Extra Curricular Activities

This summer was a busy one: newish baby, going back to work, packing, renovating, moving, unpacking, not sleeping. :) Even so, I forced myself to also do some fun things so I didn’t get burned out. I managed to get to the beach once (yay!) and celebrated two of my best friends getting married. I also explored our new town by taking walks in the local park, joined a local women’s group, started a play group with some lovely women I met after having Cole, and took some cooking classes.

I’m pretty confident in the kitchen but seeing other techniques is fun for me. (A perfectly relaxing day to me is reading design magazines while binge watching The Barefoot Contessa.) Last month I took a pasta making class and an Italian sauce making class and learned so much. I just have to find my kitchenaid mixer in the pile of boxes in the basement and buy this attachment and I’ll be making my own pasta in no time!

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Here is a delicious and fresh tomato sauce recipe we learned:

Prep time: 15 minuets
Cooking time: 75 minutes


  • Can whole peeled italian plum tomatoes (2 p0unds)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 table spoons olive oil (not EVOO. I just realized I love this taste so much better)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • fresh basil



Warm the olive oil and add bay leaves. Add the sliced onions and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Bring the onion to caramel color then add the tomato, sugar, and simmer for 60 minutes. For best results cook at least 60 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 20 minutes and blend the sauce in a blender or run through food mill. Ass salt and fresh chopped basil and refrigerate for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Did you know there’s a difference between tomato and marinara sauce? The base of tomato sauce is sauteed onions, where marinara sauce is a based of sauteed garlic. Interesting, right?

grow cook eat

Grow Cook Eat Book Cover

I have become obsessed with gardening. And that might be an understatement. Since living on my own after college, I’ve slowly taught myself how to cook by following recipes and watching the Food Network. This newish obsession somehow seems natural to me that I would now grow the ingredients to use in my recipes.

I absolutely love my new book “Grow Cook Eat” that I recently picked up. It gives you tips on how to grow each veggie (including when to plant the seeds and how much to water them), how to store it, and how to cook it by using the books fresh recipes. I started dogearing the recipes that looked interesting, but now the entire book is dogeared! This is definitely helpful for beginner gardeners, or people who are just learning how to cook!

honey mustard pork roast

Now that it’s getting cooler, I’ve been cooking heartier homey suppers. (I’m going to try and use this word more often.) I saw this recipe last week and had to try it. The pork roast is filled with flavor and wrapped with the crispiest, most delicious bacon. (I need to add more next time!) I served it with a side of fresh green beans and roasted potatoes. (We were too hungry to take any better photos.)

wood cutting board

I’ve been watching a lot of the food network lately, and have learned to feel even more comfortable in the kitchen. Just watching other people’s techniques (in anything) helps me. Because Ryan and I have a teeny kitchen, with not very much cabinet space I’ve been looking for things we should register for and I’ve fallen in love with this walnut end grain cutting board. If only I had a dollar for every time Giada says “yummy”, it would make this wood block a little more affordable.

cutting board


dutch oven

So… after reading Decorno’s post on a dutch oven, it’s got me thinking. The Barefoot Contessa is always using them on her show, and everyone has them listed on registries, but do people really use them? I can’t see spending so much money on one item (Le Creuset) in the kitchen, but if I want to become a master chef, don’t I need the proper tools?

These are my favorite options-

Mario Batali’s Dutch Oven – 6 quart

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Le Creuset Dutch Oven – 5 1/2 quart


Ikea Casserole with Lid


What do you think? Do you use a dutch oven? Would you recommend that I register for one of these bad boys? Does anyone have experience with using one on an electric cooktop? HELP!