memorial day ipa

jb has been a homebrewer for some years now.  i’m recently getting more involved as i really want to learn the process from a-z.  not just order pizza and drink beers while we brew.  though i do love that part too.

so today we decided to brew an ipa for our upcoming summer party on july 4th.  we’re about 5 weeks out so this will give the beer a good bit of time to ferment and it’ll give our guests a good bit of beer to drank while they party the night away with us.

we made 10 gallons using “the beast” system.  a 3 tiered monster aquired from our friend brady by way of our local homebrew shop in falls church,va.

i had fun.  i learned a lot.  but i can tell you this, brewing is exhausting!

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hat rack

if you’re a hat collector like me, this thing will change your life!  it’s a simple, inexpensive weekend project that will completely change your hat storage game.   go to the hardware store and get a board, stain and door stops.  stain the board and screw in the stops.  you’ll need a paint brush and a mini wrench.  that’s it.  couldn’t be simpler.


cotija bites

last weekend james was starvin’ marvin and we had no snacks.  then i remembered we had some leftover cotija cheese!  decided to try our hand at cotija bites – sort of a nod to mozzarella sticks.  they turned out really well and cured jb’s hangriness.  all we did was cube up the cheese, toss in egg and then in panko.  heated up some oil in a pan and fried those suckers til brown and crispy.  served along side some marinara and smiled our fat, cheese loving faces off.    

dinner attire

i wore this to dinner at brine last night with friends.  we were celebrating their one year engagement anniversary.  super fun night!

been digging through mounds of summer clothes and came across this little romper with the tags still on it…. whoops!

…the sun was blasting in my eyes while taking these, hence the looking down in every shot.

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi 

 It’s been a while since this blog was updated, but we’ve been cooking and shopping the whole time we were gone.

Last night we decided to try out Geoffrey Zakarian’s ricotta gnocchi recipe, and having never even tried gnocchi before, it was a surprisingly easy hit. I’ve been a gnocchi fan for what seams like forever, but when I think back to when I first started eating it I realize how absolutely terrible it was most of the time.  When I’d order a plate, I’d get what I know now to be pre-made, mass produced and insanely dense gnocchi from a bag.  The reason why every restaurant back in the day had the same distinctive forked gnocchi shape was they were probably all using the same frozen gnocchi!

Flash forward to today and every restaurant worth its salt is making pillowy, heavenly light gnocchi from scratch.  The difference is astounding, and these little delights can be made in a variety of ways and paired with a nearly infinite number of sauces to make some fantastic appetizer or main dish options.  I assumed they would be difficult to make, but they just couldn’t be easier to whip up.

tofu french toast

i know, tofu and french toast together just sounds strange but don’t knock it til you try it.  we had some leftover tofu and i was going to just scramble it up with some eggs for breakfast but i’ve had the worst sweet tooth lately.  i blame the holidaze…. sometimes trying something new pays off.  this was definitely one of those times.  seriously, you must try this!photo (26)

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  • one slice of extra firm, light tofu, sliced thick
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

start by getting as much liquid as you can out of your tofu.  i wrapped mine in paper towels and placed a plate on top of it for about 20 minutes.

in a bowl, combine egg, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.

get a pan going over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

generously coat your tofu with egg mixture and add to pan.  let it go about 4 minutes per side or until a nice brown crust forms.

that’s it.  so easy and so yummy.

optional toppings: syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, jam, etc.

happy hour!! spicy blood orange cocktail

20130110-171934.jpgi snagged a bag of blood oranges at the store today and couldn’t resist juicing them for a yummy cocktail.

take about 2 ounces of vodka, 4 ounces of blood orange juice, a few slices of jalapeno, juice of 1/2 lime, some ice and shake, shake, shake!

top off with seltzer for a little effervescence and enjoy!

tofu steaks with mushroom gravy

thanks to sala over at veggie belly for this recipe.  we sort of took it and ran with it.  tweaked a few things but the end result was soooo good.

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • pinch of herbs de provence
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced thin
pat tofu dry and slice into four steaks.  take garlic slices and insert into the tofu for an added flavor bonus!  then mix together soy sauce, herbs de provence, oil, salt and pepper and add tofu steaks to the marinade.  let sit for about 30 minutes.
for the gravy:
  • 1 pack of sliced baby bellas
  • 1 pack of sliced shitakes
  • 1 pack of dried chanterelles
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs chopped sage
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
first, put your chanterelles in some warm water and let them soak about 30 minutes to reconstitute.  after 30 minutes, remove from water and pat dry.
add 1 tbs butter to a pan on medium-high heat.  once melted, add in your onions and garlic and allow them to sweat a bit, about 5 minutes.  then add your sage, thyme and mushrooms and let them cook for about 8 minutes.  add in stock.  in a separate bowl,  whisk together balsamic and flour and add to your pan.  reduce heat to simmer and cook the gravy down for about 10 minutes.
sala cooked her tofu steaks at 350 for an hour and 15 minutes but we were a couple of starvin marvins so we just pan fried ours.  while this was delicious, we’re definitely going to try sala’s method next time.
for our method – remove steaks from marinade and pat dry.  get a pan going over medium heat and add 1 tbs butter.  once melted, add in steaks and cook about 6 minutes each side.
we upped the flavor ante by adding in a tablespoon of porcini mushroom powder and a good pinch of truffle salt.  both of which i found on amazon and both totally worth buying.


apple picking = apple chips



went apple picking for the first time this past weekend. it was so much fun! we decided to make apple chips and they turned out great.

slice your apples pretty thin, about 1/8″ and cook them slow and low on 220 for about 1.5 hours on a silpat lined baking sheet and you’ve got a super healthy snack that you won’t wanna stop eating.




meatless mondays


 this week was all about italian! we made a “meat”ball sub for jb and a low carb version for me.  we got some of the best tomatoes i’ve had in years at a farm this past weekend so i used those as my base and topped them with meatballs, fresh basil, marinara and provolone cheese.  james went the classic route with a crusty sub roll, marinara, meatballs and provolone.

both versions were very hearty and incredibly yummy.

i made my own sauce but you could use store-bought marinara if you don’t have time to make your own.

for the meatballs:

  • 1 package of gimme lean ground soy crumbles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • salt and pepper

preheat oven to 400.  combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into 12 meatballs.  place meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet that’s been coated with non-stick spray.  also, spray the meatballs to allow a bit of a crust to form while they cook.  bake for 20 minutes. then assemble and enjoy.