Monday, December 21, 2009
I could say that I have had a holiday parties, shopping, and so forth that has kept me from you, but that would really be a lie. Truth be told, I am a homebody. We aren't really the present buying type, or I've had it easy because we draw names so buying for one person is just plain cake. I don't know what "and so forth" would be, but you can guess that I am probably not doing that either.
"and so forth"...maybe that's laundry. I'm always doing that around here.
Can I blame it on my obsession with watching "The Sing Off"? I can't get enough of that show.
In any case, I am still around. Pregnancy #3 is working along just fine, with the exception of a little heartburn. If you know me you might be surprised to hear that I gained 8 lbs since my last visit a month ago. Um, yeah. Considering that I hadn't gained anything so far it came as a little bit of a shock to yours truly. I still work out daily so maybe it's all muscle. After all, muscle weighs more than fat right?
That's what I tell myself anyway.
I wish everyone a peaceful end to 2009. 2010 is just around the corner and I for one am really excited to see what might happen.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I also made superhero cookies. I think they turned out pretty okay, what do you think?
And, I FINALLY used my new Pioneer Woman cookbook! Wahoo!!
I made the Whiskey Cream Sauce...so good.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Lately I have been on a mushroom kick. I chock it up to pregnancy because usually mushrooms are not the first things that I rush to cook with. I know that I have mentioned it before, but really, I could take or leave them. They have to be cooked just right, not too much to the point of mush and not too little because raw mushrooms and me...yeah we aren't big pals. I've got a thing with textures for sure. Plus anything that is called "fungus" just makes me kind of leery from the start.
I'm seeking help.
Part of my hope in getting over some of my food aversions is to cook using them often. And luckily mushrooms around here have been on sale. It's like a sign!
This meal uses another cheese that I don't normally rush to use, which is swiss. The result was an awesome dish that tasted even better the next day reheated. In fact, I am eating a little bit now as I watch the season finale of Top Chef. Multi-tasking at it's best, right?
6 medium-size potatoes (I used yukon golds)
3 cups broccoli
6 stalks asparagus, cut into thirds (use more or less, this is just what I had)
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 tbsp butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
16 oz shredded swiss cheese
salt and pepper
In a large sauce pan, place the potatoes and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside to cool. Once cooled, slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
Return the water (add more if you need) to a boil and add the broccoli and asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and set aside.
Meanwhile in a medium non-stick skillet, saute the mushrooms and green onions in butter until the mushrooms are cooked and the water has evaporated.
Spray a 9by13 pan with cooking spray. Layer the bottom with half of the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over 1/3 of cheese. Layer mushroom mixture, then green veggies. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Add another 1/3 of cheese, then the remaining potatoes. Salt and pepper again. Cover with remaining cheese.
Bake in 350° F oven for 30 minutes until heated through. Turn the heat on to broil and leave the gratin under the broiler until the top is golden.
Serve with a salad and enjoy!
Monday, December 7, 2009
SO, have you missed me? I feel like I have kind of fallen off the blogosphere radar (if there is such a thing). Broken ac adapter aside, I've just been plain busy lately. My evenings have been filled up and by the time I have time to blog, the joy of it just kind of goes away and I find myself struggling with what to say and how to say it.
What's a gal to do?
I realized today that I have about 25 started and never finished blog entries....perfect!
I had this one started and thought I would post it once I had a picture from our Thanksgiving feast. I know that it is a little late for fall baking now, but save it for next year. Trust me, you'll love it.
When fall holiday baking rolls around, I am not usually that excited. Pumpkin, the ingredient sought after and loved by many, is just not my bag, baby. No idea why, but really I am not a fan of squash products. I think it has something to do with the texture. Nevertheless, if I am going to use pumpkin, it has to be paired with cream cheese. Remember my mini pumpkin cheesecakes? Well, it was early in my blogging days, so I'm okay if you don't.
This is a great cheesecake that comes together easily. It does require extra time (it sits in the oven as it cools down) so if you make it, the day or two before you need it is best.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 20 or so cookies)
For the filling
3/4 pound cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the butter with the gingersnap cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a buttered 10-inch springform pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Gradually add the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin purée and mix until just blended. Scrape the bowl several times during the mixing process with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is being incorporated well. Stir in the heavy cream and cinnamon.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the edges are set, about 1 1/4 hour.
At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and open the oven door slightly, and cool the cake in the oven for 1 hour before removing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Once ready to serve, remove from the cheesecake tin.
The first time I made this, the cheesecake didn't crack at all. This time, there was a big crack right down the center, go figure. No matter, just cover the cake with delicious homemade whipped cream!
For the sweet vanilla whipped cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place all the ingredients in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip together until soft peaks form.
Top your cheesecake and enjoy!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
And before you ask, yes it was closed and no it wasn't even on.
This is the second time that this has happened.
I'll get back to ya...promise. Now I've gotta finish 100 other random tasks before the battery dies.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I went to get this:
And I also got an awesome t-shirt, which I couldn't get a decent picture of. I'll get someone without a protruding belly to model it for me.
Guess who else was there?
My girlfriend who came with me fell in love with Marlboro Man. I got his autograph while waiting for Ree. He was quite the trooper. The line for his autograph was huge!
Ah yes, and the picture/book signing that I waited a total of 4 1/2 hours for...
Of course, what did I say? Nothing...except the fact that my friend had fallen in love with her husband. Pioneer Woman said, "it happens to the best of us". The rest is a blur.
So, I got home at midnight and scarfed down Taco Bell. I'm pregnant so shoot me.
I would love to write more, but I had a class tonight and am just now getting to the computer. I'm exhausted.
But it was so totally worth it.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Once November starts, I get all sorts of giddy. Cranberries are among my favorite foods, so naturally, this is the season for me to stock up on one of my favorite snacks, dried cranberries. Now that the month is here, cranberries of ALL types are not only readily available, but are on sale to boot! Plus, while I was picking up a few things at the grocery store the other day, I found that beef stew meat was on sale, too. Score! I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I knew that I needed to utilize my cranberry obsession.
Of course, I happen to pick one of the warmest days in the history of November to make stew, but by evening, the wind flowing through our open windows was crisp and cool, providing the ideal atmosphere for enjoying this dish.
Cranberry Beef Stew
1 lb beef stew meat
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup hot water
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb egg noodles
Combine the beef and the flour, salt and pepper, tossing to coat.
In a large saute pan with high sides, add the oil over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the meat and sear. Add the onion and celery. Once softened, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Let the stew come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
Remove the lid, and let the stew continue to bubble and thicken while you prepare your egg noodles.
Once the egg noodles are ready, drain and place in a large serving bowl. Top with the stew. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Comfort Food. Just saying those words immediately makes me feel better. At it's core, comfort food is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated, and easy to prepare. It is different for every person, but the basics do first come to mind: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on and on.
This recipe was so easy to prepare, quick, and just plain good. It also can be changed and modified easily to suit one's taste. For me, I will add corn and black beans next time. I hope you enjoy!
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
salt and pepper
1 small can green chilis
1 can (14oz) can of enchilada sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups rotisserie chicken
(you could also used canned chicken, or roast your own)
In a medium saucepan, add about a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the pepper, onion, and celery and saute until the onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and lower the heat to medium and let the ingredients bubble together for about 15 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I think it's safe to say that when I am ordering an appetizer it 9 times out of 10 will be stuffed mushrooms. What is crazy is that I don't even enjoy mushrooms that much! However, stuff some cream cheese in those little fungi and (even better) fry them up and I'll take the bait every time.
And considering that we rarely eat out anymore, ordering these wonderful morsels is just a simple treat.
So, as my birthday meal approached, I could think of nothing better than to whip up some stuffed mushrooms of my own. I didn't go all out and fry them up, but the results were so good that that extra step wasn't even missed at all.
6 large button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
salt and pepper
Set the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut off the tough ends. Finely mince 4 of the stems (or enough to make about 1/4 cup).
In a small saute pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom stems and saute until most of the water has been removed, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is softened and fragrant. See aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine about 3 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese with the remaining ingredients. Once the mushroom mixture is cooled, add it to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
To assemble the mushroom caps, take about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture and stuff them into the mushrooms. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese.
Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with ranch or (my favorite) barbecue sauce and enjoy!
I'd like to thank those of you that entered my first giveaway! I thought I would be official and use the random integer dealy to pick my winner, but of course I can't figure out how to show the page. One of these days I'll get all the pieces in working order, but I hope for now you'll take my word for it!
Congratulations: Sweet and Savory Says It All! I have forwarded your email to the DM folks. Look for your gift certificate in your email inbox soon!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I do however have a bit of good news that I really want to get posted, so pretty new blog be darned.
It's my birthday today. The big 35! Wahoo!
And because today is my birthday and because I love comments I have something to offer you.
I mentioned that I am going to be a guest blogger on Due Maternity's blog, right? Well, because of my relationship with Due Maternity. I would like to offer you, my readers a $25 gift certificate!
This one I LURVE...
Due Maternity doesn't just sell Maternity clothes (which by the way are fantabulous). They also have a wide line of skin care products including my favorite line: Mambino. They also have the coolest diaper bags around...I am loving the Storksak Emily Bag right now.
How do you win? Just leave me a comment with something that you would get from the Due Maternity site.
Would you like an extra entry?
1) Follow me or subscribe to my blog
2) Follow Due Maternity on Twitter
3) Become a friend of Due Maternity on Facebook
Please leave a seperate comment for each entry.
I will randomly select a winner on Saturday, October 31st.
So, maybe you aren't pregnant or don't know anyone pregnant. I do accept gifts. Just putting that out there. Or, sign up to win and if you do pick up something to donate this holiday season! All I'm saying is. It's my birthday people, just give me some comment love and I'll love you forever.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I did spend a lovely portion of my day cleaning out the sous chef's closets. Boxing up the old, getting out the old to #1/new to #2 stuff. Good times!
I really want to get back on the blogwagon...ha, get it? So, I thought I'd start with my soup tonight. I've been meaning to make this soup for a long time and I am so glad that I did! It was hearty and delicious and really besides the baking of the potatoes took no time at all.
Total comfort food.
3 large (about 3 pounds) of baking potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees, scrub your potatoes and poke some holes with a fork. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, you can go ahead and prepare your bacon (if you dig on swine). Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Lay the bacon strips on top of the rack and bake in the same 425 degree oven for 17-20 minutes (depending on thickness and desired doneness). Set aside to cool, cut into small strips.
Once the potatoes are cooked, set them aside to cool. You can do this the day before even.
When ready to prepare the soup, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the potato out with a spoon. I just gave mine a rough chop, but you can do whatever you wish. If you like a smoother soup, just mash the potato.
In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the flour and stir to coat the flour in the fats. Using a wisk, slowly add the chicken broth. Once well combined, slowly add the milk, continuing to wisk. Once everything is combined, add back in the potatoes and heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste. (The bacon I had was kind of salty, so I went easy on the salt). Stir to combine and keep over medium heat. Do not let the soup boil.
Before serving, I added the bacon and a little bit of cheddar cheese to the soup, stirring to combine. This is totally optional. You could just add them as toppings or leave them out all together.
Serve with a side salad, crusty sour dough bread and enjoy!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Rest assured, I am good. Just a little tired.
I have been given an amazing opportunity to be a guest blogger with DueMaternity.com. AND, with that I have the opportunity to have giveaways, ya'll! However, now I am riding this line between my cooking blog and really what would become something a little different. So, I am trying to navigate my place in the blogging world and what I want to do in this next year. With that, I am working on some big changes and I promise by the weekend I am going to finally get going again.
Thanks for sticking around.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I have been cooking, yes, but honestly, it hasn't been anything blogworthy. In fact, I think I have been stuck in a rut of just making our regulars. Dinner is more of a necessity to feed the family and less of an enjoyable experience.
I also have been fortunate enough to start up a little bit of a baking business on the side. So far it is going well; people seem to like cupcakes, and I enjoy making them, so that's been fun.
I'd like to thank the posts and emails asking how I am doing. It means a lot to me.
Rest assured, the sous chefs are good and the hubs is living large.
What about me you ask? Oh yeah, I'm pregnant. A third sous chef is in the works!
This pregnancy has hit me harder than the previous two. I am not getting sick per say, but I am definitely feeling quite nauseous. Fatigue is my foe and cooking has become a big chore to me. Because of that, my blog has suffered. I haven't even looked at my reader or visited a fellow foodie. For that, I apologize.
However, I am nearing the end of my first trimester and hopefully the nausea will leave right along with it. I am also slowly approaching my one year blogaversary, and hopefully, by then, I will have implemented all the new changes that I wish to have on this little project of mine.
Until then, I'll try to post more often and comment more. I hope you'll stick around!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
This month's second Barefoot Bloggers recipe was definitely one of my favorites. This pizza dough has become a standard around the CITK household.
One big change I make is that I use sugar instead of honey. That's just how I roll. I also think it was because I didn't have honey one time and now I just do sugar every time. Either way you make it, this makes a great chewy pizza dough.
I thought I would change things up this time and grill the pizza. It turned out to be an awesome idea. We put the pizza dough on the grill for about 2 minutes. Don't leave the grill, though. They cook quickly!
Once the bottom was cooked, we brought them in, turned them over, and put on our toppings. I made a basic pepperoni for the sous chefs and a artichoke, sundried tomatoes, basil, goat cheese for us.
Thank you so much to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for such an awesome choice! The original recipe can be found here. Try it out!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Do you have a meal that always takes you back to a certain date in time? I don't know if I do. I remember great meals, sure, but I don't know if I can recall everything that happened on the day that I ate something.
My husband, on the other hand, is brilliant at recalling exactly what happened on important dates in his life. No detail is forgotten, especially the food that was eaten. Wait, I should say the food that was served. To him, this dish hearkens the day that the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship. Oh, you remember the day that Mario Chalmers hit that last minute shot to put us into overtime. My hubs, who was too nervous to eat anything at the time, still remembers the meal. Should it bother me that he doesn't remember what was served at our wedding?
Spicy Caesar Salad Dressing
adapted from Bobby Flay
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo, cut up
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
10 drops hot pepper sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoon capers
6 anchovy fillets or 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
8 cloves garlic, chopped up a bit
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
about 3 heads of romaine lettuce, torn up
Put all the ingredients, except the oil and vinegar, into a food processor and process until blended. While the processor is going, add the oil slowly then the vinegar.
Meanwhile, cook a 1 1/2 pound steak to desired degree of doneness. I like to use a sirloin.
Place the romaine in a bowl, top with the cooked steak and douse with dressing. Use as much as you wish (we usually use it all). Depending on the size of your romaine heads, you may want to use a little less.
Add parmesan to your hearts content, top with croutons, serve, and enjoy!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I love reading blogs. Finding new recipes, ideas, and yes even friends. Sometimes I can get lost in reading and totally lose track of the fact that I still need to post in mine!
I had planned on using cauliflower today for meatless Monday and wanted to incorporate that into pasta. What luck as I happened upon Suzie's recipe at Munch and Nibble!
For this recipe I used anchovy paste...love the stuff. First you don't have to deal with the whole hairy fish thing and Second, it lasts forever in the fridge. 1/2 a teaspoon equals 2 anchovy fillets...so it is definitely more economical!
This was fast and easy, in fact the thing that took the longest was waiting for the water to boil.
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
3/4 box whole wheat spaghetti
olive oil, butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
lemon, parmesan cheese
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the cauliflower florets. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the florets with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pot of boiling water, add the pasta and cook for about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan with high sides set over medium high, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When ready, add the anchovy paste or fillets and stir until the anchovy is melted into the fats. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, or until fragrant. Add the walnuts and stir to combine the flavors. Add the cauliflower and stir. Lower the heat to low while waiting for the pasta to finish.
When the pasta is ready, reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, drain and add it to the cauliflower mixture. Squeeze the juice of a lemon on top and toss gently to combine. Turn out into a large bowl. Top with the parsley, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Then it turned 100 degrees again. Argh.
Summer had it's good points. The hubs used the grill at least twice a week, awesome. The meals were lighter and always seemed quicker to prepare. But, I miss using my oven daily and the heat that fills the house.
So, I look to fall. I love fall.
One exciting element to this fall is that my oldest sous chef will be in preschool every day this year. I am so excited for her. And, I'll admit it...I'm excited to make little treats again.
These were especially delicious and a great use for those zucchini that I still have hanging around.
These are a combination of two recipes that I have made before.
The first was a carrot cake cookie (borrowed from the fabulous Donna at My Tasty Treasures).
I substituted grated peeled and seeded zucchini for the carrot.
The second was the filling from a homemade oreo.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Is it me or is this picture weird?
Saturday morning is my day to get up with the girls. Luckily, I have a couple of budding foodies on my hands; The Food Network is always our channel of choice.
This particular morning, I actually watched Jaime at Home all the way through. I have a hard time with this show. The camera work is MUCH better than it was when he had his other show (can't remember the name now), but I can't put my finger on why I can't watch it normally. He is rather spastic in the kitchen (not a bad name for a blog). It doesn't seem that organized, and while that is really how most of us cook, when I watch a TV show, I want to be able to write down the recipe as it's prepared. That's just how I roll.
Jaime also says, "right" about every other word. That's not unlike Tyler Florence, who says "guys"...can't stand that. But, that is another topic for another entry.
Despite these annoying habits, though, he does make good food.
I was instantly attracted to the first recipe. Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara...
First of all, it uses Zucchini...of which I still have.
Second, it uses bacon...
Just look at it, ah... delicious.
If you aren't a fan, I understand. But I weep for you.
Just checking to see if you are paying attention!
adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 large green zucchini, cut in half, then in half again (so yeah quartered), then sliced in 1/4-1/2 inch slices
1/2 pound penne pasta
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
6 slices of bacon (so worth it), cut into pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (we have lemon thyme)
Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 7-9 minutes or until al dente.
In a large frying pan with higher sides, add the bacon and cook to desired degree of doneness. Add the zucchini and ground pepper (to taste). Sprinkle in the thyme. Cook, stirring often to coat the zucchini in the bacon-y goodness, until the zucchini is golden and softened slightly.
Meanwhile, add the eggs, parmesan, and cream to a medium bowl and set aside.
When the pasta is cooked, reserve about a cup full of pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the zucchini and bacon.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture, stirring quickly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Add more cooking water if the mixture seems stiff. Add more parmesan too...it's good like that.
Serve immediately with a salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!