Penne ala Vodka Recipe

Penne ala Vodka by Me

5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tblspn vodka
Half Pint of heavy cream
Jar of tomato sauce
5-6 slices bacon
Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Box of penne


Add olive oil & minced garlic in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir often. When oil is hot, add the vodka. Make sure the garlic isn’t turning brown. If it is, the heat is too high. Continue stirring. Cook this for about 5 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. I whaff the pan to see if I still smell the alcohol.

When the alcohol smell is gone, add your heavy cream. Continue to cook this down. Watch the cream because it will start bubbling up over the top of your pan. Keep stirring until it has reduce to about 1/2.

Once that is ready, pour your tomato sauce in with your cream mixture. Add all the dried herbs into the sauce & incorporate. Cover & let it cook on low heat.

Boil water & add salt to a pot to cook your penne. Cook your pasta until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain pasta & rinse with cool water to stop it from continuing to cook.

In a frying pan, cook your bacon until they are nice & crispy. Use a paper towel to remove excess oil. Chopped it up into tiny pieces. Add half fiercely into the sauce pan & mix. 

I like to throw my pasta right into the sauce pot & mix it around. When I’m ready to serve, I like to sprinkle the remaining bacon on top to add an extra crunch.

I had leftover chicken so I added that on top for extra protein.


Easy, healthy Pancake Recipe

Easy, healthy Pancakes by Me


In one bowl, mix the below ingredients:

1/4 cup oats
2 tablespoon sweet potato flour
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon honey
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp seed

In a second bowl, using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whisk:

2egg whites until soft peaks


Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Leave some whites showing. This will make fluffier pancakes.


Heat up a frying pan on medium heat, add coconut oil, add batter & cook like you would regular pancakes. When the tops start bubbling, then flip & cook for another minute.


Topping is 2 tablespoon of coconut oil mixed in with 1 tablespoon of almond butter. Drizzle on top.



The Fat Radish Review

The ambiance is wonderful. I absolutely adore the rustic decor, the white bricks &  the harvest tables. I love everything about the place. The server was friendly &  helpful. The food was presented beautifully. Unfortunately, the food was nothing spectacular.
They give you a complimentary plate of radishes, which were surprisingly bitter & spicy. No one at the table liked it.

The most talked about item in the menu is the Scotch egg, which is an egg wrapped with sausage & deep fried. It comes with a delicious spicy mustard & cornichons (baby gherkin pickles). At $10  for one egg cut in half,  it is a pricey appetizer, but one that was highly recommended. It was not oily whatsoever. The taste of the sausage & egg was mild. I was expecting it to be more flavorful, but I would still recommend you try it at least one.
The pea pot pie had a flakey outer crust which was good. The filling of snap peas &  green peas were flavored very lightly & it was on the sparse side.

The kale Caesar salad was fresh. It came with crunchy croutons & 2 pieces of salty anchovies. This was a good started.

The special appetizer of chicken thighs was pan seared giving it a slightly crunchy skin. The  chicken was tender. This was a good choice, but it was a special & they change according to what is in season.
The pork chop with couscous was on the dry side. I wouldn’t recommend this at all.

The carrot appetizer was just a bunch of mixed carrots cooked blandly. The larger carrots weren’t completely cooked, which made for really crunchy carrots.

The curried monkfish was cooked well, with a spicy kick to the flavors. We liked this dish.

Overall, the experience was just okay. We felt the food fell short of the rave reviews. The ambiance &  service were excellent though.

Sweet Corn & Tomato Pancake Recipe (Gluten-free)

I saw a bunch of tomatoes in the fridge, so I searched online for a tomato pancake recipe. Yep, you heard right, a tomato pancake recipe. I know it sounds weird, but it’s actually quite tasty. You get a little salty & a little sweet, so it’s the best of both worlds. No lie. This can be made totally gluten-free for those with allergies.
Sweet Corn & Tomato Pancake adapted from The Pancake Princess

¾ cup milk + 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sweet potato starch
6 tablespoons cornmeal (I had corn bread mix, which contains flour so don’t use this if you want gluten-free. Cornmeal should be fine.)
6 tablespoons oatmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 can corn kernels, drained
1 medium tomato, sliced thinly width-wise
Combine the milk & vinegar in a cup & set aside. You are essentially making your own buttermilk.

In a medium bowl, mix the sweet potato starch, cornmeal, oatmeal, baking powder & baking soda together.

Mix the oil & honey into the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture into dry ingredients. Mix until combined, leaving some lumps. Fold in the corn.

Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes, undisturbed, until it thickens.
Heat frying pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, grease pan with coconut oil. Drop 2 heaping tablespoon full of batter into the pan. I have a small pan, so making 2 at a time was ideal. Don’t overcrowd your pan.

Cook for 2 minutes until the edges start to Brown. Press a slice of tomato into the pancake & press down into the batter.

Pick up your pancake with a spatula, add more oil to the pan & then flip the pancake into the newly greased surface of the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until cooked through.
Serve with a sprinkle of sugar. For a few of the pancakes, I cut a slice of Muenster Cheese diagonally into 4 pieces & let it melt on top of the tomato. The cheese makes it more savory, which I love.

I Am Spartan

Okay, I am not Spartan, but I did the Reebok Spartan Race. All my friends were doing some sort of obstacle course race, so I wanted to be like the cool kids & jumped on the bandwagon. I went for the race that had less running with the shortest obstacle course possible. Yeah, I was not about to commit to a 12+ mile run with obstacle courses like some other crazy races. The race was 2 weeks before I took my engagement photos, so I didn’t want to get too many scars or break a leg with a 4+ hour course.

We opted for the Tuxedo Hill course in NY since it was the closest one to us. The drive there wasn’t too bad. There’s ample parking but each car had to pay a fee (about $10). The check-in was pretty quick. You can rent lockers ($5) there to store your stuff, or leave it in the car, but with the latter option, the walk back to the car is pretty long if you really needed something. I would recommend sharing a locker with a friend. They had port-a-potties for your bathroom needs. Yes, this is a classy kind of race.

The Preparations:
We sprayed ourselves with sunscreen at the car.

We did not bring water bottles with us because it’s just a hassle carrying anything when running, jumping over walls, or crawling in mud. It just was not ideal. Be warned, they did not have any water stations on the course, so we did get hot & thirsty, but like I said, it was better not to carry anything extra with you.

I wore long, tight running pants & an Under Armour HeatGear® Top, both of which dry pretty quickly when wet. I brought my workout gloves which helped with the rope climb & crawling on muddy rocks & under barbed wire. These items helped keep me from getting scratched up.

Bring a change of clothes with you. You will be muddy, dirty & disgusting. They have cold showers at the end but it’s out in the open. You’ll want to get out of your nasty clothes. We changed in the car since there weren’t bathrooms or any facilities to change at.

We left all our other essentials in a locker: Car keys, money, ID, water bottles, phones, cameras, change of clothes, etc.
The Race:
It was a 3 mile uphill course in the scorching June heat. There were over 30 obstacles which took us over 2 hours to finish. Halfway through, I seriously just wanted to quit. I was tired & grumpy from the heat, but we persevered & finished the race.

We encountered about 10 walls to climb. It started really low & easy, but then it got taller & taller, so you’ll either need a buddy to help give you a boost or find a new friend on the course to help you out. If you decide to skip an obstacle, you’ll be penalized with burpees. If you’ve ever done burpees, you’ll know they’re horrible, plus doing them on muddy ground makes it that much worse.

We climbed up rope walls, crawled in tubes, did a javelin throw, climbed a rope, monkey bars, hopped from one tree stump to the next to get to the other side, did a bouldering wall, flipped tires, carried a weighted pancake uphill (this was killer), ran with a tire, dragged rocks on a rope, pulled a weight on a pulley to get to the top, crawled under barbed wire, slip & slide (a girl broke her arm so they closed this), dodged men with gladiator sticks ready to pummel you as you run by, jumped over fire, and a bunch more that I can’t remember.
Crawling under the barbed wire was the worst thing ever. It was maybe 400m which took a bare minimum of 20 minutes to get through. The ground was not only muddy (they had hoses that kept pumping more water onto the course), but it was completely filled with rocks. So every movement hurt. If you crawled, your knees would take a beating & your back would get scratched up from the barbed wire. If you went on your butt, you had a better chance since there’s more cushioning, but you’ll be moving much slower. We saw people’s clothing get snagged on the wire & saw a few casualties with bloody cuts on various parts of their body.

The drive home was pretty miserable. Being out in the scorching sun & exerting energy for 2 hours was exhausting. I would never do this again. I did it just to experience it for myself. Once is more than enough.

Don’t let me discourage you from trying one out. They had one recently at Citifield (home of the NY Mets) where they didn’t have any mud, so that one might be better for some people. Plus the Citifield course is flat compared to the constant uphill of Tuxedo Hill.
Oh yeah, they give you a medal, t-shirt & a ticket for 2 free beers at the finish line. Munkie wore his medal proudly.

Let me know what you think if you’ve ever done one of these Adventure Races before so we can compare notes.

Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Mario Batali makes some great tasting food. I’ve followed this Cacio e Pepe recipe before & it was delicious. It incorporates 2 things I love, Cheese & Black Pepper. This time, I added 5 more ingredients to the recipe just because I wanted to. They are not necessary, but boy was the pasta mmmm mmmm good when it was done. This is my interpretation of Cacio e Pepe mixed in with everything else I love. Come on, who doesn’t love more cheese & BACON!!! Oh yeah, and all the mushrooms add a delightfully earthy taste to the pasta.

Cacio e Pepeadapted from Mario Batali

1 pound spaghettii
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bags of Enoki Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
1 box of Beech Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
3 Slices Muenster Cheese
5 Slices of Bacon
2 Plum Tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Boil a pot of water to cook your pasta. Follow instructions on the box to make al dente pasta. Reserve one cup pasta water. Drain the rest in a colander & rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat up a little olive oil into a large frying pan. On medium heat, add garlic & cook it down for a minute. Then add Enoki & beech mushrooms & sprinkle with sea salt to season. Cook until they are all soft.

Add the butter & pepper. Evenly mix until butter is melted.
Add your pasta & mix. Then add your cheeses. The Muenster gets a little clumpy, so try to break them apart with your spoon. If the pasta is a little dry, you can add a little of the pasta water you had saved earlier.

In a separate frying pan, cook your bacon until they are cripsy. Drain all oils & blot excess on a paper towel. When it is cool to the touch, rough chop them.

Arrange plum tomatoes on top of pasta. Cover pan for 2 minutes to steam the tomatoes.

Finally, sprinkle bacon on top, and you are all set.



Paleo Beef Cabbage Roll Recipe

I will call this a (Con)fusion Beef Cabbage Roll. Why?

I basically combined a predominantly European dish (stuffed cabbage) with a Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage) & stuffed it with a Spanish/Portuguese filling (empanada filling).

Guess what? It was absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch. You will need to like cumin, otherwise you will have to substitute with another spice. Omit the cheese if you want this to be Paleo.

Paleo Beef Stuffed Cabbage Roll adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen & Dee Dee Pujols

1.5 lb (24oz) Napa Cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 lb (24oz) Ground Beef
1 tablespoon garlic salt (I used 1 tablespoon garlic powder plus 1 teaspoon sea salt instead)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices Muenster Cheese, cut each slice into 8 pieces (omit if Paleo)
Boil a pot of water with enough space to immerse your entire cabbage head.

Core the cabbage with a knife to loosen all the leaves. Put entire head into boiling water. Boil for ~8-10 minutes (depending on how large your cabbage head is). When the cabbage is soft, drain in a colander & let cool.
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef & garlic salt.  Cook until the beef is cooked through. Drain the grease & put beef in a clean bowl.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, garlic & black pepper. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined & cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef & combine with the sauce over low heat for 5 minutes. The mixture should be moist.
Overlap 2 pieces of cabbage on a plate. Add 3 small pieces of cheese. Add 2 heaping spoonful of the beef. Roll the stem in towards the middle. Fold sides to the middle. Then, roll up to secure.
And there you have it. This tasty bundle of goodness.

Thai Masaman Curry Recipe

I love Thai food, especially the curries. You will find lots of different curries on the market but one of my all-time favorite is the Maesri brand. This was recommended by my Thai friend, whom I trust. She knows Thai food & I know she won’t steer me wrong.

If you didn’t know by now, I follow instructions loosely. I improvise a great deal by using the ingredients I have on hand, so this recipe is also one of my random concoctions that turned out absolutely delicious, plus it’s healthy too, which is a thumbs up in my book.

It may be a bit spicy, but it’s also a little sweet. You shouldn’t buy this brand if you don’t like spice. Just a warning.🙂

Thai Masaman Curry by ilovemunkie

1 can Maesri Masaman curry – 4 oz x 2 cans1 can (14oz) Aroy-D Coconut Milk 1/2 large onion (sliced)
1/2 Napa Cabbage (wash & roughly chopped)
1 can Chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
1 cup baby Carrots (sliced)
1/2 lb Sugar Snap Peas (peel off ends)
8 pieces Chicken Thighs (wash & dry, remove skin & fat)
Heat up a large frying pan with coconut oil. Season chicken with a little salt & pepper. Add chicken to pan. Brown each side for 5 minutes in low-medium heat until almost cooked through. Remove from pan. Drain oil into a glass bowl.
In a separate large frying pan, add a little of the chicken oil into pan, then cook your onions until translucent. Add the carrots next & cook until nearly soft. Add sugar snap peas.
In the pan you used for the chicken, in medium heat, add the Masaman curry paste & coconut milk. Mix until there are no lumps. Pour all the contents of the other pan into curry. Add cabbage & chick peas.
Add the chicken & cover them with curry so it absorbs the flavors. Cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat with the lid on.
Serve by itself or over rice. Better yet, serve on top of cauliflower rice.



Last Wednesday’s WOD was a killer. Apparently, no one was able to finish it. They took it straight out of the CF Regionals from last year, so you know it’s some craziness.

WOD – 22 minute time cap
50 Back Squats (135/95)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
50 Front Squats (95/65)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (95/65)
50 OHS (65/45)
40 Pull-Ups
30 Shoulder to Overhead (65/45)

Prior to this WOD, I was out of commission for 2 days.

Here’s the back story. Two Sundays ago, I went for a 4.5 mile run plus a mile walk. That’s the most I’ve done in a long time. I felt fine for the next 2 hours. Then, while walking to the car after lunch, I noticed my ankle wasn’t feeling right. I put on a foot brace, then proceeded to play 2 hours of softball with hubby’s friends. I’m sure running around the bases did not help the ankle much. I was limping before the night was over. I know, I know, I should know better, but I never learn. *Sigh*

I was unable to do anything for 2 weeks the last time this happened. Being out for 2 weeks was torturous. Thankfully it was only 2 days this time.

Going into CF after 2 days of inactivity was really hard. I was cautious, so I went with lower weights & used bands for the pull-ups. Amazingly, I was still able to get 225 Reps in. I was satisfied with my performance. I do have to admit that my quads & knees are stiff & tight from those killer squats.

I put my first official Did Not Finish in my book. I felt okay with it. I think I’ve made peace with D.N.F. Time caps are there to push you to do more reps, faster, but I won’t let it ruin my form just to finish a WOD. It just isn’t worth it in the end when your body feels like crap & it starts breaking down. Hey, at least I tried my very best in those 22 minutes & I think that’s all that really counts. I didn’t cheat myself in any way to finish. The weights were heavy & challenging, & I worked my butt off (literally) for those reps. I’m still very proud of myself.

I will not let you own me D.N.F.

Easy Paleo Sweet Potato Crepe Recipe

I woke up wanting crepes, so I made them. I found a quick & easy recipe online & decided not to follow it like usual.

Easy Paleo Sweet Potato Crepe by ilovemunkie

2 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sweet potato starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients in a bowl or blender. I used this handy, dandy Bella Rocket Blender, which makes cleanup so easy.
It’s very similar to the Magic Bullet, only it’s cheaper. Plus, our Magic Bullet broke.
Add a teaspoon coconut oil to a 9″ frying pan over medium heat. Pour 1/4 of your batter into your pan & swirl the pan to thin out your batter. Next time I’ll pour 1/8 of the batter for thinner crepes.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until the edges are browned & curling upwards slightly.
Use a spatula to flip the crepe to cook the other side for another minute.
Add some Hazelnut Spread & sliced mangoes on one side of the crepe, then roll it up.

Any filling would do. This was all I had in the house so I try to use everything I have on hand before buying more.

You can make these ahead of time & freeze them with parchment or wax paper between each crepe.
I was able to make 4 crepes with this recipe. Perfect for 2 people or one hungry person.