When in Rome (or at Home)... Eat Carbonara

I need to provide a little background. If you've ever been around anyone that does CrossFit, you will have probably heard the term "Paleo" come up. The paleo diet basically refers to eating like a caveman, and consists of primarily eating wild plants and animals. For the most part, we try to follow the paleo diet Monday through Friday and then on the weekends we relax a bit and let ourselves indulge in some carbs and non-paleo alcohol.

Well, long story short, this blog post is not about being paleo. My point is, this post is the exact opposite of paleo! On our honeymoon in Italy this past September, we knew that paleo eating would be a thing of the past. I mean seriously, who goes to Italy and doesn't plan to eat enough pasta and bread to fill a small bus? Basically, we fell in love with pasta and pizza all over again in Rome (maybe because we had been depriving ourselves). 

Well, we've been craving some of those classic carb-loaded dishes ever since we returned. The one I've been thinking about most, spaghetti alla carbonara (although, cacio e pepe is arguably it's equally tasty, yet simpler, relative).
The BEST pizza I've ever put in my pizza-pie-hole. From Bonci's Pizzarium 
Spaghetti alla carbonara is like a staple in Rome (think perfectly al dente spaghetti coated in a cheesy/eggy sauce with small chunks of crispy and chewy ham throughout). However, it surprisingly hard to find in Italian restaurants in the States (well, good carbonara is). So, last Friday, I'm taking a little stroll through DiBruno Bros mini-market on my lunch break and I stumble upon this big hunk of pancetta. Ding ding ding! I get the bright idea to try and make some spaghetti alla carbonara at home that very evening. I call up the hubby, ask him to pick up a few essentials at the market and rush home, eagerly anticipating the moment when I'll get to shovel pounds of that pasta in my mouth.


A very merry coquito factory

My husband and I have a holiday tradition. Each year we make Coquito (think eggnog with cream of coconut and rum, lots of rum) as a gift for our families and ourselves. It helps to put us in the Christmas spirit and I'd like to think that we've become quite the professionals at whipping up industrial-sized batches of the liquid gold. 
Coquito ingredients, ready to go!
We've got this thing down to a science. First, we do the grocery and liquor store run to pick up all the essentials, then we get organized so we can just keep the batches brewing. BryGuy methodically measures the spices, vanilla extract and rum (that explains why it comes out so strong every year). 

I can be found hovering over the stove to make sure the egg yolks and evaporated milk heat up to a precise 160 degrees. Then we combine all ingredients in the VitaMix and let it rip. 

BryGuy carefully pours the Coquito into wine/bourbon bottles we've saved for the occasion or pitchers from around the house. Then we start taste-testing and BAM! it officially feels like Christmas Time. Here's the recipe we go with Coquito Recipe on Allrecipes, we may or may not double the suggested amount of rum...(we definitely double it). 

(Adapted from Allrecipes - makes 8 servings)

2 egg yolks, beaten
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup white rum
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Transfer mixture to a blender, and add cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, rum, water, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds. Pour into glass bottles, and chill overnight.

See more photos after the jump.


We had renter's remorse. But we got over it.

This past weekend we did the big move... approximately four blocks down the street from our former apartment. Originally BryGuy and I were going to do all of the heavy lifting on our own. Don't laugh! I do CrossFit, I'm quite strong. But the Man upstairs decided that we needed a little more assistance and he sent my wonderful father and brother from New York. Looking back, I really don't know how we would've done it without them. They were the best non-professional movers a girl could ask for (Thanks pops and Z!). We started loading the truck at 8 a.m. and had everything into our new apartment by 12:30 p.m. 

The evil U-Haul and BryGuy
(doesn't he look happy to be moving?)
There were a few hiccups, like our U-Haul's battery dying, twice, and our queen-sized box spring not fitting up the stairs to our bedroom. But other than that, things went well. When all of our furniture was moved to the new place, we did a very thorough cleaning of our old apartment. As we stood there in our bare apartment that we had lived in for almost three years, BryGuy and I got a little emotional. We loved that place, it has been our first "home" together, it's the home we lived in when we got married, we've laughed there, we've cried there, we've entertained our family and friends there, and the truth is we were starting to miss it already! It was in that moment that we started questioning whether or not we had made the right decision to move. We were faced with all of these boxes of unpacked things (and we were really really exhausted), and we started having regrets and doubts.
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