Chronicles of Adulthood: I broke down and bought napkins

Martha Stewart embroidered fruit napkins: Please shoot me if I ever make these.

These days, like anyone plowing towards 30, I’ve gotten a lot of adulthood thrown at me in the last few months: a wedding, a house and a lot of new bills to pay. On top of that, I’ve been abandoning my hand-me-down collection of furniture and kitchen supplies. Thanks to the wedding registry, I now own a lot of the typical trappings of adulthood: matching towels, two changes of sheets and a complete set of silverware. Life does feel more official when you don’t have to drink wine out of coffee mugs and make scrambled eggs in a wok.

But despite the array of appliances and dinnerware that hid in my cabinets, I still didn’t have one thing that most normal homemakers own: napkins. Why buy napkins when paper towels do double duty as mouth/hand wipes and counter top cleaners? Napkins seemed excessive, expensive and bad for the environment. But more than that, refusing to buy napkins was my one last hold out from the just-out-of-college days when I used to make toast in a frying pan.

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Holiday House Party — The Menu

Christmas Story family eats Chinese on Christmas

There were many kitchen mishaps, but at least we didn't have to call out for Chinese.

There’s something about Christmas that makes me want to overextend myself. So, when planning my party last weekend, I tried very, very hard not to end up with dough on my hands, guests walking in the door and something burning away in the oven.  I tried to keep it simple.

Still the party went off like a Top Chef competition. No, I didn’t slice my finger open with a razor sharp German-made chef’s knife. But in my frantic attempt to cook for 20 in only 3 hours (after having my kitchen renovations finished the day before), I did dump a tray full of rendered bacon fat on the floor, knock over a glass of wine and preheat the oven with a plastic baggy of screws inside (note to self: after buying appliances on Craigslist, be sure look inside the over before using it) which promptly melted to the bottom and started smoking.

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Spaetzle: Carb of the Year

spaetzle

Spaetzle: Deliciously unhealthy German comfort food. Yum!

Time for another recipe! It’s December; it’s time for magazines, newspapers and blogs everywhere to release their “best of” lists. Well, I’ve already tackled kale, my favorite healthy food for the year. Now, I’m going to tell you about my favorite deliciously unhealthy carb.

Spaeztle are little German-style noodles made out of a eggy dough. Size-wise, they are in between gnocchi and couscous. Something about the noodle’s petite size make them even more delicious than regular pasta. Maybe it’s having more surface area to cover with butter and Parmesan cheese. Just a guess!

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Confession: I hate pumpkin pie and other holiday foods

Just admit it. No one like pumpkin pie

My mom called me a few days ago to ask an important question. “I’m just wondering,” she says. “Is it ok, if — now feel free to say ‘no’ — we have apple cake instead of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Last year, everyone just took a tiny little sliver of the pie, and rest just went to waste. I don’t think anyone likes it!”

Mom, you’re right. No one like pumpkin pie. I have one sitting in my refrigerator right now that my husband made in a fit of fall seasonal-iness. (Just making up words here!) We ate two pieces, and the remainder is still taking up room next to the coffee creamer. Right now as I type this, I feel like I should go throw it out. But I won’t. Special holiday food has a sacredness to it (like a present from a dead relative, a holy scripture or my pile of plastic shopping bags that collect under the sink out of guilt that I forgot my reusable tote, yet again). It can only be tossed in the trash when it actually starts to grow mold.

Yes, I don’t like pumpkin pie. While I’m making this confession, let come grinch-like clean with my other seasonal dislikes:

  • Turkey (most of the time) It’s so dry!
  • Apple cider. Too coyingly sweet.
  • Christmas/Easter ham. Out of all the ways of cooking pork, why this one?
  • S’mores. Love to camp; hate s’mores. Ugh…. marshmallows
  • Peeps. Yuck, more marshmallows
  • Frosting! And most birthday cakes. Yes, I’m the fussy eater at the office birthday parties that just picks at my store bought slice of cake.

My Favorite Meal (When I have 5 minutes and a jar of kimchi)

A bowl of kimchi and ramen

Yum! Heartburn!

Let me share my favorite fast meal. I learned this in China from my co-worker who learned it from his Korean girlfriend. This recipe has really passed through many cultures to make it to this blog. So appreciate it.

My favorite part is that it contains most of your basic food groups (is that even still a thing?), so I can construe it as somewhat healthy. Well, healthier than the cheese quesadilla I would eat in its place.

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My new obsession with… um, kale

bag of kaleAs it grows cooler out, I like my food cooked. Salads and brown bag lunches are for the hot months of summer. When I’m driving home from work and it’s already dark, I’m craving soup, stew, big ol’ bowls of noodles.

Combining my love for comfort food with my need to not gain 20 pounds in the next four months is an amazing feat. Meet kale. Yeah, I thought it was gross, tough and bitter two weeks ago. But I have learned my lesson! I love kale now.

I now am the proud owner of an industrial sized bag. Because if the world ends and I am trapped in my basement hiding from the zombie appocolypse, I will need my dark green veggies. That and kale cooks down, a lot Here’s the secret to kale love.

How to make kale:

I learned this at a dinner party from a chef in Brookyln. Honey, if you are wondering, is the secret ingrediant here.

  1. 1.  Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Actually, I like to cook this in my wok so I can make bigger batches.
  2. 2. Add chopped garlic and a shake or two of red pepper flakes. Saute.
  3. 3. Add two squirts of honey (hopefully your honey comes in a bear squeezy bottle like mine does)
  4. 4. Make sure the pan is really hot. Put handful of kale in pan, and pour about 1/4 of a cup of chicken broth over the kale. The broth should steam immediately upon hitting the hot pan.
  5. When the kale start to wilt,  add more kale and chicken broth as needed. When you have the desired amount, cook for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Eat.