A new name, a new year, a second try.


I initially started this space to be a food blog. And pretty much as soon as I started I stopped. In the mean time I had my baby boy. A legacy baby! My husband is the 4th in a long line of Daniel Sullivans. We pondered for five minutes on not continuing on the name legacy for our son. We spit balled a few names just for the fun of it, knowing the soon to be babbling baby boy’s name was already a given. I mean, come on, how many 5th’s have you met in your life?! ┬áSo this blog also needed a new name. It came at a perfect time in this blogging course. No point in starting it up again all unfitting and out of whack. So here we are. The 5th represents my son and of course Kitchen because I still love food and a lot of this space will be dedicated to my gluttonous, calorie laden journey & cooking for my Daniels. The kitchen is also the warmth and center of the home, where stories are told and shared, over hot bowls of perfectly sauced pasta with just the right amount of parmesan and the delicious glass of wine that goes with it. So not just a food blog but a “my life” blog. Cause, ya know, everything happens in the kitchen. Here we go..

Who am I? Why am I here?

These types of things always feel like ice breakers to me.. The most dreaded part of any group or class experience. For me at least.. I guess I’ll be glad I don’t have to stand up in front of all of you, hi, my name is Ashley.. Blah blah, red face. Anyhoo, I’m doing this blogging 101 class because I want to do more with my life. I started this a few years ago and gave up because it wasn’t perfect and didn’t look like a “real blog”. It’s also really hard for me to share my thoughts. Not that every time I put a post up it will be the most gut wrenching story of my life. It’ll most likely be a recipe or an antidote about life and my take on it. Not god damn Anna Karenina. So I don’t know what the big deal is! I had my son just over a year ago, which I just wrote in my ever so nicely updated about me, on the blog I started over three years ago. And hopefully keeping going this time. He is the best thing I’ve ever done or probably ever will do. But it’s a fear of mine to only be a mother. I don’t mean that as bad as it sounds. Because as I just said I can’t do better. I just don’t want to wake up tomorrow a sad 60 year old empty nester, missing getting up at 6 a.m. To make sure my boys have their lunches, house is clean, and that’s all I’ve added to my part of the world. I’ve gotten such inspiration from the mom blogs I read. That being a mother isn’t the do all end all. While the best thing ever, I can still hopefully give inspiration to someone else. So what started out as a half assed food blog will hopefully become a consistent place for women or even men, girls, whoever, to come and get recipes but also inspiration. This is who I am. And why I’m here. I want to do more! For myself, my family, and anyone else who wants to listen, or read actually. I hope I Can get over my hang ups and be that person. Hi everyone.

Stuttgart or Bust!!

As I write this I am shoveling in a plate of spaghetti with peas and a side of broiled onions. In an attempt to clean out the pantry as today was supposed to be moving day. But of course since the Army is involved it has been postponed till monday. All I can say is aaaaahhhhhhh! This has been the most stressful couple of weeks imaginable, and filled with, I hate to admit with nasty fast food. Every morning before the fella and I venture off to the post to chase people down for signatures or amendments to documents, we enjoy an unnecessarily large bowl of Cocoa Puffs. (What am I thinking) You know its important to have a nourishing breakfast before a hectic, busy day! Ha! Yea right my body hates me right now. I am also ashamed to admit between meetings and appointments, we ate at Popeyes for lunch every day last week. The first time I was excited to try something new, tasty red beans and rice. The second time, still pretty good. Everyday following my body made sure that I felt like crap. To make it utterly clear I was feeding it total garbage and in return make me feel like John Goodman at a buffet at Sunday brunch. I am on a steady diet of over processed sugar and tortured chicken!  And apparently highly influenced by the fellas need for kid like cereals. Thighs be damned. I still have yet to receive my passport which means I might not fly over to Germany with the fella. I would have to go later by myself with both dogs, which would really suck. Its always more fun to fly with a buddy, especially when I have the dogs to worry about. I sobbed my eyes out at the vet the other day, when these two beautiful animals were tortured with the needle that administers the microchip.

I think I stumbled out of the vet office a bit more traumatized than the dogs. Despite the fellas attempt at humor to stop the tears and anxiety. This has Been one Incredible roller coster. We are headed home early next week to see the family and make sure we can get those last tastes of our favorite foods. I am very excited about posting about my favorite burrito place in Boston, stayed tuned for that gem. Hopefully soon we will be settled in Stuttgart. I have been working on learning German I hope I can come home after these 3 years fluent in German and Italian. We ran into a Major at the company the other day who is also going to Stuttgart. He said we can live right in the middle of downtown! So I can take a walk with the dogs to the outdoor market pick up some sausages than meet the Fella for a pint after work I can’t wait! It will be my European NYC. I am so excited to start this new adventure with my favorite fella and the 2 pups that make us a family. Stuttgart or bust baby! Auf Wiedersehen!

Moving to Germany, Under the Army’s Heavy Thumb!

I just wanted to drop a quick note to those few wonderful readers that I have. It has been somewhat hectic around here. We are moving to Germany! May 10th. But in the meantime I am struggling with the ridiculousness of moving with the army. I am praying my “special” passport comes by May 6th so I can actually fly with the fella to Deutschland. In the mean time we are suppose to be out of our house by this friday the 15th and not one box is packed not one picture unhooked from the wall. We of course can’t call the movers until the fella gets his orders, which hopefully come in on the 13th. UGH! And somewhere in between there, the dogs are to be microchipped which I feel so strongly against. Visit his family in Massachusetts and fly to Florida to see mine help plan my best friends wedding as I am her Maid of Honor, quite a crappy one at that for the time being. And squeeze in seeing those friends that mean so much to me. I am so excited that we have the chance to live in Europe. But,…. traveling that treacherous road, riddled with totally unnecessary obstacles the Army loves to stick if front of you, as it seems, just to make your life a living hell, and test your will to see if you have the guts and mental restraint to make it to the other wonderful European side! Please excuse my run on sentence and breathless rant. Never fear I am still cooking when I can. Though we have been eating nasty, piggish food lately and that will likely continue for the next month or two bouncing from hotels and houses and being without my wonderful cookware for an unknown length of time once arriving in Germany. I’m photographing everything (even the crappy tacos I scarfed down from the corner shop) so when I have a minute when I don’t feel I might jump out of my skin, or kick the receptionist in the DEERs office out of her chair. I will get back to writing regularly. And I must announce that any day now my hero ( call me lame if you will) Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook is hitting the bookstore shelves!!!!! I feel like George Costanza my worlds are colliding, but in this case its a good thing! I can’t wait to pick it up and I think you all should to. In case you are interested its called My Father’s Daughter Delicious and Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness. I will be reading it from cover to cover under the sheets of the local Best Western, that is if our little family can get on the same page as the United States Army and get us out of this house. I’ll be in touch, and of course I’ll be eating see you on the flip side, fingers crossed!

Strawberry Jelly

 This recipe is easy, and how great would it be to have jelly in the fridge that you made instead of some jar filled with high fructose corn syrup ( don’t get me started on those ridiculous hfcs commercials that the government is funding) among the other crappy ingredients they shove in there, with fruit being one of the last ingredients. Sorry was I ranting? Lets get back to the jelly. The hardest part of this recipe is chopping up your chosen fruit (strawberry is the fellas favorite), throw it in a pot with sugar and water enjoy the latest episode of the Jersey Shore or any other guilty pleasure you chose to immerse yourself in for 45 minutes to an hour. Lets keep in mind here that I am not canning. This jelly is meant to be used up right away.

Dice up your fruit nice and small

Add your fruit to the pot with sugar and water. Its not an exact recipe just a ratio. I’d say I had about 2 cups of strawberries. So, I added 1 cup of sugar and about 3 cups of water. 

 Bring it up to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it go for about an hour or until it looks like this. 
I dont like chunky jelly so I pulled out the handy dandy immersion blender and pulsed it into a smooth and tasty puree. 

Grab yourself a funnel and pour your mixture into a cute jar.  

Just let it cool down before you seal the lid. And there you have it. Strawberry jelly is easy as pie. Actually its  easier than pie. I hope you give it a try, enjoy!

Happy St. Patty’s Day

I’m only into St. Patricks Day for the food. The only time I went out to celebrate was with one of my wonderful friends, as I call her Jonnah Millah. We went bar hopping through Boston and got caught in the midst of a fight in a a bar the size of a shoe box. I will no longer celebrate this day, other than eating the traditional fare. Being tossed amongst over-weight drunken fellas is not my idea of a good time.

I made the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner. The fella and I both came to the realization that we don’t like corned beef, unless that corned beef is apart of a breakfast accompaniment corned beef hash. The cabbage, potatoes, and carrots were quite tasty though. Happy St. Patricks day everyone!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese……Finally

Sorry for the delay in delivering the word about the ricotta cheese.I’m sure you all were waiting on the edge of your seats. Unfortunately, I tend to procrastinate sometimes its a horrible quality that I would love to shake. Anyway, the cheese was awesome, so fresh creamy and delicious. I slathered my first taste on a crusty piece of bread and then I used the rest of it added with parsley to my lasagna. This is so easy. Totally simple, there is no reason not to try this! Unless, of course you don’t really care for ricotta cheese, in which case you should try it anyway. Because, it is so much better than anything you buy out of a tub from your local grocer.

This is all you need to make your own cheese.  11/2 cups of milk and 1/2 a cup of heavy cream.  The juice of 2 lemons and the zest also if you would like. I left it out this go round. 1/4 tsp salt and sugar. 

While you bring the milk up to just a simmer juice and zest your lemons.  I don’t have photos of the milk simmering cause the stove shots always seem to be awful so we’ll skip that shot.  

Line a strainer with cheese cloth and put it in a bowl. 

When your milk and cream are just beginning to simmer, not boil! add your lemon juice , salt, and sugar. and give a  stir then pour into the cheese cloth lined strainer. 

Let is sit for at least 2 hours if you make a bigger batch I would let it sit over night. Otherwise I think about 2 hours does the trick. 

All the moisture will sink into the bowl and leave you with this!  

Its so beautiful!  Peel it away from the cheese cloth and revel in the magic you have just created. I think its best to enjoy it in its simplest form. Spread it on some bread or stir it into some hot pasta with a splash of pasta water.  The lemons give the cheese a hint of lemony tartness and makes it taste so fresh. You could also use white wine vinegar and get the same results I would use about 3 tablespoons if you go the vinegar route. You have got to try this!

Incredible Fast Food

This place is a revolution in fast food. Delicious, healthful, fresh food- fast! Steve Ells, the guy who started this chain of awesome, deliciousness runs his restaurants based on the philosophy, Food With Integrity. I will quote his actual statement which is printed on every menu. Its just too important not to read. “Chipotle is a pioneer in changing the way people think about and eat fast food. Armed with our philosophy of Food With Integrity, we take pride in sourcing as many of our high quality ingredients as we can from local and family farmers who are committed to sustainably raising antibiotic and hormone-free meats and organic vegetables. Food With Integrity is not merely a marketing slogan or a philosophy. It is an active process of working back along the food chain. It is a deeper level of thinking, consideration, and comprehension than just the word”fresh.” It means going beyond distributors to discover how our vegetables are grown, and being cognizant of how our pigs, cows, and chickens are raised. It is a philosophy solidly based on a foundation of not exploiting animals, the environment, or people.”  How simple and wonderful. This is something we all should be doing! Someone please tell me why McDonald’s can’t live by this philosophy??? I think greed is the answer. People always say that eating organically is too expensive. Well, the most expensive thing on the Chipotle menu is $6.50. Which is about the same price of any large value meal on McDonald’s menu. We had to drive 70 miles to eat here, but if you happen to  live near a Chipotle give it a try you will not be disappointed. 

Look! They are actually making food!

Here is my food, I ordered the tacos and they actually make them when you order them. 

The finished product, that was quickly devoured. Two tacos with black beans and carnitas the naturally raised pork. One taco with pinto beans and barbacoa, naturally raised beef braised then shredded mmmmmm. 

Our order of chips and guacamole so good! Your chips come in a bag but the fella made a nice presentation of our order. 
Heaven wrapped in a flour tortilla! 

All the menus are printed on recycled paper. This guy walks the walk.  Changing the world one taco at a time!

The fella ordered a burrito with the barbacoa ( shredded braised beef) without beans. I don’t know why he doesn’t like them, but I’m not complaining. He ate a burrito and guacamole!