Monday, February 21, 2011

The weekend in pictures.

As much as it was a lazy weekend, it was chaotic. I do not think I have ever vacuumed so much in one weekend before! I figured that I would leave the baking and cooking until today, I needed to unwind today after a very long four day weekend with all the girls. And I am doing that with baking today. I have some very yummy cookies to make!

But to catch up this is our weekend in pictures:

We bonded.

We Loved.

We made silly faces.

We danced. A lot.

We made others jealous with the ability to pass out where ever our little hearts wanted.

We ate. (Italian Stoup.)

We lived through an ice storm.

Our weekend has been long and some times challenging when it comes to my sanity but I've made it out alive and I have some cookies to bake and some dishes to wash. I need to hole myself up in my kitchen and call it good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teriyaki chicken egg rolls.

Whew I've been out of the kitchen for sometime. I have been battling a sinus infection that just wont quit. It's gotten to the point where I've had to have antibiotic injections. But I knew I needed to do something human and cook. Cook something easy. If I can do this while sick, so can you.

There's few ingrediants and what takes the longest to cook is the chicken.

What's not to love about that?

I made only enough for two people.

1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of ground ginger powder
1 chicken breast
1 jar of Teriyaki sauce
1 cup of shredded nappa cabbage
1 cup of broccoli slaw
Egg roll wrappers
Oil to fry in. I used canola oil.

1- In a tin foil packet place chicken,a couple tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger powder and cook until done. Once done, allow to cool and shred.

2- In a bowl or ziplock bag add the cabbage, slaw and chicken then add enough teriyaki sauce to coat evenly.

3- Take a couple tablespoons of the mixture and place on a egg roll wrapper. Take one corner and fold over mixture and tuck. Then take a side corner and dampen with water and fold into the center, do the same with the other side and then take the last corner and dampen and roll it over and under the egg roll.

4- Cook in hot oil until brown and crispy. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Zesty Tortellini Soup with Sausage.

I had a bunch of food laying around that I needed to use up. I wanted to use as much as possible in one setting as I was worried it was going to go bad. So I was on a mission to find what I had on hand and whip something up that was yummy and used all the ingredients. This is what I came up with!

I found this had a nice balance of flavors and kick. Plus no food will go to waste and I have plenty of leftovers to eat and share. Even my two year old ate her's faster then I did mine!


2 tbls Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls butter
2 small baby zucchini cut in half and sliced
1 medium to large carrot diced
1 large clove of garlic minced
1/4 of a yellow Spanish onion diced
1 small green pepper diced (Jarred roasted red bell pepper would of been much better)
1 small crown of broccoli finely diced
1 large can of diced tomatoes
Italian turkey sausage (I only used three and froze the rest)
1 four cup box of vegetable stock
1 small package of Buitoni spinach pasta
Baby spinach
Dried Oregano to taste
Dried Basil to taste
Dried Parsley taste taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste


1- In your soup pan melt the butter and EEVO. Add in the squash, onion, green pepper, carrot, broccoli and garlic. Saute until veggies are cooked down slightly. Remove half to cool down and then freeze for later usage.

2- Remove casings from sausage and place in a pan and cook until browned. Cut up and add into veggie mixture.

3- Add in tomatoes, veggie stock and cook for five minutes, add in tortellini and cook. Sprinkle in the dried spices in small amounts and cook for a few minutes, then taste. Repeat until it is seasoned to your tastes.

4- Add in the baby spinach, I used about two hand fulls. Stir and cook until spinach is cooked.

Sprinkle with some of your favorite cheese and serve with some crusty bread!


Summer Dress Sew Off. A new project!

Wait what's this I am doing? Yes, I can cook, clean, pop out babies and sew! Who'dathunk? Although my sewing skills are geared more towards non-apparel things, I thought I would give this a try. Considering I am in the process of reducing my budget to save money. If I make it a contest or a goal, I know I am too stubborn to give up on it. Helps that you can play a weakness to benefit you.

So the goal is this:

One dress a week.

Less then five dollars in materials a dress.

Be finished by June 21st. The first day of summer.

I already have this weeks dress planned out. It's going to be The Sweet Monkeyin' Around Dress. Miss Leta picked out the fabric and sometime tonight I am going to start sewing!

This is the official start of the Summer Dress Sew Off.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine cupcakes for my little beauties.

Let me preface this by saying that I don't typically celebrate Valentine's Day. It's not that I am not a romantic but one day my oldest daughter proved to me why I should give a little more thought to this day. For being eight, she's an old wise soul.

We were sitting in the van on the way home and she asked me "Mommy, what is so wrong with Valentine's Day? Why do you hate it so much?" I looked up, tears welling and I saw her big blue eyes full of innocence beaming back at me in the review mirror. It was quiet, I didn't know what to say back to her, without crushing her God given right fairly ideas.

Again, one of those moments they don't prepare you for when you become a parent. Trust me when you think they are not watching or listening, they are.

I don't know how much time had passed by but my sweet little girl quietly spoke up. "Mommy it isn't a day to buy love but a day to unite in love and the world could use a little more love. What's so wrong with that?"

I am pretty sure I cried the whole way home after that. When we got home, I walked around the van and wrapped her in my arms and held her so tightly. She's right, she's right. I can't say it's just bitterness but I do not believe in buying things on just one day to say "I love you." That's some pretty heavy stuff for an eight year old but it made me think.

What if I taught my girls it's about making and giving instead of buying and giving? So this year I am making homemade valentines and sweets. What a great jumping point and learning experience for all of us.

I got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.

I am down with the flu and I followed her recipe to a T and it's good, although the frosting is super sweet. To the point the girls were asking me to scrape some of the frosting off. I did some variations to make it a little more special.

Here's some of the things I did different:

I dyed some of the batter so the girls would have a little surprise when they bit into it.

Overall they loved their Valentine cupcakes.

I am sorry I didn't go step by step with the recipe but I am so sick that I need to get into bed with some Nyquil and call it a day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wild Rice, Mushroom and Chicken soup.

So who doesn't like a warm, filling, and earthy soup when it's cold out?

This soup was a little hard but it was worth the amount of time it took to make. I at first didn't take to it like butter on hot toast but the next day it was so much better! This soup is sophisticated but yet, so earthy that it almost puts it in another class. I honestly added more to this soup then what was in the recipe and I am glad I did because it would of been way to bland. When I hear of a soup that doesn't have garlic, onions, carrots and celery, I scratch my head. How does that have any base flavoring? You have to have the aromatics to go with an earthy soup. At least I think so. I am the cook, what I say, goes in this house! Especially if you are hungry and you want to eat!


For poached chicken:
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tbls of Italian seasoning. I use Mrs Dash garlic and herb.
1 clove of garlic
1 celery stem cut into thirds
1/2 of yellow onion cut into chunks
1 carrot cut into thirds
1 tsp ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 tbls butter
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely diced
1/2 cup yellow onion diced
1 cup of shitaki mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 cup of carrots diced
1/2 cup of celery diced
1 cup wild brown rice (I used Lundberg Farms Country Wild Brown Rice Blend)
4 cups of chicken stock or veggie stock. You will need to buy two boxes.

For the roux:
1/3 cup flour
5 tbls butter
1 cup milk
1 cup stock


1- In a stock pot add chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and seasonings. Add enough water to cover and boil on medium high until cooked. Shred chicken and set aside.

2- In the pot you plan on using for the soup saute the garlic, onions, carrots and celery in the butter and olive oil until tender. Add in the rice, chicken and mushrooms and four cups of stock, cook per directions on the packaging. (about an hour)

3- Add more stock if you need to thin out the soup. In a small pot melt the butter, add in the flour and stir until you get a paste. Add in the milk and stock, mix until it starts to get thick and then add into soup. Stir and then cook on low simmer until the soup has thickened.


This soup pairs well with a chardonnay and a thick crusty sourdough bread! Restaurant quality soup made at home!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I have been converted! Salted Caramel Brownies.

Bye bye brownies from a box, hello scrumptious made from scratch brownies! To die for! I will never EVER buy a boxed brownie again. They were so easy to make too! I am very surprised because this was the third recipe I tried. Third time is the charm!

I was nervous when I started this adventure because I have a slight affinity for brownies. I may or may not be understating that. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to obtain the same level of texture or sweetness. The first two times had indeed proved that adventure to be daunting. The first time I got a cake like bland brownie and I love mine fudgy and sweet. Then the second time I got a gritty bland fudgy brownie. I was about to throw in my towel until I came across this recipe. This is it! This is the one I will be using from now on.


For the brownies:
2 tbls of unsalted butter
2 tbls of water
1/2 cup white sugar
14 squares of a good high quality semi sweet chocolate
1 tsp of vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 salt

For the Caramel topping:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of milk
2 cups shifted powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla (not pictured)
Pinch of kosher salt or sea salt, coarse or flaked.


*Preheat oven to 300-325 degrees.

For Brownies:
1- Chop chocolate and set aside.

2- In a medium pot add butter, water and sugar. Melt butter and bring to a medium boil for about a minute. Add in vanilla and chocolate, mix until smooth. Let cool slightly. The mixture should be warm but not warm enough to cook the eggs. Add in the eggs.

3- Once the eggs are well incorporated add in salt, baking soda and flour, mix well. Pour mixture into greased brownie pan and cook until the edges are just pulling away from the side of the pan and knife or tooth pick comes out clean.

For the topping-


1- In medium pot melt butter and brown sugar until you get a medium boil:

2- Add in milk, mix and bring to a medium boil:
3-Remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar and mix with whisk until smooth and let set for a minute:
4- Poke holes into brownies and pour caramel topping on top, smooth and sprinkle a pinch or two of salt on top.

5- Allow topping to set for ten minutes before you cut!


* I think next time I make this, I will go a little lighter on the topping as it is very rich!

Let me know what you think!