Food and weight-maintenence blog for the POST diet girl

Archive for the ‘Squashes / Sweet Potato’ Category

Just a little longer

My lovely is taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. How it works: Start writing on November 1st. Write at least 1,500 words a day. By the end of the month, you will have successfully written a 50,000 word novel.

I am strongly encouraging him in this endeavor. It’s already been established that I do not plan on getting to see him much this month since he will be writing, and that this is okay. I want him to do this. He NEEDS to do this. He doesn’t have to convince me, I already know how important this is to him. You should have seen the look on his face,  just  so very excited. A kid on Christmas. Writing makes him so happy. It makes him who he is. I’ve taken that away from him (unwittingly) for 5 months now. My only request was that I get to see him on my birthday. This was already the plan, apparently, and it was also made known to me that I am invited to Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house as well. I can’t wait. His mom is the coolest person I’ve never met.

I did not take a picture of breakfast. It was just cereal. A certain flea market is open today that I wish to go to today. The television simply needs to be elevated off of the floor. Our necks will thank me.

I didn’t have to shop for terribly long before finding it. A nice, short little black wooden table with a grid-like pattern on all sides. $10. Sold. The old man assisting me even gave me a deal on it, $8. Even more sold! He tried to flirt with me all the way to my car. I was regaled with comments of how pretty I am and how thin I am and how much he loves my hair. He asked if I “was a size zero, or something”. Men don’t know a lot about sizes. They also don’t care. A man couldn’t care less if I am a size zero or a size 5. There is literally absolutely no difference to them. We walk around like it’s the difference between life and death…and they don’t even notice. Though I’ve always known that my disordered eating had nothing to do with what men find attractive, it really hit home today. I felt great about myself. I told the man that, though I was completely uninterested, his comments about my size actually did more for me than he could realize and I appreciated them very much. I even gave him a hug.

Thank you, creepy old man.

I did not have time for lunch. I got home, set up my television on my table, took a shower, and cleaned up the apartment a little for G’s arrival. He, of course, couldn’t stay long. He had to go home and write. I completely understood and started walking him to the door. He asked me what time it was. It was only around 5:30. He talked to me for a couple minutes longer then again requested the time. Just a little after 5:30. He decided he could stay for a movie and popcorn.

We watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Wonderful film! It was beautifully shot! He left at around 9:30, which is early for him. I did make dinner for myself:

Butternut Squash and Potato Red Curry

I WANTED to use up some coconut milk that I had. The milk turned out to be bad. Dammit. I didn’t realize this until after I’d started cooking. So I used yogurt instead, but if you were to make this for yourself, use coconut milk! Yogurt was fine, it just wasn’t the effect I wanted.

Ingredients:

Butternut squash, cubed
Potato, cubed
Onion, sliced
Ginger, freshly grated
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 t Red Curry Paste
Pinch of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Brown Sugar
Crushed Red Pepper
1/3 cup Coconut Milk (I used yogurt as a substitute…in my own recipe. Fantastic.)
1/4 cup chicken stock
S&P
Optional – Cornstarch to thicken the sauce if need be, but the potatoes should add enough starch to thicken it

Fry the potatoes and squash in a little olive oil for 10 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until onion is translucent. Add spices and curry paste. Add coconut milk and stock and allow to cook down to desired thickness, 5 – 10 minutes or so depending. If sauce is still not thick enough, add a little cornstarch.

*The yogurt is also a fine substitute, but really, the coconut milk was what I wanted. Use that. I promise it will taste just as good, if not better!

I do not know when I will get to see my beau again. It pains me, but I know he is happy writing. And I’m a big girl. I can take it.

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4:30 AM – Day 1

Working at 7 AM has it’s perks. The earlier mornings lead to longer evenings to do other things. Either fun things, second jobs, or perhaps running errands. They also mean that one has the opportunity to work 2 of those hours customer-free and are left alone to finish work efficiently. Ah, the quiet serenity of early mornings!

Breakfast:

2 hours in the morning before leaving on the half-hour walk to work, for myself, is ideal. A little over 1 hour to wake myself up properly, relax, play around on the internet, make coffee, have breakfast, maybe answer some questions for my customers.  At about 10 till 6:00, I start the water in my shower, pick out something to wear for work and lay it out on my bed, jump into the hot water for around 5-10 minutes, dry my hair, throw on some eyeliner, and get dressed. Normally, a couple of chores are in order, washing the dishes that were used for breakfast that morning, putting away anything that may have been left out from the evening before (I prefer to leave a clean house), and say goodbye to whomever I was chatting with on the computer.

Then I leave for a pitch-black walk. The sun won’t even start rising until 45 minutes after I’m already there.

When I get there, no matter how great I looked when I left, I look like absolute crap. The wind tousles my hair too much and I look awful. Uhg. Every time. Luckily G is not here today.

I had half of a cranberry sandwich and soup for lunch.

After work I had to walk to buy more supplies. Then home. Then start and finish a project. So I pulled double-duty today. I will be doing this for the next couple of days as well.

Dinner:

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie

Taken from: http://nummynumnum.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/butternut-squash-mushroom-chicken-pot-pie/

1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 slices center-cut bacon
3 portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and diced (about 3 cups)
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup diced onions
2 lb. chicken breasts and thighs, diced
salt to taste
buttermilk biscuits (make your own if you can, but I can’t bake)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the butternut squash, milk, chicken broth and garlic in a small pot and set over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the smoked paprika and set aside.
  2. While the squash cooks, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil and the bacon and the onions. Saute until the bacon begins to crisp and the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and cook through, about 10 more minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Grease a casserole dish. Place the contents of the skillet in the baking dish, then ladle the butternut squash puree evenly over the top. Halve the biscuits and place them in an even layer over the top.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and golden. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before servings.

Biscuits AB style

From: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

 

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)

 

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

*Delicious!!! I couldn’t eat all of it, I made way too much. So I just threw the rest out. Leftovers are just not practical for someone like me. I just don’t ever, ever eat them.

I won something!

What an odd morning!

I’d put off getting some work done (also probably put off proper blogging) to randomly join a chat sponsored by Gevalia coffee. It’s something I guess they do every Thursday morning. They also offer prizes to participants. I thought, “Eh…sure! What the hell?” and jumped into the chatroom. I quickly turned the conversation in the room toward food and made everyone hungry. Then at the end of the chat, they told me that I had won. How they choose their winners, I have no idea, but I won! So basically, I got to talk about food for an hour and then got free coffee. Life is great!

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Taken from: http://ladywiththeredrocker.com/2012/01/12/pumpkin-baked-oatmeal/

6 cups quick oats
1½ sticks of butter (melted)
1 cup brown sugar (You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. You can also use part sugar and part honey if you like.)
1 cup canned pumpkin
¾ tsp. salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ pecans, chopped (optional, but oohhh so good! :D )

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, mix well, and pour into a 9×13 baking dish.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning bake at 350° for 20 minutes with foil off.

*Next time, I would like to do an overnight version of this. It was really good, but felt it was a bit dry. I’m not sure if more liquid would help or if maybe letting it soak overnight would help. I did use honey instead of sugar and also didn’t put any other kind of crazy crumble on top. I tried keeping this simple so I didn’t go overboard with the unnecessary calories. I put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. I had 2 small servings of this and threw out the rest. I made a 1/3 recipe.

Lunch:

You guessed it.

Dinner:

Ginger Pear Chicken

Sorry about the two different light sources in the picture. I’m sure no one else notices that sort of thing but me. Still…

Taken from: http://busycooks.about.com/od/chickenbreastrecipes/r/gingerpearchick.htm

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger root
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 pears, peeled and sliced

Preparation:

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge each in flour. In heavy skillet, combine olive oil and butter over medium heat. When foamy, add chicken; brown on both sides but do not cook through, about 5 minutes total. Remove chicken to plate.Increase heat to medium high; add ginger root and onion to drippings remaining in skillet. Cook and stir until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet along with pear slices; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 6-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve over couscous or hot cooked rice.

*I of course only made one of these, not six. Hehe. I followed the recipe exactly save for the added broccoli that I put in. I liked this. It was simple, easy, and delicious! I would make it this way again.

I was going to go out with a friend of mine tonight, but she turned out to be too tired. No matter, I worked until late. I didn’t stop till around 11 pm. It was a good day for food!

Exercise: 3.5 mile walk (I now have an iPod nano, those have a pedometer built in! Holy shit!)

MMUM not fail!

At least I got this part right! Sheesh!

BUT I finally lost it. I finally said to myself, “Self, nobody wants to see YET ANOTHER picture of  the same cereal in the same bowl and a PB&J sammich with the same grape jelly and crunchy peanut butter. NOBODY!”

So I protested taking pictures of those same things. Again. You kids probably feel like you’re on a broken record by now with this place.

I worked a lot this morning. Shipped out a couple of things. Expected a visit from my darling at around 5:20 or so. (Just a short visit, he’d left something here by accident that he needed to pick up.) When he arrives, I can tell something is very, very wrong. He looked like he was outright miserable. He had a migraine and just wanted to sit, relax, and let it pass. This was more than alright with me. I closed all of the curtains in my living room and just held his hand and talked to him while he rested. The migraine passed relatively quickly. He told me I must be good for him. That I have magical healing powers. He’s so beautiful.

That was my adventure for the day.

Dinner:

Pumpkin, Peas, and Red Peppers in a Cashew, Coriander, and Coconut sauce

I jotted down the ingredients this time so I couldn’t forget. YES! I will get better at doing that! Some of these turn out incredible and I really would like to share!

Onion, diced
Red pepper, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
Fresh grated Ginger
1/4 small roasted Pumpkin, cubed
1/4 c Peas
0.5 T Coriander
0.5 t Cayenne pepper
1 t Garam Masala
0.5 t Turmeric
Cashews
Crushed Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Lime Juice
1/8 c Coconut
Sprinkle of Sugar

Cook the onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper in some olive oil until red pepper becomes tender. Add peas and spices. Meanwhile, put a handfull of cashews into a food processor and blend until very fine, if you have the patience, until it becomes a paste. Add coconut and process with cashews until well blended. Add crushed tomatoes (about…1/4 cup) and a dash of lime juice and pulse once or twice. Add mixture to the pan along with the diced, roasted pumpkin and some extra whole cashews. Cook until pumpkin is heated through. Serve on sticky rice.

*Very, very good! Lots of coriander flavor without covering up the flavor of the veggies/pumpkin too much. I liked showcasing the coriander, it is normally sort of an afterthought spice in curry, so it was nice to let it shine! Made it different than I’m used to!

 

I was happy that I didn’t say anything stupid today. I feel as though I get so nervous, as my boyfriend is, very honestly, a lot smarter than I am, that I say really stupid things whilst talking with him. My brain turns to mush and I temporarily forget things that I KNOW I know.  You know? Then I feel as though he’s going to realize I’m actually an ignorant idiot posing as an intelligent young woman.  I ought to just shut up and look pretty so he doesn’t suspect that I’m a complete moron. I did good today though. I just sort of talked at him about my day softly and in a low tone so he could just sort of relax to the sound of my voice. It worked. And I didn’t say one stupid thing. I feel I’ve made up for the REALLY extra dumb comments I’ve made in the past couple of days.

Curing migraines is a great way to show that you’re worth keeping around. Even if sometimes you’re slightly stupid.

 

Cupcakes???

Surprise! Your sister-in-law wants cupcakes for her birthday!

How did you forget? Holy crap, you insensitive bitch! You forgot your sister-in-law’s birthday!

Don’t worry!!!! Cupcake-making skills to the rescue!!!

Quick breakfast!

Walk to the grocery store and pick up supplies! PUMPKIN-Y supplies!

Walk home. QUICK LUNCH!

As you can see, I already have all of my baking supplies out! I was already well into roasting my pumpkin (an hour of baking!) and getting things together at this point. (Also taking mildly bad pictures, I will fix this!)

I started baking at around 1 in the afternoon. I didn’t get done with the last finishing touches on the cupcakes until around 6:30. That’s 5.5 hours of cupcake-construction.

Result:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel and Candied Pecan filling topped with a Cool Whip and Cream Cheese frosting

I, of course, also made the caramel from scratch and candied my own pecans. Which took up another fair amount of time. GORGEOUS picture, if I do say so myself! AND YES! They were definitely as good as they looked!!!

All of that time in the kitchen, and THIS is what I ended up making for dinner:

Don’t look! I am ashamed of myself! A gourmet cook such as myself resorting herself to canned chicken and rice soup??? OH but it was late! And I’d had only a cupcake and some leftover caramel and candied pecan filling to munch on! I was le tired.

Don’t judge me too harshly. I made amazing fucking cupcakes.

 

Paris

G desperately wants to go to France.

He will never go.

I know how normal people work. They say they want to do something. They dream about it. They talk about it. They long for it. But they never do it. They don’t think they can.

I will never understand why people do this to themselves.

Why can’t you?

Why the fuck can’t you?

“I don’t have the money.”

“I don’t have the time.”

“I can’t leave work for that long.”

“-Insert significant other’s name here- doesn’t want to.”

Excuses, excuses, fucking lame ass excuses.

This is the only goddamn life you have people. You don’t get a second chance. Do you really want to look back on your life and regret all the things you COULD HAVE DONE had you JUST DONE THEM?

I am taking G to Paris.

I bought a sewing machine not knowing how to sew with dreams of being self-employed. I learned how. I bought a motorcycle without knowing how to ride, but a strong desire to hit that open road with the wind blowing through my hair. I took classes and DID it. I have traveled all over the US on no money. I have been to London being self-employed, barely able to afford rent half the time. I have met all my heroes. My life is a massive adventure.

G pointed this out to me at the movie the other night.

I told him that it doesn’t just come to me. I have to make the choice to live. YOU have to go to IT, adventures won’t just happen to you. If you really want something, you have to just make the decision to DO it. I haven’t failed yet. I’ve succeeded in everything I’ve tried because I have FAITH in myself and my ability to learn and do.  And I’ve no regrets.

I’ve been looking at flight prices and B&B’s in Paris. It’s not even all that expensive. It’s completely doable. Sure I’ll have to work my ass off and save every penny I can for maybe a year (depending on if I plan on paying for the both of us, which I know he won’t let me), but I CAN DO IT. If he wants to pitch in, he is more than welcome to. But I will be giving him a timeline and very soon possibly an exact date (that depends on the flexibility of the airline prices and if I check every day) and am saying “I am taking you to Paris.”

He will try to protest.

I will explain to him that he’s the luckiest man in the world because he has me. Without me, he won’t go. With me in his life, anything is possible. Because that’s exactly what I believe about myself.

I said something to him the other day that he wants to get engraved so he can see it every day. He’d mentioned how he loves to write, but the industry has gotten him down and he hasn’t submitted any of his writing or even had anyone read it in nearly a decade. I told him he shouldn’t let that stop him from doing what he loves.

“Holding back passion is the first step to unhappiness.”

He told me I am 100% right and that I am an inspiration to him.

It’s nice to be someone’s muse.

I demanded to read his writings. He will be giving me copies soon.

Breakfast:

Traditional French Clafoutis

Quite obviously, I’ve been inspired today with French cooking. I’ve done this before, but not the traditional way with cherries. I happen to have them today.

Taken from: http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/CherryClafoutis.html

Cherry Clafoutis Batter:

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoosn (25 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (180 ml) milk (whole (full fat) or reduced fat)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cherries:

3/4 pound (350 grams) fresh sweet cherries, pitted

1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.  Wash the cherries, remove the stems and pits. 

In your food processor or blender (or you can do it by hand with a wire whisk) place the flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. Process for about 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the batter is completely smooth, let it rest while you prepare the fruit. 

In a 9- inch (23 cm) heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably non stick), melt the butter over medium heat making sure the melted butter coats the bottom and sides of the pan. When the butter is bubbling, add the pitted cherries, and cook until the cherries have softened a bit and are coated with butter (about 2 minutes). Then sprinkle the cherries with the sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved and turns into a syrup (1 – 2 minutes). Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges. Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or it may collapse. Serve immediately with a dusting of confectioners sugar and yogurt, creme fraiche or softly whipped cream.

Serves about 4 people as a breakfast/brunch dish

*Fantastic! Easy. RIDICULOUSLY easy. Custardy, sweet (but not “too sweet” for people who are into that hehe), and almost too simple for how good it tastes. I’m hoping one day I can make this for breakfast for G in Paris.

Lunch:

Finished off that turkey. Banana. Yum.

Dinner:

Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Pea Stir Fry

This was something I totally made up. I sauteed sweet potato, parsnips and peas with onion, diced tomato and a lot of garlic in some olive oil. I added milk, soy sauce, tomato paste and a splash of lemon juice and seasoned it with Garam Masala, Turmeric and a little Allspice. Finished with about 1 T of brown sugar and S&P. Absolutely wonderful. I put it on some sticky rice with rice vinegar on it. Really wonderful. Outdid myself once again!

 

I got a project done for my store and as a reward got to stream 2 episodes of Food Network Star. Tomorrow I get to work with G all night. I am incredibly excited about this. I’ve never been so looking forward to going to work before. Even if I don’t get to talk to him most of the night, I will be very content just knowing that he is there.

I hope I amaze the men in my life as much as they amaze me.

Oh how quickly things change

Just knowing that G tried to send me a message last night made me happy this morning.

Though my chances of eating a breakfast were decent, I still wasn’t feeling up to making anything. Instead, I started on a project for the day. Just something to keep me busy and keep my mind off of stupid shit for a while.

Then my day got a whole lot better really fucking fast.

First off, I sent that picture of the “Mystery Meat” to Alton Brown through Twitter with inquiries as to what cut it was and how best to cook it. I did this at about 8 AM sort of forgetting that he’s in California right now shooting stuff and to him it’s 5AM. D’oh. The chances of him seeing my message are not good. Oh well.

The friend who helped me move the couches offered to buy me lunch in an attempt to get me to eat something. I tried to turn him down knowing that he is also poor and his bank account shouldn’t suffer due to my self-negligence.  He insists. IF he’s going to insist, then I would like to try a Thai restaurant just up the street within walking distance. He says he has never tried Thai food, but is willing. (God it always BLOWS MY MIND when people tell me they’ve NEVER tried a whole GENRE of food. To someone like me, that’s like saying you’ve never tried bread.) I am very much looking forward to going.

At about 12:30, Alton answers me.

I’m sure anything labeled a “mystery” piques his interest as he is also a very curious creature. He gives me an idea to what he thinks it is and denounces the crappy labeling. I mention back to him that it was the only poorly labeled item out there and that, combined with the low price, riled up my curiosity so that I just had to purchase it.  He answers me AGAIN instructing me to braise it and get back to him about it.

So not only an instruction, but also a request to answer back to him yet again.

God. Damn.

This has quickly turned into the best day of my life.

I chat a bunch with PFH#1, who will be on his way home from NYC tonight. He sends me funny videos and we have a good time in between me working on my project and finding braising recipes. (I’ve actually never braised anything before, so I’m freaking out slightly.)

4:00 rolls around and my friend comes over. We wander over to the Thai hole-in-the-wall. I order something with tofu and, being that I know how Thai food works, order it “Thai hot, not American hot, I know what I’m doing here…I know what I’m getting myself into, and I would like it THAI HOT”. The owner is impressed that I know my food. My friend also orders his dish “Thai hot”…I realize he is trying to impress me with his adventurous spice level choice, but he does not understand how hot it is going to be. He keeps claiming that he “likes” hot food. Ok…you’re own grave buddy.

I eat mine without so much as a sniffle. It’s nice and spicy, probably could even be a little hotter. I look up at my friend and he is just POURING with sweat. I mean, I’ve never seen a man sweat so much while eating. He has to use our entire pile of napkins to wipe down his face. I can’t help but laugh loudly at his predicament. The owner comes over and looks at me and says “Well you look like you’re doing just fine! You on the other hand, sir, would you like some more water?” Holy crap I just busted out laughing. He enjoyed it, he ate every last bite. I ate a bit more than half of mine. I gave him the leftovers since he paid for it anyway, he should have them.

The entertainment was priceless.

He hangs out here for about an hour talking about geek stuff with me, then leaves so I can start making dinner. It’s going to take at least 2 hours to braise this “meat” so I have to start it soon.

Dinner:

Braised Mystery Meat (courtesy of PERSONAL AB instruction)

Braising instructions taken from: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/braising_meats.htm

Ingredients:

4 veal shanks (Obviously I used “mystery meat”)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 and a half cups parsnips, roughly chopped
1 and a half cups turnips, roughly chopped (Used carrots and sweet potato instead)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine 1 cup beef or veal stock
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

Preparation:

1) Season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them in a large skillet with the olive oil, for about 5 minutes on each side.

2) Place the shanks in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.

3) In the same skillet you browned the shanks, sauté the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes adding more olive oil if necessary. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for a few minutes more, being careful not to burn the paste or the garlic.

4) Add the stock, wine, and herbs and bring to a boil.

5) Pour everything over the shanks and place the casserole dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. 6) Add salt and pepper to taste at the end.

*HOLY SHIT! This was by far the best “meat’ I’ve ever made. I mean. Goddamn. It just fell apart, it looked gorgeous, it tasted fantastic, I couldn’t have been happier. I hope that my pictures are pretty enough for AB as I will be Tweeting them back to him. I want to make him proud SO badly. Food and cooking mean absolutely EVERYTHING to me. I’m hoping I’ve got his attention enough now that he will answer my questions more often seeing that I am a good cook (or I’m at least passionate and try REALLY hard) and worthy of his instruction.

Alton is probably the only person other than PFH#3 who can get me to eat.

His timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.

 

Oh, the best day ever does not end, my friends.

I get a message from, whom I affectionately call, “my girlfriend” (the girl at work that I have a crush on) late last night asking me if I can take a shift for her Friday. I am somewhat confused as I’m fairly certain I already work on Friday, but I go to check anyway. I do. BUT. It is an opening shift, she wants me to work her closing shift.

If I close, I get to work with G all night.

I tell her that I already work, but that if she needed just the EVENING off, I could TRADE shifts with her being that I’d rather work the later shift anyway. This answer pleases her. We have traded shifts for Friday. I get to work with PFH#3 and will get a ride home from him later that night where we will surely laugh loudly together and chat a while before I go inside. I am incredibly happy.

I have a good connection at my apartment now due to my brother being amazing. I can now stream episodes of Food Network Star. I stay up watching one of them.

I am INCREDIBLY happy.

I will surely eat breakfast in the morning.