queen of tuna salad

I haven’t put up a recipe or food post lately, primarily because I was refrigerator-less for 10 days thanks to Best Buy’s awesome customer service (can you read the sarcasm?).  The coils were getting cold… but the sensor connected to the defrosting mechanism was incapacitated so the fans froze up, leaving us with a 60 degree fridge.  Thank God the freezer was still kicking, it was stuffed, we would have been outta luck for sure.

I didn’t want to cook, because I have a tendency to make much more food than necessary (though, it’s happening less and less because my honey throws portion control to the wind) and I didn’t want there to be any leftover going to waste.  So, Bumble Bee tuna became my best friend. I’ve never been a big tuna salad fan, but… you gotta do what you gotta do.

So, I am now (officially) the queen of tuna salad.

Thanks to my friend… this jar of pickled jalapenos, olives, and garlic.  Originally purchased for use in martinis… this condiment changed my tuna-salad-hating-now-loving life.

Can of tuna.  2 tbsp mayo.  1.5 tbsp chopped jalapeno/garlic/olive magic.  1 dill pickle wedge chopped.  S&P to taste… a couple oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped, if you’re feeling adventurous.  On a sandwich.  With crackers.  However you roll.  Best tuna salad you’ve ever had in your life.

As delicious as this tuna salad was… it was not as beautiful.  So, the next time i decide to indulge my new passion, I’ll work on the presentation and share.

my first mason jar post

Thanks to my julie.moo, I’ve been noticing these oh-so-trendy bell jars turned decorative.  These DIY mason jar lanterns are gorgeous!!  Totally my style, but not my honey’s.  Oooh, I wish they were though.  These would be perfect in either a brooklyn hipster pad or a modern country-sh place.  My honey would ask… “why do those jars have candles in them?  Why are they hanging up?”  Sigh. Also, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them… as my patio is not much more than a slab of concrete, at this point. Alas, not made for my casa. Maybe some day…

Thanks, A Pretty Life In the Suburbs.

how to protect that shoulder

nobody told me how much laundry i would have to do as a new mom… this is only like 2 days worth of laundry — i think it was 4 loads total.


laundry for me + laundry or hubby + laundry for baby + extra laundry for me that baby spit up on + many many burp cloths.

in a given day, i usually go though a few burping-clothing-protectors and at least one shirt.  i dont know why i dont just safety pin a cloth on my shoulder at all times, it really would probably save me a lot of time and effort.

speaking of burping cloths, Bella Boo Boo has a bit of reflux, so she spits up all the time.  the standard itty bitty terry burp cloths that are sold do not do the trick.  i love you Babies R Us, but these babies are too small for Bella.


they are so small, you can barely even see them on the computer.  so, if baby has lots of reflux, i recommend either using receiving blankets (you can never have too many of those, they come in handy for soooo many things.  receiving blankets and washcloths) or cloth diapers.  if they’re good enough for diapers, they’ll hold plenty of spit.  that was my mama’s secret.  but Gerber must have already heard the secret, because they make these beauties that double as burp cloths and cloth diapers… and they come in pretty colors.  where were these when i was registering?



chicken piccata

Chicken Piccata

I love crispy, battered, deep fried chicken.  LOVE it.  However, you will rarely ever see me make it because, as much as I love it, I know how terrible it can be for you.  If I managed to perfect fried chicken, I would make it far too often.  So, not that it wins healthiest dish of the year, but, breaded chicken is my replacement.  This breaded chicken cutlet recipe is simple and versatile.  Shown here, they are easily made into Chicken Piccata.  But they can also be made into yummy Chicken Parmesean or (using the same technique but with chicken tenderloin rather than breasts) Chicken Fingers.

This recipe is great.  Though my honey consistently loves what I cook, this is the first thing he told me I need to make every week.  Yay, obviously a job well done.  My honey has discerning taste.

Chicken Piccata

  • 2 whole chicken breasts
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1.5 c bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/3 tsp thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 c chardonnay (or another dry white)
  • 1 tbsp capers (optional)
  • parsley
  • S&P

For the cutlets…

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Split chicken breasts in half.  With meat tenderizer, pound the chicken breasts until they are thin (1/4 inch or so).  Liberally season with S&P.  Heat a medium/large skillet on medium heat. Line up the breading assembly line.  Bowl 1:  Flour and enough equal parts S&P for the flour to appear speckled.  Bowl 2:  Beat the eggs and water.  Bowl 2:  Mix bread crumbs and seasoning.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan.  Dredge first two chicken cutlets into the bowls in order (1,2,3), place in the olive oil.  Cook on each side until they are golden brown.  Transfer to a baking dish.  Add 2 more tbsp olive oil, dredge chicken cutlets, and so on and so forth.

Finish cutlets in the oven.  10 minutes should do the trick.  They should be firm to the touch.

For the sauce…

Wipe any fallen crumbs from skillet.  Over medium-low heat, melt 4 tbsp butter.  Add lemon juice from 2 lemons, wine, capers (if using).  Allow to reduce to half.  Take off of the heat.  Add the rest of the butter (cube it first, it will melt faster than a big stick).  Serve on top of crispy and moist cutlets with 1 or 2 slices of lemon.  Garnish with parsley.



P.S.  Please please please get some cooking wine from the wine section and not the food section – grab some 3 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s (if you are so lucky to have one nearby) or some Four Leaf from Walmart ($3).

i love food coloring

red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting

food coloring + sprinkles = perfect for a 12 y.o. b-day

next time i will have to find matching candles

the cake was yummy, but not the best red velvet i’ve ever had…  i’m now on a mission to find (or write) the best red velvet cake recipe.  the cream cheese frosting, though, super simple + absolutely delicious.  thank you, paula deen. (frosting recipe here)

Whole-y Guacamole

I love love LOVE guacamole.  Ever since my senior year of college when my G-love and I discovered our passionate love for it, I have been super excited about it.  We enjoyed using those dry seasoning packets that you get in the sauce aisle.  Just mashed up avocados and a seasoning packet.  Delish.  Then I found out that I can make guacamole just as easily and without any special ingredients.  Without all of those extra fillers and preservatives and all the extra mess that lived in the seasoning packet.  Even more delish.

What you need…

  • 4 ripe regular sized HASS avocados (emphasis added at the request of my mother)
  • 1 tbsp diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • S&P
  • some cilantro leaves (if you like that kinda thing)

Seed the avocados, and deeply score them (like the following example) before you scoop out the meat with a spoon.

Add onion, tomato, and jalapeno.  Roll the lime on a flat surface to free up all the juice and squeeze.  Mash.  Salt & pepper to taste.   If you like, and if it’s handy, add a couple dashes of cumin to the mix.

At this point, I usually grab a couple tablespoons of cilantro-free guac for myself, set them aside, and then add the cilantro leaves (I keep them whole) by gently mixing them in.

P.S. — NYTimes had a cool article about why some people don’t like the taste of cilantro.  I always attributed it to some gene that made it taste like soap to me.  Maybe it’s psychosomatic.

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

It was my honey’s birthday Monday.  Gabby thought it was her birthday.  Love love love.

Also, love the Daddy + Bella chat in the background.  She doesn’t seem to happy when he keeps asking her to say “Dada.”  That’s a Momma’s girl if I’ve ever seen one.

Kindle Cover, updated.

Added a simple liner to the kindle bag/envelope/sack/whatever because the yarn kinda sheds a lot and the little hairs were getting in the little crevices, as my honey kindly pointed out to me.  “Who’s hair is this?”  Silly goose.  Anyway, I just used the fabric from an out of commission pillowcase to make the lining.  I like having the lining because the bag feels more finished and I feel the kindle is more protected.

Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken.  Coconut Rice.  Creamed Spinach.

I have fond memories of my mother’s curried chicken from childhood.  And although I can’t remember her ever making curried chicken for me, my stepmother is of West Indian heritage.  Obviously, I needed to come up with a signature curried chicken of my own.  Served with some coconut rice, reminiscent of the islands, and some creamed spinach.

All recipes serve 3-4.

Coconut Rice (easy peasy) — 1.5 c rice, 2 c coconut water, 1 c water.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Creamed Spinach

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 c warm milk
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach
  • couple tablespoons of vegetable (or chicken, or beef) stock
  • S&P

Per directions on frozen spinach packet, defrost in microwave substituting the vegetable stock for water. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium / medium-low heat, melt butter.  Add onion and sautee until onions are translucent (not very long because the pieces are so small).  Add flour and combine.  Before flour becomes colored, add warm milk and stir to incorporate. Add drained spinach and season with S&P to taste.

Curried Chicken

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 onion halved, then sliced thin
  • 2 – 3 large skinless, boneless, chicken breast cubed
  • 1/4 c curry powder
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • S&P

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet, on medium / medium-high heat and add onions.  Sautee briefly, when onions are starting to wilt, add chicken and season with S&P.  Cover and wait for chicken to cook through (3-5 min).  Uncover. Add half of your curry powder and half of the chicken stock, stir, and wait for the sauce to reduce.  Then, add the remaining curry powder and chicken stock stir and add flour to thicken.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Knitted Kindle Cover

Project of the day.  A knitted purse for a kindle.

Shopping for a case for my new kindle was frustrating.  Cases & “envelopes” for them were either boring, ugly, or expensive.  And because I am Clumsy Carly, I definitely need to have it covered if I’m going to take my new toy out and about.

Using (very simple) crochet & knit techniques, this is how I made it…

  • Size 13 knitting needles
  • Size K crochet hook
  • 1 skein Lion Brand Homespun yarn in “Corinthian”
  • Black button & thread

Cast on 20.  Knit 60 rows.  Starting at the 61st row, decrease (with whatever methods you prefer — I knit two together at the beginning of the row, and then slip slip knit at the end of the end) by one stitch on either side for the next 10 rows.  Tie the end off, make a slip knot and chain for whatever length you like (I didn’t count).  Tie off end.

Fold the straight end up about 4″ and, using a yarn needle, sew the sides together.  Flip inside out.  With the thread, fasten the button (placement shown below). Make sure you allow space between button and knit  so you can wrap the cord around.

Put your kindle inside…. wrap the cord around the envelope and then the button.  And go! 🙂  Nice, easy, and fast.