Monday, February 28, 2011

Banana, Oat and Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's my baby's first birthday today, and I don't know if I'm happy or sad about it.  I'm psyched that B and I made it through this first year without too many additional greys or hair that's been pulled out.  And that's saying something, because the little lady put us through the wringer in regards to sleep!  I'm sad because my baby is no longer technically a baby.  She's officially a toddler and although she's been toddling around the house for 3 months now, it's still hard to grasp that she's growing up so quickly.  So, happy birthday baby!

These cookies were not made for her birthday, but they are a cookie that I would feel somewhat ok about letting her eat.  They contain banana and oats, so that makes them healthy, right?  That's what I told myself anyway, as I scarfed down five or so.  These have kind of a cakey texture, as they're really soft, but still are totally cookie.  Everyone that ate these enjoyed them and if you make them I'm sure you will as well.  Remember, there's fruit and grains in them, so you're not cheating on your diet or anything...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tag! You're it!

I just saw this morning that Kim over at The Farmer's Wife got me in a game of tag.  I didn't know I was playing or I would have run faster!  No just kidding.  It's actually fun.  There's several questions that I answer and then I tag several people and they post answers to the same questions.  So here goes:

1.  What food do you refuse to eat?
~I'm weird.  I hate shrimp.  Like, with a serious passion.  It has this funky texture and pops in my mouth and I start gagging and it gets nasty.  I really want to like it because I see so many recipes for it that I want to try, but every time I attempt to eat it the gagging starts again and I'm put off for another year or so.

2.  What is the most ethnic dish you have ever made?
~Pierogi.  I am proudly Polish although my last name is now Irish.  Our daughter is more Polish than Irish, and she's going to know it!  Anyway, I've made pierogi, but I don't know if I'll attempt it again.  That dough is STICKY!  I got it stuck in my wedding ring, all over a rolling pin, all over my well floured was bad.  I also couldn't get the dough to roll out correctly and it was a little thick, so it didn't make as many as it should have.  So for me, it wasn't worth the time since I ended up with about 12.  But if you're ever in Cleveland, go to The West Side Market and find Pierogi Palace.  You'll be glad you went.

3.  Salt or Sweet?
~SWEET!  I think I'm addicted.  I opened a bag of bittersweet chips for cupcakes the other day and used 4 ounces out of an 11 ounce bag.  The bag is almost empty because I go to it throughout the day and gorge.  But my bag of veggie straws is going to go bad....

4.  What kitchen gadget can you not live without?
~Is a food processor a gadget?  I'm obsessed with mine.  I got it two years ago and used it for making soup.  Now I use it for pesto, ganache, more soups and TONS of baby food.  My baby food making days are rapidly coming to an end, but I'm still so glad I have my processor!

5.  Last restaurant you ate at?
~Noodles & Co. with some friends.  The baby lady and I shared buttered noodles with broccoli.  For being so plain it was quite good!

6.  Where would you live if you could move anywhere in the world?
~If I could move my entire family with me, then Venice, Italy.  I love Italy.  B and I went there for part of our honeymoon and I fell in love with the city completely.  I remember eating cherries from grocer on a side street in a park and watching the birds with my husband and it's one of my favorite memories.  Venice to me is pure happiness.  Plus I would be forced to become fluent in Italian which would be really cool.

7.  What is your blog about?
~It's about the food I make my family for the most part.  It also includes desserts that I make for us, and many others as I make my husband take my goodies to work and I take them to mommy events.  I also try to read (although I'm stalling at the moment) and I write reviews.  I'm trying to get better at review writing so this is my practice place.

8.  Do you have pets?
~If I were single I would be a cat lady, because we have two. 

9.  What is the last city you visited?
~Parma, OH.  It's where I'm from and you may have heard about it from the Drew Carey Show.  "Moon Over Parma" and whatnot....

That was fun!  So now it's my turn to tag people...hmmmmm

Christy at The Adventures of Mini-Martha

Alicia at Poise in Parma

Kankana at Sunshine & Smile

Print Page

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cheddar Corn Chowder

I make everything you find on this blog...except this.  My wonderful husband decided to cook one night and let me relax while he did so.  B made this soup and it's now a favorite.  It's rich and hearty, and also sweet from the corn.  It's almost like loaded baked potato soup with corn.  It also makes enough to provide leftovers and is therefore bound to become a frequent meal in our house.  Oh!  I "made" the bacon.  That counts as cooking, right?

Serves 4 hungry adults.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lemon Sorbet

Is there anything more refreshing than lemon sorbet with a sprig of mint?  I don't think so!  Lemon is one of my favorite flavors for dessert, dinners, pretty much anytime and anywhere.  This simple lemon sorbet makes the most out of the lemon, using the zest and the juice.  B loves it.  He's actually eaten an entire container by himself, but then again he regularly polishes off half of a half gallon of ice cream, so I guess it's not all that impressive.  Either way, it's easy to make and nice to have around when you want something cold and refreshing on a summer night.  Or a winter night.  Why do people only want ice cream or sorbet in warm weather?  I'll never understand that.  Crazy non ice cream eating people...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Broiled Roma Tomatoes

My daughter, at eleven and a half months, is sick for the first time.  It's nothing all that serious, just a head cold, but she's reacting to it like it's the first time she's ever been sick...since it is!  Needless to say, cooking hasn't been the easiest thing to find time to do as most of my day is spent carrying my little lady around.  For the past week dinner has consisted mostly of Cheerios or ice cream, and sometimes both.  Then last night I broke.  I wanted food!  Real food.  I still didn't have time to cook, though, so I settled for making my very favorite side dish and eating that as a main course.  Broiled Roma tomatoes.  It's so easy (a must when a sick baby is around) and more importantly, it wasn't ice cream.

I've been making these things for years and for some reason I haven't in a long time.  My first box from Washington's Green Grocer contained four lovely Roma tomatoes and as soon as I saw them I knew that they were destined to become these broiled, delicious beauties.  Have I mentioned how glad I am that I signed up for the veggie delivery?  I'm only a week in and already loving it!

Anyway, I hope someone ends up making these because these deserve a try.  As long as you like tomatoes, I can almost guarantee that you're going to love these.

Serves 4 as a side dish
Time:  15 minutes including prep and cook time

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jaleo - restaurant review

B and I finally got a night out!  My in-laws drove the seven hours from upstate New York to babysit one weekend so that B and I could go on a date.  Now it hasn't been that long since our last date, about 6 weeks, but before that I couldn't even tell you.  It was our anniversary weekend and we wanted to go somewhere we haven't been before.  The goal was Jaleo in Chinatown.  But since we wanted to make it an evening and go to a movie as well, we went to Jaleo in Crystal City which we've heard is on par with the Chinatown location.

Upon arriving at a somewhat early time (6:15 reservation), we were seated in a window dressing seat promptly.  Extremely courteous waiters came and explained how the menu worked and the specials which were tempting, but we decided to stick to the regular menu instead.  We ordered a full carafe of the Cava sangria and easily drank the whole thing.  I don't know where they got strawberries in February that could taste so juicy and sweet.  Delicious!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Kids don't like broccoli.  I didn't and I fully expected mine not to, but she gobbled this creation right up!  B, my super picky husband (who will tell everyone he knows that he's not a picky eater) is extremely particular about broccoli.  It has to be just the right texture or it "tastes raw", but it also can't be too soft because then it's just "nasty".  Cooking it this way left the broccoli with a slight crunch and the flavors of toasted parmesan and garlic throughout make this one a winner.

Serves 4 as a side dish and takes about 15 minutes to cook.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hooray for Fresh Organic Produce

It's here!  It's here!  It's here!  My first box from Washington's Green Grocer has arrived!

 I've been going back and forth in my mind for over a year over whether or not to take part in this organization that delivers a box of fresh produce (you can choose all organic or mixed - I picked all organic) up to once a week.  You have some control over what you get in that you can go onto the website and say "no, I don't want any beets ever" or "I don't want any oranges this week" up until the night before a delivery.  So I said that I don't ever want any beets, beans or sprouts because I know that they would all just sit and rot.  That being said, a big reason for me joining was so that I would have to use vegetables and fruit that I wouldn't normally buy.  For example, this week I received rainbow chard, cabbage, grapefruit and tangelos.  Now, I think I'm going to bake the tangelos into scones, and make cole slaw from the cabbage, but I'm not sure what to do with chard or the grapefruit.  Neither B nor myself enjoy eating grapefruit as is, so I'm hoping to find something to do with it.  

Any suggestions?

Print Page

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Peach Sorbet

The 10 day forecast is awesome.  The highs are in the mid 50s to low 60s for the most part and I want spring back now.  Because after spring, comes summer.  And summer brings beautiful tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, berries and peaches.  I love peaches.  They simply scream summer.  Back when they were in season I made peach sorbet in my ice cream maker and moved it to the freezer as per the instructions on my maker.  Then the power went out.  For 2 days!  It's happened before here, so I knew what to expect.  I hauled my sorbet out of the freezer and began eating.  And I just so happened to take a picture.
 And now I'm sitting here, eating Girl Scout Cookies, pining away for my lost peach sorbet.  I'm anxiously awaiting warmer days and the peaches that come with them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Herb and Citrus Marinated Pork Loin

Fresh herbs are one of my favorite things on earth. That's why each year I grow a garden and while most of my vegetables never manage to take off, I make sure I have an excellent herb garden growing.

I used fresh lemons to get the lemon juice in this recipe, as the bottled stuff I have turned out to be expired, plus I just like the fresh stuff more. The lemon juice really permeates the meat so it has a wonderfully bright flavor after it's cooked.  I was so disappointed when I went to use my fresh rosemary and looked into my garden and saw that it was covered in snow.  I was lucky that I had a refrigerated bunch of thyme at least.  I take for granted the fact that I now live in "the south" and think that my herbs are always around.  Oh well.  I, of course, substituted dried for the fresh.  The end flavor was superb, and I can't wait to try it with fresh rosemary once the snow melts.

This recipe says to use a grill, but I wrote in a different way to cook it, so don't disregard this recipe if you don't have an outside grill to use.

Serves 2 with enough leftover for a lunch the next day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

What says Valentine's Day more than chocolate, cheesecake and fresh berries?  Nothing, in my opinion at least, so these cookies basically jumped off the page of my Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook and I knew I had to make them.  The original recipe calls for strawberries, but acknowledges that any berry would be fine.  I decided that finding tasty raspberries in February is easier than finding tasty strawberries in February and the result was phenomenal.  I doctored up the cheesecake filling as I found the original recipe's was too cheesy.  The cookies are firm feeling and yet have a very nice give when you bite into one of them.  Too bad B doesn't eat cream cheese.  Now I'm stuck eating these all by myself.  Darn?

Please note that the dough requires an hour of chilling time before baking.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

This isn't your typical Hamburger Helper stroganoff.  This one calls for tenderloin, but I'm not that high class, so we typically use a cheaper cut of steak.  Still, it's such an upgrade from the ground beef.  It takes a decent amount of time to prepare this, so while I don't make it that often, it's one of my favorite dinners.  It could be the tarragon which I seem to be developing a huge taste for.  I must remember to grow some in my garden next year.  Paired with just a simple salad, it's wonderful and leftovers for lunch the next day just keep the delicious flavors coming.

It takes me about 45 minutes to prepare this, and it serves 4.  We serve it over egg noodles.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Blondies

These blondies are adapted from the "best" recipe, or at least what Christopher Kimball has determined to be the best recipe.  All I changed was the amount of chocolate chips and nuts, and these tasted like ooey, gooey, chocolate chip cookie bars.  So perhaps I've never had a real blondie to know what they're supposed to taste like or perhaps these blondies don't taste like the butterscotchy ones I've had before and just taste like chocolate chip cookies.  Either way, they're super yummy.  They stay really moist if they're sealed and the toasted pecans add a lot of flavor.  But then again, when would toasted pecans NOT add a lot of flavor?  I'll be making these again for sure!

makes about 36 squares

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Roasted Green Beans

Wow.  These green beans are amazing!  This is one of the easiest "recipes" ever and the results are simply wonderful.  I'm not the biggest green bean fan and yet I started snacking on these (with my hands of course, no utensils) almost as soon as they came out of the oven and I had a hard time stopping.  The roasting must bring out some special green bean goodness that a simple steaming can't do.  I don't know if I'll ever go back to regular green beans again.

Serves 4 as a side dish

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford - book review

I recently won Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford off of my favorite book website, LibraryThing, as an Early Review.  What that means is that when a book has just been published or is about to be published, certain books are made available to people to read them as long as they will review the book.  And so here's my review.

Rachel Goldman is a recently divorced New Yorker who was told all her life that cooking was a way to make a woman a slave to her traditional role in the 1950s, and therefore cooking should be avoided at all costs.  However, since she is recently divorced from her attorney husband, Rachel no longer has the cash available to avoid cooking and begins to teach herself the basics and beyond, and finds herself in the process.  Along the way she starts a cooking blog which becomes insanely popular, wins awards and exposes her to thousands.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Herbed Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Chicken

I've always been terrified of attempting risotto. I always hear about how you have to stir it constantly, and not only do I not have the time for that, but I don't think I have the patience either! Then one day I was on my favorite food blog, Annies Eats, and saw this recipe for a risotto that doesn't make you stand over a pot stirring forever! I put it on my menu immediately and the results were phenomenal.  I give major kudos to Annie for realizing that caramlized onions (her addition to the original recipe) would be wonderful in it. Thanks Annie!  I added a splash of sherry vinegar to the onions just as they were finishing and the taste of it transferred well into the final dish.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hazelnut Brittle

The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard intimidated the heck out of me when I first bought it.  Back then, I was about 20 years old, and though that I could bake anything in the world, so I blindly bought this book from the mail order cookbook club I was in.  Then I got it and saw that it was written by Wolfgang Puck's pastry chef, and it's full of intricate recipes and short on the glossy pictures I had become accustomed to.

My good friend over at The Adventures of Mini-Martha posted a recipe for peanut brittle the other day and I thought to myself that I should try a brittle.  Then I happened to be emptying out my bookshelves of books I no longer use and came across this gem.  I'm no longer intimidated, and simply excited by the baking possibilities that other books didn't give me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

I love baked sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato ravioli, sweet potato casserole.  B likes none of that.  He does, however, like sweet potato fries.  Therefore, that's where I get my sweet potato fix.  When I was pregnant with the baby lady, I read about how sweet potatoes are excellent for you when you're pregnant...healthy fiber, vitamin A, filling, natural sugars and what not.  So I determined to make them in a way that B and I would both eat them.  Voila!  Fries!  The combination of cinnamon and cumin sounds strange at first, but it really is very good.They're not crispy like regular potato fries, but the flavor is, in my opinion, way better and that makes up for the lost crisp factor.

What made it even better the other day was this sight:

My baby lady has a new finger food!  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm a part of an awesome mom's group.  One of my fellow moms organized a Mexican Margarita night in which she provided fajitas and margaritas, and the other people attending would provide appetizers and desserts.  I started searching high and low for the perfect Mexican chocolate cupcake recipe and after about a week of searching I found it.  I was in possession of it the whole time.  Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski is easily my favorite cupcake recipe book, and I have 4 of them.  The end result was an insanely moist chocolate cake in which one can taste a hint of warm cinnamon.  The group loved them (yay!) as did I and I'll remember next time to check my cupcake book before spending forever on the internet.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Cinnamon Buttercream

This is an excellent addition to my Mexican Chocolate cupcakes, but I could also see it pairing nicely with a yellow or white cake cupcake.

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
1 c. unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
3/4 t. cinnamon

In a double boiler, using simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar in the upper bowl.  Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch, about 2 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the egg white mixture until it's fluffy and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.

Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition.  If it separates at all, keep beating, but this time on high until smooth and creamy.  Add the cinnamon and beat until combined.

~Original recipe from Cupcakes

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Odd Mom Out - book review

Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter

Marta and her daughter Eva have just moved across the country from NYC to Seattle for her work and to be closer to her sick mother.  Suddenly, her confident little girl, aged nine, has decided that she needs to be in the in-crowd and Marta has to watch her struggle while trying.  Seen as an outsider, Marta tries to change some things about herself in order to facilitate her daughter making friends, such as getting involved in the PTA, and in general trying to make friends with the moms of the girls that Eva wants to be friends with.

This was the premise of the book I picked up.  While it hinted that Marta would be trying something "new"  I was holding out hope that it would be a chick lit book that revolved around a mother and daughter and not a man.  Have I ever read chick lit before?  Only a million times, so I should have known that it was crazy for me to think I could find a book without a man being the focus.  Oh, and he's not just an average man this time.  No, he tall, model-handsome, has good morals, AND he's a billionaire.  Because that's realistic.

So, yes I was disappointed that the book took a drastic turn off of the whole mother daughter situation to follow her dating life, I was also disappointed in the dialogue.  For example - and these are not direct quotes by any means, just a summed up version of many of the converstions (B=boy, G=girl):
B:  You're chicken.
G:  No, I'm not.
B:  Yes you are.
G:  Ok, I guess I am.

Then there was all the talk about "playing with fire".  Come on.

Ok.  I'm possibly being a bit harsh on this one, but I was really excited to read this because of having a daughter and I was hoping that someone could have written a chick lit style book without such emphasis on a man.  I probably won't be reading books by Jane Porter again.

And one last thing.  The cover really bugged me.  The women in the background were supposed to be Stepford wife looking women, but I think they just looked like grandmothers.
Print Page


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...