Sunday, October 03, 2010

Crazy Cooking Day!!

Last weekend I spent 8 hours cooking.  Yes, 8 hours.  We still have a ridiculous amount of food to go through, so I suppose it was a smart move.
With me working now, meal times have been interesting to say the least.  I decided to make a whole ton of food to make it easier on all of us come mealtime.  So far it was a huge success.

Here what happened:



Apple Pie Pork Chops

Apple Pecan Toffee Bars

Brown Bag Burritos

Freezer Mashed Potatoes
Baked Chicken Ziti and Spaghetti with Meat Balls

I modified the Ziti by using Fusilli and cheddar cheese

It looks like I lost some pictures, but I did do the meatballs and the sauce as well.  I used jarred sauce for the Zit/Fusilli but spent some time making the sauce for the meatballs.

Camarones con Arroz

I had intended to make some English Muffins and a Broccoli, Chicken and Cheese Casserole, but time got away from me and by the time I stopped I was too beat to even look at any more food!!

This is how I started:
And this is how I ended:

Fuzzy pictures are taken by my tiny friend and sous chef!!

Like I said, we still have ALOT of food to get through, but all in all it has proved to be a delicious idea!
I must also add that this is the first time that I have added not only onions but bell peppers to almost all of the dishes...and I haven't minded yet!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I am feeling fancy...

I have a really amazing friend, Amy McCollum, who has a great website.  She runs Phoenix Bites and does it very well.  She has a plethora of information about Phoenix restaurants and foodie events.  She even interviewed Chef Beau MacMillian, so she's obviously a big deal!  Head over to check out her great site and if you feel so inclined my review of my new favorite sushi restaurant!

Hope you are all having a great day...and eat something delicious!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letter to Them

I wish I liked you, really I do.

I wish I could disregard the things you said, the things you did...but I cannot.

Your words and deeds were ugly.  Unforgivable.  Despicable.

You would like me to see a sincerity and kindness in you...I can only see the opposite.

How is it possible for someone who made a choice to be a parent to throw that choice back in the child's face?  I have a father who is not my father.  I have a man who is not my father but is my father.  They both made choices.  One out of fear and selfishness and the other out of love and honor.  Neither has ever thrown those choices in my face - nor have I to them.  The one who is not my father but is my father would never dream of telling me anything like what your husband told my husband...not ever.  He does not tell all those he meets about his Christian mentality or duties.  He does not tell me how to parent my children.  He does not tell me that I or my husband are tragic fools.  He does not suggest that we seek counseling or God.  He does not threaten to have either of us investigated.  And he never would.  He is a man, a decent and loving man - who looks for ways to support and encourage not put down and destroy.

I am sad that I can't like you.  Its not longer a choice that I have - you, your words and more importantly your actions have made that choice for me and you.  You have finally destroyed any chance of that.

I am not sad.

I am not sick.

I cry no tears for you - but certainly have shed tears for my husband and what you have done to him.

Disappointment abounds.

So much for your "unbreakable family bond".

I come from a long line of crazy - but those who are afflicted own their sickness and their actions, past and present.  I feel for those in the world that are sick and have no idea.

I feel for you.

I protect myself from potential reoccurances of crazy and vow to protect my children as well.  Your brand of crazy will never touch my children.

Not ever.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I am back...kinda

I know - I have super sucked at the blogging bit lately.  Not that you asked, but, what with my little Aido starting Kindergarten a month ago, starting to ease Cole into the care of another, the crazy drama of people who would like me to call them family and me desperately searching for a job I have been a wee bit overwhelmed with underwhelming results.

Aiden is doing fabulously in school.  He loves it and I haven't heard a complaint from him yet.  I thought that the novelty would have worn off awhile ago and that by now I would have heard at least one muttering of, "but, I don't want to go to school!"  Not one, can you stand it??  Color me impressed.  The highlight of everyday on our walk back home from school is what he had for lunch.  It is apparently a huge deal that he gets at least three things to choose from each day.  We high five on the days that he picks something healthy and delicious from the salad bar.

Cole is a big hit with his part time caretaker.  He will start to go on a more consistent basis once I get one of those job things, but for now he is going twice a week in order to get him adjusted to someone new and so that our spot is saved.  The caretaker adores him and he seems to be all in one piece once I retrieve him, so that has to be something.

As for the drama with the "people", it went from stagnant to horrific and where there used to be a small place in my mind and heart where I thought forgiveness may one day be a possibility, they succeeded in completely ruining that in one short email.  Words are weapons people - be very sure of yourself before setting out to go to war.

The job business - well that has been interesting.  I have had 2 interviews so far - one that I thought went amazing and ended up going nowhere - another today that I have no clue how it went but should know very soon.  As much as I have enjoyed all the time I have had with my babies, I think it is time - on so many levels - to get back amongst the grown folk.

Until next time...think happy and lucrative thoughts!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Menu Plan for this week

Never, ever on time, I know!

Monday - Daddy grilled some burgers, super tasty but no pics
Tuesday - Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta
Wednesday - Peachy Keen Chicken
Thursday - Chicken Paella
Friday - Asian Noodles
Saturday - Chicken Parm
Sunday - Home made pizza

Should be an interesting week...last week with all my babies at home.  Aiden starts Kindergarten on Monday and baby Cole will be starting daycare part time.  Husband has made sure that I will not be bored however.  I have staining the wood for our new dining room table and prepping for painting the house!!  Can't wait...really.  Except for the stress that Kindergarten and leaving my baby with new people for the first time ever in his whole little life...everything will be great!!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Like a ton of bricks!

So today while waiting for my nurse to come, yes I am that cool, I got a phone call from the baby's doctor.  It's time for his 9 month old check up.  Seriously???  What has happened to my tiny baby?  9 months already?  Sounds like a bad joke to me.
So we start to make an appointment and she says, looks like he will be 9 months on the 26th - do you want to come in that day?
Sure, why not...then I remember, we have something that day.  I said it like it was no big deal, my oldest starts Kindergarten that day so we would have to do it in the afternoon.
Then it hit me...Aiden is starting Kindergarten.
When did all of this happen?  First you rudely remind me that my baby is not so much a baby anymore then you have the audacity to make me face the fact that Aiden is a little person that will be sitting in a classroom.  Reading books without me.  Learning things that I did not teach him.
Break my heart on a Friday morning.  That's a really sucky way to start a weekend.
Then I start thinking more about that little person sitting at a desk.  What will those around him think of him?  What will the teachers think of US?  All the good will be there...but all our mistakes will be sitting in a classroom ready for someones judgment.  Do I not get enough of that from family members, from myself...that we need to add teachers to the mix now?
I know I am sounding paranoid, but it's just that I have come to the point where I have to hope and pray that all that I have done, all that I have tried to teach him about the world and people, right and wrong, respect for others, how to be a friend...I have to hope that I did all of this the right way.  That I haven't messed him up, led him astray or broken him.
My mind wanders and I wonder are the other kids going to like him.  Will his teachers appreciate his little personality in the same way that we, his parents and our friends, do?  What will I do if he comes home and he's sad because someone was mean to him, or made fun of him?  At some point this is inevitable, right?  He'll be out in the world with other people.  People I didn't raise.  He'll be out of the safety of this home and all the love in it.
I am coming to the realization that time happens whether we like it or not.  I am here to say I do not like it and I am not ready for this.  Not at all.
On the plus side...I do have a back-up kid, so maybe I can fix my wrongs with him as they are pointed out to me by the other!  (Kidding...kinda)

Hug your babies tonight, even if they aren't babies, because before you know it they will be all grown up.

I strike again!

Last nights dinner...another huge success!  I am on such a roll that I am scaring myself.  I fear that I will not be able to keep this up and we will have to turn back to a life of frozen chicken nuggets and canned veggies!

I am sure everyone - minus Aiden - hopes not!

Grilled Steak with Basil Puree over Tuscan Beans

1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup EVOO
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. 1/2 inch thick sirloin steak
2 15.5 oz. can white beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
1 cup fresh chopped basil

In a food processor (or blender in my case since my food processor has suspiciously disappeared since we moved into this house!!) combine the lemon juice, olive oil, basil, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper.  Puree until smooth and set aside.
I will tell on myself here.  We have a basil plant on the back porch.  I was under the impression that there were much more leaves on said plant than actually existed.  I didn't have a cup - barely even had a half of a cup.  I did, however, have some left over I added that.  It was good...really good.  Sometimes mistakes taste delicious!
Heat your grill to medium high and mist with a cooking spray.  Cut one of your remaining garlic cloves in half and rub onto your steaks.
Season with salt and pepper then grill for 5-6 minutes per side.  (The actual time will vary on the thickness of your steaks and your desired doneness, of course!)
Mince your remaining clove of garlic and saute in a pan with some cooking spray.  Add your beans and tomatoes just long enough to warm through.
Divide the beans among 4 plates and top with the steak.  Drizzle the puree over the top and serve.

This was really a delicious dinner.  It was so flavorful and really filling.  Husband even said that the more he ate the more he wanted.  That's always a good sign.

(PS - My plate really wasn't as dirty as it looks.  Gross!)

I hope you try this out.  If you do, let me know what you think!

Nutritional Information:
478 calories/ 35 grams Protein/ 32 grams Carbs/ 28 grams Fat (7.5 sat.)/ 11 grams Fiber

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Wednesday...Salad...So So good!

Last nights dinner was ridiculous.  To tell the truth, it was no Beef Wellington, but for 387 calories, it was robust and ridiculously satisfying.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Blue Cheese

3 Tbl. EVOO
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
1 tsp. salt
a pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 lb. cherry tomatoes
1 lb. farfalle pasta
1 cup baby arugula
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup...I used more because we love the stinky stuff)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

This was just about the easiest thing in the world to make.
First mix up the vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, vinegar, garlic, marjoram, salt and pepper flakes.

Next cut your cherry tomatoes in half.
Having a little person assist in the cutting of tomatoes may result in some of them being squished!
Add the cut tomatoes to your vinaigrette and toss.
Next cook the pasta per instructions.  Once done, drain and add to tomatoes mix and toss.
Once it has cooled to at least room temperature add the arugula and blue cheese.
Top with freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!

Nutritional information:
387 calories/ 13 grams Protein/ 59 grams Carbs/ 11 grams Fat (2.9g saturated)/ 3 grams Fiber

Dinner...Ramsey Style!

So last night's dinner was my homage to Chef Gordon Ramsey.  I super love him.  I love the yelling and the drama, because it's really not necessary but definitely fun to watch.  I'm not right that way.

Typically Beef Wellington is made with a large beef fillet and then later portioned out.  I chose not to do things this way.  We had separate smaller fillets and I thought it would be fun to make them as individual portions.
  I started by seasoning the fillets with just salt and pepper and placing them in a hot skillet, basically just to sear them off to preserve the juices inside.
Once this was complete I set them to the side to cool a bit.  Once cool, brush the tops with about a teaspoon of English Mustard.
Then I moved on to the mushrooms.  I had a large container, about a pound, of presliced steak mushrooms.
Use a food processor to chop these little guys into a puree of sorts.  Once complete place then into a hot, dry pan to allow the moisture to cook off.
When sufficiently dried out, set the mix aside to cool.

Now you want to roll out a generous amount of cling wrap.  Lay out 2 slices of prosciutto so that one slightly overlaps the other.
Next you will want to spread out a portion of the mushroom puree.
Now place your fillet in the middle and, keeping a tight hold of the cling wrap from the outside edge, neatly roll the prosciutto and mushroom mix over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends of the cling wrap - sort of like a piece of candy.

Place your barrels in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.  This will help the whole thing set up a bit and keep its shape.
While waiting, roll out your puff pastry.  I cut mine into 5 strips and rolled out each piece individually.  Once the meat is ready unroll the plastic wrap (important step) and place the beef in the middle.
Using an egg yolk, brush this along the outside of the puff pastry to help it stick to itself.  The roll the pastry around the meat and tuck underneath.  Place all Wellington's on a baking sheet.
Brush the tops all with the egg yolk.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes.  Let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving and enjoy. 

These are really, really good.  I had made another version last week, loving called Beef Tarynton since I had to improvise.  We had no prosciutto or mushrooms, so I ended up using bacon strips.  It was really good but probably could have killed us!!

The sauteed potatoes and peas were really easy.  Quarter up some potatoes then cover in salted cold water in a pan on the stove.  Partially cover with a lid and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until knofe tender.  Drain and transfer to a pan with a few sprigs of rosemary and a few cloves of garlic along with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add peas and sautee til golden brown.  Serve along side the Wellington!