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It seems impossible that my ears are burning from the cold air whipping around as I walked our ding-dongs tonight.

Just a week ago, I was soaking up the sun and drinking mai-tais in Hawaii.

I’ve mentioned that while we were there, we had some incredible meals.

And none of them rocked my world more than my Uncle Steve’s red snapper.

Yowza.

I learned that this fish dish of his was what he made for my Aunt Lynda on their very first date. No wonder she came back for date #2!

Since leaving Hawaii, I have been dreaming about that dish. So, I decided to make it tonight to momentarily transport us back to the warm ocean breeze (you know, away from the cold fall blustery gusts of Ohio).

Now, I faced a couple of problems right off the bat.

1. I live in Ohio.

2. You cannot get the Hawaiian Red Snapper  (one of the only Red Snapper varieties to not be overfished and on the “do not eat” list) in Ohio.

3. If you could get the whole darn thing, Brad and I could not eat an entire fish.

4. Who would eat the eyeballs and brain without Steve here?

So, I set out to make a more mainland friendly version. All of the ingredients I used are easily found in Ohio, and I have both a chicken and a seafood version. So, if fish isn’t for you… stick around for the chicken.

Hang tight.

And hang loose.

I’ll walk ya through Uncle Steve’s recipe, and at the end I’ll give you our mainland version.

Dear Fish,

Thank you for giving your life for us. It meant a lot. Truly.

You were delicious.

XO,

Leah

Those are fish guts.

Know who likes fish guts?

This little guy.

So, this big guy shared the guts with the little guy.

Steve took the whole gutless fish and placed it on a Ti leaf, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and then wrapped another Ti leaf around it. He wrapped the whole bundle in foil, and he put it on the grill.

It both grilled AND steamed it.

Magical.

Here he is all cooked up.

Squeeze a little lemon on our buddy, Mr. Fish.

And a bit of soy sauce.

Now.

Oh now.

Now is the part that changed me.

On this plate is chopped garlic, ginger, and macadamia nuts.

Yes, please.

In this pan is oil. When it gets to the perfect temperature, the oil will bubble a bit around the chopsticks.

When it bubbles, toss in your plate of wonder.

Well, don’t toss.

That’s hot oil you are dealing with. And it could splatter. And that would hurt.

As soon as it hits the oil, oh Sweet Mary Patricia.

It is the smell of the islands.

When it gets a little golden, you are golden.

And you should pull it off of the heat.

Take that whole sizzling pan and pour it over Mr. Fish.
It crackles and adds those flavors to the entire dish.

Sprinkle it generously with chinese parsley (aka cilantro) and green onion.

Did I mention that Mr. Fish had to lose his tail?

Know why?

Because the house we rented had a small grill, and poor Mr. Fish couldn’t quite fit.

Look at that spread!

Pretty fantabulous.

In Hawaii, we had this with pad thai, white rice, seared ahi tuna, and a delicious green salad.

The after dinner show was pretty entertaining too.

Uncle Steve partook in the fish eyeball.

I cannot overstate how nasty this eyeball looked. The lens of the eyeball looked like a small white eyeball.

Sick.

But Steve is an island boy, through and through.

So, he slurped up the ball of eye.

Now, this is my cousin.

He is my uncle’s mini-me.

And he wanted the other eyeball.

At the very least, he wanted to be like his dad.

By the looks of his face, I’m not so sure he actually wanted the eyeball.

And believe me, he was even more unsure he wanted the eyeball once it was in his mouth.

Ha.

Did I mention that I’m from a family of good eaters?

Now, trust me when I say that even if you are not a seafood person you have to try a version of this dish.

It is so delicious, and on a cool fall day it will take you away to the islands.

I roasted some chicken tenders that were coated with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

350 for about 15-20 min (depends on the thickness).

I also wanted to try this dish with tilapia- a pretty easy-to-find fish in Ohio.

I used the frozen version from Kroger.

Get out a piece of parchment paper, and give it a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Place your defrosted fish down and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Cover with another sheet of parchment paper.

We’re making a little pocket to steam the fish in while its in the oven.

This method keeps the fish super moist.

Have I ever mentioned that I rather loathe the word  moist?

Start at one corner and fold it like this:

Move over a couple of inches, and fold it again:

Keep going and folding!

Until it looks like this.

It doesn’t have to be perfectly sealed, but you want a pretty good pocket for some solid steam action.

Put it on a piece of foil or on a pan so that if juices start to flow, they don’t flow directly to the bottom of your oven.

Pop that into the oven with the chicken for the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking.

Again, this will vary based on the filet’s thickness.

If you have paper thin tilapia filets, you could need as little as 5-6 minutes.

Take a peek, and if they are white all the way through- they are done!

Now, I fried up the garlic, ginger, and macadamia nut mixture.

I’m going to insist on mac nuts. Normally, I would say to be flexible and use what you have.

But the mac nuts take it over the top.

They really do!

Put your meat on a pan, and drizzle the most flavorful goodness over it.

Please note, I forgot to add a squeeze of lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce.

You should not forget this step.

But rest assured, if you do, it will still be deeeee-lish!

Top with cilantro and green onion, and pop it on a plate!

I served it up with a roasted butternut squash casserole with blue cheese in it (recipe is coming soon). So stinking good.

I’m convinced that the garlic/ginger/mac nut along with the cilantro/green onion topping would be delicious on just about anything.

I’m thinking that I might need to try it on shrimp and scallops next.

Yes, I think so.

Know what would be perfect with this?

A pina colada.

Or a mai tai.

Or a glass of crisp white wine.

Have a great weekend!

If you are feeling inspired, transport yourself to the islands with this dish.

XO,

Leah

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Vacation Rental By Owner.

For six nights on the Big Island, we stayed at the loveliest place that I found on www.vrbo.com.

I highly recommend using this site if you are planning a trip any time soon.

For less than the price of a hotel room per night, we stayed in a 2 bedroom/2 1/2 bath brand new beachfront house.

It was amazeballs.

Seriously, I dare you to start looking at the site. They have homes for rent all over the world. I am currently obsessed with the houses in Tuscany.

I think I shall become Diane Lane and go live Under the Tuscan Sun.

We arrived into the Hilo airport around 7 pm on our second day in Hawaii.

That is 1 am Ohio time.

My dear auntys met us at the airport with the most beautiful leis.

You know, TV and movies make you feel like when you step off of your Delta flight in Hawaii some lovely Hula dancer in a grass skirt will be there to kiss you and adorn you with flowers.

I’ve got news for you… doesn’t happen.

Brad mentioned he was disappointed that he didn’t get leid when arriving in Hawaii.

But I knew the fam-a-lam wouldn’t let him down.

The auntys also bought us breakfast for the first morning.

The house we rented also provided fruit and juice.

Those unidentifiable objects on our breakfast platter were the MOST.DELICIOUS.PASTRIES.EVER. One was chocolate filled and the other one was passion fruit filled, and it changed my life. Forever.

We took our coffee and breakfast outside to eat, sip, and enjoy the sunrise.

After all, we were up at 5 am (11 am our time)!

Once the sun was hanging in the sky, we turned to go back into the house.

Isn’t it lovely?

I shall now take you on a tour.

From the front door, you walk into the great room. The shoji doors are all over the house. Please note the view. Wowzer.

Off of the main room was the kitchen with every amenity a girl could ask for.

Stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, coffee pot, blender, cooler… you name it, the house had it.

Another view of the great room…

The hallway to the right led to our bedroom.

Great lanais (patios) with seating- and views!

This was our bedroom.

This bed was amazing.

I started researching feather tops for mattresses as soon as we got home.

I seriously don’t think I have ever slept better.

And the waves crashing against the cliffs in the background were the loveliest sleeping sound track ever.

Master bath off of the bedroom.

View from Brad’s soak in the tub.

Please note the Speedy Gonzales cocktail glass.

Class act, Brad. Class act.

View from the shower.

It was a private lot. So, you could shower with all of the doors open looking right out into the ocean.

Let me tell ya… you haven’t lived until you have showered with an ocean view.

Second bedroom.

Second bathroom.

Neither of these rooms got much use, but I’m sure they would have been lovely.

And, if we would have traveled with another couple, it would have made staying in this house even more stinking affordable.

This next picture is seriously one of my favorite parts of the house.

The laundry room.

With detergent and dryer sheets provided.

It was awesome to leave the Big Island with all of our clothes clean!

I’m a laundry nerd, and I’m ok with it.

Clean clothes brought me more joy than they should have.

The best part of the house was the size of it.

If we would have stayed in a hotel room, we would not have been able to have the entire family gather with us to hang out and eat. The house provided that space and a grill for Steve to cook us the most amazing dinner.

Oh, and as a bonus…

Let me show you the happy hour show that occurred.

We’d grab a drink after a long day of sightseeing and head to the cliffs to watch the waves crash.

And these little buddies would be swimming all over the place and feeding on the algae near the cliffs.

They were ginormous!

I have a new found obsession with honu (sea turtles).

One final note on VRBO:

The site carefully screens the homes and the owners so that you don’t get bamboozled out of money. There are protections built in when renting from them.

So, check out the site, and then plan a fabulous trip.

You won’t regret it.

Happy Hump Day,
Leah

I do believe Waipio Valley was my favorite site to see and place to visit during our trip.

It is a slice of solitude and heaven and waves and black sand and gloriousness.

Waipio Valley is on the Big Island. The area has quite a history (according to our tour book). Wapio was once known as the most fertile land in all of Hawaii, and in the 1700s the area boasted somewhere between 4,000-10,000 residents. It was at that time referred to as the Valley of the Kings because many of the Hawaiian royals lived there. That all changed in 1946 when a tsunami tragically wiped out the entire area.

Around 1970, however, small amounts of people started moving back into the valley- mainly vets and hippies looking for the opportunity to essentially live off of the grid and away from society. Soon, some farmers followed to live in near seclusion and farm taro in the valley.

How do these farmers manage to maintain their seclusion?

I’ll show ya.

See that beach down there? That is where we were headed. It was a treacherous drive that requires 4-Wheel drive (seriously there is a guy at the top of the hill that will not let you proceed without 4WD), and the road grade is at 25%. It is only a mile long road, but it takes over 30 minutes to make it down.

Once down there, there is no electricity, cell service, TV reception, etc.

Also, the state police pretty much leave the area alone. There are stories of houses being torched as a part of the locals being responsible for the law and justice down in the valley.

So yeah, not many people are looking to travel down there. And fewer still are hankering to move to the valley.

While I won’t plan on packing up to live with the folks in the valley, I am so so glad we risked our lives to drive down.

Side note: on the way down, there are several mangled car bodies that fell off of the crazy steep road. It is too treacherous to retrieve the cars so they leave them. They do retrieve the bodies.

For a Nervous Nelly like me, you can imagine that the drive down and up was not super enjoyable! I’m sure glad to have done it though.

When we arrived at the top entrance to drive down to the valley, we took in the view. And I only wish that I could take pictures that would do the sight even the smallest amount of justice.

We were extremely grateful for our personal tour guides!

Side note: It was exceptionally fun to see the sights with a nearly 14 year old young man. Everything looks a little different through his eyes. We stand on the hill overlooking Waipio Valley taking pictures admiring the sheer magnitude and beauty, and Pono does this…

Boys are great.

So, after a few obligatory somersaults and pictures at the top, we started our trip down.

Again, I would like to state  my thanks to the Lord for the 4-Wheel drive vehicle. This type of trip is what those SUVs are actually made for.

Those going down must yield to those coming up. And this road is not wide. Yikes.

Once at the bottom, we went on the bumpiest drive ever through the farmers’ land.

It looked like heaven meets Jurassic Park meets Lost meets Blue Lagoon.

One of the nicer homes in the valley.

Again, check out the terrain- the water was a little more than a foot deep here.

Crossing the stream, this is what we saw to the left and the right.

Wow.

Most of the houses looked like this guy. A little more weathered and lived in.

When we arrived to the secluded black sand beach, this wild horse was there to meet us.

He was the friendliest beauty. He came to say hello, share in a bit of our picnic, and pose for a photo opp.

While we picnicked and frolicked in the waves, our wild buddy crossed the stream.

I mean, seriously.

Who sees this in real life?

I don’t really know what else to say about this place.

If you want to feel unplugged from the world, Waipio is the place to go.

If you want to feel small, go to Waipio.

If you want to feel how big God is, I suggest you stop by Waipio.

If you want to marvel in the simple things, here’s an idea… visit Waipio.

I’ll let you just see the rest of our time in Waipio Valley.

It was a perfect, perfect, perfect day.

Have a good one my friends!

XO,
Leah

Early Sunday morning we arrived home from the best and most magical vacation of my life.

We spent a glorious ten days in Hawaii, and we covered three islands.

We started on Oahu in Honolulu seeing Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

We then went to the Big Island where we stayed for six nights. I think we saw approximately 3,200 sights.

We ended at a resort in Kauai, the Garden Island for our final three nights.

I don’t really even know where to start. We got to spend time with my family there, and that was hands down the highlight of the trip.

My Aunt Lynda- she and my mama are almost exactly one year apart in age. She has been in Hawaii for 30+ years.

Aunt Cindy. She is also my mama’s sister, and she lives in a beach house near the active volcano flow. The hostest with the mostest.

And this is my Aunt Adele. She is the baby of my mama’s family. She drove us all over the island… she may have caused us to white-knuckle it from time to time.

Aren’t they the prettiest?

Let me tell ya something. They are fun too.

So much fun.

This is my cousin Pono. He is nearly 14, and he is about as charming as they come. His mama is Lynda, and his dad is my Uncle Steve.

And this is Uncle Steve.

He’s holding perhaps the best dinner I’ve ever had.

Here are all of the Hawaii ladies (including my most gorgeous and delightful cousin Liula) and me.

And here is the whole clan minus my cousin Liula.

My Aunt Del is sitting next to her main man, Tim.

On top of spending extended time with my most amazing family,we ate delectable local food, our accommodations were deliciously deluxe, and the sightseeing and daily excursions put both Brad and I on sensory overload.

We took over 800 pictures if that says anything.

And now, I’ll share all 800 with you. So, sit tight and enjoy the show.

I kid. I kid.

I know how painful sitting through other people’s vacation pictures can be, so I promise to only give the highest of the highlights.

The food.

Oh, the food.

We started our trip with poke (POH-Kay). And my life will never be the same.

Poke literally translates to chopped chunks of fish.

The way that we ate it was in the ahi tuna form. Oh my.

We could order the most gigantic plate of sushi grade ahi tuna served up poke style for $5.

We ate at fabulous local restaurants.

This is Paulo’s in Pahoa on Big Island.

But the best meals came from Uncle Steve’s kitchen.

I took copious notes and tons of pictures, and I cannot wait to share some of his recipes!

We also watched Uncle Steve savor the fish eyeball.

To quote the fine movie Clueless, “Gag me with a spoon.”

And Steve’s mini-me (my cousin Pono) having the same sentiments as me- although he gave the eyeball eating the old college try.

Then, there were the sights.

I plan on sharing my very favortist (yes, I know- not a word) sights with you in more detail, but here are the visual highlights.

Pearl Harbor. I was here once twelve years ago, but it was important to visit again. Last time I was there 9/11 had not yet occurred. After this trip, I could not get over the similarities between Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001.

Sunrise on our private cliff on Big Island.

A hike down to the ocean.

Akaka Falls.

Black sand beach.

I visited The Hobbit.

Or maybe it was Harry Potter.

Either way, this tree made me feel teeny tiny.

Brad went on a search for the smoke monster.

Rainbow falls.

A drive to the sea.

This is the exact spot where my world class surfer uncle taught Brad and I to surf.

We’re pretty  much pros.

Probably going to quit our jobs and join the circuit.

Snorkeling in Champagne Pond.

Snorkeling in the pond outside Steve and Lynda’s friends home.

Waipio Valley.

In Waipio.

On top of the clouds on Mauna Kea.

It was COLD up there!

Um… Hawaii wine tasting.

Am I kidding?

I am not.

Macadamia Nut Honey Wine… seriously, we shipped a bottle of this home. I cannot wait to eat it with blue cheese smeared on some salty crackers.

Can you believe it?

I met the karate kid.

On a tour of Uncle Steve’s game-changing charter school.

Please note my surfing bruise on my shoulder. That thing got big and black and blue.

And I felt tough.

Lighthouse on Kauai.

This is “Puff’s Tail” on Kauai. It is right outside the town of Hanalei, HI.

You know…

“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee”

My favorite view of the trip:

My man… relaxing and completely unplugged. Our time together- talking, laughing, exploring, and experiencing- was what made this trip what it was. Beautiful and amazing.

I can’t wait to share with you some more of the details of our trip.

For now, I’m feeling the jet lag so I’m signing off.

I have missed you my blog friends.

Happy Monday!

XO,

Leah

Are you familiar with http://www.etsy.com?

Etsy is a commerce website that features homemade and vintage items made or restored or found by sellers.

It is also a black hole for time.

When I log on to Etsy, I need to reserve a serious block of time. I get sucked in to searching for treasures.

Treasures that I never knew I needed.

Etsy has furniture like this:

This is a bench made from a headboard. Clever, right?

And I think I need it.

Etsy also has jewelry.

I love this casual leather cuff.

And for a more fancy affair, how about these beauties?

Or these?

Jewelry or furniture- not your thing?

How about treasures for your home?

Like a vintage looking chalkboard:

Or these screen printed napkins:

Are you getting married?

Yep, Etsy has goodies for that too!

How about these tins as favors?

Or this frame?

Ok, that is all that I will share for today.

I know some very talented people that sell their handmade goods on Etsy. So, set aside an hour or 8 and check out this site.

It is full of the loveliest lovelies, and you are supporting an individual that is crafting each creation his or herself!

Happy Friday!

XO,
Leah

During the summer, I ate more Pico de Gallo than one would think is humanly possible.

I love to dip chips into the pico, I put it on a sandwich, and I used it instead of salad dressing. I ate the pico like it was my job. And it was a job that brought me serious joy.

I found myself in a bit of a dilemma as the fresh summer tomatoes and cilantro dwindle down. I felt a yearning for a new condiment to light my world on fire.

So, I looked to an unusual source for my inspiration.

My Uncle Doug.

Uncle Doug is a man’s man… he can build anything, he hunts, he can tear up a dance floor, and he can make a mean hot pepper relish that we look forward to receiving every Christmas.

Now, I don’t know what recipe he follows but I found myself with a LOT of peppers, and my only reasonable idea was a hot pepper relish.

So, I searched for a good recipe and I found one on allrecipes.com.

This is super dee duper easy.

I will insist that you purchase some disposable kitchen gloves for this recipe. You are going to be chopping up lots and lots of hot peppers, and if you refuse the gloves you will have burning hands and eyes for the rest of your life.

Or at least for a day or so.

The kitchen gloves are found in the cleaning aisle of the grocery store. You can buy 10 pairs for about $1.50… well worth it!

So, don a glove and chop your peppers. Remove the majority of the seeds from the peppers. The seeds contain most of the heat, so unless you want to burn your mouth I recommend ditching the seeds!

Drop the chopped peppers into a sauce pan- there should not be any heat underneath the pan at this point.

Then add about 1 T. of salt (1 T. salt to about 3 cups of peppers).

And stir it up.

Now boil some water. My teapot was already full of water and sitting on the stove, so I just turned on the burner.

You’ll need enough water to fully cover all of the peppers.

Once it is boiling, pour it over the chopped peppers.

After the peppers have soaked in the hot water for 10 minutes, drain them.

Drop the drained peppers back into their pan. There is still no heat underneath the pepper pan.

Now take equal parts (I used 1 c. of each) of apple cider vinegar and sugar and add them to the peppers.

Finally, it is time to turn on your burner under the peppers. Bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat to low for the peppers to simmer. Allow the peppers to simmer for 20 minutes.

Then get out your clean canning jars.

Pour in the peppers with their sugary vinegary sauce.

Put a lid on it.

And you are done!

I am telling you.

These make EVERYTHING better.

They are a great dip, they are amazing on a sandwich, I included them in a taco dip… I’m certain you are only limited by your imagination on this one.

These are spicy, but the cooking of the peppers and the use of vinegar and sugar takes a lot of the heat and the intensity out of the peppers.

They are the perfect combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy.

My favorite fall condiment!

Enjoy.

XO,

Leah

This year, for the first time, Brad and I participated in a CSA.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

So last spring we purchased a half share. And once a week, we took a trip to the local farmer’s market to pick up our goods.

I absolutely loved the surprise of discovering what local seasonal goodies were tucked into our bag. It ranged from blackberries to corn to peppers to potatoes to zucchini to cucumbers to tomatoes to melon and so on!

There were weeks when we had so much corn and so many potatoes that we had to give some away to friends and co-workers!

But I’m not complaining. The produce was amazing, and it was nice to know exactly where our food was coming from.

So, with the tons of potatoes we have on hand, I waited for a cool evening and fixed them up my favorite way… oven roasted. Mmmm.

Here are just a few of the potatoes that we had to use:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start by giving those guys a good scrub.

Here is something that I find curious. When I was a kid, my mom would get potatoes from the grocery store and we would have to scrub them because they had clearly been dug up from the earth with dirt still left on them.

Now, at the store they are shiny and dirt free. I guess it is nice that the potato people wash them for us??

The farmer’s market potatoes are clearly freshly harvested, and they need a good scrub.

So roll up your sleeves and have at it.

Then dice them up into squares, and spread them out on a large sheet pan.

Bathe these guys in some extra virgin olive oil.

Use enough to get at least a little oil on each and every potato, but not so much that you have any oil pooled in the bottom of you pan.

Think tanning oil application… enough to coat, but not so much that you ruin your towel!

By the way, don’t use tanning oil. It is bad for you. Use sunscreen.

Thanks.

How about a sprinkle of coarse Kosher salt.

I have mentioned it before, but I think it is time to mention it again.

I believe in coarse salt.

If it is possible, I think it tastes saltier and better.

And I like the Kosher stuff myself.

I used a little more than a teaspoon for the entire pan.

Now, add about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

I like the freshly ground goodness.

Chop up about 1/2 tablespoon of fresh rosemary.

There are a few herbs that I refuse to use the dried version of. And rosemary is one of them.

When rosemary is fresh, it has the texture of a chewable leafy substance.

When it is dried, it feels like a twig made its way into your food.

If you are cool with twig texture, then by all means use the dried rosemary.

Chop up 2-3 cloves of garlic.

Chop it up pretty finely.

Or use a garlic press if you don’t want to smell like a hoagie.

Sprinkle that on your taters.

Now, the fun part.

Get your hands dirty and mix all of that together on the pan.

Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After they have roasted for 30 minutes, your house will smell like heaven.

A garlicky, rosemary version of heaven.

Pull out the potatoes.

And give them a toss.

You may need the help of a spatula to pull the potatoes off of the pan.

The bottoms of the potatoes should be slightly browned like this:

Now, you could serve these at this point.

I like my potatoes a little crispier and a little browner. So I threw the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

And they came out looking like this:

Perfection.
I tossed them into a bowl and topped with some chives and a dollop of sour cream.

The perfect side dish.

Now I had plenty of potatoes left over, and that is good by me.

Because these potatoes are the perfect base for a hearty breakfast.

For the breakfast, warm the potatoes in the microwave, the oven, or in a toaster oven.

Scramble up some eggs and toss them on top.

Shred some cheese and top your taters and eggs with that.

Throw the whole hot mess under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese.

And enjoy!!

Isn’t food the best?

Yes, I think so.

Have a great day my dear friends.

XO,

Leah

This dog works hard to protect our home and yard from the evils of water hoses.

She also is destructive.

One day, this precious little pup, was accidentally left out of her cage.

Big Mistake. Big. HUGE.

(Name that movie.)

I came home and realized the error in our ways when both Miss and Lola met me at the door.

I braced for what I would find.

And oh boy, it was a doozy.

I had been working on a small craft project on our dining room table. Well, somehow ding-a-ling Lola got ONTO the table and started pulling off treasures to gnaw on.

First, she had a pen.

Then, she had some super glue.

She did not like that very much, I’m assuming because it was left punctured open on the table. And there was a bit crusted onto her tongue and onto her mouth.

Finally, and best of all, she helped herself to a bottle of blue craft paint.

She took said craft paint into the ONLY room in our house with carpet in it, and proceeded to chew it up.

So yes, I came home to blue splatters of paint all over our white carpet.

Lovely.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Lola is lucky she is cute.

And of course, she does have this other redeeming quality.

She fiercely protects our home from the wayward ways of water shooting from a hose.

Oy.

I love her still.

XO,

Leah

OK.

I’m going to share a Brussel Sprout recipe.

And I’m nervous.

Because if you are like me, you probably have traumatic childhood memories of Brussel Sprouts.

So today, I’m asking you to keep an open mind.

Perhaps it is time to give the old stinky Brussel Sprout another try.

I think you might like ’em.

There is a restaurant in Cincinnati that serves the most amazing Brussel Sprouts you could ever imagine. These Brussel Sprouts made me reconsider my stance on the mini cabbages. And you know what?

I think I officially like ’em.

Here is what you’ll need:

Brussel sprouts, chopped white onion, garlic, tomatoes, vegetable stock, extra virgin olive oil, some dry white wine, bacon, salt and pepper, and some pasta.

Put 2 cups of stock into a stock pan, and bring it to a boil.

While you are waiting for that to come up to a boil, cook some bacon.

Yes, bacon.

I feel like it has been a while since we discussed how delightfully delicious bacon is.

My long lost love.

Bacon makes my life.

To get your brussel sprouts ready to add to the boiling stock, you have to do three simple things.

1. Pull off the outer one or two leaves- these are what was closest to the ground and often they are wilty and dirty.

2. Cut off the stem/bottom/thingy (I love when I use technical terms, don’t you?)

3. Cut them in halves or quarters. You will likely have some small brussel sprouts in your bag, and those will only need to be cut in half. The larger ones you’ll want to cut into quarters. The goal is to get all of them to be about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

Put them in the stock.

While those are boiling away, remove your bacon from the skillet and drain the fat.

Add the onions to the skillet.

Let them get all brown and caramely.

Once they have softened, add in 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook for one-two minutes.

Push that around in the pan.

This should be smelling amazing by now.

Bacon. Onion. Garlic.

The holy trinity of food if you ask me.

You’ll know your brussel sprouts are ready when they are fork tender.

Once they are, drain them and add the brussel sprouts to the skillet.

Let them spend a little time in the skillet. From the photo above,  you can see that they should get a little bit browned. Mmmm.

Throw in your chopped tomatoes.

I would use a medium sized tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes.

We have bacon. We have onions. We have garlic. We have brussel sprouts. We have tomatoes.

Sweet Mary, how could this get better?

Um, wine?

Yes.

Wine!

Add about a half cup of white wine.

Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper to taste.

Crank up the heat to bring the whole darn goodness to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer.

Let those good little buddies hang out together for a while.

We’re going to cook our pasta.

I’m using some fresh pasta from the farmers’ market that is wild mushroom flavored.

Yum!

But any pasta will do.

Bring your water to a boil.

Season the water with salt. You want to use enough salt for the water to taste like the sea- at least that is what Mario Batali tells me.

We’re old chums, you know.

Drop in your pasta.

Cook it ups, and then drain the pasta and add it to your veggies.

Mix it up.

There ya have it.

Serve it up on a plate and crumble some bacon on top.

I’m telling you.

Give it a try.

The brussel sprout is back baby.

Have a good one!!

XO,

Leah

Guess where we are?

I’ll give you a clue:

We left on the 13th, and we’re in this paradise for another week.

I’ve got posts queued up for the week so stop on back!

I’m sure I’ll have a whole lot to share upon our return.

Happy Monday my friends.

Leah

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