Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kitchen Tales - Part 4 Bacon Waffles

This is my last post for the day...promise!

So - what do you think of when I say Bacon?  Piggy goodness right?  Now Waffles?  Breakfast goodness?  Thought so.
Someone had the ingenious idea to put the two together.  I must say - in our house...anything with Bacon is a home-run.  The husband once made a bacon log.  That's right, sausage wrapped in bacon and then more bacon.  He has made it twice now and I have yet to have any...I am big fan of living and not so much a fan of cardiac arrest.

I saw this somewhere and knew that it had to be tried.

Here is all you need:

Take an entrire package of bacon and lay them slice by slice on a baking sheet covered with foil that has lightly been sprayed with cooking spray.  Then sprinkle a 1/4 cup of brown sugar on the bacon and then cook in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

While the bacon is cooking away gather the waffle ingredients:

3 cups AP flour, 1 Tbl baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2/3 c canola oil, 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and 2.5 c buttermilk

Get out the waffle iron so it can preheat.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients and once done make a well to later incorporate the wet.  My well was not so stellar.

Now mix the wet ingredients and then gently fold into the dry.  Do not overmix - lumps are not the enemy here.
After the bacon is out of the oven and cool enough to handle, do a rough chop
And then add to the mix
Mix it up - just a little and then proceed with the waffle making.  I used about a 1/2 cup batter for each waffle.
On half of the batch I went a little crazy and added about a cup of cheddar cheese.  This should make the husband happy.

Let the delicious circles cool and then eat up.  We froze ours since we made these after breakfast.
Can't wait to have these for breakfast tomorrow.

Kitchen Tales - Part 3 Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti

I have seen this on so many of the blogs that I follow, I can't even begin to think of where I saw it first.  I am pretty sure it was here though.

This dish was really simple to make and ended up much better than I had initially thought.
Here is all you need (plus 2 chicken breast and 2 cups of chicken stock):

Use the salt and pepper to season your chicken breasts.  Then add those to 2 cups of chicken broth in a skillet:

I thought this was a really odd way of cooking the chicken - but it worked out and more than likely helped to keep the chicken really moist.  This stays this way for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium high heat, just until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Remove the chicken and then either cube or shred it.

While the chicken is cooking you will want to make your sauce.  Here you will use 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of hot sauce (this makes it mild to medium, you can change it up for your personal heat preference).  Let these cook over a low heat until the cream cheese has melted.  Once that is done add your 1 cup of blue cheese dressing (I used a light version to keep it from being too heavy) and the chicken.
All that's left to do is add your pasta and serve!

Like I said, this turned out a lot better than I had initially thought.  The husband took all the leftovers to work (there were a lot since I used the whole box of pasta) - so I am guessing he liked it a little.

If you try it, I really hope you like.  We will definitely be making this again!

Kitchen Tales - Part 2 French Toast

So, anytime the husband is away I get a little freaked out.  For no reason, really.  We have an amazing security system and a gun (so don't get any funny ideas).  I just don't like it when he is away and I have trouble sleeping.  This leads to very long nights watching far too much tv to distract me from the fact that I am on my own.

That being said - much of the late night television watching is about food.  People making food, people talking about how to make food or how food is made or the random competition on who makes the best food.  I happened upon an episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay".  Bobby Flay is not my favorite.  I cannot tell you why that is as I have no idea.  I thought maybe it was the unfortunate influence of South Park and it's reference to Ginger's...though I hope not as it appears so far Thing 2 is looking like a Ginger.  I may have to work that out.
Anyhoo - this episode was about French Toast.  Who doesn't like French Toast?  Seriously.  I have been intimidated by French Toast - how to get the outsides crispy and have the insides not taste all soft and gummy like wallpaper paste.  It just so happened that my most recent Food Network magazine had an article about French Toast and how to remedy that exact problem.  It was kismet.  I paid attention to the show and tried to memorize what I thought were the key points.  Next AM - French Toast time. 
Well - almost.  In the episode they spoke of the best kinds of bread to use - Challah was the favorite.  On a grocery trip for more eggs, syrup and some fresh fruits to top the Toast, I looked in the bakery.  Much to my chagrin - no Challah.  What's a girl to do?  Make your own bread.  I cheated a little and used my trusty bread machine, so our French Toast would have to wait a day.

I gathered up all the necessary ingredients:
 1.5 cups milk, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp nutmeg, 4 eggs and a loaf of challah

I dredged the bread and then popped them into the skillet with about a 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Crisped up the outsides and then set aside on a baking sheet.
On the Throwdown episode the competitor had coated his slices in a combination of crushed corn flakes and almonds for a touch of fancy.  I tried this and it did not work out so well for me.  This could be because I forgot about it until the last minute and may or may not have crushed these items to an appropriate tinyness.  Oh well - all the others worked out well.
Once I had all the slices nice and crunchy from the skillet they were sent to the 350 degree over for about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking all the way through.  Genius right?  I thought so- that magazine really is worth the subscription price.  Really.

While the toast was finishing up in the oven, I got my frozen fruit, about a tablespoon of butter and a 1/4 cup of maple syrup (we use sugar free - since Thing 1 is already a nutbag and really needs no extra sugar)
I let this simmer til it heated the fruit through and the "sauce" started to reduce just a bit.  Then I put it and about 4 ounces of cream cheese in the blender.
Once done, it really looked lovely...
And to hear my biggest fan in the kitchen tell you - it tasted better than it looked!

Kitchen Tales - Part 1 Asparagus Frittata

My poor kitchen has taken a beating this past week.  The husband was away for an entire week...which led me to be very bored and walking a thin line between sane and ridiculously crazy.  My remedy...make a whole bunch of stuff and take just as many pictures!

There was an egg inspiration.  A late night watching the Food Network inspiration.  Of course there was a blog inspiration as well.

First the egg inspiration: an Asparagus Frittata.  I got the idea from the here and had previously made the Bacon Egg Cups.  I had a ton more eggs and started looking at other things in the fridge to throw together.  I had some asparagus that really needed to be used...quickly.  So I steamed them and chopped them up and got all the other ingredients ready for the party.

I used 7 eggs, a bunch of asparagus, 2 sliced of bread soaked in milk, some sharp cheddar cheese, about a tablespoon of savory herbs and turkey hot dogs.  That's right, I said turkey dogs...don't judge me!

Introduced all the key players to each other...put them in a casserole dish
 And then into a 375 degree oven for a REALLY long time.  It was about 45 minutes, but felt like much longer since I was really, really hungry.

And there it was in all it's eggy-cheesy beauty.  I got to have this all to myself since Thing 1 was utterly disgusted by the addition of asparagus.  I didn't mind, it was really good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Egg-cellent Choice

This morning, with sleepy eyes and hungry bellies, I started the day with a quick perusal through my favorite blogs for some divine breakfast inspiration.  I happened over here and saw that she was looking for some inspired and inexpensive egg recipe ideas.  After staring into what feels like the abyss of my fridge, I remembered something I whipped up a month or so ago and was received with high praise...even from Thing 1!

I hadn't given them a fancy name...but here you go:

Bacon and Egg Cups

First gather all the necessary ingredients...of which are not many:

Quantities will depend on how many people you intend to serve.  A single serving should probably be one cup...so one egg and one slice of bacon per person.
Grate some cheese...however much you prefer.
Next you will want to wrap the bacon around the inside of the cup (there is no need to lubricate the pan - the bacon will do all the work for you):
Next step - crack your egg into the cup, season with salt and pepper and top with your desired amount of shredded cheese.  I used some fresh basil on some, just for a little touch of fancy!
 Pop them into your pre-heated 400 degree oven and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes - depending on your desired firmness of the egg.

Once done your cheese will be nice and oozy and the bacon egg cups will pop right out.  Plate ad enjoy!

If you try them, I hope that you enjoy them.  They are a really simple, inexpensive, quick and delicious way to start your day!

The Trendy Treehouse

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Bonanza

Yesterday was Thing One's 5th birthday. I can barely believe that I have only known him for five short years. He is such a neat kid. I realize that any parent will say the same of their child...but make no mistake, he is one of the neatest people I know. He has this huge personality - so much so that when I was pregnant with Thing 2, I was sure that this poor baby was going to end up just sitting in a corner watching the world go by because Thing 1 has so much personality there was no chance there was any left for this new guy. It remains to be seen if that is the case...too soon to tell.
Anyhoo, back to my BigLove. He has an incredible sense of humor and impeccable timing. He is so loving. I cannot watch any sappy girlie movies around him without him asking me why I am crying. He will ask me if he gives me a hug will that make me stop crying. He is my funny, sensitive little prince. I am incredibly lucky to be his mommy.
There have been talks in the last few weeks about the birthday. What sorts of gifts would he like, what it was going to feel like to be five, etc. The culmination of all these talks was the cake. The flavor choice was immediate - chocolate and strawberry. The theme...Coyotes. He is a huge hockey fan. You name the city and this kid will tell you the name of the team...it's a little out of control and I am on the verge of being concerned. I struggled with his choice of theme. How the heck was I going to pull this off? I know that I have been dipping my toes in the creative pool as of late, but a Coyote's cake? Let's be serious!
I asked my friend for all the creative juju they could muster and I conjured up all the mother's love...and this is what we get:
 It could have been better, but at least it resembles the actual mascot, and truth be told it could have been a whole lot worse.  When Thing 1 woke up in the morning, I let him have a peek and he was dumb-founded, almost without words...which I don't think I need to say is quite rare!  He turned to me, mouth gaping wide and asked, "How did you even make that?"  In that moment all the flaws that I could see in that Coyote disappeared.  It was perfect in my BigLove's eyes and that was all that was really important.

After the peek at the cake, the boy and I ventured out for his birthday breakfast.  The Husband and I are new at this whole normal family business, so we
are making it up as we go along.  We are working on creating family traditions that work for us.  So we came up with Birthday Breakfast.  One parent will take the birthday having child to breakfast at the eatery of their choice.  Thing One opted for Denny's.
Pancakes were the choice for Thing One.  After he cleaned his plate, which rarely ever happens, he asked if he could have dessert.  Dessert?  I had never heard of Breakfast Dessert, but it was his birthday, so why the heck not?!
And this instantly made me the coolest mom on the planet...in my BigLove's eyes.  In that moment that was all that mattered.
Once we came home there were gifts to be opened before I had to take off (that will be in another post...a very long and potentially boring post).
He got some matchbox cars and a game...a very exciting game:
He was very excited to see yet another Star Wars game for the Wii.  This is number three.  He also got a special gun to go with another game that was opened in my absence.

After I returned home, we recieved a visit from Nana and Poppa and there were more gifts to be opened, dinner of his choice (pizza) and then we had our fancy cake with a side of ice cream.  The cake, aside from being nice to look, ended up being delicious.

My special guy had a great day and I will be forever grateful that he was born and ridiculously proud to be him mom!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I did it!

I did it!  I went site stalking and found some delightful decorating ideas and became a big ol' copycat!
I saw this great idea and the husband ended up having just the right amount of scraps in just about the right sizes.  Thing One was quite happy to help, and of course have his picture taken.
Then, I remembered having seen "House Rules" canvases on a number of sites, so I came up with this:

Mine is not near as polished and lovely as those that I had seen.  This was the first project I took on.  I fell short in a few areas (some papers were not so perfectly lined up and I don't think I did a great job hand painting the writing), but it was not an epic fail.  I tried and The Husband and Thing One think it's pretty fancy, so that counts for a lot in my book. I think that I will start cruising thrift stores in the coming week - just to get a feel of what is out there.

The Girl Creative