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Domestic Diva

Foodie Friday: Lamb Ragu with Homemade Spinach Fettuccine

Nothing tastes better than homemade pasta and sauce.

This lamb ragu and spinach fettuccine dish is one of my favorites, especially since the Dude and I only make it a few times a year. It has now become a tradition for us to prepare it every New Year’s Eve. If you give this recipe a try, I assure you, this pasta dish will quickly become one of your favorites.


This recipe for spinach fettuccine is actually a combination of two recipes we discovered from Chefs Mario Batali and Thomas Keller. After several attempts to make the perfect pasta dough, we’ve come up with this recipe. Why spinach fettuccine? Well, there’s never anything wrong with throwing a little green in your food. Spinach is one of the world’s best foods for you and we think it adds a delicious touch to pasta dough.


  • 1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) semolina flour (you can use all purpose, but semolina is better)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • A handful of spinach (baby or regular)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Try to use organic and local ingredients. I also prefer to use cage-free, local, and organic eggs.

Start by sauteing a handful of spinach with a touch of olive oil and minced garlic. Saute until wilted.

(Click on pictures to expand)

Wet Ingredients

Add the sauteed spinach to the “wet” ingredients (egg, egg yolks, olive oil, milk) to your mixer and pulse. This mixture can easily become mayonnaise, so just use the pulse setting until evenly mixed.

The Mound

Instructions on how to create pasta dough comes via the French Laundry cookbook by Thomas Keller: (continues…)

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It’s Good To Be A Feminist Housewife

I only do 3 out of these 6 things. Hey, a Feminist Housewife still has her limits.

I only do 3 out of these 6 things. Hey, a Feminist Housewife still has her limits.

I am a stay-at-home mom. I am a wife. And I am a Feminist.

I am a Feminist Housewife.

No, that’s not an oxymoron. Welcome to a new generation of housewives. We ain’t Donna Reed, yo.

I don’t mean to ruffle any other housewives feathers, but I didn’t grow up necessarily wanting this job. Like many, if not most housewives I know, being a housewife was not my professional goal. I didn’t go to college or two different graduate programs  to earn an M.R.S degree. I was already wearing suits and handing out business cards by the time I met the Dude. I didn’t cook and I certainly didn’t pick up after anyone else. I had changed maybe 3 diapers in my life at that point. If that. Nothing about me screamed *housewife-material!*. The Dude and I married with the knowledge that we are equal partners in everything that we do, and that includes raising a family together. We are partners and co-parents. Decisions are made together and we work hard to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to our relationship and parenting. The Dude even calls himself a feminist, too. It’s good to be married to one of those.

I was raised in the 80′s, which was a great time to grow up for a girl. I wasn’t raised on Donna Reed, June Cleaver, or even Edith Bunker. I was raised on Mrs. Huxtable, Kate & Allie, and Murphy Brown. Those women were smart feminist chicks who could support their families and hold their own against any man.  They were my feminist icons. But my biggest influence was undoubtedly my own mother. After my parents divorced, she was the one who stressed the importance of being self-sufficient and independent. She didn’t just tell me to be that way. She showed me the way. I watched my mom work her way through graduate school while raising three kids alone. It was not only impressive, but it made a life-long impact on me. I knew from a young age that the key to everything was through education and drive. Become your own person before you marry and have the means to support yourself…just in case, my mother would tell us. Her pragmatism helped shape us. My sister and I were not raised to believe that we were little princesses and that Prince Charming would come along one day to save us. Instead, we grew up with the drive to be educated and financially independent and the belief that if Prince Charming actually did show up, well, he better be willing to cook, clean, and change diapers*, too. (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: Thanksgiving ’09 – The Verdict


I don’t usually gloat about my cooking. In all honesty, I fail just as many times as I succeed. But, thanks to Chef Ryan (my guest chef for Foodie Friday last week), my Turkey Day was a hit!

My immediate family is spread out far and wide, from Hawaii to Boston to Afghanistan.  Needless to say, we miss quite a few holidays with everyone. But, fortunately this year, I was able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving with my mom, my mother-in-law, the Dude, and the Monkey. It might have been small, but it was lovely. For that, I am thankful.

I ate so much that I didn’t even leave room for dessert. That’s a first! But we’ve got leftovers for days. Weeks even. I may even have to extend Foodie Friday over the weekend to discuss some great tips for all those Turkey Day leftovers.

Hope everyone had a great holiday, even if you couldn’t be with everyone you love.

Thanksgiving at Ain’t Yo Mama’s House (click on pics to expand):


My tablescape, complete with felted fall produce created by my mother-in-law. How cute are they? I wish I was that crafty.


Another view of my tablescape, including the pumpkin pie I didn’t touch. I’ll get you tomorrow, pie.


Right out of the oven! This 15lb locally grown, all-natural, and fresh turkey cooked in only 1.5 hours. It was brined for 2 days and then coated with a sage, paprika, and brown sugar butter rub. It was perfect. (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: There’s Something About Ina

My Foodie Icon

The Fabulous Barefoot Contessa

Foodie Friday is my newest weekly series about all things food. What does food have to do with a parenting blog? Everything. Other than love and shelter, children rely on us to nourish them well and help them grow healthy and strong. Food fuels the body and feeds the soul. I love cooking almost as much as I love eating.  I will be sharing my own family recipes as well as advice and recipes from professional chefs. Foodie Friday won’t just be about recipes.  I’ll be discussing other aspects of food, such as sociopolitical issues related to food and American food culture, in general. As I dish about dishes and feed your mind, I hope you work up an appetite for some good eats!

To get this Foodie Friday started, I need to discuss my most important icon for all things foodie and fabulous. I’m talking about none other than The Barefoot Contessa.

Ina Garten is the Barefoot Contessa and if you’re not familiar with her, please set your DVR to the Barefoot Contessa program on Food Network. What I love most about Ina’s cooking style is that it’s simple and elegant. Sure, her recipes tend to lean in the hearty (read: fattening) comfort zone, but she can also whip up delicious recipes that are very healthy and lean. Her lemon and garlic roast chicken (minus the butter and bacon) has become a weekly staple in my house. I found myself watching her program years ago and I became fixated on her approach and cooking demeanor.  She also has this soothing and reassuring voice, as if to say, of course you can cook that! Some people take issue with her suggestions for “good” products only, such as “good” olive oil or “good” salt, which I take to mean expensive. She also always suggests homemade chicken stock. As much as I value her culinary opinions, I also value my time and wallet much more. I buy decent quality products that aren’t expensive and I buy chicken stock.

Ina is not a formally trained chef and it shows. But that’s what I like about her since I’m not either.  Ina just really loved to cook and throw dinner parties, so she gave up her career working as a budget analyst in the White House to open a specialty foods store and catering service in the Hamptons. It became so popular that eventually Food Network sought her out for her own cooking show. As Ina would say, how fabulous is that?!? (continues…)

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No Shoes? Come On In

You are now entering a shoe-free zone

You are now entering a shoe-free zone

If you’re a friend or family member of mine, then you know the routine by now:

Take your shoes off at the door, please.

Yes, I am one of those people.

I could blame my need to be shoe-free on my OCD tendencies. I’m certain they are largely responsible. But you could also blame it on a trip to Japan some years back or the influence of my shoe-free sister who has lived throughout Asia for many years. Or you could blame it on the fact that I used to live in one of the dirtiest cities in America. If you have ever stepped foot in San Francisco, you know what I’m talkin’ about. The streets of San Francisco might be beautifully breathtaking but if you ever look down (no, don’t look!) you will find yourself walking in a cesspool of trash and human waste. So when I was living in a downtown SF apartment with WHITE WOOL CARPET (I know, what the hell was our landlord thinking?!?), I finally put my foot down to wearing shoes indoors.

It’s not easy being shoe-free but I do try to make it easy for my guests. When we moved to our new house last year, I made a nice take-off-your-shoes area. I have a leather bench in my entrance hall where people can sit comfortably and remove their shoes. I also have a basket of clean socks and slippers for people to use, and I clean my hardwood floors daily (please don’t say it). I even have over-the-shoe booties for workers or for people that choose not to remove the shoes. Yes, I really am that crazy.

Still, some people complain about it, most notably *ahem* certain husbands. The Dude is definitely not happy about the rule, only because he claims that it’s hard to put his shoes on every morning in the garage. I get that that. We have a shelf for all the shoes near the garage door, but no place to sit. It’s easier for me since I don’t usually wear shoes with laces. I’m sure that the Monkey will complain about it, too (as well as all his friends) but to all of them I say this: when you clean my house to my ridiculously high OCD expectations that no housekeeper has ever lived up to and why I clean the whole house by myself, then you get to make the rules. Until then, Mama rules this shoe-free roost.

Do you have have a no-shoe policy, too, or are you like The Dude who thinks it’s ridiculous? I’d love to hear from you.

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