Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recipe Feature - Classic Beef Meatballs & Spaghetti

Hello wonderful people!

Sorry I have neglected my blog, yet again. I need to be better about this lol. Anyway, as an apology, I have decided to share a recipe that was a recent hit with my family! It's a classic dish: spaghetti and meatballs! BUT this is one of the best meatball recipes I have ever tried. I modified a little here and there (modifications are in green), but I pretty much followed the instructions as is.

Classic Beef Meatballs (Source)

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef (I used 85% lean ground beef from whole foods)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried) (I used 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 4 cups Classic Tomato Sauce (I made my own simple marinara; read below!)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil into a 9-by 13-inch baking dish; using your hand, evenly coat entire surface. Set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together beef, ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red-pepper flakes, and fennel until fully incorporated. Roll mixture into firmly packed 1 1/2-inch balls.
  3. Place meatballs in prepared baking dish, taking care to line them up snugly so that they are touching one another in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. Transfer baking dish to oven. Bake until meatballs are firm and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165 degrees. (I just baked them for about 16-18 minutes)
  4. Meanwhile, heat Classic Tomato Sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
    * OR you can make a quick marinara if you have less time
    My Marinara Sauce
    32 oz  organic tomato sauce
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    pinch of salt and pepper
    - heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
    - saute the onions and garlic in the oil, until slightly browned.
    - pour in the tomato sauce and season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
    - simmer for at least 15 minutes...and you're DONE!
  5. Remove meatballs from oven and carefully drain excess grease from pan. Pour heated sauce over meatballs and return to oven; cook for 15 minutes more. Serve. (I served mine on a bed of angel hair pasta!)


I really enjoyed this recipe! The meatballs were incredibly tender and fully cooked through. I found that using the Italian seasoning (instead of oregano) was fine, esp if you have that on hand instead! I served mine with pasta, and it was perfect. I can't wait to make this again and maybe try a pork/beef combo? If any of you try this, let me know! 

Love,
Cassie

Thursday, October 2, 2014

When You Fall...Get Right Back Up

Dear blogosphere,

I am sorry for my absence. Life has taken me on a wonderful ride, and I felt the need to live it! Still, I am glad to be returning to blogging. It is important to me to share my thoughts with the world and to somewhat artistically express myself lol. I missed blogging and I thought it appropriate to come back, esp during this time in my life.

I recently failed at something terribly important to me. I had prepared and prepped and endured months of agony... and still failed. I found out recently about my disastrous failure, and I sobbed and ate ice cream and sobbed some more. I thought my heart couldn't bear it. I sat in silence and stared into space. I really truly wallowed (for those of you who have watched Gilmore Girls, wallowing is necessary says Lorelai).

After my wallowing, though, I decided to open the windows to let the light in. I decided to listen to music and watch some funny TV (Gilmore Girls, duh).  I decided to eat something other than ice cream and donuts. I decided to put on a pretty dress and walk out into the world. I decided to GET UP and to BRUSH IT OFF. And I am so glad because it has done me a world of wonders.

As the Ancient Ones said, errare humanum est...which means "to err is human."  This past week, I was assaulted with my humanity.  It was not fun. It SUCKED. But I got up because I wanted to and because I had to. And also because many of those around me showed their support for me and their love for me, despite my failure. Thank you to all those who still believe in me and who have been a shining light during my time of sadness.

It has been a tough few days and it will continue to be a tough few months.  However, nothing beats sadness like positivity and the will to move forward and try again. Onwards and upwards!!!

Source: bananarepublic.gap.com

Love,
Cassie

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cafes I Adore - ChadLou's Coffee Lounge

Hello lovelies!

Today, I wanted to share with you a gem in Kailua Town on the island of Oahu. It is a gorgeous little cafe nestled in the backstreets of my favorite city on Oahu. The storefront is painted a mint green (one of my favorite colors), the menu is written on a chalkboard, and they serve up some of the best coffee (at least in my opinion). Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to ChadLou's Coffee Lounge.

I love this place so much I had to share it with you all. It's such a quiet little coffee shop with a mostly wood interior and even some cute round lights that they sometimes turn on for additional cutesy ambiance. They also serve some awesome food and great ice cream. They have traditional ice cream flavors, like butter pecan and coffee, and some interesting ones, like ube (okinawan sweet potato). I love the ube flavor by the way.

If you want to read more about this place, click here to read some Yelp reviews! And, if you are ever in Kailua, you should try this place out! So that you know exactly where to go, here is the address:
ChadLou's Coffee Lounge
45 Kihapai St.
Kailua, HI 96734

(this is the cheddar, bacon, and apple muffin & the lavender iced coffee)

LOVE

Aloha,
Cassie

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photography Feature - Paths to Take

Hello lovelies!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Thursday! Today, I wanted to share with you some photographs of gorgeous paths I would love to wander down...

I don't know if you all have heard of Robert Frost's poem entitled "The Road Not Taken." I remember reading this in high school and being inspired to take the road less traveled. We all have many paths in life, and we often come to forks in the road. We can choose to take the well-paved road, comforting and reliable. Or we can choose to take the unknown path, full of possibilities and adventure. I am guilty, as we all are, of taking the well-paved road many times, coming to reliable ends and conclusions. However, I am determined to take the road less traveled more often. I want to live a life worth living and full of adventure rather than one stagnant and predictable. As Robert Frost eloquently put it, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference."

Here are some photographs that inspire me to take the road not taken. ADVENTURE!

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Hope you enjoyed some photography inspiration! And hope you feel inspired to take the unfamiliar path.

Aloha,
Cassie

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All You Need is Love - Photography Feature

Hello lovelies!

I was having a pretty stressful morning, but lunch and dessert with an amazing group of friends and the bf saved the day! Love and friendship are the most precious things in the world. Everything comes secondary to me. Although one of my top priorities is to pass this bar, I know that my No. 1 priority will always be my friends and family because they are my world. :)

Inspired by my friendships, new and old, I decided to post a few of my favorite photography moments! Although these images are of romantic love, I also find friendship love and familial love to be just as awe-inspiring and powerful (and sometimes even moreso). I simply thought that these images were gorgeous :) I also decided to do a beach/ocean theme because...summer! HAHA. Hope you enjoy.

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Remember to tell your loved ones that you care! I'm sure they know, but it's always wonderful to hear. :) Have an amazing Wednesday everyone.

Aloha,
Cassie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Beauty of Hawaii

Hello lovelies!

As some of you may know, I live in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. I have been to many other states in the U.S., and I also lived in Massachusetts for a while during my college years. I love the mainland U.S., and I miss it a lot; however, Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I am so lucky to be able to call it my home. For those who decide to visit our wonderful paradise, please take the time to venture outside of Waikiki at least once. Waikiki is only a small part of Hawaii, and it is commercial Hawaii. I'll admit that it is quite fun, and I do enjoy going there once in a while. Still, it's not real Hawaii to me. Hawaii is the quiet of the windward side and the delicious and cheap local treats at hole-in-the-wall restaurants and the adorable "aunties" and "uncles" that you meet everyday. Hawaii is more than just hula girl bobble-heads and Waikiki; the true beauty of Hawaii, to me, lies in the people and the land outside of the glitzy strip. Head outside of that bubble and you will be amazed.

I also recommend traveling to the outer islands! Life there is different from Oahu. Each island has its own personality; my personal favorite, so far, is Molokai. You can actually s e e the stars, and they are magical. I went on a school trip there, and it was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken. Wherever you choose to visit, always remember to step outside of the tourist traps and go on an adventure! I know it's hard sometimes, esp in foreign countries. BUT DO IT. You will learn the most, grow the most, and have so many amazing stories to take back home with you.

I hope you come to visit us in Hawaii one day! We are definitely a unique place in the world, and I invite you to discover all the beauty that my home has to offer! I want to leave you with pictures of last night's sunset in Honolulu. The sunsets this summer have been i n s a n e.






Aloha,
Cassie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspirational Quote of the Day

Hello lovelies!

I just wanted to drop by my blog and quickly share some inspiration for today! I know that some of you may be going through some tough times in your life; I know I am. This bar exam has made me so incredibly stressed out that I have been getting nightmares! Just last night, I sat up straight in bed in the middle of the night! :(

Still, amidst incredible stress or doubt, it's always important to remember your inner strength and willpower. We all have a drive within us to reach our goals, and we should never forget how strong that drive is!

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Hope this post inspires you to believe in yourself more today! Now go out there and conquer the world! Whatever your goals may be, know that you can achieve them :)

Aloha,
Cassie