Spicy Salmon to Celebrate a Decade with Ruby!

Wow!  What a weekend.  After 2 weeks of feeling pretty miserable, I was ready to pack in as much celebration and relaxation as possible!

What was there to celebrate?!  Well…2 things.  First, last Tuesday was our 8th Wedding Anniversary.  WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?  That’s right, after 8 years of dating (keep in mind, I was only 15 when we started dating…crazy!), on Aug 20, 2005, we finally tied the knot.  Appropriately, Etta James’ “At Last” played as we danced our first dance.  🙂  So on Tuesday evening, we headed out to MY favorite Iowa City restaurant, Baroncini, for a casual italian dinner.  Delish!  But, with Baby B3-on-board, we wanted to get out and spend some additional alone time.  With a call to Brittany, we were able to sneak out of the house on Saturday morning and spend the WHOLE day alone in Des Moines…just bumming around, stopping at our favorite shops, and grabbing an indulgent and delicious lunch.  I can’t explain just how refreshing those 12 hours were…reconnecting as we wandered…just the two of us…no distractions…no timeline…no agenda.  I laughed as we drove over thinking 16 years ago we did the same thing…jumped in the car, drove over to Appleton WI, and shopped our hearts out for the day.  The only difference was our choice of retailers…and perhaps, the “fit” of our clothes.  Somehow Rue 21 and oversized shirts don’t sound quite as appealing.  Ahh, the memories.  🙂

In addition to an anniversary, we had a very special birthday to celebrate!  Speaking of “where does the time go?!”, the first love-of-our-lives, turned TEN on Friday.  What?!   Ruby Tuesday…aka, Pickle Monster, rang in a decade.  I know this phrase gets over used all the time but, seriously, I don’t know what life would have been like without this little dog!  Ruby is sooooo HUMAN.  I will never forget the time (ok, one of the many times) we smuggled her into a hotel…and Ryan would say, “Hey…she’s more human than half the kids here.”  True story.  Ruby is smart….funny…compassionate…protective…and without question, one of a kind.  As she ages, she drives me more and more crazy with that dang ball…wanting to play fetch CONSTANTLY.  But with every toss, I’m grateful she’s still here to bring it back.  She’s been a great little dog…and an awesome “big sis” to Bella. 


We love you , Ruby!

To honor this little munchkin, we decided to whip up a Ruby’s favorite dinner on Friday night and invite over some of her favorite people.   🙂  What do you make for your DOG on their 10th birthday, you ask?  SALMON.  Ruby loves Salmon!  I had been dying to whip up a “Spicy Salmon” recipe that my sister and her boyfriend “Chef Moreno…aka Dr Moreno”, made for us on a recent visit, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity.  Reviews at the big table (adults) and reviews on the floor (Ruby) were a hit!  (I left the spicy sauce off of Ruby’s plate…she just enjoyed a generous serving of fish!)

So for all the salmon lovers out there, enjoy this quick and easy weeknight salmon recipe.  You can’t go wrong!

Spicy Salmon

Serves 3-4

  • 1.5-2 lb fresh salmon


  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white rice seasoned vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • Handful of Basil, chopped for garnish

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees.

While the grill heats, combine sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low heat and let simmer.

Rub salmon with EVOO and salt & pepper.  Lay the fish, skin-side down, on the grill.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, flip, and cook for 2-3 minutese longer (for medium).

Serve salmon hot, and top with the “spicy sauce”.  Plate up a few of your favorites on the side! 

IMG_1136-2*My **My recommendation:  Double up the sauce recipe.  Ryan and I both enjoy the flavor so much that we wanted more!  More on the salmon….and more to dress our broccoli and couscous as well.  🙂

Indulge.  In Life. In Love. In Food.

LIGHT Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo

Good Morning!  Rise and Shine.  🙂

20 weeks.  Really?  There is a part of me that says, “Wow…this pregnancy is flying by.”  And then, there’s this other part of me that screams, “That’s IT?!”  Whatever the case, we are half way there…half way to Christmas…half way to a baby we hope is our greatest gift yet.  While yesterday marked 20 Weeks, today is our “Official” Ultrasound at UIHC.  I’m nervous.  I’m excited.  I’m ready to take a another peak at this blessing we know as Baby B3.  Will our ultrasound with Abbey prove right again?  Is Beau sending us another little boy?  Most importantly, will he be healthy?  Prayers sent.  Fingers crossed.

Unlike my pasta cravings when I am NOT pregnant, the first trimester brought an interesting craving for me…ALFREDO.  Fortunately, I was sharp enough (despite the extreme exhaustion) to look up a “healthier” alfredo…or at the very least, a “lower cal…lower fat” option.  To my surprise, this Cooking Light recipe hit.the.spot.  In fact, I’ve whipped it up a couple of times for friends as well.  And, there were “thumbs up” all around! 

If you, like me, suddenly crave an alfredo dish, give this one a try!  I think you will be pleasantly surpised….and there will be zero guilt afterwards!  INDULGE!

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2011

Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fettuccine (I used FRESH fettuccine noodles).
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • My addition…a splash or two of dry white wine!
Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Combine shrimp, onions, and garlic in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil; swirl to coat. Add shrimp mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add reserved cooking liquid, Parmigiano-Reggiano, half-and-half, cream cheese, white wine, and pepper to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until cheeses melt. Combine pasta, cheese mixture, and shrimp mixture.

Sprinkle with parsley (and a little extra cheese if you wanna get crazy!)


Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

Spicy Vodka Cream Pasta

Good Morning!  Long time no post!

I will spare you the whole, “I can’t believe it has been MONTHS since I posted last”…because well, you’ve heard that before.  🙂  I am more and more amazed every day at how quickly time flies.  Between a toddler…a couple pregnancies…working full-time and managing several hobbies, time really gets away from me.  🙂

The trouble is, I have so many recipes and photos piling up that I am dying to share with you.  And…selfishly, get posted to “my” online cookbook.  See, so often, as I’m wandering the aisles of HyVee, I have Indulge pulled on my phone as my “go-to” recipes and grocery lists.  I’d be lost without this blog!  Funny…I still carry a paper calendar/planner…but when it comes to recipes, it is all electronic.  Somtimes I think my cookbooks are just sitting on the shelf to look pretty! 

Anyway, before I dig too far into this post, I want to send a shout out to my husband.  If it weren’t for his golf additiction, I wouldn’t feel so good about sneaking out of the house on a Sunday morning for some alone time…just me and my computer…and an Iced Latte…and sure, a Lemon Poppyseed Muffin.  (Ahh….JAVA HOUSE I LOVE YOU!).  It occurred to me yesterday as Ryan was out golfing for 6 hours (which I fully support, btw), why don’t I ever take a few hours to get away by myself??  So, today I did…and I am whipping together several posts…recipes…and photos!  I am indulging in this quiet time and so very thrilled to be blogging again. 🙂

Speaking of months…it was almost 3 months ago that we traveled to Northern MN to celebrate Ryan’s Grandma Maki.  It was Mother’s Day weekend…and seemed appropriate that we were joining in a Memorial for Gram.  I loved that little lady…so very witty…and sassy…just how I like ’em!  I suppose, it was also quite appropriate that after losing Beau in January, we were also newly pregnant with the baby are now expecting on Christmas.  So, as a first trimester reprieve, we extended our stay on the North Shore for a few days at Grand Superior Lodge.  Those of you who have been following the blog since it’s start know that GSL is one of my very favorite places on Earth.  Rustic.  Tranquil.  And the ultimate in relaxation.

We were thrilled to be joined by our friends the Loftsgaardens.  Spending the days individually with our families and joining up in the evening to share homemade dinners (and letting the kids run wild together).  As I pondered what to make, I decided to go for a new recipe.  Despite Ryan’s argument, “When cooking for guests, we should make something we KNOW is good”, I rebelled.  🙂  I was craving something new!  Maybe it was the simplicity or maybe it was the title “You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta” that tempted me, but it was Rachael’s Rays Vodka Cream Pasta that made the cut.  What resulted, after a few tweaks of my own, was rave reviews!  So, the next time you are looking for an easy…but guaranteed delicious pasta dish, you will have to give this one a try.  It would be hard to go wrong!

Spicy Vodka Cream Pasta

Original Recipe by Rachael Ray – adapted to our taste!

Serves 4

“This recipe will make enough for two couples. If you plan a romantic evening where more than two’s a crowd, reserve half the sauce to freeze for another supper before the addition of basil, and only cook 1/2 to 2/3 pound of penne.”

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil,, once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter,
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and EVOO
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crushed Red Pepper to taste
  • Shaved Parmesan or Romano for garnish
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, crushed red pepper. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

 Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce, shaved parmesan, and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread and serve with your favorite red wine! 


If you are looking for a new red wine, we recommend BRAZIN Old Vine Lodi 2010.  We picked up several bottles while in Two Harbors, MN on a super deal…I can’t wait until January for another glass 🙂

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.