Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recipe For Disaster

Guest Post by Dj Bucci:

Take one Norovirus. Add one baby. Let crock for two days. Add in parents. Bake overnight. Wake up disgusting and sick. The end.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lazy Daisy

Hi mom and my two other followers :) (PS Mom, I miss you!) (PPS do any other grown women legit miss their mom when they are away? I would hang out w my mom every day or so if I could.)

This week was sorta unstructured of us. Deej had a somewhat more relaxed schedule so he was home a few days, which usually means any daily plan, meal or otherwise, goes out the window and dinner is fast and loose. Or slow and loose. Or a bowl of cereal :)

Today we did get to go to my second or third favorite place on earth - Longwood Gardens. My sweetheart bought me a membership for the second year in a row, and I am determined to make the most of it. It was super foggy right up until we left, but beautiful just the same. If you've never been, Longwood is the former DuPont mansion/wonderland/residence. It has 1077 acres (really!) of gardens, including a mega conservatory that is just a little slice of heaven for me. Seriously, today there was a point when walking where I felt the presence of the Spirit, and it was just a moment of perfection. But really, the whole day was close to perfection. I am more aware and thankful of the blessing of our family every single day. My husband and my son are such special gifts from God to me. The joy I see in my son's eyes when Deej is making him laugh is so treasured in my heart, every time, every day. Today was filled with so many of those moments :) I'm so thankful we get to give him memories like this, whether it's the park or a special trip like today, I just love that part of being a parent.



In other news, I am about to wear the fibers right out of my denim skirt. I finished this bad boy last week and have worn it four out of the seven days since. It looks really good if I do say so myself and is so dang comfy I really don't ever want to wear pants again. I'm going to sew another two in khaki and a darker stretch denim, then just go by Cinderella for the rest of my days. Honestly, we had friends over Tuesday night and I tried to change into jeans and I felt like my legs were strangling. I wore this thing to the park. To playgroup. To the gardens today. To another playground. I'm hooked. Sewing is something I didn't know if I would like, but I have really ended up loving. I'm working on an easter dress, and finishing out my spring wardrobe. I really need to start selling some of this stuff, but I end up liking everything I make so much that I keep it for me. Selfish seamstress :)

So, no new meals or recipes this week. In fact, I really would love to continue to hear what any of you make on a regular basis, because I always need new ideas. Especially toddler meals. Some days, my kid surprises me, and other days he only eats cereal, oatmeal, goldfish, and raisins. He is turning into a walking carbohydrate. Help.

Also, I can't figure out how to put pics into my actual blogs where I want them to go (the pastry blender in a previous post decided to go there and I had to work around it.) Someone help me, or you'll be stuck with links.

Godspeed,
Chels






ppps you can thank NASA for that signoff.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whacha Eatin?

Last week, I posted our tentative menu for the week on Facebook in hopes of getting some new ideas. It backfired, no one posted, and I got sick so instead of cooking all our meals, we went out to eat for 1/3 of them. I just didn't have it in me.

The plan was:

Caramelized Onion Quiche and Salad - this was bangin. So, so, so good. Your house will stink for days, but it's worth it.
Vegetable Soup with Pesto and Bread - this was not great. Not bad, but not a hit.
Chicken Scallopine with Lemon and Green Beans - didn't happen. This turned into "grilled" chicken thrown on top of lettuce with leftover soupy.
Pizza - easiest midweek meal ever. TJ's dough, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.
Sausage Peppers and Onions - didn't happen. Used a gift card to go out for dinner, sick and all.
Herb Crusted Halibut and Ratatouille - didn't happen. Used a gift card to go out for dinner, sick and all.
Fried Chicken Drumsticks - didn't happen. Ate leftover bread with leftover marinara and shredded cheese.

When I'm sick I usually don't want to cook, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something comforting, even with sinuses so congested I can't enjoy the food. It's similar to nesting, I guess. I could taste food just fine this week, and although I refused to make meals for three days in a row, I did somehow manage to squeeze in a batch of cookies.

So, this weekend, I really, really, really would LOVE to hear everyone's meal plans for the upcoming week, especially if you have kids! I'm always looking for new things to feed my family (or to pretend, with Korban, since it's just as likely to end up on the floor or in his hair or anywhere else that's not his mouth.) The only thing I have planned for this weekend is a roast chicken on Sunday. I made it last week, and it was the best meal I've ever had. So I'll try and post that with pics. Anyway, what are you eating this week? Tell me, tell me, in the comments!




Pâte Brisée

Pâte Brisée is just a fancy way to say pie crust. It is also one of the EASIEST things to make. There are only three-ish steps, see? Cooking is really nothing to be intimidated about. As we used to say at [neighborhood grocery store of employment], it's just food, folks. Ok, really we said "It's just groceries." We had to remind our customers of that, because sometimes they confused grocery shopping with high drama, life and death situations. Anyway, it's just cooking! We're just taking foods that are friends and making them a nice happy family. In your belly.

So, piecrust. You can use this with savory dishes like quiche (QUICHE!!!) or chicken pot pie, or sweet dishes like fruit pies, but it's not a particularly sweet crust. It's kinda neutral. Like the Romulan Neutral Zone. Can you tell I haven't slept in a week? It's this stupid cough.

This recipe makes 2 crusts; one for the bottom, and one for the top. If you only need a bottom, just make half. I did this by hand and it didn't take more than 15 minutes. Martha's original recipe says you can use a food processor, but honestly, it takes me longer to setup, use, take apart, and wash the food processor than it does to just do this by hand. See also: my lonely bread machine collecting dust. I just don't like doing dishes. So, it's easier for me to just use a pastry blender and go at it by hand. 

A pastry blender

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe
For flakier crust, make sure all ingredients are cold before use. (Martha suggests refrigerating the flour, but I couldn't be bothered. You can try it.)

You will need: 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Wash your hands, please!
  2. In a big pyrex bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a pastry blender or fork and knife until the mixture resembles coarse meal or sand. It should be lumpy.
  3. Add ice water, using your above tools or hands until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. It took a few minutes of me coaxing this mess into a ball, rolling it around the bowl to collect more flour, and squeezing it into a ball again. It's kinda like packing a snowball, after enough forming it'll become a solid mass, not just a flaky, falling apart dry floury mess. Promise I'll start posting pics soon. 
  4. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in saran wrap. Put them in the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month, but really, who's gonna do that?
  5. Take out, flatten, roll, and form according to your recipe. Enjoy!



    My last post also promised a pesto soup recipe - it just really wasn't that good. I'll work on it some more and post it when it's delish! Additionally, my tomatoes are looking very sad, so no pics for you.






Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contagious Pie Crust

Doesn't that sound gross? I haven't forgotten about posting the easiest scratch pie crust recipe in the world, I've just been under the weather since last week. I did manage to get some tomatoes potted though, so pics, pie crust and pesto soup recipes up next!

Cough, cough
Chels

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quiche

Oh boy. Who hid the secret deliciousness of QUICHE from me for all these years? It sounds disgusting but tastes AMAZING. I stumbled across quiche because I try (TRY!) to keep our grocery budget at $50 a week for our family of three. (I have succeeded once in my three months of trying. It may be time to raise that budget.) This recipe serves 6 at $1.08 per serving, so hey! It takes about 15 minutes of active cooking, but the rest of the time it's either simmering or baking, so it's a great recipe if you have things to do other than saunter around the kitchen all day.

Adapted from a Family Circle recipe

Caramelized Onion Quiche
Makes 6 (really, 8) servings Prep 15 minutes Cook 40 minutes
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes Cool 10 minutes (right.)

1  refrigerated pie crust
1/4  cup olive oil
5  cups thinly sliced onions (2-3 big ones)
5  eggs
1  cup milk
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2  tsp salt
1/4  tsp pumpkin pie spice
1  cup Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio (Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, mild Provolone)


1) Wash your hands please.

2) Preheat oven to 375° and fit a 9-inch pie plate with your pie crust. (Recipe to follow in the next post if you want to make your own. It is worth it and delish.) Cover the pie crust in the pie plate with saran wrap and stick it in the fridge.

3) Heat your oil in a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium heat and add all your onions. Stir em around and leave em alone but come and check on them every once in a while. They should get stringy and gloopy and sweet and caramelized after 35-40 minutes, and when they do, just turn off the heat and set them aside for a bit.

Completely unrelated, I always use a wooden spoon when messing with onions. There's no reason for this, it just feels right.

4) In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pie spice together. Remove your pie plate from the fridge and sprinkle the cheese on the bottom, followed by the onions, then pour the eggy mix on top of it all. Pop it in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the crust lightly browned.

After this time you're supposed to let it cool for 10 minutes before eating, but honestly, you have some willpower if you can wait the full 10. I am telling you, it was the yummiest, best thing I've eaten in a while. It's good to serve with salad or something else really light, lest you eat your weight in cheesy, custardy, savory goodness.

Enjoy with friends or family!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

About Me

So, I’m giving this blog a try after some prompting from a friend. I love to cook (read: eat), and keep my home (messy, ha!), and sew, and garden, and girly things like that, and I figure since everyone needs to eat and wear clothes and keep their home somewhat free from the homemaking equivalent of an OSHA violation, we could all learn from each other! Being a new mom*, I was remiss to find my son was born without his accompanying instruction packet, but lo! none of my friend’s kids came with theirs either. So we can all bumble along together! Join in and enjoy!


*I am not a supermom, and I adhere to the wisdom that it is unwise to compare ourselves by ourselves. Only normal humans, or superhumans open to remediation allowed.