Tag Archives: dinner

Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

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Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. We tend to spend a lot of time in this space, cooking, chatting, hosting guests. So, why not consider giving your kitchen a little overhaul with some new appliances that will not only look great, but will add to your cooking too? Here are just a few examples you might want to consider:

A Stand Mixer:

Into baking? Throughout the past year and a half, many people have picked up baking as an activity to keep them preoccupied with free time found during the pandemic. We can’t blame them! Baking can be carried out easily from the comfort of your own home – and you get a delicious treat at the end too! Now, if you’ve been practicing and are getting better at your breads, cakes, pastries and other baked goods you may be aware of just how tiring it can be thoroughly mixing ingredients. This is where a stand mixer could help. Stand mixers do the hard work for you, leaving you with a lovely dough or batter, ready to bake.

A Coffee Machine:

If you like a good cup of coffee, you don’t have to go to your local coffee shop to get one. If you have a coffee machine at home, you’ll be able to make delicious brews within your own four walls. A coffee machine can do much more than simply pouring hot water from the kettle into some granules. When choosing your machine, make sure to look for good reviews and recommendations. This will give you an idea of other people’s experience with your chosen machine and whether it’s worth the money. There are different options on the market to suit different budgets but, generally speaking, the better the machine is, the better the coffee will be.

Cookware:

A lot of us settle for budget cookware only to find that food sticks to it or the food burns on it. This is less than ideal, so consider overhauling your cookware and investing in some new versions. There are different types for different cooking devices, such as the best ceramic cookware for oven, stove top, and more. There are also many different designs, allowing you to match your pots, pans and trays to the aesthetic of your kitchen itself.

A Slow Cooker:

Many of us are working from home now and would love to be able to prep a few simple ingredients in the morning to have dinner ready at the end of the day. A slow cooker can achieve this. Leave it plugged in with your ingredients inside and you can have some great casseroles, stews, and curries lined up for your evening meals.

There’s an endless array of other kitchen appliances and equipment out there. The options highlighted above are just a few useful suggestions that could do you and your home a world of good!

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Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

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Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

If you like steak, it is a given that you have your favorite way to cook them and ask any steak lover, and you may get a different answer. Nevertheless, treating every steak the same would be a foolish disservice. So, let’s look at a few of the ways you can cook steak:

Grill:

Specifically charcoal grilled thin steaks. With meat prices rising, it’s good to know how to cook thin steaks. Grilling steak is quick, simple, and hard to mess up after a short period of learning. All you need is a grill (gas or charcoal), steaks, salt, pepper, and oil.

Start the grill and let it get nice and hot; oil and season the steaks on both sides, and when the grill is good to go, throw the steaks on and leave them alone for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how red you like them. Once the time is up, remove the steaks, leave them to rest covered in foil, and then serve.

Sous Vide:

Sous Vide involves vacuum sealing your steak, cooking it for nearly an hour in temperature-controlled water, then finishing it off with a sear. This may sound like a strange method, but it leads to the most evenly cooked and potentially best tasting steaks out there! There is a very sensory experience with cooking with Sous Vide, you get the aromatic smokey smell of steak getting cooked on high heat, and the end results are exceptional.

Pan Fry:

Pan frying steak is not dissimilar to grilling, except you don’t need to go outside. Like the grill, make sure your pan is hot. A cast-iron pan or a similar heavy-bottomed skillet works best because they hold more heat. You may want to oil your steak, or you may wish to simply salt and pepper the steak and then drop a lump of butter in the pan. A meat splash guard is good for keeping the ventilation going. Otherwise, your kitchen will be covered in grease spots. Not ideal when you want to enjoy your meal!

Sear Roasting:

Sear-roasting involves pre-heating both your oven and a cast-iron skillet at upwards of 500 Fahrenheit. When both the skillet and oven are piping hot, you put an oiled or buttered steak in the skillet, sear it on both sides and then slip it into the oven to finish cooking.

By searing first and then finishing in the oven, sear roasting causes fewer problems than pan-frying and broiling. However, this method is less accurate than grilling or sous vide, where you bring a steak more or less precisely to temperature.

Steak Tartare:

This method is quite overlooked, probably because, at first glance, it does not require any preparation at all, which is a myth. Steak Tartare is a popular dish in France and is overlooked since it is raw. Steak Tartare is not only odd for the lack of heat involved in its preparations, but it is also chopped up before serving!

Its preparation usually involves the assembly of ingredients, but there are also crucial steps to ensure food safety. It is important to locate a fresh cut of good meat as the meat will not be exposed to heat on the outside, where most of the bacteria are. Proper steak tartare starts out life as a decent steak; this recipe suggests eye of round, which is then chilled in the freezer and diced up immediately before serving.

Become the host with the most at your next gathering with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Gonzalo Guzman on Pexels

Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

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Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

Hello! Much to the annoyance of others and the delight of Johnny and myself, we have a handful of movie or TV scenes that we quote constantly. It’s never not funny to us and a shining example of that would be the Pizza Order sketch from Key & Peele. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and give it a watch:

^^^ As always, I have no rights to this video.

In this sketch, a man named Wendell tries to order three pizzas with pineapple, meat, and cheesy crust and the phone call to the pizza shop gets really weird really quick. To Johnny’s surprise, I have never tried pineapple on pizza before so he decided that this past Sunday was the day to change that. He ordered a pizza with pineapple, bacon, and cheesy crust for himself and one with pineapple, jalapenos, and (of course) cheesy crust for me.

As always, the Pizza Hut presentation never ceases to amaze me, lol. Take a look at this masterpiece:

As a vegetarian, I thought that pineapple and jalapeno would be the way to go for a little sweet and heat. The pineapple was a huge success and I loved the sweet and salty combination between the fruit and the sauce. The jalapenos, however, were a totally different story and I never plan on getting it again. It’s so weird because I enjoy spicy food and never have shied away from it but my mouth was on freaking fire from these peppers. I felt like my mouth was burning long after I ate and my stomach wasn’t thanking me, either.

I feel like such a baby to be saying that the Pizza Hut jalapenos were really spicy but DAMN, lol. In conclusion? I say “yay” to pineapple on pizza and while I wouldn’t order it every time, I would definitely get it every once in a while. And a big fat “nay” to jalapenos!

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Should pineapple go on pizza? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

DoorDash Deliciousness

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DoorDash Deliciousness

Hello! Sometimes, you just need a treat and, with the stress of my job, I know that better than most. Whether this be stopping at Starbucks on your way to work, ordering a little something online, or taking a luxurious bubble bath, it’s important to do what you can to help put the pep back in your step. In my case, I decided to order myself dinner from my favorite Indian restaurant, The Saffron Patch.

Johnny has absolutely no desire to try Indian food while I, on the other hand, LOVE it. And, as a strict vegetarian it is so nice to have tons of options on The Saffron Patch’s menu. Thanks to DoorDash, I was able to indulge my never ending craving for Indian food and I got a great deal for it, to boot! Check it out:

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DoorDash is awesome because you get free deliveries for your first month of using the service. Not only that, but I also got twenty percent off of my order and, in total, I saved close to eight dollars. For forty dollars, I was able to get my favorite dishes of Vegetable Biryani with cucumber Raita, Malai Kofta with saffron rice, and garlic Naan as well as provide a healthy tip. I thought this was a steal, especially since the servings are huge because it is family style.

I always say that if I had a visit from someone who has never been to good ol’ Akron, Ohio that we would go to TJMaxx and The Saffron Patch and I still stand by that statement. It has been ages since I ordered from my favorite restaurant and it was even better than I remember it being. The Biryani was completely loaded with huge pieces of carrots, potatoes, peppers, and cauliflower while the sauce in the Malai Kofta was rich and the balls of lentils and veggies were tender. The Naan was buttery and had SO. Much. Garlic. – Just how I like it!

Like I said, it had been a long while since I had Indian food and I normally order a level three for spiciness which would be considered Medium Hot. I decided to just order a level two of Medium to be safe since I was having the food delivered and I’m glad I did because it was hot! This was no matter, though, because the cucumber Raita helped dissipate the spiciness and it was so delicious when mixed with all of my dishes.

I couldn’t have asked for a better meal if I tried. Or, should I say meals? Lol, since Johnny doesn’t eat Indian food, I had all of the leftovers to myself and it lasted me a good five days. So not complaining!! 😀

What is your favorite restaurant? How do you treat yourself? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

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Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

The words “gourmet” and “instant” don’t usually go together. But in our high-tech world of technological voodoo, that’s no longer the case in the realm of food. Today there are all sorts of instant gourmet options available. And it’s taking instant gratification to a whole new level:

Cheese Stuffed Burgers:

Why put cheese on top of your burger patty when you can put it inside, instead? That’s the idea behind cheese-stuffed burgers. As a home chef, you just cook the burgers as you usually would. Then when you bite into them, the cheese oozes out, and you get a massive dose of flavor.

What’s nice about these burgers is how runny the cheese gets when you cook it this way. The meat prevents evaporation, so you wind up with a sous-vide-style experience. These burgers tend to work best with semi-sweet sauces, like BBQ, but you can also pair them with coleslaw or onion rings.

Gourmet Calzones:

Call up your local late night pizza delivery services these days and they will probably offer gourmet options around the clock. Today, it is a completely different experience. Takeouts know that their patrons want quality ingredients and new taste sensations. The standard options are still popular. But there’s also a big market for the finer flavors.

Today, gourmet calzones are a big hit. That’s because you can fit more quality ingredients in them than you can a standard pizza. Goat cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted peppers are all par for the course. And the taste experience is dramatically improved for foodies with sophisticated palates.

Specialty Ramen:

If you thought that ramen was just for students on microscopic budgets, think again. It turns out that multiple vendors are now making gourmet versions that harken back to the original Asian dish. With these meals, you’re getting much more than just some cheap noodles suspended in MSG-filled water. Many come with things like king shiitake mushrooms, wholefood glass noodles, sugar snap peas, black fungus, and marinated tofu. In fact, the number of options is quite spectacular. If you haven’t checked out the market yet, you definitely should!

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Mac n’ Cheese With a Twist:

This classic American dish is usually something you put in the microwave and enjoy steaming hot a few minutes later. But even this “plain” dish is going through a revolution.

The standard version is just a cheese sauce with refined macaroni pieces. It’s comforting, but it’s not healthy food. Today, though, people are discovering that they can create a better experience by combining flavors and using whole food ingredients. So, instead of using refined pasta, they’re using specialty wholemeal versions. And instead of using cheese sauce, they’re replacing it with cashew and nutritional yeast. A lot of budding chefs also like to char some broccoli with soy sauce before mixing into the main meal.

Bean Sausages:

Finally, we’re seeing the rise of bean gourmet sausages made with fresh ingredients. In these recipes, the base is always beans and wholemeal breadcrumbs. People are then adding their choice of herbs to create a variety of flavors to keep them interested throughout the month.

Is your mouth watering yet? Use the ideas above and transform your family dinner tonight!

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Morning Star Meals

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Morning Star Meals

Hello! I have been a strict vegetarian for the closer part of two decades and literally could never imagine eating meat again. Although I have a different diet than Johnny who loves cheeseburgers, bacon, and hot dogs we still both eat the “fake” meat by Morning Star pretty regularly. Check it out:

I have never been one of the vegetarians who are put off by people eating meat so I was tickled when Johnny wanted to try my vegetarian chicken nuggets and sausage patties. I was even more thrilled about the fact that he liked them just as much as me! In fact, I consider it a rarity to have a boyfriend who is excited about me making a veggie option and not asking me to make “regular” meat for him – even though he knows I would be happy to.

We are both huge fans of the Morning Star buffalo chicken nuggets and, this past shopping trip, I got us the buffalo patties for him to try. I was about to start prepping our meal when Johnny took it upon himself to make it, instead. He air fried our patties, then buttered and toasted the buns. We topped it off with lettuce and ranch and my heart kind of melted when Johnny said “it tastes just like a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s”.

My Johnny is just so dear to me and him being willing to always try new things is one of the many things I love about him. I know it seems like a little thing but Morning Star meals with my non vegetarian boyfriend will never cease to put me in all of the happy feels. I’m a lucky girl. ❤

What is the most recent new food you tried? Which other brands make the best “fake” meat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making Every Family Dinner Special

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Making Every Family Dinner Special

If you want to spend more quality time with your family but you’re struggling to figure out how to do it, one way is to start making your family dinners special. If you all sit down for dinner and ignore one another while scrolling on your phones or watching TV, of course it’s going to feel like you don’t have enough quality time together.

Similarly, if you all eat dinner separately, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to catch up with one another. It might not be possible to do this every day, but there are all kinds of benefits to having dinner together each night. If you want to make the family dinners that you do have together more special, then read on for some advice:

Make It A Ritual:

Start by making it a ritual. Try to do family dinners at the same time, wash up beforehand, and name three things you’re grateful for before you begin to eat. Of course, your ritual may differ – but it’s definitely worth coming up with one that means something to you.

Set The Table:

Set the table for your dinner with nice plates and cutlery, place mats, a tablecloth, and even candles. Make it look fancy. This is especially important if you don’t get to have many family dinners together. Setting the table nicely can make a huge difference to the atmosphere.

Have Themed Nights:

It can be really fun to have themed dinner nights together. You could have Mexican nights, Italian food nights, and even nights based around Porter & York meats. Having themes can keep family dinners exciting and give some structure to your week if you have one every few days.

Turn Off The TV:

Ban phones from the table and don’t watch the TV, either. Enjoy one another’s company. Listen and concentrate – these could be the most meaningful moments of your day! This is so much better than spending hours sitting together while not really concentrating on one another at all.

Prep Together:

Involving your family in the preparation of the dinner can help everyone to get more invested in the meal and bond beforehand. This is especially great for younger members of the family, as they tend to enjoy helping and will learn a lot from it. They are also far more likely to eat different foods if they have had a hand in making them!

Find Something To Celebrate:

It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to find something to celebrate. Has somebody in the family achieved something? It doesn’t matter how small – find something and celebrate it! At the very least, this will make each dinner a cheery event and teach everybody to look for the good, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant!

Family dinners are tons of fun and helps bring you and yours closer together. Bon appetit!

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Fun Family Fiesta

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Fun Family Fiesta

Hello! Sometimes my schedule can change at the drop of a hat. Clients might cancel and I am left with a huge chunk of free time. For example, a few Wednesdays ago I only had to work with my morning client and not my afternoon one so I decided to go to my mom and dad’s place afterwards. Johnny would be at work and then band practice and I didn’t particularly want to spend all evening playing Animal Crossing… Again!

After I was done at work, I headed to chez parents. During the drive over, I gave my sister a call and she happened to be free too, which meant her and her daughter could join all of us for some family fun and a Taco Bell dinner party, as per my request. We spent time outside in my dad’s gardens but, mostly, we all just hung around and enjoyed each other’s company.

It is always such a treat when several members of my family can get together at one time and I know everyone had just as great of a time as I did. Since COVID, I still see my friends through Skype and social distance hang outs but that doesn’t happen often. However, I see my family numerous times throughout the week and that definitely helps. Even the shortest visits lift my spirits and, afterwards, I never fail to have an extra pep in my step.

A family Taco Bell night seems like such a simple pleasure but I am still looking back at it fondly a few weeks later. It was just so fun and the impromptu Hump Day dinner party kept me in a happy place as I finished up my work week. While going out frequently is not an option for me with such high risk clients, I have learned how to still have a good time with nights in. And you know what? Those nights in are awesome!

If these crazy times have you in a slump, you might need some quality family time to get yourself back in gear. Schedule a take out dinner “party” of your own and enjoy!

What is your favorite restaurant? How often do you get take out? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

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Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

Hello! As I get older, I have definitely been trying to eat more healthy. AKA more fruits and veggies and less Taco Bell, lol! But, seriously, sometimes it’s just a hassle to make a healthy meal – especially after a long day at work. Quick and easy recipes are the name of the game in my household and this super simple/speedy recipe for Smoky Cauliflower Bites makes for a delicious and ultra fast appetizer for your fam:

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

Directions:

  1. Combine all of your dry ingredients and mix into the olive oil, then pour over your cauliflower florets. You might want to let it sit for a few hours, shaking every so often to let the flavored oil sink in on all of the areas it might have missed.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 and transfer into a baking pan and roast until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe is by Courtney Stultz of Weir, KS and I have no rights to it!

My client’s brother makes these cauliflower bites often and it is my absolute favorite treat. Last week, he so generously bought a head of cauliflower for me and mixed up the dry ingredients into a zip lock bag so all I would have to do is cut the veggies and heat it up at home. It was such a sweet gesture and I was eager to make it because it is so delicious in every sense of the word.

After fifteen minutes of roasting in the oven, my cauliflower was ready to eat and it was just as good as when my client’s brother makes it. I love all of the seasonings that drench the cauliflower because they add quite a bit of heat to it but it was never overpowering. Johnny and I dipped our bold and smoky cauliflower bites in Ranch dressing and enjoyed it as a side dish with our dinner. Ranch or sour cream is a good bet to have handy with you just in case there’s a little too much “oomph” for anyone at the table.

Easy as pie to make and tasty any time of the day, make these Smokey Cauliflower Bites to spice things up at your next family dinner!

What is your favorite veggie recipe? How do you eat healthy at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Garden Goodies

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Garden Goodies

Hi! I looove having lots of fresh fruits and veggies at my apartment and, during the summer, I am never lacking in that department. My dad as well as all of the families of my clients have gardens and I always seem to be returning home from work with surplus veggies. It’s freaking awesome and I haven’t been without cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in weeks.

I know that all of the families I work with are up to their ears in produce and they have entire gardens but, shit, I am too! I can’t even get to the bottom of my crisper drawer until it’s filled up again with all of the garden goodies I am constantly being gifted with. The last thing I am doing is complaining about it, though!!

My appetite changes drastically in the summer because I get nauseous when it’s really hot. I find myself craving light dishes as I think I would keel over even thinking about eating a heavy meal in my hot ass apartment. Having a never ending supply of veggies has been a game changer because I can snack on them all day totally guilt free and it has added a lot of variety to my cooking.

This past week, I had an overflow of produce that I needed to purge from my fridge – cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lemon, and lots of garlic. So, I decided to prepare a cucumber salad with the ingredients I had available. My recipe went as so:

Lemon Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers with the skin peeled and cut in slices
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon, with some of the pulp added too
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

I am obsessed with the salad I whipped up and have been eating a few servings daily. I just love the tart lemon mixed with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and when it’s poured over crisp veggies it is an absolute treat. Get creative with your cooking and try making a salad recipe of your own next family dinner!

How has your garden been doing? What do you have growing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah