cooking

Beachy Birthday

So this is 39!

For my birthday this year we made the trek to Depoe Bay to spend the weekend at an AirBnB house at the beach with friends. I’ve been looking forward to it for months! Saturday I went to the gym and then we packed the car and left after lunch.

The house we rented was SO GREAT!!!! It was called the “OctoMojo House” and it was a block from the beach with amazing views of the giant winter waves. There was a nice deck (which would be great in the summer time) and a hot tub and you could hear the ocean. The house had two bedrooms on the main floor and then a loft bedroom upstairs with even better views.

We unpacked and our friends, Sam and John, hadn’t arrived yet so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and go for a walk on the beach!

You think Logan and Bella were having fun in the sand?!?! It was kinda gray and cold but it was dry so that’s all that mattered! We walked and ran and got super dirty. Then started to walk back to the house.

Our friends arrived and we made dinner. Pork tenderloin they had been marinating all day in lemon, ginger, soy sauce and garlic. It was delicious! We had salad and couscous, too. And fancy Trader Joe’s cheese with crackers while we cooked.

And opened a bottle of wine I’ve been saving for almost a year:

After Logan went to bed, the four of us got to chill out in the hot tub and listen to the ocean and just catch up on life. It was nice! And relaxing. I loved being able to hear the waves. And smelling the ocean air.

Sunday was a lazy day. It was stormy and rainy and the waves were even bigger. Breakfast was delicious omelettes made by Michael and Samantha. I actually got to enjoy my coffee while it was HOT. 😀

Then Logan and I went for a little walk outside in the drizzle.

Sam and I drove up to Lincoln City to Mo’s to pick up takeout lunch. It was nice to get away for a bit and have some time just the two of us. We got an order of Mo’s famous clam chowder and an order of clam strip appetizers.

I’ve wanted to try Mo’s for years but the lines are SO LONG we never go. I’m glad we finally got to try it! It was delicious! Creamy and tasty and hot on a dreary day. After lunch Logan took a nap, I took a short nap and then chilled with some hot tea and a good book. 🙂 Eventually there was a little break in the rain and Logan was still sleeping so Bella and I went for a walk on the beach just the two of us. It was nice!

Sunday night dinner was made by Samantha, with me helping prep the veggies. I brought chicken thighs and she brought the stuff to make an AMAZING curry dish! All fresh ingredients. She even showed me how to use fresh ginger (which has always intimidated me so I never bought it, now I want to try it!).

We opened some wine, turned on some great music and hung out in the kitchen while the boys did their thing in the living room. Then dinner was served. Curry chicken and veggies on top of mashed potatoes! SO good! Topped with fresh cilantro and green onion.

After dinner, Logan ran laps through the house 😉 and then went to bed and we played a few rounds of my new Family Feud board game (super fun!), more hot tubbing and then to bed for the great night of sleep I’ve had in awhile. Breakfast the next morning:

Scrambled eggs with green onions and diced jalapenos, bacon, topped with cheese, a side of toast and fruit salad. Monday the weather was just perfect. There was blue sky and rainbows.

I love the beach. Year round, doesn’t matter the weather. Stormy, sunny, whatever. The beach is in my blood. Someday, I will live at the beach. 🙂

Homemade Sauce

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

Category: baby, Dinner, Family, food, Food update, Low Calorie Recipes, recipes, Recommendations, wine

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?