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Just a nice stroll through the park. A 39 mile stroll that is.

Hi friends!!

I made it through the walk this weekend.  If you have a chance, please visit www.avonwalk.org  to learn more about this amazing charity or to sign up for a walk in your home town!!

The weekend was full of good friends, new friends, tons of love and support.  The event volunteers, the crew were amazing, and I would also like to thank the phenomenal people of Milton Mass.  So many families were out on Sunday to cheer us on, pass out candy, ice-pops and water.  Absolutely amazing. 

The day started off early Saturday morning and there were plenty of stops for snacks & lunch along the way…

chicken sandwich with roasted red pepper spread

 

we made it!!

Salad, pasta & roll... I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture before the salad was gone!

bedtime snack

 It was a long day… lots of band-aids, and wrapped feet!!

the agony of 'da feet. ha.

Someone made sure we had our ducks in a row…

Day 2… back at it, breakfast offered anything you could want- scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal- covering all the bases to fuel up for the last 13 miles!

I think we all hit a wall around mile 8, good thing it was the lunch stop. 

turkey/swiss wrap, and carrot salad

The carrot salad was good, I want to replicate it at some point.  It was roasted carrots & sweet potatoes with some feta cheese and olive oil.

The next five miles were a challenge, but I wasn’t giving up, we made it to the end and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

me & the team!

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What a busy busy week it’s been outside of La Cucina!! 

Last week I was treated to a lovely homecooked meal by an ol’ pal, Ben, and his girlfriend Liz, collectively, Bliz.  I used to live with Ben and our friend E out in the ‘ville and Ben was always cooking up something.  He made roasted garlic bread and a pasta concoction from Cooks Illustrated.  It was campanelle pasta (small shell-like things) and then once some asparagus was cooked up, added that, walnuts, blue cheese, and wilted some arugula into it.  To top if off, (yes it gets better) he shaved some granny smith apple.  It was so good. I’m kind of dying to try it myself sometime again soon.

Later that same night, E called to tell me something very important.  “Brian made toast.” I said, “oh, ok, so what else is going on?”  I mean, it’s nice that he wanted to do something for her, but I didn’t think this required a phone call.  Oh no friends.  He did not make toast.  He proposed!!! (See how they might sound alike at a busy subway stop??) I am so happy & excited for my friends, they are one of the loveliest couples and just so darn nice.  Anyway, we all went out over the weekend to celebrate both E & Brian’s birthdays as well as their engagement.  My friend Toby made cupcakes. Seriously, he should sell these:

Yes, those are cupcakes, set on a bed of Oreo cookie dirt and topped with M&M lady bugs and frosted cookie flowers. Take that Martha Stewart.

 Finally Sunday, I got around to doing some work of my own in the kitchen and whipped this up:

lemon blueberry loaf

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Hello lover.

This came in the mail today. 

just gorgeous.

I’ve been waiting to buy one for the longest time.  I kept telling myself, “no, no, you do not buy this for yourself now, you wait until some extended family member buys it for you as a wedding gift.”  Well. Since that’s not in the forseeable future, I finally bit the bullet and bought myself my very own dutch oven.  And, it was on phenomenal sale. Money well spent.  If you include also the Crate & Barrel shopping spree from this weekend (grill pan, etc.), I could operate a nice lil’ bistro out of La Cucina.

The inaugural cooking will be later this week and that will be posted later I promise.  For now, check out what I made for dinner the other night:  Baked Chicken (Turkey) Meatballs with my own tomato sauce.  The chopping took awhile, but I was having fun and found it relaxing in its own way.

I made turkey meatballs instead of chicken because Whole Foods did not have ground chicken the other day. Weird.  I got everything ready.

Then started cookin’ it up…

Into the oven…

And then onto my plate…

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I wanted to again try my hand at steak.  Sometimes I make it and it’s phenomenal, sometimes, not so much.  I was getting bored of chicken & pasta, so I went for the steak. I pity anyone who is not a meat eater.  I had bought some parsley to season the tuna/tomato sauce creation and thank goodness for Martha Stewart.  March’s Everyday Food had an “In Season” feature for parsley.  So I made some parsley butter to put on the steak. (Oh hello love handles.)

Cook up the steak…

I boiled some potatoes to make mashed potatoes, but not just the regular ol’ mashed potatoes… remember that roasted garlic from the other night? Yeah, that’s right, roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

Made a nice green salad, topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon

Let the steak finish up…

Top with parsley butter and mangia!  A delicious meal on a lovely Wednesday night!

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Dinner for One

swedish gravy, aka ketchup

Feels good to be back in La Cucina, though, this trip has thrown me off.  I’m trying to catch up with friends, redecorate the apt and get back on track and it’s not leaving a whole lot of room for culinary exploration. Also, I’m pretty sure I was in a state of severe jet-lag when I went to the grocery on Sunday, I didn’t exactly do a stellar job of shopping for the week.

If you’re here in Boston like I am you know that it’s been dreary and rainy.  A day like that calls for a warm, comforting meal.  I’ve had some ground beef hanging out for awhile so I decided to go for the good ol’ june cleaver standby, meatloaf. Oh I know, it’s not fancy or high-brow or even very exciting in terms of food, but it’s good and easy.

I didn’t exactly follow a recipe so there’s no link to that, but I’ll give an overview. 

1 lb ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (from 1/2 whole wheat roll in food processor)

2 tablespoons milk

1 egg

2 cloves garlic

1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion

salt & pepper

Soak breadcrumbs in milk, mix all other ingredients in a large bowl, (only use 1/4 cup ketchup, reserve other 1/4).  Add breadcrumbs and turn out onto baking sheet lined with foil and form into desired shape.  Put in a 400 degree F oven for 40-50 mins, basting twice with the remaining ketchup, et voila. Dinner is served. Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 mins before you slice.  I also made some mashed potatoes and green beans. Again, I know, booooring. But I like it, and it’s just me right now so that’s all that matters. 🙂

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London.

I am leaving the La Cucina for the cloudy island of England.  I will be sure to keep track of any and all delicious finds I hope to come across this week.  I’m planning a trip to the outskirts of London to stock up on some genuine indian spices!!  I will return renewed and and ready to get cooking again!

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Success!

After the failed snack cracker experiment I needed a reprieve.  Enter lemon cookies.  I had a lemon cookie a few weeks ago and have been craving one since.  To my delight one of the features on Martha’s Stewart’s website this week is a Lemon Dessert Section.  Holla!!!

The Glazed Lemon Cookies were just what I needed.  They were easy to make  and oh so delicious.  I brought them to work so I wouldn’t eat all 24 myself, and they were a hit!!  Kevin “The Best Cube-Mate Ever” loved them, Mr. Mike sent me an e-mail after to say how much he liked them, and then the cookie monster himself came back for more.  They are so zesty and sweet.  The lemon glaze gives them a solid zing, and the cookie underneath is the perfect sugar cookie. 

I’m a bit annoyed that I left them at the office tonight because I could really use one right now!

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