Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Strike a Pose

After years of watching big sister, Mimi can no longer just smile for the camera. Each pose consists of a popped hip and a head tilt. Cute :)

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE , HERE or HERE.

FNCCC Week 5 - Anne Burrell

This week's chef was Anne Burrell who didn't have a ton of recipes but some pretty interesting sounding ones! I'm not sure why I have a hard time trying recipes that don't have pictures along side them, which this one did not. I guess I'm a visual kind of person.
I got pretty far out of my comfort zone with Grilled Asparagus with Poached Egg, Parmigiano and Lemon Zest. I like all the components of this recipe but have not had them all together. The reason I picked this is that I have never poached an egg before and wanted to try. I survived. So did the eggs. And here is a picture to prove it :)

Grilled Asparagus with Poached Egg, Parmigiano and Lemon Zest
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

1 bunch asparagus
High quality extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
4 slices rustic Italian bread (I am bread in the bread machine for this)
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons white vinegar
4 large organic eggs
2 cups baby washed arugula (couldn't find it so used another kind)
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lemon, zested
Preheat grill or grill pan.
Holding the tip and stem of each asparagus spear snap the asparagus where it will naturally break. Discard the ends. Toss the asparagus with oil and salt, to taste. Grill the asparagus until slightly charred and pliable on all sides. Remove to a platter and reserve at room temperature. Grill each slice of bread until crispy and slightly charred on both sides. Rub each piece of bread vigorously with the raw garlic clove. Reserve with the asparagus.

Fill a bowl with cold tap water and 4 to 5 ice cubes. This will be the holding area for the eggs after they have been poached. Keep the bowl near the stove.

Fill a medium saucepan 2/3 of the way with water. Add the white vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat on the burner until the bubbles in the water have subsided. Gently crack and drop each egg into the water. Cook the eggs for 3 to 4 minutes. When done the whites will be cooked through and the yolks will be warm but still liquid. Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs from the saucepan and place in the bowl of cold water. Reserve.

To assemble the salad: Toss the arugula with half of the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Gently toss the salad until coated with the lemon and olive oil. Add more lemon juice and oil if needed. TASTE IT! The salad should be dressed and flavorful but not soggy. Divide the arugula between 4 individual plates. Arrange the asparagus on top of the arugula on each plate.

While dressing the salad bring the saucepan of poaching water to a simmer. Gently return the eggs to the saucepan until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. When the eggs are hot, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and gently blot on a tea towel to remove any excess water. Immediately place 1 egg on top of the asparagus on each plate. Sprinkle each with salt, Parmigiano and lemon zest. Drizzle each piece of grilled bread generously with olive oil and cut in half on the bias, lean the toast halves against each egg.

Verdict: I loved it. I never would have guess that all of that mixed together would create such a nice flavor. Eggs, salad and asparagus. Who would have thought? I especially liked the grilled asparagus and will prepare it this way every time (every time that dear husband is willing to do it). I didn't attempt to feed this to the kids.

What did YOU cook this week?? Can't wait to see! Next week we will be cooking something from Bobby Flay (one of my favorites!).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tempt My Tummy - Goddess Dressing

There are two dressings I like to make and I make the Rosemary-Balsamic Vinaigrette more often because there are less ingredients....but I like this Goddess dressing better. It is so different tasting and it is sugar free (which many dressings are not). Adjust the apple cider vinegar if you want more of a kick.
Goddess Dressing

2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
2 TBS tahini
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS tamari or soy sauce
2 TBS lemon juice
1/4 tsp fine salt
2 cloves minced garlic
Blend the above ingredients in a blender until creamy.
1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted
1 TBS minced parsley
1 TBS chives
1/8 tsp xanthan gum (to thicken)
Add the above and pulse for a few seconds to chop the herbs. Serve with your favorite salad. It makes 1 1/2 cups and it is fantastic!
Visit Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy recipes!

Monday, September 28, 2009

When Did Halloween Turn Sexy?

My first grader and I had this conversation this morning.....

Me - "So what have you decided to be for Halloween this year?"

Bigs - "I'm still going to be a cheerleader."

Me - "Great. Remind me to get that from Auntie Roz."

Bigs - "Julie was going to be a cheerleader but she found a HOT bumble bee costume instead."

Me - "WHAT kind of bumble bee?"

Bigs - "Hot. You know, really pretty. Like a sexy bumble bee."

So I am now in the "Are you kidding me?" mode. Her friend is also 6 years old and apparently wants to not only be a bumble bee (which I'm fine with) but a smokin' hot sexified bumble bee. Did I mention she is 6?? So why is it that all of the costumes now are sexy? Doesn't it remind you of the Friends episode where Joey is figuring out a costume for Monica (The One w/the Halloween Party) but in a really yucky way because we are now talking about kids?

So when exactly did Halloween become sexy? Can we reverse the trend? Pleases, please let it be so. Anyone out there with older daughters? What is the forecast like? What else will I be telling my kids they can't do that everyone else can? I'm OK with being the villain....because Googling "bumble bee costume" has ruined me. Look at the progression.

Really? What on earth??

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aloha Friday - Favorite Fall Frill

"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."
So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine:

What is your favorite childish thing to do during the fall season? I LOVE stepping on acorns to hear and feel them crunch! I walk my daughter to school and just love going past the houses with Oak trees.

Happy Friday!

Kid Friendly Friday - Best Boxed Game

Cranium Hullabaloo has got to be the best game ever. We have had ours for almost 5 years and it has been played about 5,000 times. There are pads that you scatter on the ground that have animals, foods, and musical instruments in different colors and shapes. The "voice box" gives directions, which each person follows at the same time. For example, "Get on a purple Cranium pad to begin. Remember, players can share the same pad! Fly to a circle. Tip toe to a musical instrument. Put your elbow on and green AND touch your knee to a food. Slither to a square. Are you on the tiger? If you are, you are the winner. Do a funky dance!" We can play it as a family. The kids can play it by themselves. The baby even imitates everything we do so it's fun for everyone. I highly recommend it if you are in the market for a new game.
So what do you have to share this week? Link you kid friendly posts below! Anything that other parents would be interested in goes. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday

I had my husband take this picture for my baking blog header. I got the aprons at an "Aprons for Africa" party. I couldn't resist getting 4 :)

Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

Kids in the Kitchen - Rice Crispy Treats with a Twist

Is there a better way to make something more fall-ish than to add candy corn? Mimi and I made rice crispy treats with added candy corn for her teachers. They are SO good. I used the recipe on the know where to find it :)

Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!

FNCCC Assignment #5 - Anne Burrell

"With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy and has battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America. Anne eliminates the intimidation of restaurant dishes and reveals concise, easy-to-master techniques for the at-home cook on her Food Network series, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef."
She has some very fancy sounding recipes along with some very basics. We will post about Anne's recipes on Wednesday, September 30, 2009. Can't wait to see what you're cooking!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FNCCC Week #4 - Alton Brown

Alton Brown has way too many recipes to choose from. I wanted to make The Chewy (as in chewy chocolate chip cookie - there was also The Puffy and The Crispy) which I will hopefully get done sometime soon. I chose Swedish Meatballs and I'm glad I did. These were great.

Swedish Meatballs
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
Serves: approximately 30 meatballs, 4 to 6 servings

2 slices fresh white bread (I used wheat bread)
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided (I used evoo)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound ground pork (I used all beef)
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used wheat flour)
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. (my over doesn't get down that low - only 300....I do have a warming drawer but have never used it)

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.
In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. (I saw a recipe for Swedish meatballs that had you beat for 10 minutes, until smooth, to get a very soft meatball, I did this and they WERE very tender)

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds. (no scale for me, just pinch and roll)

Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.
So what were you cooking? Enter the link to your post in Mr. Linky below! Next week's chef is
Anne Burrell .

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday - Nap

This is the child that does not nap, so when I came in to find this, I was overjoyed. I guess that board book was a real snoozer!

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE , HERE or HERE.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Little Engineer

Little Bit gets into everything that is not locked up. She climbs on everything that is low enough to shimmy on to. She rips to shreds everything that is not as strong titanium. She has the innate ability to know when the bathroom door is not shut and can sense when the remote is left unguarded. The child is powerful.
Today one of the cabinet locks went missing and Mimi was fretting that it's entire contents would be scattered all over the house if we did not find it quickly.

After a few minutes Mimi came and told me that she had fixed the problem. I thought she had found the lock but instead I came to find this......

Tinker Toys to the rescue. Brilliant. She could seriously be the next McGyver.

Photo Books

Winkflash is having their flat rate photo book sale again. I wait all year in hopes that they have the same promotion around this time. Think Grandparents Christmas gift...

Tempt My Tummy - Apple Puff Pancake

Apple Season!! I love making lots of apple I'll start with breakfast. This is a fun puffy oven pancake that will please the kids. Growing up we had a restaurant called The Panakuken House. They had these huge popover pancakes made in a cast iron skillet served with all sorts of toppings. Such novelty that is easy to replicate at home.

Apple Puff Pancake

1/4 cup butter, divided
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 TB sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Divide butter evenly between two 9 inch pie plates and put them in the oven to melt the butter. Rotate the pie plates until the butter coats the bottom and the sides. Beat eggs, flour, milk and salt on medium speed for about 1 minutes. arrange half of the apples in each pan. Pour half the egg mixture over the apples in each pan. Min the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle over the batter in each pan. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup right away!
Visit Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy recipes!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Animal Print Cake

I got up early to finish this Tiger Stripe and Leopard Print birthday cake for my niece. Go check it out HERE! Have a wonderful Sunday. Go Vikings :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Rock Table

Welcome to Kid Friendly Friday, where we share all things that other parents would be interested, reviews, games, name it. Feel free to link up an old post!

When the weather gets cooler (that is not happening here yet) and you don't want your children playing with the water table, why not change it to a rock table? I understand that sand tables are popular, but one, I don't have sand and two, we had a sandbox before and they get nasty quickly. I picked up a bag of rocks for a dollar at Michael's and put them in the water table. Little Bit played with them for a long time. I know I could find my own rocks but there's not a lot in our yard. I will start collecting stray rocks to add to it. She enjoyed filling up measuring cups and pouring them back in. Good fun!

We also finally changed our clothesline of birds that we did for the spring to something a little more fall-ish :) I guess we missed summer altogether. The girls had fun with the different faces and are already planning what they are going to make for winter and the next spring, next summer, next fall, and next winter....

What have you been up to this week? Join me and link with Mr. Linky below! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Win Whooga Ugg Boots

If you click HERE it will take you to their website, where each month they give away one pair of Ugg boots! They are nice. Makes me not want to go barefoot almost 24/7 :)

childrens ugg boots

kids uggs

Kids in the Kitchen - Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!!
Mimi and I made Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for Emma (it's her favorite!) while Little Bit looked on. This was an easy, no-cook recipe and was FANTASTIC. Do you like the picture of them sampling it to make sure it was OK? :) After we put it in the ice cream maker and the girls went off to play, I couldn't stop sampling it from the little hole in the top of the maker. It was incredibly creamy and smooth!

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
I put these in the blender for 3 minutes and mixed on slow until the sugar dissolved.
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
a few drops of green food coloring
a handful of chocolate chips
Blend again for just long enough for the food coloring to mix in.

Add to the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufactures directions.
Freeze for a few hours before eating, unless, like us, you enjoy soft serve ice cream.

Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!

FNCCC Assignment #4 - Alton Brown

I'm not sure Alton Brown needs much of an introduction but if you have never watched Food Network you might not know about him. He in the host/chef/writer/producer of Good Eats, a smart and entertaining food show that blends wit with wisdom, history with pop culture and science with common cooking sense. Alton may have the most vast array of recipes of any of the food network chefs. He certainly has cooking down to a science! We'll post our Alton Brown recipes on September 23. It will be hard to pick just one. I'm going to leave you with a tried and true recipe that I use from him to cook brown rice. Perfect. Every. Time.

Baked Brown Rice
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.
Can't wait to see what you're cooking!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations #6 :) I'll give your email address to the Cookware.Com representative so you can shop!

True Random Number Service
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:6
Timestamp: 2009-09-16 23:11:15 UTC

#6 SnoWhite said...
I'd go for either the Tribest YL-210 - Yolife Yogurt Maker or the Nesco / American Harvest FD-60 - Snackmaster Express 4 Tray Food Dehydrator :)
September 2, 2009 4:14 PM

This Can't Be A Wordless Wednesday - Frog Tales

Little Bit LOVES frogs. We have a family of them inside the eves by the front door and a few that camp out on the lights by the back door. When we are lucky, one is on the sliding glass door and we get to see the frog's belly and cool suction cup toes. Little Bit gets so excited and shrieks "Fffffrr! Ffffffrr!"! She'll get around to the "og" soon enough.

This morning I was holding her on my hip while trying to put a note in the door warning the technician that I would be right back (don't you hate the 9 to noon window they give you?), when this frog jumped directly onto Little Bit's forehead. Picture me screaming, jumping up and down, trying to get this big frog to release his grasp on this little head. The frog jumps to the door frame. I feel like an idiot. Little Bit has had the ride of her life and cannot get enough of the frog that was once on her head.

If you ask her "where was the frog"? She'll put her hands on her knoggin and giggle with glee. Do you know how many times we sang the Laurie Burkner tune "Little Bit has a frog on her head....and she keeps it there all day"? Can't get it out of your head now. Good. Now I'm not alone :)

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE , HERE or HERE.