Tax Return Wednesday Wishlist!

It’s the 15th of April, you guys, I hope you all got your taxes in and got some money back.  Because if you did, it’s time to stimulate the economy with some products that are both helpful and decorative. Or, I guess you could save it, too.  That’s probably the more prudent thing to do.  But forget I said that and check out these awesome items:

1. SILPOURA

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.52.47 PM

This genius device makes it easy to drain your pasta, or pour out the fat from a pot without all the contents tumbling out, a problem I face often. Apparently you can use it to just pour things too, which seems so simple but makes a big difference.

Buy it here.

 

2. TIPPY TEA TOWELS

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.54.00 PM

Now this is my kind of tea towel. As much as I love Earl Grey, Green Jasmine, and Oolong, when you’re having a party, Whiskey, Gin, and  Vodka are the real stars.

Available at Dot & Bo

 

3. CERAMIC RULED PITCHER

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.56.54 PM

As a science nerd, I loved, and still love, the look of beakers. They’re so clean and scientific and easy to use. Plus, it secretly used to make me feel like a mad scientist, and, also, I was really cool in high school.

This pitcher puts a fun twist on a classic, more home-y than science-y, and would make me feel like a mad kitchen scientist, which I’m totally okay with!

Available at Domino.

 

4. ONYX CUTLERY SET

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 7.22.12 PM

Silver or stainless steel is sooooooo 2010.  It’s all about ONYX now.  How sexy would this cutlery set look on my (or your) eating table? Classic shapes but with a modern color and style, this will definitely make eating feel so much cooler than before.

From Dwell Studio

Advertisements

I Love Greek Salad!

 

As a week of healthy eating continues, it goes without saying that salads are a healthy option. But I have a love/hate relationship with salads.  I mean, I never say I CRAVE a salad, there are just times that I feel like I should have one, because we all need to eat more vegetables.

I do, however, love a good Greek salad, and this is a super simple one that takes only a few minutes to put together. In fact, so simple that I have no excuse not to eat one more often.

As with most salads, it is the dressing that can make it or break it.  A Greek dressing should be fresh and vibrant with a little tang that makes your mouth pucker.  You’re only five ingredients away from deliciousness.

IMG_7610-1

Four ingredients, plus olive oil.

Take the juice of half a lemon, crush a clove of garlic, chop up some mint and parsley, and put it all in a jar, for easy shaking.  Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and shakeshakeshake.  DONE!
IMG_7613-1

Now that the dressing is finished, time to put some veggies on a plate.  Lettuce, tomatoes, kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onions, cucumber, and some feta cheese.  Drizzle some of that delicious dressing, and maybe add some stuffed grape leaves for show, and you have a picture perfect salad.

IMG_7618-1

BRB, I have to go eat this now.

GREEK SALAD DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic cloved, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients, whisk or shake together.

Spaghetti Squash and Make-It-Your-Own Sauce

Hello Tablers!  My apologies for being MIA this past week, between my day job, general life, and getting lasers shot in my eye, it’s been a pretty busy time around here.  All those time constraints have led to me eating pretty poorly, a lot of breads, a lot of meats, and not a lot of veggies.  For shame!

So this week I’m eating healthier, lighter, and getting back in the swing of things! It’s Springtime, isn’t that what we should all be doing anyway?

We’re going to start this week with a vegetable I get confused by: Spaghetti Squash.

People love it, and there is some that I’ve had that is delicious, but every time I have made it at home it turns out either undercooked or squishy, or not that tasty.  There was a big pile of them staring me in the face at the market though, and I will not be deterred. If it can replace pasta every now and then and still give me the satisfaction, I’m all in.

Now, let’s talk tomato sauce. Is there any sauce that is more forgiving than a tomato sauce? I call this Make-It-Your-Own tomato sauce, because you can pretty much put in anything you might think will work. You can use different meats, different vegetables, different spices, make it your own! Of course you can serve it with regular pasta too!

Let’s start with the squash.

IMG_7541-1

Look at that beauty. So yellow!  So…oval.  Ok well it’s a pretty yellow at least.

First thing you do is cut that baby in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.

IMG_7549-1

A blank canvas, ready for seasoning!

Spaghetti squash is pretty tasteless, which is bad if you want to eat it on its own, but great if you want to cover it with something delicious. Add some salt, pepper, and drizzle some olive oil on both halves, and then put them face down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil.

IMG_7554-1

Peek-a-boo

Throw it in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour, checking after 30 minutes. You know it’s done when a knife slides into it easily.

Now while that’s cooking let’s talk about the sauce. Looking in my fridge, I had some Italian turkey sausage, some onions, and sweet peppers, so that’s what I used. But hey, you have some ground beef? Ground turkey? Chicken Sausage? Spinach? Broccoli? Use it!  Whatever you feel like.

First cook the onions for a few minutes, then add your protein, in this case my delicious spicy turkey sausage.

IMG_7561-1

After the turkey sausage is browned, add in the rest of the veggies, in this case the chopped sweet peppers I had. (If you’re using spinach or some other leafy green, don’t add it now, add it near the end).

IMG_7563-1

Action shot!

Then add a can of whole tomatoes, crushing them with your hand as they go in, to really get all the juices out.

IMG_7572-1

This is the point where you open up your spice cabinet and see what’s happening in there. In my kitchen I had some dried oregano, dried basil, garlic salt, red chili flakes, and cumin (why not?), so I put some of each in there, gave it all a stir, put a lid on it and let it cook until the squash was done. Oh also add some salt and pepper of course.

Speaking of, here’s the squash when it’s done:

IMG_7578-1

Perfect. Now take a fork and carefully scrape the strands apart, basically moving from the skin side to the middle, like this:

IMG_7581-1

MAGIC.

Let’s check the sauce too.  Sometimes you’ll have to mash the tomatoes up a little more with your spoon.

 

IMG_7577-1

And when you add the two together, with a little parmesan, of course…

IMG_7587-1

A satisfying, and healthy meal, that’s full of flavor!  And it even looks like spaghetti! The miracle of nature.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

Ingredients:

1 2-3 pound spaghetti squash
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place cut side down on a baking sheet, cover the sheet with foil.

5. Place in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Check after 30 minutes. It’s done when a knife can slide into it easily.

6. Remove from oven and let cook for 5 minutes.

7. With a fork, gently scrape the squash away from the skin into strings. Place into a bowl.

8. Add your favorite topping and enjoy!

MAKE-IT-YOUR-OWN TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

1/2 pound protein (sausage, ground beef, turkey, etc).

1 onion

Vegetables (peppers, broccoli, asparagus, zuchinni, whatever you like)

Spices.

Instructions:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot or deep pan over medium heat.

2. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until just starting to brown.

3. Add your protein, and cook until browned.

4. Add your sturdy vegetables and cook 3 minutes.

5. Add tomatoes and liquid to the pot, crushing with your hand as you go.

6. Add spices (basil, oregano, garlic, fennel, chili, whatever else you might have in your cabinet!) and seasoning.

7. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer 20-30 minutes.

8. Crush tomatoes a little more with your spoon.  Salt and pepper to taste.

8*. If you have leafy greens, this is where you should put them in and cook a few minutes longer until they’re just wilted.

9. Serve over spaghetti squash, or regular pasta, with lots of parmesan cheese.

 

 

Wish(list)ing it Was the Weekend

*Yawn*

Mondays get a bad rap. It’s Wednesday that is the roughest day of the week.  It’s the last climb toward the top of the mid-week hump before the slide down to the weekend. The worst is when you wake up and think it’s Thursday and that the weekend is almost here, only to realize that was wishful thinking.

Speaking of wishful thinking, I do a lot of running around town for my day job, including going into every store imaginable. Fortunately that gives me time to browse stores I don’t normally get into, mostly because I can’t afford them (yet!), but I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find things that are both stylish and affordable.  For example:

1. KALEIDO TRAYS

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.07.51 AM

Remember Tangrams? It’s like they grew up and became functional. Just looking at this picture makes me want to move the pieces around to create different designs! Obviously while eating the various items I will put in them so that at the end it’s like a big reveal of the final design.  Sometimes you have to create some suspense to keep it interesting.

Buy them at Design Within Reach

2. TRYGG SERVING BOWL

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 6.59.39 PM

Ah, Ikea.  The mainstay of college dorm rooms and apartments, that tries so hard to make a home feel classy and modern.  Sometimes it works!  Sometimes…you can tell it’s from Ikea. And why is there always one extra piece whenever you put Ikea furniture together?

Anyway, for affordable accessories for your kitchen, they can’t be beat. This glass serving bowl is only $2.49!  $2.49!! It’s design is simple enough that it can go with any sort of theme you have going on, or you can use them as mixing bowls and feel like you’re on a cooking show because you’ll look so professional!

It’s at Ikea!

3. PERFECT ICE CUBE TRAYS

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.29.19 AM

If there’s one thing my boyfriend and I fight about over it’s who forgot to make more ice.  (I think it should be whoever finished one of the ice trays, he thinks it should be me.  RAGE.) We aren’t blessed with an ice maker in our fridge, just two plastic ice trays. The kind that you either have to try real carefully to take out, or shake real hard and hope you catch most of it. So these silicone ice trays are definitely on my wish list.  Easy to get ice out of, and they make perfect little squares which are way cute in cocktails. I want 8 of them.  SO WE NEVER RUN OUT OF ICE.

Available at Amazon or many other places.

4. BEAUTY IS ON THE INSIDE VASE

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 4.24.59 PM

It’s true that it’s not what you look like on the outside, but on the inside that counts. That’s the saying, at least.  In the case of this vase, it’s very literal. But fortunately this happens to be a beautiful concrete vase on the outside, which only enhances what’s on the inside.  Just like real life!  Wait. That sounds shallow. Is that shallow?  We’re all beautiful, no matter what I they say.

At BoConcept

That’s all for today.  Hopefully it makes Wednesday go a little faster!  We’re coming for you, weekend.

Tomatoes and Butter and Bucatini Oh My!

I was super lazy this weekend. My boyfriend was out of town, so it was just me and the dogs and no scheduled events, which was so nice. By the time Sunday rolled around I really didn’t want to make anything too fancy, because it was just me.  I had some bucatini I’ve been wanting to use, because I love bucatini, so I asked the internets (or more accurately, I said to my phone “Ok Google, find me a simple recipe for bucatini), and found probably the easiest pasta I’ve made to date, short of pouring sauce out of a jar.

Remember when I talked about a recipe that was sure to get you a man?  Cancel that thought.  This is the one that will land you a man.

It’s three simple steps.

1. Put the ingredients in a dish and bake.

In a baking dish you add the following: canned tomatoes, butter, a couple anchovies, a lot of garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper.  I added oregano because I’m rebellious.

IMG_7443

2. When it’s done baking, take it out, and mash it all up with a potato masher.

At this point everything will be so soft that it will all melt together. Also, as I learned, be prepared for a splatter filled oven.

IMG_7455

3. Toss with cooked bucatini, or really any pasta. Top with parmesan, and if you want, some crispy pancetta. Place in bowl.

IMG_7474

It is so amazingly good for the amount of effort you put into it.  Honestly, I can barely look at this picture without wanting more of it.  Unfortunately there’s none left…cuz…well…you know…I mean it’s really good.

The recipe is at Bon Appetit,