Week 4: Wookie Legs in Venezuela

Ok ok, I know I’m a day late.  It’s been a crazy week….ok that’s not true….it’s been a lazy week.  You know, you have those weeks where as soon as the kids go to bed you just lay your head down and bam, out till the next day.  That was mostly my week.  Thank God for Home Date Night though.  Something to break up the norm.  New food, New Fun, and you get to hang out with the greatest person on earth…your spouse.  Join us as we take a trip to Venezuela.

Date night started off kind of normal. Got home and the kids and mommy were upstairs.  Now most of the time they have no idea that I’ve slipped into the house.  So I make it my goal to scare the crud out of them if I can. It’s better if I get it on video.

Well, after I freaked them out I slipped into the bedroom where my wife was relaxing and watching some TV.  I jumped on the bed and layed my head on her legs.  Then I made this sound:

That’s the sound I make when my wife hasn’t shaved her legs in like….a month.  Ok, to be fair, it probably hadn’t been a month…maybe 29 days.

Wife: “Oh whatever, it’s not that bad”

Me: “Not that bad if we live in France”

Wife: “You love it”

You know, something happens about a year after you are married, it’s like all of the sudden your wife realizes that shaving her legs once every couple of days kind of sucks.  Somehow woman rationalize this by convincing themselves nobody is going to see it if they just wear jeans.  Then, you find out that the only time they are shaving their legs is when they know they are going to have to wear shorts.  If you are still a young couple you probably haven’t noticed this phenomena yet.  Just giving you a little warning guys….just rub your hands through your own legs and get used to the feeling…learn to love it.

Ok, after that we did the norms of getting the kids into bed and time for Date night to commence.  Since we were visiting Venezuela we decided to mix things up a bit.  We were going to make an appetizer/main dish and a dessert.

For our appetizer/main dish my wife wanted to make Reina Pepiada : Arepas with Chicken and Avocado.  I won’t blame you if you stop reading the blog now and go down to the recipe, run to the store and make this dish.  It was amazing.  I made it later in the week again because it was so good.

 

The Arepas dish was going to be more than enough food to fill us up so I wanted to use my new Kitchen Aid Mixer and make a dessert. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH !!!!!!! *Little girl squeal* .  If you have been following the blog for any amount of time you know how much I’ve wanted a Kitchen Aid Mixer.  I now am the proud owner of one.  My wife finally bought it for me for Christmas and I absolutely love it.

20170120_215435

Now you might be saying, “Damn, this dude needs his man card taken away”.  To that I say, “I gave that up the day I said I do….so mine as well embrace the baker inside of me.”

To restore your faith in my manhood she did get me a bunch of fishing stuff.  Anyways, back to manly baking machine that is the Kitchen Aid Mixer. *pause in writing the blog while I go hug the Kitchen Aid Mixer*.

Ok, for dessert I made Venezuelan Polvorosas.  These cookies were mouthwatering.  I couldn’t stop eating them and they were super easy to make.  My mom makes a similar cookie during Christmas time that it reminded me of.  I’ll have to get her recipe and see how similar they are.  It’s a crunchy cookie but great with a cup of milk or hot coffee.  I ate them the next 4 days for breakfast.  Plus they are good for people that want to gain weight.  You know about 1% of the population.

My wife turned on Alexa and asked her to play some latin music.  I think Venezuelan music is similar to all type of Hispanic music.  Most of it was Salsa which always makes my wife happy and dancing all over.  I could tell she was in a fantastic mood and this was going to be a great date night.

Since my meal was towards the end I decided to help her out with hers.  She was glad to let me help….so now I know she is in a really good mood…..until….

Wife: These avocados are as hard as a rock !

Me: ummmmm will they still work?

Wife: yeah sure they will work – in about 4 more days when they are ripe

Me: sooooooo what I hear is you need a man to come mash them because of your woman muscles?

*Avacodo thrown past my head*

Me: Sorry, when I hear Shakira singing she just inspires me to be manlier.

Wife: Don’t worry, I’ll run to the store quick while the chicken is cooking and see if they have some ripe ones.

It is nice that we live close to a supermarket.  It was good that she went too because I would probably just buy more not ripe avocados.

While she was gone I went ahead and chopped up all the ingredients for the avocado chicken mix.  I kind of like chopping up vegetables.  Its good practice for when I’m on Master Chef.  Gordon Ramsay will be so impressed with my knife skills and good looks he will probably just give me my own restaurant

While I’m daydreaming of my future career as a world renowned chef, my wife returns home.

Wife: Hey, Ramsay, these are ripe avocados.

Me: *as I feel them I can’t really tell the difference but I say*  aaaaahhhh babe, you are right…these are much different and will work better.  

You gotta know when it’s worth it to fight for your rights….avocados are not worth it.

Now my wife takes a butter knife in her hand and holds the avocado in the other and proceeds to hold it and cut it at the same time.

Me: Probably not the best idea, just cut it on the table.

Wife: I’ve been doing it this ways since I was 5….see  OOOOOOWWWWWWEEEEEEE!!!!!

*wife slices into the palm of her hand*

Now, this is usually a good time to feel proud and belt out the “I told you so”.  But to say that to a Rican woman, holding a knife while she just cut herself and is in some pain…..no….I choose life.

20170120_215444

Well, we got her patched up and I helped finish up the rest of the meal.   While the Arepas were cooking in the oven I went ahead and made the cookies.  She helped me roll them out and press the fork in.

By this time we were both starving.  The Arepas finished and we filled them with the chicken avocado mix of heaven and they were absolutely wonderful.  We were both able to eat about 2 each.  They are pretty filling.  While we ate I shoved in the cookies to bake and we started on our activity.

The activity was nothing crazy.  Since we are still in January we decided to make one of those Mason Jars that you keep through the year and add little pieces of paper with positive things that happen to you throughout the year, or things you are thankful for.  What we plan on doing is close to the end of the year we would go live on Facebook on one of our home date nights and read through them…..well, the PG-13 ones.

So we dug into our Martha Stewart side, got some ideas from Pinterest and decorated a mason jar.  I bought some colored sticky notes.  We just grabbed some items from my wife’s crafting stuff and decorated together….ok, she decorated, I watched and critiqued.  She is really crafty so she makes it looks simple but awesome.  We set it up on the window sill and my wife grabs the first note and writes something down and adds it to the jar.

Me: really already, what did you write?

*Wife grabs my hand and gives me the look*

Wife: Wookies need love too !!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our At Home Date Night.  Please share and leave comments.  We love to also hear stories of other’s at home date nights.  You can join our facebook group.  Just search At Home Date Night in FB. This way, you will get a notice when we post.  It’s usually every Friday, but this week I failed.  I do have to say that next week will be tough for us to do an At Home Date night. We are going to try. I have to travel to California next week for business and might not be able to write the blog.  So the next one might be posted two weeks from now.  I’ll do my best though.  Thanks for reading and remember, Your Marriage is Worth It !!!

Main Dish:  Reina Pepiada, Arepas with Chicken and Avocado

img950189

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Boneless Chicken 1lb $4.00  
Small Yellow Onion ½ $0.99 Sliced
Bay leaf 1 $0.00 I had a little jar of these dried out, I used one of them
Peppercorns 5 $2.39 I didn’t have peppercorns
Salt ½ tsp $0.00  
Haas avocados 2 $3.00  
Mayonnaise 2 TBS $1.59 I bought a small jar
Lime juice 1 TBS $0.50 I bought a real lime and squeezed it, gave me roughly 1 TBS
Red Bell Pepper ½ $2.00 Finely chopped
White Onion 3 TBS $0.99 Finely chopped
Cilantro 3 TBS $0.99 Finely chopped
Jalapeno pepper ½ $1.29 Finely chopped
Garlic 2 tsp $1.59 Finely chopped
Ground black pepper ¼ tsp $0.00  
       

 

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
White corn flour 3 cups $3.50 P.A.N or Masarepa
Warm water 3 ¼ cups $0.00 Sliced
Salt 1 tsp $0.00  
Cooking oil 1 TBS $0.00 You may need more
       

 

Total Cost: $23.00  Wow, that was expensive, but it makes enough to have two full meals.  Plus there is enough white corn, and if you have all the seasonings it’s much cheaper.

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 10

Wife: 10

Directions:

This is an easy dish you will be making for the rest of your life now.  It was sooooooooooo good and it makes enough to eat for dinner and then lunch the next day.  Now, will your kids enjoy it? Probably not because it doesn’t come in a little sealed pack with “gummies” written across it or a bag with an orange fish on the front.  Ok here’s how to make this masterpiece.

First you want to poach the chicken.  This takes the longest to cook so get it started. In a big pot place two pieces of boneless chicken breast (approx. 1lb) and fill the pot with cold water and cover the chicken by an inch or two.

img_0181

Add in the 5 peppercorns, ½ slicked yellow onion, 1 bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring the pot to a boil and as soon as it’s boiling turn it down to simmer and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes.  You need the chicken to be cooked through.  Ok, while that is cooking move on to the Arepas

Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a large bowl add in the warm water.  Then add in the salt and stir it in so it dissolves. Pour the corn flour in and start kneading it.  Make sure to there are no lumps.  After this is done let it sit for about 3-5 minutes.  You don’t need to use the mixer for this. It doesn’t take that long to knead.

20170120_204119

This much dough will make you about 8 Arepas.  So just divide your mix into 8 equal parts.  Then form the arepas by making them into a ball, then flatten them to about ½ inch.  Rub your thumbs around the edges to make a nice seal.  They should be about 4” in diameter and ½ inch thick.

20170120_204848

In a non-stick pan or skillet add a little bit of oil and get it hot.  Medium high should be enough, but you want it hot because you are going to sear the arepas now.   You should be able to get 3 or 4 in the pan. Let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side.  They should look like the pictures

Once you are done searing them off place them straight on the oven wire rack.  Let them cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Once they are done pull them out and let them cool.  While they are cooking, time to make the Avocado Chicken mix……pure heaven.

Ok, this is going to take some serious knife skills.  Plus, don’t let your wife cut the avocado if she is a Rican. She will do it like they taught her on the island and end up slicing her hand.  Cut it like a normal safe person on a cutting board.

20170120_210456

Ok, while the Arepas and Chicken or cooking, finely chop up the red bell pepper (get rid of the seeds and ribs), finely chop the jalapeno pepper( again get rid of the seeds). Finely chop up the garlic, the cilantro, the white onion.  Add in the tablespoon of lime juice, the 2 tablespoons of mayo, and the two avacodos.  Now mash them all up till they are thoroughly mixed.   Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Once mixed in go ahead and cover it and set it in the fridge.

By this time the chicken might be done.  Pull the chicken out and let it set for about 2 minutes. Then start to shred it.  I use 2 forks and just dig them in and pull the chicken apart. This usually works pretty well.

20170120_214456

Once it’s nice and shredded, pull the avocado mix from the fridge and add the shredded chicken to it.  Mix it really good and add more salt or pepper if it needs some.

20170120_214708

At this point you are going to taste it one time and be like, “ WOW THIS IS AMAZING”  you are going to ask your wife to taste it again and she will slap your hand away…..don’t worry, it will soon be yours.

Ok, place the chicken avocado mixture back in the fridge.  The arepas should be done by now. Pull them from the oven and let them cool for about 5 min.  Once they are cool enough to handle, slice them and add the avocado chicken mixture to them.

As you are chowing down on this think to yourself, “I have the greatest wife in the entire world”

Dessert: Venezuelan Polvorosas

20170120_234131

 ITEM QTY Cost Notes
All purpose Flour 2 cups $0.00 you have almost all these items probably
Cinnamon ½ tsp $0.00  
Powdered sugar ½ cup $0.00  
Salt 1 pinch $0.00  
Sugar 1 cup $0.00  
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp $2.39  
Vegetable shortening 1 cup $3.59  
       

Total Cost: ~$ 6.00  !!!! well worth it.  and now that I have the vanilla extract and vegetable shortening I can make a bunch more batches and gain about 10 lbs…can’t wait !!!

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 10

Wife: 9

Directions:

These might be my new favorite cookie.  I don’t know what it is about them, I just loved them. Probably because I made them and I was feeling pretty proud.  Anyways, these cookies are ridiculously easy to make….of course if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer like this guy it is now extremely easy.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  It’s probably already at 350F because you needed it at this temp to make the Arepas. Find and cookie sheet or flat sheet and put some parchment paper on it. Set this to the side.

In a large bowl or the bowl that comes with your brand new Kitchen Aid Mixer, add the 1 cup of Vegetable shortening and turn the mixer on low for 30 seconds to cream it.

Then add 1 cup sugar and the pinch of salt and continue to mix for about 30 more seconds or until it looks incorporated.  Then add the vanilla extract and cinnamon.

20170120_220842

Turn off the mixer and scrap the sides

Turn it back on and just make sure it’s at the lowest setting.  Then start to slowly add in the flour.  You will be tempted as you add in more sugar to put the mixer on a higher setting.  Don’t be an idiot like me and try to speed this up.  Just mix it on slow until it’s just starting to completely combine.  I’m new to baking, don’t judge me.  One day , when I’m standing in front of Gordon Ramsey and he hands me the Master Chef trophy I’ll be thinking, “wow, from no named blogger who didn’t even know to keep the mixer on low when mixing in flour to greatest home cook in the world”.  You gotta dream big folks

Ok, now rolls little balls about 1 tablespoon size.  Place them on the cookie sheet about ½ inch apart from each other.  You should be able to get them all on one cookie sheet.

20170120_224110

Get a fork and slightly mash them down.  They might start to crumbled right there, that means you put the mixer on high like me.  It’s ok, they will still taste wonderful.  Just push them back together and very lightly mash them down with the fork until they don’t crumble.

img_0184

Bake them on the middle rack for 20-25 min.  Pull them out and place them on a wire rack to cool.  After about 5 minutes of cooling go ahead and transfer them to a large place and dust them with the powdered sugar.  Then shove as many down your gullet as you can because you won’t want to stop eating them.  Plus they are healthy…..ok…that’s not true, but I tell myself that.  These are also awesome with milk.

20170120_234124

 

Activity: Thankful Mason Jar

img_0342

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Mason Jar 1 $0.00 You usually have to buy these in packs, so you can save an old spaghetti jar, clean it and use this.
Notepad 1 $2.00 I like the colored pads.  They make the jar look cook as they start to add up.
Craft Items as much as you want $2.00 You shouldn’t spend more than 5 bucks on supplies, just find some crafty stuff around the house or your wife probably has some. My wife bought a few things at the store.

 Total Cost: $ 4.00

Directions:  

I don’t even really have to explain this.  Decorate a Jar, and leave it in a place that both of you see a lot. We put it over our kitchen sink on the window sill.  We always see it there and it reminds us to fill out the notes and drop them in.  Leave a pen there too.  That way you aren’t looking for a pen to write something down.  You will probably put it off till later if you don’t have everything ready right there….and we know what happens when a guy puts something off till later…….yeah…it never gets done.

But if you needed an idea here you go. My wife bought some little thank you cards. She took off the lid of the mason jar and cut out the “Thank You” symbol of the card with in the shape of the lid

 

She then bought these little things to hang around the jar to decorate it.  Add the colorful cute notepads and there you go.

img_0337Done !!!  I’m thankful for my wife. She is crafty….in more than one way.

Total At Home Date Night Cost: $33.00   Not bad !!!!!

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

Option 1: $49.00 Total saved: $202.00

Option 2: $26.00   Total saved: $98.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $40.00

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

 

Advertisements

Week 3: Dodging Axes, In Norway

I must apologize in advance for this blog.  This blog was actually written quite a bit ago when I thought I would start the blog back up.  I never posted it and saved it for when I thought something might happen and we couldn’t do date night one week.  I didn’t want to have to skip a week in this process, because as soon as I skip one, it’s much easier to skip another and then BAM !!! I give up.  So I have some of these gems in my pocket to pull out in certain circumstances.  My wife and kids were sick pretty much all week and it was difficult to do our planned Venezuelan date night. I was really looking forward to it and I know my wife was too.  So, I’ll leave you with our trip to Norway. I do have to say, this was a fun date night we had, the best part was I utterly slaughtered my wife at our activity.

The night started off pretty normal.  I got home from work and was handed over the keys of parental life.  You know what I mean guys, you get home, and you can just tell, It’s been a long day for your wife and she needs about an hour away from crazy town to get her wits back again.  It’s perfectly normal for this to happen and it happens to all of us. Women are a little unstable as it is, throw in kids and 5-6 hours of Hobby Kids mom on Youtube and it would drive about any person to the brink.  So give her that time. Let her decompress a little and you’ll see that the person you married many moons ago has returned, smiling, revitalized, and ready for a wonderful date with her knight in shining armor.  Sure the armor doesn’t fit as well anymore….but it’s still shiny.  Trust me, she appreciates it, even if it doesn’t show all the time I guarantee you she appreciates it.

So my wife headed upstairs and it was time for me to put on my big boy dad pants and tire these kids out.  My little one has been into pretending a lot. You know, acting like a dinosaur and of course, I’m the daddy dinosaur and we have to talk like dinosaurs and pretend to catch other dinosaurs and eat them…..yeah…..kill me.   You know, I’m not 21 anymore so crawling on my knees for an hour can do some damage…physically and mentally.  It’s ok though, he likes it and I know this phase will only last for about a year….yeah…kill me.   The older one rescues me though.  He likes to act like a crazed lunatic and jump on top of my back and act like another attacking dinosaur…this usually turns into an argument with the little one and then an all-out brawl takes place….this is my time to slip away and hide somewhere.  Usually crying happens shortly after, but at least I got a little break. I’m not quite sure how my dad did it. I had two older brothers and a younger sister and I can remember wrestling with my dad quite often.  Man, we would pound on him so hard.  Now I know why his body is so messed up and he walks like a bent piece of bread.  Thanks dad for letting us beat you up, it made us closer and I appreciate you way more now that my kids pound on me.

Well, I got them tired out and my back couldn’t take much more so I got them cleaned up and in bed.  My wife didn’t seem ready to come out of her cave so I headed downstairs to start date night.  I looked up her recipe and as I’m going through it I was like, “ Wow, I wonder if she read this, it looks like this is going to take 2-3 hours to make”.

Just then I hear this Viking music playing loudly and my wife comes down and she has made a viking helmet out of tin foil and is wearing it on her head and has covered one of her bras in tin foil and wearing it on the outside of her shirt.

Wife:  I’m ready for date night in Norway babe.

Me:  You are the absolute greatest wife that has ever lived !!!!

She never ceases to amaze me.  I wish she would let me post a picture of what she looked like. I just couldn’t stop laughing.  She is such a jokester and I love it.  This is why Date Night is so important. It reminds you that you are more than just a mom or just a dad, you are husband and wife, best friends who love being idiots together.

She kept the get up on for the rest of the night.

We started to make her dish.  She decided to make Norsk Kanelboller (Norwegian Cinnamon Twists). This is no walk in the park my friends.  I was like:

Me: did you read this?

Wife: yeah why?

Me: are you sure, because this is going to take like 2 hours?

Wife: WHAT ????

Me: well, good thing I don’t work tomorrow, we got this

Wife: Ok let’s do this !!!

I could tell the costume was making her feel like she could conquer the world.  Let’s just roll with it.  Well, we started to get into her dish and oh boy, we wished we hadn’t. This was a ton of work. Without a Kitchen Aid mixer this dish is extremely hard to make.   About halfway through the kneading process she was like

Wife: I think we should just throw this away and do something else.

Me: No way, we started it we are going to finish it.

Wife: no really, I don’t even think this recipe is accurate, the dough looks so weird and we’ve been doing this for 40 minutes now.

Me: We’ve come so far to give up now……ok let’s give up.

Wife: No ….we must endure.

e

So we endured and 2 hours later we had the most amazing hot cinnamon buns.

While the dough was rising I made the Norwegian Meatballs.  They were super easy to make and really good.  She and I both loved them.  It doesn’t take too long to make and you need something to do while the dough is rising.  I will probably make meatballs this way for the rest of my life.  They were so tasty.

Ok, after eating it was time for our activity.  Since we were visiting Norway all I could think about was Vikings.  So we decided to have an axe throwing competition……..yeah…..no…….

Having axes in the same house with a Rican woman is probably not a good idea.  So I did the next best thing. We got a dart board and we were going to play a modified version to the game called cricket.

I got the dart board off of Amazon for like 20 bucks.  I’m not big into darts and she said she had never played (I knew this….it’s why I bought the thing).   I’ve been losing at competitive games since doing the home date night so I needed some kind of advantage. If you want to read about me getting humiliated in a game I should have destroyed her at…read this

I explained the rules and set up the board.  The way we were going to play was just try to hit 20, 19,18,17,16,15 three times each and in descending order.  The first person to close out all numbers won the game.

On my first shot….WAMO….double 20’s.  Her first shot…..nada.

Wife: This isn’t fair, the board is too high and I’m short, plus you are making me throw from so far away.

Me: I don’t care that’s the rules

Wife: *look of, I’m going to stab you with one of these darts*

Me: *trying to hide how fearful of her I truly am*

We continued to play and after 6-7 rounds I was on number 17 and she was still on 20….yeah…I’m destroying her.

Wife: This is so unfair.  This is physics you know…pure physics is not allowing me to win because my trajectory is harder to accomplish than yours

Me: *blank stare*…….Ok, you can move a little closer.

Wife moves closer and hits all her 20’s and moves onto 19.  At this point I’m a little scared….but of course I’m talking smack and looking like I have total confidence in myself.

After my next turn I nail all my 17’s and 1 16.

Wife:  Get on your knees and try to throw so you can see what I’m talking about.

Me: *gets on knees, throws first two darts and misses 16*

Wife:  See what I mean…see how much more difficult it is

Me: *throws third dart and hits triple 16*…….so I guess I’m better than physics…right?

Wife: *punches husband in the arm*

Me: yep…I deserved that.

Well, everyone, you will be happy for me.  I took her down and closed out the game shortly after.  Finally, I get one in the win column for Home Date Nights.

20170119_215326

She was a good sport about it.  She said good job and gave me a nice long congratulatory hug….no kiss though.

Well, we she headed upstairs for bed and I went in to clean up the kitchen.  I hear her call down and she says:

Wife: Hey, didn’t the Vikings like to explore and go raiding for villages for treasure?

Me: I’m not sure, I think a lot of that is myth and made up for dramatic TV shows.

Wife: *tosses down tin foil bra*  Well, maybe there are some lands up here that need exploring and still some hidden treasures to be found.

Me: *Makes Viking war call sound and runs upstairs as fast as possible*

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our home date night and you are doing your own Home date nights. Please share your experience or share any ideas or thoughts on how we could improve the blog. We love to read comments or answer any questions you may have about the recipe’s.  Have a great week and we will see you next Friday.  Remember….Your Marriage is worth it !!!!

Appetizer : Norsk Kanelboller (Norwegian Cinnamon Twists)

3

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
flour 8 cups $3.99
dry yeast 1 pkg $0.99
salt 1 tsp $0.00
ground cardemon 2 tsp $0.00
sugar 2/3 cup $0.00
egg 1 $0.00
whole milk 2 1/2 cups $0.00
Unsalted butter 2/3 cup $0.00
Cinnamon Paste QTY Cost Notes
Unsalted butter 1/2 cup $0.00
cinnamon 6 tsp $0.00
sugar 1/3 cup $0.00
egg 1 $0.00

Total Cost: $5.00  (honestly, you probably have most of these items)

Husband Rating: 9

Wife Rating: 9

The only reason these get a 9 is because they definitely need some kind of glaze….oh and it takes A FREAKEN LONG TIME TO MAKE !!!!   but it was worth it.

Directions:

Prepare yourself physically and mentally.  If you do not have a KitchenAid mixer you may curse…not once, but a lot….in a loving way though.  We do not have a KitchenAid mixer….so there may have been a few choice words said.

Ok, once you are prepared dump all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (flour, dry yeast, salt, ground cardamom, sugar)

Add 1 egg to the dry mix and incorporate. This is where you start to wish you had a nice electric mixer.

Heat up the milk for like 30 seconds in the microwave. You don’t want it burning hot, just warm.  Now start to add the milk into the dry mixture and attach the imaginary dough hook (your hands) to the imaginary mixer (you) and start to mix everything together aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnddddddddd…..let cursing commence as you knead the bajesus out of it.  When you think you are done kneading…knead a little more.  It should take you about 30 min….yeah….30 minutes.  If you read this recipe before you started than you have probably decided not to make it.  If not, then you are wishing you didn’t start it and are debating whether or not you want to throw all this flour away.  It’s a tough decision. We almost threw it all away, but we pushed through.

Ok, once kneaded (slightly sticky)…or so you think once kneaded,  melt the butter and add it to the dough ball in 1/3’s at a time.  This gets really messy without a mixer. Butter everywhere and it takes a long time to incorporate.  Probably another 15-20 minutes.

Once done, place the slimy dough ball into a bowl and cover with some plastic stuff, let the dough sit for about 45 min or until it has doubled in size….you see now why we were up so late.

While the dough is rising, in a mixing bowl mix ½ cup butter, 6 tbs cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 whisked egg and mix everything together to make a paste.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Ok, the dough has now risen, guess what? Time for more kneading.  On your counter top go ahead and lightly dust it with flour. The dough should be oily from all the butter you added.  Knead for about 5-7 more minutes

Once done with the kneading roll out the dough into a large flat circular form.

On half of it add the paste that you made and then fold over the other half onto the top of the paste.  Now cut long strips about an inch thick.

photo-1

Twist the buns as shown in the pictures below.

photo-2

Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper. Place the buns on the parchment paper and then put into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.  Pull them out and admire your handy work.  Even without any glaze or topping these things are still good.  This makes a lot of buns. We were eating them for days.  They are great for breakfast.  I love buns

Main Dish : Norwegian Meatballs w/ Brown Gravy

photo-3

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Ground beef 1 lb $3.99
unsalted butter 2 tbs $0.00
olive oil 1tbs $0.00
Onion 3/4 cup $0.99 grated
half and half 1/4 cup $2.49 you probably have this
egg 1 $0.00
kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp $0.00
ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp $0.00
ground allspice 1/4 tsp $0.00 just use whatever multi spice you have
black pepper 1/4 tsp $0.00
beef broth 4 cups $2.99
beef base 1 tbs $0.00 I had some beef boulon cubes..you probably have these too.  They are cheap either way
Kitchen Bouquet 1 tsp $2.99 I had to look this up to see what it was…its just some liquid flavoring
salt and pepper to taste $0.00

Total Cost: $13.45

Husband Rating: 10

Wife Rating: 10

Directions:

First you have to grate the onion.  I’ve never grated an onion before.  I figured you should just chop it up fine but I’m following the recipe so grating it is.  I think you can do it either way.  So grate ¾ of a cup and put it into a large mixing bowl.

Add ¼ cup of half and half, 2 tbs cornstarch, 1 egg, 1 ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground allspice, and ¼ tsp ground black pepper.

Whisk all this together in the bowl.

Now comes the fun part, making the meatballs.  So dump in the pound of ground beef and mix everything together really well.

b

Now make the meatballs.  Make them whatever size you want.

In a large frying pan on medium high heat 2 tbs unsalted butter and 1 tbs of olive oil.  Then add in the meatballs.  Just brown them, do not cook them all the way through. Seal in that flavor.

Once you are done with the meatballs put them off to the side. Then deglaze the frying pan with 3 1/2 cups of broth. Don’t throw away the little brown bits from browning the meatballs.

Stir in the beef base and bring the broth up to a boil.

In another bowl whisk together the flour and kitchen bouquet and the remaining ½ cup of beef broth.  Then add this mixture to the main broth in the frying pan.

Reduce down to a simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400F.  In a roasting pot or something you can put in the oven go ahead and put all the meatballs in and pour over the broth.  Cover the pot and shove it in the oven and let it braise for 35-40 minutes.  Yeah, that’s a long time.

In the meantime you can make some mashed potatoes or some noodles.  You don’t need a side at all. These meatballs are fantastic by themselves and are full of flavor. Enjoy !!

Activity: Darts “A game of Cricket”

20170119_215208

Total Cost: $ 20.00

Enjoyment:

Husband: 10….of course…I WON

Wife: 1   just kidding, she had fun, she just doesn’t like to lose

Ok, this is really simple.  If you don’t have a dart board you can buy one off of amazon for like 20 bucks here. That’s pretty awesome. Yes, it’s not the nicest of dart boards but it will work.  This was a quick game which was good because we took so long on the buns…not the fun kind.

So the way we played Cricket was really a variation. It’s how I remember playing it.  Basically you make two columns and are trying to hit numbers 20,19,18,17,16, and 15.  We played where you had to hit them in order.  You have to hit 20 3 times before you could move on to 19.  The first person to close out each number won the game.  Now I bet if I went back through all the home date nights I would find that my wife has crushed me at most games that we play. Well, tonight was not that night.   I stand victorious…as I sleep on my lonely couch…but it’s ok….because I’m a champion.

TOTAL HOME DATE NIGHT COST : ~ $38.00

Christmas Savings 2017 Shadow Box deposits

Option 1: $50.00 Total saved: $153.00

Option 2: $24.00   Total saved: $75.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $30.00

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

 

Week 2: Diffusing a Bomb !!!! In Japan

Japan is definitely on my list of places I want to visit before I meet an untimely death.  I guess maybe it’s the culture I want to experience.  They just seem like they have much more nationalism than we do here in Murica and hold traditions in high esteem.  I have a lot of respect for that. Oh I forgot, read this blog with a Japanese accent for better authenticity.

The night started off as normal….get important things done first. Like getting the kids to bed.

We did manage to get the kids to bed early but the youngest kept getting out of bed for just about any reason he could think of.  “I need juice, I need my night night put on right, can you read me one more book, what are you guys doing, bacon? I need to go pee, I need to go poo”.

Yeah, so that was constant throughout the beginning but eventually the little guy fell asleep and it was time for the magic to begin.  Why do little kids always have to go poo right before bed?  It’s programmed within them or something.  Anyways, off to Japan we go.

My wife put on the traditional Japanese station on her Amazon Echo (which actually worked this time) so our moods would be set.  I have to say, the music was cool but man was it super slow. I wanted some crazy Japanese pop music or something…but no…it wasn’t happening.

This at home date night meal took a little more prep work since the meal I was making was YakiUdon and my wife’s appetizer was Cheese Korokke.  I had two items on our grocery list that could not be found.  I actually had to go to an Asian market to find them.  The cool thing is…I found a new little grocery shop that I will be using in the future.  The lady running the place was so nice and kind.  They serve food there too so next time maybe I can get something authentic.  So make sure if you are going to copy the recipe you have an Asian market nearby because you won’t find two of the ingredients in murica’s publix and one of them is essential to the dish. The other one you can probably go without if you want too.

My dish wasn’t going to take that long to prepare so I started to help my wife with hers and she jumps back and makes karate fighting sounds at me.

“Waaaa, Chaaaa, Waaaa”

She waves her hands around like she is going to fight me.  Now imagine a little Rican woman with a slight Rican accent making karate fighting sounds…..yeah…that’s my life.

She said in Japanese accent, “You no touch my dish white devil.”

I’m not sure where she gets this stuff but I couldn’t help but laugh.  It was a sight to behold.  She didn’t want me to be able to take credit for anything she made. Sound familiar fella’s?  Although when it came time to chop up the yellow onion she let me know she wanted me to do it.  Now I wasn’t offering help, just being told what to do and responding correctly.  There is a difference….in a woman’s mind that is.

After about 30 minutes her dish was ready to sit in the fridge for a little bit.  We cleaned up the dishes together (awwwww) and then sat down to talk a little.  She looked up some things they do in Japan and a couple of them were pretty funny and some were downright deadly.  By deadly I mean…slurping.

Nothing says, “I want to get stabbed directly in the eyeball with a spoon” like slurping your food near a Rican woman.

Probably most woman I would say hate to hear the sound of people eating, but in Japan slurping your food loudly is a sign that the food is good and it’s a compliment to the chef.  I did not attempt this later when we ate my dish, I ate it normal, White Devil normal.

The other one was that KFC is the busiest place to eat on Christmas Day.  They say it’s because foreigners to the country couldn’t find a place to get a turkey so they settled for KFC, and the Japanese people started following suit because they thought it was how you celebrated Christmas.

If I ever eat at a KFC on Christmas I will have failed somewhere horribly at one point in my life.

The best one I thought was that it is normal to stick your finger into another person’s butt.  Yep, you read that right.  It’s called “Kan-CHO!”

So apparently kids on the playground will clasp their hands together and point their fingers as if to make a gun and when people walk by they jab their “gun” into the passerby’s butt and yell “Kan-CHO!”.

Let me make something perfectly clear, that is not acceptable in murica.

While my wife and I were contemplating whether or not we were going to visit Japan now, the Amazon Echo timer went off which meant it was time to fry my wife’s appetizer.  The Cheese Korokke is a mashed potato patty stuffed with Gouda Cheese and breaded with Panko and deep fried.

Yeah, can you say…. “Kan-CHO!”

It was simply amazing.  The only thing different we would do would be to add more Gouda Cheese to it, but the flavoring of the potato was awesome and the dip is the other item you have to pick up in the Asian Market. It’s a type of Japanese BBQ sauce.  It tastes a little like Caribbean Jerk sauce.  It was really good.  I think she ate one and I ate two.  You can see from the pics they are pretty big.  So now it was time to cook my dish.

What I made was called YakiUdon.  It’s basically a Japanese style stir-fry.  The Yaki part comes from the sauce you use called Yakisoba.  You have to get this at the Asian Market.  The Udon comes from the type of noodles you use (No slurping though).  Then it’s just chicken, broccoli, peppers and some other things all put together.

It really was a delicious dish but I overcooked the noodles which made it not so great.  The flavor was spot on though.  We both enjoyed it.  I actually made it later in the week and gave it to the kids and they really hated it, but their diet consists of Gogurts and Cheezit’s (Parental Winning !!!) ….so they are not the most reliable judges.  Now I made the noodles correctly and it was really really good.

Well, we were pretty full so that meant one thing, it’s time to do something super stressful that could possibly cause and all out fight but is supposed to be fun.

For our activity we decided to play a game called “Keep talking and nobody explodes”.  It’s a game on the PC where one person has a bomb with little puzzles on it and a timer and another person who cannot see what the bomb looks like has the bomb manual in front of them and they have to talk to each other to diffuse the bomb before the timer goes off or they do something wrong 3 times.

Nothing says, “Future Marriage Counselling Needed” like trying to work with your spouse to diffuse a bomb.

So we decided that I should be the one using the bomb manual because my profession is very detail oriented and interpreting instructions is part of what I do for a living and she should be the bomb diffuser because she is good at following directions…..wait…that’s not right….this is going to be rough.

I had played this game briefly before but my wife hadn’t so I walked her through the tutorial and she felt comfortable with what she had to do.

I do have to compliment my wife really quick in one area.  She is a superfast learner.  I am not.  You just have to explain something to her once or have her perform something one time and she will be an expert.

So, time to diffuse our first bomb and save the Japanese people.

She hits go and the dialogue goes like this:

Me: “Ok – what do you see?”

Wife: “I got a Bomb”

SMH, we aren’t going to make it I thought.

Me: “No what do you see, any wires?“

Wife: “Yes there are wires.”

So I go to the section on wires and start rattling off instruction on how many wires, how many colors..bla bla bla.  I tell her to cut the yellow wire, she does and that section turns green which means onto the next module.

Wife: “I have a big red button that says HOLD”

Me:  “what color is it?”

Now it’s a good thing we can’t see each other’s faces because if there is one thing my wife hates is having to answer stupid questions, which I am the king of.

Wife: “RED I SAID….come on we have 1 min left !!!!”

I frantically look for the section on buttons and start asking her questions.

Me: “Does the button say anything?”

Wife: “HOLD” , she must be boiling by this point.

Me: “Ok, hold…hold…hold..I don’t see anything about it saying hold….ok wait, it says to hold the button- and what color does the meter to the right of the button turn?”

Wife: “BLUE! “

Me: “Ok let the button go when the timer has a …..”

*eerrrrrnnnt*

Me: “Ummm what just happened?”

Wife: “I let it go like you said.”

Back and forth we go on who made the mistake or whatever all the while the timer is still going.

Me: “Ok if the button is blue now push the button in and hold …..”

Wife: “I’m already holding it in !” 

(We are sooooo dead) I’m thinking in my head.

Me:“Ok – this time – let it go when the number 2 is in any position on the timer”

* BLING *

We diffused our first bomb with 27 seconds to spare.  We are pretty much geniuses.

Now you think we would both be happy we solved our first bomb but like most married couples we kind of blamed each other for not listening.  We did close to 8 other bombs without killing each other.

I could tell my wife really was enjoying herself because we stayed up till almost 1 am playing together.  It was a lot of fun and some of the puzzles are really hard so we watched some you tube video’s on how to even understand what we were supposed to do.  Even with the video’s it got really hard, but we worked together, blew up a lot together, blamed each other a lot together, but now we feel like if we were in that situation in real life we probably have a 15% chance of actually surviving.  I guess that’s better than 0%.

So we shut down the PC’s and I headed upstairs. She was behind me walking upstairs and says, “Hey, want to play another game?“

I’m thinking…..JACKPOT!! , “Of course I do babe “, I say……and then I feel it…..”Kan-CHO!!!“

So I hope you enjoyed sharing this experience with us and I hope you will start to put and importance on your marriage and spending time once a week falling in love again because as we say here at the At Home Date Night Duo blog…..let’s make marriages great again….wait no that’s not it….Feel the Bern of Marriage again…..wait that’s not right..what was it, oh yes, Marriage for America….nope that is just stupid and feels like something a complete and utter criminal would say.  I got it, Because your marriage is worth it !!!!  See you next Friday for another installment as we take a trip too Venezuela !!!!

 

Appetizer:

Cheese Korokke

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-073

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
potatoes 2lbs $2.00
butter 1tbsp $0.00
oil 2tbsp $0.00
onion yellow 1 lg $1.00
Gouda 7oz $3.98 I once ate a whole one of these on my way home from work.
salt and pepper to taste $0.00 I recommend 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
eggs 3 $2.67
panko 2 cups $1.68
flour 1/2 cup $0.00 you have
tonkatsu Sauce dipping $5.65 you could possibly skip this
deep frying oil 2 cups $2.28 you might have this too, but I put the price in there anyways

Total Cost: ~ $20.00

Husband Rating : 9

Wife Rating: 9

Directions:

Chop up the potatoes in little cubes and place them in a big pot of boiling water.  Cook them until they are soft.  Drain out the water and Mash the potatoes while adding salt, pepper, and butter.

 

In and frying pan saute the finely chopped onions with the olive oil.  Once the onions have a good color mix them into the mash potatoe mix.

Hopefully the mashed potatoes are still hot. This helps with making the patties.  Fort the patties just like you would hamburgers.  Then in the middle cut up some Gouda and stick it in your mouth.  C’mon people !! You really think I could go through a whole recipe that involves cheese without stuffing some down my gullet before adding it to the food?  Think again !!

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-059

Ok, now that you are satisfied by the Gouda cheese, add some to the middle of the patties. I would recommend adding a lot.  Then put another patty on top of the cheese and make sure to close in all around the cheese with the potatoe.  Place the finished patties on some parchment paper and then stick it in the fridge and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes.  It really all depends on how hungry you are.

So you can fry them two ways.  The easy way is with a deep fat fryer (which is what I have) or you have to add about 2 cups of Canola or Veggie oil to a pan and fry them that way.  Either will work. The later just takes longer.

Get the oil hot while the patties are in the fridge. Then get your breading station going.  Pull out two plates and one bowl.  In the bowl whisk the eggs and add a little bit of milk.  If you don’t have milk then don’t worry, just use the eggs.  Then on the first plate put the ½ cup of flour and on the other plate put the 2 cups of Panko.

Now dip the patties in the flour, then the egg, then the panko, then into the burning hot oil.

Let it cook until it’s pretty brown.  I would even let it cook a little longer since Gouda takes a little longer to melt for some reason.

Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then dip it into the Tonkatsu Sauce and into your mouth.  Congrats…you just ate a Cheese Korokke.

Main Dish:  

YakiUdon

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-077

Sauce:

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Soy Sauce 2 Tbs $2.28 You may have some..
Mirin 3 Tbs $3.99 you have to buy whole bottle..but you will use it for other things
Yakisoba Sauce 2 Tbs $4.99 these sauces are breaking the bank
Garlic 2 cloves $0.00 minced
Ginger 1/2 tsp $1.49 minced

Meal:

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Chicken Breast 1lb $5.00
Frozen Udon Noodles 2 8oz $2.88 frozen, usually comes with 2 8oz or 7.1 oz packs
Olive Oil 2tbs $0.00
Yellow Onion 1/2 med $1.00
Red Bell Pepper 1 $1.68
Broccoli Florets 2 cups $1.84 partially cooked
Green Onions 2 $1.18 sliced

Total Cost:  ~$26.00

Husband Rating : 8

Wife Rating: 8

Directions:

This meal is super simple and you will probably start moving it into your normal rotation of bi-weekly meals.  I would recommend that you use or get a Wok to cook it in.  I don’t have one, which sucks, but hopefully my wife will read this, feel bad for me, and buy me one.   Of course that will probably involve me having to buy something for her as well, second thought….don’t buy me that Wok.

Cut the chicken up into little thin strips and put them in a mixing bowl.

 

To make the sauce just whisk the soy sauce, mirin, yakisoba, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl.

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-057

Add about 1 Tbs of the sauce to the chicken and mix it in with the chicken. You have to do this guys because your wife probably doesn’t like touching raw chicken.

Add some salt and pepper to the chicken

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-065

Heat up the Wok or large frying pan.  Medium High heat should be good.  Once it’s hot add the olive oil to the pan and coat the pan. Then add the chicken and the finely chopped onions. Let that cook until you can’t see any pink on the chicken anymore.

While that is cooking go ahead and chop up the broccoli if you bought it fresh. If you bought it frozen then cook it however the instructions tell you minus a minute.  You don’t want it completely cooked.

Once the chicken is brown throw in the broccoli florets and red bell peppers.  Let that cook until the peppers are a little soft.

While that is cooking, boil 10 cups of water and place the Frozen Udon noodles into the boiling water for about 1.5 minutes.

samsung-camera-clean-6_6_2016-060

Drain and let the noodles sit.  This is really easy to screw up. Don’t break apart the frozen noodles, you want them to be long and stringy. If you leave the noodles in to long your meal is going to suck.  I think they are already partially cooked when they are frozen.  I overcooked them the first time. Every other time I put them in for only 1.5 minutes.

Ok, once the chicken, broccoli, and peppers look like they are cooked go ahead and add the noodles. Mix it all together.  Then mix in the rest of the sauce.

Serve it in a bowl and garnish with green onions.  Enjoy !!

Activity:

“Keep Talking and nobody Explodes”

ktne

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
“Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” 1 $14.99 Download off of Steam

Total Cost: $14.99  Sometimes Steam has sales on games. I think I picked this up for like 10 bucks.

Enjoyment Ratings:

Me: 10

Wife: 10

Probability of Marriage Counselling afterwards: 97%

Ok, this is your chance guys !!!  You get to play a video game with your wife !!!!!  I know it’s not League of Legends or Call of Duty, but hey, I’m trying to ease them in slowly.  Give it some time and soon they will be head shotting those snot noise kids that get 15 hours a day to practice their aim while you get a couple hours a week before you can say “Kan-CHO”.  Ok, back on topic.

You have to download Steam onto your computer. If you don’t know what Steam is then you fail.  Actually, it’s really easy. Just make a Steam account. Search for “ Keep talking and nobody Explodes”. Purchase it. Then play it.  Go through the tutorial with your wife.  You do need two computers to play because you aren’t supposed to be looking at each other’s screen while you play.  One person diffuses the bomb while the other one looks through the manual on what to do.  YouTube is your friend as some of the puzzles you may not understand exactly what you are supposed to do.

Shoot us a message if you can get passed some of the Morris Code parts.  Those were fun. By fun I mean it went something like this:

Me: Ok, I need you to repeat the sequence by saying bleep bleep for the short tones and blooooop bloooop for long tones.  They should just keep repeating the same sequence. You know you are at the beginning of the sequence when there is a long pause.  There is a short pause between letters.

Wife: Ok….Bleep Bleep Bleep BLOOOOOP….uh uh ….BLOOOOOP BLOOOOP

Me: did you hear the long pause first? (in my head I’m thinking…..what the hell is she doing)

Wife: What long pause?

Me: the long pause that starts the sequence?

Wife: I never heard a long pause…OH WAIT….Bleep BLOOOOOP ….BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP……oK  long pause….BLOOP BLOOOOOOP

Me: *confused look*

Me: Stop, please stop for a second.

Wife: BLOOOOP BLOOOP BLOOOP…WE ARE GOING TO DIE !!!  HURRY UP WHAT IS THE CODE????

Me: we died as soon as you told me there was a Morris Code module.

Wife: BLEEP BLEEP BLOOOOOP BLEEE…oh no that was a BLOOOP…WE CAN STILL DO IT.

Me: God….just kill me now…kill me now please.

Wife: I Believe in you babe….BLEEP BLOOOOP BLOOOOP.

*Explosion*

Wife: You gotta listen babe…I’m doing the bloops and bleeps

Me: *head pounding on computer desk*

You guys are going to have a ton of fun playing this game.  It was challenging and fun to work through all the problems.  If any of you get the Morris code on the first try leave a comment.  We’d love to hear about your experiences with it.

Total At Home Date Night Cost:  ~ $60.00 .  

A little pricey but lots of repeat value. A lot of the sauces we can use for other things and the game you can play a bunch. Well worth the investment. If you have those things the date night is more around 30 bones I believe.

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: $51.00 Total saved: $103.00

Option 2: $25.00   Total saved: $51.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $20.00

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

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

227001a6

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….

48721740

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.

galaxys7_pictures_2017-060

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.

galaxys7_pictures_2017-061

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.

galaxys7_pictures_2017-062

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:

e14598fe

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

galaxys7_pictures_2017-066

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.

galaxys7_pictures_2017-064

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.

galaxys7_pictures_2017-065

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.

new-years-idea

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 !!!

Week 9: Wearing Man Skirts in Scotland

When I was in High school the movie Braveheart was released (I think I might have just gave away my age.)  I played on the volleyball team and one game a couple of the guys showed up with their faces painted all blue, ready for battle.  I’m not sure we fought like William Wallace did that day, but it was cool none the least.  Scotland has been a place my wife and I have wanted to go for a very long time.  We often talk about it and we hope one day we can make it a reality.  I think if we go I’m going to wear a kilt around all day long.  I like the idea of kilts.  I mean, it gets hot as hell down there and sometimes you just need to air things out.  Only in Scotland can you walk around in a man skirt and people probably won’t give it a second thought.  Do that here and you will be spending the night downtown with your new best friend “Love Fist”.  So tonight we are going to take you on our adventure to Scotland.

At Home Date night was postponed a couple of days this week. This is why you are reading this super late Friday night or sometime on Saturday.   It was postponed because of the activity we were going to do.  For the activity we decided to do a Beer Tasting.  I didn’t really want to do that on a work night, so we decided to do it on Thursday because I get every other Friday off.  Finding a meal to match up with Scotland was rather difficult.  I’m sure any of you who are Scottish are reading this saying, “What do you mean…there are a ton of staple Scottish recipes out there!”  I’ll have you know that the movie Brave is what screwed me over.  Now I like the movie but please Pinterest people stop posting recipes of “Scottish Eggs”.  They look like deep fried hard boiled eggs.  I don’t really remember the movie Brave but apparently those Scotch eggs were in the movie and were the greatest thing ever.  A lot of dishes I looked up had eggs in them and my wife isn’t that crazy about eggs.  You may think she is picky, but she has a childhood trauma associated with eggs and that’s why she doesn’t eat them.  So I give her a pass on that one.

I finally found this one dish called Rumbledthumps which is basically Scottish Potato & Cabbage Pie.  I’m so glad we made this because it was amazing.  My wife and I both aren’t crazy about Cabbage but it was so good and definitely something we will start having on our regular meals.  We didn’t do an appetizer this week because we knew we were doing the beer tasting and there would be cheese and chocolate involved so we wanted to eat light…….but you say, “you are loading up on a ton of carbs…what do you mean light?”    Hey, it had Cabbage, it must be healthy.

Date night started off pretty normal.  I did get home a little later than normal but I had done something sweet for my wife earlier in the day so she overlooked me being a little late.  We rounded up the kids and got them into bed at a normal time.  They were watching  a movie or something when I got home so I was able to peel the potatoes and core the cabbage and cut it up…..yeah….I know how to core and cut up a cabbage now….master chef skills upgraded.  I got both of them boiling (the potatoes and cabbage, not the kids) then helped get the kids cleaned up and ready for bed.   My wife was finishing up putting the young one to bed so I headed down stairs and got the traditional Scottish station playing on Pandora.  There is something about Scottish traditional music that makes you want to dance.  Now my back was turned to the stairs when my wife came down and she said, “Babe…….”  I turned around and broke into my best Lord of the Dance Scottish version…..but….SHE WAS ALREADY DOING IT !!!  This is why I love this woman because our minds are so completely in tune with our dorkiness. We continued to dance our silly dance and laugh.  I knew it was going to be a great at home date night.  Since I’m pretty out of shape I couldn’t dance for that long.  We stopped and she started to mash the potatoes. Now, my wife is the master of potato smashing.  Every year for Thanksgiving (or any special holiday family get together) my Dad calls me to ask if my wife is going to make the mash potatoes.  Most of the time he doesn’t ask, he just tells me we are going to bring the mash potatoes.  I don’t mind because they are amazing.  She just knows exactly how much seasoning, milk, and butter to put into it and the consistency is just…just…oh man thank God we have left overs because I just went and heated up some Rumbledethumps.  So anyways, she is a master masher.

While she was mashing I printed out the Beer Tasting score sheets.   Now we had six different beers to try with 2 different kinds of cheeses and 2 different kinds of chocolate.  BK (before kids), we used to go to Sea World a lot.  When Anheuser Busch used to own it they had this thing call the beer school.  It was about an hour presentation where you and a couple other people would be taught about different Busch Beers and how they were made and different pairing of foods and such.  It was really awesome and we loved going.  Not only was it free, but we always met interesting people from around the world.  When we backpacked through Europe we loved to meet new people and hear about their adventures.  So the beer school was a great way to spend some time, try new beers and learn about foods that go well with them, meet people from all over the states and world, and have a lot of laughs.  Afterwards we would just sit on a bench for probably a good 2 hours talking about the future and people watching.  I think Beck’s beer bought them out so they shut down the beer school and turned it into some all you can eat terrible pizza joint.   Now all that is left is wonderful memories and the benches we spent so much time, falling in love with each other.

Once I got the score sheets out she was done mashing and the Rumbledethumps needed about 30 minutes to bake.  We sat down on the couch and talked about her business and the future and what she is going to do to me when she dies……yeah……total buzz kill.  Actually it was rather funny because she says, “Since we are in Scotland I’m going to do something to you like that guy did from P.S. I Love You.” …….dead face……I say ,”That’s Ireland babe”.   Now my wife is usually right about things 99.9999% of the time, but occasionally I stump her and she gave me credit.  It was funny though.  I told her that I would love if she did that but let’s not talk about this topic anymore.  We switched the topic to backpacking through Scotland as an old couple.  We met this one couple in Munich, Germany that must have been in their 60’s, but they were madly in love and backpacking through Europe, staying at hostels, like they were still in college.  It was great and encouraging.

After a few more laughs the Rumbledethumps was finished and when I opened the oven the smell was just amazing.  We were pretty hungry so we started to chow down.  It does take a while to cool off so don’t eat it too fast.  Now having just mashed potatoes seemed odd for a dinner, but I’m glad that is all we had because by the time we were halfway through the beer tasting we were pretty stuffed.

We finished up our plates and got the cheese, chocolate, and a couple of different kinds of glasses out for the beer.  Now I want to say something, if you don’t drink beer this isn’t a lost date night for you.  I would recommend buying up a bunch of different kinds of fruits and do a smoothie tasting night.  You don’t have to have beer; it’s just what we decided to do because we both like beer and like to try different kinds.  Our local grocery store allows you to buy some of the specialty beers by the bottle. I love this because you don’t have to buy 6 beers to try something new and it end up sucking and then you are stuck with beer you don’t want (ok, this never really happens…..but it works for my argument none the less.)  I tried to pick a wide variety of lights, darks, and one sweet beer I had tried a long time ago.  I also picked up some smoked Applewood Gouda cheese because I remember the Sea World beer school had Gouda cheese and I LOVED IT.   So we started with the lightest beer first and our score cards had us rate, look, smell, taste, aftertaste, and drinkability.  Each category was weighted and they should all add up to 100 points if it was a perfect beer.  We didn’t have any perfect ones but definitely some new ones we will try again.  We had 6 beers to try and we would try each cheese and each chocolate with each beer.  We were having so much fun and laughing so much.  On the second beer we had New Castle Brown Ale and my wife says, “This smells good…kind of woodsy”.  I smell it and draw back a little and say, “smells like fart to me”, “No it doesn’t, smells like oak” she says, then I say, “Yeah oak farts.”  I will say though that it tasted much better after having cheddar cheese.  The cheddar cheese we got really brought out the taste of the beer.

About halfway through my wife starts talking to me with an Indian accent……I’m practically in tears listening to her because I know she is trying to speak with a Scottish accent.   She does the best accents….and by that I mean the funniest ones because they sound nothing like the accents she is trying to do.  We both decided to try and talk Scottish for the rest of the night so there were a lot of laughs.

We got to the sweet beer and she fell in love.  It was this beer called Wild Blue.  I remember a close friend of mine giving me one a long time ago and I loved it too.  It really doesn’t taste like beer at all, more like grape juice.  It was really good with the chocolates though, but I’ve been more into IPA’s lately so I wasn’t liking it that much.  We rounded off the night with an extra dark Stout by Guinness and I loved it, but it was her second lowest scored beer.

It was getting pretty late and our bellies were hurting a little from all the foods, but probably more so because of the laughs.  We decided to finish up the night watching a movie where we both passed out within the first 3 minutes of it starting.  So our night in Scotland was full of laughter, great food, great beer, and great memories.

Next week we cross into double digits for At Home Date Nights!!!!  It’s been so much fun and we’ve gotten so much closer these past few weeks.  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 become a part of our Facebook group Homedatenightduo.  If you do you will always be notified when the new blog goes up on Friday.  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.

Rumbledethumps : Scottish Potato & Cabbage Pie

IMG_6876

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
Potatoes 3 $1.99
Green cabbage 1 $0.72
Butter 6Tbsp $0.00 We had…you may use more
Chives 1 oz $1.99 This comes in a 1 oz package…use them all
Salt ??? $0.00 We had, and this is really to taste
Pepper ??? $0.00 Same as salt
Milk 1 cup $0.00 You have kids..of course you have.
Cheddar Cheese 1 cup $2.24 Bought the pre-shredded package….I know I’m lazy

 Total Cost: $ 6.94

Enjoyment Ratings:

Husband: 10

Wife: 10

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 square inch cubes (measure them, this is important…..kidding.) Next core the cabbage. If you don’t know how to do that then look it up on You Tube.  It’s where I learn how to do everything.   Get two big bowls and fill them with some water and about 1 tsp of salt.  In one bowl put the potatoes and in the other bowl put the strips of cabbage.  Bring both pots to a boil on the stovetop.  Once they are both boiling turn the stove down to simmer (1 on our stove) and cover them.  Let them cook sit there for about 45 min.  and make sure to keep the pots covered.  I did this before the kids were in bed so when we were ready to start my master masher could get to working right away.

Stick a fork in the mash potatoes and if they are easily able to pierce them then they are ready to be mashed.  While you are waiting go ahead and chop up all the chives as well.   Get a strainer out and dump the potatoes into the strainer and let them sit for about a minute. After a minute dump them into the original pot.  Then put the cabbage in a strainer and let them sit for a minute too.

Start to mash up the potatoes really well.  Make sure to add the butter and milk in a little at a time until the potatoes are good and mashed and have a smooth texture.  Now go ahead and add in the chives, cabbage and stir everything up.  While you are stirring add in the pepper and salt and taste it until it’s too your liking.

IMG_6874

Get out a baking dish of some sort and dump all the mashed potatoes cabbage chive goodness into it and spread out the cup of shredded cheddar cheese over top.  Now put in the oven and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  You will love this meal !!!!  CARB HEAVEN !!!! …..with healthy green cabbage by the way.

Activity:  Beer Tasting

IMG_6879

ITEM QTY Cost Notes
New Castle Brown Ale 1 $1.59 Oak Fart
Summer Shandy 1 $1.59
Guinness Extra Stout 1 $1.59
312 Urban Wheat Ale 1 $1.69
Spinner Bait Red Ale 1 $1.69
Wild Blue 1 $1.59
Red Apple Smoked Gouda 8 oz $6.19
Londoner Fresh Cheddar Cheese 7 oz $4.99
Hershey’s Chocolate nuggets 12 0z $4.29 This was Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Almonds
Hershey’s Chocolate nuggets 12 oz $0.00 It was BOGO.  We got Milk Chocolate for this one.

 

Total Cost: $ 25.21    so worth it !!

Directions:

Ok this is really easy.  Go ahead and find a score sheet online for beer tasting.  There are tons but if you can’t find one, click HERE for the one we used.   Go to a store that sells specialty beers by the bottle and pick out six.  It really can be any six, but try to get a good mix of light, mediums, and darks.  Then pick up two kinds of chocolate.  I would recommend getting 1 dark chocolate and 1 milk chocolate. Then pick up two of your favorite cheeses.  I know these were expensive but don’t pick up cheap cheese.  Go to the specialty cheese section and find two you may like.  I would recommend Gouda and Cheddar. The Cheddars really bring out the beer taste and the Gouda…well, IT’S JUST SO GOOD.  Keep the beers in the fridge so they are cold but get the cheese out about 30 minutes before you are going to start.  Good cheese just tastes better that way……I read that online so it must be true.  Divide out 6 pieces of chocolate each brand, 12 pieces of Gouda, and 12 pieces of Cheddar.  Then go one by one through the beers starting with the lightest one first.  Split the beer half and half between you.  Try to always use a clean cup before adding the next beer (we had 4 glass cups and just rotated them).  Also make sure you use clean cups (if air bubbles get stuck to the sides of the cup it means your cup is dirty).

When you are ready to start and your beer is poured go ahead and look at it first then take a couple of smells of it and write down your score.  Then taste it and pay attention to how it goes down and what the aftertaste is like, then score it.  Then eat a piece of the milk chocolate and make sure to really coat your whole tongue with it.  Then take a sip of beer and see what it does.  Most of the time it really dulls the taste, especially with Hoppier beers.  Then try a piece of the Gouda and do the same thing. In the notes section of the score card we graded how each beer tasted with each pairing as well.  Do the same thing again for the other chocolate and cheese and by the time you are finished you should be done with your half a beer.  Rotate through the rest of the beers taking your time to really focus on what you are tasting. At the end tally up all the beers and see which ones you liked the most.  My wife loved the Wild Blue and said she would enjoy swimming in it…..I can arrange that.  I loved the 312 Wheat Ale but declined to swim in it….it would burn my eyes most likely.  It took us about 1 ½ hours to complete and we had so much fun.  I hope you do as well.

Total At Home Date Night Cost: $ 32.15

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: $44.00 Total saved: $432.00

Option 2: $21.00   Total saved: $201.00

Option 3: $10.00   Total saved: $90.00

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

At Home Date Night 2015

“Hey Co-Parent…..Hey Co-Parent”.  Sounds familiar in your marriage?  What happened to the days when all you cared about was that moment you would get to wrap your arms around each other in warm embrace and take off on an adventure not caring about anything but each other? KIDS….yep…Kids happen, then “life” starts to get real and the fairy tale slowly turns into the daily drudge of waking up, going to work, getting home, eating dinner, playing with kids, preparing for bed, cleaning the house and kitchen, plopping down on the couch or computer until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore and then going to bed. Next day, the same…..then…..more of the same…..until you die.  Ok well, maybe that’s a little too dreary, but in most marriages I think this happens.  We long to be together like it was when we were dating but it’s just too far between date nights for it to really matter or strengthen our relationship.  So what happens, we rationalize. We say that we must sacrifice our relationship because we have to be parents now and our kids lives are everything and slowly but surely we start to drift apart.  We think that after the kids move away and off to college things will go back to the way they were but more often than not they don’t, because all you are to each other anymore is “Co-Parents”.  You want to spend more time with each other but babysitters are expensive and dinner and a movie gets old after awhile.   Putt-Putt…Bowling….Clubbing(I’m not 21 anymore)….you’ve done that and it’s fun, but what marriages really need is a day above all days each week where nothing else in the world matters but YOUR relationship with each other.  Please don’t get me wrong. I love my kids more than anything and I would do anything for them, but by me not putting every effort possible into my relationship with my wife to get us closer to each other and to the Lord, my kids will suffer from it.  They will see the distance and get the wrong idea of what a marriage is supposed to be like.  So what to do?  Well, “At Home Date Nights” !!!!  Before you think this is a lame idea or some wives might think, “I shouldn’t have to be put on a schedule to spend time with my husband” please hear me out.  If you could go out on a date every week with your spouse without the kids would you not want too?  I don’t even have to look up a statistic, I know the answer would be 100% yes !  So my wife and I are going to take you on an adventure this year of our “At Home Date Night 2015”.   Husbands, most of this work will rely on you, but the wives have to play a role too of course.  We are going to do 52 date nights and blog about them and provide all the information needed for you to do your own at home date night.  I promise you that after the 3rd date night all you will be thinking about is, “I can’t wait till next week’s at home date night”.  My wife and I have been doing at home date nights weekly for about 5 months now and it has changed us and revitalized our relationship.  Our at home date nights we have blocked out are Tuesday nights.  We will post about them with all the information needed on Friday nights.  This should give you enough time to get together the things needed to make your own date night.  So I hope you will join us on this adventure and we can grow our marriages to be stronger and healthier.

Here are a few tips to get prepared for date night:

  • Pick a day that suits you both best. Once the day is picked you must make it a priority to plan everything else in your life to not effect this day.  If it’s not made into the highest priority, it will fail.  (You can always substitute another day if something important is happening like a birthday or emergency, but don’t substitute all the time.)
  • Get off work early.  I know this isn’t always possible, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the boss if every week (your date night day) you can come in an hour early so you can leave and hour early. If that isn’t possible then make sure your work knows you will not under any circumstances stay late on date night day.  The Lord will honor this decision.
  • Put the kids to bed early.  How early? 7:30pm is a good time.  Laugh at me for this? Maybe, but this is a must.  Do whatever it takes.  Your kids have to know that Date Night with Mommy and Daddy is important and they need to comply.  This needs to be your job Dad.  When you get home you need to go into “I am Super Dad mode and these kids are getting fed, washed, and in bed NOW !!!”  Mom’s you can help too by making sure the kids PJ’s are picked out.  Dad’s, pick up Pizza on the way home.  Get home, feed the kids, get them in the tub immediately afterwards, read some bed time stories, then in bed early (you might have a little time in there to play a quick game of something.)
  • Wives….get dressed !  I’m not talking “Easter Sunday” ready, but on date night, no PJ’s.  Put on a pair of jeans and a shirt, run a brush through your hair, and put on some perfume.  You used to do this for hours when you were preparing for a date.  If you have to prepare the clothes the night before when the kids are asleep then do so, Husbands you can thank me later. Guys, if you don’t wear nice clothes to work, have some ready to put on once the kids are in bed.  Also, Guys, brush your teeth when the kids are in the tub and put some cologne on….your wife can thank me later.
  • Have all items needed for date night prepared at least by the day before.  You don’t want to be running around picking stuff up on date night the day of date night. This puts stress on a day when things shouldn’t be stressful.  So make the day before stressful.

Ok, I think that is all.  I will probably post some more tips along the adventure but for now that should get you through the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try to find some information out there to help with putting the kids to bed earlier if you are one of those couples that has your kids staying up past 10pm or something crazy like that.  Please feel free to leave us comments as well as pictures on how your At Home Date Night went.