Rookie Garden Mistakes
What’s Wrong with Overstuffed Sofas?
Hawaii was amazing.
Too good beyond words.
I’ll probably share bits and pieces of the trip for awhile because my heart just doesn’t want to let it go.
But I won’t talk about it every day, because I know how exciting it is to look at other peoples’ vacation pictures. (Actually, I might be one of the few people who actually enjoys it. But I’m weird like that.)
So tonight, to celebrate being back in my own, newly-remodeled kitchen after nearly 24 hours of travel to get here, we cooked dinner for ourselves.
Since this blog is called DomesticatING Kate – not DomesticatED Kate, I’m going to share with you another recipe I found somewhere else. I can’t make these things up, people. I’m just not that good. BUT, if I find something good, I like to share it with you.
Here is the original recipe. Extra crispy. This food blogger calls herself Cookin’ Canuck, and hopefully she doesn’t mind me sharing her delicious recipe with you. Even with my inferior photography and cooking skills, this still turned out great. If you want to really impress someone with a restaurant-tasting dinner, give this one a try.
I didn’t change it much – just halved it (which still made more than enough for the hubs and me). In spite of the fact that it didn’t contain any butter or heavy cream (two major proponents of tastiness in my book), it was still absolutely delicious-o. Oh, and it only contains minuscule amounts of cheese (again, unusual for me).
Here’s what you need to make it the way I did – except remember to cut it in half if you’re cooking for less than a family of 4:
- 1 lb. linguini
- 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus (cut off the thick white parts at the base and cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (I did NOT halve the garlic – according to me, you can never have too much garlic)
- 1 pinch crushed red chili flakes (I actually used red pepper flakes, since that’s what I had on hand)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine (I used an inexpensive chardonnay, since that’s what I had open from last night. To cope with the jet lag. Yes, that’s it. To cope with the jet lag.)
- 3/4 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I bought the pre-peeled, deveined and cooked stuff. Easier and on sale. Didn’t halve this either.)
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (This comes in a dry pouch or in a jar of marinade. I bought the jar.)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Start by getting some salted water boiling so you can cook your noodles.
2. while your water gets going, chop up the asparagus. The hubs was good at that. (We only used about half this pile, by the way. I didn’t realize until we got going that we should halve the recipe.) Set the asparagus aside – you won’t be seeing it again until your linguine is almost al dente.
3. If you have frozen shrimp, thaw it according to the package directions. We ran ours under water for a few minutes, then the hubs pulled off the tails.
4. Your water is hopefully boiling by now (or close to it), so go ahead and throw in your linguini. Cook according to package directions. (I set my timer for 10 minutes – my Life ADD causes me to forget about minuscule dinner details like pasta cooking, so this step is imperative for me. I also wanted to make sure I added the asparagus at the right time so I wouldn’t overcook it. No one likes mushy asparagus.)
4. Next go ahead and mince yourself up some garlic. And slice your sundried tomatoes (I didn’t drain them completely, but let them sit in some of the yummy garlic bits and capers. I think it probably added to the sauce immensely).
I realize these look a uncomfortably close to the lungs you unearthed from the frogs you dissected in high school, but I promise you they smell and taste much better. Not that I ever tasted frog lungs.
5. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Throw in your garlic and pinch of dried red pepper. Cook for about a minute.
6. Pour in your white wine and simmer 1-2 minutes. (You might want to take a sip of the wine, first. You know, just to test it.)
7. Add the shrimp and stir 1-2 minutes until it’s pink and cooked. If it’s pre-cooked (like mine), just stir a minute or so until it’s heated. In retrospect, this would’ve been a bit easier to eat if I had roughly chopped the shrimp first.
8. If your pasta is about 1 minute away from al dente, throw in your asparagus. Cook for about a minute, then drain.
9. Add the sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper to your shrimp pan.
10. Pour your shrimp/asparagus/sundried tomato/wine/garlic sauce to the pasta and stir.
11. Add the parmesan cheese and parsley (the hubs chopped parsley fresh from our garden!).
12. Eat up! For how easy this was, it was surprisingly yummy (despite my yellow photography). We will definitely be making this again. Even if you think you don’t like asparagus or tomatoes – open your mind to something a little different. The hubs, for all his claim to not liking tomatoes (he still won’t eat them raw), gobbled this down.
Oh, and don’t forget to sprinkle on a bit more cheese.
Yum! Don’t let my dark and yellow photography turn you off – this stuff will impress anyone. Thanks, Cookin’ Canuck! I always knew I liked Canada.
How to Keep your Bathroom Smelling Fresh
Can I just say… wow.
Until yesterday, I’ve never felt the urge to laugh, cry, scream, pee, and call my mom all at the same time.
And let me just say this:
I think I’m addicted.
The hubs and I decided we wanted to try at least one extreme sport on our visit to Hawaii. We already tried scuba diving on our honeymoon in St. Lucia (loved it), and I’m not in the greatest shape for mountain climbing/biking. We were inspired by a friend who’s been stationed here to try skydiving. After all, where else are we going to get better views on the way down?
So we called up Skydive Hawaii and set up our day/time. We decided on the end of the trip so that, if the worst possible thing were to happen, at least we would’ve had a week in Hawaii before we died. Ha.
There is surprisingly little preparation required before throwing yourself out of a Cessna Caravan.
We needed to sign every page of an 8 billion (okay just 8 ) page contract:
Notice the not-so-fine print:
You can’t tell from my face, but signing this contract might have been the scariest part of the entire ordeal:
Then we waited our turn out on the deck. It didn’t take very long for Johnny, my soon-to-be tandem partner, to introduce himself and start getting me geared up. As you can see, it’s a bit of an intimate process. Luckily, I was too busy trying not to crap my pants from sheer nervousness to really notice. (Classy, no?)
My cousin Leah took advantage of this opportunity to take pictures of my butt (okay, maybe she was taking pictures of the bright orange DANGER sign on my back):
Meanwhile, the hubs was getting some quick instructions from Big Jim, his tandem partner:
Looks comfortable, huh?
Some jumpers were landing in the airfield right across from us – think the hubs looks excited?
Hubs and Big Jim:
Before we knew it, it was time to head out to the airfield.
You mean whatever is in that little backpack is going to keep me from plummeting 10,000 feet to my death?
Why does this feel like dead woman walking?
I’m trusting you, Johnny!
And we’re getting in that?
I guess we are. And we seem happy about it.
There we go!
Can’t say the view was terrible…
Are we high enough yet?
Now is a good time to say one thing: The staff at Skydive Hawaii were phenomenal. The photographers and tandem jumpers were laid-back and experts at putting us at ease.
And Johnny, if you’re out there, THANK YOU for pushing me out of that plane.
This was the most surreal moment of my life. Please excuse my butt. Thank you.
I’d like to tell you that all kinds of profound, life-changing thoughts were going through my head at this point. But in reality, all I could manage was, “holy sh*t.”
And WTF am I doing??
…then is was pretty. damn. spectacular.
And I couldn’t help but smile.
Which might have caused me to drool (occupational hazard, I’m told).
I’ll admit I lost my cool a bit when the parachute came out (could’ve used some warning on that one, Johnny). ;)
I think the hubs had fun, too:
We got to hang out in the ‘chute for awhile… Johnny even let me steer. (Sort-of… I’m glad he didn’t actually let go of the ropes.)
It was so quiet.
As if all that weren’t enough, two shirtless guys came running at me as we landed. Umm, does Skydive Hawaii rock, or what?
I was glad to get the hubs back on the ground with me. The guys ran at him too, but I don’t think he enjoyed it as much.
Did we really just do that???!!
(Please excuse the fact that I seem to be flossing my teeth with my hair. We’re lucky my legs are even holding me up at this point.)
We even got these little certificates for completing our first jump:
I would be lying if I said that after this experience I didn’t seriously contemplate shipping the little monsters over here, setting up house in a van on the North Shore, getting a job in an art gallery, and spending my free time getting my skydiving certification. The hubs would just have to get stationed over here. It could work.
But when it comes to these people – these amazing, thrill-seeking, life-loving people – I’m not sure I’d ever fit in.
Aside from getting in my car and driving to work every day, I don’t tend to tempt fate very often – let alone on a regular basis.
How do people do that? Take these huge risks over and over without freaking out every single time and wondering if the last thing they’ll ever see is the ground – the beautiful ground – plummeting towards their bodies at over 100 mph.?
Maybe I love life too much to take those kind of regular risks.
But it could also be argued by those who take them… maybe I don’t love it enough.
Kitchen Befores and Not-Quite-Afters
1. Some people are brave.
2. The pleasure of drinking coffee increases tenfold when you sip from a giant mug.
3. Surfboards can be very, very expensive.
4. It’s really difficult to take non-blurry photos at night. Without a tripod. After drinking 2 martinis.
5. You haven’t truly experienced Hawaii until you’ve balanced a pineapple on your head while standing on the beach.
6. Monsters are easy to miss.
7. There IS a difference between SPF30 and SPF50 sunblock.
I’ll spare you the photo.
How to Accidentally Grow Roses
Monday night we decided to give my aunt and uncle a break and head out to Waikiki with my cousin Leah and her husband Scott. It was a nice change from the low-key days of drinking coffee out on the lanai, lolling around the beaches and perusing shops along the North Shore.
And the great thing about being on an island – albeit a different part of the island – is that there’s still a beach.
There’s always a beach.
And an ocean.
The evening was fun, with a couple bar hops and a delectable sushi dinner at Sansei.
It was breakfast the next morning, however, that proved to be the highlight of our over-nighter in Waikiki.
We’d heard about a restaurant called Mac 24-7 from that disgusting show on the Food Network (Man V. Food) where the guy travels around stuffing his face with as much food as he can find. It’s so gross, we can’t help but watch it. One of his challenges was to finish a stack of 3, 14-inch pancakes at Mac’s. Do that, and you earn yourself a spot on the Wall of Fame. Easier said than done.
Anyway, the 4 of us thoroughly enjoyed indulging in our various delicacies of choice:
Eggs Benedict Royale for me…
Mac Attack (with pancakes topped with pineapple, macadamia nuts and toasted coconut with coconut syrup) for the hubs…
Toasted buttermilk waffle with strawberries and whipped cream for Leah…
And the infamous 14-inch Mac Daddy pancakes for Scott (“The Elvis”, topped with bacon, bananas, and a peanut butter syrup-type substance).
Between heaping mouthfuls of pure goodness, we chatted with our server a bit about the area. He was an extremely friendly man named Jose.
Turns out Jose has worked at Mac’s since 1980!
And he had the most interesting story to share.
In 2002, Jose had a regular customer – a rather brusque man who always seemed to be in a hurry. When the customer came in to eat after neglecting to show up for his regular meal for a few weeks, Jose asked him where he’d been. The man told him he was very sick and had just been put on the list to receive a kidney donation.
Long story short, Jose learned he was a match as a doner and actually donated his own kidney to the man. Talk about superior customer service.
This is the type of person I’m always grateful to meet – warm, cheerful, and automatically puts those around him at ease. Even though I only knew him for an hour, Jose is someone I’ll never forget.
And he makes a mean latte.
You can read Jose’s story here.
And in case you’re wondering, Scott did not earn a spot on the Wall of Fame.
Nice try, Scott. Nice try.
Help Me Help Myself: Why is My Garden Lopsided?