How to Make Okonomiyaki

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I am sadly not Asian…unless you want to count the family rumor that my grandfather’s grandmother was Mongolian. Asian culture has always been an interest to me and my husband. I wouldn’t say we’re complete ‘weeaboos’ though. We understand there’s more to Japan than it’s anime. We love to watch Basho (Sumo Wrestling) and I often keep up on Japanese news through the NHK channel. Strangely, Eastern art in general has found it’s way into our home- through lanterns from Marrakesh to Japanese wall hangings of cranes in our dinning room. A few years ago, we even got to enjoy an 16 hour layover in Tokyo where we went to Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku (that trip is for another blog post entirely). Read more

Allset and Fuji at Ink Block

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Being a blogger isn’t as easy as Carrie Bradshaw makes it look. I have to plan out what I’m writing about, write it, edit it, stage and take pictures, edit the pictures and then add whatever affiliate links. It’s very very busy!

So often when I go out into Boston to work it’s still very hectic and I can’t always have my laptop out and blogging in a nice restaurant. I don’t want to be waiting around for a place to sit, or even the check. So I was extremely happy when Allset reached out to me asking if I’d give their app a shot. Read more

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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As a person who grew up in Florida, the winters in Massachusetts remind me of the ninth circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno where everything is frozen. I am exaggerating a bit because today is 50 degrees and I’m writing this with a T-shirt on, but every now and then (usually on a day that requires me to be outside of my home) it can drop into bitterly cold.

This may not be good outside weather, but it’s PERFECT for soups! While my husband prefers the chunky soup, he kindly got me the immersion blender I had asked for on my Christmas list. Up until now, our smooth soups have come out as a kind of strange porridge consistency and I found that my blender just couldn’t seem to get those little pieces.

Armed with the right tool, I decided to try out a recipe Read more

Jack Daniel’s Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese

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I’ve been wanting to cook this recipe for the last month and I finally got a chance to last night. Let me warn you ahead of time, this meal is dense. It says on the recipe that it serves four and I could barely put a dent in my serving. To be honest it probably serves more like six. I will include the calorie counts for both a four portion meal and a six portion, for those of you who just want to have an idea of how much this is (but I promise you won’t like the results).

I got this recipe from Pinterest, but you can find it as well as some really nice pics on the site The Slow Roasted Italian.

Jack Daniel’s Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese:

Jack Daniels Ingredients

Ingredients:

½ tsp salt (and don’t forget to salt the pasta water.)
12 oz Hickory smoked peppered bacon, uncooked
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon smoked paprika ( I didn’t have any smoked paprika and just used the regular kind)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon New Mexico chili powder ( I also didn’t have any of this specific chili powder, so I just used the regular kind)
1 tablespoon chili pepper paste
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar (white), shredded
2 ounces smoked provolone cheese, shredded
2 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
8 oz dry elbow pasta
croutons (garnish)

Directions:

1.) Prep the ingredients. I’ve found that measuring everything ahead of time and getting it all set up, makes for a much more fun cooking experience.

2.) Bring a large pot of  water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add some salt and the pasta. Cook uncovered to al dente (has a bite to it). Drain and set aside.

3.) Meanwhile warm a large 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Using clean kitchen shears cut bacon into bite size pieces over the skillet and let them to fall into the pan. Stir occasionally as needed. Cook until crisp.

4.) While the bacon is cooking, (f you haven’t done so already) shred (or chop up) cheeses and prepare remaining ingredients.

5.) Once bacon is cooked through, remove bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Wipe the side of the skillet to avoid flame ups.

Jack Daniels Rue
6.) Pour reserved bacon drippings back into the skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once melted add flour and whisk to combine. Add spices, chili paste, Worcestershire, whiskey and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Allow to come to a bubble for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally to help pick up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add milk. Whisk to combine. Bring back to a bubble and add cheeses.  Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.

Jack Daniels Mac n Cheese

7.) Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Add bacon. Cook pasta in sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat until sauce thickens and the pasta has a chance to absorb some of the sauce.

Sprinkle with croutons, if desired. Because this sauce is so thick and rich, I found that the croutons bring a much needed crunch to the dish.

Jack Daniels Mac n Cheese Finished
Enjoy!

I got the calorie counts by putting the recipe into the My Fitness Pal recipe maker:

For 4 servings it’s roughly 759 calories for each individual serving.

For 6 servings it’s roughly 506 calories for each individual serving.

 

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

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I am a long time fan of Alton Brown. He doesn’t just throw a recipe at you, but rather takes the time to educate you about the way food works and explain exactly happens when you do certain things to your food. So when I was looking for a new dessert to try and make I found his Alton Brown’s Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe on the Foodnetwork.com website. I served it actually yesterday for my Halloween party that I threw, but it is a wonderful fall dessert and easy to make in comparison to other things I’ve cooked. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer. I hope you enjoy it. Read more

Cafe Fleuri and their Amazing Chocolate Bar

images

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I’ve been living in Massachusetts for a few years now, and have done a lot of the touristy things. I’ve gone to Samuel Adams Brewery, I’ve been to the top of the Prudential Center, I’ve hung out in the Common and ice skated at Frog Pond.. but I keep my ear low to the ground for things that the average vacationer might miss and the locals keep quiet about .

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Penne Alla Vodka

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Can’t immediately fly to Italy for a nice romantic dinner? No problem, just bring Italy to your kitchen. I got this recipe from a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. While the dish itself is bound to inspire romance, I also suggest it be accompanied by some red wine, crusty bread, candles, and Lucciano Pavarotti’s Greatest Hits.

Read more

Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp

CROCK-POT-APPLE-CRISPWhen I first got married, one of my wedding guests got me a Betty Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook. One of my favorite things to cook is this Apple Crisp. This is fun to make any time of the year, but I find it especially fun to make in the summer when the all American apple pie usually starts making it’s appearance at picnics and barbeques and in the fall when warm cooked fruits are especially welcome. The other thing that I absolutely love about this dish besides the taste is that it can be a great lunch or dinner desert or a fantastic breakfast. Served hot or cold, plain or with a side of vanilla ice cream, it’s fun to give to guests or just eat all by yourself. You can also peel, core, and cut up the apples ahead of time, so that assembly later on is a bit easier. Don’t worry if the apples turn  a bit brown while you’re chopping them up, they’re going into a crisp so no one will really notice. You can find this and other wonderful recipes at bettycrocker.com.

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