A night to myself

I took a night to myself. A delicious, perfect night. Delicious both in the way of food (of course) and in the mental sense. For my sanity, I looked past most of my mess of a house, put away the dishes that I knew would really get to me, and I soaked up some quietness. I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. Without anyone around.

Did you know binge eating buttered rum shrimp was good for you? It fills you up with happiness. That and tiny fresh mozzarella balls, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper on top of artisan bread. I envisioned my stomach laughing, stupidly, from all the wonderful food raining on it, which then made me think of Santa’s belly, jiggling like a bowl full of jelly. I was glad I was alone because I, wearing my gym shorts and one of The Chef’s old t-shirts, felt my sexiness level drop about ten points. So I baked a batch of cookies. Cookie dough I had balled up and frozen myself, for easy and fast access.

Now I sit watching movies that makes my soul happy, and read books by the candlelight, with soft piano music from my childhood.

This night just might make my happy place list.

The Everyday Chef and Wife
– The Wife

The Best Fourth in the North 2015

Two weekends ago, The Chef and I put in a 50 hour work weekend. We. Were. Dead. Three events, back to back, is not something I recommend, nor prefer. To this day, I still don’t know how we made it through. Every hour we were counting the minutes, getting us to the next hour, next task, next day, next event. We dreamed of collapsing into our lack-of-time-unmade bed. On Sunday, we could see the light. We got through, packed up, and started to come home at about 11pm (which was the earliest by a long shot we had been coming home). Then I got the call. 

The Child was throwing up. 

What?! No! I get to go to sleep now! That was the plan! Parenthood. Always throwing you curveballs and making you, once again, an AMC late night special of the Walking Dead. Curse you for making me so unbearably exhausted but still love it enough to give me the energy for cleaning yam-yam at midnight, while going on 3 hours of sleep and an 18 hour workday. 

We needed to get out of dodge. We packed our bags and headed north! 

We camped out at Oma’s (the wife’s mom) lake house, to soak up as much freaking tranquility that the good Lord could muster. And other than the mishap of The Dog running through the tent, leaving a lab/Shepard size hole in the screen, due to fireworks being set off, it was heaven. The Child fished and played with cousins, The Chef played pyrotechnic, and I lounged on an oversized floating island from Costco. 

We may or may not have threw a tantrum when we had to leave on Monday. 


  One of my happy places

   My seester ❤ <3… And the best photobomb ever 

   My love
   The works of fire! 

We are now counting down until the next time we get to go back up. Good thing we love what we do! Work’s not work when you’re having fun! 

-The Everyday Chef and Wife 










DIY Real Vanilla Extract

Well we’ve had an eventful year already. The Chef found out that he had a pretty good size hernia late last year, and the hospital couldn’t fit him in until the beginning of the year. The day of the surgery they told us he wouldn’t be up and moving for 3-4 days. Wrong. It was a good week before he was willingly getting up and moving on his own. So that was fun. But it’s taken me about two weeks to get back in the groove of things. Guess I can’t complain. When half of your team is down, it’s then you realize how much you depend on them!

One of the things that The Chef and I have been making ourselves for quite some time is homemade vanilla. It’s so incredibly easy, and your wallet will love it. A small bottle of real vanilla extract at the stores cost anywhere from $7 on up. What many people don’t know is real extract is more than likely just infused alcohol.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

We used a cheap clear 750ml bottle (or somewhere around that size) with a pop-top to hunker it down (or just use the vodka bottle if you’ll be using it all).

Filling the bottle with a vodka of your choice (we used Svedka because you can get a pretty big bottle of it at Costco for $21, good quality while still on the cheap side), cut open 2-4 vanilla beans, length-wise, and scrape the seeds out of the pod and into the bottle. Once the seeds are transferred, drop the pods in as well. Place somewhere safe for 2-3 weeks.

The Everyday Chef and Wife : DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Over the course of the weeks, you’ll see the alcohol start to turn tan, to a light amber, to brownish amber. This is the color we want! (Depending on how big your bottle is will depend on how many vanilla beans you will need to use. If after two weeks it’s still not dark enough, scrape out and add another bean for another week.) The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractFilter out all bean pods at the end, when you have achieved the color. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractPour the extract back into the bottle and voilá! You now have a huge bottle of vanilla extract that tastes amazing and will lasts you months (if not years. However much you make sweets 🙂 ) I go through mine in about 6 months. I definitely needed a cheaper version than the $7+ sample size bottle from the stores. Ugh. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

*Tip: The cheapest place the buy vanilla beans, that we’ve found, is World Market. You can find them in a small ziplock bag (not the bottle) for $2.99 for two beans. AMAZING! But if you know of another place that has them even cheaper, let us (and everyone else) know!!The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Did you know that the imitation vanilla and some vanilla extracts, aren’t even vanilla? They contain or are actually vanillin which is a common vanilla flavoring made out of a component found in wood. It is also easy to make synthetically. Not exactly what we’re looking for when preparing quality made foods, amiright? Read labels!

I hope you all are baking plenty and staying cozy!! Lets hope and pray for no more surgeries in 2015! YES LORD!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

New Years Goal 2015- Something for the mind, body, and soul

We don’t like resolutions.

But we do like to think of goals of how to better ourselves in the next year. Something to strive for, giving a little room for set backs, but with enough motivation behind it to drive us through the year. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is getting a facelift, because no one is perfect. “Practice makes permanent” as our pastor just taught us last Sunday, are words to live by!

This year The Chef and I are slightly continuing our goal from last year, only with more oomph. We are going handmade and homemade, baby! Down to the wire as much as we possibly can. We are going to try to figure out how to make as much of our own food instead of buying processed, packaged foods.

We did pretty good last year, with making our own pizza, ice cream, pasta, mascarpone cheese, and various other things. But the problem was, we didn’t plan properly. We would make things here and there when we had time and thought of a new recipe to blog, and then when it was inconvenient, we would go out and buy the product. What’s that about?

Oh yea. I had no motivation.

This year I want to strive to make (and pre-make) as much of our food as we can. Also, keeping track of our grocery bill each month to see how much we’re actually saving. And on the way I really want to talk and learn more about what preservatives, gmo’s, fillers, and other unnecessary chemicals are being used in store bought items and how they effect our body.

We want to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to use sugar, heavy cream, and butter, but we want to be wholesome in how we eat, in monitored portions. Because it’s not always what you eat, but how much. Moderation is key.

Obviously there are going to be things we can’t make, because unless The Chef is hiding the fact that he can crap an egg, I think we’re going to have to go the buying route. Where we are saving money on not buying convenient food, we’ll be putting it into better quality (organic, gmo free) products wherever we can.

There are going to be failures of recipes (oh so many…), and I know I’m going to want to quit. Please stand by us and be patient as we learn.

We are so excited with the changes and goals we are setting. Here we come 2015!


– The Everyday Chef and Wife

Countdown to Christmas! Holiday shopping and dancing in cars

Today I escaped for a hot second out of the the chaos of a house being prepared for holiday festivities and went to Joann’s to buy some “filler gifts” and yarn, which I will never have enough of, despite what The Chef says. He’s crazy.

I put on my jolly hat, (it being jolly because the ball on top wiggles around when you move your head) and I cranked the music.

I cranked it LOUD.

And I danced HARD.

My poof ball was having a friggen hay day. I decided I was being a light unto the people around me, and I imagined them having an awful day amongst ba-humbugs, and the sight of seeing me with my magnificent poof ball moving gracefully with my incredibly head banging might have just made their day a tad bit brighter.

It sure as heck made my day a little brighter.

Merry Christmas er’body.


The Wife

Countdown to Christmas! Our Favorite Goodies and Movies : #1 The BEST Hot Cocoa and The Santa Clause

Christmas time is here!!!!!


Well for me (The Wife) it’s been here since late August. By the time late summer hits, I’m dreaming of cozy nights snuggled under a blanket watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate. I love spring and summer, but I have an obsession with fall time going into winter.

As much as it pained me, I held off a count down to Christmas until December hit. I knew that after the winter we had last year I would be chastised big time if I was wishing for more of the “devils dandruff”. But now, we are here with twinkling lights and the scent of pine flowing through the house and we can party hardy!

The good Lord has blessed The Chef with a many wonderful talents, but one of the prevalent ones is the gift of making THE best hot chocolate that has ever been known to man kind. This isn’t the hot chocolate that you grew up with.

Do you remember the scene in the movie The Santa Clause where Scott Calvin (hashtag Santa Claus, hashtag Tim Allen, hashtag the pure essence of Michigan for me… I still tear up when I hear Pure Michigan commercials, and I live in Michigan) goes to the North Pole after Santa fell off his roof, making him the new Santa. Judy the elf appears with hot cocoa that took her “1,200 years to get it right”… “Not too hot, extra chocolate, shaken, not stirred.”


Ever since the first time I watched the movie, I literally (literally) would dream about drinking this hot cocoa. I felt like I knew what it tasted like, and nothing in my childhood experience in hot chocolate even came close to it.

Until my own husband, The Chef, my lovely, lovely Chef made it happen. And bonus, it’s incredibly easy. No weird ingredients. It’s really all in the process.

– 1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
– 3/4 cup water
– 2 packets of any hot cocoa mix

Simmer heavy cream and water in a small saucepan until hot, being careful not to scold the cream mixture.

Take your favorite mugs and run hot water over them, and let them sit with hot water in them to warm up.


This way your hot cocoa will stay warmer for longer.

Once the cream is hot, pour into either a blender or a container that you can stick your immersion blender in (the pot should be fine if it’s big enough).

Pour in the hot cocoa packets. Blend for about 30 seconds. This step is key. When you blend, you are frothing and slightly whipping the cream to give it an incredible texture that you can’t tell if it’s thick or light. I don’t even know how to explain it other than that. It’s just pure genius.

*Optional* Make whipped cream. Make sure to add in a little vanilla with your powdered sugar and whip again until thick. Add a dollop on top of your steaming mug of cocoa and sprinkle crushed candy canes for an extra wow factor.

It’s like a chocolate cloud melting in your mouth. It’s thick and chocolatey, sweet and satisfying. I want to open up a hot cocoa shop just so we can serve this, but really, you can make this just as easily. And you should.

And when you do watch The Santa Clause and revel in the part with the hot cocoa and know that you are drinking the same wonderful, chocolatey drink. It is a countdown to Christmas must!

Dinner Tonight 10-27-14

I’m writing to you in a freshly made bed with a huge comfy sweatshirt on. One of The Chef’s sweatshirts. There is a magnificent feeling of crawling into a bed with freshly washed sheets. What feeling is that? I feel like there’s not even a word that properly describes.

It’s similar to the feeling of sinking your teeth into a slice of pizza. I’m not talking about the mass chain pizza slices. I’m talking about great pizza. There has only been a few times in my life where I have felt such utter blissful indulgence when biting into a pizza, and tonight was one of them.

I made an accelerated version of artisan bread dough/pizza dough, where I put
2 2/3 cup of warm water
1 Tbsp (yes Tablespoon) of active dry yeast
6 cups of bread flour
1 Tbsp salt

I let it rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours for the first rise. Quartered it off, used one quarter for the pizza and froze the rest in their sections.
2nd rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven for an hour with your pizza stones/unglazed quarry tiles in for the preheat.

The Chef made this exquisite masterpiece tonight with a garlic butter sauce, fresh mozzarella, and Brussles sprouts, broccoli, and pepperoni for toppings. We’ve made this pizza before and it’s always been a knockout but tonight he completely outdid himself.

If I was a rich girl, I would be opening up a pizzeria tomorrow so I could let you try a slice. The only enjoyment about being full, was the reminder that leftovers would be available for lunch tomorrow.

I’m just sorry you won’t be there.

Not really. More for me.

-The Wife- IMG_4510.JPG

Dinner Tonight 10-26-14

Tonight The Chef and I decided to have a little fall date night in tonight. Something that isn’t uncommon around this time of year. Nothing sounds better to me than snuggling up watching an classic “fall” movie while eating dinner next to candles and or a fire.

After one of the last warm days we’ll probably see this year, and The Child jumping into leaves with the neighborhood kids, The Chef and I turned on some Christmas music (I make him listen to it this early. I love Christmas music!!) and started doing our daily waltz around the kitchen.

Here is a peak of our view. IMG_4503.JPG
I crave monster cookies this time of year, and tonight was a perfect night to make some. The Chef calls it irony. I call it scrumptious. We have about 10 acorn squashes leftover from an event so The Chef tried to put some to use. He cut it in half, scrapped out the seeds, and added oil, cinnamon, brown sugar, and reduced maple brown ale from a previous recipe. He roasted it in the oven at 350 deg for roughly 30 minutes and 400 deg for another 40. Normally you don’t have to roast them for that long but I was baking cookies and made some homemade fries. We just figure they could stay put and keep warm. Piping hot, really.
I can’t get enough of homemade fries. They’re easy and relatively healthy, and don’t take that long. I might go as far to say I like them better than deep fried fries. Is that proclaiming too much? Is that sacrilegious? Either way, I love em. Cut up some taters, toss them in some oil, salt and pepper them and roast on 400 deg until they’re tender. It’s up to you how crispy you want them.

We then made burgers. Ooooh man burgers. My go to meal. If I could eat a burger for everyday for the rest of my life, and not gain an ounce, I would. It’s not really even a question.

For our entertainment, The Chef chose the first pick of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charley Brown!” It’s a favorite and a tradition. We had just put The Child down for bed when we started it and changed our minds and pulled him out, convinced that he needed to experience it with us. He snuggled up next to me and helped me eat my fries. I think we gained some major parent points tonight in that kids eyes. It’s not going to become a habit though.

Since the Charley Brown movie was only 20 minutes long (and after The Child was tucked back into bed), I chose the movie Clue.

Have you ever seen the movie Clue? It’s fantastic. The game was one of my favorites growing up, and seeing it brought to life makes it that much better. I also really enjoy the old movies with slapstick, and weird humor, with just a little mystery. Like Young Frankenstein, or the Goonies. You can’t beat em. So good right??

Fall nights like this are my favorite! I’m excited to see what date night in we’ll do next 🙂

Ps. Any good ideas of what to do with 9 acorn squashes? Running out of ideas…

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

Dinner Tonight 10-24-14

I made vegan pasta! Wanna know how?

Flour, salt and water.

The Chef had a personal chef cook day, and he’s always hungry by them time he gets home. And he never wants the leftovers that he might have of the food he just made. It was up to me to scour the fridge.

I found leftover Brussels sprouts from our garden, and an heirloom tomato. That’s not all we have in our fridge, believe me , but it’s what piqued my interest. But what could I make with it to fill our bellies?

Homemade pasta.

I know I posted way earlier about homemade pasta, and it’s a good recipe. But to me it was just a little to much to just whip something up. Call me lazy. I decided to just try flour, salt and water instead of the original recipe. I want things cheap but good. I like to get back to the basic of basics.

I roughly diced the tomatoes and cut the sprouts. Oiled em up and flopped it on a cookie sheet, and popped it in the oven to roast.

For the pasta I took about a cup of flour and around a half a cup of water and a sprinklage of salt. This isn’t exact. I added more water and then more flour to get a smooth textured ball, kneading it a few minutes to really work the gluten. Letting the dough rest for about 10 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap, I prepared for the following steps. Wipe down the counter, lightly sprinkle with flour, get your fav rolling pin, and go to town. To the town of pasta.

I rolled mine as thin as I could pooooossibly roll it. It had such a beautiful, smooth surface. I worked any excess flour into the dough as I was rolling it out because I had to peel it off the counter. But it was really quite perfect; when you eat the cooked pasta, you didn’t get the excess flour/starch left on. Delightfully light and tender.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salting the water for extra flavor. This isn’t a step to skip. Salt your water.

Using the rolling pin as your cutting guide, and a pizza cutter as your tool, roll the pizza cutter against the side of the rolling pin to cut the pasta into whatever-width-you-desire strips. Toss them into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Strain but don’t rinse.

With the pasta in a personal sized bowl, I put in just a touch of butter to melt over top, but I think some really good EVOO would be just as tasty. Use good stuff. Sprinkle some fresh Parmesan on, a little bit of lemon zest (that really rocked it!) and salt and pepper. Top with the roasted veggies.

*Note: this dish is not vegan with the Parmesan cheese or butter but they are completely optional.

Holy cow it’s like I’m in Italy. Or I could imagine. (Anyone want to put me up??) The flavors were perfect. The slight al dente bite of the pasta mixed perfectly with the roasted veggies. The tomatoes were sweet and flavorful, and the Brussel sprouts gave it a slight earthy flavor, but the Parmesan and lemon zest really hit it out of the park. It was so simple and clean tasting. I could’ve ate 10 bowls. Lemon zest on pasta could be my new favorite thing…

No pictures this time as it was 9 pm when we ate and we scarfed it down so fast that my shutter probably wouldn’t have been able to capture it anyways.

But I would like to make a quick video about it… Hopefully soon. *hint hint on what’s in the works possibly* we’re getting our ducks in a row…

Wow! So 90% of that meal came from the work of my very own hands. I grew the veggies, and I made the pasta. How much more satisfying can you get? And it was really quite easy. I feel like lasagna would be harder.

That reminds me. I haven’t made lasagna in a while.

Try out vegan pasta! It’s so easy and satisfying! You’ll feel accomplished, I promise you that.

Whew with full, happy bellies, I wish you good morning/day/night.
-The Wife

Our Fall Trip in Northern Michigan

I keep breaking promises, don’t I? I am failing miserable at getting more delicious recipes to you. But don’t give up on me yet! The Chef and I are rescheduling our hectic calenders so we can fit way more in. I miss it!

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about our adventures up north. I had a photography job up in my hometown of Cheboygan, so The Chef and I decided to take a much needed mini vacay and stay for a few days with my mumsie. The trees were in their prime for fall colors. It felt like we had jumped the pond over to somewhere in Europe. We went for a drive over to Harbor Springs, and drove through the tunnel of trees. Can I just say I AM DYING TO LIVE THERE!! As it has been proven many times over, Michigan, especially the coast of Michigan, is the most beautiful place in America. No questions asked.

I feel like if I wrote out everything, it would be a book. And probably only interesting to me. So I’ll show pictures in hopes that you find it a bit more appealing and entertaining. I’ll give quick narration along the way.

Now some of these are taken on the iphone, so bare with me if the quality is sub-par….

The Tunnel of Tree’s around Harbor Springs.

Can you beat this countryside?? It’s a poor man’s trip to Ireland.The Everyday Chef and Wife

We stopped off at the cutest little General Store off of M119. They had a “free little library” (something I’ve always wanted to see), and we treated ourselves to a Pumpkin Spice Topper. It was like a pumpkin spiced cream cheese whoopie pie. Holy amazing, Batman!

Next we stopped at Pond Hill Farm. Such a cute place! The Child L.O.V.E.D all the animals. It was his Christmas morning. He even got to sit in a huge tractor (another dream come true for him)! You can tell The Chef thoroughly enjoyed himself as well… So glad Oma took us to this little gem! Check them out if you’re ever in the area!

We stopped by Petoskey because The Chef had never really wandered through the town, and while there we had sandwiches at Symon’s General Store. I still dream about that sandwich. From the outside you wouldn’t guess they would offer to-go sandwiches (much less AH-mazing sandwiches), but it’s a secret that needs to be shared! Eat there! Have the Shipwreck sandwich. You won’t regret it. AND highlight for me was seeing my friend, Sarah Tule’s (May), artwork displayed in one of the galleries downtown! I squealed “Hey! I know her!!!” and did a little happy dance for her success!! I love seeing my friends following their dreams!!

I seriously couldn’t get over the GORGEOUSNESS!!


The Child loved to go on “safari’s” through the property.

And probably my favorite part of the photographs… Our wonderfully talented, flying dog. He loves them apples…

It was a fun-filled break, as you can see. We are now back in the office (a.k.a the dining room table) and putting our heads to the grindstone to continue on this ever-learning adventure of being small business owners. We are loving it!!

Follow us on instagram for more daily life insights into our life at @thechefandwife!

See you soon!!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-