Friday, January 22, 2010

Snow Bunnies

The forecast for a "dusting of snow" turned out to be about 3-4 inches of the fluffy white stuff. 20 minutes of preparation (hats, snow pants, jackets, mittens...) for 30 minutes of play time... priceless fun!

He didn't actually help with the assembly. He'd much rather sit back and watch Mommy do all the hard work. It was well worth the smile though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


No pictures this week but a thumbs up and a thumbs down. The Pork Medallions in Mustard Sauce may have turned out better had I not overcooked the pork and made it dry. But still, this recipe was tossed. I have no room or tolerance for "OK" recipes. :) The Soba Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables, however, was a huge hit with everyone. I couldn't find regular soba noodles in our local grocery store and ended up using pre-cooked Yakisoba noodles (which are NOT made with buckwheat) found in the Asian section of the produce aisles. I also substituted dried ginger for fresh simply because I couldn't find any at Fred Meyer. I served it with steamed sugar snap peas which seemed to compliment the meal well. All in all, the results were fabulous and this was a keeper!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Words

A few additions to our baby girl's vocabulary:

"UP"- usually accompanied by a sweet smile, a hand on each of my pant legs and a slight sense of urgency, and when prompted, is followed by "pease"

"boon"- with a point of the finger to emphasize that not only does she SEE the balloon, but she WANTS the balloon

"daddy"- transitioned from "dada" and holds the ability to melt his heart

"nigh night"- to witch she finds her special blanket ("lovey") and gives in to the inevitable

Reactionary words include "whoa", "uh oh", "Ooohh" and "ouch"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pasta Pasta

So I'm a little late in posting this since I actually made it last Thursday but I absolutely had to post since it was SO good. Two thumbs up all around. Joe isn't much of a pasta eater but I knew, when he took the leftovers (that I had intended to eat myself) for lunch the next day, that this recipe got his sign of approval. So incredibly easy and irresistibly yummy. I used Isernio’s Chicken Sausage in the Italian sausage variety. My absolute favorite brand of sausage (and so incredibly LEAN!) For my Oregonian followers, it can sometimes be found in the ground turkey meat section at Fred Meyer but it seems like it's not a permanent part of their stock so it comes and goes (and for this reason, I stock up and freeze it when they DO have it...) I used Roma tomatoes and a Romano/Parmesan cheese blend simply because I could not find pecorino Romano. I had to forgo the fresh Basil because Fred Meyer was out of stock but I'm sure it would make it all that much more delightful. I served it with a side dish of sauteed zucchini which I sprinkled with Italian seasoning. Mmmmm.... enjoy!

Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta

(P.S. recipes to come? Pork Medallions in Mustard Sauce and Asian Soba Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner?

Monday's new recipe? Bacon and Egg Enchiladas. And, while it reminded me of a baked breakfast burrito smothered in enchilada sauce, it wasn't as stellar as I had hoped. So, it went into the recycling bin but I know where to find it online if I ever want to make it again. I used green instead of red enchilada sauce (again, we are "mildly" spicy people and prefer the mild versions to the hotter ones) and only had 7 remaning pieces of bacon (instead of the 12 that it calls for.) I also created 8 enchiladas rather than 10 (who knows how 10 would have fit in a 9x13 pan?!), also cutting down the eggs to 8 (using the 1 egg to 1 enchilada ratio) and using 4 eggs plus 6 egg whites. Joe and the kids were complimentary critics. It seems everyone loved it but me...

Bacon and Egg Enchiladas

Look Alike

It's been years that I've pored over Pottery Barn catalogs, dreaming of owning such beautiful pieces of furniture. But, alas, we do not make the kind of money to shell out thousands of dollars on such material things. One collection in particular, the Samantha Entryway Collection has long been something that I thought would be beautiful in our entryway. Until recently we had an entry table that we purchased just out of college and have been dragging around with us since our very first apartment. But we found a beautiful bench at Costco to replace it (for half the price of the PB version.) And yet, I still pined for that beautiful shelf. Then, out of the blue, Joe took a very close look at the catalog photo and said with confidence, "honey... I could MAKE that."

My husband is not a carpenter. And while he owns all the tools to successfully create such a work of art, he does not have the experience. So I was hesitant to give my blessing on such a project. But when he mentioned that the cost would be nearly a third of the price ($110 versus PB's $314 including baskets and shipping!) I reluctantly allowed him to take that plunge. What emerged from this experience is a beautifully crafted piece of furniture and a newfound faith in my dear husband (and guaranteed bragging rights to tell everyone who walks through that door that my wonderfully talented husband created that magnificent work of art that hangs beautifully on our wall...)

Here is the Pottery Barn version for reference (the photo he used as a template...)

And here are the photos of his work of art... who knew he could be so talented?!?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Toddler in the House

Her new preferred method of transportation. Of course she'll resort to crawling if she spies something worth testing her tastebuds for. Otherwise she's foot-bound and making great strides!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thumbs Down

Thursday night I branched out with a new recipe called "Sausage and Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding." And before you cringe, let me remind you all that a bread pudding is simply bread cubes soaked in an egg/milk mixture. But many people (including my sister and husband) hear the words bread pudding and instantly think sweet, which makes this recipe sound like a very odd dessert gone wrong. However, I have made a few very delicious savory bread puddings (having to deceptively alter their names to appease my husband) and this one will NOT be added to that list. Maybe it was the type of sausage used, maybe it was the type of bread I chose... in any case, I was turned off to the recipe altogether and it went in the recycling bin. One point for the discard pile! I will include the hyperlink to the recipe in case anyone else out there is feeling adventurous... (P.S. Whenever possible, I will include links to the recipes as a hyperlink within the title beneath the picture...) This week? "Bacon and Egg Enchiladas" and "Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta" (not together of course...) Stay tuned folks...

Sausage and Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding

Monday, January 4, 2010

Food Adventures

Inspired by a friend and fellow blogger, I've decided to branch out and try something new. I've always been my happiest in the kitchen... baking, cooking, barbecuing... there's something therapeutic in making foods that put smiles on people's faces. For years I've subscribed to numerous food magazines and from time to time I try out several of the recipes. But more often than not, I simply tear them out with the intention of trying them and end up with piles of torn out recipes. My goal is this: I will attempt to sort through all my long lost recipes and give them a try, all the while blogging my adventures. The good, the bad, and the awful. You'll see them all here. If I'm feeling super adventurous you may also see a picture or two!

So as a step into this fun adventure I will start with last night's dinner. I made a Black Bean-Salsa Chili that was absolutely fabulous. A hint of bacon and a tablespoon of cumin gave it the perfect smoky flavor while the salsa added just a hint of spice. I paired it with my mom's most wonderful (and simple) cornbread recipe and a fresh green salad. But what made this chili recipe truly astounding was that Brendan actually liked it. I've tried many a chili recipe and have loved almost every one. It's the 3-year-old who seems to be the tougher critic. So when I eyed the empty bowl I quickly checked under the table to make sure it had actually made it to his mouth. Of course the cornbread was his reward and he's a true sucker for bread. But it still means this recipe is a keeper for sure!

Black Bean-Salsa Chili

I used extra lean ground beef instead of ground turkey and used a pound of it instead of 1/2 pound (mostly because I tossed it all in before I looked at the amount!) I left out the crushed red pepper since we're not "extra spicy" chili people. I also drained the bacon/onion mixture on paper towels before proceeding and added some shredded cheese to the top. And after the kids were in bed Joe and I enjoyed a dessert of warm cherry crisp with a scoop of eggnog icecream!

Mom's Basic (and BEST) Cornbread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, pour into 8 or 9-inch pie plate and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.