Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween Party!

So I’m really not one of those folks who gets uber excited about Halloween and what sort of costume I can make/sew/conjure/create…I’m just not 1. that crafty or 2. really that interested. All you folks out there who can create amazing costumes and totally bring Halloween to life, I tip my hat to you.

It was sheer anxiety the last month or so in the Vizuete/Kaffenberger household becasue the magazine I work for was holding its 2nd annual halloween/Patron Party and I had to go. The horror of it all, let me tell you. So after multiple days of staring at the laptop looking for “couple’s costumes”, I was just about to throw in the towel when I decided to take a little break. One morning, at about 4.15 (my husband works way too early every other week and I somehow manage to wake myself up at the same time as him) as I was staring at my ceiling wide awake, it came to me: Julia Child!!

Yes my friends, I went as Julia Child. I thought I pulled it off pretty well (well, other than being hispanic and really brown because of our beach weekend and I’m only 5ft 6…and a half) but alas, I did not gauge my audience and a lot of people kept looking at me like I was the one catering the party.

Oh well. It was fun creating the costume and especially a great memory as both my husband and father helped me put it all together.

Here’s to better luck next year. Maybe…

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Where has the time gone?

Wow– It seems like FOREVER since I last blogged. Bad, bad, jen! In my defense, my father has been visiting us from Phoenix, Arizona (Avondale actually) and all my spare time has been spent with him. Sorry gang! He came to town because I conned invited him to do this awesome half marathon with my husband and me in Apalachicola, Florida. And yes, that is how i phrased the conversation to him months ago– an AWESOME half marathon! But in all seriousness: can a half marathon really be “awesome? 13.1 miles of running. Just running. And over a bridge. Twice. With views of the beautiful Apalachicola Bay, just harkening you to kick off your running shoes and take your tired body into the blue sparkling water…Or at least that’s what was running through my delirious mind when we hit mile 10-ish.

All in all it was a pretty good run…being I only really trained for about 4.2 miles. BUT I ended up running about 6.5 almost 7 miles so that was HUGE for me. The other 6+ miles weren’t pretty but I’m so thankful for my dad and James for keeping the atmosphere light and helping me through it. Yes gang– I am not a runner but I so do look the part! HAHA! I do think  I am more cut out for 5 and 10k’s!

we finished and we were all smiles! (knowing we won’t have to do another for a LOOOOONG time!)

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Finishers!!                                                  Second time back over the bridge!

My father has been doing some “cooking” of his own by raiding my pepper garden. Of all the veggies I planted in the spring, my habanero, bell, and banana pepper plants are just thriving! So he decided to make LOTS of aji, which is a south American-style pico de gallo. YUM! OH– and he has also raided my lime tree, which bears an orange colored fruit that tastes like a Mandarin crossed with a lime.

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Dad’s special aji recipe

Along with brutal half marathons and spicy as heck aji, we’ve also gone to the beach every weekend. It really is a treat living so close to the Gulf! And we always make it a point to make sure we are able to take my dad a few times when he’s here. And this past weekend was picture-perfect!

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Mexico Beach/Port St. Joe. Husband trying his hand at net fishing.

So that’s pretty much what’s been going on with me. Unfortunately no Julia cooking has happened the last few weeks but I am channeling Julia heavily this week and I am planning on doing her stuffed leg of Lamb on Thursday. So stay tuned.

An Homage to Julia . . .

I am a fan of Julia Child. I love what she stood for, I love the passion which she had for food and I loved her quirky voice. Most of all, though, I have an affinity for her flair for writing and her thought process. She has provided the culinary world with many magnificent quotes, some of which have appeared here on Bon Vivant as Foodisms (see below for Julia Child quotes featured as Foodisms) and many, many more that give rise to the greatness that was Julia. Her words were as savory as her culinary masterpieces. Her status is legendary . . . but then again, you already knew that.

Julia Child left this world in August 2004. If she were still alive today, she would have celebrated her 101st birthday this past August 15. Even though she is no longer with us, there’s so much of her that…

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JULIA!

oh Julia…So yes- I am one of those crazy foodies who is absolutely in love with Julia Child. Not that I have ever met her or anything but after the movie _Julie & Julia_ came out I was OBSESSED. And it wasn’t really the movie that put me over the edge but rather just the influence Julia Child has had on (most) of the cooking world. Ok- maybe some. I guess the movie just really sparked my interest in it all to a whole other level being that I was really getting into the cooking thing.

So fast forward a few years and I ended up reading a few books by Julia and others about her. And that also helped my fascination grow of her. So here I was living in Dothan, Alabama (a relocation from Phoenix, Arizona) and I was planning our wedding (which was happening in St. Louis, Missouri) and I didn’t have a job because I was lazy traveling to St. Louis every moth for a week at a time getting all the details together and finalized. Hey- I think it was a fabulous excuse. 😉 To pass the time and add some more interesting things in my life, I decided to cook through Julia’s cookbook. Albeit I was not as ambitious as Julie Powell to do it all in a year but figured I could knock out a recipe a week. And let me tell you…spending on average 3-5 hours making one dish was absolute heaven to me! And made me really not want to have a job anytime soon.

So fast forward to 2013 and wouldn’t you know it, I got a job: part-time at Dothan Magazine as the assistant to the owner and also in charge of distribution. While this is a part-time gig I don’t get home till almost 5pm and cooking a 3+ hour meal just really wasn’t happening. See– I’m really not that committed. PLUS- when the husband is working mornings he normally heads to bed at 8 so we need to eat early-ish. So needless to say, Julia got shelved. So I tried cooking on the weekends but that sometimes didn’t work either due to beach time. And more beach time. Did I mention we live 90 minutes away from the beach? Lovely perk for living in an itty bitty town!

Another reason for this blog about food was because a good friend of mine who I worked for and with while at ASU, Paige, posted one day on Facebook that I should blog about my Julia nights of cooking. Whenever I would do a Julia recipe I’d post about it onFacebook. It seemed like a great idea– so here we are. Along with my recommitment to blogging regularly, I am also committing to doing a weekly Julia blog.

My dad is in town this week so I will definitely be doing a Julia recipe. Oh what oh what should I do…Chicken? Beef? Lamb? hhhhmmmm….

Ps- I’ll be keeping a list of all the recipes I have done so far as well as the ones I’ll be doing from this point on. If I can find the recipes online I will also post a link but you can always refer to her fabulous cookbook!

Bon Appetit!

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Fresh Rosemary and Oregano from my garden

Trials and Tribulations

So I know this has absolutely nothing to do with cooking or food, but I’m sitting in my kitchen planning out what to nom nom on for the weekend and babies come to mind. A bit of background: Husband and I were married in April of 2012. We quickly jumped on the “having a baby” bandwagon as we are not spring chickens. We were blessed with a pregnancy in November of 2012 (YEA!) but miscarried December 29th. Since then we have not been so lucky. Turns out I have a thyroid issue (on meds), a genetic mutation (mthfr – on meds) and I wasn’t ovulating regularly (now on clomid) – OH MY! Nothing like hearing what is all wrong with you to make you feel less than stellar. Oh- and did I mention I’m 35? 😉

So after a week of “feeling” pregnant, turns out I’m not. So off to round 5 of clomid and we are now going to see an Infertility specialist in a few weeks. (Note: I like saying “we”…doesn’t feel like it’s JUST me. hee hee)

So I guess this brings up the whole reasoning for a partial portion of the blog. When we (the husband and me) thought about creating a blog (that I would write in) was when I was pregnant. So the idea was to chronicle my pregnancy AS I continued cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and how those two worlds join – as I know of many o people who had food aversions. But alas- that idea never did come to fruition.

So if i could impart on you, I’d still like to chronicle our journey, but as “trying”to get pregnant, instead of “we ARE pregnant”. We are coping and I must say that we have had very heartfelt conversation since I seem to be reproductively challenged. It’s amazing how such bad circumstances can entwine a copule closer. So the “talk” you may ask about? We did marry each other with having the end result be children. Yes. we both want children. No. It does not define us. We have an amazing life right now (YES- even in Dothan, Alabama) and while children will only increase how amazing our world would and could be, I am pretty certain that if it is not our cards, we’ll still have a pretty fantastic and wonderful life. And I really, truly believe this.

Does it suck- all the “failures”? Sure. But I’m getting the place now where I know I am doing everything we can do and what ever happens, will happen. We live each day to the fullest and that’s all we can keep doing. And this whole things really makes you think about what REALLY is important in your life: an idea/longing/hope or what is right in front of you creating an happy, fabulous, amazing life: my husband.  Have i ever mentioned that I really do have an amazing husband who supports me through every trial and tribulation, hot mess, laugh-out-loud-, ‘only my wife’, ‘at least she’s cute’ moment WE have gone through? Oh yea– definitely a keeper.

So anyway- this is my world right now. I’m not one to dwell on negative things but just thought I’d bring you up to speed. Check in later because I am sure it will be different!

Carpe Diem!

Planning ahead day….

so I didn’t sleep very last night, which meant I spent a good majority of the morning on the couch, curled up with our (surrogate dog) Sonny, basically vegging out- and watching Law & Order! I did, however, have the motivation to create a menu for the next 7 days. Yea ME! So after a bit of nap through an episode with that new lawyer guy (instead of Jack McCoy)– because those are really the best– I finally made it to the grocery store. Does anyone out there take absolute pleasure in going grocery shopping? I do. And let me tell you–I’ve been missing my grocery time! What’s also funny is the deli guys know me as the “meat butter” girl. I normally get prosciutto di parma (which goes for about $26 a pound) on Friday’s for the pizzas I normally make at home. One day I was getting some and the deli guy asked another patron if he’d like to try some and GASP– the guy said he’d never had prosciutto. My deli guy proceeded to explain to him that it tasted like “meat butter”. Is there a better description of it?! I think NOT. So I was getting some Mortadella today and the two constant deli guys BOTH asked if i was getting some “meat butter” today. I like being a regular!

So now I am sitting in my kitchen (on the wonderful stool my hubby thought I would enjoy pondering on) preparing about 3 different dishes…for the next 3 days. It’s a gorgeous day but a bit too hot so I figured I’d catch up on my meal planning. I have a menu – YEA! – and I have all the ingredients, save a few perishables that i’ll pick up later in the week. 

So what have i been preparing? My husband, James, will be on the early shift this coming week (meaning show time at 5.15 am) so I’m getting his breakfast burritos ready for the week. I prepare them ahead of time and them freeze them. Tomorrow I will be doing a Julia Child recipe so i had to get the meat marinating today. And then I so loved the lamb we had the other night so I figured we’d do lamb kabobs tonight, which are also marinating away. 

So that lamb from the other night…I admit that I have been very scared of lamb over the years. Which is odd because I love LOVE gyros! I figured I’d broaden my horizons! I found lamb shoulder chops at my local supermarket and went looking for a recipe. I found one from Martha Stewart (you can find the recipe under my recipes tab) that also included an aioli. While the aioli looked great, I wasn’t in the mood to make it. But the ingredients looked great. So I sorta took the herbs from the aioli and put em towards the lamb. In the morning I chopped up some oregano, thyme, and rosemary (from my little bitty garden) and combined those with some garlic, salt and pepper. I threw everything in a plastic bag with the lamb chops and added some olive and red wine. A bit different than the recipe.

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I wasn’t in the mood for firing up the grill so instead i fired up the indoor grill pan. Love it! I grilled off the lamb and let me tell you– the aroma from the marinade was amazing. I was feeling a bit daring so I cooked it to a medium rare and it was divine! I also made red quinoa to go with it as well as some roma tomatoes with a balsamic and oil vinaigrette topped off with basil and feta. YUM! 

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I was very impressed by the lamb. It was tender and the marinade was perfectly balanced to really bring out the flavor of the lamb. I think next time I need to add a bit more salt and maybe a little heat to the party. But it was pretty darn good!

Pizza Friday was a nod to one of the first homemade pizzas I did: Fig, prosciutto, oven roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella (pearls). This time I added some Fontina cheese for some extra ooey gooey goodness! I’m pretty sure I overload it but I can’t help myself. I used a bit less pizza dough to make it more of a thin crust and yea, it was good too.

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Lamb again tonight and look out…JULIA CHILD tomorrow!!

 

Totally cheated…

So in addition to slacking on the blog I’ve also been slacking on my cooking. In the past, I’d have the meals planned out for the week, down to the side dish and salad I’d serve alongside. And then I became employed. How working women – and men of course – with children handle everything, including dinner, with grace and creativity really amaze me. I just sometimes want to order a pizza! And it’s not like my job is hard or exhausting. It’s just that I don’t get home till almost 5.00 and anything I REALLY want to make takes over an hour to prepare OR I don’t have the proper ingredients because I haven’t been to the grocery store in two weeks. Ugh.

I have also vowed, in addition to consistent blogging, to be better in the kitchen, well, because this is supposed to musings from my kitchen. So I’m setting a menu this weekend, shopping Saturday morning, and recommitting to fun and fabulous meals.

The cheat meal tonight: sautéed tilapia with store-bought lemon-pepper seasoning. Needless to say, while it ‘nourished’ us it just wasn’t me. I threw the lemon-pepper seasoning out. The corn by the way – roasted in the oven – was sweet and the kernels popped in our mouths!

Here’s to a better dinner tomorrow. Lamb maybe… Stay tuned!

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