Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The other day I stumbled upon this blog and it gave me hope that I could do it. The previous recipe I went off of was pretty much all the things they say not to do on this blog. So I geared myself up with fruit and a dose of "it will be alright if it fails."
It turned out wonderfully. Packed full of flavor, low on sugar, and perfect consistency! It couldn't be easier! You just have to know how to do it. I went with blueberry for the first time around but plan on trying other fruits very soon!
Blueberry Roll Ups
Pinch of Sugar
Small Squeeze of Lemon
Blend until smooth in a food processor. You want it to be thick enough where it will stay where you put it but thin enough that you can spread it around.
Place it on a silicon baking mat NOT parchment paper! Stick it in the oven with the oven on your lowest setting 140-170 and wait!
Mine only took about five hours but it could take up to eight. I made mine a little thicker, more like leather, and I didn't use a lot of sugar because the intended audience was my gummy bear.
Place roll up on some parchment paper and roll up. I cut it into little sections and put it in a mason jar. It currently is residing in the refrigerator.
It worked out great and she loved them! She ate an entire string!
That was my ultimate dumb moment until now. This new one is pushed to the top not only because the content of it but because it took me more that a minute to realize why it was a moment of stupidity.
Saturday I went grocery shopping. I was standing in the pickle section. I had grabbed the pickle chips for my husband's double-double, I had grabbed the pickle spears, and I started to pick out the relish for the double-double sauce. I was looking at the list of ingredients as I do with most new things I buy. Correct, I have never bought relish. Anyways, I am scrolling through the items when I read cucumbers.
I thought to myself, I wonder why they put cucumbers in pickle relish.
Occasionally, the thought came back to me and the only viable reasons that came to mind were to add a little something to the overall flavor or to mellow out the harshness of the pickle taste.
Fast forward to Monday morning. I am in the kitchen eating a pickle chip, out of the jar, I happen to glance down and look at the ingredients. Cucumbers.
It took me that long to realize my moment of stupidity.
This sleep deprivation is really taking a toll on my brain cells, obviously.
Monday, January 30, 2012
My husband is a fan of In-N-Out. When I say fan, I mean huge fan, he grew up in California and used to have it often. He misses them very much now that he doesn't live in the area. There are really only two things he misses about California, his mom, and In-N-Out. I can't say for sure which one he misses most.
So, when I stumbled upon a copy cat recipe for the double-double/animal style I knew I had to try it. Honestly, I thought it would be like any other burger and so my hopes were not high.
My husband was the one to chime in on the authenticity of it, since I have never had one. He loved it. He said it was just like he remembered and that the only thing missing was the paper that they wrap around them.
You can find the recipe, HERE, if you have an In-N-Out, Double Double, Animal Style lover in your house but no In-N-Out in your area.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
When I was younger I wasn't a big fan of Asian food. I liked the fried rice if I picked out the peas and I liked the almond chicken. The almond chicken at our local place was simple breaded chicken (I never ate the sauce). Of course, I loved the pork with the red ring around it. As I have grown up I have expanded my tastes a little and realized the place we went to just wasn't that good. I no longer pick the veggies out of my fried rice either. I have found though that restaurants vary greatly in how they prepare dishes so the sure fire way to make it well is to do it yourself.
I love making dumplings, pot stickers, egg rolls, and fried rice, all the usual. However, I wanted to do more. I started with Char Sui Pork (aka that pork with the red ring around it).
It definitely is a messy process, make sure that you put foil on the bottom of your pan so you can avoid some major stuck on gunk issues.
Char Sui Pork
Adapted: Asian Dumplings By Nguyen
2-3 Pound Boneless Pork Shoulder
4 Cloves Garlic - Smashed
3/4 t Chinese Five Spice
3 T Sugar
4 1/2 T Hoisin Sauce
3 T Honey
3 T Sake
6 T Regular Soy Sauce
1 T Sesame Oil
1 Orange (Optional)
Cut up pork so you have chunks about 1 1/2 inches thick. Really try to get them about the same size. I used the wrong cut of meat and had odd ball sizes so some pieces got a little overcooked while waiting for the bigger guys to get done.
Prepare marinade by combining all ingredients, except orange. Place the pork pieces in so they are completely covered. Cover and allow to sit in refrigerator overnight. Mine sat for about 24 hours. I flipped the pieces once at about 12 hours.
Remove pork from refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking.
Place the marinade in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil and simmer on low.
Cook pork on rack, 475 degrees, for 30-35 minutes or until meat has reached 145 degrees internally. Every 10 minutes take the pork out and roll it in the marinade.
Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.
Add the juice of one orange to the marinade and simmer for a couple minutes. Use as a sauce. Optional, of course, some people aren't to keen on using the marinade that had raw meat in it. I boil it and feel completely safe about it. In the book Nguyen has you use only part of the marinade on the raw meat and reserve the rest so you aren't cross contaminating. However, I used it all because I wanted the pork to be completely covered while marinating. I don't mind the cross contamination (because the boiling of it).
We placed some over some steamed veggies and topped with a little marinade.
Confession: 24 hours later all of it had been consumed. As I mentioned above I used the wrong cut of meat (a six pound ham roast) so it was a lot of meat.
This turned out really good. It isn't the exact flavor profile of the store bought kind but pretty darn close. I won't be buying the store stuff anymore. Also, it doesn't have that red ring because that is food coloring but it does get a nice dark ring from the marinade.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
However, he still wasn't happy that my husband was paying attention to someone else. Nor was he very happy that I banned him from the bed (pet hair makes me itchy). The bed thing didn't last long though, he won that battle until he got too chubby to jump up there (remember, me cooking every night).
Now besides getting muddy and occasionally chewing on something that isn't his, he is an excellent dog.
Along comes a baby. Zero isn't happy at all. He barks a lot and acts depressed. I will admit my time for him dramatically decreased. Not much petting time and even less walks. Additionally, when I am feeling pulled in every direction, his rope is usually the one I snap, or snap at, first. I have felt generally guilty about but haven't done much about it. I know it is terrible of me.
Last night I read this thing on pinterest about dogs. Basically it was saying treat your dog right. I don't remember exactly what they all said but one basically said.... You have your friends and family, I only have you. That broke my heart. It is so true. I know how frustrated and crazy I get being stuck at home. I know how sometimes I go to Target just to get out of the house. I know how much I miss that daily interaction with adults that work afforded me. I know how much it lifts me up when I get to hang out with friends. I know how depressing it can feel to be ignored. So needless to say I felt like a pretty bad owner. I vowed to be better.
This morning I spent a few minutes petting him. I talked nicely to him during the day. I gave him a treat for being good while we were at the store.
From now on I will be a better dog owner. Yes the baby comes first but the dog relies on me just as much for his love and attention.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
My daughter really likes using utensils rather then her hands. For this particular meal she only wanted one pea on the fork at a time. When I would try to load it up she would "share" with me and let me eat that bite. So one pea at a time it was. Lunch took one hour.
Every once and awhile I would try putting two peas on there but she saw right through my attempts. I got those. Occasionally, she would try to get them with her fingers instead. She would spend five minutes chasing them around the table without success and would finally go back to the one pea on the fork. Long lunch but she ate tons. Well, tons for a little munchkin.
Monday, January 23, 2012
2. The other night I made chicken cordon bleu fingers and champagne artichoke risotto to blog about, I took a bunch of pictures because you can't post about food without pictures. Please refer to number one.
3. Stay tuned next week for what I consider to be my best bite.
4. As of yesterday my daughter has completed the necessary vocabulary for the first year. We have had mama for awhile now but yesterday we got dada!
5. If you ask me if I like liver I will say no even though I have never tried it. However, liver happens to be the most iron rich food and we are in need of iron. While red meat works fine for me the person who can eat two double cheese burgers in one sitting, it doesn't work as well for a baby whose tummy is the size of a walnut. I am seriously thinking about cooking up some liver, I will let you know if it gets past the thinking stage.
6. I made a sour dough starter and some bread. It wasn't sour enough but it was a good start. Below are my wheat and sour dough pitas. Loving it.
7. I think making homemade noodles for lasagna should be required. It makes a totally different dish then store bought noodles. This might have something to do with number three.
8. The other day I saw a recipe for crispy popeye's chicken. I have never eaten there but assumed it was a copy cat type recipe but no they took home the chicken from the restaurant and fried it again at home. That isn't a recipe. Not in any sense of the word. Kind of made me wonder how the site screens recipe entries.
9. I can't wait to do our taxes, the wait is killing me, still waiting on some more statements. I am crossing my fingers that we don't owe money. Either break even or get money back is what I would prefer.
10. Glad the snow is mostly gone and I can drive again.
Friday, January 20, 2012
I broke it down but first would like to note that I am very lucky to get the opportunity to stay home and I don't take that for granted. I also adore my little girl and she has my whole heart.
I love being a mom, mama, and mommy.
These things include snuggles, hugs, and a smile bright enough to light up the nights sky. It is things like play time, tickle time, and chasing a naked baby who doesn't want a diaper on. It is watching her smear yogurt all over her face or seeing her interest peeked because she heard the dishwasher open. It is seeing her watch through the oven window as something cooks. It is seeing her grow, change, and learn new things. It is anxiously waiting for the day she starts to walk. It is hearing mama. It is hearing a laugh. It is a sleeping baby on my chest. It is..... I could go on forever. There are so many moments that are a blessing, so many that warm my heart and make me smile, and so many that make me thankful for my little gummy bear.
I don't like being a mother.
These things include having a sick baby and not knowing how to fix it. It is being sleep deprived. It is seeing cuts or bruises and not knowing how to prevent it from happening again. It is being scared of allergies and new foods. It is not knowing how or why to pretty much everything. It is getting bit during nursing and crying through the next days of healing. Those types of things.
I don't enjoy forcing nasty tasting medicine into her mouth.
I don't know how to make her feel better. I don't know how to constantly not worry.
It isn't easy for me to hear my daughter cry, hence the reason she still sleeps on me. It isn't easy for me to leave her with someone else and trust that they will do it right. It isn't easy.....
With everyone saying they love every minute, I think it puts a lot of unneeded pressure on parents. Like the lady in the article I already felt like a failure because I couldn't fix her tummy or get her to sleep well but then I felt like a super failure because I didn't enjoy it all.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Annie's Eats Boston Cream Pie
Grandma was turning 60!
(Excuse the poor lighting, it was night by the time the cake was done!)
Saturday, January 14, 2012
When we went on our honeymoon we decided to try out one of the restaurants on the ship that you had to pay for. They had this, to die for, mushroom soup. We went back again, just for the soup. That is saying a lot, to actually pay for food on a cruise. However, it was that good. I have since been on the look out for a good looking recipe.
A friend pointed me to this one. I changed it up a bit, of course. It was excellent, not as good as that one of the ship, but pretty darn excellent!
4-5 Cups Diced Crimini Mushrooms
1 Medium Sweet Onion Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic Minced
1 T Olive Oil
4 T Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1 T Worcestershire
1/2 t Dry Ground Thyme
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 T Flour
In a pan, on medium, add the olive oil and saute the garlic till fragrant.
Add the onion and saute until tender.
Add 3 T of butter, thyme, Worcestershire, and the mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are cooked through.
Add chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Process mixture in food processor till smooth (remove bay leaf first).
In clean pan melt 1 T of butter and add flour. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture and whisk.
Reduce heat and add cream. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
No matter how you do it, when you do it, or what tools you use at some point you will wonder if you are doing it right. Early on I wanted to do baby led weaning, the benefits were great, it was low pressure, and it just made sense to me. No special meals, no forcing in another spoonful, and no tricking them into trying some thing.
There are times when I wonder if I made the right choice, my daughter gags a lot and is not as interested in food as your typical eleven month old. We have started mashing things up but we still let her feed herself. She gags less and seems to enjoy meals more. At least she did for the first couple days, now she seems to want the big chunks again. Yesterday, she chewed and gummed her way through a piece of chicken fried steak, now that is skill.
I have enjoyed the laid back nature of it. Especially because my daughter is super independent, if she isn't putting it in her mouth she will throw it back up. So I am glad I never stressed thinking I had to get a certain amount in her each day or that I had to be the one shoveling it in. However, many things I read, say parents are giving their kids three meals a day by now. She pretty much just eats dinner and nurses.
The mess and food waste is probably the two things that bug my husband the most. He doesn't care for cleaning and he hates wasting food. However, I made sure he knew what to expect before it happened and he is doing great with it. Plus very little goes to waste. We don't go through dog food as fast, I consider it a wash.
(Please excuse my overflowing recycle bin.)
Sometimes it is, hmm, (can't think of a good word) to know that pretty much every meal ends with a bath though.
(Yes, that is my camera lens, she took it when I got up to grab something, luckily my camera was a little further away.)
However, I figure even if we aren't doing it right, we will get a lot of cute pictures. Plus, she has to figure it out eventually. Right? Hopefully there are other kids out there that didn't get interested in eating three meals a day till they were a little older. Hopefully, Ellie isn't alone in her plight to nurse forever.
Friday, January 6, 2012
So Jill, to make you feel better......
Occasionally, toys, pans, or whatever is being treated as a toy litters my house.
Occasionally, the dishes don't get done.
Occasionally, the mess I made during dinner is still there during the next days dinner.
Occasionally, I wait so long to do laundry that the towels start to smell.
Occasionally, the only reason I dust is because someone left fingerprints in it and it is no longer one solid color.
Occasionally, I wait too long to take the trash out.
Occasionally, I don't post a picture because you can tell I haven't vacuumed, stupid lint on the carpet.
Occasionally, I don't post a picture because I obviously tossed all the clothes on my daughter's bed instead of folding them.
So this picture is for you.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I don't like pita bread. It is dry and heavy. However, I decided to make some the other night because it looked pretty simple. This is another classic example of me loathing a store bought item only to fall in love with the homemade version. I am a lover of all things (homemade) pita now. I have my second batch rising as we speak. That warm pocket of goodness can't be beat. Don't let white bread know but I think I could simply eat pita the rest of my life.
The top picture is of them cooling, I just liked the look of it. The second picture, excuse the poor quality, it was late and I didn't want to turn the lights up as we were working on getting sleepy. They puffed perfectly!
Lastly, did they pass quality inspection?
Yes, they did!
Currently, I am working out of the William Sonoma Bread cookbook. I didn't want to buy a fancy (expensive) book in case it wasn't my thing. As I start to work out my own recipes I will post the successful ones or if I find a book I love I will let you know!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
2 cups of cake flour
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup of unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup rum
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil and flour Bundt pan.
Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.
With electric mixer on medium cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Add rum. Switch to low and slowly add in dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Prepare glaze by combining all ingredients in small sauce pan and bringing to a light simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and allow to cool.
When cake is finished transfer to wire rack and allow to slightly cool. Poke holes all over cake and slowly pour glaze over the cake.
I also sprinkled sugar and drizzled chocolate, just to make it pretty, but totally not necessary.
Monday, January 2, 2012
My little helper. When I am in the kitchen she is usually going through the cupboards, the pantry, or playing with some kitchen item. Her favorite is the dishwasher. However, for the most part I try to sneak it open when she is distracted because she currently likes to crawl on the door, which isn't meant to hold her thirty one pounds.
I figure last year I gave us everything except chicken, rice, and vegan bread for a good six months so that is enough "giving up" to last me the next five years. So this year I could either do what I have done every other year that I didn't give something up, nothing. Or, I could make a resolution.
Nothing, however, I do have hopes for this year. Those hopes, to become a better bread baker, to spend a little more time on me, and to make croissants for the first time.
Hope you all have a wonderful new year. Here is too more sleep and healthy babies. (Also my hopes for this year.)