thanksgiving replay


This Thanksgiving was different than the past several ones. Normally, we buy a prepared meal from a local restaurant and eat it in the comfort of our own home. We've been doing it like this for as long as I can really remember post getting my driver's license... since I was often the one sent out with a check, the car keys, and an empty backseat.

But this year ... we cooked. Everybody made a little something and it was awesome.

Chili 2013


I've been making the same chili recipe since January 2007. So, it seems appropriate that I try something new. Although I've modified the recipe to make it my own, it originally belonged to my boyfriend's mom at the time.

Now, I needed my own. And, I think I have it. I'm calling it "Chili 2013".

The weather today in Boston was rather frigid. It was perfect for chili and all day hibernating. After a few cups of coffee, I felt warm enough to make the trek to the market for ingredients. In hindsight, I should have picked these things up yesterday ... but yesterday I was busy recovering from the latest two episodes of Scandal via Netflix. 

the latest and greatest


I'm potentially turning into a baby. 

I used to be able to run outside in the cold weather but since I've turned 30, I can't handle the idea of being chilled to the bone. Old age? Laziness? I took this picture on a morning run this week and I'd think it captures the essence of the blustery weather. It does not capture my intensely mismatched outfit - hot pink shorts, red shirt, neon yellow knee socks, and blue shoes.

All week I've been trying to write a post about my Sunday dinner of chickpea stew and it hasn't quite happened. Maybe tomorrow. Instead, I've been eating English muffins and educating my married friends about online dating. There is nothing quite like watching two dads I've known for 5 years play with Tinder. It was oddly comforting to know that things I am turned off by ... are also deemed unacceptable by my friend Greg. 

Otherwise, here is the latest and greatest.

Roasted Potatoes with Haddock Puttanesca


Oh guys. I love tearing recipes out of magazines. It brings me such a sense of satisfaction. I like to refer to it as my "weekend work". This recipe came from one of those magazines this past Sunday.

I had my little sister and a friend over for Sunday morning chit chat and we finished off the rest of the pancetta scones. (Yes, that means 8 scones were gone in less than 48 hrs and I didn't really give any of them away). While we all sat around gossiping and clearing out shows from the DVR, I diligently went through the pile of magazines that has been slowly growing in the last few weeks. There was such a sense of satisfaction when I tossed one to the floor. Both of my grandfathers love/loved to read magazines... and it always feels like I'm channeling them when I crush a few magazines on the weekend. My grandfather, Jimbo, got about a million magazine subscriptions ... so I think that's where my obsession/issue/addiction comes from. I'll never forget all the piles of magazines that were on his coffee table. Ever.

So, that's how we ended up with this recipe. 

pancetta scones are the bees knees


Guys, remember how when I wrote about the Sugar Buns I said what I liked about breakfast? Meat + Carbs + Coffee. Well, you can get 2 out of 3 in this scone recipe ... and it will knock your socks off. I'm not even kidding.

I had thought about making these last week pre-sugar buns ... but I didn't have any pancetta in the house. The North End on the weekends can be a bit of a disaster at times and the idea of wading through tourists buy meat and cheese sounded a bit like torture. But, last night when I was on my way home from work I knew I needed to get milk for coffee ... and perhaps a slice of pizza for dinner ... so it just naturally made sense to add two more things to that list: pancetta and pecorino romano.

Crispy fresh cooked bacon is one of my favorite things in the world, but a close second is crispy chopped pancetta. It's amazingly salty and bite-size - so obviously I was really pumped to put it in some scones with some cheese and rosemary. You know that feeling when you are making cookie dough and you just want a bite of it because that chocolate chip looks so good? That danger exists with this recipe because all you see are the hunks of pancetta ... but scone dough does not taste nearly as good as cookie dough. Fyi.

Sugar Buns


I think breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It's not really because of the food - it's more because of the routine and comfort that comes from breakfast.

To me, a good breakfast isn't complicated. It's hot coffee, some bacon, and some carbs. No fuss. I think when I was in high school, I used to skip breakfast. The idea of that seems like blasphemy at this point - especially to my coworkers who have seen me each breakfast twice in one day. "Jen, is that your first breakfast or the second?" "Jen, free bagels over there.... you know for second breakfast?" Seriously. 

When I used to travel a lot for work, I fell in love with the Starbucks "Morning Bun". It had an amazing balance of sweet sugar, flaky dough, just enough mess on your desk... but it's gone. Starbucks recently renovated their product line and the "morning bun" is now bigger, flakier, stickier, and messier. I miss the old bun. 

pumpkin carving + fire pit + leaves


My pumpkin is the smallest one. The one with a cat face on it. Eleanor the pumpkin perhaps?

I don't think I've ever carved a pumpkin before - or at least not that I can recall. My crazy adorable friends, Chris and Lauren, included me in their annual pumpkin carving competition in the burbs. I have vague memories of seeing pumpkins on our kitchen counters so I'm sure it happened. But, I can without a doubt say that in the last 20 years, I have not tried to make art from a seasonal farm product.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing this weekend but it's probably safe to say that I won't be carving a pumpkin. Carving post Halloween might be akin to wearing white pants after Labor Day? I'm not sure. (I know for a fact that I wore my white jeans after Labor Day. I wore them out for Italian night time drinks and cookies on September the 13th ... it was a Friday. Yes, Friday the 13th).
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