st. patty’s loaded baked potato

the festivities extend the entire weekend, but tomorrow is the official holiday. which means there’s still time left on the clock for another recipe. i’ve taken on the challenge to inspire your inner irish to be creative. i snatched a recipe, which will round out even the biggest menu. if you’ve got nothing planned like myself (hey, i’m hispanic), don’t fret. this one has all the irish staples in one serving. corned beef, cabbage, beer and of course, potato. now, that’s what i call —loaded and pretty genius too! this hearty side dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your st. patrick’s day dinner table.

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Beer Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients

½ tablespoon olive oil

½ pound cooked corned beef

½ pound cabbage

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup dark beer of your choice

Directions

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Sautee corned beef and cabbage constantly stirring.

Add brown sugar and add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir well and add beer. Cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Uncover, and let most of the liquid to be absorbed.

Once the beer has reduced, cabbage is caramelized and tender then you are ready to pour over the perfectly baked potato.

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although i’d love taking full credit, this one solely belongs to melissa bailey from hungry food love. check out her site, for the complete recipe. which includes the magic behind baking a perfect baked potato. no magic or luck involved, actually. i hope ;-)

may your troubles be less,
and your blessing be more.
and nothing but happiness,
come through your door.

-irish blessing

enjoy!

raquel

struck by cupid’s arrow

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as a hopeless romantic at heart, valentine’s day has always been one of my favorite holidays. even in grade school, i looked forward in receiving sweet cards and candy from classmates. then as i got older, the “will you be my valentine?” question became the new big deal. i remember my very first rose from a secret admirer in high school. it was one of those moments which made a shy girl feel like miss popular.

then as a single college student, i would fantasize about v day in it’s fullest glory. i’m talking about the mushiest, over-the-top, celebratory “must-haves”. four dozen roses, godiva chocolate covered strawberries, doves flying out of a gold cage while i’m serenaded with a personalized love song. can you say, obsessed? yes, i’ll admit it. i blame it on all those disney fairytales, like cinderella. (while i think she may have a point with shoes being life changing and all). then there’s romantic unrealistic movies. take for example, the notebook which makes any good man feel completely inadequate.

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look ma, no sippy cup! only grown-up drinks :)

when i fell in love with my husband, i was head over-heels-in-love. it was like nothing else i’d ever experienced. amazingly enough, we met online and three months later we were talking marriage and babies. some people would argue it’s much too soon. my parents for one, were concerned. while i agree to a certain extent, i would also beg to differ. when you know you’ve found “the one”, you just know. i believe different people get struck by cupid’s arrow at different points in their lives. i’m grateful to say we’ve shared seven valentine’s together. there’s nothing quite like having your sweetheart for the other 364 days out of the year.

before izzie came along, valentine’s day felt…well, more passionate. heck, any other day did too. long were the days of backseat make out sessions. (don’t worry, i’m keeping this PG). for the past nineteen months, the only thing in the back seat is our romance. it’s a given, when most of our focus is on this little human being. not so beautiful, is the stress of real struggles. dates have seriously become a luxury for us. while i enjoy snuggling and watching a movie at home, there’s something special about being wined and dined. which is exactly what my honey did for me this past thursday.

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rare moment right here. makeup…check! hair done…check! no pajamas…check! heels on…nope, but i’ll be asking the hubs to take me dancing next time.

we were enjoying our strawberry basil cocktail and savoring the best steakhouse food. (two thumbs up for ruth chris!). the steaks were literally sizzling (at 500 degrees, to be exact), and so was our intimacy. we were flirting! smooching, holding hands and looking deep into each other’s eyes. spark! …just like that, we found it again. we created a romantic bucket list. it had me blushing at one point and i thought to myself “wow! mama still has it going on!”

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“mmmm”…”so good”…”oh my God”….”this is amazing”…”you have to try this” <<< just a sampling of what could be the voice over for these food shots

we may have lost a bit of our love life, but we have never ever fallen out of love. if anything, our love for each other has gotten stronger, as times got tougher. our “honeymoon stage” was short, but the rock-solid stuff which real marriages are made is ever-present. by the time we got to the third course, i realized our relationship has definitely evolved through the years. it’s aged for sure. that may seem odd, for a young early thirties couple. experiencing challenging times has made us feel much older. i’m proud to share that when we said “for better or for worse”, we truly meant it.

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we were really milking this dinner date, by the way. we might have given the impression it was our first time out in a really long time. no wait—that’s actually true.

i have a record of getting carried away in my expectations of valentine’s day. nope, scratch that. i get carried away in mostly everything. i’m an artist with a vivid imagination. an art director who’s always perfecting this or the other. i want my home to look magazine-worthy. i want to feel pretty. i want my meals to look and taste gourmet. i want to be kissed under the full moon. while none of the above is wrong, i think there’s also more to life than the superficial.

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^^^ this is what i mean. see this handsome man? he’s all mine. my valentine, my friend, lover, husband and daddy to our sweet baby girl. having him in my life is more important than my nitpicky desires. waking up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and breakfast he made, watching him brush his teeth is the messiest, most ridiculous way, hearing him blowing raspberries on izzie’s belly, feeling his hand caress my face isn’t glamourous, but more real than any sappy, girly, chick-flick. this is our love story. the happenings of everyday life. the simple pleasures of pure joy, even though it’s often overshadowed by the “blood, sweat and tears”. this valentine’s day, i really toke it all in. the meal, the experience of our dinner date, the romance of the occasion, but most of all—my husband.

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berries and cream? don’t mind if i do! (fyi: it probably has like two thousand calories, but so worth it)

hey, mr. molczan! stop scrolling just in order to get to the pictures. you’re skimming through the writing aren’t you?

okay fine ;-) so the previous babbling is really quite simple. it can be summarized it three words: i-love-you!

with each passing day, i adore you more and more. i just can’t imagine my life without you.

xoxo

raquel