Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Up, Up & Away We Go

This will be a quick post. Glenn & I are off to Texas to visit my brother and spend some time alone. I am excited but a little nervous about leaving my babies for an extended period of time (more than 48 hours). I know THEY will be FINE... it's just I will miss them. I also worry about seeing them again... I know kinda of morbid. Anyway this post is a shout out to them.

Mama loves you very much & Daddy too. We will see you soon! Be good for Grandma & Grandpa!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cookin' #3: Beef Burgundy in Slow Cooker

Well I don't feel the picture does this rich dish justice. I know the two days I worked on it don't clearly show the labor behind it. Had I known the number of steps pre-slow cooker and the step post pre-cooker I may have not attempted this dish.
This dish was courtesy of Cooks Illustrated Magazine Soups & Stews Winter 2009. My first introduction to Cooks was with my SIL. She is a subscriber and a great cook! This magazine is for those I consider real cooks. I DO NOT fall into this category although I one day hope to. I do enjoy reading it and find helpful hints and they taste test a lot of products to give you what they think is the best in any one category. This issue they discussed Chicken Broth. Anyway, back to the cookin'.
I will not reprint this recipe due to copy write infringement (the law in all). It is a good recipe but for me, a bit time consuming. It required to fry up some bacon, brown some meat, brown up some carrots and onions, put some wine in the bottom of fry pan and scrap the bits.... and that was just yesterday. Today was the slow cooker day (9 HOURS), and I still had to cook some pearl onions, glaze them and the mushrooms, add them to the pot along with the bacon, fresh chopped parsley & a cup of red wine that I had to reduce down in a frying pan before adding.... you get my drift. If I were to make it again I would make it for a dinner party (which I never have) so more adults could enjoy it. Plus from what I read, it may not keep as well because of the alcohol in it. Yup learned a tip after I was mid-way making it that may have stopped me in my tracks from doing this one. Anyway, it was good and although it may not supply us with the same great tasting leftovers I don't think Glenn or my palate is that sophisticated to know the difference (well maybe a little). Anyway I will leave you with a recipe of mine, well my mom's, actually her Great Aunt's (which would be my great great Aunt...).
It's for homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs. This takes a bit of time to put together but it is sooooo good and it makes plenty to have 4 meals out of it (or maybe 3).


1 medium to large onion diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 cloves of garlic minced (I usually use 4 to 5… I like it spicy)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp oregano
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes – prior to adding to sauce put in blender on puree
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 heaping Tbsp granulated sugar

In 3 quart sauce pan pour oil. Turn heat to medium. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper & oregano. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Then add tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato paste. Then add blended crushed tomatoes through sieve (this gets out all the seeds). Take empty tomato paste can and fill with water and add to pot (I usually don’t fill it to the brim…I like my sauce with some consistency). Cook 3.5 to 4 hours on low heat. Check sauce half way through cooking. If needed, add 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar (I always add it otherwise it’s too bitter)

1 lb of ground round beef (chuck if you want soft meatballs)
1 piece of fresh bread blended until crumbs
1 large egg
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp dried parsley

Combine all ingredients. Roll into 1 inch diameter ball and add to sauce for last hour of cooking.

If you wish to add Italian sausage to sauce: Brown Italian sausage (I use 2 sweet and 2 hot) in a separate pan. After browning cut Italian sausage links into 2 inch pieces and add to pot after adding all tomato products. Keep sausages in sauce the entire duration of the sauce cooking.

Helpful tip: The sauce ALWAYS tastes better the 2nd time around (after it has been in the fridge). I typically make it in the afternoon and then let it cool before I put it in containers to freeze or place in the fridge. I usually don’t eat it the first night but I have but it’s so much better if you wait. Just reheat on the stove. Can take about 15 – 20 minutes so the meatballs and sausage can heat all the way through.

Pushing, Grunting, Sweating

And I am not talking about labor. I just shoveled our driveway for the 5th time (compared to my husband's 1). I am not sure how I became the snow shoveler. I don't mind it usually but today it was tough. The snow was heavy, there were drifts to deal with and even when it was finished it didn't look finished to me. While I was busy building my muscles my man was washing dishes. So how do you split the chores? Who shovels at your house?

Monday, January 12, 2009

A new first

This morning started out with a very early wake up call. Ryleigh came to get me up at 6 am. Oh my was that early but someone knew she was having her First Day of Preschool. She was so excited although judging by the picture, I think Evan was more excited to ditch his sister for the morning!

After hours of fielding the question, "Can we go yet?!?!" we were finally on our way. We were loaded and ready to go by 9 am. Class didn't start till 9:30. I opted to make a detour to Starbucks to kill some time.
Finally, we made it to her classroom. She had a wonderful first day. It was only for an hour, Friday will be her full first day. Due to the time, me and a couple of the other moms went and grabbed coffee/tea down the street with our date, Evan! He enjoyed being the center of attention.

Baking #1: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

YUMMY is all I need to say about this first recipe post. This isn't actually a 'cooking' recipe but I couldn't resist it when I saw it in the coupon section of my paper. It is from the makers of Ocean Spray Craisins but since it was in the coupon section for everyone to see I thought it would be fine for me to post it.
Let's just say there won't be any left by the time Glenn gets home (opps, not good on the hips). Ryleigh liked them too and I feel there is some nutritional value in them, with the cranberries (don't you??!?!)!

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Sweetened Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in sweetened dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cookin' Update

I've received several recipes thus far and I am appreciative of all of them but I must admit there seems to be a common theme. Here's the list of what I got:

Meaty Cheese Manicotti
Baked Mac-N-Cheese
Chicken Noodle Tettrazzini
Califlower Mac-N-Cheese
Barzi Tuno - Tuna/Pasta
Chicken Sour Cream Enchiladas
Fiesta Burrito Bake
Taco Bake (which I cannot find but I know I have it somewhere)
Easy Chicken Santa Fe
Baked Pork Chop Casserole
Baked Chicken w/French's Onions
Chicken Pot Pie
Garden Harvest Stuffed Peppers
Turkey Meatloaf
Pizza Rolls
Pumpkin Soup

Do you see it??? Yup we love our pastas & our American-Mexican. I say American Mexican because looking at these recipes, I don't think their authentic (not that I am an expert in this department). Anyway, they all look yummy and I am excited to try some. I did actually do a new recipe this week that my friend, Jeanne gave me. It was from Cooking Light and it was a Raspberry Balsamic Chicken. Now, I had great plans to post it and take pictures but I messed it up a bit. The chicken breasts I use were much larger than what the recipe called for (tisk, tisk, must follow them better) so the chicken wasn't cooked properly which in turn made the sauce a bit overcooked too. My husband & I did see the potential, however our daughter didn't like the sauce. I may revisit this recipe at a later date. So far I've been staying true to doing a new recipe a week. My hope is to try the Turkey Meatloaf this coming week (probably Thursday). I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Did you think I forgot...

UPDATE 1/6/09
Getting several recipes put together. You folks like your pasta & enchiladas! I am excited to start trying them. My hope is to either post them on this blog or a new blog specific to food. Thanks, and if you haven't sent one to me get on it!

I know, I know... you two readers out there are just dying to know what my New Year Resolution will be so here goes:
I vow to cook 1 meal a week that I've never have made! That's my personal resolution and I NEED your help. I am going to be harassing all of you for recipes. I am hoping I can get a recipe from all my friends/family to try throughout the new year. Now I have tons of cookbooks, and I plan to use them too. Plus I go scouring the web for recipes too. I actually enjoy cooking but I tend to go through spurts. This year I am going to try my best to be more consistent.
So far I have made my resolution stick. Last night I made Stromboli. It is a recipe I found through a friend of a friend's blog. My friend Alisa, is connected to a blog called A Simpler Life and I was checking it out a few days ago and saw this recipe. She had previously posted pictures of her Stromboli in this post and it looked so yummy I just had to try it! It was simple and tasty and something Ryleigh could help with making which always leads to some family fun!
Now the fun part, I am asking you my fellow readers to send me a recipe of your favorite meal even if your a friend, of a friend, of a friend... if you have ever checked in on me please send me your recipe. You can email it to me at!
Happy cooking!