Blogging can be tough. I’ll admit, when I started this, I was hyped up on all six seasons of Sex in the City and the movie Julie and Julia. I had these cute little images in my mind of sitting down at my computer and writing about whatever popped into my head over a coffee, or a glass of wine, and that I’d magically have people reading my blog, sending me stuff, and then before I knew it, I’d have a book deal and a movie out on how I made it all happen!…. I had no idea, how much effort it takes to actually do a blog well or exactly how many hats I’d be wearing.
One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my sister in the backyard under our maple tree which was much smaller back then. I remember my mother setting up little-colored plastic cups, and filling them with water and vinegar and then we’d watch as the little fizzy color tabs would dye the water. I’d scribble flowers, hearts, and lines on my little egg and then pop it into one of the six colors. Eventually, though, all the eggs seemed to end up the same kind of greenish khaki color from being dipped in too many additional colors. We would then put stickers on them of bunnies, chicks, and flowers and present them proudly to our mother who would say how pretty they are. She would politely ignore multicolor dyed hands of her children in favor of our smiles, and she would dutifully clean up the mess of spilled dye and leftover sticker remnants on the little table outside. As an adult, the smell of vinegar still reminds me of those days.
My husband and I got a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. We got it mostly for the really interesting (and expensive) recipes, because, well it’s fun to read about how to cook escargot.
In the pasta section, there was an affordable gem that Amin and I now make regularly. It’s called Penne Alla Vodka and I swear you’ll never go back to eating jarred pasta again once to see how crazy easy it is to make and how absolutely pro chef it tastes. Below, not only will I walk you through it, but I’ll give you a video to watch to see how it’s done first hand!
At the beginning of the year, I told you all what I wanted my goals for this year to be. I wanted to lose 52 pounds, I wanted to improve my blogging, and I wanted to feel better in my home. So here is a quick update on those goals.
Oh man! I know some people HATE cleaning but for me, I really enjoy it ESPECIALLY if it’s spring cleaning. To say I just “hate” winter would be an understatement. I absolutely loathe and at times have actual panic around the season. It’s miserable. Everything is dead and it’s so cold that while I don’t want to be stuck in my home, the idea of going out is not all that appealing either. If I’m not careful I can actually get depressed. I sleep longer, it’s harder to get out of bed, my goals can suffer, and it just sucks (sorry for those who love winter).
So the day that it’s warm enough that I can throw all the windows open, it’s like a spiritual experience. I am so in the moment when I feel that first, slightly chilly breeze run through the home. I make a real event of it. I’ll play upbeat music, and really take note of how happy my soul feels even if I know next week is going to bring a cold snap. That first “thawed out” day is as a reminder that better days are ahead, and that things don’t stay bad forever, every season has its end.
I had good intentions. I went to the store to buy ingredients for last weeks Guinness, Jameson Whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream Recipe. The problem was, I didn’t exactly know how much Baileys to get, so faced with spending $40 on a massive bottle I wasn’t sure I’d ever use, I grabbed ten of those little airline bottles worth and brought them home. Needless to say, the cupcake recipe went really really well, but now I had Bailey’s leftovers, as well as one of the worst colds I’ve had in a very long time.
Considering this post is for St. Patricks day, it’s a fine time to try out a drink recipe! While hopped up on Dayquil and snooping around Pinterest I found a link that went to another link which eventually led to the Baileys website with a recipe on a basic Baileys Martini!
Let’s be real here. Most holidays in America are celebrated with food, booze or both and St. Patricks Day is no exception. It’s really a big deal here in Boston too with a lot of people heading into the city with their “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts and green and gold colors to go pub hopping.
As I’ve said before, I don’t particularly enjoy crowds, especially drunk crazy people crowds so I usually stay home, play some wonderful Celtic music and watch Lord of the Dance or the first “Leprechaun” movie (don’t judge!) while I cook and fill my home with the wonderful smells of food.
Of course, I live on Pinterest, and while there I happened to find this absolutely amazing recipe for Guinness, Whiskey and Irish Cream Cupcakes. First, I have to say that I love cakes in miniature form. I don’t feel bad for eating an entire one, where I might if it was an entire cake. I also loved how it uses all of the Irish trademark alcohol classics. Needless to say, I made these Guinness cupcakes with a Jameson whiskey ganache center and Baileys Irish Cream frosting and gave them to my husband to pass out at work and they were a real success! I also think the addition of a cute little Chocolate coin on top and the green clover sprinkles really takes it to that next level.
I love oysters. Growing up my dad was paranoid about eating anything remotely not burnt to a crisp. He demonized everything from medium-rare steaks to sushi. So I wasn’t exposed to a lot of unique foods until I was on my own. After moving out I’ve tried several unique raw foods including sea urchin, and octopus, and one of my absolute favorites is Oysters.
The reason I’m featuring Oysters is that they’re also an aphrodisiac which makes them perfect for a romantic month like February. Now, to be honest, there is nothing available that can increase sexual desire in people and frankly from what I’ve seen on Travel Channel and Food Network, the more disgusting the food, the more it’s marketed as some sort of sexual enhancement so take this with a grain of salt.
Valentines can be tough. There’s a huge focus on Love and being in a relationship. In my personal opinion, if you live in America it’s just another holiday that’s been ruined by companies pressuring you to buy stuff to be happy. I think we’ve really lost sight of love. To be honest, it’s so hard and so “Not Special” going to a restaurant on Valentines, that my husband and I have actually moved the date to the first weekend after.
I was not taught a lot about self-care or self-love…In fact, I’d venture to say that I haven’t really started learning about “myself” until very recently, and learning about yourself is different than loving yourself. You can learn about yourself and hate who you are.
Love is something that is cultivated over time, and I’d like to preface this post with saying that no matter how many bubble baths you take, no matter how many times you do your nails or have facials, it’s not going to matter unless you cultivate a real heart love for yourself and that will take time. That said, as you do these activities, remember to remind yourself over and over that you are deserving of these things, and that you are being kind to yourself because you deserve it!
February may be a cold month (at least for this ex-southerner) but it’s got a heartwarming holiday to look forward to! While a box of chocolates and a rose are great classic ideas, I’ve sifted through the internet to find some really special meals that are a little more out of the box. Hopefully, this inspires you to try something a little different for that special someone! If you do something cool that isn’t listed and you’d like me to check it out, please tell me about it in the comments!
There is nothing wrong with taking your sweetie out for something sweet to eat, but there’s something special about having your S/O cook for you. I usually cook at home, but when Amin cooks for me, especially if it’s something he knew I would like (seafood or pasta instead of chicken) it’s an easy way to make me swoon. I get to chill out and relax or just talk to him and watch him run around the kitchen (extra points if he cleans up the kitchen after). P.S. It doesn’t have to be valentines for this to happen…just sayn’ but if you’re low on ideas, here are some valentines themed recipes that look as good as they taste!