As I wrote recently, I’ve been getting a ton of recipes from Pinterest. Most come from people’s blogs, so before I give one a try I always look through the comments carefully. You usually have to skip the first bunch because they are always, “This looks great!” “Mmmmm! Can’t wait to make it!” Instead, keep scrolling and look for ones that say it was good or indicate what tweaks were necessary to make it better.
Here are a few I’ve been happy with recently (with my adjustments, of course):
Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Spaghetti – I’ve made this twice and I love that it can be put together in under a half hour. My suggestions: I like crisper prosciutto and I HATE cutting it raw (slimy, clingy, yuck). Lay out the pieces on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 3-5 minutes (depending on the meat’s thickness), then you can just break it up when it’s nice and crispy over the finished dish. I also found that the cream sauce thickened much faster than the recipe indicated so watch for that. If it gets too thick it’s very difficult to mix with the pasta. Last one, I omitted the mushrooms because we’re not big fans over here.
Man-Pleasing Chicken – I’m a little put off by the title but this took about 60 seconds to assemble. Although the sauce the chicken cooks in is primarily Dijon mustard, it actually doesn’t taste like mustard when it’s done. Seriously, I don’t even like mustard. My suggestions: Don’t worry if you don’t have rice wine vinegar. Most other types are fine (maybe not balsamic!). I used Champagne vinegar.
Caesar Salad – Ok, this one isn’t from Pinterest, it’s Barefoot Contessa, but I served it with the Man-Pleasing Chicken so I figured I would include it. While this recipe isn’t difficult, it is a bit involved. Thankfully, everything can be done ahead of time. My suggestion: I halved the dressing recipe and it still made plenty. I considered halving it again but it’s difficult to do things in small batches in a food processor. Again, I wouldn’t bother with the tedious chopping of the pancetta. I would buy it in slices and roast it for a few minutes until it’s crispy, then break it up over the salad. Finally, don’t even think about omitting the anchovies. I know they look gross (I gagged a little), but they are what make Caesar dressing taste the way it does.
Green Monster Smoothie – This smoothie is healthy and filling and although it looks weird (it’s green and filled with raw spinach), it tastes like delicious peanut butter, banana, tangy goodness.
Posted in Cooking | Tagged barefoot contessa, pinterest, recipes | Leave a Comment »
Most of us have favorite famous people, actors, writers, athletes, etc., whom we would love to meet. But are you like me? Do you have a few people who you really believe could be your friend? When you see them on television or read about them in a magazine, a little part of you thinks, “If she got to know me, I’m sure we would really hit it off!”
Here are mine:
Ina Garten – Although something tells me she might not be that nice, I admire her so much and want her to take me under her wing and let me stay in her East Hampton home when she’s away. I would also love to double date with her and Jeffrey.
Joanna Goddard – The writer behind A Cup of Jo, Joanna and I have so much in common it scares me (and would probably scare her if I tracked her down and started frantically listing all of our common interests).
Meryl Streep – Don’t you think she would make the loveliest aunt or neighbor? I would make a blueberry crumb cake (Ina Garten’s recipe, obviously) and she would stop at Starbucks on the way over. Sigh.
I sometimes spend too much time thinking on this, planning ways we could meet. Ina often features her favorite spots in East Hampton so don’t think I haven’t kept my eyes peeled for her when I’ve visited. If I stroll down Main Street in the fall every day, I’m bound to run into her, right? Joanna Goddard lives in Manhattan and our sons are about a year apart. Maybe if I hit up the parks in her neighborhood enough times, we’ll cross paths? I have a feeling Meryl would be tougher to connect with, what with her being one of the most famous actresses in America.
Who would you love to befriend? Who are your celebrity kindred spirits?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged celebrities, friends, Ina Garten | 2 Comments »
Hi moms (and soon-to-be-moms, and future moms, and people in general), I’m going to read this book, are you interested?
Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.
Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo recommended this book on her blog a few months back, and I saved it on my wishlist for the summer. (Since nothing says a steamy summer read like a parenting book.)
Let’s shoot to finish it by the end of July and meet at a Starbucks (or bar) to talk. For my long-distance friends, maybe a few Skype chats to discuss? Leave a comment below or send me a message/email if you’re interested!
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As I mentioned in my last post, I have become quite the little pinner on Pinterest. If you’re new to Pinterest, it’s basically a set of online bulletin boards you create to save (pin) ideas and images you see on the internet. When you click the image, it takes you to the site from which it was pinned. I have a board for recipes I want to try, ideas for stuff to do with Nolan, pictures of kitchens I like for when I win the lottery or become famous, etc.
I spend most of my pinning time on food and house stuff, so I am frequently directed to blogs. I’ve been amazed at how accomplished people seem to be! Professional-looking photographs, elaborately themed birthday parties, Halloween costume creating extravaganzas – you name it, people are doing it and they are kicking ass at it. Sometimes I wonder, why am I having so much trouble? If I can cook a meal, bathe Nolan and watch one show on my DVR, I consider that an unusual success worth celebrating with a glass of wine. Sure, many of these women don’t work outside the home, but neither did I for nine months.
Doesn’t everyone use electrical tape to create avant-garde art?
Forget about just growing herbs, you should build the container too!
Ok, this one I actually want to do. But I know I’ll never get around to it. So now I feel bad again.
Then the essay “Your Children Want YOU!” started floating around and I felt a whole lot better. Read it. Right now. Hurry! The title might turn off readers without kids, but I really believe the sentiment applies to everyone. It’s not just about people’s relationships with their children, it’s about people’s relationships with everyone important to them. Your kids (friends, loved ones, coworkers) won’t like you more for hand-crafting their favorite flowers in fondant icing. They like you because you because you’re thoughtful and loving. (If you’re not thoughtful and loving, well, they probably don’t like you as much.) That’s not to say that completing a project or creating something beautiful isn’t satisfying and wonderful – it is! But we should use sites like Pinterest and Facebook for ideas and inspiration, not to make us feel inferior and useless.
So go forth and multiply your pins! Just don’t get down on yourself if you never make that rainbow layer birthday cake.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged pinterest | Leave a Comment »
Hey, world! Here are a few things that have kept me busy and piqued my interest lately:
Pinterest – holy mother of all time suckers. I have a whole post on Pinterest in the works, but if you haven’t pinned, get busy.
Bronx Zoo – we went here yesterday for a birthday party and it was so fun. I go every few years and each time I think, Wow! I need to get here more often. It’s lovely and so nicely cared for.
Cooking Food Stuffs – the aforementioned Pinterest has kept my kitchen BUSY. This BLT Quinoa Salad is delicious, these Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps taste like they could be from a restaurant, and if Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars sound like something you might enjoy, then you have to make these. If they don’t sound like something you would like, please leave. Or see a mental health professional STAT.
Reading – being back at work and reading the literary gems of high school students keeps me pretty busy so I haven’t been reading much fiction lately. I started the memoir Bringing Up Bebe and really enjoyed it but had to return it to my library since it was a 7-day loan. English teacher + mother of baby = not finishing a book a week. I’ll probably buy it from Amazon next time I’m on there. So in about five minutes. I think I’m the last woman on Earth to read 50 Shades of Grey. It’s on my to-do list for the summer.
ABC Kitchen – Matt and I went here for lunch over the April vacation and had a pretty amazing meal. I will say this, the place tries really hard. A little too hard if you ask me. It’s a bit over curated for my taste and just felt kind of forced. Everyone was friendly, the food was original and delicious but the space and the “uniforms” were a bit of an eye roll. Is it weird that I’m being a snob about a restaurant’s snobbery?
This Guy – he’s been keeping me busy and happy Here he is doing some work on Matt’s computer.
And enjoying some Starbucks:
What about you, friends? Read anything great lately or have something worth sharing?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged baby, recipe, restaurants | Leave a Comment »
I returned to work almost two months ago (where does the time go??) and wrote about it for Long Island Parent Source:
Before I gave birth to our son Nolan last April, my husband Matt and I planned and saved and determined that I could take maternity leave for nine months. At the start of my leave, nine months sounded like forever. I had the summer to look forward to, the back-to-school whirlwind I wouldn’t be a part of, the holidays – it seemed like so much time. And in many ways, it was so much time - I’m well aware that some women return to work after a few short weeks! That being said, even after taking an extended leave, returning to work was really difficult. Continue reading here…
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged baby | Leave a Comment »
The kitchen is a room that is easy to fill with expensive goodies. Appliances (big and small), fancy knives, pots and pans – thousands of dollars spent faster than you can say Crate and Barrel. The good news is that there are tons of useful, fun tools and gadgets that aren’t pricey but still making cooking easier. Here are some of my favorites:
Microplane Zester ($15.95) - a must-have for zesting citrus fruits, you can also use this for fine shavings of chocolate and cheese.
Citrus Reamer ($3.95) - while it certainly doesn’t have the power of a large electric juicer, this little sucker makes it surprisingly easy to get tons of juice out of citrus fruits. This is a favorite of mine when making cocktails!
Steaming Basket – an easy way to gently cook vegetables and it’s invaluable for making baby food!
Liquid Measuring Cups ($11.95) – did you know that liquid and solid measuring cups aren’t the same? It’s true. One cup in a dry measuring cup is different than one cup in a liquid container. It makes a big difference when baking because you need precise measurements. This measuring cup from Crate and Barrel is pretty with its green markings, don’t you think? Pyrex and Anchor make sets of these in different sizes for very reasonable prices.
Cookie Dough Scoop ($12.95) – If you bake cookies with any regularity, using a scoop helps keep the cookies a consistent size so everything cooks evenly. It also keeps your hands clean (that is until you start eating cookie dough).
What about you, fellow home cooks? What low-cost gadgets and tools are invaluable to you?
Posted in Cooking | Tagged baking, Cooking, shopping | 2 Comments »