Monday, September 29, 2014

Butternut Squash Fettuccine with Fried Sage

Austin and I have been together a long time.

I don't mean to say that we're going to be winning any awards or setting any records or anything, but Austin's turning 27 today!  We went on our first date when he was 17!

I'm not a math savant or anything, but I'm pretty sure that's 10 years!
One date that I remember in particular was prom, because duh! Who doesn't remember prom?

We went to a nice restaurant on Main Street before heading over to the dance and I got the butternut squash ravioli.  I don't always remember what I eat for each meal, but I remember this because Austin tried a bite and that was literally the first time he realized that vegetables could be sweet!
He's been a big fan ever since.

I like the sweetness of this pasta recipe especially with the contrast of the crunchy, butter fried sage leaves!  And, as Austin says, 'it tastes like candy!' (Happy Birthday!)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Hour: An Apple A Day

It's fall now, so it's time for fall-flavored cocktails.  My go-to autumnal ingredient is apple juice.

As soon as you add apple juice to a drink, it instantly becomes appropriate for the cooler weather.  Apple cider means you're really ready for changing colors, vests and scarves.

Tequila?  Not so much.
That's why this drink is kind of an in-between summer and fall drink.  There's some tequila (because, let's be honest, it's still hot - at least in Utah), some apple juice and apple schnapps because we want it to be fall and some homemade ginger syrup just for kicks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homemade Beet Orange Pasta

We used to have beets every year at Christmas.  When we'd go up to the farm each December, there they were.  A bowl of beets.  I don't think anyone ate them.

I didn't know it at the time, but apparently they were canned.  And therefore disgusting.
Because of this quite unpleasant experience year after year when my cousins, sisters and I would dare each other to eat one (a whole one!), I always thought that I didn't like beets.

Then, one summer, not too long ago, I had a fresh one!  Game changer for sure!

Beets are amazing!  They taste just like the earth and dirt - in a great way!  Plus, they're bright red/pink which makes them extra fun.
Basically, I used to be an idiot because I thought canned, sweetened beets were the same thing as fresh, roasted beets.  (Now I'm still an idiot, but for different reasons.)

When you make beet pasta, it's really more for the color.  Most of the beet flavor is lost, but there is definitely a hint of that earthiness in there.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oreo Malted Milkshake

School is back in session.  I know this not because I have kids, but because everyone at the office is sick.

It's the type of sickness that spreads quickly and hits hard like only a schoolyard sickness can do.

Anyway, a food blog is not the place to talk about illnesses, but that did remind me of after school snacks.

We didn't really get after school snacks when I was little (probably because we ate dinner so early), but once I was in middle school, my friend and I would help ourselves to the contents of the pantry and fridge.
We'd serve ourselves big bowls of Kraft macaroni and cheese and follow that with Oreos.

A lot of Oreos.

The 2 of us could easily eat a box in a sitting.

So, it's really not much of a surprise that sometimes I come home from work and make myself a big Oreo Malted Milkshake, sit down on the couch and slurp up the whole thing.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Hour: Ginger Simple Syrup

It's pumpkin spice latte season.  I know.  We all know.

I think shortening it to PSL is a little bonkers personally, but you're free to disagree (and I know many of you will!).
I've only had 1 pumpkin spice latte in my life and - don't hurt me - I wasn't that impressed.  I've never been a huge pumpkin person though.  I don't even like pumpkin pie.

Now that you all hate me, I will tell you about the seasonal Starbucks drink that I do think is the bee's knees: Gingerbread Lattes!

They claim you can only get one during the holidays even though I know they have the ginger syrup year-round.  So if you haven't tried one, you should.

Or better yet, make your own Ginger Simple Syrup and have it whenever you please!  Also, when you make it yourself, no one's going to tell you can't mix it into a seasonal cocktail, just sayin'.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cherry Dessert

I like desserts with 'dessert' in the name.  It just seems really upfront and honest.  It's not trying to get away with anything.

It's basically the opposite of Frog Eye Salad which is not a salad, nor does it have frog eyes in it.
Cherry Dessert was something that we ate a lot of growing up in the Midwest.  So, you know it's good.

It's good in only the way that Midwestern food can be.  There are no claims that it's good for you or low-fat.  And, for good measure, it's made in a casserole dish.
If we wanted to get even more transparent about this dessert, we could call it graham-cracker-crust-whipped-cream-cream cheese-and-cherries dessert.  But that gets a little long, IMO.

So, 'Cherry Dessert' it is!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cucumber Fruit Salsa

For a few months this year, we lived with Austin's parents while I was looking for a permanent job.  And they were great.

No, really.  They were.
I'm not saying I'm not enjoying our own space, but as far as living with in-laws goes, it was probably the best possible scenario.

The point is, when we lived there, we ate a lot of chips and salsa.  A lot, a lot.

Austin's parents are big snackers.  I'm not saying all the time, but often, we'd all sit around a bowl of salsa and a bag of tortilla chips and that was dinner.
Even though I really like sitting down to a full meal, I miss the salsa dinner too.  There was literally no fuss.  Besides the one bowl, there was no cleanup.  No thought went into it.  There was no indecision when the questions started.

"What do you want for dinner?"  "I don't care what sounds good to you?"  None of that.

I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Hour: Tropical Dreams Smoothie

The leaves have already started to change color here in Utah.  Part of me really loves it.

I love it for a lot of reasons.  First of all, I hate to sweat.  So lower temps are an obvious plus.  Second, I'm getting married this fall, and I'm ready to be done with the planning and the thinking about wedding stuff.
I know I'm supposed to want to do all of this, and I did.  For a while.  But now, I'm ready for the day to just be here.

I'm ready to start relaxing on weekends, watching football, going for hikes, reading books.

On the other hand, this summer was unbelievably hectic and I feel like I missed the whole thing.  So I kind of want to hold on to the last little bit of summer we have left.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to: Make Mint Lime Salt Scrub

Are you a shower person or a bath person?

I'm a shower person.  I like long showers where the water never gets cold and no one is knocking on the door telling me to get out.

I'd really like to be a bath person, and every once in a while, I try.  But, I just can't.
I never know how to keep my hands and my book above the water.  I don't like it when it's so hot at first that it scalds your feet to get in, but I also don't like it when the water starts to cool down.

Clearly, I'm doing it wrong.

Part of the reason I want to like baths is because I do like all the bath paraphernalia.

My mom and I made these mint/lime 'flavored' salt scrubs for the favors for my sister's baby shower.  Luckily, we had some left over so I can practice becoming a bath person! :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mom's Perfect Buttercream Icing

There are some foods that you just love.  And you love them so much that even if they're not done very well, you'll still eat them and you'll still enjoy yourself while you're doing it.

For me, it's pretty much just cake and donuts.
A cake has to be really bad for me to pass it up.  Like really, really bad.  That might make you think that I'm not picky and I probably don't have good taste in cake, but you're wrong.  I'm extremely particular about my cake and my icing.  It was bred into me.

Kind of an 'I'll eat it, but I won't like it' type of thing.

Cakes can sometimes be too dry or too crumbly.  Sometimes they're even too moist, or not cooked through properly.  But what really kills a cake is the icing.

9 times out of 10, the icing is just too sweet.  It makes it really hard to eat the quantities of cake that I like to serve myself when you feel like you're going to go into shock because of the sugar overload.
My mom has absolutely perfected the buttercream frosting.  It's the perfect amount of sweet, cut with just the right pinch of salt.  It's made with real butter and cream so when it sets, it gets a super thin crunchy layer on top.

Even though when you make this recipe, it won't be as good as my mom's, I bet it's still the best icing you've ever made or tasted.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Caprese Picks

The first time I went to Europe, I ate a lot of caprese sandwiches.  Mostly because they're delicious and also because they're cheap.

We were traveling around for about a month and I needed to save my money for more important things than food.  Things like alcohol and Ritter Sport.  (I was 18 at the time, although I don't think my priorities have changed much.)
The nice thing about Europe though is that you can buy a very cheap caprese sandwich and it will still be on some of the best bread you've ever eaten.

And, I still like a caprese anything.  Caprese sandwich.  Caprese Salad.  Caprese on a toothpick.  It's all good.

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