Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beautiful Things

A couple recent views from the front of our house

Catching up with friends, while our boys play

Solon and I preparing dinner together for Valentine's Day, and enjoying it OUTSIDE on our back patio (OUTSIDE in FEBRUARY!)

Seeing the joy in Quincy's face as we walk to get the mail

My first homemade Apple Pie (which I baked for Solon's birthday)


The jaw-dropping pasta that Solon prepared for our dinner was a recipe given to me by my friend Christy. She is Italian, and fabulous, and is AMAZING in the kitchen - obviously. I feel like I am doing a really good deed by sharing this recipe with all my readers (all 5 of you - ha ha). But seriously, if you want to really impress someone and hardly put any work into it, this is an amazing, and EASY dish that will knock your socks off. Literally.

Here's the recipe:

Jaw-dropping Pasta!


-Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking pasta)
-Kosher salt
-3/4lb good linguine
-3 tablespoons UNsalted butter
-2 ½ tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking seafood)
-6 cloves garlic (minced or finely chopped – DO NOT smash with back of knife)
-1 pound large shrimp (I used ½ a bag of Jumbo Frozen Shrimp)**
- (Optional) - 4 large scallops (I used frozen scallops here as well)**
-1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
-1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves (chopped up)
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons, seeds removed)
-1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (use as much or as little for added heat)


In a large boiling pot, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a drizzle of EVOO. Once water is at a rolling boil, add the linguine and cook according to package.

Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium low heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Be careful as garlic burns easily and will ruin your entire dish! Next, add the shrimp (& scallops) to butter/olive oil blend (I season mine with a little salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon first), add 1 teaspoon of salt, fresh black pepper and sauté shrimp until they turn pink (scallops will also be ready once the shrimp are pink). Flip them over once. After about 5 minutes remove from heat and add the parsley, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. (You will think this is a lot of parsley, but it's so subtle, you will hardly notice it.)

After draining the pasta, put back in pot and immediately add your shrimp and sauce. Toss well with tongs and plate it up! I like to add some fresh parmesan on top!!!

**When using frozen seafood, be sure to thaw according to package instructions ahead of time for quick preparation.

If you prep the ingredients ahead of time, the whole process will only take you about 20 minutes to prepare. It is so good – I hope you try it!!!


Besides the meal tasting ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, it also made me feel good to know that the whole Valentine's dinner cost less than $30 to make. WINE INCLUDED!

Here's how the costs broke down:
The frozen seafood (Fry's brand) = $10
Dry Linguine = $1
Parsley = $1
Garlic = $.50
Lemons from my mom's yard = Free
Two bottles of wine (1 red, 1 white) = $13
Rolls = $1.50
Salad = $1.50

The other ingredients are kitchen basics that I always have on hand, so the total for our Valentine's feast was approximately $28.50. This dish is so good, and if we were to get it at an Italian restaurant, it would have cost that much for ONE plate of pasta - not including the wine!! So all in all, Valentine's Day was an all-around sweet day.

Let me know if you try making this dish - I would love to hear how it turns out!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random thoughts...

I find myself in this new year, having a million things to say, and not having the time to say it. My last post mentioned that one of my new year's resolutions was to start blogging more. Doing more than just posting pictures of my kid, my family, but posting thoughts, experiences, whatever. Have I gotten around to doing that? No I haven't. Why? Because I decided to play catch up on last year's resolutions that didn't get fulfilled and I am raising a toddler (of course), and just stuff - stuff like a million projects I want to do, getting involved in my sorority as an alumni again, experimenting in the kitchen, and reconnecting with friends which is getting harder, because our lives are all filled with various things, and time always seems to slip away...

See what I mean? A lot of random things to say...

As I type this, Quincy is cruising around the house with his snack cup, shaking his goldfish crackers all over the tile floor for his big brother Forrest to enjoy. He is so thoughtful. But needless to say, it's pretty impossible to keep a house immaculate when you have a toddler. And I have a daily schedule of things I do around the house to keep it clean, so I don't end up leaving it for one whole day. It's easier for me that way. But between Forrest and Quincy, I could have the floors looking amazing at 9am and then by the time Solon gets home in the afternoon, you would have never been able to guess that I had done anything with them. Yeah, it's just like that these days.

So instead of getting all stressed out about not having a super clean house, I have realized that other things are more important to me right now... Like watching my son explore the backyard, and his new love for basketball, planning parties for my friends who are about to have babies of their own, teaching myself how to sew (2009 resolution), doing something creative daily, actually picking up the phone and having conversations with people, etc. You get the idea. There is also another project that I am involved in with a friend, still very much in the beginning stages, but it something that has gotten me really excited about the future. More to come on that later.

I am definitely trying to be more active this year than I was last year. I have been taking Pilates, Yoga, and Cardio Kickbox classes as often as I can at the LA Fitness by our house. I try to take at least one of each, every week, but as expected, life happens, and sometimes other things conflict. I am getting frustrated because I cannot seem to shed these last 6 lbs of baby weight, and then I wanted to lose an additional 10 to get back to my wedding weight by our 5th anniversary. Well, that is a month away, and I am pretty sure it's not going to happen in 4 weeks. Here's where it gets frustrating for me. I was flipping through one of my magazines the other day, and one of the articles is LOSE 10 POUNDS IN 2 WEEKS. I was super excited - this is what I needed to incorporate into my existing regimen. So here's what it said:
"It's time to push aside weight-loss clutter (food scales, calorie counters, complicated meal plans) and safely lose 6-10 pounds in 2 weeks. Adding these 5 positive habits to your regular routine will help you do it, according to the weight-loss experts who authored Mayo Clinic Diet."

The 5 positive habits are:
1. Start each day with a healthy breakfast, just make sure it's not too big.
2. Eat (4 or more servings of) vegetables and (3 or more servings of) fruits daily.
3. Use whole grains, such as whole grain breads, brown rice and oatmeal.
4. Stick with healthy fats such as olive oil, and nuts.
5. Move! Walk for 30 minutes or more every day.

Well guess what FAMILY CIRCLE, I have been doing exactly ALL OF THOSE THINGS since Quincy was born, and long before then too. I prepare healthy meals all day long, I eat fruits and veggies, I use whole grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal, I always use EVOO, and nuts, and we begin every day walking Forrest for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes I even do 2 walks a day. But has your method helped me lose that in the past? Um... no. Try again.

Now do you see why I am frustrated? I realize that the only way to truly get the results I want is to spend 2 hours daily in the gym, but who really has the time to do that? I guess I just need to suck it up, and start taking Quincy with me, and we'll see how well he does in the daycare there at the gym.

So, okay, I guess that's enough random thoughts for one post... Now here are some pics of Quincy to make it all worth it.

Here's the latest on Quincy:

*Still taking 2 naps a day (most days)
*Still a picky eater, but we are working on that
*Has 6 teeth and is currently expecting more & teething like crazy
*Walks/runs all over the place
*Favorite word is 'cracker', which he can say clearly. Besides the obvious (mama, papa, dada, buh-bye, & hi) he can also say (not so clearly, but we understand him)'bear,' 'ball,' 'teeth,' 'milk,' and 'touchdown.' He also tells us when he has a 'puh-poo' in his diaper, which I am sure is all too much info for you, but it makes me proud. =)
*He makes animals sounds a lot when he sees them - 'ruff ruff', 'roar', 'moo', 'baa' etc
*He loves rolling around on Forrest's dog beds - don't ask me why
* Loves playing with tools, keys, and loves his Bear blanket which is definitely his "lovie" right now
*He loves giving kisses - he makes us kiss his stuff animals, and he kisses pictures of animals and pictures of his mom and dad
*He loves books. He is starting to remember his favorite places in some books and makes us rush to get to them.

That covers most of it.

I will post pics of our Valentine's Day next time, with a special recipe attached. That's coming soon!