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Holidays are Over!

Holidays are Over!

It’s a bittersweet time of the year. The excitement of the Holidays have come and gone. The anticipation of opening presents and eating Christmas dinner has passed. A year has passed, the ball has dropped, and we go back to the daily grind.

I absolutely love putting up Christmas decorations. We had two fake trees this year, one in the living room and one in the dining room. That doesn’t count the two small potted trees that sit near the tv. It was a little sad taking it all down.

Having said that, I am so glad the Holidays are over! What a busy mess it was. Laura worked extra hours, I had two weeks off of taking care of Jack, planning a Christmas Eve party and executing said party with enough food to feed 30 people (although only half showed up.) We celebrated Jack’s first Christmas on the day of, and it was a blast watching him open all his presents and playing with everything except his toys. Thanks to our awesome baby sitter, Laura and I were actually willing and able to spend New Year’s Eve out and have a nice night in Waikiki.

Nice Hat

Jack’s First Christmas!

Despite my desire to post some awesome Holiday inspired recipes, I just couldn’t find the time to execute the recipes while taking pictures and documenting my steps all while taking care of a very mobile baby and keeping the place clean. But, hopefully as things wind down and go back to normal, I’ll be able to post a little more regularly. Good thing I’m not trying to make money off this 😉

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve

2012 brought us many great things. A beautiful child, great new friends, a little prosperity, and opportunities that many don’t get. Hopefully 2013 will be good to us as well.

Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Food

 

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Maple Brine for Thanksgiving Turkey

Holy crap, it has been a while! I finished classes for the time being a while back, but I still haven’t found the time to update and provide recipes for tasty morsels. Jack has been keeping me busy, for sure. He’s in the crawling phase, and he races around the whole place in his walker, getting in to things, knocking stuff over, and sometimes breaking stuff. But the boy and I have fun 😉

So, I didn’t even have the intention to write up a post today. However, I was trying to do some internet searching for good information on brining. The food industry standard for making a brine is one cup of salt and one cup of sugar for every gallon of water. Then you can add whatever additional herbs and flavorings you’d like, such as peppercorns, bay leaves, and spices. Imagination can take off from there.

However, I’ve never particularly enjoyed that ratio of salt to water. I’ve always thought it produced a very salty brine, especially when brining for a full 24 hours, which I feel like most people do. So, while looking for information on different brines, I noticed that there was a real lack of consistency of how much salt is called for from one recipe to another. Some recipes stuck with the idea of using one cup of salt for one gallon of water, but many were suggesting that a cup of salt could be used for only half that amount of water. That’s a salty brine. In addition, almost every recipe called for kosher salt. This is another huge inconsistency, as different brands of kosher salt are ground differently, and can have a significant weight difference in a cup. Not to mention kosher salt is no different from regular table salt, unless it is iodized. Salt is salt is salt. I’m talking to you, sea salt snobs. I digress. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Entree/Main Dish, Food

 

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Tortellini with Italian Sausage and Fresh Vegetables

Tortellini with Italian Sausage and Fresh Vegetables

A very good friend of mine requested a while back for a recipe that could be done in about 30 minutes. Understandably, as she is not only an Army wife to a special forces soldier, a mother of a daughter with a baby boy on the way, as well as a full time soldier herself with multiple deployments under her belt. She’s a busy woman. In addition, she’s probably one of the most selfless people I know, helping out friends and soldiers alike whenever they are in need. This one is for her.

Trying to come up with an under 30 minute recipe isn’t very easy, however. Many are familiar with the concept of cooking a quick dinner thanks to Rachel Ray’s tv show, as well as the plethora of quick and easy recipes from big food companies such as Kraft and Campbell’s. In either case, most of these meals are prepared from pre-made foods, which are typically processed and/or have funky ingredients in them. I try to keep things as from-scratch as I can when cooking.

I do have a go-to meal that I use quite often when time is short. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Entree/Main Dish, Food, Italian, Pork

 

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Labor Day, what? BBQ Spiral Cut Hot Dogs!

Labor Day, what? BBQ Spiral Cut Hot Dogs!

It’s the last day of my Labor Day four-day weekend. My wife worked all day (by that I mean she left at seven this morning and is still at work as I write this at 7:12 pm,) and I had the baby boy to myself. We ran a few errands, got some things over at the NEX, and walked around Ward Centers.

I wasn’t even planning on doing a post today. While I was at the commissary, I decided I wanted hot dogs for dinner, seeing as I would be cooking for just myself. When I got home, I remembered a friend and old boss of mine had posted pics of spiral cut hot dogs on his facebook. Oh, yeah, this is happening. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Beef, Entree/Main Dish, Food

 

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Barrack’s Cooking: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Barrack’s Cooking: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I planned on doing very little this Labor Day weekend, and still I feel that the first day of this four-day has kept me busy, yet somehow unproductive. It feels like all I’ve done this morning and throughout the day is pick up the place, cook some stuff (mostly Jack’s baby food), take care of the little one, and pick up some more. But I still feel like I got nothing done. Hopefully the rest of you have gotten a more productive (or at least relaxing) start to your Holiday weekend.

Well, I did manage to break out the slow cooker today. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Vanilla Iced Coffee

Vanilla Iced Coffee

It’s the end of August, and it’s frickin hot out. Although, I’m not sure if I can be one to complain considering the majority of the contiguous United States has had temperatures in the high nineties and above, with humidity to match, for the entire summer. At least we have regular rainfall and trade winds to keep the heat down a bit.

Either way, I’m sure we can at least all agree that a cool and refreshing beverage is in order. Iced coffee anyone? Got five bucks for an iced latte at Starbucks?

Your alternatives are, of course, the super sugary bottled products found in grocers and convenience stores that barely taste like coffee. You know, the kind that are literally 300 or more calories a serving and has who knows what kind of ingredients in it.

Well, being the frugal (cheap) and health conscious (chubby) person that I am, I decided it would be a good time to make my own with the coffee and other ingredients that I already own (and paid for). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Beverage, Food, Health

 

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Barrack’s Cooking: Potato Leek Soup

Barrack’s Cooking: Potato Leek Soup

Thought I disappeared again, huh? Nope, my last entry was just poorly timed. I went on leave soon after my last exciting post, making a trip with the wife and the seven month old back to New Hampshire. Yup, that’s a ten hour straight flight from Honolulu to New York City with a baby. My own parents, hailing from the Midwest, drove out to New Hampshire as well, so baby Jack got to meet both sets of grandparents. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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