of vodka and a shot of Kahlua. Top with milk. Stir.

DRINK UP!

Gettin' our drink onnnn....and our cook on

Gettin’ our drink onnnn….and our cook on

All in all I’d say it was a perfect Sunday Funday.

Monday it was more of the same….Les Miserables was on HBO so OBVIOUSLY I had to watch it. But I did take a break from being epically lazy to grab a frozen treat with KT (check her out!!) and stop by Target. I found some cheap curtains ($5!!) for my living room and immediately needed to hang them….and I did. LIKE A BOSS. This girl doesn’t even have a drill….just my raw physical power. BOOM.

Put these guys up with my own 2 hands!

Put these guys up with my own 2 hands!

Happy Labor Day everyone!

There’s Always Time for Chicken

Sorry for such a long break between posts. Things have been a bit hectic lately. I just started a brand new job and have been super busy catching myself up to speed on everything. Overall it’s been great so far and I’m much happier. Hooray for positive life changes!

My final two weeks at my old job corresponded with the Boston Marathon bombings and ensuing search and capture of the suspects. So needless to say it was a stressful period. And then I immediately started my new job…so I got a little overwhelmed and my time in the kitchen dropped significantly. I did make one interesting thing during that period that I wanted to share with you all. Better late than never I guess.

I was feeling broke and lazy so I was particularly interested in finding a crockpot creation. When in doubt I always turn to chicken…its pretty hard to screw up chicken. I did a quick search and settled on a recipe. Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken.

As a note: I didn’t turn to my trusty pals over at Google this time…I went directly to a great crockpot site called Get Crocked. I discovered this site a while back and it has HUNDREDS of amazing crockpot recipes.

I realized that I already had most of the ingredients so I figured it would be a smart try. Here’s what you need:

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

  • ~5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 c brown sugar (packed)
  • 2/3 c vinegar
  • 1/4 c Sprite (or other similar soda would work too)
  • 2 -3 Tbs garlic
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper

Add the chicken to the bottom of the crockpot. Add everything else together, and pour over chicken. Now, I didn’t really pay attention to the directions (whoopsies) and I added everything separate…I don’t think it makes much difference but it may help to mix it first. Cook for 6-8 hours on high.

I cut my chicken breasts in half...I fit 5.

I cut my chicken breasts in half…I fit 5.

IMG_2296 IMG_2297

After 8 hours I had a lot of sauce…Corn starch thickened it a little.

So I have some mixed feelings about this recipe to be honest. A few things concerned me…such as the fact that mine looked very different from the recipe photo (take a peek here). The photo shows a piece of chicken with a sort of sauce coating. Mine was VERY liquid. I read through the comments (which is SOOO helpful sometimes) and realized that others had this problem too. I added some cornstarch to the sauce at the end to thicken it up. (add a few tbs of cornstarch mixed in water FIRST, then add it to the sauce).

It tasted okay. Its not a recipe I will likely rush to make again, but it wasn’t bad either. Next time I will definitely decrease the liquid ingredients. I served it over rice.

Dinner Time

So I’ve had this eggplant in my fridge for like a week. I finally used it all up last night (hooray!). I’m not super familiar with eggplant so I went with something simple and delicious…some eggplant parm.

I sliced the eggplant, put it on a cookie sheet, and brushed it with some olive oil and spices. I roasted it for about 15-20 minutes. Then I placed a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of half the eggplant slices. Put some marinara sauce on top of the cheese, add another eggplant slice, and cover with sauce. I topped it with the cheese I had left to finish it off.

I baked it for about 15 minutes…until the cheese was all melty. It was really yummy!

 

I also got a SWEET new apron the other day! SOOOO pumped to cook/bake in it! (Its got pockets and everything!)

And fun times were had by all…

So the past two weeks have actually been a bit busy. Thinking back, they weren’t even that busy…it’s more that they were filled with fun times. I’ll catch you up to speed.

First of the fun times was last Sunday (well actually it was the Sunday before that but words escape me sometimes…). Some gal pals that I work with decided to have a Lady Date. We made some tasty challah bread, ate some pizza and beer, and watched A League of Their Own. So clearly we had the best day ever. It was really fun. We kneeded and braided that dough like champs and coated with not one, but TWO egg washes. BOOM. You can read more about our baking adventure on my friend Maren’s blog here.

I wish I could tell you something interesting about my week (Monday-Friday) but to be perfectly honest I don’t remember anything about it. I guess its safe to assume nothing terribly remarkable happened.

But this past weekend I went to New Hampshire with the fam. It was loads of fun. We went kayaking, and chilled by the fire and made smores…mmmm smores…. I really only bring this up because 1. kayaking is super fun (first time going!) 2. smores are delicious and always warrant a shout out and 3. on the way back from NH we stopped for lunch and I had this amazing lemonade.


The lemonade that I had at lunch was “fresh raspberry lemonade” and I decided to recreate it at home. I tweeked it to be fresh strawberry lemonade instead (BOGO strawberries at Stop & Shop woot woot). I cut up some strawberries and added them to some lemonade. I gave it all a good shake shake in my cocktail shaker and poured it into my glass. Then I topped it off with some San Pellegrino Limonata. It’s so refreshing! Also, you could add a little vodka and have a killer cocktail too. Yum Yum.

I also whipped up a batch of Energy Balls I saw on Pintrest. They are no-bake granola bar balls. They are also very easy to make and are totally addicting.

Here’s how you make’em:

-1 cup oats
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1/3 cup honey
-2/3 cup shredded coconut
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1 tsp vanilla

Now I also added chopped nuts and craisins, and cinnamon for extra oomph.

Overall a fairly productive July.

And just for fun I’ll add a silly family pic from the kayaking adventure.

Butternut Squash Risotto…in a Crockpot. BOOM.

So I’ve never made risotto before. I’ve had it many times, but a lot of the recipes I’ve found are pretty intimidating. That is until I found the recipe I’ll post below. Turns out you can make it a crockpot! BOOM. Mind blown, right?!

It’s actually pretty simple to make…AND not terribly expensive. Be warned though, this guy is NOT a one pot wonder. There is a bit of prep work to do.

You saute the onions in your butter and EVOO.

Then add in your Arborio rice and coat that biz with the oily goodness.

Put rice/onion mix into the crockpot. Add the squash and cheese and cover with the broth. Stir carefully and then leave that biz alone.

About 4 hours later you have some delicious butternut squash risotto!

Here’s the recipe:

4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 T butter
1 onion
2 1/2 c Arborio rice
3 c butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
6 c broth (I used veggie)
1/4 c parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling
salt and pepper

It makes about 8 one cup servings. Enjoy! Happy Crockpoting folks!