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aroma_logoThank you Restaurant.com for giving us a delicious dinner experience, allowing us to keep our budget for date night, yet getting to taste amazingly good food!  We saved $25!  And oh man was it delectable.

Aroma1Ricky enjoyed a Seared Mahi Mahi with a cold rice/quinoa salad with sauteed jicama on top.  So refreshing.  I went for the Ropa Vieja, shredded flank steak, rice, black beans and plantains.  As Ricky said, “that beef was marinated in magic”. And just to brag on restaurant.com for a moment, these two $18 dishes only cost us about $6 each.  wow.

And then to top it off, since we’d saved so much mula, we decided to splurge on a little dessert.  It was inspiring.  Pineapple cinnamon wantons with a little vanilla ice cream that had chocolate shavings mixed in. (It was inspiring because I think I figured out how to make them at home, I found wanton wrappers at our local asian market!)

Aroma2Folks, I definitely recommend this little urban place, and it’s right here in Olney! If you like light, fresh foods (not a lot of fried stuff here…and they bring in meat fresh from the market each day… I felt like I’d stepped out of the little country town into a sweet little urban-city restaurant…so good.)

And of course, this was Especially nice because Ricky’s been sick and we’ve finally been able to get out and get a little time together without him feeling miserable!

Sometimes encouragement comes in unexpected ways. Sometimes when I want someone to make me feel good about myself, and feel like that would be true encouragement, that’s not necessarily the best thing for me. My heart will quickly go back to dwelling on my failures because I’m only looking inward. Oh boy does it serve my soul though to look outward and upward. And I love the prayers/poems in Valley of Vision because they help me do exactly that.

An excerpt from one actually titled “The Valley of Vision”

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

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Hello Friends and Family,

I am joining some family this Saturday in a “Light the Night Walk” in memory of my Aunt Anne, and in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who are helping families who are facing and will face this devastating disease.

To find out more about this, take a quick look at my page setup to tell you more about it and give you a chance to support this effort as well.

My Fundraising Page

Shared via AddThis

Thanks for taking a look, but feel no pressure to give, I simply wanted to make you aware of the opportunity and the efforts that are going on.

Thanks,

jenn

This weekend is my Mumm’s bday, so Marzio and I decided to bless her with a trip to the spa, and a hearty italian home-cooked dinner with the family.  It was a good time.  So while my poor husband was trying to study, despite his feverish-congestion; Marzio and I got to work in the kitchen.  Because of being a complete novice to pasta making, when we started I was a little concerned that I was going to ruin the whole thing, but thankfully it actually turned out pretty good! (I wouldn’t want to be judged on it by Mario B or Emeril… but the point was to bless Mom anyways).

Now, I have so much to update about the latest and greatest with our experience here in the PC, but that’ll take more time and thought, so I thought I’d at least get a new post up about this, so you don’t have to keep lookin at that darn coconut-orange bubble loaf anymore…

So we started by getting Marzio set up to make some home-made tiramisu.   Mmmm, I don’t have any completed pics of this delightful dessert, we pretty much scarfed the whole thing down.  It was amazing, here is the link to the recipe we used: http://www.italianchef.com/tiramisu.html

IMG_1758Recommendation: Add a little coffee liquor to the espresso you dip your lady fingers in, adds a nice little kick =)  AND just for those of you out there who are intimidated by the idea of making tiramisu, can I just say, if you like the dessert, give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do on your own! =)

Ok, so while Marzio whipped away at the yolks and heavy cream, I started bravely to go where i’ve never been in the culinary world before…pasta making.

Mario Batali helped inspire this recipe:

Mix 1/4 c white wine (any kind you enjoy drinking, or red even), 3/4 c warm water and 1.5 oz of yeast in a large bowl till the yeast is dissolved.  Then mix in 1 Tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.

IMG_1756Add 1 cup of flour and mix it in with a wooden spoon.  Add in the next 2 cups of flour, and mix it with the spoon until you need to dig in with your hand to get it all mixed together.  Then turn it out on a floured surface and get ready for a work out.

IMG_1759Knead that sucker for 6-8 minutes until your arms fall off, or well, at least until you have a nice lookin ball of dough.  then place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and set in a warm area of the kitchen to let it rise to about twice it size…it’ll probably take about 45 minutes.

IMG_1762Next step, really for any italian cooking, is to pour yourself a nice little glass of that wine you used, there’s plenty left in the bottle. Mmm.  Take a deep breath, stretch your sore arms.  And time to get to work on the sauciness.   This recipe is inspired by Emeril Lagassi, another chef I respect.

Important Note: Start a pot of water with a dash of salt going on the stove, those darn thing take forever to come to a boil. Yeah, it’s for the pasta.

Grab an onion chop it in half, and stick one half in a ziplock for the next recipe that comes up in the house that requires their deliciousness (in our case, that night my brother was prepping his brats for the skins game the next day…mmmm).  Chop that sucker up or slice it, however large or small you’d like it in your sauce.

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then get a nice deep frying pan on the heat with some butter and olive oil (some like to keep it healthy with just hte olive oil…but i love the way the butter and the onions make an incredible flavor together).  Add in your onion pieces, and brown them up a bit, then add it a heaping teaspoon of garlic (and I mean heapin!…or more…) and a teaspoon of tomatoe paste and fry that up for a sec.  Mmm, and here comes the good part:

IMG_1775Pour in 2 cans of fire-roasted with roasted garlic diced tomatoes. Oh the smell is getting heavenly in the kitchen at this point. (You could get even more ambitious and roast tomatoes and dice them or puree them yourself….but lets not get too excited.) mmm, at this point I chopped 6 or 7 sundried tomatoes and add this to the growing sauce, mmm, there’s really nothin like sundried tomatoes in a sauce, is there? And, for a little more fun, I threw some red pepper flakes – you always need a little kick in a good red sauce.  And for good italian measure, I grabbed some dried herbs from the cabinet and threw those in as well – a little thyme, a bunch of basil and some oregano. Oh man, my mouth is starting to water.  Before getting back to our pasta, add in about a 1/2 to 3/4 c of chicken stock to the sauce, and a 1/2 cup of that wine you’ve been enjoying (I was usin Chardonney, but a red wine would be scrumptious).  Now, that’s a serious sauce goin on.

IMG_1779Ok, well, if you’re like me, and seriously taking your time to enjoy the sauce and your glass of wine, then 45 minutes have gone by the your pasta dough has risen is ready to go to work.

IMG_1793Grab little pieces of the dough and start rollin them out.  You might want to have your favorite radio station, music or somethin on while doing this. It takes a bit of patience.  Oh, and I learned something. Let me just recommend that you use wax paper on some sort of cookie sheet to place your carefully rolled/shaped pasta on as you’re getting it ready to be boiled.  You want to keep each piece of pasta separate from each other before it’s cooked.

IMG_1798I learned this the hard way.  Uncooked, fresh pasta will turn itself into one big noodle if you throw them into one big pile. oops.  These bad boys only take 5 minutes to cook in the boiling water. So I rolled out about half the ball of dough into my strands, and cooked them.  Yeah, kinda strange lookin noodles, but fun and tasty.

IMG_1801Sprinkle a little olive oil over them to help them from all stickin together, and finish up the other half of your dough ball.  Set them aside.  Time to finish up that sauce.  Add about 1/2 c to 1 c of heavy cream (left over from making that incredible tiramisu ;)), and bring it back to a boil, let it simmer for a few minutes. Taste it. Add whatever herbs or salt and pepper or more garlic…whatever you think it needs to taste a bit better. And then grab the dish you’re going to put your dish altogether in. Take your tongs, get your pasta in your dish, spoon over the pasta your sauce (and be generous here), and toss it together.

IMG_1807Oh boy. Time to dig in, or as mom would say, Mangia!  Happy Birthday Mumms!