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Thai Beef is one of our favorite go-to meals.
To say we love it is an understatement.
Tonight, it was either Take Out…or Thai Beef. 
Without the beef, seeing as I was out.
We chose to give it a whirl with chicken instead, and it turned out just great!
So after we put the bambina to bed, we took ourselves out to the deck to enjoy a relaxing Friday evening.
The weather was just perfect, the food delicious, and the company fabulous.


Here’s the recipe we use.
The changes I make:
1) I do NOT use Fish Sauce.  Blech.  I use an Asian dipping sauce from Trader Joe’s called “Gyoza” instead.  It is much better in our opinion.
2) I double the sauce.  We’re sauce people.  What can I say?

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice
by: Martha Stewart Everyday Food

1 1/4 c. Jasmine Rice
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
Coarse Salt
2 TBSP plus 1 tsp fish sauce (substitute this with something better if you don’t like fish sauce)
2 TBSP plus 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP canola oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
1 1/4 lb. ground beef sirloin (you can use turkey, lamb, pork or chicken too)
1 c. loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
lime wedges for serving

1) in a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 c. water, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.
2) When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
3) Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over High. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges. Voila!


Trust me – you want to make these Smoky Beef Tacos.
1 – easy.
2 – super yummy and bursting with flavor.
3 – easy.


They’ve got a bit of a kick, but you can adjust that by adding more or less of the chipotle chiles.  Sour cream and avocados help too.
I cooked mine at 375 degrees for 2 hrs.
I love throwing dinner in the oven and forgetting about it for 2 hrs.
Seriously.  One of the best recipes we’ve tried in a while!

Sausage + Spinach + Sweet Pepper Rice + Spicy Bread

It couldn’t be simpler.
Chop up the veggies. 


Fry (or grill) up the links.



Broil the bread.

And toss the spinach with dressing.

Easy as pie.
(Which is not that easy in reality.  Unless it’s pumpkin.) 

Italian Sausage with Sweet-pepper Rice and Spinach
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
serves: 4

Long-grain brown rice
1 lb. hot Italian poultry sausage (we used a chicken-turkey mix)
Olive oil
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
2 medium bell peppers (any color), chopped finely
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
coarse salt + ground pepper
6 oz. baby spinach
dressing of choice (we used a Greek Vinaigrette from Wegman’s and loved it) 

Slices of fresh, crusty bread
Seasonings: Extra virgin olive oil, coarse salt, crushed red pepper, garlic powder

1) Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside.
2) Fry sausage in a large skillet until cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove from pan and keep warm.
3) Add olive oil to the hot skillet and sauté onion, sprouts and bell peppers until soft and browned.  Add cooked rice to the pan and toss together.  Season well with salt and pepper.
4) In a medium bowl, toss spinach with dressing.  Set aside.
5) For the bread: brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, crushed red pepper, Italian Seasoning and garlic powder.  Broil for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
6) Slice the sausage and serve with rice, bread and salad.  Enjoy!


Because if you feed your husband bacon, things will go well for you.

We ate this while we went over the items on my Moleskine Discussion List for the day, and things could not have gone more smoothly!  Of course, logic would point out that it could have been another factor besides the bacon, but I figure it could only have helped. ;) 

I suggest you try it. 

This meal in particular is wonderful because it is quick and easy.  I came home from work tonight wanting to do nothing but eat chocolate covered pretzels.  In case you’re wondering, that means I wished I lived in a magical world where cook fairies whip up dinner in a flash.  But once I realized that that simply would not do, I pulled out my recipe book and was delighted to remember how simple this recipe was.  Dinner was on the table in half an hour.  Definitely worth adding to your repertoire for Chocolate-Covered-Pretzel-Nights. 

Lemony Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto
Martha Stewart Everyday Food

coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 lb. cheese tortellini (frozen or fresh)
10 oz. frozen peas
2 TBSP olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped (we use BACON!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook tortellini until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 c. pasta water.  Add peas to pot; drain pasta mixture and set aside.

2) In the same pot, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat; add garlic and prosciutto (or BACON!).  Cook, stirring frequently until browned and cooked.  (If using bacon, drain the grease after done cooking.)

3) Add pasta mixture, pasta water, 1 TBSP oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.

So.  I did not make those glorious Cinnamon-Bun Pancakes after all.

I opted for something a little healthier.  If, in fact, pancakes can be called healthy.

Cinnamon Oat Pancakes.  And let me tell you…they were yummo!!!  We have found a keeper recipe.  AND they have 2 c. of rolled oats in them and I used half whole wheat flour to up the fiber and whole grain value even more.  Which, once they’re topped with butter and maple syrup, not sure how much good I’ve done, but they tasted delicious so I figured every little bit helps!  And I didn’t feel as though I was sacrificing flavor.


Now, you should know something about me.  I stink at flipping pancakes.  As you can see from the picture below.  My mom even got me a pancake flipper for one of my birthday gifts this past year, and while it definitely helps, I suppose some talent is still needed.  I seem to not possess that talent.


Fortunately, once they were slathered in butter and drenched in Maple Syrup (not pancake syrup……) the shape didn’t matter at all.  And the bonus?  They’re EXTREMELY filling, so you don’t need to eat a lot to feel satisfied.


I could definitely see myself making a big batch of the batter on a Sunday and then just frying up cakes throughout the week as we needed them.  It would be super easy and we could still have hot breakfast on a busy morning!  I like that idea.

Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes (Martha Stewart Everyday Food)

2 c. all=purpose flour (I used 1 c. stone-ground whole wheat, 1 c. white)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. milk
2 large eggs
1/4 vegetable oil (you could easily sub applesauce here)

1) In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1 c. oats and pulse a few times to coarsely grind oats.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and oil.  Add dry ingredients and 1 c. oats and whisk until just moistened.

2) heat a large skillet or a griddle over medium heat.  Lightly oil skillet.  Drop batter in skillet and cook until a few bubbles have burst.  Flip and cook until browned and cooked through.

So what do you do when you’ve accumulated years of issues of Martha Stewart, Everyday Food, and Real Simple and you no longer know where to find that awesome idea you saw….once….in one of those issues……in September?  Of 2007?  Maybe?DSC05037 

You ORGANIZE!  Because that is the solution to ALL of life’s problems! 😉

See, I don’t like all the ideas I see in these wonderful magazines.  Only some.  And I tried post-it flags, but that proved to be a fruitless effort.  I simply transitioned from flipping through thousands of pages to searching through hundreds of tabs.  And I could never find what I needed.  At least not in a timely fashion (which means…I wanted to cook that recipe I saw BEFORE 10 o’clock at night.)

So I went out to Barnes & Noble and picked up these Moleskines.  Can you tell it snowed today and I had plenty of time to find more ways to organize my life?

I gave them three categories:

1) Hospitality & Presents – gift and entertaining ideas

2) Food – recipes that either we would eat or that I would make for events

3) Home Life – household tips + decorating & organization ideas

And then I decorated them.  Because they were a boring cardboard brown and needed some lovin’.  And, again, because it snowed today.

DSC05053 DSC05055 DSC05057

So, it’s SIMPLE!  When I go through an issue, I clip what I want to try and leave what I don’t.  Then, using photo tabs, I paste them in the book along with any notes I may have.  Such as which of the following chicken ideas Michael would eat for lunch.  I convinced him pesto was a good thing, but had no such luck when it came to parmesan cheese.  (The extra space also comes in handy if you want to write any helpful hints you discover along the way of trying out your new idea.)



Never again will I have to page through tons of gross recipes that make me gag (remember, I’m pregnant, pot stickers, for example, make me want to lose it all…) and waste eons of time searching for that one tablescape I saw for Easter in….2008???

I admit, it’s a bit time consuming to get it up and running.  But if that dissuades you, try doing it while your husband reads to you by a fire, or while you watch 27 Dresses, or while you ignore the chores that pile up and up and up.  And drink tea.  Plenty of tea.  And pray to God that it snows.  🙂

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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