Live Lobster: The Holiday Cooking Adventure

What do you give the person who has everything? That person who can go out and buy anything they could possibly want or need? Lobster. That’s right…LIVE lobster. Since we both love to cook, this was actually the perfect gift (thanks Mom and Dad)! I knew these little guys would be arriving…LIVE…so I was mentally preparing myself for a few days beforehand. All I could imagine was the scene from Julie and Julia where the lobster tries to jump OUT of the pot!

The LobsterGram arrived, and our two jumbo lobbies were all packed up for the overnight trip from Maine. Per the directions, which I CAREFULLY read twice, I left them be…that is…after I lifted up the packing to get a glance at those beauties! I will admit that some of the packing peanuts, which are lobster PINK for some awful reason, moved and I did shriek a bit thinking it was the lobster! We chose names for our little lobbies and I even gave one of them a little back rub to calm it down. Now mind you, this wasn’t necessarily my idea since I was already the one tasked with dropping them headfirst into a pot of boiling water! But, my sous chef decided that one of them was moving a bit too much for his liking and that I needed to calm it down a little. Those pictures are not included :)!




We followed the directions included in our care package. They can also be found online here: How to Boil a Lobster. The boiling process was actually pretty painless albeit a bit eventful (we kept having to push them back underwater!). We wound up using one pot since the water in the second pot didn’t boil in time and they turned out just fine. One note on the pot; soak it VERY well when you are done or else you will permanently have a smelly lobster pot. We wound up boiling it on the stove with dawn dish soap for a few minutes and it vanquished the smell. Also, make sure you remember ahead of time to get the seafood utensils you’ll need. (Thanks again Mom & Dad!!) I swear by Oxo products, so we were equipped with the Oxo Good Grips 5-Piece Seafood Cracker Set and OXO Good Grips Slim Nut/Seafood Cracker.

For the beverage selection, we opted for a wonderful Viognier from Windsor Cellars which we handpicked from our last trip down to that wonderful winery. If you are wine tasting in that area you MUST visit them! In all my wine tasting experience, this was the FIRST place I have ever wanted to purchase a CASE! Their Windsor Rare California Port, Private Reserve and 2009 Windsor Sonoma Winery Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley were just amazing! Even their “table red” Sexy Bombshell was delicious!

The Viognier was almost buttery on the tongue with citrus notes and finished with a balanced flavor and a light spice, great accompaniment to a dish like lobster! For the side dishes, we went the traditional route and opted for roasted corn, oven broiled asparagus and a fresh loaf of pain de champagne from the delicious and local Dahlia Bakery. Being dairy free I passed on the traditional “drawn butter” but made some for Brian and he wound up skipping it all together! The taste of the lobster was just delicious by itself with a little bit of the fresh lemon squeezed over the top.

I was actually surprised at how easy the whole process was! Simply get the other parts of the meal basically set up and then boil the water then enjoy! It was a wonderful treat and a fun adventure in cooking! If you like seafood stew, save the shells to make lobster stock for general use or if you retain the Lobster tail’s to make bisque.

Have you cooked a lobster? Any tips or tricks… or experiences you like to share? Comment below!

Blueberry Coconut Banana Muffins

You hear it all the time, “Breakfast is a very (or sometimes MOST) important meal” but so is hitting the snooze button! I love simple recipes that fit into my fast paced lifestyle. I found this recipe in the wonderful Martha Stewart’s recipe vaults, and I made a few tweaks for my food allergies.

Made the first batch and I’m proud to say that the taste testers not only survived (phew) but they got raving review’s and a multiple request to be made again! Now that makes a bakers heart happy!

Quick and easy breakfast idea: Make these on a weekend and individually wrap a few and freeze the rest. You can quickly warm one or two up in the microwave and put a almond butter on it for some protein and out the door you go!

Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins
From: Everyday Food
(Adapted for my allergies)


  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c.  substituted butter for apple sauce
  • 1/3 c. sugar (I usually cut out the granulated sugar)
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 rape bananas, one mashed and one in chunks
  • 1/3 c. substituted milk for soy milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. blueberries
  • 1/3 cup coconut (my own addition)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk flours, wheat germ, baking soda, salt together and set aside.
  3. Mix apple sauce and sugars in a medium sized bowl. I usually omit the granulated sugar if a recipe calls for both white and brown.
  4. Add in eggs at one at a time, careful to not over beat with each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl, mash mashed banana and fold in the cut banana pieces, soy milk and vanilla.
  6. Combine the flour mixture and the banana mixture until both are just blended. Be careful to not overwork the batter.
  7. Fold in coconut and blueberries. If you are using frozen blueberries make sure you allow them to thaw and drain the berries out of the juice.
  8. Pour batter into prepared muffin and bake in pre-heated oven. Turn the pan half way through cooking time to ensure even baking. Cook for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire rack, then enjoy!

See the original recipe here

Soup Season: Cauliflower Garlic Soup

It’s confirmed…Summer is on it’s last leg. The weather has turned, Pumpkin Spice lattes are back at Starbuck’s and I wore a sweater to work.  Here in Seattle we didn’t get very many sunny days but as life is rarely fair so here fall is in all it’s glory and so is my yearning for warm cozy comfort meals. That meal that will just warm the chill in the air right out of you and leave you cozied up to your favorite book enjoying the rain falling. Okay okay, so it’s not THAT cold yet in Seattle but I feel winter coming and tonight I wanted a comfort soup! I didn’t have the energy to cook up a feast so I went with my go-to Cauliflower Garlic soup.  Cauliflower is notoriously low in fat, but high high in dietary fiber and vitamin C and when mixed with garlic provides a host of anti-inflammatory agents as well as a tasty simple meal.

Cauliflower Garlic Soup

1 head cauliflower
minced garlic to taste, (I use about a spoonful)
cracked pepper, dried parsley and fresh ground salt to taste

  • cut up the cauliflower and microwave with about 1/3 cup water for 8-10 minutes
  • set out your blender (I swear by my vitamix) and add the garlic and herbs to taste
  • once the cauliflower is done steaming pour the veggies and the water into the blender and cover, mixing on medium/high until all ingredients are blended
  • add more water if needed to texture/consistency mixing
  • garnish with cracked pepper and enjoy
From time to time I add other ingredients like pulled chicken, or grilled onions, substitute the water for soy milk or butternut squash soup, or I add other spices I happen to be in the mood for. Please post with YOUR ideas!

A Wine Drinkers Best Friend (Stemware Saver)

What an inventive product! I have shattered countless glasses trying to put them in the dishwasher and finally resigned myself to hand washing all stemware. UNTIL… I discovered the quirky Tether stemware arms. They are bendable and accommodate various glass sizes and use the prongs on your dishwasher basket allowing them to be used for any type/size washer. I love that they come in a pack of four, and I just always have two of them in my dishwasher. The only thing that I would advise is to be careful the first few times you clip them to the stem of your glass ware as the plastic needs to be broken in a bit on the first few uses. LOVE this product and it would also make a great gift for that wine lover in your life!

Quirky Tether Stemware Saver – Flexible Dishwasher Attachment

Restaurant Review: Bisato (Belltown)

How many times had we walked past this little quiet looking bistro on the corner of 1st and Battery? It’s simple, stylish and unassuming exterior invited us in one Thursday night, which is the weekly date night, and we wanted to go “experience” something new. Little did we know…

They serve a seasonal rotating menu of small plates which they tout as having a “Venetian flair”. Chef Scott Carsberg masterfully crafts innovative and richly flavorful dishes. The menu is a feat for the eyes, you won’t know what to order first so my advice would be to order them all! Their ingredients are so fresh, in a way that you can only experience by tasting the rich flavors yourself. The prices are quite reasonable and you will not regret any dish you get. You will however, regret the decision to pass up the meal with the orange confit with chocolate caramel mousse. Don’t ask questions, just order one and enjoy.

Walking into the restaurant is like walking into a haven. The interior is relaxing and inviting in a way that I would describe as casual yet professional. The welcoming interior layout brings your attention first to the beautiful bar which showcases a wide variety of perfectly presented bottles and ingredients which the very knowledgeable bar tender can us to hand craft a delightful beverage. Anything with their house made sweet and sour get my vote! We got the Vaporetto, (pictured at right) and it was just divine!! The second thing you’ll notice is the visibility into the immaculately clean and simply decorated exhibition style kitchen. We took a seat at the bar and were able to see our dishes being prepared with the utmost of care by what you can clearly see are professionally trained hands. The detailed presentation showed 5 star quality and a truly fastidiously professional caliber. The entire staff was quite knowledgeable and it was delightful to see that the hands-on owner does still exits. We shook his hand ourselves!

Each dish was a full experience, starting with a fresh marinated sardine served with shaved fennel. You could truly taste how fresh the little fishie was and that dish merely started our dining “experience”. We also ordered the red romaine salad with 20 year balsamic and olive oil, which, on the menu presented as any other restaurant salad but was so incredibly delicious that we ordered another! They use an immaculate 20 year balsamic and the flavor of the salad was so simple and perfectly balanced that I could write about it for days. We instantly went to Pike Place market the next day in search of a good 20 year balsamic. The salad literally changed the way that I will experience salads for the rest of my life. Since one of my favorite dishes is salad with balsamic, my entire standard for a balsamic is “ruined” for the better. The braised short rib in barolo wine was delightfully flavorful but the real showcase dish of our “entrees” was the seared lamb chops (pictured at left) with whipped potato. This dish was so flavorful, and cooked to perfection with such warming flavors that I wish I’d had more room to order and enjoy another!

In essence, Bisato delivered a new class of dining experience with their incredibly reasonable prices, inviting and relaxing atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and truly incredibly flavorful dishes. We can’t wait to return and enjoy the next tasteful expression of ingredients. They also serve a drinks only happy hour which features some of their showcase drinks and is our on our list go-to happy hours.


Homemade Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti


Date night Thursday was my turn this week and since we’ve been going out so much lately I decided it was a night to cook at home. I’ve been feeling stagnant on cooking the same old things and wanted to try a new recipe. I’d recently found a recipe for Turkey Meatballs on Pintrest, which I’m obsessed with  and spend much too much time on (Follow me here), so I decided to give it a go. The recipe here is adapted from recipe in Fitness Magazine. This meal what a challenge for me since I had no idea how long each of the different parts of the meal might take and I can’t tell you the last time that I boiled pasta! I used general timing in the post below so I can only ballpark the meal at under 40 minutes to make.





One of the biggest things that I want to illustrate with the recipes I post here, is that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore and it’s really not THAT hard! All you need to do is figure out what relaxes you and make it fun! A few of my “rules” for joyful cooking:
Prep: I love using “prep” bowls (like these) when cooking so I can pre-measure all the ingredients and put the jars or containers back.
-Clean: I’m a chef that LOVES to cook as she cleans, even though we have a firm “Chef’s don’t clean” rule in our house, it just makes for a more pleasant cooking experience for the Type A clean freak that I am.
: I love having a glass of wine in the evening to unwind so I usually have one while I’m cooking. It is fun to work in a sip here and there in the midst of cooking where I usually resemble an octopus with my arms going every which way to wield all my pots, pans and ingredients!
: Lastly, set the mood! My go-to cooking music is the soundtrack to Vicky Christina Barcelona. It just puts me in the perfect mood and makes me feel like I’m cooking in Italy! Cooking does not have to be hard or stressful, just find out what helps you to relax and enjoy the process.



Now on to the recipe! The meatballs and garlic bread parts of this recipe serve 4, but we cook the entire package of noodles which means that I always grab an extra jar of sauce to have on hand for the next few days of leftovers. I’ll try to get a few posts up about ides for using spaghetti leftovers but don’t hate me if I can’t get around to it, or, post a few that YOU know of and help a sister out!

Ingredients… Since we live so close to Pike Place market, we LOVE to walk down and get as much of our fruits and veggies as we can that are local. Every weekend we make a trip down to the market and have to stop by our favorite Italian market, DeLaurenti. They have a vast selection of amazing cheeses, meats, oils and vinegars as well as an impressive wine and spirits section. Their shelves are filled with international treats, spreads, pickled this and foie gras that with a side of your choice of Pâté. This is the long winded way of saying that this place is AMAZING and if you get a chance when you’re in Seattle you MUST visit!! Our faithful cheese counter friends have never let us down and they kept the trend with this suggestion. I explained my dish, that I’m lactose intolerant so I had to rely on their expertise without tasting (which they encourage you to do at the counter) and they came through with flying colors! The taste test report was that is was absolutely amazing and it was simply their “house grated blend” which was around $10/lb. As for the sauce, I prefer to do homemade if I have time but I didn’t this week and we opted for the Whole Foods 365 variety and it was delicious! I usually grab two since we’re sauce people and always have leftover spaghetti but no sauce so we chose the Eggplant and the Tomato Basil flavors.

Now that I’ve written a novel for you and you’re likely already starving I’ll get on to the good stuff…


  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (Used the 365 Italian variety and it was perfect!)
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • Sea Salt & Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (Used the 365 Eggplant and grabbed a Tomato Basil to have in the cupboard for leftovers.
  • 1 package spaghetti (We used the 365 Spinach Spaghetti this time and it was delicious!)
  • Parmesan cheese (Opted for the DeLaurenti grated blend Parmesan cheese for this meal)
  • Dried parsley (this is a go-to spice for us, I always have it on hand and throw a pinch in each meal)
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish
  • Minced garlic (you can use fresh, but I had a huge jar of the already minced and it worked just fine)
  • 1 loaf rustic bread
  • 1 bottle Red Wine of your choice (my go-to is the Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois California Red Wine- SO tasty and affordable!)


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I usually use my misto sprayer instead of PAM to grease the pan.
  • Prepare your garlic bread on a piece of aluminum foil so you will have it ready to pop in the oven later in the meal. It takes about 6-7 minutes to reach perfection so you can time it accordingly with how the rest of the meal cooks.
  • Start boiling the water for the pasta. Depending on your pot this can take up to 10 minutes to achieve a good roaring boil.
  • Next, you’ll make the meatballs. I tried frying mine in a pan before placing on the baking sheet since I like mine a bit crispy but it didn’t seem to make a HUGE difference in the overall crispiness so I might skip that step next time (one less pan to clean!) and see how they turn out.  If you DO use a pan, you’ll really want to use the prep-bowls method and have it all ready to dump in the bowl since the pan can heat quickly at the high heat you’ll need to sear the meatballs.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, soy milk breadcrumbs, salt/pepper and garlic until combined. Add the turkey and gently mix, avoid overworking the meat. Shape into balls and if you’re frying them, pop them in the pan and keep turning until most sides are seared. The meatballs are delicate, so if you’re using the pan be prepared for them to fall apart or stick to the pan just a little. Once seared, or if you’re not using the pan, place meatballs on the lined baking sheet.
  • Bake meatballs in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
  • Pour your sauce in a small pot so you’re ready to simmer it when the times right. Since I didn’t have time to make my own we opted for the Whole Foods 365 brand Eggplant flavor. I had some extra Renegade Red Wine and poured it in to the sauce and it turned out great! Also, this is a good time to set the table with any dishes or napkins you’ll be using, chop the basil, place the strainer in the sink for the pasta, and refill the chef’s wine glass! Unless you have a sous chef, then it’s his job to assure that the chef’s glass doesn’t run dry!
  • Flip meatballs when the 15 minute timer goes off and cook for an additional 4 minutes then pull out of oven.








  • Your water should be boiling at some point during this process which is when you add the pasta and cover. Keeping with our 365 theme of the meal, we used the 365 Spinach Spaghetti and I cooked up the whole package so we could have leftovers. Keep the water boiling but tilt the lid of the pan off to one side and keep an eye for the water to boil up. You’ll need to stir up the noodles every minute or so to keep them from sticking.
  • When you think you have about 6-7 minutes left on the noodles, place the garlic bread in the oven and start the sauce simmering, remembering to keep stirring the sauce. When you have 3 minutes left on the oven timer, place the meatballs back in the oven.
  • At this point everything should be almost done and it’s just monitoring until perfection!
  • I lay out a toppings bar with the Parmesan, salt and pepper grinders, garlic, olive oil and fresh chopped basil and leave it to the consumer to dish up
  • Serve all this delicious food with a glass of red wine and enjoy all your hard work and marvelous cooking!!


The leftovers for lunch the next day (pictured at left) were delicious! I would have included a bit more sauce but as I said before, we’re sauce people! I got three complements before making it back to the desk on how GOOD it smelled! Considering dinner and lunch leftovers got raving reviews, that’s a WIN in my book!

And, as promised, I found a few ideas to use up the leftover spaghetti noodles. I haven’t tried any of them but I’d love comments if you guys do!

Perciatelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant (

Spaghetti Pizza:

Lo Mein (w/ Spaghetti Noodles)

Poached Egg Nests in Leftover Spaghetti- simply heat the noodles, take a fork and swirl them into a pile that has a nice little center and poach and egg in the center

Spaghetti Pancake: