Sunday, March 28, 2010

Polenta

Tonight's dinner was just up my alley, so good! And who would have thought that Molly would LOVE creamy polenta? I think Brian would have liked the chicken if it was more crunchy (he likes the thin crunchy type of chicken; panko or a light bread crust) this was more soft but the flavor was amazing, and I always love polenta. Molly ate a ton of the chicken and asked for thirds of the polenta. A crazy thing is that it seems that she likes fresh mushrooms (whenever I cook with them she asks for the immediately when she is helping me if they are raw, but I am noticing lately that she isn't eating them cooked as much anymore). And the leftovers reheated nicely for lunch the next day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homemade Bread

First loaf of bread with my breadmaker! This makes me remember when breadmakers were first introduced back in the 90's and I loved it, I swear I was one of the only people in our house that used it. I remember there was many a loaf that were way to dense, more like a brick than anything else but there is nothing like the smell of rising bread, or the smell of baking bread for that matter.


I was reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbra Kingsolver and throughout the book they would briefly mention that her husband was the bread maker of the family, and would make their daily loaf. It was never fully talked about, but again briefly mentioned throughout until the very end where Steven Hopp comes forth and mentions that he has been making these daily loafs with, you guessed it, a breadmaker. It was at this point that I could not get over the fact that this whole time they were using a breadmaker; it reminded me of when I had one myself. Oh the nostalgia!



I of course got on the phone with my mom to see if she in fact still had that ol' breadmaker. She unfortunately did not. According to my mother she had just recently given it away to Goodwill. So as a result my number one birthday present request was a breadmaker. This was probably for the better as I am sure the technology has improved since the first attempts. I know it is one more item on the kitchen counter but I think there are ways around it (I am omitting my future IKEA plans to make my kitchen space more user friendly and storage friendly I am sure that will be filled in in the future), and it is .50₵ a loaf people you can't argue with that! I was incredibly excited about getting this breadmaker, a joy that one can only assume others truly will not appreciate or understand, but I am oddly ok with that.

(notice how the bread is nice and airy, lots of holes and bubbles not dense at all, YES!)

Odd Snack

I have a very hard time denying Molly pickles when she asks for them, is it odd that I absolutely adore the way she says the word? I asked her today if she wanted a snack, she said yes and immediately went to sit at the table and started almost chanting snack, snack, snack. You could almost picture her with knife and fork in hand pounding the top of the table trying to spurn me into quicker snack procurement. I was going to just do a quick cracker and cheese snack plate but as I was getting into the fridge Molly saw the big jar of pickles and asked for it in her little girl pickle voice and who could resist? She ate an entire large dill garlic pickle! Weird snack but one that she was entirely thrilled with.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Budget Meal


So I bought a new cookbook that has 148 recipes all under $2.50 a serving. This was the first one I tried. It called for spaghetti noodles to help make an Asian noodle salad. It was very good. I will tweak things the next time I make it, much more stir fry type veggies will be added. But I will always love green onions in dishes like this. It was all vegetarian too! It is Molly's and I's lunch for today, she hasn't had any yet but hopefully she likes it. She ate a TON of cucumbers as I was making it.

Irish Dinner


I didn't have this exactly on St. Patty's day but we had it around the right time. I surprisingly have never cooked corned beef and cabbage, it was good, tender, I am thinking though that it would be good to figure out a way to get it to be less salty. I mean I know that they brine it and everything but the sodium intake alone will kill ya! Needless to say Molly LOVED IT! She really likes the meat, could care about the veggies in this dish but loved the meat. The veggies cooked with it in my slow cooker but the recipe I followed called for a bottle of Irish Amber beer. The beer I used was a little hoppy, so I am thinking that could be the aversion. Next year might go for Colcannon, it is one of my favorites! Maybe if we get the garden planted soon we could even do it with some of our home grown potatoes! You can also see a bit of my Irish soda bread there in the left hand corner, it was tasty. I probably could have cooked it a bit longer but overall it was a stick to your ribs kind of dinner. I was full super quick, as was Brian.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quinoa Lunch



Tried something new for lunch today, a quinoa lunch. I haven't made this grain before but have been wanting to for awhile. It will be the perfect vessel for fresh veggies from the garden. I just made this up so I will attempt to write the recipe down.

Quinoa Salad

2 tsp olive oil

1 clove of garlic minced

1 carrot diced

1 small red bell pepper diced

2 celery stalks diced

1 cup water

1 cup quinoa

2 tbsp Sesame Seeds

1 green onion

1/4 cup Slivered Almonds

Mustard Vinegrette

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1/8 cup vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1. In a sauce pan, heat up oil soften all veggies( carrots, red peppers, celery) then add garlic stiring and cooking for an aditional minute.

2. Add water and quinoa, and cook for about 15 minutes until the grain seperates and it is tender but not mushy.

3. In a large bowl toss the quinoa mixture with the green onions, sesame seeds, slivered almonds, and vinagrette chill in the refridgerator until cooled through to eat.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homemade basil tomato soup


Who knew homemade basil tomato soup was so easy? I know I sure didn't. Do you have V8 juice? Do you have buttermilk? Do you have some red bell peppers and a small yellow onion? And finally salt, pepper, and fresh basil? Well then you are good to go!


I also tried a spin on the classic grilled cheese, it was pesto and Swiss cheese on the inside versus just the regular cheddar, or god forbid American Cheese (you all have probably seen the commercial for Kraft American cheese citing that it is America's #1 cheese and only one country could come up with it and that country is "America" as if this is something we should be bragging about?) ya obviously this commercial bugs the you know what out of me. Anyway tried something new instead of the ubiquitous "American cheese." It was good but I am not a big fan of pesto but I thought we would give it a shot. Molly tried the soup, really for the first time and did fantastically!
Tomato Basil Soup:
1 small onion chopped
1 small red or yellow pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper to taste
1. melt butter in a medium sized sauced pan, add onions and peppers and cook until they are softened. Salt and pepper to taste as you go.
2. put onions and pepper in a blender with tomato juice and buttermilk, and blend until smooth.
3. return to heat to heat through and bring back to temp, or cool completely and serve as a gazpacho.

Thank you cookies

I was telling my next door neighbor that I would make them something for helping us with the hot tub, they seem like very nice people and are always willing to help us if we need it, and vice versa. He at that point said that I made them some cookies a year ago around Christmas time that had cranberries, nuts, and white chocolate. He said that he had never had cookies like those before and wanted them. So that is what he got. Granted it is a week later, but you do what you got to do, as you saw in my previous post it was a hard week. This was my first opportunity, needless to say my husband is stoked for these cookies as well.

So after teacher/parent conferences yesterday I needed to get out of the way of my house-keeper so Molly and I set out to shop a few stores. I wanted a few things from Bed Bath & Beyond. We ended up getting a cookie sheet, parchment paper, and a brilliant ice cream scooper that will now be my cookie scooper. It is so nice to have uniformity when baking, it truly is the key look at how nice these look!
Just drizzled the cookies with white chocolate, now the glaze just has to set up.
Tin from Christmas that I got back from my sister-in-law, not too Christmasy and perfect for a thank you for helping us with our hot tub.




No pictures???

So I haven't blogged in a weeks time, and that would lead one to believe that I haven't been cooking. When in fact I have! I just keep forgetting to take photos and then I feel like it is a lost cause, and such decide at that point not to post. Is it better to post without pictures, or wait for me to remember at the beginning of the meal rather than at the end to take a picture. For instance I made pancakes from scratch this morning and they were very tasty (even given the fact that I substituted soy milk vs. regular milk, you couldn't tell at all I swear!) but it wasn't until I was carrying the dirty dishes to the kitchen and cleaning the table, and my sticky daughter that I realized that I had yet again not taken a picture.

So since my last post I have been cooking the following:
  • Ham and bean soup (which turned out more like red beans and rice- and we put it on top of basmati rice) These beans were dried beans left over from our CSA last year; so I was excited to use them especially since our CSA is about to start up again and we still have things that have lasted us through the winter

Now I do have to preface before I continue; Tuesday was a horrible day at work and I just didn't feel like cooking, Wednesday I went to the grocery store (and if you know me, you know how I loathe the grocery store) and as such we had frozen pizza, Thursday night I had parent/teacher conferences from 4-8pm so Brian was at home with Molly and he actually made spaghetti! So as you can see the middle of the week produced very little cooking.

  • Last night I made a fantastic Mushroom Swiss burger (YUM!) it wasn't my husbands favorite he is a huge fan of mushrooms, he likes the good old fashioned onions lettuce and tomato burger. But the mushrooms had thyme, garlic, and a red wine reduction (they were sooo good). And the burgers were hand formed (we have had the preformed/prepackaged around here for a good long time, I had forgotten how good the other kind could be) It was good quality beef too, and nice and red (probably not Brian's intention as he likes to cook the crap out of anything on the grill but it was cooked to perfection this time) We also had grilled asparagus -it is asparagus season after all, and spicy home fries. Writing about it makes me think of how tasty it actually was, and of course I wish I had had the forethought to get a picture.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Suprise Visit

We got a call from Grandma and Grandpa Carter today letting us know that they were in the area and wanted to stop by and visit. I went ahead and invited them to join us for dinner. Didn't change anything up, just made what I had originally planned. Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce, roasted new potatoes, and a tossed green salad. The creamy mushroom sauce had mushrooms (obviously) cream, goat cheese and Italian parsley. IT WAS DELICIOUS! Not that great for you, but delicious none the less. It wasn't too bad though because you just drizzled it over the top of the chicken so at most you only really used about 2-3 tablespoons so again really not that bad but SO GOOD!I had pretty much already devoured mine before I realized I needed to get a picture, this is Brian's plate and it doesn't look as appealing as it really was (need to get better about taking a picture into the meal.

Also attempted a sour cream and lemon bundt cake, took it out before it was fully done, it looked fantastic. I got excited, and then ten minutes later I looked back and it had partially deflated. Looking back on it, I probably should have rotated it, because one side was cooked but the other wasn't. And I should have let it keep cooking it wasn't nearly done. I am definitely more confident with cooking vs. baking. (no picture, but trust me it was a real nightmare)


Creamy Mushroom Sauce:
16 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (can sub in dried if you don't have fresh available, just watch the salt content dried parsley seems to up the ante on the salty taste)

1. On medium heat, brown the mushrooms, then add heavy cream, and goat cheese and heat through until cheese is melted.
2. Right before serving stir in parsley, serve on the side to top on chicken ( you really only need about 2 tbsp per person as it is very rich but so good, and if you have left-overs it reheats nicely the following day)

Full Sentences and Sitting at the Table Sans-High Chair

Molly woke up this morning and all of a sudden she is speaking in full sentences, things like; Help me daddy, my cereal daddy, I want my rabbit mommy, help me daddy, more water please etc. It is so weird it is like overnight everything coming out of her mouth is so much more. She is as we speak having a conversation with Winston about Brian being outside.

I am also in the process of trying to convince Brian to get rid of Molly's high chair. He thinks that the high chair is great because she is contained and he isn't convinced that she will sit for a meal. I beg to differ, she sits with her food at day care and she has sat with me before at the table for several meals. She sat this morning for example to eat her cereal. Who would have thought that a two year old would like frosted mini-wheat's! She is such a good eater. She sucks the milk out of the little cereal pieces and then eats the whole thing. Very cute, however a tinsy bit time consuming in the morning when trying to get out the door in a hurry!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

First Meal to Blog

Tonight I came home from a very hectic/productive day and realized that I needed to check my recipe for tonight's dinner as I wasn't sure on the cooking time. Sure enough it was roasted chicken with potatoes and fresh asparagus. Roast chicken would take some time, so instead of changing into my PJ's and veggin' out with my daughter waiting for Brian to come home I started dinner. With very little prep work, yet a lot of waiting (I bribed Molly with pickles - she loves pickles- upside she is so cute when she says, "pickle" downside she smells like a pickle for a good while afterword!) I had dinner on the table. It was a very good meal with a glass of white wine.



Molly ate asparagus earlier in the week but didn't want to have anything to do with it tonight, which was interesting. Otherwise she ate the chicken, potatoes, rice, and some of the salad. I hope she continues to eat this well for the duration of her life, I don't think summer, our CSA or our community garden could be coming at a better time! Fresh fruit and veg, here we come.


Used seasoning on the chicken, the potatoes baked with it (dutch gold, very good) used lemon and rosemary toward the end (the rosemary just perfumed everything) and the lemon added a nice tartness to cut through the richness. The salad was fantastic; mixed greens, strawberries, thinly sliced red onion, feta, pecans, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.





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