April 29, 2015

One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake

When I don't know what to blog I always remind myself that my life is this blog. So, what I do and think could benefit someone else will be put up. Today, just like most Wednesdays for the past few months, I am going to share a recipe with you. It's a recipe I came across a while back and tweaked it just a tad bit. Not much at all. Here we go.

I wanted to make something easy. Something delicious and easy. Something that would not require a lot of pots, and still would come as if I used three different kinds. Guys, I have become a one pot anything cooker. I love it. It's not only easy, it has never disappointed any of us. Here's to many more. So, so glad I got into this one pot cooking phase!

Here's what you need:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil {I used those tiny frozen cubes}
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces pasta {rotini pasta is best, but penne would work as well; plus remember I always use gluten free pasta}
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese {I used mixed Italian cheese as well}
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

The hardest to find were the pepperoni. I didn't want regular pepperoni. I wanted mini pepperoni because they are cute. Simple as that. I couldn't find them anywhere. I gave up. So I just halved the ones I found, and it turned out awesome! If you know where to get them, please help a girl out!! Thank you.

Here's what you do:
  • Preheat oven to broil.
  • Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. 
  • Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to crumble it. 
  • Drain excess fat. 
  • Stir in 1/4 cup pepperoni until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, basil garlic powder, pasta and 1 1/2 cups water
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12-14 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; top with mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup pepperoni. 
  • Place into oven and cook until melted and golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

It was really all in one pot. I never thought I could cook it all in one pot, let alone, gluten free pasta. It worked out so well, I made it a few days later again. Easy, very delicious, and we had hardly leftovers. Gosh, I cannot wait to make it again. It was this good!!


adapted from  here

April 28, 2015

What If...

A few days ago, Daman from Here I Scribble shared what she thought her life would look like had things been different. This got me thinking about my "what ifs". I try to stay away from looking back on life and wondering what life would be like if I had done something differently, if I had picked a different route. Yet, it still made me think, and today I am sharing it with you. 

What if I had not chosen the high school I went to?
I would have probably started working at 16/17, and probably ended up with the wrong crowd. I would have not had the travel opportunities and would be miserable with my life thinking I should have gone to the high school my mom suggested. Also, I would not have my best friend in my life.

What if I had not gone to San Francisco after high school?
I would not have traveled and experienced as much, probably would have never gone to the US in general, and would be very one-sided in my culinary and cultural adventures. Coming from an international family, I would have been the black sheep not allowing myself to grow.

What if I stayed at my old job and never went back to college?
I would probably still be working at the same job, being miserable. I might have changed the company but would be doing the same old, same old. It would be draining, and my social life {not to mention love life} would be non-existent. Yes, I would be close to my mom right now, have plenty of money and time to travel and buy what I wanted but it would not be fulfilling. 

What if my educational route in the US had worked out as planned?
I would be studying right now instead of writing this blog post. I would be happy knowing I'd be working on my dream. I would be reading, writing, over analyzing, and going slightly insane. I would be still in the Sacramento area {not Orange County} living with my favorite person, but things between the two of us would be different and we would hardly see each other.

What if I had different genes?
I would have had a different name, a different upbringing, and I would not have probably ended up where I am today. I would not be able to call three different countries my homes and my favorite places in the world. 

What If I had said no?
Things would have been ugly. I would be working somewhere in California. I also would be packing things up to move back to Europe, being more lonely and less loved feeling I just failed my entire life yet again. I would dread going back because nothing ever works out in my life.

There is a reason I avoid thinking about my "what ifs". We cannot go back and change our choices. Even if, we would still wonder and create a totally different list of "what ifs". We would always find a way to question and second guess our life. Yet, this very moment is our life. This is what we have or don't have. Our life is now, whether it is good or bad or a mixture of both. I am embracing my current life and trying to make the best of it; after all, we only have this one to cherish and love to the fullest. 

What are your what ifs?

April 27, 2015

Quick hello and an Update


Happy Monday!

Please keep my mom in your thoughts and prayers as she is still recovering in the hospital. The initial plans we all thought would be her being moved to another facility to fully recover got postponed twice in the last week. She had a minor surgery on Friday night due to a scar either opening up or not healing the way it was supposed to, or who knows. All I know is she had surgery. Again. I don't care why. Drives me nuts. She sounded well on Saturday when I talked to her, just felt uncomfortable holding the phone so I didn't get to talk to her too long. At least I got to talk to her, right?

Other than that...we have been packing, and packing, and packing. Crazy how time flies. I couldn't even go online for the past four days to write a proper post. Or connect with other bloggers as much as I used to. Packing and organizing all kinds of stuff for the move can be so time consuming but will be worth in the end. :)

By the way, thank you so much for all the tips about our upcoming move. They all helped a lot. We have four bags full of clothing items we will donate this week, have gotten rid of other stuff we simply don't need, and heck, it all looks spectacular. Plus, I try to breathe and not take it all too seriously. And yes, boxes are packed up in regards to each room...our kitchen has the most stuff...haha, who would have thought.

Two full weeks left until I want to be ready to sit back for a few days until the big move day. Time really flies. Holy cow.


April 22, 2015

6 Easy First Steps to Conserve Water

California has a water issue. We have heard it, we have seen it, and when you live here with open eyes and ears you also live it. I hear the word DROUGHT every single day.

Years ago I shared my thoughts on how to live a greener life. I have to say I pretty much still live by everything I said back then. Now, with this constant water problem we are faced with each day I thought it was time to share a few easy steps to conserve water. It's the little things we do in life. It's a start. It is so easy, and will not interfere with any of our schedules. Promise.

  1. While brushing teeth, turn off the water. Water doesn't need to run. You are not brushing your teeth standing under that water, or are you?
  2. If you wash dishes by hand don't let the water run either. Plus if you have two sinks, have one sink fill with wash water, and the other with rinse water. I only wet my sponge, put soap on it and start soaping up my dishes. The ones with the most {heavy} stains get soaked with soap. I only have one sink, so I only use it for rinsing purposes. 
  3. If you wash your dishes in a dishwasher, don't pre-wash. Most of us have newer dishwashers anyways. No need to pre-wash your dishes. Also, no extra rinsing. It's a waste of water and frankly, also time.
  4. Turn off water while you shampoo/condition your hair, shave, and lather your body. No need to keep it running.  I always have to turn around to shave my legs so the water doesn't hit my face or in that case legs. There's really no need for water to fall onto no one. If your shower is like mine and gets super cold quick, find another solution. I got used to it to have a bit of a colder splash once I turn it back up. Also, I shampoo massage my hair faster than I used to. My hair still gets clean.
  5. Collect water in a bin/basket when you rinse fruits/veggies. Use that water for your house plants and flowers. Same goes when you warm up your shower. Extra water can go in a clean bucket, and then can be used for plants and flowers.
  6. Run your washer only when full. Is it really necessary to run it with four shirts in it? I don't think so. Just wait.
  7. Set a timer when you take a shower. Five minutes is usually all you need. Plus, remember, you turn off the water anyways. 
I am aware that these are seven steps. Consider the last one to be a bonus step. There are many more steps you can take to save water, or use less water. If you own your own place, fix leaks, runny faucets, anything else. Don't water your lawn every day, don't wash your car all the time but still, try to keep it clean. Don't overfill the pools {less splashing and therefore less loss of water}. There are a ton more, and when you think of it...you will automatically come up with ways to use less and save more!

Here's a website I found quite useful to see where we can improve our water consumption. Plus, just because you don't live in California doesn't mean you shouldn't think about conserving water. There are people out there that need water and we {with or without this drought} say we care and all {and yes we do} but we don't care enough. We take the flowing liquid ever so lightly and for granted.

Do not take water for granted.
Start thinking. Start using less. Start saving our precious water. 

What are you doing to conserve water?!

image via buzzfeed

April 21, 2015

Hot Spring Outfit

Untitled #104

Weather in Southern California was almost always predictable. Weather in Northern California is a whole different story {just like its difference in expressions}. This also goes for outfits, and outfit inspirations. There are moments when I dress up {as always} and feel extremely overdressed, and somewhat inappropriate for a certain area. That is when I feel like an ugly duckling or pumpkin left in a corner since Halloween. Temperatures have risen, and it is clear it's not winter anymore. It was so hot last weekend it was time to bring out my favorite spring scent, Sunday dress, and a cute pair of flats. I had to look for some more inspiration, hence the compilation above. 

Looking forward to creating the above outfit soon. It'll be a great one for a brunch date with my favorite person, or friends if and when we ever get back together. 

Have a wonderful day!

April 20, 2015

Time To Pack and Move On

You guys, a couple of weeks ago we went on our last hunt for a new place. We found it and last week we finally got approved. It took a while for them to verify some information {I almost thought our current landlord refused to give out information so we would be stuck in this place forever; I was wrong of course}. So freaking excited. We are ready to pack, move, and start living life in a better area and place. It is definitely time. We are so ready!! *I secretly started packing thinking it will bring luck - I was right!

We will be moving in one month. It sounds like so far away but it is not. What we are mostly focusing on is to bring everything over we already have. From then on, we will figure out what needs to be purchased or given away. I know for a fact we need a dining table, and can finally purchase a patio set so we can in fact enjoy sitting outside every single day. I am also hoping we find our current sofa doesn't fit in {size wise it does but feel/look wise it may not} and that we will look into saving up and buying a new one.

The new place will be way bigger, and as far as we could tell quieter. We need some quiet time. I don't like the constant sirens going off every five minutes. Yes, if you live in a city that is bearable. We are not living downtown though. Our windows are single paned and so, guess what, it not only is loud, it is also either very cold or hot. So over this place. I hate it. Needless to say and I am repeating myself...we are ready and it is time!!!

We will get help from my favorite person's parents, as well as two classmates and a coworker of his. If you have any tips on how to pack or organize or what not...fill me in. Any tip and idea is welcome. I have a small list on what to do before the big move {inform tv/internet company, set up new accounts for water, gas, electricity and cancel old ones, inform bank, DMV, immigration, and post office to redirect mail accordingly}, but other than that I am kind of lost. Pinterest helps, too. I also learned from my last move that the more you have done ahead of time, the easier and faster the move will be. Plus, labeling your boxes on the side rather than on top is a must. 

Again, if you know of anything we should think of, let me know.

April 16, 2015

No Soda Food Challenge Update


Do I really need to say it? It's an easy challenge. I don't get tempted, save a ton and my teeth love me again. The only time I had to take a sip or two of coca cola was when I felt nauseous one day. I think it was because I didn't eat that day and was a total stressed out wreck ball. Those sips helped me not to faint that day. Plus, yes, I ate something afterwards. 

No soda is absolutely no problem for me. Also, not drinking soda or sweetened anything made me noticed that my favorite person is also not drinking as much. I asked him to do this month's challenge with me but his heart is set; he's in love with his bubbly drinks. Ha! At least he drinks less than before, so that's a start, no?!

Oh, and if you were wondering...yes, I have noticed that my pants are not as tight anymore as they used to be a few months ago. I thought I'd let you know. Some of you were like "why are you doing this?", and "crazy idea, you won't see results". Well, I may not have lost 20 pounds {I'd be a little underweight if I did, just saying} but I have noticed an inch or even two of looser pants and somewhat a lighter feeling. I have to say I am pleased. I didn't start this challenge to lose a ton of weight but to see how my body feels each month, and how I can change my diet towards being healthier. Also, this whole challenge has helped me appreciate certain foods more after I introduced them back into my diet. You are what you eat, and I still strongly believe in that.

Two more weeks of no soda...and I know I won't fully go back once this month's challenge is over.


April 15, 2015

10 Affordable Date Ideas

Whether you are married, engaged, or just living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your significant other is part of your life. You practically share everything with one another, you live together and spend your lives together to make it memorable for the both of you. There is a reason you decided to take this step. There will be a time when everything makes sense, and there will also be a time when nothing makes sense. 

The time will come when life takes over and work or life in general make you feel miserable, tired, angry, upset, and even just alone. Coming home to your favorite person will be your favorite part of the day, no matter how exhausted you are. You will look forward to a smile, a hug, or a kiss just to feel the love and mutual understanding. These are the times that bond the two of you. These are the times that also push the two of you away, inch by inch. It's a combination of both and over the years I have learned that it is quite normal and shouldn't be alarming. Just because we decided to spend the rest of our life with another person doesn't mean we give up our former life or stop our growth. We adjust, we learn, we figure things out. The honeymoon phase {the happy, everything is awesome moment we all know exists} sometimes comes to an end and you need to find a way back to the honeymoon phase. Why?! Because, you know, life is too short and you want to be happy rather than dwell on a nasty day, comment, or dirty chores. You want to smile, think happy thoughts and live life with a positive attitude. 

One thing I have learned from past relationships and now with my happily every after is that you should never start or end the day with a negative attitude. You should always talk it over, you should always listen and pay attention, even when you are about to explode or cook dinner. Most importantly, you should always make an effort to make one another feel special and important, and best way to do so is to regularly ask each other out. 

Yes, date nights!!! This isn't new news but we still often neglect that part of any relationship. Just because you've been dating for ten years {or eight months} or been married for five, you should still make the time to regularly go out with your significant other. Date night doesn't mean a fancy dinner reservation and an elaborate trip, even though the idea is spectacular. Date night means spending time together and being there for one another, heck, even learning new things about each other {yes, even after ten years!}. So I thought I'd write a post about things you could do with your favorite person; things you know you want to or have done before...but never fully put thought into it, and most of it is practically free!

Date Night Ideas
  • Learn a new language together
    Imagine you'd learn French together, you could pair your weekly two-hour session with a glass of red wine or cheese, grapes and cold meat. It doesn't have to be a boring date session where you two sit in front of your books and study new words. Make it fun, test each other or try to speak to one another in that new language only. It's fun!
  • Print your favorite photos and create an album together
    It's fun when one person does it, but with the input of two the outcome will be even more fantastic. It will be a great date night going over old photos, remembering fun times, and having a laugh or two.
  • Decide on a whole meal and cook it together
    Make it a cute stay-at-home dinner date, and make it fancy. Don't cook just one course, make three out of it. One of you makes the appetizer, one makes the dessert and the main dish you work on together. Dress up, and pretend you'd be picked up at a certain hour. You can still go out on a stroll afterwards. And yes, no phones or TV.
  • Make a seasonal list {it's fun to make a summer list together}
    A new season means new opportunities open up for all of us to experience. You'd rather go swim in the lake in the summer than in the winter, right? And you'd rather make popsicles and sangrias in the summer than any other time, right? Me, too. So sit down and create your summer list, and try to make an effort making those. Or make a fall list. Whichever. It's free, and fun, and allows you to plan ahead and look forward to future dates together.
  • Discover something new together
    Whether it is a new restaurant, a restaurant you haven't been to but always wanted to try, a new neighborhood park, a new store, or a bike trail...make an effort to take time and explore it together. If money is tight and you still want to try that new Tapas place downtown, try to set weekly money apart together so you both can look forward to some Spanish Yumminess!
  • Go out for a walk
    Maybe you are blessed like us with a trail just around the corner, or you live next to a river, lake, the beach...then get your comfy walking wear on and head on outside. It doesn't have to be a whole day event {if so, make it a picnic day}; just go out and walk together. Turn your phone to silent and put it in a bag {you still want it with you for emergencies; you never know}. Go out, walk, talk, and enjoy somewhat quiet, personal time together. Want to join us on our seven-mile walk?! You're more than welcome.
  • Find a diner and have a milkshake
    Share the shake if you want, or have fries with it too. Simple, yes unhealthy, but oh so good. Plus, it kind of brings the old-fashioned date idea back, doesn't it?
  • Go to your local farmer's market together
    You don't need to buy a thing. It would be nice if you did but we all know those markets can be pricey. Stroll around, smell the fresh fruit and the colorful flowers. Take it all in. Support your community. Plus, have I mentioned free samples?!
  •  Stay home and watch a movie together
    This can be combined with the cooking together. Make it a Netflix night, or just find a show or movie at home that both of you have not seen yet. One night let your partner choose the genre and film, and one night make it your turn to choose your favorite genre.
  • Play a game together
    Have cards at home? Or a puzzle? Are both somewhere in the corner, probably covered in dust? Then it is time to bring them out. Game night can bring the two of you together. Plus, it's free since you already have those at home. Own a Playstation or Wii?! Even better. Haven't used those in months or years?! It is about time.
I am no expert. The thing I learned is that we easily neglect ourselves, and oftentimes each other. We start to take each other for granted. You come home and you know the other one is at home, either waiting, cooking, reading, whatever. You may ask how each other's day was or you may not. You want some time to yourself {which is normal} but you should also acknowledge that there is someone else at home; with you. Life happens. Life can be busy, and overwhelming, and I am sure with children it is even more difficult to sit down and have some quiet, one-on-one time. Make it an effort though. Bring the honeymoon phase back. 

Now if you were wondering...our honeymoon phase is still somewhere around. We are just having a little bit of a rough patch. No worries though. It's okay and we kind of expected it. New work and its awful schedule is so draining, so exhausting. Also, all plans we had got kind of ruined. Add a tremendous amount of schoolwork to the bliss and you have a mess. 

So it is crucial to create scheduled date nights. I never thought I had to do this. Ha. Life can be mean sometimes. Yes, I schedule our date nights. Once a week. Think that is too much? Think again. When you were dating you couldn't wait to see your favorite person...once a week wasn't enough. Same here, same today. There are times we hardly get to talk because he is so exhausted. I almost had to spoon feed him one night because he was not able to lift his arms to eat a proper meal. He ended up eating without me feeding him, if you were wondering. Yes, life can drain you and take all the joy from your blissful happily ever after. Fight back. I am fighting back!!!!

I cannot wait until Friday! :)


April 14, 2015

Mother and Daughter


Thank you so much for all the love and happy, positive thoughts and prayers. My mom's surgery went well and she was recovering for the next couple of days in the ICU. Since yesterday afternoon she is in her own room getting stronger day by day. Considering she is not a young spring chicken anymore, she is a very strong and powerful woman. She's my hero.

I went through an extreme time with unsure tornado-like thoughts making it impossible for me to think clearly. I cried every day. I felt alone. I felt lost. I was close to booking a flight home just to sit in the waiting area. Yet, it would not have made much sense. After such a difficult surgery all one needs is rest. Lots of rest. So I would have flown over for nothing. Literally. Okay, I would have probably cleaned her place, and taken care of laundry and bills {which have been taken care of by her best friend}, but I would not have had a chance to be close to her. So, in a way it's good I didn't fly over. 

My mom even told me not to do it. She said she'd rather see me once she's back home, 90% healed and ready to slowly live life by herself again. She will spend this week in the hospital, and then move to a recovery facility for about one month as far as I know. After that she will be able to go home if the doctors allow it {I am sure they will}. I am planning on visiting her in June and July. Alone. Yes, my favorite person will stay behind, studying his butt off while I will take care of my mom. It will be challenging but part of a cycle everyone somehow at some point in life {sooner or later} has to go through. I have mixed feelings but I know it will all be good. It's life, and life happens every single second. We don't say "every second counts" for nothing.

As a daughter, I am proud of my mom. I am sorry she had to go through this right now at her age. However, it's her life. She will get through this, and heal perfectly. She is stronger than she thinks. I just know it. I learned my lesson through her and her health. I am living a healthier life, and making sure I take care of myself. I have to. I just must. In a way, I believe, the choices I have made in my life are based on how I grew up, and how I saw my mom and family live {healthy or not}. No wonder I chose to work on a food challenge this first half of the year. Living healthy, and feeling better is a major goal of mine. Always has been, always will be!


P.s. Update: my mom's surgery was a crucial one; also, it all turned out to be related to a medication she was given 20 years ago to stabilize her stomach issues. It's crazy to think that a simple medication trying to help you in one area may actually cause a whole other issue in another area over time. Insane. Hearing this scared me but it also opened up eyes. Again, I learned my lesson. I also know why I am a strong believer in "you are what you eat and how you live". Everything is always connected. 

April 13, 2015

If We Were Neighbors

Last month Krysten posted about what it would be like to have her as a neighbor. I had to borrow that idea because it's quite perfect for a fun post. Thanks Krysten!

If we were neighbors...

You'd know that we wake up every day at 5.45 unless it's an earlier shift, then it's 4.45. This will soon change though. For the better. Yes, I wake up with my favorite person and hardly go back to sleep.
You'd probably see me in my PJs or comfy wear a lot. When I am home I like to be comfortable, and you would usually see me barefoot, in sweats and a t-shirt; oh, and without any make-up on. 

You'd see me every morning walk into the kitchen making coffee for myself. With or without lights on. I need my morning coffee otherwise nothing works that day; or you'll meet upset and mad-looking Selma. No one wants that.

You'd wonder what we are doing with all those trash bags on our balcony. We recycle like crazy. Cans, glass and plastic bottles, any other bottles we can get money back from. We have gotten back a ton of money. My guy drinks a lot of crap. Besides the money-back recycling we also make sure we recycle the rest: cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, plastic whatever, and anything else we cannot get money back from but doesn't belong into regular trash bins.

You'll probably hear different languages spoken from time to time. No worries I don't talk to myself that often. And, I promise it may sound as if I am mad at someone but I am not. Ha! I will probably be on the phone talking to Switzerland, England, Turkey, or Illinois. Plus, my cousin and I always talk in three different languages...it's a mixture between English, Turkish, and some French or broken Spanish. We are unique like that.

You'll probably wonder about our antisocial behavior. I love people, and I miss having friends around. It is not easy to make new friends these days. So, I rely on my friends in SoCal and Europe and online, and so does my favorite person. You won't see friends coming over or quickly stopping by. Kind of sad. It just doesn't happen. It kills me but it's what is happening at the moment. Fingers crossed once we move this will change.  

You'll most likely see me working out at home. I do Pilates and Yoga in our living room. If you see me jump while trying to stretch I most likely saw a spider somewhere. 

Tell me, what would it be like if we were neighbors?

April 8, 2015

Stuff & Things

Today I need strength.
Today I wish just the best of the best for my mom and her important surgery.
Just writing this out, sharing it with all of you, makes me feel sad, weak, lonely but also and that is quite interesting, it makes me feel happy. 
Today I am finding hope in everything I do.
Today I need distractions.

Also, I am trying to cook up a new recipe and I hope it comes out right - wish me luck.

I am also obsessed with Hydro Boost by Neutrogena. Months ago this product line was sent to me for testing and reviewing purposes and I am loving it. However, the driest and most annoying spots on my face still do not get hydrated enough. I'm talking to you, nose. That is when I reach over to Honest and its healing balm. Cannot complain one bit. Hey, cold winter air {yes, even in California}, how about you go away?! Thank you.

My favorite person and I finally got to see The Fast and The Furious 7 yesterday. It was all we needed and expected. Closure is so important. So glad we went. We hadn't gone to the movies together since last year. We went with his brother when we visited him last month but just the two of us? It had been months.

Even though I have been stressed I have tried to destress with Pilates, and some Yoga stretches. I have this bump on my hand {it's all benign} and it prevents me from fully stretching my left hand out a bit {annoying, let me tell you} but besides that it is the best way for me to relax. Plus, a good song or two that allow me to sing along and pretend no one is listening...yes, best destress methods ever.

These are my random stuff and things for this week.
All I need is patience, positivity, and strength and everything will be fine.

Positivity, patience, and strength!!!

Positivity, patience, and strength!!


Linking up with Hodgespodges


Okay, what? Yes, shakshuka. Another spelling could also be Shakshouka. Either way, it is delicious. I have had it before in a restaurant. It's believed to be a North African dish, known in the Tunisian cuisine, but also apparently found in the Israeli cuisine. Well, today it is found in my kitchen and my stomach, so to be honest, I don't care where it's originally from {well, I still want to fully know} I just love how easy it is to make and how delicious it is on top of it.

If you were wondering...it is basically poached eggs in a {spicy} tomato sauce. Simple as that. 
Really, that simple.

Here's what you need {for about 4-6 servings}:
1/4 cup olive oil
5 Anaheim chiles or 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped {optional, you don't need to use them but for an extra kind of gentle kick I recommend it}
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, do NOT drain {I sometimes use diced tomatoes, works just as well}
salt to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving {or similar bread; I used gluten free bread from Canyon Bakehouse}

Here's what you do:
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Add chiles and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes.
Add garlic, cumin, and paprika. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.
Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands {unless you use diced ones you don't need to do this step}.
Add tomatoes and their liquid to skillet.
Add 1/2 cup water and reduce heat to medium.
Simmer and stir occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Season sauce with salt.
Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface.

Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. 
Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk.
Done. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with bread. 

Obviously I used three eggs and not six. Reason? We are two people in this household, so I don't want to cook too much. I always just go with half of what is said in this recipe. This was done so quickly, had a kick to it, and has become our easy-made dish when we don't know what to cook. We always have eggs, garlic, onion, and tomato something in our kitchen. Makes up a quick and easy dish that stuffs our empty bodies. :)


April 3, 2015

Friday Love - Easter Inspiration

It's time to share what made me happy this week. This week seemed long and yet it went by so quickly. I blame the extra day off most of us here in California got on Tuesday. But, well, either way, Happy Friday!

1 - Easter!
Okay, where did the time go?! Didn't we just talk about New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day?! Wow. Loving Easter though. It just makes everything colorful, fresh, and looking light. Plus hello, it's spring time...closer to warmer and hotter summer time. Woohooo. 

I will also be making colorful marshmallows, and the breakfast casserole I wrote about last week.

2 - Moving in six weeks
Everything should work out as planned, I have no doubt. We will move mid-May to another town. I'm excited, thrilled, and scared. Moving is one thing but then figuring everything out again as in where what is and how to get to the freeway faster, and which side streets to take and which ones not to take. I will miss the close proximity we were living in to downtown and midtown and even the university but the area we will move to will be quieter and more safe, so that will be a major plus. I cannot stand the constant firetrucks and ambulances running by us every five minutes. Yay for moving! Oh and did I mention we will get almost 400 sqft more of space?! Yes!!!

3 - Fun Recipes!
I am finally jumping on the bandwagon and making cauliflower mash tonight. Also, I found all kinds of new recipes and cannot wait to try them out this weekend and next week.

4 - Getting carded!
Ok, this may sound weird to some and so logical to others. I got carded the other day and when they looked at my ID they had to double check and then concluded with a huge "no way!". Yes, people, way. I am sure I was older than the one who checked my ID. I look young, and occasionally act young, and yes I feel young but I am a thirty-something, and I am not {fully} ashamed of it. Accept it. And yes, I still look like 26 and I kind of like it. ;) So getting carded made me blush, happy, and just smile. LOVED it.

5 - Outfit Inspirations
Special holidays, invitations, or just a casual stroll around the park; I love to dress up and find inspiration pretty much anywhere. The following outfit is definitely something I would want to wear soon. It's a bit more chilly these days so a long-sleeved top with a cute skirt will be a perfect match. Wish the skirt was cheaper though...ugh!

I'm excited about Sunday. My guy has to work until around 4pm. This gives me enough time to prep our small place for some Easter fun, and make my casserole for an early dinner. Everyone loves breakfast food for dinner! 

Have an amazing day and weekend, my lovelies.

linking up with hello! happiness and meet @ the barre
image via goodhousekeeping

April 1, 2015

April Food Challenge

Today marks the forth month of my food challenge. I have given up sweets, alcohol, and last month even dairy. Reintroducing all these foods back into my diet was the most fun. There is no way to describe how much I missed each one. I love wine so naturally holding my first glass after one full month of no alcohol was beyond fantastic. It's a fun challenge and allows me to appreciate food more. I thought going gluten free over two years ago was a challenge {and yes it certainly was and still is} but eliminating one specific food for one month into my diet was an eye-opener. Still is. We really take so much stuff for granted.

This month I am giving up soda and sweet ice tea. I will only drink water or juice {limited amounts} or cold tea and nothing with added flavor, sugar or artificial color. I'm still drinking coffee, tea, alcohol etc but will eliminate sugary sodas and teas. This challenge should be no problem. When eating out I won't order my beloved raspberry iced tea but go with simple water {free anyways!} or a glass of wine {if I feel festive}. This will save me some money sans the wine love. Plus, I easily gain when drinking sodas so giving them up will be perfect.

Wish me luck!

image via here
 also linking up with Globetrotting in Heels


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...