This past Wednesday I had one of those epic food days. I ate sushi for lunch; there was a over-priced (but worth it) fresh-pressed cucumber juice for a late afternoon drink situation; dinner was a decadent Italian meal, proceeded by a warm buttered rum as a nightcap. Oh and cookies and milk!
I’m not sure if I’ve had a better food day than that, ever, but it’s coming to a screeching half, ladies and gentlemen, because the month of March is all about eating healthy (for me). Don’t worry, A Cozy Kitchen won’t be turning into a Paleo blog but I will be sprinkling in healthier recipes from time to time, this one you see as my first.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet to give you a healthier take on cottage pie (also known as shepherd’s pie). It’s for St. Patrick’s Day or any day when you’re looking for a healthier but still comforting dish to make.
When I was a kid, Sundays always meant something was simmering on the stove. The day was filled with lots of food, playing outside, family; and the focus was always to enjoy the thing we never have enough of: time.
What you see pictured is the Sunday food of my childhood. It’s the dish my mom and dad would get started in the morning and let cook in the oven for hours and hours. The smell is intoxicating—it’s the smell of my mama’s homeland, and in turn the smell of Sundays growing up. The other day when I recreated it, I had forgotten for a moment what the smell meant to me; I missed home for a bit.
My favorite thing in the world to eat is pasta. Like, if I was seeing my last days and someone was like, Adrianna, what would you like to eat because dying sucks? I’d be like, BRING ME PASTA! A gigantic bowl of pasta bolognese with a glass of lambrusco would be it for me. So, it’s not really a surprise that the dish I crave the most when I’m trying to eat healthier is pasta.
Last year I got super into zucchini noodles. I’m pretty sure I ate zucchini noodles with turkey meatballs every single night for like weeks, WEEKS. I actually first discovered the glory of spiralized vegetables from Ali’s blog, Inspiralized. At first I was like, uh, I dunno, I like real pasta but then I was needing something healthier in my life and this seemed like an awesome alternative.
When I was a kid I loved pasta night because it meant that I could take a raw piece of pasta and act like it was a cigarette.
I liked doing this with other things like straws, Fun Dip and Pocky. Even to this day, that is one of the first things I think of when I remove raw pasta from its container…me fake-smoking.
Anyway, pasta for Valentine’s Day is a gigantic no-brainer because it’s the easiest thing to throw together. While bolognese takes about an hour to simmer, this sauce takes minutes. This sauce, if anything, almost goes too fast so you’ll need to prep all of your ingredients before you get started.
I’m going to sound like a broken record when I tell you that, as a kid, all I wanted in the world were terrible-for-you foods. Unfortunately, the only thing fun my mama was willing to buy us were frozen pot pies. I took what I could get! I loved the flakey crust and rich filling. The overly cooked peas and carrots…not so much.
These two lil’ baby pot pies are a way better version than the mediocre pot pies that I’d devour after school while watching The Power Rangers. Here’s what makes them fancy:
1. Schmaltz. Yassss!! This crust is special. Instead of butter (you can totally use butter if you don’t have schmaltz) I used schmaltz and it resulted in a really delicious, more crumb-like, very chicken-y crust. Oh man. I like it a lot!
So, usually in, oh I dunno mid-January, is when everything on Pinterest begins to be heart-shaped and red. Pancakes, jell-o, cookies, meringues, you name it. And every single time, my internal knee-jerk reaction is to whisper:
“DIE DIE DIE DIE”
I can’t help it. I’m just not a huge fan of Valentine’s day, but over the years I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be a lame holiday. There are tons of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable Valentine’s Day without it being dumb and annoying.
First step: Don’t buy champagne (grocery stores usually mark it up during V-Day anyway). Drink a pét-nat instead. Or beer. I love beer.
Third step: If you’re going to buy the cheesy candy from the drug store, buy it the day after when it’s 50% off. Duh.
Have you ever excitedly eaten something green, forgot you ate something green, and then talked and talked to all sorts of people you don’t know all that well?! I mean, maybe you even smiled and laughed a whole lot more than you usually do. You were feeling the moment.
And then you went to the restroom, as humans do, to only then look in the mirror and see a gigantic piece of GREEN THING stuck in between your two front teeth. UGH.
You know what the blogging equivalent? Accidentally hitting publish and not realizing it and then the next morning find your half written post up on the internets for everyone to see. UGH! That happened with this post.
I had a piece of blogging piece of spinach stuck in my teeth for like a while and it was not ok. But I’m over it and moving on so here we are…preserved lemons. Let’s preserve them.
Preserved lemons are basically lemons that have been salt packed and pickled in their own lemon juice. Think of it like the confit-ing of the pickle-world.
I like to add spices to mine like coriander, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, but really you can include all of them or none at all. All you really need is salt.
To start, you make an X in each of the lemons and then you rub each one with a good amount of salt. In a jar they go for thirty days. After that you have preserved lemons that you can cut up and add to all sorts of dishes. In thirty days, I’m not kidding, I’ll be sharing a follow-up post to these!
I’m on an enchilada kick lately and today I’d like to introduce to you my latest obsession: enfrijoladas. It’s like a bean and enchilada sauce got married and no I didn’t make it up, it’s actually a thing. It’s basically enchilada sauce but with mixed black beans it it and cheese because CHEESE! It feels glorious and filling (duh) and super cheesy but surprisingly not like a gut-buster. That’s probably because there’s no meat in these—they’re veggie all the way.
This weekend is this football game everyone loves called The Super Bowl. Have you heard of it? I don’t know who is playing BUT I will by Friday and when I do, I’ll proceed to do lots of research so I can root for someone. It’s funny, I don’t really watch or pay attention to sports but I love all of the ESPN’s 30 for 30s and have watched the majority of them. Perhaps because they’re story-driven and they highlight some of the most beautiful stories.
It was part of Joy’s Sunday round-up (I love her Sunday reads). Oh man is was depressing. This article is all about dating and being dissatisfied and feeling like there are so many options out there so why would we settle when something better might be around the corner?!
I really think this is why it can be so hard to date in big cities. A lot of people are always in search for the next best thing. That search, that need for constant stimuli, the need for something even better than what you have makes people’s attention span thisbig. Good gracious, how terrible.
I’m convinced that the fastest way to lead a miserable life is to go around constantly wishing you have more. To compare your happiness to another’s and thinking it doesn’t measure up. I know this all too well. It’s a gnawing feeling. It’s the rat race and I’ve recently realized it doesn’t just pertain to our work lives. It can seep into parts of our personal life, too.
For all my single friends, I FEEL YOU I LOVE YOU STAY STRONG! To people who are in good relationships questioning, Are they good enough?! They probably are. Let’s talk about salad. (Don’t worry, I’ll have a cheese dish soon.)
Lately I’ve been in search of warmth of all kinds. I’ll call my mom and listen to her ramble on about her day because I like the sound of her voice regardless of what she’s actually saying.
I’m currently obsessed with Amelia’s warm chubby paws. She has soft hair growing in between the pads of them hat sometimes the groomer trims down, but I sort of like when he forgets and it grows super long. The warmest of places is the corner of Josh’s shoulder where I retreat after a particularly terrible day. No place feels warmer.
And the thing I want to eat when it’s cold and damp and sucky is this bowl of green pozole. It comes from Ashley Rodriguez’s new book, Date Night In, which is a super pretty book all about my favorite day of the week: DATE NITE.