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Our dear friends are expecting twins in only a few short weeks. Our babies will be born within weeks of each other, and it has been such a treat to be pregnant together. Because the twin’s mama is the tiniest tot on the planet, she has been placed on bed rest until the babies make their appearance.

So, on Thursday night, Brad and I brought some dinner to their house to hang out and catch up while chowing down on a sausage and goat cheese macaroni bake. Because of the bed rest, our friends weren’t able to use their Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tickets. So, we were the lucky beneficiaries.

On Saturday night, the main man and I

headed to Cincinnati’s Historic Music Hall.

Music Hall is easily one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks. It was built in 1878, and it is such an experience to sit in the hall and think about all of the people who have sat in the seats and enjoyed the performing arts in one way or another over all of the 100+ years of this hall’s existence.

This is what you walk into as you come in the front doors:

(iPhone photo)

And here is the symphony warming up (our neighbor is in the back row- he is a percussionist):

And check out this chandelier. It is massive, and sparkly, and breathtaking. And it weighs a mere 2 tons!

The domed center of the hall is an oil painting that is original to the hall. It depicts the Allegory of the Arts.

The evening was delightful.

After the show, we stopped off at Senate, a gourmet street food restaurant in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.

Senate has the best appetizer in the city.

Poutine fries. Oh my.

Crispy french fries smothered in soft and salty cheese curd, braised short ribs, and a gravy sauce.

(Again, the iPhone photo- I promise it looked better in real life!)

Fuh-get-about-it. Poutine fries make my life.

I ordered a lemonade to drink, and our server brought over a raspberry infused lemonade in a martini glass for me. It was the prettiest pink mocktail I have ever seen. Delicious to boot!

So, last night I decided I would try to recreate the Berry Lemon Mocktail.

And guess what? I’m pretty sure I succeeded.

And so today, I shall share the recipe with ya. And I will encourage you to throw in some booze if you imbibe at all. Because while this mocktail is delightful… lets be honest, a cocktail is WAY Better.

I think this recipe will end up making about 4 drinks.

Start with 1 cup of berries. I happened to have both blackberries and raspberries, so I threw them both into the glass.

Now add 1/2 cup of sugar.

And you are done!!

Drink up!

OK, not really.

Get out your muddler. Do you have a muddler? Randomly, I do. And this may have been the first time I have ever used it. If you don’t have a muddler, use a spoon or fork and mash the berries and sugar together.

Keep mashing.

Until it looks like this.

Now, let those berries and the sugar sit together and hang out. Get to know one another. For about 10 minutes.

While the berries and sugar get acquainted, let’s squeeze some lemons.

I used 3 lemons to procure 1 cup of lemon juice.

Get out a pitcher and a strainer.

And pour your berry mixture in.

Seeds = bad.

Sweet seedless berry juice = good.

On

And 1 1/4 cup of water.

Mix it up.

Looking pretty and pink!

Now, get out a glass. Fill it about half way with your berry and lemon juice mixture.

I actually am a weirdo and enjoy having seeds in my drink, so I threw in a spoonful of the seeds from the strainer.

You can certainly skip this step.

Now fill your glass to the top with seltzer water. It adds a bubble and a sparkle.

Top off your drink with a whole berry or two along with a sprig of mint.

Yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong!!

I think this would taste pretty delicious with a generous splash of vodka or tequila or rum.

So have at it!

The drink of the spring!

Happy Monday Peeps!

XO,

Leah

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Yesterday was the long-awaited day.

Adele’s new album came out, and let me tell you… it does not disappoint. I’m listening to it as I write this, and I go from bopping in my seat to almost shedding a tear.

Her voice. Man.

It actually sounds eerily similar to my voice when I’m in the car by myself.

Or not.

In all seriousness, her voice is powerful and beautiful and emotion evoking. The girl has pipes, and she knows how to use them.

I heart her.

I highly, highly recommend that you spend a hard earned $10 and buy this album immediately.

You are welcome.

Next up on this Happy Hump Day… the Easter treat aisle in the grocery store:

Now, I know that the candy is not the point of Easter.

However, I would like to thank the fine folks at Kroger for putting out these pastel wonders earlier and earlier in the year.

I picked myself up a bag of the Dark m&ms. Help me now.

And I picked up my Mr. a bag of the Sweet Tart Jelly Beans. These are also good; however, I will warn you that the yellow jelly bean has a bit of a rosemary taste.

And it is not good.

Can we take a sidebar here to talk about Hershey’s Kisses? When on earth did they come up with the 75 varieties that are now available?

I’m not complaining.

At all.

Just wondering.

One year it was Kisses and Hugs.

The next year it was caramel and coconut and peppermint and every other flavor under the sun.

Finally on this wonderful Wednesday, I bring you some more roasty toasty vegetables.

I had some green beans (stem end trimmed), about 1/2 bunch of asparagus, some baby red potatoes, and a shallot thinly sliced.

Sweet Mother Mary.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Want to know something random? When I look at 400, I pronounce it in my head as four-hundy.

Not four hundred.

Four-hundy is just more fun.

Glad we can agree on that.

Can we also agree that roasting vegetables is the hands-down best way to prepare them? Especially in the winter?

We can.

Perfect.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pop it into the oven for 15-20 min.

You know, you are looking for browned, caramelized goodness.

I served up my roasty vegetables (topped with a bit of shredded parm reg, of course) with a chunk of crusty garlic bread and some SIMPLE spicy cioppino (seafood stew).

Stop back tomorrow for the cioppino recipe.

It is delish to the max times 5000.

And that, my friends, wraps up my Hump Day treasures for ya.

Make it a good one.

XO,

Leah

We’re friends, right?

I can tell you things.

Like my deepest darkest secrets.

I can?

Perfect.

Here’s one: I generally don’t like salmon.

And I feel like I should.

Salmon is one of those foods on every list of stuff that is good for your body. It is low in calories yet high in protein. They also have lots of those good omega-3 fatty acids that we need from food (because our body doesn’t make it on it’s own).

So, here I am. A food lover.

A healthy gal.

Yet, I have had trouble jumping on the salmon train. Because salmon tastes like fish.

Bleck.

I don’t like fish to taste fishy.

Can I get a hallelujah?

A few months ago we had dinner at our friends, Jim and Abby’s house. We do dinner fairly frequently with these two, and it is fuu-uuun. Want to know why?

Because 1. Jim and Abby are fun.

And 2. Jim and Abby love food.

Then 3. Jim and Abby are adventurous eaters.

And 4. Artemis and Paolo- the two cutest ding-a-ling pups you have ever seen.

So, anywho… one dinner, Abby made the most delicious salmon I have ever had. And I don’t mean it was delicious for salmon.

It was so incredibly flavorful and wonderful that it changed my perspective on salmon. Forever.

So, I had the day off for Presidents’ Day (thanks so much Franklin Pierce), and I decided to make the main man and myself a delightful salmon lunch.

Courtesy of Ms. Abby.

Let me just say this. Besides being delectably delicious, this is sinfully easy.

You really have no reason not to try it.

Here is what you’ll need:

1 lb of salmon- feeds 2-3 people

1 T. oil

1 T. soy sauce

1 T. dijon mustard

1 T. honey

1 T. brown sugar

1 T. butter, melted

1 clove of garlic, diced

Get out a shallow pan to make the marinade. I used the same dish to marinade the fish as I did to make the marinade in.

Hooray for one less dish to do!

Add in your olive oil.

Then your soy sauce.

And then some dijon.

How about some honey, honey?

Gimme some sugar.

Plop your butter in a bowl.

Microwave until melted, and add it to the party.

Add in your garlic.

Give it a whisk.

Until it is all combined and looks like this.

Now, unwrap your fish.

Let’s chat a bit about fish, shall we? I buy my fish from one of two places exclusively.

1. Whole Foods (where this came from)

2. A local Fish Market- in Hyde Park for any of you Cincinnatians

Why?

Because both places have their fished shipped in twice a day. That means that it is about as fresh as Ohio fish can be. Also, both places are committed to getting only high quality fish in. There are very few farmed fish options, and if the fish is from a farm (and not from the ocean) it is cultivated using the highest standards and quality feeds.

So, there you have it.

Place the fish, flesh side down into the marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Do not marinate the fish any longer than an hour.

Why?

Because Abby says so.

Pop a lid or some plastic wrap on it, and put the pan in the fridge.

While that marinates, turn your broiler on to high.

Get out a broiler pan.

A broiler pan has a top pan with holes or slats for juices to drip through to a bottom pan.

I happen to have a small broiler pan that was the perfect size for this fish.

You should give it a quick once over with non-stick spray.

I did not do this step.

And I paid for it in manual pan cleaning labor later.

After your fish has marinated (I let mine go for about 30 min), take it out and lay it skin side down on your broiler pan.

Keep that marinade!!

Take a brush,

and slather more marinade on your fish.

Pop it into your oven for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pull it out.

\

Brush on more of that salty delicious marinade.

Put it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Then, pull it out again.

Brush it again.

Don’t be shy. Really slather it on there.

Finish it off for another 5 minutes.

It comes out looking like this.

(Although not so florescent. I was cooking on a very cloudy day so the lighting was weird).

That was a total of 15 minutes cooking time. 15 minutes will cook your fish to about medium doneness (for a filet about an inch thick) which I think is perfect. Medium doneness means a flaky yet moist fish.

Nothing makes a fish nastier than being dry.

If you don’t like medium, you can give your fish another 2 minutes or so. But you REALLY don’t want to overcook it.

Actually, that rule holds true to just about any protein.

Overcooking=dry, tough, nastiness.

Let the fish rest for 5 minutes. It will continue to cook just sitting there, and the resting will keep some moisture in.

I sliced off a chunk of the salmon, and I popped it on to a lovely green salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Um, yeah.

It was good.

And good for me.

Can’t get much better than that.

Except, of course, if the picture would have turned out better. The fish was not radioactive and florescent.

Even though it looks that way.

Try something new this week.

You’ll be glad you did.

XO,
Leah

Hi Friends!

Guess what!?!

It’s snowing again!! YAY!!!

Yes, that was sarcasm.

I’ve seen enough of the white death, thank you very much.

Want to know something pathetic about me?

I was VERY disappointed (dare I say angry?) that my beloved Oprah was preempted by “Winter Storm Watch 2011”. What I really want to know is who sits around watching the 24 hour snow updates? It makes me batty.

Thank you for listening to me.

I feel better now.

I was trying to decide what we should chat about today.

And I decided I should round out the week with another vegetarian dish option… this time for breakfast or brunch. I threw in a side dish for all of you carnivores too. I’m posting this on Friday so you have a chance to gather up the ingredients prior to the official start of your weekend.

Brunch makes my life.

Holla if you hear me.

Today, I bring you crepes.

Don’t go away!! Don’t be scared!! They are easy!!

Here is what you’ll need:

A blender

1 cup of flour

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup water

3 T. melted butter

Put it all into a blender.

And then pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it.

That is 4 pulses at about 5 seconds a piece.

And this is what it looks like all blended.

Crepe batter is very similar to a pancake batter except much much runnier.

Because I was making a sweet breakfast crepe, I decided to add a t. of vanilla and 1/4 c. of sugar to the batter at this point.

Your crepes will still be delicious if you leave that out. If you were making savory crepes, you could add a little salt, pepper, and any herb you like.

Crepes are very versatile.

And they are also pretty bubbly immediately after blending.

So, to get the bubbles to subside and to make your crepe making easier, pop that whole blender into the fridge for an hour or so.

This step isn’t completely necessary, but it makes the batter a little easier to work with.

Truth be told, I don’t really do the refrigeration step.

But I feel I should tell you the way that crepes are SUPPOSED to be made so that someday if you have a French crepe master in your home, you’ll know every bit as much as he or she does.

Er. Something like that.

Here is the one thing that you will absolutely need for crepe making success… a nonstick skillet.

And a little bit o’ butter.

Put your skillet and butter over medium heat.

I like to use a 9″ in diameter non-stick pan because the crepes come out the perfect serving size.

For a 9″ skillet, I use approximately 1/4 c. of crepe batter for each crepe.

The recipe above made about a dozen crepes.

They are supposed to be a very thin treat.

So, pour in your first 1/4 c. (doesn’t have to be precise) of batter.

Quickly, lift the pan up to coax the batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan.

Allow the crepe to cook only about 30 seconds.

Then, give the crepe a flip.

After another 30 seconds, remove the crepe onto a dry flat surface to cool down to room temperature.

Continue on with this process until all of your batter is gone.

I want to warn you… the first crepe you pour into the pan almost always is disastrous. I have no clue why this happens, but I have made several batches of crepes, and the first pour always ends up not spreading evenly and being weird. So, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. It is normal to have your first try go awry.

And, if you happen to have success with your first pour, please don’t tell me.

I’ll probably develop a complex.

Why doesn’t my first crepe come out perfectly?

What is wrong with me?

I guess I’m just not good enough to make the perfect crepe.

Anywho, after allowing all of your crepes to cool, stack them up or pack them up.

Cooked crepes can last in the fridge for 2 weeks when stored in an airtight bag or container.

You can freeze them for up to 6 months. When you want to use them, simply pull them out of the freezer and set them on your counter until they thaw. Then have at them!!

Here is what I topped my Sunday Brunch Crepes with…

1/2 c. of strawberry jam

1/2 c. fresh strawberries, shopped

1 kiwi, chopped

1/2 c. fresh blueberries

I popped all of that into a small saucepan, and turned the heat to medium.

I stirred it up.

And watched it cook.

Do you have any idea how good this smells?

Like candy.

I let it bubble a bit around the edges, and then I turned the heat as low as it would go to keep the sauce warm until I was ready for it.

I also chopped up another round of fresh berries, kiwi, and blueberries.

To make my crepe, I put one glorious crepe onto my plate.

And I topped it with the chopped fresh fruit.

Then I added a drizzle of my fruity syrup that has been warming on the stove.

Then I folded it up.

And then I looked at that big ol’ plate, and thought my crepe looked a little lonely.

I thought and thought about what would complete my brunch while staying within the French breakfast theme.

And this came to mind:

Croissants

1 T. of Dijon mustard per croissant

Black Forest Ham

Gruyere Cheese (the best melting cheese on the planet)

I cut my gloriously buttery croissants in half to start to build my French breakfast sandwich.

I slathered the bottom half of the croissant with the dijon mustard.

Then, I drooled a little as I piled on some of that ham.

And then I drooled a little more as I shredded the gruyere.

I seriously, seriously have a cheese problem.

I think I need an intervention.

Now, you have a couple of options. Pop those bad boys into the oven at 350 for 5-7 minutes (until the cheese gets melty) or you can pop them into a toaster oven like I did.

I wrapped up the tray that I had them on in foil so that I had one less kitchen item to clean.

Oh sweet sassy.

My dear Gussie.

Look at these mamas when they came out of the oven.

Help me.

Now, pop the lid on your sandwich.

Drizzle a little more of that fruity syrup on  your crepe.

Oh, hey there whipped cream.

You’d like to go on the crepe too?

You got it!

Top off the crepe with the slightest dusting of powdered sugar.

That is joy on a plate if you ask me.

Sure joy is full of lots and lots of calories. But, it’s brunch! And it’s the weekend!

And this meal made my morning so gloriously lovely.

And I know it will do the same for you.

Brad has been having crepes for dessert this week with the leftovers I have stored in the fridge. He pops out a crepe, puts it on a plate, spreads a thin layer of cream cheese down the center, and then tops that with some strawberry jam. He puts the whole kit and caboodle into the microwave for about 10 seconds.

I tasted his treat last night, and it is GOOD!

I just feel like before we go, we should look at that food again.

Ah.

Lovely!

And delicious!

And I think I have thoroughly forgotten about the 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Finally, I will leave you with this… my dogs have the smelliest gas on the face of the planet.

They have accosted me the entire time I have written this post.

You are welcome for that little piece of information.

It’s Friday, people!

Have a great weekend.

XO,

Leah

So, today was a first.

I whisked Bradley away to have PRK surgery. For those of you that have no clue what that is, PRK is a vision correction surgery. For some reason, Brad’s eyes wouldn’t respond well to Lasik, so PRK was his only option.

Fun fact: fighter pilots receive PRK not Lasik, so Brad is pretty much a fighter pilot now, right?

I’m not sure what Brad’s issue was that prevented Lasik, but perhaps this photo provides some insight.

I’m a pretty supportive wife, right?

Instead of lavishing him with encouraging words and holding his hand, I’m snapping pictures of him while he crosses his eyes in this get up.

So, here is what I loved about today.

I got to watch the whole procedure.

The doctors office has a private observation room for the family of the patient.

It has a window into the surgery area.

Not only that, they projected Brad’s giant eye onto a TV screen.

So, in very clear detail, I could see the step by step process.

Fascinating.

Best part? They served refreshments in the observation room. Score!

Kinda like going to a movie.

I know the picture doesn’t show much, but on the TV is Brad’s eye.

Brad was laying down off to the left.

I only had my iPhone with me so none of the pictures are great.

I really wish this last picture came out because the big blue eye was like Big Brother looking down on me.

So strange.

The whole time I was observing (while enjoying some treats), this is all that I could think of:

And that was my day today.

The end.

 

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

They are separated by their families.

Even though their love exceeds all boundaries, there is one thing that keeps them apart.

They would give anything to make the boundary disappear.

Alas.

The fence.

It keeps them apart.

Well that, and their owners.

This is Riley.

Riley is Lola’s friend, confidant, love.

Riley is Lola’s everything.

How do I know?

Lola waits by the back door patiently for her love to appear. The moment he is let out, Lola must run to him. There is no option.

She is a smitten kitten.

Or Rather.

A smitten hound.

She runs to Riley.

Ears flopping in the wind.

Only to be stopped dead in her tracks by the one things that keeps her from him.

The fence.

A woman in love cannot be stopped.

Lola will not be kept from Riley.

And Lola will certainly not let material boundaries separate her for long.

Lola must only ruin our yard a little bit more to achieve her reunion with Sir Riley.

What is wrong with me?

I’m tempted to let her try.

Brad wants to fill in the hole and place one of Lola’s lovely poops on top of the hole to discourage her from digging further.

Men.

Sigh.

They just don’t get it.

Happy Monday!!

XO,

Leah

I’m in love.

I’m obsessed.

I have issues.

I blame Brad.

Because he bought me this beauty for Christmas:

I have long been lusting over the Le Creuset cookware. It is so pretty, and it is so functional.

But it is also so expensive.

I wanted to be sure I would use this regularly before investing in a piece (or two… or three).

For those of you that don’t know, Le Creuset is the gold standard of cookware. They are the choice of lots of my friends on the Food Network, and many of my favorite blogs cook up lovely slow cooked meals in their Le Creuset.

For my first piece, I decided I wanted the French Oven (same thing as a Dutch oven, but because Le Creuset is a French company they don’t give their cookware a conflicting name). These French Ovens are created with their own sand mold. This ensures that the lid perfectly fits your pot, and it also means that you have a one-of-a-kind piece because each sand mold is destroyed after doing its oven-making duty.

The biggest selling point is that these ovens heat evenly consistently because they are cast iron. However, they have an enamel coating that allows for easy clean up.

Anyhow, I’ll stop my gush fest now.

I have always known what the inaugural meal would be should I ever own one of these beauties.

Braised Short Ribs.

Both Brad and I love them in an unhealthy manner.

In a restaurant, if short ribs are on the menu I have a hard time not ordering them.

Or if I do resist, I encourage Brad to go for the ribs so that I can partake.

I’m so unselfish.

So, I used a hybrid of two recipes from two of my favorite cooks, Ina Garten and The Pioneer Woman.

I used this recipe from PW, and this one from Ina.

I’ll spare you my step by step recipe, since PW does such a lovely (and way better) job on her site.

But I will show you that this is what my food looked like before going into the oven for the 2 1/2 hour slow cook.

And here is what it looked like afterward.

Can I just tell you that the bones fell to the bottom of the pan while it was cooking. The meat was so tender. Sweet sassy.

I also whipped up The Pioneer Woman’s goat cheese polenta.

And loaded up my plate.

And then I took a bite.

And I died.

And I went to heaven.

And it was magical.

But I decided to come back to earth so that I could continue eating this food.

God Bless the good folks at Le Creuset. They make an excellent product.

And a big fat thank you to my fabulous man for my new favorite thing.

If I were Oprah, I’d be giving these bad boys away this year.

Oh, and here’s a little tip. There is a Le Creuset outlet between Cincinnati and Dayton, Oh. Sometimes they have products for as much as 50% off. Yep. Not bad at all.

Lots of love to you, my friends.

Leah

1. I’m stealing this post name from a blog that I enjoy Try it, You Might Like It.

2. I’m obsessed with Thai food.

3. Brad is also obsessed with Thai food- further proof that we are meant to be together.

4. I’m trying to figure out how to make Thai at home. And what I have realized is that Thai restaurants must use approximately 8000 times the amount of salt that I am using.

5. Sorry I have been missing. Thanksgiving was busy, and now I feel like the holidays are taking over my life. I love/hate this time of year. Can I get an amen?

Without further ado, I give you easy peasy Spring Rolls (with 1/8000th of the salt of what you might find in a restaurant). You. Are. Welcome.

You’ll need the following:

Rice Noodles, Rice Paper Wraps, Bean Sprouts, Shredded Chicken (1/2 c.- not pictured), 1 carrot, 2 green onions, basil, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar

First, we shall make our sauce. This sauce is salty and delicious.

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce- I use the low sodium version because I am a good little soldier.

Add a T of rice wine vinegar.

I know that a few of these ingredients are random, and you may not have them if you never make non-American foods. However, I end up using these ingredients a significant amount. So, go for it. Buy them! If not, you could use apple cider vinegar instead of the rice wine.

Add in a tablespoon of fish sauce.

I didn’t happen to have fish sauce. My regular grocery store didn’t have it, and I wasn’t willing to make another trip.

Instead, I used oyster sauce.

Oyster sauce does not equal fish sauce, and normally it should not be used as a substitute. But, I was feeling crazy. And lazy. And it was only a tablespoon.

You know, sometimes I like to buck the system.

1 t. of brown sugar, and mix it up.

Now in a separate bigger bowl, put in a 1/2 cup of shredded chicken.

I used my always-present-never-lets-me-down grocery store rotisserie chicken.

But leftover chicken would work too.

Or, you can leave the chicken out, and then this becomes a vegetarian dish.

Bada bing. Bada boom. I just turned this into a 2-in-1 recipe.

If you don’t have chicken and if you don’t want to go vegetarian for a dish, you could use pork, shrimp, beef, or really  anything in these instead of chicken.

Now, boil some water.

Take a chunk of your rice noodles.

Break them up a bit with your hands, and drop them in the water.

Have you ever cooked the rice noodles? They are magical because they cook with a quickness. I love things that cook with a quickness, don’t you?

You’ll know that these guys are done when they are al dente. It should only take a minute or two.

Drain them.

Complimentary rice noodle facial.

Now run cold water over the noodles.

After they are sufficiently cooled by the water, grab the noodles and chop them up a bit. It will make your life easier in the next few steps.

I did not chop my noodles, and I sorely regretted it.

Add to your chicken about 1/2 cup of bean sprouts (drained).

Add in 1/2 cup of your cooked, cooled and chopped noodles.

Chop up the green portion of 2-3 green onions. Add them to the mixture.

Now, shred your carrot. Add it to the mix.

Chop up some basil.

Depending on how much you like the herb, you can use any amount from a tablespoon to a 1/4 cup.

Now some cilantro. Same measurement as the basil. Use more or less based on your personal preferences.

Now, dump in your special sauce you made earlier.

Stir it up, little darling.

Now, for the fun part…

These are your rice paper wraps. They are fun to use.

And delicate.

They tear pretty easily, but don’t worry about it if it happens. No one will notice, and it won’t change the flavor of your food one bit.

Fill a large bowl with HOT water.

Drop one piece of the rice paper into the hot water.

After about 15-30 seconds, the paper will be flexible.

Pull it out, and lay it out flat.

Put in a healthy heaping helping (say that three times fast) into the center.

Fold in the sides.

Now, fold up the bottom.

Then, keep on rolling it up to make it into a spring roll.

It will stick to itself, so you don’t need to do anything to seal it.

Pretty nifty, huh?

Repeat, until you have a whole mound of these rolls.

I made up a quick dipping sauce too.

1/2 c. of soy sauce, 1 T. oyster sauce, 1 t. chopped garlic, 1 t. red pepper flakes, 1 T. corn starch

Put it in a small sauce pan. And heat it up to a boil.

As soon as it bubbles turn it off and stir it.

It will become lovely and thick.

Pull it off of the heat, put it into a heat safe bowl and let it cool down.

I actually prefer to eat the sauce cold with my cold spring rolls, so I pop it into the fridge until I’m ready to eat it.

This dish is perfect as a pre-made appetizer or as a side dish to some stir fry.

If you love Thai food, you know these are good.

If you don’t love Thai food, what is wrong with you?

If you have never tried Thai food, and you are scared of it… just try this. You might just like it.

XO,

Leah

For the past decade, I have travelled with my hubs to his family Lake House to celebrate Thanksgiving with his immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and everyone’s dogs.

There are obvious things that I look forward to during the Thanksgiving season- seeing family, spending quality time, giving thanks, and eating glorious turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Duh.

Who doesn’t like that stuff?

However, there is a newer tradition that I’m going to share with you. I encourage you to try it out for yourself. It will elevate your holiday weekend to a new, fantastically fattening and trashy level.

And who doesn’t love fattening and trashy?

We celebrate the Friday after Thanksgiving with Fry-Day.

I believe this started the first year Brad’s uncle fried a turkey. The next day we had this glorious frier just tempting us to try some new delectable treats in it.

And boy, have we.

It all started with the basics.

I do believe this is the beginning of the first year spread.

Pickles and jalepenos on the left, and those are bacon wrapped hot dogs on the right.

This picture was taken before their dip in our beer batter.

I warned you that these are in no way, shape, or form good for you- right?

Year two, we focused on some dessert products.

These are double stuffed Oreos covered with funnel cake batter.

Um, HELLO!!!!!

We send off the battered goodies to be handled by the men.

The Coors Light drinking men.

Manly.

And classy.

This picture indicates that you also must wear some casual wear from your Alma Mater during Fry-Day.

This is not a Fry Day mandatory; however, it is recommended.

This is a spread from one year.

There are fried cheese sticks, fried oysters and shrimp, fried pickles and jalepenos, and some dips to correspond.

Look! There is even fruit on the table. At least we are making an effort to include some element of health.

Here is the shrimp up close.

This is a personal favorite of mine.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a strange looking fried item in the center of the pile.

That would be cousin Ryan’s fried Lunchable hotdog in the mini-bun. Weird. And gross.

Mmmm. Funnel cake with sugar and cinnamon. Heaven.

Let’s see… we’ve also done salami stuffed with cream cheese, buffalo chicken dip frozen into balls then deep fried, and ice cream.

But we are always looking to improve and experiment.

So, if you have anything we must try, please share!!

Don’t worry… Uncle Steve makes us go on extremely long hikes every day of the break. So, we do work off the calories.

Last year after one hike, two of the older dogs were out of commission for a full 24 hours because the old pups pushed it a little too hard mile after mile.

You do get to see sights like this on said hikes.

Pretty.

And here is another practical way to take care of those pesky Thanksgiving Day and Fry-Day calories…

Fire Jumping while holding Maverick, the wonder dog.

Ladies, you can participate too!

There ya have it.

A new tradition for you Thanksgiving weekend.

You are welcome.

Don’t forget… I’m looking for frying suggestions. And we’ll try anything once (case in point- lunchable hotdog).

Happy Hump Day!

XO,
Leah

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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