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Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue

15 Nov

Date Night

I don’t know how many of you reading this are female.  If you are female, I don’t know how many of you have been faced with a dinner date night conundrum.  Having lived in the district for over two years, one could say that I’ve participated in the modern dance known as luring a potential significant other contender.  Historically, men are assumed to be the courtiers.   I however fully believe in equal participation in the romance ritual from its onset, but I digress.  Basically, sometimes you wanna impress someone. Sometimes, an opportunity presents itself out of the blue and you gotta put your game face on.  This is one example: cooking him a meal.  I happen to relish in this circumstance as I hope this blog has conveyed.  However, I cannot say the same for several girlfriends, who would view the below as a complete nightmare.  In an attempt to both highlight and appease their anxiety, I give you Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue.

Setting: Drab cubicle on the 5th floor of stereotypical downtown DC office building

Time: Friday, 1pm

Background: Appropriately witty text banter has evolved into impromptu date night plans at female’s residence.

“CRAP. He’s coming over for dinner tonight? OMG HE’S COMING OVER FOR DINNER TONIGHT?! Ugh why don’t I live with Martha Stewart or Giada whatsherface and make my life easier.  The only thing I know how to cook is frozen Macaroni and Cheese bites, which are sub-par to say the least.  Okay. I can do this. I will finish crushing this spreadsheet at 5:30, he’s coming over at 7. The metro sucks (who can forget that off-boarding nightmare yesterday at McPherson Square), so that leaves me approximately 45 minutes AT BEST from when I get home to look attractive and make an epic dinner that’s delicious yet simple and a little ambivalent. I mean, it’s only been a month, kid’s not getting Filet mignon, but he should obviously know I’m impressive in yet another facet of life. Thank god I went grocery shopping this week. There’s gotta be something I can pull together.  It’s dismal and frigid out so it should be warm and comforting…  Wait what am I going to wear??!!! Everything is in my stupid laundry basket because I ALWAYS procrastinate like this. Monday resolution: do your laundry dammit. Alright whatever I have that cute sweater dress.  Focus.”

5:30 arrives. Hustles home. Stares in cupboard/fridge for inspiration.

EPIPHANY: 5 simple ingredients. 20 minutes. Healthy yet provides man-substance.
-one box Archer Farm mushroom risotto
-one package asparagus
-one red pepper
-one box Archer Farms frozen turkey meatballs (which I genuinely snack on regularly)
-Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Immediately preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and slice the red pepper.  Place red pepper and asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, set aside.  While oven heats for 15 minutes, run upstairs and touch up your already effortless make-up and put on that slammin’ outfit.  Run back downstairs when oven dings and throw in the veggies.  Pause to pour a glass of wine and press play on that tasteful dinner playlist. While veggies bake, make the flavored risotto.  Following instructions, risotto usually takes around 20 minutes, but is very low maintenance.  Just stir occasionally. After 15 of those minutes, place 10 small turkey meatballs on a microwave-safe plate and heat according to the back of the box (usually microwave takes 5-6 minutes).  Take out the veggies. Timing everything strategically means that the risotto, baked vegetables, and meatballs will all be ready within your crucial 20 minute window.  For compilation right before his arrival, separate the risotto into two bowls.  Layer the veggies along the inner rims of the bowls as pictured.  This is strictly for presentation but I like attention to detail.  Place 5 turkey meatballs in the center of each.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Voila!  A casual, delicious and surprisingly filling meal.

END OF SCENE:

Doorbell rings. Scratched Ikea table is already set with bowls and two glasses of Fourteen Hands Hot to Trot red blend ($9 and my favorite). Answer door, sit, coyly sip, because YOU, my friend, are indeed too hot to trot. Enjoy.

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Meager Mondays

16 Sep

Tuna Salad Mix

 

Meager (adjective): deficient in quantity or quality; lacking fullness or richness; scanty; inadequate.  No offense to all the canned tuna lovers out there- but by itself, canned tuna is probably as boring as it gets.  And it’s smelly.  However, I was on a mission to capitalize on my grocery’s cheap cans and make tuna less meager and more mouthwatering.  Solution: add in a ton of flavor and toss it in a protein-packed salad.  I for one am normally anti-mayo but pro-any other condiment, so I mixed in the tuna with some light mayo and dijon mustard (two to one ration of mustard to mayo) and then added lemon juice and oregano to give the tuna some pizzazz.  Rummaging in the fridge I found mixed greens, feta, and some leftover edamame to throw together a lunchtime salad.  Almonds provided the final protein crunch, and wallah! Super healthy, quick and easy salad to fuel your bod after what (I hope) was a wing and dip-filled football Sunday!

Steak Bites + Grilled Caesar Salad

6 Jun

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So I just moved to a new townhouse and convinced the parentals to fund the acquisition of a grill for our outside deck.  Be warned: I will feature grill recipes well into October.  That being said, I have wanted to learn how to grill salad since I had delicious Caesar rendition at Rustico in Ballston, VA.  It is SO EASY. and cheap. Duh.

Ingredients for Salad:

-a full packet of hearts of romaine lettuce (this will run you about $3)

-for the dressing: Olive oil, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese ($3 ish), minced garlic, lemon juice. You probably have some of these ingredients laying around already, and you only need a smidge of each.  If you have to purchase everything, it’ll be a little less than $10.

Salad Directions:

-heat the grill to Medium flame.  Lightly coat both sides of full romaine leaves and spread out evenly on grill.  Grill until start to wilt or start to get grill marks.  Flip over for like 30 seconds and remove from grill.

-in a blender, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and a bunch of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Feel free to alter the ratios; I don’t really believe in measuring.  Pulse until blended.

Steak Bites Ingredients:

-package of Angus Beef steak bites.  I purchased mine for $4.99 at Target.  Another warning: this meat is not organic, “happy cow”, or anything of the like.  I like meat so I buy it and don’t ask many questions.  Obviously feel free to splurge on a meat selection of your choice.  I chose my package because of the price/quantity factor.

-Any grill seasoning, secret personal seasoning, minced garlic, or a combination thereof.

-Directions: Grill in a grill-pan on high heat; cook to desired temperature.

You’re done.  You spent a MAXIMUM of $15.  A full package of romaine should feed 2-3 people, and the package of steak bites is actually 3.5 servings.  Pat yourself on the back.

thewinelifestyle

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Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

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