Posts tagged ‘memories’

September 30, 2013

Delicious Kitchen Magic

cooking magic

The weather’s turning cooler, and there’s magic in the air! Or wait—maybe that’s dinner! When I was younger, I used to run with my dad around our neighborhood as my mom fixed supper. The times I remember most are the night runs we would do when the evenings were sharp, cold, and cloaked in darkness. And, as a teenager, I was starving right before dinner (and almost every other moment). So, when we would pass by one house in particular on our route, the most beguiling smells of dinner permeated the darkness, driving me almost insane with hunger. I was very dramatic back then! Supposedly, scents are some of the most potent conduits to our memories, and I believe this to be true. So true that I am instantly transported back to that cold winter night 20 years ago if I pick up the scent of dinner cooking as I meander around my own neighborhood.

Now You Can Do It Too!

Well, if you want to drive your neighbors crazy with the scents coming from your kitchen, I have the perfect solution for you. I stumbled upon this easy spaghetti recipe 10 years ago, and I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t love this dish. And let me tell you, it’s most assuredly the recipe that people adore, not my cooking skills. J

Reasons to Love This Dish

  1. It’s amazingly delicious.
  2. It’s packed full of heart-healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants and healthy fats.
  3. It’s really easy.
  4. It requires pantry staples you probably already have or can easily acquire.
  5. You’ll have leftovers for days (that is, if you are without children, like we are—otherwise, you may just have 1 meal)
  6. People will think you are a much more talented chef than you really are—just enjoy it!

Spaghetti Puttanesca


Prepare 1 lb spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair noodles as directed on package. Amount of noodles per person varies. Feel free to use whole-wheat pasta, protein-rich pasta, or even spaghetti squash!


  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes—not drained (can be regular diced tomatoes, but I like the texture of petite diced)
  • 2 Tbsp black olives, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers (drained)
  • ½ tsp (or a nice dash) red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley, good dash for color (most of the time I omit this)
  • parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Serves 4, conservatively


Heat large skillet until hot, then add the olive oil to the skillet. When oil is hot (thins out like water and sizzles if you flick water at it), add minced garlic and watch it closely. This is the time your kitchen starts smelling heavenly! You want the garlic to get slightly golden-brown but not burned.

When the garlic is golden-brown, add the can of tomatoes (both tomatoes and juice) and turn heat down to medium or so. Make sure you watch your bare feet when you add tomatoes—oil tends to pop a lot until tomatoes have blended with the oil.

Then add the black olives, capers, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and stir to blend. Turn down the heat to low-medium, and allow the sauce to simmer for about 12-15 minutes—you’ll stir occasionally, and you’ll cook until most of the sauce liquid has been cooked away. Make sure sauce is not cooking at too high a heat or it will stick to the skillet. When sauce is done cooking, take off of the heat and add parsley, if desired. When I serve it, I put noodles in bowl, then a spatula or two of sauce, then some parmesan cheese over it. Yummy!!!

A Few Notes: For 4 people who love this recipe, I’d double the sauce recipe, because the sauce is pretty chunky and not runny. I also keep the noodles and sauce separated and put them together as I serve them, even as leftovers—but you can combine them if you like. As far as
noodles and sauce go, I like to prepare a bunch, so I have leftovers for a few days. And these are killer leftovers!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!


January 29, 2013

Family photos

Family photos are often a treasured item that last a lifetime. Except for my family, the stress of coming up with what we wanted to do for them stopped us from doing them. I didn’t want the kind of photos you see on that site awkward family photos (if you ever need a good laugh and have a few free minutes, you should totally check it out. We are not the blue jeans, white shirt, barefoot, walking hand in hand in the forest kind of family (and if that is your family, that is totally cool and I bet your photos are amazing, that is just not us).

So my husband kept saying, “think of something honey!” I went on Pinterest, and I asked my friends on Facebook, but nothing felt right. I saw some pretty cool ideas on Pinterest (a social media tool I am finally start to use more…did you know the HH have a Pinterest account now? So I finally just said, “everybody get dressed in whatever!” I figured, let’s just let our personalities shine through and see what happens. 

We went to a park near our house and did just that. Bianca was throwing sticks and we were yelling (you know, gentle encouraging) at her to put them down. Adrianna was throwing out ideas that totally involved her being the center of attention (not sure where she gets that from! just kidding). I was ticked off because it was windy and my hair was messing up, and Jason kept reminding me to chill out. The photographer just kept clicking. And what we got were some of the most awesome, authentic, shots of our family. We even did one with our phones (as an inside joke of how hard it is to unplug these days) and one pretending to be zombies (our families obsession). 

So what is the point of this article? To remind you to be you. When you look back twenty years from now on your family photos, do you want to see stiff hands, in genuine smiles, and looks of terror as your family is posed awkwardly? Or, do you want to be able to look at that picture, tilt your head back and smile, easily being brought back to that moment in time?

Family photos don’t have to be painful. In fact, they should be just the opposite!ImageImageImage