Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Voila, souffle au fromage! Yes, I am a master chef (wink). Here is a picture of my first ever attempt at a souffle. I am very pleased with the results. Looks good, and tastes amazing! The recipe is from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, the book from the movie "Julie and Julia." I have actually not yet seen the movie, but my mom did, and she realized that she actually owned that book from early in her marriage! She never cooked out of it, because the recipes were too difficult, but she knew I'd love it, and I do! So, thanks mom! Also, Rachel's hair is now long enough to put in to these adorable pig tails! I just love it! Lizzy has been signed up to start beginning ballet and tap class in January. We got her leotard and tap shoes the other day, and she is SO excited! She picked out the yellow leotard herself. It was her favorite!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
We had a really fun Thanksgiving! For the first time, I made a Thanksgiving dinner! I made turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, rolls, salad, sparkling apple cider, pumpkin pie, and cherry pie with whipped cream. Everything turned out great, except for the mashed potatoes! Those were the last thing I made, and all the other food was ready... they were taking longer to cook than I wanted, and due to other things also taking longer to cook than planned, we were already eating an hour or two behind schedule! So, I got impatient and undercooked the potatoes (slightly) and then I didn't have a clean measuring cup available, and I eyeballed the milk and got in way too much! So, our potatoes were lumpy and runny... yuck! But, oh well. The funny thing is, the mashed potatoes were the simplest recipe I made! My mom, sisters, cousin, and my cousin's roommate all came to the dinner, so we had 10 people total... 9 women and 1 man (Jason!). Poor guy! We watched the football game, of course, and had a lot of fun. Everyone helped out with the cooking, too, which was also fun! The best dish was the sweet potato casserole, which I have posted the recipe for on my recipe blog, so check that out if you want to make an amazing side dish for your next holiday party! I was very excited, because Jason gave me my Christmas present early just for Thanksgiving dinner... service for 12 china set and serving dishes. They were very beautiful, just plain off-white with a platinum border on the edge. It made our table very elegant! I was also able to wear my new blue and brown apron that Jason's sister's friend made for me... she sells the aprons on her etsy website if any of you want one... see the link on the side for "polka dots and posies." Anyway, I hope everyone else had such a good Thanksgiving! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
On the "Hair Today" blog that I have linked here on my blog, the author posted a how-to for a simple but cute "Twirly Skirt" for little girls. I thought it looked intriguing, so I got some fabric and made these skirts yesterday for my girls to wear to church today. I was excited... they came out really cute. Just as the website advertised, the skirts were super easy, and I made both in about an hour. Their shirts don't match... this was at 8 pm, and so I just threw the skirts on with the shirts they were wearing for the day... dirty with dinner and everything! Click on the picture to see it larger. This morning I made a mini version of the skirt out of leftover fabric for Lizzy's new Barbie doll.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
My sweet little baby Lizzy turned 3 yesterday! She had a really fun birthday! She is presently in her room, where she took all her new toys and then closed the door so Rachel cannot play with them! She woke up this morning at 7:00, and the first thing she said was, "Can I play with my dollhouse now?" Her new dollhouse from Grandma and Grandpa Gale is definitely her favorite present, but she loves all her other presents at a close second! She got a doll stroller from my mom, and a doll to go in it from my step-dad. My sisters gave her a new outfit, and Jason and I got her a barbie doll with outfits and a carrying bag, and the new Tinkerbell movie. She has seen too many commercials for the Tinkerbell movie, because she unwrapped it, and said, "Oh! It's "Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure!" That made everyone laugh! I made her a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with Tinkerbell, as you can see in the pictures, and we also had her favorite "Cowboy" pizza from papa murphy's. What's really funny is, before everyone showed up for the party, Lizzy kept saying she was still 2, and it was not her birthday yet. She wouldn't say it was her birthday until everyone came... I guess she thinks the birthday party is the actual birthday! So... does this mean that if I don't have a party I never actually turn 30??? Ha ha ha. You can see in the pictures that my little sister, Angela, desperately needs a barbie doll for Christmas, as she thoroughly enjoyed playing with Lizzy's. On a side note: if anyone is interested in the technique for how I made the tinkerbell, I put directions for it on my recipe blog: http://sarahsfavrecipies.blogspot.com
Monday, November 9, 2009
So, my homemaker battle has been floor cleanliness. Jason's pet peeve is dirty floors. He doesn't care if the beds aren't made, or if the dishes aren't done... but he HATES dirty floors. Of course, I have an almost-3 year old and a 15 month old, so they dirty my floors at least 3 times a day, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to sweep and mop one more time before Jason gets home from work! Anyway, I am a big informercial watcher (it's a secret vise that happened when I was up doing middle of the night infant feedings and care) and I got 2 WONDERFUL things off of informercials that I actually found worth sharing with all of you in the internet world. The first one is the swivel sweeper. The thing is AMAZING. Lizzy can use it, it is so easy! It swivels, like it says, and picks up stuff with rotating brushes in all 4 directions and on the corners. It also lies flat, so you can get it under stuff really easily. It is terrific for every day after meal touch ups. It works on both hard floors AND carpets, so when Rachel gets a hold of the kleenex box while I'm in the shower, and shreds 50 kleenexes all over the living room floor, it's no problem to clean up. The other wonderful invention that I got today is the shark steam pocket mop. Now this one is cool. I have tried traditional rag mops, the squeegee mops, and microfiber mops... they have all been terrible. We have travertine floors, and they have a marbled appearance, and are VERY hard to clean. I would often end up on my hands and knees scrubbing my huge expanse of tile floor by hand. When we first bought the house, the travertine looked beautiful, with a matte finish, but with a sheen to it. No matter how hard or much I mopped or scrubbed by hand, my travertine would be matte, with no sheen. In addition, I had to wait to mop until Rachel was napping, because otherwise, she'd follow me around, slipping on the wet spots and banging her head on the floor, or else crying behind the wall of chairs I made to block off the kitchen... it was just no fun. SOOOO, I saw that they had the steam mop at Costco, so I went for it. I mopped my floor with it today and WOW. It is amazing! It got everything up off the floor, and the sheen is back! It looks SO beautiful. I can't wait for Jason to get home and see my amazing floors! It's especially nice, because it dries almost immediately, so Rachel did not slip around on the floor. I also used it on our hardwood floor in the study, and regular tile floors in the bathrooms. They all came out gorgeous. Then, because I saw them do it on the informercial, I lifted the thing up and steam cleaned my granite countertops. Now that was cool! I also was able to steam clean the fireplace stones at the base of the fireplace, which were coated in nastiness from the kids, and have always been really hard to get clean. Anyway, enough informercial from me... if any of you are hating your constant cleaning the floor battle, I highly recommend these products!
Friday, November 6, 2009
The cookie bars are soft, chewy, thick and wonderful - I think they're even better than eating cookies! The meat sauce comes out full of meat flavor, with really tender meat. It is a great meal because it makes a TON of food, but the ingredients are very cheap to buy! I paired the spaghetti bolognese with some ciabatta bread and spinach sauteed with garlic and a pinch of nutmeg. Try it out with your family!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
We had a really fun Halloween! Jason's friend, Lane, came over to visit and watched the U of U football game with us. We grilled bratwurst sausages with peppers and onions, and they were really good football-watching "man food." I had bought some wings, a skirt, and a wand for Lizzy who had requested a Tinkerbell costume, and Rachel was going to wear the pumpkin outfit that Lizzy wore at Rachel's age, but Lizzy saw the princess costume that she had worn last year in the closet, and suddenly she wanted to wear that! So, Lizzy was a princess again, and Rachel wore the Tinkerbell costume! Jason took the girls out trick or treating, and I gave out candy. The girls really enjoyed trick or treating, although Lizzy was a little scared of some of the other kids' costumes! Here are some pictures of the girls in their costumes; with the pumpkins we carved; and a picture of Rachel with her first pigtails!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Also here: Lizzy went "poo poo" in the potty for the first time ever!
Lizzy was so tired one night, she fell asleep at the counter while I was making dinner!
Lizzy and Rachel climbing trees at Grandma Susan's house.
Lizzy at the zoo.
The girls being naughty at church.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Sadly, this week was the last week of the CSA. We received a letter with our boxes telling us that it was the end. I have had a really fun time experimenting with all these fantastic fresh veggies, and I hope I have inspired some of you to either join a CSA or grow a garden, and enjoy the variety at its best. This week, we got onions, potatoes, corn on the cob, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, cabbage, and jalapeno peppers. My friend, Celia, gave me some tomatoes from her garden, and so I was able to make some homemade salsa, fish tacos, and some freezer tomato sauce. (Click the links to access the recipes.) A week from Saturday, we get to go to East Farms (it's in Layton) and pick our own pumpkins (one per family member) from their pumpkin patch! So that will be fun.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
One of the things we got this week from the CSA was an acorn squash that weighed one ounce shy of 2 pounds. Jason and I have never cared for winter squash when served by our parents in the past, and so I put off making it. But, I didn't want to waste it, so I looked up "acorn squash" on my favorite food website, Cook's Illustrated, and found their method of cooking it. (Cook's Illustrated is like the Consumer Reports of food - you have to pay for a subscription to their website; $25 a year; and they do recipe testing, equipment testing, and product testing that is all unbiased and really reliable.) Anyway, the acorn squash was a big hit. It tasted so delicious, and was wonderfully textured. Here is the article and recipe from Cook's Illustrated:
Tired of mealy, stringy squash that takes an hour to bake? We wanted it faster and better.
After what seems like eons in the oven, it often lands on the table with little flavor and a dry, grainy texture.
At its rare best, it is characterized by a sweet, almost nutty taste and moist, smooth flesh - a result that should not take hours.
Believe it or not, microwaving took first place in cooking methods, presenting a squash that was tender and silky smooth, with nary a trace of dryness or stringiness. Hammering out the details was easy: Microwave on high power for 20 minutes, and the squash is perfectly cooked. It was best to halve and seed the squash before cooking; whole pierced squash cooked unevenly. Last, I learned that when added before cooking, salt seemed to better permeate the squash. Filling in the only remaining gap, equal portions of butter and dark brown sugar gave the squash ample - not excessive - sweetness. And for a smooth, cohesive filling mixture, combining the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt and briefly broiling the final product eliminated the nagging sticky glaze problem.
Squash smaller than 1 1/2 pounds will likely cook a little faster than the recipe indicates, so begin checking for doneness a few minutes early. Conversely, larger squash will take slightly longer to cook. However, keep in mind that the cooking time is largely dependent on the microwave. If microwaving the squash in Pyrex, the manufacturer recommends adding water to the dish (or bowl) prior to cooking. To avoid a steam burn when uncovering the cooked squash, peel back the plastic wrap very carefully, starting from the side that is farthest away from you.
|2||acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved pole to pole and seeded|
|3||tablespoons unsalted butter|
|3||tablespoons dark brown sugar|
Sprinkle squash halves with salt and place halves cut-sides down in 13- by 9-inch microwave-safe baking dish. If using Pyrex, add 1/4 cup water to dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, using multiple sheets, if necessary; with paring knife, poke about 4 steam vents in plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until squash is very tender and offers no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 25 minutes. Using potholders, remove baking dish or bowl from oven and set on clean, dry surface (avoid damp or cold surfaces).
While squash is cooking, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element); heat broiler. Melt butter, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until combined.
When squash is cooked, carefully pull back plastic wrap from side farthest from you. Using tongs, transfer cooked squash cut-side up to rimmed baking sheet. Spoon portion of butter/sugar mixture onto each squash half. Broil until brown and caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating baking sheet as necessary and removing squash halves as they are done. Set squash halves on individual plates and serve immediately.
Friday, September 25, 2009
My kids are dead silent at the breakfast table this morning because of.... Count Chocula! Usually they eat cheerios, or oatmeal, or whole wheat toast, but at the grocery store I saw that they had (for Halloween) Count Chocula... ah the childhood memories. So I bought a box, and served it to the kids this morning. Chocolate cereal with chocolate marshmallows. What more could a kid ask for? I ate a bowl myself... it was delicious. Its only redeeming quality is that it only has 110 calories per serving! But the kids are LOVING it. Lizzy already told me it was "so delicious"! And I've never seen Rachel eat so much instead of throwing it on the floor. On a side note: I got the yogurt burst cheerios last week, and Rachel would pick out all the pink yogurt covered cheerios and eat them, and throw the regular cheerios on the floor! Anyway, here's to letting the kids eat junk every once in a while!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This week brought a ton of really amazing vegetables, and quite a few that I had never seen before! Such as a purple bell pepper, and a white eggplant! We also received corn, green onions, white onions, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, poblano chiles and an anaheim chile, green bell peppers, and an acorn squash. Wow. This time, Jason took the picture of the veggies, and he had me put my hand in the photo so you could judge the size of the veggies. They are HUGE!!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups white rice
- 4 large poblano peppers
- 6 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- 3 tablespoons corn, peanut or vegetable oil, divided
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, eyeball it in your palm
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 pound spinach leaves, deveined and coarsely chopped
- 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 2 limes, zested, juiced
- 1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese, Asadero or Monterey Jack
Preheat broiler or grill pan to high.
Heat about 3 1/2 cups stock in a sauce pot with a bay leaf to boiling. Add rice, cover pot reduce heat to low and simmer 18 minutes until tender.
Place poblanos under broiler or on hot grill and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.
While peppers and rice are working, scrape the corn off the cobs or defrost frozen corn and dry by spreading out on clean kitchen towel. Heat 2 tablespoons light oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 then turn pan off.
Place the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, half a cup of stock and a tablespoon of oil in food processor and process into coarse green paste. Stir into your rice pot in the last 3 to 4 minutes of its cooking time.
Sprinkle the lime juice over the corn mixture.
Split the charred peppers open but not in half with small sharp knife then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and stuff each split pepper with lots of the corn mix, top each pepper with 1/4 cup cheese and place back under broiler to melt and char the cheese.
Serve peppers on beds of green rice. Yum-o!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
OK, this is the biggest bunch of veggies yet. I need to put something in the picture to show the scale of all this stuff - these veggies are ENORMOUS. The pictures don't do them justice. Anyway, this week we got an eggplant, a canteloupe, TOMATOES, green onions, green bell peppers, and a TON of potatoes. I still have a ton of potatoes left from last week too - good thing I can put them in our cold storage and they will last and last. I am excited to make Pasta With Eggplant and Tomatoes. Try it out - it's delicious! I hope someone out there is enjoying all these recipes I'm posting... or maybe you all just think I'm insane! :)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
After all the potsticker fun last week, I was looking forward to getting another head of cabbage to do something else with... and we didn't get any cabbage! Oh well. We got a HUGE canteloupe that is insanely delicious, 2 green bell peppers, 4 ears of corn, 3 cucumbers, green onions, lots of red potatoes, and 2 yellow summer squashes. I have been having so much fun with all of these veggies - finding new ways to cook and use them, and trying new veggies I've never had before... I highly recommend joining a CSA! I love getting my "surprise" veggies every week and then figuring out what to do with them all! I have noticed that the corn on the cob really needs to be eaten on the same day we get it, otherwise it is not very good. To combat this problem, since we get more ears of corn than our family can eat in just one day, I looked up how to store corn - blanching and freezing. For those of you out there who have no idea how to do this (like I did) here is what you do:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shucked cobs of corn and boil 5 minutes. Remove the corn immediately to a large bowl of ice water and submerge for 4 minutes. Thouroughly dry the ears of corn, place them in a large ziplock freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When you're ready to eat the corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the frozen corn, and return to a boil, boiling for 3-5 minutes until heated through.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Cool new things this week - a HUGE head of cabbage, green bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, corn on the cob, and potatoes. Yum yum! Looks like Chinese pork and cabbage won tons!!
|3||cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about 1/2 medium head)|
|3/4||teaspoon table salt|
|3/4||pound ground pork|
|4||minced scallions (about 6 tablespoons)|
|2||egg whites , lightly beaten|
|4||teaspoons soy sauce|
|1 1/2||teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger|
|1||medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)|
|1/8||teaspoon ground black pepper|
|24||round gyoza wrappers (see note)|
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|1||cup water , plus extra for brushing|
For the filling: Toss cabbage with the salt in colander set over a bowl and let stand until cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently with rubber spatula to squeeze out any excess moisture, the transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
For the dumplings: Working with 4 wrappers at a time (keep the remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap), follow the photos below to fill, seal, and shape the dumplings using a generous 1 teaspoon of the chilled filling per dumpling. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; you should have about 24 dumplings. (The dumplings can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once frozen, the dumplings can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag to save space in the freezer; do not thaw before cooking.)
Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels; set aside. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet and arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add 1⁄2 cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more. Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly. Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter and serve with scallion dipping sauce (see related recipe). Let the skillet cool until just warm, then wipe it clean with a wad of paper towels and repeat step 3 with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.