Dec 072016
 

One of the things Michael and I kind of miss from our “old life” was how we used to cook together. We’d find a recipe and open a bottle of wine and hang out in the kitchen talking and listening to music while we cooked dinner. I loved that part of our relationship. This year things have changed, obviously.

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These days it’s a lot of tag-team action. When the Witching Hour arrives, I feed Logan and get him to bed while Michael starts cooking dinner for us. It’s worked well so far, for sure, but hasn’t been fun.

So we decided to try and re-create a recipe that my brother made when he visited us in April.

It’s funny. We talked about making Andy’s spaghetti sauce for about a week but something always came up. Then the other day I was out for a walk with Logan and I stopped by the store to get the tomatoes that Andy said were a must for the sauce, and when Michael got home later that day he had also picked up tomatoes!

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So now we have tons of cans of tomatoes for this spaghetti sauce!

Per my brother: “The key is to get San Marzano tomatos, they are pricey but worth it (about $4-5 here in Philly for a 28oz can) (http://www.cento.com/sanmarzano/sanmarzano.html). I have tried a lot of different tomatoes and those Cento ones have the best flavor and texture.” So FYI.

I got Mr. Fussy-Pants-who’s-teething-and-cranky to bed:

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And Michael started on dinner. He doubled Andy’s recipe (and I froze the leftovers for later). It was a lot of garlic to mince and onions to chop!

I poured the wine for us, and for the recipe:

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We put on some music, drank some wine and talked like adults while we waited for the sauce to cook and the spaghetti squash to bake.

Sooo I have a complaint about people who cook–and don’t follow recipes. It’s so HARD to recreate what they did! My aunt Sheila is like that. She’s an amazing cook and the food is always amazing but she’s one of those “throw it all in a pan” chefs and you can never do what she did. She gave me a bunch of her recipes like 15 years ago and they never turn out as good as if she made them. My brother Andy is like that. He just kinds of wings it and it’s always delicious.

Andy's Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • A couple shallots, small dice (sometimes I will go with half a sweet onion if I dont have shallots)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Oregano and Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional, for a little zip)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Red Wine (optional, use a lighter or heavier wine to give it a more delicate or robust character depending on what it is being served with)
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed (you could slice or dice them if you like chunky sauce)
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stock pot (heavy bottomed) over med-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan (maybe a 1/4 cup or so). Heat the oil, then add your shallots and cook until softened, then add garlic and cook for about a minute.
  2. If you have Mushrooms, Olives, or other things to add to the sauce, do it now and cook until they soften.
  3. If using DRY herbs, toss them in.
  4. Add the wine and let it reduce.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes and bring to a soft boil then reduce heat and simmer until you have a consistency you like (30-60 minutes depending on how moist the tomatoes were).
  6. Throw in some S+P at the end and if you use FRESH herbs, add them last.
  7. Serve over pasta and whatever else you like to put red sauce on. Garnish with grated cheese and enjoy!
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51237

The final product:

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Both Michael and I went to the store to get the special tomatoes for the recipe on the same day without talking to each other, and yet neither of us thought to pick up a loaf of garlic bread. FAIL. So we had the not quite classy gluten-free toast with butter and garlic. 😉

The sauce was decent but not the same as when my brother made it. We followed his recipe and added kalamata olives to it. It was definitely spicy! So that was good. I froze the leftover sauce and when we defrost it we’re going to add some cooked ground beef to the recipe and I think that will make the sauce even more flavorful.

I’m glad Michael doubled the recipe because it takes a long time to make it. So now we’ll have an easy dinner later on. It’s also low in calories–especially if you use spaghetti squash instead of pasta!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite homemade pasta sauce recipe?

Dec 052016
 

This weekend we got to meet Santa!

About a month ago I saw an event on Facebook for the local 7 Dees Nursery Reindeer Magic event. It sounded like fun–meet Santa, get pictures and see baby reindeer. Then I saw something even better: $5 fast pass tickets. I immediately bought that and it was totally the best $5 I ever spent! 😀

Thankfully it wasn’t raining, since the event was outside. Logan took a 2.5 hour nap Saturday morning and woke up in good spirits so we went to the event after that. The place was packed and the lines were REALLY long. Seriously, so glad I bought the fast pass.

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We checked in with our pass and waited about 5 minutes to get a photo with Santa.

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. It seems normal for people to have the screaming, crying baby with Santa photo so I was kind of expecting to get that. At the same time, Logan doesn’t seemed too freaked out by strangers yet. We lucked out and instead of crying baby photo, we got unimpressed baby photo:

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It was a really fun event. They had face painting for the kids. You could buy hot cocoa and mini donuts, too. We tried to do that but the line was too long so we skipped it.

Apparently there was also a blanket and jacket drive. I wish I’d known about that before hand because I would have brought a bunch. Next year I will be prepared.

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There was also a really long line to get photos with the baby reindeer. I did not buy a pass for that. Maybe next year when Logan is older we’ll do that too. Santa seemed like enough for an 8 month old. 😉

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They were doing little train rides for the kids:

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We walked around for a bit and ran into a friend with her baby. It was good to see her. Then we left. It was a good time and I’m glad we went and got photos. 🙂

When we were walking back to the car I saw this plant:

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Does anyone know what it is? It was so cool looking and a gorgeous color. I’m really curious!

The rest of the weekend was uneventful. Other than meeting Santa, I didn’t leave the house much. I’ve had bronchitis for a few weeks now and Friday I left work a little early to get a chest x-ray to make sure it wasn’t pneumonia. It wasn’t, which is the good news. The bad news is that there’s really nothing I can do for it. 🙁 So I spent the weekend trying to rest. I hope this improves soon.