Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cooking my way through Fatherhood

New idea for 2015:
Put together this nice cookbook I got for my birthday last year.

I have been typing up recipes on my other computer, iPad and occasionally iPhone for a little while now.  I just have to put some semblance to them and make something that looks good.  Also I need about 50 more recipes. I have a new idea though.  There are so many books out there that I have read and enjoyed but one of them that I enjoyed was a cookbook memoir.  Wouldn't that be neat?  I don't think I could put it together for another 10 years or so but if I start collecting stories and recipes now then I will have enough for something.  I thought of this title too Cooking my way through Fatherhood, but it really sounds more like a subtitle then anything.SO I have to think of a good title, and I am sure that will change.  In the meantime I will keep cooking for me and this near Threenager that has taken over my house and life.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cookbooks my new love.

Could I be the next Julie and Julia?  Probably not.  Will I try maybe.  Will I blog about my experiences cooking everything from my new favorite cookbook? No, but I will write up this blog and say really great things about the recipes I have cooked so far!

   I bought this cookbook Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans for a few people thinking they would really like it.  Both of these people wanted to start eating healthier and also wanted a good sense of some GOOD if not GREAT and easy Paleo recipes.  So being a follower  FANatic of this Michelle Tam's Website by the same name (Nom Nom Paleo) where they is a wealth of recipes I have used over and over again.  She also has an i-Pad app which is filled with wonderful recipes as well.  The i-Pad has been my go to cookbook since I have only found a few that I really like.  Mostly I have been taking recipes from older cookbooks my mom had when I was growing up and modifying the recipes to my specifics.  That is another thing I just want to tangent on: Cookbooks.  I love to be able to just open up to a recipe and follow it.  Michelle's coobook allows me to do that, the ingredients are for the most part easy to find (I had to search for a few things, but I know where to look, plus she tells you where ONLINE you get buy them!)  I have used other cookbooks in the past and the America's test Kitchen Family recipes and Quick recipes have both been a life saver.  As a child I cooked out my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook and also a few "potluck" cookbooks.  You know the kind for a fundraiser or something like that, potluck stuff really.  Point is I am slowly collecting recipes to put into my own cookbook of recipes that I can give to my children.  I am not sure if they will be original or "borrowed" or a mix of both, but I think mostly a mixture of modified from a cookbook.

From this book I have been able to make recipes I would not have even thought of cooking.  The one below is a recipe which is so simple, but so good, eggs and asparagus.  Luckily the first asparagus is up and fresh and we were able to get some semi-local asparagus (NJ vs Peru).  We were missing one ingredient, but I found it so the NEXT time I make it it will come out yum-tastic! The nice thing about this cookbook is HOW SUPER EASY the recipes are, really for some of them its the temp of the oven or the pan that I need.  Everything else is just throw it in the pan easy.  Literally, pan-heat-asparagus-eggs-seasoning-oven-eat.  These are the types of recipes I love because I come home sometime at 5 and know what I am going to cook, just don't always want to cook it.  These recipes make it easy and healthy to boot!

I have made her Khalua pig recipe MANY times and that is so easy it's a crockpot recipe so I turn it on at night, go to work and it is DONE!  Then we have shredded pork for different recipes!  I haven't counted the recipes I have cooked in just the three or so weeks I have borrowed the book BUT I can say I am close to a quarter of the recipes.  That includes the one I have cooked previously.  Some are on her website or the i-Pad app.  One of the "classiest" meals I have cooked felt so "sunday dinner" or made brunch.  It happened to be on a day that was drizzly and yucky and I needed some homestyle and that made me feel homey.  Something pasta like but NOT pasta. (I think that last BOWL of pasta I had was when I ran the marathon, whenever that was, 2011 maybe?)  Anyways, I digress.  I wanted something yummy.  I will be the first to admit I could eat "breakfast foods" for any meal. I could eat eggs, bacon, sausage those types of foods anytime anywhere!  I love those foods, they fill me up they god with anything and they are just yummy.  This recipe calls for eggs and sausage.  I made it OF COURSE!  It felt some homey and yummy and made me feel happy.  It reminded me a little of sausage and peppers, but with an egg!  I may have to serve it to some guest because it looks classy too!

I must say sometimes my cooking doesn't always come out great and I will admit it.  Sometimes it's the recipe (if I miss something or a step) sometimes its just me.  Anyways in the case of the crispy smashed chicken, something was not right, I followed the recipe and I did not get crispy chicken...I got kind of soggy chicken.  Oh well, we ate it, Jeremy said it was fine.  I will be making these magic wings for a party coming up so that should be fun!

I just really wanted to say how EASY Paleo can be.  I think a lot of people think BOOHOO I can't have bread or rice or corn or blah blah blah.  Really once you stop eating them for a length of time, you stop craving them.  I have eaten foods that I use to CRAVE and cave in to my Cravings and then I would eat them and realize it was gross, or it didn't do anything for me.  BUY THE BOOK, its worth it and follow her on the Book of Face, and all that jazz!  She always posts some great recipes from else where as well.


Friday, February 7, 2014

How do you make a friend as an adult?

How does one make a friend?
I feel like in the past I was told you would loose most of the people you were friends with in High School during college and then you loose those college friends after you graduate. So what happens when you didn't have many friends in high school and you commuted to college after spending a year at away at a different college? Then attend a grad program where you commute? Then take a job that is a work at home job? What if you live in an area that after four years is still foreign?  What then? How does an adult make friends?

Bars? no
Online? no
The Gym? no
Maybe join a social group or a church? tried a few times and was crushed each time.
Meet up groups? no

What if you don't want to meet friends? What if over the years you have spent time trying not to make friends for no reason?

What if as I get on with life I am starting to realize how my father felt. As a teenager I don't remember him having any friends.  He had one friend who happened to be our neighbor, but he passed away suddenly and my father was heart broken because he lost his friend.   Maybe he had sporadic friends who he saw every other year.  They went hunting and fishing together.  That is what I remember. I remember him coming home and watching TV and then falling asleep down stairs.  I don't remember him going out much.  Am I turning into him? I feel like I don't have those close friends who I can go hunting with (if I wanted) or fishing with.  How does a grownup man make friends?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome to 2014 and sobriety for now.

In the new year I would like to post a little more its hard with work and toddler and cooking and stuff.  Writing is soothing and I just need to do it.  I do it more for me then for the readers since according to stats I have only a few. Anyway off too it now.
So after thanksgiving I got an idea from a friend.  He decided that his drinking had finally caught up with him and I am sure for other reasons, he decided to give up drinking.  Since this is a friend I love very much and have known him for a long time I decided to take a look at my own drinking and take stock of when and why I drank.  I didn't and don't consider myself an alcoholic, but am I?  My father was an alcoholic and they say Alcoholism can be genetic. I asked myself a few questions and some of them I had to grapple.  One big one, could I cut myself off before it was too late?  I answered it honestly and said sometimes no.  There would be times when I would buy the box of my favorite wine because it was "cheaper" then buying two bottles.  The thing is that that box was equivalent to FOUR bottles of the same size.  I wasn't doing myself a favor.  I had also got into bourbon and whiskey.  While not a bad thing I think it was.  I have on occasion gotten frustrated with people and have been told to calm down and lower my voice I have gotten out of control.  I never hit anyone, got into fights, was arrested or drank at inappropriate times.  This is honestly the first time I have written anything down about my drinking.  It has only been about a month since I made a conscious decision to stop drinking without a starting back up again point.  I have stopped for a month or so at a time with the idea of having a drink at the end of the month or something like that.  This time was different.  I think because the two times I drank heavily before I stopped were bad, very bad.  I believe I blacked out one time and woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck or train and then the truck backed up back over me again.  The next time I was out of commission most of the next day.  It sucked. SO I decided to stop without an end in mind.  I said, MAYBE I will have a drink on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, and I didn't.  I said MAYBE I will have a drink on New Years Eve and I didn't.  I then had a planned work trip this week where a lot of my work colleagues will go to a local bar for drinks and said I think I will have a few drinks while out there.  Needless to say the trip was canceled for crazy weather related reasons.  I am not having a drink this week.  I have a vacation planned for February and said I will have a few drinks while on Vacation.  I am still not sure. My birthday? I don't know.  I am liking not spending 40-50 dollars on wine and liquor only to not drink it in one night.  So for now I am sober.  How long will it continue I am not sure.  I am taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hawaiian (Kalua) Pig

Let's just put it on the table and say I F*IN love pork.  Any kind of Pork...I will even eat SPAM...yes sir.  Anyway this of course is a recipe courtesy of NOMNOM PALEO.  Her recipes are A-MAZING! I just thought I would show you my spin on it!  I did it once with a pork butt...a Ginormous Pork Butt  about 8 lbs.  This was a BJ's wholesale type of thing...we had Kalua Pig coming out our ears for about a week.  It's good, but you get sick of it after a while.  The best part about the recipe is the SIMPLICITY!  I mean Bacon, Red Sea Salt (talk to my neighbor about sea salt and he will go Balistic!) and some Pork.  This time I used a boneless pork loin.  You also set it an forget it which is perfect on those days I leave the house at 7am drop off James, get home by 5pm and well am just too exhausted to really cook.  The OTHER good thing is you cook it overnight! Like 16 hours of simmer meat YUMMERS!  So this is how I did it:

1 4lb(ish) Boneless Pork Roast
2 strips of Bacon (from Sherwood Farm in Easton)
enough Red Hawaiian Sea Salt to cover your roast or shoulder
1/8 cup of water (since there is little fat and you don't want the thing to dry out)

First put the two strips of Bacon on the bottom of the Crock Pot.  This will give the nice smokey flavor to the pork when all is said and done.  I used the bacon afterwards to cook my greens YUMMY!!!
 Take out the Pork roast and pat it dry with some paper towels.  Give your roast a little massage with the red sea salt.  Something about the red and the taste and Alaea?  I've never been to Hawaiian I will take the word for it though!

 Your roast is now a nice red color and will get a nice's so good.
Lay that roast on top of the bacon just like so.  Try and put the fat side up.  That is if there is much fat on the roast.
 Pour your water around the roast I used only about 1/8 cup of water.
Set your crock pot for low and go to sleep...good night.  It should be ready for your Din-Din the next day!!

There it is with a crust so juicy and tender.  So tender that when I poked it that little piece on the bottom literally fell off.

 I take this put it on a plate and shred it with two forks...or one fork...or these things...dumb.  I separate the juices in a fat separator and pour a little over the meat and return the meat to the crock pot.  I actually used a little juice to cook in my greens I got in my CSA box last week. Random field grass I swear.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Lemon Basil Chicken and Sautéed Asparagus

It was one of those days when I didn't know what to cook.  I had chicken thighs but I was bored with BBQ chicken.  I am was bored (and didn't have the ingredients for) these Asian Chicken Thighs.  Even though they are so good it's illegal.  So I looked at what I did have in the fridge and found some recipes and whipped up this Lemon Basil Chicken.  I mostly did this because I LOVE BASIL in anything.  I also had some lemons I needed to use up.  So here is the basic recipe.  What I ended up doing was taking a few recipes and combining elements.  We also had paid a visit to bishops orchards where we found some fresh seasonal Asparagus.  So I used the lemon there too.  Lemon is so fresh and yummy!

So here are the two recipes for your enjoyment!

Lemon Basil Chicken

4 bone-in Chicken Thighs (use whatever you want Thighs, breasts, drumsticks)

3 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
juice of 2 lemons (or 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice)
1 TBSP olive oil or oil of choice (I used Avocado oil)
4 cloves chopped garlic

1. I put all of the ingredients (except the chicken) in a blender and whipped that sucker into frenzy.

2. I added everything into a ziplock baggie and coated the chicken nice and good.  This goes into the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors get happy.

3. I covered a baking sheet with some tin foil (IMPORTANT your baking sheet will get all messy if you don't.) I also put the pieces on a wire rack on the baking sheet.  I baked these pieces for about 50 min at 475 degrees.  Half-way through turn them over.  At the end they should be nice a golden.  The meat should be 165 when done.


Sautéed Asparagus
1 big ole bunch of asparagus trimmed
a little lemon juice
olive oil
garlic powder (or chopped fresh garlic)
pepper to taste

1. So I basically trimmed up the asparagus by finding the place near the bottom where it snaps (although I just snap them myself) I then cut those into thirds so I could fit them all in the pan
2. Add the oil and butter to the pan and let the butter melt.  Maybe mediumish heat works so you don't burn the oil or butter.
3. Toss the Asparagus into the pan and coat with the liquid.  
4. add the garlic powder (I would add the fresh garlic before the Asparagus and let that flavor get into the oil.
5. Let this set for a min or two stir every once in a while.
6.  Add about 2 TSBP of lemon juice to this and toss.  Let it set for a moment.  If you have a splash guard or cover.  Cover the pan for a min or two
7. Stir it a little and add the S and P to taste.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back to life, back to reality

SO its been a while since I posted here.  I go between the two posts of James and my life. I should just merge them into one, but nah I like the separation.  Anyhow lately reality has really been rearing it's ugly face and head in my life.  Mostly in the form of the weight I have put back on since having a kid.  It seems both Jeremy and I have fallen into the "we have a kid we have no time" part of life.  No time to exercise and no time to ourselves.  We don't have many people who we would want to watch him during the day or could while we go for a run.  Jeremy wants to rejoin a gym but we can't afford it.  The one thing I have been trying my hardest with is staying on top of my eating.  Every once in a while I go a little crazy and eat something I shouldn't then I feel depressed about it.  I get back on the healthy eating wagon ASAP after that.  I still make dinner almost every night and get a salad or something smallish for lunch.  Breakfast I am trying these green smoothies with frozen fruit and spinach.  It is hard with a little one, being in the cold and wanting to just go out for a run. I am learning how to reprioritize, but its hard when you leave the house at 7:30 and am home at 4 with the little one only to have to start cooking dinner at 5.  I am sure as he grows we will get back in the swing but for now, we will do what we can.  Spring is slowing coming upon us and a walk yesterday without cell phones and just us was what we needed as a family.