The Happy Nappy Bride

About weddings. About relationships. About the first year of being married.

Love your honey… October 21, 2010

Filed under: Meals/Meal planning — Happy Nappy Bride @ 2:55 pm

…and make him eat good food!

I know some of you out there are like me and a little nutty about food.  I’m totally anti “food” that’s just add water and eat for dinner.  Now don’t get me wrong, we’ll still have those bad for you (but oh so tasty) Little Debbie snack cakes around the house…but for “real” food?  It’s got to be immediately recognizable as food.  Like an actual fruit or vegetable.  Or a cut of meat that looks like, well, meat…and not a pieced together mish mash of meat pieces.

Anyhoo, here are the ways I try to stay on top of feeding my fam the good stuff:

  1. Eat fresh foods. I have the world’s biggest junk food tooth.  I won’t say sweet tooth, because it goes well beyond the sweets, because I like the salty’s too, lol!  But to balance it all out, I put a lot of effort into making sure that we’ve got healthy and tasty options prepared and ready to go in the fridge.  Our dinners are always made with real food and we typically have fresh veggies and fruits in their for munching and snacks.
  2. Cook. That’s obvious right?  I should have said, cook in large quantities.  I’ll make a couple of meals at a time, because I don’t know about you…but my job has me working like a field slave.  So I don’t have time to come home everyday talking about making dinner.  When I cook, I usually make enough for a couple of lunches and dinners to come from one meal.  I’d prefer to cook fresh everyday (and I do when I’m off in the summers…thank you academic calendar!), but that’s just not an option while I’m working.
  3. Learn. My mom is a good cook and she made healthy meals for us when I was growing up, so she set a good example.  But once I started learning about food and what it does for our body…I got serious about eating good stuff.  Michael Pollan’s books have been super helpful for my learning why crappy food is crappy and why I should eat the good stuff.  That may sound silly, but when I’m faced with choice of Micky D’s or homemade…his books have helped bring me back from the fast food ledge.

Anyhoo, I’d love to hear what your household (whether you cook or it’s your hubby) does for food.  Do you talk about cooking and how you eat?  Or do you secretly make the fam eat healthy?  Do your kiddos like healthy or no?


fire starters August 14, 2010

Filed under: Home life,Meals/Meal planning — Happy Nappy Bride @ 4:27 pm

I love to grill.  I mean I really love to grill…I’m pretty sure I haven’t cooked one meal in the house this summer.  I just believe that summer was made for grilling.   Also, as I’ve written on here before, I have a love affair with charcoal…boy does it make food tasty!

But hold the phone!  When I was buying more charcoal the other day, I ran across the things that are pictured in the photos above.  They’re fire starters and they. are. amazing!  It takes a quick moment to light it up and it stays lit for about fifteen or twenty minutes…plenty of time to get a high quality fire going.  The set up is just like normal.  Pyramid your charcoals, just put the fire starter at the bottom of the pyramid and leave an open space so that you can reach it with your lighter/match.

Not only does your food taste better, because you’re not adding chemicals to the coals in order to get them started, it’s easy!  I’d always resisted the chimneys that some people use to start without lighter fluid because that’s just another step in the process.  The fire starters don’t require any extra effort and you’ll still get the tasty results.

When I used these last week, my first thought was, “I’ve got to send these to everyone I know!!”  So that’s impossible, but I probably will send them to my mother and brother…who’ve got the grilling bug just like I do.  They’ll be amazed and then think I’m super awesome.  Anyhoo, if you get a chance to try them (or some other version of fire starter that’s out there), I’d highly recommend it.

What’s your lighter fluid-free way to grill out on your charcoal grill?  I’m sure there are other ideas out there that I haven’t heard of.


the power of food July 20, 2010

Filed under: Building a life,Meals/Meal planning — Happy Nappy Bride @ 1:56 pm
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At some point I wrote about creating a life with The Mister and actively thinking about the life we’d create together.   I got some grief about wanting to be “traditional” in the sense that I’d do the cooking.  Let’s get one thing straight.  The Mister was single for a long time before me and he didn’t die of starvation, so he knows how to cook…sorta.  But it’s not his forte.  He’s good at tons of things, but this just isn’t one of them.  It does happen to be an area that I excel in and happen to love doing.

I’ve always loved cooking.  When I was in college, our fraternity brothers would come over and I’d pull some chicken out of the freezer and get to frying.  And when I lived in Houston, I’d have holiday parties all the time where people were only required to bring themselves and a happy attitude.

For us, part of the life we’d like to create is having people over and entertaining.  I’ve already said that I love to cook, so that’s a no-brainer.  And The Mister is fantastic with people (and I’m just alright), so we’re the perfect party-having couple.  People always seem to gather around food.  To just sit and talk or tell funny stories or play games or just catch up.  I love the feeling that food brings to people.  Like many women before me, sharing my food and my home with you is my way of showing love.  I want folks to be comfy and at home when they’re at our place.

And even when it’s just our little family, I want everyone to feel loved through our food.  I try for most of what we eat to be organic because I believe it’s better for us…there’s nothing that’s just out of a box on our table.  The act of eating together is pretty important to us in terms of creating a family.  The Mister’s daughter will set the table and he’ll help me get everything on the table.  One of us will say grace and we’ll chow down.  And life goes a little slower and I like that…we listen to music instead of the television, we sit and chat rather than looking at our phones or laptops…we connect with each other.

Have you thought about the life you and your hubby would like to create?  Why is it important to you?


grilling 101

Filed under: Meals/Meal planning — Happy Nappy Bride @ 1:38 pm

Remember that ghetto song “She Get It From Her Momma”…about a chick with a big booty?  Whose mom had a corresponding big booty?  Anyhoo, I’ve got something that I get from my momma…and it ain’t a large derriere.  I love to cook and in the summertime, I love to cook outside.  One day, I hope to be as good a cook as my mom…but for now, I’m happy with where I am.

Anyhoo, here’s how to guarantee a fabulous meal of grilled meats (mmmmm…grilled meat!):

Marinate the meat for a few hours, then take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to grill it so that it’s room temperature.  Yesterday I did chicken legs and ribeye.  Make sure your marinade has oil in it so that the meat doesn’t stick.

After you set the meat out, time to get the fire started.  Now I know there’s lots of debate over charcoal vs. gas grills, but in my mind there’s no question…charcoal is the way to go.  Yes, it takes longer to get ready than gas, but do you want your food done quickly and not so tasty or have to wait a bit and have it taste fabulous?  I’m going with fabulous.  Anyhoo, pyramid your coals, light ’em up and wait ’til they turn ashy.  Or you can use a coal starter, then dump the coals into your grill.  This here fancy Weber grill was a wedding gift…yippee!

Spread out the coals after they’re ashy and put on your meat.  I typically make a fire with a hot side and a not so hot side.   That way I can move meat around once its browned and it’ll keep cooking but not get much browner.  Here I’ve got the steak (about an inch thick) away from the hot side of the coals…cooking on indirect heat for about twenty minutes.  The steak isn’t over coals at all.

I know that some folks keep a spray bottle of oil and vinegar around for basting the meat and I used to, but I’ve found that if I marinate the meat well, it doesn’t need it.  So that eliminates a step and keeps the grill from getting all greasy.  Here’s the chicken right before I took it off…tasty!   Like I said before, I took the ribeyes off after about twenty minutes and they were medium well.

I didn’t yesterday, but I often do veggies on the grill…I’m sure I’ll post about that at some point.  Now get to grillin’!  If you’re in the north like me, we’ve only got a few months left before it’s too chilly to be outside cooking.