Beginnings and Endings

A couple of major events transpired this weekend:

1. We got to demo the CRAP out of the new gym space!  Took down some walls….which mostly meant I stood around and watched dudes work!  It also means I got to play with powertools…..OH YEAH!!! Anyways, I baked for the folks working. Duh! That’s what I do!  When all was said and done, the new space is completely opened up, and the possibilities are truly endless!!  And look, here’s proof that I actually did some work…..oh who am I kidding, I can’t be serious about anything.

OHS 2 by 4

2.  Miss Olivia had her going away party.  It was a completely wonderful send off to quite possibly one of the most BAD ASS chicks I’ve ever met.  I’m super sad to see her go but am completely confident she will continue to be a BAMF in the next chapter of her life.  Hip Hop Fridays won’t be the same without her 😦  Here is a vanity shot of some of the foxiest ladies at the party…..oh wait!  Who is the creeper with devil eyes in the middle? Hmm….why do my eyes ALWAYS do that!?!?! Ugh.

pretty ladies

3.  I did absolutely NOTHING for the remainder of the weekend.  Staying out, dancing like a fool, and having just a couple of drinks totally took it out of me.  Add in the fact that I think I might be getting sick, and BOOM!  You’ve got a perfect storm that amounts to me doing NOTHING all Sunday!

Looking at the calendar for this week kind of scares me….I have nothing on my school calendar, and nothing on my personal calendar.  Why does this scare me?  Because I can’t honestly believe that I will have a week of nothing.  When these weeks usually come around, something manages to EXPLODE! Tame just doesn’t exist in my world.  I’m trying to trust that perhaps the universe has left this week open for me because the good Lord knows that I’m going to be needed to support those nearest and dearest to me.  Lots going on in the lives of those closest to me, so I’m doing my best to put as much positivity out there as I can!!

OK, onto food!  So, I made this cioppino last Thursday.  I’m trying to be a good part-time Catholic and observe not eating meat on Fridays during Lent.  This stew is freaking AMAZING!! It’s slightly spicy and totally delicious.  Typically, the best part of cioppino is dipping some crusty bread into the tomato broth, but yeah, that obviously didn’t happen!  I made some plantain chips to go with it though, and those were BOMB!!

cioppino

Quick Cioppino with Plantain Chips

To make the Plantain Chips:

  • 2 large, slightly ripe (light yellow in color) plantains
  • Coconut oil, for brushing
  • Salt (or any other spices you might want to use)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Brush the parchment paper with a thin coating of coconut oil. (I know this seems counter-intuitive….just do it. Trust me.)
  3. Peel your plantains. I have found it easiest to cut off both ends, then slit through the peel lengthwise.  Use your thumb to separate the peel from the plantain.
  4. Thinly slice your plantains.  Think slightly thicker than a quarter…about as thick as a half dollar.  The important thing is to try to get them all the same thickness.
  5. Arrange the slices on your baking sheet and brush the tops of them with some more coconut oil.
  6. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
  8. Flip them after 10 minutes, then bake for another 7-8 minutes.
  9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.  They get crispier as they cool.
  10. Stuff your face!  They are SUPER addictive.  I don’t ever have any leftovers….

To make the Cioppino:

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 25 oz. jar of marinara sauce (get the good stuff without all of the added CRAP in it!  Or just use about 25 ounces of tomato sauce)
  • 8 oz. bottle of clam juice (totally gross to think about, but it makes it SO GOOD!)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock, but I was trying to keep it meat free)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (remove the tiny little leaves from the stems)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds of seafood (Use whatever floats your boat.  I used 2 packages of Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend from the freezer case.  Use a mix of chopped white fish, shrimp, scallops, calamari, whatever you’ve got!  Fresh or frozen, doesn’t really matter)
  1. In a large soup pot, add in your veggies (onion, bell pepper, and garlic) and saute until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the marinara, clam juice, veggie stock, red pepper flakes, dried herbs, and thyme.  Simmer on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in your seafood.  Continue to simmer until seafood is cooked through.  Cooking time will depend on whether you are using precooked/frozen vs. fresh seafood.  I let mine simmer for about 15 minutes, just for good measure.
  4. Stir in half of your fresh parsley.
  5. Serve it up in big bowls.  Top with more fresh parsley and some of those crispy plantain chips!
  6. Enjoy the briny, tomato-y goodness!!!

I shared this with one of my girls from the gym, Ava.  She totally dug it.  Pretty sure you will too!  She’s awesome, and you want to be like her…..so make this!  Sending much love and positivity!

-Meister

 

 

 

 

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