Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Savory Shrimp and Mashed Potatoes

After months and months of cooking for cold weather, I'm having a hard time transitioning from the oven to the barbecue. Being out of practice means that I can't remember my favorite spring and summer meals, so soup and casserole are still at the top of my mind. The other night, when I needed to cook what I had - shrimp, Yukon Gold potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach - I improvised and the result was the kind of meal that's teetering on the edge of both hot and cold weather food. Juicy shrimp in a tangy tomato sauce, light and creamy mashed potatoes, a bed of sauteed spinach. Perfect on the patio or curled up by the fire. The temperatures are rising steadily this week, and I'm looking forward to recreating this meal one more time before I stop using the stove entirely!

(Makes 4 large servings)

For the shrimp, adapted from Jo Cooks:
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 31-40 count)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large deep pan, combine all of the ingredients except for the shrimp. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until cooked down and tomatoes are soft. Add shrimp and toss to coat with sauce. Cook until shrimp are pink and serve immediately.

For the potatoes:
1 pound (4-6) medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until tender (15 minutes). Drain and return to pot.
Add milk. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until fluffy with few lumps. Fold in yogurt and continue to mash until your desired texture is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the spinach:
16 ounce bag or 12 cups of fresh spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam spinach in a pan with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

To serve, plate a quarter of the spinach, a scoop of mashed potatoes, and a quarter of the shrimp and tomatoes. Drizzle with pan sauce. Enjoy!


Friday, May 2, 2014

The Good Life

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of packing, moving, unpacking, spending money, cleaning, organizing, trying to remember where I put things, and loving everything about our new home and being homeowners. There are nights that I lay awake in bed worrying about things breaking, but ultimately, the feeling of having something that is all ours and that we’ll fill with great memories is amazing. I am so happy and proud that we own this home, and forever grateful to our families for helping us and giving us the confidence to take this step. 

Having this experience, making an adult and life changing decision with my partner, has given me a lot of peace and encouraged me to reprioritize. Yes, I want the house to be perfect, but I’m learning how to live with a little bit of chaos while everything works itself out. While I would love for our home to look like a Restoration Hardware ad, I’m content with what we have and with allowing things to come together naturally. This is a big step for me, and I was reflecting the other day about how strange it is to notice yourself maturing and changing. I find myself gradually growing out of my materialism, not needing to have more money, and enjoying the little things in life. 

There are so many elements in the modern world that work against us feeling like we can live simply and happily and sometimes blogs and Pinterest and social media are just too much. I recently heard a blogger say “If we’re not sharing it, if we’re just keeping it private, why are we experiencing it?” It would take me a long time to answer this person’s question, and I know it may have been taken out of context, but it reminded me how important it is to live your life in a way that brings you joy. For you, not for anyone else. The littlest things have been making me happy lately and I’m so glad.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo