Thursday, January 15, 2015

Doing the Dishes

I try to blog about the things that are happening in my life and right now it feels like my life is surrounded by dishes.  You see my wife is pregnant, very very pregnant and can't do the dishes like she has for the last 17 years of our relationship.  Our rule as a couple has always been I do the cooking she does the dishes.  She just physically can't and it sucks. 

The clean up is one part of cooking that is so unglamorous that people never mention it.  I hate to do dishes and have never appreciated my wife more.  

Sometimes for a snack I will make Pot de Creme or things that make a bit of a mess but now I'd rather starve.  I spend 1-1.5 hours of cooking a day and adding 15-30 min of dishes makes it almost not worth it. 

I mean I still got to eat you know so it might as well be good but I definitely take keeping the kitchen clean a lot more seriously.  Hopefully I will keep this in mind when my wife returns to doing the dishes but to be honest I like being free to be creative without all the worry of the consequences.

So for all of you who have a dish washer or a cooker you should say a special thank you for all the work that they do.

Thank you honey for all that you have done in the kitchen (I'll save all the other Thank You's you deserve for Valentine's Day)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Variety is the spice of life they say but I think that spices make the variety in life.  There are so many to choose from that it can be confusing and delicious.  There are so many that most people don't use the majority because they just don't know what to add them to or how much to add.  So I will give a breakdown of what I use and what I use them in or with.

Salt & Pepper:  Pretty much everything
Garlic Powder:  I use this to intensify fresh garlic in any recipe
Onion Powder:  I use in addition to fresh onions to intensify the flavor
Nutmeg:  Just a little to dark greens, desserts or cream sauces
Oregano:  All things Italian, Mexican, and sandwiches
Paprika: I mostly use in rubs for poultry but can be combined into several savory dishes
Ground Mustard:  Cream sauces and Meat rubs
Cinnamon:  Baking, mixed with Paprika for a Middle East/Moroccan flair, and savory Mexican
Bay Leaf:  Soups, Stocks and pretty much anything meaty that needs to simmer for any length of time
Curry:  This can be added to any meat or veg to add a little kick in the pants
Thyme:  Chicken, maybe any bird but especially Chicken
Rosemary:  Great with meats, use lightly and can be a great addition to desserts
Sazon:  Its a great little pack that adds a special flavor to any Latino dish
Celery Seeds:  I have only found that this works in a slaw and nothing else

These are my daily users.  There are more but these are my staple spices.

Mix some fats (oils, butter), pair with fresh herbs and you will enhance any meal.

Please let me know if you have a spice and would like suggestions as to what to use it in. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I fat boy and need to diet

I'm fat.  I want to be a little fat but its gone a little to far.  I want to weigh about 205 but I'm about 235 right now.

I've gained sympathy weight from my wife's pregnancy.  Mostly its because I love food and when you like it this much it tends to stick with you.  For a snack today we stopped and got a dipped cone from Dairy Queen.  I'm not saying its not great to get a tasty treat but these daily occurrences make me fat.  I would love to say that I don't spoil myself when I'm alone but that would be ridiculous.

Ready to move forward and be a lean mean machine.  So I must diet.  Should it be vegan, paleo, no carb, low carb, vegetarian, weight watchers, count calories, or caveman. 

Vegan- No meat ever.  No eggs.  No can do.  I will cheat and that's just the way it is.

Paleo, No Carb, Low Carb- No sweets no can do.  I like sugar.  I like white refined sugar. 

Weight Watchers- I can eat what I want although the portions are for a small child.

If I exercise a lot then I will be able to eat the portions that I want.

It sounds like I've made up my mind but really I don't want to give up any of my little food pleasure.  I eat about 6,000 calories a day.  How much exercise do I need to do to still lose weight and eat the same?

I naturally burn about 2,500 calories a day so I just need to jump rope for an hour, run for a couple more hours, and backpack for 6-7 hours. 

So between work and family I should be able to fit in 9-10 hours of pure exercise if I can adjust to living without sleep. 

I think the plans got to consist of cutting my calories in half and exercising for 1 hour a day.  It almost sounds easy when I say it like that.  Now it's time for the doing. '

Probably.  Maybe.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tea Time

I love Tea Time.  Of course for me this is less formal and more about what I'm putting in my mouth.  Perfection for me is a nice helping of tiramisu and english breakfast with cream and sugar.  In the book, "The Shack", God tells the main character that nothing in life is much better than a hot cup of tea and a little tiramisu. Now I know that this wasn't from God but in my mind it is true.  I feel that God would agree.

Having tea for me isn't just a beverage to drink but an experience.  I boil the water, prep my pot with warm water, pull 5 bags tea, pour, and then place my cozy over the pot and wait 5 minutes.  I have a ramekin of white sugar and a vessel of Half & Half.  I like a white tea pot, cup and saucer.  It somehow seems to bring a touch of class and cleanliness.

When it comes to what kind of tea I like that always depends on the day but 90% of the time I drink Tetley black tea.  With Asian foods I like green tea with jasmine and on some occasions I just like something different.

No matter what the tea time I like something sweet.  Sometimes a fortune cookie with strong black tea (any Chinese restaurant), a nice nut and fruit bread from a bakery (Wholefoods), blueberry scones with lemon curd (local tea house), or my personal favorite homemade cookies (My wife's danish ribbon cookies).  I think the secret is to have something that's sweet but not to sweet. 

Tricks for making tea:
  • Don't use a Microwave
  • Always use a little sugar
  • Don't let the tea brew longer than 6 minutes (unless a specialty tea)
  • Brew for at least 4 minutes
  • Buy a tea pot cozy (English Specialty stores- They are around)
  • Serve with a proper cup and saucer (What ever tickles your fancy)
Make your tea time, what ever time that is, special.  The more special you treat your break the more special it will become to you.  

Restaurant Review- VUU Bistro- Roswell

I really didn't want to like this place.  I've eaten here a couple of times; thought it was too expensive and was just okay but after eating off the sushi menu I must say it is solid choice if you live in the neighborhood.  Thai/Japanese makes no sense but the food has some attention to detail that makes it better than just your average strip center Asia stop. 

The sushi chef seems to be making the right decisions and if I eat here again I will stick with the raw stuff. 

The lunch specials were reasonably priced and tasty but save your dinner budget for something else.  There are quite a few excellent Thai restaurants in Atlanta but if your in Roswell for lunch and want a quick fix this is your place. 

VUU Asian Bistro

880 Woodstock Rd, Roswell, GA 30075

(770) 650-0288





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New or New for me Restaurant Reviews


Mr. Taco
893 Holcomb Bridge Rd
Roswell, GA 30076

This isn't a new restaurant for me but I don't think I done a review and it deserves a review.  Do not order your typical Mexican fare here.  Order 3 Pastor Mexican Tacos and/or a Tlalpeno Soup.  The fountain coke is exceptional here, it must be calibrated a with a little extra syrup which makes it sweeter.   The ceviche and the molcajete are both excellent choices.  They also have a very extensive salsa bar with grilled jalapenos.  3 tacos and a Coke are only $6.  That's what I'm talking about.


Pasta & Pizzeria
131 South Main St
Alpharetta, GA 30009

The review.  It's good.  It's worth going if you live in Alpharetta.  Is it what you could get in New York? No.  My pregnant wife is obsessed with it but who know if that's because of the food or the baby.  I would not shy away from this restaurant even if your wife is or is not pregnant.  It's a solid week night eatery.


5310 Windward Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30004

The review.  Awesome.  Elegant.  Way better than expected but a little pricey.  Kai Siam (Pineapple Chicken) and everything else I tried was spectacular.  We took our children but next time it would be a much better date night location.


Bistro & Wine Bar
1418 Dresden Drive NE
Atlanta, GA 30319 

My wife's Christmas party was here and after meeting the owner I hate to say it but the food wasn't good.  If I wanted to have a drink and I lived in this neighborhood this would be a great place to go but just eat before you go.


Foundations Social Eatery
1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd,
Space 810,
Roswell GA. 30076

It's an in-town restaurant, OTP (outside the perimeter).  There are many good menu choices but the mushroom ravioli was my favorite.  The decor, and the staff were excellent. There is something a little cold about this style of restaurant but for special occasions you won't go wrong with this place.

While I have visited many other restaurants none deserved a good review and this site was made to only celebrate good food and drinks.

Monday, January 5, 2015



It's the best diet in the world if you don't like meat, eggs or cheese.  We as a family have dabbled in these waters a couple of times.  First, I will say that I never felt physically better than when I was on this diet.  You get sick less, have more energy and can genuinely feel the nutrients from what you eat. Your pallet gets better.  Since your craving flavor (really this should say fat) your body craves foods that you would have rarely eaten.  People always say you have to make sure you get enough protein but as a big guy I assure you this is not a problem.  I would have loved any excuse to quit.  This is a glowing endorsement and if you see food as fuel for your body then this is the program for you.  If on the other had you see food as fun, comfort, sport, or just pleasure then take suicide over the loss of bacon.  I say bacon because of all foods that I missed while being Vegan bacon was at the top.  That smell was enough for me to call myself a vegan with a side of bacon.  Not to mention ice cream, fried eggs, butter, butter (it's mentioned twice on purpose), ribs, pork chops, a good steak, fried chicken, and to many more to list.

While being vegan again won't happen I learned a ton from going through the process but most important was that I didn't need meat to make a meal.  Now we try to eat 2-3 nights a week without meat (when my wife is not pregnant).  I try and make these meals as vegan as possible but will use a touch of cream here or a pat of butter there.  I will give a few of my suggestions for vegan dinners to substitute in your normal weekly rotation.

Vegan Moussaka- Recipes can be found online- This is great for large crowds and tends to please everyone.

Veggie Pot Stickers- Buy the wrappers from a local Asian market- Recipes are all very similar for this one.

Blk Beans & Yellow Rice- Add onion, bell pepper & garlic to 3 cans of beans- Top with pickled banana peppers-  This is a quick dinner that is always good

Penne Pasta with zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil (for a vegetarian slant add shredded Parmesan). Or some other variation of pasta primavera.

Let me know some of your Vegan Ideas.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

JD's Mac & Cheese

JD's Mac & Cheese


1 Stick of Salted Butter
1/3 of Cup of All Purpose Flour
16 oz of Shredded Cheddar (the better the cheddar the better the mac & cheese)
6 oz of Shredded Mozzarella 
5 Cups of Milk
1 lb of small pasta (penne, elbow, ziti, shells)
1/2 tsp of Salt
1/4 tsp of Pepper
1/4 tsp of Ground Mustard
1/4 tsp of Paprika
Pinch of Nutmeg


Melt butter in a sauce pan and add flour with a whisk.  Keep cooking for 3 minutes and stir constantly.
Pour all 5 cups of milk and whisk.  Bring to a low boil and continue to stir until sauce has thickened.  Add 10 oz of Cheddar and 6oz of Mozzarella.  Salt, Pepper and the additional spices.   Add the sauce to the cooked pasta.  Empty into un-greased baking ware and top with remainder of the cheddar.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Best if rested for 10-15 minutes.

Please let me know what you think.  It's simple and a perfect side.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Restaurant Review - Canton Cooks

My son and I were leaving the Falcons game last week and stop by for dinner around 8 pm on a Sunday night.  The sign outside the strip center location was tattered and worn but there were 10-15 people waiting for to go order and several others waiting to be seated.  In Sandy Springs or really any where in Atlanta to have a wait at 8 pm on a Sunday night is quite impressive.  I started to get excited just entering the spot.  The first table was covered in clean tea cups stacked 12 inches high.  As an avid tea drinker this scenery makes you tingle a little bit.  We were pretty full from the game so we ordered Pork Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Chicken.  It wasn't a culinary adventure such as the grilled squid (which they are know for) but it gives me a good idea of what the kitchen will produce.  The service was as fast as you could wish it to be and food was table side steaming hot within 5 minutes.  My sons first bite into the fried rice and he said, "Dad I think this is the best fried rice I've ever had."  He was right and so was the Sweet & Sour Chicken.  Now I know if you are a foodie and reading this you may scoff at the pineapple and ketchup sauce but I love the stuff.  Its wrong, I know its wrong and yet I love it.  The tea by the way was good.  It was as hot as McDonald's coffee use to be before the lawsuit.  Which for me is a perfect way to serve black tea.   The rice was good, not as good as everything else but good enough to be my new favorite Chinese restaurant in Atlanta.   Please give the place a try and let me know what you liked and what you didn't.

Canton Cooks 

5984 Roswell Rd Ne,Atlanta, GA 30328

(404) 250-0515

Friday, January 2, 2015

Restaurant Idea

It's been awhile since I've blogged about food but food is never out of my mind.  For my grand rebirth I want to share a restaurant idea that I have and please feel free to let me know what you think.

Grub Pub (name to be determined)

It's a European inspired pub with small bites to eat and 8 oz beers (there would be a full bar but the beer would be the star here. 

All beers are draft and come in 8 oz glasses ($3.50 each)

Menu- Would be 10 items- Written on the Chalk board for the day


1. Thanksgiving Balls- Cranberry wrapped in mashed potato surrounded by turkey breast slices covered in stuffing deep fried and served with gravy. $12

2. Smoked Tuna & Crab served with jalapenos, shredded cheese and homemade Cornbread crackers $13

3. Caramel Popcorn- with pancetta and almonds  $10

4. Asian Pork Skewers- Vietnamese style with crispy vermicelli and fruit salad  $12

5. Buffalo Chicken Tamales- Served with a bib

6. Foot Long Smoked Turkey Corn dog- Served with spicy whole seed mustard $10

7. Toffee Cookie with Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich $8

8. Curry Beef Balls- curry beef surrounded by rice breaded in panko fried and served with a tomato and avocado salsa  $12

9. Fried Chicken Legs- Served with a hot sauce and honey drizzle and a biscuit-  $11

10.Shrimp Cake Sliders with a piccata sauce $13