Foodie Penpals Roundup August! #foodiepenpals

I participate in Foodie Pen Pals and I love it!  It’s really fun!  Just like pen pals before email, foodie pen pals is organized by Lindsay at the lean green bean.  Thanks for organizing this!

Foodie Pen Pal is an amazing program where bloggers (non-bloggers too) connect and each send to each other some foodie love! And I mean really isn’t food love the best?

My pen pal this month was Steph from PJ’s and Yoga Pants-what a great gal! Thanks for the nosh! She sent me some awesome eats, some unique tea, and something I had actually been looking at for a while-she must have read my mind!

Steph sent me some awesome herbal tea, something I know I will enjoy since I drink a ton of tea, especially in the winter when it’s cold. She must know me in a different life because she also sent along a cocktail kit, a cute pig whisk, and a cutlery set that’s bpa free. Finally, a delicious Larabar from the uber collection.  Yum! Go buy one immediately!

If you want to become a foodie penpal, check it out and learn more about it.  It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, check out some of the awesome eats, and have a little fun shopping for your own eats to send to someone. I sent my pen pal two kinds of homemade granola and some energy chunks this month and hope she enjoyed them!

I sent a package to Chelsey at An Outlet of the Mind-she is a rockstar who is a triathlete!

Interested in participating with us?  Here are some of the dirty details!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & cheese is one of my top comfort foods. The nights are beginning to cool and I can feel fall in the air.  Incidentally, the trees are also throwing in the towel and the leaves are beginning to turn as well. This is my signal to begin thinking of warm, comforting dishes that also make great leftovers for lunches for many days.  The only thing that keeps me from cooking it during the summer is the fact that it’s so flaming hot out and I feel like running the AC while the oven is on 350 is a double negative.

I’ve been working on this recipe for over a year, making it a bit different every time. Sneaky vegetables….so sneaky when they get into my food.  (Can you see the squash in there????) I don’t have kids but I also don’t eat as many vegetables as I should.  I also have the luxury of squash in my life.  Butternut squash and acorn squash specifically.  Every time I go to NY, my mom sneaks some into the passenger seat of the car, the trunk, or pretty much anywhere she can fit them, and I drive south with some squash. Growing up, we ate them mostly at holidays since they can be a real stinker to process/cook.  The Internet, who would NEVER lie, told me that I can cook these hard gourds down in the crock pot and low-and-behold, the Internet didn’t lie. 🙂

I made this the other night and even PIC says, “you can’t really taste the squash.”  That’s the goal PIC :D, he’s such a smart, nice guy….I figure anything covered in 2 cups of cheese can’t be bad!  I also add some Sirachi hot sauce to my cheese sauce.  I just love that stuff…..

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take big, ugly beautiful squash
  2. Wash squash
  3. Put in crock pot
  4. Pour about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the crock pot
  5. Put the lid on
  6. Cook those suckers for 3-6 hours, depending on the size of your squash.
  7. Let them cool.
  8. Remove carefully, they will be VERY soft.
  9. Peel, remove seeds, process as you see fit.
  10. Enjoy!

On with the macaroni….the star of the show! I know everyone has a homemade mac & cheese recipe so if you want to use your rue and your cheese blend, please do so.  This is merely to let you know how easy it is to put some delicious squash into your recipe, not lose any texture or flavor, and get some more veggies in your diet. In fact, I’m going to do all of us a favor and skip the recipe right until the adding of the squash.  Ok?

Recipe is for four servings and/or 1/2 lb. of pasta

Once you have made your cheese sauce…….

  1. 1 c. butternut squash, cooked.
  2. Strain/put your squash into a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the water.  If you prepare your squash in the crock pot, they have some more moisture in them.  Removing the excess water will keep your cheese sauce nice and thick.
  3. Once the cheese sauce is ready to be added to the pasta, turn off the heat and add the squash.  Stir to incorporate and then mix the pasta in.
  4. Bake as you normally would.

Voila!  Sneaky vegetables….

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

I love Fall. It’s my favorite season! Less AC, crisp mornings and evenings, apples, pleasant sunshine, and fall comfort food!  There’s also things like football, the leaves changing, pumpkin spice lattes and more comfort food.  Today’s recipe falls into one of the reasons I do love fall! Buffalo meatballs are PERFECT for fall: tailgating, appetizers, sub sandwiches, crock pot ready, and just plain yummy!  No one will be disappointed. Unless they don’t like Buffalo anything….I stood in the kitchen “taste testing” these before any actually hit a plate en route to my big mouth.  I also felt slightly less guilty because it was ground turkey.  You can make these with ground chicken, pork, or beef with the same amazing result.  I happened to have some ground turkey in the fridge that was just BEGGING to get hit with some Buffalo sauce….Cut some celery and carrots for a slightly healthier version of the deep fried wings that you know you love! I might also suggest my favorite homemade blue cheese recipe too to put on subs or put our for dipping sauce.  Yum! If these aren’t up your alley, try the buffalo wing rolls! 

I’d like to plead insanity on these photos.  Here’s why: I made these at night, it got dark, I did not shoot them and said to myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow….”  Tomorrow came and someone came over and I fed them these meatballs.  When I looked into the dish only four meatballs remained and I panicked!  Good thing there was still four of them but gee whiz folks, see what happens when you have a food blog, others to feed, and these handy meatballs in your fridge????  You’ve been warned about their awesomeness!

You’ll need:

10 min. prep + cook time

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (depending on the size egg you use you may need to add a bit more)
  • 2 TBS wing sauce
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 3 TBS. + 1/4 c. hot sauce OR Frank’s wing sauce (any will do, I prefer Franks for this)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and the 3 TBS of Frank’s.
  3. Spray nonstick spray in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  4. Form meatballs of uniform size and put in pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and pour more Frank’s over the meatballs. Toss to coat.
  7. Cook for 5-10 more minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
  8. Serve hot. May I suggest some Chobani blue cheese dressing?

These will also be great in the crock pot.  Put meatballs on low with more Franks for tailgates, pot lucks, or so you can eat them all day long!

32 on 32

source

Save your vocal chords, there will be no need for singing me the Happy Birthday song.  However, it is the day that mother earth pushed me out into world and yes, I am 32 years old today…I’ve never felt better, I’ve never been in a better life spot, and with some certainty, I can safely say that my 30’s are turning out to be WAY better than my 20’s. I thought that in my infinite (hardee-har-har) wisdom I’d try and shed some light on 32.  I hope I can make it to 32 things in no particular order.  If I can’t, I’ll resort to puppies and kittens. You’re welcome! 🙂

  1. Being happy is what life is about.  Maybe not happy every second of every day, but overall, happy.
  2. You cannot find happiness in one person, thing, or organism.
  3. You find happiness in yourself first.
  4. Then you fill it with people who enhance your life.
  5. Loyalty and fidelity are not negotiable.
  6. Divorce and heart break are sometimes necessary to get through a stage in life.
  7. There is such a thing as a quarter life crisis but it doesn’t always happen right at 25.
  8. Impressing people starts to take a back seat.
  9. Staying home on your couch with redbox movies is a legit way to spend the WHOLE weekend.
  10. Naps come back in style. Hard core.
  11. SPF is a real thing that you should be using.
  12. Finding a true life partner trumps hot sex. Hot sex is great but rarely does it sustain any solid relationship.
  13. Things like underwire and thongs also become less important. Taking off your boobs with your bra is no longer sexy.
  14. Sports bras really ARE all the rage.
  15. It’s ok to think that someone is a bit boring, shallow, or just not your kind of ‘people.’ Just be careful who you say it in front of (or just think it).
  16. You are no longer obligated to be the life of the party. In the event that you are, extra ‘awesome’ points will be given.
  17. You will begin talking about things like health insurance, which vehicles get good gas mileage, and things like interest rates in social settings. It’s ok to show you care and want to be informed.
  18. Wearing your actual size is much cooler (and more comfortable) than wearing the size you think you should be and feeling like a sausage stuffed in a too small casing.
  19. If you’re comfortable in your own skin but others aren’t comfortable around your skin, you are no longer obligated to hang out with these people.  Odds are, everyone will win and I bet there’s a good movie at the redbox 🙂
  20. You have finally come to terms with who you are.
  21. The nicest thing someone can do for you isn’t a hot date, it’s verbalizing their affection instead of buying a piece of jewelry. It’s taking out the trash instead of buying flowers and listening to your endless rambling when there’s too much wine involved.
  22. You start to come to terms with your own mortality.  It’s pretty scary shit and that’s ok.
  23. You don’t have to be married, partnered, engaged, having kids, or validating your life choices on facebook.  It’s more fun to pick on the people who feel like they need too.
  24. You start to seek out people to have real conversations with.
  25. A career is great. Being happy in a career is an added bonus. If you can’t have both you begin to choose happiness.
  26. There is balance. I’m still looking for it. When I see a glimpse of it, I get real excited.
  27. Your family will begin asking where the grandkids are.  You can tell them you haven’t seen the forecast of any and your uterus is not a storage unit.
  28. If someone doesn’t value you and behaves like an asshole, you are no longer worried about unfriending them, deleting them, or blocking them from your life.  Putting their number as “DO NOT ANSWER” will also help. They’ll get the hint.
  29. Peer pressure to drink or take a shot is no longer even something you’d consider giving in to.
  30. Husband hunting is tacky.  I’ve seen it 1,000 times and while I can appreciate someone meeting me and immediately asking if I have any “single friends” I sort of want to take these 20 somethings aside and slap them in the face.  Twice. Maybe three times.
  31. Being healthy takes on a whole new meaning.  Not being a size 2 is no longer relevant.  Touching your toes is the bomb.
  32. It’s your life.  You can do what you want. No one is the boss of you.

Here is some of the great feedback from readers:

30 is young you still have lots of mistakes left to make don’t get too ahead of yourself. Sleep More :)

My advice: Be nice to your body…. (Or at least nicer than you were in your twenties!) Also, do at least one thing everyday that makes YOURSELF happy. And of course, try to have a margarita (or 5) with a good friend as often as possible!

My advice: Try something new as often as you can…and eat more cupcakes!

Since I’m not yet in my thirties, but I can’t not enter this cupcake contest… I sought advice from my mom and cousin :-) They say use it while it still works and get in a healthy routine- exercise, get check-ups, etc so things work longer.

Thanks for the tidbits!

The winner of the cupcake swag……..

CAITLIN!!!  What a nice piece of advice too, being kind to our bodies becomes more important since recovery takes longer, cocktails don’t help everything anymore.

Email me at domesticatedacademic at gmail dot com with an address 🙂

50 Followers + My Birthday!

What a banner week!  Over 50 followers on my fb page AND my birthday is coming around!  I am so grateful and thankful for those who have stopped by, said hello, and joined me journey through academia while I cook, bake, photograph, work out, and wade through professional life.  It’s great motivation for me!

The other great reason to celebrate with a giveaway: my birthday! Yes folks, it’s almost that time of year–the day the world welcomed me with open arms. Who would have thought?  In honor of my upcoming birthday, I wanted to give away an awesome gift that anyone could enjoy.  While I don’t know about giving away a birthday cake (I would eat it), I AM giving away some cupcake swag!  Who doesn’t love a cupcake????  Perfectly portioned, perfect icing, and if you’re like me, you take the cupcake, tear it in half and put the cupcake sandwich together with the icing in the middle.  Everyone is a winner…..

So, here’s what I’ve got:

The Cupcake Cookbook by Parragon Books 2011


200 pages of cupcake recipes, tutorials, and other cupcake making tips. Each recipe is clearly spelled out with good directions and tons of photos to help you along the way.

24 wrapper/toppers for cupcakes

24 cupcake liners and 24 assorted toppers with fun sayings like Sweet, Yum, Delicious, and Tasty.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. “Like” the facebook page if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Leave me a comment on this post answering, “What piece of advice would you want to give someone in their 30’s?”

The contest will run until 7 a.m. on Monday, August 27, 2012 EST.

When you win, you can make me some of the amazing looking cupcakes in this book!