If you're interested in hearing a tale of heartache and my obsession with Miley Cyrus 3 years ago you should check out the recently posted "Parallel Life" on 1/29/2014. Sometimes I can be so dramatic.
While meal prepping I like to create ethnic "themed" meals. I think I also get this from Mom. This is one of those instances where I can't color outside of the lines. Nathan will make suggestions or recommendations for meals/dinner/embellishments and is always perplexed when I turn him down. He wants to put mozzarella cheese on tacos or eat tater tots with pasta. YOU CAN'T MIX THOSE THINGS TOGETHER! THEY DON'T GO, GAWWWWWD! Kitchen control freak anyone? (crickets chirp)
I was digging though my recipe box for some Mama Socha themed meals and settled on Greek. I made meatballs, tzatziki, hummus to go with a bunch of olives and pita I had to use up. After making everything I soon realized I would be eating the majority of the feast. Nate's not a huge fan of olives, he's watching his carb intake, the meatballs heavily feature dill and there's no way I can hide all the cucumber in the tzatziki. More for me!
While coming up with the title for the post I goggled "Greek sayings" I didn't choose to use one because they were mostly too long and there were too many funny ones. Here are a few of my favs.
- A Greek doesn’t say “I have no idea what’s going on”…she says “I’ve lost my eggs and baskets” (ἐχω χἀσει τα αυγἀ και τα καλἀθια).
-In Greece, a situation doesn’t just “get out of hand”…it turns into “a whore’s fencepost” (της πουτἀνας το κἀγκελο).
-A Greek isn’t just “doing nothing”…he’s “swatting flies” (βαρἀει μὐγες).
-A Greek house isn’t just “messy”…it’s a “brothel” (μπουρδἐλο).
-Greeks aren’t just “exhausted”…they are “in pieces” (κομμἀτια).
-A Greek person isn’t just “high and mighty” or a “diva”…she is “astride a reed” (ἐχει καβαλἠσει καλἀμι).
-A Greek person doesn’t just “cheat on you”…he “puts horns on you” (σε κερατὠνει).
-A Greek is not told to “go jump in a lake”…he is told to “go see if the boats are moving” (πἠγαινε να δεἰς αν κουνιοὐντε οι βἀρκες).
-Greeks don’t just “get into a fight”…they “become yarn balls” (γἰναμε μαλλιἀ κουβἀρια).
-A Greek isn’t just “fit”…she is “slices” (φἐτες).
-A Greek doesn’t get “beat up”…he “eats wood” (τρὠει ξὐλο).
Greek Meatballs and tzatziki
1 lb of ground beef (I used turkey, you could use pork, go crazy)
1/2 finely chopped onion
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
Mix together, it will be a wet, shaggy mess. Roll them out and stick them in a 350 degree oven for 30 mins.
pint of greek yogurt
1/4 c. EVOO
2 cloves garlic minced
1 peeled cucumber diced
Mix and eat
Last summer I went to a sushi making class and there were some real Asian Foodie nerds (I mean that in the nicest way) who were bragging about their extra fancy Japanese rice cookers and all the cool features it had. I didn't even own a rice cooker but was convinced in this class that even a cheap $20 dollar Wal-Mart rice cooker was going to change my Asian cooking life.
I used to ridicule my sister Heather when she received her first rice cooker as a gift. Don't you have a saucepot? What's next, you're going to buy a quesadilla maker? A cake pop machine? What a waste of metal! Now I am singing a different tune. Sorry Heather, you were right this one time.
I initially thought that I should invest in something that was going to last for a while and so I started doing my research. HOLY COW do people fork over a lot of yen for a fancy rice cooker, like hundreds of dollars which must be like a million yen (I'll need to check a converter) So I decided to go with the most affordable option with the best reviews on Amazon and waited patiently for 2 business days while it traveled to my doorstep. While I anxiously awaited it's arrival I went on Pinterest and just searched "Rice Cooker recipes". Lo and behold you can make so much more than rice in these wonder machines.
There's a gazillion grains you can stick in there, steam the heck out of veggies and meats and don't get me started on the delish looking bakery delights. I was dreaming of all the light, airy, Japanese cakes I would make Nate.
Then reality set in, if I made all these cakes someone would need to eat them and I can guarantee that I would devour at least 1/2 of all these cakes. *** Remember, I need to put on a wedding dress in the near future and not look like an albino stuffed sausage. So those recipes are on the backburner for after the wedding. (He can't get rid of me then, mwahahahahah)***
I have made some good things so far with this magical multi tasking machine. What I really enjoy making recently is a multi grain oatmeal. Oatmeal doesn't get all the credit it deserves sometimes. It's not just for breakfast, you can eat it any meal of the day and my favorite uses for it are the savory kinds. I was inspired by my sister Melissa and often pour chili and cheese over it for a quick lunch. Another favorite it to make it into a savory breakfast bowl with a soft cooked egg, cheese, scallions and diced ham. I had a hankering for something sweet and decided to top mine with chopped pecans (the nuts of the south), maple syrup (northern gold) and a diced banana. This batch makes enough for Nate and I to nibble on for a few meals. I even got extra fancy and used the steaming basket that comes with the rice cooker and steamed some apple chunks while the oatmeal cooked. DOUBLE TASKING QUEEN!!!! If you have room in your kitchen I would recommend taking one of these bad boys for a spin or just borrow your friends and try it out. You can thank me later by treating me to an alcoholic beverage in the near future.
1 cup steel oats
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup millet or bulger, quinoa, etc
3 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
Throw everything in rice cooker and press "cook white rice" If you don't have a magical rice machine you can adapt this to stove top. I don't know how, just get on the Google as Nate's Dad says (about searching for anything on the internet.) I'm too busy planning my future Japanese cakes. HAHAHAHA
Really this is just a continuation from my last post in order to avoid having 10 recipes and funny blimps on one post. "Nobody's got time for that" (I got bronchitis!) If you don't get the joke I highly encourage you to check out YouTube and simply search for "Nobody got time for that", you will be rewarded with some real comedic enjoyment.
One of the healthy soups I made during my massive meal prep was inspired by a Paleo recipe. No, I'm not eating like a cave man nor do I follow this diet (even though it would be fun to drag Nate around by his hair and give up on all forms of human hygiene) That's why I like to use the work INSPIRED because they do have some good recipes that are very veggie based but I still use butter and other forbidden ingredients in my prep.
This is suppose to be a cream of broccoli soup but it's closer to a pureed green soup and can be adapted with any veggies you like if you stick with a basic structure. I'm going to pull a "Carol" (my Mom) and say that I didn't really measure anything in this recipe but mostly eyeballed it.
Lots of green veggies
Dairy such as milk, cream, coconut milk, whatever you like or leave it out
Other optional additions if you have them: wine, garlic, tater, pesto, WHATEVER YOU LIKE!
I chopped up a whole head of broccoli (stem included), an onion and stuck it in a pan with a swirl of EVOO and s&p. Put that over medium heat for about 5 mins until things start to soften. I then added a random 1/2 bag of frozen peas and about 3 cups broth and cranked the temp up to get my soup simmering until things become soft-ish. At this point I decided to throw in some handfuls of spinach, squished a lemon and added coconut beverage (it's like watered down coconut milk) Take a stick blender and pulverize the heck out of it. If you don't have a stick blender, go get one because you will LOVE IT. Or you could use a blender or food processor or go cave man and smush it with a tater masher (but that would take FOREVER)
Sometimes I forget that I will write a blog post and not publish it because I haven't attached any pics to it. My intention is to spread out the love but I guess I completely forgot about 4 random posts. I have added them to my colorful collection of adventures but since I wrote them almost 4 years ago they are filed when I originally drafted them. Here's what you are missing out on.
-11/21/13 Slather it on
-6/23/14 The Continuous Adventures of Ashley
-7/31/14 Tomato Jam and Pickle Renegade
It was a lot of fun traveling down memory lane. Back when I was a fresh transplant in North Carolina and Nate was still living up in Philly while we did long distance. Thank goodness that' s over!
Here are some long lost pics to go with the post
While on vacay about a month ago I encountered an awkward situation/breach of my google account by an old co-worker. Based on the millions of episodes of Law and Order SVU I have enjoyed and my healthy sense of paranoia (Thanks Dad) and anxiety I went on a little bit of a tailspin for a few days. I realized that maybe I was a bit too loosey goosey with my life on the internet. I assume people who are reading my blog/following me on instagram/facbook friends are people that I truly know and talk to on a frequent basis. What I forgot was my Philadelphia street smart kick ass skills. Luckily Katrina talked me off the ledge, since we were on vacay together and pointing out that she herself limits all personal data on social media (Girllll, just listen, don't give me advice!) I realize that maybe I need to be a bit more discerning of my information (yet I am still writing this blog post...) So I decided to make my social media accounts extra private and have temporarily stepped away from Facebook. Don't worry I think all has been righted and I am not being stalked but if I go missing Katrina and Nate know all the details of who might have kidnapped me, hahahah.
At first I was really bummed to leave Facebook but now I realize it is literally crack for the mind. I checked it constantly and was up to date on people's daily drama, people I hadn't even seen or talked to since high school. I was reminiscing when Facebook first came out, let me paint you a story.
It was 2002 and I was a freshman at UVM. Having left the comfort of home for the first time in my life, living a whopping 30 minutes away from home base, feeling like a real adult (I now realize I was still a baby) and my roommate was one of my besties from high school. I know, surprising that this adventure junkie lived such a bland and safe life but that changes in the future (we'll delve into that story at a latter date). I had my very first computer that my boyfriend had built me and I was downloading music like crazy from Napster for free. Facebook was so new and exciting. You literally only used it to post drunken pics from the weekend, post funny/deep/confusing one liners or invite people to parties and events that you hosted. Your grandparents weren't on there, kids in Junior High weren't on there, it was mostly college kids. I think in the beginning you had to have a college email account to even sign up! There weren't any advertisement, fake news, Hell, hashtags didn't even exist! It was so simple and pure just like my college days until booze started to play a regular role in my weekend adventures :)
Back to Facebook being brain cocaine. Once I deactivated my account I felt like I was missing an arm. How would I keep up with other people's drama? How would I know what Trump was saying? As you can tell by this post I am still alive. I got clean and kicked the habit. A whole new world has opened up it's called books, podcasts, NPR and newspapers. I actually started reading books again. My brain is going to get so big I might not fit in my future wedding dress! I guess I never realized how much time I wasted on Facebook. You think it's only 10 minutes but when you do that like 20 times a day it adds up. So my newest enjoyment is podcasts. They have them on like a million different subjects. I generally listen to them while cooking, driving to work at 4:45 in the morning or while cleaning. My favorites are the following:
An Philadelphia food inspired show with one of my favorite pickling/jam cookbook author Marisa McLellan
Washington Post's podcast that focuses on one president each episode all the way up to Trump. I am currently on Thomas Jefferson, I've got a long way to go.
-The History Chicks
2 rad ladies who focus on famous ladies in history. So far my fav episode was on Marie Antoinette or should I say Maria Antonia...(listen to the show and you'll get it)
-The Kitchen Sisters Presents
Stories from the b-side of history. Most of the themes are based around stories involving incredible women and food.
-You Must Remember This
A storytelling podcast exploring the secret and often forgotten about history of Hollywood's first century. I am currently finishing up a 6 part series on Joan Crawford. What a badass chick.
-Women of the Hour with Lena Dunham
Random lady centric topics about friendships and such.
-NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
It's kinda like a trivia show, very entertaining. Nate and I usually listen to this together on the weekends.
Here are some photos of my new life goals based on pics before Facebook existed and more current examples.
If you haven't noticed, the past couple of blog posts are old ones I wrote while living in MA this past fall. Oldies but goodies.
I'm a cooking machine. I have recently discovered the magic of the public library and their wealth of ethnic cookbooks. I LOVE IT! I have been on a real Asian kick. On my days off I have been checking out all the Asian markets in the area, plotting my menu and reading all the cookbooks I can carry. I think I have mentioned my love for Kimchee. I am literally obsessed. I have made it before but then I got some store bought kimchee and it blew my mind. I inhaled the whole jar in a few days. It's spicy, tangy and full of probiotics which works some magic on my GI tract (not that I need it) Soon I will need to learn how to make this stuff because I'm hoovering it. This week I ate some kimchee but also make kimchee pancakes and kimchee stew. YUMMMMMMMOO! I started a batch of kimchee daikon and carrots that are fermenting on the countertop (sorry roomie!) They stink but taste so good. One of the perks of living outside of Boston is that there are GOBS of international markets for me to play in. I've been bringing home new ingredients and testing out recipes from these ethnic cookbooks. I'm loving it but with all this experimenting there are bound to be some fails. Bagged kimchee? GROSS! I've had some really delicious pork belly at BBQ joints. Imagine my shock and horror when I get home with my fresh pork belly from the Asian market only to discover I have to remove the hide/skin with hair on it MYSELF?!?! SO GROSS! Somethings are best left to professionals. I'd rather but it prepared than go through that piggy hell again.
Since I've been traveling and a tiny bit lonely I have really developed my cooking skills. I seem to have impressed my current roommate with my skills. She made the point which I find to be true that many people don't know how to cook. It's going to become a dying art form soon. I know a bunch of guys and gals who live off of a bland diet or reheat able food, take-out or PB+J. C'MON people! I know personally I couldn't make instant mashed taters to save my life until I moved out into my first apartment. I thought I was so cool, doing laundry and grocery shopping. I was a real adult. I soon realized that Mom wasn't going to be making my meals and I had been spoiled with a lifetime of delicious meals. I wasn't about to downgrade that lifestyle with Ramen Noodles and TV dinners. I was going to need to learn how to fend for myself. At about this time Rachael Ray was starting to become popular and she had started a magazine. I'm very visual and cookbooks sometimes didn't cut it but magazines were a totally different story. I loved the pictures and soon was trying to replicate the recipes. It wasn't totally flawless. I called home often. My Dad would pick up and our conversations would go something like this
DAD: Hey sweetie, how's it going
ME: Great Dad, hey is Mom around. I have a cooking question
DAD: Yeah... CAROL! ASHLEY'S ON THE PHONE
ME: Hi Mom, I've got another cooking question... How do you boil eggs again.
No joke, I literally have a hand written recipe to remind me how to cook hardboiled eggs. I still call home. Mom is surprised when I call and I don't have a cooking question.
This is one of the first things I cooked in the little Winooski Beirut House. It's a Rachael Ray recipe and I haven't made it in almost 10 years but I've been holding onto it for nostalgic reasons. The gravy reminds me of a tomato gravy my Mom used to make to go on top of meatloaf. I just love it! I decided to go a little healthy and make mashed cauliflower. It you use 1 tater and a whole head of cauliflower it's surprisingly good. Since I'm cooking in a stranger's kitchen I get to "experience" some new cooking environments. I can't pack my entire kitchen to take on the road so I only take the essentials. Potato masher just didn't make the list but I was wishing I had it when I made the mashed cauli. Using this imposter of a potato masher was hell on a stick. After a bit I just gave up and stuck my immersion blender in there until I was happy with the consistency.
Meatloaves with Tomato Gravy
Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water and cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, then salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them back to the pot.
While the potatoes are working, in a large bowl, combine the ground meats with 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a splash of cream, the egg, parsley, half of the chopped garlic, the Worcestershire sauce and allspice; season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of EVOO onto a baking sheet, form the meat mixture into four loaves about 1-1 1/2 inches thick and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of EVOO. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Wash your hands after handling the raw meats.
While the meatloaves bake, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, carrot, onion and bay leaf and cook until tender, 7-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper and the rosemary. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and simmer until thickened. Discard the bay leaf.
Add the remaining 1/3 cup cream and 1 cup cheese to the potatoes and season with 1 teaspoon salt; smash to desired consistency. Divide the potatoes among four plates and make a small well in the center. Remove the meatloaves from the oven, turn in their sauce and set alongside the potatoes. Spoon extra sauce into the wells and over the meatloaves.
My newest obsession is SNAPCHAT. I've spread the fun to my sister Melissa who isn't really tied to her cellphone but has recently caught the fever for all things snapchat. When we figured out how to use the filters we quickly became obsessed with sending each other ridiculous selfies. I find it to be another form of technology that keeps me feeling more connected to family and friends and wards off the feelings of homesickness that creep in from time to time. One of the features is that a notification is sent every time I take a screen shot of the goofy selfies my sisters and friends send. They're just too good to throw away plus Melissa sends the shortest snappies. The pic only lasts for 3 sec and if she adds text it's impossible to fully experience the snapchat. I feel like sayings "MAKE YOUR PICS 10 SECONDS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE GIRRRRLLL!" But I am too nice.
Disclaimer: I will be posting embarrassing snap chats. Please don't kill me, they're just too good not to share. I'll try to keep the most embarrassing for my personal use. I hope this doesn't limit the number of future snap chats I will get from my sisters...
I am an aquarius who likes long walks on the beach and the flicker of candle light. If you haven't noticed yet, Just kidding! I'm a Vermonter who has left my beautiful home state in search of adventure. This blog contains all of my favorite things, mostly food so that my family back home can keep tabs on me. Mom & Dad I'm still alive!!!! Side note: I am terrible at spelling and grammar. There are bound to be typos all over this blog. It's like Where's Waldo. If you look hard enough you will find an error.