What our Saturdays look like…
This week, March 3-7, 2014 is National School Breakfast Week.
On a serious note, one in five families in the United States are considered “food insecure”, meaning they struggle to afford food. For children in these families, school breakfast and lunch is sometimes the only reliable, consistent source of nutrition. What happens to these kids over the weekends, vacations and summer, when this source of food is gone? Click here to read about a program that supports these kids.
On a less serious note, it was my department’s turn for faculty meeting snacks this week. We decided that breakfast would be our theme. It’s sort of a friendly competition among the departments in terms of providing the snacks and, I have to say, the two departments with whom I affiliate (I’m kind of my own department) tend to win in a big way.
I made broccoli and cheese quiche and picked up some lox. We had bagels, munchkins, coffee, fruit salad, cheese and crackers (some people prefer savory at breakfast), mexibake (a tortilla/egg/cheese/salsa casserole), and amazing crepes filled with bacon, eggs and cheese or mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese. There was yummy coffee cake, yogurt and granola. There were even clementines and some magic bars.
I think it’s safe to say that we ruled the faculty snacks.
Happy Shrove Tuesday!
I love it when dinner is easy.
As a result of the lack of time I have these days due to work and birthdays and all sort of other events, I tend to take photos while I’m cooking and then they just sit on my camera, waiting for me to write up the recipe. Or I take the photos all the way through but forget to take a picture of the final product. Or I take a few photos but then can’t recall the recipe I used. This is my life.
Therefore, I am starting anew. On vacation this week and I have uploaded all photos from the various cooking projects of the last few months. I’ll offer links and information where I can, otherwise, just enjoy the view!
I give you glimpses of Our Family Table this winter:
I totally cheated with this one- bought premixed meatloaf from Whole Foods and just divided it into muffin pans.
I even bought boxed instant potatoes (Whole Foods, so *must* be “healthy”, right?!).
Simple as anything- just pipe the potato on top (I use a plastic ziplock and just cut the corder off) and serve. These were a hit.
A few weeks ago, this parmesan broth from Smitten Kitchen was all the rage. I was super excited to try it but I was somewhat let down. I suspect I did not let it cook long enough or that it needed more parmesan or that my taste buds, American as they are, are dulled to subtle flavoring. Who can tell? It’s one I might try again.
Deb calls for white beans and kale. I used the white beans but had spinach in place of kale. Which I hate. Both on principle and on taste.
Early in January there was a bachelorette party which involved eating a very fine dinner at Henrietta’s Table. It was a group of wonderful women and amazing food. It was so long ago (and there was a LOT of wine) that I can’t recall what each dish was so just look and drool Every single thing was delicious.
There were also some cozy nights at home. I made the Pork Shoulder Ragu from Dinner: A Love Story and it went quite well with pasta, garlic bread and wine. It lasted for a few meals and also went well with salad.
The first three months of the year also include a multitude of family birthdays. First my husband, then my son, then my mother, then my father, then my daughter. A few photos from my son’s dinosaur themed party.
Yes, dinosaur shaped sandwiches. I bought an actual sandwich cutter but I bet you could use a big cookie cutter too. The bonus is that now we have dino sandwiches on the regular around here.
(I’m pretty proud of that cake, if I do say so myself. Mostly buttercream and food coloring but also some organic vanilla wafer cookies crushed up and sprinkled on for “sand”. His sister helped with the cookie crushing.)
I started a crock pot boeuf bourguignon but I would be hard pressed to tell you the recipe or how it turned out. I didn’t take a final product picture. Perhaps the fact that I can’t recall it suggests that it was not stellar. Nonetheless, here you go, crockpot boeuf bourguignon in process:
The kids went though one of my cookbooks one night and marked all the things they wanted to try. I believe it was First Meals by Annabel Karmel. From that came pinwheel sandwiches (no final picture but I’m sure you can get the idea) and cheesy animal bread.
Essentially you cut the crusts off of two slices of bread and then use a rolling pin to smoosh them together into one big piece.
See if you can guess the animals requested by the kids:
Above is actually a dinosaur and a giraffe. Below are a bear, a turtle (what the original recipe called for) and another dino. I was proud of that one.
As I said, this week we’ve been on vacation so we’ve done lots of visiting. A friend came over a few days ago and she has been vegan since December. I am entirely intrigued by this concept but am not sure how I could make it work with two picky toddlers and a meat-and-potatoes loving husband. Maybe someday. At any rate, we made these delicious vegan pumpkin muffins in her honor and they were so good that we made them again today, but added mini chocolate chips. Hey, like I said, we’re on vacation!
So, there you have it. A few snapshots of what we’ve been eating. As I finish off my vacation, I’m planning to try a cauliflower and cheese crust pizza (and am curious to see if the husband notices) and my goal for the rest of February and March is twofold- 1, to eat more veggies and fruit and 2, to post at least four times between now and April 1st. Let’s see what I can do!
Not a food post. I apologize. It’s been a hell of a month here for me and I haven’t been able to get back to this blog, as much as I’ve wanted to– I’m also not cooking much these days and the family is living on PB&J, Mac and Cheese (organic!) and eggs. It’s just that time of year, I suppose. At any rate, I hope to get some posts in when I’m on vacation in another week or so. Until then, I give you this:
Dear Baby M.,
You are so, not even a little bit, a baby anymore. Two years! I can’t understand where those two years have gone. You seem to be developing at light speed, faster than your sister did, and I can’t believe what a little person you are already.
Your language is developing in leaps and bounds. You’re talking in full sentences and we can understand you clearly 85% of the time. The rest of the time Gracie translates or you just keep trying until we get it. You learn and use new words every day. I love your little voice and all the not-so-little opinions you’re sharing, even when they’re in opposition to what I want at the time.
Physically you are amazing. You want to keep up with the big kids at daycare and most of the time you do. You can climb as well as your sister at the playground and would definitely attempt more if I’d let you.
Socially you hang back a bit more than your sister. You like to snuggle up with whatever adult brought you, taking in the activity and the situation for a few minutes before you jump in. Once you do jump in, you’re all in with as much exuberance and energy as you can muster.
Your fine motor skills are also amazing. You love puzzles and will chose to do that over almost anything else. You’re always so proud when you’ve put the pieces in correctly (which is surprisingly often.).
You still adore your sister. You follow her everywhere and most of the time you guys get along beautifully. You definitely have your moments when you don’t and those moments are loud and ferocious but less than the moments of fun. The other day you bumped into her accidentally when you were putting on your coats and when she complained, you hugged her and said, “I ‘torry ‘Acie.” My heart just melted.
I have finally come to terms and have accepted the fact that we are a co-sleeping, bed-sharing family. We play musical beds each night and my hope is that with enough patience and time, everyone will eventually sleep in the appropriate bed. I think it’s a good sign that you will now choose your own bed over mine (assuming I’m in it with you. Or maybe Daddy, if I’m unavailable.). Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the snuggles because you will always choose me over anyone else and you will almost always choose to snuggle. In fact, you will tell me, “Mama, ‘nuggle!”
It’s so easy for me to forget what is really important. I get very caught up in my work, in the crisis at hand, in my relationships with other grown ups and I forget just how essential you and your sister are to me and my life. This morning I was lying in your bed with you, your head on my shoulder, body curled in close to mine and I thought, “This. This is what is important.” I will try to hold on to that in the days to come.
I love you little, sweet, smart, strong, beautiful boy. You are such a gift to me and I can’t believe I get to be your mother. I am one lucky woman.
PS Just for the record, here is one food picture. You asked for a dinosaur cake for your party this year. This is what we managed to make.
I have a new favorite thing. It is so good. I saw it and thought to myself, “Self, that can’t be good. It’s not going to be worth it.”
I was so, so wrong.
It is a healthy substitute for alfredo sauce. Yes, I said it, a healthy substitute. It even passed my husband’s test and he adores true, full fat, full cheese, full calorie alfredo sauce.
There is nothing I can say about this sauce that isn’t said by Lindsay over at apinchofyum.com. This is an amazing blog and I encourage you to check it out. But more than that, make this sauce. You will NOT regret it.
I have no photos of it, that is how good it was. So go over and check it out. Really. Right now. Click here.
I will give you some photos of my husband’s birthday cake. We did our birthday dinner (family tradition, you can choose whatever you want to eat. He always picks steak and egg noodles with butter, garlic and salt.) and he wanted a chocolate trifle for dessert. The kids helped to make it. Well, they helped to make the cake and the pudding.
I had extra cake, pudding, cream and fudge so I made little cakes with fudge inside as well.
They were super cute and about three bites each.
It was gone within days, as in his birthday dinner was Monday and by Thursday morning this was all that was left. The kids really liked eating “daddy’s cake” for dessert each night. Oh, ok, so did the adults (Confession? I may have had a few spoonfuls for breakfast during that week. Don’t judge me.).
Happy New Year! We didn’t really celebrate anything last night. I put the kids to bed just before my husband got home from work and we were able to have a nice dinner together, without the kids. Then we sat on the sofa and watched Modern Family before the musical beds for the night began (I’m hoping that 2014 will be the year that both my kiddos learn to sleep by themselves, through the night, in their own beds. I can dream.
I’m aware that it looks like a pile of raw meat. It wasn’t, it was skirt steak, marinated, with broccoli and roasted purple potatoes. It was delicious.
I also made my newest obsession, a s’mores martini. Oh my. These are so delicious (if you like sweet drinks. If you prefer, say, a dirty martini, as my oldest friend does, then these are not for you) and that is what makes them dangerous. They go down like candy so not only do you (or I) drink them quickly, but you also end up drinking more. Two is my limit (but maybe three on special occasions).
Marshmallow Vodka, 2 oz
Bailey’s Irish Cream, 1 oz
Optional for style:
Chocolate Syrup, crushed graham crackers
Pour some chocolate syrup on a plate. Crush a graham cracker and put the crumbs on another plate. Coat the rim of your glass with the chocolate syrup. I did an initial dip.
Then dip your glass rim into the crushed graham crackers.
Meanwhile, if you have a cocktail shaker, fill it with ice. If not, a large glass will do, fill that with ice. Then add the vodka and Bailey’s to it. I’m not good enough at this to do it freehand so I measure.
I also don’t have a cocktail shaker but do have a milkshake maker. Go figure. So I use the cup from that.
Now, if you want to be super fancy, you can decorate the inside of your martini glass with chocolate syrup, which I recommend. I, of course, can’t do this part in a pretty way so I leave it to my husband, the former bartender.
So, that was the old. Now, the new.
It’s traditional to eat black eyed peas on new year’s so I made the Pioneer Woman’s Black Eyed Pea Dip, which is delicious. But I made a few changes. So, at what point does it cease to be her recipe and become mine? I’m not sure. At any rate, I’ll show you what I did and link you to hers here. I also didn’t measure. Some things don’t change.
Black Eyed Pea Dip (Modified)
Black eyed peas, cooked or from a can (drained and rinsed), NOT the dry kind.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl or the dish you’ll bake it in, mash the black eyed peas, leave a few whole for texture.
Chop your onion- I used about 1/4 of one. PW says to put it in raw but I cooked mine just a bit first.
Grate your cheese- I probably used about 1-2 cups. Add to the peas. Add your onions.
Serve with tortilla chips. Mine was definitely not spicy as I think PW’s probably is because I didn’t use the jalapeno pepper she did. It was good- cheesy and creamy and soothing. Plus, you know, lucky because of the beans.
Here’s to a year that is lucky for all of us, full of laughter, joy, love and delicious food!