Moussaka with the Girls

Last night, my cousins Auesta and Madina came over to cook me dinner and keep me company on an otherwise dreary Monday night, that they instead filled with good conversation, a good movie and an amazing moussaka recipe. Auesta had been wanting to try out and treat me to a Greek recipe that she was confident that I would love based solely on the ingredients… and she did not disappoint! 

I followed along as she flew through the kitchen, cooking and whipping up a storm, and snapped a few photos; she shared the recipe with me so that I could list it out here for you all as well, so here it is!

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs

Start off by preheating the oven to 475 degrees and cutting the eggplant into half inch slices. Place the slices on a baking pan and brush with oil to avoid sticking, and season generously with salt and pepper. Stick the pan in the oven and let the eggplant bake for about 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, heat the butter in a saucepan over high heat and add the flour, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the milk while continuing to whisk the mixture to ensure that there are no lumps. Set the liquid in a bowl and allow the mixture to cool before adding the eggs and nutmeg and mixing into a custard.   

In another deeper pan, add the oil over high heat and the onion once it has been finely chopped along with the garlic. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion begins to brown (4-5 minutes) and add the beef to the pan. Cook the beef for another 6-7 minutes and add in the chopped tomatoes and can of tomato sauce and season well with salt and pepper. Continue cooking the mixture for a few more minutes before bringing the pan to a low heat and placing a cover over top. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and allow the beef to continue to simmer and cook slowly for another 20-30 minutes. 

In a 13x9x2 casserole dish, measure out the bread crumbs and lie flat in the dish, using your hand to pat down the crumbs evenly. Place a layer of the baked eggplant slices over top of the bread crumbs, and then layer half of the meat mixture over top. Add another layer of eggplant slices and then the remaining half of the meat, and then carefully pour over the custard mixture as the top layer of the casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to your liking and stick the dish into the over for about an hour at 350 degrees. 

Pair the prepared moussaka with a Greek salad and some fresh bread the way that Auesta did for us last night, and you have yourself a pretty amazing meal (Madina even made nutella filled strawberries for us for dessert)!

Hello Monday morning…

Hope you all have a beautiful start to your week.

Happy Friday everyone!

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend…

We return to each other in waves. This is how water loves.

More family photos from the OBX, North Carolina.

Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel…

OBX, North Carolina

Beach Sunsets

Since our wedding anniversary was yesterday and Poria is hundreds of miles away, I wanted to post a few photos that my cousin captured of us one evening not too long ago during our family beach trip to the OuterBanks.

It’s silly and even though it’s only been a little over a week since Poria’s been gone, I’m counting down the days till he gets home… <3

Two Year Anniversary

Our second year of marriage has been so similar (is it strange that we still feel like newlyweds most of the time?) and so different (so many new adventures and hurdles that we’ve crossed togetherfrom the first, but has allowed me to appreciate our marriage and our life together more than I ever could have imagined on this day two years ago. 

Thank you for being my better half, my best friend and my support system through everything that life brings our way.

I love you so very much, Poria.
I can’t wait till you’re home so we can celebrate
Happy two year wedding anniversary! <3

Happy Friday everyone!

Poria’s been gone on his business trip for a week now and I already miss him like crazy… but there are still a couple more weeks till he’s home so I’m trying to keep myself busy!

Hope you all have a wonderful upcoming weekend! 

A Sunset with the Girls

One evening, while on our family beach trip to the Outer Banks, the girls got dolled up in summertime dresses per my request for a little photoshoot on the shore as the sun was beginning to set. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful setting than the crashing waves and the twilight sky meeting together to form the perfect backdrop along the horizon… but these photos managed to capture so more than that for me; every time I look at them, I’m reminded of memories, of laughter and of the beauty of these two alluring girls that I’m proud to call my cousins. 

Confidants, advisors, best friends, pieces of my heart, life long witnesses to our lives… my cousins are that and so much more to me. They’re a reminder of where I come from, of who I am…. they allow me to remember again how to be free, how to be graceful, and between everything else in life, of how to be a kid again. <3

Photographed above: Auesta and Madina