Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Whole Foods with My Baby Girl

I can now say, after 7 months, I have mastered the art of errands with my daughter and it's all thanks to this....
I love love love my Moby. It has saved me many times and I can't express how wonderful baby-wearing is; especially since my daughter hates the stroller. I tried on several carriers and this was the winner. It's soft, supportive and really easy on my back. I put it on before I get in the car for errands and then easily wrap her in the parking lot and off we go. 

Last weekend I headed to Whole Foods just to pick up dinner and yogurt (how that amounted to $65?) but it was worth it. I spent a fun-filled hour wearing my baby and shopping at one of my favorite stores. On the menu for that night- Steak with Chimichurri, Rice Pilaf,  Beer and McConnell's Ice Cream.

Let's start with beer. This is super yummy and only $5.99.

Steak with chimichurri and rice pilaf (I can't seem to flip the photo) . The rice is a box mix. The 365 brand with mushrooms and herbs.

If you've never had chimichurri, you're missing out. It's very simple to make.

Chimichurri Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

METHOD

1 Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
2 Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby, It's Hot Outside- Frozen Mango Anyone?

We started Baby H on solid foods a couple weeks ago and so far she's had rice cereal, bananas and mangoes. She loves grabbing the spoon and feeding herself. Most of it ends up on her bib, the floor or somehow her hair LOL but that's all part of the fun. We strip her down to her diaper and let her go to town. I love the mesh food containers (picture below) that allow her to suck and chew while holding it. Brilliant product!
Yesterday it was really warm so I put in a chunk of semi-thawed mango. I keep bags of them in the freezer for smoothies and the chunks are just the right size.
We've been very mellow about introducing solids. We're not on a schedule and feed her when we have the time to let her play and make a mess. So far it's been a great experience for the whole family.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Espresso Brownie Cookies

There are moments during baking when you are sneaking tastes of the batter that you just know the finished product is going to be amazing. These were as amazing raw as they were baked.  I can't help but lick the spatula when I'm baking anything with chocolate. To my friends who actually got to have some of these, I didn't double-dip...or did I?



Espresso Brownie Cookies
Adapted from Just A Taste
Ingredients:

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ยบF.
In a double boiler (a small pan set within a larger pan of simmering water), combine the dark chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips and butter, stirring until melted. Remove the smaller pan containing the chocolate from the double boiler and set it aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, sugar and instant coffee granules on high speed until very thick and mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the bowl, whisking just until combined.
Turn off the stand mixer. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and stir just until combined. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Portion heaping tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are cracked and puffed on top. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Candied Pecan Biscotti

It's no secret that I love sweets. I have to have a little something sugary after every meal or it just doesn't feel complete. Breakfast is no exception and these biscotti are just perfect with a cup of coffee after some eggs. The spicy kick from the cayenne is a really nice addition and since you'll have some pecans leftover from this recipe, I dare you not to indulge in them by the handful. Yum!


Candied Pecan Biscotti
by Joy the Baker


makes about 2 dozen biscotti
2 cups flour
3/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
For Pecans:
1 large egg white
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups raw pecan halves
Start by making the pecans.  Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until the whites have foamed into small white bubbles. Add sugar, spices, and salt.  Whisk until thick and opaque. Add pecans and toss to coat. Once thoroughly coated, spoon pecans onto prepared baking sheet. Leave any extra coating in the bowl.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and toasted golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before chopping and incorporating into biscotti batter.
To make the Biscotti:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the down and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk.  Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed. Fold in 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans.
Divide the dough in two on the two making sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1 1/2-inch wide log. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes.  Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.  Let biscotti cool until able to handle.  Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices.  Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.  Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I try to always have muffins in the house. They are the perfect quick breakfast when my little one won't let me make anything. Plus I can eat it with one hand. Anybody else have a baby who demands your full attention in the morning? I must be holding her, singing, smiling, cuddling etc. or my ears will be ringing with cries of frustration. Thankfully, she takes a nap pretty soon after her first meal.


I found this recipe on Pinterest. I made a few changes since I didn't have all the ingredients and they turned out really yummy.

Cranberry - Orange Muffins  Homemade by Holman
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook

3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat vanilla yogurt)
2 eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange (I used to oranges. I like lots of orangey flavor)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (omitted the cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries, roughly chopped (I used dried cranberries)
Demerara sugar (about a tsp per muffin)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with baking spray or line with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, and butter and whisk until well combined.  In another mixing bowl, add sugar and orange zest.  Use your fingers to rub orange zest into the sugar until distributed and fragrant.  Add in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.  Fold in the cranberries.

Spoon batter into prepared pans (I use an ice cream scoop to make it easier) and fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way full.  Sprinkle about one teaspoon of demerara sugar over the top of each muffin.  Bake about 20 - 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and spring back lightly to the touch.  Cool in pans about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.   

I can't decide whether I want to share too much info about my daughter but I had to post at least one pic to give you a peek...


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Learning to love greens

I'm not a fan of green veggies. Not at all. In fact there are a few, spinach I'm talking to you, that actually make me gag. As a nursing mom, I know how important a balanced diet is, so I'm trying to love them. I find if I mix them into dishes and mask the flavor I have an easier time convincing myself that it tastes good; or convincing myself there isn't actually any green lurking in my food.
Smoothies are a lifesaver for me. I can toss all kinds of yucky veggies in the blender and so long as there is fruit, I'm good. I like frozen strawberries, kale, bananas, a little honey, yogurt and some orange juice.
What do you put in your smoothie?


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Szechuan Chicken with Noodles

I must admit, I'm intimidated by my wok. It cooks everything so fast and at such a high heat that I'm always seconds from burning everything. But I suck it up and use it anyway, especially now since quick meals are a mom's best friend.
Szechuan Chicken with Noodles is another successful dish I found on Pinterest. The chicken crisps up nicely and it includes pine nuts (which we all know from my last post that I love). I didn't use whole wheat noodles since my husband swears they don't taste good. I can't tell the difference, can you?
Do you have a wok? Any great woky recipes?


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Italian Braised Pork

Ugh, I know the photo is blurry but I had to share this dish because it was so yummy and for those of you always looking for something new to make in your slow cooker, you must try this. Oh and ignore the overabundance of pine nuts. The recipe doesn't call for them but I love their taste and I wanted a little crunch so I added them at the last minute.

I find that prepping as many ingredients the night before makes it so much easier to get everything into the slow cooker in the morning. For this recipe, I diced all the veggies and stored in the fridge. I also put all the other ingredients (except for the pork of course) on my kitchen counter next to my slow cooker. Then all I had to do in the morning was sear the pork, saute the veggies and dump it all into the cooker.

You can find a proper photo of the dish here http://www.marthastewart.com/965070/italian-braised-pork


Italian Braised Pork
-Everyday Food

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced small
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups prepared couscous, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, celery, and fennel seeds to pan; cook until onion is softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add to slow cooker along with tomatoes. Cover and cook on high until pork is very tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low).
  3. Transfer pork to a cutting board. With two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Skim fat off sauce and discard. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and stir to combine. (To store: Cool, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days.) Serve over couscous.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pioneer Woman's The Best Lasagna Ever

Does anyone else love the Pioneer Woman as much as I do? It's one of the few cooking shows my hubby will watch with me. There's something about her life on the ranch that makes me want to pack it all up and raise my daughter in the country. But.... then I remember I don't like to get up early, I don't really care for the outdoors and I really need to have a grocery store within walking distance. I'm much more suited to city life. Last weekend she made lasagna and now that I've made it I must agree it is The Best Lasagna Ever. I've made many lasagnas in my life since it's great to feed a crowd and this one by far has the best flavor. I was a little wary of the cottage cheese but I have to say I prefer it to ricotta.



The.Best.Lasagna.Ever

by Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grated (not Shredded) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) Lasagna Noodles
  • (add 1/2 Teaspoon Salt And 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil To Pasta Water)

Preparation Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).
To assemble:
Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.
Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade

Since having a baby, I spend tons of time on Pinterest. It's a great site that keeps me from falling asleep during those early 2am feedings. I set myself up in the rocking chair with my little girl nursing in one arm and my other hand scrolling through recipes on my phone. I now have a full board of dishes that I've tried and loved. Thank you Pinterest.
It's been cold the last few months and I'm getting really tired of winter so when I saw a photo of a beautiful pitcher of ruby red lemonade it instantly reminded me of summer and I had to have some. Fresh strawberries are available at my grocery store but they're not in season and don't taste all that great so I used frozen for this recipe that I thawed in the fridge.


You can find the recipe at Laylita's Recipes.

Are you on Pinterest?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gourmet Madeleine Cookies

For Christmas I received a madeleine cookie pan and so far I've made these cookies 3 times...they are that good. With or without powdered sugar, I've made them both ways, they are light, lemony, sweet and so much better than the packaged ones at Starbucks. Normally I wouldn't recommended buying a pan that you only use for one recipe but this is worth it. A friend suggested I dip them in chocolate so that's next on the list. I'll let you know how they turn out.



Gourmet Madeleine Cookies
from Food.com

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 pinch salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

powdered sugar Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 375°F Generously butter and flour pan for large madeleines (about 3x1 1/4 inches).

2 Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour; beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended.

3 Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. Bake until puffed and brown, about 10-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch. (Can be made 1 day ahead.).

4 Dust cookies with powdered sugar.

 Also, just to leave you with some cuteness...my kitty all cuddled up since it's been so cold.