Go to Spaghetti

Our go-to for those dinners when you didn’t quite prep but you’re hungry and want a one plate meal is spaghetti.  I try a lot of different spaghetti sauces, because Sprouts usually has various ones on sale.  I have found that the more expensive ones tend to taste better.  However, I also found that Costco sells an organic spaghetti sauce that actually tastes pretty good!  I also found that if I add to store-bought spaghetti sauce, I can make a pretty good tasting spaghetti.  There are a lot of tips on the Internet, and I find myself looking them up every single time.  So I’m going to document what I do this time.

  1. Saute(?) ground turkey until it is browned.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Add whatever aromatics I have to the pan.  Usually this is garlic, and sometimes onion if I have any around.
  3. Add whatever hard veggies I have.  This could be zucchini, carrots, or broccoli.  Today, I didn’t have any to add at this point.  Softer veggies (kale, spinach) go at the end.
  4. Add something alcoholic.  I usually don’t have red wine sitting around, but I do have rice wine.  It seems to do the deglazing trick just the same, and tastes like alcohol to me, so I add a splash of it to the pan.
  5. Add the sauce and meat back in.
  6. Add some spices.  I have dried basil and oregano in my cabinets.  I have some everyday seasoning.  Hmm.  Sure, why not.
  7. By this time, the pasta is probably done.  Add some of the pasta water to the sauce mixture.
  8. Add some sugar.  I only have brown sugar.  It’s going in.
  9. I have some whole milk in the fridge.  I add a little.  Usually I don’t have any.
  10. Let simmer.  Write a blog post.  Simmer for as long as I can.
  11. Add kale.  I added a ton (a whole bunch) so it filled up the pan.  Whoops!  Simmer it down.  Mix it in.
  12. Add some butter at the very end.  All done!

Thoughts:   I think I went a little too strong on the oregano.

Cooking for Guests

I WANT TO CRY.

Today was supposed to be my menu planning day.  Well it is 1:24pm, and here I am, with my bowl of macaroni and cheese, and wondering “What in the world do real adults want to eat?!” and “How am I supposed to make it?!”

Seriously.  Rotisserie chickens and salad, I’m coming for you.

What else?

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of really good food blogs about Hong Kong style food in ENGLISH.  I’ve been thinking about it from time to time, because that is what I grew up on, and now I feel like I have little way of replicating it.  I’ve asked my mom to PLEASE write a recipe book with the stuff she makes for Daddy.  My mom is very health-conscious, especially because my grandparents on both sides have diabetes, and my father has high blood pressure.  This means that everything she makes is low on sugar and salt, two things that are difficult to come by in modern cooking, I think.  We love sugar, and we love salt, and who can blame us?  I can’t say her food is the tastiest food I have ever had, and it would probably never survive in a restaurant setting, but it is home-cooking in all its authenticity and comfort.  Where do you find that?  Not at an expensive Yelper approved restaurant, and probably not on the Internet.  Mother is not tech-savvy, and I suspect many other mothers are the same.  In an age where anything less than a 4.5 star rating makes me wonder if I should even bother trying to cook it, sometimes it’s easier to just get things straight from the source without hearing other’s critiques.  And in an age where anything with a 4.5 star rating often includes heavy whipping cream and other ingredients I don’t have, well….. anyway.  I exaggerate.  The point is.  Mom’s recipes would never make it on the Internet in the way recipes are rated today–primarily by taste–but they make it in the way they make me feel after I eat them.  Healthy and nourished.  Sometimes, the combinations are plumb strange.  Mom has taught me that anything goes, as long as it’s good for the body.  Does it have vitamins?  Does it have protein?  Does it have calcium or is it good for your eyes?  Will it ward off a UTI?  Then you eat it, even if it tastes like liver, or IS liver.  Does it fit in your mouth and is it packed with antioxidants?  Then we’ll fit it in a salad.  Dear Mom, I hope you never see this.

I still aspire to someday be able to churn out amazing tasting food and chop veggies razor thin at lightning speed and be able to survive an episode of Chopped with random and sabotaged ingredients, but seriously, if I could just be like my mom and feed a family of four every day with fresh, healthy food and make it look EASY, that would be pretty awesome too.

News

Recently there has been a lot of bad news circulating, or maybe that’s not recently, but ever since the Facebook newsfeed.  It’s unavoidable for me on that medium.  Makes me wonder about my Internet homepage and whether I should change the links on it.  It reminds me of when I used to check my own blog a lot.  It makes me sad about society.  More than sad.  A bad feeling in the stomach.  Like wanting to throw up.  I know I should probably stop being shocked over things, but I still get shocked even after living on this earth for a little while.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes.

Recently I’ve been going through a shopping craze.  And by that I mean, adding things to a shopping cart online and not going through with it after reading reviews from the BBB.  I mean browsing through hundreds of pictures of dresses and inspiration.  I mean sending pictures to my friends and hubby and asking them what they think.  I mean wondering what my skin tone is, whether it’s warm yellow and cool yellow.  It’s UGH time consuming.  Stop being so glamorous, fashion bloggers!

This is going to be a lot of rambling, and not in the least bit interesting, just warning you.

So I recently bought a bag from ThredUp because my bag finally lost its magnetic clasp to the wind somewhere at the school I work for.  Of course it did.  I’m so glad I have a work hoodie that I wear everyday because it’s been a few weeks and it already has highlighter and who knows what else all over it.  Anyway, back to the purse.  So I’m kind of excited cause I got a great deal on it, and it should be in “excellent” condition even though it’s secondhand.  But here’s the thing, I’m also worried people will judge me for the brand (Am I the judgmental one?  Oh dear) and think I spent hundreds of dollars on a purse.  So there I was, weighing these things, debating whether I should get a purse.  UGH.  BUT I also read that the quality is actually better with these expensive branded bags, and they can last you a long time, versus my bags my relatives get me from Asia which start shedding fabric chips after a year or so.  (I love you Mom and Auntie and all the bags you’ve ever gotten me I promise!)  The thing is, if I get something that lasts, that means I’m also kind of stuck with it for awhile.  This could be either a good or bad thing.  A day or so later, I found another purse that looked really cute, and I started to regret that I didn’t wait.  I know, the drama.

Next up in life as an adult– need to identify the bug that has been biting me in my sleep.  I’m so scared!  And looking up answers on the internet makes it worse because there are so many gross pictures.

Pretty pictures of tulips instead of bugs found here.

Eating out less

Today’s dinner was a messy conglomeration of half defrosted chicken that baked in the oven for so long and was still pink (but safe to eat, we found out) and salad.  There was rice too, but we forgot about it.  Life has been tricky in the cooking department.  Meal planning is still not my forte,  I mean, preference.  I mean I think about meal planning, and I just don’t want to do it.  The idea of making food that I possibly wanted to eat a few days ago but may not want to eat the day of seems miserable.  Is it more miserable than finding out we spent too much money on pho and In-N-Out because we didn’t feel like eating dumplings that night, and there was nothing planned?  I’m not sure.

I haven’t balanced last month’s money ins and outs yet.  Being grown up is hard sometimes.  As a teen, I hoped to be grown up by 18.  But when 18 rolled around, I felt quite juvenile.  Now, I’m a lot older than 18, and if I consider my age and what I thought I would accomplish by now for too long, well, it can be discouraging.  Often times, I look for inspiration to start something new.  Guidance of some sort.  Tips, rules, someone’s past experiences and knowledge, anything I can hang onto.  It’s nice that we live in the age of Internet now, where so much information is readily available.  But I think for me, sometimes it results in analysis paralysis and a perfectionism that might not have been as common in a world less connected.

I’m pooped.  Goodnight.