It’s been a minute…

Sorry for the word vomit I am about to produce.

Where have I been? I haven’t posted anything in some time now, and here’s why: doubt, anxiety, lack of inspiration, fear of failing and life. A week passed by and then two, three, four.. and so on before I realized I just all together stopped. When I would think about posting something again, there would be this little voice in my head saying: no one misses the ameture articles! What if you write something bad? What if you never write another blog again? I felt that I was letting down the few supporters I had and myself slowly. I was worried that i’ll never be as good as some of my favorite food bloggers, some of the people who inspired me to start one of my own. The fear of not amounting to anything paralyzed me from trying in the first place. Add that fear in the back of my mind along with daily life stresses and I found myself extremely unhappy. I can feel this energy and want inside of me and I don’t know what for. It’s the most frustrating thing ever! I want to do so many things that my mind can’t make up where to start or how to start and then I give up even trying because i’m scared i’ll fail and waste precious time.  So I chalked blogging up to another one of my half baked ideas and kissed it goodbye… but as of lately i’ve been doing some self reflecting and I found out that why give up on something that never really took off to begin with? It’s not like I have anything to lose if this doesn’t amount to anything. Sometimes I have to get out of my own way to do something (hopefully) extraordinary. So what if all of my posts aren’t big hits? I’ll risk putting my creativity and soul on display in hopes of feeling fulfilled and accomplished. It just sucks sometimes when you get into a creative rut and nothing happens… for a while… almost a month or two.. But L will not let that stop me. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and trust yourself that you’ll find your mojo again.

To all of your struggling out there to create anything: blog post, art, music, literature, podcasts… don’t give up. We’re all amateurs at some point and your ideas matter! Even if you think it’s silly, or no one will listen/care… sometimes it’s not about the audience. Sometimes it’s about what gives you spirit and joy. I can already tell you that typing this out I feel just a little bit better about life and more optimistic, even if no one reads this- i’ll feel great for hitting that publish button. I’ll feel a sense of ownership, accomplishment and happiness, and that is way more valuable than popularity.

So hello everyone! I’m back! I’m ready to post about everything and anything! Just like Babe Ruth (and Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story) once said:

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”.

~With all of my love,

C. Laino

A Twist On a Childhood Dish

Hello There Lovelies!

Let’s talk about the wonderful food that is pierogies. Pierogies are dear to my heart and they bring back wonderful childhood food memories. It was easy and cheap for my mom to throw a few perogies on the stove top maybe a vegetable and serve dinner. I was- for the most part- an easy kid and would eat whatever mom gave me, especially if it was mashed potato filled pasta! I use to eat pierogies with just butter and maybe some cheese, but this time around I felt I should spice it up a bit and make something fun.

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This dish was spectacular in every way! I sauteed the pierogies with italian tofurky sausage, cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic, a little cream and pesto. Top it off with some fresh shaved parmesan and you have yourself a heart-warming meal my friend. On the side we have oven roasted honey balsamic glazed brussel sprouts and lemon pepper radishes. Both of the vegetables came out so tender and delicious, not to mention this was all so darn easy to make. My favorite way to prepare veggies is baking them in the oven, all you do is toss them in whatever seasoning you want, add a little olive oil and pop it in the oven!

From start to finish I love making a meal. Starting with researching ideas on what to make, going to the store to peruse the aisles for ingredients, then coming home to unpack and start cooking. I put on either a podcast or music and i’m instantly in my own world. I give Sean a job to do while we talk and laugh about nothing and everything. I dance about and sing along while the aromas of a good dinner fill the air. If I could bottle the feeling and sell it, I’d be rich. When the dinner is complete, Sean clears off the table, lights a candle, pours the wine and gets the space picture ready. He amazes me with his support for my food and blog. Once we are done with the mini photo shoot, we get to demolish the picture perfect dinner 🙂 This one in particular I will FORSURE be making again in the future! At the end of every meal I make some tea, we curl up on the couch in a food coma and let the evening end.

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Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for more to come:)

With Love,

C. Laino

Italian Wedding Soup

What to do on a relaxing Sunday off? Make outrageously delicious food of course!

This time I attempted to make Italian wedding soup from a recipe I found on Pinterest you can find the link here. The recipe came from a beautiful blog called Good In The Simple, a blog about everything… Good and Simple! A whole bunch of wonderful food recipes and much much more.

Italian wedding soup also holds a special place in my heart from my childhood. I remember being a kid when my mom would make this soup or chicken noodle soup when I was feeling under the weather. The smell of the soup is hypnotic, the tiny little meatballs with the tiny little acini de pepe pastas make for a wonderful spoonful of flavor and happiness.

Not going to lie, i was a touch terrified to make the soup because I’ve never made it before and worried it wouldn’t even compare to my mom’s soup. Also- I’ve never made meatballs. Yes I know… an Italian that’s never made a meatball?! The shame. I’ve never really been a big fan of red meat in my dishes, I much prefer an all veggie pasta or shrimp or the occasional turkey sausage. However meatballs in the wedding soup aren’t like normal meatballs you would find in a hearty pasta dish, they’re tiny and turn out different when boiled instead of baked or fried. I would say they’re more tender and hold more flavor.

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I’ve always had the belief that the less ingredients, the better the dish. Simplicity is underrated when it comes to food. The recipe is very easy and a first time meatball creator will do just fine! Making the meatball mixture only took about 15 minutes- the rolling of the tiny meatballs took the most time. I think the meal took about 1 hour to make from start to finish. I would recommend not cooking the acini de pepe very long due to the pasta soaking up the broth and will continue to cook. In our dish I added some bowtie pastas for a fun little twist 🙂

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A beautiful bowl of Italian wedding soup

I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the soup and thought it was just as good as mom’s! The flavor if the meatballs with garlic, onion, parsley and organic chicken broth made for a comforting heart warming meal. Sean and I have been eating salad with all of our meals now but however, this meal called for a savory loaf of rosemary bread with dipping oil.

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I hope you try out Good In The Simple’s recipe let me know if you do!

Love,

C. Laino

Jungle Jim’s Day

Hello Dear Readers!

Yesterday was my day off in this very long week and what better way to spend it with loved ones cooking and eating? Around noonish (because time doesn’t exist on off days) I rolled out of bed and went over to my very good friends house, Taylor. We had made a plan to make breakfast at her house and shoot the breeze for a bit. I hauled in my groceries and she put on a pot of coffee- I poured myself a mimosa- and we got down to business. I chopped and sautéed onions and peppers while she cooked an array of breakfast meats. We snacked on fruit and chit chatted about the current events in each others lives. We laughed, we got serious, we were meaningful, and most of all- we were hungry. I flipped the last few pancakes as she set the table for a feast. We took our respective pictures of the beautiful spread then demolished it while talking about future plans we promise to make that hopefully life won’t get in the way of. At the end of our meal my phone alerted me with a text, Sean (My wonderful boyfriend) was on his way home. I said my goodbyes and headed home for the next event: Jungle Jim’s.

Sean and I have this ritual we like to perform every now and again: We would take a trip to Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield and spend a good few hours there strolling down the aisles with beers in hand, talking about everything to nothing at all and just enjoy each others company. Walking into Jungle Jim’s every time is like walking into a childhood memory or a warm hug from your mom. Sean and I link arms and make our rounds to the candy aisle, then produce where we pick up fresh herbs, then to different countries food, over to the cooking aisles where we marvel at different contraptions and daydream about owning it all, then last but not least- the olive bar. We laugh and goof around the playground that is food and leave with a buzz of happiness, love and pure bliss. Upon arriving home we turn on music, crack open a bottle of wine and start to organize the items for dinner. The evenings spent cooking in the kitchen together will forever be one of my most precious memories. The different smells from chopping fresh herbs, sauteing tomatoes in olive oil and garlic, bread in the oven brings a smile to my face that makes my cheeks hurt. The aroma of garlic in a pan on low simmer should be made into a damn candle people! To put it simply, cooking makes my soul happy.

The pasta dish we made came from a book called: Pasta, irresistible recipes for perfect pasta by Linda Fraser. We made Spaghetti with Herb sauce, with the only addition to the recipe being the sautéed cherry tomatoes. The sauce was made out of fresh basil, thyme, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend together to make a thick paste and then tossed in spaghetti and garnished with more basil, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and a touch of parmesan. Thats it! The noodles bathed in the creamy sauce with the crunch of pine nuts and juice of the tomatoes will make your taste buds sing with delight! I will say that this is one of the easiest dishes and the most flavorful by far, It only took about 20 minutes to make. I’ll for sure be making this again in the future:)

Below I’ll list the ingredients and directions if you would like to try it out for yourself. Let me know how it goes! Share if you made any adjustments or additions. Thank you for reading this post and stay tuned for the next food adventure!

Love,

C. Laino

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil and thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, basil leaves to garnish

Directions:

  • Put the herbs, garlic and half the pine nuts into a blender. With the machine running slowly, and the oil and process to form a thick paste.
  • Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water for about 8 minutes until al dente. Drain.
  • Toss the spaghetti with the herb paste and parmesan. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts and basil leaves and serve immediately.

*I also topped the pasta with sautéed cherry tomatoes in olive oil and store-bought tomato pesto sauce for some extra flavor.

*I found that the paste was a little too thick, just add water to thin it out.

 

 

What Inspires You?

All good ideas come to me in the shower, I’ll have my music on and BAM! it hits me like a brick wall. So I was shampooing my hair and High Hopes came on by Panic! At The Disco, if you haven’t listened to it yet I’d highly recommend it. It gave me this new sense of “FUCK YEAH” that I haven’t had in a while. You know- the feeling you get when a rush of energy courses through your body. It gave me this sense of courage and invincibility to create whatever comes to my heart.

Comment with what inspires you! It could be a song, movie, clothing, food… anything!

And So It Begins…

Well I finally did what I’ve been wanting to do… I started a blog! I’m not sure how well this will go, but dang it feels so good to get something accomplished.

To whomever reads this first post – thank you. I’m hoping one day my blog will have a healthy amount of followers and I’ll be able to do what I love not just as part-time. This blog will contain food, love, cats, travel and me figuring my way through life. I hope you enjoy whats to come!

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This is me saying cheers to you! Thanks for reading 🙂