Squid Ink Pasta with Calamari

As adventurous an eater that I am it might come as a little surprise that squid ink pasta kind of sounded a little gross to me.  I’ve seen it a zillion times and heard a zillion times how delicious it is.  Well tonight I am a believer, I get what they are saying.  There is a guy that sells fresh pasta at my local farmer’s market, one of which is squid ink, so I bought a container to try.  Strangely, I wanted to make a recipe that I’ve seen many times, squid ink pasta with calamari.

What resulted was a beautiful and tasty dish that was really quick to prepare.  Get your kids to try it by serving on Halloween, how fun would that be?

DSC_1415[2]DSC_1416[2]DSC_1417[1]

For the Recipe:

8oz squid ink pasta (I used fresh)

1/4 c. olive oil

1 c. tomatoes, chopped (I used cherry tomatoes from my garden)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (if you want it a little spicier use more)

4-6 mushrooms, depending on size, thickly sliced

1 lb. calamari rings

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Start heating some well salted water in a pot for the pasta (see note regarding pasta).  In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes to soften them up then add the salt, pepper, garlic and pepper flakes.  Cook an additional 1 or two minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 or so minutes.  The water should be boiling by now, add the pasta to the water and cook according to instructions.  Mine was fresh so it only took a few minutes.  Toss the calamari into the tomato mix, cook for no more than 3 or 4 minutes or they will be tough.  When the calamari has about a minute left toss in the pasta and let it finish off in the sauce.  Add the lemon juice at this time also.  Mix well, serve immediately.  You could also mix in some tomatoes right before serving for a little freshness, but it’s totally optional.

Enjoy!

**Note About Pasts** You want your pasta to be finished when your calamari is almost done so you can toss it in and let it cook with the sauce without overcooking the calamari.  I used fresh pasta so it didn’t take long to cook, if you are using dried that will take longer so you might want to give your water a little head start to boiling so the timing works out.

 

 

Advertisements

Do You Wanna Use the Potty? (Insert Frozen Music Here…)

This weekend we decided to get serious about potty training Thing 1.  He’s holding out and has basically refused to give up diapers, and it’s getting old!!  It’s not that he doesn’t know what to do, he simply doesn’t want to.  Through this I need to see the humor which is why this lovely poem came about.  Enjoy!!

Start “Do You Wanna Use the Potty” music

Do you wanna use the potty

You know just what to do

Don’t tell me no, just sit and go

You’re almost four

Not good to smell like poo

Please make your mama happy

I’ll scream for joy

And raise my hands to the sky

Do you wanna use the potty

You can choose which one to go in

 

Go away, mama

Okay, bye

 

Do you wanna use the potty

Use toilet paper over wipes

This change is happening it really is

It’s time to live up to

The words and to the hype

(I got this one)

Sometimes it can be so tiring

All the potty trips

 

I’m hoping you get it this time

(flushing)

Oliver?

Son, I know you got this

I guess I need to give you time

I’m told “have patience” but it’s getting hard

All new undies for you, just put them on

The world is so much better

When you use the loo

Let’s get this done today

 

Do you wanna use the potty?

 

My Un-Potty Trained Little Boy…

He’s 3 1/2 and oh so cute,

but in his pants my sweetness continues to poop.

I beg and I plead for him to just try,

I promise it’s better, I swear it’s no lie.

The potty is fun just you wait and see,

Then you’ll be just like papa, sissy and me.

With hopeful eyes I wait his response,

Maybe he’ll try it, just maybe, even once.

The response I get is not to my liking,

This so isn’t funny and I’m thinking of striking

Oh wait, that’s right, I don’t get paid

No strike for me, chef, driver and maid

My little boy, I love you so much,

But come on already, enough is enough

 Put on your big boy undies, let’s get this done,

 A quick no I hear, start the pity party for one

 So I’m of to change another damn diaper,

 For I’m his mama, the perpetual ass wiper.

Vanilla Beans Cost How Much?

DSC_1359[1]

The other day I was at the grocery store and since I was sans twinadoes I decided to take my time and look around a bit.  Yes, I actually do find that entertaining.  One of my favorite aisles, the baking aisle.  All those neat ingredients that seem to just call to me even though I’m really not a great baker.  That’s when I saw them.  Two sad looking vanilla beans in a little glass jar with a sticker directly below that read $14.99.  I actually had to re-read it to make sure I was reading it correctly.  People really pay that?  Seriously?  No really?  Yes, I was completely shocked at this price.  I rarely purchase vanilla beans in a store, and when I do I head to the bulk section.

Even though we are a few months away from baking season I thought I would get you all nice and informed now so you will be ready.  I don’t want to even think about any of you paying $14.99 for two little sad beans, it will give me nightmares.  Normally I buy my beans online, but if I need some right away and need to buy them I’ll look in the bulk section.  The price on the sticker might send you into shock, usually around $35 per pound, but remember, that’s PER POUND.  You are not going to need that many (that’s approximately 100 beans).  Even when I make vanilla extract I only use about 15-20.

Taking care of them is really easy, and if done properly can last up to 2 years.  I scoured a few sites that deal in vanilla beans and following are their suggestions to keeping your vanilla beans for the longest amount of time before they go bad.

  • You do not need to store in an airtight container, but you can
  • If you do keep in an airtight container, every few weeks expose them to air for a few minutes
  • Keep the container in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator)

If your beans do end up getting a little too dried out you can reconstitute them by soaking them in a little hot water for a few minutes or wrapping them in a damp paper towel and pop in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Every so often many online stores will put the vanilla beans on sale, this can be a great place to get them especially if you know ahead of time how many you will need.  But whatever you do stop paying the ridiculous amount for a couple vanilla beans in a little container!!

A Little Sleepless Poem Humor…

 

It’s 3 am and I hear a noise

 What do I do, I must make a choice.

 I get out of bed to go take a look,

 animal, ghost, menacing crook?

 The closer I get it becomes quite clear,

 Handy Manny and laughter is what I hear

 Which child of mine is taking my sleep

 Take a deep breath, I have composure to keep

 Hi mama! I hear, his voice wide awake

 Are you kidding me? It’s 3 am for Pete’s sake!

 I tell him it’s late and he must go to bed,

 His response is No!! while shaking his head.

 Clearly this answer is not going to work

 “Off to bed you go” I say with a smirk

 I cross my fingers he gets what I’m saying

 This mama is tired and in no mood for playing

 Handy Manny you suck, as do the rest of your crew

 Cancel Nick Jr. that’s just what I”ll do

 For now I’ll be happy with my son in bed

 And me connecting the pillow with my head

 A few more times I command to no avail

 Just go to sleep!! I begin to wail

 I give up the dream of any more rest,

 And succumb to a freaking Handy Manny fest.

 

Meatloaf Recipe, with a Side of Humor

Last night for dinner I made meatloaf and it got me wondering what everyone else puts in theirs.  So I asked on my Facebook page and ended up getting the following recipe.

“ground beef, ground pork, eggs, crumbs of any variety (usually the crap bread-ends the kids won’t eat. Must be poisonous.), garlic, BBQ sauce or ketchup, vinegar (like a few large glugs), small wad of sugar, liquid smoke if you dare, oatmeal, and salt and pepper. Mix and sniff. I would actually sample the pink slime but apparently it’s frowned upon, especially if there are people over. I drain out the fat goodness from the pans about halfway through cooking, then smother it in the glory that is BBQ sauce. Nom nom”

I especially love the “usually the crap bread-ends the kids won’t eat. Must be poisonous”.  Actually, there isn’t much about this recipe that I don’t love!!

Quite honestly, this is how most of my recipes look, no real measurements, when I cook it’s usually a bit of this a handful of that and a few sprinkles to taste .  Coming up with actual measurements is one of my biggest struggles when sharing recipes.  When you think you are using roughly a tablespoon of something it might actually be closer to 1/4 cup, etc…  it’s just tough!!!

This recipe was just too great not to share, a big thank you to Amarayah for sharing this!!  Anyone want to try and make it using her “measurements”? I think I’m going to give it a whirl.

Homemade Tortillas

DSC_1336[1]

Growing up we never had store bought tortillas, they were always homemade by my mother.  When you are a kid you don’t realize how lucky you are to have something like that, it’s just the norm.  Then I grew up and I didn’t have someone making tortillas for me, rather, I purchased them at the store.  I cannot count the number of times I watched my mother make the tortillas not thinking anything of it.  It never even entered my mind to write down a recipe or take any kind of mental note, so instead I played around with some recipes I found online, adjusting them to what little I did remember from all those years of watching.

This recipe is incredibly easy and gives wonderful results.  Unlike my mother, I use a tortilla press, I just how much quicker it is over rolling them.  At least for me…

 

For the Recipe”

1 3/4 c. flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

5 tbsp. shortening

3/4 c. very warm water

In a bowl mix the flour and salt.  Put in the shortening, cut into 5 pieces, and mix either with your hand or a pastry cutter.  You want the shortening to get distributed well.

DSC_1330[1]

Add the water and mix until it forms a nice ball.  Do not over mix.

DSC_1331[1]

Place on a lightly floured surface and form into a log, cut into 12 equal pieces.  Use your hands and roll into little balls, cover the pieces and let sit for 15 or so minutes.

DSC_1332[1] DSC_1333[1] DSC_1334[1]

Next, either use a tortilla press, which is what I use, or use a rolling pin to make them into 6 inch circles (or there about).  I use two pieces of plastic to cover the plates of the press, it makes for easy removal and cleaning.

DSC_1335[1]

Cook on a hot pan until each side gets nice brown marks.  Place cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep moist.  These will keep for several days if stored in an air tight container.