Summer hair, summer salad


So here we are finally, warm weather has arrived. More like hot, sweat in places you don’t dare admit kind of weather. Am I the only one who has been tempted to throw their hair up in a messy bun everyday? As a hairstylist, it just feels wrong. Like I’ve thrown in the towel or something! Can’t give up..never give up! I’ve been trying to figure out ways to bear the heat, but also look somewhat presentable. I don’t mind my hair down, I just want it out of my face and I was sick of just tucking it behind my ears. I found something that looks cute, and keeps my hair out of my face. I just take a mohawk section on top of my head seperate it into 3 sections. And I twist them and pin them..so simple! If I want to get real creative I will braid them. But not everybody can do that on themselves, twisting seems much simpler. And if I get super hot during the day I can put my hair in a low bun with this look and it still looks pretty cute.

It is also time to not be bloated season. This is hard for me because I do love my salt in my carbs, but I’m trying to cut back and all the yucky stuff right now. I actually managed to gain a few pounds recently and I think it’s because I have been experimenting with cooking. Must be all that naan! Darn you mediterranean fopd for being so good! It is time to think of light meals, like yummy salads! I experimented today and made a salad with dried cherries, apple chunks, Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, chicken, and of course – lettuce. Why the only one that could do without lettuce and a salad? All of the add-ins are what I love to eat! For example, I love to just cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese and put some olive oil, lemon juice, and salt on it. So refreshing! For my salad dressing today I used 4 oz olive oil, 2 oz balsamic vinegar, and 2 oz red wine vinegar and seasoned the dressing with garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and seasoned salt. This dressing is really good on a Greek salad too! I sauteed the chicken on a pan with half butter and olive oil. I seasoned the chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and seasoned salt. And was really good black and chicken! Tastes so good on a salad too or in a wrap.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!!

Casadetti..casadedi..potstickers..or whatever


Cooking for me has been quite the journey. Sometimes all I want to do is cook, and sometimes the thought of it ticks me off because let’s be honest..cooking a good homemade meal can be extremely time consuming. I am so inconsistent I swear! My poor husband probably doesn’t understand why sometimes he comes home to seven course meal and other times I am like can I just make you a really good salad? The days I am crafting a ton or doing a lot of activities with my girls I actually resent that I have to feed my clan multiple times a day. They always want something!!
Anywho..what I like to cook also changes periodically ( mostly because my taste buds are all over the place ) ..earlier this year all I wanted to do was cook Asian dishes. Sesame Chicken was my favorite..with Mongolian Beef coming in at a close second.. if you search my cooking posts I am sure you will find the links to both of those!
Last week I was into the middle eastern food, if you read my previous post about Mother’s Day you will see all of the fun things I made! I am still on a tabouli kick. I also love making the homemade naan. I even bought a ton of garlic yesterday because I want to try to make that garlic sauce that they dip the naan in to. I have had it at restaurants and they make it so delicious I really hope I can master this one at home to! These past couple weeks I have also been into making the homemade pasta. I needed some practice at making homemade pasta dough, so I figured why not do it since I have the time! I ended up making potsticker-like pasta. I have to be honest I didn’t even know what potstickers were until I made them and had a friend try them and she said that’s what they tasted like! I had to Google it just to see what these are all about ha!! I usually boil the homemade ravioli like noodles but I was scared that the dough was too thin this time so I ended up frying them and it ended up being the most amazing thing I have ever tasted! I topped him with melted butter mixed with parmesan but they were good even without that topping. They were so good that I had to make more dough today and make a bunch to freeze! That way whenever I crave them I can throw a few on the pan. Making homemade pasta is very time consuming but for me it is therapeutic. You just need patience and a few hours of free time. I use: 4 cups flour, 2-3 eggs, 1 tsp olive oil, and I add (slowly) as much water as it takes to get a nice firm dough. For the filling I fried a little over 1 lb of pork with garlic and salt in a pan. After that was fully cooked I drained it and added it to a bowl with one egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, and rosemary. After this I rolled the pasta out to the right thickness and used a plastic cup to make circles in the dough and stuffed them with a pork mixture and closed them by hand. I learned from my Mom and Grandma how to do this to fancy way, but if you want a simple way to close them you can just fold the circle and half and pinch them closed, or you can use one of those pastry cutters to close it. The way I sid it is called Cassadeti..or Casadedi..the spelling is up in the air for these! It has been a delicious couple of weeks that is for sure. We made noodles with the leftover dough, my daughter was so excited to help make linguine. She did a great job with the pasta machine too. I think it’s important to involve our kids in stuff like this, although it did make the process last a lot longer, she felt like she was really involved and helping. And probably learned a thing or two! I may not be the best pasta teacher, but I’m all shes got 😀

Middle Eastern Mother’s Day


To start off: I love food. I have always loved food. Even as a little girl I love trying new things. I was constantly thinking of what to put in my belly next! I ate everything that my mom cooked as a child as well. My broad taste buds have really made cooking fun for me as an adult. I love to try new things and new flavors! And although I am Italian, that does not limit what I like to cook. And my fast metabolism has helped me to enjoy all of these different foods without packing on the pounds. All in moderation. I basically like to pick at things all day rather than sitting down and stuffing my face with a huge meal.

I’m hosting Mother’s Day this Sunday and I’m going to do a middle eastern themed dinner. The last Mother’s Day I hosted, I made Italian. The time before that, I made Mexican! Basically I like to mix it up. I also like feeding my family things they aren’t used to eating. I am sure my mom has never made hummus and tabbouleh and naan bread! I have actually never made fresh tabbouleh either, but I’m excited to try. Here is the homemade naan recipe. I’m going to give chicken shawarma a try as well!

This all started last weekend when I had a friend over for dinner. I wanted to make hummus because I had randomly bought pita bread that day at the market! I realized I had no chick peas so I had to search online what the heck else we could dip our pita bread into..that’s when I came across this amazing white bean dip recipe. It has intense flavors of basil, garlic, lemon, and cumin. And blending the feta cheese with the white beans really gave it a nice kick as well! I liked it so much I made it again last night so it would be perfect to eat today. The flavors really blend nicely in the fridge overnight. Plus it tastes way better cold than room temperature. Since I plan on making naan bread for Mother’s Day I figured I would give it a try this morning. It’s good to practice these things first! I don’t need my husband running out to buy pita bread last minute because I messed up in the kitchen! I found a yummy recipe for naan and really had time to let it rise properly. They came out great, but I always regret not rolling the dough out thinner because they really do puff up a bit in the frying pan! The next time I will probably add a smidge of garlic powder to the butter I brushed on them after they were done to give a kick of flavor. If you don’t have time to make naan you can also buy naan pita chips or regular pita chips at your local grocery store! Regular tortilla chips were also great with this white bean dip. Here is the white bean dip recipe.

Wish me luck on my Mother’s Day Extravaganza! I will be making a few things I never have before. I might even try to make lamb koftas with yogurt dressing. There a lot of fun Middle Eastern recipes online try. I hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day! I know I will enjoy it seeing the odd looks on my family’s faces when they see a middle eastern spread in my kitchen! If anybody else will enjoy it my Dad will, because he loves testing his taste buds as well!

 

Chicken Lemon Rice and flu season


We have all gotten sick in our house the past couple weeks. First it starts with one kid’s nose acting up, then the other one’s nose starts acting up..then the hubby gets it. Then when I think we are in the clear, Evalynn wakes up with her eyes crusted shut. She freaked out.. “I can’t open my eyes!” Then Zola’s eyes start the next morning…green fluorescent boogers coming out like there’s no tomorrow. Needless to say..we went to the doctor to get some drops..viral pink eye is nothing to mess with. The drops worked immediately, until Evalynn started itching like a maniac. I tried everything to help her…vinegar bath, Cortizone cream with aloe, baking soda/coconut oil for 3 mins then rinsed and applied olive oil. That last effort got her to sleep from midnight til 9:20 a.m. I wish I had Benadryl on hand to help the poor dear! I googled her eye drops in the morning only to find out she is allergic to them!! Go figure. I also woke up to…my eye draining and congestion and a sore throat that has been bothering me for 3 days now!

Anyway…I made chicken soup for the hubby and kids last weekend because they were all fighting colds. This weekend I was the one who needed soup..but needed a change. I have been looking for a good chicken lemon rice soup recipe for quite some time now. I hopped onto Pinterest, per usual, and clicked on the first one I saw. It looked simple enough, but full of flavor! It uses Arborio rice and dill, which really caught my eye, I love both of those things!! Here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it. http://www.jocooks.com/soups/lemon-rice-and-chicken-soup/ If you like a thicker soup, the 3 eggs in the recipe is perfect. I cannot wait to try more of her recipes, they all look amazing. She has a cookbook as well. Enjoy! And stay healthy! Now back to scrubbing toilets and washing everyone’s bedding… I am determined to rid this house of germs!

Sesame Chicken


I love trying new recipes. Sometimes it is so hard to figure out what the heck to make for dinner, so I hop on to Pinterest and well, let’s just say after that I have too many ideas! But it is easily narrowed down to which recipes I actually have the ingredients laying around for. Some recipes have like 100 ingredients and I just don’t have all of that stuff laying around!! Sometimes recipes have an ingredient that I have never even heard of.  I have recently been trying a couple new Asian dishes. I love teriyaki chicken, sweet and sour chicken, and sesame chicken. I had never tried sesame chicken until a few days ago, though. I don’t know why it always intimidated me. I never knew what they put in that thick batter that you deep fry the chicken in. Sometimes I wish I never figured it out..because it isn’t the healthiest way to cook chicken, ha ha!! I found a super easy and delicious recipe on http://rasamalaysia.com/sesame-chicken/. Let’s just say I made it twice in 3 days it was so good! Even my husband was raving over it..which does not happen often!! Head on over to that website and check out the recipe, and try it for yourself! You won’t want to order Chinese food again if you know how to make it by yourself. It’s a lot more convenient being home alone with two girls to just make things myself rather than have to go pick up take-out with them. It’s easier on my pocketbook and a healthier option!!