Category Archives: Food & Recipes

Spaghetti Squash

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about spaghetti squash ever since I started eating it at home and I always tell people how easy it is to cook. I roasted one today and took photos to show you guys just how easy peasy it is!

Spaghetti squash looks like a regular squash on the outside.

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The magic happens when it’s cooked. I just split the squash into two pieces, took the seeds out, sprinkled it with a bit of olive oil, and stuck it in the oven for 40 minutes in 375 degrees.

When it’s fully roasted (you can tell if it’s cooked all the way by sticking it with a fork), let it cool for a bit and with a fork, “comb” the inside flesh and tada~ the flesh breaks apart into long strands like spaghetti!

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I use it just like I would a pasta. Today, I sauteed up some ground turkey, onions, corn, and spinach with some canned tomatoes for a sauce, mixed in the spaghetti squash and layered whole wheat rigatoni, mozzarella, and the sauce for a casserole.

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Healthy, hearty, and really yummy! Last time I didn’t add the rigatoni but my husband and I are running a 10 mile race this Sunday and thought we needed to maintain our carbs this week :)

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Fried plantains

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I made Peruvian-style whole roast chicken the other week for some friends and in thinking of what sides should go along with it I decided to make fried plantains. The last time I had Peruvian chicken was in Baltimore (which was to die for) and we got yucca fries with them. I know yucca and plantains aren’t the same at all but maybe because because they’re both fairly “exotic” and both fried, it totally made sense in my head to make fried plantains with the chicken. And yes, they went together fantastically.

The recipe is from Guy Fieri. His recipe has directions for a sweet and hot sauce to dip the plantains in but I didn’t bother since I had made the Peruvian green sauce for the chicken.

Ingredients:
Canola oil (for frying)
2-3 plantains
1/4 cup minced garlic
Red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
Optional: 1 lime

Directions:
1. Remove the peel of the plantain and cut into 1 inch thick diagonal pieces.

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Conquering the wine aisle

Now that most of my friends and I have already teetered or are soon teetering on the edge of our late twenties into our thirties, we’ve become more “classy” which means a screw driver or red bull vodka is no longer our go-to drink during social occasions (except those times when we want to pretend that we’re still 24, of course). When there’s a get together at a BYO or a dinner gathering at someone’s place, a bottle of wine has become the standard. But no matter how much wine you’ve consumed so far and no matter how many wine tastings you’ve been to, if you’re anything like me, when you’re at the wine and spirits store faced with aisles and aisles of varieties of wine, the process of choosing the right wine for the right occasion is usually a time consuming and stressful process.

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Banana bread and composting

Continuing the theme of food waste and utilizing deteriorating produce from 2013’s last blog post, I had a pile of bananas that was sitting on top of the fridge for… I wanna say about two weeks? (I know, gross, right?) They had obviously lost their vigor with saggy peels and brown spots all over. Neither my husband nor I are huge banana fans but I buy them occasionally for our smoothies. If you live on the east coast, you know the weather’s been pretty frigid lately so smoothies have not been made in the Yun household of late. Therefore the sad, spotting bananas on top of our fridge :( Usually, we cut em up and freeze them when the bananas reach this point but our poor freezer is at its max capacity so that wasn’t an option either. I knew I was going to have to throw them out if I didn’t act quickly. So the logical conclusion was to make banana bread. I’ve never made banana bread in my life (told you, I’m not a huge banana fan). But faced with the option of throwing the poor bananas away and making something that might actually taste good, I chose the later. I pulled out my trusty KitchenAid mixer and got it going. The recipe is from Annie Dean‘s adorable blog who got it from Smitten Kitchen.

The bananas went into the mixer looking quite pathetic and gross (I really wish I had taken a picture of its sad state but I’m sure you can imagine) but boy did it come out of the oven gloriously reborn. It. was. absolutely. delicious. Here it is in its full glory.

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From now on all my sad looking bananas will be going to banana bread heaven rather than ending up in the compost.

Speaking of food waste and compost, I enrolled in a local compost program a couple weeks ago. I had been growing quite sick and tired of the smelly garbage can and of having to take it out when it wasn’t full all the way due to the smell. And since I’ve been cooking often recently, the bulk of the content of our trash has been food scraps and food waste. Combined with the smell issue and the guilt of sending perfectly good potato peels to the landfill, I started contemplating composting. While I’d love to have my own compost pile in my own back yard, city living isn’t quite conducive to such activities, so I started researching local compost programs and discovered Bennett Compost. They provide you with a 5 gallon lidded bin and come by once a week to pick up your week’s food scraps. Continue reading

Getting creative with almost expired produce

I love a well stocked fridge. It makes me happy to come home with a load of groceries and fresh produce and fill the fridge up. No need to scrounge around opening and shutting the pantry and the fridge to see what’s left in the house to make something that resembles a meal. Oh, the possibilities of meals for the week on grocery shopping day! But one of the things I DISLIKE about a well stocked fridge is the limited shelf life of fresh food and produce. Yep, I’m guilty of food waste… When it comes to produce, I try to only buy what I think I’ll use for the week but sometimes meal plans go awry when a friend wants to catch up over happy hour or I decide I absolutely don’t want to cook (mostly because I don’t want to clean up after) and order a pizza instead. It drives me crazy to have that cucumber in the fridge for days and weeks and I can’t come up with a good way to use it in a meal. It drives me even crazier when the said cucumber finally succumbs to the passing of time and starts revealing mold spots and I have to toss it.

So the other day, I had a couple of avocados, lemons, and a tomato as well as a rapidly deteriorating container of greens in the fridge, all of which I knew I had to use within days or they were all set to become food waste (eeeeek…).

Unfortunately, one of the two avocados had already crossed over to the dark side… Yuck.

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But thankfully, the rest were still usable.

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I’ve been wanting to eat “healthier” lately and this was the perfect challenge. This is what I came up with:

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The weekend I turned 30

What an amazing weekend…

Some highlights in photos:

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Yes, our wedding is featured in The Knot Pennsylvania & Delaware Spring/Summer 2014 issue! One of The Knot’s editors emailed me months ago saying that they wanted to feature our wedding as one of weddings in the “Real Wedding” section and I found out this Thursday that the issue was finally out! It was (still is) surreal seeing our wedding photos in a major wedding magazine! The issue is in all major bookstores in the Philly/Delaware area if you want to see it for yourself ;)

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I made this apple tart for a Christmas party. It’s one of my go-to holiday desserts since it’s so pretty and is always a crowd pleaser. We had it with vanilla ice cream and it was gone within minutes. Even though it looks super fancy, it’s actually pretty easy to make. I used a mandolin this time around and it cut down the prep time by half. I’ll post a “tutorial” one of these days :)

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And yes… I turned 30 this weekend… I’m one of those people who hate their birthdays and want to pretend like it never happens but since it was the big 3-0 this year, I couldn’t quite ignore it. It was actually great being able to celebrate it with some of my favorite people. Continue reading

Food. Then came the blog

After some agonizing over the subject/content of my first blog post, I’ve decided to post about what I’ve been doing a lot lately: cooking. Ever since discovering the Food Network in college, I’ve been trying out recipes here and there but ever since getting married, I’ve been cooking a lot more, because let’s face it, cooking for two is so much more rewarding than cooking for one. Plus I get to use all my fancy schmancy kitchen gadgets from our wedding registry which makes cooking so much more fun and convenient. Not to mention, it helps to have a husband who loves to eat!

To get this blog off the ground, a good friend volunteered to help me with the technical stuff. So of course I had to feed him a good meal since he was doing me a huge favor (I’m not tech savvy. AT ALL.) So without further ado, this is what I made the day caraparkliving.com was born. (Sorry for the atrocious photo quality, courtesy of the iphone, unsteady hands, and eager stomachs. Hoping for a better camera soon and therefore much better photos on the blog in the future!)

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Pasta bolognese and my specialty pizza, arugula pesto. Recipes below.

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