Movie Monday- You’ve Got Mail

Adam usually has Mondays off, which is why Movie Monday works out so well. This Monday he had to work. Instead of selfishly watching a super awesome movie we both want to see I put one of my favorite romantic comedies in.

For this movie’s meal I chose Chicken Noodle Soup. So simple. So easy. So..something I’ve never made. Soup brings people together. When a friend is sick, you bring them soup. Soup warms the heart. It’ll thaw any chilled bone- a meal fit for a movie set in the fall and winter of New York City. A meal that will bring people together despite their differences, just like the movie.

Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup from Easy Everyday Eats
4 cups chicken stock (I put in 2- 26oz stock containers plus 1-16oz can of chicken broth)
2 large chicken breasts, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups chopped carrots {about 4 carrots}
1 cup chopped celery {about 2 stalks} (I used 3 because it made an equal amount of carrots and celery)
3/4 cup chopped onion (I used 1 small onion)
2 cups wide egg noodles (I only used one package of No Yolk noodles)
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf {optional} (I used one. You should too)

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened.  Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the chicken, celery, carrots. and bay leaf.   Cook about 5 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Add the noodles and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until noodles are desired texture.  Taste to see if more salt or pepper are needed, remove bay leaf.  Serve and enjoy!

The next time you’re in the mood for a heartwarming movie to go with your heart warming meal, try this easy peasy chicken noodle soup. Make sure you share a bowl with a loved one.

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Movie (and a meal) Monday

Let me start out by saying I’ve never seen The Godfather.

GASP!!

I know. I know.

I love mobster movies. LOVE them. And I’ve never seen the ultimate mobster movie. In an effort to incorporate more shoot-em-up movies with bad guys dressed in three piece suits and wielding large guns, I give you our first Movie Monday- Mobster Monday. Every Monday, Adam and I will watch a movie and I will cook a dish that is fitting for said movie.

Our first Movie Monday started out big. The Godfather and Chicken Marsala. It was a HIT! Pun intended!! I had never made Chicken Marsala and, to tell you the truth, was a tad bit intimidated by it. Whenever you have to add wine to a dish I start getting nervous because there are usually way too many steps involved and, even though it might be worth it, you get halfway through the ingredient list and next thing you know you need that wine more than your meal does. This recipe calls for things you keep in your pantry or fridge.

Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
Ingredients:

 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite sized pieces
10-12 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Marsala cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound dry pasta + water for cooking {side note: I used papparedelle. Adam’s request}
1 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
minced, chopped fresh parsley for garnish {side note: I don’t care much for garnish. I didn’t bother}

Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet until foaming. Cook chicken until lightly browned. Transfer to plate when done.

Boil water and cook pasta according to the directions.

Melt additional 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, add garlic, mushrooms and onion and cook for about 6 minutes. Add cooked chicken back into the skillet. Add the Marsala, chicken broth and cream and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce is is slightly thickened.

Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Return the pasta  to the pot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and chicken mixture and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and cook until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, about 1 minute, adding the reserved cooking water as needed.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with additional Parmesan cheese and a garnish of chopped parsley.

Ok so let me make one correction.

That’s better. More fitting, don’t you think?

This recipe was spot on. It turned out great! Would I do anything differently? Yeah. I followed the directions step by step but if i did it all over again, I’d make the sauce and then cook the pasta instead of cooking everything all at once. My favorite thing about the recipe? Two dishes. Two! (Not counting the cutting board and knife) My sink sighed in relief.

Try it. It’s a hit!!

I crack myself up.

Seven Day Countdown

I don’t know if you’ve noticed (you probably have) but Thanksgiving is a week away.

This time of the year always throws me into a panic. Maybe it’s because it is the official start of the holiday season; maybe it’s because now it’s socially acceptable to inundate people with Christmas music, decorations, and gift buying. Heck, I already have New Year’s Eve plans.  I don’t know why this would freak me out… I like planning.. Maybe it’s the fact that THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER! But I digress…

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. People get together and eat and drink and be merry. Wait. Wrong holiday. People eat until they have to unbutton their pants and need to be rolled home. Yup. Nailed it.

It’s never been my favorite holiday as I have always had a love-hate relationship with food and because I get so overwhelmed with needing/having to eat. Thanksgiving is that friend who is constantly peer pressuring you to do things you don’t want to.

“Eat potatoes! Eat stuffing! Eat everything on the table!!”

“No Thanksgiving, I don’t wanna!!!”

Or something like that…

Also it’s a dinner. You sit around starving all day because you obviously aren’t allowed to eat anything you can smell being cooked in the kitchen so come meal-time you gorge. It’s just bad form, Thanksgiving. Don’t be a honey badger*, Thanksgiving. You’re supposed to be about giving, Thanksgiving, but you never give until I’m passed out on the couch from a hypoglycemic dizzy spell. Also, because I take after my dad, I get quite grumpy when I’m hungry..so there’s that.

If I could host Thanksgiving (which i really want to when I have the counter space to and when people decide that coming out to The Valley isn’t that bad) I’d hopefully do it differently. Not like order in or anything.. although turkeys suck to cook. Maybe a very tapas thanksgiving. Yeah. Making tiny plates of things so no one has to go hungry or eat too much of anything. Ugh. But then I’d have to make dozens of tiny things. Scratch that. I would have a traditional turkey feast. Even though I’m not a big fan of turkey. Yeah. I said it. Turkey is overrated and it’s a pain in the ass to defrost/cook.

Let’s say I had a fully defrosted turkey and my electric oven/stove was having a spot-on day and I had pumped all my friends and family with healthy pint glasses of Celebration Ale and topped off flutes of bubbly this is what I would serve… (thanks to my unhealthy obsession with Pinterest) I give you my version of A Very Valley Thanksgiving.

Turkey-

So let’s imagine you buy a turkey and you have some friends over and, even though it’s not fully defrosted, they got super drunk and decided it would be an AWESOME idea to smoke the turkey. So they put it under water, defrost it, and then take it outside. After realizing they needed to take the insides out, they make you do it since you’re the only one who’s ever cleaned out a turkey. Then everyone passes out an hour later and leaves you to smoke a turkey**.

So we will do that except just when it’s almost done we will cover the top in bacon and cover the bacon with melted butter drenched cheese cloth.

Potatoes-

My favorite ever. I can eat potatoes forever. When I’m sick, all I want to eat are mashed potatoes from a pouch. Classy. For A Very Valley Thanksgiving I think we would go a little pretty to look at/ lighter than mash and make this Potato Bake I found here.

Cranberry-

I am a sucker for a good cranberry sauce. Trader Joe’s has a great cranberry orange relish i used to eat straight from the container. Yes, I did just admit that. Moving along… I’d make this because it has such easy ingredients and I love whole berry sauce.

Veggies-

I love a good side dish. And I think it’s so important to balance out turkey and potatoes with a couple good veg options. I love Brussels Sprouts. I love how their color really punches things up. Also, they’re delicious. Try them. I’m serious, they’re great.

Maybe a little more root action. Look at the colors. I love a good roasted veg.

Breadstuffs-

You need a good roll. People like rolls. For like putting butter on and stuff. Or the next day for Leftover Sandwiches. These probably suck for sandwiches but how awesomely delicious do they look.

Dessert-

I am a HUGE fan of the dessert. The key is to keep is classic and not too heavy. People will be so stuffed that all the effort you put into your dessert won’t be appreciated. So make it pretty enough for them to be intrigued by it and make it take-away friendly (preferably have it packaged up before dinner). Like this apple pie. Also a good way to shove stragglers out of your house so you can take your shoes off and put your feet up and admire the mountain of dishes you have to clean.

Or maybe package something for their Black Friday morning.

Booze-

What good family get together is without it? So grab some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale or some of your favorite bubbly and start toasting to being thankful! Or you can get fancy and make a signature concoction with all the flavors of fall.

So, happy Thanksgiving countdown. Relax, grab a cocktail, and start planning!!

*Honey Badger don’t care

**True Story

foodbuzz instagram photo dump

i know, i know.. you’re probably asking “hey ashley where the heck are all the foodbuzz pictures??” well people, if your instagram hasn’t already been blown up with them, then here they are!!

sabra friday night passed apps. favorite: roasted red pepper sabra hummus cup. ok those lettuce cups were really good too.

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friday night’s buffet dinner. best bite: Mara’s meatloaf muffin.

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saturday morning… starting the day off right! headed out to the Ferry Building before walking to foodbuzz sessions. you cant go wrong with Blue Bottle Coffee!!!

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someone friday night had randomly asked if we liked beans. specifically rancho gordo heirloom beans.

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snacks for the day

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oh hey federated media headquarters! there you are!

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saturday night pre-pre-dinner apps brought to you by alexia potato products!

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balls made out of butter that were next to the pre-dinner apps. (i almost ate these)

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TyFlo. the man. not the drinking game.

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spanikopita!

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dinner time!!

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this was in the bathroom… weird.

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who doesnt love a little hobo shanty town on the way to breakfast…

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when i got home i opened my brunch gift bag and found this!! godiva apron so i can do fun stove things and not mess up my cute outfit!

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i also came home to this… my favorite beverage and my favorite phrase.

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and my favorite face…slash YOU’VE BEEN PUPPY PHOTO BOMBED!!!

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saturday session notes

now ..this past festival was not my first rodeo. i had gone to foodbuzz last year and blogher food the year before. i am no stranger to sessions. i never get the ones i want an always have to crash a session. its almost like trying to get into a class in college.

this year i forgot my notebook. typical. luckily i had my registration paper and i always carry at least 2 pens and a pencil in my purse.

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yeah well as cryptic as that is (especially the flow charty one) let me show you just exactly what i learned.

 

pictures are supposed to be MASSIVE with writing on them and aligned with the text (which looks to be justified). and 14 pictures per post. so.. hope youre PUMPED for massive quantities and sizes of pictures!!!!

and napkins. lots of napkins. like 85. and spending sunday nights ironing them and buying a special cabinet for them.

right.

what i gathered from my weekend at foodbuzz festival

foodbuzz festival was awesome this year. friday night was fun. the tasting pavilion was to die for delicious. saturday dinner was…well..inspiring.

after getting home that night i grabbed whatever was closest (a napkin)

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and scrawled out some noteworthy notes in the form of a list. i like lists. i apparently have terrible rushed penmanship.

so let me transcribe for you what i jotted down. directly from my napkin, i give you:

THINGS I’VE LEARNED FR. FOODBUZZ FEST.

-Butter comes in all shapes & sizes (^notably) balls

  • i did not know this and nearly ate a ball of butter. apparently they come in turkey shapes for thanksgiving as well as bunny shapes for easter

-Looking for an after party? so is everyone else… and they’re lost & their shoes are more comfy than yours.

  • the after party could’ve been great if it wasn’t so far and if people followed through with their ideas

– Tyler Florence is a drinking game

  • try it. it’s fantastic!

– canada is real.& not just america’s better health cared hat.

– bloggers who are bigger than you (popular-wise) say to say hi & then it is really weird / stalkerish… especially if you do it twice.

  • somehow i got introduced to Joy the Baker twice. both times it was weird but the second time it was even more weird. maybe she remembered me because of it.

-piano bars on the 36th are for AARP members

  • the original plan was go upstairs and grab a drink… when we got there everyone had white hair and it wasn’t our scene.

-want followers? get a puppy or get married or have a baby.but not a fashion blog. bc i’m the only food blogger who reads them

  • people love puppies, parties, and babies. do it. you’ll gain followers!!

– joy the baker has a cute green bag- say hi to her even if her blog makes you fat just from looking at it

  • she has the best clothes. the end.

-dinner will be served an hour & 1/2 after it tells you to show up.

  • took way too long to get actual food. and not nearly enough apps for everyone at the table.

-no one wants to know you love kittens, crochet, coffee. (except me. i ❤ coffee, hate cats, & am teaching myself to crochet).

  • the panel leaders said it would be a lame twitter profile. if its what you love, then why not!(this is my twitter profile:
    i work out to support my eating habit. tater tots, cheese,ice cream, and gin are staples of my fridge/freezer http://www.thisvalleylife.com) rock it. own it. who am i to judge.

-twitter: you get it/have it or you dont. its ok. im not judging.

  • people don’t understand twitter. it’s ok. my college educated friends don’t get it and i think theyre smart people.

-people type aggressively. and they interrupt. and then are scary when they shout their name @ people.

  • that man was scary. and loud.

-eat in public. it makes people intrigued/uncomfy.

  • i don’t know what this note was about…

-don’t steal centerpieces. ever.

  • really bloggers?! really?!? i had to tell you that?

-everything in sep. buildings= BAD

  • foodbuzz- worst move ever.

hope you’ve enjoyed my few take-away points from the Fest. Next post will be about my session notes. hope you’re ready for some learning!

 

Sierra’s adoption anniversary

Happy 1st adoption anniversary, my sweet little puppy lady.

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I hope you enjoyed your special birthday dinner! (blue buffalo backyard bbq)

We love you do much and it seems like only yesterday we brought you home (and celebrated the Giant’s World Series win).

You used to be so tiny and loved cuddling on the couch.

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You are now so big and still like to cuddle on the couch.

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You liked to greet us from your play area in the kitchen.

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Then you outgrew your play area.

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You learned to sit for the camera so quickly.

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You are such a ham.

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You got comfortable in your new home.

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Now you just think everything is yours.

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I’m so glad “we’re just going to look” turned into “I love this little puppy” and we got to take you home.

Happy birthday!