Week 1: Home Date Night Duo Rebooted, In Sicily

So I bet you thought we were abducted by Aliens, and probed for all of our amazing home date night ideas, but we weren’t.  Like all men, we set out with the best intentions to start a project only to find that it is much more difficult than we thought it would be and we fail and just give up.  So that’s where I’ve been since the last blog post, wallowing in self misery.  Ok that’s a lie, I felt bad for a couple weeks that I wasn’t writing the blog anymore but then I got over it.  Well, my wife has been asking me now for the past couple months if we were going to start it up again because she really enjoyed it (and frankly, I have missed it too).  So here I am, making that attempt again.   I set out on a journey to produce 52 at home date nights and that is exactly what I’m going to do.  Now is failure possible again…..absolutely, but eventually I will get to 52 at home date nights.

If you are curious as to why my wife and I started this blog you can go back to my original post by clicking the link HERE.  There are some tips that I highly recommend working in if you want your at home date nights to be successful.  I didn’t follow a lot of my own advice and that is why I think I failed last time.  So on that brief self-reflection; let’s kick this baby off with a trip to Sicily!!!

Ok, one more thing.  In the first blog tips section I talk about putting the kids to bed by 7:30pm.  That worked great until the time changed and it no longer was dark by 7:30pm.  It got dark around 8:30-9pm and this made at home date nights way more difficult.  What I found that worked a little was getting them completely ready for bed, but for this night, letting them stay in their rooms to watch some TV while my wife and I did a lot of the cooking prep work. Then one of us would take a break and put the kids to bed @ 8:30pm sharp and the other could try to finish up the appetizer.  So it’s a compromise, but it’s better than not doing anything.  Ok, for real, ON TO SICILY!!!

When my wife and I were backpacking through Europe we did not make it down to Sicily. I was kind of bummed about this because I was hoping to possibly get some better food than what we had in Rome, Venice, and Florence.  Yeah Yeah, Italian food is the best, but our experience was anything but amazing when it came to food.  We did hear though from a lot of people that the food in Sicily was way better, but alas, we never got to experience it….except for now!!!!

Now I must admit, while looking for recipe’s from the Sicilian Island we found so many dishes that looked amazing……buuuuuut…the ingredient’s list was so long and took over an hour to cook most meals.  This really isn’t conducive to at home date nights.  If it takes over an hour to make a dish during at home date night this can be really stressful.  We did find two dishes that looked fairly easy to make and the ingredient’s list wasn’t too long.  For the appetizer we decided to make Sicilian Fried Mozzarella sandwiches and for the Main dish we made Spaghetti Sicilian.   The activity was super simple and a lot of fun.  It didn’t take too long to finish either.  We figured we would start off easy the first week.   I’ll talk about that later on.

It felt weird at first to be starting the at Home Date Night’s again, but we knew we needed them and it felt good to start making our relationship a priority again.  I got home from work and I could tell my wife was pretty exhausted. She is homeschooling now which means I’ll probably be checking her into a loony bin when my kid turns 18.  Anyways, the kids were pretty excited to see me and my wife needed to run out and get some things.  So we had a nerf gun battle and of course I won, but my kids thought it would be funny to shoot me point blank in the head while I took a video in slow motion…yeah…they are pretty demented.  I posted the video for your enjoyment.  For some reason the slow motion doesn’t work when I uploaded, it’s still demented.

While she was gone and we cleaned up the nerf darts I sent them upstairs to watch some TV while I started as much prep as I could.  My wife got home and we started to prep together.  Now I told her to put on some Italian music (I know we are in Sicily, but I like Traditional Italian music) but for some reason our Amazon Echo Alexa hasn’t been cooperating lately.  She would start to respond asking my wife if “TALIAN MUSIC” was what she wanted…..” NO YOU STUPID MACHINE….PLAY ITIALIAN TRADITIONAL FROM MY PANDORA STATION”……Echo responds again, “TALIAN MUSIC FROM SWAHILI’s PANDORA STATION???”  My wife’s name is not Swahili…but it always calls her that…kind of funny…..except to my wife.   My wife is pretty upset right now and if Alexa was a human being it probably would have gotten a Puerto Rican Woman slap.  You know what I’m talking about if you have a Puerto Rican woman in your life.  They are pretty physically abusive….to all men.  It’s how they show tenderness and care.  Now I know where my kids get their dementedness.  Anyways, Alexa almost got thrown through a wall, but I was able to protect her…for now.   My wife decided to put some music on from her phone….Traditional Italian….nope…..club music.  At least that is what I call it. Dance music…something like that. Guy sounded like Pit Bull and girl sounded like all of the industry slave girl singers out there.  I really can’t tell them apart.   Whatever it was it made her happy and she was dancing around the kitchen.  Happy wife….Happy life.

She was pretty much done prepping the Appetizer but it needed me to make something, Béchamel sauce.   I’d never made this before but this is the part that makes the Fried Mozzarella sandwich the Sicilian version.  So I found a great You Tube video on how to make it.  You can watch it by clicking HERE

Now while I’m watching it my wife comes over and starts asking me questions. I don’t even remember what they were all I remember is what transpired. You see, guys can’t really do two things at once. Women can’t either; they just think they can….but I will say they do two things at once better than most men do.  So she asked me something and I’m watching the video and also trying to answer her and I’m doing the man thing, “ Uh…and…yeah…you need….ummmm…yeah….ok…this is what I’m trying to say……ummmm….give me a….”   and I can tell on her face that all of her patience was used up around 9 am earlier when she was doing homeschool and trying to get my kid to read better….so then she blurts out with eye’s really big “ TA TA TA TA TODAY JUNIOR !!!!  BLA BLU BLI BA BA BA  SPIT IT OUT ALREADY !!!!!“.   Yeah, I know….us guys suck.  I don’t know why I can’t just talk anymore. I think that part of me to form coherent sentences quickly died years and years ago.   Anyways, I don’t remember if I answered or not, she headed back to the kitchen and I finished watching the video.

She said, “Let me put the kids to bed while you finish that sauce since that is all we are waiting on.”   So she put the kids to bed and I finished up the sauce and actually started cooking the appetizer…well frying it that is.  The kids went down pretty quick and she came down and we talked about our days and how we were sad the Christmas vacation was over.   I was privileged to get pretty much 3 weeks off from work so going back was kind of rough. I considered buying a lotto ticket because I enjoyed being home so much.  Anyways, the Fried mozzarella was done and we were both eager to try it.  It looked like a gigantic Mozzarella cheese stick if you ask me.  We grabbed some marinara and dug into it.  It was pretty good but not amazing.  It actually makes quite a mess to make it so I’m not sure we would make that exact version again. I would make a different one.

“You always make a mess when you cook babe, why don’t you clean up while you cook” My wife says.  Now to her point, I do use quite a few dishes while I cook, but all masters of their craft are messy, but I do clean up while I cook, I just happened to be sitting down while she started cleaning up dishes.  Now I had already put a bunch of dishes in the dishwasher and cleaned up the counters where we did all the breading for the Fried Mozzarella sandwiches, but I’ll clue you in to a little secret guys.  If a woman is doing something (work wise I mean) and you are sitting down relaxing, you have about 2 seconds to realize that she is working and you are doing nothing so you better get up and start doing something.  Now you may think this works both ways but this is not the 1950’s guys. This is 2017.

If she is working …you better be working regardless of how much you may have already done.  Anyways, don’t fight it guys. Just nod your head and die to yourself and clean those dishes…all of them.

Well, after helping clean up a little more the Spaghetti dish was almost done.  That was super easy to make but I was a little worried it was going to lack flavor.  We both sat down to eat and after the first bite I think our faces almost looked identical. In that magic moment, both of our wavelengths were aligned and at the same time we said, “This is pretty bad”.

Now, we continued to eat it because we don’t like to waste food, but after a little added salt and a couple more bites I said, “ I don’t know, this is starting to grow on me a little “. She said, “Wow I was thinking the same thing, but it’s too greasy and I don’t’ think this is worth the calories.”  I couldn’t have agreed more.  We were both full anyway from the appetizer so I put the rest in some Tupperware and then did something amazing.  “I think if I mix some of the Béchamel sauce in this it will taste way better. “ I said.  “You shouldn’t do that, it might make it worse”, she said.  Well, you’ll have to go down to the recipe section where I tell you if it worked out or not.

It actually wasn’t too late and I broke out our activity.  It was a really simple printout of “Things I will do in 2017”. I got it off of a friends FB post.   I thought it would be a good idea, you know, set some goals for 2017.  I’m not usually a big New Year’s resolutions type person but this year I wanted to set some goals and do my best to accomplish them.   So basically it’s just a list with one word in to start off each item.  For example : In 2017 I will “BE” fill in the blank….in 2017 I will “MAKE” fill in the blank……etc.  So my wife says, “Oh man, this is going to be easy…..in 2017 I will “MAKE” more money !!! in 2017 I will “be” more snooty, in 2017 I will “QUIT” losing money, in 2017 I will “Accept” more money from people…..in 2017 I will “LEARN” to make more Money, in 2017 I will “HAVE” more money….”  I don’t know why but I couldn’t stop laughing.  It pretty much brought me to tears.

Well, after we had a good laugh at it we started getting a little serious and filling it out.  I do have to say, the longer we worked on it the more it look like a “Things I will fail at in 2017”.   Now, this may be true but after we were done we read each one to each other and it really opened my eyes to see what she valued and what was important to her.  You see, we aren’t alone in this journey called marriage and life. We are lucky enough to have a partner who wants to live it with us.  Who wants to struggle through it with us. Who wants to see us succeed in our endeavors.   I loved this little activity because while it brought some laughs it reminded me that my wife has dreams, goals, and struggles and she wants me to be a part of them and she wants to be a part of mine.  We smiled at each other, hugged, and then headed upstairs to watch some Golden Girls.

Well, that’s it.  Our At Home Date Night was pretty simple.  I hope you will stay with us on our Journey and pick out one night a week to do your own date night.  As always I will post the recipe, costs, and how to make them below….well my spin on how to make them. I will link where I got them from as well and I encourage you to visit those pages.  Don’t be afraid to share this blog with friends. You never know if there is a marriage on the brink of being lost and all they need is a little reminder of the joy that comes from making your relationship a priority.  Join our Facebook Group.  We deleted the FB “page” because only about 10% of the people that like the page will see posts from it. If you are a part of the FB “Group” page then you will get notices of all the post.  Just ask to be a part of the FB “Group” page and we will let you in.  I’m tempted to start Twitter…but I might be too old for that.  Tinder maybe? J  Alright, See you guys next Friday, We travel too……..JAPAN !!!!!

Appetizer:  Fried Mozzarella Sandwich

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Fresh Mozzarella 8 oz $2.99
Bread Slices 4 $0.00 You probably have bread
Flour ½ cup $0.00
Eggs 2 $0.00 It’s the new year…you know you are doing low carb dieting so you have this.
Bread Crumbs 1 cup $1.50 You can use Panko too….or make your own. That is what we did.
Vegi Oil 2 cups $1.99 You might have this
Marinara Sauce 1 cup $2.39
ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Béchamel Sauce
Butter, unsalted ¼ cup $1.99
Milk, Whole 2 cups $0.00 You have this
Flour ½ cup $0.00
Salt ½ tsp $0.00
White Pepper 1/8 tsp $0.00 You may not have this…I used regular pepper
Nutmeg Pinch $1.00 I used a little bit more than a pinch because I like Nutmeg

Total Cost: $ 11.88

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 7

Wife: 6

Directions:

First, watch the video on how to make the Béchamel sauce.  I did exactly what he said and it worked out amazing. I am going to use this easy sauce recipe in a lot of other dishes. It was super easy and tasted pretty good. I might add stuff in to give it a little more punch.

Ok, after the Béchamel sauce is done go ahead and grab the 4 slices of bread and cut off the crust carefully, you know, like mom used to do for you when you were a kid but then you got older and realized the crust was where all the nutrients are….um….yeah….

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Cut the Mozzarella into some nice thick slices and place them on the bread.  On the other piece of bread go ahead and spread some of the Béchamel sauce on it and then close it up like a sandwich on top of the Mozzarella.

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Put the 2 cups of Vegi Oil into a big pan and bring up the heat to frying temps.  Usually around 375F.  Ok, on three separate plates get your breading station ready.  This is the station that I cleaned up but was told I didn’t clean while I cook.

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Anyways, I’ve let that go…..on plate dump your all-purpose flour. On plate two whisk 2 eggs and add a little bit of milk into that whisk. On plate 3 add your breadcrumbs.  Now you can buy breadcrumbs but we decided to make it.  I just toasted 4 pieces of bread, cut them into squares and blasted them in a blender…..instant breadcrumbs and I felt good about it too.

Now before you put the sandwiches into the flour go ahead and start lightly coating the whole thing in Béchamel sauce.  This will help the flour to adhere to the bread.  Once you have it spread all over the top, bottom, and sides you want to dip it in the egg wash.  Get it everywhere.  Then dip it into the breadcrumbs.  Make sure it’s completely covered.

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Now throw it in the oil and let it cook on both sides for about 2-3 minutes or until it’s looking nice and brown.   When it’s done pull it out and it should look something like this:

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Ours is a little darker because we aren’t using fresh oil.  Let it sit for about 5 min and then pick it up and shove it in your mouth man pig style or use some forks to get little pieces and dip it in the Marinara sauce (probably be more attractive to your wife this way).  Whichever way you do it, it will be pretty good.

So the thing I didn’t like about this dish was the bread slices. I mean, I just didn’t see the point.  I could have just covered the fresh mozzarella with Béchamel sauce, breaded it and fried it and I think it would have been better.   I might try it.  Not sure I will make this again since it does make quite the mess, but I am definitely going to make Béchamel sauce again.

Main Course: Spaghetti Sicilian

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Spaghetti Pasta 1 box $1.39 You probably don’t need the whole box
Sun Dried Tomatoes 4 TBSP $3.89 Most expensive part
Flat leaf parsley ½ bunch $0.99
Salt To taste $0.00
Garlic 3 cloves minced $0.00 You should have this all the time
Olive Oil 2 TBSP $0.00 See above
Red Pepper Flakes 1-2 TSP $1.99 I had to buy some

Total Cost: $ 8.26

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 5

Wife: 4

Leftovers:  Ok, so I know you were waiting on pins and needles to find out if the Béchamel sauce helped and let me tell you something……IT DID!!!!  This dish was amazing the next day.  I will make this again and include the Béchamel sauce and I bet my wife would love it.  I give it a 9 for leftover value

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and add some salt to it.  Make sure the pot is at a rolling boil before adding in the pasta.  Once it’s at a rolling boil go ahead and add in the spaghetti pasta and let it cook till al dente.  If you don’t know what that means just look on the box and it will tell you how long to get it to al dente. For spaghetti it’s usually around 9-10 min.

While the spaghetti is cooking bring a large pan or whatever you normally cook in to medium high heat. Once it’s hot add 2 tablespoons to it and add in the minced garlic, 4 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes, and 1-2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes.  Move it around with a wood spoon for about a minute. Then add in half of the bunch of parsley and begin to let it cook and mix around for about 2 min.  Pull it off the heat and let it sit.

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The pasta should be getting close to being done.  Test the pasta, if it has a nice al dente bite to it then pull it out and drain the water.  Toss in the spaghetti to the pan with the garlic, olive oil, parsley etc and toss all the ingredients around. Add in the rest of the parsley and mix for about 30 seconds.  Then plate the dish for 2 and add some Parmesan cheese to it.

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One last note, try it without the béchamel sauce first. You will need to add some salt to taste.  It is a little spicy because of the red pepper flakes, but the sun dried tomatoes will either make it or break it. So don’t go cheap on that part.  Then, try it with the béchamel sauce….then write to me one which way you liked it better.  Enjoy !!

Activity:  2017 Goals sheet

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
2017 Goals Sheet Print Out 1 $0.00 I provide it for you

Total Cost: $ 0.00

Directions:  

I pretty much explained this in the Blog.  Basically just print this out and fill in the blanks then read it to each other. Make it fun, serious, whatever.  No Rules !!!  After you fill it put it in a safe place.  If I’m still writing the blog in July I will mention to pull it out and read it again, see how those goals/failures are coming along.

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Total At Home Date Night Cost: ~ $20 bucks

Thanks again for joining us.  We hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow us.  Have a great day!!!

Christmas Savings 2017 Shadow Box deposits

If you don’t know what this is then check out the blog post HERE.  Even though we weren’t doing the home date night blog we have kept up this tradition and it always helps out during the Christmas Holidays.

Option 1: $52.00 Total saved: $52.00

Option 2: $26.00   Total saved: $26.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $10.00

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…….Because your marriage is worth it !!!

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Week 17: Guns…BBQ…and uh Guns…we arrived in Texas !!

So last week we took a road trip to Texas and this week we pretended that we actually arrived there and wanted to try out some good old BBQ.  I mean, what would Texas be without some kind of meat involved?  I’ve only driven through Texas once and we got stuck in an airport in Dallas on our way back from our honeymoon.  So I really don’t know that much about it, but I know they have great hunting and awesome BBQ…..oh yeah….and lots of GUNS !!!  Every man’s dream !!!  Ok, unless you are a dude who wears skinny jeans then maybe Texas doesn’t get you that excited.  My brother recently moved to Texas so hopefully we will be out to stay with him soon and get the real deal Texas feel.  For now, we are going to have to settle for some imagination.  So come join us as we visit the “Lone Star” state.

First we had to decide what the heck we were going to eat.  Ok, let’s face it, that was easy. We chose to make some crockpot BBQ pulled pork.  For an appetizer we decided to make Texas Sushi.  Now you might think this involves fish, but it doesn’t.  It involves a mouth full of awesomeness.  We wanted to go a little easier for the dinner because we’ve been struggling to get the kids into bed early.  Since the time change the kids are going to bed around 8:30pm and then we start dinner. Some of the dinners have been taking us into 9 or 10 before we eat.  So crock pot BBQ was the way to go and the Texas Sushi, as you will see, is super easy to make and I guarantee you at your next get together you are going to make these for an appetizer.  The activity was the best part of the night.  Since we were in Texas we had to do something with guns.  So we took out the shotgun and sat outside and shot squirrels as they ran along the fence……ok…..we didn’t do that. I would be in jail if we did that.  So since I live in a densely populated area and I choose not to spend a couple of years of my life with bubba in the Big House we decided to play a game with super soakers.  It was AWESOME !!…..except that I lost to a girl.  That sucked and I’ll probably have to give up my man card…..(ok really, who are we kidding guys, we gave up that man card the day we said, “I do”).  We will talk about the game later and I’ll explain all the rules.

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The night started off normal. Kids cleaned up and into bed around 8:30pm.  The pulled pork was already finished and we had given some of it to the kids for dinner (they love BBQ).  So we were ready to chow down.  I quickly made the Texas Sushi (This involved bacon, and you know my kids and bacon, so of course the oldest wondered down with his sniffing nose and grubby hands wanting some bacon….of course…we gave him some.)  The Texas Sushi is pretty much cream cheese, some chipolte Tabasco, bacon pieces, and green onions, put into a little tortilla and rolled and sliced.  It’s super easy and delicious.  Once we were done we piled up our plate with some BBQ pulled pork and Texas Sushi and sat down in the living room to eat, laugh, and chat.

So my wife brings up this article she read earlier in the day how Puerto Rican women, science says, has been classified as the perfect Human Specimen.  The article went on to say how Rican women are the closest thing to perfection in the Human DNA and all that.  My wife says, “I could have saved them a ton of research time and money if they just came and talked to me, they would have found out within hours that Rican woman are perfect.” ……She’s a pretty humble gal.  Come to find out there are numerous articles written about this topic and it comes down to how the Rican women are the perfect mix of a bunch of different descendants.  Anyways, this topic pretty much owned the conversation for most of the night.  Well, it was time to find out how well the perfect specimen performed in a friendly game with super soakers.

So the game was pretty simple.  I saved a bunch of recyclable bottles over a couple of weeks.  I set up two bases and put tables about 25 feet apart with around 10 empty bottles on each table.  It was hot outside and dark so it was going to be perfect.  I couldn’t wait to own this gal with perfect DNA.  I was a dude and this involved gun fire, no way I am losing.  So the goal of the game was to knock off all of your opponents bottles before they knocked off yours.  You had to spray them to knock them off.

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I thought to myself, “I feel so bad for her; she is going to get owned.”……the bible says, “Pride goes before destruction.”   I really need to start believing that.   So I decided to make the game best 2 out of 3….figured I would give her a chance.   So we started with full super soakers and I ran a hose and turned it on in case we needed to re-fill.  We put our backs together in the middle of the yard and took 10 paces toward our own base each and then it was game on.   I took a rapid fire approach….by that I mean, rapidly pulverizing her in the face with water….I was feeling awesome.  Next thing I know she bum rushes me like something out of the Matrix and even though I’m soaking her everywhere possible she is up on my table blowing off all of my bottles.  I’m thinking, “ this girl is insane, I know that water is hurting….OH CRAP MY BOTTLES !!!!”  I quickly gave up pelting her in the face and ran to her side and tried my best to get the bottles off but before I knew it, it was too late…….in slow motion, everything went silent as I could hear the wings of a bird beating and the sound of the last bottle hitting the ground with a thump like brick hitting pavement.  She had won round one…., “I let you win round 1 babe, I just wanted to soak you.”  She said nothing, just filled up her super soaker and starting setting up the 4 bottles I had barely knocked down.

I wasn’t too nervous. I knew her game plan now.  Well, we started round 2 and just as we turned around she bum rushes me again and this time I’m blocking her shots with my body and point blank shooting her anywhere I can.  She wasn’t backing off and I just kept running back and forth trying to prevent her water from hitting the bottles, just hoping she would run out of water.  I didn’t know how I was going to get her to back off.  She darted to the right and I swung around to shoot her in the face and accidentally nailed her in the mouth with the tip of my soaker…….To be honest I felt absolutely terrible.  She said it was ok, but her lip was bleeding, but she didn’t care she wanted to continue playing.  She is a pretty tough girl so I knew she wouldn’t give up (it’s not in her perfect DNA to give up).  We filled back up and got into the same position with me pinned against my bottles and her, now with blood in her mouth….literally, about to devour me.  I shouted go and within milliseconds she was darting back and forth doing everything she could to avoid my shots and get my bottles off.  I knew I needed to do something so I shot her in the eyes good and made a run for it.  I didn’t even have a prayer.  Within seconds my bottles fell and she was victorious.  She didn’t say anything as we walked towards the porch….but as we got there she started singing…..”de nah naaaaahhh…..de nah naaaahhhh……….de naaaahhh  naaaaaaahhhh….de nah naaaaaahhh….getting strong now……trying hard now……”   Yeah….that really happened.  She just looks back at me after she dries her face and says, “You are the Russian, I am the perfect specimen.”   Needless to say, I did not break her.

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I hope you liked reading this and have enjoyed our At Home Date Night Blog.  I have been super slacking on writing the blog and I’m going to try to catch up this week.  I know I’ve said that before so take it for what it is.  We are still doing our At Home Date nights every week.  I hope you will continue to follow the blog and put it into practice in your own marriage.

If you like what we are doing I hope you would participate and share with others, you never know if a marriage is hurting and a weekly date night is all they need to get it kick started and back on track.  Remember to post pictures of your at home date nights using #Homedatenightduo. You can also join our Facebook group Homedatenightduo.  Following below will be a walkthrough, as always, of the recipes with costs and explanations.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Texas Sushi:

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Cream Cheese 8oz block $1.99
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce 1 Tbs $2.24
Bacon, Cooked Crispy 3 slices $3.48 Make more for the kids
Green Onions, chopped 3 stems $1.39
Black Olives 1 Tbs $0.00 I hate these…so I didn’t use them…and I didn’t want to spend $3.50 of a can when I was only going to use a tablespoon.
Black Pepper To taste $0.00 We had, I used about ¼ teaspoon
Flour Tortillas 4 $2.24

 

Total Cost: $ 11.34  (makes enough for probably six torillas)

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 9

Wife: 9

Directions:

Get the bacon started early.  Make sure to get it nice and crispy.  I bought really thick bacon.  Don’t buy Turkey bacon either….it’s Texas for Pete’s sake.

While the bacon is cooking get out a large mixing bowl and put in the cream cheese and start to mash it up until it gets soft.  Add in the Tabasco Sauce and stir it up again.   Once the bacon is finished, crumble it up and put it in the mixing bowl.  Then add in the chopped green onions and olives (if you bought them) into the mix as well.  Mix everything up really well and then add in the black pepper and mix again.

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Break out a tortilla and spread 3 tablespoons of the mix onto the tortilla.  Roll it up really tight and then take a serrated knife, that’s the long sharp one you probably never use or have been using it for the wrong things your whole life, and cut about every inch or so. (I had this girl I knew who worked at Panera breads show me this…she is a genius, even though she isn’t Rican.)

Next, ingest them before giving any to your spouse…..because they are too good to share.

Slow Cooker Texas BBQ Pulled Pork

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Crock Pot 1 $0.00 You got 3 of them when you got married
Pork Roast 2 lbs $6.98
Chicken Broth ¼ cup $1.99
Apple Cider Vinegar ¼ cup $1.49
Worcestershire sauce ½ Tbs $0.00 I hate typing that word
Dark Brown Sugar 2 Tbs $0.00 You probably have
Vegi oil 1 Tbs $0.00
Chili Powder ½ Tbs $0.00
Favorite BBQ Sauce 1 bottle $2.49 I think I had a 16 oz bottle…and We picked some Texas style brand with a little kick. It was awesome

Total Cost: $ 12.95

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 10

Wife:9.5

Leftovers: 10

Directions:

This meal should immediately attract you because of how simple it is.  Crock Pot meals are so awesome before they are so little work.  Sometimes the meat can get dried out, but most of the time the meals turn out great. If you don’t have one of these I highly recommend getting one.  They are great to use for At Home Date Nights if you can’t get your kids into bed to early.  Anyways, here is how to make it.

Pour all ingredients into crock pot….rub all over the pork…set on high….cook for 5 hours….shred pork…eat.

It is really that simple.  But if you want something a little more detailed here you go.

Pour in the vegi oil and then put in the pork roast.  Then pour the broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce over the top of the pork.  Take your “Clean” hands and rub in the chili powder and brown sugar all over the roast.   Set the crock pot and “High” and cook for 5-6 hours.

When you are ready to eat you should be able to take some forks and shred the pork and mix everything together.  You can eat it with bread or you can just eat it straight up.  We chose straight up.

Super Soaker Battle Royal:

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Super Soaker Guns 2 $18.00 They were cheap at Wal-Mart. Not the real brand name, but they worked fine.  Make sure to get the ones that have a big reservoir and a pump and trigger.
Recycled Bottles 20 $0.00 Just save them.

Total Cost: $ 18.00

Directions:

I pretty much explained the game in the blog.  But the point is to just have fun.  You can run around and spray each other, but I think a friendly competition is better.  Just begin saving up your soda bottles, juice bottles, or anything plastic.  At the end of the game before we went inside she thought since I busted her lip and still lost she should be able to shoot me point blank in the face.  I was pretty defeated and didn’t want to be humiliated anymore so of course I let her do it.  It hurt like hell and I’m not quite sure how she was able to take so much of that while we were playing.  Then I remembered, she is Rican…she feels no pain, it’s part of her perfect DNA.

Total At Home Date Night Cost: $42.29

Thanks again for joining us.  We hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow us.  Have a great day!!!

Christmas Savings 2015 Shadow Box deposits

Option 1: $36.00 Total saved: $748.00

Option 2: $10.00   Total saved: $306.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $170.00

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…….Because your marriage is worth it !!!

Week 16: On the road, heading to Texas

Sometimes we forget that some of the most memorable parts of travelling can be the travel itself.  My wife and I spent the night in Zurich International Airport on our last day of backpacking through Europe.  We slept on some benches with some other backpackers just praying we could actually get some shut eye and hoping none of our stuff was going to get stolen.  We really didn’t sleep at all.  We did have some good laughs and some sad looks since our trip was coming to an end. We made the best of it though.  So tonight we pretended we were on our way to Texas.  Some come join us on our roadtrip.

When I was around 19 I took a road trip from San Diego to Orlando with my then 16 year old sister.  It was the middle of summer and driving through the desert with no A/C and temps around 114 degrees didn’t make for the safest trip, but we still had a blast.  We joked about my dad telling us to beware of something called “White Line Fever”.  I guess truckers get it where they just keep staring at the white line and all of the sudden get tunnel vision and end up not seeing themselves move into another lane and crash into something or someone.  Thanks Dad, you always know how make me feel good.   Anyways, the point is that road trips suck and are awesome all at the same time.

So At Home Date Night started off a little rough.  We were pretty late getting the kids in bed and actually the oldest was still up when we started to eat.  He had a lot of homework to do and I had taken them fishing a little earlier and their dinner took longer than expected.  Oh well, what can you do sometimes?  He was pretty quiet though because he knew it was Mommy and Daddy’s special night.  He was off to bed a little late but we were just getting into the meal so it was no big deal.  Since we were on a road trip to Texas we decided to make something easy.  We made a nacho cheese dip with a texmex style and some fried pickles.   I love fried pickles and I’ve never tried to make them myself at home. So it was going to be either a complete failure or a super win……you have to read on, but if you know us you can probably predict what happened.

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Oh wait, before I move on….when I put my oldest to bed he couldn’t decide what he wanted to watch on Netflix because I’m pretty sure he has seen everything now.  So I found……..NEVER ENDING STORY !!!!!!  Floods of childhood memories overtook me as I dreamed of gripping onto Falcor and flying through the cloud to save a princess! (not sure why I would want to save a princess…wasn’t she all tears and junk???  I’m on a flipping flying oversized dog……no way I’m getting a crying girl involved)   Well, anyways, after about 15 minutes he comes down to ask for some juice and I ask him how he is liking it.  He told me, “Dad, I turned the TV off….i’d rather watch nothing”………Yeah………That’s kids today……no appreciation for the classics.

I ran that little uncultured rugrat back to bed and headed back downstairs.  The cheese dip was pretty much done so we chowed down.   The fried pickles were breaded and in the deep fryer……but they weren’t looking too good.  I pulled them out and they looked awful, like the breading didn’t stick to them.  I then changed up the recipe and coated them in egg yolk and dipped them in some more batter and re-fried them.  They looked a little better and we tried them……they were horrible.  Actually my wife had never tried fried pickles before and she liked them, but I hated them.  So it was a total fail.  I know you were expecting better from a master chef like me but alas…..You can’t be perfect at everything.

For the activity we dove into our Puerto Rican roots and pulled out our domino set.  It’s a great game to play while you’re in the car on a long driving trip if you both are in the back seat.  Well, it had been about a year since we played and neither one of us really knew the rules.  I’m thinking to myself, “ Isn’t this chick a real Puerto Rican, born and raised on the island till she was 16, never lived in NY…..how can she not know how to play?”  I know her father right night is shaking his head in shame.  Well, good thing there is the google.  So we googled like pros and found some rules.  We couldn’t figure out though if the blanks were wild or not.  We played them wild for the first couple of games but then changed it.  I think the version the Ricans play is called Chicken Foot.  I have no idea what that is, we just played a version of the normal version (there are 3 variations of normal…….I know….that doesn’t make sense).

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Last time we played this she crushed me but I was determined to make her pay and I wanted her to remember how I also crushed her back when we played Ticket To Ride in At Home Date Night Week 10.   You can go read about my glorious Victory there.

She was just up for a short game because it was late and we were both tired.  So we played to 50.  To start off the game I guess you draw a domino and reveal it and whoever has the highest domino goes first.  Well I drew a total score of 3….only beats snake eyes….what does she draw next….SNAKE EYES !!!  I could feel deep in my bones it was going to be a glorious night.

The first couple games we only were gaining a couple points each.  After about 4 rounds I was losing 17 to 13 but still talking major smack because I knew I could take her.  The next game she had to draw more and more dominos because she couldn’t put out any dominos.  I kept telling her in my gangsta voice, “Draw from the Boneyard baby !!!”  She just kept silent….like a little wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Well, I got stuck with a couple blank dominos and then I had to start drawing from the boneyard.  I was starting to get nervous because all the dominos I was now picking up were really high numbers and she was starting to make matches on all her stuff.  Then I heard a still small voice in my ear say, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”……….not cool.

Next thing I know this happens:

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BOOM !!!  just like that, it’s all lost and I’m their lying in a pool of massive boneyard dominos wondering what just happened (the top is what I had left in my hand).  My wife gets up and says, “It’s in the blood”…..kisses me on the head while I’m still dumbstruck and then she strolls off to bed.

Thanks for joining us again for another At Home Date Night.  I know I’m about 1 week behind now and hoping to catch up this week.  I won’t make any promises this time. Remember to post pictures of your at home date nights using #Homedatenightduo. You can also ask to join our Facebook group Homedatenightduo so you won’t miss any of the blogs once they go up.  Following below will be a walkthrough, as always, of the recipes with costs and all that jazz.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Texas Style Cheese and Chips (my own recipe)

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Jar Of Salsa 8 oz $2.39 Buy whatever brand you like….make sure it’s chunky though
Ground Beef 1 lb $4.00 80/20 or better
Taco Seasoning 1 pkg $0.69 Whichever flavor you like..I think I got Ortega
Velveeta Cheese 16 oz $4.99 You find this by all the spaghetti sauces I think

 

Total Cost: $ 12.07

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 10 (it’s my own recipe…of course I’m giving it a 10)

Wife:  10 (It’s my own recipe…she better give it a 10)

Directions:

This is not only a great appetizer for At Home Date Night, but for any get together you may have. People are going to freaken love this stuff.  I know my family over the years has loved this as well.  Be careful though because it’s super filling and you won’t have room for a main dish if you make this.  Hence the reason we made two appetizers instead of having a main dish too…plus we are in the car on a road trip….little hard to cook in the car (don’t mind you we used a deep fryer for the pickles)

First cut up the cheese into little cubes and place them in a microwave safe container.  You know, one of those ceramic white dishes someone gave you a set of when you got married and you thought, “Damn, I wish they would of gave us cash.”  But now that 10 years has gone by you are like, “Wow, those peeps were awesome to give me this!!”

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Next, go ahead and cook the ground meat till it’s cooked pretty much through.  Drain the grease and then add in the Taco Seasoning.  Mix it up really well.  The Taco Seasoning is going to tell you to add like 1/3 cup or 2/3 cups of water.  I usually do half of this, but make sure the mix in the seasoning before you add the water.  Otherwise you are just going to get a bunch of clumps in the seasoning….and let’s face it….clumps suck.

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While the meat is cooking go ahead and dump 3/4 ‘s of the salsa into the bowl with the cheese and then throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes go ahead and stir it up really well.  Then pop it back in the microwave for another 3 minutes.  After it’s done it should be really easy to mix around and nice and smooth.

Check the meat to make sure that it doesn’t have to much liquid left.  If it has a lot of liquid just turn up the heat and it should boil out.  If you don’t want to wait just dump the water or grease out.  When the meat is completely cooked through, dump it into the cheese and mix everything up.  Throw some chips on a plate and leave me a message on Facebook thanking me for introducing you to awesomeness.

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Texas Roadhouse Style Fried Pickles (or what I like to call….Nothing like Texas Roadhouse Style Fried Pickles.)

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Jar Of whole Pickles 1 jar $3.19 I bought the whole pickles but you can buy the sliced ones….I think I should of went with the sliced ones
Frying Oil Enough $0.00 We had
Salt 1 tsp $0.00
Pepper 1 tsp $0.00
Sugar 1 tsp $0.00
Cayenne Pepper ¼ tsp $0.00
Ranch Dressing $0.00 If you are from murica….you have this. You can also use horseradish sauce…probably much better.
Flour 2 cups $0.00

Total Cost: $ 3.19

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 1

Wife: 4

Leftovers:  in the trash

Directions:

Most of the time, Pinterest is awesome.  If you follow the recipe’s you almost always get a great tasting meal.  Beware though of recipe’s that say they taste just like the restaurant….usually that is a big warning sign that they taste nothing like the restaurant.   Anyways, here’s what I did

We have a deep fryer so I got that going.  You can also just use a frying pan with some oil.  No biggie if you don’t have a deep fryer.  I cut up the pickles into ¼ inch slices.  Dumped all the other ingredients into a bowl and mixed everything up really well.

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I dried the pickles a little and then put them to the side.  Once the oil was ready I put all the flour mix into a plastic bag and then dumped all the sliced pickles into the bag and shook it up to coat everything.  I then dumped them all out in a big wire strainer test get off all the excess flour and through about half of them into the fryer to cook for 3-5 minutes……well what happened was when I pulled them up the breading part kind of just slid right off the pickle.  The breading wouldn’t stay on the pickle.  So either I did something wrong (not likely) or this recipe was bogus.

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I decided since I’m a master chef that I should dip these things in some egg batter and re-bread them and then fry them.  This worked but I think I had already cooked the pickles too long because they just tasted funny.  Maybe it was the pickles…I don’t know it just wasn’t good.  I will link the recipe as always, but I would follow something different.  If any has one they have actually made and it’s turned out good please let me know.  I LOVE FRIED PICKLES !!!

Friendly Game of Dominos (yeah right)

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Set of Dominos 1 $0.00 You can buy some on amazon for $6.98 or call up one of your Rican friends and ask to borrow theirs. If they tell you they don’t have a set they must give you their official Rican card because they are imposters.
Pride 1 head full $not much up front
Humbleness 1 body full $ pays over time
Trash Talking skills 1 Rican $You don’t have enough

 

Total Cost: $ 6.98 if you don’t have a set already

Directions:

Ok this is how we played, you draw 7 dominos each. Then you draw one more and turn it face up. Whoever has the highest number goes first.  Usually the first person puts down any doubles the have and of course you want to get rid of the highest numbers first.  We played you could put down any number first, which was always whichever was the highest number you had in your hand.

Then each player takes a turn connecting on either side of the first domino.  There can only be two sides open for connections throughout the whole game.  If you can’t make a connection you pull from the “Boneyard” and end your turn.  You do this until you can make a connection.

The way to make a connection is you have to have a number that matches at least one side of the Domino in your hand to the domino on the board.  Blanks are not wilds.   Person to get rid of all their dominos first wins the round and the person which still has dominos left in their hands has to add up the total score.  Once one of the players reaches whatever score you deem to be the end of the game that person loses (like me…in one giant swoop).

We were probably playing wrong but oh well.  My wife crushed me and I’m man enough to take it…..ok…I watched some domino strategy video’s on You tube for like an hour after because next time that Rican is going down.

Total At Home Date Night Cost: $22.24 if you don’t have the game…$15.26 if you do.

Thanks again for joining us.  We hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow us.  Have a great day!!!

Christmas Savings 2015 Shadow Box deposits

Option 1: $37.00 Total saved: $714.00

Option 2: $14.00   Total saved: $320.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $160.00

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…….Because your marriage is worth it !!!

Week 15: Painting a Bird House….in Sweden

The first thing to come to mind when you think about Sweden is…..Swedish Meatballs !!! (if you are American).  Ok actually that isn’t true….if you are a dude you think….Swedish Super Model.  You start to ponder the thought if there are any ugly ladies in Sweden or if they are all bombshells?  Hold on…let me ask my wife….*Punch in the face*.   For real though, Sweden would be awesome to visit.  It’s got gorgeous people and Swedish Meatballs !!!  What could be better?  Ok, probably a lot of things could be better, but I love Swedish Meatballs so that is what I decided to make.  So come join us as we explore what Sweden has to offer.

Well, I bet you are tired of me apologizing for the blog being so late the last two weeks.  So I apologize once again.  April is a busy month for us and the actual At Home Date Night with my wife is what I’ve been making sure I focus on and get ready for.  We are on schedule for doing our Date Nights…but I’m off on the Blog being issued each Friday.  I’ll work on fixing that.  We did have a blast this At Home Date Night.  This was definitely one I can’t wait to do again next year.  We not only cooked some great food, but we painted a little bird house !!  As always you can skip to the recipes and activity section if you like.

We had to move At Home Date Night to Thursday this last week because of some scheduling conflicts.  No biggie.  Again, I emphasize always doing it the same night every week, but life happens and sometimes you gotta switch it around.  Just make sure you don’t neglect having the date night. That would be bad.  It’s easier to put something off again, if you miss it one time.  So don’t neglect it. Just switch the day and make sure it happens.  Your marriage will be thankful you did.

The night started off pretty normal. Kids were in bed at a reasonable time and I started cooking. If you noticed the “I” in the last sentence it wasn’t a mistake.  I thought I would give my wife off this date night from cooking.  I found a nice little side to make with the Swedish Meatballs so we thought it would be enough food and just went with one dish.   The side is called…Hasselbackspotatis…  It’s basically a baked potato.  I wasn’t too impressed with it but the Swedish Meatballs were awesome.

So as I’m getting everything ready to start cooking my wife starts watching this video her sister sent her of the KitchenAid mixer we got her for Christmas.  She wanted us to know that it was getting put to good use.  She was making a dirt cake and all I kept thinking about while I was watching the video was, “I love Dirt Cake….but I’m not getting any because she lives in PR…..I want to stop watching this video now.”  I was happy for her….sad for me.  I think people with KitchenAid’s are in their own little cult.  I believe she had a name for hers.   Guys name their guns; girls name their cooking gear…..yeah…that’s not sexist at all.   Anyways, after the video was done I went back to cooking like a well-trained domesticated husband.

We had our normal chatting about our day and did anything new happen or was it the same old same old.  At my work our department got an email telling us that two $100 bills were hidden in our new lab area and finders keepers losers weepers.  I knew something was up but a lot of people went looking for it.  I thought to myself, there is no chance I’m finding them Benjamin’s so why bother.  Come to find out it was just monopoly money which earned you a prize or something. They just wanted people to see the new lab and all it had to offer……Do you want to know what the prize was for finding the fake money???….of course you do…..lolipops……yeah…..lolipops.   Of course while I’m telling this story to my wife she kind of looks at me with that look of, “seriously….that is what you do all day at work….scavenger hunt???”   ……yep….it’s pretty awesome.  I said, “ you kind of get to do scavenger hunts while watching the kids…..like you have to find his cuppy….and ooooppppsssss surprise…dirty diaper”……..*punch in the arm*

It was getting close to the time I get to smash my fingers into the ground beef and mix all the goodness together.  I started  telling my wife how this was my favorite part because when I was a kid my mom would always let me make meat balls with her and it was a special time I remember spending with her.  She probably just wanted to get the stupid things made and sit down for a bit, but she never did, she always took the time to show me how to make them and place them in the pot.  Mom, if you are reading this, thanks for not being a sucky mom and letting me help make the meat balls even though it probably took 20 more minutes than it would have it you had just done it yourself.  My wife says, “ha, I hated cooking as a kid because it was expected as a Puerto Rican girl to learn to cook…..not fun.”  I silently said under my breath, “Tru Dat”.

We just talked about some random things while we waited for the food to finish.  Once it was done we raved about how good it was.  Yeah, I’m the master at Swedish Meatballs now.  I just have to figure out how to not get them to stick to the bottom of the pot when you initially put them in and then I will graduate to Swedish Meatball Grand Master.

We broke out the little Bird House.  I was really excited because we always have so much fun when we do a craft for date night.  Now the paints were really limited and my wife got up to go over to her office desk where she has a bunch of paints.  I said, “Hey, maybe we should use your paints?”  She was already getting them when I said that.  She replies, “You’re the type of person who says something like, “Hey maybe we should invent a car?…..oh wait somebody already did that….no original ideas.” …..I cried.  Of course she was just joking…..I think.

Now, there really weren’t any instructions on how to paint the bird house.  We decided to just paint one half of the roof each, and one side each.   Now, since I’m not to creative I decided to paint the only thing I’ve ever painted.  My wife and I went to one of those painting classes once and had a blast. So I wanted to paint something similar.  My wife decided to paint some clouds and trees, and hearts.  After she was done she says, “it looked like a care bear pooped on it.”   After the comment about me not being original I fully agreed with her statement.  Actually, I thought her side looked pretty awesome.  She really liked mine too.  I was happy with both my pictures.

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We sat back and admired our handiwork.  I said, ”Maybe the bird house will bring two love birds together?”  She said, “Well, it kind of already has” ………Yeah….she’s awesome.

Again I apologize for the lateness of this post.  The next blog is supposed to be up tomorrow, but it will probably be up Saturday or most likely Sunday and then the following one should be back on track for posting on Fridays.   Thanks again for joining us.  We have such a wonderful time together and we hope we’ve given you all some good ideas to share with the person you love.  Don’t neglect each other. Strive to make your marriage stronger.  Trust us, It’s worth it.  We hope to see more of your pictures on the Facebook group or Instagram.  Remember to post pictures of your at home date nights using #Homedatenightduo. You can also ask to join our Facebook group Homedatenightduo so you won’t miss any of the blogs once they go up.  Following below will be a walkthrough, as always, of the recipes with costs and all that jazz.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Hasselbackspotatis

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Medium Potatoes 2 $1.50 We had from week before but I put the cost of two
Butter or Margarine 3 Tbs $0.00 We had
Cheddar Cheese Grated Handful $2.54 I had to buy a bag…lots left over
Dry Bread Crumbs 2 Tbs $0.00 We had
Salt To taste $0.00 You have

 Total Cost: $ 4.04

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 6

Wife: 6

Directions:

I thought this was going to be better than it actually was.  I actually shouldn’t of made any side at all because we also had noodles with the Swedish meatballs.  It wasn’t too bad though. We would probably make them like this again but they need some sour cream or something else. Maybe some Rosemary on top of it for the last 10 minutes of baking or so might help the flavor out a little.

Anyways, go ahead and peel both potatoes and get the oven heated to 440F.  Yeah, I said that right…440F.  Take a large wooden spoon and cut little slits about 1/8 inch apart down the length of the potatoe.  The spoon is to prevent the knife from cutting all the way through, but seriously, you don’t need the spoon.  Just be careful when cutting and try to only go a little more than halfway. I did good on one of them, but the other …..not so good…..I ate that one.

After you are done cutting go ahead and put them in a glass baking pan thingy.  You know, the kind of pan you make brownies in or something.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the potatoes.  Add some salt and bake that baby for 30 minutes.  During that 30 minutes open the oven and baste the potatoes with the molten butter.  I like that word….molten.

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After 30 minutes, sprinkle the bread crumbs and grated cheese and bake for another 15 minutes.  After it’s done pull it out and kind of feel a little disappointed because the picture on pinterst looked so good, but it just tastes kind of ……bleh.  It’s ok, they can’t all be winners.

Swedish “Super Sexy” Meatballs

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Ground Beef 1 lb $6.99 It’s the cheapest they had at publix…you can usually get this for 4 bucks at any reasonable store
Panko Bread Crumbs ¼ cup $1.79 We had…but I put the price down
Milk ¼ cup $0.00 You have
Yellow Onion ½ $0.80
Garlic Clove minced 1 clove $0.00
Oregano Dry 1 tsp $0.00 They ask for fresh oregano too, but I forgot to buy it.  It’s 1.99 and you need 1 tbsp
Egg 1 $0.00 I’m the only one in my house who eats eggs….what is wrong with my family?
Olive Oil 1 tbs $0.00
Butter 5 tbs $0.00
Flour 3 tbs $0.00
Beef Broth 2 cups $2.00
Heavy Cream 1 cup $2.99
Worcestershire sauce ½ tbs $0.00 I love this stuff
Dijon Mustard 1 tsp $1.99 I had to buy some…glad I have it now
Kosher Salt ½ tsp $0.00 You may have…you should have both kinds of salt
Pepper ½ tsp $0.00

Total Cost: $ 16.56

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 9.5

Wife: 9.5

Leftovers: 10  (we had it for dinner the next night too and it rocked…and my wife doesn’t eat leftovers but she loved it.)

Directions:

Wash your hands.

In a mixing bowl combine the panko bread crumbs and milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and the bread crumbs should soak up all the milk.

In a large pot heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter on medium heat.  Chop up the onions really small and sauté them in the pot for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano after this and sauté for about 3 more minutes.

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In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef with the sautéed onions, garlic, and oregano. Mix in the salt, pepper, and egg and start mushing it all around. Once the eggs is completely mushed in go ahead and add the bread crumbs from the other bowl and mix it up some more.

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Now grab little chunks of meat and make meatballs. If you don’t know how to do this call someone. They will laugh at you and call you an idiot and probably hang up on you, but you might get lucky and someone will have mercy and walk you through how to make a little ball out of meat.  It should make about 20 meatballs.

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Reheat the pot on medium, which you sautéed the onions in, adding a little more olive oil and butter if needed.  Carefully place the meatballs in the pot.  I would put about half of them in and brown them. Be careful when moving them around because they break up really easy.  Transfer the meatballs to a plate or something once they are done browning.  Once you have all of them done add 4 tbsp of butter to the pot.  When the butter is melted add in the flour and whisk until it’s golden brown.  Slowly stir in the beef broth and keep the pot hot enough so the sauce is at a slow boil.  Don’t put all the beef broth in at once or the sauce will be to thin.

Once you have all the beef broth in add in the heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and simmer until the sauce thickens.  This should take about 5-10 minutes.  When it looks like it’s getting thick go ahead and add back the meatballs and cover the top of the pot and let it simmer with the meatballs in it for about 10 minutes.

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After that it’s ready to serve.  You don’t need to add noodles if you make the hasselbackspotatis, but I wanted to make noodles because that’s how my mom always made it.  Just buy some egg noodles and boil them like you would spaghetti.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain how to do that.

Paint a Bird House

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Paint a Birdfeeder Kit for Kids 1 $15.99 I bought this from Bass Pro Shop.  If you don’t have one near you, follow the link to buy it online.

Total Cost: $ 15.99

Directions:

So they only give you one brush and a couple of paints with this thing.  I’m glad my wife had more paints and another brush because it made it a lot more fun.  Just jump into your inner child and make something up.  Paint whatever you want.  Just make swirls or stick figures.  It really doesn’t matter.  You can write the date and a heart with both your names.   What my wife did was painted a scene.  I went ahead and painted a mix of night and day and a little branch that stretched forth and had two love birds on it.  You guys should post whose side you think turned out better….care bear poop….or love birds.  I actually liked hers a lot.  It had a lot on it, but it looked amazing.  I wanted to add more to mine but she thought it was perfect….or she wanted to go to bed…I’m thinking it was the first.  You could also look up youtube videos to get ideas on what or how to paint it.  I watched a couple a few minutes ago and they weren’t too bad.  Really though, just have fun and laugh with each other…or at each other.  Whatever works best for you.

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Total At Home Date Night Cost: $36.59

Thanks again for joining us.  We hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow us.  Have a great day!!!

Christmas Savings 2015 Shadow Box deposits

Option 1: $38.00 Total saved: $677.00  (plane ticket for sister, Christmas Tree, and Stockings paid for)

Option 2: $15.00   Total saved: $306.00 (Christmas tree, Stockings, and some little gifts paid for)

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $150.00 (Christmas tree and stockings paid for)

It’s not too late to start your shadow box so get a move on and post your picture !!!!

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…….Because your marriage is worth it !!!

Week 14: All you need is love….in London

This week we thought we would take a trip to London.  London seems like a place that everyone would want to go to sometime in their life.  History, beauty, great food, and Austin Powers….YEAH BABY YEAH !!!  We’ve never been but always love seeing pictures of our friends who have been to London.  So come take a trip with us as we explore British food and take a little ride on the crazy train.

When you think about London you think….Big looking clock building.  You also think, rock music.  I asked my wife what she thought about London and she said, “ The only good thing to come out of Britain was the Spice Girls” …….dead face……..” PSYCHE !!! “ she says…” I’m putting the Beatles on Pandora.”  Yeah, she got me. I thought she was for real, then I was like, “Psyche….really? hello 1987”…….Punch in the arm (it’s going to be a good night….I can feel it.)   Good thing the song that first came on was all you need is love.  It set the mood just right.

Our week started off crazy because we had some family birthdays and events.  We weren’t even sure we could do an at home date night this week, but even in the midst of it all we knew we had too. It was Friday,(usually the day I post this blog), that we ended up doing it.  So we both apologize for the blog getting out so late, but we are glad we didn’t skip a week.  We knew we needed it too.  Our son had soccer practice in the evening so we got home late, but we were both so motivated for at home date night that we got the kids fed and in bed by around 8:30pm (Micky D’s helped…don’t judge us).  My wife immediately started cooking her meal.  She was going to make something called Poutine.  It was one of the easiest dishes she said she ever made and it was so good.  It’s French fries with brown gravy and cheese……plate of heart attack??……yes please !!!   I decided to make something called Bangers and Mash.  Bangers and Mash…where do they come up with these things??   It was awesome though.  It’s basically sausage and mashed potatoes with an awesome onion brown gravy.  If you are on some kind of Low Carb diet this meal will be the death of you.  London was a carb overload…..and I loved every second of it.  We needed the carbs though because for the activity we planned on getting the band back together for a reunion tour.  We were breaking out Rock Band for PS3 !!  Now if you are like us your PS3 is pretty much a Netflix/BD player.  I can’t even remember the last time I actually played a real video game on it.  We used to play Rock Band a lot, years and years ago, so we were looking forward to shaking off the dust and surprising our fans.

A Rolling Stones song came on and my wife starts trying to booty dance with me.  I’m not sure what inspired her to booty dance with me to Rolling Stones, but I wasn’t going to stop her….carry on.  Her meal was finished rather quickly and we both grabbed some forks and devoured it.  It was sooooooooooo good.  The only thing I would have changed was maybe the cheese. I think it needed a stronger tasting cheese. My meal took a little bit longer to make so we started getting Rock Band ready.  Come to find out some of the little wireless connections weren’t with all the video game stuff.  I couldn’t remember for the life of me where I had packed it when we moved.  So the search began.  We looked through every drawer, shelf, and closet but came up empty.  The food was almost ready so we took a break looking and decided to try the Bangers and Mash….OMG….it was awesome.  I have to say, even though it was so good we couldn’t eat that much, but we sure did try.  You know that feeling when your tummy says you are full but you ignore it because the food tastes so good in your mouth that you can’t stop, but later on you wish you wouldn’t have ate so much because you feel like Fat B. from Austin Powers.  Yeah, we felt that way, but kept on eating…..YOLO !!!!

After our tummies were about to burst my wife wanted to take a shower so I continued the hunt.  I was tearing apart every box in the garage, swearing under my breadth…..and above my breadth.  I needed to find these things…it was my new life’s mission.  You know how it is right, If your husband is relaxing and you ask him to do something there is probably a 99.9999% chance his first response will be, “yeah babe, I’ll get to that later.”  But if your husband has gotten over the hump of actually “starting” something, come hell or high water (not sure where that came from or even means), he is going to complete that task.  That was me.  My wife came down from the shower and I was still tearing apart the garage and double checking every space in the house.  I was looking for the dang things in the kitchen even (because I’m an idiot).  She says, “Hun, why don’t we just do the puzzle tonight?”…….”No…I’m finding these things, I don’t care if it takes me all night.”  It’s futile ladies.  Just let him work out his issues, and try to figure out how you can get him to apply this motivation to cleaning the house.  There’s only one thing that can get a man to stop his mission once he’s started.  I’m pretty sure you know what that one thing is ladies, but be ready to deliver if you use your special tactics.  No one likes a tease……most of the time.

My wife did not use special tactics, she just let me keep going.  Earlier when we started looking she said, “Hey babe, did you check those boxes on the top shelf of the garage?”…..normal guy response “It’s not in those, I know what’s in those and it’s not what I’m looking for.”  Now we truly do believe it when we say it, but the real reason we haven’t looked in there is because it would require the ladder, and that is outside, and I’m 100% sure it isn’t in those boxes.  When your husband tells you he’s 100% sure it means he is 0% sure.  Well, when I finally had enough I decided to look in those boxes…….I really hate when she is right.   Now ladies, you could really rub this in or you could sit in silence, knowing that you are the superior gender.

We got everything hooked up and I was on drums and my wife took the guitar. The band was back together.  We put in the Rock Band 3 disc first and started scrolling through all the songs.  Now if you have ever played the game it keeps track of how well you scored each time.  I didn’t even recognize most of the songs but it said we had played them.  We tried out a couple of songs and did terrible.  We were rusty, but not too long we were jamming out and hitting our stride.  We laughed at our band name….Purple Vein.  What were we even thinking?

I remember when we got Rock Band 3 we really didn’t play it that much so we put in Rock Band 2 and now we were talking.  Our band member names made us laugh pretty hard. She had named her character “Pink”.  Mine was “Pink’s Slave”……true inside Rock Band and out.  I remembered all the songs and even worked up the courage to play on HARD (yeah, I’m a boss).  I look over at my wife while we are playing Drain You by Nirvana and I keep seeing her yank the guitar neck up in the air like she is some virtuoso.   I forgot that is how you activate some kind of super mode or something.  It was still pretty cool though.

We played through almost all the songs on Rock Band 2 and forgot we also had Lego Rock Band.  We popped that in and rocked out some more.  I can’t remember after which song it was but we got into this conversation about coordination and I made the comment about how most men are more coordinated than women……..bad move.  The discussion was about how this girl on my son’s soccer team was way better than the boys.  I agreed that she naturally moved well and you could see that she was pretty coordinated but that wasn’t the norm.  Needless to say, this broke out into a pretty heated discussion and my wife tried to convince me that woman were more coordinated then men……..let’s face it….I won that battle before it even started.

Ok ok, don’t hate on the home date night duo guy.  I will concede that there are many exceptions to the rules of gender strengths and weaknesses, but there are definitely strong points in mass quantities for each gender.  Like most women can multi task way better than a man ever could. We can multi task but not at the accuracy level or efficiency of a woman.

So there, men have better hand eye coordination…..woman can multi task….i’ll stop now before I dig my own grave.   So after our dispute on coordination we played a few more songs and my wife says, “What time is it?”……..I look at the clock in the kitchen…..2am !!!   I couldn’t believe we had been playing that long.  We were just having so much fun and joking around that we lost track of the time.  When was the last time you did this with your spouse?  This is what At Home Date Nights are all about…reconnecting…sharing moments…laughing till 2am.

Even though the week was extremely busy and we had a big weekend planned we found that little sliver of time to fit in our marriage.  If you wait for the perfect circumstances to come your way or for the stars to align, or for you both to be in the mood of hanging out at the same time…..ten years may go by and you will wonder what happened.  Make your marriage a priority

Well, it was definitely way passed bed time.  I said to my wife, “Hey, can I be one of your groupies???”…..she replies in her best Austin Powers voice “Yeah, baby….Yeah!”

I hope you enjoyed sharing this At Home Date Night with us.  We hope to see more of your pictures on the Facebook group or Instagram.  Remember to post pictures of your at home date nights using #Homedatenightduo. You can also like our Facebook page Homedatenightduo.  Following below will be a walkthrough, as always, of the recipes with costs and all that jazz.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Poutine:

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Frozen Fries 1 bag $3.59 I think we used half the bag
Brown Gravy Mix 2 pkgs $1.00 They were on sale…buy 2 for a buck
Water 1 ½ cups $0.00
Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp $0.00 We had
Fresh Cheese Curds 2 cups $2.69 I bought Mozzarella block because I don’t know what cheese curds are

 

Total Cost: $ 7.28

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 9

Wife: 9

Directions:

This was an awesome appetizer and so easy to make.  Although, I just went back to the website to verify the ingredients and it says this is a Canadian dish…….wife fail (in her defense she found it on buzzfeed…..and we all know buzzfeed is 100% accurate).  WHO CARES THOUGH !!  I did wiki it really quick and it states that it may have come from the English word pudding….but for French Fries….i’m getting even more excited.  Ok onto the recipe.

Follow the directions on baking the French fries in the oven from the bag you bought. While they are baking go ahead and get out a saucepan and dump the gravy mix packages, water, and Worcestershire sauce and heat it to a boil. Once it is boiling, continue to whisk it for just a bit and then reduce the heat all the way to a simmer and whisk it slowly until it starts to thicken.

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Once it is thick just let it sit there for about a minute while you cut up the mozzarella block into tiny squares.  When the fries are done put it all on a serving plate of some sort and spread out the mozzarella onto the fries.

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Grab the gravy and pour it over all the fries and cheese and begin stuffing your beautiful face with wondrous Poutine.  You will begin to feel tightness in your chest after the 4th bite, but keep going and repeat the words, “Get in my Belly !!!!”

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Bangers and Mash with Onion Brown Gravy

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Sweet Italian Sausage 4 pack $4.99 I couldn’t find Italian sausage so I bought smoked sausage and got a BOGO. It was still good.
Olive oil 1 tbs $0.00 We have
Potatoes 2.5 lbs $3.99 I bought a 5 lb bag…we will make this meal twice
Butter 6 Tbs $0.00 We have
Milk ½ cup $0.00 We have
Heavy Whipping Cream ¼ cup $0.00 We usually have because we like to make different soups….but I think it’s usually around $1.99
Salt and pepper To taste $0.00 You have
Large Yellow Onions 2 $1.59
Flour 2 tbs $0.00 We have
Beef Broth 3 cups $2.69 Next time I’m only going to use 2 cups
Fresh Thyme 1 tsp $1.99  I hate that I have to buy a whole bag for just a tsp.
Gravy Browning mix 2 tsp $0.50

Total Cost: $ 15.75  (when you buy this it makes enough for 4 servings…so you will have lunch or dinner the next day already made….win win)

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 9

Wife: 9

Leftovers: 10

Directions:

This took a little more effort than the Poutine, but I’m pretty sure this is authentic British food. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

First thing you need to do is wash, peel, and wash half the bag of potatoes if you bought a 5 lb bag.  Cut up the potatoes into cubes and put in a large pan and fill the pan with water and boil the potatoes for 20 min or until tender.

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While the potatoes are boiling go ahead and get out a frying pan and put in the tablespoon of olive oil and heat to about a 6 on your stove.  Wait for the pan to get hot then put in 4 sausages.  Make sure while they are frying you are constantly flipping then over.  I would do this every 2 minutes and I let them cook for about 15 minutes or so.

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While the bangers are cooking, cut up the onions and chop up the thyme.  When the bangers are done remove them and put them on a plate.  Dump the grease in the pan and then add 3 tbs of butter, watch it melt, then add in the onions.  Cook the onions till they are nice and soft and move them around often.  I would say this took about 10 minutes.

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While the onions are cooking the potatoes should be ready. Drain the potatoes with a strainer and dump them back into the pot you were cooking them in.  Add in 3 tbs of butter, ½ cup of milk, and ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream.  Mash away until they are nice and smooth.  I like my mash like I like my old ladies legs….smooth……punch in the arm….right after she read this.

Add salt and pepper to the mash and mix it, then taste it.  Keep doing that until it tastes the way you both like it.

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Check back on the onions and they should be nice and sautéed.  Add the 2 tbs of flour, 3 cups of beef broth, fresh thyme, and 2 tsp of brown gravy mix.  Bring it to a boil and mix it really good, then reduce the heat to a simmer and mix it until the gravy starts to thicken.  It says it takes 2 minutes but I believe it took me around 5 minutes.  Then add in the sausage to the onion gravy mix and let it simmer for another 2 mintutes.

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Get out two plates and put a healthy portion of mash in the middle. Then add a sausage from the mix on top of each mash and top it off with the onion gravy.

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Next time I make this I probably won’t use 3 cups of beef broth. I like my gravy kind of thick and the gravy in this recipe was really watery.  It was still awesome and we have enough to stuff to make this again next week for a regular meal.  Maybe we will make the kids eat it……no…I think we’ll save it for ourselves.

The leftovers were awesome too.  I love when I don’t have to make a lunch.

Couples Video Game night

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ITEM QTY Cost Notes
PS3 1 $0.00 We had
Rock Band Kit 1 $0.00 We had

 

Total Cost: $ 0.00

Directions:

Ok, maybe you don’t have a gaming console…….but I’m thinking you do.  If you live in America you do or know somebody who does.  I bet you know somebody that has a console they never even use anymore and would be willing to let you borrow it for a week.  I bet you even know somebody who has a rock band or guitar hero kit and would let you borrow everything for a week, so no excuses.

My wife and I like to play video games….ok I love to play video games and my wife sort of likes them. Before we had kids she loved playing Disney games for the Game Cube.  She only liked games she could beat in a matter of days.  If I got her a new game I pretty much knew I would not see her for 3 or 4 days until she beat it.  If the game took longer than that she had no interest.  I would come home and be like, “Hey babe, how you doing?….what do you want to eat?”…..controller smashes into the ground….she says, “I can’t beat this stupid level, I have to jump on this little block and I keep falling off.” I say, “Well, I can help you with that babe….i’ve got pretty good hand eye coordination.”   You can probably fill in the blanks to what happened next.

Anyways, if you can’t get a Rock Band or Guitar Hero game then just rent an adventure or puzzle game from Redbox.  Sometimes we would rent a scary game for a couple days and just go through it together.  It was kind of like watching a movie, but you control the main actor.  We haven’t done that in a while.  I have a feeling we might be breaking out the Rock band more often now though.

Total At Home Date Night Cost: $23.03

Thanks again for joining us.  We hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow us.  Have a great day!!!

Christmas Savings 2015 Shadow Box deposits  (see link if you don’t know what this is)

Option 1: $39.00 Total saved: $639.00

Option 2: $16.00   Total saved: $291.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $140.00

UNTIL NEXT WEEK…….Because your marriage is worth it !!!