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 !!!!!
|Fresh Mozzarella||8 oz||$2.99|
|Bread Slices||4||$0.00||You probably have bread|
|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|
|Butter, unsalted||¼ cup||$1.99|
|Milk, Whole||2 cups||$0.00||You have this|
|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
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….
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
|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|
|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
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
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.
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.
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
|2017 Goals Sheet Print Out||1||$0.00||I provide it for you|
Total Cost: $ 0.00
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.
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 !!!