One whole year

We did it!  Rory and I celebrated our year anniversary yesterday.  A year!  It went by so quickly and it has been so fabulous.  Everyone asks what has changed since we’ve been married and the truth of it is not much. We have been together for almost 10 years and you get to know a person pretty well over the course of 10 yrs.  We’ve lived together for most of our relationship so there aren’t really any secrets we have to discover.  I hope I don’t sound cynical about it, I just feel like we’re pretty solid.  Of course we change over time but when you’re best friends with someone and know them so well, you sort of shift and change with them.  There’s a great deal of acceptance in our relationship – we both respect who the other person is and what they want in life and appreciate the changes that come about.  I would have to say that the coolest thing about being married is, well, just that…you’re married. I have a husband.  I am someone’s wife.  I think we both look forward to being a mom and a dad and that day will come eventually.  We’re pretty happy being permanent girlfriend and boyfriend.

Now – on to food! We had some people over to watch the SEC game this weekend (Univ. South Carolina vs Vandy), Rory wanted finger foods…I’m not great at apps so I made meatball sandwiches!  They were very filling and very tasty, unfortunately, for me I had eaten too much cheese and couldn’t eat all of my sandwich.  I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog.  I kinda love him.  We read all of his tips and ideas for our trip to Paris and I think some friends even went to some of his restaurant recommendations!  I doubled the meat…you don’t have to unless you are serving a lot of people.

Meatball Sandwiches
45 Meatballs – 8 to 12 sandwiches
Inspired by a recipe on David Lebowitz’s blog!

Tomato sauce
2 medium onions, peeled and minced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups (35 oz) canned crushed or diced tomatoes, along with their juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
one bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Meatballs
1 large onion, peeled and minced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound (450g) ground beef (not too lean)
1 pound (450g) ground pork
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (25g) grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup (15g) chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
3/4 cup milk

Additional ingredients
salt and black pepper, for seasoning the onions
Mozzarella or provolone cheese
Bouncy Rolls or Crusty Italian or French bread

Tomato Sauce
1. Sauté the two minced onions in a good pour of olive oil in a Dutch oven or very large saucepan, season with a little salt and a few turns of black pepper, stirring frequently, about 3-5m. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are completely soft and translucent,
2. Add the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, the bay leaf and the sugar, and let simmer over low heat, stirring everyone so often. You can simmer for 10-12 m then set aside but I just kept mine on low until I needed it.

Meatballs
1. Sauté the onion in some olive oil in a large skillet, seasoning with a bit of salt and black pepper, stirring frequently, about 3-5m. Add the garlic, and cook until the onions are completely soft and translucent. Remove from heat, scrape into a large bowl, and let cool to room temperature. (I did this step first first before tomato sauce!)
2. To the onion bowl, add the ground beef and pork, the eggs, cheese, parsley, herbs, 2 teaspoons salt, a few generous turns of black pepper, the breadcrumbs, and the milk. Time to get dirty and use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly. This, for me, is the best part – I love touching my food makes it more of an entire process.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease them with olive oil.
4. Form meatballs a little smaller than size of a ping pong ball and place them evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Find the bay leaf in your sauce and remove it and slowly add all of your meatballs to the sauce.
5. Heat the sauce with the meatballs in it until everything is warmed through. If the sauce is very thick, it can be thinned with a bit of warm water.

Making the Sandwiches!
1. Take whatever type of bread you decided on and cut it open almost all the way through. Slice some of the meatballs in half and put them between the bread, pressing down with a fork to meld them with the bread. Top with slices of cheese and heat in a hot oven (about 400ºF), or under a broiler, until the cheese melts. (We didn’t do this step, though I wish we had! So, you should defiantly do it.)

So, so good. I hope you enjoy these with wonderful company! xo

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caffeine withdrawal?

I stopped drinking coffee, cold turkey, on Friday.  I had been limiting my caffeine intake for a little under a week and then just decided to do it – throw it all in.  Man that headache.  I mean, MAN that headache.  It was so bad.  We were sitting at the airport and I couldn’t handle it so I went and grabbed some dark chocolate – I know this is cheating, but I had to do something to at least ease it off a little. This helped, but not by much.  I drank a ton of water and once we landed in Vegas and got settled, I was finally feeling a little better.  I guess I should be thankful that it didn’t really get much worse.  The net day I just drank tea and a lot of water, there was a semi-dull headache but nothing intolerable. Then next day was easier, and then the next…I’ll admit I snuck a sip of jasmine tea when Rory went to the restroom at dinner the other night!

Tea.  I think I’ll try to make herbal tea my thing. Or shrubs (drinking vinegar). I had a ginger molasses shrub this morning at breakfast and it was SO good. I might try to make some for myself but I need more quart mason jars! I like the idea of preserving things, not to mention its good for the gut.  An old friend from high school, who I recently re-connected with in LA, said that apple cider vinegar also helps get rid of the candida in your colon or gut! I didn’t know this was a thing; and I wonder if many people I know suffer from candida overgrowth!  In order to reduce the candida overgrowth in my household – I might turn to shrubs.  Rory and I both are trying to cut back of drinking booze, so this might be a nice addition!

I also made 4 different types of overnight oatmeal yesterday.  So tasty!  And, so easy. I started here and made a few of her versions! I’ll let you know if I like them or not!

For dinner last night I made an easy lemon and garlic chicken thigh, a simple salad and farro w. mushrooms and herbs!  The farro was delish, almost like risotto. Below is the recipe for you.  I will say that this is a very rich dish, so I would serve it with something very light and fresh.  The chicken thighs felt a little rich too – it was a good dinner but could have had a grilled fish or a big fresh salad and would have been even better!

Farro w. Wild Mushrooms and Herbs
adapted from epicurious
serves 4 small servings

ingredients
2 C semi-pearled faro
Kosher salt
2 T (or more) olive oil
4 C (8oz) assorted mushroom (I just went to Whole Foods and picked up a trio medley, you can really use ANY kind!), cut into 1 in. pieces
Freshly ground pepper
1 C low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/4 C (1/2 sitck) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley (who uses curly parsley anymore!?)
2 T chopped chives
2 T chopped thyme
a few grates of fresh Parmesan

directions
1) Cook farro in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, let cool, and set aside. (DO AHEAD: Farro can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

2) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers (the oil needs to be very hot to crisp the mushrooms). Working in batches, add a single layer of mushrooms to skillet. Cook, turning once, until crisp and cooked through, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; season with salt and pepper.

3) Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add farro and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Season farro with salt and pepper. Add butter and stir vigorously to combine and create a creamy texture. Add the parmesan. Add mushrooms, parsley, chives, and thyme; stir just to evenly incorporate. Serve immediately.