Have you spent a Friday night rolling a couple dozen miniature meatballs? While preparing 10 different healthy meals for the kids lunch box photo shoot for Lucas’s new start-up, I did just that. I can now add “lunch box food stylist” to my resume. Marble-sized food stylist to be exact – I can confidently say that I’ve got the skills needed to make meatballs the size of both small marbles and bigger shooter marbles. Most notably, nimble fingers. For the shoot, I made the tiniest ittiest bittiest batch of a scaled-down version of these sun-dried tomato, basil, and mozzarella turkey meatballs. Then I ate them for lunch when we were done taking their picture. Duh.
Noodles or Pasta >>>
When I think about my mom’s home cooking, spaghetti sends a wave of nostalgia. My mom makes chunky spaghetti sauce stuffed with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and ground beef. And now I crave it when I need a mom hug and she’s not nearby to give one. It wasn’t always that way though…
When you insist on experimenting with new recipes every single week, there are occasional meals when you and your husband awkwardly smile at one another from across the table and you know you’re both wishing you’d just ordered pizza instead. And still, he packs up the leftovers of whatever flop you just created and takes them for lunch the next day, because he knows you’d be upset about wasting food. Usually about halfway through the meal, you break the silence with, “we probably shouldn’t make this again” and he reassures you that it was a good idea…in theory. And it’s not that bad. Then the next night, you know that you must redeem your cooking skills with something guaranteed to please the taste buds – something like this smoked salmon served over cold sesame soba. This quick soba bowl is a wow-worthy dinner that definitely made up for the spiralized beet pasta/salad I tried to pass off as dinner the night before.
Even though my poor circulation is not a big fan of the cold, one of winter’s redeeming factors is soup. This cold winter slows me down and has me constantly wishing I was sitting in front of a warm fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa in my hand. Apparently our cats share this feeling – the fireplace part, not the hot cocoa…I don’t think. Do cats like hot cocoa? Steamed milk perhaps? While we were on our honeymoon, the baby kitties spent 3 weeks at Chez Grandma and Grandpa snuggling up underneath the wood stove – probably scorching some fur while they were at it. Life was great. And warm. When they came home to the land of no wood stove, the cats claimed a new “bed” – curled up on the heat vent behind a box under the side table in the back corner of the living room. They seem to find this a suitable alternative for when the stereo receiver is not turned on (their other heated bed). I agree, guys – we need a wood stove. Soup will have to do.
I’m a girl who loves her kitchen tools. I’m crazy for my food processor, I smile every time I use my switchit spatula, and I’m totally into tiny bowls. Two weeks ago, I added a new kitchen tool to my collection that I’ve already developed strong feelings for. Who knew such an inexpensive gizmo in an unassuming box would be so mind-blowing? You know that feeling when you and “that guy/gal you’re dating” finally become Facebook-official? (Note, Lucas and I didn’t become Facebook-official until we got engaged – everything before that wasn’t serious enough;). Well I’m going Facebook-official…err….blog-official about my new love affair with my spiral cutter! It’s a gluten-free eater’s goldmine – especially for one who used to make homemade pasta on the weekly.
The world didn’t end on Friday, but the wild storms in Northern California kept us on the edge of our seats. Artichoke came running into the bedroom meowing at the top of his lungs around 6am just to let us know about the howling wind and pouring rain. Side note: I think I’m going to figure out how to set my alarm to the sound of a cat’s meow, because it’s really not that unpleasant of way to wake up. As long as it’s then accompanied by furry snuggles and loud purrs. My cousin Sofie and I made a run for it to my car across the street later that day and were drenched in 3 seconds flat. And cold. Very, very cold. This chilly wet weather put us all in the mood for soup last week.
I have a secret to admit. I took a break from cooking for the past week. The cold that crept up on me in July kept me out of the kitchen. Now that I’m mostly recovered, I’m finding it very hard to get motivated to cook for one person with Lucas in China. The good news is that I’ve been slowly making a dent in my frozen leftovers – ha! After digging into a subpar ready-made burrito for dinner, I’m ready to put my apron on again. My cooking hiatus is giving me time to finally share some recipes I’ve been saving for a rainy day. This healthy whole wheat spinach pasta recipe has been sitting in my queue for over a month just itching to be shared.
Bite-sized party food makes me giddy. Itty-bitty cute packages of flavor that cause you to say “awww…adorbs” before digging in. The best part of fork-free party bites is that you can sample a bunch of different items from the spread without committing to giant portions…or …you can devour 20 of your favorite item without noticing just how much you’ve eaten. The latter was the fate of these lasagna bites. Even though I didn’t make them for a fancy soiree, a trip to China yesterday marked the first day of Lucas’s new job at Incase, which is definitely cause for celebration! And reason enough to scarf down a couple (dozen) of these addicting bite-sized spinach artichoke lasagna cups.