Saturday, April 25, 2009


Last weekend, I ran a 5K and committed the cardinal sins of sanctioned races:

I did not eat before my race. I started off too fast. I looked behind me. BIG mistake.

It was a humbling experience as it was at my old high school, I knew two people and ran by myself, and I did not do too well! Buuuuut, the t-shirt is so cute that it was way worth it. And I got a good workout on a Saturday morning. My dad told me I was better than 99% of the people who didn't even try.

* * *

I discovered MckMama's blog this week. Her baby, Stellan, is in Boston Children's Hospital with some serious heart issues. Their story has developed quite a following, but I enjoyed reading about her life aside from Stellan's miracles. She makes her own baby food, cloth diapers her kids, and wears her babies in a sling. It's interesting, and I will definitely be implementing some of her cool blogging traditions! Praying for her family and Baby Stellan.

* * *

The Undomestic Kitchen is still under construction, but I have made great progress on it. You will have to search for my cherry cake I finally made in honor of our anniversary last weekend! It was so decadent and sinful that we are still eating at it.

* * *

My husband threw me a surprise anniversary party tonight at my parents' house. He planned this extravagant BBQ and pool party and talked my friends into deceiving me. My best friend ended up distracting me while he set everything up, and several of our friends asked me if they had given it away at various times. It was so much fun to have my friends in one place. ("remember when I told you about the girl with five kids? this is her! ohhhhh!") I truly have the best husband in the whole world!

* * *

The other night after work, we took a sunset walk and I snapped this gorgeous picture!

Giada's Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sauce

This is possibly the most difficult recipe I've made to date. You can find Giada's recipe and list of ingredients here, but the cook time is certainly not ten minutes. I did the prep work and stuffing the night before and boiled the pasta and made the sauce the next day. I did a step-by-step blog for this one at my main blog, so here it is!

Peel the butternut squash for the filling and chop it into cubes. It was pretty hard to slice and I had no idea it had seeds! The recipe had me roast the cubed squash with some oil and spices and I threw some seeds in the pan to roast. YUM!

Next, I threw the squash, some garlic, more spices, and a secret ingredient. It called for amaretti cookies, small Italian almond cookies, but I couldn't find them at four stores, so I subbed animal crackers!

Third, I placed wonton squares on some wax paper, making sure the surface was always dry. I found these in the produce aisle.

I put a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of the square (this, a v. liberal tablespoon!) and wet the edges with some water using a basting brush. (You can use any brush as long as you can control the amount of water, pretty much!)

Next, I folded the square, pressed the edges, and patted it to remove air bubbles. I wet the two corners of the longest edge and pressed those together and repeated the above process.

After making 36 tortellinis, I called it a night. The next day, I made the sauce with some butter, cranberries, and toasted almonds. Keep in mind that I toasted the almonds in my oven to bring out the flavor!

As my sauce cooked, my tortellini boiled until floating.

This is a random image of my sage. I bought it at the grocery store, but absolutely love that it was still attached to the soil! Maybe that's why I am so excited about starting my garden.

I used a slotted spoon to serve my pasta and topped it with the sauce. We loved it! It's very heavy with delicious fall flavors like cranberry, butternut squash, and toasted almonds.


If you're asking yourself how I can call myself undomestic, you share the feelings of my best friend forever. My overflowing laundry basket, the pile of dishes in the sink, and my crumb-littered floors say otherwise. Cooking is outside of the domestic jurisdiction, though a very helpful asset in homemaking.

I maintain that I cook like a chemist.


  • pasta - I use spaghetti or linguine
  • bacon or pancetta - about 4 strips, chopped
  • ham, Canadian bacon, or prosciutto
  • 3-4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • chopped basil
Bring a pot of water up to a boil, salt water, and cook pasta according to package directions.

In a separate skillet, cook bacon to desired crispness. If you want to make this dish more calorie-friendly, use ham instead of bacon or cook bacon in a separate pan to avoid the excess fat.

Add hot pasta to the skillet and stir in cheese until melted and pasta becomes creamy. Quickly add the whisked eggs and stir vigorously for about 4-5 minutes until the pasta is creamy and glossy. This "gentle cooking" is an art form because you don't want to scramble the eggs with the heat of the pasta, but you want to make sure the eggs are cooked and edible, so use discretion. In order to avoid scrambling, I added a spoonful of the hot pasta water to the eggs beforehand to warm them up a little.

Top with basil and cheese and serve warm.

Butternut Squash Couscous

This is such an easy fall recipe. Couscous is one of the easiest, most versatile side dishes, especially when you're tired of pasta. And I only recently discovered butternut squash this past fall. It's quite an ordeal to peel and slice it, but it's quite tasty! Save the seeds and toast them, too. Recipe from

  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 1 32-ounce container vegetable broth
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Halve and peel the squash. Remove the seeds and cut the squash into 1-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the squash, tomatoes, raisins, broth, chickpeas, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water and the remaining cumin and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Divide the couscous among individual bowls and ladle the squash over the top. Sprinkle with the parsley and almonds.

Paula's Popovers

Yes, I realize that my popovers are a little obscenely deformed, but I have a solution! Make sure you remove the top rack in your oven because they will rise. Wrestling them out can be dangerous; that's how I got this burn, which is a nice pink scar now. These were a hit at my first married Thanksgiving; we eat them with hearty meals or for breakfast with some honey or jam. Or BUTTER, as the recipe's creator, Paula Deen, would have it!


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Grease 12 large muffin tin cups or 12 custard cups. (My husband bought me a popover pan!) Break the eggs into a bowl and beat well. Add the milk, flour, and salt, and beat until just blended. Fill the muffin tin cups or custard cups 3/4 full with the batter. Place the pan on the center rack in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes without opening the oven door.

Serve the popovers hot with butter, jam, syrup, or honey.

Freestyle Chicken Soup

This recipe varies every time, but here is the original post I wrote about it. I was so excited because it was my first "freestyle" recipe!

I started with organic chicken stock -- the biggest plastic carton they have. My pot was filled about halfway. Trimmed, browned and shredded a package of boneless/skinless chicken thighs, chopped carrots, celery, a whole onion, and added a drained can of stewed tomatoes. Oh, and you know those little plastic cartons of locally grown herbs? I chopped up a carton of basil (removed stems) and put the ENTIRE carton in my soup -- probably about a cup and a half! I boiled this mix and added a little cilantro powder, a bit more garlic powder, and sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. That simmered for about twenty minutes and then I brought it up to a boil again and added half a bag of egg noodles for five minutes before I brought it back down to a simmer and served a few minutes later.

Perfect Weeknight Salad

Here's a quick, easy salad we love! I always keep a bag of pre-washed, prechopped lettuce on hand because it's easy and encourages me to make more salad. I can use half the bag, reseal, and store in my crisper drawer for quite awhile.

My favorite bag variety is Dole's Hearts Delight and my favorite carton variety is Organic Girl's good clean greens. For this salad, I toss some Asian sesame dressing (Kraft has a great one) with crunchy noodles and a little white cheese. The sweet, crunchy flavor makes it pretty much universal for any meal!

Portabella Parmesan

I got this baked mushroom recipe from Natalie Mikles, the Tulsa World food writer. You can check out her blog here. It's a great and inexpensive substitute for chicken parm!

2 large Portabella mushrooms (you may wish to gently remove gills with a spoon)
Olive oil
1 cup tomato pasta sauce, divided (I make this sugar-free sauce.)
4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers flakes
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to broil, with top rack about 4 inches from broiler. Brush both sides of mushrooms with oil. Place mushrooms, gill side down, in a 9-inch baking dish. Broil for 4 minutes, remove and turn gill side up, broil 4 minutes.

Remove mushrooms from baking dish, drain excess liquid. Reduce oven to 400 degrees.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce on bottom of baking dish, then place mushrooms, gill side up. Sprinkle with basil, red pepper flakes and the remainder of the pasta sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and Parmesan; bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown. Remove and serve. Note: use at least part-skim mozzarella. Fat-free mozzarella is very rubbery when baked!

Giada's Potatoes and Onions


  • 2 pounds new potatoes (white, red, or Yukon gold), scrubbed and halved
  • 1 pound cippolini onions, peeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes and onions are golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Serve immediately or cool and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, reheating the next day in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Refrigerator Pasta

I call this Refrigerator Pasta because it's a great way to revitalize leftovers and veggies that will otherwise go bad. The combinations are pretty much endless!
  • Pasta - leftover, uncooked or cooked
  • Diced Mushrooms (leftover cooked meat would also work well)
  • Sprinkle of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 finely chopped shallot or a bit of leftover onion
  • Dry white wine or chicken stock
  • Leftover salad greens (I used the spinach and arugula I didn't use in last night's salad)
  • Pecorino or parmesan cheese
If pasta is uncooked, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt once the water reaches a boil and cook according to package directions. When finished, drain and return to pot.

In a separate skillet, heat some oil and cook the shallots until fragrant and transparent. Add the mushrooms, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and cook until they release their juices. If your salad greens are undressed and raw, add them at this time. (I used arugula and spinach.) Remember that greens will wilt when cooked, so be very liberal with them!

Pour about 1/2 cup of white wine or chicken stock evenly over the mixture and stir until visibly reduced. Sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes and stir until heated through.

Combine mixture with pasta and stir. I served this with pecorino cheese because it complements the peppery flavor of arugula. JT added red pepper flakes to give his a little spice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dark Chocolate Cake with Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting

I discovered this cake in Paula Deen's magazine either the day we started Lent or the day after. Her recipe makes the cake from scratch, but I wanted to try it with a chocolate cake, so I just bought my favorite mix to make it easier. I did not skimp on the icing, though! I made two cakes, one for our church group and another for my co-workers. Both were received well!

Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cherry juice
6 cups powdered sugar (or confectioner's sugar)

Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Slowly beat in juice until smooth and then gradually add sugar until smooth. I would add sugar to taste. There is a difference between powdered sugar (or confectioner's sugar) sifted and unsifted, so it just depends. I used less than five cups when I DOUBLED the other ingredients. Plus, I like the taste of cream cheese, so I used less.

I also used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter sticks and reduced fat cream cheese and it was still divine! No one could tell!

Neapolitan Calamari and Shrimp Salad


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound orzo pasta (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 pound calamari, whole bodies and tentacles (I used scallops)
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (buy pre-cooked)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise, about 1-inch wide
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise, about 1-inch wide
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces arugula (about 3 cups) (I used spinach, too)
  • 3/4 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Drizzle the fish, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the calamari and shrimp, just until cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes a side. Grill the zucchini and eggplant until tender, about 4 minutes a side. Grill the tomatoes just until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes.

Add the orzo, cannellini beans, arugula, basil, and parsley to the bowl. Cut the calamari bodies into 1-inch rings. Cut the zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes into roughly about 1-inch cubes. Add the vegetables and calamari to the bowl with the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Finally, add the shrimp on top of the salad. Gently spoon the salad into a serving bowl and serve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

one year ago...

getting ready with my roomie

soccer and tuxedos, JT style

my daddy and me! it's almost time!

walking down the aisle

reason why we hired our photog!

he may now kiss the bride

our amazing reception venue, philbrook museum

the cake

dancing away

so fun!

<3 where does time go?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

a list of random whims I had today:

1) train for trail running races
2) take opera lessons
3) become a ballerina
4) play intense, hardcore basketball
5) write a book
6) grow tomatoes in my backyard
7) bake a beautiful chocolate cake
8) try out for American Idol next year
9) buy a cheeseburger for lunch
10) sign up for a 5K at my old high school this weekend
11) pray with a girl from work
12) listen to Heart
13) wear a dress over my work pants

So I only actually did 4, 9, 11, 12, and 13 today. Tomorrow is another day!

Currently Listening to: Heart - "Alone"
Currently Watching: Britain's Got Talent. Watch this video!
Currently Reading: Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt - Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Currently Cooking: Neapolitan Salad by Giada. Greens with grilled eggplant and zucchini, grilled shrimp and scallops, lemon juice, EVOO, whole wheat orzo, and white cannelloni beans.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Truffle Shuffle's Playlist

The most random playlist of all time:

Truffle Shuffle's Running Mix:

1) "If Only" - Hanson
2) "Heart of a Champion" - Nelly
3) "Ghost Love Score" - Nightwish
4) "Sweetness" - Jimmy Eat World
5) "Promise" - Matchbook Romance
6) "Listen to Your Heart" - DHT/Techno Remix
7) "Time and Confusion" - Anberlin
8) "After Today" - Goofy Movie
9) "Mighty Ducks Theme" - Mighty Ducks soundtrack
10) "I'll Make a Man Out of You" - Mulan Soundtrack

Currently Listening to: Truffle Shuffle's Running Mix - we did 2.5 miles of hills today!
Currently Watching: American Idol - very pleased with the results!
Currently Reading: I Peter
Currently Cooking: Italian pork chops - brown pork chops and simmer with seasoned mixture of 1 small diced onion and 1 can of diced tomatoes for 15 minutes. Voila!

Monday, April 6, 2009

a desperate plea

Dear Truffle Shuffle and Passport,

If you come back to me, I promise to get my life right and never lose you again!

Truffle Shuffle, it's almost Spring and time to take you running lots. I think you fell under the seat in my car, but when I went to check it was too cold and dark to find you. Tomorrow I will clean out my car and look harder when it's light and warm.

Passport, I promise to FINALLY get you renewed with my married name when you come back to me. JT will be very unhappy with me if he has to remind me again. I put you with all of the other documents we needed to get renewed in the middle of my workout book. How did you separate yourself from the pack?

Please come home?



Currently Listening to: NOT my Truffle Shuffle :(
Currently Watching: Chuck
Currently Reading: just finished Harry Potter 7. who knows what's next?
Currently Cooking: nothing. we ate a Papa Murphy's pizza tonight.

EDIT:: Truffle Shuffle has come home! He was hiding in the deepest floorboard of my car. Think underneath the carpet mat, underneath the mud mat, and underneath the bottom-most layer of carpet. Hopefully the Passport won't be as stubborn, though I'm exhausting its best hiding places!

EDIT 2:: Okay, I knew if I asked nicely, they'd come back. I found my Passport in my office travel briefcase I use maybe twice a year. Not sure how it got in there, but I am glad I had the random inclination to check. That "random inclination" is the Lord, I just knew it! Now that my two lost artifacts have been recovered, I am still going to do some major reorganization this week!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Our Lent experience is officially over. We cheated a few times -- okay, maybe more like five times -- but all in all, I'm VERY proud of us! This week, I am baking the cake I've been dying to make since I saw it...the second day of Lent. It's a beautiful dark chocolate cake with cherry cream cheese frosting. Hopefully I will do Paula Deen justice :)

In general, though, I've decided to maintain the sugar-free and white flour-free diet. I've felt so much better, so maybe I will limit splurges to once a week or every two weeks.

I'll admit it, though: I will be incredibly happy to sink my teeth into some chocolate ice cream!
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