Today I’m taking a domestic day. I’ve been feeling a sort of disconnect from cooking, living, and feeling grounded.
To be completely honest, I’ve been feeling this way ever since we moved into this rental. For some reason this rental has an odd vibe to it that makes me not really want to become one with the space.
I hate it and so I end up not wanting to do anything but sit around and watch the time go by.
Because of that cooking and creativity have suffered.
I’m also still struggling to find a life balance that works for me in our new city.
Add on the hectic schedule of two jobs and that means poor Scott is living with a tired and cranky me.
He is such a trooper and good guy. He deserves a medal.
Today though, I’m tossing aside my desire to not be here (in this space) and take a day where I focus on cooking and relaxing. Cooking is a stress reliever for me and even though the kitchen isn’t the greatest, it’s functional and that’s just fine. That’s all I need.
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Big changes have been going on here at the HQ and I’m in the process of trying to find a new normal. Not sure if that’s going to happen any time soon though!
I now have two part time jobs that I’m juggling which has brought up new challenges in terms of finding a work/life balance.
I’m in the position where meal planning and prep is very important and I’m learning how to make the most of the free time that I have.
Working from home, I didn’t really have to worry about meal planning. I created my own schedule so finding time to create meals wasn’t a big deal.
Now that I’m out of the house early in the morning and don’t get home until late evening, prepping and planning have become key.
So far I would not say that I’m succeeding but that doesn’t mean I’m failing either. I need to get better with planning and prepping. Practice makes perfect.
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I’m not much of a dessert fan but ever since I had some of Odell’s Lugene, all I could think about was how awesome it would be in some sort of dessert.
Lugene is Odell’s chocolate milk stout. It’s creamy, sweet, and chocolatey. Perfect for making some brownies.
The next time I was out, I picked up a four pack of Lugene and got busy in the kitchen making some brownies. They turned out exactly how I hoped they would!
It’s a bit of a process but don’t let that keep you from trying them.
Andrea’s Chocolate Milk Stout Brownies
- 2/3C Chocolate Milk Stout
- 1/3C Whole Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 2 1/2 TBSP Cooled Coffee
- 2tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2C Chocolate Chips, melted
- 2TBSP Whole Milk
- 4TBSP Butter, cut into cubes
- 1 1/4C Flour
- 1/3C Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch Cayenne pepper (very small)
- 2TBSP Heaping, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease up an 8×8 baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, add all the liquid ingredients and combine well.
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I love spring time because that means that asparagus is in season!
Every time I go to the grocery store, I scoop up at least two bundles each time. I love it!
My favorite way to have asparagus is either grilled or roasted. Most times we roast but if we are grilling then it usually makes an appearance as a side dish.
Roasted asparagus is one of the easiest things to do plus the clean up is super simple.
This is one of those dishes that I don’t have measurements for because everything can be adjusted according to amount and your taste preferences.
Typically when I roast (or grill) asparagus I toss the spears in a little:
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Ground Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
Super easy! Then I roast it for about 10 minutes at 400 or 425 degrees, on a greased or lined baking sheet.
Easy and quick side dish. Any leftovers can be chopped and added to salads, eggs, or as a pizza or sandwich topper.
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We love rice and probably eat it at least once a week here at the HQ.
Thai Jasmine is our favorite. It’s flavorful and cooks up really quickly.
Because we eat it so often I like to play up with different flavors to give it a slight twist. My favorite rice is a great example of that.
Nothing crazy and nothing overly powerful. Just some seasonings and a little punch of freshness.
I had some cilantro that needed used up and a lime that needed some attention, so into the rice they went!
I cook all my rice with broth but you can most definitely use water if you prefer.
Andrea’s Curry Rice with Lime and Cilantro
- 1C Jasmine Rice
- 2C Broth (I used pork)
- 1/2tsp Curry Powder
- 1/2tsp Soy Sauce
- 3 Green Onions, chopped
- 1 Large Handful of Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Lime, zested and cut in half
In a medium sized sauce pot, heat the broth until it starts to simmer. Add in the curry powder and soy sauce along with the rice. Stir and cover reducing heat so that the mixture stays at a simmer. Cook until the rice is done, about 7 minutes or so. Turn off heat, add in the the juice of half the lime along with the zest and cilantro. Add in the chopped green onion. Stir, cover and let sit for about 2 minutes.
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Deli style roast beef wasn’t something we had a lot of growing up. Our family was “on a budget” and roast beef was pricey so it was only purchased for special occasions.
I did love it though. Back in the day, when I ate fast food, Arby’s was my favorite. Yuck now! But at the time it was heaven.
If I ever ordered a hoagie, I usually got a hot roast beef sandwich.
Despite all of that, I never had a roast beef dip sandwich. Ever. I don’t know why either because it’s totally up my alley.
I recently was able to enjoy a prime rib dip sandwich from Common Link (my fave food truck in Fort Collins) and fell in love. I’ve been dreaming of having another one very soon! Since I’ve been without, I had to make do and create one on my own. Complete with homemade jus!
I didn’t use prime rib but did use some roast beef deli meat and while it wasn’t Common Link’s sandwich, it definitely hit the spot.
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I was recently contacted about a new online app that is geared towards home gardening. It helps families learn what they can grow, how they can grow it, and when to start planting.
The app is called Sprout It and after playing around with it, I have to tell you that I’m kind of in love.
Here’s the description from their webpage:
Sprout it is a web-based application designed to make growing simple. Helping people get in touch with a better way of growing, living and eating, Sprout it is the app that partners with gardeners. Allowing users to explore what they can grow, Sprout it helps people set up customized plans uniquely suited to their gardens. Supporting your gardening activities throughout the season with notifications, reminders and encouragement, Sprout it provides gardening guidance from sowing to harvest. Sprout it is empowering everyone – from experienced gardeners to first-timers – to grow with more success and confidence, right at home.
As a very much beginner homesteader, this app is right up my alley. Not only does it provide tips on what I can grow but I can also use it to plan out a garden and keep track of everything I decide to grow.
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Scott and I made a vow that we were going to spend more time outside this year and that we were going to spend more time grilling.
I’m pleased to say that when Fort Collins gets a streak of warm weather, we have been grilling like crazy!
I had a craving for a lovely grilled burger but I wanted to dress it up a little bit. Nothing too fancy but I did want the burger to have a little bit more flavor to it.
I used two kinds of meats and added in some caramelized onions. The burgers smelled amazing as they cooked and had the exact depth of flavor that I was looking for.
Andrea’s Caramelized Onion Burgers
- 1lb Ground Beef (fat ratio of your choice)
- 1lb Ground Pork
- 1 Medium Onion, sliced thin
- 1TBSP Dijon Mustard
- 1/2TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
- 1tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2tsp Ground Sage
- 1TBSP Olive Oil for sauteeing
- Pinch of salt and pepper
In a large mixing bowl, place the beef and the pork. In a medium sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in the onions and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Stir and continue to stir occasionally as the onions cook down and start to caramelize.
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I’m still trying to find my cooking mojo since we moved here. Part of it is just finding a routine that works for me and part of it is finding where to get the best supplies. I’m slowly getting there though! Thank you for being patient as I get back into the swing of cooking.
Living in the land of beer, I have access to a lot of great local (to me) brews. I’m constantly looking for a new ways to incorporate some of the beer in with cooking.
We were enjoying a lovely stretch of warm weather a couple of weeks ago, perfect for patio sitting and grilling. I experimented with some burgers (recipe soon!) and needed a topping for them.
I originally was thinking of creating some sort of steak sauce but then my experiment morphed into a more ketchup type of sauce.
We had some Fat Tire from New Belgium on hand so I used that in the sauce to make what I’m calling a Quick and Dirty Ketchup because there aren’t many ingredients and it comes together lickity-split!
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Since I’m still not done eating things from my childhood, I busted out an oldie but goodie a couple weekends ago.
Pepperoni rolls were common and super popular where I grew up. I don’t really see them out anywhere else and that kind of bums me out because they are so delicious.
Basically it’s pizza dough with pepperoni slices and then rolled up and baked. My mom used to make a huge one layered with lots of sandwich pepperoni and shredded cheese.
It was awesome and it was even better cold the next day. When I moved in with Scott, it was something I would make for us on occasion. Except I kicked mine up a little bit more and added sauce and some toppings. This makes it extra gooey and delicious.
We haven’t had one in ages and when we were stuck inside one snowy Saturday, it seemed like a great time to bust it out.
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