Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Comfort.

When I need a quick, easy dinner, my go-to one pot meal often involves taters (red and sweet), sausage (this time chicken + apple) and kale:
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So comforting. Heat some oil, toss in some onion. Add red taters (they’ll take the longest), then sweet potatoes. Salt & pepper. When the taters start to soften throw in the kale and sausage. Serve with Tabasco and a little queso fresco.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

With the Pinewood Derby Monday night, my family needed an easy meal.
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Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Olive oil
Shallot, diced
1 pkg mushrooms
1/2 c broth
1 1/2 c cream
Bow tie pasta
1 bunch parley, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, minced

Cook pasta per package.

Heat oil in skillet; toss in shallot. After about a minute toss in mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for a few minutes; add in broth and cream. Add herbs. Simmer. Toss in pasta and serve.

Photo Recap

Yesterday, BHE and I celebrated 8 wonderful years of marriage.

Cupcakes were made in celebration, in addition to a wonderful meal of steak and roasted asparagus and red potatoes.

Anniversary Cupcakes

It’s OK to drool. I won’t tell anyone.

The vanilla cupcake is an OLD family recipe that, I’m sorry, I won’t share. The frosting is my mom’s chocolate frosting recipe.

My icing skills aren’t the best (see my buddy at Family Bites for that), but I think I do simplicity well. My tip for simple icing? Take a spoon, put a dollop in the middle of your cupcake, and carefully spread with the dull side of a butter knife. It’s not fancy, nor involved exceptional skill, but your cupcakes will look nice and neat.

In other news, my mom has a renewed vigor for sewing, and has taken up bag-making. Bow down to her sewing prowess:

The bag fits a ton – two cross stitch projects – one a decoy, the other I’m doing on the sly as a gift – and my knitting project:

WIP: My First Scarf

I got this Drop Stitch Scarf pattern off ravelry, and I’m really enjoying it.

Easier Than You’d Think

I made egg rolls last week, and they’re much easier to make than you might think. I’d always assumed that it was quite complicated, but the recipe I used was easy and delicious!

Hot and Sour Soup with Egg Roll

The egg roll recipe came from Cooking Light, and can be found here. I made some small changes due to the lack of bean sprouts at my local grocery store. In place of the bean sprouts, I substituted a mixture of alfafa sprouts and Savoy cabbage. I really liked that combination, and will likely use cabbage in my egg rolls going forward.

To pair with the egg rolls, I made a hot and sour soup that I think turned out well.

Hot and Sour Soup

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 cups cabbage, like Savoy
juice of one/two lemons
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz. firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 large egg white
sweet chili sauce
chopped green onion
chopped cilantro

Combine first five ingredients into pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Add pepper, shrimp*, and tofu; bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp almost done.

Slowly drizzle egg white into pot, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chili sauce, green onion, and cilantro. Serve.

*If using raw shrimp. If shrimp is already cooked, add at the end to warm.

Blogroll Housekeeping

My blogroll listing has been outdated for some time. I just overhauled my blogroll, and you might note that it’s gone – totally removed from the sidebar. I’ve instead added a new page – craft & food resources – you can find the link up at the top. It’s a little more organized, and a little easier to navigate. There you’ll find resources for food, embroidery & cross stitch, knitting, sewing, and general crafts. Enjoy!

Celebrate the Bean

We eat beans a lot here on Awesome Avenue. So versatile, nutritious, and cheap. They’re a great stand-in for meat, a great source for fiber and protein.

I prefer dried beans to canned. Dried beans don’t have added sodium, and in my opinion they just taste better – creamy and delicious, if cooked right. Soak them all day, and then let them simmer for at least an hour. I prefer two hours, if I can – gets them really nice and tender.

I’ve blogged some of my preferred beans recipes – Chickpea and Potato Curry (also good with cauliflower in place of the potato, FYI) and lentils and spinach. Beans can also help you get creative with soups, like I did here.

But there have been some basic recipes that I have yet to blog until now.

Like beans and rice. We eat this probably once every two weeks. Please don’t make the stuff from the package – homemade beans and rice tastes better, is better for you, and is really simple! Take black beans, or red beans, or red and black beans. After soaking the beans, put them in a big pot with water (or broth + water if you’re feeling crazy) and cajun seasoning. I let them cook for an hour, and then add a diced onion, minced garlic (about 2 cloves), and diced bell pepper. If you’re feeling crazy, you could add some diced sweet potato. Cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, and serve over brown rice. Delicious and healthy.

Beans also make for great bean burritos. I made them just this week, and again they’re super simple. Cook your black beans (or red beans, or red and black beans…you get my point) for at least an hour. When the beans are ready, just leave them simmering and move on to the next step. In a skillet, melt some butter. Add a diced small onion, minced garlic (about two cloves), and diced red bell pepper. Cook until tender. Add a can of rotel and heat until simmering. Season everything – beans and the rotel mixture – with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Now get your tortillas, and in the center of each layer: the beans, the rotel mixture, and cheese. Place each tortilla in a casserole dish. Top it all with any of the leftover rotel mixture, and a little bit of cheese. Bake it at 300F for 10 minutes.

I took the leftover beans and the next morning made myself a Tex-Mex egg muffin:

So, what’s your favorite way to use the bean?

My picky kid ate baked chicken, and yours can too!

Last week the Monkey said he would eat baked chicken. I took this with a grain of salt – he’s claimed he would try things before, then “change his mind” at the last minute.

But I’ve learned that in parenthood you seize opportunities like this when you can, so I came up with a very basic – but flavorful – chicken that he would be willing to eat*. And I’m sharing with you for that picky kid in your life:

I chose boneless skinless chicken thighs to bake. They’re relatively inexpensive, flavorful, and the serving sizes are just spot on.

As I preheated the oven to 350F, I placed the chicken in a simple marinade of salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. I let it marinade as the oven preheated, so about 15 minutes. You could probably marinade longer and get some more of that flavor into the chicken, but I didn’t have time.

I then coated the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil, then placed my chicken on top. I wanted to roast an orange bell pepper to place on our salad – I decided to just place it on top of my chicken in in the baking dish, and sprinkled on a little extra salt and pepper. Shoved it in the oven to bake for an hour.

In that hour I made the mashed potatoes – a good go-to side for a picky kid. And ya’ll, those mashed potatoes were awesome! You can’t go wrong with butter and sour cream. It was all well until my picky kid spotted a speck of black pepper. Well, lesson learned on the black pepper, I suppose.

We dressed our salad with the orange bell pepper – which sweetened a bit and just turned out awesome – and a simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

A nice, simple family meal – that even a picky kid will love!

*He’s anti-sauce, and a rub would have been equally offensive to him. We’re dealing with picky here, people.

DIY Recipe Book

I promised a crafty tutorial and I’m delivering today. I wanted to make my brother a recipe book for his birthday, filled with old family recipes (thanks, Mom!) and some new ones (many of which you’ve seen on this blog. All recipes that have been taste-tested for yummyness.

I scoured the internets for a way to do this recipe book, and there wasn’t much. I found Tastebook, and while those look really good, they are pricey and I wanted more of a DIY approach. I didn’t want a recipe box – I don’t like them as they get messy real quick. I thought about hitting Staples for a binder but hit Hobby Lobby’s scrapbooking section first. So glad I did. I’m not a scrapbooker but was able to adapt those supplies to come up with this recipe book. And here’s how.

First things first, I decided how big my pages would be (based on the cover I bought). I did the typing. formatting, and photo insertion in PowerPoint. You could probably do this in Word too. In PowerPoint, a finished page looked like this:

RecipeBookSamplePage

I then carefully cut out the pages, and was careful about where to hole-punch. Precision is key.

I also made some header pages. Scrapbook stickers add a lot of fun, though there’s a treasure trove of clipart images available too.

The cover was purchased from Hobby Lobby too. It was too thick for the hole-puncher, so BHE drilled and sanded where I marked. I then used binder rings to bind it all together.

DIY Recipe Book

I really like the look. It was a lot of work, but made for a nice, personal, DIY gift.

Foodie Fails

Last week was a bit rough (due to Monkey’s tummy bug) and my cooking suffered. I don’t have a lot of food fails, but last week, well….

I started off the week wanting to make an onion pie (my father-in-law brought some BIG vidalia onions and I wanted to use them). I thought I had everything but discovered – a bit late – that I had no eggs. Nothing to bind the pie together.

It actually tasted good but it definitely wasn’t very pie-like. I will try this again sometime – when I have eggs.

Later in the week I tried out this recipe for Latin Baked Chicken from Cooking Light. It was awesome. A definite keeper of a recipe. It was I did with the side that caused a massive fail.

I decided to used up the remaining black-eyed peas in my pantry (I use dry beans unless I just don’t have time). I decided – ’cause I love my greens – that turnip greens would be good with them, and so threw them in the pot with the black-eyed peas about an hour into cooking.

It all went to heck when I threw the chipotle in.

I had half the can of chipotle left from the chicken recipe. Thinking it would be similar to adding a touch of hot sauce, I threw in the rest of the chipotles into my pot.

Do you know that turnip greens really soak up flavor? And by flavor, I mean extreme heat? I consider myself pretty tough when it comes to spicy food – I throw red pepper flakes into everything – but this was beyond spicy. I pulled out the peppers that I could once I realized my error, and added a ton of water to dilute the heat, but it was too late. I ruined those greens.

I do plan to revisit the black-eyed peas and turnip greens concept again. But never again with chipotles. Never again.

So what are your foodie fails? Share in the comments!

Funky Foods

Well, I’m feeling a little queasy today, so now’s as good a time as any to talk about funky foods.

I ate some interesting foods as a child. Now, I didn’t think they were interesting, of course, and most Americans in the 80s might not have thought much of it, but now – gag.

Anyone for some potted meat? Fried Bologna Sandwich? Vienna Sausage?

I think some of the most awful food from my childhood involved mayonnaise. Ever had Pear Salad? Who thought of placing a dollop of mayo in the middle of a pear half and topping that all with cheddar? And then having the nerve to call it a salad?

But the pièce de résistance were the peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I still eat them today – two slices of bread, peanut butter on both sides, and banana slices – but I leave out a feature from my childhood (drumroll please): the mayo. Ah yes, in my childhood we had peanut butter, mayo, and banana sandwiches. And somehow I came out mostly normal.

Did you eat any foods in your childhood that you just can’t imagine eating now? Let me know in the comments!