Cotija Deviled Eggs

Hey y’all! It’s been forever since I’ve posted since I’m trying to get my other blog, The Dessert Project, up and off the ground and we have been renovating all three of our bathrooms in the condo, but I had to share this easy, delicious recipe with you all!

We are painting two of our bathrooms now and before and afters will come once we are done, but I hope to be posting intermittently. For now, try this recipe ASAP!

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Cotija Deviled Eggs
Ingredients
– 8 eggs, hard-boiled
– 3 Tbsp. Mayo
– 3 Tbsp. Cotija cheese, crumbled (you can use feta if you can’t find Cotija)
– 1/2 tsp. paprika
– extra Cotija and paprika for sprinkling

Directions
1. Halve your eggs and place yolks in a small mixing bowl.
2. Mix egg yolks, mayo, Cotija, and paprika until creamy.
3. Place a tablespoon or two of the mixture back into the empty egg whites.
4. Sprinkle with extra Cotija and dust with paprika.
5. Try not to eat them all in one sitting…

Let me know in the comments below if you want to see more recipes like this in the future!

GWC Day 20 – Side Effect Sun Tan

Morning Weight – 145.1
Pounds to Goal – 20.1

Workout – 5.07 mile interval run around the neighborhood. With views like this, it went fast, but the heat got me a bit in the end.

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So I’ve realized a few things over these past 20 days:
1. The body is an amazing thing. Although I haven’t lost much weight, my legs feel and look stronger, I’m not constantly tired (unless the pups wake me up at 3 am…cough*they’re-lucky-I-love-them*cough), and my cravings have gone down significantly

2. The clothes I workout in have a big impact on how hard I try. When I first started, old shirts and shorts were my outfit of choice. I walked a lot. I didn’t push myself. I didn’t see results.
Today, though, I wore a cute new top and a pair of running shorts and it made me feel like a real runner….you know, like those cute, size 2 girls who always have adorable workout gear running like they are gliding on a cloud while I’m over here stomping the ground praying that my knees don’t give….anywho, since I felt cute and “official looking”, I tried to push myself to keep running when my body/mind said to stop, even if it was just a few more feet. The cars passing me by or watching me at stop lights helped me keep going too…don’t want to look like a slacker!

3. There are some awesome side effects to running outside when you live in a warm-all-year-round climate like I do: I’m getting an awesome golden tan!!! Yep! You heard me! ME, the red-haired, fair skinned, never tans without burning to a crisp first girl is getting a golden tan! Yippeeeeeee!

4. My diet really makes all the difference. Although I am happy with my slow progress so far, if I were eating as clean as I should be, I’d probably be a lot further at this stage. I think that because I know I only need to lose 2.2 lbs a month to reach my goal of 125 by December 1st, I’m letting myself eat some splurge foods, like, you know, the 25 baked tater tots I had with dinner instead of the baked sweet potato and cauliflower I had planned.

side note: I’m blaming Jeff for the tater tot thing. He was the one who bought the 4 lb bag months ago…who needs to have 4lbs of tater tots in the house for 2 people?!?!

All in all, I’m happy and healthy and motivated to keep trucking, so that’s all I can ask for…oh and for the dogs to let me sleep for a full 8 hours, but that’s just me dreaming 🙂

Gnight ya’ll. Put in some miles tomorrow. It’ll be worth it 🙂

Pinterest Post: Surviving Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a week away and I am sure that many of you are hosting Thanksgiving for your family or friends (friendsgiving?)

Here are a few ingenious ideas to help you stay sane while giving you an opportunity to truly reflect on the purpose of the holiday: giving thanks for family, friends, and the little things in life that make it so great!

Kids Table
If you are fortunate brave enough to have little ones coming to your dinner, this might help keep them from running around the house and knocking over fine china.

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A sheet of butcher paper, some crayons, and a little guidance (tic-tac-toe board, crossword, etc.) can keep little bodies busy.

A unique dessert
Most people think of pumpkin and sweet potato pies on thanksgiving, but why not make another option that no one has tried yet? Something safe like this ooey-gooey brownie pie served over vanilla bean ice cream is guaranteed to be a big hit!

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Pre-carving the Turkey
There is something undeniably beautiful about a whole roast turkey at the dinner table, but pre-cutting a slow-roasted bird makes the dinner line or passing around the table go much quicker.

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Understated Autumn Decorations
DIY some decorations that will work for the whole fall season. Put these up at the beginning of October next year and revel in the fact that you won’t have much to do to get your home in the Turkey-Day spirit next year! Even if you haven’t set up your decorations yet, do it this weekend to save time on the day of dinner!

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Have any other good ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving focused on Giving Thanks and not controlling chaos? Leave a comment and I will add it to this post!

Introducing: Tuesday Tester!

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Alright guys, after polling my friends and family members since I didn’t get any votes for the new Tuesday Topic, I’ve decided to make every Tuesday a Tuesday Tester post!

What that means is I will be reviewing a product that I have in my home (health/beauty, fitness, fashion, grocery, home, kids products, etc.) so you will have some unbiased opinions before you buy a product.

If you would like to see a specific product reviewed, just leave me a comment. If I don’t have it, I’m always willing to try out new things!

Today’s review: the Rhonna Designs App

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Found in the Apple App Store, this inexpensive app is a great design tool for those of us who are not professional graphic designers.

Cool Features:
– Use your own photos as backgrounds
– A multitude of editing options and add ons
– Multiple sets of fonts for text editing, as well as many color choices
– User friendly, little editing experience necessary

Drawbacks:
– New update and add on packs cost $0.99 extra (although I bought it and LOVE it, so it just depends on your preference)
– Preloaded backgrounds are muted colors. I would love to see some backgrounds that have a little more pizzazz or color to them.

Examples of how I use this product:

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The masking feature lets your background shine through the graphics/text you insert! How cool is that?!

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My rating: 10/10!
I think, if you’re a design nerd like me, this is a purchase well worth the couple dollar cost.

Recipe of the Week: VC Lasagna

I’m excited to say that at this time next week I will be able to make and take pictures of my Recipe of the Week recipe!!! I cannot tell you all enough how excited I am to cook again! I never thought I’d appreciate a spatula so much! 🙂

To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’ll be giving you all Jeff and I’s recipe for our infamous lasagna! It’s a combination of both of our mothers’ recipes and it’s a favorite of ours when we entertain. Try it out and let me know what you think!

The VC’s Lasagna
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. 90% or better lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 jars Basil & Tomato pasta sauce (reserve 1 cup)
  • 2 boxes lasagna noodles, cooked, drained, and held in cool water
  • 2 lbs. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 bags finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium frying pan, brown beef and sausage together until cooked through. Drain off fat. Add in the pasta sauce, reserving 1 cup.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, and one bag of mozzarella cheese. Mix well.
  4. Spray a 9×13 glass pan with non-stick spray or cover with Reynolds cooking foil (one side is parchment!)
  5. Begin by spooning 1/4 cup of the reserved sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Spread evenly.
  6. Layer lasagna noodles onto sauce until the bottom of the pan is covered.
  7. Spoon on 1/4 of the cheese mixture and spread evenly.
  8. Spoon on 1/3 of the meat mixture and spread evenly.
  9. Layer lasagna noodles on top of the meat mixture evenly.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 until all ingredients are used and noodles are on top.
  11. Pour remaining pasta sauce onto top layer of noodles and spread evenly.
  12. Top with remaining bag of mozzarella cheese.
  13. Sprinkle Parmesan onto mozzarella layer. This prevents the mozzarella from sticking to the foil during baking.
  14. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  15. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
  16. Cut into 8 pieces and enjoy!

 

Variations:

  • Sub in ground turkey for the beef
  • Use sweet Italian sausage
  • Your favorite pasta sauce will work
  • Use Barilla’s no-cook lasagna noodles

This meal goes great with homemade bread with roasted garlic butter and a mixed green salad!

 

 

Recipe of the Week: Osso Buco

So let me start off with a little back story. My husband is currently in training for 7 months before he heads to his next ship so I am living with a few Navy friends while I finish up the school year. We have a mission to cook at least one Julia Child inspired recipe each week. Last week I made “Saute de Boeuf a la Bourguignonne” (Beef Saute with Red Wine, Mushrooms, Bacon, and Onions) from Julia Child’s infamous Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Needless to say that cooking mushrooms and onions in bacon fat, searing filet mignon in oil and butter, and dousing everything in a red wine reduction was simply heavenly.

This may not seem like an “everyday wife life” kind of meal, but it was surely a great treat for a weekend day when it’s raining or a weekend without little ones running around (for those of you who have them!)

This week we are using The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, who was an idol of Miss Child’s in her beginning years. The recipe is Osso Buco (Braised Lamb Shanks) and it is melt-in-your-mouth awesome! It starts with a dutch oven, which lamb (or veal) shanks are seared in a butter/olive oil mixture just until browned.

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The meat is removed and a mixture of carrot, onion, celery, and mushrooms (per roomie’s love of them) is placed in the pot. Over the veggies goes a herb mix of thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and garlic.

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Those are cooked down until soft and fragrant and then the shanks are added back in with the addition of white wine and chicken stock. This mixture is braised for an hour, the shanks are turned, and more chicken stock is added and the meat cooks for another hour.

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We decided to serve the lamb shanks over a bed of herbed cous cous although it is traditionally served over risotto or creamy polenta.

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I strongly urge all wives (new and veteran) to try a recipe from either one of these books. It will not only surprise the pants off of your hubby (maybe even literally!), but will provide a deliciously rich meal that will have you talking for weeks!

Here’s the full recipe (The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, 2006 ed.):

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat dry:
8 slices veal (or lamb) shank, 1 1/2 inches thick
Heat in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the shanks in batches and brown well on all sides, adding more oil as needed. Remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add to the pot:
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small Bouquet Garni
(3-4 sprigs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 leek (white portion only), 2 cloves)
Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Return the shanks to the pot, arranging in a single layer. Add:
1 cup dry white wine (we used Sauvingon Blanc)
1 cup veal or chicken stock
Black pepper to taste

The liquid should reach about halfway up the shanks. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and braise for 1 hour. Turn the slices over and add, if needed, to the level halfway up the shanks:
1 to 2 cups veal or chicken stock
Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 hour more. Turn off oven, remove the shanks to an ovenproof serving platter and keep warm in the oven. Spoon off any fat from the braising juices, strain the juices into a saucepan, and boil over high heat until slightly thickened. Before serving, stir in:
Gremolata (2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve with:
Risotto Milanese, or Soft Polenta (we chose cous cous for a little spin on traditional!)

St. Patty’s Day Brunch

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we decided to celebrate this fun holiday with an early morning breakfast full of fresh fruit, green mimosas, and shamrock pancakes. Along with that I’ve figured out that the table in my friend’s apartment is the perfect backdrop for food photography! Take a look:

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pancakes

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Before I made all of this, I took Atlas to Doggy Daycare for his behavior assessment in order to get him in on Saturday’s to encourage his socialization. He seemed to love it and here’s what happened when I brought him home:

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