Tuesday, April 29, 2008

son's lunches

i try to make my son's lunches look fun so he wants to eat them. it works. i love cute dishes for him because it adds to the appeal.
berfore he was eating food i read in a magazine where a woman needed help getting her kids off their addiction to fast food. the author recommended using cute plates and cute food to get them interested in food at home. i knew i would never allow my son to become addicted to fast food, but the cute food idea intriqued me anyways. now all i need are some bento boxes!! mini pb&j with banana chunks on bite size whole wheat pitas. just his size!

somebody sandra lee'd my tomato basil pasta!

i must admit i had a very sandra lee moment tonite. it was just the kid and me, so i thought i'd make our favorite...pasta.

it started off acceptable. a quick homemade tomato basil on angel hair. then some sauteed peas in olive oil with pepper and salt.

....and then i topped it with frozen chicken nuggets. at first i even turned the oven on to bake them, but i didn't want to wait 15 minutes. i microwaved them. the shame. but VERY good.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

baked gifts

even more so then baking, i love packaging. it's a strange thing to love, i know. it can easily sucker me into purchasing a good. anywhere from cleaning products to the way a tag looks on a shirt. i just see and appreciate the beauty and cleverness that goes into it. so, in other words, i love making baked goods cute for gifts or wrapping presents. my mother requested 3 things for a weekend trip she had the past few days. lemon tart, sour cream coffee cake and caramel popcorn.

a few months ago my husband and i went up north to get some tattoos. as a "thank you", i sent our artist some baked goods. he also got caramel popcorn and a coffee cake, but in addition he got cinnamon-less snickerdoodles....now called sugardoodles.
last wednesday i made herbed pork chops with raspberry sauce from home_ec101.com
i'm not a huge fan of pork AT ALL, but my parents love it and i cook them dinner atleast 3 nights a week. they work late and they do a lot for me, so it's the least i can do(i do more though). it was the raspberry sauce that sold me on trying this recipe.
but.....i will admit that i like leftover pork sandwiches with some sort of fruit concoction. last time i made apple chutney, but this time i had the raspberry sauce. i mixed it with mayo.....
i drizzled it on the meat and heated it up.....

i toasted some bread, slathered the mayo/sauce and piled on the meat. (not quite piled..there wasn't much leftover) and gobbled up. SO GOOD!
next time i'm going to cook the pork just for sandwiches!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

saturday night dessert

Saturday night my mother had family coming over after dinner and, like always, asked me to supply desserts.First up was a brownie. I had seen an article in a mag about going outside the box while serving dessert. This was an example they used.....

I lined a round casserole dish with butcher paper. I cut it into a circle. Parchment paper works but I liked using the brown paper. The batter goes half way up the paper leaving scalloped edges. Leave the cooked brownie in the paper. I served it on a small pedestal cake plate.

To go along with that I made icecream truffles. I don't remember where this idea came from(i may have just thought it up) but I did it about 2 years ago for a playdate.

Icecream truffles:

~Use small scoop or melon baller to make icecream into truffle sized balls. Freeze until hard.

~then coat in toppings and freeze until time to eat. I used chopped bitter chocolate. Chopped nuts and tosted coconut.

I served those in dishes along with chocolate sauce. That's no secret...it was hershey's. What is a secret is my brownie recipe. Its just a simple and old fashioned one, but its the best I have had and I have dreams of owning a world known bakery so its what you would call my "crabby patty".

I also made individual peach cobblers. In ramekins of course. I had some frozen peaches from winter months. I covered them in a warm simple syrup to thaw.


~Stick butter, melted

~1 cup sugar

~1 cup s.r. Flour

~3/4 c. Milk

~throw all in a bowl and mix just until mixed. Lumps are fine.

~seperate into ramekins(or into one oven safe bowl)

~pick your fruit...berries, peaches, cherries. if using fresh, cover with simple syrup:(heat 1/2c. sugar with 1/4c. water until dissolved).

~fruit filling should be dumped into batter. it will sink to bottom. do not stir.

~cook for 35 minutes or an hour @ 350

here is the table. tablescape isn't that fancy..but i was pooped. HA!

grits and eggs

this was my breakfast. fried egg over medium with kosher salt and pepper.
grits with white amercian cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

and....the money shot!

my selfless act of saving a rotting banana

i seem to always have one banana leftover from my son's snacks. today it was two halves, so i decided to make banana bread. i love my recipe, because it is super easy to cut into 1/4's. 4 eggs, 4 bananas..you get the idea. silly me started to use my kitchen aide, but for those who have one, you know it NEVER gets the bottom. and seeing as though its only a small amount of sugar and butter...it wasn't doing the trick. so, i started doing it by hand.

i HATE eating bananas, but if they are mushed up very good and thrown in cake batter you better believe i will eat them. when i went to grab the two halves, one was in no way going into my cake, so it got about 3/4 of a banana.

i had enough batter for 3 muffins. i do A LOT of baking in ramekins. you would be amazed how well they come out. ease and taste!

most things come out of ramekins looking like popovers. so rustic!

full banana bread: (i couldn't find my pecans, so this batch is without)
1.5 sticks butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3.25 c. self rising flour
4 bananas, mashed
1 t. vanilla
1 c. pecans
~cream butter and sugar. blend in eggs one at a time. beat. add flour, bananas, vanilla and nuts. blend with spoon. pour into well greased/floured 9x13 pan or in my case, muffins or ramekins.
bake for 40 minutes @ 350 degrees. (if baking muffins start at 25 minutes...may take whole time, but you never know). let sit for 5 minutes, then turn onto rack. store in fridge.
.....and a family secret: when we make into cake pans, we serve slices with a mixture of cream cheese and crushed pineapple. YUM!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

black bean angel hair

the baby and i are alone tonite. i had leftover black beans and tomatoes from last night's sun-dried tomato alfredo on rigtoni, which we also ate alone, but didn't want that again. so, i just cooked up angel hair and threw it in with the black beans and tomatoes that i sauteed with olive oil, garlic salt and basil. i melted some fresh parmesan in it as well.
it was VERY light, so it may only satisfy you if you've had a heavy day of eating. if you want something full of flavor, add some cream. ha!
of course i had to make garlic bread. its a wheat roll with olive oil, garlic salt and dry basil.
this morning my husband's band manager was over, so i made homemade waffles and scrambled eggs. i wish i would have kept the batter, made more waffles and frozen them cause i sure could use one right now!

pound cake

the husband is leaving tomorrow morning for a 3 month tour. he just informed me that he is leaving me the camera. YAY!

i haven't done that much cooking/baking this past weekend. i did make my first pound cake. the person who gave me the recipe raves over it. it was good, the texture was amazing, but there was something very strange about it. i think next time i will add lemon. in fact, the whole reason i wanted a pound cake was because i found a lemon curd recipe. never even made the lemon curd. argh!

saturday i made brownies for some fellow travelers of my husband's band. i'm not a name dropper but you may know them by "let the bodies hit the floor". they liked the brownies. i wasn't happy with them, so the next day i made a batch for us....they were much better. goddamnit! good for us, bad for the rockers.

try the pound cake for yourselves:

true pound cake

~3 sticks butter
~8 oz. cream cheese, softened
~3 cups sugar
~6 eggs
~3 cups cake flour, sifted
~dash salt
~1 T. vanilla

grease and flour 10" tube pan. cream butter and cream cheese. gradually add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time. beat well. add flour and salt until mixed. stir in vanilla.
bake @ 325 for about an hour. let sit 10 minutes and turn out onto rack.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

i am a very "on the whim" kind of girl. i see all these blogs and know all kinds of mom's who plan each dinner weeks in advance. i can't do that. i wish i could. i don't know what i want to make until about 6pm when my son starts getting whiny and i'm like, "shit, i guess we need to eat dinner". there are some days when i plan it that morning, which is about as good as i'll get....unless i'm having a dinner party. parties are the one and only thing i can plan!

yesterday was a VERY late day. my son didn't wake up until after 9:30, so my husband and i found a little somthing to do until he woke up ;)

anywho, that gave us a very late breakfast and a very late lunch. we had a trip to the aquarium which had us eating lunch at chic-fi-a after 2pm. i'm not quite sure what time it was when my son was digging through the fridge(i hate this habit. i am trying to nip it)....i decided i didn't want to make a shitty dinner, so after 6pm, i went to the grocery store. i decided on hamburger steak with rice and gravy, sauted squash with basil, peas and biscuits. we ate after 7pm. i know, i know.

so you know, i do sometimes cook in a very "paula deen" style.

ground beef is a big staple for me because i'm not a huge meat eater and even more then eating it, i hate handeling it. especially chicken. ugh! but ground beef is easy to cook. for the most part i get 93% lean, but that won't make gravy, so this time i got 80%. that's about as low as i will buy.the squash is cooked in butter and sprinkles with lots of dry basil and kosher salt. it was a tad mushy,

my gravy turned out really weird. it almost had a gamey taste to it. might have been the lower fat contents of the meat or the browning sauce is bad.....no idea. we still ate it. the husband loved it.
and to finish off our late day....i made a midnight pound cake. i will have to post about that later.....

Friday, April 11, 2008

apple pancakes

why did i steal this from my son's snack drawer?

well, because i didn't have apples and i wanted apple pancakes for breakfast.

first off, although a complete dessert/chocolate/pastry addict, the one thing i do is eat a healthy breakfast. mostly. but being an avid baker, sometimes a good homemade pancake, waffle or biscuit just calls my name. my pancakes are typically:

2 heaping cups of self rising flour, sprinkle of sugar, an egg and enough milk to make it into batter, but i have a brunch cook book with an apple pancake recipe. if done right, it's delicious. unfortuntely, if you make one wrong move they are just great instead of FABULOUS. but, great is good too!

apple pancakes:

scant 1.5 c. self rising flour

1/2 c. superfine sugar

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 egg

scant c. milk (i use 1%)

2 apples, peeled and grated

butter for skillet.

mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. make a well in the center. beat egg and milk together. pour into well and incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet JUST until mixed. then stir in grated apple.

melt butter in medium heat skillet. cook each one to about a 3.5 inch size.

hopefully you know that when the upside starts to bubble, you flip it. they taste better as the smaller size. trust me. of course the fresh grated apples taste better then applesauce, but sometimes you just have to make do. and also, as i learned today. make sure the egg is fully beat in with the milk. mine wasn't which forced me to mix the entire batter longer then desired. those make the pancakes a bit more spongy. i don't know about you, but i HATE spongy pancakes. its about all you can get from IHOP or CRACKER BARRELL and not to toot my own horn, but my pancakes take their (pan)cake. a fluffy, melt in your mouth, pancake is surely the way to go!

this morning they didn't last long enough for a picture, so i swiped one from the cook-book.

meatball subs

although i love the occasional lunch at ci'ci's or chic-fil a, i am pretty much a 3 homemade meal a day woman. not to say that some lunches, dinners or even breakfast's don't consist of Kraft mac-n-cheese(with frozen peas to make me feel like a decent mom) for my almost 3 year old, but for the most part i "do okay".

my husband is a full time touring musician. so when he is home on breaks our schedule's get a little screwy...but in a good way. 2 nights ago he requested meatball subs. it's one of his mom's staples that he enjoys. it's nothing i would EVER cook when he was not home.

he and i collaborated on the meat balls. he did the dirty work and i cooked 'em up with a quick tomato basil marinara.

we served them in whole wheat sub rolls and were topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and mozzerella. then under the broiler.

the husband enjoyed them. i did somewhat. i wish i would have eaten the meatballs and sauce plain. they were delish! my son got them with macaroni pasta. (the sub would have been a bit much for his little mouth to take on).

we decided on seasoned fries for the side. i'm not a HUGE french fry fan. my son won't even touch them, thank goodness, but if i do make them(twice a year) they are fried, fried, fried. Mmmm. they were amazing! i did use peanut oil if that makes it any better. ha~ha

...and oh, they were store brand fries. i didn't make them. Sshh.

to start this off, i'd like to post a new pair of shoes. i have been looking for some cute flats for quite awhile. luckily they have stayed in style...that's how long i've been looking. found a pair from payless for about $18.

yes, they are casual and kinda cheesy. but i love them just the same....and they keep me out of my typical flipflops. i'm tired of stinky, dirty feet!