Tuesday, June 25, 2013

D-Way Vacay

A couple of weeks ago J&I went to Siesta Key, Florida with his family for a little "D-Way Vacay". It was relaxing and a great time!
We flew in to Tampa & drove over to St Petersburg for lunch. As we parked, I had flashbacks of 2008 and one of my first work trips I had been on. My bestie from college had met me to extend our trip - it was a blast!
Have I ever told you my love for trees? Well the trees along the St Petersburg harbor are one of a kind (probably not, but they are in my book!)
So of course, I got JoJo to climb the tree with me to recreate a pic I have from many moons before
After lunch (which was super yummy!) we all piled in the minivan and drove our way to Siesta Key (right outside of Sarasota).
My MIL found a great condo a few hundred yards from the beach - we were able to go downstairs and walk over to the beach whenever we liked. It was fantastic!
We had beach cruisers to get around and with town being not but a block from us, it was absolutely perfect! The girls did yoga on the beach one morning, we had many delicious nights out to dinner, stumbled on Beer Olympics in a bar one night & just really enjoyed some relaxing with the fam.

Our last night there, the sunset was gorgeous! We did a HH right on the beach and it was perfect!

We unfortunately came home to 1/3 of a tree down in the backyard, so instead of relaxing like we had planned... we were chopping up a tree - but there are definitely worse things that could happen!
Ready for another vacation ASAP!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

High Five (ish) for Friday! (6.21.13)

Its always good when you don't know the date to label your post - such is life these days!
Linking up with Lauren today to share whats been going on this week!
We got home from our Dway Vacay on Thursday (more on that next week) and on Friday enjoyed one last day of being off work with the bestests.
My has an obsession with these babies (& of course, I mean that in the least creepy way possible!)
 A pic of all the girls - fav!

Saturday we celebrated sweet Landon's 2nd birthday
Its crazy how time flies! All of the sweet babes were there - its going to be so fun to see this bunch of kiddos grow up together!
Sunday we attempted to celebrate this crazy guy for Fathers Day

J&I set up an impromptu brunch, complete with a mimosa and bloody mary bar; however if you know anything about old Scotty Potty, is if there is a project to be done - that takes priority!

He may not have partaken in our waffles, bacon, or beverage bars, but he did get my dining room table project started and enjoyed a few cold ones afterwards!
Since we didn't make waffles Sunday - we enjoyed Chicken and Waffles on Monday night (Max's Wine Dive Style - with Champagne!)
I love peonies - J put them all around the house this week. Such a nice hubby!
I went to the Rangers game this week with my work girls - Can we call these team building and go weekly????
I got my hair done this week... I may have told you before, my mom is my hair dresser... she doesn't really ask what I want. I said trim, she heard inches - Luckily for her I don't care either way - 5 years ago there would have been a severe crying meltdown :)
Looking forward to the weekend - & sorta wishing that it was a summer break instead of just a few days... oh, growing up is over-rated!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

30 Before 20 Update (May)

May.... Did I even have a May??? My May was spent working like a crazy, so very few updates to share...

1. Go Ice Skating

2. Roll my own sushi

3. Create a cookbook of favorite recipes

4. Shoot a gun (properly)

5. Successfully bake at least 1 dessert

6. Complete a 5k

7. Do a grape stomp

8. Send at least 12 hand-written notes/cards/random gifts
- (2) April

9. Have 4 day/night dates with my momma
- Had a date day with Nana & My Mom for Nana's birthday. (April)
10. Volunteer at least twice

11. Do a photo wall in the house

13. Read at least 12 books this year
-1. Bridesmaid Lotto
-2. Gamble on Engagement
-3. The Wedding Wager
-4. Savannah Blues
-5. Spring Fever

My MIL Suggested that I read Touch & Go... it was another good, easy read! I plan on looking for more books by Lisa Gardner for the beach!
-6. Touch & Go
-7. Dark Places (read this on the way to Rome! Same author as Gone Girl)

14. Have a picnic

16. Buy bikes and ride often Well I didn't buy a bike yet however I did do a bike tour through Rome... so it sorta counts for now, right??


17. Go rock climbing

18. Bowl over 150

20. Go to a movie alone

21. Go camping

22. Make homemade pasta  

23. Do 5 kind things for strangers
- One kind thing accomplished (April)
24. Write our will

25. Ride a train

26. Girls only vacation/trip

27. Learn sign language

28. See a meteor shower

29. See 3 movies in a theatre with my hubby
-1 - The Croods

30. Try a new fruit or vegetable

BONUS: Indoor Skydiving

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sunday Sauce

In case I haven't pronounced my ♥ for Filomena in DC, let me tell ya - its the best Italian I have ever had - this includes Rome, people. ITALY.
When you walk into the restaurant the Pasta Mamas are making their legit pasta... love, love, love.
My love for Italian food really drove me to add "Make homemade pasta" to my 30 Before 30 list - and thus far, I think it was my favorite task I have done. (Building a fort is definitely a close second... maybe we need to make homemade pasta and build a fort... oh, the possibilities)
Anywhoooo... Last Friday morning I grocery shopped to get ready for our pasta night. I found the recipe in a Gourmet Pasta Magazine that I picked up in the airport. I am so thankful I randomly picked it up - it was perfect, a beat down, but perfect!
So I will share the Sunday Ragu recipe with yall & show you my fab photos as we go along
Lets get to business - I wont lie, I spent 9 hours in my kitchen... worth it, but it this was not a short thing we have going on here... :)
If you aren't interested in the recipe (ITS LOOOOONG) at least scroll down to see my final product, its worth it. I promise.
Sunday Ragu
For the Tomato Sauce:
5 (28oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion (finely chopped)
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 bay leaf
For Beef Braciole:
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
3oz thinly sliced pancetta (finely chopped)
1 1/2 lb beef top round, cut across grain into
         1/4-inch slices
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4lb ground beef chuck
3/4lb ground veal
3/4lb ground pork
3 cloves (minced)
1 3/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
For Meatballs & other Meats:
Reserved meats from polpette recipe (and reserved
1/2 cup olive oil for frying, divided
1lb sweet Italian sausage links
1lb hot Italian sausage links
1 1/2lb boneless pork should, cut into 2inch pieces
2lb country style pork ribs
Holy crap, you get all that?!
The hubs got home from work, and jumped right into the kitchen to help a sista out - he was a wonderful sous chef
Here we go....
Make Polpettes:
- Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Add meats, garlic, cheese, eggs, parsley. 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to bread crumb mixture and blend with your hands until combined (do not overmix). Form 1 1/2 cups meat mixture into small torpedo shaped meatballs (1 level tbsp. each)
- reserve remaining 4 cups meat mixture for ragu
Make the Tomato Sauce:
- Pulse tomatoes with juice (1 can at a time) in a
blender until almost smooth
- Heat oil in a wide 10-12 quart pot over medium/high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onion until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.
- Add tomato puree, bay leaf, and 1/2tsp salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, 40-45 minutes.
- Discard bay leaf
Make Braciole:
- Make while sauce simmers
- Stir together garlic, parsley, pecorino romano, and pancetta.
- Pound top round to 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with a meat pounder
- Spoon the parsley mixture evenly over beef cutlets
- Starting with the short side, roll up cutlets and tie each end with string to make braciole (I used toothpicks)
Make Meatballs & Cook Meats:
- Form reserved meat mixture into balls (about 16; using a 1/4 cup measure)
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Season Braciole with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and brown well in 2 batches. About 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a shallow pan
- Add 2 tbsp. oil to skillet and brown sausage in 2 batches. About 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to pan with braciole.
- Pat pork shoulder dry and season with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp of oil to skillet and brown pork shoulder all over. About 5 minutes. Transfer to pan.
- Pat pork ribs dry and season with 1/2 tsp season and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add remaining 2 tbsp. of oil to skillet and brown ribs well in two batches. About 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to pan.
- Heat reserved oil from polpette in skillet over medium heat until shimmers. Fry meatballs in 2 batches turning ocassionally, until well browned. About 6 minutes per batch. Tranfser to paper towels for slotted spoon.
Finish Ragu:
- Return sauce to a simmer and carefully add all meats and juices. Simmer partially covered, gently stirring occasionally. Until all meats are tender, about 2 1/4 hours.
So now you have a sauce... lets move on to your pasta, shall we???
We made fettuccine but next time I think that we will try some soft of ravioli
Unbleached all-purpose flour
Semolina (a type of flour)
Large Eggs (5)
- Whisk together flour and semolina, then mound on a large work surface. Make a well in center and add eggs and 1/2 tsp salt to well.
- Gradually stir enough flour into eggs to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in wall of well.
As you can see... I broke the wall - and they still turned out, so don't be discouraged :)
- Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form a dough.
- Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
- Cover dough with an inverted bowl and let dough rest for 1 hour.
- Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle; cover rectangles with bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting.
- Lightly dust 1 rectangle with flour and feed through rollers. Fold rectangle in thirds and feed it, short end first, through rollers 7/8 more times, folding it in thirds each time.
- turn dial to next setting and feed dough through rollers without folding. continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, until you reach the second to narrowest setting. Dough will be a smooth sheet. Cut sheet in half crosswise.
- Lay sheets of dough on lightly floured baking sheets to dry until leathery but still pliable, about 15 minutes.
- Roll out remaining pieces of dough in same manner.
- Attach fettuccine blades to pasta machine. Feed one end of driest pasta sheet into cutters, holding other end straight up, then catch strips from underneath machine before sheet goes completely through rollers and gently lay across floured baking sheets. Repeat with remaining sheets of pasta.
- Let pasta dry for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
I wont lie - this took serious teamwork :)
- Cook fettuccine in a 6-8 quart pot in well salted boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain.
That last step seems like a duh moment, right? Well, its bolded and underlined for good reason. I let my sous chef drain our noods....
Sooooo 9 hours later (& thankfully a bottle of wine later too) the below was my meal.... I think my husband owes me some homemade noods... what do you think?
I can assure you though, the meatball was worth the 9 hours...
Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Weekend Thangs

This weekend was full. But all thangs were fun, so I dont mind the busy.
Friday, I took off from work did some grocery shopping in the morning and then met my faves for lunch. The Bestest & I are both gyro obsessed, and we hadnt met for one in quite some time, so we took the opportunity to give in to our craving. It was so good to catch up & of course see those precious babes.

These outtakes made me laugh... I think the grown ups enjoy the "sugars" more than the babes.

That afternoon/night I made "Sunday Sauce" and homemade pasta. One more thing off the 30 Before 30 List... Stay tuned later this week for the deets.

Saturday I celebrated Baby Bischoff with co-workers.. cannot wait to meet the sweet girl & finally learn her name!
Saturday night we went to an old roomie's wedding. Love Glenn (yes, *gasp* I lived with boys) and Kathleen! the wedding was perfect, Kathleen looked gorgeous & they are the sweetest couple! Looking forward to them moving to the metroplex at the end of the month

Gotta love an aggie wedding (aggie war hymn) Whoop!
My parents had yet to meet the twins, so Sunday the Masseys came over and we just BBQ'd and hung out. It was perfect weather for the day. So thankful to have such great friends. (just wish we lived closer!!)

I love baby with beer pictures & her fridge face  :)
By Sunday night J was oh.so.ready to get home and relax.... he was a big brat! BUUUUT the weekend was a blast & I loved spending time with so many people that we love!
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